FSM Congress Elects New President
Wahiawa Hospital: New Partnership Supports Mental Health Needs
Joan Conrow: From anti-GMO journalist to crop biotech advocate
Tuition freeze proposal to go before UH regents
Carlos Penaloza recommended as next Leeward Community College chancellor
“Rap Back” or Rip-Off? Aloha State Gun Owners Sue for Disclosure of Information
State Corporate Income Taxes Increase Tax Burden on Corporate Profits
Rep. Cabanilla Praises Decision to NOT fund Girls Locker Room for Campbell HS
KHON: … State legislators set aside more than $6 million for a track and field and other improvements at Campbell High School, but no girls locker room.
A lawsuit filed in December against the Department of Education and the Oahu Interscholastic Association said it's just one example of the school not following title IX guidelines. The lawsuit claims the boys have exclusive access to their own locker room while the girls must:
"Lug their athletic gear around all day" and "must resort to changing in teachers' closets, in the bathroom of the nearest Burger King, and even on the practice field."
Lawmakers allocated money for 10 public schools to design and build girls locker rooms in 2020 and 2021….
Representative Rida Cabanilla Arakawa (D), who represents that area said she can think of a couple of reasons why Campbell why.
"When you are sued, and the lawsuit came from Campbell High School, the last thing you want to do is fix it because that is being seen as an admission of guilt," Cabanilla Arakawa said. …
(Translation: Cabanilla is praising the decision not to build a girls locker room at Campbell HS She probably blocked legislative efforts to fund it.)
read … Female athletes at Campbell overlooked for new locker room despite lawsuit claiming inequality
Maui Council Giving Big Fat Tax Bonus to Council Chair’s Pacific Biodiesel—While Raising Taxes on the Little People
MN: … the resolutions will be taken up May 17 along with the budget for next fiscal year.
The vehicle weight and fuel tax resolutions only require one reading.
The vehicle weight tax hike got the most comments from the public Friday, and they were in opposition to increases. The council is mulling rate hikes, which include an increase from $0.035 to $0.037 per pound of net weight for passenger vehicles and trucks and noncommercial vehicles not exceeding 6,500 pounds.
Also proposed is an increase from $0.0536 to $0.0556 per pound of net weight for all other motor vehicles.
There will be no change to the $12 minimum tax for any motor vehicle. The penalty for delinquent taxes for passenger vehicles will rise from $8 to $16 and for other vehicles, from $20 to $40….
As for the fuel tax rates, the council is not making any changes over current rates for gasoline and diesel oil, which are 23 cents per gallon, biodiesel at $0; and ethanol, methanol and liquefied petroleum gas, all at 11.5 cents per gallon. But a new category has been added — biodiesel blend, which could see an 11.5 cents per gallon tax.
(Translation: If you ‘blend’ your diesel with a little Pacific Biodiesel, it is taxed at 11.5 cents instead of 23 cents. This will be a huge boost to Pacific Biodiesel’s business.)
King said she would not take a vote on the fuel tax, but acknowledged after Friday’s hearings that she has spoken on the council floor about the matter….
King said Pacific Biodiesel does produce both biodiesel and biodiesel blend….
Council chairwoman is a founder of Pacific Biodiesel…
Both former Mayor Alan Arakawa and Mayor Michael Victorino have proposed fuel taxes on biodiesel, (NOTE: Not ‘blend’) but none have gone through. Victorino proposed a 12 cent per gallon tax for next fiscal year for biodiesel (and the King council is keeping it a zero.).
King said she felt those tax proposals were a “personal attack on me.” (Translation: Cross me and I’ll retaliate.)
DoE: Biodiesel concentrations of up to B5 to be called diesel fuel, with no separate labeling required at the pump
MN May 18, 2019: Council imposes 6-cent tax on biodiesel blends
read … “Blend”
Maui Council OKs higher property tax rates for most
MN: … members voted 8 to 1 to approve a resolution for the rates, which will be effective July 1. Council Member Riki Hokama was the lone opposing vote.
The rates approved Friday will bring in about 5 percent, or $17.7 million, more than Mayor Michael Victorino’s property tax proposal, which mirrors current rates. The council rates are expected to garner $355.7 million in revenues, compared to $338.1 million in Victorino’s plan.
The highest rate hikes came for hotels and resorts, which will see an increase from $9.37 to $11 (17 percent more), along with short-term rentals, which will see an increase from $9.28 to $10.75 (16 percent more).
Homeowners will see a bump from $2.85 to $2.90.
All rates are based on $1,000 of net taxable assessed value. The rates are just one component of property tax bills, the other is assessed value, which is expected to be up this year….
MW: Battling Politicos: Molina Demands Apology from Victorino
read … Council OKs higher property tax rates for most
Kauai County Council Hikes Property Taxes, TVR and Hotel Taxes
KGI: … Vice-chair Ross Kagawa made a motion to cut $1.38 million from the fire department, which was eventually voted down.
“My intention was to actually cut $2.5 (million),” Kagawa said, adding that the reason for the cuts primarily had to do with spiking concerns.
…Felicia Cowden introduced a motion to fund an alternative outside of the Kauai Economic Opportunity homeless shelter.
“It seems like a crisis, and sending them to a place with 18 beds is not enough,” Cowden said of a proposition to cut KEO funding and add monies to the county Housing Agency budget for the “houseless crisis.”
Steve Franco, housing director, said of the proposal by Cowden, “Our concern at the housing agency is the performance of KEO and giving them any additional monies from this fund.”
“We certainly don’t want to be a magnet for more homeless transplants,” Kagawa said.
Franco said KEO has come to the Housing Agency and expressed concerns over staff turnover.
Franco reiterated that KEO is the only licensed and recognized homeless shelter by the state at this time on Kauai, and that is the reason funding has been channeled through the organization despite the Housing Agency’s concerns with KEO’s performance.
Cowden’s motion for a secondary homeless shelter funding was voted down by the council before moving into recess.
Later in the meeting, the council voted on a proposal to increase real property tax rates, including the homestead tax rate, by 15 cents from $3.05 per $1,000 of assessed value. Also within the proposal was the option to increase the transient vacation rental tax rate $1, and up the hotel tax rate by 15 cents….
read … Property Tax Hikes
SB1292: State TVR Tax Incentive for Counties to do Nothing
SA: … now that the Legislature has passed Senate Bill 1292, which would enable the taxing of millions of dollars from these illegal accommodations. Absent tougher county restrictions and enforcement, state collection of these taxes would be a tacit enabler to operate with impunity ….
Shapiro: All talk, no political spine in controlling illegal vacation rentals in Hawaii
read … Act on Hawaii vacation rentals
Bill 89: Abolish 30-day Rentals
SA: … It’s generally not legal to rent out a house or apartment for less than 30 days at a time, unless specifically permitted to do so by the city.
But a little-known settlement agreement reached between a group of vacation rental operators and the city — and approved by a federal judge — allows for a rental agreement of 30 days, even if a renter stays for only a few weeks or days, so long as the renter has the exclusive right to stay up to 30 days. No one else, not even the owner, is allowed to occupy it.
Honolulu City Councilman Ron Menor said he wants to close what he believes is a loophole in the law. He included language in the latest draft of Bill 89 (2018), the comprehensive vacation rental bill, that specifically would bar the practice.
But Greg Kugle, the attorney who represented the Kokua Coalition in the lawsuit that led to the settlement agreement, said even if the law is changed to what Menor is proposing, the many current operators of the 30-day rentals need to be allowed to continue operating as they have done under the current law….
read … 30 Day rentals
Corps of Engineers tries to address ‘misunderstanding’ about flood project
HNN: … Wendy Lum lives next to Kanewai Park and opposes the project along with many other residents and some schools including Hokulani.
"I don't believe them at all. They have a bad track record," she said.
After 20 years of planning and $345 million in funding by Congress, the project includes five detention basins. The largest in upper Manoa is 300 feet wide and 35 feet tall….
The project is still in the design phase and the governor’s request for $125 million in funding was not approved by the legislature ….
Background: Ala Wai? Corps of Engineers has Long History of Corruption and Cost Overruns
read … Corps of Engineers tries to address ‘misunderstanding’ about flood project
50% of School Bus Drivers Could Lose License
CB: … Dozens of people crammed into a Kalihi meeting room Friday to learn more about new federal rules that are blocking many Pacific Islanders from renewing or receiving federally approved driver’s licenses and state identification cards.
The rules continue to generate widespread confusion.
“Our drivers at the DMV are being turned away,” said Gail Sagiao, director of operations at Roberts Hawaii. About half of her company’s school bus drivers are affected by the new policy of the Department of Homeland Security, she said….
read … Confusion Reigns As Some Pacific Islanders Are Denied Licenses And IDs
Homeless Enablers Offer Free Food at Kailua Pier
WHT: … youth paddlers waiting to be picked up witnessed a verbal altercation between two homeless men gathered for the meal, who then proceeded to “square off.” Phillips also mentioned several other instances of homeless misconduct occurring at different times on days of the week other than Thursday….
“It does draw more homeless to the area, then we have that uptick of them coming into the restaurants, (ordering without paying), then walking out,” she said….
read … Free Thursday night meals at Kailua Pier may be in jeopardy
Animal Liberation Nuts Buying up Ookala Dairy Cows to Make Sure They Can’t Help Build a New Dairy
RV: … Following the closure of Big Island Dairy in Hawaii Island, as much as 2600 dairy cows need to be rescued. The local animal rescue unit called HLFARN or The Hawaii Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network has been tirelessly functioning to put the dairy cows into safe places, in as many numbers as possible. According to a statement shared with Raise Vegan, they’ve started their rescue operation since the beginning of this year and as per fresh reports, 208 cows have rescued so far. The network has been striving since then to get new shelters for the cows, and are also looking for more funds to help the other remaining hundreds of cows in need. It must be noted that although the number of cows needing help is dwindling, the timeline to save them is growing shorter. It is (the time) determined by the settlement reached within a community group….
Meanwhile: Mass of cats poses dire threat to monk seals
read … Animal Liberation Nuts