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Monday, February 17, 2020
February 17, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:34 PM :: 841 Views

JSC to Nominate State Supreme Court Justice

No Future: Tourism Revenue Steadily Dropping Since 1989—Even as Tourist Numbers Soar

SA: … In 1989 roughly 6.5 million visitors brought in $18.3 billion in today’s dollars, said Paul Brewbaker, principal of TZ Economics. Last year’s addition of nearly 4 million more tourists actually yielded half a billion less in spending. When adjusted for inflation, 2019’s $17.75 billion in visitor spending was actually 0.2% down from the prior year, Brewbaker said….

Related: Another Record Year: 10.4M Tourists Visit Hawaii in 2019

read … Visitors to Hawaii are spending less

Star-Adv: Legislators Should not Knuckle under to HSTA-DoE Coercion

SA Editorial: … the state Department of Education last month boosted pay in the shortage areas of special education, Hawaiian immersion, and in remote, hard-to-staff schools. While the annual “pay differentials,” ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 a year, were backed by Gov. David Ige, they still need to be funded in the next fiscal year.

Addressing this cart-before-the-horse tactic is Senate Bill 2488, which appropriates a total of $25 million, which may be used to cover the price tag for the set pay differentials or to alter the state’s teacher salary schedule to better account for years of experience, thereby deterring senior teachers from leaving.

While the bill could be supported as a stopgap measure targeting especially hard-hit teaching positions, moving forward, the Legislature, which holds the purse strings for school funding, should not tolerate a tactic that borders on coercion….

lawmakers and education leaders must continue to pursue viable solutions. But these should be done in a strategic, comprehensive way, not with piecemeal budgeting….

read … Coercion

Honolulu Bill 25 – Enviros Stage Yet Another Attack on Affordable Housing

SA: … Honolulu’s City Council is considering Bill 25, a code to require new homes and buildings to be more energy efficient (loaded up with Tesla Batteries) and more affordable (expensive) for residents. By passing a strong Bill 25, the Council’s Zoning, Planning and Housing Committee has the opportunity to cut utility bills in half for local owners (by transferring that money to my Silicon Valley buddies in a lump sum.)…

read … A Op-Ed titled, “Bill 25 provisions would be affordable for builders and buyers”

Electric Car Chargers would unnecessarily raise the cost of Oahu homes

SA: … >> Require 25% of all new parking stalls for new multi-unit residential (i.e., high-rise or low-rise) and commercial buildings (i.e., banks, credit unions, 7-Eleven, etc.) be “electric vehicle charger ready” meaning that sufficient wire, conduit, electrical panel service capacity, overcurrent protection devices and suitable termination points are provided to connect to a charging station capable of providing simultaneously an AC Level 1 charge per required parking stall for residential and multi-unit buildings. For commercial buildings, at least 25% of the parking stalls are required to be AC Level 2 charger ready….

TGI: EV Sales Pitch

read … Rules would unnecessarily raise the cost of Oahu homes

Permitting: Insights from across the island chain

WHT: … permitting for construction of new developments or renovation of existing structures is a huge problem on Hawaii Island. It has been recognized by the business community as a major barrier to economic development and working toward improvement of the permitting process is one of the three top priority areas for the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce…

Recently though, a hand grenade has been lobbed into this public-private collaboration by an audit report from the City and County of Honolulu on their permitting problems, which are many, and which eerily mirror the problems we experience in Hawaii County. These include excessive delays in obtaining permits, lack of outreach and user confusion about how to navigate the system, excessive rounds of reviews requiring permit applicants to re-engineer what they just re-engineered, etc. Suffice it to say that lots of things detailed in the Honolulu report in the way of community concerns are identical to the concerns we share locally….

It’s not an unfamiliar story. What is unusual, revealing, and frankly, alarming, is that the City and County of Honolulu has already implemented almost all of the suggestions we are making here on the Big Island, and they did it years ago. And they haven’t worked….

Background: Free Golf, Methamphetamines, and Building Permits

read … Permitting: Insights from across the island chain

Kauai Bill 2775 Ban Styrofoam

TGI: … The County Council and the administration of Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami will move this week to ban sale and use of polystyrene foam food containers — often known informally as Styrofoam — making Kaua‘i the last county in the Hawai‘i to do so.

The ban applies to a wide array of products ranging from foam coffee cups to plates, bowls, so-called clamshell containers and other food-service goods.

Councilmembers Mason Chock and KipuKai Kuali‘i plan to introduce the ban at Wednesday’s council meeting. Their measure, Bill 2775, would outlaw use of most plastic foam food containers with exceptions for foods prepared off-island and shipped in such containers from their points of origin. Containers used to package raw or butchered meats, poultry, fish and eggs would also be exempted, along with situations where food producers have no alternative to the plastic foam packaging.

Violators would face progressive fines, starting at $100 for a first offense to as much as $600 if the containers are used at an event attended by more than 600 people….

TGI: Hooser Predicting Council Votes/Actions – Bill 2775

read … Mindless Hysteria

Hawaii high court considers rule to narrow confidentiality of judicial discipline proceedings

ILind: … Hawaii’s Judiciary is soliciting comments on a number of proposed amendments to the Rules of the Supreme Court. The proposed rule changes are currently listed on the Judiciary website.

One of these deals with proceedings of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, which handles complaints against judges….

During the period of July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, the commission fielded 410 “inquiries,” of which it handled only 17 as complaints. Each of those 17 complaints was dismissed, according to the commission’s most recent annual report available online.

The proposed amendment to the commission’s rules appears to narrow the application of existing confidentiality provisions.

While the confidentiality requirements current apply to “all participants in the proceeding,” the proposed amendment would limit its reach to “the Commission and special counsel and their staffs….”

The amendment appears to clarify that the rule doesn’t apply to other participants, perhaps including complainants or other witnesses….

read … Hawaii high court considers rule to narrow confidentiality of judicial discipline proceedings

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