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Tuesday, March 03, 2020
March 3, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:36 PM :: 828 Views

Hawaii is 8th-Richest State--But you'll never see any of it

Hawaii Lawmakers Push Severe Ammo Restrictions

Mag Ban and Ammo Restrictions Eligible for Vote on Senate Floor

Senate: Bills up for third reading in crossover session

Rail Blows Hole in Caldwell’s $2.8B budget -- 5.1% spending increase

SA: … There is a relatively flat property tax picture on Oahu and a need to find $71 million to pay for the first half-year of rail operations as well as other increasing expenses….

golfers will need to pay more to play at municipal courses and builders will need to pay more for many land use permits and other approvals… A hodgepodge of permits and services from the Department of Planning and Permitting will rise, some of them for the second time in three years. A zoning variance, for instance, would double in price to $2,400 from $1,200. Overall, the increases are projected to net the city $2.9 million more annually.  (Making housing that much less affordable.)

The cost to ride the bus and rail could go up…

Caldwell is calling for a $2.98 billion fiscal 2021 operating budget, which is about 5.1% higher than the $2.83 billion budget for the current fiscal year. The new budget year begins July 1.

The package also calls for a $1.27 billion capital improvements budget, which is about 8.7% higher than what the Council approved for this budget year. Most than half of that money is going toward mandated wastewater treatment projects….

How much it will cost Honolulu taxpayers to pay for rail operations next year has been the biggest unanswered question at City Hall. Honolulu Authority for Rail Transportation officials project the city will be able to open the first segment, 11 miles from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium, by the end of December.

While Caldwell and the state Department of Transportation have gone on record expressing skepticism that opening date can be achieved, the mayor is nonetheless budgeting $71.3 million for operations from December through June 30, 2021. That figure includes $26 million that will go toward a $918 million, 13-year contract to Hitachi Rail International to operate and maintain the new transit line.

Department of Transportation Services officials last week said the Hitachi contract will cost an average of $69 million annually but that the total cost to the city will run about $127 million each year, including electricity, DTS administrative costs, consultant services, legal fees and other expenses that are not part of the Hitachi agreement….

In response to a call by Police Chief Susan Ballard to increase resources for the Honolulu Police Department to combat an uptick in major crime, the budget proposes adding 95 new positions and reactivating six positions.

All but 16 of the jobs are for sworn HPD officers.

The chief’s office is being allocated 13 sworn positions to continue development of the Health Efficiency and Long-term Planning Unit that works with the homeless community. The HELP team has so far been funded from money for other purposes….

CB: Honolulu’s $2.98 Billion Budget: More Rail Funding and Police, No Tax Increase

Reality:

read … Caldwell’s $2.8B budget calls for 5.1% increase

BLNR approves $8.7M parks fee increase proposal

WHT: … The changes would generate an estimated $8.7 million in new revenue statewide for the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks, which oversees 54 units across the state, including more than a dozen on the Big Island. It includes increases to camping and cabin charges for all users and modifying entrance and parking fees for nonresidents.

The division next will begin the process of holding public hearings to finalize the amendments to the rule. Meetings would be scheduled in West Hawaii and East Hawaii, as well as on the other islands….

read … BLNR approves parks fee increase proposal

Japan Reduces TMT Funding?

HPR: … Tomonori Usuda, TMT project manager for Japan, confirmed the Japanese government reduced funding for the project due to the situation on Mauna Kea. But, Usuda said, Japan is still strongly committed to Hawaiʻi as the preferred site for TMT….

AP: Japan suspends annual funding for Thirty Meter Telescope project (AP headline also not supported by text of article.)

HTH: TMT opponents ask Japan to end involvement with project

PDF: Protesters Demand Japan Cut off Telescope Funding

NAOJ Japan: A new-year’s message from the Director General, NAOJ

read … An article falsely titled ‘Japan Suspends TMT Funding Citing Mauna Kea Stalemate’

Maui Bill 22: Bans new TVRs on Molokai

HPR: … Molokaʻi may become the first island in Hawaiʻi where new short-term vacation rentals are banned and old ones phased out. The Maui County Council quietly approved a measure last month to do all that and it’s now awaiting Mayor Michael Victorino’s signature. This comes as Maui planners consider extending a ban to the entire county.

Chances are you haven't heard of Maui County Bill 22. It would place a zero cap on short-term rentals on the island of Molokaʻi – meaning none would be allowed and existing operations would be eliminated within three months. …

HNN: Maui County bill would end short-term rentals on Molokai

(Banning new TVRs is what they did on Oahu 30 years ago.  How did that work out?)

read … As Maui Weighs Countywide Vacation Rental Ban, Molokaʻi Is Divided On Impacts

SB2636: Tokenism and Overreach

SA: … Having corporate board rooms that look representative of America’s diversity is a good thing. Must that issue really be legislated, though?

Senate Bill 2636 would require each publicly held corporation with a principal executive office in Hawaii to have at least one female director on its board by the end of 2020. And then, two years later, any board with six or more members would need three or more women directors.

Inclusion of women should be good business, period. But mandating it via law feels too much like tokenism, and government overreach ….

Background: SB2636: 50% Transsexuals on Hawaii corporate boards

read … Board member mandate goes too far 

Green: Put Corona Virus Quarantine Patients in Leahi Hospital with Nursing Home Patients

SA: …State officials are considering using Leahi Hospital in Kaimuki to quarantine any people in Hawaii who contract the deadly new coronavirus….

… Officials are also considering other underutilized facilities, including Wahiawa General Hospital, which the state had earlier considered using for individuals with mental illness….

(At risk to nursing home patients, who are the most vulnerable to death from Corona Virus, Green is pushing an agenda based on finding money to renovate buildings and the repurpose them for something else after Corona Virus is done.)

read … Leahi Hospital in Kaimuki being considered as quarantine site for individuals who test positive for coronavirus

City’s mobile homeless shelter relocates to Mo'ili'ili—Gets One Criminal Off Street

KITV: … The temporary shelter helps people like Nani Race. She got out of prison recently and appreciates this facility because it’s also pet friendly.

"I look everyday for a room to rent, just to get off the streets. It’s dangerous. It’s deadly,” Race said. “If you leave your tent for 30 minutes, you’re gonna get ransacked. It’s really kind of dangerous."…

HNN: As far as enforcement goes, we were able to clear out Waipahu Cultural Gardens, get a handle on Hans L'Orange as well as begin to clean up the area behind Waipahu High School and in the areas around Blaisdell Park," said Captain Mike Lambert of the Honolulu Police Department….

SA:  Next stop for homeless center to be decided by end of April

SA: Homeless center in park to have hygiene facilities

KHON: Tents in Old Stadium Park offer temporary stay to the homeless

read … City’s mobile homeless shelter relocates to Mo'ili'ili

Glider Tours Get Federal Scrutiny After Dillingham Airfield Crash

CB: … Several glider operators offer scenic air tours to paying customers on the North Shore. Some of those flights rely on engine-powered planes to tow the engineless gliders into the sky.

Still, they’re not required to seek the same federal approvals as helicopter and airplane operators who fly similar tours in Hawaii and other scenic parts of the nation.

Now, after inquiries by Civil Beat about the regulations that cover the glider tours, Federal Aviation Administration officials say they’re re-examining whether such tours should be subject to the same certification. Specifically, they’re examining whether the gliders should have those requirements when they use airplanes to get aloft.

The scrutiny follows the Feb. 22 crash of a plane used to tow gliders at Dillingham Airfield, killing two veteran Hawaii pilots. It was the latest in a spate of fatal air tour and skydiving crashes to occur in Hawaii in the past year, leaving a total of 23 people dead.

The single-engine Cessna was neither towing a glider nor conducting an air tour last month when it crashed. One of the crash victims, Rick Rogers, was completing his training to fly the plane solo and tow future glider flights, according to tenants at the airfield….

Related: Before the Crash: Dillingham Aviator's Last Letter to Airports Division

read … Glider Tours Get Federal Scrutiny After Dillingham Airfield Crash

The Political Economy of Hawaii is already based on dreams – So Stop teaching 3 Rs

SA: … the political economy of Hawaii is already based on dreams — those of a tourist paradise on the one hand, and of Hawaiian and/or local identity on the other — and we ought to move affirmatively into other areas fit for a community that excels at talk-story.

Instead of continuing to over- emphasize reading, writing and arithmetic (LOL!) in our educational systems, we should facilitate cutting-edge media literacy….

read … A society harnessing power of dreams

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