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Friday, March 13, 2020
March 13, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:17 PM :: 1802 Views

NYT: Telescope Puts $850M on Table

Corona Virus: Fortunately Hawaii Lost Case Against Trump

Hawaii Cost of Living 92% Above US Average

Asian Ocean Carriers Duke it Out for Hawaii Market

Minimum Wage Hike will Worsen Corona Virus Recession

Hawaii Middle School Robotics--11 Qualify for World Championships

Supreme Court Clears Way for Release of Secret Report on Wrongdoing in State Auditor's Office

Aloha Aina Party Qualifies for Ballot Status

Matson Debunks Rumors: Operations continue uninterrupted

$13 Billion Dollars: Proposed Hawaii carbon tax could cost as much as Honolulu's rail project

PBN: … Last week, a bill to establish a carbon tax in Hawaii passed the Hawaii state Senate and crossed over to the house. The bill “would set tax rates equivalent to a uniform tax of $40 per metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions from all fossil fuels,” said state Sen. Karl Rhoads, who introduced the bill, in a statement issued by the Senate. “That tax rate would incrementally increase over the next decade to $80 per ton of CO2 emissions….”

The statement leaves out a pretty big number, however — the total price of this tax. According to a Hawaii state Department of Health report issued in December, “Hawaii Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report for 2016,” the state’s emissions for 2020 are expected to total 19 million metric tons. Of that, energy production accounts for 16.3 million metric tons – that’s where the carbon-shedding fossil fuels are concentrated. Multiply that by $40 a ton and you get $652 million, doubling to $1.3 billion — per year! — over the course of a decade…

This tax could end up costing as much as Honolulu’s rail project in just 10 years….

What this is about:

Hawaii lawmakers consider raising income taxes, GE Tax—Carbon tax to hit Fuel, Electricity and Airline Tickets

SB3104: Hawaii Senate’s promise of affordable housing morphs into Luxury Developer Giveaway

SB3103: Return of the PLDC

read … Proposed Hawaii carbon tax could cost as much as Honolulu's rail project

Corona Virus is an Excuse for Tax-n-Spend Make-Work Projects    

CB: … A new panel of business leaders, government officials and House lawmakers met for the first time Thursday to find ways to mitigate against COVID-19’s impact on the economy. The … group seemed to find consensus on speeding up building projects to both improve infrastructure and pump dollars into the local economy….

(Clue: Corona Virus will be long gone by the time any new or so-called ‘shovel ready’ project turns a shovel.  ‘Shovel ready’ was fake in 2008 and it is fake now.)

House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a press conference after the meeting Thursday that the state should look to accelerate projects that have already gotten off the ground. He didn’t have a dollar figure for those projects immediately available but said that many are minor school repair projects.

(Translation: COVID is just their latest excuse to push the same agenda they’ve been pushing anyway.)

The focus would be on projects that have already gone through the planning process and are ready to break ground, so that wouldn’t include the more than $2 billion worth of capital improvement projects that Gov. David Ige included in his supplemental budget request….

…building industry representatives also used the panel as an opportunity to lobby for construction funding.

(IQ Test: Are you surprised?)

“Let’s not waste an opportunity to invest in the two things we’ll need no matter what,” said Nathaniel Kinney, (formerly of the crooked Painters Union) executive director of the Hawaii Construction Alliance, referring to more affordable housing and infrastructure improvements statewide.

Kinney later suggested retrofitting aging facilities, such as state hospitals, to prepare for any possible outbreak.

Lawmakers already have plans to invest $200 million in bond funding for affordable housing developments in west Oahu. The proposal is part of a joint package of bills the Legislature unveiled in January.

“Construction will probably be one of the only things to keep the economy going,” said Gino Soquena, executive director of the Hawaii Building and Construction Trades Council….

Meanwhile: Honolulu: Virus Outbreak Is No Excuse To Not Pay Your Property Tax

What this is about:

Hawaii lawmakers consider raising income taxes, GE Tax—Carbon tax to hit Fuel, Electricity and Airline Tickets

SB3104: Hawaii Senate’s promise of affordable housing morphs into Luxury Developer Giveaway

SB3103: Return of the PLDC

read … Can Hawaii’s Construction Industry Make Up For Slumping Tourism?

Criminal Al Hee’s Scam Company Service ‘Spotty’  -- DHHL, Customers Eager for Real Service Provider to Buy out Assets 

HPR: … Sandwich Isles provides telecom services to 3,600 homesteaders statewide. Tyler Gomes, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Deputy director, says the agency is keeping an eye on the Sandiwch Isles legal cases although it is not a party to either. Despite the company's suits, he was upbeat. 

"To be extremely clear, we have no reason to believe at this point that there should be an interruption of the services that are provided to our beneficiaries," said Gomes.

In one case, the U.S. government is suing Sandwich Isles for $129 million in unpaid loans. The company is also named in another lawsuit that seeks about $250 million in unpaid lease payments to a fiber cable network owner, Paniolo Cable Company.

"It sounds like Sandwich Isles and Paniolo is in complete disarray," says Waiʻanae Sen. Maile Shimabukuro.

Shimabukuro said she’s been hearing a host of complaints from Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries who are dissatisfied with the current service provided by Sandwich Isles.

"They call, and two weeks later, there's no calls from Sandwich Isles," said Shimabukuro. "There’s some people that had Spectrum or some other company before this exclusivity thing happened and then they wanted to expand and they were told, 'Oh, you cannot.'"

Sandwich Isles secured an exclusive license with DHHL back in 1995. But in 2017, the Federal Communications Commission found the exclusivity provision was unenforceable. Ryan Kanakaʻole with the state attorney general’s office said, legally, there is no exclusivity.

"The question, however, is a practical matter, because the infrastructure is owned by Sandwich Isles Communications," said Kanakaʻole.

Burt Lum, who leads the state’s efforts to increase Hawaiʻi’s access to broadband services, says if a new telecommunications company were to take over, it would need to get access to roads, trenches and other rights of way for equipment. But right now, that is all controlled by Sandwich Isles.

"Whether it’s Hawaiian Tel or a charter, they would have to maneuver around those rights of ways," says Lum, "So it’s not a simple matter of putting a (Request for Proposal) out and enlisting any of the telcos to come into the area."

Until all of that is resolved, service to homesteaders may remain spotty at best. …

March 7, 2020: Criminal Al Hee’s Scam Company Sold at Auction to Stop Insiders from Stealing Assets

read … B-Bye Al Hee

Hawaii Minimum Wage Bill Clears First Senate Hurdle

CB: … Several state senators think a $13 an hour minimum wage by 2024 doesn’t go far enough to help residents cope with Hawaii’s high cost of living.

House Bill 2541, which would raise the minimum wage and also comes with a tax relief package, cleared the Senate Labor Committee Thursday with Sens. Stanley Chang, Les Ihara and Mike Gabbard all voting in favor “with reservations,” which is basically a reluctant yes vote.

Sen. Brian Taniguchi, who chairs the committee, cast the lone “yes” vote, though he did so through gritted teeth….

The $13 an hour figure is supported by various industry associations, like the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, who in the past have opposed any minimum wage increase….

HB 2541 still needs to clear a vote by the Senate Ways and Means Committee before going before the full Senate for a vote.

It needs to clear a final vote in both chambers before session ends May 7….

TH: Gabbard wants free money to fall from the sky during Pandemic

read … Hawaii Minimum Wage Bill Clears First Senate Hurdle

Judge: Hawaiian Heiress Is Not Capable Of Managing Her Own Affairs

CB: … A state judge says the $215 million estate of Abigail Kawananakoa is being wasted and has said a conservator needs to oversee it….

Jim Wright, a Honolulu attorney who has served as trustee for Kawananakoa’s estate, said he was pleased with the decision.

Wright said he hopes the trust assets will be preserved to eventually benefit the Hawaiian people, as Kawananakoa has wanted. At the same time, Wright expressed mixed feelings about the judge finding Kawananakoa lacked the capacity to manage her affairs, which will now be overseen by a conservator who has yet to be named.

“I’m sad for my friend,” Wright said. “I have kept my promises to her. And I look forward to being relieved of further responsibility.”….

Asked if he felt vindicated, Wright said, “No, I want to know how do I go to get my reputation back after two and half years of a professional campaign of defamation and intimidation that hurt both me and my family.”….

PDF: Court Order

Flashback: Kawananakoa Estate: Sex, Drugs, and Inequality

read … Judge: Hawaiian Heiress Is Not Capable Of Managing Her Own Affairs

Allowing Homeless to Refuse Shelter Risks Spread of Corona Virus

CB: … Without housing to self-quarantine in, the homeless population is at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and dying from it….

(Clue: Declare a health emergency and use it to FORCE the homeless into shelter.)

read … Keeping Hawaii’s Homeless Safe From Coronavirus

Corona Virus vs Transparency: Honolulu City Council budget briefings postponed indefinitely

SA: … Honolulu City Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson this morning announced the indefinite suspension of Council departmental budget briefings scheduled for today, Monday and Tuesday.

Anderson made the announcement just as the Department of Emergency Management was about to present its budget overview to the Council Budget Committee.

The postponements are among the latest in a string of cancellations or delays of gatherings caused by concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

The decision was made after discussing the matter with Council Vice Chairman Ann Kobayashi, Anderson said.

He told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser afterward that the full Council’s 10:15 a.m. special meeting today, its 10:15 a.m. special meeting and 10 a.m. Wednesday meeting will proceed. A monthly meeting is required by the Honolulu City Charter, Anderson noted.

Public testimony will taken in the Council chambers, where city officials will be asked to sit on the Ewa side of the building and the public showing up to testify to the Diamond Head side….

Education Week at the Hawai‘i State Legislature postponed in support of social distancing to reduce

Notice of Cancelled Ethics Classes

read … Honolulu City Council budget briefings postponed indefinitely

Hawaii Lawmakers Introduce Plan To Study Psychedelic Mushrooms With Goal Of Legalizing Access

MM: … A pair of Hawaii lawmakers is pushing to explore the therapeutic potential of psychedelic mushrooms, introducing legislation that could one day make psilocybin-based products available to medical patients in the state.

The package of resolutions, introduced last week by Sen. Les Ihara Jr. and Rep. Chris Lee, both Democrats, asks the state Department of Health to convene a “medicinal psilocybin working group” that would examine available evidence around the use of psychedelic mushrooms and eventually “develop a long-term strategic plan to ensure the availability of medicinal psilocybin or psilocybin-based products that are safe, accessible, and affordable for eligible adult patients.” …

Under the Hawaii plan, the state would assemble a working group consisting of a mixture of state officials (dopers), medical professionals (dopers), drug policy (use) advocates and other experts (dopers). That group would examine available research (try various types of 'shrooms) and submit a preliminary findings report to the legislature before the start of the 2021 legislative session.

A year later, before the start of the 2022 legislative session, the group would file a final report with “findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation” to lawmakers, which could set up a push to legalize psilocybin-based products.

The resolutions to study psilocybin—SR 196, SCR 241, HR 176 and HCR 195—were introduced in their respective chambers last week….

(If the people get doped up enough they won’t be able to see what legislators are doing.)

read … Hawaii Lawmakers Introduce Plan To Study Psychedelic Mushrooms With Goal Of Legalizing Access

Maui Hospital could wait weeks for fast-turnaround COVID-19 test

MN: … Currently, Neighbor Island physicians can’t order tests to be done on Maui; they must send all samples to Oahu, Weiss explained. And, any test that is confirmed positive on Oahu has to go to the CDC for further confirmation. Private labs are gaining the ability to do testing, but Weiss said that labs on Maui are sending samples to the Mainland for three-day turnaround testing. 

(Translation: 3-day quarantine while you wait.)

He explained that the reason it will take so long for Maui Memorial to get automated testing is that the equipment, which is in high demand, will take three weeks to arrive. It will then take another three weeks to validate the testing.

“Why? Because all of the positive validations have to be confirmed in Oahu, and they’re only doing 200 (a week) from everybody in the Hawaiian Islands,” Weiss said….

Weiss said he “absolutely” believes the virus is already on Maui, and that surveillance testing of patients with respiratory symptoms who test negative for the flu will likely reveal more cases while reducing the mortality rate. Up until this point, the rate is higher because only sick people are being tested; there could be a number of “asymptomatic walking well,” he explained….

Weiss and Pang said that ideally, a testing center for “rapid turnaround” of about 90-100 minutes would be set up at Maui Memorial to help the hospital quickly sort out who needs immediate medical care and who can go home. Kaiser, the hospital affiliate, could do the automated testing quickly at Maui Memorial’s laboratory….


WHT: ‘I’m just worried’: Continued cruise ship visits have Lt. Gov. concerned about patient surge capacity

read … Hospital could wait weeks for automated COVID-19 test

Birds of a Feather: Anti-GMO Whack Job Calls Maui Time Corrupt, Dishonest

MT: … Last week, Mahi Pono community relations director Tiare Lawrence took to Facebook to attack MauiTime’s reporting and more specifically, our reporter Deborah Caulfield Rybak. In her public post, Lawrence called Rybak “corrupt and dishonest,” and identified a source who had asked not to be named in print in Rybak’s February 27 piece, “Mahi Pono Plays Politics.” The story documented an interaction confirmed by the source, where Lawrence offered him – a politically active businessman – ”a lot of money” if he ran for office against current State Rep. Tina Wildberger. …

(IQ Test: Are you experiencing schadenfreude?)

Meanwhile more hysteria from Maui Time: Mahi Pono’s Pesticide Files: Mahi Pono uses paraquat and another chemical toxic to marine life and bees. Is it practicing sustainable agriculture?

Is the hysteria working?  POLL: 95% Do not trust Mahi Pono  

read … Birds of a Feather Fight Each Other 

Mail-in voting has gaps to fill

SA Editorial: … there are many more things on the worry list where the 2020 elections are concerned, mostly arising from the fact that this is the state’s first full-scale vote-by-mail experience….

there are worrying gaps already in the run-up to the election, possibly leading to many potential and willing voters left out….

more than 111,000 voters have outdated voter registration records which, if they’re not corrected, will lead to their elimination from the mail-in ballot distribution list….

there will be far fewer options for last-minute voters than there were in 2018, when each voting precinct had a polling station that could handle registrations as well.

That’s because the state has anticipated setting up only eight of the centers statewide, to open 10 business days before each of the Aug. 8 primary and Nov. 3 general elections. That seems too few, really, for a system still sitting on the launchpad. Two are planned on Oahu, two on Hawaii island and one each on Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kauai….

many people will need help, face-to-face — and often without realizing it until the last minute.

Also, those who wait until only a day or two before the election to fill in their ballot will be urged not to drop it in the mail, but to bring it to deposit points to be named later, since ballots must be delivered, not postmarked, by Election Day. Nago said Oahu would have around a half-dozen of these sites, opening five days in advance. Again, this may not be quite enough….

The elections office has no plans for an outsized public-education budget this cycle, either. But it should.

The 2020 election has high-interest national and local races — not a time when anyone should be effectively disenfranchised….

read … Mail-in voting has gaps to fill

Gabbard not done with race, but it’s done with her

Cataluna: … In the last election you could spot Hawaii politicians who held secret dreams of mimicking Gabbard’s stunning leapfrog from zero-experience local politician to the halls of Congress. That dream of being just like Gabbard glittered in their eyes, especially those who had actually put in years of toil and knew they had more going on than she did.

Hard to imagine anyone would want to be like Gabbard now — marginalized, all but forgotten, without a job to go back to when the running-for- president thing is finally over, and exposed for the shallow, fickle, unfocused figure her unbridled ambition caused her to be….

While Bloom­berg’s campaign spent money and time in Samoa, hiring local campaign staff to actually talk to people and reach out, Gabbard merely shot a video shout-out. That kind of superficial “connection,” over and over again, represents the modus operandi of the Gabbard campaign and, really, the totality of her years in elected office. It took too long for it to become obvious, but it’s glaring now….

her razzle-dazzle with voters, especially here in Hawaii where she first honed her razzle game, has fizzled to the point of ridiculous fringe candidacy. We might never have to contend with her inattention again….

read … Gabbard not done with race, but it’s done with her

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