Grassroot Institute Talks to Duke Aiona
Kelii Akina: Fiscal Responsibility with Community Focus
Kuakini Hospital Refit to Cut Energy Bill by $1M/year
House Minority Leaders Seek to Broaden Party's Agenda
CB: ...they are promoting a new legislative package they argue represents a new House GOP caucus. It's one the two leaders tell Civil Beat is characterized by legislation that will appeal to a broad audience regardless of party affiliation....
Johanson and Fukumoto are the new faces of the House GOP caucus. Along with Fale and Lauren Matsumoto, they are in their late 20s and early 30s — several decades younger than Thielen, Ward and McDermott — and new to elective office.
The special session is pau, and now the young GOP leadership is focused on legislating on their terms.
"This was our attempt to do things a little bit differently," said Johanson, 33. "What we really wanted was to do something that was relevant to the whole population. A lot of caucuses, especially Republican caucuses, spend time on what appeals to them, but sometimes not as much time on what appeals to everyone. This [package] comports to what we believe philosophically but also to the whole population. They are ideas that are elegant but simple enough to actually be implementable, and they also improve the quality of life for folks."
Fukumoto, 30, agrees.
"If you look back at prior packages of the minority caucus, a lot of times there were similar measures — broad-based tax reform, initiative and referendum — for years and years and years," she said. "Part of doing a package is also the packaging, right? And so we are trying to improve the way we deliver our materials."
The new legislative package comes in a short pamphlet with color photos and the marketing-friendly title Empowering Hawaii's People to Improve Our Quality of Life. You can pick up a hard copy around the Capitol, view it on the House GOP caucus website or watch the YouTube clip on the House GOP blog.
PR: Also tries to Convince GOP that Gay Marriage had nothing to do with Fukumoto victory
MW: 2014 Legislative Predictions
read ... Hawaii House GOP's Young Guns
Rep Takayama Media-Politician Revolving Door
Boylan: Gregg Takayama seems both too old and too traveled to be a freshman state legislator. Yet there he was last week, sitting in the State House on opening day, beginning his second session as the representative from Oahu’s 34th District (Pearl City, Waimalu, Pacific Palisades).
He is, in fact, 61 years old, and he has indeed been around.
I first met Takayama when he was a young reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, I a newly minted assistant professor at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu.
In 1978, it was announced that he’d been offered the job of press secretary to Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. I good-naturedly kidded Takayama about exchanging the noble practice of journalism for a job as a politician’s flack.
“You know, you professors get sabbatical years abroad,” he countered. “That’s how I see going to Washington for a year or two. It’ll broaden me.”
So the Takayamas packed up and left for Gregg’s sabbatical in Washington.
They came back 12 years later. Over the next 30-plus years, Takayama continued to wend his way between journalism and its fringes: press secretary for Lt. Gov. Ben Cayetano, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, KHON-TV news reporter, and spokesman for John A. Burns School of Medicine and later for the Manoa Chancellor’s Office.
In 2012, Takayama ran for the state House of Representatives....
read ... Revolving Door
Kauai & Kona Rally for Life
KGI: As Tootsie Sanchez held a sign that read “Cherish Life,” she waved at passing cars Wednesday afternoon. Joined by about 30 others who stood on the sidewalk along Kaumualii Highway, the Princeville woman had a message she wanted to share.
“We believe that only God can make life, and only God can take life. There is no convenient time to be born, and there’s no convenient time to die,” she said. “We have to remember how difficult it is for the young and old now. We must stand up for them and pray for them, love them and help each other.”
On the 41st anniversary of Roe versus Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, a pro-life group rallied not to protest the law, but to celebrate life, said Deacon Kin Borja, president of Aloha Life Advocates.
Kona: Standing up for what they believe in.
read ... 41 years Roe v Wade
Getting Sensible About GMOs
Bob Jones: I’d hope that by the time this session of the Hawaii Legislature is pau, the current fad of claiming that genetically modified food poisons our bodies also will be pau.
Or at least have faded into the background chatter as did the idea of total Hawaiian sovereignty.
My argument against the no-GMO (genetically modified organisms) crowd is simply this:
There is not one piece of peer-reviewed-and-accepted evidence published by any mainstream science journal that says GMOs are harmful to human health. That’s a fact, folks.
SA: Hooser Cries about SB727
read ... Sensible
HHSC to Partner With Local Hospitals, Guarantee Union Pensions?
WHT: Avery Chumbley, chairman of the health system’s Corporate Board, said Wednesday afternoon that HHSC had not had any contact with Banner in recent months.
“As they left it at the end of last year, should HHSC get legislation that would allow them to go into a public/private partnership with us, they would like to pursue that,” he said. “But, we’ve had no discussions with them since then.”
Chumbley added that HHSC had conversations with other local entities about forming partnerships, but would not elaborate on the details, or identify who they had been speaking with....
In reference to the Banner Health discussions, Green said he believed that many people balked at the idea because Banner was from out of state, and therefore was not aware of Hawaii’s unique situation, and had not had time to build relationships with other organizations in the state.
“The reason for encouraging local people is that they have a full understanding of our state. They understand the health care system and the challenges it faces. They’ve also already built up a relationship of trust,” he said.
Under his bill, companies such as Straub Clinic &Hospital, Hawaii Pacific Health, Queen’s Medical Center and others could partner with public hospitals, provided they follow a few caveats, Green said:
“One, services are not to be decreased. Two, the state has to honor all of its responsibilities as far as maintaining full pensions and those accrued by employees,” he said.
These requirements would help alleviate fears raised during the Banner discussions, when employee unions pegged the company as anti-union.
VIDEO: HHSC wants public-private partnership
2009: Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text)
read ... Privatization
Hawaii State Hospital Investigation, "Not a witch hunt" -- Josh Green
CB: More than 40 percent of workers compensation claims filed by employees at the state mental health hospital in Kaneohe in recent years involved assaults on staff members, a top state official told a legislative committee on Wednesday.
Yet hospital administrators did little, if anything, to stop the attacks on state employees, staff members say.
Now a Senate committee is looking into issues at the Hawaii State Hospital and this week empowered an investigative committee that will have the authority to issue subpoenas and compel testimony....
On Tuesday, the Senate passed a resolution to form an official investigative committee to explore the problems at the Hawaii State Hospital.
Hee and Green will sit on the committee along with other senators who have yet to be appointed....
“It’s not a witch hunt, it really is to get to the bottom of these issues,” Sen. Josh Green....
read ... Dozens of Assaults
Lawmakers unveil affordable housing plans to tackle homelessness
HNN: Representative Romy Cachola has introduced the "Hale Kokua" bill in which residents who apply for the program would open their homes to those without – and in return benefit from reduced property taxes. Cachola says his measure would only allow 10 resident applications per census tract and would require background checks from both parties....
Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland says a 2011 study revealed 50,000 new affordable housing units would need to be built between 2012 and 2016 to meet new demand. Of that amount, she says 19,000 units are needed for household incomes of $57,000 or less.
The Senate Human Services Committee Chair has introduced a measure to recommit existing Bureau of Conveyance Tax dollars to the Rental Housing Trust Fund, which has built over 4,000 affordable rental units since it was established in 1992.
"When the economy went down the percentage went down so we're trying to restore it back to 50%. That would generate about 30 million of the100 million goal that we're looking at," described Chun Oakland (D – Downtown, Nuuanu, Liliha).
Local developer, Don Crescimanno, has a plan to make that money stretch. He wants to partner with the state to build micro-homes, which are about 300 square feet and cost approximately $30,000.
read ... Affordable Housing
Reso 13-290: Council Considers Cutting Lanes in Crowded Neighborhoods
SA: Setting a few tables and chairs atop Astroturf on a small stretch of street where cars used to be doesn't strike us as particularly park-like, but that's what passed for a "parklet" in at least one U.S. city. The urban aesthetic generating interest in Honolulu and throughout the United States is more accurately described as sidewalk widening, commonly achieved by installing pleasant outdoor seating areas along commercial corridors, especially near restaurants.
Such pedestrian-friendly additions are welcome in appropriate neighborhoods, even if it means losing a few parking spots on the adjacent street. But parklets should never be considered a substitute for high-quality green space, especially in areas that are being completely overhauled and therefore present more substantial, permanent opportunities to transform the urban core.
It's important to make that distinction, and to take an unvarnished view of parklets based on other cities' experiences, as Honolulu's City Council moves forward with a resolution encouraging their construction on Oahu. The Transportation Committee has approved Resolution 13-290 asking the city to facilitate three, yearlong demonstration projects; Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Kakaako, Moiliili, Kailua and Kalihi were named as prime test sites. The full Council considers the resolution next week.
read ... Much goes into a proper parklet
Hawaiian Electric says solar PV installations rose 40% in 2013
PBN: Despite interconnection issues slowing down the pace of rooftop solar growth in the last quarter of 2013, the number of solar photovoltaic installations in Hawaii grew at a strong pace throughout the year with 17,609 installations and a total of 129 megawatts added to the Hawaiian ElectricCos.’s grids last year, a jump of almost 40 percent from 2012, according to HECO.
As of Dec. 31, a total of 40,159 solar energy systems with a total capacity of 300 megawatts were connected to the Hawaiian Electric Cos.’s grids on Oahu, the Big Island and Maui County.
Of those installations, 96 percent use net energy metering, which is a program that began in 2001 aimed at encouraging the adoption of rooftop solar.
SA: Pace of increase in solar system installation is slowest since 2010
PBN: NextEra Energy plans large solar farm on Dole Food Co. land in Hawaii
read ... Up 40%
9th Circuit: Bloggers have same 1st Amendment protection as mainstream media
ILind: A 9th Circuit Court decision last week found that an independent blogger enjoys the same First Amendment protections in a libel action as the mainstream media.
The decision came in the case of OBSIDIAN FINANCE GROUP V. COX....
read ... 9th Circuit: Bloggers have same 1st Amendment protection as mainstream media
HB325 Ban Smoking at all State Beaches
SA: The Hawaii Smokers Alliance was not present at the hearing but turned in written testimony opposing the ban.
"This type of outdoor smoking ban has already proven to be an unenforceable and bigoted failure on the Big Island and Oahu," wrote Michael Zehner, the group's co-chairman. Zehner called the bill a "shameless attack" on county home rule because the Kauai County Council voted against a bill to ban smoking at beaches in August 2012.
"Let the counties decide for themselves," he said.
read ... Tobacco Illegal, Marijuana Legal
Rep Nakashima Proposes Water Tax
WHT: Another priority for Nakashima is infrastructure for supplying water, especially on the Big Island and Oahu. Older waterlines and infrastructure in Honolulu and Hilo are failing and need work, he said. More recent development in West Hawaii and other areas of the Big Island are demanding expansion of water systems.
While the delivery systems for water are county responsibilities through the departments of water supply on each island, water as a resource is actually the purview of the state, he said.
“There are so many people on catchment throughout Hawaii Island, he said. “A lot of people are trying to get county water.”
So many, in fact that local water departments are unable to accommodate them, he said.
Nakashima proposes a state surcharge on water, likely to be combined with state grants, to help the water systems get up to par.
read ... To Pay for Hamakua Ditch