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Saturday, January 25, 2014
January 25, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:54 PM :: 3884 Views

School Choice Week in Hawaii to Feature 30 Events

Company Behind Kahuku Windfarm Fire Files Bankruptcy

Legislators Silencing Professional Counselors Free Speech?

Peoples Pulse: Economic Concerns Ease in Latest Survey

City Auditor: HART, BWS, Non-Profits and More on Tap for 2014

Taxpayers fund at least $350K in security costs for Obama Hawaiian vacations

Ige: SB2982 Amends Constitution to Shield Pension Income from Taxation

SB2922: Lengthen School Year to 190 Days, Eliminate Minimum Hours of Instruction

2014 Legislative Session Underway, Pro-gun and Anti-gun Legislation Introduced

Report: Hawaii Highway Safety Among Best in Nation

Hawaii Union Membership Ranks 3rd in USA

As Circuits Max Out, HECO Touts New Solar Installation Record

Koko Head Shooting Complex to reopen 8AM Saturday

Honolulu Affordable Housing Preservation Initiative sale terminated

Auditor: State Laws Sufficient to Protect Against Diploma Mills

Legislative Hearings on Tap for Today

Only 307 Employees get Insurance Via Health Connector

SA: As of Jan. 18 the Connector enrolled 3,126 people, though 13,000 applicants were deemed eligible for tax credits to reduce the cost of coverage. Of the 373 small-business groups that applied, only 75 employers were enrolled with 307 workers selecting plans.

BusinessWeek: Why Small Business Owners Are Staying Away from ObamaCare Exchanges

As Explained: Hawaii: The Laughing Stock of Obamacare

read ... Health Connector director to revamp marketing effort

Complaints prompt legislative measures to curb the power of the Hawaii Community Development Authority

SA: Saiki has introduced a package of eight bills that would restrict the HCDA's power, including a few intended to send a message that the authority is moving too fast. Bills that would repeal the HCDA, zero out the authority's budget or impose a one-year moratorium on the approval of plans in Kaka­ako are signals that lawmakers are uncomfortable with the explosive growth.

Lawmakers might, however, move on bills that would restructure the HCDA's board and reduce the governor's discretion to appoint members. Lawmakers might also impose legislative oversight over the authority's functions.

Saiki has proposed to enshrine building limits, infrastructure expectations and affordable-housing requirements into state law, which would restrict the HCDA's ability to grant exceptions for developers. He has also proposed a contested-case process so individuals can challenge HCDA decisions and empower citizens to sue to enforce the authority's rules.

Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galu­te­ria (D, Kaka­ako-McCully-Waikiki) ... has supported the redevelopment of Kaka­ako ....

read ... Too Much, Too Fast

More questions than input at undersea cable hearing

MN:  "How can the community have meaningful comments when there are still so many unanswered questions?" Maui Tomorrow Executive Director Irene Bowie said. "What will this really do for our electricity rates? What are the costs of the cable to be installed? Is this the best option, to keep the state interconnected or for each island to have its own independent energy profile?"

State Energy Administrator Mark Glick said Thursday that connecting the Oahu and Maui grids would reduce electricity rates for both islands, reduce wind energy curtailment or waste, (Translation: Put more money in the pockets of green energy scammers.) reduce pollution from burning harmful fossil fuels and help Hawaii meet its clean energy goal of 40 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Glick said that connecting the two islands would save ratepayers up to $423 million over the 30-year life of the project by using more renewable wind energy that would otherwise be curtailed.

From January to November 2013, 45.5 gigawatt-hours of wind energy - about 17 percent of wind energy produced - was curtailed on Maui, valued at approximately $1.27 million, according to the Maui Electric Co. website. Utility officials have said in the past that energy is curtailed because the utility cannot store mass quantities of wind and solar energy over a long period of time and because solar and wind power provide varying amounts of power based on how much wind or sun there is.  (The green energy scammers want us to spend $1B so they can make more profits.)

According to Glick's calculations, connecting Maui's and Oahu's grid would use roughly 2,400 gwh of renewable energy over a 30-year period that would otherwise be curtailed, enough to power 11,100 homes.

Glick estimated that the cable would cost approximately $626 million to build, though other estimates have put that figure closer to $1 billion.

read ... More questions than input at undersea cable hearing

The Right to Farm Bill and The HATE COMES Out!

NGMNA: Well, the farmers just got some news that was good today.  Finally.  Interesting enough, there were some 36 legislators introducing the Hawaii Right to Farm Act.  This spells out bad news for the counties, who have gone rogue in creating their own laws.

Interesting enough was that the Chair of the Agriculture committee isn’t even on board with this law.  Does that mean Representative Wooley doesn’t support farmers?  Yup, that’s what it means.  She prefers to support her activists that do this kind of stuff.

If you wear red shirts and yell loudly, this is the pono way of doing things, “especially if you are not of the “Rubbah Slippah” folks.

How to get your laws passed in Hawaii. Yell!

Now that the A’oles know that there is a bill on the table, take a look at the comments coming out once again.  Here’s some of the commentary that was posted on the Big Island News Video post today.

PR: Food politics

H247: Bills address farmers

read ... The Right to Farm Bill and The HATE COMES Out!

Tax Cut Needed to Incentivize car sharing

SA: Car sharing hasn't taken off here the way it has in cities such as Portland and Seattle, and one of the reasons is cost — the state can charge a $3-a-day surcharge every time the car changes hands. That fee was designed for conventional rental cars, not vehicles that typically rent by the minute or hour so the driver can run a few errands. When the surcharge equals nearly a third of the typical hourly rate, it's no surprise that customers are discouraged from signing up.

Advocates have tried and failed the past two legislative sessions to lift or prorate the state surcharge, arguing that charging the flat fee multiple times a day is unfair and has stunted the industry's growth in Hawaii.

Right as they are about that, though, car-sharing advocates also recognize that they aren't getting anywhere. So now they've smartly switched gears, backing companion bills in the state House and Senate that would create and apply a new surcharge specifically for car-sharing organizations....

SB 2731 and HB 1894 emphasize the potential of this local market, but visitors likely would appreciate the service, too, if they could pick up and drop off an inexpensive, short-term rental car in Waikiki after touring the islands for a few hours.

read ... Incentivize car sharing

Scope of city deal cited in its failure

SA: Council members, blaming everybody except themselves, say a hui that would have bought rental complexes was overambitious....Shinn, however, said city officials received no indication that the partners were experiencing any financial difficulties until Martin introduced resolutions in December urging the administration to delay or cancel the project in response to objections to the method city officials used to select the programs and agencies that would benefit from the sale's proceeds.

read ... Failure

Resolutions on Honolulu Council Agenda

NR: Next week the City Council will host a public hearing on legislative proposals. Legislation that will be discussed includes:

Resolution 13-290 – Encouraging the City Administration to establish a demonstration ‘parklet’ project program.

Resolution 14-10 – Supporting the City & County of Honolulu in becoming an age-friendly city.

Resolution 14-11 – Relating to reprogramming of the City’s Nineteenth Year Community Development Block Grant funds.

Bill 70 (2013) – Relating to fees and certain permits and services administered by the Department of Planning and Permitting.

CB: Honolulu City Council Mulls Resolution to Add Impact Fee for Development Near Rail Stations

read ... Councilmember Kym Pine

1,200 Dead People Claim Hawaii County Homeowners Exemption

WHT: A comparison of property owners claiming the county homeowner’s exemption against vital statistics from the state Department of Health has discovered 1,200 deceased people benefiting from the exemption, some for as long as 10 years. That’s according to county Real Property Tax Administrator Stan Sitko.

Sitko, addressing the Real Property Tax Stakeholder’s Task Force on Thursday, said his office has been coordinating with state agencies such as the Department of Health and the Department of Taxation to purge the dead and nonresidents from the homeowner rolls.

Property owners claiming the homeowner’s exemption get $40,000 of property value deducted from their assessment, thus lowering their tax. The deduction increases for seniors, the disabled and veterans. A property owner older than 70 gets a $100,000 exemption, with an additional $50,000 for disabled property owners.

In Hawaii County, about 40,000 property owners claim the homeowner’s exemption. To qualify, they must assert the property is their primary residence. The exemption automatically renews each year.

The oversight doesn’t rest entirely with the county. The Department of Health in 2005 quit sending vital statistics to the counties, thus hampering their efforts to purge their tax rolls. It wasn’t until last year, following a mandate from the state Legislature, that the data became available again, said county Finance Director Nancy Crawford.

read ... Death and Taxes

22 Priors in 32 years: Criminal Gets Probation, Ends up Shooting at Police in Kahala

HNN: Nicolas Nakano has 22 prior convictions, 13 of those are felonies for crimes like kidnapping, burglary and robbery.

But the 32-year old career criminal is now facing more serious charges, including attempted murder after a chase in Kahala Thursday night....

Nakano was wanted for violating the conditions of parole.  He was released from jail in October of last year, but in December, he abruptly moved out of the halfway house he was living in.   Nakano also tested positive for meth....

CB: Bill Calls for Prison Without Parole for Killing Homeless People

read ... Soft on Crime

Revolving Door: Nestor Garcia to return to KHON

SA: Monday, Feb. 3, KHON will usher in the return of reporter-turned-lawmaker Nestor Garcia — just in time for the February ratings period, which stretches from Jan. 30 through Feb. 26.

Currently executive director at the nonprofit Kapo­lei Chamber of Commerce managing day-to-day operations, the bulk of Garcia's career has been spent in elective office.

He served in the Hono­lulu City Council for 12 years, part of that time as Council chairman, and served for eight years in the state House of Representatives.

Overlapping those years of public service, Garcia also worked in the private sector, handling corporate communications for City Bank.

His 10-year tenure at KHON as a reporter covering crime, government and doing general assignment work stretched from 1981 to 1991.

Lockwood is "very excited" about Garcia rejoining the news department.

"He is committed to serving the community and looks forward to continuing his service to the people of our state as a KHON journalist," she said.

Jan 23, 2014: Rep Takayama Media-Politician Revolving Door

read ... Politicians to Media, Media to Politics

Donna Mercado Kim Raises $330K for Congressional Race

CB: Kim, who is running for Hawaii’s 1st District Seat in the U.S. Congress, has raised $330,000 with just 5 percent coming from PACs and 5 percent from out of state, according to her campaign....   The other campaigns have not yet released their fourth-quarter fundraising totals.

KHON: Senate President Donna Mercado Kim opens Headquarters

read ... Donna Mercado Kim Raises $330K for Congressional Race

Oahu Hydropower Opportunities

IM: The 33-mile long Kaukonahua Stream brings water from the Koolau Mountains through Lake Wilson and down to Kaiaka Bay in Haleiwa. During heavy rains the water runs over its banks flooding residential areas and causing massive siltation of the reefs. To prevent the flooding, lower reservoirs could be built as receiving bodies for Lake Wilson waters.

O`ahu’s North Shore has wind farms which produce excessive wind power at night which may be curtailed (not accepted by HECO). The intermittent energy producing wind farms could power the pumping of the water back to Lake Wilson.

Nuuanu Dam, an engineered earthen dam, was first built in 1910 on Nuuanu Stream and reconstructed in the 1930s. Nuuanu Reservoir was originally used for drinking water, but it is now used for recreational fishing and flood control. It is owned and operated by the Honolulu Board of Water Supply and has a maximum water storage of 3,600 acre-feet. The height of the dam is sixty-six feet. The normal water height is thirty feet. Nuuanu Reservoir could store as much as 1.1 billion gallons of water.

Hoomaluhia Dam in Luluku was built for flood control in 1980 andis owned by the City and County of Honolulu. The dam has a height of seventy-six feet. Hoomaluhia Reservoir can hold 4,500 acre-feet.

Kaneohe Dam, on Kamooalii Stream at the base of the Koolau Mountains, has a 4,500 acre-feet capacity. It is an engineered earthen dam, built for flood control, in response to devastating floods in Kaneohe in the late 1960s. Its height is 82 feet.

The Waiahole Ditch is a twenty-two-mile water diversion system that historically took about 28 MGD of windward water to plantation sugar fields on the central O‘ahu plain.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS) system delivers 150 million gallons of potable water and 7.5 million gallons per day of recycled water. Numerous water tanks exist throughout the island.

read ... Untapped Water Power

Kamehameha Schools tells hiking bloggers to stop mentioning trails on private land

HNN: Kamehameha Schools sent "cease and desist" requests this week to about 25 bloggers who promote hiking trails on the estate's private property, asking them to remove any mentions of their properties.

The landowner installed a wrought-iron fence and gate at the entrance to its popular Mariner's Ridge trail in Hawaii Kai late last year.  

On Jan. 22, hiking blogger Kenji Saito received an email from Kamehameha Schools, which owns the trail, asking him to immediately remove mentions of the Mariner's Ridge and Kamehame Ridge trails, which Kamehameha also owns.

Saito has been blogging about various hiking trails for about three years, he said. A post from 2010 details hikes on Mariner's Ridge, with a half dozen photos and descriptions....

"Initially I was flabbergasted that my little blog garnered the attention of KSBE (Kamehameha Schools)," Saito told Hawaii News Now. "And I just believe it's a suppression of free speech." 

read ... Commercial Speech or Free Speech?

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