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Monday, March 10, 2014
March 10, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:12 PM :: 5619 Views

Solomon Pushes for Approval of Mililani Trask's Overpriced Geothermal Contract

Brian Schatz Dances all Night to California Billionaire's Tune

Price Fixing: Horizon, Sea Star to Pay $3.4M Fine

KIUC Elections: Anti-Smart Meter Paranoiacs Lose Again

Maui: Hawai'i Free Press Editor to Speak

$340M: State's loss on 'green' energy tax credits

SA: The quick pace of solar installation has cost the state millions in lost tax revenue. The tax credit became an issue for lawmakers in the fall of 2012 due to concerns that it was a drain on revenues at a time when the state was trying to balance its budget.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism forecast at the time that due to the rapid growth of solar photovoltaic installations, the cost of the tax credit would skyrocket to $174 million in 2012 from just $35 million just two years earlier.

The forecast was criticized by some in the solar industry as being much too high, and for not recognizing the job creation and other economic activity associated with the credit.

Eighteen months later, however, it turns out that the DBEDT forecast was actually in the ballpark. The latest figures show that taxpayers claimed $164 million in renewable tax credits in tax year 2012, and the number will likely go higher as late filings are processed, a Department of Taxation spokes­man said....

"Hawaii has had a solar tax credit in some form since 1976 — 38 years," said Marco Man­gels­dorf, president of ProVision Solar in Hilo.

"With $340 million — and counting — of the public's money doled out from 2003 to 2012, it really begs this question: Is this kind of tax credit supposed to be a subsidy in near perpetuity, or is it time for the solar industry to stand on its own? No industry wants to lose a handout, but come on. Isn't it time to have a serious discussion on the subject?"

Tom Yamachika, interim president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, also questioned whether the tax credit has outlived its usefulness.

"Ideally you want a system that gives fledgling industries temporary relief, and then you pull the milk bag away after a while. You have to wean the baby at some point. There's no denying that the tax credit has worked," Yama­chika said.

read ... $164M Corporate Welfare

Sen. Ige’s campaign

MN: Ige says he wants to change the "leadership style" in the state. He said his style is to find common ground and be "inclusive"; currently, he says, there is "too much confrontation and division."

read ... Sen. Ige’s campaign

To Diversify GOP, 'Find Right Messengers'

FL: Recruiting and developing talent is key to any enterprise, team or political party. Through this hard work, stars are found and winning efforts are built.

The GOP’s state level committee, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), of which I am a board member, has been successfully building our Party’s bench for over 12 years. Through our Future Majority Project the RSLC has recruited, supported and elected diverse Republicans and women running for state-level office across the country. We have been able to elect these men and women in blue states, in tough districts and in places where Republicans have typically been met with skepticism. 

Some of the program’s first success stories, elected officials like Marilinda Garcia of New Hampshire and TW Shannon of Oklahoma, are taking their experience in the state house and are now running for higher office. Others, like Beth Fukumoto of Hawaii, are attracting new people to a Republican message they hadn’t heard before. As our program continues its investments, our work is producing national stars and momentum is growing.

read ... Fortuno

Here Come Hawaii's Super PACs!

CB: For Randy Iwase and Jim Boersma, setting up their own super PAC proved harder than expected.

The two Hawaii residents, both deeply experienced in local politics, recently filed paperwork with the state Office of Elections to set up a political action committee called Hawaii's Future.

Boersma, who served a stint as Gov. Neil Abercrombie's communications director and helped him with his 2010 campaign, and Iwase, a former legislator who headed the unsuccessful Democratic ticket for governor in 2006, wanted to help candidates who reflected their ideals on what was best for Hawaii's future....

But, not even a month after filing their PAC's first financial disclosure — they didn't reporting raising a dime — Iwase and Boersma closed shop.

Hawaii's Future may have no future, but 16 other super PACS — independent expenditure committees, in elections vernacular — have also been established since late 2011.....

read ... Super PACs

Hawaii Next? Feds open investigation of Md. ObamaCare site

TH:The Maryland exchange is one of a handful of ObamaCare disaster sites that have caught the attention of state and federal lawmakers.

Last week, Congress’s investigative arm said it would audit Oregon’s broken healthcare exchange site, which has yet to enroll even one person despite spending $304 million in federal funds.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office said it would look into how funds were spent and whether that money could be recovered from third-party contractors, among other things.

In Massachusetts, the state’s healthcare exchange worked fine until it had to comply with the new healthcare law. Since October, the site has suffered frequent crashes and load problems. Hawaii and Minnesota are two other problem sites.

read ... Feds open investigation of Md. ObamaCare site

DoD: Hawaii, Guam are Nuclear Targets of North Korea

AT: DoD describes North Korea’s ballistic missile defense mission, known as Strategic Rocket Forces, as “ambitious,” noting that it “has deployed mobile theater ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets throughout ROK, Japan and the Pacific theater.” In March 2013, North Korea made “the SRF the focus of its threat to launch a nuclear attack.” Targets included the U.S. mainland, Hawaii, Guam and U.S. bases in South Korea.

During military parades in 2012 and 2013, the country displayed Hwasong-13 missiles — intercontinental ballistic missiles that, if successfully designed and developed, could reach the U.S. The report adds, however, that these missiles have not been flight tested so “current reliability as a weapon system would be low.”

read ... Nuclear Target

City officials will defend Housing First's price tag

SA: The first gauge of how Mayor Kirk Caldwell's ambitious Housing First plan will fare with other Council members will come at 1 p.m. Monday when the Budget Committee gets an overview of Witty-Oakland's Department of Community Services plans for the coming year.

The key principle behind Housing First is that permanent shelter should be the first priority for people who are chronically homeless without being required to first, or simultaneously, deal with other issues such as substance abuse, mental illness or unemployment. Housing First advocates argue that such preconditions, usually required by traditional assistance programs, often discourage the homeless from seeking help.

Caldwell announced Feb. 26 that his budget for the upcoming 2015 budget year includes $18.9 million in the capital improvements budget that will be used for Housing First "shelter acquisition" and an additional $3 million in the operating budget for other services.

read ... Housing First

Star-Adv: Legislature Should Reject OHA Kakaako Betrayal

SA: We are especially dismayed that lawmakers have advanced a bill that would allow the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs to develop residential high-rises on the makai side of Ala Moana Boulevard in Kakaako. This is a clear betrayal of the will of the people, who have fought mightily over the years to restrict residential development in that oceanfront area and were successful in getting a state law passed that accomplished just that.

Granting OHA the exemption it seeks, no matter how noble the state agency's intent, opens the door for every other landowner on the makai side to seek a similar exemption.

Legislators should respect the public's trust, and keep the restrictions intact.

read ... Betrayal

Hanohano Retells Shark Testimony Story

BIVN: “He was so adamant that we really needed to protect (the manō, or shark)… So I told him the story, ‘what if my tutu was so ono for shark. Would I deprive her of the food she grew up with? And tutu is like in her nineties? Its almost time for her to leave our beautiful home and go to a greater home?’ And (Jacobs) just did not understand what I was saying to him. And being this was his first time testifying, I knew he wasn’t prepared. So I tried to explain that all to him. But apparently he wasn’t listening. He felt offended. And he said I didn’t know anything about ocean marine resources.”

read ... Election Day is Coming

Caldwell Working to Jam up King Street

KHON: “It’s the first one in an urban core setting on this island for sure. And so it means is, where the cars are parked right now, we’ll move them out and what it means is that in between the sidewalk and where the cars are parked, will be where the bikes will ride,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.

This will offer challenges to bicyclists and drivers.

“Of course, the drivers when they turn left from King street to go mauka have to watch for the cyclists and cyclists as they’re going straight or making turns have to watch out for the cars,” bicyclist from the Hawaii Bicycling League Chad Taniguchi said.

(Why do this on King St when Young St could host a 2-way bike lane without disrupting commuter traffic?  Because the idea is to make traffic worse to push people out of their cars.  They want you to suffer until you comply.)

CB: Pedal Power: Gaining Traction on Oahu's Bike Safety and Infrastructure

read ... Honolulu mayor proposes bike-only lane downtown

HART, Water Board Top City Salaries

CB: Here’s a look at the top 5 highest paid city employees:

Rank Department Title Name Salary
1 Medical Examiner Chief Medical Examiner Christopher Happy $250,000
2 HART Director of Rapid Transportation Dan Grabauskas $245,000
3 Board Of Water Supply Dist Cool Plt Mgr and Oper Robin Lerseth $220,008
4 HART Deputy Director of Rapid Transportation Brennon Morioka $185,000
5 Board of Water Supply Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau $160,000

Here’s the salary database for 2013 ... LINK

read ... City's Top Paid Employee

DHHL 37 Homes With Substandard Septic Systems

HNN: Last year, Low sued the DHHL, alleging that the sewage odors back up into his home because it was built with a substandard seepage pit that holds the raw sewage.

The state Department of Health recently cited pit as being too small for the home and has rescinded its permit for the septic system.

Low also pointed to faulty construction, where screws used to hold down seals are rusting.

And gaskets that keep the system air tight are already corroded.

read ... Big Island man sues DHHL over big stink

Return of Friday night lights?

KGI: A U.S. senator is asking for a reprieve from the county shearwaters settlement that would allow high school night football games again on Kauai.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz sent a letter Wednesday to Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell seeking a natural resource preservation effort that would work with community support.

“I write to encourage you to consider granting a waiver which would allow Kauai high schools to conduct football games for three hours per week during the high school football season in 2014,” Schatz stated in the letter.

On Sept. 10, 2010, the County of Kauai entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The acts prohibit unauthorized taking or harming threatened or endangered species and migratory birds.

read ... Return of Friday night lights?

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