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Friday, July 17, 2015
July 17, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:39 PM :: 2969 Views

VIDEO: Ohana of Hawaii WW1 Vets Fight to Save Natatorium

East Oahu: 400 Testify Against Federal Takeover of Maunalua Bay

Nearly 70K Solar Systems Approved in Hawaii

Report: 154,000 Senior Caregivers in Hawaii

Hawaii state budget office imposes 10% across-the-board restriction on spending in FY16

PBN: The Hawaii state Office of Budget and Finance is imposing a 10 percent restriction, amounting to some $200 million, on discretionary general fund spending across all state departments, including the University of Hawaii’s 10-campus system, for the fiscal year that started July 1, state officials said Thursday.

State Budget Director Wesley Machida told PBN in an email that the revenues for the 2015 fiscal year, which ended June 30, are not expected to reach the levels forecast by the state Council on Revenues, and that the 10 percent restriction will help the state to control spending.

“As a result of the lower revenues, the general fund balances are smaller than anticipated, with the increasing mandated commitments,” Machida said. “Also, the state continues to spend more than it is taking in. For these reasons, we must be prudent in monitoring our expenditures. “

read ... Cut Spending

400 percent gas tax hike for Hawaii?

HNN: Hawaii drivers already pay the fourth highest gasoline taxes in the country. Now a new report is touting an 85 cents per gallon tax increase as a strategy to reduce the state's reliance on fossil fuels.

"It just seems like a huge tax increase coming out of nowhere," said Tom Yamachika, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii.

"I'm not sure why they have to tell us how to milk the public and what's a socially acceptable way of milking the public."

The proposal is one of the top 11 strategies that a San Francisco-based consulting firm said should be considered....

"I don't think it's realistic," said state Rep. Chris Lee, chairman of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee....

The state has sent the report to dozens of energy executives, state officials, regulators and other stakeholders. If there's a lot of support for a gas tax plan, it could become a part of the state's energy policy. But officials said that's still a long way off.

read ... 400%

With Rail Tax Hike Approved, Station Bids Keep Getting Lower and Lower

SA: Rail officials announced Thursday that Nan has been given the contract to build rail’s Hoopili, East Kapolei and West Oahu stations, after the company last month submitted the lowest bid for that work at $56.1 million.

Watts Constructors, Hensel Phelps and Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. had also submitted bids, at $66.5 million, $67.2 million and $73.4 million, respectively.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation had estimated that the station work would cost between $65 million and $80 million....

HART: News Release

read ... Firm wins rail station job after earlier setbacks

Isle homelessness grows, but things stay the same

Borreca: Buried away on a quiet shelf on the second floor of the University of Hawaii’s Hamilton Library is a row of books and reports tracing Hawaii’s failed battle against homelessness.

These should be required reading for those in state government, and their stories should make you furious....

According to the research available in the Hamilton stacks, we attacked this problem in 1990 and apparently declared victory.

Armed with a 1990 SMS Research study that found homelessness on Oahu running between 5,833 and 6,362 on any given day, the State Homeless Concerns Committee met with Gov. John Waihee and his Cabinet “to spotlight the plight of the increasing numbers of single parents and children” who were out on the streets.

According to the comprehensive final report of Homeless Aloha, Inc., the former umbrella nonprofit organization, Waihee met with then-Mayor Frank Fasi to endorse a 500-person tent city at Aala Park.

The pair came up with “a five-year strategy which called for retaining all current permanent transitional units, construction of 500 additional temporary units and funding shelter/social service program for homeless families with children.”

A law was passed — the Homeless Families Assistance Act — and new powers were given to the director of human services “to establish and maintain homeless shelters.”

The Homeless Aloha wrap-up report written in 1994, however, says that “the fragmented approach results in small piecemeal actions with questionable results.”

Now cue up Ige’s response from this week. People are still talking about the same roadblocks.

In 1994, supporters pointed to a “fragmented approach,” and 21 years later, Ige bemoans the difficulty in “getting all the players together.”

Today’s glaring homelessness crisis has spawned its own social services niche, with studies and reports galore....

The solution will come not with good intentions, new schematics or even blueprints; the solution comes when bulldozers are breaking ground for new affordable housing.

Related: How A&B Wins Big From Environmental Litigation

read ... Isle homelessness grows, but things stay the same

UPW Causes Homelessness

HNN: ...apartments at Kalihi Valley Homes are in need of extensive work so they can be rented.  But it will take longer than it did a couple of months ago now that the Hawaii Public Housing Authority had to partially dismantle its special team of laborers.

...the team slashed turnaround time on a unit from an average of eight months to seven days. But last month the exemption ended and the legislature refused the Authority's request for an extension.

The United Public Workers Union lobbied against continuing the three-year exemption, saying the Authority had ample time to establish civil service positions to repair and maintain vacant state housing units....

Three years ago 13,000 applicants were on the waiting list for public housing.  The special team's rapid work helped cut it to 6,000 applicants....

(Now the UPW will boost that number back up)

read ... Eight Months Thanks to UPW

Creative use of VA program could get homeless vets housed faster--If HGEA Allows it

HNN:  Yang says right now it can take up to 90 days for a veteran living on the streets of Honolulu to get approved for rental assistance through

traditional voucher programs.  But a vet who qualifies for SSVF can use that money to pay rent until their voucher kicks in.

Since the landlord summit last Thursday the city's Heroes Housing Heroes program has begun to pick up steam.

"We've been getting calls from landlords telling us that they have units in Wahiawa, they have unites in Waianae, they have units in town.

So it's connecting those units to the veterans we have," said Yang.

Yang also wants city inspectors (HGEA) for Section 8 housing to be available on an on call basis so that properties can be inspected right away.

That combined with SSVF means the city could potentially be able to take a vet who is living on the street and have them placed in permanent housing all in the same day.

(Will HGEA allow this?)

KGI: HUD raises veteran housing standard

read ... Creative

Civil Beat Whines About Maunalua Bay Protests

CB: (Lets just skip to the comments)

This editorial is more concerned with attitude than content. The people of Hawaii Kai and surrounding neighborhoods didn't invite the Feds in, they invited themselves. They aren't wanted, People are fed up with the constant interference of the government, state and federal and constrained from using THEIR resources by the growing regulations imposed by bureaucrats....

We can all work to protect and restore the bay without vague federal regulations. If I thought NOAA could make a real difference I would be in favor. The proposed regulations add nothing to the many state laws already in place and there is scant funding available. Fund the DLNR and let it do its job.

read ... Another Dimwitted Civil Beat Editorial

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