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Monday, July 27, 2015
July 27, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:01 PM :: 3737 Views

Star-Adv: Kanaiolowalu Roll Commission Does not Inspire Confidence

SA: It is disappointing that the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission handed over such an unorganized registry of more than 100,000 people who could form the voting base for a Native Hawaiian government. The handover demonstrated a lack of transparency and does not inspire confidence in the commission, which released the list only after being sued by open-government advocates. The unalphabetized list of names it produced under court order was not user-friendly. The groups that sued to get the roll ended up having to digitize the 2,020-page, hard-copy document into a more usable format. It can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1IjvUu5.

read ... Lack of Transparency

Former legislator and PUC chair, Mina Morita, blasts third party owners of rooftop solar

ILind: This past week, Mina Morita’s Energy Dynamics Blog had a message for The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), the solar industry group that has been pressing an aggressive advertising campaign to block attempts to roll back the current subsidies for rooftop solar systems.

“Ahana Koko Lele,” Morita wrote. “Shame on You!

What drew her ire is the blast of advertising which blasts Hawaiian Electric for attempting to “place a tax on new solar customers.” You’ve probably seen the ads on television....

...third party companies that have raked off much of the benefit, and are lobbying hardest to retain existing subsidies, Morita wrote in an earlier but related column.

It is the third-party-owned/financed residential solar transactions that will take a much more significant hit. Witness the vigorous lobbying of mainland-based companies — SolarCity, Sunrun, Vivint Solar and the like — which have done quite well in Hawaii peddling that type of financing option to tens of thousands of homeowners. Sadly, the threat of losing NEM has led to some in the PV industry down the path of hyperbole, exaggeration and self-interested fear-mongering.

While solar prices have dropped significantly throughout the country, Hawaii’s highly subsidized solar market is broken. The bountiful subsidies of NEM and tax credits have been used to sustain an uncompetitive and dysfunctional market that has been carried on the backs of the Hawaii taxpayer and non-PV electric customers.

EC: Buyer Beware of Solar Sales Pitches

read ... Former legislator and PUC chair, Mina Morita, blasts third party owners of rooftop solar

Ige The Engineer? Technocratic hubris has turned the state exchanges into a series of train wrecks

AS: ...One of the worst exchange disasters occurred in Hawaii, where Democrat Governor David Ige has been so closely identified with the word “technocrat” in the media that it is practically part of his name. Ige’s fingerprints are all over the failed Hawaii Health Connector, which he co-sponsored as a state senator and that he helped make a reality by working closely with then Governor Neil Abercrombie. The fruit of Ige’s labor was an exchange that swallowed up $130 million of $205 million in federal grants to produce an incredibly glitch-prone Obamacare exchange that enrolled only 37,000 people between 2013 launch and Ige’s move from the state Senate to the Governor’s mansion in January of this year.

One of Ige’s first actions upon becoming governor was to initiate negotiations with the federal government for the release of more taxpayer cash from the remaining $75 million in grants that not yet been squandered on the Hawaii Health Connector. Instead of more money, however, what the Governor got was a decision by the GAO to investigate the exchange’s finances in an effort to find out what happened to the other money it received. Meanwhile, having failed to secure more grant money, Ige has decided to abandon the exchange: “The state is walking away from a $130 million investment in the Hawaii Health Connector and permanently moving the insurance exchange to the federal Obamacare program.”

For the rest of the state-based exchanges, the story is pretty much the same. Due to technocratic hubris, or old-fashioned corruption, they are either bankrupt or in serious financial trouble....

read ... Hubris

Will Ige Block Federal Grab for Hawaiian Waters?

SA: ...In March, NOAA announced a proposal to expand the focus of the sanctuary to include all the marine species within its boundaries, creating an ecosystem-based entity. It also calls for increasing the size of the sanctuary by 7 percent — including adding the waters around Niihau.

A state review of the sanctuary’s proposal is expected to take from six months to a year, with Gov. David Ige making the final decision on the matter. It would add 235 square miles to the existing 1,366-square-mile management zone. Most of the sanctuary’s proposed addition — about 217 square miles— would be in state waters.

Sanctuary officials have yet to address some issues linked to the proposal and whether there will be additional federal staffing and funding.

In the case of Maunalua Bay, a popular area among boaters, personal watercraft users, kayakers and canoe paddlers, a “special sanctuary management area” is proposed. Federal officials say suggested prohibitions include disturbances of the seafloor and discharges of oil, fuel, effluent and other pollutants into the ocean.

Sanctuary Superintendent Malia Chow has steered clear of pinpointing which activities might be restricted or banned, saying only, “Compatible recreational and commercial activities are found in national marine sanctuaries.”

Sanctuary officials have held several public meetings to discuss the overall proposal. Public comments were accepted on the proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement through mid-June.

Even so, Todd Carle, a co-founder of the 500-member Hawaii Kai Boat Club, said his group and a marina association first learned about the proposed Maunalua Bay management area about three weeks ago.

“They’re not being forthright with the community,” Carle said. “It’s the 11th hour here.”....

read ... Federal Grab

Big Week Ahead for Honolulu Charter Commission

SA: ...Oahu residents interested in making the government of the City and County of Hono­lulu operate better are asked to participate in the work of the 2015 Honolulu Charter Commission.

The 13-person commission is tasked with studying and reviewing the core operations of the city government as spelled out in the City Charter, find ways Honolulu Hale can run better and then put those proposed changes before voters in the form of charter amendments in the 2016 general election.

The Charter, which acts as the city’s constitution and forms the basis for the way the government is run, mandates that a commission be formed every 10 years to review the document. Six members of the all-volunteer commission are selected by the mayor, six are chosen by the City Council and a 13th member is appointed by the mayor and requires approval by the Council.

This week is a critical one for the commission. On Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the leaders of a majority of the city’s agencies are scheduled to make presentations about what they do and suggest improvements that can be made by revising the charter, said Jesse Souki, commission chairman....

The 2005 commission ended up submitting 12 proposals to the voters, who approved eight and rejected four of them in November 2006. Among the key amendments that were approved: requiring a portion of property taxes collected be set aside for land conservation and affordable housing; mandating the creation of a curbside recycling program; making bikeway systems a priority for the Department of Transportation Services; and authorizing the Ethics Commission to impose civil fines on elected officers for ethics violations.

To find out more, go to the commission website at honoluluchartercommission.org. The public can also submit proposals, testimony or comments there....

read ... Charter Commission

Central Oahu feeling the impact of homeless population boom

HNN: In Wahiawa, tent cities full of homeless families are popping up in and around town.

Bishop Michael A. Henderson has been working with Wahiawa's homeless for almost 20 years.  Bishop Henderson used to bring food and clothes to the homeless, when he was welcome.

"You can see they have it fenced in and have a lock on it," said Henderson about a homeless hangout under the Kamehameha Highway bridge leading into town.

It turns out the homeless have become wary of visitors and of each other.  Brian Booth lives just a few feet away from the Kam Highway bridge. After 14 years living in the bush, Booth's had enough.

"I still like being out here," said Bush.  "But I keep losing everything.  They steal everything. That's the part that's getting me."

Booth's also afraid for his life.  "They like ghosts man.  You don't even see 'em coming," said Booth....

Miles and miles of new trails are being worn in the fields around the town all the time, connecting encampment to encampment.

read ... Central Oahu feeling the impact of homeless population boom

Proposed homeless camp in Lahaina no hit with neighbors

MN: The Ho'omoana Foundation is proposing to build a new campground facility in Lahaina as a creative way to tackle the island's growing homeless population, but neighbors opposed to the project say it threatens their safety and property values.

An application for a special management area use permit for the Kauaula Campgrounds project is scheduled to be heard by the Maui Planning Commission at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Kalana Pakui Building in Wailuku. If the commission approves, the project would move forward.

The initial project would be located on about 2 acres along Hokiokio Place adjacent to the Lahaina Bypass. It would provide only eight camp "pods," or sites, with space for a tent and picnic table. The pods would be available to both commercial campers and transients, according to project documents....

The project is the brainchild of developer Peter Martin, who conceived a similar project to reduce the homeless population in Spreckelsville more than a decade ago, she said. Neighbors then opposed that project....

2012: Bulldozers clear out trash from 500 homeless above Lahaina

read ... Making it Official

Enviros Win: Developer Cancels 1100 unit Affordable Development, will build 55 super luxury Estates instead

MN: The developers of the proposed Ma'alaea Plantation subdivision have scaled back their plans from what had been the controversial Ohana Kai development, a 1,100-unit affordable home subdivision on 257 acres that command sweeping views of South Maui's coastline.

Now, MVI LLC, owned by the family of housing developer Jesse Spencer, is seeking fast-track Maui County Council approval for 58 affordable homes and 55 rural lots of at least 1 acre each. (The rural zoning could mean a main house and an ohana, or cottage, on each lot.)

Douglas Spencer, speaking on behalf of MVI, said the Spencer family has worked for two years with project opponents, including the Ma'alaea Community Association, Maui Tomorrow and the Sierra Club, to create desperately needed affordable housing....

MNN: Reality TV Show Move Mainland Families to Puna

read ... Enviro Agenda at Work

DoE Tries Design-Build Again

SA: There’s little doubt that the “design-build” approach used by the state Department of Education in the completion of its newest campus, Ho‘okele Elementary, was a big success, getting the Kapolei school ready for opening in time for students returning to class this week.

There’s only this question: Why can’t this be done for all school construction projects — or even for projects built statewide?

For the DOE’s part, Dann Carlson, assistant superintendent heading the Office of School Facilities and Support Services, has good news: The Ho‘okele solution, which avoided delays lasting months or longer, is already being replicated in coming construction projects.

One, a classroom building planned at Kahului Elementary is a few months away from a contract being awarded, Carlson said, but it will also be a project both designed and constructed by the same contractor.

read ... One More Time

Hawaii Schools Missing Out on Aid They’re Due for Serving Military Families

CB: The state relies on federal funding to partially offset the cost of educating the children of service members, but difficulties with tracking how many such students are enrolled could be costing it millions of dollars....

read ... Missing Out

Federal Employment Dropping In Hawaii--700 Net Jobs Lost in Year

FS: Of the 47 states and the District of Columbia that break out Federal employment, 35 states showed increases over the past 12 months, while four showed no changes, and 10 reported declines in net employment. (The three states not reporting include Delaware, Kansas, and Tennessee.)

Florida had the largest increase since June 2014, adding 2,000 Federal jobs, followed by California and Washington, each adding 1,400 jobs.

West Virginia reported the largest decline between June 2014 and June 2015, losing 900 jobs over the year, followed by Hawaii where Federal employment declined by 700 jobs....

read ... We're Number 2

Fired Caddy Spills Beans on Allenby's Honolulu Mishap

TG: “Do I think he got mugged and bashed and absolutely robbed? No I don’t,” Middlemo told News Corp Australia. “That’s the story I told because that’s the story he told me to tell because I wasn’t there.

“Do I think he just fell over and cracked his head? Honestly I do. I think he fell over and someone picked up his wallet and had a great time with his credit card.”

CBS: Another caddie says Robert Allenby told 'a whole lot of porky pies [lies]'

read ... Rolled by Bums

Why a group of American Samoans sued the government for US Citizenship

KL: In February, Leneuoti Tuaua and the Samoan Federation of America sued the American government over denying citizenship to people born in American Samoa. The Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, section one reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” ...

However, the Obama administration responded to Tuaua’s lawsuit by citing a series of racist Supreme Court opinions from the early 1900s known as the Insular Cases. These regulate the status of the inhabitants of the new territories the United States acquired after the Spanish-American War in 1898; people from Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines are referred to as “savage” and “alien races.”

In the Downes v. Bidwell case, regarding the enforcement of the Constitution in Puerto Rico, Justice Edward White opined that granting citizenship to an “uncivilized race” in a new territory would “inflict grave detriment on the United States” from “the immediate bestowal of citizenship on those absolutely unfit to receive it.”

Legal scholars like First Circuit Judge Juan Torruella have denounced the Insular Cases.

“The Supreme Court has created a political ghetto in the territories, from which there is no escape or solution by inhabitants because they lack the political power to influence the political institution that can make the necessary changes to the situation,” Torruella said in 2007 at the University of Virginia Law School.

read ... Nationals, not Citizens

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