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Tuesday, August 11, 2015
August 11, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:55 PM :: 3635 Views

Hilda expected to make closest approach to Hawaii Island late Wednesday

Honolulu City Lights non-profit application deadline is August 31

Healthy, Affordable Retirement? Honolulu Ranks Near the Bottom

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted August 10, 2015

PHOCUSED Exec Appointed Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness

State Consumer Advocate Recommends Rejecting NextEra-HECO Merger

Check out the Big Real Estate Money Behind 'Aloha Aina' 

KE: As folks marched through Waikiki yesterday calling for “aloha aina” — narrowly defined as the demise of biotech seed crops and no new telescopes on Haleakala and Mauna Kea — a much more powerful force of change is already at work in the Islands.

It's called money. Really big money. According to a Bloomberg News article:

“The next migration of wealth and development is now moving to Kauai,” said Chris Fair, president of Resonance Consultancy, which produces reports on travel and leisure spending by affluent Americans.

It seems a “record number” — 23, to be exact — of $20 million-plus homes are now up for sale in Hawaii, catering to the big bucks from Northern California's Silicon Valley.

The article quotes Matt Beall, the North Shore Kauai-based co-owner of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers:

It’s certainly a higher number of very high-end sales in recent times than at any other time in Hawaii.

Hawaii Life, you may recall, is the luxury real estate company that donated handsomely to the campaign of Dustin Barca, the anti-GMO candidate who made an unsuccessful bid for the Kauai mayor's seat.

And Beall's wife, Elif, is the acting executive director of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action, the anti-GMO group headed by Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser. HAPA was a sponsor of Sunday's “aloha aina” march, as was SHAKA, which is headed up upscale Maui Realtor Mark Sheehan.

Do you suppose it's all just a coincidence, this ongoing close connection between high-end Realtors and the anti-GMO movement?

read ... Big Money

Phocused First Move: Leave Homeless on the Streets, Demand More Money from Legislature

Poll: 74% of Oahu residents want Kakaako Tent City Gone

SA: Oahu residents surveyed in the latest Hawaii Poll are clearly frustrated with the growing homeless encampment that winds around the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, University of Hawaii medical school and Kakaako Waterfront Park.

Some 74 percent of respondents said the encampment should “move somewhere.” Only 21 percent said it should be left alone....

“Sit-lie” is supported by 71 percent of Oahu residents, compared with 24 who oppose it....

55 percent support sweeps that could clear areas and cost homeless people their belongings. Another 38 percent oppose the concept of sweeps....

read ... Oahu residents support sit-lie ban

Homeless Surround Dep't of Public Safety HQ, Guards Hired

ILind: The State’s Department of Public Safety, which runs the prison system and the state sheriffs, has received emergency approval to hire private security guards for its administrative offices on Ala Moana due to “increasingly confrontational” acts apparently committed by homeless campers around the building.

According to an emergency procurement request submitted the the department last week:

On August 4,2015. the Deputy Director for Administration notified ASO of an incident on August 3, 2015 between a member of the public and a staff employee of PSD, where the staff member was chased into the building. The situation has escalated from PSD and DOH staff being verbally assaulted to being chased by dogs owned by the public residing outside of the AAFES building.

Security Guard Services are immediately necessary in response to the increasingly confrontational conduct of the public. This behavior by the public poses an immediate threat to the safety of the employees of the PSD, DOM and the public having a bonafide business purpose visiting the building.

The AAFES (Army & Air Force Exchange Service) Building at 919 Ala Moana houses offices of the Department of Public Safety and Department of Health.

read ... More homeless trouble in Kakaako reported

UPW Debunks its own Hospital lawsuit

MN: Comments by UPW State Director Dayton Nakanelua seem to argue against the basis for the lawsuit.

"We're already seeing how layoffs at several of our hospitals are not only affecting those who work there but also patients and their families, as well as diminishing our ability to care for an aging population in the future. We have to keep in mind that health care is about people, and people should be the number one priority."

That is an accurate statement - but the UPW director forgets to mention that those layoffs and cutbacks of services are occurring while HHSC still owns and runs the hospitals. The layoffs and cutbacks are not the result of a private company's interference in the running of HHSC hospitals.

The Legislature has said repeatedly the last couple of years that it will not fully fund HHSC's losses. That means status quo running of the hospitals will result in more lost services and - most importantly to UPW members - more lost jobs....

Everybody, including the unions, needs to listen to the privatization proposals. As Nakamura noted, "Health care is about people." The only way to protect services and jobs for people is for our hospitals to become more efficient.

Meetings will be held Wednesday and Thursday evenings where Kaiser will present its plans for partnering with MMMC and Kula Hospital. The Wednesday meeting will be held in Lahaina at Waiola Church Hall from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday's meeting will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at UH-Maui College in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Pilina Building.

The public is invited to both meetings.

read ... Lawsuit

After All the Hype, Martin in no Hurry to Move on Rail Tax Hike

SA:  The enabling legislation for the tax extension is Bill 23, and Martin said he plans to let the Council take its time, holding public hearings to draw comments from different Oahu communities....

...the Council chairman also noted that the legislation gives the city until June 30 to make its decision....

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has sought the extension because cost overruns made it clear the project would bust its budget before completion.

HART officials told the mayor and Council chairman in a letter that delaying the authorization could hold up progress for key contracts, which is scheduled to happen between now and April.

Martin has countered that postponing the contracts beyond what he described as a “booming” construction cycle could yield lower bids.

read ... It was just hype

UH Moves to Ban Sex Between Instructors and their Students

CB: ...UH Manoa Women’s Studies Chair Meda Chesney-Lind is on the committee that drafted the new policy....

“We are trying to remove sexually predatory behavior from the educational experience of our students. That’s the bottom line,” says Chesney-Lind....

Graduate student Penny-Bee Bovard says she’s been troubled by faculty-student relationships she has seen develop during her time at the UH and finds them reprehensible.

“Nothing good comes out of these relationships. When they happen, it has a ripple effect like a rock dropping in a pond. It affects the student, it affects the particular department, the university and the community.”....

Chesney-Lind says when she was a student at the UH Manoa, faculty-student sexual relationships were so common, “I thought that’s the way it is in graduate school.” ...

Chesney-Lind says say the goal of the new policy is to create a bias-free educational environment for students; she laughs “not a dating service for professors.”

She says she hopes for a sea change from the bad old days when “It was like the female students were part of a hunting ground with some professors stalking them.”...

SA: Cancer Center hopes good guidance can be bought

read ... Lots of Perfessers will quit if this perk is denied them

Why Are Honolulu Rents Getting More Expensive?

CB: A handful of booming real estate markets — including cities like Denver, San Jose, San Francisco and, yes, Honolulu — saw rents rise 10 percent or more in 2014, according to data cited in a recently released housing report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies....

The era of rising rents is far from over, according to the report entitled, “The State of the Nation’s Housing.”

The nation’s residential rental market — which has been growing in size and value for years — is actually accelerating, says the report, which forecasts that the 2010s will be the strongest decade for rental demand in American history....

the average rent on a three-bedroom home on Oahu surged to $2,675 in July, according to data from the real estate data provider RentRange LLC. In just 12 months, the cost jumped 15 percent.

Only California’s Bay Area, where the average three-bedroom home is scratching at $3,000 per month, is pricier. But while out-sized tech industry incomes in Silicon Valley, San Francisco and the East Bay have juiced those areas’ economies and rental markets, Honolulu has not enjoyed any similar salary surge.

Renters of housing of all sizes face palpably higher rents, but big-home tenants are weathering the most aggressive rental tides on Oahu. The price of the average four-bedroom apartment in Honolulu leapt from $2,600 a year ago to $3,200 in July, according to RentRange.com. That’s a 23 percent hike....

Related: How A&B Wins Big From Environmental Litigation

read ... Rent

Electric vehicles park free for days, weeks at airports

HNN: Electric car owners are taking advantage of a loophole and for three years have been parking free at state airports when the law originally passed was only supposed to give them 24 hours of free parking.

At Honolulu International Airport, the daily parking rate is $15.

State legislators approved a law in 2012 allowing drivers of EVs to get 24 hours of free parking at airports across the state, regardless of whether they were using charging stations or even parking in special designated parking spots.

But sources told Hawaii News Now that Honolulu International Airport users who drive electric cars are routinely getting days and even weeks of free parking, so sometimes parking charges of $300 or more than $400 are zeroed out and they drive off not paying a cent.

read ... Freeloaders

State pension fund manages meager 4% gain

SA: Hawaii’s largest public pension fund posted its worst performance in three years as it eked out a 4 percent gain in fiscal 2015 that returned just more than half of what was needed to meet future benefit obligations.

The state Employees’ Retirement System fund fizzled in the final quarter of the fiscal year — April to June — and rose just 0.7 percent, or by $32.8 million, according to a report presented to ERS trustees Monday by Portland, Ore.-based Pension Consulting Alliance Inc. Still, the small gain was enough to lift ERS assets to a record $14.41 billion, exceeding the previous high of $14.37 billion, reached March 31.

read ... Meager

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