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Sunday, October 4, 2015
October 4, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:26 PM :: 3955 Views

Ways to Own a Utility

These Democrats Who Voted For Obamacare Are Now Desperate To Change It

Meet the New Sovereign: Interior Department Controls Voting Process for Fake Hawaiian Tribe

Borreca: ...the proposed rules have to go through a 90-day comment period and then the final rules would be adopted in Washington.

Here in Hawaii, a multi-step process is in place to allow Native Hawaiians to vote first for delegates to a state convention to come up with a proposed governmental structure, a new Hawaiian government.

Then the Native Hawaiian people would vote for or against that proposed government.

The catch is that the federal government already is proposing how that second round of voting would take place.

For instance, the rules, powers, holdings and those served by the existing Hawaiian Home Commission Act (HHCA) could not be touched. The new Hawaiian government, the federal government said, cannot "diminish any right, protection, or benefit granted to Native Hawaiians by the HHCA. The HHCA would be preserved regardless of whether a Native Hawaiian government is reorganized, regardless of whether it submits a request to the Secretary, and regardless of whether any such request is granted."

So a new Hawaiian government will not be snagging any valuable Hawaiian Home Land acreage....

Hanabusa said, the federal proposal sets out two classes of Native Hawaiian voters who would be empowered to ratify a proposed national government. One class would be all Native Hawaiian voters and a second group would be Native Hawaiians who are Hawaiian Homes beneficiaries, that is, those who are at least 50 percent Hawaiian.

The federal government says there must be at least 50,000 yes votes among the Native Hawaiian voters and at least 15,000 from the 50 percent Hawaiian group....

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii has filed suit in federal court; a request for a preliminary injunction is scheduled to be heard this month.

"OHA and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission have used state authority and public funds for the upcoming race-based delegate election and planned constitutional convention to potentially establish a race-based government," charges Keli'i Akina, chairman and CEO of the Grassroot Institute and one of the lawsuit plaintiffs....

Related: "protects the rights of our Hawaiian Homes beneficiaries"

read ... There's nothing certain about Hawaiian sovereignty

State may be out $1.7B in taxes--thanks to High Tech Tax Credit Scammers

SA: Special state tax credits lawmakers approved almost 15 years ago to spur growth in Hawaii’s technology sector could eventually cost the state up to $1.7 billion in lost tax collections, or more than twice the amount the state previously estimated, according to the Hawaii state auditor.

The auditor’s office also contends that even as businesses continue to claim the tax breaks, state lawmakers have “not been provided a true picture ofthe costs and benefits” of the high-tech tax credit and other credits.

The auditor’s office has argued since 2012 that the high-tech tax credit law was passed without any goals or performance measures, therefore the state has no accurate way to measure whether the credit helped to grow high-tech industries in Hawaii.

The most generous high-tech tax credit was in a state law known as Act 221, which allowed a 100 percent state tax credit on investments of up to $2 million per company, with no time limit on when a company could use the credit to reduce its state tax liability.

read ... State may be out $1.7B in taxes

Rail: How much more can we afford?

SA: In one form or another, cost containment is a challenge faced by the builders of mass transit projects across the country because, typically, estimates of the cost are way off from the start. Rose-colored glasses are commonly part of the planners' wardrobe, say the experts.

Brian Taylor, an urban planning professor specializing in transportation policy at the University of California at Los Angeles, calls it "optimism bias."

"For the most part, people generally want to see things happen," Taylor said. "They're interested in the public good trough. The instructions are to find a way to make it go." ...

One of Taylor's UCLA doctoral candidates, Carole Turley Voulgaris, has titled her dissertation, "Crystal Balls and Black Boxes: Policy Effects on Optimism in Ridership and Cost Forecasts for New Starts Projects."

Not only are initial projections low-balled by the public agencies, but when better-informed estimates come in later, they tend to be anchored to the original estimate, Voulgaris said in an emailed response.

SA: New Attorney in Town Takes on PRP

read ... I told you so

Hawaii Be bold, Utah homeless reform expert urges

SA: The white-haired, bespectacled, tie-wearing rock star of modern-day homeless reform insists that Hawaii officials should try something bold — and soon — to address island homelessness.

Lloyd Pendleton believes that people in Hawaii will be surprised by the results.

“Start doing it now,” Pendleton said as he pressed down on his lizard-skin cowboy boot to propel his Ford F-150 truck through a yellow traffic light. “You can analyze yourself to death. Just start doing and learning as you go.”

Salt Lake City — and Pendleton, in particular — is attracting attention from communities across the country that are searching for answers about what to do with their own homeless populations.

This year, Salt Lake City became America’s second city to end “chronic veterans’ homelessness,” just after Phoenix. And it’s reduced overall chronic homelessness by 72 percent since 2005. (The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines chronic homelessness as a person who has been homeless for longer than a year, or has been homeless four times in three years and has a disabling condition.)

read ... Be bold, homeless reform expert urges

Sweeps Should be Celebrated

SA: Honolulu continues to make incremental advances in its efforts to grapple with its homelessness problem. That's a hopeful sign after years of stagnation and bureaucratic indecision.

There were the sweeps last week on streets in Kakaako, where a homeless encampment has been allowed to expand and harden.

Despite the courtroom challenges of the city stored-property and sidewalk-clearing ordinances enabling these actions, the results have included finding safer shelter for a few dozen of the homeless.

The tourism industry seems to be stepping up its efforts, too. Last week, the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association put $100,000 toward expanding outreach to Waikiki homeless. Over the past year, the program has helped 355 people, including 115 who got help buying airline tickets to head back to their own support systems on the mainland.

Every bit of progress deserves to be celebrated....

read ... There’s more than 1 way to help homeless

Schatz uses false urgency to nag people into donating

Shapiro: I always know it’s the end of the month when Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz invades my email inbox begging for nickels and dimes like Jerry Lewis on Labor Day, except without the cute kids.

I’ve never donated to political candidates, but a politician pursuing campaign cash is as hard to shoo away as a Doberman circling the dinner table.

The Schatz specialty is creating false urgency around end-of-month donation goals with dire warnings that pundits are watching for signs of weakness....

The pleas of poverty would be heart-rending if not for the fact that as of the last filing deadline on June 30, less than halfway through the election cycle, Schatz had $2,005,305 in the bank.

Most came from the big checks of well-heeled special interests, such as $15,000 from the Iwamoto family of Roberts Hawaii, $10,000 from the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers and $5,000 apiece from companies like Hilton and Honeywell.

Against this, the frantic groveling for $1,276 in $5 chunks seemed obnoxious excess, especially when no Democrat or Republican of significance is organizing to run against him.

I once told Schatz I found these solicitations unbecoming and he said, “You understand that this is how a modern political campaign is run, don’t you?”

What’s hard to understand about greedy and annoying?

read ... False Nag

Power-generation paradigm must change

SA: If our priority in Hawaii is to lower rates for consumers, publicly owned or municipal cooperative utilities have shown negligible or little cost savings to rate payers.

Take for example the existing electrical utility cooperative on Kauai. It has been operating for more than 10 years and its rates are still 60 percent higher than on Oahu, or about 55 cents per kilowatt hour, and is likely the most expensive in the nation. Whoever owns the utilities will continue to pay Hawaii's high cost of production, so assuming that a cooperative will lower rates appears naive at this stage.

Second, forming a cooperative to purchase HECO is not going to be cheap. This fact was conveniently overlooked by legislators promoting a cooperative to buy out HECO rather than NextEra.

Even if the Legislature condemns the utility as being in the "public interest," it still must be purchased at "fair market value," which now stands at $4.3 billion. The state or city making such a large purchase alongside the $6 billion rail project just doesn't seem feasible.

Third, and most important, it is the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and not who owns the utility that is the key to the future of power generation in Hawaii. The PUC controls HECO and heretofore has taken a rather hands-off approach that has not worked to the advantage of ratepayers.

HTH: We Want Co-op

read ... No Coop

LNG to save the Islands more than $2 billion

PBN: Hawaii Gas’ $300 million plan to ship in liquefied natural gas in bulk amounts to the Islands could save the state in excess of $2 billion over a 15-year period from the beginning of 2019 through the end of 2033, according to public documents.

The state’s only regulated gas utility also said that it has selected the offshore floating storage approach for its LNG bulk shipments because this option involves the lowest infrastructure cost, the lowest total cost of LNG supply and the least cumulative environmental impact of any approach for fuel supply to Hawaii today....

The subsidiary of Macquarie Infrastructure Co. has said that it hopes to begin LNG bulk shipments to the state by 2019 if it receives regulatory approval.

Related: Clean Energy Fail: While Most States Clean Up, Hawaii CO2 Emissions Rise Since '08

read ... $2B

Maui County Will Appeal Injection Well Ruling

MN: The Maui County Council has approved an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency and Earthjustice over the use of injection wells in West Maui that will allow the county to contest liability before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals while also limiting exposure to county taxpayers if there's an adverse ruling.

This creative and efficient plan - which limits potential fines to $100,000 - was crafted by Council Vice Chairman Don Guzman's Committee of the Whole and expert outside counsel.

An agreement was necessary after U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway issued an unprecedented ruling extending the reach of the federal Clean Water Act to groundwater, including wastewater injection wells. Historically, these wells have been regulated by both state and federal agencies under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

This decision will be challenged in the 9th Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court by not only the County of Maui, but also by national organizations representing state and local governments. This case will set national precedent....

read ... National Precedent

Soft on Crime: 12 Priors, out on Probation, Does it Again

KHON: HPD is on the search for Erik Hanakai.

“On April 14, 2014, at 2:40 a.m., an on-duty officer observed a vehicle disregard a red light at the Likelike Highway and Kahekili Highway intersection,” said Crimestoppers Sgt. Kim Buffett. “He followed the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop, ran a check of the vehicle and found that it had just been reported stolen at 1:40 a.m. The driver was identified as hanakai and placed under arrest for unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.”

He’s now wanted on a $20,000 warrant for not following the terms of HOPE probation.

“Hanakai has 12 prior convictions and is known to frequent the Mililani area,” Buffett said.

read ... Soft on Crime

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