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Sunday, October 11, 2015
October 11, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:31 PM :: 5277 Views

Taking a Homeowner’s Exemption for a Home You Can’t Live In

Recall: Disgusting Organic Cheese Infested with Listeria

Abercrombie: Fake Indian Tribe will be my Revenge on Hawaii

Borreca: At the request of the U.S. Department of Interior, which is drafting rules to set a path for the federal government to recognize a Native Hawaiian government entity, Abercrombie issued a statement giving his full support and offering counsel.

The 77-year-old Democratic former governor and congressman is now in business for himself as a consultant with a firm called Pacific Strategies.... (But who wants advice from him?  Maybe if he can turn the tables on his enemies...)

Abercrombie stressed that a Native Hawaiian government tribe will neither form in a vacuum, nor be successful if it “does not take into account existing institutions — governmental, economic, social and above all constitutional.” ...

“Continued verbal sniping, empty rhetoric about Kingdoms and denunciations of those attempting to address political reality will only serve to retard, if not destroy, any possibility of a timely conclusion to this opportunity,” Abercrombie says of the chance of Hawaiians OHA cronies to form their own government tribe....

Back in 2012, during a Hawaii island speech reported by West Hawaii Today, Abercrombie expressed his frustration with Native Hawaiian activists protesting construction of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway.

“It’s being delayed by what I’m told are Native Hawaiian organizations,” he said, then asking rhetorically which organizations. “It’s somebody self-designating and getting some standing. That’s something we’ve got to move past.” 

(And then Abercrombie was booted out of office.  Now Abercrombie thinks it is payback time.)

While warning Native Hawaiians that the entire process is political, meaning there will be both winners and losers, Abercrombie gives some good bad advice, saying that the ultimate victors (ie himself) will be those who are most successful in compromising. 

(Translation: OHA insiders can make a ton of money on this, if they can defeat those who defeated me.  Vengeance will be mine bwuhuhuhaha!)

Flashback--VIDEO: Looking Back at Neil Abercrombie 'Highlights' as Governor

read ... Abercrombie’s advice to Hawaiians

Abercrombie in Congress: How would you like to have 1.8M Acres of Land in Hawaii?

(Abercrombie starts at 1:27 mark)

While Feds Circle Overhead, DHHL Fights State for More Funding

SA: what constitutes sufficient funding is currently being worked out in court.

The Supreme Court returned the case to Circuit Court to determine how much money DHHL should be receiving to cover its administrative and operating costs. This excludes funding for developing homestead lots or making loans, which the court determined is a political question that has to be worked out by the governor and Legislature.

The Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., which brought the lawsuit against the state on behalf of Native Hawaiian beneficiaries, filed a proposal with the Circuit Court in July, arguing that DHHL should receive more than $28 million from the state general fund to cover its administration and operating expenses.

By contrast, the attorney general is arguing that DHHL should receive only $5 million.

In the middle is DHHL itself, which — in an unusual twist in the court case — has broken with the state,even though it’s a state agency, and hired a private attorney to advocate for more money. Essentially,DHHL directors are now siding with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., the law firm that sued them.

In a court filing, DHHL concurs with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., in arguing that it should receive about $28 million from the general fund for its operating and administrative costs. Additionally, DHHL argues that it should receive $40 million to $50 million in general obligation bonds to cover infrastructure repairs.

Judge Jeannette Castagnetti is currently reviewing the proposals and attorneys involved in the cases aid that they have no indication on when she might rule on the funding....

Masagatani said that she was disappointed by the state attorney general’s assessment.  “We as a state, not just DHHL, we as a state accepted this responsibility to administer this program inthe best interest of beneficiaries,” she said....

Meanwhile: Draft DoI Rules Create Path for Fake Indian Tribe to Take Over DHHL

read ... Settle this to keep tribe at bay

Star-Adv Pushes Rail Tax Hike

SA:  While at long last there seems to be movement on the rail-tax extension issue, the City Council seems to be slow-walking toward that decision point, as well as toward resolution of the project's entire legal mess....

Chairman Ernie Martin signaled that Bill 23, which would extend the general excise tax surcharge financing the rail for five years, would get a committee hearing in the coming weeks.

But he also signaled the Council's ambivalence on this issue, adding that he's unsure such a tinderbox of a bill could make it out of committee....

The second task lies in cleaning up the ethical mess made by Council members when they voted on the original bond authorization bill, and a raft of measures to follow, in 2012.

Action here is essential to enable continued bond financing for the project and pay its construction bills....

read ... Tax Hike

Obamacare Health insurance rate hikes will hit middle class hardest

SA: Hawaii's middle-income earners will get hit the hardest by health insurance rate hikes next year under President Barack Obama's health care law.

The state announced last week an average 27.3 percent jump in premiums for Hawaii Medical Service Association's individual members and a 34.4 percent increase for Kaiser Permanente members in Affordable Care Act plans for 2016. 

"It's a mistake. It's very shortsighted to raise premiums excessively right now," said Jeff Kissel, executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector, the state's health insurance exchange established to enroll people in "Obamacare" coverage. "It's really targeted at the working class. It's a huge burden on them, and I don't think it's fair."

Those affected the most are the ones not covered under an employer and whose incomes are too high to qualify for Affordable Care Act subsidies or Medicaid, the government health insurance program for low-income residents. It also hits early retirees, who are not yet 65 and not eligible for the federal Medicare program, which provides insurance coverage for the elderly.... 

Kissel fears the effect of next year's rate increases will drive more Hawaii residents away from purchasing medical insurance. 

"It's going to discourage the people who need this insurance from buying it, and they will continue to use the emergency room as their primary doctor," he said. "The consequence of that is you will have fewer healthier people buying coverage and more people who are ill buying coverage, which will further drive up costs. A rate increase this size is going to hurt the insurance and medical industry. It's not going to help them." 

The new premiums for individual plans take effect Jan. 1. Open enrollment begins Nov. 1. Individuals who purchased coverage this year through the Hawaii Health Connector, the state's troubled exchange, which is ending operations, must re-enroll for 2016 through the federal website, healthcare.gov.... 

Typical Comment: "Thank you Mr. Obama for creating this mess, and Mr. Abercrombie for signing us all up."

Background: Obamacare Rate Hikes Approved: 27% HMSA, 34% Kaiser

read ... Health insurance rate hikes will hit middle class hardest

Students are put off by mounting costs of UH Tuition

SA: Enrollment at the flagship Manoa campus dropped to 18,865 students this year, down by 642 students,or 3 percent, from last year and down from 20,429 students five years ago. Meanwhile, the seven community colleges collectively enrolled 30,370 students this fall, down 2 percent from last fall and down by 11 percent from five years ago.

Lower enrollment usually translates to fewer tuition dollars. But UH is in the fourth year of a five-year tuition schedule to ultimately raise tuition by more than 30 percent....

Jim Shon, director of the Hawaii Educational Policy Center, contends tuition and student debt factor into the enrollment fluctuations.

A survey of more than 500 UH students administered last fall by the center found that for more than 60 percent, rising tuition was making them reconsider their graduation plans; undergraduate students rated their concern with tuition costs as an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “very concerned”; and roughly 10 percent said that without scholarships or tuition waivers they would not be attending UH.

In 2012, the center surveyed students who dropped out of UH-Manoa that year; the students cited unaffordable tuition and fees as their top reason for not returning.

At Manoa, 38 percent of undergraduate students have federal loans to help pay for college, and the median federal debt of borrowers who completed college is $19,509, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard website. Nationally, graduates from four-year colleges owed an average of $28,400 in federal and private student loans, according to a 2014 report by the Institute for College Access & Success.

read ... Enrollment lags at UH but tuition, degrees on the rise

Homeless Don't Want to be Helped--But its not up to them to decide

SA: So much of our dealings with homelessness are affected by the desire to appear compassionate tangled with the frustration of trying to be truly helpful to a group of people who don’t want to be helped. Sure, some of the people living on the streets in Kakaako accepted offers of temporary shelter, but only when the threat of eviction was imminent. Otherwise, they were OK with a patched-together existence of tents, tarps, unwashed bedding and toilet buckets.

Maybe there needs to be another term, something that avoids the squishy, emotional element of “compassionate” and the obvious euphemism of “disruption.” It’s more like when the stern nurse comes to your bed the day after surgery and says you have to walk. Sure, it’s gonna hurt, but you have to get up to get better....

What can you tell your child about a homeless camp? What can you say to ward them away from that sort of end? Stay in school? Stay off drugs? Embrace a lifestyle where you work long hours at a job you hate to pay rent in a depressing hollow-tile apartment because things like your own bathroom and screens on the windows are worth more than personal freedom and doing what you feel? (False dichotomy.  Did you notice?) Or is it more important to teach your children kindness? How can we balance the condemnation of torpor with ideals like compassion and tolerance?  (Translation: We of the 60s generation are soooo conflicted on this.)

It goes back to that thing we don’t yet have a name for — the stern, caring nurse telling the patient that it’s time to get out of bed and walk.

SA: Churches striving to answer city’s call

read ... Conflicted Hippies

Kauai Police Chief: “Most of these individuals who do mass shootings have mental health issues"

KGI: Kauai County Police Chief Darryl Perry said there can be debates about whether it’s the gun or the individual.

“But I say you cannot separate one from the other,” he said. “Most of these individuals who do mass shootings have mental health issues and we have to stop these individuals from getting these guns.”

Last year, the Kauai Police Department processed 1,741 gun permit applications and issued a total of 1,563. As of 2014, there were a total of 3,807 firearms that were bought within the state and 1,802 guns imported from other states.

In 2014, the amount of arrests on the island was 4,051. Of those, one was a murder charge, one was first-degree robbery, one involved storing the firearm in the wrong location, two were for possession of a loaded weapon on a public highway, and three were for registration violations.

“Really, the number of arrests that involve a firearm is really low on the island,” Perry said.

2014: Roosevelt HS Shooting: Failure of Mental Health Care System 

read ... Mental Health

State Ag Report Proves Anti-GMO Nuts Wrong on Kauai Pesticides

SA: If you believed what you read on Facebook, in a lot of media, and on signs at anti-GMO rallies, you'd think Kauai was the most pesticide-laden place in the state -- and maybe on the planet.

But that has been based on anecdote, supposition and downright falsehood.

And it's wrong.

There is actual evidence that the opposite is true.

A new state Department of Agriculture spreadsheet, entitled "Summary of Restricted Use Pesticides Sold in 2014" and available online (www.808ne.ws/1Lp094b), shows that Kauai folks use a fraction of the amount other counties do.

Kauai uses less than the other counties on an absolute basis.

Less on a per-acre basis. Less on a per-capita basis.Less than the statewide average.

This is not meant to throw the other counties under the bus, but to suggest that we ought to show up before the County Councils and the Legislature to make public policy based on fact, not unsupported allegation.

read ... Critics of restricted-use ag chemicals wildly exaggerate their use on Kauai

Movie Mogul Kavanaugh Gave a Lot to Maui Mayor

MN: The trail of Kavanaugh's goodwill toward the mayor can be found in state Campaign Spending Commission records, in news releases and in a simple Google search.

Background: Hawaii Dodges $500M Bullet as Billionaire Movie Mogul Declares Bankruptcy

read ... Movie Mogul Money

Religious sign at Marine base is staying put--Atheist Group to Sue on Behalf of 'Church of Satan'

SA: ...Col. Sean C. Killeen, commander of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, announced his decision Friday in a letter to the group, Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

“This sign will remain in its present location and not be altered in any way,” Killeen said in the letter. He explained that “God bless” is commonly used in Western culture and that there are numerous references to God in the country’s symbols, songs, mottos and oaths. “This sign has the secular purpose of conveying a message of support, does not advance or inhibit religion or any particular faith, nor does it foster excessive government entanglement with religion.”

He added that the sign was erected after Sept. 11, 2001, to support service members who were deploying in response to the attacks and has served as “a secular symbol of general support and encouragement” for more than a decade.

The sign under fire is located at the intersection of E and 2nd streets and says in full: “God bless the military, their families, and the civilians who work with them.”....

Marines who (allegedly) approached MRFF are members of the Baha’i faith, the Jedi church and the Church of Satan, he said.

read ... Atheist Lawsuit

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