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Monday, February 1, 2016
February 1, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:02 PM :: 4876 Views

Golf Club Aha: John Waihee Returns to the Scene of the Crime

Aha Participants Asked to Leave Weapons at Home

Pirate Video from Aha: Bumpy Kanahele Shouted Down, Walter Ritte Thrown Out

Oprah Aha Does Not Represent Hawaiian Public

Complete List of 2016 Gambling Bills

Labeling a Cop Out Mentality

Rail’s Numbers – A Pattern of Errors and Inconsistencies

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted February 1, 2016

The REIT Way Hawaii

772 Homeless Accepted Housing Last Year

SA: Honolulu’s efforts last year to reduce homelessness resulted in 772 people getting off of Oahu streets, which Mayor Kirk Caldwell says represents an unprecedented success for a city struggling with the highest per-capita rate of homelessness in the country….

the state and city worked together to reduce homelessness and that there were other victories, including finding housing for 596 homeless veterans among the 772….

The city fell short of reaching what’s called “functional zero” to end homelessness for military veterans because it could not get the last remaining 51 veterans on Oahu into a system designed to find them temporary or permanent housing by the end of last year….

The Kakaako makai encampment at one point in August included 293 people….

Federal officials called the encampment one of the worst best they had seen in the country, and it took the city six weeks to methodically break it down, only to see some of the homeless occupants walk next door onto state land — and eventually return to Kakaako makai.

In the aftermath the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii won a federal court challenge to get the city to store homeless people’s belongings so they can be reclaimed, instead of immediately discarding them keep the homeless, homeless.

Despite all of the unwanted focus on Kakaako and the ongoing presence of dozens of tents and people along the Kakaako shoreline, Caldwell maintains the city’s sweeps — what he calls “compassionate disruption” — are working….

It begins by breaking up encampments and keeping city sidewalks clear of tents and tarps. “Fewer people are getting beat up and assaulted.” …

Homeless people also revealed “barriers to get into homeless shelters,” Morishige said, which explained why so many shelter beds remain empty while people continue to live outdoors.

“We started to provide bus transportation to get to shelters,” he said. “We worked with (shelter) providers to increase their hours of access, rather than asking them (homeless clients) to leave during the day.”

By targeting individual needs, Morishige said, programs aimed at providing one-time rental deposits and other financial assistance in just the past two months resulted in 20 homeless people from Kakaako getting into housing aimed specifically at families with young children….

Last year’s point-in-time count identified 4,903 homeless people on Oahu compared with the 4,712 who were counted in 2014. Statewide a total of 7,620 homeless people were counted last year compared with 6,918 in 2014.

If the 2016 numbers that come out later this year show an increase, Morishige said, the higher count will be the result of better outreach by social workers who now emphasize getting to know every homeless person by name.

But despite housing 772 formerly homeless people last year — a number tallied by the city — Caldwell is bracing for the possibility that the number of people still homeless on Oahu could increase this year.

“I’m cautiously pessimistic the number will go up,” he said….

read … 772 off the streets

Drumbeat for More GE Tax Hikes

REIT Tax is Back for 2016

CB: A recent state report estimates Hawaii missed out on more than $16 million of corporate income tax revenue last year due to a long-standing exemption for real estate investment trusts….

State researcher Eugene Tian said the potential tax revenue gained from that sale wasn’t considered in the interim report part because the analysis did not cover the year 2015. He also noted that the study was constrained by the type of data available to the Tax Department.

“We wouldn’t be able to theorize about what potential revenue would be gained,” said Mallory Fujitani, spokeswoman for the Department of Taxation. “There are so many different hypotheticals you could create that it would be impossible for us to do.”

Dara Bernstein, vice president of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, which lobbies nationally on behalf of REITs, said in a phone interview that “the preliminary report supports our position that the Hawaii corporate income tax doesn’t produce a lot of revenue.”

The national organization hired six local lobbyists and spent about $15,000 from January to April last year fighting the elimination of the tax break, according to disclosure forms filed with the State Ethics Commission.

The company also created a website in December dedicated exclusively to providing information about real estate investment trusts in Hawaii.

The issue is likely to be debated again this year. The Hawaii Future Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators under 35, introduced a bill that would remove the dividends-paid deduction for REITs for the next 15 years, with an exception for money gained from affordable housing….

SA: Lawmakers target REITs for added tax revenue

read … REIT Tax

HB2638 limits Public Housing tenants’ stay to 7 years

SA: Under her proposal, HB 2638, people who agree to the seven-year time limit would have their rent frozen at the minimum amount and could open a savings account, and the state would match their saved money when they move out.

“To be incentivized to work and earn and get higher incomes is always a good thing, especially if folks are expected to eventually go out to the regular marketplace to find housing,” said Ed Cabrera, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “But knowing what I know about Hawaii, there aren’t that many places that can compete in terms of housing market unaffordability.”

Hawaii has 865 state-owned public housing units, according to Luke. The time-limit program would be available to people moving into renovated units, not those who are already living in public housing, she said.

Gov. David Ige in his budget proposed $31 million for public-housing improvements and renovation statewide.

read … 17 years

Breast Feeding Jurors on legislative agenda

SA: …This morning the House Committee on Housing will consider a bill that increases the income tax credit for low-income renters and another that aims to reduce homelessness by offering stipends to unemployed people in job training programs.

On Tuesday the House Committee on Human Services will consider a program that flies displaced homeless people back to the mainland, and another that allows homeless people to replace identification cards free of charge.

… the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee on Tuesday morning will take up a proposal to allow counties to run their own public utilities and another proposal to create tax credits for solar-powered air-conditioning units.

…the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor will hear a bill this morning that would ensure that men and women performing substantially similar work are paid equally.

Restoring basic dental benefits to Medicaid patients will be discussed in the House Human Services Committee on Tuesday morning.

…the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee will meet Tuesday morning to consider a proposal to allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control. They’re also considering a bill that would exempt breast-feeding mothers from jury duty….

On Tuesday afternoon the Senate Human Services Committee will meet to discuss a bill that would ban sugary beverages in child care facilities. If passed, it would also limit the amount of natural fruit juice a child could drink.

A bill that would appropriate money to design and build a new state mental health hospital will be heard Thursday morning by the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee…..

MN: The Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus is promoting 37 bills this session

read … Agenda

HB2005 Care Homes: More unannounced visits and licensing fees in exchange for more money

CB: Historically, Mizuno has introduced legislation on a piecemeal basis — generally aimed at benefiting care home operators. Now, he and 22 co-sponsors have introduced House Bill 2005 to change how the state regulates the industry, which includes 12,353 beds (controlled voters) at 1,702 facilities covering a wide range of needs blank, signed, absentee ballots ready to fill out appropriately….

(After amendments, the care homes will just get the money.)

read … Regulation

$27M Hilo airport warehouse still vacant

SA: A $27.4 million cargo facility built by the state at Hilo Airport has been standing empty since it was completed in March because the state was unable to finalize lease agreements with tenants, including Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Air Cargo, according to Department of Transportation officials.  (Apparently nobody thought of letting the users build their own building in exchange for charging less rent.)

The state was supposed to be collecting more than $50,000 in monthly lease rent from the private tenants but lost out on almost all of that money because of drawn-out lease negotiations and disputes over lighting and other amenities….

Higashi said state procurement law did not allow the state to make changes in the specifications for the building because the project had already been competitively bid and a contract was awarded. He said the airlines were consulted about the design of the new facility before it was built, but airports officials are now using state workers to make the necessary fixes in-house. (Which is why it takes a year instead of a week.)

($27.4M / $600K = 45 years 8 months – no private sector landlord would support nonsense like this and it is without any land cost)

read … Your Tax Dollars at Work

Must Hawaii be the State that just Cannot Plan?

DN: Out of control UH repair backlog

Cheap talk about air conditioning classrooms

Cutting vector control staff now set to bite us—again

Rail operating costs still unknown—why?

Street repairs and repainting—where’s the plan?

Halting pedestrian deaths and injury—why no plan?

Homelessness crisis came about because there was (and still is) no plan to end the housing shortage

Failure to spend federal funding is a result of poor planning

Doing payroll on 5 x 8 cards is a failure to plan

No planning? No consequences

read … Cannot Plan 

Civil Beat Kisses up to Ige Some More

CB: Ige’s Plan A Welcome Sign Of Growing Momentum To Cool Hawaii Classrooms--The governor surprised even some in his own administration with a proposal to air-condition schools while implementing cost-saving energy efficiencies….

read … Omidyar Must Need Some Development Approvals

Civil Beat Kisses up to Takai Some More

CB: Undeterred By Cancer, Takai Wants A Second Term In Congress--The Hawaii Democrat says he is responding well to treatments for pancreatic cancer and has been told by doctors he can run for re-election.

read … Omidyar Must Need Some Development Approvals pt 2

Fatal Boating Accident Linked to Tulsi Gabbard Cult

ILind: A series of anonymous but detailed online articles have linked the alleged driver and the owner of a zodiac involved in a fatal boating incident in Kailua last month to a cult with numerous ties to Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard….

Hawaii News Now reported last month that the alleged driver of the zodiac was well known for operating the craft dangerously in waters off Kailua and Lanikai (“Boat operator in fatal Kailua boating accident known for speeding“).

Using the television station’s video of the boat apparently involved in the fatal incident, an online report identified the boat’s owner and driver as members of the Butler cult, and alleges Gabbard is a part of the cult’s inner circle.

An owner of another of the zodiacs associated with the Butler cult is named in one of the accounts as Nimai Titcomb, reportedly a nephew of President Obama’s high school friend and golfing buddy, Bobby Titcomb.

This Facebook comment thread is full of interesting allegations and observations….

read … Ian Lind

Bullying on the Legislative Agenda

CB: The measures proposed for the current session include appropriating  funds to support anti-bullying and suicide prevention efforts in public schools and requiring educational institutions and all “youth-serving agencies” to create and implement anti-bullying policies.

Another bill asks the state Office of Youth Services to coordinate a five-year “safe places for youth” pilot program to establish a network of safe places “where youth in crisis can access safety and services.”

read … Bullying

Tom Brower is a Bully

CB: What’s going on here isn’t entirely or solely the gentrification of the Hawaiian Islands; but with an influx of millionaires ranking us third (per capita) in the U.S. and with our seemingly hostile business environment, which can’t be pleasant for small local businesses, gentrification seems to be on the rise.

Hey, it just might be gentrification if your legislated houseless sweeps come equipped with Armani-hat-wearing-sledgehammer-wielding-vigilante politicians to bully one of your most vulnerable populations. Bye-bye Hawaiian hospitality, hello supercilious disregard!

read … Supercilious

Human Papillomavirus Vaccine By 7th Grade?

CB: Hawaii State Sen. Roz Baker wants to require children to get at least one dosage of the human papillomavirus vaccine prior to attending seventh grade, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year.

Senate Bill 2316 would also allows pharmacists to prescribe the vaccine to teens between 11 and 17 years of age….

read … Papilloma Vax

SB2158: No State Funds for Bottled Water

CB: A measure that has a hearing Tuesday would forbid the spending of state funds by state agencies for the purchase of single-serving bottled water, except under certain circumstances….

Senate Bill 2158 was introduced by Democrat Mike Gabbard….

read … Bottled up



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