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Saturday, February 20, 2016
February 20, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:13 PM :: 3842 Views

Full Text Court Order: UPW May Not Block Maui Hospital Privatization

HECO: LNG is Cleaner, Cheaper Energy Alternative

Which Places Benefit Most from State and Local Tax Deductions?

A Comparison of Presidential Tax Plans and Their Economic Effects

After Kicking Everyone Out, Aha Decides to Allow Olelo Coverage

Where to Vote: Hawaii Democrats Presidential Preference Poll March 26

SB2615: Gay Control of Your Son

A Word With Ward - Dengue Fever with guest Dr. Sarah Parks

Six More Days--Aha Delegates Preparing Tribal Constitution for Vote by Kanaiolowalu Roll

HTH:  “It’s not my kuleana to talk about what’s been going on…” said Lei Kihoi of Kailua-Kona….

The aha was organized by nonprofit organization Na‘i Aupuni and concludes Feb. 26. It is being hosted at the Royal Hawaiian Golf Course in Kailua, Oahu.

A purpose statement for the four-week convention was adopted last Thursday, listing the advancement of “self-governance of kanaka maoli” as its primary goal.  (Translation: Indian Tribe.)

According to the statement, this goal is to be accomplished by drafting a governing document “for ratification by our Native Hawaiian people that establishes a Native Hawaiian government,” affirming national identity and preserving rights, and “advancing the hopes of our people around land, language, culture, justice and economic and political identity.” …

“We’re getting into what people would argue is the meat of trying to pull together a governing document,” Kalili said….

A drafting committee was set to begin writing portions of the governing document today. The document, once completed, is expected to be presented to voters on a Native Hawaiian roll for ratification….

The process continues to draw criticism from groups that say Na‘i Aupuni does not represent all Hawaiian people….

Daily bulletins for the proceedings are posted at www.aha2016.com….

Reality: Kanaka Maoli vs Native Hawaiian

read … Aha delegates having ‘robust conversation’

HB1527: Round up all the Tax Credits, Kill Them Off

AP: The bill, SB2299, would create a state-level earned income tax credit equal to 10 percent of the federal earned income tax credit, or approximately $220 per filer….

Another tax credit proposal designed to encourage solar energy will be decided in the House Committee on Finance Tuesday afternoon. The bill, HB212, is for battery backup systems for solar energy. It would offer a tax credit for 25 percent of the cost up to a pre-set cap. The caps listed in the bill were $10,000 for a single family residence or $250,000 for a commercial property….

Some feel the need to round up all the tax credits and figure out whether they still make sense. To that end, HB1527 would require the Department of Taxation to evaluate and recommend the repeal of certain tax credits and exemptions in a report to the Legislature. The House Committee on Finance will make a decision on that bill Tuesday….

read … Tax Credits 

A look at some of the measures that survived the first major deadline of the session

CB: Schools are still on track to get emergency money to cool classrooms. Hawaii might yet switch to an all-mail voting system. Police misconduct records may become public. And taxes could go up to help residents take care of elderly and sick family members.

Just over 2,600 bills had cleared the “first lateral” in the Legislature by Friday, an internal House and Senate deadline for bills to reach the last committee to which they were referred. That means almost 2,400 bills that had to clear two or three committees are dead after lawmakers failed to pass them out….

Hawaii won’t be establishing a lottery system this year as House Speaker Joe Souki proposed, even if the proceeds had been devoted to ending homelessness, as a bill introduced by Vice Speaker John Mizuno required.

And Souki’s plan to give long-term lease holders of nonresidential property the right to purchase the land that they’re renting also won’t be realized….

The state also won’t be creating vegetative buffer zones around schools to help protect kids from accidental pesticide drift. And members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents are not going to get a special exemption from a law that requires them to publicly disclose their financial interests.

But there’s plenty left on the table….

House Bill 2569 provides more than $100 million to help the Department of Education expedite projects to cool classrooms

Senate Bill 2496 would phase in all-mail elections by 2020

House Bill 401 … calls for voter registration to happen automatically when applying for a driver’s license, unless applicants opt out….

And House Bill 1055, a voter privacy measure, is also still alive. It would eliminate the requirement to provide a full social security number to register…

read … And then there were 2,633

Hawaii Superferry to Run Maine-Nova Scotia Route

GN: A potential lease agreement between the United States Navy and Bay Ferries for a Yarmouth-to-Maine ferry route is at the “very beginning of the process.”

Spokesperson Nathan Potter with the navy’s Military Sealift Command said there’s no timeline on the process but a decision is “certainly more than days” away.

Last week, Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan confirmed Bay Ferries is in talks with the US Navy to lease a ferry that used to serve as a Hawaii Superferry before it went to the navy. The ship has operated under the names Alakai and USNS Puerto Rico, but Potter said it’s now called the HST 2….

“We’re now into late February, March will be on us very quickly and the time is important,” MacLellan said. “These next few weeks are certainly critical.” ….

(Message to Hawaii: You snooze, you lose.)

MN: Ferry feasibility study poised to advance in Senate

HSC: Nine Bills Deferred, One Left

HSC: Testimony 

read … Not Coming to Hawaii

Hounded by Protesters, UH cancels Hualalai geothermal projects

WHT: The University of Hawaii is pulling out of geothermal research projects on Hualalai.

Facing a lawsuit by a group which opposes the exploration, plus dwindling funding and loss of key staff, the university is requesting that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources cancel an exploration permit issued to the university last March. Additionally, researchers are asking BLNR to rescind another permit the board approved for the exploration, according to a request submitted by DLNR Chief Engineer Carty Chang.

The board is set to take up the matter at its Friday meeting in Honolulu….

The new development is a victory for the Pele Defense Fund, said the group’s vice president, Terri Napeahi….

They’ve been doing this for 40 years….

The fund is one of nine plaintiffs that sued the state last fall for failing to require environmental assessments before the project can move ahead. The outcome of that suit is pending.

DLNR contracted UH in June 2014 to continue magnetotulluric and gravity surveys on the Hualalai West Rift Zone. The BLNR approved two exploration permits, one in March 2015 and another in June, although the second permit has not yet been issued due to documentation issues.

The survey, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and state DLNR, would have taken place on 19 parcels on agricultural land. But UH has been unable to progress past the permitting stage and future funding is questionable, according Chang’s submittal to the land board….

read … Keeping Utility Bills High

HART: First Railcars to Arrive March 23

PBN: Japan-based Hitachi said on Wednesday that it had appealed a decision by the Italian market watchdog Consob, which said Hitachi had to raise its mandatory public tender offer on Ansaldo STS to 9.899 euros per share from 9.5 euros per share.

However, on Thursday the court said it had accepted Hitachi’s request to throw out the request to have the bid process suspended, according to a Reuters report.

Meanwhile, Dan Grabauskas, CEO and executive director of HART, said on Thursday the first two cars of the train will be delivered to Pier 1 on March 23 and the second two will arrive on March 28…

read … Hitachi

Parents Push Back After DoE Cancels Honors Classes

KGI: David Ledee’s son is an upcoming ninth-grader at Kapaa High School, where, starting next year, classes like honors English and certain elective courses, like digital media, will not be available to incoming freshman.

The recent decision was met with confusion and concerns from parents and students. While school officials say they are inspiring a diverse classroom in which students with all learning abilities can learn, parents of honors-level students believe their children will be held back.

“I want my son to do well. He’s competing with students from the Mainland,” Ledee said. “But how is he going to do that if we don’t have honors classes. Jobs here are given to people on the Mainland. I want my son to be able to get a college education, but come back here to work.”

Ledee was one of about a dozen parents who attended a meeting Thursday with Principal Daniel Hamada, Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki and other Kapaa High School teachers….

“Part of our decision was based on ample (cherry-picked) research from education commissions that have documented the negative effects of putting students in different classes based on perceived (proven) academic ability,” said David Mireles, a tenth-grade English teacher….

Kahele Keawe, a ninth-grade English teacher, said the school plans on providing each classroom with two teachers, who can divide responsibilities between teaching mainstream and honors students.

(Translation: This is an HSTA make-work program.)

read … No Honor

Honolulu charter panel considers more powers for police commission

HNN: …The Honolulu Police Commission has the task of investigating officer misconduct, which included some high-profile cases last year.

That includes the case of Sgt. Darren Cachola, who was caught on surveillance video fighting with his girlfriend, and former officer Vince Morre, who is now serving jail time for an attack on patrons in a game room.

The Honolulu Charter Commission is now looking at a proposal that would give the police commission more power, including "the power to subpoena and require the production of evidence pertinent" to an investigation. The commission is formed every ten years to consider possible changes to the city charter.

The police commission could also "make recommendations regarding officer misconduct to the Chief of Police, and the Chief must respond to the Police Commission with his or her decision on the recommendation in writing," the proposal states. Currently, the police department can ignore police commission findings in those matters.

The police commission currently has the power to hire and fire the police chief, Another proposal would allow the commission to suspend the chief for cause, something that isn't possible now.

Current Police Chief Louis Kealoha is the target of a federal criminal probe

read … More Powers?

11 Years, Million Dollars: Lawyers Score Big in HPD Discrimination Case

CB: A racial discrimination lawsuit involving three Honolulu police officers who say their lives were put at risk because of the color of their skin appears to be about to come to an end.

The lengthy — and costly — case goes all the way back to 2004 and involves allegations of retaliation and cover-ups by top Honolulu Police Department officials and city attorneys. The plaintiffs are current and former police officers Sherman Dowkin, who is black, Federico Delgadillo Jr., a Mexican-American, and Cassandra Huihui, who is white….

read … Lawyers Field Day

Hawaii County Police misconduct drops

WHT: Annual report shows fewer terminations, suspensions, since 2014

read … Hawaii Co

Dengue: State officials more concerned about Tourism, Federal Money

CB: …on the recent press conference presented by Gov. David Ige; Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Pressler; and the CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, George Szigetti.

The emergency proclamation was presented solely within the context of tourism. Residents were a second thought at this event.

In his remarks, Gov. Ige did not even mention the word “dengue,” which I thought was odd. Is there a reason for this? Does the word “Zika” portend bigger bucks from the feds? …

HNN: New cases of dengue fever on Hawaii Island bring total to 259

read … Tourism

Thanks to Kym Pine, City accepts ownership of more than 50 Leeward roads and infrastructure improvements

KHON: The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday formally accepted infrastructure improvements in Sea Country, Maili, bringing the number of roads and infrastructure dedicated to and accepted by the City to more than 50 projects in Leeward Oahu since Council member Kymberly Pine introduced legislation to expedite the City’s process of acceptance.

In addition to the infrastructure accepted Wednesday, ownership of roads and infrastructure in Ewa by Gentry, Farrington Highway, Ocean Pointe, Maili Kai,  Mehana at Kapolei and Kapolei Business Park have also been transferred to the City, bringing about change to communities that waited years for the city to accept and start maintaining these improvements in their neighborhoods.

“For decades, Leeward communities have waited for road, sewer and drain repairs—one of our core City services, and because the City did not streamline its infrastructure acceptance process earlier, the wait turned from months to years,” Pine said. “The roads began to deteriorate and this was simply unacceptable. Despite paying property taxes, residents in community associations had to also pay for repairs to roads and other infrastructure projects themselves and that is a responsibility of the City.”

Ed Lauer, General Manager of the Sea Country Community Association, said, “Over the past 15 years, the process of getting our roads repaired had taken far too long. We are appreciative that they are finally being addressed.” …

read … 50 Leeward roads and infrastructure improvements

It's Time To Throw The Ancient 'Merchant Marine Act' Overboard

F: Some old laws still serve a good purpose, but many others no longer do, or never did.

One of the latter is the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act. It was passed after we had just shipped vast numbers of soldiers and quantities of war material to Europe and back. Politicians were gripped by the idea that the country needed a strong merchant marine and assumed that a protectionist law was needed to accomplish that objective….

read … Overboard

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