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Saturday, April 23, 2016
April 23, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:08 PM :: 3671 Views

Who’s Running: Candidates Pulling Papers as of April 22, 2016

Ilagan: Petition Against Hawaii County GE Tax Hike

Hawaii Anti-Gun Bills Moving Through Conference Committee Process

What is Hurting Hawaii’s Investment Climate?

Privatization May Drive Down Costs on Maui

The Ideology War: UH Law School Debates GMOs

DoE Seeks Public Input on Strategic Plan

Ige Extends Homelessness Emergency

A Decade Of Influence: A&B Has Given More Than $600K To Politicians

CB: Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is the biggest single beneficiary of the longtime real estate and agriculture company’s donations….

The data shows that from Nov. 8, 2006, through Dec. 31, 2015, A&B, its board and its top executives have given more than $600,000 to political candidates running for state and local office, from county council to governor.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who is running for re-election in 2016, has been the biggest beneficiary, taking in more than $80,000. That’s more than twice what former Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann each received from A&B while politicking in the Aloha State. Abercrombie and Hannemann were the next biggest beneficiaries, each getting about $34,000 from the A&B contingent….

Large sums of A&B money goes to candidates running for governor, mayor and county council, particularly in Honolulu and on Maui, where candidates have received $62,800 and $67,700, respectively for their races.

The data shows legislative candidates have received at least $148,125 from A&B and its affiliates from Nov. 8, 2006, through Dec. 31,2015. Senate candidates received at least $71,800 flowing in to their campaign accounts. House candidates received at least $76,325….

read … Slightly More influential than the Greenmailers, for now

Hanabusa to use Rail as Political Stepping Stone?

HNN: "If she does fix it. If she leads HART from failure to success, then she'll have a very good claim to make to voters if she wants to run for another office, like governor, that I took on the biggest infrastructure project this state has ever faced and I fixed it." …. 

(More likely outcome: Rail continues to be a worsening disaster.  Hanabusa steps lead to political graveyard.)

read … Hanabusa vs Tulsi Gabbard for Governor 2022?

Rail to Start Digging up Dillingham in Late 2016—Massive Bus Delays Expected

HNN: …Utility relocation tied to the rail project is expected to reach Dillingham Boulevard by late 2016, snarling daily commutes and affecting more than 3,000 bus riders each week.

Eight bus routes run through Dillingham Boulevard, which has two dozen bus routes.

City Transportation Deputy Director Mark Garrity said bus passengers on the routes are being surveyed so the city can better understand what changes it can make to minimize traffic delays.

Last year, rail work on Kamehameha Highway put some buses 60 minutes behind schedule….

read … More Delays

HECO Wants Ratepayers to Pay for Smart Meters

IM: …HECO filed an Application with the Public Utilities Commission for a Smart Grid Foundation including Smart Meters.

The biggest bang for the buck comes from renting the upper floors of skyscrapers, especially the penthouses. But the upper floors require lower floors to be built first.

Imagine a developer asking for money from an investor to build the foundation only, asserting that only after the foundation is built will the developer will return with ideas about the rest of the building. After all, pounding the foundation into the ground must come first.

Imagine the developer being Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO).

Instead of getting money from investors to build the foundation, HECO is targeting ratepayers. 

(Hmmm.  If ratepayers have to do the job of owners, why not convert the whole thing into a coop?  Then the ratepayers would BE owners.)

“The Consumer Advocate has questions about the measures taken to manage and control the costs that Applicants are seeking to recover from customers.”

HECO has asserted that the upper floors will be filed in separate future proceedings.  The Plans “will evolve over time, by growing and layering capabilities that deliver additional value to customers.”

"The Consumer Advocate also has questions about the proposed Project and the robustness and flexibility of the Project especially since this foundational project, by the Applicants’ own calculations, is not cost-effective by itself, but is justified by future applications that will not be in place for some time.

read … Might as well be a coop then

Greenmailers Find New Way to Delay Telescope Hearing

SA: After sitting out the previous contested case hearing, the nonprofit corporation that aims to build and operate the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea has formally asked to become a party to the upcoming court-ordered hearing.

In a motion filed with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the TMT International Observatory Board says it has the most to lose and therefore should be given a seat at the table during the hearing.

“The TMT International Observatory will be most directly and immediately affected by the outcome of the contested case hearing,” TMT spokesman Scott Ishikawa said Friday in a statement.

But Richard Naiwieha Wurdeman, attorney for the Mauna Kea Hui petitioners, criticized the move as a concession that TMT is the real party of interest, not the University of Hawaii at Hilo, which is the project’s conservation district use permit applicant.

Wurdeman called for the dismissal of the Hilo application and said TMT should be required to reapply as the applicant….

Wurdeman said TMT’s motion to be admitted as a party in the case now, “after years of litigation, confirms that the news about TMT moving to other locations is nothing but posturing.”

(Just keep on believing that while OHA’s rent check heads for Kashmir.)

Reality: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

read … Greenmail

Soft on Crime: Six Felonies, Backpack full of Meth – 1 Week in Jail

KGI: …A man who was originally charged with six felonies after police found drugs in a home he was visiting was sentenced to one week in jail after he pleaded down to a misdemeanor.

Jaime Malama, 49, appeared before Fifth Circuit Court Chief Judge Randal Valenciano this week to change his plea from guilty to no contest after accepting a plea agreement from the state for six class C felonies.

On March 13, 2014, Jaime Malama and his co-defendant Glenn Ayau were together at Ayau’s home when police executed a search warrant on house, defense attorney Gregory Meyers told the court.

Police recovered a backpack from the garage where Malama was eating that contained crystal methamphetamine and paraphernalia. Police believed that backpack belonged to Malama and arrested him. Prosecutors later charged him and Ayau with 18 drug charges.

“Items were found in a bag that police believed belonged to Mr. Malama,” Meyers said….

The co-defendant on the case and the man Malama used to be associated with, Ayau, was sentenced on two of the 12 counts, including promoting a dangerous drug in the second degree and drug paraphernalia, class B and class C felonies, respectively to six months in jail and four years of Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement.

The other charges were dropped, including one class B felony, six class C felonies and two misdemeanors.

MN: Alternatives to prison not helping some criminals

read … Soft on Crime

Homeless Use Iolani Palace as Outdoor Latrine

HNN:  …Security guards say homeless have been gathering on Iolani Palace grounds for years. And it's not against the rules, as long as they're off the property by the time the gates are locked for the night.

But that doesn't mean there's not a tension between palace goers and the homeless in the area.

On palace grounds Friday, schoolchildren admired a large banyan tree while a woman used the base of the tree as a restroom.

One homeless man who didn't want his name to be used says he's been staying on the palace ground daily for the last three months. He says it's safer, and he isn't bothered.

"We heard Iolani Palace would let people sleep during the day and we're allowed to come over," he said.

Built in 1882, Iolani Palace is a national historic landmark and the only official royal residence in the United States. A royal burial site is also located on its grounds.

State Department of Land and Natural Resources officials say there have been no arrests on the property in the last year. But the agency has responded to calls about drinking, fighting, indecent exposure and damage to historic locks….

read … Homeless

Homeless Vandalize Church, Harass Preschoolers

SA: …There have been several incidents of vandalism and confrontations with church staff. But the most daunting and ongoing concerns pertain to homeless people sleeping on the property at night and causing disruptions when the church’s preschool is in session.

John Toillion, an elder who has been a church member for 33 years, said he and other staff are now working with a city homeless outreach worker and police to address the matter….

“The homeless people we have are regulars. Most of them have medical or drug-related concerns. They show up unannounced and some are very confrontational.”

For example, two months ago a woman was camped out by the church sign fronting the property and “got verbally abusive with the policemen but finally left with her stuff.” Another homeless person barged into a church staff meeting and demanded food after the pantry was closed. And a few times, Toillion said, teachers taking preschoolers to the restroom found homeless people in there….

read … Predators, not Victims

500 Inquiries about Homeless’ Psychotic Behavior

SA: …IHS receives more than 500 inquiries a year from congregations seeking advice about interactions with homeless people, including those who interrupt church services, beg for money or sleep on the grounds.

“Too many faith leaders hesitate to enforce boundaries because of their compassionate natures. Though we are called to be compassionate, we should not stand for abuse or subject our congregations to endangerment,” Ogawa said….

Ogawa said that churches throughout urban Honolulu are “struggling with how to respond to volatile people with signs of escalated behaviors.” And some have expressed dismay over decisions to call the police. But police, she said, might be best equipped to defuse a tense situation and help connect the people in crisis with the proper social service agencies….

“It is way beyond the expertise of clergy (or members of the congregation) to deal with psychotic behavior or substance-abusers,” Ogawa said….

More information is available online at ihshawaii.org/faithsummit ….

read … Tough Love

HCDA to Score Massive Windfall from ‘Affordable’ Housing

SA: …Ke Kilohana prices range from $323,475 to $442,246 for one-bedroom units, from $473,789 to $538,612 for two-bedroom units and from $521,774 to $560,774 for three-bedroom units.

Buyers may earn no more than 140 percent of Hono¬≠lulu’s median income, an amount that equates to about $85,150 for a single person, $97,300 for a couple or $121,650 for a family of four. They also may not already own a home.

Restrictions on the units, which were sold for less than market prices, include the right for the Hawaii Community Development Authority, a state agency, to buy back units that initial buyers elect to sell within two to five years, and a requirement for initial buyers to pay the agency the difference between a unit’s original sale price and market price whenever the unit is first resold….

read … Affordable?

Kahuku Wind Scheme – 656 foot Towers of Rusting Wind Junk

SA: …The developer is reducing the maximum turbines needed to meet the target-generating capacity for the project to nine, and potentially eight, from 10, Na Pua Makani said Thursday in a letter referencing its second draft environmental impact statement. The second draft of the project’s EIS focuses on nine turbines. The height above the ground will be 656 feet, an increase of 144 feet.

Na Pua Makani said the change was in response to public comments on the original draft of the EIS at a public open house in June, relating to visual impacts and consideration of fewer turbines. The Kahuku residents voiced concern about the visual impact and noise of the turbines.

“It’s a low drone. You can’t get away from it,” said Kent Fonoimoana, Kahuku Community Association president. “Now, for our sunset, we look through wind turbines.”

A public meeting on the second draft will be held May 25 at the Kahuku Community Center. On Thursday the Honolulu City Council is set to a hear a resolution seeking to provide greater opportunity for public input in utility-scale wind machine projects….

Comments on the second draft will be accepted through June 7. They can be sent to brita.woeck@tetra tech.com. Include “Na Pua Makani Second Draft EIS” in the subject line….

read … Kahuku wind farm plan calls for fewer but taller turbines

Anti-GMO Activists Drench Environmentalism in Ignorance

KE: …Though many greenies have taken a stance against GMOs, the technology has numerous environmental benefits. I recently wrote about a study published by agricultural economists at Purdue University, who found that:

Eliminating GMO commodity crops in America would significantly boost greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions and have other environmental and economic impacts.

The Purdue researchers found that yields of soy, corn, and cotton would decrease, requiring some 252,047 acres of U.S. forest and pasture lands to be converted to crop production to offset the shortfall. A reduction in the export of U.S. commodity crops would also increase demand for cropland in other nations.

Though Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser recently pooh-poohed the contribution of GMO corn at a UH law school forum on GMOs — “you can't feed the world on Sugar Pops and candy bars” — he doesn't seem to realize that maize, as it's called elsewhere, is a major food staple across the globe. South Africa alone is needing to import 1.5 million tonnes this year due to drought. Fortunately, we've got enough to send.

GM crops that resist insect infestations, like like Bt cotton, Bt corn and Bt eggplant, have also reduced the use of pesticides, especially in developing nations.

Yet the chronically befuddled, like Hooser and Lihue resident Linda Boethe, continue to insist that seed companies are “drenching” Kauai with pesticides….

read … A pint per acre

Kahoolawe Trust fund being depleted

MN: The Kahoolawe Rehabilitation Trust Fund has gone from $44 million two decades ago to $394,000 as of January, according to a critical State Auditor's Office report that says the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission is "not financially self-sufficient."

"The commission has also not aligned its fundraising and spending plans and has failed to ensure the financial sustainability of the Kahoolawe Rehabilitation Trust Fund, which will be depleted" by fiscal year 2018, according to the report released this month. It is a follow-up on an earlier audit of the fund.

The trust fund was established more than 20 years ago when it was part of $400 million given by the federal government in 1994 to restore the island after decades of military bombing. The Navy used most of the money for ordnance removal, but $44 million was transferred to the state trust fund for environmental restoration, archaeological work and educational activities on Kahoolawe….

Background: Auditor: Kahoolawe Trust Fund Gone After 20 years Without a Plan

read … Trust fund being depleted

$4 Million OK’d For Fancy Waikiki Enviro Confab

CB: Hawaii lawmakers have agreed to put another $4 million down to host the “Olympics of Conservation” in September….

read … Environmentalism = Snobbery

KCC: Another Univ Administrator Faces ‘No Confidence’

SA: The faculty senate at Kapiolani Community College is formally calling on University of Hawaii administrators to remove Chancellor Leon Richards from his job, after a lopsided vote of no confidence in him.

In a poll of faculty and staff conducted by the senate via electronic ballot, 13 of the college’s 16 departments and units voted against Richards’ leadership and management, while three supported him.

On Thursday the senate sent a resolution announcing the results to Richards, UH Vice President of Community Colleges John Morton, UH President David Lassner and UH Board of Regents Chairman Randolph Moore.

“Be it further moved that John Morton, vice president of community colleges, remove the chancellor from all decision-making authority, ask the chancellor to resign, and remove the chancellor from campus immediately,” the resolution said….

The no-confidence vote was held after a survey of faculty conducted by the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly gave Richard’s the lowest ranking of all 10 UH chancellors. More than 78 percent of respondents said his contract should not be renewed.

Survey respondents faulted the chancellor for failing to support and let the faculty make academic decisions; failing to communicate, collaborate and make timely decisions; failing to support the school’s mission or constituents; and permitting a hostile work environment.

read … KCC chancellor’s removal urged

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