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Monday, May 9, 2016
May 9, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:03 PM :: 3241 Views

Complete List: All Bills that Passed the Legislature in 2016

Hawaii Family Forum: Final Report for 2016 Legislative Session

HB1689 Gut n Replace: $2M in Tax Credits for ‘Organic’ Pretend Farmer/Activists

KE: It's too bad the state Legislature has been suckered into subsidizing organic farming. Especially when it was achieved through the despicable and totally non-transparent "gut and replace" method.

I'm talking about HB 1689, which authorizes some $2 million in state tax credits for farmers pursuing organic certification and production, whether they're growing for local or export markets.

More fair would have been tax credits to help all growers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act, which is expected to drive many small farmers in the Islands out of business.

Or if the goal is to spur local production, then support any farmer who is selling in-state.

Why should an incentive be offered only to those who have embraced a certain philosophy of agriculture?

But legislators are, after all, politicians. And it's an election year. Which means they're susceptible to the heavy pressures exerted by organic lobbying groups like Center for Food Safety (CFS).

That's how a bill that began life as a ethanol tax credit morphed in conference committee into an organic producers' subsidy. With no public debate, no opportunity for public testimony.

Here we have yet another example of the hypocrisy expressed by the anti-GMO groups, which claim they're devoted to transparency and restoration of the democratic process while making a mockery of both. It used to be the progressive groups denounced "gut and replace." But apparently now the ends justify dirty means.

And they're totally shameless about their actions, too. Hawaii CFS director and registered lobbyist Ashley Lukens quickly issued a press release hailing the tax credits….

Speaking of pretending, even though the organic tax credit was stuck in during the conference committee, Rep. Dee Morikawa is quoted in TGI as saying she supported the bill through the entire legislative process. How is that possible?

Just last week--Anti-GMO Activists begging for grants for their fake organic farms >>> Musings: Gimme, Gimme

SA: Natural Supplements Industry Leader a Pyramid Scheme

read … Musings: Time Will Tell

DHHL gets its funding; now it must deliver

SA: …The department, which historically has been underfunded, has long struggled with efficiencies and best-practices use of its resources. But the onus now falls on a better-funded DHHL to ratchet up operations.

Among the chronic problems: DHHL has been slow to house its beneficiaries, slow to expend millions of federal dollars and, as a recent state auditor’s report found, slow to improve its administration of loans to beneficiaries — those who are at least 50 percent Native Hawaiian — for housing on department land they lease for residential, ranching or farming homesteads.

That report by acting state Auditor Jan Yamane noted DHHL has implemented only five of 20 recommendations the auditor’s office made in 2013 to address gaps discovered when the department’s lending programs were examined.

The 2013 auditor’s report found that DHHL’s failure to adequately address a growing delinquency problem posed a solvency risk to the agency, yet DHHL has only acted on a quarter of its recommendations.

About $83 million of more than $588 million in loans, including those made by DHHL directly to beneficiaries and those issued by other institutions but backed by the agency, were delinquent as of June 2012, the report found.

As of November, DHHL had nearly 5,000 loans totaling more than $611 million in value in its portfolio, but the report did not provide the current delinquency rate. It would be difficult to determine whether DHHL has made any notable headway in administering its loans without the current delinquency rate….

read … DHHL gets its funding; now it must deliver

KCC hullaballoo comes to an end, until next time

SA: …A series of no-confidence votes against him by the Faculty Senate and Student Congress, as well as councils representing staff and Native Hawaiian faculty and staff, led to his departure from the top post, which takes effect after commencement on May 15….

Richards’s lawyer, Michael Green, also said the longtime educator wouldn’t sue, even though — in Green’s view — he has a good due-process case.

The conclusion to this drama must come as a relief for students, who don’t need any more distractions. As for Richards’ replacement, whoever that may be — tread carefully….

read … Until Next Time

Funding anti-geothermal hype study?

HTH: Critics of geothermal development in Puna left a Windward Planning Commission on Thursday a little more hopeful that they can break through a bureaucratic logjam that has held up a study on impacts to Native Hawaiians.

Tom Travis, a representative of Puna Pono Alliance, said they would be resubmitting a request to have the $293,760 study funded through Hawaii County’s geothermal asset fund, established to mitigate impacts from Puna Geothermal Venture.

The commission had approved the claim in January 2015 but rescinded it two months later because of concerns that the proposal didn’t meeting the fund’s procurement requirements.

read … Geothermal

What’s The Honolulu Board of Water Supply Trying Hide?

CB: We recently received a tip about an employment disagreement at the Honolulu Board of Water Supply.

So we did what we generally do when we get an interesting tip: We submitted a public records request to the BWS and the Honolulu Department of Corporation Counsel (that’s the city attorney’s office) for final arbitration decisions involving BWS employees.

The city’s reply was disappointing to say the least. And puzzling.

Here’s a sample of the document we received ….

read … Hide

Union Organized Kauai Monopoly Marijuana Dealer Expects to Hire 40

KGI:  “We’re hoping to help Kauai’s economy greatly by adding up to 40 new jobs when we’re fully operational,” said Casey Rothstein, operating manager, and Justin Britt, CEO….

While the exact opening day for the dispensary is uncertain, officials hope to be in business by September.

“Much of the timing is determined by the growing times for the plants to reach maturity,” Rothstein said.

Green Aloha, Ltd., recently announced a partnership with United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 480….

For Britt and Rothstein, quality medicine means providing a product free from harmful chemicals.

“We’ll be using organic growing practices, no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers,” Britt said. “We’ll also be cultivating in an enclosed environment with measures in place to ensure no mold or mildew grows on the medicine, a serious concern given the high humidity here on Kauai.”

read … Green Aloha looks to stimulate economy

Audit to focus on state’s civil forfeiture program that some pan as property ‘ransom’

WHT: The first audit in decades is coming for a state program that allows law enforcement to seize property without a conviction — and the administrator over the process is ready for whatever they may discover, while activist groups question its fairness….

For Sara Ann Steiner and Robert Petricci, it was not a theoretical event. Both were arrested in 2007 on charges of growing marijuana on their property.

“They took everything so we couldn’t afford a lawyer,” Petricci said.

Steiner believes one of the reasons they were targeted was that their land was owned free and clear. To her, that made it a more lucrative target for law enforcement.

read … Ransom

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