Tulsi Gabbard Petition: Eliminate Superdelegates
Why Do We Tax Shipping?
Hawaii Economy 10th-Worst in USA
Legislators: None of Us Believe Caldwell on Rail
Borreca: …If Caldwell or the Council is not going to choose between stated choices, such as building two-thirds of a system or building a fairly useless system without stations, (a false dichotomy designed to reach the following conclusion…) the answer is to get more money from the state.
That’s what Caldwell did last year, when the overbudget and overdue system was bailed out by extending the rail tax surcharge for five years.
But legislative leaders are way under-impressed with the city’s dilemma.
“I don’t think a viable option is for the mayor to come request additional GET (general excise tax) funding,” Rep. Sylvia Luke, House Finance Committee chairwoman said in an interview.
Luke added that legislators already have worries about Caldwell’s credibility regarding rail promises, and now they are seeing the estimated cost go from $6.8 billion to $7.9 billion in the past three months.
“There is a credibility issue. It is not reasonable to even entertain a GET increase; they shouldn’t anticipate it,” said Luke.
House majority leader, Rep. Scott Saiki, added that last year’s tax extension already had a built-in cushion, giving the city a bit more than was requested.
“We have already given the city leeway,” Saiki said, telling Caldwell to both get involved and take responsibility for rail.
“This is not a decision to be made by volunteers, like the HART board; it is up to elected officials like the mayor and Council,” Saiki said….
read … Not Credible
Hawaii GOP lacks leadership and maturity to be relevant
Shapiro: It’s becoming difficult to take the GOP seriously as a major political party in Hawaii.
After the June 7 filing deadline, it has no credible candidates for the U.S. Senate seat or two congressional seats up this year.
In the state Senate, where Republicans hold one of the 25 seats, the party has fielded candidates for only four of the 13 Democratic seats up for election this year; by contrast, the Libertarian Party is challenging for six of those seats.
The GOP’s big recruit is disgraced former councilman and Democratic legislator Rod Tam, who’s running for the Senate as a Republican after being jailed and fined for misusing thousands of public dollars on personal meals.
Republican Chairman Fritz Rohlfing says he’s “thrilled” to have Tam….
Sen. Sam Slom, the only Republican incumbent, missed much of last session with health problems and faces a formidable Democratic challenge from former Councilman Stanley Chang.
In the House, where Republicans hold but seven of the 51 seats, the party has fielded candidates for only 21 of the 44 Democrat-held seats.
Two House Republicans, Cynthia Thielen and Feki Pouha, face challenges in their own party primaries as part of the internecine warfare that sinks the isle GOP….
The opportunity is ripe for a reform party to bring together independents, disenchanted Democrats and moderate Republicans tired of inept wheel-spinning on Hawaii’s pressing problems.
But absent the right leadership and financial backing, concerned citizens who believe entrenched Democrats need real competition will continue to be frustrated.
read … Lacks Leadership
SHOPO to Appeal Labor Board Ruling on body cams
KGI: The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers said it will appeal a ruling by the Hawaii Labor Relations Board that Kauai police did not need the union’s approval prior to implementing body-worn cameras….
SHOPO’s complaint states the body-worn cameras program would fall under “mutual consent,” which dictates salary, wages and work conditions. But KPD argued the cameras fell under “meet and confer.”
After months of litigation, the HLRB ruled in favor of KPD. It stated it didn’t need approval by the union to implement body-worn cameras….
Maafala argues that KPD general order 41.17, which polices how officers can use the cameras, defines disciplinary actions for officers who don’t follow the policy.
“If you’re going to have officers mandated to use technology, then it falls under work conditions,” Maafala said.
In its ruling, HLRB said body-worn cameras are “no different than a police officer’s weapon, hand-held radios, Tasers with built-in cameras, in-car dashboard cameras, baton and uniforms.”
These items duties are used by officers in their day-to-day, the HLRB said.
“SHOPO, when KPD adopted its ruled and polices regarding the use of these items of equipment, never argued that the ‘mutual consent’ requirement applied,” HLRB said in its ruling.
KPD has been using body-worn cameras since their rollout in December. Perry has maintained that it is for the benefit of the department and the protection of his officers….
read … Board sides with police on body cams
Puna Drug Dealers Sue State, Press Belatti for Changes to Marijuana Dispensary Program
HTH: …HB2707 doesn’t touch on the caregiver drug dealer program, that, as it’s set to phase out in 2018, was a sticking point among patients in Thursday’s crowd.
Under the program, a licensed caregiver drug dealer can grow medicine marijuana for a single patient pothead. Those against the program say it might feed the black market — and dispensaries are soon going to fill that gap anyway. Caregiver proponents think the program is essential for patients unable to grow marijuana themselves. (Yeah, right.)
“Nothing in (recent marijuana bills) affords anything for patients,” said one attendee, claiming the decision to phase out the program already has caused “an emergency situation in upper Puna” among patients turning to other drugs to medicate. (Yeah Right. Suddenly its very difficult to find weed in Puna, lol.) “They’re still suffering and until you acknowledge that these are our bodies first … you have certain unalienable rights and no one in government can take away our rights to consume a plant … until that happens, most of us won’t be in this conversation by choice.”
HB 2707 also directs the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to begin collecting data about the dispensary program, including the amount of marijuana grown and dispensed, the number of marijuana-related jobs available, price information and the program’s economic impact. Lawmakers said Thursday that data will be used when weighing future amendments.
“It’s not a perfect bill, believe me, I know it’s not a perfect bill,” San Buenaventura told the crowd. “However … there’s a give and a take … hopefully we can get data (from DBEDT) to say, OK, we don’t need these (marijuana) felonies (in law), maybe we can relax the caregiver program, or maybe we should create co-ops (so dope dealers can legally grow weed for lots of potheads) because there really isn’t this black market like law enforcement tells us.”
read … Puna
Federal appeals court to hear GMO bans Wednesday
WHT: Hawaii County’s failed ban on outdoor cultivation of genetically modified crops will be aired Wednesday in a federal court in Honolulu, one of three county cases being appealed after local laws were struck down.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has scheduled oral arguments for attorneys representing Hawaii, Maui and Kauai counties, whose anti-GMO laws were invalidated in federal district court after they were challenged by agricultural concerns and biotech companies.
The oral arguments, beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, will be shown live on the web at www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/live_oral_arguments.php.
“All three counties’ cases are being argued back to back to back,” Honolulu attorney Paul Alston, who represents biotech concerns, said Friday. “It should be a pretty intense morning for the court and for the public.” ….
SA: JFF report on Kauai pesticides use made valuable recommendations
read … Federal appeals court to hear GMO bans Wednesday
Danger: After Wasting $444M, Kahoolawe Funding gains urgency
SA: …Today, live grenades and bombs remain scattered across about a quarter of the 45-square-mile island. But the agency tasked with restoring Kahoolawe is likely on its own next year after lawmakers passed a bill pushing it to become financially self-sufficient.
Now, the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission and community advocates are looking for ways to fund the rest of the cleanup so they can bring back native wildlife and use the island as a Native Hawaiian educational center.
It’s no small effort. Restoring and then replanting the entire island could take decades and cost billions of dollars, despite about $400 million spent between the commission and the Navy since 1994, the agency said. The commission also has depleted a $44 million federal trust fund since the state gained control of the island in 2004.
“It speaks volumes to the amount of bombing Kahoolawe sustained that so much work still needs to be done to complete this effort,” U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said. She added she will work to help find solutions to finish the cleanup at the culturally significant site, which is banned from commercial use….
read … Wasted Away
‘We’re anti-Longliners’: OHA wants to be Co-Trustee in world’s largest protected marine area
KGI: …Hoku Cody, with the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group, said it’s the longline fishing industry that would take a small hit if President Barack Obama increases the size of the monument through the Antiquities Act.
“We’re going to bat for all small boat fishermen who do access … those areas where the weather buoys are and the middle banks,” Cody said. “We’re proposing those areas be left out of the expansion.”
“Large-scale gathering practices like the longliners don’t align with our traditional values,” Cody said. “We want to make it clear that we are pro-small boat fishermen and we’re anti-longliners.” …. (Translation: OHA has a scheme to divide fishermen.)
Keola Lindsey, OHA’s Papahanaumokuakea program manager, said the creation of the monument established three levels of management. OHA has been a part of the base-level management for the past decade, but the organization wants more say in the monument. (Translation: OHA saw how much was wasted on Kahoolawe and wants a slice of this action.)
“We’ve always pointed to the lack of Native Hawaiian representation at the senior executive board and the co-trustee level as a fundamental flaw in this unique co-management structure,” Lindsey said….
Sarahangi said the group is now focused on building momentum into the September meeting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress in Honolulu.
She said if the president does declare the expansion, the working group expects there will be a public comment period….
Solar funding program fails to match hype
SA: The state’s $150 million financing program designed to help low-income residents own renewable energy failed to live up to its hype, due to a long application process and a discontinued solar incentive. Despite its lackluster rollout, Hawaii residents are still on the hook to pay back the bonds.
The program called Green Energy Market Securitization, or GEMS, has been in the works since 2013 and was touted as a potential national model. The Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority, a state agency created to run GEMS, established programs in 2015 in which consumers and nonprofits could apply for financing of rooftop solar systems….
To date, GEMS has funded 11 installations; 43 applications are in the pipeline, representing about $370,000 of the $150 million available for lending. The authority overseeing GEMS discontinued the program for nonprofits.
Originally, the program was projected to have fully deployed the $150 million by November 2016 — two years after the bonds were sold. Six months away from the goal, more than 99 percent of the funds sit untapped….
As Explained: HECO Customers Keep Paying On Unused $144 Million GEMS Fund
read … Hype
We have a warped sense of fiscal reality down at the Legislature
SA: When in doubt, commission a study.
That seems to be a common practice among state lawmakers, who often appropriate millions of dollars to study an issue without ever researching how much the study will actually cost or specifying what exactly should be studied.
Take, for instance, Gov. David Ige’s request for $489.3 million in general obligation bonds to relocate the Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) to the grounds of the existing Halawa Correctional Facility during the just-ended legislative session. It failed, but lawmakers instead appropriated $5.4 million to study “possible sites” for the construction of a new OCCC.
No one — including the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) or the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) — seems to know how that figure was derived or what exactly the multimillion-dollar study will encompass. Before a Thursday meeting was held with a key House Finance Committee member, a DPS spokeswoman said the department was still awaiting direction from lawmakers as to how that money can be spent.
“If you’re going to fund something, you should have a very clear plan with boundaries and options. These studies aren’t cheap,” said Sen. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Kahala-Hawaii Kai), who has advocated fiscal responsibility at the state Legislature.
But lawmakers put the cart before the horse on a regular basis, Slom said, noting that money is often appropriated for studies before parameters are set.
“I’ve been in the Senate for 20 years now and it’s been going on for longer than that. … We have a warped sense of fiscal reality down at the Legislature.” ….
read … Paralysis
Hawaii: Easy to Change Your Name Here
TG: Hawaii is the only state in the US that has a process less cumbersome than going to court. Its residents can simply submit a request to the office of the secretary of state. But other states don’t recognize Hawaii’s process as legitimate, and so changing one’s legal name in Hawaii won’t help someone trying to update a birth certificate or driver’s license issued in another state….
read … Trans-Form