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Tuesday, September 13, 2016
September 13, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:39 PM :: 4128 Views

AskMeFirst#—Open women’s facilities to men? Women Speak Out

Hawaii Short 500 Doctors statewide

Hawaii 7th Best State for Health Care

Could genetically modified mosquitoes save Hawaii’s endangered birds?

Hawaii 4th-Happiest State in USA

Hawaii Student Loan Debt Ranked by College

Fifty Years of Seed in the Fiftieth State

Hawaii Democrats Should Expel Drunks and Fraudsters Before Finger-Flipper

CB: The argument behind the headline-grabbing complaint last week that Chelsea Lyons Kent should be shown the party door was that her nationally televised one-finger salute was “embarrassing and a shame” and that she does not support the party platform or the Democratic presidential nominee.

If this is the case, the party would have to expel many more of its members. Several instances come to mind, like the disputes between Democrats during the 2013 special legislative session on marriage equality or the times several Democrats got arrested for campaign finance fraud and driving under the influence….

(B-b-but if they expel all the drunks and fraudsters, who would be left?)

Already there has been a decline in membership since Clinton’s nomination, and some Democrats are moving away from the party….

When did becoming a Democrat become similar to being in a college fraternity, where you need to pledge your loyalty or risk being expelled?

read … Democrats Should Think Twice About Party Expulsions

Court ruling due Friday on Kenoi’s email cache

SA: They include emails between Kenoi, his then-executive assistant Peter Boylan, Corporation Counsel Molly Stebbins, Finance Director Deanna Sako, and other current and former county employees and county lawyers, mostly about pCards, pCard expenses and pCard procedures….

Fifteen of the emails are dated April 2, 2015, including five regarding messages from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, a day after Kenoi held a news conference in Honolulu at the state Capitol explaining he used his pCard for personal expenditures because he didn’t have a personal credit card, and that he regularly paid the money back….

The criminal case against Kenoi includes allegations that he charged a luncheon at the Hilo Yacht Club described as an “Office Strategic Planning Lunch-eon” that was actually a farewell luncheon for his executive assistant Kevin Dayton, who now works for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser…

PDF: State vs. Billy Kenoi – Aug. 30

read … Court ruling due Friday on Kenoi’s email cache

Ige’s Vapor Pledge to Fight Zika

Borreca: …The most glaring realignment came from his once- guiding principle to double local food production by 2020.

That target grew by a decade, becoming 2030, because as Honolulu Star- Advertiser government reporter Sophie Cocke report- ed in an interview with state Agriculture Director Scott Enright, “there has yet to be any significant increase in local food production.” …

That vapor pledge didn’t stop Ige from listing on his web page that one of the administration’s goals was to, “Develop a long-range plan to increase the local food production from the current 10% to at least 20% by the end of the decade.”…

During the same World Conservation Congress, Ige also showed off the administration’s new “Interagency Biosecurity Plan.”

It is a good first step, and you have to hope that previous state administrations had already been working on keeping Hawaii from becoming infested with coqui frogs, tiny fire ants and the assorted burrowing nematodes chomping our banana plants. But they are here, so maybe not.

Be that as it may, the Ige plan turns out to be more of a plea, than an actual plan….

The executive summary of the biosecurity plan admits that the state Agriculture Department lacks management technology and an inspection facility, does not have a biocontrol lab or the ability to restrict certain commodities inspected and does not have enough staff.

The plan points out that the state Health Department is “operating at 60 per- cent of the capacity needed to fight diseases such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya.“

SA: Biosecurity goals need prioritizing

read … Ige’s cable plan gets little attention amid other plans

Legislative Preview: Kauai Council Still Using Roads as Excuse for Tax Hike

KGI: The Kauai County Council previously voted 4-3 against increasing the General Excise Tax by a quarter a percent to raise $100 million for backlogged road repairs over 10 years.

While the bill is dead, there are still road repair projects that need to be completed — and no funds to pay for them.

Finding a balance between fixing roads and increasing taxes is tricky, said Riopta.

“The cost of living is already expensive here, so taxing us isn’t going to help our way of life,” the Hanamaulu man said.

Following the denial of the GET hike in May, council members pursued proposals for new measures to generate the money needed to address the roads.

One was a resolution that proposed a County Roads Resurfacing and Reconstruction Backlog Fund, which would require that 1 percent of the annual real property tax and 6 percent of the annual transient accommodation tax, or TAT, go into the fund annually, generating about $2 million.

The resolution introduced by Councilman KipuKai Kuali‘i was written as a charter amendment. It would have given the people a chance to vote on how to pay for the projects. The measure was denied 4-3 in July.

Councilman Gary Hooser said increasing taxes on tourism-focused companies, like rental car businesses, could generate enough revenue to address the road repair woes.

But Hooser said he was told the county doesn’t have the legal authority to tax rental car companies, so the council must turn to other options….

read … Tax Hike

Hawaii County Farmers Hammered by Tax Hike on Ag Land

WHT: …Some farmers and ranchers are feeling the pinch as Hawaii County tightens loopholes in its generous property tax breaks (hikes taxes) for farmers and ranchers.

(Pretty cool trick, eh?  When you want to hike taxes, just claim to be closing a loophole.)

The agriculture programs account for 10,765 parcels totaling $39.6 million in revenue lost annually to the county.

Property in the program is valued for tax purposes at anywhere from $14 to $4,000 an acre, depending on its use and owner’s commitment to a short-term or long-term program. That’s regardless of the property’s real value.

“Targeting abusers of this system is an admirable goal, but changes to the programs must be done carefully to avoid negative impact on those the programs are designed to benefit,” said Peggy Farias, chief financial officer of W.H. Shipman Ltd., which has between 3,500 and 5,000 acres of ag land licensed to farmers and in active production.

“Any changes that have a negative impact on honest landowners making land available for ag rental will have a negative impact on farmers and the ag industry,” she told the County Council Finance Committee at a workshop Thursday.

Some farmers and ranchers feel as if they’re being forced into a preset formula that doesn’t necessarily reflect the realities of the field. For example, ranch land must be fenced, under the county’s rule, in order to qualify for the lower price valuations that are meant to encourage farming and ranching, said Kyle Soares, a Ka‘u rancher representing B.K. Livestock Co.

“Property tax increases are happening right now,” Soares said. “It’s costing a lot of people a lot more money at a time when commodity prices are plummeting.”

Several farmers and ranchers said disallowing the tax breaks could send more of their land into development.

“We have to provide incentives to have cheaper tax rates to encourage future generations,” Soares said.

read … Tax Hike

Hurry up and wait: Opponents of Kaupulehu Marine Reserve take initiative

WHT: …Led by Palikapu Dedman — the president of the Pele Defense Fund, which advocates for Native Hawaiian rights — the group plans to gather up fish, urchins and other species the reserve is intended to protect, transport them to the marine reserve at Kaupulehu and release them there.

“All the fishermen that have been accused of wiping the fish out are the very ones bringing them back to that area,” Dedman said. “It takes a native practice approach to get this to happen.”

The action group met at West Hawaii Civic Center Sunday to bang out the details of the project. Dedman said they spoke with a representative of the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources to bring the department up to speed on the project’s intentions and particulars.

“We wanted them to know what was going on with the project,” Dedman said.

Participants plan to set up a tent on the public access beach between the Kukio Golf and Beach Club and the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Their activities will remain below the high-water mark, and Dedman said that by exercising traditional rights, those activities should be covered as long as they take place off private property.

He added there will be no other restrictions and that, by his understanding, no other permission is required from the state or the county to carry out the project….

read … Make the Rick People Pay Him to Leave

Jones Act Ships Cost 3x More

SA: I recently listened to a podcast on NPR that underscored the inefficiencies surrounding the Jones Act. For example, one cattleman in Hawaii flies his cows to the mainland instead of sending them via a Jones Act vessel because flying them is cheaper. If he was able to use a non-US Flag ship, it'd be a different story. The Texas Comptroller's Office estimates that crews on US-flagged vessels receive compensation that shakes out to be a little over five times more than those on foreign-flagged ships. Not to mention, US-flagged vessels can cost up to three times more than foreign-built ships, resulting in higher day rates to customers. In addition, many foreign-flagged ships pay few or no taxes (think Marshall Islands), whereas US ships get hit with sizable tax bills [3]….

read … Jones Act

Lawyers May Score Million-Dollar Bounty for Helping to Keep the Homeless, Homeless

CB: …The city had a chance to head off the legal fight altogether for about $28,000, with terms far more favorable to the city than what it ultimately settled for.

Instead, in August, the Honolulu City Council agreed to pay $48,500 in damages under a proposed settlement, whose final resolution is expected in late October.

The city has also been relying on a private law firm to defend it in the federal class-action lawsuit — at a cost, so far, of $150,000.

And now the plaintiffs’ attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and the law firm of Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing are asking the court for more than $600,000 in their fees and out-of-pocket costs….

(Idea: Send the homeless to go live with the lawyers.)

MP: In Hawaii, the reality of homelessness can hit suddenly

read … Lawsuit Against Homeless Sweeps Could Cost Taxpayers $1M

Kaneshiro Letting Lots of Auto Burglars Get Away Scot-Free

KHON: A man was arrested inside a stolen car last weekend, and yet he was released without charges.

After prosecutors told us why, we’re pressing them for more answers on how many car theft cases actually go to trial.

The victim — who didn’t want to be identified — told us that his car was stolen after someone broke into his house and took his car keys. Honolulu police arrested a man found in the vehicle with the car keys, but prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to charge him. There were no fingerprints or witnesses to show that the man arrested was the one driving the car.

The victim also told us that police officers are frustrated because this is happening too often….

On Friday when we first reported this case, we asked HPD for the number of arrests for car theft. The number they gave us was for reported cases, so we’re still working on getting the number of arrests and cases that have been prosecuted.

We’ve also reached out to other counties so we can compare them.

UH Manoa: Young Criminals are Victiiiimsssss

read … Soft on Crime

City, State to Coordinate Traffic Light Timing

HNN: There are about 800 traffic signals on Oahu, and enough driver frustration with them to fill a freeway.

…The city does adjust the timing of green lights during emergencies and tie-ups, but that will happen even faster when city and state traffic management personnel are under the same roof starting next year.

By the middle of 2017, construction will be complete on the city's new, $53.6 million Joint Traffic Management Center on Alapai and South King streets.

And by December of next year, city and state traffic operators are slated to be in the same building, eliminating delays they now face when decisions must be made to extend green lights….

read … Synch?

How can I learn more about GMOs?

KE: People have often asked me, how can I learn more about GMOs?

If you're looking for solid information that is intended to educate, but not influence, check out the new Cornell University online course —“Science and Politics of the GMO."  It's a free, five-week class that you follow at your own speed, with fresh content uploaded every Tuesday.

Topics to be covered include the basics of genetic engineering, the political debate around the GMO, arguments for and against the technology’s use, its impact at both an individual level and on society as a whole, and problems, perceptions, benefits and risks associated with GMOs.

It launches tomorrow. To learn more about the course,or enroll, click here.

Yet opportunity for free educamation: A livestreamed talk by University of Wyoming Prof. Andrew Kniss about the impacts of GMOs on herbicide use and weed management in the U.S. It starts at 6:20 a.m. Hawaii time, or 12:20 EDT.

It's the first in a series of lectures offered to the international students participating in the 12-week Cornell Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellows program to help them understand the science and issues about biotechnology.

SA: Drop in corn price hits isle seed firms

read … Learn

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