Ethics Complaint: OHA Insiders Take Kickbacks from Kakaako Makai Projects
Money Laundering: Ige, Tsutsui, Abercrombie Raked in $38K from’ Law Firm
Tax Appeal Court Strikes Down Honolulu’s “Residential A”
Coming to Hawaii? Obama Admin Deal to Take 1000s of Muslim ‘refugees’ from Pacific Island Detention Centers
PN: Australian Prime Minister Turnbull and Obama Government officials are racing to begin resettling refugees in the United States before the incoming Trump administration can halt the deal between the two countries.
US Homeland Security officials are expected to arrive in Australia within days to begin arranging health and security checks.
Mr Turnbull yesterday publicly thanked President Barack Obama for agreeing to the one-off deal, but was unable to say if incoming president Donald Trump would honour the agreement after he was sworn in on January 20.
Mr Trump has previously called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the US and many of the 1,145 asylum seekers on Nauru (allegedly families) and 958 on Manus (all male) are Muslims….
Australian authorities are concerned the announcement could be used as a “marketing opportunity” by people smugglers….
read … Coming to Hawaii?
Hawaii: Only 405 ‘Dreamers’ Apply for Legal Status under DACA
SA: …Nationally, there are about 800,000 immigrants covered under the DACA program. In Hawaii, an estimated 2,000 immigrants qualify for the program, but only 405 had filed accepted applications as of June, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Hawaii has had a lower rate of participation than other states….
read … Only 405
Rail Redevelopment Plan includes Demolition of Aloha Stadium
SA: City officials are seeking input on a draft plan proposed for transit-oriented development in Halawa. The plan outlines a vision for potentially redeveloping about 150 acres around the Aloha Stadium rail station into mixed-use communities.
The city Department of Planning and Permitting is holding a public meeting at 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Aloha Stadium Hospitality Room. The forum is part of the department’s initiative in planning for transit-oriented development, or TOD, that is typically within a quarter-mile to half-mile of rail stations….
Recommendations in the draft plan include new entertainment and retail uses, diverse housing options, a new employment center, pedestrian and bicycle improvements, including access to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, and new parks and trails, as well as a new, (incredibly expensive) smaller stadium with 30,000 to 40,000 seats….
For more information on Halawa TOD and to view the draft plan, visit honolulu.gov/tod/neighborhood-tod-plans/dpp-tod-halawa.html.
read … Halawa TOD
Charter Vote Saddles City with Crackpot ‘Sustainability’ Department
SA: …Voters considering 20 Honolulu Charter amendments said yes to creating two new city departments: the Department of Land Management and the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency.
They also created new commissions: a rate commission for public transportation, a commission for the Clean Water Natural Lands Fund and a climate change commission. Voters also expanded the Fire Commission from five to seven members.
Regarding land use, voters said yes to a deceptively simple and blandly worded question: “Should a new Department of Land Management responsible for the protection, development and management of city lands be established?”
This new department, a top priority for the Caldwell administration, represents an important change in how the city operates, and it bears close watching. The amendment consolidates land management functions now divided among various city departments under a new agency, whose director is appointed by the mayor….
The charter amendment does include some safeguards for transparency, but they’re fairly modest. It requires that the department justify the public interest in its projects through a report and a single public hearing. The Council would approve the department’s actions by resolution….
read … Land and Power
Green Energy Scammers Demand More Money from State, Blame Trump
SA: Makena Coffman, associate professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said that with a Trump presidency, state-level action (money) becomes more important.
“For years, states, including Hawaii, have wavered on greenhouse gas policy pending federal efforts,” she said. “I think that uncertainty has now gone away. We can be assured by his campaign promises that a Trump administration is not going to take strides in greenhouse gas policy and it is up to states and local governments to keep moving forward.”
When campaigning, Trump said (pointed out) climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.
In line with his campaign promises, Trump appointed Myron Ebell — an outspoken climate change contrarian — to head his Environmental Protection Agency transition team. Ebell is director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and heads the Cooler Heads Coalition, which is made up of nonprofit groups that question global warming and oppose policies that favor the conservation of energy….
Cindy McMillan, communications director for Gov. David Ige’s office, said it is too early to speculate on the changes Trump’s administration would make to the nation’s energy policy but “the state remains steadfast in its commitment to 100 percent renewable energy in the electricity sector by 2045.”
(Translation: This is really going to cost you taxpayers and ratepayers, but we have to keep the cash flowing to the Silicon Valley billionaires who are counting on our green energy scams for tax credits.)
Not everyone was as certain of the market’s capability of weathering potential changes in policy.
Former PUC Chairwoman Mina Morita said regulations are critical in creating certainty for businesses.
“With this uncertainty, it’s going to be a lot more expensive and dependent on state public-private partnerships to get the big infrastructure investments completed which are necessary to ensure Hawaii’s actions benefit all power users,” she said….
The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit, allows residents to get 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system back from federal taxes. The tax credit runs through 2019. The ITC reduces to 26 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021. After 2023, the residential credit will drop to zero while the commercial and utility credit will drop to a permanent 10 percent.
read … Hawaii renewable-energy advocates unfazed by Trump threat
With Fewer Tax Credits on Offer, Nobody Wants to go to ‘Startup Weekend’
PBN: …This weekend's ninth-annual Startup Weekend Honolulu has been postponed, according to a statement from one of the event’s lead organizers.
“It is with great regret that I inform you that this event will be postponed due to multiple factors, with lower-than-expected turnout being one of them,” Kenneth Huang said in an email sent to attendees.
read … Good Riddance
Will Donald Trump Save Hawaii from Obamacare?
SA: …Most Hawaii residents have private health insurance through their employers, a requirement of the state’s 1974 Prepaid Health Care Act, which mandates employers cover full-time employees.
“So a pullback in Obamacare, because Hawaii has been at it for half a century, is unlikely to affect Hawaii nearly as much as it will affect every other state,” said Jeff Kissel, former head of the Hawaii Health Connector….
Hawaii Medical Service Association — the state’s largest health insurer with about 20,000 individuals and 12,000 small group subscribers and dependents enrolled in ACA plans — and Kaiser reported earlier this year a combined $77.6 million in fees and taxes related to Obamacare.
Hawaii residents will see a substantial jump in their Obamacare premiums in 2017. The state Insurance Division, which regulates health plan rates, approved a 35 percent rate hike for HMSA members and a 25.9 percent increase for Kaiser Permanente Hawaii’s Affordable Care Act policies.
Kihei resident Kelli Lundgren, a 56-year-old self-employed Kaiser member, said the medical premiums for her policy — which also covers her 21-year-old son — are jumping 48 percent next year to $904.05 a month from $609.55….
An added issue for Hawaii is coverage for roughly 3,700 Micronesians under the Compact of Free Association, an agreement between the U.S. and three Pacific countries.
The Department of Human Services, which manages the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income residents, moved the Micronesians to Obamacare plans last year to save the state an estimated $27 million annually because the federal government would cover the cost of coverage.
read … Salvation Coming?
Maoists Pretending to be Normal People Protest Trump in Honolulu
KITV: Nearly 100 people stood along Ala Moana Boulevard Friday night holding signs and shouting in protest of President Elect Donald Trump.
Joyce Wine told KITV she was in a state of shock Tuesday night when the news broke that Donald Trump would serve as the next President of the United States. She said she was overwhelmed with emotion and couldn't go to work the next day….
"Donald Trump is sexist, racist, Islam-a-phobe, homo-phobe, is not our President," said protestor Liz Rees (a professional protester tied to Maoist ‘Revolution Books’) …
She said she has been inspired by anti-Trump protestors across the country pouring into the streets to let their voices be heard. (Professional protester pretending to be a normal person.)
"Everyone who cares about humanity and the planet should be outraged," Rees explained.
HNN: More than 1,100 Anti-Donald Trump protesters march through Waikiki
KHON: Hundreds of anti-Trump protestors march through Waikiki
(BTW: Mao Zedong murdered up to 70M Chinese people? Do Maoists hate Trump because he never killed a Chinese person? Do they think that proves Trump doesn’t have what it takes to be a Great Helmsman? The mind wobbles.)
read … Tantrum
Hawaii Might Benefit from Trump Spending on Military and Infrastructure, but State Congressional Delegation isn’t up to the Job
SA: …Moore said: Infrastructure spending, a Trump priority, seems to have bipartisan support.
Another, even more consequential exception is an anticipated boost in military spending, he said, as part of the “Make America Great Again” pledge.
Policy papers by Trump advisers point to the rising militarism in China as a signal that the U.S. has to match its muscle.
Hawaii is positioned geographically to garner a piece of that, Moore said, and in general it’s uncertain how far the less-than-ideological Trump is willing to carry fiscal conservativism.
“Trump isn’t really a Republican,” he said. “Republicans that expect him to fall in line and work for the party may be missing something, too.”
But Hawaii’s rank in the budgetary pecking order is certainly now toward the bottom.
“Politically,” Moore concluded, “probably one of the most Democratic states in the nation is not going to be at the top of the spending list.”
read … Schizophrenia
Drug Overdoses Kill More People than Auto Accidents
HTH: An average of four people in the South Hilo District died per year from opioid pain-reliever overdoses in the past decade.
In all, 94 people on Hawaii Island died of such overdoses between 2006 and 2015, according to data provided by the Hawaii Department of Health in response to a request from the Tribune-Herald….
“Fatalities from (overdoses) exceeded fatalities from car accidents,” he said. “In the emergency room, I see this all the time.”
One bill passed by the state Legislature requires doctors to register with a physicians drug monitoring system.
“That step, in some states, has decreased the subcategory of people that are drug-seeking,” Green said. About 30 percent of physicians currently use it, with a goal of 70 percent of doctors and nurse practitioners….
read … Overdose
HIDOT Brings its Tax Hike Dog n Pony Show to Kauai
KGI: Fuel economy and emissions levels in new cars have surpassed Environmental Protection Agency standards for the past eight years running, and as a result the state is looking at new ways to generate revenue.
“It’s great that cars are getting lower emissions and more mileage per gallon, but we need to look long-term at the sustainability for the highway budget,” said Tim Sakahara, spokesman for Hawaii Department of Transportation….
A different report, released Wednesday, said average fuel economy was (ONLY) 0.5 mpg higher than in 2014, an average of 24.8 miles per gallon.
Reality: HIDOT Fails to Answer -- $78K Administrative Cost Per Mile
read … Greener
Ready to Cash in on Homelessness with a Giant Tax Hike?
Cataluna: …In Los Angeles, voters overwhelmingly approved a $1.2 billion bond measure to build housing for the chronically homeless.
The bond will be repaid through a new property tax over the next 29 years set at $10 for each $100,000 in assessed valuation. So the owner of a million-dollar property would pay about $96 every year.
Because it was a new tax, the measure needed 66 percent of voters to pass. They got 76 percent.
Is Hawaii ready to make that kind of commitment? ….
read … Homelessness is Profitable
Inquiry into charter schools panel could bring halt to new campuses
SA: An investigation into complaints lodged against the agency regulating Hawaii’s public charter schools could result in far-reaching sanctions including a halt to new campuses and removal of appointees to the Public Charter School Commission.
A handful of schools provided detailed testimony at a recent public hearing, outlining alleged examples by commission staff of retaliation, breach of contract, and unwarranted and aggressive correspondence about school violations.
Officials with Kanu o ka Aina Learning Ohana, or KALO, which runs a K-12 charter school in Waimea on Hawaii island, for example, said the organization faced retaliation from the commission after reaching out to the BOE last year with concerns about a perceived lack of vision and mission by the commission. School leaders shared documentation showing the commission filed complaints against the organization with the state Ethics Commission, Department of Human Services and the attorney general….
Under the BOE committee’s proposed timeline, a draft report would be sent to the charter school commission for review and comments next month. A final report is scheduled to be presented at a public board meeting in January.
read … Inquiry into charter schools panel could bring appointee removals, halt to new campuses