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Tuesday, February 14, 2017
February 14, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:17 AM :: 7227 Views

HSTA Rallies for $500M Tax Hike on Renters—House Approves on 2nd Read

Anti-Fishing Lies Exposed: Attorney General Releases Point by Point Debunk of Kaniela Ing

HPD Acting Chief Supports Naming of Suspended Officers

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted February 13, 2017

Falls of Clyde: Ige Ignores Call from British Parliament

DLNR Cop Accused of Raping Girl—My Mommy is HGEA President

HTH: The teen testified she thought she was being escorted to Ferguson’s vehicle when he told her he wanted to talk to her in the shade. She said he took her to “a grassy area with trees.”

“We stopped by the trees and he told me I had three options, which was money, drugs or sex,” the girl said. She said she didn’t have any money or any drugs other than the marijuana he’d already taken and that she was a virgin and didn’t want to have sex.

“He put his tongue in my mouth and I told him this wasn’t happening,” the alleged victim said. She said at some point, he put her on the mat, pinned her down with his body, pulled up her tank top and bikini top, performed sex acts on her and forced her to perform a sex act on him.

“I wanted it to stop. I was crying,” she said.

The teen said Ferguson gave her the still-full pipe back before he left without her.

“He kind of laughed and said I could finish smoking that bowl now,” she said.

Ferguson, who is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of his trial, was fired for misconduct by the Honolulu Police Department prior to his 2013 hiring as a state law enforcement officer. His mother, Jackie Ferguson-Miyamoto, is president of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the union representing DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers. (Buried lede!)

Jan 16, 2016: State confirms it knew rape suspect had been fired by Honolulu Police Department -- "HPD, however, says it told the state that Ferguson — who reportedly falsified reports and lied to superiors about transporting a juvenile female runaway — shouldn’t be hired."

read … HGEA Connection

Students Starve While HSTA Demands Massive Tax Increase

KHON: No money, no lunch. That’s the policy being enforced at some Hawaii public schools.

CB: Why Aren’t We Changing Waianae HS’s Culture Of Fistfights?

read … Change in school lunch policy urged after kids denied meals

Caldwell Bank Job: Measure To Stop Mayors From Moonlighting Shelved

CB: The fact that Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is paid at least $200,000 annually to advise Territorial Savings Bank was a big issue in his 2016 re-election campaign.

His opponents charged that the side gig represented a potential conflict of interest, though the mayor’s campaign defended the work and said it was approved by the Honolulu Ethics Commission.

A bill that would have prohibited county mayors and the governor from holding additional work was deferred last week at the Hawaii State Capitol, meaning that it’s almost certainly dead for the 2017 session.

It also means Caldwell, an attorney, may continue to advise the bank.

HB 71 was killed at the request of House leadership, which already gave it a near-impossible procedural hurdle of four separate committee referrals.

But at least one former Honolulu mayor, Mufi Hannemann, thought House Bill 71 was a good idea….

read … Measure To Stop Mayors From Moonlighting Shelved

Drivers May Face $100M Higher Taxes, Fees To Lard HIDOT Coffers

CB: Ford Fuchigami, director of the state Department of Transportation, told senators that his agency needs $100 million in additional funding….

Senate Bill 1012 will continue to move through the Legislature, but its prospects are uncertain. A similar proposal from Gov. David Ige’s administration did not survive last session.

Senators are also expected to hear a measure Wednesday that has been dramatically expanded beyond extending Oahu’s tax surcharge to pay for rail.

That measure, Senate Bill 1183, has been amended to direct an unspecified amount of money from the surcharge to help the highways fund….

At least one senator who voted in favor of SB 1012 on Monday voted with reservations. Breene Harimoto told Fuchigami that, while he understands DOT’s financial challenges, his constituents feel the money seems to go into “a black hole.”

Harimoto asked for a list of DOT projects, something Fuchigami agreed to provide. But the DOT director also warned that a lot of his department’s expenses are tied to the unexpected, such as mudslides and deteriorating coastlines that impair roads (insert excuses here).

SB 1012 was amended to reduce the tax and fee increases sought by the DOT.

The fuel tax would be raised 10 cents, to 16 cents per gallon, rather than to the 22 cents sought by DOT. And the registration fee rate would grow by $5 to $50, instead of to $75.

Should SB 1012 survive, or similar measures that could also move through the Legislature, final details could be worked out in conference committee at the end of April.

read … Fee Hikes

PUC to Consider $300M HECO Rate Hike

IM: …First, if the Commission approves HECO’s requested SGS step adjustment, HECO requests a general increase in revenues of $299,859,000 (22.0%) over "revenues at present rates" (or $125,010,000 (8.13%) over "revenues at current effective rates"). HECO’s alleges that its requested increase is based on a revenue requirement of $1,662,986,000, based on 2016 fuel prices and an 8.28% rate of return (which incorporates a return on common equity of 10.60%) on HECO’s average rate base. 

Second, if the Commission rejects the proposed SGS step adjustment, HECO seeks Commission approval of a general increase in revenues of $281,234,000 (20.7%) over "revenues at present rates" or $106,383,000 (6.9%) over "revenues at current effective rates". HECO’s alleges that its requested increase is based on a revenue requirement of $1,642,362,000 for a normalized 2017 test year, which is based on fuel oil prices in 2016 and an 8.28% rate of return, which incorporates a return on common equity of 10.60%, on HECO’s average rate base….

read … HECO Rate Hike Hearing on Feb 22

Doctors hui opposes assisted-death bill

SA: A group of local doctors fears that proposed legislation to allow the terminally ill to end their own lives will endanger the public’s health and safety.

Physicians are worried that bills that would give ailing residents the right to request prescriptions for lethal dosages of drugs would slow the progress of end-of-life care, lower the quality of care and potentially open the door to elder abuse. One such proposal, Senate Bill 1129, is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. before the Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee.

Dr. Craig Nakatsuka, a hospice and palliative care physician with Hawaii’s Partnership for Appropriate &Compassionate Care, described at a Monday news conference scenarios involving two elderly Asian women seeking recommendations of how to end their lives after their children suggested “they had outlived their usefulness.”

“If assisted suicide is legalized in Hawaii, this will be the new norm in society,” he said. “This law would then turn the practice of medicine in this area from healers to killers.” ….

read … Doctors hui opposes assisted-death bill

Are Hawaii’s Wind Farms Killing Too Many Hoary Bats?

EH: As Environment Hawaii reports in a related article, the state’s wind energy facilities may be killing large numbers of endangered Hawaiian hoary bats faster than resource managers can determine with any accuracy….

read … Yes

How Housing Shortage caused by City of Honolulu Regs

CB: …In the 1980s, the City Council and the mayor mandated special design district zoning, or downzoned lands, from Kaimuki to downtown. Developers and landowners rushed to get their 350-foot-high building permits and development entitlements, but from around 1985 Honolulu saw little to no high-rise development as a result of this “down-zoning.”

The private sector stopped building apartment rental buildings in urban Honolulu 30 years ago because of poor economics. Only condominium residential projects with their individual purchaser financing can be feasibly developed by the private sector.

Prior to 1990, the homeless population was at a low level as rentals were abundant in vertical condominium buildings. But condominium rental occupancy changed over the last 30 years from 80 percent rentals to 40 percent. This has been caused by middle income owner-occupant purchases and the housing shortage.

read … Yes, We Can Build Our Way Out Of The Housing Shortage

HB778: “Thousands of B&Bs on Ag Land”

KE: …Last Friday, Creagan’s committee passed HB 778, which would allow housing on privately-owned ag lands with a C,D or E classification, and no associated farm use. It's ostensibly intended to promote affordable housing. But the way the bill is written, it's going to result in either more gentrification, ag shanty towns, or a combination of both. Why? Because the bill contains this disturbing line:

the authorization of dwelling units under this paragraph shall not be subject to regulation by a county;

The preamble references the use of water catchment systems and composting toilets to minimize infrastructure costs, and metal roofing and other low-grade building materials to keep construction costs under $100 per square foot.

It also references, ominously, what is perhaps the true motivation for the bill:

On another island, Ireland, agriculture has been supported and enhanced by the on-farm presence of thousands of bed-and-breakfast accommodations and farm-stay units….

Creagan has been pushing bills advanced by the anti-GMO crowd that give counties home rule in regard to pesticides. But he doesn't want to give counties any say over substandard housing and tourism on ag lands….

On a related note, isn't it a tad inappropriate for Edward G. (Ted) Bohlen, a deputy attorney general assigned to the state Department of Health, and legal counsel for the Hawai'i Environmental Council and Office of Environmental Quality Control, to be advocating on behalf of the Hawaii Center for Food Safety's political action fund?  (Link: Pg 165)

read … Musings: Creagan's Attack on Ag

Hundreds seek help from state rent assistance program

HNN: A new state program that offers emergency rent assistance to families is aimed at helping hundreds from ending up on the streets.

At the Hawaii Public Housing Authority in Liliha on Monday, families on the brink of missing their monthly rent payments met with agency employees to determine how much they were eligible for under the Rent Supplement Program. 

Hakim Ouansafi, executive director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, said when his office opened the wait list for applicants, about 1,200 families signed up in just three days. His office aimed to help about 200 of those families on Monday, with some 500 being served by the end of the week.

The agency says it hopes to re-open the wait list for qualified applicants in about eight months….

The state Legislature set aside a little over $1 million for the program. The dollar amount each family receives depends on their annual income. And in order to qualify, families must be at or near the poverty line -- 60 percent of the area's medium income….

read … Hundreds seek help from state rent assistance program

Four Sneaky Bills Would give counties the authority to regulate pesticide use

SA: …the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals late last year that Hawaii counties do not have authority to independently regulate GMOs and pesticide use. The court upheld decisions by two different U.S. District Court judges, covering county ordinances and initiatives in Hawaii, Maui and Kauai counties — that pesticide and GMOs were fields for which the state had reserved to itself all regulatory power and that counties could not go their own ways with local restrictions.

But both the House and Senate are considering at least three bills whose titles suggest some other purpose, but whose stealth intention is to create such individual county authority over pesticide use and sanction legally whatever counties may decide to do — no questions asked, no scientific validity required.

The push for county authority over pesticides delivered its biggest performance on Kauai, where the infamous Bill 2491 to punish GMO seed companies indirectly by imposing overbearing county pesticide regulation took root. It passed narrowly, over a mayoral veto, then was overturned by the federal court. To its credit, a couple of weeks ago, the Kauai County Council repealed the law, agreeing that doing otherwise was foolish and the slate needs to be wiped clean to begin anew the process of repairing damage to Kauai’s community fabric done by the GMO/pesticide controversy.

Among the bills that would reopen the wound are House Bills 790, 282 and 1571, all of which have cleared House committees….

read … Lunatics Run Asylum

Hooser Wants to Legalize Genetically Modified Marijuana

CB: “We need the money.” – Gary Hooser

Reality: Marijuana is a GMO

read … Legalize This GMO

Homeless Drug Addicts -- 1 million dirty syringes collected statewide in 2016

HNN: The CHOW project collected a record-breaking 1 million dirty syringes statewide in 2016.

That's up by 43,000 from the year before.  

Lusk said that historically, syringes have been used to inject opiates. But as those drugs have gotten harder to get, many users have switched to methamphetamine.

Instead of smoking it, she said, users are shooting it.

The nonprofit found that in 2015, about one third of clients injected the drug. Now, well over half admit to shooting up.

One reason for the switch is that it's cheaper.

"If they inject it instead of smoke it does last longer," Lusk said….

Statewide two-thirds of CHOW Project clients surveyed say they're homeless. The majority also suffer from mental health issues….

Lusk added that one of the CHOW Project's biggest struggles is when a client is ready to get clean it can take days to weeks to get someone into a treatment center because of a shortage of beds.

(1M / 365 = 2,740 needles per day)

(1M / 52 = 19,231 needles per week)

read … Addicts

After 19 Years Convention Center Finally Gets Around to Booking Sporting Events

KHON: “We’re super excited to be getting into the sports market. This is a game that we were not involved in or participating in, and this is a new market segment that we feel will certainly bring offshore business to the state of Hawaii and bring hotel room nights to our hotel partners,” said Teri Orton, Hawaii Convention Center general manager.

Orton says the new courts cost little more than a million dollars, but thanks in part to a volleyball tournament featuring dozens of teams from here and the mainland happening this weekend, they’re already paying for themselves.

“With these two tournaments that we put on the books in the last 12 months, we’ve already generated more than $1.3 million in tax revenue, so in essence, we’ve kind of payback the courts in the first year,” Orton said.

Completed in 1998 at a cost of $200 million, the convention center lost an average of $3.5 million a year before finally turning its first profit ever in 2016, when it banked $615,000.

Orton says the fully portable courts represent a completely new potential revenue stream that has yet to be tapped.

“In total, we have the ability to lay out, compassing all of our exhibition halls, 28 volleyball courts, 19 basketball courts, 11 indoor soccer courts, so this kind of opens the door to not only volleyball and basketball, but really any indoor sport,” she said….

read … New million-dollar sports venture already paying off for Hawaii

Age 33 - 6 Felonies: Criminal Dead Because of Soft on Crime Policies

KHON:  …According to social media, the driver was Pekelo Sanchez. The 33 year old has a criminal history with 6 felonies: three for drug charges and three for auto theft.  (If he had been sentenced properly, he would be in prison now instead of dead.)  Video before the shooting shows the officers confronting the driver of the stolen truck and attempting to get him out.  Police smashed in the back window as they tried to stop him. Then ,according to HPD, the driver slammed into two apartments and dragged officers when he tried to get away.  Sanchez was shot by officers and died at the scene….

read … Soft on Crime

McDermott: Travel Ban Needed

SA: …In the interest of national security, a president clearly has the authority to restrict immigration or travel from hostile states under federal immigration law Section 1182 (f). The key phrase: “… (the President may) suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem appropriate.”

Keep in mind that this is a temporary ban that directly impacts only seven nations, which were originally identified by the Obama administration….

KITV: Judge OKs adding Hawaii imam to state's travel ban lawsuit

read … Needed

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