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Thursday, April 13, 2017
April 13, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:44 PM :: 3610 Views

Those Life Saving Facts

GE Tax Hike and Property Tax Hike: A double-whammy of taxes to pay for Honolulu’s ‘over priced, over budget’ rail system

KHON: …State lawmakers are closer to extending the rail surcharge just two years, instead of permanently like the city wanted.

Now Mayor Kirk Caldwell said property taxes could go up this year to cover the rising cost of rail.

On Tuesday, Caldwell proposed revising city ordinance so that the City can use its general funds for rail construction, instead of just general excise taxes as is currently allowed….

the Mayor said the next option to close the gap is to raise the property tax rate between 8% and 14%, and he said it would have to start this fiscal year.

read … Double Whammy

Counties, Tourism Industry Challenge HSTA Slush Fund Tax

HTH: …Senate Bill 683 would ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment to create an “education surcharge” on residential investment properties and visitor accommodations.

The tax, as originally proposed (key words), would apply to timeshares, hotel rooms and other vacation units. People who own one home would not see an increase nor would those with a second home who rent out properties for less than $1,500 per month.  (Until it is changed later.)

Low-income households, seniors on fixed incomes, people with disabilities, wounded veterans, Hawaiian homesteaders, charities and schools also would be exempt, under the original proposal. (Until it is changed later.)

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, which is advocating for the bill, touted it as an ideal way to generate money (a multi-billion dollar slush fund) for public schools because it taxes properties often owned by out-of-staters.  (IQ Test: Do you believe only non-residents will pay?) The teachers union says up to (key words: “up to”) 30 percent of homes in the state are owned by nonresidents and the surcharge could bring in about $500 million per year.

The idea, though, garnered backlash from people in Hawaii Island’s visitor industry. Many previously said they worry it could hamper tourism and would tack on more fees to an industry that already is heavily taxed.

Jasper Moore, owner of Lotus Garden in downtown Hilo, a cluster of short-term apartments, rooms and vacation cottages for rent, said his business took a hit several years ago when the state last upped taxes on visitors.

“It might appear to be an easy way to grab money from people traveling to the state with little impact to the population, but that’s not really the case,” Moore said Wednesday. “Already, I have guests who come and think they’ve paid their entire bill and I say ‘No, we need to collect more tax,’ and their eyebrows go up. For a lot of people on a budget, it’s a big hit.”

The measure also garnered concern from Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, who said in written testimony a surcharge would “limit county options and make it even more difficult to balance our budgets.”

“Therefore, we have to jealously guard this taxing authority and ask that you not breach this line of authority,” Kim said. “… Please do not deprive the counties of this needed source of revenue, by dividing the pie even further.”….

read … HSTA Tax

Public may get more say on Oahu wind farms

SA: …Wind farm developers looking to build in agricultural or country zones on Oahu must host a public hearing, present details to the area neighborhood board or community association and notify nearby property owners of the pending permit application, according to rule changes adopted by the Honolulu Planning Commission.

The commission’s six members voted unanimously Wednesday to change the City’s Land Use Ordinance. The changes now go to the City Council for approval, then the mayor has to sign off….

read … Public may get more say in wind farms

HB165: Bring Sunshine Law into 2017 with online notices, postings

SA: HB 165 would require boards to provide notices by email and to post meeting agendas on a website for easy public access.

Those agendas, however, provide minimal notice about what a government board will consider. A board typically prepares more detailed “board packets” for its members. Many boards do not make those board packets available to the public before a meeting, delaying public access until after a final board vote.

Interested citizens must guess what the board will discuss and then present, at times, misdirected or confusing testimony. HB 165 would permit us to participate in board and commission meetings in a meaningful way. It would require that, when board members receive the board packets, everyone else also has reasonably prompt access to the public records in the packet. We wouldn’t be left in the dark when preparing testimony.

HB 165 will also make it easier for the public to find out what happened at prior board meetings. People frequently complain that board minutes are not readily accessible, even a month or more after a meeting. The bill would require that boards post meeting minutes on the Internet within 40 days after a meeting.

HB165: Text, Status

read … Sunshine

Musings: Real and Imagined Dangers

KE: …billboards near the capital city of Albuquerque advertise legal services to the uranium miners, Cold War veterans and “downwinders” who are suffering health problems as a result of radiation exposure. Residents of four counties in the Tularosa Basin, near the Trinity test site, recently completed their own health impact assessment in an effort to be included in the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which is already helping downwinders in Nevada and Arizona.

Coincidentally, The Garden Island yesterday carried a story about a “downwinder” who now lives in Poipu and his extensive health problems.

Reading about his very real health problems, and those suffered by others who were exposed to radiation, got me thinking about the claims that have been leveled against the seed companies in Hawaii. None of those claims have been documented. Indeed, assertions of higher cancer rates have been disproven.

And though defeated state House candidate Fern Rosenstiel is quoted in the March Against Syngenta e-book as saying she was prompted to join the anti-GMO movement after a friend of hers “had a baby with an abdominal wall defect through which part of its small intestine protruded,” there's no evidence that ag pesticides caused that birth defect, or that Kauai babies are disproportionately affected.

The antis also have repeatedly asserted that the Hawaii Department of Health is ignoring their health concerns in favor of catering to corporate interests.

It was rather ironic, then, to see a recent report that ranked Hawaii #1 in the country for public health, #3 in health care quality and #2 in health care access. That's pretty good, considering all the hysterical assertions about how people and “paradise” are being poisoned by pesticides — but only the agricultural kind.

Meanwhile, the antis have been surprisingly mum about the rat lungworm disease that actually is making people seriously ill in Hawaii. You'd think a group that calls itself Center for Food Safety would be issuing public service announcements about how people can protect themselves from contracting rat lungworm disease, especially since it appears to be especially prevalent on the organic produce that group promotes.

But then, the whole anti-movement in Hawaii has never been about safety and health. It's all and only about trying to destroy GMO crops and conventional agriculture….

read … Musings: Real and Imagined Dangers

Hawaii Fishing Fleet: Enviros Try New Angle of Attack

KITV: …A Native Hawaiian fisherman is asking a state board to declare that only people who are lawfully admitted to the United States are allowed to get commercial fishing licenses.

The petition was filed Wednesday in response to an Associated Press investigation that found hundreds of foreign fishermen confined to boats and some living in subpar conditions. Hawaii grants the foreign fishermen licenses to fish but they aren't allowed to enter the country.

Malama Chun lives on Maui and says his family has seen a massive decline in fish stocks over generations….

read … Usual Suspects

HSTA Homosexual Child Molester Gets Probation

HNN: Greg Hirashiki could have received as many as 5 years in prison for putting his hands in the child's pants and fondling the child's genitals, which a prosecutor says happened on three separate occasions during school hours. 

The mother of the victim says Hirashiki deserves the maximum for what he did to her child.

"My son was such a carefree person, and because of this incident he, is no longer this carefree loving person anymore," said the boy's mother, who is not being identified to protect the child's privacy. "He just sheltered, he's closed now, because of what happened, because of what he did.

"I can't express how sick I feel because we trusted him with him," she added.

The prosecuting attorney says Hirashiki violated the boy's trust in the worst possible way.

"In school, their son would go to the defendant's classroom during breaks, lunch, reccess, after school, and spend time with him," said Rochelle Vidinha…..

read … HSTA Member

Your Tax Dollars paid for Transsexual Propaganda Film

CB: A documentary (propaganda) film about a transgender woman in Hawaii that has received awards and won wide praise is being cited by a Republican congressman as a waste of government money and a reason to eliminate federal funding for public broadcasting.

Maryland Republican Andy Harris made his remarks at a House subcommittee hearing where the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was speaking with lawmakers.

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls for eliminating funding for CPB, which uses federal support to help fund National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service. The administration also wants to cut all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities….

“Kumu Hina,” released in 2014, chronicles a year in the life of Honolulu resident Hina Wong-Kalu, a Native Hawaiian mahu, or transgender person. As a kumu (“teacher” and “community leader”), Wong-Kalu uses traditional culture to inspire her (his) students….  (Until his charter school was shut down for corruption.)

“I can’t explain to the people in my district why CPB invested $302,000 in ‘Kumu Hina,'” Harris said…..

read … About How Obama Spent Your Tax Dollars

100 Potheads Per Day Register to Feel Medicated

HNN: …The state is slowly making progress toward the opening of Hawaii's medical marijuana dispensaries: The first certified lab may be ready to start testing products soon, according to the Hawaii Department of Health.

The number of medical marijuana patients in Hawaii is rapidly rising, with 16,275 people registered as of the end of last month. Health department workers are struggling to keep up with the demand for registration cards.

"We currently are at 11 days turnaround time. 11 business days for processing, and the queue is 1,200 deep, so that's an average of 100 applications per business day," said Scottina Ruis, the coordinator of the Medical Marijuana Registry Program.

Four of the eight dispensary licensees have received approval to start cultivation, but delays with the software tracking system and the lack of state-certified private labs to test the products have proved to be costly problems.

"We are losing a lot of money every month as we wait for things to happen, in areas that are outside of our control," said Michael Takano, chief executive officer of Pono Life Maui. "It's painful, not just for us, but for the “patients” ….

KITV: State's medical cannabis program questioned about delays

read … Feeling Medicated?

Not in Good Standing: Nonprofit could get extended lease at Kewalo

SA: Board members of the Hawaii Community Development Authority voted last week to allow the agency’s executive director to negotiate a long-term lease for the nonprofit organization KUPU to use a waterfront building in Kakaako that KUPU has occupied on a month-to-month basis since 2010.

KUPU, which assists kids and young adults with life skills and job training through environmental conservation service work (or whatever), has been seeking a long-term lease to use the state-owned building known as the net shed at Kewalo Harbor for at least five years.

The nonprofit has plans to renovate the building, which was (allegedly) built for commercial fishermen to dry their nets…..

KUPU CEO John Leong in a statement expressed gratitude to the HCDA board for allowing a potentially 15-year lease with the possibility to extend terms for another 20 years…..

BREG: KUPU Not in Good Standing

read … Political Connections Pay Off

How HNL compares to America's best-run airports

read … How HNL compares to America's best-run airports

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