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Saturday, May 6, 2017
May 6, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:22 PM :: 3804 Views

Anti-Dairy Activism Spreads: Big Island Dairy faces fine, possible lawsuit

NRA: Second Amendment Wrap-up--2017 Legislature

Gov. Ige Proclaims May 2017 as “Hawaii Military Appreciation Month”

UHERO: Hawaii economy begins Trump Era in fine form

Video: Lingle Joins Harvard Governors Panel on Opioid Crisis

Joe Souki to Run for Lt Gov?

MN: …The vote to oust him would have been 30 to 21, with the majority including two Maui lawmakers — South Maui Rep. Kaniela Ing and Central Maui Rep. Justin Woodson.

Souki, 84, said he harbors no ill will toward Ing and Woodson. (Translation: ‘I am coming for you.’)  “Some of them were misguided.”  Souki said Ing thought it was time for a “new generation to take over.”….  “I still have some teeth,” he said….

Earlier this year, the Capitol rumor mill was humming with speculation that Souki might be in line for lieutenant governor – if Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui resigned to run for mayor of Maui County and if Senate President Ron Kouchi of Kauai was not interested in taking the state’s No. 2 job.

At the time, in early April, Souki acknowledged he was interested in the lieutenant governor’s job. And, although the line-of-succession scenario is off the table now, Souki said he’s still interested — in running as a candidate….

When asked who might fill his House seat, Souki acknowledged there has been “some discussions,” and there are “people out there who’d fit in pretty well.”…

When asked for his post mortem on how he came to lose the speakership, he cited a number of factors.

One was when West Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey was booted as chairman of the House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee in mid-March. He was replaced by Oahu Rep. Roy Takumi, and McKelvey was given the chairmanship of the Higher Education Committee in place of Woodson, who moved to chairmanship of the Education Committee, previously chaired by Takumi.

When the faction led by new House Speaker Scott Saiki and Finance Committee Chairwoman Sylvia Luke learned they had 30 votes to replace McKelvey with Takumi, then “I guess that showed they had a little clout,” Souki said. “And it built from there.”….

New Generation of Leadership: Rep Kaniela Ing: Bin Laden Was “Leading a Movement Against the American Crusade”

read … Crowded Field

Rail Lie of the Day: HART says cost of killing project the same as finishing it

HNN: Shutting down Honolulu's rail transit project would cost roughly $3 billion, rail officials estimate, a number they say (their lips were moving, it is a dead giveaway) is roughly the same it will cost to finish it.

(IQ Test: Do you believe them?)

Back in 2015, the Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation provided similar figures for closing down the rail system. At the time, though, about one-quarter of the project had been completed – and the shutdown costs then were closer to $2 billion

Demolishing existing structures would cost $250 million, a fraction of the $775 million it would take to repay the Federal Transit Administration.

Officials estimate it would cost another $1.8 billion to unravel existing contracts and pay for legal claims, and that figure doesn't include future legal complaints from developers along the rail line who invested in properties with the hopes of building transit-related projects.

Rail critics don't dispute the $3 billion shutdown costs –  they just say completing the project will cost much more than that.

"That's really where the math begins to fall apart," said University of Hawaii Engineering Professor Panos Prevedouros.

"You would need $7 billion to $10 billion to get to Ala Moana. Already, the mayor was talking a few months ago at the Legislature talking about $10 billion total," he said.

Prevedouros says that even in the worst-case scenario of abandoning the trains, the fixed guideway could still be used for a bus rapid transit system.

read … Their Lips Were Moving

Councilwoman on shortening, stopping rail: ‘I would love to buy a Jaguar, but I can’t afford it’

KHON: …Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi says it might be time to face the reality that we just can’t afford it.

This comes a day after Councilwoman Kymberly Pine said that rail is dead, because state lawmakers did not come up with a funding bill for the project.

Kobayashi adds that it’s time to give serious thought to stopping the project, or at least shortening it to make it affordable.

She says even after the project is built, the city might not be able to afford the cost of operation and maintenance, so it makes sense to at least scale the project back.

State lawmakers ended the legislative session unable to agree on how to offset a $3 billion shortfall for the rail project. Kobayashi says it’s worrisome, and signals a time to make some tough decisions.

“If it was a business, I think they would stop it and say, ‘Stop the bleeding. We can’t keep throwing good money after bad,'” she said.

Kobayashi says state lawmakers are not to blame. The rail is a city project, and it’s the city’s responsibility to build something it can afford.

KHON2 asked Kobayashi, so it makes sense to consider not going all the way to Ala Moana Center, or just not doing it at all?

“I would love to buy a Jaguar, but I can’t afford it,” she replied. “I wouldn’t be able to afford the maintenance, and that’s why I don’t have one.”

Kobayashi says even if lawmakers come up with a funding bill and pass it through a special session, it would cost $100 million a year to operate and maintain the system. She’s not sure if the ridership can raise that amount, so city taxpayers will have to pay the difference.

She says that would likely mean raising property taxes, “because the ridership numbers are iffy. Even the amount of the operation and maintenance, we get different numbers. I know it’s over $100 million, and that already is scary.” ….

KITV: Taxpayers likely to help pay for rail if project continues

read … Councilwoman on shortening, stopping rail: ‘I would love to buy a Jaguar, but I can’t afford it’

Hawaii County: Kim Proposes major hikes in property, fuel taxes to Pay for Union Contracts

KHON: …residents on Hawaii Island are facing huge hikes in property and fuel taxes.

Here’s how they could impact you.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim says he needs $21.5 million to balance the county’s budget after cuts to the county’s share of the state’s Transient Accommodations Tax revenue plus new salary increases for many union workers.

To make it happen, he’s proposing a 6.5% increase in real property taxes, which would raise the residential rate 65 cents.

That means for a typical single-family home, property taxes would go up $227.

Hawaii County’s residential tax rate is already the highest in the state, about three times higher than Oahu’s.

On top of a hike in property taxes, Kim also wants to double the fuel tax hike from 8.8 cents per gallon to 19 cents in the next fiscal year, and gradually increasing to 23 cents by 2019.

The mayor’s proposal still need go through the county council, and during that process, members of the public will have a chance to voice their opinions.

PDF: Click here to view Mayor Kim’s message to the County Council

read … Hawaii County mayor proposes major hikes in property, fuel taxes

Counties Refuse to Legalize TVRs—Yet Complain About Cut in TAT!

KGI: Hawaii counties will soon be seeing a $10 million decrease in their allocation of Transient Accommodations Tax funds.

Usually, the counties get $103 million in TAT funds to share between them. Under the existing law, it is scheduled to shrink to $93 million after Fiscal Year 2017, said Carolyn Tanaka, spokeswoman for the House of Representatives.

“Our county is shortchanged by the Legislature on the TAT for the fifth-consecutive year,” said Ross Kagawa, Kauai councilman. “Even though the state collects significantly higher income and GET taxes, they still refuse to share the TAT with the counties.”

Mel Rapozo, council chair, said there are two options now — increasing revenue or reducing spending….

read … Man up and Face down the NIMBYS

Lifeguards, Orphan Roads, Schools: Legislators Stick it to Liar Caldwell Again and Again

KITV: …Mayors of all islands went to bat for their lifeguards.

They fought to keep limited liability coverage for ocean safety officers protecting state beaches.

But in the process they lost protection for their own guards at county beach parks.

"If it's good for state beaches, its good for county beaches," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

The coverage ends in June and counties are now left scrambling.

"It adds addition financial burden on the city and all the counties.  We will have to get additional insurance. If there are lawsuits we will to pay attorney's fees to defend out lifeguards which we will do," Caldwell said.

In addition to the lifeguard liability issue, the mayor said state lawmakers also added additional strains on the city budget and they also took away city land.

Lawmakers passed a bill that took miles of deteriorating roads where ownership is in question, and made them the city’s problem.

"They just unilaterally passed a law that dumps them on the Honolulu. If we were to take those roads and upgrade them to a good condition today, we are talking over a billion dollars. It's a huge burden that was just dumped on our lap,” said Caldwell….

The state had been eyeing all properties under educational facilities, though Senator Michelle Kidani was able to limit the take, to a dozen schools.

"But again, it is just to Honolulu, and I have to ask why is that??” said Caldwell.

The mayor hopes it's not personal, for these issues and most importantly the rail tax….

read … Rail tax rejection not the only disappointment for city mayor

Chief Selection Panel: Max Sword’s Clown Show is Illegal

HNN: …Beth Chapman, the wife of bounty hunter and Hawaii reality TV star Duane "Dog" Chapman, may not get the chance to help select the next Honolulu Police Chief – because of a technicality.

The Honolulu Police Commission issued a news release Friday saying they had skipped an important step in the process to find HPD's new leader.

Commissioners apparently failed to approve the use of a citizen's panel in the first place before taking nominations for candidates who could comprise such a group.

The panel was supposed to help narrow down the list of 38 chief candidates. Commissioners will have to vote to approve the panel at the next commission meeting, scheduled for May 17. 

It's unclear at this time if the commission will have to start the entire process over – meaning they will have to go back and re-nominate citizens for the panel. They already had a list of 13 names, including Chapman's.

"I was thinking outside the box," said Commission Chair Max Sword, when asked why he nominated Chapman. "There (has) been a lot of negative reaction to it."….

read … Clown Show Illegal 

Here's how big the gap is between Oahu's affordable housing need and its inventory

HNN: For every 100 extremely low-income renters on Oahu, there are only about 40 affordable rentals available, a new report from the Urban Institute concludes

And of those affordable rentals, just 11 are "naturally affordable" — or affordable without federal subsidies.

The institute used Census data from 2010 to 2014 for its calculations, so the picture could be even more stark today…..

Among the nation's largest 100 counties, Oahu ranked 37th for the size of that gap. Hidalgo, Texas had the smallest gap, with 71 affordable rentals for every 100 low-income renters.

The largest gap was found in Gwinnett, Ga. The county has just 14 affordable units per 100 low-income renters.

Meanwhile, the study found that the number of affordable units in Honolulu from 2000 to 2014 has decreased. (Seventeen years ago, there were about 44 affordable units for every 100 low-income renters.)

In the study, a renter who is extremely low-income is defined as someone who earned 0 to 30 percent of area median income….

PDF: Report 

read … How Big?

How Trump-hatred warps the judiciary

NR: Something ugly is happening to the First Amendment. It is being contorted to enable judges to protest Donald Trump's presidency. The perennial impulse of judges to manipulate the law to achieve morally and politically desirable ends has only been exacerbated by the felt necessity to "resist" Trump. The result: Legal tests concerning the freedoms of speech and religion that in some cases were already highly dubious are being further deformed and twisted….

read … Fake Law

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