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Saturday, August 26, 2017
August 26, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:09 PM :: 3510 Views

UHPA: Fund our Contract During Special Session

Hawaii Millionaire Will Go Broke Faster Than Any Other State

Saltchuk puts Matson’s terminal expansion at risk?

You are more than partners in the waste and fraud; you are the enablers

Caldwell: Legislators too Stupid to Understand Where Latest $548M Came from

KHON: …Just 11 days ago, lawmakers quizzed Caldwell at a rail tax hearing. Rep Andria Tupola, R, Ewa Villages, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili, asked:

Tupola: When you assumed office, Mayor, what was the price tag of the rail?

Caldwell: $5.2 billion.

Tupola: And what is the price tag today?

Caldwell: $8.2 billion.

Fast forward 10 days, and new Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and city numbers Always Investigating reviewed show an $8.7 billion cost, along with a letter from the mayor telling lawmakers their bailout is coming up short.

Why? Mostly, the mayor writes, because a federally required contingency adds another $548 million.

State lawmakers and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa say that’s news to them.

“As many of you know, I served as the HART chair, and as soon as I saw what the mayor said and tried to get through what he’s talking about, it’s definitely not something that has been presented to the Legislature or documented in the reports that they have,” Hanabusa said.

“From talking to the House and Senate, they feel that somehow this stress test of construction contingency was not presented to them, and yet we’ve had many presentations where we’ve submitted in writing that number, and it’s actually been testified too,” Caldwell said.

Always Investigating asked the mayor’s office for the presentations and testimony. Following the initial airing of our story, a spokesman provided several examples….

KHON: How to Testify Against Rail Tax Hikes

ILind: Keeping track of the special legislative session on rail

HTH: Kahele to host town hall meeting Weds Aug 30

read … Stress Test

Caldwell is accused of padding rail budget

SA: As late as May 26, the financial reports provided to the Legislature put the total project cost at $8.16 billion. On Wednesday — a day before lawmakers were to announce their tentative deal to bail out the project — city and rail officials gave them a new report. It put rail’s total cost at $8.71 billion, documents provided by legislative leaders show….

legislative leaders, including House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke (D, Punchbowl-Pauoa-Nuuanu), say that for years they’ve been assured the city included the stress test in rail’s final cost.

“We were told a few years ago when there were different players … that, ‘Yes, we accounted for those contingencies and we built them in,’” Luke said Friday.

“So, that’s why we think it’s disingenuous that now they’re coming in with this new figure of 10 percent contingency, because we knew where that was,” she added. “It was embedded into the budget.”

PDF: Rail Project Costs (May 26)

PDF: Rail Project Costs (August 23)

Coincidence? July 15, 2017: While Rail Hangs in Balance, Caldwell Plans to Splurge $500M on Blaisdell

read … Padding

Mufi Hannemann, Sister Island Councilmembers: No TAT Hike

HNN: …"We oppose any increase in the transient accommodation taxes,” said Mufi Hannemann, CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.

"It's going to make it more difficult to make it affordable for folks to come to Hawaii if they keep increasing these taxes."

Hannemann said the visitor industry expects to see a slowdown as early as this fall and that increasing the transient accommodation tax from 9.25 percent to 10.25 percent through 2030 could mean fewer tourists.

Meanwhile, neighbor island leaders said they don't appreciate higher taxes on their visitor industry going to fund Oahu's rail.

Earlier this year, all three neighbor island counties increased their property taxes.

"I do not support the increase in the TAT on the neighbor islands or the entire state to fund that project,” said Kauai Council Chair Mel Rapozo.

Added acting Big Island Mayor Wil Okabe: “It doesn't sit well with neighbor islanders. From Kauai, Maui to the Big Island,” he said…..

FH: Zero Short term Rentals for Molokai

MN: Haiku residents divided on short-term rentals

MN: Maui County ordered to refund $10.7M in Timeshare property taxes

read … Plan to raise hotel room tax to fund beleaguered rail project irks some

UH-Hilo Suggests Legally Binding Mauna Kea Conditions

BIVN: …Proposed New Conditions Nos. 10 through 13.1 The University shall meet its decommissioning commitments, as set forth in the letter from University President David Lassner to BLNR Chair Suzanne Case dated November 7, 2015, and in the Decommissioning Plan for the Mauna Kea Observatories, in accordance with the following conditions. Condition Nos. 10 through 13 shall be applicable only upon approval and development of the TMT Project.

10. The TMT Project site will be the last new area on Mauna Kea where a telescope project will be contemplated or sought by the University;

11. The University will decommission three telescopes permanently, as soon as possible and before TMT can go into Operation, and no new observatories will be constructed on those sites;

12. These commitments will be legally binding on the University and may be regarded as a condition of the University’s current leases, and of any lease renewal or extension proposed by the University, for Mauna Kea; and

13. Notwithstanding any lease renewal or extension, consistent with the Decommissioning Plan, at least two additional facilities will be permanently decommissioned by December 31, 2033, to include the Very Long Baseline Array antenna and at least one additional observatory.

The proposal is in line with Governor David Ige’s May 26, 2015 announcement of a 10 point action plan for the stewardship of Mauna Kea, issued at the height of the tensions over the TMT project. That was before the Hawaii Supreme Court vacated the observatory permit and remanded the matter back to the land board in order to conduct a second, now-concluded, contested case hearing.

A few days after the filing of exceptions, the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents approved a resolution affirming the university’s commitment to the collaborative stewardship of Mauna Kea’s cultural, natural, educational and scientific resources….

KAHEA: Don’t Rely On Amano’s TMT Recommendation

read … UH-Hilo Suggests Legally Binding Mauna Kea Conditions

City ordinance change requires wind developers to hold public hearings

SA: Wind developers looking to build on Oahu are now required to give the public more opportunity to be heard.

On Thursday, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill that requires wind farm developers looking to build in agricultural or country zones on Oahu to host a public hearing, present details to the area neighborhood board or community association and notify nearby property owners of the pending permit application.

The ordinance, which requires developers of wind machines to obtain a conditional use permit major instead of a conditional use permit minor, took effect Thursday. A conditional use permit minor does not require a public hearing. The intent of the rule change is to provide more occasions for public input before a developer can obtain a permit. The changes would apply to developers looking to build wind turbines with more than 100 kilowatts of capacity or standing 400 feet tall….

The new guidelines would not apply to the latest wind project for Oahu, which consists of eight to nine wind turbines planned to be built near Kahuku….

read … Required

Global Warming Exists Thanks to Years of Dire Warnings

SA: …Star-Adv: Unlike previous years, this summer’s king tides — the highest of the year — captured our attention….  (Translation they are nothing new.  We just directed you to notice.)

It’s also likely that thanks to years of dire warnings, we have a new frame of reference for coastal flooding — it’s not just a seasonal nuisance anymore, but a harbinger of things to come. Climate change is on our minds, as it should be….

The renewed efforts to prepare Hawaii for the long-term effects of climate change stem from Act 83, the Hawaii Climate Adaptation Initiative Act. The act, passed in 2014, created an interagency committee to prepare the technical report, which is expected to provide some guidance on how the state should plan for this vulnerability.

Sam Lemmo, administrator of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands, said the report will model a 3.2-foot sea level rise, which these days sounds relatively modest.

“It’s not going to stop there, unless something miraculous happens,” he said. The latest science, he noted, suggests that “it is physically plausible that sea level could rise by as much as 6 feet.”…

When could all this happen? In 10, 20, 50 years?  “No one really knows,” Lemmo said. There are too many variables….

(IQ Test: Are you laughing?)

read … We’re all gonnd diiiie 

Anti-Superferry Hypesters Mark Decade of Mob Rule

KGI: A decade ago, Hawaii’s Superferry was turned back from Kauai.

That was the beginning of the end for the Superferry. The Kauai Chapter of Surfrider Foundation is remembering that 2007 campaign and historic confrontation with a party and panel discussion tonight at Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor’s Nawiliwili Yacht Club.

Jonathan Jay said blocking the ferry was a life-changing experience.

“It showed me what happens when people come together in the community and act in unison with a single vision, clear values, and respect for the aina, all these things the kupuna keep telling us over and over,” said Jay, KKCR talk show host…..

Some have argued the Superferry would have given Kauai another option for interisland travel instead of relying entirely on the airline industry and paying what they believe are high fares. Other have said a ferry system is needed and would be welcome today as a less expensive way for families to travel to Oahu.

“We need competition and we don’t have it,” wrote Ray Domingo of Hanamaulu in a letter to The Garden Island.

In 2016, the state Department of Transportation conducted a feasibility study to reestablish a ferry system.

“It was 10 years ago and lots of people don’t know why we opposed the Superferry,” said Gordon LaBedz, vice-chair of the Surfrider Foundation. “When you first hear about the concept of a car ferry between the islands that’s going to compete with the airlines, your first reaction is it’s a great idea.”….

“It was an amazing thing. I’m a different person today because of it, and a better man.”

read … Decade of Ignorance

Hawai`i Anti-Marijuana Bureaucrat Profits from Selling Medical Marijuana

IM: Keith Kamita, the former anti-marijuana crusader, and now chief compliance officer for a medical marijuana dispensary, CURE Oahu, addressed Hawai`i’s Act 230 Medical Cannabis Legislative Oversight Working Group, held at the Hawai`i State Capitol on August 23, 2017.

Keith Kamita worked for the Hawai`i Department of Public Safety from 1986-2015. During most of his career he worked for the Narcotics Enforcement Division.

Kamita received a BS in Criminal Justice from Chaminade University in 1982, and graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation`s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 1997.

Unlike most other states, Hawai`i`s medical marijuana program was placed under the Narcotics Enforcement Division, not the Department of Health. Processing paperwork was slow and inefficient.

Kamita asserted in 2010 that young people were abusing the program.  “There’s a question of whether it’s severe enough for them to be in the program.” Kamita asserted that many doctors did not care about health issues.  “We have physicians in Hawaii who do this just as a business.” Then there is the problem of crime. “You bring in crime with dispensaries.” As opposed to the criminal black market when dispensaries are not allowed to exist.

According to West Hawaii Today, Kamita stated that “just 2 percent of the current patients suffer from cancer and other debilitating ailments the program is intended to target…He says marijuana is also prescribed for patients complaining of headaches, pain from wearing high heels, dry skin, insomnia and other ailments.”

Kamita warned that for every dollar raised by taxing medical marijuana, the government would be forced to spend $4 for social services and addiction treatment…..

read … Hawai`i Anti-Marijuana Bureaucrat Profits from Selling Medical Marijuana

Clinic that caters to homeless aimed at easing burden on state's largest hospital

HNN: …Inside the ER at the state's largest hospital, beds are so scarce it's become common for patients to be treated in the hallway….

the biggest spike is among the homeless population. From 2013 and 2016, the number of homeless people being admitted to the ER has nearly doubled — at a cost to taxpayers and the hospital of $90 million a year.

"We can sometimes no longer meet the needs of our community because we're full in the emergency room," said Dr. Daniel Cheng, assistant chief of Queen's ER….

The 24-7 urgent health care facility will cater to the island's needy. The project involves HMSA and Queens — and the $5 million a year price tag will largely be covered by grants and donations. The remainder will be reimbursed by insurance companies.

The first floor of the facility, located at 431 Kuwili St., will house a hygiene center equipped with showers, restrooms and a laundry facility. The second level will be converted into a health clinic that includes drug treatment and mental health services. The top two floors are for extended care…..

Currently, only 15 percent of homeless patients coming into the hospital have a true emergency.

Most just need to be cleaned up and given some prescription meds.

"Every time you go to the ER it's over $1,000," Green said. "Every time you're admitted to the hospital it's over $4,000. The moment we have H-4 the cost drop down to pennies on the dollar and people get sustained care."….

MN: ‘Rapid Re-Housing’ an effective method for helping homeless

Related: Mental Health: Can Reform Solve Hawaii’s Homeless, Prison and Unfunded Liability Problems?

read … Clinic that caters to homeless aimed at easing burden on state's largest hospital

$33M Procurement Suspended to Fix Koolina Caldwell Spill

KHON: …The city says that within a four-month period, there were six sewage spills in that area. We wanted to know how an emergency proclamation can help.

The idea is to speed up the process. City officials say the sewage pipes, in their current condition, pose an environmental and a public safety risk.

The city says corrosion is causing the two sewage pipes known as force mains to crack at the West Beach Wastewater Pump Station near Ko Olina Resort. That has led to hundreds of thousands of raw sewage to spill in the area.

In its request to the state for an emergency proclamation to replace the pipes, the city points out that future spills are likely….

“This would bypass some procurement rules, and we never like doing that, but because this is a very serious situation that could affect the health and safety of people especially in the immediate area, we felt this was something that was very important to do,” Pine said.

In a statement, Lori Kahikina, director of the city’s Department of Environmental Services, said that getting an emergency proclamation would expedite the process and would save at least a year. The procurement procedure can lead to legal challenges that can cause numerous delays.

The city would also need several permits from federal, state, and city agencies.

“How unusual is this?” KHON2 asked.

“I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen something like this for a project like this,” said Pine. “We’ve seen a lot of sewer breaks before, but never as Channel 2 has reported so many in one location with the same piping, which shows we have a very unusual situation which very rarely happens.”

Pine says the city council first had to appropriate the money. The cost of the project is $33.6 million….

read … Caldwell Spill



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