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Monday, November 20, 2017
November 20, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:05 PM :: 6019 Views

What's in the Secret Air BnB Agreement?

DDOS Attack on Hawai’i Free Press tied to Gabbard’s Cult?

Hawaii Low Unemployment Caused by Exodus to mainland

SA: … as even malihini know, employment in paradise is complicated by high cost-of-living issues and a large supply of low-paying jobs. Recent declines in our labor force and in the number of people employed and unemployed indicate that Hawaii residents may be leaving the state to seek better opportunities on the mainland….

Big Q: Hawaii’s jobless rate is at a record low of 2.2 percent. What’s your job situation?

read … Exodus

Decline of Hawaii Farmland Caused by Environmentalism, not Development

SA: …Last fall, when Gov. David Ige addressed the the IUCN World Conservation Congress — an environmental convention held in Honolulu — he announced his “Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative.” In addition to more protection of watersheds, nearshore waters and various other green-focused objectives, Ige’s plan includes an aim to double Hawaii’s food production by 2020….

So far, that goal is yielding more aspirations than measurable operations.

While the state has a fairly recent fix on commercial crop acreage, it lacks firm figures on how much food is being produced locally versus what’s imported….

The state is faring better with the hurdle of charting commercial agricultural land use. Last year, the Agriculture Department released maps pinpointing farming and ranching operations — the first such update since a 1980 survey.

Done under a contract with the University of Hawaii-Hilo’s Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Lab, the satellite-based mapping underscores dramatic change in the state’s agricultural profile over the past several decades, with the passing of longstanding sugar and pineapple production.

In 1980 there was a total of 350,830 acres in crop production statewide, 85 percent of which was either sugar or pineapple. By 2015, when the baseline update was completed, total acreage had dropped to 151,830, with just 28 percent dedicated to those two crops. While sugar remained dominant in 2015, with 38,810 acres, most of that land is now fallow following the shuttering of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company on Maui late last year.  (Thank an activist.)

Today, Hawaii’s current top crops — seed production, commercial forestry and macadamia nuts — are grown primarily for export purposes. The bulk of emerging diversified acreage, which is planted with varieties of leaf, root and melon crops, are consumed locally. Farm land dedicated to those foods increased to 16,904 acres from 7,490 acres.

Accounting for more than three-fourths of the total commercial acreage is pasture land. Its tally in 2015 (761,429 acres) was down from 1.1 million acres in 1980. The decrease, according to the Agriculture Department, is due in large part to removal of remote lands from pasture use by landowners such as Kamehameha Schools and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands as well as acquisition of pasture properties by the National Park system, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army…. (Translation: It is caused by environmentalism.)

read … Many hurdles ahead in farming our land

Anti-Dairy Activist: “Tourism industry will get hurt”

KGI: …If the proposed dairy operates in its proposed location, the following events are inevitable: Visitors will not come to the largest Visitor Destination Area on the island.  (LOL!  ‘Inevitable’)

Although the South Shore will be most severely impacted, hotels, time-shares and other accommodations, as well as restaurants, retail shops, adventure activities, etc., throughout the island will be forced to operate with skeleton staff — or to close. (Armageddon!)

Jobs will be lost. Unemployment will increase. The tourism industry will suffer. The area hosts a large residential area, with homes and properties in diversified price ranges. Property values are destined to plummet, causing hardship on their owners. (Apocalypse!)

Devalued properties will require lower tax assessments. The amount of taxes collected by Kauai County will decrease. Because the county’s expenses will not decrease, taxes will have to be increased in other areas throughout the island….. (We’re all gonna die!)

read … Tourism is Environmentalism

Nearly 60 percent of Honolulu renters spend at least 30 percent of their incomes on housing

CB:Barry Higa works seven days a week at two jobs. But rent in Honolulu is so expensive that he still lives at home in Aiea with his parents, his sister and his nephew.

Higa, who is in his mid-30s, knows people in their 40s who are still living at home because they can’t afford to move out. Several of his friends recently moved to Las Vegas because the cost of living there is so much cheaper.

Things aren’t looking up on Oahu. A national study found that being able to afford rent is getting easier nationwide, but Honolulu is an exception.

The analysis by researchers from the website Apartment List found that the share of renters who spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent decreased nationally but has been growing in Honolulu….

read … 60%

Windfarms Drive Maui Electric Bills -- Up 18% in Two Months

SA: …Maui Electric Co. customers will see their bills spike in November for the second straight month. The average bill for a Maui household using 500 kilowatt-hours is $158.18, or 29.7 cents a kilowatt-hour. That was up $10.54 from $147.64, or 27.6 cents a kilowatt-hour, in October. Over the last two months, MECO customers have seen their average bill jump $19.94, or 14 percent, from $138.24 in September.

MECO customers on Molokai using 400 kilowatt-­hours of electricity will pay an average of $153.07, or 35.8 cents a kilowatt-hour, compared with $136.35, or 31.7 cents a kilowatt-hour, in October. Molokai customers have seen their bills soar $23.08, or 18 percent, from $129.99 in September.

Lanai residents using 400 kilowatt-hours of electricity will pay an average of $153.90, or 36.1 cents a kilowatt-hour, compared with $146.72, or 34.3 cents a kilowatt-hour, in October. Lanai customers have seen their bill jump $8.46, or 6 percent, from $145.44 in September…./

The average cost in November for HELCO residential customers using 500 kilowatt-hours is $177.60, or 33.2 cents a kilowatt-hour, up $4.63 from $172.97, or 32.3 cents a kilowatt-­hour, in October. Over the past two months, HELCO customers have seen their bills rise $6.08, or 3.5 percent, from $171.52 in September….

Fuel prices dictate electrical bills, as HECO’s energy mix is primarily made up of oil. In 2016, HECO’s energy mix was roughly 67.9 percent oil on Oahu.

(And yet Oahu is the only place with declining electric rates.  So what is the real cause?  Wind farms.  See: Wind Power Costs Raise Maui Consumers' Electric Bills.)

read … neighbor isles see no relief

Don’t let Airbnb hinder efforts to curb illegal rentals

SA: …On Monday, company executives circulated a memo to lawmakers describing the “voluntary collection agreement” it has with other jurisdictions, and is seeking here.

The state “would have access to information that allows it to audit the taxes we remit to ensure every dollar is accounted for,” Matt Middlebrook, Airbnb Hawaii public policy director, wrote in a commentary that appeared Wednesday in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

This means the state would need to conduct an audit to confirm that taxes are paid accurately. On that score, the deal may resemble one struck with Hillsborough County, the area including Tampa, Fla.

The principal worry comes in the company’s assertion that the agreement would not allow the state to share with the counties any of the properties’ identifying data because state law bars the sharing of taxpayer information.

But that ignores the fact that some data — address of the property, for example — is submitted to an online broker independently of its tax collection function. A rental “host,” as they’re called, submits that to advertise its availability to rent. And finding out which properties are being rented for the short term is essential to ensuring that zoning laws are upheld.

That’s why some critics of Airbnb’s position counter that there would be nothing to prevent the state from mandating, as a term of the agreement, that the address be released….

Related: What's in the Secret Air BnB Agreement?

read … Don’t let Airbnb hinder efforts to curb illegal rentals

New Idea for Affordable Housing – Build Apartments Above ‘Low Risk’ Juvenile Jail

SA: a proposed Pawaa hybrid project to include low-income rental apartments in conjunction with a juvenile shelter/service center….

It would be a cooperative effort — not a separation of silos — between the Judiciary and the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. (HHFDC), a state agency that helps finance affordable housing.

HHFDC is seeking bids from interested developers to build a tower of about 180 rental apartments, to remain affordable for 65 years to residents earning up to 60 percent of Honolulu’s area median income. Currently, that’s $43,980 yearly for an individual, $50,220 for a couple and $62,760 for a family of four. Those units would be atop about 34,000 square feet of proposed new facilities for low-risk (LOL!) youth offenders that the Judiciary would run…. (Maybe they could hire 7 laid-off state hospital employees.)

On this Pawaa project, HHFDC would help with $1.7 million for design work, $15 million for building of the juvenile facility and would lease the site to the developer for 75 years at $1 a year. In turn, the new juvenile facility would be leased back for $1 a year to the Judiciary, while the developer finances and operates the residential tower. It would be a creative solution that meets multiple needs….

read … Living Above Jail

Legal assisted suicide open to abuse

SA: Last year’s legislative session ended with a number of unresolved issues regarding physician-assisted suicide. The bill was deferred because of concerns over a lack of safeguards to protect Hawaii’s most vulnerable patients and proposed policies that violated the conscience of physicians.

We listened to stories about the importance of patient autonomy over and over throughout the session but, when pressed by legislators about potential abuse if assisted suicide were to be legalized, proponents seemed to shrug these questions off as irrelevant….

Legalized assisted suicide opens the door to more elder abuse in our islands. In Honolulu alone, the Elder Abuse Justice Unit of the City and County’s prosecutor’s office reports nearly a 300 percent increase in the number of elder abuse cases it has investigated since 2008….

Assisted suicide law would also adversely impact those with disabilities. At a time when we should be advocating for more rights for those with disabilities and stronger integration in the community, assisted suicide would be a major setback. Instead of empowerment and self-determination, those with disabilities will be further marginalized for taking up resources for “normal” people…..

Lobbyist: I’ll be back dying for Suicide Again

read … Legal assisted suicide open to abuse

Sherry Campagna Announces CD2 Campaign vs Gabbard

HNN: …U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard now has a challenger in the race for U.S. Congress.

Local community leader Sherry Campagna officially announced her candidacy for Hawaii's Second Congressional District at a gathering Saturday.

Campagna is a commissioner with the Hawaii Commission on the Status of Women and the former Hawaii State Chair of the Women's March on Washington. Also, according to her campaign, she is an environmental scientist, small business owner and a mom.

A Honolulu native, Campagna dedicates much of her time fighting for social change and environmental reform. ….

read … Race for Congress Dist 2

KPD's assistant chief placed on leave after complaint

HNN: …KPD Assistant Chief Roy Asher has been placed on administrative, unpaid leave while investigators respond to a complaint.

Sources say, the investigation is the result of a complaint made against Asher from inside the department, however details of the complaint are unclear…. 

KGI: Asher placed on unpaid leave

read … Complaint

Biofuels: Will State Supreme Court Order PUC to Consider so-called greenhouse gasses?

IM: Life of the Land lodged an appeal to the Hawai`i Supreme Court to reverse the Public Utilities Commission ruling in favor of the HELCO-Hu Honua biomass power purchase agreement. This is the first challenge by a PUC docket participant regarding climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in Hawai`i. Life of the Land is represented by Maui attorney Lance D. Collins….

Since 2011, the PUC has been expressly mandated by state law (Act 109 SLH 2011) to consider greenhouse gas emissions in their decision-making but has continued to totally disregard its duties under the law….

read … Greenhouse

UH Prof: Asians are ‘Tools of White Supremacy’

CB: …The concept of settler colonialism is an important framework to understand the damaging outcome of internalized racism, when people of color identify and collude with the system draining their nation’s resources to the benefit of mostly white men. Settler colonialism explains the ways we, as people of color from colonized nations, become tools of white supremacy and its civilizing, “West is Best” project. We need a theory that shows us the consequences of our migration.….

Best Comments: “Does UH ever hire anyone without a personal attack agenda?” … “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be transnational feminist activists.” … “Wow, I just don't think this kind of victim rhetoric is helping.” … “Free help is available.”

Totally Related: Telescope Protesters: Gon Must go because he is Asian

read … Crap

Disabled Job Seekers Left In Limbo By Agency’s Cash Crunch

CB: …their tuitions paid by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the state agency charged with administering state and federal funds that help people with disabilities seek and maintain jobs.

But funding for scores of individuals could be delayed in the wake of what DVR, a branch of the Department of Human Services, is calling “some budget issues.” ….

DVR officials said that they’re only anticipating a delay in payments for these services and chalk up the parents’ concerns to “miscommunication with the community.”

“We know that there may be a delay in payments. But, we want to reiterate that we do not anticipate a termination of services,” DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot said in a statement.

Additionally, new applicants for DVR services will now be forced to wait as the result of DVR’s decision last month to enter into a so-called order of selection, implemented when a state determines it can no longer pay for everyone who is eligible for services and funds only those with the most severe disabilities….

read … Disabled

Analysts, competitors cast doubt on prospects for third shipper to isles

SA: …TOTE insists that it can start service in 2020 with two ships. But rival carrier Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines claims that it can’t vacate space intended for TOTE at Piers 1 and 2 until 2022 or 2023 after the state finishes new cargo terminal space for Pasha at the harbor’s Ewa end.

“This timing is a clear inconsistency,” Matt Cox, CEO of Matson Inc., Hawaii’s dominant cargo carrier, said in a conference call with stock analysts earlier this month.

Mike Hansen, a local shipping industry watcher who heads a group called the Hawaii Shippers Council, has previously expressed skepticism. He estimates that TOTE wouldn’t be able to start using Piers 1 and 2 until 2024 or 2025, given the time it would take the state to improve those piers after Pasha moves and for TOTE to install cranes and other equipment.

“TOTE would not be able to inaugurate an interstate container service until Piers 1 and 2 become available because no other container terminal is available in Honolulu Harbor,” Hansen said in a written analysis….

Nolan, who made a range of predictions involving TOTE in a recent research report, gives a 25 to 50 percent chance that TOTE merges with Pasha and adds two ships to replace two he says Pasha will likely retire. That would leave Hawaii’s domestic shipping market with two competitors and no additional ship capacity….

The report said TOTE’s plan stems from “desperate measures” initiated by a Philadelphia shipbuilder at risk of shutting down if it can’t land a new order….

The analyst said the market for U.S.-built ship orders is depressed and that Philly Shipyard’s plan to build four ships for TOTE appeared to be a response to Pasha selecting Texas shipyard Keppel AmFELS to build two new ships to replace two older ships in its Hawaii service.

“The clear intent was to force Pasha to not move forward with their Keppel order,” Nolan’s report said.

But that didn’t happen. Pasha spokeswoman Emily Sinclair said last week that contracts have been signed with Keppel for the new vessels and that construction is underway on the first ship, to be named M/V George III.

Nolan expects something to give soon. “We suspect TOTE could withdraw their LOI from Philly Shipyard or make more overt merger pursuits with Pasha,” his report said….

read … Analysts, competitors cast doubt on prospects for third shipper to isles



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