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Wednesday, December 27, 2017
December 27, 2107 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:34 PM :: 3327 Views

Pasha shipbuilder hit with $422 million fine in bribery case

2018 Legislative Session Calendar Posted

Ige Appoints Two New Cabinet Members

Thanks to Republicans, Thousands of Hawaii Workers Get Boost to $15/hour

SA: …You can just imagine the flurry of emails and texts that whizzed around between bank executives and board members starting last Friday afternoon:

BOH $1,000 bonus and min wage going from $12 to $15!

— OMG. We need to match.

FHB now saying $1,500 bonus for all employees!

— Copycats! Peer pressure! Ugh. We need to match.

— Maybe not match. Something similar tho. Turkey certificate? Coffee gift card?

Am Savings giving $1,000 bonus and minimum wage up to $15.25!

— OMG! We need to match.

Central Pacific Bank jumped in on the party on Christmas Day, announcing $1,000 bonuses for employees excluding executives and a new entry-level pay of $15.25 an hour. Meanwhile, all across Hawaii, there’s anticipation for which other companies might follow suit and grumblings about why some might not.

The bonus is like the Christmas turkey Scrooge buys Bob Cratchit. Nice for the holidays but gone after two dinners and a pot of jook. Happily, Cratchit got a raise as well, a gift that keeps on giving every hour that is worked all year long.

The banks credit the Republican tax overhaul and Donald Trump’s gift to corporations of a huge tax cut as the reason for this trickle-down windfall. But there’s also an element of peer pressure. If everyone else is doing it and getting accolades for the decision, a gaping, echoing hole of questions opens up around the front doors of other companies….

UPDATE: Territorial joins other banks in giving out bonuses and raising minimum wage

Related:

read … Republicans Win ‘Fight for $15’

State prison officials consider private partnerships

SA: State prison officials are asking lawmakers for $1 million to study the potential for forming “public-private partnerships” that could be used to help expand and modernize the crowded state correctional system.

Nolan Espinda, director of the state Department of Public Safety, said his department wants to seek out “professional advice” about the possibilities for using partnerships to design, build and perhaps finance prison or jail projects.

It might make sense for the state to enter into partnerships to execute projects such as building a new Maui jail, expanding the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua or replacing the Oahu Community Correctional Center in Kalihi, he said.

“We’re looking at what would be the possibility, what types of legislation would have to be offered up, what are the opportunities out there already in practice,” Espinda said. “The nuance of public-private partnerships in corrections is something that has not been explored in Hawaii, so we certainly owe it to the taxpayers to look at the possibilities for financing large government projects like this.”

One possibility being considered for OCCC would be to contract with a private company that would build a new prison or jail and then lease that facility to the state to operate. California, Arizona and Ohio have used that approach to develop new correctional facilities, according to state consultant Louis Berger Group.

(Better idea: Let private company build prison on State land at their own expense.  Then pay them to house prisoners, thus cutting the corrupt, expensive UPW out of the picture entirely and elimination all CIP costs.)

read … State prison officials consider private partnerships

Police to Homeless: Accept Shelter and I won’t give you a Ticket

CB: In a new program, officers work with outreach workers to help steer the homeless to services rather than just write tickets….

Related: Homeless Court clears hundreds of cases--16 Accept Housing

read … Honolulu Police Try Building More Trust With The Homeless

Pu'uhonua Villages Bill Would Build 8,000 Hard-Walled Structures for Homeless—No Tent Cities

HNN: …The plan would essentially replace the standard brick and mortar method, and use the unconventional construction approach to implement the idea of intershelter dome homes. Goodman says it's a fast moving fix that's easy to do, and would save the state big bucks.

"Conventional construction," Goodman explains, "usually in the state of Hawaii, takes about eight to ten years from inception to completion." Goodman continues, "That's why, realistically, this could be done within two years or less."

The Pu'uhonua plan proposes building 8,000 intershelter durable domes, which would be divided among 80 villages. To fulfill that goal would require roughly 160-acres of land. Right now, the bill suggests half of the Sand Island Recreation Area, and state owned land at Barbers Point.

The price-tag to build this to life, would cost less than $200-million dollars. …

read … Hard-Walled Structures Good Tent Cities Bad

Hawaii County Tries to Slip by Without EA for homeless tent city

HTH: Hawaii County continues to move forward with plans to relocate Camp Kikaha out of the Old Kona Industrial Area and expand it to accommodate several hundred homeless on a permanent basis — but both the process and pace of that change have been altered in recent weeks.

Initially, the county’s plan was to access five acres of a 35-acre parcel mauka of Queen Kaahumanu Highway and south of Kealakehe Parkway by way of a temporary right of entry permit. Roy Takemoto, executive assistant to Mayor Harry Kim, said doing so would have allowed for a more immediate relocation of some of Kona’s homeless, around 100 individuals, due to an environmental assessment requirement exemption that might accompany the permit.

That path was scrapped for two reasons, Takemoto said. The first was that Gov. David Ige was not willing to renew an emergency proclamation concerning homelessness he made in late 2015, which would have eased the way.

The second involved affording North Kona residents more say in the process by conducting an EA before moving any homeless to the area, even to a temporary site situated on five acres. An EA for the larger, permanent site was always part of the county’s plan….

The new route to construction of a permanent homeless site, replete with fully functional living spaces and social services, involves Hawaii County negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, which owns the parcel in question, listed on maps as Village 9.

Village 9 is home to about 30 acres of land suitable for development, the other five acres designated as a critical habitat. The county will lease 15 acres for its homeless project from the HHFDC, while the HHFDC will utilize the rest for a low-income housing project.

Under the ongoing negotiations, HHFDC would assume the cost of a master plan and an EA for the entire 30 acres, something Takemoto said was a necessity to make the project financially feasible for the county.

Kent Miyasaki, state housing information specialist, said the matter is likely to be decided at the next HHFDC Board meeting, scheduled for Jan. 11.

“I don’t see any opposition to approving it,” he said. “We’ve been discussing it for (several months).”

Takemoto said the county’s cost projections are around $160,000, according to a proposal from a consultant working on a separate EA for the proposed Kealakehe Regional Park, to be situated adjacent to the joint county/HHFDC housing development.

The original plan might have seen temporary igloo structures, to precede more permanent housing, filled by homeless as early as February or March. Assuming board approval of funding for the revised project, the master plan will likely require three months for development. Takemoto guessed the EA process as taking around another four months after that.

“Assuming everything goes well, we wouldn’t be able to do any site work until later summer,” he said…..

Since the camp took shape last August, 10 homeless people have moved on to emergency housing next door at HOPE Services Hawaii. Some of them have moved onward in the process toward permanent housing, while two of the 10 have already been placed in permanent homes. Camp Kikaha is not accepting any new tenants, Vandervoort explained….

read … County negotiates state approval to move forward with permanent homeless development

Molokai Still has State’s Highest Unemployment

MN: Molokai continued to have the highest unemployment in the state at 5.2 percent in November, the same rate as a month earlier. In November 2016, Molokai’s jobless rate was at 7.2 percent….

read … Thanks, Walter Ritte

Muslims Whine about Micronesian Support for Indigenous People of Israel

CB: When the United Nations passed a resolution last week denouncing the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, 128 nations voted in favor and 35 countries abstained.

Only seven countries joined the U.S. and Israel in supporting the controversial move, and three of them have important ties to Hawaii: Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.

The three Micronesian nations are particularly dependent on American largesse. Known as the “freely associated states” because of their unique treaty status with the U.S., they depend on over $200 million a year in direct federal assistance.

A writer for Middle East Eye, Ali Harb, made note of the Trump administration’s threat to cut off aid to nations that voted against the U.S.

read … Muslims Whine

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