Hawaii Highways Rank 47th in Cost-Effectiveness
Truth in Accounting: Defense Department
‘Net neutrality’ could keep Hawaii in slow lane
Jones Act leads to surreptitious imports of Russian LNG
Minimum Wage: Good intentions don’t always equal good policy
2018 Employment Bills Introduced
Ratepayers Soaked: $205M to Enable Green Energy Scams
CB: …HECO’s latest proposal, a grid modernization plan that the PUC approved on Thursday….
HECO estimates that the first, $205 million, six-year phase of its so called “grid mod” plan will cost Oahu ratepayers an average of 94 cents per month. The grid mod will cost customers on Hawaii Island about $2.07 more per month. Maui customers will pay about $1.93 a month more.
HECO initially engineered its grid to accommodate something relatively simple: a flow of energy, generally in one direction, from a handful of large power plants to its customers. Now, it needs to accommodate electricity flowing in multiple directions, produced from a staggering array of energy sources, including some 77,000 solar systems set up by HECO customers….
read … Soaked
Republican Tax Cuts to Reduce Electric Bills by $28M This Year
PBN: …Hawaii’s electric ratepayers may soon see a reduction of their electric bills as a result of the Republican-backed tax legislation, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump in December.
Honolulu-based utility company Hawaiian Electric Co., on Jan. 31 filed a letter with the state’s Public Utilities Commission in which it estimates the impact of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to be a reduction of more than $28 million in income tax expenses….
read … Thank a Republican
Measure would prevent Hawaii governor, mayors from having second jobs
HNN: … Which job would Caldwell quit? ….
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has a lucrative second job at Territorial Savings Bank, and that's raised concerns with members of the state Legislature.
Now, legislators are considering a proposal that would prevent acting governors and mayors from having second jobs. The bill doesn't apply to certain types of compensation — such as income from rental properties, stocks, or mutual funds.
House Bill 71 moved forward Thursday with amendments after committee review.
Lawmakers who support the bill believe that second jobs could provide conflicts of interest and distract city employees from pursuing their central public duties.
In 2016, Caldwell made between $200,000 and $300,000 from his
side (primary) job as a director at Territorial Savings, in addition to the almost $165,000 he makes yearly from (his side job with) the city….
Big Q: Should the governor and four mayors be barred from holding an outside job while in office?
SA: No outside jobs for governor, mayors
read … Measure would prevent Hawaii governor, mayors from having second jobs
New OHA bill proposes head to head race
HNN: …State senators heard testimony on a measure that would shift trustee at large races in the general election from the current three way match ups down to two.
Supporters say the change would make the election process more fair.
OHA candidate Brendon Kalei'aina Lee welcomes the change.
"If you're one on one, although the incumbent has name recognition because they're already in office, it gives voters a better chance to learn and understand who each candidate is versus having to pick three out of a whole giant field," Lee said.
Trustee Rowena Akana has been in office at OHA for 28 years told senators she strongly opposes the bill. ….
The OHA election bill is now up for review by the Senate judiciary committee. …
SB1303: Text, Status
read … New OHA bill proposes head to head race
Coco Palms Developer Fights Back With Its Own Native Hawaiian Research
CB: …a Native Hawaiian researcher has won a contract to fact-check claims made by activists battling for property rights with a hotel developer.
Honolulu-based redevelopment firm Coco Palms Hui has hired Keali’i Blaisdell, 47, to consult on genealogical land rights and Hawaiian Kingdom law as the company prepares a legal defense in a quiet title action.
Blaisdell, a Native Hawaiian and lives in the Pacific Northwest, has assembled a group of six other Native Hawaiians to aid in what he describes as a campaign to clear up legal misinterpretations that he says are fueling the occupation.
The other group members, who are unpaid, are Wilmont Kamaunu Kahaiali’i of Maui and Troy Hanohano, Mahiai Naihe, Lawaia Naihe, Sherri Cummings and Thomas “LB” Labanon of Kauai.
“We are not against Hawaiians because we are Hawaiians ourselves,” said Blaisdell, who was born on Oahu and briefly lived on Kauai. “But I’ve done my homework and we’ve seen the evidence point towards the opposite way of what these boys claim….
Related: Report: Coco Palms Grifters have no claim
read … Coco Palms
Legislature Hears Bills to Control Access to State Capitol and Mauna Kea
IM:…The Senate Committees on Government Operations chaired by Senator Donna Mercado Kim, and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs chaired by Senator Clarence K. Nishihara heard SB 3011 yesterday.
The bill would allow private security guards to protect the State Capitol from the citizens of Hawai`i. The bill would allow a fence to be built around the building, ignoring state and federal historic preservation laws. People would be stopped and searched for weapons….
HB 1565 and SB 3090 seek to “protect” Mauna Kea from the people. More than 350 testimonies were received in opposition to HB 1565.
SB 3090 was 5,000-words long. The proposed Senate Draft 1 is more than 16,000-words in length. The Senate Committees on High Education (HRE) and Water and Land (WTL) have scheduled SB 3090 for a hearing to be held in the State Capitol Auditorium for Monday, February 12, 2018 at 1:15 p.m….
read … Hawai`i Legislature Hears Bills to Control Access to State Capitol and Mauna Kea
State bill would mandate emergency shelter space
SA: …House Bill 2452 would mandate state buildings constructed after July 1 include a “shelter room or area” to protect people from a major Category 3-strength hurricane, which has sustained winds of 111 to 129 mph….
The bill originally included language calling for shelters to protect against hurricanes and nuclear fallout, but the nuclear part was removed during a committee hearing Thursday….
HB 2452 cleared the House Public Safety and Veterans, Military and International Affairs and Culture and the Arts Committees on Thursday.
Those same committees also advanced HB 2582, which calls for a task force made up of more than 30 stakeholders to develop recommendations for the state’s disaster preparedness plan….
read … State bill would mandate emergency shelter space
Hawaii’s tourism forecast presents warning signs, economist says
PBN: …While Hawaii’s tourism industry is making headlines for records set in visitor arrivals and spending, the industry has not yet returned to the economic peak reached 30 years ago.
Hawaii economist Paul Brewbaker said when adjusted in real terms, visitor spending has been consistently declining.
“There is a long-term trend decline in spending in real terms,” Brewbaker said during a Thursday event hosted by the Pacific Asia Travel Association. “We need to accept it, push through it and think of how we are going to get more money out of these people.”
He added that in the 1950s, visitors spent a value of $5,000 in the Islands during vacation. This has dropped 182 percent to an average of $1,768 in 2017…..
PBN: DBEDT forecasts slower, but continued tourism growth in 2018
SA: Tourism arrivals expected to increase, while inflation-adjusted spending remains stagnant
read … Stagnant
Bill to Save Fire Ants from Extinction
HNN: …Four bills are moving ahead in the state legislature, and lawmakers believe that a lack of action on the federal level will increase the likelihood that the bills will pass.
The bills would regulate the use of some heavily used pesticides, including a popular herbicide called Roundup.
Another target is the chemical chlorpyrifos, which has been found in some ant and roach killing household products. It's also used to control fire ants.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it's not a carcinogen, but it is considered moderately hazardous to humans by the World Health Organization….
The state Agriculture Department is asking the house panel not to ban phosphate.
"It is a general use pesticide," the department's Micah Munekata told the committee during a hearing Thursday. "I'm pretty sure most people have it in their back yards or in their garages."
"It's been around for 40 years. It's been used safely for 40 years,"…
KGI: Committees pass ban on pesticide
read … Bills to ban certain pesticides move forward in legislature
UPW Members release alleged bank robber
HTH: …An apparent mix-up has resulted in the release of a bank robbery suspect from Hawaii Community Correctional Center.
Police issued a bulletin this afternoon seeking public leads in locating 58-year-old Anthony Louis Gover, who is charged with two counts of first-degree robbery for the knifepoint robbery May 17, 2017, of First Hawaiian Bank’s Pahoa branch….
“There’s a snafu over at the jail. It’s not the first time,” said Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville.
Court records indicate that Gover, who refused to leave his cell to be taken to court on these charges seven times, was indicted by a Hilo grand jury on Nov. 2 and a bench warrant setting bail at $20,000 was issued on Nov. 6.
According to minutes of a Hilo District Court hearing Jan. 18, Gover’s attorney, Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey Ng, said his client had been served with the grand jury indictment, which moved the case to Hilo Circuit Court.
Court records indicate the District Court charges were dropped on Jan. 25. The Department of Public Safety website indicates Gover was released the same day because of “dropped charges.”
In the meantime, Gover refused to be taken to Hilo Circuit Court on Dec. 29 and Jan. 22. His arraignment and plea is now scheduled for 8:30 a.m. March 19.
Damerville said initially, HCCC officials refused to allow police into Gover’s cell to arrest him on the bench warrant issued after indictment, but later relented.
“After the grand jury indictment warrant is served, the District Court charges are dismissed,” Damerville said. “So, notwithstanding that he had a warrant for his arrest on a grand jury indictment, they took the liberty of releasing him because the District Court charges are dismissed. Pretty crazy.”
Damerville said prosecutors weren’t contacted when Gover was released.
“We were contacted by bank employees when they saw him out on the street….”
read … ‘Snafu’ led to release of alleged bank robber
Soft on Crime Crowd Released Homeless Tweeker onto Streets Before Police Forced him to Lick Urinal
HNN: …Ingall lives in Pennsylvania and said she had no idea about the abuse case involving her son.
She also said her son, Samuel, struggles with drug abuse.
It's a struggle that was part of a recent documentary about Hawaii's homeless crisis, "No Room in Paradise."
Cameras captured Ingall as he walked out of Halawa prison in 2016. At the time, he was adamant about not ending up back in jail.
"I'm ready to work immediately. Whatever job I don't care," he said back then. "I don't want to risk going back to prison and selling drugs on the street."
The documentary also showed Ingall checking into a homeless shelter — but he didn't stay long.
Just five days after his release, he was found leaving a hospital after overdosing on crystal meth…..
read … Hold the ACLU Responsible for Not Keeping Samuel Ingall in a Nice Safe Jail
Repealing antiquated Jones Act would be a boon to all Americans
TH: …At a time when more and more policymakers are asking whether it’s time to modernize the Jones Act — and Puerto Rico is hoping to be exempted from it entirely — Jones Act supporters in Congress have decided to flex their might. But in doing so, they’ve proven that they aren’t really interested in economic realities.
On Jan. 17, the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a Jones Act love-in under the guise of examining the “State of the U.S. Flag Maritime Industry.” There to sing the praises of the law that requires goods carried between U.S. ports to do so on ships built and flagged in the U.S. and crewed by mostly Americans were five representatives of the maritime industry and two government witnesses….
read … Repeal
Setback to Enviros Scheme to Shut Down Surf Schools
WHT: After two meetings left local business owners with more questions than answers about the proposed surf school regulations, the county has postponed a looming deadline to bid on doing business at Kahaluu Bay. A new date for the bid submission deadline hasn’t been set….
The move pushes back a Feb. 20 deadline for surf schools to submit bids to be among four that will be permitted to operate at Kahaluu Beach Park under a program to be managed by The Kohala Center….
Ben Callaghan, who runs Kahaluu Bay Surf and Sea, welcomed the announcement, saying it was a sign officials had listened and recognized flaws in the proposal. He also gave kudos to Hawaii Lifeguard Surf Instructors, a local surf school, for its grassroots advocacy on the issue, and acknowledged the community’s response to the proposal.
Callaghan said the regulations as proposed, which include designating a surf school concession area mauka of Waikua‘a‘ala pond, would burden the park’s resources and lead to visitors feeling hassled.
“If they’re regulating surf schools, that’s not the way to do it,” he said.
Wesley Moore, owner of Kona Town Surf Adventures, also welcomed the news, saying he’d next like to see officials bring surf schools to the table and get their input before crafting new rules and regulations.
“If they’re going to sit down and try to come up with something new, they really have to include the surf schools,” he said….
Earlier this week a petition addressed to the Parks and Rec director and elected officials started circulating, urging them to postpone the proposal.
As of Thursday afternoon, 1,136 people had signed the online petition.
Feb 4: Enviros Gain Control of Surf Schools, Aim to Kill Business
read … Setback