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Saturday, March 24, 2018
March 24, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:11 PM :: 3533 Views

Is Affordable Housing Constitutional?

Assisted Suicide Clears Last Committee: Headed for Full Senate Vote

Elections: 217 Candidates Pull Papers

Maui Tax and Spend: Massive Property Tax Hikes to Cover $114M in New Spending 

Big Island Homeless Tent City Ends in Abject Failure—Legislators want to Copy It

SA: …takeaways from this week’s sudden closure of Hawaii’s only homeless, government-sanctioned “ohana zone,” Camp Kikaha in Kailua-Kona.

Brandee Menino — chief executive officer of Hope Services Hawaii Inc., which runs a homeless shelter “26 steps away from Camp Kikaha” — said the eight-month experiment “created chaos.”

“There were fights; there was a stabbing that was never reported,” Menino told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser…..

Out of 51 homeless people who went through Camp Kikaha since it opened in August, more than half — 28 people — were kicked out, arrested or left on their own and may be homeless again.

Two were arrested for violations that occurred previously or outside Camp Kikaha, said Linda Vandervoort, who served as the camp’s unpaid volunteer coordinator. “Five were asked to leave because of their obvious behavioral health or substance use disorders. Two were pretty much caught red-handed (for drug use or possession of drug paraphernalia). Seven were kicked out for gross guideline violations, and 12 left voluntarily. Most had been homeless for a very long time and just weren’t ready to go into the emergency shelter.”….

Vandervoort witnessed the immediate aftermath of the stabbing in late November or early December. Two men were arguing, and one of them was wounded in the left arm….

The closure of Camp Kikaha on Tuesday came as House leaders gutted Gov. David Ige’s budget request for more than $8 million to continue existing homeless programs and instead spend $30 million for ohana zones across the islands.

The House’s stance goes against the position of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which insist that government-­sanctioned tent cities — re-branded in Hawaii as ohana zones — don’t work and only distract communities by arguing over whose neighborhood should host them….

At Camp Kikaha, residents received weekly “wound care” for injuries that could lead to dangerous staph infections if left untreated, Niimi said. “And we think we made an impact on substance abuse by offering services. We got a lot of support. The number of contacts (with Camp Kikaha’s residents) was phenomenal. But even at the end some of them were resistant. Some of them have severe mental health issues.”  (But since we no longer incarcerate the mentally ill in lunatic asylums, they live on the streets.)

Like other so-called tent cities across the nation, Camp Kikaha sprang up out of a sense of urgency in August as Hawaii County swept 68 homeless people — many of them mentally ill and drug abusers — from an entrenched encampment at the Old Kona Airport, where there were persistent complaints of drug use and violence….

County and state officials were trying to avoid a repeat of the disastrous 1990-1993 tent city experiment in Oahu’s Aala Park, which ended in failure after a night of “wilding” that included an attempted murder and a trail of crime scenes….

read … Newly shuttered ‘ohana zone’ offers lessons for future tent cities

State-facilitated retirement savings plan bill moves through Hawaii Legislature

PBN: …Hawaii could follow in the footsteps of Oregon if it passes legislation that would implement a state-facilitated retirement savings plan for the private sector.

According to AARP, a strong advocate for Senate Bill 2333, the measure would impact an estimated 216,000 private-sector workers in Hawaii.

If passed, the bill would require the state Department of Budget and Finance to conduct a study on the feasibility of implementing the Hawaii retirement savings plan and to submit to the Legislature a report detailing its findings and proposals.

If the results of the study are positive, a retirement savings board would be established to administer the Hawaii retirement savings plan and the Hawaii retirement savings plan administrative fund.

The bill passed the House Committee on Labor and was referred to the House Committee on Finance on Thursday.

Last year, Oregon became the first state to roll out an automatic payroll deduction for retirement savings for private sector workers who do not have a savings plan through their employer.

So far, 410 businesses in Oregon signed on to facilitate payroll deductions to OregonSaves, according to the state’s treasury department.

Last week, Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read said the program has collected $1.5 million in assets since its launch last summer.

AARP President Eric Schneidewind said the implementation of a similar bill in Hawaii would save the state millions down the road….

(And AARP will make millions selling those retirement plans.)

Those in opposition to the bill include the American Council of Life Insurers, the Hawaii chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors Hawaii.

“We do not believe that a state-run plan that competes with private market plans is the answer,” NAIFA Hawaii executive director Cynthia Takenaka said in submitted testimony. “Availability and access to retirement savings options are not the problem— there already exists a strong, vibrant private sector retirement plan market that offers diverse, affordable options to individuals and employers. If a retirement plan is not offered in the workplace, employees have ready access to low cost IRAs through financial institutions and financial advisors.”…

read … State-facilitated retirement savings plan bill moves through Hawaii Legislature

PUC Investigates HELCO Purchase of Independent Power Plants

IM: …HECO subsidiary HELCO signed a deal with Hu Honua to buy biomass-to-electric power in 2012. The commission granted party status to Hu Honua Bioenergy, and participant status to Hamakua Energy Partners, Life of the Land, Tawhiri Power.

ArcLight Capital Partners, the owner of the Hamakua Energy Partners naphtha-burning generation station located in Honoka`a on the Hamakua coast, opposed the HELCO-Hu Honua Power Purchase Agreement.

The commission approved the HELCO-Hu Honua agreement.

HECO subsidiary HELCO then proposed buying the Hamakua Energy Partners from ArcLight in 2016. The commission granted participant status to Hu Honua Bioenergy, Paniolo Power Company, and Puna Pono Alliance.

The Commission rejected the application.

HEI then created Pacific Current, LLC.

HEI and ArcLight issued a press release last fall asserting that Pacific Currents would buy the power plant. The commission, the Consumer Advocate, and HECO engaged in a back-and-forth dialogue on the proposed purchase.

The Commission issued Order No. 35363 on March 22, 2018 “Instituting a- Proceeding to Establish Affiliate Transaction Requirements.” The Order included an exhibit, “Draft Affiliate Transaction Requirements & Code of Conduct.” …

“In order to create fair and functioning market devoid of cross-subsidies from captive customers, some form of corporate separation and strict enforcement of codes of conduct are paramount...to achieve separation of the utility's monopoly business from its competitive arm."….

read … Public Utilities Commission Opens Codes of Conduct Investigation

Hefty price tag to fix Red Hill tanks

SA: The Navy’s long-awaited price tag range for proposed upgrades at its Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility surfaced at a recent public information workshop. As expected, the task ahead is neither cheap ($500 million to $10 billion) nor easy….

read … Hefty price tag to fix Red Hill tanks

UH Manoa Prof: Meat Eating Caused by Threat to masculinity or Something

Dr. …Attila Pohlmann, a researcher and vegetarian at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, agrees. Men eat meat, her research concludes, because it makes them feel more masculine. The approach was to threaten the masculinity of the test subjects and then offer them either a meat lovers pizza or a vegetarian pizza. Those men who were offered the meat pizza tended to have their anxieties lowered…. 

(Your tuition dollars at work!)

HuffPo: Meat Heads: New Study Focuses on How Meat Consumption Alters Men’s Self-Perceived Levels of Masculinity

read … Why eating anything perpetuates masculinity

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