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Friday, June 22, 2018
June 22, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:00 PM :: 4692 Views

Oh, the irony!

Flashback 2016: Caldwell, Hanabusa Agree to Stop Rail at Middle Street

Honolulu Rail -- Most Expensive Per Capita in World History

Local 5 Hotel Workers Endorse Ige--Firefighters Endorse Hanabusa

Honolulu: Eleven Professions with no Money Left

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Leaves a Dinosaur-Sized Economic Footprint in State of Hawaii

State Gives Away $900K to Manufacturers 

SNOPES: Did Fracking Cause Volcanic Activity on Hawaii’s Big Island?

84% of teachers choosing to leave Hawaii due to high cost of Housing—State Land Needed to Solve Problem

HNN: …Employment reports from the state Department of Education show 411 teachers resigned and left Hawaii during the 2016-2017 school year.

That's up from 266 in 2012-2013.

Teacher vacancies are up 51 percent from 2011.

The number of unlicensed teachers who don't meet state qualifications rose 63 percent from 2011.

The number of in-state education program graduates dropped 29 percent from 2010.

"We have over 1,000 positions in Hawaii that are unfilled. There is no longer any position in Hawaii where we do not have a shortage," Rosenlee said. …

The 34-year-old mother of two says she's moving to Colorado Springs for another teaching job, even if it comes with a pay cut.

"When you compare the cost of living, the average median home price in Colorado Springs is about $250,000….

read … State Land Needed to Solve Problem

Another CPS Failure: Child sex crimes, prostitution alleged at Nuuanu home for naked parties

HNN: …The Freedom House in upper Nuuanu promotes parties like "naked yoga."

But after Hawaii News Now first aired a story about the home two weeks ago, sources revealed a number of criminal investigations into activities at the home. One of those investigation involves a mother who says her 5-year-old daughter witnessed sex and nudity at the home while there with her father.

The girl drew a picture of the naked people in the house for her mother.

"She was sad, mad and confused. (She asked), why does everybody have to be naked?" said the girl's mother, who asked not to be identified.

A Child Protective Services document obtained by Hawaii News Now says that in May 2018, the girl "showed signs of sex abuse."

"She took a small toy and was using it as a sexual toy," the document said.

The report says the state Department of Human Services recommended therapy for the child since it could not confirm any harm and that both parents were "safe and protective." 

(Translation: Dad still has custody after taking girl to sex parties.)

"I was shocked. I couldn't believe it," said the girl's mother….

Amy Highmoor, the renter who hosts the parties and who is facing eviction, calls herself a child advocate.

She says what happens at the house is not illegal and adds while the people inside may be nudists, the 5-year-old girl was never exposed to sex acts and that allegations of any criminal activity are untrue…. 

(Thus confirming that the 5-yr-old was present at the house.)

But Shay Bonds, who went to Freedom House parties at a different home in Kahala, says she's now talking to police, claiming she saw people paying money for sex. She also says she was sexually assaulted….

Meanwhile in Hilo: Aunt to represent estate in child starvation case

read … Child sex crimes, prostitution alleged at Nuuanu home for naked parties

Thirty Meter Telescope back in hands of Hawaii Supreme Court

SA:  It was round two at the state Supreme Court today for the Thirty Meter Telescope as justices heard arguments from both sides of the case.

Nearly three years ago the high court heard many of the same arguments in a similar appeal and decided that foes of the telescope had their due process rights violated. The court ordered a do-over of the contested case process. 

Following a 44-day contested case hearing in Hilo and another approval by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources, the $1.4 billion project once again landed on appeal before the Supreme Court. 

(Will they again order a re-do on procedural grounds?)

During today’s oral arguments, the justices asked pointed questions on both sides of the issue and didn’t seem to signal which way they are leaning — although due process issues once again seemed to dominate the hearing.….

The high court previously invalidated the project’s conditional use permit in December 2015, ruling that the BLNR approved it prior to holding the first contested case…. 

read … Thirty Meter Telescope back in hands of Hawaii Supreme Court

Back again: Hawaii County GE Tax Hike to be heard June 29

HTH: …Puna Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara, part of a 5-4 majority that killed the increase Tuesday, on Thursday asked for a reconsideration of the issue.

The one-quarter percent county surcharge, raising an estimated $20 million a year, would start Jan. 1, 2019, and end Dec. 31, 2020, under Bill 159.

It was a compromise measure after the council earlier postponed a full half-percent tax surcharge allowed by the state Legislature, with a 2030 expiration date.

Because the tax is itself taxed, the .25 percent tax on a $100 purchase would increase by 26 cents, raising the purchase from $104.17 to $104.43, once the 4 percent state GET is also taken into account.

O’Hara couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Her written request for reconsideration sent to Council Chairwoman Valerie Poindexter date-stamped at 2:10 p.m. Thursday was succinct, merely asking for reconsideration and requesting a meeting before June 30.

Poindexter said she’s relieved to see the request. She said she had already planned to hold a special council meeting on June 29, because Mayor Harry Kim is running into a deadline to appoint members and have them confirmed to the Charter Commission.

“Community members I met with did not want us cutting services for use of our facilities,” Poindexter said. (Huh?)

“Especially when we already raised the fuel tax and property tax on them — to compound it with the reduction of services (fail to go for all the tax money we can grab) isn’t the right thing to do.”

Bill 159 faces a two-step process. First, at least five council members must agree to rehear the bill, then at least five council members must vote yes….

HTH: Salary Commission postpones new raises as Kim seeks budget advice

read … Back again: GET to be heard June 29

How Low Is Hawaii Voter Turnout?

CB: …There’s a couple of ways to measure voter turnout. Some say the formula that the state Office of Elections uses inflates voter turnout, while others have said it may make turnout look worse than it is.

Hawaii’s voter turnout in the last general election was as high as 58 percent or as low as 43 percent, depending on which method you prefer….

Hawaii, like most states, measures turnout by comparing the number of people who cast ballots to the number of people who are registered to vote….

Turnout among Hawaii voters in the 2016 general election was 58 percent by that metric. About 80 percent of voters registered in California, Oregon and Washington participated in the 2016 election….

Up to 7 percent of the names on Hawaii voter rolls are on an “inactive list.” People are placed on this list if a yellow mailer that’s sent to voters before every election bounces back. ….

People on the inactive list can still vote, but their names are purged if notices bounce back two consecutive times.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision last week paved the way for states to use more aggressive systems of purging people from voter rolls. The court upheld Ohio’s system of removing voters after they fail to vote in a few consecutive elections and don’t respond to a notice from election officials.

Hawaii doesn’t use failure to vote as a trigger for purging a voter’s name….

Prior to the 2014 general election, then-state Sen. David Ige told Civil Beat that his legislative campaign team routinely identified more people who should be removed from the voter list than election officials had purged….

It’s typical across all states that only the most passionate voters turn out to vote in the primary, Phan said.

“At face value, it’s quite problematic — a small number of enthusiasts decide who all of us get to vote for,” she said.

Tanida of Common Cause agreed.

“It is disappointing that a small minority is making decisions for the majority,” said Tanida, adding, “This is how special interests take power, because … they have the money and resources to swoop in when you’re not there.”…

read … How Low Is Hawaii Voter Turnout?

Fake Recycling: 40 Tons of 'Recycled’ Plastic from Kauai Dumped in Indonesia EACH MONTH

KGI: …While China put the kibosh on accepting plastic waste from other countries, Kauai Recycles drop bins have nearly doubled in the past fiscal year.

Allison Fraley of the Kauai County Recycling Office said the average total of plastic deposited in all eight Kauai Recycles drop bins has been 8.5 tons per month this fiscal year, which is higher than last fiscal year at 4.75 tons per month.

“There is significantly more plastic collected through the HI5 Deposit Beverage Container (DBC) program,” Fraley said,

HI5 DBC recycling averages 32 tons per month.

Program changes in February included the county’s cessation of accepting plastic trays and clamshells.

It came just after the December 2017 China decision to stop accepting plastic waste from around the globe which has sent the world searching for a place to send millions of pounds of plastic….

Recyclables on Kauai are shipped out continuously by the contractor Garden Isle Disposal, Inc. (GID) and they keep materials moving to keep space in their warehouse, according to County of Kauai.

Indonesia and Taiwan are some of the new locations where GID is sending recyclables….

(Really Obvious Solution: Send it to H-Power.)

read … And This is Just Kauai

Honolulu media lapdogs ignore homeless center mystery

HHC: This week marks two solid years since the mayor announced with great fanfare during the heat of his wobbly re-election campaign that the City and County of Honolulu was spending $6.3 million of taxpayer money to open a new “state of the art” homeless center in Iwilei.  It still hasn’t opened, and nobody seems to care much whether it ever will….

read … Lapdogs

School Choice? Hawaii Taxes 529 Plans for K-12

Question: With private school tuition due in the next month and the change in the federal tax laws allowing up to $10,000 from a 529 plan to be used for private school tuition, I was unable to find out whether Hawaii was treating the withdrawal as the federal government (no tax) or whether state tax will be assessed on the 10K. Could you find out what the answer is?

Answer: Hawaii state income tax will be assessed as applicable on 529 plan withdrawals used to pay K-12 tuition, despite the federal government’s expansion in the allowable use of these popular education savings plans.

Hawaii income taxes will not apply to 529 withdrawals used to pay for college….

read …  Kokua Line

'We probably will not ever return.' Park official reflects on Kilauea's past, present, and future

KHON: Before the lava disappeared and the most recent eruption began, visitors could enjoy an active volcano at arm's length with an amazing view of Halemaumau Crater.

Now, what was once a 12-acre lava lake in the middle of the crater has grown to more than 130 acres, and is getting larger every single day.

"The vent that used to house the world's largest lava lake is totally devoid of lava now. It's 1,000 feet deep in some places, and it's just changing on a daily basis. Kilauea is doing what Kilauea does. It's erupting and changing, and it's a dramatic night-and-day difference," said Jessica Ferracane, public affairs specialist, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The park has now been closed for six weeks. The popular Jaggar Museum is all but deserted. The observation deck that overlooks the crater is covered in ash, riddled with cracks, and is structurally unsound. …

Even if Mother Nature were to turn off the switch tomorrow, it would still be many months at the earliest before that section of the park could reopen….

The county is now looking at creating a new area where visitors can view the lava….

read … 'We probably will not ever return.' Park official reflects on Kilauea's past, present, and future



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