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Thursday, August 16, 2018
August 16, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:56 PM :: 2807 Views

Rosy assumptions could be thorny for Hawaii ERS

Hawaii: $100 Worth Only $84.46

Sunset Beach Dune Restoration Project utilizing private public partnership

DBEDT Releases 50th Edition Hawaii Data Book

HDoT: New Rules Make Uber/Lyft Permanent at Airport

Fast-Track Process Helps Two Affordable Housing Projects

The State Con-Con Papers

Is Trump finally ready to turn his sights to remaking the 9th Circuit Court?

LAT: …There’s been a noticeable exception to President Donald Trump’s otherwise successful effort to appoint young, conservative judges to the nation’s appellate courts.

The Senate has confirmed a record 24 new circuit court judges nationwide in 20 months —with two more nominees scheduled for votes this week. But Trump has made far less progress in the jurisdiction he criticizes the most: the liberal-leaning U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, including California and eight other Western states.

Since Trump took office, the Senate has confirmed only one 9th Circuit judge —in Hawaii —leaving seven openings. A nominee in Oregon was abruptly withdrawn last month when it became clear he lacked the votes for Senate approval.

And Trump has yet to even nominate anyone for the three vacancies in California, partly because of a standoff with Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

But there are signs that the administration is beginning to set its sights on the 9th Circuit, likely triggering a bruising fight with Democrats….

Trump is running out of vacancies in other circuits, particularly in conservative states where confirmation is easier.

“They’ve been focusing on lower-hanging fruit,” said Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute. “After a while there are only so many seats to fill.”

More than half of the 13 vacancies remaining nationwide are on the 9th Circuit….

read … Is Trump finally ready to turn his sights to remaking the 9th Circuit Court?

County Charter Questions on the November Ballot

CB: On the county level, voters will encounter proposed charter amendments as well.

On Oahu, for example, voters will be asked to resolve a lingering quirk with the board that oversees rail. Last year, the state added four nonvoting members to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board to keep a closer eye on Hawaii’s largest-ever public works project, which has run into repeated financial trouble.

But the expansion created quorum and voting issues for the rail board. City leaders have proposed a charter amendment that would restructure the board, boosting voting members from nine to 10 and basing quorum on just those voting members.

Here are some of the amendments that neighbor island residents will consider:

In Maui County, voters will decide whether to enact stiffer penalties for providing transient accommodations without the proper permit. A proposed charter amendment could boost those fines from the current $1,000 to $20,000 — plus an additional $10,000 a day, according to draft language.

They’ll also decide whether to expand the use of Maui County’s Open Space, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources, and Scenic Views Preservation Fund. Currently, at least 1 percent of the county’s property tax revenues goes toward acquiring conservation lands, according to the proposed amendment’s draft language. The amendment would allow officials to use those dollars “to perform safety and security improvements” as well.

On Kauai, voters are poised to decide whether to repeal that county’s ability to provide those accused of a crime with public defenders. Draft language from the charter commission contends that the office “was rendered obsolete” nearly a half-century ago when the state created its own public defender’s office.

They’ll also likely weigh a charter amendment that would strip the Kauai County Council of its authority to create an electric power authority. The draft language contends that the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative “has competently managed and operated” the power system there “for more than a decade and a half.”

Hawaii county officials say that island’s leaders are also considering potential charter amendments for the ballot.

State and county officials have until Aug. 23 to submit all of their proposed constitutional and charter amendments, so the Office of Elections hasn’t posted the final language for those questions as they’ll appear on the ballot yet.

read … The Primary Is Over So What’s Ahead For The General Election?

Eruption has little effect on turnout

HTH: Despite displacement of residents because of the Kilauea eruption, and longer wait times on election day, voter turnout in lower Puna saw little change during Saturday’s primary election.

Combined voter turnout for precincts covering Kalapana through Kapoho was 33 percent, up from 31.7 percent in 2016….

That reflected an increase in turnout in precinct 04-03 — Kalapana, Opihikao, west Pahoa and Ainaloa — where 33.6 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, up from 29.8 percent two years before.

However, voter turnout in precinct 04-04 — Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates and Kapoho — was 32.6 percent, down from 34 percent in 2016.

Most cast ballots through absentee mail or early walk-in….

The number of voters using the combined polling place on election day was 363….

read … Eruption has little effect on turnout

Council Fails To Override Mayor’s Veto Of Tax Break For Active-Duty Military

CB: …Bill 91, which would have exempted eligible members of the military from being taxed on the first $120,000 of the assessed value of their home, had passed the council on a 6-2 vote in July before Caldwell vetoed it last month.

Six votes were needed to override the veto, but only five members voted in favor of the override.

Council members Ikaika Anderson and Brandon Elefante voted for the measure in July but against the veto override….

read … Council Fails To Override Mayor’s Veto Of Tax Break For Active-Duty Military

Council Approves Condos Blocking Rail Extension

SA: …Embracing the view that affordable housing units in the near future trump a transit hub on the same site in the distant future, the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday voted 9-0 to approve exemptions clearing the way for SamKoo Hawaii’s 43-story, 513-unit The Central Ala Moana.

While Council members applaud SamKoo for setting aside 310, or 60 percent, of the units for those making between 80 and 140 percent of the Oahu median income, Mayor Kirk Caldwell had called for a deferral because he is eyeing the property for use in extending the city’s planned rail line to the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus.

The 1.43-acre site, bounded by Kapiolani, Kona Iki and Kona streets, is several hundred feet from the final stop of the city’s 20-mile, East Kapolei-to-Ala Moana rail line that’s scheduled to be completed in 2025….

read … SamKoo wins final approval for Ala Moana condo

Resolve state pension woes to ease Maui budget

MN: …there are ways Maui legislators can help prevent this crisis from getting worse for Maui County.

Some of those are described in a report released last week on Maui by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii — “How to Resolve Hawaii’s Public Pension Debt Crisis” — which outlines options for turning around this dire situation.

The institute’s landmark study, also available at www.grassrootinstitute.org, is the first of its kind to look into the pension systems of all 50 states, in a search for so-called best practices for pension reform. Those include offering different types of retirement plans, with varying contribution and benefit formulas, plus shorter vesting periods and greater portability.

Such options are needed because Hawaii’s public pension system is funded at only 54 percent, making it the 44th worst funded state public pension system in the nation. Even now, the gap is prompting Hawaii’s state and county governments to devote ever more of their budgets to paying down the liabilities — on the backs of Hawaii’s taxpayers, of course…..

read … Resolve state pension woes to ease Maui budget

Anti-Telescope Protesters Claim Property Rights over Reefs—Demands Aquarium Ban

SA: …Articles IX and XII of the State Constitution require government agencies to promote and preserve cultural beliefs, practices and resources of Native Hawaiians and the general public for whom these resources are held as a part of the public trust.

Our constitutional protections are unique, in that, they protect Native Hawaiians and the public’s right to fully enjoy these resources. The aquarium trade violates these provisions by excessively taking our resources, which frustrates the public and Native Hawaiians’ ability to practice and to maintain a healthy reef and nearshore ecosystem.

When the executive branch fails to uphold and enforce the court’s orders, it places the burden on the public to have to sue and then sue again — and the question is, when does it stop?….

read … Commercial aquarium trade violates Native Hawaiian rights

State Consumer Advocate Required to Practice State Religion

IM: …The first regulatory proceeding in which the PUC is specifically including a discussion on climate change is the Gas Company Rate Case, docket number 2017-0105. 

During the legal proceeding, the Consumer Advocate and the Gas Company declined to submit climate change testimony or exhibits or to cross-examine witnesses on climate change. 

The Consumer Advocate went one step further, declining to file an Opening Brief on climate change issues. …

The three participants--Life of the Land, 350 Hawaii, and Hui Aloha 'Āina O Ka Lei Maile Ali`i—filed their Joint Reply Brief, noting that The Gas Company is an outlier and climate denier. (LOL!)

The Joint Reply Brief also asserted that the Consumer Advocate is in violation of State Law….

Reality: Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion  (Don't click this link it will make your head explode.)

More Reality: Clean Energy Fail: While Most States Clean Up, Hawaii CO2 Emissions Rise Since '08  (Not safe for the consecrated believers.)

read … Hawai`i Consumer Advocate Violating State Environmental Law

Parents of toddler who died in foster care release statement after arrest of Honokaa woman

WHT:  The parents of 3-year-old Fabian Garett-Garcia, who died last year while in foster care, are hopeful a 44-year-old Honokaa woman arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the death will be charged with the offense.

At 9:50 a.m. Wednesday, Hawaii Police officers arrested Chasity Alcosiba on suspicion of second-degree murder at a residence off Kahana Drive in Honokaa. She was listed as Chasity Alcosiba McKenzie in police logs…. 

HTH: Toddler’s death last year in Waimea under investigation by prosecutor’s office

read … Parents of toddler who died in foster care release statement after arrest of Honokaa woman

Ala Wai Yacht Harbor Overrun with Homeless, Squatters

SA: …The gravity of the incident along with Di Amore’s past harbor history have riled the small neighborhood of live-aboard boaters, who say the state’s lack of management and enforcement at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor have exposed them to liability and undesirable living conditions. Some say it’s becoming a de facto home for squatters. Critics also are upset that Di Amore’s lack of insurance means that he won’t be paying to salvage the boat and clean up the debris and environmental hazards that were left in the fire’s wake.

“It’s frustrating. There’s a waiting list for slips and they gave one away for free to the guy whose boat got burned and he put all of us at risk,” said Bruce Baxter, who has lived in the Ala Wai harbor for nearly three years on Grey Matter, his 42-foot Tatoosh. “The sheer incompetence of the folks at DLNR is mind blowing. We’ve complained about the issue of freebie squatters many times, but it’s a continuous problem. The problem is that their enforcement has no teeth. There must be surety of consequences.”

DLNR spokesman Dan Dennison said approximately 18 to 20 boats are moored in the Ala Wai harbor without a permit….

“They need to clean up the illegal boats down there,” Finley said. “They need to haul boats out of the harbor that aren’t paying and they need to go after squatters who are illegally living on other people’s boats. We shouldn’t be subsidizing the costs for boats that are illegally moored.”

read … Squatters

Kauai Police Arrest Two Fugitives at Homeless Camp

HNN: … The Kauai Police Department said the Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (FAST) zoned in on an area along the multi-use bike path on Aug. 9 and 10. During the two-day operation, they focused their efforts in areas near Kealia and Kapaa.

Numerous traffic citations were issued, apparent homeless camps were removed and two people were arrested, officials said.

Lihue resident Lance Kaaumoana, 36, was arrested on a parole, probation warrant. His bail is set at $50,000.

Kym Estacio of Hanamaulu, 44, was also arrested in the operation on drug-related warrants. Estacio's bail is set at $5,000.

In addition to the arrests, authorities removed six dilapidated vehicles and removed truckloads of abandoned property from illegal campsites….

HNN: Woman assigned to work in Hawaii by a federal agency faces housing challenges

read … Kauai authorities make 2 arrests during cleanup of east side shoreline

Inmates out in the community still breaking rules

KITV: …For every high profile escape like Randall Saito's disappearance from the Hawaii State Hospital, there are many more inmates sneaking back into society and they often fly under the radar.

The public gets notified on some like the dozen-plus inmates who failed to return from work furlough programs this year.

But still, there's more. It now coming to light.

An employer notified OCCC last Thursday, a furlough inmate failed to show up for work that morning. He was easy to find, since he was wearing a GPS monitoring device.

Several sources tell Island News, the inmate ended up in Chinatown. Instead of being at a job to help him prepare to re-enter society, he was at an illegal gambling hall.

The state assigned two corrections officers to go with the inmate's social service assistant to the tracked location, where the man was found and brought back to OCCC.

Instead of being classified as an escape, this was considered a furlough contract deviation and it happens a lot.

On average, about two times a week. That's roughly 100 inmates a year, back in community unsupervised who have deviating from their furlough program.

According to the state... 

"The most frequent cause of deviation is related to substance abuse issues and other impulsive decisions that lead to their disqualification from furlough"

Not only could the inmate be out of the furlough program, he may also be transferred back to a more secure facility….

read … Inmates out in the community still breaking rules

Hawaii's civilian population is 40

HNN: …In 2017, the median age of Hawaii's civilian population hit 40 years old, according to the state's newly-released Data Book.

That means half of the civilian population is older than 40 and half of the population is younger.

To be sure, Hawaii has been tiptoeing up to the big birthday for years.

In 2010, the median age of the civilian population was 39.4. In 2000, it was 37.

The median age of military personnel in the state last year was 28. And when they're added in, Hawaii's median age drops to 39.

But worth noting: Even with the military included, the median age of women in Hawaii is 40.6. (For men, it's 37.5)….

read … Lordy, lordy, Hawaii's (civilian) population is 40

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