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Sunday, September 2, 2018
September 2, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:50 PM :: 3573 Views

Arizona ruling shows Hawaii ballot question vulnerable

November Ballot: Understanding the constitutional amendment questions

P3? HART Hosts Forum with International Experts

Kauai Cash Grab: Long wait for Homeowners Property Tax Exemption

Be honest about HSTA rent tax before it goes on ballot

Shapiro:  The four counties make a fair point in their lawsuit trying to stop a poorly written constitutional amendment that would allow the state to raid real property taxes purportedly to finance public education.

The counties asked the Circuit Court to remove the proposed amendment from the general election ballot, arguing it’s vague, misleading and fails to meet legal requirements to inform voters of its true impact.

The Legislature and Hawaii State Teachers Association, the measure’s chief promoter, were deliberately vague in enacting this hastily conceived scheme to stick the counties with the tab for a state responsibility.

Legislators rushed the measure through an unusual process that skipped the money committees of the two houses and a conference committee between the houses, causing the vague and misleading language.

Lawmakers and the teachers union implied the education tax would primarily target wealthy outsiders and be limited to single-family investment homes worth more than $1 million, but that’s not what the ballot measure says…. 

(For instance, no mention of apartment buildings being taxed rents being increased.)

State law requires “the language and meaning of a constitutional amendment shall be clear and it shall be neither misleading nor deceptive.”

This amendment’s wording allows virtually any property owner to be taxed in any amount, with no guarantee that additional funds for education would result.

Nothing in this language stops the Legislature from using the new money as a cover to reduce existing general funds for education. Voters aren’t told of the massive impact on county finances.

It’s deceptive language and bad policy that potentially creates another black hole where public money disappears on the magnitude of rail — and like rail, once it’s approved there’s no turning back….

read … Be honest about schools tax before it goes on ballot

Star-Adv: Can Climate Change be Used to Wipe out Billions of Dollars in Shoreline Property?

SA: …The fact that Hawaii residents are surrounded by the Pacific (uh-huh) and regularly witness the effect of sea-level rise (or King Tide pictures with misleading captions) and other repercussions of global warming (like sunny days in July) has sharpened the official and popular perspective on the issue.

That made it easier for the city to persuade voters two years ago to support a charter amendment establishing the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. A Honolulu Climate Change Commission was established. There is also a Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission, which held its first meeting last October.

These new agencies moved fast to lay out the official guidance, publishing a report on sea-level rise and an Oahu-specific set of recommendations, building on that framework. Mayor Kirk Caldwell in July issued a directive that each city office would follow this guidance and address how to mitigate the effects of climate change in each action. 

People need to understand climate change beyond the rhetorical level, how it has impact on their own lives. There needs to be what policymakers like to call “community buy-in.”  (Did they say buy?)

an aggressive policy shift that will complicate everything from clean-energy improvements to building plans on shoreline properties…

the most critical piece of the puzzle, its most contentious element, has to follow in short order: development of a 21st-century regulation of shoreline development on Oahu.

Erosion and accretion of beach sand is a natural process. Erection of seawalls, which was allowed routinely for decades along many shoreline properties, can affect public beaches. Landowners seeking to stop the erosion of their valuable beachfront properties apply for permits to build new barriers, or restore existing ones.

Following the minimum set in state law, the City and County of Honolulu and Hawaii County have adopted a 40-foot setback standard for construction within the shoreline area, but on Maui and Kauai, more stringent regulations were imposed — wisely….

read … Billions

Maybe this time a prison will be built

Cataluna: …“For more than a decade, Hawaii political leaders and community groups have debated the subject of new prison facilities — where to build them, how to build them.”

That sentence is from a Honolulu Advertiser story published in December 1976. It could very well be the lead of a story written today, except the time frame is no longer “for more than a decade.” It’s now more than five decades….

read … Maybe

Activists: State Con-Con Needed to Fight Trump

SA: …Hawaii voters will have the opportunity in November to decide whether to revise the state Constitution for the first time in 40 years, but ongoing fears about what those changes might bring and the potential influence of money and special interests on the process continue to worry some.

The last state constitutional convention held in 1978 ushered in major environmental protections, created the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, recognized Hawaiian as an official state language and created term limits for the office of governor and lieutenant governor, among many other changes. Nearly three dozen amendments were made to the Constitution.

Since then, (the Supreme Court has been reluctant to allow) voters have been reluctant to host another convention. The ballot measure has subsequently been defeated four times. But some say the time may be now….

“I’ve come to believe that actually this is a good time for us to have a constitutional convention for Hawaii,” said Ikaika Hussey, a magazine publisher and community advocate. “And a lot of this is about looking at the turbulence in Washington, D.C., and with all of that happening over there, I think it is very important that we have a very thoughtful conversation in order to determine our own future as an archipelago. Where are we going vis a vis all these major changes, both nationally and globally?”

Hussey has been organizing discussions around a potential constitutional convention, or concon, in recent months, including revisiting the 1978 convention. He noted that a constitutional convention gives the public a way of pushing more radical ideas that may not be able to get through the Legislature.

Hussey said that some of the general topics that a convention could consider are climate change, issues of equity and protecting labor unions in light of a recent Supreme Court decision that limits the power of public worker unions, as well as democracy itself.

“It seems crazy to say this, but I think we are in a position where we actually have to defend democracy,” he said….

Shon said that political turbulence brought about by the Trump presidency, as well as the internet, which has drummed up greater urgency for change, may help create an environment this year that favors a convention.

“Our nerves are raw with news of the day, of the year, of the hour, of the minute,” he said. “So whether or not this year, there is this sense that government is moving too slowly, is not as responsive, and I think the internet has created an appetite of impatience and urgency.”…

read … It Can Get Worse

Ruggles to skip meetings; Drug-Infused Councilwoman not satisfied with response to ‘war crimes’ claim

HTH:  …Ruggles, who represents District 5 in upper Puna, surprised her colleagues nearly two weeks ago by stating she would not be voting or chairing committees because she thinks such actions could constitute war crimes against the kingdom, overthrown by U.S.-backed interests in 1893. She then asked the county to give her a written opinion.

In response to her query, county Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela gave her a four-sentence letter that said she would “not incur any criminal liability under state, federal and international law” by carrying out her duties as an elected official.

But that didn’t resolve the issue for Ruggles, who has retained attorney (sovereignty activist) Stephen Laudig as her own legal counsel on the matter. Laudig responded to Kamelamela in an Aug. 28 letter stating that the county’s answer lacked substance. 

(Translation: You gave me exactly what I asked for but it wasn’t what I wanted.)

Ruggles said she wants to attend the meetings but can’t while continuing to abstain from voting. Council rules require everyone to vote unless there is a stated conflict of interest.

As a result, the councilwoman said she will be absent until she is satisfied that she is not incurring criminal liability under international humanitarian law for legislating and “being complicit in the collection of taxes, foreclosures and criminal prosecutions.”

(See how ‘foreclosures’ always pops up?  Convicted mortgage scammer Keanu Sai at work.)

That could leave her council district effectively without representation until her term ends in December, even as she remains in office. Ruggles didn’t run for re-election, though her name remained on the primary ballot because of her late withdrawal.

“I’m hopeful (Kamelamela) will give me a proper legal opinion,” she said, adding she is following the advice of her (sovereignty activist) attorney….

(‘Proper’ = Useful to help my daddy beat his latest drug rap.)

read … Ruggles to skip meetings; Councilwoman not satisfied with response to ‘war crimes’ claim

Joe Bertram: Kihei Rep Moves to Hilo, Likes Marijuana Edibles

SA: …I was tested positive for HIV and was diagnosed with AIDS. At the time I didn’t feel any ill effects. I was then elected as a state representative and fell ill with seizures from toxoplasmosis, necessitating several hospital stays. My family, while supportive at first, became hostile and rejected me and my husband.

So began a downward spiral of my self-esteem and my marriage.

I was able to clear these hurdles through the loving care of my husband, a strong spiritual belief in the power of prayer and love, and food with cannabis for medicine….

Flashback 2009: Maui News: Rep Joe Bertram in court supporting Maui child molester 

read … Joe Bertram, the Kihei Democrat Before Kaniela Ing

Hawaii High Cost of Living Makes Workers into Zombie Task Rabbits

SA: Since the Great Recession, the rising number of freelancers and independent contractors has evolved into the growing phenomenon known as the “gig economy.” Even for those who have never heard of the term, they may have already been part of it, or more likely have been benefiting from it. You probably have met a gig economy worker as your Uber driver, Airbnb host, or a handyman hired from TaskRabbit.

Characterized by temporary positions and independent workers, the gig economy is estimated to consist of 5.9 million — or 3.8 percent of — U.S. workers, according to the most recent survey released in June 2018 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When loosely defined, the estimated size of the gig economy could go all the way up to 32 percent….

Speaking with some local Uber drivers I have encountered recently — a former escrow officer who lost his job, a college student driving at night and on weekends hoping to make up some school expenses, and a military wife new to the island — none of them consider driving Uber as their long-term career plans. Apart from a steady paycheck, they also realize that they are giving up possible health insurance and 401(k) benefits that come with more traditional jobs.

Although these summoned-by-task jobs help to maintain our current unemployment rate at a steady level, they do not protect these workers during economic downturns. In an economic recession, workers holding gig economy jobs will be among the first batch to feel the pinch. They are more likely to become “zombie” workers, where instead of being laid off and becoming officially unemployed, technically they will have a job but they do not make enough income, due to lack of tasks….

read … Zombies



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