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Tuesday, November 6, 2018
November 6, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:06 PM :: 3926 Views

Election Day Reminders

DCCA Seeking Applicants for State Boards

Legislative Agenda: Oxycontin Will be Excuse to Make Your Insurance Policy Cover Marijuana

ConCon Complaint: Campaign Spending Violation on Front page

Caldwell Decides to Soak Property Tax Payers $214M for Rail Loan

CB: …Honolulu city officials will float short-term commercial paper to swiftly raise $44 million for Oahu’s rail project before Nov. 20, a deadline set by an increasingly impatient Federal Transit Administration.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell made the announcement Monday, marking the first time city property tax dollars will go toward building rail. The move, enabled by key City Council votes last week, reverses a nearly 12-year-old policy and pledges by previous city leaders to only use state and federal tax dollars to complete the transit project.

Now, Oahu taxpayers will fund rail construction not only with state tax revenues but also their city property taxes….

The city will be making regular payments on its $214 million share through 2027  “This is not the end of it. There’s going to be further challenges,” Caldwell told reporters Monday….

read … Honolulu unveils latest rail plans

Social Engineering: Caldwell Plans to Ban Cars and Buses from Waikiki

PBN … Honolulu's plans include opening the first 11 miles of its beleaguered rail project; increasing the number of carbon-free travel choices such as bikeshare, electric scooters, electric buses and rail; and analyzing the feasibility of a Go Zone for Waikiki to decrease noise and pollution from fossil fuel transportation….

(What he means is a ‘No-Go Zone’.  He is afraid to say it straight.)

read … Honolulu selected for national climate change challenge

Gubernatorial candidates both focusing on the high cost of housing

AP: …According to Republican candidate Andria Tupola, her party's internal polling shows the high cost of living, specifically housing, is the greatest concern for 60 percent of voters. Democratic candidate David Ige says he hears similar concerns. Tupola wants to reduce the amount of time builders have to wait for permits, while Ige wants to continue (pretending to) expanding affordable housing.  ….

SA: Oahu home prices rose in October despite drop in sales

read … Gubernatorial candidates both focusing on the high cost of housing

Hawaii GOP focusing on conservative-leaning districts in battle against blue wave

HNN: …Republican, Val Okimoto, is going door to door in Mililani Mauka….

political analyst Colin Moore thinks Republicans have a chance in Mililani and in the North Shore house race between incumbent Democrat Sean Quinlan and Republican former house member Richard Fale….

"We do have some data that shows that we may be able to do well in our targeted races like Mililani," said Hawaii Republican Party Chair Shirlene Ostrov….

read … Hawaii GOP focusing on conservative-leaning districts in battle against blue wave

Maui Anti-GMO Candidate Funded by Dead Man

MN: …In an email statement to The Maui News on Monday afternoon, Furtado, who is running again for the Makawao-Haiku-Paia residency seat this election cycle, offered a response to the commission’s October complaint, which focuses on 2016 contributions and a $10,000 loan from John Grant, her partner who died in May 2017.

The complaint filed by the commission alleged an excess contribution violation, filing of false reports, prohibited use of campaign funds, late filing of a second preliminary primary report and failure to timely repay a loan.

In her first response to The Maui News after several inquiries since last week, Furtado explained that in early 2016, Grant lent her candidate committee $1,900 to get the campaign started. Six months later, a few weeks before the election, Grant wrote a campaign loan check for $10,000. Furtado said both checks were compliant with rules and regulations.

The candidate committee was new and “mistakenly interpreted the rules,”believing that Grant only was allowed to provide $10,000 to the campaign, she said. So the loan was reduced by $1,900 to stay under the $10,000 limit.

She said Grant requested that the $1,900 reimbursement check be written to cash….

read … Furtado offers defense for campaign spending issues

ConCon opponents raise $740,000

SA: …A coalition of powerful unions, business interests, environmentalists and others has raised $740,000 in its effort to defeat this year’s ballot measure asking voters whether they want to convene a state constitutional convention, according to the latest campaign spending reports filed Monday.

The ballot measure committee, called Preserve Our Hawaii, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of those funds on radio, print, television and digital ads in recent weeks urging residents to vote “no” on the ballot question.

The latest filing by the group shows that the Hawaii Government Employees Association donated $50,000 to the committee, increasing the amount that the union has contributed to $290,000. The United Public Workers contributed $25,000.

Other unions that have made contributions include the Hawaii State Teachers Association, the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly and National Education Association.

While contributions have come from unions, the coalition also includes the Hawaii Democratic Party, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Sierra Club Hawaii and the Hawaii chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, among others….

HNN: Heading into general election, several groups came out against proposed constitutional convention

read … ConCon opponents raise $740,000

Hawaii: Low Voter Turnout Dictated by Lack of hot races

SA: …This is one of the most exciting and suspenseful midterm elections in years on the mainland, but a lack of hotly contested local races suggests voter turnout could remain low in Hawaii today.

Statewide voter turnout has dropped dramatically in Hawaii since the 1980s and 1990s, and fewer than 39 percent of registered Hawaii voters turned out for the primary election in August.

Turnout is expected to improve somewhat in today’s general election, but a recent study by Wallet Hub concluded Hawaii is one of the least politically engaged states in the nation. That was based in part on Hawaii’s lack of interest in the 2016 presidential election, when the turnout by registered voters here was the lowest in the nation….

On the mainland, Republicans and Democrats this year are locked in fierce contests for control of the U.S. House and Senate, but there is little to get excited about here, said Colin Moore, director of the Public Policy Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Part of the problem is that the Democrats so utterly dominate local politics, and the most exciting races of the year were decided in the Aug. 11 primary.

“Our democracy in some ways is a victim of the success of the Democratic Party in this state, because in most cases you don’t have competitive elections,” Moore said…..

read …  Lack of hot races suggests voter turnout might lag

Despite easier registration rules, early voting figures remain low

HNN: …By the time early and absentee mail voting ended Saturday, about 120,000 Oahu residents had cast a ballot.

The Honolulu Office of Elections said they saw 13,905 early voters and received 107,017 absentee mail ballots — about 24 percent of registered Oahu voters.

As of last Friday, Maui County had 21 percent of registered voters already cast their votes.

Meanwhile, Kauai County had 23 percent and Hawaii County had 24 percent….

read … Despite easier registration rules, early voting figures remain low

Strategies 360: Money-oriented PR Firm Is Getting Involved In Hawaii Politics

CB:  …Strategies 360 has been involved in several island campaigns this year.

Shortly after ramping up its Hawaii operations by hiring some high-profile public officials, the Seattle-based public affairs and strategic communications firm was enlisted by a super PAC, the teachers union and a candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

In January, then-Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui resigned to go to work for Strategies 360. Less than six months later, the head of the Hawaii Department of Education’s communications office, Donalyn Dela Cruz, left to join the team, which includes several local political players with ties to the construction industry.

In all, Stategies 360 has been paid more than $40,000 this year for its work on behalf of HSTA for Schools Our Keiki Deserve, a political action committee funded by the teachers union that was pushing for an education tax on investment properties, the One Ohana PAC, funded by a resort group, and Esther Kiaaina’s campaign for an OHA seat….

Kiaaina’s latest campaign finance reports, which cover Aug. 12 to Oct. 22, show she paid $20,000 to Strategies 360, also known as S360, for public relations work, a website overhaul and ads on Facebook and other media outlets….

The One Ohana PAC paid S360 about $6,300 on Oct. 18 for consulting on social and digital media strategy for candidates running for Maui County Council, mayor and a state House seat. The candidates included Mike Victorino, Stacy Crivello, Riki Hokama, Lynn DeCoite, Claire Carroll, Mike Molina, Yuki Lei Sugimura, Kelly King, Alice Lee, Tamara Paltin and Alan Arakawa.

The group, formerly known as the Maui Timeshare Ohana Political Action Committee, is chaired by Mark Watford and Elizabeth Estes. It has paid S360 more than $12,000 for ads to run in the days leading up to Tuesday’s election….

Strategies 360 opened under the leadership of John White, who came over from Pacific Resource Partnership, which represents a consortium of contractors and unionized carpenters that spent more than $4 million in the last three elections through super PACs….

Strategies 360’s main focus is on its “pure corporate” clients, Dotzauer said, without naming them. He said the firm will be more active in helping those clients get bills through the Legislature, for instance.

“You’ll see us there,” he said, referring to the next legislative session that starts in January….

read … High-Profile PR Firm Is Getting Involved In Hawaii Politics

Kauai Disaster Becomes Excuse for anti-TVR Policy: Mayor Extends Ban on Hanalei TVRs

KGI: …This proclamation also extends an emergency rule and order prohibiting the operation of Transient Vacation Rentals in the Lumahai, Wainiha, and Haena area, and limiting the accessibility to said area….

read … Mayor signs fifth emergency proclamation

There's a big increase in crime due to 15 cents bag fee on Oahu, says Retail Merchants of Hawaii

KHON:  …Charging 15 cents per compostable, recyclable paper or plastic bag was enacted July 1st in an effort to cut down waste going to the landfill. …

… Since the bag fee was enacted 3 months ago, Yamaki says shoplifting on Oahu has gotten out of control.

"It's a big issue. We're seeing a big increase in crime going on. People are coming in, loading up the bags and running out of the stores, and we're seeing it on a daily basis," she said, adding stores from mom and pop shops to big box retailers are losing thousands of dollars - or more - to sticky-fingered thieves. 

Plus, there's another problem emerging.

"For some retailers where they have somebody at the door checking their receipt, we're seeing now that people are coming in with fake store receipts," explained Yamaki. "What we've seen, too, people are not only stealing, but (attempting to) return the items. So, it's a big loss." ….

read … There's a big increase in crime due to 15 cents bag fee on Oahu, says Retail Merchants of Hawaii

City Council Plays Politics--could halt homeless enforcement bills

SA: …The Council Public Works, Infrastructure and Sustainability Committee on Monday advanced Resolution 18-246, stopping the administration from moving forward with the new laws “pending timely submittal of specific timetables for services and housing solutions.”….

The measures being held up are Bill 51, which makes it illegal between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. to “create, cause or maintain” an obstruction on a public sidewalk if it blocks pedestrians from passing freely, and Bill 52, making it a petty misdemeanor “to lodge” on a sidewalk or other public places. It defines “to lodge” as “to occupy a place temporarily; to sleep; to come to rest and refuse to vacate” a public place. A police officer issuing a citation must first verify there is shelter space available within a reasonable distance and then offer to take the person being cited to the shelter. City officials said that doesn’t mean a shelter space needs to be in the same Council district.

Public Works Chairwoman Carol Fukunaga said a 95-page action plan submitted by the administration is not good enough and that most Council members want to see more concrete and specific plans on how Caldwell will address homelessness in each of the nine Council districts….

HTH: Police Seek Homeless Dude after downtown bumfight, robbery

read … City Council could halt homeless enforcement bills

Hu Honua: How a Dirty Biomess Plant Gets to be considered ‘Green’

Ilind: …transcription from oral arguments before the Hawaii Supreme Court in Life of the Land’s challenge to a power purchase agreement between Hawaii Electric (HELCO) and Hu Honua…

…it seems like, you’re arguing two separate things, there`s fossil fuels and then there’s greenhouse gas emissions. Just based on the agricultural, the razing, and it seems to me that there`s an assumption that one tree cut one tree grown its neutral you know but there appear to be issues with that, right?

Solicitor General Wadsworth: And I see that my time is up your honor, but I just want to emphasize, that the state legislature though has taken a position on this, and the position is.

Associate Justice Pollack: The statute is apparently trumped by something else? I mean, the Chief Justice asked you, whether or not greenhouse gas emissions must be considered by the PUC when it makes these kinds of decisions. Does it have to make findings? Does it have to consider?

Solicitor General Wadsworth: It does.

Associate Justice Pollack: Even if its biomass.

Solicitor General Wadsworth: It does, by having to show that fossil fuels would be displaced by renewable energy.

Associate Justice Pollack: So we should read into the statute, where it says greenhouse gas emissions, except if the greenhouse gas emissions results from biomass.

Solicitor General Wadsworth: No. I`m not suggesting that reading your honor. The premise of state law is that fossil fuels are linked to greenhouse gases emissions.  If you displace fossil fuels you displace greenhouse gas emissions.

Chief Justice Recktenwald: My question to you is, end of discussion? Or do you need to look at other impacts of the biomass. Do you have to look at the bigger picture of how much it’s going to impact the environment? Do you need to compare it to other sources?

Solicitor General Wadsworth: I think, based on the statute, that is the end to the discussion….

IM: Trading Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hawai`i Style

read … Greenhouse gas emissions and state energy decisions

State review prompted by false missile alert months behind schedule

HNN: …Hawaii’s missile alert mistake led to a public outcry and calls for change from government leaders. A comprehensive review of the state’s emergency management agency, however, has already fallen way behind schedule.

January’s false missile alert triggered three investigations, including one by the Federal Communications Commission. State lawmakers also called for a broad evaluation of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency by a new task force made up of more than 20 government and community leaders.

State Rep. Gene Ward wants a thorough assessment of the entire emergency system.

“It has got to be comprehensive, not piecemeal. We embarrassed ourselves,” he said.

The panel will review emergency notifications as well as disaster response and coordination among government agencies and private stakeholders. The group was supposed to convene by July 1, but emergency management officials asked for a one-year extension after severe flooding struck Kauai and Oahu in April.

“We knew that we were going to be seriously distracted by all of the emergencies that were going on, and then with the volcano on the Big Island and the hurricanes, it was just completely untenable for us to put that together,” said Richard Rapoza, a spokesperson for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency….

Really Obvious Question: Why are these guys investigating themselves?

read … Just Wait til After Election

Victim Advocates Withdraw From Partnership with Honolulu Police

CB: …Shortly after Susan Ballard became chief of the Honolulu Police Department, she listed an “increased emphasis” on fighting domestic violence as a major goal in her five-year strategic vision for the department.

Another of her listed goals: “Improve relationships with DV (domestic violence) agencies.”

But nearly one year later, the state’s largest advocacy group assisting victims of family and partner abuse has notified Ballard they will pull out of a collaborative project with HPD on Dec. 31 and return more than $400,000 in government grant money.

That’s because HPD officers failed to make use of the group’s staff when answering domestic violence calls, Nanci Kreidman, chief executive of the Domestic Violence Action Center, wrote in a Sept. 27 letter to Ballard….

read … Victim Advocates Withdraw From Partnership with Honolulu Police

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