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Wednesday, September 11, 2019
September 11, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:54 PM :: 2727 Views

9/11 Truthers Meet the Birth Certificate Brigade

Hawaii 2nd Most Likely to Slip into Recession

US News Ranks UH campuses

Planning to Create More Traffic Jams: Kalihi Complete Streets community meeting Sept. 17

Cabotage Sabotage? The Curious Case of the Jones Act

Kim Proposes Giving Native Hawaiians A Say In Managing Mauna Kea

CB: … Management of Mauna Kea would be broadened beyond the University of Hawaii, criticized for its handling of the land during the controversy over the Thirty Meter Telescope, and handed over to an “umbrella agency” that also includes state departments and Native Hawaiian organizations under a proposal being drafted by Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim.

Gov. David Ige said he supports the idea of changing management of the mountain, but many details still must be worked out.

Kim outlined parts of his proposal in an interview with Civil Beat Tuesday. He said he plans to unveil the full proposal by the end of next week….

Part of that proposal, which he was charged with creating by Ige in February, includes giving multiple agencies and groups a stake in deciding what happens on Mauna Kea. This could include the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Kamehameha Schools and others.

“That way, they can control and develop it the way people want it to be developed,” Kim said.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Ige called the plans preliminary, but in general said he’s receptive to the idea of changing the management structure.

“I think the general consensus is that we are open to changing to a different kind of management structure,” he said. “We haven’t really talked about the details of what that would look like, who would be involved. We’ve spoken about having representation from Native Hawaiians. We haven’t been specific on who or what organizations and those kinds of things.”

Ige added that such a change would require legislation.

“There’s just a lot more work to be done,” he said.

UH would still have a say in managing Mauna Kea, Kim said….

Kim, who supports construction of the TMT, said he wanted more time to come up with a plan but needed to finish quickly because the issue of whether the telescope will be built on Mauna Kea or in Spain’s Canary Islands will be decided soon.

“I had a feeling that we might lose this opportunity,”Kim said. “Some might say that’s what we want, but I don’t think that’s best for our future.” …

read … Kim Proposes Giving Native Hawaiians A Say In Managing Mauna Kea

Does the governor have a conflict because of TMT security contract?

ILind: … So let’s go down the list of relationships that would trigger a potential ethics violation in this situation.

Does Gov. Ige or his wife have an ownership interest in any company owned by Charles and Melanie Long (Pacific International Realty or Private Security Group)?  No.

Do they hold a creditor interest in some former business of the Longs?  No.

Have either of them being negotiating for a job with either company?  No. At least there are no allegations of such.

Do they have an ownership interest in property subject to the governor’s official action?  No.

Have they made a loan to the Longs or their companies, or have other debtor interest?  No.

Are either of them officers or directors of either of the Longs’ companies?  No.

So, where is the conflict of interest or other ethics issue?

read … Does the governor have a conflict because of TMT security contract?

North Shore Wind Farm: Residents say ‘no more’

HNN: … “The turbines they’re gonna build now is even bigger and it’s closer. So, of course it’s an eyesore,” said Sonnie Muaina with Ku Kiai Kahuku. “But it’s more than that. So much more.”

Critics are also concerned about the noise of the turbines and the impact on endangered species, including native birds and the Hawaiian hoary bat.

The group Keep the North Shore Country has taken the case to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

“We are gathering our people together to try to get our voices heard to let the government know we do not want any more turbines, especially right behind our children’s elementary school. It is way to close. Way too close,” Muaina said.

Construction for eight turbines began in January.

Each turbine is more than 50 stories high, the tallest in the state….

“We are totally for energy. We have solar panels. Majority of us have solar panels on our house. We paid so much money for it. So, we are ‘go green energy’ for sure. The turbines are not so green as much as everyone thinks they are,” said Muaina….

read … ‘no more’

High Costs Make Hawaii’s Poverty Rate Higher Than U.S. Average

CB: … Nearly 14% of Hawaii residents — more than 192,000 people — live in poverty, according to a new supplemental poverty rate released Tuesday. The new figures show that the state is struggling despite an official poverty rate that compares well with the rest of the U.S.

Hawaii’s official poverty rate was less than 10% in 2018 but the supplemental poverty measure, which averages the three years 2016-18,  is much higher because it takes into account the cost of living….

read … High Costs Make Hawaii’s Poverty Rate Higher Than U.S. Average

‘Affordable in perpetuity’ chokes Maui housing supply

MN: … if lower-income residents initially buy their “affordable” homes for $500,000 each, and over the next 10 years the market values of those units appreciate to $700,000, this would benefit those homeowners even if they do not sell because now they have equity that they can tap to finance home improvements, pay off debts, pay for college or start their own businesses. Homeowners of houses that are “affordable in perpetuity” could still get loans, but those would be based on the fixed, “affordable” prices of their units, not the true market value.

Fixing the affordable home prices “in perpetuity” denies the lower-income owners the option of accessing the true value of their homes, which might be their only source of capital.

In 2012, 22 percent of small business owners nationwide tapped their homes for financing. For some entrepreneurs, borrowing against their homes is the only way to obtain financing for their entrepreneurial endeavors. Many business owners owe the success of their businesses to their ability to use their homes as collateral. Successful businesses, in turn, create streams of money that flow through the economy, benefitting homeowners, businesses, employees and consumers.

Monetizing a home’s appreciation also is valuable to nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity, which builds homes for lower-income residents and then shares the profits when they are sold at market value….

read … ‘Affordable in perpetuity’ chokes Maui housing supply

Some vacation rental owners bow out before Sept. 30 permit application deadline

HTH: … the rules required in order to be approved for the permits have caused some owners to shut down their rental properties entirely.

“One house we had to sell, we had to close another one,” said Lucretia Worster, owner of HiLife Media and Rentals, who used to own three rental properties and now owns one.

Worster explained that it would be too expensive to implement the requirements for the nonconforming use permit on all of her properties.

Applicants are required to submit approved building, plumbing and electrical permits, building diagrams, proof of property taxes, certification for parking, verification that notices of the business were submitted to all neighbors within 300 feet of the property, and must comply with “good neighbor rules” that include noise limitations. Applications also require a nonrefundable $500 application fee that must be renewed each year for an additional $250.

“We’re losing a lot of business, but of course all the rich people who own properties get to keep going just fine,” Worster said….

Because new short-term vacation rentals only will be allowed in hotel and resort zones after the Sept. 30 deadline, Worster said she will not likely be able to afford another rental property.

“It’s been a bummer,” Worster said. “It feels like, in Hawaii, they’d rather you work for someone else, because they make it so hard for business owners.”

Worster said she isn’t alone in her situation. Other rental owners closed all their properties entirely, with some leaving the state to return to the mainland. Vacation rental owners in Leilani Estates have been particularly affected, she said, with no time to rebuild their properties that were destroyed in last year’s Kilauea volcano eruption.

Volcano resident Ira Ono said he lives on his rental property, and so is exempt from the new law. However, he said a regional tally estimated that approximately 800 property owners were affected by the new law in Puna and Ka‘u alone, with many people deciding not to bother with the lengthy application process.

“I know somebody whose application was denied,” Ono said. “And you could reapply, you could try to correct the problems, but you’re still out that $500.”…

read … Some vacation rental owners bow out before Sept. 30 permit application deadline

Lyft & Uber Not Regulated by Public Utilities Commission

IM: … The Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission regulates all transportation companies except taxis….

Hawai`i exempts taxicabs from being regulated by the public utilities commission. Instead, they are regulated at the county level.

Taxicabs are regulated in the City and County of Honolulu under Chapter 12 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu (ROH). …

A gig economy is a free market system in which organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements and temporary positions are common.

California Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) would require gig economy workers to be reclassified as employees instead of contractors. The bill is advancing, is expected to be passed this fall, and to be signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.

The bill would change the employment practices of one million low-wage employees of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates and Instacart.

The bill would make it harder for gig economy companies to prove that their workers are not staff, while ensuring key benefits and protections, like minimum wage, insurance and sick days.

To fight the bill, Uber and Lyft has proposed establishing $21-an-hour minimum wage for drivers in California. Other gig companies are threatening to fund a voter initiative to counter the bill.

CNS: California Prepares to Upend Uber & Lyft Business Model

read … Lyft & Uber Not Regulated by Public Utilities Commission

Hawaii Students Feel Safer At School, But Not Everywhere

CB: … A decade ago, only about half of Hawaii public school students surveyed by the Hawaii Department of Education said they felt safe at school, based on a questionnaire that touched on school environment, bullying, disciplinary actions and more.

Today, two-thirds of students in the latest School Quality Survey administered by DOE say they feel safe.

But the improvement was not uniform, and those schools where a high number of students still don’t feel safe also struggle with high chronic absenteeism and poor academic achievement.

By isolating high schoolers’ responses to the statements “I feel safe at school” and “I feel safe from the bullying behavior of students at my school,” a Civil Beat analysis of 2018-19 data found big disparities….

read … Hawaii Students Feel Safer At School, But Not Everywhere

Junkies to be Legal Pot Buyers?

CB: … The Department of Health has scheduled public hearings statewide on Oct. 8 to consider adding another “debilitating medical condition” to the list of what qualifies for a “medical use of cannabis” license. That condition is “Opioid Use Disorder and Withdrawal.”

If accepted, junkies could get cannabis legally — and that’s all right with me. But isn’t it ironic? Over and over, for more than 80 years, we’ve been told that pot smoking can lead to heroin addiction. Now the DOH is looking to establish that heroin addiction can lead to pot smoking!….

read … Here’s What’s Wrong With Medical Cannabis Licenses

New cash smuggling and Sex Assault allegations raised against Filipino mega-church officials

HNN: …In recent court documents, federal prosecutors said former church member Kristina Angeles saw Quiboloy and Salinas order church members to smuggle hundreds of thousands of dollars from California to the Philippines on two separate occasions in 2013 and 2014.

“Church members concealed U.S. currency in black socks,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Albanese.

… “I have a woman who says she saw $100,000 go from California to the Philippines, then she said it was two or three million," Green said. “She says it was put in socks. They must have parishioners with size 18 feet because the socks must have been really big.”

In his court filing, Albanese disclosed another potential conflict: Angeles was charged in state court for sexually abusing a young girl who was a member of the church….

SA: Filipino church leader is accused of sexual assault

read … New cash smuggling allegations raised against Filipino mega-church officials

Gabbard Says She Does Not Support Open Borders and Even Backs Some Physical Barriers

ET: … During an appearance with the Rubin Report on Sept. 8, host Dave Rubin asked Gabbard about her stance on the issue.

“I don’t support open borders. Without secure borders, we don’t really have a country,” Gabbard told Rubin. “And while some of the other Democratic candidates will say, ‘Well, open borders, that’s a conservative argument and that’s not really what’s being advocated for,’ if you look at some of the practical implications of some of the things they are pushing for, it is essentially open borders.”

Gabbard went on to provide suggestions for immigration reform.

“One is we’ve got to have secure borders. This is not Trump’s wall from sea to shining sea.”….

read … Gabbard Says She Does Not Support Open Borders and Even Backs Some Physical Barriers

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