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Friday, March 12, 2021
March 12, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:44 PM :: 3584 Views

Public outrage grows after Senators OK huge tax hike

Ige: "Furloughs are off the table"

Pharmacists Vaccinate 90% of Patients in Care Homes on Oahu, Big Island

Honolulu Tier Three Modifications Allow Team Sports and Competitive Games

Vaccinations for Age 65+ and Tourism Industry Workers Begin Monday

Tax Hike: Real Goal is to Shrink State Population

WSJ Editorial March 12, 2021: … With $350 billion in aid coming from Washington, what’s on the agenda in Democratic statehouses? Hawaii’s Legislature, the bluest in all 50 states, is bidding to pass the highest state tax rate in the land.

The state Senate voted Tuesday to raise the top income-tax rate to 16% from 11%….

Hawaii legislators know President Biden will soon sign a $1.9 trillion spending bill that includes a state bailout. Some $6.1 billion will go to the Aloha State. Hawaii’s new tax increases would supposedly last through 2027, taking far more out of the economy than needed to make up for a sluggish 2020. But “temporary” tax hikes almost always become permanent as politicians rush to spend the new revenue and refuse to cut spending when the higher tax rates are set to expire.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate was 10.3% in December, the worst nationwide. It has the nation’s highest cost of living, and from 2010-2020 only New York and Illinois saw greater shares of residents flee. If the Hawaii Legislature’s goal is to shrink the state population, its new tax grab might do it….

read … Confiscation in Paradise

Our endless rail

Ilind: … Rail has become our transportation quagmire. Remember that word? It was the term applied to the U.S. war in Vietnam, and to the seemingly endless war in Afghanistan. It’s the idea that a series of decisions can end up trapping us in a costly situation from which there appears to be no exit….

Now we have what seems to be rail without end.

Lori Kahikina, interim CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, now says that we’re $3 billion and a decade short of finishing the long-delayed rail system, according to an article in the Honolulu Advertiser this morning.

“What we’re looking at is a $3 billion shortfall,” Kahikina said.

That would be 27% of the current projected budget of $11 billion. And it’s not clear from the Star-Advertiser story whether we’re talking about $3 billion that’s already in the budget but lacks funding, or an additional $3 billion, bringing the total to somewhere around $14 billion.

Further, Kahikina is quoted as saying: “At the risk of being shot by the public and other stakeholders, we are actually estimating maybe 2031 that everything is complete.”

Let’s put that 2031 timeframe in perspective. Those born on November 4, 2008–the day when Honolulu voters approved proceeding with the rail project by a narrow margin–will be old enough to have gradated from college and be starting families of their own by the time the rail project will be completed.

And that’s only if it is “on time and on budget” from here on, something I’m sure most people will agree is highly unlikely….

FB: HART Oversight Ctte Mtg Today

read … Our endless rail

Rail Plan: Give Hanabusa a $1M Contract?

HNN: … According to the Center for Responsive Politics, HART used to spend about $320,000 a year to lobby the federal government, but former CEO Andrew Robbins cut that out of the budget two years ago as costs for the rail system skyrocketed to about $11 billion.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation recently issued proposal requests for a federal lobbyist and a board consultant to lobby local government leaders.

HART said it plans to spend about $1 million over the next several years.

“I did not initiate this, but I am in full support of this because any support we can get is needed,” said HART interim CEO Lori Kahikina….

The Board Consultant is a newly created position and requires very specific job qualifications, including:

  • A law degree and 20 years of legal practice
  • Minimum 10 years of experience at the city or state
  • Minimum five years experience at a federal level

“Those things together would appear to be written for a certain person. They are so specific,” said investigative reporter and blogger Ian Lind….

(CLUE: “Hanabusa”)

Lind said some of the duties of the board consultant were previously handled by staff who have since been terminated.

Since January, at least a dozen HART staffers and consultants have been let go from HART, and many more are expected….

“They’ve lost significant experience within the agency and are left to having to go to outsourcing,” said Lind….

read … HART to spend $1M for lobbyist and local government consultant

Hawaii has graduated out of NIMBYism?

PBN: … "Whether it’s the Land Use Commission or the maze of county zoning laws and so forth, our government is not operating in such a way as to make the development of housing easy to do in Hawaii.”

"If all we were to do was to increase the supply of land by 1 or 2 percentage points above the 5%, we could have a tremendous increase in supply, resulting in a reduction of the cost.”

Steve Kelly, president of Kapolei Properties Division, James Campbell Co. LLC, and chairman of ULI-Hawaii, offered an astute observation, using an acronym that is sure to gain in popularity:  “Sometimes it seems like Hawaii has graduated out of NIMBYism and on to another acronym, BANANA, which is Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything. … Unfortunately, I think that that sentiment has sort of infiltrated levels of government, as well.”

read … Future of Cities: Solving Honolulu's Housing Crunch

$1M Bail for HSTA Member Charged with Child Molestation

KITV: … A 65-year-old Kalaheo man and former JROTC Senior Army Instructor was arrested on Kaua'i after being charged with five counts of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree.

Victor Aguilar was indicted for sexually assaulting a former student.

The Department of Education (DOE) began investigating the case involving alleged misuse of electronic devices issued to Aguilar by the DOE and the U.S. Army….

Related: Former DOE employee arrested for sex assault, promoting child abuse

read … Former JROTC instructor charged with 5 counts of sex assault with a student

House is asked to investigate state Rep. Sharon Har’s DUI ‘incident’

SA: … The state House will consider a request to investigate last month’s arrest of state Rep. Sharon Har on suspicion of drunken driving and citations for driving in the wrong direction on one-way South Beretania Street and for driving without insurance shortly after 10 on a Monday night.

Har was on the House floor Thursday when “Miscellaneous Communication 1001” was read into the record, “petitioning the House to investigate and appropriately act upon an incident involving a member of the House.”

Har’s name was not mentioned on the House floor. House Speaker Scott Saiki deferred the request until Wednesday to decide how to proceed.

Har (D, Kapolei-­Makakilo) represents House District 42. The request to investigate her was sent by 11 members of the Democratic Party’s District 42 Council, said Mike Golojuch Sr., the party’s District 42 chairman.

Golojuch’s son, Michael Golojuch Jr., ran unsuccessfully against Har for the seat she now holds, and his father acknowledged “there always can be that perception” that the request for the House to investigate Har can be seen as payback….

read … House is asked to investigate state Rep. Sharon Har’s DUI ‘incident’

SHOPO calls for Raybuck resignation, Kawakami Defends

TGI: … Late Wednesday night, SHOPO released a joint statement from state board of directors President Malcolm Lutu and Kaua‘i Chapter Chair Christopher Calio. Earlier in the day, a representative said the union would be withholding comment until after the commission released its official findings.

“These charges and findings involving blatant racism is appalling and will not be tolerated by SHOPO and our rank-and-file officers,” the statement reads. “Assuming the reported findings are true and accurate, we find it shocking that a top law-enforcement leader would bring such racist sentiments into our community.

“It breeds public mistrust in those who are sworn to protect and uphold the law. Given these findings, such abusive conduct absolutely cannot be tolerated and SHOPO demands Chief Raybuck’s immediate resignation.”

Tuesday, The Garden Island published a report citing a Feb. 26 letter written by commission Chair Catherine Adams sustaining an internal complaint of Raybuck making comments disparaging of Japanese culture and mocking Asian stereotypes through squinting, bowing and speaking in an accent on two separate occasions.

Mayor Derek Kawakami, the grandson of a Japanese immigrant, said Wednesday these allegations are not consistent with the Raybuck he has worked with the last two years, and if true he would be inclined to forgive.

“These allegations do not reflect the Chief Raybuck that I know and work closely with. If found to be true, I feel a deep obligation to forgive, and this will not impact my ability to work together with him moving forward to serve the people of Kaua‘i,” Kawakami said in a statement…. 

KHON: Kauai police chief apologizes, SHOPO calls for his resignation

HNN:  Kauai police chief apologizes for racially-insensitive comments

read … SHOPO calls for Raybuck resignation

Maui Police Chief Retiring While Under Commission Scrutiny For Hit-And-Run

CB: … No one was injured in the accident, but questions have been raised about whether the chief was held accountable for fleeing the scene …. 

MN: Faaumu said he planned to leave last year but stayed on during pandemic

Flashback: Blackmail and Doctored Video Targets Maui Police Chief

read … Maui Police Chief Retiring While Under Commission Scrutiny For Hit-And-Run

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