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Monday, February 5, 2024
February 5, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:16 PM :: 1223 Views

Long Lines Suppress Republican Votes on Election Day:  City Clerk Plans to do it Again in 2024

Let’s Fulfill MLK’s Dream in Hawai‘i

Hawaii’s cost-of-living problem is an economic freedom problem

Hawaii: Never a shortage of costly and grandiose project proposals

Danger: 200 tax bills being considered by Legislature

Lawmakers seek clarity on possible connections between suspects in 2 acid attacks while serving time

HNN: … The two acid attackers were in OCCC together for three months….

read … Lawmakers seek clarity on possible connections between suspects in 2 acid attacks while serving time

Taxpayers will likely have to fork over $12.5M for latest settlement in high-speed police chase

HNN: … Sinapati and his family were represented by attorneys Michael Green and Maria Penn.

“He had a catastrophic injury, we wanted to give our client some quality of life,” Green said, adding settlement talks with the city “got pretty intense” ahead of the deal.

The first civil lawsuit in the incident settled last year for $4.5 million and covered four of the passengers, one of them an 18-year old who lost an eye….

read … Taxpayers will likely have to fork over $12.5M for latest settlement in high-speed police chase

Green Energy is a Joke: Hawaii building Six More Diesel Plants disguised as ‘biodiesel’

IM:  … Hawaiian Electric Company announced that six firm power plants are in the process of signing power purchase agreements that will be filed with the Public Utilities Commission in the last half of 2024.

Concerned stakeholders have 20 days to file an electronic motion to intervene. Historically, intervention in Public Utilities Commission biofuel proceedings by community groups is exceedingly rare if ever, except for Life of the Land`s intervention in a dozen bioenergy proceedings…..

Four of the projects consist of new facilities at existing power plants. The two new proposals are Ameresco`s Puʻuloa Energy & ‘Ūkiu Energy generation facilities….

The fuels that are proposed to be used are Biodiesel, Diesel, Hydrogen, Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), Vacuum Gas Oil (VGO), and Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (LSFO)….Puʻuloa Energ & ‘Ūkiu Energy do not appear to have identified the fuels they will use….

"Renewable diesel is a synthetic diesel fuel made from biomass, such as vegetable oil, agricultural waste, and trash. Renewable diesel works like low-sulfur gasoline or crude oil that you can use anywhere that those fuels can be used without requiring special modifications to pipelines or engines. "…

(TRANSLATION: When nobody is looking, they will convert to regular diesel, this saving ratepayers a bundle and reducing deforestation on Borneo.)

HNN: Army bio-diesel generating plant is helping to ‘fill the gap’ in HECO grid (hawaiinewsnow.com)

SA: Letter: Small nuclear reactors could be used for energy

read … Public Utilities Commission Will Review Six Biofuel Proposals

Green Energy: Means ‘More Expensive’--Let’s call it ‘Carbon Cashback’

CB: … Hawaii’s most promising pathways to (cashflows from) a carbon-free economy are coming into focus with the recent release of the report Hawaii Pathways to Decarbonization. Importantly, state lawmakers have introduced bills (Senate Bill 2525 and House Bill 2178) that would implement one of the report’s key recommendations….

One of the report’s recommendations stands out as an effective way to reduce carbon emissions. It calls for a “carbon surcharge” using the state’s existing barrel tax, with dividends paid back to residents( the usual insiders). Also known as “carbon cashback,” this approach would bring about big cuts in emissions by incentivizing a switch away from (taxing) fossil fuels.

The cashback part of the policy — giving some or all of the revenues back to households in equal shares — would offset the increased cost of fossil fuel products during the transition to a carbon-free economy.

(IQ TEST: Do you believe this?)

read … ‘Carbon Cashback’ Could Move Hawaii Away From Fossil Fuels - Honolulu Civil Beat

Green Means ‘More Expensive’--Let’s call it ‘Climate Fee’

CB: …The state is falling short by hundreds of millions of dollars each year to protect its environment (give conservationists money) conservationists say. The new proposal would raise about $70 million annually….

SN: Kauai Conservations paid to murder parakeets

read …  Hawaii's Governor Wants To Finally Get A Climate Fee Passed, But Will It Be Enough? - Honolulu Civil Beat

Will New Property Tax Backfire on DoE Bureaucracy?

CB: … the minute that every single Hawaii resident feels the education tax, they will be acutely aware of and demand a higher level of accountability from public education and the lawmakers that support those taxes. In fact, they’ll probably resist new taxes when they’re made to pay for it – and rightly so….

read … Danny De Gracia: Think Carefully Before You Create Property Taxes To Fund Education - Honolulu Civil Beat 

Lahaina Fires Become Excuse du Jour

SA: … Several measures would create new organizations — including a commission, an office, a board, a council, a corporation, a working group and a task force….

There is even one bill to appropriate money to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts…

to hire more staff and buy more equipment…

using artificial intelligence (HB 1924), and one that would have UH develop computerized maps showing property…

State Rep. Elle Cochran (D, Waihee-Lahaina-Lahainaluna) said she appreciates the intent to help the community that she represents, but expressed some frustration that hardly any House colleagues reached out to her for input….

RELATED: Armed Robber with Purple Hair Gets no respect in Legislature

read … Wildfire issues take center stage among Hawaii lawmakers | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Campaign Cash Rolls in to Usual Incumbents

CB: … Scott Saiki, the speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives since 2017, has $220,000 in cash on hand, a total helped by generous donations from dozens of local political action committees and influential friends. Contributors include the Hawaii Medical Service Association Employee PAC and Shelee Kimura, CEO of Hawaiian Electric….

Saiki’s challenger in the Aug. 10 Democratic primary, Kim Coco Iwamoto, reported having barely $20,000 in her (his) coffers. Half that money comes from a $10,000 contribution from Iwamoto her(him)self.

And yet, the former state Board of Education member and former head of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission has managed to give Saiki a scare in the past two elections. Just 161 votes separated the incumbent from Iwamoto in the 2022 primary, which Saiki won. The margin was a mere 167 votes just two years before that….

(TRANNYSLATION: Dem base voter suffer from severe wokeism, which is a form of excited delirium, but 167 more prefer to keep their viewplanes above OHA’s Kakaako makai development parcels.)

Donovan Dela Cruz, an Oahu senator and chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, isn’t up again until 2026, but has $1 million dollars in the bank. His contributors include the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters PAC and Dwight Mitsunaga, president of Pacific Architects.

To put Dela Cruz’s political cash into perspective, consider that in 2022 winning senators raised on average $102,000 and spent $85,000….

Cedric Gates has $37,700 in cash, but that figure does not include donations from the three fundraisers he held in January. The next reporting deadline is April 30, which will reflect candidates who filed nomination papers through April 25….

La Chica was appointed last year to fill a vacancy for the District 37 seat that represents parts of Mililani Town, Mililani Mauka, Koa Ridge and Waipio Gentry. She raised $25,000 in the most recent reporting period and has $22,000 in cash. Donors include Rep. Linda Ichiyama and Sen. Glenn Wakai, and the Local Union 1186 IBEW PAC Fund.

Inouye, in his first run for public office, pulled in $41,000 and has $32,000 in cash. Contributors include former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, the late senator’s chief of staff, Jennifer Sabas, and the Young Brothers PAC. Inouye also loaned himself $5,000.

Democrat Rep. Daniel Holt has taken out papers to run this year, as has the Aloha Aina Party candidate who lost to him in 2022, Ernest Caravalho. Holt raised $7,000 and has $42,000 in the bank. He also held three fundraisers last month for the District 28 seat representing Sand Island, Iwilei and Chinatown. Those donations will be reported April 30.

Caravalho, who is now poised to run as a Democrat against Holt in the primary, reported a mere $192 in cash and no donations at all.

And in another potential rematch, Democratic Rep. Jenna Takenouchi took in $10,000 and now has about $45,000 to use for a likely run for the District 27 seat (Pacific Heights, Nuuanu, Liliha). The Republican she defeated handily in 2022, Margaret Lim, has been issued nomination papers, but she has not filed a recent campaign finance report….

CB: Big Island Mayor Outpaces Lone Challenger In Election Fundraising

read … House Speaker Well Funded In Rematch With Persistent Opponent - Honolulu Civil Beat

Insurance Company Led By HECO Board Chair Is Suing His Own Utility Over The Maui Fires

CB: … The chairman of the board of Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc. is also the president and chief executive of a local insurance company that’s suing HECO and it’s affiliated companies, alleging Hawaiian Electric caused the Maui wildfires. 

So how is Timothy Johns, president and chief executive of Zephyr Insurance and chairman of HECO’s board, remaining in both positions while one company he works for sues the other? ….

(CLUE: Johns can steer the litigation away from any claim that HECO management was ‘negligent’, thus allowing HECO to raise rates to recoup fire damages.  Johns could also steer litigation towards placing blame on other entities, thus reducing HECO’s litigation exposure.)

HECO’s current board is a mixed bag when it comes to utility industry experience. For instance, according to his bio on HECO’s website, besides running the insurance company now suing HECO, Johns has been chief consumer affairs officer for HMSA, president and chief executive of the Bishop Museum, chief operating officer for the Estate of Samuel Mills Damon, chair of the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources and vice president and general counsel of Amfac Property Development Corp.

Other utility directors include Alana Kobayashi Pakkala, a real estate developer, and Toby Taniguchi, president of Big Islands grocer KTA Superstores.  

There’s also a question of how independent the directors are. Two that have industry experience work for Hawaiian Electric. Shelee Kimura is HECO’s president and chief executive. James Ajello, HEI’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, has nearly 18 years utility industry experience. 

Mary Kipp, now president and chief executive of Puget Sound Energy Inc., has also been president and chief executive of El Paso Energy Co. She’s the only HECO board member with industry experience who doesn’t work for HECO or HEI. 

read … Insurance Company Led By HECO Board Chair Is Suing His Own Utility Over The Maui Fires

Shelters are Retirement Centers for Career Homeless

SA: … On the weekend of Jan. 28, 114 adults over 55 lived at IHS shelters, and 46 of them were over 65. Kupuna comprised 33.6% of all shelter guests.

In 2023, IHS counted 593 adults over 55 years old in all of its shelters — 73 more than in 2022….

read … Homeless youth find help at new sober house

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:

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