Where is the EA or EIS for Maui Smart Grid?
Aloha, Nov. 23, 2011
"Life of the Land looks forward to reviewing the Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement for the Maui Smart Grid. The Smart Grid is one of several ways to advance renewable energy integration within the State. Like any proposal, Smart Grids have positive and negative impacts which should be examined via a public review process. Chapter 343 HRS offers the public the chance vet the alternatives."
The Smart Grid could integrated with the Hawaii Broadband Initiative, or the state could build two separate systems at a great cost
Related: Maui Smart Grid Demonstration Project to Begin Next Year
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Bag Ban Detrimental To The Environment
Dear Editor, November 14, 2011
Bill 17 currently before the Hawaii County Council bans businesses from providing plastic checkout bags.
This bill unjustly singles out businesses and increases their costs at a time when the economy is struggling. Bill 17 will not just affect large chain stores, but even small local businesses, the life blood of Hawaii, that are struggling. Even if businesses pass this cost on to the customer, then families will be indirectly harmed by taking money away that could go towards purchasing essential needs.
Bill 17 also places trees at risk in forcing businesses to use paper bags as an alternative, the reason the environmental movement pushed for the adoption of the plastic bag so many years ago. With so many industries vying to use wood as a material, it is imperative that we do not regress back to encouraging the use of paper bags.
An unintended consequence of Bill 17 in forcing the use of reusable cloth bags is the use of our precious water to clean these bags to prevent bacteria from growing at a time when our state is taking measures to protect our watershed. Many do not have access to county water, so cloth bags will be reused without being washed, which will pose a health risk unbeknownst to users. Plastic bags do not share this health risk. A reusable bag must be used 393 times, or roughly 7.5 years, to replace reusing a plastic bag just three times. That is a lot of water.
I hope that the County Council will realize that Bill 17 is detrimental to the Big Island's environment and not pass it.
Discovery Harbour, Hawaii
Open Spaces Rip-off
Dear Editor, Nov 2, 2011
Hawaii County Councilwoman Ford is finally revealing more of the Open Spaces taxpayer rip-off. Ford not only wants the full 2% - approximately $4 million this year – of our property taxes to buy more private property, she now wants 0.25% for UPKEEP – for starters. Additionally, she has pontificated that the money now in government hands is “sacred”, whereas when it was in the hands of the earners it was what? -- an entitlement for government? And, she also wants another $20,000 “apiece”, for starters, to “federally recognized” non profits that perform maintenance work….I’m sure she has a few in mind.
During the Hawaii County budgeting process for the current year, Ford and her majority on the council could not find one single penny of county money to cut to provide relief to already struggling taxpayers. She now says she can cut $500,000 in “luxuries” that they could not find during their strenuous attempts to balance the county budget.
Just a month or so ago we read where one of the island’s largest landowners, Parker Ranch, “preserved” 56,772 acres without needing a single penny of the county’s Open Spaces money. However, the further revelation that government zoning laws, tax codes and building permit “incentives” assisted in the decision process to dedicate nearly one half of Parker properties to agriculture preservation – open spaces - tells the real story. Parker Ranch will get $7.5 million in yearly state tax credits, a $2.5 million loan and grant assistance and the county will “relax” infrastructure requirements and “expedite” the process of ag building permits. Oh yes, and the BIG tomato – the county will also reduce the smallest parcel’s taxes from a possible $4.4 MILLION to just $215,100 (I have no info on the potential savings for the other 50,000 acres). Parker Ranch chose to exercise their options and have retained ownership of their properties though with more restrictions in exchange for possibly more favorable government consideration.
So, please tell me, again, why we need an Open Spaces tax when we don’t even have money to maintain what a handful of appointees decide to purchase now? Also, while we’re emptying this Pandora’s Box, what are we going to do with the lands already purchased and continue to be purchased, when are we going to do it and where will that money come from? I suspect that information is too prejudicial to reveal now, revealing even more of the politics of this injustice being levied in Hawaii’s taxpayers.
Additionally, isn’t the Hawaii County Council considering using borrowed money to do overdue maintenance on parks and recreation facilities? They have no money for maintenance and upkeep for current properties but can find money for Open Spaces sandboxes?
The Open Space tax is unnecessary, too expensive, a redundant tax and bad public policy. The current open spaces “tax” is a liberal agenda and a taxpayer rip-off. It should be terminated.
Rick Toledo, Jr
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Makaha Resident backs Mag-Lev
Dear Editor, Nov. 4, 2011
I attended the Honolulu City Council meeting this week; it was held at Kapolei this time on Nov 2, 2011.
I went to the meeting to provide testimony on two issues, including a resolution introduced by First District Council Member Mr. Tom Berg. The resolution was his "hail Mary" pass to the other City Council members which urged them to vote on switching to a superior rail system that would be 50% less expensive and be delivered on time if not earlier than the current steel on steel project. He hoped this pass would be caught and the City Council would score a winning touchdown for the tax payers of Oahu. His logic and passion were sound, irrefutable and convincing. I expected a close vote but at least a pass on this first reading as many good ideas are at least given positive consideration on the first round of three readings.
To my dismay and shock, not one other Council member voted for passage of the resolution, except Oahu's only true idea man, Mr. Tom Berg. Many of the Council members opposed the concept citing that the project would be delayed; instead, they preferred the current course at any price - no new generation Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) for them.
A couple members cited that if they changed course it would show poor resolve to the Feds and they would want repayment of the $200 Million the City has already spent. Say WHAT? Where in the hell did $200 million go already? I'd be embarrassed to admit I had spent $200 million on plush office spaces and big payoffs to key cronies to buy influence for the project. No holdup by the normal enviro-cultural regulars this time, because they've been bought off handsomely. And they're still on the payroll. I guess $200 million goes out pretty fast when all the insiders, ne'er-do-wells, and has-beens are having obscene stacks of our rail dollars thrown at them.
21st Century Maglev: whisper quite, smaller foot print, more aesthetic, safer, much cheaper, more flexible, less impact on the environment and cultural sites, cheaper to maintain and made in America, not overseas like the current 19th century technology being pursued no matter the costs.
Berg's hail Mary pass and desire is to have Rail Done Right; that's all he wants and that's all the tax payers want. Fortunately, the ball he passed to the other Council Members was not a hail Mary pass after all, it was a lateral and the receivers fumbled the ball. It's still in play and concerned citizens of Oahu can pick up the ball and score a big one for themselves; they just need to be in the game and play hard.
Still not convinced? Check Maglev on Wikipedia and please, please, please watch the video at the link below, then call the eight fumbling Council Members and the Mayor as soon and often as possible; time is still on the clock! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkjpDBHbKYU