Will Legislators loan $50M to a drunken rave promoter?
UHERO is my new housing policy hero
Once Upon a Rebate
‘Perception of Payoff’ How Choy Got Kauai Waste Treatment Contract
KGI: … State Rep. Jimmy Tokioka, who represents Wailua, Hanama‘ulu, Lihu‘e and Koloa, reported that he wrote a $2,500 check to the campaign spending commission returning Choy’s 2014 and 2019 donations, shortly after the story came to light, to reduce “perception of any payoff.”
Senate President Ron Kouchi, who represents Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, announced that he would be returning $12,000 in donations provided by Choy and his associates from 2015 to 2017 to the commission shortly after the scandal broke.
State Rep. Nadine Nakamura, who represents Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola and Kapa‘a, was the latest to return the wastewater executive’s money, reporting that on April 14 she returned a $600 individual donation made by Choy in 2018.
Former Kaua‘i County Councilmember Ross Kagawa also received a legally reported $2,000 donation in 2018. The Garden Island is yet to confirm if this donation has been returned.
Unlike the local state legislators, Mayor Derek Kawakami has remained adamant about holding on to Choy’s donations as he heads into his reelection campaign.
From 2017 to 2019, Kawakami received $8,500 in legally reported donations from Choy.
A statement from Dan Giovanni, Kawakami’s campaign chair, reported that Kawakami had no intention to return the funds because they “were not tied to any improper or unethical action.”
Choy’s interest in Kaua‘i may have stemmed from the business dealings he conducted on island.
In 2020, Choy’s company, H2O Process Systems LLC, received a $750,000 sole-source contract from the County of Kaua‘i to install an additional tertiary filter for the Wailua Wastewater Treatment Plant….
This was just one of many lucrative government contracts that Choy’s companies have received over recent years, including a 2020 contact to clean Honolulu buses that totaled more than $3.4 million….
Feb 2022: Feds Bust Two Legislators in Cesspool Bribery Scheme
Feb 2022: Honolulu Businessman Milton Choy was Turned by Feds ‘A Couple of Years’ Ago
read … Kaua‘i legislators return donations tied to bribery figure
Ikaika Anderson’s Honolulu City Council resignation raises questions in lieutenant governor race
SA: Ikaika Anderson … resigned his Windward City Council seat in 2020 saying he wanted to focus on caring for his Waimanalo grandparents who raised him, but ended up working for a mason’s union job that he left after nine months.
“Once you have the marker, ‘Are you going to stay in this job?’, it is an issue,” Hart said. “He stepped down to look after Grandma, then took a union job and no longer has the union job. It is a cloudy narrative, and there’s been a bunch of chatter.”
“I’m running for lieutenant governor to serve as lieutenant governor. Period,” he said when asked if he would resign as lieutenant governor to pursue a potential congressional seat….
… He also calls himself the only candidate “with direct land-use policy experience. I understand land-use policy because I wrote much of the Honolulu Transient Oriented Development plan.”
2017: Ikaika Anderson Land Use Facepalm
Anderson said he also acted decisively in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. He decided on his own, for instance, to shut down in-person City Council meetings on the first day of budget hearings, risking a lawsuit for alleged violations of the Sunshine Law, and he offered testing to all city employees when an outbreak occurred in the City Clerk’s Office, which is under the purview of the Council chairman.
What he’s talking about: Corona Towers: Council Hides Behind Quarantine, Gives Development Deal to Convicted Felon
“I had to make decisions, and quick decisions,” Anderson said. “They were my decisions to make. Mine and mine alone. If anyone was going to sue the Council over violations of the Sunshine Law, I would have to answer to that as Council chair.”…
Bonus Read: Full Text: Council Chair Cries a River After Being Busted Giving Development Deal to Convicted Felon
Sept 18, 2020: Ethics: Local 630 Buys Anderson to Stop Rail Audit? -- Surprise: Anderson Nominates Local 630 Favorite Drinking Buddy Texeira as his Replacement
Sept 26, 2020: Tsuneyoshi asked the Honolulu Ethics Commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson.
2021: Former City Council chair criticized by constituent at Lt. Gov. campaign launch
read … Ikaika Anderson’s Honolulu City Council resignation raises questions in lieutenant governor race
Legislators Set up Two Bills to Test Strength of Gut-And-Replace Ban?
CB: … The Legislature has drawn complaints from observers who cite radical, late-session amendments to measures such as Senate Bill 775 and House Bill 510, which have been so dramatically changed that they are almost unrecognizable. Apart from their bill numbers and titles, nothing about those measures is the same as when they were introduced in late January.
HB 510, initially addressing vehicle registration fees, would now provide a tax credit that could put money back in the pockets of working families that need it the most. SB 775, originally adjusting hotel room taxes, would kick tourism tax dollars toward environmental efforts, among other provisions….
SA: “I don’t think our legislators are saying, ‘Here’s our Supreme Court decision and we’re not going to abide by it,’ ” she said. “But … boundaries are tested.”
read … The Hawaii Legislature Is Winding Down. Will The Gut-And-Replace Ban Hold Up?
A List of Big Ticket Items Before the Legislature
SA: … As for the actual government spending — or diversion of funds back to the public — here are the top-ticket items:
>> A century has passed without fulfillment of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. So the provision of $600 million to get the Native Hawaiian beneficiaries off the persistent waiting list is more than justified, as HB 2511 and Senate Bill 3359 head to conference.
Amendments so far have provided more guidance to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands on allotments for specific projects, guidance which is warranted. This program, important as it is, demands strict guardrails. Inroads on DHHL housing, of course, also will help ease Hawaii’s overall housing shortage.
>> SB 2372 would provide $300 million for the Rental Housing Revolving Fund to fill out the financing packages for the state’s other affordable housing projects. There are developers queued up for this subsidy, according to the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp., so it’s crucial that this appropriation is made.
>> HB 2233 and SB 2150 would enable those eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs to receive up to $500 monthly for housing assistance. This would be a worthy subsidy, provided during the families’ participation in a mandatory work program.
>> HB 510 would make the state earned income tax credit refundable and extends that credit for another six years. This means that working individuals or families with little to no income-tax liabilities would get a boost. These are households that do pay into state coffers through the general excise tax. Other states have found this to be an effective way to get help where it is needed the most.
>> In an election year, it’s not surprising that lawmakers would want to distribute a little money to the broader public, so a 2021 measure, SB 514, has been revived as the likely vehicle for a tax refund, between $100 and $300 per taxpayer and dependents. Since the state is so flush with cash, there’s a good argument that at least some should go directly back to public pockets….
Borreca: Can the state actually spend all that new money, and is there adequate supervision to do it properly?
read … Editorial: Surplus, yes, but Legislature should use funds wisely
COVID cases likely three times more than reported
HTH: … “Thousands of people have taken advantage of the opportunity to get free home test kits, and many more have purchased at-home tests,” said DOH spokesman Brooks Baehr. “Results from those tests are not reported to the Department of Health, so they are not included in our data.” ….
When combining the average of 8,000 tests completed in early March with the current positivity rate of roughly 5%, Brown estimates new cases could be “over 450 cases a day right now,” as opposed to the 164 recorded over the last week by the DOH on Wednesday….
Big Q: How concerned are you about the XE subvariant of COVID-19?
read … COVID cases likely three times more than reported
Honolulu Police Commission hits snooze button on picking new chief
Shapiro: … Ballard announced her retirement more than a year ago after receiving a poor performance evaluation from the commission. The reported 19 candidates to replace her, 12 from within the department and seven external, had their resumes in by the application deadline last July.
But the commission dithered for six months on finding a consultant to screen the candidates before finally hiring PSI Services LLC.
All while a demoralized department struggled with the pandemic, severe manpower shortages and multiple controversial police shootings under interim Chief Rade Vanic, who ultimately dropped his candidacy for permanent chief.
PSI Services said last week it has winnowed the list of candidates to eight. The commission won’t become involved, and the public won’t learn anything specific, until PSI picks four finalists next month. The commission hopes to name a chief in June.
The convoluted process and the long delay in moving the department forward is ludicrous, leading the police union among others to question why a commission made up mostly of accomplished professionals needs such extended hand-holding from a consultant.
Maui County last year picked a new police chief in six months. Los Angeles replaced its outgoing chief in five months and San Francisco in seven months.
Honolulu commissioners are following essentially the same process and taking the same time as the search that produced Ballard, who despite all the consultant’s screening was secretive and thin-skinned, often at odds with the commission and her own command, and couldn’t complete her term….
read … Honolulu Police Commission hits snooze button on picking new chief
Extra food stamp benefits extended to end of May
HNN: … On March 24, Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation to address food insecurity.
According to the Department of Human Services, nearly 200,000 people in Hawaii rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. State officials say it is a 36% increase from prior to the pandemic.
The data shows there aren’t as many people receiving SNAP benefits this year compared to last year. However, it is still much more than prior to the pandemic. In addition, there has been a steady increase in the numbers over the past few months.
“SNAP benefits are just issued once a month in the first week. So having that supplemental, which is usually around the middle of the month. I think it’s really helped them budget for the remainder of the month until the next issuance.”
This proclamation continues through May 24….
As Explained: The Perpetual Covid ‘Emergency’--Will Legislators Trade Democracy for Food Stamps?
read … Amid growing need, extra food stamp benefits extended to end of May
Global Warning is a Natural Process Which Increases CO2 in the Atmosphere, not the other way around--Here’s How
CB: … As temperatures rise and patterns of precipitation change, permafrost and other forms of ground ice become vulnerable to thaw and collapse. As these frozen soils warm, the ground destabilizes, unraveling the interwoven fabric that has delicately shaped these dynamic ecosystems over millennia. Wildfires, which have been increasing across the Arctic, have been increasing the risk.
Under the surface, something else is active – and it is amplifying global warming. When the ground thaws, microbes begin feasting on organic matter in soils that have been frozen for millennia.
(They are telling us this because they have so thoroughly brainwashed that they can tell the truth and many will still think it sustains the lie. Hilarious.)
These microbes release carbon dioxide and methane, potent greenhouse gases. As those gases escape into the atmosphere…: Warmer temperatures thaw more soil, releasing more organic material for microbes to feast on and produce more greenhouse gases….
(This also explains why there is always more CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere.)
read … Natural Process
Corona Virus News: