What's Next for Marijuana Tax?
Native Hawaiian Astronomers Testify in Support of Telescope
Caldwell to Ige: Raise Taxes for Rail or I’ll Run Against You
Borreca: …Caldwell knows that trains won’t run on those expensive tracks for about nine more years….
Plans on how to finish and how to pay for it seem to change with the month….
no one has agreed to anything except lining up taxpayers to pay….
the latest plan growing legs is one boosted by state Sen. Will Espero, which would extend or make permanent the 0.5 percent general excise tax increase….
Precisely who would pay — Oahu residents, as is now the case, or everyone in Hawaii — is still a question….
Caldwell has also said he would think about switching rail funding to long-term bonds, which would stretch out the payments over decades, but would result in taxpayers paying millions more in interest costs….
Mufi Hannemann has not won an election since he successfully talked the state Legislature and the City Council into the rail project….
Running for governor in the last two years of one’s last term as mayor is always a great temptation….
one of Gov. David Ige’s shrewdest political moves was his endorsement last year of Caldwell over former Congressman Charles Djou in the race for mayor.
Measuring by political appearances, for Caldwell to now run against Ige would be the definition of tacky.
It also would not help with any city-state cooperation or even rail funding.
All that leaves Caldwell with four years to steer an uncertain and costly train project with questionable political benefit, and a political future marked “to be determined.”
read … For Caldwell, being able to steer troubled train to success will direct his political future
HGEA Having Hard Time Finding Candidate to run Against Ige
Shapiro: With the 2016 election done, speculation is turning to 2018 — mostly about whether Democratic Gov. David Ige will draw major opposition in his party’s primary.
Ige’s surprise primary victory over Gov. Neil Abercrombie in 2014 dispelled that an incumbent governor can’t be beaten, and some disgruntled Democrats now wish the same fate for Ige.
They see him as a weak leader who is painfully slow to move, inarticulate on his policies and lacking rapport with the Legislature in which he served for 28 years.
But when talk turns to Ige’s vulnerability, I say, “Show me the candidate who can beat him.”
In the cauldron of loyalties that defines Hawaii politics, an inoffensive governor of local ancestry isn’t as easy to knock off as a perceived loud-mouthed outsider….
Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui has reasons to run against his boss, but he’s indicated he’ll run for mayor of Maui, his home island.
Others mentioned — Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and ambitious legislators like state Sens. Jill Tokuda, John Green and Will Espero — seem better candidates for lieutenant governor if Tsutsui departs….
read … Nobody wants to be Perreira's Perro
Telescope Getting Permits for Canary Islands Site
HTH: During cross-examination, some opponents accused him and the project for causing emotional trauma to Native Hawaiians and trespassing on Hawaiian kingdom land.
In a video released by TIO following his appearance, which ended Wednesday, Sanders said his team also is going through an environmental analysis and permits needed to build on La Palma in the Canary Islands.
TIO officials have said they intend to resume building in April 2018 at either site. A decision on where to build could occur as early as October, the organization’s last scheduled board meeting for the year.
“The goal is later this year the board will have the option in Hawaii and they will know they have the permits and environmental clearance in La Palma and they will be able to choose one or the other,” Sanders said in the video.
He said they are in the initial stages of getting the permits from the Spanish government.
Sanders said Mauna Kea remains the better site for astronomy since the mountain is nearly 6,000 feet taller….
The telescope organization’s partners are Caltech, University of California, Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy and national institutes in Japan, China and India….
HTH: Astronomers make their case
read … Telescope Leaving Hawaii
Ag Dep’t: 122 ‘Vacant Positions’ Lard Budget Requests
SA: …The state department in charge of managing Hawaii’s agricultural resources has been operating for years with one-third of its staff positions left vacant, prompting House Finance Committee Chairwoman Sylvia Luke to threaten to eliminate the positions altogether.
“I don’t know what the problem is, but I don’t know how a department can function with one-third of its positions vacant,” Luke told Department of Agriculture Director Scott Enright during a budget briefing Friday at the state Capitol. “So I’m just thinking that you don’t need the positions.”
Luke also took Enright to task for what she called the “fake goal” of doubling local food production — a campaign promise made by Gov. David Ige that’s been left to the Agriculture Department to fulfill.
About 122 out of 360 positions in the Agriculture Department are unfilled. They include jobs such as environmental health specialists to oversee the enforcement of federal and state laws, plant quarantine inspectors to guard against invasive species and entomologists who can help combat devastating plant pests.
Enright said the Agriculture Department had hired a record 55 people this past year. However, the department also lost 52 employees, many of them due to retirement.
read … Lard
What is their economic vision?
MN: We often write about our concerns with the ability of working citizens on Maui to make ends meet.
In particular, we wonder about the discourse lately from groups like the ‘Ohana Coalition and SHAKA Movement. They have a vision for Maui County — sustainable and organic ag with no pesticide/GMO use, protection of our natural resources and open government.
But, in creating their vision, it doesn’t seem like the Average Maui Joe fits easily into their vision. How do we all make a living? How do we survive in their vision of Maui given the high cost of everything and the limited housing?
A lot of very good-paying jobs in agriculture have disappeared. What is SHAKA’s and the ‘Ohana Coalition’s sustainable economic vision for Maui? What business or industry do they envision replacing the hundreds of positions that disappeared with the demise of sugar?
In short, what will Maui workers do to support their families?
read … What is their economic vision?
Study: Maui needs 12,000 housing units
MN: The most recent Hawaii Housing Planning Study indicates a need for 12,000 housing units on Maui for 2015-25….
…we will be suggesting amendments to Maui’s Workforce Housing Ordinance (Maui County Code Chapter 2.96) to help create a healthy economic environment that encourages the production of workforce housing. DHHC will also be introducing proposals to the Maui County Council intended to create opportunities for residents such as a potential new lease-to-own program and reinstating the first-time homebuyer assistance program….
read … Maui needs more housing units
MECO Claims 35.4% ‘Renewable’
MN: Maui Electric Co. produced 35.4 percent of its power from renewable energy in 2015, up slightly from the previous year but the second highest percentage in the state behind the Big Island’s 48.7 percent, according to the state Energy Office in its annual Hawaii report.
Shayna Decker, director of communications for MECO, broke those totals down further — 23.2 percent from the Kaheawa and Auwahi wind farms, 8.5 percent from solar, 2.7 percent from biomass or bagasse at Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. and 1 percent biofuel….
The 2017 renewables percentage should reflect two large-scale solar projects, expected to go online midyear, said Decker. However, the South Maui Renewable Resources 2.87-megawatt solar farm, located on 12 acres above the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei, and the Kuia Solar 2.87-MW farm on 12 acres near Lahainaluna High School, are only expected to bump up the renewable percentage by less than 1 percent….
In gleaning Maui County data from the 86-page report, there was a bar graph showing Maui’s renewable energy potential, with the greatest potential for geothermal energy. The island had a 1,170-gigawatt-hour geothermal power production potential, according to the report. Only the Big Island, which already produces geothermal power, and Maui were considered options for geothermal energy.
read … 35.4% isn’t really 35.4%
Recovering Drug Addicts Agree to Stop Being Homeless
SA: …She says she was abused as a child and turned to drugs and the streets as a way to cope with her pain. After seeking help at Women’s Way, a residential and outpatient treatment facility in Kaimuki for women and children, she and her family landed in a studio unit at Ulu Ke Kukui transitional housing in Maili for about a year and a half.
Llewellyn, her partner and 2-year-old daughter, Embrace, were the first family to move into the city’s modular housing units for the homeless in Waianae last month, marking the first time Llewellyn has ever signed a lease. Another family — a mother and two kids who were living at Maili Land Transitional Housing — also moved in last month. Officials hope tenants will be chosen and settle into a third unit compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act later this month.
“I used to use drugs as a coping mechanism,” Llewellyn said. “(But) today there’s better ways to deal with things that come up in your life other than abusing drugs.”
She said she persuaded her partner, Brandon Abregano, who was living in a tent near the Kapalama Canal for about four years, to seek medical treatment and a better living situation. The pair say they have been sober for about two years.
read … Choosing to Accept Shelter
Top Lobbyist on Mission to Help Insurance Companies Save Money with ‘Right to Die’ Bill
Cataluna: As he sat in his Wilder Avenue apartment talking about life and death and telling war stories from decades of mixing it up with some of Hawaii’s most colorful politicians and big shots….
“When the legislative session starts, I’ll be on the floor of the Senate doing my chemo,” Radcliffe says. He has another three-day round of chemo in which he attaches a tube from an IV bag into a line implanted in his chest. He will bring his chemo with him when he talks to legislators about allowing medical aid in dying….
Flashback: Meet the Insurance Executive Behind Assisted Suicide in Hawaii
read … Advocate on mission to legalize right to die
Star-Adv: How to Get Rid of Obamacare—We Should Follow Trump’s Lead
SA: America is stuck in an uncomfortable limbo (for the next 12 days) ahead of any formal action by Congress to pursue an unwinding of the Affordable Care Act….
Trump himself has promised to “repeal and replace” the law throughout the campaign, but he has been opposed to the notion of having nothing at the ready the moment it is struck down. He dislikes any symbolic immediate repeal that goes into effect at some much later date….
Republicans should be pressed to adopt this businesslike strategy. Dealmaking seems to be in Trump’s DNA, and his GOP partners really should get on board.
read … Don’t just dump ACA; reform it
January 21 Anti-Trump Protests Set for All Islands
HTH: … As the Women’s March on Washington has been picking up momentum, marches have been planned not only in every state but in 17 other countries, as well, Cottle said.
In Hawaii alone, there are five marches scheduled: one each on Oahu, Maui and Kauai, and two here on the Big Island.
All of them are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21.
The Kona march will begin at 3 p.m. starting south of Henry Street along the makai side of Queen Kaahumanu Highway. The march will go north along the highway before turning at Palani Road and ending at The Edible World Institute off Kopiko Street.
A Hilo march is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mooheau Bandstand.
As of Thursday evening, 162 people indicated they’d be attending the Kona march with 190 more registering their interest.
Cottle stressed that the event is meant to be an inclusive event for anybody supporting the march’s stated mission that “defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us,” according to the event’s Facebook page.
“We’re marching for all of the issues that are in jeopardy right now,” Cottle said.
At a sign wave promoting the march Thursday evening, Laura Gharazeddine said the march and activism is the “next step in the revolution.”
“It’s going to be an ongoing thing,” she said. “It’s what Bernie (Sanders) asked us to do; he asked us to become active in our communities.” ….
read … Anti-Trump