Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion
Ira Einhorn, Earth Day's Dirty Secret
House-Senate Conference Committee Finalizes Budget Negotiations
Green Energy Plan: $2.3B Tax and Rate Hike to Send Even More Money to Elon Musk
On Holiest Day, Hawaiian Electric Renews Pledge of Obedience to Eco Religion
Mighty Morphin Power Bills!
Hanabusa Took $421K Payoff from Ko Olina Developer
SA: …Gov. David Ige is ratcheting up his election-year criticism of U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa by reviving the issue of her two-year push for a huge state tax credit for development of an aquarium at Ko Olina, alleging the deal demonstrates that she makes decisions “on behalf of self-interest and special interests.”….
Hanabusa, who is running against Ige in the Democratic primary for governor, was president of the state Senate when she led the drive to get lawmakers to approve the Ko Olina tax credit in 2002 and sued former Gov. Ben Cayetano over the issue after he vetoed the bill. The Legislature approved the tax credit again in 2003 at the urging of Hanabusa, and the measure was signed into law by then-Gov. Linda Lingle.
Ige said he was one of the few lawmakers who did not support the Ko Olina tax credit, in large part because the bill Hanabusa advanced was written so that only developer Jeff Stone could benefit from it.
The Honolulu Advertiser later reported that less than a month after the $75 million tax credit was approved, Stone sold a luxury Ko Olina townhouse to Hanabusa’s then-fiance, John F. Souza III. One of Stone’s companies financed the sale by lending Souza $405,773 for the purchase, according to state records.
Souza, who is now Hanabusa’s husband and campaign chairman, bought the Kai Lani townhouse for $569,023 in mid-2003 and sold it for $990,000 in January 2004, according to city tax records. ($990K – $569K = $421K)
Hanabusa also did business with Stone, and sued the city on behalf of the Ko Olina Community Association headed by Stone in 2003. She also worked as a lawyer for Stone in the years that followed.
Ige said in an interview that the long-ago political push by Hanabusa for the tax credit for Stone reveals “that she does make decisions on behalf of self-interest and special interests rather than the public interest, and I do think that that is a fundamental difference. I have always acted in the public interest.”…
DeMello said that “if Ige wants to dwell on the past and challenge others’ integrity, perhaps he should explain how he was a lobbyist and head of government affairs for his employer, GTE Hawaiian Tel, while simultaneously serving as the chair of the Senate committee responsible for regulating GTE and for overseeing consumer protection. This was a clear conflict of interest Ige has never taken responsibility for.”
When the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported in 1998 that Ige had been promoted at GTE Hawaiian Tel from network design senior administrator to governmental affairs director, he told the newspaper he would be lobbying the city, counties and federal government on behalf of the utility, but not the state….
Glenna Wong, communications director for the Ige campaign, said DeMello’s statement is an effort to distract from what she described as a “pay-to-play scheme” and a “sweetheart deal” at Kai Lani that Souza “flipped for a huge profit.”
“This is typical for Hanabusa to deflect the focus on actual benefits received versus some supposed benefit to being a declared lobbyist,” Wong said in a written statement. “David declared he was a lobbyist. If Hanabusa has evidence of bad dealings she should disclose the same. Innuendos should not cloud the facts of her personal benefit.”…
read … Ige, Hanabusa spar over alleged conflicts as primary race heats up
Luke Claims Crybaby Ige Playing Politics with Kauai Recovery
SA: …Luke…singled out Reps. Nadine Nakamura and Dee Morikawa in her apology, adding that, “I understand that my actions may have resulted in you being excluded from discussions with the governor during these critical times of recovery for the island of Kauai.” …
When asked about Luke’s remark about possibly excluding the two Kauai lawmakers from discussions, Ige responded with a written statement that “no one is being excluded.”
“My administration has one purpose right now — to help Kauai and Oahu residents recover from the devastating floods and landslides, get them back into their homes, and restore their way of life as quickly and as smoothly as possible,” Ige said. “We must all pull together — the Senate, House, counties and the administration — for the benefit of the people.”….
…Luke described Gov. David Ige as “almost like this desperate caged animal.”….and also described Ige as a “crybaby,” and “kind of pathetic.”
read … House finance leader (backhanded) apology for attack on Ige
Amendment for education would raid county coffers
Shapiro: …its vague language doesn’t guarantee all funds would go to education, lawmakers fail to weigh other priorities for limited tax dollars, and they constrain the counties’ ability to use the property tax — their main funding source — for their own needs.
The amendment was pushed by the Hawaii State Teachers Association, which originally sought to fund it through the state’s excise or hotel room tax.
It didn’t gain traction until lawmakers glommed onto the idea using the property tax, enabling them to win favor with the powerful teachers union while putting the fiscal pain on the counties.
The union’s main interest is raising money for bigger teacher pay raises. Pressing issues for the kids, such as dilapidated facilities, wouldn’t necessarily receive priority for new funding.
The proposed amendment doesn’t say how much would be raised, which properties would be taxed or exactly how the funds would be used.
It would simply allow a future Legislature to enact “a surcharge on investment real property to be used to support public education.”
While lawmakers say the tax is aimed at outside investors, the language doesn’t guarantee local homeowners or renters wouldn’t end up bearing the weight. Nor does it guarantee legislators wouldn’t use the new money as a cover to reduce existing general funds for education.
This tax hasn’t been discussed in the context of overall state and county needs.
Each dollar it siphons from a limited tax base is a dollar unavailable for homelessness, public worker pension and health care deficits, and infrastructure threatened by decay and rising sea levels — all of which will take billions to solve.
The property tax until now has been a constitutionally protected county tax, vital to local government services, and opening it to the state’s sticky fingers creates uncertainties that could hamstring county finances….
read … Amendment for education would raid county coffers
Millennials will bear pension liabilities
Akina: …the state’s unfunded liabilities are $12.9 billion for its Employees’ Retirement System and $12.1 billion for its Employer-Union Trust Fund. These liabilities represent promises that were made to state and county public employees, which the state might be unable to honor.
Attempts to fix this problem through taxation and regulation will only discourage our children and grandchildren who want to stay and raise their families in the islands.
Increased taxation to pay down the unfunded liabilities will eat into the wages of millennials and Generation-Xers, who are saving for their own retirements, while older Hawaii residents generally will escape the looming tax burden, since public pensions and Social Security payments are exempt from Hawaii taxation.
At the same time, benefits offered to new government employees are being reduced. One change, made in 2012, increased the amount of time employees have to be on the job before they can qualify for benefits, from five years to 10. Since millennials they have been job-hopping more than their parents ever did, this makes working for the state or counties unattractive for them, since they will be less likely to see any retirement or health care benefits from government employment.
They also will be paying more taxes than their parents ever did. Taxes have been increasing throughout the islands, largely to pay for the state’s unfunded pension and health care liabilities.
Worse, as government budgets are diverted toward the debt, this will crowd out other public services, meaning local families will be paying more in taxes but getting less for their money….
read … Millennials will bear pension liabilities
CWS Still Trying to Blame Homeschoolers for its own Failures
SA: …I was shocked by the article about the tragic abuse and death of a young Hilo girl (“Shaelynn,” Star-Advertiser, April 15). No child should ever suffer like that. Worse yet, the article seemed to excuse government failures and did a grave disservice to Hawaii’s children.
The article’s narrative was that homeschooling played some role in the tragedy. It focused on the fact that shortly before the little girl’s death, the parents had removed her from a public school to be homeschooled. From this, the article inferred that home- schooling suddenly prevented Child Welfare Services (CWS) from monitoring the child’s welfare. Nothing could be further from the truth.
CWS simply failed to do its job.
CWS had already removed this child from her parents’ custody four times. CWS already knew of the dangers the child faced but returned her to the parents anyway.
With this history, CWS should have either already initiated permanent removal of custody or actively and directly monitored the child’s welfare at her home. CWS did not need and should not rely on Department of Education teachers to do its job of monitoring….
Flashback: SB2323: Senators Caught Lying About Peter Boy Case
read … Homeschooling not to blame for death
HB2508: Charter School Facilities Funding
R: …HB 2508 proposes creating a separate facilities funding system for start-up charter schools that could then be used for things like lease assistance and infrastructure costs. Under the current system, charter schools must divert crucial operational funds to pay for such improvements. This puts charters at a unique disadvantage in the education market by requiring them to make additional sacrifices not asked of other schools. HB 2508 changes that calculus by allowing charters to compete on an equal playing field….
HB2508: Text, Status (House conferees appointed)
SB2351: Equal Pay Bill in Conference Committee
SA: …there is an Equal Pay Bill (Senate Bill 2351) that is still alive in the legislative process. This bill, like many others, is now under discussion by a conference committee, made up of House and Senate members. This committee’s goal is to determine if there is a way of mediating the minor differences between the Senate and House versions of SB 2351. It is to be hoped that the committee will reach a successful conclusion, allowing for final voting, and eventually progress into Hawaiii State Law.
What would this bill offer to the people of Hawaii? Two simple fixes are proposed in this measure, which is focused on discussion of wages in the workplace, and provision of one’s previous salary to a new employer. Women’s salary histories show that a gender penalty follows them from one workplace to another. This bill is an effort to break this cycle, by prohibiting employers from asking potential employees about their earnings at a previous job. This means that women will be offered salaries based on educational qualifications, occupational skills and workplace successes, rather than the lower wages they suffered at previous jobs. Similar bills have been passed in a number of other states.
The second portion of this bill, preventing employers from negatively sanctioning employees who discuss their wages, is also helpful for promoting a fair wages environment. Women typically do not know that they are being paid less than co-workers unless they discover this information through conversations.
read … SB2351
Tourism Loss from Hanalei Shutdown
KITV: …The main hotel in Wainiha is the Hanalei Colony. Just a week ago, its rooms were filled with folks from out of town. Not one of them are left.
"We have to do whatever we can do to help, this is going to be a long haul for us," Laura Richards, Hanalei Colony Resort said.
The resort has since been housing first responders, firefighters, police and volunteers for free. The resort's employees are still showing up for work but exactly how long their employer will be able to keep its staff on the job remains in question.
"There's still bills here, the bills don't stop when the roads are closed," Fraser said.
The nearby Opakapaka Grill and Bar is the only restaurant that remains open in the area. The owner told Island News he's keeping his staff employed to continue serving the community but it's costing him his own money to do so.
"We used to have 200-plus covers a day and now we're feeding 20-30 people and half of that is for free or at half price discount," Fraser said….
read … Hanalei Shutdown
Flooding Opportunity to Wipe Out Hanalei TVRs?
Cataluna: …One big difference between then and now is the proliferation of TVRs, or transient vacation rentals — the sort of accommodations listed on websites like Airbnb and VRBO.
The images of those multimillion-dollar houses built on poles along Hanalei Bay, the ones now bent and broken by the flood, have become familiar in the last week of news coverage. They’re on Weke Road, a location that has been cited frequently in stories about the flood. According to the Kauai County Planning Department’s list, there are 42 permitted vacation rentals on Weke, a narrow two-lane neighborhood road roughly a mile long.
The county’s list of permitted TVRs in Hanalei and Wainiha is five pages long with just over 200 houses. Add to that the illegal vacation rentals and all the visitors in them who were on the Hanalei side of the bridge when the floodwaters came….
Like in post-Iniki days, residents in Kauai’s hardest-hit areas now have an opportunity to evaluate what rebuilding will bring, how to live within the new normal and what sort of vision for Hanalei will rise up from the mud.
KGI: Tourism impacted by storm, aftermath
read … Disaster for TVRs
Hawaii County Council committee to hear vacation rental bill
HTH: …Bill 108 is scheduled to be heard at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the West Hawaii Civic Center. The public can also testify by videoconference from Hilo council chambers, the Pahoa and Waimea council offices, the old Kohala courthouse and the Naalehu state office building.
… We have scheduled the meeting for 1 p.m. and will be devoting the entire afternoon to hearing from the public and for discussion.”
Bill 108 would require existing transient vacation rentals outside of the Hotel/Resort District, the General Commercial District or Resort Nodes to apply for a nonconforming use certificate in order to be grandfathered in. Those in the allowed districts would be required to register with the county, but they don’t have to apply to the Planning Department for the special permit.
Short-term vacation rental is defined in the bill as a residential dwelling where the owner or operator does not reside on the building site, that has no more than five bedrooms on the building site for transient use, and is rented to transients for a period of 30 consecutive days or less.
The bill doesn’t regulate so-called “hosted” rentals, where the owner lives on-site. Bed and breakfasts are already regulated by the county….
Setting a category for vacation rentals will clear the way for the county to create a tax classification for them, so the county could set a vacation rental property tax rate that takes earning potential into account….
read … Council committee to hear vacation rental bill
Plastic Bans: Symbolic moral preening
R: …There are two strategies for tackling such environmental tragedies: privatization or regulation. In the United States most wastes are picked up and disposed by city and commercial garbage haulers. Revenues for solid waste management industry were around $60 billion in 2016. In other words, most Americans take responsibility for their wastes by paying local taxes or fees to bury them in landfills, burn them, or recycle them. As a result relatively little plastic from the U.S. ends up in the oceans. Consequently, bans on plastic bags and water bottles in this country are largely instances of symbolic moral preening….
read … Earth Day and the Plastics Pollution Problem
Blue Lies Illustrate Consensus for Global Cooling
HNN: …Around 10 a.m. on Saturday Gov. David Ige, community leaders, and students from 40 schools across the state drew blue lines in chalk to mark (a measly 3’) sea level rises at 15 different locations in Hawaii (even though we all know that we have consensus for 10’ because Algore has a computer algorithm or something which says he can make more if we believe that). The event was part of the Blue Line Project, an environmental initiative that raises
awareness (hysteria) about the negative impacts of climate change.
The event was hosted by the Blue Planet Foundation, a
community (profiteers’) group that focuses on raising awareness around sustainability, climate change and (cash flows to Silicon Valley via) clean energy efforts in Hawaii.
"The blue line that students chalk today won’t last long. But the impression it leaves will be indelible," said Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation, in a news release. (Yes. Everybody inside the line is a Global Warming denier.) ….
read … Hawaii students mark Honolulu's streets to raise hysteria about climate change
FAIL: Hawaiians Lose Ownership of Kona Church Because they Believe ‘Sovereign Citizens’ ‘Royal Patents’
HTH: …Thirteen families living on Mauna Ziona Church property in North Kona are likely to be evicted in the coming weeks, more than two years after the property was purchased at county tax auction by the Free Church of Tonga-Kona.
The families claim the right to live on the land, although they don’t claim ownership, by virtue of an 1889 encumbrance and conveyance deed, handwritten in Hawaiian and recorded with the state Bureau of Conveyances. A representative of the families said this is the latest generation of many who have lived on the land after being awarded a royal patent….
The families, including children in strollers and babies in arms, met Monday with Mayor Harry Kim. They asked him to intercede in the coming evictions, but Kim said it was out of his hands.
In what became a tense standoff with Kim, Tom Anthony, a representative of the Hawaiian Kingdom, who is not listed as a party to the evictions in the court documents, told the mayor “Tongans with machetes” stormed the property and cut chains and padlocks on buildings. The Hawaiian people, he said, have now been locked out of their church.
“These Tongans came into our church with machetes and threatened us,” Anthony told Kim. “Did you sell our church to the Tongans?”
Kim said when he took office, he swore an oath to uphold the federal and state constitutions. He suggested the group find legal representation and take the matter to the courts.
“There is no basis for an investigation. The subject properties was duly assessed and subject to the paramount lien of real property taxes, penalties, and interest,” Kim said in a followup letter Wednesday to Keliihuluhulu Alfred Spinney and Ekalesia Hoole Pope o Kekaha. “During the tax delinquency period, there was no request for a church exemption by you or others of your church filed with the Real Property Tax Division of the county.”
Spinney and Kekaha made similar claims in an April 13 email to Carlsmith Ball, the law firm handling the evictions.
“(Carlsmith Ball attorney) Mr. (Robert) Triantos, prior to the filing of his complaint, caused a group of Tongans, armed with cane knives and other things, to lock us out of our church and they are continuing to terrorize us and our kuleana tenants,” they said in the email….
The Free Church of Tonga bought the 10-acre church property at tax auction in January 2016, for $51,000. The adjacent 60 acres went for $422,000. Past-due owners were given 12 months to buy their property back by paying the auction price, plus 12 percent interest….
Activist Shelley Stevens Mahi had protested the auctioning of the two properties as well as several others she said were royal patent lands that belonged to the Hawaiian families who lived on them.
“The Hawaiians come with the land,” she told potential bidders of the Mauna Ziona property.
Property taxes hadn’t been paid on the iconic green wooden church with the red tin roof since 2009, when the Hawaii Conference United Church of Christ turned over the church to Pastor Norman Keanaaina as settlement in a lawsuit.
The conference had sued Keanaaina in 2007, after he filed a deed and affidavit with the state Bureau of Conveyances purporting ownership of the church. The Hawaii Conference United Church of Christ, a conference begun by missionaries in 1820, represents scores of primarily small churches throughout the state.
The county’s title search documents showed the nonprofit Mauna Ziona Church as fee owner, along with Jean Keka on the larger parcel….
read … Evictions planned at iconic church
Distracted: Tupola TRO Against Eric Ryan Denied Twice by Court
SA: … Republican candidate for governor state Rep. Andria Tupola has filed for a temporary restraining order against the leader of a Republican splinter group, alleging she has been harassed and cyberbullied.
Tupola claims that social media advertisements and emails from Hawaii Republican Assembly President Eric Ryan sparked death threats from other people. Ryan’s ads ran multiple times on April 5 until early the next day, according to court documents. (And he achieved the intended purpose—to distract Tupola.)
“I have been verbally abused and cyberbullied by him for over a year,” said Tupola, who as House minority leader is the highest-ranking elected Republican in the state.
On April 6, Tupola spoke at a gubernatorial forum that was also attended by Ryan, according to her court filing. “His multiple attacks in the thousands the night before the forum literally felt like I got raped over and over again,” Tupola said in the petition. “I had friends and family messaging and calling me asking that it stop.”
In her second court petition, Tupola said she feels “afraid and helpless,” and that Ryan’s Facebook ads and emails cause emotional distress for her, her family and others. (Translation: She is very distracted by some worthless noise.)
Tupola is pursuing legal action against Facebook to get the company to take Ryan’s ads down, according to the petition.
District Court Judge Michael Tanigawa denied Tupola’s request for a restraining order on April 12, and her second request was also denied on April 16. A hearing is scheduled in District Court on May 1 on Tupola’s second amended petition, which was filed Tuesday….
Ryan said in an interview he (insert excuses here) ….
SA: Hawaii GOP riven by fringe groups
Case ID: 1SS181000441
PDF: Case File Tupola vs Ryan (19 pgs)
read … Eric Ryan Claims a Pelt
Obsequiences on the Holy Day of the Eco-Religion:
Kauai Flooding Recovery: