Land and Power: Abercrombie, Delacruz Behind Slate of OHA Trustee Candidates
HB2432: The Tax Office Said So, So It Must Be True!
Kim Prepared to Cede Nuclear Weapons if U.S. Pledges Not to Invade
NYT: …Keeping diplomatic developments coming at a head-snapping pace, the South Korean government said on Sunday that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, had told President Moon Jae-in that he would abandon his nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to formally end the Korean War and promise not to invade his country.
In a confidence-building gesture ahead of a proposed summit meeting with President Trump, a suddenly loquacious and conciliatory Mr. Kim also said he would invite experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States to watch the shutdown next month of his country’s only known underground nuclear test site.
In Washington, Trump officials spoke cautiously about the chances of reaching a deal and laid out a plan for the rapid dismantling of the North’s nuclear program, perhaps over a two-year period.
That would be accompanied by a “full, complete, total disclosure of everything related to their nuclear program with a full international verification,” said John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s new national security adviser….
(N Korea = E Germany? The Kims’ 60-year old ‘military first’ policy failed so they went to nukes. Their nukes destroyed Mt Mantapsan so they are going for a peace treaty. But without a permanent wartime posture how does the Kim regime justify its existence to the N Korean population? Why keep the border closed? How long until N Koreans start pouring across the border as in Berlin 1989—three years after Reykjavík created a similarly sharp military policy reversal for the USSR?)
read … The New York Times
Hanabusa Still Opposes Missile Defense for Hawaii
AP: A congressional subcommittee wants the Pentagon to look at the feasibility of permanently assigning a Navy warship to defend Hawaii against North Korean and other long-range missile threats, along with moving a missile defense system here known as THAAD….
…Democrat U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa noted the proposed legislative language requires congressional briefings only on the feasibility of using THAAD and ship-based SM-3 missiles.
“Due in large part to the false missile alert which the people of Hawaii suffered through, I support these briefings so our residents and visitors can be assured our state is properly defended,” Hanabusa said. “It is through these briefings that the public will be able to learn more about the capabilities of both the SM-3 and THAAD.”
Hanabusa added that, to her knowledge, THAAD is not effective against an intercontinental-range ballistic missile.
“I have stated in the past that the protection of Hawaii from ICBMs is through the ground-based interceptors located in Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. I continue to believe this to be true,” Hanabusa said….
(Translation: I am against missile defense for Hawaii. I’ve got campaign contributors who make a competing system and I am helping them.)
Guam, which has a THAAD battery, is about 2,100 miles from North Korea. Hawaii is more than twice that distance at 4,660 miles….
Nov, 2017: To Help Campaign Contributors, Hanabusa Blocks Missile Defense for Hawaii for 6 Years
read … Panel seeks study of new missile defenses for Hawaii
Infinite Property Tax Hike on November Ballot
Borreca: …More troubling, however, was the raid on property tax income.
Simply put, legislators are asking voters to amend the state Constitution to allow the Legislature to put a new tax on investment real estate to “support public education.”
Of course, that sounds great. Who doesn’t think teachers and schools should have more good things and more money?
This quest for a new education tax has been right next to air conditioning in classrooms for the politically potent Hawaii State Teachers Association, but there is much risk in letting the Legislature come up with an unspecified new tax with the mission that it is just to “support public education.”
The Hawaii Tax Foundation questioned the amendment, saying the state school system “already has a gargantuan share of the state budget but is still beset with such issues as frustrated teachers and students roasting in our classrooms.”
County leaders obviously didn’t like the idea. Mike White, Maui’s Council chairman, said, “If lawmakers and the governor believe schools are underfunded, the Legislature should accept the responsibility and appropriately fund education.”
Going after investment property is a tempting target. Studies show that nearly one-third of Hawaii property taxes are paid by out-of-state property owners.
The Legislature, however, has an alarming ability to take money for one thing and use it for another. In past times of no money, the Legislature raided state employee retirement funds, money stashed away to build an airport rental car complex, and the hurricane relief fund.
If that isn’t worrisome, remember the last legislative session’s moves with the Honolulu rail tax.
There is some similarity between trusting the Legislature to do the right thing with a new open-ended tax and giving a $100 bill to a dude on a Hotel Street corner who promises to “double your money.”
Voters will only have one chance to say “no” to the tax amendment, but an infinite number of tax days to pay for saying “yes.”….
read … From Souki to a surcharge on property taxes, Legislature makes some unorthodox moves
RAIL PLAN: Next Mayor Rev Creflo A Dollar
Shapiro: >> State Auditor Les Kondo, beginning his review of Honolulu rail, told city transit directors, “We don’t see the same playing field.” He sees a minefield and they see “Strawberry Fields Forever.”
>> Mayor Kirk Caldwell admitted he doesn’t know how the city will pay for rail operating costs, but said, “I have faith … we’ll be able to do it.” The only way faith pays for this boondoggle is if the next mayor is Rev. Creflo A. Dollar.
>> Hawaii residents have the nation’s second highest tax burden and rank last among the states for taxpayer return on investment, according to WalletHub. The bang for our buck is bupkis.
>> A family of four in Honolulu can make up to $93,300, and an individual $65,350, and still be considered low-income under new federal guidelines. The local inflation index is based on the cost of tents and shopping carts….
read … April showers newsreaders with political pandemonium
GE Tax Hike: Bill enforcing tax on online sales advances
SA: Lawmakers have tentatively agreed to amend state law to position Hawaii to quickly begin collecting excise taxes from online sales if the U.S. Supreme Court authorizes the states to do so.
Legislatures across the country are watching to see how the court will rule in a case called South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., which pivots on the question of when states or cities can require out- of-state sellers to collect local and state taxes from online sales….
Hawaii lawmakers tentatively agreed Monday to new language for Senate Bill 2514 declaring that any vendor who does more than $100,000 worth of business in Hawaii or has 200 or more transactions in Hawaii would be deemed to be engaging in business in the state, and therefore be required to collect and pay state taxes.
House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke said the bill is an avenue to “clear the way” if a decision is handed down in the Wayfair case while lawmakers are not in session. This year’s session will end on Thursday….
read … Bill enforcing tax on online sales advances
SB3058: Hilo Liberated from DLNR Control
HTH: A bill that would create a sprawling redevelopment district for Hilo under a 10-year pilot program is headed for a vote in the state House and Senate.
Dozens of state parcels in the town are leased for commercial, hotel and industrial uses, and the measure would allow tenants within the district to extend their leases for up to 40 years if they make substantial improvements. A House-Senate conference committee agreed Thursday to the legislation.
Under the pilot program, the “Hilo community economic district” would encompass the Kanoelehua Industrial Area as far inland as Makaala Street, the Waiakea Peninsula, Wailoa River state park, the bayfront ball fields and along Kalanianaole Avenue to Hilo Harbor. It applies only to state land.
Sen. Kai Kahele, sponsor of Senate Bill 3058, called it a “home run for Hilo.”
“It’s going to incentivize current lessees and future lessees and start to revitalize and rehabilitate what you see today,” he said. “You drive around the industrial area you see dilapidated facades, you see facades falling down.”
Many leases were established after the 1960 tsunami and are facing expiration. Members of the business community say that gives lessees little incentive to invest in the property, leading to dilapidation in areas such as the KIA, where the state leases nearly 80 parcels.
The leases were issued for 55 years, and some received a 10-year extension under a law passed a few years ago.
State law caps public land leases at 65 years, but this bill would allow existing leases within the district to last up to 95 years in total, if tenants’ plans are approved by the state Land Board….
“We’ve been working at this for the last 20 years or longer,” he said….
Banyan Drive is included in the district but no funding mechanisms are part of the bill….
read … Legislature readies passage of Hilo redevelopment bill; Banyan Drive funding left out
Ballard’s tree falls silently in woods
SA: Honolulu’s chief of police tells the City Council that there just aren’t enough cops on the force to do what needs to be done and, therefore, some crime victims will be getting letters telling them that HPD is sorry but they’re not going to be investigating their case because they just can’t.
And what is the reaction?
Chief Susan Ballard drops this truth bomb and folks just nod and go about their business like it’s just another inconvenience of living in paradise. Rent is high, traffic is terrible and if your stuff gets jacked, oh, well….
Maybe the non-reaction was because Ballard put into words what everyone has known or suspected all along: Crimes aren’t investigated in this town unless they rise to some level of importance, and the designation of “importance” is solely at the discretion of the police and is subject to factors including politics, visibility, media coverage, public outcry, and Who You Know.
Facebook-shaming and social media crowdsourcing have replaced actual investigating of burglaries and thefts, which are the crimes that touch thousands of families a year. The only property theft in recent years that got an aggressive investigation and speedy resolution involved a stolen Kahala mailbox.
Perhaps the non-reaction to Ballard’s news was due to confidence in the new chief. Ballard conveys both the practicality of a veteran cop and the hopeful vision of someone who worked hard for the top spot and who doesn’t see it as a plum position but as an actual challenge.
Ballard’s frank discussion of HPD’s big understaffing problem (250 vacancies out of 2,100 police positions, 100 vacancies among 500 civilian jobs) could mark a turn out of the darkness of the bad old days and into the light. It came in the context of presenting her priorities to the City Council. What was missing was the chorus of voices — politically motivated or otherwise — saying that this situation is unacceptable and that it will be fixed.
SA: Provide more info for potential officers
read … Ballard’s tree falls silently in woods
Kakaako Homeless Force 41 HCDA Acres to be Transferred to City
SA: …At the same time that they’re preparing for Monday night’s unprecedented sweep, city officials are working with the Hawaii Community Development Authority to transfer ownership of the 25-acre Kakaako Waterfront Park; Kakaako Gateway Mauka Park on the edge of Ala Moana Boulevard; Kakaako Gateway Makai Park; and Kewalo Basin Park to the city, among other smaller state-owned parcels in the area that make up a total of 41 acres….
A vote on the ownership transfer by the HCDA’s board could come as early as Wednesday, or possibly at HCDA’s June meeting, said Honolulu Corporation Counsel Donna Leong.
But city officials aren’t waiting to get fee simple title to the parks before beginning their first homeless sweep inside state-owned Kakaako Waterfront Park, although they prefer to use the term “enforcement action” instead of sweep.
After HCDA granted the city “right of entry” into the Kakaako state parks on Wednesday, “we want the city to go in there and enforce its parks rules and regulations as soon as possible,” Leong told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “This is the first time that the city is enforcing its park rules and regulations in the HCDA’s parks.”….
since Sasamura’s crew also will be enforcing the city’s separate stored property and sidewalk nuisance ordinances on the sidewalks around the parks, homeless people will no longer be able to take advantage of conflicting jurisdictions by simply walking back and forth a few feet.
The people currently living in the parks are well known to police and social workers, said Marc Alexander, executive director of the city’s Office of Housing. Many have substance abuse or mental health issues and have declined offers of assistance for years, he said.
“They’re among the most difficult clients we have,” Alexander said. “Most are known by name by the (social service) providers.”
At the same time, city officials are notifying private landowners around the parks to be on hand starting at 11 p.m. Monday to request that police enforce trespassing violations in case homeless people try to move onto their property, Leong said.
“If they don’t want people to come onto their lot, they need to be there,” Leong said…..
read … For the first time city workers will enter state parks in Kakaako to clear homeless