Early Voting Ends Thursday Aug 9
Cat 4 Hurricane Hector Threatens Hawaii
OHA Needs a Clearer Vision
Together we can resolve Hawaii's pension crisis
EPA Releases Long-Delayed Report Showing Ethanol Hurts Environment
Early Voting Ends Thursday Aug 9
Notice of Petition for Retention – The Honorable Kevin A. K. Souza
Proclamation: HD43 Sailau Timoteo is No Longer Considered to be a Candidate
Wayfair -- Playing Catch-Up
Retreads and Wannabees: Six Legislative Races to Watch
SA: … Two things stand out about the upcoming primary election battles for the state Legislature: There are an unusually high number of open seats up for grabs and an unusually high number of former elected officials seeking to return to the political arena.
Eleven seats have been or will be vacated by incumbents, including nine seeking higher office. Three of the openings are in the Senate and eight are in the House.
Those vacancies have helped attract 10 former elected officials to the races, including eight who previously served in the Legislature and two former county council members. Six of the 10 are running for the open seats….
The 11 seats, including two temporarily being filled by gubernatorial appointees, represent 17 percent of the 64 legislative seats on Saturday’s ballot. All 51 House seats and 13 of the 25 Senate seats will be listed.
But even before the first ballot was marked last month in early walk-in voting, 17 races already were decided because no one stepped up to challenge the incumbents. That means Sen. Breene Harimoto (D, Pearl Harbor-Pearl City-Aiea) and 16 House members are assured of keeping their jobs at the state Capitol.
In 15 other races — four in the Senate and 11 in the House — the winner of the Democratic primary claims the seat because they face no opposition in the general election.
With so many incumbents leaving their positions, a sizable number of newcomers will be around when the Legislature convenes in January. But they are not expected to change the general policy thrust of a body dominated by one party, political observers say.
“It’s liberal Democrats being replaced by liberal Democrats,” said John Hart, chairman and professor of communication at Hawaii Pacific University. “It’s not like we’re looking at a Republican wave or a Green wave.” ….
Here are some of the primary races to watch on Saturday….
>> 12th District (Kakaako-McCully-Waikiki)
Democrat incumbent Brickwood Galuteria faces a challenge from community advocate Sharon Moriwaki, who analysts say has run a strong campaign….
>> 19th District (Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point)
Three Democrats — Matt LoPresti, Alicia Maluafiti and Veronica Duzon — are vying for the seat vacated by Will Espero…
>> 23rd District (Heeia-Laie-Waialua)
Clayton Hee wants his old job back. but incumbent Sen. Gil Riviere stands in his way….
>> 23rd District (Manoa-Punahou-Moiliili)
Five Democrats are competing to replace Rep. Isaac Choy….
>> 44th District (Waianae-Makaha-Makua)
This race is a rematch of a close 2016 primary when Cedric Gates beat incumbent Jo Jordan by 240 votes….
>> 48th District (Kahaluu-Ahuimanu-Kaneohe)
Two former lawmakers, Jessica Wooley and Kika Bukoski, are among the four Democrats hoping to succeed Rep. Jarrett Keohokalole, who is running for a Senate seat. Randy Gonce, an aide to Rep. Matt LoPresti, and Lisa Kitagawa, Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson’s aide, also are in the race…..
As Explained: A Rogues Gallery – Hawaii Candidates 2018
read … Open seats draw former office holders to legislative races
Hanabusa Campaign Driven by NextEra Executives Seeking Revenge
SA: …It wasn’t obvious at the time, but the fight two years ago over NextEra Energy Inc.’s effort to buy out the state’s largest utility was a pivotal event that instigated this year’s hard-fought Democratic primary for governor….
Ige publicly opposed the $4.3 billion plan by NextEra to purchase Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc….
When Ige did that, “he angered the behind the scenes Old Boy Network investors and they asked Colleen Hanabusa to come back to Hawaii to run against Ige. They know for certain Hanabusa is their tool. But Ige is too independent,” Dame wrote….
Hanabusa, who represents urban Honolulu in the U.S. House, said she actually opposed the NextEra merger, although her position wasn’t widely known at the time.
Hanabusa joined the board of directors of Hawaii Gas in 2015, and was still a member when the Hawaii Gas board voted unanimously to oppose the NextEra deal, according to a Hanabusa campaign spokesman.
Hawaii Gas had its own plans to import liquefied natural gas that predated NextEra’s proposal. Hawaii Gas contends that shifting power generation to LNG would save consumers money, and the company solicited proposals from suppliers in 2014.
“My record is clear. I opposed the merger at the time and I would do so again,” Hanabusa said in a written statement. “I don’t think either the deal or the lack of a deal addressed the most important and fundamental issue: That Hawaii’s people pay more than double (for electricity) than on the mainland. Fixing that is the most important thing.
“David Ige opposed the merger but offered no solution as an alternative. The administration appears to be incapable or unwilling to do so and has established a pattern of reaction to events, rather than taking charge of them,” Hanabusa said in her statement. “This includes the lack of a cohesive plan to reach our state’s energy goals.”….
“I do know that there were people who were very angry about the position that I took on NextEra, and they let me know about it, they felt that it was inappropriate,” Ige said….
Since the merger plan collapsed, more than a dozen NextEra executives, including CEO James L. Robo and the company’s political action committee, have showered Hanabusa with $42,000 in campaign contributions, fueling speculation that the company plans to return to the state.
Others who were involved in the NextEra deal now also support Hanabusa, including Jennifer Sabas, former chief of staff for the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. Sabas was hired by NextEra in 2015 to do community outreach.
Sabas made $5,000 in donations to Hanabusa’s campaign since the NextEra deal was scrapped….
read … NextEra deal helped shape Democratic primary
2017: Backstabber Hanabusa Refuses to give Caldwell Political Support
Shapiro: … Caldwell’s beef with Hanabusa is mainly her refusal to provide him the political cover he expected when he went before the Legislature in 2017 with his latest inflated rail bailout request.
Instead, she joined her one-time rival, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, in calling out the mayor’s phony numbers and supporting legislation to limit reliance on the excise tax and add the hotel tax and city funds to rail’s financing mix, along with more city accountability.
Before you know it, Caldwell will be blaming Hanabusa for the next rail crisis coming down the track — some $140 million a year in operating costs for which he’s produced no funding source except “faith.”
This is in no way intended to influence the election for governor; some Hanabusa backers have wrongly implicated Ige in rail’s troubles.
The point is, the hauna of rail is on Caldwell and the city and any involvement by any governor is only to clean up his mess….
read … Mayor is off track blaming high rail cost on Hanabusa
HSTA Tax Hike on Renters: Constitutional amendment offers a band-aid solution for complex challenges
MN: … Undoubtedly, it is vital to ensure our future generations receive a quality education and opportunities for success. However, we must also ensure well-informed and fiscally responsible decisions are made to support an economic environment in which these future generations can thrive.
With this in mind, an audit of the Department of Education is needed prior to tapping into county real property tax revenues. Audits of public departments are common practice and offer a necessary checkup on financial performance and the implementation of programs.
Given that the department has an annual budget of nearly $2 billion, an audit would hold the DOE accountable and ensure public dollars are being appropriately and effectively allocated.
The operations of vital departments such as the DOE are extremely complex. Simply allocating more money for complicated problems will not offer long-term solutions or better outcomes for teachers and students.
Furthermore, allowing the state to collect any real property tax for the purposes of state-level operations is both unprecedented and unwarranted. The 1978 Hawaii State Constitutional Convention granted the counties the power to exclusively administer real property tax to allow for autonomy and accountability. If autonomy is taken away from the counties through state-controlled surcharges, another Constitutional Convention will absolutely be warranted.
This November, voters will be given the opportunity to vote on a measure whether to convene a Constitutional Convention to explore changes in governance….
Unanswered questions relating to specifics of the constitutional amendment are also cause for concern. First, the proposed amendment does not clearly define “investment real property.” Arguably, any real property is an investment, including primary residences for families. Overall, the limits and applicability of the surcharge are vague and potentially far-reaching.
Another reason for pause is that the constitutional amendment says the surcharge is to be used to support public education, but doesn’t specify that the revenues raised through the surcharge be used solely for this purpose. In tough economic times, this could open the door for the legislature to raise additional funds from the counties for any state purpose that legislators see fit, without limitation.
Overall, voters must consider the far-reaching implications of the constitutional amendment, which masks the true problems at hand….
read … Riki Hokama, Maui County Council
How Many American Samoans are Voting Illegally in Hawaii?
WHT: In a state that values access to the ballot, Hawaii election officials pretty much take your word for it when you claim to be a U.S. citizen and thus are eligible to vote….
“It’s the first question on the form — ‘Are you a citizen of the United States of America,’” notes Hawaii County Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto, pointing to the voter registration application.
But that didn’t stop a now-disqualified state House candidate on another island, who apparently has been on the voter rolls for more than a decade. Sailau Timoteo, who was running as a Republican for a windward Oahu seat, was disqualified from the ballot after an objection was raised by a conservative activist.
“As Sailau Timoteo was not a United States citizen at the time of presenting her nomination paper to be filed, the nomination paper is deemed to be incomplete and void because it does not contain all of the certifications and requirements of the law to be a candidate for state representative,” said state Chief Election Officer Scott Nago on Friday in a proclamation….
…In 2010, there were 18,287 people in Hawaii who reported to the U.S. Census Bureau that they were of sole Samoan ethnicity, and 37,463 said they were solely or partially Samoan, according to data reported by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. It’s unknown how many are U.S. citizens…..
read … County elections staff makes sure applications for voter registration meet qualifications
State offers free preschool at more elementary campuses
SA: …Full-time preschool tuition in Hawaii averages $9,500 per year, or nearly $800 a month, according to the University of Hawaii Center on the Family. That’s close to the $11,000 annual in-state tuition at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Less than half of Hawaii’s 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool or nursery school, according to the 2018 KIDS COUNT Databook.
The new prekindergarten classes are opening at Kalihi Uka Elementary and Kailua Elementary on Oahu, Kilohana Elementary on Molokai, Kohala Elementary on Hawaii island and Kula Elementary on Maui. They bring the total to 24 campuses with preschool supported by the state Executive Office on Early Learning.
Families with lower incomes are given priority but others may attend, including students outside of the school’s district. Enrollment is capped at 20 students per classroom, and there is space for 520 kids in 26 classrooms statewide this year.
“Hawaii is one of the last few states to really adopt a public prekindergarten program,” said Lauren Moriguchi, director of the Executive Office on Early Learning, which was created in 2012 and launched public prekindergarten in 2014. This year is the first expansion….
read … Expands
A New Direction For Hawaii Tourism Management?
HNO: …Although the HTA later faced a potentially draconian cut to their $85+ million annual budget during the 2018 state legislative session, the final cuts turned out to be relatively small….
While Szigeti will remain the CEO through the HTA’s 2018 Global Tourism Summit (October 1-3), his departure will leave the three top HTA management positions vacant during a very challenging time for Hawaii including “overtourism” — which is becoming an international buzzword….
… Everyone involved with marketing the state of Hawaii must transition from “marketing” to “managing” tourism …
read … A New Direction For Hawaii Tourism Management?
Tranny Gets 10 year Sentence
MN: …A 10-year prison term was ordered for a defendant convicted of 34 crimes, including burglarizing residences, stealing credit cards and theft, during a six-month period.
Calixto Hubin, who is also known as Cherry Hubin, 28, of Waiehu was ordered to pay $7,764 in restitution at the sentencing July 26 in 2nd Circuit Court.
In five cases, Hubin had pleaded no contest to two counts of first-degree burglary, seven counts of theft of a credit card, three counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, eight counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, four counts of second-degree theft, three counts of second-degree forgery, five counts of third-degree theft, fourth-degree theft and habitual property crime.
The crimes occurred from June to December 2016, according to court records.
The two burglaries were of residences at Hale Mahaolu Elua on Hina Avenue in Kahului, court records show.
Defense attorney Cary Virtue said Hubin had struggled with health and drug issues and had tried to get into rehabilitation.
“She didn’t do well on probation in prior cases,” Virtue said. “Calixto’s had a rough time. She does have a good heart.”
Hubin had experienced violence in the home as a child, said Deputy Public Defender Heather Brown….
Hubin’s brother graduated from the Maui Drug Court program of treatment and supervision, and Hubin’s mother will be graduating from the program soon, she said…..
read. … Not Born That Way