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Sunday, October 07, 2018
October 7, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:58 PM :: 1388 Views

Guess Which Agency May Be Forgoing Millions in Federal Dollars?

'Shut Up': Why people elected Trump 

Hirono Won’t Say Whether Harassing Senators in Restaurants is ‘Going Too Far’

Ige Nominates Hiraoka for Appeals Court

HSTA Tax: Speaker Admits Renters Would Be Taxed Starting in 2 Years

HNN: …When Hawaii News Now asked if it’s fair to say that “all” (Weasel word -- ‘all’.) renters could be impacted by the amendment, Saiki said this: “It’s not really fair and that’s why I’m really saying that it will probably take a couple of years for the legislature to analyze how far this will be before it is implemented.”…

(Who said ‘all’?  Nobody.  This  “all” discussion, which magically appears in every Hawaii media outlet today, is just an HSTA distraction tactic.)

Meanwhile, opponents warn if the amendment is approved, they don't trust the legislature.

"There's no guarantee that folks are going to be voting on, that they are actually going to see an increase in money spent toward education," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

He also says it’s not fair for HSTA to say a “no” vote is vote against education.

“Even if this proposal fails, I have to believe that the legislature will comeback to see how we can address some of the issues that are being raised by the teachers,” he said.


read … House speaker: If tax on investment properties is approved, it wouldn’t go into effect for at least 2 years

HSTA War on Poor: Average Renter Earns only $15.64/hr

SA: … However, the most important people who do rent are our very own residents of Hawaii. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition stated that the hourly wage needed to rent an average two-bedroom space on Oahu is $32.50. With 67 percent of the state’s population residing on Oahu, housing is both expensive and competitive. People who rent do not even make half of the money that is required to rent a home — the average wage of renters in Hawaii is just $15.64 per hour.

Although the surcharge would be targeting those who own vacation rentals, it would also affect landlords who own property that are most likely being rented by the working class. Adding this surcharge to investment properties will further increase the rates of those who rent those houses and make it more expensive for citizens of this state to live, let alone survive. It is unfair for the workforce, a continuously struggling population, to bear the burden of providing for another struggling group — our students….

read … School tax? No, schools are underfunded, but improve how money’s allotted

HSTA Renters Tax: Why One Teacher is Voting ‘No’

KHON: …Not all teachers believe the amendment will help fund public schools. Duc Ong will be voting 'no' on the amendment next month.

"I oppose it mainly of the un-intent consequences that might come out of this, people haven't really thought through," Ong said.

Aside from teaching, Ong is a real estate agent and investor.

"There's probably other ways we can go about to fund education in a more efficient way that doesn't increase prices in every way... People won't just pay the taxes and not raise prices on rent. That's just how economics works, it trickles down," Ong said.

Ong's colleagues, the Hawaii Association of Realtors, says it's against the Con Am because it's not just a tax on the wealthy, but will affect everyone.

read … Renters Tax

You now need to earn nearly $160K to buy a home on Oahu

KITV: …Average wage earners on Maui would need to shell out 99.7 percent of their incomes on housing costs in order to purchase a home, a new analysis concludes.

That's one of the highest percentages in the nation.

To buy a home on Oahu, meanwhile, a household has to bring in nearly $159,000 — $158,948 to be exact. And average wage earners would need to spend 85 percent of their incomes on housing costs if they purchased a home.

The figures, included in a new nationwide report from ATTOM Data Solutions, underscore just how out of reach homeownership has become for many Hawaii residents….

In Maui County, residents would need to bring in at least $160,821 to buy.

On the Big Island, the figure is slightly more affordable — a little over $96,000….

Meanwhile, the report notes that on Oahu wage growth (at about 2 percent in 2017) isn’t keeping pace with soaring housing prices, which jumped about 6 percent last year….

SA: School tax? Yes, an extra charge on property

read … In the market? You now need to earn nearly $160K to buy a home on Oahu

P3 plan to shift rail costs burdens future generations

Shapiro: …The so-called P3 plan approved by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation would enlist private partners to finance and build rail’s tricky final leg from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center, as well as the Pearl Highlands Transit Center, for a guaranteed cost of $1.4 billion.

For absorbing the risk of further construction cost overruns that have bedeviled rail, the private partners would get the right to operate the train for 30 years, worth billions of dollars….

It potentially solves the city’s political problem of finishing rail construction within the current budget of about $9 billion, avoiding heavier use of property taxes or a return to the Legislature for yet another bailout.

But it could balloon future operating costs, already estimated at some $130 million a year with no funding source yet identified, as potential partners cover construction-side overrun risks by bidding up their operating profits.

HART claims a public-private partnership will save $46 million on construction and $300 million on operations, but from the sketchy information provided, these numbers seem pulled from the same nether regions as the rail agency’s many other off-the-mark cost projections….

Mayor Kirk Caldwell supports P3, but described it as a “huge climb” comparable to scaling Everest; he’s worried HART is rushing to find private partners without nailing down details that could inflate overruns.

“I’m like, holy moly, we’re doing exactly what we did before, and we know what happened before,” he told HART….

board member Tobias Martyn said, “We don’t know what we don’t know and are kind of learning on the fly.”…

A major complication is that the city is effectively allocating rail operating rights twice.

Ansaldo Honolulu JV, which has a $1.4 billion contract to build the rail cars, already has rights under that deal to operate the train for half of the 30 years proposed in the P3 and would have to be involved in any new partnership or have its rights bought out.

Ansaldo, which has a pending “mega-substantial” claim against HART for project delays, would likely demand a hefty price to cooperate, and it’s hard to see how this squares with HART’s promise of reduced costs….

read … Volcanic Ash: P3 plan to shift rail costs burdens future generations

BWS: ANOTHER Massive Water Rate Hike

SA: …BWS has prepared a long-term water master plan that provides extensive data, detailed assessments, computer modeling and projections that make it possible to make critical decisions about Oahu’s water system for now and for decades to come. To put the master plan into action, BWS developed a 30-year capital improvement program that provides an analysis-based, multidecade strategy for prioritizing when specific water infrastructure projects should be implemented, accounting for risk, feasibility and projected costs.

To assure sufficient funding for implementation, BWS has completed a long-range financial plan that will guide how to implement system repairs and replacement, as well as accommodate growth, while keeping water rates affordable.

The BWS board of directors recently approved a new 5-year rates and fees schedule that will introduce new tiers as well as incremental rate increases over this period. This includes a lower, essential-needs tier and rate to address affordability for residential customers with low water use. A new approach to monthly billing charges based on meter size is another significant change….

read … Water-rate hikes to boost upkeep of aging system

12.9% Obamacare Rate Hike for Kaiser

SA: …About 32,000 people in Hawaii currently purchasing Affordable Care Act plans will see lower premiums in 2019 than the rates initially proposed by Hawaii Medical Service Association and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii.

The state Insurance Division announced Friday that HMSA’s final approved average rate change next year for so-called Obamacare would decrease 0.37 percent from 2018. HMSA, the state’s largest health care insurer, had proposed an increase of 2.72 percent.

The Insurance Division’s final approved average rate change for Kaiser was an increase of 12.9 percent, significantly lower than the 28.6 percent increase proposed….


read … Obamacare rates lower than proposed

State opens database of Rent-Seeking Behavior to public

SA: …An inventory of land owned by the state and who pays to use it has been laid out in a new statewide public online database after more than a decade of efforts to create such a system.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources finished what it called a “monumental” task to produce the searchable map-based trove of information in 2015 and recently opened it to public use.

Among things the Public Land Trust Information System makes easy to view are tenants and the rent they pay for state land or buildings, fees for using submerged lands and even fees for encroaching on public property…..

Revenue from camping permits and weddings on state land also can be found.

The public can see which agencies own and use state land, and whether the county or federal government owns a property. For private property, owners are identified. Other things noted include easements, county zoning and state land-use classifications….

To access the Public Land Trust Information System, visit

Related: Harbors Division Fee Hike designed to boost $77M OHA Slush Fund?

read … State opens database of land information to public

Game Rooms: With Godfather Dead, Criminals Begin Attacking Each Other

SA: … So far this year, Honolulu police have executed 22 search warrants and made 39 gambling arrests, Brede said. Officers also have seized almost $200,000 to date “in cash, just cash” and an estimated $2 million worth of gaming machines.

Capt. Phillip Johnson of the Narcotics/Vice Division said that after building a case and executing arrest and search warrants, “we confiscate evidence, we seize assets. When we leave there’s nothing left inside. However, that doesn’t stop the same individuals from getting another location and springing up again in a couple of days.”

The cash-only game rooms often attract an undesirable crowd, said attorney Myles Breiner.

“It’s kind of the gray economy and part of the underworld here,” Breiner said. “They’re open all night long and people play these games endlessly. That attracts a lot of the criminal element.”

Two years ago, Breiner filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two men who were assaulted in an Ala Moana game room in 2014 by an on-duty, plainclothes Honolulu police officer while the officer and his partners unsuccessfully searched for a suspect.

Officer Vincent Morre, who also hit a man in the head with a stool, pleaded guilty to violating the victims’ civil rights and was sentenced to 30 months in prison at a low-security federal prison in California.

Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, who grew up in Kalihi and attended Kalihi Uka Elementary School, knows the nondescript, two-story building well.  (Uh-huh.)

There was never a downstairs entrance before, he said.  (Uh-huh.)

Kaneshiro said there’s been a resurgence in violence at game rooms because of all the cash that comes in (Mehau is dead and nobody replaced him).  Some of the electronic gambling machines can cost as much as $5,000 to purchase from the mainland but can generate as much as $10,000 in just one week, he said.

“It’s the cash,” the prosecutor said. “Guys are going in there and robbing the game rooms. And now we have murders occurring in the game rooms.”….

(Idea: Instead of finding a new godfather, enforce the law.)

read … Godfather Dead

HCCC responsible for 16 of state’s 23 mistaken inmate releases since 2013

HTH: …Since March 2013, 23 inmates were mistakenly released from Hawaii jails and prisons with 16 — more than two-thirds — released from Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

According to the state Department of Public Safety, nine of those erroneous releases, and six on the Big Island, occurred this year, including the release of an alleged killer….

Of the seven erroneous releases occurring on other islands, three were at Oahu Community Correctional Center, one was at Maui Community Correctional Center and two were at Halawa Correctional Facility — a medium-security prison on Oahu….

read … HCCC responsible for 16 of state’s 23 mistaken inmate releases since 2013

Machete-Wielding Homeless Dude Shot by Police Outside State Capitol

HNN: … Police have not released official details surrounding the incident, but a heavy police presence was seen was across the street, near the entrance to the underground parking lot.

Sources say a homeless man had a weapon when he allegedly attempted to attack an officer. The officer first used a taser on the man which failed to deescalate the situation. Sources say the officer then shot the man.

Sheriffs were also responding alongside HPD.

Witnesses told Hawaii News Now they heard several gunshots as they were setting up booths for a children’s fair happening in the area. They added that they were told by police the situation may have involved a man with a machete.

EMS records show that a man in his 40s was taken to a hospital 


read … More Homeless Mayhem



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