The hidden story of the third Thanksgiving: 1623--giving thanks for freedom
Wind Farm: Hearing to Consider Plan to Kill More Bats, Petrels
DoE Announces New Scheme to Extract CIP Money from Legislature
Hawaii AG Demands More Focus on Trannies
If Hawaiians Were Indians, Hawaii Would be #3 for Reservations
Medicaid waivers allowed for inpatient psychiatric treatment
UH: Convicted Felon Paid to Get Other Convicts Released
State economic growth downgraded
Permitting delays hinder small business, startup growth in Hawaii
PBN: … The current state of Hawaii’s permitting and entitlements process adds significant delays and costs to businesses looking to build in the state, according to several investment experts participating in a panel on venture capital in the Aloha State.
“If your business is involved in building anything in Hawaii, even if it’s a storefront, farm, ranch, manufacturing facility, it’s going to take you on average two-to-three times longer to build it in Hawaii than anywhere else because of permits and entitlements,” said Murray Clay, managing partner at impact investment firm Ulupono Initiative, during the Hawaii Venture Capital Association’s annual State of Investment Capital in Hawaii panel. “Until the permits and entitlement problem is fixed here, we’re two-to three-times longer than California, at least on the energy side.” ….
“The permits and entitlements are a huge problem across all of our companies as well,” said Lippert, whose nonprofit accelerator program helps its portfolio companies deploy “place-based projects” in California and Hawaii. “It’s interesting because sometimes we talk about cost of living here -- the sticker price of things -- but when you actually dig into it from an infrastructure side, what’s happening is a lot of that cost is just built into how long it takes to develop this stuff. … That is not hardware, that is process cost."
Last week, the Honolulu City Council passed Bill 64, which would require the city to issue building permits for one- and two-family homes within 60 days of filing an application. The Department of Permitting and Planning opposes the measure, saying it could lead to rushed safety inspections.
Contractors, homeowners, builders and developers have long expressed frustration with the length of time it takes to get building permits approved on Oahu.
In testimony for Bill 64, contractors cited year-long delays to get certain permits approved, and said construction firms have had to lay off staff as a result.
The bill has been transferred to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s desk where he can sign it, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. …
read … Permitting delays hinder small business, startup growth in Hawaii
State’s unfunded liabilities crisis has a silver lining
KGI: …the dark cloud of the state’s unfunded liabilities crisis could have a silver lining — if it encourages state and county policymakers to consider ways to cut their expenses while yet maintaining the quality of life we all want for our communities.
Such ways could involve greater public-private partnerships, less regulation of emerging businesses, more opportunities for entrepreneurs, and, of course, letting isle residents keep more of their hard-earned money, instead of taxing it away from them and squandering it on ill-conceived and poorly managed government projects and programs….
The sad fact is that the state’s Employee Retirement System (ERS) and the Employer Union Trust Fund (EUTF) have, by conservative estimates, saddled Hawaii taxpayers with $26 billion in unfunded liabilities, despite the best efforts of their recent managers to restore solvency to those programs.
Those unfunded liabilities have increased through the years because of increased health care costs, more benefits promised to public workers and the usual political meddling….
Hardest hit by the coming fiscal crisis will be Kauai County, which plans to divert a full 15.6 percent of its $218 million operating budget this fiscal year to help pay down the ERS and EUTF debts, the highest percentage among Hawaii’s counties….
In dollar amounts, Kauai’s payments are going up from $29 million in fiscal 2018 to $34 million this fiscal year, or $472 for each person in the county. And the payments are expected to keep increasing beyond that….
Joe Kent, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii’s executive vice president, advised Kauai County Council members at a council session in September that among the easiest ways to help reduce the pain of these increased payments would be to rein in excessive overtime pay and put a stop to the well-known pension-spiking schemes.
Kent said another relatively easy path would be to offer new-hire public employees alternative pension plans that would balance promises with contributions made into the system….
Flashback: Act 268 Hawaii Unfunded Liabilities Plan: Pot of Gold for Corrupt Union Leaders
read … State’s unfunded liabilities crisis has a silver lining
Honolulu’s Secret Home Buyers Must Now Reveal Their Identities
CB: …Honolulu home sales are about to become more transparent, thanks to a new federal rule that will require title insurance companies to reveal who is behind a shell company paying cash for a residential property.
For years, limited liability corporations, or LLCs, have been used to mask the individuals buying a home in the United States.
But that will change with a new order released last week from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, which has been concerned that criminal enterprises are masking their illegal funds through cash sales of American homes.
The agency issued a targeting order this month requiring title insurance companies to collect information listing the individual “primarily responsible” for the LLC.
The order covers all Honolulu cash sales involving LLCs buying homes worth $300,000 or more. …
In 2014, RealtyTrac reported that nearly half of all Honolulu home sales were cash deals in that year’s first quarter….
read … Honolulu’s Secret Home Buyers Must Now Reveal Their Identities
Hawaii Legislative “Tricks”
ILind: Two good government organizations filed suit several months ago challenging a classic example of the Legislature’s so-called “gut and replace” maneuver.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of Honolulu alleges SB 2858, passed during the 2018 legislative session, violates several provisions of the Hawaii State Constitution, including one that requires a bill to get three readings in each chamber, on different days, to provide the public with ample opportunity to provide input on the proposed legislation.
The case is pending in Circuit Court. Whatever the legal technicalities that will determine the lawsuit’s outcome, it’s raises an important point—the tricks that can be used to move a bill through the legislative process while, at the same time, shielding it from all but cursory public review….
Hawaii requires each bill to bear the name of the legislator or legislators introducing it, but also allows bills to be marked as “By Request”, with no requirement that the requesting individual or organization be identified. The result is another kind of secret influence….
Budget bills in our legislature are often stuffed full of provisos, language inserted anonymously (often in conference committee) that places restrictions or limitations on the use of public funds being appropriated. Such provisos often benefit particular interests, often with minimal public discussion….
read … Hawaii not alone in legislative “tricks”
HECO Playing Games With Proposed Makakilo Wind Farm
IM: … Hawaiian Electric Company signed a power purchase agreement with EE Ewa LLC to buy electricity from a proposed 46.8-megawatt facility to be known as Palehua Wind at a levelized cost of 10.975 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Palehua is near Makakilo. Hawaii News Now reported major community opposition in April.
HECO is playing games, knowing the community opposition. The 20-day window to intervene in the Public Utilities Commission regulatory proceeding, probably docket no. 2018-0400, includes the Thanksgiving Holiday. The power purchase agreement will not be available for review until day 5. The intervention window ends on December 11….
Palehua Wind wants to build 13 turbines to supply to 165,000 MWh of energy annually….
SA: Wind farm proposed for Waianae range
read … HECO Playing Games With Proposed Wind Farm
East Honolulu City Council candidate to appeal razor thin loss
HNN: …Former state legislator Tommy Waters will appeal his 21-vote loss to East Honolulu Councilman Trevor Ozawa….
on the final printout, made up of absentee votes that had been mailed at the last minute or dropped off at polling places, the lead swung to give Ozawa his 22-vote margin.
Waters said he will argue to the court that in order for that turnaround to happen, the 1,200 or so votes added to his race in the last printout would have to have included an 8 percent margin for Ozawa, which Waters says is highly suspicious.
He said he has no other evidence of fraud or irregularities, which the court might need to order a recount….
read … East Honolulu City Council candidate to appeal razor thin loss
Family blames bureaucracy for keeping 85-year-old sex offender on the streets
HNN: … An 85-year-old sex offender who served his time behind bars is sleeping on the streets of the Big Island because the state hasn’t given him the OK to come home to Oahu.
The state is well aware that Benjamin Davis is homeless.
But after a media request and requests made by the family, no one’s sure why he hasn’t been given permission to live in a home he shares with his wife, especially since one of the conditions of his probation is to obtain housing.
Last year, he was convicted of two counts of sex assault for a crime that happened more than a decade ago….
Since Davis’s release, he’s been on the street — bouncing around parks on the windward side of the Big Island.
“The state is creating it’s own homeless problem. I don’t get it," his son said.
"He has his own home. He has family in place that will help him reintegrate back into society. I was under the impression probation wouldn’t allow him to become homeless.”….
read … Family blames bureaucracy for keeping 85-year-old sex offender on the streets
Substance abuse put former athletes on different paths to redemption
SA: … “But I always will be an addict. It took me to fight with Satan on a one-to-one basis (to) assure me I would do nothing stupid,” said Soares.
How does he avoid temptation?
“Church,” he said. “And I serve people … any way I can.”
Said Dudoit: “My struggle didn’t start with drugs, it started at a young age and got to a point when I made a decision to become an addict. I used to deal drugs. Today I deal hope. Because there is hope.”
“I can tell you right now, (prison) was the best two years of my life,” Dudoit said….
read … Substance abuse put former athletes on different paths to redemption