CAFR: State Pension Debt Grows faster Than Tax Revenues
Schatz: My Bills Designed to Trick Public into Accepting Socialized Medicine
Star-Adv: If OHA Wants Control of Mauna Kea it will Have to Dump Anti-Telescope Protesters
SA Editorial: … While 15 years remain on UH’s 65-year lease, an ongoing debate continues to simmer regarding stewardship.
One side maintains that while the university has stumbled in its handling of the overall site’s natural and cultural resources, management is improving and that UH is committed to collaborative care of the mountain that some Native Hawaiians view as sacred.
Earlier this year, Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele (D, Hilo), representing the other side, pushed unsuccessfully for a new management authority, envisioned as predominately Native Hawaiian in membership.
While both sides make compelling points, it’s apparent that revamping current governance of public lands on Mauna Kea would be counterproductive. (Translation: OHA hands off!) There’s no guarantee that a new set of managers would not further politicize stewardship — stalling progress, and further delaying installation of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) at the site…. (Translation: If OHA wants in, they’ll have to dump the protesters.)_
the university backs an audit recommendation that all observatories should help pay for the Maunakea Ranger Program, which is tasked with protecting resources, helping to ensure public health and safety and informing visitors about the cultural, natural and scientific significance of the mountain. The observatories are not profit-oriented ventures. Still, it makes sense to require all mountain tenants to pitch in for this preservation-centered effort.
There’s also a question regarding whether the commercial tour operator per-passenger charge of $6 is sufficient to recover the costs incurred on the reserve. Last year, slightly more than 44,860 vehicles ascended Hawaii’s tallest mountain, nearly 14,000 feet above sea level….
No one disputes that Mauna Kea’s management is a work in progress. Rather than calling for another financial analysis of lease-related agreements, many of which are in place until 2033, Kahele might see more immediate progress by focusing on collaborative work with UH and others linked to the reserve….
read … UH can improve Mauna Kea care
Homeless efforts improving, official says
SA: …Katy Miller, who is based in Seattle, has been documenting Hawaii’s progress on homelessness ever since she visited a lawless homeless encampment that sprang up in Kakaako in the summer of 2015. At the time it was one of the biggest in the country.
Back then, Miller said, government officials did not want to talk about homeless programs such as Housing First, which place the most chronically homeless people into market-rate housing and get help for problems that could include substance abuse and mental health.
“I was told that just couldn’t be done, moving people straight into permanent housing,” Miller said.
Now the language of homeless programs has changed in the islands, and officials are working together — unlike bigger cities on the mainland, Miller said.
“I am seeing more people working together than ever before,” she said. “It is better than other cities in the country.”
In 2015, just after the city imposed its first sit-lie ban in Waikiki, which led to the Kakaako encampment, Miller said she watched Honolulu police officers “just move people along. That was the tool they had at the time.”
During her latest visit last week, Miller saw police working with social workers in Chinatown “trying to solve the problem. They’re thinking outside of the box. I don’t see that in all cities.”
To underscore her point, Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator, had just finished arranging shelter space for a homeless couple who wandered into the state Capitol on Tuesday morning.
Sheriff’s deputies knew to contact Morishige rather than tell the couple to leave the Capitol.
“You all are doing the right stuff,” Miller told a gathering of state and city and social service officials, including Morishige, at the Capitol. “You’ve got to keep going and expand it and take it to scale.”…
read … Homeless efforts improving, official says
Medicaid Dollars Will Help Hawaii’s Homeless Find Housing
CB: … Homeless people in Hawaii who are enrolled in Med-QUEST, the state’s Medicaid program, will have access to housing support services starting Jan. 1 that were previously offered to only a handful.
Medicaid dollars can’t pay for rent, but under a waiver granted to the state by the federal government in October, Med-QUEST plans will cover the cost for caseworkers who do the legwork of getting people into housing and keeping them housed.
It’s the “supportive” part of “permanent supportive housing” programs and typically involves getting paperwork and identification together, convincing landlords to accept a homeless tenant, and helping newly housed people access resources so they don’t fall back into homelessness.
“A lot of the outreach and case management services that right now get paid out of state or city general fund dollars could be paid for through the Medicaid health plans,” said Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator. “It’s a pretty groundbreaking thing that only a small number of states have.”…
read … Medicaid Dollars Will Help Hawaii’s Homeless Find Housing
Progressives’ Annual Refrain: If Hawaii is a Democrat State Why Can’t We Implement our Platform?
SA: (They ask the same question every year and never seem to be able to figure out the answer.)
…The only threat to passage of progressive legislation lies in the lack of political will on the part of our elected officials and the degree to which they allow themselves to be constrained by their corporate donors and entrenched interests….
(Answer: Maintaining the one party state means pandering to everybody. And the one-party state is more important than whatever progressives are screaming about today.)
Hooser: Hawaii’s minimum wage needs to be a living wage
read … Democrats-should-show-bona-fides
Foreign investment in Hawaii properties soars
HNN: …A Hawaii News Now analysis of real estate records shows that foreign investors purchased about $1 billion in residential properties in both 2016 and 2017.
And for the first nine months this year, they’ve acquired about $841 million worth of properties.
That’s up sharply from the $500 million to $600 million a year seen from 2008 to 2015….
Sklarz said the increase in foreign buyers is a spillover of strong global economies and booming real estate markets in places like Silicon Valley.
But he say the current boom is more understated than the late 1980s and early 1990s bubble, when Japanese investors poured more than $18 billion into Hawaii economy.
Back then, Japanese investors purchased dozens of hotels, local businesses as well as large land parcels. Most purchases today are second homes.
Sklarz added that foreign investors make up just 5 percent of Hawaii’s real estate market while local buyers represent 70 to 75 percent. Mainland investors account for the rest….
“They’re buying these highly visible trophy properties as a result ... there’s a tendency to generalize that they’re buying properties all over the island and dominating the market. But again, it is very isolated," he said….
read … Foreign investment in Hawaii properties soars
Sports and girls' success in life: ACLU explains why it's pursuing Title IX lawsuit against DOE
KITV: … A federal law passed in 1972 called Title IX directs public schools across the nation to give boys and girls equal resources and opportunities in sports. The ACLU says Hawaii's state public school system isn't doing that. That's why, on December 6, it filed a lawsuit on behalf of two female students.
ACLU of Hawaii's legal director Mateo Caballero says, "Half a century after Title IX was passed, our clients and their peers at Campbell High School have not received this type of treatment."
The DOE has until December 28 to respond. It told us it couldn't comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit cites issues like: Campbell High's female athletes going a mile away from school to change at a fast food restaurant, or using the bathroom in the bushes, because they have no locker rooms nearby….
ACLU lawyers quote a 2015 Ernst & Young/ESPN-W study, Where Will You Find Your Next Leader?, that looked at how athletics affected Fortune 500 women leaders. Meyer cites the study as saying, "Ninety three percent of those women played sports in high school. Most of those women attribute their success to having played sports."…
read … Sports and girls' success in life: ACLU explains why it's pursuing Title IX lawsuit against DOE
Rail 10 Times More Expensive Than Musk Tunnel
SA: … Tesla CEO Elon Musk built a demonstration tunnel with his boring machine in California at $10 million per mile. At that rate, the cost to build each of Oahu’s rail’s 20-mile tunnels would be $200 million. How much more for transit stations and infrastructure?
Musk projects building Chicago’s 18-mile underground transit system at only $1 billion. Instead of paying $8 billion to $10 billion for rail, why isn’t the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation exploring Musk’s boring technology? Tunneling would eliminate visual blight, disturbing iwi, eminent domain costs and congestion….
SA: Hawaii taxes continue to rise
read … Tunnel boring shows the way for Oahu rail
Ed Case Names Top Staffers
SA: … As chief of staff, Case has hired Tim Nelson. He will oversee operations in Washington and Hawaii and double as Case’s legislative director. Nelson served as Case’s legislative assistant during his prior stint in the House.
Nelson also served as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development, working in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nelson, who lives in Maryland, currently serves as the audit manager for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.
Case hired Jacqueline Conant as his district director to oversee activities in Hawaii. Conant also worked for Case when he served in Congress. She is currently the congressional liaison and a project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Hawaii.
Former Honolulu City Councilman and KHON2 News reporter Nestor Garcia will be Case’s communications director. He had also served eight years as a Democratic member of the state House of Representatives, elected in the same class as Case.
2012: Record Ethics Fine: Nestor Garcia Conflict of Interest on Rail Votes
read … Ed Case ready to bring change to Washington