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Thursday, March 14, 2019
March 14, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:23 PM :: 1579 Views

Massive Pay Hike for Hawaii Legislators?

HB118: Republicans Explain Vote to Kill Rail Audit

After Konno: How Hawaii Can revive contracting as policy option

State’s use of contractors just a hint of what could be

UH Legislative Update

Forgotten Voices: The Inadequate Review and Improper Alteration of Our National Monuments

Poll: 45% Thinking of Leaving State or Know Someone who is

HNN: … Hawaii residents are increasingly discouraged about their lives and their futures ― and worried about how the next generation will fare in the islands, according to a new survey.

The causes of their discontent are wide-ranging, but not all that surprising: The state’s high cost of living is a significant source of concern along with a lack of opportunities for themselves and their children, wages that aren’t keeping up rising prices, and a dissatisfaction with leaders and problems at home and in Washington, D.C.

The biggest takeaway from the survey is simple: While the overall economy in the islands might be doing well, the personal economies of Hawaii’s residents appear to be faltering.

Just 35 percent of those polled said they were much or somewhat better off financially than they were the year before. In 2015, that figure was 50 percent.

And a staggering 45 percent said that someone in their household had left the islands or considered it.

The most likely groups to be planning a move to the mainland included families that have children in private school and middle-class households.

The single-biggest reason for leaving the state or planning to? You guessed it: The high cost of living….

a full 79 percent of those polled said homelessness had gotten worse over the last couple years, and 71 percent said the inventory of affordable housing had further dwindled.

Also of concern: More than half of residents said crime and drug abuse is getting worse, and nearly 4 in 10 voters said it had gotten harder to secure affordable, quality health care coverage….

The survey polled 942 registered voters across the state in February. It has a margin of error of 3.2 percent….

Big Q: Do you know anyone who has left or is planning to leave Hawaii because of the high cost of living here?  57% – YES

SA: Some 45 percent of Hawaii voters live in homes where someone is considering moving away — or has already left the islands — typically because of the cost of living 

MT: Survey Says: ‘Alarming’ Numbers of Hawai‘i Residents Seriously Considering Leaving the State

read … Poll: Hawaii residents say they’re buckling under strain of state’s high cost of living

Hawaii County Council passes $50M/year general excise tax hike

HTH: … starting Jan. 1 after the County Council on Wednesday passed a half-cent general excise tax surcharge, replacing the one-quarter percent approved last year.

The tax, which expires in 2030, will add an estimated $50 million annually to the county budget, compared to about $25 million now collected….

With no discussion, the council approved the tax hike 7-0, with Kohala Councilman Tim Richards and Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter absent. Mayor Harry Kim was on hand to address the council, but didn’t speak….

About a dozen people testified during a public hearing last month, with most opposed to the increase. Testifiers cited the cost of living, their personal financial impacts, uncertainty about what the additional revenue would be used for and skepticism that the county administration has really cut expenses as reasons for their opposition….

While the money currently may be used only for transportation, mass transit or bikeways and trails, bills moving through both houses of the state Legislature would grant more flexibility to allow money to also be used for infrastructure and public safety….

read … Council passes general excise tax hike

Keith Kaneshiro put himself on paid leave. So why is he showing up at the office?  

HNN: … since he announced his plans to go on leave, HNN has learned that he returned to the office twice: On Friday morning and again on Tuesday morning. Each time, he remained at the office for several hours.

When asked about the visits, Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Brooks Baehr said Kaneshiro was there to retrieve personal items and said his access to in-house systems has been cut off.

Brooks did not respond to questions about whether Kaneshiro had been escorted during his visits and if he planned on returning again….

In a statement, Connors said that Kaneshiro "should not be in the office during his period of leave."

She added, "I will look into when and why Mr. Kaneshiro has been allowed access, and will confirm that Mr. Kaneshiro is not to be on the premises.”

Other legal experts responded with similar concerns.

“The intent of the A.G.’s office was to have him totally removed," said attorney Keith Kiuchi, who is assisting with an effort to impeach Kaneshiro, “You’re kind of tricking the system."

Kiuchi said Kaneshiro’s mere presence could influence deputies or intimidate those who testified against him in grand jury proceedings.

Another attorney, William Harrison, said that the fact that Kaneshiro is "continuing to be in the office suggests that there are continual problems.”

Harrison claims his client’s criminal case was tainted by Kaneshiro and a former high ranking deputy prosecutor under him, Katherine Kealoha.

Kiuchi acknowledged that Nadamoto is qualified to take the reins for now, but fears he may be too close to his boss.….

read … Keith Kaneshiro put himself on paid leave. So why is he showing up at the office?

State Deputy Sheriffs Still Aren’t Accredited — 8 Years After the Law Required It

CB: … All four county departments already have the accreditation, which sets standards regarding use of force, weapons, training and officer conduct. ….

Eight years after a law was passed requiring state deputy sheriffs to be accredited by a national agency, the Department of Public Safety has not yet applied for accreditation.

The Legislature required the Sheriff Division in 2011 to be credentialed by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, a nonprofit group that sets national public safety benchmarks. Hawaii’s four county police departments are all CALEA-accredited.

Mark Mosier, CALEA’s Pacific regional program manager, told Civil Beat on Wednesday that the public safety department has not yet contracted to begin the accreditation process. However, it has sought information relating to accreditation and has been consulting about it with the Honolulu Police Department, he said.

read … State Deputy Sheriffs Still Aren’t Accredited — 8 Years After the Law Required It

Names, Ranks And Salaries Of Honolulu Cops Are Still Secret

CB: … Legal challenges from Hawaii’s police union have prevented the public release of the identities of almost 2,000 sworn officers….

read … Names, Ranks And Salaries Of Honolulu Cops Are Still Secret

HB593: The Era of Hawaii Agriculture is Over

IM: … The bill (HB 593) had a joint hearing on March 13, 2019, with the Committee on Water and Land chaired by Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele and the Committee on Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism chaired by Senator Glenn Wakai….

Brian Miyamoto, Executive Director of the Hawaii Farm Bureau noted, “There is that competition. When you start with people have look at agricultural lands as just being a holding zone for future urban development. That`s where plans come in and in part stabilize that uncertainty for farming and we isolate the higher value uses such as solar energy and urban development, separate those from the agricultural areas, hopefully, there won`t be too much of a spillover in terms of anticipated development in the agricultural areas.”…

Industrial-scale solar is not permitted on prime agricultural land. A Korean multi-national corporation wishes to change that. Hanwha along with their subsidiary Ho‘ohana Solar 1, lobbyists, the landowners, and developers are testifying on a bill to open the door to the slippery slope of allowing industrial-scale solar on all agricultural land in the state.

Numerous entities testified in opposition to converting prime agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses: Hawai`i Department of Agriculture, Hawai`i State Office of Planning (OP), Land Use Commission (LUC), Hawaii Farm Bureau, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC), Maui School Garden Network, Hawaii Farmers Union United, Na Kupuna Moku O Keawe, Life of the Land, Sierra Club of Hawai‘i, Hawaii Interfaith Power & Light, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, 350.org, Organizing for Action, Cannabis Voters, Hawaii Advocates For Consumer Rights, We Are One (WAO),  and the O`ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai`i.

Numerous individuals testified in opposition to converting prime agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses: Bianca Isaki, Shannon Rudolph, John Bickel, Javier Mendez-Alvarez, Mary Lacques, Hanalei Fergerstrom, Brian Murphy, Mary Whispering Wind, Sherri Thal, Keith Ranney, Nate Hix, Chase Livingston, Rene Umberger, John Naylor, Janet Pappas, Jonathan Boyne, Joan Gannon, Sally Kaye, Randy Ching, Robin Kaye, Judith Michaels, Dale Jensen, and Severine Busquet.

The Korean multinational corporation has the support of the leadership of the State House and the State Senate. The Senate leadership diverted the bill from the Senate Agricultural Committee where the bill would have failed to pass….

HB593: Text, Status

read … Over

City has collected more than 4.6 million pounds of homeless garbage from city streets and parks—14,276 Shopping Carts

KITV: … Since enforcement of the city’s Stored Property and Sidewalk Nuisance ordinances began on January 2, 2013, the Department of Facility Maintenance has collected more than 4.6 million pounds of material from city streets, parks and other public areas. This includes thousands of shopping carts and several thousand cubic yards of metals….

A typical school bus weighs 25,000 pounds, so 4.6 million pounds would equate to 184 school buses. Stacked on top of each other, 184 school buses would be 1,932 feet tall, or 4 and a half times taller than the First Hawaiian Bank building in downtown (429 ft.), and twice as tall as the Eiffel Tower….

  • Trash and Debris: 2,306 tons (4,612,000 lbs.)
  • Metals: 3,229 cubic yards
  • Shopping Carts: 14,276
  • Bins for Storage: 3,779
  • SPO Tickets: 4,858
  • SNO Tickets: 1,436

$100 per cart x 14,276 = $1,427,600.00 in losses made up by higher grocery prices.

read … 4.6 million pounds

21 inmates identified in MCCC riot; transferred to Halawa Correctional Facility

KITV: … Those inmates have been transferred to Halawa Correctional Facility (HCF) without incident. Though the detainees are pre-trial status, the current circumstances dictated the transfer to a more secure facility.

“We are working with the courts to allow video conferencing for certain hearings, so we can minimize the need to transport these detainees back to Maui for court,” said Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda. “This large transport to Halawa went off without a hitch because of the team effort made by all involved”.

The staff at MCCC has been proactive in identifying the inmates responsible for the incident, and have assessed the damage in order for the facility to return to normal operations. Inmates will continue to be questioned to determine all parties involved. Once all inmates are confirmed to be responsible for the incident, they will be brought up on criminal charges, and disciplinary action will be taken, pending the outcome of the investigations. ….

read … 21 inmates identified in MCCC riot; transferred to Halawa Correctional Facility

Roads: Kauai Council Actually Considering Preventative Maintenance!

KGI: … The majority of roads have a life cycle of 10 years, he said. If the county can get to the road within the first five years and do chip sealing, it can extend the life of the road by at least five years, Tabata said. He added that if the county can get to the road again at the 10th year, it can extend the life of that road another five years ….

read … Just some loose chatter don't worry it won't happen again

Lifeguards work in deteriorating towers as brand new ones sit unused

HNN: … City lifeguards are raising alarms over towers they say are in disrepair.

And they say the city is dragging its feet in installing new towers it purchased last August for more than $200,000.

“Our towers are dilapidated, falling apart. There’s holes in the floor. Some of them have plywood and different things," said Chris, who has worked as a city lifeguard for more than a decade.

“Why do we have these towers that are falling apart when we have (new) towers right there at our headquarters," he said….

He’s referring to four new towers, which have been sitting in a city baseyard for more than six months.

The city paid $55,000 for each of the towers and plans to buy four more….

read … Lifeguards work in deteriorating towers as brand new ones sit unused

American Samoa Governor in Coma After Surgery

Samoa News March 13, 2019: … Sen. Tuaolo Manaia Fruean shared with his colleagues yesterday that Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga underwent surgery last Wednesday (March 6) and when the senator left Monday (March 11) to return home, Lolo was still not awake.

Tuaolo didn’t say where Lolo is hospitalized, or the name of the hospital, but Samoa News understands the governor is in a hospital in Seattle, Washington.

The Governor’s Office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comments or an update on Lolo’s health, following Tuaolo’s remarks at yesterday’s Senate session.

Tuaolo, who returned to the territory Monday night following a trip to the US, said the governor had undergone surgery last Wednesday due to breathing problems — according to the doctors— but since the surgery, the governor had not woken up, even as he (Tuaolo) left Monday morning to return to the territory

He said that as of yesterday, he didn’t know the status of the governor — if he had woken up — and suggested that Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie depart this Thursday to visit him.

The senator said the only people with the governor are his family and the First Lady, there are no government officials present….

The governor’s health has become a concern for many local residents, all wanting to know where he is and if there are any new updates from his office. The only statement that came from the Governor’s Office was early this month, saying that during his usual medical check-up last month, the governor was advised by his physician to rest as there are medical treatments to improve his health condition. No further details were provided ….

read … Sen. Tuaolo reports to the Fono that Gov. Lolo has undergone surgery

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