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Monday, May 27, 2019
May 27, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:39 PM :: 1046 Views

Patient Dumping Alleged at Adult Care Home

How Congress and Unions Stopped Hawaii’s Minimum Wage Hike

SA: (Speaker Saiki) … Some are frustrated that the Legislature did not increase the minimum wage on the heels of the last increase in 2018 that brought the minimum wage to $10.10. …

The proposal to increase the minimum wage sparked significant employer concerns with the increasing cost of workers’ fringe benefits. Hawaii is the only state that requires employers to provide nearly 100% subsidized health insurance for employees who work at least 20 hours per week. Hawaii’s insurance commissioner projects that by the year 2026, the annual premium for one employee may double to $14,000.

Increasing the minimum wage may not necessarily improve an employee’s overall finances if an employer responds to a higher minimum wage increase by cutting hours or even jobs. Employees who are then faced with paying for their own health insurance could be worse off financially.

The House’s intent was to preserve the guarantee of employee health care coverage as premiums increase. It would have increased the minimum wage for all workers and preserved health insurance….

(Translation: Some entry-level UPW and HGEA members make less than $15.  We legislators tried to avoid interfering with State labor negotiations by limiting the minimum wage for employers, such as the state and counties, which provide health insurance, to $12.50 an hour with an uninsured minimum wage of $15.  But DLIR believes this could be seen as a subsidy for Prepaid Health Care.  ‘Substantively amending’ the Prepaid Health Care Act would cost Hawaii its grandfather clause under ERISA.  So between Congress and the unions, the whole deal blew up in our faces and we got nothing.) 

The Missing Link: Hawaii’s ERISA Exemption pg6

Reality:

Shapiro: Sour notes end Legislature; pigeons opine on rail plan

read … Raising Hawaii’s minimum wage not a black-and-white issue

Kalaeloa: HCDA Launders Illegal Dirt

SA: … The Kalaeloa Heritage and Legacy Foundation intends to sign a stewardship agreement for Kalaeloa Heritage Park in place of its 40-year lease with the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency that owns the park site.

Meanwhile, HCDA this month received a contractor’s report that roughly estimated the cost for dealing with the 2,259-cubic-yard stockpile at $757,000 to $860,000.

The stockpile, which could fill about 100 to 150 dump trucks, has been a huge headache for the foundation and HCDA over the last seven years.

All the trouble originated one year after the 2011 opening of an initial 4-acre phase of the park, which is on 77 acres of the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station and features remnants of unique coral structures that show how Native Hawaiians lived in the area 400 years ago.

Foundation representatives in 2012 bulldozed some former military infrastructure on the property and received donated material from a construction site in an effort to grade an area for a future visitors center near the park’s initial phase.

A visitors center is part of a $9.5 million conceptual plan to expand the park with a cultural center, car and bus parking, ticketing area, theater, art gallery, kitchen and dining area, meeting and workshop rooms, office space, restrooms, gift shop and other features.

However, no one obtained city permits to create the stockpile. Furthermore, concrete rubble and other materials in the mounds of dirt aren’t permissible for grading.

In late 2013 the city Department of Planning and Permitting cited HCDA as the landowner and soon began assessing $750 daily fines….

The state Department of Health in 2014 issued a warning letter that ordered all solid waste be removed from what it considered an illegal dump.

City fines reached $363,000 by the time the foundation was able to obtain a stockpiling permit in mid-2015.

Despite all the trouble, HCDA signed a 40-year lease with the foundation at the end of 2015 but reserved a right to terminate the lease if the stockpiling violation wasn’t resolved within a year.

The foundation provides interpretive tours at the park and is supported with volunteers but not much money. The foundation presented a corrective action plan but couldn’t carry it out. The plan involved removing solid waste and donating soil to a developer at a projected cost of $103,150 to $210,300.

After frustration at the foundation’s inability to resolve the matter over the next three years, HCDA made an offer in October to give the foundation an initial one-year stewardship agreement in return for giving up its lease and having HCDA shoulder all the burden for resolving the stockpile issue.

The foundation balked, and that prompted a January vote by HCDA’s board to authorize the agency’s executive director to cancel the lease….

2010: Fireworks, dirt, and stolen trucks: Colleen Hanabusa and the Honolulu Raceway Deal

read … Kalaeloa

Economist: Overtourism And Crowding Is A Pricing Problem

HPR: … Brewbaker has been ringing the bell for years that the state is earning less per visitor, even though the tourism count has skyrocketed. 

"This idea that tourism receipts have not grown while the number of people or the number of days they occupy the islands have grown is problematic because all of the social costs associated with tourism are or are primarily associated with their physical presence," Brewbaker said. 

Sharing the beach and trails with tourists is fine, he said, until the point of congestion is reached. The City and County of Honolulu is especially hard-hit by this problem.

On O'ahu, the visitor count was declining from the peak of the Japan Bubble in the late 1990s, Brewbaker said. The state and tourism industry created programs to boost the visitor count and in the past two decades, tourism renewed itself, driven by Asia visitors….

But since 2009, although O'ahu's visitor count has doubled, visitor spending stopped growing seven years ago, he said. Factors like the decline of the Japanese yen, which makes it more expensive to pay for visits, explain in part why tourists spend less. Another reason: more amd more visitors are repeaters and they get smarter about how to save money while they're here.

"The long-term downward trend, I think, you can't really lean against," according to Brewbaker.

The one area where visitor receipts have gone up over 30 years is in hotel lodging, he said, suggesting everything else has been declining….

read … Economist: Overtourism And Crowding Is A Pricing Problem

Additional lawsuits filed against Lloyd’s of London

HTH: … Allegations include Pyramid sold Hale a policy that didn’t have a legally required disclaimer stamped on the front page, Gumbs didn’t have a broker’s license required to sell or service a surplus lines insurance policy and Specialized Loan Servicing tried to collect mortgage payments after debt on the home had been discharged by the bankruptcy court.

“The principal difference between this case and these other lava cases is that, in this case, Mike Hale had gone through bankruptcy in early 2018, just months before he lost his property,” Stan Roehrig told the Tribune-Herald Wednesday. “When he went through bankruptcy, he scrubbed off the loan that he had through Ditech (Mortgage), the predecessor in interest to Specialized Loan Servicing, who took over as the servicer for the house loan on the property.”

The suit claims the house, on an acre agricultural lot at 13-3385 Hookupu St., was destroyed on or about May 9, 2018, when Hale still living there and his insurance policy was still in effect.

“When the lava came and destroyed the house, the practical result of that is Specialized Loan Servicing, which was formerly Ditech, lost its opportunity to collect on the note that’s on the house,” Roehrig said. He added that, for a time, Hale was homeless and living in his van….

read … Additional lawsuits filed against Lloyd’s of London

500 Kamehameha parcels to be checked for cesspools

HTH:  … Kamehameha Schools has conducted an assessment of its properties statewide in efforts to identify, and subsequently close, any large-capacity cesspools.

In October 2018, the educational trust reached an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in which more than 3,000 of Kamehameha Schools’ properties across the state were to be audited….

According to Kua, as a result of that statewide audit, Kamehameha Schools identified 96 properties on Oahu for an independent third-party auditor to inspect.

Three large-capacity cesspools were discovered as a result of those inspections and the remediation process for those properties has begun.

On the Big Island, 500 properties, comprising approximately 114,000 acres, have been identified for an auditor to inspect for large-capacity cesspools, she said….

“Due to the number of inspections on Hawaii Island, the Environmental Protection Agency has extended the deadlines for inspections to December 2020, and those inspections are underway,” she said.

None of Kamehameha Schools’ additional properties on Oahu or properties on Maui, Molokai and Kaui contain large-capacity cesspools….

Meanwhile: Maui Injection Wells Settlement Could Lead to 1000s of Lawsuits

read … 500 Kamehameha parcels to be checked for cesspools

Fewer homeless vets on the street

SA:  … According to data released this month about the latest nationwide homeless census, or Point in Time Count, despite three consecutive years marking decreases, Hawaii still holds the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the country. Statewide, nearly 6,450 homeless people were counted in January.

There are bright spots, however. Since 2016, said state homeless coordinator Scott Morishige, the count of homeless military veterans has dropped by 24% (164 people). It’s encouraging to see that ongoing efforts to get homeless vets off the streets, involving steady local and federal assistance, are making strides….

read … Fewer homeless vets on the street

Memorial Day:

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