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Monday, June 03, 2019
June 3, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:29 PM :: 718 Views

Hawaii Economy is Booming--And It's the 4th Worst

Eco Religion vs You: Electricity Even More Expensive AND Transfer $4B from Hawaii Ratepayers to Silicon Valley

CB:… Coal is cheap, but dirty(sinful) and a looming question has been what will happen when AES Hawaii’s contract to produce power for HECO expires in 2022.

Now, after years of speculation, the answer is becoming clear.

Hawaiian Electric Co. is taking steps to supplant AES’s facility with new renewable resources produced by private developers. HECO still needs approval from utility regulators before the company can issue requests but proposals, but executives said they hope to be able to start issuing RFPs by summer’s end.

It’s part of a broader plan by the affiliated Hawaiian Electric companies – Maui Electric, and the Big Island’s Hawaii Electric Light and Oahu’s HECO — to solicit proposals for a new wave of large-scale renewable generation and storage projects. Also to be shut down and supplanted is a large oil-burning power plant in Kahului, Maui….

On Oahu alone, the company expects replacing AES will result in 20 to 29 contracts with private developers and a total investment of $2.5 billion to $4 billion, including land costs. Projects are expected to occupy some 3,000 acres, the equivalent of 29 Aloha Stadiums.

“This is the moon mission right here,” Kelly said….

Reality: Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion

read … Hawaiian Electric’s Ambitious Plan To Quit Using Coal Is A ‘Moon Mission’

Eco Religion vs You: Civil Beat Pushes Garbage Fee Hike

CB: … Councilwoman Kymberly Pine has resurrected her proposal to burn — that’s right, incinerate — Honolulu’s recyclables because it’s not profitable to ship them away for actual recycling.

(IQ Test: Converting waste into electricity IS recycling T/F?)

Her latest attempt calls for putting some of the savings from this very ungreen (blasphemous) idea toward eventually establishing an on-island recycling facility.

Meanwhile, Mayor Kirk Caldwell has been jumping through hoops for years trying to convince the City Council to start charging for residential garbage pickup.

Whether it’s bulky item pickup or regular trash hauling, you should get what you pay for.

The resulting revenue would help with that upcoming rail operations and maintenance bill, and could definitely enable us to forget about the dubious notion of saving money by burning our recyclables (and thereby recycling them into electricity).

More Reality: Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion

read … Civil Beat Pushes Garbage Fee Hike

Some Ways To Stop The Exodus To The Mainland

CB: … The 21st century exodus of young people represents a vote of no-confidence in the Aloha State’s future, and deprives Hawaii of the people we desperately need to reform our islands.

State Rep. John Mizuno, chair of the House Health Committee, worries about the employment opportunities available to young people and warns, “Hawaii needs a titanic shift in workforce development,” adding that “Hawaii is graying faster than most states.”

Panos Prevedouros, chairman of the UH Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, says four dimensions are vital to retaining young people in Hawaii: “satisfying, well paying jobs; quality of infrastructure and built environment; housing availability and price; and the cost of living.”

Hawaii’s political leaders have not paid attention or had sympathy for lower-income earning young adults, Prevedouros says.

Keli`i Akina, an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee and Grassroot Institute of Hawaii president, has been showcasing a “Why We Left Hawaii” series.

“For starters, instead of raising taxes, we need to be reducing the tax burden on the average resident,” Akina says. “We also need to stop the way various state and county fees have been climbing up to pay for new projects. We need to encourage investment and entrepreneurship, and that means reducing the tax and regulatory burden on businesses. Finally, we need to make more land available for new housing, and streamline the approval process for new development. Otherwise, we will continue to lose people to states with better job opportunities and a lower cost of living.”…

read … Some Ways To Stop The Exodus To The Mainland

Is HMSA’s new health initiative best for patients? Not likely

SA: … Hawaii Medical Service Association’s (HMSA) recently cited the success of its capitated Payment Transformation program as the “first and only health plan in the country to pay every PCP in our network a monthly fee,” referring to how it pays its primary care physicians (“Hawaii’s health initiative goes national,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, May 15). HMSA may be the only, but it was not the first. In the late-1980s, insurers pushed capitated payment plans throughout the country. What was found was that they did not provide quality access to health care — and they were all abandoned.

The reason for this is simple: An insurance plan relying on capitated payment to providers transfers risk from the insurer to the provider. While insurance companies are set up to manage risk through volume monitored by a panel of actuaries, physician practices are not.

A single patient with acute chronic disease could bankrupt a small practice that does not have adequate numbers of healthy patients to offset the increased care costs required for the sick. As a result, physician practices move away from accepting patients with high-demand illness, a strategy still recommended by practice consultants….

Related: Trump Administration Copies Hawaii Pay-for-Outcomes Medical System

read … Is HMSA’s new health initiative best for patients? Not likely

HPD sergeant pleads not guilty in latest spousal abuse charge

SA: … Sgt. Darren Cachola, 46, appeared at his arraignment before Family Court Judge Kevin Souza at Honolulu District Court on charges of one count of misdemeanor abuse and two counts of petty misdemeanor harassment.

His attorney, William Harrison, entered a not guilty plea to the charges on his behalf. …

Cachola, a 23-year police veteran, declined to comment on the charges.

He is on restricted duty after HPD removed his police powers as they investigate the alleged offenses.

Cachola and his wife are divorcing.

His wife filed a civil lawsuit in April accusing him of assault and battery in 2017…

In 2014, HPD stripped Cachola of his badge and gun after a surveillance video showed him in a brawl with his former girlfriend in a Waipahu restaurant. He was fired but reinstated after an arbitrator reversed the decision….

read … Again and Again

Man arrested at airport on child porn charges was part-time teacher at Laie Elementary

HNN: … A former part-time teacher in Hawaii was arrested at Honolulu’s airport over the weekend on child pornography charges.

The state Department of Public Safety said that Jacob Maris was arrested at Honolulu’s airport Saturday for second-degree promotion of child abuse after security screeners found dozens of images of suspected child pornography in a piece of carry-on luggage….

Education Department officials confirmed that Maris was a part-time teacher. Sources told Hawaii News Now that he taught at Laie Elementary…..

read … Man arrested at airport on child porn charges was part-time teacher

Proposed rules to manage Mauna Kea – Hearings This Week

KITV: … Activists question the timing of the latest proposed rules as the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope prepares to start construction at an unknown date. UH says the Mauna Kea rules are separate from TMT.

If the rules are approved by the U-H regents, they go to the Governor for a final decision.

The public is being encouraged to attend four public meetings at the following dates and times:

• Monday, June 3, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Mānoa Elementary School, 3155 Mānoa Road, Honolulu

• Tuesday, June 4, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Waiākea Elementary School, 180 W. Puainako Street, Hilo

• Wednesday, June 5, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School, 68-1730 Hoʻoko Street, Waikoloa

• Friday, June 7, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Pōmaikaʻi Elementary School, 4650 S. Kamehameha Avenue, Kahului

Written comments are being accepted now until Friday, June 7. Comments can be submitted by email to UHHAR@hawaii.edu.

read … Proposed rules to manage Mauna Kea stir worry in the Native Hawaiian community

Enviros Launch Another Attack on Fishing Fleet

CB: … A federal fisheries oversight council has stymied inquiries by congressmen, journalists and others (has been resisting submission to their eco-overlords) over the past few years….

read … Conflicts, Lax Oversight Shroud This Secretive Fisheries Fund

Growing the budget to create 93 new ‘positions’: Final council reading Wednesday

HTH: … The County Council has already added $1.1 million to Mayor Harry Kim’s record-setting $573.5 million operating budget. On Wednesday, council members are poised to add even more.

By law, the budget must be balanced. In order to increase spending in one area, council members must decrease it in another, unless they get an outside grant or want to raises taxes or fees.

But one source of funds has been ripe for the picking. The fund balance — the money budgeted for the prior year but not spent — has been increasingly tapped into as a way to pay for council member priorities. The unspent money is usually rolled over into the next budget year. It serves as a buffer against emergencies and is carried over to help fund future budgets.

The fund balance is higher than usual for the budget year ending June 30 because county departments were so busy responding to the volcano, hurricane and flooding disasters they didn’t have time to spend the money they had planned for less urgent projects.

Finance Director Deanna Sako has urged the council to not decimate the fund balance because the county will need it in the 2021-22 fiscal year, when Employees’ Retirement System contributions are set to again increase.

At the same time the county is spending an increasingly larger amount of taxpayer money on employee salaries and perks, the mayor proposes adding 93 new positions, mostly for police, environmental management and parks and recreation.

read … Growing the budget: Final council reading Wednesday

Honolulu City Council panel discusses sliding fee scale for vacation rentals

SA: … Vacation rentals in areas that command the most bookings would be hit with higher permit fees under a proposal being considered by one City Council member as a way to address the proliferation of illegal units on Oahu.

Honolulu City Councilwoman Kymberly Marcos Pine is considering requiring owners of vacation rentals to pay a fee based on a sliding scale, with the higher-value homes in oceanfront and other desirable locations paying more.

Pine, who heads the Council’s Committee on Business, Economic Development and Tourism, discussed the approach to Oahu’s vacation rental problem at a committee briefing last month titled “Balancing the Visitor Boom.” ….

read … Honolulu City Council panel discusses sliding fee scale for vacation rentals

Pali Closed: Kailua Businesses Complain About Lack of Tourists

HNN: … Gail Allen owns Island Treasures Art Gallery, one of the first businesses that opened in Kailua 35 years ago.

She sells the beautiful creations of local artisans, but she’s worried she may have to close up shop since sales are down 40 to 50 percent. The reason: Damaging rockslides shutdown the Pali Highway.

The thoroughfare has been shut down since the rockfalls in February and its packing a major punch to local businesses.

"I'm really worried. I've already called the landlord to ask for some kind of help. It's going to be difficult. I'm having a hard time. I might have to sell my house. It's tough," said Allen.

It’s tough for her and other businesses that rely on tourists who once flocked to Kailua….

read … Irony

Waikiki pavilions might be converted to deter homeless

SA: … residents and tourists are more inclined to hurry past the pavilions, which are often occupied by homeless people. There are regular complaints about people going to the bathroom on the grounds, getting drunk or high, fighting, swearing and panhandling….

The visibility of homelessness in the heart of Waikiki’s tourist epicenter improved some after the city banned sitting and lying on Waikiki sidewalks in 2014. However, these changes failed to completely solve the problems with the pavilions. The city’s anti-loitering law doesn’t extend to the pavilions or the grassy areas around them.

Police may clear pavilions of loiterers only between 2 and 5 a.m., when park closure laws are in effect.

The situation at the pavilions has led Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell to propose adding concessions to all four Waikiki pavilions. He noted the city’s 2017 decision to add a concession to Kuhio Beach public pavilion No. 1 transformed it from a daytime hangout for homeless into a beach eatery called the Kuhio Grill.

Caldwell said the city is working on writing a request for proposals to bring similar options to the remaining three pavilions…. 

Big Q: Do you support the city’s plan to add concessions to the Waikiki beachfront pavilions?

read … Waikiki pavilions might be converted to deter homeless

15 Years Later Seawater air-conditioning project for Honolulu buildings clears last major regulatory hurdles—Still has excuses for not starting construction

SA: … A really, really big plastic straw for sucking up sea water several miles off Kakaako might be ready for deployment next year as part of a system to air-condition 40 or so buildings mostly downtown.

The developer of the $250 million system recently obtained its last major regulatory approval for the project, first announced in 2004.

Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning LLC reached an agreement earlier this year with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources on how to minimize and mitigate disruptions to coral and rock supporting marine life in the path of its planned 4.7-mile pipeline tapping 44-degree sea water from 1,755 feet below the ocean surface….

“All of the major permits that are needed for us to proceed have been secured,” said Eric Masutomi, Honolulu Seawater CEO.

The company still needs a few more customer commitments before it can access financing, but the city is expected to sign up municipal buildings by the end of this year or early next year so long-delayed construction can begin.

Construction, which includes the offshore pipeline, a central plant and distribution lines to buildings, is expected to take 18 to 20 months and be finished in 2022, Masutomi said….

Flashback:

read … Seawater air-conditioning project for Honolulu buildings clears last major regulatory hurdles

Proponents of new gun law say it will help police, protect owners; others say it’s obtrusive

HTH: … Hawaii County’s police chief said a recently enacted law — requiring gun owners to report a lost, stolen or destroyed firearm to county police within 24 hours of discovery of the loss — shouldn’t have been necessary.

“It basically requires somebody to file a theft report or lost property report regarding a firearm. That should go without having a law be there. A responsible gun owner should do that, regardless. We shouldn’t have to have a law that tells them to do it,” chief Paul Ferreira said Thursday….

The measure, House Bill 720, became Act 023 when Gov. David Ige signed it into law on April 24….

read … Proponents of new gun law say it will help police, protect owners; others say it’s obtrusive

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