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Sunday, June 23, 2019
June 23, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:24 PM :: 2064 Views

It’s the Economy, Stupid

On Board Video Shows 2016 Incident with Skydiving Plane

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 23, 2019

Kahele Full of S***

Shapiro: … Kahele touted the endorsements he’s received from three former Hawaii Democratic governors and depicted their message to Gabbard as: “Good luck running for president, but don’t come back to Hawaii.”

I’m guessing they probably wouldn’t have said it quite that way.

Kahele crowed, “It’s a different Hawaii than what she’s used to and I’m a completely different candidate than anything she’s ever faced.”

One thing that’s still the same about Hawaii, as his former governors could tell him, is that local voters tend to be wary of political candidates who come across as too full of themselves.

They equate it to being full of a profane word I wouldn’t use in this family newspaper….

Background: Kahele: I am a F****** Tiger on Tulsi's Tail

read … Full

Tough issues of TMT for governor, TVUs for mayor require leadership neither has shown

Borreca: … Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell are likely to leave office with a legacy haunted by two big issues they never campaigned on, couldn’t hide from and are probably so divisive, they couldn’t win….

Last week, the state announced that the final legal hurdles have been cleared, and construction — delayed since Ige first took office in 2014 — will finally start. Ige tried not to antagonize Mauna Kea supporters and handled the issue with kid gloves, while telescope supporters bitterly complained that the Big Island was losing jobs, economic security and a place in the scientific community. A classic no-win issue.

Clearly Ige had no choice but to push ahead, but did so with such reluctance that he never appeared to be shaping the debate.

At the same time, Caldwell last week was handed the latest version of the City Council’s bill, which supporters say gives Caldwell the tools to toughen up vacation rental laws. It sounds good: Officials claim anyone running short-term rentals must have a registration number, which allows the city to track them, making sure they are paying taxes and such. The number of rentals per Honolulu district will be limited.

Honolulu under Caldwell, however, has not been the place where laws and ordinances go to be enforced. Unfortunately, neighborhood violations turn into eyesores, community issues and news stories before action is taken.

At the same time, even before Caldwell makes a decision on whether to sign or veto the proposal, parties on all sides of the issue are exploring lawsuits….

These two issues are tough — they demand someone with a whole-Hawaii view, who gets out in front with a solution, campaigns daily for a compromise, and devotes as much energy to resolution as Caldwell and Ige did to their last re-election.

Neither man has shown the leadership or community engagement to drive home a deal that ends the division.

(Translation: Borreca wants an ‘old-boy’ mayor and governor to be elected.  The problem is that the old boys are out of candidates.  Right now their only hope is Kahele.) 

read … Tough issues of TMT for governor, TVUs for mayor require leadership neither has shown

‘Resilience’ Strategy: Property Tax Increases and Less Affordable Housing

SA: … there is an action item aimed at reducing the number of “empty houses” by charging a special fee for investor homes that are left unoccupied much of the time.  (Translation: Property Tax Hike.)

The principle here is that the revenue supports expanded infrastructure improvements the city must make because these homes, bought for vacations or other purposes, do not house owner-occupants or their tenants on Oahu.

Stanbro said the concept is patterned after a similar fee that the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, adopted to bring more investment properties back into the housing inventory. Still, owners of higher-end second homes do already pay a premium property tax rate; this proposal likely will get pushback, he acknowledged.

BUT THE CITY plans to do some of its own pushing back, in other areas. Example: The mayor proposes to crack down on variances that have been issued to developers who want to get around a requirement for solar water heating on new homes. That’s a proposal that was floated at the last legislative session but shot down.  (Translation: Less affordable housing, more grift for solar schemers.)

Further, the city administration resolves to enlarge Oahu’s islandwide 40-foot shoreline setback requirement in areas where the coast is eroding. That means short-term pain, and loud complaints, from affected property owners… (Result: Less available land for housing means housing costs go up for everyone.  Simple supply-demand economics.)

read … Tax Resilience

Collecting taxes not job for Airbnb

SA Editorial: … Senate Bill 1292, which now sits on Gov. David Ige’s desk….would allow privately owned online vacation rental booking agents — Airbnb, Expedia, VRBO and the like — to collect the required transient accommodations tax (TAT) from the short-term rental business and pass the payment along to the state. …

The fact that the bill makes the websites unaccountable for the legality of the rentals should convince Ige he should veto it, as he did with a similar measure three years ago….

A better reason to spike it: Having an intermediary collect taxes would give cover to rental hosts, but provide no enforcement data to counties. And that will never help Hawaii clean up its unregulated vacation-rental mess….

read … Collecting taxes not job for Airbnb

Teacher: Student Suspensions Necessary for Safe Work Environment

SA: … I work at Waipahu Intermediate School in the English Language Learner (ELL) Department. I work with Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in my classroom every day. The 2018-2019 school year was a challenge. However, my students and I ended on a very positive note.

I would like to continue to work in a safe, drug-free learning environment for many more years to come.

My administrators have been working toward keeping our school safe on a yearly basis.

The voice of my principal, Randell Dunn, echoes in my brain, in which he always says that he will suspend students to keep our school safe. Whenever he repeats this statement during the school year, I feel comfortable and safe as a teacher working in the classroom and on campus…

read … Student suspension is time to cool off, reflect

State re-files single theft charge against former charter school director

SA: … The ousted director of the now-defunct Halau Lokahi Public Charter School has again been charged with one of four felony theft counts that had been dismissed because the state Attorney General took too long to take the case to trial.

Papers in state court Wednesday charge Laara Allbrett, 65, with second-­degree theft for spending $940 of school money on round-trip airfare for her and family members to attend the graduation of her son, Varner, at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The charge is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

A state judge dismissed the original charge and three other second-degree theft counts in April. The judge left open the possibility for the state to re-charge the count involving the airfare but dismissed the other three charges and barred further prosecution.

The other three charges involved Allbrett spending $462 for a healing light pad for her son, $350 for medical treatment at the Holistic Medical Center of Hawaii and $427 for a three-month supply of a health supplement.….

The Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission revoked Halau Lokahi’s charter in March 2015 and closed the school two months later.

Bright admitted to investigators that he kept his school-issued debit card after he was terminated and used it to purchase gasoline and a $1,022 Apple laptop computer.

State investigators recovered records of more than $5,200 of online purchases made by Tavares using Bright’s school debit card. The purchases, which were sent to her Aiea residence, included digital projectors, a DVD player, an air-conditioning window unit and dozens of duct tape rolls that had Hello Kitty, Superman, Angry Birds and Mickey Mouse images printed on them. The records also show the debit card was used to purchase two MacBook Air laptop computers and an external hard drive at the Best Buy store in Aiea, with customer reward points awarded to Tavares’ account.

In the end the state charged only Allbrett….  

UPDATE from AG: “A felony information charging Theft in the Second Degree against Laara Allbrett was filed on the 19th.  The criminal case number is 1CPC-19-0000911.”

SA: Take charter-school theft case to trial

Background: Why is the Hawaii Attorney General too busy to prosecute charter school corruption? 

read … State re-files single theft charge against former charter school director

Maui Meadows NIMBYs Oppose Solar Farm

MN: … The PUC warned the utilities to “avoid including overly conservative technical and performance requirements” that were unjustified and could drive up costs for consumers. HECO also should allow bidders the option to propose projects to become operational beyond 2022 to 2025, the PUC order said.

Given opposition from the Power Pono Coalition, which is seeking to gain intervenor status in an contested case proceeding involving Paeahu Solar, and some criticism about the size and number of panels with Kuihelani Solar, Decker said that MECO recognizes the “importance of location of projects.”

MECO will require developers to work with communities where they are proposing projects be built, Decker said. The utility also is developing a process for developers to use MECO-owned properties for renewable energy projects, she said.

Pono Power Coalition’s concerns about Paeahu Solar include lowering of property values on neighboring parcels in Maui Meadows, the glint and glare of the panels, health issues, insufficient archaeological and biological studies and a “heat island” that will warm surrounding areas and affect the microclimate.

The group’s attorney Lance Collins said Friday that there has been no action by the PUC on the request….

AES Renewable Energy’s Kuihelani Solar is on track to begin construction next year and be operational by 2022, according to Nick Molinari, AES project development manager. Currently, AES is in the process of engineering, design and conducting land studies, he said.

The project’s 200,000 solar panels will be built on as much as 500 acres of old sugar fields off Kuihelani Highway in Central Maui, Suzuki said. The land is being leased from Mahi Pono, which purchased the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.’s fields from Alexander & Baldwin.

A bill that died in the last legislative session that would have permitted solar arrays to be built on prime agricultural land does not impact Kuihelani Solar. Kuihelani’s solar panels will go on as lower-grade farmlands, Molinari said.

Kuihelani Solar’s power purchase agreement calls for MECO to pay 8 cents a kilowatt-hour for the power from the solar array and battery system….

read … MECO increases renewable power, storage amounts sought in next procurement

Maui County Still Uses Pesticides to Keep Isle Looking Good for Tourists

MN: … (because the pesticide ban talk was just a tool to eliminate agriculture as an impediment to tourism, not to eliminate roadside weed control and golf course maintenance for thye benefit of tourism…  also some dude with cancer blamed pesticide and made bank)….

Meanwhile, the county Public Works Department also has been looking for ways to reduce its usage of glyphosate products over the last three to four years, a result of community concerns, Director Rowena Dagdag-Andaya told The Maui News on Monday. The department has tried organic and natural solutions like vinegar and salt, though it hasn’t quite found a product that adequately replaces Roundup….

Parks Director Karla Peters said Thursday that staff have been applying the recommended materials to create “a naturally strong soil system.” But as with any experiment, there are pros and cons.

“We have seen a significant amount of new weeds within the landscape….”

read … Maui County works to cut its pesticide use

Hawaii County Charter proposals – Raid Open Space Fund to Pay HGEA Members

HTH: … Land preservation advocate Debbie Hecht left the county Charter Commission meeting Friday vowing to launch a “just say no” campaign to a 2020 ballot amendment that would allow open space preservation money to be used to pay county staff.

It’s not that Hecht, the Save Our Lands citizen initiative coordinator who collected signatures to get a dedicated land fund on the 2005 and 2012 ballots, is opposed to county staff working on the land projects. In fact, she’s been asking for just that.

But Hecht wants one dedicated staff person to handle property purchases and grants of land for the county Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission. She thinks the proposed charter change, to “pay for the salary, wages and benefits of staff dedicated to advancing the activities” of the program is too vague.

“We have come before you at every meeting of the Charter Commission since October of 2018. We have asked you over and over again to improve and empower the 2% Land Fund by hiring just one person to work full time on the land fund and to be paid out of the land fund monies,” Hecht told the commission. “We will run a ‘Just Say No’ campaign because we don’t want the land fund to be depleted of purchasing power by salaries, wages and benefits by more than one staff person.”….

read … Hawaii County Charter proposals head to County Council

Surfrider Attempts to Respond After Berkeley Livermore Lab Destroys Their Credibility

KGI: … The Surfrider Foundation’s BWTF shares the same goals as the HDOH in keeping the community informed on the levels of pollution in our watersheds and to protect the public from unnecessary exposure to potentially harmful pathogens that can make swimmers sick. Because of this, I have grave concern and confusion over the very strong assertions made by the HDOH from the data presented in the final report for the PhyloChip Source Tracking Study conducted in the Mahaulepu and Waikomo Watersheds. The HDOH claims that the water in Mahaulepu is “safe” for human exposure despite inconsistent and conflicting data generated by the study and presented in the report (the failure of adjoining resorts to contribute to Surfrider) …..

Reality: Feds Debunk Surfrider's Fake Bacteria Counts

read … Desperation

Failed Ocean Boom Returns to Non-Existent Garbage Patch

AP: … Boyan Slat, creator of The Ocean Cleanup project, announced on Twitter that a 2,000-foot (600-meter) long floating boom that broke apart late last year was sent back to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch this week after four months of repair.

A ship first towed the U-shaped barrier from San Francisco to the patch last fall to trap the plastic, allowing a support vessel to fish out the collected plastic and transport it to land. But during the first run, the boom broke apart under constant waves and wind and the boom wasn't retaining the plastic it caught….

During its first run, the organization said marine biologists on board the support vessel did not observe any environmental impact….

read … OCEAN CLEANUP'S FLOATING BOOM REDEPLOYED BETWEEN CALIFORNIA AND HAWAII

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