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Monday, November 04, 2019
November 4, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:47 PM :: 800 Views

Honolulu Highest Homeless Veteran Count in USA

OHA approves $103,000 in event grants

Global Warmers: Everything Makai of King Street will be Drowned

Gabbard: I will Create a ‘New’ Democratic Party—oh and Trump didn’t really Offer me a Cabinet Post

DW:  … “What I plan to do as the Democratic nominee and as president is to rebuild a new Democratic Party — one that truly represents the interests of the people of this country, that is fighting for them, fighting for their wellbeing, fighting for the wellbeing of our country and protecting our natural resources on this planet,” Gabbard told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo during an appearance on “Sunday Morning Futures.”…

FOX: Gabbard, 3 years late, finally gets around to disputing Bannon's claim she interviewed for Trump admin role … “I was not there to interview for a job; I was there to discuss my foreign policy views,” Gabbard stated. She then made a point to distance herself from Trump after Bannon said that Gabbard was “the type of person as a nation we want serving in the Cabinet” due to shared foreign policy principles….”

“They know they cannot control me….” (only Chris Butler can do that.)

AP: Democrats Push Candidates, Gabbard Included, To Fully Commit to 2020 Nominee 

Nov 21, 2016: Cabinet Position? Donald Trump meets with Rep Tulsi Gabbard

read … Tulsi Gabbard Takes A Shot At The DNC, Says She Will ‘Rebuild A New Democratic Party’

Star-Adv: Mauna Kea rules show good faith

SA Editorial: … Whether there are more rulemaking refinements to come will depend on the testimony to be delivered Wednesday before the UH Board of Regents. The meeting will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the UH-Hilo Performing Arts Center, 200 W. Kawili St. Written testimony received a day in advance will be distributed to the board and may be emailed to bor.testimony@hawaii.edu, or faxed to 956-5156.

Among the complaints from TMT protesters is that the rules are too restrictive of Native Hawaiian religious observances and other cultural practices. The rules are aimed more at protecting the construction of TMT, said one leader of the kia‘i (“protectors”), Kealoha Pisciotta.

An examination of the current proposal does not support that assertion, though. There are rules about expulsion from the UH management area, but these are for prohibited behaviors. Rules ban littering, removing natural elements from the mountain, causing noise disturbances, setting fires, using drugs or alcohol, operating drones, snow play, camping and numerous other activities.

None of those directives target a particular group; nor would they excuse similar activities by the builders of the TMT or anyone else….

What opponents of the TMT may find objectionable is that the rules do not restrict its construction. But administrative rules such as these are not meant to override a valid permit but to expand more specifically what the public can expect of governance of the mountain summit….

read … Mauna Kea rules show good faith

Feds called to resolve rail land dispute

SA: … The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the city are turning to the federal government to help resolve a years-long stalemate over how to value land in a property exchange involving the rail project.

The two sides have agreed to use the U.S. Department of Interior’s appraisal process to ensure a land exchange that has been in the works for more than a decade is fair.

The Hawaiian Homes Commission, which oversees DHHL, in 2006 authorized its director to pursue a land swap with the city involving two West Oahu parcels. In 2009 and 2010 the two sides approved memorandums for an exchange or sale of the properties, and several years later they each issued 75-year licenses permitting the other access to the respective sites while an exchange was pursued.

But the planned deal was held up because of a difference over how the parcels were to be valued.

DHHL’s nearly 56-acre Waipahu parcel, called the Ewa Drum site and zoned residential, has an assessed value of more than $21 million. The city already has constructed a rail maintenance and storage facility on the DHHL land.

The city’s Kapolei parcel, zoned agricultural and called the Varona Village site, covers more than 50 acres and has an assessed value of nearly $5 million….

read … Feds called to resolve rail land dispute

State bankruptcies hit highest level in 5 years

SA: … The 161 filings statewide in October soared 19.3% from 135 in the year-earlier period, according to data released Friday from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Hawaii. The last time there were this many bankruptcy filings was in April 2014 when there were 162. Last month’s filings also were up 15% from the 140 filed in September.

Through 10 months the 1,411 filings are up 11.7% over the 1,263 filed at the same time a year ago. With the number of filings averaging 141 a month, the number of cases easily should surpass last year’s full-year total of 1,490 by the end of November. This will be the second straight year that Hawaii bankruptcies have risen after falling for seven years in a row.

“It’s a very huge increase for one month,” said Eugene Tian, chief economist for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. “I don’t think it is a trend. I don’t think there’s any economic reason. (But) the bankruptcy filing is an important economic indicator. We will watch this data more closely.”

Tian said two consecutive years of rising bankruptcies is consistent with the economy slowing down. It is not, however, necessarily indicative of a coming recession, he said….

“At the last recession the number of Hawaii’s bankruptcy filings was at nearly 4,000 cases, and now it is less than half of that level,” he said….

read … State bankruptcies hit highest level in 5 years

Public Utilities Commission Orders Management Audit of Hawaiian Electric Company

IM: … The Public Utilities Commission issued an order in September 2019 “regarding completed application and other initial matters” on (order number 36536, docket number 2019-0085)

“As part of this general rate case proceeding, the commission is ordering management audit of HECO The commission observes that similar audits are common in other jurisdictions, and believes that such in-depth investigation is desirable to promote transparency and understanding of HECO's management practices and its related expenses, which are included as part of its proposed general rate increase.”

“Additionally, the management audit may present opportunities for HECO to realize operational efficiencies, better manage costs, and improve its financial condition.”

“The commission will focus the management audit on the following areas, which the commission views to be the highest priority at this time: (1) Governance and Executive Leadership; (2) Capital and Operations Maintenance Planning, Budgeting, and Investment Strategy; and (3) Program and Project Management.”

“These areas have been the subject of focus in other public utility management audits, and the commission finds that they provide reasonable starting point for evaluating HECO's management policies and practices.”… 

CB: Regulators Demand Audit Of Hawaiian Electric Co.

read … Public Utilities Commission Orders Management Audit of Hawaiian Electric Company

Non-Functional Battery Solar Farm Rips off Lanai Ratepayers for 375% of Normal Rate

MN: … The solar farm sits on 10 acres managed by Pulama Lana`i and includes a 1.25-megawatt battery storage system (non-functional since 2017 but the money kept rolling in), according to the Hawaii State Energy Office. It’s estimated to provide about 30 percent of Lanai’s power needs, or about 400 homes. The solar farm’s developers include Castle & Cooke, SunPower, Xtreme Power and Pulama Lana`i, the Larry Ellison company that owns most of the island.

(Remember XTreme Power? Lloyds of London Lawsuit Reveals Story Behind Kahuku Windfarm Fires)

According to the energy office, it’s considered “one of the first solar farms in Hawaii, and one of the first in the world with battery storage.”

(Translation: Battery scams begin with this fraud.)

MECO agreed to purchase power from the facility at $0.28276 per kilowatt-hour through 2033, under a power purchase contract approved by the PUC.

(Translation: Battery scammers laughing all the way to the bank.)

The parties believe the battery system has been nonoperational since around January 2017….  (And nobody said a word.)

On Nov. 8, 2018, (22 months late) MECO notified Lanai Sustainability Research that it was in breach of the agreement because the battery system “was disconnected, inoperable and/or was not functioning as required by the terms of the PPA,” according to a letter from MECO President Sharon Suzuki.

On Nov. 21, 2018, Lanai Sustainability Research told MECO that it couldn’t fix the problem within 30 days of the notice. Per the agreement, the company had up to 180 days from the notice to fix the problem — so long as they were making “diligent efforts” to do so…. (2.5 years of free cash flow.)

To come up with the total, the utility calculated the difference between the price it paid for energy delivered from the facility while the battery system was out of service — about 27 to 30 cents per kWh — versus the energy price without the battery system that was presented in the originally approved power purchase contract — about 19 to 22 cents per kWh — from January 2017 through June of this year.

“On average, the difference was just under $11,000 per month, or an estimated overpayment of approximately $360,000 since the battery system was nonoperational in January 2017,” Suzuki said in an Oct. 2 letter. 

(Population of Lanai is 3,000 – this is a $120 overcharge per person)

Suzuki said that the agreement would provide “an immediate bill reduction to customers on Lanai.”  It would also give Hawaiian Electric Cos. a chance to review draft renewable requests for proposals and work with the owner of the Lanai facility on a better option moving forward, instead of requiring them to replace the battery “and continuing a high-priced project,” Suzuki said.

The rates that MECO pays the Lanai facility are “significantly above current market prices for PV paired with storage,” Suzuki said. By contrast, AES Renewable Energy’s proposed 60-MW solar and 240-MWh battery project along Kuihelani Highway is expected to charge 8 cents per kWh.

(Math: 30kwh / 8kwh = 375%)

Link: Battery Lobby Touts Failed Lanai Project as if Everything is AOK.

read … MECO to recoup charges from Lanai solar farm

With Recycling Fraud Exposed Enviros Try to Talk Down H-Power

CB: … The City and County of Honolulu hasn’t analyzed the carbon impact of shipping 235,000 tons of plastic, paper, metal and glass to places like California, Alabama, Taiwan or Malaysia to be recycled into new items. (But that won’t stop us from finding an excuse to reject H-power.)

Naomi Shigenaga, a Civil Beat reader, asked if Oahu’s carbon footprint would be smaller if all recyclables were sent to H-Power instead. The company’s 29-year-old trash incinerator in Kapolei burns about 700,000 tons of trash a year and generates 8% to 10% of the island’s electricity.

Pieter Matthews, a city contractor with an engineering firm who’s worked at H-Power for the last decade, said he’d welcome more paper and light plastics at the facility because they are “really easy to burn.”….

read … Recycle or Burn: What’s The Carbon Impact of Honolulu’s Trash?

DHHL: You Can Skip to the Front of the Waiting List Right Now

CB:  … So far this year, 16 residential homesteads have been sold on Oahu — allowing buyers to shortcut DHHL’s long waiting list….

read … Why Some Native Hawaiians End Up Selling Coveted Homesteads

Soft on Crime: Felon Attacks Bus Driver (again)

KHON: … this isn’t the first time the man who was arrested has done this….

“He then proceeded to look for his fair. The operator was quite patient with him. He waited about two minutes and then told the guy, I really need to see your fare. At that time the passenger who just boarded got very agitated with him,” Nouchi explained.

The man did not have a bus pass or money to pay his fare. When the bus driver asked him to leave he got enraged and assaulted him.

Nouchi said the bus driver tried to de-escalate the situation.

According to sources, the man got enraged and grabbed the driver’s glasses off of his face, scratching him.

Moments later the police showed up.

“There were about 30 to 40 people on the bus. One of the passengers really did take the mantra of, if you see something, say something to heart, and did contact the police so the police arrived and removed the individual from the bus,” Nouchi said.

The man was arrested for interfering with an operator of a public transit vehicle, which is a felony. He was also arrested for robbery for taking the driver’s glasses.

“In this case, we were quite lucky because the interaction and that assault took place at a bus stop. However, one can only imagine if someone tried to interfere with the operator while the bus was moving or worse on a freeway or in a more compromising position.”…

HNN: Police say 55-year-old Samuel Talo is accused of striking the 53-year-old driver and taking his belongings Saturday afternoon.

TGI: Drug Addict gets ‘time served’ after multi-state rampage

read … Soft on Crime

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