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Monday, December 30, 2019
December 30, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:34 PM :: 1175 Views

Will Red Flag Laws Stop Gun Owners Seeking Medical Care?

DBEDT: Hawaii Losing 13,200 Civilians Per Year

TMT: How We Got Here

The Brutality of the Museum Market

Honolulu:  Nothing more than a collection of scandals waiting to be exposed

CB: …Consider the condition of our island: Oahu finds itself rocked by corruption and crime; our infrastructure is outdated and crumbling; our public spaces are horrendous, and the cost of living for residents is more intolerable than ever.

Our leaders at present must also think that adding value to voters means taking things away from them, as city leaders parade themselves from one press conference to another joyfully extolling the latest thing to be banned, the newest fee to be imposed or the next service to be discontinued….

we see failing infrastructure overseen by a government that wants to save the world, but can’t even keep the grass cut, public park bathrooms clean or trash off the streets….

Honolulu leadership is poisoning our future and choking residents out of paradise….

You can forget the evil, self-gratifying, greedy Wall Street lifestyle of the fictional Patrick Bateman; author Bret Easton Ellis needs to make a sequel called “Honolulu Psycho” which covers the political careers of our local elected officials and their bizarre delusions of grandeur.

Whenever I get invited to various Honolulu events, I find myself rolling my eyes at how the usual corporations and lobbyists are conveniently at every event, how the same things are always being discussed by politicians with siloed visions of the future, and how everyone in attendance seems to act like hostages in a dysfunctional relationship.

Worse, the federal government seemingly trusts Honolulu government even less than residents do, with multiple investigations in progress, and one can’t help but wonder if our city and county in 2019 is nothing more than a collection of scandals waiting to be exposed….

read … Time To Stop Kicking Honolulu’s Problems Down The Road 

Barbers Point air museum files suit to stay in business

SA: … The nonprofit Naval Air Museum Barbers Point, which maintains that it is being wrongfully evicted by state airport officials over a convoluted contract history, has filed a lawsuit claiming it has an “implied agreement” with the state to occupy certain space at what is now known as Kalaeloa Airport.

“The naval air museum has occupied its space designated by the state in reliance on the state’s implied agreement that the naval air museum could continue its occupation” as long as the museum fulfilled its obligations — which the organization maintains it has done, according to the suit filed in state Circuit Court.

But the state Department of Transportation, which locked out museum staff, said the suit has no merit, and served notice that the property has been seized or abandoned and will be disposed of….

Among the museum’s collection are a lot of big, heavy and not very mobile exhibit pieces, including a DC-8 passenger jet, a Coast Guard C-130H Hercules, two Navy P-3 Orion sub hunters, three A-4E Skyhawks, an F-4N Phantom and multiple Navy and Marine Corps helicopters and military vehicles, including 60-ton M-60 Patton tanks.

Museum Director Brad Hayes said about 12 aircraft are owned by the Defense Department and on loan to the museum. One of the P-3 Orions, the Phantom and three Skyhawks were moved a short distance to become the first aircraft of the museum with the closing of Naval Air Station Barbers Point in 1999.

In 1998, according to the lawsuit, the museum applied to the National Museum of Naval Aviation to be qualified as a borrower of Navy, Marine or Coast Guard aircraft and artifacts. The museum opened in 1999.

“We have reached out to federal interests regarding possible ownership of aircraft and equipment,” Kuni­shige said. “We will work with them regarding removal of federal items.”…

In the meantime, Hayes hopes an injunction can be obtained to halt the disposal process and regain access to prevent theft and perform maintenance.

Clocks, altimeters and airspeed indicators already have been pilfered out of aircraft including a Huey helicopter…

A GoFundMe page organized by the museum has raised over $9,000 for legal fees….

Background: Barbers Point Air Museum Sues Airports Division to Block Eviction, Destruction of US Navy-owned Planes

read … Barbers Point air museum files suit to stay in business

Ed Case Renews His Crusade Against The Jones Act

CB: …Now that U.S. Rep. Ed Case is back on Capitol Hill after a decade-long absence, he’s rekindled his fight with an old foe.

Case took to the House floor on Dec. 19 to rail against the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, a century old law — commonly referred to as the Jones Act — that he and others blame for the high cost of living in the islands.

The Jones Act requires that any cargo shipped between U.S. ports be carried on American-made vessels, and that those ships be U.S. flagged, owned and operated by Americans.

Case delivered a speech that was nearly identical to one he gave in 2003, during his first stint in Washington when he represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District.

Then, as now, he was seeking to exempt Hawaii from the Jones Act, saying that it was a protectionist law that only hurt consumers in faraway places such as Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico that rely on sea transport for most goods.

There’s something wrong, he said, when a gallon of milk in Honolulu costs $6.39 and only $4.49 in Long Beach, California.

“At a basic level, the everyday goods that we rely on in Hawaii cost much more than on the mainland, a difference which largely cannot be attributed to anything other than shipping costs,” Case said.…

read … Ed Case Renews His Crusade Against The Jones Act

PUC Audit: Why isn’t Green Energy Producing Lower Electric Rates?

SA: … In 2019, the PUC ordered its first management audit of Oahu’s Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO), which is asking for a rate increase.

The PUC ordered the ongoing management audit in September, the goal of which is to look into HECO’s leadership and project management.

On Nov. 13, the PUC then denied a temporary 3.5% rate increase proposed by Hawaiian Electric Light Co. (HELCO) on the Big Island. It could still grant a final rate increase, but the move represents the first time the commission has denied Hawaiian Electric Co. a temporary increase since 1996.

The PUC said in its decision that it was “not convinced at this time that HELCO has demonstrably shown it has undertaken reasonable efforts … to operate more efficiently.”

The commission has expressed dissatisfaction with how Hawaiian power companies — HECO, HELCO and Maui Electric Co. (MECO) — have been operating for years.

In a 2014 white paper, it said that given Hawaii’s electricity rates, which are the highest in the country, along with the increasing number of cheap renewable energy projects, customers should see falling and more stable electric bills.

Newer solar and wind projects in Hawaii have contracts to sell electricity between 10 and 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, much less than the 33 cents per kilowatt-hour residents paid in 2018.

Regarding the management audit, Will Giese, executive director for the nonprofit Hawaii Solar Energy Association, said on Nov. 13, “If you look … at the average electric bill and you look at these low utility-scale prices, it makes no sense to me why (HECO) would be asking for even more money, and I think that’s what the PUC is wondering about, too.”

read … Commission aims to speed up HECO’s cost-saving efforts

Star-Adv:  Review permits for giant turbines

SA Editorial: … Last week, Keep the North Shore Country filed a petition with the Honolulu Zoning Board of Appeals, charging that the city wrongfully permitted Na Pua Makani turbines to be located closer to homes and schools than should be allowed under the Land Use Ordinance.

To meet the city’s setback requirements, the distance between the wind machine and the nearest residence must be equivalent to the maximum turbine blade-tip height. But in this case, the city OK’d locating turbines as tall as 656 feet as close as 284 feet — slightly less than 95 yards — from a neighboring property line. The petition wants four approvals to be rescinded….

Given that the city cleared the way for construction of among the tallest windmills in the U.S. — more than 225 feet taller than First Hawaiian Center, Honolulu’s tallest building — the last-ditch resistance should not be surprising. Is there any Oahu community that would be pleased to welcome a similarly situated neighbor?

The Zoning Board of Appeals proceedings will be an important venue to seek more clarity — on proximity effects from Na Pua Makani and to inform future wind projects. While some sacrifices are likely for the sake of securing clean energy, Hawaii should prioritize new technologies that are less obtrusive than a 656-foot turbine whirring away 284 feet from the project’s property line….

read …  Review permits for giant turbines

Jan 1: Massive Tax Credit Giveaways for Solar Ending

SA: … For years a 30% federal tax credit has been available to homeowners installing solar PV systems, with no caps. Starting in 2020, that tax credit goes down to 26%. In 2021 it is scheduled to decline to 22%, and in 2022 it ends.

Hawaii also offers an income tax credit of 35% of the total cost of a solar system, or $5,000 per system — whichever is less — with no expiration date.

read … Sun shines for solar PV, despite tax credit step-down

Legislative Agenda: Bail reform (coming soon to Hawaii) is setting suspects free after string of anti-Semitic attacks

NYP: … Suspects arrested in last week’s spree of eight anti-Semitic attacks are being quickly released right back into the neighborhoods they terrorized thanks to “bail reform” legislation — which doesn’t even take effect until Jan. 1.

The most recent case of revolving-door justice came Saturday morning, with the release, with no bail, of a woman charged with punching and cursing at three Orthodox women, ages 22, 26 and 31, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn at dawn the day before.

The accused assailant, Tiffany Harris, was hauled in handcuffs before a Brooklyn judge on 21 menacing, harassment and attempted assault charges.

“F-U, Jews!” Harris, 30, of Flatbush, allegedly shouted during the attack.

“Yes, I was there,” Harris later admitted to cops, according to the criminal complaint against her.

“Yes, I slapped them. I cursed them out. I said ‘F-U, Jews.”

As she stood before a judge in Brooklyn Criminal Court with the hood to a navy blue jacket over her head, Harris was in familiar territory.

She still has an open harassment and assault case on the Brooklyn docket from November 2018.

And last month, she was sentenced to no jail time for felony criminal mischief in Manhattan, court records show — a case for which she had repeatedly failed to make court appearances.

Brooklyn prosecutors didn’t even bother requesting bail Saturday, as they could have, given that the reform law, approved in April, technically doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1.

“The de Blasio administration has made it clear that we all need to get into compliance with bail reform now,” said a law enforcement source….

AP: Attacker was Schizophrenic not currently incarcerated in a lunatic asylum

Meanwhile: Rockland sheriff raises concerns over New York's new bail law after Monsey stabbing

April 28, 2019: HB1552: Conference Committee Approves New System to Keep Criminals on Streets  (Signed into law as Act 179)

read … Bail Reform is Coming to Hawaii

Legislative Agenda:  Use Vaping as Excuse to Raise Tobacco Taxes

CB: … I’ve learned from parents, teachers, and health officials that there are currently no resources to treat youth for nicotine addiction. Cessation treatment options such as nicotine replacement therapy are designed for adults. Because youth are not vaping to quit cigarettes, there is no safe level of nicotine for youth and there are no approved treatment guidelines to help youth break their addiction.

This is why I will be introducing a bill in the 2020 legislative session to increase the tobacco tax and allocate the revenue toward a comprehensive youth tobacco cessation program. The cigarette tax of 16 cents per stick or $3.20 per pack was last raised in 2011 and there is currently no tobacco tax being collected on e-cigarettes. The best way to fight this epidemic is to raise the funds to help treat our youth and beat this addiction.

At the Oct. 17 informational briefing at the Legislature, Frank Chaloupka, who is an economist from the University of Illinois at Chicago, projected that every $1 increase in cigarette excise tax in Hawaii would raise $12.9 million in new tax revenue, prevent 2,900 children from smoking, and encourage 4,400 adults smokers to quit….

Reality: Only 3% of Hawaii Tobacco Taxes Used for Anti-Tobacco Programs

read … Hawaii Lawmakers Can Do More To Control Vaping Addiction

Full Plastic Bag Ban Starts in 2020 With More Restrictions On The Way

HPR: … All plastic bags, including compostable ones, will be banned in Oahu stores beginning in 2020, and that's just the start of the city's coming restrictions on plastics.

The city began prohibiting plastic bags in 2012, but provided a few exceptions. Through 2019, the city allowed stores to hand out compostable plastic bags and reusable plastic bags greater than 2.5 mils thick. …

“Because they keep changing the rules, businesses have a very hard time coping with that, especially manufacturing facilities,” Hong said.

Hong said when the ban was first implemented in 2012, he considered acquiring equipment to manufacture compostable plastic bags.

“I’m really glad that we didn’t invest that money because you couldn’t recoup it at this point,” he said. “We didn’t want to put a million dollars down in case something changed with the law.”

Hong is now looking to sell his customers paper bags as alternatives to plastic ones.

Beyond plastic bags, the city is phasing in Bill 40, which establishes a sweeping ban on single-use plastic and polystyrene foodware for Oahu. By January 2022, plastic and polystyrene service items like utensils and lidded containers will be prohibited…. 

KHON: Stricter plastic bag ban starts Jan. 1 on Oahu

read … Full Plastic Bag Ban Starts in 2020 With More Restrictions On The Way

Jan 1: Beverage changes on the way

WHT: … Senate Bill 549, which was signed into law by Gov. David Ige this summer, requires restaurants to offer healthy beverages as a default choice for drinks automatically included as part of a children’s meal….Those beverages can include water; sparkling water or flavored water with no added sugar, corn syrup or other natural or artificial sweeteners; 8 ounces or less of unflavored nonfat or 1% dairy milk or a nutritionally equivalent nondairy beverage; and 8 ounces or less of 100% fruit or vegetable juice, or juice diluted with water or carbonated water, with no added sweeteners….

read … Beverage changes on the way

Federal lawsuit challenges city rejection of electronically-signed petitions

ILind: … A lawsuit filed in federal court Friday on behalf of Tracy Yoshimura, the Honolulu businessman who has spearheaded several petitions to impeach or recall Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, alleges the city has violated federal law by failing to accept electronic signatures as valid.

The new lawsuit asks the federal court to block the city from rejecting electronic signatures on petitions to impeach or recall Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro. The lawsuit follows earlier efforts in state court which have unsuccessfully argued the same or a similar point of law.

The latest lawsuit, filed by Honolulu attorney Keith Kiuchi, argues that states are generally required to accept e-signatures by provisions of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act)….

read … Federal lawsuit challenges city rejection of electronically-signed petitions

$30 million in ‘ohana zone’ funding has led to multiple state projects

SA: … In the 2018 legislative session, lawmakers approved a whopping $30 million to fund a homeless concept that started out as tent cities, then morphed into undefined “safe zones” and finally became law under the banner of “ohana zones.”

The exact definition of an ohana zone was purposely vague, said Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator, which has allowed a wide range of homeless-related projects to recently come online across all of the islands, such as Hawaii’s first pop-up triage project in Waipahu Cultural Garden Park, called the “Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons” — or HONU, which officially opened Dec. 13.

“The one thing that was clear in the legislation was ohana zone funds are meant to support people to transition out of homelessness,” Morishige said. “So we’re very intentional in making sure that the funds could be used for programs that do exactly that.”

Marc Alexander, director of the city’s Office of Housing, said, “The reality is that the legislators themselves were all over the place, so they wanted a program that would allow for that flexibility, recognizing also that it wasn’t one size fits all.”

All of the $30 million has since been earmarked over the next three years for a wide range of homeless-related projects that will continue to materialize in the first part of 2020.

The ohana zone funding is paying for everything from roof repairs at homeless shelters to prevent them from shutting down to social service workers’ salaries to government housing vouchers to subsidize permanent housing.

Since the funds were approved, Morishige said, 440 homeless people have been helped, including 77 who now have permanent homes as of Halloween.

The numbers do not include people helped by more recent programs such as HONU; the city’s Kumu Wai building for homeless senior citizens, which was unveiled recently but has yet to be occupied; and for Maui and Kauai counties’ LEAD programs, which pair police officers with social service outreach workers — similar to Honolulu’s LEAD program, Morishige said….

read … $30 million in ‘ohana zone’ funding has led to multiple state projects

Kaimuki residents: City isn’t doing enough to rein in monster home builder

HNN: … The owners want to build a $1.2 million home on most of their 7,500 square-foot lot. But to do that, they have to level the uneven property by filling it in with dirt -- lots of dirt.

City law requires a grading permit anytime you increase the height of your land by 3 feet or fill it in with 50 cubic yards of dirt. A check of records filed with the Department of Planning and Permitting shows no grading permit issued to the property….

Neighbors disagree. They said the owners have brought in a least four dump trucks full for dirt -- with each truck carrying about 20 cubic yards. They also showed photos where the land was filled in more than six feet.

The neighborhood controversy comes as a recent audit slammed the city for the way it handles zoning and permitting complaints about monster homes….

Related: DPP: Anti-Monster Home Hysteria based on Lies and Ignorance

read … Kaimuki residents: City isn’t doing enough to rein in monster home builder

Like College, Tourism Becomes an Exercise in Brainwashing

PBN: … Maui resort launches initiative encouraging guests to ‘live with aloha’ ….

read … Brainwashing

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