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Tuesday, January 28, 2020
January 28, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:23 PM :: 1088 Views

Honolulu City Finances 3rd Worst in USA

SB2331 Will Legislators Give Kaneshiro Crony $50M?

School Choice Week Hawaii -- 96 events statewide

This Week's Legislative Hearings

Save Billionaires Row: Tourism Industry Activists Sue DLNR Over Aquarium Fishing (again)

HB2671: Saiki Proposes Constitutional Amendment Allowing Board of Education to Raise Property Taxes

CB: … Under the House Speaker’s plan, voters could approve a constitutional amendment giving the Hawaii Board of Education power to increase property taxes….

House Bill 2671 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would go before voters on the 2020 general election ballot if approved by the Legislature.

Voters would be asked whether the Hawaii Constitution should be amended by repealing the counties’ current exclusive jurisdiction over real property taxation and giving concurrent jurisdiction to the Board of Education and counties….

Link: News Release

SA:  Bill would give BOE tax powers to pay teachers

PBN: Hawaii lawmakers seek to add new property tax to fund teacher pay 

HPR: Proposal Could Hand New Property Tax Authority To School Board For Teacher Salaries

read … Saiki Proposes Tax Funding Measure To Raise Teacher Pay

City considers creating a new utility (and fee) for tackling storm water

HNN: … The city is considering a new utility ― and a fee for residents ― in order to better manage storm water runoff.

A new website outlines the effort and offers opportunities for community input.

Community meetings will also start Feb. 3, and an advisory group has been convened…. 

KITV: Imagine being charged for the rain that falls on your home.

SA: Honolulu weighing possibility of forming stormwater utility

read … City considers creating a new utility (and fee) for tackling storm water

HB2228: Exempt Medical from GE Tax

HPR: … Withy is advocating for a bill in the state Legislature that would provide a tax exemption for doctors and nurses acting as a primary care provider.

Doctors in private practices serving Medicare patients absorb the cost of the taxes because it is against the law to pass additional expenses beyond that for treatment to patients. There are also several bills that would create a loan repayment program for medical professionals….

HB2228: Text, Status

read … What It Could Take To Cure Statewide Surgeon Shortage, Hawaii Doctors Weigh In

School choice offers exciting ways to gain ‘ike in Hawaii

SA: … A‘ohe ka ‘ike i ka halau ho‘okahi.

If you live in the Aloha State, attend school here, are kanaka ‘oiwi (native), or speak ka ‘olelo Hawai‘i (the Hawaiian language), chances are you’re familiar with this ‘olelo no‘eau (Hawaiian Proverb) and know it to be true. For those who have not heard it, it simply implies, “Knowledge is not found in one school.”

Possibilities to attain ‘ike (wisdom, knowledge) are abundant in our unique island state. Hawai‘i is culturally diverse, historically rich, and environmentally omnifarious. Selecting the “best” school here in the islands ultimately depends on your interests. This National School Choice Week, Jan. 25 to Feb. 1, implement your power of choice in education. Let’s celebrate the exciting ways to gain ‘ike in Hawai‘i nei.

Traditional public schools, private schools, charter schools, Hawaiian language immersion schools, Christian schools, online academies, homeschool programs, community learning centers, Hawaii State Public Library programs, and dual learning options are some education opportunities families can consider. Learning opportunities are as varied as the cultures and world climate zones in our ‘aina. This means that, for students, there is potential all around. With our families, we can select a school of choice and other learning opportunities that support our interests….

Related: School Choice Week Hawaii -- 96 events statewide

read … School choice offers exciting ways to gain ‘ike in Hawaii

SB2307-HB2055:  Don’t Let State Workers Access Online Porn

CB: … Senate Bill 2307 and its companion House Bill 2055 would require that all state and state-funded facilities have internet computer and wireless access filters to block access to pornography sites.

The bills are part of the Women’s Legislative Caucus package….

Both bills note that the federal government requires all public schools and libraries getting federal funding to have such filters.

HB 2055, supported by 23 of the 51 House reps including men and members from both political parties, has not been scheduled for a hearing.

But SB 2037, supported by 19 of the 25 senators (including men but not the lone Republican), has a hearing set for Thursday….

read … Bill: Don’t Let State Workers Access Online Porn

SB2694: Low Income Housing Tax Credits

CB: … The Hawaii Low Income Housing Tax Credit program has resulted in approximately 13,600 units of affordable housing since its inception. Banks can invest in affordable housing and then get a tax break when the project is move-in ready. It’s one of the only state programs aimed at building new units for renters making 60% or less of the area median income. For families of four, that’s $72,300.

But observers worry the program is in jeopardy. They say the problem – and the solution – is in supply and demand.

Currently, only large financial institutions buy the credits, meaning the demand for them is limited to just a few big banks and insurance companies. A proposal at the State Capitol, Senate Bill 2694, would open up the program to anyone who pays Hawaii taxes, from small businesses to wealthy individuals….

The credits currently only sell for approximately 55 cents of affordable housing investment for every dollar of future credit awarded. …

read … More Investors Could Mean Increased Affordable Housing

Laniakea Test: Will Legislators Burn $34M on Altar of Sea Level Rise?

SA: … The alternative would be cheaper — a slight shift of the highway for about 40 feet, for $6 million to $10 million. But the realignment along about 1,000 feet, although costing out at $35 million to $40 million, provides more resilience in an environment of (non-existent) rising sea levels….

Related: Nobody in Hawaii really believes in sea level rise

read … Realign highway near Laniakea

Ige: Homeless will Accept Housing if Alternative is Jail

HPR: … The governor also discussed the challenges of addressing mental health and substance abuse issues within the criminal justice system. He said such cases are better dealt with outside of that system. Programs like the city's HONU tent and services program for the homeless can result in better outcomes, he said, and return individuals to lives as contributing citizens.

Ige said the challenge is the cost of these programs and, for the hard-core homeless, their refusal to accept services and treatment.

He sees housing initiatives as the long-term solution to homelessness. He pointed to several affordable housing projects that are becoming available and which will contribute to the goal of moving individuals into housing.

Clearly, he said, law enforcement has a role and can help encourage people to accept services, especially if the alternative could be incarceration. 

"I think as we get more of these affordable housing projects online, there will be more options, and hopefully they'll recognize that it's better to be off the streets than on the streets," he said….

read … Governor: Despite Recent Crimes, Hawaii Still Safe

Homeless Auto Thieves to be Kicked out of One’ula Beach Park

KITV: … Things changed drastically over the decades.

The scenic stretch of beach is still there, but the park fell into disrepair.

Potholes now fill the parking lot.

Stolen or stripped vehicles are still dumped in the park.

While the fields turned brown, so kids no longer play sports.

"They don't come here anymore. The sprinkler system gets ruined all the time, so they can't establish the grass," said Joy Anderson, Mike's wife.

Monday's installation of new closing times is a sign of things to come for One'ula Beach Park

"We just could not control the crime there, it was impossible. Now with the closure police will be able to enforce a little more," said Honolulu City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine.

Park users tell KITV 4 Island News, One'ula is a magnet at night for crime as well as those who party and then trash the park.

Now, no one will be allowed in after-hours unless they are heading in to fish.

"It will make maintenance of the park easier to have it secured at night and patrolled. Someone to watch what is going on here and report it as necessary," added Joy Anderson.

The city parks department plans to add an access gate to lock up at night and may add One'ula to its private security patrols, which already monitor 59 other parks.

read … Major make-over for Ewa Beach park set to begin

How Makaha Neighbors Kicked Homeless Drug Addicts out of Neighborhood Botanical Garden

CB: … Startled awake by a blaring car horn, bleary-eyed residents would watch the drama unfold from bedroom windows. A car would pull up to the park gate. Then a woman, responding to the honk of the horn, would emerge from the park and slip into the vehicle. When it was over, she’d exit the car and retreat into darkness until, inevitably, a new customer would honk for service.

There were other disturbances: domestic violence, illicit drug deals, bicycle theft, car vandalism.

Paul Watanabe once saw a woman get punched out 20 yards from his front door. A substance abuse counselor, he said he tried to intervene but the guy who threw the punch wasn’t having it; he was high on drugs. Watanabe called 911.

“It was the least I could do,” he said. It was not unusual for Watanabe to call the police two or three times in one day….

One day, Popken said he came home to find one of the park bums squatting on his lawn.

After that, he moved his mother-in-law and daughter out of the house, away from the anarchy. To defend his own sense of safety, Popken said he boobytrapped his yard.

“I actually was going to dig a trench and put spikes in front of my gate, but I thought, no, that’s getting too carried away,” he said. “But I rigged up some things that go bang and pop to scare people away.”…

It was the fires that worried Francine Samson. When the park denizens near her house would fight, they’d light up each other’s camps. Her grandchildren would run to the rock wall that lassoes the park and watch unblinkingly, like trashy television.

“The kids used to say, ‘Tutu, they’re fighting again!’ and I’d say, ‘No, no, you guys get in the house!’” Samson said….

Some of the homeless returned to the park. But so did the neighbors, ready to disassemble any new encampment they might try to build.

Pretty soon the unwelcome campers figured out that it was too much of a hassle to try and remain at Mauna Lahilahi. The neighbors weren’t budging….

CB: Measuring Hawaii’s Social Capital In The Age Of Disconnect

read … How These Makaha Neighbors Saved A County Park From Crime And Weeds

‘Affordable Housing’ -- Association Fees Jump 50% After Developer Sells Units

SA: … The average price for 375 condos with one to three bedrooms reserved as workforce housing was $510,776 and represented a below- market price that satisfied a state affordable- housing requirement. Another 49 units were sold at market prices, including a few penthouses. One unit is for the resident manager.

Hughes Corp. (pretended to) estimated that monthly maintenance fees would be around $270 for one-bedroom units, $400 for two-bedroom units and $525 for most three-bedroom units.

However, electricity use for common areas and labor costs for security, cleaning and building management (unsurprisingly) turned out far higher than anticipated, according to a copy of a budget presentation to Ke Kilohana’s board of owners earlier this month….

(Developers always keep association dues artificially low to spur sales.)

read … Kakaako tower facing extraordinary maintenance fee hike

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