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Sunday, February 02, 2020
February 2, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:11 PM :: 2175 Views

Why Do Lawmakers Want More Special Funds?

Hawaii Family Forum Legislative Week in Review

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted February 1, 2020

Mail-In Voting Heading for Disaster—Thousands will be Disenfranchised

WHT: … Rosemarie Muller, president of the League of Women Voters Hawaii County, said the group supports mailed ballots but wants to ensure the transition will be successful. She’s especially concerned that offering only Hilo and Kona walk-in sites will disenfranchise voters who may not understand the ramifications of the new plan.

“We fear that this will not be sufficient to serve the needs of the voters of such a large county,” Muller said.

Muller said quite a few people at recent voter registration drives weren’t aware of the changes. Having more election sites is a good practice during the transition, she said.

“I think people will want to vote by mail. There’s a large percentage of voters who use the absentee ballots,” Muller said. “But there are still people who still like to vote in person.”

More than half of the Hawaii County voters who voted took advantage of mailed ballots in 2018 compared to visiting a polling place, reflecting a statewide trend.

But the current mail-only plan is complicated by the fact that many people haven’t kept their addresses up to date with the elections office.

Approximately 11% of the state’s 767,278 registered voters have outdated or non-deliverable mailing addresses, Chief Election Office Scott Nago said in a Dec. 31 memo to state legislative leaders….

read … League of Women Voters seeks smooth transition to mailed ballots

Running for Governor, Doomed Caldwell now wants others to stop making promises

Borreca:  … The feds are watching Honolulu’s $9.2 billion rail project designed to go from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center with rapidly diminishing patience. According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s veteran government reporter, Kevin Dayton, the feds are predicting you won’t get a ticket to ride the whole route until September 2026. The luck comes because the feds are warning there is only a 65% probability that the city can make that date….

Dayton last week reported the astounding position of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who told the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to “cease making promises to the public of an artificial starting date of starting rail service.”

Hello, is this the same mayor who ran for office vowing to “build rail right” when the rail budget showed an estimated construction cost of $5.26 billion? Same mayor, same rail system — but new budget, $9.5 billion, eight years later. And Caldwell is demanding that the rail board “cease making promises”?

The problem is that, at its most simple, Caldwell and the city do not know who or how rail will be built through the densest, most tricky portions of urban Honolulu….

Caldwell is still trying to cap his political career by winning the governorship in 2022. Late last year he held a gubernatorial fundraiser with tickets going for between $2,000 and $4,000.

Last week when Caldwell issued his latest directive to HART, he commented that “if we don’t deliver on the promises made, what remaining trust we have is going to evaporate.”

That is the sort of realization that ends, not extends, a political career….

read … Kirk Caldwell now wants others to stop making promises

HART Shouldn’t Promise To Have Rail Ready In October

CB: … Rail’s federal partners in Washington aren’t confident “at all” that the trains will be ready to run in October for interim service and they want local rail officials to “step back” from that promise, according to the city’s top leadership.

The Federal Transit Administration is “extremely concerned that we may not be able to meet some of the goals that we’ve set” to open, Honolulu City Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson told rail board members Thursday.

(Translation: Stop trying to help Mufi.)

He was joined by Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Councilman Joey Manahan, and the trio of city leaders urged the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to reconsider its bold, public promise to have the system ready to ride this year.

When they met with the FTA in Washington last week, the federal agency repeatedly asked them to “please cease overpromising and underdelivering,” Caldwell told the HART board. Local residents are eager to use even part of the transit line, but “If we don’t deliver on the promises made, what remaining trust we have is going to evaporate.”

Instead of aggressively working toward the interim opening, FTA believes that HART should be focusing the bulk of its efforts right now on locking in the long-anticipated public-private partnership to build the rail line’s last four miles and eight stations through town, Caldwell said.

The FTA is still worried about the decision to move to a so-called “P3 model” midway through construction, and ahead of the most difficult and challenging stretch to build through the urban core, he added. The deadline to submit bids for that work has been pushed back at least three times — now slated for April….

SA Editorial: What drags down public enthusiasm is hearing no real justification as to why some kind of launch is not possible.   Patrick Preusser, the city’s director of rapid transit services, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that once the segment is built there must be a 90-day “pre-revenue” test period….HART spokesman Bill Brennan said the construction agency remains committed to having the Ewa-to-stadium segment “ready to ride,” as announced, in October. “Ready to ride means construction is complete and all safety certifications have been completed,” he affirmed Friday.

Big Q: What are the chances that Oahu’s rail will start operating this year?

read … HART Shouldn’t Promise To Have Rail Ready In October

Ige offers tall tales on Thirty Meter Telescope conflict

Shapiro: …  In his recent State of the State speech, Ige said the stalemate over the Thirty Meter Telescope after months of Native Hawaiian protests is because he won’t violate the aloha and trust that binds us.

He said a law enforcement crackdown urged by many “would have been the easier course,” but he didn’t take it for fear of fracturing the community.

His rewriting of history is nonsense. The Mauna Kea morass exists for one primary reason: We have a governor for whom the easiest decision is no decision. The man is fundamentally incapable of making a tough call.

He’s been outsmarted by committed and disciplined protesters on tactics, politics and public relations. He’s articulated no clear message to the public, protesters or telescope developers.

Because of his policy of erratic avoidance, neither side trusts his word, and the community fractures he claims he’s worked to prevent are nearly beyond repair….

In his State of the State, Ige offered no path forward other than to say, “I truly believe it can be resolved, if we put our heads and our hearts together.”

More meaningless babble at a time that needs creative leadership….

If history is a guide, the governor will do nothing and hope the issue just goes away….

Meanwhile: Maui Telescope Begins Making Observations--Thanks to Mayor Arakawa and Maui PD

G: The five: large telescopes

WHT: Think before you legislate

read … Ige offers tall tales on Thirty Meter Telescope conflict

OHA’s Water Plan Works—Agriculture Literally Dries up in East Kauai 

TGI: …As Hawai‘i state government pushes (talks endlessly about pushing)  to localize food production and create a more sustainable system to feed families, Kaua‘i farmers and ranchers are looking at a pipeline that’s drying up.

(In realty agriculture is being systematically dismantled in order to improve tourist experience.)

Many of the people central to a local food production system are losing access to water, particularly on Kaua‘i’s Eastside, where a cooperative-managed, state-owned irrigation system was shut off in January. 

(No problem, they can build condos on the land.)

Without water, raising crops and livestock is impossible. Some growers are looking at the expensive proposition of digging wells. Others are considering piping in water for their fields. Some may have to close down….

…The East Kaua‘i Irrigation System was formerly operated by Lihu‘e Plantation, and in 2001 the East Kaua‘i Water Users Cooperative took over operations under a revocable permit issued by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

A co-op of about 30 farmers and ranchers, the group managed the irrigation system for 18 years until the state changed the permitting system (thanks to OHA), requiring more in-depth environmental studies for water diversions from the rivers. The prospect of meeting new requirements became too expensive.

So, they disbanded the co-op and gave up operation of the system, and it reverted back to DLNR, which is currently looking for another system manager. In a Jan. 24 news release, the entity said if they can’t find one, “DLNR will pursue shutting down the system, including breaching the (Wailua) reservoir.”

(Translation: It is more important to have running waterfalls for tourists than to support agriculture.)

While the system is in limbo, DLNR says they’re not delivering water to users because the entity does not have the expertise or resources to do so….

(IQ Test: Are you surprised?)

CB: Kauai: Farmers Fight To Keep Irrigation System Running

2012: Na Wai Eha: Supreme Court Rules Against Water Commission

2014: Parties Reach Agreement in Na Wai Eha Water Flow Case

read … And the ditches run dry

Hawaii tourism has spun out of control

Cataluna: … As for this great economic engine, who is thriving in Hawaii? Too many families are working multiple jobs and still struggling every month. Too many people are living two- and -three families to a house because rent is so expensive and buying a home is out of reach.  The streets and parks and underpasses are full of homeless people…

Now that we’ve hit 10 million tourists a year, anything less than 10 million in subsequent years will be viewed as a downturn or a slump or a failure that must be addressed with taxpayer dollars. Can you imagine 12 million visitors? Fifteen million?…

read … Hawaii tourism has spun out of control

Maui: On an Average Day, 28% of People on Island are Tourists

MN: … visitor days increased 3 percent to 66,414 visitors in 2019, according to the HTA report. During Maui’s slowest month of September, an average of 52,389 visitors were on island on any given day. The island’s busiest month of December had 75,884 average daily visitors….

Visitors to Maui last year surpassed the 3 million mark for the first time since-record keeping began three decades ago, a recent report showed.

Hawaii Tourism Authority’s visitor statistics released this week said Maui led Neighbor Islands with 3,071,596 visitors in 2019, a 5.4 percent increase from the year prior and the highest amount since the group began tracking in 1990.

(Maui County Population 166,260.66K/(166K+66K) = 28% tourists  76K/(166K+76K) = 31% tourists 75,884 = 46% of population)  

SA: Raise Your Hand: Students write love letters to our beloved Hawaii

read … Maui visitors break 3 million mark for first time

Hypocrites on Hawaii County Council Try to Explain Why they Allow County Workers to use Herbicide

WHT: … After a ban on the use of herbicides by county workers was definitively quashed last month, two Hawaii County Council members are introducing a resolution that will clarify the county’s position on herbicide use.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Committee on Agriculture, Water, Energy and Environmental Management, council members will hear Resolution 475-20, which codifies the county administration’s efforts to regulate the use of certain herbicides which some people believe to be a public health risk….

(Translation: Well manicured parks enhance tourist experience.  Destroying agriculture enhances tourist experience.  Therefore we are not hypocrites.)

read … Council position on herbicides to be clarified

North Shore farmland being carved up for crop, housing use

SA: … Distant ocean views are part of what has attracted buyers for 5-acre agricultural land parcels sold within 112 acres of long fallow former sugar cane plantation fields in Waialua. A structure with a rooftop deck is on one of the parcels at Kaala Ainalani Estates….

These projects, covering roughly 700 acres in Waialua between Poamoho and Mokuleia, are examples of property development that has long troubled local government policymakers and riled proponents of preserving farmland for farming….

Taogoshi is prompting diversified farm growth on long-fallow fields by making small plots available at reasonable prices that start at $300,000 for 2 acres and range mainly from about $500,000 to $800,000 for 5 acres….

SA: Many farm subdivision lot buyers aren’t typical farmers

(A destiny created by the long-running war on ag conducted by those who talk endlessly about saving ag.)

read … North Shore farmland being carved up for crop, housing use

Firearms incidents decline on Hawaii’s public school campuses

SA: … The number of students caught carrying any kind of “firearm,” including paintball guns, or even slingshots, has dropped to its lowest level in 10 years at Hawaii’s public school campuses.

One teenager brought a handgun to Kapolei High School on Jan. 18, 2019, in the only such incident statewide in the last academic year, according to an annual report to the 2020 Legislature. That gun was quickly confiscated, the principal told parents in a letter sent home that day. Police said the student was arrested on firearms charges.

Altogether, out of a population of more than 179,000 students, 17 “firearms” incidents involving 18 weapons were reported in the last school year. The vast majority were airguns, along with two “slingshot like devices” and the hand gun. One student was caught with two airguns.

Maui, Kauai and the Windward Oahu school districts reported no incidents in the last school year.

The 17 “firearms” incidents represent a 32% drop over the previous year and a 51% decline from the 2011-12 academic year, when a high of 35 incidents were reported, annual reports show.

Over the last 10 years, a total of five handguns have been confiscated from students on Hawaii public school campuses. The incidents are included in legislative reports titled “Mandatory Expulsion Policy for Possession of a Firearm” filed by the state Department of Education….

read … Firearms incidents decline on Hawaii’s public school campuses

HB1798: State lawmakers to set parameters on parental discipline of children?

KHON: … House Bill 1798 allows for reasonable physical force or confinement, but it should not be cruel, excessive, or functionally impair the child….

What's not allowed under the proposed law? Any physical discipline that results in a bruise.... targets a vulnerable part of the body like the head, spine or face.... or involves an object, like slippahs and belts.

Also illegal -- sexual contact and threatening to seriously harm a child.

These specific parameters are meant to erase gray areas when you have differing value systems among first responders and the community. On Friday, the bill passed the Human Services and Homelessness Committee. A hearing will be scheduled with the Judiciary Committee.….

read … No more lickens? State lawmakers set parameters on physical discipline of children

Anyone who arrives in Hawaii from China will be quarantined for two weeks, according to Lt. Gov. Josh Green

KHON: …Any passengers coming to Hawaii from China will be put in mandatory quarantine for two weeks according Lt. Governor Josh Green. This coming after concerns and questions arose after the federal government announced that Hawaii would be one of seven locations used to funnel direct flights from China into the U.S….

The federal government decided that because we have CDC capacity at our airports and because we are strategically located in between Asia and the mainland US that we should be one of the seven,” Green explained.

Green said that we’d also likely see fewer flights from China because of the ban President Trump has put on Chinese nationals visiting the US….

read … Anyone who arrives in Hawaii from China will be quarantined for two weeks, according to Lt. Gov. Josh Green

Hawaii Republicans celebrate imminent impeachment acquittal

HNN: … Sign-wavers at Hawaii’s State Capitol were thrilled that Republicans secured enough votes to block witness testimony seen as damaging to President Trump in the impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate….

Former Republican state Senator Sam Slom agrees that President Trump could gain more votes in Hawaii this year.

“I think there will be more people voting for President Trump, people still secretly saying, ‘I’m for Trump,’ you know,” said Slom….

read … Hawaii Republicans celebrate imminent impeachment acquittal

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