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Sunday, April 20, 2014
April 20, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:13 PM :: 3333 Views

Five Months Later Hawaii Health Connector Follows up on Incomplete Application

C’mon, Mr Producer, Do You Even Know What All The Laws Are?

Cam Cavasso Launches Republican Campaign for US Senate

Historic Preservation: Public Denounces Amended Drafts of SB2633 and HB1678

Hawaii-Focused Legal Blogs

Honolulu Council Proposals That Affect You and Your ‘Ohana

Shapiro: Obamacare fiasco bursting with officials' incompetence

Shapiro: ...Hawaii was the first state to embrace Obamacare and set up a health exchange, but the effort was even more botched than the national fiasco and we were the last state to get online.

After predicting it would enroll 50,000 uninsured local residents the first year, the Hawaii Health Connector signed up 8,000, using a contractor that was already in a dispute with the state over a faulty tax system.

The agency will be $4.7 million in the hole after $204.3 million in federal funding runs out this year, and the remaining question appears to be how local taxpayers will subsidize an unsustainable system.

As for accountability, Obama and his allies blamed Republican attempts to repeal the health law and the failure of outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to inform the president of developing problems.

But the administration had a free hand to implement the law, GOP gripes notwithstanding, and you'd think that with all Obama had at stake he'd have had a trusted aide riding herd on HHS and reporting to him daily.

Local officials blame Hawaii's Prepaid Health Act for low enrollments and say making the health exchange independent from state government was the wrong way to go.

As if they didn't know about the Prepaid Health Act when they made their initial exuberant predictions and weren't the ones who set up the doomed health exchange.

Federal and local politicians responsible for this debacle are generally the same ones hectoring for more revenues for new and bigger government programs.

Let them prove they can competently run programs they have before taking us on new misadventures....

read ... Obamacare fiasco bursting with officials' incompetence

Waikiki is becoming an overpriced Beverly Hills slum of the Pacific

SA: IN A SERIES of informal meetings hosted by state Sen. Brickwood Galuteria (D, Kakaako-McCully-Waikiki), Waikiki stakeholders have voiced their concerns to an array of government and tourism industry leaders, including state Housing Coordinator Colin Kippen; Mayor Kirk Caldwell; Bruce Coppa, Gov. Neil Abercrombie's chief of staff; George Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association; Mike McCartney, Hawaii Tourism Authority president and CEO; Waikiki Improvement Association President Rick Egged; Waikiki Neighborhood Board Chairman Robert Finley; Honolulu Police Department officials; and others.

"I consider homeless to be a natural disaster situation not unlike a tsunami of sorts, and the tone of the response should be equal to that," Galuteria said.

The need for such urgency appears supported by recent data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that show between 2007 and 2013, chronic homelessness in Hawaii grew by 32.5 percent. From 2012 to 2013, Hawaii added 121 more chronically homeless individuals to its count.

In Honolulu, 4,556 individuals were homeless on a single night in January 2013, placing the city at the top of the list of similar-size areas with the largest homeless populations. Honolulu's count of 785 chronic homeless people also placed it at the bottom of the 10-worst list for chronic homelessness in similar-size cities.

Kippen said while the mayor and City Council have not yet agreed on how much money will be made available for Housing First, the state Senate and the House conferees on Tuesday agreed to make a permanent $1.5 million annual appropriation to the program.

The news comes just a week after HUD Secretary Mark Johnston came to Hono­lulu and announced that Hawaii's homeless housing and service programs would be getting $10.7 million in grants. Kippen and colleagues also recently returned from Washington, D.C., where they participated in Boot Camps to End Chronic and Veteran Homelessness, a program for 25 cities with the nation's highest rates of chronic homelessness.

read ... Down & out in Waikiki

Oshiro: OHA understood restrictions on development in Kakaako Makai

SA: When OHA agreed to the settlement, it understood that commercial use would be the extent of any future development of the Kakaako Makai lands. It wholeheartedly accepted those lands with that understanding, and everyone was happy because peace was restored.

Yet in just two years, OHA changed its mind and now wants to build residential units in Kakaako Makai. It says the only way these lands will generate sufficient revenue to fulfill OHA's fiduciary duty to its beneficiaries will be if they are allowed the "highest and best" use. But if that is the case now, wasn't that the case two years ago? If that was so, why did OHA agree to the settlement?

When OHA officials accepted those lands, they knew that the law prohibited residential development makai of Ala Moana Boulevard. They knew that Alexander & Baldwin had proposed build residential condominiums on those same parcels in 2006 but were stopped by the Legislature to protect public access to the ocean and preserve recreational uses of the area.

OHA even retained its own real estate appraisers, legal advisers and development experts in doing its due diligence. Moreover, OHA even repeatedly opposed passage of a law that would have provided the residential entitlements they are seeking today. The inescapable truth is that it accepted the bargain with eyes wide open.

read ... Marcus Oshiro

Abercrombie Saves Turtle Bay Developers from Condemnation, Lets them Build Hotels, Houses

SA: ...No doubt the fact that condemnation was hanging over the deal a prospect put in place last legislative session helped to push the agreement to completion. (Translation: Ige is the hero here, not Abercrombie) There was significant public support for limiting development in this area, and negotiators on both ends of the table were aware of that.

The subtext there reads: It pays to play hardball on these deals, something that government and public advocates should remember for the future.

The state is right to pony up the lion's share of the money, $40 million, because of the great public benefit. The City Council and The Trust for Public Land have a share of the credit for approving the remaining $5 million and $3.5 million of the easement cost.

For its part, Replay has more than cut in half the hotel and condominium units it (pretended it) aims to build. And yes, there is compensation being paid a lot of money from the public purse....

read ... Developer gets Money, Will Build

North Shore land agreement not a done deal

KHON: (This is the Abercrombie campaign spin on Turtle Bay)  “This isn’t a surprise. The governor put the $40 million marker in his budget, so it’s not as if it’s a shock that legislators hadn’t anticipated,” said Sen. Clayton Hee (D) Waialua, Haleiwa, Laie, Kaaawa, Ahuimanu.

With the end of the legislative session less than two weeks away, lawmakers must act fast.

“Let’s hope and work to see to it now that the remaining days of the legislature, their top priority is seeing to it that the settlement that we all achieved together is gonna be fulfilled. Thank you, North Shore,” Gov. Abercrombie said.

We also spoke to Sen. David Ige, who’s the chair of the Ways and Means Committee. He says they’re still waiting for the details of the agreement. Once they get it, he says they’ll have a better idea of how to move forward.

Ilind: Ige on the spot in Turtle Bay deal (Just in case you couldn't figure it out.)

read ... North Shore land agreement not a done deal

For Borreca, Helping Hanabusa Campaign Imperative

Borreca: For Hanabusa, who is running against Schatz in the Democratic primary, the last meeting with the ailing Inouye was a time for instruction.

She already knew that Inouye thought she would be the best person to succeed him because after she was elected to Congress in 2010, Inouye took her around the Capitol introducing her as "the person who will take my place."

"He wanted them to know he had high hopes for me and wanted me to be placed in the right position," Hanabusa said in an interview recalling their early December 2012 meeting.

"I had gone to lunch before with him, but this was the first time the senator allowed himself to be seen in wheelchair and with oxygen," Hanabusa said.

"The senator was always very careful about that. He'd walk onto the Senate floor or into the dining room, and not let people see him with oxygen. This time he made a point of saying he was taking oxygen."

Hanabusa said Inouye wanted to know what she was going to do because there was speculation that she would return to Honolulu to campaign against Abercrombie for the governorship.

"He asked me what I wanted and I said that is easy, I said my wish was that he lives to 140 and he and I would continue to serve in Washington," Hanabusa said.

"He said that's not going to happen and I said, OK, 100, and he laughed and said, that's also not going to happen; he said you better start getting ready."

read ... For Hanabusa, last days with Inouye instructive

Maui Co Gov't  expansion will require increased taxes

MN: Taxes will rise if Mayor Alan Arakawa's proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 is approved.

The mayor's proposal reflects a desire to expand government, build new facilities, develop new programs and hire more personnel. His proposed $622.6 million budget for FY 2015 is $63 million more than the budget approved by the County Council last year.

To pay for that expansion, the mayor has proposed increasing real property tax rates by 6.5 percent. This increase compounds the already higher assessed property values countywide, which are up another 9 percent. That means the average taxpayer will get an even larger real property tax bill when reports indicate most taxpayers have yet to recover from the economic downturn.

Each of the mayor's proposed increases has long-term impacts. No request for a new facility can, in good conscience, be evaluated based on design and construction costs alone.

Take, for example, the new Kihei police station. With construction completed this past year, proposed FY 2015 expansion costs for janitorial services, repair and maintenance, electricity, sewer and water are nearly $600,000. Once built, facilities must be appropriately staffed, equipped and maintained. The county needs to foot the bill for having the lights turned on.

The mayor is urging Maui Electric not to seek any further rate increases until it is operating under a sustainable energy plan. The same principle should apply to county government.

read ... Tax Hike Coming

Hawaii Counties Brace for Legislature's Decision on Hotel Tax Revenue

CB: The counties will likely know Monday afternoon if the state is going to give them millions of dollars in additional hotel tax money.

Hawaii lawmakers are scheduled to meet in conference committee to finally decide the issue that has kept local officials guessing all session.

Kauai, Maui, Hawaii and Honolulu counties currently get a combined $93 million of the transient accommodations tax revenue since the state capped it in 2010. They used to get 44.8 percent of however much money the state collected each year to split between them.

A joint House-Senate committee expects to vote on a bill that would remove the cap, but the latest draft of the legislation leaves the percent blank....

Finance Director Kalbert Young has said that if the cap is lifted and the counties still get 44.8 percent of the TAT money, the state general fund would lose $81 million in fiscal 2015, $98 million in 2016, $107 million in 2017, $116 million in 2018 and $126 million in 2019.

read ... TAT?

Kauai Blogger Bewilders anti-GMO crowd

KE: In recent months, as I've criticized the anti-GMO movement, found a few things to like about KIUC, declined to denounce the dairy and called to task and account politicians I previously favored, I've had folks express bewilderment, even fury. One woman, who has perhaps exchanged a dozen words with me, said she could only surmise I'd suffered a brain injury, I was so changed. A man said that more and more of his friends — though not mine — were “increasingly distraught” that I seemed to have gone over to the “dark side.” Another woman left a flaming attack comment that ended with the query: “What have you done with Joan Conroy? [sic]”

What I have done with Joan Conrow is allow her mind to continually question, open, reflect, ponder, broaden — a process that makes it painful for me to keep living in the duality mindset of me good-you bad, me right-you wrong, me pono-you hewa....

KWH: He wa'a he moku, he moku he wa'a

read ... Musings: Everyday People

Arrested First Degree Terroristic Threatening

SA: According to police, Barbara Briscoe threatened the younger woman with a dangerous instrument during an argument at their shared residence on Friday. The victim sustained minor injuries in the altercation.

Briscoe was charged Saturday with first-degree terroristic threatening. Her bail was set at $15,000.

read ... Domestic Violence

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