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Sunday, August 31, 2014
August 31, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:14 PM :: 4062 Views

Pension Tax: How Did Your Legislator Vote?

More than 5,000 Testify on Federal Recognition

Report: These Five States Have Highest Liability Per Taxpayer

Tuna Monument: Faleomavaega Slow on the Draw

Mauna Kea Audit: UH Lacks Critical Rules

REIT – A New Kind of Tax Shelter?

Democrats’ disarray opens wide opportunity for GOP

Borreca: The historic rejection of Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie by fellow Democrats in the primary election empowers the GOP to argue for its candidate, former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona.

At the same time that the GOP seems organized, the Democrats appear more disorganized with unsettled leadership.

In some ways the primary was as stunning a loss for the Democrats as it was for Abercrombie.

With Abercrombie becoming a lame duck, he loses power and influence within the Democratic Party.

While several meetings have been held to discuss new leadership, Democrats are privately saying that there is little consensus....

All this disunity is helping the GOP build a strong campaign around a remarkably uncontroversial Aiona....

Related: Pension Tax: How Did Your Legislator Vote?

read ... Opportunity 

Ward: Ige Not the Frontrunner

WHT: Ige is heading into the General Election in November, when even a pollster who predicted he would trounce Abercrombie in a landslide won’t call him the front-runner despite the state’s heavy Democratic leanings.

In the race to become Hawaii’s next governor, three underdogs are battling it out, and no one’s sure who will win.

“In a three-way race, it’s almost like all bets are off,” said Becky Ward, president of Ward Research.

The firm had predicted that Ige would beat Abercrombie in the Democratic primary by 18 points, far less than Ige’s final 35-point margin of victory.

Ige was considered the underdog in that race, since a sitting Democratic governor had never before been unseated in a Hawaii primary.

Former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, a Republican, finished first in a July poll that asked voters who would win in a three-way matchup with Ige and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann. But Republicans rarely win in heavily Democratic Hawaii, and the poll was conducted before Ige’s surprising upset.

Hannemann ran as an Independent Party candidate in part to help him get this far. A former Democrat, he says his decision to make the switch came in part because he was having a tough time getting through the Democratic primary.

“I had to take a deep, long, hard look at whether in fact it made sense for me to keep running as a Democrat,” Hannemann said.

Now, his ability to pull votes is making the November race difficult to predict.

“The other big question is, who is Mufi Hannemann pulling votes from?” Ward asked. “You can make a case either way.”

Even the candidates themselves are reluctant to say who’s leading the pack....

Looking at the primary results, it would seem easy to conclude that Ige is a front-runner based on his capturing 157,000 votes, compared to Aiona’s nearly 42,000 and Hannemann’s 2,100 votes.

But that’s not how it works in Hawaii, where primary voters pull a Democratic, Republican or Independent party ballot and then have to choose from those party’s candidates in all the races.

“The way people pulled ballots is no indication of how they’re going to vote in the General Election,” Ward said. “It’s because of our open primary.

read ... Ward Poll?

Temperamental Candidates Lose Big

Shapiro: Abercrombie and Hee led a flock of candidates with perceived temperament issues who lost, joined by Sens. Donna Mercado Kim and Malama Solomon and Reps. Faye Hanohano and Rida Cabanilla. The posterior of the horse seldom crosses the finish line first.

» Independent gubernatorial candidate Mufi Hannemann got the message, saying he learned from his election losses that he must be more sensitive to others. That's as likely as a Doberman learning table manners.

read ... The haves and the hapless propel the August primary

Housing First Readies to Take 110 Off Streets

SA: With funds allocated, work is moving in earnest to get an initial 110 chronic homeless people off the streets and into rentals with crucial support services under the Housing First program

read ... 110 Chronics

Task force proposes reforms to DHHL program

SA: Among other things, the advisory group set up by Gov. Neil Abercrombie recommended that DHHL:

» Do away with the "first come, first serve" process for awarding permits and instead implement a competitive bid-type system for making such awards.

» Establish a proper method for determining appropriate rents.

» Allocate staff to conduct annual compliance reviews to ensure the tenants are abiding by permit terms and to expeditiously act when violations are found.

» Adopt administrative rules to implement the new program.

» Stop renewing permits automatically each year but conduct reviews to determine whether to continue them.

» Create a manual of internal procedures for DHHL staff to follow regarding issuance, compliance checks and enforcement of permits.

DHHL: Verbatim Answers to Star-Adv

read ... Danner Sisters Attack Aftermath

Why Homes Cost So Much in Hawaii

SA: Hawaii's entitlement process contributes to limiting new housing supply and higher costs because it is subjected to:

» A Byzantine state and county land-use process, which elevates the debate on sound and proper land uses that result in unnecessary delays and challenges in areas planned for housing.

» Political intervention.

» Interventions by community and special-interest groups who view all growth as bad.

» State and county conditions to mitigate impacts.

related: VIDEO: Why is the Rent So High in Hawaii?

read ... For homes to be more affordable, build more homes across price range

Star-Adv: HECO Should Give More Money to Solar, Wind Contractors

SA: Blue Planet Foundation, one of the most outspoken critics of the utility, (representing the alt-energy contractors) expressed disappointment with the plan. The nonprofit, a clean-energy advocacy organization, (speaking for its corporate backers) was expecting a greater focus on business transformation (ie giving more money to its supporters) in the proposal, said CEO Jeff Mikulina, and the finding of alternative revenue streams.

"For example, can the utility help customers get electric vehicles, lowering their commuting costs?" Mikulina asked. "Can the utility help renters and condo owners access clean power with community solar programs? By delivering services like these, the utility could engineer a win-win, because these same services will simultaneously improve the grid for everyone."

We agree with that sentiment. Judging by the plan, HECO is as risk-averse as ever, which is what we've come to expect of most corporations answering to shareholders rather than customers.

The PUC has its own imperative as it scrutinizes the plan: Tell this utility, with its public franchise and highly compensated executives, that this plan doesn't go far enough in meeting its public responsibility.

read ... Hands Out

Geothermal plant weathered storm just fine

SA: While "powering off" may seem logical, PGV continued operating for good reason. PGV is a committed energy provider. Three-quarters of energy generated serves residents and businesses outside Puna. In collaboration with HELCO, we reduced output to 80 percent. PGV wanted folks to have the energy needed to prepare and receive critical updates.

BIVN: VIDEO: Officials Grilled on Geothermal Steam Release

read ... Geothermal plant weathered storm just fine

Hawaii Gets Less for Tourism Promotion Buck than ... Indiana

WaPo: But other states see a much smaller return on their investments: Alaska, Hawaii, West Virginia, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana and Maine all generate less than one-tenth the return on investment that Indiana receives. Hawaii spent more than any other state promoting itself, $75 million, but generated only a little more tourism activity, $8.6 billion, than Indiana, a return of $115 per dollar spent.

read ... WaPo

Recycling Sends Junk on Long Voyages

KGI: Kauai’s recyclables, for the most part, don’t stick around.

Instead, they are shipped as near as Oahu and as far as China.

Take that soda can you just tossed in the recycle bin. It’s headed for either Tennessee or South Korea, where more times than not, it is turned back into its former self.

Motor oil and tires — Oahu, where they are burned for fuel at AES Hawaii Power Plant.

Computers, televisions and other eWaste — California.

Hazardous household waste, including paint and cleaning supplies — Washington.

read ... Long Voyages

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