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Thursday, December 4, 2014
December 4, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:51 PM :: 4133 Views

Day Before Announcing Sale of Company, HECO Inks Biofuel Deal with Cronies

NextEra Buy May be Good for Rates, Bad for Distributed Generation

Ige Appoints Six More Cabinet Members

Caldwell Creates 'Office of Strategic Development'

State, Kauai County Select Mediator to Begin GMO Fact-finding Mission

30 years of Honolulu City Lights

Wall Street: Hawaii 12th Best-Run State in USA

VIDEO: You'll Never Hear OHA Say This

Hawaii-based unit final materiel recovery brigade in Afghanistan

Next Era Buys Land for Big Cable Project, Solar Farms

IM: NextEra consultant Dawn N. S. Chang (Ku`iwalu) spoke at the Waianae Neighborhood Board and the Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board. NextEra wants to build a 75 acre solar farm in Waianae.

Governor Abercrombie mentioned only one company transaction in his 2014 State of the State. Abercrombie suggested that NextEra would acquire Dole Food Co. property in Central O`ahu. NextEra proposed using the land for agriculture and renewable energy.

NextEra wanted property on Maui. Last year NextEra filed applications with the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL). NextEra requested 35-year leases for three 400-500 acre parcels. (Parcels 1, 2, 3)

NextEra bought the 4-acre vacant lot located between Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s and the Dole Cannery in Iwilei. The former Gasco facility could become the Oahu AC-DC Converter Station for the proposed Inter-island Transmission Line.

Related Story: NextEra filed an anti-community SLAPP Suit

read ... NextEra

Next Era Rakes in $683M from Wind Tax Credits: Still Clings to Big Cable, Big Wind

IM: Life of the Land notes that Nextera Energy is the one entity still clinging to the inter-island cable and Big Wind.

Nextera Energy's 2013 Annual Report notes that the company has received generous federal Production Tax Credits (PTCs) for its wind facilities.

  • 2011 -- $271 million
  • 2012 -- $203 million
  • 2013 -- $209 million

“PTCs from NEER’s wind projects are reflected in NEER’s earnings. PTCs are recognized as wind energy is generated and sold based on a per kWh rate prescribed in applicable federal and state statutes, and were approximately $209 million, $203 million and $271 million in 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively."

read ... Clinging

Common Core Oversold

CB: Education reform in Hawaii is on a really rocky path. Some things, like universal early childhood education, are going way too slow.

One really crucial thing is going too fast. Hawaii’s educators and politicians have fallen head over heels for the Common Core.

It may seem odd to worry that the DOE is actually moving too fast on something. Disorienting or not, it’s true. The Core has been oversold and its flaws taken too lightly.

Jim Shon: How state policies continue to place authority above and outside the school

read ... Milner

UH 15 to Finish Program Copied Nationally

SA: The University of Hawaii's "15 to Finish" initiative has become a national model since it launched in 2011, inspiring colleges in 20 states to adopt similar programs that encourage students to carry enough credits each semester to graduate in four years....

read ... And then they fired Apple

Kauai Mayor Vetoes Anti-GMO Tax Hike on Ag Land

KE: Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. has vetoed the “agronomics” bill that would have created a separate real estate tax classification for the seed companies.

Given the makeup of the new Council, a veto override appears unlikely. The bill, introduced by defeated Councilman Tim Bynum, was passed by a 4-2 vote at the last meeting of the old Council, with Councilmen Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa opposed and Jay Furfaro absent.

In a letter to Council Chair Rapozo, the mayor said that in taking the oath of office on Dec. 1, he was sworn to uphold the state Constitution, which calls for protecting agricultural land and diversified agriculture.

"After studying the bill, it is my conclusion that it does not achieve these goals and in fact impedes the promotion and expansion of diversified agriculture on Kauai,” he wrote.

read ... Mayor Vetoes "Agronomics" Bill

Kauai Study Group: Facts Aren't a Core Issue for Mainland Anti-GMO Activist

KE: Now that statewide media (except The Garden Island) are picking up a story I broke Saturday on the creation of a Kauai pesticide/GMO study group, it's already becoming clear that facts aren't a core issue for some folks.

Take Ashley Lukens, head of the mainland-based Center for Food Safety office in Hawaii.  Hawaii News Now reported her as saying: "I only think the joint fact finding process makes sense if it's a part of a much larger process that includes modest regulations for pesticide use."

In other words, it doesn't matter what the facts actually are in terms of pesticide drift and exposure, she and her pals — including Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser — already have their minds made up that more regulations are needed.

But curiously, only modest ones, and only to be imposed on the seed companies, not other pesticide users. They're laying out certain outcomes, even before the “meta question” is answered: Are people actually being harmed from pesticides being sprayed by GMO companies? And if they are, shouldn't there be more than “modest” regulations imposed?

Fortunately, however, the panel is going to look beyond just agriculture, to pesticide use in termite treatment, golf courses and other uses.

read ... Musings: Controlled Opposition

Josh Green: Marijuana Dispensaries coming to Hawaii Next Session

WHT: Hawaii lawmakers are moving ahead on bills creating medical marijuana dispensaries, following an audit released this week that said flaws in existing law justify a better way to provide the drug to patients....

State Sen. Josh Green, D-Kona, who chairs the Senate Health Committee, said he’s sure several bills will be considered by the state Legislature after it convenes Jan. 21. He said he’s confident a bill will pass and it will be signed by Gov. David Ige.

“At the end of the day for me, it’s about the patient-physician relationship,” said Green, who is a physician. He wants to see the state program become more mainstream.

“The program needs to be very tightly regulated,” Green said.

Related: Auditor: Proposed Marijuana Dispensary Bill 'Flawed'

read ... Audit says marijuana dispensaries justified 

Hawaii One of Seven Worst States for Gun Owners

NM: The strength of gun laws vary by state, and gun rights enthusiasts and gun control advocates often disagree how each state measures up. It's no surprise then that the same states often find themselves ranked at the extreme end by one group or the other.

These exact same states occupied the top seven spots — though in different orders — in listings put out by Guns & Ammo, which advertises itself as "the most widely read firearms magazine," and the Brady Campaign, the nation’s largest citizens’ lobby to prevent gun violence, working in partnership with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The Brady Campaign refers to these seven states as having the “strongest gun laws” while Guns & Ammo lists them as being the “worst states for gun owners.” ...

Hawaii. Guns & Ammo said, “If you head to Hawaii, say Aloha to your guns. For such a laid-back place, Hawaii has some very stringent firearm laws and the lowest gun ownership rate of any of the 50 states.”

The Brady Campaign noted that Hawaii has the lowest gun death rate of all 50 states.

read ... 7 Worst

Car Sharing Could Reduce Number of Cars on Streets 

CB: ...Zipcar has more than 870,000 members and over 10,000 vehicles. Their competitor, car2go, is poised to reach one million members by the end of the year and has around 12,500 vehicles.

In 2015, they collectively expect to be serving around two million people worldwide with a fleet of under 25,000 vehicles. That’s an incredibly low number considering the 41,039 new vehicles that were registered in Hawaii alone over the last nine months.

Of course, not everyone does away with their personal vehicles when they are members of a car-sharing program, but it does enable many families to have one fewer car or, for some, to go car-ownership free.

The University of California conducted a study that found for every vehicle in car-share system, between nine and 13 personal vehicles were ultimately shed....

read ... Car Sharing?

220 square foot micro-units for Hawaii?

DN: Let’s see… that’s 14.8 foot square including bathroom, but not, I think, including a closet.

This is actually in a draft bill which may be introduced into the Hawaii legislature....

See draft bills from today’s Housing & Homeless Task Force meeting here.

read ... Another Mention of Rent Control

City panel recommends approval of Hoopili rezoning plan

SA: The Honolulu Planning Commission voted 6-0 Wednesday to recommend that the City Council approve the 11,750-unit Hoopili project in the Ewa plains.

The Council will likely begin deliberations on the large-scale project in January, a city official said....

An appeal of a state Land Use Commission approval of the project brought by the Sierra Club Oahu Chapter is pending before the Hawaii Supreme Court....

read ... Hoopili

Hawaii Real Estate Higher Than Bubble Years

MW: 30 counties both unaffordable by historical standards and with rising foreclosure rates-- There were 30 counties (6 percent of all counties analyzed) with a combined population of nearly 19 million where the October affordability percentage was above the historical average and where foreclosure rates on 2014 vintage loans were higher than foreclosure rates on 2013 vintage loans, including Kings County, N.Y. (Brooklyn), San Francisco, San Mateo and Alameda counties in the San Francisco metro area, Suffolk County in the Boston metro area, Orange County in Southern California, Honolulu County, Hawaii, Denver County, Colo., Washington County, Utah in the St. George metro area, and Deschutes County, Ore., in the Bend metro area.

12 percent of counties with higher median prices than peak during 2005 to 2008 bubble--There were 58 counties (12 percent of all counties analyzed) with a combined population of more than 26 million where the median price of a home in October was higher than the peak during the housing bubble, including Kings County (Brooklyn) and New York County (Manhattan), N.Y., Travis County, Texas in the Austin metro area, Honolulu County, Hawaii, Fulton County, Ga., in the Atlanta metro area, Mecklenburg County, N.C., in the Charlotte metro area, Erie County, N.Y., in the Buffalo metro area, Wake County, N.C., in the Raleigh metro area, San Francisco County, Calif., and Monroe County, N.Y., in the Rochester metro area.

read ... Bubble

Hawaii Has 4th Largest Foreclosure Inventory in USA

CL: The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: New Jersey (5.5 percent), Florida (4.1 percent), New York (4.1 percent), Hawaii (2.9 percent) and Maine (2.6 percent).

read ... Foreclosure

No ID disqualifies hundreds of homeless from Housing First

HNN: At Hope Inc. in Wahiawa, clinical director Bernice Arang has encountered a big stumbling block to helping her homeless clients apply for housing.

"There is a huge initiative with trying to resolve the homeless situation but the key piece right now, for us at least on our end, is the identification process," she said.

So far this year, Hope Inc. and other homeless outreach agencies have surveyed 1,711 homeless families and individuals on Oahu. Of that number, 540 were listed as potentially eligible for the state or city's Housing First programs. But only 62 have a picture ID that proves who they are. So 478 homeless families and individuals can't clear the first hurdle to getting into housing....

Arang said out of 100 homeless clients Hope Inc. has worked with this year, only 20 potentially qualify for Housing First because they have picture IDs. That leaves 80 on the outside of the process, unable to take the first step.

read ... No ID

Thousands of Military men Raped by Homosexuals this Year

HNN: The number of victims who reported assaults increased 8 percent this year.

According to the report, nearly 5 percent of active duty women said they were victims of unwanted sexual contact in 2014.

That's down from 6.1 percent in 2012

For active duty men, the rate of unwanted sexual contact stayed the same - at about 1 percent.

(Really? Do the math.  If assault reports are up 8% and the percentage of women reporting assault is down from 6.1% to 'nearly 5%' then, barring a dramatic increase in the number of female military personnel, there must be a sharp increase in the number of military men reporting rape by homosexuals.)

read ... Homosexual Rape

Escapee beats Murder Rap

SA: On Feb. 20, 2013, while en route to a pretrial hearing in the murder case, Munet — still wearing handcuffs and a waist chain — bolted from state corrections officers at the courthouse's loading area. Munet was not wearing the required leg iron shackles. Nearly 12 hours after the escape at about 8 a.m., police captured Munet in the nearby Kakaako area.

Kim also handed down the 10-year sentence last September for the attempted robbery and escape. He told Munet Wednesday that for the protection of the public, he cannot in good faith let him serve the two 10-year sentences at the same time.

Because Munet has prior felony convictions for breaking into and driving stolen cars, he must serve at least three years and four months of his second 10-year prison term before he can be eligible for parole. The Hawaii Paroling Authority will decide whether he should serve more than that.

The parole board has already told Munet he must serve at least six years of his first 10-year term before he will be eligible for parole.

read ... Soft on Crime



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