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Wednesday, December 30, 2015
December 30, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:07 PM :: 3932 Views

Only Moments Left to Stop Fed Wreck

Last Day: Say "No!" to Interior Department Rule

Grassroot Comments on DOI Proposed Rule

Real ID Begins Jan 10: Will Washington State Residents Need Passport to Fly to Hawaii?

Hawaii’s Expensive Green Energy Program Saves No Energy

KOLEA: After Burning $155M, Hawaii’s Other Obamacare Eligibility System Falls Short

Report: Return County TAT Deal to Status Quo Ante

Hawaii Visitor Arrivals Set New Record for November

Jones Act Unions file protest over crewing of APL Guam

Champagne Taxes? Hawaii Ranks #3 in USA

Overrun by Solar, Wind Scammers, Does HECO need NextEra Bail Out?

IM: …a week before the June 9, 2014 meeting, Connie Lau wrote an email to her HEI team on June 2 informing them of the meeting.

“I am having lunch with Jim Robo the CEO on Monday at EEI. Jim Ajello said today his banker at Blackstone said Robo asked them to do a lot of work on us and wants to approach me on Monday.

Jim Ajello also said he and Greg have updated our separation analysis and still doesn't make sense. Best strategic sourse [sic] for us now is to fix regulatory situation. Key question is whether we can. I've suggested that should be a major discussion at the board retreat.”

HEI used the phrase “separation analysis” in part to understand whether HEI could terminate itself, and if the HECO Companies and American Savings Bank could be sent separate ways, without any merger occurring. This would allow HEI Golden Parachutes to be issued to HEI Executives, but had some nasty tax and ratepayer impacts….

The HEI leadership team had differences of opinion about the future.  HEI CEO Connie Lau, HEI Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer James “Jim” Ajello, and HEI Vice President for Finance Greg C. Hazelton exchanged emails on the proposal made by NextEra Energy Chairman & CEO James “Jim” Robo.

These differences continued throughout the summer of 2014.

Connie Lau wrote an email dated August 21, 2014.

“Long conversation with Greg after. He wanted to tell me he disagrees with Jim on whether we could go it alone. He thinks we could versus Jim's view that we need a white knight to bail us out of our current situation. Good to hear someone like him say that. Affirmed to him that both you and I think we could do it, too, but of course couldn't disclose why.”….

WSJ: State regulators roll back the net-metering electricity scam

read … Bail Out

Judge Tosses Solar Scammers Suit out of Court

SA: Circuit Judge Gary Chang on Tuesday halted a solar advocacy group’s lawsuit against the state Public Utilities Commission, which the group filed after it objected to how the PUC ended a popular solar incentive program.

Chang dismissed a major component of The Alliance for Solar Choice LLP’s lawsuit against Gov. David Ige and the state PUC regarding the state agency’s decision to cut net energy metering, or NEM, a solar incentive program that credits residents for the excess energy their systems send to the grid….

WSJ: State regulators roll back the net-metering electricity scam

read … Rejected

Telescope: Hawaii Supreme Court invalidates lower court documents

PBN: The Hawaii Supreme Court on Tuesday officially vacated a 3rd Circuit Court order and judgment that had authorized the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope project on Mauna Kea, following the high court's decision in the case earlier this month.

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald filed the court’s judgment on an appeal from the 3rd Circuit Tuesday afternoon. The case will be sent back to the circuit court, which will hand the matter over to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for new contested case hearing.

The 3rd Circuit Court’s May 5, 2014, decision and order affirming the BLNR's decision granting a conservation district use permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve on April 12, 2013, along with a final judgment filed on May 4, 2014, are now invalid….

A new contested case hearing is to be held before the BLNR or before a new hearing officer.

HTH: High court sends TMT case back to 3rd Circuit

read … Back to Square One

Local Food Win: Enviros Fail to Kill off Ahi Fishery

SA: Consuming sashimi at New Year’s is a tradition for many in Hawaii. In Japan, the thinly sliced pieces of raw fish symbolize happiness and prosperity and ensure good luck for the new year.

There was a time a few months ago when some in Hawaii wondered whether it would be slim pickings for ahi this time of year.

“It was bad,” recalled Nico Chaize, owner of the restaurant Nico’s at Pier 38. “It would have been pretty much zero supply.”

An international panel that regulates commercial fishing in the Pacific had established a limit of 3,500 metric tons of bigeye tuna for Hawaii longline fishermen this year.

But the Hawaii fishery reached the limit in August, apparently due to unusually strong El Nino weather conditions.

“The catch rate was unprecedented in volume,” said Sean Martin, president of the Hawaii Longline Association.

Some three dozen Hawaii-based longline fishing vessels sat idle for a couple of months before the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service created a rule in October allowing additional catch limits for three U.S. Pacific territories. That allowed the territories to allocate up to half of their catch limit to the Hawaii fishing vessels.

But it still wasn’t over. Environmental groups filed suit, arguing that the new rule defied international agreements aimed at stopping bigeye tuna overfishing.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi last week issued a ruling rejecting the groups’ claims that the extra fishing is illegal.

read … Victory for Local Food

City’s explanation of discrepancies in real property tax assessments don’t satisfy

ILind: Thanks to Star-Advertiser business writer, Andrew Gomes, for his story on Sunday about the discrepancies between the selling prices of high-value Oahu homes and their often much lower appraisals for property tax purposes (“Home price, taxable value can diverge“).

Some of the examples are eye-popping.

Gomes cites the example of a Black Point mansion that sold a few years ago for $16.5 million, and then got a $1 million facelift. It was assessed for tax purposes at $9.5 million in 2015, but dropped for 2016 to $8.4 million, a 50% discount off its selling price two years ago….

read … Discrepancies

Caldwell’s Repaving Project Continues to Slip

SA: …In 2015, crews from the four companies on the island that bid for city repaving contracts smoothed 256 lane miles across Oahu, according to the latest report of completed and on­going road projects. They included jobs in Kaimuki, Kailua, Kalihi and Hawaii Kai, and on the North Shore.

That’s down from the 305 lane miles the city paved in 2014, and the 398 lane miles paved in 2013….

read … Fewer Miles

Star-Adv: Homeless Tent Cities are Not a Solution

SA: …Addressing homelessness along the Waianae Coast has been a challenge for decades. There are at least 16 homeless encampments in Waianae, according to an estimate from the office of state Rep. Andria Tupola (R, Kalaeloa-Ko Olina-Maili).

The city earlier this year proposed building modular housing for homeless families on a 1.1-acre site near Waianae High School, which was met with community resistance. Such unfortunate pushback against homes — in any neighborhood — cannot persist if Hawaii is serious about getting our people off the streets and out of parks….

Puuhonua O Waianae translates to “Refuge of Waianae.” Refuge is defined as a condition of being safe or sheltered from trouble. However, there is nothing safe about families living unsheltered — no matter how organized the encampment. In order to provide a true refuge for the homeless on the Waianae Coast, it will take a concentrated and consistent effort by public officials and the greater community.

It’s called housing.

read … No Tent Cities

After Six Years, Homeless Man Decides to Accept Shelter

CB: …For almost six years, Robert Binnie lived on the streets of Waikiki. The words scrawled across his cardboard sign: “Anything helps. God bless.” He hid his gaunt face under a large scruffy beard and a mop of matted hair. He wrestled with mental illness and substance abuse, two of the leading causes of death among the homeless in Hawaii. So often was he beaten up that staff at Queen’s Hospital recognized his frail frame by sight.

Every day, he’d beg on the corner of Kalakaua and Kapahulu until he had enough money to disappear into a cloud of whiskey and weed.

When I first met Binnie this summer, it was a different story. He greeted me with a solid handshake. His eyes crinkled behind thick, black-rimmed glasses. At age 58, he had a new outlook on life.

“Now I think I’m gonna live ‘til I’m 80!” he chuckles. He’s stayed clean and sober for two years. He lives in a tidy one-bedroom apartment in Honolulu. He’s taking classes at Kapiolani Community College, and he teaches children about marine life at the Waikiki Aquarium….

HNN: City Sued over Arrest of Homeless Mental Case

read … Success Story

AG: Woman Collected Welfare Illegally for 7 Years

News Release: Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that Kianna Ah Lee Sam has been charged with theft in the first degree. Ms. Sam, who is forty years old, allegedly received public assistance benefits to which she was not entitled.

The Attorney General alleges that between November 1, 2007 and November 30, 2014, Ms. Sam applied for and received public assistance benefits to which she was not entitled. This resulted in the Department of Human Services making overpayments to Ms. Sam in an amount exceeding twenty thousand dollars ($20,000)….

read … Fraud

Center for Food Safety – Luddite of the Year?

KE: …the Center for Food Safety (CFS), a mainland-based lobbying firm that has worked tirelessly in Hawaii and elsewhere to foment fear and loathing of GMOs, and backed a spate of poorly written laws aimed at destroying Island agriculture.

Now the fear-mongering group is getting some well-deserved recognition, as the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation nominates CFS for the 2015 “Luddite Award.” As ITIF notes:

CFS has many lawyers but only one scientist on staff. The organization has little or no expertise in food safety, but “demonstrated experience in promoting fear.”

“Their raison d’etre is to use misleading claims, lawsuits, and other harassment to oppose agricultural innovation and keep the world safe for Victorian farming methods. Besides opposing more affordable and healthier salmon, the Center for Food Safety also has pushed to stigmatize foods derived through biotech improvements by labeling them even when exhaustive research concludes there is no health, safety, or nutritional information to convey to the public.”

VOTE HERE: For your favorite Luddite

read … Musings: On Luddites and Lies

Anti-GMO Councilmember Concerned About Marijuana Strains with ‘Strong Hallucinogenic Properties’

WHT: …I am mindful of the increased risks associated with the marijuana being produced today. Some strains now being produced contain strong hallucinogenic properties rather than the medicinal pain relieving properties. Correspondingly, there are increased burdens placed on our medical, emergency and police services.

For this reason as well there should be more county/local involvement in the implementation of the program, not just from a financial perspective but also from a safety perspective. For this reason I am sympathetic with the concerns of members of the North Kohala community, where individuals have suffered from bad experiences with marijuana….

read … Margaret Willie

Vandals set fire to Ewa Beach church lawn, destroy religious statues

HNN: …On Sunday afternoon, someone poured gasoline on the church's front lawn and set the grass on fire.

"Probably a 10-foot wide and 10-foot long section right under our church signage was on fire," Dalton said. "I ran back into my residence, grabbed my cell phone and a fire extinguisher and came out and put the fire out and then called the police."

Dalton found an empty gas can, spent fireworks, and a gasoline soaked blanket draped over the church sign.

Then, on Monday, during morning mass, vandals struck again.

"Someone called me over to the shrine and we saw that it had been smashed up, and everything thrown all over the place," Dalton said.

In the grotto, someone broke off the head of the St. Jude statue, crushed a smaller plaster figurine of the Infant of Prague, and defaced the statue of Mary with burning wax….

read … Vandals

Advocate of sex with minors kept from becoming Hawaii teacher

KHON: “Oyama’s statements concerning sexual relationships between adults and children were of central concern to the faculty,” according to a ruling by the panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a class assignment he wrote:

“Personally I think that online child predation should be legal, and find it ridiculous that one could be arrested for comments they make on the Internet.” He went on to write that “real life child predation should be legal” as long as it’s consensual and that the age of consent should be “either 0, or whatever age a child is when puberty begins.”

When a professor discussed the statements with Oyama, he said it would be fine for a 12-year-old student to have a consensual relationship with a teacher, but that he would obey the law and report the relationship, according to the ruling.

Oyama made other comments his professors found concerning, such as disabled students being “fakers.”

The comments were relevant in determining whether he should be allowed to work as a public school teacher, the panel concluded, and the university’s decision was “directly related to defined and established professional standards” at state and national levels.

“Therefore, the university’s decision was, by necessity, prospective in nature,” the ruling said….

read … Pedo Advocacy

Dispute continues over aerial shooting that’s killed thousands of goats, sheep on Mauna Kea

HTH: An attempt to save the endangered palila has included the sound of rotors, gunfire, arguments and sheep and goats eating the trees the bird needs to survive.

Now, as the number of sheep and goats drops, the pressure to end the aerial shooting is as high as ever.

But helicopters and crews are expected to return next year as the Department of Land and Natural Resources continues to obey a federal court order to thin the populations of goats and sheep on Mauna Kea.

“The goal is to get the numbers as close to zero as possible,” said Division of Forestry and Wildlife Branch Manager Scott Fretz, who is based on Maui….

read … Eradication

Dengue Hits 190 Cases

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