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Thursday, July 21, 2016
July 21, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:08 PM :: 3204 Views

It Begins: Caldwell Launches First Negative Campaign Ad

Maui Hospital Veto Override will jeopardize the Employee Retirement System

Ige: The concerns expressed in my veto message have not changed

IUOE ‘Hawaiian Stabilization Fund’ All But Clear of Lawsuit

Papahanaumokuakea: Hawaii Fishermen get no response from Obama, Schatz

DHHL Begins Work on 2017 Legislative Package

Souki: Rather Difficult to Implement HGEA-UPW Payoff Bill Without Funding

SA: …Despite the lack of funding for the severance and retirement bonus program, House Speaker Joseph Souki said Ige is required to implement the bill “as much as he can.”

“It’s all in his hands now,” Souki said. “We passed the bill. … It becomes a law without his signature, and so it’s all up to him.”

When asked whether the hospital workers can now claim their severance payments or retirement bonuses, Souki replied, “There’s no money yet.”

Souki said it will be “rather difficult” to implement the bill without funding, but lawmakers said Ige’s options could include transferring money from other operations to fund the new hospital worker benefits, or asking lawmakers next year for an emergency appropriation to fund the effort next year….

read … No Funding

HART considers federal loan to help patch rail shortfall

KHON: A loan from the federal government might help the city finish its rail project all the way to Ala Moana, but taxpayers would still have to repay the money, and exactly how much is still open-ended.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is talking to the feds about borrowing money from them for the first time, from the same program Puerto Rico used to bail out its train when its cost doubled: the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA).

The feds have told Honolulu to take a look, HART CEO Dan Grabauskas told lawmakers Wednesday.

TIFIA helped patch another island’s runaway train costs — Puerto Rico — which ended up borrowing as much from TIFIA as they had been granted from the Federal Transit Administration. It was something of a last resort, because the feds have never given grant money above the original pledge for New Starts projects, no matter how troubled their finances became….

HART announced Tuesday it is going into an $875 million contract for the stretch of rail guideway and four stations to Middle Street. The bids ranged up to $1.5 billion in the offer from Nan Inc. That’s the same contractor doing the utilities work on the same segment, and Nan is finding unexpected headaches along the way.

PDF: Scroll to page 54 for a sample of the issues, change orders, conflicts and non-conformance reports so far.

“They know of all the challenges,” said councilmember Ann Kobayashi. “So did the winner of this airport bid, is he aware also, and yet he submitted that low bid thinking that he can apply and he can ask for change orders?”

More than $360 million in change orders has been shelled out on the project so far.

PDF: Scroll to page 106 for a tally so far by contract.

read …  HART considers federal loan to help patch rail shortfall

After All the Hype Oahu Electricity Still 71% Oil

SA: Electric bills on Oahu have jumped nearly 7 percent since May due to rising fuel prices.

In July, Hawaiian Electric Co. customers on Oahu saw their electric bills grow at least $4 for the second month in a row as rising fuel costs begin to boost bills.

The bill for a typical household using 500 kilowatt-hours on Oahu is $133.43 this month, $4.09 higher than what customers paid in June. The price per kilowatt-hour on Oahu was 24.7 cents, up from 23.8 cents in June.

The typical household using 500 kilowatt-hours on Oahu had a June bill of $129.34, which was was $4.49 higher than what customers paid in May.

Over the past two months, the typical bill on Oahu is up $8.58….

In 2015 oil made up roughly 71.1 percent of the energy mix of HECO. Oil made up roughly 62.5 percent of the energy mix at Hawaiian Electric Light Co. on the Big Island and 73 percent of the energy mix at Maui Electric Co. HECO imports oil mainly from Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Other states use energy resources such as natural gas, hydroelectric power, coal or nuclear power.

read … Green Energy Schemers Happy

Star-Adv: UH Tuition Hike is ‘Reasonable’

SA: The University of Hawaii’s proposal to raise tuition by 2 percent or less at its 10 campuses appears to be a reasonable request — as long as the institution upholds its commitment to modernize student spaces, laboratories and classrooms with the proceeds of the increase. (It won’t.)

read … To pay for golden parachutes

Fitch warns utilities: Retail net metering could damage your creditworthiness

UD: As residential solar grows, net metering policies that credit excess energy exported to the grid at the retail rate could damage the creditworthiness of investor-owned utilities, according to Fitch Ratings.

Fitch said that inaction could lead to a "death spiral" for electric utilities as increasing power bills could propel customers to install more rooftop solar and recommended utilities increase fixed charges as a possible solution, SNL Energy reports.

This builds on previous reports warning of grid defection and load defection as distributed energy resources, particularly residential storage and rooftop solar, become more economical for everyday consumers.

read … HECO Future

Hawaii’s longline fisheries hit bigeye tuna limit early

HTH: For the second straight year, Hawaii’s longline fisheries in the Central Pacific have reached their bigeye tuna quota far earlier than expected.

The longline fleet, nearly all of which is based in Honolulu, will now have to travel farther to fish for bigeye, a factor that could lead to better prices for local Big Island fisherman who are bringing in tuna with handlines.

Fishing quotas are set years in advance by the Western Pacific Fisheries Commission, an international group of 27 countries. They are based on historical levels of catch “and then reduced quite a bit,” said Eric Kingma, international fisheries enforcement coordinator for the Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

Hawaii’s longline fleet makes up about 3 percent of the worldwide bigeye catch.

It’s not clear why this year’s quota of 3,554 metric tons was reached so early. Last year, the fishery closed in August, the earliest the region had ever been restricted.

Two months after the closure, the fleet returned to the waters, fishing under the quotas of U.S. territories in the Pacific.

The same process of quota-borrowing is in the works, Kingma said, but has not been enacted yet.

“We thought last year was maybe an anomaly from El Niño,” he said. “The higher catch rates and the bigger fish persisted this year.”

“It’s the same number of hooks (in the water),” said Hawaii Longline Association president Sean Martin. Catch rates are 40 percent higher than historical numbers, he said….

Martin said that 80 percent of bigeye caught by the Hawaiian fleet stays in the state….

read … Limit

School Cleared In Ethics Case

CB: The Hawaii Supreme Court has cleared Connections New Century Public Charter School employee Eric Boyd of ethics violations stemming from 2006.

The court ordered the Hawaii State Ethics Commission to dismiss the case that its former executive director, Les Kondo, brought against Boyd.

The justices determined there were two conflicting state statutes governing standards of conduct involving conflicts of interest for charter school employees, and that Boyd was exempt because of this inconsistency….

read … Ethics

Prison Guard Facing Six Counts of Lesbian Rape

SA: A female correctional officer is being investigated by the Honolulu Police Department and the Department of Public Safety for multiple sex assaults on an inmate at the Women’s Community Correctional Facility last October.

The 36-year-old female guard, who has been with the Department of Public Safety since 2004, was arrested Monday on five counts of second-degree sex assault and one count of third-degree sex assault.

The alleged attacks were reported by a 31-year-old female inmate who said the assaults occurred between Oct. 2-25 at the Kailua woman’s prison….

The suspect was temporarily assigned to the Halawa Correctional Facility in November, prison officials reported….

read … Lesbian Rape

GOP CONVENTION COVERAGE

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