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Monday, January 29, 2018
January 29, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:55 PM :: 3481 Views

Grand Theft Aina: OHA Trustees Set to 'Compel LLCs to Submit'

Ethics Complaint: 'Sen DelaCruz Using Office for Personal Gain'

‘Audit The Rail’ in Twilight Zone

SB3090: Mauna Kea Protesters Close in on Big Cash Payoff

HTH: …A bill introduced Wednesday would replace University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Office of Maunakea Management with a new entity, managed by a governor-appointed board. It also would limit the number of telescopes to nine by 2028….

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, D-Oahu, sponsored the legislation, which includes Hawaii Island Sens. Kai Kahele and Lorraine Inouye as co-sponsors. Kahele, who has become (chosen to position himself as) a vocal critic of the university, said he’s been assigned as the bill’s chairman, should it end up in a conference committee at the end of the session….

Kealoha Pisciotta, a critic of the university who follows religious protocol on the mountain, said she has long advocated for a management authority independent of UH, but she can’t support the bill in its current form.

Her main concern is that it doesn’t include “rightholders and stakeholders,” such as Hawaiian cultural or religious practitioners, as members of the board. She said they shouldn’t just be advisers….

“The practitioners and the environmentalists need to participate in this fully,” Pisciotta said….

The bill says appointed members would include the director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and representatives of a statewide business organization, a Hawaii Island business organization and the East-West Center. Additionally, two members would be selected from nominees submitted by Native Hawaiian organizations, and one each appointed by leaders of the House and Senate.

The new entity would be responsible for all management duties, including oversight of commercial tours and road maintenance, and set rules for access.

Under the current draft, which hasn’t been scheduled for a committee hearing, visitors (are inferior beings who) would be required to use a shuttle service to access the summit and pay a fee. Cultural practitioners (are superior beings who) would be exempt from the fee….

Pisciotta, one of the TMT appellants, said she supports another Maunakea bill introduced by Kahele that would require a forensic audit of telescope leases and other activities on the mountain….

Pisciotta wants the audit to see if UH is collecting the revenue it is supposed to get from leases, even if they are only $1, and tour groups.

“If they make money off ceded lands they have to account for it,” she said….  (And we want a cut.)

Kahele said the idea for the audit came out of two meetings about Maunakea recently in Hilo…. (Organized by Kahele)

Pisciotta said about 40 people participated in each session, with about half being petitioners in the recent TMT contested case. Some telescope supporters also participated, as well as other elected officials, she said.

Kahele said the purpose of the meetings, organized via invitation, was to find a consensus on issues affecting Maunakea.  (Translation: This is the real conference committee.  Because all development issues are settled in the courts, I have to obtain the agreement of all the protesters’ lawyers.)  He said those attending agreed there has been mismanagement….  (Translation: Cash flow is determined by management structure.)

Kahele said the audit could extend to educational grants from TMT’s THINK fund.  (Translation: The protesters want this money for themselves.)

He previously oversaw the nonprofit Pa‘a Pono Milolii, which received an educational grant from the fund in 2015. Kahele said he stepped down from the organization.  (Translation: He knows how to shake down the telescope having done it himself.)

read … Who should govern Maunakea?

Coco Palms Grifters Swap Out to Evade Enforcement

KGI: About 80 people gathered at Coco Palms Sunday, expecting to be ejected and possibly arrested from the property.

But no law enforcement officers showed up to enforce the ejectment ordered last week by District Court Judge Michael Soong, after a nearly two-month-long civil trial.

Soong’s ruling ejected co-defendants Noa Mau-Espirito and Kamu “Charles” Hepa from the land. But not their supporters.

Mau-Espirito and Hepa watched from off the site. They didn’t want to get arrested, because they still want to fight for the land they claim is theirs through royal patent and ancestry…..

Those remaining on the property said they will file claims of their own. (Ca-ching!)

They won’t leave, they said….(Until they are paid.)  

SA Jan 30, 2018: “An official request for assistance by the property owner or their representative has not been received by the Sheriff’s Division

HNN: Coco Palms occupation continues nearly a day past deadline to vacate

CB: Hundreds Turn Out To Back Hawaiian Occupiers Of Famed Coco Palms Site

read … 80 gather to protest removal from Coco Palms site, but no law enforcement shows

HB1801 / HB1864: More Tax Credit Millions for Long-Running OTEC Scam

IM: The Hawai`i State House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection heard HB 1801 that would establish a tax credit for researching Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion systems….

The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) Energy Agreement signed by Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) and the State of Hawaii in October 2008 asserted that an OTEC system would be built off O`ahu. (Obviously this hasn’t happened.)…

Makai Ocean Engineering asserts on their web site that Makai has worked on OTEC since 1979 and (with nothing to show except) that “global OTEC investment has surpassed $100 million USD spent or committed to OTEC R&D since 2009”.   (Translation: $100M out of your pocket, suckers!)

HB 1864, authored by Big Island Representatives Evans and Lowen proposes a tax subsidy in the form of a Renewable Energy Technologies Income Tax Credit (RETITC) for ‘researching’ OTEC….  (Ca-Ching!)

read … Hawaii Legislature Considering Subsidizing Ocean Energy Research

Plans proceed for offshore wind farms

SA: …The federal government earlier this month published offshore block maps required to auction off the rights to lease a section of federal waters for offshore wind projects off Oahu.

Additionally, a fourth company has entered the competition for the right to build a floating wind farm, the only technology that would work in Hawaii’s relatively deep coastal waters…..

Meanwhile, the world’s first floating offshore wind farm was activated off the coast of Scotland and is (for) now generating 30 megawatts of power for onshore use (until they inevitably fail).

The primary developer of Hywind Scotland is Statoil ASA, a multinational company from Norway with a subsidiary, Statoil Wind US LLC, that has announced its intention to compete for the right to create a working floating wind farm off Oahu.

State Rep. Chris Lee is now preparing a bill that welcomes offshore wind energy but seeks to establish ground rules and limitations so that they don’t harm cultural resources, communities and other sensitive areas.

“I support renewable technologies that lower costs to the ratepayer in the long run,” said Lee (D, Kailua-Lanikai-Waimanalo), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection. “But we’ve got to let them know there are certain areas that are important to keep pristine and communities protected.”…

The Oahu lease block maps appeared in the Federal Register on Jan. 5, the day after President Donald Trump unveiled his plan to open up America’s coastal waters to offshore oil and gas exploration….

In 2016 two companies brought forward proposals. AW Hawaii Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Danish-­based Alpha Wind Energy, wants to build two projects: an Oahu South project, consisting of 51 floating wind turbines 17 miles south of Diamond Head, and a 51-turbine Oahu Northwest project 12 miles northwest of Kaena Point.

Oregon-based Progression Energy LLC proposes to bring 50 turbines to a site 15 miles off Oahu’s South Shore.

Statoil Wind US said it wants to use an area as large or larger than the areas designated by the two other companies.

A fourth company, as yet unnamed, is being reviewed by the BOEM to determine whether the company is legally, technically and financially qualified to participate in a future lease sale offshore Oahu, Romero said….

Mark Glick, another former head of the state Energy Office, was more cautious. He said the utility has a lot to weigh in regard to offshore wind, including how to balance environmental, technical, cultural and economic concerns.

Ultimately, it’s got to make sense financially, he said.

“You don’t want to walk down a path that is not commercially viable,” said Glick, now a faculty member of the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii Natural Energy Institute.

“You can’t take this for granted,” Glick said. “There’s a lot of due diligence ahead, especially with a limited track record. This kind of utility-scale development requires more review.”

Best Comment: “This is a total boondoggle that can only succeed with massive government subsidies and tax breaks. These projects only enrich the project developers who will walk away with massive profits while saddling consumers with huge rise in their energy costs. A simple question of "how much will it cost ?" is never addressed nor brought up….”

read … Plans proceed for offshore wind farms

WaPo: Hawaii Politics Like Japan

WaPo: …for the moment, the main thing, maybe the only thing, that people back on the mainland know about him is that he’s the governor who forgot his Twitter password on the day his state was shaken by a false warning of an imminent missile attack. Ige learned two minutes after the announcement that the Jan. 13 alert was mistaken, but it took him another 15 petrifying minutes to tweet out: “There is NO missile threat.”…

Ige may be alone in having to answer to a constituency in which every single member confronted the possibility of sudden death. “Who else has had the experience of thinking, ‘I have 10 minutes to live’?”….

Ige will not be helped by reports last week that the still-anonymous “button pusher” who mistakenly sent out the alert is refusing to cooperatein three investigations of what happened….

In no state is the Democratic Party quite so dominant. There is not one Republican in the state Senate , and there are only five in the 51-member House of Representatives….

Bill Dorman, the news director of Hawaii Public Radio, says the state’s political system bears a certain resemblance to Japan’s. The long dominance of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party means that nearly all substantive battles are factional fights within the majority party. That’s what happens here, too….

read … What Hawaii’s governor has learned about the politics of war jitters

Suicide Squad: Hawaii a Top Target to Kill of Expensive Oldsters

PN: …This year, Compassion & Choices’ Callinan identified New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts as its top three target states.

Peg Sandeen, executive director of Death With Dignity National Center, an aid-in-dying advocacy group based in Oregon, cited Hawaii as another top target. Advocates there are “trying to break the logjam in the legislature,” where the state Senate passed a bill in March, she said. Hawaii came close to legalizing the practice in 2000…..

read … Target

Homeless Bills Before Legislature

CB: …HB2014 by Rep. Tom Brower, who chairs the House Housing Committee, would create “homeless villages” of up to 100 “homes” at the Sand Island Recreation Area, Campbell Industrial Park and the state land near the Waianae Boat Harbor.

“The intention is just to create smaller dwellings that people will be willing to stay in,” Brower said. “It could be a shipping container, it could be what we call igloos, but some sort of stationary structure.”

Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim has plans underway to transform vacant land in Kona into a homeless village. A bill would create two sites on the Big Island, each with 25 “homes,” in Hilo and Kona.

In his safe zone bill, House Human Services Committee Chair Rep. John Mizuno referred to the areas as “ohana zones.”

Another measure would allow homeless families to camp on state land in exchange for working on park maintenance.

Yet another offers general guidelines for a safe zone and leaves it up to the Department of Human Services to add details.

Other measures related to homelessness include four bills that would create mobile clinics, or vans that provide medical services to homeless people. Those and other measures aim to curb the frequent use of emergency rooms by some homeless people.

measure that would waive the $10 fee for birth certificates might make things easier for outreach workers who spend a lot of time getting their clients ID cards and birth certificates…..

legislative package doesn’t include bills related to homelessness but his supplemental budget request asks for $15 million to continue running homeless programs at their current level for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The Department of Human Services would spend that money on outreach, rapid re-housing and Housing First, a program aimed at identifying chronically homeless people and quickly moving them into permanent, supportive housing….

(And PHOCUSED wants to know how it can cash in….)

a few measures aim to exploit homelessness to justify tax hikes. Among them:

  • HB1898 – Increases the general excise and use tax by 0.5 percentage point for six years and dedicates revenues to address homelessness.
  • HB2597 – Authorizes transient accommodation brokers to collect taxes from short-term rental operators, with some of the revenue dedicated to homelessness initiatives.
  • HB2012 and SB2700 – allocates funds from the transient accommodation tax to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas.
  • HB1925 – Establishes a three-year pilot project to create a state lottery and dedicate revenues to homelessness issues.

read … Igloos Yes, Tent Cities No

Affordable Housing: Lets Copy the Biggest Failures

CB; Honolulu faces the same soaring housing costs as West Coast cities, such as San Francisco and Seattle. Why shouldn’t we look to what their leaders are trying?   (Answer:  Because they are failures, not successes.)

read … Unaffordable Stupidity

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