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Saturday, April 14, 2018
April 14, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:01 PM :: 3050 Views

Elections: 269 Candidates Pull Papers

State Supreme Court to Hear Molokai Ranch Water Case

Rate Hikes Coming: Bill to change Hawaiian Electric's business model lands on Ige's desk

PBN: A bill that would change Hawaiian Electric Co.'s century-old business model is awaiting Hawaii Gov. David Ige's signature.  (Translation: More rate hikes.)

Senate Bill 2939, which reached the governor's desk earlier this week, would require the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to create a framework that directly ties the utility's revenues to its achievement on (green energy scammer focused) customer-focused performance metrics.

"Currently, utilities aren't directly rewarded for reducing customer bills, adding renewable energy (at 21 cents per kwh) , or increasing the resiliency of the system (batteries from Elon Musk)," Melissa Miyashiro, chief of staff at Honolulu-based nonprofit Blue Planet Foundation (representing money hungry Silicon Valley billionaires), said in a statement. "Without such a policy to do so, Hawaii will continue to have a misaligned incentive system where the utility makes more by spending more (instead of transferring that money to Silicon Valley)."

The Hawaii Ratepayer Protection Act, which was introduced by Sen. Stanley Chang (campaign contributions from green energy scammers will be forthcoming), lays out a number of performance metrics that the PUC should consider in establishing its framework, including the affordability of electric rates and customer electric bills  (translation if they force us to use less they can justify charging more per kwh); service reliability (batteries); customer satisfaction (LOL!); customer options (batteries, solar panels); data availability (needed to integrate irregular garbage electricity from wind and solar); integration of renewables (See! Told you!); and timely execution of competitive project procurement (Translation: Quicker delivery of bags of money to Silicon Valley billionaires.)….

Miyashiro added. "By signing this bill, the governor would align the financial interests of utility shareholders with the interests of ratepayers and the state’s clean energy goals."…

Hawaiian Electric, which would be directly affected by the bill, opposes the measure, calling it "potentially too prescriptive and overbroad."

"The utility should bear risk from factors that are within management control but should not bear the risk from factors that are outside its control," Kevin Kasura, assistant deputy general counsel, HECO, said in his written statement. "As drafted, this bill does not establish a framework of principles that should anchor the development of specific incentives.

"Such a framework would make the Company subject to penalties and rewards for factors outside of its control and potentially expose the Company and ultimately its customers to higher levels of risk that could affect the Company’s financial state, its ability to invest in electrical and renewable infrastructure and the provision of reliable service," he added.

(Translation: We wanted to sell out to NextEra—now you want us to give the company away to Elon Musk for free.)

Gov. Ige has until April 25 to sign the bill, veto it or or let it become law without his signature….

read … Bill to change Hawaiian Electric's business model lands on Ige's desk

Another $64M for Rail: Caldwell Allows Developer to go forward thus Jacking Up Price

HNN: Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is asking for $64 million to purchase the land for a massive housing and bus transit center near Ala Moana Center.

Korean developer Sam Koo wants to build a 400-foot tall condo complex on the former car lot on Kapiolani Boulevard near Keeaumoku Street. The project, which has been ten years in the planning, will include nearly 300 affordable units.

But the mayor said the city needs a large bus transit center next to Ala Moana to connect to the final station on the rail line….

Council members and real estate experts said the mayor's idea should have been brought up years ago. (No kidding.)

"It would have cost tremendously less if they had appraised and condemned these things a long time ago," real estate expert Ricky Cassiday said. (Yes.  Maybe $60M less.)

On Thursday, the council rejected the city's request for the $64 million….

(Really obvious question: Who is getting paid off for this scam?)

read … Rail Debacle

Despite opposition, state moves forward with DTL plan to transform Hawaii's largest boat harbor

HNN: The state Land Board voted Friday to move forward with a plan to ask private developers for their proposals on how to transform Hawaii's largest boat harbor into a world-class marina….

Four state-owned sites on the property are being considered for development, including the current harbormaster's office and adjacent parking lot, the old fuel dock, the former haul out area, and the triangular parking lot used by surfers and beachgoers….

Some boaters say they're also worried a developer with no experience managing harbors may get the job.

"Rather than making it like it used to be, this paradise that it used to be, they're trying to make it into another timeshare. They're trying to take away parking," said resident Kathryn Henski….

After developer Honeybee USA's previous plans for a mixed-used project at the harbor failed in 2016, when financial setbacks led to its lease being terminated, others are questioning whether a private-public partnership is the right decision….

read … Despite opposition, state moves forward with plan to transform Hawaii's largest boat harbor

Hawaii vs Canary Islands: Obstructionists Race to Decide Telescope Location

SA: Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea, is still the preferred site, but the Canary Islands remains a viable alternative, according to the TMT International Observatory Board of Governors, which met in California this week.

“In order to chose a site, we need permits,” said Ed Stone, the organization’s executive director. “We don’t have the permits at either site, so we have no choice but to wait.”

However, with progress being made in the legal and regulatory arenas of both proposed sites, Stone said he is hopeful a decision can be made later this year….

In the Canary Islands, meanwhile, an environmental impact assessment for the TMT on La Palma island has been submitted to the local government. A public review process is expected to continue into the summer. Once the document is accepted, permits for construction and other clearances will be applied for, Stone said.

Stone said that while the TMT does face some opposition in the Canaries, it’s hard to say whether it will lead to any appreciable delay in the governmental review process….

The next meeting of the TMT board of governors is in August. The board meets four times a year….

read … Obstructionists in Control

Governor would review any border duty requests

SA: While a few governors have said they oppose President Donald Trump’s plan to send up to 4,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico, Hawaii Gov. David Ige’s office said he’s taking a wait-and-see approach and that no such request has come in.

Ige spokeswoman Jodi Leong said in an email that the governor “will not speculate at this time.”

“The Hawaii National Guard has supported border security missions in the past under both Republican and Democratic administrations,” Ige, a Democrat, said in a statement Wednesday. “The Guard is currently committed to other deployments. Any additional requests would have to be considered in this context.”

Trump’s request for troops on the border has met with support and opposition even before formal requests have been made.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, tweeted early on that if Trump “asks me to deploy Oregon Guard troops to the Mexico border, I’ll say no.”

Governors normally control National Guard units in their states and in this case can reject a request for troops to be sent to the border under the terms of Trump’s plan, said Hawaii Department of Defense spokesman Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony.

Trump’s April 4 memo says the secretary of defense “shall request” use of National Guard personnel to assist in fulfilling the border mission under Title 32 of U.S. Code, which allows governors to place citizen soldiers in a full-time duty status and retain control over them….

read … Review

Former DoE Asst Sup’t Ray LHeureux Running for Governor as Republican

WHT: …A former assistant superintendent and retired major in the Marine Corps, L’Heureux served as pilot of Marine 1 under four presidents and has lived in Oahu for two decades, spending some of that time working at United States Pacific Command (PACOM).

L’Heureux boiled down his candidacy to three essential priorities — public education, infrastructure and a focus on improving Hawaii’s economy.

Opposed to onerous taxes, his governing theory isn’t to do more with less, but to get more out of what the state already has.

“If I’m going to be taxed in one of the heaviest-taxed states in the country, what am I getting?” he asked.

L’Heureux named the huge pots of money dedicated to education and to health care, which he said can be drastically reduced. He’d begin his term as governor with a fiscal transparency audit to recycle government waste where he could find it.

“I could probably go into the Department of Education tomorrow and just find $20 million sitting on a shelf somewhere for an unused program,” L’Heureux said.

As for his views on how he’ll fare in a largely Democratic state election, L’Heureux was optimistic.

“I think there is a message we can deliver that will resonate and transcend parties,” he said….

LINK: Campaign Website

2017: Pearl Harbor nonprofit CEO leaves organization

read … Republican candidates for state office stump in Kona

Honolulu City Councilman to propose bill requiring periodic building inspections

HNN: …Lance Luke, a construction engineer, took a look at the Kalihi apartment building and says he noticed "unsafe conditions," as well additional areas in building that are desperate need of repair.

"The responsibility falls on the building owner in every single case, not on the city building department. It's either the building owner or the management company that should be responsible for maintaining the property," Luke said. "And it doesn't look like anybody has checked it in years."

According to Manahan, current city inspections are "complaint-driven" and there is also no process in place for mandatory periodic inspections, which is why he plans to propose a bill that would change that.

"I think perhaps after a building reaches a certain age that there be requirement to do periodic inspections or periodic approval of a permit, especially if they're going to be occupied," Manahan said.

As the city goes through the budget process, Manahan says he'd also like to push for more money for additional building inspectors for the Department of Planning and Permitting.

"There are too many buildings across Hawaii that are falling apart and not just apartment buildings.. it could be condominium buildings, office buildings and shopping centers," Luke added.

Luke says a similar bill requiring mandatory inspections was introduced after the 2016 Ala Moana railing incident, but was deferred….

Meanwhile building permits take how long to be issued?

read … Honolulu City Councilman to propose bill requiring periodic building inspections

Foam container ban bill fails to pass—90 Jobs Saved from Screaming Mob of Hysterical Environmentalists

SA: …Despite overwhelming support from environmental groups and eco-friendly businesses (exploiting hype for profit), lawmakers have tabled bills that would have banned foam containers and plastic straws statewide, citing concerns about hurting the local manufacturing industry.

Senate Bill 2498 proposed banning the sale and use of polystyrene foam containers. The bill advanced through the state Senate but stalled after crossing over to the House. The House Finance Committee chose not to hear the bill….

KYD Inc. is the only company producing foam products in Hawaii. The company — which employs 90 workers along with its sister company Hawaii’s Finest Products LLC — opposed the bill earlier in the session, calling a ban “discriminatory” and questioning the environmental benefits.

“We need to take a step back and figure out what is the impact and how does the Legislature justify putting a lot of people out of jobs without taking a look at what other alternatives, what is going to be the cost to businesses,” Luke said. “And when you talk about Styrofoam, it is people’s individual responsibility to take care of trash. Does that outweigh the Legislature’s move to put a bunch of residents out of work?”

Luke said when more people realized the economic impact of the ban, the ban became “more shocking and devastating.” …

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 2285, which proposed a ban on plastic straws, stalled before the Senate Judiciary and Ways and Means committees….

read … Good News

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