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Saturday, February 23, 2019
February 23, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:52 PM :: 4507 Views

Impeach Kaneshiro: Yoshimura Pushes Back Against McCorriston tactics

House Finance Committee Passes Dozens of Bills

UH: Tuition Hikes Set for Next Year After Regents Reject Freeze

$350M GE Tax Hike on the Move

KHON: …A new bill is moving through the senate to fund schools just four months after the Con Am was shut down by the Hawaii Supreme Court.

The proposal would increase the GET by half of one percent.

"I threw in the bill to try to provide at least some alternative way to help our public schools," said Senator Brian Taniguchi.

Taniguchi said that the tax could generate up to $350 million.

One of the biggest concerns with this proposal by those opposed to it is that there is still no way of knowing exactly where the money will go.

"That's why in the bill it sets aside at least $200 million to go towards education and another $50 million for higher education," explained Taniguchi.

But what about the other 100 million?

"The general excise tax is so broad that it will be another way to help fund things like the homeless and stuff like that, but primarily it would set aside for education," said Taniguchi.

The Sherry Menor-McNamara, President of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii said this is not the answer.

"Obviously public education is very important to all of us, but we believe this vehicle is not the right solution...raising the GET will further increase the cost of living, cost of doing business. And every consumer, every person in Hawaii, would be impacted by the increase in the GET," said Menor-McNamara. …

The Senate Ways and Means Committee will hear the bill by next Thursday to determine if it will move on to the House….

read … Higher taxes to pay for education?

House bill to increase Hawaii's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 passed finance committee

KITV: … The bill allows lower minimum wage for employees who get prepaid healthcare provided by their employer….

"Most of our staff receives tip. With that tip, up to $25 or more an hour, which is definitely more than the proposed minimum wage increase... I think we need to look at the ripple effect down the line as a result of this bill," Bo Tanaka, corporate general manager, Tanaka of Tokyo, said.

The bill allows lower minimum wage for employees who get prepaid healthcare provided by their employer, which would be $12.50 an hour in 2024 instead of $15. … (Thus the new minimum wage does not impinge upon the State’s labor agreements.)

HNN: Proposals to raise Hawaii's minimum wage to $15 an hour move ahead at the capitol

read … House bill to increase Hawaii's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 passed finance committee

Man shot by deputy sheriff at Capitol Weighed 102 lbs and was physically disabled

SA: … The 28-year-old Kalihi man shot and killed by a deputy sheriff Monday night at the state Capitol was small in stature, disabled and walked with a limp.

Eugene Espejo said both of his brother Delmar’s feet were twisted at birth and that from the knees down, his legs were like poles with “no meat or muscle.” Delmar Espejo underwent two or three surgeries at Shriners Hospital when he was a child, and it was painful for him to stand, Eugene Espejo said.

Delmar Espejo weighed 102 pounds and stood 5 feet 3 inches tall, court records show….

Eugene Espejo said until recently his brother had been living with his mother, her boyfriend and an older brother in the family’s Kalihi home. After a family misunderstanding a month or two ago, Delmar Espejo moved out, but his mother continued to feed him and gave him clothes to wear, Eugene Espejo said.

Delmar Espejo was convicted in 2012 of possessing liquor in a public place, and in 2009 of driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Both offenses are petty misdemeanors.

Monday’s shooting was the first of three officer-involved shootings this week on Oahu, which brings the total this year to four.

It is the fourth deputy sheriff-involved shooting since 2005 , a Public Safety official said in a written response to questions.

The alarming number, just in the second month of 2019, is putting Oahu on a pace to surpass 2018’s 11 officer-involved shootings on Oahu….

PDF: Delmar Espejo Criminal Transcript

read … Man shot by deputy sheriff at Capitol was disabled, brother says

Maui County Prosecutor Ousted

MN: … Molina, chairman of the committee that vetted the directors, tried one last time to convince the council to go into executive session with (Prosecutorial nominee and incumbent John) Kim to discuss legal and personnel matters that the nominee could not discuss in open session. Molina said he wanted to give Kim the right to argue his case “so all of us get the full story, and we can walk away from this process saying we made a fully informed decision.”

“I would prefer that our vetting process not be perceived as being under a dark cloud of political and prejudiced decision making,” Molina said.

King was opposed and said that “the dark cloud was created by a very angry, aggressive, disrespectful team that works in the prosecuting attorney’s office.” She said she felt like she’d heard both sides of the story and was concerned that the people who were making the claims against Kim wouldn’t be able to defend themselves in executive session.

Molina’s motion failed, and council members later voted down Kim 5-4, with Kama, King, Paltin, Rawlins-Fernandez and Sinenci on the prevailing side.

Kim later said that he was “disturbed” by King’s statement about the deputy prosecutors, saying they were “aggressive and fair-minded.” He said council members raised concerns that couldn’t be discussed in open session.

“Yet these members chose to not hear any reasonable explanations for the issues they raised by turning a deaf ear to listen to any reasonable answers,”Kim said. “What happened to being fair and listening to both sides before judging? When someone refuses to listen to both sides that equals prejudgment. Minds already made up will not give in to reason and common sense.

“I am afraid that is what some of these council members have shown as their true colors.”…

read … County Council votes down three director nominees

9th Circuit Reverses Dismissal: Kauai Warden to Face Trial for Political Incorrectness

KGI: A former social worker will get a new trial after losing a two-year-long court battle in which she alleged the warden of Kauai Community Correctional Center fired her after she reported him for allegedly subjecting female inmates to psychological humiliation and abuse.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday issued a remand for a new trial in a 2014 lawsuit, reversing a district court decision dismissing Carolyn Ritchie’s claims against the state Department of Public Safety and KCCC warden Neal Wagatsuma.

Wagatsuma took the stand in the trial and admitted to subjecting prisoners to a program he called “shame therapy,” in which he showed inmates movies depicting extreme violence and rape and yelled gender-specific derogatory obscenities at female prisoners during group-therapy sessions he conducted.

Following a 16-day trial and a week of deliberations in late-2016, a federal jury reached a unanimous verdict in favor of the defendants, dismissing Ritchie’s claims on the grounds that her First Amendment rights weren’t violated because she was not acting as a private citizen when she made internal reports regarding Wagatsuma’s conduct.

Ninth Circuit judges overturned that decision Tuesday, ruling that a jury “could have reasonably concluded that Ritchie spoke as a private citizen when she made complaints to her supervisor and others” in the public safety department….

(Translation: The Warden is not politically correct and he must be burned at the stake for his heresies.)

read … Lords of Political Correctness

Decision on Ala Wai flood control project bill is delayed

SA: … The Senate Committee on Ways and Means postponed making a decision on a bill Friday that would allocate state matching funds for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to lessen flood risks at the Ala Wai Canal….

Congress already has appropriated $345 million for construction. However, to move the project forward, the corps must get the state, the city or both entities to agree to become project partners. It also needs matching funds. Gov. David Ige’s budget seeks $125 million to meet a federal cost-share requirement. But it’s still unclear whether state lawmakers will approve Ige’s request.

House Finance Committee Chairwoman Sylvia Luke previously stated that the Ala Wai flood control project is a Honolulu city works project, and has questioned whether the state should pay for what amounts to about 10 percent of its capital improvements budget….

SB77: Text, Status

read … Decision on Ala Wai flood control project bill is delayed

California rail drama doesn’t raise fears about HART project

SA: … Andrew Robbins, CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, said the Honolulu rail project is in an entirely different situation. Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, agreed. O’Toole is a transportation expert and author of the book “Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need.”

California’s high-speed rail line needs many billions of dollars in additional funding commitments if it is to ever be completed, and the source of that money has not yet been identified.

But the Honolulu rail project is fully funded, with a cash flow adequate to pay for the entire project provided the budget stays at $9.2 billion. The Hawaii project is slated to receive $1.55 billion in federal funding, with the rest provided by a general excise surcharge on Oahu, the state hotel room tax and some city funding.

“The second major differentiator is we have a plan,” Robbins said. “California really didn’t have a full plan, and I think that’s what the governor of California was talking about in his remarks.” Newsom also seemed to indicate he plans to scale down the project, which would deviate from California’s funding agreement with the federal government, Robbins said.

“In our case we’re fully committed to building all the way to Ala Moana so that we don’t have any conflict with the full-funding grant agreement” that the city signed with the Federal Transit Administration in 2012, Robbins said.

O’Toole said he believes Trump is “grandstanding” in the dispute and might not have the authority to take back money from California. When the Obama administration funded the California project, it was explicit in the federal funding agreement that California did not have enough money to complete the entire project, he said.

Honolulu has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, but if the city remains determined to complete the 20-mile project, “then there’s no problem” comparable to the California controversy, O’Toole said.

read … California rail drama doesn’t raise fears about HART project

46-year–old Jones Act Ship Matsonia Hull Cracks Open, Oil Leaks out

ME: … On Thursday, crewmembers aboard the U.S.-flagged boxship Matsonia noticed a sheen around their vessel shortly after mooring at Oakland, and a dive inspection revealed a leaking crack located 15 feet below the waterline. …

Divers contracted to investigate the sheen discovered a fracture in the hull of the ship approximately 15 feet below the waterline, adjacent to a heavy fuel oil tank.

Matsonia's crew carried out an internal transfer of the heavy fuel oil to other fuel tanks throughout the ship on Friday to reduce the potential for more fuel to enter the water. A barge is expected to arrive late Friday night to offload more of her fuel. Once the leaking fuel tank is safe to enter, Coast Guard marine inspectors will inspect the vessel and oversee repairs.

The 46-year-old steamship Matsonia is a Jones Act con/ro active on the Hawaii-California route. She is one of the ten Ponce-class variants built in the 1960s and 1970s by Sun Shipbuilding; after Matsonia's delivery in 1973, the yard would go on to build the similar ro/ros SS El Morro, SS Great Land, SS El Yunque and SS El Faro (launched under different names).

According to the Sun Ship Historical Society, Matsonia is the last of the Sun Ship ro/ros still in service. …

2016: Connecting the dots between Jones Act and EL FARO sinking 

read … Hull Crack Leads to Fuel Leak Aboard U.S. Con/Ro Matsonia

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