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Thursday, June 24, 2021
June 24, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:28 PM :: 3001 Views

Ige's intent-to-veto list praised for being 'fiscally responsible'

Hawaiian Electric to auto-enroll past due accounts in 12-month payment plan to avoid disconnection

How High Are Wine Taxes in Your State?

Retired Hilo police detective avoids jail time for Assaulting Councilwoman

HTH: … Third Circuit Chief Judge Robert Kim dismissed charges of second-degree assault, a Class C felony, and misdemeanor domestic abuse charges against Ian Lee Loy.

(Lee Loy was a key witness in a gambling and police corruption case—all charges dismissed—and this is what happened to the witness.)

The assault charge — the most serious faced by Lee Loy — was dismissed on June 8, and the abuse charges were dismissed April 9, according to court records.

The charges were dropped in exchange for no contest pleas entered on Dec. 30 to third-degree assault in connection with a May 25, 2020, domestic incident in which the victim was Lee Loy’s wife, County Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, and to misdemeanor harassment for a July 25, 2019, assault on Neal Tanaka, the county Building Division’s acting deputy chief….

Kim sentenced Ian Lee Loy to six months in jail, but suspended the jail term.

The judge also granted Lee Loy a deferred acceptance of the no contest pleas for a year, which means the convictions will be expunged from Lee Loy’s criminal record if he stays out of trouble with the law for a year….

In the domestic incident, which occurred on Memorial Day 2020, a former police spokesman said Ian Lee Loy “threw (an) object and caused bleeding on hip and left arm” of his wife (Councilmember Susan “Sue” L.K. Lee Loy), and the altercation took place in the couple’s Panaewa home….

read … Retired Hilo police detective avoids jail time in assault cases

Ige: Lack Of Public Input Is Driving Concerns Over Bills — And Possible Vetoes

CB: … When Gov. David Ige announced Monday he plans to veto 28 bills approved by the Legislature this year, he aimed some extra criticism at a number of measures he said lawmakers passed without giving the public enough opportunity to provide input.

The highest-profile example is House Bill 613, which directs the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal pandemic relief funding for education. Among other things, that bill awards bonuses of $2,200 to full- and part-time public school teachers.

In a message warning that he intends to veto the measure, Ige said it violates federal guidance on how to distribute the relief money.

That spending plan for the federal money was also developed during conference committee negotiations between the House and Senate at the end of session that were not held in public, so “it is unclear whether any meaningful community consultation occurred,” Ige wrote.

“This lack of a transparent and open consultation process further puts the state and Department of Education at risk of being in violation of federal guidance,” Ige wrote.

Ige also cited other examples where he said the Legislature bypassed the public input component of lawmaking during conference committee.

Significant last-minute amendments to another bill to create a new community development district on Maui “did not allow for public input,” Ige declared in another intent-to-veto message.

Still another measure to create a board to oversee development around public transit stations was also significantly amended during conference committee, “thereby denying public input,” according to Ige.

The public also had no opportunity to comment on much of the content of House Bill 1296, which would repeal the Tobacco Control and Prevention Trust Fund and transfer millions of dollars from that fund to the state general treasury, Ige wrote….

“I can’t ever recall a session that had so many of those kinds of things where … the final draft had really very, very different language,” Ige said of the bills that emerged from conference committee this year….

BB: Hawaii governor's blizzard of vetoes would leave budget holes

SA Editorial: Department of Education spending bill misaligns priorities

read … Ige: Lack Of Public Input Is Driving Concerns Over Bills — And Possible Vetoes

Hawaii’s economic activity is 13 percent below where it was in January 2020

P: … The uneven nature of the recovery partly reflects the diversity of state economies. States like New York, California, Hawaii and Nevada that rely heavily on tourism, as well as food and accommodations, are some of the deepest in the economic hole and have the longest way to go, according to the Federal Reserve’s April State Coincident Index, which estimates economic conditions based on local employment and wage data matched to states’ GDP trends.

As of April, Hawaii’s economic activity is 13 percent below where it was in January 2020, according to the index. Activity in Nevada and New York is also still down near 10 percent compared to before the pandemic. Florida, down just 1 percent, is doing better….

states that still have some coronavirus restrictions in place, including California, Connecticut and Hawaii, saw the highest rates of unemployment in the country in May…

read … Red states lead economic recovery, giving GOP ammo against Biden’s spending plans

Kauai County tapping into reserves to cover TAT

TGI: … Since March 2020, the county has tapped into at least 40% of its reserve fund.

Since the onslaught of the pandemic until now, the state has withheld the county’s share of the Transient Accommodation Tax, which is usually about $14.9 million per year for Kaua‘i. And since last March, that’s amounted to a $17.4 million hole the county has had to plug.

As of June 30, 2020, the county had about $50 million in the reserve fund balance, according to officials…

During this current FY21, the county allocated funds from the reserve to fully cover the money it typically gets from the state in hotel tax funds.

Earlier this month, the Kaua‘i County Council passed the fiscal year 2022 budget, which runs from July 1 to June 30, 2022, which also tapped into the reserve for another $14.9 million in anticipation that the state will continue to withhold that money.

Combined, that’s $29.8 million….

read … County tapping into reserves to cover TAT

UH Study: Global Warming Consensus Proves Rail will be Flooded as Soon as it is Built

SA: … Hawaii and other U.S. coastal regions will experience an accelerating number of high-tide flooding days starting in the mid-2030s, according to a newly published study.

(NOTE: HART’s latest projection is that Rail will be finished to Ala Moana in 2031)

Led by University of Hawaii at Manoa and appearing this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, the study found that the twin effects of sea level rise and natural fluctuations in the tides will lead to the growing frequency of coastal flooding over a nearly 10-year period.

Not only will many more coastal areas experience flooding at high tide, there will be times when the flooding comes in clusters that will make for severe weeks or possibly months, according to the study.

“The change over that decade will be drastic,” said lead author Phil Thompson, director of the UH Sea Level Center and assistant professor of oceanography.

(REMEMBER: There is consensus.  We ALL BELIEVE THIS.  But you cannot build rail and believe this at the same time, therefore HART is made up of Global Warming Deniers)

The research, largely funded by the NASA Sea Level Change Team, is an extension of a scientific paper that Thompson wrote in 2019 featuring a novel statistical model to project future flooding days for Honolulu while figuring in tidal range and sea-level projections.

(HART Rail Stations at sea level: Lagoon, Middle Street and everything from Chinatown to Ala Moana Mall)

read … High-tide coastal flooding in Hawaii and other U.S. coastal regions to accelerate

Honolulu Police commission questions HPD's status of investigations into recent police shootings

KITV: … The Honolulu Police Commission met today and after hearing public testimony, discussed forming a community advisory committee to help find a replacement for Police Chief Susan Ballard.

The matter will be further discussed at their next meeting in July.

The commission also heard from interim Police Chief Roddy Vanic, who was asked about the internal investigations being performed over the fatal officer involved shooting of Iremamber Sykap.

"We see internally if there is any criminal action that was occurring involving any  of our employees our  methods of investigation or from an administrative standpoint, our policies and our training on any of our procedures that occurred during the incident to make sure that everything was followed, so those are the different types of investigations that are currently ongoing," Vanic said….

SA: Protesters demand investigations into more than 30 alleged killings by Honolulu police officers

CB: Some commissioners said they’re in favor of community input while reviewing police chief candidates, but they don’t want to take hiring recommendations from anyone.

read … Honolulu Police commission questions HPD's status of investigations into recent police shootings

This North Shore Community Has Had Enough Of Towering Wind Turbines

CB: … a phalanx of a dozen white wind turbines towered on the verdant lands of Oahu’s North Shore. Closer by were two clusters of four windmills each, which make up AES Corp.’s Na Pua Makani project.

Each windmill is as tall as a 40-story building, including several towering over the school. At 568-feet high with blades the wingspan of a passenger jet, the biggest is only about 1,800 feet from the school.

The tiny, rural town of Kahuku, perhaps best known for its stellar high school football team and roadside shrimp trucks, is nearly surrounded by windmills.

Unga, who has three kids attending the school, outlined the concerns she and many other residents have: chiefly about noise, flickering shadows, and safety risks of a blade falling off — which happened on Maui — that combine to make the wind farms a nuisance to many residents….

In a move that could have significant implications for where wind farms are located on Oahu, the Honolulu City Council is considering three bills that would increase the distance that large wind turbines must be set back from other properties. One requires larger windmills to be set back at least 1.25 miles from residential properties; another at least 1,500 feet or twice the system’s height, whichever is greater, from all property lines; and the third at least 5 miles from all property lines….

read … This North Shore Community Has Had Enough Of Towering Wind Turbines

Dillingham Airfield future still up in the air with eviction date pushed to December

KHON: … The eviction date for Dillingham Airfield tenants has been pushed back another six months as lease negotiations continue between the U.S. Army and the Department of Transportation Airports Division (DOTA). Those in favor of saving the airfield said it creates opportunities for Hawaii to diversify its economy. It’s also the number one drop zone in the world.

The future of Dillingham Airfield is still up in the air….

The good news is the June 30 eviction date for tenants was pushed back to December 31. However, the lease issue hasn’t been resolved….

read … Dillingham Airfield future still up in the air with eviction date pushed to December

Guam launches vaccine tourism program to jump-start industry

AP: … The “Air V&V” program is aimed at jump-starting Guam’s tourism industry which has suffered from a decline in travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 vaccination rates in places like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have been low compared to the U.S. territory, where vaccines are easily available.

The program requires participants to pay for their quarantine hotel stay, up to a week, during which they will receive a vaccine shot on the second day. Depending on which vaccine they choose, visitors could be on island for as little as three days, or more than a month.

If they test negative at the end of their hotel quarantine, they would be allowed to leave their hotel room and enjoy the island like any other traveler.

read … Guam launches vaccine tourism program to jump-start industry

Hawaiian Kingdom Poll Tax Abolished in 1943

ILind: … The poll tax, which swallowed up the formerly separate road and school taxes, dates back to the feudal days of the Kingdom. Many are the stories of the pilikia poor Hawaiians had in finding the few dollars to pay it in the earliest years. The poll tax was levied on every adult male regardless of his income, and as one expert says, it “offends every standard of good taxation.” Still, it accounted for one-eighth of Hawaii’s revenues in 1902. It had fallen to be a mere nuisance tax, bringing in only 2 per cent, when it was abolished in 1943….

read … Poll Tax

Hawaii Most ‘Collectivism’ in USA

T: …Hawaii, the researchers say, has the highest rating for collectivism in the United States. Hawaii also ranks second in terms of levels of mask use (behind Rhode Island). 

Elsewhere, like in states in the Great Plains or Mountain West, where collectivism scores are lower, there are lower levels of mask wearing. The researchers found this was the case in places like Wyoming, South Dakota, Kansas and Montana. 

This trend was seen in both sets of data. 

As well as collectivism being a strong indicator for mask wearing, so too was political affiliation. The researchers found that Democrats were more likely than Republicans to wear masks. …

read … Cultural Differences Across States Influences Use of Masks in Pandemic

How Being Different Helped Nobel Laureate Find Breakthroughs

IBD: … The journey to Stockholm started when Doudna was seven. Her parents moved the family to Hilo, Hawaii. The move had a profound impact on her. "Growing up as a white girl, a 'haole,' in a small town in Hawaii really made me understand what it feels like to be an outsider, whether it's a cultural outsider (or being an outsider) to another group in some way."

This seemingly negative experience had a positive aftermath. "I think in a kind of interesting way it prepared me for my future career," she said. "In many ways I've had to operate like an outsider, whether as a woman in science or whether it was doing research that wasn't initially in the mainstream."

Walter Isaacson, who has also written biographies of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci, featured Doudna in his "The Code Breaker." All his books point to the fact that in at least one respect, innovators like Doudna share a common trait.

"I was actually fascinated (reading) Walter's books that it's a common theme in the people he has interacted with and interviewed," Doudna said. "Many people who end up doing creative work come from a background where they felt in some way they were working as outsiders." …

read … How Being Different Helped Nobel Laureate Find Breakthroughs

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