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Sunday, January 29, 2023
January 29, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:20 PM :: 3257 Views

What’s In the Governor’s Bill Package

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted January 28, 2023

Green Signs Homeless Emergency Proclamation--Amends it Three Days Later

Evidence says offshore wind development is killing lots of whales

SB1: Abortion Expansion Bill Scheduled for Hearing

Corruption?  The conference room at the Capitol erupts in laughter

CB: … In early March 2020 I hosted a Civil Cafe at the Hawaii State Capitol. Nearing the one-hour mark and with just 15 minutes remaining, I asked a series of lightning-round questions from readers that began with this one: “Is the Legislature as a whole acting from a place of integrity?”

The answer, from Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English, came immediately: “Yes. Next question.”

The conference room at the Capitol erupted in laughter, with me joining in.

“Absolutely,” House Speaker Scott Saiki quickly chimed in….

In late April 2021 English himself suddenly retired from the Senate, citing lingering effects after he became ill with Covid the previous November.

And in February 2022 — not even a year ago — English and then House Finance Vice Chair Ty Cullen admitted they accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to promote or kill legislation favorable to a contractor….

Last week, at another Civil Cafe at the Capitol in the very same conference room, a question from a reader was posed to Saiki and Senate President Ron Kouchi: “When is the systematic corruption in Hawaii government going to be addressed?”

This time the audience started laughing before the answers were provided.

Saiki asked Kouchi if he wanted to answer first. Kouchi responded by saying, “That’s your commission.”

(Translation: The Senate will kill any bill you want to have pass the House, so feel free to pander relentlessly since you are subject to close primary races, Scott.)

Saiki then proceeded to explain the origins of the commission. He explained that House Judiciary Chair David Tarnas would likely take the lead on the measures, which are 28 bills and three resolutions.

(Translation: DOA.)

But Saiki also noted that “there was some opposition from members of the public” (crooks) to what the commission considered and that “there were some recommendations” the commission voted not to include in its final report. As Saiki pointed out, commission members were not unanimous on all matters discussed. 

(Translation: DOA.)

“So we’ll see how the hearings go this year,” said Saiki…

(Translation: DOA.)

SA Column: Prioritize integrity, openness, ethics

read … Are House And Senate Leaders Taking Ethics Reform Seriously?

Truth in Taxation: Honolulu Homeowners Are Shocked At New Property Tax Bills. Here’s Something That Could Help

CB: … Tupola was a Hawaii state representative trying to learn more about government fiscal policies at a national conference for state legislators held the Utah State Capitol. One presentation focused on Utah’s “Truth-in-Taxation” statute.

The law is based on the premise that property taxes shouldn’t increase automatically simply because property values rise due to a hot housing market. Instead, tax bills for homeowners generally remain steady unless elected officials explicitly raise the taxes, even if property values skyrocket. 

Fast forward to 2023, and spiking property taxes is suddenly a big issue for Tupola, now a member of the Honolulu City Council. She and her City Council colleagues are considering how to tweak Oahu’s property tax ordinances to address a storm of criticism from homeowners facing soaring tax bills….

Sandy, UT: Utah Law requires that property tax rates automatically adjust when property values increase or decrease so the amount of money the City of Sandy receives is the same from year to year

SA:  Politicos enable high costs that many flee

read … Honolulu Homeowners Are Shocked At New Property Tax Bills. Here’s Something That Could Help

The implication that batteries are going to be the source of backup for lack of sunlight on Oahu is simply wrong

SA Column: … It’s not as simple as announcing that a new solar farm in Waiawa has begun operations, as reported in a Jan. 16 article (“New solar farm in Waiawa now operational,” Star-Advertiser). The implication that batteries are going to be the source of backup for lack of sunlight on Oahu is simply wrong. That is not the purpose of battery storage, and more batteries are not a backup solution.

Hawaiian Electric has said as much, and is soliciting proposals for “spinning machines” — generators — to provide dependable renewable backup to solar. That’s a technical requirement to overcome issues with the grid when power is supplied by variable sources like solar or batteries.

The “spinning machine” renewable fuels most prominently mentioned are biofuels. Hydrogen — next on the list, and despite support for it — would require transition on a scale of production as yet unconceived. Though elegant, it’s also not so simple.

For a utility, biofuel means biodiesel — and engines don’t run on 100% biodiesel. It is blended 20% biodiesel plus 80% regular diesel fuel. There is no known technology for utilities to reliably use 100% biodiesel to back up peak demand. It is produced locally by collecting and refining waste cooking oils, but the amount is inconsequential compared to Oahu’s requirements….

The assumption that Oahu can keep the lights on with spinning-machine biofuels when solar power is down, is simply unrealistic. The 22 years, from now to 2045 for the 100% renewable energy mandate, will go fast….

(Translation: Green energy is a lie.)

read … Dependable renewable energy is the conundrum

Suspending laws is a recurring tactic in Hawaii to shelter homeless

SA: … The emergency order focused on homelessness allows Green to bypass more than two dozen state laws in areas that include contract procurement, land use and environmental review in order to speed efforts to shelter people living on sidewalks, in beach parks and other places not fit for human habitation.

(Translation: The laws are designed to keep the homeless homeless.)

Green’s predecessor and fellow Democrat, David Ige, issued at least two similar emergency orders, each spanning about a year, including extensions, during his eight years as governor while Green was lieutenant governor. Roughly a decade before that, Republican Gov. Linda Lingle used an emergency proclamation that stretched three years for the same purpose….

Green’s move also follows two legislative sessions in which lawmakers introduced and debated bills to curb a governor’s emergency power amid concern over the duration and effectiveness of Ige proclamations dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

None of those bills passed. Another one, House Bill 1400, has been introduced this year and would allow lawmakers to terminate a proclamation by resolution.

read … Suspending laws is a recurring tactic in Hawaii to shelter homeless

Kakaako Makai: OHA Still Looking for a Re-Do

SA column: … In 2005, Alexander & Baldwin proposed a “once in a lifetime” development in Kakaako Makai on 36.5 acres of mostly publicly owned oceanfront land. The plan included 950 residential units in three 20-story towers, retail and dining spaces, and an amphitheater. The proposal met with strong public opposition, and in 2006 the Hawaii Legislature passed a law prohibiting residential development in Kakaako Makai. That law, Hawaii Revised Statute 206E-31.5(2) prohibits any residential development makai of Ala Moana Boulevard between Kewalo Basin and the Foreign Trade Zone.

To resolve a dispute dating back to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ (OHA) formation, and to help satisfy past ceded land payments, then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie offered Kakaako Makai to OHA in 2012. Knowing that residential development was prohibited in this area by state law, OHA accepted the land….

read … Retain Kakaako Makai land-use law

Buying erosion sites: Enviros Reward their Rich Friends

SA: … the buyouts proposed by Lee and Fletcher set a dangerous precedent, despite their protestations to the contrary.

They propose to spend an amount almost equal to the annual budget of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources — the agency responsible for most of our shoreline — to protect a mere 0.27 miles of our approximately 730 miles of coastline.

As proposed, their buyouts would encourage speculative real estate investment….

read … Buying erosion sites is a bad precedent

The legal odds appear stacked against any request to move the Miske trial

ILind: … Monday, January 30, is the deadline that has been set for Mike Miske or any of his co-defendants to seek a change of venue so that the trial can be moved to a different location….

read … The legal odds appear stacked against any request to move the Miske trial

Our lawmakers look for respect in all the wrong places

Shapiro: … The 2023 Legislature convened with its doors open to the public after two years of lockdown, and announced it’ll phase into a “hybrid environment.” It’s a combination of an auction and a zoo….

The Hawaii Senate has only two Republicans, Kurt Fevella and Brenton Awa, but they’re fighting already over who should be leader. They’re efficient, at least; in the U.S. House it took 222 Republicans to create an embarrassing leadership standoff….

Green ordered his staff to come up with “a better proposal” for a new prison, saying, “I think people should only really be in prison for violent crimes, with very few other exceptions.” He’ll put serial burglars in the House, car thieves in the Senate and vandals in his Cabinet….

read … Our lawmakers look for respect in all the wrong places

Prince Kuhio Made Pearl Harbor ‘The Nation’s Chief Pacific Outpost’

CB: … As early as 1907, more than three decades before the pivotal events that catapulted the United States into World War II, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole believed Hawaii was in serious danger of attack by Japan and that the islands were being left defenseless.

While the United States had pushed for possession of Pearl Harbor ever since the time of King David Kalakaua, the Americans had never done anything to fortify the harbor or convert it into a usable Navy base. In Kuhio’s opinion, U.S. indecision and penny-pinching short-sightedness were jeopardizing Hawaii.

For Kuhio, schooled in military tactics from his youth at St. Matthews Hall and a veteran who had seen first-hand the brutality of battle during the Boer War in South Africa, it was not a question of whether an attack would occur, but when.

The prince became an ardent advocate of building up Pearl Harbor, pushing his fellow lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to appropriate money for the work and later engaging in a nationwide letter-writing campaign to build support when the effort appeared to be failing….

read … How Pearl Harbor Became ‘The Nation’s Chief Pacific Outpost’

Legislative Agenda: 

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