LG Candidate Marissa Kerns Urges President Trump to Cancel All Remaining Federal Dollars for Honolulu Rail Project

Editor’s Note:  I know this weblog has not been recently updated. This is the first in what I hope to be a new series of posts as we get closer to the November 6 general election day. Most of this post is from LG candidate Marissa Kerns‘ press release. I have long been an opponent of the rail, so it is good that we restart the blog with this costly issue. Enjoy!

______________________

PRESS RELEASE
September 24, 2018

Media Contact: Marissa Kerns
Marissa Kerns for Lieutenant Governor
Cell: (808) 778-9985
Email: campaign@electmarissa.com

Honolulu, Hawaii — Republican lieutenant governor candidate Marissa Dipasupil Kerns called upon the Trump administration to cancel all remaining federal dollars for the first 20 miles of HART’s 34-mile rail construction project in Honolulu.

In a sternly-worded letter to President Donald Trump, Kerns urged Trump to “direct your administration to cancel all federal funding of the Honolulu rail transit project as set forth in the Full Funding Grant Agreement for this disastrous project between the FTA and the City & County of Honolulu. This is easily the biggest financial scam in Hawaii history. It’s bad enough that it affects Hawaii taxpayers. But I hate to see the nation’s taxpayers get suckered along with us in the Aloha State.”

Citing a steady stream of lies about cost, traffic relief, taxes, affordable housing and even the fare to be charged for riding rail, Kerns says that voters and taxpayers in Hawaii and across the nation have been defrauded by rail proponents.

Kerns zeroed in on the rapidly emerging likelihood that tens of millions or more in property taxes will need to be immediately diverted to the rail construction project in order for the City and HART to satisfy the Federal Transit Administration’s time-sensitive demand for a viable financial plan: “To date, there have been three tax increases for this project, when we were assured that the first tax hike in 2006 would be all the politicians needed from us. Most Hawaii residents are bracing themselves for even more tax hikes to pursue this greedy agenda built on a steady stream of lies. Indeed, even the FTA appears to be helping City leaders to increase the likelihood of grabbing property taxes to fund construction of this useless, make-work rail project.”

Kerns urged President Trump, Transportation Secretary Chao, and FTA Administrator Williams to disbelieve any plan which is received from HART: “And with the most complex parts of the project yet to be built — such as prep work with underground utilities, land acquisition, and the massive construction of miles and miles of rail guideways and rail stations in the most dense parts of the City & County of Honolulu — everyone knows that the costs will continue to skyrocket, long after our city leaders send you and the FTA their newest “plan”. In fact, the federal subsidy of this project used to amount to one-third the total construction cost. Now that one-third is down to a mere 17% of the quickly rising total. By the time this nightmare is over, I feel confident that the $1.55 billion federal subsidy for construction will probably only represent 9% or 10% of the total cost due to the crippling effects of incompetence, gross negligence and corruption at HART.”

In calling for a forensic audit, Kerns predicted that corruption and incompetence revealed through such an audit might warrant prosecution: “All taxpayers deserve to know why the price has tripled and who, if anyone, should go to jail for fraud and other related crimes.”

For Kern’s full letter to President Trump, here is a link: https://goo.gl/Q5Ho9a

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Physician Assisted Suicide Passes House Vote

The Hawaii State House of Representatives passed the Physician Assisted Suicide bill (HB 2703) on a third reading crossover vote. The vote count was 39 in favor and 12 opposed. Representatives Aquino, Cachola, Choy, Cullen, Har, Johanson, Kong, McDermott, Quinlan, Tupola, Ward, and Woodson voted against the bill’s passage.

The bill now advances to the Hawaii State Senate where it is expected to pass. Governor David Ige has indicated he supports killing people though assistance by a doctor.

More from the Honolulu Civil Beat website:

Emotions run high as legislators debate whether the measure grants a “civil right” or sends the wrong message about suicide.

Source: Hawaii House Passes Medical Aid In Dying Bill – Honolulu Civil Beat

The Only Thing That Should Die is This Bill

PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE – KILL THE BILL.

Hawaii State Legislature Update

Once again the Hawaii State Legislature has decided to bring up the issue of Physician  Assisted Suicide. This year the State House of Representatives has introduced HB 2739 which would allow your doctor, with your consent, to kill you with a lethal dose of medication within a six month period of your pending death.

This bill essentially legalizes murder and offers no respect for the sanctity of human life. The  lives of our elderly and sick should not be subjected to such a law. The only thing that needs to be killed is this bill. 

HB 2739 is getting a public hearing this coming Tuesday, February 27 at the State Capitol Auditorium starting at 10:30 A.M. Testimony is now being taken online or at the following online site: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/login/login.aspx

It seems the legislature is no longer taking email testimony. To submit testimony using the above link, one must be a registered user of the State Legislature’s website.

An alternate method is to send testimony in by fax: 808 586-6311 or 800-535-3899.

Committee members can also be reached by going through the respective links below to access their email and other contact information.

House Judiciary Committee

House Committee on Health and Human Services

Here is a link to the hearing notice: Source: Hearing HHS-JUD 02-27-18.

Additional Links:

Focus on the Family: Reasons to Oppose Physician-Assisted Suicide

 

The Election Season is Here

Happy Belated New Year. I hope 2018 has started off well.

You know it is an election year. I got my first election year email by getting this announcement from East Honolulu resident Natalie Iwasa, who is a community activist, mom and accountant with strong opinions on a number of local issues. Once again like in 2014, Ms. Iwasa is running for Honolulu City Council. She made that announcement with an email I received today. It reads as follows:

Aloha Friends,

Natalie Iwasa

Natalie Iwasa

If you are receiving this email, you supported me in my 2014 campaign and I wanted you to have this news before it goes public. Today, I am officially announcing that I am going to run again for City Council in 2018!

Our campaign will humbly begin with a plant sale/fundraiser and then build from there. I really hope that you, your family, and friends will drop by and say hello. Maybe pick up a new plant or two?

We are going to run different type of campaign in 2018, one that revolves around a community service instead of sign waving. That is why we are calling it “Community Changing.” Please watch for the announcements on email or Facebook and help us make Hawaii an even better place to live. While we doing that, I look forward to hearing what your issues and concerns are.

Mahalo nui loa for your continued support.

Natalie Iwasa
Friends of Natalie Iwasa for City Council

I’ve been acquainted with Natalie Iwasa from my days being connected to Small (Smart) Business Hawaii in the 1990s and 2000s. She is good with numbers and is passionate about the things she believes in. She was at one time opposed to the City’s $10 billion rail project but has since softened her approach by calling rail “a done deal”. I have trouble with that as well as her advocacy in legislating people out of their personal, motorized vehicles (cars, trucks, SUVs, etc).

In her latest run for City Council, she is not a candidate in a district in which I reside. If she is still in East Honolulu, then her opponent will be incumbent councilman Trevor Ozawa.

Good luck Natalie. If elected we’ll see how things go. I think you will be fairly responsive to the people in keeping on the straight and narrow while in government service.

Candidates can apply to run for elective office starting this coming Thursday, February 1. It will be an interesting election year (as it usually is) with major seats such as Governor, several State Senate positions and all House seats up for grabs in addition to City Council and other local races. The local race for U.S. Senate and Congress will be of some interest too, especially if the candidates are not the usual, predictable ones that come from the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

We’ll probably blog more about this over the coming weeks and months.

Legislature Votes on Rail Tax Extension & Increase

Saving rail is more important than saving the taxpayers.

This is the conclusion that I have come to at the close of this week’s “special session” in which legislators chose to extend the General Excise Tax surcharge to fund rail by another 3 years to 2030 and levy an increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) charged statewide on all hotel and travel accommodations. The result of the tax increase and extension will be far reaching into peoples’ pocketbooks for years and decades to come.

As I have stated again and again in this blog and other sites previous, RAIL is a gigantic, expensive mistake that should have never happened. Billed as a transportation solution for residents on the west side of Oahu, rail is anything but that. It has turned into a gigantic, fiscal black hole complete with numerous change orders and cost overruns. The once touted $3.5 billion price tag has climbed to at least $10 billion and will probably climb even higher to $12 to $15 billion.

Kaka'ako High Rise Construction

Rail has become a gigantic, expensive development project that will impact taxpayers for decades to come.

Rail has turned out to be a development project for the well connected and financed investment companies that have taken advantage of the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) breaks given by the city to construct high priced glass and concrete condo towers, shopping malls and more. These developments are springing up over prime agriculture lands out in West Oahu (Ho’opili project), replacing low rent and affordable residential and commercial districts in the Pearl City, Salt Lake, Airport, Kalihi, Kaka’ako and Ala Moana areas. Longtime residents who live along the TOD corridors will be negatively impacted with higher property assessments that will lead to higher property taxes.

As a long time resident living near one of the TOD zones at the Ala Moana Center end of the rail line, I have seen a steady increase of my property taxes over the years. With at least a half dozen new glass towers proposed, already under construction or completed in my area, I can only look forward to a dramatic property tax increase that may price me out of my own home. Sad huh? This does not include a possible, dedicated property tax increase to pay for the remainder of rail itself as threatened by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

I hate the rail for these reasons and many more. I wish it were never built.

— Melvin Ah Ching, Editor & Publisher, Hawaii Political Platter

Legislative History of SB4 | Special Session 2017

Special Session
SB4  
Measure Title: RELATING TO GOVERNMENT.
Report Title: County Surcharge on State Tax; Extension; Transient Accommodations Tax; Appropriations
Description: Authorizes a county that has adopted a surcharge on state tax to extend the surcharge to 12/31/2030. Authorizes a county to adopt a surcharge on state tax before 3/31/2018, under certain conditions. Decreases from 10% to 1% the surcharge gross proceeds retained by the State. Allows the director of finance to pay revenues derived from the county surcharge under certain conditions. Clarifies uses of surcharge revenues. Establishes a mass transit… (See bill for full description.)
Companion:
Package:
Current Referral: TRN/FIN
Introducer(s): KOUCHI (Introduced by request of another party)
Sort by Date Status Text
8/25/2017 S Pending Introduction.
8/25/2017 S The committee on WAM has scheduled a public hearing on 08-28-17 3:00pm in the Capitol Auditorium.
8/28/2017 S Introduced.
8/28/2017 S Passed First Reading.
8/28/2017 S Referred to WAM.
8/28/2017 H Bill scheduled to be heard by TRN/FIN on Wednesday, 08-30-17 1:30PM in the Auditorium.
8/28/2017 S The committee(s) on WAM recommend(s) that the measure be PASSED, UNAMENDED. The votes in WAM were as follows: 6 Aye(s); Senator(s) Dela Cruz, Keith-Agaran, Galuteria, Kidani, Shimabukuro, Wakai; Aye(s) with reservations: none; 5 No(es): English, Harimoto, Inouye, Kahele, Riviere; and 0 Excused: none.
8/29/2017 S Reported from WAM (Stand. Com. Rep. No. 3) with recommendation of passage on Second Reading and placement on the calendar for Third Reading.
8/29/2017 S Report adopted; Passed Second Reading with Senators Green, Harimoto, Inouye, Kahele, Riviere, Ruderman and Thielen voting “No”.
8/29/2017 S One Day Notice 08-30-17.
8/30/2017 S Passed Third Reading. Ayes, 16; Aye(s) with reservations: none. Noes, 9 (Senator(s) Baker, English, Green, Harimoto, Inouye, Kahele, Riviere, Ruderman, L. Thielen). Excused, 0 (none). Transmitted to House.
8/30/2017 H Received from Senate (Sen. Com. No. 3).
8/30/2017 H Passed First Reading.
8/30/2017 H Referred to TRN/FIN, referral sheet 1.
8/30/2017 H The committee on TRN recommends that the measure be PASSED, UNAMENDED. The votes were as follows: 3 Ayes: Representative(s) Aquino, Nakamura, McDermott; 1 Aye with reservations: San Buenaventura; 2 Noes: Quinlan, Brower; and 1 Excused: Hashem.
8/30/2017 H The committee on FIN recommend that the measure be PASSED, UNAMENDED. The votes were as follows: 8 Ayes: Representative(s) Luke, Cullen, Gates, Holt, Keohokalole, LoPresti, Nakamura, Yamashita; Ayes with reservations: none; 6 Noes: Cachola, DeCoite, Kobayashi, Lowen, Tupola, Ward; and 1 Excused: Representative(s) Fukumoto.
8/31/2017 H Reported from TRN/FIN (Stand. Com. Rep. No. 3), recommending passage on Second Reading and placement on the calendar for Third Reading.
8/31/2017 H Passed Second Reading; placed on the calendar for Third Reading with Representative(s) Creagan, Evans, McKelvey, Onishi, Oshiro, San Buenaventura voting aye with reservations (6); Representative(s) Brower, Choy, Lowen, Quinlan, Thielen, Todd, Tupola, Ward voting no (8) and Representative(s) Har, Hashem, Matsumoto, McDermott, Nishimoto excused (5).
9/1/2017 H Floor amendment #1 failed following Voice vote: Noes, 2 (Representative(s) Luke, McKelvey). Excused, 4 (Representative(s) Har, Hashem, Matsumoto, Nishimoto).
9/1/2017 H Floor amendment #2 failed following Voice vote: Noes, 1 (Representative(s) Luke). Excused, 4 (Representative(s) Har, Hashem, Matsumoto, Nishimoto).
9/1/2017 H Floor amendment #3 failed following Voice vote: Noes, 3 (Representative(s) Luke, Yamane, Say). Excused, 4 (Representative(s) Har, Hashem, Matsumoto, Nishimoto).
9/1/2017 H Floor amendment #4 failed following Voice vote: Noes, 2 (Representative(s) Luke, Aquino). Excused, 4 (Representative(s) Har, Hashem, Matsumoto, Nishimoto).
9/1/2017 H Passed Third Reading with Representative(s) Kobayashi, Onishi, Oshiro, San Buenaventura, Woodson voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) Brower, Cachola, Creagan, DeCoite, Evans, Kong, Lowen, McKelvey, Quinlan, Say, Thielen, Todd, Tokioka, Tupola, Ward voting no (15) and Representative(s) Choy, Har, Hashem, Matsumoto, Nishimoto excused (5). Transmitted to Senate.
9/1/2017 S Received from House (Hse. Com. No. 3).
9/1/2017 S Enrolled to Governor.

It is highly likely that Hawaii Governor David Ige will sign the bill into law.