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November 5, 2017

Tax Reform and the Impact on Nonprofits

 Yesterday, the Speaker of the House and Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee unveiled their tax reform plan, Tax Cuts and Job Plan (H.R. 1).  The plan seeks to reduce tax revenue by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. To make up the budget shortfall, money will be raised off the backs of nonprofits in the following ways:
Weakening the Johnson Amendment
The plan proposes that houses of worship and their auxiliary organizations be exempt from the Johnson Amendment, allowing them to more easily endorse candidates and engage in politics.
Reducing Charitable Giving Incentives
The proposal more than doubles the standard deduction, reducing the need for Americans to itemize and to be charitable. It is estimated that 95% of Americans will not have this incentive any longer and that it could result in a loss of revenue to the charitable sector of $13 Billion.
Massive Spending Cuts to Domestic Spending
The cuts to taxes benefit the wealthiest among us and will mean cuts to domestic spending and ultimately to our communities.
Next Steps of this Legislation
The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to start its review of the bill, called a “markup,” on Monday, Nov. 6, and continue with marathon sessions until completing action during the week. The bill is then expected to go to the House floor during the week of Nov. 13. The Senate is expected to release its separate version in mid-November. The stated goal of Republican leaders is to have a bill on the President’s desk by Christmas for signing before New Year’s Day.
Voice your opinions now and throughout this process. It is important for the nonprofit sector voice to be heard, collectively and individually. Our communities will be directly impacted by these devastating changes. Contact House Ways and Means Committee Chair, Congressman Kevin Brady’s office: kevinbrady.house.gov/contact

Our national affiliate, the National Council of Nonprofits is exercising its muscle on our behalf. See its special edition of Nonprofit Advocacy Matters, which outlines these and other aspects of the legislation clearly.
And other publications where the Council provides a clear voice of opposition.
Be vigilant and let your voices be heard.
Courtesy of HANO
November 5, 2017

OTEC RFP for NELHA

The Natural Energy Laboratory moves Hawaii’s quest for clean energy an important step forward.

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) is a State of Hawaii agency founded in 1974. NELHA administers the 870-acre Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park (HOST Park) in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaii.

NELHA is soliciting proposals for a 0.1-0.3 megawatt on-shore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) system, to be operated for ten years.

The project will a demonstration of the reliability and practicality of the OTEC technology.

Source: http://www.ililani.media/2017/11/hawaii-rfp-for-ocean-thermal-energy.html

November 5, 2017

Climate Change affects on Hawaii

Overview

This is just 3 feet. We need to look at 6 feet.

Warmer oceans are leading to increased coral bleaching and disease outbreaks and changing distribution of tuna fisheries. Freshwater supplies will become more limited on many islands. Coastal flooding and erosion will increase. Mounting threats to food and water security, infrastructure, health, and safety are expected to lead to increasing human migration.

Key Message: Changes to Marine Ecosystems

Warmer oceans are leading to increased coral bleaching events and disease outbreaks in coral reefs, as well as changed distribution patterns of tuna fisheries. Ocean acidification will reduce coral growth and health. Warming and acidification, combined with existing stresses, will strongly affect coral reef fish communities.

Key Message: Decreasing Freshwater Availability

Freshwater supplies are already constrained and will become more limited on many islands. Saltwater intrusion associated with sea level rise will reduce the quantity and quality of freshwater in coastal aquifers, especially on low islands. In areas where precipitation does not increase, freshwater supplies will be adversely affected as air temperature rises.

Key Message: Increased Stress on Native Plants and Animals

Increasing temperatures, and in some areas reduced rainfall, will stress native Pacific Island plants and animals, especially in high-elevation ecosystems with increasing exposure to invasive species, increasing the risk of extinctions.

Key Message: Sea Level Rising

Rising sea levels, coupled with high water levels caused by tropical and extra-tropical storms, will incrementally increase coastal flooding and erosion, damaging coastal ecosystems, infrastructure, and agriculture, and negatively affecting tourism.

Key Message: Threats to Lives, Livelihoods, and Cultures

Mounting threats to food and water security, infrastructure, and public health and safety are expected to lead to increasing human migration from low to high elevation islands and continental sites, making it increasingly difficult for Pacific Islanders to sustain the region’s many unique customs, beliefs, and languages.

Source: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/regions/hawaii

Jan TenBruggencate summarizes the probable impacts in Hawaii in his blog. As with all blogs this post will move down and finally be archived. You may have to search for ”

New federal climate report: it just keeps getting worse

October 30, 2017

A message from Save Our Neighborhoods

Dear SONnies and Friends of O’ahu’s residential neighborhoods,

Please forward this important call to everyone in your email list

 

PLEASE SEND TESTIMONY, ATTEND AND TESTIFY at this important Council Meeting:

Wednesday, Nov 1  10:00 am  Council Chambers Honolulu Hale (these resolutions are well down the agenda, so you should be safe arriving at 1:30 which is the end of the scheduled lunch recess)

Last week, the Honolulu City Council Committee on Zoning kicked the can down the road to the full council by passing ALL FOUR STR (Short-Term Rental) resolutions to this Wednesday’s meeting.

Many of you submitted testimony and testified in-person at the Zoning Committee meeting – thanks very much.  Many of you did not.

 

The 9,000 + illegal STRs are not only a blight on neighborhood life, STRs are one of the major causes of high rents and homelessness for the working poor.

 

These bills are the showdown for our neighborhoods and housing for everyone living O’ahu.  For a quick estimate of how many short-term rentals (STR) are in your neighborhood, click airdna.com and type in your 5-digit zip code.  Then scout around other O’ahu zip codes and you will see that there are THOUSANDS more.  This site may not be 100% accurate but also does not cover all hosting platforms – many operators are not listed on the major hosting platforms and are not shown.  Remember, most of these are ILLEGAL under Honolulu zoning law and are removing much-needed rental housing from local families.

 

There are two forces at work here; 1) Those trying to turn our residential neighborhoods into mini-hotels.  They will be supporting 163 and 301.  They include current-illegal operators, those providing services to illegal operators or otherwise making $$ from them, and their political backers who have friends/supporters in this industry, and 2) Those of us working to preserve/return residential-zoned housing for O’ahu’s families and insisting that the City enforce the existing law forbidding short-term rentals.  We support 052 & 164.

 

 

Resolution 17-052 CD-1 (Menor – our favorite Reso)

  • Changes the basis of the existing law from “provide” (a Short-term rental) to “offer”, which will allow advertising to be used as proof.
  • Allows neighbor to go to state court to force the DPP to enforce the law against illegal vacation rentals
  • Fine proceeds to go to the DPP for enforcement
  • Makes DPP’s records on enforcement open to public scrutiny
  • Allow neighbor to directly sue the offending STR operator
  • Requires hosting platforms to report STR property information to the DPP

Resolution 17-163 (Martin – permitting – boo)

  • Adds a permitting process for new TVRs
  • No neighbor community input in permitting process
  • No specified limits on # of permits.
  • Holds owner responsible for advertising content, which cannot be enforced without major investigation effort
  • Adds Enforcement techniques untried and unlikely to work

Resolution 17-164 (Martin – enforcement only)

  • Stricter rules for advertising
  • Makes it easier for City to collect fines and liens against offenders
  • Could be a good starting point for discussion.
  • Some enforcement measures

Resolution 17-301 (Anderson – permitting – boo)

  • No community input.
  • Would turn R5 neighborhoods into resorts without proper rezoning. Would work against long-term rentals and affordable housing. Also would work against the ADU bills just passed by the city.
  • Who would enforce to ensure that the owner actually lives there and is on site full-time?
  • Forcing people to have to file police complaints means they have to take time off of work to go to court. Puts additional burden on the police and takes them away from investigating serious crime.

This is the last step in the Council.  Resolutions passed will be transmitted to the Honolulu Planning Commission and then back to the Council in bill form for final consideration and then to the mayor for signing into law.

 

!!THE ILLEGAL OPERATORS AND THEIR SUPPORTERS WILL BE THERE IN FORCE!!

 

The main problem with enforcement has been lack of political willpower on the part of administration/corporation counsel/DPP over the past 20 years of the Internet.  For example, in a recent letter from the mayor to a neighborhood board member, Caldwell writes: “As you may know, the public is currently divided on whether short term rentals in stable residential neighborhoods is a good idea.”   This is just not true.  Over the past 10 years, public opinion has swayed the Council and the Legislature in numerous showdowns that the residential public is adamantly opposed to this invasion of our residential neighborhoods, loss of housing, disruption, and the constant flow of overnight strangers.

 

MAKE SURE THAT YOU ATTEND AND TESTIFY ON ALL FOUR RESOLUTIONS

 

Even if you do not sign up in advance or at the meeting, you can still testify after all the registered speakers testify.

 

For the past 12 years, SONHawai’i has been pushing the city to enforce the land use laws to shut down these illegal hotel operations in our residential neighborhoods.  SONHawai’i’s and the residential public’s position is reasonable and clear:

 

TWO YEARS OF PROVEN EFFECTIVE ENFORCEMENT BEFORE EVEN CONSIDERING PERMITTING

 

That means shutting down the thousands of currently-illegal operations and putting the horse back in front of the cart.  Two of these resolutions (052 & 164) will help make that possible.

 

One minute PER Agenda item – 4 min total.

 

Please also right now Submit the testimony form and add your own comments. This does not have to be word-for-word the same testimony that you give in person at the meeting. Remember, there are FOUR items to submit testimony, so submit the form FOUR times, once for 17-052 (SUPPORT), once for 17-163 (OPPOSE), once for 17-164 (SUPPORT and add comment to combine with 052) and lastly for 17-301 (OPPOSE).  The link to the testimony form is:  http://www.honolulu.gov/ccl-testimony-form.html which is sometimes slow to load – after you ‘submit’ for one item, hit the  <  (back button) to return to the previous page, change the reso number, fill the form again then click ‘submit’ again.

 

Some of last week’s testimonies submitted through the above portal did not get posted on the Council website!

 

So, to make sure that all nine councilmembers see your written testimony, send them all an email of your testimony by pasting all the following addresses in the “to” line of your email:

emartin@honolulu.gov; kmpine@honolulu.gov; ianderson@honolulu.gov; tozawa@honolulu.gov; akobayashi@honolulu.gov;

cafukunaga@honolulu.gov; jmanahan@honolulu.gov; belefante@honolulu.gov; rmenor@honolulu.gov

Submit right away so that councilmembers will see it in time!

 

Please forward this important call to everyone in your email list. Include associations, housing & homelessness advocates, social organizations and neighborhood groups – this affects us all.

Like us on Facebook

   We have prevailed each time in the past, but it takes some effort – especially YOUR effort

Please, help right now to Save O’ahu’s Neighborhoods

Larry Bartley,

Executive Director

sonhawaii@hawaii.rr.com

Congressional Mischief? Wildfire Management and new urban forestry

This is an excellent article on wildfires in the Western United States. It points out the problems facing new urban forestry and the effects of climate change caused mega-wildfires.

The problem is immense. Over half the Forest Service Budget goes to fighting wildfires. As summers become longer fuels dryout sooner and uncontrollable wildfires rage. The interface between homes and forests become a disaster waiting to happen and many forest ecologist predict that over half of western forests will be converted to grassland in the next 50 years.

Thinning and fuel reduction can help reduce the danger in the urban forest interface, but this article points out the problems generated when lobbyist promote logging company interest over sound forest management.

August 23, 2017

Are social justice issues a concern for environmentalists?

Henry Curtis in his article about modern slavery in the United States points out that many environmental organizations build silos around their activities. The Sierra Club was formed to protect the Wilderness. The Conservation Council for Hawaii tries to protect Hawaiian ecosystems. The World Wildlife Fund works to protect large vertebrate animals. The Nature Conservancy buys land they think is important to protect but that does little to protect animals that must range over large areas like wolves and grizzly bears. There are good reasons for environmental organizations to compartmentalize. It helps them focus their mission.

I was first introduced to social justice by the National Wildlife Federation. At one of their annual meeting field trips, they took us into a low-income neighborhood where pollutants from a military base were contaminating their water supply.  The problem was discovered when epidemiologist saw a spike in cancer cases in their community. It was a clear example of environmental pollution becoming a social justice issue.

The world is a big and complex place. I consider conflict and climate change to be the two biggest contributors to environmental degradation. We have done a lousy job of dealing with either one.

Locally, I went to a Sierra Club workshop on political action. I am not a Sierra Club member and I am known for wanting to establish a local chapter of the League of Conservation Voters. A Sierra Club member pointed out to me that the Sierra Club puts a great deal of effort into evaluating the voting record of local politicians and asked why I wanted to duplicate that effort with a local LCV chapter.  It was an excellent question and I did a poor job of answering it.

I believe in community-based management. Modern science combined with local knowledge can lead to the best results for the community. Local communities know their politicians best. Nationally, the LCV seeks the advice of their local chapters when making Congressional endorsements. Locally, a state wide coalition of environmentally concerned citizens can have a major impact on local elections. Having a local organization that can discuss local issues, reach a consensus, and educate the public about the pros and cons of those issues can bring focus to local conservation issues.

That is the purpose of this website. So, what do you think about:

  • Building on beach front property
  • Eliminating rats from Lehua Island
  • Using biocontrol to combat invasive strawberry guava
  • Controlling mosquitoes that carry dengue fever and zika virus
  • Repairing leaking fuel tanks at Red Hill
  • Returning water to major streams and particularly to kalo farmers
  • Establishing and enforcing rules for the sustainable management of our reefs and near shore fishery
  • Establishing a local chapter of the LCV

The list goes on so add your own issue and let’s get some action going.

August 16, 2017

Remove rats from Lehua Island.

Lehua rat removal: risk minimal, benefits huge. Sometimes sincere environmentalists are blinded by their prejudices. Our ecosystems are complex and often doing nothing is the biggest mistake we can make.

People who are concerned about pesticide contamination are willing to let rats wipe out the wildlife of Lehua Island. The overwhelming benefits of removing rats seems far more important than the minute possibility of damage from use of a rat poison.

Click here for a position paper the Conservation Council for Hawaii published a few years ago about rat and mongoose control.

July 11, 2017

SB1240 Reef Wildlife Bill is threatened with a veto

tropical-fish-underwater

SB1240 requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to submit proposed legislation by the 2019 regular session including a definition of “sustainable”, a policy for sustainable collection practices of near shore aquatic life, a process for determining limits on collection practices of near shore aquatic life, and any additional resources required by the department. It also prohibits issuance of new aquarium permits, transfer of current permits subject to certain provisions, and renewal of permits that have not been renewed for five or more years.

This article in Civil Beat gives a fair summary of the issue.

Thanks to our Democratic Representatives and Senators and a lot of hard work by the public, it passed the legislature and now sits on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. Governor Ige, however, has listed SB1240 as one of the bills that he may VETO.

Please email the Governor’s Office Brandon.T.Asuka@hawaii.gov and let Governor Ige know that you support SB1240. You can also call his office and voice your support: (808) 586-0034

PLEASE SEND or CALL ASAP. The Governor needs to hear from us today!!

MAHALO REEF WILDLIFE PROTECTORS!

tropical-fish-underwater

Protect our reef

MAHALO REEF WILDLIFE PROTECTORS!! Special mahalo to Leilani. Check out her great letter to the editor:  http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/05/15/editorial/letters/mahalo-for-saving-hawaiis-reef-fish/?HSA=194b6a458901371e7024fe618c296ed4e4d1286f.

TO DO.  Please contact the Governor regarding SB1240 the Reef Wildlife Protection bill. Now would be a great time for more letters to the editor. It’s easy. Call Gov. Ige at 586-0034. Or submit comments or a request for a bill signing ceremony at http://governor.hawaii.gov/. To submit a letter, go to http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorial/

OUR CONCERN.  We have not yet heard back any positive news from the administration, only the negative spin from the State agency that has opposed the bill (DLNR / DAR) since it was first heard at the legislature. Despite data, public support and a global crisis in coral reef health and massive decline in marine animal populations, DLNR / DAR representatives continue to promote commercial extraction of reef wildlife. DLNR / DAR has bizarrely claimed there are no significant environmental impacts caused by the extraction of 1-5 million wild animals per year. It’s as if representatives within the state agency are in denial and cannot recognize the effects of massive extraction of reef wildlife despite all evidence. 

The agency representatives do seem to recognize the reefs are at risk because of climate change, ocean acidification, pollution and overfishing for food. And while it’s great the DLNR now protects rock, coral and sea cucumber from commercial collection they have failed time and time again to protect all other critical wildlife, including fish, eels, crabs, octopus, shark and thousands of animal species. Change is long overdue and time is running out. 

Thanks again for your help!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

TALK AT HANAUMA:  This Thursday (tomorrow), as part of a month of lectures about Papahānaumokuākea at Hanauma Bay’s Theatre Thursdays, you can hear from Kalani Quiocho, Native Hawaiian Specialist for Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The lecture is from 6:30 PM to 7:30 pm at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Theater, 100 Hanauma Bay Rd (off Kalanianaʻole Hwy.).

Admission and parking are free.

VOLUNTEER: For information on a Volunteer Opportunity at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and the Battle of Midway National Memorial (NM): https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15c1ad25d7178ff4.

 

APPLY FOR SANCTUARY ADVISORY COUNCIL:  NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is currently recruiting members for the Sanctuary Advisory Council.  The sanctuary is seeking to fill the following seats:

  • Business/commerce (primary)
  • Business/commerce (alternate)
  • Conservation (alternate)
  • Lāna‛i Island (alternate)
  • Maui Island (alternate)
  • Moloka‛i Island (primary)
  • Moloka‛i Island (alternate)
  • Native Hawaiian (primary)
  • O‛ahu Island (alternate)
  • Ocean Recreation (alternate)
  • Tourism (primary)

The council is a community-based advisory group consisting of representatives from various user groups, government agencies and the public at large. The council provides advice to sanctuary management on the management and protection of the sanctuary. The council also serves as a liaison to the community regarding sanctuary issues and acts as a conduit, relaying the community’s interests, concerns and management needs to the sanctuary. Council members serve three-year terms which are staggered to allow for continuity within the council.

The deadline for application submittal is May 31, 2017.  For more information and to download an application, please visit http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/council/council_app_accepting.html or contact Shannon Ruseborn at shannon.ruseborn@noaa.gov.

 

Applications are due by Wednesday, May 31. 

May 3, 2017

Join the fight to stop Trump’s Executive Order removing all restrictions on offshore drilling.

Offshore drilling - Worth the risk?

I don’t usually post a request for money even when it is from an organization I support. This is so important it cannot be ignored. Fighting Trumps EO promoting uncontrolled offshore drilling is something we must do. Also, this is a request from the League of Conservation Voters. One of the objectives of the Hawaii Environmental Hui is to set up a Hawaii Chapter of LCV as soon as we have enough members in our mailing list to justify forming an LCV Chapter.

Bill — Last Friday, President Trump signed an Executive Order potentially opening all of our coasts to offshore drilling, which would put at risk marine life, coastal economies, ways of life, and our global climate.

Today, for the first time in our 48-year history, the League of Conservation Voters has filed a legal challenge to the Executive Order.

We’re suing the Trump Administration to defend permanent protections against offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.

We need your help. We’re hoping we can raise $50,000 by midnight Friday to ensure we have enough for the fight ahead. If everyone reading this donated, we’d blow through that goal in minutes.

Help LCV stop new offshore drilling. Chip in to help LCV’s legal efforts and all our work to stop Trump »

Last December, President Obama responded to widespread opposition to offshore drilling by establishing permanent protections to prevent drilling in virtually the entire Arctic Ocean and especially sensitive parts of the Atlantic Ocean. LCV helped lead the advocacy campaign to persuade Obama to take this bold step for our coasts and our climate.

But now Donald Trump is trying to roll back the entire Obama environmental legacy, including the permanent protections he established against offshore drilling. Buried within Trump’s Executive Order that would radically expand offshore drilling is a section purporting to reverse President Obama’s permanent protections for the Arctic and Atlantic. The problem is, there is no provision in law authorizing a president to revoke those protections — that’s what we’re challenging.

This legal fight could last years. At the same time, other parts of Trump’s order direct his administration to expand offshore drilling to ALL of our coasts while revising or eliminating drilling safety standards. We’re also battling legislation in Congress that would allow Big Oil to drill everywhere off our nation’s beaches. So we need your help.

So why are we suing for the first time in our history? In a country where conservation and environmental safeguards are at risk as never before, we simply cannot afford to leave any tool in the toolbox. The only way we can pull it all off is with your help. Please, Bill: the environment is counting on you.

Help LCV take on the Trump Administration and stop new offshore drilling »

So we will continue to see you at the ballot box, in the states and the streets, and in the halls of Congress.

But now we will see Mr. Trump in court too.

Gene
Gene Karpinski
President
League of Conservation Voters

Join the fight to save the earth

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