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Saturday, July 17, 2021
July 17, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:57 AM :: 1600 Views

Hawaii Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.7%

She touched my soul

Wife of ex-Olelo executive gets away with only probation for embezzlement--will keep stolen money

SA: … The wife of Hanalei Aipoa­lani, the former Olelo Community Media human resources director who stole money from a federal program, was sentenced Friday to five years’ probation for her role in a conspiracy to embezzle $74,730, a portion of the $532,730 her husband took from AmeriCorps.

Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia also required Angelita Aipoalani to be placed on home detention with location monitoring for 180 days rather than prison because of concern for the welfare of the couple’s three school-age children and on the government’s recommendation. She will be allowed to leave home for work, medical treatment and legal matters and to attend to her children’s needs and the like….

The judge also ordered Aipoalani to perform 180 hours of community service and transferred her supervision to the District of Hawaii…..

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Goemaat said Aipoalani fraudulently masqueraded as an AmeriCorps volunteer on Hawaii island while employed on Oahu in another job. She could have received up to five years’ imprisonment, but under a plea agreement she was expected to be sentenced to six months to a year.

“You really should have to do some time,” Walton told the Hawaii woman. “I’m just appalled that you did what you did. You used money designed to help people in need … to live the high life, flying first class to the mainland, going to expensive restaurants, staying in expensive hotels. It’s unforgivable you would do something like this.”…

(They aren’t even being forced to trade in that $10,000 BMW X3 lease for a Corolla.)

Walton required Aipoalani to pay at least $50 a month toward the $74,730 in restitution, which is jointly owed by the couple, “since her husband will be locked up. To impose more will just punish the kids.”…

($74,730 / $50 = 1,495 months = 125 years)

PDF: Hanalei Aipoalani sentencin…

read … Wife of ex-Olelo executive gets probation for embezzlement

Oahu home affordability at lowest point in 3 years, new index shows

PBN: …Home affordability on Oahu declined in the second quarter to the lowest point since mid 2018, as the median price of a single-family home rose 27% to a record $979,000, according to a new proprietary affordability index developed by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawaii Realty.

The affordability score, which uses a baseline of 100 to determine how affordable a median-priced home is for a family, declined to 77.5 in the second quarter from 78.9 in the first quarter.

Scott Bradley, president and owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawaii Realty, said the index takes into account such factors as the median household income, the median home price and current interest rates and then calculate affordability for a median-priced home with a standard 30-year mortgage and a 20% down payment.

Homes were more affordable in the second quarter of last year and affordability rose to 90.7 in the third quarter, driven by low interest rates, he said. The decrease in affordability is driven by the rising prices.

"Now you fast forward to today, and this last quarter we've seen just the opposite, we saw a dramatic drop in our affordability index down to 77.5,” he said. “That's the lowest level it’s been since mid 2018.”….

read … Oahu home affordability at lowest point in 3 years, new index shows

Hu Honua Dispute in San Francisco Court Is Pau

IM: … Counsel states that parties have reached a settlement…. This shall be a comprehensive settlement including cross-complaint.

This is a compromise settlement with no admission of fault expressly stated or implied.

Each party to bear their own fees and costs.

Documents disclosed in discovery will be handled under the terms of the protective order. ….

read … Hu Honua Dispute in San Francisco Court Is Pau

DOT suggests buying the Road to Hana in order to control overcrowding

HNN: … Currently, the highway is federally funded, meaning that toll roads and fees can’t be implemented. ….

“We’re still investigating those options to see how we could potentially take control of that roadway, to shut it down to anybody but residents or shut it down in particular areas,” said Ed Sniffen, DOT deputy director.

During the meeting, state and county leaders also brainstormed other options to mitigate traffic and illegal parking on Hana Highway.

The state said it is also considering a park-and-ride shuttle that would bring visitors from the airport down the highway — but said while this could help, they cannot force people to use it….

read … DOT suggests buying the Road to Hana in order to control overcrowding

Hilo Tenants to Organize Union to Fight Evictions?

HNN: … “They are evicting senior citizens, elderly, handicapped, disabled, anyone on Section 8, county housing,” said Jimenez.

Resident Peter Veseskis rents an affordable unit and got a letter from Tower Waiakea Apartments, telling him units will be renovated once the eviction moratorium ends Aug. 6.

He said he’s not sure where he’ll go if he has to leave.

“This is a hardship. I’m going to be homeless living on the streets,” said Veseskis. “I pay $800 a month rent. I looked online. The cheapest rent I could find was $1200. My Social Security is only $973.”

Tower Development owns 160 of the 200 units at Waiakea Villas and only some are affordable. Renovations started about eight months ago and the plan is to complete them in half a year.

Tower Development CEO Ed Bushor said the company wants to help the community by creating affording housing in Hilo. He said someone is “blowing up concerns.”

“We have no plans to evict good paying tenants,” said Bushor. “We are not trying to be mean to someone and kick someone out.”

Bushor said residents whose units are undergoing repairs can move to vacant ones. But, he said, “they might be expected to pay more.”

Kristen Alice, of HOPE Services Hawaii, is Villas resident and is helping others in the building. She said to inform residents via text message about the prospect of them having to leave is “heartless.”

She says service providers are sounding the alarm because there’s a lack of affordable housing and many Big Island landlords are refusing Section 8 vouchers.

“I’m concerned because we are about to see a tsunami of evictions if Tower is allowed to move forward with their plans,” said Alice.

State Sen. Laura Acasio says her office has been overwhelmed with calls of concern. The residents are now looking into forming a tenants union….

Jan 20, 2021: Senate: Ige Appoints Anti-Telescope Activist who Wanted Him Impeached

read … Residents in Hilo condo fear rent hikes, being kicked out as state lifts eviction moratorium

Transair critics describe poor safety culture as FAA allows Company to Keep Flying Smaller Planes

KITV:  … Transair owner Teimour Riahi has two separate businesses -- Rhoades Aviation holds the FAA license for 737s which are grounded. Trans Executive Airways has a license for smaller turboprop planes known as Short 360s and the FAA says those are still allowed to fly. Some former Transair employees are not happy about that.

"The company would routinely have us fly aircraft that were broken for long periods of time," said one former pilot.

After a Transair plane lost both of its engines and crashed into the ocean, some former employees told KITV4 they weren't surprised. They blame the company's disregard for safety protocols.

It is the same issue that this current FAA suspension addresses -- citing Transair with deficiencies in maintenance and safety practices.

The employees asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, but each one described a culture of complacency and lack of accountability at Transair.

"There's zero safety culture... Spend as little money as possible, get the most out of these aircraft," one pilot said. "When they start digging into the maintenance records of these aircraft, they're going to find that corners were cut, that inspections were not done."

Some employees were relieved to see the suspension of the 737s, but worry pilots are risking their lives flying the smaller planes.

"You hear these horror stories about these fly by night cargo operators that are dangerous, and threaten your job if you don't essentially break the rules. But these companies kind of know that they have you in a pickle, because you need to get experience," he said….

read … Transair critics describe poor safety culture as FAA suspends 737 operations

$95M Legislatively Funded Plan to bring multiple wave pool parks to Hawaii draws concerns from community

KHON: … Surf Lakes, a global wave pool company, has signed its largest project deal to date in Hawaii.
Developer Peter Savio bought the Hawaii franchise and is looking to expand the brand in the islands.

(And got $95M in Special Purpose Revenue Bonds from Act 120 June 29, 2021)

“By shaping the contour of the ground they can create a Banzai Pipeline wave or Waikiki wave or Makaha wave, any kind of wave you want,” said Peter Savio, a Hawaii real estate developer.

He plans to build four wave parks, one on each major island. He’s already identified Waimea, Kauai as a potential site. As well as Paia or Lahaina on Maui and either the Leeward coast or North Shore on Oahu. These parks won’t be small.

“We actually need about 30 acres, because the pool is nine acres,” Savio said. “Then you have to worry about the shoreline and then of course, the buildings. Then of course, the parking. So the parking takes up a lot of the space. Especially if you’re doing two, three, 400 people.” ….

Website: https://honokea.com/surf/

SB1412: RELATING TO SPECIAL PURPOSE REVENUE BONDS FOR THE HONOKEA SURF VILLAGE. (Act 120 June 29, 2021)

read … Plan to bring multiple wave pool parks to Hawaii draws concerns from community

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