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Monday, October 18, 2021
October 18, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:52 PM :: 929 Views

Panorama: Hawaii DoE Paying Zuckerberg Company to Collect Data on Students

‘OahuJoe’ TikTok video on Hawaii housing draws more than a million views

Stadium: DAGS and Developers Giddy over Next Financial Black Hole

SA Editorial: … State agencies and their private partners are practically giddy about their plans to replace the decaying Aloha Stadium and its vast parking lot with something great — whatever that may be.

On Tuesday, the state published an online request seeking information and a preliminary master plan from potential bidders to develop the 73 acres adjacent to a planned new stadium that would replace the Rust Palace.

“This is an exciting time,” said Curt Otaguro, head of the state Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS), which is leading the procurement efforts….

(Question: What is the customary kickback percentage for a contract like this?)

this dual project — a new stadium and an adjacent real estate development, all on prime public property with a rail transit stop — needs to be developed, first and foremost, in the public interest.

Whether that happens will depend on the negotiating ability of the state officials in charge, particularly those from the Stadium Authority and DAGS. They need to ensure the winning developer pays a fair price for what could be a 99-year lease…

So far, the public knows little….Most of the details will be filled in by the winning developer, whose interests may or may not coincide with the state’s. Indeed, the wide-open possibilities in a broadly defined “entertainment district” could lead to proposals very different from the visions of civic- minded TOD planners….

It’s already troubling how the priorities have shifted. Originally, the state planned first to replace the nearly unusable (perfectly good) Aloha Stadium, touting the new facility as the centerpiece of the rest of the development, which would complement it. The new stadium could be a genuine public benefit: a smaller, state-of-the-art venue that could be used for everything from football to top-drawer concerts to large community events.

The NASED team expects to deliver a request for proposals from three finalists before the end of the year, but has offered no projected timetable for building the stadium, estimated (at the moment) to cost about $400 million.

Meanwhile, NASED officials have laid out the anticipated schedule for the real estate portion: Construction could begin in late 2022 or early 2023, after a committee of state officials and development industry experts narrows down the proposals and selects a winner in September.

Of course, it’s better to move ahead with developing this property than leaving it to stagnate through government inertia. But it has to be done right. One only need look at Aloha Tower Marketplace, the highly touted shopping/entertainment harbor development built on land leased from the state. It opened with much fanfare in 1994 but never quite caught on, quickly becoming a financial black hole….

read … Keep priorities right on stadium

Public weighs in on potential Honolulu City Council districts

SA: … The community had the chance this month to weigh in on the proposed City Council district maps that determine who votes for each of the nine Honolulu City Council members.

However, concerns were raised about the plans breaking up neighborhoods and possibly excluding people from voting in the next City Council election in 2022. Those people who would be able to vote under the current district map would not be able to due to potential changes to the district populations.

Every 10 years, using U.S. census data, the city Reapportionment Commission is tasked with redrawing the Council district lines to address fluctuations in population….

read … Public weighs in on potential Honolulu City Council districts

Hawaii employers looking for employees as coronavirus pandemic’s impact lingers

SA: … Menor-McNamara said that in July over 80% of employers surveyed by the chamber said they were experiencing labor shortages, and by September that number had improved to only 53%. Employers said about 21% of the shortage was due to the vaccine mandates, with other factors like mismatched skill sets or job satisfaction issues weighing in more heavily.

She said employers are raising pay, offering bonuses and are getting creative with fringe benefits that can range from paid parking to educational and training benefits to flexible hours to remote work or other hybrid-working arrangements.

Still, incentives alone haven’t gotten enough workers off the bench, especially when COVID-19 restrictions mean that some employees and employers are still in limbo. If the trend continues, Menor-McNamara says, it could mar Hawaii’s chance to expand the economy to keep up with consumption.

“Anecdotally, when we talk to some businesses, they tell us that they are having to close some days because they don’t have enough workers. In addition, the current restrictions are impacting the supply chains,” she said….

In the earlier part of the pandemic, employers blamed extra federal benefits for the unemployed and the child care issues that emerged with school closures. But schools are mostly back in session, and the federal programs connected to unemployment ended Sept. 4 in Hawaii.

Paul Brewbaker, principal of TZ Economics, said it’s clear that Hawaii’s classic and omnipresent struggle with “skills mismatch” has been aggravated by the disruptive outcomes associated with the pandemic….

read … Hawaii employers looking for help as coronavirus pandemic’s impact lingers

Drug-related deaths in Hawaii up 13% this year

SA: … Drug-related deaths in Hawaii rose a projected 13% for the year that ended in March, and local law enforcement and health officials caution that counterfeit opioids and fentanyl-laced products could quickly contend with methamphetamine as the state’s deadliest drug.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is predicting 282 drug overdose deaths statewide through the end of March, compared with 249 fatalities during the same period in 2020. Hawaii’s increase mirrors a national trend where a record 99,106 deaths were reported, a 31% increase over the previous year….

Methamphetamine-­related deaths hit a 22-year high in Hawaii in 2020, with 192 deaths, up from 169 in 2019, according to the state Department of Health. Opioid deaths hit a four-year high last year of 69, up from 54 the year prior….

HNN: ‘We’re in a crisis’: Pandemic puts new strain on mental health services in Hawaii

read … Drug-related deaths in Hawaii up 13% this year

Another ruling against former foreclosure attorney Gary Dubin

ILind: … On Wednesday, Federal Judge Jill Otake dismissed Dubin’s latest attempt go back and relitigate last year’s disbarment by the Hawaii Supreme Court, which had triggered the federal court disbarment though the reciprocal discipline agreements between the courts….

When contacted for comment earlier this month, Dubin continued to express confidence that his latest complaint was going to gain traction.

“I am meanwhile, to disappoint you, not dead, not even in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii,” Dubin responded in an email, “as my other case there to reverse my state court disbarment is still alive notwithstanding the relative minor skirmish regarding reciprocal discipline which recent decision however I am certain you will overplay as usual.”

Despite his bluster, this case was dismissed “for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,” without need for further argument, notice, or an opportunity to respond. Otake took pains to note that Dubin had already argued the same issues before the Hawaii Supreme Court during his disciplinary proceedings, and in a motion seeking reconsideration after the court issued its disbarment order, as well as in the “show cause” proceedings that led to his federal disbarment, and in the earlier federal civil case against the Hawaii Supreme Court justices and other….

PDF: Order Dismissing Civ. 21-00392, Gary Dubin v. Office of the Disciplinary Counsel, et al.

read … Another ruling against former foreclosure attorney Gary Dubin

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