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Sunday, November 28, 2021
November 28, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:13 AM :: 1406 Views

Tax Isn’t a Peanut Butter Cup

Halawa, Kalihi Affordable Housing Slow-Walked to keep prices high

Borreca: … Madame Pele may be trying to make more land on the Big Island, but we are (artificially) limited (by land-use restrictions) and (thanks to tourism marketing) the demand for housing is growing so that (large landowners profit because) Oahu’s single- family median price is hovering around $1 million.

(Keeping you from seeing and understanding the info inserted in parenthesis above is the key to maintaining their profitable system.)

The current administration, like every one since the days of Gov. John A. Burns in the 1960s, has promised to hop right on the housing problem.

(Empty talk designed to fool the public.)

No one — not Quinn, Burns, Ariyoshi, Waihee, Cayetano, Lingle, Abercrombie nor Ige — has been able to solve it (as was their plan). Resolution may not be in the offing, but the latest plans offered by Ige seem weaker than most….

“Full development of the real estate around a new stadium could take a couple of decades or longer,” said a news release from the state Stadium Authority.

Now, if that is just too loose and unspecific for you, how about Ige’s plans for another undeveloped tract that, if developed properly, would make any governor king — Kalihi? The state has plans to to spend at least $65 million for a replacement for the Oahu Community Correctional Center and that would then trigger the revitalization of Kalihi…

There’s a commission studying the issue, but that’s about it.

The 21st Century Kalihi Initiative was set up in 2016 to “to understand community needs, concerns, and desires for the site and surrounding area, and to articulate a vision informed and inspired by community aspirations.”

What is needed is not another study, nor initiative. What is needed is housing that people in Halawa and Kalihi can afford. The housing problem doesn’t need to be studied nor critiqued, it needs to be faced and solved.

(That may be what the non-homeowning public needs but large landowners need the status quo.)

Background:  Prince Kuhio’s Fight to Americanize Hawaii

read … New stadium aside, Halawa land provides prime site for needed local housing, as does Kalihi

Science should honor the answer: ‘No’ -- Unless They Pay $50M Rent

SA: … The recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s (Astro2020) prioritizes U.S. FUNDING of the Thirty Meter Telescope….

insufficient FUNDS to complete and operate the telescope (even were it to obtain the $800 MILLION in National Science Foundation FUNDING the NAS proposes)….

a state LEASE to the mountaintop that expires in 2033 with talk of a new LEASE ….

While the NAS report acknowledges a “lack of authentic partnership with Kanaka Maoli” that “puts into question the integrity upon which scientific discovery is realized,” it fails to recognize the lack of “clear, prior and informed consent” of Hawaii’s indigenous people for use of their traditional lands, as called for in Article 26 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

(Translation: You have to sign a lease with us.)

the NAS proposes ramping up “community engagement” with MILLIONS more in FUNDING for what can only be surmised as intensified public relations and renewed attempts to FINANCIALLY BUY OFF opposition groups and individuals….

(Translation: They haven't offered enough yet.)

REALITY: Responding to Kim: Anti-Telescope Leader Demands 'Lawful Rent'

read … I Want Money

Rail Witch’s Brew

Shapiro: … Honolulu rail chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa said a new plan to erase the $3.5 billion rail deficit is “based on assumptions, snapshots in time.” It’s inspired by a Shakespearean formula: “Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.” ….

read … Pampered Hawaii politicos get easier access to Pampers

Ambulance charges may increase on Oahu as city seeks money

SA: …  Ambulance charges on Oahu could grow as city emergency services officials seek to close an estimated $9 million budget hole in the next fiscal year that was created when the state Legislature transferred operations and billing from the Department of Health to the City and County of Honolulu.

Top officials with the Honolulu Emergency Services Department say they are looking at more aggressive debt collection, charging for more services, such as treating people at the scene even if they aren’t transported in an ambulance, and potentially raising fees.

Those fees already have skyrocketed in recent years, with the state raising ambulance rates 10% annually, the statutory maximum.

The cost of a basic ambulance ride increased 46% between 2017 and 2021, from $1,127 to $1,649, according to DOH. For ambulance rides that include advanced life support, the cost also increased 46% from $1,265 in 2017 to $1,851 currently.

Additionally, the charge per mile increased during that time period, from $16.50 to $23.

DOH said it intends to increase those rates statewide by another 10% in January.

But beginning July 1, the start of the 2023 fiscal year, the City and County of Honolulu will be able to determine its own rates and no longer will be limited by the 10% annual cap….

Bronstein said that despite Hawaii’s soaring ambulance fees, there’s actually only so much that can be collected from patients. Medicare and Medicaid cap their reimbursement rates and prohibit service providers from charging beneficiaries beyond that.

The average reimbursement is $305 for Medicare and $520 for Medicaid (ie homeless), according to Bronstein. Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries comprise 71% of patients. Uninsured (ie homeless) patients make up 10%, but on average, the state has been able to collect only $75 per uninsured patient.

Individuals with private insurance make up 19% of ambulance patients and, on average, the state has been able to recoup $1,300 from them, Bronstein said. But the state may send those patients a second bill to make up any difference between what they recoup from the insurance and the state’s fee, which can total hundreds of dollars.

(Translation: They will illegally make you pay for transporting the homeless.)

Bronstein said DOH is ending that practice beginning Jan. 1 in anticipation of federal legislation that could ban the practice, but that it will be up to the city whether it wants to continue billing patients with private insurance twice….

read … Ambulance charges may increase on Oahu as city seeks money

Hawaii’s first tiny home project for the homeless ready for residents

SA: … The final touches are being applied to Hawaii’s first “kauhale” of 100-square-foot homes in Kalaeloa, providing permanent housing for some of Hawaii’s chronically homeless and most-troubled people living on the street and in shelters….There are 37 homes in the kauhale….Kama‘oku was built on 1.5 acres of decommissioned Naval Air Station Barbers Point land off Yorktown Street….

(Because the homeless are too busy) HomeAid Hawaii volunteers and their children as young as age 5 helped assemble furniture and decorate each tiny home…

The homes can accommodate 36 residents and an on-site property manager. HomeAid Hawaii members donated 19 of them and the state paid for an additional 18, each costing about $20,000 each, Medeiros said.

(This could be done for a lot less and greater volume.  We need 3,700 not 37.)

Because of rising construction material costs and global supply-chain issues, similar projects could cost as much as $22,000 per unit, she said….  ($220 psf construction cost)

Each tiny house is wired for electricity and comes with a ceiling fan. U.S. Vets is responsible for the utility costs.

There are separate men’s and women’s communal restrooms and showers, and an on-site medical facility — a renovated 2,800-square-foot dilapidated building from military days.

Each resident is expected to pay $500 a month in rent. Those who cannot pay the entire amount will be subsidized through a city housing program, Vincent said….  ($5 psf per month rent)

Some residents might stay indefinitely, while others may move on, he said….

(Translation: Hard-core homeless accept shelter only when they are close to death.  This is a hospice.)

SA Editorial: Big ambitions for tiny houses

read … Hawaii’s first tiny home project for the homeless ready for residents

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