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Sunday, January 23, 2022
January 23, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:28 PM :: 1534 Views

DBEDT: Hawaii Family of Four Must Earn $85,372 to Stay off Welfare

GOP: Reopen the State Capitol

Report: Hawaii Worst State to Drive in

Free Needles for Addicts: Hawaii Grade B for Hepatitis Elimination

Short-term rentals a convenient scapegoat?

Spotlight on Retirement Income

$600M Didn’t Solve Hawaiian Homelands Problem Last Time

SA Editorial: …This one-time infusion is comparable to the settlement reached in 1995 after a court challenge over lands taken from the homesteading trust in the past. From its inception, Hawaiian Homes has been a program that was land-rich but cash-poor, and much of the acreage was in remote locations that required infrastructure before homes could be developed.

However, even that settlement, also for $600 million, did not solve the problem. The funds allowed DHHL to develop more than 4,000 new homestead lots — roughly half the total the agency provided over the past century.

…it’s not a foregone conclusion that the current plan will be enacted with that amount of money — again, $600 million — and DHHL will have to do much better this time with whatever sum received.

There is some planning already underway, and some interesting pilot projects that could be expanded. One is an initiative to help beneficiaries with down payments to buy homes not on trust lands. Other out-of-the-box programs in recent years have included development of rental projects, to provide more immediate help to beneficiaries.

However, before the state commits to a financial package even close to this magnitude, the public will need details and strong assurances that it will be spent strategically. DHHL has been known to produce homes above the price point that its own beneficiaries can afford, and that kind of bungling can’t be tolerated.

Ideally, this would be an effort managed with oversight from a court-appointed master, someone who would hold the department to strict benchmarks — and someone who is not buffeted by political winds.

It’s an election year, and already those winds are blowing….

read … Have solid plan for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ funds

DHHL: $600M Here, $600M There, and $200M for OHA

Borreca: … A Honolulu Star-Advertiser report on the Legislature’s opening ceremony noted that the sentiment is switching from “save” to “spend.”

For instance, House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke (D, Punchbowl-Pauoa-­Nuuanu) told reporters “there is an opportunity for us to do great things this year and we shouldn’t miss that opportunity.”

Saiki’s move to flag out help for Native Hawaiian programs is part of a long-standing state effort to repay the millions that have either been taken or not given to required payment programs.

An estimated 28,000 Native Hawaiians are now waitlisted for leases from the state’s Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Saiki’s call for what was termed a “one-time infusion of $600 million” is the largest in a list of attempts to pay money owed for required indigenous programs.

In 1995 during the Gov. John Waihee administration, there was a $600 million payment that, according to news reports, allowed the department to build more than 4,000 homes.

Then under Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs accepted an offer to settle a $200 million claim with the transfer of Kakaako Makai land….

read … Legislators’ $600 million idea for Native Hawaiian homes is latest twist in ongoing saga

Pension Cash Still Flowing to Kealoha

CB: … Will taxpayers ever get their money back?

The agreement included a stipulation that Kealoha was required to refund the $250,000 if he was found guilty or pleaded guilty to a job-related felony within six years. Following his 2019 conviction, a Circuit Court judge ordered him in 2020 to return the funds to the city. 

Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s office said none of Kealoha’s retirement funds has been returned to date. Given the fact that, during his trial, Kealoha obtained a federal public defender, a service provided only to indigent defendants, hopes are not high that he’ll ever pay up. 

According to state law, the city cannot garnish Kealoha’s pension….

read … How A Honolulu Police Chief Facing A Corruption Probe Got A $250,000 Payout

Effort to Revitalize Hilo sinking into DLNR morass

HTH: …  Nearly four years later, an attempt to revitalize the heart of Hilo has almost completely halted after sinking into a governmental morass.

In 2018, Gov. David Ige traveled to Hilo to sign a bill that would allow property lessees in the Kanoelehua Industrial Area to extend their leases with the state by up to 40 years….

read … ‘A quandary’ in Hilo: Frustration mounts for KIA lease holders seeking extensions from the DLNR

Carbon Tax Would Drive More People out of Hawaii

SA: … Our family members and friends have been leaving Hawaii for years because of the rising cost of living. Here are some numbers from the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii:

“Hawaii’s net loss of 10,358 residents in 2021 marked the fifth year in a row that the state has shown a population decline, according to the Census Bureau’s population estimates program. According to a 2019 survey by Pacific Resource Partnership, the main reasons people cited for leaving Hawaii were its high cost of living, 86%, and the high cost of housing, 83%.”

Should we allow our responses to climate change to make this exodus worse? Our leaders and the public need to have the facts before heading further, at high speed, down the road of approving every conceivable response to climate change. Do we ignore the cost implications of these decisions? Do we “sacrifice” our landscapes and seascapes to achieve the unachievable, while contributing unmeasurably to the global picture? …

read … Hawaii’s response to climate change should be smart choices, not ‘shared sacrifice’

DoE Program Designed to Prevent Kids from Ever Becoming Republicans

CB: … Hawaii has the foresight to be on the leading edge of the news literacy movement. It is one of a few states considering including its instruction in K-12 schools. Nā Hopena A‘o, the Hawaii State Department of Education framework for developing the skills, behaviors, dispositions and values of the islands’ indigenous heritage, speaks to foundational concepts of news literacy. It’s important to teach these concepts early ….

read … We Can Solve The Misinformation Crisis With News Literacy

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