Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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Sunday, September 09, 2018
September 9, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:32 PM :: 760 Views

If Everyone Farmed

Hurricane Olivia Aims Directly at Maui

Taking Exemptions Without Really Knowing

Special Session for Lava Recovery: October or Nothing

WHT: Before Hawaii County creates a redevelopment agency to guide eruption recovery in Puna, it may need some help from the state Legislature.

Roy Takemoto, executive assistant to Mayor Harry Kim, said state law may only allow counties to have one such agency at a time. The county already has one for the Banyan Drive hotel area, which has suffered from lack of funding….

Takemoto said an amendment to state law would likely be part of a special session of the Legislature, if one is called.

He said there is still a window for holding the session for eruption recovery, which lawmakers have said needs to be done before the November general election, if not much sooner.

Takemoto and Diane Ley, county Research and Development director, met with legislative leaders in Honolulu on Wednesday.

“They gave us some things that we need to redo,” said Takemoto on Friday after a meeting of a working group addressing housing needs of evacuees, which gathers bi-weekly in Hilo. “We are going to redo the numbers. That’s part of why we’re meeting today. And then circle back within a week or two.”

As for a potential timeline for a special session, he said Senate leaders are looking to possibly hold one in mid or late October and address both eruption and hurricane-related aid. If that doesn’t happen, the county will have to wait until the next regular session starts in January to seek more money….

Background:

read … State law change may be needed for redevelopment agency

Alleged mail-in voting abuse demands deeper investigation

Shapiro: …Twice in six years, state Rep. Romy Cachola has been accused of effectively stealing elections by intimidating elderly immigrants in his Kalihi district to vote for him via mail-in ballots.

The charges are concerning enough to warrant investigation by the state attorney general, the U.S. attorney and the House itself to insure the integrity of our elections.

After the Aug. 11 Democratic primary, 47 unidentified voters filed suit asking the state Supreme Court to overturn Cachola’s 51-vote victory over Sonny Ganaden, alleging election fraud and vote tampering by Cachola.

justices made clear that “these allegations are serious and may warrant further investigation” by appropriate state and federal authorities.

In 2012 Cachola beat Nicole Velasco by 120 votes, also with an unusually high advantage in mail-in votes and allegations of intimidating elderly voters and helping with their ballots.

The next year, the Legislature passed a measure dubbed “The Romy Cachola Bill” prohibiting candidates, unions or employers from assisting voters with completing absentee ballots.

Last month Honolulu Civil Beat reported that Cachola acknowledged handing out absentee ballot application forms to prospective voters and helping mail in completed forms.

“Sometimes if they are more or less disabled, cannot walk, (and they ask), can you just submit it or mail it, I’ll mail it,” he was quoted as saying. “But you know what, it’s allowed.”….

SA Editorial: Protect integrity of mail-in voting

CB: Voter Intimidation Claims Against Romy Cachola Must Be Investigated

Background:

read … Alleged mail-in voting abuse demands deeper investigation

Mayor: Coco Palms Developer Does not Have Capacity to Conclude Project

KGI: …two candidates running to replace the term-limited Carvalho as mayor — County Council Chair Mel Rapozo and Councilmember Derek Kawakami — agree with him that the Coco Palms developers have failed to deliver on their promises and that finding other adaptive reuses for the site may be appropriate. Rapozo said he plans to hold a County Council hearing to explore what’s happening with Coco Palms….

Greene said they do not yet have any of the 24 building permits needed to begin construction. He also declined to identify any general contractor that may have been chosen for the project….

The GreeneWaters Group has never been willing to discuss sources of money for the project or to identify investors….

Greene said Coco Palms also does not yet have insurance to protect its senior construction loan. Construction drawings have not been completed, Greene said….

One of Carvalho’s major complaints is that, in many respects, more than 25 years after Iniki, Coco Palms remains a blighted presence on Kuhio Highway. It is badly overgrown and the shells of its buildings are covered in many places with graffiti. Guest parking garages beneath the remaining concrete frames of the original structures are filled with fetid water.

“It sits there overgrown,” he said of Coco Palms. “I told them to maintain it, but it’s not happening.”

Greene took issue with the mayor’s comment.

“We like to cut the grass down every couple of months,” he said. “We are securing the appropriate machines to give it another full cut. We currently have a full-time security and maintenance person on property. We are about to start the pre-construction phase.”

When a TGI reporter visited the property on Thursday afternoon, however, there was no sign of any maintenance or security personnel. Gates were standing wide open and, though the reporter was on the property for nearly an hour, he was never challenged….

Over the last few months, TGI has discussed the status of Coco Palms with a number of top county government officials, including some in the Planning Department, all of whom have expressed extreme skepticism that the project will ever be completed….

During the eviction trial, which stretched out over more than a month, broad speculation arose about whether Coco Palms actually had the investor backing that would be needed to see through what has been estimated to be a $300 million project. There were repeated reports during the trial of investors walking away from Coco Palms because of the potential ramifications of the project being the ongoing subject of opposition within the Native Hawaiian community….

read … Mayor ‘not happy’ about Coco Palms

Kahoolawe: New Center at Center of $29M Scheme

MN: …The project would consolidate commission operations (now located in Wailuku and Kihei) at a new 24,000-square-foot, two-story facility in South Maui. Now, commission staff members work in the Wailuku industrial area, where there’s a warehouse full of artifacts and museum-ready memorabilia. And, KIRC’s boat, its lifeline to Kahoolawe island, is being restored and rehabilitated in Kihei….

Naho’opi’i said he still needs to seek funding from the state Legislature. Current project estimates are around $29 million, but costs need to be finalized.

“The goal is to go back to the Legislature . . . we have a design in hand,”Naho’opi’i said.

The organization received $500,000 from the Legislature for the current design and entitlement work….

KIRC has been relying on state funding for several years since a $44 million federal trust fund dwindled….

During this year’s legislative session, KIRC received around $1 million, 80 percent of which pays staff salaries and 20 percent of which covers operations, Naho’opi’i said. In previous years, the commission had nearly 20 staff members, but then had to make cuts because of a lack of funding….

read … Kaho‘olawe Commission unveils plans for new center

Hidden Oil Industry Fund Lines Environmentalists Pockets

SA: …Fifty-three years ago, the U.S. Congress authorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which uses revenue from offshore oil and gas leases to protect national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other open spaces. Regrettably, this vitally important conservation tool will expire unless the Congress reauthorizes it by Sept. 30.

Though most people have likely never heard of the LWCF, this important fund has invested more than $229 million in Hawaii. The LWCF has protected places like Hawaii Volcanoes and Haleakala National Parks, James Campbell and Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuges, Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, and Kilauea Point and Hanalei National Wildlife Refuges.

LWCF matching grants have leveraged non-federal investments across the islands for county and state park improvements, and for conservation easements that permanently protect natural areas from degradation or other negative impacts….

read … Renew land, water conservation fund

Maui Mayoral Race--Criminal Short on Money

MN: Former Maui County Council Member Mike Victorino reported having a campaign war chest surplus of $33,280.40 as of last month’s primary election while Council Member Elle Cochran, his rival for the Mayor’s Office, disclosed having a deficit of $1,283.47, reports to the state Campaign Spending Commission show….

(If Elle is short on money, maybe she should rob someone….)

Cochran’s largest contribution during the reporting period was $2,000 from the Lahaina Cannery Retail Owner LP c/o JG Management, located in Westlake Village, Calif. Kihei resident Thomas Creagh donated $1,000, bringing his total contributions during the election period to $2,253.02. Haiku resident Barbara Barry, a self-employed psychologist, provided $149.39 in Fedex Kinkos fliers, bringing her total contributions to $1,938.39.

The Maui Pono Network, which has been backing ‘Ohana Coalition candidates, contributed $138.67 in advertising, bringing its total to $233.22….

Flashback: Former Armed Robber Running for Maui Mayor

read … Victorino war chest larger heading into the general election

After success of Chinatown clinic for all, talk of 2nd location afoot

HNN: Since Honolulu police helped launch a free urgent care clinic earlier this year in Chinatown, hundreds of homeless people have chosen to go there instead of emergency rooms. It's a change that's saving taxpayers millions and has prompted discussion of opening a second clinic….

Umeno camps nearby and says coming to the free clinic is easier than dealing with the hospital.

"It's right in town. It doesn't take more than 10 to 15 minutes and you're done," said Umeno….

Today he left with a bandage and some antibiotics.

"I would say at the ER his visit might have cost $500. Over here it probably cost one-fifth of that amount," said Dr. Lum.

The Joint Outreach Center is privately funded by grants, The Queen's Medical Center, HMSA and Island Hospice. By diverting non-emergency patients to the clinic savings total more than $100,000 per week….

Lum says the vast majority of drop-ins are homeless.

Since opening its doors in mid-April the staff has treated more than 550 patients. The clinic's unique combination of medical care coupled with on-site homeless services is allowing outreach workers to connect with people who normally avoid them.

"People come in. They're vulnerable. They wouldn't necessarily talk to outreach workers on the street," said Outreach Program Coordinator, Vinnesha Bertola. "We've had huge success especially with our mentally ill clients in Chinatown."

Bertola says doctors at the clinic have gotten 11 people on psychiatric medication. Meantime, 25 others have gone into shelter. Six more are now in substance abuse treatment….

read … After success of Chinatown clinic for all, talk of 2nd location afoot

Molokai suicide rates are five times higher than the rest of the state

KITV: … "You have the absolute interfacing of your modern culture fast pace jobs and all that colliding with a very old-school very old country way of understanding and when you get backlash it doesn't mix," Dr. Hale Akamine, Family Ministries Center Kapolei, said.

Akamine will be speaking at a conference on Moloka'i this weekend. He says unlike other islands, there are no suicide prevention programs or services.  Majority of suicides have resulted in death by hanging.

"They're the highest level of unemployment, so there's no employment there, there's no sense of worthfulness," he said.

Akamine says when it comes to teens, they seldom will let on to parents something is wrong instead trusting in their peers.

"We need to make the kids aware that when their friends mentioned suicide, don't brush them off. To also understand that sometimes good friends have to squeal," Akamine said.

He'll be coaching church pastors and local organizations on island on preventative tactics to pass on to the community. …

read … Molokai suicide rates are five times higher than the rest of the state

HandiVan Remains Unscathed as Oahu’s taxi cabs and ride-hailing firms on a collision course

SA:  The most recent proposals to regulate taxis and ride-hailing services before the City Council:

Bill 43 would require disclosing the total fare or fare range to the passenger before confirmation of the ride, made available on his or her mobile device; and a receipt at the end, noting all charges, time, date and driver and company contact information.

Bill 44 would repeal the existing regulations covering taxis and other private transportation companies, including ride-hailing platforms. Among the proposed replacement regulations:
>> Taxis would no longer be tied to the current metering system and would be allowed to use GPS distance and fare-calculating technologies.
>> Similar to Bill 43, all services would be required to provide “up front” fare quotes, in written or electronic form. For taxis that continue to use conventional meters, the city would set a maximum per-mile fare so the rider would know the most they would pay before accepting.
>> All companies would need to certify drivers as being at least age 21 and as meeting set insurance requirements and various safe-driving standards; vehicles also must be certified and display required identifying logos and permits.
>> Taxis would be able to pay a fee to occupy established road taxi stands in public streets and city-run facilities.

Meanwhile: Uber Caldwell: Level the Playing Field for Everybody Except HandiVan

read … Oahu’s taxi cabs and ride-hailing firms on a collision course

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