Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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Thursday, November 01, 2018
November 1, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:51 PM :: 2040 Views

Rail: Bill 42 Breaks a Promise

Hawaii ACLU: Catholics Must Participate in Assisted Suicide

Honolulu Development Plan Forum Set for Weds Nov 7

Who Are OHA's Real Misspenders?

HR 5026: Streamline Citizenship process for American Samoa US Nationals

Con-Con: Hawaii’s only hope for term limits

Some OHA Candidates Back Telescope Project

HNN: …OHA candidates were invited to a moderated forum at the University of Hawaii Center for Hawaiian Studies Monday evening.

A question from the audience asked candidates their stance on telescope and why.

OHA Trustee At-Large Candidate Lei Ahu Isa said she opposes the project.

Her opponent, William Aila, tried to explain why he approved the permits for it as Chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. However, Aila kept getting interrupted by the audience yelling “auwe” and “hewa” and “ku kiai mauna!”

“Thank you for the commentary, I'm trying to get through my answer,” said Aila. “I've treated you with respect, I expect to be treated with respect."…

Aila said he believes science and Hawaiian culture can co-exist on the mountain and that Mauna Kea is the most studied place ever in the state.

Brendon Kaleiaina Lee said he is in favor of the project.

Rowena Akana, John Waihee IV, and Faye Hanohano were not present.

Oahu candidate Kalei Akaka did not pick a stance. Her opponent, Esther Kiaaina said she respects the decision by the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Maui candidate Keeaumoku Kapu said he does not support what is happening right now. His opponent, Trustee Carmen Hulu Lindsey, said she opposes TMT….

“When I read this morning the Supreme Court of injustices decision, I feel like it’s one of the saddest days in the history of the Hawaiian people,” said University of Hawaiian Studies Professor Lilikala Kameeleihiwa, who was in the audience. “And shame on anybody who will support that.”…

read … Native Hawaiians divided over Thirty Meter Telescope ruling

Mauna Kea: Chin Promises No More Crying Police Apologizing to Protesters

SA: …State and county officials led by Lt. Gov. Doug Chin have done extensive planning in recent years to prepare for the possibility of widespread protests in connection with the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, and at least some of those plans may involve the use of Hawaii National Guard equipment, according to sources familiar with the preparations….

That extensive planning effort grew out of the state response to the anti-TMT protests that erupted on Mauna Kea early in Gov. David Ige’s administration, a response that was seen by many in the public as tentative and uncertain….

Ige then offered a “proposed way forward” in May 2015 that included asking the university to remove one-fourth of the telescopes now on the mountain, but the protesters later used boulders to again block the summit access road to prevent construction crews from reaching the TMT construction site.

Chin, who was then Ige’s state attorney general, oversaw the law enforcement response to that round of protests, which involved another dozen arrests….

“They don’t want another fiasco where DOCARE officers are shedding tears and embracing protesters,” the source said. “They want this to be like Haleakala, where they were all over ’em.”….

Flashback 2015 Video: Crying Police Apologize to Telescope Protesters

read … Chin leads state planning to address TMT protests

Telescope: End of the Line for Legal Obstructionism

SA: … Mauna Kea Hui leader Kealoha Pisciotta on Wednesday said the group of 15 or so petitioners plans to meet Monday to decide how to proceed.

On Tuesday state Attorney General Russell Suzuki said the challengers have a couple of legal options: File a motion within 10 days to the state Supreme Court asking for reconsideration, or petition for a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Both avenues apparently come with long odds.

“Seeking reconsideration is futile,” Wright said. “The (state) court went through full briefing and oral argument three times — twice on permit and once on sublease. No minds will be changed.”

Robert H. Thomas, a Honolulu land use and appellate lawyer, said he sees virtually zero chance of the U.S. Supreme Court reviewing the decision….

“Going to the U.S. Supreme Court is a waste of money. It’s over as far as any additional judicial review,” said James Wright, former attorney for TMT opponent Abigail Kawananakoa….

G: Hawaiian conservationists vow to fight telescope plans despite court approval

read … Telescope foes to weigh legal options in wake of ruling

Hawaii DoE 10% of Students Consider Suicide Each Year

SA: …Hawaii students tried to take their own lives at a higher rate than their peers across the country. Ten percent of students surveyed said they had attempted suicide in the last 12 months compared to 7.4 percent nationally.

“While the rate has been decreasing, we still have 10 percent of students reporting that they attempted suicide within the last 12 months, so that’s very concerning,” Ryan said. “Project HI Aware has been rolling out a lot of suicide prevention awareness.”…

The data to be discussed today comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which administers the Youth Risk Behavior Survey to a representative sample of students at schools nationwide every other year. It covers a wide range of behaviors.

A presentation on the results will be made to the Board of Education’s Student Achievement Committee at its meeting at Heeia Elementary School in Kaneohe at 3:30 p.m….

Related: Report Ties Hawaii Youth Suicide Rate to HSTA Grab for HGEA Positions

read … Hawaii’s reported rate of teen bullying on par with U.S. average

Retaliation: Honolulu curtails 'courtesy inspections' of construction, delaying commercial projects by 2 years for No Particular Reason

PBN: …“The department has granted these permits for commercial projects for well over 40 years,” Tim Hiu, deputy director of the DPP, told Pacific Business News in an emailed statement. “[However] this process of a simplified partial building permit or ‘courtesy inspections’ has been curtailed over recent years because of increased regulatory requirements."  …

Gladys Quinto Marrone, CEO of the Building Industry Association Hawaii, said the courtesy inspection was “a creative and positive workaround of the constant delays to permitting that isn’t related to the actual construction plans.”

It allowed a commercial project to proceed as long as the site and foundation permits were issued to ensure compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements, “while zoning, fire, and other issues were being addressed,” Marrone said.

“This saves 1.5 to two years for major projects, and for smaller projects about six months to one year,” she said. “The construction cost savings is tremendous so these inspections is a huge part of the viability of construction. The courtesy inspection allowed inspectors to visit the project and inspect prior to walls being closed up.”

Hiu blamed the curtailment of the courtesy inspections on the stricter EPA requirements for storm water quality, “prohibiting the application of a building permit or start of construction until zoning discretionary conditions are met, and restrictions on the application of a building permit or start of construction until infrastructure approvals are obtained,” he told PBN in the emailed statement.

Marrone, and some of her members, believe the city’s monster homes issue has had a greater impact on courtesy inspections, something Hiu acknowledges.

“The overall plan review process has been impacted by the public outrage on large detached dwelling[s], or ‘monster home[s],’ as there is greater scrutiny of the submitted plans that is resulting in a longer permit review process,” he said.

Marshall Hickox, president of Homeworks Construction Inc., said residential construction, while affected by delays because of the monster homes issue, isn’t really impacted by the courtesy inspection slowdown.

Hickox, who was one of the contractors who’s had to lay off an employee because of permitting slowdowns, said he didn’t understand how a small retail business owner could even start a business without courtesy inspections when they have to wait for a full permit to be issued after finding a space to rent and making plans, all while paying rent on a lease.

“[The] courtesy inspection was implemented as a common sense mechanism to allow the progression of work needed while a permit went through its full review,” Hickox, who is also the incoming president of BIA-Hawaii, said in an email.  “You cannot just stop or reduce the courtesy inspections without having solved the reason it was created.

read … Honolulu curtails 'courtesy inspections' of construction, delaying commercial projects

Planning panel endorses Caldwell’s new plan on vacation rentals

SA: …The cornerstone of the Caldwell proposal is that it allows for permits to be issued for new bed-and-breakfasts and transient vacation units — TVUs — while making it tougher for those who operate illegally or otherwise don’t comply with the rules.The city stopped issuing certificates for vacation rentals in 1989 and DPP estimates there are only 816 legal ones outside or resort zones, but between 6,000-8,000 illegal ones.

DPP estimates its new proposal would cap the number of permitted B&Bs and TVUs at about 4,000 by requiring that the combined number of vacation rentals totals no more than 1 percent of all dwelling units in each of the island’s eight Development Plan areas. The previous draft allowed for an unlimited number of B&Bs in single-family residential properties and a limited number of TVUs, but only in non-single family residential areas.

The Caldwell plan also proposes stiffer penalties for violators and that legal B&Bs and TVUs now be taxed at their own rates rather than residential rates, making it likely they would be assessed closer to the higher rates of resort properties

This time, the commission voted 7-0 to send forward to the Council a favorable recommendation, but tacked onto it a list of several of its own suggestions for Council members to consider. Among the suggestions that commissioners want the Council to consider is removing language from the draft bill that requires both the “hosted” bed and breakfast establishments and “non-hosted” transient vacation units seeking a vacation rental permit first show proof of a homeowner exemption.

Commissioners also asked the Council to consider: directing all vacation rental-related fees and fines to DPP’s enforcement division; requiring owners of vacation rentals in resort areas to pay property taxes at the same rate as hotels and resorts; taking a broader look at how property taxes are calculated for vacation rentals rather than creating new tax categories for B&Bs and TVUs….

SA Editorial: Vacation rental plan should pass

Cataluna: Moving the tourism problem doesn’t solve it

read … Planning panel endorses Caldwell’s new plan on vacation rentals

Next Episode of Red Hill Drama Set for Thursday

SA: …The Honolulu Board of Water Supply and environmentalists are protesting a study that suggests a fuel leak in a huge Navy tank farm buried in Red Hill might not harm the island water supply.

But a Navy spokesman said the study does not reflect the opinion of the Navy, which he said is committed to preventing any leakage.

The modeling study of potential leaks was done for a state Senate Task Force studying what to do about the 18-tank bulk fuel storage facility hidden under Red Hill….

…A hearing of the State Senate Red Hill Task Force is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday in the state Capitol basement, Room 016…. 

KITV: Navy points finger of Red Hill fuel on human error, community uneasy over future problems

read … BWS balks at study that says sizable leak of Red Hill fuel tank wouldn’t harm water supply

State considers Leeward Oahu property as site for homeless ‘ohana zone,' but not everyone is on board

HNN: …After a decade of helping hundreds of families, a Leeward Oahu homeless shelter closed its doors permanently Wednesday.

The lease on Ulu Ke Kukui is up and the property is being returned to the state Department of Hawaiian Homelands.

The agency says it wants to turn the complex into homes for beneficiaries, but not right away.

And state officials confirm they’re thinking about turning the former homeless shelter into one of Oahu’s first “ohana zones.”

The 80-unit complex is nestled in a quiet Maili neighborhood just off Farrington Highway behind St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our beneficiaries for Hawaiian Homelands,” said Jobie Masagatani, chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission. She says the agency is planning a major renovation of the property.

“We don’t know yet whether it will be rental or condominium. If we do condo it will be the first time we’ve ever done that,” said Masagatani. “Or even a rent with an option to purchase. That’s also been discussed.”….

But while the search for a developer is underway, the buildings won’t sit empty.

The state Department of Human Services confirms it’s “... exploring possible uses of the site, including the use of the property as an ‘ohana zone’ to address homelessness on the Leeward Coast.”…

the majority of the people HNN talked to said they aren’t interested in having an “ohana zone” in their neighborhood.

“We already know they have drug problems, alcohol problems, mental illness problems and not to mention there will be thieves that comes along with that. We don’t need it. They already brought down our value by building Ulu Ke Kukui,” said Craig Wood, president of the Palm Grove Association…..

The Ige administration says it’s planning to open a minimum of three “ohana zones” on Oahu along with one each on Kauai, Maui and Hawaii Island.

The governor’s homeless coordinator says the state isn’t interested in setting up tent cities. Instead, the plan is to house people in existing buildings on city or state land.

The state Legislature put up $30 million of taxpayer money to get the project off the ground with the first “ohana zone” expected to launch in early January….

read … State considers Leeward Oahu property as site for homeless ‘ohana zone,' but not everyone is on board

Why The State Wants To Build This Ala Moana High-Rise Above A Shelter

CB: … The idea of building affordably priced apartments above a state court-run shelter for underage runaways and other minors in custody for noncriminal offenses puzzled members of the Ala Moana-Kakaako Neighborhood Board.

“I’m just really having a hard time understanding how these two concepts are put together on the same plot of land,” board member Susan Oppie said at a meeting last month.

But it makes perfect sense to state officials and affordable housing advocates looking for new ways to address Hawaii’s severe shortage of affordable living units….

The apartments would be affordable to people making 60 percent or less of area median income (an individual in Honolulu earning $49,020 or less), with a few units reserved for people making 30 percent or less of AMI….

The shelter provides minors a place to stay while the court finds a suitable home for them….

The state Department of Education is showing interest in such collaboration. Plans are in the works for a residential high-rise in Kakaako with a public elementary school on the bottom floor. …

Lawmakers passed three measures in 2016 that made it easier for the state to build and finance mixed-use projects on state land. After years of meetings, reports and plans, some of the ideas are coming to fruition….

The city is upgrading infrastructure near the rail line, especially in Iwilei and Kapalama near central Honolulu, to accommodate future development. In August, the city planning department published its plan to revamp infrastructure in Iwilei and Kapalama, an area ripe for redevelopment with a concentration of state landholdings….

read … Why The State Wants To Build This Ala Moana High-Rise Above A Shelter

Venture Capital in Hawaii—37% goes to Marijuana

PBN : …More than $247 million in venture capital funds have been invested in Hawaii-based companies since 2010, according to a new report by Hawaii-based Startup Capital Ventures….

…Following 2015’s Act 241, which established the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary program, the report found that medical marijuana investment made up 37 percent of all venture capital investment in Hawaii’s health care sector.

“This policy change seemed to outweigh the discontinuance of the HI Growth Initiative’s public and private funding distribution campaign,” the report said.

read … New report looks at venture capital investment in Hawaii

Legislators Tricked HSTA Leadership into Spending $521K on Doomed Ballot Initiative

CB: …HSTA, which represents about 13,000 teachers, raised nearly $513,000 for the campaign to pass it through a group called HSTA for Schools Our Keiki Deserve. NEA, the union’s parent, kicked in another $344,000 to the campaign, including a quarter-million infusion on Oct. 15 — just four days before the high court nullified it….  $521,126 was spent….

read … Hawaii Ballot Issues Draw $2.7 Million In Campaign Spending

UH Preps Budget Sales Pitch

CB: …A draft budget proposal from the university includes nearly $40 million over the next two fiscal years to expand the Hawaii Promise program to UH’s four-year campuses at Manoa, Hilo and West Oahu.

Before the proposal is submitted, it needs approval from the UH Board of Regents.

The scholarship program — which covers the unmet financial need of students who have exhausted other scholarship and federal grant money — was piloted last year at the community colleges….

SA: UH Board of Regents asks government for help with deficit

read … UH Wants $40 Million To Help Students Lower Their Tuition Costs

HMSA Forces 3000 onto Obamacare -- Making Taxpayers Cover More Expensive Plans

SA: …Hawaii Medical Service Association is notifying some members currently enrolled in older health plans that they will be moved to coverage compliant with the federal Affordable Care Act as of Jan. 1.

About 3,000 individual plan members will begin receiving letters today….

Some members could see an increase in price depending on the benefit plan, however, they may also qualify for subsidies, HMSA said….

The state Insurance Division, which regulates health plan rates, earlier this month announced that HMSA’s final approved 2019 average rate change for Obamacare plans would decrease 0.37 percent. HMSA had proposed an increase of 2.72 percent. The state’s final approved average rate change for Kaiser was an increase of 12.9 percent, significantly lower than the 28.6 percent rate hike initially proposed.

Kaiser said it had previously moved individual plan members to ACA plans….

Open enrollment for ACA plans runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15….

read … HMSA to switch about 3,000 customers on older plans to Obamacare

Another Alleged Homosexual Child Molester Sued

WHT: …According to the lawsuit, the incidents occurred in Waimea sometime between 1997 and 1998. The plaintiff, a resident of Waimea at the time, was 12 years old and in sixth grade. Court documents indicate the plaintiff had visited the defendant’s home on several occasions, including overnight visits.

“On three separate occasions when Plaintiff was visiting at Defendant’s home in 1997 and 1998, Defendant, while in a position of authority, trust, and supervision over Plaintiff as a trusted family friend and adult who owed a duty of care to protect and prevent harm to Plaintiff, engaged in unpermitted, harmful and offensive sexual contact upon the person of Plaintiff,” the lawsuit alleges.

According to court documents, the plaintiff developed various coping mechanisms and symptoms of psychological disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, repression and disassociation…..

read … Lawsuit filed against Waimea businessman

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