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Thursday, June 06, 2019
June 6, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:28 PM :: 996 Views

Crabbe Out as OHA CEO​

Feds Debunk Surfrider's Fake Bacteria Counts

Death Gets 373 Homeless off Streets

‘Housing First’ Gets 450 Homeless off Streets

Honolulu ranked America’s best small city for second year in a row

Final Report: Utility Ownership and Regulatory Models for Hawaii

Cross-examination on Katherine Kealoha's deeds against uncle, Gerard Puana

KHON: … He testified that when Kealoha first brought up taking out a reverse mortgage on Florence Puana's house, Gerard said Florence was adamant against it. The money would help Gerard buy a condo and refinance the loan on the Kealoha's Kahala house.

Florence said it wouldn't be fair to her other eight children. But Gerard says Kealoha told them," We don't have to tell anybody. We'll keep it a secret." She promised them that it would be paid off in six months so the rest of the family would never know.

This was a similar testimony from Florence when she gave a video deposition played to the jury on Tuesday.

Gerard Puana could not hold back tears as he talked about the time the family found out that Katherine was not paying the reverse mortgage. He also talked about the angry letter Katherine wrote to the family after they had sent her a letter asking what happened to the money.

Defense attorneys started to cross-examine Puana this afternoon. They showed several checks from Florence made out to Gerard---apparently trying to show that Gerard also took money from his mother on different occasions. …

read … More cross-examination on Katherine Kealoha's deeds against uncle, Gerard Puana

Honolulu Council Votes to Hike property taxes—Immediately Spends Money

KHON: … The property tax rate on hotels and resorts will increase by a dollar, which would make it $13.90 per $1,000 of assessed value. Second homes are going up a $1.50, so the new rate would be $10.50 cents for any portion of the assessed value above a million dollars.

"These increases are again projected to result in revenue of approximately $17 million and $14 million respectively, Councilman Manahan.

In a statement, the city says, "The additional revenue will be used to remedy Honolulu's unfunded healthcare and retirement liabilities, and to prepare us for future rail operations and maintenance."

Manahan explains that operation and maintenance for rail are expected to cost $39 million next year for the first six months, and the year after that another $71 million.

"Given all that for us to maintain, all the core services the way they are, the way we are currently providing them without having to tax residents and homeowners this is the only way that we can come up with those revenues," said Manahan. …

"I've pointed out numerous things where they can cut. There's fat in every budget, I know that. I was a former mayor. Secondly, I said they can dip into their reserve fund," said Mufi Hannemann of Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. "Rein in spending. Live within your means and do the right thing."

Hannemann also claims that this comes at a time when tourism is slowing down, as they see hotel occupancy decreasing. The property tax increases will start on July 1st of this year. …

HPR: Honolulu City Council Approves Hotel Real Property Tax Hike, Budget Increases

News Release: Acting Mayor Amemiya statement on passage of operating and capital budgets

read … Certain real property taxes to increase this year

Hawaii County Council Adds 93 ‘positions’

HTH: … The County Council on Wednesday added $1.6 million and two more positions to the 93 new positions in Mayor Harry Kim’s $583.9 million spending plan, while moving money around in other accounts to give the legislative body more oversight.

The budget passed 9-0 on final reading, despite concerns by Kohala Councilman Tim Richards, who worried about the extra burden the new employees would add to the county’s unfunded liability of retirement and post-retirement benefits. He estimated the county’s liability at close to $1 billion. …

Council members unanimously agreed to increase their (reelection) contingency accounts to $100,000 each, bringing the fund to $900,000, compared to the mayor’s budgeted $270,000. That’s money each council member can give to nonprofits and county agencies at their discretion, with approval of the full council…. 

HTH: Council members’ budget moves aimed at gaining more power over spending in districts

read … County Council approves budget

Some Community Leaders In Kailua Want To Break Up With Honolulu

CB: … Fed up with what they view as mismanagement and corruption, some members of the Kailua Neighborhood Board want to see the windward side of Oahu secede from the City and County of Honolulu.

The new governmental unit they envision would stretch from Waimanalo to Kahaluu. It would have its own police force and fire department, accountable to the government of the new county, which they dubbed Koolaupoko County.

Matthew Darnell and Gary Weller, members of the board’s government and community services committee, said they are in the early stages of research and planning the effort. …

The issue will be publicly discussed for the first time at the Kailua Neighborhood Board meeting at the Kailua Recreation Center on Thursday night, and again at a board subcommittee meeting June 19, also at the Rec Center…. 

HNN: Some Kailuans want to secede from the city. It’s not as ‘lolo’ an idea as it sounds, they say

read … Some Community Leaders In Kailua Want To Break Up With Honolulu

HART hopes to avoid relocating 42-inch water main under Dillingham Boulevard

SA: … HART is relocating a 24-inch water line in the area and initially believed it also would need to relocate some, if not all, of the 42-inch main. “But now, in collaboration with the (Honolulu Board of Water Supply), we’re looking at alternatives to relocating it,” Brennan said….

The underground main is alongside the future rail route from Middle to Liliha streets along Dillingham Boulevard, according to news reports from 2016.

Utility relocation work is already underway along Dillingham Boulevard “and other areas of what we refer to as the City Center section of the project, which runs from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center,” Brennan said Wednesday.

Utility relocation through that four-plus mile section is expected to continue through 2022, he said….

read … HART hopes to avoid relocating 42-inch water main under Dillingham Boulevard

Honolulu City Council approves Councilmember Pine's $23 million initiative to help homeless

KITV: … Through a unanimous vote Wednesday the Honolulu City Council approved Councilmember Kymberly Pine's new $23 million initiative to help the homeless.

According to Councilmember Pine the $21 million Community Revitalization Initiative will provide funds for the acquisition, lease, development and/or renovation of facilities including urban rests tops, navigation centers, lift zones, shelters, ohana zones, joint outreach centers, community treatment centers, kauhale development, HF Projects, workforce/affordable housing and community-focused projects.

“Each Council District would receive $2.3 million to address homelessness by working with the community to come up with solutions that make sense for their area. What works in Waianae, may not work in Wahiawa," Pine said. “We also budgeted $2 million for homeless service zones for the Waianae Coast.”…

HNN: 8 Arrested at Kakaako Homeless Tent City

read … Honolulu City Council approves Councilmember Pine's $23 million initiative to help homeless

Jury rejects claim that officers used excessive force in arrest that left tweeker dead

HNN: … Haleck was high on methamphetamine at the time of his arrest in Downtown Honolulu.

His family’s attorneys said Haleck wasn’t threatening anyone when officers pepper-sprayed him about a dozen times and shot him with a Taser gun as many as three times.

He became unresponsive after being cuffed, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead the following morning.

The officers said they used reasonable force, and that they arrested Haleck because he was in the middle of a major street.

“The threat there was that there were vehicles in the area and we could be hit at any time,” Officer Christopher Chung testified….

read … Tweeker Dead

Foes blast Maunakea rules

HTH: … Realtor Mary Begier was the only speaker in support of the proposed rules. Begier, who recently received a State of Hawaii Small Business Advocacy Award for Business and Industry, said the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce “will continue to watch what the university system is doing because it’s the largest employer on our island, and it’s super important to East Hawaii, not only for financial reasons but for educational reasons.”

“The idea that this version of rules is only meant to address construction of a specific building project, may seem as such, but I look at it really differently,” Begier said. “We said there were things wrong with the behavior when there was discussion of starting construction a few years ago. And I just see it as the rules are addressing what we all said was wrong. And so I’d like to see us work harder on what’s been provided to us, and maybe some more focus on the cultural practitioner position in all of this. And I believe we all have the same love and aloha for our island and our mountain, and that we can do this together. …”

Artist Catherine Robbins, also from Volcano and a hiker, called the proposal “a new set of rules to regulate islanders’ access, some of which would actually make criminals of Native Hawaiians and residents like me, just for being on the mountain in some way UH deems inappropriate.”

“A full fifth of the document … contains myriad provisions for how violators will be treated, not in a court of law, but by UH — eight pages of gruesome detail about the draconian penalties and fines, including making the cost of any contested case proceeding payable by the people. This is outrageous and wrong,” Robbins said.

“Maunakea isn’t owned by the university. Islanders have a right to be there.”…

read … Usual Suspects

Doctor Shortage Getting Worse

BIN: … Comparing the number of physicians that the Big Island has to the average utilization of physicians across the United States, Hawai‘i Island comes up short with 41% fewer physicians than the island should have, making it commonplace to wait four to five months for a primary care or specialist physician.

Statewide, Hawai‘i is short approximately 800 doctors.

The problem is expected to escalate because many of the state’s doctors now are near retirement and there aren’t enough incoming doctors to take their places. The State of Hawai‘i currently has 600 physicians 65 or older….

In addition, many doctors are leaving the islands. From 2017 to 2018, the state lost 51full-time-equivalent doctors. In fact, Hawai‘i was found to be the third worst state in which to practice medicine due to low wages and a high cost of living. Experts say a net gain of 650 doctors is needed in the state by 2020.

East Hawai‘i has a projected population of around 117,000 by 2020. To serve that population, there are four general surgeons (one of whom is near retirement), three orthopedic surgeons, three gastroenterologists (two of whom are past retirement age) two cardiologists and two nephrologists.

The entire island has a projected population of around 217,718 by 2020. Serving the entire island are one urologist, one neurologist and one permanent ear, nose and throat specialist….

read … Why the Doctor Shortage Continues in Hawai‘i

Abortion by Telephone in Hawaii

CB: … Three years ago, Dr. Reni Soon joined a group of Hawaii doctors offering abortions to women over the internet.

Connecting with her patients through a video conferencing app that most women can access on their cell phone, Soon said the use of telemedicine in her practice is helping to normalize abortion as part of meeting women’s health care needs. More importantly, it’s eliminating the need for some women to travel by airplane to reach an abortion clinic.

It works like this: A woman who wishes to terminate her pregnancy uses a cell phone, tablet or computer to participate in a video evaluation with an abortion provider. The woman then travels to a local medical facility for an ultrasound and other pre-abortion tests, which are evaluated remotely by the abortion provider.

The woman next receives medications commonly known as “the abortion pill” in the mail, along with instructions. After the woman ingests the pills, the results are reviewed in a series of follow-up tests and a second video consultation….

Related: TelAbortion: Hawaii Doctors, Lawyers Plan the Abortion Future

read … Hawaii Doctors Turn To Telemedicine As Number of Abortion Providers Dwindles

'More ghetto’: Maili residents turn out to protest 52-unit affordable housing project

HNN: …Maili residents who opposed an affordable housing project in their neighborhood turned out in force at the City Council on Wednesday.

The council’s budget added $1 million for road repairs leading to Hale Makana O Maili, an affordable apartment complex by a private developer.

Neighbors wanted the roads improved, but say they’re against so many affordable housing projects in their neighborhood.

“When you put ghetto with ghetto, you get more ghetto. And when I was in the third grade, this was not a ghetto. Because you people put all these low income projects all together, it became a ghetto,” Maili resident Lily Cabinatan said….

read … 'More ghetto’: Maili residents turn out to protest 52-unit affordable housing project

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