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Saturday, November 02, 2019
November 2, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:24 PM :: 935 Views

Hawaiians & the Economy: We're in The Same Boat as Everyone!

Bill 37 Illegal, Could Cost City Billions in Federal Funding

SA Editorial: … Even as he objected to elements of Bill 37, Mayor Kirk Caldwell allowed it to become law without his signature on Oct. 24.

The controversial measure requires the city to enter a community workforce agreement (CWA) with building trade unions on “critical” city construction projects worth $2 million or more. It passed the City Council on a 7-2 vote on Oct. 9.

Proponents say the CWAs would prohibit labor strikes or slowdowns on projects with critical construction deadlines. On large projects, this could be a benefit. But opponents argue that the bill would require open-shop contractors and subcontractors to pay union benefits, driving up their costs and by extension, the city’s.

There’s also the possibility that fewer contractors could afford to bid, leaving the city at the mercy of a handful of contractors with the freedom to drive a harder bargain. Aren’t city construction projects expensive enough?

In an Oct. 24 letter to the Council, Caldwell pointed out some of his own concerns with Bill 37:

>> It improperly infringes on the city administration’s authority to procure public works projects and engage in labor agreements.

>> Federal funding on projects could be lost because certain provisions are contrary to federal rules, including a local hiring preference.

In other words, there were plenty of reasons for the Council to reject Bill 37 — and for Caldwell to veto it. But unfortunately, neither happened.

So what’s left is for Council members to take up Caldwell’s proposal to fix the flaws in the new ordinance before it take effect on May 20. It’s the least they should do….

Shoulda Listened: Council approves PLAs despite many concerns

Who They Listened to: Former Official of Crooked Painters Union Trying to Convince Council to Require Union Contractors on City Projects

Who They Listened to: Hawaii Painters Business Agent Pleads Guilty in $1.5M Theft

read … Bill 37 needs a makeover

Routine Map Survey Reveals Dole Sold State Its Own Land

EH: … On October 25, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources unanimously approved the acquisition of 3,716 acres of native forest owned by Dole Food Company on O‘ahu’s North Shore for $3.716 million and authorized public hearings to add those lands to the Pupukea-Paumalu forest reserve…..

During DOFAW administrator David Smith’s presentation to the board on the Waimea acquisition, he mentioned that there was an outstanding issue with the state’s purchase last year of 2,881 acres of Dole land at Helemano. He described a boundary dispute, with discussion among the involved parties going “back and forth,” but board members did not question him about it.

According to his written report to the board, a 58.54-acre parcel that was part of the $15,163,800 million purchase wasn’t Dole’s to sell. It actually already belonged to the state.

A warranty deed for the sale of the four parcels included in the deal was recorded in the Bureau of Conveyances in October 2018. After a public hearing a couple of months later, the Land Board voted in May to add the Helemano lands to the ‘Ewa forest reserve.

In preparing maps for the executive order designating the lands as a forest reserve, the state surveyor discovered a discrepancy in the ownership of the 58.54-acre parcel, Smith’s report stated. “The parcel is not a lot of record, but rather a remainder parcel created from the boundaries of surrounding parcels. It was discovered that the parcel was never actually conveyed by the state and had remained under government ownership. The Department, along with the Attorney General, is currently working with Dole to resolve this matter,” it continued….

(Translation: They all forgot about this land because it was so forgettable.  But we can’t find land for affordable housing.  Get it?)

Read: How A&B Wins Big From Environmental Litigation

read … Routine Map Survey Reveals Dole Sold State Its Own Land

Demonstrators opposing Kahuku wind farm project hold sign-waiving fronting Honolulu Hale

KITV: … Demonstrators opposed to the Na Pua Makani Wind Farm project in Kahuku held a sign-waiving in front of Honolulu Hale on Friday.

The demonstrators say they are concerned about how the turbines may affect the community's health. They also say the turbines are too big, too close and claim that AES has broken promises.

At one point, demonstrators tried to go to the Mayor's office to speak with him and one of the Mayor's staffers took down their information to schedule a meeting in the future.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell released a statement reading, "I support the right to protest under our First Amendment and I appreciate the passion of those who showed up at my office today. However, every member of our community needs to follow the law, and the current project in Kahuku has met all of the mandates put before it. I will continue to ensure all of our laws are followed, and that includes the right to protest." ….

VIDEO: Wind project opponents take demonstration to mayor’s office

read … Demonstrators opposing Kahuku wind farm project hold sign-waiving fronting Honolulu Hale

Maui Injection Wells: Remember the Enviros Started this Litigation

MN: … Its not practical to demand that the department stop using injection wells immediately, when the funds, personnel and solutions are not provided by the County Council.

The County of Maui has applied for an NPDS Permit from the state for many years, but the state hasn’t issued one to the county.

The county didn’t file the original injection well lawsuit. There would not have been any case if the environmental groups had left the department alone or had helped with solutions.

We elect council members and give them the responsibility to find solutions for the community’s challenges. When they take office, they inherit all the problems that existed before they took office; they are responsible to make whatever corrections that are necessary. …

Arakawa: Millions spent to improve sewage collection systems

read … Remember

“Progressives’ on Maui Council Gift Themselves with Free Stays at Wailea Luxury Resort

MN: … Six Maui County Council members and six executive assistants stayed at the Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott Maui during a conference in June and were reimbursed in public funds to the tune of just over $11,000, according to documents obtained from the county Finance Department.

The hotel stays took place during the Hawaii State Association of Counties Conference that Maui County hosted in Wailea from June 9 to 12, with bills ranging from a one-night stay for $319.14 to a three-night stay for $1,156.18. A seventh council member also stayed at the hotel for three nights but was not reimbursed….

“I can understand if those council members that are living on those islands (of Lanai and Molokai) are coming over to attend that conference, and those council members need a place to stay,” said Sandy Ma, executive director of the nonpartisan government watchdog Common Cause Hawaii. “That makes more sense. But if they’re on island, it raises a question as to why they need a hotel room if they could go back to their primary residences on the island of Maui.”

Hosting the conference also cost almost $25,000 more and generated nearly $36,000 less than the last time Maui County hosted back in 2015. And, while HSAC conferences are generally funded by registration fees and sponsorships, this year’s conference also used a $25,000 grant from the South Maui Economic and Cultural Development fund to pay for a film screening and entertainment at the conference….  (Now you know why they slipped the word ‘cultural’ into the organization’s name.)

The conference’s theme was “Hot Topics in Sustainability” … (and nothing is more sustainable than taxpayer funded hotel rooms)  The conference also included a Maui Film Festival screening of “Beyond Climate Change,”  (they always have these at fly-in luxe resorts)

read … County paid for council members, staff to stay at Wailea hotel for HSAC

Maui Hysteria Caucus Decides to Freak out over Mahi Pono Water

MT:  … California water attorney Tim O’Laughlin, aka “The Hammer” has joined Mahi Pono as its new chief operating officer, a development that should strike fear into the hearts of everyone working to protect Maui’s water. His former law firm bio describes him as advising clients “on matters involving water, land use and planning, and the environment.” People who’ve worked with him say his specialty is privatizing public water.

The sanitized announcement of O’Laughlin’s hiring will be published in tomorrow’s Maui News, but MauiTime has been collecting intel on O’Laughlin ever since his name popped up several months ago as a possible Mahi Pono player.

The Sacramento-based attorney is a brutal litigator and counsel to many California water agencies, and has long been associated with Trinitas Partners, going back to when the three principals – Ryon Paton, William Hooper, and Kirk Hoiberg – decided to turn their investment/real estate expertise on Central California ag land. 

They bought thousands of acres of ranchland around Oakdale, Calif. and turned it into almond farms, growing one of the thirstiest crops around in a region where water was carefully allocated. This is the same Trinitas that went on to partner with Canadian pension fund PSP to create Mahi Pono….

MT: “Mahi Pono Is Coming For ‘Our’ Water”

MN: Mahi Pono potato harvest

read … Mahi Pono Hires The Hammer

Oahu’s first of five village-style homeless projects could begin to rise by Thanksgiving

HNN: … Oahu's first village-style homeless project could start to rise in Kalaeloa before the end of the month.

It’s called a Kauhale and it will be a permanent community featuring tiny homes, common areas and shared facilities.  (And no tents!)

Right now, the parcel off Shangrila Street doesn’t look like much. It’s got one rickety building in the middle of an overgrown lot.

But over the next few months, the parcel is slated to transform into a master-planned community for the homeless.

"For Phase 1 we are envisioning between 35 to 39 tiny homes,” said Nani Medeiros, who heads up Home Aid Hawaii.. “We’re still adjusting the plans, so right now everything’s very much conceptual.”…

Lt. Gov. Josh Green has been working with the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to secure the land.

He told HNN he met with public housing officials Thursday and hopes to have final approval on the project in the next 10 days.

“We want to be building tiny houses by Thanksgiving,” said Green. “The infrastructure is basically in place here. We’ve got power here. We’ve got water here.”

With much of the work being done at no cost to taxpayers, Green estimates government will have to pitch in around $1.5 million for this project.

“This Kauhale will be the first of five. That’s our hope,” said Green. “Each one is in a different stage. One in Waimanalo, one in Waianae, one downtown, and one at the Hawaii State Hospital.” ….

read … Oahu’s first village-style homeless project could begin to rise by Thanksgiving

Kona: Program helps homeless get ID so they can be flown back to the State that flew them here

WHT: … The basis of HONOUR (Homeless Outreach Nurturing Our Community) is to integrate the homeless back into the community by having them work on projects under positive guidance.

“So whether it’s cleaning specific areas in our community or participating in community projects or events or going down to Old Airport and painting buildings, it gives them a little dignity to be seen in a positive light. And they feel a little ownership in their community,” said Nahale. “It’s a win-win. They’re cleaning up the community and at the same time trying to establish themselves back into the mainstream of society again.” ….

Nahale said the program will also guide them through an identification system so they can try to get them their ID, which is needed to get jobs and travel again.

“A lot of homeless don’t have IDs,” said Nahale. “They either loose them or they expire,” he said noting the cumbersome system to obtain an ID in the state.

He hopes to provide funding so if they want to go home to the mainland to be with family or enter a rehabilitation treatment facility out of state, they could provide that through incentives.

“The truth is on the streets,” he said. “Their home states sent them here with a one-way ticket. It is HONOUR’s goal to send them back. A lot tell us they want to go back but don’t have the means.”

Nahale added he has talked to many homeless who were sent here from all over the mainland….

read … Officers’ new work program gives homeless chance to earn incentives while helping community

Follow the money behind the controversial Ala Moana playground plan

ILind: … critics of the project have essentially accused the group of being a front for the developers of the ultra-luxury Park Lane condominium project across the street at Ala Moana Center, where some units are priced in the tens of millions. Mayor Caldwell has also drawn criticism for his determination to take a significant amount of open space in Ala Moana Park and, in their view, treat it as an amenity to be put under the control of the owners of units in Park Lane.

I decided to “follow the money.” It usually leads to interesting findings.

The nonprofit “Pa’ani Kakou” was only recently recognized by the IRS. It lists four directors in its registration filed with the state’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs–Tiffana Vara, Alana Kobayashi Pakkala, Ian MacNaughton, and Crystal Rose–all directly tied to Park Lane and its developers.

As veteran reporter Denby Fawcett wrote in a recent Civil Beat column: “The mayor’s earlier description of them as “a group of mothers” doesn’t seem to fit.”

It’s fair to say that if money buys political clout, then the board of Pa’ani Kakou and the developers of Park Lane undoubtedly have a lot of it. Perhaps that’s why the mayor is so firmly behind the group in this controversy.

The developer, AMX Partners, LLC., was formed by the MacNaughton Group, Kobayashi Group, Blacksand Capital, and the owners of Ala Moana Center, General Growth Properties, now known as GGP Inc…. 

ILind: What about those “perfectly legal” campaign contributions?

read … Follow the money behind the controversial Ala Moana playground plan

Suspect charged with Rachelle Bergeron’s murder was being investigated by her

NYP: … Francis Choay Buchon had three cases before Bergeron, 33, the acting attorney general on the island, who was shot dead along with a pet dog outside her home after she returned from a jog last month.

In one case, Buchon was set to appear before Bergeron, a former New York human rights attorney, for “terrorizing with intent to use a deadly weapon, his firearm,” according to a report last month in the Pacific Island Times. Firearms are prohibited on the Micronesian island, which is 500 miles southwest of Guam.

Buchon and Anthony Rutun Teteeth, both local (airport) firefighters, were accused of planning Bergeron’s murder for at least a month before the Oct. 14 shooting with a 12-gauge shotgun. Bergeron was shot three times at point blank range. Buchon had previously spent a month in jail after he was convicted of arson ….

LINK: Suspects Appeared on FSM Supreme Court Yap Trial Division Calendar Starting September 5, 2019 (Open ‘agenda’ tab)

Oct 24: Article names two alleged suspects, then taken down (This article got one of the suspects right, the other named person—also an airport firefighter--appeared in court Oct 25 and has another court date Dec 18, 2019.)

read … Suspect charged with Rachelle Bergeron’s murder was being investigated by her

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