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Sunday, June 27, 2021
June 27, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:49 PM :: 2952 Views

Secret Tax Relief for Hotels on Maui?

Florida building collapse must have some Honolulu condo owners fretting

ILind: … Some initial news reports following the Surfside disaster pointed to the possible role played by “frequent flooding in the building’s lower parking garage, including the possibility of water seeping up underneath through the porous limestone rock on which the barrier island sits that includes Surfside and Miami Beach.”

All in theory, of course. But most of Honolulu rests on multiple layers of that same porous limestone, and many of Oahu’s condominiums have been fighting flooding for years, including those in Waikiki, and across the Ala Wai along Kapiolani, where the water table has been rising. And then there’s Kakaako, of course.

Some may remember back in 1989, when a new Duty Free building was under construction in Waikiki. They foundation required excavating to a depth of 30 feet in an area where the water table was, at that time, just six feet below the surface. The contractor had to continuously pump water from the excavation as part of a massive dewatering operation prior to pouring the concrete foundation. And as they pumped, Waikiki began sinking. Buildings throughout the area, and along Kapiolani, reported damage from settling triggered by the dewatering. It brought public attention to the water not far below the surface throughout much of Honolulu.

And as sea level rises, the layer of brackish or fresh water floats on top of it, a process which accounts for much of what until now has been considered just “nuisance flooding” in many buildings, often in underground parking areas.

I know of one Kapiolani condominium that required major repairs after water began flooding into its elevator shafts during high tides or heavy rains, and another where persistent groundwater intrusion played havoc with underground equipment rooms, including electrical centers, and was believed to have damaged sewer lines running under the building. I’m sure these buildings are not alone…. 

SA: Tower collapse risks extremely low, but Hawaii — like Florida — has extra building maintenance challenges

CB: The director of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting said it is too early to say whether what happened near Miami could happen in Hawaii.

CB: UH Report Finds Hawaii Needs To Prepare For More Frequent High-Tide Flooding

read … Florida building collapse must have some Honolulu condo owners fretting

Gov. David Ige and Legislature leave the rich richer … What’s new?

Shapiro: …>> Gov. David Ige said he intends to veto 28 bills from this year’s Legislature, including the state budget, admitting it leaves holes in the spending plan. It defies physics to create new holes in what’s already a black hole.

>> Also targeted for veto is a bill providing $2,200 bonuses for teachers, which came under fire from other public worker unions not so favored. They oppose naked political payoffs — when they don’t get their cut.

>> The veto list included the Legislature’s bill to gut the Hawaii Tourism Authority, leaving management of our leading industry in flux. Until they figure it out, tourism will be guided as usual by illegal vacation rentals….

>> Despite doubting the need earlier, Ige let stand a scheme for a new Aloha Stadium and surrounding development with a fuzzy financial plan. With Oahu rail in limbo, the economy needed a fresh boondoggle.

>> Calls for a bid-rigging probe grew after emails showed top rail directors favored Colleen Hanabusa before a nearly $1 million consulting contract was written to her resume. The rail agency replied with its rallying cry: “We nevah!”…

read … Gov. David Ige and Legislature leave the rich richer … What’s new?

New Hawaii teachers’ union leader Osa Tui Jr. has a different approach to job

SA: … “Corey and I do have different styles, that’s for sure,” Tui said with a chuckle. “Corey is a social studies teacher. He loves data, he loves numbers. I’m a math teacher, but I love to tell the story from the heart and try to give a broader perspective of things and how it affects people.”

“I will step into that role to be more the face of HSTA and bring some aloha to the position, hopefully,” Tui said in an interview. “I want to be more of a collaborator, bring everyone to the table and have the discussion. Because right now, for example, we had bills that we partnered with the Legislature but we left the governor out or we left the superintendent out, and things really don’t work if you leave out one or two interested parties.”

Take House Bill 613, for example. At the tail end of the session, without public input, legislators altered the bill to prescribe how the Department of Education should spend millions of dollars in federal coronavirus funds, including $2,200 bonuses for each classroom teacher.

The legislation raised the ire of the Board of Education and superintendent, whose role it is to determine use of federal funds in consultation with stakeholders. The bill also angered unions representing other school employees such as custodians, cafeteria workers and administrators, who worked through the pandemic and got no such bonuses….

read … New Hawaii teachers’ union leader Osa Tui Jr. has a different approach to job

Alm: Supporting Honolulu police and upholding law not mutually exclusive

SA: … Supporting and working with HPD, but at the same time holding accountable those few of their 2,000 personnel who break the law, is not inconsistent. It’s the right thing to do. No one is above the law, and the law has to apply to everyone for the public to have confidence in our criminal justice system ….

read … Supporting Honolulu police and upholding law not mutually exclusive

Half of Foreign Oil for Hawai‘i Comes from Russia and Libya

HB: … Par Hawaii, the leading purchaser of crude oil in the Islands, says 34.4% of its imported crude oil last year came from Russia and 19.9% from Libya. The company says that obtaining oil from those two countries is the best environmental choice available to meet Hawai‘i’s oil needs. Oil was imported from other countries as well, including Argentina and South Sudan, while the main domestic source was Alaska.

Jeff Mikulina, executive director of the Blue Planet Foundation, says it is easy to talk about the benefits of shifting to renewable energy, but “we rarely talk about the other side of the equation, which is where our fuel comes from, and the places that it comes from are places that don’t necessarily align with our values,” he says.

“We are fostering corrupt regimes there by sending our hard-earned dollars to those countries when we have alternatives here.” …

“Low-sulfur crude oil is ideal for manufacturing low-sulfur fuel oil for Hawaiian Electric to use for electrical power generation. Using low-sulfur crude also means less sulfur emissions in the air, which is good for the environment.” Par Hawaii writes that they prefer purchasing crude from Alaska when possible. However, since this crude has a higher sulfur content, the utility fuels that are produced need to be blended with other products to meet environmental requirements of Hawaiian Electric’s fuel for generating electricity.

With this purpose in mind, Libya’s crude oil has a lower sulfur content and is good for producing low-sulfur fuel oil for Hawaiian Electric. Russia’s crude oil is turned into a lot of jet fuel and has relatively low transportation costs from Russia’s Pacific ports…..

Related: Hawaii's Fake Green Energy Initiative: After 15 years, Petroleum Dependence Drops only 6%

read … Half of Foreign Oil for Hawai‘i Comes from Russia and Libya

Will 70% of Hawaii’s population get the coronavirus vaccine?

KHON: … “I think we can get there. But it’s not going to be easy. You’re absolutely right. The uptake in vaccinations has slowed down. And it is harder and harder for us now to go out and administer vaccines in large numbers,” Brooks said. “If we can do 30,000 doses a week, we’re gonna get there sometime in September.”

According to the Department of Health vaccine dashboard, 57.5% of the 1.4 million people in Hawaii are currently fully vaccinated. And 62% of the population has gotten at least one of their shots so far.

About 350,000 people would still be unvaccinated, according to Lt. Gov. Green, even if the state does hit the 70% benchmark.

Green said small outbreaks in rural communities and prisons will likely be seen this winter where fewer people are vaccinated….

“We have 216,000 keiki, under age 12,” he explained. “And because they’re included in the denominator, the standard is much higher in Hawaii. I’m not gonna say whether it’s good or bad today, I’m just gonna say that it’s, it’s a lot more pressure to get everyone who’s an adult vaccinated to get there.”

That means 85% of adults need to get vaccinated to hit the benchmark.

What makes things even more complicated is Green said residents will likely see health officials pushing for everyone that was vaccinated to get a booster shot starting in winter.

“I think ultimately they will recommend booster shots probably a year out from when you had your shot,” Green said….

read … Will 70% of Hawaii’s population get the coronavirus vaccine?

Hawaii cruises to resume

HTH: … After 15 months in dry dock because of the coronavirus pandemic, the passenger cruise industry is gearing up to make Hawaii port calls before the end of the year.

Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said Friday that cruise industry officials are “pretty solid” in their plans.

“It looks like, after the conferences they’ve had recently and the Florida situation, a lot of them are sticking to 100% vaccination of passengers and crew,” Birch said. “In order to be able to cruise, they’ve got to start the reservation system now for November launch dates.”

The “Florida situation” Birch referred to is a June 18 federal court ruling that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention couldn’t enforce its conditional sailing order on cruise ships in Florida waters. It was a victory for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, who sued the CDC in April.

The conditional sailing order required cruise operators to show 95% of crew and passengers are vaccinated, or to hold test cruises with volunteer passengers to prove they can mitigate coronavirus risks.

“The recent ruling applies only to the state of Florida and does not apply to other states at this time,” said Shelly Kunishige, spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Transportation. “The Hawaii Department of Transportation does not intend to deviate from the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their conditional sailing order, to include the need for formal agreements with local jurisdictions.”

That said, Norwegian Cruise Lines Hawaii is booking seven-day interisland cruises aboard the Pride of America for November and December, as well as January 2022….

read … Hawaii cruises to resume

County decades behind on ADA compliance at parks

HTH: … Almost a quarter-century after Big Island resident Alexa Russell sued Hawaii County to enforce Americans With Disabilities Act mandates in county parks, only six of the 16 facilities the county agreed to upgrade have been done, and the County Council will be asked to float $25.5 million in bonds to pay for the rest.

Russell filed the suit in federal court in 1997. She and the county settled the case in 1998, and the parties have been holding regular status conferences ever since….

read … County decades behind on ADA compliance at parks

Haena State Park to be managed by community-based nonprofits

HNN: …  After 20 years of private management, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved a community-based management structure to oversee Haena State Park on Kauai.

BLNR approved a one-year revocable permit for the nonprofit Hui Makaainana o Makana to manage the park’s reservation system, integrating entry and parking fees.

The organization will subcontract The Hanalei Initiative to manage the reservation and parking system and to operate a shuttle service to reduce the number of cars that enter the park.

The hui will focus on managing the cultural landscape of the park, which includes conducting malama aina activities and resource enhancement….

read … Haena State Park to be managed by community-based nonprofits

Citizen patrols restart

>> Waikiki Community Center Citizen Patrol meets Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. at the Waikiki Community Center, 310 Paoakalani Ave.

>> Waikiki West Citizen Patrol meets Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at Eaton Square, 438 Hobron Lane.

>> Waikiki East Citizen Patrol meets Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. at the big banyan tree on Kalakaua Avenue near Uluniu Avenue.

>> Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor Citizen Patrol meets by the harbor master’s office Thursdays at 7 p.m.

For more information, visit 808ne.ws/HPD6 or contact HPD Officer Stephanie Virardi at 723-3349 or svirardi@honolulu.gov

Big Q: What do you think about restarting citizens’ patrols, working in tandem with Honolulu police?

read … Citizen Patrol

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