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Thursday, January 12, 2023
January 12, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:26 PM :: 2073 Views

Sovereignty Lawyer Dexter Kaiama Law License Suspended by Supreme Court

City accepting resumes for Executive Director, Office of Housing and Homelessness

Blangiardi will not cut Property Tax Rates

SA: … It’s “not realistic” to lower the tax rate, which is among the lowest in the country, Blangiardi said.

Instead, he said, “I have given direction that we must do something that’s material, that’s significant. … I think we can get there with either tax credits or tax exemptions in this situation.”…

In December the city announced that the total value of all real property increased to $343.07 billion from $305.27 billion, for an increase of 12.4%.

Residential properties increased in value to $230.15 billion from $211.05 billion, or a 9.1% rise.

The biggest increases were seen on the North Shore (20.4%), followed by the region from Kaaawa to Kahuku (18.4%); Windward Oahu south of Kaaawa (12.5%); and east Honolulu (10.1%).

The City Council is expected set tax rates in June, followed by tax bills in July….

read … Blangiardi mulls tax breaks to offset rising property values

Honolulu Hale Keeps Stealing State Appointees To Keep HART Board Non-Functional--AG Refuses to Issue Opinion on Legality

CB: … State leaders with the sway to send more cash to Oahu’s long-struggling rail project are irked that their counterparts at Honolulu Hale keep poaching their appointees to the project’s volunteer oversight board.

At least four of those state rail appointees have been plucked from their non-voting seats in recent years so that either the City Council or the mayor could use them to fill a voting vacancy on the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board of directors.

Records show that a fifth state appointee, Robert Yu, is about to be siphoned off as well.

City Council Chair Tommy Waters nominated Yu on Dec. 29  to fill a voting seat that’s been vacant for about a year….

Natalie Iwasa, who sits in the other House-appointed seat alongside Yu, said that City Council representatives also approached her last year to gauge interest in filling Hazama’s voting seat. She preferred to stay put as a House appointee due to time constraints, however.

Said Saiki: “I’m going to take my time on making the next appointment.”…

“I refuse to be HART’s recruitment officer,” House Speaker Scott Saiki said last week in response to the latest impending switch. The House chamber appointed Yu this past June. “It’s sad that they can’t find their own board members,” Saiki added….

State lawmakers added their own four non-voting appointees in 2017 as part of rail’s second major financial bailout, valued at around $2.4 billion. They wanted those appointees to keep closer tabs on the project as part of the funding deal. Two seats are appointed by the House and two by the Senate.

Since then, the HART board has endured near-constant vacancies. At times that has hampered the group’s ability to conduct business. The board’s December meeting, for example, was canceled when it failed to reach quorum, according to Iwasa.

One former board member, Damien Kim, had to attend meetings for months after announcing his departure in order to help HART keep enough voting members….

In 2021, the HART board surprised onlookers when on the advice of the city’s Corporation Counsel it abruptly changed its voting rules, making it easier to take action with six majority votes instead of eight. It did this by disregarding the legislative appointees as part of the total voting quorum.

That unanimous decision by the board’s then-interim chair, Hoyt Zia, took place behind closed doors. It also raised the ire of Saiki, who asked the state Attorney General’s Office to look into whether that move was legal.

Last week, Saiki said that the AG’s office under former Gov. David Ige never reported back on his request….

Natalie Iwasa has been locked out of the HART board’s executive sessions for nearly a year amid an ongoing legal stalemate between the city and state. 

read … Honolulu Hale Keeps Stealing State Appointees To HART

Green proposes first biennial operating budget, says Homeless cost $80K per bum per year

KITV: … At the state capitol, Gov. Josh Green on Tuesday pushed his proposed biennial operating budget in front of the House Finance Committee.

Green is asking for nearly $36 billion to use during the 2024 and 2025 fiscal year period. He said the budget will help add positions for federal funds coordination, supporting housing policies, and statewide mental health coordination.

"Instead of languishing on the street with mental illness and addiction, tending to cost the taxpayers about $80,000 per person per year would be integrated into our homeless programs so they have harm reduction and be better," Green said.

Green's budget would increase by a total of 7% within the next two fiscal years.

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Finance will hear from a number of departments and agencies including the judiciary, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Department of Health….

read … Gov. Green proposes first biennial operating budget, requesting $36B for 2024-25 fiscal year

Bill aims at minimum wage tip credits for Hawaii service workers

KHON: … “Tip Credit in Hawaii is permissible if the combined amount the employee receives from the employer and in tips is at least $7.00 more than the applicable minimum wage.”

The minimum wage in Hawaii is $12, and the tip credit is $1.

“So instead of the $1 that has been on the books for years, the restaurant owner will be able to deduct a minimum wage earners pay by $2.40. And you know, this thing goes up to $18 an hour by 2028. So at that time, that 20% will be $3.60,” said Senator Glenn Wakai (D) Kalihi, Mapunapuna, Airport, Salt Lake….

Senator Wakai plans to introduce the bill next week.

read … Bill aims at minimum wage tip credits for Hawaii service workers

Commission Fines Cayetano Campaign, Super PAC Over anti-Green Attack Ads

CB: … The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission has fined both Vicky Cayetano’s campaign and super PAC Victory Calls over allegations of improper coordination between the candidate’s campaign and the independent expenditure political action committee.

At a hearing Wednesday, the commission staff said it found probable cause that the Cayetano campaign improperly coordinated with the PAC to run a print ad in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in May attacking Gov. Josh Green, who at the time was a gubernatorial candidate and Cayetano’s opponent.

The commission dismissed a separate count alleging that the campaign and the political action committee coordinated on a television ad calling into question Green’s certification as an emergency medical doctor.

In an odd maneuver, the five-member commission that regulates campaign finances in Hawaii voted unanimously to fine the Cayetano campaign and Victory Calls $1,000 jointly for the print ad, meaning either the PAC or the campaign can pay the fine.

“They can work it out how they want to work it out,” Gary Kam, the commission’s general counsel, said in an interview. “If we have to enforce it, there’ll be another tribunal to figure that out. But they were the only two entities involved in the coordination itself.”

The commission levied a separate fine of $2,750 against Victory Calls….

HNN: The commission levied a separate fine of $2,750 against Victory Calls.

read … Commission Fines Cayetano Campaign, Super PAC Over Josh Green Attack Ads

Military housing rent hikes taking a toll on residents

KITV: … Christine Roberts, a civilian teacher living with her two children in military housing, says her rent will soon jump by $325, to $3,300 a month for her four-bedroom home in Radford Terrace.

That's on top of a $200 increase on her electricity bill….

The hikes come after her rent was raised last year while she was staying in a hotel to get away from the contaminated water at Red Hill.

Roberts says if she doesn't sign a new lease, she'll have pay even more.

"The agent said that that's fair market value and they have every right to do it," she added. "To me personally, I feel like they are trying to push civilians out of housing."

In an email last month, Hunt Companies, the manager of the military housing, told Roberts: "This rate is adjusted each year based on the DOD-determined BAH (basic allowance for housing) rates for the area. Because of this, all of our civilian residents will see these increases each year with their annual lease renewals."…

read … Military housing rent hikes taking a toll on residents

Kihei school missing legal requirement to open campus

KITV: … According to the Kihei Community Association President Mike Moran, there is a legal roadblock that could hold things up, it’s a condition put in place by the Land Use Commission a decade ago.

“The State Land Use Commission said, ‘Yes, you build (the school) on the wrong side of the highway, everybody lives on the other side. So you have to put a grade-separated pedestrian crossing,'” Moran explained.

They never built it. Constructing one will take three to five years to build it.

In a statement, the DOE said: “The Department continues to work through the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all students. As part of that effort, we are committed to building a grade-separated pedestrian crossing across Piʻilani Highway. We are working closely with Mayor Bissen’s administration on the best way forward and plan to provide a more detailed update on Friday.” …

read … Kihei school missing legal requirement to open campus

Victorino Vetoed Maui Historical Rules on last Day in Office 

MN: … The future of a proposal intended to prevent the accidental destruction of burials and other important cultural sites by creating an interactive map to display the historical legacy of properties now rests largely in the hands of Maui’s new group of County Council members.

In one of his last actions as the county’s top executive, former Mayor Michael Victorino vetoed a Maui County Council proposal that directed the local government to create a map — known as a “cultural overlay” in the county’s jargon — to document the island’s rich history. The map would allow anyone to search a wide range of information including maps, building outlines, video clips, chants and the locations of pivotal historic events.

The proposed law also directed Maui County’s staff archeologist to review and make recommendations on certain development projects if they happened to occur in areas near vulnerable cultural sites….

read … Maui’s Plan To Protect Cultural Sites Is In Limbo

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