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Saturday, January 14, 2023
January 14, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:01 PM :: 2615 Views

Prioritizing lists

Kihei: Opening of Kūlanihākoʻi High School campus delayed

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted January 14, 2023

Kuilei Place ‘Affordable’ Units Cost $800K

Editorial: … The developer of Kuilei Place moved a step forward on its path to build a 43-story, $619 million condo tower in Moiliili last week, when the Honolulu City Council’s Zoning Committee approved of its plan.

If given the go-ahead by the full City Council, Kuilei Place will receive upwards of $40 million in value by being allowed to build much higher and denser than the area’s zoning allows. The Zoning Committee also signed off on another $12 million in tax breaks and fee waivers.

These variances are granted for building “affordable” housing under the state’s 201-H affordable-housing law, as interpreted under the current policies of the state’s Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. (HHFDC). But the HHFDC’s decision to grant valuable zoning breaks based on the inclusion of units costing upward of $800,000 — for “high-moderate income” households earning upward of $182,000 annually — is not taking the city where it needs to go….

Of Kuilei’s 1,005 units, 603 are classified as affordable to households with moderate and high-moderate incomes, at prices ranging from $371,800 to $813,300. Once monthly fees and utilities are added to this cost, low-income families could not hope to gain entry….

This project now goes before the full City Council for approval on Jan. 25. As the draft Council Resolution 22-298 states, this would require waiving city affordable housing requirements, which are more stringent than the state’s ….

read … Kuilei Place variances

A loaf of bread for $10.99? Inflation might be easing but sticker shock is still real

HNN: … Inflation might be easing, but anyone who has gone grocery shopping lately knows prices for common staples are still high ― especially on the neighbor islands.

At a KTA Superstore in Hilo, for example, the price for a loaf of bread recently was $10.99.

And that was the sale price.

“They come in, and they go wow, the price has gone way up,” said KTA Executive Vice President Derek Kurisu.

Nationally, grocery prices rocketed 12% during the past year.

For some Oahu shoppers, it seems like more.

“We do taco nights every once in a while, and a year ago it cost maybe 50 bucks for everything. But now it’s $120 for the same thing,” said grocery shopper Kelly Ann Stewart in Kalihi….

read … A loaf of bread for $10.99? Inflation might be easing but sticker shock is still real

2 Miske Lawyers could be disqualified over Forged Character References  

HNN: … A high-profile attorney representing alleged crime boss Mike Miske has asked to withdraw from a case that accuses the Honolulu businessman of murder, kidnapping, racketeering and other crimes.

In a filing Friday morning, Tommy Otake referred to a superseding indictment filed last month that added two counts of obstruction. Otake said the government is accusing him and co-counsel Lynn Panagakos of “unknowingly” submitting two “fraudulent character letters” to the court on behalf of Miske after his arrest in July 2020, in an effort to get pretrial release.

Otake said he will withdraw but wants Panagakos to remain on the case.

Hours after Otake’s court document dropped, the government filed their own motion to have both Otake and Panagakos disqualified. One of the character letters in question appears to be authored by Kurt Nosal and describes Miske as displaying “a high level of integrity” and called him “dependable, honest, and generous.”

The government’s motion said Nosal insists he did not write the letter but that it came from Miske.

Another letter had the name Larry Kapu and said Miske hired him as a termite inspector.

That letter called Miske, the owner of a pest control company, “a great leader.”

The government said that document was altered and since the attorneys filed them with the court, they are witnesses to the obstruction…. 

ILind: The reason Miske’s lead attorney wants to withdraw has not been disclosed  Otake acknowledges the conflict of interest concerns prosecutors have raised concerning the fraudulent letters of recommendation, but says he and Panagakos believe there are remedies short of disqualification to deal with the conflict, especially in light of Miske’s constitutional right to be represented by counse of his choice.  However, he then says that a different matter was disclosed to him by the government just a day before his motion was filed. He declines to provide details in public, but says he will explain to the court in a sealed hearing.  He also says that this new matter does not affect his co-counsel in the Miske case, Lynn Panagakos.

read … 2 high-profile attorneys for alleged crime boss Mike Miske could be disqualified from murder case

Is MMA star BJ Penn running for something? It sure looks that way

HNN: … On his BJ Penn Gov Instagram, he’s asking people to support the family of murdered North Shore mother, Telma Boinville, by showing up at the defendants trial. Her husband and daughter testified Friday….

Political consultant Trisha Kehau Watson thinks Penn will run for office again.

“I think he will. The next gubernatorial race is 4 years. That’s a long time, but Hawaii island mayor is in 2 years,” said Watson.

“I think what we are seeing is him expressing a lot of support for victims of violent crimes. It certainly is something that is going to resonate with the community,” she added.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he runs again,” said Colin Moore, HNN political analyst. “He’s one of the most notable republicans in the state. He certainly has an enormous social media following.”

Hawaii News Now asked Penn’s campaign if he plans to run for Governor or any other political office in the future.

“We’ll see. If the need is there, of course. That’s why he ran in the first place,” said Ho ….

read … Is MMA star BJ Penn running for something? It sure looks that way

Maui Lawmakers Wishy-Washy on Tax Cuts

MN: … “I believe that instead of across-the-board tax rebates or cuts, the focus should be on targeting assistance for those who need it the most,” said Rep. Troy Hashimoto….

Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran explained that tax collections over the last two years trigger the state constitutional requirement for the governor and the Legislature to consider another round of tax refunds or tax credits of some kind. 

“It probably should be one component of a package of measures that continue to address the cost of living,” said Keith-Agaran, who represents District 5, which includes Wailuku, Waihee, Kahului and Waikapu Mauka. 

The Legislature will need to make sure that what is provided, such as refunds and changes to the GET, “benefit the most needy in a meaningful way and relieves living costs for as many residents as possible,” he added. 

Sen. Lynn DeCoite said she is in favor of Gov. Josh Green’s proposals as long as the budget can handle it. 

“That is dollars in the pockets of our working families that have seen an increase in average household expenses due to recent inflation,” she said of the suggested tax rebate. 

Addressing the possibility of eliminating the general excise tax on food and medicine, Rep. Elle Cochran pointed out that 32 states exempt food purchases from taxation and that the city of Portland doesn’t tax any essential goods. 

“If they can all do it, why can’t we?” she asked. 

But keeping in mind the bottom line, Cochran said she would like to see a report of what funds will no longer be collected if some taxes are eliminated. 

“We need to help people who have been hit hard. They shouldn’t have to decide between food or medicine,” said Cochran, who represents District 14, which includes Kahakuloa, Waihee, portions of Waiehu and Maalaea, along with West Maui. 

Other Maui County state lawmakers, including Rep. Justin Woodson and Rep. Terez Amato, also backed Green’s proposals if they pan out in the budget.

read … As session nears, Maui lawmakers mixed over Gov. Green’s proposals

Disused since 2007, Air Force Lease of DHHL Land on Molokai Finally Expires

MN: … The Air Force has been leasing the lands from DHHL under a 25-year agreement at a cost of $40,270 annually. The lease expired Dec. 31, and state and military officials announced the decision on Friday to put the land back in the hands of DHHL….

Air Force Col. Mike Holliday said that the Federal Aviation Administration originally leased the land back in the 1960s. At the time it was used to provide the Western Space and Missile Center with telecommunications support for the Apollo program. Through a couple of lease transactions, it eventually ended up under Air Force control in 1981. It became the high frequency receiver site for radio communications to the Hawaii area of the western range.

“We determined that we no longer needed the land in about 2007, and so we started the process in and about that timeframe, 2007-2011, of returning the land to DHHL. … Our mission, our requirements, even our technology has changed to where we no longer needed that land,” Holliday explained.

Efforts to return the land included site visits and determining what needed to be cleaned up, removed or kept for DHHL. Hashimoto said the Air Force conducted “an exhaustive and comprehensive cleanup” that had to be signed off by DHHL and the state Department of Health.

Conduit junction boxes, support structures and other equipment related to the former radio and communications work were removed from the site. In some facilities that DHHL wanted to retain, ceiling and floor tiles and other materials containing asbestos were taken out. The materials were bagged and placed “in an appropriate landfill site off of Molokai,” Holliday said…. 


read … Disused since 2007, Air Force Lease of DHHL Land on Molokai Finally Expires

Parking meter snafu totally avoidable

SA Editorial: … Since Jan. 1, about 2,200 of the city’s wireless credit-card parking meters — which use 2G and 3G technology — went offline when carrier Verizon implemented a 4G system upgrade.

“For several years our carrier has told us this would eventually happen,” said Roger Morton, director of the city Department of Transportation Services. “In fact, they have provided some dates but they have always extended those dates.”

When no extension came at the start of this year, “we were caught off guard,” Morton said, noting that about 80 other municipalities were also impacted by Verizon’s nationwide conversion (just as dumb) ….

read … Parking meter snafus

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