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Tuesday, January 17, 2023
January 17, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:05 PM :: 1687 Views

Hawaii Worst State to Drive In

How to fix Hawaii's SLOW permitting departments

The COVID Emergency Lives on in Food Stamps

House Democrats Outline Top Priorities for 2023 Session

News media turn a blind eye to attorney misdeeds

ILind: … On December 27, 2022, the Honolulu law firm of Clay Chapman Iwamura Pulice & Nervell, AAL, ALC was changed to Clay Iwamura Pulice & Nervell, AAL, ALC. The change, done quietly and without fanfare, was necessitated by the resignation of named partner Robert Chapman, who gave up his law license to avoid being disbarred for “egregious violations” of nine different provisions of the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern attorneys who practice in the state.

Pacific Business News, in the annual update to to its list of Hawaii’s Top 50 law firms published last week, ranked the firm as the 14th largest law firm in the state.

Chapman took advantage of the option of resigning in lieu of discipline after the Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed a petition asking the Hawaii Supreme Court to suspend him from the practice of law while it moved forward with a formal disciplinary hearing, which would lead to Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and a formal Recommendation for Discipline. Among the words that appear most frequently in ODC’s petition to the Supreme Court are “fraud” and “fraudulent,” …

…Given the nature of the allegations presented by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel based on its staff investigation, it seems odd that no mainstream media have reported on the circumstances of Chapman’s resignation from the practice of law. To the best of my knowledge, only Andrew Walden’s Hawai’i Free Press reported the story…. 

ILind: Disciplinary Counsel clarifies the impact of a “resignation in lieu of discipline”

read … News media turn a blind eye to attorney misdeeds

Hawaii's Zoning Laws Are A Self-Inflicted Wound. It's Hurting Our Housing

CB: … A lot of popular ideas about the problem are focused on trying to reduce “bad” demand for local housing: taxing owners of perpetually unoccupied units, cracking down on short-term rentals, dis-incentivizing quick-flip investing. Those kinds of things might help a little, but in the absence of developing more affordable housing, they’re likely not enough….

the challenges to developing new housing are self-inflicted, specifically when it comes to zoning laws. A growing body of literature suggests a direct correlation between strict zoning requirements and housing affordability…

A landmark research paper from 2017 estimated that the U.S. gross domestic product would increase by 9% if housing construction were plentiful in just three highly productive areas: New York, San Francisco and San Jose, though other estimates with the same data have been as high as a 36% GDP increase.

A 2018 study that looked at cities nationwide found that “when housing supply is highly regulated in a certain metropolitan area, housing prices are higher and population growth is smaller relative to the level of demand.” A UHERO report last year echoed those findings for Hawaii, considered the most regulated housing market in the country.

In his 2022 book “Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke The American City And How To Fix It,” M. Nolan Gray identifies the three primary ways that zoning drives up housing costs. Zoning limits the overall construction of new housing by placing limits on density and, therefore, restricting the type of housing that is allowed; it causes the housing it does allow to become more expensive; and it delays the development process altogether, sometimes for years.

As we’ve seen locally, the power to delay development can lead to outright corruption and abuse….

“With the state Land Use Commission, 5% of the land has been zoned as urban, and that has restricted the supply of available land for building housing,” says Joe Kent, executive vice president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “But it’s actually a lot less, because not all 5% of that land is used for housing. Some of it is industrial zones, or airports, or preserved as open space because of county level zoning. And that’s just two layers of a six layer cake, because then you have the island plan, the community plan, the special management area zone, the historic district. There’s all these different layers.”…

read … Hawaii's Zoning Laws Are A Self-Inflicted Wound. It's Hurting Our Housing

Green’s $100M Climate Fund based on Unconstitutional State Visitor Impact Fee

SA: … Gov. Josh Green has signed a “pledge” to commit $100 million in state general funds to address climate change through a new “Climate Impact Fund.”

The money commitment, which will have to be approved by the Legislature, modifies Green’s previous plan to use $100 million from the state’s rainy day fund to help mitigate climate change.

Green quietly signed the pledge Thursday night at Washington Place with no fanfare while U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk was in town and present at the signing.

Green told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Monday that he hopes the $100 million leads to matching private funds, along with federal money — all augmented by a potential state visitor green fee at certain locations to offset tourists’ impacts on Hawaii’s environment and climate change that Green campaigned on.

The initial $100 million would lead to long-term, continued funding through the (UNCONSTITUTIONAL) so-called tourist “green fee,” Green said ….

Reality: Crandall v. Nevada

read … Green tweaks climate plan, still plans $100M

State to unveil ambitious preschool plan for Hawaii (again)

SA: … After decades of urgent calls for a statewide preschool system, a public- private plan finally is being launched to create 465 classrooms so that all Hawaii 3- and 4-year-olds can get access to preschool by 2032, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke and community leaders are set to announce today….

Right now only a little over half of the state’s 35,272 children ages 3 and 4 are being served in prekindergarten classrooms.

About 95% of those keiki in programs are at licensed private prekindergarten institutions, which can cost families hundreds of dollars to over $1,000 per month. Meanwhile, no-cost entry into public preschool seats are extremely hard to come by: Just over 900 children are served at public preschools run by the state Executive Office on Early Learning and public charter schools. About 20% of children typically opt out. That leaves an estimated 9,297 of Hawaii’s preschool-age children underserved, Luke said. (See graphic for more information.)

The “Ready Keiki” plan to generate an 465 additional classrooms at 20 children per classroom pulls together multiple strategies…

While Luke is providing leadership for the preschool initiative, the Executive Office on Early Learning will handle operations, while construction will be handled by the new state School Facilities Authority, she said…  

CB: The Clock Is Running On Plan To Finally Meet Family Demand For Pre-K

read … State to unveil ambitious preschool plan for Hawaii

After 5 years in court, North Shore killing brings call for tougher murder law

HNN: … The lengthy process for what seemed like an open-and-shut case has been a traumatic ordeal for the family and community — and local Republicans said it proves Hawaii should adopt a “felony murder” law like those in the rest of the country.

In an emotional pretrial Facebook post, Boinville’s husband, Kevin Emery, called the alleged killers evil — but also blasted the system for their ordeal.

“How dare you put us through what you put us through?” Emery said into the camera, barely containing his sobs.

He pointed out that his daughter Makana, who was 8 years old the day of the murder, is now 13 and looking at potentially testifying twice.

“Now after five years they decided to make two separate trials for two murderers that did what they did together,” Emery said….

That they acted together, at least to burglarize the house, is exactly the point of a felony murder law, which the House Republican Caucus plans to introduce this session, according to Minority Floor Leader Diamond Garcia.

“If we were like 48 other states, including D.C., the case would have been over and done with a long time ago. Both would have been locked up and sentenced to life,” Garcia said. “That’s justice to me.”

Prosecutors say Telma Boinville walked in on Stephen Brown and Hailey Dandurand while they were burglarizing a vacation rental and that they brutally killed her and tied up her daughter. They were later caught with the family’s truck and with Boinville’s blood on both of them.

Former prosecutor, judge and current Hawaii Pacific University Professor Randall Lee said the case would have been a simple felony murder — which automatically would hold both suspects equally responsible and put less burden on prosecutors to prove individual intent to kill.

“All you needed to prove was that a death occurred during the course of committing a felony,” Lee said. “And in this particular case, a death resulted while in a burglary. So that’s all you needed to prove.”

Hawaii abolished its felony murder law in 1987, according to Garcia. So Hawaii prosecutors have to prove a person intentionally murdered the victim….

read … After 5 years in court, North Shore killing brings call for tougher murder law

Hawaii bill proposed to offer backpay to those terminated over vaccine mandates

KITV: … During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of workers across the country were either forced to resign or were let go because they did not comply with their employer’s vaccine mandates.

Hawaii state lawmakers, Rep. Diamond Garcia and Sen. Brenton Awa introduced Bill 52, to, in their words, “right these wrongs”….

If passed, Bill 52 would require state agencies to offer those employees full back pay and/or the options to be put back in their original position….

More than 1,400 state jobs were lost from July 2021 to June 2022. However, state legislators said how many of those jobs are COVID-19 related is still unconfirmed….

read … Hawaii bill proposed to offer backpay to those terminated over vaccine mandates

Hawaii Renewable Energy Projects Are Back On Track After Chinese Companies Reroute Solar Panels Thru SE Asia to Evade Biden Administration Slavery Sanctions

CB: … Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Hawaii’s efforts to reshape its energy economy stalled. Widespread supply chain issues hindered the development of large-scale solar projects, a key component of the state-mandated requirement to produce all electricity with renewable resources by 2045.

The problem was underscored by a series of gloomy announcements. Citing supply-chain challenges and rising costs, Longroad Energy, for instance, said it was delaying two solar and battery storage projects designed to power about 15,000 homes on Maui and 37,000 homes on Oahu.

The firm Innergex also said it was delaying its 15 megawatt Barbers Point Solar Project. Both companies said they would resubmit proposals to Hawaiian Electric Co. as part of a new bid process, which is underway with winners expected to be announced in August.

But there are signs things are turning around….

read … Renewable Energy Projects Are Back On Track After Pandemic Lull

Hawaii needle exchanges at record high--1.23M

HTH: … The nonprofit Hawaii Health and Harm Reduction Center reported a record number of needle syringe exchanges in Hawaii County and the state in 2021.

More than 1.23 million syringes were exchanged statewide, a 4% increase from 2020. For the Big Island, 362,652 syringes were exchanged with 557 participants, the highest number of exchanges since the program started in 1993.

Statistics for 2022 are not yet available.

The average client was 42 years old, with 84% using methamphetamine and 67% using heroin. Roughly 54% were experiencing homelessness, and 85% were insured.

Between 1993 and 2021, the program exchanged more than 16.5 million syringes….

HHHRC’s program also provides Narcan to clients, a brand of naloxone that reverses opioid overdoses. The group reported overdose reversals increased by 115% in 2021….

Despite the increase in syringes exchanged, user visits decreased by 6.5% statewide in 2021.

“People are making fewer trips, but they’re bringing more syringes with them,” Gralapp said. “There’s a lot more activity on the Big Island than I’ve seen traditionally….”

SA Editorial: Clear sidewalks close to schools

Meanwhile: Fatal house fire property was once subject of civil nuisance complaint

read … Hawaii needle exchanges at record high

Eternal Flame for Hawaii’s veterans burns again

SA: … Vietnam veterans noticed the flame had been extinguished when they met on the state Capitol grounds at the Korea and Vietnam War Memorials on Dec. 23 to usher in Christmas Eve as part of an annual holiday gathering for vets.

The state Department of Accounting and General Serv­ices maintains the Hawaii State Capitol district, which includes the Eternal Flame War Memorial, situated opposite the Capitol building on the mauka side of Beretania Street.

“Recently, vandalism damaged the burner and caused the flame to go out,” state Comptroller Keith Regan said in a written statement issued Friday. “The Eternal Flame has since been repaired.”

A DAGS spokesperson said trash tossed into the memorial had caused the damage to the burner….

read … Eternal Flame for Hawaii’s veterans burns again

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