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Friday, April 21, 2023
April 21, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:35 PM :: 2333 Views

Conference Committee: Fraud, fictitious claims, and campaign funds

Hawaii Federal Court Dismisses Meth Dealer’s Challenge to COVID Emergency Proclamations 

Hawaii March Unemployment 3.5%

Enforcing Car Rental Agencies Oligopoly: Police called in as State Harasses Turo Car Rental Entrepreneurs

MN: … A Maui Police Department spokesperson confirmed earlier this month that they are working with DOT and that the department will continue to cite violators as requested by the DOT. Police noted there is a sign on the automated arm at the public parking lot that details Hawaii law preventing unpermitted business activity at the airport. 

Some Maui residents who have peer-to-peer vehicle rentals with the Turo car-sharing marketplace say they are trying their best to comply with the law, and that unpermitted owners are giving the legal ones a bad reputation. But, they say, they need more help from Turo and the state. 

Maui residents Karissa and Jon Baker of Chosen Rentals say that last year they obtained a permit from the DOT to have a shuttle pick up their Turo customers at the airport. They said the process took time, but they wanted to comply with the law. 

But one hurdle they are still facing is that the Turo booking site still offers options for service at Kahului Airport, which has caused some confusion and frustration.

Karissa Baker said they have had reservations canceled when customers find out that their lot is off-site, which they disclose clearly. She said most guests understand but there are a few that still want the airport service. 

Some customers have also asked why other friends who booked with Turo can receive service at the airport, prompting the Bakers to explain the state laws to those customers. 

The Bakers have more than 70 vehicles in their platform, some of which are owned by others but managed by the Bakers as part of their fleet.  

Karissa Baker said they have lots near the airport to house the vehicles and have also offered their services and lot for rent to help other Turo owners who may be stuck finding options on what to do with their vehicles. 

She added that she understood the frustrations over the limited parking at the airport with visitors, residents and others battling for spots.

Kahului resident and Turo owner Lucky Joy Dumlao has also crossed paths with angry customers, who have yelled and criticized her when they find out there is no direct rental service at the airport. 

She said she feels pressure from both the customers who want the airport service — as it is offered on the Turo website — and from the state, which is cracking down on the peer-to-peer business operating at the airports. 

“I’ve been breaking down and crying,” Dumlao said of the pushback from all sides.  

Dumlao said her business, GJ Property, also takes care of cars from other owners. She said the goal for most is to make extra income to help supplement wages from their other jobs as well as to put their children through college, and that they do not rent out their cars to be rich. 

“We are making money for better, not for making it worse,” she added. 

Dumlao admitted that she has had customers park vehicles in the airport parking lot, but she said there are no lockboxes that would entice criminals and that she picks up the cars quickly so they are not left in the lot for hours. 

She added that police have also come to her residence to tell her that her Turo vehicles cannot park at the airport. But by then she had already moved the rental cars out of the lot. 

Dumlao now has to rent a lot off-site to keep cars away from the airport and from her home, as the cars she had stored at her residence also prompted complaints. But rent at $7,000 a month is high for small businesses trying to generate a little more income for working families, she said. …

(CLUE: Hawaii Budget Rent-a-Car Franchise is connected to Larry Mehau’s daughter and son-in-law.)

read … State cracking down on illegal car rentals at airport

Council and city spar over Tax Cuts

SA: … Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration, proposing a $3.41 billion operating budget for the coming 2024 fiscal year, contends that recent City Council amendments to reduce it to 2022’s level are insufficient to keep the city running smoothly and should be abandoned.

(Will some of the real estate tax windfall be refunded to taxpayers or will public employees unions steal all of it?)

Announced in late March by Council member Radiant Cordero, the Council’s first-round recommendations to a committee draft of budget measure Bill 11 was introduced as a way to balance city services while aiding struggling homeowners and residents. That aid could come in the form of a slew of related real property tax relief measures that are advancing separately under ongoing Council review “to ensure long-term relief for taxpayers.”

“This year, we have seen a $14.1% increase in assessed valuations for real property,” said Cordero in a written statement March 30. “With such a significant increase, we need to seriously consider the impact to our residents.”

Cordero, who chairs the budget committee, said the Council’s amendments work to reduce the mayor’s operating budget to 2022’s level — approved at $3.22 billion — but adds 5% toward city salaries “to ensure collective bargaining is covered.”

To emphasize its argument, the Blangiardi administration in early April solicited comments and concerns from city departments over the Council’s budgetary amendments. To a department, all requested “full restoration” of funding as is found under the mayor’s spending plan.

(IQ Test: Are you impressed by this?)

read … Council and city spar over $3.41B budget

Surprise: Senator Voters ‘No’ -- gets to be on Conference Committee Anyway

CB: … Republican Brenton Awa is a Senate conferee on HB 727, even though he voted against the bill on its third reading during session. Awa said he had been told that senators that vote “no” can’t serve on a conference committee, which is a reason many vote “WR” – with reservations, which amounts to a yes vote. Turns out, he said, that that is not the case.

Has leadership reached out to him on this?

“Nobody has said anything yet,” he said after the hearing, suggesting that the prohibition was a myth, at least in the Senate ….

read … Some Government Reform Measures Are Emerging From The Darkness

Honolulu Cop Remains Armed And On Active Duty Despite Claiming Mental Health Issues In Lawsuit

CB: … A Honolulu police sergeant remains on duty with a firearm even though he says in a lawsuit against the police union that he suffers from a litany of mental health issues.

As recently as March 22, David “Kawika” Hallums, said in a legal complaint that he has experienced “severe emotional distress, mental trauma,” “extreme mental anguish, outrage” and “a severe mental illness that is manifesting itself in (his) daily severe stress levels, anxiety, insomnia, increased heart rate and depression.”

Reached by phone, Hallums said that he is on full duty but referred further questions to his lawyer, Bosko Petricevic, who did not respond to a request for comment.

HPD spokesperson Michelle Yu confirmed Hallums’ active duty status….

In 2021, HPD asked a Navy officer to turn in his firearms after he indicated, in the process of registering them, that he received medical care for feeling “depressed and homesick.” He had owned his guns legally before moving to Hawaii.

Nevertheless, HPD notified the man, a Navy cryptologic warfare officer trained to use firearms, that the department had found he “may have received or (is) currently receiving treatment or counseling” and requested that he hand over his guns until he could provide written documentation from a doctor that he is “no longer adversely affected by the addiction, abuse, dependence, mental disease, disorder, or defect.”….

read … Honolulu Cop Remains Armed And On Active Duty Despite Claiming Mental Health Issues In Lawsuit

CNHA partners with DHHL to give out another $10M

PBN: … The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, in partnership with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, is providing rental subsidies for kupuna 62 and older who are on the DHHL wait list.

According to an announcement from CNHA, a member-based nonprofit that aims to enhance the cultural, economic, political and community development of Native Hawaiians, the DHHL Kupuna Rental Subsidy Program is a pilot initiative funded through $10 million from the federal Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act….

BACKGROUND:

read … CNHA partners with DHHL on kupuna rental subsidy program

Already ‘Released Pending Investigation’: Man accused of trying to kidnap 11-year-old boy who was walking to school in Kapolei

KITV: … A 57-year-old man was arrested after allegedly attempting to kidnap an 11-year-old boy as he walked to school in Kapolei on Tuesday.

Around 8 a.m. on Tuesday, the 11-year-old boy told 911 personnel and officials at his school that an older man had attempted to kidnap him on his walk to school.

HPD officers quickly responded and found the suspect in the area of Kamaaha Avenue and Kealanani Avenue. He was arrested there on a kidnapping complaint. The suspect was later identified as 57-year-old Rimon Slade.

Slade was later released from custody pending the investigation. He has not been charged….

read … Man accused of trying to kidnap 11-year-old boy who was walking to school in Kapolei

No Surprise: State tells Coco Palms developers to cease activity

HNN: … the State land board has issued this letter to Coco Palms Ventures LLC, ordering an immediate stop to the unpermitted clearing of trees, or the developer could be fined $15,000 a day….

read … State tells Coco Palms developers to cease unpermitted activity on historic property

Trucks Banned from Hilo’s ‘Singing Bridge’ until Emergency Repairs Complete 

HIDOT: … Effective April 20, the weight limit for Wailuku Bridge will be 25 tons and the speed limit over the bridge will be 10 mph. The maximum single-axle weight limit will be five tons. The reduced bridge weight limits will not have any effect on passenger vehicles, which typically weigh two tons, nor emergency vehicles and buses, which typically weigh less than 20 tons.  Tractor-trailers will be detoured through the county’s Hau and Wainaku Streets….

read … Trucks Banned from Hilo’s ‘Singing Bridge’ until Emergency Repairs Complete 

Legislative Agenda:

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