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Thursday, June 8, 2023
June 8, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:35 PM :: 1521 Views

Bill 56: Increase amount for permit exemptions to ease 209 day backlog

Resolution 33: Tinkering with Property Tax Rates on Rental Units

Want More COVID Cash? Apply June 13

OIP Issues Three New Formal Opinions

Honolulu City Council refuses to stop pay hike, rejects ban on outside employment

CB: … Council members Andria Tupola and Augie Tulba tried to deflect the raises through resolutions 23-81 and 23-82, which respectively would reject either the commission’s pay recommendations for all offices or for just the council. But council chair Tommy Waters did not schedule the measures for discussion…

Kiaaina and Waters removed Bill 33, which they had introduced as a way to ban outside employment through city ordinance. Council members did vote to advance Resolution 23-109, which is the same in substance but would turn the question to voters as a proposed amend to the city charter.

That measure has two more hearings before it would pass. …

SA: Honolulu City Council approves $3.4B budget

CB: City Council Finalizes Budget At Heated Meeting

Rep Pierick: 60% Pay Raise for City Council Members -- Let your voice be heard

read … Pay Raise For Honolulu City Council Members Passes After Marathon Session 

Campaign fundraising season is upon us

CB: … Reps. Scot Matayoshi, Lisa Kitagawa, Scott Nishimoto and David Tarnas were set to do Wednesday at Encore Saloon on North Hotel Street.

Reps. Greggor Ilagan, Linda Ichiyama, Troy Hashimoto, Jackson Samaya, Gregg Takayama, Richard Onishi and Kyle Yamashita did much the same on May 25 at Legend Seafood Restaurant on Beretania Street.

Certain officials tend to prefer certain joints. Gov. Josh Green, for one, likes to go upscale: A November fundraiser was held at Merriman’s Honolulu on Auahi Street while one in late October was at the Pacific Club on Queen Emma Street — a favorite haunt of the governor and for many power figures around town.

Venues can benefit, too. That Oct. 25 shindig at the Pacific Club cost Green $574 for valet service and $3,769 for catering.

The next round of campaign finance reports, by the way, are due July 31.

read … Campaign fundraising season is upon us

HPD: Only Feds Can Prosecute Drug Pusher for Overdose Deaths

HNN: … According to state health officials, fatal fentanyl overdoses have increased 400% in the last five years.

In 2022, fentanyl killed a record 60 people in Hawaii.

Police are still investigating the deaths. Federal law enforcement will likely be involved in the investigation.

“As its stands now, it is only a federal crime to distribute and kill someone,” said Maj. Mike Lambert, head of the HPD’s Narcotics Division.

“We do not have a state equivalent so all of our overdoses will done with either DEA or FBI or HSI.” …

read  … HPD: 2 who died in apparent mass overdose in Waikiki likely took fentanyl-laced drugs

Honolulu DPP to no longer take paper commercial permit plans

KHON: … adjusting to the change could take time. More than 1,600 paper permit applications were submitted last year. This is compared to about 350 applications submitted online .…

… The DPP is recommending for applicants start familiarizing themselves with the ePlans software before July’s launch ….

SA: Electronic filings of building permits to be required

read … Honolulu DPP to no longer take paper commercial permit plans

Discrimination: ILWU West Maui resort allowed to push sand without public comment

HNN: … On Tuesday, two skid steers pushed sand along Kaanapali Beach while shoreline advocates marched forward to stand in its way.

“The state won’t issue the stop-work order. So, we’re issuing the stop-work order,” said Maui beach access advocate Kai Nishiki.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources allowed The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali, (CLUE: ILWU) to do the work because the beach in front of their hotel is disappearing due to sea-level rise and coastal erosion….

Advocates say they are concerned about the impacts of resorts stockpiling sand in front of the hotels and are calling for environmental and cultural concerns to be addressed. They say they want a comprehensive dune restoration plan to be worked on with the community.

DLNR said in a statement that it recommended the Westin consider replacing the existing grass berm at the edge of their property with a natural and native vegetated berm with designated beach access pathways.

“We understand that this event sparked a much-needed discussion between the Westin staff and the local beach advocates regarding the need for improved communication and coordination in addressing sea level rise and continued beach erosion. It also highlights the need to consider all options in the face of these challenges, including identifying triggers for phased adaptation to protect public trust resources,” DLNR officials said in a statement.

The advocates say the Westin eventually stopped pushing….

MN: Community opposition halts ‘sand-pushing’ project

MEANWHILE: Will Condotels Be Allowed to Fall into Ocean? -- One way to eliminate competition to unionized hotels 

(IQ Test: Do you see the discrimination?)

read … Native Hawaiians clash with West Maui resort over erosion mitigation efforts

Maui Battery Farm--$60M for four hours

IM: … Maui Electric Company (MECO), filed an application to spend $60M for the proposed Waena Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) Project in October 2020. The initial plan was for the project to go online in April 2023….

(DO THE MATH: If Maui County has 100K ratepayers, the cost is $60M / 100K = $600 per ratepayer)

The proposed battery would be able to discharge 40 MW for four hours, totally 160 MWh ….

read … MECO`s Proposed Waena Battery Undergoing Final Review 

37 Years Later DHHL finally says it will be building infrastructure to allow lessees to move onto their leaseholds

MN: … More than 30 years ago, 58 native Hawaiian beneficiaries were selected by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for leases on Molokai and have been waiting to occupy their agricultural lots ever since.

Families have not been able to build in the long-awaited Na’iwa Agricultural Subdivision due to lack of infrastructure and affordable construction costs since lots were awarded in 1986. Now with funding available, the DHHL is proposing to construct the much-needed improvements for the subdivision project in the Ho’olehua area….

The total project costs, including planning, design and construction, are estimated at around $35.6 million. The timeline of on- and off-site construction is tentatively scheduled with the availability of funds. The completion of the project is estimated at one to two years….

(Franz Kafka alive and well, living on Molokai.)

read … Long-awaited farmland on horizon for lessees

Councilmember: Homelessness Industry and ACLU Should Stop Lying About Sweeps 

HTH: … When police arrived at Kona Aquatics Center early Wednesday morning, 17 individuals were still camping along the sidewalk. Of those, 13 received services from on site providers Hope Services, Hawaii Island Community Health Center, 808 Homeless Taskforce and Care Hawaii. In addition, 808 Homeless Taskforce was able to relocate one family and one individual who approached them while they were offering services.

“These people did not experience violence, they experienced kindness,” said Regina Weller, president of 808 Homeless Taskforce….

Carrie Ho‘opi‘i, Hope Services’ Outreach Team Leader, said “People are afraid to engage. It’s hard to trust anyone on the outside when you are afraid that officers will wake you up at 4 a.m. and force you out into the night.”

(CLUE: ‘Morning’)

Hawaii County Council member Rebecca Villegas district includes the areas that have been cleared of encampments. She has heard repeatedly from her constituents about the problems the camps have created for families and park users.

“I am deeply grateful for Mayor Roth’s courage and his decision to proceed with the responsible and appropriate park rules enforcement operation at the Kona Aquatics Center earlier today,” she said on Wednesday. “I am astounded by the false accusations made by Community Alliance Partners and Hope Services in an attempt to sabotage today’s operation by falsely reporting the nature of these operations to the ACLU. I am especially confounded by their actions when they were just allocated millions of dollars to provide services to the people in our community experiencing homelessness. I will continue to support the departments, agencies and people participating in these productive and pono operations.”

Community Policing Sgt. Brandon Mansur was at Wednesday’s operation.

“No persons were removed. Folks packed up and left voluntarily and very cooperatively, while being offered assistance from our partners.

No persons were arrested, and no persons were issued citations. We are there to help people, while also making the park safe for all,” he said.

“Today’s park rules enforcement effort at the Kona Community Aquatic Center reflects our unwavering commitment to safety, compassion, and the well-being of our community,” said Roth in a written statement. “We are not embarking on malicious sweeps; we are upholding the law while providing vital services and resources to enhance the quality of life for those affected by it. By working together with dignity and aloha, we are building a future where our public spaces are safe, clean, and inclusive for everyone.” 

KITV: ACLU challenges Hawaii County on Homeless Sweeps

BIN: Hawaiʻi County conducts houseless sweep at Kona Aquatics Center; 13 people receive help

CB: Kona Police Remove Homeless Camps From County Aquatic Center

read … Homeless sweeps of Kona community areas carried out despite ACLU’s warning

Cultural Competence Helps, But It Doesn't Get The Job Done

CB: … Local sportscaster Kanoa Leahey’s first question regarding Craig Angelos’s hire as the new University of Hawaii athletic director, was, “Is there a direct tie to Hawaii?”

So typical. Here we go again with The Culture Card. Is the person being hired sensitive to Hawaii’s culture? Will he fit in? Does he understand how special a place Hawaii is?  

The Culture Card dominates every time a major leader is hired. This stress on culture is dysfunctional and misleading. It’s overblown in what it stresses and underwhelming in what it explains. 

First, the record shows that whether a leader “fits in” here or not does not has much to do with his or her ultimate success.

Second, many challenges a public sector leader confronts over and over have almost nothing to do with culture. They are political and economic factors over which she has minimal control.

Third, The Culture Card stresses the need to fit in and not to be pushy because, well, that’s just not the way we do things in Hawaii. In fact, being pushy and assertive as well as trying to change cultures are good things. 

Todd Graham, UH’s previous football coach, was a disaster. Graham took a lot of heat because he was insensitive to Hawaii’s culture. That he was for sure, but the basic problem was that he was an incompetent coach who had lost his job at Arizona State University. He was in effect damaged goods that UH probably got on the cheap because it couldn’t afford better….

read … Cultural Competence Helps, But It Doesn't Get The Job Done

Star-Advertiser Prints and Distributes Chinese Communist Paper

CB: … Noting that the English-language publication is “owned and produced by the Central Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing,” Ward wanted to know why China Daily was showing up at the Capitol and who might be paying for its distribution.

Ward observed that a stack of China Daily papers was being delivered in the mail and also available near the Sergeant-At-Arms’ office. He complained to Speaker Scott Saiki.

The stack has disappeared from outside the Sergeant-At-Arms’ office but it turns out it is still being delivered to 12 reps. House officials wouldn’t say who the 12 reps are that get copies of China Daily, but they definitely do not include Ward.

“To me, this paper does not belong being distributed in Hawaii, given what China is up to these days,” Ward tells The Blog.

It turns out that China Daily is distributed by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which has distributed China Daily, headquartered in Beijing but with a branch office in New York City and printed locally, for several years….

read … Reading Material, The City Council Gets An Earful, Fundraising Faves

Can a decades-old Hawaii fight aid Georgia’s Trumpster ‘alternate’ electors?

AJC: … “While it’s an interesting defense, it’s also a complete nonsensical one,” said Anthony Michael Kreis, an assistant professor of law at Georgia State University. “In Hawaii in 1960, there was a legitimate debate about who had won… and that was just not the case in Georgia.” ….

read … Can a decades-old Hawaii fight aid Georgia’s ‘alternate’ electors?

Legislative Agenda: 

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