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Monday, June 12, 2023
June 12, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:08 PM :: 2070 Views

Kamehameha: The Founding of the Hawaiian Kingdom

New video tells what the story of Iam Tongi says about Hawaii

Taxes and Cost of Living: Focus Shifts to County Councils

Want more housing? Why not just cut the red tape?

Foley hails inroads on corruption

Homeless Shut Down Diamond Head State Park

Americans for Prosperity Launches Hawaii State Chapter  

Easy Pander: 4 Honolulu councilmembers now say they oppose pay raises

KHON: … At a North Shore Neighborhood Board meeting a few weeks ago, council member Matt Weyer said he opposed the pay raise, and asked the budget director during an 11-hour meeting at Honolulu Hale if the raise was included the budget, who confirmed it wasn’t….

Last week, Radiant Cordero also announced she was in opposition to the pay raises as well….

The most vocal council members against the pay raises have been Andria Tupola and Augie Tulba….

If no special council meeting is held before June 25, the pay raises will automatically go into effect on July 1.

For council members not to get the pay raises, seven of the nine council members would have to vote no….

HNN: 5 of 9 City Councilmembers support 64% pay raise

CB: Honolulu City Council Raises Are About Haves Vs. Have-Nots

read … 4 Honolulu councilmembers plan to vote against pay raises

More Fundraisers for Council, Legislature

CB: … Honolulu City Council member Radiant Cordero has scheduled a fundraiser for Tuesday at the Kaimana Beach Hotel. Suggested donation $500 to $1,000….

She is on the ballot again in 2024.

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, Sen. Stanley Chang is holding a fundraiser for his 2026 reelection bid. His is at 231 10th Avenue, Penthouse 3, New York, New York, according to the notice on file with the state Campaign Spending Commission.

Perhaps that’s an interesting affordable housing project he’s investigating?…

read … More Fundraisers

46% Tax Hike: Hawaii unemployment fund experiencing ‘painful’ growth

SA: … Hawaii’s unemployment insurance fund is more than two-thirds of the way back up to adequacy after depletion during COVID-19’s economic shock in 2020, but the recovery is causing pain at an inopportune time for businesses paying into the fund.

The fund’s balance reached $366 million at the beginning of this month, up from $158 million about a year earlier and $214 million at the end of 2022.

The recent balance represents 69% of a $528 million sum deemed to be an adequate total for the fund this year.

higher unemployment tax rates went into effect at the beginning of this year, and businesses began paying the higher rates on their first quarterly assessment, which was due April 30.

The higher rates were set in December, triggered automatically by a formula based in part on fund contributions, withdrawals and the adequacy target….

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii recently urged Gov. Josh Green to have the Legislature, which adjourned in May, hold a special session to provide relief because businesses are slated to pay 46% more in unemployment insurance taxes this year….

June 1, 2023: Grassroot Institute urges special session to block huge unemployment tax increase

read … Hawaii unemployment fund experiencing ‘painful’ growth

Hawaii Community Development Authority tasked with slew of projects to subsidize developers

SA: … The Hawaii Community Development Authority was created nearly 50 years ago with a broad-purpose name despite having a singular initial focus: improving one community, Kakaako.

Today, several years after unsuccessful legislative attempts to abolish the agency, HCDA has a large, and growing, mixed bag of work.

State lawmakers in May appropriated more than $200 million to the agency, including about $120 million to develop infrastructure around three city rail stations.

HCDA also is helping facilitate development of a new community around Aloha Stadium in Halawa; it has a lead project management role for a first-responder training campus in Mililani; and it is tasked with infrastructure development on Maui to support state projects including a new jail.

Another new job for the agency: devising a program for developing affordable high-density leasehold condominiums on public land near existing or potential future rail stations on Oahu.

And HCDA might even help manage further expansion of the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua….

HCDA’s work over several decades in Kakaako, including 200 acres makai of Ala Moana Boulevard added to the agency’s jurisdiction during the 1980s, facilitated high-rise residential development, retail centers, public parks, affordable housing, the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine and other projects.

Kakaako infrastructure work has cost more than $225 million and isn’t quite done. In May the Legislature appropriated $18.5 million for HCDA to improve a section of Ilaniwai Street….

read … Hawaii Community Development Authority tasked with slew of projects

Cleaning Up: The Aftermath Of A Honolulu Union’s Embezzlement Scandal

CB: … When Leroy Chincio, the new business manager for IBEW 1260, introduces himself and is asked how long he has been with the electrical workers union, he makes sure to be clear: “I never worked for Brian.”

“I came in the aftermath,” he said. “I cleaned up the mess.”

That mess — including charges of wire fraud, the embezzlement of a labor union asset, conspiracy and money laundering — belonged to Brian Ahakuelo.

He was the head of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 from 2011 to 2016, before he and his wife, Marilyn, were arrested and convicted in November in Honolulu of crimes against fellow members.….

read … Cleaning Up: The Aftermath Of A Honolulu Union’s Embezzlement Scandal

GEMS: $100M Gift to Solar Industry

SA: … The $100 million appropriation to the Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program — nicknamed “Hawaii’s Green Bank” — was a reduction from the $300 million infusion initially proposed.

But there’s reason to hope that these funds offer a significant advance, providing loans for installation of at least 2,000 more rooftop solar photovoltaic systems with battery storage….

… recently, the structure of the GEMS loan program has changed to become a revolving fund, replenished as the borrowers pay it off on their electric bills….

REALITY: ‘Community Based Energy’: $27.5M in GEMS for Hawaii Democratic Party Officials, Maui Councilmember

read … Welcome reboot for solar program

$2 million insurance coverage added for island coral reefs will pay Enviro Activists to go Diving

SA: … The effort follows the world’s first reef insurance policy for the coastal state of Quintana Roo in Mexico and another one covering the Mesoamerican Reef off southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.

Both the Mexico and Belize policies, developed by the Nature Conservancy and partners, have already led to payouts and reef repairs following hurricanes.

In Hawaii the Nature Conservancy, along with partner agencies and nonprofits, is working to establish a set of response protocols and county-level plans, along with recruiting members for response teams in the event of a damaging hurricane….

read … $2 million insurance coverage added for island coral reefs




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