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Tuesday, August 1, 2023
August 1, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:55 PM :: 4170 Views

Are Hawaii's legal Gun Owners a Threat to Democracy?  An illegal paramilitary group?  Politically violent?  Lawyers representing the State seem to think so.

Running the rail is costing even more than originally estimated 

Hawaii's North Korean Stooges Step Into the Light 

1853 Hawaiian Mission to Marquesan Cannibals

“Race-based incidents involving tourists are not rare”

HNN: … They arrived on Hawaii Island last Monday to take a deceased family member to her final resting place, but they never expected the trip to end at the hospital.

Sean Alford says on Sunday morning, his 19-year-old son returned from a night in Kona to find a group of men outside King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, where the family was staying.

“After a couple of minutes, they said, ‘hey, let’s go to your room’, and he said, ‘No, we’re not going to my room,’ and he says it got awkward,” said Sean Alfrod, the teenager’s father.

“They took his shirt, his shoes, his phone, and his wallet.”

Alford says they also took his son’s key card, but he found a way into the hotel and woke up his parents. “He said, ‘I was robbed.’ Said they are right outside the hotel,” said Alford.

Alford says he and his wife, son, and a friend went outside, found the group, and tried talking to the group of men, but they turned hostile. “Anywhere between eight to 10 guys just literally beating the crap out of me,” said Alford. “The whole time I was done, they kept telling me, ‘Get up, white boy.’”…

The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii says race-based incidents involving tourists are not rare. The group has helped dozens over the years who have suffered assaults, harassment or vandalism.

“People get beat up or assaulted and it many cases it is because they are fair skinned and are visitors and their is a word that they use for that, that is racist,” said Jessica Lani Rich, with VASH….

Alford said the hotel did not offer compensation in the wake of the attack….

read … ‘The opposite of aloha’: Family of tourists claims attack on Hawaii Island was racially-motivated

Homeless Zombies OD on Fentanyl, Use Narcan to Revive Themselves Again and Again 

CB: … A bystander (bum) leads the Honolulu Emergency Medical Services team to a locked stairwell, then bangs on the steel door — the ambulance is here. The door bursts open and a man (another bum) rushes out.

“Is he the patient?” asks Jim Ireland, director of Honolulu Emergency Medical Services.

The bystander (first bum) doesn’t ‘think’ so. The man (bum) he left was unconscious and partially undressed.

But there is nobody at the bottom of the stairs. All that remains are two Narcan nozzles — a brand of the fast-acting medication naloxone that can reverse an opioid overdose — on the concrete floor.

The medical team returns to the street and searches for the patient, but no one (bum) recalls what he looks like since he ran away so quickly.

But it is apparent that a man (bum) sweating profusely — now sitting against the wall of Longs Drugs with several homeless people — is suffering rapid withdrawal symptoms from being revived.

As the team rushes over to assist, a pair of friends (bums) observe from across the street.

They said that when he overdosed someone alerted them. One man (bum) administered CPR and the other (bum) searched for Narcan in the local homeless community. Luckily someone had it on hand.

“As soon as I got a pulse I hit him with it,” said the man (bum) who gave CPR. “With fentanyl, it takes a little while compared to heroin. It took about two minutes and then it sat him straight up. Like a bad nightmare.” …

(CLUE: The homeless are drug addicts, not low income workers.)

SA Editorial: Help homeless move off streets

read … Fentanyl Users Are Becoming First Responders As ODs Surge

State’s Worthless Judiciary had Alleged Fentanyl Dealer back in 2018--Did Nothing (now feds have him)

SA: … Luka Kekoa Mossman, 29, aka the “Hawaiian Pharmacy,” is charged with a single count of distribution of fentanyl, according to a complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

He was arrested Thursday in Honolulu with 250 “M30” pills, which tested positive for fentanyl; a loaded .380 Ruger pistol; and an Ohio driver’ s license containing Mossman’s photograph but a fictitious name, according to prosecutors.

Mossman made his initial appearance in the federal fentanyl case Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield. He is in custody at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu ahead of his detention hearing Aug. 3 at 10:30 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Rom A. Trader. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 14 in Trader’s court.

Mossman was indicted by a Hawaii grand jury in 2018 for allegedly threatening two men in April 2016 with a loaded AK-47 assault rifle.

He was indicted Jan. 22, 2018, with first-degree terroristic threatening and various firearm charges, according to state court rec­ords. His bail was set at $25,000 and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest in that case. No further action has happened in that case, according to the state Judiciary Information Management System.

Mossman’s attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Jacquelyn T. Esser, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne A. Myers, who is prosecuting the case, declined comment.

Earlier this year, law enforcement opened an investigation into Mossman “related to, among other things, his use of the Telegram channel ‘Hawaiian Pharmacy’ to distribute fentanyl,” according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.

2016: ‘Armed and dangerous’

read … Waikoloa man, 29, arrested in federal fentanyl case

Judge releases HPD officer after multiple TRO violations

KITV: … A judge released Honolulu police officer Ernest-Siosi Aliksa on his own recognizance on Monday after he appeared in court for more than thirty TRO violations in four separate cases….

He's scheduled to be back in court on Thursday afternoon for a possible plea agreement.  Aliksa had his police powers removed in March after he was first arrested for violating a TRO….

(TRANSLATION: Working desk job, still being paid.)

read … Judge releases HPD officer after multiple TRO violations

Ige defends HTA, Slams Green for being owned by PRP not HSTA

HTH: … six months into private citizenship after being Hawaii’s chief executive for eight years and an elected official for almost four decades, Ige was uncharacteristically frank during an online interview Monday while discussing political changes that have occurred since he left office….

Perhaps the harshest criticism Ige levied was directed toward the state Legislature, which attempted — and almost succeeded — to defund and dissolve the Hawaii Tourism Authority during this year’s session. The political power play resulted in John DeFries, the first Native Hawaiian to be HTA’s president and CEO, announcing he’ll step down when his contract expires Sept. 15.

“I really do believe that HTA is very important to the No. 1 industry in our state. And I fully supported it,” Ige said. “I thought the Legislature was really out of bounds and misdirected when they tried to take it apart.”…

(TRANSLATION: I was owned by HSTA.)

Ige also questioned the prioritizing of housing and homelessness over education by both the Legislature and Green.

(TRANSLATION: Green is owned by PRP.)

“I’m a little bit disappointed that education got shortchanged this session,” Ige said. “You know, we had a big surplus, and yet, the Legislature didn’t fund education, the public schools and University of Hawaii.

“When I served and when I worked at the capitol, education was always the No. 1 priority. But, I guess times have changed.”

Green has targeted homelessness and housing as his top priorities and earlier this month signed an emergency proclamation that would suspended several laws relating to land use, environmental review and historic preservation in an effort to build 50,000 homes to help stem the out-migration of workers, especially professionals, from Hawaii.

Ige said he tried to be “judicious about emergency authority,”….

(IQ Test: Are you laughing?)

 and added he hopes Green is successful in solving the state’s housing crisis.  “We need the 50,000 homes — and if he can do it in five years, it will be a miracle,” Ige said….

read … Former governor offers rare opinions in online interview

Honolulu Council Member Augie Tulba: A 64% Pay Raise Is Absurd, And That’s No Joke

CB: … Have you ever gotten any material for your standup from what you’ve seen as a council member?

That will happen when I’m done doing politics. I’m going to have the most amazing book, the most amazing routine.

I follow the law. The Ethics (Commission) told me that I cannot talk policy, I cannot do certain things, and I respect that. That’s why there’s a disclaimer. I walk on stage, they do a disclaimer. Things that you could hear on stage are not a reflection of the city.

Right after the pay raise debate, I walk on stage and it’s a decent-size audience of dads because it was a Father’s Day brunch show. And I say, “I know you guys want me to talk about the 64% raises. I’m not going to do that.” …

read … Honolulu Council Member Augie Tulba: A 64% Pay Raise Is Absurd, And That’s No Joke

Bill 44: If DPP Deems your House a ‘Monster’, they can tear it down

CB: … Bill 44 as currently written includes a fine not to exceed $2,000, up to a year in prison and up to 80 hours of community service for anyone who intentionally provides false information to a city official.

But in committee discussion on July 25, some council members wanted include a demolition clause in Bill 44 to warn builders if they tell lies to get their permits then build something much bigger, their projects might have to be torn down….

(IQ Test: Do you trust DPP with the right to tear down houses without due process?)

read … Honolulu Needs A Zero Tolerance Policy For Illegal Monster Houses

DPP Retaliation: Disabled Man Who Asked For Help Fixing The Sidewalk Instead Got A Violation

CB: … A wheelchair user who called on the city to fix a sidewalk outside his house was surprised when the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting instead issued him a notice of violation for his driveway. 

Ryan Smith, 56, said he has been quadriplegic for about 40 years. He submitted a request in 2020 for the city to fix the sidewalk because an adjacent tree’s roots appear to be growing underneath it, causing the sidewalk to warp in ways too steep and difficult for him to maneuver in his wheelchair.

“It’s not a want kind of thing, it’s a need,” he said….

He reached out to the Hawaii Disability Rights Center in December 2022 and said he requested an accommodation under the American with Disabilities Act.

The city came to investigate the area, and Smith said he was waiting for the work order to start when he received a notice of violation in May.

Smith’s house sits on the corner of two streets, and the violation notice said one side has an “abandoned driveway.”

Abandoned driveways are legally defined as those that are no longer used to enter and exit the property. To resolve the issue, Smith would have to build a full curb to replace the ramp where the driveway meets the street.

“If I don’t do it, they said they’ll do it and bill me,” he said….

Smith is not alone in struggling with disability access in Honolulu, according to Haar.

read … Disabled Man Who Asked For Help Fixing The Sidewalk Instead Got A Violation

Archaeologists Creating Work for Themselves

CB: … A few years ago, my company was doing a rehab and preservation (preserve as affordable) of a 75-unit senior project in Kakaako. While Kakaako is known for iwi (bones), this site was dug up and built 30 years prior. Our plans called for putting some 6-inch paver blocks over our small grassed frontage so that our tenants would have a couple more spaces for visitors to park and drop off or pick up seniors.

In reviewing the plans, the State Historic Preservation Division required us to hire an archeologist to monitor the work at a cost of over $100,000. We argued that the sprinkler system was deeper than what we were proposing but ultimately had to remove that part of the renovation from our plans….

SA Column: Emergency proclamation necessary to house Hawaii’s people

read … Governor’s Emergency Proclamation Addresses Regulatory Barriers

Hawaii County council proposes larger property tax break for older kupuna

HTH: … Presently, the county code establishes a specific tiered tax exemption for homeowners over the age of 60.

Qualified homeowners between age 60 and 65 are entitled to an $85,000 exemption from the taxable value of their home. For those between 65 and 70, the exemption is $90,000; between 70 and 75, it’s $105,000; and for people over 75, it’s $110,000.

Evans’ bill would add a new tier, granting taxpayers 80 and older a $125,000 exemption….

read … County council proposes larger property tax break for older kupuna

Hawaii could see a big hurricane season, but most homes aren’t ready

AP: … Hawaii’s experience stands in contrast to the U.S. territory of Guam, where stronger building codes and years of rebuilding after powerful storms means most homes are now made of sturdy concrete. In May, a Category 4 typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (241 kph) slammed into the island. The storm destroyed some older homes, but the concrete ones generally emerged unscathed.

Many of Hawaii’s single-family homes are single-wall construction, a style phased out only in the 1970s, said Gary Chock, a licensed structural engineer.

Hawaii’s temperate climate means homes don’t need to trap heat, so most don’t have an additional wall to contain insulation. Structurally, their foundations aren’t often properly anchored to the ground. Their lower cost made them Hawaii’s preferred construction style for decades.

They proved particularly vulnerable to powerful winds during Hurricane Iwa, which just missed Kauai in 1982, and Hurricane Iniki, which slammed directly into Kauai a decade later.

“The entire roof of the home might be decapitated by wind,” Chock said of single-wall homes hit by Iniki. “And the whole roof, in one piece, would just fly off the walls, and the rest of the structure would fall apart thereafter.”

Iniki damaged or destroyed 41% of Kauai’s 15,200 homes with 130- to 160-mph (209- to 257-kph) winds. Seven people were killed, and 100 were injured.

After Iwa, new homes had to have their roofs secured to their walls. After Iniki, new construction had to strap upper stories to lower stories and connect the foundation to the first floor.

Chock said a home built to code today would withstand a Category 3 hurricane, with winds up to 130 mph (209 kph), if a structural engineer supervised construction. Homes built on mountain ridges and in valleys must be able to withstand higher winds….

Since the early 1990s, four typhoons with sustained winds of at least 150 mph (241 kph) have directly hit Guam, including Typhoon Mawar in May. By contrast, Hawaii has only had one such powerful storm, Iniki.

Guam has become more resilient after each storm, often by rebuilding with concrete capable of withstanding Category 4 and 5 typhoons.

Those homes are more expensive to build, and they trap heat and radiate warmth at night when people need to sleep…

read … Hawaii could see a big hurricane season, but most homes aren’t ready

Hawaii middle school principal ousted after mounting complaints over leadership

HNN: … Mounting complaints have led to a leadership change at a West Kauai middle school.

Dozens of parents, teachers and students rallied Monday morning outside Waimea Canyon Middle School to demand Principal Melissa Speetjens be removed ahead of the start of the school year.

Attendees said they’ve brought up concerns about school safety, bullying, and the quality of education, but contend Speetjens brushed off those worries….

Concerned parents also met with DOE officials on Kauai last week.

They shared their gripes with Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Daniel Hamada and Kauai Board of Education Member Bill Arakaki. Then, hours after Monday morning’s rally, Hamada send out a letter to middle school faculty announcing Speetjens would not be returning as principal….

Instead, Ray Carvalho is taking over as interim principal starting Tuesday for the new school year.

The letter did not directly address the concerns raised, but thanked Speetjens for her years of service at the school. Speetjens is believed to have been reassigned to another school…. 

TGI: Waimea middle school principal removed from position - The Garden Island

read … Hawaii middle school principal ousted after mounting complaints over leadership

Hawaii hotel prices top nation during first half of 2023

SA: … Hawaii hotels led U.S. markets with the nation’s highest average daily room rate of $380 and revenue per available room, or RevPAR, of $285 in the first six months of this year, according to the Hawaii Hotel Performance Report recently published by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Hawaii hotels came in sixth for occupancy in the nation at 74.9%. Only Las Vegas; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; and Miami had better occupancy rates, according to the HTA report, compiled using data from STR Inc.

Hawaii hoteliers say summer business isn’t coming in as hot as it was during 2022’s so-called COVID-19 revenge travel season, when huge numbers of U.S. travelers were making up for time lost during the pandemic….

(CLUE: With many TVRs driven out of business by government harassment, union-controlled hotels reap the reward.)

SFG: From aloha to overloaded: Hawaii copes with tourism surge (sfgate.com)

read … Hawaii hotel prices top nation during first half of 2023

Supply and Demand: Vacation rental prices soar

HTH: … Vacation rental prices on the Big Island have increased by nearly 50% since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic despite a decline in occupancy rates.

According to new data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the average daily rate to stay in a Big Island vacation rental unit was $164 in 2019. In 2022, that rate climbed to $237, and as of June 2023, it’s $245….

The same trend is reflected throughout the state. Only on Lanai have vacation rental prices dropped since 2019 — a 1% decrease to $237 — while parts of Oahu had increases of 100% or more.

The rising prices have occurred alongside a decrease in people staying in vacation rentals. HTA reported that the Big Island’s available vacation rental units had an occupancy rate of only 46.5% last month, a 16% drop from the previous year and an 18% drop from 2019.

At the same time, the number of visitor arrivals on the Big Island is largely stable compared to both 2022 and 2019 — statewide, HTA reports that visitor arrivals have recovered by 93% since 2019 — and yet total visitor spending has leapt by 28% since 2019.

With vacation rental prices rising, Joshua Montgomery, president of the Ohana Aina Association, Big Island’s vacation rental association, said the “magic question” is when they will become too high for visitors to come to Hawaii.

read … Vacation rental prices soar - Hawaii Tribune-Herald

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