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Sunday, August 6, 2023
August 6, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:54 PM :: 4066 Views

This Day in History: Truman Announces Hiroshima Bombing

"Wouldn’t it be nice to get a permit in 10 days?"

Honolulu Rail: ‘I hope its future is short’

Little changes can lead to more housing

Taking No Prisoners in California

Crooks and Cronies: Carpenters Buy Insiders, Insiders Buy Green

CB: … Green, who is not up for reelection until three years from now, took in $466,922 in donations from Jan. 1 through June 30, most a result of the May-June fundraisers. He now has $590,971 cash in his war chest.

Who gave to the gov this year? The better question might be, who didn’t?

The Sunshine Blog will drop just a few names here: developer Jeff Stone, banker Paul Yonamine, attorney Rick Fried, insurance executive Tim Johns, investor Jay Shidler, philanthropist Elizabeth Grossman, Kobayashi Group’s Patrick Kobayashi, gas executive Alicia Moy, electric executive Jim Kelly, lobbyist Ross Yamasaki, health executive Hilton Raethel, Honolulu official Esther Kiaaina, consultant Ashley Lukens, restauranteur Eddie Flores, shipping executive Kuuhaku Park and someone named Walter Dods.

The Blog apologizes if your name was left off this list. It’s nothing personal; there are just too many to mention. You can check out his full list of donors this reporting period here. And of course full candidate committee reports are available and searchable on the Campaign Spending Commission site.

Green’s campaign also dropped $191,827 in spending with large chunks going to fundraising, digital media and other consultants.

Second in command: Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke raised $58,710 during the January-June period, bringing her cash on hand to $128,486.

Donors of note include Honolulu Police Commission member Ann Botticelli, Meredith Ching of Alexander & Baldwin, Kaneohe Ranch executive Mitch D’Olier, Micah Kane of the Hawaii Community Foundation, consultant Jennifer Sabas, lobbyist Bob Toyofuku, shipping executive George Pasha, Rebecca Ward of Ward Research, the Hawaiian Airlines PAC and a bunch of attorneys….

If the governor was raking in the green, the Hawaii Carpenters Political Action Fund was dishing it out. It gave more than $110,000 in donations from May to late June, with much of the individual donations in the low four figures.

Most of the recipients were state legislators including Reps. Scott Saiki, David Tarnas and Nadine Nakamura and Sens. Donovan Dela Cruz, Glenn Wakai and Angus McKelvey. Other notables include Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, Maui County Councilwoman Yuki Lei Sugimura and Honolulu City Councilman Tyler Dos-Santos Tam….

read … Green Sports Hefty War Chest, And The Carpenters Dish Out Donations

“How can we flaunt our power over you?”

Shapiro: … Moore didn’t explicitly say what’s replaced the “how can we help?” question, but when it comes to Kim and other senators who have targeted UH, like Donovan Dela Cruz and Michelle Kidani, I’d say it’s something like: “How can we flaunt our power over you? How can we grandstand at your expense? How can we use you for our personal and political needs?” ….

The latest UH budget cuts, from which students suffer most, came after Kim, Dela Cruz and Kidani demanded the ouster of UH President David Lassner and the regents didn’t oblige. Kim has now sought the heads of three of the last four presidents, often over personal pique.

Her complaints about Ching Field are especially annoying, given that the problem was entirely of the Legislature’s making.

Aloha Stadium closed because lawmakers year after year failed to provide funding for basic maintenance. Their promise of a new stadium has slipped from 2023 to 2028 at the earliest because of their constant plan changes.

UH deserves kudos instead of blame for making lemonade out of the lemons handed it by the Legislature to try saving a football program highly popular with much of the public….

read … David Shapiro: UH needs more protection from spiteful lawmakers | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

No Buyers for ‘Affordable’ Units designed to fall further behind on property ladder

SA: … At the Sky Ala Moana towers rising in Oahu’s urban core, market-priced condominiums are sold out at prices from $568,800 to $1.3 million, yet only 14 of 84 units priced from about $270,000 to $515,000 under a city affordable-housing program have sold over the past nine months.

Several factors may have made the affordable condos — mostly studios and some one- and two-bedroom units — unattractive to prospective buyers meeting requirements under city rules that include not earning much above the median income on Oahu.

Possible factors include studios with only 290 or 299 square feet of living space, no access to the pool and other building amenities, an option to buy a parking space for $38,000, and limits on how much buyers can resell their home for if they sell within 10 to 30 years.

(Left further and further behind on equity escalator.)

During the resale restriction period, a buyer also must live in the unit and cannot rent it out unless special city permission is given.

(Trapped for life.  Designed to ensure buyer never escapes this so-called ownership.)

Ricky Cassiday, a local housing market analyst, said the small studio size and parking at an extra cost are drawbacks. But the biggest detractor, in his view, to selling the affordable condos, called The Flats at Sky Ala Moana East, is the long-term regulation of resales.

read … Hawaii affordable housing demand is sky high, but not at one tower

4,900 Convicted felons bring ‘Diversity’ to Hawaii juries--what could go wrong?

SA: … A bill passed by the Legislature this year (SB911 SD1 HD1) and signed into law by Gov. Josh Green as Act 155 amended Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 612-4(b)2 to allow convicted felons to serve on juries if their state or federal felony convictions have been “finally discharged.” Before this change, which will take effect Jan. 1, only convicted felons who had been pardoned could serve.

There are about 4,900 Hawaii residents who have been convicted of felonies and served their sentences, the bill said. They could vote in elections and run for office, but not serve on juries, an exclusion the bill said made it harder to seat diverse juries and perpetuated the stigma that former inmates couldn’t fully rehabilitate….

The state Office of the Public Defender and the Community Alliance on Prisons testified in support of the bill, and the Hawaii State Judiciary was neutral.

The state’s annual juror questionnaire, which was mailed out Friday, was updated to reflect this change in jury duty eligibility starting in 2024….

HNN: HPD searching for pack of at least 8 thieves who ‘ransacked’ Kakaako businesses (hawaiinewsnow.com)

read … 4,900 Felons

More Cutbacks at Star-Advertiser

CB: … Ogden Newspapers is seeking a buyer for The Maui News, a century-old paper that’s dramatically curtailed its coverage and the size of its staff. And in the past month at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, at least four editorial staffers have accepted voluntary buyouts and the hosts of “Spotlight Hawaii” announced the end of their live-streamed interview program featuring local leaders….

The latest Star-Advertiser buyouts, while relatively few at least so far, come on the heels of a series of cost-cutting maneuvers by the paper’s publishing company, Oahu Publications Inc., which also owns the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, West Hawaii Today, The Garden Island and other local publications. The publisher flagged 31 employees across all departments for removal in June 2020. Ten editorial employees left in 2017 and in 2016, the company trimmed the newsroom by more than 10%….

The Garden Island, Kauai’s newspaper of record since 1901, has long struggled to retain editorial staff, relying on a revolving door of mainland recruits to fill a dwindling number of newsroom positions. West Hawaii Today recently lost its star reporter, Nancy Cook Lauer, whose years-long investigation of Billy Kenoi exposed the former Big Island mayor’s misuse of a county-issued credit card. 

Lanai Today failed to publish a May edition this year after the paper lost its editor and lead writer, Nelinia Cabiles, who took over when billionaire Larry Ellison bought up the island’s only dedicated news source

The Molokai Dispatch will also lose its longtime editor and lead reporter this month as Catherine Cluett Pactol steps into a new gig as Hawaii Public Radio’s first full-time reporter based on a neighbor island — a signal of the radio station’s steady, modest growth. …

read … Troubling Trajectory Of Hawaii Newspapers Has ‘Deep Implications’ For Democracy

HS Students Forced to Write Essays in Class after Massive AI Cheating

SA: … Chapin said he was so dismayed last school year at the swelling AI plagiarism by some of his English students that for this new school year he has decided to make students do all assignments by hand and in person in his classroom, with cell phones and other devices banned.

“This means that I may have as many as 150 handwritten paragraphs … and my job is changing into something excruciating, where I’m just gonna sit there and read in order to evade this inevitable, allegedly, plagiarism,” he said.

Of about 70 English students he taught last year, Chapin said he sent warning letters home to the families of 10 students whose schoolwork appeared to be copied from AI content. The letters said the student would get a zero on an assignment unless the student’s own work was submitted….

Many other students got shorter verbal warnings. “I said, ‘I see something wrong here, redo this,’” Chapin said….

SA: Ask ChatGPT: Is a student who uses AI cheating? | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

SA: As generative AI booms, students dive in and educators lag behind | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

read … Teachers, students divided over AI’s risks, benefits

State’s backbone financial system is 50 years old

CB: … much of Hawaii state government still uses old computers and technology systems that rely on manual processes. The main backbone financial system to manage our state’s $14 billion budget is 50 years old…

read … Government Modernization Requires An Amazon Prime Mindset

School Shooter Vulnerability assessments mandated by state DOE

HTH: … Of the 41 DOE schools on the Big Island, 19 have completed their assessments, another 18 are scheduled, and four more are waiting to be scheduled.

That is an increase from February, when just 14 Big Island schools had completed assessments since 2017….

Statewide, 140 of the 258 DOE schools, or about 54%, have been formally evaluated since 2017.

“Vulnerability assessments are considered a ‘best practice’ by the U.S. departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Justice,” Inoshita added.

The assessments address various elements of campus safety including outdated door locks, inconsistent security staffing, announcement and alarm systems, visitor screenings and perimeter security among others….

SA Editorial: Shore up safety at public schools | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

read  … Vulnerability assessments mandated by state DOE - Hawaii Tribune-Herald      

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