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Thursday, August 24, 2023
August 24, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:08 PM :: 1209 Views

VIDEO: Supreme Court hears arguments over Lahaina Fire water mismanagement

Solar Users Hit Hard by HECO 'Time of Use' Rate Increases

Hawaii Inverse Condemnation And Wildfires

P3 Restructures 1,221-Unit Affordable Housing Portfolio

How parking reform could help boost Hawaii’s housing stock

House Committee demands SBA briefing on Hawaii wildfire relief

How Many Children Died?  2,025 Lahaina students not enrolled in Schools

SA: … About two-thirds of the 3,001 children who once attended Lahaina’s four public schools still have not enrolled in other Hawaii public schools or the state’s distance learning program. And state officials cannot tell yet exactly how many have left the system for private schools or the mainland, are pausing schooling, or are among the roughly 1,000 West Maui residents reportedly still missing in the wildfires disaster.

As of Monday only 538 of the Lahaina students had reenrolled in other Hawaii public schools, and 438 students had signed up for the State Distance Learning Program, according to a “Maui Wildfire Impacts” report that state Schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi is scheduled to present today at a state Board of Education meeting.

That leaves 2,025 Lahaina students “who have not enrolled in another public school or opted for distance learning (may have moved out of state, enrolled in private schools),” Hayashi’s report says.

The report does not specifically mention that some of the students missing from current public school enrollments might be putting their education on hold or may have died in the fire.

But the FBI and Maui County police are working through a list of about 1,000 to 1,100 people who are still unaccounted for. Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen has previously estimated the number of the missing at around 850. Gov. Josh Green has said that it’s possible that some of those killed were children. Some families already have independently posted online or said in media reports that their children are among those who perished in the fires.

On Wednesday, the official death toll stood at 115 and an official list of the missing had not yet been made public….

MPD confirmed they are trying to identify the remains of a 14-year-old boy found inside Lahaina h... - YouTube

read … 2,025 Lahaina students not enrolled

PHOTOS: FEMA officials staying at Wailea luxury hotels amid recovery efforts in Lahaina

DM: … FEMA teams have checked in at three five-star hotels, the Fairmont Kea Lani, Four Seasons, and the Grand Wailea Astoria where past guests include members of Hollywood's elite….

there are FEMA 100 officials staying at the four-star Marriott Wailea Beach Resort for $531 per night, a company insider said, but where rooms currently on offer to the general public start at $749….

'Shouldn't they stay closer to the site, instead of staying across on the other side of the island?' he asked.

There has also been anger about the $700 'one-time' payment to help survivors get essentials such as clothing, food or transportation.

Bogus claims circulated online last week that the Biden administration had set a cap on any federal handouts to those who survived the deadly blazes at that amount….

locals have also fumed over accusations that FEMA has blocked volunteers from delivering aid to the disaster zone….They blamed U.S. government red tape which means only FEMA-approved supplies can be distributed to those in need….

HNN: Images of FEMA workers at luxury Maui hotels stir anger, but agency says it’s there to do a job (hawaiinewsnow.com)

read … EXCLUSIVE: FEMA officials are staying at $1,000-a-night luxury hotels in Maui amid recovery efforts in Lahaina | Daily Mail Online

Rally at the State Capitol, urging reinstatement of former Hawaii water deputy who delayed firefighting water

KITV: … A rally is scheduled Thursday at the State Capitol, demanding the reinstatement of former Hawaii Water Deputy, Kaleo Manuel.  Manuel had faced criticism due to his handling of the Maui wildfires, specifically allegations that he delayed a request to divert stream water to reservoirs south of Lahaina on August 8th….

Dean Uyeno has been appointed as Manuel's successor by the Department of Land and Natural Resources in the interim. The demonstration and press conference is scheduled to commence at 11 am Thursday…

read … Rally

Visitors implored to come back as Maui job cuts soar     

KHON: … job cuts mount due to a drop visitor arrivals.

“Hotels are starting to notify their teams that they’re reducing hours or doing layoffs,” said Tapani Vuori, general manager of the Maui Ocean Center. “I’m hearing several boats already shut down their operations. So all of a sudden, it’s starting to touch every single person here on Maui.”

Initial weekly unemployment claims for Maui averaged just over 100 before the fire, but more than 8,100 people filed for unemployment between Aug. 8-20….

In early August about 8,000 arrived daily, down to under 2,000 these days, putting at risk Maui’s significant contribution to the state’s economy. Maui drives nearly one-third of visitor counts of 3 million a year, and nearly one-third of visitor spending of about $6 billion a year. Almost $800 million of that annually was brought in by Lahaina businesses employing 5,300 people before the fire….

read … Visitors implored to come back as Maui job cuts soar

When you donate money to Maui, what's the process for distributing funds?

KITV: … HCF has given out about $9 million so far ….

read … When you donate money to Maui, what's the process for distributing funds?

Maui Fire Victims Pursue Legal Tactic That Led to $13.5 Billion California Settlement

YN: …Hawaii property owners are seizing on a legal shortcut used by fire victims in California to secure compensation from Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. for damages following the fires that ravaged Maui.

The strategy, which doesn’t require proving negligence, helped push PG&E Corp., California’s largest utility, into bankruptcy and secured victims a $13.5 billion settlement in 2020.

While Hawaiian Electric and some analysts have said this approach has never been tested in Hawaii’s courts, some property owners are already pursuing it. Shares of Hawaiian Electric plunged 58% last week, amid increasing investor concern that the utility could be held responsible for the fires.

Property owners’ success will hinge on a determination of whether the investor-owned Hawaiian Electric functions akin to a government agency because it supplies electricity to the public.

“It in fact may give us a more direct path to liability and damages,” said Graham LippSmith, a lawyer representing Maui fire victims in one of the suits. “Hawaiian Electric is a private utility but it gets to operate as a quasi-governmental entity.”

Inverse Condemnation

Hawaiian Electric had used both private and public land to set up its power lines — some of which was destroyed by the fires. Even if the damage caused by the utility’s equipment was an accident, fire victims have the constitutional right to seek compensation for it if they can show that Hawaiian Electric was functioning like a government agency.

The legal argument, known as inverse condemnation, in which a property owner can sue the government for damages, is related to the constitutional process of eminent domain – the power of a government to take private property for public infrastructure projects, and in return compensate the owner for it.

Using the legal shortcut, Maui property owners would be entitled to recover their losses without having to prove that the utility acted recklessly. In this case, Hawaiian Electric would be on the hook for damaged property.

‘No Precedent’

Hawaiian Electric said in a regulatory filing Friday that “there is no precedent in Hawaii applying inverse condemnation to a private party like an investor-owned utility.” Hawaiian Electric spokesman Darren Pai said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

WaPo: Maui utility may have compromised evidence in probe of deadly fire, lawyers say

Related: Hawaii Inverse Condemnation And Wildfires

read … Maui Fire Victims Pursue Legal Tactic That Led to $13.5 Billion California Settlement (yahoo.com)

Initial Tests Show Water In Maui Burn Zones Is Within Safety Guidelines

CB: … Maui County’s top water official says initial sampling of the drinking water supply in Lahaina and Upper Kula turned up no evidence of contamination that exceeds public health standards.

Despite the results released on Wednesday and posted on the county website, unsafe water advisories remain in place in Lahaina and parts of Upper Kula in the wake of the Aug. 8 wildfires that killed at least 115 people and left an estimated 1,100 missing….

read … Initial Tests Show Water In Maui Burn Zones Is Within Safety Guidelines

300 Gather Plotting to Release Hawaii’s ‘Heroic’ Criminals

HTH: … “Being in this room is a wow moment,” said Mayor Mitch Roth at the event.

Roth recounted his days as lead prosecutor for the county, at which time it became the first in the nation to implement “restorative justice,” which helps offenders take responsibility for their actions, understand the harm they have caused, give them an opportunity to redeem themselves, and discourage them from causing further harm.

“We did things differently here than the rest of the world,” he said. “I think about some of the people I actually prosecuted, and they are my heroes. Failure is a point in time, not a definition of who you are.”

(CLUE: ‘Methamphetamines.’)

That legacy continues today. Tommy Johnson, director of the Department of Public Safety, will transition the name of the department to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in January 2024.

“This is an ideal time for … us to embrace the paradigm shift needed to affect positive change in the criminal justice system,” said Johnson.

He said he wanted to change the punitive system into a treatment-program oriented approach.

(Maybe he should start making his UPW guards show up for work so they can run the programs they already have.)

Jamee Miller, president of Ekolu Mea Nui, said Native Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. “When you scan the world, especially colonized countries, you find that we here in Hawaii are not unique. Indigenous people are disproportionately represented in these types of systems like incarceration.”

(IDEA: Give them your wife and daughters as reparations.)

She said historical trauma is at the root of societal troubles, inequities and negative outcomes, including incarceration, and that most trauma is connected to loss of ancestral lands, loss of a political standing, loss of a culture, including language, which lead to a loss of practices that kept the Hawaiian society intact.

She noted that native practitioners need to be brought to the table and innovate alternatives to incarceration, including changing laws and policies. Miller added that language needs to change — new terms are needed to replace words like inmate, offender and incarcerated, which carry stigma.

(IDEAS: Lout, thug, bum.)

read … ‘Going Home’ summit emphasizes ways teh community can help transition inmates back into society - Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Total failure of Mental Health Care System: Brain Damaged Mental Case Left Homeless for 25 Years--Finally Hangs Himself

CB: … Lane Gammill, who lived next door to Drake’s mother in a senior housing complex in Keaau, said Drake would hang around the complex, sleep in the laundry room or on the driveway outside, yell and bang things around, and smoke marijuana or methamphetamine.

Gammill gave him food, juice, slippers and toilet paper to try to help him when he sometimes knocked on her door, but he behaved so inappropriately that she finally filed for a temporary restraining order last spring to keep him away from her.

“I believe Drake is severely mentally ill and doesn’t seem to have any services lined up whatsoever to help him,” she said in her filing. “Hopefully this TRO will be quickly put in place and a social worker can find him alternative housing and services.”…

Drake Terlep, 55, was housed in a cell with two other inmates, and staff at the jail told family members Terlep had been a target of harassment by other inmates in the overcrowded Hawaii Community Correctional Center, according to his brother Jason Terlep.

Jason Terlep said the jail staff told him Drake was discovered by one of his cellmates, who triggered an alarm and was unwrapping some sort of ligature from around Drake’s neck when staff arrived at their cell….

Honolulu lawyer Eric Seitz, who is suing the state in federal court to try to force the correctional system to provide better mental health services, said he now plans to ask a federal judge to appoint a special master “to take over and run the mental systems in the prisons, because they’re just in terrible shape.”

“I get calls every week from staff members complaining about their inability to provide services to people who need it,” he said. “They’re understaffed, they’re not given any support.”

HCCC would be covered by any order in the case because Seitz’s class-action federal court lawsuit covers all Hawaii prisons and jails, he said….

Terlep said his brother suffered a severe head injury in 1997 when he had been drinking and dove into the ocean, striking his head on a rock in an area of Keaukaha in Hilo known locally as “4 Miles.” He was 30 at the time….

read …Inmate Found Dead In Apparent Suicide At Hilo Jail Was Due A Mental Evaluation - Honolulu Civil Beat

City proposes greater fines for ‘monster homes’

SA:  … Under DPP’s bill, builders who violate city laws relating to “development standards” and permitted uses and structures — like maximum heights, height setbacks, floor-area ratios, or the number of bathrooms permitted inside a home based on the number of dwellings, units or lot size — would be subject to an initial fine of up to $25,000, plus up to $10,000 a day per violation…

But Takeuchi Apuna notes that Bill 44, as drafted, may be unworkable due to existing state law — in particular, Hawaii Revised Statutes 710-1063, which covers unsworn falsifications to authorities — that could preempt or eliminate the power of the proposed city measure with regard to lying to city officials, namely DPP inspectors.

“In contrast, the proposed (Land Use Ordinance) amendment to increase fines would simply require adding the higher fines to the Notice of Violation and Notice of Order,” the Aug. 9 memo reads.

It adds, “At City Council hearings, there is discussion of requiring complete demolition of monster homes, which could be considered a legal taking, and could create a prolonged legal process. This proposed LUO amendment to increase monster home fines is a more feasible and tailored option than Bill 44 and complete demolition.”…

Big Q: Should the city increase the fines for illegal “monster homes” by as much as $25,000 or more?

SA: Letter: Monster home mars beautiful neighborhood “There are more than 20 people living there. All appear to be foreign renters who don’t speak English.”

read … City proposes greater fines for ‘monster homes’

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