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Saturday, September 16, 2023
September 16, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:19 PM :: 1437 Views

Lahaina Death Toll Lowered from 115 To 97

Green Revises Housing Emergency Proclamation--calls it 'affordable'

New 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccines offers enhanced protection

Six House Working Groups Investigate Lahaina Fires

How Biden’s Approval Rating in Hawaii Has Changed Since Taking Office

Lawyer: New housing proclamation ‘still unlawful’

SA: … Maui attorney Lance Collins, who filed the first lawsuit over Green’s initial proclamation, wrote in an email to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that Friday’s emergency proclamation allows Green “to exercise power unlawfully. If the governor wants to change the laws, he should use his actual lawful powers and call the Legislature into special session. Everyone is grateful that the scope of the erroneous exercise of power has been curtailed by this new proclamation, but the proclamation still exercises governmental power unlawfully where it modifies and makes new law.”

Collins joined three other Hawaii lawyers in their lawsuit on behalf of nine people who are contesting the authority of the working group….

read … New Hawaii housing proclamation receives mixed reviews

More Unconstitutional Tax Ideas: Governor Suggests Charging ‘Climate Impact Fee’ To Visitors

F: … Green confirmed Friday that the government will not be kicking residents out of the hotels until a long-term lodging solution is secured for them, setting up the possibility that displaced residents and tourists could indeed wind up in the same hotels.

He went on to suggest, however, that they may try to keep several hotels as residents only.

“We may consolidate hotels so that four or five hotels are where [displaced residents] stay,” he said. It seems the exact plan will depend on how many residents can be placed in long-term housing between now and October 8th, and how many visitor bookings hotels receive between now and then….

Also of note from the interview was Green’s answer to a question from local news station KHON2 about how he plans to mitigate and prevent future tragedies.

He discussed a variety of recommendations to help prevent future fires that included a satellite-based warning system and burying power lines underground.

“We changed our policy prerogatives after 911 to focus on security, we focused a lot of our public health priorities after the COVID pandemic, and now I think it’s going to be climate driven,” Green said. “So I hope people will accept that.”

In terms of how the state might pay for such measures, Green said he would like to consider charging tourists a “climate impact fee.”

Local news wrote about the potential climate impact fee, which Green previously campaigned on, in depth earlier this year. Editorials also called for its passing as recently as last April.

At that time, the fee was proposed as $50 per person, and has also been referred to as a “visitor-impact fee.” When those aforementioned articles were published, the idea was to use the money collected from the fee - an estimated $500-$600 million per year - for environmental concerns caused by the impact of tourists, such as the management of State Parks and other natural areas.

Now, if such a fee were established, Green would look to use some of the money for preventative measures. To become official, the fee would have to be addressed and passed in the upcoming legislative sessions, which begin in January.

“I hope that [the climate impact fee is] something we revisit because we’re going to need money to make sure we have more firefighters, that we have more equipment, and we have more money for investigations like this,” he said. “It’s a really important discussion to have.”… 

REALITY: Crandall v Nevada 1868

BH: $50 Hawaii Visitor "Climate Impact Fee" Re-dubbed After Lahaina Fire - Beat of Hawaii

read … Governor Suggests Charging ‘Climate Impact Fee’ To Visitors

Maui County Council considers bill on post-fire cleanup options

MN: … Bill 86 will head to a council committee for more discussion on Sept. 26, despite some Upcountry residents and Mayor Richard Bissen seeking to move the bill through more quickly. Some West Maui residents, however, asked the council not to pass the bill yet, saying it is too soon and some are not aware of the bill….

Noting that Kula and Lahaina have different needs and time tables in the cleanup process, some council members raised the question of addressing each community separately in the bill, which Deputy Corporation Counsel Michael Hopper said could be a possibility.

While the bill is under consideration, the county is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other groups on getting the free debris removal program set up for people who want it, said Erin Wade, who is handling enrollment and outreach for debris management as part of a debris task force. She is also chief of planning and development for the county’s Department of Management….

The county announced Thursday that it hopes to get the first groups of residents and possibly businesses in to Lahaina see their fire-damaged properties on Sept. 25. These are properties that the Environmental Protection Agency has inspected and removed hazardous household materials from.

With hazardous materials removed, property owners and tenants can visit their properties for closure and to gather any personal effects, the county said. Debris removal will follow.

Cole Glenwright, recovery operations section chief for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, told the council Friday that cleanup of fire-stricken properties may run in the $70,000 range, though it depends on the size of the structure and the cost could be different in Hawaii.

Glenwright added that from his experiences with California wildfires, only about 15 percent of people opt out of the free debris removal government program and do it themselves. This tends to be corporations and or those who are highly insured and may want to use their own contractor for cleanup….

read … Maui County Council considers bill on post-fire cleanup options

Lahaina condos could trigger broader insurance woes

ILind: … At least one condo project burned to the ground in the Lahaina fire. There are likely others damaged or destroyed, but although I’ve seen references to condos, I haven’t found a list identifying those with significant damage.

Rebuilding of condominiums is a trickier affair than rebuilding a single family residence.

A condominium is governed by an association made up of the owners of individual apartments, in some cases owners of commercial as well as residential units.

While the contents of apartments are owned and insured by individual unit owners, the structure(s) themselves are owned in common by the association. State law requires associations to carry insurance sufficient to cover the replacement cost of the structure….

And condo boards are required to use the insurance proceeds to rebuild, usually unless a super majority of owners vote to terminate the condominium instead of rebuilding.

Although the law has several ways to accomplish this. One provides that if 80% of owners, and all holders of liens (mortgage lenders, etc) approve, then a condominium project can move to dissolve itself.

Another possible occurs if a condominium experiences “substantial damage or destruction and the damage or destruction has not been rebuilt, repaired, or restored within a reasonable time after the occurrence thereof, or the unit owners have earlier determined as provided in the declaration that the damage or destruction shall not be rebuilt, repaired, or restored,” then any owner can go file an action for partition, which if approved would mean that the property would be sold and the proceeds divided among qualifying owners….

RELATED: Do Lahaina Property Owners Have the Right to Rebuild?

read … Lahaina condos could trigger broader insurance woes | i L i n d

Former employee alleges discrimination by ACLU Hawaii

SA: … Monica Espitia alleges in a 25-page complaint filed in Oahu Circuit Court that from the time she began work in 2019 at ACLU-­Hawaii until her Nov. 29 termination, she was subjected to “a pattern of discriminatory and retaliatory conducted based on race and sex,” which she says damaged her career and led to her wrongful termination.

Espitia, who emigrated as a child to the U.S. from Colombia, got her degree in criminology and began working for the ACLU 17 years ago at its New York national headquarters….

In 2019 she joined ACLU-Hawaii as Smart Justice Campaign director.

The complaint names ACLU-Hawaii’s Ryan Leong, who supervised Espitia; Scott Greenwood, interim executive director; Executive Director Josh Wisch; and Board of Directors President Marianita Lopez….

read … Former employee alleges discrimination by ACLU Hawaii

Lahaina Fire News

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