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Tuesday, January 30, 2024
January 30, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:05 PM :: 1726 Views

Senate Sets Triple Hearing on Vacation Rental Bill

FEMA to Build Hawaii's First Mobile Home Park

Oahu is slated to see more power outages — that last longer. Here’s why

HNN: … Oahu residents can expect more power outages — that last longer — as HECO implements its new wildfire prevention plan.

Kailua experienced that first-hand on Friday when power went out for nearly six hours despite little risk of fire.

Lanikai resident Vance Martin’s home has a solar battery backup, but was alarmed by loss of the cellular connection and the nearly six hours it took for power to return.

“My mom was in hospice at home,” Martin said. “She was on oxygen. And the oxygen generator was plugged into power without any backup.”

After a while, Martin found updates from HECO online, which indicated the blackout was tied to a new wildfire prevention protocol.

“We’ve had so much rain in the last two weeks, and there really wasn’t much of a fire danger at all,” Martin said….

In areas designated as wildfire risk zones (like around Kailua’s Enchanted Lake), the policy requires that when wind, foliage or debris causes a fault in a line, it will no longer be automatically recharged.

“What’s happening now is we’re hitting pause on the switchback part,and leaving it out so that we can go out and make sure that the conditions are safe on a line for us to restore power,” Pai said.

Making sure means inspecting the scene of the fault, usually with a crew on the ground or even from a helicopter or drone, which can take a long time, especially for lines crossing forests or mountains or obscured by clouds….

read … Oahu is slated to see more power outages — that last longer. Here’s why

WSJ: Hawaii’s Electric Utility Could Soon Feel the Burn

WSJ: … Hawaiian Electric’s alleged mismanagement runs deeper than “accidental” negligence. The utility is both a monopolist and monopsonist within Hawaii’s power market. This resulted in its management’s failure to invest in proper risk mitigation measures and essential upgrades to the state’s electric grid. The tragedy was waiting to happen.

While plaintiffs seeking damages certainly deserve justice, the longer-term solution is to ensure tragedy doesn’t recur. Only greater competition within Hawaii’s energy market can deliver that result. Residents, lawmakers and Hawaiian Electric’s creditors must insist on it.

Hawaiian Electric has an extensive record of allegedly trying to stifle competition. In one egregious example, Hu Honua Bioenergy—a biomass power supplier—claimed in an amended 2023 complaint to a 2016 lawsuit that the utility engaged in a “straw purchase” scheme of rival Hamakua Partners’ power plant. …

Hawaiian Electric’s monopoly status has put shareholders and creditors at risk. With potential damages far exceeding its self-reported $165 million annual liability insurance policy and $500 million in property-damage insurance, Hawaiian Electric is at financial risk. According to estimates from research firm Capstone, the utility faces more than $5 billion in potential damage claims. If these estimates are correct, the utility wouldn’t be able to cover 20% of the damages sought.

Further, Hawaiian Electric didn’t disclose its insurance information to the Securities and Exchange Commission in advance of the tragedy, only disclosing it to state regulators after the fire took place. This oversight has put Hawaiian Electric’s shareholders at risk, leading to a December 2023 class-action lawsuit…

For creditors, the problem is deeper. Hawaiian Electric’s latest 10-K filing discloses $88 million in short-term debt and nearly $1.7 billion in long-term debt, of which more than $350 million is due to be paid out over the next five years….

SEC: Black Rock owns 6.2M Shares of Hawaiian Electric

read … Hawaii’s Electric Utility Could Soon Feel the Burn

From tents to barns, Hawaiʻi charter school advocates say it's time for a permanent campus

HPR: … David Sun Miyashiro, an executive director of HawaiiKidsCAN, said the nonprofit is pushing for a resolution requesting the state Board of Education and the State Public Charter School Commission to produce a report on increasing access to stable, affordable facilities for public charter schools.

The resolution would ask that the list of public facilities be made available to the charter schools. Additionally, it would request that the BOE and commission work with the School Facilities Authority to include public charter schools in its building plans.

Sun-Miyashiro said the resolution would also request the BOE to consider other financing opportunities, like revolving funds that charter schools could tap into for new facilities….

read … From tents to barns, Hawaiʻi charter school advocates say it's time for a permanent campus

DHHL has ‘Committed’ only 1/3 of the $600M it was awarded

CB: … While about one-third of the $600 million has been committed to current and future projects, it takes time to release and appropriate the monies and to put developers or other vendors under contract, Watson said….

HNN: Moiliili’s Bowl O Drome, empty for 24 years now, is the symbol of the DHHL ‘battle’ to build new homes.

read … Hawaiian Homelands Chair Embarks On 'Aggressive' Agenda At Legislature

Forget the First Amendment: Hawaii to Outlaw ‘Deceptive’ Media?

SA: … Senate Bill 2687 would create a new (and totally unconstitutional) petty misdemeanor for “distributing, or entering into an agreement with another person to distribute, materially deceptive media unless the media contains a disclaimer” that could rise to a Class C felony for anyone who intends “to cause violence or bodily harm.”

(TRANSLATION: Illegal to send out flyer proclaiming that Mr Kim Coco Iwamoto is male.) 

House Bill 1766 and its companion, Senate Bill 2396, would leave investigations and fines up to the Hawaii State Ethics Commission, while the court system also could assess financial awards to anyone harmed by fake messaging distributed within 90 days of a primary or general election….

(TRANSLATION: Ethics Comm will make you pay for sex-change surgery.)

read … Hawaii legislators target deepfake political messaging

Ballot process opens Thursday for Hawaii political candidates

SA: … Candidates for this year’s Primary and General elections can begin the process to have their names on the ballot starting Thursday.

Candidates must obtain a nomination paper and signatures from registered voters in their district ahead of the June 4 deadline to turn in their paperwork.

They also have the option of including a photo and statement of no more than 150 word for a new digital voter information guide, which is scheduled to be available at ahead of the Aug. 10 Primary Election….

read … Ballot process opens Thursday for Hawaii political candidates |

AG swamped with hundreds more cases after city prosecutor’s ‘unilateral’ decision

HNN: … City Prosecutor Steve Alm has ended the practice of prosecuting cases from state law enforcement agencies — a decision made late last year that’s resulted in about 600 additional cases for the state Attorney General’s Office.

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez told lawmakers at a briefing that Alm made the decision “unilaterally.” Last week, Lopez told the Ways and Means and Judiciary committees: “We tried to find a solution. He did not want, I don’t think, to find a solution.”

The change affects arrests and citations from various state agencies, including the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, Sheriff Division, and Harbor police.

Lopez said Alm’s office also won’t pursue bond forfeitures either. That’s when a defendant doesn’t show up for court….

Alm said his office is busier than ever with the Weed and Seed and the Safe and Sound Waikiki programs. “Our office was handling 3,354 on average per month,” Alm said.

Alm said his predecessors started taking state cases years ago to help an understaffed Attorney General’s office, but now that the state agency has more resources they should take those back….

read … AG swamped with hundreds more cases after city prosecutor’s ‘unilateral’ decision

A Birth On A Hilo Sidewalk Reflects Challenges In Helping A Growing Homeless Community

CB: … The infant's homeless, mentally ill mother is back on the streets as law enforcement ‘wrestles with’ whether to charge her….

Although Lum has declined help so far, Hope Services and some formerly homeless women who know Lum said they plan to keep trying to reach her.

It starts with building trust.

“It takes time for us to build that trust, build that rapport,” said Carrie Ho’opi’i, Hope Services Hawaii outreach team leader. “We also just have to find them and locate them because it’s constant movement for them. They can’t stay in one place.”…

(CLUE: Forget ‘building trust.’  The answer is forcible commitment to insane asylum.)

read … A Birth On A Hilo Sidewalk Reflects Challenges In Helping A Growing Homeless Community

Needle Exchange Van Keeps Chinatown Full of Homeless Zombies

CB: … North Kukui Street behind the Pali Safeway — a longtime neighborhood sore spot — where a needle exchange van comes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. The van’s mission when it arrives in the downtown residential neighborhood is to offer drug users new, clean syringes for their used needles to prevent HIV and other bloodborne infections such as hepatitis C (help them do  more drugs).

Critics have been asking the city for years to move the needle exchange van from North Kukui Street to another location. They say it is wrong for neighborhood school children on their way to and from Princess Ruth Keʻelikolani Middle School to have to walk past the prostitutes and drug addicts who hang around by the van and brazenly shoot up after they get their new syringes. 

“The van attracts users, which attracts dealers, which in turn creates drug consumption and sex marketing,” said Chinatown business owner Oren Schlieman.

The city says it is working with the Hawaii Health and Harm Reduction Center to move the needle van from the streets into a Chinatown building or over to Iwilei. …

read … Denby Fawcett: Blangiardi Vowed To Revitalize Chinatown. It Hasn't Happened Yet - Honolulu Civil Beat

Open, all-gender restrooms at UH Medical School spark concern

KITV: … An open, all-gender restroom at the University of Hawaii Medical School is raising some community concerns. Some believe this type of restroom is inappropriate and could be dangerous, especially for children. Others said the restroom acknowledges inclusivity.

A Makiki resident told Island News he was shocked when he saw a woman walking out of a restroom that he was about to use. There is an all-gender sign and the bathroom is set up like a traditional men’s restroom.

He hopes this does not become the norm at public restrooms and if possible, he wants this restroom at the medical school discontinued. He asked to remain anonymous….

This is not a single stall unisex restroom or a family restroom like you can find at the mall. This is an open, all-gender restroom that cannot be locked by a single user. Both men and women can use the restroom together at the same time.

The director of the LGBTQ community at UH, Camaron Miyamoto, said the staff issued a survey (to themselves, of course, duh) before these bathrooms were introduced to the campus and most students voted “yes.” He said there around 35 gender neutral restrooms at the campus including the single stalls….

Island News posted a poll on our Instagram page stories asking our followers (ie normies) if they would feel comfortable using a public, all-gender restroom at the same time as people of different genders. As of 4 p.m. on Monday (Jan. 29) the results were 24% "Yes" and 76% "No" with 82 total votes tallied.

read … Open, all-gender restrooms at UH Medical School spark concern

BYU-Hawaii's historic David O. McKay mosaic and complex set to come down

SLT: … “It’s the destruction and the erasure of that monument itself,” one Latter-day Saint said, “that means so much to us.”

read … BYU-Hawaii's historic David O. McKay mosaic and complex set to come down (

Measures seek to ease Puna’s insurance crisis

HTH: …With Universal, one of the last providers offering coverage in lower Puna, abandoning ship, most homeowners will be left with only one insurance option: the state-run provider of last resort, Hawaii Property Insurance Association, whose yearly rates for basic coverage have ballooned to thousands of dollars.

In an effort to forestall this crisis, Ilagan’s bills — House Bills 2047 through 2056 — offer solutions ranging between minor changes to the management of HPIA to sweeping laws governing how insurance providers can operate in Hawaii.

“We had a lot of ideas, but we’ve landed on these 10,” Ilagan said. “I know the insurers might not like some of them, but this is hitting my constituents hard.”

Arguably the most substantial of the bills is HB 2047, which would establish a state-run “lava zone insurance fund” that would help subsidize insurance premiums for certain residents in Lava Zones 1 and 2. While the current version of the bill does not specify how much money would be allocated to this fund, beneficiaries would be limited to low-income households….

read … Measures seek to ease Puna’s insurance crisis

Hawaii Ranchers Want More Land Transferred To The State Agriculture Department

CB: … Ranchers are now concerned the two state departments are satisfied with what they have accomplished — approximately 73,000 acres has been transferred already or is planned to be later this year — and might stop short of transferring the rest.

Charles Stevens owns and operates the 7,700-acre SC Ranch in Pauuilo on Big Island, and raised his concerns with lawmakers at an information briefing on Monday. SC Ranch produces approximately 430,000 pounds of grass-fed beef annually for the local market.

He said he recently learned that his ranch was on a list of 17 leases that DLNR has no intention of transferring.

“Even though I have an impeccable record of compliance, stewardship and payment history, I’m here because I want you to meet me,” he said. “I’m a local land stewardship partner.”

Stevens said his lease ends in 2031 and will then go through a public bidding process, which he fears may foil his investments and livelihood in Hawaii. He has spent about $1 million on irrigation and fencing in the past year.

Just over 24,000 acres were transferred to DOA from DLNR between 2003 and 2022. Another 5,000 acres were transferred last year, and the two departments have agreed to transfer 43,000 more acres over the coming six months.

But that leaves about 23,000 acres that the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council still wants transferred to DOA.

At least five other ranches have raised their concerns about the Act 90 process, out of fear that they could not invest and live in a state of uncertainty for the same reasons Stevens cited.

Ranchers and agricultural advocates fear progress will be stifled by the conflicting mandates of DLNR and DOA — conservation versus agriculture.

Part of the reason for the slow exchange historically has been due to language in Act 90 calling for “mutual agreement” between the boards of DOA and DLNR….

read … Hawaii Ranchers Want More Land Transferred To The State Agriculture Department

Lahaina Fire News:

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