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Thursday, February 29, 2024
February 29, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:13 PM :: 2165 Views

EXTENDED: Applicants Wanted for State Ethics Commission

Hawaii Worst State to Be Middle Income from a Tax Perspective

Climate Activist And Liberal Billionaire Quietly Gobbles Up Rural Land In Hawaii

Major Energy Companies Ask SCOTUS To Intervene In Hawaii Climate Lawsuit

BS Busted: Green Caught Lying About Number of Vacation Rentals

HNN: … Green’s office was unable to explain where he got the number of “illegal” rentals, which by his math was 75,000. But the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said the numbers are similar to those calculated by a local hotel industry advocacy organization, the Hawaii Hotel Alliance.

If those units were clearly illegal, increased enforcement would be enough to force them back into the local housing market. But House Housing Chair Luke Evslin said that’s not the case on his home island, Kauai.

“There are certainly not enough illegal vacation rentals out there to really make a dent in the housing crisis,” he said. “Kauai has been wildly successful at essentially eliminating illegal vacation rentals.”…

State Sen. Troy Hashimoto of Central Maui said the same is true on the Valley Isle, which has also successfully cracked down on illegal rentals.

On both islands, thousands operate legally under county non-conforming use permits or certificates.

The units were operating as vacation rentals when the zoning rules allowed it, but were considered “non-conforming” after the counties banned them in residential or apartment areas.

Lawmakers plan to give the counties power to convert those to owner-occupant homes or long-term rentals, but because they are legal businesses that’s not easy.

Former Attorney General David Louie represents Air BnB and has been testifying against the effort.

“You don’t get to retroactively go back and say, Hey, I’ve decided you can’t do what you’ve been doing on your property. That’s not allowed,” Louie said at a House hearing on January 31.

“This is going to lead to litigation, it’s going to be unconstitutional.”….

read … Lawmakers: Cracking down on illegal vacation rentals won’t solve housing crisis

Structural, Intractable, Pervasive: The Ali’i Trust Agenda

CB: … The fundamental problem is that the problems are so fundamental.

The heart of the housing problem like other big problems here is this: Solutions need to overcome economic and political forces that are so strong, so historical, and so inherent (another term for this is “structural”) that at best we can chip away at them….

(CLUE: The Ali’i Trust Agenda)

The economic forces pushing those born and raised here are so intractable and so pervasive that if they can be dealt with at all, it is only in dribs and drabs. Incremental responses to a huge backlog of troubles when for many the housing problem is immediate and pressing.

(CLUE: The Ali’i Trust Agenda)

For those who need affordable housing, life becomes a waiting list….

(CLUE: The Ali’i Trust Agenda)

“We need to keep our keiki here,” or some such, has become a buzz phrase telling people what they want to hear. It’s a Hallelujah moment typically followed by some vague pronouncements and unreal general plans….

(CLUE: The Ali’i Trust Agenda)

read … Neal Milner: Those Who Choose To Leave Hawaii Don't Have The Luxury Of Waiting For Policy Fixes

Council adopts ‘monster homes’ measure

SA: …Bill 44 is meant to prohibit giving false statements to city planners by imposing penalties on violators, particularly those who have been criminally convicted of making a false claim.

Co-introduced by Council Chair Tommy Waters and Council member Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, the bill’s penalties for property owners who build oversized houses include:

>> A two-year moratorium on being able to apply for a building permit.

>> Increased building permit and plan review fees.

>> A temporary certificate of occupancy, wherein the city Department of Planning and Permitting can conduct additional inspections to ensure that the construction is in accordance with building permits.

Moreover, Bill 44 would impose civil fines of up $3,000 for a discovered violation as well as a civil fine of up to $3,000 per day for each day the violation persists….

SA: Column: Eliminating single-family zoning isn’t an affordable housing policy

read … Council adopts ‘monster homes’ measure

Judge Denies Defendant Request to use Alleged Hit Contract to Generate Delay Trial In Kaneshiro Case

CB: … A Honolulu attorney facing federal bribery charges will have to stand trial next month alongside her co-defendants, even as a separate criminal investigation into her conduct plays out, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

Sheri Tanaka, her former client Dennis Mitsunaga, and several employees of Mitsunaga’s firm are accused of directing nearly $50,000 in campaign cash to Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro. In turn, Kaneshiro, who is also charged in the case, allegedly pursued a bogus prosecution at his donors’ behest. The trial is scheduled for March 12.

The case recently took a dramatic turn when federal officials began investigating Tanaka for allegedly hiring a hitman to kill the judge and prosecutor in the bribery case. Tanaka has denied the allegations and has not been arrested ….

read … Judge Denies Defendant Request To Delay Trial In Kaneshiro Case

‘That’s A Lot Of Money’: Maui Council Signs Off On Funding For Private Security In Lahaina Burn Zone

CB: …Members grilled officials over the cost of staffing 63 guards at 13 checkpoints, and the administration said the next contract will go out to bid….

The Maui County Council on Wednesday unanimously approved spending $12.5 million to pay for the private security guards who staff checkpoints around the perimeter of Lahaina’s five-mile burn zone, but not before pressing the administration for more information on who was getting that money and why.

The National Guard had been managing checkpoints in Lahaina since the Aug. 8 fire that killed at least 101 people. After the Guard pulled out on Dec. 28, the county hired Gold Shield Security to step in, according to Maui Emergency Management Agency Administrator Amos Lonokailua-Hewett.

The Makawao-based company was selected by former acting administrator Darryl Oliveira through an invitation to bid process, he told the council earlier this week….

read … ‘That’s A Lot Of Money’: Maui Council Signs Off On Funding For Private Security In Lahaina Burn Zone

Senate Bill Would Boost Salary Cap For Hawaii Schools Chief To $300K

CB: … A proposal to increase the maximum salary of Hawaii’s top public school official is raising strong opposition among teachers and parents, but some state leaders say the change is needed to help the Department of Education recruit qualified leaders moving forward. (bureaucrats get their top three.)

Senate Bill 3207, which passed through the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, would raise the DOE superintendent’s salary cap from $250,000 to $300,000. The bill would also make the Board of Education’s annual review of the superintendent permanent.

Currently, DOE Superintendent Keith Hayashi earns $240,000 a year.

read … Senate Bill Would Boost Salary Cap For Hawaii Schools Chief To $300K

Shoplifter? Thank a Legislator

HNN: … “A lot of them are habitual, and they have 20, 30, even 40 arrests,” McCarthy said.

He added it got worse when the threshold for a felony more than doubled to $750. Those who steal less than that are only tagged with a misdemeanor crime.

Yamaki said it’s rare a shoplifter sees any jail time….

(QUESTION: Are shoplifters making the requisite level of campaign contributions?)

read … Caused by Legislature

Witness Intimidation: Buntenbah to forfeit house?

CB: …Buntenbah had been free on bond since late 2020, but was ordered back into custody last month after he violated the conditions of his release by leading an assault on a group at a Waikiki restaurant and bar on Jan. 20.

Prosecutors then filed a motion seeking forfeiture of his bond, setting up Tuesday’s hearing before Judge Derrick Watson, who is overseeing the racketeering case against Miske, his co-defendants and other former associates.

Watson’s ruling granting the forfeiture motion means Buntenbah will have to come up with the full $250,000 in cash to cover the bond, or face a foreclosure lawsuit by the government that could trigger a forced sale of the property.

The 4,149-square-foot home on Popoki Street in Kaneohe is currently appraised for real property tax purposes at more than $1.6 million. However, records show it  may be encumbered by one or more outstanding loans….

ILind: Buntenbah loses another round in court

ILind: Story on the Buntenbah bond forfeiture bounces back

read … Witness Intimidation

Hawaii Legislators: QUEST should buy drugs for the Homeless

KHON: … From homeless people to the affluent and several in between, depression and suicide cases have been on the rise in parts of Hawaii in recent years. Many mental health professionals feel that insurance coverage of Ketamine could help make a drastic difference….

Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means/Commerce and Consumer Protection considered SB279. It would require medicated and insurance coverage of Ketamine therapy to treat depression (get high)….

(Skip several paragraphs of ‘professionals’ talking about how gooood this drug makes them feeeel.   Remember the same pitch used for marijuana, shrooms, and mollies?  After Ketamine, what will they sell us next?)

read … Quest for insurance coverage of Ketamine therapy, considered by Hawaii legislators

Honolulu's On The Hook For Another $100K Defending Ex-Cops Sued Over Makaha Crash

CB: …The officers, who were fired this month by the Honolulu Police Department, are also facing criminal charges….

read … Honolulu's On The Hook For Another $100K Defending Ex-Cops Sued Over Makaha Crash

Chronically polluted beaches in Hawaii continue trend, Surfrider report finds

SA: (best comment: The lobbying of this environmental group is shameless. Its expectation to become another state regulating agency to make "ordinances" and a policing force to enforce the regs. The ocean is the largest filtration system. From time to time, the ocean is forced to work overtime. The "chronic beaches" will continue suffer, due to the course of run-off when it rains. Some say it isn't raining. Not the beach, look mauka. Run-off affects sewage plants too. Maybe if the state would stop finning them. The technology could advance. But it is not the goal of agencies started to control the population. It's true goal is to perpetuates the need for its existence….

REALITY: Feds Debunk Surfrider's Fake Bacteria Counts

read … Chronically polluted beaches in Hawaii continue trend, Surfrider report finds

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:




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