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Tuesday, June 4, 2024
June 4, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:06 PM :: 1533 Views

369 Candidates Pull Papers Statewide, 237 File with One Day Left

UPDATE: Clayton Hee Trying to Sneak Back into the State Senate

"Historic tax relief that will lower Hawaii’s high cost of living"

Hawaii 2nd-Worst Economy in USA

7 weeks to Bid Deadline: Feds Warn Rail funding in jeopardy (again)

SA: … The Federal Transit Administration on Monday warned that leadership uncertainty at the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation could jeopardize another $250 million in federal money needed by the city’s rail system.

HART, so far, has received $125 million out of $744 million it’s expecting from the FTA after reaching an agreement with the FTA to shorten the route and bring it in on budget, resulting in the opening of the system a year ago.

The $125 million payment was the first for the rail project from the FTA since 2017….

 following a story in Sunday’s Star-Advertiser about ongoing uncertainty over the future of Lori Kahikina — HART’s CEO and executive director, whose contract expires in six months — the FTA wrote in an email to the Star- Advertiser:

“Any change in leadership by a project sponsor must maintain the technical capacity and project delivery schedule set forth in the grant agreement. Failure to do so could result in funding being delayed until that capacity was demonstrated.”…

 tensions between Kahikina and HART’s 12- member, unpaid volunteer board — specifically board Chair Colleen Hanabusa — have now raised concerns that bidders might lose interest in building the Civic Center “guideway” project, or increase their bids as a financial cushion because of leadership uncertainty.

(TRANSLATION: HART insiders are fighting amongst themselves because they already know that the bids are going to come in waaaaay high.  Without an acceptable bid, the FTA will not release the rest of the money.  Insiders are positioning themselves to blame each other for this next failure.)

Kahikina’s $275,000-per-year contract expires Dec. 31.

The first serious discussion about her future has been scheduled for a meeting Friday of the HART board’s Human Resources Committee.

A separate item on the agenda described as “Referral of Recent Media Reports Regarding Board Member Conduct for Investigation/Action” may be related to board member Natalie Iwasa, who recently appeared before the City Council and described Kahikina’s situation at HART as a “corrosive environment.” …

HART: City Center Guideway and Stations Design-Build Contract Proposal Due Date July 23, 2024

Reality: www.TheRealHanabusa.com

read … Uncertainty over Honolulu rail leadership could put funding in jeopardy

DHHL Cancels Development Plans, Burns Money to buy properties, Wants another $600M

CB: … It received $600 million from the Legislature in 2022 through Act 279, known as the Waitlist Reduction Act. The department planned to use that money to develop some 3,100 lots.

But those plans have changed under DHHL Chair Kali Watson. The department now anticipates needing an additional $600 million — at least — to carry out its new plans….

Some projects that were set to yield more than 800 lots are now being delayed because of environmental issues where the lands are situated….

In 2021, U.S. Department of the Interior officials heralded the transfer of 80 acres of land in Ewa Beach as an important step to resolving DHHL’s land claims against the federal government. DHHL planned to eventually develop between 400 and 600 lots for homesteading.

But it turns out most of that land at the former Pacific Tsunami Warning Center can’t be used for housing, according to a recent environmental assessment that DHHL commissioned….

Watson said just one-third of the 80 acres of land can actually be used for housing. The site is about 200 yards from the beach. A 3-foot rise in sea level anticipated by 2050 would inundate part of the property, according to sea-level rise projections by the University of Hawaii.

(CLUE: There will not be a 3’ sea-level rise in anybody’s lifetime.  Sea level rise is millimeters per year.  See: NOAA map.  The claim of 3’ sea level rise is just a ruse to block development.) 

Another project being put on hold is in Nanakuli near another DHHL-owned property called Ulu Ke Kukui. The site, which was expected to house upwards of 200 lots, would need to be elevated so that gravity lines can carry sewage down into the system at street level.

Other projects being deferred include the second phase of the Honomu Subsistence Ag lots on the Big Island. The 40-lot homestead community is still being designed.

A 200-unit development in the Laiopua Villages on the west side of the Big Island was also deferred.

Agricultural subdivisions on Molokai and Lanai were also set to be deferred until the department acquires more funding, but those were added back into DHHL’s revised spending plans after pushback from those islands’ commissioners earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the department has been buying up land across the state.

DHHL plans to spend more than $20 million to acquire nearly 300 acres of land in Lihue owned by Grove Farm, where the department could eventually develop 1,200 lots.

On Oahu, DHHL has plans to spend $2.5 million to acquire and develop 25 townhouse units on a lot near the post office in Hawaii Kai. It is also spending $24 million to acquire land in Waialua.

Honolulu City Council members also plan to introduce a resolution on Tuesday that will transfer a 10-acre lot in Kailua to DHHL.

Kauai commissioner Dennis Neves, who was part of a group that wrote the original Act 279 spending plan, feels that the revised plan to acquire more land will delay development on lands DHHL already owns. The original plan approved in 2022 generally focused on properties that were ready for construction.

“This now delays the process and is based on future funding,” Neves said of the land acquisitions. “So, here we are back to square one again, kicking the can down the road.”…

HNN: City Council unveils ‘beautiful’ plan to transfer 10-acre parcel for Native Hawaiian homes

KHON: Historic land transfer: 10 acres for Hawaiian homes (khon2.com)

CB: DHHL still needs to perform a variety of site assessments and studies before it can start developing the property. 

SA: Editorial: Use vacant city lot for DHHL homes | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

HNN: City Council Leaders Propose Hawaiian Homelands Housing Project In Kailua, O‘ahu - YouTube

read … DHHL Has Big Plans For More Homes. But It Needs A Lot More Money

List of Miske property the government will seek to have forfeited if he is convicted

ILind: … There are some eye-popping numbers here….

PDF: List of property the government will seek to forfeit if Michael J. Miske Jr. is convicted 

read … List of Miske property the government will seek to have forfeited if he is convicted

Lahaina Victims Buy Trailer from Mainland Because Josh Green didn’t request any free FEMA Trailers

CB: … U‘i and Mario are making their own plans, however. They don’t want to continue to rely on FEMA assistance as they rebuild their lives. And they want more autonomy.

They also want to return to living on Mario’s lot as soon as they can, even if that looks like glorified camping. So they’ve ordered a custom 26-foot trailer from a camping outfitter in Oregon.

(CLUE: FEMA provides victims with free FEMA trailers to park on their damaged properties – but only if a State’s governor requests them.)

The business partners plan to live in the rig, which can sleep up to five people, for the next year or two. And they aim to park it on Mario’s fire-scorched property in the heart of Lahaina where his house stood before the fire obliterated it.

Due to transpacific shipping logistics, the trailer’s estimated arrival date has been pushed back several times, most recently to the end of July. Now the partners must quickly figure out where they’ll live during the six-week gap between Monday, when FEMA stops reimbursing the state for emergency hotel housing for survivors, and the trailer’s landing at the Port of Kahului during the week of July 22….

read … Maui Fire Survivor Picks Up Belongings From Hotel After Being Kicked Out - Honolulu Civil Beat

Why are home, condo insurance premiums skyrocketing?

KHON: … Hawaii State Insurance Commissioner and attorney Gordon Ito joins producer/host Coralie Chun Matayoshi to discuss what is causing home and condo property and hurricane insurance premiums and deductibles to skyrocket across the country, including Hawaii, the effect of the Maui wildfire, various bills considered during the past legislative session to address this insurance crisis, and what homeowners can do to reduce their risk of wildfire damage…

read … Why are home, condo insurance premiums skyrocketing? | KHON2

HECO Hides Some Outage Data

IM: … The Hawaiian Electric Companies had nine significant outages in April: one on each of Oahu and Maui, and seven in MECO County. The HECO Companies filed confidential “System Interruption Reports” with the Public Utilities Commission.  

Regarding rolling blackouts and other major outages, why would the HECO Companies restrict public access to all sections of all documents filed with the Public Utilities Commission? A confidential document should have at least a non-confidential description.

The System Interruption Reports may include how many customers were impacted, how long the outages lasted, and what caused the outages. All the information in these documents are classified information that is being withheld from ratepayers. 

The one day covered in the System Interruption Reports regarding HECO is April 14, not April 12 when HECO responded to outages in Haleiwa, Kapolei, Kawailoa, Makaha, Makakilo, Melemanu, Mokuleia, Nanakuli, Pupukea, Sunset Beach, Wahiawa, Waialua, and Waiane. 

On April 14, 2014, HECO reported two major events on their web site: (1) “An unscheduled power outage is currently affecting Aliamanu Military Reservation (AMR),” and (2) “We are making repairs to damage caused by heavy rains and severe weather that has resulted in outages impacted an estimated 13,000 customers. Crews are working to make repairs but customers may be out of power overnight” in Hawaii Kai….

The U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii provides lists of outages and their causes. The military outages are not classified. The date, initial time, cause, duration, and the number of affected customers is public information. …

April 14 Aliamanu Military Reservation Heavy Rains & Severe Weather

April 14 Hawaii Kai Heavy Rains & Severe Weather

April 14 Aliamanu Military Reservation Generation Shortfall

read … HECO Hides Some Outage Data

Did State Supreme Court Give Anti-Telescope Protesters Control of a Toll Road?

SA: … Last week’s unanimous decision by the state’s high court has further complicated the already murky future of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), a project that, while still offering great potential benefits to the state and to science internationally, will undoubtedly remain a flash point among those contesting its cultural and environmental impacts.

Hawaii’s Supreme Court ruled against two state agencies, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), and agreed with the plaintiffs that the state wrongly took control of the Mauna Kea Access Road, without compensation.

What happens now will depend on how efficiently the state can $ettle with DHHL beneficiarie$ who the court agreed de$erved con$ultation as required by the Hawaiian Home$ Commi$$ion Act….

read … Editorial: Forge path to keep TMT dream alive

Grifting for Master Lease Money: Haleakala Telescopes Again Draw Opposition

CB: … The Maui council will vote on a resolution on Wednesday to officially oppose construction of up to seven telescopes on the dormant volcano….

REALITY: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

read … Maui Council Hears Opposition To Proposed Space Force Telescopes On Haleakala - Honolulu Civil Beat

Hawaiian Home Lands Broadband Customers Say Criminal Hee’s Service Has Been Bad For Years

CB: … Big Island residents attending Hawaiian Homes Commission meetings remotely have seen calls drop in staff offices. Families near a homestead division in Waimea have driven into town to get reliable internet. Homesteads in Kapolei as well as businesses and residences in Kona have reported slow internet speeds. “We were required to use Sandwich Isles, and we did. But the internet service was awful,” said Bo Kahui, the former president of Laiopua 2020 a nonprofit operating on homestead lands….

Kahui said he covertly signed up with Oceanic Time Warner Cable, the predecessor to Spectrum, because he thought the internet service provided by Sandwich Isles was too slow. He said he eventually obtained an opinion from the state Attorney General’s Office saying that switching to Oceanic was legal….

DHHL started encouraging its residents more than a week ago to switch service providers. Sandwich Isles founder Albert Hee has said that sort of encroachment by other carriers into areas that should have been exclusive to Sandwich Isles has eaten company revenues and led to a drop in the quality of service.

Hee challenged the Public Utilities Commission’s notice of violation on Saturday, arguing that the PUC doesn’t have jurisdiction in choosing DHHL’s service providers.

The PUC has a hearing scheduled for June 17….

SA: Telecom service can’t last, Sandwich Isles founder says | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

DHHL: DHHL TO DISTRIBUTE WI-FI HOTSPOTS TO PU ĽUKAPU PASTORAL LESSEES

read … Hawaiian Home Lands Broadband Customers Say The Service Has Been Bad For Years - Honolulu Civil Beat

New injunction is sought to stop Haiku Stairs’ removal

SA: … The Friends of Haiku Stairs have filed a new legal motion meant to stop the city’s planned demolition of the World War II-era staircase, above Haiku Valley and the H-3 freeway, in Kaneohe.

On Friday the group filed “a request for an injunction pending appeal” with the 1st Circuit Court related to its rejected 2023 lawsuit, the first of two, in which an appeal was later sought, according to Justin Scorza, the Friends’ vice president.

“The law allows us to get an injunction pending that appeal,” Scorza told the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser by phone. “So we just need an injunction to preserve the status quo, pending the appeal.” …

read … New injunction is sought to stop Haiku Stairs’ removal

Legislative Agenda:

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