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Tuesday, April 9, 2019
April 9, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:44 PM :: 2856 Views

Relax Maui zoning to allow more urban dwellings

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted April 8, 2019

Hawaii 2nd Worst Financial Knowledge and Education

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Ige: Electric Company to Collect from GEMS Green Energy Deadbeats

Hawaii Firearm Seizure Bill Eligible For Floor Vote

Old Boys Last Hope?  Kahele Says He’s Raised $250,000 To Challenge Tulsi Gabbard

CB: … The state senator says the money came from 3,231 donors after he announced his congressional candidacy….

Kahele’s reported haul compares favorably to Gabbard’s previous election cycle numbers when she wasn’t a presidential candidate.

For example in the first quarter of 2017, FEC records show Gabbard raised nearly $167,000. Over the course of the last two-year cycle she raised a total of about $1.4 million.

Gabbard’s fundraising haul came in a year in which she didn’t face a significant challenge to her re-election. In fact, she has largely coasted ever since winning the Democratic congressional primary in 2012 over former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Still, the congresswoman has been able to build a large base of donors from around the country. When she kicked off her presidential campaign, she had about $2 million in her account….

SA: Sen. Kai Kahele says he’s raised $250K for run at U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s seat

read … Sen. Kai Kahele Says He’s Raised $250,000 To Challenge Tulsi Gabbard

State Senate leaders say they don’t intend to revive water bill

SA: … On Sunday, Bart Dame, a longtime progressive member of the Democratic Party, put out an alert on his personal Facebook page warning that on Tuesday a group of senators “acting on behalf of Alexander & Baldwin are expected to use extraordinary means to yank the water bill from the control of the committees, amend it to grant A&B water rights it does not have under current law, so A&B can deliver those water rights to the company that bought its land.”

The Hawaii Sierra Club put out a news release Monday also warning that a handful of senators might try to put the bill to a floor vote and urging the measure’s opponents to “flood the inboxes” of senators, call their offices and “bring power to the people” by attending today’s floor session at the Capitol.

Former state senator and progressive activist Gary Hooser put out an email warning of the “outrageous attempt to subvert the process and put the interests of the moneyed and powerful ahead of the public.”

However, senators Monday said that they weren’t seeking to resurrect the bill, a move that some say could spur a leadership change if it didn’t have enough support.

Dela Cruz said Friday that the bill was dead, and on Monday reiterated that the Senate was not planning to go to extraordinary lengths to revive it.

“I haven’t heard anything of the sort,” he said.

Senate President Ron Kouchi also said he wasn’t going to try to put the bill to a vote by the full Senate.

Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki also both denied reports that House leadership was pressuring them to hold the vote.

“The report that the House leadership is pressuring the Senate to advance HB 1326 during its floor session is not true,” said Saiki in a statement.

read … State Senate leaders say they don’t intend to revive water bill

Hawaii lawmakers consider vacation-rental tax legislation

AP: … The House and Senate are both scheduled to vote on separate vacation-rental tax bills on Tuesday….  

SA: The state House and Senate both approved separate Air BnB bills today. Senators and representatives are expected to meet later this month to discuss differences.

read … Hawaii lawmakers consider vacation-rental tax legislation

DeVos: Hawaii DoE Should do Exactly the Opposite of What it Does Now

Ed Week: … In response to a question about the teacher shortage from Christina Kishimoto, Hawaii's state chief, DeVos said that part of the reason there isn't a huge pipeline of teachers is that the profession has "gotten a bad beating over the years." She suggested states take steps to offer advancement to effective teachers and find ways to help teachers who "may be better in a different profession to find that profession more quickly."…. 

CB: Hawaii School Chief Asks DeVos About Teacher Shortage

read … Betsy DeVos: 'Teaching Has Gotten a Bad Beating Over the Years'

30 Years Late: DoE Discovers IDIQ -- ‘Job Order Contracting’

KHON:  … The Department of Education (DOE) is using a new method to clear the backlog of roof repair project at Hawaii's schools. Several projects, including the re-roofing of King Intermediate School's cafeteria were recently completed using a method called job order contracting. This allows the DOE to contact vendors to do common projects at fixed prices over the life of the multi-tier contract.

"We anticipate bringing in A/C, electrical services. Eventually general contracting, as well to knock out these different routine processes that can become more efficiently and quickly," said Dann Carlson, Assistant Superintendent.

The DOE completed eight roof repair projects using this process. Traditional methods can take seven years. With the job order contracting process, it will take one to two months to complete. …

read … Department of Education using new contracting method to clear backlog of repair projects

State Initiates Audit Of School Impact Fees On Developers

SA: … The program concept raised a grumble in West Hawaii — the earliest school impact district identified by the DOE — causing then-mayor Billy Kenoi to refuse to collect feesfrom developers, saying they would financially burden small property owners…..

Other fee districts identified so far include Leeward Oahu, West Maui and Central Maui. The impact fees for the regions range from $3,300 to $5,300 per unit.

The DOE’s fees analysis has also seen adjustment. A draft analysis three years ago proposed an impact fee for the Kalihi to Ala Moana area at about $9,300 per housing unit, but since taking effect on Oct. 1, that fee was adjusted to $3,800 per unit.

The impact fees are not applied to commercial, industrial and senior housing projects, but affordable housing developments are not exempt. That’s riled some developers, including Stanford Carr, who said the added fees “exacerbate an already challenging task.”

“If the DOE wants to extract an impact fee for new housing, they’re making it further difficult to build housing in an already constrained market,” Carr said.

The audit comes at an interesting time.

While the DOE conducts its own internal financial audits, it’s faced some increasing calls in recent years by legislators for a financial audit from the state Auditor’s Office, as proposed by Senate Bill 856, which is still alive this session….

read … State Initiates Audit Of School Impact Fees On Developers

Retaliation: DUI investigation initially under Katherine Kealoha's division

KHON: …before the crash happened, Lee was called to testify to the federal grand jury against Kealoha. That's one of the reasons why Kau believes the Honolulu Prosecutor's Office is biased against her client.

"The documents that we requested will show that Katherine Kealoha had a vendetta, a vengeance against Albert Lee and that's why this charge came about. He was only charged because of her vendetta," said Kau.

Kau tells us the documents she's requesting from the Prosecutor's Office will show that Kealoha was the head of the Career Criminal Division when Lee's case was initially investigated. Kau says a deputy prosecutor under this division, overseen by Kealoha, was assigned Lee's case.

"The Career Criminal Division never takes a simple DUI of a defendant who has no criminal history. It's unheard of," said Kau. "It is not just the appearance of impropriety, but it is in fact not proper."

The Honolulu Prosecutor's Office tells us it gave the court Kealoha's entire employment file on March 29th as requested by the judge. A spokesman also highlighted that Kealoha was put on leave without pay on October 20, 2017, about two months before a criminal complaint against Lee was filed. Kealoha was also on sick leave starting April 24, 2017, and never returned to the office.

"It's been tainted so much this investigation that Albert Lee could never get a fair trial," she said….

read … Suspicions rise in DUI investigation initially under Katherine Kealoha's division

Former police officer heads to court accused of luring boy for sex

KITV: … A former Honolulu Police Officer Heads to court today accused of luring a minor for sex.

According to court documents James-Dean Kalani Goeas began chatting on a dating app with an undercover FBI agent he believed, was a 13-year-old boy.

Goeas agreed to meet up with the "boy" at a public park, where he was arrested by law enforcement. He admitted that he'd been communicating with someone he believed to be under 16 years old. Lube and condoms were also found inside his car.

Goeas retired from the Honolulu Police Department as a corporal in 2015, this after 28 years of service ….

read … Former police officer heads to court accused of luring a minor of sex

Permanent supportive housing will reduce homelessness

SA: … Despite the perception that the issue of homelessness can never be solved, we actually know what works: permanent supportive housing, or in other words, housing with wrap-around professional support services that include mental health and addiction programs. Now that this has been firmly established here in Hawaii and across the nation, we know there is no shortcut to addressing the unsheltered homeless who are living on our streets and other public spaces. Most of those who remain in places unfit for human habitation are very ill and need both a stable place to sleep and support services to become healthy again and reintegrate into society.

Housing First, one of the most-studied forms of permanent supportive housing, delivers the kind of results our island communities need. A University of Hawaii evaluation of the city’s program determined that after three years, 86% of those housed through Housing First remained in housing. Even more promising, a report of participants in 2018 indicated that 91% of program participants were identified as chronically homeless and over 60% of those came directly from city streets.

Meanwhile, the state’s Housing First program has a 92% retention rate over five years, with almost 75% identified as chronically homeless.

Yet another evaluation of both the city and state Housing First programs found that after clients were housed, estimated per client monthly savings in health care alone totaled $6,200, a reduction of 76%….

SA: Addicts in restrooms at Makiki District Park

read … Permanent supportive housing will reduce homelessness

Snuffed out: Tobacco tax increase proposal dies

WHT: … There’ll be no increase to the tax on cigarettes and little cigars after a measure that initially sought to increase the cost of a pack of cigarettes by $1 was snuffed out.

Senate Bill 887 failed to secure a final hearing in the House, leaving the bill dead this legislative session. The measure sought to increase the tax on cigarettes and little cigars with intent of reducing smoking and funding with revenues various programs, including cancer research, medical school loan repayment and community health centers….

read … Snuffed out: Tobacco tax increase proposal dies

DOH begins enforcement against CBD-infused products

WHT: … “Permitted (vendors) are not allowed to serve adulterated foods,” said Bruce Anderson, director of the state Department of Health. “And all foods infused with CBD are considered adulterated, according to our administrative rules.”

The rules haven’t stopped permitted food establishments across Hawaii from breaking the law by selling hundreds of different products infused with CBD over recent months and years, from ice cream to gummy candies to lemonade.

But the problem isn’t a corrupt food industry. It’s that the food industry has no idea what it’s doing is illegal under state statutes.

DOH has only recently assumed the mantle of enforcement on the issue, and thus far, only to a point. It wasn’t until last month DOH began notifying businesses their practices were running afoul of the law, which has been done on a case-by-case basis only if someone files a complaint against the establishment in question….

read … DOH begins enforcement against CBD-infused products

Smoking Marijuana vs. Smoking Tobacco: Which is More Harmful?

ST: …there's strong evidence linking long-term cannabis smoking to worse coughs and more frequent bouts of chronic bronchitis, according to the report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The report also looked at other effects, finding a mix of possible risks, upsides and unknowns. For example, the report said marijuana can ease chemotherapy-related nausea and adults' chronic pain but also found evidence the drug is linked to developing schizophrenia and getting in traffic crashes.

In recent weeks, studies have echoed concerns about high-potency marijuana and psychosis and documented a rise in marijuana-related emergency room visits after legalization in Colorado. Tobacco and marijuana use can also go together. Blunts-marijuana in a cigar wrapper that includes tobacco leaves-have gained popularity. And studies have found more cigarette smokers have used pot, and the other way around, compared to nonsmokers.

"One substance reinforces the use of the other, and vice versa, which can escalate a path to addiction," says Dr. Sterling McPherson, a University of Washington medical professor studying marijuana and tobacco use among teens….

read … Smoking Marijuana vs. Smoking Tobacco: Which is More Harmful?

Hawaii boaters facing big increase in fees

KITV: …mooring fees will increase from nearly 50-100%, boosting the rate on Susan Ray's Catalina sloop to $442 per month….

"If it goes up that high I'll probably have to move some where else. But if the increase covers all the harbors that won't help," stated Ray.

In addition, her electric bill would jump from $5 to $50 a month, while others could see even more of an increase….

Those aren't the only fees going up, costs for permits, storage, even fees bathroom keys would sharply increase. 
Which concerns Ray and other boaters as they watch conditions at the Ala Wai harbor slowly get worse.

"The bathroom's been closed. We have no fuel dock. They closed and flattened where we can get fuel and haul the boats," stated Ray.

"That haul out yard has been sitting there empty for 7 years…

SA: Hawaii officials are seeking new proposals for redeveloping Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor in Waikiki

read … Hawaii boaters facing big increase in fees

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