Hawaii's Good Friday Holiday - What's Up With That?
Hawaii Senate to Vote on Anti-Gun Bills
80% of Oahu Residents Don't Have REAL ID
HPD investigating reported kidnapping of attorney tied to Kealoha probe
HNN: … Honolulu police are investigating the reported burglary and kidnapping of an attorney with ties to the Kealoha corruption probe.
Attorney Chris Woo told police his ex-girlfriend and two other men broke into his Waikiki apartment on Tuesday morning.
Woo claimed the suspects then forced him into his own car and drove around the island, police sources said.
Woo’s ex-girlfriend, Shaye Taylor, allegedly pulled out a gun and threatened him.
According to sources, she also tried to hit Woo’s current girlfriend with his car.
Woo eventually escaped, and the suspects fled.
Taylor was arrested the next day in Kapolei on suspicion of first-degree burglary, kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening and a contempt warrant.
Woo is tied to the federal corruption probe against the Kealohas. He once represented Jesse Ebersole, a Big Island firefighter who told the court he had a long term affair with Katherine Kealoha and said he lied to the federal grand jury to protect her and hide their romantic relationship….
Woo has had a series of run ins with law enforcement in the last year.
In June, the feds sent Woo a subpoena to appear before the grand jury regarding the Ebersole case, but Woo missed his scheduled appearance and he was arrested.
Then in July, the FBI wanted Woo’s cell phone and laptop, but he claimed they were stolen.
In September, Woo’s handgun was also used by a convicted felon during a HPD raid in Waikiki. Police say the suspect pointed the gun at officers. Woo had also reported the gun was stolen….
Woo told police that Shaye Taylor is not only a former client, she’s an ex girlfriend. He represented her as recently as February.
Woo’s law license has been suspended for non payment…
read … HPD investigating reported kidnapping of attorney tied to Kealoha probe
Honolulu rail authority now plans to open Middle Street segment in late 2023
SA: … In a significant change to the much-anticipated rollout of the Honolulu rail line, the city is now planning to open new segments of rail in 2020 and in 2023 before finally opening the entire 20-mile line in 2025.
A rail recovery plan submitted to the Federal Transit Administration last fall envisioned just one interim opening followed by the opening of the full rail line, but Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director Andrew Robbins said the city is now planning for a second interim opening….
The first segment of the $9.2 billion project to open will be the 11-mile stretch from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium, which includes nine stations and is scheduled to begin service to the public in December 2020.
The next 5-mile segment, to Middle Street, including four stations, would open in late 2023, Robbins said, and the city plans to open the rest of the line to Ala Moana Center in December 2025.
At least, that’s the plan. The project has been delayed repeatedly, development is running six years behind schedule and a consultant for the FTA has concluded there is only a 65% chance the entire rail line will actually open in September 2026….
The tentative plan is to run four-car trains every 10 minutes on the first segment of rail, but Robbins said he is uncertain whether the same schedule will hold for the second segment. When the rail line is completed, the trains will run every five minutes during peak hours, he said….
KITV: Rail construction moving faster than expected between Aloha Stadium and Middle Street
read … Honolulu rail authority now plans to open Middle Street segment in late 2023
Water officials mull options as session wanes
MN: … As the governor plunged into the contentious water bill debate and its potential impact on the state, the county Board of Water Supply focused on its local implications, particularly whether Upcountry drinking water would be affected if the measure fails.
The water board questioned Department of Water Supply Director Jeff Pearson on Thursday about the impacts of House Bill 1326, including whether East Maui Irrigation could continue to maintain the ditch system that supplies the county if the bill doesn’t pass.
Pearson said the county is discussing contingency plans, but won’t have details until the end of the state legislative session because anything can happen before then….
the question remains over the impact to about 35,000 users of Upcountry’s water, which is fed by groundwater wells and three surface water-reliant treatment plants, with one, Kamole Weir, linked to EMI’s holdover permit. If owners A&B and Mahi Pono do not get approval, some wonder how their system would be maintained for public trust purposes only.
Asked for the best- and worst-case scenario at the meeting on Thursday, Pearson said that it depends on whether water is flowing through the ditch system.
“Bill passes, bill doesn’t pass, if there is still water to Kamole and the water is adequate for the needs of Upcountry, then we’re fine,” he said. “Worst case is, well, if the bill passes then it’s pretty safe that there will be water to Kamole. If the bill doesn’t pass, then we are somewhat reliant on the actions of Mahi Pono and how they’re going to react to not having these permits available to divert water.”
Pearson said that from speaking with representatives from A&B, it may be “difficult to divert small amounts of water just to satisfy Kamole Weir.”
When asked whether EMI would commit to transporting water for public trust, Pearson said that he doesn’t want to speak for EMI.
“I don’t want to put words in EMI’s mouth,” he said. “Before I said I was comfortable and confident, and I don’t want to say that, I’ll get in the Sunday paper. I would hope that they would meet the public trust and they would be . . . good citizens.”…
Testifier Don Atay, executive assistant for Council Member Shane Sinenci, who represents East Maui and opposes the bill, said that several other EMI water sources can get enough water for Upcountry.
“Why we are in opposition of that bill is because for over 100 years, A&B has taken all the water for their sugar plantation,” he said.
“I used to be in charge of that ditch system,” Atay added. “That’s why I’m saying this. It’s a fallacy to say there’s no water for EMI to operate the Upcountry water. The Upcountry water only uses about 10 million gallons or less. That ditch system holds over 250 million gallons at its capacity.”
When asked whether the water department would seek a permit to take water from state land if HB 1326 fails, Pearson said he would have to talk with Mayor Michael Victorino.
“That’s a good question,” he said. “I’m not going to answer that because I will have to talk with my mayor.”
read … Water officials mull options as session wanes
Ige Assures Caldwell Of Ala Wai Flood Control Financing Plan
CB: … Hawaii Gov. David Ige is reassuring city leaders that the state remains committed to help fund the Ala Wai flood control project, despite the Legislature’s refusal so far to pass a spending bill for that effort.
In a letter sent Thursday to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Ige notes that the state will include in its biennium budget debt service payments on the $125 million it eventually needs to contribute to the sweeping flood control project.
“Consistent with our agreement, I am committed to seek state funding for the local sponsor’s one-time share of the project,” Ige told Caldwell.
The move essentially keeps the state’s foot in the door: It allows it to commit some funding now, on debt service, while paying the lion’s share later. The $125 million represents the local match for Congress’ appropriation of $345 million for the project last year, received with the help of former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa….
PDF: Ige Letter to Caldwell
read … Ige Assures Caldwell Of Ala Wai Flood Control Financing Plan
Hollywood Movie Moguls Want More of our Money—But Won’t Tell us Who is Getting it
KITV: … This year a $35 million cap on these tax credits went into effect. Remember this is taxpayers subsidizing Hollywood, which may not actually need the money. …
The challenge is in finding out who exactly gets the money, and how much, because it's all secret. While the state film office posts a list of productions, spending and estimated tax credits, the productions themselves are not identified. As one former tax professor said, there is a lack of transparency, even though this is public money. And one lawmaker argues that the filming does not produce enough tax revenue to offset what the state pays out….
read … Lawmakers considering legislation that could make or break the film industry in Hawaii
Unlikely Allies United to Oppose a Carbon Tax
IM: … Vox reported that "CarbonWA’s fortunes were not helped when, in September 2015, Bauman made impolitic comments to conservative economist Greg Mankiw, who quoted him in a piece on carbon taxes in the New York Times."
"I am increasingly convinced that the path to climate action is through the Republican Party. Yes, there are challenges on the right — skepticism about climate science and about tax reform — but those are surmountable with time and effort. The same cannot be said of the challenges on the left: an unyielding desire to tie everything to bigger government, and a willingness to use race and class as political weapons in order to pursue that desire.” …
The Washington initiative was opposed by four blocs: conservatives who think climate change is a hoax, businesses related to or relying heavily on fossil fuel, climate activists who believe carbon taxes are ineffective, and a broad coalition of labor-minorities-environmental organizations who opposed a revenue-neutral approach…
Additional sources: The left vs. a carbon tax. The odd, agonizing political battle playing out in Washington state. By David Roberts. Nov 8, 2016.
Who Joined the Pigou Club? A Postmortem Analysis of Washington State’s Carbon Tax Initiative I-732 by Soren T. Anderson, Michigan State University and NBER, December 31, 2017
read … Unlikely Allies United to Oppose a Carbon Tax
Kauai has only One Homeless Shelter—19 Beds
KGI: … Thursday, a crowd of homeless waited outside the KEO shelter for a bed and food. Russel Baxter, who had been living at the encampment behind the Haleko complex, waited under his umbrella on the hot, sunny morning for his name to be called, hoping to have shelter for the night. The beds are given out on a first-come-, first-served basis….
“I kind of snapped out on somebody here (the KEO) and got fired,” Baxter said. “I started working back up with them recently and was told if I go to drug treatment and get the certification and drug treatment, I can come back into the shelter….”
…“They took a budget cut from 38 (rooms) to 19 because of some kind of funding.”…
read … Kauai is No place to go
Kihei: DoE has a Plan to Build … an Administration Building
MN: … Installing air conditioning in classrooms in the Lahainaluna High School complex and constructing an administration building at Kihei Elementary School are some of the high-ranking priority projects identified in a recently released early draft of the Hawaii Department of Education Statewide Facility Master Plan….
The new middle school proposal by the Maui and Baldwin complexes is not envisioned to be funded in the 10-year plan put forward. The middle school cost is estimated around $131 million….
read … Lahainaluna AC, Kihei office building in DOE 10-year plan