Neighborhood Board Election Results Released after Inquiry from Hawai’i Free Press
HTA: Tourist Arrivals Up, Spending Down
Caldwell: Raise Taxes and Make Housing More Expensive to Build—Sea Level Rise is the Excuse
SA: … Some of the 44 action plan items are common sense, including the promoting new agricultural models for economic and food security and establishing a stormwater enterprise fund to help finance stormwater management improvements.
Among the more eye-raising proposed actions — and likely to generate controversy — is a proposal to increase the inventory of residential units on the island through a proposed annual “vacancy” fee on the assessed value of residential properties left empty for more than six months of any tax year.
The proposal, which will be sent to the City Council as a bill, is patterned after a policy in Vancouver, Canada….
he will be asking with the city Climate Change Commission for new shoreline setback requirements based on the geography of different areas, he said.
Also being proposed — although it may be a while before a bill is sent to the Council — is a mandate that new land use development in the urban core be elevated.
“In the dense urban core, where we have billions upon billions of infrastructure already invested … those places we can’t retreat from, we’re going to have to raise the elevation of the city.” He included among those areas Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Honolulu Harbor, Waikiki, Kakaako and the industrial area that includes Iwilei, lower Kalihi and Sand Island….
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation rail project is raising the podiums of its Honolulu rail stations by six feet to adjust for sea level rise, he said….
Also part of the plan is a proposal for the city to raise its minimum wage for city workers to $15 an hour from the state’s current $10.10. It affects about 1,000 workers, roughly 10 percent of the city’s workforce, and will cost about $2.4 million that’s already included in the city’s annual $2.8 billion operating budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1….
To help the homeless, Caldwell is proposing clustered housing units which will allow for structures to be built with shared kitchens and bathrooms.
“Instead of building kitchens and bathrooms in every unit, you have the unit and then you come to a shared facility for cooking and things,” he said. He likened the concept to the old-style plantation housing accommodations provided to single workers.
Other actions being proposed:
>> Increasing affordable housing stock by reducing parking requirements.
>> Changing the electric and building codes to incorporate cleaner technology such as requiring solar water heaters and accommodations for electric vehicles.
>> Developing a network of community resilience hubs where people can gather to charge phones, computers and tablets during emergencies, a sort of 21st century emergency shelter.
The full resilient strategy report, as well as a 24-page summary report, is slated to be available by the time Caldwell begins his speech at resilientoahu.org….
read … Caldwell’s State of City address to key on ‘climate crisis’
Caldwell’s speech gets mixed reaction
SA: … Townsend said several proposed actions brought forth by the Sierra Club made it into the final draft….
Council Planning Chairman Ron Menor said he’s open to considering the vacancy fee and other ideas aimed at increasing Oahu’s severely lacking housing inventory. “However, I can anticipate pushback from property owners who may feel this legislation would result in an infringement of their rights to utilize their properties as they see fit,” he said.
Not everyone was happy with Caldwell’s address. Councilwoman Kymberly Pine said the speech “did not address the serious issues surrounding the costs and operations of the rail transit project, nor did he offer reassurances that he is working to restore the public trust amid the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice and Inspector General investigations looking into allegations of public corruption” at the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.
Pine also criticized Caldwell for failing to give proper credit to the Council for its role in enacting bills affecting policy on affordable housing, environmental protection and resiliency.
Catherine Graham, a member of the nonprofit Faith Action for Community Equity, raised some skepticism about how the resiliency strategy addresses affordable housing.
Most residential properties that sit vacant are investment properties such as the luxury condominiums in the Kakaako and Ala Moana neighborhoods, she said. “Their rents would be astronomical, so most local folks would not be able to live there,” Graham said.
She cautioned against plans to further speed up the permitting process, which so far has resulted in the proliferation of “monster” houses, Graham said. “For every step forward, we are taking several steps back.”…
As Caldwell spoke, a group of about 40 people opposed to a contentious improvement project at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park (also known as Sherwoods) stood along the sea wall about 25 yards behind him holding signs asking the project be halted. The signs were easily visible to both the live and television audiences….
Some of the protesters questioned Caldwell’s plan to grow more trees around the island when the parks project has resulted in the loss of trees in the Sherwoods area….
read … Caldwell’s speech gets mixed reaction
Can Hawai`i Become Carbon Neutral
IM: … Hawai`i has the goal of being carbon neutral by 2045 excluding transoceanic air and marine travel, imports, and the military. Meanwhile, tourism passed the 10 million mark and continues to rise. Lucky for us, tourist emissions aren`t credited to us.
Hawai'i Energy submitted its Triennial Plan 2019-2021 to the Public Utilities Commission on May 3, 2019. The plan included the phrase “Net Zero Energy buildings” without defining net zero.
“Net Zero”, “Carbon Neutral”, and “Renewable Energy” are all political terms with meanings that change with the wind. They are tossed out for political bragging rights.
The State of Hawai`i and the European Union define chopping down the Amazon Rainforest to be carbon neutral. A few entities would require replacing the trees with saplings in order to get a net zero designation.
Carbon can`t be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms. Carbon is the 4th most abundant element in the universe by mass, after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. All life on earth is carbon-based.
Energy-Matter can`t be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms. Thus, scientifically, it can`t be renewed….
read … Can Hawai`i Become Carbon Neutral
Hawaii’s per pupil spending ranks 15th highest in the nation
SA: …The amount Hawaii spends to educate its public school students has risen with the national average and the Aloha State still ranks 15th among the states in per pupil spending.
That’s according to new data released by the Census Bureau.
Overall, per pupil spending for kindergarten through 12th grade rose 3.7% nationally in the 2017 fiscal year to $12,201, up from $11,763 in 2016, the bureau reported.
In Hawaii, per pupil spending was $14,322 in 2017, up 4.2% from $13,748 the previous year. Hawaii also ranked 15th highest in spending in 2016, up from 17th in 2015.
The cost of living varies widely from state to state and is not factored into the data.…
Per pupil spending encompasses current operational expenditures, including salaries, employee benefits, professional, technical, instructional and support services. It excludes capital outlays….
CB: The Challenges Of Finding Hawaii’s Next Generation Of Teachers
read … Hawaii’s per pupil spending ranks 15th highest in the nation
State launches misconduct investigation after deputy sheriff’s testimony in Kealoha trial
HNN: … The state Department of Public Safety is investigating a deputy sheriff for possible misconduct after he admitted in federal court that he used state resources to do favors for Katherine Kealoha, a former Honolulu deputy prosecutor.
Tommy Cayetano told members of the jury that Kealoha ― who, along with her husband Louis, the city’s former chief of police, is standing trial for public corruption ― was a longtime friend and someone he admired.
During his testimony, Cayetano admitted that he used state vehicles ― while on duty as a state law enforcement official ― to transport Gerard Puana, Kealoha’s uncle, between the Oahu Community Correctional Center and Circuit Court.
Puana was funneled back and forth so that Kealoha could have private, one-on-one meetings with Puana in the cell block, Cayetano said. …
Cayetano and Kealoha have a lengthy professional relationship that includes serving together on the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation.
On the stand, Cayetano said he had more than 30 years of law enforcement experience….
read … State launches misconduct investigation after deputy sheriff’s testimony in Kealoha trial
Council Resolution Targets Decision To Pay For Louis Kealoha’s Legal Defense
CB: .… A council committee wants to file a lawsuit in an attempt to overturn a Honolulu Police Commission decision. ….
read … Council Resolution Targets Decision To Pay For Louis Kealoha’s Legal Defense
DoH Inspects Dairy to Make Sure no Milk is Produced
HTH: … Dairy owners announced in November they would discontinue dairy and milk processing operations at the facility, which has been owned by Steve and Derek Whitesides since 2011….
DOH spokeswoman Janice Okubo said the department conducted an inspection of the dairy on May 15, as part of its ongoing oversight.
“During the inspection, DOH staff confirmed that Big Island Dairy had ceased all milking operations as well as removed all cows from confinement as previously reported,” she said….
According to Okubo, there are approximately 500 cows and 150 calves remaining on the property in various pastures….
read … Dairy looks to sell remaining cows, remove lagoons
New proposals aim to add affordable housing by creating incentives for developers
KHON: …Kobayashi introduced a bill that would create new incentives for building developers, including the option to have some taxes and fees waived if developers reserve at least 75 percent of units in a building for affordable housing.
"Not having to pay property tax during construction, not having to pay the wastewater facility fee or the permit fee, that's a great savings for developers. So then they can afford to build affordable housing," said Kobayashi.
Another bill with similar incentives was also introduced to the City Council by council member Kymberly Pine. It would allow state development projects approved by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation as affordable housing projects, to receive those same exemptions….
read … Affordable
Caldwell, Homeless Team up to Attack Sharee Bikes
KHON: …You may remember last year when officials started rounding up rogue Lime Scooters left on city streets. Now police have started to confiscate similarly green Sharee dockless bikes…. Biki passed the 2 millionth ride milestone recently. Competitor Sharee is now on the scene….
… “We do have an indiscriminate parking policy and on a case-by-case basis, and we are finding that there are some cases of sabotage,” Alexander Wong, CEO of RideSharee, told KHON2 in a statement. “We also have been experiencing a high volume of vandalism and theft, whether it be entire bicycles painted in various colors or parts of bikes taken. The culprits are destroying the GPS locks and using the bikes to get from place to place with a lack of respect for public property. We do have good people in the community who report these incidents to us, and we have recovered quite a few. For those bikes that are operating properly, we usually will pick these up 1-2 days to reset.”…
Wong adds: “If a person rides the bike, they are entitled to park at a bike rack, no different than if they ride their own bike or if they rent a bike from a bike rental shop."
Mayor Caldwell says otherwise, saying bike racks are off limits to bikes like Sharee… "SHAREEhas stations at …Next Step Shelter ….
read … Crony Bikes or Bust
Homeless: “If I want to be able to stay in this f—— park, I should be able to,”
SA: … Heavy policing hasn’t prevented the homeless from using the park for years. Nearly all the residents have been ticketed but continue to camp there.
“(The police) just do it for harassment purposes,” Rukkus Leathers, who has been at the park for about a year, said while fixing a Bluetooth speaker.
Leathers, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, said he watched people die while deployed and has earned the right to be homeless somewhere.
(IQ Test: Do you believe him?)
“If I want to be able to stay in this f—— park, I should be able to,” he said….
Carla Haili has been at the park for only two weeks, and said she gets money from the government, some of which she uses to help pay for expenses for her sister, who has a home.
(IQ Test: Do you believe her?)
Haili prefers to stay at the park because her sister and her boyfriend don’t get along, and she’d rather not go to the Institute for Human Services because she said her things get stolen there….
“All (the city and state are) doing is pushing them from one place to the next,” said John Kaulupali, leader of the Kakaako encampment.
Kaulupali, who has been in the area for over 10 years and at the park for about one, said that even if the residents are forced to move, they’ll just keeping moving until they end up back at the park….
read … Homeless at Kakaako have reasons to stay
Across Hawaii Island, HNN found homeless people who had just stepped off an airplane.
HNN: … Hilo Bayfront business owners have an up close view of what’s happening on the streets.
“There’s a difference between homeless people and bums,” said businessman Frank Lucero. “Real homeless people, they’re just looking for somewhere safe to sleep. But the bums have no respect.”
Across Hawaii Island, HNN found homeless people who had just stepped off an airplane.
Evan Taylor and his girlfriend flew into Kona from Kentucky two weeks ago.
“We’ve been staying here and there. We started out on farms but it didn’t work out for us,” said Taylor. “The last couple days we’ve been staying on beaches.”
On this day, they showed up at Hope Services West Hawaii for a meal ― along with more than 80 others.
The agency’s deputy director says the majority of their clients have one thing in common.
“I would say 80 percent of them have substance abuse along with mental health issues,” said Ipo Morgan. “What we really lack is mental health resources.”
MW: Homelessness Hawaii’s Intractable Problem (pg9)
read … On the Big Island, homeless crisis has first responders stretched thin
Defense: ‘Excited Delirium,’ Not Excessive Force, Killed Sheldon Haleck
CB: … Three Honolulu police officers are being sued for wrongful death, but several witnesses say other factors were at play during a fatal 2015 encounter….
read … Defense: ‘Excited Delirium,’ Not Excessive Force, Killed Sheldon Haleck
OJ Simpson Innocence Project Helps Convicted Bank Robber After Escape
HNN: …He took the stand in court on Thursday asking for a retrial, because he says his lawyer dropped the ball.
"Using the evidence I received from the Hawaii Innocence Project I put together this timeline to disprove the State's theory that I could have been the shooter on July 7, 1999," convicted bank robber Albert Batalona said.
According to Batalona, evidence in his bank robbery trial was ignored and his lawyer refused to help with his appeal….
After nearly two decades one of the most notorious bank robbery cases in Hawaii is back in court.
Albert Batalona was convicted of robbing American Savings Bank at Kahala Mall on July 7th, 1999 and for trying to kill a police officer during his getaway.
He and three other men charged the bank with assault weapons and got away with more than $100,000 in cash…
Batalona also escaped from Halawa Correctional Facility in 2003 with two other inmates.
They were all caught a week later, after a hunter spotted their campsite in the Ko'olau Mountains. …
read … Innocent just like OJ
State Health Department team evaluating safety concerns surrounding use of full-face snorkel masks
HNN: … Critics claim the masks allow carbon dioxide to build up and can cause snorkelers to become dizzy or disoriented.
Some divers call the devices a death trap and go as far as destroying ones they come across with permission….
Meanwhile three out of four dive shops we spoke with Thursday say they used to sell the devices but after trying them out, no longer sell nor recommend them.
The fourth shop had one left on its shelf and the shop's manager said its the last remaining of a nearly 2-year-old order….
read … Snorkel Rentals Kill
‘Death Doula’ Demands to be Hired by Hospital
MN: … Hawaii recently passed the Death with Dignity Act, yet still lacks trained, certified end of life doulas on staff in hospitals and hospices. Perhaps we should start asking why….
read … Characterization of doulas in article wrong