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Sunday, April 25, 2021
April 25, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:51 PM :: 1699 Views

The Whackee Strikes Back!

Union Contract Talks: HGEA, UPW, UHPA Ratify and Reject--HSTA Still Holding Out

Hawaii Family Forum Legislative Week in Review

Modernizing Rental Car and Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Taxes for a Post-Pandemic Future

How to tell which bills to veto

Hawaii Towns Ranked by Economic Diversity

HB1348: Stadium Authority Will Control Development Decisions

CB: … Construction of the new Aloha Stadium would speed up under a measure the Legislature is expected to pass this week.

The bill, on which lawmakers reached tentative agreement on Friday, would grant the Stadium Authority the ability to hold title to the 90-acre site surrounding the stadium and lead development on those lands in coming years.

The authority is a nine-member board with representatives from the public, private and nonprofit sectors who oversee the stadium’s activities. Under the proposed bill, House Bill 1348, the board would be able to take charge of planning and designing the area, called the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District.…

LINK: Members of Stadium Authority

read … New Aloha Stadium Development May Finally Move Forward

Formation of Mauna Kea working group on target despite boycott

SA: … The nomination deadline will come Monday for Native Hawaiians who want to serve on a volunteer panel newly created by the state House of Representative to propose a new governance and management structure for Mauna Kea.

House Speaker Scott Saiki said he had received at least 19 applications for the seven Native Hawaiian positions despite a campaign by some groups urging a boycott of the committee.

The 15-member working group, established by House Resolution 33, calls for a chairperson, seven government members and seven Native Hawaiian members. It was given a year to make its recommendations in a report….

“The problem is they can’t find the kind of people they want to go on there,” said Healani Sonoda-Pale, spokeswoman for Ka Lahui Hawaii Komike Kalai‘aina.

Sonoda-Pale said Ka Lahui Hawaii has been urging a boycott because of the involvement of Saiki, who is a staunch supporter of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope, the $2.4 billion project planned for Mauna Kea that is at odds with a large cross-section of Hawaiians.

Sonoda-Pale said Saiki needs Hawaiians to legitimize the panel’s work.

“We’ve been telling people not to go on there. It’s a trap,” she said.

Kealoha Pisciotta, leader of the Mauna Kea Hui, agreed….

Saiki said the rest of the panel would be named in about a week after Monday’s nomination deadline, and the group would commence its duties sometime in May….

The nomination form is available at Nominations are due by 4:30 p.m. Monday….

SA: ‘Imiloa mourns the loss of navigator Kalepa Baybayan

read … Formation of Mauna Kea working group on target despite boycott

HIEMA Director Major General Ken Hara explains vaccine exception program

KITV: …Major General Ken Hara, director of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, explains the new "Vaccine Exception Process" that will be added to the Safe Travels program on May 11. He says you have to wait two weeks after your last dose to be eligible and recommends people register online ahead of time to avoid delays in the verification process.….

read … HIEMA Director Major General Ken Hara explains vaccine exception program

Legislative News: Progressives Plan to Bring Back all the Same Failed Ideas Again Next Session

SA: … With the 31st Hawaii State Legislature scheduled to adjourn Thursday, some lawmakers are already looking to the 2022 session to push ahead on issues that appear stalled this year, including raising the minimum wage, doing more on climate change and affordable housing, expanding broadband service, diversifying the isle economy and perhaps legalizing recreational marijuana.

There was plenty of discussion this session on a range of issues, many of them important to progressives. And some initiatives, such as legalizing recreational marijuana, got further through the Legislature than ever.

But the session began with the state in economic crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic and facing the possibility of furloughs and even layoffs for state workers, which would have made the nation’s worst unemployment rate even more dire….

“I’m a pessimist because there’s always blather about diversifying the economy and we won’t do anything with marijuana,” Milner said.

read … Hawaii legislators look ahead to a more ambitious 2022 session

Police Body Cam Footage Should Be A Tool For Justice

Cataluna: … When the topic of body cameras for the Honolulu Police Department came up in 2015 in the Legislature, proponents pointed out that video evidence would protect the police as well as serve as a check against abuse of power. “If I were a police officer, I would definitely want to have that as my own armor to show that in a tricky situation that I’m doing everything by the book and above board,” said Sen. Rosalyn Baker, who supported the proposal to establish a pilot project for police body cameras.

The trouble is that, now, the police have the power to decide whether the footage makes them look good or bad, and can delay or resist releasing video footage to the public.

But like Will Smith pointed out, this is nothing new.

In September of 1995, Honolulu police shot a suspect in broad daylight in the Date Street area while residents in nearby apartment buildings watched from their windows and lanai.

It started with a bank robbery in McCully, then a car chase to Kapahulu where police cornered the three suspects. It ended with one of the suspects being shot five times.

I was a new reporter working for a local TV station. One of the neighbors in an apartment overlooking the scene called the newsroom. He had recorded video of the shooting and was willing to give it to the station. I was instructed to walk up to his apartment and pick up the videotape.

A police officer saw me going up the stairs outside the building and ran after me. I was at the man’s door when she caught up to me. She took the videotape out of my hand. There was no negotiating, no debate, no discussion of what the owner of that tape’s intention was. For his part, the guy who shot the video just didn’t want any trouble, so he didn’t back me up. There were harsh words from my bosses for what I allowed to happen, and that was not a good day at work for me….

SA Editorial: Police must earn public confidence

SA: Change in use of force policy preceded two fatal Honolulu police shootings

read … Police Body Cam Footage Should Be A Tool For Justice

The ‘Mauka Shift’ Could Solve Rail’s Utility Woes. Why Did It Happen So Late?

CB: … HART’s inability to relocate utilities along Dillingham is central to rail’s latest staggering cost spikes. Now, the agency says it finally has a “good plan.”…

The plan is still in the early stages but it’s actually not a new idea. HART looked at the mauka shift two years ago under its previous executive director, Andrew Robbins, who left the project in December when the agency’s board opted not to renew his contract.

Robbins and his team scrapped the mauka shift in 2019, fearing it might prompt lengthy environmental reviews and cause further delays to a project that at that time was already six years behind schedule. 

Now that the schedule has been blown up again — and the full rail line might not be ready to ride until 2031 — the mauka shift is back on the table.  

“We are pursuing the mauka shift. This is as far as we’ve gotten,” Lori Kahikina, HART’s interim executive director, said in an interview last week….

read … The ‘Mauka Shift’ Could Solve Rail’s Utility Woes. Why Did It Happen So Late?

Rush Hour Tolls: Make the Little People Pay for Jamming up our Roads

CB: … During normal times, residents pay a huge price for congestion. A recent report on traffic in Hawaii estimated the cost of congestion in the state to be $690 million annually. This cost is mainly paid through lost time and productivity from workers sitting in gridlock. Smarter policy could eliminate this cost and direct the savings to local workers.

At low levels of use, most major roads can handle additional cars without traffic slowing appreciably. But at some level of traffic, just a few additional cars can slow traffic dramatically, which imposes costly delays on other drivers. The result in Hawaii is bumper-to-bumper, slow-moving traffic during rush hours on the H-1 and H-2 highways and other major arteries.

Policies that keep those last few cars off the road during rush hour can generate big social benefits. Fortunately, policymakers have an abundance of options to accomplish this, policies that have already been tested and proven in other cities.

The most direct and efficient way to limit traffic would be to levy an electronically monitored toll on congested roads during rush hour. Properly calibrated tolls could make intense rush hour congestion a relic of the past. To allay concerns that tolls would amount to a new tax, revenue could be rebated directly to local residents and even directed preferentially to lower-income households to allay any concerns that tolls would be regressive.

Looking beyond tolls, policymakers face a menu of measures that could improve traffic. Investments in TheBus or cycling infrastructure would help to get some people out of their cars. Rideshare programs are already in place and have potential to be more broadly applied. Giving incentives to local businesses to allow staggered work hours or more remote work would reduce the demand for rush hour commuting….

read … Traffic Got A Lot Better In The Pandemic. Here's How We Can Make That Permanent

Honolulu working on easing months-long backlog at licensing centers

KHON: … The City says about 90,000 expired licenses and state IDs rolled over into 2021 and about 30,000 have since been renewed, leaving 60,000 more to go…..

Big Q: Do you know someone who’s had difficulty getting driver’s license or state ID services due to a backlog in the past year?

read … Honolulu working on easing months-long backlog at licensing centers

$1.3M secured for Kauai juvenile drug treatment center

TGI: … There may be new life breathed into the Adolescent Treatment and Healing Center.

State leaders, with community and county partners, announced $1.3 million in the state’s fiscal-year 2022 budget for the nonprofit Kaua‘i Adolescent Treatment Center for Healing, which will include a comprehensive continuum of services for adolescents.

“Kaua‘i has the highest incidence of teenage suicide in the state, and these trends have increased significantly over the course of this pandemic,” said state Senate President Ron Kouchi of Lihu‘e in a statement….

For the last year, the facility has been commandeered for pandemic use, as a potential place to quarantine or isolate individuals….

The treatment and healing center was a priority for the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste and then-mayor Carvalho’s administrations. The center’s initial purpose was to provide long-term care and outpatient treatment for adolescents with mental-health or substance-abuse disorders.

The center, which never became fully operational, broke ground in 2018 on a 5.8-acre plot from Grove Farm in Kapaia to be the first on-island facility of its kind in over two decades, to replace an adolescent treatment facility that was destroyed….

Flashback: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Blocks Kauai Drug Treatment Facility

read … $1.3M secured for treatment center

Hundreds clean up homeless trash near bike path along Pearl Harbor

SA: … A coordinated effort comprising dozens of groups and hundreds of volunteers cleared debris and trash along Aiea’s Pearl Harbor Bike Path on Saturday morning.

Volunteers worked along the 5-mile stretch, which runs from the Aiea Bay State Recreation Area into Waipahu, to fish out trash that had been sitting in the tall grass on either side of the bike path…./

She estimated that about 300 volunteers helped clean up Saturday, and a city spokesperson said about 3 to 4 tons of trash was collected.

Over the years, homeless (drug addicts) encampments have been set up along the path and cleared by authorities, then reestablished, and much of the trash volunteers removed Saturday was rusty parts for (stolen) cars, motorcycles and mopeds (the homeless can’t be bothered with manini stuff like stolen bicycles any more) ….

KHON: More tourism equals more garbage on Hawaii beaches (this is the counterpoint)

read … Hundreds clean up trash near bike path along Pearl Harbor

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