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Monday, January 3, 2022
January 3, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:26 PM :: 720 Views

2022 State Business Tax Climate Index--Hawaii Ranks 41st

Hawaii could be more transparent about CARES Act spending, report says

Wages For Many On Oahu Fail To Keep Pace With Soaring Prices

CB: …Take a stroll through Foodland’s Kahala Market, and you’ll see numerous signs of the times: $6.99 for a gallon of low-fat milk, $4.79 for a dozen large eggs and just under $10 for a loaf of Dave’s Killer Bread – on sale. Meanwhile, a fresh honeydew melon will cost you north of $12….

The overall costs of goods and services on Oahu increased 5.4% in November compared with the same month a year ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks monthly prices for Honolulu County….

Meanwhile, grocery prices  – called “food at home” by the bureau – rose 6.4% in November. That followed a 9.8% increase in November 2020 compared with November 2019….

“Home prices have surged this year, mirroring a national trend,” UHERO reported in “Recovery Resumes, But Omicron Looms,” its latest statewide forecast. “Together with high rents and higher consumer price inflation, this is posing challenges for families.”

One of the challenges is that wages for some key industries have not kept pace with the rising cost of living. Average hourly wages for restaurant, bar and hotel workers in November were actually lower compared to before the pandemic, according to BLS data published by UHERO. Hourly wages, which topped $18 before the pandemic, were around $16 in November….

HB: EV Sales in Hawai‘i Are Up 30.6%

read … Wages For Many On Oahu Fail To Keep Pace With Soaring Prices

Kaua‘i avoided ‘eviction tsunami’ as wealthy homebuyers drove up prices

TGI: … The true scope of wealthy remote workers’ impact on the housing crisis is unknown. But Evslin believes it might have been mitigated by newcomers’ apparent focus on high-end, ocean-front properties, rather than working-class neighborhoods.

“It’s taken away inventory, but in a lot of ways that’s inventory that probably wouldn’t have necessarily gone to locals anyway,” he explained….

read …. Kaua‘i avoided ‘eviction tsunami’ as wealthy homebuyers drove up prices

Omicron 66%, Delta 33% of Hawaii COVID cases

KHON: … Omicron might be a milder variant than delta and doctors think people might be more lax thinking they will not get severely ill if they catch it, but delta never went away.

In the last variant report, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) said omicron quickly overtook delta as the dominant variant. The DOH believed 33% of cases were delta, opposed to 66% omicron….

“I actually think that delta is still driving a lot of the hospitalizations,” explained Dr. Michael Daignault, Los Angeles ER doctor.”We still have a fair amount of delta circulating, I mean, we never got to a zero level of circulating virus.”…

read … Health officials say don’t feel lax with omicron, delta still exists as Hawaii COVID cases rise

Contractors play key role in Red Hill fuel storage operations

SA: … Day-to-day operations at Red Hill are carried out by a mixture of both uniformed and civilian defense personnel along with private contractors that together manage, operate and maintain a 20-tank fuel farm that can hold up to 250 million gallons of petroleum….

Over the years top Navy officials have argued that removing the fuel from Red Hill — and potentially building a new facility to store it — would be too expensive. A 2018 analysis commissioned by the Navy found that building a new facility with the same storage capa­city as Red Hill would cost $4 billion to $10 billion and could take until 2051 to complete….

The contractor that has made the most working on the Navy’s fuel systems in Hawaii, according to state data, is APTIM Federal Serv­ices LLC out of Baton Rouge, La. APTIM received at least $106.5 million in contracts from the Navy for various maintenance, repair and alteration work on fuel facilities and pipelines in Hawaii between 2017 and 2021, according to data from the Hawaii Defense Economy Project.

Navy officials told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that APTIM’s contracts involving Red Hill included “various work” on Tanks 1, 4, 13, 14, 17 and 18 along with a contract for Tank 5 marked “closed.” It also made $802,474 in 2017 on another contract for “pipeline inspection and coating repair” marked as closed, and has contracts for work on several above-ground tanks.

Data from the Hawaii Defense Economy Project also shows the Navy paying the company $69.2 million between 2017 and 2021 for “oil and gas pipeline and related structures construction.”

In terms of other contractors, Navy officials said Allied Pacific Builders Inc. of Kapolei received $2.9 million in 2021 for a contract to replace a secondary containment liner; Kailua-based Concept 2 Completion LLC was paid $1.3 million in 2019 and 2020 for work on an elevator modernization project; and Wahiawa-based Hawk-Niking LLC received $804,900 in 2020 and 2021 for work on Red Hill’s ventilation system.

Colorado-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co. received $10.8 million in 2017-2020 for several fuel system maintenance contracts. Navy officials said those included upgrades to Red Hill’s fire suppression and ventilation system subcontracted to Insight Pacific LLC; replacing the electrical system at Red Hill Pump Station S-307, which was subcontracted to Triton Marine Construction Corp.; and repairs to the fueling station at Hotel Pier in Pearl Harbor, which was subcontracted to Weston Solutions Inc.

Subsidiaries of the Hawaiian Native Corp. also made at least $24.7 million on contracts to maintain Navy fuel systems around Oahu. The HNC, which is a nonprofit, and its subsidiary Dawson family companies get tax incentives as Native Hawaiian- owned entities.

Hawaii state data shows that Dawson Federal Inc. received $1.7 million for repairs and alterations to Navy fuel facilities in 2017-2019 and Dawson Enterprises LLC received $4.1 million for repairs and alteration to Navy fuel facilities in Hawaii in 2020 and 2021.

Dawson-Pond JV LLC, a Texas-based joint venture listed on Dawson’s website, also received $6.9 million for work on fuel facilities in 2018-2021, which Navy officials said included work at the Fuel Oil Reclamation Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam, where fuel and water removed by Navy salvage divers working in the Red Hill well were taken. It also received $12 million from the Navy for “oil and gas pipeline and related structures construction.”…

read … Contractors play key role in Red Hill fuel storage operations

Soft-on-Crime Crowd Hopes to Give Tickets for Felonies

CB: … The ‘thinking’ (LOL!) is that the state could adopt alternative strategies such as reducing or eliminating bail (Theme: Let lots and lots of criminals out on to the streets.), or allowing police to issue tickets for low-level felonies (ticket for felony, LOL!) so fewer people will be locked up. Both of those proposals have been discussed at the Legislature in recent years. (Yes.  They are really planning this.)

Other ideas include expanding community-based mental health and drug treatment programs and reducing the number of people who land in jail because of probation or parole violations.

(Theme: Let lots and lots of criminals out on to the streets.)

A representative of the ACLU of Hawaii last month told the commission the ACLU will also ask lawmakers this year to pause planning for the new jail, and to stop any additional spending on consultants working on the OCCC project.

Critics of the jail project argue new jails are almost immediately filled because the criminal justice system routinely locks up people who would be better served by drug treatment or other social service programs.

But Ige said the current facility does not support the kind of community-based programs that the commission wants the department to establish.

(That's OK.  They just want to let lots and lots of criminals out on to the streets.)

“I think it’s about trying to think about what are the specific needs to be successful, and building a facility that can provide the support for the kinds of services that we need,” Ige said.

The old Oahu Prison was established at OCCC’s current Kalihi site in 1916, but most of the old prison buildings were replaced in 1950. Much of the facility was overhauled again in 1975, but that redevelopment was based on a “campus-like” design that was inefficient and plagued by security problems.

Fencing and other security improvements were added later. As the inmate population grew over the years, the state also built dormitory housing around the perimeter of the jail that was meant to be temporary, but is still in place today.

Today the facility is antiquated and manpower-intensive, which makes it expensive to operate, said Tommy Johnson, the public safety department’s deputy director for corrections.

(UPW positions designed-in.)

The current jail has a staff of about 435, while a well-designed modern jail could be operated by 250 to 300, he said….

LVRJ: Woman killed in New Year’s Eve parking lot robbery was Hawaii resident

read … Let lots and lots of criminals out on to the streets

Helicopter Mapping Homeless camps for outreach, Point In Time Count

HTH: … Flying in a helicopter in the skies over North Kona, Linda Thomas-Vandervoort was able to assess West Hawaii’s homeless population from a different angle

Camps, purposely hidden deep in the brush and out of sight from eyes on the ground, quickly popped out amid the landscape between Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole and Keauhou allowing Thomas-Vandervoort to map out a more accurate picture of the situation….

The flyover last Tuesday was dual-purposed: It identified the location of homeless individuals for medical outreach with the community health center as well as sites to visit during the annual Point In Time (PIT) Count to take place during that last 10 days of January on the Big Island….

read … Taking to the skies: Homeless camps mapped for outreach, Point In Time Count

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