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Thursday, March 10, 2022
March 10, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:58 AM :: 1223 Views

Ignoring the Science for Ideologies

'Tokyo Model' Can Create More Housing for Hawaii

Ige appoints Luella Costales to House District 39 Seat

Hawaii Moves to Weekly COVID Reporting

Schatz: Earmarks Are Back

Senate Approves More Millions for Red Hill

​UH Mānoa receives full 10-year accreditation

Blangiardi to meet with FTA to discuss Honolulu Rail Project

Lawmaker Calls For Investigations Of State Ag Park Program

CB: … In a letter sent to Gov. David Ige on Tuesday, Rep. John Mizuno called on the governor to review allegations made against the department by Hooah Farms and its owners, Katherine and Simeon Rojas. The couple was featured in a Civil Beat story earlier this month about a lawsuit the couple has filed and concerns raised in the case.

Separately, Mizuno, who is the vice speaker of the House of Representatives, has drafted resolutions calling for the State Auditor to conduct a performance audit of the state’s 10 agricultural parks. Concurrent resolutions are standard triggers for an audit. Mizuno said he’s seeking additional signatures and intends to file the measures by Thursday…..

read … Lawmaker Calls For Investigations Of State Ag Park Program

Cowden Ethics Violation for Work with Russia Agent

CB: … Kauai County Councilwoman Felicia Cowden, who attended the trip, was fined $500 by the Kauai Board of Ethics in January 2021 after she acknowledged that she made multiple ethics violations unintentionally in connection to the Russia trip.

The complaint against Cowden alleges that she used her status as a member of the County Council to secure a spot on the excursion. It also faults her for using a letterhead that identifies her as a council member to write to Gov. David Ige and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz urging them to attend the Russia conference, which “gave the impression attendance at the conference was being promoted by the Kauai County Council.”…

Background: Feds Indict Russian Agent -- Organized Kauai Council Junket to Russia

read … Secret Agent’s Indictment Amplifies Demand To Rename Kauai’s Russian Fort

Offshore Wind Energy Bill Sails Through Hawaii Senate with Key Element Blanked Out

CB: …Senate Bill 2535, introduced by Sen. Chris Lee whose district includes parts the Windward side of Oahu, originally called for prohibiting turbines closer than 12 miles from shore, but that proposition failed in two key Senate committees.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved a revised measure that does not set a limit, leaving it up to the House for now to decide how many miles wind turbines must be from shore. The bill passed on a vote of 23-2….

KITV: Hawaii legislators to decide how far off-shore wind farms will be from the coast

read … Offshore Wind Energy Bill Sails Through Hawaii Senate

Copying California: Kauai Council passes bill to outlaw single-family subdivisions

TGI: …  Legislation (copied from California) intended to mitigate the Kaua‘i housing crisis (outlaw single-family subdivisions) is headed to the mayor’s desk for approval, after Kaua‘i County Councilmembers unanimously voted to adopt Bill No. 2834 on final reading Wednesday.

The bill bans housing developers from writing covenants, conditions and restrictions that forbid homeowners to build additional dwelling units and additional rental units on their property….

Reality: California Bans Single-Family Zoning

read … Council passes CC&R bill in surprise unanimous vote

Copying California: Bill Diverts 75% of Property Tax to useless overpriced, failed homeless programs

HTH: … The Hawaii County Council passed a bill that would earmark a portion of tax revenues on luxury homes for homeless programs and housing.

Wednesday’s council meeting featured the second and final reading of Bill 111, which takes at least 75% of the real property tax revenue collected from tier 2 residential properties — properties valued at $2 million or more — and allocates it to county-sponsored programs designed to address housing and homelessness….

Your Future: California has spent $13 billion in the last three years to tackle a massive homelessness problem likely to worsen with the pandemic, yet its approach is so fragmented and incomplete as to hinder efforts at getting people into stable housing, the state auditor said in a report released Thursday….

read … Bill to fund homeless programs passes

Copying Vancouver: Honolulu's ‘Empty Homes’ Tax Proposal Is Mostly An Empty Promise

CB: …Bill 9 would impose extraordinary burdens on existing homeowners through sky-high taxes, a demand that they surrender virtually all of their privacy rights to city investigators, and severe and potentially unconstitutional penalties if the homeowners were found in violation of the proposed law….

A. Kam Napier, editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News, addressed this point when a similar measure was proposed in 2019. He wrote that “all it would do is put some luxury Kakaako apartments into the rental pool, renting for $5,000, $6,000 or even $8,000 a month. I don’t think that satisfies anyone’s desire for more affordable housing.”

“Empty homes” taxes were imposed in 2017 in Vancouver, Canada, but Canada’s CBC News reported in 2018 that “in its first year of implementation, the tax appears to be doing little to achieve its stated goal.”

In November 2021, the Vancouver Sun noted that the tax’s effect on rental availability was hard to determine amidst other taxes, housing regulation and broader economic changes.

Just last month, Quartz reporter Camille Squires wrote, “Even where successful, vacancy taxes haven’t been enough to meaningfully bring down prices across a city. To meet demand, cities need more new construction.”…

Rule violations would involve steep fines — $25,000 a day for each offense — and even possible foreclosure.

As an additional selling point, Bill 9 aims to bring more housing onto the market by dedicating all its revenues to the city’s affordable housing fund — with 5% skimmed for “administrative costs.” But this would only help perpetuate the city’s habit of spending too much on housing development that makes little difference to Oahu’s affordable housing shortage….

2019: Debunked: Caldwell’s ‘Vancouver Tax’ Does Nothing to Ease Rental Crisis

March 4, 2022: Bill 9: ‘Empty homes’ tax won’t fulfill intention

Failed Rebuttal: Bill 9 A First Step In Addressing Housing Shortage

read … Honolulu's ‘Empty Homes’ Tax Proposal Is Mostly An Empty Promise

Hawaiian Electric Reports Net Income Increase For 2021--Gives Pretend Money to Deadbeats

CB: … Tangonan said, HECO was able to achieve about $8 million in savings in efficiency and productivity measures.

For its customers, Hawaiian Electric allocated $2 million to fund one-time credits in the month of February for customers who were 30 days behind on a bill.

Each of these customers could receive a $90 credit. A typical electric bill for residents on Oahu is $180.80, Tangonan said, meaning the bill credit usually covers about half of a month’s bill. That credit was awarded to 22,000 customers in February….

(CLUE: Many of these bills will never be paid so the $90 credit is an accounting fiction.)

read … Hawaiian Electric Reports Net Income Increase For 2021

Navy Says It Shouldn't Have To Share More Red Hill Documents

CB: … A day after the Pentagon announced it plans to defuel and permanently close the Red Hill fuel facility, the Navy told the health department that it shouldn’t have to divulge information it was required to provide in its pursuit of a state permit.

In January, DOH ordered the Navy to hand over a long list of documents pertaining to the facility’s design, history of leaks, organizational leadership and contamination.

The Navy has shared some information in response to that order, including documents showing the Navy has had concerns about its Red Hill pipelines for years, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. However, the military asked for more time to produce the rest.

In light of the Department of Defense’s announcement on Monday that it planned to decommission Red Hill, a Navy attorney is now asking DOH to pause contested case proceedings, including the “production of information,” according to a Navy motion….

SA Editorial: No foot-dragging on Red Hill closure

read … Navy Says It Shouldn't Have To Share More Red Hill Documents

Board of Water Supply puts out urgent call for voluntary water conservation on Oahu

HNN: … The agency said the conservation call is directed at urban Honolulu and Aiea-Halawa areas. The board said it’s seeking a 10% reduction in water usage.

In late 2021, the Board of Water Supply took three key wells offline over fears that fuel contamination in the Navy system could migrate to public sources.

Those wells remain offline and there’s no timeline for bringing them back into service. The board also blamed recent drought conditions….

read … Board of Water Supply puts out urgent call for voluntary water conservation on Oahu

Sources: Police dropped 2 murder suspects off at Waikiki hotel but didn’t monitor them

HNN: … Honolulu police officers dropped two men now suspected in a gruesome murder off in Waikiki on Monday as an investigation was unfolding at the east Honolulu home they were staying in, Hawaii News Now has learned.

Sources say the “courtesy transport” was provided to 34-year-old Scott Hannon and 23-year-old Juan Tejedor Baron because investigators didn’t have enough probable cause to detain them and officers wanted to search their car. But plainclothes officers were not assigned to follow them.

The two were arrested in California on Wednesday. They hadn’t been seen since early Tuesday.

SA: U.S. Marshals arrest 2 men in Los Angeles connected to Hawaii Loa Ridge murder

read … Sources: Police dropped 2 murder suspects off at Waikiki hotel but didn’t monitor them

Witness: Woman beaten to death on police station steps asked for help before attack

HNN: … Thomas Smith, the witness, said the woman approached him on the steps of the police station a little after 6:30 p.m. on February 15. He says he got her two bottles of water before walking inside and telling an officer working behind the desk that there was a woman who needed help.

“She got up from her desk. Came in front of the glass and we had a conversation about it,” Smith said.

“She didn’t come out of the doors to check on the lady. She went deeper into the station.” …

Smith told the court he was on the phone waiting inside the police station lobby when he noticed a man screaming, causing a commotion out front.

He said he couldn’t see exactly what he was doing but that it went on for between 20 and 30 minutes.

“I could see the tree area getting punched to the point where a tree got punched loose and ripped out,” Smith said. “I could see that person slamming the tree to the ground.

“You could actually hear that sound. I remember telling my wife there’s a person out there going crazy. I could not see that there was a person it was being done to.” ….

read ... Witness: Woman beaten to death on police station steps asked for help before attack

Surviving 107 degree fever and coma, Maui police recruit recounts close brush with death

HNN: … Alexa Jacobs, 27, fell into a coma when her body temperature reached 107 degrees on Feb. 4.

Jacobs said she was running back to MPD headquarters in Wailuku mid-afternoon just before she passed out.

She said it was a sunny day. It was hot, humid and there was no wind. The last thing she remembers was doing pushups before she blacked out. “We were in the push-up position and I remember saying to myself, ‘Just hang on for one more second,’” Jacobs said…..

Jacobs was a four-year starter for the University of Hawaii Hilo women’s basketball team. She said she knows limits, understands hydration, and does not know what went wrong.

“It’s training for police. It’s not easy. But I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I’ve pushed my body to the limit multiple times. I didn’t think that would happen,” she said.

Although she still has dialysis three times a week, Jacobs still wants to be a Maui Police officer….

read … Surviving 107 degree fever and coma, Maui police recruit recounts close brush with death

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