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Wednesday, May 24, 2017
May 24, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:06 AM :: 440 Views

OHA Trustees Approve Independent Audit

Honolulu Rail Counting the Cost

Whistleblowers: Sunrun Faked Hawaii Sales Data to Boost IPO

Trying to Save Money? Honolulu Among Worst Places to do it

NFIB: Hanalei River Ruling a Victory for Small Business

Proposed revisions to Central Oahu Plan available for review

Robotics Showcased by Yap Island Students

4th Best Access: Hawaii Medicated Marijuana is Grade B

$210M Money Grab: DoE Imposes $9,584 per Unit Tax on Affordable Housing

CB: Despite opposition from developers and the city, the Hawaii Board of Education voted Tuesday to establish a new district along the planned Honolulu rail line from Kalihi to Ala Moana to help cover the cost of school services for the area’s anticipated population increase.

After the Department of Education conducts a fee study, first-buyers, renters or residential developers in the district would likely be required to pay fees and donate land to the department.

Opponents say that will make housing more expensive….

The district was proposed based on the assumption that almost 39,000 new units along the 4-mile stretch will be built, according to board documents and a DOE analysis. Preliminary plans call for a $584 construction fee and a donation of .0016 acres of land for every unit.

DOE Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson told Civil Beat that buyers who don’t want to give up any land may be charged a fee of $4,000 to 9,000, though he emphasized even that wide range was uncertain.

Based on those numbers, Carlson estimated the DOE could collect at least $210 million if all 39,000 unit owners decline to give up land…..

read … Tax on Affordable Housing

Bob McDermott: Pass The GET Surcharge And Finish Rail

CB: “We can’t afford to be distracted by raising the hotel tax or by giving up and stopping the line at Middle Street.”

read … More taxes

Yet Another ‘Affordable Housing’ Plan for Honolulu?

SA: …The package being sent out to the Honolulu City Council calls for:

>> A regulation bill overhauling the city’s current affordable-housing policy by requiring developers to make units available to those making less money, and to keep those units affordable for a longer period of time, in exchange for building fewer affordable units than the current requirement.

>> An incentives bill offering a slew of breaks for homebuilders, including waivers from various city fees, charges and even park requirements, as well as property tax breaks during construction and, for rental projects, for the duration of the affordable phase…..

The regulation bill tweaks the current affordable-housing policy, which requires large-scale developers seeking a zone change to set aside 30 percent of its units to those prospective homebuyers or renters making 140 percent of Honolulu’s area median income (AMI) or less, for a minimum of 10 years.

The bill allows developers to set aside fewer units as affordable provided they be aimed at those making 120 percent or less of AMI, and increases to 30 years the time units need to be designated as affordable. In Honolulu the 2017 median income for a family of four is $86,600.

In transit-oriented development (TOD) zones, developers have four options:

>> Provide 15 percent of the units as rentals for households making up to 80 percent of AMI. These units can be in the TOD development or off-site.

>> Provide 20 percent of sales units for those making up to 120 percent of AMI, half of which must be for those making up to 100 percent of AMI.

>> Provide 25 percent of units off-site for those making up to 120 percent of AMI, half of which must be for those making 100 percent of AMI.

>> Make a cash contribution of $45 per square foot of improved land.

Those outside the transit zones would pay less, again with four options:

>> Offer 5 percent of the units as rentals for those making up to 80 percent of AMI.

>> Offer 10 percent of the sales units on-site for those making up to 120 percent of AMI, half of which must be for those making up to 100 percent of AMI.

>> Offer 15 percent of sales units on-site for those making up to 120 percent of AMI, half for those making up to 100 percent AMI.

>> Pay a cash fee of $27 per square foot of improved land…..

HNN: "For developers, rules add more risk and take away reward."

read … Endless Talk

DPP Holds Back on Battery Approvals Due to Safety Concerns

SA: …Hawaiian Electric Co. has approved 420 residential rooftop solar systems attached to batteries on Oahu, but the city Department of Planning and Permitting has given building permits to only 33.

City officials say they want to be certain the new technology is safe before approving units.

“The technology involved is ever-changing, and we — government and the industry — have been challenged to keep up with the technology,” said Timothy Hiu, DPP deputy director. “Our thorough review of plans with a battery component would sometimes lead to delays in approval, but this was only because our concern is the health and safety of the homeowner, public and PV (photovoltaic) installers.”

Will Giese, spokesman for Inter-Island Solar Supply, said multiple customers reported having to submit more than five rounds of plans, reviews and comments.

“This process, until recently, was taking nearly six months per installation, a simply unsustainable time frame for contractors who rely on a steady stream of operating capital,” Giese said.

The permitting process should speed up after local solar industry representatives met with DPP last week about the permitting for Tesla Powerwalls, one of the home battery systems currently for sale, said Colin Yost, principal at Hono­lulu-based solar company RevoluSun….

read … Safe?

DLNR cover-up of helicopter misuse

HNN: …The DLNR's enforcement division frequently rents helicopters on Maui, using them to conduct federally funded marijuana eradication missions.

But on one of those missions, according to a DOCARE officer who spoke to Hawaii News Now on the condition of anonymity, two DLNR officers who flew back in 2010 took one of those helicopters to a remote area of the Valley Isle for a personal trip.

"Two of  the bosses of Maui's DLNR DOCARE decided to get on the helicopter and get dropped off to pick hihiwai for our administrator's daughter's wedding reception," said the DLNR source.

The administrator, the source says, is former DLNR enforcement chief Randy Awo. He wasn't the one on the helicopter, according to the source, but his son was – even though he wasn't a land department employee.

Hihiwai is a type of snail found in remote streams that are mostly accessible by helicopter.

"Our department are supposed to be the protectors of our natural resources," the source said. "The people that were in charge of this program were the biggest violators."

The department said it conducted two investigations – mostly recently in 2016 – and found no violations of law or policy. But in a statement, the agency confirmed the flight diversion.

"The helicopter was on a break from a federally-funded marijuana eradication operation, and the ... DOCARE officers were on personal leave," the department said.

State Sen. Will Espero says he heard from the whistleblowers who told him that they faced retaliation, a claim the department denied.

"There are some members of the rank-and-file who feel that management and the administration basically attempted to cover this helicopter situation up," said Espero….

read … DLNR cover-up of helicopter misuse

How do Bureaucrats Fail? Let Me Count the Ways

Cataluna: …The knock on hotshots from the outside is that they don’t have the experiential knowledge of what works and what is already working on the ground in a specific place. For people within an organization, it can become an exhausting effort to explain little nuances and idiosyncrasies that have already been thoroughly road-tested and proved effective.

It can devolve into an unpleasant competition to see which sycophant can cozy up to the new boss first and become their trusted guide into the new world by introducing them to Reyn’s wear and coaching them to say shoyu instead of soy sauce.

But there are also real reasons to worry about insiders who manage to climb their way to the top spots.

They may be stuck in their ways. They may be invested in maintaining the status quo. They may be so beloved by co-workers that they can’t manage effectively. They may have scores to settle with those with whom they tangled to reach the top. Every “connection” is a possible conflict of interest….

Related: Sex, Lies, and Repetitious Badgering: Meet Hawaii’s New Superintendent of Schools

read … Fresh eyes could bring clarity, fixes for schools

Kauai Councilman Fails To Disclose His Medical Marijuana Venture

CB: …Kauai County Council Chairman Derek Kawakami owns more than 14 percent of a company that’s hoping to grow medical marijuana in Hawaii.

But you wouldn’t know that if you looked at the financial disclosure form he filed in January with Kauai County.

Kawakami, a former state representative who some see as a future mayoral contender, didn’t list HK Medicinal as one of the businesses he partially owns.

County Council members are required to file disclosures listing all businesses in which they have a financial interest. Kawakami signed the bottom of his disclosure form, certifying that it was “true, complete and accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief.”…

the company didn’t fold after it lost out on the license. Instead, it’s one of two that are still fighting to overturn the Department of Health’s decisions regarding the highly coveted licenses….

PDF: Financial Disclosure

read … Medicated

Medicated Marijuana to Be Tested for Heavy Metals, Pesticides

KHON: …Just months after eight Hawaii companies were given the go-ahead to begin growing medical marijuana, the first crops are being harvested and we’ve learned the first dispensaries could be open this summer.

This new timeline comes as a key hurdle that’s slowed the process has been cleared, but it’s not the only challenge that lies ahead.

The harvested marijuana needs to be tested to see if it meets the standards to be sold in a dispensary.

Keith Ridley heads the Office of Health Care Assurance at the Department of Health, and helps oversee the medical marijuana licensing program for the state. He says the state is working with several labs that must prove they have the equipment and personal to ensure accurate and expected results.

“Our concern mostly is for contaminants. If there’s heavy metals, pesticides, or other things that are in there that shouldn’t be ingested, for example, those are the kind of things we’re really more concerned about,” Ridley said. “What to comes down to testing medical marijuana products, we want to make sure that we provide the same kind of scrutiny or the similar scrutiny that we would expect from a drug manufacturer, so the product is safe, and the patient is safe as well.”….

SAN: Americans for Safe Access Cites Widespread Improvement in State Marijuana Laws Nationwide

read … State confirms new timeline for medical marijuana as dispensaries harvest first crops

Drug Addicts Refusing Shelter form New homeless camp on sidewalk along Nimitz Highway

HNN: …new homeless camps have been popping up everywhere along the highway.

Tents, makeshift shelters and debris now clog sidewalks and medians, forcing pedestrians to walk in the roadway and obstructing traffic views.

"They have the stakes and the ropes to hold up the tent and one day I was trying to get across Nimitz I didn't see the black rope and actually tripped on it. It knocked me over," said Garnica. "Sometimes I have to walk into the street to get around them."

The Nimitz Highway median and sidewalks belong to the state.

Officials didn't respond to requests for comment on the situation.

Meanwhile, it's unlikely the city will step in either.

There's an agreement in place that allows the city to step in and help, but the mayor's office said city properties are its first priority.

A few blocks mauka is the remainder of the old encampment.

Social workers visit twice weekly, and say most of the homeless aren't much interested in moving off the streets and most have refused help.

"I think there's a good portion of the people that believe they can be homeless and it's OK. It's an acceptable lifestyle," said Justin Phillips, Institute for Human Services. "As much as we want to offer assistance a moment of clarity is what it's going to take to address some of the substance abuse issues."….

read … new homeless camp grows on sidewalk along Nimitz Highway

100 Mainland Drug Addicts Forced out of Maui Park—3 Accept Shelter

MN: …Discarded tent poles, boogie boards, chairs and other items sat in a pile near the restrooms….

Over the past year, the homeless population at the park has grown, and with it resident concerns over leftover trash, feces, drug use and fights. The county had estimated that more than 100 homeless people lived at the park but that 90 percent were travelers from the Mainland…..

Baldwin park had the largest homeless encampment on the island “by far,” he added. Rangers will work with park caretakers and maybe even a work line from the jail to clean up the last of the camp, “cause it’s just too much.”

Gibbins said he woke up Tuesday morning to the sounds of people yelling and packing up. He’d stayed as long as he could but knew it was time to leave. Born and raised on Maui, Gibbins said he got out of prison in January 2016 after eight years….

recently the tents have been looking less like a camping ground and “more like a permanent residence place.”…

it had become “an extremely unsafe situation for the entire community.” During community cleanups, staff members and youths had encountered garbage, feces and intact needles….

Three people who were living at the park have entered the shelter at Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center, according to Chief Executive Officer Monique Yamashita.

“We’ll be working with them to get permanent housing,” she said.

read … 100 illegal campers were cleared out of beach park by police, rangers

Waikiki: 340 Homeless Sent Back to Mainland

SA: …IHS launched a multifaceted response in November 2014 that included 2-1/2 years of frequent outreach, shuttle service to IHS shelters and an inaugural airline relocation program that addressed the large group of transient homeless individuals who found themselves stranded in Waikiki.

Over that period, IHS received more than 750 community referrals from Waikiki stakeholders; outreach served 839 individuals in Waikiki; shuttle services averaged 14 passengers per day, affording clients access to shelter, meals, employment, health care and social services; the relocation program helped another 340 individuals find housing on the mainland; and 488 individuals transitioned into shelter and housing with support from the city’s Housing First program, Clean and Sober Transitions, the Hale Mauliola Sand Island Shelter, and other housing options such as Rapid Rehousing, and mental health group homes….

read … Return to Sender

Insane: Hawaii County to Build Homeless Tent City Because of Homeless Tent City Problem

WHT: …The county is in discussions with the Queen Liliuokalani Trust about a land swap that would transfer a parcel of trust land above the Palani Road and Henry Street intersection to the county in return for a couple acres of county-owned industrial lot property near the Friendly Place in the Kona Old Industrial Area.  (They want to build a Homeless Tent City)

While Kim said that conversation is positive and will continue, what he envisions for that site — transitional housing and an array of services — will take far too long to develop to be an immediate answer to the question of where to send the Old Airport’s homeless.

Thus, aside from establishing a date to begin the cleanup at the Old Airport Park, the mayor and his team will also decide at their meeting this week on a short-term site to serve as an alternate living space for dozens of homeless with nowhere else to go. 

(They want to build a homeless tent city.  Why?  Because they are clearing out the Homeless Tent City at Old Kona Airport and the Homeless Refuse to Accept the Empty Shelter Spaces.)

“Even that is running into problems because we don’t want it in the middle of everywhere, but we don’t want (the homeless) so far away that they won’t stay there,” Kim said. “They need places to be accessible to what their needs are.”  (They need to be able to walk to places where they can be visible so you will feel guilty and support tax hikes.)

Multiple potential sites have been identified, Kim added, but said their specific locations won’t be released until one is decided upon later this week. The chosen site may be outdoors but also might (MIGHT!) have some type of overhead shelter.

(Translation: It will be a Homeless Tent City.)

Wherever it ends up, the site will be equipped with running water, security and portable toilets.

(Solution: Build inexpensive shelters with hard walls, floor and roof and a locking door.  No tents.  Tent Cities are the problem, not the solution.  With hard walls and a locking door, the homeless will be able to 1) stay clean after showering  2) sleep 8 hours because they are secure behind locked door  3) leave their stuff at the shelter because they can lock it inside.  These three points contribute to improved mental health.)

read … What is the definition of Insanity?

Ten Years Later-- Kauai to get Juvenile Drug treatment Center

KGI: A $5 million project to allow development of a substance abuse treatment and healing center for adolescents was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission Tuesday.

Planning Commissioner Sean Mahoney commended the collaboration on a project that he said has been needed for a long time.

“It’s just something that we need desperately, and I think it’s going to be a great asset to the community,” he said….

Flashback 2007: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Blocks Kauai Drug Treatment Facility

read … Finally

Ex-HPD Officer Gets 60 Days for Drugs

SA: …A circuit judge Tuesday sentenced a former Honolulu police officer to 60 days in jail on multiple drug charges including the promotion of cocaine, marijuana and powerful painkillers.

Judge Rom Trader also sentenced Alan Ahn, 55, to four years of probation under Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation With Enforcement (HOPE) program….

Narcotics and vice officers arrested Ahn and his then-girlfriend Tiffany Masunaga during an Aug 13, 2015, raid on her home in McCully on Waiola Street, where undercover officers had bought drugs. Among the drugs seized at the home were alprazolam, an anti-­anxiety drug, as well as painkillers hydrocodone and fentanyl.

Ahn served with the Police Department for almost 10 years before leaving following his arrest…..

read … 60 Days

With More Muslims Practicing Their Religion, Honolulu police urge vigilance for upcoming events

SA: …In light of the Manchester, England, concert bombing, the Honolulu Police Department is asking the public to be vigilant when attending any large upcoming events.

If anyone sees something suspicious, inform security personnel, a police officer if one is nearby, or call 911, the police chief urges.

“We want to reassure the public that although we have several events over the next several weeks, there is a security plan in place for all those events,” HPD Assistant Chief Alan Bluemke said Tuesday. “We’ll be prepared.”

Police will be working with state, federal and other city agencies and partners….

read … Destroy the Caliphate

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