Grassroot: Feds Should Audit Rail
Not Satisfied With Merely Taking Land For Rail, Now The City Wants Blood
Trump Appoints Doug Domenech Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas
Hirono Second Surgery: Gabbard, Hanabusa Jockey for Position
SA: …The operation was the second of two surgeries planned since Hirono was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer earlier this year….
It’s not clear when Hirono will be back at work, but she bounced back quickly from her first surgery, and during a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, she said that she looked forward to getting back….
Hirono, who has held her Senate seat since 2012, has been firm about her plans to run for re-election next year, and her Hawaii colleagues in the House have made clear in recent days that she has their support. Both U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have issued early endorsements of Hirono’s re-election campaign.
(Translation: They want her seat.)
Despite speculation in political circles in recent years that Gabbard might try to challenge Hirono for her Senate seat in a Democratic primary, Gabbard told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this month that she had promised Hirono both in 2013 and January of this year that she had no intention of doing so.
Last week, Gabbard endorsed Hirono, saying she was “encouraged by her fighting spirit.”….
(Translation: I want her seat.)
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa also endorsed Hirono yesterday morning, sending out an email to supporters asking them to support Hirono’s re-election through a $25 campaign contribution….
(Translation: I want her seat.)
read … Jockey for Position
Special Permits Near Honolulu Rail Line Attract Proposals For Big Juicy Hotels
CB: Honolulu’s Land Use Ordinance paints a grand vision for development along the Honolulu rail line and offers a sweet deal to developers: pledge to build “creative, catalytic” projects within the rail corridor, and the city will waive zoning restrictions.
So far, “creative” and “catalytic” has mostly meant proposals for big hotels near the rail line’s planned eastern terminus.
The latest proposal is for a 400-foot-tall, 444-unit full-service hotel on Kapiolani Boulevard across from Ala Moana Center. The project will face its first hurdle Wednesday, when the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting holds a public hearing….
Randy Roth, a retired law professor and frequent rail critic, questions whether the rail line is really needed to spawn luxury tourist amenities near Ala Moana Center.
“They’re using rail as an excuse to build higher than they would be able to build, with less green space than they would be required to have,” Roth said. “It’s not at all within the spirit of the type of development that was used as a concept to sell rail.”
The special transit-oriented development permit Manaolana is seeking requires a trade-off between the city and developers.
The city waives major zoning requirements. In exchange, developers are supposed to build projects that promote “highly effective transit-enhanced neighborhoods, including diverse employment opportunities, an appropriate mix of housing types, support for multi-modal circulation, and well-designed publicly accessible and useable spaces.”
(Notice the words “affordable housing”? Me neither.)
Cataluna: It’s a small, small island with a great big problem
read … Special Permits Near Honolulu Rail Line Attract Proposals For Big Hotels
Only 9% of Honolulu renters can afford median-priced home—Worst in USA
HNN: Just 9 percent of Honolulu renter households could actually afford to buy a median-priced single-family home on Oahu, the lowest share among 100 of the largest metro areas nationwide, according to a new report….
The analysis, based on 2015 figures (when the median price for a home was $707,000), defined affordability as a household paying no more than 36 percent of their income on housing and assuming a 5 percent down payment. The median price of a single-family home on Oahu is now about $720,000.
It put the median household income for Oahu renters at $55,730. The monthly payment for a single-family home was $4,330.
In no other metropolitan area was the percentage of renters that could afford a home lower.
In San Jose, the second least-affordable metro, 12 percent of renter households could afford to buy. In Los Angeles, the share was slightly higher….
Meanwhile, 31 percent of Honolulu renters are "severely burdened," or paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing….
Report: State of the Nation's Housing
read … Here's the percentage of Honolulu renters who can afford a median-priced home
Telescope: Hawaiian cultural park would reflect traditional use of mountain
SA: We were all so moved to watch the Polynesian Voyaging Society canoe Hokule‘a sail home from its amazing, three-year, educational Malama Honua trip around the world. But that’s not the end, not of their journeys nor of other explorations and discoveries.
There is so much more to learn, including from atop Maunakea, above the cloud line, where everything down below — Hilo, Kona, Waimea — falls away and you can peer into the universe. The telescopes are of great value. Through them, we look back in time just as the Kumulipo (Hawaiian creation chant) takes us back to darkness.
Instead of the telescopes being Maunakea’s focal point, though, let’s create a cultural center there above the clouds — a center truly devoted to Hawaiians and our culture, one with Hawaiian architecture, values and tradition built into the design by cultural practitioners. It will honor the vastness of the Hawaiian culture in a way we aren’t currently doing.
Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim calls this idea of a “World Park” upon Maunakea a “living museum of the people of the First Nation of Hawaii” and “an opportunity for Hawaii to be the center of discovery of mankind and of the universe.” Gov. David Ige also supports this idea….
FH: Mauna Kea Park on OHA BoT Agenda Thursday
read … Telescope
Lawsuit: Mainland Anti-Ag Activists Target ANOTHER Hawaii Diary Farm
CB: Big Island Dairy was sued Wednesday by the Hawaii Center for Food Safety and Kupale Ookala, a group of local residents, who claim the company is polluting nearby waters with animal waste.
The lawsuit accuses the dairy of violating the federal Clean Water Act by dumping animal urine and feces in waters around Ookala, a community on the northeast coast of the Big Island. It claims residents have photographed “brown, clouded water” and “tests have also shown very high levels of E. coli and enterococcus,” another type of bacteria….
Oregon-based Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt notified Big Island Dairy of its intent to sue April 28. Lawyers from the Center for Food Safety and Seattle-based Terrell Marshall Law Group are also listed on the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs call for the dairy to be ordered to “pay civil penalties of up to $51,570 per day, per violation” for all Clean Water Act violations, and “remediate … and to eliminate any potential for future harm.”
read … Big Island Dairy Sued Over Water Pollution Concerns
Incompetent Caldwell Administration Crashes Computers Statewide, May Take All Week to Correct
SA: …If the problem is not resolved by Saturday, when July starts, Maui County officials are considering asking police to waive citations to drivers’ with vehicle registration tags that expire this month, said county spokesman Rod Antone….
Like the rest of the state, Maui County workers this morning faced delays assisting people whose information is stored on the statewide main frame in Honolulu, Antone said.
“Yes, we are experiencing slower response times,” Antone said. “It’s affecting vehicle registration, state IDs, moped registration, out-of-state license transfers, anything that affects Maui County having to access the City and County’s main frame. However we can do taxi cab renewals and disabled parking placards.”
The computer problems come at one of the busiest times of the month, when vehicle registrations are expiring….
The computer problems were detected on Monday….
On Oahu, city workers with the Department of Information Technology and two subcontractors are working to figure out the problem and fix it, Pereira said.
He did not immediately know how much the city spent on the new mainframe or when….
read … Statewide computer failure to curtail driver’s licensing, vehicle registration Wednesday
Homeless Meth-Heads dumping raw sewage at Diamond Head
HNN: …"You can smell the urine and the human waste," said Stephany Sofos, a real estate expert who lives nearby.
In the shadow of Diamond Head lighthouse, scattered in the brush, are about a half dozen makeshift shelters.
"Homeless take buckets of feces and urine and dump it on the shoreline. I mean you see human feces floating out to sea," she said.
The Institute for Human Services say it's a problem that's happening at most encampments across the island.
"We originally saw it in Kapalama Canal. Right here in Iwilei, they were dumping their waste into the drainage system," said Kimo Carvalho, Institute for Human Services spokesman….
despite a weekly offer of shelter those who are left refuse to go. Drugs are the root of the problem, outreach workers say.
"We do notice needles. We know that there are clinical signs of meth use," said Carvalho.
Sofos said the situation reflects badly on the entire state.
"Diamond Head is an icon. It's the symbol of Hawaii. The city needs to step up. This is not an issue of homeless and no place to go," she said….
Clean Water branch chief Alex Wong said in a statement that the office does get complaints and wants to work with property owners to find solutions.
"We understand this serious state and county concern which requires coordinated and long-term efforts to guide and support good solutions to the human and environmental impacts caused by
homelessness (tweekers)," he said….
read … City investigates complaints that homeless are dumping raw sewage at Diamond Head
Residents of former plantation village in Ewa fed up with redevelopment plan delays
HNN: …Officials have once again pushed back the deadline for bids to redevelop Varona Village.
That's left residents frustrated and angry.
Cres Malate is tired of waiting for the city to fulfill its promise to rehabilitate the houses and sell them to plantation families at affordable prices.
"We are mad. We are frustrated. We are disappointed because we like our place improved, too," Malate said.
Last November, the Honolulu City Council approved the sale of the 26-acre property in Ewa for residential use.
The goal is for a developer to fix up the homes leased to former plantation workers or their spouses, and build affordable housing on the rest of the land. The city, however, just pushed back the deadline for offers a second time….
read … Residents of former plantation village in Ewa fed up with redevelopment plan delays
Soft on Crime: Alleged Criminal Takes 160 Selfies and Still Walks
KHON: …“One-hundred-sixty selfies of himself and his tattoos,” she said.
She was able to tell police where to find him. He was arrested and charged with felony theft.
She downloaded and printed out all the evidence ready for the trial.
But when it came time to present it in court, “the defense would ask it to be stricken for the record,” Belinda said.
A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office tells us that the judge did not allow the pictures to be used as evidence, because an expert was needed to verify them….
read … Soft on Crime
HSTA Member Actually Gets Fired—Solicited a Minor for Prostitution
KHON: …A former Kapolei High School counselor has been sentenced to five years probation for soliciting a child for prostitution.
Kendrick Padilla must also register as a sex offender, and he cannot contact his victim.
He’s also required to give money to the crime victim compensation fund and internet crimes against children.
According to court documents, Padilla met the victim through an online ad.
Padilla has been fired from the Department of Education…. (And now you know what it takes.)
read … HSTA Member
Governor Must Follow Through On Intent To Veto Union Giveaway
CB:…It would open to negotiation, Civil Beat has reported, exactly how employers manage their employees, including their hiring and firing, promotion and demotion, discipline and training.
Senate Bill 410 would greatly strengthen the hand of labor….
“It’s throwing the keys to government away,” said Richard Thomason, the director of collective bargaining and labor relations for the University of Hawaii. “Why it passed the Legislature is anybody’s guess.”
Fortunately, the governor has included SB 410 in his intent-to-veto list. We urge him to follow through on that intent….
read … Veto
Lawmakers Got Ethics Awards For Not Breaking The Law
ILind: …the recipients of the first awards were announced by the commission in an April 24 press release.
The winners? The Hawaii Legislature, both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Certificates signed by all members of the commission were presented to the House speaker and Senate president.
And what exactly had legislators done to earn this honor?
According to the press release: “The Commission wishes to congratulate all Representatives and all Senators for having completed their 2017 Disclosures of Financial Interests by the January 31 filing deadline, and has therefore issued Ethics Awards to both houses of the Legislature in recognition of their 100% success rate in completing the filing requirement on time.”
Restated slightly, and somewhat cynically: Members of the House and Senate were selected to receive the award because they actually complied with the legal deadline. For perhaps the first time, all 76 legislators were on time. None was tardy. None had to pay fines for missing the deadline….
read … Grade Inflation