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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
July 12, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:59 PM :: 1011 Views

CNBC: Hawaii 2nd-Worst State for Business

Ige Vetoes 13 Bills--Two Become Law Without Signature

National conservative advocates for Jones Act on national security basis

Caldwell: $350M Bond Issue is our Skin in the Game

SA: …The City Council is poised at its meeting today to authorize the issuance of bonds funding construction of the cash-strapped $8.2 billion rail project, if the votes come in as the mayor projects.

But the real significance of the action is for the statement it will transmit to the Federal Transit Administration, now deciding on the release of remaining federal subsidy funds, and to state lawmakers, who hold the financing future of rail in their hands.

“We want to send the message that we still stand firmly behind completing the rail, all the way to Ala Moana….

…a pair of measures, Bills 58 and 59 … would strengthens (make a hash of) the city’s requirements for affordable housing development within the transit-oriented development zones. They also would provide (unusable) building incentives aimed at attracting the development of units to lower-income residents, especially renters….  Developers have balked at the plan….

Bill 58: Text, Status (builders oppose)

Bill 59: Text, Status (builders support)

read … City, state must agree on rail plan

HB575: Hilo to be Liberated from Leasehold Decay

HTH: Part of Hawaii Island’s ambitious legislative package to revitalize two areas in Hilo was pulled back from the brink Tuesday when Gov. David Ige issued his final list of vetoed bills.

Last month, House Bill 575 was one of 15 bills on Ige’s veto list. But it, along with a bill allowing a state department to conduct a pilot recycling program, will instead become law.

Ige will not sign the measure, according to a release from the Governor’s Office, but bills become law without a signature if they are not vetoed by July 14.

At the start of the 2017 legislative session, HB 575 was part of an eight-bill package put forth by East Hawaii legislators that was intended to facilitate economic redevelopment in Hilo. Two locations in particular — Banyan Drive and the Kanoelehua Industrial Area — were focal points of the package.

Both areas are mainly comprised of state-owned land that is leased out under 65-year terms. HB 575 notes that the limits on the lease “without the possibility of renewing the terms … leaves businesses that have existed in the community for decades with limited options.”

The bill allows leaseholders who made significant investments in their properties to renegotiate their leases with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources without going to public auction first. The auction process is typically required for state-leased lands (public auctions were still listed as an option under HB 575).

HB 575 specified that only commercial and industrial lessees within the last 10 years of their lease could request an extension….

read … New Lease on Life

Kahauiki homeless village breaks ground; families to move in early December

HNN: …The 11-acre site along Nimitz Highway near Keehi Lagoon currently hosts a paintball operation, but it will soon be transformed into Kahauiki Village….

The State of Hawaii owns the land but transferred it to the City and County of Honolulu which in turn leased the property to AIO Foundation for 10 years at $1 per year.

The total project will consist of 150 modular homes.

The project's first phase will build 18 two-bedroom units with rent at $900 per month.

12 one-bedroom units will go for $725 per month.

Water, sewer, electricity, gas, WiFi and community association dues will all be included.

There will also be an onsite preschool and daycare, vegetable gardens, fruit trees and fish farms.

Institute for Human Services (IHS) will be screening and selecting families based on their progress while in transitional housing.

"This is much, much more than a homeless solution," said IHS Executive Director Connie Mitchell. "It's really about renewing our social compact with families that are willing to work and really be able to make a living here."…

SA: Project to house 600 homeless breaks ground near Sand Island

read … December

DOBOR Retaliation Defeated: Ethics Board dismisses complaint against Roth

HTH: …The county Board of Ethics on Tuesday officially dismissed a complaint against Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth, but several members are asking that the board get more authority to refer its own complaints to state boards such as the Ethics Commission and Campaign Spending Commission.

The county board plans to discuss during its August meeting ways to change the county code or charter to allow such action.

At issue in the Roth case was a complaint filed by Ed Underwood, administrator of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, alleging the prosecutor violated the ethics code when he supported a Kona boat captain’s allegations of unfair treatment.

The Ethics Board decided Roth had the constitutional right as an individual and the right granted in the county charter as a prosecuting attorney to address the Land Board about his concerns. The board said there was no proof Roth gained any unwarranted privilege or financial return from testifying.

It voted 3-0 Tuesday, with two abstentions, to dismiss the complaint.

But several members balked at advice from Deputy Corporation Counsel J Yoshimoto that the board couldn’t send its own letter to the state Ethics Commission, asking for it to look into Underwood’s use of state facilities and resources to lodge the complaint. Board member Rick Robinson characterized Underwood’s action as “retaliatory.”

“I feel it’s patently wrong that we have no ability to respond,” Robinson said. “I would like to see another opinion.” (Good idea.  Absurd ‘legal opinions’ are often used to keep people in check.  Especially in Hilo.)

Board member Ken Goodenow agreed. For example, if the Board of Ethics learned of state campaign violations in the course of an investigation into county issues, shouldn’t it be able to tell the appropriate board, he asked.

“Don’t we have a duty somewhat to pass it on?” he asked….

read … Ethics Board dismisses complaint against Roth

Airhead Ing: I Pushed Anti-Aquarium Bill for Esthetic Reasons

SA: State Rep. Kaniela Ing (D, South Maui), who introduced the bill, said … “The question really is in setting policy. How do we feel about exploiting our natural resources for purely ornamental reasons of human enjoyment, and should the state be condoning an industry where we lock fish that are supposed to be in a reef in little glass boxes?” he asked. “My take is, I don’t like aquarium fishing. I think they’re much more beautiful on the reef than they are in a glass box.”

(And the whole world must be rearranged to suit Kaniela Ing’s taste.)

read … Arrogant Airhead

Controversial proposal calls for airport sheriffs to become DOT police force

HNN: …Under the proposed agreement, DOT officials would take over command of dozens of Sheriff's deputies from the Department of Public Safety, which currently provides law enforcement services to Hawaii's busiest airport.

The deal ends weeks of speculation over who would police the airports – Hawaii News Now learned last month that the Department of Transportation plans on terminating the current law enforcement agreement in December – but critics say Hawaii's airport managers aren't qualified to run a law enforcement agency.

"There's no need for DOT to have its own law enforcement division. It just doesn't make sense," said state Sen. Will Espero, the co-chair of the Transportation Committee.

The union for the Sheriff's deputies has filed protests over the decision out of fear that the state would try and replace them with private security guards from Securitas, an agency that has faced criticism recently because of high profile events and questionable hiring practices….

read … Controversial

City must pay paramedics and EMTs nearly $900,000

SA: …A federal judge has ordered the city to pay paramedics, emergency medical technicians and their attorneys $1.16 million for unpaid and late-paid overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren issued the order late Monday after reviewing a recommendation made by California-based Special Master David M. Breshears, who reviewed time sheets, payroll records and other documents for 10 representative “bellwether” cases, according to court documents.

Under the order, up to $890,677 is to be divided among 318 current and former paramedics and EMTs who opted into the collective-action lawsuit. Court documents said 436 current and former paramedics and EMTs had potential claims during the collective period, between Dec. 12, 2012, and June 1….

read … $900K

Former HPD officer accused of bribing a prostitute pleads guilty in corruption case

HNN: …Maulia LaBarre, 34, allegedly promised a prostitute via text messages that another officer would not testify against her if she had sex with him.

LaBarre was first arrested in 2016, and pleaded not guilty to five charges of wire fraud.

Under the plea deal, four counts were dropped.

LaBarre had eight years of experience with HPD before being fired two months ago. …

read … Guilty

MCCC guard promised sex assault victim ‘trouble’ if she talked

MN: …On Aug. 11, 2014, the woman said she set up a camera on the visor in her car and again met him at Maui Tropical Plantation.

“If I was going to go and meet him again, I wanted to have proof of what was going on,” she said…..

read … Trouble

Schatz, Hirono Among Most Popular US Senators

MC: Schatz 69% – Hirono 67% – only Bernie Sanders is more popular ….

read … America’s Most and Least Popular Senators — July 2017

Police crack down on Wahiawa homeless camp that doubled as drug den

HNN: …Since 2013, squatters have had free reign over an abandoned Ohai Place home that neighbors nicknamed it the "Ice Palace." Weeks after a Hawaii News Now report on the property exposed what neighbors called a violent drug den, Honolulu police officers finally took action on Monday.

"There are new faces there all the time," said a resident who asked not to be identified for fear of their own safety. "It's usually to pick up drugs."

After three weeks of warnings, police have removed five junked cars that squatters were using for shelter. HPD says the cars were removed because they were on the sidewalk.

Although a large portion of the camp is gone, some neighbors told us they still don't feel safe. When we went to check out the area, we found out why. Some of the alleged trespassers were back, livid that they'd been booted.

"F*** you!," someone shouted from the driveway of the abandoned home. "F***ing beat it, before I broke (sic) your camera!"

Outreach workers from ALEA Bridge say there are at least 8 people living on the property. 

"We've been making contact with them for a few weeks now," said Cora Pierce.

Nearly all of them have repeatedly refused help, Pierce says.

"We tried to help them into transitional housing or shelters or whatever we could do for them, and they just didn't want it," she said.

Despite police hauling away the vehicles they used for shelter, neighbors say the campers haven't gone far. Some have simply migrated to more private property in the woods just behind the homes….

read … Crack Down

Long lines waiting for senior housing

HTH: …More senior citizens are on the waiting list for units at a housing complex under construction in Hilo than the total number of units the complex eventually will offer.

The second phase of construction at Hilo’s Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood, which is intended to provide high-quality, affordable housing for low-income senior citizens, is on track for completion in October. Construction was funded with affordable-housing tax credits, federal and state funds.

But it won’t be enough to fill the need.

Phase I, already complete and fully occupied, created 60 apartments. Phase II will include 30 new apartments. Phase III, estimated for completion in 2019, will add 92 more.

Keith Kato, executive director of the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation, said in June that construction surpassed 60 percent completion.

But, he said, there are perhaps up to 200 people on the waiting list. The total number of units for all three phases combined at the 573 Mohouli St. facility is 182.

The two-story housing units, which include elevators and an area for gardeners, go to those who spend 30 percent of their income on housing, with the average tenant paying about $265 a month, Kato said….

read …Senior Housing

Chinatown Angry at Caldwell’s Latest Lane-Elimination Scheme

CB: …The city’s attempt to enhance pedestrian safety in Chinatown by installing bulb-outs has misfired.

Our aesthetically pleasing, fun loving, restaurant centric, historically designated, residential/business community has been destroyed by the Complete Streets Program’s bulb-out blight and all its attendant street furniture clutter. It violates the Chinatown Special Design District regulations which sets forth the ambiance, height limit, etc. of the neighborhood. These hideous installations are an affront to our sensibilities and confusing pedestrians, those using mobility devices, dog walkers, care givers and drivers alike.

Instead of normal streets and pedestrian crossings, we now stare at reddish brown paint with small towers, planters, yellow hoops, and swaying vertical stanchions impeding our progress. Large vehicles are prohibited; only cars, small vans, and pickup trucks are allowed. Some drivers cannot access their parking garages….

read … Caldwell’s Dim Blub



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