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Sunday, September 15, 2019
September 15, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:41 PM :: 1828 Views

Video: Anti-Telescope Activists go to Hawaii County Building, Threaten to 'Arrest' County Officials

Vicious Rumors--Not the First Time

Why Flushing the "Clean Water Rule" Was the Right Thing to Do

Grassroot: Are we doomed to run out of resources?

Thirty Years of State Tax, Part 2

Cato Jones Act Criticism Prompts Industry Backlash

Rail: With Construction Costs Limited, P3 Will Soak Taxpayers on Operating Costs

Shapiro: … Few believe the city will complete Oahu rail to Ala Moana Center for the $9.2 billion total it projects, and we hear much speculation about the real final construction tab. $10 billion? $12 billion? $15 billion?

We’ll never know the answer if the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation enters a planned public- private partnership (P3) to build the last four miles down Dillingham Boulevard and through the city center.

In its recovery plan recently approved by the Federal Transit Administration, HART sold P3 as a way to control construction costs after going $4 billion over budget in earlier segments.

But the practical effect will be to conceal the true cost of building the final leg, and it’ll almost certainly inflate future costs to operate rail — already estimated as high as $140 million a year, with no clearly identified way to pay for it.

The Legislature’s last bailout left HART only $1.4 billion to build the final four miles plus a major parking structure at Pearl Highlands. Legislators and the FTA have said they’ll give no more….

Enter P3, in which private partners agree to finance and build the remaining line for no more than $1.4 billion in exchange for lucrative rights to manage rail operations for 30 years.

Knowing they can’t actually finish the construction for $1.4 billion, private partners will figure how much they’ll really have to front and pad the operating component of their bid to make up the difference, with a generous cushion, interest and some “sweetener” for their trouble.

One possible sweetener is development rights along the rail line, meaning those valuable lands could be used for more of the profitable high-end condos, hotels and retail that developers want instead of the affordable housing we need.

Complicating matters is that Ansaldo Honolulu JV, builder of the rail cars, already has operating rights for nearly half the 30 years and would have to be paid off to cooperate.

The result is we will once again pass on the bill to our children and grandchildren and never know the true cost of either construction or operations….

read … City leaders playing hide-the-pea in rail financing scheme

Loyal? University of Hawaii regent declares support for TMT protesters

SA: … University of Hawaii regent Alapaki Nahale-a declared his support for the activists who are blocking Mauna Kea Access Road during the midday protocol on the road Saturday, telling an audience of about 300 opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope that “every time I come up here, I’m reminded of what’s possible if we live aloha and aloha aina.”

“As I come down the line today, I realize that sometimes you gotta pick a side, and today, formally, I take your side,” Nahale-a told the crowd as he stood at the centerline of the access road.

Nahale-a, a former chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, said he initially supported the $1.4 billion TMT project as an initiative that would advance science, create jobs and help fund education for Hawaiian children.

But Nahale-a said in an interview he reconsidered after repeatedly visiting the protest site, sometimes with his family.

“Every time I come, it’s loving, caring, it’s what I know Hawaii needs to move towards,” he said, standing near the protest camp. “So, this is more important to me than lots of things, including the progression of TMT. This, what’s happening here, needs to be cherished.”...

(Yeah.  The whole state needs to be transformed into a swirling mass of posturing activists subsisting on handouts from OHA and KSBE.  Wonderful.  Just freaking wonderful.  While we’re up here, let’s burn Galileo at the stake.  It’ll be great.)

Others who have publicly sided with the protesters include state Sens. Kurt Fevella (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) and Kaiali‘i Kahele (D, Hilo), who have both said the TMT should relocate to its second-choice site in the Canary Islands….

read … University of Hawaii regent declares support for TMT protesters

Market changes, doctors struggle in Hawaii

SA: … physicians in Hawaii are still private, individual practitioners. They say they need more predictability about income than the HMSA system provides.

One critic of the system, Dr. Stephen Kemble, said that this started with the insurer, which controls the largest share of medical coverage. HMSA’s original “fee for service” payment system standardized fees and made them predictable, which enabled Hawaii doctors to project costs and start an individual practice.

Now predictability has been lost, he said, meaning that especially newly graduated doctors gravitate to the mainland where more of the marketplace has converted to group practices. Young doctors now prefer being employees but find fewer group opportunities here, he said.

>> There is the cost-of-living issue that affects everyone, including the cost of housing and the prospect of paying for private school for children. This is weighed against the sizable college-loan debts many new doctors carry….

read … Market changes, doctors struggle in Hawaii

2020 election will bring all-mail voting

Borreca: … because every registered voter in Hawaii will be mailed a ballot next year, the hope being that the added convenience will increase turnout….

read … 2020 election will bring all-mail voting

DLNR Officer Cited for No Driver's License -- Twice

CC: … We recently received information alleging high-ranking Department of Land and Natural Resources law enforcement officers, and a law enforcement administrator, promoted Conservation Officer Michael Harken to the position of lieutenant. After his promotion to lieutenant, the D.O.C.A.R.E administrators appointed Lieutenant Harken to the position of Temporary Acting Oahu Branch Chief while the Oahu Branch Chief and the administrator are serving on the Island of Hawaii policing Mauna Kea.

It has been reported Lieutenant Harken was involved in an automobile accident on September 4, 2019, while driving his state-issued patrol vehicle. It was also reported Lieutenant Harken did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the accident, and was cited by the Honolulu Police Department.

We confirmed the accident and citation on the State of Hawaii’s Judiciary Information Management System. While doing our research we learned Lieutenant Harken had been previously cited on October 31, 2018, for not having a valid drivers license. That case is still active. Ironically, on July 26, 2019, and August 19, 2019, Mr. Harken cited individuals for no driver’s license, while knowing he did not have a license….

read … Who’s Driving the DLNR

City tells DOT it has no plans for Laniakea park, urges barriers be put back

KHON: … Traffic and safety at Laniakea on Oahu’s North Shore is being revisited yet again.

In August, the State Department of Transportation said there were three ways the concrete barriers could be re-installed.

One of those solutions involved the city, and now they are stepping up.

Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi wrote a resolution on Friday, Aug. 13, confirming that the city has no interest in a support park being built at Laniakea. She said she wants to see the barriers put back sooner rather than later.

She said it’s a safety issue as hundreds of pedestrians cross busy Kamehameha Highway to look at turtles or to get to the beach and the area cars park is in bad condition.

Many North Shore residents are also fed up with the traffic.

“I don’t even go to Haleiwa anymore I go to Laie because I don’t want to deal with the traffic,” said North Shore resident and surfer Jason Magallanes.

(That’s why some people on the North Shore want to keep the traffic jammed.)

He pulled out his phone to show the traffic map, which was backed up to the bypass, around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“That’s every single day, every day after 11 a.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday—it doesn’t matter,” he said….

read … City tells DOT it has no plans for Laniakea park, urges barriers be put back

City considers buying long-derelict building for affordable housing

SA: … The city is considering buying 1615 Ala Wai Blvd., a derelict apartment building sandwiched between the Watermark, one of Oahu’s toniest condominiums, and freshly renovated walk-up apartments.

The building, which has been vacant some 20 years, has a history of complaints with the city Department of Planning and Permitting going back more than a decade. The condition of the roughly 9,500 square-foot, fee-simple property also has resulted in complaints to police….

Honolulu City Councilman Tommy Waters, who represents Waikiki, said he supports city plans to purchase the property. But he said if that falls through, he’s “toying with the idea” of introducing a resolution to condemn the property.

read … City considers buying long-derelict building for affordable housing

Vandalism Repair Costs Drop as Security Guards Drive Homeless Drug Addicts out of Parks

SA: … For the first time in five years, the overall cost to repair vandalism in the city’s 299 parks has declined as city officials find ways to deter unwanted, and sometimes illegal, activity often blamed on homeless encampments.

From July 2018 through June 30, vandalism repairs cost the city $223,000, a nearly 5% decrease from the previous fiscal year when vandalism repairs cost the city $234,000.

It was the first decline since the city began tracking the cost of vandalism in 2014….

“All of the vandalism, public safety of our parks, has become an issue when we notice that especially certain parks seem to attract more homeless encampments,” said Georgette Deemer, the city’s deputy managing director. “It was starting to get costly for taxpayers.”

The city is addressing park vandalism and safety on multiple fronts:

>> On Monday, four new city parks are scheduled to have their bathroom gates locked at night when the parks are officially closed, bringing the total number of parks with lockable bathrooms to 62. The new parks added to the list are Moiliili Neighborhood Park, Kamehameha Neighborhood Park, Moanalua Valley Neighborhood Park and Kunia Neighborhood Park.

The overall cost to lock bathrooms at the 62 parks is expected to cost $338,000 a year, or $15 a park per day, according to parks spokesman Nathan Serota.

The program began with 25 parks in urban Honolulu as a pilot project in April 2018 and then expanded around the island….

>> In November 2018, the city hired Hawaii Protective Association at an annual cost of $44,000 to send pairs of unarmed private security guards to rotate among nine city parks around the clock. The patrols were hired following more than 600 acts of vandalism to city parks in the previous three years. The parks were selected based on the volume of complaints, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said at the time…. 

CB: Homelessness needs to be a top priority of candidates in Honolulu’s mayoral race in the coming year.

read … Increased safety efforts help reduce vandalism costs at city parks

Court Orders Sovereignty Activists to Dismantle Hilo Homeless Tent City

HTH: … According to court records, the county sent Rose and Ravenswing a notice of their violations in January, and in March demanded they remove the structures, but both actions by the county were ignored.

Since then, the lot has become crowded with tents and other makeshift structures and is bordered by a chain-link fence.

As the unpermitted structures remain on their property despite the county’s repeated requests, Rose and Ravenswing — through their businesses NSHE HI Foxglove LLC and NSHE HI Thistle LLC — have potentially accumulated nearly $190,000 in fines since spring.

Nakamoto granted Talon’s motion without discussion, finding the owners in default and granting “all relief sought in the motion,” which might make the property owners liable for all of the fines accumulated so far….

Rose previously claimed her trust, the Hawaiian Rose Trust, exists to restore the Hawaiian monarchy and that the homeless camp sits on Hawaiian Kingdom land and thus does not answer to U.S. laws….

read … County asks court to order property owners to clear homeless camp

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