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Friday, February 14, 2020
February 14, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:02 PM :: 3173 Views

SB3104: OHA to be Given Free 'Affordable' Housing Units?

Video: Why we need an airport corporation, in 61 Seconds

Five little words could solve Hawaii's housing crisis

HB1676: Red Light Scameras Pass Another Committee

Coronavirus Patient Visited Maui, Oahu 

HNN: … A visitor who exhibited “cold-like symptoms” while in the islands earlier this month was diagnosed with coronavirus after returning to Japan, officials confirmed.

In a news conference Friday, state health officials said:

  • The adult male traveler did not have any symptoms while visiting Maui from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3.
  • But he did begin to exhibit “cold-like symptoms” while on Oahu from Feb. 3 to Feb. 7.
  • While on Oahu, he stayed at the Grand Waikikian by Hilton. The state is still seeking more details on his exact itinerary, including which flights he was on.
  • He was diagnosed with the virus on Feb. 8, after returning to Japan. Japanese news reports say that he had a fever of about 102 degrees.

The governor and state Health Department sought to reassure the public about the risk and stressed that the state’s health care facilities are equipped to handle additional cases if they arise.

State Health Director Bruce Anderson said it’s likely the visitor was exposed before he left for Hawaii or while on his way here.….

read … Japanese man confirmed as coronavirus patient after returning from Hawaii vacation

Mauna Kea: What do they want, Money?

Cataluna: … Some Hawaii legislators, with the full support of Gov. David Ige, are trying to form a commission to address issues of reconciliation with Native Hawaiians, but really, folks, it’s not all about a last-ditch effort to get TMT built on Mauna Kea.

But of course it is all about trying to get TMT built on Mauna Kea. It was spelled out in the initial draft of the bill as the commission’s “first task,” though that problematic truth was quickly dropped from the wording.

House Concurrent Resolution 37 envisions a commission of handpicked Hawaiian friends of Ige (not sure who that would be besides Bill Aila) trying to figure out what it’s going to take to make the Protect Mauna Kea ohana quiet down and step aside. Hmm, let’s see, what do they want? Money? Scholarships? Land swap of acreage that should already be in Hawaiian hands? Promises of a cultural- educational-spiritual center?…

read … State makes an attempt to get control of Mauna Kea

Feds: Rail P3 Delays Caused by Caldwell Incompetence--work delayed by wait for city road closure permits

SA: … The award of what is expected to be the largest public works contract in city history has been delayed in part because the city rail authority hasn’t been able to obtain city permits for work along the rail line, according to a consultant that is overseeing the rail project for the federal government.

Officials with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation have said they repeatedly delayed awarding the contract for a public-private partnership, or P3 agreement, to built the last segment of the rail line because the bidders asked for more time.

But a new report from federal consultant Hill International Inc. says the P3 procurement is stalled by delays in getting city permits for city center utility relocation work along the path of the rail line, and also by the need to increase the “production capacity” of the contractor responsible for moving those utilities.

In other words, the city rail authority is having trouble getting permits from another city agency, which is delaying the effort to award a huge new city contract.…. 

read … Honolulu rail work being delayed by trouble getting city road closure permits, report says

SB2074: Hike Property Taxes on TOD Condos so they won’t be too affordable

PBN: … The Hawaii House on Thursday advanced a bill that proposes to amend the state constitution to allow the Legislature to establish a surcharge on the real property tax paid by owners of land with a mile of a rapid transit station to help pay for infrastructure improvements.

Senate Bill 2074 proposes a constitutional amendment that would authorize the Legislature to collect the surcharge on real property tax. Currently only the counties may tax real property.

SB 2074 specifies that the funds collected from the proposed surcharge “shall be established solely to fund improvements in the area of the transit station which makes the parcel eligible for the surcharge.”

The bill has the support of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii, which noted in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the increased density anticipated in the transit-oriented development zones around the Honolulu rail line will require more sewer, water and drainage capacity, among other things. However, the way the bill is currently written — “within one mile of any rapid transit station” — the surcharge could apply to any property in the state.

The Hawaii Association of Realtors opposes the bill, saying it’s unnecessary because “the City and County of Honolulu already has the ability to increase property taxes to develop infrastructure along the rail transit corridor.”

In its comments, the Tax Foundation of Hawaii noted in testimony that the measure doesn’t specify whether the surcharge would apply to commercial or residential parcels, so “if adopted, any real property may be surcharged,” and pointed out that there are no limits to the amount of the surcharge.

“In other words, once the amendment passes, the genie is out of the bottle,” the Tax Foundation wrote….

read … Proposal would allow state to place surcharge on property in TOD zones

Municipal governing lack thwarts true democracy

MN: … The recent effort to expand planning advisory committees countywide is a good-hearted try at rectifying a glaring flaw I have pointed out for years — that Hawaii is the only state with no municipal governments, the basic building blocks of democracy. These committees will not only be limited in scope, but they will also be appointed, not elected.

The better, quicker way is to empower the community associations through elections and their rightful share of tax revenue to establish true small towns with a council and mayor. They can handle all the issues a small town would in partnership with the county and state. Oahu has neighborhood boards that function like small towns and the mainland’s governing basis is small townships. This requires a charter change (coming up). I encourage all to examine this true power to the people! Go Kihei!…

Related: Kahuku and Waimanalo Protests show why Hawaii Needs Municipal Government

read … Municipal governing lack thwarts true democracy

Restaurants are Profitable for Landlords

KHON: … Richard Stula, of Teddy’s Bigger Burgers and Tex 808 Barbeque, knows all about the cost. He owns 12 restaurants across Oahu.

“When in Waikiki for instance, you could be paying $20, $30 a square foot, whereas you go into the neighborhoods, it’s more like $6, $7, $8 a square foot,” said Stula….

read … More restaurants closing, struggling to find new homes

Mainland Homeless Jailed after Lahaina Knife Fight over Stolen Sleeping Bag

MN: … A homeless man remained in jail Thursday after being charged with stabbing another man last week in Lahaina after an argument over a missing sleeping bag.

Ralph Guarino, 51, pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree assault and second-degree assault.

During a 2nd Circuit Court hearing Thursday, he asked to have his bail lowered from $100,000 or to be released on supervision.

Except for a misdemeanor conviction, Guarino has had no criminal record while on Maui for about five and a half years, said defense attorney Kristin Coccaro.

(Translation: He flew here 5 yrs ago. Now on his second criminal case.)

Deputy Prosecutor Annalisa Bernard Lee opposed any bail reduction.

She said Guarino and the victim allegedly got into an argument at 9:14 a.m. Feb. 4 over a missing sleeping bag from a few days earlier. Guarino allegedly chased the victim into the ABC Store at 666 Front St., pulled out a knife and stabbed him on the back of his head, Bernard Lee said.

After the victim fell to the ground, Guarino “got on top of the victim and continued to hit him,” she said.

Guarino fled on a bicycle.

The victim suffered a laceration to his head and puncture wounds to his head and arm, Bernard Lee said.

“We do consider the defendant to be a danger in the community,” she said.

As she was speaking, Guarino said, “Oh, please.”

read … Bail maintained in head stabbing case

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