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Developer Buys Council: “I can’t believe its so blatant”
ILind: …while residents were preoccupied with preparations for either a long holiday weekend or a close encounter with a tropical hurricane, the chairman of the Honolulu City Council’sCommittee on Zoning and Planning filed a notice of a special meeting to be held bright and early at 9 a.m. on the morning after the Labor Day holiday.
The special meeting, which had not been on the council’s calendar that lays out its schedule for the year, was being held to consider just three measures on a single topic — the Haseko development once known as the Ewa Marina, now re-packaged into a residential-resort project known as Hakalei.
Haseko’s project has a long history going back into the 1980s. It has raised controversy several times, most recently when a group of homeowners who bought into earlier phases of the project objected to the elimination of the marina, the development’s original centerpiece. Haseko had proposed dropping the marina in favor of a simple lagoon which, the company said, would save both money and time. The owners accused Haseko of a classic “bait and switch,” for years promising home buyers a world-class marina as an amenity, and instead now planning to deliver an algae-infested swimming area….
As word of the special meeting spread among critics of the company, it was seen as nothing more than a blatant, special interest move designed to benefit the developer at the expense of the public. One person wrote to council chair Ernie Martin, saying the meeting looked like “a cram-through attempt by the city council.”
Which sets the stage for the phone call from my friend. He’s no neophyte, but concerns about the council’s sudden haste to placate Haseko had, for the first time, propelled him to examine the campaign contributions received by zoning committee chair Trevor Ozawa and other members of the City Council.
My friend was ballistic when he called, still reeling from looking at the numbers and realizing that members of the council are almost wholly dependent on funding from development interests.
“I can’t believe it’s so blatant,” he lamented. He ran down the list, again and again finding contributors to Ozawa and other council members with ties to the Haseko project….
read … Blatant
Fate of Top Police Brass Depends on Criminal Defense Lawyers
CB: Honolulu attorney William Harrison said he represents at least one of the individuals who received a DOJ target letter, but he declined to say who that person is or what sort of charges the person might be facing….
Criminal defense attorney Michael Green said he’s representing an officer who is at the center of the federal investigation. Like Harrison, Green refused to identify his client….
The Kealohas have yet to receive word that they’re the targets of the federal inquiry, according to their attorney, Myles Breiner….
(SHOPO President) Maafala, a longtime ally of the chief, also said Kealoha’s situation is different because the chief has yet to receive official word that he’s under investigation. Until that happens, Maafala said Kealoha should remain on the job.
“Are you going to let this guy get paid a six-figure salary just to let him sit at home?” Maafala said. “That’s like a paid vacation.”
However, if the chief is served with a target letter, Maafala said he would “absolutely push” to have him step aside. He also said if he were in the same situation as Kealoha that he would refuse to accept his salary while the investigation played out.
“In fact, I would go on leave without pay,” he said, “not leave with pay pending an investigation.”
read … Feds Zeroing In On Targets In Police Chief Probe
Usual Suspects Have New Scheme to Put Lots of Criminals Back onto the Streets
CB: …the state will need to build a facility with the capacity to hold at least 1,200 inmates — at an estimated cost of nearly $650 million.
But several task force members had a different vision: Build a much smaller facility, with most inmates diverted to the community programming….
PBN: State reveals details of preferred sites, areas of new Oahu jail
read … Recycling
Condos Proposed under New Affordable Housing Rules have no Affordable Housing
CB: It’s the first development to be considered under new guidelines intended in part to spur affordable housing near Honolulu rail line stops. Developers enjoy relaxed height, density and parking restrictions in exchange for incorporating affordable units into their projects.
Despite proposing a height that would exceed the usual maximum by 68 feet and half the number of parking spaces that would normally be required, the Manaolana Hotel Place and Residential Condominium proposal includes no affordable housing units….
Manaolana Partners’ approach is to simply buy its way out of the affordable housing requirement. The California-based developer promises to set aside $2.4 million for the city’s affordable housing fund. Which may sound nice, but developer donations to the fund haven’t been used to build any low-income housing units in 18 years.
Manaolana Partners argues that its “community benefits package” is valued at $7 million, which it says is the largest of any project undertaken in Honolulu.
But elements within that package have nothing to do with affordable housing. Things like outdoor restaurants and parklets, a 5,000-square-foot plaza and a new bus stop and bikeshare station sound suspiciously like amenities that will simply make the development more attractive for the well-heeled customers interested in its luxury condos. Customers who may or may not even live here, but may simply want these properties as investments….
Facing a chorus of criticism from local housing advocates, Ozawa floated the idea last week of requiring the developer to purchase 16 low-income rental housing units near a planned rail station. Others suggested requiring the developer to kick in more to the affordable housing fund than the promised $2.4 million….
read … Unaffordable
Kauai Anti-GMO Councilmembers Push for Tax Hike
KE: …What a surprise to see Councilmen Gary Hooser and Mason Chock proposing the politically unpalatable — tax hikes within weeks of an election.
But their shell game is to impose tax hikes only on “tourism-focused companies,” according to today's The Garden Island.
They seem to forget that most Kauai residents work in tourism, so it's really just an indirect — some might say dishonest — tax on residents.
If they want to spend more, did it even occur to any of them to seriously consider cutting existing programs, privatizing services that are being performed poorly by the public sector or address waste? Nope. Just hike taxes.
Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura tried the same thing, introducing two bills before the Primary to raise the vehicle weight tax and fuel tax. They were defeated and she came in eighth — behind Mason, but in front of Gary.
Guess they're all drinking the same Kool-Aid — with disastrous electoral results….
Debate: Pesticide Buffer Zones
read … Kool Aid
Bayer Buyout a Headache for Anti-GMOs—Need Asprin
KE: With Bayer poised to gobble up Monsanto in a $66 billion merger, the anti-GMO groups are losing their common enemy. No more moms, marches and memes against Monsanto. They'll have to come up with all new shirts, slogans and slurs.
Because a company that makes familiar products like aspirin, Coppertone, Flintstones vitamins, Alka Seltzer, etc. just isn't gonna engender the same hatred as the oft reviled and defiled Monsanto….
Big Q: What do you think about the state’s goal to increase food production and security?
read … Musings: Certainly
Vietnam veteran's dying wish: Improve VA healthcare
HNN: Sixty-eight-year-old Roy Hall was holding his wife Edy's hand when he passed away on Saturday
The combat-wounded Vietnam veteran and forever Marine died exactly one month after he was diagnosed with lung cancer at a Hilo emergency room.
Hall was a long-time U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs patient who claims his VA doctor missed the diagnosis -- and by the time someone else caught it, it was terminal.
Hall was one of more than 4,300 veterans receiving VA care on the Big Island, where there are only four VA doctors.
"I wish I would've gotten killed in Vietnam," Hall said, from his death bed. "Then I wouldn't have to go through this. I f***ing hate it."
In Hall's final days, it was his dying wish to share his story with others in hopes it could lead to improved health care for all service members.
His wife Edy, a veteran herself who served in the Air Force and beat both breast and colon cancer, calls it her husband's final mission.
SA: Gabbard confronts VA over vet’s care
read … Dying Wish
‘Habitual property crime perpetrator’ to face trial
WHT: A 48-year-old Pahoa woman charged with being a habitual property criminal has 38 prior convictions including 15 on felony charges, according to court documents.
Bella Rita Carvalho has felony convictions dating back to 1993, with charges including burglary, forgery, theft, fraudulent use of a credit card, promoting a dangerous drug, unauthorized entry to a motor vehicle and escape.
Carvalho was arrested Sept. 7 for a Sept. 3 burglary where power tools, jewelry, household items, personal documents and blank checks were taken from a home on 15th Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision in Puna.
She was charged with 10 counts of forgery, plus burglary, theft, promoting a harmful drug, four counts of unauthorized possession of confidential information, and habitual property crime, a new law passed in this year’s legislative session.
“Habitual property crime perpetrator” is defined in the law as having three convictions for property crimes in the five years prior to the current offense or offenses, regardless of whether those property crimes are felonies, misdemeanors or petty misdemeanors. Habitual property crime is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison….
read … ‘Habitual property crime perpetrator’ to face trial
More Fishing Fallout