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Sunday, October 31, 2021
October 31, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:55 PM :: 1901 Views

Seminar: Teachers Union Pushing Transsexual Agenda

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted October 30, 2021

The Perils of Being a Watch Doggie 

Governors: Abolish Stadium Authority, Demolish Stadium

SA: … New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) in Halawa, which we believe will be a financial sinkhole for Hawaii’s taxpayers and a walk-away disaster for any developer….

in terms of priorities, the University of Hawaii is not even mentioned, let alone the Rainbow Warriors football team. In fact, of the “state officials in charge … only the Stadium Authority and the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) are cited.” UH is nowhere to be found.

It goes on to say: “ … most of the details will be filled in by the winning developer … ”

The Legislature has approved $350 million to construct a new stadium. It has approved between $170 million and $180 million in general obligation bonds to be spent as a “share” of the cost of a new stadium at Halawa.

We believe UHM could and should build a new collegiate level stadium at the Ching Athletic Complex in Manoa for a fraction of the $350 million already allotted, and build it in a fraction of the time it will take the Halawa Stadium project to unfold….

the existing Stadium Authority be dissolved and a new stadium be removed from any resulting new plans for Halawa.

>> That NASED be dissolved and a New Halawa Housing Authority be charged with drafting a request for proposal for the entire 98 acres for residential development, with appropriate commercial/retail elements emphasizing workforce and affordable housing with further emphasis on rentals…. 

read … Column: ‘Hail Mary’ for housing: Say aloha to Aloha Stadium, and hello to a collegiate stadium at UH-Manoa

Meanwhile, state advances ball at Halawa

SA: … What was once seen as one massive project has been divided into two by the state Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS): Qualified developers are now competitively bidding to redevelop real estate around the stadium first, followed by another bidding process for a new Halawa stadium to come later.

The New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) currently is seeking proposals for the non-stadium development, with initial submittals due by Dec. 3, finalists selected by the end of January, and DAGS picking a winning bid by September.

Meanwhile, the request for proposals for a new Halawa stadium is expected by year’s end. NASED plans say a stadium developer might have to finance most of a new facility and get an agreed-upon sum from the state to maintain it for 30-40 years. State legislators this year reduced an earlier $350 million appropriation for NASED to $170 million.

NASED details will be dependent on developers’ bids — but conceptual plans for the entire area by DAGS suggest a new stadium, about 3,300 homes, 650 hotel rooms, retail space, offices and at least 4,000 parking spots….

Borreca: Ige, instead of rising to the challenge, is choosing to ignore it.

read … Meanwhile, state advances ball at Halawa

Astronomy survey results could affect TMT funding

HTH: … A survey that could determine whether the Thirty Meter Telescope receives federal funding will be unveiled this week.

The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, also called Astro2020, is a survey of major U.S. astronomy projects over the next 10 years conducted by the National Academy of Sciences. The survey is a comprehensive analysis of the current state of astronomy and makes recommendations for the future of the field over the next decade.

The priorities outlined in the decadal surveys historically influence funding decisions by the National Science Foundation. Recommendations by previous surveys led to the eventual construction of the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico in the 1970s and the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2003.

The results of Astro2020, which will be released Thursday, have been veiled in secrecy. However, Doug Simons, director of the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy, said he expects it will discuss about half a dozen major astronomy projects, including the Thirty Meter Telescope….

RELATED: OHA in Court: ‘Mauna Kea Must be a Money-Maker for Us’

read … Astronomy survey results could affect TMT funding

Department of Justice considers probe of Honolulu Police Department following complaint by attorney

SA: … The U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing allegations by a Honolulu attorney along with other information to determine whether an investigation into the policing practices of the Honolulu Police Department and possible federal oversight are warranted.

On July 6, Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, requesting federal oversight of HPD management and operations through a consent decree or other form of federal relief.

In his letter, Seitz wrote that since 2010, an “epidemic” of police shootings, by Honolulu standards, has resulted in too many deaths. Since 2015, there have been 19 fatal shootings by police, according to HPD.

Seitz is involved in four active wrongful-death complaints and four complaints of excessive use of force against HPD.

“In addition to increased uses of force, the Honolulu Police Department has been seriously understaffed and mired in controversies involving corruption and poor performances of even the most routine law enforcement tasks,” wrote Seitz. “In my professional and personal opinions, there is at least as much need and urgency to assert forms of oversight regarding the Honolulu Police Department at this juncture in our history.”

He received written confirmation Tuesday from the Justice Department asking for additional evidence and saying the federal agency will review the allegations and other information to determine whether a formal investigation is warranted.

Seitz is familiar with the consent decree process as one of the attorneys who filed a class-action lawsuit that forced the state into the Felix Consent Decree that spurred special education reforms at a cost of more than $1 billion….

read … Department of Justice considers probe of Honolulu Police Department following complaint by attorney

Civil Beat:  HPD Should Copy Oakland, Portland and San Francisco

CB: … Muhammad says the community engagement that Oakland — and cities like Portland and San Francisco — have harnessed to find chiefs in recent years provides a good example of how to start a meaningful conversation about policing….

(IQ Test: Are you laughing?)

read … How To Get The People Of Honolulu Involved In Finding A New Police Chief

HPD’s Loose Pursuit Policy Leads To Crashes In A Third Of Chases

CB: … nearly a third of police chases on Oahu involve crashes.

The Honolulu Police Department has not said why officers were pursuing the Honda that night. But the majority of police pursuits in Honolulu begin as either property crimes or traffic violations, according to an analysis of more than 140 HPD pursuit reports obtained by Civil Beat spanning between 2017 and 2019.

Honolulu has an unusually open-ended policy for what justifies a pursuit. A review of more than 30 other cities of comparable size shows that most police departments direct officers only to engage in pursuits if the crime is violent in nature or if there is an imminent danger to the public.

HPD is one of the few departments that largely leaves it up to the officer, allowing chases for reasons such as stolen cars, “suspicious vehicles” and property crimes.

The vast majority of Honolulu police pursuits over the last five years would not have been authorized in many other major cities….

read … HPD’s Loose Pursuit Policy Leads To Crashes In A Third Of Chases

HGEA Members Bollix Up Yet Another Tech Upgrade

HTH: … As the county administration struggles with a backlog of more than 1,500 building permit applications stuck in its new computerized EPIC system, contractors and County Council members have more questions than answers following a statement from Mayor Mitch Roth that certain permit reviews will be “expedited.”…

The $15 million software dubbed “EPIC,” short for Electronic Processing and Information Center, was five years in the making. The county took it live in July….

Contractors raised the alarm in September, alerting county officials and the newspaper that something was amiss. While several declined to go public because of concerns about possible retribution, Honaunau resident Janene Lasswell, who’s been waiting for her contractors to get permits for her home, said her concern is with island contractors’ livelihoods as they await permits, hundreds of which have been dropped by the system and await human intervention.

“How it’s affecting contractors and their families — they’re actually being financially impacted,” Lasswell said Saturday. “Construction was the one bright spot, but their work is at a stop right now.”

Lasswell said the EPIC system is “buggy,” and she doesn’t think the problems are being addressed quickly enough.

The Roth administration attributes the problems to staffing shortages and “continuing challenges in growing the proficiency” of Building Division staff with the new EPIC system.

“I’m not criticizing the staff. They’ve been working their butts off,” Lasswell said (trembling with fear)….

RELATED:

read … Roth: Building permit reviews to be expedited

HGEA Still Refusing In-Person Unemployment Services

SA: … Unemployment. Ige and state legislators rushed to reduce unemployment taxes for employers but refused to mandate the reopening of unemployment offices to help workers rendered jobless by the pandemic. Thousands have been frustrated by the state Labor Department’s faulty phone lines, decrepit computer system, and refusal to provide direct services. The department claims that a spike in COVID-19 cases prevented the Sept. 7 reopening of its offices and falsely asserts that its phone-in appointment system would serve the needs of unemployed claimants. The truth is that only a limited set of issues can be handled by the appointment line; thousands need direct assistance by department staff to resolve issues. There are thousands of claims still backlogged for months in the system.

Restore public access. With the vaccination rate rising to over 70%, and many venues reopening, it is time public access is allowed at the Capitol and all state offices so information and direct services can be provided….

read … Column: Hawaii workers’ needs, concerns neglected

Pacific US Territory Populations Drop, Lifestyles Change

CB: … The U.S. Census Bureau’s recently released 2020 Island Areas Censuses, collected every decade, detail the population changes and number of housing units in the Pacific U.S. Territories, revealing in-country migration and ex-migration patterns.

CNMI’s population dropped to just over 48,000 from almost 54,000, American Samoa’s population dropped to almost 50,000 from 55,000 and Guam’s population decreased by 3.5% to 153,000….

Though American Samoa's population has decreased, there has been an overall 7.7% increase in housing units. The district with the highest increase in housing was in the territorial capital's Western District, with 21.7% more units, which indicates internal migration. Village or district level population data for 2010 was unavailable for American Samoa.

"Families were quite large but they are not anymore," said Michael Levin, a now retired census worker, who cited a slight shift to a more American style of living conditions for the increase in housing….

read … Pacific US Territory Populations Drop, Lifestyles Change

Federal judge finds no evidence of wrongdoing by B+K Consulting

SA: … A seven-year attempt by the U.S. Department of Labor to prove that the top two executives of a local architectural and design firm overvalued their company before selling it to employees has ended with a judge declaring the federal agency had presented no evidence of wrongdoing.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge Susan Oki Mollway issued findings of fact and conclusions of law Sept. 17 stating that Brian Bowers and Dexter Kubota, president and vice president of B+K Consulting, did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. The court found that no agreement with a company, URS, that indicated an interest in buying B+K Consulting at a price of $15 million was ever reached.

“This court therefore finds that the URS preliminary nonbinding indication of interest has little relevance to the actual value of the Company,” Oki Mollway wrote in her decision. “An individual who makes an offer of $15,000 for a used luxury car with a Blue Book value of $40,000 does not, by virtue of making a ‘lowball’ offer that is never accepted, tend to establish that the car is worth only $15,000. Here, there is no evidence that the URS indication of interest was the price that a willing buyer was willing to pay and that a willing seller was willing to accept.”…

read … Federal judge finds no evidence of wrongdoing by B+K Consulting

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