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Thursday, November 25, 2021
November 25, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:09 PM :: 1808 Views

The hidden story of the third Thanksgiving: 1623--giving thanks for freedom

HART’s Cheerier Budget Possibilities Invented by Mainland PR Firm

CB: … April Fools Day is months away but … The Honolulu rail authority board presented a package of proposals Wednesday it hopes will help whittle down the city rail project’s enormous budget shortfall based on the work of a subcommittee that identified hundreds of millions of dollars in potential cost savings or new revenue for the project….

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced in March the 21-mile rail line faced a funding gap of about $3.5 billion, but HART Interim Director Lori Kahikina told the Honolulu City Council last week the budget shortfall is actually slightly less than $2 billion.

HART based that newer shortfall estimate mostly on a draft report by consultant Triunity Management and Engineering Inc. City officials say Triunity concluded HART can cut its consulting and other costs by $749 million, but HART thus far has refused to make that draft document public.

(CLUE: Triunity is a PR/Engineering firm which sells rail systems to cities nationwide.  As we all know, the mantra is: ‘Underestimate costs, underestimate completion time, overestimate ridership.’)

Kahikina also cited a faster-than-expected rebound in tax collections for rail. The city now expects to collect $539 million more between now and 2030 in excise and hotel room taxes than HART had anticipated in March. That tax revenue is already earmarked for the rail project.

Kahikina’s calculations also assume the city will save about $150 million with what has been called the “Mauka Shift,” which involves slightly realigning the elevated rail guideway just east of the Kapalama Canal. That would allow HART to avoid relocating major high-voltage power lines in the center of Dillingham Boulevard.

On Wednesday, the HART board presented its own assessment of where money can be saved or more cash can be raised to continue construction of the rail line. The board’s estimates would be in addition to the cost savings and extra tax collections envisioned by Kahikina in her council presentation last week….

HART Board Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa said “…It sounds like we’re playing with numbers…..”

read … New HART Report Floats Some Cheerier Budget Possibilities

Schatz:  $500 million in rail funds still available to throw on bonfire

SA: … Some $493 million in federal funds earmarked for the city’s rail project that were set to expire at the end of the year have been extended for two more years as part of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz — a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development — told the Honolulu Star- Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” livestream program on Wednesday that the money pledged to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation was scheduled to expire on Dec. 31 if unspent….

Best Comments: “So comical, $500 million saved? Really?? Just another $500 million to waste and spread around to friends and family. Shameful!”

“Senator Schatz really means the funds were “lost” since we all know any dime going to the failed rail project is the definition of “lost”. He should have let the money lapse and go back to the treasury….”

“The money is being with held because HART has no recovery plan. HART does not know what they are doing except wasting taxpayer's money….”

read … Nearly $500 million in rail funds set to expire are saved

10% of State Depends on Food Banks

SA: … This year, through September, the Hawaii Foodbank, which distributes food out of locations on Oahu and Kauai, has provided assistance to an average of about 139,000 people per month — marking an increase of about 46% compared to the overall monthly average of some 95,300 people served during the same nine-month period in 2019….

read … Hawaii’s demand for food bank services still up

State correctional centers COVID clear

TGI: … On Tuesday, the state Department of Public Safety Law Enforcement, Administrative and Corrections Divisions (including prisons/jails) became clear of all active COVID-19 cases.

“I want to thank all of our hard-working and dedicated staff for helping the Department achieve this status,” PSD Director Max Otani said in a release. “We know that the virus can enter our facilities from the community at any time, but our staff know what to do to isolate and cohort new intakes to keep everyone safe. Thank you to all of our employees, from admin and program staff to the law enforcement, health care and correctional staff, who work around the clock to provide safety and care to those in custody.”

In September, the Kaua’i Community Correctional Center had been cleared of a month-long cluster that resulted in a total of 91 inmates testing positive….

(IDEA: Lock criminals in jail to protect them from getting COVID from a tourist they are robbing.)

read … State correctional centers COVID clear

More Homeless violent crimes play out in Waikiki after Criminals Released for COVID

HNN: … Law enforcement sources say the suspect followed him, pulled out an ice pick and threatened to kill him and a manager at the eatery who tried to intervene.

The suspect fled before police arrived.

About two hours later, on the same block sources say a 55-year-old was stabbed eight times in the chest, back and arm outside St. Augustine Catholic Church -- in what may have been a case of mistaken identity.

We’re told before the attack the suspect asked the victim if his name was Joe. When he said no, the suspect accused him of lying and started slashing.

“It’s becoming a routine thing,” said Robert Finley.

The chair of Waikiki’s Neighborhood Board says since the coronavirus pandemic started crime in the area has gotten worse.

“Because the state took action to prevent COVID by releasing some prisoners. And the prosecution has not been putting people away,” Finley said.

Jury trials and grand jury proceedings only just resumed last week.

Meanwhile, The Hawaii Supreme Court stopped its release of certain low-level prisoners back in April. However, individual detainees are still able to file motions with the court for release due to COVID on a case-by-case basis.

Honolulu’s also short upwards of 300 police officers.

“Seeing more homeless. More aggressive homeless. More drug addicts and less police presence,” Viverita said.

Finley added, “When people get away with criminal activity time and time again it elevates.”

read … More violent crimes play out in Waikiki, putting residents on edge

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