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Saturday, February 19, 2022
February 19, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:23 PM :: 1638 Views

Former HSTA Pres and five others on short list to become Next Ty Cullen

Maui County ​Vaccine and testing requirements for restaurants, bars and gyms to be eliminated beginning Feb. 21

Chief Justice Seeks Public Comment on Judicial Nominees

Jones Act lobby sails with dubious job estimates to bolster defense

On the Move in the Legislature: the good, the bad and the ugly

SB3250, SB3182 ‘wealth asset tax’ dangerous

Small businesses would be paying for wage hike in more ways than one

Hawaii Preparing Abortion for the End of Roe

NYM: … As we await the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which is widely expected to strike down or at least significantly weaken Roe v. Wade, there has been a flurry of legislative activity in the states, which may soon control abortion policy, as they did in the days before the landmark 1973 ruling….

blue states governed by pro-choice lawmakers are not being idle…. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 15 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted statutes that would protect abortion rights if Roe is reversed: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Some have gone further than simply trying to keep abortion legal in their own jurisdictions. Most notably, Governor Gavin Newsom has said that California will be a “sanctuary” for women unable to obtain an abortion in other states. California Democrats are advancing a package of bills to make that pledge a reality. It includes a ban on insurers imposing deductibles and co-pays for abortion services, legal protection for abortion providers who serve out-of-state patients, and money for community clinics offering reproductive health care….

read … The States Shoring Up Abortion Rights for the End of Roe

HART Confidentiality Agreement Designed to keep CEO Evaluation Secret?

SA Editorial: … The HART board is requiring certain appointees, the four nonvoting members appointed by the state Legislature, to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of participating in both public board meetings and closed executive sessions.

Two of those appointees, Natalie Iwasa and Jeoffrey S. Cudiamat, have declined to sign — and they are right. The state Attorney General’s Office says the HART board does not have the right to impose the confidentiality agreement on the nonvoting members; the city’s corporation counsel, though, says the board has the legal right to insist on it….

Iwasa, one of the more vocal board members when it come to questioning HART actions, says she would always honor confidentiality, signed agreement or not. Her concern is potentially facing criminal charges should she unknowingly let something escape the net.

Colleen Hanabusa, HART board chairwoman, said the board’s legislative appointees do not — and should not — take the county oath of office, so the nondisclosure agreement is necessary to protect confidential matters.

The attorney general’s justifiable opinion, however, is that board members cannot be held to different standards based upon who appointed them.

So far, Iwasa has been barred from an executive session evaluating the performance of Lori Kahikina, HART’s CEO, a pretty big deal. Cudiamat would have been barred as well, but missed the meeting for other reasons….

read … Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board infighting

Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate stays in place for now

SA: …Some key county-level pandemic rules are nearing their end, yet Hawaii remains a national outlier on one major statewide restriction: the indoor mask mandate.

Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino announced Friday that proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or negative test results will no longer be required next week for indoor service at establishments such as restaurants, bars and gyms.

On Oahu, Mayor Rick Blangiardi appears ready to let the city’s Safe Access O‘ahu program, with similar restrictions for indoor venues, expire March 6, the end date he set when he implemented the restriction Jan. 5.

But this week Hawaii also became the only state in the nation that has not either lifted or announced plans to lift its mask mandate.

The distinction came after the governors of New Mexico and Washington on Thursday announced plans to drop their states’ mandates.

In a written statement, Hawaii Gov. David Ige said, “I am working with the Department of Health to determine when the time is right for Hawaii to lift the indoor mask mandate. Hawaii ranks second in the nation when it comes to COVID deaths, in part because of the indoor mask requirement and other measures that have proven successful in protecting our community from this potentially deadly virus. Our decisions are based on science, with the health and safety of our community as our top priority.”…

read … Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate stays in place for now

Honolulu City Council aims to revamp police commission, provide more authority

KHON: … Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters is working to revamp the Honolulu Police Commission and change up police chief roles. Waters believes strengthening the police commission is in the best interest of the public.

One of the resolutions will give the police commission more authority. It’ll allow the commission to make changes to the chief of police’s five year plan.

“I know the police union was concerned about overtime and staff shortages,” said Tommy Waters, Chair of the Honolulu City Council. “This would allow the police commission to weigh in on those problems and actually make amendments to the plan, which again just further empowers them.”

The proposal would also allow the commission to discipline the chief of police for any misconduct. However, the current Honolulu Police Commission chair says that may be suited for other groups.

“If you are going to let a volunteer board right of seven members be involved in the administrative day to day operations of the Honolulu Police Department,” said Shannon Alivado, Chair of the Honolulu Police Commission. “It’ll take a lot more than just volunteers to do that type of work.” ….

The resolutions will go before the City Council next. For more information, click here.

read … Honolulu City Council aims to revamp police commission, provide more authority

‘Sue Big Oil’ --  9th Circuit Count of Appeals Hearing re Maui & Honolulu Climate Lawsuits

IM: … City of Honolulu and Maui County filed separate lawsuits against the fossil fuel majors, asserting that the fossil fuel companies should pay billions of dollars in mitigation costs for super storms, rising oceans and heat waves that are damaging property, infrastructure, and the island’s economy.

A federal trial judge agreed with the plaintiffs that the suits belong in state court.

Yesterday the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to reject transferring the proceedings to state court. The case was livestreamed….

The defense attorneys argued that oil companies were simply fulfilling a need based on the national interest.

The fossil fuel attorneys argued that having state courts decide issues of climate change fragments the process in a piecemeal way heeding their own state interests and narrow fact gathering, rather than a broad overall cohesive federal approach.

They also contend the litigation is geared toward making gas and oil so expensive consumers will reduce their consumption.  

Defense attorney Ted Boutrous stated, “The plaintiff complaints allege increased cost by global greenhouse gas emissions resulting from global gas and oil production and activities going back to the beginning of the industrial age.”

“The (alleged) injuries are predicated on the defendants' oil and gas production on behalf of the federal government under the direction of federal officers and the Outer Continental Shelf, which is federal land governed by federal law and jurisdiction.”

“The plaintiffs argue that the main driver of their injuries was the production of fossil fuels that were then consumed, then created emissions, that’s their theory.”

Vic Sher, attorney for the plaintiffs stated, “Emissions from products that are incrementally contributing (global warming) because of the defendants’ deception campaign,” he said. “That’s our burden, that’s our theory of the case. It has nothing to do with going back to the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.”        

“The claim in this case is based on failure to warn, deception and a sophisticated disinformation campaign over decades.”

“There is not even a hint that the defendants were directed to take those actions by any federal actor, or that there’s any federal interest in protecting them from the consequences of behaving in this way. The federal government had no control over the failure to warn. The defendants have known for nearly half a century.”…

Flashback: Hawaii to Sue over Global Warming? UH Law School Debunked

Flashback: Honolulu Sues 'Big Oil' -- Fatal Flaws in Evidence

read … 9th Circuit Count of Appeals Hearing re Maui & Honolulu Climate Lawsuits

Honolulu Council considering urging city to acquire problem properties

SA: … The Honolulu City Council, during a committee meeting today, will consider three resolutions that would urge the city administration to acquire private properties, two of which have racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for building violations.

The total fine issued by the Department of Planning and Permitting against a 13-acre property at 54-406 Kamehameha Highway in Hauula as of Monday was $409,500.

The violations included having several unpermitted structures, conducting unpermitted grading and storing construction materials on agricultural land….

Taufa said he’s been trying to work with DPP to fix the violations but that it has declined to give him a permit that he applied for after hiring an architect to correct some of the issues on his land.

The Council already passed a resolution in January urging DPP to address the outstanding violations on the property, but Tsune­yoshi did not think that it would be enough at this point….

Tsuneyoshi also introduced a bill that would not allow DPP to grant more permits to properties that have an excessive amount of building violations.

“This is just providing DPP with another tool to be able to address issues that the community has brought forward,” she said.

Another resolution, introduced by Council members Calvin Say and Carol Fuku­naga, similarly urged the city to acquire a property at 1421 Pensacola St. in Makiki due to health and safety concerns. The property has accrued over $318,000 in city fines due to neglect, which has included severe hoarding. In 2018 the city removed 45 tons of garbage from the property, which cost $13,120. However, even after the trash removal, it began to again accumulate, and in 2020 two fires broke out on the property….

Council member Andria Tupola also introduced a resolution for the city to obtain portions of Paakea Road that it does not currently own, particularly the part that connects Hakimo Road to Lualualei Naval Road.

Tupola’s policy director, Braedon Wilkerson, said that this is in line with the Waianae Coast Emergency Access Road plan….

read … Honolulu Council considering urging city to acquire problem properties

Hawaii’s high cost of living hurts locals most: ‘They can’t afford the rent’

KHON: … “I am noticing that properties that are like less than $2,000 is getting really, really tight,” said Shannon Heaven, the immediate past president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors. “So even if you’re looking for a two bedroom unit, say anywhere from Kapolei to Mililani, it’s very difficult to find any two-bedrooms under $2,000. And you know, a few years ago we were at $1,600.”…

Tanaka said the price of rent is hurting locals the most. Click the following links for information on relief programs on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island and Kauai….

read … Hawaii’s high cost of living hurts locals most: ‘They can’t afford the rent’

Jail News: Former Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to prioritize affordable housing in run for governor

HNN: … OK.  Jail.   Free room and board.  Very affordable. ….

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Big Island business consultant Paul Morgan and Hawaii veteran and US Indo-Pacific Command program manager Lynn Mariano, and Gary Cordero — the head of the Aloha Freedom Coalition — have announced their candidacies….

CB: Kirk Caldwell, Governor: Hawaii Needs A Sustained Commitment To Housing

read … Former Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to prioritize affordable housing in run for governor

HPD’s cellblock switch is leaving some homeless people stranded in the suburbs

HNN: … It’s a situation that may have factored in this week’s murder at the Kapolei police station.

In mid-October, officers started locking up detainees in Kapolei because of construction at the main station. Upon release, people are often stuck in a place that’s likely unfamiliar to them.

Dr. Chad Koyanagi estimates between 10 and 20 people, often suffering from mental illness, are being stranded in Leeward Oahu every week….

Renovations on the cellblock at the main station were expected to be complete by June but HPD confirms construction is ahead of schedule. Sources say they could reopen as early as next week….

read … HPD’s cellblock switch is leaving some homeless people stranded in the suburbs

$7M to Keep Homeless from Disrupting Haiku Elementary School

MN: …“Vagrancy is probably the scariest, you know, we have people living under the portables. We have found evidence of drug use,” Walker said on Tuesday. “If we don’t feel comfortable and can’t send our kids out safely for recess, then that’s a problem.”…

She is hopeful that the funding will help the public school to offset littering, loitering, vandalism, theft, as well as other incidents that have occurred, such as illegal dumping of vehicles in the parking lots, unleashed neighborhood dogs on the school’s recess field, teenagers partying and fires in the field house during school hours.

Other “random” events that have happened within the past couple years include an unknown man entering the campus hallway and using a student’s bicycle before leaving, Walker said. On some occasions, Maui police have been called to the campus after reports of staff having been threatened by folks trespassing and “causing a commotion” while school is in session….

read … Haiku Elementary looks to improve security, renovate classrooms

Legislative Agenda:

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