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Monday, March 28, 2022
March 28, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:21 PM :: 1948 Views

33,234 in Hawaii Behind on Mortgage

Hawaii 4th Highest Gas Tax in USA

‘Empty homes’ tax will not achieve goal

Discouraging short-term rentals won’t ease housing shortage

Senate Judiciary Hearing Pistol Permitting & Registration Bill

Don’t Use Red Hill as Excuse to Shut Down Affordable Housing Construction

CB: … You won’t ever find me putting bumper stickers saying “I love Ernie Lau” — the head of BWS — on my car. And do you know why? Because I hate how every time Lau speaks about Red Hill, he presumes to put locals on the hook for the mistakes of the federal government. I am perpetually amazed at how much patience Gov. David Ige, let alone the Legislature, has with Lau, because there are consequences for ordinary people every time those in positions of stewarding public resources presume to crystal-ball their way through matters that impact the economy or local business.

Honolulu bureaucrats are a one-trick pony, and the only trick they know is to make you pay more or suffer more while they figure out how to run civilization. This has to stop.

I find it extremely difficult to believe that we can’t safely move forward with construction and water use on Oahu with extra funding and technical assistance from the federal government. Did Kuwait stop construction and grind the entire nation to a halt after the First Gulf War because Saddam Hussein had poisoned the environment by setting oil wells on fire? Of course not. They cleaned and fixed and built all at the same time with the help of the U.S. government, a concept which our local administrators would do well to consider.

I find it difficult to believe that any of our congressional delegation, if asked by Honolulu government, would ever say no to finding new ways to quickly move past the disruption caused by the Red Hill fiasco. We have got to end the local mindset that whenever something breaks, our first step should be to make people pay more and to shut down everything….

RESPONSE: Board Of Water Supply Won’t Compromise Safety For Oahu Customers (CLUE: In their response, BWS makes no mention of the development moratorium.)

SA: Water use on Oahu continues rising

WT: DoD Budget Request includes $350 million for cleaning up Hawaii’s fuel-contaminated water supply.

read … Don't Stick Oahu Residents With The Bill For Red Hill

College enrollment down sharply

MN:  … A mix of “alarming” but also some good news was revealed in data published last week in the College and Career Readiness Indicators Report by the Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, which is a statewide partnership led by the Executive Office on Early Learning, the state Department of Education and the University of Hawaii system.

Following over a year of remote learning, online courses and other changes to the academic curriculum, 51 percent of Hawaii’s public school graduates from the class of 2021 went on to college in the first fall after graduation, data analyst Lloyd Grieger said during a webinar on Wednesday. This is a slight increase from the 50 percent enrollment rate seen from 2020, but is still down from the pre-pandemic rate of 55 percent, according to the report.

However, these numbers are offset by the continued decline in enrollment to two-year institutions, which fell to 17 percent for the DOE class of 2021.

There’s been a combined 5.1 percent decline nationwide in new freshmen enrollment. Broken down, public universities were hit the hardest with a 13.2 drop in new freshmen enrollment over the two-year pandemic period.

Grieger said the recent biggest impacts were “most severely felt” by private four-year institutions in fall 2021, which saw a 9.3 percent decline in new freshmen enrollment, but had previously experienced a 5.3 percent increase in 2020.

Public universities, both two- and four-year institutions, saw a 3 percent decline in fall 2021 compared to the 10 percent decline in 2020.

“The results are particularly alarming because they prompt fears of a lost generation of students who are missing out on important training opportunities that could promote personal independence as well as contribute to a strong economy for us all,” he said.

Enrollment by DOE graduates into the University of Hawaii system is seeing a similar trend. About 13 percent of 2021 graduates enrolled into a UH four-year program while 18 percent enrolled in a UH two-year program….

read … College enrollment still trails pre-pandemic levels

HGEA, HSTA Endorse Green, Luke

CB: … Green and Rep. Sylvia Luke are both being backed by two of the most important public worker unions, the HGEA and the teachers’ union….

read … Lt. Gov. Josh Green Is Racking Up Union Endorsements, Adding To His Momentum

Erasing History to Install Lies: Resolution urges name change for Captain Cook

SA: … Kaawaloa is a storied place that includes Keala­kekua Bay, where British explorer Capt. James Cook was killed in 1779 during a skirmish between his crew and the subjects of Kalaniopuu, alii nui of Hawaii island….

(Now some SJW legislators and smug teenagers are trying to kill off his memory.  After this, the two Cook monuments will be torn down.  The purpose of this effort is to airbrush Cook out of history completely.)

QUESTION: How many ‘Hawaiians’ were present in these isles when Cook landed? 

ANSWER: Zero.  The idea of being ‘Hawaiian’ comes from the Hawaiian Kingdom which did not yet exist.  In 1778 nobody called themselves ‘Hawaiian’. 

CONCLUSION: Wiping out Cook is overthrowing the Hawaiian Kingdom.

(That sound in the background? Heads exploding.) 

Big Q: Do you support a resolution to replace the name of Hawaii County’s Captain Cook with its original name, Kaawaloa?

read … Resolution urges name change for Captain Cook

Next Up: Katherine Kealoha’s Brother on Trial

CB: … Federal prosecutors say Puana abused his privileges as a licensed physician by writing medically unnecessary opioid prescriptions for several close friends, who then sold the pills for a profit or traded them for cocaine, to which Puana admitted he was addicted.

Those friends include Christopher McKinney, a well-known local novelist, who obtained more than 3,200 oxycodone pills between April 2015 and October 2017 using Puana’s prescriptions, according to court records.

The pair allegedly found a small pharmacy near McKinney’s home willing to fill the prescriptions. McKinney sold the pills for $15 apiece and bought cocaine, which he would use with Puana, prosecutors said.

“Is it just me or are you smelling celebration when I come in December,” Puana wrote to McKinney in a text message included in a trial brief filed earlier this month.

“Oh, Im (sic) smelling it. Like 3.5 grams of celebration,” McKinney wrote back, according to the court document.

For others, the pills Puana prescribed served as an additional source of income, prosecutors said.

This included Pauna’s close friends, Josh DeRego and his wife Elena Rodriguez, who allegedly used the money made from selling oxycodone to pay their children’s private school tuition.

“One month after the oxycodone prescriptions started flowing, DeRego and Rodriguez made their first payment to their children’s private school in about six months,” prosecutors wrote in a motion filed last July.

Prosecutors said DeRego and Puana were “almost brotherly” and would golf, drink and do cocaine together. Puana allegedly wrote prescriptions for over 5,000 oxycodone pills to DeRego and his wife between February 2013 and January 2016, and connected them with a Big Island drug dealer identified by prosecutors only as “the Hawaiian.”

DeRego, Rodrigues and McKinney — who were not charged in connection to the case — are all listed as witnesses the prosecution intends to call against Puana….

read …  Is Katherine Kealoha A Credible Witness In The Coming Drug Trial Of Her Brother?

Rep Branco Grabs for UH Health School Site to Build View Homes for Hawaiian Political Insiders

SA: … The effort, being facilitated via a bill that could lead to condemnation of the UH land in court, is pitting one state institution against another in a contentious assessment of whether higher-education facilities are more important than homes for Native Hawaiians, or vice versa.

UH intends to seek private development proposals to turn its 2.5-acre site across from Kapiolani Community College on Makapuu Avenue between Leahi Hospital and Diamond Head Theatre into some kind of health care school facility, possibly within a few weeks or months so that a winning proposal can be selected by year’s end.

DHHL also could put the property to good use under its obligation to provide homesteads for beneficiaries who must be at least 50% Hawaiian, though the agency did not seek the introduction of House Bill 2288 and has no specific vision as to how many homes might be developed on the site.

Many state lawmakers, who have committed to appropriate a record $600 million to DHHL this year so the agency can develop homestead lots on land it already owns around the state, favor wresting ownership of the Diamond Head property from UH to benefit DHHL.

“This is a unique opportunity to place (politically connected) Native Hawaiians in (some view sites in) the urban core near a community college, near health care,” the bill’s lead introducer, Rep. Patrick Branco (D, Kailua-Kaneohe), said in February at an initial hearing on the measure….

read … Land plan pits University of Hawaii against Hawaiian homes agency

Val Okimoto vs Ron Menor for CD8

CB: … While his name has been mentioned as a possible candidate for LG, Menor now says he instead is running for the Honolulu City Council, where he last served from 2013 to 2021….

Several other candidates have expressed interest in the District 8 seat, including state Rep. Val Okimoto, the current minority leader who says she is for sure running and leaving the House….

read … Menor To Run For Honolulu City Council, Not Lieutenant Governor

Coming to Hawaii: Guests and crew members test positive for COVID-19 aboard Princess Cruise ship

YN: … Passengers and crew members tested positive for COVID-19 aboard a 15-day Princess Cruise trip to the Panama Canal that returned Sunday to the Port of San Francisco.

Those affected aboard the ship the Ruby Princess were either asymptomatic or showed mild symptoms of COVID-19 and were isolated and quarantined, Princess Cruises said in a statement. The cruise line did not say how many guests and crew members tested positive, or at what point in the trip they did so.

The ship has since departed San Francisco for a 15-day cruise to Hawaii.

The cruise line requires guests to show a negative COVID-19 test and proof that they were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before the start of the trip. Vaccination rates for guests and crew members on the Ruby Princess were at 100%, Princess Cruises said….

NBC: Cruise Ship Leaves Late in San Francisco After Multiple COVID-19 Cases

read … Guests and crew members test positive for COVID-19 aboard Princess Cruise ship

City plans to increase ‘positions’ with short-term vacation rentals as the excuse du jour

SA: … The city Department of Planning and Permitting plans to hire short-term vacation rental investigators (create more vacant positions) following persistent complaints about property owners taking advantage of short-term rental regulations in residential zones.

Council member Brandon Elefante, chair of the Committee on Zoning and Planning, which passed Bill 41 on third reading Wednesday, said DPP officials discussed plans to staff investigator positions in their budget presentation earlier this month.

The new version of Bill 41 represents the city’s latest effort to respond to community concerns about short-term rentals in residential areas, especially Kailua. The bill could go to the full City Council as early as April 13….

read … City plans to increase enforcement of short-term vacation rentals

Legislative Agenda:

Corona Virus News:

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