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Monday, July 25, 2022
July 25, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:06 PM :: 1480 Views

How to take politics out of housing

Affordable? Maui Price Fixing Bill 'Recommitted'

The Scramble for Influence in the South Pacific Intensifies

RCD: … On July 13th, two Chinese defense attaches gained admittance to an invitees-only address delivered by Vice President Kamala Harris for the 51st annual Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji. The two CCP officials, posed as journalists for the Xinhua news agency, were ultimately identified and escorted from the room. Such acts of subterfuge are emblematic of the growing geopolitical tension in the South Pacific, as the United States and China continue to jockey for leverage in this strategically significant part of the world.

Last week’s PIF revealed manifold concerns shared by the participant island nations, namely climate change, COVID-19, and the eroding architecture of the forum itself. This year, several island nations have made a sharp about-face from traditional institutions, jarring actors like the United States and Australia out of complacency. In April, the Solomon Islands drew international attention after it signed a shadowy security agreement with China, dubbed by some Australian lawmakers as the “worst foreign policy failure since 1945.” More recently, two Micronesian states, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands, announced their withdrawal from the annual Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). As evidenced by a US leader’s first ever address to the forum on Wednesday, the event marks a pivot point for Western powers seeking to gain more influence in the region amid heightened security concerns stirred by Beijing….

read … The Scramble for Influence in the South Pacific Intensifies

Hawaii hospitals seek emergency order, citing DCCA Red Tape

SA: … Hawaii hospitals already struggling with staffing shortages are now being further stymied by delays in the processing of professional licenses required to work in the state.

Due to the urgency of the situation, hospitals have asked Gov. David Ige to issue an emergency proclamation waiving state licensing requirements for out-of-state health care workers for at least 90 days.

Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, said a request was submitted to the governor’s office on Thursday….

With a state emergency proclamation in place, out-of-state health care workers could work in Hawaii as long as they held licenses in other states. With the expiration of the emergency proclamation in March, that is no longer the case.

While there are some health care workers available and ready to work, they’re facing delays in renewing or receiving credentials from the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, which is in charge of professional and vocational licensing.

The DCCA’s licensing division oversees 27 licensing programs and is responsible for the licenses of more than 50 different professions and vocations…. 

SoR: Hawaii hospitals seek emergency rules to address workforce shortages

read … Hawaii hospitals seek emergency order, citing staffing shortages

Josh Green Affordable Housing Plan--Use ‘Emergency Power’ to build 42,000 Imaginary Units

CB: … Green said that if he is elected he will issue an executive order to all state housing agencies to expedite permits for all projects already approved by the state Land Use Commission. He says 42,000 units are “entitled” but stalled because of government “red tape,” and specifically mentioned delays in the chronically understaffed State Historic Preservation Division….

But the estimate Green cites of 42,000 units that are entitled but not permitted is more complicated than it appears. John White, advisor to the Green campaign, said that number originated with the state Land Use Commission, and it includes projects such as Koa Ridge and Hoopili where building has already begun.

It also includes a 7,900-unit project at Waiawa that was approved by the Land Use Commission in 1988, but never built. Kamehameha Schools has revived that project and is now planning 11,000 homes there, but still hasn’t completed the environmental impact statement or even applied for all of the government approvals required for the project.

Daniel Orodenker, executive officer of the LUC, said the 42,000 units Green references is the estimate of all of the housing approved by the LUC that has not yet been built. Some of those projects were approved in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, and may have stalled or failed because of infrastructure costs or changes in the market or interest rates.

(Translation: The 42,000 units are either already being built or they do not exist.)

Research shows it takes 10 years from the time a developer launches a major project until construction, and the LUC by law can take no longer than a year processing a project, he said. Projects do get stuck in state processes at times, but many of the problems are at the county level, which the new governor cannot simply fix with an order.

Green said he would like to have the Legislature meet in a special session to give lawmakers “first crack” at the housing issue to try to get a consensus on the solutions. He added: “I am completely willing, however, to use emergency powers to expedite housing,” which might involve waiving state laws or county ordinances to move projects forward….

read … Affordable Housing: Top Democrats See ‘Emergency’ But Differ On How To Build Faster

‘No fares til 2025’: Big Island Bus Service remain free for another two years with COVID Money

HTH: … Funding has been secured to provide fare-free Hele-On bus service on Hawaii Island through the end of 2025.

Some $1.87 million in American Rescue Plan funding has been allocated to the Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency for operations and lost passenger fares through Dec. 31, 2025, agency administrator John Andoh told the county Finance Committee Tuesday at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. About $560,000 of the funds will go toward passenger fares while the remainder will be used for expansion and implementation of the agency’s master plan. There is no local match requirement.

The fresh influx of federal funding means the free islandwide Hele-On service, which began in June, will continue another two years beyond the Dec. 31, 2023, date previously approved by the council. Andoh had indicated the agency was pursuing a grant to extend fare-free service beyond 2023 when the bill suspending fares for 19 months was approved earlier this year with the acceptance of $4.5 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding….

read … ‘No fares til 2025’: Hele-On to remain free for another two years under bill

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