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Sunday, September 18, 2022
September 18, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:28 PM :: 2880 Views

Rolling With a Road Usage Charge

Fed up with High Gas Prices and Slow Amazon Deliveries? Blame These 2 Century‐​Old Laws That Need to Be Repealed.

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How they Voted September 16, 2022

Bill 10: Don’t limit new multi-unit housing to just TOD areas

Housing crisis culprit staring us in the face

Hawaii Unemployment at 4.1% in August

Koko Head Shooting Complex closing until completion of berm renovation project

Dawn Takeuchi Apuna named Acting Director of City’s Department of Planning and Permitting

Auditor: No Need for Regulation of Community Health Workers

HART Leaders Are Concerned Feds Not Buying Hanabusa’s Excuses

CB: … More than three months have passed since the city submitted its latest plan to rescue rail, and the Federal Transit Administration has yet to approve it….

Without that approval, Oahu’s struggling rail transit project will continue to lack access to its nearly $750 million in remaining federal funding.

“We were expecting to hear back on the recovery plan two months ago,” Hanabusa said Friday….

HART and the city have struggled over the years to gain FTA approval on their various recovery plan iterations, as the multibillion-dollar project has repeatedly encountered skyrocketing costs and budget shortfalls.

The local rail agency submitted at least five versions of a recovery plan between 2016 and 2019, and it didn’t secure an FTA approval until September 2019. Even then, the FTA did not agree to release rail’s remaining $744 million to Honolulu until HART made more progress to keep the project on budget….

In early June, Kahikina and HART submitted rail’s latest recovery plan about a month ahead of the FTA’s deadline. It assumes the largest infrastructure project in Hawaii’s history will collect around $6.4 billion in GET funding, $1.1 billion in state TAT funding and $488 million in city TAT funding.

However, the FTA and Hill International, the consultant that it’s hired to oversee rail on its behalf, disagree somewhat with HART over the cost – specifically how many millions of dollars in contingency reserves will be needed to finish the transit system, according to local project officials.

… Kahikina said that Ray Tellis, the FTA’s Region 9 administrator, had just met with FTA Chief Nuria Fernandez earlier that month to discuss Honolulu’s recovery plan.

“My understanding is she (Fernandez) wants this done by the end of the month, the recovery plan,” Kahikina told the HART board. “They already told us, start amending your full funding grant agreement” because “they want this done.”…

Not all board participants share Hanabusa’s optimism that rail will generate the necessary revenues to reach Kakaako. In June, Natalie Iwasa, a legislative appointee to the board, joined with former HART board member Joe Uno to send a joint memo to the FTA outlining their concerns with the recovery plan.

Uno and Iwasa, who noted to the FTA that she was writing in her individual capacity and not as a board member, told the FTA that they were concerned HART’s latest tax revenue and ridership projections were too aggressive.

“Membership on the HART board … has provided us with insights we believe you ought to be aware of as you review the plan,” they wrote.

Meanwhile, Hanabusa in her Sept. 12 letter told Nuria that she was writing “directly in response” to Iwasa and Uno’s June memo, in order to clarify the HART board’s position….

Uno, meanwhile, had harsh words in response to Hanabusa’s FTA letter.

“Queen Hanabusa makes it sound like we stole some confidential information, which is her way of misdirection and discrediting,” he said in an email Friday. “The truth is that everything we wrote is in the public domain and mostly just plain common sense.”

FTA officials did not respond to questions regarding Hanabusa’s letter. Hanabusa said that she’s heard “not a word” back from HART’s federal partners, not even to acknowledge receipt….


read … HART Leaders Are Concerned That Feds Still Haven’t Approved Rail’s Recovery Plan

$6B Rail Cost Overruns Could have Cleared DHHL Waiting List

Shapiro: … For argument’s sake, let’s say the original $5.2 billion cost would have been worth a 20-mile commuter line from Kapolei to Ala Moana.

The big lost opportunity is what we could have done with the subsequent $6 billion in overruns attributable to lies and incompetence.

An obvious possibility is that $6 billion could have cleared the entire Hawaiian Homes waiting list….

read … Our public spending has more spin than Las Vegas slots

Legislative Task Force Behind Scheme to let Lots and Lots of Criminals out on the Streets

CB: … Karl Rhoads, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reminded me of the slew of proposed criminal justice reforms that originated in 2017.

“Look at cash bail reform,” said Rhoads. “That bill came out the Criminal Pretrial Task Force recommendations. That was a very influential proposal.”

Sometimes good ideas take time, and Rhoads said he and his colleagues could not reach agreement on a cash bail measure in 2019. But House Bill 1567 passed in 2022.

The bill, however, encountered strong opposition from powerful voices in the law enforcement community, and Ige ended up vetoing it in July. That does not mean it was a waste of time, although it may be some time before the concept is introduced again.

“But a task force can be very useful,” said Rhoads. “It can be when you get a lot of people who know a lot about a particular topic in the same room where they can hash things out.”…

read … There’s Value In Legislative Task Forces And Studies

Kai Kahele, Vicky Cayetano are subjects of campaign spending complaints

SA: … The commission on Thursday is scheduled to consider an allegation that Kahele, a Democrat, solicited campaign donations from contributors who previously donated to Gov. David Ige, a violation of state law.

It’s difficult to link campaign solicitations to donors who gave to other campaigns. But the first-term congressman allegedly cited the donations to Ige’s 2014 campaign in asking for donations to his own campaign….

The Campaign Spending Commission continues to investigate an allegation against Cayetano — filed May 31 ahead of the Aug. 13 primary election — that she had coordinated on expenditures with the Super PAC Victory Calls 2022, which would violate state law….

The complaint is listed on last month’s meeting agenda as “Docket No. 22-16 — Christian West v. [Vicky] Cayetano.”

West, the complainant, has not produced documents requested by commission staff to back up his accusation. He has been told his complaint would be dismissed if he does not produce the documents….

read … Kai Kahele, Vicky Cayetano are subjects of campaign spending complaints

High court to hear arguments on Maunakea zoning case

HTH: … The Hawaii Supreme Court will hear oral arguments regarding a three-year-old Maunakea land use case this week.

In 2019, Hilo residents Ku‘ulei and Ahiena Kanahele filed a petition with the state Land Use Commission requesting that the Commission declare that the current usage of the land on Maunakea summit is improper for its current zoning….

The Kanaheles argued that the extensive development on the summit, including over a dozen observatories, is more consistent with an area zoned for urban use, rather than its conservation zoning, explained the Kanaheles’ lawyer, Lance Collins.

Based on that argument, the petition requested that any further industrial development on the mauna must first obtain a district boundary amendment reclassifying the land to the urban district.

But after a two-day hearing in Oct. 2019, the Commission concluded in a 5-2 vote that it does not have jurisdiction over the matter, and that only the state Department of Land and Natural Resources can make rulings about the management of land in the conservation district….

read … High court to hear arguments on Maunakea zoning case

Increasing Waikiki building height and density might be on table for first time in half century

SA: … A movement is underway to increase building height and density in the Waikiki Special District for the first time in about 50 years to allow smaller parcels to be turned into affordable housing and make the district more resilient to climate change and sea-level rise.

Affordable housing shortfalls and the threat that evolving environmental conditions could put Waikiki underwater were not among the top community issues in 1976 when city regulations were adopted to set height, density and setback requirements.

The special district rules, a subsection of the county’s Land Use Ordinance, were meant to keep Waikiki from becoming an urban jungle but had the unintended effect of rendering many owners unable to improve their nonconforming properties or sell them for a good price….

TRANSLATION: Global warming and affordable housing will be the excuses for the next Kakaako to be built in mauka Waikiki.

read … Increasing Waikiki building height and density might be on table for first time in half century

Police encourage families to use hospice, palliative care

HTH: … For families with a terminally ill member who wants and is expected to die at home, enrolling in hospice care has several advantages for the family, such as helping with caregiving for the family and providing a comfortable, pain-free passing for the patient.

One advantage that’s not so obvious, however, is ensuring the family home isn’t treated as a crime scene by police after the loved one’s death….

Lt. William Derr of the Hawaii Police Department’s Hilo Community Policing Section said that unless the homebound decedent had been in palliative or hospice care for at least 24 hours prior to death, police are required by law to respond to the home to investigate the death. His comments were made during a webinar hosted by Hawaii Care Choices.

“If somebody is going to pass away and they can get into the hospice or palliative care in 24 hours before they pass away, then the police response is basically none,” Derr said. “We don’t have to show up at the house. All that’s required is a phone call from the health provider, the caregiver. We take a little bit of information down over the phone, and it’s done. Then, the family doesn’t have to worry about policemen showing up, making a diagram of the scene. Because if they’re not enrolled, we have to show up. We have to do a diagram. We have to take photos of the departed. We have to physically handle the departed by rolling them over and … checking the body….

read … Police encourage families to use hospice, palliative care

Children with autism impacted by isolation, remote learning during pandemic

HTH: … “When she wasn’t able to attend school, her behavioral issues just skyrocketed,” said McCullum. “She became aggressive, she would hurt her caregiver and her parents and siblings by scratching or biting, so much so that the teachers and therapists had to wear sweaters. Her concerning behavior, such as elopement, which is running away and darting, increased.”…

read … Children with autism impacted by isolation, remote learning during pandemic

HMC faced with overcrowding despite low COVID numbers

HTH: … COVID-19 cases are low for Hawaii County, but Hilo Medical Center remains impacted due to overcrowding.

“The grand total of patients coming to us is quite difficult to handle most of the time,” said HMC spokesperson Elena Cabatu. “We don’t have any holds in the (Emergency Room), but we do have about 13 patients in overflow areas.”…

read … HMC faced with overcrowding despite low COVID numbers

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