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Wednesday, September 21, 2022
September 21, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:48 PM :: 1517 Views

Locations Announced: Red Light Cameras Begin in October

What’s Causing Hawaii’s Housing-Market Crunch?

WSJ: … Supply-constricting regulations on real estate are to blame, but policy makers prefer to scapegoat ‘outsiders.’….

read … What’s Causing Hawaii’s Housing-Market Crunch?

Honolulu Council Finds Another Way to Make Housing More Expensive

SA: …  Bill 44, a measure introduced in July that would create a city historic preservation commission, has already attracted at least six of the nine votes necessary for passage. It could possibly pass by the end of the year, supporters said.…

One letter from building industry officials, however, said that while they supported the idea in concept they feared a historic preservation commission might slow down development….

“Outsiders buy land to develop without knowledge or caring for the sacred importance of these islands,” wrote Jody Green….

several participants worried that adding another level of bureaucracy over land use control could further slow down development on Oahu.

Following criticism from builders about backlogs at the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting, Council member Andria Tupola released a report in August that found that it takes six to 24 months to obtain city building permits for residential and commercial construction.

Daryl Takamiya, president of the state Building Industry Association, said that although the trade group did not oppose creation of the commission, he and his colleagues fear additional delays on top of what the industry is already experiencing, which he said “have already pushed building timelines to the limit, hampering the inventory of affordable housing on Oahu.”….

He suggested that the city take steps to ensure that the historic preservation review process undertaken by the State Historic Preservation Division should not duplicate what the city does….

Bill 44 would amend and put into effect a bill passed in 1993 to create a nine-member historic preservation commission. The legislation won unanimous council approval at the time but a string of mayors have opposed it over the past 30 years, fearful it would slow development.

Then-Mayor Frank Fasi vetoed it, and when the council overrode his veto, he went to court to block it. The lawsuit was dropped but the bill fell into limbo. Succeeding mayors, one after the other, declined to appoint members to it, resisting calls from preservationists to set it up and put it into action.

In 2020, Kathy Sokugawa, then acting director of the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting, tried to kill the ordinance that created the commission, saying it was unnecessary.

But council member Waters defended the commission and fought off the effort. In July, Waters and Kiaaina introduced the current measure…..

read … Honolulu Historic Preservation Bill Is Gaining Traction

Gov. Ige taking Aloha Stadium in ‘different direction,’ orders halt to requests for proposals

SA: … The Ige administration is going “in a different direction” on the plan to build a New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District, according to an email from the governor’s chief of staff to the state comptroller.

Gov. David Ige’s chief of staff, Linda Chu Takayama, told comptroller Curt Otaguro to stop work on requests for proposals for both the $350 million stadium and the privately funded real estate portions of NASED, according to the email sent late last week and obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

This comes after a recent shift that put the stadium under control of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism instead of the Department of Accounting and General Services.

The email read, in part: “Both RFPs that you have been working on in DAGS should not be going forward, as we will be moving in a different direction under DBEDT. Please consider tying up any loose ends from your side.”

The email also indicated that the Environmental Impact Statement to build in the Halawa area will be approved by Ige.

“Our current strategy is to accept the original EIS on stadium very soon, acknowledging that the responsibility and funding for the stadium now rests with the Stadium Authority and DBEDT,” Takayama wrote.

There was no direct mention of the so-called Public Private Partnership funding model.

“We don’t know what this new direction is,” Aloha Stadium manager Ryan Andrews said. “But we are all very interested in finding out.”….

read … Gov. Ige taking Aloha Stadium in ‘different direction,’ orders halt to requests for proposals

Will Kauai County Return Drug Treatment Facility to Grove Farm?

TGI: … The Kaua‘i County Council agenda set for Wednesday, Sept. 21, includes Resolution 2022-28, which proposes to transfer to the Grove Farm Company approximately $7 million in taxpayer-funded property improvements, newly constructed buildings, related infrastructure, and nearly six acres of land — that same land that Grove Farm had previously given to the county….

(TRANSLATION: Kauai County has failed to open a drug treatment facility so it will be returned to Grove Farm which will get the job done.)

TGI: Facing litigation, Kaua‘i County returns drug treatment facility to Grove Farm

read … HOOSER: Council to give $7 million for 10 words

Big Island man accused of abducting teen from Waikoloa beach makes court appearance

SA: … Mahi has a criminal record of four felony convictions for abuse of a family or household member, terroristic threatening and burglary. His record also includes three misdemeanor convictions for resisting arrest, criminal contempt of court and consuming or possessing intoxicating liquor while operating a vehicle….

KHON: Court docs: Abducted girl was drugged, trapped in bus -- Prosecutors are seeking an extended term of imprisonment for which Mahi would serve a life term as a result of his two prior felony convictions for terroristic threatening.

read … Big Island man accused of abducting teen from Waikoloa beach makes court appearance

Prosecutor Will Not Bring Charges Against Police Officer In Fatal Kalaeloa Shooting

CB: … Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm announced Tuesday that no charges will be filed against a Honolulu police officer involved in the deadly shooting of 27-year-old Dana Brown following an attempted traffic stop in 2019. Alm cited the officer’s body camera footage and witness statements as clear evidence that the use of force was justified.

“The police officer gave Mr. Brown every chance to stop, get on the ground and give up. He made many, many verbal commands to get him to drop the knife and lay down on the ground,” Alm said.

“Mr. Brown ignored all of those instructions. It was only when Mr. Brown lunged at Officer 1 that Officer 1 shot him and killed him,” he said. “There is only one person responsible for Mr. Brown’s death and, however tragic that was, it’s Mr. Brown’s fault.”….

SA: Deadly force justified in fatal 2019 Honolulu police shooting, city prosecutor says

read … Prosecutor Will Not Bring Charges Against Police Officer In Fatal Kalaeloa Shooting

11 new Big Isle applications for concealed carry permits since Supreme Court decision implemented

HTH: …Acting Police Chief Kenneth Bugado on Friday reported to the Hawaii County Police Commission that the department had received 11 applications since the revision in the permitting process was implemented in August following a June 23 U.S. Supreme Court decicision in the case New York State Rifle &Pistol Association v. Bruen….

Bugado said all of the applications received by the Hawaii Police Department were still under review Friday, with none having been approved or issued….

He estimated it would take at least 30 days to process completed applications….

Applications and supporting documentation may be submitted in person or via mail to the Hawaii Police Department’s Records and Identification Section, 349 Kapiolani Street, Hilo, HI 96720.

Any questions can be directed to Lt. Tuck Loy Aurello at 961-2233 or via email at….

read … 11 new Big Isle applications for concealed carry permits since Supreme Court decision implemented

The Struggle Over Towering Wind Farms Is At The Center Of A Honolulu City Council Debate

CB: … In early September, amid a debate over a larger land use bill, Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters conducted a straw poll asking members how far wind turbines should be located from houses, stores and schools. Seven of the council members indicated they believed the wind turbines should be located at least 1.25 miles away from people, while only two — Brandon Elefante and Calvin Say — voted for a distance of 1 mile.

At a zoning and planning committee meeting on Aug. 25, Elefante, the committee’s chair, was the only council member present to vote for the 1-mile setback, saying he wanted to make sure nothing was done that would preclude the expansion of renewable energy. He quickly added, however, that he was “open to further discussion.”

(CLUE: Say and Elefante must be backing a specific project that is 1 mile compliant but not 1.25 mile complaint.  Nobody is saying what that project is.)

The discussion foreshadows a big change from current zoning, which calls for only a 1-to-1 setback on turbines. Under existing law, a turbine that is 600 high could be placed only 600 feet from the nearest house, or about two football fields away. Under the proposed 1.25-mile rule, the space between a wind tower and a house would need to be 6,600 feet, or more than 10 times as far….

The State Energy Office, meanwhile, supports a setback of “no less than one mile” from homes and structures, according to Scott Glenn, Hawaii’s chief energy officer, in council testimony in February….

There are no wind turbine proposals under consideration in the state, said Claudia Rapkoch, a spokeswoman for the Hawaii State Energy Office. But she said more are coming and that they will likely be located on the west side of the island, which has the open land where they can be located….  

IM: New Land-Based Wind Farms in Hawai`i Are Unlikely

read … The Struggle Over Towering Wind Farms Is At The Center Of A Honolulu City Council Debate

Despite mounting criticism, bill to limit outdoor lights on Maui moves forward

KITV: … Before clearing an 8-1 vote in front the Maui County Council Tuesday, Bill 21 saw staunch support and criticism. The measure proposes to limit the blue light content in outdoor fixtures to 2 % or less, as well as have lights pointed down and covered. …

"The fact that these special events with temporary lighting at various locations, except hotel properties, is very punitive," said Lisa Paulson of the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association.

Others agreed the proposal seemed arbitrary and feared some events would have to be shutdown.

"It blows my mind that people think a seabird's going to be able to identify, 'oh that's a non-profit event, so that's okay, that's a paid event, I'm going to crash,' that's bizarre," light company owner Kalani Rodrigues said. …

read … Despite mounting criticism, bill to limit outdoor lights on Maui moves forward

The Son Of A Slain Oahu Jail Inmate Is Suing The State Over Lax Practices

CB: … Vance Grace served a total of 34 years in Hawaii prisons and jails, and in the summer of 2020 he was looking forward to getting out in a month or so….

Instead, Grace tested positive for Covid-19, and was locked in a quarantine cell with two other prisoners at the Oahu Community Correctional Center. And that turned out to be his final stop in the state correctional system.

On Aug. 31, 2020, Grace was beaten in his cell, an assault that allegedly involved another inmate stomping on his head. Staff at the jail who spoke on condition that they not be identified reported a delayed, confused response to the attack, with corrections officers unable to immediately intervene because the key to the cell did not work properly.

One of the inmates finally used a fail-safe mechanism inside the cell to help staff to open the door, which allowed corrections officers to remove two of the prisoners, according to staff. But the door then locked again, leaving the injured Grace inside, and he remained there until a locksmith could be summoned to open the door to get him help, staff said….

a report on conditions at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo last month flagged the issue of failed locks as a safety hazard there as well.

Grace’s records show he suffered from schizophrenia, and most of the time he spent in prison was for theft and drug offenses. But he had some odd incidents in his criminal past.

He first attracted media attention in 1987 when he was serving a prison term for auto theft, and scaled a fence at OCCC and escaped. He then called television stations, a radio station and then-state Sen. Clayton Hee to explain why, and to turn himself in.

Hee told reporters Grace had been cooperating with the state Attorney General’s Office in an investigation into drug trafficking by staff at the jail, a claim that was confirmed by both then-Attorney General Warren Price and then-Acting Director of Corrections Harold Falk.

Hee told reporters Grace, who was 29 at the time, had identified corrections officers who were involved, and then fled from the jail “because he was afraid for his life.” The drugs being supplied to inmates inside included marijuana, cocaine and heroin, Hee told reporters at the time.

Grace was moved to a secret location for protection for a time, but the media reports make no mention of anyone ever being charged in connection with that investigation.

He was arrested repeatedly in the years that followed, including one case in 2007 when he was caught with six stolen backhoes in the backyard of his Waianae home….

At the time of his death Grace was once again being held at OCCC, this time for a parole violation and a new charge of promoting prison contraband after he was allegedly caught with methamphetamine inside the jail in 2018….

read … The Son Of A Slain Oahu Jail Inmate Is Suing The State Over Lax Practices

Violent Bums Set Fires at St. Augustine church in Waikiki

KITV: … A more than century-old church in Waikiki has become a haven of rest for dozens of people living on the streets.

"It's like a village, the tents come up and everything," said Father Lane Akiona. "I guess they feel safe. It's next to the church, but it is a nuisance after a while."

St. Augustine's been serving the poor and needy here in Waikiki for the past 50 years, but today it's overwhelmed by the growing encampment outside its doors.

St. Augustine By-The-Sea on Ohua Avenue provides free lunch every day as part of its mission to help the needy, but it's become a magnet for the homeless population.

It's now pleading the city for help.

"I think in the past we had situations like this but not as severe," he said. "Sometimes they get a little bit violent."

The problem has gotten so bad that Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi met with church leaders in June. He's meeting with them again next month, along with the chief of police, to try to find a solution to what has become a volatile situation.

"There were two fires they vandalized us several times," Akiona added.

The church must now control how many people come in and limit opening hours in fear of becoming a target of those wanting to cause trouble. The church used to be open all day for visitors.

"In the past, it was free for all and they within the church became the forefront of their antics and whatnot," he said. "It costs us more to repair, you know, so we decided just to close everything down and preserve what we have."…

read … Homeless campers gather daily St. Augustine church in Waikiki

Hawaii County: How to Waste $9M a year without Ending Homelessness

HTH: … The plan — called a “Strategic Roadmap for Homelessness and Housing” — was commissioned from Ontario firm OrgCode Consulting Inc. after the passage of a bill earlier this year that allocates at least 75% of property tax revenue collected each year from second luxury homes to county programs addressing homelessness.

With that policy expected to generate $9 million this fiscal year, the roadmap is intended to outline how that money should eventually be spent….

“I’m a bit disappointed,” said Kona Councilwoman Rebecca Villegas. “I feel like I could have written some of this.”

Villegas said the roadmap’s conclusions were overly obvious and only validate the need for housing projects that the county already is having difficulty completing. She specifically mentioned the KukuiOla Village, a planned 30-unit shelter under construction in West Hawaii that is plagued by delays.

Other council members raised questions about the prioritization within the roadmap. Although De Jong said other homeless programs are a moot point if there aren’t any actual houses to put people in — “we would only be managing homelessness, not ending it,” he said — South Kona and Ka‘u Councilwoman Maile David questioned that assertion.

David said those homeless people who are mentally ill or addicted need to receive treatment for those issues first before receiving housing, otherwise they will be on the streets again in short order.

The meeting ended with no real conclusion after two hours of discussion. But following the meeting, the Office of Housing and Community Development will begin a request for proposals for other organizations to develop programs to incorporate the roadmap’s priorities.

“Our administration understands the need to involve stakeholders in these critical discussions, and is truly grateful to the community for their willingness to come together and tackle some of the most challenging issues facing our county,” said Mayor Mitch Roth in a statement.

read … Council unimpressed by latest proposals to tackle homelessness

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