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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
October 5, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:45 PM :: 3714 Views

Honolulu Council Bill 52--Bullying

Biden Admin: Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument will not be expanded

Russian Hackers Target Hawaii State Computers

HART ‘Maintenance Nightmare’ will ‘cost the taxpayers’

CB: … Typically, rail transit systems only make limited use of the type of crossing point that’s being installed on Oahu, known in the industry as a “flange-bearing frog,” according to the June 9 memo written by an employee at the city’s Department of Transportation Services.

However, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is relying almost entirely on flange-bearing frogs as it builds the rail line across Oahu’s southern shore.

“We are simply at a loss on how this whole situation has evolved,” the DTS memo states. “HART is doing something none of us have ever seen before. Now we are concerned that we will inherit their problem that will cost the taxpayers tremendously for years.”

The memo forewarns that approach – and the very narrow track tolerances that accompany it – will cause a maintenance nightmare going forward.

HART released the internal city document on its website ahead of a board discussion on the matter slated for Thursday….

The final person that the DTS memo lists is David Walker, a rail industry veteran who worked on the Honolulu project as a track consultant with rail contractor Stantec until February. Stantec reassigned Walker back to the mainland U.S. after he repeatedly insisted to HART that it swap out the flange-bearing frogs with the more commonly used tread-bearing frogs.

The change, Walker asserted, would save enormous sums of cash in long-term maintenance. It would also avoid system malfunctions and reduce what he described as a very slim chance of derailment after several years in operation….

One of the Hitachi managers called the suggestion that they replace the frogs “the smartest thing he has heard since he has been on the island,” according to the memo….

The memo also raises what it calls “new ride quality concerns.”

During test rides in May, DTS personnel encountered “noticeable and at times uncomfortable side-to-side train movement” along the main track, according to the memo.

“I don’t recall our previous train ride … being this bad. I also don’t think this is a safety concern,” the DTS employee said. However, they did think it would cause wheel and track maintenance issues.

“It seems that as the system is wearing in with the newly cut (wheels), it is not wearing in a stable way,” the memo adds, “and the side-to-side motion and resultant wear is getting worse, not better.”

TTCI responded that the uncomfortable motion during the ride is a result of the system’s tight gauge problems, separate from the frog issues….

CB: Kahikina: HART Won’t Replace Honolulu Rail’s Unusual Track Crossings

SA Editorial: Progress for rail, but still far to go

PDF: DTS Frog memo

read … Internal Memo Reveals List Of Experts Concerned About Honolulu Rail Track Layout

CNHA News: “Certain people were getting grants over and over again”

HNN: … The OHA report found that 37 out of 50 grants its auditors randomly selected didn’t fully comply with OHA’s documentation requirements.

Most were missing documentation showing financial need — such as bank statements, rent leases, utility bills or layoff notices indicating the person lost their job. Two applicants were not able to fully document their Hawaiian ancestry at the time.

The program was funded by OHA and not the federal government.

One former Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee said the report raises questions about favoritism.

“Certain people were getting grants over and over again, not allowing new people to come in and get grants,” said former OHA Trustee Rowena Akana.

But the CNHA said all of the compliance issues cited in the OHA report have since been resolved.

“Anything that had been flagged had been fully addressed, or approved, all of those, and the contract came to an end,” said (Waihee crony) Amy Kalili, president of CNHA’s board (without laughing).

CNHA said that when money for the OHA program ran out, beneficiaries like Laybon-McBrayer could have applied for financial aid from a separate program they managed for the city, which is available to Hawaiian and non-Hawaiians alike.

It added that the OHA report documentation demanded by OHA was overly rigid — put in place before the chaos of the pandemic in 2020.

“You have situations where people are trying to get documentation for various things whether it’s financial need or proving their native Hawaiian ancestry from offices that... literally had been shut down,” said Kalili.

OHA beneficiary (and convicted rapist) Demont Conner agrees. He applied from the OHA financial aid program and was rejected. But he blames OHA, not CNHA….

read … OHA report casts critical eye on Hawaiian nonprofit’s management of public funds

Former Honolulu Chief Building Examiner Will Plead Guilty To Bribery

CB: … The highest ranking Honolulu permitting employee to be implicated in a federal bribery scandal intends to plead guilty in the case this month, court records show.

Former chief building examiner Wayne Inouye previously pleaded not guilty to charges of accepting bribes while working in the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting. Between 2012 and 2017, federal prosecutors say Inouye accepted over $100,000 from customers in exchange for expediting permits through the city’s notoriously slow bureaucracy.

Inouye’s trial was scheduled for November. However, his attorney Thomas Otake informed the court this week that Inouye will change his plea to guilty. The details are still being sorted out, according to Otake, who declined to comment further. A plea agreement has not yet been entered into the court record.

A change of plea hearing is scheduled for Oct. 17 in federal court.

Inouye retired from the department in 2017 after having worked there since 1979 ….

read … Former Honolulu Chief Building Examiner Will Plead Guilty To Bribery

HPD asked for feedback on proposed rules for concealed weapons permits ― and they got it

HNN: … Gun rights advocates swarmed Honolulu Police headquarters on Tuesday to object to how the department wants to regulate concealed handguns.

Scores testified at a hearing on proposed amendments to HPD rules that would allow concealed carry….

Out in front of department headquarters on Beretania Street, the crowd spilled out down the stairs onto the sidewalk where some waved American flags.

Veteran Feena Bonoan carried a sign that said “shall not be infringed,” a reference to the 2nd Amendment….

An HPD assistant chief, major and captain and a city lawyer listened the testimony for hours without commenting or asking questions.

The proposed amendments to the HPD rules include more training and proficiency tests, annual renewals as well and mental and health screening.

The crowd included several firearms trainers who have been helping local owners fulfill existing permit requirements, which include a mental health declaration, firearms safety course and a clean criminal record.

Many argued those were sufficient to ensure responsible gun ownership, and the new proposals were designed to discourage applications and delay the process.

“I don’t think they enhance public safety,’ said Steven Hazam, a retired Air Force officer. “All they do is increase the obstacles and they infringe on my rights and I think, respectfully, that’s their intent.”

Others said the training and drills will make getting a permit too expensive.

Reginald Eubanks said he had followed every rule to properly register his firearms, but the new rules would be too much. “All we are trying to do is protect ourselves and this process makes it very cost prohibitive,” Eubanks said.

Others pointed out that the type of holster required by the rules as designed for law enforcement was difficult and even dangerous to use without training and would make it impossible to conceal the weapon.

Another common complaint: The difficult proficiency test, which includes unholstering and firing multiple rounds accurately and swiftly from several distances….

read … HPD asked for feedback on proposed rules for concealed weapons permits ― and they got it

Hawaii County Council panel sees firearm bill as too restrictive--Legislature Expected to Act

HTH: … Hawaii County’s first shot at drafting an open or concealed carry gun law was deemed too restrictive Tuesday by a majority of County Council members after dozens of testifiers weighed in, the vast majority opposing the measure on constitutional grounds.

The council Committee on Parks and Recreation and Public Safety postponed until Oct. 18 Bill 220, a measure sponsored by Hilo Councilman Aaron Chung at the request of the Hawaii Police Department, setting standards for carrying an open or concealed weapon….

Acting Chief Kenneth Bugado Jr., the department has not yet issued a permit or denial from the 30 or so applications it received after the Supreme Court decision.

Chung sees the county bill as a way to “tide the public over” until the state Legislature convenes in January.

“Ultimately the Legislature is going to take this up; no question in my mind,” Chung said. ” That’s where all the action is going to occur. … (The Legislature) will probably come up with something that will address the entire state.”….

read … Council panel sees firearm bill as too restrictive

Crime Family Republicans for 2nd Council District

CB: … In the race to represent the North Shore, Weyer and Makua Rothman are pretty evenly matched when it comes to fundraising.

Weyer has pulled in about $132,000 while Rothman has collected about $116,000.

Weyer’s key supporters include unions representing laborers, carpenters, and government employees as well as individuals including progressive activist Kim Coco Iwamoto and University of Hawaii professor Denise Antolini.

His recent expenses include $2,575 on signs and banners, $520 on a newspaper ad and $770 to buy food and drink from Zippy’s for a campaign event, according to his spending report.

Rothman’s top donors include contractor Vernon Lowry; Domino’s Pizza franchisee and prolific Republican campaign donor Mike Rompel; and the developers behind Hanapohaku, a company that operates a food truck hub across from Shark’s Cove but hopes to turn it into a shopping center and parking lot.

Rothman has focused his spending in the last month on professional services. That includes $2,000 to his campaign assistant Mary Colburn, $5,480 to the New Hope Oahu church for “contract, employee & professional services,” and $4,000 to Hawaii Leadership Solutions, the political consulting company run by council member Andria Tupola. …

Meet Your Future Councilman’s Family -- Dad Always Beats The Rap:

read … Crime Family Republicans for 2nd Council District

Weed Stores Stuff Cash in Josh Green’s Pocket

CB: … Green listed sizable post-primary donations from significant players in the tourist industry as well as from Hawaii’s fledgling marijuana industry.

Green supports legalization of cannabis for recreational use, and legalization advocates are expected to launch a major push at the Legislature next year in support of recreational use to expand the market for Hawaii’s dispensaries.

Donations from that sector included $2,500 from the Kauai dispensary Green Aloha, $2,000 from Oahu dispensary Aloha Green Holdings Inc., $3,000 from the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project and more than $2,500 from Randy Gonce, executive director of the Hawaii Cannabis Industry Association….

read … Latest Campaign Finance Report Shows Duke Aiona Is Struggling To Raise Cash

Politics, panic distort sea level rise issue

SA Column: … Photos of North Shore homes ready to fall into the ocean are certainly attention-grabbing, especially when placed with articles about sea level rise (“Turning the tide?” Insight, Star-Advertiser, Sept. 18). A news story that same day, “Preserving Waikiki,” contained a quote: “The city says that we need to plan for a 3.2-foot rise by 2030.” And a commentary by a University of Hawaii professor stated that “the potential for over 6 feet of sea level rise … is our reality now” (Island Voices, Sept. 18). Such statements bring to mind the story of Chicken Little whipping the populace into mass hysteria: “The sky is falling!”

Climate change is undoubtedly real and the sea level has been rising for thousands of years. But should state and county policies in response to climate change be based on facts or conjecture?

… Based on very accurate satellite data from 1993 to 2021, the average rate of increase has been 0.13 inches per year, which equates to 1.3 inches per decade or 13 inches per century. And the trend has been very steady….

Should anecdotal incidents of a few homes built on sand on less than one mile of shoreline dictate a major expansion of restrictions along the remaining 111 miles of Oahu shoreline? The Honolulu City Council is considering Bill 41, which would have sweeping implications — a 50% increase to the recently enacted statewide setback of 40 feet, plus an erosion-based formula that could mean setbacks totaling 130 feet. On an 80-foot frontage lot, that means no construction on more than 10,000 square feet.

Testimony on Bill 41 surfaces numerous concerns, such as forced dilapidation of existing structures. And the financial impact of proposed setback increases could easily amount to billions. Is the City and County prepared to pay fair compensation for such takings? And what about implications to City and County property tax revenue resulting from reduced property assessment values?

No one can predict the future with certainty, but our view is that the sky is not falling. Are we being led astray by those who use endangered North Shore houses as pretext for sweeping land use restrictions, when SLR is actually a minimal factor?…

Perhaps it’s time for the City Council to consider tabling Bill 41 to see if the pace of SLR over the next few years is consistent with the historic rate of 1.3 inches per decade or the conjectured rate of 3.2 feet by 2030. And as for the further conjectured rate of 6 feet being “our reality now,” we leave judgment as to the credibility of this statement to the reader.

SA: A Sunset Beach property owner is cited for dumping concrete on the public beach

read … Politics, panic distort sea level rise issue

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