‘Economic freedom’ took hit in 2020
Video clip on Hawaii doctor shortage goes viral
Putin Apologist Tulsi Gabbard Leaving Democratic Party
Russian Hackers Attack Hawaii Airport Websites
City now accepting Grants in Aid applications
Fleecing the Union to Line His Pockets? IBEW Boss Ahakuelo on Trial
CB: … federal prosecutors say he was robbing the very workers he claimed to be fighting for. …
Ahakuelo will go on trial on Thursday for conspiracy, fraud, money laundering and embezzlement alongside his wife and sister-in-law, who were also employed by the union.
In court filings, prosecutors describe a brazen abuse of power by a union leader and a stunning display of greed by a man accused of using union funds as a piggy bank for himself and his family. The feds say the family charged numerous personal expenses to the union and, when funds started to dwindle, rigged a union vote to raise dues against the wishes of the members.
Ahakuelo and his family members have pleaded not guilty, and he said they all plan to take the stand….
The trial is the culmination of over a decade of accusations against the former union boss.
In 2012, Ahakuelo was sued by a former union employee, Tommy Decano, who criticized Ahakuelo’s hiring of his wife and his “lavish spending” of union funds for new furniture, cars and airfare. Those accusations came only a year after Ahakuelo became business manager and financial secretary of the union in 2011.
Decano also alleged the union leader ordered the killing of people he didn’t like. Ahakuelo categorically denies the allegation, and a Honolulu police investigation into the claim was closed for a lack of evidence. Decano’s lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, and Decano died in 2019….
Ahakuelo stayed in his position with Local 1260 until he was forced out in 2016. That’s when the union says it discovered his alleged financial improprieties, put the union under a trusteeship and alerted law enforcement.
The decision to remove Ahakuelo, who was elected by unions members, was not taken lightly, according to Harold Dias, an international representative for the IBEW.
“It has to be something truly egregious for that to happen,” Dias said.
Ahakuelo, his wife and his sister-in-law were indicted in 2019. …
Raised in Pearl City, he followed in the footsteps of his father, Norman Ahakuelo, who was also a business manager for the electrical workers union.
Brian Ahakuelo is also the grandson of Benjamin Ahakuelo, one of the Hawaiian men falsely accused of rape in the infamous Thalia Massie case of the 1930s…
HNN: After years of delays, former union leader accused of misusing funds to head to trial
read … Fighting For Workers Or Fleecing Them? An Ousted Honolulu Union Boss Faces His Reckoning
Central Honolulu Rail Work Day and Night 24/7 for Next Four Years
SA: … Nan Inc.’s construction will include relocation for infrastructure such as storm drainage, sanitary sewer, water, gas, electrical and communication lines. The company also will be conducting roadway improvements.
Once the work begins, there will be multiple construction sites operating at once, which will include both daytime and nighttime work. HART anticipates periods of 24/7 construction in some areas as needed.
The construction will cause temporary closures of traffic lanes, sidewalks and on-street parking on the major thoroughfare.
HART is also working on similar utility relocation from Kaaahi Street along Nimitz Highway through the downtown area, and from Halekauwila to Cooke streets in Kakaako. Frank V. Coluccio Construction Co. began the downtown utility relocation in August.
There is a monthly virtual community meeting scheduled for the public to ask questions and receive updates from Coluccio about the downtown utility relocation. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, and participants can register at honolulutransit.org.
Monthly virtual informational meetings by Nan about the Dillingham relocation have not yet been scheduled….
The relocation of utilities along Dillingham Boulevard for the rail project should be underway ahead of schedule at the end of this year, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced Monday….Monday’s announcement updated that timeline with construction starting by the end of this year, to be completed by the first quarter of 2026….
read … Kalihi rail construction to start ahead of schedule
Did Red Hill Spill Kill Aloha Stadium Project?
SA: … The governor outlined his reasons for the shift away from the NASED plan in a guest column in Sunday’s Star-Advertiser. One reason he cited was potential problems with the housing component of the plan, which some proponents, including gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Josh Green, see as critical to the project’s success.
“Statewide, the lack of adequate infrastructure remains the biggest roadblock to developing more homes,” Ige wrote. “This is certainly true of the Aloha Stadium site where the existing infrastructure, specifically water and wastewater, (BINGO!) cannot support much-needed housing. I fully support a coordinated and accelerated effort to build out the needed infrastructure to develop homes in this prime location.”…
Jan 2022: Red Hill: BWS Smokes out Congress?
read … Gov. David Ige meets with Stadium Authority ahead of announcing his new direction for project
Another Endangered Species in Hawai‘i: Starter Homes
HB: … Hawaiʻi was one of only three states to see the number of approved home construction permits drop during the first seven months of 2022 compared with the same period in 2019, according to a recent study.
That shortage of new construction continues to help drive up the price of local homes: On O‘ahu, the median price for single-family homes rose to $1.1 million in September and the median price for condos hit $502,500….
Developer Christine Camp, president and CEO of Avalon Group, who began her career working with Castle & Cooke to develop Mililani Mauka, remembers that a single-family starter home with a yard and a garage could cost between $300,000 and $400,000 in the 1990s.
“Today, I think you’re lucky if you can deliver those homes for $700,000 to $1 million,” she says….
Camp says the price of land drives up the cost of building homes, but so do Hawai‘i’s onerous regulations on construction and zoning, mostly at the county level. For one of her company’s projects, the Hale Ka Lae condo in Hawai‘i Kai, the total of holding costs – loan payments and other expenses incurred during the pre construction period, which can be lengthy when permits are delayed – plus regulations added up to $111,811 per unit before one shovel of dirt was turned.
That means a house that takes 18 months to build costs more than the same house that takes eight months to build.
read … Another Endangered Species in Hawai‘i: Starter Homes
Gov. David Ige signs executive order to hide Abortion Info in Hawaii
SA: … Speakers at the news conference to discuss the order included Rep. Linda Ichiyama, Women’s Legislative Caucus co-convener and Dr. Reni Soon, OB/GYN…..
HTH: Under the executive order, information including medical records, data, or billing will be protected from other states that may seek to impose penalties on a person who travels to Hawaii for reproductive health services…A provision in the executive order states exceptions can be made when otherwise required by law or by order of a court.
PDF: EXECUTIVE ORDER 22-05 PROTECTING ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE SERVICES
SA: WATCH LIVE: Gov. David Ige discusses executive order to protect access to reproductive health care services in Hawaii
read … Gov. David Ige signs executive order to protect access to reproductive health care services in Hawaii
After One Year, CORE Program Removes Only 30 Chronics from Street--Emergency Services Says Giant Lunatic Asylum Needed
CB: … So far, more than 30 people have been taken off the streets since the program launched on Oct. 15, 2021, according to Jim Ireland, director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department that oversees CORE, adding that they’ve been placed in foster care, transitional housing, shelters and small house villages.
Although it may not sound like a lot, Ireland said most of them had been chronically homeless, meaning it’s usually hardest to find homes for them because they have underlying conditions such as mental illness, substance abuse or disabilities….
The dearth of shelters and specific services for people with mental health problems has hampered the program’s efforts, along with many other service providers.
Shelters have decreased capacity and limited staffing amid the coronavirus pandemic, leaving fewer beds for people experiencing homelessness.
Ireland said more shelter space would help CORE get people off the streets, suggesting building more tiny house villages like Hui Mahiai Aina in Waimanalo and repurposing the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe….
Last Wednesday, Hawaii reported having 39 vacancies in emergency shelters, while transitional shelters on Oahu had 63, according to city officials.
But Ireland said some shelters will not accept people who are unvaccinated, have pets, are sex offenders or have been banned from shelters in the past for bad behavior….
Oahu has only two inpatient psychiatric facilities on Oahu, including The Queen’s Medical Center and Adventist Health Castle. Ireland said there’s only so much space in these facilities, and often homeless people cannot transfer to a shelter or other facilities.
(AFTER 50 YEARS THEY FINALLY REALIZE CLOSING THE LUNATIC ASYLUMS WAS A VERY BAD IDEA.)
“It would be nice to have a place that is a bridge between the hospital and getting into some kind of structured living environment,” Ireland said. “What I like about the Kaneohe State Hospital is, people with mental health emergencies and decompensated mental illness need to be in a safe environment. They can’t be in a room where they can potentially hurt themselves.”…
MN: Homeless Dude accused of trespassing and trying to assault officer during arrest
read … Lack Of Shelter Space Poses A Challenge For Oahu’s Newest Homeless Program
Hawaii sees dramatic increase in fentanyl-related overdoses reported in September
HNN: … “I’ve gone to five in the past two weeks,” said Manahel Al-Hozail.
The Honolulu EMS paramedic says fentanyl was suspected in all of those cases. She added patients are popping up in communities across the island.
On Sunday, a 26-year-old man was found dead at a home in Hawaii Kai. Sources confirm a HAZMAT team discovered fentanyl at the scene.
It’s the second time in less than a week the drug has been linked to a deadly overdose on Oahu.
According to law enforcement, the other fatal OD happened Tuesday in Kaimuki….
HNN: Amid spike in deadly overdoses, DEA issues alert about online fentanyl sales
read … Hawaii sees dramatic increase in fentanyl-related overdoses reported in September
Contentious proposal to limit outdoor lighting on Maui clears final council reading
KHON: …After nine months of debate among Maui County Councilmembers, Bill 21, proposing further restrictions on outdoor lighting to protect native turtles and seabirds, passed its final reading Monday.
Five councilmembers voted in favor of the bill, Councilmembers Tamara Paltin and Gabe Johnson were excused, and Councilmembers Yuki Lei Sugimura and Tasha Kama voted against the measure. .
Nearshore properties would only have to comply during fledgling season, but hotels would have to do so all year round.
"This bill, as it is currently written, puts a heavy financial burden on our hotels, and more so, our small local businesses," Lahela Aiwohi of the Hawai'i Hotel Alliance asserted.
Disappointed hotel industry representatives argued the council should have consulted them and other impacted businesses more before voting on the bill….
MN: Measure restricts certain outdoor lighting
CB: New Law Will Make Maui Turn Down The Outdoor Lights To Protect Wildlife
read … Contentious proposal to limit outdoor lighting on Maui clears final council reading
City joins state in enforcement of illegal concrete pour at North Shore beachfront property
HNN: … the city Department of Planning and Permitting is issuing two notices of violation against the owner for building a concrete slab foundation without building permits and failing to apply for shoreline variances….
The city NOVs say the illegal work must be removed by Nov. 11, and a new permit must be obtained in order to remove the material. The notices do not state a potential fine, but do say the violations can be referred to the city prosecutors if not corrected.
Blangiardi met with the governor and state Land Board Chair Suzanne Case last week and says they agreed the city and state should work together on enforcement….
read … City joins state in enforcement of illegal concrete pour at North Shore beachfront property
General Election ‘Irrelevant’--Hawaii County Council Choses Leaders for Next Session
HTH: … Hamakua Councilwoman Heather Kimball has been selected chairwoman and North Kona Councilman Holeka Inaba vice chairman of the new County Council that will take office in December.
Kimball said the majority of incumbent and incoming council members voted on the new leadership. The group decided to go ahead with the leadership selection even though the Hilo District 2 seat has yet to be decided on.
“It’s really irrelevant,” Kimball said when asked why the council didn’t wait for the seat to be filled to allow that member to also participate. “I had the five votes and so did Holeka.”
The state Sunshine Law allows the County Council to meet outside the public view for the purpose of organizing themselves….
read … Kimball named chairwoman, Inaba vice chairman of incoming County Council
Hawaii’s hot tourism summer gives way to cooler fall
SA: … August hotel performance results were mixed across the islands, and hoteliers say some signs of slowing have emerged, with bookings decelerating for the fall and keeping the festive season in December and January from already being sold out.
Keith Vieira, principal of KV &Associates, Hospitality Consulting, said, “Advance bookings for fall started to slow in midsummer. The economy is a concern. Inflation is a concern.” …
CF: Student op-ed: Non-natives should honor Indigenous Peoples Day … by not traveling to Hawaii
read … Hawaii’s hot tourism summer gives way to cooler fall