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Wednesday, October 19, 2022
October 19, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:32 PM :: 2096 Views

Interior Department Announces Development of First-Ever Consultation Policy with Native Hawaiian Community

Hawaii Family Forum 2022 General Election Voter Guide

Do the right thing for Maui housing, not just ‘something’

OHA Panel Discussion TONIGHT -- ʻŌlelo channel 53 at 7pm

Federal Court: Honolulu's 3-Month Minimum Rental Term Preempted By State Law

'Creating safe spaces for LGBTQ' -- DoE Signs Statewide K-12 Mental Tele-Health Contract

Felony Record: Alleged Fentanyl Trafficker was HOPE Probationer 

Maui Bill 107 to change affordable housing guidelines

Ige ‘racing to the finish’ with to-do list before Carpenters Union Takes Over

HNN: … “We are racing to the finish,” said Ige (owned by HSTA). “It seems like every week it accelerates faster and faster and faster to Dec. 5.”

In the latest controversy, Ige is trying to get an agreement on a traditional construction model for a $350 million stadium in Halawa instead of a private-public partnership (before Josh Green, owned by Carpenters union, takes over).

“The University of Hawaii needs commitment of a new stadium to maintain the Division 1 status,” said Ige.

His administration is also trying to finalize a proposed agreement on a $35 million Hawaii Tourism Authority marketing contract between Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

“We are wanting to make sure that we can execute and award a contract in a way that’s consistent with the law,” said Ige….

Ige says he’s not worried that Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who’s the front-runner in the race for governor, would suddenly change course in the stadium or tourism marketing projects.

(TRANSLATION: Green is owned and operated by the Carpenters’ Union.  Ige is trying to limit their options by leaving them with faits accomplis.)

His (HSTA-owned) administration needs to finish releasing the $300 rebate checks which were delayed because of supply chain issues and he’s working on raises for nearly 9,000 veteran teachers. Payments are expected next month….

read … Ige ‘racing to the finish’ with to-do list for final weeks in office

Carpenters Union Plants Article at Civil Beat: Wants ‘Regulatory Sandbox’ for Construction Industry

CB: … From those in the construction industry suffering from the rising costs of raw materials to the tourism firms that are unsure if anyone can afford to travel to their resorts, the cost of living hits businesses hard.

If businesses don’t know how much they’ll have to pay on their fixed overhead expenses over the next year, how can they make future plans and take the risks of hiring employees or expanding? Although there are some grants available, more could be done.

Hawaii has already started creating a regulatory sandbox for crypto companies.

A common area to look at is reducing business regulations where possible. While this doesn’t remove uncertainty entirely, it means businesses have fewer costs to deal with. Another area to pay attention to may be Hawaii’s zoning regulations, which are notoriously stringent and often blamed for increasing the cost of housing.

A unique solution that has sprung up over the last couple of years is regulatory sandboxes, which reduce the usual barriers to entry for new businesses. Some states have experimented with them, and Hawaii has already started creating a regulatory sandbox for crypto companies.

It may be worth considering a similar measure for other industries to encourage innovation, which could also promote job growth. For instance, Utah introduced an industry-wide regulatory sandbox, which allows new businesses across any sector to test out their idea (as long as it’s deemed that it doesn’t carry health, safety, or well-being concerns).

Tennessee is also considering a broad regulatory sandbox — could Hawaii take a similar route?

Naturally, the state needs to help existing businesses, and not just new entrepreneurs.

(Editor’s Note: According to his website, the author, David Cotriss, writes “corporate and marketing video scripts” for a fee. “All content is done with strategy in mind.”  Therefore, obviously, this Civil Beat column is paid for by the Carpenters’ Union which will take control of the 5th Floor on Dec 6 when Josh Green is sworn in.  Cotriss is obviously outlining part of the Carpenters Union agenda for the upcoming Legislative Session.  You have been warned.)

read … How Hawaii Can Overcome Economic Uncertainty

Next Hawaii Governor May Pick Three Supreme Court Justices

CB: … By law, judges and justices have to retire by age 70.  Here is a list, do the math….

Oct 14, 2022: Nominations Open for Associate Justice, Hawaii Supreme Court

read … Next Hawaii Governor May Pick Three Supreme Court Justices

Sea Level Hysteria Becomes Excuse for Kauai to Make Housing Even More Expensive

CB: … Owners must now hoist up new construction on stilts in areas susceptible to impacts from a projected 3.2-foot increase in sea level by 2100. The mandate also applies to rebuilds where the cost of improvements to a structure equals or exceeds 50% of the market value….

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami signed the legislation into law on Friday, making Kauai one of the first counties in the nation to regulate construction based on the (non-existent) future impacts of two (four) menacing symptoms of sea level rise (hysteria): the belief in elves, passive flooding, fairies, and annual high-wave run up….

(What they really believe is that if they can make Kauai more expensive, they can drive the riff-raff out.  And they’re right about that.  Las Vegas awaits you.)

TGI: Kawakami signs sea level rise bill into law

read … Kauai Plans For Sea Level Rise With New Building Standards

Maui: New law will change way affordable home prices are determined

MN: … Bill 107 creates new guidelines for the sales price of county-subsidized housing units and provides a program within the Home Acquisition and Ownership Programs Revolving Fund to help homebuyers when a developer does not receive direct county subsidies, according to the county….

The bill adjusts the guidelines to include a maximum monthly payment — including principle, interest, taxes and insurance — of 31 percent of the homeowner’s income in county-subsidized developments..

Linda Munsell, deputy director of the Department of Housing and Human Concerns, has estimated that the new sales price calculations will reduce the cost of affordable homes by an average of 22 percent, according to a county news release….

Sales price guidelines for 2022 estimate that a family making $60,000 annually could pay $289,100 for a three-bedroom home. The new guidelines would bring the price closer to $157,000 for the same family. Similar reductions would occur at all qualifying income levels. The new guidelines will take effect when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announces the 2023 area median income numbers in the spring….

read … New law will change way affordable home prices are determined

Should Cost Of Maui County Charter Amendments Be Made Public Before Election Day?

CB: … Voters will decide on a proposal that would require the county auditor to calculate cost estimates of proposed charter amendments before they go on the ballot….

read … Should Cost Of Maui County Charter Amendments Be Made Public Before Election Day?

Big Island takes lead over Maui in concealed gun permits; none issued on Oahu and Kauai

KHON: … Maui was first out of the gate to grant them earlier this fall but the Big Island has taken the lead, with 19 issued and 31 pending. Maui issued 11, with 89 waiting. Thirty-five people on Kauai applied, with none issued there. Also, none issued on Oahu where 535 applications have piled up.

“Only two counties have issued them. That’s a worry,” said Andrew Namiki Roberts, with the Hawaii Firearms Coalition. “We shouldn’t have four different policies for issuing permits. The state law is the same across the state. The regulations and rules for getting them should be uniform.”

Earlier this month the Honolulu Police Department held a hearing about concealed carry rules and had originally targeted month-end for issuance but now HPD told KHON2:

“We are presently working with the Department of Corporation Counsel to consider changes to reflect the concerns that were raised at the public hearing.  The rules are expected to be finalized in the near future.”

There is no set timeline for issuance.

As for Kauai, the other county not yet issuing, here’s what Kauai Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck told KHON2 this week about next steps:

“We are in the we are in the final stages of identifying and producing some training for our police officers. We want to make sure that we educate people how to have those safe interactions and how to respond when you see somebody now who is legally carrying a firearm in the state of Hawaii, which is very uncomfortable for a lot of people and a new experience for all of us.” ….

read … Big Island takes lead over Maui in concealed gun permits; none issued on Oahu and Kauai

Sensitive places bill for open carry advances on Big Island

KHON: … The Hawaii County Council Parks and Recreation and Public Safety Committee passed a bill Tuesday that defines sensitive places where concealed carry would be banned.

One change to the original bill, which was postponed earlier in October over concerns that it was too restrictive, includes schools, daycare centers and churches.

“So we added the clause, except where permission is granted by the institution,” said Aaron Chung, Hawaii County Councilmember….

“So if you’re one of the supporters who think that having this bill was going to keep you from having firearms in your vicinity, that’s wrong,” said Justin Arnold, a testifier. “Criminals don’t care about the law.”….

Meanwhile, Honolulu City Council has received a similar bill from Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, but Maui and Kauai Counties don’t have sensitive places bills planned….

read … Sensitive places bill for open carry advances on Big Island

Panel Report:  To Let Lots and Lots of Criminals Back out onto the street, Start Over On Plan For A New Oahu Jail

CB: … A new report written by the soft-on crime crowd will be the artificial focus of legislative discussions this coming session on a long touted and often criticized new Oahu jail facility….  The purpose: Obstruct jail construction in order to enhance overcrowding, thus improve the chances of releasing lots and lots of criminals back out on to the streets….

read … Panel Report: Start Over On Plan For A New Oahu Jail

DEA makes multiple fentanyl arrests after several overdoses on Oahu

KITV: … Court documents show Bronson "Bronzy" Kepa'a, and Matthew "Debo" McBraun, were both tied to getting the drug on Hawaii's streets.

Court documents show Kepa'a was arrested on Kamahao Place in Pearl City last Wednesday.

Federal agents found 61 grams of fentanyl, and more than a kilo of crystal methamphetamine in his home….

Officers also found a hand gun in his apartment.

Kepa'a is currently in federal custody, and being held without bail….

KHON: After a person overdosed earlier this month, the victim’s grandmother and his phone was recovered by the Drug Enforcement Administration which allegedly led authorities to Sajib Anas who was arrested and charged with distribution….

(It’s amazing what happens when they actually work a drug case back up the chain like they are supposed to.)

read … DEA makes multiple fentanyl arrests after several overdoses on Oahu

DoH Retaliation: Worker Forced out for Questioning Tele-Health Psychiatry

CB: … The situation on Lanai was complicated by staffing issues within the Adult Mental Health Division, which is the state provider of services for uninsured or underinsured adults diagnosed with a serious mental illness.

Iannitello, who still works for the AMHD on Maui, declined to comment for this story, according to DOH spokeswoman Kaitlin Arita-Chang. But AMHD Chief Administrator Amy Curtis said the agency made a clinical decision in late 2020 to temporarily switch patients to a new psychiatrist in Michigan.

“The team felt that this was the best care that they could deliver,” she said, adding that the agency has long relied on a mix of employees and temporary fill-ins to meet patient needs.

But some AMHD patients on Lanai say they also feel forsaken for another reason.

The agency lost its only Lanai-based staff member when Gima retired in August 2021 from the position he had held for 31 years after he was suspended for insubordination over his opposition to outsourcing mental health services for Lanai patients.

Gima was suspended for five months in November 2020 after he apologized in an unauthorized letter to Lanai patients for what he called the “haphazard” change in delivery of their treatment. He wrote that he and Iannitello opposed the change, were never consulted about it and did not know what triggered it. He also informed patients of their right to appeal.

Gima was suspended again in June 2021 for sending a personal email to a nurse at the Maui Community Mental Health Center in which he questioned the impact of the change on the quality of patient care. He retired during his second suspension.

Since then, AMHD has not had any full-time staff based on Lanai for the first time since 1990….

CB: Breaking Point: Specialists, Broadband and the Fight for Health Equity in Rural America

read … Why This Hawaiian Island Has To Outsource Psychiatric Care

Maui County program that allows homeless to sleep in cars Delayed by Political Games

HNN: … Councilwoman Kelly King introduced a resolution urging the mayor to provide greater transparency regarding the project. She said key stakeholders were not consulted and called the mayor’s news conference a surprise.

“The process has not been transparent, and I’m concerned that our will as a council is not being followed,” King said in the meeting.

The program was intended to help working people who simply cannot afford housing. The county even planned to set up porta-potties.

The Cameron Center is centrally located and close to social service providers.

Supporters of the project were outraged at Tuesday’s meeting.

“The process was screwed up,” said Napili resident Junya Nakoa. “I’m passionate about this because some of my aunties live in their cars. They have jobs, but now it’s not going to happen.”

A vote to adopt Councilmember King’s resolution that caused the delay failed.

County officials said after Tuesday’s failed vote, the administration will now resume its work with the Cameron Center….

read … Delay in Maui County program that allows homeless to sleep in cars overnight stirs concern

Defendant in 2019 invasion of OHA office Says he is Above the law

ILind: … Ene Faletogo, who faces two counts of kidnapping, a Class A felony, and a single count of second degree assault, a Class C felony, says the court lacks jurisdiction over him.

Faletogo “asserts that he is a sovereign minister of the Kingdom of Atooi,” and “the Kingdom of Atooi is not subject to the jurisdiction of this court,” according to an October 4th declaration filed in court by Nelson Goo, Faletogo’s court appointed attorney.

Goo’s declaration accompanies a motion asking the court to allow Jahmana M.J. Viloria to appear in court as Faletogo’s personal spokesman and representative to argue the issue of lack of jurisdiction. The declaration does not include any relevant information on Viloria’s training, experience, education, or background.

An entry on Linkedin.com identifies Mele (Jahmana) Viloria as CEO of Purple Corn Productions, and a musician and engineer.

The listing says Viloria has served as director Of strategic communications for the “Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi/Hawaiian Kingdom” since 2018….

All of this might make for good political theater, but it’s an argument that is all but dead on arrival, and will get nowhere in court…..

read … Defendant in 2019 invasion of OHA office claims state court has no jurisdiction

Navy says it’s legally barred from paying state’s $8.7M fine for wastewater violations

SA: … The Navy is contesting an $8.7 million fine for Clean Water Act violations and alleged deficiencies at its Pearl Harbor-­Hickam wastewater treatment system, arguing that the penalty levied by the state Department of Health is legally prohibited because the state is barred from seeking punitive fines.

DOH fined the Navy in September for 766 counts of discharging undertreated sewage into the ocean between January 2020 and July 2022, in addition to 229 counts of operational and maintenance failures at its Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam wastewater treatment plant. DOH ordered the Navy to do extensive repairs to prevent a catastrophic failure. The Navy had 20 days to contest the order.

On Oct. 11, Navy Capt. Cameron Geertsema sent a letter to DOH requesting a hearing to dispute the fine and reach a resolution. He wrote that the Navy wants to “better understand your goals and incorporate those into a resolution that addresses recent incidents in a sound, environmentally compliant, cost effective, and timely manner.”….

read … Navy says it’s legally barred from paying state’s $8.7M fine for wastewater violations

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