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Sunday, November 6, 2022
November 6, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:30 PM :: 3716 Views

Too Late to Mail Ballots -- Cast in person at Voter Service Centers or Drop Boxes

Hawaii Supreme Court: Hawaii MDs Eligible for Enhanced Medicaid Payments

How to win the housing permitting game

The Empty Homes Tax

Green Abandons Democrat Coalition Building--Campaign based Entirely on Money and Media

Borreca: … Green has never been seen as a major political leader in the Legislature, although he used his status as a physician to push himself as a spokesperson for medical issues.

If Green never showed an interest in building local political coalitions or leading specific issues such as Native Hawaiian reparations, he has shown skill as a political fundraiser and tactical election strategist..…

(Translation: Money and media.)

As an emergency room doctor, Green was the natural fit to assume a leadership position in the COVID-19 crisis, but his input was first ignored by Gov. David Ige. As Green said at the time: “… I refuse to not be heard.”…

For Green, should he win, the focus would be on his Cabinet choices and how he will fulfill his campaign promise to dedicate his administration to addressing Hawaii’s housing crisis….

(Translation: Boost development.  See next article….)

June, 2022: Josh Green Owned and Operated by Carpenters Union, PRP

read … Josh Green has relied less on local coalition-building politics, more on targeted tactics and tasks

Wave of new hotel development on Oahu -- “It hasn’t been this way since the late ’70s”

SA: … Hawaii’s largest hotel market is about to get even bigger.

(Remember protests against ‘over tourism’?  It seems like a distant memory from long ago.)

There’s a wave of new hotel development on Oahu, where more than a dozen properties are in the planning or the construction pipeline with delivery goals between 2023 and 2027, according to data from Powell & Aucello, Hawaii Hotel Real Estate Advisors, founded in 2020 by former hotel executives Tim Powell and Kevin Aucello.

(IDEA: Lets stop this by blockading Waipio Valley, LOL!)

Over the past two dec­ades, Oahu lost more than 13% of its hotel inventory, but the island now is making up for lost ground. Powell and Aucello said the hotel construction pipeline is the largest on Oahu that they can recall since land-use policies tightened the barriers for hoteliers, especially in Waikiki, where the majority of the island’s hotels are located.

“It hasn’t been this way since the late ’70s,”Aucello said….

(IQ Test: Are you laughing?)

read … Oahu’s construction pipeline for hotel properties extends beyond Waikiki 

George Cooper On The Writing Of ‘Land And Power In Hawaii’

CB: … In looking back at the period in which Gavan and I wrote “Land and Power,” it is striking how during that period, to the best of my knowledge, no politician of either party was convicted of crimes based on corruption charges, whereas today such convictions are commonplace.

Charles Djou wrote in Civil Beat in February, “Last week a Honolulu city planning bureaucrat pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to illegally fix issuance of building permits. Yet, amidst the guilty pleas of former state Sen. Kalani English and former state Rep. Ty Cullen, mixed with federal indictments of multiple senior cabinet officials in Kirk Caldwell’s former mayoral administration, another state legislator escaping punishment for drunk driving, plus a former Honolulu police chief now in prison, this major news story was all but lost.” ….

read … George Cooper On The Writing Of ‘Land And Power In Hawaii’

Josh Green Will Manipulate Jail and Prison Construction to Ensure the Maximum Number of Criminals Released

CB: … Max Otani, the outgoing director of the state Department of Public Safety, has a wish list and a warning for the next governor of Hawaii.

The warning is that conditions have deteriorated inside Hawaii’s jails to the point that the threat of lawsuits and federal oversight of the facilities now “looms over the state,” according to Otani.

His answer to that threat is his wish list. He says all four of the state’s packed jails urgently need to be replaced with modern facilities, and the state must dramatically expand social service programs in the community — particularly programs for the mentally ill — to help steer people away from jail….

Green said in a written response to questions that he has already started planning for “a health care/homelessness/equal justice team that focuses on harm reduction and getting to the root causes of our systemic challenges. It will be led by mental health care experts and law enforcement leaders to guide our evolution of the penal system.”

(Translation: I will let lots and lots of criminals back out onto the streets.)

When asked to clarify that point — OCCC is a jail, not a prison — a spokeswoman for the Green campaign issued a second statement that “rehabilitation would be emphasized in any prison that is built. Reform of the Justice system means less pressure on people be held prior to that in jail settings.”

(Translation: I will let lots and lots of criminals back out onto the streets.)

The oversight commission has flagged overcrowding and atrocious conditions of confinement for inmates at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo, and Aiona believes the jails on the neighbor islands also need either new facilities or renovations.

“The last thing you want is a consent decree. I’m definitely going to make sure that we don’t get a consent decree on this” in which the federal courts again oversee the operations of state prisons or jails, Aiona said.

OCCC was subject to a federal consent decree for 15 years after the ACLU sued the state in 1984 over overcrowding and inadequate safety and programs at the facilities. If the Legislature resists spending money to improve conditions at the neighbor island jails, “you give them a little bit of history” that includes the story of that OCCC consent decree, Aiona said….

read … Hawaii’s New Governor Will Have To Make Some Hard Decisions On Crime And Punishment

Overregulated Legal marijuana boosts black market

Shapiro: … Recreational marijuana has effectively been legal in Hawaii for six years, since the Legislature established the state’s medical marijuana program.

Medical marijuana was originally intended for patients with severe diagnoses such as cancer, lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and rheumatoid arthritis.

But legislators threw it open by also allowing use for conditions such as pain, nausea and muscle spasms — symptoms anybody can say they have and are seldom challenged.

With these easy regulations, virtually everyone willing to invest about $250 annually for a brief health consult and a state card can buy marijuana at state-licensed dispensaries and use it however they wish. There are even arrangements for tourists.

Despite the loose rules, the medical program has been a disappointment.

Annual tax revenues are only about $2.5 million, not surprising since the state can hardly call it medicine and then slap “sin” taxes on it.

The dispensaries, meantime, complain that high overhead from state regulations prices their weed well above the still-thriving illegal market, greatly diminishing their sales.

Legalizing recreational marijuana wouldn’t solve the problem.

Sales would go up, but so would taxes, and prices from legal sellers would still be far higher than the black market, which Hawaii and other states have for decades failed to control despite millions in enforcement.

The industry can’t credibly argue that legalizing marijuana would have the benefit of decreasing pressure on the criminal justice system, and then demand a crackdown on the black market that would stress the system more.

The issue has moved slowly because Gov. David Ige opposes fully legalized pot, but Lt. Gov. Josh Green, the Democratic candidate to replace Ige, favors legalization….

read … Legal marijuana would bring us little high from tax bounty

Legal Weed? What Hawaii Can Learn From Other States

SHOPO: … what isn’t considered is the tremendous damage it has done in the other states that have legalized recreational cannabis. Consider these facts:

>> It’s dangerously addictive to youth. The risk to Hawaii’s youth is substantial, and though mentioned in the report it fails to seriously look at what has happened in other states that have legalized marijuana. For example, according to the latest school-based survey from Colorado, marijuana use has risen over the past two years by 21% among young people. The increase particularly affected young teens (15 and younger) who reported a 15% increase. Other findings indicate that marijuana is the most common drug found in the toxicology of teens who die by suicide.

>> It will lead to more crime. Proposition 64, California’s 2016 landmark cannabis initiative, sold voters on the promise that a legal market would cripple the drug’s outlaw trade, with its associated violence and environmental wreckage. Instead, the law triggered a surge in illegal cannabis California has never witnessed before. Rogue cultivation centers — many run by foreign drug cartels — have popped up all over rural California. The L.A. Times reports, “Outlaw grows have exacerbated cannabis-related violence, bringing shootouts, robberies, kidnappings and, occasionally, killings. Some surrounded residents say they are afraid to venture onto their own properties.” It is now estimated that illegal farms outnumber legal ones, 10 to 1. Don’t think Hawaii will escape this market reality.

>> Unrealistic expectation of regulation. Hawaii is ill-equipped to properly regulate the use of recreational cannabis. One look at the sky over Honolulu on New Year’s Eve will tell you government can do little to regulate much of anything. And the risk of corruption grows exponentially as the introduction of legalized marijuana in several states has led to international cartels setting up shop with little that can be done to stop them. In California, a county sheriff said, “It’s like taking on a gargantuan army with a pocketknife.” And mind you, the Honolulu Police Department is short about 300 officers, as is.

>> Black-market weed outsells state-sanctioned dispensaries. As in California, the latest data in Hawaii indicates that the eight cannabis dispensaries that were set up to control the safety and quality of marijuana to users has fallen far short of its goals. Dispensaries complain of the stringent government regulations that have made their prices unable to compete with black-market marijuana, which is now the supplier of choice for most marijuana users….

read … Don’t legalize recreational pot in isles

Kaua‘i Turnout lagging

TGI: … With the election just two days away, County of Kaua‘i voter turnout has lagged behind statewide numbers.

Kaua‘i County Elections Administrator Lyndon Yoshioka reported that Kaua‘i election turnout was 23 percent as of Wednesday night, compared with 27 percent statewide.

  • Ballots mailed: 41,167
  • Ballots received: 9,449
  • Voted in-person: 232

read … Kaua‘i elections by the numbers: Turnout lagging; council incumbents spend big

5,577 students statewide held back a year

HTH: … The number of students repeating grades for the 2021-22 school year in Hawaii County more than doubled from the year before.

Statewide, that number nearly doubled as well, according to recent data from the state Department of Education.

During the 2020-21 school year, 2,814 students statewide were held back. That number jumped to 5,577 students in 2021-22. For Hawaii County, 407 students were held back during the 2020-21 school year, but that number rose to 1,045 students in 2021-22.

West Hawaii Complex Area Superintendent Janette Snelling believes the pandemic is largely responsible for the increase….

“In some cases, distance learning contributed to grade retention due to students not progressing/earning credits while enrolled in online learning courses,” she said. “Grade retention is an option; however, it is always considered after all other supports are exhausted.”…

Meanwhile: Fake it to Make it: The whole DoE gets shut down and test scores don’t drop

read … More than 1,000 Big Island students held back a year

30,000 Flight Delays--Honolulu Runway Closure To Wreak Havoc Into 2023

BH: …  We’ve found our way to the cause of Hawaii flight delays which have been virtually nonstop for the past six months. And, unfortunately, the news isn’t great.

There were 339 additional Hawaii flight delays on Wednesday and Thursday.

We hazard to guess how many Hawaii flight delays there have been since this mess started last spring, but the number may well exceed 30,000 flights at this point….

There is a problem with snowballing delays throughout the day which is hammering flights, especially the short-duration, rapid-turn, interisland flights….

We reached out to the DOT airport manager’s office today and inquired about the scope and duration of the airport runway closure. We were told that the runway repair is an enormous project, and there is no completion date yet defined when the airport’s primary runway will reopen. When we asked if it would continue well into 2023, we were told it definitely would….

We have to wonder what DOT was thinking when deciding to do this work now. Wouldn’t it have been better to do it when Hawaii travel was nonexistent during Covid?…

the 8L runway closure is huge for both Hawaiian Airlines and for HNL airport and the other carriers. When asked how much of the airport’s total runway capacity was lost by the outage, he said it actually represents more than 50% because of how the terminal-adjacent runways including 8L are used in tandem.

He, too, had heard that the runway would be down for some time, perhaps a year, and suggested that if Hawaiian indeed alters their schedule, possibly pushing back all interisland flights by 10 minutes, that might greatly reduce the backup. Mainland flights, which have a much longer turnaround time, are less adversely impacted by this situation he said….

read … Massive Honolulu Airport Closure To Wreak Havoc Into 2023

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