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Sunday, November 13, 2022
November 13, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:05 PM :: 4322 Views

Getting Permitting Out of Home Maintenance

Bipartisan O‘ahu

Josh Green transition committee ‘heavy with lobbyists and political consultants’

Shapiro: … A downside of Green’s success in amassing millions more than his opponents in campaign donations, as well as the vast majority of endorsements, is that he’s more in debt to more special interests than perhaps any previous incoming governor.

This is reflected in the transition committee he named to advise on his hiring, which is heavy with lobbyists and political consultants. Some state legislators are reported to be under consideration for key appointments.

Green risks an early blow to his credibility and agenda if his appointments are perceived to be based more on politics than ability….

Q: Who will be on the transition team?

A: The Transition Team is being led by:

Fun read: “Source: Esther Kia’aina and Andy Winer Warned Jim Lyon About Investigation

read … Josh Green’s knack for building support

Crime News: Tupola on Rothman Payroll

SA: … Tupola donated to Rothman’s campaign and he, in turn, paid Tupola $32,000 to serve as a consultant …. 

Fun Read: “Interview: Drug Dealing N. Shore Anti-GMO Leader Has 'Penchant for Violence'

Fun Fact: Tupola’s husband is an HPD officer.

read … Crime News

Aiona won 20 of the state’s 248 precincts

HTH: … Aiona picked up 20 of the state’s 248 precincts, according to a West Hawaii Today analysis of precinct reports released late Wednesday by the state Office of Elections. The majority of those were on Oahu, which saw a minor Republican renaissance, both in the governor’s race and the state Legislature. Those precincts were clustered in the northeast corner, as well as the Waianae area and south along the island’s west coast.

Oahu also was friendlier to Republicans in legislative races, increasing the number of GOP legislators heading to the state Capitol from five to eight.

“There’s little pockets out there that are Republican.. … It’s still possible, even for the most one-party state in the country for somebody to win if in fact they’re attractive and they work hard,”….

Only one Big Island precinct preferred Aiona. Tiny Precinct 05-04, between Mountain View and Volcano, with just 19 registered voters, delivered all two of the gubernatorial ballots cast to Aiona. Green got none. On Maui, one precinct, 09-01, preferred Aiona, awarding him 52 votes to Green’s 28.

Off the west coast of Kauai, the Republican stronghold of Niihau, the “Forbidden Island,” Precinct 17-06 reported 25 votes to Aiona, with Green scoring four….

LINK: MAP

read … Aiona picked up 20 of the state’s 248 precincts

Shakedown: Pohakuloa Lease up in 2029

SA: … The training range includes 23,000 acres of former Hawaiian crown lands, also known as ceded lands, that the state leased to the military in 1964 for just $1. The state has since designated the leased land as a conservation district. Over the years the Army has faced lawsuits and investigations over its management of the vast area it controls there.

The lease expires in 2029 and the Army is making its pitch to keep it. The state parcel sits between two federally owned pieces of land that make up the training area. Army officials call the leased land “the connective tissue” of PTA.

As part of the required environmental review process to renew the lease, the Army issued a draft environmental impact statement regarding its future plans earlier this year and requested feedback. State lawmakers and agencies responded to the draft EIS with scathing assessments, accusing the Army of data gaps regarding the effects of its activities on endangered species, a lack of clarity on ordnance cleanup plans and other concerns (not paying enough)…. 

SA Editorial: More safeguards for Pohakuloa

read … State officials, Hawaiian activists voice concern over Army’s Pohakuloa training site

Oahu problem properties owe $130 million in building fines to city--$15.8M for not cutting grass

SA: … The largest fine total for a single property — $15.8 million — was levied on a vacant lot in Kalihi Valley, whose owners were cited for a number of violations but mainly for overgrown weeds. A property in Kahuku racked up $1.6 million in fines largely due to being an illegal short-term rental….

In fact, largely across the board, landowners with outstanding fines over $100,000 rarely made any payments to DPP. The largest was $126,000 paid by a Waialua property landowner, who still owes $3.4 million.

DPP acting Director Dawn Takeuchi said the large fines were allowed to accumulate under former department policies that reduced fines by as much as 90% to 95% if owners agreed to correct the violations….

Choon James, a real estate broker and community activist, criticized DPP’s previous lack of standard procedures for fine collection. “There is a huge inconsistency. It seems like some people get punished and some get away with it,” she said.

She also was wary of any policies mandating foreclosures or liens when property owners don’t pay city fines….

She pointed to a Hauula property that was the subject of a Honolulu City Council resolution passed in February authorizing foreclosure because the owner had racked up more than $400,000 in fines for having several unpermitted structures, conducting unpermitted grading and storing construction materials on agricultural land.

Choon, who has been trying to help the landowner, said that although he did violate building codes, she wanted to know why his property was facing foreclosure while others with higher amounts of unpaid fines were not.

Takeuchi explained that community concerns largely drive how aggressively the department goes after properties with substantial fines….

City Council Member Heidi Tsuneyoshi, who put the Hauula foreclosure resolution before the Council, said at the time she did so because the violations on the property were so egregious.

THE NUMBER of Oahu properties with outstanding fines over $100,000 varies across each district.

According to DPP data, Tsuneyoshi’s District 2, which encompasses the North Shore, had 51 properties owing at least $100,000 for building violations. District 1, which covers the west side of Oahu, had the second-highest number at 41 properties. And District 3 in Windward Oahu had the third highest at 38 properties.

Tsuneyoshi did not have any comment about the high number of properties in her district with large fines, but North Shore Neighborhood Board member Racquel Achiu said she has noticed many illegal structures going up in the community…. 

SA Editorial: Break costly cycle of Department of Planning and Permitting violations

8th Amendment: “…nor excessive fines be imposed….”

read … Oahu problem properties owe $130 million in building fines to city

Honolulu City Council To Take Up Restricting Guns In ‘Sensitive Places’

CB: … Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed revised concealed carry gun permit rules last week that will allow permitted applicants on Oahu to carry guns in public places.

But the mayor also wants to place restrictions on certain sensitive places including schools, government buildings, parks and on public transportation and has asked the Honolulu City Council to consider an ordinance that would make it illegal to have concealed guns in those areas.

Now that the revised rules have been approved, the Honolulu Police Department is expected to begin issuing permits soon to the some 575 applicants on the waiting list that qualify.

The City Council has scheduled a first reading of the bill for 10 a.m. Nov. 29 in the council chambers at Honolulu Hale. The proceedings will be broadcast live on honolulucitycouncil.org or via Olelo Community Media Channel 54.

Written and in-person testimony will be accepted on the measure…. 

KHON: HCC ponders sensitive places bill for concealed carry

read … Honolulu City Council To Take Up Restricting Guns In ‘Sensitive Places’

Everyone Says We Need More Affordable Housing. But Oahu Voters Said No To More Money

CB: … The charter amendment rejected by Oahu voters last week proposed to increase the percentage of real property tax money that the city would deposit into the city’s Affordable Housing Fund. Instead of getting 0.5% of the total property taxes Honolulu collects each year, the fund would have gotten 1%. That would have amounted to an estimated $8 million more a year.

Proponents noted that taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay more in taxes under the amendment, while opponents noted the extra tax money steered to the fund would mean less money for other city services.

In the end, voters opposed the measure 129,097 to 120,770, a 3.1 percentage point difference….

the closeness of the vote shows it could be worthwhile for the City Council to put the measure on the ballot again….

SA: Concerns about flexibility helped sink affordable housing amendment

read … Everyone Says We Need More Affordable Housing. But Oahu Voters Said No To More Money

820 seek lava buyouts: Final application phase for county’s Kilauea disaster recovery program closes

HTH: … More than 800 victims of the 2018 Kilauea eruption are hoping Hawaii County will buy their properties after the final application phase for the Voluntary Housing Buyout Program ended last month.

The program — which allows owners of properties damaged, isolated or destroyed by the eruption to sell their lots to the county for up $230,000 — began in 2021 and had three application phases. When the final application phase ended on Oct. 31, the county had a total of 820 active applications…

“The numbers are a bit higher than we expected,” said Recovery Officer Douglas Le. He said that a February 2021 survey indicated that about 600 people were interested in participating the program. “So, the total number is a bit higher than that survey, but still not as high as it could have been.”

Of the 820 applications, 311 are from owners of primary residences impacted by the eruption. Only primary homeowners were allowed to apply during the program’s first phase, which ran from May 2021 through July 2021, and are therefore the only applicants who have actually received buyouts so far.

Le said that as of last week, the county has closed deals with 75 of the 311 primary residence applicants, with an average buyout price of $180,000.

He said that the county recovery team is aiming for a consistent rate of closing 10 deals per week, which should clear the bulk of the primary residential applications by the early summer of 2023. After that, he said the team should be able to transition smoothly to processing applications from owners of secondary homes….

read … 820 seek lava buyouts: Final application phase for county’s Kilauea disaster recovery program closes

Kauai Blonde Sovereignty Squatters Block Property Owner

TGI: … The attempted eviction was led by private contractors hired by landowners Eugene and Ekaterina Mironer, with support of law enforcement from the state Department of Public Safety. They were enforcing a writ of possession established in Lihu‘e Circuit Court earlier this year, which was initiated because of an illegal structure that put owners at risk of fines, contractors said.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, a crew of state law enforcement officers arrived at the site on Ananalu Road, and found the property vacant. Most left shortly thereafter, leaving the operation in the hands of private contractor Marshall Allen, who laid out his plan for the eviction early Thursday morning.

“Now we have to start securing the perimeter, make sure there’s nobody on premises,” he said. “Put up no trespassing signs. If anybody violates those, they’ll be arrested. We’ll be removing all personal items and putting them in storage, and tearing down the structure.”

That plan did not come to fruition.

As contractors begin roping off the area and placing items in a U-Haul truck, neighbors Juan Gomez and Louise Sauson took note of the operation and alerted other members of the group.

“We are taking care of this ‘aina,” said Sauson, a vocal leader of the group, who also filmed the event.

A steady stream of neighbors began to arrive, until there were about 20 people on-site protesting the eviction….

read … Demonstration prevents eviction at Hawaiian cultural site in Wainiha

County hires security for Waipi‘o Valley Lookout

HTH: … As of Saturday, private security guards are posted at the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout from 3:30 p.m. to midnight, Mayor Mitch Roth told the Tribune-Herald on Friday.

According to Maurice Messina, the county Parks and Recreation director, the cost to the county is $37 an hour….

“They are there to enforce the mayor’s emergency rules on the county road after county workers knock off for the day,” Messina said. He added the county’s Waipi‘o resource rangers are there every day from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

”And what has happened is, we’ve noticed that in those afternoon hours up until the late night, there have been people coming in and not following the mayor’s (emergency rules). And so, what we want to do is supplement the rangers during that time to make sure that the mayor’s proclamations are being followed.”…

“If you’re a Hawaii resident, you can still go down there. If people are going down there, they shouldn’t go down without a four-wheel drive,” Roth said. “The road is still dangerous. We’re not inviting people down there, because there are still gates down there at the bottom blocking off private property, which may be property that goes out to the ocean. So, there may not be a route to the ocean unless people are walking to the ocean from the gates.”….

read … County hires security for Waipi‘o Valley Lookout

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