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Monday, December 5, 2022
December 5, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:08 PM :: 1564 Views

Ethics Comm Dings Teacher for Accepting $16K

Critical Race Theory Programs at UH Med School

Ige Announces Completion of over 600,000 Refunds to Hawaii Taxpayers

Inauguration of Green and Luke set for today

SA: … Gov.-elect Josh Green and Lt. Gov.-elect Sylvia Luke are scheduled to be sworn in to Hawaii’s highest offices today in an inauguration ceremony at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena to include the Royal Hawaiian Band, the Roosevelt High School String Quartet and the Hawaii National Guard Joint Color Guard &Royal Guard.

The public is invited to the ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m., with Luke and Green scheduled to be sworn in at noon.

Doors open at 9 a.m., and parking is available at the Blaisdell Center and on adjacent streets….

LIVE: Josh Green to be inaugurated as Hawaii’s 9th governor

HNN: 24 hours before transitioning between Hawaii Governors, David Ige says his goodbyes

CB: Danny De Gracia: Josh Green Has Big Shoes To Fill As Governor

read … Inauguration of Green and Luke set for today

Hawaii Tourism Authority Secret Meeting With Ige, McCartney

SA: … The Hawaii Tourism Authority has called a special board meeting for Wednesday to discuss extending the U.S. tourism contract while it sorts out a procurement protest and other irregularities a week after a secret meeting with the outgoing governor and the director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism….

The closed-door meeting is drawing broad criticism from members of Hawaii’s visitor industry, given that the process thus far has been mired by a lack of transparency. Critics say the eleventh-hour timing also is questionable given that Gov. David Ige’s term and DBEDT Director Mike Mc­Cartney’s appointment will have ended before the HTA board takes a vote.

HTA Public Affairs Officer Ilihia Gionson said in an email, “The meeting was legal, permissible under HRS section 92-2.5(f), an exemption from sunshine law requirements for disclosure, agendizing and minutes-taking. Under that statutory provision, the purpose and matters discussed are confidential. No board action was taken at this meeting with the Governor.”…

(Know them by what they deny.)

Gionson said no official action was taken on the contract during the meeting with Ige. The subject is on the agenda for a special board meeting on Wednesday (bit.ly/3ulDNBc).

Given the agenda, it’s likely that during the closed-door meeting McCartney updated the HTA board members who were present on his plan to cancel CNHA’s award and issue a third request for proposals for the lucrative contract — this time for two separate contracts, with one focused on destination management and the other on brand management or marketing.

It was revealed Nov. 28 during a Senate Committee on Ways and Means information briefing that McCartney had been working on a deal to up the procurement award for the U.S. tourism contract to $40 million and split it into a destination management contract for CNHA and a branding contract for HVCB.

But Bonnie Kahakui, acting administrator of the state Procurement Office, told WAM that the award could not be split into two contracts since the solicitation had been for only one award.

Gov. Josh Green, who is taking office today, said whatever processes Ige chooses are between him and his team, although Green said he would prefer that Ige’s administration leave the large decisions for the incoming team.

He told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that he still believes that mediation can provide a pathway forward for CNHA and HVCB to work together.

“I appreciate all the parties being willing to work together under the new leadership that we hope to bring,” Green said. “I’ve already asked my nominated director of DBEDT, Chris Sadayasu, to confer with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, our incoming Attorney General team, the procurement team and, if necessary, the legislative leadership so that we can make sure that we do it well under the rules in a fair way and also hopefully through mediation. I don’t want to delay a solution, and we need to have these teams actively promoting Hawaii.”

It’s unclear whether Mc­Cartney’s push to rescind CNHA’s U.S. tourism contract award and move toward a third solicitation will stick or whether Sadayasu, the new head of purchasing agency for DBEDT, will manage to mediate an agreement between HTA and the offerers.

Green said it will be Sadayasu’s role to make sure that procurement rules are followed and that DBEDT and HTA are positioned well for promotion of Hawaii and proper tourism management….

read … Hawaii Tourism Authority calls for special meeting on U.S. tourism contract

Hu Honua Illegal Lobbying Scheme Exposed

CB: … Before long, the real reason for Johnson’s visit became clear. The former Phoenix Suns point guard and first Black mayor of Sacramento was there to discuss Hu Honua, a controversial bioenergy project struggling to get off the ground on Hawaii island.

The retired basketball great told Potter he was looking forward to her support on the project.

“They were already starting to lobby me, and they were using him as that person,” Potter told Civil Beat.

Potter told the PUC’s chief counsel about Johnson’s visit. The lawyer told her to stop communicating with Johnson. Talking to a commissioner about a pending matter is like trying to gain a judge’s ear about a matter before the court.

Johnson continued to reach out to the commissioner by phone. Potter, who stepped down from the PUC in November, said she told Johnson she couldn’t speak with him. Hu Honua’s application for a long-sought power purchase agreement was being litigated before the Supreme Court and it might end up back at the PUC, which is exactly what happened.

But Johnson wanted Potter on his side. A yes vote from Potter would be crucial for winning PUC approval for a 30-year energy contract between Hu Honua and Hawaiian Electric.

Johnson’s efforts to win Potter to Hu Honua’s side were part of a pattern. In early 2017, the former athlete and politician was a year out from his second term as Sacramento mayor and starting to establish himself in the business world. He’s since gone on to open restaurants and launch a venture capital firm to assist Black entrepreneurs. When Johnson stopped by Potter’s office, he had recently landed a role with one of the country’s wealthiest families.

Johnson had become the Hawaii point person for Jennifer Johnson, daughter of billionaire Charles B. Johnson. Her family built and owns a large share of Franklin Templeton Investments, one of the world’s largest money managers. Jennifer Johnson was funding Hu Honua and chose Kevin Johnson – no relation – to make the project happen. His goal was to win public and government support, along with regulatory approval, of Hu Honua….

read … Out-Of-Bounds? NBA Star Kevin Johnson Pushes Hard As Point Man For Hawaii Energy Project

Why Is Hawaii Still Suffering From High Oil Prices When The Mainland Has Dropped?

CB: … As crude oil and gasoline prices drop on the mainland, bringing relief to consumers after a long period of high prices, Hawaii residents and businesses face a grim alternate reality: gasoline prices haven’t dropped much, and neither has the price of electricity.

Prices for regular gasoline dropped to as low as $3.39 per gallon at the end of November, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported, while the American Automobile Association reported that Hawaii was the only state with regular gasoline averaging more than $5 per gallon. AAA’s national average price on Friday was $3.45 a gallon.

Meanwhile, electricity prices in Hawaii remain high, despite lower crude oil prices. Hawaii generates much of its electricity from oil-powered facilities….

Hawaii residential customers paid about 46 cents per kilowatt hour in September, according to the EIA. That was nearly three times the national average of 16 cents, and more than twice the West Coast average of 22 cents….

CS: Hawaii's high electricity rates blamed on oil prices

read … Why Is Hawaii Still Suffering From High Oil Prices When The Mainland Has Dropped?

CNHA Scores $10M DHHL Contract to Hand out Federal Rental Subsidies

CB: …Thousands of kupuna on the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands waitlist could be eligible for rental subsidies under a $10 million program funded by the federal government.

The Hawaiian Homes Commission approved the subsidy program at a meeting Nov. 21. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands recently entered into a contract with the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement to manage the program.

The program is set to launch around February or March, according to DHHL spokesman Cedric Duarte.

The subsidies are meant for people on the DHHL waitlist age 62 and older. The department estimates that more than 14,996 people, or about 63% of those still alive on the waitlist, would qualify….

read … Federal Rental Subsidies Could Help Thousands Of Kupuna On DHHL Waitlist

‘Volcanic Risk Assessment’--Another Tool to Make Housing More Expensive

HTH: … After the lava flows from the 2018 Kilauea eruption took out more than 700 homes and cost tens of millions of dollars in road reconstruction and land buyouts, the county spent more than $2 million on a consultant to conduct an islandwide volcanic risk assessment as well as a Kilauea recovery plan.

The 400-plus-page volcanic risk assessment by Honolulu-based Tetra Tech Inc. was completed in June 2020. But little, if any, action has been taken on the report, nor do several top administrative officials seem to be familiar with it.

Mayor Mitch Roth, questioned about the report during a Friday press conference updating journalists on the Mauna Loa eruption, asserted there were a “lot of things we’ve done over the last couple of years,” before kicking the question over to Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno….

(Yes.  They paid $2M for a study they didn’t read.  Unfortunately some others did read …)

Magno said, “I don’t know any results from this plan,” but added that “in concert with the hazard maps and what we have in place that minimize development just based on regulations … in those critical zones of zone 1 and zone 2 .. it’s already built into the policies.”

But 10% of the county’s volcanic high hazard area land is categorized for urban expansion or as another urban category, such as high-, medium-, or low-density urban, according to the report. The volcanic high hazard area is defined as lava zones 1 and 2, including a 1,000-foot buffer….

(Translation: Enviros discovered this might be a good tool to squelch home building, thus increasing prices and driving more locals out.)

Some 10,688 households, 14.7% residents and some $5.2 billion in assets lie within this high hazard zone, which covers 34.1% of land on the island.

Consultants estimate 12.4% of the island population lives in lava zones 1 and 2, and another 59.3% live in lava zone 3….

read … Volcanic risk: 2020 report could be key in avoiding disaster

Police, DNLR Allow Homeless Vigilante Thugs to Chase People off Makua Beach--“loaded with historical and cultural nuance”

CB: … Residents say they are afraid to return to Makua Beach after recent encounters with Souza, who threatened physical violence and property damage like slashing their tires, as well as calling out racial slurs. Souza has recently tried to block access to film producers at the beach.

Silge described her encounter with Souza at Makua Beach.

She got into a heated argument with Souza after she said she saw him body-blocking two men from entering the beach. When she got out of her car, Silge told Souza he couldn’t threaten people. She said he immediately pulled out his phone to record her and began to yell at her.

“That’s when things escalated,” Silge said. “He said that no law could stop him because this is not America and then he told me that he was going to bash my head in.”

Silge added that he started calling her “fucking stink haole” and telling her she was entitled while recording her on live video. Silge also said the man Souza was blocking from the beach had a panic attack while she was arguing with Souza. …

Some residents say they are frustrated about how the situation is being handled. 

Makua Beach is a state beach managed by the Department of Land of Natural Resources.

In Hawaii, it’s illegal to block access to a public beach. However, Souza hasn’t been charged for violating that law or cited by DLNR.

“Mr. Souza has no citations from DOCARE. It does not appear Mr. Souza is on state lands; therefore, jurisdiction falls under HPD,” DLNR spokesperson Madison Rice said in an email.

When asked if Souza had broken the public beach access law, DLNR didn’t respond….

As soon as Ball and her friend got out of their car, she said Souza was yelling at them across the parking lot. At first, Ball said she thought Souza was talking to someone else or thought he was concerned that she and her friend were going to swim in the choppy waves.

As soon as Ball told Souza that she was showing her friend around, she said Souza started recording her while telling her to get off his land and called her “fucking haole” and “dirty haole.”

Ball said she was afraid to reason with him and didn’t want the situation to escalate.

“It was just me and my girlfriend. And being a girl is scary to have a man that big cussing and yelling at you,” Ball said. “I personally felt confused and threatened. He just kept saying, ‘Don’t leave your car.’ It was a nuance of something bad will happen if you step foot on that beach.”

Jen Schindler said Souza and his wife have threatened to physically remove her and her family from Makua Beach by “knocking us out.” She said it was the same story when she tried to go back….

“It sounds to me like this is an issue that’s so loaded with a whole bunch of historical and cultural nuance,” Richard Wallsgrove, assistant professor at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law said .… 

Dec 7, 2022 CB: Makaha Man Pleads Not Guilty to Harassing Woman While Blocking Beach Access

SFG: Vigilante blocking Makua Beach Hawaii

VIDEO: ‘Cultural Nuance’

read … Makua Beach Standoff: Residents Say They Are Being Run Off By A Man Camping Out

Five Years later -- 2 trials to be held in North Shore killing and kidnapping

SA: … Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of the North Shore slaying of 51-year-old Telma Boinville, whose 8-year-old daughter was found bound and her mouth duct-taped upstairs at a Pupukea house, while her mother was viciously beaten and stabbed to death downstairs.

Accused killer Stephen Brown, 23 at the time of the crimes, will stand trial Jan. 3 at age 28 without his alleged accomplice, 25-year-old ex-girlfriend Hailey Dandu­rand, then 20.

The girl’s uncle posted a video on social media that afternoon, which quickly gained traction. By early evening the community helped track down the gold pickup truck, and an angry mob of about 75 people were at the Mililani Walmart parking lot where the couple was found….

They were both being held and continue to be held at the Oahu Community Correctional Center, unable to post bail — Brown, $1 million; Dandu­rand, $500,000. A no- contact order was part of the conditions of bail….

read … 2 trials to be held in North Shore killing and kidnapping

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