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Hawaii’s Broken System Relies on Emergency Proclamations to Cut Through Bureaucracy
CB: … governors' reliance on emergency proclamations is a sign of dysfunction….
One of the last things David Ige did as governor was to issue an emergency proclamation.
One of the first things Josh Green has done as governor is to issue an emergency proclamation.
That’s how things get done in Hawaii these days….
declaring an emergency is a way to hack through maddening bureaucracy and sidestep cumbersome laws so that practical things can get done. An emergency declaration can get past tricky procurement laws and complicated union agreements. It opens up pipelines of government money. It’s like hitting a big green button that says, “Get it done!”
We may think back to the Ige days as somnolent and the opposite of action-packed, but over his eight years in office, Ige issued more than 120 emergency proclamations, many of them pandemic-related, many about storms we’ve long since forgotten (Hurricanes Madeleine and Lester … whodat?) and many to address homelessness.
Currently, there are four active statewide emergency proclamations, three of which are Ige holdovers:
On Nov. 17, Ige extended emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits through to the middle of January to address food security during the holidays….
Green’s first emergency proclamation allows the Hawaii National Guard and emergency medical teams from other states to run interisland air ambulance service while the Hawaii Life Flight fleet is in a safety stand down after one of its air ambulance planes went missing off Maui. You would not think a supremely practical plan like that would require an emergency declaration, but this is Hawaii, where licensing, regulating and oversight — preferably by multiple understaffed agencies — is how we always roll….
The extensive use of emergency declarations is a sign, almost an acknowledgement, that the system is broken. Hawaii’s layers upon layers of bureaucratic requirements make any sort of nimble response to a serious situation impossible. The best bet is to hack through the jungle of mandates with the sharp edge of an emergency proclamation so that basic, necessary maneuvers can be accomplished, like making sure doctors from out of state can work in Hawaii while the state’s only air ambulance company is on a temporary shutdown.
Every January, Hawaii legislators get to work with best intentions to make Hawaii better so they craft thousands of new bills, many if not most of which create new rules and new layers of bureaucracy to manage every facet of life in Hawaii….
read … It's An Emergency! How Proclamations Cut Through Hawaii Bureaucracy
Monstrosity: Walls to Line Ala Wai Canal
SA Editorial: … It’s looking more likely that flood-protection plans for the Ala Wai Canal will include walls or raised barriers to flooding, an option that has been the subject of hot debate….
Whatever is built along the Ala Wai will be something Honolulu residents must live with for decades…
The city will reveal its “Tentatively Selected Plan” for flood control in May or June. Its challenge is to protect without creating, or perpetuating, a monstrosity.
The latest options, presented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city last week, have been selected after years of analysis. Along the way, a highly engineered, $650 million plan was scrapped, and the city obtained federal funding to study greener, less expensive options….
Planners have narrowed the options to four. One is doing nothing. That’s unwise, as it would expose
Waikiki and neighboring communities (the Corps of Engineers crony contractors) to major damage from flooding (lack of make-work projects)….
read … Creativity needed for Ala Wai flood plan
HSTA: We Want Two Free Paid Days Off During our Paid Vacation
SA: … While Gov. Josh Green has gifted state employees with two extra days of paid time off work for the holidays, Hawaii’s 12,600 public school teachers are still unsure how they’ll benefit since contractually they are already on vacation during the schools’ winter break.
As of Tuesday night it was still unclear whether the teachers would receive credit for the two bonus days or be allowed to take the two days off at another time. A spokesperson for the governor’s office deferred to the state Department of Education. A spokesperson for DOE, and Osa Tui Jr., president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, both said no resolution had yet been reached….
(Translation: We want two free paid days off because we were on vacation when you gave away the two paid days off.)
read … Gov. Josh Green’s offer of 2 extra days off confuses Hawaii teachers
Graveyard Shift: Honolulu Pays Police $1 Million In Overtime To Guard Morgue Trailers
CB: … When the Honolulu morgue acquired refrigerated trailers to store extra bodies during the pandemic last year, the city also brought in police officers to watch the containers 24/7. …
A year and a half later, though, the county is on track to spend over $1 million on police overtime to provide round-the-clock surveillance of the remains, and some community members are questioning the expense. The money came from the city’s American Rescue Plan allocation.
“To me, it sounded like a way to burn pandemic funds,” said former Honolulu deputy police chief John McCarthy. “How many people want to break into a trailer and desecrate a body or steal a body? That’s pretty low on the list of crimes.”
Police, ranging from officers to lieutenants, can make between $50 and $96 per hour on overtime depending on rank, according to the mayor’s office. Private security is generally cheaper. For instance, Allied Universal is currently hiring guards in Honolulu at about $17 per hour, a job posting shows. …
Honolulu has been criticized for its record-breaking police overtime spending in recent years. The city was under particular scrutiny during the early days of the pandemic when officers were able to pad their pay by issuing tens of thousands of Covid violation tickets that were ultimately dismissed en masse. A Civil Beat review last year found that overtime is significantly boosting some officers’ pension payments, and a city audit this year found HPD’s ineffective management of overtime will cost the city $6 million in increased pension costs over the last five years.
Nick Chagnon, a lecturer at the University of Hawaii whose research includes criminology, also questioned the use of officers given that many residents have called for more police protection in their neighborhoods. The assignment means one more officer per shift is occupied at a time when the department is struggling with staffing shortages.
read … Graveyard Shift: Honolulu Pays Police $1 Million In Overtime To Guard Morgue Trailers
Delay sought in affordable housing scam trial
HTH: … The indictment alleges Sulla, Zamber, Budhabhatti and Rudo “collectively created, owned, managed, controlled and used Luna Loa Developments LLC, West View Developments LLC and Plumeria at Waikoloa LLC to make it appear that the companies would develop affordable housing, when in fact they had no intention to do so.”
Those companies, as well as two limited liability corporations and two trusts, were used to deceive the OHCD, the county and its residents and to obtain and distribute affordable housing credits, land and money, authorities allege.
The government alleges the three received affordable housing credits — which can be transferred to other developers — and land conveyances with an aggregate value of at least $10.98 million.
“Despite receiving these awards, the conspirators did not develop any affordable housing units as promised,” the indictment states.
The four men then sold the credits and land they received, authorities said. The federal government later recovered and seized more than $2.3 million and 45 affordable housing credits connected to the charges….
Background: Four Charged in Big Island Affordable Housing Corruption Scheme
read … Delay sought in affordable housing trial
Public, private agencies support medical air transport efforts
KHON: … Hawaii Life Flight said no patients were on board at the time of the accident. The company temporarily paused its air operations amid the tragedy, giving crew members some time to rest. Hawaii Life Flight personnel continue dispatching medical air transportation calls.
Global Medical Response assisted with additional aircraft and crew members. County and state resources are also assisting with medical air transportation.
Bailey said, “The first patients were being transported probably 40 hours after the event.” …
Bailey said 11 patients have been transported between the islands. Maui County’s Medivac along with two Hawaii Army National Guard Black Hawks are also assisting during the civilian mission.
Emergency Airlift, a private company that usually transports patients to the mainland, is also stepping in to help during this time of need.
Emergency Airlift Business Development Director Michael Weiland said they are provisioning one Falcon 50 for air transportation.
Weiland said, “The decision was that we will provide our aircraft with our pilots. It’s our airplane, so we have to maintain operational control of the aircraft. And that Hawaii Life Flight will provide their medical teams.”
Bailey said two additional jets and helicopters will be operating in the islands starting Wednesday, Dec. 21. That is when the company will reassess if additional support from the state is still needed. …
HTH: Two Big Isle patients required medical flights over weekend
read … Public, private agencies support medical air transport efforts
Kahele Doesn’t Know When Next Primary Is
CB: … Oddly enough, at the bottom of the homepage a counter actively ticks off the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the 2026 Hawaii state primary election. The official date for the 2026 primary has not yet been posted by the Office of Elections, and the date Kahele identifies — Aug. 15, 2026 — is actually the third Saturday in August and not the second Saturday, which is what state law calls for.
But it sure seems to be (or have been?) a clue toward electoral intentions four years hence….
read … What’s Next For Kai Kahele?