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Saturday, December 24, 2022
December 24, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:14 PM :: 2449 Views

How Christmas Came to Hawaii

FBI: 2022 Busy in Honolulu, Expect More of the Same for 2023

HTA Releases Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Survey

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted December 23, 2022

Miske Case: Chasing tips and rumors

ILind: … the Miske case is full of street rumors.

When I was first trying to get background on those Hawaii Kai tree lights, I started running into people who would repeat those rumors as fact. Everybody knows he’s a dangerous and violent guy.

Right behind that was another widespread rumor, that Miske and Katherine Kealoha had a personal relationship. An intimate relationship. Several people I contacted while running down the tree light story repeated the same rumor, that the drug dealer and the prosecutor had a thing going. A vague but persistent rumor.

It was consistent with unverified rumors circulating within HPD that both Kat Kealoha and her husband maintained personal relationships on the side. And Katherine Kealoha’s infidelity was exposed when a Hilo firefighter was charged, and convicted, of lying to a federal grand jury about his relationship with Kealoha, details of which emerged during the Kealoha trial.

Could she have also had a relationship with Miske, perhaps a product of her admitted drug dependence, and his involvement in drug trafficking? It’s an appealing theory, but in court filings, Katherine Kealoha denied knowing or ever meeting Miske. And I don’t believe any information to substantiate this rumor came out in the extended court proceedings, including the long trial involving the Kealohas and their co-defendants from HPD.

So despite being one of those “everybody knows” situations, it remains in the realm of so-far unsupported rumor….

RELATED: Say 'Uncle' -- What Connects Miske to Kealoha?

read … Chasing tips and rumors

Hawaii hotel occupancy decline signals continued slowdown

SA: … About 30% of Hawaii’s hotel rooms were unoccupied in November — giving credence to the slowdown Hawaii’s hoteliers begin anticipating from late summer.

Hotel occupancy statewide in November was 70.5 %, down 8.6 percentage points from November 2019, according to the Hawaii Hotel Performance Report published by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, using data from STR, a global hospitality data and analytics company.

November occupancy was 10.8 percentage points above November 2021, when hotel occupancy was 59.7%, but that was before Hawaii had removed its COVID-19 entry requirements.

Travelers were still willing to pay much higher rates for hotel rooms across the state in November, when the average daily rate exceeded $345, more than 32% higher than November 2019. However, even with this year’s rampant inflation, the November average daily rate was only 3.6% higher than in November 2021.

The still-strong average daily rate helped revenue per available room, or RevPAR, increase to more than $243, up nearly 18% from November 2019, and up more than 22% from November 2021. RevPAR is considered by many in the hotel industry as the key performance measure as it is the rate that a room rents for regardless of occupancy status.

A key question now is how long can Hawaii hotels hold on to strong average daily rates given all the discounting and value-added offers that have come into the market to try to counter major softness in Hawaii’s festive season and first quarter.

read … Hawaii hotel occupancy decline signals continued slowdown

No Surprise: Waimanalo Gulch for Two More Years

HNN: … The city is seeking a two-year extension to a state Land Use Commission order that it select a new site for a 90-acre municipal landfill by the end of 2022….

In a news conference Friday, city Department of Environmental Director Roger Babcock said if the extension isn’t approved, the city will have to choose one of six recommended options.

The problem with that: All of those sites are opposed by the Board of Water Supply because they are located in areas above Oahu drinking water aquifers….

Babcock said the extension will allow the city to go back to the state Legislature to make changes to a law that instituted a host of requirements on where the landfill could — and couldn’t — be….

SA: 2-year extension requested for new Oahu landfill site

CB: City Delays Landfill Decision, Again

read … City seeks 2-year extension for finding new landfill site, putting years-long effort in limbo

Bill 7 ‘Affordable’ Development Begins

SA: … The city’s push to create more affordable housing to ease Oahu’s housing crunch took one step forward Friday by breaking ground on a 26-unit, three-story walk-up for low-income renters in Makiki in Honolulu’s urban core.

“Today is just the beginning,” said Paul Lam, principal developer of Lam Capital LLC, who was motivated by the city’s Bill 7, which makes it easier for private developers to increase Oahu’s inventory of affordable units. The measure provides tax incentives and property exemptions for 10 years while expediting planning and permitting with no fees.

The project at 1427 Ernest St. will offer 24 studio apartments and two one-bedroom units ranging in size from 230 to 420 square feet. Monthly rent has not been disclosed, but is aimed at tenants who earn 80% of the area median income, and will include water, power and garbage costs.

Construction is scheduled for completion in June for occupancy in August….

Bill 7 was approved in 2019 and signed into law by then-Mayor Kirk Caldwell to “create a temporary program to accelerate the construction of affordable rental housing” on apartment and business mixed-use-zoned properties by relaxing zoning and building code standards and offering financial incentives to developers, the ordinance states….

Lam already has plans to build a 25-unit project on Kinau Street, a 90-unit project on Pensacola Street and a 53-unit project on Alapai Street. Including the Ernest Street project, nearly 200 affordable units are expected to come online in town just through Lam Capital….

Lam paid about $1.2 million to buy the Ernest Street property 18 months ago but worries Bill 7 might discourage future developers because it is scheduled to expire in 2024….

Under Bill 7, Lam’s Ernest Street project did not require City Council approval, Take­uchi Apuna said.

If and when the project receives a certificate of occupancy, Lam may apply for a Bill 7 grant, which provides up to $9,000 per unit rented to households earning 60% to 100% of the area median income or up to $15,000 per unit rented to households earning below 60% of the area median income, Take­uchi Apuna told the Star- Advertiser. The city’s Department of Budget and Fiscal Services issues the grant after DPP determines eligibility, she said.

In the meantime, according to the city, 27 affordable housing projects have been green-lit under Bill 7, and five have obtained all permits to proceed to construction…..  

SA Editorial: Incentives need to yield more homes

HNN: Rents at new affordable project in Makiki will start at $1,200 

read … Ground is broken on Oahu’s latest affordable housing rental project

Schatz $64M Rail Appropriation will Start Work on $200M Pearl City Garage?

SA Editorial: …The new federal money was obtained to cover inflation’s effect on construction costs, Schatz said.

It would be laudable if some of it could also be used toward a necessary parking structure at the Waiawa station at Pearl Highlands; a 1,600-stall structure there has been put on hold because of its estimated cost….

(Know them by what they suggest.)

read … $64M more for Oahu’s rail

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