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Friday, March 3, 2023
March 3, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:50 PM :: 4024 Views

Moody's Downgrades Honolulu Bond Rating Because of Rail Borrowing

Blangiardi Outlines Proposed 2024 Budget

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DBEDT: Hawaii Economy Still Recovering from COVID 

Hawaii's Best & Worst Cities at Personal Money Management 

Kakaako Kickback in Plain Sight: DelaCruz Slips OHA $84M--He will get it back via DTL

CB: … The Senate Ways and Means Committee has shelved the Office of Hawaiian Affairsʻ proposal to build three residential towers up to 400 feet tall on oceanside land OHA owns at Kakaako makai.

The committee’s chair, Donovan Dela Cruz, said Thursday that he decided to hold the bill this year after the House made it clear that it was unwilling to consider the measure.

(CLUE: OHA is a slush fund.  It will never be anything else.)

Instead, Dela Cruz inserted in another Senate bill $65 million OHA was requesting for repairs to aging and damaged oceanfront revetments on the Kakaako makai land….Senate Bill 1235 also would grant OHA $6 million to do an environmental impact statement on the proposed Kakaako makai development it calls Hakuone.

(TRANSLATION: Dela Cruz’ company, DTL, “A Hawaiian Strategy Studio” LOL!, will get a big chunk of that $71M.)

The Senate Ways and Means Committee also put $13 million in the bill to assist OHA with its plans to preserve the land around Kukaniloko Birthstones in Wahiawa, a site that preserves a birthplace of royalty on Oahu….

(TRANSLATION: Dela Cruz’ company, DTL, will get a big chunk of that $13M.)

In a text, OHA Chair Carmen Hulu Lindsey said, “We greatly appreciate what Senator Dela Cruz is trying to do. And we thank him.”

(TRANSLATION: DelaCruz gives OHA $65M + $6M + 13M = $84M.  Much of that money will go back to DTL in the form of 'planning' and 'design' contracts.  The 'D' in DTL stands for DelaCruz.  He is a 10% owner.  OHA bid-rigging will provide the kick back to the Senator.) 

SB1235: Text, Status

SA: Kakaako Makai bill is rejected again

SA: WATCH LIVE: OHA officials join ‘Spotlight Hawaii’

BACKGROUND:

read … OHA's Plan To Build High-Rises At Kakaako Makai Stalls In The Senate

Maui PD Can’t Protect Hate Criminals from Feds--Get 6 1/2 Years in FEDERAL Penitentiary

KHON: … Kaulana Alo-Kaonohi and Levi Aki were found guilty of a hate crime last year for beating Christopher Kunzelman who is white. A judge sentenced Alo-Kaonohi to six and a half years. Aki was sentenced to four years and two months.

Kunzelman had just moved to Kahukoloa village when it happened in 2014. Video from his truck showed the two men approaching the house and there’s audio of them making threats, demanding him to leave.

Kunzelman was badly beaten and hit with a shovel multiple times….

In the sentencing the judge told Alo-Kaonohi, “You were a racist on that day, this was racially motivated.”

The sentence also includes three years of supervised release…

WaPo: A beating in Hawaii results in hate-crime sentencings for attackers

AP: A truly shameful litany of excuses for the hate-crime attackers

BACKGROUND:

read … Two men sentenced in Maui hate crime case from 2014

HECO Plan will Triple Electric Bill

KHON: … If you’ve seen a jump in your electric bill, you’re not alone. HECO’s prices have increased by 24% since January 2022.

A new pilot program rolling out in the summer is meant to save customers money, but it could cost some folks more. It’s called time of use, and it will change how much your electricity costs depending on when you use it.

The Public Utilities Commission and Hawaiian Electric are creating the pilot with the expectation to launch it to all customers between 2024 and 2025.

The cost of your electricity would be broken up into three separate timeframes:

  • Daytime from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Evening peak 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Overnight 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Rates have yet to be finalized as the prices proposed by Hawaiian Electric are still under review by the PUC. The structure goes like this for those in the pilot program:

Overnight will be double the cost of the daytime rate. Evening peak is triple the cost of the daytime rate….

(TRANSLATION: The idle rich will benefit.  Those who work for a living will pay triple.)

read … Biggest change in a century coming for HECO customers

New Aloha Stadium May Be Smaller As Green Rejects Original Development Plan

CB: … An analysis by Goldman Sachs, the state’s financial consultant on the stadium, indicated that taxpayers could be on the hook for an additional $400 million if the state pursues the so-called “P3” model. Lawmakers already have set aside $350 million for the stadium project and are reluctant to spend much more than that anytime soon….

Green wants to conduct development in two phases. In the first phase, the state will spend the $350 million already appropriated to construct the stadium, then pursue development of the entertainment district.

Green said he still wants to see the area used for housing units.

Another request for proposals will go out “in the near future” under the new direction for constructing the stadium, Green said. That will include demolition of the old Aloha Stadium and construction of a new stadium, which Green described as “modest.”

“It will be smaller than some people want but at least it will get built,” he said, adding that the state could add more seats at a later date if it chooses to.

The state was considering a shortlist of three development teams to demolish the current stadium and build a new one. Whether those teams would still be able to compete to build the stadium under new parameters is an open question….

read … New Aloha Stadium May Be Smaller As Green Rejects Original Development Plan

New Mauna Kea Authority Tussles With DLNR Over Conservation Lands

CB: … A law adopted last year established the Mauna Kea Stewardship Oversight Authority as “the principal authority” for the mountain…However, Senate Bill 81, introduced by Sen. Lorraine Inouye, would keep designated state conservation lands on Mauna Kea under the authority of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, even after the transition period….

Inouye said the language in the bill that established the authority is unclear, so SB 81 is needed to clarify that DLNR has ultimate responsibility over the conservation lands as directed in the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Members of the panel objected to the proposed legislation, saying they’re still figuring out their relationship with other entities and this bill could undercut the authority’s role….

SB 81 is scheduled for a decision Friday during a joint hearing by the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. If successful, the bill will cross over to the House….

During their February Board meeting on Zoom, Irwin, the authority’s sole nonvoting member, acknowledged the novel setup members had to work with.

“There is concern with having an entity that is doing DLNR kind of work outside of DLNR, and it’s not just whether we want to do something for astronomy, it’s even on the conservation side,” she said during the meeting.

But she agreed the measure was premature.

“The scoping conversation of us versus DLNR is a really important one to devote serious time to, and we simply have not had that opportunity,” she said, as members Joshua Lanakila Manguil and Noe Noe Wong-Wilson nodded along on Zoom….

The current task, he said later during an interview, is trying to hire an executive assistant. (LOL!)

The DLNR expressed concern that last year’s act removes Mauna Kea lands from conservation zoning.

“The Department feels it is critical that Conservation District protections will remain in place,” DLNR Chair Dawn Chang said in written testimony. …

read … New Mauna Kea Authority Tussles With DLNR Over Conservation Lands

Why is $16M Waianae police station partially empty?

KHON: …  In 2016, the City spent $16 million to build the Waianae Police Station. A blessing was held, but the doors never fully opened. West Oahu residents are concerned that the building continues to sit partially empty seven years later….

According to the Honolulu Police Department, there’s one officer per shift stationed at the building to handle walk-ins. It adds, officers on the road use the station to do reports. However, the facility can only handle processing juvenile arrests due to lack of equipment.

HPD said the top floor of the facility is also unfinished, and Honolulu City Councilmember Andria Tupola got to see it for herself.

“The upstairs is empty, and there’s been no furnishing, not the floors, not the ceilings, no desks, no cubicles, no internet and no phone lines,” said Andria Tupola, Honolulu City Councilmember…. 

read … Why is $16M Waianae police station partially empty?

Charter school students rally for their campus as BOE examines oversight concerns

HNN: … Students, their families and staff of a Central Oahu charter school at-risk of closing rallied outside of the Board of Education on Thursday.

Their message: Save Kamalani Academy.

The public charter school, which serves about 160 students, lost their contract after the state’s charter school commission voted late last month not to renew it after listing a number of violations.

The rally was their way of saying that decision was made unfairly, and there are broader issues present with the commission.

BOE members didn’t address the contract issue directly. Instead, the meeting with Charter School Commission Chair Cathy Ikeda was intended to take a look at a recent commission performance evaluation.

That evaluation found several areas for improvement, including the commission’s strategic vision, organizational goals and budgeting.

Kamalani’s principal says the issues are widespread in the commission, and ultimately have an impact on the students.

“I think it’s important that the commissioners, making such a big decision about our students and their school, that they see that these kids, they’re affecting them,” Principal Amanda Fung said.

“And these 160 kids will not have a place next year because the adults cant get their things together. It’s not a student issue, it’s an adult issue.”…

KHON: Save our school! Keiki protest to save Kamalani Academy

SA: Kamalani supporters protest school’s closure

read … Charter school students rally for their campus as BOE examines oversight concerns

Military Stonewalling On Controversial Diversity Official Leading K-12 Schools

SS: … As the first ever, Chief of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion chief in the K-12 Pentagon schools (Department of Defense Education Activity), Kelsa Wing is highly compensated. The Pentagon admits to paying Wing as a GS-14 level executive officer on the federal pay scale between $126,233 and $164,102 in 2022 (source: via FOIA) ….

While DOD obfuscates, Kelisa Wing’s racial justice propaganda proliferates, and she doubles down on her ethical and ideological controversies….

In September 2022, Wing first came under fire for her disparaging Tweets against white people. During the firestorm, Wing responded by deleting her entire Twitter account.

Last Fall, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com reported on Wing’s activities that Wing may or may not have run afoul of the strict DOD conflicts of interest policies.

For example, during her presentation at a DOD conference, she included a “shameless plug.” Her books – which are stocked in DOD school libraries – include controversial discussions on race with titles like What is White Privilege? and What Does It Mean to Defund Police? .… 

read … Stonewalling

Public housing agency struggling with $800 million repair backlog as hundreds of units remain vacant

KITV: … There's about about 260 units currently vacant because of badly needed repairs….

read … Public housing agency struggling with $800 million repair backlog as hundreds of units remain vacant

After volunteer-driven repairs, air rescues at Koko Crater Trail cut in half

HNN: … It took 10 months of volunteers carrying wood, gravel, and hardware to the top. The rotted wood was removed and replaced, and gravel was used to fill the eroded areas.

By October 2021, the renovations had been completed.

New data shows those repairs are making a difference.

According to HFD, there were 26 air rescues on the stairs in 2021, before and during repairs.

After the repairs in 2022, there were only 14 rescues.

“The answer isn’t always shutting things down,” said Lena Haapala with the Kokonut Koalition.

“It’s bringing people together, and we all know this is a volunteer, and we were just determined to get it done and make it safe and keep it open, and that’s what we did.”….

read … After volunteer-driven repairs, air rescues at Koko Crater Trail cut in half

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