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Saturday, June 24, 2023
June 24, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:53 PM :: 1624 Views

OHA CEO Sylvia Hussey Quits

Green Signs 18 'Good Government' Bills

Green Releases 'Intent to Veto' List

New Hawaii law makes official misconduct a felony

HiDOT Jacks up Airport Parking Fees in Effort to Price You Out

Hawaii Republicans Finally Elect Party Treasurer

Monster Home Permits to be Revoked?

SA: … The board met to hear an appeal of a revocation of three building permits issued to property owner Christy Lei, who was ordered to halt construction in June 2021 on three two-story homes in the 3600 block of Sierra Drive after the city Department of Planning and Permitting notified Lei that her property was in violation of land use ordinances.

The Building Board of Appeals heard testimony from Lei on Friday but adjourned after scheduling her appeal to resume July 14.

Council Chair Tommy Waters, who represents Kaimuki, told the Honolulu Star- Advertiser that Lei is “is infamous for building monster homes.”

Specifically, DPP told Lei that she had provided incorrect information on floor area ratios, “building height envelope” and the number of wet bars, bathrooms and side yards, among other misleading information….

(CLUE: Dormitory for Chinese on 6 month tourist visa who are working illegally.)

Lei’s attorney, Elijah Yip, told the board that Lei has received contradictory information from DPP, which initially granted her permit and then revoked it without warning.

“In their experience in trying to get these units constructed has been fraught with frustration and, in our opinion, unnecessary expense,” Yip said. “Dealing with the (DPP) has kind of been like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde experience.”…

In total, the family spent about $4.5 million on the property until construction stopped. Now, Lei said that she and her family have had to pay a mortgage on the Kaimuki property as well as the houses they are all currently living in.

“It’s very stressful for me and my family, especially my sisters,” Lei said. “They do labor work.”

During the years that construction was shuttered, Lei said the site has been the target of thefts….

2022: Gambling raid at building owned by monster home developer draws concern

2022: Suit accuses prolific monster home developers of shoddy construction  -- In the suit, the homeowners accused developers Christy Lei and Yi-Sun Chiu of cutting corners when they built the homes seven years ago, resulting in large cracks in the concrete slabs in their driveways….

read … Kaimuki residents protest ‘monster home’ construction

Blangiardi approves Honolulu’s $3.41B budget

SA: … Mayor Rick Blangiardi has officially adopted the city’s $3.41 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2024, providing more funding for affordable housing, to combat homelessness and to bolster public safety.

During a Honolulu Hale bill- signing ceremony Friday afternoon, Blangiardi was seated at a wooden desk and flanked by six members of the City Council including Chair Tommy Waters. He also approved the city’s $1.34 billion capital improvement program to fund more road and highway projects, along with the island’s mass transit system — including operation of the Skyline rail system, which opens for passenger service in West Oahu on Friday.

The mayor also formally adopted the city’s one-time $350 tax rebate that will be granted to nearly 152,000 qualifying homeowners with an active home exemption on their 2023 assessment, regardless of property value. The city says the $350 tax rebate — costing about $53.2 million to implement — will equal a real property tax exemption of $100,000….

Meanwhile, the city’s top elected and appointed officials will soon see more money to fund their own positions in local government.

As adopted April 25 by the city’s Salary Commission, the annual salary of an individual Council member would rise 64.4% to $113,304, up from $68,904, while the yearly salary of the Council chair — who leads the nine- member panel — would jump to $123,288 from $76,968, a 60.2% increase.

Besides the Council, the mayor and his executive managers and department heads will see a nearly 12.6% pay bump. As adopted, the mayor’s annual pay would rise to $209,856 from its current $186,432, while the annual salary for the managing director’s position would increase to $200,712 from the current pay of $178,320….

just as he’s done since the Salary Commission’s decision in April, Blangiardi defended the higher salaries that he and his executive management team will receive for running the city.

“I know how hard these people have worked,” Blangiardi said Friday, following the budget signing. “And we set the bar very high for them.”…

KITV: $4.75B Honolulu Budget Signed By Mayor Blangiardi  

read … Mayor Rick Blangiardi approves Honolulu’s $3.41B budget

Health Department conditionally approves Red Hill defueling plan

SA: … The state Department of Health on Friday conditionally approved the Joint Task Force-Red Hill defueling plan in a move that sets the framework for draining 104 million gallons of fuel from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

Conditional approval, according to the department, means the plan is contingent on the Joint Task Force’s ability to address DOH’s comments and questions on the defueling plan, successfully complete repairs and other tasks, and submit additional plans describing operations to remove fuel from the Red Hill underground storage tanks, surge tanks and related pipelines….

HNN: Court grants motion to quash deposition of high-ranking commander in Red Hill suit 

read … Health Department conditionally approves Red Hill defueling plan

Meth-Addicted Homeless Run Gigantic open Air Chop Shop on Maui

HNN: … Despite recent crackdowns by the county, they said that illegal junkyards at Ukumehame and Cut Mountain have gotten larger in recent months.

“I was frankly horrified by the magnitude and extent of of the problem,” said Kai Nishiki, vice president of the West Maui Preservation Association.

“Really heartbreaking ... knowing the damage of leaking oil and fuels and then all of the trash that is piled up.”

Maui County officials hauled away at least 50 derelict vehicles from Cut Mountain two weeks ago and dozens more from Ukumehame in 2018 but the problems continue to persist.

“I would say it would be the largest that I’ve seen ever in the state of Hawaii,” environmental activist Carroll Cox said of the West Maui dump sites.

He said the dump sites rival the largest illegal junkyards on Oahu and are threats to nearby cultural sites and to the drinking water.

“It’s an open dump and and imagine the damage that could be done to the groundwater,” said Cox.

Environmentalists said they suspect that many of the cars were stolen — and chopped up for parts.

They said a large homeless population has also contributed to the problem.

“Oh my God, what a nightmare scene ... It’s kind of a Mad Max world,” said state Rep. Elle Cochran. “It’s disgusting.”….

read … Environmental groups raise alarms as illegal dumping in West Maui continues to grow

Legislative Agenda: 

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