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Wednesday, July 12, 2023
July 12, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:58 PM :: 3072 Views

35 Years of Stagnation: Tourism Income Flat Since 1988

Trail of Ethical Gaffes Leads from US Supreme Court to UH Law School

VIDEO: Challenges Facing Hawaii Agriculture

Navy Awards No Bid Red Hill Contract To Company Just Raided By Feds 

CB: … Dawson will take over for Kinetix, which was faulted for a leak of "forever chemicals."…

The Dawson conglomerate receives tens of millions of dollars for government work and donates generously to politicians.

The nature of the federal investigation involving the company hasn’t been made public. Federal officials, including from the IRS, seized computers and cellphones on June 27, witnesses said.

Corwin Colbert, a spokesman for the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command, said via email that the military approached Dawson about the contract sometime before June 30.

It was awarded without competition under a program that benefits minority-owned businesses, Colbert said.

In a statement, Steven Li – executive director of Dawson’s parent company, the Hawaiian Native Corporation – confirmed the award and sought to distance his company from the federal investigation. …

Wayne Tanaka, executive director of the Sierra Club of Hawaii, said the military should be more transparent about how the contract was awarded and the terms for both Kinetix and Dawson. 

“This would help us understand if appropriate precautions were taken and contract amendments made in light of the recent incidents, if accountability and transparency mechanisms (or non-disclosure agreements) have been put in place, and if we should be concerned about possible delays in defueling and decommissioning,” he said….

HPR: Search of defense contractor's offices should not affect Red Hill defueling timeline, officials say

June 30, 2023: Prominent Native Hawaiian Defense Contractor Is Part Of New Federal Criminal Probe

read … Navy Awards Red Hill Contract To Company Just Raided By Feds 

Film Subsidies: Taxpayers fork out Millions to Create Jobs for Miske’s Thugs

CB: … Motion picture and television production plays a substantial role in Hawaii’s economy. Recent movies and television shows shot in the islands include CBS’ “NCIS: Hawaii” and “Magnum PI” (now on NBC), HBO’s “White Lotus,” Disney+’s “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.,” and Warner Bros.’ “Aquaman” and “Lost Kingdom.”

According to a 2020 study by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s research and economic analysis division, motion picture productions spent $128.1 million on goods and services that qualified for rebates from the state. The qualified expenditures included wages and salaries to local workers of $36.6 million, wages and salaries to out-of-state workers of $45.4 and spending on goods and services in Hawaii of $43.3 million.

In turn the productions claimed $24.7 million in rebates.

“Out of this $128.1 million, total leakage of film production spending is estimated to be $35.8 million, which is the sum of wage and salary payments to non-resident workers and spending on out-of-state goods and services minus out-of-state workers’ spending in Hawai‘i,” DBEDT reported.

The work adds up to about 2,000 jobs in Hawaii across a range of occupations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, out-of-state professionals get the bulk of above-the-line positions.

According to DBEDT’s 2020 study, 144 of 174 above-the-line jobs that year went to nonresidents while 30 went to residents. 155 of 264 department head jobs went to people from out of state while 109 went to residents.

Lawmakers this past session introduced a bill to change Hawaii’s film incentives to create more local jobs. But the proposal set off a clash between Hawaii Film Commissioner Donne Dawson and Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz.

Things got so ugly that Dela Cruz and two other senators filed a formal grievance against Dawson, accusing her of lying to entertainment industry leaders about the bill. Sen. Kurt Fevella also has attacked the state film office, saying it has failed to make sure productions hire enough local talent….

REALITY: Miske Mob Were All Union Drivers on Set of Hawaii 5-0

read … Lawmakers Are Battling The State Film Commission

Pandemic effects still put Hawaii student education behind by months

KITV: … The pandemic is over, but public schools are still being affected by learning disruptions caused by COVID.

That has not only put some students' education behind by months, those negative impacts could last for years….

"I have many other classmates that took summer school because they struggled during the year, and they had to retake a certain course," added Reverio.

While 4th grade reading levels showed improvement in the state's most recent testing, math and reading scores were down for Hawaii 8th graders, along with 4th graders' math scores.

Falling behind in one subject can also have a snowball effect on others.

"Reading scores have been down and that includes writing. We've have to backpedal those skills before we teach them content. So it is a lot more straining on us as teachers," stated Ehren Meinecke, a teacher at Aliamanu Middle School.

He says students are trailing behind in more than just academics, but also their social and emotional learning.

"Students have expressed to me it is harder to focus and the transition is difficult for them. The lack of social interaction leads to discomfort and it is difficult for classroom discussions or for them to speak one on one," added Meinecke.

The Department of Education recently started a plan to accelerate learning. Over the next 6 years, the DOE aims to have students read proficiently by the end of 3rd grade and be proficient in math by the end of 8th….

(REALITY: The plan is for the COVID-impacted students to age out of the system.)

read … Pandemic effects still put Hawaii student education behind by months

Anti-nepotism law takes effect in Hawaii

SA: … A new law took effect Tuesday prohibiting nepotism across state government — particularly for the 60,000 employees in the executive branch — but notably exempts the state Legislature and Judiciary….

The new nepotism law, Harris said, represents “a bright-line rule. Public transparency is good for everyone.”

There may be legitimate reasons why nepotism rules should be waived, such as health care workers who are related and serving together in rural communities, particularly on the neighbor islands, he said.

“By requiring those people to file a good-cause exception, people can see why this reason requires an exception,” Harris said….

read … Anti-nepotism law takes effect in Hawaii

Blangiardi Convinces Enablers to Stop Feeding Homeless Criminals in Waikiki

HNN: … the service has been attracting criminals, drug users and trash.

The lunch line forms Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. in front of St. Augustine Church on Ohua Avenue, right across from the Waikiki Beach Marriot Resort & Spa.

Hotel workers tell HNN those who line up for food sometimes leave the area a mess. They also say it attracts large crowds of unsheltered people, something noticed by hotel guests.

Father Lane Akiona, the church’s pastor, says the lunch program has been a going on throughout his 18 years at the parish and feeds anywhere between 50 to 100 people every day.

He says he was at a loss for words when the mayor showed up asking him to end it.

“The mayor came the first time and brought the police chief and five of his majors and there was me, local yokel priest,” Akiona said….

Mayor Rick Blangiardi addressed the topic in one of his recent “One Oahu” podcasts.

“If you feed and give them money ... especially when you have bad guys lurking in the homeless population, which they are in Waikiki because of what it affords them with petty crimes and other things they can do, that’s not good,” he said.

“That’s what we want to stop.”…

read … Facing ‘heavy-handed’ city pressure, Waikiki church will stop its daily free meal service

Once Again, State claims it will ‘revitalize multiple communities within our public housing inventory’

KHON: … “The Ka Lei Momi Project is the start of our journey to revitalize multiple communities within our public housing inventory,” said HPHA Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi. “Redevelopment presents an exceptional opportunity to close the gap between the need and supply of affordable housing in Hawaiʻi while also transforming our existing low-density public housing properties into modern, mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented communities. The only option to serve the waitlists and give choices to our residents to remain near their ohana, is to build more housing especially in areas where there is concentration of poverty.”…

(CLUE: We have heard this all before.)

read … State to ‘revitalize multiple communities within our public housing inventory’

City suspends another reviewer who cleared ‘monster home’ plans

SA: … The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting has suspended the registration of another third-party reviewer who approved plans for “monster house” projects that are not in compliance with city ordinances.

The DPP on Tuesday said the suspension of Shih Jen Lin’s review privileges are effective immediately for plans submitted for 4103 Pakolu Place in Kaimuki and 2939 Kalei Road in Manoa. They were not in compliance with a chapter of the city’s Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, or the “monster home” ordinance.

“Third-party review is a privilege, not a right, and when the reviewers certify that plans comply with all codes and ordinances, we expect nothing less. They are entrusted to perform at the highest level with diligent respect for and implementation of the law,” said DPP Director Dawn Takeuchi Apuna in a statement. “And when they fail to properly review projects, particularly those that the community condemns, such as monster homes, they cannot continue as third-party reviewers.”…

The department also has revoked the building permits for both projects.

In April, third-party reviewer Jimmy Wu submitted plans for a Kalihi project at 1532 Hanai Loop. The two-story home’s plans — including the construction of nine bathrooms and no yard — suggested the construction of a monster home, but the plans were still approved.

The DPP also halted that project and suspended Wu’s third-party registration….

In June, Kaimuki residents protested the construction of monster homes following the appeal of a property owner whose construction projects were blocked in 2021. The property owner, Christy Lei, is well known for constructing monster homes…. 

KITV: Contractor stripped of permit review power to appeal Honolulu's revocation

(CLUE: Monster homes are worker dormitories for Chinese illegals in US on 6 month tourist visa.)

read … City suspends another reviewer who cleared ‘monster home’ plans

Honolulu Tells Tow Company To Stop Charging $900 Fees

CB: … The City and County of Honolulu has told its towing contractor to temporarily stop charging an additional tow fee while it investigates all the instances it has been applied this year.

Since Jan. 1, All Island Automotive Towing charged at least 120 people a $900 fee or multiples of it, totaling at least $100,000. The extra tow fees drew the attention of insurance companies and the state Office of Consumer Protection.

In a letter sent June 28, the Department of Customer Services requested that All Island produce all invoices that included a $900 charge for the “non-statutory and difficult hook up,” plus documentation to justify each instance….

read … Honolulu Tells Tow Company To Stop Charging $900 Fees

New Round of Clean Energy Schemes Heading for Molokai

IM: … Past renewable energy proposals such as “Big Wind” (2007-2013), “Ikehu Molokai” (2014-2015), “Molokai New Energy Partners” (2018-2020), and the HECO request for proposals (2019-2020) are recent examples of how the traditional energy planning processes further exacerbates community distrust in off-island energy institutions and decision-making.

The Molokai Clean Energy Hui and Sustʻāinable Molokai submitted the first Molokai Community Energy Resilience Action Plan (CERAP) to the Public Utilities Commission. (Cover Letter, Report, Appendices)

RELATED: ‘Community Based Energy’: $27.5M in GEMS for Hawaii Democratic Party Officials, Maui Councilmember

read … Moloka`i Proposes to Control its Energy Future

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