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Tuesday, October 3, 2023
October 3, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:44 PM :: 1269 Views

Lahaina Fire Caused by Anti-Cane Smoke Activism

Educating children hailed as key to preserving principles of liberty

Think small to help resolve Kaua‘i’s housing crisis

Unlocking the Potential of the Public Land Trust

DHHL Goes on Land-Buying Spree

Transsexual flag flying outside the Fasi Municipal Building

Molokai Reefs: DLNR Listening to Walter Ritte

Pohoiki: Zendo Drops a Bombshell

Lahaina Tourism return may bring ‘explosion of anger’

HNN: … “There is a lot of tension in the community,” said Council member Yuki Lei Sugimura. “And a lot of emotions. It’s very sad. For a lot of people, very angry and I don’t blame them.”

Meanwhile, leaders of Maui nonprofit health care providers said they are stretched thin and burning out, while their clients struggle.

Chantelle Matagi, of Papa Ola Lokahi, said it’s particularly difficult for Native Hawaiians, Filipinos and Pacific Islanders who have struggled to access services. “They are still trying to find housing,” she said. “They are still trying to find food, they are still dealing with employment.”…

“It’s a very, very emotional,” Cook said. He added: “You’re being here today and talking about mental health” before pushing his hands out to communication an explosion….

Council Member Keani Rawlins-Fernandez defended bringing up the reopening with added demand for mental health services.

“I don’t want to ask a question about how we help our community members prepare for that mentally and emotionally because I think it’s near impossible,” she said….

read … ‘Stretched thin’: Tensions run high as weary West Maui residents prepare for tourism’s return

Weasel Words: County ‘looks to’ speed up Lahaina reentry process

MN: … Last week, the first zone along Kaniau Road reopened to residents, and on Monday, restrictions on another three zones on Kuuipo, Aa and Lokia streets were lifted.

Darryl Oliveira, interim administrator of the Maui Emergency Management Agency, said Monday that the county is working to speed up the reentry process.

(Weasel Words: ‘working to’)

“We’re looking at expanding our capability and capacity, open up more zones, bigger areas and being a little faster, because we really want to get people back to their properties, something that’s been long awaited on,” Oliveira said Monday morning outside the Lahaina Civic Center.

(Weasel Words: ‘looking at’)

After today, residents with a vehicle pass or ID can enter through the checkpoint from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily….

As of Saturday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had cleared hazardous household materials (CLUE: Old paint cans and empty propane cannisters) from 972 parcels, which is about 50 percent of the parcels in the area…

Oliveira said. They’ve been working from the south, north and east and heading toward commercial properties in the center, which will be more complicated to clear with larger structures and different types of debris, Oliveira said. He added that the residential zones will likely continue reopening from north to south, but that the county may look at opening zones on the south end where more structures survived. The county is also working with Hawaiian Electric to restore power to homes that are still standing so people can get back to living there if they are structurally sound.

(Weasel Words: ‘may look at’)

When asked about a timeline for completing the reentry process, Oliveira said, “I would say as soon as possible.” The county wants to complete reentry in time for the next phase that includes debris removal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who haven’t yet given the county a start date.

“They give us the assurance that they’re not going to start work on a property unless the property owner has had a chance to get back as well as give them the right of entry,” Oliveira said….

(Translation: ACOE Bulldozers will scrape your lot and you won’t even be able to find it anymore without a surveyor.  Next step: Eminent Domain.)

some people, like Maria Moisa, aren’t too keen to return to their properties. Moisa moved to Lahaina two weeks before the fire to serve as the property manager for the recently built affordable housing complex Kaiaulu o Kupuohi. She doesn’t want to go back because “there’s nothing to go back to.” She lived near the top of the multistory complex and doesn’t think she’d be able to find any of her belongings in the rubble.

(Translation: The plan is working as intended.)

After going to California for about a month, she came back to Maui and stayed in her car for eight days because rooms were too expensive. She was finally able to secure a hotel room and is now hoping to find one with a kitchen, as she has cancer and needs to cook healthy meals.

(Translation: The plan is working as intended.)

“There’s still so much more to do,” she said. “Because you come and you do paperwork and they say it’s good but it never is. You have to keep coming back and bringing more and more stuff. It’s just irritating to a point where I’m ready to say, just forget it.”

(Translation: The plan is working as intended.)

As Moisa spoke, sirens went off as part of a test of the outdoor all-hazard warning system. Moisa paused.

“Oh now they test it,” she said. “When we needed it it didn’t go off.”…

REALITY: “insurance adjustors from the mainland told her they had never before seen a burn site locked down in this way and had never before been prevented from doing their work in a timely manner.”

read … County looks to speed up Lahaina reentry process

Maui Fires: PUC Finally Gets Around to Considering Plan to ‘Harden’ Power Lines

IM: … Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) filed an application in 2022 to spend $190 million over a five-year period to harden the HECO, MECO, and HELCO grids. The parties and intervenors in the proceeding are HECO, Consumer Advocate, Life of the Land, and Ulupono Initiative. All procedural steps in the proceeding are complete.

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) filed Information Requests shortly after the devastating Maui fires. HECO filed responses shortly before 4 pm on October 2, 2023.

The procedural order governing steps in the docket was dated before the fire. Outside of this order, Life of the Land also filed information requests. Life of the Land suggested the Commission open a fire investigative proceeding. The Consumer Advocate suggested that the Commission adopt this request. The Commission has not issued a formal response regarding this request nor how to address Life of the Land`s information requests as of this utility filing.

HECO`s answers filed yesterday included public, confidential, and restricted responses….

The PUC asked, "Please elaborate on what kind of `temporary structures` Hawaiian Electric is installing `in and around Lahaina,1 including what materials are being used, what standards or codes they are measured against, and how long they are intended to remain in place."

HECO responded, "`Temporary structures`" in this context refers to wires and poles erected for the purposes of restoring electric service and minimum levels of reliability (i.e., installing back up circuit ties to circuits fed off of the mobile substations that were installed) that are expected to remain in place until community, County and infrastructure partners provide input for near , medium-, and/or long-term plans for the Lahaina area.

“For example, if collaborative community-driven discussions and plans indicate that steel pole electrical lines in identified areas are preferred over wood poles, the wood pole `temporary structures` may be removed in favor of the long-term designs. Infrastructure that was installed to restore power immediately following the event was generally replaced like-for-like and/or brought up to the applicable current regulatory standard (i.e., National Electric Safety Code, 2002).”…

read … Maui Fires -- Hawaiian Electric Filed Responses to Public Utilities Commission Questions | Ililani Media

Lack Of Money And Staff Is Hindering Wildfire Code Enforcement In Hawaii

CB: … The fire codes designed to protect Hawaii are vast and comprehensive — and virtually impossible to implement entirely.

The codes include both the regulation of wildfire-related hazards and structural hazards.

But the county fire departments’ prevention bureaus that enforce the codes are so understaffed and underfunded that structural regulations, which make up the bulk of the codes, has taken precedence over wildfire regulation. 

The Honolulu Fire Department’s fire prevention bureau oversees code compliance at roughly 20,000 locations, according to former HFD prevention bureau chief Socrates Bratakos. And with just 15 inspectors, the department has little time or capacity to address wildfires, while also investigating fires and educating the public….

The consequence on Oahu is that codes relating to vegetation management and overgrown brush have predominantly been dealt with through a complaint-based process if at all….

Hawaii County has three fire code inspectors in its fire prevention bureau, so ensuring wildland-urban interface code compliance takes a backseat, especially when landowners refuse to comply and the county has few enforcement options, Todd says.

“We’ve run into the issue where they might lawyer up and grind things to a halt,” Todd said….

read … Lack Of Money And Staff Is Hindering Wildfire Code Enforcement In Hawaii

Occupancy for Hawaii vacation rentals dropped to 54% in August

PBN: … Among the different counties, Maui County reported the largest drop in occupancy, supply, and demand. This was likely due to the wildfires, as noted in the Hawaii Vacation Rental Performance Report….

read … Occupancy for Hawaii vacation rentals dropped to 54% in August

Game Rooms Average 5 Years Between fake raids--City Council to mull anti-gaming room measure

SA: … As part of its upcoming agenda Wednesday, the Hono­lulu City Council will consider two bills aimed at cracking down on illegal gaming rooms around Oahu.

Bills 57 and 58 are meant to aid enforcement efforts to close the 100 gambling parlors that the Honolulu Police Department says operate somewhere on the island each day.

In a year’s time, police say, on average only about 20 such operations are shuttered here.

(TRANSLATION: Your game room can operate for 5 years before a raid.)

HPD notes when local gambling parlors — which draw illegal drugs, weapons and gun-related violence — are shut down by law enforcement, they tend to quickly reopen, sometimes in the same spot and often under new operators.

(TRANSLATION: And that 5 year raid is fake.)

The intent of both bills is to coordinate HPD’s efforts with other city agencies such as the Department of Planning and Permitting and the Corporation Counsel to target the landlords of properties used to house game rooms.

Notably, Bill 57 would give DPP and Corporation Counsel greater ability to go after landlords of properties used for gambling establishments that “promote such unsafe conditions” and “threaten the health, safety, and welfare of the public by creating unsafe public nuisances.”

read … City Council to mull anti-gaming room measure | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

$13K Junket: City Council Members Are South Korea Bound

CB: … Chair Tommy Waters submitted four resolutions last week on behalf of himself and colleagues Radiant Cordero, Matt Weyer, Tyler Dos Santos-Tam and Val Okimoto along with Brad Kitsu, Honolulu’s Sister City coordinator.

Honolulu City Councilman Tyler Dos Santos-Tam. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

The first resolution will allow the council to accept several nights of lodging, local transportation and a luncheon valued at $7,500 from the Seoul Metropolitan Council to attend the 10th anniversary of the Seoul-Honolulu Friendly Relationship in Seoul.

The second reso will allow the acceptance of $5,500 for similar accommodations from the Incheon Metropolitan Council to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Honolulu-Incheon relationship.

The other gift resolutions will permit the council members to bring some tasty treats to their Korean hosts: 100 boxes of Hawaiian macadamia shortbread cookies from Diamond Bakery (value: $380), and 100 milk chocolate bars (value: $500) from Waialua Estate Coffee and Chocolate and Dole Food Co.

Dos Santos-Tam told The Sunshine Blog that any donation to the city over $2,500 requires a resolution to accept it…

read … City Council Members Are South Korea Bound

“Data comparisons between 2020 Census and 2010 Census detailed race data should be made with caution”

CB: … The release of additional racial data from the 2020 Census last week enabled more detailed analysis of people who identify as Native Hawaiians.

Before we go any further, let’s just note this caveat from Rachel Marks, Chief of the Racial Statistics Branch: “Data comparisons between 2020 Census and 2010 Census detailed race data should be made with caution and take into account improvements we made to the question and the ways we code what people tell us.”

With that out of the way, for most observers the headline out of the new data was: More Native Hawaiians live on the continent than in Hawaii….

read … HPD's New Data Dashboard Is A Good Start But There's Room To Improve

Military’s plan to stop using fresh drinking water on Oahu golf course halted by DOH

HNN: … the golf course at Marine Corps Base Hawaii uses about 11 million gallons of fresh drinking water a month.

The Marines say they can be more resourceful by using recycled wastewater instead, but they need the green light from the Department of Health….

HNN was given access inside the military’s water reclamation facility at the Kaneohe Marine base, where officials say that in one day alone, it can turn 2.6 million gallons of wastewater into recycled water.

Right now, the water is discharged into the ocean….

read … Military’s plan to stop using fresh drinking water on Oahu golf course halted by DOH (hawaiinewsnow.com)

Lahaina Fire News: 

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