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Monday, October 16, 2023
October 16, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:04 PM :: 1553 Views

Hawaii Highest Realtor Costs in USA

PUC needs definitive cause of Maui fire before HECO cover-up can begin

SA: …The Public Utilities Commission needs an official finding of what caused the Aug. 8 Maui wildfires before (designing their) ‘investigating’ (to cover up any evidence that) whether a lack of preparation by utility companies contributed to the tragedy that killed 98 people….

(CLUE: If HECO is liable, they could face bankruptcy but they could not sock ratepayers with repair costs for fire damage.  If HECO is not liable, the lawyers go home disappointed and ratepayers get hammered.)

read … PUC needs definitive cause of Maui fire before HECO investigation

Uncertainty And Delays Are Too Much For Some Lahaina Businesses. They’re Calling It Quits

CB: … the Aug. 8 Lahaina fire destroyed the restaurant. And amid an uncertain and puzzling path ahead toward redevelopment, the owners of the popular eatery have decided to call it quits in Lahaina.

“I don’t believe for a second that they are going to let anybody build on the ocean again,” Laren Gartner, co-founder and owner of Cheeseburger in Paradise, said in a recent interview.

She said that questions about soil toxicity, a debris-removal process that may take years to complete and government lethargy in the face of real economic threat have added to her concerns about Lahaina’s financial future….

Nobody knows for sure how many of Lahaina’s businesses will wait out what may be years of uncertainty to open again in town. Business owners, some of whom also lost their homes in the conflagration, have dispersed all over the country in the weeks following the fire.

People are losing contact with each other, Morrison said.

“We’re all just disconnected, kind of like during Covid,” she said. “I don’t know how to reach anybody because before, I just walked down the street and talked to people, and now, they are just not there.”

Gartner said she believes that fewer than half of Lahaina’s restaurants and bars remain interested in a future on Maui, based on what she witnessed at a recent Liquor Commission meeting. She said that before the fire, about 50 firms in Lahaina had liquor licenses but that at a recent meeting, only about 21 businesses appeared to be there in person or represented by attorneys….

(Plan is working: Lahaina will be cleared out and replaced by Wailea v2.) 

read … Uncertainty And Delays Are Too Much For Some Lahaina Businesses. They’re Calling It Quits

Lahaina: ‘Toxic’ Hysteria will keep some kids out of school

AP: … more than two months after the Aug. 8 wildfire killed at least 98 people, the three public schools that survived are set to reopen this week, posing an emotional crossroads for traumatized children and their families as they decide whether to go back to those campuses or continue at the other schools that took them in.

Some parents said they won’t send their children back because they worry the fire left toxins behind, despite assurances from education officials that the campuses are safe….

The schools are just blocks away from piles of potentially dangerous ash, prompting concerns from parents, but education officials have said air-quality tests show it is safe to reopen.

“He is not going to be stepping one foot back there,” said Tiffany Teruya, the mother of a Lahaina Intermediate eighth-grader….

Debbie Tau’s two children won’t return to their Lahaina schools because she also is worried the air isn’t safe. They live in a Lahaina neighborhood north of the burn zone. She plans to drive them after fall break, when the school district stops providing busing to other schools in Kihei, about 45 minutes away.

“Asbestos is something that really scares me because it’s a carcinogen. And 10, 20, 30 years down the road, our kids could have cancer,” she said. “I feel like it’s like back to COVID, where every decision you make is wrong and you’re, like, putting your kids’ lives at risk.”…

(Plan is working: Lahaina will be cleared out and replaced by Wailea v2.) 

KHON: Shikagi said that teachers and students have not received emails regarding the issue of toxic chemicals in their area. But, according to Shikagi, the schools have been equipped with air monitors.

CB: Students Return To Lahaina Schools As EPA Seals Down Toxic Ash

read … Parents wrestle with sending kids back to schools near burn zone

DoH: Kula Ash full of Arsenic

HNN: … The Hawaii Department of Health and Hawaii Department of Education held a media release discussing the results of preliminary, unvalidated data from ash sampling showing elevated levels of toxic substances in Maui.

Dr. Fink says they received ashes on Friday from eight Kula homes impacted by the wildfires that ranged in age from the 1930s to the 2000s.

Of the ash samples collected, high levels of lead, cobalt, and extremely high levels of arsenic were indicated in the results….

(Plan is working: Lahaina will be cleared out and replaced by Wailea v2.) 

read … Experts say preliminary results of Kula ash sampling indicate high levels of dangerous toxins (hawaiinewsnow.com)

Lahaina fire evacuees being evicted from temporary shelters

SA: … The Native Hawaiian wedding officiant and professional musician said it was five days after the Aug. 8 fire before he started to get his rhythm back after securing a unit at Kahana Sands, which he was told had a contract with the American Red Cross to provide temporary shelter to Lahaina evacuees through Oct. 31.

That peace of mind came to an end Sept. 11 when Soleil Management sent him a letter ordering him to move out of his unit by Sept. 30. Nahale called alternate Soleil- managed condominiums but was unable to secure housing there, either.

Nahale checked with Kahana Sands’ front desk on Sept. 29 and was told that he didn’t have to move out Sept. 30. However, his situation is still uncertain as he does not know how long he can stay or where he can go next. He said Friday that he had spoken with the American Red Cross earlier last week and that they had hinted that he might have to leave by Oct. 18, and asked him whether he had found new accommodations. He said they called again Thursday and asked him how long it would take him to find new housing.

“I just don’t know the answer,” he said.

Nahale said he has made repeated calls to Soleil Management, but they have never answered. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser was not able to reach the company, either….

“They wanted me and others to leave to prepare West Maui for tourists,” Nahale said. “Given my observation of the demographics, the net impact is to clear the property of minorities and local families.”

He also is claiming that since the Kahana Sands unit is his only home, he is a resident and therefore should be entitled to protections under the Hawaii Residential Landlord-Tenant Code.

Nahale said he knows of other Lahaina evacuees in West Maui who are facing displacement.

He said Kahana Sands recently posted a sign saying, “Due to the Governor reopening this section of the Westside on October 8th, I am not able to extend the Kahana Falls closure. If you do not already have alternate housing arranged, please contact the Red Cross immediately for relocation to a property in the Kaanapali area.”…

(Plan is working: Lahaina will be cleared out and replaced by Wailea v2.) 

read … Lahaina fire evacuees being evicted from temporary shelters

Modular-home village being built for 85 displaced Lahaina residents  -- cost $235K per unit

SA: … The longtime leader of a nonprofit Maui homeless services provider aims to develop 85 homes each with a kitchenette, bathroom and screened lanai in Kahului for free use by fire evacuees during the next two years and possibly longer.

Each home, as designed, would contain 256 to 416 square feet of covered living area, excluding lanai space. That’s in the range of standard hotel rooms, is comparable to some new studio or one-bedroom affordable-housing units recently developed in Hawaii and is considerably larger than local tiny-home villages with units around 100 square feet….

The project led by Cumming, who is CEO of the Kahului-based Family Life Center, is estimated to cost $20 million, not including donated labor and materials….

(DO THE MATH: $20M / 85 units = $235K per unit)

Because of the fairly grand scale of the project and its location on land with no easy utility infrastructure connections, there have been significant challenges and delays.

(TRANSLATION: This isn’t real.)

The Family Life Center previously aimed to open a first phase with as many as 34 homes by Sept. 4, but that was later pushed back to the end of this month and most recently to the end of November.

(TRANSLATION: This isn’t real.)

These setbacks are largely due to changes in infrastructure plans, mainly dealing with a potable water source, that necessitated project design changes.

(TRANSLATION: This isn’t real.)

Another challenge has been raising money. No government funding is being sought, and so far about $2 million in private donations has been raised, including $250,000 from Hawaii Community Foundation….

(TRANSLATION: This isn’t real.)

read … Modular-home village proposed for displaced Lahaina residents

Homeless Meth-Heads Are Stealing Parts Off Hawaii’s Emergency Sirens

CB: … At least eight of the state’s emergency sirens are currently not working due to vandalism or suspected vandalism, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. 

And while sirens can break or malfunction for a variety of reasons, vandals and thieves who target the equipment for batteries, copper and other valuable components pose an expensive problem for the state, agency spokesman Adam Weintraub said. 

Sirens, which cost just under $100,000 each, are purchased using federal funding. But when they break, money to fix them comes out of the state’s budget — and that doesn’t always cover it. …

Of the state’s 408 sirens, about 75% to 80% are functional at any given time, Weintraub said.

in some areas, especially on Oahu and the Big Island, vandalism is a recurring concern….

One siren in West Oahu has been vandalized at least four times in the past two years, he said, though he declined to specify which one. There are 184 sirens on Oahu. 

The one that’s repeatedly tampered with now requires $40,000 to be fixed. 

“Vandalism can be tremendously expensive to repair,” Weintraub said. “This happens on the regular, I’m afraid.” …

Wientraub said during next year’s legislative session, he expects officials will start to look at not only how to upgrade the state’s siren system with newer technology but also how to improve the warning system overall. 

“There will be a robust discussion going into the next funding cycle as far as, do we need to reexamine our assumptions about what an alert warning system for the state of Hawaii should look like?” he said. …

read … Vandals Are Stealing Parts Off Hawaii’s Emergency Sirens

Island hopping: A new cannabis wholesale route in Hawaii

MJB: … Big Island Grown, which has a 35,000-square-foot indoor cultivation operation on Hawaii Island, completed the state’s first wholesale inter-island transaction on Sept. 1 with Green Aloha dispensary on Kauai.

Within nine days, Big Island Grown’s flower sold out at Green Aloha’s dispensaries in Kapaa and Koloa, helping the retailer boost gross revenue 40% month-over-month, Big Island Grown CEO Jaclyn Moore told MJBizDaily

Since inking inter-island agreements, Big Island Grown now supplies about a third of all weighted cannabis products in the market, according to Moore….

BREG: Big Island Grown

BREG: Lau Ola LLC

read … Island hopping: A new cannabis wholesale route in Hawaii (mjbizdaily.com)

Hydrogen Hub? Hawaii County is Re-Zoning for Hu Honua Bioenergy

IM: …Hu Honua Bioenergy proposed increasing electric rates and increasing greenhouse gas emissions in exchange for the right to chop down trees (the lungs of the planet) and burn them to generate electricity.

The proposal dates from 2008 and may be the only proposed project in state history to go before the Hawaii Supreme Court on four sequential appeals.

Hu Honua built several structures without acquiring necessary approvals from the county.

After Hu Honua`s final defeat, the county, apparently on its own initiative, decided to approve after-the-fact permits this past spring. Life of the Land filed an information request with the county. The county response noted that Hu Honua would not say what their plans were, and that Hu Honua had not instigated the request to approve the permits.

Now the county is taking the next step to get this boondoggle approved.

The Hawai`i County Planning Department must submit proposed revisions to the General Plan every ten years. The current 180-page proposal presented on September 19, 2023, includes a gift to Hu Honua.

The Draft Land Use Pattern Allocation Guide (LUPAG) shows that the land area zoned as Heavy Industrial at Hu Honua would more than double in size. Presumably, this would enable a hydrogen conversion station to be built alongside the Hu Honua facility….

The public comment period ends on November 20, 2023. The County of Hawai`i Planning Department is seeking community input.

"Share your mana'o! (thoughts). Do you have thoughts, questions, or comments related to the General Plan, a Community Development Plan, or a general community planning concern in your community? If so, please leave us a comment."…

read … Hawai`i County is Advocating for Hu Honua Bioenergy

Good News: Hawaii’s bid to be hydrogen hub falls short

SA: … Hawaii won’t be a ‘clean’-­hydrogen production and distribution hub under a $7 billion federal initiative.

(TRANSLATION: ‘Clean’ = ‘Moving the smokestack’)

Federal officials announced Friday that seven hydrogen hub plans across the country were selected for the funding, and a bid from Hawaii didn’t make the cut.

The local bid was led by the Hawaii State Energy Office in partnership with about 40 companies and other government entities….

read … Hawaii’s bid to be hydrogen hub falls short

Hawaii Needs To Talk About How ‘Conservatism’ Has Become Toxic

CB: … A little over a decade ago, some local conservative and libertarian-supporting donors approached me and asked me to look at a new national organization that had just emerged at the time, called the Oath Keepers….

I was asked, at the time, if I would consider organizing local Filipinos and Native Hawaiians into creating what could possibly become a Hawaii chapter. I responded with a firm “hell no.”

You can’t encourage police officers and military to disobey orders. I told them I don’t want anything to do with this, and if you promote this in Hawaii, you’re going to legally imperil whoever joins this organization, which is the last thing you should want to do to your people….

the conservative world is loaded with thought leaders and influencers who don’t actually like many of the political leaders they publicly idealize (or idolize) and don’t actually believe many of the things they advocate.

The intent is not to promote meaningful reform for these types, but rather, to sell many books, to collect donations, and to gain national prominence by attaching one’s name to an issue or an established political personality.

Worse yet? Evangelical pastors, particularly in the “charismatic” circles of American Christianity, have gone to the dark side by discovering how easy it is to get infusions of new followers and money simply by “prophesying” that it is “the will of God” that people do something. ...

What do we do? First, we need to emphasize individual character and personal motivations over partisanship and posturing in candidates and parties. 

Second, we need to look for ways to reinvigorate our relationships, families, and communities. When people are personally empty and socially unfulfilled, they’ll project their feelings on to messianic public figures and seek identity in these absurd ideological crusades. This is why 20th century conservatives used to say things like “talk to your children, or the government will talk to them for you” – if your loyalty is to your family or neighbors, you won’t empower tyrants in the making….

read … Danny De Gracia: Hawaii Needs To Talk About How Conservatism Has Become Toxic - Honolulu Civil Beat

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