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Tuesday, October 17, 2023
October 17, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:17 PM :: 2003 Views

Lahaina: Corps of Engineers Fake 'Toxic' Cleanup Money Spinner for CNHA, 8a Companies

Political Connections Pay Off: USACE awards $52.5 million site assessment, debris removal contract to Dawson Solutions

Lahaina Slush Fund: USACE awards $19 million 'cultural monitoring' contract

Kula Fire: DoH Arsenic Scare Tactics

Eight Hawaii Birds Declared Extinct

Red Hill defueling underway

County of Maui identifying vehicles damaged or destroyed in wildfires

Hawaii’s Successful Catalytic Converter Theft Law Offers A National Model For Consumer Protection

Housing shuffle designed to vex Lahaina fire evacuees until they move to Mainland

SA: … The Maloneys, who first stayed with family and friends, already have had to leave two noncongregate hotel shelters. They moved from the Fairmont Kea Lani after the American Red Cross contract ended early and with little notice. The Maloneys were next assigned to a noncongregate shelter room at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa; however, they were forced to give it up when they had to leave Maui for a few days. Maloney said the family was told that they could reapply for new shelter upon their return….

Maloney said FEMA initially said the family could return to the home to live. He said it took two appeals for FEMA to conclude, as the insurance company already had, that the property was uninhabitable without power and water….

The lack of available units even has hindered the nonprofit Maui Economic Opportunity’s Maui Fires Relief Transitional Housing Program, which assists fire- affected kupuna and families by paying six months of rent and a security deposit directly to the landlord. It’s a crucial gap program because it has broader qualification criteria and sometimes is able to assist those whom FEMA has denied.

MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe said the nonprofit has more applications than can be funded, and could use at least 100 more units to satisfy a waitlist of fire survivors needing housing….

Brewbaker noted that Maui also has been extremely slow to deliver new housing stock. He said data from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism shows that Maui built about 1,100 new housing units per year from 1999 to 2007, and from 2008 to 2022 delivered about 520 new units annually….

Trauma as well as the trickle-down impact of the tourism downturn on Maui have caused high unemployment. Before the pandemic, Maui’s share of the GDP for tourism was 38%, according to DBEDT data….

SA: Housing strategy needed for Maui (CLUE: There is a strategy.  Shuffle the deck until they leave the island.)

read … Housing shuffle vexes Lahaina fire evacuees

Homeowners' association sues to stop tiny home builder in Lahaina

KITV: … Alfy Basurto already lost his businesses -- and home -- in the Lahaina fires.

And now he's facing a lawsuit "at a time when all of us need to contribute to the solution," trying to stop him from building more than a dozen tiny homes in a gated community above Lahaina.

"I never thought that these guys would go as far as to, you know, file a complaint or to stop, prevent emergency housing," he said.

The Pu'unoa Homeowners Association is suing Basurto and his associates for grading the land without a permit.

Before the fires, Basurto planned to build a luxury tiny home village in the West Maui hills on two and a half acres of land….

Through its attorneys, the Pu'unoa Homeowners Association told KITV4 that Basurto owns ag land -- zoned for only one home -- but he's trying to divide the lot into five dwellings to sell illegal tiny homes.

But Basurto said he's donating the land to his nonprofit -- rebuildmaui.org -- to allow Lahaina families to live rent free….

read … Homeowners' association sues to stop tiny home builder in Lahaina

UH president should condemn Hamas

SA: … University of Hawaii President David Lassner has joined many university presidents in an abject failure to condemn terrorism. As a faculty member, and adviser to Hillel Hawaii at the University of Hawaii, I was extremely disappointed in Lassner’s statement on the situation in Israel.

He said, “Many of us are watching events of this past week in Israel and Gaza with horror and disbelief.” He appears to be equating the counterattack on Gaza with the brutal ISIS-like murder of more than 1,200 Israeli men, women, children and young babies.

This is in contrast to the statement from U.S. Rep. Ed Case: “I strongly condemn the appalling surprise attack by Hamas on innocent civilians and communities across Israel. There is no justification or excuse for terrorism, and any country whose peoples and lands are attacked by terrorists has the right and obligation to defend itself fully.”…

read … Letter: UH president should condemn Hamas | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Did construction start at TMT site? Land board to mull the question next month

HTH: … After months of delays, the question of whether construction work on the Thirty Meter Telescope has begun will be answered in November.

In 2017, then-Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case granted the University of Hawaii in Hilo a conservation district use permit for TMT to use the Maunakea summit land, on the condition that work begin at the site within two years and be completed within 12 years of the permit’s issuance.

Case in 2019 then granted a two-year extension to that condition — called Condition No. 4 — owing to the protests at the Maunakea Access Road at that time, pushing the deadline for work to begin until 2021.

But in 2021, Case determined that some preliminary work done in 2019, including the removals of unpermitted ahu near the construction site and moving vehicles to the project location, was sufficient to fulfill Condition No. 4.

Hawaiian activist group Mauna Kea Hui in 2021 challenged that determination, arguing that what little work was done in 2019 does not constitute the beginning of TMT’s construction.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources had scheduled a hearing on Condition No. 4 in July before postponing it, but the issue has been rescheduled for discussion on Nov. 7….

read … Did construction start at TMT site? Land board to mull the question next month - Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Newly-unearthed letter from Akaka offers evidence of Red Hill leaks 2 decades ago

HNN: … The letter, newly obtained by Hawaii News Now, is evidence that leaks had been happening at the World War II-era facility for at least 20 years. The letter to then-Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter was about outsourcing maintenance work at the Red Hill facility.

In the letter, Akaka adds that he “would appreciate” Winter’s assistance in looking further into measures taken by the Navy “to safeguard the Red Hill fuel tanks from leakage.”

The letter continued, “My office has learned that in fact leaks did occur and that the tanks were drained and cleaned.”

According to the letter, Akaka was told the tanks remained empty for at least two years. Another key point in the letter: Akaka seemed concerned that a “leak detection system” was no longer in operation but still managed to detect the leaks.

“I would appreciate an explanation for the Navy’s decision to discontinue the earlier utilized fuel tank leak detection system,” he wrote.

Akaka said he was told it proved “successful in identifying the four leaking fuel tanks.”…

KHON: Anxiety looms as Red Hill defueling begins

read … Newly-unearthed letter from Akaka offers evidence of Red Hill leaks 2 decades ago

Resignations After Four-Hour Democratic State Committee Meeting 

CB: … the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s State Central Committee held a contentious Zoom call Saturday that ran well over four hours.

By the time it was finished the committee managed to schedule a special meeting for Oct. 28 to decide the fate of embattled chair Dennis Jung, who is aggressively fighting a concerted effort to remove him over allegations of mismanagement.

There will also be another election at that time for the party’s vice chair and assistant secretary, as candidates for those seats were challenged by some Democrats. Bill Puette, the party’s parliamentarian, is so upset with the dispute between Jung and State Central Committee members that he quit his post.

It’s been said that getting Democrats to unify is like herding cats, but the local party is looking a lot more like elephants these days….

read … The Sunshine Blog: Bungled Communications, A Tweet Attack, And A Longing For Another Side - Honolulu Civil Beat

Waihee: Hawaii Needs ‘Vibrant Opposition Party’

CB: … “This sounds like heresy, but we really do need a vibrant opposition party,” former Gov. John Waihee told the group, adding that otherwise the majority party is consumed by personality politics.

Waihee, a Democrat, reminded the audience that it was Republicans who led the charge to establish Hawaiian homelands (Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole), open up Asian immigration to the U.S. (Sen. Hiram Fong) and stop the military bombing of Kahoolawe (Rep. Pat Saiki). But the focus of today’s local GOP, Waihee said, is unfortunately not on Hawaii….

read … The Sunshine Blog: Bungled Communications, A Tweet Attack, And A Longing For Another Side - Honolulu Civil Beat

More Hawaii Schools Qualify For Free Meal Programs But The State May Not Participate

CB: … Recent changes to the National School Lunch Program could allow a major expansion in the number of Hawaii schools that offer free meals to all students. But it’s unclear how many of schools will take advantage of the Community Eligibility Provision program, which provides schools in high-poverty areas with federal funds meant to subsidize the cost of offering free breakfast and lunch to all families. 

Before recent changes to the program, schools where 40% or more of students were low-income or had high-needs could qualify for the CEP. That includes students who are homeless, in foster care or enrolled in federal initiatives such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

Under recent changes to the program, the qualifying threshold has dropped to 25% of a school’s student body. According to a database from the Food Research And Action Center, which uses data from the 2022-23 school year, 83 new schools in Hawaii could enroll in the CEP. …

making this change might be easier said than done…

CEP schools receive federal reimbursements to help to cover the cost of offering free breakfast and lunch to all students. But schools with fewer low-income students receive less federal support helping to cover the costs of those meals.  

The responsibility falls to the school district to cover the remaining costs of offering free meals at CEP schools, Oyadomari-Chun said. The department is still determining what these costs might be for next year, she added. 

Last year, the department estimated that, even with federal reimbursements, it would cost roughly $64 million a year to provide free meals to all students, although the final number could vary based on students’ participation in school meal programs and the costs of labor and food. …

read … More Hawaii Schools Qualify For Free Meal Programs But The State May Not Participate

HECO Seeking $2M From HART For Work Done On Canceled Substation

CB: … Hawaiian Electric spokesman Darren Pai said in a written statement that HECO concluded the Ka’aahi Substation is no longer needed mostly because of a reduction in use of power by the train in the area, and lower power consumption by the rail maintenance and operations center.

The rail authority also deferred the 1,600-stall Pearl Highlands park-and-ride facility, which further reduced the projected power use, according to Pai.

“We have completed design work and started procurement of materials to meet the needs specified in HART’s original service request,” Pai said. “Based on the terms of that agreement, HART is responsible for those costs.”…

read … HECO Seeking $2M From HART For Work Done On Canceled Substation

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