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Sunday, October 22, 2023
October 22, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:09 PM :: 1294 Views

Stop Permitting Favoritism

Hawaii urged to steer clear of Vienna housing model

Hawaii the Sinkhole State

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted October 23, 2023

Maui Unemployment Jumps to 8.4% After Fires

Judge rules California assault weapons ban unconstitutional

Inverse Condemnation and Paying for Disasters

PR comes before policy with Honolulu’s rail board

Shapiro: … The performance of the HART board has vacillated between useless and dangerous, and it’s been the opposite of the original intent of a semi-autonomous agency that would keep politics out of rail.

The agency is currently led by Chair Colleen Hanabusa, whose main skill set is being a consummate politician. She was a longtime state senator, served in Congress and holds the rare trifecta of losing elections for governor, mayor and the U.S. Senate.

Hanabusa has been appointed to the HART board and ushered into the chairmanship by two different mayors. Instead of keeping politics out of rail, HART’s main function has been to give political cover to the mayor and City Council by letting them blame HART for rail’s problems instead of accepting accountability themselves.

HART has put politics at the epicenter of rail, and it shows in the miserable outcome.

With the agency so undeniably not achieving its purpose, it’s time to give taxpayers a chance to cut losses by ridding ourselves of this costly and underperforming albatross.

The City Council should put on the 2024 general election ballot a City Charter amendment to abolish HART and put oversight of rail construction under the city Department of Transportation Services.

That way, all city transportation functions will be under one roof for better coordination, and we’ll have a direct line of accountability to the mayor and City Council when problems fester.

And we’ll be done with the tiresome bleating of Hanabusa and her board about being attacked by honest news reporters who only seek to inform taxpayers when their money swirls down the toilet and get the truth out of HART as to why….

read … PR comes before policy with Honolulu’s rail board

Calm campaign field here bodes ill for 2024 election

Borreca: … We are just one year away from starting to vote for a new president, U.S. senator, two U.S. House members plus 12 state senators and 51 state House members.

Voters will be getting their ballots in the mail for the 2024 general election by Oct. 18 of next year, according to the state elections office.

With so many key contests up for a final decision, one would think the general election would have spawned more campaigns already. But, it looks that unlike past election cycles, this is not the year to lure out the early candidates. Instead, this appears to be a quiet political time….

Whatever the reason, no one is marking this as a vibrant political year. Instead of new faces, this is an election cycle with good tidings for incumbents up and down the ballot.

So far, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, a prime incumbent, has not attracted a major opponent. It is a bit strange to describe someone who is 77 as a “freshman,” but Blangiardi, after a successful career in the competitive world of broadcasting, is wrapping up his first term as mayor without an announced or even rumored viable opponent….

some, but not all, City Council incumbents are going into the campaign season already forced to answer how they could allow themselves a staggering 64% pay raise. Some, like Council members Tupola and Augie Tulba, had introduced resolutions against the raises, but they were not successful.

Still, with just a year left before voters start marking their just-delivered ballots, the question to be answered is not whom to vote for, but is that all we have?…

read … Calm campaign field here bodes ill for 2024 election

Affordable Housing is a Joke: 20 Years to Groundbreaking

SA:  … On Tuesday, a project that is in some ways emblematic of Oahu’s long-stalled affordable housing “journey” broke ground at a 3.4-acre property owned by the city: a $62 million, 140-unit rental housing project for low-income seniors called Aloha Ia Halewiliko. On the former Aiea Sugar Mill site, the project has been considered by city administrations over the past 20 years. Last week’s (20-year-belated) groundbreaking gives (reminds us there is no) hope that Honolulu is entering a new era of action on housing and housing affordability….

read … No Hope

Will Lahaina Fire Suits Force landowners to Start Clearing Dry Brush Statewide?

SA: … “It takes years to plan, apply for funding and carry those kinds of projects out,” Elizabeth Pickett, HWMO’s co-executive director, said in an email (without laughing), “so it is a long-game absent of local or steady funding sources.”

(Clue: Goats.)

HWMO extols the value of prevention as vastly outweighing cost, which can be hard for landowners to recognize.

“No one wants to do it because it costs money and it commits you to an active management plan,” said University of Hawaii at Manoa wildfire expert Clay Trauernicht. “Public safety costs money. That’s just what it comes down to.”

Damage from the Lahaina fire is estimated at $5.6 billion….

Jeremie Makepa established ‘Aina Alliance to reduce risk on about 400 acres of previously unmanaged land owned by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands next to the Anahola homestead subdivision where he lives.

From April 2021 to February 2022, the nonprofit was able to attract help from others that included DHHL, community volunteers, the Kauai County Department of Public Works and the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife to cut 10 miles of firebreak roads into the area where frequent brush fires had occurred.

Makepa, who described the effort during a Pacific Fire Exchange webinar in August, said it was a high-cost endeavor in part because a lot of abandoned cars and other trash had to be hauled away for proper disposal.

An initial three miles of firebreak roads took six weeks to create using heavy equipment and would have cost $60,000 without donated work, according to DHHL.

($60K or $5.6B.  Difficult decision, eh?)

On Maui, HWMO’s report found a need for 90 miles of firebreaks, fuel reduction or fuel conversion within 132,000 acres.

The report identified two areas of highest concern, Lahaina and Ukumehame-­Maalaea. Suggestions in the report included using existing goat herds on Maui to reduce fuels in high-risk areas including spots in Ukumehame-Maalaea near power lines, and a need for local funding to manage vegetation hazards in Lahaina.

Kauai had the same amount of recommended risk mitigation over the same amount of area as Maui. The areas of highest concern on Kauai were Kekaha and Waimea.

On Hawaii island, 120 miles of mitigation is recommended within about 310,000 acres of land, with one area of high concern around Kawaihae and Waikoloa.

For Oahu, the report identified a need to create 50 miles of firebreaks, fuel reduction or fuel conversion within 12,000 acres of land, much of it in Waianae.

Molokai also was assessed, and a need was identified for 15 miles of firebreaks, fuel reduction or fuel conversion within 2,000 acres. The area of most concern was Kaunakakai followed by Maunaloa….

read … Taking fuel away from fire on Hawaii landscape is a tall challenge

Lahaina Fire News: 

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