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Thursday, November 2, 2023
November 2, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:40 PM :: 3790 Views

Hawaii attorney general opposes opt-out option from LGBTQ+ books for 2nd graders

Lahaina Fires: House Working Groups Release Draft Reports

HIEMA Rewrites 'Hazard Mitigation Plan'

Maui Fires: Three bills offer property tax relief

Self-certification has good track record in other cities | Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

SD5 Election Set to Replace Gil Keith-Aragan

State Supreme Court Justice: ‘Big Oil’ Climate Change Trial is about ‘White Men’, Misogyny, Racism 

IM: Associate Justice Eddins issued a concurring opinion:

"In 1791, corporations were rare, highly regulated creations of the states and not mentioned in the Constitution."

"Citizens United v. Fed. Election Comm’n, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), sidestepped text, history, and tradition to invalidate a major law on a question vital to democracy - limitless corporate money influencing elections."

"Traditional methods to interpret the Constitution are unacceptable... Whose history are we talking about anyway? The powerful. The few white men who made laws and shaped lives during the mostly racist and misogynistic very old days. Originalism revives their value judgments. To constrain the value judgments of contemporary judges!" ….

NLR: Supreme Court of Hawaii City and County of Honolulu v Sunoco LP

R: Honolulu climate case against oil cos can go to trial

CD: Honolulu Climate Case Heads to Trial After Hawaii Supreme Court Rejects Big Oil Appeal

read … Hawai`i Supreme Court Issues Decision to Hold Fossil Fuel Industry Responsible

Venue Shopping: Why Hawaii became a hotbed of legal activism to target ‘Big Oil’

B: …Denise Antolini, a retired University of Hawaii law professor, credits Hawaii’s emergence as a climate litigation trailblazer to a “perfect triangle” of influences: strong Native Hawaiian rights, robust environmental protections and the inclusion of natural resources in the state’s public trust doctrine, which has roots in Indigenous law. “All three (influences) are enshrined in (the state) constitution and in statutes, and now in a whole series of very well-known cases,” Antolini said….

Mike Wilson, a former Hawaii Supreme Court justice who retired in May, said judges in the state “are keenly aware of the fact that communities close to us, that we’re connected to culturally … are being exterminated, in part by the identified actions of a community that is being brought before the courts.”

Wilson authored a concurring opinion in the case regarding Honua Ola Bioenergy’s challenge of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission’s denial of approval to supply energy to Hawaii Island, calling a stable climate a constitutional right implicit in the state constitution’s due process clause.

read … Why Hawaii became a hotbed of legal activism to protect the climate - Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Maui County to Ban Single Family Homes?

CB: … In 1960, Maui County adopted its zoning code, Title 19. Title 19 has not been revised since then. Zoning codes should receive a comprehensive update every 10 years, so Maui’s code is 53 years overdue for revision….

A contractor is currently preparing a revision, and they’re scheduled to finish in 2026. Three years is a long time to wait, so Mayor Richard Bissen’s administration should speed up the process.

In 2016, Maui County hired Orion Planning and Design to conduct an audit of Title 19, Maui’s Zoning Code. In March 2018, the audit was released. The audit is a scathing review of the code coupled with recommendations for improvement….

The audit argues against single-use residential zoning and preferences for detached single-family homes.

“A greater range of housing types is being used in communities across the country to expand housing diversity and affordable options,” notes Orion. “Maui County should consider expanding the types of housing permitted in residential and mixed-use districts such as row houses, courtyard houses, duplexes, triplexes, quadriplexes, accessory dwelling units, and tiny houses.”

(CLUE: Ban single family homes.)

Maui County took the feedback to heart, and in July 2019 the county contracted Orion Planning and Design to rewrite and update Title 19. But that process is scheduled to finish in 2026. So any rebuild in the next three years is likely to occur under current zoning which is designed to produce unaffordable, unsustainable sprawl….

(CLUE: Block rebuild for three years.)

read … Maui County Needs Zoning Reform Now

Lahaina Fire communication failures appear to have been due to an apparent lack of listening in on dispatchers

HNN: … Evacuations became more complicated as the fire crossed Honoapiilani Highway and brought down power lines. As smoke crossed those roads in the distance, an officer can be heard saying residents were reporting that “multiple lines are down.”

A dispatcher responded: “There is nothing we can do. MECO is doing the best they can.”

About 5 p.m. on Aug. 8, an officer assigned to a roadblock at Maalaea tried to convey the urgency when someone tried to get access to Lahaina.

“You gotta move this truck because we got one firefighter down,” she said. There had been a fire truck trapped and a fire captain injured in the flight. But the officer went even further.

“We got multiple dying, and we got multiple people dying that we gotta get out,” she said.

The department said at the time, there were no confirmed fatalities, although there were unofficial reports of deaths that could not be confirmed because of the conditions.

The chief said he learned there were fatalities the following morning.

Some of the communication failures appear to have been due to an apparent lack of uniformed officers or emergency operations officials listening in on overwhelmed dispatchers and a focus on fires still raging in upcountry Maui many miles away….

Related: Maui PD releases body cam footage from Lahaina Fire

read … Extensive officer body cam footage could prove central to wildfire probes (hawaiinewsnow.com)

Lahaina Fires: Anti-PLDC Protester because part of the Establishment

CB: … when the sun rose on a beloved town that was mostly in ruins, everything changed at the Maui County Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

Martin and her assistants receded into the background, suddenly allergic to reporters just as a media horde descended on Maui.

News conferences were coordinated by Makana McClellan, communications director for Gov. Josh Green, who commanded much of the podium time.

A state Joint Information Center was established and operated at almost all hours to respond to hundreds of media inquiries during the first couple of weeks.

A county Joint Information Center was set up as well to deal with county-centric issues, but the person often handling reporters’ questions to the JIC for almost a month was not Martin but Jon Heggie, part of a 69-member Cal Fire incident management team on loan to Maui.

Even though she said she’d been there that night, Martin deferred questions about what was going on in the EOC during the firestorm to Heggie, who said he wasn’t authorized by the county to release any timeline information. File a formal records request, he suggested. Civil Beat has done so, and has been told the matter is in the hands of county lawyers….

It’s not as if Martin doesn’t know what it’s like to deal with uncooperative bureaucrats. Back in 2012, she was one of the most animated critics of the state’s short-lived Public Land Development Corp….

read … The Silent Treatment Is No Way To Run A Maui County In Crisis

Rail Runs from Arid Field to Shuttered Stadium

SA: … The latest weekly ridership was at 21,755, an average of just 3,107 riders daily….

There are drawbacks, of course. The route of this first operational segment of rail, from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium, is far from ideal. The stadium is, lamentably, now shuttered. All the more reason for the city and state to work together to foster events on the stadium grounds, such as family fun fairs or seasonal activities.

The East Kapolei terminus, meanwhile, sits in (stands elevated above) an arid field — a full mile from the Ka Makana Alii shopping mall….

DTS has extended rail operating hours for special events, such as the Megabon and Waipahu Street Festival in August, and will do so again this Saturday for the Taste of Waipahu, till 10 p.m….

read … Editorial: City lags in efforts to expand rail use | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Hawaiian Tel Replaces HECO on Honolulu Police Commission

CB: … The Honolulu City Council confirmed Jeannine Souki, a senior manager of government and regulatory affairs at Hawaiian Telecom, to the city’s voluntary police commission on Wednesday.

Souki will replace Shannon Alivado, who stepped down in October after serving on the commission since 2017. Alivado is the director of government relations at Hawaiian Electric Co. …

(Really Obvious Question; What do either of them know about police work?)

read … Honolulu Confirms New Member Of Police Commission - Honolulu Civil Beat

Prosecutors detail evidence ahead of trial for 4 HPD officers accused of causing near-fatal crash

HNN: … Officers Joshua Nahulu is charged with collision involving serious bodily injury. Officers Erik Smith, Jake Bartolome and Robert Lewis are charged with hindering prosecution and conspiracy.

In documents recently filed with the court, prosecutors described what the government intends to introduce as evidence in the December trial against the four, including police body camera videos from the 2021 incident that ended with six people hospitalized, some with critical injuries.

The prosecutor’s report revealed that it was Bartolome who is heard on camera saying he’s going to chase the while Honda after the driver honked the horn before leaving Maili Beach Park….

read … Prosecutors detail evidence ahead of trial for 4 HPD officers accused of causing near-fatal crash

Maui Affordable Rentals: $3464/mo 

HNN: … high mortgage and construction loan rates are making it harder for Maui and other counties to dig out of the housing crisis.

Prominent Maui developer Everett Dowling is responding by making big changes to one project that was already in the pipeline towards construction.

“These are mortgage rates that we haven’t encountered for, for about 30 years,” Dowling said. “It’s just It happened so suddenly, that it’s, it’s a shock to the system.”

Dowling has taken over the Kuikahi workforce housing project in Wailuku, which was planned as for-sale housing. Rising interest rates made the homes unaffordable.

“You’re getting squeezed on the cost. And your revenues decreased because the buyers can’t afford the mortgages. They can’t afford to pay the sales prices,” Dowling said.

To keep the project alive while Maui is desperate for new housing, Dowling’s company is proposing dropping the plan from 54 buildings with homes for sale to a simpler, six-building layout with 202 rentals.

The range of affordability: From $1,273 for a studio to $3,464 for a three-bedroom….

The Dowlings told the Maui Count Council they need a $40 million, low-interest county loan to make it possible. But County Housing Director Lori Tsuhako said the project will have to compete for the money….

That answer frustrated those who hoped that the county would act faster on a housing crisis made worse by the Lahaina fire.

Community advocate Kai Nishiki said, “Action is what’s missing a sense of urgency is missing.”

Council members were also disappointed that the county wasn’t able to green light the project.

“We have the resources to help invest in our people,” said Council Member Gabe Johnson, “Because our people are leaving.”…

Dowling pointed out that Maui is his home and the center of his companies efforts, despite having a (because of its) reputation as the most difficult county in which to build housing (which keeps out competitors and jacks up prices)….

read … Developers: Rising mortgage rates threaten Maui’s wildfire recovery (hawaiinewsnow.com)

As Maui reopens, Hawaii's leading banks brace for post-fire challenges

AB: … Executives at Hawaii's biggest banks — the $23.5 billion-asset Bank of Hawaii and the $25 billion-asset First Hawaiian, both based in Honolulu — said during late-October earnings calls that it was premature to gauge the economic fallout from the fires.

Though third-quarter profits fell 9% at Bank of Hawaii and nearly 16% at First Hawaiian, the final analysis of the impact on the island and the banks themselves will depend on how quickly tourism volumes return and how much visitors spend during the usually active winter months ahead, the executives said….

Both First Hawaiian and Bank of Hawaii reported increased deposits during the third quarter and virtually no loan growth. Loan demand softened on the islands, as in many U.S. markets, as interest rates have soared over the past two years. But executives at both banks predicted that in coming years homeowners and businesses are bound to borrow more to complete renovations or pursue expansions on top of rebuilding lost properties. This could boost loan volumes next year and beyond, particularly if interest rates level off. …

read … As Maui reopens, Hawaii's leading banks brace for post-fire challenges

Airline Pilot News: Hawaii looking at expanding psychedelic therapies

KITV: … After informal meetings, Hawaii's Breakthrough Therapies Task Force will come up with recommendations before the legislative session.

Which means in a few months, lawmakers could end up voting on whether to expand psychedelic therapy in the islands….

Ignore This: Pilot tries to crash plane after taking shrooms for depression

read … Hawaii looking at expanding psychedelic therapies

Soft on Crime: Judge Vacates Life Sentence for N Shore Murderer

KHON: …At a hearing on Wednesday, a judge vacated the jury’s recommendation to sentence Brown to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The judge ruled that the jury was given improper instructions.

Back in January, Stephen Brown was found guilty of all charges in the brutal 2017 killing of North Shore mother Telma Boinville and the kidnapping of her then 8-year-old daughter.

Brown’s girlfriend at the time of the incident Hailey Dandurand was the second suspect involved in the case, she was also found guilty in August.

Sentencing for both of them is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 6….

SA: Sentencing delayed in 2017 North Shore murder | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

read … Judge vacates jury’s recommendation to sentence convicted murderer Stephen Brown

Lahaina Fire News: 

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