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Sunday, November 5, 2023
November 5, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:35 PM :: 2769 Views

Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Handling Lawsuit Against Oil Companies Calls Climate Change An ‘Existential Threat’

‘Affordable housing’ making housing worse for everyone

VIDEO: Why is Hawaii so Expensive?

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted November 4, 2023

VIDEO: "Amend the Jones Act to revitalize U.S. waterways"

Queens to Buy Wahiawa Hospital

Crossing the Rubicon Again

Lahaina: How Property Rights are Chipped Down to Zero

CB: … individuals, government and other institutions own that land and will invariably have ideas about what to do with it. Somehow, these intentions will have to mesh with government zoning and master planning — and what the community wants…

(CLUE: This is a sales pitch.  A fool and his money are soon parted.)

What does it mean to own land in the United States? In large part, it means that you get to choose what to do with it. But there are limits — hence master plans, zoning, building codes, etc. These things, in theory, are a reflection of larger societal values. Then there’s the fact that, in Hawaii as on the mainland, much of the land was appropriated from original inhabitants who had much different ideas about “ownership.”

(TRANSLATION: We own it you don’t, fool.)

Peter Martin said he had developed 68 affordable homes in Lahaina and sold them to individuals. All but five of them burned down.

Martin — along with his wife, who had just seen the ruined town for the first time after returning from the mainland — attended a community meeting last week and heard a lot of ideas about what should happen in Lahaina. He said that some of them were good, but most he considered unworkable. On a more fundamental level, he questioned why these folks were making plans for other people’s land.

(TRANSLATION: We own it you don’t, fool.)

“We’re listening to these people talk about all their plans for the property — not their property — all the rules they wanted,” he said. “It’s absurd, the socialist mentality, they think they own the land. The property owners are the ones that should be involved.”

Beyond questions of health and safety, he said, “what happens on your land should be your kuleana. It should be private property. First, you should be able to rebuild what you had there quickly.”

He called the meeting “very discouraging.”

Of course, land parcels do not exist in a vacuum. They depend on roads, sewer, water, electricity, schools, fire protection and much more. They use community resources. And so the community gets a say. And that’s where the difficult and protracted debates begin.

(TRANSLATION: We own it you don’t, fool.)

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization says the median wait for a residential building permit in Lahaina was 111 days.

Martin said the long waits are why some Lahaina residents built structures that never got the proper permitting.

(TRANSLATION: Fool.  You never really had a house in Lahaina.)

Which brings up another complex question for owners and Maui County that also gets to the balance between individual rights and community and government control.

What to do about “non-conforming uses” — places that were not up to code, either because no zoning law existed when they were built, or they were built to standards since revised or the owner never got a permit at all?

(TRANSLATION: Fool.  You never really had a house in Lahaina.)

“If they’re very old houses, they could have been built before we had a building code or zoning,” said Cassandra Abdul, executive director of Na Hale O Maui, a community land trust that develops affordable housing.

(TRANSLATION: Fool.  You never really had a house in Lahaina.)

RELATED: Right to Rebuild? No Building Permits Issued Since Lahaina Fire

read … What People Who Own Land In Lahaina Think About Its Future

Lahaina Plan Working as Intended: “18% would rather move to the continent”

SA: … a preliminary Hawai‘i Housing Study, which is part of the HTA’s Maui tourism recovery data, “shows that many who have lost their main income in the visitor industry, within six months or more, they most likely may not be able to maintain their current address. These are people who may be living outside the devastation area but still are not employed. Because of the work that they are doing in the visitor industry, they can’t continue to get a full income.”

Naho‘opi‘i said the study showed that of those without income, only about 22% would be able to live with another family or be able to find another place.

He said some “18% would rather move to the continent….

Over 7,000 residents on Maui have filed unemployment claims, some as a direct result of the wildfires, others from the subsequent tourism decline….

As the West Maui area affected by the fire accounts for 15% of state tourism, the downturn is negatively impacting statewide tourism results, too.

>> Airfare bookings to Maui through March are still much lower than they had been over historical 2022 and pre-pandemic 2019.

>> Maui hotel reservations went up a little in October based on housing-­displaced residents, relief workers and disaster-­related activity; however, reservations have since fallen into the negative against 2022 through at least September of next year. Hotel reservations across the entire state are following the same pattern….

read … Job, housing insecurities mount as Maui tourism disaster adds to devastation

EPA challenge: Removal of EV, solar wall batteries in Lahaina

SA: … The EPA is working to safely remove lithium-ion batteries used in electric and hybrid vehicles as well as charging stations and solar power wall systems. These batteries will be transported to a staging area south of Lahaina, according to the EPA, then inspected and de-energized in a salt solution.

Once ready, they will be crushed with heavy equipment and then shipped to an off-island recycling facility.

The Lahaina burn zone has, by far, presented one of the greatest challenges in hazardous waste removal due to the volume of lithium- ion batteries in the area, according to EPA Deputy Incident Commander Eric Nuchims.

“This is the first time a natural disaster response has specifically called out in our assignment to address lithium-ion batteries,” said Nuchims.

So far, the EPA has removed about 100 EV batteries and 300 solar system batteries from the Lahaina burn zone, but is asking for help in locating others….

The batteries go into a process called “thermal runaway,” said Nuchims, which occurs when a battery cell short-circuits and starts to heat up uncontrollably, setting off a chain reaction.

“Once a lithium-ion battery is impacted and heated up, it’s like a time bomb,” he said. “It only takes one in the pack. Once that starts, it can spread to the rest of the batteries. It can be quite a violent fire, and it’s very hard to put out with just water.”

Additionally, the lithium- ion batteries can potentially release toxic gas emissions once damaged.

The EPA wants to make sure lithium-ion batteries are safely removed, which may involve cutting parts of the vehicle frame and flipping it over, along with de- energizing them in a salt solution for four to seven days.

They need to be deconstructed, according to Nuchims, so they can be shipped by a commercial carrier. The EPA has a contract with a recycling facility in Nevada….

(REALLY OBVIOUS QUESTION: What role did these batteries play in advancing the fire through Lahaina?)

read … EPA challenge: Removal of EV, solar wall batteries in Lahaina

State computer upgrades cause us digital migraines

Shapiro: … Perhaps the greatest failure of our state government during the COVID-19 pandemic was the breakdown of the unemployment insurance system.

As Congress rushed to to approve enhanced payments for millions of Americans put out of work, Hawaii’s unemployment offices, operating on an antiquated 40-year-old computer system, was unable to push out money to those desperately in need.

Tens of thousands unable to get through on the phone found “ainokea” state employees behind locked doors when they tried to resolve their claims in person.

As frantic unpaid citizens waited in vain, the department’s director went on paid stress leave and was later rewarded with a six-figure job in another state agency.

The most maddening thing is that three years later, as thousands of Lahaina fire survivors line up for unemployment benefits, the state has made zero progress in replacing the obsolescent computers at the heart of the COVID-19 fiasco….

(CLUE: HGEA members accept ‘upgrades’ only if the user-interface is identical to the existing DOS-based system.)

“They never have time to do it right, but they always have time to do it over.”….

read … State computer upgrades cause us digital migraines

Despite political surnames, it’s results that counts

Borreca: … Inouye’s only son, Ken Inouye, says he will run for the state House next year. If he runs, Inouye is expected to face Democratic state Rep. Trish La Chica for the House seat representing Waipio-Mililani…. 

read … Despite political surnames, it’s results that counts

Relax rules on ‘cottage food’ entrepreneurs

HTH: … State law prohibits homemade foods from being sold through the mail unless they were made in a commercial kitchen.

Commercial kitchens can cost between $20 and $50 an hour to rent, and often serve large catering and events businesses, which limits their availability for mom-and-pop bakers and cooks. Likewise, few commercial kitchens exist in rural areas, which limits opportunities for rural entrepreneurs.

Your auntie could sell her jams to buyers in person, like at a swap meet or farmers market. But again, she may not label and consign them at a coffee shop, restaurant or other local business unless she makes them in a commercial kitchen and has a “food establishment” permit.

State rules for meats, seafood, pickled foods and some sauces are even tougher. No one can sell homemade poke or barbeque, even to a relative or neighbor, unless it has been made in a commercial kitchen and meets other state standards.

Yes, customers should not have to worry about eating toxic foods, but do these rules really keep people safe?

The national Institute for Justice, which tracks data on homemade “cottage” food laws, says there have been no confirmed cases of foodborne illness from cottage foods in California, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah or Wyoming — all states with relaxed homemade food laws….

Tackling this issue in the 2023 Hawaii Legislature was state Sen. Dru Kanuha of the Kona, Ka‘u and Volcano areas. Kanuha joined with other lawmakers to introduce Senate Bill 756, which they called the Access to Local Food Act….

The good news is the bill passed the Senate unanimously. The bad news is it failed to gain traction in the House….

read … Relax rules on ‘cottage food’ entrepreneurs

Red-light cameras still generating tickets

SA: … automated enforcement of red-light running remains in effect and has resulted in a total of 13,447 citations being issued at 10 Oahu intersections through Oct. 30, according to statistics provided by the state Department of Transportation. Of that total, 348 tickets were generated at Vineyard and Nuuanu, where citations went live on Jan. 6, 2023, and 820 at Vineyard and Pali, where they have been issued since Jan. 25, 2023 ….

read … Are red-light cameras still generating tickets?

Lahaina Fire News:

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