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Sunday, November 26, 2023
November 26, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:46 PM :: 1070 Views

Will history someday record an 'economic miracle' for Lahaina?

Medical certificate-of-need laws have little to do with actual need

'Upzoning' to address need for homes on Maui

VIDEO: Innovative Housing Policies

Wholesaling:  What You Don’t Know

Latest plan for Ala Wai flood control boondoggle reaches $1B

SA: … The Army Corps of Engineers and the city have unveiled the latest proposal to protect Waikiki and neighboring communities against a potential flooding disaster.

The price tag, however, was placed at over $1 billion — triple the estimated cost of the project just five years ago.

The “tentatively selected plan” is detailed in the Army Corps’ 3,741-page Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Draft General Re-evaluation Report and Integrated Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement….

Flood walls averaging 6 feet high would be built along Woodlawn Drive and Koali Road to reduce flooding risk to the Manoa area, while flood walls averaging 6 feet in height would go in along Kaimuki High School to reduce risk to communities east and southeast of the Manoa-Palolo Canal.

The $1.075 billion cost of the project caught some by surprise Friday, as the effort was originally priced at over $345 million in federal funds.

The project nearly doubled to $651 million in 2021 after the Army Corps proposed adding a four-story pump station to the Ala Wai Canal. That project was ultimately rejected in large part due to the added cost.

Among those who balked at the price tag then was Honolulu Mayor Rick Blan­giardi, who asked the Army Corps to devise a new plan that would come within the federal appropriation….

(CLUE: 8a Corporations get no-bid DoD contracts.  This could be a $1B money-spinner for the same grifters profiting off the Lahaina ‘cleanup’.)

read … Latest plan for Ala Wai flood control reaches $1B | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Top Leadership Of Hawaii School System Continues To Grow — And So Does Their Pay

CB: … Even as public school enrollment declined over the past decade, the ranks of the Department of Education’s top officials have grown, with leaders receiving continued raises in recent years. 

DOE’s 26 leaders – including Superintendent Keith Hayashi and his deputy, assistant and complex area superintendents tasked with overseeing Hawaii schools – saw salary increases ranging from 67% to 80% over the past 12 years, according to Civil Beat’s Public Employee Salary Database. In the same timeframe, DOE leadership grew from 20 to 26 superintendents. 

The most recent additions to DOE leadership were Curt Otaguro and Tammi Oyadomari-Chun as deputy superintendents last year. Their appointments raised public criticism about an excess of top officials in the DOE and a lack of transparency as the Board of Education created two new positions and appointed Otaguro and Oyadomari-Chun in a single motion.….

read … Top Leadership Of Hawaii School System Continues To Grow — And So Does Their Pay

Isles’ road to president election starts with parties

Borreca: … Republicans are the party out of office, so they have a crowded field of candidates. For the Hawaii race, former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley already have signed up for the GOP Hawaii caucus.

The contest will be held March 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. at locations to be announced.

It is only in-person voting — no mail-in ballots and one has to be a registered Republican to vote. Voters can register at the meeting …. the primary party preference polls are the only chance Hawaii voters have to pick among presidential candidates…

read … Isles’ road to president election starts with parties

Editorial: State’s budget priorities: Maui, and much more

SA: … State Budget Director Luis Salaveria told Star-Advertiser reporter Andrew Gomes that the state already faces some $100 million in accrued bills or known obligations related to the wildfires, and it’s uncertain how much higher such expenses will grow.

Many other unknowns abound, such as how Hawaii’s economy will rebound this holiday season and into next year, which will help determine the Council on Revenues’ next state revenue forecast due out Jan. 10, a week before the Legislature convenes. More consumer spending and overall tax take would help the state’s situation, of course, and enable more robust funding of state programs as well as nongovernmental community ones.

The council’s forecast also will inform another huge unknown: how deeply legislators will dip into the state’s $1.3 billion emergency reserve, aka the “rainy day” fund. It was just last session that $500 million was added into the fund in the fiscal year ending June 30 — pre-Maui wildfires.

Also anxiously awaited is Green’s supplemental budget request to the Legislature, expected in mid-December, which will give more clarity on proposed funding changes and priorities.

One major aspect to watch is what and how much the state’s housing-related agencies will be seeking: The Hawaii Housing and Finance Development Corp. (HHFDC) will be particularly vital in seeding urgently needed new low-income rental housing for Maui’s displaced; the state’s Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund (DURF), too, must be fully utilized and possibly expanded.

Even before the wildfires, it was estimated that Hawaii needs 50,000 new homes between 2020 and 2025 to meet demand — but over the last five years, added only 27,000. Further, it’s shameful to realize that despite high prices, not only has Hawaii housing not grown significantly in recent years, but Maui and Kauai are actually losing existing housing stock, according to a June analysis by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization….

read … Editorial: State’s budget priorities: Maui, and much more

Ethics: Legislators Could Change Their Own Rules--But Don’t

CB: … Imagine a Hawaii Legislature where every measure that receives a public hearing also gets an up or down committee vote.

Even a chair’s motion to defer a bill — which currently amounts to fatally shooting it with a silencer — would require a vote of all committee members.

Instead of just verbally announcing amendments to a bill, the chair would have to give advance notice of the proposed changes to committee members and the public.

Only bills with some sort of budget impact would be referred to the money committees, whose chairs currently hold sway over a lot of non-fiscal legislation.

This may all sound like an impossibly idyllic new way of life at the State Capitol. But it could all be accomplished on the first day of the next session by lawmakers themselves — majority votes in the House and Senate would simply change their own rules….

read … Hawaii Rank-And-File Lawmakers Need To Take It Upon Themselves To Beef Up Their Own Rules

Will Hawaii Ethics Commission Increase Oversight Of Judges?

CB: … The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent adoption of its first-ever code of ethics has some in Hawaii wondering whether there should be greater ethical oversight of the folks who sit on our benches.

While the Hawaii State Ethics Commission has oversight over employees of the Hawaii State Judiciary, state law explicitly excludes judges and justices. That makes it hard for the public and media to learn what kind of gifts are reported, when complaints are made and what the review process entails.

Now, the ethics commission is discussing possible increased oversight of the judicial branch. Executive Director Robert Harris told commissioners at a Nov. 15 meeting that his office has “initiated a conversation” with the state judiciary in order “to try to better understand their processes and see if there are any areas that could use some review or tightening. And they have agreed to have that conversation.”…

read … Hawaii Ethics Commission May Increase Oversight Of Judges

Lahaina Fire News:

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