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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
November 29, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:33 PM :: 966 Views

Red Hill Water Initiative Releases Final Report

Navy Notifies Regulators of Groundwater PFAS Detection

Hawaii Republicans Improve Party Finances

Waianae Two Open Seats: Shimabukuro will not seek Reelection, Endorses Gates

SN: … Shimabukuro, who held off Republican challenger Samantha DeCorte by just 72 votes in the 2022 election, said she supports House District 45 Rep. Cedric Gates as her successor for the Senate District 22 seat ….

(CLUE: DeCorte has announced she is running for SD22 again this year.)

CB: The Sunshine Blog: A Hand-Me-Down Senate Seat - Honolulu Civil Beat

News Release: A Fond Farewell: Senator Maile Shimabukuro’s Decision Not to Seek Re-Election

CB: State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro Won’t Seek Reelection

read … Shimabukuro will not seek reelection in '24

Hawaii Governor Wants To Entice Maui Property Owners To Rent To Fire Victims

CB: … The governor’s preferred framework includes compensating homeowners to build accessory dwelling units to house displaced residents on their properties. It also entails enticing people to rent out properties now used as vacation rentals to displaced residents by offering premium long-term rents: $5,000 per month for a studio or one-bedroom home and up to $11,000 per month for a four-bedroom home.

A second option would allow the government to impose an 18-month ban on short-term vacation rentals on Maui. Under that plan, some $324 million of federal, state and private funds would be used to pay property owners who would give 18-month leases to displaced residents instead of renting to tourists or others for a short term. …

Some residents, including a group called “Fishing For Housing,” have called for such a ban or moratorium. But Green’s plan notes that a moratorium could open the door to lawsuits from property owners, and Green said he prefers the first option for that reason….

F: The Governor And Mayor Just Proposed Getting Rid Of Short-Term Vacation Rentals On Maui (forbes.com)

SA: Tax incentives proposed to get Maui vacation unit owners to rent to survivors

read … Hawaii Governor Wants To Entice Maui Property Owners To Rent To Fire Victims

Honolulu BWS's decision to increase water rates sparks outcry from residents

KITV: … Many people wrote into Island News and said they are planning to cook less, take shorter and fewer showers, and go to laundromats to try to keep their bills as low as possible.

However, others said the rate hike is unfair and they think the US Navy should foot the bill.

“We as residents are not responsible for poisoning our own water so why we do have to pay higher water bills? We’re already suffering and now we are forced to pay even higher bills,” said Kaneohe resident, Jennifer Akita.

A Honolulu resident, DJ Wooster said there needs to be more transparency from the city and BWS on how much damage the Red Hill crisis left behind on our water. He said he still does not understand how these issues translate into an increase of more than 60% for water bills.

The rate increase numbers are on the BWS website here. ….

read … Honolulu BWS's decision to increase water rates sparks outcry from residents

HART Talking Up Rail extension to UH, Kahala Mall

HNN: … With more federal funding approved to get the Honolulu Skyline to Kakaako, leaders are dreaming of future extensions all the way to Kahala.

“So if this was a magic wand scenario, and I could do that, I would actually like to get something into Waikiki and then head Mauka to UH,” said Jon Nouchi, Deputy Director of the city’s Dept. of Transportation Services.

“And maybe something that goes through Waialae and ends at Kahala Mall.”

While Kahala Mall is still a fantasy, for now, rail leaders say it’s time to start thinking realistically about getting to Ala Moana and then eventually Manoa.

“We have to get to UH; it might not be the same technology, maybe there might be better integration,” said HART’s CEO, Lori Kahikina…

SA: HART OKs federal agreement to fund rail | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

read … $125M approved for Skyline as leaders look toward major expansions (hawaiinewsnow.com)

First Major Rains Of Wet Season May Test Runoff Measures In Lahaina

CB: … County, state and federal agencies say steps have been taken to mitigate the threat of toxic runoff entering the ocean ….

read … First Major Rains Of Wet Season May Test Runoff Measures In Lahaina

Retirement savings program unlikely to start before 2025

HTH: … Under the program, qualifying private sector employees could elect to have part of their paychecks withheld and deposited into an IRA automatically.

Employees of any business that has not been able to provide retirement plans for its employees over the previous two years would be eligible to enroll. The first 50,000 enrollees also could receive matching IRA contributions up to $500 from the state.

But despite a considerable amount of support at the time, the program still has not begun, and Bill Kunstman, deputy director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, said it unlikely to launch until 2025.

“The governor has set up the program’s board, but the board is still hiring an executive director,” Kunstman said. “The board could be ready to hire the director in December, but the director will have to put together a feasibility study for the program, which is probably not happening until 2025.”…

read … Retirement savings program unlikely to start before 2025

‘We’re Winging It Right Now’: Hawaii State Hospital Struggles Despite $160M Upgrade

CB: … Newly released documents and testimony from the Hawaii Labor Relations Board paint a troubling picture about work conditions at the Hawaii State Hospital and, in particular, its new $160 million forensic treatment facility that was designed to securely house some of the state’s most difficult and violent patients.

The records and testimony focus on a labor complaint filed by the Hawaii Government Employees Association against the state hospital in 2022 and reveal serious safety concerns about the new facility, some of which were described in detail by nurses and others working at the hospital.

Badge readers often malfunctioned, resulting in staff propping open doors with rubbish bins so that they could move throughout the facility. 

Janitors and others had unfettered access to the secure medication room, where narcotics were stored alongside potentially deadly weapons, including razors and pill cutters.

Nurses would find themselves locked inside seclusion rooms — sometimes with patients experiencing violent outbursts — because hardly any of them knew how to operate the doors from a centralized control station designed to improve security….

read … ‘We’re Winging It Right Now’: Hawaii State Hospital Struggles Despite $160M Upgrade

Special Education Teacher Accused In Sexual Abuse Case

CB: … A lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges that a special education teacher at Kaiser High School sexually abused and molested a 14-year-old student over a period of several months.

The student’s parents say the state Department of Education transferred their son to a new school without consulting them and ignored their request for a different campus.

The lawsuit also includes a class-action allegation that the DOE has repeatedly failed to take into account parents’ concerns and input when making accommodations for special education students and has placed several of these students in unsafe environments.

Leah Yim said the nurse who saw her son at Kaiser began filing complaints against the teacher, Tyler Kochi, as early as June, when the boy first began attending Kaiser High School. Yim added that she and her husband only found out about the allegations when the nurse contacted them on Sept. 27, saying she was doing so against instructions from her employers not to reach out to them….

PDF: Lawsuit

read … Special Education Teacher Accused In Sexual Abuse Case

New trial date set for officers charged in 2021 Makaha crash

SA: … Trial has been rescheduled for a third time for four Honolulu police officers charged in connection with a September 2021 Makaha car chase and crash that injured six people — two of them severely — and its alleged cover-up.

The officers’ trial is expected to start June 3 without further requests for continuance.

In May, officers Joshua J.S. Nahulu, 37; Erik X.K. Smith, 25; Jake R.T. Bartolome, 35; and Robert G. Lewis III, whose age was not listed, had their trial put off against the objection of city prosecutors, according to state court records….

Logan told the commissioners in August he cannot yet disclose the discipline for each officer while the process plays out according to the collective bargaining agreement between the department and the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.

The officers face an Administrative Review Board hearing about their internal department discipline on Nov. 30.

“The administrative investigation has been completed and the disciplinary recommendations are pending finalization,” Michelle Yu, an HPD spokesperson, told the Star-Advertiser. “The four officers remain on restricted duty and have been reassigned to non-patrol duties.”…

read … New trial date set for officers charged in 2021 Makaha crash

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:



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