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Thursday, November 30, 2023
November 30, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:36 PM :: 2816 Views

Senate Confirms Micah Smith and Shanlyn Park Hawaii Federal Judge

Kaneohe: Navy to Float P8 Poseidon, Restore it to Service

Hawaii demands remediation from Navy following jet fuel leak

China Could Play Major Role in Drafting New Regulations for Seabed Mining, Says U.N. Official

Education professor hoping alternatives to suspensions work in middle school test

Tourist Arrivals Down for Third Straight Month

HPD Finally Fires One Cop--the One Who Arrested Michael Miske 

ILind: … The original version of this story incorrectly reported in the very last sentence that the police officers’ union had successfully challenged (Sgt Al Lee’s) termination. That was factually incorrect….

(Clue: Sgt Lee, working with FBI, arrested Michael Miske in late 2015 for fleeing from a cell phone ticket, thus beginning the cascade which eventually brought down Chief Kealoha and many other crooks.)

It has been corrected (as shown below), with a similar correction at Civil Beat.

In May 2021, three year after Lee’s termination by HPD, an arbitrator denied a grievance filed on his behalf by the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, and allowed his dismissal to stand.

The arbitrator acknowledged Lee’s exemplary performance record in more than 20 year as a police officer, but determined the department’s action had not been arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable, and she had no authority to second-guess the department’s decision absent “compelling evidence” that it had abused its discretion.

Lee said he is now retired with full benefits, which were not affected by the ruling.  (But he has been cleared out of HPD where his kind are not wanted.)

ILind: When elephants battle…. | i L i n d

Who stays on force?  2021: Secret Arbitration Revealed: How DPS Official Kept Crooked Cop (who lives at a cockfighting ring) On The Job After FBI Raid

Fun Fact: Katherine Kealoha cohort Wayne Willis, who signed the original disciplinary complaint against Lee, is now in charge of security for a marijuana dispensary.

read … A correction | i L i n d

Maui County Housing Solution?  A Tax Increase, of Course

HNN: … Roughly 6,700 people are staying in hotels and have moved multiple times since fire wiped out Lahaina town. Now some 850 people in West Maui hotels are moving again.

Nicole Huguenin, of community organization Maui Rapid Response, said the situation is worrisome.

She said about 150 families have been told to move from Thursday to Dec. 15….

Fire evacuee Oliver Hoewaa got a ride from the Westin on Wednesday and says he previously moved five times in almost four months….

Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen has proposed a bill aimed getting more short-term rentals to convert to long-term rentals.

“I think we’re going to give them the financial incentive of having their taxes waived,” he said….

“For those who participate in this, whether they’re in the timeshare, whether it’s in short-term rental, whether they’re not owner occupied homes. We also think that we will get help from those who choose not to participate in this by obviously (drumroll …) increasing taxes (clash cymbals)….”

(IQ Test: Are you the least bit surprised that the solution for Lahaina housing is a tax increase?)

Big Q: Should Maui use property tax incentives/hikes to turn more vacation rentals into residential units?

read … Hundreds of Maui evacuees relocated again amid push for new housing solutions

Short Term Rental Taxes Already High

MN: … Tom Croly, an outspoken bed and breakfast owner, called Bissen’s bill “a start,” as he also advocated for tax breaks for those who rent long term to survivors. But he said other incentives are needed to entice short-term rental owners, such as having the federal government ensure rent will be paid.

Croly said that owners that use short-term rentals for their income will probably not opt in to the proposal. He added that short-term rentals may already have bookings into part of March next year and are under contract with clients, so it would be difficult to start a long-term rental now.

But, he said that those who own second homes on Maui and may only use them for part of the year are the ones to target, as the owner could possibly be convinced to not visit the island for a year and rent the home to fire survivors for a tax break. 

As for raising taxes on short-term rentals that do not rent long term, Croly said he understands where the mayor is coming from but that the taxes are already high. 

Short-term rental units, also known as transient vacation rental properties, are taxed at a rate of $11.85 per each $1,000 of the property’s assessed value, the second highest of all tax rate classifications.

Council Chairwoman Alice Lee acknowledged Wednesday that the bill will be taken up on first reading Tuesday. She reserved comment until the meeting….

Big Q: Should Maui use property tax incentives/hikes to turn more vacation rentals into residential units?

read … Reactions mixed on bill to incentivize long-term rentals | News, Sports, Jobs - Maui News

Waianae SD22: A Hand-Me-Down Senate Seat

CB: … The Sunshine Blog bids aloha to retiring state Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, but we do have to quibble a bit with one part of her announcement that she won’t seek reelection. Just three paragraphs in, she tells West Oahu voters who they should choose to replace her.

Rep. Cedric Gates might make a fine senator. And Shimabukuro has every right to endorse him. But doing so at the same time she reveals her owns plans to leave makes the filling of an open Senate seat seem like a fait accompli.


The Shimabukuro press release even includes a quote from Gates saying how much he appreciates her endorsement.

He made his candidacy official with his own “momentous announcement,” as his press release begins, on Wednesday. And included a quote from her endorsing him.

There’s an election next year, folks, and voters will be making their own decisions about who will represent them in the Legislature. With all the calls — especially from us — for legislative reform, it’s possible they’ll opt to send some fresh faces to the Capitol.

Meanwhile, we’re hoping Senate candidate Gates will be more forthcoming than House candidate Gates, who has never responded to Civil Beat’s candidate questionnaires during his past five election campaigns dating back to 2014….

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

Hawaii state Capitol soaked due to leaking reflecting pool

SA: … the chamber level of the state Capitol got pretty drenched.

Some hallways in the basement could have been mistaken for a rainforest, to the ear, though instead of raindrops pattering off a tree canopy it was a canopy of tarps channeling water drops into containers on the polished brown cement floor.

Inside and outside the Senate chamber, industrial vacuums were being used to suck water from soaked carpet….

In some basement offices, plastic sheeting blanketed furniture and equipment amid the internal downpour.

And in part of the parking garage, rivulets stretched from one end of the floor to the other.

All the heavy leaking stems from a ground-level reflecting pool on the Diamond Head side of the Capitol that has been undergoing repair since May after leaking for many years….

Lawmakers earlier this year appropriated $33.5 million to repair and renovate the pools after appropriating $9.8 million in 2021 for the more than $30 million job. Work on structural and waterproofing elements of the Diamond Head pool began in May under a contract with Kawika’s Painting, and is expected to be finished in December….

read … Hawaii state Capitol soaked due to leaking reflecting pool

DPS Boycotting Prison Oversight Committee

CB: … Other Public Safety directors who have held that job since 2019 — including Nolan Espinda and Max Otani — either attended commission meetings remotely or had staff attend in their place. Johnson and his staff also regularly participated this year.

But Johnson has since notified the commission’s Oversight Coordinator Christin Johnson that he will no longer attend commission meetings, and will no longer allow his staff to attend.

“The reasoning behind this was a little vague, but I think what it comes down to is that he thinks there is some type of unfairness,” said Christin Johnson. “When the commission brings up issues or concerns, he seems to think it puts them in a bad light.” ….

read … Hawaii Prison Oversight Meetings Are Missing A Key Player — The Prisons Director - Honolulu Civil Beat

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