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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
December 6, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:41 PM :: 1790 Views

Hilo Police Detective Arrested for Perjury and Tampering With a Government Record

Trump Campaign Bulks up Hawaii Operations

Green Speech Marks First year in Office

Honolulu’s Building Permit Delays: A ‘Nightmare’ Decades In The Making

CB: … Construction industry professionals say it’s taking longer than ever to get a permit in Honolulu. The delays disrupt lives and put a drag on the economy.  …

The number of applications hasn’t changed much over the years. But ultimately, the department was accepting thousands more applications per year than it could review, leading to a backlog that compounded every year. A backup of 2,500 permits in 2010 ballooned to about 7,000 in 2020. By 2022, the permit pileup was nearing 12,000 applications, according to the department’s data….

Making matters worse, the pandemic exacerbated understaffing and necessitated even more distance between the department and applicants. And some say the department clammed up even more after the criminal indictment of five of its employees for bribery in 2021. Some applicants believe remaining employees became afraid of being accused of favoritism….

Wait times that used to be days or weeks have become months and years. Longtime construction professionals interviewed by Civil Beat said the system is in the worst shape they’ve ever seen it. They say the delays that occurred in the last year are unprecedented….

As of November of last year, the median residential permitting time was 330 days. Commercial jobs were at a median of 420 days….

Several recently approved projects had been waiting for years.

One of them was a $1,500 upgrade to a residential electrical meter that took nearly two years. Of that time, more than a year was spent in so-called “prescreen,” a superficial check for formatting issues before the case proceeds to building code review.

This is all to say the department’s claims of improvement are not yet being felt by many community members. As of last week, plans examiners were telling applicants they’re working on plans that were submitted in June and July….

One local religious institution had to cancel the construction of a nearly $6 million church because of the delays. By the time the project was approved, Espedal said, prices had soared past the point they could afford….

Image: Tracing Growth of backlog

read … Honolulu’s Building Permit Delays: A ‘Nightmare’ Decades In The Making

Search for next UH president becoming a battle for control

SA: … The search for the next University of Hawaii president is turning into the latest battleground for control of the massive state public university system, with some state lawmakers exerting heavy pressure to try to influence the selection and pushing to have current President David Lassner vacate the post earlier than his expected departure at the end of 2024, according to several officials close to the process.

The situation is politically fraught especially because while the 11-member UH Board of Regents is the body tasked with handling the presidential search, three regents — board Chair Alapaki Nahale-a, former Gov. Neil Abercrombie and attorney Lauren Akitake — still need to be confirmed by the state Senate in the next Legislature….

Nahale-a, in a Honolulu Star-Advertiser interview Tuesday, declined to point a finger at a specific lawmaker or lawmakers.

(TRANSLATION: “Mercado Kim”)

He said he hopes the historically tense relationship between them and UH can eventually improve. But he confirmed that some regents have been targeted by pointed efforts to influence aspects of the presidential search….

The UH Board of Regents is scheduled at 9 a.m. Thursday to discuss and act on a recommended presidential search plan during a special meeting at UH Manoa, in the first-floor conference room of the Information Technology Building…. 

SA: Regents to revise plan in University of Hawaii president search

KHON: The board also decided that every regent will serve on the selection committee, and the UH President position will retain its UH Mānoa responsibilities.

read … Search for next UH president becoming a battle for control

The DOE Is Giving Up $465M In School Construction Funds. What Happened?

CB: … That decision may make more money available for other state initiatives such as affordable housing or the Maui wildfire recovery, but that would come at a cost to Hawaii’s public educational system.

The move by the DOE to lapse so many capital improvement projects has upset state lawmakers who lobbied hard to secure state funding for school projects for their districts, only to learn that funding is about to slip away because the projects did not move forward in time.

“I don’t understand why this is happening,” said House Speaker Scott Saiki. “This is a big problem. If anything, DOE should come to the Legislature and say, ‘We can’t handle all of these projects for the following reasons,’ and just be honest about it.”

The House Finance and Education committees have scheduled a public briefing at 2 p.m. Thursday to question top officials in the DOE and the Department of Budget and Finance about plans to lapse funding for the DOE projects….

The DOE said in a written statement Tuesday that it “submitted a list of projects totaling $465 million that it proposed be allowed to lapse to free up project funding for other state priorities.”

The department prioritized the projects on its books, proposing that work continue on those that are already in construction, are ready to begin construction or are needed to comply with gender equity requirements or the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the statement….

CB: The DOE Is Giving Up $465M In School Construction Funds. What Happened? - Honolulu Civil Beat

read … The DOE Is Giving Up $465M In School Construction Funds. What Happened?

Man with 164 citations charged in hit-and-run death of McKinley student

SA: … The 46-year-old man who had no driver’s license and 164 citations when he was arrested for the hit-and-run incident that killed a McKinley High School student on Feb. 15 was charged today.

Mitchel Yoshiji Miyashiro was charged with negligent homicide in the first degree in connection with the hit-and-run death of 16-year-old Sara Yara in a marked crosswalk on Kapiolani Boulevard, according to a release from the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney.

Miyashiro was charged by information, a process in which a prosecutor presents written information to a judge who then decides if the charges are warranted, according to the DPA….

read … Man with 164 citations charged in hit-and-run death of McKinley student

Maui’s mayor pitches tax incentive bill aimed at getting evacuees into vacation rentals, but not everyone is on board

HNN: … “My heart goes out to all of you. You have no idea how much we care. How much we give and how much we love you. But we can’t afford to do that if we don’t have the option of our vacation rental,” said short-term rental owner Eve Hogan.

Bill 131 passed the first reading unanimously with some amendments to include people who are already housing fire survivors. For example, those participating in the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement’s Host Housing Support Program and other future programs that may develop.

The application must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2024, for exemption from taxation from Feb. 1, 2024, to Jun. 30, 2024. The next application date will be on Mar. 15, 2024, for exemption from Jul. 1, 2024, to Jun. 30, 2025.

The public will have another chance to testify on the bill on Dec. 15….

CB: Maui Council Moves Swiftly On Tax Breaks To Provide Long-Term Rentals For Fire Survivors - Honolulu Civil Beat

read … Maui’s mayor pitches tax incentive bill aimed at getting evacuees into vacation rentals, but not everyone is on board

HOOSER: Dems pass ‘cease-fire’ resolution

TGI: … This past Saturday, the State Central Committee (SCC) of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i (DPH) unanimously adopted a formal resolution calling for an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza. The resolution also calls on the Biden Administration to promptly send and facilitate the re-entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, including fuel, food, water, medical supplies, and to begin negotiations for a lasting peace.

Hawai‘i’s is now the second Democratic state party, after the Texas Democrats, calling for a cease-fire….

REALITY:  Officials: Sexual crimes committed during Hamas attack - The Garden Island

read … HOOSER: Dems pass ‘cease-fire’ resolution - The Garden Island

Lahaina Fire News: 

Legislative Agenda: 

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