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Saturday, January 13, 2024
January 13, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:38 PM :: 942 Views

Lahaina Building Permit: Corps of Engineers has 75-point test

DPP ‘Solution’ to affordable housing: Raise the Rent

SA: … Concerns about residents being priced out of living in Hawaii were expressed at a daylong hearing Friday as the Department of Planning and Permitting considers adjusting affordable housing requirement rules.

One amendment would increase maximum monthly rent limits on affordable housing units for households with 80% area median income or below, while another would remove existing requirements that applicants for an affordable housing unit loan have “sufficient gross household income” and spend no more than 33% of their gross household income on monthly housing payments.

A decision is left to DPP Director Dawn Takeuchi Apuna and Deputy Director Jiro Sumada.

Joli Tokusato, who provided testimony representing Unite Here Local 5, representing 10,000 hospitality, health care and food service workers in the state, said the union opposes the amendments.

“The proposed amendments weaken the definition of affordable rather than actually making housing more affordable,” she said at the hearing. “If developers cannot sell units at the desired prices due to buyers not being able to qualify for mortgages at those prices, the solution is simple: Developers should mark down their units and put them on sale, instead of raising the prices.”

Tokusato also said that loosening requirements on what proportion of gross household income is spent on housing payments would invite more working families to spend more on their housing costs — something she said is already being done and is “not something policymakers should expect.” …

Lin Wong, a DPP staff planner who is involved in implementing the Affordable Housing Requirement Rules, took time off of work to testify as a private citizen at Friday’s hearing. She said she is opposed to the amendment that would raise maximum monthly rent limits for households with 80% area median income or below, for multiple reasons.

Wong said that the amendment would “significantly increase the maximum rent for these households” and that under current rules, affordable rentals “are not truly affordable.” She said that with the new limits, rent for studio units could increase by approximately $270, one- bedroom units by approximately $250 and two-bedroom units by approximately $110….

Wong also said that the amendment would “disproportionately impact the most vulnerable households,” with households earning 80% area median income or below having “the most severe housing cost burden for rentals.”…

read … Proposed changes to Hawaii affordable housing rules see backlash

Daughter-in-law of alleged crime boss Mike Miske takes plea deal for racketeering

HNN: … The daughter-in-law of alleged crime boss Mike Miske is now pleading guilty to federal racketeering charges as part of a plea deal.

In the agreement, Delia Miske acknowledges she was a member of the criminal organization known as the Miske Enterprise from about 2016 to 2020.

She admits — in addition to wire and bank fraud — that she also assisted in obstruction of justice by falsifying documents when the EPA was investigating Miske’s company, Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control, for chemical violations.

Under the plea deal, Delia Miske still faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000….

read … Daughter-in-law of alleged crime boss Mike Miske takes plea deal for racketeering 

Oahu emergency rooms overcrowded as demand on West side grows

SA: … “We’re seeing four to five hospitals on Oahu being overwhelmed at the same time,” said Dr. Jim Ireland, director of the Honolulu Department of Emergency Services. “It’s getting harder to find places to take people.”

When ER departments are full, ambulances either have to make a longer drive to a different hospital or deal with longer wait times to transfer patients to doctors.

“Historically, that transfer time is under 20 minutes,” said Ireland. “We’re seeing now one hour on a semiregular basis and, in extreme cases, even up to three hours.” …

On Friday, Oahu’s ER rooms were at 181% capacity, according to Hilton Rae­thel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, according to a dashboard that went live in mid-November tracking hospitals in real time.

The dashboard showed emergency departments at The Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu, Pali Momi Medical Center, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children and Straub Medical Center all to be at over-capacity.

That means more patients than available beds, which requires bringing out gurneys or treating patients sitting upright, and higher demands on ER staff.

“It’s very challenging,” he said. “We were dealing with this over Christmas and New Year’s break, and in early January it’s not getting any better.”

What’s unprecedented, as well, is a rise in demand for ER services on Oahu’s West side.

“What’s been happening over the last few weeks is that Queen’s West on a regular basis now has more ER patients on any given day than Queen’s Punchbowl, which for years has been the biggest, busiest ER in the state,” said Raethel.

He believes the growth may have to do with new developments on the West side, along with more people working from home seeking care nearby.

Ireland said some days, Queen’s West is the busiest hospital in the state for ER volume, with up to 40 or more ambulances, about 25% of all EMS transports for Oahu….

read … Oahu emergency rooms overcrowded as demand on West side grows

Hawaii hospitals are full ahead of possible nurses' strike

KITV: … Another round of negotiations stalled today between Kapiolani Medical Center and the Hawaii Nurses Association, which is planning to strike starting on Sunday, Jan. 21….

read … Hawaii hospitals are full ahead of possible nurses' strike

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