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Monday, May 6, 2024
May 6, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:23 PM :: 1576 Views

How Did it Happen? Legislature passes historic bills on taxation, housing and healthcare

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted May 4, 2024

Mayor Blangiardi signs bill declaring the City and County of Honolulu a “Purple Heart City”

40,457 Unregistered Cars on Oahu Streets

JSC Releases Nominees for Four Oahu Circuit Court Vacancies

Let People Make Mistakes

Two Frameups: HPD Major Lied for Mitsunaga

CB: … Just recently in the criminal trial of Dennis Mitsunaga we learned that retired HPD Major Rudy Alivado admitted he’d lied under oath during Laurel Mau’s civil trial in 2014. Alivado’s false testimony worked in favor of Mitsunaga’s firm and against Mau….

Alivado got away with it. And don’t think for a moment he had a sudden revelation. He only told the truth after seven years of staying silent and only when forced to by the special prosecutor and the FBI during its investigation of Mitsunaga’s firm…   

In 2014, the same year Alivado was falsely testifying in the Mau civil trial, newly retired Criminal Intelligence Unit Officer Niall Silva lied under oath in the federal criminal case of United States v. Gerard Puana. And Silva didn’t just lie about one fact, his entire trial testimony was false. Silva held firm to his false testimony until he was confronted by the FBI’s indisputable evidence. And, like Alivado, only then did he admit he had lied.

Unlike Alivado, Silva did not walk away scot-free. He was forced to plead guilty to a felony. …

read … When Cops Lie Under Oath The Public Loses Faith In Law Enforcement - Honolulu Civil Beat

Session's Over. It's Time For Many Legislators To Hit The Campaign Trail

CB: … As of Friday, the Office of Elections has issued nomination papers to 129 potential candidates for the 62 state legislative seats up for election in November. Fifty of those candidates are incumbents in the Hawaii State Legislature.

… So far, 12 incumbents at the end of their terms have not yet collected their nomination papers for reelection from the Office of Elections. That number will change in the coming weeks, but there will be at least four open seats this year. Sen. Maile Shimabukuro and Reps. Cedric Gates, Bert Kobayashi and Scott Nishimoto each gave farewell speeches on Friday….

Nineteen incumbents who have received their nomination papers are currently unopposed....

Currently, 11 incumbents have had candidates only from within their own parties pull nomination papers against them…

In 2023, freshman lawmakers made up the largest percentage of the Legislature in 30 years. Seven of those incumbents are facing primary races. Reps. May Mizuno and Trish La Chica, who were both appointed after the 2022 election, are in particularly vulnerable positions. Mizuno could face a three-way primary with experienced community organizer Ikaika Hussey and retired state legislator Dennis Nakasato if all three candidates file. Ken Inouye, son of U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, announced his intention to run against La Chica early this year….

And, lastly, I cannot neglect the incumbents who have both primary and general races. So far, only seven incumbents fit this profile, and they will have to do all of the above for the next six months and allocate their resources toward the greatest threats.

For example, Rep. Lauren Matsumoto is looking at a potential challenge from a Republican and a Democrat, but given her established position within the Republican Party, she would most likely focus her time on her general election opponent.

On the other hand, Rep. Mahina Poepoe, whose 2022 primary opponent drew nomination papers again on Friday, will likely pour her energy into that rematch before turning to her general election challenger.

Despite the myriad pressures, reelection remains highly probable for the majority of incumbents. In 2022, after redistricting took place, 85% of incumbents who ran for reelection won their races. In 2020, 98% of incumbents won reelection….

RELATED: 260 Candidates Pull Papers Statewide

read … Session's Over. It's Time For Many Legislators To Hit The Campaign Trail

82% Property tax hikes for Maui B&Bs

MN: … Under the current budget proposal, homes valued at more than $3 million would still see a rate increase of 18.2%. The rates on non-owner occupied homes would increase by between 0.3% and 12%. And the rates for transient vacation rentals would go up by between 5.5% and 26.5%.

The rates on commercialized residential properties–a legal term for bed and breakfast operations–also could face a number of changes.

For B&B properties valued up to $1 million, the rate would go down by 9%. But for those worth more than $1 million and up to $3 million, the rate would increase by 13.6%, and for B&Bs worth $3 million or more, by 82%.

Meanwhile, due to Maui’s continuing shortage of housing, home values on the island continue to increase. This year alone, the price of a single-family home on Maui has increased by about 10%, and condominiums by about 60%. And since property tax bills are based on both tax rates and home values, higher property tax rates would comprise a double whammy….

read … Property tax hikes wrong way to rebuild Lahaina

After Months of Being Blocked by A&B and County, Ohana Hope Village Is Finally Opening To Maui Fire Survivors

CB: … Access to water is still in flux, but the Maui modular home housing project now has county approval to open 16 of 88 units….

“They were planning on opening it in November. Then it was February. Then it was April 4,” Fernandez said….

Family Life Center issued a press release last month saying Ohana Hope Village’s doors were open and the housing project was accepting the first families, but the organization had to retract it. Ohana Hope Village had been bogged down for months by problems with permitting and water issues and April was no different….

By the time she issued the news release, Kelly had already received more than 800 applications representing over 2,000 people who wanted to move in….

The project’s chief operating officer, Ashley Kelly, said in an interview this week that access to a water line controlled by the Alexander & Baldwin real estate company never came through as expected. The privately controlled line was expected to provide temporary water until the village could tap into a nearby county water main.

A crucial building permit from Maui County also was lacking. That finally came through late Friday afternoon…. on Friday … Department of Public Works Director Jordan Molina issued a permit that allows 16 units, serviced by a water holding tank, to accept families….

A donor has stepped up to provide the estimated $500,000 to $750,000 to cover costs of drilling and pipe laying to access county water, Sellers said….

read … Ohana Hope Village Is Finally Opening To Maui Fire Survivors - Honolulu Civil Beat

Hawaii Got Back $441,000 From Aloha Stadium Consultant

CB: … A consultant for Aloha Stadium has reimbursed the state more than $441,000 after an audit last year found that the firm charged the state for exorbitant travel expenses and excessive costs.

The audit, completed in June, was the result of a Civil Beat story in March 2023 that detailed the costs of a contract with Crawford Architects, the state’s primary consultant for the new stadium development. Chris Kinimaka, a special projects manager for the state Department of Accounting and General Services, said there was some confusion over how travel expenses were being applied.

“They were treating us more like a private sector type of entity, where they included expenses we don’t normally allow as the government,” said Kinimaka, who formerly headed the public works division. …

PDF: Audit Report

read … Hawaii Got Back $441,000 From Aloha Stadium Consultant - Honolulu Civil Beat

Waianae Focus: Oahu first responders alter operations for planned power shutoffs

SA: … PSPS events may be triggered by a red (or yellow) flag warning that indicate high fire-risk conditions. Notifications will be made to public safety partners and Hawaiian Electric customers when a PSPS event is imminent and underway.

Hawaiian Electric has shared preliminary maps of areas of high risk where a PSPS might be used in dire situations and started sharing Geographic Information System layers so first responders can incorporate the information into their operational maps….

The brush fire-prone, leeward-facing foothills of the Waianae range, a 20-mile stretch from Nanakuli to Makua Beach, are at top of mind for first responders when considering plans to operate amid a targeted power outage and wildfire conditions.  More than 35,000 people live in Nanakuli, Waianae and Makaha….

read … Oahu first responders alter operations for planned power shutoffs | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Staff shortages plague Honolulu’s 911 system

SA: … HPD Capt. Matthew Kurihara, who leads HPD’s communications division, said HPD doesn’t track how often the 911 system gets overwhelmed enough to play an automated message. However, Kurihara acknowledged that there are times when all of HPD’s emergency response operators are assisting callers.

“This is especially true if there’s a major event, such as a multivehicle collision,” Kurihara said. “It all depends on timing. We can’t predict when (the call volume) is busy.” …

If callers who are waiting hang up, Kurihara said they go into a queue of calls, which HPD personnel have to manually call back, and that sometimes takes a while.

Kurihara said the division needs another 40 or so workers, so it is focused on recruiting as well as automating its abandoned (dropped or missed) calls to reduce the workload. He said the staffing shortages tend to affect the nonemergency calls, “things that can wait. Now basically your wait is longer, because we are always going to (put) emergency first.” ….

Automated abandoned callback is a feature that some other cities already have stood up or are implementing to optimize response time and allow 911 personnel to focus on emergency callers.

The Kansas City, Mo., Police Department started using an automated abandoned callback feature in March. Its callback system will automatically return the phone call to people who have hung up before a call-taker could answer, according to a news release from the department. Once the automated callback reaches the caller, the release said, the system now will prompt them to determine whether they meant to dial 911 and need assistance or if the call was an accident….

read … Staff shortages plague Honolulu’s 911 system | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

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