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Wednesday, May 8, 2024
May 8, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:05 PM :: 1265 Views

DOBOR Clears Bums and Junk Cars from Kahului Harbor

Hawaii 2nd-Worst State to be a Cop

$7M fines on One House: City and county moving to foreclose on illegal vacation rentals

KITV: …  so far this year it's fined about a hundred violators.

This house here is one of them located on Auli'i Street in Alewa Heights.

The city said it's among the worst violators on the island with more than $7 million in fines racked up since 2022….

"It's a problem that on this island we kind of ignored for 30 years and now it's so big we quite don't know what to do with it," said vacation rental researcher Erik Kloninger. "During this time when the vacation rentals proliferated they grew to the point where last year spending by visitors staying in vacation rentals in Hawaii was 25% to 30% of all tourism, so if you talk about getting rentals there's going to be unintended consequences."

The purpose of weeding out illegal vacation rentals is to help prevent over tourism and crowding of our residential neighborhoods.

The city said there are only about 1,400 legal short-term rentals on Oahu.

And it has no idea how many vacation rentals are operating illegally.

"Tourism is the only game in town really ... so when you're talking about having one portion of our market, which is vacation rentals represent such a big share of the total market, it's a big deal," Kloninger said.

The fines for illegal operators are $10,000 a day….

read … City and county moving to foreclose on illegal vacation rentals

Expert raises new concerns about Maui County’s ability to respond to upcoming fire season

HNN: … Toby Clairmont, a retired emergency manager, says one of the biggest problems the day Lahaina burned stems from the fact there’s no evidence Maui County had a wildfire plan to help steer its emergency response during the disaster….

As far as where a plan stands today is still unclear….

“I think the absence of a plan really hampered their response. That was the biggest issue. And in the future the biggest liability for the county,” Clairmont told HNN Investigates.

A response plan “tells everyone, OK, this is my job and this is what I should do. I didn’t see evidence of any of that.” …

As for what should have been occurring in Maui’s Emergency Operations Center, he said: “What you’ve got to expect is that the county is anticipating your needs and beginning to preposition and in some cases push out resources before you even ask.”…

“They weren’t focused on the issue,” Clairmont said. “They hadn’t even defined the problem.”

What’s still a mystery is why information first responders were providing from the field didn’t appear to make it to leadership until after the town was leveled….

We asked the Bissen Administration if the county has created — or is in the process of creating — a wildfire specific annex its all-hazard plan. We also wanted to know who’s in charge of putting that plan together when it’s expected to be complete and what it includes.

That was last Thursday. We’re still waiting for a response….

read … Expert raises new concerns about Maui County’s ability to respond to upcoming fire season

Wildfire Planning: PUC Lets HECO take charge

CB: … California legislation and regulatory authorities have spent more than a decade developing policies about when and how deenergizing events can take place, how communities are kept involved throughout the shutoff, and after-the-fact utility reporting requirements.

None of this exists in Hawaii. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has refused to get involved with the deenergizing issue, asserting utilities can do it on their own. 

There are rumors and hidden facts asserting that the Commission is in secret communication with utilities and fire officials about how to handle fire mitigation issues. None of this is reassuring. The basis of deenergizing events is that public involvement is of paramount importance. Not only that communities are informed, but that they can also provide local knowledge and meaningfully participate in planning efforts….

The Public Utilities Commission is required to open a wildfire investigation and has refused to do so….

read … Who Should Be Blamed for Next Devastating Hawaii Wildfire | Ililani Media

Hawaii Is Entering A Dangerous Fire Season. Here's What Will Be Different Post-Lahaina

CB: … It’s estimated that 60% of all communities in Hawaii have just one way in and one way out…

On Oahu and Kauai, fire departments will deploy more engines, tankers and firefighters at the first sign of a wildfire in hopes that gives them a better chance at containing it. State transportation officials are spending $9 million to clear nearly 500 acres of fire breaks in dry, fire-prone regions.

Emergency personnel on Kauai say they’ll now activate their emergency operations center when a red flag warning is issued instead of waiting for a fire to appear to take that step.

And the islands’ two largest power suppliers, Hawaiian Electric Co. and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, have new protocols in place that include potentially shutting down parts of the grid in advance when it’s too dry and gusty — and the risk of sparking a wildfire is especially high…. 

in an after-action report released last month on the Aug. 8 fires, the Maui Fire Department recommended pre-positioning fire-fighting equipment in high-risk areas during red flag warnings. That’s similar to the protocols enacted this season by Oahu and Kauai’s fire departments.

Hawaii County’s fire and emergency management chiefs did not respond last week to requests for comment…. 

SA: City outlines wildfire preparations on Oahu

SA: Oahu first responders alter operations for planned power shutoffs

read … Hawaii Is Entering A Dangerous Fire Season. Here's What Will Be Different Post-Lahaina

Maui Dems Attack HCF

CB: … The Maui County Democratic Party approved a set of resolutions last month that includes one alleging a conflict of interest involving the CEO of the nonprofit Hawaii Community Foundation.

The resolution notes that the foundation received $190 million in donations from thousands of donors to support the victims of the Maui wildfires. The problem, the reso states, is that the CEO is also a member of the board of Hawaiian Electric Industries, the holding company for Hawaiian Electric, “whose alleged negligence led to a substantial portion of the catastrophic loss of life and destruction of Lahaina.”

The reso — which does not actually name the CEO directly but it’s Micah Kane — said the CEO was compensated $237,000 last year in cash and equity and also owns HEI stock valued at $750,000. Maui Dems want HCF and HEI to address what the party sees as “clear conflicts of interest” and to ensure that the distribution of the foundation’s Maui Strong Fund “is transparent, equitable, and not influenced by the financial interests of its executives, board members or other entities with exposure to the wildfires.”

In 2023 the Hawaii Community Foundation distributed $107.4 million in community grants.

read … The Sunshine Blog: A Former Governor's Part In A Federal Fraud Trial. But Not The One You Think

Court ruling could trigger environmental assessment for Kauai seed production project

HNN: … A Kauai seed production company may be forced to do an environmental assessment because of a ruling from the state Intermediate Court of Appeals.

(REALITY: This is part of a tourism industry scheme to market Hawaii as eco-topia.)

Environmentalists hope it will force the state to finally review the impact of herbicide and pesticides there.

Syngenta is one of several companies taking advantage of Hawaii’s climate to test and grow herbicide-resistant corn seed.

The issue is whether there should have been an environmental assessment when it was issued its permits….

(CLUE: ‘No’)

When it was converted from sugar to herbicide-resistant seed production, the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources didn’t consider it a significant enough change to require an environmental study.

(CLUE: They were right.)

In court filings the state Attorney General argued, “the boards’ action here merely preserved the status quo, and had no effect on the environment.”

But in its ruling, the Intermediate Court of Appeals said:

“There were genuine issues of material fact on whether Syngenta Hawaii’s proposed activity was exempt from the preparation of an EA (Environment Assessment).”

Frederick said, “We thought that the board should have never granted Syngenta exemption from environmental review and we’re grateful that the courts are now have agreed with us.”

The appeals court vacated a decision of a Circuit Court judge who sided with the state Attorney General’s Office. That judge must now decide whether to order the DLNR to reconsider the permit….

read … Court ruling could trigger environmental assessment for Kauai seed production project

Defense calls first witnesses at Red Hill tainted water trial in Hawaii

SAS: … Dr. Michael McGinnis testified he had seen data to indicate the fouled tap water was not safe to consume on Nov. 29, 2021, not long after the Navy started receiving complaints.

HNN: Highest-ranking medical official to respond to Red Hill tainted water crisis testifies at trial

read … Defense calls first witnesses at Red Hill tainted water trial in Hawaii

The Inalienable Rights Of Hawaii's Condominium Owners

CB: … We as owners have the absolute right to openly criticize, question, disagree with or hold suspect the actions, policies, beliefs and accusations of anyone in management, or the boards, and their attorneys, without experiencing resulting retaliation by these parties, or arbitrary demands for reimbursement of legal fees from owners, when boards hire these attorneys, unless legal fee reimbursement requirement results from collection of delinquent common dues payments, written consent to payment applicable to each separate matter from the individual owners, or court orders obtained by boards for each separate matter….

read … The Inalienable Rights Of Hawaii's Condominium Owners

Semisub Scam?  Neither Ige nor Ariyoshi Remember Anything

CB: … Jackson, who is representing himself in the case, cross-examined the former governor. 

Jackson asked if Ige remembered his inaugural ball. 

Ige said it was a “blur.”

Jackson asked if Ige recalled Jackson sat two tables away during that event. Ige said he did not recall. 

Do you recall dancing with my wife? Jackson asked. 

“I don’t recall dancing with your wife,” Ige responded. 

Jackson asked if Ige recalled being on his wife’s Facebook page. Ige said no. 

“I don’t really look at Facebook,” Ige said. “I did not put anything on Mrs. Jackson’s Facebook page.” 

Do you recall me and my wife at Gov. George Ariyoshi’s birthday party? Jackson asked. 

Ige said he didn’t even recall a birthday party for Ariyoshi at someone’s house. He later added he doesn’t really know where Ariyoshi lives.

“Are you seeing a doctor for memory problems?” Jackson asked. 

“Uh, no I’m not,” Ige replied. 

And so it went. It’s probably a good thing the former governor has a lot of time on his hands these days. 

News junkies will recall that the Semisub is that big boat with all the blue windows that was docked at Kewalo Basin for a while. So big that it made national news when Jackson tried to skedaddle on it — solo — in January just before he was supposed to appear in court on the initial fraud and conspiracy charges. The U.S. Marshals and the Coast Guard crew who chased him down weren’t so amused that he tried to navigate it all by himself in Hawaii waters….

read … The Sunshine Blog: A Former Governor's Part In A Federal Fraud Trial. But Not The One You Think

Lahaina Fire News:

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