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Friday, May 31, 2024
May 31, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:24 PM :: 2332 Views

April 2024 Tourist Spending and Arrivals Down Sharply

Red Hill Tanks to be Vented and Cleaned

State CIO Quits

Green Signs Condo Bills

Hawaii County Property Tax Cuts for Homeowners and 'Affordable Rentals'

Tourism-related property tax hike a threat to Kauai economy

Control of Water Ensures No Affordable Housing Will EVER be Built in Lahaina

CB: … The Maui County Council is moving ahead with plans to help Texas real estate developer Paul Cheng (ex-con and convicted felon) build a sorely needed affordable housing project north of Lahaina, the biggest on Maui in decades.

But its recent vote to give him millions of dollars to cover some of the costs comes despite major questions about the project’s access to water and significant state and county regulatory hurdles.

(Easy pander for the Council.)

County Department of Water Supply Director John Stufflebean said in an interview this week that there simply is not enough water available in West Maui to give the potentially 1,000-unit project a green light….

(CLUE: The plan for Lahaina is to rebuild it as Wailea v2 surrounding the ‘Venice of the Pacific’ water feature.  Result: Even less water therefore no affordable housing.)

The budget amendment contains a provision saying construction can’t move forward without a “will-serve” letter from the county guaranteeing the supply of 75,000 gallons of water daily, something the Department of Water Supply says is currently impossible….

West Maui is one of the hottest and driest parts of Hawaii and even before the fires the Department of Water Supply was poised to put a halt to issuing new water meters due to stress on the Lahaina aquifer and streams.

Those water sources can produce a reliable supply of 4.1 million gallons of water per day, according to the Department of Water Supply. Before the fires, daily demand totaled 5.6 million gallons and the county met it by pumping wells in excess of their capacity and by using stream flows, Stufflebean said.

Since the fire destroyed more than 2,000 structures in Lahaina, the demand for water has dropped to 3.5 million gallons per day but it’s expected to return to pre-fire levels once the town is rebuilt.

Because demand exceeds supply and no new sources are immediately on the horizon, the department cannot issue the will-serve letter, Stufflebean said….

Housing advocate Sterling Higa questions the wisdom of allocating $33 million to a project with no guaranteed water supply and one that didn’t move forward with the $18 million previously granted to the developer.

Higa said most affordable housing projects that receive public assistance get it in the form of loans not as grants….

(CLUE: Take the money and run, again.)

read … No Water, No Problem? Council Is Steering $33 Million Toward West Maui Housing Project

Priced out of paradise, they’ve built new connections and community in Las Vegas

HNN: … “I love it,” Alijah Walter, who moved to Las Vegas from Ewa Beach, told Hawaii News Now. “The Ninth Island community is strong so we have people from home. It feels like home to be honest. It’s just cheaper.”

The exodus of Hawaii residents to the continent isn’t a new problem — and that, in itself, is the problem.

On average, Hawaii loses a dozen residents to outmigration every single day.

From July 2022 to July 2023, more than 4,200 people left the state for good.

An even more jarring milestone: Last year, the Census Bureau announced that the majority of Native Hawaiians now live outside of Hawaii, their ancestral homeland. An estimated 370,000 Native Hawaiians are now living on the mainland, compared to about 309,000 living in Hawaii.

“We lost a huge chunk of our community to the continent,” said Kuhio Lewis, CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, which held a convention in Las Vegas in 2023 for the first time.

So far, efforts to the stem the flow of Hawaii residents leaving the state haven’t worked. If anything, the departures have sped up — thanks to worsening inflation, soaring housing prices and the Maui wildfires.

While stopping the exodus is a now a high priority for the state, organizations like CNHA say they also have to embrace the shift…

read … HNN SPECIAL: Priced out of paradise, they’ve built new connections and community in Las Vegas

Maui Council Budgets $300,000 To Study Impacts Of Eliminating 7,000 Vacation Rentals

CB: … The council wants more precise information before taking action that could cost thousands of jobs and millions in lost tax revenue….

(CLUE: Just talking about this is causing many TVRs to close down.  It is working as intended to benefit the hotels and the hotel unions.)

read … Maui Council Budgets $300,000 To Study Impacts Of Eliminating 7,000 Vacation Rentals

Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Issues Ruling On Mauna Kea Access designed to help activists block road, extort money from telescopes

BIVN: … The high court ruled in favor of plaintiffs, saying the Mauna Kea Access Road is not a state highway, vacating a prior circuit court decision ....

The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court has ruled in favor of plaintiffs and vacated a circuit court decision on the jurisdiction of the Mauna Kea Access Road, a controversy that was central to the Thirty Meter Telescope standoff in the summer of 2019.

The plaintiffs – Native Hawaiian beneficiaries of the Hawaiian home lands trust, Pualani Kanakaʻole Kanahele, Edward Halealoha Ayau, and Keliʻi Ione, Jr – alleged the State of Hawaiʻi and the Hawaiian Homes Commission breached their trust duties by allowing the State to use the Mauna Kea Access Road without payment since the 1970’s, and that the attempt by the State Department of Transportation (DOT) to make the road a state highway in 2018, via internal memo, was illegal….

PDF: SCAP-22-0000268.pdf (state.hi.us) 

HTH: Court rejects access road claim: Justices rule DOT erred when it designated thoroughfare to Maunakea a state highway

read … Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Issues Ruling On Mauna Kea Access Road (bigislandvideonews.com)

Caltech Submillimeter Observatory Buildings Removed From Maunakea—Telescope Transported to Chile where Science is Appreciated

BIVN: … A significant milestone has been reached in the decommissioning of Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, as the CSO telescope dome and other buildings have been removed from the summit of Maunakea….

The plan is to ship the telescope to the Atacama Desert in Chile, where Caltech says it will be reassembled and renamed the Leighton Chajnantor Telescope. “The name honors both the inventor of the telescope, the late Caltech professor Robert B. Leighton”, Caltech says, “and the planned site for the observatory on the high Chajnantor Plateau.” …. 

SA: State’s seizure of Mauna Kea Access Road is ruled illegal | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

HNN: The case will return to the trial court to determine appropriate relief, including damages owed by the state.

Chile: World’s Highest Astronomical Observatory Finally Opens – 5,640 Meters Above Sea Level

read … Caltech Submillimeter Observatory Buildings Removed From Maunakea

Plaintiffs, Boy Scouts settle wrongful death case

HTH: … A civil lawsuit filed by the family of an 11-year-old Boy Scout killed in 2023 by a rifle bullet at Camp Honokaia near Honokaa has been settled.

Hilo attorney Kris LaGuire, who represents the family of the victim, Manuel “Manny” Carvalho, confirmed Thursday parties in the lawsuit have reached an agreement. According to LaGuire, who declined to comment further, terms of the out-of-court settlement are confidential….

read … Plaintiffs, Boy Scouts settle wrongful death case

400 HPD Vacancies -- Waianae residents still waiting for the city to make good on its commitment

KHON: … “It’s kind of the same problem we’ve been seeing all along, you cannot staff, a station without people,” SHOPO Honolulu Chapter Chair Jonathan Frye explained. “And so we’re having a problem. And it’s a staffing crisis.”

According to Frye, two years ago police department vacancies were at 329. He said they are now over 400….

read … Waianae residents still waiting for the city to make good on its commitment

Scam Alert: Carbon Credits

IM: … The carbon credit market is rife with greenwashing scams. Ghost credits, or illusory credits, offer fake reductions in carbon emissions. 

The Guardian and Corporate Accountability analyzed the top 50 global carbon emission offset projects and found that 78% were worthless as they failed to cut emissions.

Massachusetts Audubon Society was founded in 1896. The organization acquired thousands of acres of forests to preserve forever. The organization then asserted it could log 9,700 acres of the forests. 

In exchange for agreeing not to do what it would never intend to do, Mass Audubon acquired and sold carbon credits to oil and gas companies that used the credits as carbon offsets in California. Mass Audubon claimed victory since it acquired funds to hire more staff….

Background:

read … U.S. Govt Proposes Modest Improvements in Voluntary Carbon Offsets | Ililani Media

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:

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