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Tuesday, July 9, 2024
July 9, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:51 PM :: 1366 Views

Hawaii Assisted Suicide Up 50%

Green Signs 95 Bills Into Law

Koko Head Shooting Complex resuming weekday schedule

City, ACLU Settle Homeless Lawsuit

Massive Turnover at HPD as Corruption Scandals Roil City

CB: … Honolulu has increased its efforts to recruit police officers, including a $25,000 signing bonus announced in March, but union officials say the department is losing so many officers per year that focusing on hiring alone won’t do enough to fill its gaping vacancies. 

Between 2020 and 2023, HPD lost 589 sworn officers and only hired 274 new recruits, resulting in a net loss of 315 officers, according to a data analysis by the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.

The department has seen an uptick in applications. It received 1,171 applications between January and June 2024 compared with 894 during the same period last year, according to data provided by HPD. In April alone, the month after the mayor announced the hiring bonus, HPD received 247 applications, compared with 153 in April of last year….

In 2023, the department lost 143 sworn officers, according to Frye. Sixty-eight retired, 35 permanently resigned, 23 resigned on “probable” status (meaning they still had time to change their minds), one person died in the line of duty and the remaining officers left for reasons including termination and discharge. The loss was down from 2021 when 227 officers left the department, including 94 retirements, 22 resignations and 68 probable resignations. 

Frye said the higher number in 2021 was likely due to the bargaining contract expiring. He said it’s common for those eligible for retirement to retire at the end of a contract. On average, he said, the department loses about 140 to 150 officers per year. …

read … Police Union Fears HPD Can't Recruit Its Way Out Of Its Staffing Crisis

Secret BATF Report in Hand, Maui County looking for fire lawsuit settlement options

KHON: … Thousands of people affected by the deadly Maui wildfires last August could soon be offered a settlement from Maui County. But how much, and whether it will be enough to avoid trials, remains to be seen….

The Maui County Council takes up resolution Tuesday afternoon introduced at the mayor’s request for what’s called a “global settlement of all wildfire litigation against the county.”…

The resolution says nothing about a dollar figure, but lists a sum of 449 wildfire lawsuits filed by 2,216 affected parties….

Separately Maui County is putting $10 million into the $175 million One Ohana Fund, with the majority coming from HECO and the state. Other utilities and West Maui Land Co. round out the contributions.

As of registration closing in mid-June, 50 parties registered for death claims with One Ohana for a set $1.5 million a piece, and 20 filed for physical injury. As of today, 9 have been approved and none are yet paid.

“It depends on where they are in that (One Ohana) claims process, but that’s the possibility that people have already given up claims against certain of the defendants,” Creps said.

The public has not yet been told the cause and origin of the Lahaina blaze…

The feds say they presented their findings to the county last month. A spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives told KHON2: “Our report will be released with Maui Fire Department’s origin and cause report.”

We’ve been pushing the ATF and county to do so, and just today the Maui Fire Department spokesperson said: “They (ATF) have only given us a verbal update. We cannot complete our report until we have their completed report in writing.” …

IM: Maui Council Committee to Consider Global Wildfire Settlement Resolution | Ililani Media

read … Maui County looking for fire lawsuit settlement options

Maui Planning Commission Slow-Walks Proposed Seizure of Minatoya List Condos

CB: … The Maui Planning Commission can only meet for an hour Tuesday to discuss what is arguably the most pressing policy debate moving through county government — the Minatoya list — because it won’t have enough members to keep the 9 a.m. meeting running past 10 a.m.

Two weeks ago, the nine-member commission, which currently has three vacancies, held an 11-hour meeting on Mayor Richard Bissen’s proposal to turn more than 7,000 vacation rentals — nearly half of Maui’s inventory — into long-term housing by 2026.

The commission deferred action to this week, but little progress is expected in developing its recommendation to the Maui County Council under the 60-minute constraint. The commission had yet to even finish hearing from the dozens of people who were still signed up to testify online at its last meeting before running out of time…. 

HNN: “Over 2,000 children never come back to the islands. Our culture has changed. Our way of life has changed. The meaning of aloha has been commercialized,” said Stephen West, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Acting Maui Division Director, who supports the bill. …

KITV:  Highly-anticipated meeting to discuss Maui vacation rental phase-out postponed

read … Maui Planning Commission Vacancies Restrict Time Spent On Major Rental Housing Proposal

No action on Big Isle STVRs; Council considers proposed economic-impact study

HTH: … A trio of bills — and several amendments for each one — that codify new standards for short-term rentals were the subject of an hours-long County Council committee hearing that ultimately ended with the matter being punted to a future meeting with the promise of further amendments to come….

However, the delay will also allow the council time to discuss a related matter today: Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz, the other co-introducer of the bills, will introduce a resolution calling for a study of the economic impacts of the short-term rental industry on the island. Several council members expressed Monday that they would prefer to discuss that study before coming to any decision on the bills themselves….

“If this dumpster fire of a bill actually passes, and nobody with power to stop it does so, and hundreds if not thousands of short-term rentals close their doors forever — I am so curious as to what the next step is? What will fill the void?” wrote Pahoa STVR owner Jason de Bruyn. “Besides the mental anguish so many will go through … is there a job creation bill to follow? Is there some sort of stimulus package for small communities that currently benefit from the tourist cashflow due to short-term rentals but don’t live around hotels?”

Hamakua resident Brittany Anderson — who is running against Kimball for her council seat this year — said it is crucial that the council hold off on any decisions about the bills until an economic impact study is completed.

Several testifiers pointed out that the bills have received nearly universal condemnation from residents since their introduction, and questioned the purpose of continuing to push for them — as well as the electability of the council members supporting the measures.

“If you move Bill 121 forward, you will begin to see the ramifications of your actions not only at the upcoming election but also economically as (short-term rentals) currently hosting guests will stop altogether and revert their tax basis back to pre (short-term rental) limits,” wrote Gordon Lindquist.

After a more-than-six-hour-long meeting, the council unanimously moved to defer the bills until next month.…. 

(CLUE:  After Primary Election.) 

GRIH: Grassroot backs proposal to study economic impact of Hawaii Island STRs | Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

HPR: Hawaiʻi Island lawmakers resume discussion on short-term rental reform | Hawai'i Public Radio (hawaiipublicradio.org)

read … No action on Big Isle STVRs; Council considers proposed economic-impact study before deciding new standards

Green Fee to Pay to Buy up and Demolish N Shore Oceanfront Homes?

HNN: … A plan could combine bulldozing sand, planting vegetation and moving houses.

“An example might be, what can we speed up the process for homeowners moving their houses back on their lots off the beach?” Antolini.

“Some of them are willing to do that, but it’s an arduous process.”

Bays said some of the homeowners are prepared to leave the beach completely, for a price.

“We don’t think that’s necessary right away, but in the future, it might be necessary to condemn and compensate all the homeowners makai of Kamehameha Highway,” he said.

This scientific approach could be used on other high risk shorelines, but solutions like condemning homes or moving structures and roads could be costly. Gov. Josh Green said his proposed Green Climate fee on tourists would be one way to raise the money….

read … New law seeks middle ground (and quick solutions) in erosion conflict

Scam Alert: Major Biofuel to Electricity Contracts Are Underway

IM: … Molokai Electric Company proposed burning invasive kiawe trees and grasses in 1978. The kiawe hardwood damaged the plant’s chipper. The steam turbine failed. The Public Utilities Commission denied a rate increase to fix the equipment. 

The Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative, initiated in 2007-08, resulted in several biofuel fantasies that failed. …

HECO signed a contract with Imperium to import rain forest palm oil. 

Blue Earth proposed building one of the largest ethanol plants in the world on Maui to be followed with massive ethanol plants on other Hawai`i islands

Aina Koa Pono proposed using experimental microwave technology to convert Ka`u crops into biofuel to be sold to HELCO with Oahu ratepayers paying a $250,000,000 subsidy. 

Hu Honua proposed razing forests to generate electricity that would have increased greenhouse gas emissions and electric rates for 30 years….

HECO is currently negotiating six biofuel supply contracts that would provide fuel for nearly 700 MW of generation on Oahu, Maui, and Hawai`i Islands. Each contract would start between 2027 and 2033. The proposed fuel sources are vague: biodiesel, biogas, biofuel feedstocks, and plant-based feedstock….

read … Major Biofuel to Electricity Contracts Are Underway

Hawaii Bans Deep-Sea Mining as U.S. Political Support Splits on Party Lines

WSJ: … Backing for ocean-floor extraction has largely come from Republicans amid a push to extract minerals for defense applications; Democrats are coming out against the practice ….

RNZ: Hawaii bans seabed mining | RNZ News

read … Hawaii Bans Deep-Sea Mining as U.S. Political Support Splits on Party Lines

Waianae emergency access road set to open Spring 2025

KHON: … The gate has been closed for decades, and is rarely opened during emergencies. But, after years of discussions with the Navy, private land owners, the state and county, area lawmakers said the state Department of Transportation has stepped up to fix the section of road (Paakea to Hakimo and Lualualei Naval Rd) which will give Waianae coast residents another permanent access route….

The DOT said the estimated completion time is April or May 2025.  The estimated cost is about $8.5 million….

read … Waianae emergency access road set to open Spring 2025

Prosecutors intend to use lyrics of a popular song as evidence in a murder trial

ILind: … Kanae, whose stage name is “Rudeboikadenz,” and Acupido, who performs as “Jake Dawg,” formed Topshakaz about 2013 when they were still in high school.

March 6 was Kanae’s 28th birthday, and their telephone call was recorded because Kanae was confined in the Oahu Community Correctional Center, where he has been held since his arrest soon after the September 29, 2018 shooting death of 40-year old Thomas McCandless in Haleiwa….

The jury in Kanae’s first trial deliberated for a total of not much more than a single full day before telling the judge they could not reach a decision. King argues that after a three week trial, with extensive and conflicting testimony, the jury should properly have been directed to continue deliberating in order to provide a fair trial….

Kanae and a cousin, Keoni Adric, were peripheral figures whose names have come up during the racketeering trial of former Honolulu business owner Michael J. Miske Jr. Both have been described as members of the North Shore Boys, a gang on Oahu’s North Shore, and allegedly took part in planning or carrying out at least a pair of robberies along with several other Miske associates….

read … Prosecutors intend to use lyrics of a popular song as evidence in a murder trial

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