Friday, November 12, 2021

Hawaii agriculture struggles for political voice, Honolulu advances hotel tax hike, Maui seeks to limit bike tours, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Can Hawaii Agriculture Get Back Its Political Clout? The plantations that were so profitable in their heyday had the support of generous government incentives. Experts say today’s farmers must build political muscle to win state support. Civil Beat.

Kaiser Contract Negotiations Stall, Setting The Stage For A Strike. A group of 165 pharmacists and therapists in Hawaii will join more than 1,800 other health care employees in a strike over Kaiser Permanente’s wage proposals as contract negotiations continue. Kaiser Permanente alerted Hawaii Kaiser members Thursday that the strike would begin at 5:30 a.m. Nov. 22. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii COVID death toll jumps despite declining cases. Nearly 19% of all of Hawaii’s coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic have been reported in the past six weeks, with the total death toll jumping from 789 on Oct. 1 to 971 as of Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 3 new coronavirus-related deaths, 130 additional infections. The  new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 51 new cases on Oahu, 27 on Hawaii Island, 20 on Maui, 30 on Kauai and two Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Survey finds support for Oahu hotel tax, help for rail. A solid majority of Oahu voters — 70% — favor a proposed county tax aimed at visitors, and 56% support the tax if it helps fund the city’s troubled rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Hotel tax bill advances at Honolulu City Council, debate continues on where the funds can be used. The Honolulu City Council advanced Wednesday a bill that would implement a 3% tax on tourist accommodations on Oʻahu. The council voted 6-3 to approve Bill 40 on its second reading, bringing it a step closer to passage. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Latest city council bills would affect tourism businesses on North Shore, buskers in Waikīkī. The council approved Wednesday a resolution allowing video monitoring along the route of the Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 12. Hawaii Public Radio.

Waikiki stakeholders want Gov. David Ige to issue emergency declaration designating Kawehewehe Beach a disaster area
. The city’s public beach path, between the Halekulani Hotel and the Outrigger Reef, is boarded up, but there’s nothing to stop beachgoers from walking along the disappearing shoreline, where they risk encountering potential hazards. Star-Advertiser.

How Honolulu’s Climate Office Is Tackling Food Waste.
The Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency has big plans for a small $90,000 grant, starting with a pilot project in Chinatown. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Full steam ahead for vets housing. On Veterans Day, county and state officials celebrated a $145,000 grant awarded to the Hale Na Koa ‘O Hanakahi housing project, a 92-unit development on Kawili Street across from the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus that will provide affordable living for senior veterans and spouses of deceased veterans. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Ethics Board: No problem with Van Pernis ouster vote. The Board of Ethics on Wednesday made quick work dismissing a complaint against the chairman and vice chairwoman of the Leeward Planning Commission after former Leeward Commissioner Mark Van Pernis charged the pair operated outside the county charter and ethics code when the body voted to recommend his removal. West Hawaii Today.


Whistleblower Alleges Prison Officials Provided False Audit Data. A staffer says false data in a 2018 audit of the Maui jail hid deviations from staffing requirements under the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act. Civil Beat.

Lanai project clears last hurdle. Development would create 150 affordable, market-rate rental units. An affordable and market rate rental housing project on Lanai cleared a major final hurdle Wednesday, as the state Land Use Commission approved a change from agricultural to urban use for 56 of the 76 acres where the 150-home rental project will be built. Maui News.

Proposed Legislation To Limit Maui Bicycle Tours Under Review at Nov. 16 Meeting. Proposed legislation to update regulations for bicycle tours operating in the Pāʻia-Haʻikū and Makawao-Pukalani-Kula community plan areas will be reviewed in the Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee virtual meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 9 am. Maui Now.

Mayor Seeks Info on Shoreline Properties to Ensure Public Access at Keawakapu. Mayor Michael Victorino has issued a formal written request to Suzanne Case, chair of the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, for the County of Maui to acquire lands near Keawakapu Beach in Kīhei for public parking and beach access. Maui Now.


Bill hindering restrictive HOAs moves forward.
Introduced in August by councilmembers Bernard Carvalho and Luke Evslin, Draft Bill No. 2834 would not allow future covenants, conditions and restrictions or other agreements running with lands to prohibit or limit the ability to set up additional dwelling units, long-term rentals or guest houses. Garden Island.

Proposed West Kaua‘i Energy Project hydro system explained. Engineers used photovoltaic and hydroelectric technology to explain design choices behind the West Kaua‘i Energy Project, at the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative’s third “Talk Story Tuesday” meeting dedicated to the initiative. Garden Island.

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