Facebook posts don’t have to be about just about food and events. I thought this was a very helpful share from a friend.
Hawaii has morphed into a very expensive place to live with the average price of a single family at $1M. There are more Hawaiians living out of Hawaii than here. There are a lot of frustrations and angst, and rightly so.
Perhaps the saddest thing I’ve heard from my years of community advocacy is this phrase from a Hawaiian: ” You can go home to your homeland but we have no place to return to. This is our homeland.”
” While looking for something else, I came across this law from 1850, prohibiting natives from leaving Hawai’i due to a concern of population loss. It puts into perspective the recent discussions on the exact same issue.” Jonathan Scheuer
Basic protections like the Sunshine Law and Public Participation are suspended in the name of “affordable housing crisis”, to expedite development processes and alleviate the state’s acute shortage of housing units. The EP is good for twelve months. Then what?
Here is a copy of Hawaii Sierra Club Director Wayne Chung Tanaka’s observations of the first “Build Beyond Barriers” meeting at the Hawaii State Capitol in August 2023.
The “Build Beyond Barriers Working Group” Chair, Nani Medeiros, unilaterally suspended ALL PROVISIONS of the Sunshine Law, despite having no justification to do so. Meeting facilitator Scott Glenn and developer consultant Trisha Watson actively sought to suppress any discussion about the illegal, non-transparent nature of the Working Group’s first meeting.
Earthjustice attorney David Henkin was ejected from physically observing the meeting even after being told he could attend as a member of the public, and had the sheriffs called on him by the Governor’s deputy general counsel Jeremy Lakin.
Because there was only one microphone for a room of 30-plus participants, the Facebook livestream of the meeting was largely inaudible.
Nani Medeiros confirmed that she, as the “Lead Housing Officer,” had authority to approve any project that received any state or county waiver or exemption, or that used any state or county financing, funds, or lands. Such projects would be eligible to proceed without complying with the laws suspended by the proclamation – and without any Working Group approval, review, or notification.
“In a democracy, the people are vested with the ultimate decision-making power. Governmental agencies exist to aid the people in the formation and conduct of public policy. Opening up the governmental processes to public scrutiny and participation is the only viable and reasonable method of protecting the public’s interest.” – HRS Chapter 92 (a.k.a. the “Sunshine Law”)
The first “Build Beyond Barriers Working Group” meeting was held on Friday, and the situation with the Governor’s emergency housing proclamation is far, far worse than I had thought. While there was scarcely time for questions during a meeting largely taken up by performative introductions, Working Group leadership made clear that they had no regard for transparency or the law – even as described in the proclamation itself. Previously, I had written my concerns to Working Group chair Nani Medeiros, regarding the apparent suspension of the Sunshine Law. I had observed that the meeting had not been posted to the state calendar with the required six days’ notice.
Nani confirmed that she had decided to unilaterally suspend the notice requirement of the Sunshine Law. Her excuse pointed to logistical issues that needed to be resolved first – namely, coordinating flights for neighbor island working group members and members of the island burial councils (only one burial council member, from Molokaʻi, would end up attending – via Zoom), and finding table microphones so that “sound distribution is strong for participants and observers.”
Nani wrote that she was “committed to making these meetings accessible to the public, even if it means personally investing in equipment” (emphasis added), and promised that the meeting would be posted on the state calendar once all the details were set.
The meeting was never posted on the state calendar, and the information sent to news media for the public to observe the meeting online had the wrong time. When Working Group members arrived at the Governor’s conference room Friday morning, there was only one microphone, tethered to a conference phone by a cord not much longer than six feet, to be shared by some thirty-odd people.
Needless to say, the meeting was largely inaudible to the Facebook Live viewers who were able to find the correct link.Before the Working Group meeting began, a member of the public who wished to quietly observe in person – environmental attorney David Henkin, no less – was ejected by the Governor’s deputy general counsel, Jeremy Lakin. Jeremy even went so far as to call the state sheriffs, rather than contemplate the legality of his action.
Apparently, the public observation provisions of the Sunshine Law had also been suspended for this meeting, in addition to its public notice requirements. Public input requirements were obviously also suspended.
I immediately attempted to ask for clarity about what provisions of the Sunshine Law had been suspended, since the emergency proclamation itself only allows for the suspension of provisions of the Sunshine Law to the extent needed for “expeditious action, decision, or approval.” Posting notice on the state calendar, and allowing a member of the public to quietly observe in person – both requirements of the Sunshine Law – would not delay any conceivable actions, decisionmaking, or approvals.
(In fact, it turned out there also was no action, decisionmaking, or approval whatsoever during the meeting that would justify any Sunshine Law suspension under the proclamation, despite Nani’s prior written (and false) statement that there would be “important decision-making processes taking place.”)
Unfortunately, vice chair Scott Glenn clearly did not want me to raise these concerns, and asked that I hold my question until the end of the meeting.
During our “introductions,” I again warned the group that violating the Sunshine Law was a Big Deal and an invitation for lawsuits, and was met with blank stares. Scott said there would be time to address my concerns after introductions were complete.
Eventually, during the few minutes we had for questions, I was told that the Sunshine Law had been suspended in its entirety. When I questioned how that could be, given the language of the proclamation, developer consultant and Working Group member Trisha Watson cut me off. She said my concerns about legal compliance should be tabled, and that she had “real questions.” No one objected.
The Working Group leadership’s flippant disregard of both the law and the critical importance of public transparency was simply astounding. These are the people we, the public, are being asked to trust with the future of our islands.
In response to the only other question I was allowed to raise, Nani also confirmed that she, the lead housing officer, had unilateral authority to bypass the Working Group completely, and approve any project that received any state or county exemption or waiver, or used any state or county lands, funds, or financing. She also made clear she was under no obligation to even inform the Working Group of any such approvals.
Yes, this is real life. And incredibly, the Working Group Chair’s willingness to disregard the law, eschew transparency, and repeatedly lie – in writing, no less – makes clear that this emergency proclamation and the people in charge of it are even more dangerous than I had previously worried.
Friends, the future of our islands – our cherished landscapes, our cultural foundations, our social fabric, and even our housing crisis itself – may be harmed irrevocably by a proclamation that puts unprecedented power in the hands of a few individuals. These individuals have already shown that they will not – or cannot – even coordinate a single introductory meeting in compliance with the proclamation itself. We are now being asked to let these same people administer and enforce an initiative involving tens of thousands of un-affordable housing units across hundreds or potentially thousands of acres of land, throughout the islands.
Even with the best intentions, developers will surely run circles around this Working Group’s leadership, to the benefit of corporate profit margins, and the detriment of all that makes Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i.”
Authorizes counties, after adoption of an ordinance, to sell private property after all notices, orders, and appeal proceedings are exhausted and to use those revenues to pay unpaid civil fines related to that property; provided that the county sells the property at not less than the market value of similarly situated properties and that all revenues received from the sale that exceed the amount of the unpaid civil fines are refunded to the property owner. (SD1)
Authorizes the State and the counties to place liens on real properties for unpaid civil fines resulting from violations of land use laws. Authorizes the State and counties, subject to adoption of appropriate and particular laws or rules establishing the power of sale, to sell properties after all notices, orders, and appeal proceedings, if any, are exhausted and use those revenues to pay unpaid civil fines related to property. Effective 6/30/3000. (HD2)
Authorizes counties, after adoption of an ordinance, to sell private property after all notices, orders, and appeal proceedings are exhausted and to use those revenues to pay unpaid civil fines related to that property. Effective 6/30/3000. (HD1)
You can register testimony to OPPOSE HB538 or SUPPORT HB 538.
The committee(s) on PSM has scheduled a public hearing on 03-17-23 3:02PM; Conference Room 225 & Videoconference
RELATING TO RESIDENTIAL REAL PROPERTY.
Residential Real Property; Counties; Zoning Violation; Penalties
Establishes penalties for failure to remediate violations, including fines and, under circumstances, foreclosure. Effective 6/30/3000. (HD1)
Aloha to all,
I know you have too much to read and digest in such a short time. 3132 bills for this session is insane! Which human can carefully analyze all these bills carefully for decision-making and study its overall impacts, unforeseen or unintended consequences?
Before we go further, I’m sharing a few excerpts from the recent Supreme Court ruling relating to the US Constitution 14th Amendment. It relates to HB 538 (and SB 875 & HB 15) about CIVIL fines, Due Process, and so on.
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it best in one of her last Opinions for the US Supreme Court in Timbs vs Indiana relating to excessive CIVIL fines and Due Process. Below are some of jurist RBG’s messages to all of us from the grave:
“This Court has held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause incorporates the protections contained in the Bill of Rights, rendering them applicable to the States.”
“For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties. Excessive fines can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies, as the Stuarts’ critics learned several centuries ago.”
” Protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history for good reason: Such fines undermine other liberties. They can be used, e.g., to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies. They can also be employed, not in service of penal purposes, but as a source of revenue. The historical and logical case for concluding that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause is indeed overwhelming.”
“Even absent a political motive, fines may be employed “in a measure out ofaccord with the penal goals of retribution and deterrence,” for “fines are asource of revenue,”
” In short, the historical and logical case for concluding that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause is overwhelming. Protection against excessive punitive economic sanctions secured by the Clause is, to repeat, both “fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty” and “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.”
Punishments and Penalties
When you’re in a position of power, it’s even more incumbent on you to be much more circumspect and focused in your decision-making. It might be fun or satisfying to punish the supposed egregious ones. But it doesn’t mean that the US Constitution can become marginalized to punish them. It’s never a good policy to burn down the Cathedral of Civil Rights to fry a few bad eggs.
Civil Rights is Civil Rights. You can’t protect abortion civil rights but destroy private property rights. You must uphold and protect the US Constitution that you swore to do. The Constitution has protected equality, justice, and Due Process for over 200 years!
It appears the HB 538 introducers must not know about the challenges of working with DPP or getting a permit to be approved by DPP.
One has to question how a small lot in Kalihi Heights can be fined for $15.8 million for “overgrown weeds”. This local owner is a 50% Hawaiian man with chronic and severe health problems. There is much more to this situation here.
Where is the Aloha?
Where is the compassion to help our local residents who are already struggling and trying to keep up with the cost of living in Hawaii?
I hope this Star Advertiser report of “uncashed fines” is not giving any counties ideas for a new stream of income and future revenues.
There are always two sides to a story. The government is here to help, not to steal people’s homes and properties.
Most people work their tails off and sacrificed to own properties in Hawaii.
Who can trust DPP?
This is nothing personal. But these few clips will provide you a quick overview of what’s happening at the Department of Planning and Permitting. DPP is struggling. Its workers are overloaded. Through the years, the Mayors and City Councils have also contributed to these modern day problems by their actions.
Through the years, land-use density has been greatly increased. It used to be that an owner could not build on more than 50% of their total land area.
Why blame the Monster Homes when it was DPP who approved the permits in the first place?
Excessive Fines and Cruel & Unusual Punishments
HB 583 is off-based. It may have some “egregious” owners in mind to punish but there are too much unforeseen consequences.
HB 538 is out of touch with the majority of the private property owners, construction and real estate world.
These timelines are too impractical and oppressive.
HB 538 assumes that DPP is always right and the public is always wrong.
Manipulating the social media has become an art form. I’m going to choose one television ad which is airing relentlessly on corporate TV programs here in Hawaii. These ads are very expensive to run. Obviously, only candidates with a big campaign money chest can afford this.
I will choose this one that touches Hawaii’s ongoing problems with housing. Watch this first – Green’s political ad about “affordable housing” problems.
Lt. Gov. Green’s huge promise is this: “Under no circumstances should any one have to leave Hawaii because they cannot afford a home.”
It’s truly very sad for sure. Billions of dollars have been allocated for housing through the years. Green has been at the State Capitol for 18 years.
Is Green exploiting the plight of residents?
How is Green going to promise a home for every one? He already owes so much to the construction corporations and lobbyists.
Let’s critique this for the sake of conversation and questioning political ads. Decide whether the candidate is honest about this housing issue.
We will critique the cinematography in this 30-seconds political ad.
“Cinematography, the art and technology of motion-picture photography. It involves such techniques as the general composition of a scene; the lighting of the set or location; the choice of cameras, lenses, filters, and film stock; the camera angle and movements; and the integration of any special effects.“
GREEN:“We have a housing crisis in the state of Hawaii, and I have a plan to do something about it. I will make historic investments to build affordable homes for working families so they can stay in Hawaii.”
Stage 1 – This campaign ad has chosen a good-looking couple with a child living in a small unit. They are saying it is very sad that they cannot afford to live in Hawaii.
The video moves to construction workers. There is an insert to lead you to his campaign website.
Another insert of action and activity. And again leading the viewers to Green’s campaign website.
The camera angle is now focused on the young mother’s sad face.
The camera angle moves to a close-up to show tears welling in this young mother’s eyes.
The camera then pulls a distance shot. Note the women are dressed in aloha mu’u mu’u wear. There are people of different ages and races.
This video ends with LG Green promising: “Under no circumstances should any one have to leave Hawaii because they cannot afford a home.”
Is Green manipulating and exploiting the plight and worries of our residents?
Are you moved to vote for him?
It’s just as interesting to read the comments in his Facebook page. The first comment is from a Top fan:
Top fan Peter YoungThis is a powerful commercial… congratulations. This is the true Josh Green… honest and caring!
Eberhart HaniWhat does this mean? You would have to build massive public housing blocs to make even the smallest dent. Is there a way to reduce the cost of building a new house? Can we go back to the single wall construction method of the past? So many of those houses are still standing and being enjoyed after decades of use since the sugar industry days. Would it be better to invest in and import lumber on a large scale? What about fast-tracking ADU’s? What about promoting tiny houses, container houses and yurts? What IS your plan?
Ann T. TutuGoing back to the days 30 years ago when there was some government support for small time landlords would be a great improvement because right now as it is with the landlord squatter’s code, There is absolutely no help whatsoever for the poor landlord who’s getting ripped off by a tenant who never pays anything. They know the system and it costs the landlord thousands of dollars to get rid of them and get some income coming again from me from the rental house. Frankly I’m tired of the government building the houses for the homeless let’s go back to the time when things were fair for landlords too.
City and County of Honolulu City Council adopted Bill 89 and Bill 85 on June
17, 2019 after many long and contentious hearings.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed Bill 89 into law on June 25, 2019. On July 3, the
City Council chose not to address Bill 85 Veto.
Here is the
information provided by the Department of Planning and Permitting:
June 21, 2019
City Department of Planning and Permitting
Regulations on Short-Term Rentals
Bill 89 CD2
was adopted by City Council on Monday, June 17. It is awaiting action by Mayor
Kirk Caldwell. Its main points:
_Allows a limited number of new Bed and Breakfast Homes
(B&B) in non-resort areas under a new registration process, with annual
_Continues to prohibit Transient Vacation Units, or
“unhosted” rentals, in non-resort areas, unless the dwelling has a
Nonconforming Use Certificate (NUC).
_Regulates hosting platforms, such as Expedia or Airbnb,
requiring monthly reports to be filed with the Department of Planning and
Permitting, which will share the information with City Council.
illegal any form of advertising short-term rentals which are not in compliance
with zoning regulations as provided in Bill 89. Bill 89 CD2:
Questions and Answers are based on the assumption that Bill 89 CD2 will shortly
be enacted into law.
I own an
unhosted, “whole house,” or Transient Vacation Unit. I pay taxes. Can I
continue to advertise online and in the local newspaper?
Only if the
dwelling has a NUC or is located in a resort district.
the department start enforcing the new advertising restrictions?
August 1, 2019.
the fines for illegal advertising?
Owners of the
property involved in illegal advertising will be notified, and if the
advertisement is taken down in 7 days, no fine will be imposed for a first
offense. If not taken down within this deadline, fines of between $1,000 and
$10,000 can be imposed for each day the advertisement remains on display.
If the management company
for my property places an illegal ad, will the company get cited?
They may be cited, but Bill 89
CD2 says, “The burden of proof is on the owner of the subject real property to
establish that the property is not being used as a bed and breakfast home or
transient vacation unit or that the advertisement was placed without the
property owner’s knowledge or consent.”
REGISTRATION OF NEW BED AND
I have been operating a Bed
and Breakfast Home for several years. Do I still have to obtain a registration
Yes, unless you have a NUC.
I only rent out my house for
more than 30 days at a time. Do I need to register?
I only rent my house while
my family spends 2 weeks each year visiting family on the mainland. Do I need
to register? When can I register?
Registration will begin no
sooner than October 1, 2020.
Why do we have to wait more
than year to register?
The time is required for the
Department to develop more specific procedures for implementing Bill 89 CD2,
including the adoption of rules, and creating the software to help with
enforcement and the registration process. If necessary, it provides time to
acquire more staff and to train them.
What are the registration
There are more than a dozen
requirements. Most notable:
_Applicants must be “natural persons,” and not an organization or company
_Applicants must have a home exemption granted under real property tax law
_There must be insurance coverage for bed and breakfast use
_The initial registration fee is $1,000. For annual renewals, the fee is $2,000
_No more than 2 bedrooms can be used for visitor accommodations
_Quiet hours must be observed between 10 pm and 8 am
_If part of a homeowners or apartment owners association, approval by that
association must be obtained
_Neighbors within 250 feet
must be given a phone number to contact to make complaints 24 hours a day