Dumping on Hawaii Kai

Hawaii Kai Cemetery is supposed to be just that some day – a cemetery – but the only thing buried there now is construction trash.

The preservation property, located in Kamilonui Valley in the highly populated East Oahu community, is currently being by construction companies such as Royal Construction and Grace Pacific to store everything from old buildings they demolished to road pavement they tore up.

The storage is supposed to be temporary. But area residents the stockpiling does not appear temporary and it is getting out of control.

In a meeting last week, area residents shared their frustration with city officials and legislators. They asked the city to stop the companies from dumping.

The city, in response to residents’ complaints, recently issued a Notice of Violation to property owners who were building a new road without the proper permits.

Residents are frustrated the company disregarded the ordinance that requires a city permit before any trees are torn down and gravel is removed, especially during the rainy season.

Residents also are frustrated with the amount of work truck traffic going on to the property, from early in the morning until mid afternoon.

Hawaii Kai Cemetery landowners, including Defense Attorney William McCorriston, and construction company representatives from Royal Construction and Grace Pacific were supposed to show, but didn’t.

City officials from the Department of Planning and Permitting are reviewing the matter and say they will consider whether to amend or renew the permit.

No New Taxes?

“This is a balanced budget with no tax increases – how’s that for a great opening line.”

Gov. Neil Abercrombie made that statement December 19.

But now his administration is considering whether to change this position after the Council on Revenues dramatically lowered its economic forecast last week from 14.5 percent growth to 11.5 percent growth for the coming fiscal year.

State budget and finance director Kalbert Young said “revenue enhancements” should be at least reviewed.

Lower-than-expected predictions for tax revenues released last week have caused the state to estimate a $19 million shortfall by end of the 2013 fiscal year and $312 million in the red in fiscal year 2017.

The administration is working on a plan to tackle the problem, but budget plans don’t address billions of dollars in liabilities for state workers’ pensions and health care benefits.

State Contractor Overcharges the Wrong Woman

State Sen. Donna Kim, a frequent critic of programs and activities at state airports, got an unpleasant surprise when she took the new shuttle service from Honolulu International Airport to her home in Kalihi.

Kim was charged more than twice the advertised price for the trip.

“It was supposed to cost $14.55 to go to Kalihi but she was charged $32,” Kim said at a legislative hearing this week.

To make matters worse, when Kim called state airport officials to complain, they didn’t know about the price increase, which was instituted by the shuttle operator, SpeediShuttle, within 30 days of landing the five-year contract last year.

As Jim Dooley reports this week, State Transportation Department Deputy Director Ford Fuchigami acknowledged he learned about the shuttle contractor’s price hikes from Kim.

After the state contacted the company, it reverted to its former pricing structure. And state attorneys “are working to see that this doesn’t happen again.”

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