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State briefs for April 18

OHA advances its waterfront development pledge

HONOLULU — The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has advanced its pledge to develop 30 acres of underutilized and mostly waterfront land in the state despite pushback from the community, the state Legislature and a law that prevents residential development.

The OHA Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a plan to hire a development consultant and community planner to further its goal of using its land in Kakaako Makai.

The board on Thursday formed a panel designed to recommend a list of eligible development consultants, investigate land and commercial property policies and implement a request for proposal for a community planner.

The trustees are pushing to develop the land that was given to OHA by the state in 2012 to compensate for funds owed to the agency from revenue from lands in the Public Land Trust.

The Kakaako Makai properties were estimated to be worth about $200 million. The new source of revenue was intended by OHA to help fund grants and other programs designed to improve the lives of Native Hawaiians.

The Legislature outlawed residential development in Kakaako Makai in 2006 after Alexander &Baldwin Inc. proposed two condominium towers that were heavily opposed.

Chief suspended without pay for mocking Asians

LIHUE, Kauai — The police commission on Kauai suspended the police chief without pay for five days for making discriminatory comments after an investigation found he mocked people of Asian descent.

The Kauai Police Department said in a statement Friday that Chief Todd Raybuck will be suspended from April 26-30 for violating county policy. He will also be required to complete Equal Employment Opportunity anti-discrimination training and cultural sensitivity training.

The police department said a Kauai Department of Human Resources investigation concluded there was no evidence to support the allegation that Raybuck failed to promote an employee based upon the person’s ancestry, race or national origin.

Raybuck said in a statement that he values and appreciates diversity in the workplace and community.

“I accept responsibility for my comments and will continue to use this experience to expand my cultural awareness and increase my knowledge and understanding of different cultures,” he said.

Cuts could force program for tourists to close

HONOLULU — A 24-year-old program that has helped tourists following traumatic events said it might have to close.

The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii said it would not survive beyond this summer if proposed legislative budget cuts take effect.

The group received $370,000 from the Hawaii Tourism Authority in 2020, but that was cut to about $277,000 this year.

Now, the Legislature is considering cuts to HTA’s Safety and Security Programs that would eliminate most funding for Visitor Aloha Society.

The bill is heading for negotiations between House and Senate leaders.

Red light camera program advances, 10 locations eyed

HONOLULU — Oahu will place red light cameras at 10 locations for at least two years starting this summer, the state Department of Transportation said.

The system that will operate 24 hours daily will take magnified pictures of the back sides of vehicles that run red lights and capture images of the license plates.

Wide-angle photos taken simultaneously will capture images of the intersection.

Ten intersections were selected for the pilot program, but that could be subject to change after reviews, said DOT spokesperson Shelly Kunishige.

The current intersections are: Beretania and Piikoi streets, Kapiolani Boulevard and Kamakee Street, Vineyard Boulevard and Palama Street, Vineyard and Pali Highway, North King and Beretania streets, King Street and Ward Avenue, Vineyard and Liliha Street, Pali and School Street, Likelike Highway and School and King and River streets.

The intersections were selected based on their crash histories and red light violations, Kunishige said.

The program will begin in the late summer, the department said, though some administration hurdles remain.

Signs must also be posted to let motorists know the red light camera system is operating on primary roads in the area.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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