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Senate bill 1313 seeks to require an additional 10 percent of our food be locally sourced.  It's the brainchild of Senator Brickwood Galuteria, whom argues that our state's reliance on food imports imperils residents' safety in times of need.  Granted, with more than 50 percent of our produce and 90 percent of our beef coming from outside the state, we are unique in our reliance of food imports.

But, is this the solution for a real-estate-poor metropolis?  Hawaii's population density consistently ranks in the top quartile of states, and kamaaina's biggest complaint is that children can't stay here after college because there is no affordable housing.

Hawaii Kai prides itself on having farms smack dab in the middle of the suburb.  Me, I'm not a fan.  Then again, I live right in front of one of the farms.  While I enjoy fertile topsoil, I enjoy it much less thrown by tractors onto my windowpanes on a frequent basis.  Truth is, even those farmers are struggling.  They lease their land from Bishop Estate, which is in turn unable to do anything else with the land because of a public perception of "sustainability."  The farmers also have difficulty finding workers to plow and harvest.  A few innovative ones have turned to "farm tours" to extract voluntary help.

Farms in the suburb are all around just a bad idea: a bad fit and an ill use of space.

No one likes a negative view without a positive alternative.  That is why I would propose that Hawaii make a plan for microfarms.  They really are the wave of the future.  They can be placed in garages, rooftops and wherever there is available room.  Granted, you can't raise cows there.  (Given that the Hawaii Farm Bureau has only given its blessing to this bill if all agriculture is included -- like flowers -- I seriously doubt this bill is truly serious about food sustainability anyhow.) But you can raise the most expensive types of greens: those that are easy and quick to grow but have limited shelf life once picked.

Aquaponics lettuceAs it turns out, I've been experimenting with produce sustainability and I think I've reached a pretty good balance.  To get a good idea of what can be accomplished, visit The Aquaponics Place in Waimanalo.  They have an incredible selection of both components and turnkey systems -- and at a good price too.  Hawaii Kai residents only need to drive 10 minutes to get there.  It's on Lukanela Street right behind the feed store off of Mekia Street and Kalanianaole Highway.

So far, I've purchased rockwool and large tubs from them.  They were even kind enough to drill a hole in one of the tubs for me.  I'll post an article about it and my low-maintenance low-cost hydroponic system in the near future.

It seems to me that suburbanites really aren't into gardening. Truthfully, it's a heartbreaking experience.  You toil and till and once the seedlings are looking good, the slugs and snails eat them.  Hydroponics and indoor gardening take the pain out of the gardening.  It also removes the weeding.  And, even in tight spaces, we can find room.  So, Senator Galuteria, if you're listening, I'm not disagreeing that sustainability is a good asset.  I'm just questioning whether a quota on growing and a reliance on old farming methods is the solution.  I also think the Hawaii Farm Bureau's stance on including all agriculture detracts from the overall purpose of the bill.  As a matter of fact, if I were starving, a vaseful of proteas wouldn't console me.

For more on the subject and the inspiration for this post, reference this 2/27 Pacific News article.

February 24 - Nine units with 35 firefighters responded to the blaze at a two-story Kaimuki home on 4050 Iwalani Place at approximately 11:06 p.m. February 23.  When firefighters arrived, they observed smoke and flames emerging from the front of the home.  The home was unoccupied and under construction at the time.  The blaze was put out just after midnight and the cause is currently under investigation. [Star-Advertiser]

February 23 - The Neighborhood Board Commission has published the 2017 list of candidates at its website. A certified list will be available no later than March 6. [Honolulu.Gov/NCO]

February 22 - Pacific Business News runs article on top AirBNB rentals in Hawaii and how much revenue they generate.  "In terms of revenue, the highest-performing unit was a 10-bedroom oceanfront property in Kuliouou that sleeps 25 and brings in estimated annual revenue of $461,621, with an average daily rate of $2,308. The Honolulu estate includes a main house, a studio, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit and a two-bedroom cabana. The property is listed by Hawaii Beach Homes, a boutique vacation rental company." "The listing with the highest average daily rate is a six-bedroom oceanfront house in Portlock that commands $3,272 per night, on average, according to the Airdna data. That house is listed by Elite Vacation Rentals, a division of the residential real estate firm Elite Pacific Properties." [PBN]

On a sidenote, with the exception of less than 900 grandfathered units operating before 1986, Honolulu law does not permit short-term rentals housing in residential districts.  As Kailua residents note, however, the law has been poorly enforced due to a lack of county staffing. [Hawaii News Now - archive]

February 22 - Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) recently sent out letters to customers with pending net metering solar requests.  Customers were asked to pay large sums of money for the privilege of connection to the grid.  Letters sent to customers and obtained by KHON requested amounts ranging from several thousand to as much as $26,000.  Although letters were sent statewide, areas with high saturation rates such as Makaha and East Oahu received a greater proportion. The letters are seen by some as an attempt to move customers from the net metering plan to other more recent solar options. [KHON]

February 19 - The State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) was out at Maunalua Bay advising watergoers of rules and regulations pertaining to the area.  They will also hold a community Q and A session on Saturday, February 25 from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at Koko Head Elementary School. [KHON]

February 19 - A faulty circuit breaker was determined to be the cause of a fire at the Coast Guard building in Wailupe on February 18.  It took firefighters 15 minutes to bring the fire under control at the unoccupied building. [Star-Advertiser - library card required]

February 14 - Randall Roth at Hawaii Free Press weighs in on the Department of Education (DOE) treatment of former award-winning Kaiser Principal John Sosa.  [Hawaii Free Press]

February 13 - A drainpipe located at the corner of 18th Avenue and Maunaloa Avenue has become a source of frustration for some Kaimuki residents.  They want the City to clear it: some residents sustained thousands of dollars of damage from Saturday's flash flood.  The City says the backlog is caused by a private residence and the clog is on private property. [HNN]

February 13 - A power outage affected 142 Hawaiian Electric Co. customers on Kapaia Street in Hawaii Kai from 10:25 a.m. to 1:07 p.m. [Star-Advertiser - library card required]

February 12 - Sen. Stanley Chang (D, Hawaii Kai, Kuliouou, Niu Valley, Aina Haina, Waialae-Kahala, Diamond Head) has proposed a bill this session, SB 1121, to close the loophole which allows developers to circumvent Hawaii's solar water heater law. [Star-Advertiser - library card required]

February 11 - A flash flood with high winds wreaked havoc on the islands, dropping massive amounts of rain over a short period.  The fire department was kept busy with over 30 calls, including one that downed a tent at Kapiolani Community College and injured three people. [HNN]

February 11 - A new law effective immediately prohibits commercial tour stops between Makapu'u and Kailua. [KHON]

Feb 9 - State lawmakers are considering bills to create official campgrounds for the homeless in Honolulu. The Senate Human Services Committee on Wednesday gave tentative approval to Senate Bill 1243, which would authorize the state to use part of Sand Island State Recreation Area and to seek out an unspecified property in Hawaii Kai as homeless campsites.  Prior to the recommendation of Hawaii Kai as a homeless safe haven, Mike Goodman, director of the Hawaii Kai Homeless Task Force, voiced favor of the campsite idea and said he drafted an early version of the bill.   [Star-Advertiser]

Feb 6 - Oahu housing inventory continues to shrink in January.  The median sales price for a single-family home in East Oahu was $1.2 million in January, up 41 percent from the same month last year. [HNN]

Feb 6- KHON produced a multi-part exposé on the mysterious 2013 investigation of John Sosa, former award-winning Kaiser HS Principal.  No charges were ever brought against him, nor others seemingly under investigation, such as Kaiser Football Coach Rich Miano or Athletic Trainer Chad Ikei.  Kathryn Matayoshi, departing School Superintendent, signed off on the investigation and further referred it to the Attorney General which declined to pursue action.  To date, no apology has been offered to any of the affected parties. [KHON] [KHON]

Feb 6 - Strong winds hindered extinguishing of a brush fire that broke out near Sandy Beach. The fire initially started at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday near Sandy Beach on the mauka side of Kalanianaole Highway, impeding traffic in the Koko Villas neighborhood and forcing the evacuation of two dozen animals from Koko Head Equestrian Center. About 60 firefighters brought the 60-acre blaze under control by 3:46 p.m. Saturday, and firefighters stayed overnight to monitor the area, Jenkins said. [Star-Advertiser, library card required]

Feb 6 - The Star-Advertiser elaborates on House Bill 1595 proposed by Rep. Gene Ward of Hawaii Kai.  The bill would fine public urinators $2,500 or give offenders the option of completing court-approved drug or alcohol treatment or mental health treatment programs in lieu of paying the fines. [Star-Advertiser, library card required]

Feb 5 - Heavy winds caused widespread outages throughout Hawaii Kai and the rest of Oahu. A number of residents also lost power during the broadcast of Super Bowl LI [KHON]

February 3 - Representative Gene Ward seeks bill to create "urine-free zones." Proposed House Bill 1595 would make it illegal to go to the bathroom on:(1) Public playgrounds and playground equipment (2) Public bus stops (3) Public park and ride facilities (4)Public parking garages, including structures and stairwells. [HNN]

February 2 - Hanauma Bay was closed Wednesday, February 1 due to high surf and was reopened on Thursday. [Star-Advertiser]

February 1 - An upheaval ousting State Rep. Beth Fukumoto (R-Mililani) from the post of House Minority Leader has her asking constituents to consider her departure from the Republican Party.   In her place, Rep. Andria Tupola, (R-Leeward Oahu) was named House Minority Leader. Rep. Gene Ward, (R- Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley) was named Minority Floor Leader. [KHON]

January 31 - Denby Fawcett offers an op-ed on the expected February sweep of homeless on Diamond Head.  Currently, 50-70 people are estimated to be living on the slopes. [Civil Beat]

January 31 - Last week's water main break and subsequent highway closure has the Board of Water Supply reassessing and analyzing the public feedback process. [KHON]

Jan 21 through Jan 25 - Water main break causes closure of Kalanianaole

On Saturday, January 21, 2017 at about 4:45 a.m., a 24-inch water main break occurred before the intersection of Kalanianaole Highway and Ainakoa drive: near the end of the H-1 freeway. From approximately 6:00 am, Kalananaole Highway Eastbound (EB) was closed on Saturday. At approximately 11pm, one lane was reopened. The lane remained open throughout Sunday.

On Monday, one lane remained open throughout the day, with a second lane being opened from 3pm through the evening rush hour.  On Tuesday, the second lane opened at 2pm and remained open until 9pm.  The Department of Transportation also announced that the roads would be fully opened by noon on Wednesday.   As it turns out, all lanes were restored by 4:20 am. Previously, it was estimated to remain closed until Thursday.

The removal of a defunct water main at the site of the leak increased delays to the repair.  During the period of road closure, all other scheduled roadwork for East Oahu through Waimanalo was postponed.

The closure of Kalanianaole adversely affected businesses for the four days.  Costco and other retailers were unusually empty over the weekend, and service-oriented businesses were rescheduling clients for alternate days.

Jan 24 - Hawaii Prep World & the Star-Advertiser feature Kaiser H.S. athlete Andrew Kaufusi :his athleticism and academics. Kaufusi has committed to Azusa Pacific which has offered him a full scholarship. [Hawaii Prep World]

Jan 21 - High winds affect East Oahu.  Power outages and structural damage including a roof collapse in Aina Haina were reported. [KITV] [KHON]