Editorial: Explain police shooting; Larry Ellison goes green; Housing, rehab together
It was unsettling enough to hear about another fatal shooting by police, this week’s involving an escaped work-furlough inmate. B
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Explain police shooting
It was unsettling enough to hear about another fatal shooting by police, this week’s involving an escaped work-furlough inmate. But lingering questions over the shooting of Dallas Pearce, 33, in a Kailua parking lot, deserves further disclosure about the police’s use of lethal force.
Pearce, who had three felony convictions for burglary and drugs, had been AWOL since Nov. 19 from the Laumaka Work Furlough Center, from where he had pass privileges.
So when he was spotted Monday afternoon sitting in a parked car at Aikahi Gardens, of course the plainclothes officers were right to try to bring him in. But things quickly went bad: Pearce refused to comply with their orders to surrender — and the situation intensified over a gun in his possession, and by a female acquaintance who approached the scene screaming for officers to not shoot him. At one point, police reports said, Pearce was “reaching for a possible weapon that was in his pants pocket.”
In a Tuesday news conference, Honolulu Police Department Deputy Chief John McCarthy said the gun had been in Pearce’s “possession” but did not specify how; was evasive on the type of firearm; and would not say if Pearce had threatened the officers with the gun, only that he was “noncompliant” and that police feared for their safety and the safety of others.
The vagueness did little to dispel serious questions of how a work-furlough escapee ended up dead. Pearce was the first person killed by Oahu police this year, after nine police shootings last year, five of them fatalities.
It’s indeed foolish to not comply with police doing their jobs within bounds, in the interest of public safety. But given this case, HPD is urged to review proper protocols with its rank-and-file — and the public is owed more information as to what transpired. Once the investigation is completed, details need to be disclosed to ensure that Monday’s actions were not out of bounds.
Lanai’s Ellison goes green
Larry Ellison certainly has energy, and soon he may have much more. The billionaire owner of 98% of Lanai is in talks with Hawaiian Electric to buy the utility’s power plant and grid there, formerly privately owned when the island was primarily a pineapple plantation community.
If the deal goes through, Ellison’s firm, Pulama Lanai, indicates it intends to use the plant to speed the island’s transition to 100% green energy.
Of course, this is all very tentative, but the state is encouraged by the general prospect. Right now, Lanai has the state’s highest electric bills. And if the locally based management company has control of its own utility, Ellison could more nimbly execute his various plans for the island’s sustainability. Lately, those goals have also been evident in its hydroponic farming projects.
Further, said Scott Glenn, the state’s chief energy officer, the utility transfer potentially could ease Hawaii’s own goal of getting off fossil fuels.
And every little bit would help.
Kauai, powered by the ratepayer-owned Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, can reach 100% renewable- energy generation for as much as a few hours of the day. And now that Puna Geothermal Venture has recovered from the 2018 eruption disaster, Hawaii island should soon hit its target of 30% green energy.
Oahu — “the demand center,” Glenn said — is the island where the green hurdle is the highest to reach. All the demand, and very little land. Lots of political pushback, too. That’s the challenge.
Housing, rehab together
Nearly a decade ago, an idea was broached for a 1.5-acre of underutilized state property in Pawaa: redevelop it to serve the dual needs of juvenile-rehab and affordable housing. That idea has now cleared a key vote, with the state Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. board approving a preliminary financing “intent” to provide over $80 million in a development partnership for an $89 million, 201-unit rental project. Hale Kalele’s affordable housing would be atop two floors of juvenile service facilities — a unique sharing of space that makes sense, since the Judiciary-owned site currently houses two worn building used for low-risk youth programs.
The parcel is bounded by Piikoi, Alder and Elm streets — and because it sits within a half-mile of the city’s planned Ala Moana rail station, the 20-story tower will be allowed to exceed the area’s height limit. Encouragingly, this is targeted for Hawaii’s workforce residents — unlike other projects dubiously approved using transit-oriented development exemptions.
MK Alder Street Partners LLLP will benefit from a $1 annual lease with the state, plus over $80 million in bonds, a loan and state and federal tax credits. Such a financial stack is what it takes, apparently, to deliver housing for households earning no more than 60% of Honolulu’s median income: about $57,840 for a couple, $72,300 for a family of four. Rents at these units would start at $1,213 for a 380-square-foot studio, $1,539 for two-bedroom units averaging 705 square feet. That’s the price, and size, of paradise these days.