Sandwich Isles Communications: Political Connections Pay Off
It's time to end net energy metering
Ige Appoints Mizumoto Chair of BoE
Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted July 13, 2015
Consumer Energy Expenses--Hawaii Ranks 28th
Tax fairness bill signed into law
Mauna Kea Summit Road reopened, Visitor Center Remains Closed
Gallup: Older Americans have highest well-being in Hawaii
East Oahu Rallies Against Federal Takeover of Maunalua Bay
Feds Promote Classes in Honolulu City Parks
Criminal Al Hee Guilty on All Counts
SA: A federal jury has found a Honolulu businessman guilty of tax fraud for using his company to pay more than $2 million in personal expenses.
The verdict against Albert S.N. Hee came back Monday afternoon on the second day of deliberations.
Hee was found guilty of interfering with the Internal Revenue Service and six counts of filing false tax returns.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Tong told the jurors Thursday that Hee directed his company to pay his personal expenses and deduct the payments as business expenses by providing false information to company accountants.
Tong said the personal expenses include more than $1.67 million Hee directed Waimana to pay his wife and children in salaries and benefits even though they did no work for the company; more than $700,000 in college tuition payments for his three children that Hee continues to declare are legitimate company educational expenses; more than $146,000 in credit card payments and cash withdrawals that Hee says were for legitimate company travel expenses; and $96,000 for twice-weekly two-hour massages, which he told company accountants were for health consultant services.
“The defendant used his company as if it was his own checkbook,” Tong said.
The 60-year-old Honolulu businessman is on trial in U.S. District Court on charges that he had his company, Waimana Enterprises, Inc., pay more than $2 million of his personal expenses between 2002 and 2012, which the company deducted as business expenses, and then filed false tax returns by not claiming the payments as income.
Detail: Indictment handed down on Second Anniversary of Inouye's Death
read ... Guilty
Libertarian Candidate for Lt Gov Rams Mauna Kea Vehicle at 230am
KHON: ...Cynthia Verschuur Marlin, 47, (of Pahoa, natch), drove up to a ranger and two sheriffs at 2:30 a.m. at a checkpoint near the visitors center and argued with them for not allowing her to drive up to the summit. She then drove her car into the ranger’s vehicle, causing minor damage....
Marlin was a Libertarian candidate for lieutenant governor in the 2014 elections....
read ... Libertarian Candidate
Ige confronts last-minute bill signing, veto decisions
SA: Gov. David Ige has until midnight Tuesday to veto any bills approved by the state Legislature that have technical flaws or fail to pass muster with his departments. Some 20 measures still pending action by the governor will become law either with or without his signature to finally close out official activities related to the 2015 session of the state Legislature.
Ige has said he plans to veto bills that would have created a new criminal offense of sex trafficking and to allow University of Hawaii graduate students to unionize to bargain for better wages and working conditions. Ige also announced he plans to veto a half-dozen other measures because of various legal or technical problems.
Ige isn't saying yet how he will handle high-profile measures to extend the half-percent excise tax surcharge for rail by five years, and to create a statewide network of dispensaries to distribute medical marijuana. Ige won't veto the bills, but it is unclear whether he will sign them to demonstrate his personal support for the new laws or will let them take effect without attaching his name to them.
read ... Midnight
Anti-Cane Burning Activists Compared to 'Les Miserables'
Borreca: There is something of a “Les Miserables” moment happening on Maui, and the politicians representing the island should take note.
Last month a coalition of groups sponsored a study session on cane burning at Kihei Community Center.
Cane burning in Hawaii is not a new issue; it is the somewhat noxious way that sugar field fields are prepared for harvesting. Since cane has all but disappeared from Hawaii, the burning on Maui is the last real source of community protest — but this meeting drew a crowd of 1,000, according to participants.
(Yup. Wealthy retirees who bought million dollar houses on Maui without knowing all the facts because luxury realtors lied to them, are just like Jean Valjean who stole a loaf of bread and went to prison for it. Yeah.)
Today on Maui there is a great disgusting synergy developing.
First there is a building-telescope protest on Maui.
For more than a decade there have been Native Hawaiian OHA money grubbing protests over the construction of the 14-story solar telescope atop Haleakala....
Maui voters last year voted to ban GMOs. The federal court struck down the law and now citizens are organizing to fight the ruling.
When not protesting the Haleakala telescope, the federal court ruling against the GMO moratorium and cane burning, Maui residents can also spend time stewing over their health care (the one real issue in the bunch).
read ... Maui becoming epicenter for populist movements
Phony Clean Energy: Hawaii one of only 8 States to Increase CO2 Output
CC: ...Though most states are slowing their emissions, the report shows eight states moving in the opposite direction, each seeing an increase in its emissions rate between 2008 and 2015. They include Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Nebraska, Utah, Idaho and Alaska. Another is Hawaii, which generates most of its power using imported crude oil and has passed a law requiring 100 percent of the state’s electricity to be generated using renewables by 2045 — the first state to make such a commitment....
read ... Clean Energy Phony
Hawaiian Electric Co. can recoup undersea cable study costs from customers
PBN: Hawaiian Electric Co. will be able to recover a total of $405,000 for work it hired a consultant to do involving a planned undersea cable, according to public documents filed with state regulators.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has ruled that Hawaiian Electric Co. and its subsidiary, Maui Electric Co., can each collect $202,500 through a “Renewable Energy Infrastructure Program” surcharge....
In 2013, Hawaii regulators ruled that Hawaiian Electric Co. could recover $3.9 million from its customers to pay for Stage 1 studies related to the now-defunct Big Wind projects on Lanai and Molokai that would have transmitted electricity to Oahu through an undersea cable.
read ... Rip Off
Study says no place tougher to earn a living than Hawaii
KGI: "I just work a lot really." ...
“You just need to keep on working,” Pajarillo added. “There’s no such thing as retirement. Main thing — no pio (shut off) my light.”
A national study conducted by moneyrates.com ranked Hawaii the worst state to try and make a living....
A big reason Hawaii earned the No. 1 spot was because it has the highest cost of living out of any state.
Hawaii also has one of the highest income taxes of any state with workers in Hawaii receiving the equivalent of 55 cents for every dollar they make when adjusted for taxes and the living cost, according to the report.
Kauai Juice Company Owner Kristal Muhich said she loves having a business on Kauai but has experienced cost challenges of running it.
“Since I started with no capital I learned how to get creative and make up for the lack of finances by just physically working harder and longer,” Muhich said. “Our taxes and insurance costs are the hardest to stay on top of.”...
“I think it’s a struggle, fortunately my husband and I were able to buy a home and settle here but for your kids,” she said. “They’ve gone to the Mainland because it’s very difficult to settle down to buy a home, to raise a family.”
Anderson said she has been fortunate with her employment but sees friends struggle.
“For a lot of people that I know that live here, they’re working two or three jobs and they don’t see their significant other or children as much as they would want to and be able to be with them,” she said....
read ... Tougher
Mentally ill need more attention
SA: ...Nelson was killed in a police shooting last year in Waikiki that, experts said, stemmed from the failure to get a mental health evaluation on a timely basis. In the incident, which started as a traffic stop, police said he did not heed a command to get out of the car and almost struck the officer, who ultimately shot and killed him.
The victim had been due for the evaluation for months. The tests were ordered to gauge his capacity to stand trial for misdemeanor offenses. And had they been done right away, he could have been treated and thus have been less likely to be provocative, according to police.
The evaluation was delayed because of unfilled positions for forensic psychologists, which meant the ones on the job were swamped with a backlog of cases. DOH officials are painfully aware of the problem but said the positions are not funded at the appropriate levels of pay to make them competitive, and to make it easier to fill the jobs. That plainly needs correcting in the state’s budgeting process....
read ... Mentally Ill
Hawaii eases process to lie about gender on birth certificates
HNN: The new law eliminates the requirement that someone must undergo gender reassignment surgery before officially making the switch. Ige signed the bill Monday.
Mr Tia Thompson says when she tried to get a birth certificate that (does not) reflects her his female gender identity, her his request was denied. She hopes that now she'll be able make the change and play volleyball on a women's team (and join them in the locker room).
Advocates say many in the transgender community can't afford or don't want to undergo costly surgeries (good idea: don't do anything you can't later undo). They say having a birth certificate that reflects their false gender expression is critical for school transcripts, job applications, health insurance and many other aspects of life.
KGI: "...one student who transitioned from male to female was denied financial aid because she had not signed up for Selective Service, which is a requirement for men when they turn 18."
AP: Homosexuals gain access to 1000s of boy scouts
read ... Coming to a ladies locker room near you
Bizarre News: WaPo Admits Not Everyone Thrilled About Trannies in Military
WaPo: ...not every one is on board with the Pentagon’s change in policy regarding transgender service members. The conservative Family Research Council questioned the shift, the Associated Press reported.
“Considering the abysmal condition of our military and a decline in readiness, why is this a top priority for the Obama administration?” said retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, the council’s executive vice president. “The Pentagon must answer whether this proposed policy makes our military more capable of performing its mission. The answer is a very clear and resounding ‘no.’”
read ... A momentary lapse in the non-stop wall-to-wall adulation
Brower Considers Pressing Charges Against Homeless Boys he Provoked
SA: The investigation of the June 29 assault on state Rep. Tom Brower at a growing Kakaako homeless encampment has moved from the state attorney general's office to the Honolulu Police Department, but Brower still has not decided whether to pursue criminal charges.
Although an investigator from the attorney general's office had been handling the case, Brower said it has been turned over to HPD because his two alleged assailants are minors, age 14 and 17.
"I will make a decision regarding pressing charges after I am contacted by police and have had a chance to speak to them," Brower told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser....
The boys told the Star-Advertiser they attacked Brower after he refused to stop taking pictures of them and laughed when they asked him to delete the pictures.
read ... Brower Again
Autopsy: Meth Head Dies after Being Arrested
CB: According to the autopsy, Haleck had a history of mental illness, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. He was high on methamphetamine at the time officers arrived and was displaying signs of drug-induced delirium. He didn’t understand where he was.
Haleck refused the officers’ orders to get on the sidewalk. They then used pepper spray and deployed a Taser to try to get him to comply, but to no effect. A third officer, who arrived at 8:22 p.m., also pepper sprayed Haleck in an attempt to get him under control.
The officer who first used a Taser on Haleck tried again to shock him into compliance. It didn’t work. In fact, the autopsy shows that the barbs on the Taser electrodes didn’t pierce Haleck’s skin except for a small puncture wound on his chest.
Haleck then tripped in the street while trying to run away and was restrained by multiple officers who put him in handcuffs and leg shackles as he continued to struggle. A fourth officer who had arrived on the scene placed a knee on Haleck’s back while he was face down on the ground, the autopsy said.
But when officers turned him over he was unresponsive....
PDF: Sheldon Haleck autopsy report
read ... Meth
Cab Companies Turn to City in Push for Uber, Lyft Regulations
CB: After the Legislature failed to act, taxi dispatch firms hope the Honolulu City Council will regulate ride-booking companies to create “a level playing field.”
read ... Regulations
Mayor, Council chair say plastic bag ban not Oppressive Enough
HNN: ..."The end of the day, I think the thicker bags have to go and compostable bags, while it's a great concept, and yes, we can burn them in our HPower facility and generate energy, if we want to compost them, we can't do it here," Caldwell said.
Martin said his preference also was an all-out ban. But retailers were worried that would be too drastic, so Council members allowed those thicker, reusable plastic bags and merchants more than three years to comply....
read ... Harass the People Some More
Hawaii County pCard audit almost ready
WHT: Hawaii County officials are working against a Wednesday deadline to respond to findings of a draft audit into their use of county credit cards, known as pCards.
The audit is the first for county Legislative Auditor Bonnie Nims, who took over May 1, 2014....
The draft audit has not been released to the public, but the final audit report should be ready by next week.
Nims said she isn’t seeking formal responses from all the departments, just those showing questionable pCard use....
CB: Council Members’ Allowances: A Lot of Travel and a Little Charity
read ... P-Card Audit
KPD Retaliation: How to Make $100K
KE: ...Kauai police Sgt. Darla Abbatiello has won yet another settlement against KPD.
As I reported on June 7, and the Star-Advertiser reports today, Darla will get $100,000 to settle her claim that KPD retaliated against her after she filed a harassment complaint. Under the settlement, KPD also has to undergo EEOC training in anti-discrimination laws and expunge all the dreck from Darla's personnel file.
But the Star-Advertiser is incorrect when it reports that it stemmed from a sexual harassment complaint. As I previously reported, it began as a relatively innocuous initial complaint — Darla wanted to transfer to a different division, Assistant Chief Roy Asher said no, Darla pushed and Roy made his index fingers into a X, and Assistant Chief Ale Quibilan said one of Darla's Explorer Scouts looked a little momona (fat).
The handling of that complaint was flawed, due in part to the county's own policy errors and lack of a human resources department.
And in typical Kauai over-the-top style, it spiraled out of control, ending in a bitter political battle between Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Chief Darryl Perry, a lawsuit, three EEOC complaints and numerous damaged careers.
God knows what the full financial tab is for this fiasco, not to mention the human cost in terms of drama, stress, bad blood and wasted time. ...
read ... Musings: Hana Hou Ho Ho
Solar Impulse Plane Grounded in Hawaii by 'Irreversible' Battery Damage
NBC: "Following the record-breaking oceanic flight of 5 days and 5 nights (117 hours and 52 minutes) in a solar powered airplane, Solar Impulse will undergo maintenance repairs on the batteries due to damages brought about by overheating," the Solar Impulse team said in an update on Saturday.
"The damage to certain parts of the batteries is irreversible and will require repairs and replacements that will take several weeks to work through. In parallel, the Solar Impulse engineering team is looking at various options for better management of the cooling and heating process for very long flights."
The plane...will not schedule further flights "before 2-3 weeks at the earliest."
CB: Solar Contractors Freak out over new HECO rules
read ... Batteries Don't Work as Advertised. What a surprise.
As assisted suicide laws spread, cancer survivors, disabled object
MC: Doctors told Chasity Phillips in 2002 that she had a 50 percent chance of surviving surgery.
She suffers from chondrosarcoma, a malignant bone cancer. It had begun to affect her heart, ribs and spinal cord. Her choices were certain death, her doctors said, or surgery to remove part of the tumor.
She chose the surgery. Still, the return of her cancer was likely. Doctors told her she would have six months to a year before it grew back, requiring more risky followups.
But 13 years later, Phillips is 38 years old and thriving ....
read ... Object