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Friday, September 22, 2017
September 22, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:10 PM :: 3738 Views

Hawaii Pregnancy Centers Ask Court to Stop Law Forcing Them to Promote Abortions

Hurricanes Blow Jones Act Out of the Way

Ige Assigns Dock Space to Pasha, TOTE

How High Are Property Tax Collections Where You Live?

Oahu Construction Boom Ending: What Excuse Will HART Use Next?

If N. Korea attacks Hawaii, you'll have minutes to prepare

HNN: Get inside, stay inside and stay tuned….

read … If NKorea attacks Hawaii, you'll have minutes to prepare

More Tax Hikes Coming? Rail’s last segment fraught with risk to Taxpayers

SA: …Honolulu’s taxpayers can be forgiven if they’re still quite nervous about the “recovery” financial plan that in theory puts the city’s fiscally troubled rail project back on track.

Theories about costs and how to pay them have evolved over the years, so it’s hard to feel too confident about the assurances coming from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) on Tuesday that they’ve now settled on a winning formula.

For one thing, the Federal Transit Administration must approve the plan for financing the 20-mile elevated rail line, which now carries a pricetag of just over $9 billion. The months-long review is a hurdle to clear before any more federal subsidy dollars are released….

The intent, said Robbins, is to explore potential for cost-saving “innovation” though public-private partnerships. The public has to hope the new HART managers and city administration officials will pursue such arrangements with greater vigor than past regimes have exhibited….

But perhaps the biggest risk lies in the route itself, which cuts through dense urban zones with myriad engineering challenges — the difficulty of navigating through utility lines down Dillingham Boulevard only one of these. This is why the federal authorities are likely to insist that the contingency fund remain robust — and why spending it down significantly seems likely….

even assuming federal approval of the revised plan, it will be tough meeting the target of opening the partial system, from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium, by the end of 2020. HART will need exacting oversight by the added layer of the state auditor, city officials and its own new management….

Big Q: On balance, do you favor a hotel room tax on alternative vacation rentals such as Airbnb?

read … Rail’s last segment fraught with risk

OHA Trustees to Reconsider CNHA Contract at Sept 27 Meeting

HNN: …"I'm worried that after the first year that those resources may decrease. I'm worried that CHNA will leverage the funds for purposes that aren't education related," said Keoni Bunag, principal at Halau Ku Mana.

The Council favors federal recognition while many at Halau Ku Mana oppose it.

"I think at the core of the mistrust is the opposition to our position on federal recognition," said Michelle Kauhane, President and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement….

The new contract hasn't be finalized yet and the OHA board will take up this issue on its September 27 agenda….

PDF: BAE Meeting Sept 27, 2017

read … OHA considers changing contract to award charter school funds, unsettling many

Criminals Stealing More Thanks to Legislature

KHON: …why are we seeing more of this type of crime?

KHON2 spoke with a retail expert who says it’s because of a law passed last year that raised the threshold level for felony theft from $300 to $750.

Tina Yamaki, president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii, says the higher threshold means thieves can steal more before facing stiffer penalties.

“They know that so they steal right under that $750 line,” she said.

Thieves aren’t just targeting canned goods. All types of merchandise are being stolen, and because of the law, thieves are stealing more of them.

Among the items being targeted by more thieves are designer clothes, electronics, and power tools.

Yamaki says thieves are not just stealing more items, they’re also getting more dangerous.

“They’re just getting a lot more brazen. A lot of times when loss prevention is trying to apprehend them, they’re being attacked. Either they’re getting punched or they’re seeing knives being used. I’ve heard of some guns a couple of times,” said Yamaki….

read … Expert says change in law fuels shoplifters to steal more, and more often

Council Considers New Scheme to Keep Criminals on the Streets

KHON: …The program is called Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion or LEAD.

The goal is to break the cycle of people going to jail multiple times by getting them the help they need.

This ranges from certain social services to help in dealing with addiction.

City Councilmember Carol Fukunaga introduced a resolution Wednesday advocating for the implementation of the LEAD program which stands for law enforcement assisted diversion.

Heather Lusk, Executive Director of the Chow Project and advocate for LEAD says the chinatown neighborhood board has already voted unanimously that want the program to start in their community. “What it does is it helps people with behavioral health problems, specifically people struggling with addiction and mental illness. When that is the route of their offending it diverts them from the criminal justice system at the point of law-enforcement and gets them into social services if they want to.”

According to Lusk, LEAD helps put certain offenders into community based services, which can actually save the state money.

It’s shown to be more effective than repeated arrests.

Cities around the country have already implemented the program, like Seattle Washington, where Lusk says people in the program were 58 percent less likely to be arrested after completing LEAD. “What this does is take the burden of mental health out of criminal justice and place it where it should be which is with social service providers that have that expertise.”

Lusk Says over 60 percent of people arrested by HPD in 2015 had either a substance abuse or mental health condition.

UH Law professor Ken Lawson is familiar with programs like LEAD, saying they can give people a second chance. “I have been an addict, I have been to prison and I went to prison because of my addiction to painkillers and opiates, and so to go to treatment as an alternative and once that’s treated I’m not committing crimes anymore. It will free up and unclog a lot of our prison system, and it allows people to get a second chance at life.”….

read … New program aims to help low level offenders instead of locking them up

Marijuana Stores Move 57lbs of Dope in First Month

SA: …Hawaii’s first two medical marijuana dispensaries sold a combined 57 pounds of buds totaling more than $426,000 in sales since opening in early August.

Maui Grown Therapies and Oahu’s Aloha Green Apothecary, formerly Aloha Green Holdings Inc., saw 7,845 customer visits and sold 8,890 products as of Sept. 19, according to data from the state Department of Health presented Wednesday to a legislative oversight group for medical cannabis.

Customers bought an average 3.3 grams and spent $54.33 per purchase, the DOH said. The average cost per gram was $16.45….

As the dispensaries open, the DOH has seen an increase in the number of people applying to use medical marijuana. There were more than 18,600 registered patients as of August, an increase of 615 from the month before.

The department is struggling to keep up with the growth. The DOH receives about 1,700 applications per month, with turn-around times to issue medical marijuana registry cards averaging around six business days, up from three to four days previously…..

SA: Oahu’s 2nd Dope Store to Open in Oct

read … 1700 New Dopers Each Month

City continues to clear out items along the Pearl City bike path

KITV: …The city removed hundreds of items along the Pearl City bike path.

Crews cleared-out homeless-camps Thursday morning, enforcing its new Stored Property Ordinance.

People living along the path are now looking for a new place to call home (besides a shelter, that is.)

"It's not going to help the situation any. It's going to be worse for everybody and what I think is they should help find places for people first (besides a shelter, that is,) before they start a sweep," a displaced woman said. …

read … City continues to clear out items along the Pearl City bike path

With No Chief to Collect Payoffs, HPD Raids Illegal Gambling Sites Island-Wide

HNN: …Honolulu police say they're stepping up enforcement of gambling laws in Hawaii.

More raids can be expected at suspected gaming rooms in the coming weeks.

Earlier this month, police seized gaming devices from Yuen's Market and Liquor in Nanakuli.

The store manager there was arrested.

According to police, there are as many as 100 illegal game rooms on Oahu at any given time….

Since August, police arrested 35 people on gambling related charges….

read … New Chief Needed. Must be Insider

Police: Non-Profit Loses $5.8M to Embezzler

KHON: …While the investigation is ongoing, prosecutors say Amorin stole $5,777,147.96 while working as a senior accountant for The Arc in Hawaii, a non-profit organization that serves children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The thefts allegedly occurred over a period of more than 10 years, from late 2006 to early 2017.

The investigation was triggered by a routine audit of The Arc’s fiscal year 2016 records. Discrepancies led The Arc to identify Amorin as the person responsible. She was immediately reported to police….

read … Embezzlement




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