Corporate Taxes -- Hawaii Ranks 14th
Gun Mounted Video? HPD Already Saying 'No'
Right tools can dig us out of pension debt
Jim Dooley on CIU: Secrecy, Unwavering Loyalty A Recipe For Police Corruption
CB: … the Whitey Bulger syndrome – after the notorious Boston mobster whose value as a snitch to the FBI enabled him to commit murders and mayhem with impunity for decades….
When highly decorated CIU detective Kenneth Kamakana warned his superiors of wrongdoing in the unit in the late 1990s, he was summarily jettisoned because of a perceived lack of loyalty to then-Chief Lee Donohue….
In an eight-page memo, the officials, Capt. Harry Auld and Lt. Grant Loo, told Donohue that the officer, who had financial problems, was spending far too much time moonlighting at a second job. The officer regularly disobeyed instructions and wanted “rules bent in his favor,” Auld and Loo said.
But the problem officer was the son of a friend of Donohue and “called in a favor,” Loo testified. Donohue solved his dilemma by transferring Auld and Loo out of CIU, court records demonstrate….
A related personnel matter concerned the detective who was supposed to be monitoring and mentoring the problem officer.
The older officer was nearing retirement and just going through the motions of doing his job, Auld said....
The veteran officer could consume “phenomenal” amounts of food but would fall “fast asleep in his cubicle” after a meal, Auld said....
That veteran officer had been assigned to CIU at the start of the unit in the early 1970s and was once charged with two other CIU operatives of burglarizing the hotel room of suspected mobsters.
Those charges were eventually dismissed but the three officers were hastily removed from CIU and assigned other duties. The prodigious eater was brought back in the late 1980s before easing his way into retirement….
an ex-CIU officer, Isaac Sanga, who was accused of involvement in a complex murder-for-hire case of a Texas real estate developer shot to death on Maui in 1978.
Sanga met the developer, Paul Warford, and his wife, Sue Lynn, when the CIU used the couple’s Portlock area home to conduct surveillance of a mobster who lived nearby.
The murder plot allegedly began after the Warfords’ marriage collapsed and Sanga and Sue Lynn began living together, according to documents filed in civil and criminal court….
Sanga quit the police department the day my first story about the Warford killing was published. He moved to Texas with Sue Lynn for a while, but returned to Honolulu where he was shot to death May 14, 1979 on the Honolulu waterfront.
His 60-year-old killer, Hideo Miyahira, said Sanga tried to collect a $4,000 gambling debt by threatening to harm Miyahira’s wife and son.
Miyahira’s defense lawyer said the former CIU cop was a “strongarm” who used fear to intimidate his victims….
… CIU officers began clandestinely meddling in a federal criminal investigation targeting organized crime activities in the Chinatown area of Honolulu that was code-named Ikapono.
The CIU had been purposely excluded from Ikapono by the feds and other police investigators because of close ties between some CIU officers and targets of the probe. CIU was warned to stay clear of the federal case, which featured an HPD officer pretending to solicit bribes from mobsters.
But CIU cops secretly interviewed and tape-recorded one of the Ikapono witnesses after they were explicitly told not to do so by federal authorities.
When federal prosecutors found out about the taping, they were given a doctored copy of the evidence by CIU personnel.
That subterfuge parallels one alleged by federal authorities in documents recently filed in the Kealoha case. According to the criminal indictment, CIU officers doctored or destroyed videotape evidence before submitting it to federal investigators….
read … Jim Dooley
Lawyers call for review of cases handled by indicted HPD officers, deputy prosecutor
SA: The state public defender is reviewing the criminal cases handled by four Honolulu police officers and a deputy city prosecutor to uncover any possible wrongdoing after they were accused of planting evidence, falsifying reports and lying to U.S. investigators in a corruption probe.
Former Police Chief Louis Kealoha, his prosecutor wife, Katherine, and four current and former officers were indicted last week….
“We don’t know the extent … how many cases that are in our office that were handled or were touched by these officers or Katherine,” state Public Defender Jack Tonaki said. “Our deputies will look at it on a case-by-case basis.”
Tonaki and other defense attorneys want Honolulu’s top prosecutor to review cases that the defendants were involved in, but Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro has not announced any plans to do so.
Kaneshiro spokesman Chuck Parker said the office will respond to any challenges in court….
Based on the allegations, there is no telling what Katherine Kealoha accessed in the prosecutor’s office, said Victor Bakke, a Honolulu defense attorney who anticipates filing motions over cases she has handled….
For Kaneshiro to conduct a review on his own would be “sort of a confession he’s mismanaged the office,” said Peter Carlisle, former Honolulu mayor and former prosecuting attorney. “He certainly has the power to do it.”
The FBI raided the prosecuting attorney’s office earlier this year as part of the corruption investigation…..
read … Lawyers call for review of cases handled by indicted HPD officers, deputy prosecutor
Ige Campaign Themes Hard to Pinpoint
KGI: …Gov. David Ige covered a lot of ground in his 40-minute talk Thursday morning at the Lihue Business Association.
He quickly touched on the visitor industry, the economy, traffic, international flights, a recent visit to the Philippines, and clean energy.
While it was hard to pinpoint any of those as the key issue in his address to about 75 people, Ige did make one thing perfectly clear: He likes the state’s direction and believes it is making progress in many areas.
“We are working each and every day to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Hawaii,” he said.
The state is investing in airports, harbors and roads, improving traffic flow throughout the state, he said. And the state’s unemployment rate, at 2.5 percent, is the lowest dating back to 1976.
Visitors are coming in record numbers, more classrooms are being outfitted with air conditioning, homelessness is declining and there’s even a plan to deal with ever-annoying and at times destructive rose-ringed parakeets.
“I think the economy of Hawaii in good shape,” he said.
“We feel pretty good about being able to see continued growth,” Ige added.
read … Ige likes state’s progress
Four Years of Disruption Coming as Rail work kicks off airport leg
HNN: …The joint venture Shimmick, Traylor and Granite is being paid $875 million to build Phase 3 of the 20-mile Honolulu rail line.
Barring interruptions it will take four years to lay five miles of fixed guideway.
STG picks up where Kiewet's work ended near Aloha Stadium….
University of Hawaii traffic expert Panos Prevedouros thinks that's where the contractors will face their biggest hurdle.
"When they hit Aolele Street there is essentially an S-curve, one right hand turn followed by a left hand turn which is quite challenging to do in infrastructure. There's also a lot of elevation. You have all the ramps from the freeway going to the airport," he said.
Drilling of the foundations for support columns began Monday on Kamehameha Highway near Radford Drive.
"The challenge is just the logistics. We're standing in a very limited access for this large equipment," Lucido said.
The highway is down to two lanes in each direction through the construction zone and the speed limit is slowed to 25 miles per hour.
Kiewit's work on the first ten miles inconvenienced drivers and harmed businesses. Prevedouros expects STG's work to do the same..
"There will be disruptions and there may be at times major disruptions due to safety," he said….
If work stays on schedule and on budget STG anticipates the segment to be finished by December of 2021.
read … Four More Years
City Council: It's time to get a handle on illegal vacation rentals
HNN: The council's Zoning and Housing committee considered four different proposals Thursday.
One imposes new regulations on vacation rentals and allow neighbors to take legal action against these rentals.
It also requires websites like Airbnb to submit reports with addresses and owner's information to the City.
The company's lawyer says that's against federal law.
"The Communications Act says that you can't get this information that is private without a warrant or some court process," said David Louie, attorney for Airbnb.
The other measures would limit the number of permits to be issued for new transient vacation units and bed and breakfasts on Oahu…..
read … City Council: It's time to get a handle on illegal vacation rentals
9.4 percent of Hawaii residents are part of the state Employees’ Retirement System
MN: …An overhaul of Hawaii’s public employee pension system helped avoid a crisis back in 2012, but the state with the nation’s longest life expectancy still needs to do more to help fund the retirement of its employees, said Thomas Williams, executive director of the state Employees’ Retirement System.
“We’re on a solid track toward full funding. We just have to be constantly on alert to make sure that we don’t get off track,” said Williams, who was at the Cameron Center on Monday evening for a talk hosted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii….
MN: State pension system still considering golf course development
read … Pension
Kihei Homeless Live in massive illegal dumping ground—Refuse Shelter
HNN: …There is a massive and mysterious illegal dumping ground in South Maui.
While some are blaming the homeless, it doesn't explain the huge amount of garbage that has neighbors disgusted and appalled.
The area is right along South Kihei Road and directly across from the Kihei Veterinary Clinic. The clinic’s owner knew there was trash there but not that much.
"I was appalled, disgusted. I couldn't believe how much there was going on back there. I could see some of the encampment out front and I figured there was a little but more than that, but when I saw the video it looked like a county dump, I couldn't believe how bad that looked," said Dr. Jerob Leaper, Lead Veterinarian.
Ernie Saldivar recorded the dump site three weeks ago on his cell phone. He found mounds of trash tucked inside a wooded area.
Family Life Center Executive Director Maude Cumming said homeless outreach workers went down to the site a couple of weeks ago but all six people refused help.
The land belongs to Wesco Properties, Inc. from California, which is legally responsible for cleaning it up and have done so twice before…..
read … Meth Hoarding
Hawaii energy stakeholders raise some concerns over new solar credit programs
PBN: …the CGS+ program was unexpected by the solar industry.
The new program, which succeeds the customer grid-supply program, will continue to compensate customers during daytime hours, but it requires ratepayers to install advanced equipment which can be controlled by the utility.
By providing the utility with the ability to curtail or shut off CGS+ systems when grid conditions require it, Hawaii is charting new territory. “I don’t know of any Mainland utility that’s doing anything comparable,” Marco Mangelsdorf, president of Big Island-based ProVision Solar, told Pacific Business News.
Nevertheless, industry stakeholders have raised concerns about the CGS+ program's implementation process and its compensation rates. There’s also the question about the supply of approved equipment and who will pay for it, as well as Hawaiian Electric’s ability to establish a procedure for when to curtail customer supply, Mangelsdorf said.
In its decision, the PUC said that CGS+ program “shall be curtailed second to last on each island system.” It means utility scale renewable projects would be curtailed before any residential system. The commission also said that it does not expect much, or any, curtailment of CGS+ systems at the beginning.
"We believe we’re the first utility in the nation to implement this kind of control functionality on a broad scale," Shannon Tangonan, director, corporate communications at HECO, said. "Given Hawaii's industry-leading levels of rooftop solar integration, we’ll need this capability to integrate even higher levels of rooftop solar on our electric grids going forward. We’ve been testing control technologies, and will leverage the knowledge and experience we’ve gained so far to stand up this capability in time for the new CGS+ program to launch."….
PBN: Kauai to cross 50% renewable energy threshold with development of state's largest solar-plus-storage facility
read … Hawaii energy stakeholders raise some concerns over new solar credit programs
Star-Advertiser Employees Rally To Protest Layoffs
CB: …More than 30 newsroom staffers have lost their jobs at Hawaii’s biggest newspaper in the past year amid ongoing contract negotiations….
read … Rally
DLNR Harassment, $10K Fine Shut Down Swim Races in Kailua Kona
WHT: …Peaman’s events are canceled indefinitely.
After state officials sought a $10,000 fine against Sean “Peaman” Pagett, which led to an agreement that the organizer seek permits for future events from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Pagett announced on Facebook that his popular Peaman events have been canceled “for 2017 and beyond.”
“Howdy, all PEAMAN events for 2017 and beyond have been canceled,” the post read. “We will continue to put on the lava kids PEAWEE races.”
The Lava Kids Peawee races, Pagett said in the announcement posted to the “PeaMan…Frozen Pea Productions” Facebook group, will continue as long as there are fewer than 50 swimmers….
For those who’ve been participating in Peaman’s events, the monthly races have become an integral part of the local community.
For three decades, everyone from top triathletes to ordinary folks looking for a good bit of exercise have found exactly that in the free races, such as the “Peaman Splish-Splash and Superbowl Shuffle Biathlon” and “The Peas on Earth Biathlon.”
“For a lot of us, it’s part of our heritage here on the Big Island,” said Waimea resident Joe Loschiavo, who’s been involved in the races for the last 25 years and was disappointed to learn the races could be going away.
“It would kill a lot of us, to be honest,” he said. “It would break my heart.”…
read … Peaman: Events canceled