SB2136: Ige Administration Opposes OHA's $119M Cash Grab
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Janus?
Ewa Beach Skate park improved through private-public partnership
Assisted Suicide to be Fast-tracked?
Hawaii Apprentice Hunting Legislation Passes Water and Land Committee
FBI investigates 4 HPD officers accused of forcing homeless man to lick urinal
HNN: Four Honolulu police officers have been stripped of their badges and guns and are facing a federal investigation for allegedly forcing a homeless man to lick a urinal in a public restroom….
They have each had their police powers revoked and are on desk duty, pending the outcome of the investigation.
The alleged incident occurred inside a public restroom near Keeaumoku and Sheridan Streets about 2 p.m. Sunday. The officer were called to the area after a trespassing complaint. …
Ballard said once her administration learned about the incident, they contacted the FBI because the case involves the abuse of police powers by multiple officers. Officers also canvassed the area to search the victim, who was eventually found. ..
In a statement Friday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell lauded Ballard's decision to place the four officers on leave and contact the FBI.
"Although these officers are presumed innocent, we need an independent agency to investigate exactly what occurred and whether these officers engaged in civil rights abuses," he said, in a statement. "Chief Ballard has promised to transform the Honolulu Police Department from a warrior mentality to a guardian mentality, and this is an approach to community policing that I wholeheartedly support.”
read … FBI investigates 4 HPD officers accused of forcing homeless man to lick urinal
Union Benefits: State Hospital HGEA Members Still Allowed to Have Sex With Patients
HNN: ….During the hearing, Health Department representatives told lawmakers that they did not know whether the hospital had a written policy prohibiting employees from having sex with patients.
Saito had sex with at least three hospital staff members prior to 1993, Hawaii News Now reported….
SA: Randall Saito had a half-dozen sexual relationships while in the psychiatric facility’s care — including with hospital employees, who legislators believe may have helped him escape in November….
SA: State Hospital needs more than an expensive fence
read … Union Benefits
Hawaii Auditor Demands Investigation Into Leak Of OHA Audit
CB: …Hawaii State Auditor Les Kondo plans to ask the State Ethics Commission to investigate the release of a draft audit that detailed questionable spending by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Civil Beat obtained a copy of the draft revealing millions of dollars misspent by the agency responsible for improving the well-being of Native Hawaiians.
Kondo called a press conference Friday afternoon to emphasize that the leak didn’t come from his office. “It was a surprise. Maybe it shouldn’t have been, but it was a surprise,” Kondo said.
He’s so upset about the unauthorized release that he’s conducting internal computer forensics analysis to see if anyone in his office emailed the document….
It’s the first time a draft audit has leaked from the State Auditor’s Office since Kondo took the job in 2016.
But two years ago, a city draft audit was published after the agency being reviewed — Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation — decided to make it public. Kondo drew a distinction between that release and the recent leak, because HART itself had decided to release the report.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs issued a statement Friday saying the agency is “extremely disappointed with the unauthorized release of the draft audit.”
The agency has launched an inquiry into the leak and says it will cooperate with both the Ethics Commission and State Auditor.
Kondo is planning to meet with OHA officials Tuesday to discuss the draft but declined to say when and where the meeting would take place. A spokesman for OHA said no public meetings are planned for that day….
read … Demand Investigation
TMT Telescope Preparing to Build at Canary Islands Site
SA: …the California nonprofit is continuing to lay the groundwork for a possible exit to the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa.
A demarcation certificate identifying a 24-acre site where the cutting-edge telescope would be built high on a La Palma island mountain is expected to be signed next week, according to a report on TMT’s new Spanish-language website, tmtlapalma.org.
On Dec. 18 the La Palma island council signed the land over to the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands for a period of 75 years, the website reported this week.
“The TMT team continues to work to make La Palma a real alternative when the board of directors of the TMT International Observatory makes a decision this year regarding the construction site,” according to a translation….
The Hawaii Supreme Court this week set a March 15 date for oral arguments over the question of whether the state must hold yet another TMT contested case hearing — this time on the project’s sublease.
In addition, opening briefs are due at the high court Feb. 15 for anti-TMT forces who are appealing the construction permit that was awarded following the lengthy contested case hearing do-over in Hilo last year….
Answering briefs by permit applicants University of Hawaii and state Board of Land and Natural Resources are due March 27, with the appellants having 14 days to reply after that.
Despite the recent legal progress, it seems unlikely the clouds of uncertainty hovering over the $1.4 billion project will be totally clear by April….
TMT’s timeline could be blown if the Hawaii Supreme Court doesn’t move relatively quickly. It will certainly take a hit if it decides that another contested case hearing is necessary on the sublease issue….
As Explained: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money
read… Leaving Hawaii
Meet the Corporate Lobbying Firm Lt Gov Quit for with 2 Days Notice
PBN: After 15 years of public service, Shan is joining Seattle-based Strategies 360 Inc., a communications firm founded in 1985 by Co-founder Eric Sorenson and President Ron Dotzauer. Our sister publication, Puget Sound Business Journal, lists Strategies 360 as the second-largest public relations firm in the Seattle region, based on 2016 public relations fee income of $19.5 million, representing “clients in the energy, education and technology sectors.”
What is the company all about? Well, one can safely guess that Tsutsui isn’t exactly leaving politics or even the Democratic party so much as joining a for-profit extension of those institutions….
The Strategies 360 website lists Will Kane, a past special advisor to DBEDT, as its government relations director in the Hawaii office. “Before that, he was the capital improvement specialist for the Ways and Means Committee, directly reporting to now Gov. David Ige, and the current Senate vice president,” says the site.
It also lists John White as senior vice president in the Hawaii office, best known locally for promoting rail on behalf of the Pacific Resource Partnership. As Strategies describes it, “John also executed an unprecedented multi-million dollar independent expenditure and advocacy campaign that helped elect a pro-rail Honolulu mayor, Kirk Caldwell, who then saved the city’s planned rail transit system from termination. Before joining PRP, he served as chief of staff to U.S. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, who is now one of Hawaii’s U.S. senators most recently.”
PBN reported in Aug. 2016 that White left PRP to join Strategies 360 specifically to open its Hawaii office….
read … What Shan Tsutsui is doing next
Chin to Tackle Opium as Lt Governor
SA: …As lieutenant governor, Chin said he wants to continue Tsutsui’s efforts on a farm-to-school initiative to get more locally grown food into public school cafeterias. He also wants to look into opioid painkillers, as a growing number of states are suing drug companies over increased addictions and overdose deaths.
“It’s definitely a trend that we don’t want to see spike over here in Hawaii,” he said. “I have been examining it from the legal end because there’s been a lot of lawsuits that have been filed around the country. … From a policy level, I think I can work with (Health Director) Dr. (Virginia) Pressler on different initiatives.”
read … Opium
Ing Pushing $130 per Person Carbon Tax
PBN: …A proposed carbon tax, which has been introduced in the state Legislature, would primarily impact Hawaii's utility companies, state Rep. Kaniela Ing told Pacific Business News. (Ing is so dumb that he really believes this.)
Ing, D-Kihei, Wailea and Makena, who is one of the sponsors of House Bill 1991, said that while the bill has only a low chance of getting passed during this legislative session (and his political career is about to end with a failed run for Congress in Honolulu), it brings stakeholders to the table to discuss the various options to achieve the state's 100 percent renewable energy goal (all of which involve taking more money from ratepayers and taxpayers).
HB1991 would establish a carbon tax of $10 for every ton of carbon dioxide emitted from the use of fossil fuels. Twenty percent of the money collected through the tax would go into a Environmental Response Revolving Fund, which would be created as part of the bill. (The fund would employ otherwise unemployable eco-activists to gin up more ways to take money out of your pocket.)
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Hawaii had per capita energy-related carbon dioxide emissions of 13 metric tons per person in 2015. (Do the Math: 13 x $10 = $130)
The bill would levy the tax across the board, on businesses and individuals. Ing told PBN that he would ‘like’ to see an exemption for households making less than $100,000 per year, which is currently not in the language of the bill. (Not in the bill which he wrote. What a phony!)
read … Is Ing Worth $130 of Your Dollars?
The airport phase of the rail project is underway
HNN: …On Friday, crews started work on the first set of support structures for the third and penultimate phase of the 20-mile rail project.
The structures are the first to be built in the 5.15-mile segment that begins near Aloha Stadium and snakes past the Middle Street Transit Center….
read … The airport phase of the rail project is underway
Former death row inmate slammed with Seven Pimping Charges
HNN: …Isaiah McCoy and his wife, Tawana Roberts, were initially charged with bringing one woman to Hawaii against her will to work as a prostitute. After bail for McCoy was denied, ensuring that he would be kept behind bars while awaiting trial, prosecutors were able to secure the testimony of six other woman who claimed they were also victims.
Roberts is not named in any of the new charges. McCoy now faces seven counts of sex trafficking by force, threats, fraud or coercion.
Late last month, McCoy asked to defend himself pro se in further court proceedings related to the case. His public defender filed a motion for withdrawal of counsel last week, citing a breakdown of the attorney-client relationship.
A magistrate judge would still need to approve the motion. …
PDF: New Pimping Charges
read … PIMP
Plea Deal for Homeless Drug Addict who Allegedly Killed Kauai Girl?
KGI: …In late April, a 19-year-old Kapaa woman died after sustaining injuries in a head-on crash that occurred on Kuhio Highway fronting the Courtyards at Waipouli apartment complex.
Police say Kayla Huddy-Lemn was heading north at approximately 10:45 p.m. when an oncoming Nisan pickup truck crossed the center line, striking her Mazda sedan. After the impact, the truck continued south approximately 500 feet, until it came to a stop near Kintaro Japanese Restaurant.
Huddy-Lemn was transported to Wilcox Medical Center, where she was pronounced deceased.
Police say Safadago was driving the pickup truck, which he allegedly stole moments before the crash, then fled the scene on foot. He was later located near the Wailua Shopping Plaza and apprehended following a brief struggle, and taken to Wilcox Medical Center for medical evaluation.
He was later transported to Kauai Police Department headquarters and arrested on multiple charges.
On May 15, according to eCourt Kokua, the state’s online court database, Safadago pled not guilty to manslaughter, recklessly causing death, negligent homicide 1, being involved in an accident involving death or serious injury, unauthorized control of propelled vehicle, resisting arrest, DUI, reckless driving, inattention to driving and driving without a valid drivers license…..
read … Plea Deal
Schemers Use 14 ac Sunflower Field to Hype Biofool -- Don’t Even Burn the Oil
MN: Some of last year’s harvest from sunflower fields that dazzled motorists along Kuihelani and Honoapiilani highways has been transformed into cosmetic-grade sunflower oils to lubricate patrons in Maui spas.
Around 1,330 gallons of sunflower oil (and many more gallons of hype oil) was generated from the first 14-acre field farmed by Pacific Biodiesel last year.
Company founder and President Bob King said this past week that most of last year’s initial crops went to making oils for cosmetic use and to manufacturing food-grade cooking oil, which has yet to hit the market….
read … Pacific Biodiesel turns sunflower seeds into oil for cooking and massages
Rents decline in Honolulu, but Zumper, Apartment List reports differ on how much
PBN: …Median rents for one- and two-bedroom apartments in Honolulu have declined over the past year, but two reports differ on the amount of decline, with Zumper claiming a drop of as much as 10 percent for two-bedroom units and Apartment List pegging the decline at just 1 percent.
Zumper reports that Honolulu is ranked as the 11th-most expensive market for renters this month. Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment declined 4.6 percent year-over-year to $1,650. Median rent for two-bedroom units dropped 10.2 percent to $2,200, which was half of the two-bedroom rent in the nation’s priciest market, San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Apartment List reports the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment this month was $1,560, while rent for a two-bedroom unit is $2,070.
Apartment List notes that nationwide, rents have increased by 2.6 percent, but have declined by 1.1 percent in Honolulu….
read … Decline