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Wednesday, April 25, 2018
April 25, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:55 PM :: 3223 Views

OHA Trustees to Consider LLC Reform Again

Waihee, Media Agree: Mehau was the Good-father

Do You Think Lawyers Need Discipline? The Hawaii Supreme Court wants to hear from You

House Republican Caucus Legislative Update

HB2748: $580M for Latest 'Affordable Housing' Scheme

Honolulu: Highest Paid Realtors in USA

Supremes Lean Toward Trump In Travel Ban Hearing

HB1401: Last Minute Maneuver to Push Vote by Mail for Anti-GMO Kauai

CB: …Legislators said Tuesday they are considering piloting an all-mail voting system on Kauai in 2020 before deciding if they’ll adopt it statewide.

In an unexpected move, lawmakers this week resurrected a 2017 bill that aims to increase voter turnout and save money by mandating all-mail elections. House Bill 1401 almost made it through the legislative process last year but died on the last day of conference committee, a series of hearings where lawmakers from both chambers try to work out differences.

Lawmakers introduced an identical bill with the same purpose this year, but it appeared to die last month when the Senate committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means declined to give it a hearing.

At a Tuesday meeting, Sen. Brian Taniguchi, lead Senate negotiator on the conference committee and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said his office was drafting an amended version of HB 1401 that would pilot the program on Kauai. It may be available as soon as Wednesday.

Taniguchi said Senate President Ronald Kouchi, of Kauai, indicated his home county would be interested in testing all-mail elections because it has trouble recruiting volunteer poll workers.

Taniguchi wasn’t initially interested in hearing the issue, but said he’s done more research and changed his mind. A pilot program would allow the state to iron out kinks in its voting system. Spoiled ballots, fraud and prohibiting campaigning near ballot drop-off boxes are issues that deserve more scrutiny, he said….

NOTE: There is a big difference on Kauai and Maui between mail-in voters and election day voters.  Mail in voters are pro-GMO, election day voters are anti-GMO.  Logically, by eliminating the anti-GMO voters’ preferred voting method, their influence will be reduced.  Click the links and compare first read with final read to see the difference between mail in and election day voting on Kauai and Maui 2016 and 2014.

read … State May Experiment With All-Mail Voting On Kauai

Vacation rental bill: Almost 100 testifiers evenly divided on pros, cons of new regulations

HTH: …No matter where they stand on the issue, one thing was clear Tuesday. People care very deeply about vacation rentals.

Residents packed council chambers in Hilo and Kona, and almost 100 signed up to talk about Bill 108, the County Council’s first attempt to regulate the increasingly popular Airbnb, VRBO and other short-term rentals. The county is the only one in the state not regulating such rentals….

It’s an emotional issue. On the one hand, there are people who moved to residential neighborhoods, some at personal financial sacrifice, for the peace and quiet of a residential neighborhood, only to see it taken over by rentals.

Testifiers described lost strangers knocking on their doors late at night looking for their rental, loud, “alcohol-infused” conversations past midnight, children splashing and shouting in swimming pools at 6 a.m. and more than a dozen vacationers packed into a single-family home.

“Homes for families, not for profits,” “You, too, can live like a local” and “Choose residents, not greed” were among hand-made signs hoisted by Hilo testifiers.

On the other hand, there are people who, some also at personal financial sacrifice, bought a home in Hawaii and plan to rent it out until they retire or can afford to move here. Vacation rentals are a way to pay mortgages and taxes on their investment, they say.

“This bill seems to imply that tourists are a plague that need to be confined to the resort areas,” said Rick Shonhauer, who is currently purchasing property in Kona for a vacation rental in anticipation of retiring there someday.

Bill 108 is an attempt to prevent unhosted short-term rentals in residential and agricultural zones. Existing rentals in good standing in those areas would be able to apply for a nonconforming use certificate that must be renewed annually for a $500 fee.

The county estimates there are 8,000 vacation rentals currently operating….

read … Vacation rental bill on hold until May 8

Another key Hawaii Tourism Authority executive resigns

SA: The Hawaii Tourism Authority, the state agency responsible for Hawaii’s tourism marketing, just announced another high-ranking personnel departure.

Leslie Dance, HTA’s vice president of marketing and product development, has resigned from her position effective May 15. The agency hired Dance on Jan. 5, 2016 after launching an executive search to fill the void left by the departure of David Uchiyama, HTA’s former vice president of brand management.

Uchiyama was one of the casualties of a personnel shakeup that occurred shortly after George Szigeti took over as HTA President and CEO on May 28, 2015. During that restructuring, Brian Lynx, the agency’s former vice president of meetings, conventions and incentives, also was laid off along with one other marketing and two administrative workers….

read … Another key Hawaii Tourism Authority executive resigns

East Oahu Floods Caused by Caldwell Failure—But He Blames Algore

HNN: …"I need a dredge for the back of my house because the stream must be maintained better than it is now," Aina Haina resident, Alice Tucker. "I don't care. I don't want to hear excuses. There has to be better maintenance of it."

She lives on Papai Street in Aina Haina and says the city should have done more to clear Wailupe Stream….

"The negligence of the city and county to maintain the easement, this caused the damage on my property," Bartley said….

"People are upset and angry, and we are here to say we are here to listen and help you where we can," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell….

The mayor says complicated land ownership, densely built communities and even climate change makes it nearly impossible to prevent all flooding from sudden and extreme rain events….

read … East Oahu storm victims blame government for not clearing streams

State is seeking to end golf lease at Olomana, gain delinquent rent

SA: …The Department of Land and Natural Resources is requesting board approval to terminate a lease and permit with Olomana Golf Links Inc. and recoup $115,275 of delinquent rent by cashing in bank deposits serving as a performance bond.

Board members are scheduled to consider the request at a Friday meeting.

It’s unclear whether Olomana Golf intends to make any effort to hold onto its lease, which runs through 2032, and reopen the golf course, which has been in business since the 1960s….

Kageyama said last year that flooding from the adjacent Waimanalo Stream on Marine Corps property at Bellows Air Force Station had forced partial or complete course closures for about 90 days between July 2016 and April 2017.

Kageyama said at the time that Olomana Golf had lost around $400,000 in revenue and was seeking damages from the Marine Corps….

The agency also said in the report that it will convey to the board any requests it receives to use the property on an interim or long-term basis….

read … State is seeking to end golf lease at Olomana, gain delinquent rent

Attorney for psychopathic killer believes doctors have found Randall Saito 'fit' to stand trial

HNN: …Staff members, who have worked with Saito, tell Hawaii News Now, he's very manipulative, a master at getting people to do what he wants.

Documents from 1993 reveal that Saito had sexual relationships with at least 3 hospital staff members.

An FBI behavioral expert testified that those improper affairs, along with Saito's alcohol abuse, made him even more threatening.

Saito was able to obtain contraband including like cellphones and pornography while committed.

He likely had help and was planning the escape for a while.

The Attorney General's office has been trying to identify people both inside and outside the facility who may have assisted. 

In addition to the waiting chartered plane, and plane reservations, Saito also had thousands of dollars in cash, and multiple, fake ID's.

Thursday, a court hearing will reveal the results of the fitness exam, but Michael Green is confident all three doctors found his client competent and a trial date will be set….

The escape charge carries a five-year maximum prison term….

SA: Hawaii State Hospital escapee Randall Saito deemed fit to stand trial

read … Fit for Trial

Soft on Crime: Puna Meth Dealer Emphasizes Heroin After Bailing Out

HNN: …Around noon on Monday, Big Island police officers used a warant to search the Kupono Street home of 55-year-old Jack Brenha. It's the second time this year that officers have gone to the home under the suspicion of drug-related activity.

At the home, police recovered 369.3 grams of heroin, less than a gram of crystal meth, 28 grams of dried and processed marijuana, and $8,100 in cash.

Big Island police say that the drugs have an estimated street value of just over $93,000….

Brenha is being held at the Hilo cellblock on $201,000 bail pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. He was out on bail in connection with previous charges from another search warrant issued by police at his home in February.

At the raid in February, police recovered 293.2 grams of crystal meth, 9.2 grams of heroin, 56.1 grams of dried processed marijuana, about $22,000, and four firearms.

Brenha’s bail for those charges was $156,500.  …

read … Soft on Crime

Settlement proposed for HPD excessive-force case

SA: …the federal lawsuit was brought by Jonah Kaahu, who alleges that five HPD officers used excessive force against him when they arrested him in August 2012 outside the Giovanni Shrimp Truck.

The complaint said Kaahu was shoveling gravel on the grounds when several men attacked him and a co-worker.

When responding police arrived and saw Kaahu, with a shovel in his hand, facing off with another man, they drew their weapons and ordered him to lie on the ground, court documents said. When Kaahu tried to explain to the officers that the other man might have a weapon, they continued to yell at him.

After one of the officers said, “Just taze these (expletive),” Kaahu started to run but then stopped after a witness to the incident told him he hadn’t done anything wrong. The officers then used excessive force against him, the complaint said, including striking him on the face and causing him to lose consciousness temporarily, hurting him as they forced him to stay on the ground, spraying him with what appeared to be pepper spray and striking the side of his head with a pair of handcuffs.….

SA: Hiring should be top HPD priority

read … Settlement proposed for HPD excessive-force case

A ‘Descendants’-Style Land Feud Breaks Out On The Big Island

CB:  A trust established by a former Dole president and Bishop Estate trustee has spawned a legal fight over a historic, 4,000-acre ranch….

Bringing the suit are Monty Richards’ son, Herbert M. “Tim” Richards III, a Hawaii County Council member, and his sister, Patricia Kuualoha Richards Giles. Monty Richards’ two other children, Pam Richards Ketchum and John Richards, are not part of the suit….

read … Kahua Ranch

Contractor sues Marijuana Dispensary claiming nonpayment

HTH: …The defendants are East Hawaii Re Holdings Limited Liability Co., Lau Ola LLC, Richard Ha Jr. and June Dale Ha.

The suit seeks payment of a principal amount of $338,539.50 plus interest, attorneys’ fees and costs.

A hearing on the lien application is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. June 13 before Judge Henry Nakamoto.

The filing claims that on June 22, 2017, EHRH, the project’s developer, entered into construction contract with ACS “to provide labor, materials, supplies, equipment and services for the development, renovation and/or improvement of the property for the project.” Pursuant to contract, ACS “furnished labor and materials … incorporated into the improvements on the property.”

Respondents “continue to fail and refuse to pay the aforesaid amount due,” the suit claims. The plaintiff “claims a lien on the fee-simple interest in the property, any interests of the respondents therein, and the improvements … in the amount of $338,539.50 … with interest, attorney’s fees and costs and other proper expenses and charges.”

The property referred to in the suit is a 40.2-acre agricultural-zoned lot in Pepeekeo owned by the Has. County tax records list the taxable value of the property and its buildings as $1,182,400….

read … Contractor sues Lau Ola, Ha, claiming nonpayment

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