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Monday, November 5, 2018
November 5, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:34 PM :: 4077 Views

Honolulu 3rd Highest Proportion of Homeless Veterans

Honolulu Tagged in Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

Mainland Gays: Our Agenda Only Half-Complete in Hawaii

Mental Health Care: Report Ranks Hawaii at Bottom of States

Report on the Implementation of State Auditor’s Recommendations

Filmmaker Sues Hawaii: My Film Is ‘Not The History They Want Told’

CB: …an independent filmmaker who has made a movie telling a Hawaiian story, featuring what he says is a mostly Native Hawaiian and Polynesian cast, is crying foul. Tim Chey, producer and director of a historical drama about Hawaii’s Chiefess Kapiolani, an early Hawaiian convert to Christianity, says the state has refused to grant tax credits his film has earned.

Chey, who is also a Los Angeles attorney, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Hawaii. The complaint names Donne Dawson, the state’s film commissioner, Benita Brazier, a high-level economic development specialist, and the film office….

The complaint calls the film office’s actions “the most dishonorable” Chey has encountered in 22 years of making movies. In an interview, Chey said he’s dealt with film offices in Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and New Mexico.

“Here the filmmaker shot a movie that would honor a Hawaiian Chiefess, provides good-paying jobs to Hawaiian/Polynesians, and the Hawaii Film Office back-stabbed him by deceiving him and playing little juvenile high-school games no other film office of any state would dare to do,” the lawsuit says.

Chey’s film credits include a slew of inspirational, faith-based movies featuring accomplished actors like Stephen Baldwin, Malcolm McDowell and Cuba Gooding Jr. The movie in dispute, “The Islands,” stars the Oscar winner Mira Sorvino as a missionary who helps convert Chiefess Kapiolani to Christianity. It’s due in theaters in March, Chey said.

Chey’s suit includes claims related to a purported breach of contract involving the tax credits. It also alleges the film office discriminated against his film because it shows how a prominent Native Hawaiian helped establish Christianity in the islands in the 1800s. According to the suit, Chey received death threats from people who objected to the film’s content, which includes a scene in which Kapiolani defies the Hawaiian goddess Pele and descends into a volcano to test her newfound Christian faith.

At one point before production, the suit says, Chey received “a strange message” from an employee of the film office expressing concerns about the movie.

“This is a complete violation of Filmmaker’s 1st Amendment rights for a government agency to inquire about the content of a movie — it’s almost unheard of,” the suit says. “Imagine a California agency calling a Hollywood studio and ‘inquiring’ about the content of the horror movie ‘The Nun.’ The outrage would be worldwide. This is no different.”

“It’s not the history they want told,” Chey said in an interview. “But I’m sorry. It happened.”

The suit comes just over a year after Gov. David Ige signed a bill extending the tax credit program, which is one of Hawaii’s most generous business tax incentives….

(Translation: The Governor wants to know why you idiots in the Film Office are endangering the program with this litigation.) 

Although Chey said he hasn’t started sending subpoenas to other producers to see how the film office treated their applications for tax credits, a 2016 audit of the tax credit program showed that the office has hardly been a stickler for detail when awarding credits to producers.

(Translation: This litigation could expose more corruption in Film Tax Credits.)

For instance, the audit looked at 25 productions the office certified for tax credits in 2014 and 2015 and found that the office approved seven project registration forms even though the forms were submitted after a deadline for submission. In one instance, the registration form was received more than a year late, the audit said. The audit also found the office accepted two production reports submitted after a 90-day deadline….

(Wow.  All that at risk because some trendy urban athiests in the film office are in over their heads.) 

SA: Filmmaker sues state, claims religious bias

PDF: Complaint 1:18-cv-00379-DKW-KSC Chey v. Hawaii Film Office et al

read … Filmmaker Sues Hawaii: My Film Is ‘Not The History They Want Told’

Rent-Seeking Behavior: OHA, DLNR Destroy Hawaii’s Only Flour Mill

SA: …Hawaiian Flour Mills, a landmark of multihued 160-foot grain silos and corrugated steel buildings off Nimitz Highway for more than half a century, is slowly being dismantled to make way for a new era of commerce on Honolulu’s waterfront.

In business from the mid-1960s to late 2014, the mill churned out 450,000 pounds of flour a day six days a week in its heyday, according to its former operator.

Changing times and a lease disagreement between the mill operator and the state, which owns the land and buildings, spelled an end to the last flour mill in Hawaii.

“The baking industry has changed over 50 years in Hawaii,” said Chris Labbe, whose family started and ran the mill from the beginning. “All the imports that came in from the mainland of even frozen bread or milled flour … kind of replaced the (Oahu) mill’s flour over time. So that’s why the capacity went from let’s say six days a week when it was first started, to 2-1/2 to three days a week when we shut it down.”

Labbe, vice president of business development and board director for G&L Holdings Inc., added that “it’s a sad story, really, because that mill employed locals and it was in business for so long. And it was still a profitable mill regardless of the baking industry’s decline in Hawaii.”…

Puni Chee, the state Department of Transportation’s project manager for harbors modernization, said demolishing the silos will depend on the results of the recent launch of a 2050 Honolulu Master Plan project.

(Translation: They have no plan for the site and never will.  It will be decades until anything happens at the site.)

In 2004 a large crack and bulge were discovered in one of the concrete silos that at that time held 1,250 tons of wheat, resulting in the temporary evacuation of adjacent businesses.

Chee said the silos are structurally sound, and alternative uses were pursued such as the storage of cement or bio-diesel, but concerns over the strength of the piers (this is above submerged lands, therefore ceded lands revenue for OHA) to support the weight limited the potential use.

(Translation: They will collapse soon.)

read … Oahu’s only flour mill fading away

Ineffectual Hawaii Republicans Allow Hawaii Democrats to Flood Mainland with Money

CB: …Most of that cash — about $7 million for the midterm elections — went to Democrats, according to federal records….

(Because they don’t have to spend it defending seats against Republicans at home.)

read … Hawaii’s Big Donors Pump Millions Into Mainland Political Campaigns

Some hotel workers in CA reach a deal, but Hawaii’s strike continues  

HNN: … As the strike for Hawaii hotel workers stretched into day 28 Sunday, some of their co-workers in California have reached a deal.

According to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle, Marriott workers in Oakland Calif. reached a deal while workers in San Fran will continue to strike.

The Chronicle said local union representatives wouldn’t go into detail about the Oakland deal, but the new contract reportedly helps workers make a living in the “extremely expensive” Bay Area.

Negotiations for San Francisco workers are set to resume on Nov. 12 and 13, the Chronicle said.

Here in Hawaii, little has changed in terms of the strike. Workers remain on the picket lines fronting the major hotels causing a commotion that’s capturing the attention of visitors.

On Saturday, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell joined the strikers in support….

read … Some hotel workers in CA reach a deal, but Hawaii’s strike continues

Two Years Later Builder Finally Gets Building Permit

SA: …The company that built nearly an entire two-story, two-family house in Kapahulu without a valid building permit — and then later while under a stop-work order — finally got its permit from the city last month and is now undergoing inspections by the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting.

The permit could render moot Resolution 18-212, a measure moving through the Honolulu City Council that urges DPP to immediately “serve an order” to those responsible for the structure to demolish it.

Technically, the building is no longer an unpermitted structure, DPP Acting Director Kathy Sokugawa told the Council Zoning and Housing Committee on Oct. 18….

The 2930 Date St. property is in the apartment zone, which allows for larger buildings, so it technically is not a monster house….

City records showed a building permit application for the structure was submitted Nov. 15, 2016….

read … Date Street builder obtains permit

How Shrinks Help Lunatic Escape Justice--Win for public’s right to know

MN: …The Maui News won an important court battle Thursday when the three psychiatrist/psychologist reports were released by 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill in the Ashley Wellman case….

According to police investigators, Wellman was traveling at 127 mph on Haleakala Highway on Oct. 8, 2016, when she ran a red light at the Makani Road intersection in Pukalani and crashed into a Toyota pickup. The crash killed the occupants of the pickup, Pukalani residents Debi Wylie, 63, and Traci Winegarner, 57. Wellman suffered a broken foot and bruising and neck and hip pain.

On Aug. 7, Cahill found Wellman not guilty of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and excessive speeding by reason of insanity in a nonjury, stipulated-facts trial.

Cahill based his acquittal on the reports of three doctors who examined Wellman’s psychological fitness. They found that she was mentally insane at the time of the crash but was fit to stand trial.

Because of the stipulated-facts trial, there was no testimony in public on her mental condition that led to the acquittal. And while Wellman has no memory of the crash and does not necessarily deny what happened, she did not have to admit guilt and face the families of those killed in the crash….

read … Win for public’s right to know

Soft on Crime: Honolulu Rape Kit Tests Produce 120 Hits and 19 Serial Rapists – But no Prosecutions

SA: … A major effort by law enforcement to test more than 1,500 rape kits that for years sat unprocessed in storage facilities statewide has resulted in DNA matches with more than 120 potential suspects in a national offender database.

In 19 cases the victim’s DNA matched that taken from another crime scene, potentially linking yet unknown assailants to multiple crimes.

a lot will depend on how much county police and prosecutors invest in reviewing cases, according to national experts and the examples of other jurisdictions throughout the country that have been clearing out thousands of untested rape kits.

So far, there haven’t been any arrests or charges brought in the cases in Hawaii, but law enforcement officials say they are hopeful that some will lead to convictions.

“The testing will always just be a cost or just a sheet of paper in a file if you are not doing something with the information,” said Rachel Lovell, a senior research associate at Case Western Reserve University who is assisting the Cuya­hoga County Prosecutor’s Office in Ohio with its federal grant for testing sexual assault kits….

A recent examination by CBS News found that of the thousands of kits tested in Houston and Detroit, fewer than 1 percent of the cases resulted in convictions. By contrast, in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, of the 5,000 kits the county tested, there were 239 convictions. The county hired 25 additional investigators and six prosecutors to sort through their cases.

Hawaii’s statute of limitations for felony sexual assault also limits investigations. Until July 2014 it was six years for felony sexual assault involving an adult victim — much shorter than most other states. The DNA evidence, if it was tested before the statute of limitations expired, could extend that period by a decade…. 

SA: Testing rape kits shows progress

read … Soft on Crime

Prostitution charges against ‘johns‘ dismissed

SA: …About a dozen alleged “johns” are having state prostitution charges against them dismissed because of a temporary defect in the law.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled last week that when state lawmakers made johns ineligible in 2014 for plea deferrals, they unfairly subjected the johns to harsher penalties than prostitutes, even though they could have been charged with the same crime. Prostitutes were and are still eligible for plea deferrals.

The Lawmakers fixed the defect in 2016 when they changed the language in state prostitution laws to distinguish between the john, who “(p)ays, agrees to pay or offers to pay a fee to another to engage in sexual conduct,” and the prostitute, who “(e)ngages in, or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.”

That means defendants charged as johns after the fix are not eligible for plea deferrals. The Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney says 13 alleged johns were charged with prostitution before the fix….

read … Prostitution charges against ‘johns‘ dismissed

Big Island Real Estate Sales Down Sharply

WHT: …volume of sales also uniformly decreased over the third quarter, residential sales volume dropping by 25 percent and vacant land volume by 11 percent.

The declines are most pronounced in Puna, where vacant land sales dropped by 36 percent and residential sales dropped by 14 percent. Residential sales volumes, meanwhile, dropped by 20 percent, while vacant land sales volumes dropped by 37 percent.

Data from October continued the trend: across the island, residential land sales remained down by 21 percent, while vacant land sales were down by 29 percent.

This year to date, nearly all residential markets on the island are down to some degree, with only North and South Kohala — which respectively saw 56 and 236 home sales this year so far — seeing any rise from last year….

WHT: Leilani lava insurance lawsuit hits court

read … Third-quarter slowdown

Global Warming: How One Environmentalist Scores a Lifetime of Free Hawaiian Vacations

CB:  The changing mating calls of the Pacific field cricket are just one example of rapid evolution, which is increasing in response to climate change…

(IQ Test: How hard are you laughing?)

 …the purring crickets are evidence of evolution as a rapid, adaptive response to environmental change. Capping a year of research, Tinghitella and her colleagues published their findings this month in the scientific journal The American Naturalist. …

Pacific field crickets are found on Oahu, Kauai, the Big Island and Molokai. Native to Australia, they are thought to have arrived in Hawaii around the same time the Polynesian voyagers made landfall.

…Tinghitella said she expects the sound preferences of the females to continue to shape the song over time.

(Translation: This justifies more funding for more vacations.)

“There’s a lot of variation among the courtship songs of the different males in this group, from the sound of a cat purring to what some of my friends describe as Skeletor crickets, because the sound is like bones hitting together,” said Tinghitella, who has been studying the Pacific field cricket in Hawaii for 15 years….

(Translation: This hustle has paid off 15 years in a row.)

read … Academic Insanity: Global Warming Blamed for alleged Changes in Cricket Hum

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