Hawaii rank goes up, but not its economic freedom
How to Build More Housing in Hawaii
Caldwell: No Limebike Treatment for Ride Sharee
Soft on Crime: Judge drops all charges against former death row inmate prosecutors said wanted to build prostitution empire
HNN: …In a stunning development, a death row exoneree who prosecutors alleged wanted to build his own prostitution empire in Hawaii walked out of Honolulu federal court on Tuesday a free man.
Federal Judge Susan Mollway dropped all charges against Isaiah McCoy, who alleged law enforcement and prosecutorial misconduct and claimed evidence against him was illegally obtained.
McCoy, who represented himself in court, also said evidence was not made available to him to defend himself.
(Translation: Since I was defending myself, the prosecutor had to give me a list of the witnesses against me. You know what my boys will do with that list.)
“They picked the wrong person to frame,” said McCoy outside the federal courthouse, an arm around his ‘wife’ and still wearing his detention center-issued clothes.
“I’m here and I’m a free man. Legally! Because of the law. I’m battle tested and I win my battles in the courtroom.”
Prosecutors in the case were not immediately available to respond, and did not explain in court their decision to ask that the charges against McCoy be dropped.
The abrupt end to a case that has generated intense interest in recent months is a major black eye for federal prosecutors, who had sought to paint McCoy as the mastermind behind a plan to develop a major prostitution ring in the islands….
How it works: Hawaii Man Pleads Guilty To Witness Tampering
read … Soft on Crime
Hawaii’s stun gun ban will be Overturned Soon
SA: …Andrew Namiki Roberts is an Oahu photographer who wants to be able to protect himself as he carries his equipment to photo locations around the islands.
His weapon of choice: a Taser stun gun.
But Hawaii law does not permit him to carry such a gun, and that’s why he’s suing the state, claiming the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-defense.
After filing suit to upend the prohibition in April, Roberts’ attorneys Friday filed a motion for summary judgment in a move to overturn the ban even before a scheduled July trial date.
“I don’t want to say it’s a slam dunk,” Roberts’ attorney, Stephen Stamboulieh, said Monday. “But I think there’s no doubt the court will reach the affirmative.”
Only three states, including Hawaii, still ban stun guns, he said, but proposed legislation promises to overturn Rhode Island law and litigation is taking aim at New York’s ban. Plenty of jurisdictions have had similar bans reversed in the last decade, he said.
“The writing’s on the wall,” Stamboulieh said….
Note: All the gun control people should be in favor of legalizing non-lethal alternatives. Key word, ‘should’.
SA Editorial: Strict stun-gun law benefits isles
Related: Lawsuit: Hawaii Taser Ban is Unconstitutional
read … U.K. man challenges Hawaii’s stun gun ban
Defeat of HART charter amendment to be Exploited as Latest Excuse for delays and costs
SA: …The chairman of the board overseeing the city’s rail construction project said (he’s thrilled about) Oahu voters’ decision to reject a proposed amendment to the Honolulu City Charter
might cause (because he was running out of excuses for) additional delays and costs for the $8 billion-plus project now scheduled to open in late 2025….
Kim said he wasn’t surprised by the results. (Translation: Yippeee!) The board (purposefully) was “a little late” in putting out the word to the public via TV and radio announcements. Absentee mail ballots already had been sent, and “a lot of people vote when the ballots first come out,” he said….
read … Defeat of HART charter amendment could result in added delays and costs
Star-Adv: City Faking TOD Affordable Housing Requirement
SA: …The latest case involves a proposal for two more high-rise towers near the proposed rail terminus at Ala Moana Center, called Sky Ala Moana. Local developer Avalon Group wants to build 300 condominium-hotel units and 474 condo units, of which 84 — slightly less than 11 percent of the total unit count — would fall into the so-called “affordable” bracket.
One Council member lauded the number of proposed affordable housing units at 20 percent — but that’s a misguided tally that excludes the 300 condo-hotel units from the base count, which they shouldn’t be, particularly given the extra height, density and setback exemptions being sought. The City Council must correct this glaring error….
read … City gives away too much for TOD
Housing First Reduces Veteran Homelessness
SA: …the national Mayor’s Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to end veteran homelessness, has permanently housed 1,443 veterans on Oahu from January 2015 through March 2018, and reduced the time it takes to house a veteran once a voucher has been issued to an average of 64 days….
The latest Point in Time count of homeless veterans showed a 13.5 percent decrease in the number of homeless veterans statewide, a 9.4 percent decrease on Oahu, and a 24.7 percent decrease on the neighbor islands compared with last year….
read …. More affordable housing needed for our homeless veterans
Ige plans to push for lava relief funding (sort of)
SA: …Gov. David Ige will introduce a bill next year to help kick-start the recovery effort in Lower Puna in the wake of this year’s Kilauea lava flow, but that measure will be a more modest package of assistance than Hawaii County officials have been seeking.
Ige said in an interview last week he also plans to release another $10 million in state funds to Hawaii County to help cover its operating costs. The Ige administration already released $12 million in state funds to help Mayor Harry Kim’s administration cover its near-term expenses while it copes with the lava flow and flooding….
The bill would include funding for assistance in rebuilding public infrastructure such as roads, much of which may be later reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Ige said.
As for the longer-term effort, Ige said the state and county still need to grapple with the issue of how to reduce the risk of widespread damage from the next eruption.
“We are still working with the community, kind of working through what and where do they want to be,” Ige said. “You know the people who choose to live in Puna choose to live in Puna, and they don’t want to be in Hilo and they don’t want to be closer to Hilo.”
“They choose to be out there, they know they’re in a rift zone, and so I think that we would want to move away from development in that Lava Zone 1 and 2 just because of the risk involved, but it’s got to be a decision that the residents (who are) impacted make, and trying to find that balance.”
Another tricky issue is what to do about property that is intact but isolated because the roads have been blocked by lava.
“The property exists but is inaccessible,” Ige said. “Do we actually try and dig out from that? Do we leave it alone and move people or suggest that they move out of that area? … It’s all of those kinds of tough old questions, about how much of that do we invest in clearing and restoring highways and roadways that have been run over by lava, and how much do we invest in really trying to establish new pathways and new communities.”
Yet another issue that could surface is the future of the Hawaii Property Insurance Association, a program created by the state in 1991 to provide insurance in Lava Zones 1 and 2 when no other insurer will write policies in those areas. Those are the two highest-risk zones.
HPIA insured 167 homes in Leilani Estates, Kapoho and Vacationland, and as of mid-July the program had received more than 130 claims that were expected to top $20 million, according to a statement from HPIA. Ige said the state is comfortable that HPIA has the reinsurance and reserves it needs to cover the losses….
CB: ‘Punatics’ Look To Start Rebuilding After The Lava Damage
Related: HRS 171-93: Law Allows Swap of Lava-Covered Lots for State Property in Zone 3
read … Ige plans to push for lava relief funding
Legislative Agenda: Wakai Pushing Wasteful Aloha Stadium Replacement Project
KHON: …officials like Senator Glenn Wakai support tearing it down for a smaller, multipurpose facility that can provide more opportunities.
(Oh yes. Lets burn $100s of Millions of dollars to build a SMALLER stadium.)
Senator Wakai tells us that Aloha Stadium in its current state is safe, but it's costing millions each year to maintain the structural integrity. (Guess what? The new stadium will cost just as much. How do I know? Because they are alread claiming it won’t.) Aloha Stadium officials ask for $20 million a year for the upkeep, but Senator Wakai says legislators give the bare minimum of about $7 to $8 million.
The plan back in April 2017 was to build a new facility in a u-shape that seats 30-35 thousand people, expandable to 40-thousand with temporary seating. Officials have said it will be less expensive than maintaining the existing facility.
"We ultimately need to tear down Aloha Stadium and build a multipurpose facility so that we can do more than just play football games. We need a facility where we can play rugby and soccer; just a multitude of different opportunities that we can't do at the stadium at the moment," said Senator Wakai.
(It is possible to play soccer and rugby at Aloha Stadium.)
There's potential that the new stadium could attract more major events….
(And there’s a potential that the moon might fall into the ocean.)
HNN: With the spotlight on Aloha Stadium, improvements considered for aging facility
read … State senator says Aloha Stadium needs new facility
Nago Screw Up: Waianae polling places ran out of same day registration forms
HNN: …Walk-in voting registration was a fail for some west side Oahu voters and it wasn't their fault.
Voters hoping to sign-up on Election Day found no forms to fill out. Residents tell KITV4 they didn't have time to wait for more forms to be delivered so the shortage kept them from casting ballots altogether.
"It's just a shame that when they're finally in tune into what's going on and they got the drive to go and vote they were shut down at the polls. So it's a real turn off to first time voters they feel powerless basically," Joseph Simpliciano, a Waianae Resident, said.
Simpliciano is frustrated polling sites on the Leeward Coast weren't better prepared. Like tens of thousands of others, Simpliciano voted absentee but couldn't believe new resident opting to vote for the first time hit a road block.
State Representative Cedric Gates says the polling site at Waianae Intermediate School ran out of voter registration forms last Tuesday and some were given the option to go to another site in Makaha only to find out the precinct ran out of forms as well.
"Especially knowing that someone from our side was on the top of the pallet running for governor, I think that increase the frustration and the support out here on the voter turnout there," Gates said.
(Translation: Nago’s incompetence hurt Tupola.)
The Office of Elections sent a letter to Rep. Gates in response to the matter. Saying...
"We are sorry for the inconvenience experienced by voters who waited for forms... We will increase the amount of forms that are assigned and train our precinct officials to contact control center when they are running low on supplies."
Election officials say the site was given 150 forms….
read … Nago Screw Up
Hawaii Needs Automatic Recount For Close Elections
CB: …In the Honolulu City Council general election race last week, incumbent Trevor Ozawa edged Tommy Waters by a mere 22 votes. The state Senate race between Republican Kurt Fevella and Democrat Matt LoPresti, which was decided in the former’s favor by a mere 117 votes, was another razor-thin finish.
Hawaii, however, is not among the 20 states and the District of Columbia that offer automatic recounts if the margin between the top two candidates falls within certain parameters.
That is a shame. The Hawaii Legislature needs to introduce bills in the 2019 session to ensure that our electoral process is fair and accurate….
Currently, the only recourse a losing candidate, political party or group of voters has under state law is to file a complaint with the Hawaii Supreme Court. It can allege “any cause or causes” including provable fraud and overages and underages that could cause a difference in the election results.
It’s a high legal bar, even though Hawaii has previously seen close contests.
In August 2014, for example, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz edged U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Democratic primary by just 1,782 votes out of more than 230,000 votes cast.
Hanabusa chose not to challenge the result, but she said she was concerned about public trust and confidence in the process. A storm delayed voting in two Big Island precincts.
In 2014, the first Honolulu City Council general election race between Waters and Ozawa was decided by just 41 votes. The result was challenged by Waters, but our Supreme Court ruled that there was insufficient “uncertainty” to warrant a recount that could alter the results.
It’s not clear whether Waters will contest the 2018 rematch with Ozawa….
read … Hawaii Needs Automatic Recount For Close Elections
Teenage Tranny On the Lookout Every Day for Excuse to File Grievance against HSTA Members
CB: …Every morning, a ritual takes place at the Kalaheo High School registrar’s office on the windward side of Oahu. It’s a small but vital action, since it could make the difference between peace of mind and debilitating anxiety for one 16-year-old junior.
(Translation: She’s setting up her case against HSTA members.)
The school registrar pulls out the student roster, manually whites-out the legal name of the student and writes in his preferred name. This is performed daily to prevent a potential substitute teacher from inadvertently calling out the student’s legal name during roll call.
“All my classmates know me as Johnathan,” says Miss. Johnathan Goodwin, who transitioned from female to male (an impossibility) in intermediate school. “If (a sub) called out (my birth-given name), which has happened, it’s a very anxiety-inducing situation.”….
(And if the DoE’s new bullying policy is put into effect, this tranny will be able to get HSTA members suspended from their jobs ‘pending investigation’ just as the adults do now.)
read … Protections For Transgender Kids Still Spotty Inside Schools