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Thursday, January 17, 2019
January 17, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:34 PM :: 3198 Views

Ige Sends McCartney to DBEDT, Fuchigami now Chief of Staff

Math Goes PC: First-in-the-world UH ethnomathematics program approved by Hawaiʻi Teacher Standards Board

Honolulu, Maui Among Least Affordable Rental Markets

'The untouchables: Out-of-control prosecutors and the system that protects them'

Will Feds Target Caldwell Next?

HNN: … Legal experts say all city leaders should be concerned if they had dealings with the growing number of people suspected of various crimes related to a widening public corruption investigation.

They say even Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell should be worried….

The scope of the probe has many wondering who else is in the FBI’s sights.

“What’s next? Who’s next?” asked Loretta Sheehan, the current Honolulu Police Commission Chair and former federal prosecutor….

It’s a valid question as the charges and accusations range from identity theft, fraud, conspiracy to obstruct, lying to the grand jury.

And now federal authorities appear to be scrutinizing the $250,000 payoff of Louis Kealoha in 2017, when he was forced out as police chief.

The money came from HPD’s budget in three, separate transactions.

Critics of the deal, which was negotiated by Leong, fear the sum was broken up to avoid oversight, public scrutiny, and City Council approval.

“It seems there’s something very wrong at city hall,” said former Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, who called the Leong development troubling and likely not the end of the investigation.

“It casts a very, very bad light on anybody who is involved in it, including the mayor.” …

At a news conference Monday, Caldwell said no one else in the cabinet had received a DOJ letter.

“If I was the mayor, I’d be concerned,” he said. "And I’m just telling you in my experience, in practicing almost 20 years and doing a ton of federal cases involving conspiracies, as you know in the federal system, in the federal pond, little fish eat big fish.”

Lawson is referring to the practice of charging and targeting lower officials in an effort to build cases against their bosses..…

KHON:  Police chief's payout came from HPD budget

read … ‘Who’s next?’: Legal experts weigh in on widening public corruption investigation

State Senate president: The time is now to prepare for a recession in 2020

HNN: … In his remarks at the opening of the legislative session Wednesday, Senate President Ron Kouchi said Hawaii should prepare now for a recession in the next year.

“At the top of my list is my worry about the economy and where we’re going next year,” he said. “Most of the financial analysts, when you watch the major financial network news shows, say a recession is coming.”

He added that it’s vital for legislators to be fiscally conservative and “make sure we have the money before we spend the money.” ….

read … Prepare

Ige Lame Excuse:  Claims Old Tech an Obstacle to Zero Based Budgeting

CB: … Known as “zero-based budgeting,” the new system would require executive agencies to justify all expenses for every two-year budget period. Too often, Luke says the state keeps paying for programs simply because that’s what it has done in the past.

“We cannot continue to provide services just because we’ve been doing it,” she said.

Requiring each state agency to come to the Legislature every two years afresh to justify its allocation would bring more creative tension and debates over how to spend taxpayer money. Luke acknowledges such a change could take years to roll out.

Ige said Wednesday he supports the idea, but it would require sweeping changes beyond even the needed revisions to Hawaii’s statutes.

“It’s more complex than it would seem on the surface,” he said. “Any change in that system would have to encompass a whole range of things.”

For example, Ige said, Hawaii’s antiquated financial computer systems also would have to be upgraded.  (Really? Then how did Jimmy Carter manage to implement ZBB in Georgia in the mid-1970s?)

“Until we can get to a modern platform, it would be very difficult to change the budgeting system,” he said….

read … Budget Hawk Sylvia Luke: ‘I Try To Know More Than Them’

Kealoha Lawyer Attempts to Exploit Government Shutdown to Delay Case

KITV: … Her federally funded lawyer, Cynthia Kagiwada, said she's not getting paid by the government meaning no money for attorneys, witnesses, paralegals, or investigators. Kagiwada filed a request to postpone the Kealoha Corruption trial that's scheduled to begin March 18th.

KITV4 reached out to Kagiwada for comment, but she did not immediately return our calls or emails.

In the court documents she filed today, Kagiwada says "No one on the defense team will be compensated for any work performed to date or in the future until after the shutdown ends." She goes on to say, "I have been attempting to secure expert witnesses and other vendors to assist with trial preparation and trial. At least one vendor has definitely stated that his company cannot provide work, with no assurances when payment will be made." She also says she can't foot the bill to cover the expenses herself….

read … Government Shutdown affects the Kealoha Case

Recount?  City Lawyer Challenged on Conflict of Interest

KITV: …Before Tuesday's supreme court hearing,  Honolulu Councilmember Ann Kobayashi raised questions about who's representing the City Clerk because of a possible conflict of interest between one of the candidates and the mayor.

"The Supreme Court is the Supreme Court and politics should not enter into any of their decisions," she said.

Monday, she wrote a letter to Honolulu Corporation Counsel, Donna Leong, to express those concerns, saying:

"Your office is charged with representing the City Clerk to ensure that the City Clerk's practices and procedures in counting the absentee ballots complied with all laws and that the election result is upheld. How can your office vigorously defend the city clerk's practices and procedures when the mayor himself would like to see that Mr. Waters be declared the winner?"

Leong did respond to Kobayashi's letter Monday, writing:  "I understand  your concern," and forwarded the letter to Nomura.

Nomura still represented the City Clerk Tuesday….

"To be beyond reproach, I believe that the city should have considered obtaining outside council," said Ozawa.

Councilmember Kobayashi mentioned the letters to and from Donna Leong were issued before news broke of Leong's leave of absence with pay because of a target letter from federal investigators. The letter reportedly ties Leong to the large corruption case against former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha….

read … Possible conflict of interest in Hawaii Supreme Court recount case

Councilmember Kobayashi continues to question Hawaii Supreme Court recount case

HNN: …Wednesday, Kobayashi sent another letter to Leong's First Deputy Paul Aoki asking if Corporation Counsel has been taking instructions from the mayor's office on this recount case, and for a list of the people involved….

read … Councilmember Kobayashi continues to question Hawaii Supreme Court recount case

Charles Djou’s Self-Serving Electoral Reform Idea

CB: …No. 1 Top-Two Elections. Hawaii should join California, Louisiana and Washington as well as our local county governments in going to a top-two election system. All candidates should run together in the primary, regardless of political partisanship. If any candidate obtains more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, he or she is declared the winner.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, then the top two candidates advance to the general election, even if they are of the same political party. This system works well in the heavily Democratic state of California as well as the heavily Republican state of Louisiana. It is time for Hawaii to join them….

(Translation: As an ex-Republican, I probably can’t win a Dem primary.  But I could win an open non-partisan winnowing primary and then be on the general election ballot.)

read … 6 Ways To Reform Hawaii’s Government

Government shutdown holding up recovery funds for lava-ravaged Big Island communities

HNN: … “The people who answer our questions aren’t working anymore. The people processing the grants that are needed are not working anymore," said Thomas Travis, administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency….

“The process forms were on somebody’s desk in Washington ready to be process and then the shutdown occurred,” he said. “So that case management review, has pretty much stopped.” ….

The holdup comes as the state Legislature is looking to increase emergency funding to the Big Island and Kauai this session….

read … Government shutdown holding up recovery funds for lava-ravaged Big Island communities

Activist Gets Himself Arrested to Push for Hawaiian language policing

HNN: … Video surfaced online of sheriff’s deputies arresting poi-maker Daniel Anthony on the Palace grounds.

The video went viral with some comments claiming it’s evidence of racism and police misconduct.

But the Department of Public Safety says Anthony was booked for driving with a suspended license.

Anthony said he was driving this truck loaded with imu supplies through the deliveries gate. He says a sheriff’s deputy in an unmarked car cut him off and told him to get out.

When dealing with the deputy, Anthony responded in Hawaiian.

“I was handcuffed, my rights were not read to me, I was not told why I was arrested, I was held in a cell where they told me, if I refused to speak English, they were going to keep me for three days,” he said.

Anthony asked the deputy for an interpreter and, out of principle, kept refusing to speak to him in English….

Anthony’s personal standoff came almost exactly a year after Hawaii courts agreed to provide Hawaiian language interpreters.

That was sparked by UH professor Samuel Kaeo, who was arrested at a telescope protest and insisted on speaking Hawaiian, which is one of the state’s two official languages…. 

SA: The right to utilize our language has been effectively overthrown as well

read … Arrest of an imu organizer heats up debate over Hawaiian language rights

578 Homeless Visit ‘Rest Stop’ in First Week

HNN: … Hundreds have already visited the city’s new Punawai rest stop in the first week of its operation, city officials said.

Aimed at helping Oahu’s homeless get resources and off the streets, the facility logged 578 visits from those in need between Jan. 8 and Jan. 15….

(Translation: This is much more popular than shelter.)

The facility, located at 431 Kuwili Street in Iwilei, is the first of its kind in Honolulu serving as more that just a place for resources, but also a safe haven for the homeless.

"The success of the Punawai Rest Stop speaks to the need for our unsheltered residents to have a clean, safe, and welcoming place where they can take a hot shower, wash their clothes, and get a fresh start every day,” Honolulu City Councilman Joey Manahan said….

City officials expect visits to Punawai to increase with time. The stop is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily….

HNN Local Connection: Hawaii’s Lt. Governor

read … Oahu’s new rest stop for the homeless is already proving its value

Failed Ocean cleanup device heading to Hilo

SA: … In late December, one of its pieces had unexpectedly became detached and started to drift away. The crew immediately secured the wayward piece and reported it to the engineering team onshore.

“We expected to run into unexpected problems,” said Ocean Cleanup spokesman Joost Dubois from Honolulu. “However, we didn’t plan to come to Hawaii.”

Dubois, who was en route to Hilo on Wednesday, said the crew had expected to return to Alameda, Calif., where System 001, also known as Wilson, was assembled. But when the piece broke off, the system was about 1,400 miles from San Francisco Bay and 800 miles away from Hawaii. Based on the weather forecast, the journey to Hawaii seemed safer.

Dubois said the team will determine whether repairs can be made in Hilo or whether to transport the system back to the U.S. mainland.

Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara confirmed he has been in communication with The Ocean Cleanup crew, and that they were expected to arrive today, depending on ocean conditions.

The trouble first occurred on Dec. 29, according to Dubois, when one of the tow heads on the far end of the system, which was connected to a floater pipe with two stabilizer frames, all of it measuring about 60 feet, had unexpectedly detached. Crews saw it drifting away and two days later decided to head to port in Hilo….

read … Ocean cleanup device heading to Hilo




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