CNBC America's Top States for Business -- Hawaii 49th
Updating Old Jones Act Cost Estimates
School Bus Dangers
DHHL Approves Kalaeloa Solar Project
A Step in the Right Direction
Kealoha: If you give me a new Trial, I’ll Bring Alison Lee Wong to Court
HNN: … Katherine Kealoha claimed in court documents obtained by Hawaii News Now on Thursday that her defense team had found the real Alison Lee Wong ― her alleged alias ― and that she’s owed a new trial because her court-appointed lawyer failed to do her job.
Kealoha says she is seeking a new trial because of the ‘ineffective’ job done by attorney Cynthia Kagiwada.
In a hearing Thursday afternoon, Judge J. Michael Seabright granted Kagiwada’s request to be removed from the case.
Kagiwada’s exact reasons for wanting to be excused were not disclosed, although she wrote in court filings that her relationship with Kealoha had broken down. She also cited a section of the law that hinted that her client wanted her to act unethically.
Kealoha appeared at Thursday’s hearing in leg shackles and a tan prison jumpsuit, which she showed off with a smile….
In a lengthy declaration attached to the motion for a new trial, Kealoha listed many grievances with Kagiwada. But perhaps the most surprising was her claim that defense investigators had found Alison Lee Wong, who prosecutors convinced the jury was a completely made up alter-ego for Kealoha.
(IQ Test: Are you enticed?)
Kealoha wrote that despite finding Alison Lee Wong, Kagiwada refused to call her as a witness. She claimed Kagiwada ignored her suggestions and refused to consider evidence Kealoha urged her to use….
The Alison Lee Wong claim was a surprise, considering that during the civil trial over the family financial dispute, Kealoha’s civil attorney claimed he had tried and failed to find her.
But Partington, who said he had not met the woman, said he’s been told that Wong is a real person, living in Kaneohe, who once worked for Kealoha ― but, he said, she never worked as a notary….
read … The Wong Idea
Political Correctness Grinds Astronomers Down
HNN: … With construction about to start, there are mixed emotions among Hawaii astronomers from excitement about the science to some anxiety and shame over the conflict.
“Right now, I do not want anyone to ask me what my profession is,” said Takamiya.
She says during the 2015 anti-TMT protests, some of her students were overwhelmed.
"They were coming to my office crying and they said oh my God. I didn't know I was in the wrong field," she said….
A $300,000 research telescope was to be installed at UH Hilo's educational observatory on Mauna Kea called 'Hoku Kea'. But when anti-TMT protests erupted in 2015, the University of Hawaii committed to reducing the number of telescopes. This valuable research and teaching tool was caught in the crossfire and sits unused in a laboratory.
"They are frustrated that we don't have anything that we can play with. Play meaning you only learn when you grab an equipment and make mistakes. This is what this is, to learn," said Takamiya.
UH is still looking for a suitable place where the research telescope can be used.
“We didn’t give up on the Hoku Kea. Obviously there’s been a lot going on and now it’s about finding it a home,” said Dan Meisenzahl, UH spokesman….
Big Q: Do you support work on the Thirty Meter Telescope starting Monday? (94% YES)
(Really Obvious Question: Given 94% public support for the telescope, why are students feeling as if they are in “the wrong field”?)
read … Astronomers express anxiety, excitement at TMT construction site atop Mauna Kea
Maui Firestorm Fed by Anti-Cane Smoke Activism
MN: … Kihei cut off; power plant threatened; roads, airport closed; evacuations ordered…
more than 3,000 acres of fallow fields were left charred after a “dynamic” brush fire that started Thursday morning in Waikapu and swept toward Maalaea and north Kihei before heading up the slopes of Haleakala as night fell.
(IQ Test: Why were 3,000 acres of prime farmland left fallow?)
The “rapidly” moving blaze that fed off dry brush and strong winds came close to north Kihei homes, pump stations and Maui Electric’s Maalaea Power Plant before heading up the slopes of Haleakala, according to Mayor Michael Victorino.
As of 9:30 p.m. Thursday, the mileslong fire was not contained, but no injuries were reported. However, some Mahi Pono farm equipment may have been damaged, Victorino said.
“Currently, this is still a very dynamic situation we have in the north Kihei area,” Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro said at a news conference Thursday night. “This fire is far from being declared contained.”
Mandatory evacuations were ordered by the county for residents in north Kihei and Maalaea around 3 p.m. Maalaea’s mandatory order was lifted around 5 p.m. and north Kihei’s by 9:30 p.m. About 2,100 to 3,000 people reside in the evacuation areas, Victorino said….
read … Dry brush fuels fire storm
Pre-K Turf War: DoE Whipped Down by Executive Office on Early Learning
CB: … A contentious bill dealing with the expansion of public pre-kindergarten in Hawaii quietly became law this week without the governor’s signature, but residual friction has spilled over to the state’s education policy-making body.
During a recent Hawaii Board of Education meeting, several members questioned why expanding early education did not appear as one of the BOE’s strategic priorities for 2019-20 under the “student achievement” category….
The reason for no mention of early education, explained BOE Chairwoman Catherine Payne, was because the Early Learning Board — the governing board for the Executive Office on Early Learning — had requested its removal from a draft list of BOE priorities.
“What we didn’t want to have happen again is the divisive circumstances that occurred (in session) that I think impacted our goals,” Payne said at the June 20 meeting. “There was a huge division that occurred during this last legislative session and it was a heavy lift to even get what we got.”
Specifically, that included funding for an additional 10 pre-K classrooms around Hawaii, plus more than $10 million in funding for unrelated state Department of Education programs like Early College, school health services and applied behavioral analysis.
But the core provision that enabled those appropriations was clarifying that it’s the Office on Early Learning, and not the DOE, that has administrative oversight of expanding pre-K.
That means the office, which was established in 2012 to build out the framework for high-quality early learning in the state, has control over pre-K classroom funding, instruction, assessment and professional support to early education instructors….
read … Bureaucratic Turf War
In Effort to Keep Hoi Polloi out on Hanalei, Illegal Parking Fees Rise From $35 To $235
SB: … The steepened penalty is expected to deter problematic illegal parking by non-famous people near popular beaches, trailheads and attractions on Kauai’s secluded North Shore ….
read … Illegal Parking Fees Rise From $35 To $235 On Kauai’s North Shore
NIMBY: Who Wants Neighbors?
WHT: … Anti-development efforts tend to be as common as two-sided nickels….
Basically, neighborhoods that didn’t want abutting neighbors put up for sale something they didn’t own….
the neighborhoods’ sudden interest in archaeological sites comes off as curious….
It’s all much ado about nothing anyway….
But we’d like to point out it’s perfectly OK to oppose a project simply because it’s a pain in the rump. Because it’s an inconvenience. Because, by god, who wants neighbors?….
Nearly everyone suffers from NIMBY, whether they say so or not. But neighbors we all get. Instead of rocks, the associations might be better off keeping up their demands for more roads.
If neighbors are inevitable, at least give us more streets to ease the burden of their annoying cars….
read … Neighbors’ call for preservation curious
Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative: Burning Down Forests is ‘Renewable’ Energy
IM: … Hawai`i is considering planting trees to offset carbon emissions while state law asserts that chopping down the Amazon rainforest, flying the trees to Honolulu, and burning the trees for electricity counts as renewable energy.
Hawai`i further asserts that chopping down the Amazon rainforest and flying the trees to Honolulu is carbon neutral because international transportation and imports are beyond Hawai`i and don`t count in our effort to become carbon neutral by 2045.
Similarly, 10 million tourists flying to Hawai`i each year has no impact on Hawai`i carbon neutrality goals according to politicians and state law….
read … Burning Down Forests is Renewable Energy
Court Rejects Feds’ Withholding Of Info In UH Biolab Inspection Report
CB: … A federal agency can’t use a public endangerment exemption to withhold information regarding inspection reports without providing adequate justification, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
The ruling, the first of its kind regarding this exemption, says that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must review requests for information regarding inspection reports on a case-by-case basis rather than automatically rejecting them on the grounds that disclosure of certain information related to investigations could endanger the public.
The case stems from a 2016 lawsuit filed by The Law Center for the Public Interest over an inspection report that found numerous safety infractions at the University of Hawaii Manoa’s biolab. When the CDC first provided copies of the report, they were heavily redacted…..
read … Fodder for Hysteria Coming
Kauai Salt Ponds Activists Want $100K from OHA
TGI: … “A month ago it was all dry. Some of us were just getting started (with the harvest), but now it’s flooded,” said Malia Nobrega-Olivera, of Hui Hana Pa‘akai, whose family harvests salt from the beds.
The hui is made up of all of the salt-making families in Hanapepe. On Thursday about 15 of the hui members gathered at the salt beds even though they can’t do anything with the pa’akai right now.
Instead, they met with Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees on island for an overnight visit to Kauai, to rally for the protection of the salt beds.
“What we told them this morning (is) we need to hire an attorney and we need the money (to do it), about $100,000,” Nobrega-Olivera said. “We told them, ‘we need your help.’” …
Further contamination comes from a camp of homeless people situated alongside the salt pond without proper facilities and people squatting in Salt Pond Beach Park, hui members explained.
Felix Santos, another member of the salt-making families, pointed out the importance of pure water and pure black clay in the salt-making trade.
“It’s an environment issue,” Felix Santos said. “Where is our protection?”…
Flashback: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Blocks Kauai Drug Treatment Facility
TGI: ‘We’re going to get it done’
read … $100,000
Homeless Drug Addicts Run up $80M Bill at Hawaii Emergency Rooms
HPR: …“$1250 bucks for the ambulance, $1600 for the ER, that’s before doing anything,” says Lt. Governor Josh Green. An emergency room doctor, Green is well aware of the costs racked up by every visit. He says another couple of hours in the ER or an overnight stay, could easily run $4-$5 thousand dollars.
“And it’s constant. If it rains, everyone goes, if people have staph infections, everyone goes, people have a headache or the flu, they go, instead of to H4 where it might be $30 bucks. Which we waive by the way because it’s funded by the philanthropists.”
HMSA, Island Hospice, and Queens are the major funders behind H4, a new clinic and housing center that got the final go-ahead from the City Council last week. Green estimates the healthcare sector could save $50 to $80 million dollars annually with this 24/7 alternative to emergency rooms….
read … Worthless and Expensive
Kauhale: How to Keep the Homeless Homeless
HPR: …As for moving large numbers of people off the street? That’s where the Kauhale model comes in. This initiative would place established communities into permanent housing together. State Homeless Coordinator Scott Morishige says people have deep relationships in encampments and some are quite organized.
"So I think the kauhale concept is about how can you replicate that sense of community not in an encampment, but in housing."
Morishige says the chronically homeless do need housing with wrap around social services, but the singles an couple expected to be served by the Kauhale villages are a different sector.
"For this population I think the kauhale is focusing on that type of support I think they need is social support," says Morishige. "So there is not that sense of loneliness lot of times people feel when they’re placed in an apartment by themselves."
According to Morishige, the goal really is to provide a continuum of options, and a recently approved law is aimed at some of the most visible street concerns. ACT, Assisted Community Treatment, allows authorities to more easily step in with treatment for severely mentally ill homeless. Green acknowledges there is push back on that issue, because of civil rights concerns, but ACT is meant to address a chronic, visible sector of the homeless who could soon be served by the H4 facility….
(Pushback=We don’t have ACLU permission.)
“That’s why If you have kauhale in each region, you can say, Please live there, you will self-govern, you will be out of the elements, you will have some normalization of live, it can be culturally appropriate to your community, but you will be off the beach.
Lt. Governor Green acknowledges there are no quick or easy answers out there.
“I say to everybody out there, the more that the communities feel mutual respect for each other, we are able to get successes. You don’t have to take any nonsense if someone is bugging you but if you can be compassionate, we are trying to bring significant help.”…
(IQ Test: Do you believe that keeping homeless tent cities together is the way to get them off the streets?)
read … Keep the Homeless Homeless
A Tweeker’s 19-Year Criminal Record
TGI: … To understand why Harada ended up with a five-year jail term for shoplifting — prosecutors said he stole about $1,100 worth of Kmart merchandise, “to wit, automotive retail items and a family size tent” — you have to go back in time almost two decades.
In January 2000, Harada was convicted of his first crime….
read … Tweeker
Police Shooting Accomplices: Case Quickly Becomes Tangled Mess
WHT: … Trial for the four conspirators was scheduled for June 27 in Kona Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim’s courtroom, however, trial cannot begin until the prosecution’s petition for writ of mandamus is decided by the Supreme Court.
A writ of mandamus is an order from a court to an inferior government official ordering the government official to properly fulfill their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion.
The legal wrangling began with Jason filing a motion to suppress statements made to police. Kim granted the motion, thereby precluding evidence for use at the trial in this case against the remaining defendants. Kim also ruled that statements made by the other defendants were still admissible.
Prosecutors filed a notice of appeal to the Intermediate Court of Appeals on June 18, the same day the order granting the suppression was filed.
It is the prosecutor’s stand that once an appeal is filed, all Circuit Court proceedings must be suspended and jurisdiction of the case be turned over to the appeals court until it returns a decision.
Kim mandated trial to begin for Ferreira, Lajala and Pagan-Torres on June 27.
Previous requests for severance, or trying the four defendants separately, have been denied.
At a hearing on June 24, Kim discussed the issue of jurisdiction with the parties. Prosecutors argued that Kim did not have jurisdiction to rule on motions to continue trial or sever defendants because its on appeal.
The defense argued that the appeal only applied to Jason, not the case in whole, so the remaining defendants should be severed and stand trial as scheduled.
Kim ruled that despite the notice of appeal, he retained jurisdiction over the case.
Prosecutors are seeking the Hawaii Supreme Court to prohibit the 3rd Circuit Court from retaining jurisdiction of the entire case “because statutorily this is prohibited.”
“Despite the filing of the notice of appeal, the trial court is continuing to hold hearings and appears to (be) taking action consistent with the court’s belief that it retains jurisdiction over the case,” states the prosecutor’s petition to the high court. “The case being appealed includes all remaining defendants involve one case.”
“The state seeks relief from this (Supreme) court to find that the trial Court exceeded its jurisdiction when it held hearings on June 24, 2019 ruling on substantive motions without leave from the appellate court to do so,” stated Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kauanoe Jackson in her declaration.
The Supreme Court has ordered suspension of any proceedings until it renders a decision….
read … System Working as Designed