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Tuesday, August 27, 2019
August 27, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:27 PM :: 3009 Views

Maui Officer Arrested After Sex Harassment Complaints

DPP Can't Handle Your Permit, but Has Time for Global Warming 'Pop-ups'

Gabbard Cries 'Unfair' as Debate Qualification Deadline Looms

HART Spokesman to Plead Guilty in Union Vote-Rigging Scheme

KHON: … All three defendants formerly with IBEW Local 1260 now have court-appointed, taxpayer-funded attorneys, following a 70-count federal indictment on embezzlement, conspiracy and other charges, which Always Investigating first reported last week.

Brian Ahakuelo and two family members charged were ousted from the union years ago after a parent-union audit found irregularities that it flagged to federal and state authorities.

Several others were charged separately with misdemeanor conspiracy for helping with alleged union dues vote-rigging that raised millions, and one of those four was still employed by the union up until fairly recently….

Four others were charged with a misdemeanor conspiracy count for their role in an alleged vote-rigging scheme to hike union dues $3.7 million — money since paid back directly to members who had been overcharged because of the fixed vote. Michael Brittain, Lee Ann Miyamura and Russell Yamanoha had separated from the union some time ago. IBEW’s mainland parent union tells us Daniel Rose was recently terminated.

All four of them are on the court calendar scheduled to submit pre-arranged guilty pleas next week.

Yamanoha went on to be a spokesperson for Honolulu’s rail project. No update from HART today whether there has been any impact on his employment there since Friday’s charge and the public-calendar listing of the noted guilty pleas on the schedule.….  

SA Editorial: A troubling IBEW corruption case

ILind: Former journalist expected to plead guilty to union ballot-stuffing conspiracy

read … Court-appointed lawyers for all in IBEW indictment

TMT Warns Hawaii: You aren’t so Special, We Might Leave

AP: … Despite years of legal battles and months of protests by Native Hawaiian opponents, the international coalition that wants to build the world’s largest telescope in Hawaii insists that Maunakea is the best place for their $1.4 billion instrument.

But just barely.

Thirty Meter Telescope officials acknowledge that their backup site atop a peak on the Spanish Canary island of La Palma is a comparable observatory location, and that it wouldn’t cost more money or take extra time to build it there.

There’s also no significant opposition to putting the telescope on La Palma like there is in Hawaii, where some Native Hawaiians consider the mountain sacred (are demanding money) and have blocked trucks from hauling construction equipment to Maunakea summit for more than a month….

Reality: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

read … TMT backup site ‘excellent,’ comparable to Maunakea, experts say

Katherine Kealoha’s Relatives Demand New Civil Trial Because Of Her Alleged Fraud

CB: … A motion seeks to overturn a $658,000 judgment in favor of the former city prosecutor, who was recently convicted of trying to frame her uncle. ….

HNN: Katherine Kealoha’s relatives point to her conviction in bid for new civil trial

read … Katherine Kealoha’s Relatives Demand New Civil Trial Because Of Her Alleged Fraud

Honolulu Invests $500,000 To Force Hardest-To-Serve Homeless into Treatment

CB: … The city is investing $500,000 to connect people without housing to treatments that fit their needs, even if they resist it, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced on Monday.

“It’s not compassion to allow homeless folks, particularly with challenges of a mental health nature or addiction nature, to allow them to stay on the streets, to somehow feel it’s their right to live on the street,” he said. “We’re watching them die at an average age of 53.”

The Institute for Human Services won the contract for a one-year pilot of the Outreach Navigation Program. The contract includes $276,000 for psychiatric, medical and legal services and $20,000 for petitioning the courts through the Assisted Community Treatment Act, said Connie Mitchell, executive director of IHS. Remaining funds will cover personnel costs for managing, tracking, coordinating and evaluating the program.

As of April, fewer than 10 people have received outpatient treatment through the program since 2013, when the law was passed, and a large part of that, experts say, has been a lack of resources. The petitions, often filed by mental health advocate, are time-consuming and onerous.

Through ACT, petitioners can obtain a court order to force a person to undergo treatment for mental illness including intensive case management and an injection to counter symptoms of psychosis.

“We will be triaging chronically mentally ill homeless persons into treatment through assertive outreach, through the use of guardianship – and someone else consenting for them to get medication – or through assisted community treatment, which is court-ordered treatment,” Mitchell said….

read … Honolulu Invests $500,000 To Reach Hardest-To-Serve Homeless People

Fresh farmed ahi got away after strong opposition

KHON: … The fresh ahi shortage continues in Hawaii with more eateries serving the frozen variety, or none at all. A business entrepreneur says it could have been prevented, had it not been for the opposition to farming the prized catch.

A local company had the technology and the approval from all the different agencies to farm yellowfin tuna about three miles offshore. But environmentalists and other groups fought hard against it.

Local seafood experts say it’s not known how much longer the ahi shortage will continue. Businessman Bill Spencer says his company called Hawaii Oceanic Technology could have provided top grade ahi year round.

“So when somebody said I need X number of ahi or X pounds we can just go and harvest from the ocean, no sitting in the boat for a week,” he said.

Spencer started the company in 2006, which was able to take ahi from the larva stage and eventually raise them in cages called ocean spheres. Each one about 150 yards in diameter and placed 1,400 feet deep….

He says it took eight years to get all the necessary permits from various state and federal agencies. And investors were ready to pour millions of dollars into the business venture.

But he says opposition from environmentalists, native Hawaiian groups, and fishermen forced investors to back out. So the company eventually folded. Had it not, he says, the business could have pumped millions of dollars into the economy along with a steady supply of fresh ahi.

Spencer still has the patent for the technology to farm ahi so he’s working on being able to do so somewhere else….

2017: Are Enviros Finally Ready to Accept Fish Farming?

read … Fresh farmed ahi got away after strong opposition

Long Article About CO2 Emissions from Air Travel

CB: …“The carbon footprint of aviation overall is one of our biggest — and dirtiest — climate secrets,” said Jeff Mikulina, executive director of the Blue Planet Foundation, which advocates for using clean energy (tax credits, rate hikes and tax hikes)….

Flights to and from Hawaii from the western U.S. produced 2.3 million tons of carbon in 2017. Flights to and from Hawaii from all over the world, produced approximately 6.3 million tons…

To capture that much carbon annually would take about 7.4 million acres of forest, more than the total 4.1 million acres of land in the Hawaiian islands….

In July, Honolulu City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine introduced a bill requiring Stanbro’s office to track the Oahu visitor industry’s efforts to promote sustainable tourism, including efforts related to transportation.

“It just seems that we have forgotten to target a lot of our policies to ensure a high quality of life for our residents,” Pine said during a hearing discussing the measure. “Having 10 million tourists in Hawaii — I never thought we’d reach that point.”

read … Air Travel’s Carbon Footprint Takes A Big Environmental Toll In Hawaii

China Slows Koolina Construction

HNN: … The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China could lead to a shakeout in Hawaii construction industry, a real estate expert predicts.

“The construction sector is going to lose a couple of big projects," said real estate consultant Ricky Cassiday.

Cassiday said construction on projects like China Oceanwide’s Hawaii Atlantis Resort at Ko Olina had already slowed down a year ago. He predicted longer delays if the trade war escalates….

read … Trade?

Decades Later, Families anxiously await Varona Village redevelopment deal

HNN: … As the city tries to hammer out a deal to rebuild an old plantation community in Ewa, former workers who’ve been waiting to buy their homes at affordable prices are dying off….

there are about 40 existing homes; 93 new ones would be built under the proposal.

"We're hoping these old homes, fee simple, will come in at probably let's say $150,000, and that the brand new homes will come in somewhere around $300,000 to $400,000," said Savio….

Fely Bailey moved back to the community six years ago to take care of her mother.

The 88-year-old wife of a plantation worker died in June before having a chance to buy her rented home.

"This is her dream, hope and dream to have," said Bailey. "It's sad that they waited that long, but what else we can do?"

Community leaders say three other residents have died in the last 10 months, including two former plantation workers known as tenants of record.

The city declined an interview due to ongoing negotiations of the development agreement.

According to Department of Land Management director Sandy Pfund, the city’s obligation is to tenants of record.

Officials are reviewing whether other relatives have any rights to rent or buy the homes….

read … Families anxiously await Varona Village redevelopment deal

Naalehu sewer bill scofflaws reap fines, warrants after refusing to pay for non-existent sewer service

HTH: … Some Naalehu residents who haven’t been paying their sewer bills have found themselves slapped with fines and penalties, and even warrants taken out against them.

Eight lawsuits in small claims court in Kona have led to some paying their bills, but others have not. Residents’ sewer bills are $18 a month as of April 1, up from $15 previously….

Kucharski said the eight lawsuits were those of 13 households since 2010 that didn’t pay their bills after being notified by county Corporation Counsel. That’s almost 10% of the 143 accounts in the area.

The community, which includes 160 houses on gang cesspools, will be transferred to a new $40.5 million sewer plant that’s currently in the process of getting an environmental assessment. It’s proposed to be built makai of the Naalehu Hongwanji.

One family living in the former plantation camp ended up with a $1,910 judgment once $695.63 in interest, an $85 service fee and $24 for the process server’s mileage were added to the tab on a $1,104.59 past-due bill. Others have similar experiences, according to court records….

Jerry Warren, who lives in the old plantation camp, said he has a 2004 letter signed by Mayor Harry Kim saying residents on the gang sewer won’t have to pay until a new system is installed. Kim in March signed a bill approved by the council raising sewer rates, including those for gang cesspools.

Warren said the current gang cesspool is illegal and unlicensed and residents shouldn’t have to pay.

“It’s extortion and it’s mail fraud to be sending out (these) extortion bills,” Warren said. “We need a lawyer to file a class action suit and get all of our money back.”…

read … Naalehu sewer bill scofflaws reap fines, warrants

Sex offender serving intermittent term reportedly re-offends while out

WHT: … A Ka’u man has been indicted by a Kona grand jury for a 2017 sexual assault of a minor while serving an intermittent prison sentence for similar charges dating back to 2011.

Ryan Queja, whose last known address was Pahala, was indicted on two counts of first-degree sexual assault with a minor who was at least 14 years old but less than 16 at the time of the assault….

read … Sex offender serving intermittent term reportedly re-offends while out

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