Samoa Rep Aumua Amata: Disappointed in Citizenship Ruling
HPD Settles Employment Discrimination Suit
Maui on $10K per day: New Vacation Rental Fines
'Gut and replace' has got to go
Senators Think UH Regents Are ‘Too Cozy’ With Officials
CB: … Some state senators have concerns that the University of Hawaii Board of Regents have become a rubber stamp for university officials whom the board is supposed to be holding accountable.
The issue came out during an hours-long meeting between a panel of senators and UH administrators Friday at the Capitol.
Sens. Donovan Dela Cruz and long-time university watchdog Donna Kim dug into how the board evaluates requests brought to it by the university. The board, in Dela Cruz’s eyes, is too close to the university officials they should be watching.
“This is the fox watching the hen house,” Dela Cruz said. “This relationship is too cozy.”…
At issue was a recent decision by UH President David Lassner to give big pay bumps to some university executives and managers for outstanding performance in the past year. The board gave him that power in October, but are now reevaluating its policy after facing faculty backlash….
Lawmakers took issue with a $2.75 million contract UH has with EAB, a company that manages enrollment outreach. Dela Cruz was chagrined that UH hasn’t seen a bump in enrollment though it spends money on outreach.
UH officials agreed to provide a report on EAB’s work and its return-on-investment. There are other issues the Senate panel will look into including tuition reserves, special funds and fringe benefits, the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy on the Big Island, and other construction projects UH is undertaking….
Jeff Portnoy, a former regent, sued the Legislature over a measure that cut the board down from 15 members to 11 members. It alleges that the Legislature overstepped its bounds with the measure and also violated the state constitution by using a gut and replace tactic to pass the bill in the final days of last session….
read … Senators Think UH Regents Are ‘Too Cozy’ With Officials
5-year window for state to reimburse Hawaii county for Mauna Kea law enforcement
HNN: … The protest against the Thirty Meter Telescope at Mauna Kea started in mid July. It took the state and county to November 1 to sign their written agreement on how the state will reimburse the county for police overtime relating to the blockade.
Hawaii News Now obtained the memorandum of agreement which says it will "remain in effect for five years."
It will be "terminated once the joint operation to respond to the TMT protests has ended."…
The attorney general's office says the five years is simply a placeholder term and that the agreement can be ended sooner.
So far, state and county costs have been roughly $11.6 million dollars with about half coming from Hawaii county.
Hawaii News Now obtained a Department of Public Safety procurement request to extend a contract for rental of four wheel drive trucks and vans from January 1 to June 30, 2020 for $317,942.
Meanwhile, the Hawaii county council is once again taking up a measure for the state to essentially give the county a $10 million grant. David said that would work like a line of credit for law enforcement.
That hearing is on Wednesday in Kona at 9 a.m….
read … 5-year window for state to reimburse Hawaii county for Mauna Kea law enforcement
Waipahu temporary homeless structure gets an early occupant
SA: … Twenty hours before Hawaii’s newest approach to reduce homelessness opened in Waipahu Cultural Garden Park, a chronically homeless man and his Chihuahua-mix dog who live on the edge of the park sought shelter from a Waipahu downpour and moved into one of three structures that had been inflated inside the park Friday.
Even though the homeless man arrived nearly a day early — at 1 a.m. Friday morning — “the heart of the program is to not say no,” said Honolulu Police Capt. Mike Lambert as he unpacked new equipment and set up Hawaii’s first “Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons” — or HONU — hours before it was scheduled to open at 9 p.m. Friday. The HONU structures will remain up for no longer than 90 days before they are broken down and relocated at the Old Stadium Park as currently planned….
The HONU concept relies on a two-pronged strategy involving police, city and state officials, and nonprofit social service agencies.
Since Tuesday five plainclothes HPD Crime Reduction Unit officers and their supervisor have been telling homeless people around the park that they can either be cited for homeless-related violations such as violating park closure hours, or they can be driven in an unmarked police vehicle to the HONU, where they can get assistance for everything from getting government-issued identification to housing.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell previously said he would like individual homeless clients to remain on-site at the HONU no longer than three days, before they’re ready to move into a shelter or even into permanent housing.
TOTALLY RELATED: City of Boise, Idaho v. Martin
HNN: City sets up HONU center to triage homeless people in Waipahu
Kauai launches LEAD program to help people at risk
Big Q: What do you think of the HONU pop-up tents to offer services where homeless gather?
read … Waipahu temporary homeless structure gets an early occupant
Hawaii Obamacare Signup Deadline 10PM Sunday
UPDATE: Government Extends Open Enrollment For ACA Health Plans, But Only For 36 Hours
SA: … Hawaii residents who wait until the last minute to sign up for health insurance through the marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act could find themselves shut out of enrollment.
The deadline to sign up for health insurance on the HealthCare.gov website is Sunday. But for Hawaii residents the system will stop accepting applications at 10 p.m. on that day. The federal website doesn’t warn residents that they essentially need to get their applications in two hours early….
Last year about 20,000 Hawaii residents signed up for plans under the Affordable Care Act or re-enrolled in their plans, according to CMS….
In Hawaii, 8 out of 10 people are eligible for financial assistance, according to Hirono.
About 4% of Hawaii residents are uninsured….
News Release: Senators Hirono, Sullivan, Murkowski Ask CMS to Extend ACA Enrollment Deadline to Accommodate Residents of Hawaii and Alaska
read … Hawaii residents face early deadline for Obamacare sign-up
Was landmark EV growth a milestone or Fake News?
SA: … Hawaii may have achieved a milestone of registering more than 10,000 passenger electric vehicles in the state this fall — or not.
Depending on what is being counted and how, that benchmark number may never have been met, according to recent reports.
The state announced in October, in a monthly energy trends report, that the number of passenger EVs in the isles had reached 10,003 in September. That was a 28.3% jump over the same month a year ago, following a steady pattern of growth.
The reports — which are issued by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s Research and Economic Analysis Division — are usually released the first week of the following month.
But in the two months following the 10,000 mark, the number of passenger EVs reported by the state dropped dramatically.
In its monthly energy trends report for October, the state reported 8,546 passenger EVs, a drop of 1,457 vehicles, or 14.6%, from September. In the most recent report, the latest count is now at 9,184 EVs for November, an increase of 638, or 7.5% — more than October but still far short of that 10,000 milestone.
So far, the state has not been able to explain how approximately 1,500 passenger EVs appear to have abruptly gone away in October. The numbers generated for its report, however, come from vehicle tax data provided by the state’s various counties….
The number of passenger hybrid vehicles in the state dropped 2.5% from November last year to 24,457….
Regardless of the exact count right now, electric vehicles still account for a piddling 1% of the passenger vehicles on the road today….
read … More Fake Green Stuff, what a surprise!
Honolulu businesses have until the end of the month to switch from using plastic bags
KITV: … Businesses in Honolulu have until the end of the month to stop using heavy plastic or non-biodegradable bags.
It’s part of a law past by the city council in 2015 that gave businesses a few years to make the change.
Some businesses like grocery store chain Foodland have already made the switch to paper bags in 2015. Others like Safeway have just recently made the change….
The city says they will begin to check businesses on January 1.
The fine will be between $100 to $1000 for each day of violation….
read … Honolulu businesses have until the end of the month to switch from using plastic bags
Legislative Agenda: After Wasting Millions on Failed ‘Green’ Air-conditioning Units, DoE wants Legislature to Pony up for Real ACs
KITV: …According to the Niu Valley Middle School, from August through November, there were over 300 heat-related visits to the school nurse's office.
Maggie Hong, a mother of three children, all of whom attend Kaiser Complex schools believes that number is a microcosm of the situation across the state.
"They come home telling me how hot it is, they’re dripping with sweat," said Hong.
She is a leader of the "Cool our Keiki Coalition" which aims to bring air conditioning to schools across Hawaii. They began this year in Hawaii Kai.
… A mother of three with no prior intentions of lobbying politicians, Hong agrees the path has been difficult to navigate at times. However, Cool Our Keiki has a meeting at the state capitol Tuesday with Hawaii state senators, representatives, city council members and the Department of Education. Hong says she hopes this meeting provides a preliminary timeline for implementing AC in schools….
read … Cooling our keiki: Coalition seeks AC in schools
Suspects arrested in Waipahu manhunt are no strangers to run-ins with the law
KHON: … Three suspects remain in custody after Thursday’s manhunt in Waipahu. Victor Gascon III, James Fejeran and Leilani Lokar were arrested after the hours-long pursuit. The fourth suspect, Shona Mae Cobb was released on bail. Police records show that this is not the first time Gascon, Fejeran and Lokar have run into trouble.
Gascon and Fejeran have 46 prior arrests and 15 convictions between them. (But they were allowed back out on the street to do it again.) Although Lokar has only four priors and no convictions, she failed to appear in court in October for breaking into a car two months prior….
Gascon has 13 felony convictions including multiple unauthorized entry into motor vehicle convictions and a conviction for unauthorized control of a motor vehicle. He has 10 other minor convictions dating back to 2013.
On November 12, a Crimestoppers bulletin was issued a warrant for Gascon, Michael Kahalehoe and Melvin Spillner on parole violations.
Later that night, Kahalehoe was killed in an officer involved shoot-out at a Kapolei gas station.
(He is dead because soft on crime policies let him back out on the street. If he had been locked up in a moldy prison cell, he would be alive today.)
Spillner was arrested and the following day at a news conference, Chief Susan Ballard said Gascon was a person of interest in other recent crimes.
Fejeran has two felony convictions, one for promoting dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia. He also has a petty misdemeanor for theft….
“When we catch these guys–not if but when we catch them–we will be pursuing federal charges against them if it is possible, if it fits the federal criteria,” Ballard said.
Lokar has four prior arrests but no convictions. Court records show that she failed to appear in court in October on charges related to a car break-in in August. She is also being looked at for other recent crimes including burglary.
Records show that Cobb has two prior arrests and no convictions. She was released on $1000 bail. (Notice how many times these jerks get arrested but the prosecutor can’t close the deal?)
Gascon, Fejeran and Lokar are still in police custody but they have not been charged yet….
HNN: Sources say Gascon is linked to a string of high-profile car jackings across Oahu, the recent Macy’s smash-and-grab robberies and was the suspect who got away in an officer-involved shooting in Kapolei last month that left 30-year-old Michael Kahalehoe dead.
Meanwhile: Horrifying holdup: Three armed, masked men rob Waianae mini-mart
Meanwhile: Are you concerned about criminal activity on Kauai? – 90% YES
read … Soft on Crime
Soft on Crime: ‘Time Served’ for Killer—Out After 14 Mos
HNN: … A Kahaluu man who was convicted of stabbing his handyman to death last year has already been released from prison.
As part of a plea deal, Samuel Campiformio pleaded no contest in October to the killing of 23-year-old Kenneth Ratzlaff. Ratzlaff was found dead inside a shipping container on a Kahaluu property in November 2018….
Judge Faauuga Tootoo could have sentenced Campiformio to 20 years during a sentencing hearing last week, but instead gave him 10 years probation and released him with time served.
Campiformio had been in jail for 14 months when he was released….
A witness who spoke to Hawaii News Now last year said Ratzlaff’s body appeared to have stab wounds to his torso, and Campiformio’s girlfriend told investigators he wasn’t acting like himself because he was high on meth….
KGI: Take the fight to methamphetamine use
read … Kahaluu man convicted of killing handyman last year granted early release from prison
Meanwhile at the Parole Office … State employees say supervisors are spying on them with taxpayer-funded cameras
HNN: … Over the course of the last year, an additional set of surveillance cameras have been installed at the state parole office on Alakea Street.
Originally, employees believed the cameras were being installed for their protection, since they routinely deal with ex-convicts.
But some of the cameras are now also being pointed directly at their work spaces, where they don’t typically interact with visitors to the office, and the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the union which represents the office’s workers, has filed a grievance with the state….
read … State employees say supervisors are spying on them with taxpayer-funded cameras