After Diamond Head Attack--Lawmakers Propose Gun Control and Mental Health Bills
SB42: Block AG's Investigation of Telescope Protesters’ Funding
Report: Hawaii seniors have highest poverty rate in the US
Study: 25% of CFS Clients Victims of Sex Trafficking
Full Text: State of the Union Address
Fed Wreckers Trying to Steer Mauna Kea Protests Their Way
CB: … In 1978, several Hawaiian delegates and their supporters persuaded constitutional convention delegates to establish the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which was seen by some as a precursor to re-establishing a Hawaiian nation. But in the 1990s, OHA supporters were disillusioned by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Rice v. Cayetano that allowed non-Hawaiians to vote for OHA trustees.
Since the 1990s, Hawaiians have held two constitutional conventions for a potential government. They’ve collected lists of names of voters for potential constitutions. Still, no draft constitution has yet been put to a vote….
A major challenge is finding common ground, given that nearly 300,000 people in Hawaii identify as at least part-Native Hawaiian, according to the most recent census data available.
Even within the pro-sovereignty movement, there are many differing opinions.
Some want recognition by the U.S. government as a nation within the U.S., similar to Native Americans…
Former Gov. John Waihee believes that while many may disagree on how to get to a vote on self-governance and what they want when they get there, overall the Hawaiian people are moving in the same direction. He thinks more people support Hawaiian sovereignty now than ever before.
“The kids today talk about a Hawaiian nation openly,” he says. “Thirty years ago they didn’t even know what that was.”
Still, with President Donald Trump in office, Waihee doesn’t think there’s much that Hawaiians can do in terms of federal recognition….
In 2016, more than 100 Hawaiians participated in a constitutional convention, known as the aha, where they drafted a new governing document. It wasn’t an easy process with so many different opinions in the room. Some critics even opted out of participating because they thought the process was rigged in favor of federal recognition, and a few even participated in a rival aha.
“The first two-and-a-half weeks all we did was argue with each other,” says Kuhio Lewis, the head of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. “There were beefs, there were screaming matches, there were flying chairs.”
But the delegates ultimately overcame their disagreements and came up with a draft constitution which was approved with a vote of 88-30, with one person abstaining. After a lawsuit stopped OHA from funding an election to ratify the constitution, Lewis helped raise more than $1 million in donations to pay for the election privately.
Then Republican President Donald Trump was elected.
“If somebody else, anybody else frankly, had gotten elected, it would make sense to go to the next step,” Waihee says. But “there is no practical step now.”…
Whether or not the Hawaiian people pursued federal recognition, Lewis says self-governance would require some kind of buy-in from the U.S. government.
“You can’t go around America, you’ve got to go through them. Going through them would involve going through Trump no matter which option you look at. That kind of just killed the steam,” Lewis says.
The money is sitting in an account managed by the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation, a charity focused on social justice, waiting for the right time, Lewis says….
Lewis worries bringing up nation-building now could be divisive in a moment when opposition to the TMT has unified many Hawaiians….
Really Obvious Question: Will Mauna Kea protest Camp be reestablished at the End of February?)
read … Mauna Kea Ignited A New Wave Of Hawaiian Pride. Where Does It Go From Here?
Mayor Kirk Caldwell is renovating something, but not Blaisdell
SA: … You know when you get to that point in a relationship where you analyze everything that comes out of the other person’s mouth because you just don’t trust them anymore? What they say and what you see are two different things. You’ve known that person long enough to suspect there’s always more to the story or some motive that they’re not being straight about.
What did you think when you read that Mayor Kirk Caldwell was nixing his plans to soup up the Blaisdell because nah, gotta focus on the rail problems first?
Did you wonder if he’s trying to salvage his plans to run for governor by distancing himself from unpopular projects that make him look like he’s too cozy with big developers? That’s he’s trying to erase that wicked image of him on the protest posters with his fingers in his ears willfully ignoring public outcry? …
It could be that Caldwell’s motives for canceling the $773 million Blaisdell overhaul are exactly as he stated: “Given that the final construction cost is yet unknown for the last 4.16 miles of our rail system and the City’s financial responsibilities for the operations of the upcoming rail service … we decided that it is a logical time to pause the project.” That sounds reasonable, except that the official line from the city has always been, “Rail funding and Blaisdell redevelopment funding come from different sources and are independent of each other.” (That statement is currently on the city’s website about the Blaisdell redevelopment project.)…
SA Editorial: Blaisdell project too big, too soon
read … Mayor Kirk Caldwell is renovating something, but not Blaisdell
Bill Banning Moonlighting Mayors Moves Forward
CB: … Mayors who hold jobs outside their city positions, like Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, could be banned from having any outside employment or business interests by 2022.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 361 Tuesday morning. The bill, first introduced by House Speaker Scott Saiki last session, would prohibit the mayors of each county from having jobs after they are elected.
The bill has come up for the last several years and seemed to target Caldwell, who holds an outside position on the board of Territorial Savings Bank. Caldwell currently leads the pack in fundraising for the 2022 governors race.
Saiki has said the bill was inspired by efforts to force President Donald Trump to adhere to the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution, which is intended to make sure federal officeholders do not receive outside payments or gifts….
The senators changed the bill to remove mention of the governor. Sen. Karl Rhoads, who chairs the committee, said the state ethics commission already has oversight of any conflicts of interest a governor might have.
The committee also expanded prohibitions having a controlling interest in businesses while also holding office. That could affect Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami, who holds interest in his families chain of stores, according to his financial disclosures filed last year….
read … Bill Banning Moonlighting Mayors Moves Forward
HGEA Member pleads guilty to charter school embezzlement
HNN: …Kelaukila Estabilio, 39, admitted in court that between December 2012 and January 2019, she stole more than $628,000 dollars from the Kua O Ka La Public Charter School.
She said she stole the money in monthly increments to pay for her Capital One credit card charges and to fund travel expenses for her family members. Federal prosecutors said she falsified the school’s financial records to cover up the thefts.
“It’s heartbreaking and unthinkable, that someone would steal from the children and the school," said Susie Osborne, head of the school. “It’s been so emotional and traumatic, trauma on top of trauma.”
In court, Estabilio made no comment when asked if she had any regrets for taking money meant for students.
In July 2018, the Kua O Ka La Public Charter School’s Puna campus was destroyed by lava, forcing it to relocate to Hilo.
School officials say the series of events that followed the eruption appears to have escalated the thefts. But many of the larger thefts, according to Osborne, were difficult to detect because they occurred after the school’s financial records were destroyed by lava.
Capital One has refunded the school for money Estabilio stole to pay for her credit card bills.
“We want to assure everyone that none of the community donated funds for the lava relief were touched by the situation and that we were able to recover the majority of the funds," Osborne said….
USDOJ: Former financial officer of Big Island charter school pleads guilty to wire fraud
HTH: At least one unauthorized wire transfer occurred after the school’s campus was destroyed.
read … Hilo woman pleads guilty to charter school embezzlement
TMT Should Sue State and County
WHT: …two Honolulu legislators have introduced a bill that would make the developer responsible for 50% of the cost for police services involving their project. Basically, they were targeting the TMT project.
When the Maunakea protesters first began their stunt, they laughed about holding on until the county or state went broke. We, the rest of the citizens, comprise the bulk of the state and county that are paying the costs for the police services as the state does not print money!….
the police did nothing because the persons in charge of the agencies (politicians) chose to have the police stand down as they talked and talked with a group of protesters who had already expressed hanging on until the state and county went broke. Why should the developer in this case pay for services it never received? TMT had a permit to begin construction and were denied that opportunity because the politicians did not honor the building permit already issued. The state and county had an obligation to make access for construction available….
If anything, TMT should sue the state and county for not not permitting them access to the construction site. Trying to pass a law that would penalize TMT for something the state and county failed to do is ? progress???….
read … Making decisions on hypothetical reasoning
Man arrested for desecration after allegedly spitting on photo of fallen officer
HNN: … 51-year-old Louis Joseph Areal was arrested Monday. Police said witnesses saw Areal spit on the photo of fallen officer Tiffany Enriquez at the memorial set up at the Waikiki police substation….
Officers arrested Areal near the substation. He was also arrested for harassment and other unrelated warrants….
read … Man arrested for desecration after allegedly spitting on photo of fallen officer
Lahaina Bumfight: Man charged with threat to set fire to assault witnesses
MN: … Jason Gallegos, 44, of Lahaina was charged with two counts each of first-degree terroristic threatening and intimidating a witness, as well as third-degree assault.
He was arrested after the two witnesses reported being threatened by Gallegos on Sunday night, following the arrest of his 46-year-old girlfriend at about 8 p.m. for investigation of first-degree assault of a man at McDonald’s restaurant at 885 Wainee St. Police said the man suffered life-threatening injuries and was in critical condition Monday at Maui Memorial Medical Center.
Gallegos was there when the two witnesses were interviewed by police and gave statements about what they had seen during the assault Sunday night, Deputy Prosecutor Byron Fujieda said during Gallegos’ initial appearance Tuesday afternoon in Wailuku District Court.
He said Gallegos went up to one witness and punched him in the face.
Later, Gallegos tracked down the men “and threatened to light them on fire,” Fujieda said.
He said Gallegos was holding a gas can and a lighter and was swinging the gas can so the men thought they might be doused with gasoline, “causing fear that their lives were in danger.”
The witnesses told police that Gallegos had approached them and two other men at about 11 p.m. Sunday as they were gathered in front of Lahaina Self Storage on Papalaua Street. Gallegos called the men “rats” for what he said they did to his girlfriend, according to police….
Gallegos has a full-time job in Lahaina … ‘dealing with recyclables’….
UPDATE: Police charge Maui woman with murder in connection with brutal beating
(Some things never change: This is across the street from the site of the 1993 arrest of failed anti-GMO Maui Mayoral candidate Elle Cochran and her tweeker boyfriend for armed robbery of tourists.)
read … Man charged with threat to set fire to assault witnesses
‘Kauhale’ housing for homeless suffers setback
SA: … Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s dream of a statewide system of “kauhale” tiny homes to provide permanent housing for Hawaii’s homeless suffered a setback Tuesday when two House committees voted to study the concept rather than move out a bill that would have provided $20 million for a one-year pilot program.
Initial construction is already underway in Kalaeloa, and state Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, chairwoman of the House Committee on Human Services and Homelessness, said the Kalaeloa project should proceed because it is expected to be operated by the Hawaii Public Housing Authority.
For the other potential six to eight kauhale, or villages, that Green wants around Oahu and the neighbor islands, San Buenaventura wanted to know who will be responsible for issues including maintenance and management.
Rather than move out House Bill 2112, the joint House committees voted instead to call for a study that would include the offices of the state Attorney General, Honolulu’s Office of Housing, the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp., the state’s homeless coordinator and Green….
Following the hearing by the joint House committees, Green later testified on the Senate’s version of the bill — SB 2442 — before the joint Senate Committee on Housing and the Senate Committee on Government Housing. The committees moved out the bill with amendments….
read … ‘Kauhale’ housing for homeless suffers setback
Single-use plastics eyed for next Maui County ban
MN: … Utensils, straws and other single-use disposable plastics may be banned from Maui County if a proposed bill being considered in a County Council committee gains traction.
The proposal, discussed Tuesday afternoon in the council Environmental, Agricultural and Cultural Preservation Committee, targets the use and sale of single-use plastic disposable food ware — items that cannot be recycled on Maui.
The measure comes on the heels of countywide bans on polystyrene foam food service containers and plastic bags.
The council may consider combining existing and proposed bans into one plastic reduction law, and work still must be done to iron out the current proposal’s language. Prohibiting the use and sale of single-use plastic disposable food ware will be revisited during the committee’s next meeting Feb. 18….
read … Single-use plastics eyed for next Maui County ban
Hypocrites: Hawaii Co Council panel nixes herbicide resolution
HTH: … A nonbinding resolution urging Mayor Harry Kim and his administration to reduce herbicide use was withdrawn by its sponsors Tuesday when it became clear the measure was about to be voted down.
Resolution 475, sponsored by Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz and Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, follows last month’s failed attempt by the council to override Kim’s veto of Bill 101, more substantive legislation that would have phased out the county government’s use of Roundup and 22 other herbicides within four years. Kierkiewicz and Lee Loy had voted against overriding the veto….
Kierkiewicz said she sponsored the resolution because it “keeps the ball rolling.” She said she and her family have fielded personal attacks and threats to their safety by those who disagree with her stance.
“This topic has been unnecessarily polarizing and divisive,” Kierkiewicz said. “I just wanted to create a space where we can create an environment of listening.”
Lee Loy said she’s also been the recipient of “some ugly.”…
The administration has, however, cut from four to two parks for pilot projects that involve the cessation of herbicide use: Kuawa Street ballfields in Hilo and Pahoa District Park ballfields. Two West Hawaii Parks, Old Kona Airport Park football field and Waikoloa Park, have been eliminated because of a lack of training time with Beyond Pesticides, Messina said….
“Basically, you’re gaslighting the community by purporting to do one thing and doing something else,” Paik said.
(Ex-con) Abel Lui, who has been carrying photos of dead owls he says (and he is THE authority, LOL) were killed by herbicide spraying, brought them again to the meeting. An emotional Lui, who said he was arrested several years ago for trying to block spraying, vowed not to give up.
(Oddly, Lui did not mention the manslaughter conviction that sent him to prison….)
“We are the evidence,” Lui said. “If you guys are gonna keep spraying poisons, you’re not welcome here.”
(And the killer decides who is ‘welcome’.)
read … Rules are for farmers not for government
Reality: Flu Kills 25,000 this Season, Coronavirus Kills Less than 1,000
KHON: … Influenza killed about 34,000 people in the United States alone in the 2018-2019 flu season. The year before the virus killed approximately 61,000 people in the US. This year the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 10,000-25,000 deaths since October.
As of Tuesday coronavirus has killed 493 people worldwide.
“The flu has a rate of fatality of 1 out of 1000,” Green said.
“If people are older or immuno-compromised 1 in 1000 will die. Coronavirus and these other viruses are much much less common, just a couple of thousand cases versus millions of cases of flu. People can die from the flu and maybe 2-3 percent might die from coronavirus so it’s more lethal but very rare.”
That’s not to say the preparation for coronavirus is unwarranted. The state set up a quarantine site on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for any US citizens traveling from Hubei province in China diverted to Honolulu.
Green toured the new quarantine facility Tuesday.
“It’s ready,” Green said. “We have a capacity for up to 120 people if god forbid we have to quarantine a large number of individuals. We are not expecting that and we also have no cases in Hawaii, but these kinds of viruses can be very dynamic internationally and we have to be ready.” …
read … Lt. Gov. Green visits coronavirus quarantine facility, tries to extinguish fears
Where the Campaign Contributions Come From
ILind: … individuals accounted for over 75 percent of all contributions to state and local candidates, according to data published by the Campaign Spending Commission. They gave $3.8 million out of the total $5 million contributed during 2019.
The law provides that contributions from businesses which are sole proprietorships, owned and operated by an individual, are treated as individual contributions.
In additional to individuals, the categories used in the campaign spending reports are:
Noncandidate committee: Primarily political action committees and unions, although in some cases corporate contributions also seem to be included.
Other entities: This category includes businesses (corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships), professional or business associations, and campaign committees of other candidates. Some candidates appear to report political action committees in this category as well.
Immediate family: According to law, the candidate’s immediate family is defined as a candidate’s spouse or reciprocal beneficiary, child, parent, grandparent, brother, or sister, along with their spouses or reciprocal beneficiaries….
read … Most campaign contributions came from individual donors
Hawaii Democrats won’t have Iowa’s caucus problem, says head of state party
SA: … “We are doing a mail ballot,” Stanley said. “We are not meeting in rooms and dividing up and counting people with volunteers.” Hawaii Democrats also won’t be using the mobile app that is being blamed for problems in the Iowa election, she said.
In Hawaii, party members will have their ballots mailed to their home addresses. Party members who fail to mark and mail their ballots on time can walk into 21 sites statewide to vote with a paper ballot on April 4, which is the last day of voting. All of the ballots will then be taken to one counting site to be tabulated, she said.
Both the mail balloting and the centralized counting system are new, and “in anything new, things can happen,” Stanley said. “Do we anticipate major problems? Absolutely not, because we’ve been working on this.”
She said the party has contracted with Merriman River Group to run the election. Since mail-in voting is easier than showing up at a precinct gathering, state Democrats expect a larger-than-normal turnout of 55,000 or more Hawaii party members to participate this year….
Hooser: Let’s not do an Iowa – Voting the Democratic Primary
read … Hawaii Democrats won’t have Iowa’s caucus problem, says head of state party