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Monday, February 24, 2020
February 24, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:21 PM :: 2412 Views

Before the Crash: Dillingham Aviator's Last Letter to Airports Division

Raise Minimum Wage? What Hawaii Can Learn from Seattle

UH seeks to train more doctors, expand medical school to Maui

HANABUSA COVERUP: HART Employee Reported Improper Use Of Federal Funds In 2015—Was Asked to Resign

CB: … Long before HART announced it was under federal investigation, a HART employee raised concerns about improper handling of millions of federal dollars and said she faced retaliation for reporting it, according to a confidential city report obtained by Civil Beat.

Commissioned by the board of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation in April 2016, the report examines claims from two employees about then-HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas. Allegations of wrongdoing by Grabauskas were “not substantiated.”

However, the report shows alleged problems with the project’s real estate acquisition effort as early as 2015 – years before HART admitted those issues publicly in February 2018.

Now, the feds are investigating the agency for potential criminal activity in its real estate transactions. Made public for the first time, HART’s report from August 2016 raises questions about why alleged problems with federal money weren’t found and fixed sooner in the largest public works project in Hawaii history. … 

Colleen Hanabusa, who was the chairwoman of HART at the time, said the allegations in the report validated concerns she already had about the handling of federal funds. 

However, the board did not ask the employee for further information or report her allegations to the Federal Transit Administration. The FTA was already having monthly meetings with HART, according to Hanabusa, so “they would’ve flagged something” if there was an issue.  (Hanabusa Excuse #1)

“The FTA had information about what was going on, so it’s not a situation where they were, I think, left in the dark,” said Hanabusa, who is running for mayor.  (Hanabusa Excuse #2)

Besides, at that time, HART’s board had little oversight power, according to Hanabusa. Members didn’t even have the authority to question change orders until a charter amendment was passed in 2016, she said.  (Hanabusa Excuse #3)

“I understand clearly why people would say hey, what did the board do?” she said. “But the board also, in fairness to the people who served on it, they were clearly told that you have no right to question or to raise these issues.”  (Hanabusa Excuse #4)

With “2020 hindsight,” Hanabusa said if she could go back, she’d ask the corporation counsel’s office (ie Donna Leong) to investigate the employee’s claims.  “But if the corporation counsel believed it was something irregular, they would’ve done it,” she said.... (Hanabusa Excuse #5)

(IQ Test: Are you impressed by Hanabusa's excuses?)

August, 2016: Grabauskas Resigns

PDF: Confidential Report


read … HART Employee Reported Improper Use Of Federal Funds In 2015

Louis Kealoha allegedly assaulted by half brother, an HPD lieutenant

HNN: … Andre Peters, an HPD lieutenant, was charged with misdemeanor abuse. He posted a $1,000 bail and has been released.

The incident occurred about 12:15 this morning at Peters’ home on Summer Street in Hawaii Kai.

Both Kealoha and Peters were reported to have been drinking together before the alleged assault.

Peters is assigned to HPD’s traffic division and has been on the force for 24 years.

He is expected to have his police powers removed during the upcoming investigation….

SA: HPD investigating Louis Kealoha’s brother following altercation

KHON: Half-brother of former Police Chief Louis Kealoha arrested for alleged abuse

read … Louis Kealoha allegedly assaulted by half brother, an HPD lieutenant

Telescope Protest Leader vs Robert Lindsey for Big Island OHA Seat

KITV: … "Great changes are before us, and now we have the kuleana as with each generation to decide if it will be a positive and healthy shift our descendants will be proud of," Joshua Lanakila Mangauil says….

read … Big Island educator announces run for Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Airport Authority bill in limbo due to procurement code worries

HTH: …  no new bill was introduced this year, because technically the 2019 version never died.

Senate Bill 666 garnered significant support as it moved through the Legislature in 2019, but stalled when it reached the House Committee on Finance. The committee then failed to hear the bill before a deadline, deferring it to the 2020 legislative session.

“The committee has time to hear the bill again if they want,” Inouye said.

However, Inouye said changes to the bill made by the House were “pretty much unacceptable.” The original version of the bill would have made the airport corporation exempt to the state’s procurement code, allowing it to sidestep certain procurement requirements, although some critics worried it would allow the corporation to also remove protections for contractors and sub-contractors.

Although the Senate’s amendments to the bill clarified the corporation’s procurement practices and requirements, the House removed the exemption entirely, subjecting the corporation to the state procurement code once more….

Luke said she has no intention to revisit the bill this year….

Background: Will 2020 be the year of an Hawaii Airport Corporation?

read … Airport Authority bill in limbo due to procurement code worries

Streamlining sign variances: Hawaii County 5 Year Wait

HTH: … The public will have less opportunity to weigh in on the size, style and location of roadside signs under a streamlining measure making its way through the County Council.

Bill 134 will put the Public Works director, rather than the County Council, in charge of approving variances to the county sign code. That means the public will be notified about a proposed variance only if they live within 300 feet or if the sign is to be located in a special district with a design commission, such as the Kailua Village Design Commission….

The change was inspired in part by a more than five-year wait for sign approval by a company that opened a Holiday Inn Express &Suites on Sarona Road in 2014. The sign variance application gathered dust in the Public Works Department, was postponed by a previous council, took two trips to the Kailua Village Design Commission and was finally approved last year….

read … Streamlining sign variances: Bill reverses 2004 measure putting council in charge

Enviros Using Sea Level Hype to Steal Your Oceanfront Land

HTH: … Research on the Big Island’s coastal erosion, led by a University of Hawaii at Hilo graduate student, is being used to shape county planning policies.

Bethany Morrison, a planner with the county Planning Department, said the project was initiated because the county has a “very standard” shoreline setback requirement, regardless of the land type or climate-related changes that might be happening….

Hawaii County is the only county in the state that hasn’t done research to understand the island’s shoreline changes, she said, but it’s something the county has been working towards for “quite a while.”…

read … Study examines coastal erosion, drawbacks of standard setback requirements

Only One Psychiatrist Sees Homeless Shelter-Refusers

LB: … Like most physicians, Dr. Chad Koyanagi is passionate about helping others. But this Hawaii-based psychiatrist is particularly dedicated to helping the most marginalized of people — the homeless, mentally ill, and drug- or alcohol-addicted people living on the streets of his home state of Hawaii. He’s never considered any other kind of medical career….

he takes to the streets regularly, bringing medical treatment to those who won’t to a clinic or hospital for help. “As far as I know,” says Dr. Koyanagi, “I’m the only psychiatrist who goes out into the field. There are many psychiatrists who work out of a clinic or an office, so I’m kind of an oddball in that regard.”…

“A good example is a woman, Anna, in the Prescribing Hope initiative,” he explains. “She’s been gravely disabled for probably a couple of decades. I think our society has difficulty seeing someone like her who’s so ill and completely unable to ask for help, and they feel that it’s ok for her to be left that way. But she has a right to mental treatment and a right not to have to live in a hole in the ground. She was able to get the help she needed, to be successfully placed into independent housing, and to be in her own apartment with the right support services.”…

read … How locums helps one Hawaii psychiatrist treat the marginalized

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