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Thursday, May 20, 2021
May 20, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:21 PM :: 1476 Views

Bodycam Video Shows Sykap Shooting, Crash into Canal

Mauna Kea: 'Tell Canada to Stop Being Racist'

Neighborhood Board Election Ends Friday, May 21

Republican Jones Act reform bills introduced

How Much Does Your State Collect in Property Taxes Per Capita?

Instream Flows Set for Taro-Growing Areas of Kauai, Maui

UIPA Requests for FY2020

Ige Seeks BLNR Nominees

Dela Cruz UH funding cuts designed to be Replaced by ARPA Funds?

SA Editorial: … When money is tight and time is short, one would hope that government spending plans would be well-coordinated and strategic.

This did not appear to be the case in the final configuration of the University of Hawaii budget, which seemed to catch the UH system leadership unawares when it emerged from the Legislature.

Cuts were deep across the 10-campus system, but what surprised administrators most was that for the flagship campus, UH-Manoa, the general-fund appropriations dropped by the largest amount, $35.6 million in fiscal year 2022, or 13.8% below existing levels.

There also were unexpected reductions in capital improvement funds for requested projects, while a Wahiawa education center — not on the priority list — was funded at $42.5 million.

What to do? The Wahiawa resource center is on the agenda for today’s UH Board of Regents meeting, set to start at 8:30 a.m. The link to the livestream is at hawaii.edu/offices/bor….

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) did pass, but what funds were allocated to UH meant Manoa will get just 1.2% more than it would have otherwise, Young said….

The administration is rightly exploring whether some of the university-dedicated ARPA funds — up to $130 million systemwide — could help close the larger gap. There is no definitive guidance, yet, on how freely the funds can be moved around in the UH budget. But with enough flexibility, Manoa could get up to $53 million, Young said….

11 state agencies did not receive ARPA funds at all, according to figures provided by state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz….

read …  UH funding cuts poorly coordinated

Hawaii poised to change unemployment rules to get more people back to work

KHON: … The State of Hawaii is poised to change unemployment rules to get more people back to work. Among the changes is requiring the unemployed to look for work in order to keep getting benefits.

Business owners say this is long overdue….

The changes are welcome news for the owner of Ruby Tuesday. He owns nine restaurants and he says he could use at least 100 more workers….

Others say the extra $300 per week from the federal government is enticing a lot of people to choose stay out of work. Several states plan to stop participating in it and some business owners say Hawaii should do the same.

“It’s not good for the economy, it’s definitely not good for the community, it’s not good for Hawaii. So I think we need to set the right incentives to have people come and enjoy to come back to work,” said Koeppenkastrop.

The federal benefits are scheduled to expire in September, and there is no word yet from the State if it plans to opt out before then….

KITV: Labor shortage affecting Hawaii businesses trying to reopen

UPDATE: Job Search Requirement Reinstated for Unemployed

read … Hawaii poised to change unemployment rules to get more people back to work

Oahu prepares for possibility of eviction moratorium expiring

KITV: … In less than three weeks, on June 8th the moratorium on evictions is set to expire.  If that happens, expert are predicting that would make Oahu's housing crisis even worse.

"We're talking about thousands of families on Oahu.. I think at one point.. the courts were saying if the moratorium is lifted.. they would see 6,000 new cases in their courts," says Jill Tokuda with Hawaii Data Collaborative.

That could create a scenario where courts be become backlogged with eviction hearings, and people could be left on the streets.

It's why state lawmakers passed a bill which is now awaiting Gov. Ige's signature that would require landlords and tenants to go to mediation before an eviction case moves forward….

read … Oahu prepares for possibility of eviction moratorium expiring

Hawaii unemployment assistance call center closed until Monday for bed bug control treatment

SA: … The Hawaii Department of Industrial Relations has temporarily suspended its unemployment insurance call center operations at the Hawai‘i Convention Center until Monday as the workspace undergoes pest control treatment, state officials said. 

(Terminix doesn’t work on Saturday and Sunday???)

“We are committed to continuing to serve our unemployment insurance claimants by routing all calls from the call center to our local UI claims offices. We ask for the public’s patience during this time, as we will be operating at a reduced capacity,” DLIR director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio said in a news release. “We appreciate the Hawai‘i Convention Center’s quick action to resolve this situation to ensure that our staff has a clean workspace to return to on Monday.”

(Translation: We will make sure our HGEA members are paid for both of these days.)

Calls to the state call center phone number get an automated response saying the office is temporarily closed and are told to “call their local office for assistance.”  

KITV: Bed bug infestation temporarily closes Department of Industrial Relations call center at Hawaii Convention Center

DLIR: PEST CONTROL TREATMENT AT HAWAI’I CONVENTION CENTER TO IMPACT DLIR CALL CENTER

read … Hawaii unemployment assistance call center closed until Monday for pest control treatment

Virtual Hearing Today -- Hawai`i Supreme Court Tackles TMT & Mauna Kea

IM: … The Hawai`i Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today involving Mauna Kea and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

The oral argument will be held remotely and will be live streamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/hawaiicourts at 2 pm….

The Hawai`i Attorney General asserted that KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance improperly solicited donations while being non-compliant with a statutory reporting requirement, and then used the charitable donations to advance illegal purposes.

The Hawai`i Attorney General served a subpoena duces tecum on First Hawaiian Bank requiring the bank to produce certain banking and financial records related to KAHEA accounts.

KAHEA moved to quash the Subpoena in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit.

The Circuit Court issued an order granting in part and denying in part KAHEA’s motion to quash the Subpoena and entered judgment for the State Attorney General.

KAHEA’s appeal of that order and judgment was transferred from the Intermediate Court of Appeals to the Hawai`i Supreme Court.

KAHEA claims the Subpoena was motivated by the State Attorney General’s desire to harass KAHEA because of its opposition to the development of an observatory on Mauna Kea.

The Subpoena, KAHEA argues, is unconstitutional retaliation for KAHEA’s involvement in constitutionally protected activities. 

SA: Court hears oral arguments on attorney general’s subpoena of anti-TMT group

HTH: High court hears case of group that supported TMT protesters

read … Virtual Hearing Today -- Hawai`i Supreme Court Tackles TMT & Mauna Kea

The cost to visit Maui could go up as mayor eyes new taxes, fees for tourists

HNN: … As the Valley Isle sees an influx of travelers, Maui Mayor Mike Victorino eyes new taxes and fees directed at visitors.

On Tuesday alone, nearly 5,000 visitors arrived on the island.

With more visitors, Victorino proposed parking fees at beach parks as well as launching reservation systems at popular sites….

read … The cost to visit Maui could go up as mayor eyes new taxes, fees for tourists

Maui Police Commission split over allowing ex-chief to retire in ‘good standing’

HNN: … Faaumu drove away after hitting a parked motorcycle at the Queen Kaahumanu Center parking lot in November.

Investigators from Honolulu’s Police Commission concluded there was no crime and that it was a civil matter between drivers.

After reviewing the report, Maui police commissioners were split over allowing the chief to retire in “good standing.”

If the commission does not allow Faaumu to retire in “good standing,” he can lose his paid sick leave time and other credentials and benefits.

“As far as the chief is concerned, I think that he’s up and up and he’s not going to give up a 35-year career for a fender bender. I mean, he’s got insurance. That’s my opinion,” Commissioner Janet Kuwahara said.

Corporation Counsel said no disciplinary action can be taken by the commission because Faaumu is now retired and no longer an employee of MPD…. 

CB: Maui Police Commission: Former Chief Had ‘Room For Improvement’

Reality: Blackmail and Doctored Video Targets Maui Police Chief

read … Maui Police Commission split over allowing ex-chief to retire in ‘good standing’

ACLU Accuses HPD Officer Of Bias In Favor Of Business Partner

CB: … On June 10, 2019, Hall and Letoto were having an “employment-related disagreement” at a home where she was staying.

ACLU Legal Director Wookie Kim called the incident an “egregious conflict of interest.” The business owner involved disputes that. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“During this encounter, Mr. Letoto assaulted her by slamming the door into her in an attempt to break into the residence,” the letter states.

Hall called 911, and Koanui responded to the scene, the ACLU said.

“Presented with such clear conflicts of interest, Officer Koanui abused his power to protect both his business and his close friend and business partner,” the ACLU said.

Hall alleged that Koanui refused to file a police report against Letoto, which the ACLU said violates her constitutional right to petition the government.

“Officer Koanui then opened a false and misleading criminal report against Ms. Hall and threatened to arrest her if she persisted in trying to report his business partner’s crimes,” the ACLU said. …

read … ACLU Accuses HPD Officer Of Bias In Favor Of Business Partner

Ex-jail guard who was attacked while serving time sues, saying his injuries were ignored

HNN: … “I regret drinking and driving,” said Robert Bucknam. “So I’m not here to cry about that. I deserved to go to prison.”

In March 2019, the 59-year-old began serving a year-long sentence at OCCC for drunk driving and petty shoplifting charges.

It was the same jail he worked as corrections officer before changing careers in the early 90s.

“I was a great guard. I was fair,” he said. “But I knew you’re just going to be a target.”

At the time, Bucknam was recovering from neck surgery. He says the judge assured him he’d be able to continue rehab while he was locked up.

At intake, Bucknam says the jail knew his entire situation.

But staff never placed him in a segregated unit to keep him safe. With former colleagues still standing guard, it took less than a week for inmates to figure out his past role….

He says things got even worse when he refused to join a gang.

“I got mobbed in the nighttime,” he said. “By at least four or five guys.”

That attack left Bucknam with a torn rotator cuff and a bicep muscle ripped from the bone ― injuries he says jail doctors never diagnosed while he was incarcerated.

“I had an x-ray. They told me all I had was arthritis in my shoulder,” he said.

He also got an MRI, but says doctors never told him the results.

After that beating, Bucknam was finally moved to a segregated unit. He says he spent the last eight months of his sentence in lockdown 20 hours a day.

Attorney Andre Wooten is seeking $500,000 in damages….

read … Ex-jail guard who was attacked while serving time sues, saying his injuries were ignored

Honolulu police crack down on illegal gambling houses

SA: …Honolulu police are shutting down illegal gambling houses at the fastest pace in four years, seizing firearms, drugs, and digital gaming machines in neighborhoods from Waikiki to Waimanalo.

Through the first quarter of 2021 the Honolulu Police Department executed 18 search warrants and made 27 arrests compared to 37 warrants and 72 arrests in all of last year. On any given day there are between 50 and 80 illegal game rooms taking wagers on Oahu, according to police.

On Tuesday, officers with HPD’s Narcotics Vice division and District 1 Crime Reduction Unit raided a game room in Kakaako near Waimanu Street, confiscating two dozen gambling machines, cash and drugs. So far this year, police have taken more than 150 gambling machines off Oahu’s streets….

Prosecuting attorney Steven S. Alm and Johnson said nuisance abatement and asset forfeiture laws help stop criminals from moving a gaming house to a new location after police break it up.

Property owners who house gambling syndicates could face a lot more than misdemeanor charges.

In as many cases as possible, police and prosecutors use civil asset forfeiture proceedings to stop repeat offenders and break up organized gambling rings by taking away their homes, devices, cars and any other property used as part of their illegal operations….

read … Honolulu police crack down on illegal gambling houses

Fentanyl from Mexican cartels coming into Hawaii as overdoses rise

KHON: … The number of drug overdoses in Hawaii is climbing and reached a five-year high in 2020, according to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

A total of 243 of Hawaii’s 262 drug-related deaths in 2020 were accidental.

Total overdoses were 265 in 2019 and 226 in 2018….

In October 2020, Maui Police reported 500 fentanyl pills unaccounted for after a drug bust on the Valley Isle.

MPD tells KHON2 that the investigation is still active.

“The Maui Police Department has seen an increase in counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl. The counterfeit pills appear the same as prescribed pharmaceutical oxycodone pills, in color and score marks on both sides; however, the pill’s active ingredient is fentanyl.

“Reports of users who obtained the counterfeit pills illegally advise that after ingesting, extreme nausea resulted and report that the effects are nothing like the legally prescribed oxycodone pills,” MPD said….

If you or your loved ones are in need of help with opioid addiction, the Hawaii Opioid Initiative has a strategic plan for you….

read … Fentanyl from Mexican cartels coming into Hawaii as overdoses rise

Got a Kid?  Get $250 per Month Free Money from the Sky

CB: … President Joe Biden’s expanded federal child tax credit has the potential to help 278,000 children in Hawaii who could receive monthly payments of at least $250 throughout the last half of this year.

Starting in July, most families with children who have filed taxes and earn below a certain income threshold will start receiving monthly deposits in their bank accounts.

Families will receive $250 per month per child between the ages of 6 and 17, and $300 per month per child younger than 6 years old until the end of this year.

read … This New Federal Program Is Expected To Help Hundreds Of Thousands Of Hawaii Kids

Rental Cars are booked until early August

TGI: … A California visitor was frustrated on Tuesday when he didn’t get a rental car upon landing on Kauai, where rental cars on all traveling platforms are currently sold out until early August.

Kellin Hopkins is staying on Kaua‘i for a week, and he had to wait for a full day before he could get an upgrade and drive a car he got from Avis Car Rental, whose facility is temporarily closed. He said it was kind of a gamble….

Like Hopkins, people renting cars from Kaua‘i are on a waiting list, or cars are all sold out until the end of the summer….

read … Rental Cars are booked until early August

COVID-19 cluster at Kaimuki church covered up by congregation, text messages show

SA: … Leaders of a church in Kaimuki appear to have covered up a large cluster of COVID-19 infections among their congregation that emerged after an Easter Sunday service as they spread misinformation and conspiracy theories about the dangers of the vaccine.

The virus outbreak sent a number of people to the hospital, one of whom died on Sunday. Lynn Pang, 71, is among church members believed to have contracted the coronavirus in early April at a church called Unified … Hawaii. She died at the Queen’s Medical Center after being hospitalized for a month and put on a ventilator, her daughter, Wendy Li, confirmed.

Li said she tried to persuade her mother to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Pang had suffered from cancer which, along with her age, put her at high risk of serious illness and death from COVID.

But Li said her mom had been fed misinformation about the dangers of the vaccine by her church and she chose not to get it. Li said it was her understanding that there were as many as 50 known cases tied to the church, including members and their families….

The Star-Advertiser was first alerted to the cluster by a friend of Pang’s. Text messages were subsequently provided to the newspaper showing lengthy exchanges between church leaders and members who discussed the growing COVID-19 case count among the congregation and their success at evading the state Department of Health’s contact tracers. As church members worried about one another’s health and shared treatment advice, they also exchanged links to online videos and websites that claim it’s dangerous to be around people who are vaccinated and that the vaccine can cause massive bruising and sterilization in women….

As Pang was in the hospital suffering from COVID-19 she began calling her friends and members of the congregation urging them to get vaccinated, according to Li and Pang’s close friend, Karro Yee.

“Toward the very end, she was calling everyone that she knew to try to hustle them to take the coronavirus vaccine,” said Yee. “And I think that is the message she wanted to be getting out: to know anyone can be a victim … If she could save one person, she would be happy.”…

read … COVID-19 cluster at Kaimuki church covered up by congregation, text messages show

Harris To Asian Americans: Turn Pain And Outrage Into Political Power

HPR: … Nationally hype up local stories about street crime attacks on Asians thus getting more mental misfits to attack Asians.  Then use they hysteria to turn Asians into Democrat candidates.  Wash, Rinse, Repeat ….  (Now you know why the insane asylums were closed down.)

F: A Conversation With Senator Mazie Hirono, Sponsor Of The Overwhelmingly Bipartisan Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act  

KHON: Hirono admitted the bill can not stop attacks from happening.

read … Democratic Party Recruitment Scam

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