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Saturday, June 19, 2021
June 19, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:10 PM :: 2055 Views

​COVID tier confusion bespeaks a bigger problem

Hawaii Pre-Travel Testing Program Expands to French Polynesia

DOJ issues target letter to Roy Amemiya amid ongoing corruption probe    

HNN: … The US Department of Justice has issued another target letter to a former high-ranking city employee as part of a sprawling corruption probe, HNN has confirmed.

Roy Amemiya, who served as city managing director under former Mayor Kirk Caldwell, was already on notice when he received a subject letter last year.

But this week, he was notified that he is now a target in the federal corruption investigation.

“It’s a large jump, because one is just a suspicion,” said attorney William Harrison, explaining the difference between a DOJ subject and target letter, “The other one is that we have evidence, substantial evidence against you. So it really turns into a much greater situation.”…

Amemiya was the second highest-ranking city employee in the Caldwell administration and it’s clear that federal investigators are questioning Amemiya’s conduct during that time.

His name came up in a May 7 deposition with disgraced ex-Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, before he reported to an Oregon prison to begin serving his time.

Kealoha admitted that he had discussions with Caldwell and Amemiya, then managing director, regarding Ethics Commission investigations targeting the former police chief, his wife Katherine, who was a high-ranking deputy prosecutor, and other police officers.

All have since been convicted of conspiracy and obstruction….

Kealoha said in the deposition he couldn’t remember if he asked Caldwell or Amemiya to intervene to stop those investigations.

It’s not clear if that recent exchange is any way related to the new target letter. Rather, it’s believed federal authorities have tied Amemiya to Kealoha’s $250,000 payoff to retire in 2017.

Several other high-ranking city officials received target letters because of that deal.

That includes Donna Leong, who was the city’s top civil attorney. She went on paid leave after being notified by the US Department of Justice and then retired….

Amemiya is still working at Honolulu Hale, (as a staffer for Calvin Say) which has proved controversial….

read … DOJ issues target letter to city’s former managing director amid ongoing corruption probe

Rigged specifications are a fraud-related “red flag”

ILind: … The bad news for HART continued when the agency made public a load of documents that had been sought by news media through Hawaii’s open records law. These documents made it clear that although the agency held an open solicitation for the $1 million+ contract, the specifications were drawn narrowly specifically to exclude most potential bidders.

I looked a bit more closely today and found numerous references to “rigged specifications” as a form of procurement fraud.

Here are a few examples.

Fraud Detection Resources for Auditors,” a publication of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, includes rigged specifications among the “fraud red flags and indicators.” …

International Anti-Corruption Resource Center, “The Most Common Procurement Fraud Schemes And Their Primary Red Flags”…

The Monroe County (Florida) School District distributed a publication identifying “Fraud Indicators” originally prepared by the USAID Office of Inspector General/Investigations….

read … Rigged specifications are a fraud-related “red flag”

HART Board approves spending plan for 2022 fiscal year

KITV: …The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation's board of directors approved the 2022 fiscal year spending plan on Friday.

It was trimmed significantly based on recommendations by the Honolulu City Council.

The Council proposed cutting the capital budget by almost half, trimming $2.1 billion from the total.

"The budget that was submitted last year included the expectation that the P3 contract would be executed which would be the entire city or basically the remainder of the project, but that's not happening so that's the difference," said Rick Keene, Deputy Executive Director and COO of HART.

The board approved $80.4 million for operating costs for the next fiscal year -- $74.6 million of which is interest on financing.

It also earmarked an additional $1.9 billion for construction and land procurement during the 2022 fiscal year, including a provision to buy the Pearl Highlands parking garage….

read … HART Board approves spending plan for 2022 fiscal year

Maui Democrats Begin Process of Picking Next Rep for HD13

MN: … DeCoite will serve out the remainder of English’s term with the next election for the seat in 2022. She indicated Thursday that she intends to run.

As for her now-vacant House seat, she said that “at this time, I don’t have a person on the top of my head” to endorse as her replacement. However, she would like to see candidates who have been involved with issues in the district, who want to work and who are open-minded.

On Thursday, the Maui Democratic Party announced that candidacy statements for those interested in the House District 13 seat will be due at 11:59 p.m. June 30.

Applications are available online at bit.ly/house13app or as a Word document at bit.ly/hd13wordapp. Candidates can also request applications by emailing vacancy@hawaiidemocrats.org.

The 28 party officers of the Democratic Party House District 13 District Council will convene at 10 a.m. July 3 on Zoom to consider the applications and determine which three names to forward to the governor, who will then have until Aug. 16 to make an appointment.

Residents interested in the House District 13 seat are expected to submit their credentials and reasons for appointment to the position, evidence of party participation and verified signatures of at least five party members within the district in support of their candidacy….

read … Lynn DeCoite is appointed to Senate District 7 seat

Ige suggests state could drop all COVID restrictions before reaching 70% vaccination rate

HNN: … After defending his push to get to a 70% vaccination rate before lifting all COVID restrictions, Gov. David Ige suggested Thursday he may be changing his mind on the matter.

“If we see the case counts drop before we hit 70%, then that’s another way that we would drop all restrictions,” Ige said, speaking at a news conference on an unrelated matter.

“It is about the virus activity, how much virus is circulating in our community, and what the health care capacity of our community is that would determine when the restrictions get released.”

That would mean no more indoor mask mandate, travel restrictions or capacity limits.

The statements come as much of the mainland US has reopened fully, including a number of key tourism destinations, and as businesses are calling on the governor to reconsider the rules.

Right now, 56% of the population is vaccinated, according to state Health Department figures.

The state has been averaging 47 cases a day for the past seven days. It’s not clear how low Ige wants to see the case count drop before lifting restrictions….

read … Ige suggests state could drop all COVID restrictions before reaching 70% vaccination rate

Honolulu City Council member Augie Tulba under attack from Thought Police for ‘Hawaii's next top Mahu’ skit

KHON: … Honolulu City Council member Augie Tulba is coming under fire this week for a social media post in which he appears in black face. In the video, he also made jokes that offend some in the LGBTQ+ community.

The video is more than 10 years old. In it, Tulba plays multiple characters in the video titled Hawaii's next top Mahu. One of them, a style guru Jay Jay and a contestant Mo'Unique.

The Instagram post in council member's name reads: "We laughed so hard filming this segment. #FunTimes"

Michael Golojuch Jr., chair of the Stonewall Committee in the Democratic party of Hawaii, says he's (suddenly decided to be) disgusted (to gain political advantage)… 

CB: “This comedy skit was written, performed in, and endorsed by a transsexual cast member of color nearly 15 years ago in a much different social climate”

read … Honolulu City Council member Augie Tulba under fire for black face in comedy skit

Expansion plans for packed Hawaii jails delayed again

SA: … Severe overcrowding has been a major factor contributing to the spread of coronavirus within Hawaii’s jails, including the current outbreak at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo, which has now infected more than half of the inmate population and sent two guards to the hospital.  (Therefore, in order to continue having this type of crisis to exploit,) Yet, a planned expansion of the state’s neighbor island jails is being delayed once again due to construction bids coming in higher than expected, (enter excuse here) according to the state Department of Public Safety.

Plans to expand the jails on Hawaii island, Maui and Kauai began in 2016, when the Legislature appropriated $37.5 million for design and construction. A little more than $1 million has been expended for planning and design work at each of the facilities, and draft environmental assessments for the three jails, released in 2019, estimated that construction would begin in 2020 and be completed this year. But construction work hasn’t even started, and the new completion date is now pegged at mid- to late 2024 for the jails on Hawaii island and Maui, while plans to expand the Kauai jail have sputtered.

Public-safety officials say that’s because construction bids came in higher than what had been allocated for the projects, prompting them to ask the Legislature this year to re-appropriate about $13 million in funds to expand the Kauai Community Correctional Center to the jails on Maui and Hawaii island….

“This allows the team to pursue moving forward with construction awards for housing additions at the two most overcrowded jail facilities in the state,” Toni Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the Public Safety Department, said by email.

Schwartz said the contract for the Maui Community Correctional Center had been awarded to F&H Construction, and the contract for the Hilo jail went to Nan Inc. She didn’t have the award amounts Friday….

Hawaii’s jails have been severely overcrowded for years, prompting the Hawaii chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in 2017 to file a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department calling for a federal investigation into “unconstitutional and unsafe conditions” endured by Hawaii inmates. The complaint cited dilapidated infrastructure, unsanitary conditions, lack of hygiene items and not enough medical staff, among other problems….

(And that type of complaint is why they must continue perpetuating these conditions.  It is their best hope to get lots and lots of criminals back out on to the streets.)

WHT: HCCC reports 2 dozen more COVID-19 cases among inmates

read … Expansion plans for packed Hawaii jails delayed again

Police investigate second fatal officer-involved shooting this week

HTH: … According to a police statement, officers responded at 11:20 a.m. to a residential break in at the 1800 block of Kilauea Avenue in Hilo. Officers who entered the vacant home encountered a man armed with two knives hiding in a bedroom. The suspect, whom police didn’t identify cut an officer on the arm with one of the knives. Two officers fired their duty weapons, killing the suspect, police said… 

read … Police investigate second fatal officer-involved shooting this week

Junkyard grows at Kahului Harbor homeless encampment

MN: … A recent buildup of abandoned vehicles and trash alongside a growing homeless encampment off Kahului Beach Road is drawing the attention of nearby residents and passing drivers who say it’s becoming a “public health concern” and safety issue.

Just below the road near the Kahului Harbor shoreline lies a handful of makeshift shelters along with abandoned vehicles that are being used as living spaces.

Piles of miscellaneous trash, tarps, large appliances, scrap metal, tires, clothes and other items covered the gravel site on Thursday morning.

“Unsightly, unsanitary and unwelcoming are some of the words that come to mind when describing the many areas that have become a blight on our beautiful island,” Kihei resident Connie Magnuson said Friday in an email. “The areas by Kahului Harbor and near the airport are unbelievable. It is absolutely disgusting and continues to worsen.”…

…we see people who have mental health and addiction challenges….

A Cup of Cold Water is made up of volunteers, mostly through Episcopal churches, who help to distribute food, clothing, water, first aid and hygiene products as well as “compassion” to those who need it (meth) most.

The group serves (enables) around 60 to 100 people in Central Maui once a week.

“We just help them to survive on the streets the best they can by just bringing them some small things,” Lynch said Friday morning. “Don’t think that just a toothbrush and a granola bar is enabling people to stay on the street. We look at it as we’re trying to help them (stay homeless to create pressure to spend millions creating make-work positions that pretend to do something about homeless meth addicts via more enabling programs) while we are waiting for expanded services, programs and housing.” (see?) ….

read … Meth Hoarding

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