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Friday, July 2, 2021
July 2, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:09 PM :: 3159 Views

21 State AGs Ask Supreme Court to Overturn Hawaii Gun Ruling

Five Candidates Apply to Fill House District 13 Vacancy

Hawaii Vaccination Exception Program Begins July 8

Akina rides with Perry & The Posse to lament the 'tracks of our tiers'

Dividends: Schatz ‘Pouring More Money’ into Group Formerly Chaired by Federal Felon caught Stealing COVID Aid

CB: … When Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz took the reins of the Indian Affairs Committee in February, he found out that its staffers were making less money than any other Senate committee.

The realization underscored how little clout the Indian Affairs Committee had in the Senate and the challenge of getting Congress to prioritize Indigenous issues. Schatz raised the salaries and hired more staff. But his ambitions are a lot bigger.

“The way I look at the work we’re doing is to try to understand all those injustices, where and how they occurred, what the scars are, and then to try to reverse them in a systematic way,” he said. “Because, remember, all the injustices were imposed in a terribly systematic and thoughtful and planful way.”…

To Schatz, that mainly means pouring more money and resources into Indigenous communities. And he’s making sure that includes Native Hawaiians. Before he was chair, he even blocked the passage of a version of a federal housing bill that excluded Hawaiians.

Last week he co-introduced another version of that bill that includes money for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

So far, Schatz’s focus on funding has drawn praise from some leaders in the Native Hawaiian community who are anxious for more support.

“We’re definitely happy to see him in that chairmanship,” says Robin Danner, who leads the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations.

She hopes he uses that role to press the federal government to fulfill its trust responsibilities to Native Hawaiians.

Kuhio Lewis, executive director of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, said Schatz’s leadership role is already paying dividends.

(COVID Money Scammer Hanalei Aipoalani was Chairman of the Board of CNHA 2017-19.  He was actively stealing money from Olelo and Na Leo Public Access TV during this period.)

“Sen. Schatz being in the role that he is in is already providing opportunity for Hawaiians,” he said. “Money is coming in. Is it at the same level as other Native people? No, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

According to Schatz, the American Rescue Plan that was passed in March was the “biggest one-time infusion of resources into Native communities in American history,” and included more money for Native Hawaiian health, education and housing in decades….

read … Schatz: Congress Needs To Stop ‘Ignoring The Needs Of Native People’

Honolulu police officer who fatally shot Lindani Myeni faced drunk-driving, Hit and Run charges in 2016

SA: … Patrol officer Brent K. Sylvester, then a 13-year department veteran, was facing up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine for the hit-and-run, and a jail term of between two and five days, a fine of up to $1,000 and a one-year license revocation for drunken driving.

He allegedly rear-ended a car on the H-1 freeway at 2 a.m. and left while the occupants of the car he hit followed him to his home where they told police they found him drunk and slurring his words. Sylvester told responding officers he had only “a few” before they arrested him, according to court records.

His driver’s license was revoked for two years because he refused to submit to an alcohol test. Sylvester worked in the department’s Traffic Division at the time.

The charges were thrown out because the prosecutor could not get witnesses to testify against Sylvester in court, according to Honolulu Star-Advertiser coverage of the 2016 case.

(REALITY: Kaneshiro’s Office sabotaged the case by not serving the witness to appear.)

On April 14, Officer Garrick Orosco fired a single shot into Myeni’s right chest, and is seen in body-worn camera footage following the shooting at 91 Coelho Way in Nuuanu telling fellow officers “F—-, I couldn’t see, brah. … I couldn’t even see him, brah. … I couldn’t see where he was.”

A uniformed, female officer, who recognizes Orosco, is seen, wearing a white face mask, takes out a notebook and asks him, “How did the case happen?”

“F—-, I forget already,” he responds in the footage. He is later asked again for his account and turns off his body-worn camera before answering.

HPD’s Professional Standards Office’s investigation into whether the three officers violated department policies during the incident is ongoing. Sylvester’s shots struck Myeni in his left chest, right shoulder and right thigh. Orosco fired a single shot into Myeni’s right chest, according to the report. Neither officer had ever used deadly force before….

Interim Chief Rade K. Vanic, who is out of the office until July 19, and acting Chief Ryan Nishibun did not respond to questions emailed to them about the officers…

read … Honolulu police officer who fatally shot Lindani Myeni faced drunk-driving,other charges in 2016

OIP To Investigate HART For Possible Sunshine Law Violations

CB: … The state’s Office of Information Practices says it will investigate whether local officials overseeing Honolulu’s rail project violated the Sunshine Law when they discussed possibly hiring former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa as a consultant in private emails.

OIP’s announcement came in a letter Wednesday to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, and was in response to an appeal made earlier this week by the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest

The Civil Beat Law Center asked the agency to examine December emails between HART board leaders Toby Martyn, Hoyt Zia and Lynn McCrory — and whether the discussion between the group ran afoul of the state’s public meetings laws.

Typically, no more than two members can discuss board business outside of the open meeting process under the Sunshine Law, which aims to provide public transparency…

In its appeal this week, the Civil Beat Law Center also points to an “intentionally vague” agenda item used by the board to discuss hiring a consultant as another potential Sunshine Law violations. 

The agenda item for that Dec. 17 discussion read: “FY21 Budget Reappropriation Request –HART 201 (HART Expenses and Other Direct Costs) to HDRInc. Contract.”

“Instead of a plain language statement of what the Board planned to discuss, the HART Board used ambiguous jargon … to hide its real intent from the public before the meeting,” the Law Center wrote in its appeal.

In fact, that language was so jargony that it confused HART’s then-spokesman, Bill Brennan. In a text to a Civil Beat reporter during that Dec. 17 meeting, Brennan wrote: “This item is a little strange.”

He later followed up with, “the board is hiring a consultant” when he better understood what it meant.

In its appeal, the Law Center said “the intent of certain HART Board members to avoid public discussion is obvious.”…

read … OIP To Investigate HART For Possible Sunshine Law Violations

Gov. David Ige defends most restrictive COVID regulations in U.S.

SA: … Gov. David Ige on Thursday defended Hawaii’s COVID-19 rules, the most restrictive in the nation, saying that the Delta variant continues to spread among those who are not vaccinated and that he worries about a repeat of a Fourth of July 2020 spike in COVID-19 cases.

“I do know that I am the only state that has not fully reopened,” Ige told reporters Thursday. “The delta variant will become the dominant variant in this country in a matter of weeks. We do believe that it’s prudent at this time to maintain the restrictions, especially the mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers. We do know that that has helped us maintain the lowest infection rate in the country and restart our visitor industry in a safe way.”

Ige continued to urge residents to get free vaccinations and said that “virtually” all of Hawaii’s new COVID-19 cases are being spread among those who are still not inoculated….

As Hawaii tourism continues to rebound and residents flock to public spaces, Ige urged caution.

“As you may recall, it was Fourth of July weekend last year that really accelerated the growth in the cases here in the islands,” Ige said. “For those who are not vaccinated, virtually all of the cases that we are seeing today are in unvaccinated individuals. … Virtually anywhere in the state, you are minutes away from a vaccination center.”

Asked about the possibility of loosening 6-foot, indoor social distancing requirements, Ige said it’s being discussed but that restaurants continue to be a source for new COVID-19 cases.

Ige and the four county mayors previously announced that the state is scheduled to move into a less restrictive Tier 5 system Thursday that will allow indoor and outdoor events to welcome the greatest number of people in well over a year — whether or not Hawaii reaches a statewide fully vaccinated rate of 60%.

At some point, essentially all of the restrictions will be lifted once Hawaii reaches a fully vaccinated statewide rate of 70%.

For now, masks continue to be required indoors, and Ige said he continues to wear a mask indoors and outdoors and encourages everyone to do the same to curb the spread of COVID-19.

read … Gov. David Ige defends most restrictive COVID regulations in U.S.

Overtourism: Hanalei to be Model?

TGI: … “As we continue to vaccinate our residents and loosen restrictions, we continue to look at how to manage our COVID-19 response and recovery, which includes focusing on managing visitor impact to our island,” Kawakami said.

“When Kaua‘i experienced the historic April 2018 flood, our leaders also saw an opportunity to better manage visitor impact on our North Shore. That led to changes that were adopted into DLNR’s Ha‘ena State Park Master Plan.”

According to Kawakami, this changed the way visitors got to the North Shore, put a limit on parking, imposed fees, and brought back the quality of life to the community.

“We plan to use this model islandwide to manage our more-popular visitor destinations, which is why we have allocated American Rescue Plan Act funding to conduct a study on our congested beach parks in Po‘ipu, Lydgate and Hanalei Black Pot,” Kawakami said.

“As more visitors come to Kaua‘i, we have seen the return of our pre-existing transportation challenges. Our county team and partners have been trying to figure out how to implement transportation mode change for years, and the pandemic gave us a window to try to support another way to have visitors move around the island.

“We thank the transportation industry for incorporating more options for this, and our Office of Economic Development stands ready to support where possible — such as the pilot shuttle program that Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and the transportation industry will be heading,” he said.

read … Model?

Proposals Seek Stronger Oversight Of Police On Maui

CB: … Maui voters may be asked to beef up police oversight in the 2022 election with ballot proposals that seek to create a more independent board overseeing the Maui Police Department, give more power to that board to discipline officers, and provide better access to police records….

The Maui County Charter is like a constitution for the county government. The document gives the police commission some powers to review the MPD’s budget, investigate allegations of police misconduct, discipline the police chief and annually review his performance.

However, it differs from other commissions in that it doesn’t appear to have the power to subpoena witnesses for hearings or require the police chief to follow up on misconduct investigations like the other counties do.

Loretta Sheehan, an attorney and former chairwoman of the Honolulu Police Commission, combed through the Maui County Charter and identified several areas where the Maui commissioners could be given more control over the department.

On Thursday, Sheehan presented those ideas to the charter commission.

“Any police commission should be as independent as possible,” Sheehan told the commissioners during a meeting Thursday.

Among other things, her proposals would specify that the commission is independent of the department, allow the commission to review department policies, require the chief to follow-up on misconduct investigations, give the commissioners the ability to overrule the chief on disciplinary actions, allow the commission to subpoena witnesses and evidence, and require department heads to comply with inquiries made by the commission.

That last point seeks to address a line in the Maui charter that says commissioners can’t “interfere with the administrative affairs of the department.” …

read … Proposals Seek Stronger Oversight Of Police On Maui

Solar Schemers Score Megabucks from Coal Shutdown: HECO to Offer New $4500 Cash Incentive, then buy your battery power

CB: … “This is a first installment of the next big wave of rooftop solar and battery storage,” he said. At the same time, Moriwake said Hawaii will need large projects, and not simply more rooftop solar, to reach its goal of generating all virtually 100% of the electricity sold in the state from renewable resources by 2045.

“To reach 100% we need all options on the table,” he said. “But what’s clear is to reach 100% we need to cover all rooftop space.” …

Colin Yost, chief operating officer of Revolusun, says Hawaii needs to pursue all options to make it to the 100% renewable goal. But Yost also said the new program “is different from anything we’ve seen before.”

As Yost described it, consumers can get an upfront payment from Hawaiian Electric for agreeing to sell the utility power from battery for two hours per day, during hours to be determined by Hawaiian Electric, for 10 years. The amount of the payment would depend on the size of the battery, Yost said. But, as an example, he said the popular Tesla Powerwall would generate an upfront payment of $4,250 for a promise to sell power from the battery for 10 years. A Powerwall costs about $7,000, not including installation….

What makes the program especially attractive, Yost said, is that the incentive comes on top of existing ones. So customers with existing systems can continue to sell excess energy back to Hawaiian Electric, according to terms of existing deals. The battery incentive would be on top of that, Yost said….

Rocky Mould, executive director of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association, said the new systems generally will require building permits, which could mean a flood of 10,000 applications or more over the next two years for Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting to process….

Chris DeBone, who heads the Distributed Energy Resources Council of Hawaii, said the PUC’s orders are so new that several details of the program still need to be made clear.

“Everyone’s figuring this out right now,” he said. “There are still pieces of paper flying in the air.”

“But my first comment on this is it’s very exciting and it’s about time,” said DeBone, who is also a managing partner of Hawaii Energy Connection, a solar company….

July 1, 2021: Who to Blame for Next Year’s Rolling Blackouts? This Secretive Task Force Is Guiding Energy Policy Behind Closed Doors[

June 21, 2021: To Prevent Rolling Blackouts Green Dogma Will Have Oahu Burn Wood for Power

read … Thousands Of New Rooftop Solar Systems Could Be Going Up On Oahu

HOLO card faces backlash during program’s inaugural day on Oahu

HNN: … Long lines and frustration marked the first day of the City’s new HOLO card program for TheBus.

The HOLO card went into effect on Thursday, July 1. The new electronic fare card replaced the old paper TheBus pass, but it was a bumpy ride for some.

The City said the HOLO card would deliver convenience for those who ride TheBus. It has been anything but that so far for many who were stuck in long lines or unable to get their card due to new rules.

One frustrated bus rider said the City, “should have anticipated this. Why do they only have two people? They should have one (line) for disability people, one for regular HOLO card. The line, can’t they separate the lines? It’s pretty frustrating.”

Skyler Medeiros works for United Self Help — which assists prisoners in transitioning back into the community — and said taking away the paper passes was “astronomically disastrous.”

“Yesterday we came by too cause we we were going to try get it yesterday, but the line was twice as long as this. It went right around the side,” Medeiros explained.

“It’s a longer line,” Bud Bowles President of United Self Help said. “But the bigger problem is, they changed the rules.”

Jon Nouchi, Deputy director of the Department of Transportation Services, said no identification is required for a standard adult HOLO card.

“…If anyone, including recent former inmates, requires any reduced-fare HOLO cards, they must present a valid form of official photo identification and related required paperwork….

“These discounted HOLO cards do require additional time to verify, process, and issue, accounting for long lines today in Kalihi….

Medeiros said the new requirement makes it much harder for some who rely on TheBus for transportation.

“That messes up everything,” Medeiros added. “One of my clients just came out of prison a month ago and in order for him to get transportation we usually get them bus passes. But now the new policy is, without a valid ID, which they don’t have one because they just came out of prison, they can’t get a bus pass.”…

For more information on the HOLO card, click here.

read … HOLO card faces backlash during program’s inaugural day on Oahu

Program Moves only 86 Homeless Families into Housing

SA: … So far, 86 households have been housed through the Oahu Housing Now Project. This means that more than 200 individuals have left the streets and shelters and have moved into permanent housing over the last 2½ months.

Every day we will be housing more families until we reach our goal of at least 300 households housed with 12 months worth of assistance. We hope to meet this goal by the end of August, which means we still have a lot of work to do. This is a truly communitywide project. Funding partners (philanthropic groups, the city, HUD), service providers, community volunteers and landlords, have all come together to help us create a homes for our neighbors. All families are pre-qualified and have been selected through a systemic approach….

In the OHN Project, both the tenant and the landlord are our clients. For every landlord, their units are an investment and as such, they want to protect it and benefit from it. The last year-and-a-half has been difficult for our island landlords, and we recognize that.

The OHN Project looks to build partnerships between landlords, tenants and service providers so that housing is available to those who need it, and rental income is provided to landlords. When a landlord reaches out to us, we can offer the following: guarantee of monthly rent for 12 months or as long as the tenant is in our program, signing bonuses, damage mitigation funds and 24-hour on-call support services. If there is a problem, we are there to help resolve it….

(Solution: Use COVID emergency authority to build 10,000 SROs and FORCE the homeless in to them.)

REALITY: A Model for Hawaii: Federal Judge Orders Los Angeles to Clear Skid Row

MN: Realtors Deliver Free Pizza to Homeless

read … Laura E. Thielen: The director of Partners in Care on Oahu leads efforts to help the homeless get off the streets and into affordable homes

Owners have reaped record prices for Hawaii oceanfront property in peril of being sucked into the sea

SA: … Property owners selling homes, hotels, condos and businesses along Hawaii’s coastlines must disclose whether the properties are susceptible to damage from sea level rise under legislation that’s set to take effect in May.

While the risks of building and maintaining property along the state’s shorelines have been evident for dec­ades, state lawmakers passed the measure this year to make sure that prospective buyers are fully aware of those risks, which will only increase as the state’s coastlines are increasingly battered by flooding and stronger storms.

“It’s looking at making sure that if people are buying our shoreline properties that they are well aware of what the drawbacks might be in the future,” said state Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran (D, Wailuku), who introduced the bill, which will become law this month….

(Lesson: Live by the Eco, Die by the Eco)

read … Owners have reaped record prices for Hawaii oceanfront property in peril of being sucked into the sea

Take two: Hawaii officials once again solicit bids to dispose of the historic Falls of Clyde

SA: … The Hawaii Department of Transportation has once again put out a bid for the removal of the 142-year-old Falls of Clyde ship from Honolulu Harbor.

The request for proposal released today solicits sealed bids for the “removal of the derelict sailing vessel Falls of Clyde” from the harbor….

Additionally, the DOT director “reserves the right to cancel this Request for Proposals, to reject any or all proposals in whole or in part or to waive any defects in any proposal in the best interest of the State of Hawaii.”

The deadline for bids is 2 p.m. on Aug. 2.

The historic ship docked at Pier 7 was impounded by the state Harbors Division in August 2016.

The Friends of Falls of Clyde, a Honolulu-based nonprofit that owns the ship, objected to the assumption that the ship is derelict when it has never abandoned or given up its ownership rights, and said its historic status warrants a public hearing before any decisions are made….

The Friends say Falls of Clyde, once owned by Matson, is the only surviving iron-hulled, four-masted, full-rigged ship remaining out of eight from the Falls Line originally built by Russell & Company in Port Glasgow.

It has been designated a National Historic Monument by the National Park Service….

read … Take two: Hawaii officials once again solicit bids to dispose of the historic Falls of Clyde

737 Cargo plane ditches off Kalaeloa; 2 injured pilots rescued

SA:  … A cargo plane made an emergency landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Oahu early this morning and both people on board have been rescued.

The pilots of the Transair Flight 810 had reported engine trouble and were attempting to return to Honolulu when they were forced to land the Boeing 737 cargo aircraft in the water, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Commander Karin Evelyn said in an email that they received a report around 1:40 a.m. of a downed inter-island transport plane. About an hour later, rescuers in a Coast Guard helicopter spotted the debris field and two people in the water, Evelyn said….

Shayne Enright, Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman, said the crash happened about 2 miles off Kalaeloa Airport.

“At about 4:10 a.m., EMS was met with one patient at the end of Lagoon Drive,” she said. “Paramedics treated a 50-year old patient for a head injury and transported him to a trauma emergency room in serious condition with the injury and multiple lacerations. USCG airlifted one person directly to an emergency room.”…

read … Cargo plane crashes off Oahu; 2 injured pilots rescued

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