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Thursday, February 3, 2022
February 3, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:43 PM :: 2433 Views

SB2242 Hikes both income and capital gains taxes

Tunnel Vision

Evening Tour of ʻIolani Palace: A Walk Through the Past

OHA Bumps Up $1M Emergency Financial Assistance Program

SB3043: Senate Committee Hearing Pistol Permitting & Registration Bill

Caldwell Should Quit Race Before He Gets Arrested

CB Trisha Watson: … If Kirk Caldwell is also being investigated — although so far there has been no indication that he has received a subject or target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice — it would be quite the blow to his legacy, which already wasn’t spectacular ….

And right now, Kirk Caldwell needs good friends around him. He needs people who will be painfully honest with him. The painful, honest truth is that he didn’t have much chance of winning this governor’s race to begin with — and the indictments are the final nail in that coffin….

He’s not a viable candidate. And running just fuels the political fodder (Translation: Makes voters think about rejecting other crooks.) and becomes a painful distraction (in an election the mafia needs to win)…

TOTALLY RELATED: Kai Kahele planning to run for governor?  

UPDATE--Civil Beat removes column: "We simply didn’t think through Watson’s longstanding political ties to U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele and what could easily be perceived as an effort to undermine the former Honolulu mayor’s campaign just days after media, including Civil Beat, reported that Kahele was probably going to run for governor himself. ... Watson is a well-known supporter of Kai Kahele. Two years ago, when Kahele ran for Congress, Watson held a top leadership post in his campaign organization."

MN: Close primary between Kahele and Cayetano?

read … Time For Kirk Caldwell To Hang It Up

Feds Object To Leong Trick to Point Finger at Dying Man

CB: … Federal prosecutors opposed that motion on Thursday, saying that Panagakos failed to establish that Koyanagi was willing and able to testify.

Koyanagi’s medical records were submitted to the court under seal, meaning they are confidential. But prosecutors said in their filing that the medical information “raises significant concerns about Koyanagi’s fitness, competency, and overall availability to serve as a witness.”…

If not for the medical issues, prosecutors said they would welcome Koyanagi’s testimony because they believe it would help their case, not exonerate Leong.

Former corporation counsel Donna Leong allegedly told other city officials that budget director Nelson Koyanagi would approve the payment. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

According to prosecutors, Koyanagi worked alongside Leong to persuade Honolulu police officials to “misuse funds” to pay for Kealoha’s retirement. His testimony would “only serve to confirm Leong’s guilt,” they said.

The indictment states that HPD told Leong and others that it did not have the money to cover the cost of the payout, but Leong and Sword wanted to use funds from an account for vacant positions, also called the provisional account. Leong allegedly stated that Koyanagi would authorize the payment.

On a conference call among Leong, Sword, Koyanagi, and HPD leadership, Leong allegedly outlined a plan that would require only a “notification” to the city council, “not an approval,” prosecutors state.

HPD would allocate funds for the severance agreement from HPD’s salary fund, and when HPD ran out of salary funds because of the payout, Koyanagi would transfer money from the provisional account to the salary account, according to prosecutors.

“The scheme ultimately relied on the thinly veiled pretense that the provisional account had been emptied due to filling vacancies within HPD and thus needed reimbursement,” prosecutors wrote in their filing.

HPD leadership allegedly objected to the “fib,” prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, Koyanagi later reiterated what Leong had said, that, “one way to possibly get money to you guys, so you would use your funds that you have now and if you have any vacancies that you, you either filled or need to fill then we can transfer uh, money to, to um, cover that and then that would hopefully supplement the amount that you paid out.”

At one point, Leong allegedly asked Koyanagi to weigh in on whether the payout was appropriate.

‘Koyanagi was ready to weigh in, armed with his own memorandum that he later admitted Leong had drafted for him,” prosecutors said.

read … Feds Object To Requested Deposition Of Former Honolulu Budget Director

HB1706 Would ban single-use plastic bottles in 2025

KHON: … Lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban plastic bottles in Hawaii over the next two to three years. If passed, it would be illegal to manufacture, distribute or sell single-use plastic water bottles smaller than 16 ounces by 2024, and bottles 16 ounces or more the following year.

Hawaii’s Rep. Sean Quinlan, who introduced the bill, said society is addicted to plastic….Quinlan said everyone he knows already carries hydro flasks….

Menehune Water Company President Ken Simon said he wishes lawmakers would consult them more before they introduce bills like this.

“I wish they would consult the people who are in the industry to get a bigger understanding of what they’re trying to do,” Simon said. “They mean well, but the direction is misguided.”

Simon said it’s not practical and would devastate businesses like his, putting hundreds out of work….

The House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection (EEP) will review the bill Thursday at 9 A.M. to determine if it will move forward….

KITV: HB1645 aims to ban travel-size plastic bottles from hotels

read … Possible bill could ban single-use plastic bottles in future years for Hawaii

In federal court appeal, Navy calls state order to empty Red Hill fuel tanks ‘capricious’

HNN: … In the court filing, the Navy said the state’s finding that the underground fuel storage facility poses an imminent threat to Oahu’s drinking water is “clearly erroneous, arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.”…

The Navy said it was filing the suit out of an “abundance of caution” and complains the state is “effectively seeking to shut down the Red Hill facility itself.”…

SA: Feds take Hawaii to court over Red Hill defueling order

KITV: Navy files for injunction to Hawaii's emergency order to drain Red Hill fuel facility

CB: US Government Sues Hawaii Over Order To Defuel Red Hill Facility

Feb 1, 2022: Senator Hirono Statement on DoD Decision to Contest Hawaii's Red Hill Emergency Order

SA: Usual Gaggle of Activists protest Pentagon’s decision to appeal Hawaii’s Red Hill defueling order

SA Editorial: Don’t allow Navy to stall response

PDF: Navy appeal to Red Hill order

read … In federal court appeal, Navy calls state order to empty Red Hill fuel tanks ‘capricious’

Project Reset: Lawmakers push for program that gives criminals lots of free stuff

KHON: …The Project Reset bill is moving through the legislature and aims to offer better opportunities for those in prison looking to put a reset on their life. From rehabilitation, employment and housing, lawmakers are pushing for funding to offer the resources….

Another push moving through the legislature would require the Department of Public Safety to reward inmates who complete programs with health insurance, housing or tuition after release….“The promise of change for Hawaii communities on every island sings in the language which identifies the programs so clearly,” said Carolyn Iten, a supporter of SB2433….

Funding for Project Reset is $375,000, but lawmakers are discussing more funding for the bill.

read … Project Reset: Lawmakers push for program that gives criminals a second chance

HPD releases summary report from deadly 2020 shooting near Diamond Head

KITV: … According to the report, HPD says the suspect, Jerry Hanel, killed his landlord, Lois Cain, and then shot and killed officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama before setting fire to his home in the 3000 block of Hibiscus Drive.

Police said Hanel also stabbed another woman in the leg before setting the fire. Hanel’s body was later found in the burned home. It was determined that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In the summary report, an Administrative Review Board recommended HPD develop a training program focused on tactics, communication, and supervision related to this incident.

The report also states while police located a rifle next to Hanel's body, police could not eliminate nor identify the bullets that struck both officers as having been fired from that same rifle due to the condition of the fragments….

SA: Honolulu Police Department releases incident summary of Hibiscus Drive killings

PDF: Full Report

read … HPD releases summary report from deadly 2020 shooting near Diamond Head

Honolulu’s Plan To Raise Bus Fares Will Hurt Riders

CB: … With just 6.4% of residents commuting via TheBus pre-pandemic, increasing travel on public transit is among the lowest-hanging fruit to decrease traffic congestion, reduce the state’s carbon footprint and lower residents’ transportation costs.

Yet, a recent proposal by the Honolulu Rate Commission would do just the opposite. While members of TheBus’ Rate Commission in 2019 openly debated lowering fares from $2.75 to just $2 to boost ridership, in 2020, the City Council approved Bill 89 (now Ordinance 21-7), which instead raised rates (effective July 2022) on single-ride fares by 9%, daily maximum fares by 36%, and monthly and annual passes by 13% and 14%, respectively.

The Honolulu Department of Transportation Services is now recommending bus fares be increased even more. The most recent fare hikes — proposed shortly after Honolulu rolled out Holo Cards, a smart card system which replaced paper passes — would increase rates on non-resident seniors, Medicare card holders, riders with disabilities, and paratransit users.

Unsurprisingly, there is a strong connection between rates and ridership, as cities with low to zero fares see the greatest transit usage. Studies show that going fare free typically increases a system’s ridership by 25% to 50%.

Historically, this has also shown to be true on Oahu. In the 1970s, Honolulu instituted a free fare program for all senior citizens over the age of 65. Less than three years later, the bus system was averaging nearly 350,000 senior trips per month — an increase of 88%….

read … Honolulu’s Plan To Raise Bus Fares Will Hurt Riders

Hawaii County Campaign fundraising off to a slow start

HTH: … The last half of 2021 was generally a sluggish period for local campaign fundraising, with the exception of two candidates seeking new offices.

Jennifer Kagiwada, the first candidate to announce a run for County Council, has already raised more than $10,000 after opening a campaign account Nov. 23. She’s vying for the open District 2 seat being vacated by the term-limited Hilo Councilman Aaron Chung…. Kagiwada, serves as legislative assistant to Hamakua Councilwoman Heather Kimball…

Kohala Councilman Tim Richards, who announced in November he’s planning to forego a final term on the County Council to run for the District 4 Senate seat vacated when the state Reapportionment Commission redrew the boundary lines on the Big Island, raised $6,500 to bring his campaign war chest to $37,469….

At least five members of Roth’s administration — Executive Assistant Jane Clement, Public Works Director Ikaika Rodenhurst, Highways Division Chief Neil Azevedo, Deputy Corporation Counsel J Yoshimoto and Planner Bethany Morris — have open campaign accounts but none collected outside money during the last six months of 2021, according to reports filed by the Jan. 31 deadline with the state Campaign Spending Commission….

read … Campaign fundraising off to a slow start

Kauai Prosecutor candidates Like and Iseri discuss policy ahead of election

TGI: … With ballots for the county prosecutor special election sent out in the mail last week, candidates Rebecca Like and Shaylene Iseri took to the airwaves to share their vision for criminal justice on the island….

read … OPA candidates Like and Iseri discuss policy ahead of election

Bill aims to cut BLNR out of lease extension approvals in Kanoelehua Industrial Area

HTH: … With some Hilo business owners having a hard time getting their leases of state land extended, a bill in the state Legislature seeks to cut the Board of Land and Natural Resources out of the process entirely.

Senate Bill 3375 would repeal the need for the BLNR to approve lease extensions in the Hilo Community Economic District, leaving the approval process in the hands of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The bill was introduced in the midst of a contentious lease extension program that began in 2018. A law passed that year, Act 149, allowed lessees of state land in the Kanoelehua Industrial Area to extend their leases with the state by up to 40 years.

Many of the leases within the KIA were awarded following the 1960 tsunami and are approaching the end of their terms. Under Act 149, lessees would be allowed to have those leases extended if they commit to making improvements to the properties….

read … Bill aims to speed up lease extension approvals in Kanoelehua Industrial Area

Legislative Agenda:

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