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Saturday, March 5, 2022
March 5, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:18 PM :: 2581 Views

It Took Two Arrests to Do It, but Finally State Capitol Will Reopen to Public

Tourists Evacuated: Drugged-out Homeless Zombies Torch Hotel After DLNR Cuts Security

Supreme Court Finds State Violated Water Leasing Law in East Maui

Bill 9: ‘Empty homes’ tax won’t fulfill intention

Inflation: 49% of Hawaii Households Have Difficulty with Monthly Bills

Caldwell’s planning commissioner beat rap on Illegal Fireworks--owns Palolo site of 3 gambling raids

SA: … A commercial property in Palolo owned by a former member of the Honolulu Planning Commission (a typical Kirk Caldwell nominee) has been raided three times by Narcotics/Vice officers in the past 17 months as police try to permanently shut down the illegal gambling den.

Gambling search warrants were executed at Gifford K.F. Chang’s 1720 Palolo Ave. property on Sept. 16, 2020; May 12; and Feb. 23. In the latest raid, police seized more than 20 gambling machines, ammunition, drug paraphernalia and cash.

Honolulu resident Bang Cong Nguyen, 53, was arrested Feb. 23 on suspicion of promoting gambling and possession of a gambling device. The search warrant was executed at Chang’s building at 1720 Palolo Ave. by HPD’s Narcotics/Vice Division, Specialized Services Division, and District 7 Crime Reduction Unit, according to police.

Chang served on the city Planning Commission from March 2017 until he decided not to seek reappointment in September 2021.

Nuisance abatement letters were sent to Chang after the first two raids, and a nuisance abatement letter is being prepared for the third search warrant, executed Feb. 23, HPD Maj. Phillip Johnson told the Star-Advertiser in a statement.

After executing a warrant at a game room, police serve the property owner with a notice that they are subject to HRS 712-1271, which allows the state attorney general, county prosecutors or a private citizen to file a lawsuit seeking an end to the activity and abatement of the nuisance….

Chang, a licensed real estate agent and broker, did not immediately respond to an email and a message left at one of his businesses, Ideal Properties Inc.

Prior to joining the city Planning Commission, Chang was acquitted of federal charges that he illegally imported some of the seized fireworks that exploded and killed five men in a Waikele storage bunker in 2011.

A federal court jury found Chang, then 45, not guilty of charges of smuggling, importing explosive materials without a license and attempting to import explosives by falsifying state­ments. He was facing up to 20 years in prison on the smuggling count, up to 10 years for importing explosives without a license and two years for making false statements to federal investigators…. 

(So naturally Caldwell then picked him for the Planning Commission.)

2021: Police Corruption Scandals Revenge for Gambling Prosecutions?

read … Former Honolulu planning commissioner owns Palolo site of 3 gambling raids

Lt. Governor calling for Governor to end Hawaii's indoor mask mandate

KITV: … "We got to get to the end of this, I'm hoping that we get off the mandate on or before the 25th," Green says.

Despite that, Gov. Ige hasn't budged, citing concerns over county restrictions being lifted: "Since the counties dropped all restrictions so we do anticipate as a result of that to see increasing virus activity," Ige says.

Because it's a statewide order, the governor has the final call.  But some mayors are making it clear if were up to the local level, things would be different.

"If it was my decision I would have dropped it already, like I said we dropped our county regulations, our numbers have been in the green," says Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth.

But regardless of what happens with the mandate, some on Oahu say they'll mask up regardless.

"If you're going to go to a big crowd that a lot of people are not vaccinated I definitely would want to wear a mask then," says Richalle Patague, who was shopping at Ohana Hale Marketplace today  ….

CB: Hawaii Governor Rules Out Partial Lifting Of Indoor Mask Mandate

read … Lt. Governor calling for Governor to end Hawaii's indoor mask mandate

House and Senate move closer on minimum wage timeline

HTH: … Two years is now the difference between $18 minimum wage bills moving through the Hawai‘i House and Senate.

After both chambers announced support for an $18 minimum wage at the opening of the legislative session, the Senate quickly passed a no-frills minimum wage increase. The measure, Senate Bill 2018, would incrementally increase the minimum wage to $18 by 2026.

Though this bill passed first reading in the House Jan. 30, a couple weeks later, lawmakers rolled out House Bill 2510, a large package featuring several tax credits and a slower timeline for the wage increase, which would not reach $18 until 2030.

HB2510 was amended Thursday to reach $18 by 2028 and was recommended by the Finance Committee. The wage would hit $13 in 2023 and would incrementally increase a dollar a year until 2028…. 

SA: Differences narrow over Hawaii’s minimum wage bills

read … House and Senate move closer on minimum wage timeline

Protect astronomy in isles: Stop HB2024

SA Editorial: … Anyone who believes astronomy offers Hawaii a promising scientific and economic endeavor cannot see House Bill 2024 as supporting that aim. Even members of the committees that advanced the measure are worried about unintended consequences of changing management of state lands on Mauna Kea’s summit.

The advance of House Bill 2024 — which would create a new entity for that purpose, now shared by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and, through a lease on the district comprising 11 active telescopes, the University of Hawaii — does not send a very encouraging message….

even with an amendment to HB 2024 adding a single UH representative as a voting member, there is not enough experienced representation of astronomy interests, given the pivotal stage in development of the Thirty Meter Telescope and the decommissioning of other installations.

Another amendment would delay planning to return elevations above 9,200 feet to their natural state until after space-based technology renders ground telescopes obsolete. But there is no agreement among experts when ground telescopes would lose their utility, if ever.

The fact that the mountain would come under a new, single authority concerned Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey enough to vote for the plan, but “with serious reservations,” noting that the governing board would lack checks and balances.

He’s right to raise that point. Assuming the bill does pass the House, the Senate must consider whether expanding involvement of Native Hawaiians and other stakeholders could be accomplished in a way that does not imperil the future of Hawaii astronomy….


read … Editorial: Protect astronomy in isles

SB2535 could nix plans for an offshore wind farm developer

KITV: … Senate bill 2535 would allow offshore wind farms to be built no closer than 12 miles to the shoreline of any Hawaiian Island.

Hawaiian Electric say it is reviewing three lease requests from two different developers for offshore wind farms in Hawaii.

Two of those projects appear to either meet or exceed the 12-mile setback established by this bill. The developer of a third proposed project appears to be requesting a lease for project that would start about nine miles from the shore.

Under the requirements of this bill, the project would be potentially eliminated.

The bill now heads to a vote by the full Senate. That vote is scheduled for Tuesday, March 8….

read … Hawaii bill could nix plans for an offshore wind farm developer

Maui County Council races may prove a crowded field

MN: … Four candidates have pulled papers for Kahului residency seat…. The Kahului candidates are among at least 15 Maui County residents who have pulled papers for elective office in the first week of the filing period, according to a state Office of Elections report. Candidate filing for most offices, including county and statewide races, began on Tuesday. Filing ends on June 7 for the upcoming elections….The primary election is on Aug. 13 and the general election is on Nov. 8….

read … Maui County Council races may prove a crowded field

6 city ambulances out of service awaiting repairs, putting stress on emergency fleet

HNN: … The ambulances represent about a third of the city’s ambulance fleet.

On Friday, the ambulances were parked at various Ford dealerships on Oahu. The city says some have been there at least a month.

He said the emergency vehicles are spread between three Ford dealerships on the island. Some were pulled off the road after a parts recall.

“For the replacement of springs in the ambulance for suspension,” Ireland said.

He said the rest need repairs still covered under warranty. Meanwhile, wait times have gotten longer.

Ireland said, “We’re finding now it’s taking anywhere from three to up 10 weeks to get them back.”

He said repairs on an ambulance dropped off at Honolulu Ford in December were just completed this week. Another one has been there since January 25.

On Friday, HNN spotted three Honolulu EMS ambulances in the Kalihi lot….

read … 6 city ambulances out of service awaiting repairs, putting stress on emergency fleet

More Homeless Mayhem: Suspect arrested in NYC anti-Asian crime spree had been in trouble in Honolulu

HNN: … Zajonc is currently charged with hate crimes and harassment after police in New York say he targeted seven Asian women in a span of two hours last weekend.

The women ranged from 19-57 years old. All were punched or elbowed in the face and thrown to the ground.

Hawaii court records show the 28-year old Zajonc was arrested last May by Honolulu police.

He was charged with harassment and disobeying an officer.

He pleaded no contest to the charges and was released after he was given credit for serving two days in HPD’s cellblock.

The year before, he had been cited twice.

In April 2020, he was ticketed for trespassing. The complainant told Hawaii News Now that Zajonc was sleeping in a home under construction.

In September 2020, police were called to a park because he was spraying Glade in the bathroom. He was cited for not wearing a mask.

Both citations showed he had no local address.

It’s not known why he was in Hawaii. Before that, he was living in Florida….

read … Suspect arrested in NYC hate crime spree had been in trouble in Honolulu

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