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Tuesday, March 29, 2022
March 29, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:29 PM :: 1403 Views

Former OHA Aide Pleads Guilty to $1.2 Million Fraud and Money Laundering

UH Prof Named KSBE Trustee

DoD to Spend $1B on Red Hill

College enrollment down sharply

Detainee Pleads Guilty to Injuring Officers in Assault at Detention Center

Erasing history to Install Identity Politics: Lawmakers want Kauai’s Russian Fort Elizabeth to have a new name

SA: … In preparation for the possible name switch, the Department of Transportation has removed roadway signs referencing the area as Russian Fort Elizabeth, said Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell in testimony supporting HCR 104.

“Things are in motion to put it back in a more accurate post-culture nomenclature and perspective,” Cottrell said.

(What is ‘post-culture’? “Post Culture examines art and entertainment at the intersection of culture and identity.”  In other words, the fort is being renamed to advance Hawaiian identity politics.)

The history of Fort Elizabeth goes back to the early 1800s when George Schaffer, a Russian American trading representative, arrived to salvage goods from a Russian shipwreck off the coast of Kauai. He began constructing Fort Elizabeth during his stay in 1816 but was driven out of the islands before its completion, according to a website by the nonprofit Friends of King Kaumualii.

Kaumualii and his men completed Fort Elizabeth and used it as an administrative center, a prison and a burial ground, according to the website. The fort was dismantled by the Hawaiian government in 1864, and according to HCR 104, all that remains is the outer structure….

Kenneth Conklin, executive director of the Center for Hawaiian Sovereignty Studies, wrote in testimony opposing the two resolutions that the “Russian-ness” of the current name represents an essential part of Kauai’s history. He said renaming Russian Fort Elizabeth Park would be similar to Soviet Union politicians who removed their enemies’ names from history books….

Nobrega-Olivera emphasized the importance of educating others on the area’s history, which she believes will happen if the area is renamed.  “It’s really that larger story, and then that connection to our alii, specifically Kaumualii as our fearless leader, that really makes it special,” she said.

(Fearless? This is the assertion of identity politics which will be enabled by renaming the fort.)

Yesterday: Erasing History to Install Lies: Resolution urges name change for Captain Cook

Big Q: Do you support a resolution to replace the name of Hawaii County’s Captain Cook with its original name, Kaawaloa?

SA Editorial: Even McKinley grads may come around, in the end.

read … Lawmakers want Kauai’s Russian Fort Elizabeth to have a new name

Katherine Kealoha’s brother pleads guilty to gun crime ahead of drug trial

HNN: … On the eve of jury selection for his trial, Rudy Puana, the Big Island doctor and brother of Katherine Kealoha, pleaded guilty to one count of drug addict in possession of a firearm.

Puana is still going to trial for the remaining counts, which include distributing and dispensing of Fentanyl, distributing and dispensing Oxycodone, as well as health care fraud.

It’s not clear why Puana would accept responsibility for the one gun crime but still go to trial on the other charges but notes from Monday’s hearing show that the court accepted the guilty plea.

The grand jury indictment from 2019 said Puana had multiple guns including a Glock 45ACP semi-automatic handgun, a Remington 870 Express, and various others while being addicted to drugs, a federal felony crime…. 

KITV: Jury selection underway in drug trail of Big Island doctor

read … Big Island doctor, Katherine Kealoha’s brother pleads guilty to gun crime ahead of drug trial

Why the public is paying the legal bills of convicted former police chief Louis Kealoha

ILind: … The Intermediate Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by the Honolulu Police Commission that former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha was entitled to legal representation at city expense in his federal criminal case. In a March 16 opinion, the court found the commission had properly applied the law and its own rules, and had made the proper decision.

The Office of Corporation Counsel had recommended the commission turn down Kealoha’s request for legal counsel. And, later, the city went to court to challenge the commission’s decision that Kealoha was entitled to be represented at public expense because he had acted in the course of his official duties….

read … Why the public is paying the legal bills of convicted former police chief Louis Kealoha

Miske co-defendant, already free on bond, seeks release from GPS monitoring

ILind: … One of Mike Miske’s original co-defendants who was arrested and charged in July 2020 in the federal racketeering and drug trafficking case targeting Miske, the former owner of Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control and other islands businesses, has been free on bond since his release just a week after his initial arrest.

Preston Kimoto was originally placed under house arrest and allowed to leave his home for limited purposes, including going to work, to medical appointments, or to appear in court. Late last year, after complying with the terms of his release for nearly 1-1/2 years, Kimoto’s restrictions were reduced to a late night curfew, along with GPS monitoring.

Kimoto served as sales manager at Kamaaina Termite and Oahu Termite, after Miske took control of the latter company. He also held a car salesman’s license with Hawaii Partners, another Miske-owned company that was licensed as a used car dealer.

Now Kimoto’s attorney has made a new request, asking the court to end both the curfew and location monitoring, the last remaining restrictions on Kimoto’s activities. Kimoto also put down $5,000 cash, or 10% of the $50,000 bond required by the court prior to release. The bond will remain in place whether or not the latest request is granted….

read … Miske co-defendant, already free on bond, seeks release from GPS monitoring

Deputy sheriff charged with assault on another deputy

KHON: … A deputy sheriff has been charged with assaulting another deputy sheriff at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. A spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety says the injured deputy was taken to the hospital.

The Department of Public Safety says the fight happened on Friday night. Officials say both deputies have been placed on paid leave while the case is under investigation….

Sources within the department tell us that the deputy could ultimately be fired even if he isn’t found guilty of assault…. 

(He will win in arbitration and get back pay with interest.) 

HNN: Department of Public Safety said Zane Thompson, a 12-year veteran, was arrested

KITV: Hawaii sheriff division arrests one of its own deputies

read … Deputy sheriff charged with assault on another deputy

Former Maui DWS employee says he was fired for pointing out contamination concerns

HNN: … One year after filing a whistleblower lawsuit against Maui County, a former Department of Water Supply employee is still fighting for his job back.

Ashley Hooks’ lawsuit claims he was retaliated against and unlawfully fired in 2020 after he alerted the state that Maui’s largest surface water treatment facility had been contaminated.

“The operator was cleaning it with acid and chemicals, which is proper practice. But he made the mistake of opening the wrong valve and dumped a whole bunch of acid and all the stuff we were filtering out of the water back into the drinking water,” said Hooks.

Hooks said supervisors were notified that an uncertain amount of acid went into the Kamole Water Treatment Facility….

Hooks said the supervisors failed to take the issue seriously and he was bullied when he questioned them.

“Like, don’t you dare talk about this,” Hooks said.

Hooks said after no action was taken for more than a month, he alerted the state Department of Health’s Safe Drinking Water Branch….

The lawsuit states a violation letter was issued to the county and the public was subsequently notified about the water contamination.

“Had Mr. Hooks not blown the whistle and contacted the Department of Health, nobody in the general public, including myself, would you ever know that the water had been contaminated,” said Hooks’ attorney Andrew Daisuke Stewart.

Hooks was fired one month later….

Trial is scheduled for September….

read … Former Maui DWS employee says he was fired for pointing out contamination concerns

Law Changed After 1,000 Criminals Walk Free

KITV: … Gov. David Ige has signed into law a bill that was created in response to the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that resulted in the dismissal of more than one thousand cases in the past three months.

House Bill 1541 – now known as Act 2 – will allow the prosecuting attorneys to sign the criminal complaints, rather than requiring the victim or complainant.

In December 2021, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled on a case from 2016, in which Corey Thompson was charged with abuse of a family or household member on the Big Island.

The high court said the criminal complaint was not signed by Thompson under oath or made by declaration, as required by statute, so the lower court was correct in dismissing the case without prejudice.

In February, the Office of the Public Defender asked the Court to throw out the case in which a teenager reported being sexually assaulted at Ala Moana Center, citing State v. Thompson. A judge denied that motion to have the case dismissed.

However, the Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney said the State v. Thompson ruling has led to the dismissal of more than 1,000 misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor cases on Oahu, and hundreds of cases on the neighbor islands.

Misdemeanors include crimes such as fourth-degree sex assault, drunk driving, theft of less than $750, second-degree terroristic threatening, and third-degree assault…. 

SA: New Hawaii law clarifies procedures for filing criminal complaints

read … New law created in wake of Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that led to cases being thrown out

$600 million DHHL bill advances

HTH: … some testifiers were skeptical that simply giving DHHL an enormous sum of money will help solve its waitlist problem.

“We all would like to think that by throwing $600 million at DHHL, we could make a significant dent in the production of Hawaiian homestead lands and getting people off the decades-long waitlist into Hawaiian homesteads,” read a statement by the Tax Foundation of Hawaii. “But there are apparently issues with getting DHHL to spend the money it now has.”

The Tax Foundation of Hawaii noted that DHHL was sitting on $55 million in unspent federal funding, and questioned why the department couldn’t first spend the money it already has before receiving an infusion of funds….

read … $600 million DHHL bill advances

Mina Morita Pushing Hu Honua Scheme

CB: … Until recently, only fossil fuel plants provided grid stability reliably. Now, there are firm renewable resources and technologies available that can replace fossil fuel plants, but these are limited to geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass. Of these, because geothermal and hydroelectric resources are geographically limited, only biomass can be developed throughout the state.

Honua Ola Bioenergy on Hawaii Island and the Green Team biomass on Kauai are examples of the kinds of firm renewable projects that could replace fossil fuel plants on the Big Island, Maui and Oahu. Unfortunately, on Oahu, the alternative in the near term is for Hawaiian Electric to increase its use of its inefficient fossil fuel plants to maintain grid stability….

Related? DeCosta’s agriculture bills get pushback from local lawyer

REALITY: Wood Pellets? Hawaii 'Green' Energy Scam is Dirtier Than Coal

read … Hawaii Needs Multipronged Approach To Achieve Clean Energy Goals

Honolulu’s Ban On Plastic And Polystyrene Containers Is On Hold For 6 Months

CB: … Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration granted a six-month exemption to the food industry this month after a request from Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President Sherry Menor-McNamara. Food vendors won’t have to comply with the law until Sept. 5.

In 2019, environmental advocates lauded the passage of Bill 40, which was aimed at reducing waste and the island’s reliance on oil-based products. Its implementation was designed to occur in two waves, but it hit some snags with the pandemic.

A ban on plastic utensils, among other measures, began in April 2021 but was suspended within a few months because of pandemic-related impacts on the restaurant industry. The prohibition on plastic and polystyrene containers was supposed to start on Jan. 1 of this year, but it was delayed for the same reasons….

read … Honolulu’s Ban On Plastic And Polystyrene Containers Is On Hold For 6 Months

Locals Are Hawai‘i’s No. 1 Homebuyers, But …

HB: … Local people bought 76% of all residential properties sold in Hawai‘i last year. But when you add up the sales prices of all those properties, local buyers accounted for only 65% of the volume.

That tells us something we already know: Buyers from the U.S. mainland and foreign countries are buying a lot of Hawai‘i’s most expensive properties.….

read … Locals Are Hawai‘i’s No. 1 Homebuyers, But …

Homeless keiki on the rise at Oahu's largest shelter

KHON: … Nearly 30 children are currently at IHS -- about 10 more than a year ago -- many of them with developmental delays….

read … Homeless keiki on the rise at Oahu's largest shelter

Apartments for Hard-Core Homeless Still Sit Empty

SA: …The studio apartments are part of a larger city project operating out of the 43,000-square-foot former Malihini Sportswear factory on Kuwili Street that now provide services for the homeless. Puna­wai Rest Stop occupies the bottom floor as a hygiene center providing showers, laundry and mail services.

Punawai Clinic operates above it, offering nonemergency medical services….

Steadfast Housing Development Corp. manages the studio apartments. Only 13 of the 20 units were filled as of this month, said Executive Director Linda Lahue.

Each studio is furnished with a bed, bathroom, closet, microwave and mini-refrigerator. There is a community space where the tenants can use the two ovens, stovetops and full-size refrigerators….

The number of tenants at Punawai Hale has fluctuated over the past year, sometimes dwindling to only six residents….

the main reason why the project has been unable to fill the units is because of strict requirements meant to serve the most vulnerable homeless people.

“We weren’t getting a lot of referrals. And we couldn’t understand why because it’s brand new, it’s their own individual unit,” Lahue said.

Homeless people working with a case manager are put into a coordinated entry system that prioritizes need based on a Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool, or VI-SPDAT. The Punawai Hale units are for those who were higher on the scale, in the 10-to-17 range, meaning they were chronically homeless and often struggled with drug use….

(TRANSLATION: Because these units were reserved for the real hard-core homeless they couldn’t find enough bums willing to voluntarily accept shelter. Again, this proves that homelessness will end ONLY when the homeless are FORCED to accept shelter.)

He said officials met with Steadfast in late 2021 and lowered the requirement to allow for VI-SPDAT scores in the range of 4 to 8 to enlarge the pool of applicants.

(Translation: People who are not really homeless.)

“We are continuing to work closely with them to see if additional changes need to be considered and assessed,” Krucky said.

Lahue is optimistic that with the loosened requirements they will be able to fill the units by the end of April or early May…..

read … Punawai Hale hoping for full occupancy

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