Hawaii State Senate Announces Leadership, Committee Chairs for 2023
Six Gays Elected in Hawaii
Two Iges Better Than One? -- Contemplate future run for office
SA: … eight years of dealing with oncoming hurricanes, catastrophic floods on the North Shore of Kauai, a volcanic eruption on Hawaii island, an economic collapse triggered by COVID-19 and an alert of an incoming missile attack that made Ige the butt of late-night comedy shows for failing to tweet out a false alarm message because he couldn’t remember his Twitter password….
… Both Iges … said they want to continue serving the community somehow and Dawn Ige even teased the possibility of seeking political office herself, but has no specific office in mind....
Eight years of having a front-row seat to Hawaii governance and politics has only left her considering a political campaign of her own.
“I will just leave that open as a possibility,” she said. “I’m not ready to retire yet.”
If she were to run and win election, Dawn Ige likely would insist on a weekly sit-down with her husband — as they do now — to get an update on issues that Dawn Ige said she only sometimes learns about by reading about them in the Star-Advertiser.
“I would tell David, ‘You never told me this was going on,’” Dawn Ige said. “You have to set aside time. Every governor and first lady needs to find their path.”
David Ige also said he would not rule out a future run for office, but has no specific office in mind….
The unknowns include the uncertainty of where the Iges will sleep the night of Dec. 5 — when David Ige’s term ends — because they’re in the midst of remodeling their six-bedroom, three-bath home in Aiea. They’ve been waiting on a building permit since May or June to “move a wall 1 foot,” David Ige said. And new kitchen and bath cabinets are on back order, part of the global supply chain delay.….
SA: First lady Dawn Amano-Ige’s work is not done
read … Iges reflect on tenure, contemplate future run for office
Proof that every vote count: Incumbent lawmaker wins re-election by just 40 votes
HNN: … In a razor-thin victory, Democratic incumbent Maile Shimabukuro won the state Senate race for District 22 after a recount of ballots.
After the ballots were cured Wednesday, the results show Shimabukuro as the winner with just 40 votes over Republican Samantha Decorte.
Before the recount, Shimabukuro was up by 72 votes….
read … Proof that every vote count: Incumbent lawmaker wins re-election by just 40 votes
The average wait for a residential permit is 10 months. The city hopes ‘bots’ will slash that to weeks
HNN: … Improvements are in the works for Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting, which is grappling with a backlog of 6,000 residential permit applications.
The average wait time from application to approval for a residential permit is 10 months….
The problem starts with the prescreening.
“This is a manual process. Currently, the queue or line for this process is about 175 days,” she said.
To reduce wait times, DPP is deploying a “bot” to automatically check requirements from a checklist.
“The bot will be able to shrink down the number of days from 178, to, hopefully less than a week for that phase,” Apuna said….
DPP also launched a new website with detailed instructions to eliminate the back and forth.
“When the design professionals are making their plans, they can look at exactly what we’re looking for and what the bot is looking for,” Apuna said.
Some contractors are skeptical the changes will make a dent.
“I’m just afraid that it’s going to be after the holidays is going to be instead of six months, it’ll be eight months,” said engineer Jeoffrey Cudiamat, owner and CEO of Structural Hawaii….
Contractors worry the permitting system is so bad that more people are turning to unlicensed contractors to get work done faster. Not only does that hurt legitimate businesses, they say, it can be dangerous for the homeowner and the community….
SA: Change underway to tackle Oahu building permit backlog
read … The average wait for a residential permit is 10 months. The city hopes ‘bots’ will slash that to weeks
Police Report: Mom Says Big Island Prosecutor Threatened To Shoot Her Son
CB: … A number of neighbors have had issues with the deputy prosecutor, Winston Albright, but he has kept his job as the cases get dismissed or resolved behind closed doors…..
Randall Winston Albright called police on July 8, 2021 to say Precious Dela Cruz, his neighbor in Ainaloa, was harassing him by confronting him about the video he recorded of her teenage son who was riding his noisy dirt bike on the road as he often did.
According to the report, Albright said the teenager scared him by calling him a derogatory name.
In an interview with police, Dela Cruz said Albright told her son: “I have a gun and if you come on my property, I will shoot you.”…
Three days after the July 8 incident, Albright contacted police, according to the report. Sgt. Shawn Tingle told Albright he needed to come to the police station to be advised of his rights and to make a statement.
Albright told police he does not own a gun and that Dela Cruz lied. The prosecutor said he was in Kona, on the other side of the Big Island, and could not come to the Puna police station.
“I advised Albright that I could make arrangements for him to be interviewed in Kona, at which point Albright stated that he would ‘Lawyer up,’ and that he stands by the statement he made to Officer Rapoza on 7-8-21,” Tingle wrote.
Officer Jonathan Rapoza, who responded to Albright’s call on July 8, referred the case to the Hawaii County Prosecutor’s Office, where Albright works. Because investigating one of their own employees would pose a conflict of interest, they forwarded the case on to the state Attorney General’s criminal division. Lawyers for the AG transferred it to the Kauai County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
Kauai Deputy Prosecutor Keola Siu was assigned to review the case, according to an email thread from that office, but he declined to prosecute it….
read … Police Report: Mom Says Big Island Prosecutor Threatened To Shoot Her Son
County Council passes legislation barring firearms in ‘sensitive places’
HTH: … The final form of Bill 220 fills the gap left by the Supreme Court decision by enumerating several different places where people with carrying licenses cannot bring firearms. Those places include hospitals and other medical facilities, schools, parks, churches, voting centers, government vehicles, public transit facilities and vehicles, establishments that serve alcohol, and “private property open to the public where it is conspicuously posted that public carry of firearms is not allowed.”
That last phrase was the subject of lengthy debate at both Wednesday’s meeting and the council meeting two weeks prior.
Hamakua Councilwoman Heather Kimball, who introduced several amendments to the bill throughout its development, said the intention of that phrase was to refer to locations such as stores and similar establishments….
Kimball pushed for an amendment that would shift the burden of informing the public about the rule to individual businesses. While the draft that passed allows firearms in any public business that has not posted that guns are not allowed — effectively allowing a business to “opt out” of allowing guns — Kimball’s amendment would have required businesses to “opt in” by prohibiting guns in all businesses unless a business explicitly allows it.
“We have so many people who own places of public accommodation who are not even aware that we are having this conversation right now,” Kimball said. “What I’m asking for is to consider that, because of the … fact that this has not been widely permitted in Hawaii or Hawaii County for all this time, we need to make it actually clear where it is permitted.”
That amendment failed, however, because of pushback from Puna council members Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder and Ashley Kierkiewicz.
Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder said it seems counter to the Supreme Court’s ruling to require that an establishment actively exempt itself from the sensitive places list rather than the other way around…..
read … County Council passes legislation barring firearms in ‘sensitive places’
Soft on Crime: No Real Time Until 4th Shooting Conviction
SA: … Oahu Circuit Court Judge Faauuga Tootoo today sentenced a 38-year-old man, who shot and killed a 19-year-old motorist in a June 18, 2021 road rage incident, to life without the possibility of parole.
Eddieson Reyes would have received life with the possibility of parole had not Deputy Prosecutor Oksana Vincent sought and received the extended term based on Reyes’ three prior convictions in which he used a firearm to shoot a victim.
Tootoo found Reyes guilty May 12 in a jury-waived trial on charges of second-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony and first-degree terroristic threatening ….
HNN: At the time of the fatal shooting, Reyes, 38, was on parole for a prior assault and reckless endangering case involving a firearm….
(Hawaii has gun control, but still no real punishment for gun crimes.)
read … Man gets life for fatal Kalihi road rage shooting
Imprisoned Ex-Honolulu Police Chief Kealoha Begins Paying Restitution
CB: … Honolulu’s ex-police chief Louis Kealoha has begun paying restitution more than three years after he was convicted in one of Hawaii’s most notorious corruption scandals.
The checks were supposed to start going out within 30 days of Kealoha entering prison in July 2021. But payments didn’t start until last month, according to Eric Seitz, an attorney for the recipients, Gerard Puana and the estate of Florence Puana. …
At sentencing, the court ordered Katherine Kealoha to pay more than $46,000 to Gerard Puana and $243,000 to Florence Puana’s estate. Louis Kealoha was ordered to pay over $11,500 to Gerard Puana and more than $60,000 to Florence Puana’s estate.
The first checks came in last month from Louis Kealoha, according to Seitz. Gerard Puana received $954.89 and the Florence M. Puana Trust received $2,795.11 in checks dated Oct. 17. They should continue to receive monthly payments, he said.
Both Kealohas received taxpayer-funded defense attorneys after they claimed to be indigent, but Louis Kealoha continues to receive a pension of about $9,700 a month. A new pension forfeiture law aimed at seizing retirement payouts for government employees convicted of corruption doesn’t apply to him because it was passed after his misconduct occurred, and the law is not retroactive.
Seitz said he hasn’t received anything from Katherine Kealoha.
“Katherine has nothing,” he said.
If Katherine’s portion is left unpaid, Louis will be on the hook to pay it, according to Puana’s one-time public defender, Ali Silvert….
read … Imprisoned Ex-Honolulu Police Chief Kealoha Begins Paying Restitution
HPD chief: Officers were chasing stolen motorcycle moments before critical crash
HNN: … The incident happened Nov. 10 in Wahiawa.
In an emailed statement Thursday, HPD Chief Joe Logan said the chase started when plainclothes officers spotted a 34-year-old man operating a stolen motorcycle.
“Initial reports indicate the officers identified themselves, but the motorcycle continued down Ohai Street,” Logan said, in the statement.
“The officers followed the motorcycle for a short distance before it sped away, turned right onto Kamehameha Highway, disregarded a red traffic light at Wilikina Drive, and collided into a Jeep at the intersection of Kamehameha Highway and Wilikina Drive.”
According to Emergency Medical Services, the motorcyclist suffered “extensive injuries” and was taken to the hospital in critical condition. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
The driver of the Jeep sustained minor injuries.
Logan did not say why the details on the chase were not released immediately following the crash….
SA: Police follow allegedly stolen motorcycle, rider crashes in Wahiawa
read … HPD chief: Officers were chasing motorcyclist moments before critical crash
Bus fares could go down for some riders in the new year
KITV: … A bill that would impact theBus and Handi-van services, is advancing at Honolulu Hale.
The bill over bus fares has one more stop to make before becoming law.
If it does, it would make a significant change on the annual passes for low income riders, those who are disabled or senior citizens.
"The annual fare for those bus riders would be $45 dollars. The fare for low income riders on the Handi-van will go down to 2 dollars," said Dept. of Transportation Services Director Roger Morton….
read … Bus fares could go down for some riders in the new year
Fail: PIT Count Shows no Reduction in Kauai Homelessness over Last Seven Years
TGI: … The Kauai PIT census further breaks down the total number of homeless individuals to where the homeless are, indicating that the West region has a total of 74 homeless, all unsheltered, that is an increase from the 57 counted in 2015 when the census started.
The East region started with a count of 43 total homeless in 2015 and jumped to 131 in 2022, its highest count in the seven-year span.
The South Central region showed a 179 homeless population in 2022, a decrease from the 180 count in 2015 following a peak population of 226 people in 2018.
Another area of decline is in the North region, where the 2022 PIT Count showed 43 homeless people, a decrease from the 58 counted in 2015….
read … Connecting with the homeless