Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, June 12, 2021
FBI Raids Lead to Shakeup at Planning Commission?
By Andrew Walden @ 9:58 PM :: 3352 Views :: Honolulu County, Ethics, Development

by Andrew Walden

With federal agents preparing to unveil bribery indictments against five Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) employees and a local architect, the employees' onetime boss, the former acting director of DPP, quietly quit his plum position as Chair of the Honolulu Planning Commission.

Arthur D. Challacombe’s term was to expire June 30, 2022.  He had been elected Planning Commission Chair at its January 6, 2021 meeting, but suddenly resigned prior to the February 17, 2021 Commission meeting.  There was no public announcement.  Minutes of the February 17 meeting note Challacombe’s absence only as “9th commissioner [vacant]”.  Laborers Union lobbyist Brian Lee was then elected chair.   

Federal authorities, March 30, 2021, unsealed indictments charging six suspects in a DPP bribery scheme going back as far as 2012.  Challacombe had been Deputy Director of the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting from 2013-2016, and then Acting Director in 2016-17.

The indictments should have come as no surprise to DPP insiders since the investigation had been revealed in open Federal Court records showing DPP employees’ court-appointed lawyer requests dating back to June, 2020. 

A May 18, 2021, message informs the Honolulu Council that Mayor Blangiardi is appointing Mr. Pane Meatoga III to the Planning Commission. Council Resolution 21-126 seeks council approval of the nomination.  Meatoga is “Community Liaison representing of the Hawaii Operating Engineers Industry Stabilization Fund” and has testified before the Council in favor of numerous development projects.   As a member of the Koolauloa Neighborhood Board and the Laie Community Association, he backed installation of the controversial Kahuku wind turbines.

Meatoga’s father, Pane Meatoga Jr, is District Representative for Operating Engineers Local 3 and a Hanabusa endorser in the recent Mayoral elections.

The appointment is on the June 17, 2021 Zoning Committee agenda and is already drawing opposition from the Kahuku community.  Christopher Goody writes:

I am opposed to Resolution 21-126: the nomination of Pane Meatoga to the Planning Commission, due to his apparent association  with development entities including but not limited to Envision Laie. the Polynesian Cultural Center, and the new large wind farm development in Kahuku,  These connections represent clear special interests that, if nothing else, could at least have the impression of effecting his judgement while serving on the Commission, These ties could be seen as a potential conflict of interest, and would in turn give the appearance of special consideration to such development entities over the greater public interest of all Koolauloa residents.

Unlike city elected officials, candidates, cabinet members and department heads, financial disclosures for members of City Boards and Commissions are confidential.

If confirmed, Meatoga will be one of three Building Trades union representatives on the Planning Commission.  Currently there are two vacancies.  The seven current Honolulu Planning Commissioners include:

Brian Lee Chair Term Exp. 6-30-24 – Lobbyist for ‘Hawaii Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust’

Ken K. Hayashida Vice Chair Term Exp. 6-30-24 – “President and founder of KAI Hawaii (structural and forensic engineers)”

Steven S. L. Lim Commissioner Term Exp 6-30-22 – Lawyer, Carlsmith Ball: “Mr. Lim concentrates in advising clients on real property due diligence reviews, land use entitlements and administrative issues, including litigation of land use and real property disputes…. Steven Lim is a revered real estate attorney who is skilled at handling contentious and regulatory matters concerning land use and zoning. His experience includes complex redevelopment projects.”

Arthur B. Tolentino Commissioner Term Exp 6-30-23 – Hawaii Sheet Metal Workers Business Manager/Financial Secretary-Treasurer

Gifford K. F. Chang Commissioner Term Exp. 6-30-21 – Realtor, Ideal Properties, Inc.

Aki Marceau Commissioner Term Exp. 6-30-21 -– “Director - Electrification of Transportation at Hawaiian Electric”

Ryan Kamo Commissioner Term Exp. 6-30-22 – Employee of “Design Partners Incorporated” which, on its website, explains: “The strength of the firm lies in its ability to cover the entire design process, from planning and design to construction administration.”

---30---

Res 21-126: Text, Status

Feb 7, 2020: Free Golf, Methamphetamines, and Building Permits 

Mar 30, 2021: Feds Bust Six in DPP Bribery Scheme

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT