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Friday, March 11, 2016
March 11, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:03 PM :: 4635 Views

Final Results: Hawaii Republican Presidential Caucus

Guam Votes Tonight In The Republican Primary

Nai Aupuni’s Secret Controllers

Hawaii GE Tax Bites into 99% of Personal Income

Maui: Auditor Undervalues our Garbage

Maui Council Rejects 300% Agriculture Tax Hike

American Samoa Fights Feds for Fishing Zone

The Best—and Worst—States for Workers with Disabilities

AM940 -- Grassroot Institute on the Air

Full Text: Kauai Pesticide Report

Local GOP hopes caucus turnout re-energizes party

SA: …the 15,000 voters, Slom said, show “just how determined people were to express their opinion.”

The question now is whether the GOP can both use and hold on to the new voters.

Rohlfing said he could see support for candidates in the 2012 and 2014 state House elections because of new voters in areas that had not supported Republicans in the past, including Mililani and the North Shore.

Paikai took an even more optimistic tone, saying, “They are interested; they are going to stay. I am going to ask them to stay, because we are making solutions, not disillusions.”

Slom is more cautious. While he sees “a new paradigm that means there is a possibility for more elected Republicans,” it will come down to the GOP finding and supporting good candidates in the fall elections….

read … Revitalize

Hawaii Trump Voters “Disgusted with political correctness”

CB: …Sandra Combs, an “educational entrepreneur” in Kapaa, Kauai, spent two hours at the caucus location in her neighborhood Tuesday night.

Like many people there, she voted for Donald Trump.

“I watched not just middle-class and upper-middle class white people, but every color, every size, every age,” she said. “The diversity was amazing to me. I even saw a number of my former students.” …

To Combs, the victory was validation that Trump is the candidate of the moment, the one who “speaks a language that normal people can understand. It’s not political-esse, it’s not elitism. It’s plain language that people understand.”…

Based on interviews with some of his Hawaii supporters Wednesday, Trump seems to have won here for the same reasons he is winning the GOP battle nationally: fear of unchecked immigration, loathing of the establishment, desire for an outsider to shake things up in Washington, rejection of political correctness, confidence in business skills and a new embrace of the seemingly lost art of deal-making.

Here’s what some of them said….

read … Hawaii Trump Voters “Disgusted with political correctness”

Revolving Door: Politician Nestor Garcia Pays Largest Ethics Fine in History, Gets Hired by KHON

CB: KHON2 has a new assignment editor starting Monday, and he’s a familiar face in Honolulu’s media and political worlds: Nestor Garcia.

This will be Garcia’s third stint with the local FOX affiliate. He was a reporter from 1981 to 1991 and from February 2014 to June 2015.

“I see my role as being a mentor to some of these young people — young enough to be my daughter,” Garcia said. “I just want to see to it that the reporters have the resources so that they can do their jobs.”

Garcia resigned from the station last year not long after it was reported that he agreed to pay thousands of dollars in fines related to ethics violations from his time as a Honolulu City Council member from 2003 to 2013.

He paid an $8,100 civil fine in connection with accusations that he accepted prohibited gifts from lobbyists and failed to disclose conflicts of interest when he voted on legislation that affected those lobbyists, Civil Beat reported in May 2015.

In January of that year, the Honolulu Ethics Commission found probable cause that Garcia had violated laws regarding acceptance of prohibited gifts as well as the failure to disclose conflicts of interest.

Garcia accepted more than $1,700 worth of gifts such as free meals and golf to talk to lobbyists about rail, transit-oriented development, growth in Kapolei and other issues before the Council, the commission determined.

Garcia was also fined $6,500 by the commission, in 2012, for breaking conflict of interest rules and misusing city resources in his paid capacity as the executive director of theKapolei Chamber of Commerce.

The fine was the largest in the history of the Ethics Commission.

CB: Why Nestor Garcia Is Bad For Journalism In Hawaii

read … A Fine Mess

Revolving Door: Ex-KITV Aide To Gov. Ige Launches Video Production Company

CB: …Ryan Kalei Tsuji hires other former KITV journalists with “deep understanding of the media landscape in Hawaii.”…

RKT Media is the creation of Hilo native Ryan Kalei Tsuji, a former reporter for KITV (a Civil Beat media partner) and currently employed as director of the executive management team for Gov. David Ige.

Tsuji has enlisted the help of several of his former KITV colleagues, including Jodi Leong and Yasmin Dar (both part of Ige’s communications team), Jill Kuramoto (she handles state Senate communications) and Mahealani Richardson (public relations director at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Honolulu).

RKT already has produced work for several clients, including the 2015 Hawaii European Cinema Film Festival, Macy’s National Believe Day and an event for Shriners.

read … Revolving Door

How Fed Wreckers Kept Aha Distracted

HI: …In the third week of the ʻAha, an issue that had begun simmering on the ʻAha email list serve during the weeks leading up to the convention boiled over on the floor of the plenary. Participant Bronson Kaʻahui, a GoPro-wielding video-blogger nick-named “Bronsonto” for his pugnacious support of Genetically Modified Organisms and the companies that research them here in Hawaiʻi, had just published a particularly heinous attack of ʻAha participant Dr. Williamson Chang on social media, as well as in an email that went out to all ʻAha participants.

The bold-faced headline to the lengthy diatribe had been stricken out in an apparent bid to avoid culpability. It read:  “A Response to the Delusional Views of a Washed Up Law Professor”

The attack on Dr. Chang, the senior law professor at UH Mānoa’s Richardson Law School, was one of several disrespectful emails from Kaʻahui directed at kūpuna and members of the independence caucus over the course of weeks. He called more than one kūpuna “delusional.” He called another kupuna, who bravely came to the ʻAha despite undergoing medical treatment, a “simpleton.” And when he got into a heated discussion with another kupuna, former Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Moanikeala Akaka, he had the nerve to mockingly say that he hoped she wouldn’t “have a heart attack.”

Despite the adopted rule against harassment, Kaʻahui’s often long-winded tirades, posted online and designed to defame and undercut the scholarship and spirit of independence participants, continued unabated.

During her 15-minute presentation to the ʻAha the week before, Jade Danner had referenced the Hawaiian cultural response of community rejection and ostracization of those who, as she put it, “make any kine” with kūpuna. But with Kaʻahui, suddenly it was as if we were in an alternate universe. Our rules said harassment would not be tolerated, yet this participant—who happened to be the loudest critic of the independence caucus members—was given a pass….

The federal recognition faction backed Kaʻahui, praising his intellect and excusing his behavior on account of his youth….

In the end, the majority of the ʻAha voted against even the watered-down version of the motion. With his relentless reviling of the “fantasy” of independence, Kaʻahui had proven himself indispensable to the federal recognition camp, and that seemed to translate into an ability to act with unchecked impropriety. Unchastened by the experience, Kaʻahui published a mocking Youtube video titled “Trial of Bronson Kaʻahui” the following day.

And so, as we approached the critical final week in this topsy-turvy ʻAha world, where rules were now being ignored when it suited the agenda of one particular faction, the unsteadiness was palpable. Something was definitely askew….

Last Edition: What Really Happened at Aha: Delegate ‘Crying like a little B***h’, ‘Hostage’ Demands $5000 Ransom, and more

read … Distraction

Drivers’ concerns rise as lawmakers advance bill to hike vehicle fees

KHON: If Hawaii residents have to shell out more to own a vehicle, how exactly would that money be used?

That’s what many drivers are asking as a bill to increase vehicle fees makes its way through the Legislature.

Senate Bill 2938 would increase vehicle registration fees, as well as vehicle weight and fuel fees.

The Senate passed the bill this week, and it’s now up to the House to decide whether to increase fees for vehicle owners in Hawaii.

After we first reported the bill earlier this week, many viewers reached out to ask exactly why an increase was needed and how the money would be used.

If the bill becomes law, it would cost the average driver about $77 more a year. The increase would generate $70 million a year for the state….

Even though the bill has not been scheduled for a House committee hearing yet, at least one lawmaker is concerned.

“My constituents want to know specifically how it’s going to alleviate the Leeward Coast traffic,” said Rep. Andria Tupola, R, Nanakuli, Maili.  Tupola says she opposes any hike in fees….

read … Tax Hike

Maui Council Rejects Massive Ag Tax Hike

MW: The Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee (BF) voted Thursday, March 10 to defeat a controversial proposed measure that would have drastically restructured the way agricultural properties on Maui are assessed and raised taxes on agricultural home sites. The legislation also   added multiple layers of paperwork, dedication requirements and a substantial increase in government authority to regulate and control the business of farming here.

The measure, dubbed BF-70, had drawn an overflow crowd to an earlier Feb. 29 BF meeting. At that hearing 70 members of the public testified unanimously in opposition. The follow-up March 10 meeting, with all nine members of the council present, was a continuation of the earlier meeting. No further testimony was heard as the local lawmakers sat down at 5 p.m. to consider the measure. It was almost 9:00 when a vote was finally called and BF-70 was dead on arrival….

read … No New Taxes

Report finds no health impacts from pesticide use on Kauai

KGI: …the report also says there is no statistically significant evidence that “shows causality between seed company pesticide use and harms to Kauai’s flora and fauna.”  It also showed no impacts on the health of Kauai’s human population….

read … Anti-GMO Rhetoric was all lies

FBI investigates allegations police chief's wife lied in court to fix ticket for Solar Contractor

HNN: …as part of an expanding focus of the FBI probe, authorities are trying to determine if Katherine Kealoha lied to the court to get a business associate out of a traffic ticket.

The allegations stem from a court hearing in September 2014, in which Kealoha appeared on behalf of the state.

It's unusual for the head of the city prosecutor's officer Career Criminal Division to be in traffic court, but Kealoha explained her appearance by suggesting the person who was issued the ticket had stolen a man's identity.

During the hearing, audio recordings show, Kealoha asked the judge to dismiss the ticket for a man HNN is identifying as A.W., who was cited for driving 78 mph in a 35 mph zone on Likelike Highway near the Wilson Tunnel.

So why does a high-ranking prosecutor care about this traffic ticket?

She told the court: “I know this is a speeding offense, but the individual who is driving the car at the time is a career criminal who was not the individual that he gave the identification for.”

In other words, Kealoha is claiming that a criminal was impersonating A.W., using both his driver’s license and his pick-up truck.

The judge asks whether the citation is now going to be shifted to the impostor: "So he was served?"

Kealoha responds: "Um, yes, he is in custody and we are going to serve him your honor."

Hawaii News Now couldn't find anyone else connected to the ticket in custody. There was no "career criminal" served with charges in state Circuit Court.

And that's where the problem lies.

Sources say the FBI is investigating whether Kealoha lied to the judge to get A.W. out of the speeding ticket because he was a business associate.

Sources say A.W. is a a solar installer. And, at the time, Kealoha was part member/manager of a solar company, Discount Energy Solutions.

Her partners: a Honolulu police lieutenant in the Criminal Intelligence Unit and someone in the solar business, the son of another Honolulu police officer who's also in CIU.

That's the same specialized police unit that, a year earlier, handled evidence in the theft of the Kealohas' mailbox a year earlier. The minor crime isn't something the federally-funded CIU would typically investigate….

read … Lied

Calls for police chief to step aside grow amid expanding federal probe

HNN: …Asked for reaction to a widening investigation, the City Council's budget chair said very little.

"It's a serious matter and I really don't want to comment on it.  As I say, I think you should talk to the mayor," said Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi.

In a statement, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said, "We are taking Hawaii News Now's report seriously but we have not received any notification about this matter from the federal government. If there is any finding of wrongdoing, I have confidence that the Police Commission will take immediate and appropriate action."

Council Chair Ernie Martin declined comment, as did city prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, Katherine Kealoha’s boss, who said he couldn’t talk about an ongoing investigation.

Both Kealohas remain on the job at full pay.

State Sen. Will Espero, who's been critical of police leadership, said he agrees with some retired and current police officers who've told him Kealoha should be placed on paid leave during the investigation.

"Many of them tell me that if they were involved in any type of investigation like this, that they would certainly be ROPA'd or put on temporary leave and they feel that there has been a double standard because it is the chief under investigation," Espero said. "Everyone is saying ‘When will this end?  How far will it go?’" …

Defense attorney Victor Bakke, who worked with Katherine Kealoha for years when he was a deputy city prosecutor, said they're entitled to their day in court "but right now, everything just points to them showing that they've received favorable treatment at every point, that they've abused their power of trust in the community."

read … Step Aside

Hearing begins over Kauai Police Department’s body camera program

KHON: The Kauai Police Department continues to fight for the use of body cameras.

Thursday marked the first of a two-day hearing before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board.

The police officers’ union, SHOPO, filed a complaint with the board because it didn’t sign off on the program before the department purchased 105 cameras.

Union officials say they support the idea behind the program, but want to make sure the police is well-written to protect officers’ privacy rights….

read … Hearing

Hawaii or Hawai'i: What's the official spelling?

KITV: A push to alter the way we spell Hawaii is in discussion and could be on the horizon.

You've seen the version with the okina or glottal stop between the two i's and others without. The state's “Hawaii Board on Geographic Names” is proposing a spelling change to officially include the Hawaiian diacritical mark.

“Technically it’s not a name change. It’s a spelling correction,” said Kamana’o Mills, Hawaii Board on Geographic Names. “By leaving out the okina, it’s considered a misspelling. It’s like if we spelled ‘apple’ pple and excluded the a.”

The push is still in its preliminary stage. Their discussion will continue for the next week or so before the board forwards the proposal to the state legislature.

The board says they've been a part of changing hundreds of place names across the state, and chances are good, you can see some right in your own neighborhood.

read … Hawaii or Hawai’i

Kau: Sovereignty Activists Harass Landowners, Courts

HTH: Host a hearing about Ka‘u land issues anywhere on the island, and you’re sure to draw a crowd of Native Hawaiians citing land claims from the days of Kamehameha III.

There’s also a good chance tempers will fly and harsh words will be spoken loudly.

That’s what happened Thursday, when 3rd Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura heard from lawyers about a 2007 case stemming from the sale of 40 acres by the Thomas Okuna family to the Ed Olson Trust. The lava-covered land, which is not oceanfront property, is makai of Highway 11.

Olson owns about 10,000 acres in Ka‘u, and put some of his own acreage into preservation for the public.

The dispute started when Okuna apparently tried to obtain a clear title of the land from relatives as promised when selling it to Olson. A 2012 public notice to identify family members ended with a bevy of people coming forward, all claiming some part of the land.

The case became a family feud writ large.

The process of determining validity of the claims has cost his client tens of thousands of dollars, Olson attorney David Higgins told the judge. He said Olson wants to identify rightful heirs, but the process of verifying them costs more than the roughly $480 worth of property each family member would have to sell, he said.

As members of the verified family die off, tracking down their heirs is further exacerbating the problem, he added. Olson doesn’t want to post another public notice to find heirs.

“Above all, we need to avoid the publicized notice because we know what that does,” Higgins said. “It’s our position it would likely entice other potential claimants with tenuous claims to the land.”

In the court’s eyes, activist (and convicted killer) Abel Lui is one of those with a tenuous claim.

read … Judge: Families should bear more burden in land ownership case

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