Hawaii Ranks 46th in Survey of Economic Freedom in North America
Caldwell in San Francisco to See How they Keep the Homeless Homeless
OHA Fishing for Money from Fishermen?
Hawaii Congressional Delegation How they Voted December 13, 2016
Sergeant: Police chief's wife interfered arrest of Fleeing Felon in Black Escalade
HNN: A Honolulu police sergeant is accusing the police chief's wife -- a top deputy prosecutor -- of interfering with the arrest of a convicted felon….
The incident all stems from a traffic stop on Nov.12, 2015. One of the sergeant's officers pulled over the driver of a Cadillac Escalade for using a cell phone while driving, he said. The driver initially stopped, but then took off.
The officer and sergeant worked to get the driver arrested for violating the law requiring obedience to a police officer.
Within 24 hours of the arrest, the sergeant said, the officer was contacted by a high-ranking deputy prosecutor -- Katherine Kealoha….
According to a police report, the officer then got a call from the driver days later.
The HPD report said the driver was "threatening," and told him, "You better be careful of the choices you make."
The report went on to say, the driver used the officer's first name when saying, "Don't even make this a big deal."
The driver allegedly repeated more than once that, "I can go to the top of the food chain."
Sources say the driver is friends with Kealoha.
Despite the threats, the sergeant says they did not back down and arrested the driver. "When I arrested him he said, 'Didn't the prosecutor's office take care of this already?'" the sergeant said.
Almost immediately after the arrest, the driver's threats seemed to pan out. The city Prosecutors Office sent a complaint to HPD's internal affairs division, accusing the sergeant of violating procedures with the arrest.
The sergeant explains what was written in that letter: "I'm unethical, went beyond the scope of my job, I shouldn't have arrested him."
The sergeant alleges he was retaliated against for arresting a man who ran from police.
The driver ended up pleading "no contest" to disobeying a police officer and paid a fine. (Yup. He’s back out on the street doing whatever he is doing to pay for that Escalade.)
read … Sergeant: Police chief's wife, a prosecutor, interfered with an arrest
Ige to ask lawmakers to Waste $10M on Bogus Hi-Tech Tax Credits for Rich People
PBN: Gov. David Ige said Monday that the budget he submits to the Legislature in a couple of weeks will include a request $10 million investment (sic!) in the HI Growth Initiative, which received just $1 million in funding from lawmakers earlier this year.
Speaking at the Hawaii Venture Capital Association’s monthly luncheon, the governor said he has “upped the ante” in seeking support for Hawaii’s (100% Fake) startup scene.
The Hawaii Strategic Development Corp. originally requested $5 million in funding earlier this year for the HI Growth Initiative to support the state’s tech industry. After the request was denied in April, lawmakers then announced a $1 million for the initiative would be included in the state budget bill….
Reality: Auditor: DoTax allows $2B in Tax Credits Without Checking
read … Rich People Who Can Pretend to be Tech Entrepreneurs Shouldn’t Have to pay Taxes
School Reform: After Lying about Matayoshi, Can Ige be Trusted?
HNN: …It appears the governor felt pretty strongly about the need for change. And to be fair to the governor, it is his right and responsibility to take action when he feels it is necessary.
But hand in hand with that power is the duty to tell the truth and accept accountability for those decisions. In this case it appeared he tried to pass the buck to his appointees.
We are still left with questions about what was behind this decision. But now, f an explanation is offered, it is not clear how much we can trust the answer.
read … Matayoshi vs. Ige
Caldwell Outspent Djou Nearly 4-to-1 In Honolulu Mayor’s Race
CB: …several super political action committees raised over $1 million to favor either Djou or Caldwell.
One of those PACs, the pro-Caldwell Workers for a Better Hawaii, ended up raising $983,000 before Election Day and spent most of it. Big donors were the Hawaii State AFL-CIO ($150,000 total) and the Hawaii Government Employees Association ($208,000 total).
During the last two weeks of the election, Workers for a Better Hawaii spent $368,000 — over three times what Djou spent — with the biggest chunk of it going toward advertising either opposing Djou or praising Caldwell.
The anti-Caldwell super PAC Save Our City, as of Monday, had not filed an updated report with the Campaign Spending Commission. A previous filing showed much of the PAC’s money coming from people associated with engineering and architectural firm Mitsunaga & Associates.
It did, however, list three people donating $5,000 each in the waning days of the election: Ernest Languisan, Ernest Morimoto and Ben Cayetano….
read … 4-1
Kauai Council expected to discuss repealing GMO bill
KGI: When councilmembers gather for the first full council meeting of the new term this week, they are expected to discuss repealing the GMO bill that was recently ruled invalid in federal court.
Bill No. 2491, also known as Ordinance 960, was introduced in 2013 by former Councilmembers Tim Bynum and Gary Hooser.
It sought to regulate the use of GMOs and pesticides by requiring mandatory disclosure of GMO and pesticide use by large agricultural businesses, and prohibiting open air testing of experimental pesticides and GMOs.
The Kauai County Council passed the bill 6-to-1 in October 2013.
“It was the worst decision in the history of Kauai politics,” said Councilman Ross Kagawa.
The measure was vetoed later that month by Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho.
The bill was also overturned in the federal court. And on Nov. 18, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the court’s ruling that the Hawaii Pesticides Law preempts the county’s laws.
“(County attorney) Mauna Kea did a 66-page opinion that it would be ruled invalid,” Kagawa said. “Then a federal judge ruled exactly what he predicted and the court of appeals agreed. How many judges need to say ‘No?”
On Wednesday, the council will discuss Bill No. 2643, which seeks to repeal Chapter 22, Article 23 of the Kauai County Code, as it relates to pesticides and GMOs.
“I see no reason to go through another state or federal proceeding,” Kagawa said. “I don’t see why we’d get another answer.”
Mel Rapozo, council chair, said the bill is a housekeeping measure, because of the recent court decision….
Meanwhile: Boulder CO Infested with Anti-GMO Disease
read … Council expected to discuss repealing GMO bill
32% Pay Hike for Maui County Officials
MN: While our senior citizens are seeing their cost of living adjustment for Social Security for next year coming in at under 1 percent, the Salary Commission approved a 12 percent pay raise for the mayor, department directors and deputies.
It’s not quite as bad as its last determinations, effective in 2014, that gave the mayoral position a 19 percent raise and 15 percent for the directors.
When the raise takes effect in July next year, it means the mayor’s pay will have increased from $114,030 to $151,980 in three years’ time — a smooth 32.45 percent increase….
read … Politics Pays
Hawaii's last sugar mill conducts final harvest
KITV: Hawaii Commercial & Sugar held a ceremony Monday for its final harvest. HC&S is the last sugar plantation in Hawaii.
The company on Maui is laying off a total of 675 employees by the end of the year. It marks the end of the only career some people grew up knowing.
The president of Alexander & Baldwin says the company has made every effort to avoid the cuts, but it expecting to incur a $30 million loss for 2015.
read … Thank an Activist
People Begin Demanding HC&S Land for Themselves
Lawmaker: Homelessness should be considered a health condition
HNN: It's a new approach to solving the state's homeless crisis, and it would allow the state to use more federal Medicaid dollars to treat mental illness and drug addiction among the homeless….
According to outreach workers, the majority of people living on the street's in the islands suffer from some type of mental illness. Green, who is also an emergency room doctor, sees the issue first-hand.
"I see the same patients over and over again," he said. "Every time they come to the hospital the bills are thousands and thousands of dollars. And they don't get better. They have the same problems when they come out," said Green, chairman of the state Senate Human Services Committee.
Green believes it would cost the state an extra $200 million a year to restore the state's mental health and drug treatment facilities.…
Related: Mental Health: Can Reform Solve Hawaii’s Homeless, Prison and Unfunded Liability Problems?
read … Yes. It is a symptom of mental illness.
Hawaii to force a third of sheltered homeless back onto street
G: … Hawaii appears poised to force up to a third of its temporarily sheltered homeless people back on to the streets after the introduction of rules that could have catastrophic consequences in the state, which has the highest per-capita rate of homelessness in the US.
The Next Step Shelter will no longer be able to serve families, according to Sheila Beckham, the CEO of Waikiki Health, which operates Next Step. Photograph: Next Step Shelter
“Children may end up on the streets,” said Sheila Beckham, the CEO of Waikiki Health, which operates the Next Step Shelter. “It’s a very scary and painful thing to be involved in.” The shelter only has one sleeping facility, and will no longer be able to serve families.
But Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator, defended the introduction of the new regulations, which he said had been created to address complaints that shelters were crowded and unsafe. “The changes will be difficult, but we can’t continue to do the same thing and expect a different result,” he said….
(REALLY OBVIOUS SOLUTION: Grandfather the existing shelters and build new shelters based on the new rules.)
(ANOTHER REALLY OBVIOUS SOLUTION: Require that alternative shelter space be made available before imposing the new rules on any existing shelter.)
read … Keeping the Homeless Homeless
Homeless Drug Dealers Torch Diamond Head--Twice
CB: The state is planning to evict homeless campers from more than 40 tent and tarp encampments on the slopes of the Diamond Head State Monument.
Nearby residents have urged the state to take action because they are concerned about fire hazards from the campers’ cooking stoves and other illegal activities on Diamond Head, including theft, vandalism and drug dealing.
“It’s reached a crisis level,” says Diamond Head resident Michelle Matson.
Matson says with no toilet facilities on the crater, increasing numbers of homeless people are creating a health hazard with human waste and trash. She also says the state is at increased liability from fires, like the brush fires that came close to homes on the crater’s northern slopes on March 29 and on May 23, 2015….
read … Homeless Drug Addicts
Requests for info about sewage spill near Ko Olina go unanswered
KHON: (Instead of lying,) the city is no longer responding to KHON2’s requests for more information about a sewage spill near Ko Olina….
The city is required to reveal more information in a spill report that should have been submitted to the state last week. But the city has asked for an extension, so it’s not clear when that report will be filed.
So on Monday, we asked Stuart Yamada of the state Dept. of Health about the extension and when we can expect to see the report. He said the department has asked the city to expedite that spill report.
The state is also waiting for the city to respond to another matter related to the massive sewage spill in Ala Moana in August of last year.
As for this most recent spill that happened Nov. 30, after we pressed the city last week, the city told us that more than 200,000 gallons had spilled from a broken force main. City crews had to disinfect about an acre of undeveloped land.
We then asked the city on Friday if city crews were mistaken about which pump station was working, because the city initially sent a news release saying it was West Beach Pump Number 1. Hours later, another release was sent saying it was Pump Number 2.
Sources also told us that crews were mistaken, so more sewage was poured into the broken pump station, which led to a bigger spill.
Yamada says if that were the case, the city has to improve on how it responds to spills. “Because if the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing, then clearly there needs to be something to formally address that kind of shortcoming.”
Those details would have to be revealed in the spill report. Yamada tells us there is no deadline on when the city has to file it.
The state is also patiently waiting for a city response on making improvements to the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. After the massive spill at Ala Moana, the state issued what’s known as an Administrative Order on Consent to the city, or AOC. Part of it calls for adding more staff to the plant for quicker response to spills.
We’ve asked the city for a status update on that AOC, like are there plans to add more staffing at the treatment plant. We’re still waiting for a response. Our request for an interview with Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina, and questions on the spill, were ignored by spokesman Markus Owens.
Yamada says the state could force the city to agree to the AOC, but that could lead to more delays with lawsuits.
“Rather than just go into a punitive fine, and slap in the back of the head and say ‘can you do better,’ if we can make constructive improvements, we’ll all be beneficiaries of that,” he said.
SA: Don’t delay news of sewage spills
read … Requests for info about sewage spill near Ko Olina go unanswered
Hawaii Second Most Unionized State
PBN: …federal data indicate the influence of labor unions — at least when it comes to membership — is waning. A recent analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that union membership as a percentage of the entire labor force declined in 24 states in 2015, while some 34 states and the District of Columbia were down from where they were a decade earlier. Union membership in Hawaii declined 5.4 percent during that time, but the state still has the second-highest ratio of union members.
Background: Hawaii Union Membership Slips to 20.4%
read … Unions