GOP Obamacare Repeal Deal Would Boost Hawaii Medicare and Medicaid
Harbors Division Soaking the Taxpayer – Again and Again
Brian Schatz Praises NFL Players who Kneel During National Anthem
TH: Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) applauded athletes who have responded to President Trump's comments that NFL owners should fire any "son of a b----" players on their teams who kneel during the national anthem before games or disrespect the American flag.
"I think it's cool that all of these athletes are getting political. No one should stay in their lane. Politics is for everyone!" Schatz tweeted Saturday night….
"When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem – the only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it's one player, leave the stadium," Trump said. "I guarantee things will stop."
Trump doubled down on his comments in a pair of tweets Saturday, saying NFL players who protest the flag or anthem "should find something else to do."
WSJ: DirecTV Allows Some NFL Refunds After Anthem Controversy
read … Dem senator praises athletes for 'getting political'
Morale a major problem at embattled police department, some say
SA: When Honolulu Police Department officer Denny Santiago went public earlier this month with allegations of widespread corruption within the department, it was only the latest public relations blow to Oahu’s 2,000-strong police force.
For the past two years, a cloud has settled over HPD as developments in a federal grand jury probe have regularly hit the news.
Leadership also has been in flux since Chief Louis Kealoha, one target of the investigation, announced his retirement in January amid the widening probe. Efforts to replace him have plodded along since then, adding to an air of uncertainty.
(And worst of all, the HPD has been raiding gambling dens, cutting into some officers cash flow.)
And as a handful of officers have been named in civil lawsuits or criminal complaints, a debate has ensued at the Honolulu Police Commission on who is entitled to publicly funded legal counsel.
Santiago’s appearance before the commission to call attention to what he described as a double standard within HPD — including retaliation against those who speak up against wrongdoing — reflected what some say are long-standing concerns among officers about how the agency has been run….
Levinson said he believes there is a widespread perception within HPD that favoritism, cronyism and disparate treatment are problems and that being part of the former chief’s inner circle was helpful for career advancement….
“When I do speak with officers/employees, it feels like everyone at HPD is holding their breath, waiting to see who the next chief will be,” wrote attorney Loretta Sheehan, another commissioner, in an email to the Star-Advertiser. “And of course, waiting to see if a federal indictment will, in fact, occur.”
The commission is expected to name a new police chief next month….
Levinson, the commission member, said his sense is that most officers “have had experiences they think are in the same general neighborhood as what has been bothering Cpl. Santiago.”
“My sense is that he is not a Cassandra crying ‘help’ unjustifiably in the wilderness,” Levinson said, referring to the Greek mythological figure who was said to be cursed so that no one believed her prophecies.
Levinson lauded the job that Cary Okimoto, the acting police chief, has done since Kealoha’s retirement.
“He’s tried to do everything he can to keep the waters as smooth as possible,” Levinson said. “The ship has righted somewhat.”….
read … Morale a major problem at embattled police department, some say
Big Island Strive HI test scores overall still below standard
HTH: …The state Department of Education released scores for the 2016-17 school year last week.
Results show about 34 percent of public school students islandwide met or exceeded standards in math, roughly on par with the 2015-16 school year. In science, about 40 percent of Big Island students met grade-level standards last year, compared to about 38 percent the year prior. English language arts proficiency was 42 percent, compared to about 44 percent in 2015-16….
About 49 percent of Hawaii Island student scores in math, science and language arts improved — or remained flatlined — over the year prior. In the 2015-16 school year, about 60 percent of year-over-year scores improved or stayed the same.
Similar to the 2015-16 school year, Big Island student performance overall trailed behind state averages in all subjects. State proficiency averages were: 42 percent for math (the same as the year prior), 50 percent for language arts (down from 51 percent) and 46 percent for science (up from 42 percent in 2015-16).
A handful of island schools made notable gains. Among them was E.B. de Silva Elementary School, where students achieved higher year-over-year scores in every subject area and scored well above state and complex area averages….
New Strive HI results also report performance of “high-needs” students — English learners, low-income and those with special needs. State education leaders pushed to make closing the achievement gap between “high needs” and “non-high needs” students a priority in recent years.
In the Ka‘u-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area, about 32 percent of high-needs students were considered proficient in language arts (compared to 62 percent of traditional students), according to mean calculated averages of data provided. About 25 percent were proficient in math (compared to about 49 percent of traditional students). Five of nine Ka‘u-Keaau-Pahoa schools did not report averages for traditional students.
In the Hilo-Waiakea Complex Area, about 37 percent of high-needs students met standards in language arts (compared to about 69 percent of traditional students) and 29 percent in math (compared to 63 percent of traditional students).
In the Honokaa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena Complex Area, 35 percent of high-needs students met standards in language arts (compared to about 61 percent of traditional students) and about 28 percent in math (non-high-needs students averaged 49 percent proficiency).
Some schools have more high-needs students and thus have a greater hurdle.
For example, just 1 percent of de Silva students are English language learners and 35 percent qualify for subsidized meals. For comparison, 30 percent of Naalehu Elementary School students are English learners and the vast majority of Naalehu students qualify for free or reduced meals.
read … Big Island Strive HI test scores overall still below standard
How Honolulu Strip Clubs Get Away with Liquor Law Violations
SA: …Sen. Will Espero (D, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) said he is considering amending the state’s racketeering law and another law that allows cabarets to open and conduct business until 4 a.m. Espero said he’s motivated by the death of 22-year-old Maleko “Mac” Remlinger, who died after a gunman fired about 10 rounds from a rifle at a group of people standing outside Club Alley Cat, a Waikiki strip club….
City spokesman Andrew Pereira said the club had been the subject of frequent noise, drinking and nuisance complaints, but since it was unlicensed it fell outside of Liquor Commission rules.
“The Liquor Commission has no statutory authority to conduct inspections of unlicensed businesses,” Pereira said.
The city Liquor Commission has complaints about Club Alley Cat on file from December 2008 to March 2017. They range from various liquor law violations to selling liquor after hours, prostitution, employee drinking, unlicensed sale of liquor and employing underage workers.
Mark Smith, who owns adjacent businesses and is a member of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, expressed safety concerns about the club to Waikiki police as recently as the Sept. 12 Waikiki Neighborhood Board meeting….
“HPD is trying to work with the property manager and owner to develop long-term solutions,” Yu said.
The property is managed by Terry Hunt, who is a representative for the Bloss Family Limited Partnership, which leases the land from its fee owner, Honolulu Limited, a company owned by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation….
Jerry Gibson, area vice president for Hilton Hawaii, said he would support changing the racketeering law and advocates stiff penalties for unlicensed establishments. However, he said Waikiki needs cabarets to compete with other visitor destinations.
SA: Fatal Waikiki shooting brings crime, safety to forefront
read … Stricter laws sought for liquor-serving businesses
No more cuffs in court? New policy says suspects can appear without shackles
HTH: …A recent federal court ruling allows criminal defendants who have not been proven guilty to appear in court without shackles, as the restraints go against their constitutional rights. (What could possibly go wrong?)
The Hawaii State Judiciary started adhering to the ruling, handed down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, by implementing procedures that allow for the unshackling of pretrial status defendants in courtrooms.
Hawaii Island’s top prosecutor, however, feels the decision is troubling.
“We are concerned for the safety of the community, victims and those in court,” County Prosecutor Mitch Roth said. “We are also expecting that the court process will be greatly delayed.”
Pretrial status is any hearing before trial. That includes initial appearances, arraignments, motion hearings and preliminary hearings.
On Friday, at least three in-custody defendants were brought into the 3rd Circuit courtroom at the Kona courthouse in Kealakekua free of waist and wrist chains. They were still bound by ankle shackles.
The ankle shackles could also be removed as the judiciary is still working out the kinks of the new policy.
“Under the Fifth Amendment, no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” the 9th Circuit filing states. “A presumptively innocent defendant has the right to be treated with respect and dignity in a public courtroom, not like a bear on a chain.” …
The filing states that a member of the public who wanders into a criminal courtroom must immediately perceive that it is a place where justice is administered in regard to those where the law presumes them innocent until proven guilty. (We are ruled by wandering perceptions.)
“That perception cannot prevail if the defendants are marched in like convicts on a chain gang,” according to the filing….
(Job security for bailiffs.)
According to the motion, filed Aug. 27, Fujioka-Lilley states the court granted media motions for extended coverage — which means having a photographer in the courtroom to take pictures — over the defense objections on July 3 when the preliminary hearing commenced.
As a result, the motion states, a photograph of the defendant appeared in West Hawaii Today on July 4 handcuffed, shackled and in jail attire. The defendant was neither convicted nor had a finding of probable cause regarding charges been found.
Fujioka-Lilley asserts in the motion that such images are prejudicial to a defendant’s right to a fair and impartial jury.
Deputy Prosecutor Sheri Lawson filed a motion opposing the unshackling and plain clothes.
Lawson’s filing states Eber Miranda-Garcia is being held on a detainer by Ice Immigration Customs Enforcement and is currently charged with murder in the second degree. (Perfect candidate for one of Hawaii’s brand new sanctuary churches!)
“The state objects to the scope of the defendant’s request at this time as there has been no determination as to the dangerousness or risk of flight,” Lawson’s motion states.
After consulting with Lt. Patrick Kawai with the Department of Public Safety and a deputy in the courtroom about the potential safety and security concerns, Masunaga allowed the defense’s request.
A deputy in the courtroom that day described the request and the granting of said request as unprecedented….
The Kona courthouse was the old Kona Community Hospital. One of the courtrooms was a nursery….. (Still is.)
read … Getting a ‘Second Chance’ Even Before Trial is over