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Thursday, September 28, 2017
September 28, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:51 PM :: 1435 Views

Audit: Honolulu Homeless Programs Subject to Corrupt, Incompetent Department of Community Services

Girl Scouts Rank Hawaii 23rd for girls' well-being

Hawaii Excise Taxes: $885 per Capita--3rd Highest in USA

White House waives Jones Act for Puerto Rico -- For Just 10 Days

BLNR Approves Telescope 5-2

Strive HI: How did your School do?

FBI: Violent Crime up 24% in Hawaii

Picking the Next Corrupt Police Chief: Members of Secret Local Panel Identified

HNN: …Hawaii News Now has learned some of the citizens on the secret panel being used to narrow down the list of Honolulu Police Chief candidates this week.

The panel includes former HPD chief Lee Donahue and former United States Attorney Flo Nakakuni.  Also assessing the nine finalists at a Waikiki hotel, is former Honolulu Managing Director Bob Fishman and one time Assistant Chief for HPD, Mark Nakagawa. (CB: And Greg Gilmartin, Exec Dir of Police Comm.) 

(Editor’s Note: Donahue and Gilmartin were both named to the failed ‘citizens commission’ which fell apart earlier this year after it was revealed that Beth Chapman was nominated by Max Sword.)

The panel has been conducting interviews and evaluations of the nine semi-finalists for the job that Louis Kealoha was forced to leave earlier this year after he was notified by the FBI that he is a target of a federal public corruption case….

The nine semi finalists include current Major Susan Ballard, Kauai's Police Chief Darryl Perry, former federal agent Tommy Aiu, former HPD Major Kurt Kendro, retired HPD Assistant Chief Kevin Lima, retired Chicago Police officer Gary Yamashiroya, one time interim HPD Chief Paul Putzulu, and two current ranking officers on the mainland, Jim Lowery of the Arlington, Texas Police Department and another high ranking police officer from Pennsylvania.  (CB: Name--Mark Lomax, a retired major from the Pennsylvania State Police)

The panel will rank them by the end of Wednesday and submit the list to the Honolulu Police Commission Thursday morning. The rankings will be 'blind' meaning the commission will not know the identities of the candidates, rather, they have been assigned numbers.  (IQ Test: Do you believe this?)

CB: Here are the seven finalists:

  • Thomas Aiu, a former special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
  • Susan Ballard, who is a current major in the Honolulu Police Department.
  • Kurt Kendro, a retired HPD major.
  • Kevin Lima, a retired assistant chief for HPD.
  • Mark Lomax, a retired major from the Pennsylvania State Police
  • James Lowery, a deputy police chief in the Arlington Police Department in Texas.
  • Paul Putzulu, a former deputy chief under Boisse Correa.

More Coverage:

Cataluna: Police chief selection hiccuping on essays

read … The Fix is In

Akaka supports Mauna Kea telescope in new book

SA: Former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka has endorsed the construction of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope in his new autobiography, saying the cutting-edge observatory will generate “huge” educational opportunities and jobs for the Hawaiian community.

In his new book, “One Voice — My Life, Times and Hopes for Hawai‘i,” Akaka said Mauna Kea carries “tremendous mana,” and it’s easy to see why some people consider the mountain sacred.

“But like the opinions on Hawaiian self-governance, that view is not universal,” he wrote. “Is the entire island, down to the seafloor, sacred? Or is it the part of the mountain above sea level? Or is it just the top of the mountain? And if so, sacred to whom?” ….

Mauna Kea Hui leader Kealoha Pisciotta, among the staunch opponents of TMT, said Akaka is not a cultural practitioner of Mauna Kea and therefore will not be impacted if the TMT is built.

“That is why there are laws in place to protect traditional and cultural practitioners and their practices, so that nonpractitioners don’t overrun them,” she said…. 

read … Akaka supports Mauna Kea telescope in new book

National attention on Jones Act 'good for Hawaii'

PBN: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii President and CEO Kelii Akina said the national of attention on the Jones Act due to recent hurricanes on the eastern seaboard is "good for Hawaii," due to the likelihood that the state could find itself in a similar crisis.

“Like Puerto Rico we are surrounded by water, and we are extremely dependent on keeping the shipping lines open,” Akina told Pacific Business News. “In times of emergency, the Jones Act could be catastrophic in terms of preventing relief from getting to Hawaii.” ….

In a tweet posted early Thursday, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said he called on the White House to temporarily waive the regulation, which is primarily aimed at protecting U.S. shipbuilders.

“While we don’t think it is necessary to repeal the nearly 100 year-old law, we do think it’s essential to update the Jones Act for the 21st century,” Akina said.

Akina said he doesn’t think it’s necessary to deal with the aspect of the Jones Act that requires ships to be owned by United States shippers, he said it is essential that shippers be allowed to buy ships built by foreign entities, due to a “critical shortage of ships being built by American shipyards.”

“That one shift in the Jones Act to allow American shippers to purchase ships from our allies could tremendously help the economy in Hawaii and other parts of the United States,” he said….

read … Good for Hawaii

Caldwell Loses Federal Funding for 1000s of Oahu Seniors

HNN: …Child and Family Service, Lanakila Pacific, and Catholic Charities say about a thousand of their elderly clients would be affected if services are cut starting this Sunday, October 1. 

"I'm preparing myself. It's going to be tough. We really need the lunches," said Judy Matias, Lanakila Pacific client.

Matias and her husband have relied on Lanakila Pacific's free meals for the last 15 years. She says for many of her friends, it's the only way they have a nutritious meal.

"It's very important because it helps me to do other things in the house, as well as care for him," she said.

The charities say senior housing assistance and transportation could also be affected, but they'll do all they can to keep these programs going until the federal money comes in.

The three charities estimate it will cost them about $150,000 a month to keep services going at full capacity, and they're worried it could hurt other services they provide.

"We're being told to expect that the break could be multiple months, maybe even up through the end of the year. For some of the smaller non-profits, they honestly might not have the budgets to be able to float these services," said Lori Lau, Lanakila Meals on Wheels Director.

"It puts us as providers in a very difficult situation and yet we don't have the resources to just try sustain this on our own," said Howard Garval, president and CEO of Child and Family Service.

The city -- which distributes the federal funds -- says the money is still with the federal government (no kidding) and the charities were notified over a year ago to prepare in case this happened. (IQ Test: You know.)

The non-profits say federal money has been delayed before and the city would reimburse them for what they spent.

But not this time.…

read … Federal funding delay could impact Oahu senior services

Big Island Homeless Summit Discusses Ways to Keep Shelter-Refusers Nice and Comfy on Streets 

WHT: …Breakout sessions in the afternoon offered a chance for different ministries to highlight the services they provide, potentially fostering partnerships and facilitating the sharing of ideas and strategies that might be applicable beyond where they’re currently implemented.

Denise Oguma of HOPE spoke about the “Safe Parking Ministry,” which allows families living out of their cars (because they refuse shelter) in Hilo a secure place to spend the night. Not only will they not be kicked out of the lot if discovered there, they are also offered the peace of mind provided by a mounted security camera monitoring the area.

Her demonstration was meant to encourage entities with space in West Hawaii to adopt similar programs and educate them on how such programs can be implemented.

“Just by saying you can come park in a safe place, that shows love and compassion to someone already hurting,” Murph said.  (No.  It shows that you will help them continue to refuse shelter.) “It brings healing and it brings care. It helps them to live and feel like they haven’t been forgotten.”

Monica Hallquist, a trained nurse who is volunteering with Youth With A Mission in Kona, set up the “First Aid Kits: More Than Skin Deep” ministry, which was born of one of her trips to HOPE’s Kona campus with Living Stones Church to provide food for the hungry (who are refusing shelter).

“As people were coming through the line, I guess my nurse eyes picked up on all their wounds,” she said. “I asked if I could start doing wound care.”

Hallquist handed out kits, explained problems typical among the homeless population such as infection, and provided herself as a resource to any who might wish to partake in her medical service outreach or initiate their own.

Victoria Morse, who captains the “Family Hygiene Bath Kit” ministry, isn’t affiliated with any organization at all. Back in April, she and a group of like-minded Christian philanthropists (enablers) simply started putting together baskets of basic necessities and heading out into downtown Kona once every month to hand out free supplies.

“Our main goal is to restore the confidence and dignity to those living on the streets,” Morse said.  (Confidence on the streets.  No confidence in shelters.  See how this works?)  “When you become homeless, one of the first things to go is your hygiene.”….

Muslim Website: Kakaako Makai Tent City ‘A New Model’ for future of America

read … Enablers

Plan would redevelop public housing, add 11,000 rental units along Honolulu rail route

PBN: The $1.3 billion redevelopment of Mayor Wright Homes into a 2,500 mixed-income, mixed-use project under a public-private partnership with Hunt Cos. is just the first step of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority’s ambitious plan to add as many as 11,000 additional rental units at nine other Oahu public housing sites from Waipahu to Waikiki.

Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi told Pacific Business News that over the next 10 years, the agency plans to tear down and redevelop public housing projects that are within a half mile of the Honolulu rail route, using the increased heights and density allowed under transit-oriented development rules to dramatically boost the number of housing units at each site.

The state’s number of public housing units, which currently numbers 6,196, is capped under federal law, so all of the new housing will either be under affordable housing limits or at market rate.

Ouansafi said each of the projects would involve a public-private partnership, and said the agency does not plan to wait for the completion of the Mayor Wright redevelopment, a 10-year project not expected to start construction until 2019….

read … Plan

Hawaii Among 20 most expensive places in America to die

MW: With the current relatively generous federal estate tax exemption of $5.49 million for 2017 — doubled if you are married — most folks are free of any federal estate tax worries. Also, President Trump’s proposed tax plan would eliminate the federal estate tax. And 30 U.S. states have no estate or inheritance taxes. That’s the good news, at least for those who don’t want to pay it.

The bad news? Some 20 states and the District of Columbia currently impose their own estate or inheritance taxes, or both, for 2017, and some of them have exemptions well below the federal amount. If you live in one of these jurisdictions, you could be exempt from the federal estate tax but still exposed to a significant state death tax hit….

Delaware, Hawaii, and Maine have $5.49 million estate tax exemptions for 2017, which is the same as the federal exemption. New York’s exemption is $5.25 million. So in these four states, there is much less risk of unanticipated estate tax exposure. That said, wealthier folks in those states can be exposed to both federal and state estate taxes….

read … Expensive

State Agency Proposes Tripling Fees For Access To Public Records

CB: Open-government advocates are slamming a proposal that would triple the fees to access public information, saying a draft of rules unveiled this month add vague terms that could make it harder to obtain public documents from state and county agencies.

The Hawaii Office of Information Practices, headed by Cheryl Kakazu Park, has been laying groundwork over several years to update the way it administers the Uniform Information Practices Act, the state’s public records law. Its draft rules, which require Gov. David Ige’s approval, are available for public comment until Saturday.

“It would be a travesty for the public if OIP proceeds with these proposed rules,” Brian Black, executive director of The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, said Wednesday. “The public records law is the only way that citizens can learn about their government beyond agency press releases.” ….

read … Triple

Judge Blocks Release Of Names Of Former Undercover Cops — For Now

CB: …A judge has at least temporarily blocked the city from releasing the names of current and past undercover officers at the request of the statewide police union.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers sued the city earlier this month after city attorneys determined that police officers’ names, except for officers in “deep” undercover positions, should be released in response to Civil Beat’s request for the information to include in its public employee salary database.

SHOPO believes the names of any officer who is or has ever been in any undercover assignment should be protected from disclosure, not just those currently in deep undercover roles.

First Circuit Court judge Virginia Crandall said Thursday that the “danger of irreparable harm of the officers” warranted halting the release of names. Disclosing officers’ titles and salary ranges was in the public interest, she said…..

read … Under Cover

Adopting Republican Tax Reform For Hawaii

CB:Hawaii’s current standard deduction is $4,400 for a married couple and $2,200 for a single person. The current federal standard deduction for 2017 is $12,700 for a married couple and $6,350 for a single person. The Republican Tax Reform Blueprint raises the standard deduction to $24,000 for a married couple and $12,000 for a single person….

Raising the standard deduction and/or personal exemption amount in Hawaii effectively takes low-income Hawaii residents out of the tax system, leaving resources for DoTax to focus on compliance and enforcement efforts on the larger accounts. …

The Immediate Expensing Of Equipment: Under current federal and Hawaii tax rules, equipment which has a useful life greater than one year, must be written off over multiple years…..

Tax credits and deductions are problematic in a sense that there are simply too many to keep track of. Often tax credits unfairly enrich the particular industry who lobbied for them and do not bring about the change intended.

To add insult to this, Hawaii has a unique rule in which most tax credits must be properly claimed within one year compared to the typical three years you or the taxing authority has to make any changes to your tax return. Often the Hawaii Department of Taxation examines and disallows these tax credits after the one year mark making the taxpayer unable to correct what was only a paperwork error.

Any CPA in Hawaii can tell you a horror story regarding this rule, but they all end the same where the taxpayer qualified for the credit, but lost because either they filed too late, they forgot to attach a form, or they checked the wrong box. It is a cruel provision of Hawaii’s tax law which unfairly punishes those who do not enlist professional tax preparers.

The Republican Tax Reform Blueprint does away with most deductions and credits, but keeps the mortgage interest and charitable contribution deduction…..

read … Reform

Are Hawaii’s Nursing and Senior Care Homes Prepared For Disasters?

CB: Recent tragedies elsewhere raise questions about preparedness here, which can vary dramatically depending on the size of the facility…..

read … Disaster

Planning officials OK Os Stender’s Maunawili Valley rezoning request

SA: Oswald Stender lives in a residential neighborhood. But unlike most of his Maunawili Valley neighbors, the former Kamehameha Schools trustee resides on four acres zoned for agriculture and wants to add more homes to his family estate through rezoning.

Stender on Wednesday won a unanimous endorsement from the city Planning Commission after the city Department of Planning and Permitting recommended the change be approved….

read … Planning officials OK Maunawili Valley rezoning request

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