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Saturday, October 07, 2017
October 7, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:30 PM :: 2424 Views

Hawaii: Median Family Spends 6.8 years income to buy median home

Honolulu Boondoggle Recovery Plan

Promise Kept: Trump Administration Protects Americans’ Religious Freedom

Jones Act industry dirty tricks sabotage Hawaii poll

Jones Act Lobby: Ten Days is all Puerto Rico Should Get

Transit Ridership is Declining–So Why Pay Transit CEOs So Much Money?

Sword Hid Relationship to Aiu from Police Commission

HNN: …Former federal agent Tommy Aiu was the top scoring candidate of seven finalists for Honolulu police chief. When he learned that he was a finalist, he went to the City Ethics Commission on September 11th to disclose that he's a first cousin to Mona Wood-Sword, the wife of Police Commission chair Max Sword.

Chairman Max Sword was told by ethics officials he should disclose the relationship, but he did not tell his fellow commissioners during a key meeting.

"I wanted to be open and totally transparent about it because I didn't want anyone to have the misconception that I had any help in any part of the process," said Aiu.

"I think Mr. Aiu did the exact right thing in going to the ethics commission," said police commission, Loretta Sheehan.

A week after he met with ethics officials they wrote a letter dated September 19th which instructed the Police Commission that "Chair Sword should execute a Disclosure of Conflict of Interest Statement stating that he has a familial relationship to an applicant."

But a little more than a week after that letter, the police commission held a meeting to select seven finalists. Sword did not disclose the potential conflict and another week later on Wednesday, the commission met again to hear testimony about the candidates. The commissioners still weren't told of the relationship….

read … Questions surround police chief search process with chairman related to finalist

Kakaako: Homelessness as a tool for Bureaucratic Empire Building

HHC: …It’s clear that meaningful enforcement to deter vandalism and other illegal activity somehow ended in Kakaako Waterfront Park several months ago, and that the result was that homeless campers and druggies broke open electric poles to steal the current and caused other damage that authorities say will cost half a million dollars to repair.

But what’s less clear is exactly how and why enforcement ended, and who’s responsible.

Most media reports are pretty vague, if they bother to address those issues at all.  Officials don’t seem to want to fess up, and now the whole mess will likely be dropped and swept under the rug so that nobody has to lose face.

But taxpayers and voters really deserve some explanations.  This situation is an absolute fiasco, and it was totally predictable.

Yet is was allowed to occur anyway.

That’s just totally unacceptable.

One TV station reported that Hawaii Community Development Authority officials “say last year the state provided the agency $320,000 to address homelessness at the park. Much of the money went to enforcing park hours. Once it closed sheriffs would come in to make sure everyone was gone.

But that valuable funding was cut in June, enforcement stopped and now homeless have returned to the park.”

So if the funding was “cut” in June, who cut it?  How, exactly, did that happen, and what was the reason given?

The newspaper placed blame squarely on the governor.  In an editorial, the paper said that the closure of Kakaako Waterfront Park to the entire public following months of abuse and vandalism by the homeless:

“has to be the definition of policy failure, and this one lands at the door of an office of the state Capitol’s fifth floor.

Gov. David Ige long ago declared the homelessness crisis to be an emergency.  And yet somehow nobody noticed the disruption and damage caused to the park by squatters who had tapped into water and power lines to equip their TVs and other gear running off the public utilities.

Or, more likely, people noticed but did not swiftly act on it.”

So what really happened?

Draft minutes from an August 2 meeting of the HCDA board of directors state that the board was informed at a previous meeting that “State funding with regards to homeless enforcement have been exhausted.”

That means the money was really all spent, rather than “cut,” as the TV report stated.

The minutes also say that “the HCDA has one staff person that issues park citations and that HCDA is revising its security contract to include a security and outreach component.”

When a board member asked whether HCDA has considered “hiring off-duty sheriffs like the Department of Transportation does,” he was told that the DOT “received $2 million from the legislature to address homeless issues on DOT land and that $2 million was matched from DOT’s budget.  The HCDA did not receive funds and would have to cover any costs incurred with its special funds.” ….

read … So what really happened in the latest Kakaako fiasco?

Like Rats in a Maze: Legislators, Councilmembers Continue to Push for Massive Festering Homeless Tent Cities Everywhere

SA: Sunday night’s upcoming, indefinite closure of Kakaako Waterfront Park and its adjacent state parks because of lawless homeless activity is helping to drive new interest in government- sanctioned “safe zones” for homeless encampments across Oahu.

Councilman Ernie Martin has introduced Bill 87 — scheduled for first reading on Wednesday — which would expand the city’s so-called “sit-lie ban” across the entire island — restricting sitting or lying on public sidewalks. At the same time, Martin has introduced Resolution 17-277, which calls for the creation of safe zones to house homeless people who would be displaced by an islandwide sit-lie ban.

“It would be hard to argue we’re going to impose an island sit-lie measure and not have an alternative for this population,” Martin said. “If you’re going to pass sit-lie measures without (safe zones), we’re wasting our time.”

The Council on Wednesday is scheduled to hear two other homeless-related bills. Bill 83, introduced by Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, would outlaw sitting or lying on a city sidewalk within 800 feet of a school or public library. Bill 88, also by Martin, would expand sit-lie to more portions of Iwilei along Pacific Street.

State Reps. John Mizuno and Tom Brower have been talking about safe zones in the state Legislature for years, and several Council members have more recently seen them in action in Seattle, which embraces government-sanctioned tent cities that are euphemistically called many names on the mainland, including “safe zones,” “sanctioned encampments” and “pop-up shelters.” ….

Marc Alexander, executive director of the city’s Office of Housing, however, said safe zones are opposed by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homeless and the National Alliance to End Homelessness because they don’t work. Alexander said they’re also not cost-effective and are “merely an excuse to hide the homeless and move the problem out of the public sphere as quickly as possible and not really help the homeless.”

Hawaii island’s new Camp Kikaha safe zone outside of the Old Kona Airport costs $23,000 per month for 28 people, not including costs for land and social service workers, Alexander said.

Talk of a government- sanctioned safe zone resurrects memories of the city’s failed attempt to create a tent city in Aala Park between 1990 and 1993, which ended in failure after a night of “wilding” that included an attempted murder and a trail of crime scenes.

Nick Kacprowski, an attorney with the Honolulu law firm of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, which has challenged the city’s homeless sweeps in court, said city officials need to be careful where they create safe zones in order to be legal.

“If you don’t have enough of them (for homeless people displaced by an islandwide sit-lie ban) and they’re not close to town, it really does no good,” Kacprowski said. “If that’s your safe zone, then it won’t pass a challenge. The big problem from the perspective of the Constitution is having a sit-lie ban where you have nowhere for them to go.”  (…except a shelter.  The one place they need to go is of course the one and only place we are not allowed to FORCE them to go.  See how this works?) 

read … Legislators want island ‘safe zones’ enacted

$160M Property Tax Hike Coming thanks to ‘rail recovery plan’

SA: The City Council approved the rail recovery plan this week, making it more likely that property tax dollars will help fund project construction despite earlier assurances those dollars would not be used.

For several Council members, including those who voted for Resolution 17-266, it was a bitter pill to swallow.

“This is a discussion that I have dreaded for a long time,” Council Chairman Ron Menor said moments before joining the majority in Friday’s 5-3 vote….

The recovery plan, sent to the Federal Transit Administration on Sept. 15, shifts the responsibility to the city to cover an estimated $160 million in administration costs for its local rail agency which is technically part of the project’s larger, capital costs….

Councilman Ernie Martin did not attend Friday’s special full-Council meeting. In a Thursday memo to Menor, Martin asked to be excused because the recovery plan had already been delivered to the FTA. He considered the resolution an “after the fact” action that “would preclude any deliberative discussion.”

It remains to be seen whether city leaders will further raise property taxes to help shoulder the added HART costs. The city could float more bonds instead to avoid that, Budget and Fiscal Services Director Nelson Koyanagi told the Council.

It could also decrease core city services (or HGEA/UPW make-work positions), Koyanagi added….  (Such as solitaire-on-the-computer tournaments.) 

read … Another Caldwell Tax Hike Lie

Sword Hid Relationship to Aiu from Police Commission

HNN: …Former federal agent Tommy Aiu was the top scoring candidate of seven finalists for Honolulu police chief. When he learned that he was a finalist, he went to the City Ethics Commission on September 11th to disclose that he's a first cousin to Mona Wood-Sword, the wife of Police Commission chair Max Sword.

Chairman Max Sword was told by ethics officials he should disclose the relationship, but he did not tell his fellow commissioners during a key meeting.

"I wanted to be open and totally transparent about it because I didn't want anyone to have the misconception that I had any help in any part of the process," said Aiu.

"I think Mr. Aiu did the exact right thing in going to the ethics commission," said police commission, Loretta Sheehan.

A week after he met with ethics officials they wrote a letter dated September 19th which instructed the Police Commission that "Chair Sword should execute a Disclosure of Conflict of Interest Statement stating that he has a familial relationship to an applicant."

But a little more than a week after that letter, the police commission held a meeting to select seven finalists. Sword did not disclose the potential conflict and another week later on Wednesday, the commission met again to hear testimony about the candidates. The commissioners still weren't told of the relationship….

read … Questions surround police chief search process with chairman related to finalist

‘Food Evolution’ screening benefits Waimea High

KGI: As a benefit for Waimea High School’s agriculture and aquaculture program, there will be a special screening of the documentary “Food Evolution” happening at Waimea Theatre on Oct. 10, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The documentary, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, explores the food-related challenges in today’s world and the part science plays in addressing the issues. The goal of the film is to encourage rational conversation about science and food, according to a news release on the event…..

GLP: ‘Food Evolution’ movie could mark turning point in public GMO discussion

read … ‘Food Evolution’ screening benefits Waimea High

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