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Wednesday, November 08, 2017
November 8, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:30 PM :: 2197 Views

100 Years of Communism: Death and Deprivation 

Lawsuit: OHA Grabs for Control of Mauna Kea

$150M Rate Hike Plan--BWS Accepting Comments

Honolulu--4th Highest Veteran Homelessness in USA

Fattest States? Hawaii Ranks 48th

Professional License--DCCA Launches Online Application Status Search

DoE Puts 'Performance Indicators' Online

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted November 7, 2017

Sen Donna Mercado Kim Announces Congressional Campaign

Maui budget crisis has begun—52% Pension Spike Coming

MN: …Maui County taxpayers will be paying millions more every year into the state Employees’ Retirement System, according to the system’s executive director, Thom Williams.

In a presentation last month in Wailuku, Williams said Act 17, signed into law this year by Gov. David Ige, requires the state and counties to ramp up their payments into the state pension fund.

“This is a massive, massive increase,” Williams said.

Maui County paid $31 million into the pension fund in fiscal 2017. But now, its payments will increase to approximately $34 million in fiscal 2018, $36 million in fiscal 2019, $42 million in fiscal 2020 and $47 million in fiscal 2021.

This amounts to a total of $36 million in extra payments by Maui County over the next four years alone — and its contributions are set to remain just as high every year afterward….

read … Just the Beginning

Homeschooling is declining nationally, but not in Hawaii

HNN: …Recently, parent Nicole Guiles and her children joined other parents and homeschooled kids for a field trip to the insect museum at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Hands-on, unique experiences are a critical part of homeschooling, Guiles said.

And her children's "school" is their one-bedroom condo in Maikiki.

Guiles has taught each of her three daughters there: 16-year-old Celeste, 13-year-old Natasha, and 11-year-old Lulu.

'It's been such a joy for me to watch them learn and figure out a way to teach them to figure how they can learn the best," Guiles said.

According to the state Education Department, there were 2,999 students being homeschooled in Hawaii last year. Three years ago, the figure was 2,888….

Last year, when she was 15, Celeste started at Kapiolani Community College.

She's now there as a full-time student, and also tutors other students in math….

read … Homeschooling

Feds: Kealoha Pressured Witnesses to Cover-up Theft from Orphans

CB: …In documents filed Friday, the federal government says that Kealoha not only took the money, but also leaned on a witness in the guardianship case to help her cover it up….

At the center of the new allegation is a document that Kealoha filed in the Taitos’ state guardianship case, which appears to clear her of stealing money from Ransen Taito. The document appears to be a statement, filed by Kealoha, in which Ransen approved a final accounting saying Ransen had gotten about $84,000 from his trust account after he turned 18. The final accounting also was filed by Kealoha.

Federal prosecutors now say the approval document was forged.

An FBI report filed as an exhibit on Friday describes an interview between the FBI and someone described as “Witness 1.” According to the report, Witness 1 told agents during an April 2017 interview that Kealoha called him for a private meeting in June 2016 during which she showed him the approval statement with his forged signature.

The government’s version of the document has redacted the names of two apparent witnesses, which appear in an unredacted version of the document filed in the state guardianship case: Bradley Ito and Elson Honda. They could not be reached for comment and it’s unclear exactly what their relationship is to Taito or Kealoha but they are on the document as witnesses.

According to the report, Kealoha told Witness 1 — apparently Ito or Honda — she didn’t know how his signature had gotten on the document or who had signed it. Kealoha told Witness 1 that if he received a subpoena to testify before the grand jury he should contact her and she would provide an attorney.

According to the FBI report, Witness 1 saw Kealoha’s comment as self-serving. The report quotes Witness 1 as saying he “felt that he has always been a good friend to KEALOHA, but she doesn’t always reciprocate” and that “she only answers (his) calls when it is convenient for her or when she wants something from him.”

Witness 1 did not tell Kealoha when he received the subpoena, the FBI report says….

read … The Case Against Katherine Kealoha Just Keeps Getting Worse

Attorneys for Kealohas ask to be removed from case—Argue All Hawaii Attorneys Have Conflict of Interest

SA: The three attorneys for Louis and Katherine Kealoha want permission from a federal judge to be removed as legal counsel for the high-profile couple in the public corruption case that’s led to the indictments of the retired police chief, his wife the deputy city prosecutor, and four other current or former Honolulu Police Department officers.

The motion by Myles Breiner, Gary Modafferi and Kevin Sumida was filed jointly by the three men Tuesday. It is expected to be heard in U.S. District Court today. Breiner has been handling Katherine Kealoha’s case while Modafferi was recently retained by Louis Kealoha to fight the criminal charges against him. Sumida has been handling the civil cases involving the Kealohas.

“Defendants can no longer fund a defense,” a memorandum filed with the motion by the attorneys said. “Their assets have been effectively frozen by the federal government, and the terms of their bond prohibit them from even applying for a loan.” …

The memorandum noted that federal prosecutors have estimated that the case will involve “a quarter of a million pages of evidence, some 500 witnesses and a trial consuming four months.”

The motion asks that the court appoint new attorneys for the Kealohas, and that those new attorneys come from out-of-state. The case against the Kealohas “is of such magnitude and complexity that there are no other local attorneys available who are both qualified and not suffering from potential conflicts of interest,” the memorandum said.

The new attorneys would presumably be paid for by taxpayers….

HNN: Earlier this year, the Honolulu Police Commission also paid Louis Kealoha $250,000

PDF: Motion

read … Attorneys for Kealohas ask to be removed from case

Prosecutors: There are 230,000 pieces of evidence against the Kealohas

HNN: …That's according to a motion filed by federal prosecutors Wednesday.

The motion is asking a judge to ensure those pieces of evidence are not leaked from the Kealohas' defense team when they get it in the discovery process.

The government says the evidence is sensitive: It contains names, phone numbers, and other personal information of witnesses and victims.

The files also contain personnel records and financial information for defendants that should not be made public.

Much of the evidence was collected through grand jury subpoenas.

Legal experts say they've never seen such a voluminous case. …

read … 230,000

Attorney says DNA evidence doesn’t prove police officer was driving drunk

KHON: The attorney for a Honolulu police officer charged with drunk driving and filing a false report says DNA evidence against the officer is not enough proof.

Albert Lee’s attorney tells us that the officer was in his subsidized police vehicle when it crashed in Hawaii Kai last year.

He told investigators he wasn’t driving, but could not identify who was behind the wheel.

His attorney, Megan Kau, says DNA evidence that is a possible match for Lee does not prove Lee was actually driving.

The silver Chevy Equinox crashed into a wall protecting a Hawaiian Electric switching vault on Lunalilo Home Road.

By the time police officers arrived, Lee was the only person at the scene.

Lee’s attorney tells us Lee was not driving, but he does not want to say who it was because he or she could then get arrested.

“Since your client is a police officer, he should be on the right side of the law and identify who was actually driving,” KHON2 pointed out.

“Someone could make that argument. I honestly can’t even tell you if he remembers who was driving,” replied Kau. “There is statement that was written by him. He, I believe, had a concussion from the accident itself. Nevertheless, he wrote the statement and said he couldn’t remember.”

Kau says prosecutors have DNA evidence that is a possible match for Lee, but does not necessarily mean it’s his.

“It’s not like they take DNA and they can say this is for certain Albert Lee’s DNA, and so for that reason, it’s very possible that the DNA match could be to his brother or to his cousin as well,” Kau said.

KHON2 asked former Honolulu prosecutor Peter Carlisle about DNA evidence.

“That argument could of course be made, but if this person is driving their own car and they’re found in the car and now they’re saying it could have been my brother or it could have been my great aunt, that’s a very weak argument,” said Carlisle.

Kau says the charges against Lee are a move to try and prevent him from testifying to the grand jury against Katherine Kealoha.

Kau adds that these criminal charges are meant to take away Lee’s credibility, and says the prosecutor’s office went to great lengths to move this case forward.

“The fact that they got a search warrant the very next day, executed the search warrant and tested the DNA immediately to determine whether there was a potential match was surprising to me. Never have I seen that done before,” she said.

Kau says prosecutors also hired an expert from Portland to examine the black box inside Lee’s vehicle, which is surprising for a DUI, a petty misdemeanor case, along with a misdemeanor charge for filing a false report.….

(More likely: The officer purposefully set up this ‘accident’ in order to discredit his own testimony which still complying with the Feds order to testify.)

read … Attorney says DNA evidence doesn’t prove police officer was driving drunk

Attorneys: ACLU Homosexual Child Molester May Have 100s of Kamehameha Student Victims

HNN: They believe there are hundreds of victims yet to be heard from.

"We want people to come forward that all knew about it, were afraid back then to say anything and didn't want to be expelled from school," said the plaintiffs' attorney, Michael Green.

The victims were boys, ages 9 to 17 years old, when the school referred them to St. Francis Psychiatric Director Dr. Robert Browne (a member of the Board of Directors of the Hawaii ACLU) during the 1970s and 80s. They claim he sexually assaulted them.

"(Dr. Browne) made them think it was part of the treatment," said Green.

Lawyers for the alleged victims say when the boys had discipline issues like truancy, poor grades or fighting, they were driven in a school van to the St. Francis Medical Center in Liliha for an appointment with Browne and that's where most the alleged abuse happened.

"When it came out in 1991, they destroyed all the records. Kamehameha Schools destroyed the treatment records," said Green.

That same year, Dr. Browne committed suicide after an alleged victim confronted him….

Related: Homosexual Child Molester Was Leader of Hawaii ACLU

read … More

Solar Industry Lawyers to be Sanction for Abusive Unprofessional Conduct?

IM: …Should EarthJustice attorney Isaac Moriwake be sanctioned?….

The dispute became public when State Consumer Advocate Dean Nishina filed a formal complaint with the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission on October 17, 2017….

“In that meeting, extremely unprofessional behavior was exhibited by Mr. Isaac Moriwake that initially only consisted of interrupting a staff person from the Division of Consumer Advocacy and not allowing the Division’s staff the opportunity to complete the point that was trying to be made.

“Subsequently, when the Division staff sought the ability to complete the thought, the unprofessional behavior continued with further and persistent interruptions.

“Even though there were polite attempts by other participants to de-escalate the situation, Mr. Moriwake’s unprofessional behavior continued to escalate, or, perhaps more accurately, devolve, to where Mr. Moriwake’s unacceptable behavior consisted of loud, personal, aggressive, and disparaging comments about the value of the Division’s staff person and her contributions to the process as well as disparaging comments about the Division’s contributions to the process.

“Then, after the yelling had stopped, he continued to participate in the meeting without any obvious signs of contrition.”

Joseph P. Viola, HECO`s Vice President for Regulatory Affairs, sent a concurring letter to the Commission the next day.

“We are equally troubled by Mr. Moriwake’s conduct and request that this matter be investigated and remedial action taken.

“As noted in the Consumer Advocate’s letter, the meeting was convened by the Companies for the purpose of discussing several issues related to interconnection as a part of the Commission’s informal stakeholder process in the DER proceeding. Multiple parties attended in person and participated by phone.”

“During a discussion on how the Companies conduct technical review of storage, a debatearose between Isaac Moriwake, counsel for the Hawai`i Solar Energy Association (`HSEA`), and a Consumer Advocate staff member.

“Mr. Moriwake’s tone and demeanor quickly became aggressive and abusive towards that person. He did not allow her to speak; yelled at her; pointed aggressively, and made several personal insults and demeaning remarks to her. Among other things, he proclaimed that `you bring no value to this process` and `you shouldn’t be here`.

“Several attendees in the room attempted to deescalate the situation and `call a timeout,’ but Mr. Moriwake persisted….

“As the Consumer Advocate notes, his conduct simply cannot be tolerated or condoned.

“Mr. Moriwake’s actions created a hostile environment that, if unaddressed, will have a potential chilling effect on all future stakeholder meetings."

Hawaii Solar Energy Assn (HSEA) Attorney Colin Yost asserted that he and Marcey Chang had a heated exchange, then Isaac Moriwaki stepped in and tried to re-focus everyone….

Isaac Moriwake filed a letter on November 6. “To the extent that the Commission is considering making any specific "findings," I should make clear for the record that in the exchange during the October 11, 2017 informal meeting, I referred to "irrelevant tangents," "bogus issues," and "zero value add" (in those verbatim terms). I did not say, nor would I ever posit, that anyone "do[es]n't belong here," or should leave or otherwise be excluded from meaningfully participating.”…

read … Solar Scammers

Navy expands zone limiting sonar testing around Maui county

MN: The U.S. Navy has expanded its no-sonar-testing zone around Maui County by about 50 percent, according to its latest draft environmental impact statement for personnel and weapons systems training between Hawaii and California, officials said Tuesday.

The training involves the use of active sonar and explosives while taking measures to protect marine species. The U.S. Pacific Fleet accepted comments and gave a brief presentation at Maui High School.

The deadline for public comment on the draft environmental impact statement is Dec. 12.

Navy officials said there were no fundamental changes to training and exercises, but new geographical protection areas have been added throughout the islands. Maui County’s protection zone, which has existed for years within the waters of the county’s four islands, has been extended around Molokai and Maui from November to April. Previous protections began in December….

Coverage: 

read … Sonar

Hooser: I couldn’t Refute Pro-GMO Arguments, so I reverted to Politics

KGI: The following is an excerpt from an actual email conversation between myself and a friendly state legislator in their first year serving in the state House of Representatives.

The topic was about why he/she should support increased pesticide regulation. This email was part of a series of emails between us where he/she had requested additional data/research on this topic in an effort they were making to come to terms with the opposing arguments presented by industry lobbyists.

It seemed our discussion was heading toward an endless back and forth, as every time I provided information supporting the concerns and need for regulation, the industry would respond, bringing up counterpoints, and visa versa.

While the communications thread became a little tiresome at points, clearly this person was struggling with the decision-making process, wanted to do the right thing but wanted to have the validation for the decision to be solid and irrefutable.

While this particular topic involved pesticide regulation, the principle applies to all policy decisions made by legislators and council members.

read … Whose interests do you serve?

Bus ridership way down on Hawaii's Big Island, experts say

AP: Bus ridership on Hawaii’s Big Island has dropped by about one third over the last four years, according to consultants working on a master plan for the island’s bussing system.

An unreliable aging fleet is mostly to blame for the ridership decline, the consultants said at a meeting on Monday, West Hawaii Today reported .

The system is struggling with a shortage of working buses and the county is spending thousands of dollars a day for backup buses and drivers from private companies.

The County Council voted in 2015 to have a $500,000 study done and Honolulu-based SSFM International was chosen to conduct it. It’s the first time in the bus system’s 40-year history a master plan has been attempted.

Twenty five of the 55 busses in the fleet were out of commission when Mayor Harry Kim took over in December because they needed major repairs.

Since then, former Transit Administrator Tiffany Kai has been reassigned and consultant Curt Sharp’s contract has lapsed, leaving officials in seek of a permanent administrator for the bussing system.

The council budgeted $14 million this year for transit operations and improvements, up slightly from last year. Half of the money comes from the general fund, which comes primarily from property taxes, and half comes from the highway fund, collected from gas taxes and franchise fees to utilities.

Federal grants account for $1.2 million of the budget, and with fares accounting for $960,000, the county pays an average $11.77 per rider. Riders pay $1-$2 fares, depending on their age and whether they have disabilities….

read … Bus ridership way down on Hawaii's Big Island, experts say

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