Ask Not for Whom the H-1 Tolls…
FSM Government Responds to Lyon Bribery Charge
HDOT Wants Gas Tax Hike – But Can’t Be Bothered to Spend Money it Already Has
SA Editorial: …lawmakers should pose some hard questions to DOT as the legislation makes its way through committees.
PRIMARILY they need to assess how well the money will be managed. In past years, the Federal Highways Administration has criticized the state for allowing a pool of unspent federal dollars to build up in what officials call “Pipeline” funding, reaching a high of $940 million in 2010.
The governor has touted great progress in spending down roughly half of that; about $450 million remains in the Pipeline. Lawmakers should want to learn more about how its handling has changed….
Gov. David Ige surely is hoping that the noise and vibration might be jarring enough to make the state’s drivers willing to pay more in taxes and fees to finance road repairs…. (That’s why HDOT isn’t spending the money—potholes are an excuse for tax hikes)
read … Latest Tax Hike Hustle
State Pays $585K Settlement After Giving Foster Boys to Mainland Child Molester
SA: … The state has agreed to pay $585,000 to settle a lawsuit by two former foster children who were sexually molested by a state-licensed Maui foster parent.
Zack Morris (Really? Zack Morris???) was convicted of sexually abusing three foster children, all boys, who were placed in his care by the state Department of Human Services from 2009 to 2011. The victims ranged in age from 11 to 16.
Morris, who was formerly known as Florentino Rios, is now serving a prison sentence of up to 20 years at Halawa Correctional Facility, according to the state Department of Public Safety….
According to the state Attorney General’s office, a background check into “Zack Morris” as part of the licensing process for foster parents in 2008 “did not uncover any information” that raised concern about the suitability of Morris as a foster parent. However, under the name Florentino Rios, he and his wife Krystina had an alarming history.
(So they couldn’t figure out that “Zack Morris” was a fake name from a TV show???)
The Star-Advertiser reported in 2017 that New York authorities found the couple had provided inadequate guardianship for their 4-month-old son after the infant stopped breathing and was rushed to the hospital with a fractured skull, bleeding in the brain and other injuries.
The child was diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome after that 2003 incident, and the parents failed to offer any explanation for the injuries, according to New York documents. New York authorities placed the baby in foster care for a time after concluding the child would be at serious risk of harm if he stayed with his parents, but the family was later reunited.
Hawaii officials have said the 2003 incident wasn’t flagged during a foster care licensing background check because the Morrises had changed their names shortly before moving to Hawaii, according to an attorney for the foster children.
After Morris was licensed as a foster parent in Hawaii, there was a physical altercation between a boy who was placed in his home, and the boy claimed Morris had sexually abused him, according to an account of the facts in the lawsuit provided by the Hawaii Attorney General’s office last week.
Morris alleged the boy had assaulted him, and “the police and the court sided with Mr. Morris,” according to the attorney general. After a DHS investigation, the department classified the sexual abuse allegation as “unconfirmed,” and the boy was removed from the Morris home.
Morris later sued DHS for discrimination for not placing any foster children with him and won that case, according to the attorney general….
(Hawaii soft-on-crime judiciary in action.)
read … State settles lawsuit over abused foster children
After Gabbard Attacks Hirono, Hawaii Media Suddenly Rediscovers Hare Krishna Cult
SA: (Lesson: Hawaii media work for the Congressional Delegation. Now that there is a 3-1 split, they work for the majority against Gabbard. This truth does not change because there is a lot to tell about Gabbard’s cult. Ask why was this not news when Tulsi was a loyal member of the Delegation? To ask is to answer.)
…Rick Ross, executive director of the Cult Education Institute, a New Jersey-based nonprofit that researches and advocates against destructive cults and movements, estimated he had been in contact with more than 100 people over the years who were involved in the group. He described Butler as a “dictatorial leader” who has exploited followers of his brand of religion.
“He is a hateful person. He is homophobic. He has said horrible things about the LGBT community,” said Ross. “And he is, to say the least, not exactly an icon of either idealistic or ethical living.”
Neither Butler or Jeannie Bishop, president of the Science of Identity Foundation, would agree to interviews for this story. But Bishop and the foundation’s attorney, Anthony Glassman, of Glassman Media Group, based in Beverly Hills, Calif., said in emails to the Star-Advertiser that various allegations that have been made against Butler by former adherents are untrue and suggested that criticism of the foundation and Butler has been motivated by religious bigotry….
…Gabbard’s aunt, Caroline Sinavaiana Gabbard, said she thinks the stakes are high for her niece. She’s the sister of Tulsi Gabbard’s father, Mike Gabbard, and a retired English professor who taught at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She said she withdrew her political support for her niece in recent years over political differences and supported Gabbard’s primary opponent in the last congressional race.
Caroline Gabbard said she doesn’t think the Science of Identity Foundation will stand up to national media scrutiny and described the political risk to her 37-year-old niece in stark terms in a social media post shortly after Gabbard announced her presidential run, writing that the cost will “be higher than she can imagine or afford.”
“Some unholy jumble of delusion and hubris, ignorance and lurching ambition, begs the question: to what and whom exactly is Rep. Gabbard loyal?” she wrote. “The fact this remains an open question does not bode well for Hawaii and beyond, and least of all for Gabbard herself.”….
Religion News Jan 26, 2019: Tulsi Gabbard: Religious bigotry is un-American
2012: To Stop Mufi, Mrs Abercrombie Joins the Chris Butler Cult (This in 2012 marked the point when the media suddenly stopped talking about the Chris Butler Cult.)
SA: Chris Butler and Science of Identity Foundation criticize media, decline interviews
read … Media is the agent of Hirono Payback
"Dirty politics": City Council candidate Trevor Ozawa considering legal action after Supreme Court ruling
KITV: … Accusations of cronyism, dirty politics, and political bias: Trevor Ozawa told KITV4 he's thinking about filing a federal courts appeal after the Supreme Court invalidated Ozawa's win over Tommy Waters for the district four seat on Friday. Ozawa raised red flags about the way the Justices handled the petition. …
"Justices Wilson, McKenna and Pollack were all nominated to the court by Mr. Waters when Mr. Waters served on the judicial selection commission. So Mr. Waters was directly involved in putting them on the Hawaii Supreme Court," Ozawa said.
Ozawa says Justice McKenna recused herself four years ago - when Waters filed his first petition for a recount in a slim loss to Ozawa - and this time did not, and this year filed a notice of conflict that her law clerk lives at Water's attorney's house - and yet Mc Kenna decided to stay on this case. Justice Pollack was also Water's boss for five years.
"I think that's ridiculous, the Supreme Court has the duty and obligation the case based on the law," Waters said….
UPDATE: Conflict of Interest? Judiciary Debunks Ozawa
read … Dirty Politics
UH System Grubs for Money (as always)
SA: … The UH Board of Regents has approved a request seeking $26.7 million in additional general funds for the next fiscal year, and $27.2 million for the 2021 fiscal year for various programs across the 10-campus system. The largest item on this operating budget list is $19.7 million, each year, for Hawaii Promise, a “last-dollar” scholarship program.
The money would come on top of the university’s annual base budget for the system, which is about $1 billion.
Established as a community college pilot two years ago, proposed funding aims to grow Hawaii Promise to include four-year universities, which carry higher tuition costs, said John Morton, vice president for UH community colleges.
“Basically, the whole idea came as a response to the ‘free college’ movement across the country,” Morton said….
Meanwhile: Lesson for UH and DoE--How P3 Can Eliminate Deferred Maintenance
read … UH leaders set sights on a host of improvements
SB1530/HB1497: Burn $350M for a Smaller Stadium
SA: … Senate Bill 1530 and House Bill 1497 would appropriate $100 million out of general funds, up to $150 million in revenue bonds and $100 million in general obligation bonds for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The revenue bonds would be paid off by the commercial and economic activities generated by the construction of the new stadium, Luke said (suppressing the urge to laugh).
The bills do not address the seating capacity of a new stadium, which is expected to be in the 35,000-seat range favored by the Stadium Authority based upon the money that would be allocated. But the creation of the development district in the Aloha Stadium footprint would rule out prospective sites beyond Halawa. The Department of Accounting and General Services, which oversees the Stadium Authority, recently favored opening up consideration of locations beyond Halawa….
(Idea: Spend $0 not $350M. Leave the stadium as-is, sell developers the right to build condos to the sky on the parking lot in exchange for them building parking structures to make up for the lost spaces.)
read … $350M for a SMALLER Stadium
Lava: More Lawsuits Against Lloyds of London
HTH: … Attorneys told about 35 people who packed a conference room Wednesday at the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo there will be more lawsuits filed against Lloyd’s of London and its associated agents, brokers and adjusters.
“Right now, there are five lawsuits filed with 28 individual cases in those five lawsuits. Those are on file,” Kirk Wood, an Alabama attorney working with Kona attorney Jeffrey Foster said. “We should have two additional (lawsuits) within the next 10 days that will have as many as 25 to 28 people.”….
read … Lawyers discuss Lloyd’s of London lawsuits at meeting
Hard-Core Homeless Criminals Refuse Shelter, Occupy Tourism Areas
WHT: … DuPlessis cited the aggressive and unsavory behavior she encountered from area homeless as the sole reason she felt concern for her family’s safety and as the catalyst behind a firm choice never to return….
Benjamin Vasquez, who visited the island from California, said a homeless man on Alii Drive began nonsensically berating his girlfriend Amanda when she told the man she had no cash to give him….
Stefanie Gubser, operations manager for Manini Holdings LLC, which owns 6 acres in the Old Industrial Area and is developing the site for Kona Brewing Company’s new facility, said the cost of property damage caused by homeless has already climbed into the thousands since she moved over to the job just a few months ago.
Homeless rip out irrigation systems, tear through electrical setups, cut fences, she said….
most of the problems posed by the homeless population are caused by a handful of individuals, men and women uninterested in life off the streets, people whom no housing project or outreach program can entice.
Hawaii and Hawaii County have thrown time, personnel and financial resources at the issue, doing so at unprecedented rates over the last three years. And the results are there. Nearly a fifth of the state’s homeless have been housed since rock bottom….
But what is to be done about those who refuse help, many of whom are the most disruptive and criminal, as well as the ones driving public perception that nothing about homelessness has improved when regarded against the day-to-day quality of life for locals and tourists?…
“I’d say we don’t deal with that many of them,” explained Sgt. Joseph Stender Jr., with the Hawaii Police Department’s Community Policing Division. “The total number compared to how many we actually interact with that are violating laws, the number is fairly small.”
Of that group, many are committing only petty crimes like trespassing, minor theft or public indecency. Various police spokespeople have said on several occasions that homeless often end up back on the streets after only a few nights inside a cell because of that.
Gubser said her experience in the Old Industrial Area mirrors Stender’s description of the scene there and in other area popular with homeless. Manini Holdings has taken names in attempts to track troublemakers, and Gubser believes it’s as few as 10-20 individuals behind essentially all the criminal activity perpetrated in and around Brewery Block….
As of last week, there were 664 single individuals in Hawaii County registered in the Homeless Management Information System, according to numbers provided by Brandee Menino, CEO of HOPE Services. Only 113 of them had expressed interest in permanent housing to that point….
read … IN YOUR FACE: Homeless numbers in Hawaii vs public perception