FULL TEXT: Federal Subpoena of HART Records
Board of Agriculture Chair Resigns After Two Weeks on Job
Hawaii Construction Industry: Wood Looks Good for 2019
Fantasy Land: Federal funds appear to be safe after subpoena, HART CEO says
SA: … The head of the agency tasked with building Oahu’s multibillion-dollar rail project said Friday he’s received no indication from federal transit officials that roughly $744 million they’ve promised for the project is in jeopardy as a result of an apparent criminal investigation that became public this week….
HART CEO Andrew Robbins told reporters Friday that after he informed Federal Transit Administration officials about the subpoena Thursday, “they just said they would inform their attorneys and their acting administrator (Jane Williams).”…
Robbins, who said he first learned about the subpoena when it was served Monday at HART offices at Alii Place, added he’s “not particularly worried” that the subpoena or the investigation will slow down FTA’s timeline for deciding whether that $744 million should be released to HART.
The $744 million is what remains of an initial $1.55 billion promised under what’s known as a Full Funding Grant Agreement. It is a key part of the project’s financing, Robbins said, and the agency is expecting $100 million of that amount to be available to the city by June 30.
In response to the project’s escalating price tag, FTA officials delayed release of the money and required HART to submit a recovery plan detailing how it intends to pay for the remainder of the partially built project. HART submitted the plan in November and has been awaiting approval from the FTA.
Officials with the FTA and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, had intended to meet in January to review the recovery plan. He said he was informed by FTA officials Wednesday that those meetings will now take place in March….
Robbins, who began in September 2017, said he’s not seen any documents suggesting there was criminal activity on the part of city or HART personnel or contractors. “I’ve seen things along the line of the auditors have reported on in terms of judgment issues, mistakes, things like that,” he said. “I haven’t seen anything that I would consider rise to the level of criminal activity.”
He noted that Kondo, the state auditor, made similar comments Thursday during a television interview.
Robbins said he knows of no individuals who received subpoenas or other communications from the Department of Justice informing them they are targets or of interest to the investigation.
In related news, Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi this week introduced Resolution 19-29, seeking a forensic audit of HART, and on Friday she said the subpoena just reinforces the need for a thorough review….
read … Federal funds appear to be safe after subpoena, HART CEO says
Hawaii Supreme Court gives Keith Kaneshiro 20 days to respond
SA: … The Hawaii Supreme Court this afternoon ordered city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro to respond within 20 days to state Attorney General Clare Connors’ petition seeking to suspend him from practicing law.
Connors filed a petition for extraordinary writ with the High Court on Tuesday, stating that Kaneshiro should step down temporarily because he is a subject in the wide-ranging federal case against his office, former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, her husband former Police Chief Louis Kealoha and others….
The order does not indicate when, or even if, the justices will take up the matter.
The order was signed by four of the justices — Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald and associate justices Sabrina McKenna, Richard Pollack and Michael Wilson, and Circuit Judge Shirley Kawamura.
Kawamura is sitting in place of Justice Paula Nakayama, who earlier filed a recusal from the case….
read … Hawaii Supreme Court gives Keith Kaneshiro 20 days to respond
Lawmakers advance red light camera bill
WHT: … A bill proposing a red light detector systems program overcame its first hurdle Thursday, clearing a joint judiciary and transportation committee, and is now waiting to be heard by the Committee on Ways and Means.
There has been overwhelming support for Senate Bill 663 – from state departments to county officials, to bicycle organizations down to the private citizen….
Only two testimonies submitted opposed the bill — the Office of the Public Defender and an individual.
“Although we believe that strict enforcement of our traffic laws results in a reduction of traffic accidents and increased traffic safety, we do not believe this measure appropriately balances the rights of the accused violators with the public’s interest in traffic safety,” testimony from the Public Defender’s office states….
The Committee on Transportation passed the measure with amendments by a 3-2 vote. The Committee on Judiciary passed it with amendments 4-1 with one reservation….
KITV: Safe driving advocates continue to plead lawmakers for stricter rules on drunk driving following tragic Kakaako incident
read … Lawmakers advance red light camera bill
Hawaii lawmakers move to ban cigarettes -- eventually
UPI: … The bill exempts electronic cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and other alternatives. After it was introduced Jan. 24, the Hawaii House voted to put it on hold, for now….
Nationally, cigarette use is on the decline -- dropping to 14 percent of adults 18 or older between 2005 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention….
Additionally, Hawaii's taxes on cigarettes are the fifth-highest in the nation, at $3.20 per pack. The state also taxes little cigars 15 cents apiece, large cigars at 50 percent of their wholesale price and all other tobacco products at 70 percent. The state spent $6.6 million on tobacco prevention in fiscal 2018, nearly 50 percent of the CDC's recommended spending total of $13.7 million, according to Tobacco Free Kids….
Additionally, the lawmaker hopes his efforts can prevent young people who've taken to "vaping" from switching to cigarettes.
"People who are vaping now, who might go to cigarette smoking, it would be harder for them to do that," he said. "In my view, vaping is not carcinogenic, it doesn't cause cancer, it has just nicotine and nicotine by itself is relatively innocuous."
Although the proposed bill would allow tourists to bring cigarettes to the islands, and smoke in designated areas….
"You could put some of these conditions, probably the 25 age limit, into a bill that comes here from the Senate and we'll probably try that," he said. "If that doesn't happen, we'll come back next year. In the meantime, we'll try to educate our fellow legislators about the reason we're doing this."
read … Incrementalism
SB686: Oligopoly Weed is Legal for Everybody
SA: … The Legislature is weighing various proposals to legalize recreational cannabis. One of them, Senate Bill 686, SD1, includes a mandate that recreational pot can be sold only through highly regulated and monitored medical cannabis dispensaries like Noa.
Presumably, avoiding the need to set up a new system of licensed cannabis retail establishments would not only save time — it took some 17 years to set up the medical cannabis dispensary system — but also assuage legalization skeptics who fear an out-of-control flood of potent legal weed in our communities.
It could also blur the distinction between medical and recreational cannabis, except maybe the cost. Under SB 686, non-medical cannabis sales would carry an additional 15 percent excise tax.
Ironically, 30 percent of those tax revenues would go to substance abuse prevention, “including education on the dangers of driving while under the influence of cannabis.” …
read … Weed Mart
What Could Possibly Go Wrong With a Hawaii Carbon Tax Study?
IM: … Hawai`i House Bill 1584 proposes a two-year carbon tax study conducted by the University of Hawai`i.
The legislation is supported by Sierra Club of Hawai‘i, Elemental Excelerator, Blue Planet, Organizing for Action, Young Progressives Demanding Action, Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi, Nature Conservancy, Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Health & Harm Reduction Center, Hawaii Reef And Ocean Coalition, O`ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai`i, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Americans for Democratic Action, and Ulupono Initiative.
The Indigenous Environmental Network and the Climate Justice Alliance published a report on Carbon Pricing in 2017.
"Carbon pricing is a name for a tool that governments, financial institutions, and corporations have adopted in order to try to reconcile their continuing commitment to fossil fuel use with the need to appear to take action on climate change. Carbon pricing includes emissions trading, cap and trade, carbon offset trading, carbon taxes, and penalty and payment schemes."
Food & Water Watch is supporting 100% renewable energy by 2035.
“Carbon taxes – while popular with economists – have proven to be ineffective at actually reducing emissions in the real world. And according to research prepared for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, we will actually see an increase in electricity from fracked gas under a carbon tax plan they studied.”
Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, said, “Let's not forget one of the most effective ways to stop climate change — leaving oil, coal, and gas in the ground... Proposals for carbon taxes and cap-and-trade have taken up too much climate-solution oxygen in recent years, and so far they have been flimsy half measures porous with loopholes. They come nowhere close to meeting the scale of the crisis.” ….
read … What Could Possibly Go Wrong With a Hawai`i Carbon Tax Study
Mililani: Underage Children Targeted by Transsexual Propaganda Story
KITV: … "I remember praying at night that I would wake up a girl. When I looked in the mirror I didn't see who I was. I didn't understand it," Timoteo explained.
As a teenage boy, depression took over Timoteo's life, at times, contemplating suicide.
That all changed after meeting a cousin who identified as transsexual. It was the missing puzzle piece that changed Timoteo's life forever. Her family supported her transition journey 100 percent.
(Translation: Boys if you are being sexually abused by a homosexual child molester, the best solution is not to report the molester. Instead give in 100% and become a fake female)
"I wasn't going to be the football player that I was supposed to be. Unfortunately I ended up being like the cheerleader," Timoteo said.
These days Timoteo uses social media as a platform to bring awareness to the transgender community….
(Question: When will trannies start reporting the homosexual child molesters who abused them as minors?)
read … Some Transsexual Propaganda
Former Kamehameha Schools faculty member gets prison time for sexual assault of student
SA: … A Honolulu judge sentenced a former Kamehameha Schools faculty member to prison today after he was convicted of multiple counts of sex assault involving a 14-year-old student.
Circuit Court Judge Fa’auuga To’oto’o sentenced James Maeda, assistant band director at the Kapalama campus, to a 10 year-term for 10 counts of second-degree sex assault and a five-year term for one count of third-degree sex assault. The terms are to run concurrently…..
The assaults occurred on four occasions between June 2017 to February 2018, mostly on campus. Police arrested Maeda in February 2018….
At sentencing, the victim’s mother addressed Maeda and the court. “This man has taken so much from her,” she said, crying. “He manipulated her since she was in seventh grade. He made her believe that he loved her, that she could trust him.” ….
read … Former Kamehameha Schools faculty member gets prison time for sexual assault of student