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Wednesday, April 24, 2019
April 24, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:30 PM :: 1698 Views

Will Trump waive the Jones Act for Domestic LNG shipments?

Waimea and Hanapepe Property Owners to be Forced to Buy Flood Insurance?

Legislature Votes to Fund Suicide Prevention

DHS Audit: Significant Weaknesses and Deficiencies

State of the Air: Hawaii Among the Cleanest

After Problems with East Oahu Vote—Lawmakers still approve statewide mail-in voting

SA: … Leading lawmakers have finally agreed on a plan to switch to statewide mail-in balloting starting in the 2020 election, a shift that is expected to save the state hundreds of thousands of dollars each election cycle and possibly boost voter turnout slightly.

Assuming the House and Senate approve House Bill 1248 and Gov. David Ige signs the measure, Hawaii will join three other states that use mail-in balloting for all elections. Colorado, Washington and Oregon already have all-mail voting….

HB 1248 now goes to the House and Senate for final floor votes and then to Ige for further consideration. Ige has the options of signing or vetoing the bill, but last year he signed the bill that authorized mail-in voting on Kauai in 2020….

The effect on voter turnout on the mainland has been mixed…

The measure was opposed by Kaneohe resident Ken Conklin, who argued in written testimony that “voting by mail, early voting, or absentee voting should be the exception — not the normal, routine, expected procedure.”

Voting has become easier in recent years, but voter turnout has not noticeably improved, Conklin wrote. “Personally, I don’t mind if voter turnout is low, because that magnifies the effectiveness of my own vote. Ignorant or apathetic people are welcome to abstain.”

Conklin also warned that mail-in voting makes it easier to pay people or intimidate them into voting in a certain way.

But Rhoads (moronically) said half the voters are already voting by mail. “I’m not aware that there’s been any problems in that half that’s been doing it already,” he added….

Here’s What Rhoads isn’t Aware of:

Big Q: If enacted statewide, would all-mail voting in 2020 noticeably increase voter turnout?

read … Lawmakers approve statewide mail-in voting

REIT CEOs outline specific costs to Hawaii tax bill

PBN: … Plans for construction of a new hotel at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort could be scuttled if a bill to eliminate a corporate income tax deduction for real estate investment trusts becomes law, according to the CEO of Park Hotels & Resorts, which owns the hotel….

Senate Bill 301, which would eliminate the dividend deduction for REITs, passed the House and the Senate and is now headed for a conference committee where the two chambers will iron out their differences, presumably before the Legislature adjourns next week….

CB: Many inaccurate claims about REITs have been made by those trying to repeal the deduction

read … REIT CEOs outline specific costs to Hawaii tax bill

OHA to Get 20% Cut of Kailua-Kona Homeless Village?

WHT: …Planner Jeff Seastrom, who hosted Tuesday’s session, agreed it might be feasible saying mixed-use zoning is possible on the affordable housing portion of the project. That area is roughly the same size as the homeless parcel but is still owned by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation.

Seastrom said the HHFDC and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs would have to be consulted and approve any commercial development at Village 9 or the adjacent affordable housing project. Any retailer would also incur a ceded land cost on top of the price of a lease….

Current plans for camp have it butting up against the coming Kealakehe Regional Park as well as in the vicinity of the West Hawaii Civic Center, Kealakehe High School and a Hawaiian Homes development….

The chosen location of Village 9 has long been a point of contention among some West Hawaii residents. While some are concerned homeless will populate a camp situated next to the island’s largest school, others harbor opposing fears that homeless won’t relocate, instead maintaining a sizable presence in Kailua Village and resulting in millions in taxpayer waste.   (Simple solution: Apply more force.)

“You’re going to have some that won’t want to (live there),” Kossow conceded.  (Simple solution: Apply more force.)

That’s why, she added, it’s important to engage with the homeless themselves to find out what would draw them to Village 9 and what might keep them rooted there.  (Wrong.  Their ‘wants’ got them into this situation.  They can’t get themselves out.)

As for the generally uncooperative element of some homeless, which includes a criminal element, First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dale Ross said programs meant to incentivize residence at Village 9 aren’t off the table.  (Right idea.  Apply more force.)

At the now disbanded Camp Kikaha, which the county constructed next to HOPE Services Hawaii in the Old Kona Industrial Area after clearing Old Airport Park of homeless campers in 2017, such a program was implemented.

Homeless actively engaged and living at the camp but also saddled with bench warrants were afforded opportunity to clear those warrants by performing community service on site. The county provided transportation to the courthouse for relevant court dates.  (May the Force be with you.)

“It’s very possible” that could be replicated, Ross said….

HNN: Connie Mitchell from IHS talks helping homeless

read … Developers, county host community brainstorming session for Village 9

Neighborhoods Are Really Angry At The Feds’ $345 Million Ala Wai Project

CB: … As lawmakers consider approving a local match to secure federal funding for the Ala Wai flood control project, a wall of opposition to the plan is rising.

Seven of the neighborhood boards in the upstream area affected by the $345 million project have passed resolutions asking for the work to be stalled and rethought.

The neighborhood boards in Manoa, Palolo, Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis, McCully-Moiliili, Makiki-Tantalus, Ala Moana-Kakaako and Kaimuki have officially asked lawmakers to stop the project for now, listen to their concerns and reconsider its impacts.

In five of the communities, where board members often bicker over trivialities, the votes against the project have been unanimous….

Scores of passionate opponents have spoken out at board meetings over the past four months, They are fueled by anger over the growth of tourism, the desire to protect Hawaii’s remaining natural waterways, mistrust of state and local government and fears of government mismanagement that could jeopardize their homes.

Their fears have in some cases been confirmed by current or former government officials who have attended the board meetings, agreeing with worried participants that the project has not been thoroughly and adequately vetted.

At a meeting in Manoa, Bruce Anderson, the director of the state Department of Health. said he supported the resolutions. Anderson said even top state officials had not been fully briefed on the ways communities outside Waikiki would be affected by the project….

read … Neighborhoods Are Really Angry At The Feds’ $345 Million Ala Wai Project

Maui Council looks to have final say over injection wells settlement

MN: … Chairwoman Kelly King, who proposed the resolution, said at a meeting Tuesday that she wanted to see the county withdraw its appeal and instead focus on solutions and the settlement. King feared that the high court could rule in favor of the county and in doing so demolish the Clean Water Act.

“Maui County should not be in that position to lead that charge,” she told the council.

King’s resolution was referred to the Governance, Ethics and Transparency Committee after a motion to waive the council’s rules — which would allow the council to act on the resolution on the floor — failed.

The county has been mired in a seven-year legal battle over the use of injection wells at the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility. In 2012, four environmental groups sued the county over the wells, saying the effluent was reaching the ocean and impacting coral reefs. In 2014, the U.S. District Court in Hawaii ruled that the county’s use of injection wells was a violation of the Clean Water Act.

The county appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and lost in February 2018. The court denied the county’s request to reconsider the ruling in March 2018.

However, earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case after circuit courts around the country were split over their rulings on the reach of the Clean Water Act. The court could hear the case as early as October.

King said that Mayor Michael Victorino has the unilateral authority to pull back the case. The resolution she proposed would invoke an ordinance passed in 1999, where a council committee report noted that the purpose of the ordinance is to give the council authority to settle claims and lawsuits even in cases in which the corporation counsel recommends against settlement, according to information obtained from Council Services following Tuesday’s meeting….

read … Council looks to have final say over injection wells settlement

Office of Information Practices says ad hoc budget panel could violate state Sunshine Law

HTH:   … Behind-the-scenes budget meetings could run afoul of the state Sunshine Law, County Council members learned Tuesday.

The council Finance Committee was scheduled to hear a report from a four-member ad hoc committee that has been digging deep into county finances in preparation for approving a 2019-20 budget in the coming weeks.

Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz, chairwoman of the committee, proposed to break the process down into three phases, and she was prepared to deliver a report and recommendations on the first phase Tuesday.

The entire Finance Committee last week held public department-by-department program and budget briefings, where many department heads were taken to task for plans members thought didn’t focus enough on outcomes.

“I think you know it’s very clear we need to hone in on the process of how the county forms its budget,” Kierkiewicz said. “The intention of this ad hoc (committee) was to really look at ways we could really affect this current budget and I think we’ve articulated this quite clearly.”

But an April 3 letter from the state Office of Information Practices at Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela’s request for an opinion put a damper on the plans.

A so-called “permitted interaction group” made up of less than a voting majority is allowed to meet out of public view to formulate recommendations, under the Sunshine Law. But the law allows the group to simply assemble, submit one report and then disband, OIP staff attorney Jennifer Brooks said in the three-page letter.

If the council proceeds with its plans, the ad hoc committee’s members would take part in at least eight substantive discussions of the subject matter the committee is investigating, including discussion and voting on the budget, before the committee dissolved, Brooks said.

“This seems likely to present multiple Sunshine Law violations,” Brooks said in the letter….

read … Office of Information Practices says ad hoc budget panel could violate state Sunshine Law

What’s The Holdup On A Bill That Targets Child Sex Abusers?

CB: … A bill to get rid of the statute of limitations for child sex abuse is facing a mysterious hurdle in the Hawaii Legislature, even though lawmakers in both chambers appear to agree that it’s a good idea.

The House and Senate passed nearly identical proposals, with each draft of House Bill 18 acknowledging that Hawaii’s current time limit for filing a lawsuit may prevent victims from coming forward because it can take decades to come to terms with the abuse.

The only difference between the two bills? The date when the measure would go into effect….

Adding a far-off effective date is a common practice in the Legislature when lawmakers want to continue discussing bills. But advocates for HB 18 say they don’t understand why the House wouldn’t simply have adopted the Senate version after it passed both chambers.

“It seems like somebody has made a dispute out of nothing,” said Mark Gallagher, a Kailua attorney who has represented many plaintiffs in cases involving allegations of child sex abuse.

The House easily could have agreed with the Senate draft, Gallagher said. Instead, the House assigned negotiators who are charged with resolving differences with the Senate version.

That’s concerning to Rep. Cynthia Thielen, a Republican and the bill’s author….

“There’s a problem over there in the House and it’s just a question of whose fingerprints are on it,” Gallagher said. “It seems like this is just one of those issues that we face so often with bills at the end of the legislative session, that things get killed and people hide so that they don’t look like they’re responsible for what they did.”…

read … What’s The Holdup On A Bill That Targets Child Sex Abusers?

Deputy Sheriffs, corrections officers using guns and ammo that violate state policy

HNN: … The Department of Public Safety is issuing handguns and ammunition that violate their own policy, Hawaii News Now has learned.

The unapproved weapons have been used recently in fatal shootings.

The department provides all corrections officers who qualify with 9mm, semi automatic handguns, but the 2010 policy mandates the older, Smith and Wesson .38 revolvers.

On March 1, a corrections officer from the Oahu Community Correctional Center shot and killed 47-year old Maurice Arrisgado, Jr. after Arrisgado escaped through a door that same corrections officer accidentally left ajar.

Attorney Eric Seitz represents the Arrisgado family, “They don’t follow the policies, they don’t follow the rules and people get hurt and killed.”

In a separate incident on February 18, a sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Delmar Espejo at the state capitol. The bullet fired, a 9mm, 124 grain, also violates policy….

Receipts we’ve obtained show taxpayers have been purchasing the wrong ammunition for years….

KITV: State Senate scheduled to vote Wednesday on Nolan Espinda's reconfirmation

read … Deputy Sheriffs, corrections officers using guns and ammo that violate state policy

Criminals Whine About Jail Conditions after Riot

HNN: … Holden Bingham, 28, was released from custody last Sunday.

He says the riot on March 11th was intended to be a peaceful protest over the poor conditions at the facility – but escalated after inmates felt their concerns were falling on deaf ears.

"It wasn't anything planned, it wasn't anything against anybody or violence toward the ACOs, it was more toward the facility and the way we've been treated for so many years," said Bingham.

Bingham said he was in Module D when inmates Modules A and B starting rioting, but he said he later spoke with those inmates about what happened….

Those inmates gave him letters to publish when he was released, explaining their side of the story.

The Department of Public Safety officials issued a statement saying,

“The Maui detainees sent over from MCCC to HCF were placed in disciplinary segregation because of their involvement in the MCCC riot and subsequent disturbance. Privileges, such as personal phone calls and personal visits, are restricted until their disciplinary sanctions have been fulfilled. These pretrial inmates continue to have all access to attorney phone and visit contacts. They also have mail access.”

KITV: State Senate scheduled to vote Wednesday on Nolan Espinda's reconfirmation

read … Recently released MCCC inmate describes last month’s ‘traumatic’ riot

HPD officer with troubled past arrested for felony abuse

HNN: …A Honolulu Police Department officer with a troubled past has been arrested for felony abuse of a household member.

Officer Darren Cachola was in custody Tuesday night at Honolulu’s main police station.

Arrest records show the 46-year old was arrested here at HPD’s headquarters at 530 p.m.

Cachola has had several previous run-ins with the laws.

He is the same Honolulu police officer who was fired in 2015 after he was caught on camera fighting with his then-girlfriend at Kuni’s restaurant in Waipahu in 2014. Officers who responded were disciplined for improperly handling the cases. Cachola was never arrested or charged for the fight.

In 2017, sources said his wife called 911 to report that Cachola was choking her. However, when police arrived at their home, she insisted that she wasn’t hurt. According to sources back then, officers noticed red marks around her neck and issued a warning for Cachola to stay away from his wife and the home for 48 hours. Cachola he was never arrested.

In 2009, his now-ex-wife filed a temporary restraining orders against him listing six instances claiming Cachola pushed, kicked or threatened her. She said she filed police complaints in five of those cases. In one she wrote, "Darren was intoxicated one night and started to fight with me. I called his sergeant and then called 911. When he heard that I was calling the police he said, ‘If I get arrested, I am going to kill you so it will be worth it.’”….

Big Q: Should the names of police officers suspended or fired for misconduct be disclosed?

read … HPD officer with troubled past arrested for felony abuse

Honolulu looking for a new City Auditor

KITV: … The council will appoint the City Auditor to a term or six years by adoption of a resolution.

The vacant position is anticipated to be filled by June.

Those interested should send a cover letter, resume and three references to:

Office of the Council Chair

530 South King Street, Room 202

Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Fax: (808) 768-1190 or email to: kribellia@honolulu.gov

Resumes must be received by 4:30 p.m., Monday, April 29 …

read … Honolulu looking for a new City Auditor

Snobby Hanalei Elitists Try New Excuse to Keep Hoi Polloi Out

SA: …The state’s plan to restore access next month to Kauai’s north shore communities — cut off from outside traffic since the April 2018 flood — may have hit a new roadblock.

Residents are pushing back on the state Department of Transportation’s decision to reopen a 2-mile stretch of Kuhio Highway to outside traffic on May 1, and they have found a new argument to fuel their objections.

“The state flat-out lied to us,” said Wainiha resident Juliet Akana, who is among those in the closed-off communities that don’t want the highway to reopen.

Akana and others say the state’s stated reason for opening the road to all traffic was misleading. State officials said early this month they could lose federal funding for the $77 million road project if they don’t open the road soon. But federal officials said there is no requirement to open the road by a certain date.

Residents have been able to use the road on a limited basis for nearly a year. Some fear opening it to all comers will lead to traffic jams and a stream of curious tourists wanting to see the aftermath of the flood.

“It’s really sad that they (state officials) are prepared to let this community be overtaken by tourists when we’re not ready to host them yet. (Because pigs are not flying and Hell has not frozen over.)” said Akana.

On April 4, DOT spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige said while DOT understood the community’s concerns, the state “cannot keep the route closed or limit access to motorists for reasons other than safety.”

“Continuing to restrict access after the emergency repairs to Kuhio Highway are completed could impact the eligibility of the repairs for the (Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief) program that provided the majority of the $77 million in funding needed to repair the route,” Kunishige said.

In a statement Tuesday, Gov. David Ige said, “While there is no federal deadline for the reopening, the state is compelled to meet its obligation to the federal government to complete repairs and reopen Kuhio Highway as soon as possible.”….

(Idea: Since Hanalei is so horrible sell your property and move out.  I can help you with some sweet deals in East St Louis, Gary, Indiana, Detroit, Michigan or Newark, NJ.—and don’t forget Camden!)

read … Kauai residents say state misled them on rationale for reopening Kuhio Highway

Another plan for pedestrians?

SA: … Wait: Doesn’t the city’s “Complete Streets” plan mean complete, including pedestrians? Then why is there a need for a separate pedestrian plan?….

read … Another plan for pedestrians

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