Senators, Developers Set for Hong Kong-Singapore Junket
UH Legislative Recap: Challenging yet successful session
Want an Energy Revolution?
Trump Reportedly Caves on Jones Act Waiver
Audio: Akina Interviewed on KSSK ‘Perry & the Posse’
Ron Paul Tells Russia Today: Tulsi Gabbard is the Best Candidate
WE: … Ron Paul says he supports the candidacy of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, because she is the “very best” Democrat running for president and is “good on foreign policy.”
"Tulsi Gabbard by far is the very, very best," the former Texas congressman said in an interview last week on Russian, state-controlled television network RT ….
read … Ron Paul Russia Today
Kealoha mailbox trial – 148 witnesses
KHON: … The witness list includes 148 people that the prosecution and defense could call, plus 10 custodians of records for banks, phone companies, corporations, state government, even Facebook. The most of any single affiliation on the list are Honolulu Police Department staff -- 37 current and 7 retirees.
Just being listed doesn't mean all will be called to the stand….
Not on the witness list: Alison Lee Wong -- Katherine Kealoha's purported assistant and frequent notary on financial documents material to several cases.
"If Alison Lee Wong's name is going to be prominent in this trial and the defense says she actually exists, somebody better produce her," Lawson said.
The feds contend Wong is just an alias for Katherine Kealoha, and they said in a brief filed last week they'll prove it, through a notary stamp shipped to Katherine's state office when she headed the Office of Environmental Quality Control, an e-mail registered from a City & County of Honolulu computer, a Facebook page accessed on the same device that logs onto the pages of Katherine's daughter and brother. The feds contend Katherine tried to convince others -- what they call "implant memories" -- that they'd met Alison….
Jury selection will begin on May 13 at the Blaisdell Center. Trial is expected to last at least four weeks.
See the complete witness list here….
SA: Federal prosecutors detail case against Kealohas
read … Kealoha mailbox trial witness list: Who's on, who's missing
Kouchi recovering after surgery
KGI: … Senate President Ron Kouchi is recovering after successful rotator cuff surgery on Oahu Monday.
Kouchi is expected to take about three weeks from the Capitol to recuperate.
“Senator Kouchi’s surgery went without incident,” wrote Richard Rapoza, director of communications for the Hawaii State Senate. “He is recuperating and looks forward to returning to work as soon he is able.”
In an interview with TGI before the surgery, Kouchi said he tore the rotator cuff in his right shoulder in January and was in quite a bit of pain initially.
It didn’t affect his ability to carry out his duties as Senate president.
Through rest and exercise, he was able to get a better range of motion for the remainder of the session that ended last week ....
read … Kouchi recovering after surgery
HB1032: Last Minute Change Privatizes only Lanai small boat harbor
HNN: … House Bill 1032 is now awaiting Governor David Ige’s signature….
Just before session closed last week, lawmakers decided to make a last-minute change allowing only Manele Small Boat Harbor to be privatized….
Rep. Ryan Yamane, Chair of the House Committee on Water, Land and Hawaiian Affairs, said it’s a five-year pilot project. He said if it works, the model could later be used at other harbors across the state.
“The reason why we picked Manele is because the community has been actively in discussions with the department to be partners in redeveloping the harbor and addressing the community’s needs,” said Yamane.
In its testimony, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said, “This measure would provide the Department with more flexibility and options to upgrade and improve state boating facilities in a timely manner, to the benefit of boaters and the public.”
Pulama Lanai, an entity that was set up by the island’s owner Larry Ellison, also submitted testimony in support of HB1032….
Max Kincaid is a fisherman and was born and raised on the Pineapple Isle. He fears fees could go up dramatically….
“They’re claiming it won’t, they won’t jack it up, But honestly, we don’t believe that," said Kincaid. “It doesn’t seem realistic. Somebody comes in and invests all that kind of money to run a private harbor, they’re going to have to get their money back, and there’s only one way to get their money back, raise all the prices on everything.”
Other residents feel like they are being pushed out.
“We feel continuously left out anyway,” said resident Jeff Menze. “This is another example of a back door move between the state government and the highest bidder and we already know who the highest bidder on this island is.”
The Governor has until June 24th to notify lawmakers if he intends to veto the bill….
CB: Blindsided By A Last-Minute Plan To Privatize Lanai’s Small Boat Harbor
read … Lanai’s only small boat harbor could be privatized
Proposed rules to manage Mauna Kea Designed to Keep Public off Mountain
HNN: … This is UH’s third draft of proposed rules since the process started in 2009. They say it’s to improve the stewardship of the mountain, reduce traffic, address serious abuses and protect traditional practices.
But as the managers of the mountain, UH took heat in light of a recent event where professional athletes from Europe filmed themselves skiing down the bare slopes with no snow.
The proposed rules are meant to prevent incidents like that from happening again, but Hawaiian activists say although the rules are needed, they fear it would criminalizing cultural activities.
“These rules are created specifically for the Kiai, or the protectors, to manage them and ultimately criminalize them. And that’s the concern here,” said Healani Sonoda-Pale of Ka Lahui Hawaii Political Action Committee.
UH rangers would have the authority to issue fines for commercial activity without a permit.
UH says it revised sections after the concerns were raised.
“Probably the biggest change was in a section that we had written that we had developed in partnership with OHA on traditional customary practices. That section was never intended and did not restrict traditional Hawaiian cultural practices, but it was interpreted that way,” said Greg Chun, Senior Advisor to UH on Mauna Kea….
If the rules are approved by the U-H regents, they go to the Governor for a final decision.
The public is being encouraged to attend four public meetings at the following dates and times:
• Monday, June 3, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Mānoa Elementary School, 3155 Mānoa Road, Honolulu
• Tuesday, June 4, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Waiākea Elementary School, 180 W. Puainako Street, Hilo
• Wednesday, June 5, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School, 68-1730 Hoʻoko Street, Waikoloa
• Friday, June 7, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Pōmaikaʻi Elementary School, 4650 S. Kamehameha Avenue, Kahului
Written comments are being accepted now until Friday, June 7. Comments can be submitted by email to UHHAR@hawaii.edu.
read … Proposed rules to manage Mauna Kea stir worry in the Native Hawaiian community
How Many Millions Will Legislature Pour into Affordable Housing?
SA: …Hawaii’s affordable housing shortage is a chasm that has deepened for years. This year the Legislature has allotted a relatively good amount to it, but the problem is that “relatively good” is not quite good enough. Last year’s outstanding but overdue appropriation of $200 million has not been replicated and, advocates say, repeat showings of that commitment level is what it will take to make up for decades of lost time….
Among the spending bills sent to the governor is House Bill 1312, which authorizes the issuance of $50 million in general obligation bonds for each year of the fiscal biennium coming up to be devoted to the state’s Rental Housing Revolving Fund. This is the repository that the state’s Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. (HHFDC) leverages to bring in developers of low-income rental housing.
State Rep. Sylvia Luke said there is additional revenue, including $30 million annually from the state conveyance tax, that’s dedicated to the revolving fund.
Luke said lawmakers want to see that HHFDC can spend down the $200 million already allotted, about half of which has been encumbered for projects, before doubling that appropriation. The money appropriated this year should help demonstrate the continued commitment of the state in the meantime, she said….
read … Housing progress needs firm steps
After 16 years, Kauai finally gets residential drug treatment center for teens that OHA Once Blocked
HNN: … “It’s very much-needed for youth before they become adults that are still using substances,” said Koki, coordinator for Life’s Choices Kauai.
Psychiatrist Dr. Jerry McKenna has treated addicted teens on Kauai for more than 30 years.
He said a residential facility is needed now more than ever to break the addictions of Kauai youth ages 12 to 18 who are hooked on marijuana, alcohol or hard drugs….
Koki said the relatively isolated location answered the objections of Kauai residents (and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs) who didn’t want a drug treatment facility in their neighborhood.
The 16,000-square-foot residential treatment complex sits on five acres of former sugar cane land that was donated by Grove Farm….
2007: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Blocks Kauai Drug Treatment Facility
KGI: Vendors sought for treatment center
CB: Kauai Gets A Residential Drug Treatment Facility For First Time In Decades
read … After 16 years, Kauai finally gets residential drug treatment center for teens
To shore up finances, Wahiawa General will stop doing surgeries
HNN: … The move is expected to save the non-profit organization about $1 million each year.
“Ten years ago we were doing thousands of surgeries a year, and now we’re down well below 500, so significantly down,” said Brian Cunningham, the hospital’s chief executive officer….
About five full-time employees who are affected will be offered other positions in the organization, according to the hospital.
Leaders plan to reinvest resources into core services, such as the emergency department and outpatient treatment, as well as critical and long-term care ….
read … To shore up finances, Wahiawa General will stop doing surgeries
Council considers caps on vacation rentals, fines of up to $50,000 for rule breakers
HNN: … Proposals before the City Council this week are aimed at drastically reducing the number of vacation rentals on Oahu ― and put in place big fines for lawbreakers.
The body will take up the issue Wednesday.
One bill calls for stiff fines of $25,000 to $50,000. Another would virtually make it illegal to operate a vacation rental outside of resort areas, unless there’s an owner-occupant.
“If you are receiving fines of up to 10s of thousands of dollars day ... you are going to stop what you are doing or the city is going to place a lien on your home,” said City Councilman Ikaika Anderson.
The city said that there could be 8,000 vacation rentals outside of resort areas ― and that only 800 would be legal.
One of the bills would allow 1,700 vacation rentals, but they would have to be owner occupied.
The mayor thinks that’s too few because they are popular with tourists….
read … Council considers caps on vacation rentals, fines of up to $50,000 for rule breakers
Rental Crackdown Threatens North Shore’s Prosperity
CB: … A disorganized effort by the Honolulu City Council and hotel industry leaders to eliminate the short-term rental market is nearing a disastrous turn for Oahu’s North Shore businesses. Under the proposed Honolulu City Council Bill 85 and Bill 89, the STR rental units from Mokuleia to Velzyland will drop from approximately 1,200 to the currently permitted 38….
read … Rental Crackdown Threatens North Shore’s Prosperity
Kakaako Homeless Population Grows While City And State Dither Over Land Transfer
CB: … If residents want to look at how government has failed them they should take the time to go have a look at the Kakaako Gateway parks.
The parks were supposed to be open, green areas for families to enjoy for picnics and outdoor games in the densely populated Kakaako neighborhood where high rises crammed together offer little room for recreation and respite from stress.
Instead, over the past decade the Gateway parks have become an entrenched homeless encampment with a fluctuating population that’s climbed as high as 300. Currently, it’s more than 100.
The Kakaako parks image as a hostile area was magnified on April 25 when a young mother waiting with her child in Kakaako Waterfront Park for the Children’s Discovery Center to open was attacked by two dogs owned by homeless campers….
Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu says since Jan. 1 police have responded to reports of 25 incidents involving dogs in the Kakaako parks and issued 10 citations for dangerous dogs in the Kakaako area. Yu says another 48 citations have been issued to homeless for violating various park rules.
People living in the illegal encampments continue to violate rules as they set up tents and keep dogs as pets below blue city signs that say “No Camping, No Tents. No Animals Allowed.”…
Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s office says the mayor is as frustrated as the public by the lawlessness at Kakaako and is hoping by the end of this month for the city to take over ownership of the parks, which will give the city full authority to improve safety and sanitation in each of the parks….
read … Kakaako Homeless Population Grows While City And State Dither Over Land Transfer
Manhunt underway for convicted felon who was accidentally released from OCCC
HNN: …The manhunt underway is for 26-year-old Russell R. Webb, sources told Hawaii News Now.
The state Public Safety Department has not issued any warnings about Webb since his release Tuesday morning. HNN has reached out to the agency to get more information on why an alert wasn’t put out.
Webb was accidentally allowed to leave the Oahu Community Correctional Center ― despite the fact that he has a California warrant for armed robbery in an alleged gang-related crime, sources said….
read … Manhunt underway for convicted felon who was accidentally released from OCCC
Van Owned by Miske’s Kamaaina Termite Co Involved in Fatal Accident
KHON: … A 49-year-old moped driver was killed Monday morning when the driver of a van crossed the lane in front of him to make a left turn.
The crash happened on Kapiolani Boulevard at about 6:40 a.m. The road was coned for morning contra-flow at the time.
Police say the moped and the van -- owned by Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control -- were going in the same direction at the time of the crash.
The van came to a stop in a driveway marked with a sign prohibiting left turns….
The death is the 23rd traffic fatality of the year.…
HNN: 37-year-old driver of a commercial van made an illegal left turn
read … Fatality #23