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Friday, May 17, 2019
May 17, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:32 PM :: 876 Views

HAWSCT: PUC Must Consider Whether Renewable Biofuel Energy Plant Might Impact Property Right To Clean And Healthful Environment

Micronesian Presidents to meet Trump at White House

Ige Appoints Aila DHHL Director

UH Regents Vote to Freeze Tuition

UHERO: Counties see synchronized slowing

Untested ‘Fireproofing’ Plan to retrofit Honolulu rail cars

SA:  … The company building train cars for the Honolulu rail line must retrofit 24 cars that have already arrived in Hawaii to make them more fire resistant, according to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

A sample from one of the rail cars being produced for the city’s $9.2 billion transit project failed roof and floor fire testing in Texas in February, and was to undergo retesting in Italy this week to determine whether the first results were valid.

Hitachi Rail Italy completed and passed the retesting of a train car roof, Honolulu rail officials said. However, after reviewing the roof test results the company has opted to retrofit the floors of the Honolulu rail cars with a thin layer of stainless steel to ensure they will also pass the fire testing, rail officials said this morning. …

That fire testing of the car floor with the stainless steel retrofit in place will be done in about a month, HART officials said….

(Translation: This ‘retrofit’ has not been tested.)

Caldwell:  "There's about 80 cars total. I understand 80 shells have been made. They may have to go back and, if they decide to go the route of stainless steel plates, that could cause delay. It could impact the interim opening they're aiming for."

Background:

read … Rail contractor must retrofit 24 Honolulu rail cars to make them fireproof

Honolulu mayor warns critics to keep rail on track after Feds Cancel California Hi Speed Rail Project

HNN: … A warning from Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell to keep rail construction "on track." It comes after the Federal Railroad Administration on Thursday announced it pulled a nearly $930 million grant from the California High Speed Rail Authority. This decision has no relation to Honolulu's funding….

Caldwell says California's example shows the federal government is serious about holding the city to its agreement.  "One, they will say, 'You get no more money.' Two, 'We're going to demand you provide money we've given you to spend, to give it back,'" he says. "It's not just a 'Will he do it or not?' [The Trump administration's] done it, and it's a valuable lesson to us and anyone else who has federal money for transit systems."…

read … Honolulu mayor warns critics to keep rail on track

Hawaii Supreme Court to determine whether state did its job to oversee Pohakuloa Training Area

SA:  … The Hawaii Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in a case in which the state is being accused of not doing enough to ensure the U.S. Army isn’t trashing the Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii island under the terms of its 65-year lease with the state.

The state appealed a ruling last year by Oahu Circuit judge Gary Chang, who said the state Department of Land and Natural Resources failed to properly care for the trust land.

Chang had ordered the state to provide a written stewardship plan, regular monitoring and inspections, inspection reports with recommendations and procedures for addressing violations and debris removal plans, among other things….

read … Hawaii Supreme Court to determine whether state did its job to oversee Pohakuloa Training Area

Big Island: Ex-cops, two others make initial court appearances

HTH: … Miller, a 55-year-old retired detective accused of stealing cocaine from a police evidence locker in May 2016, appeared without an attorney and told Judge Greg Nakamura he would need to be represented by a public defender or court-appointed defense attorney.

Miller — who’s also accused of tipping off Triple 7 arcade owners Lance and Stacey Yamada about an Aug. 10, 2017, gambling raid and engaging in a conspiracy to hide or destroy gambling devices — is charged with first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, second- and fourth-degree theft, obstructing government operations, two counts of second-degree hindering prosecution, and four counts of tampering with physical evidence.

The most severe charge, first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years upon conviction. Second-degree theft is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years behind bars. The remaining charges are misdemeanors….

The 67-year-old Fukui — a former Hilo Criminal Investigations Division commander who retired in 2006 and worked as an investigator for the county prosecutor from 2007-2014 — appeared with Hilo attorney Douglas Halsted, who told the judge his client had signed waivers of speedy trial rights and extradition.

Fukui is charged with two counts each of second-degree hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence — all misdemeanor charges — in connection with the Aug. 10, 2017, raid on Triple 7 in the Canario Building in downtown Hilo….

Lance Yamada, 56, and his brother, Stacey Yamada, 52, turned themselves in to police Thursday afternoon and were booked with criminal conspiracy to hinder prosecution and two counts of tampering with physical evidence, all misdemeanors….

The Yamadas and four others — Glen Haraguchi, April Whiting-Haraguchi, Justin Alpert and Rodney Worley Jr. — face felony gambling-related charges in another case….. 

WHT: Yamadas plead not guilty to hindering, tampering

2017: Nine arrested, seven charged in Hilo gambling raid

read … Ex-cops, two others make initial court appearances

Judge dismisses two prosecution witnesses in Kealoha case

KHON: … This comes as jury selection is about to enter its second phase with about 250 potential jurors still being considered.

With jury selection already underway for the trial of the Kealohas and three HPD officers, the judge ruled Thursday to strike two witnesses for the prosecutors. But allowed other witnesses and evidence that the defense said were submitted too late.

Legal expert Doug Chin calls it a minor setback for prosecutors.

"Of course the government is gonna want to put the best evidence that they have forward as much as they can. It sounds to me like what happened today is the normal give and take," said Chin.

Moving forward, the pool of about 250 potential jurors will be split up in groups of 45. The first group will be in federal court Friday, where the judge will question them individually based on how each answered their questionnaires that they filled out on Monday. …

read … Judge dismisses two prosecution witnesses in Kealoha case

Insiders Still Pushing Massive Raises for top 40 Hawaii Co Execs

HTH:  … With union-negotiated raises for county rank-and-file workers averaging 2% to 3% annually, the county Salary Commission is grappling once again with whether to raise salaries for the top 40 county officials during a tight budget year.

Commissioners agreed Thursday to hold off at least another month, when the commission will seek input from Mayor Harry Kim to see how much the county can afford. The meeting is set for June 27….

read … To raise or not to raise? Salary Commission punts until next month

Last-Minute Opposition Almost Derailed Smartphone Privacy Bill In House

CB: … The legislation, even opponents agree, has good intentions: protect the location data of users of smartphones, tablets and other technology equipped with satellite navigation.

But last-minute objections from a trade association that represents the U.S. wireless communications industry led many Hawaii lawmakers to vote against House Bill 702 on the last day of the 2019 session.

The bill, authored by Rep. Chris Lee, would prohibit the sale or offering for sale of location data without the consent of the individual who is the primary user of the tracked device.

In spite of the late opposition, HB 702 was passed and now awaits action from Gov. David Ige. He has until June 24 to indicate whether he may veto it….

The opposition was led by Rep. Sean Quinlan, who said he said he had “serious concerns about the bill and feared that his colleagues were rushing things in a desire to be the first in the nation to enact data-collection restrictions.

“I agree with the intent of this bill and I would actually like to thank the introducer for working on this measure,” Quinlan said. “But if we do something like this, it has to be really, really good — it has to be almost perfect. We can’t risk legal challenges, we can’t risk our constituents losing access to services like Google Maps or Amazon, or their banking.”

Quinlan closed by saying that there was “a lot more” that he wanted to say on HB 702 and indicated that his colleagues knew exactly what he wanted to say.

“But I can’t say it on this microphone without having my words struck from the record,” he said. “So I’ll just leave it at that and hope you’ll all join me in voting ‘no’ on this measure.”

House Speaker Scott Saiki immediately called for striking any remarks from Quinlan that were not appropriate to discussing the bill in question….

read … Last-Minute Opposition Almost Derailed Smartphone Privacy Bill In House

Legal records creating potential safety hazard for state courts

ILind: … Law suits, criminal prosecutions, and the legal proceedings of all kinds produce mountains of paperwork. And after years of relative neglect, all that paper could appears to now pose a hazard to both court workers and the public.

The potentially dangerous conditions are apparent in the public records room at Honolulu’s 1st Circuit Court on Punchbowl Street. This is where the public has to come to inspect the original, certified legal files produced in civil and criminal court cases. Obviously, in our litigious society, keeping up with the ever-growing amount of paper is difficult but vitally important.

But document storage and retrieval is one of those areas in which the Judiciary appears to be falling further and further behind, most likely because of budget constraints. Despite the fact that certain types of files can now be submitted electronically, with documents filed and available online, the paper records keep stacking up.

Eventually, boxes of older files are supposed to be moved to storage, and then scanned. In the meantime, they fill more and more of the space in the public records room and elsewhere in the court building, as well as in rented spaces off site.

It’s now appears to have gotten to the danger point. If a fire were ever to break out, both employees and the public would be at risk….

read … Legal records creating potential safety hazard for state courts

Ewa Beach seeks to reclaim a park long known as a magnet for crime

HNN: … Dozens of Ewa Beach residents gathered in Kapolei on Wednesday night to discuss plans to reclaim Oneula Beach Park, also known as Hau Bush.

The park has long been a magnet for homeless campers and illegal activity….

Pine said for the first time in Ewa Beach history, majority of the community has agreed on park closure hours as long as Native Hawaiian fishing practices are still allowed.

“We are cleaning up the crime, we're getting rid of the drug dealers, we're getting rid of the vandalism, people have destroyed all the new improvements that we have done to this park, we’re especially also getting rid of the illegal dumping," Pine said….

The city’s parks director said plans for a new irrigation system, road improvements and a better drainage system are already under way.

"We actually are going to open the bids for the road improvement and the parking lot at the end of May, so in a couple weeks, and we're also going to be doing the irrigation in about two months we'll open up the bids," said Michele Nekota….

read … Ewa Beach seeks to reclaim a park long known as a magnet for crime

How Did A Long-Discussed Beach Park Project Sneak Up On Waimanalo?

CB: At a Waimanalo Neighborhood Board meeting Monday night attended by more than 200 people, speaker after speaker rose to criticize the work now underway at the well-loved park and asked who knew it was going to happen.

Many said they didn’t have a clue until they saw the bulldozers plowing through trees and vegetation at the site.

Waimanalo resident Kapua Harris, who spoke despairingly of the “desecration and devastation going on” at the park, turned to the audience and asked for a show of hands of who knew about the project before construction began.

Only eight to 10 people raised their hands….

… The project was discussed at Waimanalo Neighborhood Board meetings in January, February, March and April, but only one resident, Jody Green, raised any concerns….

A review of the paper trail, interviews with participants and statements made at the board meeting shows that a multi-step planning procedure began about a decade ago, although it involved relatively few people.

According to the environmental assessment prepared for the city, employees of the consulting firm PBR Hawaii attended a handful of neighborhood board meetings where the plan was discussed, and held four poorly attended community advisory group meetings in 2010 and 2011 to discuss a wide range of options for the site.

They asked community members for their thoughts, but fewer than 30 people participated, according to the meeting minutes….

read … How Did A Long-Discussed Beach Park Project Sneak Up On Waimanalo?

Zuckerberg Kuleana lawsuit moves on

KGI: … A Fifth Circuit judge on Thursday said he intends to allow attorneys to move forward with a lawsuit contesting the sale of several land parcels on Mark Zuckerberg’s North Shore estate, although that may change if the land changes hands next month.

“I’m gonna keep the case,” Judge Randal Valenciano said during a hearing in which he was slated to determine the next step in a civil claim brought by two people with partial ancestral claims to four small “kuleana” land plots surrounded by the 700 acres purchased by the Facebook CEO in 2014….

The day after the auction, two of Andrade’s distant cousins — Wayne Rapozo, a London-based attorney with an ancestral claim to the land who helped to coordinate and finance the legal battle opposing the land partition, and Shannon Buckner, who also has a small share in the kuleana — filed a lawsuit, alleging Andrade violated court procedure by colluding with a Zuckerberg-controlled company during the quiet title legal proceedings.

Thursday’s hearing featured motions filed by attorneys on both sides, essentially presenting the court with three options. Valenciano could have thrown the case out entirely or deferred to another judge by consolidating the case with a 2016 lawsuit that forced the partition sale of the kuleana parcels at auction two months ago….

read … Kuleana lawsuit moves on

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