DBEDT Predicts Anemic Economy for Years to Come
Joint Statement from the President of the United States and the Presidents of the Freely Associated States
Mandatory Abortion and Sex Change: Hawaii AG Sues Trump
VIDEO: Hirono, Megaphone, Abortion, 8th Graders
Council might take Police Commission to court over Louis Kealoha’s legal fees
SA: … In what would be an unprecedented move, several Honolulu City Council members want to take the Honolulu Police Commission to court over whether the city should pay former Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s legal fees.
Councilman Ron Menor, chairman of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee, said Tuesday he is introducing a resolution calling on city attorneys to appeal the commission’s decision to Hawaii Circuit Court….
The Honolulu City Charter calls for the Police Commission to decide requests for outside legal counsel by officers. But the charter leaves it up to the City Council to approve the use of city funds for attorneys’ fees. Any request must first get past Menor’s EMLA Committee.
The commission voted 4-1 on March 20 to approve an unspecified amount to Kealoha for attorney fees tied to his defense in the so-called mailbox case brought by federal prosecutors. The commission went against the advice of the Department of Corporation Counsel, the city’s chief legal arm, by voting to OK the funding….
Menor said Tuesday that he and others on the Council continue to disagree with the conclusion that Kealoha’s alleged actions were done in the performance of his duty as a police officer.
“The criminal indictment against Mr. Kealoha alleges that he coordinated and conspired with other police officers to frame his wife’s uncle in connection with a personal dispute involving his wife and relatives,” Menor said. “These are not the kinds of actions that a police officer would be doing in performance of his official duty. Moreover, the events related to Mr. Kealoha appear to have taken place at his personal residence and on a weekend when he would have been off duty.”
Furthermore, Menor said, city taxpayers shouldn’t assume the bill for Kealoha’s outside counsel because he already has an attorney to represent him in the criminal trial appointed for him by the federal court.
Both Sheehan and Commissioner Stephen Levinson said they they have no issue with the Council appealing their decision.
“Guidance from the Circuit Courts, and Hawaii’s appellate courts, can only clarify the interpretation of (Hawaii statutes on the issue),” Sheehan said. “It’s understandable, commendable even, that the City Council would try to protect the Honolulu taxpayer from Chief Kealoha’s legal fees, especially since Chief Kealoha qualified for free legal counsel from the federal government.”
Levinson, a former Hawaii Supreme Court justice, said it’s the Council’s prerogative to appeal. “I believe that we would all benefit from some guidance from the Hawaii appellate courts, should the matter go that far.”…
read … Council might take Police Commission to court over Louis Kealoha’s legal fees
Kealoha Trial Begins Today
SA: … It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for federal prosecutors in the conspiracy trial of retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.
Lawyers for the government, the Kealohas and the three former and current Honolulu police officers on trial with the Kealohas are scheduled to finalize their picks this morning for the 12 jurors and five alternates who will hear the case over the next several months. After that the lawyers for all of the parties will present opening statements, and the government will start presenting its evidence.
The trial is the culmination of a nearly two-year-long FBI and federal grand jury investigation that resulted in the indictment of the Kealohas, Lt. Derek Wayne Hahn, officer Minh-Hung “Bobby” Nguyen and retired Maj. Gordon Shiraishi….
HNN: WATCH: ‘The Mailbox Trial,’ an HNN special report on the corruption case against the Kealohas
read … It Begins
Ewa Villages Crook Gets State Pension—Owes $1M Fines
SA: … Crime doesn’t pay, huh? Michael Kahapea, convicted in the city’s Ewa Villages corruption case, did OK. Paroled after doing five years of five consecutive 10-year prison terms, he started to collect his pension. That includes years on the 1990s scandal- plagued housing project, when he siphoned $5.8 million from a relocation fund.
An appeals court now agrees that the state can collect Kahapea’s nearly $1 million in unpaid penalties. Let’s see how the government, never good at enforcing fines, will manage…
Related: Bill to cut pensions for convicted government employees stalled for years
read … Pensioner Kahapea still has a debt
There’s Still No Word On How Much Honolulu Rail Will Cost —To Ride
CB: … As rail officials race to get Honolulu’s elevated transit line ready for interim service late next year, the city is nowhere close to setting passenger fare rates.
“We haven’t even had that discussion,” City Council Budget Chairman Joey Manahan said Tuesday. “It hasn’t really come up” other than in a few brief questions at a recent council committee meeting, he said….
In 2016, Honolulu voters opted to move such operational decisions from HART, which now focuses solely on building the system, to the city’s Department of Transportation Services through a charter amendment.
The setting of rail fares will start with recommendation to city leaders by the seven-member Rate Commission, which was created by the same charter amendment.
The commission’s chairwoman, former DTS director Cheryl Soon, didn’t respond to requests for comment. However, the commission’s 2018 annual report stated that it plans to discuss rail fares this year after having spent most of last year hashing out recommendations to raise fares for TheBus and Handi-Van riders.
“We expect to devote considerable time and effort into developing a package of policy guidance and rate particulars, including inter-modal transfers,” the report stated.
Fix Oahu: There’s Still No Word On How Much Honolulu Rail Will Cost —To Ride
read … There’s Still No Word On How Much Honolulu Rail Will Cost —To Ride
New Affordable Housing law incentivizes building walk-up apartments
HPR: …The law eases certain building and zoning codes -- allowing small parcels (20,000 sq feet or less) in apartment and business mixed use zones to be developed. It will also have other incentives, such as parking for the expected walk-up buildings to extend into rear and side yards, expedited processing, and a waiver of certain Plain Review and Building Permit Fees….
read … Honolulu Affordable Housing Pilot Program Signed Into Law
Maui: Affordable Units Sit Empty for Decade Because They Are State-Owned
HNN: … after sitting empty for more than a decade, an old University of Hawaii dormitory in Kahului will soon serve a new purpose.
“We want to build a home that someone can actually afford,” said Maui County Councilwoman Tasha Kama.
Kama, along with Mayor Mike Victorino, recently invited Lt. Gov. Josh Green to take a look at the property so they could explain how they plan to spend the $5 million they’re getting from the state to construct a so-called “ohana zone" for the homeless.
Their vision: Affordable apartments with onsite services to help keep residents from falling back into homelessness.
There are a total of 12, two-bedroom units. The plan is to refurbish each of them to provide housing for working families….
read … Old UH dormitory to become apartments for Maui’s homeless families
New proposal would allow reserved street parking for car sharing companies
KHON: … The City Council is considering a proposal that would reserve on-street parking stalls for car-sharing vehicles only. That could mean designating dozens of the metered parking island wide…. The proposal would increase the maximum number of reserved stalls in city-controlled facilities from 50 to 80. On top of that, designate up to 80 on-street parking stalls….
read … New proposal would allow reserved street parking for car sharing companies
Hawaii has seen a 50% jump in tourists since 1989, but spending has remained flat
HNN: … The latest tourism numbers that show more visitors in Hawaii but flat spending are a wake-up call, economists told the City Council on Tuesday.
Last year, the state had a record number of nearly 10 million tourists.
That’s a 50 percent jump in 30 years. But spending is unchanged at $18 billion.
Economist Paul Brewbaker told the City Council’s Committee on Business, Economic Development that the influx of tourists is putting greater stress on communities and natural resources.
“Now everybody has a damn app that tells you how to get there, which bus to ride,” said Brewbaker. “They drive around on the same roads, they go to the same beach, they show up on the same trail." ….
read … Hawaii has seen a 50% jump in tourists since 1989, but spending has remained flat
Ige Walked Away from Plan for Puunene Jail
SA: … Three years ago, after the state had already spent close to $14 million on consultants and design and engineering services to relocate Maui’s overcrowded and rundown Wailuku jail to a larger facility in Puunene, the project was relegated to back-burner status as Gov. David Ige pushed for plans to relocate another jail beset with the same sorts of problems.
The focus in pivot to the larger Oahu Community Correctional Center did not touch off much public outcry, in part, because Maui Community Correctional Center’s proposed move to state-owned land had been complicated by infrastructure snags and pushback from county leaders balking at placing a new jail in clear view of visitors and residents traveling between Kahului Airport and the South Maui resort area.
The upshot at MCCC is that a lot of taxpayer money was poured into plans for much-needed upgrades, but we have next to nothing to show for it. What’s more, long-simmering problems roiled to a boil on March 11, when an hours-long riot erupted at the jail….
read … Editorial: Accountability lacking at MCCC
Mahi Pono GM Larry Nixon resigns
MT: … Mahi Pono General Manager Larry Nixon abruptly resigned from the company today, less than 16 weeks after he was hired. In an email to colleagues, obtained by MauiTime, Nixon wrote, “This was a decision I didn’t take lightly, I really wanted to be on this team during this transition and to be with you when it fired up. Don’t mistake my early departure as anything other than a change in direction for me.”
The resignation came as a shock to Mahi Pono management, according to insiders, and does not bode well for the company. Nixon was the only real farmer on the leadership team and certainly the only person in the Maui operation with experience in starting up large-scale agricultural operations. ….
In a lengthy interview with MauiTime in late February, Nixon expressed his dismay with the condition of the A&B sugar lands saying, “I don’t think they were the best farmers in the world… [the land] is just messy.” He said he wanted less pesticides and more bees, and promised to change the plantation-era culture when A&B employees officially became Mahi Pono employees on March 1.
What Nixon didn’t want to get involved in, he stressed, was anything to do with politics or water issues. “A&B had the message, ‘Well, if it comes across our land, we’ll divert it and use it,’” he said in the interview. “I don’t need it. We can do better than this, than these open ditches which worked 150 years ago. We need to be better neighbors and get a method for transmission that works… From a farming perspective, there’s enough for all of us.”….
MN: General manager of Mahi Pono resigns
read … Nixon Resigns
Lawyer Upset Because Not Offered Settlement in Dead Tweeker Case
CB: … Opening statements are expected Wednesday in a federal civil trial in which Haleck’s family has accused three Honolulu police officers — Christopher Chung, Samantha Critchlow and Stephen Kardash — of using excessive force the night they tried to remove him from King Street.
The officers, on the other hand, say they were just doing their jobs and that Haleck died because he was high on methamphetamine and had other underlying health issues.
Ultimately, the case rests on a simple question: Who’s most responsible for Sheldon Haleck’s death — him or the cops who arrested him?
Eric Seitz, the attorney representing Haleck’s family, said he didn’t want to talk about the specifics of the case on the eve of trial.
He did say, however, that the lengths the city has gone to defend itself are “unprecedented.”
The fact that Haleck’s case has made it to trial is unique in itself, particularly in Honolulu, where such cases typically end with a cash settlement.
For example, after Honolulu police officers killed Aaron Torres in 2012, city lawyers decided it was more prudent to pay out $1.4 million to Torres’ family than to argue the facts of the case in open court.
The city paid out another $1 million settlement in 2017 in connection to the death of Stephen Dinnan. In that case, an HPD officer and off-duty firefighter mistook Dinnan for a truck thief….
SA: Honolulu police officers sued in man’s death
read … Who — Or What — Is To Blame For The Death Of Sheldon Haleck?
Hawaii Child Molester Stupidly Leaves State—Gets Jailed
KXII: … Officials say Douglas Emmett was living near Ada with his girlfriend and had not registered with the Pontotoc County Sheriff's Office.
Court records indicate Emmett was also charged with failure to register in 2017. He was sentenced to seven years, with five years suspended and two years under department of corrections supervision.
Emmett was convicted of lewd or indecent proposals to a child while in Hawaii in 2004.
Emmett is being held at the Pontotoc County Jail on a $10,000 bond….
read … Convicted sex offender charged with failure to register in Pontotoc Co.
Indecisive Crackpots Now Say Global Warming will Add 6 Feet to Sea Level in Next 80 Years
R: … Hawai`i may be planning for only half the sea level rise that is possible within the lives of todayʻs newborns.
A new study from British, American, Dutch and German climate researchers argues that sea levels could be more than 6 feet higher than now in 80 years, wiping out many of the worldʻs most important cities and coastlines.
Many of those coastal areas would be inundated far sooner than that. That includes much of Honolulu. ….
(IQ Test: Do you buy this?)
read … Can’t Make Up Their Minds--But Want to Control Ours
Hawaii GOP looking ahead to ‘a new day’
SA: … The Hawaii Republican Party is looking forward to “a new day” after struggling for years to field competitive candidates in this heavily Democratic state.
Republicans hold just one state Senate seat and five House seats in the 76-member Legislature. There are no Republicans in the Hawaii congressional delegation, and the last Republican governor was Linda Lingle, who left office in 2010.
But the state GOP is hopeful coming out of its convention at the King Kamehameha Golf Club on Maui this month where more than 200 voting delegates attended….
Ostrov was opposed by Kauai Republican Dave Hamman but was reelected by a vote of 168 delegates to 37….
read … Hawaii GOP looking ahead to ‘a new day’