Bill 31 Dead: No Sanctuary City
Home Sharing Under Attack
Ige Signs 64 Bills Into Law
15 Seconds of Terror--Near Repeat of Sacred Falls Tragedy
More allegations of improper spending by Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees
HNN: … Rowena Akana’s attorney shows reporters six bankers boxes full of OHA Trustees’ expense accounts pending records going back seven years….
The state Ethics Commission has ordered several members of the OHA Board of Trustees to pay back thousands of dollars in travel and meal expenses, Hawaii News Now has learned.
“The commission took action against multiple OHA trustees,” the commission’s Executive Director Daniel Gluck said, in an email.
Gluck did not name the individual trustees.
But Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Collette Machado told Hawaii News Now that she had reimbursed OHA more than $7,200 months before the commission began inquiring about her trustee allowance expenditures last year.
She added that Trustee Hulu Lindsey also reimbursed OHA for meals she bought with her allowance.
More than $5,000 of Machado’s expenses were for an annual religious celebration called “God’s Ohana Day” at the Molokai Public Library.
OHA policy bars the use of trustee allowances for religious purposes….
Hawaii New Now examined seven years of trustee allowance expenditures by current and former OHA trustees. We found that many of the expenditures wouldn’t be allowed today.
They include thousands of dollars in meals with staffers paid for by other trustees and travel and sponsorships to send surfers to Portugal and a Miss Rodeo contestant to Las Vegas.
One trustee, Daniel Ahuna, paid $800 so that a beneficiary could travel to Standing Rock, N.D. to observe the Native American protests, the records show….
HPR: Ethics Commission Confirms OHA Trustee Spending Violations
read … More allegations of improper spending by Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees
Bumbling Attorney General Office Helps Charter School Principal Evade Justice
SA: …. A state judge has permanently dismissed felony theft charges against the ousted director of the now-defunct Halau Lokahi Public Charter School because the state took too long to take the case to trial.
The state Attorney General charged Laara Allbrett in October 2017 with four counts of second-degree theft for expenditures she made using school money. Each charge is a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
The theft charges were the culmination of a nearly three-year investigation into more than $101,000 of questionable school payments and purchases made in 2013 and 2014. The expenditures included $11,747 paid to Allbrett’s daughter, Jewal; $6,760 to a psychic healer on Kauai; and $21,347 to someone for services ranging from plumbing and public relations to office maintenance. The purchases also included $6,618 for food supplies from Costco, Sam’s Club, Foodland, Walmart and 7-Eleven, even though the Kalihi school did not provide food services to its students….
In the end, the state charged Allbrett with theft for using the school’s debit card to purchase a healing light pad for her son, Varner, for $462; for medical treatment at the Holistic Medical Center of Hawaii for $360; for a three-month supply of a health supplement for $427; and to pay the $940 round-trip airfare for Allbrett and some family members to attend Varner’s graduation at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
The deputy attorney general who was handling the case informed Allbrett’s lawyer in November 2017 that he was going to be late in handing over the investigation material because there were more than 45,000 pages. The deputy retired at the end of December 2017 without delivering any of the material.
Allbrett’s trial was originally scheduled for the second week of January 2018. Six days before the trial date the state declared it was not ready, so the court rescheduled it to the first week of March. One week before the March trial date the state said it was still not ready because the new deputy assigned to the case only had it for three weeks.
Based on the state’s last declaration, the court rescheduled the trial to April 30, 2018, two days beyond the time required for the state to provide Allbrett her constitutional right to a speedy trial. On that date Allbrett’s lawyer filed papers asking the court to dismiss the case.
On April 23, 2019, nearly a year after Allbrett’s lawyer made the request, now- retired Circuit Judge Glenn Kim signed an order dismissing all four charges. He left open the possibility for the state to refile the airfare theft charge but closed the door on the three other charges….
read … Scot-Free
CIU Wiped Kealoha Hard Drive
HNN: … Also in the release: An image captured the inside of the Honolulu Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit office. CIU was the high-level group hand picked by ex-Police chief Louis Kealoha to investigate the mailbox theft. The government describes them as a ‘secret’ unit that served as the personal security detail for the chief.
A day after a federal judge approved a subpoena for the Kealohas’ recordings and surveillance equipment, someone started recording over the hard drive, showing the ceiling of CIU for six straight days.
Near the end of the six days, just minutes before the recording was stopped, the FBI captured a picture of then-CIU Sgt. Alvin Lum, with the ceiling behind him….
read … Coverup
Next Trick: Tell the Little People Property Tax Hike will ‘Solve’ Affordable Housing Problem
HPR: … At around 12 percent, urban Honolulu has one of the highest rates of home vacancy in the country. Honolulu’s mayor wants to levy an extra tax on those vacant properties, an idea that has seen some success in one of Canada’s largest cities.
Vancouver lawmakers approved a suite of taxes aimed at reducing the number of homes left empty. The taxes, passed in 2016, levy a surcharge on properties not occupied or rented out for at least 6 months per year.
Early reports from the City of Vancouver show that in addition to raising around $30 million USD in new revenue, the vacant property rate has begun to decline.
(Translation: It’s a tax hike. The city extracted more money from property owners but it didn’t do anything to improve the affordable housing shortage.)
University of British Columbia economist Thomas Davidoff, who helped write the speculation tax law, said although it is difficult to attribute market movements to any one policy, the taxes appear to be having the desired effect….
(The author says its a great idea. Wow that’s a surprise….)
read … Could A Tax On Empty Homes Work In Honolulu?
Most Of Legislature’s Major Bills Are Still Sitting On Ige’s Desk
CB: … Still awaiting his decisions are bills to require operators of short-term rentals to pay transient accommodation and general excise taxes, to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, to levy a corporate tax on real estate investment trusts and to implement voting by mail statewide….
read … Most Of Legislature’s Major Bills Are Still Sitting On Ige’s Desk
Farmer Plows Thru Red Tape to Import Water Buffaloes
SA: … As was once more commonplace in Hawaii, he plans to use the buffaloes to plow his taro fields, pull a wagon to the farmer’s market, and eventually to produce high-quality milk and cheese. The side benefit is that they can also help control invasive weeds, given that they enjoy munching on many of them.
“Water buffaloes are the symbols of sustainable agriculture,” said Heacock. “They live twice as long as dairy cattle, have twice as many calves, and their milk has twice the protein content of cow’s milk with 30% higher butterfat content than cow’s milk.”
The four — all pregnant and weighing about 1,500 pounds each — were transported from Arkansas in late May. But getting the water buffaloes imported to Hawaii took some work and persuasion.
Heacock, 69, of Kauai Organic AgroecoSystems, petitioned the state Board of Agriculture to amend its rules and to classify the water buffaloes, or Bubalus bubalis, as domestic rather than wild so they could be imported for agricultural use.
Heacock argued that the mammals have been domesticated in India for thousands of years, and also have been established in Nepal, Sweden and Italy.
The board’s unanimous 9-to-0 decision in February to approve the change was followed by a 30-day comment period, a subsequent vote in April to allow the commercial importation of the water buffaloes, and Gov. David Ige’s signature in May.
The buffaloes were on the state’s restricted animals list, along with camels, hippos, and spotted hyenas…. .
read … Once on Hawaii’s list of ‘restricted animals,’ Arkansas water buffaloes make Kauai farm their new home
Homeless Court: 159 Bums, 1,862 Cases
SA: … According to the Prosecutor’s Office, 159 individuals have participated or are participating in COC as of Monday. Of those, 110 completed the program; 24 are pending completion; three have not yet appeared; and 22 have been removed from the program for various reasons.
Participants completed 3,508 hours of community service work, and 1,862 cases have been cleared.
COC has conducted proceedings in Honolulu District Court (96 participants), Wahiawa District Court (31), Waianae (27) and Kaneohe District Court (5)….
read … Editorial: Homeless court should expand
Sex Assault of Minor on Kealakekua HS Campus
HTH: … A Kealakekua man was indicted Monday by a Kona grand jury on six counts of sexual assault in connection with alleged offenses that the victim’s family says happened on the Konawaena High School campus in Kealakekua.
Justin Taylor Mariano, who was a high school student older than 18 at the time of the alleged offenses, was charged with one count of continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14, four counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of third-degree sexual assault, according to court records and the victim’s family….
The alleged assaults took place between November 2018 and February, per the indictment….
read … Kealakekua man indicted on several counts of sexual assault