OHA Granted Marijuana Grower Right to Audit LLCs
HART Stonewalling Federal Subpoenas since February
SA: … The city is hiring an outside attorney to help handle issues related to a federal criminal investigation of the Honolulu rail project, and has budgeted up to $50,000 to cover the cost of that legal work.
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation publicly acknowledged receiving three federal grand jury subpoenas earlier this year seeking voluminous documentation, but it is not clear exactly what the focus of the federal investigation might be.
The outside attorney will be tasked with responding to a subpoena for all executive session minutes of HART board of directors meetings, said Randall Ishikawa, city deputy corporation counsel assigned to HART. The city has not yet replied to that demand other than to notify the U.S. attorney’s office that the city is hiring a lawyer, he said….
(IQ Test: Do you think HART will get the FTA to release its federal funding while stonewalling these subpoenas?)
The first subpoena in February sought tens of thousands of documents in connection with the 20-mile rail line, the largest public works project in state history.
The documents covered in that demand included consultant contracts, a list of contractors and subcontractors, contractor change orders and supporting documents, archaeological studies and correspondence with the Federal Transit Administration, according to HART.
HART received a second subpoena later in February seeking information about payments made to tenants and property owners who were relocated to make way for the $9.2 billion Honolulu rail project.
That demand included 18 files that were part of an internal review that revealed overpayments to owners or tenants who were being relocated. HART discovered “irregularities” in its relocation payments in late 2017 and reported them to the FTA in early 2018.
Last month the FTA sent to Honolulu a team of five staff members who spent a week reviewing HART’s relocation files, according to HART officials, but the FTA has not yet reported back to the city with the results of its review….
The third federal grand jury subpoena served on HART sought complete and unredacted copies of all HART board of directors meeting executive session minutes.
Those records documenting confidential meetings of the HART board were the focus of controversy last year when state Auditor Les Kondo said HART was not cooperating with his request for executive session minutes for 2014, 2015 and 2016. At the time, Kondo said he had received only heavily redacted minutes from June 2016 to September 2017….
(In other words, HART has been refusing to open these records up for years.)
HART Board Chairman Damien Kim (under a separate federal investigation for IBEW corruption) has said HART will do its best to comply with that subpoena but that it raises some legal issues.
“Executive session is so that we can confer with our attorneys about some of the issues that might be in there,” Kim said in February. “So, like with the state audit, we just was worried that there’s some attorney-client privileges in there that we just want to exercise our rights and make sure that if we need to do something, we’ll do it. But we have to see what our attorneys have to say.”…
read … City hiring lawyer to address rail subpoenas
Kealoha Head of The Secret Police
SA ;… During his morning closing, Orabona showed jurors a graphic that referred to the Honolulu Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit as “The Secret Police.”
“In this case the secret police … includes Katherine Kealoha,” Orabona said. “She’s part of this band of secret police.”…
read … Secret Police
Closing Arguments: Alison Lee Wong Shows up in Court
HNN: … “Who is Allison Lee Wong?” Orabona asked jurors. “She’s here. She’s in the courtroom today. She’s sitting right there," he continued, pointing at Kealoha. "Allison Lee Wong is Katherine Kealoha.”….
read … Defense calls government’s allegations in Kealoha mailbox trial ‘imagination’
Akina’s right to speak up to demand a better OHA
SA: … In 1978, the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), was conceived to assist our native population. But over the decades, OHA has given us squabbling, corruption, malfeasance and incompetence — not to mention, the waste of millions of taxpayers’ dollars. In short, the agency has fallen far short of its considerable promise.
For many non-Hawaiians, like myself, it’s been an amusing sideshow. But the welfare and progress of Hawaiians is everyone’s concern.
Now comes OHA trustee Keli‘i Akina, who dares to make this mess-of-a-public-agency more open to the scrutiny it so rightly deserves. The board says: “Trustees should speak with one voice!” What they really mean is: “Don’t air our dirty laundry!”
To OHA, Akina is a traitor. For his courage in standing up and demanding a better OHA, for me, and for all of us in this state, he’s a true hero.….
read … Akina’s right to speak up to demand a better OHA
Vacation rental enforcement: Caldwell signs Bill 89 – Vetoes Bill 85
SA: … Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell today signed into law a bill that gives the city stronger tools to regulate vacation rentals and increases the fines on operators found in violation.
Bill 89 (2018) also allows for the permitting of up to about 1,700 hosted bed-and-breakfast establishments (B&Bs) starting in October 2020, the first such permits to be made available in three decades. But the measure does not offer additional permits for the more prevalent — and more profitable — whole home transient vacation units (TVUs). …
Caldwell today also vetoed Bill 85 (2018), a separate measure passed by the Council which would have only cracked down on the thousands of illegal vacation rentals and offered no path for them to become legal. City attorneys said language in that bill conflicted with what’s in Bill 89.
read … Mayor Kirk Caldwell signs vacation rental enforcement bill into law
‘Digital Stings’ To Identify Illegal Vacation Rentals In Oahu Start Aug. 1
SB: … Honolulu officials will start conducting “digital stings” in August after Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a law on Tuesday cracking down on illegal short-term vacation rentals…. But the full effect of Honolulu’s new laws severely limiting Airbnb-type rentals and imposing stiff fines on violators won’t start until late 2020….
It goes into effect in two waves. The first, starting Aug. 1, requires 770 legal rentals grandfathered in from the 1980s — those with a nonconforming use certificate, or NUC — to include a registration number in all advertisements.
“If not, the city is going to assume it’s illegal, and we’re going to rigorously investigate,” the mayor said. Violations can result in a $1,000 fine followed by addition daily fines of $5,000.
The second wave takes effect Oct. 1, 2020. That’s when 1,700 bed and breakfasts will be allowed to register legally and will receive a registration number that will be required to be part of any advertisement for the rentals.
Those who advertise without that number could face fines of $1,000 for an initial violation, $5,000 a day after that, and for subsequent violations, $10,000 a day, the bill states.
Unhosted vacation rentals, in which a property owner rents out their entire home in their absence, have only been allowed in Waikiki, Ko Olina and Turtle Bay….
read … ‘Digital Stings’ To Identify Illegal Vacation Rentals In Oahu Start Aug. 1
Lawsuit: Major Mental Illness Untreated in Hawaii Prisons, Jails
KGI: … Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit filed last week, Donna Opulento and Althea Mikaele, claim inadequacies in mental health care led to the July 2017 suicide death of Women’s Community Correctional Center inmate and Oluplento’s daughter Jessica Fortson. Opulento alleges Fortson was denied a mental health evaluation after an August 2016 suicide attempt.
Fortson, according to the complaint, had been previously diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, along with a number of other mental ailments, and was continually denied the opportunity to consult a mental health professional about her condition.
The lawsuit also alleges inadequacies also triggered a suicide attempt by Oahu Community Correctional Center inmate and Mikaele’s son Frank Hampp in March 2018. Hampp is now a paraplegic as a result of that attempt. The lawsuit alleges Hampp wasn’t adequately treated for his bipolar disorder.
Plaintiffs also claim that DPS doesn’t have enough mental health resources and that staff is plagued by a “practice of inappropriately delaying and refusing to provide basic mental health treatments,” allowing inmates’ mental illnesses to progress unchecked and “leading to hallucinations, delusions, and an increased risk of self-harm and suicide.” …
Meanwhile: Kailua-Kona’s first medical marijuana dispensary opens Sunday
read … Inmates mothers sue state
Soft on Crime: Woman arrested in Keaukaha shooting has multiple felony convictions
HTH: … At about 3:40 a.m., police arrested 43-year-old Chanell Evangelista-Kaleiwahea of Hilo on suspicion of attempted second-degree murder. As of late Tuesday afternoon, she had not been charged and detectives continued to investigate….
A search of court records turned up 23 criminal convictions for Evangelista-Kaleiwahea dating back to 1996, including four felonies — three for burglary and another for drugs.
She was free on court-supervised release in an active auto theft case prior to her arrest….
read … Soft on Crime
Ige Signs Bill Creating Special Drivers Licenses for Trannies
KHON: … Hawaii will become the ninth state to offer a gender x option. The law takes effect July 1 of next year….
MN: Hawaii 6th State to Ban Gay Panic Defense
read … Bill to add more gender categories on Hawaii driver’s licenses to be signed into law
Water is NIMBYs Latest Excuse to Oppose Affordable Housing
MN: … Facing questions about the lack of water in Launiupoko, consultants for two proposed housing projects said Tuesday that recent shortages are due to the ongoing transition from surface to groundwater, and that wells in the area would be enough to cover the needs of the new communities.
Water was a major concern for the Maui County Council’s Affordable Housing Committee, which questioned consultants and county officials Tuesday about the two projects that would bring 96 workforce and 61 market-rate homes to Launiupoko.
Last week, dozens of testifiers opposed the projects, citing concerns over water shortages, fire risks and traffic. Supporters, meanwhile, said that affordable housing was sorely needed on the west side and could lessen traffic if workers no longer had to commute as far….
read … Housing panel concerned with a lack of water
Kishimoto Reminds Principals that Roundup is Banned
SA: Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, after hearing that Roundup was being used on some campuses, sent a memo Tuesday to all principals stressing that herbicides are banned at Hawaii public schools.
She also called for the immediate removal of any herbicides stored at schools.
The action came after a community meeting Monday evening at Leilehua High School called by Board of Education Chairwoman Catherine Payne to hear concerns about the use of herbicides and pesticides at schools. Nearly 60 people attended, including parents, teachers and activists….
read … Herbicides banned on Hawaii public school campuses, superintendent says
Karen Pence visits Hawaii
KHON: … The Second Lady will speak to military families to highlight the Blue Star Museum program, which she serves as honorary co-chair.
She’ll also speak to military spouses stationed in Hawaii to address any employment challenges they could be facing.
She’ll end her visit with a keynote address at the U.S. Conference of Mayors….
read … Karen Pence visits Hawaii