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Sunday, July 21, 2019
July 21, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:21 PM :: 1853 Views

Machado: “OHA has no position on the siting of the TMT on Maunakea”

VIDEO: Crying DOCARE Chief Begs Protesters to Open Road

The Special Land and Development Fund

Notice of Judicial Position – District Family Judge, First Circuit

Canada to ship containerized LNG to China instead of Hawaii

Caldwell’s ‘Ethics’ Commission Still Making Excuses for its’ Kealoha Coverup

Shapiro: … One of the tragedies of the corruption scandal involving former Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his prosecutor wife, Katherine, was that our city couldn’t police its own wrongdoing and federal authorities had to come in and do it for us.

It’s galling to now have members of the city Ethics Commission, who backed down from investigating complaints about the couple’s abuse of power and misuse of city resources, claim they did nothing wrong and suggest they’d do the same thing again.

Clearly, they’re taking Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s dubious cue to move on without bothering to learn anything….

In 2015 the commission’s former Executive Director Chuck Totto had 17 open cases alleging ethics violations by the Kealohas.

The couple retaliated by suing the commission and filing ethics complaints against Totto and investigator Letha DeCaires — typical of their bullying tactics brought to light by federal prosecutors who recently convicted them of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in their attempt to frame an uncle for mailbox theft.

Instead of standing up to the bullying and doing their job, ethics commissioners ordered Totto and DeCaires off the case.

The commission didn’t renew the contract of DeCaires, a former police captain, and harassed Totto into resigning by muzzling him from talking to the media, requiring him to account for his time in six-minute increments and suspending him on vague management issues.

The panel was getting much of its advice from Donna Leong, Caldwell’s corporation counsel, who is now on paid leave after receiving a target letter from federal prosecutors in the Kealoha corruption case.

Ethics Commission Chairwoman Victoria Marks, a former state judge, called a meeting Wednesday to “set some things straight” on the Kealoha matter.

“Basically, we were doing what we thought was best, and everything we could do, so as to not in any way, shape or form have that process tainted in any way,” she said.

More like they were wimpily shirking their duty to enforce city ethics laws and leaving corruption in the Police Department and prosecutor’s office unchecked.….

July 18, 2019: Caldwell-Controlled Ethics Commission Defends Decisions On Kealohas

read … City ethics panel showed its bare bottom on Kealohas

Telescope Protesters ‘sense that nobody much cares what they think’

SA: … There seems to be a pervasive sense among the protesters on the mountain that the community around them is uninterested in the deeper meanings of traditional Hawaiian culture and religious beliefs, and also an infuriating sense that nobody much cares what they think.

“This is more than just a mountain,” said Tate Keliihoomalu, 20, (OHA-funded immersion school student) who jumped in her car Wednesday to join protesters in about 50 vehicles that slowed and then briefly stopped traffic on the H-1 freeway on Oahu….

Representatives of the 13 observatories say the activists did nothing to threaten or harass their workers, but management was concerned there was not “consistent and safe access” to the summit for staff.

The observatories remain shut down today, and suddenly it seems that all that has been built on Mauna Kea may be at stake, including some of the most sophisticated astronomy facilities in the world.

The frustration is palpable. Thirty Meter Telescope Executive Director Ed Stone issued a statement Friday reminding the public that “TMT has been very patient.”

The project is being developed by partners that include the California Institute of Technology, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Department of Science and Technology of India. The permitting process including legal challenges took a decade.

“We worked very long and very hard to comply with all laws and regulations. We’ve also worked long and hard with the community and to develop understanding and respect for the culture,” Stone said in his statement. “We are and have been prepared to access the site, but our legal rights to access have been blocked. We don’t have the power to clear the blockade. We need to depend on law enforcement to do that. It’s a very difficult and urgent situation for us.”

Ige expressed his own frustrations at a press conference Friday, observing negotiations with protest leaders have been complicated in part because they don’t all agree on what they want from the state.

“I think that we’ve heard a wide range of issues, sovereignty to the Thirty Meter Telescope, to some of the inadequacies of the criminal justice system, and others, so certainly there is a wide range of issues raised as we have conversations,” he said….

SA: Kalehua Krug took vacation from his job on Oahu as a Hawaiian language immersion program administrator for the state Department of Education

read … Mauna Kea activists demonstrate savvy in organization, nonviolent protest tactics

Police Arrest ‘Disorderly Man’ at Telescope Protest

BIN: … At 1:40 p.m., Hawaiʻi Island Police responded to a call of a disorderly male creating a disturbance at Puʻu Huluhulu. Derek Higa, 60, of Waimea was arrested without incident….

read … DAY 6: TMT-Protestor Standoff

Tsuneyoshi Questions use of HPD officers on Mauna Kea

KITV: … Honolulu City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi also visited the demonstration. "The feeling here is not a state of emergency, it's a state of humanity."

Her concern is who pay for police brought over from Oahu. "I do have questions for our jurisdiction issues and why the decision was made to send up our Honolulu Police Department officers. hHw many were sent? How much is that costing taxpayers spending? Why are we spending so much public resources for a private endeavor."

Flashback: Former Cocaine Dealer’s Wife Running for Honolulu Council

read … Mauna Kea coming to Honolulu Council Agenda?

HPD officer arrested, accused of felony domestic abuse

HNN: … A Honolulu Police Lieutenant has been arrested on suspicion of felony domestic abuse.

Authorities say Hunter Ah Loo was taken into custody at the Pearl City Substation Saturday night.

According to the Honolulu Police Department’s website, Officer Ah Loo serves in the Records and Identification Division….

read … HPD officer arrested, accused of felony domestic abuse

HART responds to possible council resolution calling for it to be dissolved

HNN: … The resolution by council chair Ikaika Anderson would ask voters to amend the city charter to eliminate HART. The city’s Department of Transportation Services would take over responsibilities of overseeing the controversial rail project.

HART Executive Director Andrew Robbins said the proposal comes as it awaits federal approval of its latest recovery plan for the project.

“The recovery plan is written from the perspective of HART managing the project," said Robbins. "So if this resolution were to pass and the management transfers back to the city, that would be a significant change in the way the project is managed.”

Robbins said the resolution could also impact work to develop public-private partnerships to build the rail segment between Middle Street and Ala Moana Center. He also said it could make it difficult for HART to attract and hire personnel.

Anderson said the resolution is not meant to be a referendum on rail. He said he wanted to give voters a chance to decide whether to give elected officials direct oversight and responsibility on the project…. 

Big Q: Should the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) dissolve, to let the city Department of Transportation Services take over rail construction?  (60% – No)

CB: Proposal Would Give Honolulu Voters Chance To End HART

read … HART responds to possible council resolution calling for it to be dissolved

Kuleana tax break proposed

KGI: … A bill that would create an ordinance amending the Kauai County Code 1987, relating to real property tax definitions and kuleana lands, has been introduced by councilmembers Luke Evslin and Mason Chock.

A public hearing on Bill 2756 has been scheduled for Aug. 14….

The way the law reads now, only the owner of land is able to apply for a tax exemption.

Chock said there are situations with some landowners ending up in higher tax brackets rather than receiving the tax exemption initiated by the state Legislature a few years ago.

“We believe that we have come up with a solution that starts that process in the right direction to correct and move people into the right tax brackets,” Chock said….

Roversi said there are two prongs for qualification for kuleana property tax relief.

The first is that the owner must be a lineal descendant of the person who received the original title. The second is that the land itself must qualify as kuleana land and must be owner-occupied, not a vacation rental or vacant or zoned agricultural.

In 2020 there are 29 properties that will receive the kuleana tax exemption on Kauai, with 22 on the North Shore and seven on the Westside, with 31 pending applications, Roversi said.

“The 31 pending applications that go back as far as 2008 haven’t been denied or accepted,” Roversi said. “I think that that speaks to the complexity of qualifying, both demonstrating that your property is legally a kuleana and going through the genealogical research that people have to go through to prove that they are a lineal descendant of the kuleana.”

A kuleana property has a very specific meaning, and must have been awarded under the Kuleana Act of 1850….

KGI: Kuleana deeds in Andrade’s name

read … Kuleana tax break proposed

Maui: Wind and Solar Useless at Peak Demand Periods

MN: … Some nights, MECO power generators must kick into high gear because wind energy isn’t being produced.

“On particular hot, humid nights, there’s also low to no wind energy and no solar energy resources to use on the system, so the island’s generators are running more and for longer periods of time,” she said.

In general, MECO says that evenings have higher energy demands because people come home from work or school and use more electricity with cooking dinner, watching TV, taking showers and running appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines….

In the middle of a spring and summer heat wave that’s broken 52 records so far, Maui Electric Co. is experiencing the highest energy demand in more than a decade, with July producing the biggest demand so far this year.

“On Maui this summer, we’ve been seeing record energy demand peaks — or when the island is using the most electricity at any given time,” MECO spokeswoman Shayna Decker told The Maui News.

Energy peaks have been climbing each month since spring. In March, the peak day logged 177.8 megawatts; April, 180.4 MW; May, 194.2 MW; June, 200.5 MW; and July, 205.1 MW, MECO said. (The highest peak so far this year occurred at 7:55 p.m. July 8). Energy demands usually peak during the evenings between 5 and 9 p.m.

“These are the highest peaks we have seen for Maui in their respective months in over a decade,” Decker said….

read … MECO reports highest energy demand in decade amid heat wave

Flood of TVR Permits hits Hawaii County

HTH: … The county’s new vacation rental registration laws are stimulating almost as many questions as applications, as property owners struggle to meet county requirements ahead of a Sept. 28 deadline.

As of Wednesday, the county had processed 744 short-term vacation rental applications, compared to 266 this time last month. While the pace of those certificates has picked up, it’s offset by a drastic drop in building permits overall for the first six months of this year, compared to last year.

In fact, county records show, only 1,600 building permits had been issued between Jan. 1 and June 30, a 28% decrease from the 2,059 issued during the same period last year. Those include building, electrical, plumbing and demolition permits….

One particular sticking point is the requirement that owners registering their property provide proof it is has all the required building, plumbing and electrical permits. That’s been tying up Building Division staff and has been so onerous for many applicants, the county has loosened its rules to allow alternative documents for those whose building permits are incomplete….

Marissa Ashley, a broker with Action Team Realty and member of the West Hawaii Association of Realtors, said more than 90 people signed up for a July 10 presentation about the new requirements. Many people don’t even realize the new law applies to them, she said….

read … Building permits drop as vacation rental applications snarl process

Gabbard Doomed if She Can’t Crack 2% in Polls

SA: … Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard needs to attract about 30,000 more unique donors to her presidential bid to fulfill one of two criteria for making it into the Democratic primary debates in September, an event that’s expected to significantly winnow the crowded field of presidential contenders.

Gabbard announced in recent days that she has just over 100,000 donors out of the 130,000 needed by the end of August. She also will need at least 2% support in four qualifying national or early-state polls released between June 28 and Aug. 28.

Not making the third debates in September could spell the end for many of those aspiring to the presidency….

AP: Tulsi Gabbard Joins Protests – In Puerto Rico

read … 2% Solution

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