Mauna Kea Press Conference features convicted drug dealer and protester "acquitted due to mental incapacity"
Ige: Finding a way forward on Mauna Kea, TMT
Feds Charge 15 in Hawaii Gambling Bust
Opportunity Urbanism for Honolulu?
'Gravely Disabled' Homeless Forced Into Mental Health Care in More States
Rail: Honolulu Will Pay For ‘Confidential’ Criminal Defense Work For Years
CB: … A mainland law firm will bill Honolulu taxpayers up to $700 per hour through 2022 in an attempt to shield privileged and private records seized by the feds in January – but exactly what records were taken and why is still shrouded in secrecy.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration refuses to talk about the search warrant, and the law firm’s contract with the City and County of Honolulu, obtained by Civil Beat, describes only vague legal responsibilities. The contract itself includes a code of silence.
“When dealing with the news media, the consultant is expected to be circumspect and to treat all matters falling within the scope of this contract with the utmost confidentiality,” the contract states….
Farella Braun & Martel was hired on Jan. 22, according to the contract, within days of federal investigators executing a search warrant on the city’s department of information technology. Mayor Kirk Caldwell briefly mentioned the warrant that month when he announced Corporation Counsel Donna Leong had received a target letter from the FBI in connection with the federal probe of former police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, ex-prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.
Funding up to $150,000 was approved by the Honolulu City Council in March. Council members discussed a resolution in a closed-door session and unanimously approved it except for two members who were absent, Ikaika Anderson and Ron Menor.
Earlier this month, the council voted on another spending allocation, this time raising the limit to $225,000. After Civil Beat reported on the contract, council members Kymberly Pine and Heidi Tsuneyoshi voted against the payments. Councilman Tommy Waters voted yes “with reservations.”…
“My concern is these lawyers are going to be used to hide these injustices related to the Kealohas or the HART investigation,” said Pine, who voted against a measure that would use city money to defend HART employees embroiled in a federal probe. “None of this money should be used for that.”
Civil Beat obtained the contract through a Uniform Information Practices Act request. The news organization also requested copies of the law firm’s invoices, but the city denied it.
The contract, which ends Feb. 14, 2022, states Farella Braun & Martel Partner Douglas Young can bill the city $700 per hour. Partner Jessica Nall, Senior Associate Aviva Gilbert and Associate Claire Johnson can bill the city $500 per hour, and paralegals can bill $350 per hour.
According to Waters, the fact that the legal services are expected to go on for years may or may not be an indication of the scope of the search warrant.
“Perhaps the documents that were seized were voluminous, and it may take the court a long time to review these documents under seal,” he said….
read … Honolulu Will Pay For ‘Confidential’ Criminal Defense Work For Years
Telescope Protesters: Know Them by What They Deny
Cataluna: … Ige and his team have been issuing news releases left and right, volleying social media blasts and staging press conferences to emphasize, even magnify and, in some cases, perhaps create the impression that the people standing against the Thirty Meter Telescope project are disorganized, lawless and dangerous.
It started out with Ige’s statement early on that there was drinking and drug use at the protest at the base of the mountain….
Since then there have been news releases from the state saying rare native plants at the protest site are being trampled, that people are parking illegally and crossing the road unsafely, that protesters block emergency vehicles and leave trash at the campsite…
Ige’s repeated attempts to diminish and discredit the organized, erudite, focused people who call themselves kiai….
read … Casting aspersions is not leadership
Economist: Stop using Traffic as an Excuse to Block Affordable Housing
TGI: … Traffic has nothing to do with housing, said Paul Brewbaker, principal economist of TZ Economics.
That’s how he started his highly entertaining and enlightening speech at Tuesday’s Kauai Board of Realtors meeting, “Road Blocks to Affordability.” …
Some of what Brewbaker shared with the crowd made them gasp, including the fact that there are more registered motor vehicles on Maui than residents, and that the overall number of motor vehicles in Hawaii has tripled since 1959.
While he didn’t mention if visitor rental cars were taken into consideration in this number, he made it clear that “houses don’t cause cars to happen.”
Constructing new developments for residents isn’t going to cause traffic to increase, he said….
This coincides with a population that has been steadily climbing since the late 1960s when there was an initial flood of people moving to the island that he jokingly referred to as “hippies who are Realtors now.”…
Other interesting statistics he shared was that there are now more households with people who live alone than married households with children, and that half of all real estate buyers are from the mainland. Additionally, most people are purchasing and selling homes in the $500,000 to $600,000 range, or less.
In other words, though the community primarily protests new condominium-style development, the island is highly in need of this type of accommodation, constructed in places where residents can avoid driving and can easily walk downstairs “to buy their Spam musubi,” he said….
read … Realtors focus on housing ‘crisis’
Honolulu’s Poorly Timed Traffic Signals Aren’t Very Smart
CB: … The city aims to start installing technology that can detect traffic congestion on some of Oahu’s more than 820 lights next year….
good traffic signal timing can be especially important on an island that faces some of the nation’s toughest traffic challenges and has few options to address them.
Relief isn’t coming any time soon. A baby born at The Queen’s Medical Center this week will be entering second grade by the time the island’s 20-mile rail transit line is now projected to open for service, in late 2026….
(Translation: Now that we buffaloed you into voting for rail three times, we can undo some of the fake traffic jams we created.)
read … Artificial Traffic Jams
Small public schools risk closure if minimum headcount is adopted
KHON: …Small public schools could be at risk of closing, if the state Board of Education adopts a proposed threshold for minimum enrollment. Drawing a line at a headcount that schools must stay above to stay open is a concept that’s been developing all this year within a D.O.E. committee. But many communities that could be affected may not yet know it’s a possibility.
The Department of Education’s Committee on Weights is supposed to balance per-pupil public school funding formulas statewide. It readjusts recommendations every couple of years. This time around they’re recommending the Board of Education establish a threshold enrollment for viable small schools.
The board agenda this coming Thurs., Sept. 19, includes votes on whether to take next steps. creating a policy about the board actions that are triggered when enrollment dips too low. Actions could include closure and consolidation.
“The process is underway and now’s the time for people to weigh in,” said Sen. Gil Riviere, whose district includes parts of Windward Oahu and the North Shore. “I think it’s important that we point out the equity needs of our rural schools and along with the neighbor islanders.”
Some neighbor island schools stand to gain significant per-pupil spending under the committee proposal. But it’s unclear if that’s only at the schools big enough to stay open in the first place….
CB: Neighbor Island Schools Could Get More Money Next Year
read … Small public schools risk closure if minimum headcount is adopted
Will Health Codes be Sacrificed for Anti-Plastic Hysteria
CB: … As the movement against single-use containers grows, more people are carrying their own glass or thick plastic containers to restaurants and food trucks. However, this poses a quandary for food workers. Does the health code allow them to pack food into these containers? Or do they have to go against the customer’s wishes and serve the plate lunch on plastic foam?
“Right now the code is ambiguous,” said Nicole Chatterson, founder of Zero Waste Oahu. “Sounds like kind of sometimes you can bring your containers to certain spaces but it depends on all of these things that are hard to make sense.”
(Don’t worry. Homeless drug addicts always have squeaky clean containers.)
She’d like to see Hawaii follow in California’s footsteps and adopt a law that allows employees at restaurants and deli counters to pack food into customer’s personal containers. The California law specifies the establishment has to have a separate area for washing and packing personal containers and a written policy on how to avoid cross-contamination.
The confusing aspect of Hawaii’s law is that food employees here are only allowed to serve food in personal containers if the customer purchased the container at the restaurant.
“For example, 7-Eleven used to have those giant pick-up containers with their logos on it and that falls under this,” said Peter Oshiro, who oversees sanitation at the Hawaii Department of Health. “Where they provide the consumer the original container and you can bring that container back for the reuse.”
But otherwise a food employee shouldn’t be handling grandma’s Tupperware.
“The rules are designed to protect public health,” Oshiro said. “The worry is that the container has not been properly sanitized and could bring communicable diseases, for example, into clean kitchens that are serving food to many people.”
The health code differentiates between solid food and beverages, which has allowed coffee shops and smoothie bars to accept almost any cup, mug or jar from customers for years.
“It needs to be easily cleaned and not broken in any way,” Oshiro said.
But the Starbucks barista may reject your mason jar if you ask for a latte.
“They cannot do anything with milk or dairy inside it.” he said. “You can’t have containers go back and forth under a milk dispenser or anything that could be spoiled.”…
read … About the Eco-Religion
Running for Congress, Telescope Protester Kahele Panders to Upcountry Maui on Water Supply
MN: … The Maui County Board of Water Supply will discuss during its Thursday meeting a May letter from Kahele to Mayor Michael Victorino that urges the county to obtain its own water permit as “its own, independent authority.”
Typically, the county wouldn’t be the one to apply for a revocable permit, because it is not the diverter or the owner of the diversion system, county Water Supply Director Jeff Pearson and state DLNR officials said Tuesday….
Kahele, chairman of the Senate Water and Land Committee, offered up a bill at the state Legislature that would have denied EMI and its parent company, Alexander & Baldwin, from receiving another revocable permit but allowing other permit holders to apply. That bill died.
On Tuesday, Kahele agreed that much has occurred in relation to the water rights case since his letter was submitted at the end of the legislative session in May.
Mahi Pono, which purchased 41,000 acres of former sugar cane land from A&B in December and became half-owner of EMI in February, recently began planting potatoes and citrus, the first of other planned crops, in efforts to revitalize agriculture in Maui’s central plains in the wake of the end of sugar in 2016.
Although the company’s specific water needs were not made clear at recent state water commission meetings, to the dismay of Native Hawaiian practitioners and farmers, Mahi Pono’s recent agricultural plantings have helped the company gain favor, including with Kahele….
Flashback April 5, 2019:
read … Kahele: Long-term water permits on the horizon
Prosecutors Won’t Charge Guard in Fatal OCCC Shooting
CB: … Maui prosecutors cited Hawaii’s use of force law, which allows deadly force to be used by law enforcement against escaping jail or prison detainees….
read … Prosecutors Won’t Charge Guard in Fatal OCCC Shooting
Assisted Suicide: Politically Connected ‘Death Doula’ Got House for $10
MN: …Heather Parsons and her husband, Rob Parsons (‘Environmental Coordinator’ under Mayor Alan Arakawa), remain as defendants in the pending civil case filed in April in 2nd Circuit Court.
The lawsuit alleges that Heather Parsons befriended Fay Block, became her primary caregiver, and “in a matter of months orchestrated the victim changing all of her estate planning documents, getting the victim to convey all of her assets to the death doula, and starving, dehydrating and drugging the victim to death.”
Wailuku attorney Anthony Ranken, who represents the Parsons, has said Heather Parsons was helping Block “implement her own wishes and providing her solace and support.” …
While Heather Parsons disclaimed her interest in Block’s other assets during court probate proceedings, Parsons retained possession of Block’s three-bedroom house on Hoalike Street in Kihei, according to court records. On March 7, 2017, the month before her death, Block had transferred ownership of the house to Parsons for $10, according to the lawsuit.
read … Parsons
Moiliili Homeless Stay on the Streets Because Do-Gooder Idiots Keep Feeding them and Giving Them Money
HNN: … A Moiliili woman is threatening to sue the city over homeless camps that block access to public walkways in her neighborhood.
Jo Ann Ochi has lived near Old Stadium Park more than 50 years.
She says the inability for people to use public sidewalks has gone on too long. And she’s asking the ACLU to defend the rights of the community.
(Sorry. ACLU is on the other side.)
Along Isenberg Street, walkways often resemble an obstacle course.
On Tuesday, pedestrians had it easy ― only having to sidestep rubbish after a recent sweep pushed squatters into a nearby park.
It’s a game of cat and mouse that has some residents at their breaking point….
“I think it’s about time someone did something about it,” said Casey Chong, the regional operator of Teddy’s Bigger Burgers. He says area businesses are often targets.
Earlier this month, he was grabbed and threatened by a camper after he confronted him about stealing soda….
“Some of the biggest problems has to do with them coming in and being aggressive,” said Chong. “We are setting up a de-escalation class for some of my managers so they can try and handle these situations.”
Alexander, the head of the Mayor’s Housing Office, said the Moiliili encampments have proven to be a continuing challenge.
He confirms the city’s swept problem spots 39 times so far this year….
Despite weekly visits from outreach workers, Alexander says most Moiliili campers want nothing to do with help.
“I think there are a number of factors. Some people are going to be dealing with substance abuse disorder. Some people have mental health issues,” said Alexander.
“Some people are resistant because they’ve been empowered and enabled community members ― out of goodwill no doubt, bringing them food and other supplies that enable them to stay on the street.”…
So far Ochi hasn’t heard back from the ACLU about whether they’ll take her case. (LOL!)
HNN asked but didn’t get a straight answer.….
News Release: Park security initiatives showing signs of success
Seattle: $1M to Buy Tickets for Homeless?
read … Moiliili resident threatens to sue city over sidewalks blocked by homeless camps
Want to Stay in the USA? No More Welfare
SA: … Immigrants living in Hawaii legally could be denied future visas and permanent residency if they rely on government assistance such as food stamps and Medicaid under a Trump administration rule that is set to take effect Oct. 15.
Trump officials have said their “public charge” rule aims to promote self-reliance and personal responsibility among immigrants.
But Therefore the policy has outraged Democrats, including top officials in Hawaii….
read … Trump policy could have far-reaching effects on Hawaii’s immigrant population
Golojuch Upset by Lack of Hate Crimes
KITV: … Many people were applauding a new study that was released from FBI data claiming Hawaii ranked the lowest among all 50 states and DC for having the fewest hate crimes against the LGBT community.
In Hawaii, the Security.org study found there were no anti-LGBT incidents per 100,000 people between 2013 and 2019.
But the Hawaii Democratic Party's LGBT caucus chairman claims those numbers told tell the whole story.
"It looks great on paper, but in reality, there's a harsher underbelly," says caucus chair Michael Golojuch, Jr. He says that's because Hawaii only reports actual cases that are specifically prosecuted as hate crimes and lead to hate crime convictions.
read … Hawaii LGBT advocates question national hate crime study
Snorkel Rentals: 3 suffer apparent shark bites while snorkeling off Haleiwa
SA: … A city Emergency Medical Services spokeswoman said that just after 10:40 a.m., city paramedics and Ocean Safety personnel responded to three patients at Haleiwa Boat Harbor who were apparently bitten by a shark or sharks.
She said the three people were part of a tour group snorkeling when they were bitten.
A Hawaii resident, 24, had an injury to her right hand; a male visitor, 57, was treated for a right arm injury; and another visitor, 31, had an injury to his right shoulder, the spokeswoman said….
reads … 3 suffer apparent shark bites while snorkeling off Haleiwa