Birth Control: 9th Circuit Refuses to Recognize Religious Objectors
Federal prosecutors may be interested in what Katherine Kealoha knows about HART, her attorney says
KITV: … As part of Katherine's deal, she is required to cooperate with federal investigators.
"The government has been reluctant to say what they want her to cooperate on," Partington said after Katherine entered a plea deal in federal court this morning. "They seem to think she has something they can offer. I have often wondered why they think she has the information particularly as to HART. HART has been so corrupt from the beginning with contracts being led to contractors who are not qualified to do them."
Partington says his client may have information prosecutors want to catch bigger fish. …
Puana said. "I don't believe anything she says. I think it's everything is an act for her. It's all a facade. Just like their marriage."…
As for the drug trafficking case involving Katherine's brother Rudy Puana, Attorney Partington tells me Katherine will not have to testify against her brother, because federal prosecutors have enough evidence in that case, saying "they got him cold."…
KHON: ‘No apology to your grandmother? No apology to me? After everything, you put your grandmother through no apology? That’s narcissistic, that’s evil,” said Puana.
HNN: Part of the deal requires cooperation from the Kealohas, but Wheat would not say what that involves.
read … Federal prosecutors may be interested in what Katherine Kealoha knows about HART, her attorney says
Criminal Probe Into Rail Might Creep Into Honolulu Hale, Attorneys Fear
HNN: … Honolulu city attorneys worry the federal criminal probe that has ensnared the island’s troubled rail project might soon reach Honolulu Hale as well, according to Councilman Ron Menor.
On Tuesday, the council’s Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee, which Menor chairs, met behind closed doors to consider allowing the private firm Farella Braun & Martel to represent city employees in the rail matter, but rejected the idea.
The city’s corporation counsel felt the California firm’s expertise would be vital should the federal investigation into rail expand past the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, Menor said.
The semi-autonomous agency, which oversees rail construction for the city, was hit with three federal Grand Jury subpoenas in February. An unspecified number of HART employees have also received individual subpoenas since then.
“We need to anticipate that their investigation will entail attempting to obtain additional information about the rail project from city employees and personnel,” Menor said. “And so this request for information could come by way of federal subpoenas as well as requests on the part of federal prosecutors to interview city employees and personnel.”
Nonetheless (Blessedly,) council members shot down the proposal to retain Farella Braun & Martel with a 4-3 vote. The move would have retained the firm’s services for $50,000, according to Menor.…
In an email Tuesday, Caldwell spokesman Andrew Pereira said he’s not aware of any city employees receiving rail-related subpoenas other than those already sent to HART.
Council members Carol Fukunaga, Ann Kobayashi, Heidi Tsuneyoshi and Tommy Waters voted against retaining Farella Braun & Martell on Tuesday. Councilman Ikaika Anderson and Brandon Elefante joined Menor to vote in favor.
Council members Joey Manahan and Kymberly Pine didn’t attend….
read … Criminal Probe Into Rail Might Creep Into Honolulu Hale, Attorneys Fear
Kaneshiro’s Hand-Picked Successor Grilled by Council (again)
HNN: … Honolulu Councilman Ron Menor sternly questioned acting Prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto Tuesday after he admitted he took no steps to independently confirm how former Deputy Katherine Kealoha repeatedly abused her office for personal benefit.
Menor argued that Nadamoto could not effectively protect the integrity of the office without knowing what had gone wrong in the past….
Kaneshiro set up Nadamoto to take over the office by promoting him his top deputy not long before taking leave.
The federal investigation has revealed multiple instances where Kealoha used her position as a top supervisor to help friends, cover up crimes and manipulate cases to her benefit. Her misconduct also involved multiple other prosecutors and investigators.
But Nadamoto made it clear Tuesday that he has not made an effort to learn about the abuse -- either through an internal investigation of his own or by studying the findings of federal prosecutors, even though he praised their work….
Menor was shocked earlier this month when Nadamoto defended the office in a hearing on several issues that are now the focus of the feds.
The first involved Kealoha’s dismissal of an excessive speeding ticket against her electrician, by claiming he was not the driver of the vehicle and that his car and identity had been stolen by a career criminal. Kaneshiro later told the media that he had authorized dropping the case because the electrician was a witness in an ongoing investigation into police corruption.
Federal prosecutors, using testimony of the people involved, determined that Kealoha took care of the ticket to help her electrician.
Unwilling to accept that, Nadamoto repeated the claim that the dismissal was because of the investigation of police corruption.
Menor challenged Nadamoto again on this point.
“This whole thing about an ongoing police corruption investigation is really a sham," Menor said. "So as acting Prosecutor Attorney don’t you feel that you have an important responsibility to look into this issue more carefully to investigate it?”
In another case, Kealoha intervened to have a DUI case dismissed for her friend, author Chris McKinney.
Nadamoto repeated his assertion that the DUI suspect was an undercover witness. That too was debunked in the federal investigation.
Menor pointedly asked Nadamoto who had told him that the DUI suspect was a confidential informant and when, Nadamoto refused to answer.
“I really don’t want to get into that,” he said….
read … Acting prosecutor resists looking back into Katherine Kealoha’s misconduct
Misconduct: Honolulu deputy prosecutor taken off case
SA: …The deputy prosecutor who admitted shoving his opposing counsel in a state courthouse hallway is no longer assigned to the case.
The Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney said in a written statement Monday that Deputy Prosecutor Emlyn Higa is no longer assigned to prosecute an attempted murder case involving a client of defense lawyer Myles Breiner.
“Higa was removed from the case after being charged with harassment. The Department of the Prosecuting Attorney must focus on this attempted murder case without distraction,” the department said..
Higa was second chair on the case….
Breiner says he has sent to the FBI’s Public Corruption Unit and the state Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel records of what he claims are hush money payments Higa made to the complaining witness in a domestic abuse case Higa handled when he was a deputy prosecutor on Maui, and emails between Higa and the complaining witness….
read … Honolulu deputy prosecutor taken off opposing counsel’s case
Latest Trick: Classification of state land on Maunakea summit challenged (Sierra Club backs anti-telescope protesters)
WHT: … The state Land Use Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday about a petition by two Hawaiian cultural practitioners concerning the classification of state land on the Maunakea summit.
The petition, filed by Hilo residents Ku‘ulei Kanahele and Ahiena Kanahele in September, challenges the use of the land at the summit — which is regulated by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, managed by the University of Hawaii, and currently home to 12 different observatories — and posits that the land’s use is more consistent with land classified as “urban,” rather than land within a conservation district….
The argument of the petition revolves around the fact that there were no formal proceedings to change the boundary classification for the summit land that would allow the Maunakea observatories, which the petition claims are equivalent to industrial facilities, on conservation land.
Had those proceedings taken place, the Kanaheles would have had an opportunity to formally oppose them. Because they did not, the Kanaheles allege they were deprived of their right to protect their Native Hawaiian cultural practices on that land.
Consequently, they claim any additional permits for industrial facilities on the summit unlawfully circumvent Hawaii’s land use boundary amendment laws….
A letter from a TMT representative to the commission argues that the petitioners are not able to seek a district boundary amendment because they do not have sufficient property interest — only the land owner or the lessee, in this case the BLNR or UH, can do so.
The TMT letter also argues that the lengthy contested case hearing exhaustively conclusively resolved the summit’s boundary issues.
“The commission should view and treat the petition for what is it — an improper collateral attack on the TMT (conservation district use permit), which was carefully considered and granted by BLNR,” the letter concluded….
VIDEO: Sierra Club Hawaii Island Supports Mauna Kea LUC Petition
HPR: Land Commission Could Delay TMT Construction
read … Classification of state land on Maunakea summit challenged
Night Four Kahuku
SA: … Four protesters were arrested at Kalaeloa Tuesday night, bringing the total arrest count up to 105. The protesters chained and taped their wrists together, with their arms placed in PVC pipes.
Just after 10 p.m., police moved to arrest the protesters, who were lying on the road. Over 70 officers were present Tuesday night, and over 40 on bicycles created a bicycle blockade around those lying on the ground....
Two people were arrested in Kahuku this morning as part of the protests against the Na Pua Makani wind farm planned in the area.
The arrests and delivery of wind turbine parts by truck from Kalaeloa happened earlier than usual this morning, at about 2:45 a.m.
Photos: Protests continue in Kalaeloa, Kahuku
Cataluna: Strong year for protesting ‘opposites of preservation’
read … Police begin arresting wind farm protesters occupying road in Kalaeloa
Kahuku: Attorney Battles Windfarm in Court
HNN: … With more than 100 arrests over the Kahuku wind farm blockades, attorney Lance Collins is battling the wind farm and regulatory agencies through the courts.
“People engaging in civil disobedience is always a symptom of a failure of government,” he said.
Protesters behind the Aloha Aina movement often vocalize concerns that their voice isn’t being heard when it comes to planning of major projects….
“I think what it’s bringing up is this tension and a community realization that there’s an urgency around climate change and we need to accelerate our transition off of fossil fuel, but then that tension of finding the right projects that are right for the communities,” said Melissa Miyashiro, managing director, Blue Planet Foundation. (Translation: “I wish the protesters would shut up and go away so my cronies can get back to making money on this scam.”)
HNN Local Connection: Protesting Projects in Hawaii
read … Kahuku protests highlights struggle for clean energy. But that’s not all
AES Corporation: Hawai`i Coal, Solar and Wind Power
IM: …The AES Coal Plant on O`ahu is slated to close in 2022. Arrests are being made as protestors block Kalaeloa roads to prevent the building of the AES Na Pua Makani wind farm in Kahuku.
AES built, owns, and operates a 20 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic system with a 100 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery energy storage system (BESS) on approximately 194 acres of land leased from Alexander & Baldwin (McBryde Sugar Co.) in the Lawai area, at a contracted price of $0.11080 / kilowatt-hour (kWh) for 25 years. Sheep are being used to control vegetation growth onsite.
The facility went on-line in 2019 as the largest PV + BESS peaker power plant in the world, providing solar power during the evening peak….
AES proposes to build, own, and operate a 60 MW solar farm with a dispatchable 240 MWh battery energy storage system on approximately 500 acres of old Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar lands leased from Alexander & Baldwin along Kuihelani Highway near East Waiko Road in Central Maui near Waikapu.
AES is partnering with the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) to construct a 14 MW solar farm with a 70 MWh battery energy storage system on 140 acres of land leased from the US Navy (Naval Facilities Engineering Command) at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Barking Sands.
AES proposes to build, own, and operate a 30 MW solar photovoltaic facility with a dispatchable 120 MWh battery energy storage system on approximately 300 acres of agricultural land with D and E soils roughly two miles southeast of Waikoloa Village.
AES proposes to build, own, and operate a 12.5 MW solar photovoltaic facility with a 50 MWh dispatchable lithium battery energy storage system on 80 acres of agricultural land (LSB soil classifications B, D, and E) owned by the University of Hawaii mauka of the West Oahu campus and the H-1 freeway near Kualakai Parkway.
The AES is developing the 24 MW Na Pua Makani Wind project in Kahuku. The proposed facility was acquired from Champlin/GEI Wind Holdings. The electricity would be sold at an equivalent levelized cost of $0.14998/kWh over twenty (20) years. …
read … AES Corporation: Hawai`i Coal, Solar and Wind Power
Solar Seven: Collusion, Price Fixing to Keep Your Electric Rates High
CB: … Utilities and others are concerned that the same lawyers are representing multiple parties in a competitive bidding process….
Opponents of a solar farm on Maui are raising questions about the bidding process used to select projects and negotiate contract terms between developers and the Hawaiian Electric Cos….
Seven projects submitted in response to the RFP have been approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. But Paeahu has been slowed down by Pono Power’s intervention in the regulatory process….
Lance Collins, Pono Power Coalition’s attorney, acknowledged that it’s important to get renewable energy projects online to address the climate crisis. But he said it’s also important to make sure developers are not short-cutting the law….
The crux of Pono Power’s argument is that developers may have engaged in anticompetitive practices by, among other things, using the same lawyers from Honolulu’s Yamamoto-Caliboso firm to represent them when bidding and negotiating terms of energy sales contracts with the Hawaiian Electric affiliates….
“As a general rule, they cannot go forward unless they get informed consent of the clients,” said Randy Roth, a retired law professor who taught the course in professional responsibility at the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law.
Collins said questions about legal ethics were outside the scope of the issues he has raised, which instead focus on antitrust allegations.
In testimony submitted in the case, Sumner LaCroix, a University of Hawaii economist, says aspects of the process — chiefly the competitors all using the same lawyers – “increase the likelihood of anticompetitive behavior and successful price fixing in the bidding process for these projects.”
Pono Power isn’t the only party to raise such questions. Hawaiian Electric has also raised concerns about the 2018 RFP bidding and negotiation process.
And so has the Hawaii Consumer Advocate, Dean Nishina. According to the Consumer Advocate, four developers with seven PPAs before the regulators all used lawyers from Yamamoto-Caliboso, who were present at one or more meetings or on emails: Jennifer Lootens, David Morris, Dean Yamamoto and Wil Yamamoto.
“Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light, and Maui Electric each indicated that they had ‘several concerns when the Company became aware that the same attorney(s) were representing all of the developers named to the Final Award Group,’” Nishina said in a March 2019 document submitted to the PUC as part of a project being developed on Maui by AES Corp.
“While the Company assumes and has no indication to suggest otherwise that each bid was submitted without collusion, the fact that multiple bidders possibly utilized the same legal counsel during their bid preparation did raise concerns as to whether bids were, in fact, submitted independently and without the sharing of information or guidance from their shared legal counsel,” HECO wrote in a document cited by the Consumer Advocate.
read … Conflicts, Antitrust Questions Raised Regarding Maui Solar Farm
Heart of Darkness of Island Society
YN: … The murder of Ms Rachelle Bergeron (on Yap Island) has occupied my mind since the 15th October when the news showed up on SNS. In my 30 years experience of working in the Pacific Islands, I have always felt this kind of fear in island societies. The fear is at the heart of darkness in small societies. It is something that is hardly published in the local public media but it is something that communicated to foreigners like me are outside that society.
I have been quite aware of corruption and crime which is basically managed by leaders of Pacific Island Countries. I learnt a lot, especially since 2008 when I launched the maritime security project in Micronesia.
Protect Palauan kids from drug
Because of the Free Association many young American lawyers have been employed by local governments in Micronesian countries. I believe that they are of the same age as Ms Bergeron. I witnessed some young American Lawyers leaving the islands because of conflict with the employed government who basically want to protect local leaders who promoted human trafficking, drugs, money laundering and other crimes. If these lawyers choose to stay and stand to fight these crimes, they may be murdered as Ms Bergeron was. The same week of murder of Ms Bergeron, the car belonging to the head of the Narcotics Enforcement Agency was burnt in Palau. His boat was also burned last year as well.
A few years ago, I have been asked by the Hon Kuniwo Nakamura of Palau to protect kids from drugs. I had been asking myself – why did he ask me to do that? Because the criminals are Palauan. They could be ones friends or relatives of Hon Nakamura? ….
read … Heart of Darkness of Island Society
Memorial service to be held for American prosecutor killed in Yap
HNN: … Rachelle Bergeron, 33, was shot and killed last week after returning home from a run. Her dog was also killed.
No one has been arrested yet, but several persons of interest have reportedly been identified.
Bergeron was the acting attorney general of the tiny island state of Yap.
Her friends said they believe her job, helping victims of sex trafficking and domestic abuse, may have had something to do with her death.
A pathologist from Hawaii is heading to Micronesia to help with the murder investigation.
The FBI is also helping local authorities….
read … Memorial service to be held for American prosecutor killed in Yap
Medical Examiner’s Office Overrun by Homeless Drug Addicts
SA: … There may be more to Happy’s resignation.
Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson said then-Acting Mayor Roy Amemiya telephoned him Thursday “to inform me that Dr. Happy was being dismissed for cause.”
Amemiya, the city’s managing director, was filling in for Caldwell, who was out of town.
“The Managing Director told me that in order to dismiss the Medical Examiner, the city charter requires a public hearing before the council and information (about Happy’s dismissal) would be available at that hearing,” Anderson said. “Then I understand he resigned.”
Councilwoman Kymberly Pine said Happy twice requested additional funds for the Medical Examiner’s Office for more staff. The office is in Iwilei next to the Institute for Human Services, which operates Hawaii’s largest homeless shelters.
“I remember being shocked by the conditions where they had to walk over homeless people and feces,” Pine said. “He described substandard facilities and said they didn’t have enough medical people to perform and assist with all of the autopsies. I felt there was something wrong with that.”
When Happy testified during a second budget cycle, “they still didn’t have another doctor and were short other staff, as well,” Pine said.
Happy did not provide an explanation of why his office was short-staffed, Pine said, but he said there were difficulties recruiting new people.
Happy replaced Dr. Kanthi De Alwis, “who stayed on in an acting capacity” until Happy took over, Anderson said.
“I’m concerned that it took a long time for the city to acquire the services of Dr. Christopher Happy as the city’s Medical Examiner,” Anderson said. “It could very well take a long time before the city has a new Medical Examiner, rather than an acting one.”
SA Editorial: Unhappiness at M.E. office
read … Honolulu medical examiner resigns, will return to Los Angeles
More Homeless Mayhem: Drugged-out Lunatic Harasses 11-year old boy
KHON: … The woman who was pursuing the boy had followed him onto TheBus next to Washington Middle School on King Street.
The witness said the woman looked like she was on drugs, and not in her right mind.
“That’s when (the woman) started shouting, ‘I don’t want anybody to get you! Where is your mom and dad? I’m going to take you home,'” the witness said.
The witness said the boy didn’t do anything. He just kept staring straight ahead.
“That was scary to me because he just kind of sat there,” the witness explained.
“I just thought that (the woman) was like the usual people that are here on drugs that are going to talk and then go somewhere else. But then she actually started walking with him. And I was like, OK, that’s not supposed to happen.”
The witness and another man followed the boy and the woman off the bus near King Street and University Avenue.
“And then (the woman) picked up the little boy and he said put him down the first time. But then, I think she was trying to grab him by his ankles,” the witness said.
That’s when the witness and the man intervened and called police. The woman was arrested and released on $500 bail.
read … More Homeless Mayhem
Drugs and Urine Force City to Close Downtown Mini Park
CB: … Faced with complaints of illegal drug use, unpermitted camping, and public urination in a downtown Honolulu park, City Council members are moving to close it.
Members of the council’s parks committee voted on Tuesday to advance Resolution 19-250 to repurpose Kamalii Mini Park, a small grassy area located mauka of a Beretania Street fire station where Pali Hy becomes Bishop St.
“Because this location has become a site frequented by people who are homeless and (experience) drug addition and those kinds of issues, it’s a sore spot,” said Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga, the resolution sponsor. “We would prefer to see this area used for purposes other than parks.”…
HNN: City council exploring options for a tiny, problematic park in Downtown Honolulu
read … Homeless Drug Addicts