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Wednesday, January 29, 2020
January 29, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:21 PM :: 2450 Views

Hawaii: More Anti-Gun Bills Introduced Before Deadline

DHHL Buys KSBE Property in Moiliili--Will Build Rental Units

Hawaii receives mixed grades on tobacco prevention and cessation

HB2680: Involuntary Hospitalization for Mentally Ill

Doing the Job the State Won't Do: Feds Sentence MCCC Escapee to 46 Months in a Real Prison

Public Meetings to Discuss Caldwell Rain Tax

Hawaii: 69% Struggle Financially

Another Record Year: 10.4M Tourists Visit Hawaii in 2019

HB2728: Diamond Head Attack Becomes Excuse for Tax Hike

Honolulu Prosecutor Debate: Only Megan Kau Pledges to Keep Criminal Suspects Locked up

CB: … Former judge Steve Alm, former deputy prosecutor RJ Brown, public defender Jacquelyn Esser, former deputy prosecutor Megan Kau and criminal defense attorney Tae Kim took the stage at the University of Hawaii’s Orvis Auditorium hosted by the Hawaii (OJ Simpson) Innocence Project (which is famous mostly for bringing not-a-pimp Isaiah McCoy to Hawaii).

… Most candidates supported diversion and treatment programs in lieu of charging low-level drug crimes. However, Kau came out against decriminalizing possession, saying not charging low-level crimes has led to a surge in bigger, more serious problems.

Candidates were also asked whether they supported the death penalty. Kim said that’s an issue that needs community involvement, while Kau said the prosecutor’s job is to apply the laws that are already in place — a response she often offered throughout the debate. Alm, Brown and Esser came out strongly against it.

On bail reform, all but one candidate — Kau — came out in support of abolishing the cash bail system, saying it criminalizes the poor.

(Translation Only Megan Kau will keep criminals in jail.)

“If we create an alternative, then it’ll be great,” she said. “But realistically, that’s not what we have right now.”….

(Reality: ABOLITION of the cash bail system re-victimizes the families of criminals.  The reason arrested suspects rot in jail on $100 Bail is that NOBODY in their family wants them out so nobody comes to bail them out.  This arrest is the first break their family has had in years and they want to enjoy it.)

UKDM: Abolition of cash bail key to keeping San Francisco homeless on the streets (And the other key was raising the felony limit for shoplifting to $750--but Hawaii legislators have already done that.)

read … Prosecutor Candidates Promise To Restore Trust, Change Culture

Judge: Police, prosecutors hid evidence, violated Ewa Beach woman’s civil rights

HNN: …Ake spent five days in jail prior to posting $50,000 bail, then, she admits, she ran, “I was afraid." Ake was on HOPE probation and this offense violated her status sending her to jail for months.

Seven months after she was charged, but ahead of her trial, Circuit Court Judge Todd Eddins dismissed the case with prejudice after finally being able to view the surveillance video, hear the 911 call Ake made, and see the photos of her damaged car.

All that evidence was left out of the case file exhibits.

… Eddins went even further when discussing the Honolulu Police detective’s role, “Detective (Michael) Burger did not accurately and fairly describe the event.” Eddins repeatedly writes in the order, that Detective Burger’s statements and actions were misleading and says Burger viewed the video and recovered it within days of the incident but would not include it in the case file.

The judge equally blamed Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Park, saying the surveillance was “persuasive” and that video recording is the ‘best evidence.’ Typically better than witness accounts due to memory problems and perception. “There was unquestioned evidentiary value to the event’s taping. Yet, the prosecuting attorney chose not to submit the best evidence.”

He went on to write, “the prosecution deliberately decide(d) not to permit court review of the videotape of the crime, there are due process implications.”

Eddins also the video “clearly exculpatory” and he said this was a situation of fundamental fairness….

PDF: Ake Dismissal Order

read … Judge: Police, prosecutors hid evidence, violated Ewa Beach woman’s civil rights

HGEA Member Charged with Stealing $628K from Charter School Overrun by Lava

KHON: …According to court documents, from 2012 to 2019, Kelaukila Estabilio stole more than $628,000 from the school. 

(Don't worry, she will still get her pension if convicted.)

She was the school’s financial officer, and maintained the school’s bank accounts.

The documents go on to say she used the money on her family’s personal expenses, as well as to pay off her credit card bills.

In July 2018, the school was overrun by lava during the Kilauea eruption….

HTH: Charter school focuses on future after inundation, alleged embezzlement

read … Big Island woman charged with wire fraud for stealing money from a school

Hawaii to Shunt a Lot More Money to Elon Musk

SciAm:  … Can a device given the somewhat baffling name of “PV peaker plant” begin to solve some of the nation’s most pressing climate-related energy problems?…

(PV Peaker Plant = Tesla Batteries)

That is a question that utilities, some states and most recently the Department of Energy have begun to wrestle with….

One of these peaker plants is up and running on Kauai, Hawaii’s fourth-largest island, and another will likely be completed by the end of this year. Now Hawaiian Electric, the company that operates the state’s three largest utilities, has decided to add to the state’s experiments. It’s weighing 75 proposals, many of which use storage for solar, wind-generated power and other relatively new technologies.

Renewable energy storage is a fast-growing business. A recent report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) said new facilities jumped by 93% in the third quarter of 2019. Several of the newest proposals would replace Hawaii’s two largest existing power plants by 2024. They currently burn oil and coal….

(Rate Hike Clue: Hawaii’s cheapest energy producer is the AES Coal Plant.)

“A lot has to fall in place to make this all work,” Jim Alberts, a senior vice president for strategic planning for Hawaiian Electric, said….

(But whether it falls in place or not, ratepayers will pay.)

HPR: Governor Calls For More Renewable Energy Development, Including Hydropower, Offshore Wind

read … Scientific American

Can changing a federal maritime law help lower Hawaii's cost of living? U.S. Rep. Ed Case thinks so

KITV: …The Jones Act requires domestic trade be done with U.S.-built ships and American owners and crews, but critics say the law needs reform to ease the impact on Hawaii consumers….

Background: Ed Case Introduces Three Jones Act Reform Bills

read … Can changing a federal maritime law help lower Hawaii's cost of living? U.S. Rep. Ed Case thinks so

Bill 2: Can Fixing Parking Rules Make Honolulu More Affordable?

CB: … The Honolulu City Council will consider a bill lifting Oahu’s minimum parking requirements — and let developers decide how much parking their buildings need ….

On Wednesday, the Honolulu City Council will take up a measure to eliminate the city’s mandatory minimum parking requirements on future development in urban areas. If approved, it would be the first major overhaul of parking rules in 30 years….

Bill 2: Text, Status

read … Can Fixing Parking Rules Make Honolulu More Affordable?

SB2049: $50K to Buy a House With 

SA: … The state Senate Committee on Housing on Tuesday unanimously passed out a bill that would provide up to $50,000 for a down payment on a first-time home for Hawaii residents and expatriates to entice them back to the islands.

The bill — Senate Bill 2409 — is aimed at addressing the loss of 13,537 people who left Hawaii between 2016 and 2017, often citing the cost of living in the islands. The $50,000 would be provided as a dollar-for-dollar match.

The bill originally was written to apply to anyone who graduated from a Hawaii high school, left the state to pursue a four-year undergraduate degree and now plans to live in their first home — in Hawaii — for a minimum of two years. Those who sell their homes before two years would have to repay the state’s down payment at an annual interest rate of 8%….

The “Returning resident down payment special fund” — as it was originally drafted — would rely on taxes on real estate investment trusts, which are known as REITs.

The bill was amended Tuesday to include Hawaii residents who do not own property and want to buy their first homes after the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism wrote to the Housing Committee that it may be discriminatory to base a government grant program on residency.

Also, the source for funding the housing down payments fell into doubt Tuesday after state Sen. Stanley Chang, chairman of the Housing Committee, amended the bill to remove references to REITs…. 

Big Q:  Should the state provide up to $50,000 (in downpayment match) to Hawaii residents who are first-time homebuyers?

read … Bill gives first-time homebuyers financial assistance

Kauai, Maui, Hawaii Councils Sucked in by DHHL Mortgage Hysteria

CB: … The Kauai County Council on Wednesday will consider a resolution sharply critical of the ways the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands handles its mortgage loan programs, which critics contend leave Native Hawaiians far more exposed to foreclosure and eviction than other Hawaii homeowners.

The resolution comes after the Maui County Council on Jan. 10 unanimously approved a resolution worded almost identically to the Kauai measure. Supporters say a similar resolution will be introduced soon before the Hawaii County Council. Sponsors expect the Kauai measure to pass.

The resolution contends that DHHL and the Hawaiian Homes Commission “do not provide adequate protection for Native Hawaiian families to access common loan loss motivation measures that have been historically available for all other citizens of Hawaii, including opportunities to apply for a permanent loan modification, a loan assumption or reasonable opportunities to sell a home prior to foreclosure.”

The resolution was introduced by Councilman KipuKai Kuali’i, who chairs the Housing Committee, and Councilwoman Felicia Cowden. Kuali’i is a DHHL beneficiary and lives on Hawaiian Homes Commission land in Anahola. 

(Translation: It’s more Danner stuff.  County councils are so easy to manipulate.)

Related:

read … Kauai: Council Weighs Resolution To Fix DHHL Mortgage Programs

Next Boondoggle: View 3 possible design options for the new Aloha Stadium

SA:  …. Officials said the layout and designs are conceptual only and serve to highlight some of the possible options as the project seeks public input.

(Better Idea: Do Nothing.  Keep current stadium.)

They said no final decision on plans and designs will be reached until after feedback has been studied and an eventual partner is selected later this year. Comments and suggestions may be made to NASED through its website: nased.hawaii.gov.

The state has allocated $350 million for the project and seeks to attract a developers in a so-called P-3 public, private partnership.

Requests for qualifications are expected to be sent out in coming weeks to assess interest and help identify competent prospective partners….

read … View 3 possible design options for the new Aloha Stadium

The Honolulu Morgue is Still a Mess

CB: … Refrigerators holding the corpses “frequently” warm up to levels that quicken decomposition, Acting Medical Examiner Masahiko Kobayashi said.

After years of the city’s “band aid approach” to its leaky roof, an employee slipped on a puddle in October, injuring her head and wrist. She is still out on medical leave.

The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division said it’s investigating the office after another employee complained about mold….

Despite the building’s issues, Amemiya said the city isn’t considering moving the morgue to a new location. The approvals needed to establish a new medical examiner’s office are a non-starter, he said.

“Structurally, this building is still good,” he said. “It needs some tender loving care. With the roofing project, the refrigeration project and the $4 million renovation, we’ll get it up to the standard that is deserving of the department.”…

read … The Honolulu Morgue Is Still A Mess

HB2567: Hawaii Should ‘Study’ Magic Mushrooms Instead of Letting Genuine Medical Researchers do it

CB: … A temporary Medicinal Psilocybin Working Group would be established to make recommendations to the Hawaii Legislature develop a sales pitch for legalization….

HB2567: Text, Status

read … Bill: Let’s Study The Benefits Of Magic Mushrooms

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