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Friday, February 28, 2020
February 28, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:24 PM :: 1371 Views

Feds: Kauai Councilman Had ‘Gunman’, was Meth Kingpin

Keli‘i Akina Announces Re-Election Campaign for Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA to Take Over Honolulu Council?

Maui County Council Vote For Climate Litigation Is Misguided

11 Hawaii Elementary School Robotics Teams Qualify for Championships

Where's the cushion?

Corona Virus: Dr Josh Green Nowhere in Sight

Cataluna: … It’s all thought out, from the Department of Transportation dealing with rumors every time someone sneezes on a plane to the Department of Health having talking points about why test kits aren’t available yet. The Ige administration is working with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Department of Education … Every possible tool in the state’s arsenal of expertise is being brought to bear to keep Hawaii safe. They’re even talking about hiring Frank De Lima to do PSAs about the virus outbreak. That right there should show you how serious Ige’s administration is taking this.

So where’s Josh Green? …

The lieutenant governor, the guy who steps in as acting governor each and every time Ige travels to Japan, has been conspicuously excluded from Ige’s COVID-19 response team. Green is not only a physician by training, but also a practicing emergency room doctor who sees people in various states of distress. For Green the medical stuff isn’t just academic journals and federal reports; it’s right there in front of him, all runny eyes and hanabata nose, specific and individual and real….

Green has not been included in Ige’s news conferences. He has not been invited to situation updates. It sure looks from the outside like he’s getting the Shan Tsutsui treatment. Green has answered calls from quite a few journalists in town seeking, you know, an actual medical expert to weigh in on the coronavirus situation, but there’s a place where the LG should be standing just behind the governor’s shoulder ready to answer any medically wonky question should the gov toss one his way, and Green is not there….

Green, on the other hand, has stated his intention to run for governor in 2022…

Green came off as such a capable hero when he assembled the team to fly off to Samoa to vaccinate all those folks during the measles outbreak in December….

(Green doesn’t want to be anywhere near the Corona Virus situation in case it goes badly.)

read … Petty politics playing into COVID-19 readiness?

Homeless Camp Raid After Murder: Police arrest three and uncover hundreds of dumped vehicles in sweep of ‘chop shop’ near Whitmore Village

KHON: … More than 230 acres of land is owned by the Agribusiness Development Corporation Project. According to community members, much of it has been a haven for criminal activity for some time.

Thursday’s sweep was a collaboration between numerous law enforcement agencies, the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Agriculture.

Hundreds of cars, watercraft, tires, water tanks, a shower, generators, a washer and dryer, drug paraphernalia, even an old fire truck were found in the area. The list of items, rubbish and mounds of trash goes on and on–all of it hidden behind the tall grass off of Kamehameha Highway near Whitmore Village.

KHON: “What does the state believe was happening on this property?”

“Multiple criminal activities,” explained Nakamoto.

“Anywhere from stolen vehicles and illegal dumping. This looks like a chop shop. I mean I don’t know exactly what was going on because it was too dangerous for our staff to come in here alone.”

In January, the body of 30-year-old Malia Soma-Valmoja was found near the area shot dead inside a car….   

DOA News Release: STATE AND COUNTY AGENCIES COORDINATE TO REMOVE CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES IN WHITMORE, OAHU

KHON: Several people did try to return Thursday night but police stopped them. He added that they were not arrested. 

MS: Should Physicians 'Prescribe' Housing for the Homeless?  (Police just ‘prescribed’ housing—in jail—for three of them.)

read … Police arrest three and uncover hundreds of dumped vehicles in sweep of ‘chop shop’ near Whitmore Village

Homeless Probationer Indicted for Murder of other Homeless Dude

MN: … William Douglas Allen, 39, was arraigned Thursday in 2nd Circuit Court. He pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, kidnapping and first-degree arson.

Allen is charged with kidnapping and murdering Keenan Blair, whose body was discovered at about 12:30 p.m. Feb. 1 in the area of Holomua Road and Baldwin Avenue, police said. Allen also is charged with setting fire to Blair’s vehicle, which police found at another location in Paia.

Police said Allen and Blair knew each other.

According to a police investigation, Blair had been sleeping in his vehicle the morning of Jan. 31 before he was forced into Allen’s vehicle. Allen drove to another location, got out of the vehicle and used a large stick to hit Blair until he stopped moving, police said. Blair was dragged into a field and covered with brush, according to police.

Allen, who is homeless, was arrested at about 6 p.m. Feb. 1 when an off-duty police sergeant saw the suspect in the Paia municipal parking lot and called police dispatch, police said.

He was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail in a probation-violation case before being arrested Wednesday on the indictment in the murder case….

read … Man indicted for murder in beating death

Hawaii lawmakers pass ban on large-capacity rifle magazines

SA: … House Bill 1902 would ban high-capacity rifle magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds…

HB 1902 passed with 16 of 51 House members opposing it. Voting against the measure were Reps. Henry Aquino, Ty Cullen, Lynn DeCoite, Stacelynn Eli, Cedric Gates, Sharon Har, Dale Kobayashi, Sam Kong, Lauren Matsumoto, McDermott, Val Okimoto, Sean Quinlan, Calvin Say, James Tokioka, Gene Ward and Ryan Yamane. Rep. Rida Cabanilla Arakawa was absent.

The House on Thursday also approved House Bill 2709, which would impose new requirements when the owner of a firearm dies. That proposed new law would require that a representative be appointed to the estate of the late gun owner, and the representative would notify police of any firearms that are part of the estate….

That measure passed by a wider margin, with only DeCoite, Eli, Kong, McDermott and Say voting against it, and Cabanilla Arakawa absent.

Also advancing Thursday was House Bill 2736, which would require that gun stores demand customers provide proof that they have a legally registered firearm before they are allowed to purchase ammunition. Under the proposed new law, gun owners would also be able to designate others to purchase ammunition on the owners’ behalf.

Voting against that bill were Aquino, Cullen, DeCoite, Eli, Har, Kong, Matsumoto, McDermott, Okimoto, Say, Tokioka, Ward and Yamane, with Cabanilla Arakawa absent….

Each of the bills now advances to the Senate for further consideration….

Big Q:  Do you agree with tighter laws on ammunition, such as proof of firearm registration before buying ammo?

read … Hawaii lawmakers pass ban on large-capacity rifle magazines

GIA Cesspool: Legislator Seeks Moolah for Illegal Resort in Puna

HTH: … A group of Puna residents has filed an ethics complaint against a state representative for allegedly supporting a grant for a nonprofit that lacks its necessary permits.

An organization called the Puna Coastal Alliance sent a letter to the Hawaii State Ethics Commission Wednesday accusing Rep. Joy San Buenaventura of championing a $100,000 grant to the Kalani Oceanside Retreat, a nonprofit 19-acre retreat in lower Puna, to convert 11 cesspools into 12 septic systems.

However, the complaint alleges that the retreat, also known as Kalani Honua, has long operated without building permits, which San Buenaventura knew about when she supported the grant.

“I think it’s kind of a slap in the face to taxpayers,” said John DuBois, the only complainant named in the letter. “I don’t think the state should be awarding people for things done with impropriety.”

DuBois, who lives in a subdivision neighboring Kalani Honua, said the retreat has been a thorn in the local community’s side for some time. The retreat attracts thousands of visitors per year, according to a 2018 grant application from the business, and has recently held noisy events that go on for days, including Thrive Fest Hawaii 2020, a three-day music festival at Kalani that took place earlier this month….

read … San Buenaventura accused of ethics violation

HB1529:  Freedom for Student Journalists?

CB: … The bill does not protect student expression that is obscene, libelous or slanderous. Invasion of privacy is not warranted, and students won’t be allowed to incite breaking of the law or seriously disrupt orderly school operations.

But it does ensure that prior restraint will not be employed in school-sponsored media.

“School officials shall have the burden of showing justification without undue delay prior to a limitation of student expression under this section,” the bill reads. “If the prescribed time for review elapses without a decision, the material prepared for school-sponsored media shall be considered authorized.”

The only concern about the legislation came from Christina Kishimoto, the state superintendent of education. Understandably, she wanted clarification on the Department of Education’s liability in any civil or criminal action for the publication of material by student journalists “in the exercise of rights under this measure.”

In fact, the bill explains that no state agency, member of the board, officer of the department, or employee of any agency or the board “shall be held responsible in any civil or criminal action for the publication or other expression of material by student journalists in the exercise of rights under this section.”

As well, student media advisors can’t be fired or disciplined.

If the bill passes, Hawaii will join 14 others states that have adopted student press freedom laws like HB 1529, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Student Press Law Center. Another 10 are actively considering adoption of similar measures.

HB1529: Text, Status

read … Lawmakers Take A Stand For The First Amendment

‘Clean’ Energy – Making it up as they Go Along

IM: … I was asked yesterday, “What does clean energy mean?”

Clean energy could have a simple definition but it doesn`t. The definition has nothing to do with financial or environmental impacts, or whether the energy source is not dirty.

The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) Energy Agreement was a government-industry document signed in 2008. At that time, neither the agreement nor state law defined clean energy.

Several years later, clean energy was defined

Hawaii Revised Statutes §196-61 and §269-161 state, "`Clean energy technology` means any technology as defined in section 269-121(b).

Hawaii Revised Statutes §269-121(b) states, "`clean energy technology` means any commercially available technology that enables the State to meet the renewable portfolio standards, established pursuant to section 269-92, or the energy-efficiency portfolio standards, established pursuant to section 269-96, and approved by the public utilities commission by rule or order.”

Hawaii Revised Statutes §269-92 defines the renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which is often but erroneously considered to mean the renewable energy penetration standard. The section of law relies on HRS §269-91 to define renewable energy.

Hawaii Revised Statutes §269-91 goes to the heart of the matter. Clean energy includes renewable energy which is defined by the whims of the current legislature.

The definition of renewable energy has varied widely over the years, but currently includes solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, burning plastic, coal, and petroleum products in municipal incinerators, and converting forests to electricity via various technologies.

One overlooked section of the law is that the Public Utilities Commission must approve by rule or order that any given technology is “clean.”

read … Hawai`i State Energy Office Supports "Clean" Energy

Maui County TVR Count Soars: $50K Fines Collected

MN: … Aided by new software and the promise of heftier fines, the Maui County Planning Department issued more than 180 notices of warning and 80 notices of violation to illegal operators last year in the state’s fastest-growing vacation rental market….

The department’s Zoning and Enforcement Division collected $50,000 in fines from notices of violation issued throughout the 2019 calendar year; others that are still pending or being litigated total more than $300,000 in additional fines, according to the Maui County Transient Vacation Rental Enforcement Summary released this week….

From January 2019 to January 2020, the number of vacation rental unit nights in Maui County rose from 208,659 to 265,374, giving the county not only the largest total of unit nights but also the largest year-over-year increase at 27.2 percent, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Hawaii Vacation Rental Performance Report….

(Translation: Anti-TVR fines were just a feeeel good exercise for the NIMBYs.)

read … Software, higher fines help weed out illegal rental units

$8.7M Parks fees increases proposed

MN: … State Parks officials are proposing increases to parks-related fees, including upping camping and cabin charges for all users and modifying entrance and parking fees for nonresidents, in an effort to bolster revenue.

The changes, which still have to go through public hearings before implementation, would generate an estimated $8.7 million in new revenue statewide for the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks…

read … Parks fees increases proposed

Report finds failures in county’s lava response

HTH: … Among items identified as needing improvement include the operation of emergency shelters. The report said evacuees were affected, and security problems arose from non-evacuees, including the homeless, availing themselves of the emergency shelters.

“I have to agree with the criticism that the shelter was opened up to pretty much anybody,” said state Sen. Russell Ruderman of Pahoa. “And that was a big mistake. It ruined our gym. It ruined our park, and made it harder to get services to people who really needed it.”

The report also criticized the flow of official information, saying although numerous public information officers worked in the Emergency Operations Center, “a Joint Information Center was never established to present a coordinated message to the media and the public.”

Calling the public demand for information “overwhelming,” the report noted “a lot of inaccurate information was presented about the event by both individuals in the media and by ‘trusted persons’” — although those trusted persons were neither defined nor identified.

“One of the most difficult things that is happening today is in regards to communication of information,” Kim said. “This is why on coronavirus … we were the first in the state to activate (public information updates). We meet every morning at 7, every day of the week. If you looked at the mission board, if you saw it, it said, ‘No. 1 mission is to provide timely and credible information to the public.’

“Facebook and those things have become a major problem to all responders, us being no different.”

State Rep. Joy San Buenaventura of Puna called the report “alarming,” but said it “could not have come at a better time, now that we are facing the potential of a pandemic” with the coronavirus COVID-19.

“Really, we’re going to have to put up some kind of telecommunication-type resources rapidly, right? Because people are going to be quarantined,” she said. “… People should not have to rely on social media to get up-to-date responses, especially when reliability is an issue.”

Puna Councilman Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder said he appreciates “the self-critical value that is incorporated in this document,” but added in his district people relied on Facebook Live presenters such as Ikaika Marzo and Philip Ong for updates….

read … Report finds failures in county’s lava response

Hawaii in line to get ICBM interceptors

SA: … The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said Hawaii is on track within about a year to receive interceptor missiles for North Korean threats — a declaration that marks a dramatic change in the state’s defensive posture.

The Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex, on Kauai, “can be temporarily activated in the event of a national emergency for operational use,” the agency said.

Previously, the Defense Department said that operationalization would be studied but not necessarily implemented….

2017: Hanabusa Blocks Missile Defense for Hawaii

read … Hawaii in line to get ICBM interceptors

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