Why are there so many Crooked Lawyers in Honolulu?
Could You Please Answer the Phone?
More P-Card Revelations: Kenoi aides bought liquor, helicopter rides, gave Surfer Taxpayer-funded Airline Tickets
HTH: Mayor Billy Kenoi’s executive assistants charged nearly $143,000 on their county-issued credit cards — including airfare for a local surfer, a helicopter ride for visiting dignitaries, and wine that was gifted during a trip to the state Capitol — since the start of his administration.
The expenses exceed Kenoi’s own purchasing card charges, which are the focus of an investigation by the state attorney general after Big Island newspapers reported that he had used the card for personal expenses, including visits to Honolulu hostess bars.
The mayor, who through a spokesman declined to be interviewed for this article, charged $129,580.73 and has reimbursed taxpayers $31,112.59 for non-county business before his pCard was revoked. Many of the reimbursements came within months following the personal charges.
A review of county records the Hawaii Tribune-Herald obtained through a public records request found $142,885.60 in pCard charges among the eight executive assistants who have worked for Kenoi since 2009. Of that, $9,086 was reimbursed....
it was not clear how all of the charges pertain to county business, and some might have been violations of the county’s pCard policy that prohibits charges for alcohol and personal items unless “specifically authorized.”
For instance, Executive Assistant Charmaine Shigemura used her pCard to pay Jimmy “Ulu Boy” Napeahi’s way to a California surfing competition in 2012. The flight to Orange County, Calif., cost the county $1,270, and the expense wasn’t reimbursed.
The Kalapana surfer said he was 15 at the time and had asked Kenoi, who is from the same hometown and also surfs, for a sponsorship to get him to the event. Napeahi, who is now 18, said he didn’t know the county was paying for the trip.
“I went and I talked to him,” he said. “He (Kenoi) said, ‘No problem,’ and he booked the flight.
“I was stoked because I was going to California.”
Napeahi added, “Whatever Billy Kenoi did to [expletive] up, he did on his own.” (LOLROTF!)...
While there are restrictions on purchasing alcohol with county funds, Executive Assistant Clarysse Nunokawa acknowledged that she bought $348.03 worth of wine at Tamura’s Fine Wine store in Honolulu in April 2014....
Taxpayers weren’t reimbursed for that charge.
A former aide, Craig Kawaguchi, spent $309.36 at Hawaii Nui Brewery in Hilo in August 2009....
Former Executive Assistant Ilihia Gionson, who is now the county’s film commissioner, spent $127.02 at Kadota Liquor in Hilo on Sept. 16, 2012. He reimbursed the county for the expense the next month, with a note that read, “Used wrong credit card.” ...
About half of the aides’ total expenses, or $71,217.19, were for travel and lodging expenses for themselves and others. There also were restaurant bills, all together totalling $20,173.14, and about $51,495.27 was spent on a wide range of miscellaneous expenses, including purchases at local supermarkets and hardware stores.
There were also numerous charges at Big Island Candies and floral shops, totaling $2,226.07 and $1,991.37 respectively....
SA: House speaker seems clueless about ethics
read ... Kenoi outspent by his aides
Only UH Ethnic Studies Profs may 'Appropriate' Hawaiian Culture Without Paying Somebody Off
SA: State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson hit a nerve with the assertion that filmmaker Cameron Crowe should have sought permission (paid off more than just Bumpy) to use "Aloha" as the title of his new movie, because the word is imbued with far deeper meaning than its commercialized overuse as a term of goodwill implies (insert excuse here).
The instant reaction among those who scoffed at the idea: Seek permission from whom? (Yeah. How were we supposed to know Ritte wanted cash too?) What about free speech and unfettered artistic expression? (Apparently not free of charge.) Not to mention that the Hawaiian word long ago entered the English lexicon and is used to market everything from auto parts to plumbing supplies -- how could that be sacred? -- even apart from its most obvious use as a buzzword in the tourism industry that is the state's economic engine. (Sacred = Profitable. Just ask OHA.)
A more reflective question is not whom, but why. Why should permission be sought? Why does it matter how (part-)indigenous people, language, culture and values are portrayed in popular American culture? Why should that matter to everyone who lives in Hawaii, or who says that they love Hawaii, and not only to (part-)kanaka maoli?
"I think it is important to ask in all of these cases, 'who is making these decisions and who is benefiting from this use of culture?,' whether it's language, an art form or a practice. And if it's not the people from whom these words or cultural practices originate (me), then in most cases it is a theft, a misappropriation," said Ty Kawika Tengan, an associate professor of anthropology and ethnic studies at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and chairman of the latter department.
When misappropriation occurs (without somebody getting a payoff), "it disempowers the indigenous culture and disguises a history of oppression, which in Hawaii is a loss of sovereignty and land," said Tengan, whose multicultural heritage (luckily) includes (some really profitable) Native Hawaiian ancestry. "The tourism industry and military have consistently hidden through the idea of aloha that everything is OK here, like there's no problems in paradise. Aloha becomes a commodity (and I want my cut). This all goes beyond one movie, of course. (I want my cut for all the movies to come as well.)"
read ... Shakedown
Star-Adv: Telescope Protesters Should Accept Ige's Payoff
SA: ...embedded in the governor’s assessment of the situation, which came after construction was delayed for nearly two months and he sought information from many supporters and opponents of the project, are numerous conditions that, if met, will give far greater weight to concerns expressed by Native Hawaiian activists and environmentalists than in the past.
Nonetheless, some leaders of the opposition, who call themselves Mauna Kea’s protectors and have seen members arrested in a construction blockade that galvanized attention around the world and led to telescope work being postponed, have dismissed Ige’s entreaties as mere words lacking real substance. They vowed to continue their protests and urged Native Hawaiians to boycott Ige’s efforts to engage all sides toward a lasting compromise.
This quick instinct to boycott rather than to participate is mistaken and misguided. The opposition leaders owe it to their fellow protesters and followers to capitalize on this opportunity, not ignore it....
For all the claims of widespread desecration at the sacred summit, there has been little physical evidence offered.
Some of Ige’s conditions regarding future development and management by the TMT group and the UH raise red flags about public access on state land. This alone signals how much momentum the protesters have developed with influential powerbrokers such as Ige. They would be unwise to squander it by failing to engage fully in the process moving forward. (Translation: Hurry up because the General Public is beginning to become aware that you are trying to block them from the mountain.)
... problematic, and requiring far greater explanation from Ige and more community input about potential pitfalls, are the governor’s expectations that “non-cultural access” to the mountain be strictly curtailed — no more recreational trips by Big Island folks to slide in the snow? — and that UH formally and legally bind itself to the commitment that the TMT site is the last area on the mountain where a telescope project “will be contemplated or sought.” ....
read ... Much to like in TMT plan
Senate president’s ouster was really a ‘Kouchi Coup’
Shapiro: >> Ethics Commission chief Les Kondo’s job was in jeopardy after House Speaker Joe Souki griped about Kondo’s tough stand against legislators accepting free meals and gifts from lobbyists. At 82, Souki is too set in his ways to learn to feed himself.
>> The state Senate ended its session by ousting Sen. Donna Mercado Kim as president in favor of Sen. Ron Kouchi. I didn’t understand the shuffle until a reader explained it’s a new dance step called the “Kouchi Coup.”
>> Detractors complained Kim promoted too much openness and took too much interest in bills before committees. There’s little margin for error in our Legislature; do a couple of things right and out you go.
>> Sens. Laura Thielen, Russell Ruderman and Josh Green, who sank Gov. David Ige’s appointment of a development lobbyist to run state lands, lost their committee chairs in the shake-up. It was reminiscent of a tradition on the last day of high school: “Kill Haole Day.”
>> After eleventh-hour intrigue, the Legislature authorized 16 dispensaries for medical marijuana. The state expects a surge in pot prescriptions, mostly for voters sick of the drama.
read ... Senate president’s ouster was really a ‘Kouchi Coup’
In Hawaii, eligible voters count more than people
Borreca: Somewhere in your civics-class history, you heard: "One person, one vote."
It is the fair way to set up a democracy, right?
Everywhere except in Hawaii, where the rule is "one registered voter, one vote."
That's the rule and even the federal courts have said Hawaii is different.
Today the United States Supreme Court is mulling over a reapportionment case from Texas about whether to divvy up the legislative districts by eligible voters rather than the total number of people.
That's where Hawaii comes in....
According to state voting officials, Hawaii does not count about 108,000 service members and dependents, and 15,000 out-of-state students.
Back in 2011, local attorney Robert Thomas sued on behalf of then-state Rep. K. Mark Takai and others claiming the Hawaii interpretation violated the Equal Protection Clause in the U.S. Constitution. The real political questions were that if adding everyone who lived in Hawaii as compared to just registered voters would determine whether the Big Island would get another seat in the state Senate and if someone on Oahu would likely lose a seat in the reapportionment process.
Hawaii is the only state other than Kansas that subtracts military and dependents from its state reapportionment numbers.
"As a consequence of Hawaii not counting them, they end up without any representation in any state legislature," Thomas said in an interview last week.
"We argued that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which protects all persons' rights to be treated equally, means that the state must start by counting all persons, and if it desires to exclude some people, then it has a high burden to justify those exclusions."
Failing to do that, Thomas argued, leaves the reapportionment process up to "political whims." ...
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to take up the Texas case by October, with no clear timeline for a decision....
Background: WSJ: "Hawaii Military Carve Out May Play Role in Voting District Case"
read ... Count more than People
Expensive HGEA Contract Leads to Cutbacks to Mental Health Services
HTH: Cuts planned at Hilo Medical Center could make an already bad situation even worse for Hawaii Island residents facing limited options in mental health services, some experts say.
“We already have a crisis as it is,” said Judi Steinman, program coordinator of the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s master’s program in clinical psychopharmacology. “Right now, we have 20 to 40 percent fewer psychiatrists than we need.”
Wrestling with a $7 million budget shortfall, the East Hawaii Region of the state’s public health-care network, Hawaii Health Systems Corp., announced last week a plan to lay off 87 employees and cut some services at HMC, Ka‘u Hospital and Hale Ho‘ola Hamakua.
As part of that plan, HMC will close one of two wings in its Behavioral Health facility. Administrators say the closure was necessary after the state Legislature failed to provide more funding for the ailing hospital system (to cover the new HGEA contract) ....
Steinman said she can’t fault HHSC for trying to balance its books, but she fears that making any further cuts to mental health care will compound the issues being dealt with by some of the community’s most vulnerable members.
“How do you separate homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and mental health disorders?” she said. “That’s going to be your biggest population of problems. … Those are the people we’re most concerned about, because they have the least resources for themselves.”
Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita, CEO of the Big Island Substance Abuse Council, said that the hospital’s Behavioral Health facility serves as the “front line” for mental health care on the island, admitting patients in the throes of serious psychological events that can’t be dealt with on an outpatient basis, such as someone feeling suicidal, coming down off of drugs or alcohol, or dealing with a psychotic break, hallucinations, delusions and more.
In response to those concerns, Brinkman says that despite the loss of the beds, the hospital considers “acute inpatient pscyh services essential and part of our safety net mission.” When no more beds are available in the Behavioral Health unit, Brinkman says those patients will continue to be cared for in the Emergency Room until alternative options can be found, either through other mental health care providers on island, or at larger facilities on Oahu.
read ... Thank Randy Perriera
After 42 Years on the Street, Homeless Man Gets Housing First
SA: For the fiscal year that ends June 30, IHS already has found permanent housing for 1,410 people — 70 of them through the Housing First initiative, Carvalho said.
Keli‘ikoa grew up in the Papakolea Hawaiian homestead “and had already been drinking from an early age and had failed at school,” said IHS chaplain Terry Yasuko Ogawa. “He didn’t want to face his mom so he didn’t go home. His relationship with his family soured, and he just never had a home again. He probably suffered from psychosis and anxiety that was never treated and he was self-medicating.”
Keli‘ikoa spent most of his last years sleeping in Chinatown’s Dr. Sun Yat-sen Park next to the Hawaii Theatre....
After living 40 of his 56 years on the street, Jonathan Keli‘ikoa finally got a one-bedroom apartment on April 2 through the Institute for Human Services.
Keli‘ikoa loved the first home he’d ever known since high school and meticulously kept it clean. But 40 days later, the same IHS outreach specialist who initially discovered Keli‘ikoa lying injured in his own filth in a Chinatown park found him dead in his kitchen in the Punchbowl area. A broom and dustpan lay nearby....
Keli‘ikoa spoke to almost everyone who passed by and one day two years ago struck up a conversation with a young woman who turned out to be his long-lost daughter who had been looking for him.
“He said he was from Papakolea and I said, ‘My dad’s from Papakolea, too,’” said Makanani Keli‘ikoa, who’s now 33. “He said, ‘Eh, Makanani. You’re my daughter.’ He broke down crying. He was real skinny. I knew he was an alcoholic, but I didn’t know he was homeless.”
Makanani Keli‘ikoa was taken from her parents and raised by her great-grandmother and never knew her father. After they were reunited, she visited her dad every morning and evening on her way to and from work, and often brought him food, beer and cigarettes.
“My dad never asked me for anything,” Makanani Keli‘ikoa said. “I said, ‘For Christmas, what you want?’ He said, ‘I like you stay with me on Christmas Day.’”
So she spent last Christmas Day — and night — with her father among the other homeless who sleep at Dr. Sun Yat-sen Park....
Laura Manzano, IHS’ housing specialist, spoke about the moment Keli‘ikoa got the key to his new apartment.
“He said, ‘I have not had a key in 42 years,’” Manzano recalled. “It meant everything to him. We cried for five minutes. He hugged me for five minutes. ... Then we realized it was the wrong key.”
read ... IHS helped Jonathan Keli‘ikoa get off the streets before his life ended
Soft on Crime: Murderer Allegedly Stabs Prison Guard, Case Dismissed
SA: In early 2010, Daniel Kahanaoi was being held at Oahu Community Correctional Center, awaiting trial for the murder of attorney Craig Kimsel in his Kailua home, when he allegedly stabbed OCCC adult corrections officer Bennie Tucker six times in the head, neck and arm.
On Dec. 2, 2010, prosecutors charged Kahanaoi, then 45, with first-degree attempted murder, which could have gotten him a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Instead, Circuit Judge Glenn Kim dismissed the stabbing case April 8, nearly four and a half years after Kahanaoi was charged, due to a violation of the rule guaranteeing a defendant’s right to a speedy trial....
Kahanaoi’s lawyer, Thomas Otake, asked that the stabbing case, which dates to Feb. 24, 2010, be dismissed because of delays by prosecutors. He said Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha was initially assigned the case, and a trial had been originally set for Feb. 22, 2011. He said from 2011 to 2014, the case was reassigned numerous times.
Kealoha is the wife of Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha. (Translation: The other prosecutors are afraid of stepping on her toes.)
“It was unclear at times which prosecutor was assigned to the case, and whether Ms. Kealoha was eventually going to take the case back as her own,” Otake wrote.
He also wrote that Deputy Prosecutor Jacob Delaplane told the court days before a scheduled Sept. 8, 2014, trial date the case was not assigned to any prosecutor....
Following the OCCC stabbing, Kahanaoi was tried and convicted on July 2, 2010, of second-degree murder in the April 2009 shooting death of Kimsel, a conviction that typically carries a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
The jury rejected the state’s request for an extended sentence of life without parole. The judge sentenced Kahanaoi to life with parole plus 20 years by imposing the maximum penalties for murder with a firearm and burglary with a firearm.
Meanwhile: 2 Laumaka work furlough inmates missing from headcount
read ... Soft on Crime
State OKs $880,000 to settle DOE legal claims
SA: The largest case,worth $382,000,involved a pay dispute with hundreds of teaching assistants....
read ... Another Day in the Nei
UH Athletic Subsidy Average for Mountain West
SA: The University of Hawaii's athletic department receives the lowest percentage of subsidies among the nine Big West Conference members, according to data from a survey of Division I schools.
The study by USA Today and Indiana University showed UH athletics was subsidized at a 43.93 percent rate for 2013-14. Every other school in the conference was subsidized at a 63.62 percent rate or higher. Six received subsidies of 75 percent or more.
Most UH teams compete in the Big West. Football is a member of the Mountain West, where UH ranked sixth among 12 schools in percentage of subsidies.
read ... Subsidized
HB1514: Legislature Subsidizes Farmers Purchase of Pesticide
WHT: Legislation was approved last year to give farmers $500,000 in subsidies for spray. However, House Bill 1514 had to be tweaked this past session to include the manpower needed to put the aid into play. Once it’s in effect after the yearlong delay, it will be the third subsidy available from the state to farmers of the island’s signature crop.
With the passage of a new bill creating a position and a yearly salary and benefits package worth $75,000 for a temporary manager for the program, the subsidies should now gain traction, said Scott Enright, chairman of the state Department of Agriculture. The funds will be available to farmers until 2019 and will cover 75 percent of the cost of the spray until June 2016, and 50 percent after that....
The spray is not cheap. A gallon of the pesticide runs $190, and the organic version is $280, said Bruce Corker, a Holualoa coffee farmer. The annual cost to treat a 4-acre orchard — the typical size for a Kona coffee farm — is around $2,000, Corker said.....
read ... Pesticide
Ian Lind: "I remember being impressed by Nazi Leader"
ILind: ...I was still in high school when the University of Hawaii brought a series of extraordinary speakers to its Manoa campus.
Malcolm X was one of them, and as students at University High School, we were encouraged to cross the street and hear Malcolm and other newsmakers.
I remember being impressed by Malcolm X, and by the American Nazi Party leader, George Lincoln Rockwell.
Malcolm X made more of an impression on me than Martin Luther King.
Checking Wikipedia, it looks like these speakers may have been sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii (ASUH).
Notable speakers include, Martin Luther King, Jr., James Farmer, Robert Simmons of the Louisiana White Citizens Council, Communist Party boss Gus Hall, and American Nazi fuhrer George Lincoln Rockwell.
I don’t think there’s been anything like that set of speakers at UH since....
read ... Ian Lind