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Saturday, July 18, 2015
July 18, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:30 PM :: 4141 Views

NOAA Vote on Federal Takeover of Hawaii Waters Monday

UH Hilo spending $33,000 to ensure U.S. flag does not fly above state flag

Paniolo Power to Withdraw from Merger Docket

Clean Energy? Kicking Hawaii Consumers When They're Already Down

HART seeks applicants for vacancy on Board of Directors

Lawsuit: Kaiser Barely Pays for Medevac

Ethics Silenced: Hanabusa Represents Councilmembers While Serving on HART Board

HNN: ...Hanabusa, an attorney, is representing current Honolulu Council members Ann Kobayashi and Ikaika Anderson and former Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz, now a state senator, in a city Ethics Commission investigation looking into whether they accepted illegal gifts from lobbyists and failed to disclose them.

"That's not a conflict," Hanabusa said (laughing), adding that city lawyers have ruled it's not an ethical conflict (they were laughing, too) for her to legally represent council members in the ethics probe while she serves as an unpaid member of Honolulu's HART board, which oversees rail transit.  (Know them by what they deny.)

"I will be a member of the HART board.  But I am also a practicing attorney and I am representing my clients before the Ethics Commission, which is not HART," Hanabusa said (demonstrating her ability to turn into a pretzel).

Hanabusa said she sought an ethics opinion from the city Ethics Commission (with Totto silenced) about whether it would be a conflict for her to serve on the HART board while representing council members as a lawyer and the commission said it could not rule about the case because the ethics board itself had a conflict in making that ruling (but HART doesn't, LOLROTF!  Sometimes these clowns outdo even themselves.) 

Hanabusa said Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who appointed her to the HART panel, asked the city Corporation Counsel’s office to opine (They needed someone craven enough to bless this mess) and city lawyers in that office said there would be no conflict, because she was not representing clients before the HART board but before the ethics panel (insert excuse here)....

"I don't have an active campaign (against Schatz) and I am very committed to the clients and the issues that I have before me," said Hanabusa, who opened a law practice in Honolulu this spring and became a director for Hawaii Gas company, a paid position.

... Hanabusa reported her campaign has not raised any money so far this year. In its last report in April, Hanabusa’s campaign listed about $34,000 cash on hand....

read ... Not Active

Chief's Wife Sues:  Caldwell Fires Last City Ethics Investigator

SA: Deputy Honolulu Prosecutor Katherine Kea­loha maintains that she, like her husband, Hono­lulu Police Chief Louis Kea­loha, is the subject of an ethics investigation and is suing the city Ethics Commission for a copy of the complaint filed against her.

Kealoha filed her lawsuit in state court last week. She referred inquiries about the suit to her lawyers, who said it's their policy not to comment on pending litigation.

In the lawsuit, Kea­loha claims that the commission, citing confidentiality, has refused her request for a copy of the complaint.

Ethics Commission Executive Director Charles Totto said the commission does not discuss whether it is conducting an investigation into misconduct of a specific person. He also said state and city laws require confidentiality to ensure a fair proc­ess....

The judge declared a mistrial after Chief Kea­loha gave unsolicited testimony of Puana's criminal history.

Less than two weeks later, the judge permanently dismissed the case at the request of the federal prosecutor.

Puana's lawyer said the prosecutor had the case dismissed after he presented all the evidence, including that of police misconduct, that he was going to pre­sent during the trial. The lawyer said he then presented the evidence to the FBI.

The FBI has yet to reveal any findings of its investigation.

Whether the city Ethics Commission will be able to pre­sent its own findings might hinge on whether it can rehire its investigator.

The commission's lone investigator was working for the city on a series of 90-day contracts. The last contract expired at the end of last month, and Mayor Kirk Caldwell's administration has yet to approve a new one.

read ... Sues Ethics

Martin, Ige Conspire to Grab Control of Homeless Policy from Caldwell

KHON: Martin said he and Gov. David Ige are looking into exercising emergency measures to expand the capacity and services currently provided by nearby Next Step Shelter.

The two have been meeting to discuss solutions as the homeless population grows exponentially in the area.

Martin said the idea is to increase the capacity to take in families, because other shelters have room to take in single individuals.

“Expand the scope of services, even the operational hours, and additionally increase the capacity of the number of families that presently are being served there so that we can accommodate who currently is residing at Kakaako,” Martin said.

Martin also wants to keep pursuing the old Hilo Hattie’s location on Nimitz Highway as another shelter option....

read ... Retaliation Against Caldwell

Homeless teen attacks woman in Kakaako

HNN: There's been another attack in Kakaako by a homeless teenager.  The incident happened Sunday evening not far from where State Representative Tom Brower was beaten up by homeless teenagers just three weeks ago.

Sources tell Hawaii News Now that the 51-year old victim was getting out of her car when she was approached by a teenage girl.   Before she knew it the girl was beating her up and taking her purse.  Honolulu Police were quick to respond and arrested the 16-year old suspect within minutes.  That teen is being charged with second degree robbery.   Honolulu Police say because this is a juvenile case, they cannot release any information about the suspect....

Friday evening Honolulu Police and Sheriffs flooded the area.   They were responding to an altercation between homeless campers.   The officers tell Hawaii News Now more and more people are moving into the homeless camp.   And with more people come more problems....

Meanwhile: Council Attacks Pigeon Fanciers

read ... Another attack

DLNR official's 'Scarface' post called inflammatory

HNN: "Say hello to my little friend."

Tony Montana's famous line from the movie 'Scarface' showed up in a recent Facebook post with a shot of an AR-15 assault rifle.

The post may have gone unnoticed except the owner of the gun is Jason Redulla, the acting chief of the Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement.

He's the state's top law enforcement official on Mauna Kea, where TMT activists are staging a protest.

"Maybe he thinks he's funny but (it's not funny) when he's in charge of ordering people to go and handle civilians," said Kealoha Pisciotta of the Mauna Kea Hui.

read ... Scarface

Hee's Vision: We Remain Committee to Stealing Your Tax Dollars

SA: Those willing to dismiss the story about Albert Hee’s conviction on tax fraud charges as a merely interesting page from the annals of corruption, remember: This is your money, too.

The funds Hee was found to be diverting to his own uses came from a federal fee every phone customer pays on each phone bill, the Universal Service Charge. The feds provided the money to Hee’s company, Sandwich Isles Communications, which is supposed to provide telcom service to Hawaiian homestead communities, out of this source.

“We remain committed to our mission and to carrying on Mr. Hee’s vision,” the company said in a statement.

Really? That sounds a bit worrisome to us.

read ... Annals of Corruption

HCDA Seeks 'Control Over Land Prices'

HNN: The Hawaii Community Development Authority is looking at implementing more stringent regulations for developers as a means of creating more affordable housing. The HCDA is drafting language that it will begin to debate next month....

"Ultimately we have to have control over the land prices," said HCDA Board member John Wayland.  "That means we need to have land that is entitled to the state or city or some non profit organization that will manage the affordable housing."

read ... Control

Hearing will explore how Hawaii consumers are protected against unfair health insurance rate increases

DN: An informational briefing has been called for Thursday, July 23, 2015 by three legislative committees “to brief the above legislative committees on the health insurance rate review process and on the rate increases being requested for individual health plans being offered for health care services covered in 2016.” ...

a hearing on the subject might reveal just how this commissioner plans to proceed, and how well consumers will be protected.

As to seniors covered under HMSA and other Medicare Advantage plans who endured huge and unexpected premium increases this calendar year, I’m told that those rates don’t fall under the Insurance Commissioner’s control. Perhaps this question will come up as part of the briefing.

Hint to legislators: someone may be checking on Thursday to see who shows up.

  • DATE: Thursday, July 23, 2015
  • TIME: 9:00 a.m.
  • PLACE: Conference Room 329, State Capitol, 415 South Beretania Street

read ... Rate Hikes

Army Drawdown Will Impact Civilians

FW: ...Planned reductions in active duty Army personnel will spill over to the agency’s civilian workforce, officials have said, although how that will be spread across occupations and facilities is still largely unknown.

The Army said its planned reduction in the active force from 490,000 to 450,000 by the end of fiscal 2018 will result in the loss of some 17,000 civilian positions out of a workforce that stood just above 250,000 at year-end 2014.

About 30 installations will be impacted, most notably Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. By function, cuts will focus on headquarters operations, reduction of brigade combat teams, operational force design changes, and reduction to enabler and generating forces. That suggests, but does not necessarily compel, where civilian reductions will occur by location and function, as well....

read ... Civilian Cuts Coming

Lawyers Scheme with Rhoads to use Medicated Marijuana Law to Sue Businesses that fire Potheads

HNN: Hawaii's medical marijuana law doesn't automatically protect a patient whose results come up positive during random drug testing by their employer. 

"If they have a zero-tolerance policy for drug use they can still fire you," Rep. Karl Rhoads said.

Rhoads chairs the House Judiciary Committee. He said under state law medical marijuana users have no workplace protection, plus the federal government considers cannabis a Schedule 1 narcotic.

"There's going to continue to be tension between states that have at least partially legalized pakalolo and the federal government. And this is an area where it crops up very prominently," he said.

Labor attorney David Simons believes grounds for firing are clear if the medical marijuana patient works in a zero-drug-tolerance job where safety's involved.  It's trickier if they don't and performance isn't affected.

"I would hesitate to fire that person. I think you're buying a lawsuit," he said.  "If it's a performance problem, document a performance problem and don't speculate about the reason."

(Translation: If somebody you fire has a blue card, you're toast.  Potheads are sacred cows with superior rights to mere mortals.  Soon they'll be driving cement mixers.)

read ... Medical weed collides with workplace drug testing

KIUC Not Fooled by Battery Hype, But HECO is

PBN: the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative has decided against battery technology, and has opted to implement pumped-hydro storage....

Hawaiian Electric is nearing the selection of battery storage developers to help it absorb more renewable energy.

The event also addressed the notion of going off the grid.

“We no longer look at raising rates and passing that on to customers,” said David Bissell, president and CEO of KIUC and a panelist at the event. “We have to control our costs. If the utility can’t put out a competitive product out there, then more people will go off the grid.”

Meanwhile: Solar Plane Stuck in Hawaii for 9 Mos Due to Battery Failure

read ... Not Fooled

Brazil Ethanol Still Coming to Hawaii

HSN: As many as nine vessels are waiting to load ethanol in the Brazilian port Santos, up five from a week ago, data from the Wilson, Sons Maritime Agency showed.

The vessels are waiting to load nearly 128 million liters of fuel and industrial grade ethanol, the data, released late Wednesday, showed.

A week ago, four vessels were lined up to load roughly 43 million liters.

The volume waiting to load is the highest since the beginning of the 2015-16 sugarcane season in April.

The arbitrage that opened during the second half of June has probably favored new bookings to the US. Market sources said there were negotiations taking place during that time for a total of at least 100,000 cu m of Brazilian ethanol to be shipped between early July and late August to destinations including Florida and Hawaii....

read ... Federal Ethanol Mandate Still not Gone

Code Rebel: Another Hawaii High Tech Disaster

EQ: I have been following Code Rebel (CDRB) since it’s odd IPO back in May, and I wrote about the unusual way they were dealing with the media, and in my article The Curious Case of Code Rebel’s Soaring Stock. In the article, I wrote about how I had reached out to the IR team and management, and kept getting contradictory information about revenue projections, and how after speaking with them, they asked that our discussions stay off the record due to a quiet period – a request to which I complied.

After watching the stock fall 100%, from $40 to $20, I wrote a follow-up article, titled Code Rebel Runs Silent Runs Deep. In this article, I once again asked the company to provide the media and their followers with current information that we could sink our teeth into....

Simply put, this has been a disastrous start for Code Rebel as a public company. Someone over there needs to reach out and get their hand on the rudder. As I have said several times in articles, Code Rebel should be participating in market awareness for shareholders – not hiding under the bed....

LINK: Stock Chart

read ... Hawaii Hi Tech Disaster

Soft On Crime: Attempted Murder, out by September

HTH: ...Keanaaina said he and Banagan had a heated exchange before she shot him with a rifle. Then he saw her “grin” and nod her head before she pulled the trigger....

Officers later recovered two .22-caliber rifles from a different vehicle Banagan was driving, along with a pipe that tested “presumptive positive” for meth.

The counts included attempted murder and 19 drug and firearms charges.

Banagan went through a mental health fitness exam and then an additional exam at her attorney’s request. Five doctors or psychologists filed letters with the court.

She ultimately pleaded guilty to assault in the first degree, which was a reduction in the attempted murder count, improper storage of a loaded long arm and promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree. The remaining charges were dismissed with prejudice.

She was sentenced to 18 months in prison on the assault charge and a year for the other two charges.

Judge Elizabeth Strance also sentenced her to five years probation for the assault charge, four years for firearms storage and four years on the drug charge.

She also entered a guilty plea to unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle in another case. She received four years probation for that offense.

According to the Department of Public Safety she will be released on Sept. 21....

read ... Woman who shot acquaintance has sentence amended

Resolve differences to pass bill helping prostitution victims

SA: Not every sex worker is a victim of trafficking; some are merely making a living, as some social-service advocates who also opposed the bill made clear. These advocates seek decriminalization of all sex work, rather than sweeping policy changes that would treat one class of prostitutes better than another. While they rightly point out the dire need for fact-based research on the type and scope of prostitution in Hawaii — research they predict would show that current claims of violent sex trafficking is exaggerated — these critics also acknowledge that such trafficking does occur here, to an unknown degree. The human beings confined to such an existence are not criminals. Senate Bill 265 would have helped them. It was not a perfect bill, but neither is the criminal justice system we have now.

Given the effective prosecutorial opposition to SB 265, it seems even less likely that decriminalization will be treated as a feasible option in the near term. Therefore, we hope that social-service advocates on both sides of this bill can come together before the next legislative session to help draft a comprehensive measure that succeeds in assisting the most vulnerable members of a dangerous trade: sex workers who are trafficked. They may never win over all the prosecutors, but they should be able to collaborate among themselves.

read ... Resolve

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