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Saturday, October 10, 2015
October 10, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:08 PM :: 3740 Views

Gabbard: Obama arming al-Qaeda, ISIS

FBI moving against HPD chief, wife--Special Prosecutor Appointed

List of Honolulu Neighborhood Board Vacancies

Court Slaps Down Federal Grab for Control of State Waters

VIDEO: Albert Einstein and Neil Armstrong Discuss Honolulu's Rail

Kakaako Sweep Forces 48 More Homeless to Finally Accept Shelter

Hawaii public school enrollment dips

#5 in USA: Hawaii Collects $4361 Taxes Per Capita

Hungry? Hawaii Bigeye Tuna Industry Reels Two Months after Being Shut Down by Quotas

"North Korea will present a very real threat to Hawaii"

Judge grants motion invalidating Mauna Kea emergency rule

KHON: The Circuit Court of the Third Circuit, State of Hawaii, granted Friday a partial motion for summary judgment that has the effect of invalidating the Mauna Kea emergency rule....

David Kauila Kopper, attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, which filed the lawsuit challenging the rules on behalf of E. Kalani Flores, said that “the Court recognized that the State did not follow the rule of law in creating these emergency rules. The State can no longer arrest innocent people who are on Mauna Kea at night for cultural or spiritual reasons.”

The lawsuit argued that “the rule was not drafted properly and did not provide proper notice for the reasons it was adopted,” the firm said.

In response to the ruling, Attorney General Doug Chin and Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case released the following statement:

“The State acknowledges the Court’s decision and will abide by it. We remind people traveling to Mauna Kea that even in light of today’s ruling existing laws and rules remain. It is always illegal to block the road. This includes standing in the road or placing obstructions in the road. These laws will continue to be enforced.”

LINK: AG News Release

SA: Judge refutes Mauna Kea restrictions

read ... Mauna Kea

UH-Hilo to buy new teaching telescope; Hoku Kea replacement won’t go on Mauna Kea

HTH: While it’s not clear where it will be placed, University of Hawaii at Hilo still plans to buy a new teaching telescope after being told to remove its tiny observatory from Mauna Kea.  (Students lose educational opportunity so OHA can collect more land rent.)

Decommissioning the broken Hoku Kea telescope was announced in July after Gov. David Ige, in response to protests that have blocked construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, asked for the removal of at least three of the 13 telescopes on the mountain by the time TMT is built.

After several years of failed attempts by UH-Hilo to repair its 0.9-meter telescope, which was delivered inoperable, the news was almost devastating for astronomy faculty who were just about to buy a replacement and still hoped to salvage the project.

But, after talks between faculty and university leaders, the $450,000 state lawmakers already allocated to purchase a replacement will remain dedicated, assuming it’s built anywhere other than Mauna Kea, faculty members said.

Priorities: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

read ... But OHA Will Get Paid

OHA Lawyer: Rowena Akana is Stupid

HNN: Longtime Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Rowena Akana has been stripped of her leadership position.  OHA said it's because she leaked confidential information and was abusive to staff.  But Akana said she was removed as chair of OHA's budget committee because she was critical of the way business is done at OHA -- often behind closed doors.

"When a trustee like myself questions how these things can occur, you are severely punished," said Akana, who was first elected to the state agency in 1990.  "Either you're left out of decision making, your committee is taken away and (you're) harassed to the nth degree occurs."

While boardroom disputes at OHA are not new, this one has spilled out into the state courts. Two years ago, Akana sued OHA for violating the sunshine law and for withholding public documents about its $21 million purchase of the Gentry Pacific Design Center.  Akana's attorney Bridget Morgan said the lawsuit is intended to shine more light on OHA's proceedings.

"It goes to their refusal to disclose to the public and the beneficiaries minutes from closed meetings, it's the repeated holding of closed meetings without specific reason," said Morgan, a lawyer with the Bickerton Dang firm....

Alston said Akana's criticisms of the Gentry deal is off base.  "History has proven how stupid her opposition was. The building is a tremendous headquarters for OHA," he said.  "They're saving over a million dollars  a year in rent."

Related: Akana: Ultra-Secret OHA Slush Funds, Strange Cartoons, and World Travel

read ... OHA trustee legal dispute heats up

Record-setting trash prompts extension of homeless sweep

SA: There was so much debris and trash left behind in the Kakaako homeless encampment that a special city cleanup crew could not meet Friday’s deadline to clear out the encampment and will have to return Monday....

...after collecting enough wooden structures, metal and other trash and personal items to fill 2-1/2 garbage trucks, the crew needed all of Friday just to finish cleaning up Olomehani Street.  The crew now plans to return Monday morning to tackle the last section on Ohe Street that runs along the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center....

On Friday only a family of five and one individual boarded a city bus to take them to homeless shelters. A family of four got on a special shuttle to go to the Institute for Human Serv-ices, Hawaii’s largest emergency shelter, and a few went to IHS on their own, city spokesman Jay Parasco said.

In all, 48 people who had been living in Kakaako — including eight families, three couples and five singles — moved into shelters in the past week, said Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator.

“By working together we have made a positive difference in the lives of these individuals and families,” Morishige said....

Since Aug. 7, he said, 152 people — including 23 families — were placed into shelters or found permanent housing in spite of the ACLU and Civil Beat's best efforts to keep them homeless....

read ... Record-Setting Trash

HPD wants to fire sergeant caught fighting on video

HNN: Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha wants to fire the veteran police officer whose fight with his girlfriend was caught on video last fall, prompting community outrage, sources told Hawaii News Now.

But, sources said, the officer is not being fired for assaulting or abusing his girlfriend....

The woman later said she and Cachola were just playing around because they like to do mixed martial arts for exercise; she said he was not assaulting her.

The girlfriend later testified on his behalf before a Circuit Court grand jury, which ultimately did not charge him with any crime.

Sources said Kealoha has recommended Cachola be fired, and the officer was served with termination papers this week, setting off what could be a lengthy firing process.

Sources said the department is not firing Cachola for abuse, but instead for failing to meet departmental standards and for unprofessional behavior....

Cachola will remain at HPD -- with his police powers removed and on a desk job – and his lawyer said he will appeal the firing, a process that could take weeks or months.

Attorney Howard Luke told Hawaii News Now, "Sgt. Cachola strongly disagrees that there is any basis for termination."    

read ... Fire

Ethics: Hawaii County Council Protects Double Dipping, Self Dealing

WHT: A weakened bill attempting to tighten county ethics standards is trudging toward its eighth hearing this year before the Hawaii County Council, as council members work to hack off all the offending pieces.

Bill 37, now in its fourth draft since it was sponsored in March by Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille, on Wednesday was postponed until Oct. 21. A similar bill sponsored by Mayor Billy Kenoi in 2009 bounced for months between the County Council and Board of Ethics, without winning approval by either body.

Wille still has high hopes for her bill.

“This is aimed toward raising the ethical standards that are expected of county employees,” Wille said. “I do think it’s important. … What we can do is take little steps to raise awareness and consciousness and give people more trust in their government.”

The “little steps” have been getting increasingly smaller since the bill started off, particularly pertaining to allowing county employees and their immediate families to hold county contracts for their own outside business at the same time they’re employed by the county.

The versions of the bill started with an absolute ban, which then became a ban on contracts over $10,000, then on contracts over $50,000, and finally, returned to allowing the contracts as long as the county employee clears it with the Board of Ethics first.

read ... Weakened ethics bill trudging along

UH Regents to discuss 'Hefty' settlement deal with former basketball coach Gib Arnold

SA: A hefty proposed settlement in the long-simmering battle between the University of Hawaii and former men's basketball coach Gib Arnold is scheduled to go to the school's Board of Regents next week.

The amount was not disclosed but, by its policy, the Board must approve any settlement in excess of $500,000. Arnold has been seeking $1.4 million from UH under terms of his 2011 contract.

The regents meet Thursday at UH-Maui College where the proposal is scheduled to be discussed in closed-door executive session, according to the agenda posted today which listed an item for "Settlement of Claims Involving Gibson K. Arnold."

Word of a proposed settlement comes after reports of a mediation session last month and just before Thursday's scheduled hearing by the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Dallas. UH officials and Arnold are to appear to answer questions regarding NCAA allegations of seven rules violations.

Representatives of UH and Arnold met late last month with mediator Keith Hunter.

UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said, "There is a tentative settlement agreement between the university and former UH men's basketball coach Gib Arnold. We are unable to provide any further details until it goes before the Board of Regents at the Oct. 15 meeting."

The settlement is believed to be worth more than $500,000, since that is the dollar amount threshold that would require approval by the Regents prior to being agreed upon. ...

Arnold filed a grievance with his union, the Hawaii Government Employees Association, in February seeking the $1.4 million under provisions of his contract. After arbitration failed, UH filed a June lawsuit in Circuit Court claiming Arnold owed the school more than $2,000 for a past travel advance.

read ... settlement deal

Hawaii State Bar Association convention to focus on medical marijuana dispensaries

PBN: Two panel discussions on the new medical marijuana industry will be held Oct. 23 at the Hawaii Convention Center. Sessions are open to the public and also count for continuing legal education credit through the association.

Topics include the legal landscape for medical cannabis in Hawaii, and the legal and operational considerations for medical cannabis dispensaries.

Panelists include Hawaii Department of Health's Medical Marijuana Registry Program Coordinator Scottina Malia Ruis, attorney and founding director of the ACLU’s Drug Law Reform Project Graham Boyd, and Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin.

read ... Association

Hawaii to Expand Voluntary Pesticide Reporting--But only by Big Ag Companies

CB: The Kauai Good Neighbor Program could go statewide by the year’s end, but food-safety advocates (anti-GMO obsessives) say mandatory regulations are needed....

KE: Musings: Grand Delusions

read ... Good Neighbor

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