9th Circuit Refuses Injunction to Block Na’i Aupuni
Ige Shutting Down Health Connector in Midst of Reenrollment Drive
Gabbard Introduces Bill Designed to Stop Obama’s Assistance to ISIS
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HPU Report: Lack of US Flag Merchant Ships puts US at Risk of ‘Sea Strangulation’
Kauai County Now Hiring Dopers—Maui is ACLU’s Next Target
Full Text: ACLU Wins Order Defending Homeless’ Trash
Alleged Witness Tampering by Chief Kealoha Fails in Court – Ethics Comm Hearing Canceled
HNN: Hawaii News Now has learned, a federal grand jury is now hearing evidence in the criminal case against Honolulu's Police Chief and his Prosecutor Wife.
But sources tell me, Louie and Katherine Kealoha are putting up a fight on several fronts. And it's not working. They're trying to find out about witnesses and the evidence against them in city and federal cases. A strategy experts say could backfire.
Thursday, a Circuit Court Judge threw out key parts of a lawsuit filed by the Kealohas -- under the names DOE and ROE. Their attorney, Kevin Sumida, was trying to force the commission into giving up evidence and witness information in the abuse of power cases. Something the judge refused to do.
Sumida side stepped our camera after the hearing.
Just one day earlier, Sumida was dodging us again, outside the city ethics meeting. There, he tried to force dozens of people -- including police officers -- into hearings to testify "under oath". Again, sources say, this was an effort to find out details of the case. But that failed too after we exposed the tactic,
the hearings were canceled.
The FBI and city ethics commission are looking into possible abuse of power by the Kealohas when they accused their uncle of stealing their mailbox two years ago….
"If you're trying to find out if they're grand jury witnesses, it risks a serious concern that there's some attempt to influence the grand jury proceedings which is highly improper and probably a serious federal crime."…
read … Legal challenges by Honolulu's Police Chief, fail on multiple fronts
Gabbard Votes to Choke off Flow—Hirono Wants More Muslim ‘Refugees’ to Come to Hawaii
CB: Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and 46 other Democrats joined 242 Republicans in the U.S. House on Thursday in passing a bill to restrict the admission of Iraqi and Syrian refugees to America by requiring extra security procedures.
The American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015 would require the secretary of Homeland Security, the head of the FBI and the director of national intelligence to sign off on every individual refugee from Iraq and Syria, affirming he or she is not a threat. It passed on a vote of 289-137.
read … Not Fooled by Political Correctness
HART Begins Deploying Next Set of Cost Overruns
SA: …It’s unclear exactly how many steps back are involved in the latest wrinkle: the complication of power lines along a stretch of busy Dillingham Boulevard.
That’s another warning sign that HART needs to better anticipate the cost-containment challenges ahead as the project chugs toward town, through some potential landmines.
One of them came to light this week in a story by Honolulu Star-Advertiser writer Kevin Dayton about the latest report from consultant Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. Jacobs was hired by the federal government as an external monitor, producing monthly Project Management Oversight Contractor (PMOC) reports.
The September 2015 report identified a number of concerns, but the highlight — what it ominously defined as “HART’s most significant risk to the project” — is the cost of moving the rail through a 2-mile corridor along Dillingham, where some power lines likely will have to be buried.
There’s been some preparation for this, but it does seem to be coming late in the planning process, and with much of the detail still in question.
HART in December estimated that an additional $50 million was needed for work to relocate utility lines on the 4-mile-long City Center portion of the project, and to resolve problems of siting the rail guideway near Hawaiian Electric Co’s high-voltage lines.
The issue of placing utility lines underground in some sections has come up, and only in October, HART announced it would allot another $70 million to replace and relocate power lines and other utilities on the alignment, with the lion’s share going to the undergrounding project.
read … Rail not out of the tunnel yet
UH Athletics Department deficit soars
HNN: The University of Hawaii Athletics Department's deficit will hit a record $4.2 million and is expected grow to $4.8 million the following year, UH Athletics Director David Matlin said.
Speaking before the UH Board of Regent's meeting at the Windward Community College today, Matlin said the "changing collegiate landscape" will mean that the deficit could grow even more over the next five years.
"We learned that Hawaii's financial model was inconsistent with the rest of collegiate athletics….”
KHON: UH athletics director unveils $14.2 million road map to balance budget
read … And Will Go Higher
Anti-GMO Lawyers Rake in Megabucks
KE: …Anti-GMO groups like Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety can win even when they lose if they sue federal agencies, because they can recover legal fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act.
In one case, Earthjustice successfully argued that it obtained "excellent results" — despite failing to secure the permanent injunctive relief it sought — and was therefore entitled to a "fully compensable fee." According to court documents, Earthjustice has submitted bills that included time spent on spent on clerical tasks, public relations, press releases, soliciting clients and other matters unrelated to litigation.
In some cases, legal fees in excess of $2 million have been awarded.
If they file in expensive places like the San Francisco Bay Area, they get to charge fees that are the going rate for that market. Earthjustice's Achitoff, for example, gets to charge $400 an hour more in the Bay Area than he does in Hawaii.
In one case, Earthjustice and CFS sought these “enhanced” hourly rates for counsel: Paul Achitoff, $650; Andrew Kimbrell, $650; Will Rostov, $575; Isaac Moriwake, $525; Greg Loarie, $450; George Kimbrell, $410; Kevin Golden, $410; Paige Tomaselli, $385; Kateryna Rakowsky, $350; and law clerks, $150.
And we'll never know just how much these supposed nonprofits bring in from public donations to these legal campaigns, because they don't have to disclose.
Though it's generally accepted that corporations should be required to disclose everything, it's apparently OK to keep consumers and taxpayers in the dark about how much self-serving opposition is actually costing them in terms of higher food prices and government expenses….
read … Musings: Reframing the Debate
Honolulu #1 in Homelessness Again
HNN: A U.S. Housing and Urban Development report released Thursday said there were more than 4,900 homeless in Honolulu. The number represents those counted on one night in January.
Coming in second for small cities was the Santa Ana and Anaheim area of Orange County, California. The study defines a small city as one not among the 50 largest U.S. cities and not in a rural area.
New York City had the largest homeless population of any U.S. city.
read … Honolulu #1 Again
Court orders city to stop destroying property in homeless sweeps
HNN: Under the order, the city can only destroy items that are clearly trash or are hazardous.
The order requires the city to:
- Tag and store all property that does not pose a public health or safety risk;
- Post notices of sweeps and recovery directions for owners who aren't present;
- Ease the waiver process for storage fees;
- Document with video when city crews determine an item must be destroyed.
According to the ACLU, (which is working day and night to keep the homeless on the streets) the city has about 1,000 square feet of storage space for items picked up in homeless sweeps. The city did not immediately comment on the figure, or say whether more storage space would be needed….
read … Keep the Homeless Homeless
Dengue 79 Cases and Counting—Marathon Battle Ahead