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Wednesday, February 17, 2016
February 17, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:36 PM :: 3776 Views

Duke Aiona Open Letter to Donald Trump

2016 Hawaii Legislative Watch: Taxes

Property Rights Court for Guam?

Na’i Aupuni Surprise

Maj. Borges decides not to accept HPD promotion

KITV: "I spoke to Major Borges this morning, and he has decided not to accept the upcoming promotion.  He said that he does not want the recent controversy to continue to be a disruption and detract from the positive work that the department does.  Although I still believe that Major Borges would make an excellent assistant chief, I respect and understand his choice.  My staff and I will be working with the city Department of Human Resources Division to discuss the process of selecting the next assistant chief." – Chief Kealoha, himself being investigated by FBI

read … Backs Down

Hawaii Only State Taxing Girl Scout Cookies

SR: …The Idaho House has narrowly passed legislation to remove the sales tax from Girl Scout cookies and Boy Scout food sales, passing HB 449 on a 35-31 vote. “Today, only two states tax Girl Scout cookies, Idaho and Hawaii,” Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, the bill’s sponsor, told the House. “Forty-eight other states see the benefit of these organizations.”….

(Now Hawaii is the only one….)

read … If it moves, Tax it

SB2478: 12.5% Increase in GE Tax

CB: Senate Bill 2478 passed Senate Human Services on a 5-2 vote.

Three senators voted “aye” and two “aye with reservations.”

Sens. Sam Slom, a Republican, and Gil Riviere, a Democrat, voted against the measure.

SB 2478 previously passed Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health.

The legislation would allow qualified taxpayers to draw on an in-home care defined benefit of (a piddling) $70 per day for up to 365 days (ie short-term care).

opponents call a 0.5 percent tax increase regressive and say it will hurt businesses and consumers.

SB 2478, sponsored by state Sen. Roz Baker, now awaits a critical hearing in Senate Ways and Means before it can move to the House of Representatives for consideration….

read … Massive tax Hike for Manini Insurance Plan

Seriously Considering Gas Tax Increase

TJB: Gov. David Ige has proposed increasing Hawaii’s gasoline excise tax rate by 3 cents per gallon in order to generate additional funding for roads and other forms of transportation.  Vehicle registration fees and taxes based on vehicle weight would also rise if Ige’s bill becomes law….

read … Seriously Considering Gas Tax Increases

DoE—Lots of Vacant SPED Positions

CB: As of Feb. 1, one out of every three school psychologist positions within the Department of Education was vacant. Only 56 percent of high-level occupational therapist positions are filled. And the DOE is also trying to recruit 484 educational assistants — employees of varying skills and education levels who work with special education students.

read … SPED Disaster

UH Manoa—25 Salaries over $275K

CB: Deans, Researchers, Professors And The Football Coach….

read … Top 25

UH West Oahu sees big tuition hikes

HNN: …while it may be one of the smaller schools in the UH system, its students have some of the biggest tuition hikes. From 2011 to 2014, tuition increased 23 percent -- that's three times tuition increases seen nationally over the same period. The additional cost to students: nearly $1,200.

"It definitely puts a strain on students. Any increases do," said Ryan Sommer, UH-West Oahu student body president.

Still, tuition at UH-West Oahu remains relatively affordable, at about $3,456 a semester for full-time resident students. Students can expect another increase this fall. Tuition will go up by $144 for full-time students.

According to university officials, construction is in part to blame for the higher tuition costs. The new Kapolei campus was completed in 2012.

Another factor is enrollment. The number of students on campus grew 42 percent during that time, and the need for more professors was essential….

read … Tuition Hike

The Elusive Goal of On-Time Graduation—The Atlantic Looks at UH

TA: A surprisingly tiny minority of U.S. college students actually get their four-year degrees in four years—but a pioneering program at the University of Hawaii wants to change that….

read .. The Atlantic

Report: LNG Provides Electric Ratepayers ‘Lowest Overall Cost’

PBN: …The report also noted that using liquefied natural gas could be a good option as a transitional fuel from oil.

“Preliminary analysis indicates the approach with the lowest overall cost and most significant reduction in emissions includes replacing three older oil-fired steam generator units at the Kahe Generating Station with new, fuel-saving combined-cycle system running on LNG for the transition period to 100 percent renewable energy,” the report said, noting that NextEra Energy Inc., which is proposing to buy Hawaiian Electric for $4.3 billion, worked on this LNG plan with the Honolulu utility.

“This option was identified in collaboration with NextEra Energy, as it would require the financial backing and development capacity of a merged utility,” the report said….

read … Lowest Overall Cost

Hearing Set in Anti-Aquarium Lawsuit vs DLNR

CB: …The original lawsuit was filed in late 2012 by three individuals, along with the Conservation Council of Hawaii, the Humane Society of the United States and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The plaintiffs, represented by the nonprofit environmental law organization EarthJustice, sought to force DLNR “to comply with the environmental review procedures mandated by the Hawai’i Environmental Policy Act” before issuing or renewing permits for catching aquarium fish….

Just how broadly the court interprets these provisions of the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act will affect cases far beyond the aquarium fish issue. But with both sides dug in, it is highly likely that the losing side will take their appeal to the State Supreme Court.

Arguments in the case are scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 9 by Judges Alexa D.M. Fujise, Katherine G. Leonard and Lawrence M. Reifurth. Chief Judge Craig H. Nakamura recused himself from the case earlier this year.

read … Obsessive-Compulsive

HB2564 Deferred: Farmers Saved from Anti-Pesticide Hypocrites

CB: …Hawaii House lawmakers have deferred indefinitely a bill that would have created vegetative buffer zones around five schools as part of a pilot project to protect against inadvertent exposure to pesticides sprayed at nearby farm fields (but not golf courses, resorts, or any of the other big non-ag pesticide users.).

The Hawaii Center for Food Safety expressed its “deep disappointment” in the decision by the Agriculture Committee, chaired by Rep. Clift Tsuji, in particular to not pass House Bill 2564….

read … Hypocrites

Deadly Cult Boat Investigation “Could Take Years”

KHON: On Tuesday, Hansen stood beside his attorney, making his first court appearance since the incident.

Prosecutors asked a judge to drop the citation against Hansen while they continue their investigation. The request was granted.

Hansen’s attorney, Howard Luke, knows it could take a long time.

“I know with a motor vehicle on a road, they normally take anywhere between a year or two, or even more years,” Luke said.

Hansen did not comment during or after the hearing….

Luke says his client has complied with the initial investigation conducted by DLNR.

“The boat was made available to them. Anything they wanted, it was theirs,” Luke said. “It’s a terrible tragedy, and we’re doing everything can without compromising my client’s position.”

The prosecutor’s office says it has received the DLNR report on the incident and is reviewing it for possible charges.

The victim had support at the courthouse as well. Bryan Amona says he wants to make sure justice is done in this case.

“Most importantly to see how the wheels of justice are turning and we’re finally getting something done here. It’s a start, but it is far from over,” Amona said.

read … Cult Boat

State Pulls Request For Prison Environmental Studies Exemption

CB: Lawmakers advance bills to fast track relocation of the Oahu Community Correctional Center but decide environmental studies are a must….

On Tuesday, the Legislature held a pair of hearings to consider House Bill 2388 and Senate Bill 2917, two companion bills calling for the relocation of the Oahu Community Correctional Center, currently in Kalihi….

read … Exemption

Marijuana Dispensary Applicants Had Trouble with DoH Website

CB: …Keith Ridley, who leads the state Office of Health Care Assurance, which oversees the medical marijuana dispensary program, said in a Feb. 4 email in response to an inquiry from state Sen. Will Espero that the office was in the process of researching a few complaints about the Department of Health’s medical marijuana dispensary application website.

But Ridley said at no point during the application process was the entire system down.

“Applications were being received during the times when complainants said they were unable to submit their applications,” Ridley wrote. “As a result, the application period will not be reopened nor will late or hardcopy applications be accepted.”

DOH spokeswoman Janice Okubo said Tuesday that the agency doesn’t have a “definitive number” of complaints received regarding the medical marijuana application website.

She said that the staff has been researching “a couple of inquiries” and is consulting with the attorney general about the possibility of an administrative hearing.

“We have not determined that there were any issues with the website,” she said. “At this point, we don’t believe there were any.” …

CB: Will We Ban Homegrown Pot Culture We Helped Create?

read … Dopey

USO Gangster, Brother Start Prison Riot—Second Incident this Year

HNN: A riot broke out at Oahu Community Correctional Center – the state’s largest jail -- last week and one of the alleged instigators has caused trouble there before….

Officials described the incident as the worst disturbance at OCCC in 30 years….

The inmate suspected of leading the riot was being housed in the cell next to his brother, a move some guards said was not wise given his history of creating trouble….

Sources said the inmate accused of starting the riot is the same man who barricaded himself and another inmate in their cell on January 3, an incident that was never documented by the captain and lieutenant on duty that day, so that's now the focus of an internal investigation.

The inmate’s father – who was visiting his other son at OCCC at the time – was allowed behind bars to convince his son to give himself up in the January incident, a move seen as a security breach by some guards.

Flashback: 2 OCCC supervisors in trouble for allowing inmate's gangster father behind bars – “The inmate and the father who negotiated his surrender are both suspected of being members of the USO prison gang.”

KHON: State decreases overtime expenses to cover corrections officers’ sick calls

read … Gang Riot

Gun goes off in prosecutor’s office, no report filed with authorities

KHON: A gun went off inside the Honolulu prosecutor’s office, and now an investigation is underway to find out how that happened.

Sources tell us an investigator with the prosecutor’s office was cleaning his weapon during office hours when it accidentally went off.

The incident was never reported to Honolulu police or the state sheriff’s office.

KHON2 spoke with former Honolulu prosecutor Peter Carlisle, who says that’s a big mistake.

Sources tell us that the gun was a Glock semi-automatic, and the bullet went through the wall and into the next office, then through another wall into a second office, and then struck a filing cabinet about chest-high.

No one was inside the other two offices and no one was hurt….

read … Gun Goes Off, No Report

Bills On Police Body Cams, Shooting Review Board Move Forward

CB: Senate Bill 2196 would require the board, which would be placed in the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office, to investigate shootings involving a law enforcement officer….

Senate Bill 2411 establishes requirements for body-worn cameras and vehicle cameras for county police departments. The bill passed Public Safety on Wednesday but was amended so that each county police department could adopt written policies for the cameras following guidelines detailed in House Bill 1738….

A third law-enforcement measure, Senate Bill 2304, would require the attorney general to create and maintain a public database of all law enforcement officers “who have been terminated from their law enforcement positions, or forced to resign due to criminal activity, improper behavior, or misconduct.”…

read … Forward

After 20 Convictions, Judge Finally Gives Lifelong Criminal Hard Time

MN: With a judge saying he had been wrong to place a man on probation for a violent burglary four years ago, the defendant was resentenced Tuesday to a consecutive 10-year prison term for violating his probation when he repeatedly rammed his ex-girlfriend's pickup truck as she drove to work on Molokai last year….

In seeking the consecutive sentencing to total 20 years, Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Martin said such sentences aren't the norm.

"They are reserved for the worst of the worst," Martin said, outlining Lau's criminal history of more than 20 convictions dating to 1995. Lau's record includes convictions for second- and third-degree assault, first-degree burglary, harassment and multiple counts of violating a court order for protection in both Maui County and on Oahu….

Lau, who is also known as Ula and Pakiuke Lau, was originally charged with first-degree attempted murder for using his mother's Kia Sportage to repeatedly ram his ex-girlfriend Mahie McPherson's pickup truck as she sped up to try to get away from him on Kamehameha V Highway in Kaunakakai the morning of Jan. 7, 2015.

When the truck and Kia collided a final time, the truck spun out into kiawe trees along the south side of the highway. The Kia went through a chain-link fence and hit a tree at Kaunakakai Elementary School on the opposite side of the road.

Lau was flown to an Oahu hospital to have surgery for a broken left thigh bone, while McPherson was treated for a concussion and whiplash.

After testimony at a trial in September, a 2nd Circuit Court jury found Lau guilty of the lesser charge of attempted first-degree assault….

In another case, Lau is awaiting sentencing after pleading no contest to five counts of violating an order for protection that McPherson had obtained against him.

Lau also has pending charges of abuse and violating an order for protection in two other cases.

read … Soft on Crime

80 days in jail after 9th violation

KGI: 10 strikes and you’re out.

That’s what a Fifth Circuit Court judge told a man Tuesday when he came in for his ninth HOPE violation after testing positive for methamphetamine use….

After hearing from the state and the public defender’s office, the court found him guilty of non-compliance and ruled to modify Lanning’s probation for the ninth time. He was sentenced to 80 days in jail.

“Keep in mind, Mr. Lanning, you run out of time after this,” Watanabe said. “You commit another violation, you come before the court, at best you look at the court revoking you and starting probation all over again or you’re looking at the open term, which is five years in prison.”

This isn’t the first time Lanning has had a HOPE violation. He’s had eight others….

read … 10 Strikes and You’re Out!

Lunatic Acquitted killer seeks state hospital release

KGI: …He was charged with two counts of attempted murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree for a 2005 attack on Kauai when he allegedly stabbed his stepson and his landlord, who later died after he was found stabbed 25 times.

After a bench trial in 2006, Ard was found guilty of first-degree attempted murder, but not guilty of murder in the second degree and not guilty of the other first degree attempted murder charge. The court then acquitted Ard by reason of insanity.

On Tuesday, Luria asked the court to allow Ard unescorted off-ground privileges so that he could visit the Hina Mauka facility on Oahu to attend narcotics and alcoholics anonymous meetings. The hospital staff was not able to escort him, as there was no current escort available, she said.

“He has to sign in and sign out,” Luria told the court….

Dr. Gerald McKenna, who examined Ard before his trial to determine if he was fit to proceed and again when Ard sought conditional release from the Hawaii State Hospital, said in a report that Ard had a “time bomb in him that is going to go off at some point in the future.” ….

read … Time Bomb

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