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Monday, June 13, 2016
June 13, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:52 PM :: 3418 Views

After Destroying Honolulu Ethics Commission, Caldwell Ducks out Back Door

CB: …in all Totto’s years as an ethics enforcer, he rarely had to worry about job security. That was, until Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell took office….

It began with disagreements over the Ethics Commission budget and complaints that top administration officials were stonewalling investigations. Since then Totto has been subjected to a gag order, a 30-day suspension and a requirement to document his day in six-minute intervals….

Now the office is in shambles. The commission’s associate legal counsel and its sole investigator resigned recently, leaving Totto as the only person who can investigate ethics complaints. He’s considering filing a lawsuit against the very Ethics Commission he works for. He’s also cleared out his office of personal belongings, including family photos that once hung on the walls.

It seems as if he’s preparing for an exit — something that could occur as soon as Wednesday’s Ethics Commission meeting….

Caldwell has refused to speak to Civil Beat about the Ethics Commission, and most recently avoided questions on the topic after a June 3 press conference in his office by slipping through a back door.

Subsequent requests to interview the mayor were denied by his spokesmen, Jesse Broder Van Dyke and Andrew Pereira.

Caldwell was put on the spot during an April 11 press conference at the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building when a television reporter asked him to comment on a recently released report that explained in part why Totto had been suspended. The mayor dodged then too, saying that questions should be directed to Ethics Commission Chairwoman Victoria Marks, who he appointed in November 2014.

“I’ve stayed 100 percent away from this issue,” Caldwell said. “I appointed three of a total of seven (commissioners)….”  (So go ask my puppets)

HPR: Honolulu Mayor Candidate Profiles: Charles Djou

read … Honolulu Ethics Commission Struggles On Caldwell’s Watch

Homelessness Industry: Money flows to Aloha United Way, but no long-range plan

SA: It would be difficult to convince residents that real progress is being made to reduce homelessness when more makeshift tents are cropping up in parks and along sidewalks in Kakaako and Iwilei.

But, yes, homeless people are being housed and, yes, those on the brink of homelessness are being offered short-term relief — all thanks to $5 million in emergency state funding administered by Aloha United Way (AUW). And some 747 homeless military veterans on Oahu have found housing since 2015, which is a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, Hawaii residents need more than that. They deserve a lasting, comprehensive plan of action on homelessness from government officials — city, state and federal — and so far none has been offered. Instead, the public receives bits and pieces of information, progress reports on piecemeal initiatives.

From April 15 to June 6, 367 people received services under emergency homeless funding that AUW is responsible for disbursing, the organization told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorial board last week. AUW has distributed over $900,000 to 18 service providers across the state who are aiding homeless individuals and families and those on the verge of homelessness.

A yearlong effort that launched in spring, the $5 million public-private partnership between the state and the AUW is slated to keep or place 2,900 individuals, including children, in permanent housing. Half of those served will be homeless individuals ready to enter permanent housing; the other half are those already housed, but in need of rent assistance as well as services including mediation, credit counseling and case management.

Preventing people from becoming homeless is extremely critical, organization officials said. That may be true, but getting people off the streets would seem to be the more pressing emergency.

When those at risk of homelessness qualify for three months of rental assistance, the nonprofits are required to track their progress for only six months. That makes it difficult to assess over the long term whether the assistance is merely a temporary fix, delaying the inevitable. But the parameters were set by state government officials, and AUW is simply helping to execute their wishes.

The funds also will help shore up the AUW’s 211 Homeless Coordination Center, which allows callers access to homeless-related services.

The $5 million, plus $500,000 that AUW has kicked in to help agencies administer the state money, is expected to help nearly 3,000 people…..

SA: Mom’s desire to change takes family off streets

read … Long-Range Plan

Supreme Court Stops Short of Ordering Police Misconduct Files Released

CB: The wheels of justice may turn slowly, but they turn.

One year after the state Supreme Court heard arguments about whether Hawaii police departments can refuse to disclose the names and disciplinary records of cops suspended for serious misconduct, the high court ruled Thursday that police don’t have an absolute right of confidentiality.

The court referred the matter back to a lower court, where a judge will now look at 12 Honolulu Police Department misconduct files at issue ….

read … A Step Toward Accountability On Police Misconduct

Hawaii’s So-Called Tech Entrepreneurs are All Taxpayer-Funded

WaPo: I shared my views on business growth during a talk with entrepreneurs in Hawaii last week. Far away from Washington, D.C., I learned from my audience several very important things about our region’s place in entrepreneurship and innovation.

The first thing that struck me was how our capital region has a powerful influence on many of the innovators I met. Forever Oceans , a company offering high-tech ways to curb overfishing and foster sustainability, was seeded by significant federal funding. It uses technology spun out of Lockheed Martin, one of the largest government contractors in our region.

Etaphase is a material sciences start-up developing new materials that could dramatically change data transmission and the energy consumption of existing communications equipment. Again, the company was seeded by federal dollars and because the technology has national security benefits, the company has a growing nexus to our region….

There I was, 4,772 miles from home, yet I kept seeing evidence of just how pervasive Washington’s influence is….

read … Phony Baloney

Supreme Court Rejects American Samoa Citizenship Appeal

AP: The Supreme Court rejected an appeal today from a group of American Samoans who say the United States should grant full citizenship to people born in the U.S. territory.

The justices let stand a lower court ruling that said the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship does not extend to the islands that have been a part of the country since 1900.

Current law considers American Samoans to be “nationals,” not full citizens like those born in Puerto Rico, Guam and other U.S. territories. Nationals are allowed to work and live anywhere in the United States, but unlike citizens, they can’t vote or hold elective office….

read … Samoa

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