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Wednesday, June 14, 2017
June 14, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:03 AM :: 4256 Views

UH: Housing First Keeps 89% of Homeless Housed

A third marine carrier in Hawaii?

Honolulu 2nd-Lowest Average Internet Speed

Kishimoto Contract Guarantees Big Fluffy Golden Parachute

KHON: …According to her contract, Christina Kishimoto will receive a salary of $240,000 per year.

She’ll also get a reserved parking stall and an automobile allowance that amounts to $326 per month….

If the Board of Education cuts ties early, the state will have to pay her a lump sum equivalent to her salary.

read … New schools superintendent to receive hefty salary, vehicle allowance

New proposals to legalize vacation rentals, hike taxes and fines

KITV: …has proposed a package of bills and resolutions to try and tackle the growing controversy.

He proposes stiffer fines and fatter tax bills, but he also wants to legitimize illegal operators as a compromise.

Martin believes his approach could work if the council can agree on a reasonable number of new permitted B&B's and vacation rentals.

"Once we determine what is a reasonable number we can be very aggressive with enforcement so those who chose to operate underground we can shut them down as soon as possible," said Martin….

Martin not only wants to have separate classes of property tax for B&B and vacation rentals but wants to hike the fines from the current 1000 dollars to $5,000 for first time offenders.

He believes with our tourist based economy, something needs to be done.

"For example in Haleiwa town-- there are lots of businesses who are successful because of this. I can tell you, if we were to be very aggressive and shut these places down a lot of business would suffer severely," said Martin.

Martin said he also recently sat down with representatives of Airbnb to talk about a segment of the community they aren’t addressing and those are travelers with disabilities.

Martin also told KITV the Caldwell administration is working on an enforcement bill of its own….

Related: TVRs: No Taxation Without Legalization!

read … New proposals to legalize vacation rentals, hike taxes and fines

Housing market beyond reach for many locals

KGI: “Some of the buyers — 50 percent of them — already live on the island and the other 50 percent are people who have relocated,” said Julie Black, principal broker and owner of Kauai Dreams Realty. “With us, it’s been half-half. Our buyers are people who live here already. It seems like although we had a couple of investor buyers buying property, fixing them up and reselling them.”….

The housing situation on Kauai is in a scary state, Black said.

“The rental market is in an emergency state. You have people who want to rent, who can afford to rent, who are not looking for a handout … and there aren’t rentals,” she said. “It’s really scary right now for local people to be out of housing. There’s not much on the market to buy or rent that’s affordable.”

read … Housing market beyond reach for many locals

Rail: Unanswered Questions

CB: Decision makers need answers to basic questions about rail before they decide on what to do next….

The Hawaii State Legislature should not try and add more tax dollars to the rail project this year because they do not have complete and trusted information about the project. They should take a “timeout” and demand that the City and HART come back to them in November with answers to the following questions below.

What is the total amount that each Oahu taxpayer has paid for the rail GET surcharge for the first 10 years?

This figure has not been discussed. Most taxpayers do not understand how a GET increases the cost of everything we purchase, and we have 11 more years to go.  Before anyone adds more years of taxation, let’s find out how much this tax actually costs each one of us on Oahu.

The Tax Foundation of Hawaii has calculated this cost and published the result on their website, which is $200 per person per year. For my wife and I, this number is equal to raising our property taxes by 15 percent annually. It is not good governance nor is it fair to create and extend a tax if you do not know how much it actually costs each taxpayer….

There is no money in the $2.4 billion city operating budget to operate and maintain rail.

The rail financials tell us rail will cost over $100 million per year to operate. These financials expect the city to apply the farebox recovery plan and raise bus fares to cover about 30 percent of this cost and then the city will have to subsidize the remainder through property tax increases. How can we discuss more construction taxes for rail when the City and HART refuse to discuss the annual $100 million dollar for annual rail operations?…

The City and HART have proven that they cannot be trusted because of their rail testimony two years ago and what they said this year. At the same time, they mislead us by omission — they are not transparent regarding the issues mentioned above. Decision makers need answers to basic questions about rail before they decide on what to do next…..

read … Time Out

Telescope case in judge’s hands

SA: More than a year after she gaveled open the first pre-conference meeting of the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case hearing, former Circuit Judge Riki May Amano must weigh the facts and make her recommendation to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Tuesday was the deadline for responses to the final arguments submitted two weeks ago by the hearing’s parties.

That leaves the hearings officer to consider some 800 exhibits, more than 700 documents and 50 volumes of transcripts with nearly 12,000 pages featuring oral testimony over four months of the Hilo hearing.

There is no deadline for when Amano must submit her recommendation to the board. TMT officials hope it’s sooner rather than later because they aim to start construction by April, and the case is almost certain to be appealed to the state Supreme Court no matter how the BLNR rules….

But that might not be the final word. In addition to a likely court challenge, the project could face another delay because a judge’s ruling in December indicated that BLNR should have granted a separate contested case hearing for the project’s Mauna Kea sublease. The state is appealing the ruling….

Meanwhile, Canadian scientists have issued a report critical of the TMT’s alternative site in the Canary Islands and are urging the TMT International Observatory board not to give up on Mauna Kea prematurely…..

read … Telescope case in judge’s hands

City to pay for detective’s attorney in Kealoha civil case

SA: The City Council has approved paying a Honolulu law firm up to $50,000 to represent a Honolulu Police Department detective in a civil lawsuit brought by a man who said he was unlawfully arrested and maliciously prosecuted by former Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, a Honolulu deputy prosecutor.

The lawsuit brought by Gerard Puana, Katherine Kealoha’s uncle, alleges that Dru Akagi, a 21-year HPD veteran, was among several officers who were part of a conspiracy to frame Puana for the alleged theft of the Kealohas’ mailbox outside their Kahala home in June 2013.

The Council voted 8-0 Wednesday to pay Fukunaga Matayoshi Ching & Kon-Herrera to represent Akagi, who is one of four current or former officers named in the lawsuit. Puana alleges the officers “mishandled evidence, falsified reports, otherwise failed to perform investigative and normal police duties in a capable and professional manner in order to (ensure) that (Puana) would be prosecuted for the alleged theft of the Kealohas’ mailbox.” ….

read … City to pay for detective’s attorney in Kealoha civil case

New ethics complaint, attorney general investigation into DOBOR

WHT: …a county Board of Ethics member vowed Tuesday to file a complaint with the state Ethics Commission against DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation Administrator Ed Underwood for using state time and resources to pursue a personal vendetta against Roth by filing a complaint against him with the county ethics board.

It all started when Capt. William Murtaugh requested a contested case hearing last fall after DOBOR refused to renew his commercial boat ramp permit. Roth testified at the Land Board hearing about his concerns of corruption and favoritism within the office.

Murtaugh, meanwhile, told West Hawaii Today on Tuesday that he was subpoenaed and questioned by a criminal investigator and an administrative agent for the state attorney general. He declined to specify details.

“We discussed events that have taken place with me and that were already public,” Murtaugh said. “We also discussed other things that were not public.”….

County Ethics Board member Rick Robinson, after being informed by the board at its meeting Tuesday that it didn’t have jurisdiction to complain to the state commission, said he will file his own complaint.

He said he’s especially bothered that Underwood used his state email, state telephone and state office to file the complaint, and even called in to the meeting from his state office, saying he was able to work it out with DLNR chairwoman Suzanne Case.

“Does it mean that DLNR’s condoning actions of Ed Underwood to what appeared to be (to) intimidate people as well as intimidate Mr. Roth?” Robinson asked at a May 9 meeting of the board.

He added Tuesday it especially rankled him that “they just think they’re immune,” from state ethics laws.

“He attempted to use the Ethics Board to punish Mr. Roth,” Robinson said. “For me, someone having a concern and expressing it to a state board should be listened to, not have an ethics complaint filed against them.”….

A spokesman for Case said in an email response, “the chair clearly does not condone any staff using state time or resources to conduct personal business.”

A quote attributed to Case further stated, “Mr. Underwood initiated this action on his own. We subsequently informed him that since it wasn’t the state’s position he needed to make clear that he was pursuing it in his personal capacity. I also want to say that Mr. Underwood has the right as a citizen to make the complaint. I find it surprising that Mr. Robinson characterizes Mr. Underwood’s exercise of his First Amendment and Hawaii Constitutional rights as an attempt to intimidate Mr. Roth.”

Roth’s suspicions appear to have been justified, at least to some extent. In February, a DLNR harbor agent overseeing the Kailua-Kona and Keauhou Bay harbors was fined $1,000 in a settlement agreement with the state Ethics Commission for soliciting and accepting free parasailing trips from a company he regulated…..

BIVN: Ethics Board Continues Underwood Petition

read … Investigation

Former Maui official claims her firing was retaliatory

SA: The former Maui County highways chief says in a federal whistleblower lawsuit that she was fired for reporting and investigating county worker abuses, including the repairing of private motor vehicles at county facilities on county time and with parts purchased using county pCards.

Lesli Lyn Otani says in the lawsuit that she was chief of field operations and maintenance for the county’s Department of Public Works when she reported the alleged abuses to the department’s director, David Goode, and deputy director, Rowena Dagdag-Andaya. Otani says Goode ignored her reports, tried to discourage her from investigating them, then fired her after she took her concerns and findings to the county’s Department of the Corporation Counsel….

She says the Corporation Counsel has placed six employees of the highways division on paid leave while it investigates her reports.

The administrative investigation of the Public Works Department uncovered other alleged misconduct by two former employees. The county prosecutor charged Raynard Oshiro, a former district supervisor, and Lea Cadiz, a former Oshiro subordinate, with theft in December for allegedly taking uncharged vacation. Oshiro retired in 2015 after 38 years of service with the county. Cadiz was fired.

Otani says she was promoted to highways chief in April 2016 after the previous chief, Brian Hashiro, retired amid allegations that he used his county pCard to outfit the Wailuku base yard with a commercial-grade kitchen. She says she immediately started receiving reports of other alleged worker misconduct, including employees being forced to repair private vehicles at the Makawao Garage on weekends with parts purchased on county pCards, one employee driving an unmarked county vehicle for personal use and the undervaluing of county vehicles at trade-in.

She said when the county bought a new bulldozer, a supervising employee had the old one turned in to the dealer for zero trade-in value. The dealer then sold the old bulldozer for $15,000 to $30,000. 

read … Former Maui official claims her firing was retaliatory

Former Big Island clerk's law license suspended for 150 days

HNN: …Kawauchi, who was widely criticized for chaos and polling delays on the Big Island during the 2012 election, had her law license suspended for 150 days by the state Supreme Court.

According to the Office of Disciplinary Council, Kawauchi, now in private practice, withdrew client funds for her own personal use and didn't refund the money until five months later.

The ODC also alleged that Kawauchi committed "further misconduct" during its investigation into the matter. The ODC did not provide details on the misconduct, saying only that it had a “selfish or dishonest motive.”…. 

WHT: Kawauchi’s law license suspended

read … Misconduct

Soft on Crime: Privileged Criminal finally Does a Little Time After Being Arrested by Fake Cops

SA: …Defense lawyer Michael Green told Watson that Toyo­fuku was not a privileged child growing up, despite his ‘Iolani School and Hawaii Preparatory Academy education, but instead described him as an unwanted, drop-off kid. Toyofuku also has a master’s degree from the University of San Diego.

He has no prior convictions despite multiple brushes with the law.

In 2007 he was arrested but never prosecuted for possessing with intent to distribute three pounds of marijuana.

In 2010 he was arrested for robbery, kidnapping, assault and a firearm offense in what the federal prosecutor said was an attempt to collect on a $1 million drug debt.

Honolulu police said Toyo­fuku and three or four others abducted a 24-year-old man and bound, gagged and beat him until he agreed to lure another victim to a home in Lanikai. The assailants then bound, beat and threatened the second victim.

Police said an off-duty police officer spotted Toyofuku and an accomplice loading one of the kidnapping victims into the back of a van. As the officer was pursuing the van, one of the kidnapping victims was either pushed or fell out of the back of the moving vehicle. The assailants later abandoned the van with the other victim inside.

Toyofuku was the only person charged in the case. The state was forced to drop the prosecution because it was unable to locate either of the two victims for trial.

In October 2015 Toyofuku, after initially giving police a fake name, was cited for riding in a motor vehicle with an open liquor container. At the time, he was free on bond for the federal marijuana case, and a conviction would have been a violation of his release. A state judge dropped the case in February 2016 when the police officer who issued the citation failed to show up for the trial.

Toyofuku pleaded guilty in January to possessing with intent to distribute 79.8 kilograms, or just short of 176 pounds, of marijuana, after multiple failed attempts to convince Watson to throw out the evidence against him.

A truck driver became suspicious when Toyofuku declined delivery of the crate after he suggested removing the items inside it because the truck’s lift gate wasn’t working. The driver, who described himself as a subject of the Hawaiian sovereignty organization Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi, contacted two other Atooi subjects, who described themselves as federal marshals.

The Atooi federal marshals opened one of the boxes in the crate and called authorities when they found that the box contained marijuana.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents searched Toyofuku’s Manoa apartment, and they found material for packaging and selling marijuana. They also found evidence that Toyofuku had received previous large shipments of marijuana….

read … Iolani

Iwilei: Drug Addicts Refuse to Accept Shelter Fight Police for Right to Live in Piles of Garbage

HNN: After years of complaints, city crews dismantled two of the most volatile homeless camps on Oahu on Tuesday.

Business owners in Kapalama and Iwilei say the encampments were havens for drugs and violence.

As tents came down, tensions began to rise. Security footage shows a man pushing an officer on Kaumualii Street. Five police officers then piled on top of him during the takedown.

HPD confirms he was arrested for harassment and outstanding warrants….

It's estimated 120 people were living in both neighborhoods combined. Since Thursday, only four have gone into shelter. (Not counting the one who went to jail?)

"We've offered them shelter, housing options, healthcare services. Basically anything to end their homelessness and they're still resisting. What they really need is some serious clinical intervention while they're on the streets now," said Kimo Carvalho.

The community also plays a part in ending homelessness. Alexander says many times people who are trying to help end up enabling people living on the street.

"We need people to stop giving food and tents and things like that," said Alexander….. (Wisdom!)

read … City enforces expansion of sit-lie ban, moving scores of homeless out

Gerrymandered Enterprise Zones Benefit Wealth y Neighborhoods, Leave Waianae Behind

CB:No one was more surprised than Hiroko Shuto to hear that his new Sky Men’s Grooming Salon — where the barber chairs are plush, the stylists wear crisp shirts and vests, and a basic cut runs $45 — was located in an area that state and federal officials have tagged as distressed.

The burgeoning hipster hotspot of Kakaako, with 1,625 new condo units finished in 2016 and 1,840 more on the way, offered a prime location for the high-end barber shop.  Shuto said he had a “golden opportunity” to lease ground floor space in the Halekauwila Place development, which is half a block from a planned Honolulu rail stop and across from another retail and condo project underway.

It might seem like the last place to need incentives to attract investment.

But that’s not the case, according to some state and federal officials. The area around Shuto’s business is designated so economically distressed that it qualifies as a “targeted investment area” under the federal government’s EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, which is designed to spur foreign investment to create jobs in the U.S….

The Department of Homeland Security, which administers the EB-5 program, has proposed regulations to close the loophole that lets developers and state governments defines vibrant places as distressed.

Business interests like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are pushing back. Meanwhile, places like Kakaako, Ala Moana and Ko Olina remain targeted for investment, competing for limited investment dollars with truly distressed areas like Waianae….

read … Wealthy Oahu Neighborhoods Benefit From Program Meant To Help Poor Communities

State Pesticide Rules Advancing to Board of Agriculture

HPR: …Committee Chair, John McHugh, who also administers the Department of Agriculture’s Plant Industry Division, says he plans to provide more information on member concerns.

“There’s a lot of misinformation and hysteria out there in the community about agricultural pesticide use, which is actually only about 15 percent of all pesticide use in the state.  There are over 10-thousand products that are registered and licensed in the State of Hawai’i, going all the way from household uses up to purifying our drinking water with.  And we trying to make sure that pesticides are available for use by those who need them and that they’re used properly.”

The draft rules will be reviewed by the State Attorney General and forwarded to the Board of Agriculture for consideration during their July 25th meeting. …

read … State Pesticide Rules Advancing to Board of Agriculture

Good News: Offshore wind farms face slew of challenges

PBN: The proposed offshore wind farm projects in Hawaii will have to overcome various regulatory hurdles, construction challenges and public scrutiny, if they come at all….

"The offshore wind project will take several years to even begin construction," said Wren Wescoatt, founder of 7 Generation Consulting. "There are a lot of challenges."….

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a call for information and nominations to find companies interested in such a project in June last year. Norwegian company Statoil, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, confirmed its interest.

Prior to the call for information, BOEM received three unsolicited wind energy lease requests from two potential developers. Two lease requests came from AW Hawaii Wind, LLC and one from Progression Hawaii Offshore Wind, Inc. The cost of Progression's proposal for a wind farm 9 miles southeast of Kalaeloa in West Oahu was reported at $1.6 billion.  (Translation: Big Fat Electric Rate Hike Coming.)

Each of the proposed projects is set to generate 400 megawatts, which is four times more than what is currently being generated by wind farms on Oahu, Wescoatt said.

Already operating offshore wind farms, like those in the North Sea, sit in less than 200 feet of water, Wescoatt said. Due to the oceans depth around Hawaii, it would not be possible to connect the wind turbines directly to the sea floor. The proposals therefore call for a semi-submerged floating platforms anchored to the ocean floor with turbines on top of them.

"It's going to be super complex," he said. One of the many challenges relating to the project are the various regulatory agencies involved in the permitting process. Form federal agencies like the BOEM or the Department of Defense to pretty much every state agency, Wescoatt explained…..

read … Offshore wind farms face slew of challenges, could take years to build

Hawaii's Worthless, Incompetent Congressional Delegation Loses Native Hawaiian Funding

CB:Millions of dollars in federal funding for Native Hawaiian housing programs may be in jeopardy.

Hawaii’s U.S. senators and representatives on Tuesday jointly criticized legislation before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that does not reauthorize as much as $13 million a year for the state’s indigenous population, even though about $700 million would go to Native American housing annually.

The Bringing Useful Initiatives for Indian Development Act of 2017 would reauthorize all Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act programs except for those related to Native Hawaiians…. T

he funding, ranging from $9 million and $13 million annually, has come in blocks grants and home loan guarantees….

Hanabusa said that, when Hawaii’s Dan Inouye and Dan Akaka were serving in the Senate, reauthorization for the Native Hawaiian housing programs was routine. (But now we have the four horsemen of the eclipse, so what can you expect?)

read … We are being punished for electing Losers

Mentally Ill Sanders Voters on the Rampage-3 Dead, Several Wounded




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