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Thursday, October 19, 2017
October 19, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:32 PM :: 3389 Views

Moody's: Hawaii has Already Collected the Taxes for Next Recession

Caldwell announces nominees to Honolulu Police Commission

Caldwell signs bills creating Waikīkī Transportation Management Special Improvement District

VIDEO: PBS Insights Debates Jones Act

Star-Adv: Kealohas to be Indicted Today

SA: …Court documents filed by federal attorneys Wednesday indicate they intend to charge retired Honolulu police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, city Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, as part of their two-year-long case alleging a criminal conspiracy at the Police Department.

Search warrants were executed by the FBI Wednesday morning at two homes where the Kealohas reside, their attorney Myles Breiner confirmed. The warrants were executed without prior knowledge of the Kealohas, said Breiner. “Anything’s possible with the way this investigation has been proceeding the past two years,” Breiner said. “There seems to be a rush to judgment…. (After two years,, he’s still using ‘rush to judgment’.)

The grand jury that’s been hearing evidence about the case the past two years is scheduled to end its work at District Court today, and at least one person with close knowledge of the details of the case believes indictments will come down against the Kealohas.

Alexander Silvert, the first assistant federal public defender, is expecting indictments to be issued by the grand jury and then handed to both Kealohas in the coming days.

“It would appear to me that the grand jury (today) will be asked to indict,” Silvert said.

Silvert said the case is not just about an investigation into a stolen mailbox. “This is about the abuse of power by very high-ranking police officers in positions of authority,” he said.

On Wednesday morning, Honolulu police Lt. Derek Hahn became the third current or former HPD officer arrested this week in what prosecutors say was a criminal conspiracy to frame Gerard Puana, the uncle of Katherine Kealoha, in a June 2013 mailbox theft. The Kealohas and Puana were involved in a family dispute over money at the time…..

read …  Indicted

SHOPO: Police Corruption ‘Starts at the Top’​

KHON: …Always Investigating’s Gina Mangieri asked Tenari Maafala about the escalating conspiracy charges Wednesday: “If something like what is alleged to have happened here can happen in an elite unit like CIU, what needs to change at HPD to prevent that from happening from top to bottom?”

“I think again, it starts from top. Again, Kealoha being highest ranking officer in this investigation,” Maafala replied. “They’re subordinates to him, so it starts from top. Those who are subordinates, the policy is clear. If it’s unjust order, we’re told you still have to carry it out. But if it’s unlawful, you’re not obligated to carry out. So if it’s orders rendered to our subordinates in this case that was unlawful, clearly they should have not partook. If they partook, then unfortunately, it is what it is.”

Maafala adds that those charged still have many more steps to go through before final judgment…..

read … It Starts at the Top

Unanimity Required to Pick Next Chief Without Caldwell’s Nominees

KHON: …Max Sword remains optimistic that the decision will be made in time. In fact, commissioners could vote in exactly one week.

Sword himself won’t be voting. He had to recuse himself, because his wife is related to one of the finalists.

So there will only be four commissioners, and their votes will have to be unanimous for one finalist to meet a quorum.

“I’m optimistic with four. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m optimistic,” Sword said.

“What happens if they’re not?” KHON2 asked.

“I’m not even looking past that. I’m confident that they’ll come up with the chosen one that will be the next chief of police,” Sword replied.

Sword says candidate interviews will be done Monday through Wednesday with deliberations to follow. They could vote as early as next Wednesday afternoon.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell nominated two people to fill the vacant seats on the commission.

But even if they are confirmed by the Honolulu City Council, Sword says they will not be sworn in until December.….

read … Fixed

Kauai County considers 0.5% GE Tax hike

KGI: At Wednesday’s county council committee meeting, members discussed the possibility of increasing the general excise tax by a half percent to provide essential funding for rebuilding infrastructure, repairing roads, reconstructing bridges and improving public transport (insert excuse here).

Ken Shimonishi, director of finance for the Department of Finance, said “Estimates provided by the Department of Taxation are that a half percent increase is estimated to carry approximately $25 million (annually) to the county.”…  (Translation about $380 per person per year—$1520 for a family of four)

Although the council was against approving the general excise tax bill until further discussion, a public hearing on the matter will take place Nov. 15.

One alternative to increasing the tax is utilizing funds from other areas, but choosing where cuts could be made are challenging decisions, said councilmembers….

The council also approved a package proposal of bills including providing tax credits for employees who hire elderly individuals as well as those with disabilities.

Other issues they plan to revisit at a later time include addressing shoreline setback laws and illegal vacation rentals in residential areas.  (Lege smacks Counties on TAT and they still won’t legalize TVRs.  Hilarious.)

read … GE Tax Hike

Audit airport hangar project

SA: Demanding an audit to probe a bungled government project has become almost a reflexive response. Audits aren’t always needed or even worth the added cost, but in the case of the long-delayed Hawaiian Airlines hangar construction job, such a study would be worth the investment.

That’s because the long delays and failure to avert them signals that there are problems with the process, problems that could continue to up-end the many other renovations on the schedule for Honolulu’s dilapidated airport.

Hawaiian Airlines announced that last weekend it had completed the fixes on a total of 3,688 problems with construction of its new maintenance and cargo hangar at the Daniel K. Ino­uye International Airport.

Rectifying what officials called “defects, deficiencies and incompletions” cost $34 million. About two-thirds of these had been listed as complete by the general contractor, DCK Pacific Construction LLC, said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s chief executive officer. As a result, Hawaiian has called for a state investigation to determine where the project went awry….

read … Audit airport hangar project

Former worker slaps Maui county with $1.63M discrimination suit

MN: A former Maui County employee has filed a federal discrimination complaint against Maui County, alleging, among other charges, age discrimination when he was terminated early this year at 71 years old and replaced by a “substantially younger person.”….

In his complaint, Straub alleges he was fired Jan. 27 from his job at the Maui County Business Resource Center four days after he returned from a leave of absence to care for his wife who suffers from a chronic illness. The termination was done “in retaliation for taking the leave,” the complaint says.

Also, the Mayor’s Office advised Straub that it would no longer buy softball equipment and T-shirts from his Ultra Hawaii business because he had filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it says.

The complaint says Straub, a 16-year county employee, was told there were “budget issues” involved in his firing, “but a higher-paid replacement took his job.”

The business resource center has the same number of employees it did before Straub was terminated, the complaint says. Many county employees received a 12 percent pay raise, retroactive to July 2016, it says…..

MN: Disability complaint settled for $35,000

read … Lawsuit

Hawaii County to Seek New HR Director: Last One Quit After Kenoi Hiring Scam Exposed

HTH: The board charged with hiring the county Human Resources director will seek applications from the public rather than limit its search to current county employees.

Still stinging from a negative audit about HR practices and the resignation Sept. 27 of former HR Director Sharon Toriano, Merit Appeals Board members stressed during a meeting Wednesday that they want everything aboveboard….

Background: Audit Exposes Illegal System to Bypass Civil Service, Hire 100s of Kenoi Cronies

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