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Friday, December 22, 2017
December 22, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:09 PM :: 7671 Views

Hawaii Unemployment Sets Record Low as Labor Force Shrinks

UH Presents 2018 Budget Request

The Jones Act Revisited

Should the government be your Santa?

Hawaii 2018 Summer Journalism Internships

SCOTUS Keeps Rebuking Lower Courts That Rule Against Trump

Sex Harassment: Hawaii Legislators Admit Covering up Four Cases

AP: Four Hawaii lawmakers (who?) have been the subject of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct complaints since 2008, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Three of the complaints were filed against House members, one against a senator. None resulted in a lawmaker’s suspension or expulsion.  (Duh.) The senator was counseled and attended one-on-one harassment training. (How many people know about this and why are they silent?)

Both chambers said state law (a law the legislators wrote) required them to withhold the identities of the lawmakers because none was suspended or expelled (insert excuse here).

The Senate and House provided the information in response to a request by The Associated Press for records related to sexual harassment or misconduct complaints made against lawmakers since 2008. The AP filed the request under the state’s open records law.

No complaint resulted in settlement payments to accusers…. 


read … Cover Up

New Police Chief Reassigns Union President To Patrol Shift

CB: In one of her first moves as Honolulu police chief, Susan Ballard has reassigned Sgt. Tenari Maafala, the president of the statewide police union, from his position in the department’s Peer Support Unit to a midnight shift in the bustling patrol district of Waikiki.

The decision was part of Ballard’s desire to revamp the Peer Support Unit, which was started as a mainly volunteer-based program to help officers cope with traumatic events and other stressors, such as line-of-duty shootings, drug abuse and domestic violence….

Ballard told Civil Beat that under Maafala’s leadership, the unit appeared to have lost its way.

She helped launch the program in the mid-1990s as an in-house support group for officers who might be struggling at home or on the job. She said at that time there was a large group of officers who would volunteer to respond to crises, and that they were trained to listen and direct their colleagues to resources, such as chaplains and psychologists, as necessary.

“Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, this unit got pared down to just three people,” Ballard said. “And so these three people were the ones who were responding to everything.”

And they were getting paid to do it.

She said the department surveyed former peer support volunteers who said they couldn’t remember the last time they were called on for help. Their training had also lapsed.

Ballard said the paid officers in the unit, which in addition to Maafala included Don Faumuina and Sgt. Michael Tamashiro, had issues with overtime that, she said, didn’t follow along with the spirit of the unit’s mission, which is spelled out in HPD’s policies.

The definition of the Peer Support Unit, at least according to policy, is “a group of volunteers, including present and retired employees, family members and significant others, trained in support and debriefing functions.”….

Ballard said she asked Maafala if he wanted to remain with the Peer Support Unit on a volunteer basis, but he declined. Tamashiro and Faumuina, who is an at-large director for the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers union, have also been reassigned.

“He’s chosen not to participate in the peer program any more,” Ballard said of Maafala. “It was very disappointing that he chose not to volunteer.”….

Maafala has been a particularly vocal defender of former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha, who was a darling of the union up until he, his wife and several other officers were indicted on federal corruption charges, including conspiracy, bank fraud and obstruction of justice…..

read … New Police Chief Reassigns Union President To Patrol Shift

Fight over Howard Hughes Rail Easements show P3 is a Sham

SA: …Howard Hughes is merely seeking a better deal than the $10 million it was offered for easements on its 16 parcels…..

the company also is resisting the easements, which amount to just over 2 acres of its land. At the HART board meeting, Murakami was asked if the developer opposed the acquisition of any of the land for the rail. “I think my client opposes all of these,” he said.

The precise plans of where HART needs the easement as a buffer between the rail guideway and other structures “have changed dynamically several times,” Murakami said, “and we have big buildings going up, and operating shopping centers with impacts.”….

(Thus underlining the fact that caldwell’s talk of public-private partnerships to fund all or part of the Ala Moana leg of rail is a sham.)

FAKE: Consultant to Explore Partnerships for Rail’s Final Stretch

read … Make a deal on rail easements

Poor Door: Exclusionary Tactics Suddenly an Issue When Affordable Housing Involved

Cataluna: There was shock, outrage and lots of tsk-tsking when plans for a high-rise near the Keeaumoku Street Walmart revealed that there would be one entrance for the rich people, who will buy the high-end suites with sweeping views and deluxe amenities, and a separate entrance for those who qualify to rent affordable units in the same huge building. Oh my goodness! Such disparity! Such discrimination! Not in Hawaii! Gasp!

No, here in the islands we don’t stand for any “poor door.”

But gated communities, blocked beach access, billionaire estates and expansive resort areas with manicured grounds and “KEEP OUT” signs where it used to be overgrown scrub brush, koa haole and good pheasant-hunting land — yup, we’re cool with that….

read … Exclusionary tactics OK in Hawaii — but not that place

Hawaii County: Will 40% Raises Bust Budget?

WHT:Faced with the mayor and two County Council members urging caution, the Salary Commission on Thursday hiked salaries a little further in two departments, but postponed action on a dozen other positions — including the mayor and County Council members themselves — until its next meeting in January.

Proposed raises for all county officials run from 15 to 40 percent. Together, they would add about $1 million annually in raises, plus about $300,000 in benefits.

Mayor Harry Kim and Hilo County Council members Sue Lee Loy and Aaron Chung told the commission they were concerned the county budget couldn’t handle raises the commission awarded, especially raises that begin Jan. 1, halfway through the current fiscal year where budgets have already been set….

read … Salary Commission slows the raise train

OHA Trustees’ Settlement Cost $879,000 In Legal Fees

CB: A lawsuit settlement last month crafted by lawyers for trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs totaled $879,000 in legal fees.

OHA paid $614,000 while insurance company AIG paid $265,000.

The money was used to settle a 2013 lawsuit by Trustee Rowena Akana against her eight colleagues and 10 unnamed individuals.

The lawsuit stemmed from minutes of closed-door board meetings related to a real estate purchase. The targeted trustees subsequently countersued.

As part of the settlement, made Nov. 14, Akana apologized for the public release of confidential board matters….


read … OHA Trustees’ Settlement Cost $879,000 In Legal Fees

Gay Drug Addict Fired from Sheriff Dept – Sues

HNN: …Pratt said in 2014 he was appropriately stripped of his gun when he sought treatment for addiction to pain medication.

But he says he never got it back after beating his addiction and then was re-assigned to the Paroling Authority.

Last month, Pratt got a letter advising him that he could be fired for poor performance, he said.

"Because I was calling out other deputies on their behavior, this was the reason that they wanted to job search me or try to get a reaction out of me and use that as a way to terminate me," Pratt said….

read … Claims to be Gay

Homeless Tent Cities: State Considers Two North Shore Locations

HNN: …New Mexico's Camp Hope had the lowest budget — of $8,000 a year. Kona's Camp Kikaha was the most expensive, with an annual budget of $254,484…..

Recent damage at Kakaako Waterfront Park totaled more than $500,000. In addition, park staff say the unauthorized camps have increased their utility bills because people tap into the water and electricity.

In Waianae, the water bill at the boat harbor, where there's a large homeless camp, now exceeds revenue generated by boat harbor fees. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources also believe the boat harbor camp has negatively impacted environmental and cultural resources on the property.

Meanwhile, the city and a number of homeless advocates continue to oppose so-called safe zones.

"It ends up increasing homelessness because it becomes even more attractive," said Marc Alexander, the executive director of the mayor's Office of Housing. "We support the expansion of our navigation center Hale Mauliola as well as the State's family assessment center which are effective in getting people off the street and into permanent housing."….

read … Expensive Nightmare

The sad and ugly truth about Jones Act politics

HTH: …the Jones Act survives because narrow commercial interests want it to. A protectionist thicket has long surrounded U.S. commercial shipping and shipbuilding. It gradually has hardened into a political wall impervious to economic reason. President Donald Trump spoke the truth in September: When asked whether he would waive the act for Puerto Rico, he said the U.S. has “a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don’t want the Jones Act lifted.”

Those people are backed by a flotilla of senators and representatives who are failing to put the broader interests of voters first. They include the 60-odd members of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus, one of the bigger and more active of such legislative groups. Filling their coffers and bending their ears are the American Maritime Partnership; the Shipbuilders Council of America; other like-minded industry groups; and scores of individual shipbuilders, shipping lines and labor unions. In 2016, donors associated with sea transport coughed up more than $10 million in campaign contributions — the most since at least 1990 — and spent almost $25 million on lobbying…..

read … The sad and ugly truth about Jones Act politics




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