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Thursday, March 22, 2018
March 22, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:08 PM :: 5418 Views

Can Ethics Commission Lift Veil of Secrecy from Hawaii Sex Harassment Complaints?

OHA Criminal Activity Since 2012: A Handy Guide for FBI Agents

Akina: OHA Trustees Must Hold Crabbe Responsible

Crabbe Stabs Telescope Protesters in Back--Supports SB3090

SPLC: Legendary resort the site of battle between sovereign citizen, developers and the State of Hawaii

Kauai: DLNR Clears Activists from State Land Near Coco Palms

Kakaako United President Announces Run for State Senate

Hawaii Scores $54M Windfall as Senior Partner in Tobacco Industry

Hawaii County Homeless Tent City Shut Down due to Fire Risk

OHA Trustees Discussing Crabbe Removal Today

SA: The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet behind closed doors today to discuss the contract of CEO Kamana‘opono Crabbe.

Crabbe and the board have come under heavy criticism following a state audit that slammed the agency for spending “with little restraint.”

In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the state Attorney General are investigating the agency, according to Hawaii News Now, which has reported that OHA has been asked to turn over documents going back to 2012.

Spokesman Sterling Wong said OHA had no comment regarding either the executive session or the investigation.

Meanwhile, Trustee Keli‘i Akina is calling on his colleagues to hold Crabbe responsible for the OHA’s spending issues.

“The time has come for OHA trustees to take a stand and demonstrate whether they are for truth and accountability in OHA’s finances. The trustees must now act decisively and hold the CEO accountable for improper financial management that has come to light,” Akina said in a statement Wednesday.

The CEO is the sole employee of the board and is responsible for carrying out the board’s directives….

Related: Akina: OHA Trustees Must Hold Crabbe Responsible

read … Crabbe kicked out of the Bucket?

Lawmakers accused of sexual harassment remain under wraps

SA: …the names of four Hawaii lawmakers who have been the subject of such complaints over the past decade are not public.

The Associated Press in December disclosed that four legislators — three in the House, one in the Senate — have been accused of sexual harassment or misconduct since 2008.

But state law required the House and Senate to withhold their identities because none were suspended or expelled, according to the AP story.

Citing that same law, a House spokesman told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Wednesday that he couldn’t say whether any of the three from the House were current members.

A Senate spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment…..

CB: Civil Beat Mentions Four Legislative Sex Harassment Cases in Parageaph 16 of Long-Winded Editorial


read … Lawmakers accused of sexual harassment remain under wraps

Star-Adv: Homeless need more than ‘ohana zones’

SA: …At issue is House Bill 1900, the budget request measure representing Gov. David Ige’s spending plan to take the state through June 30, 2019.

The bill comes up for another hearing today. Lawmakers should make sure it continues to underwrite strategies such as “Housing First” aid that paves the way to rehousing people on the streets, and short-term housing subsidies that keep some families from falling into homelessness in the first place.

This means the leadership must restore the $8 million in funding it slashed from such programs and redirected toward ohana zones, which is the brand by which “tent cities” or “safe zones” are now known locally. HB 1900 seeks $30 million to create the zones — an uncertain number, and in unspecified locations…..

there’s no clear plan for how to go about creating these ohana zones. Settling on sites for a homeless encampment, no matter what friendly-sounding brand is attached to it, will be difficult….

Saiki told the Honolulu Star- Advertiser that money for established programs could be included in separate bills. That doesn’t sound like a sure thing: The appropriation should be within the state budget, in amounts similar to what Ige proposed.

…. But let’s not abandon what works for what has not yet been worked out….

Related: Hawaii County Homeless Tent City Shut Down due to Fire Risk

read … Homeless need more than ‘ohana zones’

Hawaii’s biased constitutional convention ballot question

SA: On Nov. 6, 2018, Hawaii residents will vote on whether to call a state constitutional convention. The question they will see on the ballot is: “Shall there be a convention to propose a revision of or amendments to the Constitution?” This ballot text is the only form of convention- related media that every voter will see immediately before voting — when many voters are most impressionable.

Unfortunately, this seemingly innocuous question is highly biased because it doesn’t specify whether it refers to the federal or Hawaii Constitution. Close to 100 percent of Americans know they have a national constitution, but less than half know they have a state Constitution. Thus, many Hawaii voters could go to the polls presuming that what is being referred to is the United States Constitution. And since Americans are taught to revere their federal constitution like the Bible, the question could just as well have been worded: “Shall the Bible, written by god, be rewritten?” …

read … Hawaii’s biased constitutional convention ballot question

Coco Palms Beginning of a Trend?

CB: …A multi-agency police task force raided encampments near the former Coco Palms resort on Kauai on Wednesday, ousting at least four people who had moved to the area after a previous police raid on the resort property several weeks ago.

The actions occurred in the Wailua River State Park and on state land adjacent to Coco Palms where Hawaiian sovereignty activists claim they have title to the resort property.

On several occasions, organizers of the occupation said they intended to take over and claim ownership of part of the park, as well. A small core moved to the Wednesday raid site even before a trial concluded with an order evicting squatters from the original Coco Palms site.

In Wedneday’s raid, police and sheriffs deputies escorted four occupiers from unencumbered state land near the resort. At the state park, one woman was removed and another person briefly detained.

It was the latest manifestation of an emerging trend that land ownership experts are starting to see as an example of weaponization of a tactic by people who claim ownership to land all over the state. They assert ownership based on “royal patent” and other Hawaiian Kingdom land law provisions that no longer apply in Hawaii and may not have conferred legal title even when they were in force….

In late 2016, however, a small group of Native Hawaiian activists occupied the property, claiming ownership under a type of quasi-ownership that no longer exists. Earlier this year, after a trial spread out over more than four weeks, Kauai Judge Michael Soong ruled that the occupiers were on the property illegally and ordered them evicted. Police and sheriff’s deputies cleared the encampment.

The net effect is not so straightforward. As the trial continued, the activist defendants made clear that Coco Palms was just a first example of a tactic they intend more broadly statewide. It relies on filing voluminous, if bogus, legal claims of ownership under Hawaiian Kingdom law.

Occupation leaders Charles Hepa and Noa Mau-Espirito repeatedly described their approach as a test run of a strategy they believe can be used to tie up development in many other locations. And it was not the first time the tactic has been used. Both men and several others tested it first in a dispute over ownership of a single family home lot in Wainiha on Kauai’s North Shore last April.

Four of the occupiers—including Mau-Espirito—were arrested, though charges were later dropped. Throughout the Coco Palms trial, both Mau-Espirito and Hepa said sovereignty activists reject the authority of U.S. and state law and courts in determination of property ownership. They contend that people who can establish they are linear descendants of Hawaiian families that once occupied property still hold title. Mau-Espirito and Hepa have described plans to unleash a flurry of court actions not just on Kauai, but statewide….


read … Next Game

No, Not Every Student Is For ‘Gun Control’

CB:…By simply seeing clips of it on the news, the student walkout that took place last Wednesday can seem like an act of united student bravery and wisdom against the forces of evil in Congress.

But the massive turnout for the nationwide school walkout should not be misconstrued as a tremendous victory for the gun control agenda….

From an honest perspective of a high school junior, many teenagers would spend 17 minutes doing just about anything if it meant missing class. Teachers and faculty are well aware of this considering many of them are hesitant to let kids use the bathroom during class from fear they’re not actually just using the bathroom (and they’re sometimes right).

However, many adults who themselves support gun regulations are being disingenuous in believing that every single student who participated in the walkout was there to stand up for gun control and not at all for other reasons….

prior to the walkout, it was unclear as to what the event would be representing.

There was confusion over whether it would be a memorial for the victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School or if it was a pro-gun control rally. There were only vague statements about the event being a “gun-violence” protest and that all views on the issue would have a place at the event.

Protesting gun violence is not inherently political. Left or right, most everybody is against gun violence. The only difference lies in the approach that each side believes works best in combatting the issue…..

Even some left leaning students were shocked when the walkout became an anti-NRA, anti-right event. While I can only speak for the school that I attend, I suspect the inconsistency between how the event was presented and how it was actually carried out may have been the case for many other schools across the country….

CB: Hana HS Student suspended for ripping down flag during walkout

read … No, Not Every Student Is For ‘Gun Control’

Sex Harassment Claim Used to Throw Election? County wins lawsuit

HTH: A 12-year-old chapter in Hawaii County’s political history has closed with an appellate court order and a former county official deciding not to pursue further litigation.

At issue was an appeal by former County Council chairman and Hilo mayoral candidate Stacy Higa, who sued the county for legal malpractice after an employment complaint alleged he sexually harassed an aide.

Higa claimed county officials’ comments following an almost $250,000 settlement the county paid to former aide Melissa Chang cost him the 2008 mayoral election.

The Intermediate Court of Appeals on March 9 upheld the Circuit Court ruling against Higa, and the former councilman said Wednesday he’s not going to fight it further. He said he “respects and accepts” the court’s findings….

“While acting in an intentional, reckless or negligent manner, Corporation Counsel uttered derogatory public statements adverse to Stacy’s interests while still acting as his counsel,” the lawsuit states, naming former Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida in particular….

read … County wins lawsuit; Higa won’t pursue appeal

Pandering to Mindless Hysteria, House to Vote on Chlorpyrifos Ban

KGI: …The state House Finance Committee passed a bill Wednesday that includes an amendment that would prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos beginning Jan. 1, 2019, but provides an exemption for farmers for a three-year period if they provide public disclosure.

Finance Chair Sylvia Luke also proposed that large commercial agricultural businesses that use 35 pounds or 35 gallons of non-diluted, restricted-use pesticides must file an annual report listing the type of restricted-use pesticides used, quantity, and location of the use.

Senate Bill 3095 SD1 will next go to the full House for a vote…..

“I believe the proposed amendments help to address concerns (mindless hysteria) raised by various stakeholders and reflect a compromise on how to move forward as a state,” wrote state Rep. Nadine Nakamura, a Democrat from Kapaa….

The bill also calls for: No spraying of pesticides within 100 feet of every school during school instructional hours; (which will make it harder for activists to stage incidents)…

read … Committee passes pesticide bill

Marijuana Growers Against Hemp

CB: …Rep. Cynthia Thielen is wrong about one thing: This is not a no-brainer, it is a bad idea without other policy changes (“Hawaii’s Highway To Hemp Paved With Potholes”).

Male hemp pollen wafting in the island breezes will fertilize outdoor grows of female medical cannabis plants and ruin such legal plots all over central and south Maui….

2016: Irony: GMO Marijuana Growers Threatened by Pollen Drift from Organic Hemp Farms

read … Pollen

SB2735: Reform OIP?

CB: …a dead bill that would have required the Office of Information Practices to resolve all disputes about public records requests within six months.

Currently, the state takes more than twice that long, on average.

Tanida said people may not need that information any more after two years.

“Whether it’s the media, whether it’s a member of the public for whatever reason we need it for a specific purpose and two years later the conversation has changed,” she said.

Although Tanida said the organization was “disappointed the conversation has stopped” because the bill is dead, she talked about her support of another bill that is moving forward.

Senate Bill 2735 would change the way the OIP director is appointed. Currently the governor has complete control over who is appointed and how they are removed.

Tanida referred to former OIP director Cathy Takase who was fired in 2011 after publicly disagreeing with then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

“There’s no check or balance on this at all,” Tanida said. “And we’ve seen in the past when the OIP director says something that the governor doesn’t like, they’re out the next day.”

She said that Common Cause Hawaii is hopeful that bill will pass….

read … How To Make Government More Transparent

Airport authority bill may be catalyst for state procurement code changes

PBN: …One bill progressing through this year’s legislative session may be a catalyst for changes to Hawaii’s much-contended procurement code.

Senate Bill 2996, which was passed by the House Labor and Transportation Committee on Wednesday with amendments, would create an airport authority responsible for overseeing Hawaii’s 15-airport system separate from the Hawaii Department of Transportation, though how much autonomy it will have continues to be debated.

Hawaii lawmakers are concerned over the corporation’s exemption from the procurement code, HRS Chapter 103D. However, they recognized there are issues within the code that is prohibitive for state authorities.

Labor Committee Chair Aaron Ling Johanson said during the Wednesday hearing that committee members share concern over the precedent this bill would have over other authorities that wish to be exempt from state procurement codes, and it may be better to fix the underlying issues within the code.

“Our recommendation would be to delete the airport corporation’s wholesale exemption, and to give them some flexibility, make the airport corporation’s CEO their own chief procurement officer to help facilitate procurement as opposed to having to rely on someone outside of their corporation,” Johanson said, adding that the corporation would be subject to the procurement code during the three-year transition period, but it may be revisited during that time to see if it would be better for the corporation to follow a different procurement code….

read … Airport authority bill may be catalyst for state procurement code changes

Green House Gas Bills on the Move in Legislature

IM: …The Hawai`i State Legislature is advancing SB2661 SD2 which codifies the sustainable development goals based on the United Nations' Global Goals and indicators. The bill was introduced by Senator English and co-authored by 22 other Senators.

The Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy killed HB 584, which would have given tax breaks to agricultural-based energy projects, regardless of whether the projects generated low or high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Hu Honua, the proposed biomass-to-energy facility in Hamakua which has refused to release lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions for their proposed facility, supported the bill….

Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy heard testimony on HB 1801, would fix the definition of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). Currently, a utility can be credited with generating more than 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy while continuing to use fossil fuel.

The bill would also require gas utilities to meet the same renewable energy requirements as electric utilities….

read … Greenhouse

It's Your Money: City shells out tens of millions of dollars in overtime pay

HNN: …According to a new audit, the city paid $66.41 million to cover extra hours on the clock last fiscal year.

The biggest chunk of that money went to public safety. The Honolulu Police Department reported $23.6 million in overtime pay, an increase of 10 percent from the previous year.

The audit says the increase is because of more traffic enforcement, plus extra officers for special events like the IUCN World Conservation Congress….

The Honolulu Fire Department had the second-highest amount of overtime at $16.26 million. That was nearly 30 percent more than the year before. Salary increases plus more hours for recruit training are some of the reasons for this increase.

The department with the third-highest overtime costs is the Department of Environmental Services. That department is in charge of our sewage system. It paid out nearly $10.78 million in overtime.

There were two overtime increases in the triple digits. The legislative branch, covers the offices of the Honolulu City Council, jumped 430 percent, from $9,758 to $51,679.

But, the report says this is typical whenever there's an election. In this case, the fiscal year covered the 2016 elections.  

The Department of Emergency Management saw an increase of 324 percent with overtime totaling $552,698. …

read … It's Your Money: City shells out tens of millions of dollars in overtime pay

Homeless Crackhead Gang Robs Businesses, Seniors

HNN: …"Crack cocaine is not something we really see too often across encampments throughout Oahu. This is really unique and individualized to Chinatown," said Kimo Carvalho.

Carvalho said many of these new arrivals are on the streets because of issues at home.

They wound up banding together -- using and dealing drugs, he said….

"I think it's completely drug driven because mentally ill people are not so violent," said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, president of the Chinatown Business and Community Association Community.

She described the new arrivals — about two dozen or so — as a homeless mob that's already causing trouble for local shop owners.

"It really makes them feel powerful to band together to victimize others," Shubert-Kwock said. "They feel like they can walk right into our shops and take whatever they want and walk out."

What concerns residents the most is that anyone can be a target.

"They have groups that work in teams and they will victimize elderly seniors," she said. "They get pushed down. Their purses grabbed. This is frightening for us."

read … Crack

Homeless Alcoholic from Mainland Killed After 10 years Selling drugs in Waikiki

CB: Moorefield spent almost a decade rollicking on the beach and streets from Diamond Head to Ala Moana….

Moorefield was on the street by choice.  With no rent to pay and no one to answer to, he got by selling pot, hawking jewelry and panhandling….

as he unchained himself from the totems of modern human life, Moorefield also found himself caught in a free fall of his own invention….

Friends say Moorefield sometimes earned several hundred dollars a night selling marijuana to tourists. When his pockets were fat, he would hit the bar….

Even the scrap cardboard signs Moorefield used for panhandling seemed to attract above-average sums. His slogans were funny and sincere: “Why lie? Need beer,”….

Moorefield was fatally struck by a pickup truck on Feb. 13….

he was picked up repeatedly by police. His public arrest record shows 79 charges over nine years extending from June 2009 to February 2018.

Most charges result from traffic infractions like jaywalking or entering a public park after closing time. He also racked up arrests for noncompliance with the city’s sit-lie ban. He was critical of that law, which prohibits sitting or lying on public sidewalks. In a news story published by Hawaii News Now in February 2014, he condemned the ban as unfair to street vendors, which he considered himself to be….

read … Homeless Story

Former police chief loses taxpayer-funded attorney after police commission hearing

HNN:  …At a Honolulu Police Commission hearing Wednesday, Kealoha's attorney argued that the city should pay for his defense because he may have been acting as the police chief when he testified improperly at the uncle's trial….

The police commission unanimously rejected that argument, finding that Kealoha was acting as a private citizen when he testified.

The city already rejected a similar request from Katherine Kealoha because she was a private citizen at the time.

The Kealohas have federal public defenders in an ongoing criminal case.

Adding to the Kealoha's troubles, federal prosecutors want to move the foreclosure action on the Kealohas' Hawaii Kai home to federal court….

read … Loses

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