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Thursday, June 28, 2018
June 28, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:04 PM :: 2817 Views

Accused OHA Mis-Spenders -- Why You Should Vote for Them Anyway

HSTA Endorses Moriwaki for SD12-Kakaako

Hawaii 9th-Most Reliant on Sales Taxes

Trump OKs federal aid for Oahu and Kauai victims of April floods  

Council Chair: Jail Affordable Home Builders

HNN: …City leaders are now considering criminal charges for monster home builders who defy the law….

"They're flaunting the fact that they can continue to build, build what they want, and disregard the laws that already exists," said Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin.

There is a law already on the books that would allow criminal charges against those who violate Honolulu's building code. However, it has not been enforced in about 30 years, according to the city.

Martin said he met with prosecutors this week and asked them to investigate a home on Hala Street slated to have 23 bedrooms, and a home off Pali Highway. He said the contractor for the home off the Pali had no building permit and was issued a stop work order.

"I think we need to be more assertive in dealing with these unfortunate practitioners of building monster homes because it seems like they're laughing in our face," said Martin….

read … City leaders consider criminal charges for monster home violators

Housing for Lava Victims--Hawaii County Proposal Due in Two Weeks

HTH: …Roy Takemoto, an executive assistant to Mayor Harry Kim, told the Tribune-Herald that details could be ready to be released in about two weeks….

He said options being looked at include giving incentives for landowners and rental agencies to house evacuees, to creating a new community on state land in Puna away from the eruption.

Other ideas being looked at include expanding Section 8 housing to include evacuees, allowing for more accessory dwellings on lots and approving package homes for those displaced.

The state land being eyed is located between Pahoa and the subdivisions of Ainaloa and Hawaiian Paradise Park. State Sen. Russell Ruderman also proposed use of that land.

Takemoto said the state could provide a parcel as part of a land swap similar to what was done in Hilo after the 1960 tsunami….

read … County mulls options for housing of lava evacuees as grassroots efforts continue

Rowena Akana Sues State Ethics Comm

CB: …A longtime trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is suing the Hawaii State Ethics Commission after the watchdog agency asked her to pay thousands of dollars in fines for alleged ethics violations.

Rowena Akana, who has served as an OHA trustee for 28 years, filed a lawsuit in state court Wednesday contending that the commission is overstepping its authority and has violated her constitutional rights.

Her attorney, Stephen Tannenbaum, said at a press conference Wednesday that Gov. David Ige’s administration is giving commission director Daniel Gluck the authority to second-guess OHA spending decisions years after expenses were approved internally….

SA: Akana fires back at state Ethics Commission

read … This OHA Trustee Is Taking On The State Ethics Commission

Political Intrigue: What This Consultant Is Doing In Hawaii Is A Mystery

CB: …Strategies 360 won’t reveal a single client or issue it’s supporting in the islands. But the company has assembled a stable of well-known local talent….

Strategies 360, which has offices in 12 Western states and Washington, D.C., set up shop in Hawaii in 2016 under the leadership of John White. He came over from Pacific Resource Partnership, which represents a consortium of contractors and unionized carpenters that spent more than $4 million in the last three elections through super PACs.

White is best known for leading the Pacific Resource Partnership PAC’s 2012 campaign to help elect pro-rail mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell by tarnishing his opponent with an unprecedented amount of outside spending on attack ads.

Strategies 360 also brought Stacy Ellamar over from PRP to manage its Hawaii government affairs. And the firm has hired Molly Pierce, who was campaign director for Forward Progress, the renamed PRP super PAC that spent a few hundred thousand dollars in Hawaii during the 2014 and 2016 elections….

Then, earlier this month, Donalyn Dela Cruz left her position as communications director for the state Department of Education to serve as the Hawaii office’s vice president of communications.

The other two members of the firm’s Hawaii team have political backgrounds.

Jane Clement was chief of staff to the former chair of the Hawaii County Council, Dru Kanuha, before joining the firm to manage public affairs. And Will Kane held behind-the-scenes roles in the state Senate, including capital improvement specialist for the Ways and Means Committee when it was chaired by now-Gov. David Ige. Kane is vice president of public affairs….

Khara Jabola-Carolus, domestic partner of state Rep. Kaniela Ing, was a registered lobbyist for Strategies 360 in Hawaii from February 2017 to February 2018. Her registration statement with the state Ethics Commission indicated she was lobbying in connection with health and human services. She’s no longer with the firm….

read … Political Intrigue: What This Consultant Is Doing In Hawaii Is A Mystery

Puna residents complain of squatters, looters and thieves

SA: Looting and squatting in vacant houses is a growing problem in some of the Puna neighborhoods that have been evacuated and closed off to the public because of the Kilauea eruption, according to area residents.

Robert Petricci, a longtime Lower Puna resident, said his home on Pohoiki Road was in good shape when he left it, but “there are people running around in there, going house to house and looting our homes, and we can’t get in there and defend them.”….

Petricci said outsiders are entering the evacuation zone on boats that land at Pohoiki Harbor. “We need the National Guard down there at Pohoiki checking ID’s, and we’ve been trying to get this for a while now before it happened, and it’s getting worse and worse and worse.”…

“What are you guys really doing about squatters?” he asked. “I mean, they burn houses down, they steal. Leilani is full of squatters and thieves and people, and you can’t get rid of them. … What are you guys gonna do?”

Magno suggested residents report squatters to the police, but Hendricks said that wasn’t possible because no one was home to report the intruders….

“So, basically nothing,” Hendricks interrupted, and abruptly ended the exchange by telling Magno “thank you,” and walking away from a microphone set up for residents to ask questions at the meeting….

HTH: Police: Persistent claims about looting are mostly just rumors

read … Puna residents complain of squatters, looters and thieves

TSA to Fine Honolulu Airport $25M for Security Violations?

KHON: …The badge oversight was revealed in a Security Threat Assessment done earlier this year. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) notified the DOT of the compliance issue in February.

The deadline for all 23,000 employees to receive the new badges was Wednesday, June 27.

Tim Sakahara, spokesperson for the Department of Transportation, said the audit brought to light several issues.

"There was some cases where some of the personal identification for example might not have matched up. So someone got married and changed their name. Maybe they moved in the last year and their address didn't match up. Some of those things could have raised a flag," Sakahara said. "The remedy was just to have us rebadge all 23,000 people that have a badge at the airport in order to make sure that we are in compliance."….

"TSA has forewarned that within the Letter of Investigation that was sent to the Airport that due to the number of violations under scrutiny, each violation may incur a fine of $13,066.00 per violation. The approximate fine may be in the vicinity of $25 million if HNL does nothing to correct the violations noted."…

read … Daniel K. Inouye International Airport rebadges thousands of employees to comply with regulations

State Cyber Security: ‘We Have Been Very Lucky’

KITV: …This week, a cut cable brought down all the City and County computers across Oahu, and kept them offline for hours. Ransonware could also do that, unless government systems are fully protected or pay up.

"Regarding cyber security and cyber terrorism we've been very lucky," said Mark Wong, the Director for the City and County of Honolulu's Department of Information Technology.

Especially because city computers are seemingly always under attack from viruses and malware.

"There are daily attempts to do this," added Wong.

The State of Hawaii's 12,000 computers also face nearly constant cyber attacks.

"We have on order 40-45 million attacks that we deflect on a monthly basis," Vincent Hoang, Hawaii Chief Information Security Officer said.

Most computers are equipped with malware and virus protection, which stop the vast majority of threats. But some still sneak in.

"Right now, the most active investigations we work on are related to phishing related issues," Hoang said. …

read … Are Hawaii's government computers ready for ransomware?

Honolulu City Council considers a resolution designating Chinatown as a "slum"

KITV:  …Resolution 18-131 defines a "slum" or "blight area" as having dilapidated or deteriorated buildings, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, plus high density of population and overcrowding, creating an "economic or social liability, or conducive to ill health, transmission of disease, infant mortality, juvenile delinquency, or crime."

If the city makes the designation official, it would clear the way for funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD's Community Development Block Grant program sends money to qualified communities to expand affordable housing and economic development as well as to improve community facilities and services.

Business owners who support the resolution say the abandoned buildings are a major problem, becoming magnets for vandalism and homeless….

read … Honolulu City Council considers a resolution designating Chinatown as a "slum"

69 public schools offer free summer meals. But most kids don't claim them

KHON: ..Free summer meals are also available at 69 public schools.

But a new report by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) shows only 1 in 10 youngsters and teenagers from low-income households take advantage of the program. And that could be hurting the state financially.

Nicole Woo of the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice said Hawaii is near the bottom of FRAC's national ranking, coming in 41 among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

"A lot of these kids rely on free or reduced-price school lunch during the school year. During the summer we don't know where they're getting their meals if they're not taking advantage of the summer food program," she said.

The FRAC report shows low participation robs the state of more than a million dollars a month in federal reimbursements for the meals.

read … 69 public schools offer free summer meals. But most kids don't claim them

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