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Friday, June 29, 2018
June 29, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:30 PM :: 3854 Views

Hawaii Sierra Club Leader Hit With $1000 per day SMA Fines

Caldwell: Outlaw Homeless Blocking Public Facilities While Refusing Shelter Space

City Vans Shuttle Chinatown Homeless to Waianae

May Tourism Spending up 11%--Arrivals up 7%

Former HPD Officer Pleads Guilty to Insurance Fraud

Hawaii public unions must adapt to new reality

DLNR Public Land Trust Database Now Open to Public

DBEDT: "Population and Economic Projections for the State of Hawaii to 2045"

Bumpy Kanahele Grifts for $300M—Gets Help from Ige

SA: A dispute over promises made 20 years ago by Bank of America to provide $150 million in mortgage loans to Native Hawaiians on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands land prompted Gov. David Ige to invite Bank of America officials to Hawaii this summer to discuss “a fair and final settlement.”

In an April letter Ige told Bank of America’s chief operations and technology officer that the bank committed $150 million in loans in connection with the bank’s 1993 application to acquire Liberty Bank in Honolulu, which was challenged by Na Po‘e Kokua, fiscal sponsor of the Hawai‘i Fair Lending Coalition.

“The Federal Reserve Board’s May 31, 1994 order approving Bank of America’s acquisition of Liberty Bank was ‘specifically conditioned upon compliance with all of the commitments made by Bank of America in connection with this application,’ which included Bank of America’s ‘commitment of $150 million to the FHA 247 loan program,’” Ige wrote.

Federal Housing Administration 247 loans were specifically for low-and moderate- income Native Hawaiians to purchase homes on Hawaiian homelands.

Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the issue is moot.

“We received Gov. Ige’s letter and provided a response explaining that, in October 2007, the Department of Hawaii Homelands validated Bank of America had fulfilled its goal,” Bauwens wrote in an email. “This matter was closed at that time.”

Ige’s chief of staff, Mike McCartney, provided the Star-Advertiser with a 2007 letter from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands that read in part, “The state of BoA contributions toward fulfillment of its commitment appear to be in order. The Department of Home Lands (DHHL) is therefore pleased to formally acknowledge that the $150,000,000 commitment has been met by Bank of America.”

But Bumpy Kanahele, who was involved in the effort that led to Bank of America’s $150 million commitment in FHA 247 loans, believes the total amount of mortgage loans that Bank of America provided “was clearly exaggerated.”

In all, Kanahele — CEO of the Aloha First Hawaiian sovereignty organization — believes the bank only completed 10 percent of its obligation, or less than $15 million in loans, by 2002.

With interest, Kanahele believes Bank of America should be responsible for as much as $300 million worth of mortgages to Native Hawaiians on Hawaiian homelands….

read … Unmet promises of mortgage loans lead to dispute

Hounded by Senators, Hawaii Tourism Authority board votes to fire president and CEO George Szigeti

SA: …The board has agreed to pay Szigeti six months of pay in a lump sum on the day after his termination, which is set for Oct. 31. The severance amount was outlined in Szigeti’s contract, which had been slated to run through 2020. Szigeti’s annual salary is $297,675, with a $15,000 protocol fund and the use of a car for state business….

“One of the major reasons that we are doing this is the difficulty in the current political climate and the difficulty in keeping our budget through the Senate,” Fried said….

Szigeti’s firing is the latest HTA shakeup. At least 11 HTA staff members, the majority in key positions, have left the organization since 2015, a high turnover rate considering that the agency has 20 full-time employees and 10 contract workers.

HTA took a $13 million legislative budget cut in May, and over the last several months has dealt with the resignations of its second- and third-ranked executives. In May, Gov. David Ige also withdrew his nomination to extend Fried’s HTA term, which expires July 1.

Fried said he doesn’t know his own status at HTA but understands that he can remain on the board as a carry-over until someone else is selected to take his place in a future legislative session.

Fried said the agency has selected a new chief operating officer to replace Randy Baldemor, but is waiting for the candidate to make it through the state’s vetting process. He said HTA is reviewing resumes for candidates to fill the position of former Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Dance.

An HTA administrative committee — including Craig Nakamura, Kelly Sanders and himself — plan to talk tomorrow about finding a new CEO and president, Fried said. They plan to form an executive selection committee, which would include HTA board members and stakeholders…. 

read … Fired

Sudden Media Focus on False Missile Alert Designed to Put Hanabusa Over The Top

Cataluna: …Just this week a trailer for a video documentary about the missile alert was shared all over social media. A local theater is producing a live show inspired by missile alert horror stories.

And then, best/worst of all, the emails.

State emails discussing the false alert were just released to the media, and what a tawdry tale they tell about lousy management, poor preparation, thoughtless procedures and — yup, just like all those snarky jokes — state workers sleeping on the job.

Even releasing the emails couldn’t be accomplished without a big, embarrassing gaffe. All sorts of information was redacted, but the crosser- outter forgot to cross out the button- pusher’s name. Ai-ya!

And it all came rushing back, the fury over the incompetence and Ige’s lame defense of the indefensible and the fact that none of the people in charge seemed to give a rip that folks were so afraid that they were gonna die.

Meanwhile, with only five weeks until the primary, Hanabusa is still jogging at a leisurely pace. For someone who says she wants people to vote for her and not just against Ige, Ige’s missile debacle remains her club of choice. And it’s a great, all-purpose club for deriding weak leadership and halfhearted accountability. But Hanabusa shouldn’t let the club become a crutch. In modern times voters have short memories, and there’s always a new crisis or a fresh outrage to redirect attention. Ige can claim that everything is different at HI-EMA now: new leaders, new procedures and the whole missile-warning kuleana got taken away from the agency. All fixed, and Ige did the fixing. Yup….

read … Emails a reminder of lack of leadership

Commission recommends 14% increase in TheBus and TheHandi-Van fare

KHON:  …The Honolulu Rate Commission says fares should go up 25 cents in the beginning of next year.

For TheBus that would raise the cost of a single ride to $3 for adults.

For a monthly bus pass -- the commission suggests raising the price from $70 to $80.  (14% hike)

TheHandi-Van fare is $2 for a one-day pass….

Meanwhile: Would you like a bag? That will be 15 cents

read … Commission recommends increase in TheBus and TheHandi-Van fare

Big Island: Tallying The Growing Cost Of A Multimillion-Dollar Eruption

CB:v …Taxpayers have spent nearly $10 million, not counting damage to roads and parks. The value of private property lost, damaged or isolated is $372 million…..

read … Big Island: Tallying The Growing Cost Of A Multimillion-Dollar Eruption

Star-Adv: Pregnancy Centers Should Not Have Free Speech

SA: …Red flags should be raised whenever anyone seeking health care guidance and medical service of any sort is denied accurate, comprehensive and unbiased information (an abortion sales pitch) in a confidential setting. Something is wrong….

Background: Supreme Court voids part of crisis pregnancy center law

read … Pregnancy centers shouldn’t mislead

Supreme Court overturns gag order in case of child who died in foster care

WHT:  The Hawaii Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a Family Court’s ruling that prohibited the Kailua-Kona parents of a toddler boy, who died last year while in foster care, from speaking about the case.

Under the Family Court’s August 2017 gag order, 3-year-old Fabian Garett-Garcia’s parents were unable to speak publicly the names of their two surviving children, who were in foster care at the time, or publicly release reports or other information that “have or will” be submitted to the court relating to the case or the parents’ two surviving children….

Now, the family is awaiting results from the autopsy report to learn Fabian’s manner of death.

The Supreme Court ruled the Family Court failed to make the findings required to establish that the restriction against disclosing the children’s names could survive a First Amendment challenge and abused its discretion by prohibiting disclosure of records that have been or will be submitted to the Family Court.

Fabian was pronounced dead July 25, 2017, at North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea. According to police, officers responded to a foster home in Waimea where the child was not breathing.

Hawaii Police Department Maj. Robert Wagner said at the time the foster parents gave police an indication of what happened to the toddler throughout the day. However, details of anyone’s statements are not being released due to the ongoing investigation.

The pathologist’s report, which the Hawaii Police Department said it received Feb. 22, determined Fabian’s cause of death to be “blunt force trauma to the head,” according to a media release. The manner of death was listed as “undetermined.”

On Thursday, Wagner said the case is being reviewed by a second doctor because the first doctor couldn’t determine a manner of death….

read … Supreme Court overturns gag order in case of child who died in foster care

Civil Beat Wins Right To Intervene In HPD Arbitration Case

CB: Civil Beat has been allowed to intervene in an ongoing battle over records detailing an arbitrator’s reasoning on why a Honolulu police officer fired for domestic violence should get his job back.

State Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey P. Crabtree’s ruling Thursday grants the news organization intervenor status in a lawsuit filed by Hawaii’s police union in May to keep secret the arbitrator’s decision to return Sgt. Darren Cachola to work.

Cachola was fired by the Honolulu Police Department after a September 2014 video surfaced showing him repeatedly beating his girlfriend inside a restaurant. Cachola appealed the decision to an arbitration judge who ruled the department was in error….

read … Civil Beat Wins Right To Intervene In HPD Arbitration Case

Maui County Liquor Comm: Testifiers cite fear of retribution, changing rule interpretations; audit is underway

MN: Maui County’s liquor department and commission came under fire Tuesday night with licensees citing a lack of transparency, fear of retribution, heavy-handedness and unreasonable rule interpretations at a meeting called as part of a Maui County Council audit.

“The fear and intimidation and harassment of the liquor department is very obvious and very widespread,” restaurant owner Mike O’Dwyer said to the crowd. “It is unbelievable, and the only reason we’re having this meeting tonight is, thankfully, due to the general public.”

County Council Chairman Mike White called for the open forum at the Kihei Community Center as part of a performance audit of the department. An outside consulting firm hosted the gathering and asked attendees to provide input on the efficiency and effectiveness of the licensing and permitting process.

Representatives from about 40 licensees and nonprofit groups and concerned residents attended the meeting. All who spoke were critical of the department and its governing body, the county Liquor Control Commission….

read … Licensees critical of liquor department, panel

Feds sue HMSA for alleged discrimination against disabled workers

SA: The suit was filed on behalf of Marline Reyes, who worked as a customer relations representative in HMSA’s Hilo call center starting in April 2013. HMSA granted Reyes, who has type-2 diabetes and stage-4 renal failure, one to four days off per month for medical appointments starting in August 2013, but HMSA ended the policy as of January 2014. Reyes resigned that month.

PDF: Lawsuit

read … Feds sue HMSA for alleged discrimination against disabled workers

Sex abuse victims from decades ago will have another chance to file claims

HNN: …The window for sex abuse victims to file civil suits will reopen through the year 2020.

Gov. David Ige will not veto Senate Bill 2719, which means it will become law on July 9.

The measure allows victims to override the statute of limitations to file sex abuse claims….

Rosenberg says he has since spoken with many others who weren't ready to tell their stories but could be in the next two years….

Opponents of the bill included the state Attorney General's office, which feared frivolous claims and said it was unfair to institutions, like hospitals, schools or churches, which may not have the records or witnesses needed to defend against very old cases because so much time had passed….

read … Sex abuse victims from decades ago will have another chance to file claims       

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