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Saturday, March 9, 2019
March 9, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:31 PM :: 2612 Views

GE Tax Hike a Lose-Lose Proposition

SB931: Tourism Industry Aims to Shut Down Aquarium Fishery

FSM Election 2019 Certified Results

Legislation Introduced to Repeal Jones Act

DPP: Shortage of New Affordable Housing Triples

Legislation Introduced to Repeal Jones Act

While Collecting Honorifics from Chinese Communists, UH Manoa Also Gets Spyware

HART’s disarray shows need for more oversight, not less

SA: … Wednesday’s headline: “Lawmakers aim to scale back rail scrutiny” (Star-Advertiser, March 6). The reason? The state auditor said he is having difficulty getting complete records from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and the city.

Thursday’s headline: “State fires firm auditing rail change orders” (Star-Advertiser, March 7). The reason? The auditor had concerns about the accuracy of the information that was being reported.

So HART’s financial dealings are such a swamp that the auditor believes he cannot produce an accurate report. How can that possibly be a reason to drop financial oversight on this project that has so clearly gone off the rails? …

SA: Honolulu Council formally calls for forensic audit of rail

read … HART’s disarray shows need for oversight

Mauna Kea: OHA Still Grifting for Money

HNN: … “Mauna Kea has been mismanaged for over 50 years,” said former Hawaii supreme court associate justice (OHA lawyer) Robert Klein. He was among those blaming management plans for allowing 13 telescopes on a mountain that many consider to be sacred (unless rent is paid, then its real estate.)….

“If you truly want us to be a symbol to the world for aloha for peace, then I ask you, why do you keep asking us to bear the burden (without some cash)?" asked Camille Kalama, an attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation. Her comment drew strong applause….

“We should talk about decommissioning, if (we are not paid) that’s a way of solving some of the issues,” said Klein, drawing another round of loud applause.

The telescope still as to meet several conditions from the state before construction can even begin. Even though that could still be a few years away, there are already opponents who are keeping vigil on the mountain….

read … Despite approvals, TMT, Mauna Kea management plans still draw fire

Honolulu residents one step closer to paying for trash pickup

KHON: … Bill 13 was brought up by Mayor Kirk Caldwell last week as part of his $2.83 billion operating budget.

The bill proposed a $5 monthly or $60 annual refuse fee for residences. He says it would generate about $5.5 million dollars a year.

This isn't the first time a trash fee has been brought up, and just like in the past, it was met with opposition from residents at the City Council hearings on Friday.

The City Council has rejected the fee in the past, but today only one council member was fully against the idea.

"Every time it's come up residents are in strong opposition,” said councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi (D) Mililani Mauka, Haleiwa, Sunset Beach, Kahaluu. 

She says it’s creating another fee for service that’s already included in resident’s real property tax. …

read … Honolulu residents one step closer to paying for trash pickup

Small Boat Harbors Need New Management: DLNR Wants More Money But Hasn’t Earned It

HTH: … Boat captains were united in their comments during a Thursday evening public hearing on a state proposal to raise docking and mooring fees: What are we paying for already?

A group of about 20 people applauded and nodded their heads as speaker after speaker went to the microphone to describe deteriorating ramps and docks, vandalism, drug use and theft and a lack of amenities such as electricity and water. They’ve paid dock fees for decades, several said, and they’ve seen little to no upkeep.

“We already pay far more than the services we receive,” said Debbie Weeks, who keeps a sailboat at Wailoa harbor. “If we need to raise fees because of the costs, then what are the costs and should we be considering new management?”

Testifiers said boat owners at Big Island harbors have paid substantially out of their own pockets for such amenities as establishing electric hookups and making moorings compliant with Army Corps of Engineers regulations.

“It is what it is. Nobody shows up and you have to take care of it for yourself,” said Robert Duerr, who’s kept a boat at Wailoa harbor since 1986. “When it goes up, are we going to get anything? Probably not.”….

(IDEA: Place each harbor under control of a management board elected by slip renters with a budget taken from the rental fees.)

read … Public hearing brings out testifiers wanting improvements if fees are going up

For city officials on paid leave, taxpayers pay now or pay a lot more later

KHON: … Two of the city's highest paid officials are on leave while still collecting their salary.

This, as federal investigators determine if Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and City Corporation Counsel Donna Leong broke any laws.

So why are taxpayers still forced to pay their salary?

Experts say it's better to pay them now and presume they are innocent. Otherwise, taxpayers could wind up paying a lot more.

Kaneshiro and Leong have received target letters from federal investigators and have agreed to take a leave of absence with pay.

Kaneshiro's annual salary is around $170,712 which comes out to $3,283 a week.

Leong makes $165,552 a year, a weekly income of $3,184. She's been on paid leave for about three weeks. So taxpayers, so far, have shelled out $9,551 while she remains on leave.

"It certainly smells bad….

read … For city officials on paid leave, taxpayers pay now or pay a lot more later

The Kealohas Could Lose Their Taxpayer-Funded Lawyers

CB: … When Louis and Katherine Kealoha were assigned publicly funded defense lawyers in November 2017 it was because a federal judge found they were too broke to afford their own attorneys.

At the time, U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright focused mostly on the mortgage for the Kealohas’ $1.3 million Hawaii Kai home.

Seabright said that after reviewing the Kealohas’ financial situation it appeared that the mortgage on the home ate up most of Louis Kealoha’s pension from the Honolulu Police Department, which is estimated to be around $150,000 a year plus benefits.

But now that the home is in foreclosure and a sale is pending to a new owner, federal prosecutors have asked if the Kealohas still deserve taxpayer-funded legal counsel…. 

SA: Just say no to Kealoha fund request

read … The Kealohas Could Lose Their Taxpayer-Funded Lawyers

Public Safety chief appears headed for a fight at Legislature to keep his job

HNN: … Halfway through this year’s session, the Senate Public Safety Committee still hasn’t scheduled Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda’s confirmation hearing.

The committee chair said he first wants to hold hearings on the department’s management, while others want the agency audited.

Espinda oversees an agency that’s been involved in two fatal shootings so far this year.

Just last week, an inmate escaped from OCCC and was fatally shot by a corrections officer….

Sources said 11 senators oppose Espinda’s nomination and seven support it. Another seven are undecided….

One issue that’s sure to come up: Recent promotions by Espinda.

Reid Ogata, for instance, was named first deputy Friday, making him the highest-ranking civil servant in the sheriffs division….

Ogata oversaw the Sheriff’s Capitol Patrol Section when Delmar Espejo was shot and killed last month after he allegedly attacked an officer.

Deputy sheriffs were also involved in a confrontation last October that ended with police killing a man.

Critics said Ogata’s promotion should have been put on hold until those probes are complete….

HNN:   As DPS investigates shootings, a controversial promotion is happening

read … Public Safety chief appears headed for a fight at Legislature to keep his job

Former HPD officer accused of sexually assaulting a military wife

HNN: … A former Honolulu police officer is accused of sexually assaulting a military wife while she was in his custody two years ago at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, a federal lawsuit claims.

According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim was intoxicated and assaulted a female friend who called police.

The court filing said the officer was in uniform and armed at the time.

The officer was never charged.

The state Attorney General is now (supposedly) investigating….

read … Former HPD officer accused of sexually assaulting a military wife

Soft on Crime: Shoot a Weed Dealer Get 5 Years

KGI: … Prosecutors have dropped attempted-murder, robbery and firearms charges against a 25-year-old Lihue resident who was accused of shooting a man in a drug deal gone wrong last year.

William Cuadros pleaded no contest Thursday to second-degree assault, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail. He had faced a potential sentence of life without parole for the charges initially brought against him — second-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery and carrying or use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony…. 

(5 years max = will be out real soon)

According to a memorandum filed by Kauai County prosecutors, the shooting victim had placed an ad on Craigslist to sell medical (LOL!) marijuana and arranged via email to meet with a potential buyer in an area near Salt Pond around 8:30 on the night of Jan. 11, 2018.

At the appointed time, someone (a patient in need) pulled up next to the victim’s vehicle in a white Ford F-150 truck, “got out and started shooting at the complainant,” the memo said….

read … Medical, Yeah

Maui Organic Food Activist is a Child Molester

HTH: …A prominent Maui organic farmer who molested four minor girls on Hawaii Island between 1998 and 2007 will be sentenced to prison on lesser charges….

Michael Martin Zelko pleaded no contest Friday to 11 counts of third-degree sexual assault….

According to the original indictment dated Aug. 10, 2016, the youngest victim was 5 years old when the sexual abuse started, and all were younger than 10…/.

Zelko, who is free on bail awaiting sentencing, is well-known in farming and gardening circles and, prior to his indictment, conducted workshops statewide.

…A brief bio on the website of Maui’s Haliimaile Community Garden, which apparently has since been removed, described Zelko as “a farmer, teacher and consultant throughout Hawaii” and “past president of Hawaii Sustainable Ag Association, owner of Zelko Farms, Hawaii Agricultural Products and Services and MidPacific Nutraceuticals.”…

read … Child molester agrees to plea deal

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