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Friday, April 5, 2019
April 5, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:44 PM :: 3834 Views

Levinson: Ballard's Second Amendment Stance 'Could Precipitate Legal Catastrophe'

Kiss of Death: OHA Endorses Amended Water Bill Just Before Senate Committee Kills It

#AuditTheRail finally on track!

OHA Trustees Approve New Governance Framework

OHA Gives $500K to Nonprofits

DLNR Seeks Bidders to Redevelop Ala Wai Harbor

Hawaii: Anti-Gun Bills Eligible for Floor Vote

Dela Cruz: If A&B Can’t Have Water then Nobody Can

SA: … A Senate committee Thursday killed a bill that would have allowed an assortment of utilities, landowners, ranchers and farmers to continue accessing public water under revocable permits while they worked to satisfy stringent state requirements for obtaining long-term leases.

The move by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee, jeopardizes the continuation of hydroelectric plants on Kauai and Hawaii island, as well as ranchers’ access to water for cattle operations, while also satisfying staunch critics of Alexander &Baldwin, which was allowed by the state to divert hundreds of millions of gallons of water annually from streams in East Maui for its sugar cane operations.

It’s not clear why Dela Cruz shelved the bill. But Sen. Kai Kahele, chairman of the Water and Land Committee, who tried to amend the bill Thursday to allow all users except for A&B to maintain their water use, said it could be “catastrophic” for small ranchers and farmers….

The bill had sparked strong opposition from groups such as the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. and Hawaii Sierra Club which argued it benefited A&B to the tune of $62 million.

A&B recently sold extensive tracts of land in Central Maui to Mahi Pono LLC, a farming venture that is hoping to replace the company’s former sugar cane fields with diversified agriculture. A&B stands to lose $62 million if water to the land is disrupted, according to the sale agreements….

Dela Cruz didn’t explain why he killed the bill, but his move elicited confusion and gasps from the people in the hearing room.

(Its obvious: If A&B can’t have water than everybody else can’t have water either.)

Kahele’s proposed version of the bill, which would have excluded A&B, had just narrowly passed his Water and Land Committee.

Kahele’s proposed amendments to House Bill 1326 had gained the support of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs earlier in the day when trustees voted in favor of it….

Marti Townsend, executive director of the Hawaii Sierra Club, said after the hearing that it was disappointing that Kahele’s proposal didn’t pass.

“Our concern has always been the excessive diversion of streams for private profit,” she said, adding that Kahele’s measure “was a perfect balance.”

(Perfect Balance = $62M of ‘private profit’ for Shan Tsutsui and the anti-GMO squad at Mahi Pono? -- BUT A&B says its not that simple....)

Related: Kiss of Death: OHA Endorses Amended Water Bill Just Before Senate Committee Kills It 

MT: ‘It’s Hawai‘i, Jake’: In the State Legislature, water legislation grows murkier

read … Hang Together because A&B won’t hang separately

Screw A&B—Part 2: Surprising Support For New Tax On Hawaii’s Powerful Real Estate Interests

CB: … Past efforts to tax REITs, which own $18 billion of property locally, have gone nowhere. This session, the proposal has already passed the full Senate and House committees….

read … Surprising Support For New Tax On Hawaii’s Powerful Real Estate Interests

Two HPD officers indicted after allegedly making a homeless man lick a toilet

KITV: …HPD officers John Rabago and Reginald Ramones were said to deprive an individual of his constitutional right to be free from an unreasonable seizure by a law enforcement officer on or about January 28th, 2018….

(What this was about: "Homeless Drug addict was with a police officer’s daughter."

The conspiracy charges carry a maximum of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The deprivation of rights under color of law carries a maximum term of one-year in prison and a max fine of $100,000. 

The case is being investigated by the Honolulu Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation….

SA:  2 Honolulu police officers indicted for allegedly forcing homeless man to lick urinal

Feb 24, 2018: Homeless Drug addict was with a police officer’s daughter.

Flashback: Family: 4 officers at center of FBI probe also Dunked Victim in Toilet 

FBI: Two Honolulu Police Officers Charged With Federal Civil Rights Offenses

read … Two HPD officers indicted after allegedly making a homeless man lick a toilet

SB567: Will Legislators Let us Round up Homeless Mentally Ill?

SA Editorial: … One important element is to provide the funds for staffing of psychologists, attorneys and other professionals needed to implement a law to get more of the chronically homeless into treatment.

The Assisted Community Treatment Act allows a person to petition Family Court to order a family member suffering from mental illness or substance abuse into treatment. It’s critical that lawmakers finally put the financial muscle behind the 2013 law, and passing Senate Bill 567 would help accomplish that….

read … ACT

Overrun by Homeless Drug Addicts, Chinatown Merchants May Hire Security Guards

KITV: … When KITV4 arrived at the intersection of Maunakea and Pauahi Streets, we saw a couple people standing on the public sidewalk yelling at noone in particular. This is a common sight on the streets of Chinatown, says Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, a member of the Chinatown neighborhood board who walks the streets every morning to make sure all is right in her neighborhood. "This is all day long. People yelling and screaming. They're high on drugs, they can't control themselves," she says.

People who live and work here say there's also a constant threat of crime. Shubert-Kwock tells us that, by coincidence on the day of our interview, "This morning a homeless guy attacked me. He was mad because I wouldn't give him a dollar."

Thursday night, the neighborhood board meets to talk about how to fix this. Members will consider officially supporting City Council Bill 10 that would set aside $200,000 to pay for private security guards to patrol the area.

read … Some Chinatown residents, businesses seek help in fighting crime

Guam Begins Process to Legalize Recreational Use of Marijuana

GPDN: Guam legalized the adult use of marijuana on Thursday when Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed the contentious recreational cannabis bill into law.

The new law allows those at least 21 years old to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.

"We must regulate this illicit drug that is the most widely used drug in our society," the governor said. "We have to take it and control it, monitor its use and effects, benefit from its medicinal efforts, allow our people to live in a safer environment." …

The Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019, now Public Law 35-5, establishes a nine-member Cannabis Control Board to oversee the testing, manufacturing, licensing, packaging and production of marijuana. The board has up to a year to develop rules and regulations, which are subject to the Legislature's approval. 

Ridgell made it clear that a cannabis testing facility is required before the industry could move forward, or before any legal sales could begin….

read … Guam Legalizes Recreational Use of Marijuana

UPW Backs Espinda Reappointment

HNN: … During his own opportunity to speak to senators, Espinda worked to paint a picture of himself as a leader who not only has a strategic vision, but one that’s working effectively.

He claimed that the amount of overtime paid out to correctional officers ― previously a frequent area of criticism when it came to Hawaii’s prison system ― had fallen for four consecutive years, amounting to a six-figure dollar reduction from when he was first appointed.

The number of furlough inmates who walked away from those programs last year was about a third of what it was five years ago, Espinda said. And the department has not been forced to cancel any regularly-scheduled prison visitations while he's held the post.

“Even though (the Oahu Community Correctional Center) has increased its visitation program from two days to seven days, there has not been a single visitation cancelled during my tenure. Not one," said Espinda. "That’s 100 percent turnaround.”…

Senate Public Safety Committee Chairman Clarence Nishihara has already said he will not be recommending Espinda for the position. But it’s not yet clear how the full Senate vote on Espinda’s appointment will turn out.

Nishihara said Thursday that the committee will decide whether or not to recommend Espinda to the full Senate at a hearing on April 11 at 1:15 p.m….

Despite the problems, Gov. David Ige stood by Espinda on Wednesday, saying that he remains the right man for the job and that he’s been able to use the resources he has to make key changes….

SA: Top corrections staff also have come out in support of Espinda, as has the United Public Workers

read … Embattled Public Safety director testifies at confirmation hearing

Vital piece of evidence in investigation into Maui jail riot goes missing

HNN: … An internal memo provided to Hawaii News Now confirms that a SIM card from one of the cameras inside the jail that may have recorded the riot cannot be found.

Maui correctional leaders sent out the internal memo asking for the card to be returned.

The memo characterizes the SIM card as a “vital part” of the ongoing investigation.

A SIM card stores data, and in this case would contain the recordings captured on the day of the riot.

It’s unclear how many cameras were collecting video evidence of the riot, or if they were damaged in the melee….

Anonymous UPW Members: Full Text: MCCC Officers Tell Riot Story, Slam 'Upper Echelons' of PSD 

read … Evidence in the riot at Maui Prison is missing

Caldwell’s plan for monthly garbage fee could be trashed

SA: … Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s plan to impose a $5 monthly curbside trash pickup fee on Oahu households may be tossed into the rubbish heap, Honolulu City Council Budget Chairman Joey Manahan said.

“I don’t think the members are going to accept trash fees,” Manahan said during a break from a marathon budget briefing that spilled over from Wednesday and into Thursday.

Manahan’s committee Thursday voted to move out a version of Bill 14 that removes all dollar amounts. All five committee members present voted yes “with reservations.” Several committee members said they only voted to advance the plan to allow all nine Council members the chance to weigh in on it. Manahan said the bill also could move without any fee because it contains a separate section that would establish a phone-in-only system for bulky item pickup. Currently, bulky item crews roam neighborhoods during designated days once a month….

read … Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s plan for monthly garbage fee could be trashed

Waters Leads Ozawa In Money Raised And Spent In City Council Race

CB: … Tommy Waters has raised about $97,000 more in campaign contributions than Trevor Ozawa this year in the special election for Honolulu City Council District 4, which stretches from Hawaii Kai to Waikiki.

Waters reported raising $289,168 from Jan. 1 to March 29 after starting the special election period with just $285. He still has $43,487 on hand after spending about $230,000 this year, according to the latest state Campaign Spending Commission figures.

Ozawa has slightly more cash on hand with $44,226. He started the election period with about $28,000 and raised just over $192,000 while spending about $176,000….

SA: Tommy Waters raises and spends more than Trevor Ozawa in City Council race

read … Waters Leads Ozawa In Money Raised And Spent In City Council Race

Polluted Subsoil Causes 3 month Delay in Rail Station Construction

SA: … The discovery of contamination from an industrial solvent in a monitoring well near the Honolulu airport halted drilling for columns on a segment of the Honolulu rail project for more than three months, according to the rail authority.

That discovery of the solvent TCE, or trichloroethylene, triggered temporary layoffs of about 50 workers and is expected to cost the rail project “several million dollars,” said John Moore, east area construction manager for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

Monitoring wells were drilled in the area to determine whether there was any preexisting contamination in the construction area, and TCE was discovered underground Dec. 15 near the site of a former Army facility near the airport. “Some of the solvents that they used evidently got dumped on the ground and got into the water table in this area,” Moore said.

Moore told members of the HART Project Oversight Committee on Thursday that the state Department of Transportation Airports Division ordered that work stop in the area where the airport station is to be built, which idled two major drilling rigs that were working on that portion of the project.

Rail contractor Shimmick/Traylor/Granite JV then laid off more than 50 people because of the delay because they couldn’t do any work in that area, Moore said. Work on other portions of the rail guideway and stations continued, he said….

read … Solvent contamination delays rail work

HB593: Now we have green versus green

Cataluna:  … House Bill 593 would have allowed solar farms on class-A farmlands on Oahu, including lands that are being used to grow food crops. Supporters pointed to Hawaii’s goal of reaching 100% renewable energy. Detractors pointed to Hawaii’s goal of reaching food sustainability. Stand back when the green people are beefing with each other. Of course, “green” also means money…

solar projects take up a lot of land. That will continue to be a problem…

the idyllic version of farming is worlds away from the hard reality of farming. Even if it’s cruelty-free, organic, endemic, artisanal and whatever sweet marketing buzzword is currently trending, farming is still a business, and no farm can keep going on wholesome adjectives and good intentions. If the best ag lands can make more money as a solar farm than a vegetable farm…

It’s going to come up again. There are going to be competing interests, competing uses, competing ideas of what is green and what is best and what is practical for Hawaii. These arguments are not going to always shape up as good green versus bad corporate. More often they’re going to be complicated. Hawaii has limited land and limited resources. Islands can’t have everything, and even the most amazing technology carries with it its own trade-offs.

Now that we’ve passed all of these bills and resolutions requiring 100% clean, carbon-free, locally sourced, low-priced everything, now comes the hard part where we actually have to make it work….

read … G v G

DoE Forms Secret Gender Committee

CB: … Three sitting members of the committee, believed to include about 12 members, confirmed their participation to Civil Beat. The development was also briefly mentioned in an item on the March 7 Board of Education agenda laying out the superintendent’s priorities.

A DOE spokeswoman, however, has declined to confirm the committee’s existence, members’ names and identities or its specific tasks.

DOE Communications director Lindsay Chambers said on Wednesday that any inquiry on the topic will be treated as a formal public information request, “given that some of your questions address an active lawsuit.”

The committee, which has met once in March and is scheduled to meet again in July, is a revival of a long-standing working group that convened between 2001 to 2013….

Its purpose was to make recommendations to the DOE superintendent about how schools could comply with Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in any federally funded education program.

The DOE group was an extension of a commission established in 2000 under the “Gender Equity in Athletics Law,” passed by the Hawaii Legislature in 1999 in response to troubling reports of gender disparities in high school athletics that were coming to light in the years since the enactment of Title IX in 1972.

That commission’s final report, issued in 2003, noted lingering issues at the five public high schools it studied, including disproportionate sports participation rates by girls compared to their total student enrollment and need for facilities’ upgrades, according to ACLU’s lawsuit….

read … Following Lawsuit, DOE Revives Its Gender Equity Committee

Maui Council to Hire Lawyer to Sue over Mayor’s Interim Appointments 

MN: … The council’s Governance, Ethics and Transparency Committee voted 6-3 Thursday to recommend approval of a resolution to employ special counsel. The resolution now heads to the full council for approval.

Voting in favor of the measure was the resolution’s author, Vice-Chairwoman Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, as well as Chairwoman Kelly King, Tasha Kama, Tamara Paltin, Shane Sinenci and committee Chairman Mike Molina with reservations.

Those voting against the recommendation were members Riki Hokama, Yuki Lei Sugimura and Alice Lee.

The issue came to light after the council in February denied three directors — David Goode for public works, John D. Kim as prosecuting attorney and William Spence as housing director. Mayor Michael Victorino then placed the directors back in their positions on an interim basis until replacements could be found.

The Maui County Charter says that a nominee “shall not continue in office if the council denies the appointment.” The mayor then has 60 days to submit a new name. However, the section does not say who can lead those departments in the meantime….

MN: Maui: Tsuhako receives unanimous nod from committee

read … Panel votes to seek special counsel

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