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Saturday, April 6, 2019
April 6, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:35 PM :: 4572 Views

New Petition Launched to Impeach Kaneshiro

9th Circuit: City Can Only Enforce Sleeping Ban if Shelter Available

Kishimoto Demands Media Cover Up Failing Schools

DoE: Only 56% of our Grads Need Remedial Math (not counting the ones who don't go to college and the ones who don’t graduate)

UHERO: How Obamacare Affects Micronesian Health

Ige Signs 20% Death Tax into Law

KITV: … Hawaii has increased it's death tax ….

Governor Ige signed a Senate bill into law this week that raises the state's estate tax for anyone who inherits more than $10 million worth of property or money.

They'd now be subject to paying nearly $1.4 million plus 20% of their net taxable estate to the state.

Last year, President Donald Trump reduced estate taxes for America's wealthy.…

The State's tax department estimates Hawaii could get an extra $5 million per year from the tax….

2006:  Death Tax Mahele: Sens. Akaka and Inouye Vote to Take Tutu's House

read … Don’t die in Hawaii without an LLC

Does House bill’s demise affect Upcountry water?

MN: … For 13 years, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources had been extending revocable water permits that allowed A&B to divert water from East Maui. In January 2016, 1st Circuit Judge Rhonda Nishimura invalidated the permits, which were meant to be temporary. That same year, the state Legislature passed a measure — Act 126 — allowing holdover permits to continue for three years until the DLNR could create a process for long-term water leases. Act 126 ends this year.

“Hundreds of farmers and ranchers on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, along with some 30,000 Upcountry Maui residents, will be negatively impacted because there is now no legal mechanism to renew essential state water permits beyond the end of this year,” Pai said.

But even with the act about to sunset, Sylva didn’t believe that Upcountry users and small farmers and ranchers were in jeopardy.

“Even if they did nothing come the end of the year, the DLNR could exercise its discretion and renew their revocable permits for next year without the cover of a bill,” Sylva said.

That’s essentially what the DLNR did before the lawsuit and the judge’s ruling, and it could apply to those whose water uses are minimal and haven’t changed, Sylva said.

Sylva pointed out that when the judge invalidated A&B’s permits, she “expressly carved out the Maui County water delivery” to ensure Upcountry residents would still be covered….

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said that the county’s agreement with EMI “depends on it having ongoing legal access to water.”

“Whether the county can depend on EMI to deliver water depends on two factors: EMI deciding to continue to maintain and operate its Upcountry ditch system, especially the Wailoa Ditch; and on the outcome of a pending Intermediate Court of Appeals case,” Victorino said.

Pai also said that EMI’s agreement with the county “is conditioned on EMI’s continued receipt of permits or a lease from the state to collect surface waters that feed the ditch systems.” And, Pai said, those permits expire at the end of this year.

He also made it clear that A&B would not have to pay Mahi Pono a rebate of $31 million or $62 million if the bill fails to pass as some have suggested, pointing to the sales agreement with Mahi Pono. Pai called the issue a “red herring,” and the company said in statements earlier this week that “the intent of the rebate in our contract with Mahi Pono was to acknowledge the diminished value of the Central Maui agricultural lands if surface water resources were no longer available for irrigation.”

“The rebate does not hinge solely on this legislation, and the failure to pass this bill will not cost A&B $31 million or $62 million as inferred by many,”the company said….

Close to 18 percent of the Upcountry water supply, or 1.23 million gallons per day, comes from groundwater sources. The other nearly 82 percent comes from three main sources — Piiholo, which provides 2.863 mgd, or 41.7 percent; Kamole at 1.847 mgd, or 26.9 percent; and Olinda at 0.922 mgd, or 13.4 percent. Kamole, into which the Wailoa Ditch feeds, is the only source that comes from state-leased lands.

Pearson told the board that while East Maui Irrigation manages the ditches that feed raw water to Olinda and Piiholo, “those are not on state lands, so those are not affected by (HB) 1326 or revocable permits.”…

read ... Does House bill’s demise affect Upcountry water?

Lawmakers pass Red Light Camera bill through State House of Representatives

KITV: … The measure in its current form would create a committee to develop policies for all counties to follow before putting red light cameras on their streets.

"We want to make sure we roll out a system that covers all the bases and can be fully enforceable and not have to repeal it or make big changes in the following years, we want to make sure we have a system that works right away," Representative Henry Aquino, Transportation Committee Chairman said.

The bill has now passed through both the House and Senate, and now it is a conference committee and final vote away from heading to the Governor's office to possibly become law….

read … Lawmakers pass Red Light Camera bill through State House of Representatives

HB748: Fixing Hawaii’s civil asset forfeiture program

SA Editorial:  … Efforts are now underway to improve the flawed system, which has been operating for nearly three decades without taut oversight and administrative rules, including a clear process on how to retrieve seized property. This is an asset forfeiture operation, the audit quantified, that reaped property forfeitures totaling nearly $11.6 million in fiscal years 2006-2015, and with funds not going to intended purposes.

House Bill 748 is advancing in the Legislature and poised for conference-committee wrangling. Post-audit, the Attorney General’s Office, which is charged with administering the asset forfeiture program, said it is working to shore up administrative rules. That might not be enough, though, to quell lingering distrust of overzealous seizures without criminal charges ….

read … Fixing Hawaii’s civil asset forfeiture program

Gut & Replace --- Hawai’i State Energy Office

IM: … Two years ago, the State Auditor slammed the Hawai`i State Energy Office (HSEO) as a rudderless entity that can`t state how its programs contribute to state energy goals and the entity has little meaningful interaction with others. (DBEDT Energy Office Slammed by Legislative Auditor)

For example, the Energy Office worked backward in 2016. “The Energy Office signed a $250,000-plus contract to design an energy innovation center and seven months later signed another contract to determine if the State needs one.”

This year, House Bill 852 was written to “establish the operating budget for the fiscal biennium beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2021, for state executive branch programs under the purview of the house of representatives standing committee on energy and environmental protection.”

In a Gut & Replace procedure with only a few hours notice, Senator Wakai re-wrote and then heard HB 852 SD1 to make the Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) an independent entity administratively attached to DBEDT.

Only DBEDT submitted formal comments. They endorsed the plan….

read … Gut & Replace --- Hawai’i State Energy Office

Another CWS Fail: Lawsuit filed in toddler death

HTH: … The parents of a 3-year-old who died in 2017 while in foster care are suing the state, Catholic Charities, the caregivers and others for the wrongful death of their son.

The “horrific injuries” that caused Fabian Garett-Garcia’s “tragic, untimely, and wrongful death” on July 25, 2017, were the result of negligence by the state Department of Human Services and its contract provider Catholic Charities, state-licensed caregivers Chasity Alcosiba-McKenzie and Clifton McKenzie and others yet to be named, the lawsuit filed Thursday in 3rd Circuit Court alleges….

As the civil litigation gets rolling, prosecutors haven’t yet filed criminal charges in Fabian’s death — despite police having arrested back in August 2018 Fabian’s caregiver, Chastity Alcosiba-McKenzie, on suspicion of attempted second-degree murder.

The arrest followed police earlier that month receiving findings from a forensic pathologist determining Fabian died from non-accidental blunt force trauma to the head….

Hawaii Fire Department personnel found “Fabian lifeless and lying face down beside a pool of his own vomit on a bed” in the McKenzie residence, the lawsuit that references an incident report states. Responders also observed, “various stages of bruising” throughout Fabian’s head, neck and body and “copious amounts of brown-color food-type vomitus in his throat.”

Alcosiba-McKenzie and/or McKenzie — whom the state licensed, appointed and compensated to provide temporary custodial care for the children — told responders the bruising was caused by a fall from a 3-foot bench two weeks prior, according to the lawsuit.

At the Waimea hospital, ER personnel “immediately suspected Fabian was a victim of child abuse,” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit claims a chart note contained in “capital letters that domestic abuse is ‘SUSPECTED.’” It also states physicians noted bruising on Fabian’s forehead, right lateral orbital bone, left eyelid, left cheek to scalp line, right cheek, left chin, right forearm, left scapular region left flank and under the right eye, as well as subconjuntival hemorrhage in both eyes….

read … Lawsuit filed in toddler death

Over 25,000 Votes Cast in Special Election

KITV: …  So far more than 25,000 mail-in ballots have been received and 168 in-person votes.

If you live in District 4 between parts of Ala Moana to Hawaii Kai and have not filled out a ballot, there is walk-in voting at Honolulu Hale.

It runs through next Saturday April 13th until 6 p.m. …

SA: City Council candidate Trevor Ozawa accuses opponent Tommy Waters of avoiding debates or something

read … Updated numbers for Special Election District 4 seat

Judge OKs recorded testimony from 99-year old key witness in Kealoha case

HNN:  … Florence Puana, former deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha’s grandmother, had heart surgery this week and still needs another operation.

And on Friday, U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright ruled that the 99-year old can have her testimony pre-recorded in case she cannot make it to court for the trial.

The government considers Puana a key witness, and described her testimony in court documents as “central to establishing one of the motives behind the charged conspiracy.” ….

KHON: Yet Another Psychiatrist not fooled by Kealoha

read …  Judge OKs recorded testimony from 99-year old key witness in Kealoha case

Riot at Maui CCC caused $5 million damage

KHON: … Inmates caused $5.3 million in damage during a riot last month at Maui Community Correctional Center. Governor Ige is now asking lawmakers to add that money to the general funds for emergency repairs. He's also asking for $8 million in the capital improvement budget for next fiscal year to be used for long-term fixes. …

read … Riot at Maui CCC caused $5 million damage

Maui Police Dept. internally investigating if traffic section misused money

KHON: … Maui police are investigating allegations of theft and misuse of money by one of the divisions, when it was run by a now-retired lieutenant.  The fact that an internal administrative inquiry is underway is just part of the story. It took years beyond when initial red-flags were raised to make that happen, and allegations of improper deeds go beyond just money.

Always Investigating has confirmed that MPD's Traffic section is under the microscope with an internal administrative investigation involving misuse of funds.

Sources say it's connected to whistleblower allegations that surfaced about 3 years ago, as part of a routine staff survey the department has to do for national accreditation. Traffic section officers told higher-ups a lieutenant was falsifying hazard pay, padding overtime and travel time, and getting freebies like food and sunglasses while on the job in uniform. Traffic grant money was allegedly being mismanaged….

But it's been years since the issues surfaced, and a whistleblower report Always Investigating obtained says there was lackluster response until the matter was escalated to the mayor's office and Maui Police Commission. The lieutenant in question has since retired, but some are calling for more accountability from the chief.

A recent Police Commission letter Always Investigating verified said the "complaint warranted a full investigation."

While MPD is tracking money issues, the allegations go beyond dollars and cents. Staff allege there was crime-scene mishandling, including the deadly Hana highway crash involving bickering twin sisters who went over a cliff, resulting in a homicide investigation. Surveys we obtained said the traffic division didn't properly involve the criminal division until a full day after the suspicious crash, leading to attempts to move the vehicle and potential crime scene too soon.

Staff alleged the former lieutenant played favorites when busting intoxicated drivers, ordering officers to let a friend go, and to not arrest another friend’s son.

Surveys expressed concern about officers being released too soon from a deadly hit and run scene, with the supervisor supposedly saying of the victim: "It's not like the guy was an outstanding citizen."

We asked Maui police if the other allegations of crime-scene mishandling and drunk-driver leniency will also be looked into, since the internal investigation right now is just focusing on money issues. We're awaiting response from the Maui Police Commission on whether and when they'll take up the matter.

read … Maui Police Dept. internally investigating if traffic section misused money

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