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Friday, May 10, 2019
May 10, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:53 PM :: 3421 Views

Biomess: Hawaii Supreme Court Overturns PUC Approval of Hu Honua

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted May 8, 2019

Audit the Rail: Why does it matter?

Legislature pau, but its new taxes live on

UH Law School Confab Outlines Plan to Sue Big Oil Over ‘Climate Change’

IM: … Attorney Alyssa Johl, a veteran international environmental and human rights campaigner discussed how Exxon conducted extensive research on climate change in the 1970s and came to the conclusion that climate change is real.

Exxon adopted two strategies: internally they sought to change how their infrastructure was designed so it could withstand the climate threat, and externally they led national and international efforts to finance anti-climate think tanks and to discredit science and scientists.

Ann Carlson is the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and the Faculty Co-Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. She is a leading scholar of climate change and air pollution law and policy.

Carlson discussed the growing science of attribution where the severity of specific weather events can be tied to climate change. Other events can be shown as only possible due to climate change.

The target needs to be the Carbon Majors, the specific multinational companies that account for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions over the past 200 years.

Exxon began fortifying their infrastructure while informing the public that there was no problem.

Vic Sher has served as a litigator and consultant on behalf of communities and non-governmental organizations against the world’s most powerful polluters and largest law firms.

Sher served as New York City’s lead trial counsel in the City of New York v. ExxonMobil, a federal jury trial over MTBE contamination in Queens that resulted in a verdict for the City of $104.7 million.

Vic Sher discussed the arc of litigation, the first wave of nuisance suits that failed, the lessons learned, and the new wave of nuisance suits aimed at the Carbon Majors, for recovering costs for current and future impacts caused by emissions that have already been released into the atmosphere…. 

CLN: Hawaii Leaders Mull Potential of Climate Liability Cases

read … Hawai'i Law School Holds Climate Litigation Conference

Latest filing in Kealoha trial could lead to another delay

KHON: … The attorneys for former police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife Katherine, a former deputy prosecutor, have asked the judge to not allow several expert witnesses to testify along with some evidence because they were turned in late and would not allow the defense to adequately prepare….

Federal prosecutors have until May 15 to respond to the motion. And then the judge will schedule a hearing to make a decision….

read … Latest filing in Kealoha trial could lead to another delay

Honolulu Socialists Organizing ‘Community Bail Fund’ – Raise $198 dollars so far

CB: … Idea: Lets all pitch in and make a list of crimes committed by the criminals the Socialists spring from jail ….

“The Hawaii Community Bail Fund is a project of the Democratic Socialists of Honolulu and allies. Click here to read more about our work, or email us if you’d like to get involved.  (Or if you would like to set up your daughter on a date with someone we bail out.)”….

(Link: So far they’ve raised $198 in the last three weeks.  Where are all the rich ACLU lawyers kicking in???)

read … Let’s All Pitch In To Help Keep Criminals out on the Streets

Senators convene working group to address water use

SA: … Sens. Kai Kahele and Jarrett Keohokalole will begin overseeing monthly meetings with officials from the Department of Land and Natural Resources in an effort to ensure ranchers and farmers on the neighbor islands, as well as the electric utilities, don’t lose access to public water after the year’s end.

The rush to convene a working group comes after the Legislature adjourned without extending a deadline for an assortment of entities to obtain long-term water leases. Those users, including, among others, ranchers in Kau on Hawaii Island, farmers on Kauai and hydro-electric plants operated by the electric utilities, have for years operated under short-term permits. But in light of a 2015 court decision relating to Alexander &Baldwin’s permits on Maui, state officials have said that there doesn’t appear to be any way for it to continue issuing or extending those permits after this year….

The first working group meeting is set for May 29 at the state Capitol, according to Kahele, who sent a letter to DLNR Chairwoman Suzanne Case last week requesting the meetings. The working group is expected to include Case and top officials from DLNR’s land and water management divisions. Other stakeholders, such as officials with the Hawaii Farm Bureau, Hawaii Sierra Club and Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation may also be invited, said Kahele.

Kahele said the meetings could take place as often as twice a month and his goal is to have a clear path forward by the end of the summer.

The working group’s goals are to ensure water permit holders are able to renew their permits at the end of the year; to assist with implementing the current statute relating to water leases; and to evaluate any statutory changes that need to be made next year to help clarify the process for obtaining leases, according to Kahele’s letter to Case….

read … Senators convene working group to address water use

Ige Admin Will Issues Long Term Water Leases

CB: … Asked about what could now be done, instead of waiting until the 2020 session of the Hawaii Legislature to revive HB 1326, Gov. David Ige said last week that his administration — and in particular the state Department of Land and Natural Resources — is committed to resolving the water issue once and for all.

“We’ll make sure that DLNR has the resources it needs to work through the process,” he told reporters at a press conference after session ended May 2. “But I think people are forgetting that we are trying to issue long-term leases for water that has never, ever been done in the state of Hawaii … It has to be done right.” …

read … Long Term

Pine on Ice as Menor chairs 2 committees under new Council plan

SA: … Ron Menor emerged as among the most influential — if not the busiest — of the nine Honolulu City Council members under a revamped committee assignment plan released by new Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson on Wednesday.

Menor chairs the newly constituted Zoning, Planning and Housing Committee, which merges what was formerly the Zoning and Housing Committee with the former Planning Committee.

Menor also remains chairman of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee….

The odd person out appears to be Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, who had chaired the Zoning Committee. Anderson previously chaired the Planning Committee….

Councilman Joey Manahan continues to chair the Budget Committee while Councilman Brandon Elefante retains his title as chairman of the Transportation Committee, Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga continues to lead the Public Infrastructure, Technology and Sustainability Committee and Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi still leads the Parks, Community Services and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.

Pine runs the Business, Economic Development and Tourism Committee while Waters heads the Public Safety and Welfare Committee.

Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, who had served as interim Council chairwoman since January, leads no committee but is the Council’s vice chairwoman.

Asked by the Star-Advertiser to comment on being dropped as Zoning chairwoman, Pine voiced displeasure that the men on the Council were holding the key committee leadership roles….

read … Menor chairs 2 committees under new Council plan

Airbnb and Miami Beach Are at War. Travelers Are Caught in the Crossfire.

Cataluna: … In Miami Beach, the city sends compliance officers to pound on doors of illegal vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods and tell the tourists they have to get out.

On Oahu, government officials gnaw on their knuckles and complain that they just don’t have the enforcement, or the money for enforcement, or a system in place to get all the information to truly understand and manage the scope of the situation — anything to keep from making a bold decision.

In Miami Beach, fines for owners of illegal vacation rentals in residential neighborhood start — START! — at $20,000 and go up in $20,000 increments for every subsequent time they are caught….

NYT: Airbnb and Miami Beach Are at War. Travelers Are Caught in the Crossfire.

read … Other cities not as timid in stopping illegal rentals

Hawaii Co Council scraps plan for behind-the-scenes budget panel after getting state’s opinion

HTH: … The County Council has dropped its plan to work on the budget out of public view, after the state Office of Information Practices issued an opinion saying a subcommittee as structured would violate the Sunshine Law.

Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz withdrew her plan at Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting. Although the Finance Committee has been discussing the ad hoc committee since Feb. 20 and four members were appointed, Kierkiewicz said the group did not meet….

A few testifiers from the public urged the council to be careful about setting up a committee.

“It has the potential to be used as a means of getting around the Sunshine Law,” said Charles Grigsby, a retired engineer from Waikoloa. “We don’t want to establish a precedent of the County Council not conducting its business in a public forum.”

A so-called “permitted interaction group” made up of less than a voting majority is allowed to meet out of public view to formulate recommendations, under the Sunshine Law. But the law allows the group to simply assemble, submit one report and then disband, said OIP staff attorney Jennifer Brooks in an April 3 letter in response to a request for an opinion by county Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela.

Kierkiewicz’s proposal went further than that, creating a committee that would submit reports through three phases of investigation. Brooks’ letter said the committee could do that if it had public meetings and otherwise complied with the Sunshine Law….

read … Council budget process to remain public

Maui Council Connections: King Can Vote on Land Developer’s Interests

MN: … The Maui County Board of Ethics on Wednesday advised council Chairwoman Kelly King that she could vote on Waikapu Country Town matters before the council after disclosing her business ties to one of the project’s landowners.

The panel finalized its written opinion Wednesday after King sought guidence. One of the landowners for the project is a landlord to the King’s family business outside Waikapu.

At the board’s April meeting, at which King appeared, members agreed that King may vote on land-use bills relating to the Waikapu Country Town project or any amendments to the bills, but only after she disclosed her relationship to Waiale 905 Partners, one of the landowners for the town project, said Corporation Counsel Gary Murai.

King’s husband, Robert, is the member/manager for Imua Energy Maui LLC, which is a tenant of Waiale 905 Partners, Murai said at Wednesday’s meeting in the Planning Department Conference Room….

read … Board: King can vote on Waikapu housing project

Suit alleges woman wrongfully spent 75 days at Hawaii jail because of a mistake

HNN: … Elizabeth Cornel was released from prison on parole in 2007 and her sentence entirely expired.

But last year she was jailed again on a seven-year-old parole violation warrant and sent to the Oahu Community Correctional Center.

“I wish that we could point to malicious prosecution. Instead we have malicious stupidity ... just simply not doing their job,” her attorney Myles Breiner said.

He said Cornel spent about 75 days in OCCC before the mistake was cleared up. …

read … Suit alleges woman wrongfully spent 75 days at Hawaii jail because of a mistake

Honolulu Police Department was working on detainer for released OCCC inmate

SA: … OCCC released Webb because he served his five days for a petty misdemeanor and no detainer had been received by the jail to hold him past his scheduled release time.

DPS defended OCCC’s actions.

DPS “jails and prisons abide solely by court and parole orders for the intake and release of those assigned to our custody,” the department said.

“We cannot hold those assigned to our custody beyond their court/parole ordered release date without legitimate documentation that directs continued incarceration.” …

read … Honolulu Police Department was working on detainer for released OCCC inmate

Relatives of OCCC inmate who was fatally shot after escape to sue state

HNN: … Attorney Eric Seitz, who represents Maurice Arrisgado Jr.'s family, also alleged that the state failed to give Arrisgado adequate medical treatment after he was shot.

“What we know is that he ran away. We know that was somehow facilitated by carelessness of the staff. We know that he was shot in the back," said Seitz.

“We have also heard through the media that the bullets that were used to kill him were especially lethal and were not authorized for them to be using.” …

Arrisgado, who had a prior theft conviction, was in OCCC after he allegedly stabbed a plainclothes police officer.

When an adult corrections officer accidentally left an exterior door ajar, he bolted.

Sources said that same guard chased him out the door and caught up with him near St. Anthony’s Church, where he shot him in the back.

But instead of calling an ambulance for immediate treatment, Arrisgado’s attorney says ACOs took him to OCCC’s infirmary….

read … Relatives of OCCC inmate who was fatally shot after escape to sue state

Cops, Prosecutors Want Gov To Veto Seized Property Bill

CB: … A measure to reform the state’s heavily criticized civil asset forfeiture program has cleared the Legislature, but now sits on the governor’s desk with no apparent signs of whether it will become law.

Supporters are urging Gov. David Ige to sign it while police and prosecutors, who would lose substantial amounts of money, want him to veto it.

The bill would change whose property can be forfeited and redirect the proceeds of forfeited property from the state Attorney General’s office to the general fund.

In fiscal year 2017, the estimated value of forfeitures ordered by law enforcement agencies across the state was about $661,000, according to the program’s latest annual report. Honolulu and Maui County police departments were two of the biggest law enforcement beneficiaries that year. …

read … Cops, Prosecutors Want Gov To Veto Seized Property Bill

Rod Becker Will Stay At State Budget Agency — But Not In The Top Job

CB: … He is the second Ige Cabinet member who the governor had hoped would continue to lead an agency but whose appointment ran into trouble in the Senate. ….

read … Rod Becker Will Stay At State Budget Agency — But Not In The Top Job

A Maui homeless camp was cleared due to community complaints

KHON: … Truckloads of personal belongings were removed this morning as 30 individuals were evicted today from this homeless encampment in Kahului where authorities say complaints have surfaced over illegal activity.

Other concerns include public health and safety.  The camp is located on land owned by the U.S. Coast Guard and is adjacent to the Family Life Center, which provides services for homeless. …

Maalea has been without a home since July of last year and has been living at this particular encampment since before Thanksgiving. Like others at the site, she has declined help and is not sure where she'll go next.  …

County officials say social workers and others have been actively and assertively engaging unsheltered people to get them housing and other much-needed services. 

"Anecdotally, I know that services here on Maui have the capacity to house every one of those people, but they've not wanted to engage in housing services so it's really quite sad," Director of the Department of Housing and Human Concerns Lori Tsuhako….

(Solution: Apply more force.)

read … A Maui homeless camp was cleared due to community complaints

NIMBYs Still Have a Chance to Kill Affordable Housing Project

CB: … A 52-unit affordable housing project on private property in Maili has received most of the city approvals it needs, but it’s still generating friction between the developer and residents of the quiet neighborhood.

Hale Makana O Maili is expected to break ground before the end of this year, according to developer Kali Watson, president of the nonprofit Hawaii Community Development Board. The $23 million project would be open to households earning 30% to 60% of area median income.

It’s the type of project that affordable housing advocates often say is desperately needed on Oahu.

But that’s no solace to some of the residents on Kulaaupuni Street who still hope to stop it. They complain….

read … NIMBY

Maui Tells High Court To Reverse CWA Ruling Amid Deal Talks

L360: Maui County, Hawaii, told the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday that the federal government doesn't have authority under the Clean Water Act to regulate pollution sources that discharge contaminants into groundwater, and urged the justices to overturn…

read … Overturn

UH Jocks Slightly Below Average

SA: … The  University of Hawaii posted the highest all-sport, multi-year Academic Progress Rate in its 15-year history.

Despite a drop by football, UH’s 18 NCAA-competing teams averaged a 981 on a 1,000-point scale over a four-year period, just short of the national average (983).

The APR is an NCAA metric that gauges academic performance toward a degree. To compete in the 2019-20 postseason, teams must achieve at least a 930 four-year APR, which predicts, on average, a 50% graduation rate, the NCAA said….

read … 981

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