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Friday, June 21, 2019
June 21, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:08 PM :: 2897 Views

‘De facto ban’ could poison tourism well

OHA board appoints interim chief executive officer

Prosecutors: Attorney Sumida Stole Evidence from File and Lied On The Witness Stand

CB: … On Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat asked Judge J. Michael Seabright if he could present evidence to the jury that Sumida lied when he was called to the witness stand earlier in the week to testify on Kealoha’s behalf.

Sumida was questioned Tuesday about his role in the civil litigation, which ultimately resulted in a judgment in favor of Kealoha.

But on cross-examination Wheat had pointed out that the case was fraught with issues, and that it appears Kealoha had used forged documents when allegedly bilking Puana and his mother out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Then, during Thursday’s proceedings, Wheat told Seabright that he and others in the courtroom, including U.S. Marshal Charles Goodwin saw Sumida thumbing through files on the witness stand during a brief break in the trial Tuesday.

When the break was over Wheat asked Sumida on three separate occasions whether he was looking through the files. Each time Sumida said that he wasn’t.

Wheat said he wanted to call Goodwin to testify about his observations in the courtroom and to show the jury a video of Sumida flipping through his files and reading documents.

Wheat said it appeared Sumida might have actually taken something from the files.

“It goes to his credibility as a witness and his truthfulness and veracity on the witness stand,” Wheat said.

Seabright acknowledged that he had seen the video, and that there was “no doubt” that Sumida was looking through the papers, which the government had seized as evidence.…

read … Nailed

SB1292: Governor Still Deciding Whether to Veto TVR Tax Bill

SA: …The state’s top attorneys say a contentious bill approved by this year’s Legislature and sitting on Gov. David Ige’s desk does not legalize thousands of vacation rentals in noncompliance with county laws or bar the counties from enforcing its laws against the owners of such units.

But Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Thursday that he still will urge Ige to veto the bill because it does not contain provisions that assist the city in its enforcement of vacation rentals as spelled out in two bills approved Monday by the Honolulu City Council that are awaiting his action.

Ige, who has until Monday to declare his intention to veto any bills passed by this year’s Legislature, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that he and his staff are still researching the impacts of Senate Bill 1292. The bill requires vacation rental hosting platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway to collect taxes owed by the operators of the rentals advertising on their sites….

read … Paying taxes doesn’t make vacation rentals legal, state attorneys say

City budget for nearly $3 billion approved without mayor’s signature

HNN: … Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Thursday he’s allowing a nearly $3 billion city budget to go into law without his signature.

The budget includes higher taxes on hotels and investment homes to help the city fight homelessness, enforce rules on illegal vacation rentals and improve city parks.

“When I became mayor, I never thought I’d be arguing about whether there should be sand replenishment on a beach, or a playground in a park, and yet we face those challenges,” Caldwell said.

The budget also includes more funds for medical triage for the homeless, as well as the rejuvenation of Ala Moana Regional Park.

And the city construction budget includes money for affordable housing, demolition and eventual redevelopment of the Blaisdell Center and funds to improve the zoo, roads and wastewater systems…..

read … City budget for nearly $3 billion approved without mayor’s signature

Caldwell Says Property Tax Hikes Will Cover Rail Operations

CB: … City finance officials estimate the hotels and investment home tax increases under City Council Resolution 19-55 will generate an additional $17 million and $14 million respectively in the next fiscal year — a combined $31 million.

Caldwell, meanwhile, said the city now estimates it would cost $37 million when the elevated transit line opens for interim service as far as Aloha Stadium — and then $80 million in its first full year of service.

Furthermore, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has estimated it will cost between $127 million and $144 million to run rail in 2026….

(Hey only $113M short each year what could go wrong?)

Earlier this year, Caldwell expressed hope of using the revenues from proposed trash-collection fees to help fund rail operations….

read … Caldwell: Tax Hikes On Hotels, Investment Homes Can Cover Rail Operations

Budget becomes law without Mayor Harry Kim’s signature

HTH: … In a letter sent to council members Wednesday, Kim took issue with the $1.6 million the council added to the budget and the added expenditure of $1 million from fund balance reserves, of which $630,000 went into council members’ own contingency spending accounts.

“While the fund balance increase is still within our estimates, we need to be conservative in our spending,” Kim said in his letter. “It should be pointed out that the expected fund balance is primarily the result of departments being urged to cut spending where possible because of the anticipated 2019-20 collective bargaining and other needs.

The mayor noted that the county thus far has completed collective bargaining or arbitration with just three of the county’s eight bargaining units. The administration has estimated the additional costs of those units, but the estimate may not prove accurate, he said.

Kim also objected to the transfer of $8.3 million in overtime funding from individual departments to the Finance Department, where council notification will be required when the money is moved back to departments for overtime.”….

read … Budget becomes law without Mayor Harry Kim’s signature

Maui Water Board to Buy Ditch System?

MN: … The Board of Water Supply discussed Thursday the possibility of Maui County purchasing and maintaining the East Maui Irrigation water delivery system and turning it into a public utility.

The water diversion system owned by Alexander & Baldwin and Mahi Pono uses miles of tunnels, ditches and siphons to bring East Maui water westward for agricultural and public domestic uses.

Public water users Upcountry have been in limbo after a bill that would have extended water permits for A&B and utilities and small farmers statewide failed at the state Legislature in May. A&B currently holds a permit to take water from East Maui streams on state land; because the bill failed, renewal of that permit, which expires in December, was put in question.

A state Intermediate Court of Appeals ruling Tuesday, though, opens up the possibility of A&B applying for another one-year revocable permit with the state, as the company has for more than a decade.

The board placed on next meeting’s agenda the discussion and formation of a subcommittee or temporary investigative group that would study purchasing and maintaining the EMI water delivery system and the watershed and look into “other alternatives to get water to the end users.”

In creating the group, “the public knows we are trying to find an alternative way of delivering clean, safe water to them as a public utility instead of a weird situation where a corporation pretty much tells us what, when and how we’re going to get our water, which is kind of spooky,” said member Norman Franco, who led much of the discussion….

Kushi added that A&B sold half its interest in EMI to Mahi Pono in its sale of old sugar fields.

“I need to say this, too. . . . Now they know you’re forming a new group to buy them out? How is that going react?” Kushi asked….

read … Maui water board mulls turning EMI water transmission system into public utility

Kona judge to decide whether to Keep Police Corruption Secret While Alleged Drug Dealer Walks Free

HTH: … A judge will view documents pertaining to a drug case in private before he rules whether the case is dismissed.

The decision by Kona Circuit Court Judge Robert Kim on Thursday means that information involving a police officer witness and an internal investigation inside the police department won’t be made public — at least not yet.

Kim granted the state’s request that he view those documents during an in-camera hearing, a hearing reserved only for a judge to review such filings.

But Kim also ordered that the Hawaii Police Department also submit a date that those documents could become public, should they qualify for the public court file.

Once he has all that information, Kim can rule on whether to dismiss Jose Miranda’s felony drug case with or without prejudice — the former meaning the state could refile the charges, the latter meaning it could not. Kim could also decide he needs to assign a special prosecutor to dig up more information before he makes a decision….

read … Not public yet: Kona judge to review sensitive documents in drug case in private

Hawaii Police Shooting Board Won’t Release Its Findings — At Least For Now

CB: … The new board wants advice from the state AG’s office before deciding whether to reveal what its concluded about officer-involved deaths and injuries. …

read … Hawaii Police Shooting Board Won’t Release Its Findings — At Least For Now

Student Absenteeism Is Plummeting At Waipahu Elementary

CB: … The school pursues some simple strategies for getting kids to school: home visits, phones calls to parents, emergency supplies of clean clothes and rewards like extra recess….

read … Student Absenteeism Is Plummeting At Waipahu Elementary

Fewer Bus Rides for Low-Income Kids?

CB: … DOE officials said the departments needs to cut eligibility because the expansion of a federal free meal service to low-income students “inadvertently” made made free bus rides more widely available. …

read … Fewer Bus Rides for Low-Income Kids?

Keep Expensive Bums out of Emergency Rooms -- Second urgent care clinic that caters to homeless set to open in Kaneohe

HNN: … An urgent care clinic that caters to the homeless is in the works for Kaneohe.

The clinic is designed to save money by preventing emergencies ― and more serious illness. Patients can walk-in and be seen by a doctor, even if they don’t have any money.

The clinic will be housed in the Kaneohe Civic Center, next door to the police station.

It would be Oahu’s second Joint Outreach Center. The first, in Chinatown, has treated hundreds of patients since opening in mid-April of last year….

“Wound infections. A lot of people have staph infections,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich. “We also provide care for just daily things like pneumonia and coughs and colds.”

But care doesn’t stop there.

Outreach workers will be on hand to connect people with shelter, drug treatment and psychiatric help.

“One of the big things were trying to do is establish relationships with these people who have severe mental illness,” said Miscovich…

The three-year pilot project is expected to cost about $500,000. Close to 80 percent of that money is coming from local businesses and non-profits….

WHT: Police Bust Drunks and Druggies in Kailua-Kona

read … Second urgent care clinic that caters to homeless set to open in Kaneohe

Squeezed by Communist Government, Chinese Tourism Drops 25%

HNN: … far fewer tourists from China are walking through the doors.

In the first four months of 2019 alone, Chinese visitor arrivals to Hawaii dropped by about 25% compared to the same period last year, amid escalating tensions and a growing trade war with China.

The Chinese government has also warned its people about traveling to the United States, citing immigration issues and gun violence, and is also more frequently denying travelers’ visas.

The situation has meant a once quickly-growing segment of the tourism industry in Hawaii is disappearing,…

read … Down 25%




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