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Thursday, June 27, 2019
June 27, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:51 PM :: 48913 Views

Judge Orders OHA LLCs to Hand Over Check Registers

What are OHA Trustees Trying to Cover Up Now?

John Stossel to interview Keli'i Akina at FreedomFest

Ige Signs 57 Bills into Law

Initial Online Polls Say Gabbard Wins The Day

Financial Disclosures: Ethics Commission Releases Five Page List of Late Filers

Tourism: Spending Down--Arrivals Up (again)

Profitable Non Profit: Absentee Boss Salary Cut to Measly $253K, but keeps Miss Hawaii

CB: … Two years ago, the Sand Island Treatment Center, a nonprofit drug and alcohol rehab reliant largely on public money, told the Hawaii Attorney General that it would fix several problems identified in an independent consultant’s report.

One provision of the previously unpublicized agreement required the rehab to drastically cut the annual pay of executive director Mason Henderson, which had topped out at $500,000, far eclipsing his peers at other Hawaii rehabs….

In a June 19 letter, supervising Deputy Attorney General Gary Suganuma laid out Sand Island’s failures. Henderson, for instance, did not pay back excessive salary until one day after getting a May 3 letter from the attorney general…. Suganuma called this failure “the single most telling point in the behavior of the organization.”

The letter did not specify how much Henderson paid back ….

Even after Sand Island agreed to a much curtailed salary for Henderson, his pay “went above the cap…,” according to the letter….

The consultant’s report suggested that Henderson’s pay should be limited to $168,000 with the possibility of a bonus for total compensation of as much as $226,800. That was a drastic cut from a salary of $486,615 the year the consultant did its study….

In 2017, Henderson got base pay of $227,000 as well as “not-taxable benefits” of $26,152, for a total of $253,152, according to Sand Island’s 2017 tax return, provided to Civil Beat by Koshiba Price & Gruebner….

Several employees identified on tax returns as “counselors” or “senior counselors” also were paid far beyond the norm in Hawaii, well into six figures.

One of them was Tiffini Limahai, a former Miss Hawaii who ended up in Sand Island after a drug bust in 2005. She was paid $119,126 as a counselor in 2009. Public records state that she has lived in recent years in a house owned by Henderson in a small town in the Rocky Mountains.

Two other counselors have lived in a Mililani house also owned by Henderson….

April 25, 2019: Profitable Nonprofit: Sand Island Rehab Exec Scores $500K Salary and a Slightly Used Miss Hawaii

read … Hawaii AG: Rehab Center Ignored Promised Reforms For 2 Years

KPD investigated officers in alleged cheating scandal—Secret Documents Affecting Criminal Cases

KGI: … The Kauai Police Department conducted an investigation into allegations that a number of its officers were involved in cheating on a proficiency test and later covering it up.

The investigation was not completed for at least two months, and afterward, police refused to turn over the results to prosecutors until compelled to do so by a court order. Still, the hundreds of pages of documents related to the investigation remain sealed, and county officials will not comment on the matter.

In the last week, Fifth Circuit Judges Randal Valenciano and Kathleen Watanabe ruled that at least some of the documents detailing KPD’s internal investigation will be admissible as evidence in two separate, unrelated cases.

Whether the information will be publicly available anytime soon, however, remains an open question. Watanabe and Valenciano reviewed the KPD report submitted by prosecutors before ordering the documents to be sealed and instructing attorneys on both sides not to share them with any third party….

The court battle over the KPD records has gone on now for over six months….

In a memo asking the court to compel prosecutors to release internal KPD documents, Honolulu attorney Michael Green said the investigation involved “officers who were the subject of what appears to be crimes relating to their employment.”

According to Green’s memo, the information contained in the KPD’s report “may potentially affect whether the state will proceed to trial,” because the officers involved “are all potential witnesses in the Caday indictment, and their credibility is of paramount importance in resolving the case.”

In an interview last week Green said that if KPD officers were in fact caught cheating on the test, it could have wider implications as well, possibly undermining police investigations in other cases if their ethics are called into question…. 

AP: Kauai police investigate alleged cheating, cover-up in ranks

read … KPD investigated officers in alleged cheating scandal

Kealoha mailbox case now in the hands of the jury

SA: …One of the largest public corruption trials in the state’s history was placed in the hands of the jury this afternoon after the prosecution gave final remarks to rebut defense testimony.

The 12-person jury left the courtroom about 1:40 p.m. to begin deliberations after hearing more than a day of closing arguments and 16 days of testimony from 71 witnesses, including three who took the stand for both sides….

HNN: With closing arguments complete, jurors in Kealoha ‘mailbox trial’ begin deliberations

read … Jury

Maui Mayor plans to Copy Honolulu crackdown on illegal vacation rentals

KHON: … He says that he’s modeling something after Honolulu’s recent legislation and plans to send revisions to the council within a few months…..

read … Maui Mayor plans to crackdown on illegal vacation rentals

AirBnB: We Want to be Your Tax Collector

SA: … Gov. David Ige can add more than $40 million in much-needed tax revenue to Hawaii’s general fund every year by letting Senate Bill 1292 pass into law.

State lawmakers approved SB 1292 in April, which requires all short-term rental (STR) platforms, such as Airbnb, to collect and remit general excise and transient accommodation taxes, and sent it to the governor weeks ago. At Airbnb, we think that’s a pretty good idea.

The streamlined process is estimated to deliver $46 million to the state this year alone if it becomes law.

Airbnb is committed to helping our community pay its fair share of hotel and tourist taxes — the taxes covered by SB 1292.

We’re proud to have partnered with over 400 local governments globally to collect and remit taxes, and we’ve remitted more than $1 billion in hotel and tourist taxes in the U.S. alone.

With SB 1292, Hawaii could join these governments, including more than 30 U.S. states, where Airbnb collects and remits these taxes….

read … Taxation = Legalization?

UH says it reached out to protesters before ahu were removed at TMT site

HTH: … The rapid removal of two ahu at the Thirty Meter Telescope site on Maunakea last week came after years of failed attempts at communication between the University of Hawaii and TMT protesters, UH advisers told the Tribune-Herald.

The two altars were built at the TMT site in 2015 by protesters against the construction of the $1.4 billion telescope, but were removed last Thursday by state authorities with little warning….

“It was difficult, because we had to work primarily through third parties,” Chun said. “But we reached out several times to the folks we understood to be involved with the ahu. But they never really responded.”

Chun said there was one occasion where UH was able to engage with an individual opponent, but said conversations were ultimately unproductive….

Baybayan explained that the Kahu Ku Mauna board is guided by a series of policies intended to ensure proper stewardship of the UH Management Area. The ahu were found to very clearly violate those policies, he said.

“The number one problem is that they were obstructions,” Baybayan said….

“They were not a historical site, for one — you have to be there for 50 years or more to be considered a historical site,” Baybayan said. He also pointed out that one of the ahu — the one blocking the roadway — was not constructed using locally quarried stone, as is traditional, but with imported beach rock….

read … UH says it reached out to protesters before ahu were removed at TMT site

Veto for Suicide Prevention Month? 

SA: … Due to an apparent glitch in transmission from the Legislature to Gov. David Ige, House Bill 655, to designate September as “Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month,” is in the “intent to veto” lineup.

… Ige will work with lawmakers to make legislative fixes so September 2020 will be properly designated. A new study ranks Hawaii as having among the highest suicides rates nationwide — 15.2 per 100,000, based on 2017 data.

read … Getting word out on suicide prevention

Anti-GMO Maui Councilmembers Want to Hire Florida Lawyer to Push Fake Claim Against Bank of America  … A Miami lawyer’s efforts to rectify and bring attention to the city’s affordable housing crisis are beginning to be noticed by public officials around the country. … 

(Translation: This no-hope lawsuit will make it look like we are doing something about affordable housing when we aren’t.)

read … Maui County Officials Consider Recruiting Miami Litigator Bruce Jacobs in Affordable Housing Fight

Anti-Dairy Activists Attempt to Respond After Berkeley Livermore Lab Destroys Their Credibility

KGI: … On June 6, 2019, The Garden Island reported, “Study clears water for swimmers,” in response to a press release from Department of Health. DOH Director Bruce Anderson said they could “assure the public that recreational waters in Waiopili Stream and nearby beaches do not pose an imminent health threat to swimmers.”

DOH said that the PhyloChip water quality study of the Waiopili Stream done by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory had “conclusively determined human waste is not the cause of bacterial contamination in the water.” Nothing could be further from the truth.  (Why because we say so and we like to play word games.)

Reality for those who can handle it: Feds Debunk Surfrider's Fake Bacteria Counts

read … More BS from the Anti-Dairy Crowd

Measure requires restaurants to offer ‘healthy’ drink options as default choice for keiki meals

HTH: … Among three health-related bills Gov. David Ige signed Tuesday was Senate Bill 549, which requires restaurants to offer healthy beverages as a default choice for drinks automatically included as part of a children’s meal.

Those beverages can include water; sparkling water or flavored water with no added sugar, corn syrup or other natural or artificial sweeteners; 8 ounces or less of unflavored nonfat or 1% dairy milk or a nutritionally equivalent nondairy beverage; and 8 ounces or less of 100% fruit or vegetable juice, or juice diluted with water or carbonated water, with no added sweeteners.….

read … Unhealthy

Hawaii Supreme Court: Boards Must Prove Privacy Interest To Close Meetings

CB: … Hawaii’s boards and commissions may have less power to move public meetings behind closed doors after a ruling by the state Supreme Court Wednesday in a case involving meetings about former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s $250,000 retirement package.

The high court ruled in a 59-page opinion Wednesday that boards and commissions are not required by law to close meetings to discuss personnel matters. To do so, they must prove that they are protecting a legitimate privacy interest.

The court also reaffirmed an interpretation of state law that boards can only close meetings to discuss matters with their attorneys and not issues of public policy.

The case stems from several Honolulu Police Commission meetings in January 2017 during which the commission moved into closed session to discuss matters such as a federal target letter addressed to the former police chief and his retirement benefits under the belief that Kealoha’s privacy had to be protected. The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest sued and commissioners responded that closing the meeting was their only option.

The Supreme Court now says that’s not so….

PDF: Ruling

read … Hawaii Supreme Court: Boards Must Prove Privacy Interest To Close Meetings

Ethics Comm: Ige Signs Three Ethics Bills into Law

EC: …Governor Ige has signed the following ethics measures into law, all of which were introduced at the Commission’s request:

  • Act 109 (SB144) updates the Lobbyists Law to provide that anyone who negligently fails to register as a lobbyist (or file an expenditure report) may be fined by the Commission
  • Act 119 (HB170) clarifies the fair treatment and conflict of interest laws with respect to legislators and task force members.
  • Act 120 (HB169) clarifies provisions of the Ethics Code relating to gifts disclosure statements, financial disclosure statements, and ethics training….

read … Ethics

Hawaii’s Longliners Could Soon Be Allowed To Catch 18 Million Pounds Of Tuna

CB: … Hawaii’s longline fishermen will be able to catch nearly 18 million pounds of bigeye tuna next year under a recommendation adopted Wednesday by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.

That’s more than double the limit set by the international body that regulates fishing in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, but they skirt that by allocating the additional catch to U.S. Pacific island territories.

Federal and industry scientists said the bigeye stock in the region will remain sustainable, and that their modeling does not suggest the increased quota will lead to overfishing….

(But those are facts and the eco-luddites aren’t interested in facts so they will keep on attacking the fishing fleet.)

read … Hawaii’s Longliners Could Soon Be Allowed To Catch 18 Million Pounds Of Tuna

Soft on Crime: Dude with 34 Priors out on the Streets, Does it Again

HNN: … Honolulu police are searching for 53-year-old Charles Unaite.

He is wanted on a $20,000 cash-only bench warrant for failing to comply with conditions of drug court.

In 2016, Unaite was arrested after he broke into a woman’s car and stole some of the items.

He was was charged with unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle in the first degree.

Police say he has 34 prior convictions….

read … Soft on Crime



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