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Wednesday, September 25, 2019
September 25, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:46 PM :: 4462 Views

Auditor: DoE School Impact Fee Illegal and Indefensible

Debt: Hawaii Owes $31,200 Per Taxpayer

Wind Farms Could Drive Bats to Extinction

3 Titanic Floating Windfarms to Surround Oahu?

35% -- Ige’s job approval rating tanks amid TMT debacle

SA:  … Gov. David Ige’s job approval rating has sunk to a new low amid the ongoing standoff over the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, though Hawaii voters have an even lower opinion of the Legislature.

Just 35% of Hawaii residents said they approve of Ige’s job performance, while 56% said they disapprove, according to a Star-Advertiser poll conducted this month. There was little ambivalence among those polled, with just 9% of respondents saying they weren’t sure how they felt.

Ige’s poll numbers were worst among Native Hawaiians, 74% of whom said they disapprove of Ige’s job performance. Just 20% of Hawaiians said they approve, and 6% said they were unsure.

Support for the governor was highest among residents of Japanese descent. Still, more of those polled disapproved of his job performance than approved.

Ige’s support within his own party is also weak, with 50% of Democrats saying they disapprove of Ige’s job performance and 42% saying they approve.

The Star-Advertiser poll surveyed 800 registered voters statewide by phone Sept. 12-17 and was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, which increases when broken down by subgroup….

read … Ige’s job approval rating tanks amid TMT debacle

Poll: Public support for TMT drops sharply

SA: …Half of all voters surveyed in the poll still support plans to build the $1.4 billion next-generation telescope near the summit of Hawaii’s tallest mountain, but that is a dramatic drop from 18 months ago when 77% of voters said they supported the project.

The poll also found that slightly more than half of all voters approve of the protests…

The Star-Advertiser poll found Hawaiians object most to the project, with 62% now saying they oppose construction of the TMT….

Ige has pledged to reopen the road and “enforce the law” so that construction can proceed, but the new Star-Advertiser poll found 59% of Hawaii voters oppose the use of force to reopen the road. Among Ige’s fellow Democrats, fewer than a third say the state should use force to clear the road….

read … Mob Wants to Burn Galileo at Stake, so let them

FBI raid of city records tied to Kealoha case, lawyers say

SA: … Members of a Honolulu City Council committee were told Tuesday that a raid of city computer servers earlier this year involved emails apparently tied to the federal corruption case that centered around former Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, former Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Katherine Kealoha.  (Article adjusted to induce clarity.)

That’s according to Councilman Ron Menor, chairman of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee, which met behind closed doors with lawyers from the Department of Corporation Counsel for about an hour Tuesday.

Menor said Council members were also told that the Department of Information Technology turned over emails from various city agencies including the Department of Corporation Counsel, the Managing Director’s Office and the Department of Budget Fiscal Services.

The information disclosed Tuesday by Corporation Counsel was new to Council members and the public.

City attorneys believe some of the documents taken during the search may have been privileged and improperly seized by federal authorities (really damaging to Caldwell and his cronies) and the city sought in U.S. District Court to block release of all the documents pending a review through a court proceeding expected to conclude next month, Menor said.

San Francisco-based law firm Farella Braun and Martel was hired by Corporation Counsel to help determine where federal authorities overreached in their seizure of the records. The Council, in two separate votes in recent months, approved up to $175,000 in payments despite not being told for what investigation the documents were being sought. (An additional $50,000 in payments being paid to the law firm did not require Council approval.)…

“The range of documents seized was very broad,” Menor said. “They included emails that virtually covered all aspects of city government including routine communications about the status of improvement projects (BRIBES & KICKBACKS!) in the Council districts, and legal opinions from the Corporation Counsel about bills and resolutions pending in the Council.”

Menor added, “Many of these documents are not relevant to the federal government’s investigation and are privileged (damaging to insiders who have paid in for protection and deserve to get what they paid for.) Federal and state constitutional law cases are well-established that law enforcement agencies are not entitled to go on ‘fishing expeditions.’ (because they might catch something big)”… 

CB: Feds Seized ‘Very Broad’ Set of Honolulu Emails For Kealoha Probe

read … FBI raid of city records tied to Kealoha case, lawyers say

Council: Audit HPD, Prosecutor, and Ethics Comm

HNN: … Honolulu city council members want an audit done of local law enforcement agencies including the Honolulu Police Department, prosecuting attorney’s office and the ethics commission.

Council members heard testimony Tuesday on a resolution for more oversight after the conviction of ex-Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, ex-Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.

Federal prosecutors are not done yet. They are still targeting the head of the city’s civil legal department, Donna Leong and Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro….

"In the last paragraph (of the resolution) where it’s reported, it talks about Katherine Kealoha helping avoid criminal prosecution for somebody charged with a DUI, that involved a confidential informant,” Nadamoto told the council.

But multiple sources tell Hawaii News Now, Nadamoto is wrong….

The DUI driver he is referring to, author Chris McKinney, was a personal friend of Kealoha and he is now a listed co-conspirator in one of the federal indictments….

Nadamoto also brought up the speeding ticket Katherine Kealoha convinced a judge to throw out for her electrician.

“Why his excessive speeding was dismissed? That was part of an investigation into police corruption,” Nadamoto told council members.

Again, multiple sources say, that is also not true.

The electrician himself told Hawaii News Now that Mrs. Kealoha fixed the speeding ticket for no reason.

Loretta Sheehan, chair of the Honolulu Police Commission, expressed disbelief that Nadamoto would defend the actions of the office, and that not one council member questioned it….

The council deferred a decision on the resolution so the audit could be added….

read … Police commissioner calls out city council during talk on public corruption scandal

A New Indictment for Katherine Kealoha

CB: … Katherine and Louis Kealoha were back in federal court Tuesday where they pleaded not guilty to an updated indictment on bank fraud and identity theft charges…

The indictment also accuses Katherine Kealoha of lying to obtain loans from banks. Federal prosecutors submitted a new indictment last week with new allegations, including that she told the Hawaii Central Federal Credit Union that she was dying in order to get a loan for $7,940.

Katherine Kealoha’s attorneys said she is indeed very sick. Earle Partington, an attorney hired by her family who only represents her in the conspiracy case, previously said his client has had to get treatment. Kealoha also was able to delay the first trial, saying she needed cancer treatment.

read … Felony Malingering

Ala Wai project needs better options

SA: … Why is our Protect Our Ala Wai Watersheds group suing over the Ala Wai flood mitigation project?

This is not about flood mitigation; it’s about the money. There are better plans, but the current traditional Army Corps of Engineers plan is the one that got funded. The Army Corps rejected input by community members, as well as by local engineering company Oceanit.

The plan is being shoved down people’s throats because Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Gov. David Ige don’t want to let the money go….

read … Ala Wai project needs better options

How much of the Blaisdell’s redevelopment will taxpayers pay for? The city isn’t sure

HNN: … with demolition of the 55-year-old venue expected to begin in early 2021, City Council members are frustrated that it’s still unknown how much of the costs taxpayers will have to cover.

“You folks haven’t had that discussion at all,” Councilwoman Kymberly Pine asked Guy Kaulukukui, director of the city’s Department of Enterprise Services, in a hearing Tuesday….

The city says the current Blaisdell Center costs as much as $15 million a year to operate, but only generates about $6 million in revenue.

Councilmembers questioned how the new center will make money.

"There's very little specifics to anything," said councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi. "When you talk about metrics of how the private partners are going to bring in revenues and untapped revenues, can you please give examples of those metrics?"

"We know what events we bring in, and we know which ones we haven't been able to tap into, and those are the ones we would expect a partner to help us get," Kaulukukui answered.

The city says it hopes to select a partner and proposal by next August.

Officials say the venue won’t be taking any events or booking after December 2020 to prepare for construction, which they say could take up to three years….

(Genius Idea: Close Blaisdell and Aloha Stadium at the same time, thus shutting down two major tourism/event draws.  Between this and the TVR crack down they must be TRYING to drive the state into recession.)

read … How much of the Blaisdell’s redevelopment will taxpayers pay for? The city isn’t sure

Money for Nothing: Honolulu Won’t Try To Recover Almost $100,000 It Overpaid Workers

CB: … For two years, the City and County of Honolulu overpaid 240 employees a total of $98,000 due to a “glitch” in the payroll system.

Despite a state law that says governments that overpay employees “shall commence immediate recovery” of the funds, the city has no intention of trying to get it back, and the city’s HR director refuses to talk about it.

The overpayments were outlined in a February 2018 letter, obtained by Civil Beat, from Human Resources Director Carolee Kubo to the director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association.

The issue affected employees who are “non-exempt” workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act and who earned paychecks while working overtime while also being available for work on standby in the same pay cycle, according to the letter.

Honolulu’s program for calculating overtime was incorrectly configured, Kubo wrote.

“Employees were credited with as much as four times the actual amount of the stand-by pay,” the letter states….

The Hawaii Government Employees Association declined to be interviewed for this story.

A spokesman for the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers did not respond to a request for comment….

read … Honolulu Won’t Try To Recover Almost $100,000 It Overpaid Workers

Rent high? Don't blame short term rentals said expert

KITV: … The price of living in Hawaii is high, but periodically it can get even more expensive.  

Traditionally, when the economy goes up rents will also rise, and when things falter financially rents will drop.  But market researcher Ricky Cassiday said that has not been the case on Oahu.

"This is a good economy. For our rent not to go up, it had to be there was plenty of supply or no real demand for long term rental in Waikiki," stated Cassiday.

Thousands of units in Waikiki were being used as illegal short term vacation rentals, before Bill 89 imposed stricter restrictions and harsher penalties for lawbreakers.
Oahu had a rapid rise in short term vacation rental listings, so what impact did that have on rents?

"To my surprise, rents did not seem to be impacted by the fast growth in Homestay which was 2016, 2017, and 2018," said Cassiday….

In Kakaako, where many new condos went in, rents were even found to have dropped.

"The reason why the average rent is going down is more listings, there is extra supply," stated Cassiday.

So how much are rents in Honolulu?

"Studios are going from $1,000-1200. One bedrooms go up to $1,600-1700. While two bedrooms range from $1,800-2,400," said realtor Richard Pascua, with….

SA: Castle Vacation Rentals Hawaii expands

read … Rent high? Don't blame short term rentals said expert

Electricity bills for some Navy housing residents in Hawaii to increase by 68%

SAS: … Navy installation officials are scrambling to explain a 68% jump in electricity rates next month for airmen and sailors living in privatized housing in Hawaii.

Residents of Hickam Communities and Ohana Military Communities were notified only two weeks ago that the rate for electricity coming from a Navy-owned power grid would increase from 19 cents per kilowatt-hour to 32 cents per kWh on Oct. 1.

A residence using 500 kWh per month — roughly the Hawaii state average — would see a monthly bill increase from $95 to $160.

Hickam Communities and Ohana Military Communities host just over 7,000 residential units….

The rate hike is the result of a Navy-wide budget reform that converted the engineering command from a self-supporting revolving-fund organization into a general fund entity. Under the new structure, the command is required to bill users the actual costs of utilities and facilities management.

For roughly the past five years, the engineering command had set the electricity rate paid by residents of Hickam Communities and Ohana Military Communities below what it actually costs the Navy to buy from Hawaiian Electric Co., Delao said.

As of Oct. 1, the Navy will buy electricity from Hawaiian Electric, add overhead costs of management and maintenance and then charge customers based on those real costs, he said….

Some residents questioned why the energy being generated and sold back to Hawaiian Electric from the many solar panels in the two communities did not lead to lower electric bills. An engineering command representative said solar is offsetting only 15 percent of electrical demand….

read … Electricity bills for some Navy housing residents in Hawaii to increase by 68%

City Council considers resolution to reinstall barriers near Laniakea Beach

HNN:  … The resolution, introduced by Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi, asks the governor and state Department of Transportation to reinstall the barriers along the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway as an “emergency interim traffic safety measure due to serious public health and safety concerns.”…

The barriers were installed in 2013 but then removed in 2015 due to a lawsuit.

A City Council committee will consider the resolution on Tuesday at Honolulu Hale.

Meanwhile, the state is also looking at ways to address the traffic situation, including widening the highway or moving it slightly mauka to make room for parking along the beach so people won’t have to cross the road….

read … City Council considers resolution to reinstall barriers near Laniakea Beach

‘Reef Insurance’ New Eco Scam will pay Enviros to go Scuba Diving Whenever they Hype ‘Coral Bleaching’

SA: … Should there be an insurance policy for Hawaii’s reefs?

The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation nonprofit, thinks so, especially after a study earlier this year reported that Hawaii’s reefs provide more than $835 million in flood protection. The reefs act as submerged breakwaters, according to the study, and dissipate up to 97% of a wave’s energy offshore, playing an essential role in protecting coastlines.

Now, thanks to a $1 million grant from the Bank of America, the Nature Conservancy’s scientists can conduct a feasibility study to see whether coral reef insurance would make sense in Hawaii and Florida as well as other parts of the world….

(Yes.  The banking industry wants you taxpayers to give them money for this.)

read … Nature Conservancy to conduct study on reef insurance in isles

Fortunately, Nobody Really Believes in Global Warming

Cataluna: … Often in our state, sustainable initiatives get support from elected officials and businesses but die among the people who don’t want anything of the sort in their backyard. That’s where the sign-holding and earnest education efforts are needed here, in the neighborhoods that aggressively work against green initiatives, in the community meetings where alternative energy plans are likened to blights and are called evil moneymaking schemes meant only to enrich the bad guys on the backs of the little people.

There’s been opposition to windmills. There’s been opposition to wood-burning plants. There’s concern about big solar farms taking over agricultural lands…. Just about every step this state has taken toward reducing reliance on fossil fuels has been met with grassroots opposition….


read … Real change has to happen in neighborhoods

The end of Coal—Rate Hikes Coming

IM: … Coal use in Hawai`i is the subject of a Department of Health Clean Air Branch public hearing on September 26, 2019 starting at  6:30 p.m. at Momilani Elementary School, 2130 Hookiekie Street, Pearl City, Oahu.

The HECO-AES contract for coal-based-electricity ends in 2022, but the AES facility can`t meet 2020 greenhouse gas regulatory limits unless it combines its emission limits with other generators which are emitting below what they can legally emit….

Poll: What do you think of global warming?

read … Public Hearing -- O`ahu Coal Use

Kapu aloha in 1974 practiced the real meaning

WHT: …In 1974, Sonny Kaniho demonstrated against the Hawaiian Homes Commission on the leasing of lands involving Parker Ranch in Waimea. I was the sole police officer assigned to make the arrest of those trespassing. I want to make comparison with that incident and what I read concerning the protesters of today on Maunakea….

… In the Maunakea protest, the arrested kupuna refused to move and had to be carried away for processing. Their idea of kapu aloha was to make it inconvenient for everyone not actively supporting their cause. Had the Kaniho demonstration practiced the same kapu aloha as the Maunakea group, one cop carrying all 18 of them would have been an impossible task. Again, their beef was with the Hawaiian Homes Commission, not with me, the arresting officer.

According to the newspaper, a Maunakea protester went to court saying that she was protesting TMT because she is still number 411 on the Hawaiian Homes waiting list. In her case, kapu aloha allows for the punishment of all those who do not agree with the cause, however distantly connected….

ILind: Civil disobedience then and now

read … Kapu aloha in 1974 practiced the real meaning

Honolulu officer charged with failure to report in urinal licking case

HNN: … A Honolulu police officer has been charged with covering up for another officer in a case that involved forcing a homeless man to lick a public urinal.

Reginald Ramones was indicted in April along with fellow officer John Rabago for violating the man’s civil rights. Now Ramones has been charged by information with failing to report the felony.

He’s scheduled to enter a guilty plea Wednesday in federal court….

A Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman said Ramones left the force in August.

Rabago, meanwhile, remains on restricted duty….

The homeless man, 37-year old Samuel Ingall, did not report the crime. It was a fifth responding officer who notified command….

read … Honolulu officer charged with failure to report in urinal licking case

Family of stabbed Mililani woman say justice system failed to protect her

KITV: … The family of Patience Sallas, the Mililani woman who was savagely attacked and stabbed by her ex-boyfriend Michael Gibbs last Thursday, tell KITV-4 law enforcement and the criminal justice system failed to protect her.

"This is what happened when the justice system gives [repeat offenders] chances," said Patience's mother Pam Sallas.

She pointed to her injured granddaughter, Alysia, 17, who was badly injured trying to protect her mother Patience. "They don't put them away for a long time. They go in, they come out, they manipulate the system."

The family says Patience filed multiple temporary restraining orders (TROs) to protect herself from the abusive relationship.

Court records show Gibbs has 86 arrests and 37 convictions, a violent pattern the family says should have alarmed authorities. They say Gibbs just finished serving 10 years in prison for domestic violence and violated probation, but nothing was done. …

read … Family of stabbed Mililani woman say justice system failed to protect her

Soft on Crime: 14 Time Loser Goes for Second Chance Gets Busted

SA: … Prosecutors charged a 30-year-old man in connection with robbery at a retail store in downtown Honolulu.

David P. Stovall was charged Monday with first-degree robbery. His bail is set at $25,000.

Police said a male suspect later identified as Stovall attempted to leave Walmart at 1032 Fort Street Mall with a carton of cigarettes he failed to pay for on the night of June 4.

When a loss prevention officer stopped him, Stovall resisted and allegedly fought with the victim. Police said he then brandished a knife and fled the scene with the merchandise.

Stovall returned to the store Sunday afternoon when the same loss prevention officer recognized him.

Police arrived and detained him.

Stovall has a criminal record of 35 prior arrests and 14 convictions, four of which are misdemeanor convictions of assault of a police officer, resisting arrest and assault….

read … Robbery suspect arrested after he returns to downtown Honolulu store

50 Burglars Cleared from Drug Camps on Diamond  Head—no arrests

HNN: … State crews cleared out dozens of illegal campsites and hauled down massive loads of rubbish and other debris.

It’s estimated that close to 50 people were living on the slopes of iconic landmark. An HPD officer said squatters were warned to leave, and there were no arrests made during the sweep.

On Wednesday, the city will start clearing out camps on the opposite side the road at Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park.

In recent months, people living nearby have reported a spike in home break-ins along with other illegal activity.

Because the campsites are so remote, crews only sweep the area twice a year….

read … Burglars

Defense lawyer accuses deputy prosecutor of assault, Gets Attempted Murder Trial Delayed

SA: … In the complaint Breiner said the deputy prosecutor accused him of calling the deputy prosecutor a liar, challenged him to fight, slammed into his body, shoved hard on both of his shoulders, then took a fighting stance.

Breiner said it all happened in a hallway following a contentious hearing involving him and the deputy prosecutor.

No one was arrested.

Breiner said his assistant, another deputy prosecutor and a state sheriff deputy were witnesses.

The assistant filed a similar statement with the Sheriff Division.

Breiner said he was in pain afterward because he recently had shoulder surgery, and made an appointment with his orthopedist to see whether any of the repairs to his shoulder were damaged.

He also filed a request with the court asking to have the deputy prosecutor disqualified from the case.

The case is for attempted murder, using a firearm to commit the crime and felony possession of a firearm. The trial was scheduled to begin today. At the Wednesday hearing, however, Circuit Judge Paul B.K. Wong rescheduled the trial to February, to allow for further plea negotiations.

In a written statement, the Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney said, “We are aware of and are looking into an alleged incident involving Mr. Breiner and one of our deputy prosecutors.”…

read … Defense lawyer accuses deputy prosecutor of assault

Cost of much-needed HFD equipment balloons—City Blames Trump tariffs

HNN: … While the Honolulu Fire Department’s engines are made in Pennsylvania, fire officials say part of the reason for the spike in cost is tariffs on materials used to build the trucks.

Fire Capt. Scot Seguirant said last year the pumper trucks were selling for about $800,000 a piece.

But this year’s bids left the department with sticker shock. “They came in higher than what we projected. Approximately $60,000 (more) for each truck,” Seguirant said.

Even with grant money to cover the costs of several trucks, the department is still short about $420,000….

read … Cost of much-needed HFD equipment balloons under Trump tariffs




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