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Tuesday, October 15, 2019
October 15, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:19 PM :: 3285 Views

LIVE Video: Kahuku Protesters Blockade Wind Turbine Shipment for a Second Night

Hawaii: Lowest Percentage of Young Business Owners

Ige Names Three to BLNR

Hawaii: State of Childhood Obesity

COFA: Hawaii Wants Feds to Pay for Welfare

Saiki: Does the Rule of Law Still Apply in Hawaii?

SA: … New protests aimed at the Kahuku windmill project and the Sherwood Forest park development may be alarming to some state leaders, but among some activists there is a sense that a grassroots momentum has been building as the nonviolent protest strategy known as kapu aloha spreads from one community to the next….

(Idea: Lets cancel the Sherwoods project and save taxpayers money.  Another idea: Lets cancel the Kahuku windfarm project and save the taxpayers and ratepayers money and save the bats.)

The TMT and Waimanalo park projects are both stalled for the time being, and it is unclear what impact the protests this week might have on the North Shore wind farm.

All this is troubling to political leaders such as House Speaker Scott Saiki, who said Monday that when proper permits for a development are in place, “then they need to mean something. If a permit is approved, then the permit holder has the right to proceed, and government needs to facilitate that because government issued the permits.”

“This is a big concern for the entire state, which is whether the rule of law still applies here,” said Saiki, a Democrat who is also a lawyer. “Assuming that these projects are permitted, then they should advance.”

(Will Saiki cut off funds to OHA?)

When asked whether the public should expect more nonviolent resistance, Wong-Wilson replied, “I can’t answer that. It’s up to each community how they want to deal with their struggles, but I know there are similar issues throughout Hawaii, in all the communities.”

“In many communities the local families are struggling with their ability to have a say in what happens to their land, and I wouldn’t be surprised if our lahui (nation) or our Hawaiian community continues to take lessons from what they learned on the mauna,” she said….

(Idea: Municipal government below county level.  Hawaii is the only state without municipalities.  Let communities make their own decision about parks and windfarms.)

read … Kapu aloha protest strategy spreads, causing alarm

Hawaii Held Hostage by Anti-Technology Movement

CB: … What happened to Hawaii? There is an anti-technology movement that would have us mark time. History shows us there is only one condition for a culture’s survival — either move forward and adapt or die….

Hawaii is being held hostage by a minority that visualizes itself as a victimized society. We have established a democratic society that allows all viewpoints to be heard. There are legal mechanisms and processes that have been exercised and yet our political leaders have yet to gather the intestinal fortitude to ensure the majority is also represented….

Right now, that small group has driven a wedge in our culture. Please explain to me how this is a good thing?

read … Hawaii Should Channel The Dynamism Of Melbourne

PLA Bill: Will Caldwell Sign or Veto?

HNN: … The Honolulu council gave us another display of the power of unions over politicians in Hawaii.

The council passed a new law that would require non-union contractors with big city contracts to hire unionized workers under what is called a community workforce agreement.

The proposal would require the city to negotiate these agreements with the trade unions – most likely without construction companies at the table….

the people who know this industry best – the contractors, both non-union and unionized – have come out strongly against the proposal, saying it will raise the price of contracts, reduce competition and make it harder to manage their projects….

It’s now on Mayor Caldwell’s desk. His response will tell us how willing he is to question the union agenda on the eve of the next campaign for governor….

CB: Honolulu Mayor Should Veto City Council’s Union-Friendly Public Works Bill

read … Local Connection: Union vs. Non-Union Work

On Paid Leave -- Honolulu City Officials Targeted by FBI Still Making Big Money

CB: … Oahu’s chief prosecutor, Keith Kaneshiro, one of his top deputies, Chasid Sapolu, and Corporation Counsel Donna Leong have all been caught up in a federal corruption investigation that already has resulted in the convictions of the police chief and his prosecutor wife.

Kaneshiro is now being paid $176,688 annually, up from $164,136. He’s been on paid leave since March. Sapolu receives $158,472, despite being on paid leave since December 2018. And Leong, on paid leave since January, makes $166,560.

They are among at least 247 Honolulu employees making six-figure salaries….

The newly released information includes the salaries of 117 employees of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, whose director, Andrew Robbins, receives $316,999. Two years ago, then-interim director Krishna Murthy got $400,000.

Still Robbins is the highest-paid Honolulu employee, followed by Medical Examiner Christoper Happy at $310,200, up from $288,192 two years ago….

The database also includes 208 salaried and hourly employees of the Royal Hawaiian Band, described on its website as “the only full-time municipal band in the United States.” It performs and marches in more than 300 concerts and parades yearly, including events at Iolani Palace on Fridays and the Kapiolani Park Bandstand on Sundays….Bandmaster Clarke Bright is paid $146,952, up from $136,512 two years ago. Thirty-one musicians receive a range of $48,948 to $107,364, and 175 others earn $50 per hour….

read … Honolulu City Officials Have Received Big Pay Raises In The Past Year

Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Accused of Assault, Hush Money Payments on Maui

SA: … Defense lawyer Myles Breiner says the Honolulu deputy prosecutor who admitted shoving him tried to have a relationship with a woman who was the complaining witness in two domestic violence cases he was prosecuting, drafted legal documents for her civil case while he was still working as a Maui deputy prosecutor, went to her home in the middle of the night while drunk and assaulted her adult son.

Deputy Prosecutor Emlyn Higa denies the accusations and calls them “as distressing, confusing and disheartening to me as they are false.”

Breiner made his latest claims against Higa in a document he filed in state Circuit Court on Friday. He is trying to get Higa disqualified from prosecuting one of his clients in an attempted murder case. It was after a contentious pretrial hearing on the case last month when Higa admits he shoved Breiner in a state courthouse hallway….

Circuit Judge Paul B.K. Wong heard arguments on Breiner’s request to disqualify Higa on Sept. 26 but has yet to rule. Wong is the presiding judge in the attempted murder case….

The Maui woman and her son were in Honolulu District Court on Breiner’s behalf when Gangnes handed down the injunction. They didn’t have to testify because Higa, who brought his own witnesses, agreed to the injunction….

According to a Maui Police Department report from Dec. 5, 2016, Higa went to the woman’s home at 2:45 a.m. Her son told police Higa kicked him in the head, punched him twice and then choked him. The report was for misdemeanor assault….

Breiner says Higa paid the woman hush money to discourage her and her son from pursuing the assault case and submitted documents of 14 wire payments ranging from $10 to $200. The payment dates were between June 15 and Sept. 29 this year…

Higa says the woman did not work because she said she was emotionally disabled. He said he gave her small amounts of money when she called him and said she was hungry but could not afford food.

He says he never behaved inappropriately with her at any time and never used his office improperly, even when the woman asked him to on her behalf….

read … Defense lawyer Myles Breiner levels more accusations against Honolulu deputy prosecutor Emlyn Higa

Feds to oversee valuation of DHHL land where city built rail hub

KHON: … The federal government is stepping in to make sure Native Hawaiian beneficiaries get their fair share after the city built rail’s operations hub on about 50 acres of DHHL land that the city does not yet have title to.

It’s been about a decade since the City and County of Honolulu and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands agreed in principle to swap Pearl City and Kapolei parcels, and there’s been disagreement ever since how to measure the values. It’s going to take U.S. Department of the Interior oversight to work it out.

The ROC — or rail operations center — is so mission critical for Honolulu’s rail system that HART built out all 176,000 square feet of it without actually owning the land. It has a licensing agreement from DHHL on a swap deal that’s supposed to give DHHL equally valuable land.

Ten years ago, the site eyed was in the form of two parcels in Kapolei near Varona Villages and down the road from where Ka Makana Alii mall was developed on DHHL land. The acreage of the city parcels is about the same as the DHHL land, referred to as Ewa Drum in Pearl City, where the ROC was built. But valuation has been another question….

read … Feds to oversee valuation of DHHL land where city built rail hub

LUC: If City Wants Extension at Waimanalo Gulch, it must take this hot potato out of our hands.

HPR: … City Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina responded to the decision in a statement Friday, saying that officials “will weigh our options going forward.”  (Translation: The City is now planning for its next extension.)

If the city were to comply with the commission's deadline, it would need to begin searching for another site.

In 2017, the Department of Environmental Services put together a ranked list of municipal waste site alternatives. The top three were upland Nanakuli, the Ameron Quarry and Kapa’a Quarry Road.

“Once you pick a site, you have to procure funding to purchase it, and then you have to do an environmental impact statement and then get all the permits to do a landfill and then start constructing it,” Kahikina said.

Kahikina disagrees with the decision to shut down Waimanalo Gulch by 2028 because she says the deadline will mean closing it well before it reaches capacity.

“Through the city’s aggressive diversion programs, about 80 percent of O‘ahu’s solid municipal waste is being diverted away from the landfill, and we expect this percentage to increase even more in the coming years,” she said.  “Increasing the diversion of waste from the landfill will cause it to take longer to reach capacity.”

Land Use Commission Chair Jonathan Scheuer explained that if the city wanted to keep the landfill open beyond the 2028 date, it has options.

“If the city wants a date farther in the future, one option available to them, that many commissioners pointed out, is that they could seek, instead of special use permit, a district boundary amendment,” he said. “If granted, [it] puts permitting control in their hands.”…  (Translation: We at LUC are tired of this exercise.  The city must handle it without our involvement.)

read … City Mulls Next Steps After Decision to Close Waimanalo Landfill in 2028

Recycling is Just a Fraud: What Will Hawaii do now that 3rd World Doesn’t want our Garbage?

HTH: … Starting Wednesday, only corrugated cardboard, paper shopping bags and non-HI-5 glass products will be accepted at the bins at county transfer stations. The county will continue to redeem HI-5 beverage containers, and some transfer stations will accept metal cans in their scrap metal disposal sites. Any other waste — including all plastic products — will have to be disposed of somewhere else.

The problem, Kucharski said, is the county’s contractor, Business Services Hawaii, stated it cannot afford to continue its $1.1 million annual contract at the current rate because most markets for the recycled material, especially in China, have dried up.

The company gets some of its income from the county, but the rest of the cost of picking up recyclables, sorting, preparing them for market and shipping them comes from selling the materials.

Telephone messages left with Business Services Hawaii were not returned by press time Monday.

The county’s contribution to the program has declined through the years. What started as a $484,030 contract in 2007 ballooned during the ensuing years to $4.7 million in 2013 before dropping to the current amount.

The cost of dealing with the island’s waste stream has continued to rise. Even with a 36.4% increase in hauler’s tipping fees at the landfill throughout five years, a big chunk, $19.9 million of the $32.9 million solid waste fund, comes from the general fund, primarily supported by property taxes.

The county could probably continue the program by pumping more money into it. Kauai County, for example, opted to cover more of the costs when it renegotiated its contract with its recycling hauler early last year.

“We saw the writing on the wall,” said Allison Fraley, Kauai’s solid waste program coordinator. “It’s always fluctuated, (but) this is the most devastating market change that ever happened.”

Kucharski said putting out a new request for proposals is one option he’ll probably include in his presentation to the committee. Historically, Business Services Hawaii is the only company that bids on the service, however.

And with the cost of recycling the materials running about 50% higher than the cost of landfilling, there’s only so much the county can afford, he said.

“Everybody is willing for the county to spend more money until the bill comes due,” Kucharski said….  

HPR: Hawaii County Gets Picky About Recyclables It Accepts, Citing Global Market Forces

BIN: Why Hawai‘i County no Longer Recycles Paper, Plastic

read … Director of Environmental Management to update panel on county recycling changes

Hawaii cannabis dispensaries must comply with vape cartridge ingredients law

SA: … Hawaii health officials said they will “strictly enforce” a law prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries from selling vape cartridges made with outside ingredients.

The Department of Health warned the dispensaries last week that it is against the law to sell vaping cartridges that contain nicotine, tobacco or any other non-cannabis-derived product, including organic compounds known as terpenes. They may sell cartridges filled with cannabis, cannabis oils or cannabis extracts manufactured by the dispensary.

“With increasing concerns over vaping related lung illnesses and injuries, the DOH requested ingredient lists from all eight medical cannabis dispensary licensees and learned that five were not in compliance,” said DOH spokeswoman Janice Okubo. “DOH is sending written notices which direct non-compliant licensees to immediately stop manufacturing and distributing the non-compliant … cartridges or face penalties including fines and/or suspension or revocation of their licenses.”

The DOH didn’t release the names of the dispensaries not in compliance since investigations are ongoing, but said it will be “ensuring future compliance” with regular examination of ingredients and on-site inspections….

CB: Vaping Should Be Banned Until Proven Safe

read … Hawaii cannabis dispensaries must comply with vape cartridge ingredients law

Attorney: Randall Saito will testify and reveal secrets about state hospital

KHON: … “I will be surprised I’m sure by some of the things he says,” said Green

Saito was a patient at the state hospital for 37 years. He murdered a woman in Ala Moana Center and was acquitted by reason of insanity.

His attorney says he doesn’t know what Saito plans to reveal in his trial, but it has something to do with the reason why he does not want go back to the state hospital.

“He’s going to say things that I think no one knew about at the state hospital. Maybe things he saw being done to others or things that happened to him, and that will be his reason for never wanting to go back there,” said Green.

Saito escaped in November 2017 by taking a cab, then flying to Maui, and then to California. He was captured three days later and has been in custody at OCCC.

“He’s happier where he is now at OCCC than at the state hospital….

read … Attorney: Randall Saito will testify and reveal secrets about state hospital

Alleged Chinatown Purse Snatcher Charged with 2nd Degree Murder in 2005 Incident

KITV: … Surveillance video shows an elderly woman in a mobility scooter returning to her apartment in Marin Towers around 10 p.m. on Friday night when a man follows her and steals her bag in the elevator.

The suspect runs out as the door opens, but the 67-year-old woman gets up and grabs her purse back.

As the suspect runs back into the elevator, the victim's son who happened to be at home just 20 feet away says he heard her screaming and rushed out.

He says he tackled the man and subdued him until police arrived.

Police say 33-year-old Memes Amuo was charged today with second-degree robbery and is held on $20,000 bail….

Flashback: Suspect in 2005 killing arrested and charged

read … Purse snatcher who targeted Chinatown senior caught by victim's son

Soft on Crime: 27-Time Loser Busted for Child Molestation

HTH: …A Hilo grand jury indicted a 49-year-old Hilo man for the alleged sexual assault of a minor more than a decade ago.

The three-count indictment, returned Oct. 9, charges Eric Doherty with two counts of first-degree sexual assault and a single count of third-degree sexual assault….

According to the document, the offense took place on or about Aug. 15, 2009, and the victim, identified only by initials, was born in 2003….

… A check of Hawaii court records turned up 27 previous convictions dating back to 1990 for Doherty, but no convictions for felonies or sex offenses. He was found guilty of misdemeanor assault in 2009 and misdemeanor assault of a police officer in 2005….

read … Hilo man indicted for alleged sexual assault of a minor

Yap State Prosecutor Murdered

ABC: … Ms Bergeron moved to Yap in 2015 after being hired as Assistant Attorney-General — she was promoted to Acting Attorney-General early this year.

In a statement, the Government of FSM confirmed that Ms Bergeron was "recently deceased as the result of an alleged homicide", promising a "thorough investigation".

The Government's Director of Civic Affairs, Constantine Yow, said they do not know if the murder was politically motivated — other media outlets have quoted police reports saying they believe the shooter was acting alone.….

read … Rachelle Bergeron, Acting Attorney-General of Yap in Federated States of Micronesia, gunned down

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