VIDEO: Mauna Kea Defining Sacred
Hawaii Credit Rating Upgraded to Highest Level Ever
Hawaii GOP Cancels Caucus, Binds Delegates to Trump
Anti-Vaxxers Target Samoa with Disinformation Campaign
Ethics Board asks if ongoing blockade of Maunakea Access Road is allowed under county ethics code
HTH: … Is it an ethics matter if some people break the law with apparent impunity while others get punished?
That’s the question the county Board of Ethics plans to tackle during its next meeting, with a resolution to investigate whether the ongoing blockade of Maunakea Access Road by protesters is allowed under the county ethics code. The board could, if it agrees to the resolution, call officials to testify on their actions or lack of action….
“Not all citizens of the county are being treated fairly because some citizens are allowed to violate the law and others are not,” said board member Larry Heintz. “They’re not enforcing the law … equally.”
Board member David Wiseman agreed.
“The laws shouldn’t be discriminately applied,” he said.
Board members brought the question up earlier this fall during a statewide ethics conference in Honolulu.
“They said it was an interesting and good question, but everybody ducked,” Heintz said.
Chairman Rick Robinson asked if the county Ethics Board could petition the state Ethics Commission to look into the issue. He was told by Deputy Corporation Counsel Malia Hall that board members could petition the commission as private citizens, but the board could not. The county board could, however, initiate its own resolution.
“There seems to be no adherence to the rule of law,” Robinson said.
The county ethics code, in Section 2-38 under Fair Treatment, states, “All public property and equipment are to be treated as a public trust and are not to be used in a proprietary manner or for personal purposes without proper consent. … All persons shall be treated in a courteous, fair and impartial manner.”…
The board rarely initiates its own investigations, instead investigating complaints brought by residents. But it has the authority to do so….
read … Board asks if ongoing blockade of Maunakea Access Road is allowed under county ethics code
After Decades of Allowing Homeless Drug Addicts and Lunatics to Overrun Cities--Has Honolulu Found Way to Enforce Vagrancy Laws?
SA: …Hawaii’s newest idea to reduce homelessness by quickly inflating portable structures to triage homeless people’s issues went up to applause on the lawn next to the Honolulu Police Department Wednesday before it moves to Waipahu Culture Garden Park Friday night for no longer than 90 days.
As first reported by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in October, city, state and nonprofit organizations are teaming up on a new, two-pronged strategy that will simultaneously crack down on homeless-related violations within a 5-mile radius while directing homeless people into a temporary “navigation center” erected out of inflatable structures designed for military hospitals and first responders.
The idea is to offer a wide range of social services in the middle of Waipahu Cultural Garden Park at the newly named “Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons” — or HONU.
After 90 days — or less depending on the needs of the homeless population in Waipahu — the 10 inflatable, 400-square-foot structures likely will pop up next at Old Stadium Park, which has a persistent homeless population, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said at Wednesday’s demonstration….
Lambert previously told the Star-Advertiser that it’s the first concept of its kind in the nation.
The idea follows Caldwell’s philosophy of addressing homelessness through “compassionate disruption.”
HPD officers in plain clothes plan to use unmarked vehicles to drive homeless people into the HONU, where they will be housed and helped by social service agencies…
Hawaii’s interest in using the structures for homeless efforts has generated similar interest on the mainland, Coates said.
“This is really innovative for the homeless concept,” he said….
read … Inflatable structures unveiled to handle homelessness issues
Robberies up 50%--Because State Judiciary is Soft on Crime, HPD will Seek Federal Charges on Purse Snatchers
KHON: … Honolulu Police Department Chief Susan Ballard told Always Investigating that the spate of violent armed car-jackings, purse snatchings, and other robberies appears to be random so far, but she’s putting more resources on the problem.
KHON2 revealed the crime spike data compiled from HPD’s own crime mapping after HPD had said it was too soon to say whether crime was on the rise. On Wednesday, Dec. 11, the chief answered our questions in the wake of our findings.
KHON2 asked Ballard: Do you think it’s the same culprits committing this, or is it random thieves getting more brazen?
“I think it’s just random and I think it’s a crime of opportunity,” Ballard said….
The FBI told KHON that they can intercede on things like gang and interstate crime networks or illegal gun trafficking. The chief told Always Investigating that she’s calling on federal help.
KHON asked the chief: “These violent components are shocking everybody. Is there any common thread among them, are they gang related or from out of state? Anything you can get the feds more involved in if there is a nexus? Or is it just local thieves and they’re becoming more brazen?”
Ballard replied: “Just to let you know we did meet with (U.S. Attorney) Kenji Price yesterday from the U.S. Attorney’s office, and obviously he’s offered us all the support we need. When we catch these guys — not if, but when we catch them — we will be pursuing federal charges against them if it is possible, if it fits the federal criteria.”
The president of SHOPO, the police union, told KHON that’s how they turned the tide on a similar crime spike a couple of decades ago.
“We had a series similar to this back in the late ‘90s where our tourists were being targeted for purse snatchings,” said SHOPO president Malcolm Lutu. “We were able to work together with Judge Alm who was the AUSA at the time and were able to investigate and serve search warrants on these individuals who were prosecuted federally.”….
KHON: Always Investigating followed the numbers to show on paper what victims see on the streets — a crime wave, especially for violent robberies. -- Statistics for this year as a whole won’t be out until fall of 2020, so police say there’s no official overall rise in crime. But Always Investigating analyzed the numbers using HPD’s crime-mapping tool and we found total crime reports are soaring, up about 16 percent since earlier this fall. There are sometimes hundreds of more calls a week than earlier in the year. Among those reports, robberies are up as much as 52 percent — from a low in the 50-count and 60-count range per four-week period earlier this year, to 79 robberies in the most recent four-week period.
read … Chief links with feds, puts more detectives and patrol on crime-wave crackdown
Soft on Crime Crowd: Criminals Should Oversee Hawaii Prisons
CB: … Created by the Legislature and signed into law in July, the Correctional System Oversight Commission is intended to guide reform from a punitive system to a rehabilitative one. Advocates and lawmakers were hopeful that it would be the cure to the system’s many ills, but the commission’s slow takeoff had reformers worried.
Now that all five commissioners have been appointed, there’s another concern. All of them have formerly worked or currently work in the state’s criminal justice system. Two were formerly in leadership within the public safety department, including former public safety director Ted Sakai and Martha Torney, while two are retired judges — Mike Town and Ronald Ibarra. The fifth — Mark Patterson — is currently a youth corrections administrator.
“We have five people who are part of the system and we’re asking them how to fix it,” said Kat Brady, director of Community Alliance on Prisons and a longtime advocate for Hawaii’s prisoners….
“The people who actually know what’s going on in the prisons are the people who lived there,” Brady said.
Kat Brady says she is concerned that the commission did not include anyone who has formerly been incarcerated.
The roster of commissioners doesn’t reflect lived experience, she said….
(Yes. She did just say that ex-convicts should oversee the prisons.)
read … Critics: New Hawaii Prison Commissioners Too Connected To Long-Troubled System
AG Opens Criminal Investigation into Top DPS Training Officer
HNN: … Also called to testify, the department’s head of training, Marte Martinez, the woman who trained more than a thousand state law enforcement officers including Taum, all the other ACO’s and all sheriff’s deputies.
Martinez’s credibility has been questioned since a Hawaii News Now report about her internal promotion applications. Records and sources said her education achievements were beefed up and couldn’t be verified….
In August 2015, Martinez applied for a promotion to become a firearms training specialist. Her internal application shows she had a BA, Bachelor of Arts, in criminology from Southern Oregon State College.
According to transcripts from another hearing earlier this year, Martinez repeated that claim under oath saying she graduated in 1992.
But now, Martinez is saying that degree wasfrom a different college, El Dorado College in California, which closed down in 1997, so there is no way to prove it, Martinez told the board.
Martinez also said Wednesday that she attended 15 different colleges, most, on or connected to military bases, including, Northern Virginia Community College, or NOVA.
“NOVA was a campus on a military base in Kuwait,” Martinez also cited a Charleston and St. Petersburg College saying they service the bases.
Our records show Martinez only had four months of active duty in the military….
She was a civilian, providing security on military bases between 2004 and 2014, when she arrived in Hawaii to work for the Department of Public Safety.
Martinez told the board that her files have been tampered with and some are missing and that she’s worked to replenish the missing transcripts and records. When the board asked for copies of those records she said she didn’t have any because she sent the sealed copies directly to Internal Affairs.
Hawaii News Now has also learned that Martinez is now the subject of a criminal investigation by the Attorney General’s Office. The apparent charges they are looking at include theft by deception and falsifying government records….
read … 2 DPS administrators grilled for jail beating, leadership qualifications
Following The Money At The Hawaii Legislature
CB: … The Hawaii Legislature opens for business on Jan. 15, when we can expect several thousand bills to be introduced. It’s a lot to keep an eye on, even for advocacy groups and journalists like yours truly who track this stuff closely.
A new online tool from the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Institute on Money in Politics (better known as FollowTheMoney.org) can help sort through the data fog. Called the Power Map, it draws on massive databases of campaign donors and state legislatures nationwide to give a visual indication where lawmakers might lean on certain issues.
As the organization said in a press release in November, “Money + Decisions = Power.” ….
read … Following The Money At The Hawaii Legislature
Tear Down Hawaii’s Contractor Licensing Walls
CB: … Many reasons have been cited for Hawaii’s sky-scraping price tags for housing, but there is one reason that is rarely mentioned: occupational licensure laws that restrict the supply of construction contractors….
Hawaii restricts reciprocity agreements, meaning that individuals already licensed in other states have to start from scratch if they wish to serve customers in the islands. This is outside the norm, considering that 44 other states allow reciprocity….
read … Tear Down Hawaii’s Contractor Licensing Walls
Ritte: Automatic Voter Registration will Make Sovereignty Activists Vote
SA: … From Mauna Kea to Kahuku, to Waimanalo and beyond, people are insisting on having a say in matters that deeply affect their lives. We are in crisis. Hawaiians and their beloved nation are on the list of too many negative reports on health, early deaths, cancer, diabetes, incarcerations, homelessness, suicides, etc.
Next year Hawai‘i moves to voting by mail (VBM). If you are among those who have long voted by absentee ballot, you won’t feel a great difference. But all those accustomed to going to their local polling station should know that it will no longer be there. Do not forfeit your vote.
My hope is that in 2020, legisators will take the next step of enacting Automatic Voter Registration (AVR), a logical complement to VBM that ensures that voter rolls are updated promptly every time someone applies for, renews their driving license or registers a change of address at the DMV. It will save individuals and the state money and make voting easier and more secure. Together VBM and AVR would significantly improve access to voting….
It’s time Native Hawaiians are not viewed through a lens that says “nonvoter.” An active, unified voting block can help ensure our true nation….
(Or at least help me to steal Molokai Ranch and put a giant windfarm on it.)
read … Ritte
Another HSTA Member Arrested for Child Molestation
HNN: … Court documents allege Armando Langaman, the band director at Campbell High School, inappropriately touched an underage girl in 2016.
The documents say Langaman befriended a girl who was 13 at the time at Ilima Middle School.
He’s accused of hugging the girl, kissing her on the neck and cheek, and touching her buttocks over her clothes. The girl recently told her father about the alleged incident.
Campbell High sent a letter to parents saying Langaman is currently on leave. …
(That’s PAID leave.)
read … Band director arrested, indicted for 3rd-degree sex assault
Samoa measles outbreak triggers concerns over anti-Vaxxer idiocy at Hawaii schools
HNN: … A deadly measles outbreak that has gripped Samoa is triggering concerns about low vaccination rates in Hawaii.
The state Department of Health said Tuesday it is “definitely concerned” with the immunization rate of students starting public school.
Measles vaccination rates need to be at 93% to 95% of the population to prevent measles from spreading, experts said. But in Hawaii, only 91.5% of the state’s kindergartners received the measles vaccine….
The schools with the highest percentage of unvaccinated children include:
Haleakala Waldorf School: 52.7%
Malamalama Waldorf School (Big Island): 46.3%
Roots School (Maui): 41.5%
Alakai O Kauai Charter School: 40%
Kona Pacific Public Charter School: 37.4%
Kilauea Elementary School (Kauai): 33%
Kanuikapono Public Charter School: 32.9%
Hanalei Elementary School: 29%
Sunset Beach Elementary (Oahu): 18.9%
PDF: Exemptions 2018 19
Local Connection: Samoa Vaccination Mission
read … Samoa measles outbreak triggers concerns over low vaccination rates at Hawaii schools
Homeless Lunatic from Connecticut Wanted in Volcano Country Club Arson
HCPD: … Hawaii Island police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a man wanted for questioning relative to an arson investigation that occurred Nov. 17 in the Volcano Golf & Country Club subdivision, in Volcano.
The individual is identified as 32-year-old Justin Michael Bardwell. He is approximately 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds with a fair complexion, brown hair, and blue eyes.
Anyone with information about Bardwell’s whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Kelly Moniz at 961-2378, or via email at email@example.com….
read … Another Export from the Mainland
Homeless Sweep: 3 arrested at Salt Pond
TGI: …Kaneapua said police and county officials have harassed and intentionally targeted him in recent months, something he suspects is related to a controversial county Parks and Recreation Department proposal that would turn over stewardship of a one-acre parcel of land near Salt Pond Beach Park to a local hula school.
The stewardship agreement drew public outcry from dozens of Westside residents at a Kauai County Council hearing last December, and plans have since stalled.
… damaged coral and foul-smelling water…
A county spokesperson in an email Wednsday disputed Kaneapua’s claim that he was intentionally targeted, and other campers that morning were asked to vacate the park and did so willingly.
A county press release said Department of Parks and Recreation officials issued multiple verbal warnings and written citations to the “unpermitted campers” prior to the arrests that morning, and notified them Salt Pond Beach Park would be off-limits for camping from Tuesday to Wednesday for “scheduled maintenance.”
A statement from Kauai Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck said campers were told to vacate the premises during that time to allow county officials to “clean for sanitary purposes.”
But Kaneapua said he and the other men arrested are regulating their own community and have been keeping the park up on their own without county interference.
According to Kaneapua, Salt Pond Beach Park was once a hangout for drug addicts, a problem he and other community leaders have tried to combat.
“As the years progressed, there was plenty crystal meth users,” he said….
Salt Ponds 2007: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Blocks Kauai Drug Treatment Facility
read … 3 arrested at Salt Pond