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Tuesday, December 31, 2019
December 31, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:03 PM :: 4417 Views

State Auditor Suspends OHA Audit Over Refusal to Release Records

US shipbuilding costs takes toll on national security

Exodus from Hawaii continued in fiscal 2019 

DLNR, TPL Buy Forest Surrounding OHA's Waimea Valley

Legislature Accepting Grant-in-Aid Applications

DoTax Changes for 2020

Rebounding Hawaiian Hawk Removed From Endangered List

Fistfights Break out Among Hawaii County Officials as AG Investigators work Police Corruption Case

HTH: … A retired Hawaii County police detective is under investigation for allegedly assaulting another county official while still a member of the department in the vicinity of a building that houses government offices.

Ian Lee Loy, who’s married to Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, is being investigated in the incident, according to official sources. Police confirmed only a report of an assault on July 25 on the 100 block of Aupuni Street….

The coconut wireless has been abuzz with allegations about the case for some months, with the newspapers receiving telephone calls and letters from readers asking why there’s been no media coverage.

Lee Loy attributes an ongoing court case involving two other police officers who were indicted on charges of tipping off a gambling ring prior to a police raid as a possible reason for the buzz. He said he’s expected to testify in the case that’s scheduled for a hearing Jan. 6.

“Allegations of misconduct on my part and dragging Sue into it began to surface,” he said. “These guys are trying to discredit me before I testify.”

County Prosecutor Mitch Roth, when asked about the criminal investigation into Lee Loy, would say only that he’s “conflicted out” of the case and turned it over to another law enforcement agency. Roth wouldn’t say which agency. In a previous case involving a high-profile public official, Roth turned it over to the state attorney general.

Krishna F. Jayaram, special assistant to the attorney general, contacted Monday, said, “our office doesn’t confirm or deny with respect to investigations.”

Two anonymous letters reached the county Board of Ethics, which discussed them and then filed them without action at its Dec. 11 meeting.

The unsigned letters, which are public record, accuse county officials of “sweeping this under the rug,” because of the officials involved….

Roth, who was at the Ethics Board meeting on an unrelated matter, was circumspect in discussing the case in a public forum. He said he could talk about cases in general, not a specific case.

“Sometimes it takes us a while to charge these cases. … During these periods of time no information will be given out on any of these cases,” Roth said. “It’s very possible that the system is working. … Looking at these letters you can’t see what’s going on.”

Lee Loy said he’s concerned about unequal application of the law as well. In fact, he said, he appeared before the Police Commission on Dec. 20 with a complaint about the department’s policy of receiving and processing complaints from the public.

“Complainant alleged that an officer violated his rights by not allowing him to file a criminal complaint,” is how Lee Loy’s petition is characterized on the agenda. The matter was taken up behind closed doors in executive session, with the board then voting unanimously to refer the issue to the police chief for procedural investigation, according to Deputy Corporation Counsel Malia Hall.

Lee Loy retired July 31, less than a week after the incident….

What This Is About -- May 17, 2019: Big Island: Ex-cops, two others make initial court appearances

2009: Malu Motta: “I need one governor so he can pardon me.”

read … Officials looking at councilwoman’s husband in relation to alleged assault on another public servant

35% Of Hawaii Community Health Clinic Patients Have Used Meth

CB: …The epidemiology department found 63% of patients at the Hawaii State Hospital were identified by clinicians in 2018 as having used meth, compared to the 1% self-reported rate statewide.

Methamphetamine has also had a heavy influence on community health centers.

Among the state’s 16 taxpayer-funded community health centers, 35% of patients were reported to have a history of methamphetamine use….

Among a subgroup of patients who were admitted to the Hawaii State Hospital five or more times during the past seven years, nearly 80% had a history of meth use….

When state epidemiologist Amy Curtis became chief administrator of the health department’s Adult Mental Health Division in July, she made a small switch in the clinic’s survey to get a more holistic understanding of methamphetamine’s prevalence by including a new question: Has this patient ever used meth?…

(After decades of meth epidemic, the DoH finally asks this question.  Wow.)

Some patients have been readmitted as many as 20 or even 30 times to the hospital, according to Heidelberg….

Curtis found that the median length of stay for those with a meth history was 221 days — 60 days longer than the median hospitalization period for patients who had not indicated using the drug.

Treatment can drag on because methamphetamine addiction has no quick antidote….

A strong relationship between mental illness, substance use and incarceration rates has been well established. Substance use is often used as a coping mechanism for those who suffer from mental illness, and people with severe mental illness are over-represented in the criminal justice system, said Curtis.

The national Treatment Advocacy Center found that individuals with severe mental illness in Hawaii are two times more likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized, but there is little statewide data on the topic…

The Hawaii State Hospital’s most recent annual report shows the most common charge for readmission at the state hospital is categorized as a Felony C, which includes less serious crimes such as the theft of property worth more than $300.

“They’re not the folks out there doing murders or high crime,” Heidelberg said. “We’re talking about the guys sleeping on the sidewalk …”

(Solution: Forcibly incarcerate drug addicts in treatment facilities until cured.)

read … 63% Of Hawaii State Hospital Patients Have Used Meth

Hawaii joins a growing number of states enacting ‘Red flag’ gun law

HNN: … A new gun law will go into effect in Hawaii on New Year’s Day.

The so called, ‘red flag’ law creates a process for family members, co-workers, law enforcement, or mental health professionals to temporarily block access to firearms for someone who may be a danger to themselves or someone else.

Under the bill, which was approved by Governor David Ige in June, the concerned person can petition Family Court for a protective order….

Related: Will Red Flag Laws Stop Gun Owners Seeking Medical Care?

read … Hawaii joins a growing number of states enacting ‘Red flag’ gun law

Enviros Will Push for Even More Plastic Bag Bans

CB: … With the ban on thick plastic bags starting this week on Oahu, Hawaii will be a step closer to a statewide ban on all plastic checkout bags county by county. Supermarket bags account for 38% of plastic checkout bags found at Ala Moana Regional Park (B.E.A.C.H. surveys 2015 and 2017). The other 62% of plastic bags was for takeout food.

With a further ban on plastic checkout bags taking place in a year’s time when Bill 40 takes effect, we’ll be halfway there towards a statewide plastic bag ban county by county as Honolulu County will have caught up to Kauai.

That will leave Maui and Hawaii counties as the other half of the state still needing to close loopholes allowing for thick plastic bags. They have administrative rules allowing plastic bags that are a minimum of 3 mils thick. In reality supermarkets in those counties don’t provide thick plastic bags, but some other stores do.

read … Agenda for 2020

Hawaiian Hale destroyed by copper thief

MN: … Maui Native Hawaiian Club members and volunteers work on the grounds surrounding the foundation of the Hawaiian Hale at Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens in Iao Valley on Saturday morning. Members said the former hale was destroyed last month, apparently by a copper thief or thieves who knocked down the aging structure made of ohia wood and palm fronds to steal the copper pipes used for the building’s fire suppression system. “The day I came up and it was pushed over was heartbreaking,” said club founder Joe Franco. “It’s not like it fell. It was gut-wrenching.”…

read … Hawaiian Hale destroyed by thief

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