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Sunday, January 19, 2020
January 19, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:08 PM :: 3640 Views

Don’t Let Them Double Up!

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted January 18, 2020

2 police officers killed in shooting near Diamond Head; multiple homes up in flames

HNN: … At least two Honolulu police officers were killed Sunday morning in a shooting near Diamond Head…

Meanwhile, a house fire apparently intentionally set in the wake of the shooting has spread to at least four homes in the affluent area. The flames and thick smoke is visible for miles….

the suspect in the shooting was being evicted Sunday morning and allegedly stabbed his landlord…

Police responding to the stabbing at the home on Hibiscus Drive were met with gunfire.

And then the suspect apparently set fire to the home. Those flames spread quickly to several nearby homes as firefighters weren’t able to gain access….

Police sources have identified the suspect as Jerry Hanel, and it’s believed he has also died.  Court documents show Hanel has a history of violent behavior and making false 911 reports…Suspect had multiple TROs, many previous problems with police…. 

(Dead cop killer was another mentally ill person who was not forcibly incarcerated in a lunatic asylum.  We AGAIN pay a high price for the failed mental health system.) 

SA: Two verified GoFundMe campaigns pop up for fallen Honolulu police officers

HNN Video: Sources tell us shooter is dead 


SA: The Honolulu Police Department’s Specialized Services Division is currently working to clear the neighborhood and locate the suspect, but no arrests have been made.

read … 2 police officers killed in shooting near Diamond Head; multiple homes up in flames

Cop Killer was Mental Case -- Second Barricade at House 

SA: … Hanel’s attorney Jonathan Burge told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the 69-year-old from the Czech Republic suffered from mental problems and repeated conflicts with neighbors.

“But this is shocking,” Burge said. “I didn’t think he was capable of such extreme violence.”

Burge said his client had a history of mental issues, was paranoid and believed the FBI and the Secret Service were tracking him.

(If he had been forcibly incarcerated in a lunatic asylum, two offiers would be alive today.)

He barricaded himself in the downstairs space where he lived in the Hibiscus Drive house in 2015 when police came to arrest him on charges he assaulted a neighbor.

(If he had been imprisoned doing hard time for the barricade in 2015, two officers would be alive today.)

Court records indicate that at least three neighbors had filed restraining orders against Hanel. The man was accused of pushing one of those neighbors and he was charged with assault. Burge said Hanel was acquitted….

read … Soft on Crime

Target Letter?  No Problem!  Caldwell, Amemiya Attempting to Bring Donna Leong Back to Work in Administration

SA: … Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced a year ago that City Corporation Counsel Donna Leong was granted paid administrative leave from her post after receiving a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice.

With no word from federal prosecutors about Leong’s status, Caldwell said he now is considering different “options” including the possibility of bringing Leong back to work for the city but not as corporation counsel, the city’s top civil attorney. Managing Director Roy Amemiya has been tasked to look at what capacity she could return, he said….

(Translation: Leong has stories to tell so she is being financially and politically incentivized by those who might be named in her untold stories.)

Leong’s current job pays $171,336 annually under a 3.5% pay increase took effect July 1. (Wow.  Just wow.) Paul Aoki, her deputy, has been acting corporation counsel….

At the time the target letter was confirmed, both Caldwell and Leong attorney Lynn Panagakos said independently that the target letter sent to Leong is tied to the sweeping federal criminal investigation centered around former Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha. They said the letter centered on Leong’s role in advising the Honolulu Police Commission on its agreement with Kealoha that allowed him to retire with full benefits and a $250,000 severance check in 2017.

Questions were raised about the HPD source of funding for the payment and who authorized it and among those asking were Kealoha’s successors and City Councilman Ron Menor. Then-Police Commission Chairman Max Sword, with Leong beside him, told reporters after the commission’s vote on the agreement that it was appropriate for the commission to take the action, although neither HPD brass nor the City Council approved the payout….

read … Caldwell Crony

99-year-lease housing plan is bleak future

SA: … Anyone else see state Sen. Stanley Chang’s “public housing for all” plan? A 99-year lease with the fee held by government, purchased by the lessee at an “affordable” $300,000, 75% of any profits going back to government, narrow streets to prevent car traffic and necessitate foot travel. He even mentioned possible digital retinal scans to ensure owner occupancy.

Have we admitted defeat in allowing local families all the great things home ownership brings, like build wealth, ensure security and provide for retirement, in favor of what sounds like a world out of the dystopian novel, “1984”? A permanent underclass with no means to build wealth, jammed into one high-density area, tracked through digital retinal scanners?

Pre-1984, leasehold was the most common form of land ownership in Hawaii. I see no reason to trade Bishop Estate or other large landowner as masters of my parents’ and grandparents’ domain, for state government as the master of mine today….

SA Editorial: Hopeful bills for housing, income

Shapiro: Hawaii lawmakers speak boldly of plans but act with timidity

read … 99-year-lease housing plan is bleak future

Legislators’ cost-of-living ideas try to stave off voters’ growing discontent before elections

Borreca: … as voters look at the bunch in office, their eyes are not lighting up with thoughts of hope and admiration for a job well done.

The omens are all lined up and not in a favorable direction.

A Honolulu Star-Advertiser statewide survey a few months ago showed that more than half (51%) disapprove of the Legislature’s job performance. Another 27% approve, and the rest don’t know. Legislators going in for their two- or four-year work evaluations should feel a tad stressed.

Legislators can’t look for help from on high: Gov. David Ige has marks in the same basement. Just 35% of Hawaii residents said they approve of Ige’s job performance, while 56% said they disapprove.

Unliked and disrespected the Legislature may be, but it is not dumb; it knows how to read a survey and is hoping to give the impression of getting right down to business….

Cataluna: This is an election year for all 51 House seats and 13 in the Senate so it is in their best interests to look busy  --  there’s a big gap between saying you’re going to do something and then actually doing it. Doing it well is an even bigger stretch to span….Is it worrisome that these measures were negotiated and agreed upon privately, away from the public eye before the session even started?

read … Legislators’ cost-of-living ideas try to stave off voters’ growing discontent before elections

Poll: 69% Say Complete TMT

HB: … BOSS Survey interviewed 433 business representatives statewide; 808 Poll reached 473 adult members of the general public statewide…

Men (81%) were stronger proponents of TMT than women (56%).

63% of Native Hawaiians polled opposed construction.

Japanese (87%) and Caucasians (81%) were strong proponents.

Support for construction increased with age. Just 42% of those under the age of 35 supported completion. The level of support topped out at 94% among seniors.

Those with a college degree (76%) were more likely to support the telescope than those without (60%)….

read … BOSS Survey

TMT supporters pick up litter left on Mauna Kea by Telescope Protesters

KITV:  … Mauna Kea is a little cleaner, thanks to some people who say they are TMT supporters. On Friday, some community members say they went to the protest site of the Thirty Meter Telescope and cleaned up some of the damaged tents, poles, and loose trash….

The TMT protest began last October. Some have said the encampment has created litter around the area, including abandoned or damaged tents, abandoned vehicles, and trash …. 

Related: TMT Supporters Help Clean Up Protest Camp After Photos Expose Messy Mauna

read … TMT supporters help pick up litter left in the area

Maui Mayor Wants to Raise GE Tax

SA: … Maui Mayor Mike Victorino has asked House and Senate leaders to extend the deadline for Maui County to implement an excise tax surcharge of up to 0.5% to match similar surcharges imposed by other Hawaii counties.

The request by Victorino was part of a package of proposals submitted by the counties to legislative leaders on the eve of the 2020 legislative session, which got underway last week.

The state’s 4% excise tax is levied on virtually all goods and services sold in Hawaii, which makes it a lucrative source of tax revenue. The Legislature in 2005 authorized Honolulu to impose a 0.5% excise tax surcharge to fund the city’s rail project and also offered the neighbor island counties opportunities to impose their own excise surcharges to finance transportation projects.

Honolulu imposed the surcharge in 2007, followed by Kauai and Hawaii counties. But Maui never did, failing to adopt a surcharge by the March 31, 2019, deadline.

read … Tax Hike Coming

Big Island Bus system ‘meltdown’ leaves schoolchildren, working poor stranded—Tax Hike was Supposed to Solve Transit Problems

HTH: Mayor Harry Kim and the County Council added first a one-quarter cent and then another one-quarter cent local general excise tax surcharge on each $1 in purchases to pay for buses and road improvements. That’s an additional $50 million in a $425 million annual county budget. But changes are coming slowly.

(Object Lesson: Tax hikes don’t solve anything when the real problem is incompetent and corrupt public officials.  Keep reading….)

… The working poor and schoolchildren are left stranded. Bus schedules are inconsistent and would-be riders waiting at bus stops often don’t know when a route has been canceled.

Combined routes and smaller buses leave some behind when the bus reaches capacity. Bone-weary hotel workers must stand in the bus aisles for their two-hour trip home after a long day on their feet.

Waiting for the bus has taken on a whole new meaning, as Hawaii County officials try to patch together enough of a fleet from a steadily eroding hodgepodge of county and privately owned buses to hold them until new vehicles currently on order reach Hawaii’s shores….

“They canceled the Pahoa 3 bus that picks up students from Nawahi. A school that doesn’t have school buses,” a working mom posted Jan. 7 to the Facebook Hele-On users group page. “Some of us parents rely on that bus to get the kids to town cause we work and my kids walk to my job from there. … Kids were left at school. What’s sad is we have to now wait for a call from the kids to let us parents know if the bus got them or not. What a way to start 2020.”

“Meanwhile people lose their jobs who rely on the system,” said another person posting.

“Someone was asleep at the switch and failed to take advantage of grants and other opportunities to get the proper equipment,” said another poster. “It seems like they were trying to take the easy and cheap way out of truly running a system and are now leaving their passengers stranded on a regular basis.”…

(Question: If Harry Kim can’t run a bus system, how can he solve the telescope problem?)

read … Bus system ‘meltdown’ leaves schoolchildren, working poor stranded

Using a new law, Hawaii goes after scofflaws and drafts rules for new B&Bs—But Will Any Apply?

SA: … Over the next year, Kathy Sokugawa, acting director of the city Department of Planning and Permitting, faces the mammoth task of rooting out illegal vacation rentals that have proliferated on Oahu, in defiance of a three-decades-old ban.

That part is going slowly but surely, she said, aided by the enactment of an ordinance that makes it possible to cite an operation on the basis of a mere advertisement for guests. The same advertising provisions are being used to track down anyone trying take advantage of an allowance for 30-day rentals, she said, but who are renting more frequently than that.

The other part — developing regulations and permits to legalize 1,700 more bed-and-breakfast operations — is the great unknown. The DPP has begun drafting the rules (see Page F4 for a summary on where things stand) — but the public reaction to the process is uncertain, because the new allowance is only for bed-and-breakfasts (B&Bs).

“We don’t know if we’re going to get 25 applications or 2,500,” Sokugawa said. “As the mayor has said, not everyone is willing to share their home.”

Before 1989 the city issued nonconforming use certificates (NUCs) for a mix of B&Bs and “whole home” rentals, also called transient vacation units (TVUs), where a host does not share the premises. Clearly, she said, the TVU has always been the preferred option.

“Right now we have 777 nonconforming use certificates for TVUs,” she added. “The number of B&Bs is 38, and that number might be dropping.”…

the prospect of applying for a new B&B permit for his own residence — under the new law, the host must qualify for the city’s property tax exemption for owner-occupants — is far less appealing. A couple of negatives spring to mind.

“They have to live in the house with the person in there,” he said. “They’d be renting out one or two of their bedrooms.… and then they get taxed at the higher rate. You can’t make the money to make it worth the effort.”

Eovino has a point: There may be considerable effort required of prospective B&B owners come October if they want to set up a legal operation under city rules.

The only TVUs will be those permitted before 1989, as well as those in resort-zoned areas…

read … Using a new law, Hawaii goes after scofflaws and drafts rules for 1,700 new B&Bs

Many Hoops to Jump Through--Law nets no new lease extensions — so far

HTH: … A pilot program that awards lease extensions to business owners in Hilo’s Kanoelehua Industrial Area has not yet awarded a single extension as it enters its third year.

The program, brought about by a bill passed in 2018, allows lessees of properties on public lands in the KIA to extend their leases by up to 40 years if they reinvest in renovations to their properties.

Since then, several businesses have applied for lease extensions, but none have yet completed the process.

Jason Fujimoto, president and chief operating officer of HPM Building Supply, in late 2018 said that he hoped HPM would receive its extension by mid-2019. However, on Friday he said that his business is still going through the application process with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

“It’s going to take a little while,” said Sen. Kai Kahele, who introduced the bill. “For the first few applicants, it’s going to be a learning process, and it’s still new legislation.”

Kahele said the process requires owners to draft an agreement with the DLNR and present to that department’s board a full plan of their intended improvements to the property. Those improvements are required to cost at least 30% of the property’s market value, which much also be determined through a series of appraisals.

According to a report to the Legislature filed in December by DLNR chair Suzanne Case, the Board of Land and Natural Resources authorized the department to negotiate development agreements for two separate leases in mid-2019.

Neither of the lessees — Zen Woodworking and Hilo Fish Company — have been awarded their full extensions. The BLNR reserves the authority to terminate an agreement if a lessee is determined to not be making efforts to make the required improvements, said Rep. Chris Todd, D-Hilo, a longtime proponent of the Hilo redevelopment legislation….

read … Law nets no new lease extensions — so far

Liability issue clarified for Hawaii charter schools

SA: …A case at Waimea Middle School that raised questions about who is responsible for accidents at public charter schools has been resolved.

The Charter School Commission has released $75,000 in per-pupil funds for the Hawaii island charter school that had been withheld to settle a lawsuit filed after a woman tripped and fell at the campus.

The decision to redirect the school’s money alarmed school officials who said per-pupil funds are allotted to educate students, not pay liability awards. Some observers warned last month that charter schools could go bankrupt if forced to cover such payouts….

Commission and school staff hope to coordinate in the future with the Attorney General’s Office to avoid similar problems.

“The next time something like this does happen, the Attorney General’s Office needs to notify us so that we can go to the Legislature and make sure we can ask for the amount,” Turbeville said….

read … Liability issue clarified for Hawaii charter schools

HPD Busts Crime Ring ‘Uncle’ – Hand him over to Feds Because Soft on Crime State Kept Giving Him Bail

SA: City and federal law enforcement officers are pursuing two crime rings that they suspect are responsible for a portion of the recent wave of property and violent crimes that has put Oahu on edge.

City Acting Prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto said his office has been working with the Honolulu Police Department over the past six months to use “intelligence-based” prosecution against an organized group, made up of about 25 members ranging from teens to early 20s. Police suspect the group of committing crimes like purse snatchings, robberies and carjackings, under the guidance of a much older male, “Uncle,” in his 50s….

… “Some of them are brothers,” Nadamoto said. “They all live in the same area. It’s kind of a loosely knit gang. They would always make bail and while they were out there they would commit more crimes. We assigned two of our best prosecutors to the case. We got ‘Uncle’ on a drug charge and turned him over to the feds.” … 

KHON: 19 yr old Suspect in 2 robberies, UH carjacking now also in federal custody

read … Law enforcement hopes capture of crime ring players will help bring crime under control

Police open murder investigation at Oahu Community Correctional Center

SA: … Borling-Salas was an inmate at the Oahu Community Correctional Center on Dec. 14 when he was found unresponsive with traumatic injury, and he was taken to a hospital, police said.

On Wednesday, he was discharged to hospice care where he remained until he died.

Police said the investigation was being handled by the state Attorney General’s Office and police will assist if necessary….

HNN: The 23-year old was being held for violating probation.

read … Police open murder investigation at Oahu Community Correctional Center

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