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Tuesday, March 10, 2020
March 10, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:25 PM :: 3303 Views

Money News: OHA files motion for summary judgement in Maunakea lawsuit

INRIX Honolulu Traffic Congestion Report Card

Speaker Names Corona Virus Economic Working Group

EPA requiring closures of 12 Big Isle cesspools

After Decade Long Crime Spree State Gives 1 Year in Jail--Then the Feds Step In

The Futility of Trying to Reduce Driving

Some Waikiki Hotels now 90% Empty--But Legislators Want to Raise Taxes Anyway 

SA: … COVID-19 has infected Hawaii’s visitor industry, which is starting to see symptoms ranging from travel cancellations and anemic bookings to declining air seats to plummeting hotel occupancies — some as low as 10%….

“Everyone in Hawaii’s visitor industry is starting to see decreases, some more than others. It’s been the most challenging for those that are heavily reliant on the Asian markets, but we are starting to see some incursion into the domestic market,” said Mufi Hanne­mann, Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association president and CEO….

But judging from hotel occupancy declines, some visitors are canceling trips and others aren’t booking. Hawaii hoteliers report that occupancy has dropped from a high of about 70% to a low of about 10%. Earlier this year statewide occupancy ranged from a high of about 90% to a low of about 80%….

Meanwhile: Hawaii lawmakers consider raising income taxes, GE Tax—Carbon tax to hit Fuel, Electricity and Airline Tickets

SA: Clinical Labs of Hawaii begins commercial Corona Virus Testing Today

read … State tourism hit hard as virus reaches Hawaii

FEAR: Hawaii Democratic ‘Ranked-choice’ ballot might give Gabbard her only Primary Win

SA: … Some Democratic Party of Hawaii voters such as Jack Magann, 77, of Waialua, are confused by the party’s ballot he received for its upcoming presidential primary in April.

With 10 Democratic presidential candidates on the ballot — including seven who have dropped out or suspended their campaigns — Magann believes many voters will be confused.

The ballot asks you to select your top three choices….

Magann wants to pick only one candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and not three.

Magann worries that the new, “ranked-choice” ballot will be invalidated if he picks only one Democratic candidate — and refuses to select two more in order of preference….

Since the only candidates still in the race are Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaii congresswoman, it is possible all three will get 15% or more….

(Translation: Dem leaders are concerned that Gabbard will get a bunch of 3rd place choice votes from supporters of the candidates who have already dropped out….ooooops!)

“If you vote for one person, it’s valid,” Stanley said. “You don’t have to vote for three.” (She said plaintively….)

read … ‘Ranked-choice’ Democratic ballot might confuse voters

Nadamoto Running for Prosecutor: Tough on Crime Except those Committed by Political Insiders

HNN: … Acting city Prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto announced Monday he wants the job permanently.

Nadamoto threw his hat into an already-crowded race for the seat.

And he’s carrying some baggage.

Nadamoto stepped into the position last March when then-Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro went on paid administrative leave amid an ongoing federal corruption investigation.

At a news conference announcing his candidacy, Nadamoto promised to be tough on crime.

He called out many of his fellow candidates who he said are too lenient when it comes to prison time for convicted felons.

“We are going to take back our streets,” Nadamoto said. “We don’t need prosecutors that are soft on crime or defense attorneys who want to be a prosecutor. We need a law and order prosecutor who will be tough on crime.” …

Ignore Her: Honolulu Prosecutor Debate: Only Megan Kau Pledges to Keep Criminal Suspects Locked up

read … Hand-picked by Kaneshiro

110,000 with outdated voter registration won’t get ballots

SA: … More than 111,000 voters will not be sent a ballot in Hawaii’s first election by mail due to their outdated voter registration records….

If you received the election mailing, and it was addressed to you, you are registered and will be sent a ballot for the upcoming 2020 elections.

If you were expecting a postcard but did not receive it, go online to or contact our office to check your status in the official voter registration database….

By law, your ballot cannot be automatically forwarded to a new address, so it is only by updating your registration that you can ensure you will receive a ballot….

read … 110,000 with outdated voter registration won’t get ballots

Showboating: Honolulu Files Climate Lawsuit Against Fossil Fuel Companies

BB: … Honolulu sued fossil fuel companies Monday for their role in climate change.

The Hawaii capital’s lawsuit, filed in state court, accuses the industry of misleading the public about the impacts of climate change, and seeks money to offset costs from flooding, road damage, and other local impacts….

PDF: Lawsuit

read … Honolulu Files Climate Lawsuit Against Fossil Fuel Companies

Kauai Readers Not Fooled by Article Titled: ‘1-person cars create congestion’

TGI …Kathleen Rooney, transportation and policy director for the Hawai‘i investment company Ulupono Initiative, explained that the report ultimately prescribes a change in philosophy — building roads that not only cater to vehicles, but include space for other modes of transportation.

(Skip to the comments) … “The bus system on Kauai is for derelicts and homeless” …. Typical of Ulupono to push an akamai-sounding, pie-in-the-sky sell on alternative transport as tho the obvious first solution has been tried and found wanting. When you have a single lane system designed for the horse-and-buggy era still trying to serve the needs of a much larger population what you have is (deadly) inefficiency. How many have to lose their lives (& miss flights and appointments) before we graduate to a two-lane, divided highway around our island? We need only look to the safety and efficiency of the improvements to Kaumuali’i Highway between the old sugar mill and Puhi, with its dividers and turn lanes to see what safety and efficiency look like….

Debunked: The Futility of Trying to Reduce Driving

read … 1-person cars create congestion

HB668 Dead: Would Have Reversed Cancellation of 38,000 Sister Isle Medicaid Policies

SoR: …Legislators introduced a new version of HB 668 this year in response DHS’s plan to reduce the number of Medicaid health plan options on neighbor islands. The bill would require DHS to receive approval from the legislature through a two-thirds vote in each chamber prior to executing a contract that would reduce the number of Medicaid plans available in any part of Hawaii. The bill passed out of the health committee, but failed to make it out of the full House….

Feb 6, 2020: 38,000 Neighbor Island patients to lose health insurance?

read … State of Reform

Lawmakers Want To Subsidize Young Brothers Big Rate Increases

CB: … Hawaii lawmakers are pushing through a bill to provide cash subsidies to the state’s only interisland cargo shipper in an attempt to soften the impact of the shipper’s proposal to increase its rates.  But the state Department of Transportation opposes House Bill 2475, saying it unfairly benefits just one company….

(False Dichotomy: Accept rate hike or accept taxpayer subsidy.  Missing Choice: None of the above.) 

read … Lawmakers Want To Subsidize Big Rate Increases By Hawaii’s Only Interisland Shipper

Coronavirus vs Transparency: State Grants Hearing Canceled Over Coronavirus Concerns

CB: … Lawmakers canceled an annual meeting to hear pitches form nonprofits in need of state funds over concerns and uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus….

The meeting typically takes place in an auditorium in the State Capitol basement in which hundreds of nonprofits have three minutes to tell legislators why they need state money….


PDF: Memo Cancelling Hearing

read … State Grants Hearing Canceled Over Coronavirus Concerns

Some Brun charges dismissed by State—but Fortunately the Feds are Here

TGI: … Felony charges of assault on a police officer and resisting arrest against County Councilmember Arthur Brun—originally filed by Kauai County authorities—have been dismissed, apparently because they were superseded by Brun’s federal indictment for running an island-wide methamphetamine ring.

The dismissals, which occurred on March 4, were confirmed by online court records and Brun’s attorney in the county matter, Shaylene Iseri. There is no practical change in Brun’s situation. He remains in custody in Honolulu after bail was denied last week following Brun’s entry of a not guilty plea in the federal case….

Kauai County spokesperson Sarah Blane confirmed that Brun, who remains a member of the County Council, continues to draw his salary of $5,261.67 per month. Like all county employees, Brun gets his paycheck twice a month, she said….

County officials, including Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami and County Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro, have said that state law and the county charter make it impossible to remove Brun from the body unless he resigns or is convicted of a felony.

He could be impeached, but that process could only be initiated by a paper document petition physically signed by five percent of the county’s registered voters. The charter and state law make no provision for online petitions like one currently online at the website Monday afternoon, the site claimed that 1,685 people have “signed” the document, but it could not be…

Jackson’s motion said that Brun was stopped on Rice Street in Lihue by KPD Lt. James Miller. After Brun pulled over, Miller told the councilmember that he had been stopped for having windows that were tinted too dark, the motion said.

Miller, according to the motion, asked Brun for his driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. Brun provided the documents, the motion said. Miller, the motion said, then went to his car to retrieve a device to measure the density of the window tint.

As Miller did so, the motion said, a KPD canine officer who was nearby had his drug dog conduct a check of Brun’s car. Miller, according to Jackson’s motion, was informed by the handler that “there as an alert made on the vehicle.”

The motion said Brun became enraged and yelled at Miller: “You didn’t stop me for tint! This isn’t right!” Miller ordered Brun to turn off the engine in his car and, when Brun refused to do so, the motion said Miller reached in to turn the key himself.

It was at that moment, the motion said, that Brun put the car in “drive” and “floored the accelerator.” The car began to move before Miller could completely withdraw his arm and that the lieutenant was “still partially in the vehicle.” Miller’s shoulder was struck as Brun sped away, according to the motion.

At least two police units gave chase and caught up to Brun near the Kauai Beach Resort off Kuhio Highway.

According to the federal indictment, which was originally filed under seal on Feb. 13, as Brun sped away, he threw a bag containing about a pound of methamphetamines from his car. Police saw the throw occur and recovered the drugs, the indictment charges.

It was not clear why the original traffic stop was conducted by a lieutenant—a police rank that would not normally be involved in routine traffic enforcement. It was also not explained why a drug dog was at the scene immediately after Brun was pulled over….

read … Some Brun charges dismissed

Homeless Meth Dealer Wins 10 Years of Free Housing

MN: … A man who admitted he had been selling drugs when police found him with 3.4 pounds of crystal methamphetamine was sentenced Thursday to a 10-year prison term.

Francis Kawika Maddela, 32, pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree promoting of a dangerous drug….

Defense attorney Jon Apo said Maddela was homeless at the time….

read … How to get the homeless off the street—arrest them and put them in jail for their crimes

In trial for control of her fortune, heiress Abigail Kawananakoa takes the stand

HNN: … during Monday’s hearing, the 93-year-old Kawananakoa sometimes exhibited memory lapses when answering questions from attorneys.

She said she didn’t recall conducting an interview last year with veteran journalist Tanya Joaquin, which was arranged by a public relations firm.

“Why was she interviewing me. I never give interviews," she said.

And, in an apparent effort to jog her memory, her ‘wife’ Gail Kawananakoa was overheard talking to her while sitting on the witness stand during a break.

Gail said to her wife the lawyers were attempting to confuse her, and tried to frame her as not of sound mind. She also reassured her she was doing a wonderful job on the stand.

One lawyer said the discussion between witnesses could be a violation of court rules.

“It is absolutely prohibited when somebody is on the witness stand. That person is not supposed to talk to anybody, be coached by anybody, including lawyers," said attorney Eric Seitz.

"The harm is that somebody is telling the witness what to say and how the witness is coming across.”

Kawananakoa’s testimony resumes Tuesday. If she’s found unfit, a conservator could be appointed by the court.…

Background: Kawananakoa Estate: Sex, Drugs, and Inequality

read … In trial for control of her fortune, heiress Abigail Kawananakoa takes the stand

DPP Harasses Homeowner over Small Driveway Job

ILind: … “Our” hearing came at the tail end a two-year saga dealing with the Department of Planning and Permitting over our failure to obtain a building permit before replacing a relatively small section of our driveway that might have been a total of 125 square feet, followed by our efforts to correct the violation.

Long story short–we were cited for rebuilding that section of the driveway without a permit. It was, as they say, a fair cop. We hadn’t realized a permit was necessary for a small job like this. We were wrong. The problems came as we tried to make our way through the department’s bureaucratic process to correct the violation. Initially we thought an after-the-fact permit would resolve the issue. It turned out there was more to deal with than that, although was quite a while before we got a fuller picture of things.

Along the way, the inspector who issued the original Notice of Violation decided to escalate our case by referring it to the department’s Code Compliance Branch for issuance of a “Notice of Order.” An NOO starts the clock ticking with daily fines accruing once its deadline passes, at least on paper, until the violation is finally corrected. It put us there alongside the monster home builders and operators of illegal vacation rentals.

We felt the decision to move to active enforcement was unfair, and procedurally improper, not because being cited was unfair (we had already acknowledged our error) but because of the context. At the time our driveway case was referred to DPP’s enforcement arm, we were awaiting a decision on an application for a driveway variance which had been pending with the director’s office for just over 60 days. If the variance had been granted, the entire problem would have been resolved, and we could have kept our driveway as-is after payment of some small fines. While we awaited the director’s decision, we were stuck. It was that decision that would tell us what we had to do next. Without it, we were in limbo. By the way, that limbo continued for another five months before we got a decision on the variance request. For the record, it was denied. That wasn’t the whole story, but it will do for now….  

ILind: City says Building Board of Appeals has only limited jurisdiction

Related: Free Golf, Methamphetamines, and Building Permits

read … It was an interesting way to spend a Friday afternoon

Fear Of Fluoridation Ignores Science And Common Sense

CB: … Our children have the highest prevalence of tooth decay in America. Citizens should demand that the Legislature mandate fluoride in the public water supply….

read … Fear Of Fluoridation Ignores Science And Common Sense

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