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Thursday, July 2, 2020
July 2, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:36 PM :: 5854 Views

HB2502 Still Dangerous: Grassroot Institute warns again about granting wide powers to health director

COVID Count: Nine new cases out of 1,232 tests

COVID Count: 20 new cases out of 1,328 tests

Akina for OHA: TMT Yes with Pono Management

Ige: Mauna Kea the Cornerstone for US Astronomy

Mayor Victorino opposes Maui Council Charter Amendments Creating New Departments

Hawaii Anti-Gun Bills Eligible for the Floor

UH releases interim COVID-19 guidelines for its 10 campuses

Rick Blangiardi Part of 1980s Savings & Loan Fraud Scheme

CB: … Blangiardi’s involvement in two financial deals – detailed in court records and news clippings – raises serious questions about the candidate’s judgment. At the time he was a licensed real estate broker in his 30s.

In a 1985 affidavit, Blangiardi admitted to receiving $1,500 in exchange for buying and mortgaging a condo on behalf of real estate broker Sam Daily. Blangiardi’s lawyer said in a court filing that his client was acting as a “strawman.”

Blangiardi, a sales manager for KGMB at the time, told his mortgage lender that Daily also promised to buy more ads from KGMB and would let Blangiardi in on a future real estate deal, the lender said in court filings

That same year, the FDIC accused Blangiardi and others of fraudulently obtaining loans from Indian Springs State Bank in Kansas. The suit echoes the other case: It alleged that Blangiardi was one of several individuals who received $1,500 to act as straw borrowers for people who wouldn’t have been able to secure loans on their own.

Ultimately, those loans were not repaid and Indian Springs was declared insolvent, leading it to shut down. The FDIC’s lawsuit demanded that Blangiardi pay back $100,000 plus interest and penalties, according to news reports.

Blangiardi was also a limited partner in two companies, Haiku Partners and Haiku Holdings, which were run by leaders of the ploy, a 1982 record filed with Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances shows.

According to federal bankruptcy records of one of the perpetrators, those companies were part of a “tax shelter plan.”

The evidence undercuts Blangiardi’s claim that he was a blameless victim, said Mike Manning, a well-known Arizona attorney who discovered the fraud and represented the FDIC against Blangiardi and others involved.

“It was a sophisticated scheme that had a lot of soldiers, a lot of captains and a few generals,” Manning told Civil Beat this week. “Blangiardi was one of eight to 12 (people) in Honolulu who made knowingly false statements under oath to a federally insured financial institution. So, that’s hardly an innocent dupe.” …

In a court filing, the attorneys said Blangiardi cannot “expect relief from allegations of fraud where he, by his own admission, engaged in fraud.” 

“Blangiardi cannot assert fraud, illegality or other misrepresentation on the part of GECC when Blangiardi himself has unclean hands,” the lawyers argued.

Circuit Court Judge Edwin Honda ruled against Blangiardi….

Wikipedia: Indian Springs State Bank was an American Savings and Loan in Kansas City, Kansas. It was notable as the bank of choice for a number of mobsters as well as a conduit in the Iran–Contra affair.  

SA: Rick Blangiardi’s bank problems from 35 years ago resurface as mayoral race heats up

read … How Rick Blangiardi Got Caught Up In A 1980s Bank Fraud Scheme

Wealthy Retirees on Kauai Seeking to use COVID to Kill off Tourism now want double testing

TGI: …A committee of doctors and community leaders (wealthy retirees) is considering a proposal to Gov. David Ige to test a tourist-entry system that would require visitors to Kauai to be tested for COVID-19 before they depart and again after they arrive, with a five- or six-day quarantine in between.

The Kauai-specific system would differ from a protocol announced by Ige last week under which visitors can produce evidence they have tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of arrival in Hawaii or undergo a 14-day quarantine.

The two-test, Kauai-specific procedure emerged Wednesday from a Zoom meeting of members of the Kauai COVID-19 Discussion Group and Lt. Gov. Josh Green. The different protocol for Kauai, said Dr. Lee Evslin, an organizer of the committee, would assure tourists that their Hawaii destination would be more certainly COVID-free than the rest of the state in return for accepting the need for the two tests and a week in quarantine.

The COVID committee originally proposed a statewide two-test system in a report released June 18.

The meeting of the committee with Green came the morning after Evslin revealed new figures showing that Alaska, which introduced a one-test option like Ige’s on June 5, has seen exponential growth in new cases in the days since.  It is not clear, however, whether Alaska’s caseload spike has been caused by increased numbers of tourists or brought on by behavior of local residents after statewide shutdown provisions were ended. 

(NOTE: Alaska’s COVID cases started jumping BEFORE the reopening of tourism.  As always the Kauai hysteria caucus is playing with the figures to juice its agenda.) 

Meanwhile, Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami said Wednesday that planning to reopen Hawaii began several weeks ago, “when our COVID situation across the state and nation was stabilizing.” Recent developments, Kawakami said, mean that “the situation on the mainland has shifted. It would be prudent for all of us to consider the increased risk of trans-Pacific travel under current circumstances.”

A spokesperson for the mayor did not respond to a request to clarify whether Kawakami was urging Ige to reconsider his decision. Kawakami said he was unaware of the meeting of Green and the COVID committee but that “first and foremost, I appreciate the passion and effort of the Kauai COVID group.”

The Kauai-specific test and quarantine system, which has not yet been presented to Ige, has little chance of being adopted. But it underscores the concern among the medical (wealthy retiree) community (that their one last best chance to kill off tourism may be slipping thru their fingers)….

Green said, “the added quarantine would mean no one would travel to Hawaii—period. If the proponents are OK with 22 percent unemployment, mass poverty and closure of our hospitals and schools, then I suppose it would be an option.”

Despite that, Evslin stood his ground. “It could be an interesting scenario,” he said, “if we try to make Kauai nearly COVID-free and worked with wealthy landowners …  (BINGO!)

SOME WISDOM:: Alaska and Hawaii both have a big jump in cases starting early June.

(Google “Alaska COVID Cases” and compare to “Hawaii COVID cases” and compare to “Puerto Rico COVID cases”)

Alaska’s starts May 27 but they did not reopen tourism until June 5. Hawaii’s began June 5 but we are not reopening tourism until August 1. This places the cause-effect pattern in question.

Puerto Rico has a big jump in COVID cases starting May 27 but they are not implementing the Alaska-Hawaii plan until July 15. Again where is the cause-effect relationship?

Evslin is co-author of “Kauai’s Golden Window of Opportunity” — a plan to use COVID to quash tourism. He has an agenda just as surely as the tourism industry has an agenda….

MN: Ige OKs extension of Hana roadblock to July 15 (same phenomenon, different location)

Hanalei Floods:  Two Years Later: Kauai Mayor signs fifteenth supplementary emergency proclamation (same phenomenon, different excuse)

TW: Oahu vacation rentals won’t benefit as Hawaii eases restrictions (Oahu using COVID to re-shape tourism to serve interest of hotels and unions)

read … Group wants double testing

States Hold Immense Powers To Handle Public Health

CB: … Hawaii itself has a past of draconian exercise of quarantine and health power, including the establishment of a leper colony in Kalaupapa, the uncontrolled spread of the Spanish Flu in 1918 (thanks to the territorial government’s self-denial), and the blocking off of Chinatown in 1899 due to the bubonic plague.

Measures undertaken to control the 1899 bubonic plague were severe: preventing residents from leaving the quarantine zone through military force, forcefully scouring homes with carbolic acid, putting residents through public showers, and applied burnings against tens of buildings deemed infected. The use of controlled fire was especially notable, as it would lead to the 17-day Honolulu Chinatown fire of 1900….

read … States Hold Immense Powers To Handle Public Health

Some 11,000 people in Hawaii still haven’t gotten unemployment payments

HNN: … more than 11,000 people are still waiting – and many can’t wait much longer.

"I don't receive any single money yet," said Gabriel Saldanha Costa.

Saldanha Costa is a server at Paia Fish Market in Waikiki.

He was laid off on March 20th and has yet to receive any unemployment benefits….

He is now back at his job but working reduced hours since business is slow.

He said he is relying on others for money – but says their kindness has run out.

“I owe money. I keep telling them, ‘I’m going to get paid. I’m going to get paid.’ But I don’t have any money in my account so it’s very hard,” he said…

read … Some 11,000 people in Hawaii still haven’t gotten unemployment payments

SB2206: State says new homes for 32 Waimanalo homeless not allowed

SA: … In just three months, “Auntie Blanche” McMillan has created permanent homes for 32 homeless people from Waiminalo and plans to build 100 more on state land at the end of the road on Hilu Street. McMillan’s vision called “Hui Mahi’ai Aina” — or loosely the land of group farming — originally was part of Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s plan for a statewide system of “kauhale” tiny homes to provide permanent housing for Hawaii’s homeless. But troubles lie ahead. In a statement, Suzanne Case, chairwoman of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that McMillan’s ambitious plans were never allowed….

SB2206: Text, Status

SB2206: Gut n Replace Bill would permit festering homeless tent cities on all state land

Related: Hernando DeSoto El Otro Sendero

read …  State says new homes for 32 Waimanalo homeless not allowed

N King St to Become New Homeless Hub

HNN: .. Last month, Chinatown residents opposed the facility. But the program may have now found a home in Kalihi, in a two-story building that’s hard to miss.

Painted peach with teal trim, it’s situated in a bustling neighborhood at the corner of North King Street and Long Lane. Over the next few months, the plan is to turn the vacant structure into a homeless hub with a two-fold goal….

Unlike the previously proposed location at 65 Beretania St. in Chinatown, many businesses in the Kalihi neighborhood support the idea, saying the need is overwhelming.

“There is a very serious problem in this neighborhood,” said Kai Wang, manager at Golden Cabinets and Stone. He said they often find people sleeping in the parking lot and he worries it’s driving away business….

(Idea: Make Long Ln into a gated community to keep the bums out.)

read … Homeless triage center that Chinatown residents rejected may have found a new home

Recent study shows less Hawaii residents believe management of COVID-19 is 'heading in right direction'

KITV: … Over the past month there has been a drop in the number of residents who believe the state's management of the pandemic is "heading in the right direction." That is according to a recent study released by marketing research and consulting company SMS Hawaii….

read … Recent study shows less Hawaii residents believe management of COVID-19 is 'heading in right direction'

US judge to examine Hawaii quarantine challenge today

AP: … A judge is expected to consider Thursday whether to grant a request to stop Hawaii from enforcing a quarantine on arriving travelers, meant to control the spread of the coronavirus.

A group of Hawaii, California and Nevada residents filed a lawsuit saying Hawaii’s emergency order is unfair and unnecessary. They gained the support of the U.S. Department of Justice, which filed a statement saying the quarantine discriminates against out-of-state travelers, even though it also applies to residents….

read … US judge to examine Hawaii quarantine challenge

Diversification Underway: Tourism is Half of what it was in 1989

KHON: … According to State Economist Eugene Tian, Hawaii has been steadily diversifying away from tourism over the past 30 years.

"In 1989, tourism made up one-third of the economy, now it is 17 percent. Its contribution decreased by half," stated Tian….

2019: DBEDT Predicts Anemic Economy for Years to Come

2016: GE Tax: Audit Shows Tourists pay only 14.1% of Rail Surcharge

read … Boosting Hawaii's economy by shooting for the stars?

Lawmakers, public question BLNR member’s intentions

SA: … State lawmakers and hundreds of individuals questioned the intentions of longtime Board of Land and Natural Resources member Christopher Yuen ahead of a vote that could extend his term.

The Senate Committee on Water and Land was scheduled to decide Wednesday if it would recommend that Yuen continue serving on the board through June 2022, but the committee deferred making a decision until Monday.

In May, hundreds of testimonies from the public and several organizations opposed Yuen serving on BLNR. They criticized his decisions on some high-profile projects, including support for the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island, the Na Pua Makani wind farm in Kahuku and the diversion of water from streams in East Maui for irrigation….

HTH: BLNR nominee Yuen grilled by Senate committee

read … Lawmakers, public question BLNR member’s intentions

Interim state tax director withdraws from senate confirmation process

SA: … Suzuki recounted some of her government service and accomplishments in a brief presentation before the Ways and Means Committee this morning.

“I was prepared to work with the department staff, practitioners and legislators to the completion of Gov. Ige’s term to leverage our technology and data to increase taxpayer compliance and collections to build a high-performing tax unit,” she said.

“However, I’ve been informed that your committee will not support my appointment, and thus I asked Gov. Ige to withdraw my nomination as director if taxation,” she said….

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz then adjourned the hearing briefly, and resumed the hearings to explain that “based on the nominee’s statement of her decision to withdraw from being nominated to the Department of Taxation as director, we expect a formal letter from the governor forthcoming. Therefore, we’re going to adjourn.”

“OK, then,” laughed one female senator before the microphones were shut off….

Best Comment: "she managed the modernization of the department’s computer systems" That says it all.

read … Interim state tax director withdraws from senate confirmation process

County Council urges quick roll out of coronavirus relief funds

HTH: … With a Dec. 30 “use it or lose it” deadline, the county is scrambling to get money out fast, while still adhering to the required competitive process. Administrators decided to first put out a request for proposals from financial institutions, management companies and nonprofits that have the capacity to solicit proposals and administer grants.

That RFP should go out next week in an expedited process that would have the winning bidder or bidders being able to start soliciting their own proposals by the end of this month or the beginning of August. The fee for those administering the grants would run from 2% to 4%.

“We really want to get the money out to the people and out on the streets,” said Finance Director Deanna Sako.

Hawaii County’s official unemployment rate is 20% but Kohala Councilman Tim Richards thinks it’s actually higher than that. It’s unknown what the actual number is, with people leaving the job market or taking retirement obscuring the count.

Deputy Finance Director Steve Hunt agreed it’s important to get the money out.

“This is a stimulus package and we’ve been encouraged to get this through as quickly as possible,” he said.

But the county budget-crunchers warned the council that the county has so far received only half the money. Because the funds were given to the state to distribute to the smaller municipalities, the state made a number of requirements, including retaining the right to terminate the agreement at any time and delegating to the county functions such as lifeguards, paramedics and airport screeners previously held by the state….

“Trying to nail Jell-O to a wall, that’s what it seems like right now,” said Kona Councilwoman Rebecca Villegas ….

read … County Council urges quick roll out of coronavirus relief funds

Family of Waianae man files suit against HPD over fatal Mililani shooting

HNN: … Back in February 2019, undercover police officers investigating an alleged shoplifting case surrounded Waianae resident Kyle Thomas’ car in Mililani.

Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said back then that Thomas drove at them, forcing them to shoot and kill the 26-year-man.

But a lawsuit by Thomas’ family filed today is challenging the HPD’s account.

“What we’ve been told is the first shot that was fired which was the fatal shot was fired before the car moved,” said Eric Seitz, attorney for Thomas’ family.

“Mr Thomas was in the process of holding his hand in view and the police officer came up and shot him.”

Seitz said two witnesses -- Thomas’ friends in the car -- told him that police didn’t even identify themselves before the shooting happened.

They said the car only accelerated after Thomas was shot, said Seitz…. 

CB: Honolulu Sued Over Fatal Police Shooting Of Waianae Man

read … Family of Waianae man files suit against HPD over fatal Mililani shooting

Petition to Stop Mark Zuckerberg From 'Colonizing' Hawaii Island With His New Mansion Goes Viral

NW: … A new petition urging Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to stop "colonizing" Kauai, Hawaii, has garnered over 150,000 signatures.

In an email response to Newsweek, a spokesperson for the Zuckerberg family office stated that "the premise of this petition is false."…

"mark zuckerberg continues to harass & sue hawaiian families for their land in an attempt to colonize kauai. on top of the hell he's already put many families through to obtain the land he has now. this community does NOT want him here. please sign + share," Twitter user and mini-celebrutard Courtney Jaye wrote, hoping to increase her …uh… ‘fame’….….

read … Petition to Stop Mark Zuckerberg From 'Colonizing' Hawaii Island With His New Mansion Goes Viral

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