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March 20, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:57 PM :: 2034 Views

ODC Complaint: Megan Kau Worked for Miske and Cop Who Arrested Him

How to worsen our doctor shortage

Hawaii Family Forum Legislative Week in Review

Vaccinations to Hawaii residents 16 and older by May 1?

SA: … Lt. Gov. Josh Green is urging the Department of Health to extend COVID-19 vaccinations to residents 16 and older by May 1.

He is pushing for those 55 and older and people with high-risk medical conditions, including caregivers, to begin inoculations March 28, followed by residents 45 and above starting April 18. That way, by May 1 the state will be able to open immunizations to anyone 16 and older with a priority on those in congregate living situations. President Joe Biden has directed states to allow all American adults to be eligible for shots by May 1….

read … Lt. Gov. Josh Green wants to offer vaccinations to Hawaii residents 16 and older by May 1

Corruption and pensions

SA Editorial: … Nothing erodes a citizen’s trust in our government like corruption — public employees who illegally use their positions for personal gain….

Senate Bill 912, S.D.1, H.D.1 aims to strengthen those safeguards by hitting a corrupt public employee where it hurts the most: pension benefits.

The measure would allow a court to order the forfeiture of one-half of the pension of an employee, former employee or retiree who is convicted of a felony that is “directly related to the employee’s position or duties.”…

As it happens, SB 912 probably won’t affect the Kealohas’ situation: Katherine Kealoha reportedly doesn’t have a pension, and 75% of Louis’ $9,700 monthly payments is being diverted toward restitution to his victims, who are owed $237,698.

One could argue that in some cases, the punishment wouldn’t fit the crime. Under state law, a Class C felony, the least serious type, can result in a fine of up to $10,000 for a relatively manini theft; losing half a pension would cost an employee much, much more.

However, even a manini theft could cost more than the amount stolen or fine levied. Taxpayers must pay for the investigation, prosecution, settlement and cleaning up of the mess so it won’t happen again. And the bigger cost — beyond calculation, really — is the erosion of faith in our governmental institutions to work for the public good. Preventing that from happening surely is worth half a pension, at least….

read … Corruption and pensions

The new head of DPP wants to modernize and speed up the city’s building-permit application process

SA: … Improving the building permit application process is the No. 1 priority of this administration with respect to DPP. We are working with one of our consultants on implementing new, out-of-the-box software to re-engineer our building-permit application process. Other cities and municipalities in the U.S. are using the various software modules now. We are assessing the types of quantifiable or measurable improvements they have experienced by using the new applications.

Once we identify the various software modules that address our needs, we will work with the DPP staff, from plan reviewers to inspectors, to make sure that the new modules fit our objectives from a compliance standpoint. If minor modifications to the modules or our process are required, they will be made at this time.

We are also researching the equipment upgrades that are required to allow for electronic processing of building permit applications and for conducting on-site field inspections.

Prior to the rollout of the new building permit application process, we will probably conduct workshops or training sessions with the architect and engineer community so they are aware of how the new system will work and what they will be required to do….

Flashback: Free Golf, Methamphetamines, and Building Permits

read … Dean Uchida: The new head of DPP wants to modernize and speed up the city’s building-permit application process

State affordable-housing incentive program under fire on Maui

SA: … Maui County is flirting with imposing its own rules on a state affordable-housing program in an effort that aims to boost, but might depress, lower-priced home production.

The Maui County Council recently endorsed a bill that would stiffen a chief requirement for developers on Maui to use a state program that offers exemptions on permit fees, taxes, zoning limits and other things for projects where at least half the homes meet affordable-pricing guidelines.

Bill 10 passed an initial review last month in a 5-3 vote, and a final vote scheduled for Friday got deferred in favor of holding a public hearing to receive more input on the contentious measure….

Stanford Carr, a local developer who is building one of the 50% affordable projects on Maui, Kahoma Village, said during a recent Grassroot Institute of Hawaii forum that he told Molina last year that developers won’t be able to obtain financing to build such projects if the bill is enacted….

read … State affordable-housing incentive program under fire on Maui

Bills would allow 17-year-olds in Hawaii to vote in elections

SA: … The state Legislature is advancing two bills that would allow some 17-year-olds to vote by next year’s primary election.

Under the current law, 16-year-olds are allowed to preregister, but they have to wait until they actually turn 18 to vote.

But Senate Bill 550 and 551, introduced by Sen. Les Ihara Jr. (D, Moiliili-Kaimuki-­Palolo), would make constitutional amendments that would allow 17-year-olds in to vote in the primary election only if that person’s 18th birthday falls between next year’s primary election on Aug. 13 and general election on Nov. 8….

So far, 19 other states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections.

Earlier this legislative session, similar bills were introduced by the Keiki Caucus to bring the voting age down to 16 from 18. However, the measures failed to gain traction.

read … Bills would allow 17-year-olds in Hawaii to vote in elections

KPD: Vape Shops Selling ‘Shrooms

KHON: … The KPD Vice Section executed a search warrant around noon Wednesday on the Garden Isle CBD Smoke Shop in Kawaihau.

Police said, the warrant led to the seizure of over 2 pounds of marijuana, multiple vape cartridges labeled with upwards of 80% THC, edibles, several pounds of “green vegetable matter” that is scheduled for THC testing and $5,858 in cash.

A second search warrant was also executed simultaneously at the ‘Ohana Smoke Shop in Lihue by the KPD Vice Section.

Police said, the warrant led to the seizure of over 2 pounds of marijuana, 61.2 grams of psychedelic mushrooms, multiple vape cartridges labeled with upwards of 80% THC, edibles and $15,972 in cash.

read … Up in Smoke

Hawaii coffee farmers hope lawsuit settlements guarantee the Kona in your cup is real

LAT: … Whenever Suzanne Shriner left Hawaii to visit the U.S. mainland, she didn't have to taste the Kona coffee sold at Costco, Walmart and other big-box stores to conclude it was fake.

She just looked at the price of the beans — significantly less per pound than it cost to produce on her farm on the Big Island.

"There's a lot of money in counterfeiting, and it happens in every industry, but we're not nameless, faceless corporations," she said. "We're small farmers who are directly impacted by this."

She and fellow growers believe that passing off cheap, commodity beans as Kona has depressed prices for the real stuff and damaged its reputation as a sweet, smooth, slightly nutty brew.

Shriner is one of more than 700 farmers now eligible to receive the first settlement payments in a federal class-action lawsuit filed against 22 big-name retailers and suppliers.

The growers said that the money — which after attorney fees works out to roughly $14,000 apiece — is less significant than commitments from 11 of the companies to abide by new rules about using the Kona name.

Blenders must say on their packages what portion of the beans are from the Kona belt — where rich volcanic soil, tropical sunshine, gentle breezes and jungle rain give them their distinctive flavor — and refrain from using the Kona label at all if that figure does not meet a minimum threshold set by Hawaiian law.

That threshold has long been 10%, but the state had no way of applying it to coffee sold outside of Hawaii.….

WHT: Kona coffee labeling settlements top $13M

read … Hawaii coffee farmers hope lawsuit settlements guarantee the Kona in your cup is real

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