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Friday, October 22, 2021
October 22, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:16 PM :: 2771 Views

'Karma is a Bitch' -- Maui Mayor's Office Rips Anti-Vaxxer 

UHERO Looks at Maui County Plan to Impose $1.17B Tax Hike on Housing

Belatti Challenged by Committee Members as Witch Hunt Continues

CB: … Witnesses expected to appear next week before the Hawaii House of Representatives committee investigating two recent audits from the State Auditor Les Kondo may include the former city auditor.

That upsets Rep. Dale Kobayashi, a member of the panel, because the city auditor, Edwin Young, chaired a legislative report earlier this year that found fault with Kondo’s office.

Kobayashi asked whether subpoenaing Young is a conflict of interest, given that Young led the so-called “audit of the auditor” established by House Speaker Scott Saiki.

“He was on the committee to go after the auditor,” Kobayashi said of Young at a hearing Thursday morning….

Rep. Amy Perruso also expressed concern about the perception of a conflict. She is worried that the public might lose confidence in the investigation should Young’s testimony be seen as “tainted.”

Belatti said she would examine whether there might be a conflict, but she also said Young, by virtue of his background, was ideally suited to talk to the committee about federal Yellow Book standards on auditing. But Kobayashi said an “impartial” witness would be preferred and again reiterated his position that the Yellow Book is not a gold standard.

Young’s report, released earlier this year, concluded that the State Auditor had “not been in complete compliance” with the Hawaii State Constitution. Kondo called that investigation “sneaky and underhanded.”

Also on Thursday, Kobayashi questioned whether it was appropriate to also subpoena Randal Lee, who was hired by Kondo several years ago to be a consultant for an audit of the troubled Honolulu rail project.

Kobayashi suggested it might be best to first obtain an opinion from the Hawaii Attorney General as to whether the investigative committee was operating outside of its scope. The committee is tasked with looking into audits of the Agribusiness Development Corporation and a special fund used by the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

But Belatti argued that the investigative committee was authorized to look into the two audits in questions “and any other matters.”

She said her committee had been made aware of “serious matters” of additional omissions in additional audits, “and this committee will not sit on that information.”

Kobayashi voted against subpoenaing Lee while Perruso and Rep. Val Okimoto voted with reservations. But a majority prevailed on issuing both subpoenas.…

SA: Hawaii House committee member questions probe of state auditor

REALITY: Hanabusa Attack on Auditor is all about hiding corruption in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

read … New Subpoenas From Panel Looking At State Auditor Raise Concerns

Former OHA aide indicted in money laundering, wire fraud schemes

HNN: … Homeland Security Agents arrested the former aide and Senate Minority Budget Director Paul Harleman in April ― just before he tried to flee the country.

On Thursday, he was indicted on six counts of wire fraud and seven counts of money laundering.

Federal prosecutors say the 34-year-old ran two bookkeeping schemes with his firm, Precision Accounting Hawaii, involving fraudulent invoices to steal the money from three clients.

The alleged schemes ran from July 2018 until May 2020….

read … Former OHA aide indicted in money laundering, wire fraud schemes

HART Still Claiming it Cannot find a MIG Welder for Frogs

SA: …  a temporary plan is being considered to plug the half-inch difference between wheels and track at critical X-shaped “frogs” — where HART trains switch tracks — with temporary welds.

“We went out to procurement,” Lori Kahikina, HART’s interim CEO and executive director, told the Hawaii Society of Business Professionals on Thursday. “The problem is nobody bid on it. And, as far as we know, there’s nobody here locally that is certified to do that type of welding; it’s manganese.” So, HART is now searching for a welding outfit on the mainland “that can do this type of work, come here and actually train the local contractors, because this is going to be an ongoing issue,” she said.

(They can’t find a MIG welder on Oahu?  Really?)

Ongoing welding work will be required for the frogs until wider wheels can be swapped out, Kahikina later told the Honolulu Star- Advertiser. There is no estimate of the cost to replace the narrow wheels with wider ones, she said. A search for a qualified, mainland welder began Thursday, she said.

“It’s a temporary fix,” Kahikina told the Star- Advertiser. “That weld is eventually going to deteriorate. Somebody would need to come back and keep beefing it up. Eventually, you won’t need the weld at all because you’ll have the wider wheels.” …. 

HPR: Honolulu rail repairs could take up to 2 years, HART CEO says

read … Temporary fix planned for Honolulu rail’s too-narrow wheels

Miske Attorneys Ask For Trial To Be Delayed Another Six Months

CB: … this will give his gang more time to ‘work’ on witnesses ….  

read … Miske Attorneys Ask For Trial To Be Delayed Another Six Months

Honolulu Officers In Two Fatal Shootings Did Not Break The Law, Board Says

CB: … The Hawaii Law Enforcement Officer Independent Review Board ruled that the shootings of Kyle Thomas and Siatuu Tauai were justified….

read … Honolulu Officers In Two Fatal Shootings Did Not Break The Law, Board Says

Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation Stops Short Of Demanding Closure Of Red Hill Fuel Facility

CB: … Sen. Mazie Hirono, for instance, supports an independent investigation into the Navy’s response to a Pearl Harbor fuel leak, but says the fuel facility should stay put. …

read … Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation Stops Short Of Demanding Closure Of Red Hill Fuel Facility

New task force to shine spotlight on missing and murdered Native Hawaiian women

HNN: … People Leinani Yahiku, who says that in 2017 she was abused by her husband and high school sweetheart and for six months was sold for sex.

“I didn’t know he was selling me,” she said.

“At first it started off as, I just want you to sleep with this person and then it was if you don’t sleep with this person then you are gonna get it,” Yahiku added.

Violence kept her from seeking help.

“That’s so normal with our culture, brush it under the rug, keep it in the family,” said Yahiku….

read … New task force to shine spotlight on missing and murdered Native Hawaiian women

Honolulu police target gambling in residential areas

SA: … Since Sept. 29 HPD has shuttered five game rooms and confiscated 54 gambling devices. So far this year, police have shut down 45 illegal game rooms and seized 641 machines, surpassing the 37 search warrants executed in 2020.

“It is a lucrative operation and inexpensive to operate and set up. It is common for an illegal game room to reopen shortly after we shut them down. They are a nuisance. They attract traffic, noise, parking complaints, loitering and generally an unwanted clientele to residential communities. Last night’s game room is across the street from a school,” Maj. Phillip Johnson, head of HPD’s Narcotics/Vice Division, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “It’s not necessarily difficult to shut them down. Keeping them shut down is the difficult part. We need to find ways to make it hurt for those who profit most.”

The Kalihi area has the highest number of game rooms in operation, and police are seeing a “growing and alarming” problem in the residential areas of Waianae. At any given time there are 60 to 80 illegal game rooms operating on Oahu….

Related: Police Corruption Scandals Revenge for Gambling Prosecutions?

read … Honolulu police target gambling in residential areas

Kauai Driver license, registration fees may rise

TGI: … Three bills were passed by the Kaua‘i County Council this week, two of which will increase fees for drivers on Kaua‘i and one of which will fund an upcoming special election.

Bill No. 2832 and No. 2833 will raise fees for various driver’s services, including the price to renew or reinstate driver’s licenses as well as vehicle registration and titling fees. Both passed second readings during the council’s Wednesday morning meeting and, if signed by Mayor Derek Kawakami, will become law.

With the passage of Bill No. 2832, the cost of new or duplicate vehicle titles will increase from $5 to $10; duplicate emblems will rise from fifty cents to $1, and registration fees will increase from $17 to $20.

In a similar fashion, the passage of Bill No. 2833 will result in a bump up in prices for new and renewal driver’s licenses. Those ages 25 to 71 will see an increase in renewal fees from $32 to $40, while prices for those ages 16 to 24 will rise from $16 to $20. Those age 72 or older would pay $10, up from $8 before.

Fees for reinstating suspended driver’s licenses would double from $30 to $60.

Bill No. 2833 also alters the language of the law regarding written driving tests to include offering both written and oral tests either in-person or online. The price of such tests will also increase from $2 to $10….

read … Driver license, registration fees may rise

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