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Monday, January 24, 2022
January 24, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:08 PM :: 3015 Views

Where People from Hawaii Are Moving to the Most

UH Football Coach Selection Process Illegal?

DoH: 69% of Seniors are Boosted

Honolulu’s Culture Of Corruption: It Takes a Village

CB: … when will Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat file criminal charges against other former city officials, some of whom have already been under investigation for several years.  This scandal is not over yet. …

When U.S. District Court Judge Michael Seabright sentenced the Kealohas in November 2020, he said, “This case is staggering given its breadth, given its scope, and given its audacity.”

The Kealohas brazenly and repeatedly stole, lied, and betrayed the public trust. This was corruption on a grand scale. It took a village to make it happen, and it took the intervention of federal law enforcement to reveal some of its contours….

The most important causes of corruption are organizational and cultural, not individual. One key enabling condition of the Kealohas’ crime wave was a code of silence that prohibits police and prosecutors from reporting the misconduct of their colleagues.

For the Kealohas’ crimes to occur, numerous law enforcement officials had to cooperate, and many more had to acquiesce in silent complicity with the scripts written by their bosses.

There is no evidence that this code of silence has changed, nor is there evidence that leaders in local law enforcement acknowledge that their organizational cultures are problematic….

And when Honolulu Police Commission Chair Shannon Alivado was asked about the Kealohas’ crime wave she said, “I don’t want to dwell on the past,” and she rebuked the media for “causing unnecessary angst in the community.”

Scandal can be a powerful agent of change, but as these inanities illustrate, the opportunity for reform is being squandered by police and city leaders, who continue to deny that our criminal justice organizations have serious problems….

“Many believe the Kealohas and their police officer co-defendants were simply a few bad apples who made individually bad decisions … This has become an ongoing theme repeatedly echoed by government and HPD officials whenever they have the opportunity … But nothing could be further from the truth … These were some of the highest members of Honolulu’s law enforcement community, who used their authority and the heavy hand of law enforcement to frame an innocent man. This included a large portion of an entire unit within the police department, the [Criminal Investigative Division].

“And no one checked them. Not the Police Commission. Not the Ethics Commission. Not the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. And not the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney. Those few individuals who did take notice lost their jobs. It was only through federal intervention that justice ultimately prevailed….”

read … The Mailbox Conspiracy And Honolulu’s Culture Of Corruption

Federal grand jury probes Hawaii campaign donations

SA: … At least five people, including two former elected officials, testified as witnesses before a federal grand jury last week and were questioned about $300,000 in campaign contributions from a prominent businessman and network of donors.

Former City Council member Ann Kobayashi, former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and at least three others were questioned Thursday by assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat about donations from Honolulu engineering executive Dennis Mitsunaga, his employees and family members between 2008 and 2020, according to Kobayashi and sources with knowledge of the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice investigation….

On Thursday some witnesses before the grand jury were given a one-page list of names of contributors to county and state races. Wheat asked whether they recognized the names and if they were affiliated with Mitsunaga and his stable of donors.

Witnesses were also asked whether Mitsunaga directed the fundraising and illegally reimbursed those who made the contributions, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation….

read … Federal grand jury probes Hawaii campaign donations

Let's Back Those Trying To Earn An Extra Buck Instead Of Blocking Them

CB: … Peer-to-peer car sharing is the latest example of lawmakers cracking down on something new that's not really a problem…..

HB1500: Text, Status

read … Let's Back Those Trying To Earn An Extra Buck Instead Of Blocking Them

Drinking water quality test results will be made public faster

SA: … Drinking water quality test results for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam water system will be made public faster, according to news release today from the the Interagency Drinking Water System Team (IDWST).

The Jan. 13 version of the process allowed for the release of results after the Hawaii Department of Health amended health advisories and declared a zone’s drinking water safe to use.

“Upon careful consideration of concerns from affected families, the IDWST decided to amend the process to be more transparent,” according to the release. “The updated process allows for earlier publication of validated test results as data will be made publicly available after both distribution system flushing and home flushing instead of only the latter.” …

read … Drinking water quality test results will be made public faster, according to the Interagency Drinking Water System Team

SB2057: Rush Windfarms Past Community Opposition

IM: … Hawai’i Senate Bill 2057 asserts that the Public Utilities Commission is delaying renewable energy projects….

The bill proposes reducing the amount of time that the public utilities commission is allowed to take to review a proposed power purchase agreement from 270 to 180 days.

During the 2018-2020 timeframe, 14 uncontested solar and storage projects were submitted to the public utilities commission and approved.

The Commission averaged 131 days to approve each power purchase agreement….

Two involved contested case proceedings: West Maui Preservation Association intervened in the Kahana Solar proceeding and Pono Power Coalition intervened in the Paeahu Solar proceeding. 

Ho`ohana Solar had to redesign their layout after initially proposing to use prime agricultural land.

The post power purchase agreement process for the 2018- timeframe from PPA approval to the Guaranteed Commercial Operations Date averages 1053 days.

This longer timeframe is caused by COVID-19 pandemic issues including employment and causing supply chain disruptions, the increasing complex grid, utility inefficiencies, and state and county agency reviews….

read … Hawai`i Renewable Energy Delays Caused by Pandemic

Victorino, Bissen, Molina Dive In Early To Maui Mayor Race

CB: … The county’s voters will elect a mayor in November following the nonpartisan August primary….

read … Victorino, Bissen Dive In Early To Maui Mayor Race

How Many Murders does one Criminal Need to Commit Before Being Locked up?

MN: … Christopher Espiritu, now 67, was sentenced last month to serve 20-year prison terms for attempted manslaughter and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony at the same time as a 10-year prison term for keeping a firearm in an improper place.

His latest sentencing occurred Dec. 10, nearly two decades after he was arrested for shooting the woman in her Hale Royale apartment unit in Lahaina the night of Dec. 4, 2002. The woman told police she had broken off a relationship with Espiritu after learning he was married, but he continued to call her and leave flowers. That night, she was in her bedroom with another man, who told police he threw Espiritu on the floor before running out.

After shooting her, Espiritu shot himself in the upper chest. When she regained consciousness, she ran to a neighbor’s unit for help. Espiritu fled before police apprehended him a few hours later in a pineapple field near the Kapalua West Maui Airport.

In a trial in 2005, Espiritu was found guilty of second-degree attempted murder, as well as using a firearm in the commission of a separate felony and keeping a pistol in an improper place. In May 2005, he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for attempted murder to be served at the same time as 20- and 10-year prison terms for the other two counts.

Espiritu appealed and the Hawaii Supreme Court sent the case back to 2nd Circuit Court for a new trial. The higher court said the prosecutor’s closing arguments misstated the law on extreme mental or emotional disturbance, which is a defense to attempted murder, and the court didn’t adequately correct the misstatement.

Instead of opting for another trial, Espiritu pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of attempted manslaughter as well as use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony.

In July 2009, Espiritu was sentenced to 20-year prison terms for attempted manslaughter and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The judge ordered that Espiritu serve those terms concurrently but consecutive to the 10-year prison term for keeping a pistol in an improper place for a total of 30 years.

In March 2020, Espiritu filed a petition arguing that the sentencing judge improperly relied on an expunged case in imposing the consecutive prison terms. In comments during the sentencing hearing, the judge said Espiritu “has previously exhibited a lack of control which has led to violence against other people,” referring to an arrest in 1973 when Espiritu was charged with attempted murder. He entered a no-contest plea to a reduced charge of second-degree assault, was granted a deferral and the case eventually was dismissed.

The prosecution didn’t object to Espiritu’s petition, which followed a 2017 state Supreme Court ruling that it was improper to consider an expunged criminal matter in ordering consecutive sentencing in another case.

In October, the consecutive sentence imposed in Espiritu’s case in 2009 was vacated….

According to the state Department of Public Safety, Espiritu’s next parole hearing (ie release date) is scheduled for August….

read … Justice in Hawaii, LOL

Legislator’s Sports Betting Bill Proposes Staggering 55% Tax Rate

CO: … At 51 percent, New York currently has the highest tax rate on sports betting in the US. Hawaii might be ready to say “Hold my beer.”

In House Bill 1815 (HB 1815), Rep. John Mizuno (D) proposes a jaw-dropping 55 percent levy on sports wagering in Hawaii, assuming the famously anti-gambling state approves regulated sports betting.

There shall be levied, assessed, and collected a tax of 55 percent on all winnings paid out to any person by a sports wagering provider,” according to text of the legislation. “The tax revenues shall be deposited into the sports wagering special fund.”

In the bill, Mizuno proposes the creation of a seven-member board to oversee implementation of sports wagering in the state and select sportsbook operators. If it comes to life in proposed form, it’d likely be a highly partisan board because the governor would select three members while the president of the state Senate and the speaker of the state House would each pick two. Hawaii’s political landscape is dominated by Democrats….

BB: Hawaii’s Proposed Sports Betting Law Includes An Insane Tax That Could Make Wagering A Lot Less Fun

read … Legislator’s Sports Betting Bill Proposes Staggering 55% Tax Rate

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