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Saturday, February 5, 2022
February 5, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:58 PM :: 2022 Views

2022 Legislature: The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly

VIDEO: Economic freedom key to reviving Hawaii small businesses

Omerta: Kirk Caldwell Pledges to Maintain Silence, Stands By Ex-City Officials Accused Of Criminal Conspiracy

CB: … Former Honolulu mayor and current gubernatorial candidate Kirk Caldwell broke his silence Friday after weeks of not commenting on the federal indictment of three of his former political appointees. He said he believes they are innocent….

“I have great confidence in the integrity (omerta) of Ms. Leong, Mr. Amemiya and Mr. Sword,” Caldwell said in a statement sent by his campaign’s attorney Lex Smith. “I am confident they did not commit a crime and they will be acquitted when they get their day in court.”…

(Translation: Don’t rat me out.  My boys will straighten this out.)

Questions have swirled about what Caldwell knew about the transaction and what involvement, if any, he had in the process.

But Caldwell didn’t address any of those questions on Friday. Instead, he said his declaration on the defendants’ innocence was the only comment he’d be making about the case.

“Because the matter is in litigation, I will be making no further statements on the subject,” he said.

(Translation:  I will continue to uphold the code of silence.)

read … Kirk Caldwell Stands By Ex-City Officials Accused Of Criminal Conspiracy

SB2808: HTDC to Giveaway $50M to fake Hawaii High-Tech companies

SA: … a state agency is gearing up to channel over $50 million to hundreds more local small businesses, including startups (ie fake companies), under a federal program designed to fuel job creation, economic recovery and maybe even some profit years from now if investment dollars flow into the next Volta. (transfer tax dollars to scamsters)

Under the program, a Hawaii government agency stands to receive $56.2 million in federal money to invest in local small businesses over seven years with a (pretend) required minimum equal investment from the private sector….

“There are a lot of businesses right now that are struggling,” said Len Higashi, acting executive director of the Hawaii Technology Development Corp., a state agency overseeing execution of the federal program, called the State Small Business Credit Incentive, or SSBCI….

(Translation: These are non-functional shell companies with people I know looking for some free money from you the taxpayer.)

Survival rates generally can often be 15% to 25%….  (But usually are closer to 0%)

To maximize use of available federal funds, which would be delivered in three increments of nearly $19 million provided that each preceding increment is being used, Higashi’s agency is seeking $1 million in state funding from the Legislature to help administer the program.

A bill authorizing this contribution, Senate Bill 2808, is pending.

(WISDOM: Kill SB2808.)

HNN: State envisions 240-acre parcel as future home of emergency response hub

As Previously Explained:

read … State agency gearing up to invest over $50 million in Hawaii companies

Stadium: So much land, so little certainty of public benefits.

SA Editorial: … So much land, so little certainty of public benefits.

At this juncture, it’s difficult to see through the thick haze surrounding the two-pronged redevelopment of valuable, state-owned property at and around Aloha Stadium. That’s why healthy skepticism must accompany each milestone announcement concerning the 98-acre Halawa property, now split by the state into two development projects: the new-stadium build on about 25 acres; and for the remaining 73 acres, a lucrative mixed-use real estate project.

It’s that latter project that’s moving ahead first — even though, ironically, it was the more-urgent stadium rebuild that had launched all this redevelopment talk in the first place….

transparency going forward that will ensure that the public, and not just developers, stand to benefit well from the use of these precious state lands….

read … Redevelopment in Halawa

Top individual donors to Hawaii candidates during 2021

ILind: … The answer says quite a bit about the structure of political power and influence in the state, based on the assumption that, well, “money talks.”

There’s a long list of people who contributed a total of $5,000 or more, too long to be of general use. So I limited it to those who gave over $8,000. It’s still a long list, but manageable.

At the top of the list at #1 and #2 are Blake Oshiro ($23,900) and Bruce Coppa ($22,400), principals with Capitol Consultants, which bills itself as the state’s “leading strategic government affairs and business solutions firm.” And Ross Yamasaki, also of Capitol Consultants, ranked at #11, with contributions of $14,750.

Following them at #3 was Kimberley Yoshimoto, an attorney with the firm of Imanaka Asato LLLC, who contributed a total of $18,650. Michael Iosua ($17,730), from the same firm, also ranked in the top ten, while attorney Mitchell Imanaka ($10,750) ranked at #35.

Five R.M Towill officers and employees were among the top 20 contributors, giving a total of $76,000 to candidates.

Keep in mind that these figures don’t represent the grand totals by individuals associated with these firms, but only those who gave over $8,000. A full accounting for each firm will take longer to compile.

I also noticed quite a few husband/wife pairs who would have been included if their contributions were combined. That’s another for the “maybe later” list.

The several relatively prolific contributors by the name of Bert Kobayashi, including Bert A. Kobayashi (Jr. and Sr.) and attorney Bert T. Kobayashi, don’t appear because I had trouble properly separating their respective contributions in time to be included in this post….

PDF: Individuals donating the most to Hawaii state and local candidates in 2021

read … Top individual donors to Hawaii candidates during 2021

EPA to inspect Navy fuel tanks at Red Hill later this month

SA: … The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today it plans to inspect a Navy fuel storage facility in Hawaii after it spilled petroleum that contaminated the drinking water system used by 93,000 residents in neighborhoods in and around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The EPA informed Navy Region Hawaii in a letter that it would conduct an underground storage tank inspection and a spill prevention inspection the week of Feb. 28.

Martha Guzman, the agency’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a statement the EPA was conducting the inspections given recent events and because of its regulatory and oversight responsibilities. 

Cataluna: The Navy's Arguments Against Shutting Down Red Hill Are Familiar

SA Column: Military must remediate or relocate

HNN: State: Testing not military timeline will determine when families can move back

read … EPA to inspect Navy fuel tanks at Red Hill later this month

Honolulu community invited to participate in survey to help select next police chief

KITV: The Commission is asking residents to fill out an online survey to share their opinion about HPD and what qualities they think are needed from the person who is selected to fill the role….

The survey will take place from Feb. 6 to Feb. 13. The Commission says the results will be reviewed by a consulting firm hired to assist with the selection process….

>>> Tap here to participate in the survey. <<<

read … Honolulu community invited to participate in survey to help select next police chief

Oahu Jail Shakedown Launched After Two Guards Are Attacked

CB: … Staff report the injured corrections officers were taken to a local emergency room Thursday after they were beaten by inmates….

Staff said the attacks Thursday occurred as some cell doors in Module 17 were opened to prepare for distribution of the evening meal, and a dispute broke out over who would be allowed to distribute the food….

Corrections workers have complained for months about chronic short-staffing at the jail as employees have been sidelined by the pandemic.

Data from the Department of Public Safety shows there were 13 active cases of Covid-19 among OCCC employees as of Jan. 31, and 190 cases among the inmates as of Thursday.

Staff said this is the second time in less than a year that a corrections officer was injured in an assault. Another officer was pushed down some stairs in the facility last year and suffered a head injury, staff said….

read … Oahu Jail Shakedown Launched After Two Guards Are Attacked

‘Steady exodus’ of officers strains MPD

MN: … At the end of last year, MPD employed 299 officers and had 101 of its 400 authorized positions unfilled for a vacancy rate of about 25 percent.

The shortage includes 54 percent fewer detectives, with 13 of 28 budgeted positions filled, Krau said….

read … ‘Steady exodus’ of officers strains MPD

Study shows Maui's polystyrene ban had a limited impact on beaches

HPR: … A new study shows Maui County’s 2018 polystyrene ban had a limited impact on Valley Isle beaches.

Of the five beaches studied, only two showed a minor reduction in polystyrene debris after the ban, said Dr. Jennifer Lynch, the co-director of the Hawaiʻi Pacific University Center for Marine Debris Research and one of the scientists who worked on the study.

Lynch says if the county wants to significantly reduce plastic on beaches, it should focus on international foreign fishing fleets, which use lines and nets made from plastic….

MN: No big change in amounts, types of plastic found on five beaches after one year

read … Study shows Maui's polystyrene ban had a limited impact on beaches

Hu Honua Appeal Laughed out of Court

IM: … This court has jurisdiction over appeals from the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) “final decision” in a contested case. …It also has jurisdiction over appeals from preliminary PUC rulings in contested cases if forcing the appellant to wait until the entry of a final decision would “deprive appellant of adequate relief.”

Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC (Hu Honua) appeals two PUC orders:

(1) Order No. 38169, “Denying Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC’s Motion to Continue Hearing” (dated January 6, 2022); and

(2) Order No. 38183, “Addressing Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC’s Motion Regarding Applicability of HRS § 269-6” (dated January 13, 2022).

These orders concern a contested case hearing. But, as Hu Honua concedes, they are not “final decisions” of the PUC…

An appeal taken from the denial of a motion to continue would be remarkable in any circumstance.

But this appeal is particularly outlandish because for months Hu Honua assented to and complied with the PUC’s procedural schedule…. 

read … Hawaii Supreme Court Upholds Life of the Land`s Motion to Dismiss Hu Honua Appeal

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