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Friday, February 25, 2022
February 25, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:00 PM :: 2311 Views

Mililani Trask Selected as OHA Trustee

HB2278: Fuel tax damage will far outweigh measly tax credit

Candidate filing period put on hold due to lawsuit over redrawn voter maps

HNN: … The state Supreme Court is putting the upcoming candidate filing period for this year’s election on hold because of a lawsuit over the new voting maps.

Eleven residents filed suit claiming the Reapportionment Commission ignored the public’s suggestions to keep districts grouped together as the constitution recommends….

“The reapportionment commission unconstitutionally delegated its restricting responsibility and duties to this powerful and secretive group of four commissioners who drew the maps behind closed doors without adequately explaining the reasons for not following Hawaii law or the constitution,” said Attorney Mateo Caballero.

The redrawn maps has raised concerns among some residents.

“It started off with a fear that our Native Hawaiian community would be submerged into these realms and it has grown into a concern that we all deserve equal representation,” said Kimeona Kane, a Waimanalo resident.

The high court is now giving the state until March 3 to respond to the lawsuit’s demand that the maps be redrawn.

In the meantime, Hawaii’s candidate filing period, which was set to begin next week is now postponed, with no start date.….

read … Candidate filing period put on hold due to lawsuit over redrawn voter maps

SB2801:  Creates System to Charge More Police Officers for ‘Brutality’

SA: … The latest version of Senate Bill 2801 — aimed at new requirements for law enforcement — is designed to “require greater accountability and transparency,” according to the bill.

It mandates that “a law enforcement officer has a duty to intervene if the law enforcement officer reasonably believes that another law enforcement officer is using unnecessary or excessive force on an arrestee,” and requires the officer to report the incident to the offending officer’s supervisor.

Law enforcement chiefs and directors also would have to submit annual reports to the Legislature.

The bill is opposed by the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, which submitted five pages of arguments against SB 2801, calling it “an attempt to appease and pacify a small group of activists who are anti-police and wish to defund the police.”

The bill does not take into account “the inherent dangers in our jobs that require split second life and death decisions that must be made under extreme duress,” wrote SHOPO President Robert “Bobby” Cavaco. “The bill also ignores the multi-layers of safeguards already in place that hold each and every county police officer accountable for their individual actions and omissions. … Officers will undoubtedly misconstrue what they may believe is excessive force because they may be unaware that the suspect had earlier brandished a gun or knife before the officer arrived at the scene.”

Cavaco also took a swipe at current and former legislators in his testimony, writing, “We have the same human frailties as our neighbors and yes some of us do make mistakes. We are no less human than the politicians arrested for drunk driving or who have accepted bribes, thus breaching the public’s trust.”…

read … Bills on excessive police force, hike in fireworks fines advance in Hawaii Senate

18-time Convicted Felon Writes SB3344 to Make prison More Fun -- Hawaii lawmakers fly to Arizona to Meet Him

SA: … A delegation of state lawmakers will meet today with inmates and staff at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona to explore conditions and talk to Hawaii inmates about allegations of mistreatment at the for-profit prison.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, two Hawaii inmates have died at Saguaro from the virus, and 696 have tested positive, according to the state Department of Public Safety. As of Thursday no Hawaii inmates at the CoreCivic- operated correctional center were infected with the virus.

However, an inmate from Kalihi, who has two years left on a five-year sentence for second-degree theft, claims infection statistics do not paint an accurate picture.

(IQ Test: Do you believe an inmate in Hawaii’s State system could possibly be doing time for just ONE crime?)

In a phone interview with the Honolulu Star- Advertiser, inmate Felix Savoy said Hawaii detainees are subject to abuse, blocked from filing grievances and do not have consistent access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines….

(CLUE: His real name is Felix Olli Tigilau, not Felix Savoy.) 

Savoy claims the for-profit structure of CoreCivic (formerly the Corrections Corp. of America) is conducive to prolonged stays in solitary confinement for some prisoners and has little incentive to maintain rehabilitation and education programs to help inmates reenter the community.

“If we do eight weeks of programming, they pay us one (Burger King) Whopper. Finance, parenting, reading, whatever program they give us, it’s pretty much bribing us. Giving us one Whopper from Burger King is dehumanizing,” said Savoy. “We are asking for a normal inmate life. Does that make any sense? Treat us like human beings.”

Savoy helped put together Senate Bill 3344, which restricts the use of solitary confinement in state-operated and state- contracted correctional facilities, according to his attorney, Myles Breiner, who helped proofread the proposal currently before the state Senate Committee on the Judiciary….

(CLUE: Felix ‘Savoy’ Tigilau is an 18-time convicted felon at age 36.  That’s an adult average of one conviction per year.  He expects to be committing more crimes and will by sent back soon after his next release.)

State Sen. Clarence Nishihara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, and committee Vice Chairwoman Lynn DeCoite will join their counterparts on the House Committee on Corrections, Military and Veterans, Chairman Takashi Ohno and Vice Chairman Sonny Ganaden, in Arizona today….

(Maybe they will ‘take a knee’ and apologize for incarcerating these poor fellows.)

Ganaden, an attorney and longtime opponent of private prisons, (Translation: UPW flunky) told the Star-Advertiser in an interview from Arizona that lawmakers are looking at everything from parole reform to culturally appropriate programs and services.  He called shipping inmates across the ocean an expression of U.S. colonialism and a “tremendous failure of our state.”…

(CLUE: Private vs Public Prisons is a false dichotomy.  Hawaii already has privately run prisons controlled by UPW, Inc which has far more corrupt influence over the Lege than CCA ever will.  CCA’s prisons are better managed, safer, cleaner, more disciplined, and cheaper.  That’s why UPW, Inc wants its Lege to shut down the competition that is can’t beat in the open market.)

read … Hawaii lawmakers to meet with Hawaii inmates in Arizona

Sale of Miske property in Hawaii Kai completed

ILind: … All proceeds from the sale are to be paid to the US Marshals Service, and deposited into the Department of Justice Seized Asset Deposit Fund pending trial and resolution of the government’s forfeiture request….

Miske still owns four properties with a total tax appraised value of $9.2 million. The government has previously serviced notice it will seek forfeiture of two of these properties–his oceanfront, $6 million Portlock mansion, and a home on Paokano Loop in Kailua–if he is convicted….

read … Sale of Miske property in Hawaii Kai completed

Two Days Left: Kauai Prosecuting Attorney Special General Election

TGI: … There are only two days left to cast ballots for the Prosecuting Attorney Special General Election between Acting Prosecutor Rebecca Like and former Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri.

While a race for prosecutor may not get the sort of attention that other elections receive — only 25% of registered voters cast a ballot in the December primary — the position can have far-reaching effects on a community….

CB: HGEA is unusually silent on the special election for Kauai prosecuting attorney.

Question: Is Kauai really an Island of Retaliation? 

read … Like, Iseri make final push for Prosecuting Attorney Special General Election

State-Run retirement bill passes committees

HTH: … Senate Bill 3289 proposes a state-managed Hawaii Retirement Savings Program that would allow employees who are not enrolled in an employer-sponsored retirement plan to automatically have a portion of their paychecks deposited into an individual retirement account, or IRA…. 

Keali‘i Lopez, State Director for AARP Hawaii, wrote that Hawaii households are extremely insecure in their retirement savings, with the typical working household only having saved about $2,500. Those closer to retirement still have an average of $14,500 saved.

Because it is not financially feasible for some small businesses to set up their employees with retirement plans, many workers must take it upon themselves to save for retirement, but many do not, Lopez wrote.

“While individuals can establish and contribute to a retirement savings program on their own, the vast majority do not,” Lopez wrote. “The fact is only one in 20 people will go out on their own to do the research and complete the process to set up IRAs for themselves. Studies show that workers are 15 times more likely to save for their future if they can save through payroll deduction at work, and 20 times more likely if that savings is automatic.”

Lopez estimated that about 216,000 Hawaii residents currently have no easy access to a 401K, accounting for about 50% of the state’s private sector employees….

Only two organizations submitted testimony opposed to the bill: the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, and the American Council of Life Insurers. Both organizations wrote that employers have access to inexpensive retirement plans for their employees, and NAIFA suggested that the resources allocated by the bill — the current draft of the measure calls for a budget of $813,600 this year — would be better spent on education and outreach programs….

read … Testimony mostly positive as retirement bill passes committees

Red Hill: Activists Attack EPA

CB: … After a catastrophic leak from the Red Hill fuel facility in 2014, the Navy agreed to work with state and federal regulators on an oversight plan that they hoped would help prevent a similar incident from happening again.

But now that military families have been sickened and displaced by jet fuel contamination, that regulatory agreement – called the Administrative Order on Consent – is widely considered a failure, environmental advocates say.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which was a party to that agreement signed in 2015, said Thursday that it is launching an investigation into Red Hill next week. But Marti Townsend, who advocated for Red Hill’s shutdown for years as the Sierra Club of Hawaii’s executive director, said that’s too little, too late. …

Martha Guzman, EPA’s regional administrator, acknowledged at a press conference Thursday that regulators were aware that Red Hill could leak. However, she said they had been preparing for a crisis similar to the one in 2014, in which an estimated 27,000 gallons spewed from one of the 20 tanks.

The main fear then was that fuel from a tank would leak, contaminate the groundwater below and eventually migrate toward a source like the Navy’s Red Hill shaft or the BWS Halawa shaft. That’s why the AOC included the use of monitoring wells to track contamination.

However, the leaks suspected of contaminating the water last year allegedly spewed from pipelines, not the tanks. And the second one released thousands of gallons of jet fuel almost directly into the water supply via a pipeline the Navy has said it didn’t know was there.

“This incident was not forecasted,” Guzman said.

But it should have been given the years of studies that were conducted, Townsend said.

(Really Obvious Question: Did Sierra Club forecast a leak from the pipes?  Really Obvious Answer: ‘No.’)

read … Regulators Were Watching The Navy’s Red Hill Fuel Facility. What Went Wrong?

Farmers Sue Ag Dep’t over Mis-Management of Ag Parks

CB: … When Simeon and Katherine Rojas secured a 15-year lease for three acres at the state-owned Kahuku Agricultural Park in December 2016, it seemed like a dream come true.

Simeon Rojas had learned aquaponics farming at the University of Hawaii’s GoFarm program in Waimanalo, and the lease would allow the couple to realize their vision: a small, sustainable operation growing lettuce, tilapia and catfish. They called it Hooah Farms.

Less than five years later, the couple’s plans have run into serious trouble. Their landlord, Thomas Narvaez, has been trying to get rid of the Rojases. For the couple, leaving would mean losing the aquaponics system in which they say they’ve invested $200,000 in cash and tens of thousands more in labor.

Now, the issue is playing out in court. The Rojases have sued Narvaez; his company, Alii Kawa LLC; the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, and the department employee in charge of managing the park, Roy Hasegawa. But they say their problems point to a broader issue: whether the Department of Agriculture is adequately managing its farm lands to help Hawaii grow more of its own food.

According to the couple and court records, first Narvaez tried to evict the Rojases. Later, he shut off their water, even though the couple’s lease requires him to provide access to water. For months, neither the Department of Agriculture, which leases the land to Narvaez, nor Narvaez heeded the couple’s pleas for water. Only after the couple asked a court to step in did Narvaez agree to restore the couple’s water. In the meantime, without an adequate supply of water, the couple’s production has faltered….

In 1999, the department leased a 5.2-acre parcel at the Kahuku park, known as Lot 10, to Paul’a Manupule. The parcel included 3.1 acres of arable land and about 2.1 acres of nonarable land. The base rent was $375.26 per year, subject to amendment in 15 years, with an additional 3% to be paid annually based on sales of commodities and any subleases. By statute and lease terms, subleases are required to be approved in advance by the Board of Agriculture.

Two years later, Manupule assigned the lease to Alii Kawa Corp., a company controlled by Manupule’s wife, Barbara, and Narvaez, who was president. In March 2016, Narvaez assigned the lease to a different company, Alii Kawa LLC, of which Narvaez is the president and sole member….

read … Simeon and Katherine Rojas have sued the state and an agriculture park manager for negligence

Hawaii Circuit Court judge rules against throwing out suit against oil corporations

SA: … Hawaii First Circuit Court Judge Jeffree P. Crabtree on Tuesday rejected the oil corporations' motion to dismiss the suit.

Attorneys for the corporations argued that the case belongs in federal court, not state court, and that they were doing what the federal government expected them to do, which was to produce oil, and therefore that the county's lawsuit should be dismissed for "failure to state a claim." …

Judge Crabtree acknowledged that this "is an unprecedented case for any court, " but ruled it is still a tort case "based exclusively on state law causes of action."…

Maui County filed a similar suit against the oil corporations in October 2020.

Sher Edling LLC of San Francisco, counsel for the suit filed for Honolulu, is also representing San Mateo County, Calif., the City of Baltimore, Md., and the state of Rhode Island in litigation over climate change impacts.

read … Hawaii Circuit Court judge rules against throwing out suit against oil corporations

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