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Tuesday, March 1, 2022
March 1, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:35 PM :: 1912 Views

Blangiardi announces the end of the City’s COVID-19 emergency orders

Applicants Sought for State Ethics Commission

HGEA Members Finally Returning to Work at DHS Processing Centers

DoH: Navy Already in Violation of Emergency Order

English Using ‘Long Haul COVID’ Gambit to Reduce Federal Sentence

CB: … the power English amassed over 19 years in the Senate and two terms on the Maui County Council already had begun to evaporate months before (between the point at which the FBI caught him taking a $5000 bribe and the moment when) federal prosecutors brought charges against him and former Rep. Ty Cullen, who also pleaded guilty to felony charges for taking money and other benefits from a contractor in exchange for promoting and killing legislation. 

(Knowing the indictment was coming,) English retired from public service in May at the end of the 2021 legislative session, saying he was retreating to the quiet of Hana to work the land and restore his health. He blamed his sudden and surprising exit from public service on the symptoms of long-haul Covid-19, which he compared to “a bad hangover” that doesn’t go away. 

(He didn’t just need an excuse, he needed an excuse which would help his shysters reduce his federal sentence.)

In an opinion column “Sad to see senator go,” The Maui News editorialized that English had championed a refreshing brand of politics devoid of partisanship or self-promotion.

(Yup.  That’s typical of the media in Hawaii.)

Although he said his Covid infection was initially mild, English later said he developed a bout of brain fog and fatigue that made it difficult to do his job. He said he struggled with simple cognitive tasks, such as organizing folders of paperwork.

In court last week, English said he still receives twice-weekly medical treatments (‘medical’ marijuana perhaps?) to combat lingering coronavirus symptoms….

(And he will keep bringing that up right until sentencing--and after.)

read … Kalani English’s Fall From Grace Leaves Former Constituents Feeling Betrayed

Statewide Candidates Can Pull Papers Now

CB: … Starting Tuesday, many candidates seeking political office in Hawaii can start completing nomination paperwork so long as the races aren’t affected by an ongoing legal challenge over legislative and congressional districts.

Candidates seeking one of the 76 seats in the Legislature — the 25 Senate and the 51 House seats — won’t be able to file their nomination papers, however, until the Hawaii Supreme Court resolves a legal dispute between a group of residents and the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission. The same goes for the 1st and 2nd congressional districts.

But according to the Hawaii Office of Elections on Monday candidates for U.S. senator, governor, lieutenant governor and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs can all file campaign paperwork with the state Office of Elections. The closing deadline is June 7 and the primary is Aug. 13.

Candidates for county offices like the mayors of Maui and Kauai and councilmembers for each county can also start pulling paperwork beginning Tuesday. For the City and County of Honolulu, even-numbered seats 2, 4, 6 and 8 are up for election this year.

But things are on hold for the Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives…. 

read … Candidates For Legislature, US House Can’t Pull Papers Yet

Father of murder suspect calls for investigation into how his son was allowed to walk free

HNN: … The father of a man accused of fatally beating a woman on the steps of the Kapolei police station says he and his wife spent two decades working with doctors and the courts trying to help their son.

Tony Armstrong said his 35-year-old son, Michael, has been committed at the State Hospital at least eight times.

Armstrong is accused of fatally beating the woman on Valentine’s Day, shortly after being released from lockup for another violent crime.

In a situation that might leave many families seeking anonymity, Tony Armstrong said in an interview Monday morning, “I am not going to be silent.”

He is choosing to share personal details of their struggle in hopes of bringing awareness to Hawaii’s mental health crisis and holes in the system….

In his early 20s, he said, his son was diagnosed schizoaffective disorder, “which actually has components of schizophrenia and bi-polar.”

From that point on, the 35-year-old bounced in and out of the State Hospital.

Tony Armstrong says doctors would get him stabilized and then he’d be released, usually back to his family or a group home

But it never lasted for more than few months because he says he would go off his medication.

“Each time we’ve gone through this, it’s actually gotten worse. To the point where we were fearful for what he could do. Or what others would do to him just because of his illness,” Tony Armstrong said….

On Feb. 14, Armstrong allegedly beat 48-year-old Linda Johnson to death in front of the Kapolei police substation shortly after being released….

read … Father of murder suspect calls for investigation into how his son was allowed to walk free

Oahu police staffed at dangerously low level, says SHOPO

SA: … The minimum staffing level for patrol districts was raised to 75% in February, and dispatchers are sending backup officers to respond to cases with the potential to result in aggression or violence. Supervisors are monitoring radio communications to ensure officers don’t cancel reinforcements, Vanic said.

SHOPO met with Vanic’s leadership team on the staffing issue as recently as last week, and another meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.

“We’re holding our position strong. We want 100% patrol staffing for our officers, and I think we are getting a good response from them,” Cavaco said. “We realize that Chief Vanic is interim chief, and it may be hard for him. He may not want to do something bold or do a big decision” that might conflict with a new chief’s plans….

CB: Micronesian Community Group Hosts Conversation With Honolulu Police

read … Oahu police staffed at dangerously low level, says SHOPO

EPA probe of Red Hill facility begins this week to look into Navy’s operation of fuel tanks

HNN: … Regan said in last week’s press conference that they would be taking a look at whether or not the facility operated within the guidelines of the law, and make corrections if needed.

He said the agency will look at what went wrong at Red Hill before, during and after the fuel spill.

This wouldn’t be the first time the EPA investigated the facility. A major leak in 2014 prompted it to improve its monitoring, but the agency said it was still surprised by November’s leak.

Regan said he has been in conversations with the Secretary of Defense, working toward a goal of protecting Hawaii’s drinking water.

“The bottom line is there’s been a lot of lessons learned here over the years at the expense of the communities, and that’s not right,” Regan said. “I’ve had a number of conversations with the Secretary of Defense, so we’re having these conversations at the cabinet level, and we’re all working for the ultimate solution, which is protecting the drinking water for the people of Hawaii.” …

SAS: ‘No vacation’ for military families displaced by contaminated water in Navy housing

read … EPA probe of Red Hill facility begins this week to look into Navy’s operation of fuel tanks

DLNR: Our Plan is to Keep Letting Houses Fall into the Ocean

HNN: … The collapse of a Rocky Point home early Monday has left beachfront homeowners in the North Shore community on edge.

One of them confronted the head of the state Land Board as she visited the site.

“Can I save my house and do what I need to do?” said Todd Dunphy as he addressed state Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case.

“We need help, ma’am. Can I save my house?” …

Just last Friday, Villalobos’ home was in one piece and stood about 20 feet above the shoreline.

He said he has tried to find different tools to protect his home, but the state has strict policies.

“They said don’t don’t do sandbags, don’t do concrete,” said Villalobos. “You know, the state says you can’t do (it) so what happens I guess when you abide by the rules.”

“But the rules were the rules and we just kept to them and unfortunately it turned out the wrong way.”

Dunphy, who lives two doors down, has also been pleading with the state for permission to erect more permanent barriers to protect their homes.

“This area is in heavy crisis. ... They’re leaving us to hang literally hang. That house was hanging yesterday,” he said.

Beachfront homeowners have been using temporary measures such as pushing sand on the beach or erecting sand burritos ― even if they don’t have the permits from the state….

They say these temporary measures aren’t enough.

“I think they should get a federal entity to come in and do just rocks or some kind of barrier like they do in Mailbu or Florida,” said Dunphy.

Case said that’s not going to happen.

“The permanent solutions cannot be seawalls because this is a public beach. This is a world-famous public beach,” she said…..  

ILind: Coastal erosion is nothing new

DLNR Video: North Shore Home Slips to the Sand after Powerful Swells, Feb. 28, 2022 

read … ‘We need help’: North Shore home collapse has neighbors on edge

‘We’re dying by a thousand cuts’: Bill would remove redundant regulations for state’s hemp farmers

HTH: …Because of the lack of available fiber processing facilities in Hawaii, most hemp farmers in the state produce hemp to be processed into cannabidiol, or CBD, which can be used in medical marijuana products, said Gail Baber, a Big Island hemp farmer and vice president of the Hawaii Hemp Farmers Association. However, most of the CBD products sold in Hawaii are not made with Hawaii-grown hemp.

“There are incredible barriers in place for Hawaii farmers,” Baber said. “For hemp farmers, we’re dying by a thousand cuts. The regulations don’t seem like a big deal individually, but the cumulative effect is enormous.”

Senate Bill 2986 attempts to solve the issue by removing duplicative regulations imposed by the state. In particular, the bill removes language requiring that hemp being transported within or from the state be subject to state movement reports, sampling, testing, and inspections, all of which are redundant to USDA requirements, Baber said.

“If you have to wait three days to submit a movement report, it’s a fast industry, and your buyers have moved on,” Baber said.

Hilo Sen. Laura Acasio, a co-introducer of the bill, said the doubled regulations have made it so that only the largest of producers — mostly located on the mainland — can afford to sell in Hawaii….

read … ‘We’re dying by a thousand cuts’: Bill would remove redundant regulations for state’s hemp farmers

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