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Wednesday, April 6, 2022
April 6, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:37 PM :: 2978 Views

The Great Earned Income Tax Credit Hunt

Poll: Lt Gov Race Wide Open

Class of 2022 high school graduation ceremonies scheduled

HPD Sued for Violating Second Amendment Rights (again) 

Djou to Run for CD2?  ‘Not as Republican’

CB: … Kahele said in a text message Tuesday that he had “no announcement yet” to make on a gubernatorial run but would let reporters like myself know “if I do decide to run.”

Word on the street is that that announcement will come in early May shortly after the Legislature adjourns.

If that happens, state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole and state Rep. Pat Branco — both Democrats — will almost certainly run for Kahele’s seat. Both told me they are very seriously considering a run, and Keohokalole has pulled filing papers with the state though he’s not yet actually filed them. It’s too soon….

State Rep. Angus McKelvey has also pulled papers to run….

In a text Tuesday Djou said he would not make any plans for CD2 “without an official announcement” from Kahele first. “If I do run, and that is no certainty, it would not be as a Republican given my continuing discomfort with the Trump-led GOP.”…

Related: Windward Oahu legislator Jarrett Keohokalole misused state money

Election 2022: Big Drama in CD2 Dem Primary?

read … A Line Forms To Replace Kai Kahele In Congress

Ethics: DPP Director Writes Vacation Rental Rules to Benefit Wife

CB: … Department of Planning and Permitting Director Dean Uchida attracted complaints when he helped the city administration craft Bill 41, which seeks to rein in short-term rental businesses on Oahu.

An early version of the bill received vociferous pushback from rental operators in part because it would have forced owners in condo-hotel buildings to essentially convert their units into hotel rooms and pay hotel management fees.

Uchida’s wife, Joy Uchida, is an executive with Aqua-Aston Hospitality, which owns over a dozen condo-hotel properties in Waikiki and stood to benefit from the legislation’s passage. Asked about ethics concerns regarding his wife last year, Uchida said he didn’t view the situation as a conflict of interest.

The Honolulu Ethics Commission received at least one complaint about the matter late last year. It investigated and shared its findings with the complainant in a letter on March 30, according to a copy obtained by Civil Beat in which the complainant’s name is redacted….

SA: Department of Planning and Permitting Director recuses himself from working on short-term rental bill

read … DPP Director Steps Away From Short-Term Rental Bill Amid Ethics Concerns

9 Years of Delay: Ex-cop in missing drug evidence case makes Judge Reschedule Trial (again)

HTH: … It will be another 19 months before a former Hawaii Police Department officer will stand trial on charges stemming from a May 2019 indictment for allegedly stealing cocaine in 2014 from a police evidence locker in Hilo.

Brian Miller, a retired Hilo vice detective, was indicted in 2019 on charges of first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, second- and fourth-degree theft, conspiracy to tamper with physical evidence, three counts of tampering with physical evidence, obstructing government operations, criminal conspiracy to hinder prosecution, and hindering prosecution….

Kona Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim granted the continuance Monday after Miller fired his counsel on the first scheduled day of his trial on March 22. Miller was assigned a new court-appointed attorney, William Harrison, who indicated to the court that because of his schedule he would be unavailable for trial until 2023. Kim scheduled a new trial date for Nov. 7, 2023.

(Translation: Miller fired his lawyer in order to get another delay.  It worked.)

The original trial date was set for October 2019. Since then, Miller has been granted nine continuances.

Some of the charges were for allegedly absconding more than an ounce of cocaine from the police station on May 3, 2016, and taking FedEx parcels between June 13, 2014, and July 30, 2015. Other charges stemmed from an Aug. 10, 2017, gambling raid by police at Triple 7 arcade in downtown Hilo.

Miller and a retired police captain, Chadwick Fukui, were accused of tipping off arcade owner Lance Yamada and his brother, Stacy Yamada, prior to the raid. The case against Fukui has since been dismissed….

(CLUE: This is State court.)

2021: Police Corruption Scandals Revenge for Gambling Prosecutions?

read … New trial date set for ex-cop in missing drug evidence case

Rail May Not Make It To Ala Moana, But Developers Have Already Cashed In

CB: … whether rail ever gets there, area developers and landowners are sure to reap the benefits. Several already have.

Since 2016, city leaders have granted special fast-track permits to a handful of major developers to help build denser, more walkable communities, assuming that Ala Moana Center would soon host a busy rail station with some 17,300 passenger boardings a day. Those Interim Planned Development-Transit permits, or “IPD-T,” allowed developers to build higher and denser….

“We just gave away value to developers and got even less in return than what the regulations on the books would have given us without the IPD-T process,” said Deja Ostrowski, a Honolulu attorney and longtime housing advocate who scrutinized the unique permit program while working at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

“The permit became a give-away to developers where the community was short-changed,” Ostrowski said…

So far, the IPD-T permits have resulted in hundreds of new luxury condominiums and hotel rooms along Ala Moana’s bustling main corridors of Kapiolani Boulevard and Keeaumoku Street. Their towers can climb as much as 150 feet taller than what’s allowed under current Ala Moana zoning, and they can hold up to four times the density in some places. Some offer about half the parking spaces normally required….

(CLUE: Developers have already been given their prize so the rail mission is now complete.  Why keep building?)

RELATED: Corona Towers: Council Hides Behind Quarantine, Gives Development Deal to Convicted Felon

read … Rail May Not Make It To Ala Moana, But Developers Have Already Cashed In

Ige: Mauna Kea stewardship bill would ’end astronomy’ on Hawaii Island

HNN: … “It does seem to be clear that it is intended to end astronomy on Mauna Kea and I do have a concern about that,” Gov. David Ige told Hawaii News Now.

House Bill 2024 was supposed to be up for a vote Tuesday in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, but that got deferred until Friday.

During his interview with HNN, Ige appeared to be frustrated with lawmakers.

“Are they intending to shut down astronomy on Hawaii Island? They should be clear about it. Do they support astronomy or do they believe it should be stopped?” said Ige….

“If you’re going to destroy astronomy in Mauna Kea, what are you gonna say to these kids?” said Katherine Roseguo as she held up a photo of the Maunakea Scholars program….

read … Ige: Mauna Kea stewardship bill would ’end astronomy’ on Hawaii Island

SB775: Illegal ‘Gut And Replace’ Bill to Fund HTA

HNN: … Two House committees gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a top-to-bottom rewrite of a hotel room tax bill in a maneuver that looks much like the banned “gut-and-replace” tactic that the state Supreme Court struck down last year.

The new draft bill approved by the House Finance Committee and the House Labor & Tourism Committee would create a new 14-member Natural Resource Management Commission to distribute up to $30 million in grants that would be funded by hotel room tax revenues.

The grants would go to the counties, state and private nonprofits to use to protect natural resources, help cope with climate change, upgrade public parks, and to offset the impact on natural resources by residents and visitors.

The latest draft of Senate Bill 775 would also provide $60 million a year to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, which is tasked with marketing Hawaii to the world….

read … Are Lawmakers ‘Testing The Boundaries’ Of The Ban On Gut And Replace?

Key Primary Election Dates Approaching

TGI: … • May 5 — Legislative session ends; Voters and various advocacy organizations will begin preparing their “legislative scorecards” intended to inform voters about legislator actions and inactions. SuperPACs (political action committees) will likewise prepare their “hit pieces” in anticipation of attacking candidates they hope to defeat;

• June 7 — Candidate filing deadline; All serious candidates should have already filed long before this. Candidates filing on the final day will often be those playing games. One such game involves the long-time incumbent announcing on this date they will not be running for reelection. A family member, or favored friend, then shows up and files on this same day — and as a result runs unopposed;

• June 29 — Deadline for county clerks offices to mail ballots to overseas voters; This means ballots must be printed and prepared for mailing in 22 very short days, an ambitious timeline to say the least;

• July 26 — Voters start receiving the primary election mail ballot packet, which must be received at least 18 days prior to the election; It’s important to note that this date refers to the final day ballots must be received and NOT the date when most will actually be received.

• Aug. 1 — Voter service centers open and same-day voter registration begins. Those voters who prefer to not mail in their ballots may personally drop off ballots and or vote in person. In addition, Hawai‘i first time voters may simply walk in to the voting center, register and then vote;

• Aug. 13 ­— Primary election day, the final day to vote; Candidates, here is where you go to find out more: https://elections.hawaii.gov/candidates/candidate-filing/. And, if you hope to be successful, I suggest you not dally further.

In 2020, the primary election ballots were mailed out to voters on July 14. Consequently, some residents began casting their votes as early as July 17 and 18, a full three weeks prior to the Aug. 8 primary.

Of the 406,425 people who voted in the 2020 Hawai‘i primary election, 400,952 cast their vote using a mail-in ballot….

read … Essential election information – dry but not horribly so

Some patients wait months for care as Hawaii's doctor shortage worsens

HNN: … "I found out that I had cancer and then I had to wait weeks to go get was called a PET scan and to find out if it had spread. So those four weeks I will say were the scariest of my life," Depondicchello said….

She, along with many others, say the delays are even worse today.

Wait times across the state can be more than six months, according to the Hawaii State Rural Health Association.

"And even for cancer patients, which is unheard of because that can be the difference between life and death," said Lisa Rantz, president for the Hawaii State Rural Health Association. "It's frightening to look at the shortages that we're experiencing across the board."

The Hawaii/Pacific Basin Basin Area Health Education Center puts the shortage of doctors at more than 700. And the future outlook is grim.

"I hear you know every week from patients that their physician's practice closed or you know something happened to them or they sold their practice. So we're in for a little bit of, you know, a bumpy ride," said Dr. Lee Buenconsejo-Lum, associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine….

read … Some patients wait months for care as Hawaii's doctor shortage worsens

Doing the Job the State Cannot Do: Federal agents, police target fugitives and sex offenders in joint operation on Kauai--Homeless Population Reduced by Arrests

HNN: … A week-long law enforcement operation on Kauai netted three fugitives and tracked down 132 sex offenders to make sure they were following the rules of registry.

Among those arrested: Officers from KPD and agents from the U.S. Marshals Service picked up Brandon Kameenui, 37, at the Lydgate Beach Park Campgrounds. He had a warrant for car theft.

Kameenui has 22 prior arrests, with 11 convictions, so naturally the state did not have him in prison….

Shaun Reis, 37, a convicted felon, was arrested in the parking lot outside the Lihue McDonald’s on a bench warrant and was subsequently taken to the Hawaii State Hospital (for Lunatics)….

The third man arrested was Alika Soares.

The 39-year old was found in a homeless camp behind the airport. Soares has nearly two dozen convictions and was on HOPE probation (instead of being in prison, of course). Police say he has a history of resisting arrest and the addition of federal agents helped take down Soares….

HNN: Mayor hits Chinatown’s sidewalks to see revitalization efforts first-hand

read … Federal agents, police target fugitives and sex offenders in joint operation on Kauai

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