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Thursday, April 21, 2022
April 21, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:51 PM :: 6873 Views

Jury Convicts Katherine Kealoha's Drug-Dealing Brother

Victims' rights candlelight vigil set for April 27 in Wailuku

Video: 175 Junk Cars being Removed from DLNR Land on Maui

Water to be Restored to Five Molokai Streams

How Much Food Costs in Hawaii, Compared to the Nation

Attorney: Kahele threatened to kill ex-wife

HNN: … allegations stemming his divorce in Tennessee 14 years ago that he threatened his ex-spouse.

In court records obtained by Hawaii News Now, his ex-wife’s attorney alleged that she was in “fear of her safety” due to his “volatile nature and temper.”

“Defendant made the threat ‘maybe I’ll divorce you and take everything you own and kick you out of the house or maybe it would be just easier to kill you and take (their daughter) back to Hawaii,” wrote attorney Charles McGhee….

CD2 Predecessor News: ‘Actual Malice’: Tulsi Gabbard Sends Cease and Desist Letters to Keith Olbermann, Mitt Romney Over ‘Treason’ Accusations  (Question: Is CD2 becoming a joke district?)

read … As he eyes governor’s race, Kahele confronted by past allegations of threats stemming from divorce

Commission Recommends Prosecution In Falsified Campaign Donations Case

CB: … The executive of a company leading development in the Ala Moana area could be facing criminal penalties over allegations that he made illegal donations to Honolulu mayoral candidates in 2020.

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission voted unanimously to forward an investigation into donations made by JL Capital CEO Timothy Lee to the state Attorney General’s Office for further investigation and possible criminal prosecution.

Commission staff allege that Lee illegally used employees to funnel money to the mayoral campaigns of Keith Amemiya and Kymberly Pine in 2020. Lee is accused of eight counts of false name contributions, a Class C felony in Hawaii punishable by up to five years in prison….

Only Lee is accused of the false name contributions. JL Capital employees are not named as respondents in the commission’s complaint, and commission staff said that there was no evidence that Pine and Amemiya knew of the false name contributions….

Background: Billionaire-backed developer under investigation for illegal political donations

read … Commission Recommends Prosecution In Falsified Campaign Donations Case

Hawaii state Rep. Sharon Har skirts question about why she went out during COVID-19

SA: … In a written response to the committee this week, Har did not explain why she went out the night of Feb. 22, 2021. She also avoided providing a direct answer to a second question by committee member Rep. Scot Matayo­shi (D, Kaneohe-­Maunawili-Kailua) about whether the prescription included a warning about alcohol consumption….

Luke, her attorney, said then that a statement Har allegedly made at the time of her arrest — “Do you know who I am?”— was contained in a police report by an officer who eventually made three different statements about the level of alcohol odor in Har’s Mercedes-Benz.

But in her written statement, Har attributed the comment to the media.

“The statement, which was attributed to me by the media, was wildly taken out of context and misstated what I actually said,” Har wrote. “I overheard one of the officers say, ‘she is in the House.’ I was embarrassed, as any person would be in that situation, then replied, ‘I am so sorry, because you know who I am.’ I firmly maintain that this statement was not made to improperly influence any of the officers present.”…

She told the committee that the revocation office required her to use an ignition interlock system in her vehicle for two years, a program Har also championed….

Related: How Many Legislators Were Partying With Sharon Har During COVID Shutdown?

VIDEO: Rep Har DUI Arrest: Smelled of Alcohol, Yelled 'Black Lives Matter'

PDF: Har DUI Case File

read … Hawaii state Rep. Sharon Har skirts question about why she went out during COVID-19

Why Give OHA More Money Without Settlement of Ceded Lands Claim?

SA: … The vehicle is Senate Bill 2021, which is moving to a conference committee for a final decision, the committee members already named. But based on testimony from officials concerned about the impact on other state functions, there is a lot more work to be done, work that would be best accomplished by a separate group capable of hammering out the key fiscal points of a final agreement.

The outlines of the deal would increase what revenue the state transfers to OHA to $21.5 million, up from $15.1 million, each year. In addition, the agency would receive about $31 million, 10 years’ worth of ceded land revenue now being held in a state account.

Beyond that the state still needs to settle exactly what is meant by revenues subject to the OHA claim, and how much additional revenue would be in the annual payment. The two sides are far apart: OHA asserts in its analysis that the annual take now should top $78.9 million, while some competing state agencies don’t want to see the yearly draw go up significantly.

The latest draft of SB 2021 would convene a working group to address this disconnect. However, a stronger argument was made by Craig Hirai, director of the state Department of Budget and Finance.

In testimony given to the House Finance Committee, Hirai said the department “strongly recommends” establishing a Public Land Trust Revenues Negotiating Committee, an element in the original draft of the bill. In order to make real progress toward a settlement, an entity equipped to work through the complex issues and make some brass-tacks calculations is necessary.

There are many legitimate reasons the public should be watching what happens here. One is the concern raised by the University of Hawaii and other state agencies that they would lose too big a cut of funds, compromising their ability to fulfill their own duties….

The other primary cause for hesitation, of course, is OHA’s own spotty record of fiscal stewardship. Most recently, OHA’s practice of forming limited-liability companies to hold its assets came under scrutiny by the state auditor, whose report was never completed due to a dispute over access to records….

read … Sharper pencils, eyes on Office of Hawaiian Affairs funds

All Fake: Gas tax cut stalls at council

HTH: … The final measure of a tax-trimming trifecta — a move to cut the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon — stalled Wednesday in the County Council.

Resolution 363 was postponed to May 4 at the request of its sponsor, Puna Councilman Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder, when it became clear most if not all the other council members were about to vote it down….

(Translation: They were just for show.)

read … Gas tax cut stalls at council

$50K State tax bill from federal relief funds shocks some local businesses

KITV: … various federal relief funds may go to the same business, but the State Tax Department treats taxes on those funds very differently….

"I got an email saying the state has decided they are going to tax your RRF. You will owe $50,000."

According to the State Tax Department, PPP loans were not considered income, as they were used to pay employees or rent.

But the RRF was considered replacement income and so would count toward a business' bottom line….

If a bar or restaurant was profitable it would be taxed on a business' income after deductions.

Small businesses would pay the individual tax rate of 11 percent plus the General Excise tax of nearly 5%….

read … Big tax bill from federal relief funds shocks some local businesses

Two Honolulu Police Officers Arrested On Abuse Allegations In Recent Days

CB: … HPD data shows that domestic violence-related complaints have historically made up a notable portion of criminal allegations against officers….

HPD Officer Roland Kam was detained Sunday in Kaneohe on suspicion of abuse of family or household members, unlawful imprisonment in the second degree and interfering with reporting an emergency or crime.

Kam, 49, was released on $1,000 bail, according to department arrest logs….

Kam’s arrest came days after another officer was taken into police custody.

Officer Sterling Naki, who is assigned to District Eight in Kapolei, was arrested Friday on suspicion of abuse of family or household members at an apartment building in Kapolei, according to Yu and HPD arrest logs.

Naki, 42, was released after the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney declined the case because there was “insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Dvonch said.

HPD previously disciplined Naki after he covered for a colleague, Anson Kimura, who accidentally shot a bartender in the stomach while drinking in 2015. According to the department, Naki and another officer, Joshua Omoso, did not report the shooting when it happened and lied to investigators.

Both Naki and Osomo were originally fired by the department, but the terminations were reduced to 20-day suspensions through the arbitration process.

Following this week’s arrest, Yu said the department has opened an internal investigation into Naki, who also has been placed on desk duty in the meantime….

read … Two Honolulu Police Officers Arrested On Abuse Allegations In Recent Days

SHOPO Blocking Police Reform Ballot Initiatives

CB: … The charter amendments need support from six of nine City Council members to be added to the November ballot….

Introduced by Honolulu Council Chair Tommy Waters, the ballot questions would address the Honolulu Police Department’s values and the police chief’s qualifications. Voters may also choose whether to change the makeup of the Honolulu Police Commission and give the civilian body more power to oversee the department and its chief. …

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers said in written testimony that it strongly opposes the changes and that they will only make it harder for HPD to fill its vacant positions.

Carla Allison, a member of the volunteer advocacy group Honolulu Police Commission Task Force, said she doesn’t see any of the suggestions as radical. 

“It’s trying to have a lot more transparency and build trust with the community,” she said. 

Whether any of the proposals will actually make it to the ballot at all is unclear. 

So far, City Councilwoman Andria Tupola, who chairs the council’s legal matters committee, has only put one of the resolutions on the council’s agenda – a measure pertaining to the Police Commission’s membership. 

And at a meeting on Tuesday, she said it needs work. 

According to the city clerk, council members would have to approve the resolutions by July 6 for them to make it onto this year’s ballot….

read … Honolulu Ballot Proposals Would Reshape Police Oversight

HECO to Shutter Plant Providing 20% of Oahu Electricity

KHON: … By Sept.1, the AES coal plant on Oahu is set to retire, taking away 15 to 20% of the island’s electricity production. Now, officials are turning to the community to help feed the grid….

For example, a 13.5-kilowatt battery like a Tesla Powerwall would get $5,737.50 if a customer dedicated half of the battery. The cost of the battery itself is $10,000. Participants will also get $5/month per kW dedicated to the 10-year program as a bill credit. If the bill is too small the payment will come as a check….

read … Battery bonus comes as HNL coal closure nears

Positive COVID-19 tests on the rise as Hawaii’s free testing program comes to an end

SA: … The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Hawaii jumped over the past week, rising for the fifth consecutive week as the omicron subvariant BA.2 maintained its dominance in the islands.

On Wednesday, the state’s weekly average positivity rate rose to 7.1% — up from 4.9% the previous week and 4.0% the week prior to that, according to the state Department of Health. A month ago, the rate was just 2.9%.

Tim Brown, an infectious disease modeler at the East-West Center in Manoa, said the figures are alarming, considering the rate is climbing even as the daily number of tests is dropping, meaning overall infection levels in the community are increasing.

“We are clearly in a rising phase of the pandemic now,” Brown said. “Today’s numbers confirm what I’ve suspected all along.”….

Hawaii reports 1,736 COVID cases, 17 new deaths

150 new Big Island COVID-19 cases reported in past week

read … Positive COVID-19 tests on the rise as Hawaii’s free testing program comes to an end

City officials raise concerns as individuals travel to Hawaii for homeless shelters

KHON: … The Crisis, Outreach, Response and Engagement or CORE Program aims to address homelessness on Oahu. The program has helped over 100 individuals in a four-month span, but crews are starting to notice an alarming trend.

“I’ve been out with CORE enough now to see people who are mentally ill or have substance abuse problems getting one-way tickets here,” said Dr. James Ireland, director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department.

“They’re literally coming here with $2 in their pocket and they land and some of them already know to ask for IHS. They’ve been prepped.”

CORE’s most recent case was a crisis call from the Neal Blaisdell Park in Pearl City.

“The guy got off the plane couple days earlier and called for our services, because he needed help so we facilitated and got him into IHS,” said Ian Santee, deputy director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department….

“Especially in the Lihua area right now, we’ve got reports from Hale Mohalu Senior Center that there’s been a number of vandalized vehicles with glass from their doors being broken,” said Larry Veray. “They still got issues with being approached by a lot of medically ill individuals.”

Out of the 115 people CORE has helped since January, 50% have been houseless for six months. While 45% have been houseless for up to 15 years.

read … City officials raise concerns as individuals travel to Hawaii for homeless shelters

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