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Tuesday, April 26, 2022
April 26, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:55 PM :: 1748 Views

Vacation rental ban won’t solve Hawaii housing crisis

Chief Justice Seeks Public Comment on Judicial Nominees

Teacher pay bills head to conference committees

Secretive Contract Negotiations give most Hawaii public union workers pay raises

SA: … At least 12 of the 15 collective bargaining units representing state and county workers in Hawaii have ratified contracts, according to information from the unions involved.

State lawmakers are considering bills to fund agreements reached by union and state negotiators and then ratified by union members.

A couple of the more recent agreements where contract details have been made public include the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association, where an arbitration panel reached a final decision earlier this month, and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, where members finished voting to ratify a new agreement April 8.

The UHPA agreement, which covers a few thousand staff in the university system, extends a current 2021-2023 contract to June 30, 2025, and provides for a 1% bonus retroactive to last July, followed by pay raises of 3.72% on July 1, then 5% in 2023 and 5% in 2024.

UHPA’s pay raises are identical to those in a February contract agreement covering a United Public Workers unit representing about 6,000 blue-collar, nonsupervisory workers.

The UPW unit’s agreement also calls for a one-time $1,000 payment to members who were working when their prior contract expired June 30….

For more than 1,900 Hawaii firefighters, a new four-year contract provides for no extra pay in the year ending June 30, followed by increases of 3% on July 1 and then 4% in each of the following two years.

The largest public-sector labor union in the state, the Hawaii Government Employees Association, representing about 37,000 working members among nine units, has ratified contracts for all or all but one of its units. The union declined to share financial terms of the deals….

The state Department of Human Resources Development, which handles labor negotiations on behalf of the state, does not disclose contract terms before legislative funding is secured, because lawmakers could force renegotiation if they refuse to fund the agreements between Ige’s administration and the unions (insert excuse here)….

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, which represents about 13,500 workers, had not yet negotiated a new contract as of Monday, according to Keoki Kerr, the union’s director of communications.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, representing over 2,700 police officers, did not respond to a request for information about its contract status…

Last, a new HGEA unit formed in 2021 to represent state and county ocean safety and water safety officers separately from an HGEA unit representing state law enforcement officers is awaiting an arbitration decision on an initial contract….

April 3, 2022: Sylvia Luke Buys Lt Governorship by Giving Lots of Money to HSTA

April 10, 2022: UHPA: UH Faculty Approve 14.35% Pay Hike

April 26, 2022: Teacher pay bills head to conference committees

read … New contracts give most Hawaii public union workers pay raises

Proposal for $300 tax rebate languishes in Conference Committee

HTH: … So far, no draft of the bill has specified the size of the tax rebate. But Sylvia Luke — chair of the House Finance Committee — and Donovan Dela Cruz — chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee — came to a tentative agreement in early April for the $300 proposal.

The passage of the bill now depends on the outcome of conference committees. A Senate communication on April 14 expressed unspecified disagreements with House amendments to the bill, requiring legislators from both chambers to come to a compromise.

The bill has not been substantially altered from its original state. However, because the bill also appropriates an unspecified sum into the state’s Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund — commonly called the rainy day fund — that appropriation may be the source of the disagreement….

read … Proposal for $300 tax rebate still alive in Legislature

Property Tax Rate Hikes for Maui?

MN: … The committee has spent the past month working on its version of the mayor’s $1 billion budget, which Victorino presented in March. While both the mayor’s and committee’s draft proposals call for lower rates for owner-occupied homes, their proposals differ on other tax rates, including those for hotel and resort rates. Victorino is proposing to lower the rate to $10.40 from the current $11.75, while the committee is thinking about keeping it flat.

For short-term rentals, Victorino wants to keep rates flat for all tiers while the committee is seeking to set an across-the-board rate of $11.85, which is higher than the current rate for all tiers….

CB: Thousands Of Houses Are Empty On Maui. Would Higher Taxes Change That?

read … Proposals call for tax cuts for some homeowners

Another HPD commander prepares to leave as search for police chief drags on

HNN: … There’s another major leadership change at the Honolulu Police Department as the search for a new chief drags on and crime is on the rise.

The department’s second-in-command, Acting Deputy Chief Lisa Mann, will retire June 1.

She’s a 32-year veteran of the force, and her departure is the latest in a leadership shake-up that’s raising questions about the agency’s effectiveness.

Chief Susan Ballard announced that she was leaving one year ago, after receiving some bad marks from the police commission.

Former HPD deputy Chiefs John McCarthy and Jonathon Grems also left within months of each other.

And Assistant Chief Allan Nagata retired last year, too.

Interim Chief Rade Vanic is no longer seeking the permanent job at the top.

All this means more changes are coming when the police commission finally picks a chief…. 

KITV: One less candidate in the running for the next Honolulu police chief

read … Another HPD commander prepares to leave as search for police chief drags on

Rare sex trafficking conviction for Oahu--Pimp Probably will be released by Hawaii Paroling Authority next Year

KITV: … A sex trafficking conviction nearly a decade in the making.

One of very few sex trafficking cases even prosecuted on Oahu.

But this time the victims, who were teenagers at the time of the crime, remained willing to testify against the man who sex trafficked them - for nine years. Until they could share what happened to a jury.

After numerous (manipulative) requests for delays, and (purposefully) going through half a dozen lawyers, Marquis Green finally had his day in court. He was accused of forcing two teenage girls into prostitution in 2013.

Nearly a decade later, the testimony from those women did him in.

"They went to court last week and stood up and said Mr. Greene was the person who did this to them and the jury convicted on all counts," said Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm.

Alm said that is not usually what happens in sex trafficking cases….

REALITY: Green will get 20 yrs concurrent.  He has served 8.5 yrs so the HPA will let him out next year on parole.

CB: Marquis Green was found guilty by a jury after a trial that dragged on for nearly a decade.

HNN: ‘Bravery’ of survivors who took the stand leads to rare sex trafficking conviction

read … Rare sex trafficking conviction for Oahu

More Homeless Mayhem: Feces, Needles and a Corpse at Kapolei Regional Park

KHON: … Club members that operate the Kapolei Archery Range said they’ve seen everything at the facility from vandalism, drug use and burglaries. On Monday, there was even a body.

Honolulu police have opened an unattended death investigation after they say a body was found near the bathrooms by the Kapolei Archery Range.

“Every weekend we’re walking through the tunnels,” said Mahesh Cleveland of the Bushwackers Archery Club. “We’re wondering if we’re going to encounter something like we encountered today.”

This is just one of the issues mounting for the public facility.

“There’s a hole over here,” said Don Ishimoto of the Bushwackers Archery Club. “They cut it big enough to drive vehicles through. So they drive through when we’re not here and do their activities.”

“We’ve had issues wit the bathroom,” Cleveland said. “Folks come overnight and cut the locks to other bathrooms. We’ll have folks come and repair the locks. The very next day the locks are cut again.”…

“I think it’s a combination of the COVID pandemic and then the fact that they moved central booking out to Kapolei,” said Cleveland. “There have been more incidents of vandalism, littering, and vagrancy around here.”…

Related? Amid progress in Chinatown, mayor hopes to focus revitalization efforts in Waikiki

read … Kapolei Archery Range users alarmed by criminal activity

Sovereignty Scammer Mahealani Ventura sent back to prison for another year

ILind: … Among other things, Ventura will be required to find full time work or do similar community service, maintain a single bank account, close all credit card accounts opened without permission during the first period of supervised release, and obtain prior approval from her federal probation officer before opening any additional accounts.

In addition, Condition #16 prohibits Ventura living in a home on Haiki Place in Wailuku, “until such time the Probation Office determines that you do not have a financial and/or fee interest in the property,” and she is further prohibited from receiving any rental income from the property, directly or indirectly through a third party person or entity.

The property had been owned by Ventura and her then-husband, John Oliver, but was transferred several times through apparent straw buyers, ending up in 2009 with title in the name of “One Part And International Monetary Fund” at a Washington, DC address, with Ventura as designated beneficiary.

Seabright recommended she serve the additional 12-month term in Honolulu’s Federal Detention Center….

2011: Naming names: Who are the alleged Sovereignty-mortgage scammers?

(Translation: She’s living off the proceeds of her mortgage scams.)

read … Mahealani Ventura sent back to prison for another year

Legislative Agenda: 

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