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April 29, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:49 PM :: 4826 Views

HB1434 'Dangerous' -- Eminent Domain Property Seizures

Feds move to protect deadliest shark

All State Court Public Cases Now Available For E-filing

Survey: 62 Percent of Economists Oppose $15 Federal Minimum Wage

Mauna Kea: Please Defer HB2024 

Ben Cayetano: I never knew any Hawaiians who were ‘Beaten for Speaking Hawaiian’

SA: … In a since-deleted post Tuesday morning, Cayetano angered Hawaiians and supporters of House Concurrent Resolution 130, which apologizes for what was a ban on speaking Hawaiian and other non-English languages in public and private school classrooms between 1896 and 1986.

In his Facebook post, Cayetano included a snapshot of Monday’s front-page story and photograph in the Star-Advertiser about HCR 130, which was adopted earlier this month by the Legislature. The resolution was driven by state Rep. Patrick Pihana Branco (D, Kailua- Kaneohe), who said his great-grandfather Edward Pihana was beaten for speaking Hawaiian in schools and then beaten at home for speaking English….

Cayetano said he apologized after being told by a friend Tuesday night that the ban on Hawaiian language likely applied to the generation before Cayetano and his classmates were in school, even though it remained on the books until 1986….

“All I did was share my experiences when I was going to school in the ’40s,” Caye­tano said. “So the ban had served its objective. I didn’t say it didn’t happen. But people were using words like ‘colonization.’ … So I apologized (for telling the truth).”…

SA: Antiquated Law was scrapped in 1986 to allow for Hawaiian-language schools

read … Former Gov. Ben Cayetano apologizes for Facebook post

Criminal Al Hee Welds Locks Shut -- Thousands Of Hawaiians Could Lose Phone And Internet Service

CB: … Sandwich Isles Communications has been changing locks, barricading doors and welding gates shut to keep out Hawaiian Telcom employees…

The Public Utilities Commission … is concerned that Sandwich Isles’ customers “could abruptly lose access to telecommunications services,” a situation the panel considers “unacceptable.”…

Correspondence between the two companies indicates that Sandwich Isles “has barricaded interior doors and changed exterior locks to certain parts of Paniolo Network’s facilities,” according to the commission.

In bankruptcy court documents, Hawaiian Telcom says Sandwich Isles has removed, destroyed or tampered with Hawaiian Telcom locks on perimeter fences surrounding buildings purchased by Hawaiian Telcom. And that Sandwich Isles has installed its own locks and devices on buildings and premises owned by Hawaiian Telcom, as well as welding shut access gates. The company also says Sandwich Isles has made multiple false police reports alleging Hawaiian Telcom is trespassing on its property….

(CLUE: Filing a false police report is a crime.  Put Al Hee back in jail.)

In a Jan. 12 email to Hawaiian Telcom, Hee said, “I have no intention of escalating this to a trespassing issue unless you destroy our property. If you would like to talk about unescorted access, please let me know.”

Things got even uglier after that.

In a March 29 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Hawaii, Hawaiian Telcom asked the court to enforce the terms of the bankruptcy because Sandwich Isles’ conduct is “not only wrongful, but has become progressively harmful and alarming.”

On Friday, the court ordered Sandwich Isles to immediately stop removing, destroying, altering or otherwise tampering with Hawaiian Telcom’s locks, chains or other security features of its Paniolo buildings. It also found Sandwich Isles and its officers, managers and agents in willful contempt of court for its actions….

(CLUE: Put Al Hee back in jail.)

October 3, 2021: Will Al Hee Cut Off Your 911 Service?

read … Thousands Of Hawaiians Could Lose Phone And Internet Service Amid Bankruptcy Dispute

Kai Kahele to Retire from Congress, Launch Joke Gubernatorial Candidacy

CB: … Democratic Rep. Kai Kahele of Hawaii is retiring from Congress at the end of his term, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

The congressman has been telling colleagues that he intends to run for governor (as a joke), according to a person close to him. That source said Kahele will make an announcement about his political future in early May.

Kahele recently came under fire for his part-time work as a commercial pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, which raised questions of whether he was breaking any ethics rules for continuing his work with the airline.

Questions about Kahele's work with Hawaiian Airlines arose after the Honolulu Civil Beat published an in-depth story looking into his attendance at the Capitol this year and his personal income since he entered office. The report found that Kahele has voted by proxy at least 120 times since the start of the year, meaning another lawmaker has cast his votes for him.

The congressman defended the arrangement…  

read … Kai Kahele to Retire from Congress

Lawmakers delay Mauna Kea decision

SA: … State House and Senate lawmakers Thursday delayed approval of the Mauna Kea governance bill, saying it continues to be a work in progress.

A conference committee, formed to iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions of House Bill 2024, will reconvene at 1:30 p.m. today in state Capitol Room 16….

Related: Full Text: Conference Committee Issues Proposed Draft to Create Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority

read … Lawmakers delay Mauna Kea decision

Legislative conflicts put Hawaii Tourism Authority funding at risk

SA: … The Hawaii Tourism Authority is in the legislative crosshairs again, and its funding has come down to the wire.

State House and Senate conferees left HTA funding out of House Bill 1600 when approving their final version of the state’s $17 billion supplemental budget for the upcoming fiscal year Wednesday.

The agency could get funded through House Bill 1785 or Senate Bill 775; however, if neither of these heavily amended bills advances, HTA will get defunded.

read … Legislative conflicts put Hawaii Tourism Authority funding at risk

Maui Council Committee Approves Property Tax Hikes

MN: … On Thursday, the Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee stuck with the draft real property tax rate proposals it discussed earlier this week, recommending them for approval before the full council.

The full council will decide on the rates on May 13, following a recessed public hearing on the rates at 11 a.m.

The final rates would go into effect on July 1, which is the start of fiscal year 2023….

Under the committee’s proposal, all short-term rentals could see a higher property tax rate at $11.85. (Rates are per $1,000 of net taxable assessed valuation.)…

Council members and the mayor also want to increase taxes for owners who don’t live in their homes.

Under Victorino’s proposal, non-owner-occupied properties in Tier 1 that are valued up to $800,000 would see a $6 rate, up from the current rate of $5.45. Properties in Tier 2 valued between $800,001 to $1.5 million would go from $6.05 to $6.50. Properties in Tier 3 valued at more than $1.5 million would go from $8 to $12.50.

Under the committee’s proposal, the Tier 1 threshold would be expanded to $1 million and have a $5.85 rate. Tier 2 would be expanded to $1,000,001 to $4.5 million with a rate of $8. And, Tier 3 would be for properties valued over $4.5 million, with a $12.50 rate….

read … Committee backs higher taxes on short-term rentals, second homes

Hawaii County Council members to discuss giving a $250 offset to qualifying homeowners

HTH: … A proposed $250 tax credit for qualifying homeowners will be discussed once again at a County Council committee hearing next week.

The credit — which an estimated 30,000 Big Island homeowners would be able to apply to their 2022 real property taxes — was first discussed during a January committee hearing, but questions over its legality postponed the matter for months….

read … Round 3 for tax credit plan: Council members to discuss giving a $250 offset to qualifying homeowners

State DHS Illegally taking social security survivor benefits from foster kids

KHON: … Over the past four years, Hawaii has taken more than $1.5 million from kids living in foster care in the form of Social Security payments and survivor’s benefits.

The state says it’s using the money to make sure those kids are taken care of.

But critics argue it’s not the state’s money to spend, and now there’s a push to change the little-known policy.

“Quite frankly it’s very unfair,” said state Rep. Patrick Branco, who recently proposed a resolution calling on the state to halt its practice of using children’s Social Security benefits to pay for their care…

Her father died when she was 7, which made her eligible for Social Security survivor’s benefits.

“I was getting at least a grand a month,” she said.

That’s money she could have claimed once she turned 18.

But what Lucas didn’t know is once she entered the foster system, the state applied to receive the funds on her behalf and then started using it to pay her foster parents (pump up DHS budget).  Meanwhile, foster children who aren’t entitled to Social Security income or benefits don’t have to pay a thing….

On average, the state received Social Security payments on behalf of 37 youth a year between 2018 and 2021. Those benefits during that time period totaled close to $1.5 million.

“It’s placed in a trust account into our state General Fund,” said Daisy Hartsfield, state Department of Human Services administrator. She says if money wasn’t taken from those children’s accounts, the state would have to pick up the tab.

That’s because for the vast majority of foster youth, DHS can seek partial federal reimbursement to help cover the cost of their care.

“However, for children who receive these SSI or SS program benefits, they don’t qualify for those same type of reimbursements,” Hartsfield said.

Branco, the lawmaker, argues foster care is a service that no child should have to pay for….

read … Growing push seeks to prevent the state from taking millions in benefits from foster kids

Suspect charged for hindering prosecution in 2-year-old Kytana Ancog case asks to be released

KHON: … The man allegedly involved in the 2021 disappearance of a Honolulu toddler is now asking a judge to grant an order for supervised release.

49-year-old Scott Michael Carter is in custody at the Halawa Correctional Facility after being charged with hindering prosecution in the case of 2-year-old Kytana Ancog.

Kytana was last seen alive on January 31, 2021, when her mother, Ashley Ancog, dropped Kytana off with her father, Travis Rodrigues, at his Aiea home.

Rodrigues told Honolulu police detectives that he beat and shook Kytana until she ‘appeared lifeless’. He then placed her body in a duffel bag and made arrangements with Carter, to dispose of her body.

Carter was arrested for second-degree murder on February 18 and held on a $1M bail. The judge in his case later reduced charges to hindering prosecution in the first degree and lowered his bail to $250k.

A motion filed earlier this month by Carter's attorney, Daniel Kawamoto, says Carter is not a flight risk and should be on supervised release while waiting for trial….

read … Suspect charged for hindering prosecution in 2-year-old Kytana Ancog case asks to be released

100 Homeless Fly Here Each Month

KHON: … For nearly two years it was difficult for people living on the streets elsewhere to just pick up and come to the islands instead.

“During the pandemic, we had rules in place,” said Dr. James Ireland, director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department. “Where if you didn’t have a place to stay, you weren’t vaccinated, and you didn’t have a place to quarantine, you could be arrested or sent back.”

But once travel quarantine, testing and vaccination rules were lifted, the floodgates opened for all kinds of travelers.

“After that ended up saw the climb (in transient homeless),” said Connie Mitchell, executive director of the Institute for Human Services. “It went from like 27% to 37%.”

That’s one-quarter to more than one-third of those served at Oahu’s main shelter IHS being new arrivals who came to Hawaii homeless….

“I want to say that IHS, because of where we are close to the airport, and because of the services that we have, we tend to have more of the ones that are visitors,” Mitchell said.

Islandwide and even statewide, the proportion isn’t as pronounced,

“Less than 3% of people who receive services in March were people who had been in Hawaii less than a year,” said Scott Morishige, the governor’s coordinator on homelessness.

But that’s still more than 100 new or newer-to-Hawaii people homeless in every month so far this year, according to a homeless management information system run by Partners In Care.

People on the front lines see the difference on the streets.

“The ones from the mainland are kind of just plopped down,” said Jolene Chun, an EMT with the city’s CORE unit, which stands for Crisis, Outreach, Response and Engagement. “They have a whole bunch of medical issues they have a whole bunch of substance abuse history, and they just expect handouts.”…

Some have said their family sent them, and once in a while they say a service provider or other agency directed them here.

“One with a history of mental illness said the caseworker put her on a plane with her disability check — a one-way ticket to Hawaii because the weather is better,” Chun said….

a pipeline to go back home had started five years ago, relocating 565 people so far to help them move away from Hawaii….

read … Crisis on the streets: Stemming the tide of inbound homeless

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