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Sunday, June 12, 2022
June 12, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:05 PM :: 2158 Views

General Excise Tax on Nonprofits 

Bill 45: Rail TOD Giveaway to High Tech Tax Credit Schemers

Oahu and Maui Have Some of the Highest Rents in the Nation

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 11, 2022

Call for Jones Act reform gaining momentum

Judge Orders Sheriff to remove Sovereignty Activist ’Army’ of Trumpster Copycats from Pot farm--Monday deadline

ILind: … A circuit judge ruled in favor of the property owners and signed an order directing police or sheriffs to remove the defendants and their supporters….

After reviewing the evidence in a May 4 hearing, Circuit Court Judge James McWhinnie agreed there was no issue of material fact and granted Guyland’s motion for summary judgment. He then signed off on several court orders last week, including a Writ of Possession directing police or sheriffs to remove the defendants, their supporters, and “any and all personal property,” from the site.

Guyland gave members of the group the deadline of Monday to get off the property, according to Arensmeyer.

Throughout the extended period the group has occupied the site, members have fended off police by saying they have been involved in a civil dispute that will be settled in court. However, it now appears they are not ready to accept the court’s ruling.

Instead of preparing to leave, the group has been welcoming reinforcements consisting of additional uniformed members of Occupied Forces Hawaii Army, which claims to be a uniformed force of “lawful military combatants” serving the “Country of Hawaii.”

One photo posted to Instagram on Friday by Moleka Hicks, who has been at the site since October, showed 10 OFHA members posing in front of a Hawaiian flag. They are wearing Woodland-pattern camouflaged battle dress uniforms that were previously standard issue by U.S. military services but replaced more than a decade ago.

“Mahalo to our troops for your presence,” Hicks wrote on Instagram when posting the photo.

Arensmeyer, Guyland’s attorney, said in an email he expects additional OFH Army members to move in before the Monday deadline….

Hicks, also known as Morris N. Hicks, was arrested in January and charged with obstructing government operations “by using or threatening to use violence, force, or physical interference or obstacle, did intentionally obstruct, impair, or hinder the enforcement of the penal law or the preservation of the peace by a law enforcement officer acting under color of the peace officer’s official authority,” according to a Jan. 27 criminal complaint.

Court records do not indicate the circumstances of the Jan. 14 incident that led to the charges.

After several delays, Hicks is scheduled to appear in the district court in Wahiawa on Thursday for arraignment and to enter a plea to the obstruction charge, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Hicks sent an undated letter to the court in which he repeated language commonly used by the so-called “sovereign citizens movement,” whose followers reject the authority of the courts and the government. The movement is considered an extremist organization by the FBI and is tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center….

The document appears to be based on a form letter virtually identical to one submitted by James Beeks, a Florida man facing a felony charge of obstruction of Congress for his participation in the Jan. 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

A second participant in the Oahu land occupation, and the first named defendant in the case, Keola Kaleimamahu, was arrested on suspicion of 1st degree terroristic threatening and carrying an automatic weapon following a Feb. 7 incident at Kualoa Ranch. The incident does not appear to be related to the land occupation, and it is not known whether Kaleimamahu was armed while at the Waipahu site..

Just days after his “no contest” plea, Kaleimamahu was indicted on new terroristic threatening charges by a state grand jury, this time stemming from an incident in September. He remains in custody, and the charges are pending. Following his arrest, he was dismissed as a defendant in the Guyland lawsuit…

Court records show Alicia Napua Hueu, who holds the rank of captain in Occupied Forces Hawaii Army, appeared in both Guyland cases claiming to represent OFHA in the proceedings as a JAG officer…

In March, Big Island attorney Jamae Kawauchi unsuccessfully sought a temporary restraining order against Hueu, alleging he was being harassed and threatened by her. In a declaration filed in court, Kawauchi said he met Hueu while representing another person in a series of traffic cases, and that Hueu claimed to be a JAG officer….

Hueu has directed or taken part in other land occupations on Maui based on claims of inherited rights similar to those made in the Waipahu case.

She is now facing multiple criminal charges on Maui stemming from two separate incidents. She is charged with first degree burglary, theft and extortion, all Class B felonies, as well as other felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from the takeover of the home of a retired judge and his wife on Maui in January 2020…..

ILind: Here’s a bit more background reading  

HNN: As tensions rise, country club’s landowner seeks to evict paramilitary sovereignty group

June 7, 2022: Standoff In Waipahu: Hawaiian Rights ‘Army’ Has Illegally Occupied A Private Pot Farm

ILind: The once-and-forever land title theory loses again

read … Group Occupying Honolulu Pot Farm Faces Deadline To Move Out

Democrats can consider 2022 to be the year of the incumbent

Borreca: … One trend continuing is the dwindling number of Republican legislative members. Observers point out how the GOP faded after holding 19 seats in 2000 in the state House, to today controlling just four out of 51. If the GOP is hoping for a “throw the rascals out” movement to appear in this year’s election, it has yet to appear….

This year’s Legislature operated with a record operating budget surplus, so many usual pressure groups asking for more education or housing support were met with generous appropriations. That means many groups had little to protest and even less reason to complain about the existing lawmakers.

So the two trends — a budget surplus and a minuscule GOP — mean that elected Democrats can consider 2022 to be the year of the incumbent, saying confidently: “See you next year.”

read … Democrats can consider 2022 to be the year of the incumbent

Who’s Running Unopposed?

PH: … for these lucky buggers, the campaign is over. With the deadline to file passed, these candidates will be given a free pass to serve another four years without lifting a finger to the campaign. They face no primary opposition in their party nor a Republican/third party challenger in the general.

  • Dru Kanuha, Senate District 3
  • Gil Keith-Agaran, Senate District 5
  • Kurt Favella, Senate District 20
  • Mark Nakashima, House District 1
  • Richard Onishi, House District 2
  • Nicole Lowen, House District 7
  • Troy Hashimoto, House District 10
  • Gene Ward, House District 18
  • Scott Nishimoto, House District 23
  • Linda Ichiyama, House District 31
  • Rebecca Villegas, Hawaii County Council District 7

read … Interesting tidbits a pol watcher finds

Public left in dark on details of Honolulu’s rail recovery plan

Shapiro: … Blangiardi often says, “If the numbers don’t make sense, then the strategy doesn’t make sense.” On his rail recovery plan being submitted to the FTA this month, he hasn’t spelled out how the numbers make sense.

He says it’s because the FTA, from whom the city seeks $700 million in delayed federal rail funding, instructed the city not to discuss plan details until it’s reviewed in Washington.

It’s not only the public in the dark.

HART’s board had many questions that couldn’t be answered when it took up the recovery plan, but quickly approved it anyway ahead of a June 30 deadline to get the plan to the FTA.

City Council members also couldn’t get answers to many questions, but blessed the plan in a fraction of the time it would take them to approve a $50,000 bicycle path.

Key rail decisions have always been rammed through under pressure of some deadline, and questions have always been discouraged. Look where it’s gotten us.

The unanswered questions are important.

A new HART cost accounting that shaved $1 billion from projected costs was based on supposition as much as fact and had a political scent to it. The study occurred before the massive inflation we’re now experiencing.

A proposed rerouting through the Dillingham Boulevard corridor, critical to the savings, hasn’t been fully engineered or subjected to environmental and other reviews….

June 3, 2022: Iwasa Rips Rail Recovery Plan: “Errors that no one seems to care about” 

read … Public left in dark on details of Honolulu’s rail recovery plan

HVCB Preparing to Challenge Bid Award to CNHA

SA: … HVCB is so intrinsic to HTA that the state tourism agency awarded at least 10 contracts to the bureau between 2016 and last July totaling $145.9 million. Its most lucrative HTA deal was the U.S. major market area multiyear contract worth $105 million, which expired Dec. 31 but was extended to June 29 in an additional $8.5 million contract.

Flash forward to this month and HVCB has only five active HTA contracts worth $25 million, $11.6 million of which will expire this year.

HVCB’s dramatic drop in funding is tied to HTA’s turnaround decision on June 2 to award its largest piece of business, the U.S. brand management and global support services contract, to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. The new contract, worth more than $34 million in the first two years, will begin June 30 and is slated to end Dec. 31, 2024. The contract comes with an option to extend for an additional two years.

John Monahan, HVCB president and CEO, declined to comment for this article.

However, he said in a letter Wednesday to HVCB’s membership: “This week we sent a letter to HTA requesting a formal debriefing on the results of the U.S. Leisure market solicitation. Please know we intend to be as transparent as possible as we proceed; however, to comply with state procurement laws and to preserve the integrity of this process, we are currently unable to provide further details. After we have received the debrief, we will reassess the situation and report out to our membership.”

Sources familiar with state procurement said the debriefing resets the appeals deadline to June 14 for the latest contract award.

Following that debriefing, HVCB could appeal HTA’s decision or take a vastly downgraded role in the state’s lead tourism agency.

It’s a pivotal decision, given that HTA has never existed without HVCB….  

PBN: Hawaii Tourism Authority issues statement on contract selection

KITV: HTA president and CEO issues statement about US market brand management contract

read … Hawaii Tourism Authority’s contract reversal leaves longtime marketer HVCB’s future in limbo 

BLNR Forcing Hilo Naniloa Hotel Into Bankruptcy

HTH: … A request by the owners of the Grand Naniloa Hotel to take out a second mortgage to pay for their first one has been denied.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources determined with some reluctance Thursday that granting a request to WHR LLC, the owner of the Naniloa, to take out a $62 million mortgage to cover its current $50 million mortgage with another lender would not be in the best interests of the state.

According to documents filed to the BLNR, WHR is facing foreclosure action from Wilmington Trust, the current holder of its $50 million loan for the state-leased property.

In order to stave off that action and eventual bankruptcy proceedings, WHR sought approval from the Department of Land and Natural Resources — the lessor of the Naniloa lands — to take out a second, more volatile mortgage from another lender.

read … More questions than answers regarding Naniloa hotel

Hawaii nonprofit sues Bank of America for $848M over Hawaiian Home Lands loans (again)

SA: … Bill Halldin, a BofA spokesperson, said in a written statement, “While we respect the issues faced by the native Hawaiian community, the bank fulfilled its pledge made in 1994 and this was confirmed by the state in 2007.”…

Not long after its Hawaii expansion, BofA struggled to make the FHA 247 loans. The bank said DHHL lot development was limited, some beneficiaries couldn’t qualify, and other bigger banks in Hawaii offered the same FHA 247 loan terms.

BofA also struggled with its overall business in Hawaii, and in 1997 sought to sell its 39 branches statewide to American Savings Bank….

read … Hawaii nonprofit sues Bank of America for $848M over Hawaiian Home Lands loans (again)

Gun Enthusiasts Keep Winning In Court

CB: … The U.S. Supreme Court this summer is expected to issue an opinion likely to have significant implications for Hawaii’s gun laws ….

read … Gun Enthusiasts Keep Winning In Court

Tell Ige to Sign SB3252

CB: … SB 3252, however — which would make it easier for the public to get copies of public records from government — passed in the final days of session with unanimous support. It’s encouraging that the Legislature feels so strongly about a basic public right.

There is now just one more step for the bill to become law: approval by Gov. David Ige. He has until June 27 to say which bills he’s thinking about vetoing and until July 12 to veto, sign or let bills become law without his signature.

SB 3252 is long-overdue common sense legislation that would help correct an unfortunate pattern in state and county government: the charging of exorbitant fees by agencies to copy public records when requested by individuals, public interest groups and the media….

read … Here's An Easy Way To Help Watchdog Government. Tell Gov. Ige Not To Blow It

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