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Sunday, June 19, 2022
June 19, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:49 PM :: 5078 Views

We’ve Got Bills – Lots of Them

Evidence keeps rolling in against proposed minimum-wage increase

Jones Act lobby feeling the heat as calls for waivers or reform increase

We can do something about inflation

Hawaii's labor force participation rate increasing, jobs report shows  

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 18, 2022

Josh Green Owned and Operated by Carpenters Union, PRP

Borreca: …  Lt. Gov. Josh Green is running for governor and is expected to be supported by the Carpenters Union and its affiliate, the Pacific Resource Partnership. Among his opponents is Vicky Cayetano, Hawaii’s former first lady and wife to former two-term governor, Ben Cayetano.

Back in 2012, Ben Cayetano ran for mayor of Honolulu. A major theme of his campaign was the city’s rail project, then calculated to cost $3 billion and now estimated at more than $10 billion.

Cayetano wanted to stop the rail but the Carpenters Union and PRP supported the project, heavy with good-paying union jobs.

The Carpenters ran a vicious anti-Cayetano campaign estimated at nearly $1.2 million to stop the former governor from becoming mayor. They were successful; Cayetano lost, but went to court. In the settlement, PRP made a half-page public apology in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and made a $100,000 donation to the University of Hawaii Medical School as well as a $25,000 donation to the Hawaiian Humane Society in Cayetano’s name.

The Carpenters and PRP are still major political players. In 2018 their super PAC donated heavily to Green’s lieutenant governor campaign, giving nearly an estimated half-million dollars through political action committees.

Green also hired Brooke Wilson, the former political and education director for the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters, as his chief of staff.

read … Negative campaign ads have long tentacles here — but they breed contempt, not hope

Yes, legal campaign contributions can be considered quid pro quo bribes

ILind: … The feds allege there had been no Mitsunaga-related contributions to Kaneshiro before they began discussing Mitsunaga’s request, and that later contributions were repeatedly made as the agreement between the prosecutor and the company developed. In the Kaneshiro-Mitsunaga case, prosecutors allege several false name contributions were made, in which one of the company execs contributed to Kaneshiro’s campaign without the consent or knowledge of those whose names were used, which are considered to be Class C felonies if charged under Hawaii campaign law.

It’s also interesting to see how intertwined this was with former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, now serving time after her conviction on a number of federal charges. The indictment alleges that after being advised by an experienced deputy that they should not pursue the charges requested by Mitsunaga, the case was then assigned to a newbie in the office.

“In or about the summer of 2014, after a senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney recommended declining the L.J.M. case, KANESHIRO reassigned the case to recently hired Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, J.D, who was then assigned to the Career Criminal Unit of the DPA,” the indictment alleges.

“J.D.” appears to refer to former Hawaii County and Honolulu deputy prosecutor Jake Delaplane, as confirmed in a Civil Beat story on Friday by Christina Jedra (“Keith Kaneshiro Charges Detail Abuse Of Power, Bribery And Conspiracy“).

At the time, Delaplane was assigned to the career criminal division of the prosecutor’s office, which was headed by Katherine Kealoha.

Deleplane was also appears to be the “J.D.” described as part of a group close to Kealoha’s brother, Rudy Puana, who was convicted on a total of 38 federal drug charges earlier this year. Information about their relationship was disclosed in documents filed in Puana’s case.

There was just so much going on within Kaneshiro’s office that it feels like these prosecutions are only peeling away the first few layers of the onion....  

ILind: More on the Kaneshiro-Mitsunaga indictment  

KHON: Judge’s 2017 ruling is key evidence against Kaneshiro

read … Yes, legal campaign contributions can be considered quid pro quo bribes

Time To Scrap Voting ‘Yes With Reservations’ At The Legislature?

CB: … A long-standing tradition allows Hawaii lawmakers to avoid casting difficult votes that could make or break bills. But it’s really a way to avoid making tough calls….

read … Time To Scrap Voting ‘Yes With Reservations’ At The Legislature?

Will Rural Development Loans Pay for Hawaii School Construction?

SA: … The idea is for Hawaii’s fledgling School Facilities Authority to borrow money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program to pay for new schools in rural parts of the state.

Such financing can be easier and cheaper to obtain compared with state general obligation bonds typically used to pay for new school construction and most other state capital improvement projects, which compete for limited budget allocations every year at the Legislature.….

read … State agency to tap new source to finance school construction

Supreme Court could soon make it easier to carry guns in Hawaii

WaPo: … It will be the first major Second Amendment decision from the court in more than a decade. And if the justices strike down New York’s century-old restrictions on carrying concealed firearms, as appeared likely when the case was argued last fall, similar regulations in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Hawaii, and Massachusetts would be vulnerable….

read ... Supreme Court could soon make it easier to carry guns in six states

Bums Disappear: Is Honolulu’s Chinatown On The Brink Of A Turnaround?

CB: … Far fewer homeless and mentally ill people are clustered in its doorways and alleys, the foul smells are dissipating and the palpable sense of fear is fading.

A historic neighborhood that has served as the reception point to the islands for generations of newcomers, Chinatown has always been rough around the edges, a place where poor people arrive and struggle to survive and where urban nightlife thrives.

But the neighborhood had descended in the past few years into a distressed and crime-ridden dystopia overrun by desperate homelessness and a raft of related urban ills.

Crime of almost all kinds rose in Chinatown between 2020 and 2021, according to the Honolulu Police Department’s most recent annual report, with aggravated assaults jumping 35% from 63 in 2020 to 85 in 2021. Rape, robbery, larceny and auto theft rose. In April, a repeat criminal offender stalked a 79-year-old man, then set him on fire….

A major turning point was an agreement in January with the River of Life Mission, a Christian ministry, to stop its food distribution program that had long drawn long lines of homeless people to the building in Chinatown.

At its peak, about 250 homeless people, many with substance abuse and mental health problems, roamed the streets of Chinatown. Now the consensus is that there are about 50, according to members of the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board….

read … Is Honolulu’s Chinatown On The Brink Of A Turnaround?

Bums Appear: Honolulu’s CORE program begins outreach in Waikiki, where unsheltered homelessness is on the rise

SA: … “It’s scary out here. There are people that live here who don’t want strangers here,” Taylor said. “Last night was really crazy. There were so many homeless people running around trying to take what you have.”…

Makanani, who has been homeless on and off since 1984, (38 years) tells the team (claims) she is receptive to housing (but has an excuse for everything). However, she doesn’t have an ID, and when they mention there might be space at the Institute for Human Serv­ices, she says (suddenly remembers to say)   she has not been vaccinated for COVID-19, which makes it more difficult to find her a shelter placement…. 

(CLUE: J&J one and done, then on the the next excuse for not accepting housing.)

read … Honolulu’s CORE program begins outreach in Waikiki, where unsheltered homelessness is on the rise

Nondomestic TRO requests up 67% since 2015, while domestic abuse orders down 25%

HTH: … Between 2015 and 2021, there has been a 67% increase in requests for temporary restraining orders in nondomestic situations on Hawaii Island.

But at the same time, there has been a significant drop in requests for domestic abuse protective orders, just over 25%.

According to the Hawaii State Judiciary, there were 5,405 nondomestic TRO requests between 2015 and 2021. The lowest number of nondomestic TROs sought, 653, was in 2015. The number of requests rose every year after, culminating in 971 cases initiated in 2021….

read … Nondomestic TRO requests up 67% since 2015, while domestic abuse orders down 25%

Concerns loom over outdoor lighting bill in Maui County

MN: … They say Bill 21, which is up for first reading at Tuesday’s Maui County Council meeting, would regulate all outdoor lighting fixtures, including swimming pool and decorative lighting and prohibit flood lights, lighting for safety purposes along with lighting used at outdoor events such as the Maui Fair, food truck areas and private sports facilities such as golf courses and driving ranges.

Because of the concerns, the Department of Corporation Counsel has submitted a memo to the council detailing why Bill 21 was not approved as to legality. It also includes a replacement draft bill “that achieves the same environmental policy goals while being enforceable and retaining existing exemptions for common residential and business lighting,” according to a news release Friday afternoon from Mayor Michael Victorino’s Office….

read … Concerns loom over outdoor lighting bill in Maui County

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