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Thursday, June 30, 2022
June 30, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:40 PM :: 2962 Views

He Owned the Land for Just a Day, But Received 212 Credits from County

Honolulu Rail: $9.9 Billion to Go Nowhere

Marijuana Dispensary Oligopoly Enforcers: Drug Raid on Pinky's Hempire

Hawaii: Worst Place for Bitcoin Mining

Counties in Hawaii with the most pre-war homes

Property Rights and the New Feudalism

Kahele Accepted Thousands from Two Different groups of Indicted Contractors

SA: … At one point during a special one-hour episode of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” livestream program, Kahele called Green’s campaign “a joke” for accepting donations from mainland corporations and “Big Pharma.” Green said Kahele had previously accepted “thousands and thousands” from disgraced Hawaii business leaders Dennis Mitsunaga and Milton Choy.

Mitsunaga, president and CEO of Mitsunaga & Associates, faces federal charges of conspiring with former Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro to charge a former employee with four counts of felony theft in exchange for campaign contributions.

Choy, owner of H20 Process Systems and Fluid Technologies, began cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice after he was caught in an investigation that led to guilty pleas in February from former state Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English and Rep. Ty J.K. Cullen, former vice chairman of the House Committee on Finance….

read … Hawaii’s gubernatorial hopefuls exchange barbs in heated debate

Lack of affordable housing adds to worker shortage

KHON: … The Maui Brewing Co. CEO Garrett Marrero said the lack of affordable housing is a big obstacle in recruiting and retaining employees.

“I can’t pay enough for someone to buy a $1.2 million median-priced home or the rents that they were paying $1,500 — $1,600 a month now are $2,500 to $3,000 a month,” Marrero said,

Marrero said they offer competitive pay but it is hard to keep up with the current housing and rental market. Just this week, he heard from three employees who will soon be displaced, their rentals were sold.

The Maui Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Pamela Tumpap said the lack of affordable housing is impacting employees from across different sectors.

“Our housing shortages, we have many businesses who say affordable housing and rentals is their top priority,” Tumpap said. “It’s certainly a top priority for our chamber. And we’re hearing more and more where employees are sleeping in their cars.” ….

read … Lack of affordable housing adds to worker shortage

Tougher Campaign Finance Laws Top Standards Commission Agenda

CB: … On Wednesday, the agency in charge of overseeing state campaign finance laws came before the new commission with ideas for eliminating pay-to-play schemes in political donations.

State law already bans companies from donating to candidates if they are currently working on a government contract. But a loophole in the law still allows employees and officers of those companies to continue making political donations.

Staff at the Campaign Spending Commission proposed closing that loophole. Dan Foley, the standards commission chairman, suggested that proposal could be expanded further to cover contractors who bid on projects.

Executive Director Kristin Izumi-Nitao said enforcing the current law has been difficult because each county handles procurement differently. To properly enforce the law, she said the state and counties would need a centralized hub where contracts can be more easily monitored by the commission.

“That’s something we could look at. Right now, there’s really nothing centralized for us to look at that’s consistent,” Izumi-Nitao said.

Another proposal would put an end to a practice by state lawmakers that exploits a legal loophole allowing them to funnel campaign funds to their colleagues.

Elected officials are generally prohibited from using their campaign funds to donate to other lawmakers. But some, particularly those with large war chests, often buy tickets to their colleagues’ fundraisers to get around the prohibition.

The tactic has been used to help curry favor with lawmakers and prop up the factions that run the House and Senate.

And while lawmakers passed a bill this year that would ban fundraising events while the Legislature is in session, the commission is calling on them to go a step further and prohibit accepting any campaign donations during that time as well….

(CLUE: None of these things will actually happen, but the ideas are interesting.)

KITV: Commission looks to get big money out of politics in Hawaii

read … Tougher Campaign Finance Laws Top Standards Commission Agenda

Prosecuting Attorney hopes to overhaul bail system

KHON: … I’ve always thought there are problems with cash bail. The system as it exists now, it does discriminate against the poor, but it also doesn’t supervise anybody that can make bail. So we are also committed to coming up with a whole new system to replace the old system — not piecemeal but an entirely new system.” -- Steve Alm

read … Prosecuting Attorney hopes to overhaul bail system

The Cost Of Police Misconduct: Honolulu Spent Over $18 Million In Legal Settlements

CB: … The City and County of Honolulu has spent more than $18 million to settle police-related lawsuits and claims alleging misconduct over the past decade — outpacing numerous mainland cities of similar or larger size.

Meanwhile, consequences for officers named in claims have also been mixed with some fired or given suspensions and others remaining with the department long enough to get fired for unrelated incidents on the island of just over 1 million people.

One officer was reassigned to the Honolulu Police Department’s training academy and another appealed a one-day suspension so it was reduced to a written reprimand.

More than $4 million of that was paid by the city so far this year, according to data obtained by Civil Beat, which also includes smaller payouts related to the police department regarding issues of employment or towing that make up a small fraction of the total spending on claims….

read … The Cost Of Police Misconduct: Honolulu Spent Over $18 Million In Legal Settlements

HTA temporarily extends HVCB's US market contract on final day

KITV: … The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) will stay on as the Hawaii Tourism Authority's (HTA) US market brand management contractor through at least the end of September.

HVCB's contract was supposed to end on Wednesday, but HTA just extended it for ninety more days -- through September 28.

Earlier this month, HTA awarded its new US market brand management and visitor education contract to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), and HVCB filed a protest.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) is in charge of handling that protest.

DBEDT director Mike McCartney said in a statement on Wednesday night: "The Hawaiian Islands are in the middle of the busy summer travel season and planning needs to be done for the upcoming fall period.

"Therefore, I have determined, with the concurrence with the State's Chief Procurement Officer, that it is advantageous for the state to extend the current U.S. MMA contract with Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau for 90 days, until September 28, which should provide adequate time to resolve the current protest."

HTA will pay HVCB about $4 million for the three-month extension for the US market brand management contract, and $375,000 for global support services ….

SA: Hawaii Tourism Authority extends U.S. tourism contract amid protest

read … HTA temporarily extends HVCB's US market contract on final day

Underserved children in urgent need of help with schoolwork

SA: … Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and the subsequent loss of schooling and opportunities for growth, many children have been severely impacted. Many if not most of our underserved children have been held back one year in school and some even two years. Where are the tutoring opportunities to help these kids regain some of their lost education? Where is the help needed to mitigate the emotional turmoil of a year or more spent with very little schooling or interaction with their friends?

For the last several years I have been involved with children from the Palama area with a volunteer organization. During the lockdown I was involved with a few on a weekly basis and have continued with these same children for the last year. The deleterious effects that the COVID-19 lockdown becomes more apparent all the time. All of these children are so far behind in schoolwork it is shocking. None of the nearby nonprofit agencies that work with the Palama community have free summer programs that could be of help. There is an enrichment program that costs $375. That is certainly not an option in most large families.….

According to the office of U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, the state of Hawaii was to receive $412,328,764 for education, and “not less than 20%, or $82,465,752 must be addressed to address learning loss.” That money did not reach these kids….

read … Underserved children in urgent need of help with schoolwork

Book, Movie Aim to Transsexualize Native Hawaiian Boys

T: … they have to be groomed because they weren’t ‘born this way’ ….

read … Gender fluidity is a part of Hawaiian culture. How a children's book is reclaiming that

Former Hawaii Teacher Busted of Child Molestation Charges

DT: … Prosecutors in the U.S. previously listed (UH Manoa grad) Craig Alex Levin as having worked as a teacher at Harriton High School in Rosemont from 1987 to 2000 and at Lower Merion High School from 2000 to 2007. Three other schools were also listed including two schools in Hawaii from 1980 to 1987 and a school in Maryland from 1977 to 1979….

read … Federal prosecutors said Craig Levin of King of Prussia traveled to the Philippines to have sex with children

Judge orders document in Ireland case to be unsealed

HTH: … Hilo Circuit Judge Peter Kubota on Tuesday ordered that one of two documents apparently related to post-conviction DNA testing performed in the Dana Ireland murder case be unsealed and made public.

Judges for Justice, a Seattle-based organization, sought the release of the document, sealed in 2007 by since-retired Circuit Judge Glenn Hara, as well as a 2009 document, also sealed.

The group believes three men — Albert “Ian” Schweitzer, his younger brother, Shawn Schweitzer, and Frank Pauline — were wrongfully convicted of Ireland’s 1991 abduction, rape and murder in lower Puna.

The Hawaii ‘Innocence’ Project and the New York Innocence Project, both representing Ian Schweitzer — who has been incarcerated for more than two decades — are attempting to exonerate him.

Both groups opposed the documents’ release and said the documents’ confidentiality are essential to a collaborative investigation into Schweitzer’s case conducted jointly by the Innocence Project organizations and the Hawaii County prosecutor’s office.

Ian Schweitzer is serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 130 years in prison….

read … Judge orders document in Ireland case to be unsealed

Lifelong Criminal Out on Street, Does it Again

HNN: … Police identified the man as Patrick Takemoto.

“He didn’t take his money or his receipt,” the cashier said, adding that was just the beginning of Takemoto’s bizarre behavior.

Moments later, the cashier said, “he threw a rock straight at the window at full force while screaming.”

The witness said the stone Takemoto allegedly used was heavy, holding out both his palms to describe how large it was.

He said that when the suspect allegedly started shattering glass, people stayed out of his way while managers called police.

“He just kept on breaking windows,” said the cashier. “Then he walked out and police caught him.”

Court documents show Takemoto’s criminal history dates back more than 15 years and includes multiple felony convictions for terroristic threatening and criminal property damage. (And yet he was somehow out on the street)

2012: Takemoto gets HOPE probation for similar offences

read … Witnesses: Suspect went ‘out of his mind,’ shattered windows after placing order at Oahu McDonald’s

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