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Tuesday, July 19, 2022
July 19, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:09 PM :: 2951 Views

SHOPO Endorsing Duke Aiona for Governor

Maui Council on verge of worsening housing crisis  

Kaiser Hawaii Mental Health Accreditation Threatened

Ex-Hawaii County housing official pleads guilty to taking $2M in kickbacks

KHON: … “I think a lot of the people in the county that had been working with the federal investigators didn’t even realize how deep it went,” Roth said….

“It was one of our county employees that was reviewing these deals and saw that something was not right and they actually contacted the federal investigators that started this investigation,” said Roth….

Rudo faces a maximum 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine …. 

ILind: Hilo-based newsletter scores major coup reporting details behind latest corruption case  

SA Off the News: Affordable housing credits scam

AP: Ex-Hawaii official admits role in affordable housing scheme

read … Ex-Hawaii County housing official pleads guilty to taking $2M in kickbacks

Rep Kapela Outraged Over Cancellation of Transsexual Show for Kids

KITV: … The Family Drag Show was supposed to take place Saturday -- at the Keauhou Shopping Center's "Spin Luv Play"…

But the event was called off after organizers and participants received violent comments including death threats.

Online comments claimed the performance would include vulgar adult themes, and would allegedly groom children for sexual exploitation….

Rep. Jeanné Kapela, who coordinated the statement and who represents the State House district that includes Keauhou. “The outbursts of hate speech that caused the cancellation of this event show that we need to strengthen protections for LGBTQ+ youth and their families across Hawai’i.”

“We will not allow anyone to make LGBTQ+ children feel ashamed of or afraid to express their identity,” said Rep. Kapela. “These children are an essential part of our community and deserve to be loved, validated, and provided with unconditional care.”…

read … Youth LGBTQ+ event cancelled after violent comments and death threats made online

Rep LoPresti pleads not guilty to drunk driving

KHON: … State Representative Matt LoPresti’s attorney entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf in court on Monday, July 18.

LoPresti was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant on Thursday, July 16 around 11:45 p.m. on Fort Weaver Road in the Ewa area.

He was released after posting $500 bail.

A pre-trial conference is scheduled for September….

read … State representative pleads not guilty to drunk driving

New policy cracks down on release of arrestees

SA: … Those who are arrested for low-level crimes and cannot make bail will no longer be able to be released by a judge on their own recognizance and given a future court date, but will be held overnight by the Honolulu Police Department and appear in court the following morning.

The policy change is the result of conversations last week among Mayor Rick Blangiardi, Prosecutor Steve Alm, HPD Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan, business leaders and the state Judiciary about public safety.

“Part of this effort right now is (that) better, stronger law enforcement makes people feel safe,” Blangiardi said on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” livestream program….

“Where the biggest problem is, is people with mental health issues,” he said.

“We want to be able to do the research in the morning and then be able to go to court and argue that the person should be sent to Hawaii State Hospital for an evaluation. When they’re released (by) the courthouse from the Police Department, we don’t get a chance to make that argument.”…

Blangiardi announced that prosecutors would crack down on repeat offenders.

“There’s probably about 140 people out there … that unfortunately, when they finally do something really bad, you read about it and it gets reported that they had all these priors,” he said….

(Idea: Don’t believe this until you see it.)

American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i Policy Director Carrie Ann Shirota spoke out against the new policy change but did not offer to let any of the released criminals move in with them….

read … New policy cracks down on release of arrestees

For food security and resilience, cut isles’ most regressive tax

SA: … For more than a decade, the Hawaii Food Industry Association has advocated for the removal of the general excise tax (GET) on food and medicine in the state of Hawaii. Time and time again, research shows that taxing groceries is one of the worst policies state governments can enact to erode food security and resilience, hurt working families, and increase poverty. Given woes of the current economy, it is time for elected officials to develop a workable road map for weaning government off this regressive tax policy.

A 2021 study found a direct relationship between increased grocery tax rates and increased food insecurity for low-income households. As we found during the pandemic, Hawaii has a long way to go in improving food insecurity and resilience in our state. Removing the GET from food and medicine is a step that legislators can take today, that will substantially and positively impact our food insecurity and resilience crisis….

read … Column: For food security and resilience, cut isles’ most regressive tax

Rolling Blackouts Coming: Three More Solar Plus Storage Projects Are Dead After $140M Ratepayer Shakedown Fails

IM: … The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission officially ended three proposed solar plus storage projects that had run into force majeure issues.

The developers had previously provided Hawaiian Electric Company with notice that the power purchase agreements were null and void.

174 Power Global subsidiary Kupehau Solar proposed a 60 MW / 240 MWh solar plus storage project in Kunia, O`ahu, docket no. 2020-0138.

Longroad Development Company, LLC subsidiary Mahi Solar proposed a 120 MW / 480 MWh solar plus storage project in Kunia, O`ahu, docket no. 2020-0140.

Longroad Development Company, LLC subsidiary Pulehu Solar proposed a 40 MW / 160 MWh solar plus storage project in Pulehu, Maui, docket no. 2020-0141….

Translation: There will be no backup after the AES coal plant is forced to close on Sept 1.  Rolling blackouts will then commence.  You have been informed (again).

The Public Utilities Commission approved the HECO-Mahi Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) at 9.7 cents per kilowatt hour on December 30, 2020. Mahi Solar then proposed increasing the rate to 11.6 cents per kilowatt hour….

“Given the Project's 120 MW size and the PPA's 25-year term, even a small increase in the Unit Price could dramatically increase customer costs. Specifically, the total revenue requirement over the PPA term under the scenarios in the Second Amendment result in an increase between approximately $130 million and $140 million in nominal terms, depending on the enaction of the BBB Act. This is an increase the Commission is unwilling to approve.”…

Translation: Without solar panels made by Muslim slaves in Xinjiang, we need Hawaii ratepayers to give us $140M.

read … Three Solar Plus Storage Projects Are Dead

Trend continues of non-competitive legislative races

SA: … Ten state legislators are running unopposed and will automatically be reelected in November, while another 15 candidates face no internal party challengers and will automatically go on to the November general election.

The pattern follows a trend in recent elections when double-digit numbers of races had zero or little challenge.

But this year’s phenomenon comes as all 25 Senate and 51 House seats are up for election following widespread outrage over the federal guilty pleas of former state Sen. J. Kalani English and former state Rep. Ty J.K. Cullen for bribery and political corruption. That was followed by the Legislature’s failure last session to respond with meaningful reforms aimed at clamping down on violations of ethics rules and campaign fundraising and spending….

The lack of competitive races also follows this year’s departures of Republican Reps. Bob McDermott (Ewa Beach-­Iroquois Point), who is running for U.S. Senate, and Val Okimoto (Mililani-Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres), who is running for the nonpartisan City Council.

At the same time, two of the incumbents with no opposition are Republicans: state Sen. Kurt Fevella (Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point), the lone Republican in the Senate, and state Rep. Gene Ward (Hawaii Kai-Kalama Valley), one of only two Republicans in the House.

State Rep. Lauren Cheape Matsu­moto (Mililani-Schofield-­Kunia) has no challenger in the Republican primary Aug. 13.

But Matsumoto will face off in the Nov. 8 general election against the lone Democrat in the race, Marilyn Lee. Lee represented the old House District 36 seat for 16 years before she was defeated in 2012, and unsuccessfully ran two more times before making her third attempt this year….

read … Trend continues of non-competitive legislative races

Insiders Want You to Help Them Get COVID Money from Feds

CB: … The Oahu Economic Development Board, a private nonprofit organization (comprised of the usual insiders), is seeking community input on a proposed plan it will submit to federal economic development officials. To that end, the organization is hosting a virtual community meeting on Wednesday and is taking public comments via an online form through Sunday.

At stake is federal grant money for economic development for the next five years.

(Translation: You ideas will help them get more money for themselves.)

The Oahu Economic Development Board’s mission is to “promote and encourage economic growth, development, and diversification within the City and County of Honolulu and the State of Hawaii,” its federal tax return says.

(IQ Test: Are you laughing?)

When the strategy is finalized, the board will submit it to the Federal Economic Development Administration, which will use the plan to guide state and local economic development and recovery programs through 2026. The administration awards grants to “fulfill regional economic development strategies designed to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship, advance regional competitiveness, create higher-skill, living-wage jobs, generate private investment, and fortify and grow industry clusters.”  ….

(Key Words: ‘Award grants.’)

read … Group Wants Ideas On Diversifying Oahu’s Economy

Why Hawaii Schools Are Doubling Down On Vocational Training

CB: … a growing number of schools in the state are putting a new emphasis on what the Department of Education refers to more broadly as “career technical education.”

Roughly 40% of high schools in the state now have career-focused academies. Some are opting to organize their entire school into smaller academies or schools within a school….

read … Why Hawaii Schools Are Doubling Down On Vocational Training

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