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Thursday, September 1, 2022
September 1, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:01 PM :: 6150 Views

DBEDT lowers Hawai‘i economic growth projections for 2022 and 2023

Should sacrifices go just one way?

Hate Crime Probation: Thugs Attempt to Kill Tourist in Front of Children, Are Honored as ‘Protectors’ by Court, Community

MN: … 2nd Circuit Judge Kirstin Hamman said in sentencing James Pu. “I hear you. I understand what you mean to your community, to your family. I do not think a prison term is appropriate in your case.”

In a trial in June, a jury found Pu guilty of a lesser charge of attempted second-degree assault of Arizona resident Jeffrey Funicello. He testified he was attacked by Pu and others, suffering a concussion and possible bone fractures the night of July 21, 2019, when he was camping at Koki Beach Park with his girlfriend and two children.

(Clue: Lynchmob.)

Pu also was found guilty of second-degree terroristic threatening of Funicello and two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor. He was found not guilty of another charge of second-degree terroristic threatening of Funicello’s then-girlfriend.

“I just would like to see justice served,” Funicello said, appearing by videoconference for the hearing. “There were others involved in this, but James was clearly the ringleader and had the power to make this not happen. I’m very lucky to be alive. If I didn’t know how to defend myself, I would be dead. They definitely tried to kill me in front of my kids.”

Along with dozens of Pu’s friends and family members in the courtroom gallery Wednesday, there were numerous letters to the court from family and friends, said Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani….  

While the prosecution asked for Pu to be sentenced to a five-year prison term for the assault charge, Pu’s friends and family said they didn’t believe the facts presented in court.

Richard Rutiz, former executive director of the nonprofit Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike, said he has known Pu since he was 14 and described his “gentle demeanor, his even-headedness.”

(Really Obvious Question: Do you give money to Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike?)

“In the years I knew him, he never got into a fight. He broke up fights,” Rutiz said. “Don’t take him away from our community. He is essential. He is the one the kids look up to. He is a role model. That’s why this whole thing is crazy.”

Rutiz said Pu, who took over the building part of the nonprofit, was “the only one I could have possibly turned this over to.”

Some Hana residents described Koki as Pu’s home and a refuge overlooking a fishpond that he was trying to safeguard from visitors intruding on traditional fishing practices. The area is overrun with tourists during the day and illegal campers at night, some said, blaming the county and state for allowing the intrusion by tourists into their backyards.

Vance Pu, a lifelong Hana resident, said what was said about his son “tried to negate his true nature as a protector and provider.”

Hana resident Sol Church said he was torch fishing with his grandson that night and saw Funicello attacking Pu.

“Why they make a point of taking our innocent people and making them criminals?” Church said. “We have tourists attack people that live here, that are stewards of our land. That’s all James was doing.

“This is an injustice to our people.”

Clue: President Biden has signed a bill that makes lynching a federal hate crime

Flashback: Another Maui Hate Crime: Tourist Beaten by Four, Knocks out Two

read … Man spared additional jail time, placed on probation for assault

Rolling Blackout News: Big Island Energy Plant Runs out of Ammonia, Will be down for a long time

HNN: … Hawaiian Electric said Hamakua Energy Partners, the island’s largest independent power producer, is currently unavailable. HECO said it is unclear when Hamakua Energy will come back online. 

UPDATE: Back up and running Sept 2, 2022.

According to the Chair of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Leodoloff Asuncion, one of the factors include a shortage of ammonia.

Hamakua Energy Partners normally supplies 60 megawatts of powers….

(Hamakua Energy runs on naphtha, which is currently cheap and available, but ammonia is needed to reduce emissions.)

In addition to this disruption, Hawaiian Electric also said one of its plants, which normally supplies 14 megawatts, is undergoing annual maintenance.

Officials said wind resources are forecast to be low.

Hawaiian Electric said if residents and businesses can voluntarily conserve power from 5 p.m. to 9 pm, they might be able to avoid rolling 30-minute outages….

State Sen. Glenn Wakai, who is also the Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy Economic Development and Tourism said the situation was “totally preventable.”

He adds that the trouble on the Big Island comes as the AES coal-fired station shuts down in Kapolei threatening to raise electricity costs into the fall….

“We didn’t put more renewable projects online, that would have been the backup plan,” said Wakai. “But because we didn’t plan ahead, now we’re saying, oh, no ammonia, oh no coal, oh no oil.”

“Therefore, you the public have to suffer through blackouts, that to me is just totally unacceptable.”…

More than a dozen other renewable energy projects are in the works, but the head of Blue Planet Research, Paul Ponthieux said the state also needs to invest in energy storage.

(CLUE:  The State has been investing in energy storage.  It doesn’t work and never will.)

“It’s not just batteries, batteries aren’t going to be able to do it,” said Ponthieux. “It needs to incorporate hydrogen as well as batteries.”…

(CLUE: Hydrogen is refined from naphtha.  Blue Planet is laughing at you.)

Wikipedia: “petroleum naphtha is also used in the petrochemicals industry as feedstock to steam reformers and steam crackers for the production of hydrogen (which may be and is converted into ammonia for fertilizers),”

read … Frustrations grow as Hawaii Island customers asked to conserve power

Honolulu Police Department finalizing rules for issuing gun-carrying permits

SA: … Nearly 400 people have applied to carry a gun in public in Honolulu since the U.S. Supreme Court left it to the states to decide the rules, and police are close to finalizing a process for issuing permits, officers told the Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday.

A public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. on Oct. 4 in HPD’s first-floor conference room at its Alapai Street headquarters to gather input before amending the Rules of the Chief of Police to include the process and policies for issuing a license to carry a firearm in Honolulu. The permit applications eventually will be reviewed in the order they were received.

The proposed amendment to Chapter 15 of the Rules of the Chief of Police is on HPD’s website, Deputy Chief Rade Vanic told police commissioners Wednesday, and the public is encouraged to submit written testimony at HPDLTC@honolulu.gov….

read … Honolulu Police Department finalizing rules for issuing gun-carrying permits

Ex-HPD officer files suit after being ousted for ‘toxic’ extramarital affair with coworker

HNN: … A former Honolulu police officer alleges he was ousted from the HPD after he had a “consensual,” extramarital relationship with a female officer that went toxic.

But Honolulu Police Department disciplinary reports say that the woman was a subordinate and that the officer — Justin Castro — forced her to continue their relationship.

Castro’s suit alleged that his law enforcement career was wrecked after he tried to end the relationship with the woman and she retaliated.

“Like the Glenn Close character (in the movie) “Fatal Attraction,” she started sending the wife text messages, and videos and pictures about their affair,” said Castro’s attorney Rodney Bridgers….

SA: Honolulu police chief’s son mistakenly arrested, attorney argues

read … Ex-HPD officer files suit after being ousted for ‘toxic’ extramarital affair with coworker

Hawaii’s most understaffed hospital in dire need of more beds too

HNN: … For more than a year, the 166-bed facility hasn’t just been full — it’s been over capacity by as much as 30%.

That means there are days where staff has had to find extra space for as many as 50 people.

“It’s not fun for the patients,” said Tyler Sumner, Hilo Medical Center Emergency Room registered nurse. ”In the emergency room, it’s very common to see someone waiting six-plus hours.”

The once empty hallways are now crowded with gurneys. The sick are constantly shuffled around.

“Out of 28 (emergency room) beds, sometimes 24 (patients) are waiting for beds upstairs,” Sumner said. “So you’re playing with four rooms.”

That’s because it’s taking longer for patients to be discharged.

Officials say even though some are well enough to be released, staffing shortages at many of the island’s long-term care facilities means they have to stay put — until there’s a place for them to go….

Right now, nearly a quarter of the hospital’s 335 registered nurses are travelers who are flown in from the mainland. And even that’s not enough….  

HNN: Nurses plead for multi-million dollar hospital expansion project in Hilo

read … Hawaii’s most understaffed hospital in dire need of more beds too

Honolulu gears up to again crack down on illegal short term rentals

KITV: … Over the past four months, there were 111 short term rental violations issued...but only 5 this month.

Uchida expects that number to go up again in October, when a new law takes effect….

read … Honolulu gears up to again crack down on illegal short term rentals

First lawsuit by families over Red Hill tainted water accuses military of silencing doctors

HNN: … Four military families sickened by the Navy’s tainted water last year are now suing the U.S. government.

In this first lawsuit by military families, the lawsuit alleges medical negligence, failure to treat, delayed care, and emotional distress. It also accuses the military of silencing its frontline doctors….

SA: Military families sue federal government over Red Hill fuel leak

read … First lawsuit by families over Red Hill tainted water accuses military of silencing doctors

HOOSER: Cleaning the House, Senate — 6 proposals for systemic change

TGI: … Mail-in voting for the general election begins around Oct. 20, with votes counted on Nov. 8. The 2023 legislative session opens on Jan. 18. Subtract out major holidays – and you can see there are not a whole lot of days left to prepare for the session.

The issues and proposals around ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance reform will hopefully be at the top of the 2023 legislative agenda.

I’m cautiously optimistic that the recommendations due on Dec. 2 from the “Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct (CISC)” will include the strong specific legislative proposals needed to help clean up our government, disempower the lobbying class, and level the playing field for candidates.

The Commission was initiated and established by the state House of Representatives in response to a federal investigation that’s put two legislators in prison for accepting bribes….

read … HOOSER: Cleaning the House, Senate — 6 proposals for systemic change

After week of free bus fares, city hopeful for increased use of public transportation

HNN: …  Weekly ridership (derived from automated passenger counters) was up about 12% from the previous week and 25% from the same week last year.

Number of HOLO taps was up about 15% from the previous week and about 30% from the same week last year.

Cash revenue declined by $46,324 for the week, but that number is much less than the $182,000 that was estimated by DTS.

Some 36,205 HOLO cards were issued for in August (that number is usually about 14,000 per month).

There was a 20% increase in the number of “unique” HOLO cards used during August (taken from the number of cards that were used for one or more taps).

read …After week of free bus fares, city hopeful for increased use of public transportation

Election News: 

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