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Wednesday, September 28, 2022
September 28, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:02 PM :: 1530 Views

Surprise: OHA secretly borrowed $2M to finance Tribal ‘Aha 

DOH issues $8.7 million fine, orders Navy to make critical repairs to Pearl Harbor wastewater treatment plan

Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico?

Rising Prices, Increasing Poverty, Slowing Job Growth: Hawaii’s Economy Faces Grim Times

CB: … When Oahu residents open their electric bills in October, they could be in for the latest in a long series of unpleasant surprises. The average bill is expected to be up 4%, or about $9 per household – following a yearlong rise that already has people complaining….

While the cost of electricity rose 34% in July compared to a year before, gasoline prices rose 36% compared with the same month a year ago, according to the most recent federal data released in August. Hawaii gas prices averaged $5.24 a gallon on Tuesday, AAA reported, compared with a national average of $3.75.

Those increases were in addition to double digit percentage increases in the price of groceries, which rose 11%….

“Due to current high oil costs, we also expect a temporary increase in customer rates when the AES coal plant retires,” Seu said. Most people will see the effects on their bills next month, the company said.

Overall, food and energy costs helped push the cost of living up nearly 7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for “Urban Hawaii,” which covers Honolulu….

read … Rising Prices, Increasing Poverty, Slowing Job Growth: Hawaii’s Economy Faces Grim Times

Hawaii state senators want to see draft bill before deciding on special session

SA: … State senators want to review draft legislation that would give prosecutors more options to charge major crimes before they decide whether to convene a special session of the Legislature, according to Senate leadership….

State Sen. Karl Rhoads, chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary has a draft bill he is working on with Rep. Mark Nakashima, chair of the House Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs.

The bill would bring back the process used before State v. Richard Obrero was decided and allowing two paths to charge the most serious crimes. If the bill passes both chambers and signed by the governor, prosecutors will be able to charge suspects through a hearing before a judge followed by a criminal complaint, or by taking the case to a grand jury for indictment…. 

read … Hawaii state senators want to see draft bill before deciding on special session

Ex-Hawaii Contractor Pleads Guilty To Making Illegal Donations To US Sen. Susan Collins

CB: … Former Hawaii defense contractor Martin Kao pleaded guilty to conspiracy and other charges Tuesday in federal court for funneling nearly $200,000 in illegal campaign contributions to political action committees supporting Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in her 2020 bid for reelection.

It was his second guilty plea this month.

The first came on Sept. 7 when he admitted to bilking the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program out of more than $12.8 million that was meant to go to small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the height of the coronavirus pandemic….

Kao, Lum Kee and Chen also each donated directly to Collins’ campaign, and are accused of giving money to family members to bolster their own contributions and “gain favor” with Collins, who is identified in court records only as “Candidate A.”…

A jury trial for Chen and Lum Kee is scheduled for April.

The criminal charges against Kao, Chen and Lum Kee follow a complaint that was filed with the Federal Election Commission by the Campaign Legal Center over the $150,000 made to the pro-Collins super PAC….

SA: Former Hawaii defense contractor pleads guilty

read … Ex-Hawaii Contractor Pleads Guilty To Making Illegal Donations To US Sen. Susan Collins

Taxpayers To Cover Legal Expenses For Honolulu Police Officers Involved In Makaha Crash

CB: … In its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law released at its Sept. 21 public hearing, the commission found that HPD officers Jake Bartolome and Erik Smith were acting within the scope of their employment when engaged in a high-speed pursuit that ended in the Makaha crash on Sept. 12, 2021.

“The Commission finds that Bartolome’s alleged actions of negligence and assault and battery upon plaintiffs as a result of a high-speed pursuit as alleged in the Complaint were, even if unlawful and regardless of motive or intent, incident to his performance of his duty as a police officer,” according to the document.

The commission also approved paying Smith’s legal expenses following a separate contested case hearing.

read … Taxpayers To Cover Legal Expenses For Honolulu Police Officers Involved In Makaha Crash

Hawaii Council to consider bill restricting carry of firearms in ‘sensitive places’

HTH: … A bill to restrict the carrying of concealed and unconcealed firearms in “sensitive places” in Hawaii County, including medical and government facilities, schools and parks, establishments that serve alcohol, as well as several other locations, is set to be considered by the County Council.

Bill 220, introduced Monday by Hilo Councilmember Aaron Chung, would amend Hawaii County Code to add an article relating to licenses to carry concealed and unconcealed firearms on the Big Island. Chung, reached Tuesday afternoon, said the bill was initiated at the behest of Paul Ferreira, who retired Sept. 1 as police chief….

read … Council to consider bill restricting carry of firearms in ‘sensitive places’

Shifting state lease terms frustrate Hilo business owner

HTH: … Shewmaker said the Land Division is seeking a cut of sublease rent generated from the property. The warehouses on the property are subleased to 11 sublessees, who pay rent to 69 Railroad LLC. Shewmaker said Land Division has proposed taking a cut of 30% to 40% of that sublease rent, in addition to the annual rent of the lease.

Shewmaker said that proposal is intolerable, particularly on top of the ballooning rent already owed to the state. In 2001, he said, rent on the lease was $49,000 a year. In 2006, it was $75,000; in 2016, it was $129,000; and in 2026, he said, it will be $192,000….

Kim told the board on Friday that the whole situation exhibits “extraordinary dysfunction” within the Land Division, and urged them to reject the changes. He added that Act 149 only allows term changes to a lease extension under certain circumstances that do not apply to the situation….

read … Shifting state lease terms frustrates Hilo business owner

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