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Friday, October 7, 2022
October 7, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:48 PM :: 2081 Views

Federal Court Ruling: Sen. Karl Rhoads participated in Honolulu County Council Kickback scheme

How Social Emotional Learning is used thru Hawai'i DOE

Petition aims to exempt medical costs from Hawaii's general excise tax

DoH Approves First Phase of Red Hill Defueling Plan

Rhoads Planning to Make Indictment Process Even Worse--Many Criminals will go free for Years to Come

HNN: … The draft bill, authored by state Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Karl Rhoads would limit prosecutors to one or the other. “You can’t go to both places. If the grand jury rejects you that’s it. If the judge rejects you, that’s it,” Rhoads said. “You can’t switch back over or go for a different grand jury.”

(CLUE: This is worse than the Obrero decision.)

There is an exception being discussed if new or additional evidence is presented. That is still being worked out.

(Translation: As written right now, Rhoads’ bill would block a second try at an indictment even if new evidence is presented.)

Hundreds of pending violent crime cases have been affected by the Supreme Court ruling….

(IDEA: Oppose the Special Session.  It is clear that Senators’ only agenda is to help their fellow criminals by making it even more difficult to charge felonies.)

PDF: Obrero Draft Amend 801-1-092922

2010: Federal Court Ruling: Sen. Karl Rhoads participated in Honolulu County Council Kickback scheme

MN: After 33 Convictions criminal finally gets a prison sentence

read … To address court ruling’s fallout, senators review changes to how felonies are charged

80 Homeless Drug Addicts Removed from Waikiki

HNN: … For years, vagrants would camp out at all hours at Pavilion 4 on Kalakaua Avenue near the Kapahulu Groin in Waikiki.

But today, they’re no longer there.

And some see that as a sign that the city’s “Safe and Sound” initiative is starting to have an impact by sending the message that illegal activity in Waikiki has greater consequences.

“It’s a babysitting service for troublemaking adults with nobody held accountable — until now,” said Waikiki resident and former journalist John Deutzman.

He credits the initiative, which in habitual criminal offenders can be ordered to stay out of Waikiki for six months to year and can be arrested on sight if they don’t.

The city prosecutor’s office said five offenders have already been banned so far from Waikiki.

And Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan said the program has resulted in at least 80 arrests….

Ohua Avenue, next to St. Augustine By The Sea Catholic Church, could be part of the effort. Beachgoers say campers (bums) there see the church area as a sanctuary, especially since the church feeds them….

Akona said his church won’t stop feeding the homeless, but he acknowledges that after handing out free lunches, the needy have changed.

“A little bit more assertive. A little bit more vocal, you know. And want things now,” he said.

Early Wednesday morning, police swept the area. Even during the day, they kept people from loitering.

read … Collaborative effort to address crime in Waikiki is making an impact, residents say

Hawaii’s poverty rate increased with pandemic relief funds--so we’ve redefined poverty to make it look like a decrease

SA: … While the decades-old official poverty metric ticked up slightly last year, another more modern metric that factors in Hawaii’s high cost of living and federal benefits shows poverty decreased.

Hawaii’s official poverty rate — based on income — increased from 9.4% in 2019 to 10.1% in 2021.

(Ooops!)

Meanwhile, the supplemental poverty measure (Never heard of it before?  Click here.) — based on three-year averages that fold in an accounting of federal stimulus checks, subsidized housing and food stamps — decreased from 13.4% in 2017-19 to 10.5% in 2019-21, according to Census Bureau data.

(Here comes the sales pitch….)

What the official poverty rate “is really doing is tracking this idea of what it took to not be poor in the ’60s and adjusting for inflation,” said Shawn Fremstad, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., who focuses on poverty. In a time when federal relief money was flowing, measuring poverty by income alone paints an incomplete portrait of Hawaii’s status.

(IQ Test: Are you laughing?)

Through the CARES Act, Hawaii received $121 million to support expanded access to food stamps and $28.3 million to increase funding for child nutrition programs, according to data from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The three rounds of federal stimulus checks brought Hawaii households more than $3.5 billion, the data shows. The American Rescue Plan’s Child Tax Credit Expansion provided Hawaii families with almost $400 million.

Renters in Hawaii received more than $200 million in assistance, and homeowners took in $50 million, the data shows. People in Hawaii who were homeless or had unstable housing received $17.5 million in emergency housing vouchers, the data shows….

HiBudget Version of this Scam: ‘Census data show importance of government relief in mitigating pandemic-related increases in poverty’

read … Hawaii’s poverty rate declined with help of pandemic relief funds

Honolulu City Council reappoints construction lobbyist to planning commission

SA: …The Honolulu City Council confirmed a construction industry lobbyist to the Honolulu Planning Commission on Wednesday, despite concerns over his reappointment.

The confirmation comes as voters soon will decide a city charter amendment that would diversify the planning commission’s development-dominated ranks.

Pane Meatoga III, a registered lobbyist with the Hawaii Operating Engineers Industry Stabilization Fund representing the building industry, had previously served on the commission and was reappointed by Honolulu Mayor Rick Blan­giardi on Aug. 18.

read … Honolulu City Council appoints building lobbyist to planning commission

After 29 Years, City Council advances bill to activate preservation panel

SA: … The Honolulu City Council advanced a measure Wednesday that would activate the Historic Preservation Commission, which has remained dormant for the past 29 years.

While the Council approved the creation of the commission in 1993, it has not been staffed and commissioner posts have not been filled.

Honolulu, the only county in the state that does not have a functioning commission of this type, largely relies on the Department of Planning and Permitting as well as Hawaii’s State Historic Preservation Division to review projects with the aim of ensuring that development does not result in the destruction of historic sites such as Hawaiian heiau or iwi kupuna….

There have been some …uh… ‘communication glitches’ involving DPP, a city department, and SHPD, which is housed within a state department. For example, in 2018 iwi kupuna was found during construction on an Aina Haina hillside. DPP granted permits to a developer despite having being told by SHPD over a decade earlier that no permits should be issued for the property without an archaeological study. DPP had (been paid off to) reportedly misplaced SHPD’s letter calling for a study….

the Building Industry Association of Hawaii submitted testimony voicing concerns and requesting deletion of a section of the bill that requires the commission to review all proposed projects that impact the significance or integrity of historic properties, including those identified in the Oahu historic property system. The association maintained that this step was already being conducted by SHPD….

read … City Council advances bill to activate preservation panel

Hawaii County Government cost commission mulls powerful county manager

HTH: … An ambitious proposal creating a powerful county executive has gained some traction in the Cost of Government Commission, but commissioners decided Thursday to refine the measure before taking a formal vote next week.

The proposal would create a county executive position hired and overseen by the County Council who would in turn create county departments and hire and supervise department heads to run them. Dubbed the managing director, this executive would also prepare the administrative budget and perform other functions as authorized by the County Council…

Commissioner Ken Obenski was the staunchest opponent of the plan.

“There is no evidence presented, none, that it will in any way reduce cost of government. It would make the mayor and his office redundant. This proposal instantly creates a new layer of bureaucracy and cost,” Obenski said. “Either this or the present system can work or be corrupted depending on the character of those with power. County government does a tremendous job, with a small town size budget, state size responsibility and continent size variation.” ….

read … Government cost commission mulls powerful county manager

Eco Lawyers Grift for Money with Climate Change Lawsuit Against HIDOT

IM; … Hawaii youth filed a climate lawsuit against the Hawaii Department of Transportation on June 1, 2022. The youth are represented by EarthJustice attorneys Isaac Moriwake and Leinā‘ala Ley, and Our Children`s Trust attorneys Andrea Rodgers and Kimberly Willis  The following are excerpts from court documents….

read … Hawai`i Youth File Climate Lawsuit Against Hawai`i Department of Transportation

A question on the multimillion dollar Miske home

ILind: … What is the forfeiture status of the Lumahai St/Portlock home? I assume stagnant until the trial is over? Wonder how much equity, if any, is in it?…

Miske purchased the property in April 2010 for $2.35 million, real estate records show. The purchase was partly funded by a $1,175,000 mortgage loan from Pacific Rim Bank.

A new $1,999,999 conventional mortgage loan from Bank of Hawaii was recorded on March 14, 2018. This appears to be in addition to the earlier Pacific Rim loan, as no release has been recorded to show it was paid off.

A building permit for a new home was issued in 2012, and closed on August 30, 2017. Value of the work was put at $2 million.

A building permit for a new pool deck was issued in April 2015 and marked completed in December 2017. It had an accepted value of $35,000.

A permit for installation of a solar system was issued in May 2016 and the work was completed by the end of that year. Value on the permit was $201,756.

A permit for upgrading electricity service from 200 to 600 amps was issued in June 2016, with work done in December. Value given as $20,000.

And the last permit issued was for an alteration or addition to the home with an accepted value of $135,000. That permit was issued in August 2017, and the permit was closed out on December 28, 2017.

The home is currently appraised for real property tax purposes at $6,068,100.

If Miske is convicted, the government will move to seize the home and all of his equity in the property.

So far, it would appear mortgage payments are being made, as no foreclosure actions have been filed….  

ILind: Two Years of Reporting on the Miske Case

read … A question on the multimillion dollar Miske home

Hawaii marijuana pardons eyed following Biden’s landmark federal announcement

HNN: … Retired federal public defender Alexander Silvert says in his 30 years of practicing law in Hawaii, he only saw about 20-30 federal possession cases….

Ige has not indicated what action he’ll take.

His office released this statement:

“The governor supports measures that align state and federal laws on this issue and is reviewing the president’s request to determine whether it is consistent with state law and in the best interests of the people of Hawaii.”

City Prosecutor Steve Alm says that while the decision to pardon rests with the governor, he is willing to work with him to determine whether the pardons impact public safety….

CB: President Biden announced Thursday that he will pardon people convicted of some federal marijuana crimes and has asked that all states follow his lead.

KITV: State leaders to weigh effects of decriminalizing marijuana on public safety

read … Hawaii marijuana pardons eyed following Biden’s landmark federal announcement

Hawaii Public School Teachers To See Long-Awaited Pay Raises In November

CB: … 9,196 teachers, about 72% of the workforce, affected have been waiting to see raises on their paychecks since July, when Gov. David Ige signed a bill allocating the money for the correction. The salary increase will be up to $18,056 a year for the state’s most experienced teachers. …

On Thursday, the Board of Education approved a plan to pay them the money ….

read … Hawaii Public School Teachers To See Long-Awaited Pay Raises In November

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