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Sunday, November 20, 2022
November 20, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:50 PM :: 3509 Views

Cleaning House at OHA

It's a perfect time to cut taxes

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted November 19, 2022

Miske Tip of Iceberg: The FBI Is Investigating One Of Its Own

CB: … As recently as September, federal prosecutors advised U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson, who is presiding over the Miske case, that the two warrants are part of a continuing investigation and requested the files remain sealed and publicly unavailable.

After conducting “a thorough line-by-line, document-by-document review,” Watson agreed, determined the two warrants “involve ongoing, pre-indictment criminal investigations,” and in an Oct. 20 order, directed the court files should remain under seal.

The initial search warrant, dated during 2019, authorized access to the digital contents associated with the investigator’s gmail account, and a second search warrant the following year was issued for the premises at a Honolulu street address that appears to be his residence…

The inventory list became public when it was later included among a dozen exhibits supporting a legal motion filed in court by Miske’s attorneys in early May.

The subject’s position with the FBI was not disclosed in that inventory list, but was part of his employment profile on LinkedIn.com, the online professional networking system. It showed he had been an “Investigative Specialist” with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a job category that “performs both fixed and mobile surveillance tasks” in anti-crime, counterterrorism, and counterintelligence operations, and the employee does not have to be an FBI agent to qualify for the job, according to a Department of Justice job description.

The listed FBI employment continued through 2019 and 2020, the time period during which the warrants were obtained and executed. The subject subsequently left the agency and is now employed elsewhere, according to the LinkedIn profile. There is no indication whether his change in employment was related to the search warrants….

Only two of the original 70 search warrant files remain sealed in their entirety.  And those are the two files relating to warrants in the investigation of the former FBI employee….

There’s no way of knowing how extensive this ongoing investigation is or what it might become, but in such operations, one thing can easily lead to another, eventually becoming something big.

For example, one such investigation began in 2004, with the discovery that an FBI data technician in the Honolulu organized crime and drug unit had accessed FBI computers in an attempt to warn her husband to stay away from friends who were part of a North Shore drug ring. Her husband passed the information to his friends and helped them stay ahead of law enforcement actions.

That investigation expanded with the discovery that several Honolulu police officers were protecting an illegal Waialua gambling business that offered dice and card games as well as cockfights.

A two-year federal investigation led to charges against more than 35 people, including the FBI technician and her husband, five Honolulu police officers, a Honolulu liquor commission inspector, and the head of security for Aloha Stadium, along with members of the drug gang and operators of the gambling business, according to news stories at the time.

In addition, thousands of pages of FBI wiretap transcripts were then handed over to HPD, leading to what was described as “a massive internal investigation” which resulted in disciplinary action taken against an unknown number of officers….

ILind: Warrants seek info on a former FBI employee in Miske investigation  

ILind: What an email account can reveal….  

ILind: Miske shakes up his legal defense

read … The Miske Files: The FBI Is Investigating One Of Its Own

Piñata: Lobbyists Sort Thru Hundreds of Applicants for Josh Green’s cabinet

SA: … Interviews are underway to select 15 cabinet members and their deputies for Gov.-elect Josh Green’s administration from “hundreds” of applicants, including current state and city officials, state legislators, business leaders and former mayors, according to a spokesperson for Green’s transition team.

None of the applicants have been identified….

The range of applicants include some existing cabinet members, as well as applicants with business backgrounds but no government experience….

Green will be inaugurated Dec. 5 and the goal is to enable him to assemble a cabinet so he can “be able to hit the ground running as much as possible,” Raethel said.

All of the cabinet and deputy positions have attracted “a good selection” of applicants, he said.

The state Department of Transportation has drawn a large pool of applications, he said, along with “a good number for the Department of Health.”…

As Explained: Josh Green transition committee ‘heavy with lobbyists and political consultants’

read … Selections underway for Josh Green’s cabinet

$20B COVID Money from the Sky: Ige Closes Out His Tenure With Record-Setting Surplus

CB: … New budget data the Ige administration distributed to investors in connection with a bond float early this month shows the state ended the last fiscal year on June 30 with a cash balance of nearly $2.62 billion, more than any previous budget surplus.

That happened on Ige’s watch, but the governor concedes that much of the credit for the sunny budget situation belongs to the federal government, which propped up the state government in at least two major ways.

The most obvious support was a huge direct subsidy through the American Rescue Plan Act, which provided $1.6 billion in a cash bailout last year to assist the Hawaii government during the pandemic. That injection of federal support put an end to the fraught, yearlong local debate over the possibility that the state might need to furlough state workers to help balance the budget.

The other critical support was the surge of federal money that was distributed to local residents and businesses after the pandemic hit in March 2020. That included generous federal unemployment benefits, stimulus checks sent to Hawaii families and Paycheck Protection Program loans to businesses that were forgiven and don’t need to be repaid.

That support was so effective at putting money in the hands of residents that inflation-adjusted personal income in Hawaii increased by 3.4% in 2020 and increased again by an estimated 2.6% in 2021, according to state data. That extra money fueled consumer spending that helped state tax collections to soar.

In all, the federal delegation reports federal support for Hawaii over the last two years totaled more than $20 billion, including enhanced unemployment benefits, the Paycheck Protection support for businesses and extra spending for social programs such as food aid and health care, Ige said….

Even the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a fiscally conservative group that has fretted over Hawaii’s budgets for years, acknowledged dramatic improvement in the state’s fiscal position. In fact, the group now argues the state is so flush that it is time for a tax cut….

read … Ige Closes Out His Tenure With A Record-Setting Surplus Of More Than $2.6 Billion  

Hawaii police union seeks 25% COVID-19 hazard pay differential--$36K per Officer

SA: … The union for police officers in Hawaii has filed four separate grievances challenging the denial of hazard pay amounting to a 25% pay differential for the peak years of the COVID-19 pandemic between March 2020 and March of this year.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers filed the grievances against Honolulu, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties.

For a starting metropolitan police officer in Honolulu who earns $71,656 a year, the temporary hazard pay would amount to $17,914 per year….

During the two-year period in question, 721 HPD officers were sidelined after either being infected with COVID-19 or forced to isolate because of exposure, or while experiencing symptoms.

There is one documented incident of an officer contracting the virus from a suspect who tested positive for COVID-19…. 

SA Editorial: Dial back demand for HPD hazard pay

read … Hawaii police union seeks 25% COVID-19 hazard pay differential

Kaua‘i Police Department issues open carry permit under new guidelines

TGI: … After they revised their permitting process in response to the landmark Supreme Court ruling in State of New York v. Bruen, the Kaua‘i Police Department has begun issuing new open carry permits.

Police Chief Todd Raybuck announced at a Police Commission meeting on Friday that the department had granted an open carry permit to Miles Tanabe, CEO of security contracting company Blue Knight Services and a retired KPD officer….

read … Kaua‘i Police Department issues open carry permit under new guidelines

Tulsi Gabbard reinvents again

Borreca: … If you look critically at Gabbard’s time since serving as the youngest elected Hawaii state legislator in 2002 to now being hired as conservative commentator, she has been a minor player in national politics. It has been a role with lots of air time stirring the pot, but with little in the way of accomplishments….As far as putting a name on Tulsi Gabbard’s brand of politics, it is impossible. There has been little coherence or steadfast principle to it….

read … Tulsi Gabbard reinvents again

Red Hill: Decades of Lawyering Ahead for Families

SA: … In two actions last week, Hawaii’s U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono rightly pressed those concerns:

>> On Tuesday, she and New York’s Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand shot a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin demanding information about the Department of Defense’s (DOD) support of people impacted by last year’s fuel-water contamination.

>> On Wednesday, as a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, she questioned Veterans Affairs leaders about plans to support and care for servicemembers impacted by the Red Hill fuel leaks as they transition out of active duty….

“Red Hill is one of the cohorts we are concerned with,” replied Dr. Patricia Hastings, VA’s chief consultant for Health Outcomes Military Exposures. “There is a registry of those people who were exposed that DOD has. This is a cohort that we will follow into the future and this will be decades of following up.”

Hastings noted that “this is not exactly a Camp Lejeune scenario, but we’re going to look at it in the same manner.”…

read … SA Editorial: Navy’s huge Red Hill mess far from resolved

City’s work to remove Haiku Stairs delayed

SA: … The fate of a long-closed metal staircase up a mountain ridge in Kaneohe that attracts trespassers to the spectacular, and at one time legally accessible, Stairway to Heaven hike remains uncertain more than a year after Mayor Rick Blangiardi and the Honolulu City Council committed to its removal.

A Blangiardi administration official said Thursday that a request for contractor bids to hoist away the 3,922-step Haiku Stairs in segments by helicopter should go out next spring, which begins March 20.

Previously, work was projected to begin by the end of this year….

read … City’s work to remove Haiku Stairs delayed

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