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Sunday, November 27, 2022
November 27, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:01 PM :: 1332 Views

No, Boosting the Affordable Housing Fund Isn’t the Answer

Let's restore reason to city planning

What would Happen if Hawaii Zoning Laws Were Abolished?

New Idea: Ask Hawaii Legislature to make Nepotism Illegal

CB: … The Ethics Commission is actively developing several specific legislative policy changes for consideration next year in the Hawaii Legislature. While none of these concepts will magically prevent all violations in the future, they cumulatively represent solid steps toward a more transparent system that reduces the potential for unethical conduct and helps restore public confidence in our democratic system.

For example, the Ethics Commission proposes to directly prohibit nepotism: expressly eliminating the ability for state employees to hire or supervise a spouse or family member. A bright-line approach to nepotism will help address a practice that, from a public perspective, reasonably appears unethical.

Another proposal is to increase transparency around legislators’ financial connections with lobbyists or businesses that hire lobbyists. Legislators are, by design, part-time employees.

Although the Ethics Code does not prohibit legislators from having outside employment, some legislators may work with, or be employed by, businesses that have a direct interest in legislation. The public has a right to know of these potential conflicts of interests, especially when a substantial amount of money is involved.

Further, when conflicts of interests exist, legislators should recuse themselves from discussing, deliberating, or voting on that issue. Many may remember a John Oliver skit blasting Hawaii legislators for finding “no conflict” in a vote over 10-cent fees for plastic checkout bags, when a legislator was a paid consultant for a plastic bag manufacturing association.

Another Ethics Commission proposal would make recusal a requirement when a financial conflict exists, or where a reasonable person would perceive a conflict….

read …  Public Corruption Directly Undermines Faith In Hawaii’s Government

New Idea: Actually Punish Game Room Operators and Building Owners

CB: … “They have increased in Waianae because it is a rural area and it’s in a poor Native Hawaiian minority area so it is easier to have them nestled into the Waianae coast,” Kahanamoku-Teruya said. “In Nanakuli we have a gambling house that we have been trying to shut down for 18 years. For 18 years the community had to get impacted by this gambling house on Hawaiian homelands and we don’t have enforcement. Why?”…

Alm wants to remove the financial incentive for commercial property owners to rent to gambling operators. He is pursuing a nuisance abatement complaint in Circuit Court against defendants KC Management LLC, Wai Tung Kowk and Tom Tran to prohibit them from leasing a building at 845 McCully St. after it was used for an illegal gambling operation. If successful, the building would be closed down for up to one year….

The prosecutor’s office said when the building was raided, police seized cash from the gambling operation. The attorney general subsequently found that there was probable cause to believe that illegal gambling was occurring on the premises and ordered that the proceeds be forfeited.

Following the raid, one defendant asked the court for a one-year deferral of her no contest plea, which the court granted, according to the prosecutor. The defendant met the conditions of the deferral and the case was dismissed in June of this year.

Alm said besides going after the profit motive for landlords, a bill passed by the Legislature this year and signed into law by Gov. David Ige in June will increase the criminal penalties for anyone working in illegal game rooms from a misdemeanor to a felony. He plans to use the harsher penalties as soon as police make new arrests of gambling room workers.

“It’s called promoting gambling. If it is in the first degree, that’s now a class B felony,” Alm said. “The people that are actually physically working it that day, it’s a class C felony. You can get probation and up to five years in prison and it’s not deferral eligible so it will be on your record forever.”…

For Pearl City resident Kirk Southcott these type of legal remedies will likely not come soon enough. Southcott is considering moving from the home he bought in January because the noise from an illegal gambling home right next door is unbearable.

“They are screaming, yelling, gambling every single night,” Southcott said. “We moved to Hawaii from Los Angeles, spent a million dollars on a house and we can’t leave our windows open at night at all.”…

read … Prosecutors Roll The Dice On New Enforcement Measures Targeting Illegal Gambling Rooms

50% of Women Released from Prison Are Back Within Three Years

SA: … For example, the lack of surveillance cameras at the women’s prison has been raised repeatedly, yet they have not been funded. The lack of cameras was highlighted in the recent lawsuit filed in federal court against the state involving the 53 sexual assaults at WCCC. The state did not deny that the assaults occurred, but was found not liable.

It is especially disheartening that Hawaii incarcerates more women as a percentage of its incarcerated population than any state in the nation. Native Hawaiian women are 44% of the female incarcerated population, yet make up only 19% of the general female population. The Native Hawaiian disparity is greater for women than for men.

Most of the women in prison today were convicted of nonviolent offenses, and nearly all of them have drug and alcohol problems.

Half of all women released from WCCC return to prison within three years. This 50% recidivism revolving door shows that the system is broken. We clearly need to focus on rehabilitative services and other assistance to help these women transition back into the community….

(REALITY: We need longer sentences.)

read … New governor must reform prisons system

Winning is winning, whether the voters show up or not

Shapiro: … >> Republicans gained two seats in the House thanks to voter rejection of Democratic Reps. Sharon Har and Matt LoPresti over alleged drunken driving incidents. The local GOP will drink to any success it can get.

>> State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim and Rep.-elect Micah Po‘okela Kim Aiu will become the first mother and son to serve together in the Hawaii Legislature. It’ll be a local sequel to “Game of Thrones,” fought with middle names.

>> In all, 16 of the 51 seats in the state House changed hands, the most in decades. Lobbyists will have to train a whole new generation to live in their pockets.

>> Outgoing Gov. David Ige said he won’t rule out a future run for office, and his wife, Dawn, hinted she might be a candidate one day herself. They just need time to detox from the narcotic that is power….

read … Winning is winning, whether the voters show up or not

How did Gov. Ige do? Three former gubernatorial rivals weigh in

Borreca: … “David Ige has managed what very few elected officials have, that is to be noncontroversial in a time where he not only faced many challenges but created them as well,” said Hanabusa ….

AP: Hawaii Gov. Ige looks back on coronavirus, tourism shutdown

read … How did Gov. Ige do? Three former gubernatorial rivals weigh in

Maui Lawsuit Seeks New County Council Election For Wailuku

CB: … A lawsuit filed Friday with the Hawaii Supreme Court by more than 30 Maui County voters, including a candidate for office, is asking for a new election for the Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu seat on the County Council, alleging that “irregularities and mistakes” meant that more than 800 voters weren’t given proper notice that their ballots weren’t being counted.

The Maui County Clerk deemed the return envelopes of 812 ballots that were received on Election Day “deficient” — meaning that the envelopes that the ballots go in had issues like missing signatures or signatures that didn’t match those on file, according to the lawsuit.

Under state law, voters then have up to five business days after the election to fix any of those issues so their ballots can be counted.

But in the aftermath of the Nov. 8 election, Maui County’s top election official didn’t mail notices telling voters of the signature issues until four days after the election, according to the lawsuit.

At the same time, one of the Maui County Council races was so close that the hundreds of uncounted ballots could have swayed the outcome, the lawsuit alleges. In the Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu race, in which longtime council member Alice Lee sought to defend her seat against challenger Noelani Ahia, election results show Lee led by 513 votes….  

SA: General election candidate sues to void race result

MN: Lawsuit seeks to void race results, hold new election

PDF: Complaint

read … Maui Lawsuit Seeks New County Council Election For Wailuku

They went toe to toe with the Navy on Red Hill. And they’re prepared to do it again

HNN: … That first day — Nov. 28, 2021 — there were 143 calls, which spiked to 400 calls per day.

“They were saying, you know, there’s a chemical odor in my water or I’m getting sick. I’m tasting something in my water,” said Liz Galvez, DOH on-site coordinator.

A jet fuel spill from underground storage tanks into a drinking water system had never happened before.

“There’s no historical models, We’re kind of working blind,” she said….

On Nov. 29, 2021, the state Health Department put out a “do not drink” advisory for those on the Pearl Harbor drinking water system….

read … They went toe to toe with the Navy on Red Hill. And they’re prepared to do it again

New York Times: Can Responsible Travel to Hawaii Be Fun?

NYT: …  When I told a friend that I planned to stay in an off-the-grid cabin on a farm in Hawaii, her response, a combination of confusion and intrigue, mirrored my general attitude toward camping and most outdoor activities: “You’re doing this voluntarily? Doesn’t Hawaii have literally hundreds of the most beautiful hotels and resorts?” ….

read … Can Responsible Travel to Hawaii Be Fun? We Gave It a Try.

Hawaii County Proposes TVR ‘vacation nodes’ in your neighborhood 

HTH: … It also paves the way for the creation of vacation nodes, where new short-term rentals could crop up in areas they’re currently banned….

Kierkieiwcz said almost 900 people signed up for the informational briefing on the online forum. A lot of people sent in comments and questions as well, she said….

read … Rental regulations: New rules — and fees — proposed for hosted and non-hosted transient rentals

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