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Thursday, December 1, 2022
December 1, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:06 PM :: 2156 Views

Hawaii Licensing Regs Burden Low-Income Occupations

CNHA: Josh Green will Give us Tourism Contract

Hawaii County Rules Make it Easy to Build Mansions

Environmental Harm and Blasting Hazards Surrounding The Paeahu Solar Project in Kihei

VIDEO: Mauna Loa Erupts, Flow Aims for Saddle Road

Lawsuit: TV News Reporter Coordinated Police Misconduct Story with Michael Green

CB: … Former Maui Police Department Officer Brandon Saffeels was sentenced to 10 years in prison earlier this month after pleading guilty to a federal charge of attempting to have sexual contact with a someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl. Meanwhile, Saffeels and his employer, Maui County, face a separate federal civil lawsuit from three women who say Saffeels used his power as an officer to try to coerce them into having sex with him.

But, in an unusual twist that raises questions about a journalist’s fundamental right to report the news without government interference, the County of Maui is seeking to subpoena testimony and records from a reporter who has covered the Saffeels case including the civil case.

Maui Corporation Counsel Moana Lutey and Deputy Corporation Counsels Keola Whittaker and Richelle Kawasaki have demanded Hawaii News Now’s chief investigative reporter Lynn Kawano appear for a deposition and turn over a variety of records related to the case….

The crux of the county’s argument, laid out in a Nov. 1 letter filed among court documents, is that Kawano crossed a line from being a reporter to “functioning as an advisor to plaintiffs.” Among other items being sought to show this: a purported “referral agreement” between Kawano and Honolulu trial lawyer Michael Green, who is representing the women in the case against the county and its disgraced former officer….

“It is clear that Ms. Kawano has not confined herself to news gathering, but has become an advisor to the plaintiffs,” the letter alleges. “In particular, Ms. Kawano appears to have advised plaintiffs that they may have legal claims, that they should hire a specific attorney with whom Ms. Kawano has a long-standing relationship (Mr. Green) and waited until Ms. Constantino hired Mr. Green before publishing her story on the news so that she could work with Mr. Green in forming the story.”…

Although Hawaii previously had a shield law to protect journalists from being forced to disclose things like confidential sources, the 2008 law expired in 2013 due to a sunset provision. An attempt to restore the law in 2015 stalled in the House. One point of contention has been whether non-traditional reporters such as independent bloggers should be protected.

The motion to quash relies primarily on the U.S. Constitution and federal rules of civil procedure to justify protecting Kawano from being hauled into a deposition and producing documents.

U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi set a hearing on the motion for Jan. 5….

CASE# 1:2021cv00056

PDF: Kawano Subpoena Motions

read … Maui County Alleges This TV News Reporter Crossed A Line In Covering A Case Of Police Misconduct

Robin Danner Money Grab Would Divert Funds Away from DHHL

CB: … Lawmakers are back in Washington this week for a lame-duck session that’s expected to see a flurry of activity as Democrats try to put the finishing touches on their top legislative priorities before ceding control of the House to Republicans in January.

Near the top of the list is an omnibus spending bill that would set agency funding levels for 2023 and help avoid a government shutdown.

While negotiations are ongoing, Schatz is hoping to use that legislation as a vehicle to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, which expired in 2013….

Bills to reauthorize NAHASDA have been introduced in every Congress since 2013 and have repeatedly failed….

DHHL began receiving NAHASDA money in 2002 after Congress passed legislation amending the original law to include Native Hawaiians. For more than a decade, DHHL received about $10 million a year through the program.

That stopped in 2016, however, after DHHL came under fire for not spending the money it had received.

According to Gomes, the agency had socked away nearly $70 million in a rainy day fund rather than spend the money on behalf of its beneficiaries….

Robin Danner, the Washington, D.C.-based chair of the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, said the Hawaii senator has included critical language in the bill that will expand a HUD loan program for low income beneficiaries.

Under current law, the loans are only allowed for properties located on DHHL land. But if NAHASDA is reauthorized it will allow those beneficiaries to obtain loans for property anywhere in the state, something that could drastically open up the housing market for those waiting for homesteads.

“If you want to address the housing crisis you have to flow capital like blood through a vein,” Danner said. “This would provide yet another vein of capital flowing through Hawaii’s economy to build and buy housing.”…

read … How The Fight For Tribal Rights In North Carolina Could Reshape Native Hawaiian Housing

A+ Program Enrollment Down 34%

CB: … After-school programs are one of the main ways the education system has set out to regain academic and social-emotional learning lost during the height of the pandemic, but despite more than $4 million in extra funding, the DOE is having a hard time reaching kids.

Kids in after-school programs do better on tests, are absent from school less, and get more socialization than many of their peers, but the number of kids reaping these benefits is much lower than it could be.

Last fall, there were 15,600 students enrolled in After School Plus, or A+, the department’s after-school program — now there are only 10,234, a drop of 34%.

read … After-School Programs Have More Funding But Staffing And Enrollment Remain Challenges

Ironman Kicked out of Hawaii

HNN: … The Ironman World Championships triathlon is slated to be a smaller event on Hawaii Island starting next year.

Officials announced Wednesday that the next VinFast Ironman World Championships will have duel hosts.

That means that on Oct. 14, 2023, the women’s race will return to Kona.

But the men’s race will be on a different date ― and in a different unspecified location outside of Hawaii.

The decision comes after the organization held their first two-day competition in Kailua-Kona this year, splitting the men’s and women’s races.

While some celebrated the change, others complained about the impact on businesses and residents….

read … After complaints, 2-day Ironman will be split between Hawaii and a second location

Navy officials still not sure what caused spill of toxic fire suppressant at Red Hill facility

HNN: … The military says it’s still trying to determine why over 1,100 gallons of highly toxic fire suppressant spilled at the Red Hill facility on Tuesday afternoon, triggering a large-scale cleanup effort.

Rear Admiral John Wade, commander of the Joint Task Force, said at a news conference Wednesday that the spill is “very concerning” and that he’s working to make sure a similar incident doesn’t happen again.

He added that the spill happened while the fire suppression system was undergoing preventative maintenance….

The spill happened about 1 p.m. Tuesday about one mile mauka of the Red Hill shaft, which was contaminated last year with fuel from the underground fuel facility.

Ernie Lau, chief engineer at the Board of Water Supply, said he was informed about the incident about 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Navy said they told the Health Department and the Navy, however, by about 2:30 p.m….

Regarding questions about containment, the Navy said there was “no active leaking” at 2 p.m….

CB: Navy Doesn’t Know When — Or How — Latest Red Hill Leak Started

KITV: Navy scrambling to remove toxic chemicals from soil outside Red Hill

read … Navy officials still not sure what caused spill of toxic fire suppressant at Red Hill facility

Stadium planning has gone into full retreat from who knows what to who knows where

CB: … Hawaii Political Time (HPT) is vaporous, surreal, opaque, ghostly and mysterious.

It’s abracadabra magical making, like getting us to cozy up to the idea that the less progress about the stadium, the greater the level of dream-state rhetoric there is about what’s supposed to happen.

“To dream the impossible dream.” The more the dream seems impossible, the louder HPT practitioners bellow out that song.

So, here we are. Stadium planning has gone into full retreat from who knows what to who knows where….

read … Will Our New Governor Be A Truth-Teller Or A Truth-Skater?

City hires contractor to evaluate, review Koko Head shooting range amid lead concerns--One More Obstacle to Concealed Carry

HNN: … The city is hiring mainland consultant for the Koko Head Shooting Complex, which is facing multiple investigations after nine city workers tested positive for elevated levels of lead.

The city and the Honolulu Police Department are issuing a $55,000 emergency contract to Kramer One — a Scottsdale, Ariz. architectural and planning firm specializing in firing ranges — to evaluate and review the range, which has been closed since September.

“We will do whatever subsequent physical improvements are needed and also we have retained (Kramer) to train our staff to better manage the area,” Laura Thielen, director of the city Parks Department, told the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board Tuesday night.

The city said the contractor will begin work next month and until then, the range will likely remain closed.

But gun enthusiasts said that’s too long.

“The demand right now is for conceal carry permits to take a firing test,” said Todd Yukutake, co-founder of the Hawaii Firearms Coalition.

“I estimate there is 300-plus people that need to take that firing test every week and most of that would be at Koko Head,” Yukutake added….

KHON: City hires consultant to address lead concerns and updates at Koko Head Shooting Complex

read … City hires contractor to evaluate, review Koko Head shooting range amid lead concerns

Hawaii’s only rainbow trout aquaponics farm is closing -- Wiped out by Rolling Blackout

HNN: … “We were way behind on electricity and rent because of the pandemic. We got almost no support at all.”

Dobovan said they lost all their fish following an island-wide power outage last August.

“We had no income for a couple of months,” Dobovan recalled. “And at that point, the landlord terminated our lease.”

Dobovan’s farm is the first and only one of its kind in the state.

“We have a special permit from the state of Hawaii to import rainbow trout eggs, and we bring in about 2,000 eggs a month, hatch them in our hatchery and grow them out over the course of about 11 months to one-pound rainbow trout,” Dobovan said…..

read … Hawaii’s only rainbow trout aquaponics farm is closing due to financial woes

Gay Marriage Invented in Hawaii, 1993--First Time in History of Human Race

CB: … When Baehr v. Lewin was filed in 1991 in Hawaii, same-sex marriage was considered an oxymoron….

Then on May 5, 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court issued a decision that said the three same-sex couples had the constitutional right to marry unless the state of Hawaii could demonstrate a compelling state interest in denying the marriage licenses.

There was shock in Hawaii and across the nation. People asked — how can that be, same-sex couples can’t marry, marriage is between a man and a woman?

I remember a CNN reporter flying to Hawaii a few days after the decision was issued, sitting in front of me at my office and asking, “Is this really happening, am I missing something, aren’t you concerned about a backlash?”…

read … Reflections On The Respect For Marriage Act

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