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Sunday, December 4, 2022
December 4, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:45 PM :: 3469 Views

Want to Fight Corruption?  Follow the Money

Ridicule, Violent Opposition, Acceptance: OHA and DLNR

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted December 3, 2022

Licensing laws a license to hold back workers

How Secure Are Hawaii Public Pensions?

Mauna Loa eruption live cam from USGS

Secret Emails Show HTA Bid Rigging Conspiracy Sidestepped Board

SA: … Ronald D. Rodriguez, former HTA procurement officer/senior contract specialist, sent emails in December 2021… Hawaii Tourism Authority staff may have violated state procurement law during solicitation for the U.S. tourism contract, typically worth more than $100 million over a five-year period, according to information found in approximately 2,700 pages of public records provided to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser by HTA and other sources….

“What happened at the oral presentations went well beyond access to the proposals (I consider presentations to be part of the proposal),” said Rodriguez, whose role was to run HTA procurement and not act as their attorney. “Outside influences—Ilihia (Gionson), Iwalani (Kualii Kahoohanohano) , and even you, John (De Fries) — were allowed in the evaluation room, and were allowed to provide their opinions without the gravity and responsibility that comes with being on the actual committee. I think that was a mistake.”

Rodriguez sent another email to the four on Dec. 5, 2021, ‘I have spoken with someone, another attorney, in confidence and they confirmed what I was afraid of: If word were to get out that there were people in the evaluation room, who were not on the committee, and that those people not on the committee were providing their opinions, or worse, influence, regarding that contractor choice … that could result in a valid protest of a procurement violation and we would lose.”

Rodriguez tells the group that he will need to preface the next evaluation meeting to “counter this narrative.”…

Another email from Rodriguez dated Dec. 13, 2021, discusses the possibility that insider information was shared with CNHA before its request for a debriefing, one of the first steps in a protest process. Rodriguez sent that email to Ka‘ana‘ana, De Fries, HTA Chief Administrative Officer Keith Regan, and HTA brand manager for North America Laci Goshi. Goshi resigned from HTA as of May 20 and Regan as of Aug. 3….

Rodriguez, who was part of the contracts and procurement team that was awarded 2020 DBEDT Team of the Year, resigned on Dec. 6, 2021, to become a state deputy attorney general for the education division. His last day at HTA was on Dec. 31, 2021….

Public records show that another irregularity also came up during the debriefing when CNHA was improperly given HVCB’s competitive proposal.

Bonnie Kahakui, acting administrator of the state Procurement Office, wrote in a Jan. 4 email to state Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism director Mike McCartney that, “CNHA was provided information in a debriefing that should have been withheld (copy of HVCB proposal. Hopefully, HTA redacted any confidential/proprietary information.)”

Kahakui advises McCartney to honor, in the interest of fairness, HVCB’s request for CNHA’s protest letter and proposal. However, HVCB did not receive the public records until after the protest period for that solicitation had passed….

Sen. Glenn Wakai, (D, Kalihi-­Salt Lake-Aliamanu), who serves on the Ways and Means committee, said the procurement issues that are surfacing are not the fault of the HTA board, who were kept in the dark. However, he said they “need to put their foot down and get way more active about what’s going on down there.”

The Star-Advertiser shared Rodriguez’s emails with former HTA board member Kyoko Kimura, whose term ended in the summer. Kimura expressed concern that the board was not informed about Rodriguez’s emails or his procurement concerns.

“At least the current board should look at these violations if they existed,” she said. “It should be the board’s responsibility. If they violated state procurement, the public should be informed.”

David Arakawa, speaking to the Star-Advertiser as an HTA board member and not in his capacity as an evaluation committee member for the U.S. tourism contract, said he had not seen Rodriguez’s emails. After the Star-Advertiser read them to him, he said that they should have been brought to the HTA board at least in executive session….

read … Hawaii Tourism Authority emails show contract process concerns

Miske’s threat: “I have guys who will make it nasty for you”

ILind: …  I remember an encounter I had with Buntenbah back in 2012. My company was doing work on the property directly next to Miske’s property on Lumahai. Buntenbah was a laborer, along with four or five other guys and they were clearing trees from the Miske property.

The problem started when the started cutting down trees on my customer’s property. We immediately asked them to stop and they did. But the very next day the same guys, including Buntenbah, were over on my customer’s property cutting more trees down and trimming some. They refused to stop, words were exchanged and then one of them must have called Miske because he showed up soon after.

Miske came over and started lipping, threatened to burn down his neighbor’s construction site and said he was going to “hurt” me and I “need to watch my back”. Miske said we disrespected his guys by telling them they can’t cut down trees on ther peoples property.

Miske is a pure narcissistic lunatic but I still can’t decide is Buntenbah is deaf or stupid….

read … Miske’s threat: “I have guys who will make it nasty for you”

Union Boss Buys up Waianae Ag Land, Cuts Water, Sics DPP on Tenant Farmers

SA: … Matthew Reyes has run his once-thriving piggery for the past 22 years on a 1-3/4-acre leased portion of a 5-acre Maili property. But he claims that shortly after (building trades union boss) Peter Iriarte purchased the property on Sept. 14, 2021, the water line to the piggery was cut — causing more than 100 pigs to die.

“He’s trying to squeeze me out,” Reyes said of Iriarte’s efforts, citing alleged harassment and intimidation, eviction letters from attorneys claiming his lease is invalid, and accusations of violating city permitting rules…

(CLUE: Building Trades + Waianae Ag Land = Future Illegal Dumping Site).

Iriarte filed a complaint Aug. 4 in Waianae District Court to have Reyes evicted on the grounds that the lease was invalid because it constituted a subdivision of the property. The district judge found Reyes’ lease with the previous landowner still valid through 2024 and ordered Iriarte to turn the water back on.

But Iriarte rerouted the water line 200 feet away from the piggery and replaced the 1-1/2-inch pipe he cut in several places with a 1/2-inch diameter pipe that Reyes said resulted in a lack of water pressure needed to hose down the pens and water the animals in a timely fashion….

Eleven days after Iriarte took over the property, Reyes said a longtime vegetable farmer on a month-to-month lease wrote him saying he was leaving after Iriarte told him he would have to relocate his water line….

Iriarte is principal officer of the Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons, Local 630, and used well-known union lawyer Randal Yo­shida to write letters and negotiate with Reyes’ lawyer. Yo­shida told the Star-Advertiser he works for a trust fund affiliated with the Local 630, but declined to identify it or to divulge whether Iriarte actually hired him…

(Really Obvious Question: Is the lawyer being illegally paid with union funds?)

Iriarte alleges in court documents that the city Department of Planning and Permitting has found Reyes’ piggery operation resulted in two violations.

DPP’s spokesman said the agency has two open notices of violation associated with the property, both issued this year. One was for constructing a wooden structure without a building permit. The other was for grading work without a permit.

“Both NOVs were referred for issuance of a notice of order and assessment of fines,” DPP spokesman Curtis Lum said. “Neither (notice of order) has been issued to date.”

The notices list Reyes as the violator and were dated May 13 (structure), and July 11 (grading). Reyes said neither the grading nor the building of 12-foot by 16-foot structure were done by him….

(Translation: Union Boss sics DPP on tenant.  Was DPP bribed or is this just part of the ‘system’)

read … Waianae Coast pig farmer fights for livelihood against landlord

Ige Leaves a Big Pile of Money for Josh Green to Burn

Shapiro: … Ige prided himself more than anything on fiscal conservatism, which in practical terms amounted to hoarding cash and leaving spending initiatives to the Legislature.

Thanks mostly to massive federal pandemic aid, he leaves office with a record $2.6 billion budget surplus. He replenished the state’s $1 billion rainy day fund and shored up the trust fund for state worker health care benefits.

He can fairly claim he’s left the state’s books in excellent order, but there’s a lost-opportunity cost in letting cash pile up instead of using it to give long-suffering residents more relief from chronic homelessness, lack of affordable housing, poor health care access and a crushing cost of living.

It’s why he leaves behind little tangible progress in actually achieving the big aspirational goals he set on affordable housing, clean energy and economic growth.

The large surplus does give Ige’s successor, the more aggressive Gov.-elect Josh Green, a running start in fulfilling his own promises to address those issues….

read … With David Ige, what we saw was usually what we got

New Hawaii County Council Wants to Spend Lots of Money

HTH: … There’s a new day coming for the Hawaii County Council, with a freshly minted chairwoman, three freshman members, newly named committees and a more progressive agenda.

Chairwoman-elect Heather Kimball, soon to be a second-term council member from Hamakua, will lead a council with freshmen replacing three more conservative members who — often unsuccessfully — pushed for more limited spending, greater tax savings and less government control. The new council is expected to focus more on social justice and environmental issues ….

read … More progressive County Council to be sworn in Monday

‘Last straw’: BWS chief engineer Ernie Lau joins water advocates in Red Hill protest

HNN: … Lau told Hawaii News Now his appearance at today’s Red Hill Protest is just the beginning.

On Dec. 10, he plans to lead a march to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command outside Joint Base Pearl Harbor…. 

SA Editorial: Red Hill needs better safeguards

read … ‘Last straw’: BWS chief engineer Ernie Lau joins water advocates in Red Hill protest



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