Disgraced Bitcoin Billionaire Sent Thousands to Hawaii Democrats
Army Investigating Gay Bondage Pics Taken on Hawaii Base
2023 Real Property Assessments up 12.4%
$300 Rebate Checks From Hawaii: You Can Still Claim It
Anderson: DHHL $600M Could Bail out Hoopili, Koa Ridge
HNN: … Anderson said he and the governor are already brainstorming ways to quickly build new, acquire old, and even buy into developing housing projects.
“We’re looking at the possibility of Koa Ridge, we’re looking at the possibility of Hoopili, and even talking to some of these developers,” he said ….
(CLUE: This would bail out developers against falling home prices. It would also guarantee that DHHL does not add more units to the next stockpile islandwide--thus avoiding a negative impact on the supply-demand equation. This will help keep housing expensive on Oahu.)
read … Governor appoints political ally to find more homesteads for Native Hawaiians
More HTA Irregularities Uncovered
SA: … procurement irregularities continue to surface. During the latest WAM briefing:
>> HTA staff revealed that they had extended HVCB contracts during the protest period without a board vote, which is required for any piece of business worth more than $250,000.
>> Sen. Glenn Wakai (D, Kalihi-Salt Lake-Aliamanu) noted that three questions were removed from a boilerplate offeror’s qualifying form between the first request for proposals and the second. HTA staff were unable to provide Wakai with an immediate answer when he asked who had removed the questions, which pertained to failing to complete work on a state contract.
>> Wakai also questioned why HTA allowed the Kilohana Collective, CNHA’s tourism arm, to serve as paid sponsor of a reception held during HTA’s annual conference, held last week.
“None of you on staff thought it would be improper to ask a potential contractor embroiled in this back and forth to pay for your tourism conference reception,” Wakai said before advising HTA to return Kilohana’s money.
De Fries told the Star-Advertiser on Tuesday that Kilohana had committed to a $3,000 sponsorship. “They did not transmit any payment, and we informed them not to,” he said.
The new HTA allegations follow a Dec. 4 Star-Advertiser story, 808ne.ws/HTAemails, that detailed possible interference from HTA staff during the evaluation committee’s decision-making process, and possible leaks before a procurement debriefing.
Senators at the Monday briefing directed Bonnie Kahakui, acting administrator of the state Procurement Office, to provide suggestions to improve the state procurement law. Dela Cruz said the goal is for Kahakui’s suggestions to lead to a bill to be weighed during the 2023 legislative session that strengthens the procurement law and holds people more accountable….
SA Off The News: HTA embroiled in contract dispute
Related: Hawaii Tourism Marketing Chief Asks for Exemption from Procurement Laws
read … Tourism contract snags prompt call for reform
Kaua‘i in-person voting went Republican
TGI: … If you only counted in-person voting, the midterm election would have been a red tsunami for Kaua‘i Republicans.
Democratic candidates soundly defeated Republican challengers on Kaua‘i in November, retaining all four seats in the state Legislature and significantly outperforming opponents in races for governor, U.S. senator and U.S. representative.
But precinct-level election results show that Republican candidates’ in-person vote totals were often dramatically better than their opponents across the aisle.
In the governor’s race, for example, Democrat Josh Green won the island with 57 percent of the overall vote. But he only received 373 in-person votes (26 percent), to Republican Duke Aiona’s 1,034 (73 percent). In the Kaua‘i state Senate race, incumbent Democrat Ron Kouchi received 65 percent of the vote to Republican Ana Mo Des’s 21 percent — but Mo Des took home 62 percent of the in-person vote to Kouchi’s 38 percent.
A scan of results shows that this trend held in state representative and federal races. Since far more voters cast ballots by mail, however (23,466 to 1,442), this was never enough to significantly affect the result of these races….
(TRANSLATION: It is easy to suppress Republican voting by making election day lines long.)
The trend did not exist at all on island in 2018, likely showing how much Trump’s message resonated.
This message has been frequently pushed by For Our Rights, an anti-vaccine, anti-mandate nonprofit based in Kapa‘a.
“Voting IN PERSON is one big step in helping to reduce malfeasance!” reads one For Our Rights newsletter sent this July.
(TRANSLATION: Conspiracy theories make Republicans weak, not strong.)
read … Kaua‘i in-person voting went Republican
Police Commission grills chief candidate Bird over hotel stay paid for by Ironman
HTH: … Hawaii Police Department Maj. Sherry Bird was grilled Tuesday morning by the county’s Police Commission over a five-night stay in a Kona hotel paid for by the Ironman Triathlon.
Bird, one of four finalists to succeed Paul Ferreira, who retired as HPD chief on Aug. 31, was informed by Commissioner Denby Toci that the commission was in possession of a receipt from Marriott for $1,953 for a room paid for by the triathlon organization during the 2022 Ironman, which was held in early October in West Hawaii.
“Have you filed a gift disclosure with the Board of Ethics yet?” Toci asked today during a special meeting of the commission in Kona.
Bird replied that she didn’t do a gift disclosure, saying she didn’t believe it was a gift because she was working as incident commander.
“Does receiving a comped room violate HPD’s General Order 300? If yes, why did you take the room? If no, why do you not think it violated the general order?”
Bird, who lives in Kona, said she needed to be there and used the room only to go to the bathroom and catch a couple of hours of sleep. She said the room didn’t influence her.
General Order 300 states: “Personnel shall not accept directly or indirectly any gifts, gratuities, loans, fees, rewards, or any other things of value arising from or offered because of police employment or activities connected with said employment.”
According to Deputy Corporation Counsel Cody Frenz, the commission also was in receipt of a bill from Marriott for a room for Capt. Thomas Shopay, the commander of the Area II Criminal Investigation Division in Kona, but Shopay’s name wasn’t brought up during the commission meeting….
HNN: John Bertsch, Executive Director of Safety and Security for IRONMAN Group, announced Monday that he was recusing himself from the rest of the chief selection process. Bertsch said it was because of his professional relationship with Bird and another finalist for chief, Edward Ignacio — a retired FBI agent and former police officer….
HTH: ‘They know better’: Finalist for police chief criticized for accepting free hotel stay worth $1,953
CB: Hawaii Police Officers Say They Want Their Next Chief To Make Training A Priority
read … Police Commission grills chief candidate Bird over hotel stay paid for by Ironman
Jury awards $75,000 to former county prosecutor
MN: … A federal jury last week awarded former Maui County Prosecutor Donald Guzman $75,000, far less than the approximately $600,000 he had asked for in a lawsuit filed against the county and others over his public termination back in 2020….
On Dec. 7, the federal jury on Oahu found that because of a “lack of procedural due process,” Guzman suffered “mental or emotional distress,” and awarded him $75,000, according to the special verdict form.
The jury also found that even if procedural due process was followed, Guzman would have still been terminated….
But because the jury found the defendants would have terminated Guzman with or without due process, Guzman was not awarded his remaining lost pay and benefits, Amaguin said.
In a statement last week, Victorino said Guzman had asked for $400,000 in back pay and future earnings plus $200,000 for emotional distress.
Victorino said that the council unanimously voted to support his decision to terminate Guzman and that “his removal was done in accordance with the process required by the Maui County Charter and state law.”…
SA: County ordered to pay ex-Maui prosecutor $75K
read … Jury awards $75,000 to former county prosecutor
Fire Sprinkler Retrofits Gain Traction As Building Owners Eye Rising Insurance Costs
CB: … managers in at least 10 older high-rise buildings in the city are pushing ahead to install fire sprinklers for the first time, according to city records and interviews with condominium associations.
Most building owners in Honolulu are trying to find ways around city safety laws imposed in 2018 that prioritized fire sprinklers. About 93% — 281 buildings of 302 that are 75 feet or taller — have failed a city-mandated safety evaluation but are resisting sprinkler installations as too costly.
But a growing number have decided to take on the expense because they want to protect their residents in case of fire….
Fire safety engineer Jordan Holley, fire sprinkler division manager with Dorvin D. Leis, a company that retrofits sprinklers, said more building owners are considering it now because insurance costs are rising for buildings that don’t have sprinklers.
“It’s gaining traction again,” he said….
read … Fire Sprinkler Retrofits Gain Traction As Building Owners Eye Rising Insurance Costs
Honolulu ambulance provider overwhelmed by surge in Homeless non-emergency calls
KITV: … Honolulu Emergency Medical Services is once again struggling to keep up with a surge in emergency calls. Over the past four days, EMS closed 39 ambulance shifts — due staffing shortages.
"This weekend was bad and it's probably the worst it's been in a year," said Dr. Jim Ireland, director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department.
Emergency calls jumped to 350 a day from about 250 earlier in the year. Besides COVID, the flu and other viruses, EMS is responding to accidents, heart attacks and many non-emergencies from a growing homeless population.
That means longer wait times for patients desperate for help in emergencies.
"We had one ambulance over the weekend. They ran 22 calls in over 12 hours and that's really unheard of," he said. "It's taxing and it's not sustainable to run that many calls on a shift."
EMS says many employees are simply exhausted by the volume of calls. And more personnel are leaving the profession for better paying jobs. Honolulu's emergency medical technicians earn between $52,000 and $67,000 a year….
KHON: Honolulu EMS facing ambulance closures as staffing spreads thin
read … Honolulu ambulance provider overwhelmed by surge in emergency calls
Shopping cart theft may cost you more at the grocery store
KHON: … Baldovi is the cart guy in Kaneohe. For more than a year, he’s made it his mission to return shopping carts to their rightful place.
To date, he’s returned more than 500 carts. He said it all started along Alaloa street behind Windward Mall in August 2021.
“I was walking, and there was this row of shopping carts, like, two lanes, and it’s, like, this cannot be like this,” Baldovi explained. “There was two rows, so maybe about 25, 26 carts.”…
Online, a shopping cart sells for about $150 to $250 per cart. While that may not seem like much, it adds up.
According to the Food Marketing Institute about 2 million carts are stolen every year, costing each store roughly $10,000 annually….
It is illegal to remove a shopping cart from the store premises….
read … Shopping cart theft may cost you more at the grocery store