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Sunday, December 18, 2022
December 18, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:46 PM :: 2820 Views

Why We Left Hawaii: Police Misconduct Threatens My Wife and Daughter

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted December 17, 2022

Report: Inflation is easing in Honolulu

How Jones Act reform can work for everyone

BoE Approves Three New Assistant Superintendents

DLNR Pushes Back Against Shark Attack Conspiracy Theories

Hawaii: Burn Thru $1M Retirement Fund in 10 Years

What It Takes to Spend $600M on Housing in Three Years

Money Laundering: Miske Paid Employees in Cash

ILind: … According to the affidavit, the cooperating witness referred to as CW-7, which appears to be Miske’s accountant, Tricia Castro, said Miske would tell her “the bar in the M nightclub was ‘cash-driven’ and that paying bouncers, disc jockeys, and others in cash was ‘normal’ in the industry.”

At least during certain periods, some Kamaaina Termite employees were also paid partly or entirely in cash, allowing the company to avoid payroll taxes and the cost of certain benefits, such as health insurance.

“Specifically, employees would be paid ‘on the books’ for a certain amount of hours per week-for example, 30 to 35 hours a week- and the remaining hours were paid in cash. Approximately 14 to 15 employees at KTPC were handled in this manner,” according to the MacPherson affidavit.

“Miske and others would also make cash payments to contractors and refuse to prepare IRS Form 1099s, as is required for such payments. Given that employment tax returns are submitted electronically over the internet, Miske’s conduct constituted, among other things wire fraud,” federal investigators allege.

Construction workers at the large home Miske was building on Lumahai Street in Portlock were also paid in cash, investigators learned, as were foreign fishermen who worked on the longline fishing vessel Rachel, which was owned by another of MIske’s companies, Kamaaina Holdings.

At least some of that cash was allegedly taken out of Miske’s M Nightclub.

The cooperating witness believed to be Miske accountant, Tricia Castro, told investigators that Jason Yokoyama, president of Leverage Inc., which owned and operated the M Nightclub, would make cash withdrawals of $6,000 to $7,000 each week, which were then reported as “outside services” and deducted as an expense on the nightclub’s tax returns.

The witness, believed to be Castro, told investigators “Miske was directing most of his available resources toward finishing” his Portlock residence.

Yokoyama was added as a defendant in the same superseding indictment as Fabro-Miske. He is charged with being part of Miske’s racketeering conspiracy, a charge which carries a maximum 20-year sentence if convicted.

read … Cashing out

Will Hawaiian Homelands $600M Be Stolen by Hoopili or Walter Ritte?

SA Editorial: … DHHL’s finalized 99-page spending plan, dated Dec. 6, is in the hands of legislative leaders, who will need to take it up in about a month when the 2023 session convenes.  (REALITY: See Dec 14, 2022 item below)

In addition, a competing proposal for spending the outlay of funds has been submitted by the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA)…. (REALITY: See Oct 24, 2022 item below)

Dec 14, 2022: Anderson: DHHL $600M Could Bail out Hoopili, Koa Ridge

Oct 24, 2022: Danner: DHHL Should Stop Building Houses and Buy Molokai Ranch for Walter Ritte

read … Time for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to step up pace

Gov. Josh Green now must turn his promises into action

Borreca: … Gov. Josh Green is now in charge, sort of.

He may think he runs everything, but the new governor will soon discover that calendars run his life. First up is the legislative calendar, agreed to by House and Senate leaders and just issued for 2023….this calendar says that Green has been invited to give his State of the State speech to a joint session of the state House and Senate on Jan. 23, 2023….

The big deal is what the governor recommends. That includes the state budget and everything the governor wants the Legislature to do, including approving his appointments and writing and passing bills and resolutions the governor supports….

For instance, Green strongly campaigned for economic breaks for Hawaii citizens.

“I’ll stand up for working people and finally sign into law paid family leave and a true living wage,” Green said.

Both have been batted around the Legislature for several sessions, and recently the minimum wage was increased. But nothing on family leave. It did pass the Senate last year, but vanished when the bill was sent to the House, so that’s on the to-do calendar.

Also, Green promised to diversify the economy, accelerate home production by fast-tracking of new home construction, streamline the regulatory process and increase the amount of public land available.

Also promised by Green, according to 2022 news reports, is a “universal public pre-K program to prepare keiki for success, and expanding mental health care services for children and teens.”

Also much vowed has been Green’s pledge to do something about the growing scourge of homelessness.

“Josh Green plans to reduce homelessness in Hawaii by more than 50% over the course of four years if he becomes governor,” Green said on his campaign web page….

Years of promises are now piling up, with the awaited answers or at least proposals coming during next month’s State of the State address….

read … Gov. Josh Green now must turn his promises into action

‘Dangerous Precedent’: Seawall Approval for Obama Estate

SA: … Obama’s close friend Marty Nesbitt had been redeveloping the land into a sprawling estate that state officials and community members have said is to be shared by the Obamas and Nesbitts.

The application attracted backlash. The local Surfrider Foundation told the city’s Planning and Permitting Department that approving the permit would “set a dangerous precedent that would allow for redevelopment of all of these old seawalls across the island.”

Owners of neighboring lots also objected, telling county officials they were worried that the revamped seawall would worsen erosion in front of their homes.

“This impact will be especially detrimental as sea levels rise and our unarmored shorelines are impacted by the effects of this permanent seawall,” they wrote in a letter to the planning department that was signed by the owners of 17 neighboring properties.

The neighbors proposed a side deal: If the owners were willing to assist with an ambitious project to restore the beach in front of their homes, they would support the seawall exemption. “Without it, we as a community would oppose it,” they wrote.

In November 2020, DPP granted Nesbitt’s variance request but with a condition: Within two years he had to show proof he was coordinating with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and his new neighbors to the east on a beach nourishment project, which involves bringing in sand from elsewhere to expand the beach.

Nesbitt told city officials last month that he’s fulfilled the spirit of that requirement. He said he’s met with his neighbors and continues to express interest in the project even though the plans are incomplete and costs unclear. City officials say that’s sufficient enough to fulfill his permit requirement.

But as Nesbitt stands by ready to help, his neighbors have become entangled in their own shoreline permitting problems, and the beach nourishment project, which could involve mining massive amounts of sand from just offshore over several months, is attracting its own community concerns….

read … Work to restore Waimanalo beach near estate tied to Obama faces hurdles

Hawaii GOP To Decide Whether To Show Cynthia Thielen The Door

CB: … She served in the Hawaii House of Representatives for 30 years. She was the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2006. And she remains widely admired by many regardless of political leanings because of her willingness to speak out, her accomplishments and her passion.

And yet, sometime in the early part of the new year, the Hawaii Republican Party may decide to kick Cynthia Thielen out of the GOP.

That’s because a fellow Republican, Kailua businessman Gary Weller, has lodged a complaint with the party accusing Thielen of having violated party rules.

Earlier this month Weller sent an email to party members bemoaning that the local GOP might well have won the District 50 House seat if Thielen — who represented the Kailua-Kaneohe Bay seat from 1990 until 2020 — had backed Republican Kathy Thurston. Instead, Thielen campaigned publicly and aggressively for the Democrat, Natalia Hussey-Burdick, who crushed Thurston in a landslide in November.

“Do we really need to give the Democrats any more help?” Weller asked, apparently rhetorically, in his email, which included social media posts and paid advertisements clearly illustrating Thielen’s embrace of Hussey-Burdick….

(Here's a better question: Why are Republicans running no-name candidates in districts they have won in the past?  Kicking Thielen out is a poor substitute for candidate recruitment.)

(Meanwhile: Karl Dicks is a member of the Hawaii Republican State Committee and District 46 Chair.  Will he be expelled from the Republican Party for filing a lawsuit seeking removal of the Republican Party from the ballot?  September 7, 2022 S.Ct SCEC-22-0000490.) 

read … Hawaii GOP To Decide Whether To Show Cynthia Thielen The Door

Firefighting Foam Spilled At Red Hill Before. The Navy Didn’t Notify Anyone

CB: … Two years before this month’s leak of toxic firefighting foam at the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility, fire suppressant foam spilled in another part of the complex, Navy records show.

But when Hawaii Department of Health officials asked about it, they said the Navy told them no firefighting foam had been released.

Aqueous film forming foam and water flooded the floor of an underground pump house in September 2020, according to a former Red Hill employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to share information. The fire suppression system had been activated even though there was no fire, and the floor was covered with white foam and liquid, the former employee said.

The Navy said this week that 5,000 gallons of liquid were released on Sept. 29, 2020 after an “inadvertent trigger” of the fire suppression system, but it said the liquid was water from a pipeline that previously contained AFFF….

read … Firefighting Foam Spilled At Red Hill Before. The Navy Didn’t Notify Anyone

Will Honolulu police recruits exceed retirements?

SA: … The number of recruits working their way through the Honolulu Police Department’s training regimen is on pace to exceed the number of officers retiring this year as the department works to fill 375 vacancies.

There were 2,244 pending applicants for the job as of Dec. 1, but HPD Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan said that finding candidates capable of passing the background checks, health screening, physical agility standards, polygraph tests and other preemployment hurdles is always a challenge.

HPD has an authorized force of 2,177 uniformed officers and had 1,802 on duty at last report, according to the department’s Human Resources Division. With 86 recruits in training, HPD’s net vacancies sat at 289.

A new batch of recruits started Dec. 5 at the Ke Kula Makai training academy in Waipahu. New cohorts are started every 2-1/2 months with an average of 15 to 20 recruits per class. By year’s end, the department will have brought on 104 new police officers.

On the other side of the personnel ledger, 54 officers have retired so far this year, but Logan told the Honolulu Police Commission at its Dec. 7 meeting that he won’t know the final number until officers who put in to end their service Dec. 31 are processed….

When asked by Police Commission member Richard Parry about what he was expecting in terms of retirements, Logan replied, “I’m hoping we are under the 104, but I won’t know that until the end of the year.”

In 2021, 94 HPD officers retired compared with 81 in 2020, 83 in 2019, 73 in 2018, 94 in 2017 and 60 in 2016.

Of the 136 officers who left the department this year, 54 retired, 68 resigned, eight were terminated, five were discharged and one officer died.

From 2009 to 2012, HPD averaged more resignations — 53 — than retirements — 49, according to department statistics.

Officers also leave HPD for other police departments in what is known as a lateral transfer — a reality in policing, Logan said. Since November 1998, at least 202 officers have left for other police departments, including the 13 this year as of Dec. 1….

read … Honolulu police recruits on pace to exceed retirements

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