Convicted Meth Dealer Asks Federal Court Permission to Take Over Laborer’s Union
First Two Red Light Camera Sites Begin Churning Out Tickets
Hawaiʻi Senate Ways and Means Committee releases public briefings schedule for state budget
Legislature will be awarding Grants-in-Aid for 2023
Miske an FBI Informant? Snitched on MS-13 to ‘Defend Hawaii’
ILind: … I was discussing the Miske case with with a friend who owns and operates a small business. He later came back and dropped another version of the rumor.
While talking to a ‘colleague’ yesterday, an interesting piece of gossip rose out of the muck we were talking about. When queried about Miske, his thoughts were that Miske stayed protected all those years was because he was a snitch for the FBI.
He related that Miske was somehow working for the FBI snitching on MS-13 in Hawaii.
Asked how he knew that, his answer was “everybody in the system knew about it.”
It all revolved around keeping MS-13 from getting a foothold in Hawaii, while Miske was building his own “enterprise”.
(CLUE: This info will one day help Miske and his cohorts relate to MS-13 prisoners in California.)
An online search turned up a March 2006 Honolulu Star-Bulletin story reporting that a national anti-gang initiative had resulted in the arrest of two men on Maui who had some MS-13 affiliation, as well as the deportation of several others tied to different gangs.
At the time, Miske was 31, had been convicted of multiple felonies a decade before, and owned Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control, a company that federal prosecutor now alleged was being used both to shield Miske’s drug trafficking and launder its proceeds.
The two MS arrests on Maui were part of Operation Shield, a nationwide anti-gang initiative led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Working with county police, FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Operation Shield arrested, and in most cases deported, a total of nine foreign gang members statewide.
“Street gangs pose a growing public safety threat to communities throughout the state of Hawaii,” said Wayne Willis (sic), special agent in charge for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Honolulu. “The violence, sophistication and scope of these organizations have reached intolerable levels in larger metropolitan areas.”
The name of the special agent in charge of Honolulu’s ICE office at the time was Wayne Wills, which was misspelled in the Star-Bulletin story.
At least one of the local gang members picked up during Operation Shield had indirect links back to Miske.
The S-B reported:
Gregory Yoo Baik Nagao of South Korea, member of the CIRCO Boys gang in Honolulu. He was arrested March 2, and prior convictions include first-degree robbery and possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Federal officials said he came to Hawaii as a child and was here legally in the United States but violated his green card by his felony convictions.
Nagao had been convicted by a jury in 1996 for his role in a botched 1994 robbery in which a taxi driver was shot with a sawed-off shotgun. Nagao received an 8-year sentence. His co-defendant, Norman L. Akau III, who admitted to pulling the trigger, pleaded guilty the previous year and was sentenced to a 20 year term, but gained an early release in 2004, court records show.
In 2009, Akau and Nagao both became members of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union representing stage hands in the film industry in Hawaii and in other parts of the country. Nagao was later deported, but Akau went on to be elected to the local union’s executive board. He was an executive board member at the time of his indictment and arrest in July 2020.
Akau reportedly continued to pay Nagao’s union dues, keeping his affiliation active even in his absence. Akau also continued to use Nagao’s email address for his own internal union communications.
Akau was one of ten co-defendants charged along with Miske in a 22-count federal indictment….
read … The rumor mill: Was accused racketeering leader an informant?
Judge: City could be held liable for Kealohas’ crimes, potentially costing millions
HNN: … A federal judge ruled that the City and County of Honolulu could be held liable for the crimes committed by former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his estranged wife former Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.
U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi rejected the city’s defense that it was not responsible for the Kealoha’s actions because they were acting in their own self-interest, and weren’t enacting city policy when they framed Kat Kealoha’s uncle Gerard Puana.
“The Court is further inclined to find that Louis was the final policymaker when he ordered and authorized the surveillance of Puana,” she wrote in her Dec. 15 inclinations before dismissing the city’s motion for summary judgement the next day.
Puana is suing the Kealohas and the city after the Kealohas framed him for the theft of their mailbox.
Testimony in their criminal trial showed that the couple framed Puana to gain leverage in Kat Kealoha’s civil and financial dispute with Puana and his now-deceased mother Florence Puana.
The ruling is one of the final steps leading up to the trial -- a trial in which some experts say the odds are stacked against the city….
read … Judge: City could be held liable for Kealohas’ crimes, potentially costing millions
Trust in Honolulu government is down, survey finds
SA: … In January 2021 the National Community Survey found that trust in city government had fallen to 17% from a high of 30% in 2014.
The survey also found that only 17% of respondents felt the city was “acting in the best interest of Honolulu,” compared with a high of 34% in 2016….
The National Community Survey in 2006 found that an overwhelming 72% of residents liked the city’s “services,” but the percentage fell to 30% in 2019….
The current National Community Survey wrapped up last week after Blangiardi encouraged Oahu residents to participate in November, including providing their thoughts on what the city should focus on over the next two years….
read … Trust in Honolulu government is down, survey finds
Blangiardi Seeks Another $33M for CNHA to Give Away
SA: … Mayor Rick Blangiardi plans to ask the City Council for an additional $33 million through federal funding to help Oahu renters with financial help to cover their rent and utility costs in the first three months of 2023 to help keep them housed….
The city’s Rental and Utility Relief Program began in April 2021 and has distributed financial assistance to approximately 15,000 Oahu families through Catholic Charities Hawai‘i and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, according to Amy Asselbaye, executive director of the Office of Economic Revitalization.
In all, the city expects to help renters, landlords and property managers with about $310 million in federal funds from two federal funding streams created in the COVID-19 era: the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
The deadline for the city to spend the current ERA funds is September 2025. The SLRF money has to be “obligated” by Dec. 30, 2024, and spent by Dec. 30, 2026….
The city’s housing strategy also includes:
>> Working with individual owners of dilapidated or vacant homes to refurbish them and get them onto the open rental market, Hirai said. The homes already are connected to sewer, water and power, and Blangiardi said the approach would be much faster than trying to develop on vacant land.
>> Going after absentee landlords suspected of owning illegal vacation rentals, and imposing additional taxes on vacant homes. Honolulu Hale is on the verge of hiring a collection agency to go after owners of illegal operations who face fines of $10,000 per day, Blangiardi said….
Background: Dirty OHA Contract is Model for CNHA Takeover of Tourism Marketing
read … Blangiardi to ask for more rent, utility help for Oahu residents
A Streamlined Solution To Hawaii's Chronic Housing Woes
CB: … I’m not the first to raise the issues of mobile homes and trailers. In 2017 Aaron Lief of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii published an article in Maui Watch titled “Why No Trailer Parks On Maui?”
“With the cost of housing displacing more local families every day, these affordable alternative communities are noticeably absent,” wrote Lief, who also made mention of tiny homes, a concept that was then starting to catch on. “So what’s preventing their development?”
Lief checked with the Maui Planning Commission’s zoning commission, which he said told him that there were not any “explicit legal barriers.” The problem is finding apartment-zoned land on an island along with a “daunting and sluggish” permitting process.
Even at that time, however, Lief pointed out that Oahu was already embarking on a tiny housing project — Kahauiki Village, a “plantation-style permanent supportive housing community” for formerly homeless households, as it is described today on the Institute for Human Services website.
The village’s creation is credited to a 2015 emergency proclamation from then-Gov. David Ige. Other micro-unit or prefabricated or modular complexes have since appeared around the state, including Hale Kikaha in Kailua-Kona, run by Hawaii County. But seven years later affordable housing remains out of reach for many….
read … A Streamlined Solution To Hawaii's Chronic Housing Woes
Kauai Legal Fireworks Sales Begin
TGI: … The county encouraged people over 18 years old to apply for permits ahead of Dec. 26 when vendors could start selling fireworks.
“The most popular are the Throw Packs, and the 20’s that contain 4,582 firecrackers,” Kleinfeld said. “We have the other sizes, but these are the top two that people want.”
In answer to a customer’s question about selling out, Kleinfeld simply said, “I can’t help it. If a customer comes in with 10 permits, I’m not going to tell him I need to wait for someone who is trying to get a permit. I do have a good supply of firecrackers, but it won’t last forever.”
Open from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Pacific Fireworks shop is open through Dec. 31, or until supplies are exhausted. They’re located in Hokulei Shopping Village between Orly’s Patisserie and Aloha ‘Aina Juice Cafe.
“I’m not wasting any time,” Kleinfeld said. “I started as soon as I could. If I run out of inventory, I can get to the beach.”
Kleinfeld has been returning to Kaua‘i to vend fireworks for the past 23 years.
County officials remind people that fireworks and firecrackers may only be ignited on private property between 9 p.m. on Dec. 31, and 1 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2023.
The County of Kaua‘i Fire Department reminds people that it is illegal to set off fireworks on public property, including streets, sidewalks, or parks.
It is also illegal to remove the powder or pyrotechnic contents of any fireworks….
read … Kauai: Fireworks season starts with a bang