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Friday, January 6, 2023
January 6, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:28 PM :: 2084 Views

Time to Reform Property Taxes: High Home Values Prompt Calls for Relief

DLNR to update administrative rules associated with the Natural Area Reserves System

Maui County Hiring County Clerk, Deputy

Hawaii Supreme Court Jan. 19th Oral Arguments in Disputed Maui Council Election

Maui County Lawyers Attack Reporter Who Exposed Child Molesting DUI Sextortion Cop

CB: … According to the underlying complaint filed by Green against Maui County, in July 2019, then-Maui Police Department Officer Brandon Saffeels pulled over Alishia Constantino, charged her with driving under the influence and later tried to coerce Constantino into having sex with him in exchange for getting the DUI case dropped.

Constantino sued Saffeels and the county. Kawano later reported on the Saffeels-Constantino incident, documenting her story with portions of recorded phone calls and text messages.

Saffeels was later convicted as a sexual predator in a separate case. The former officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison in November after pleading guilty to a federal charge of attempting to have sexual contact with a someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

The problem with the Constantino case, Maui County lawyers allege, is that Saffeels was set up, in what Constantino and her friend Jennifer Boswell purportedly called “the golden ticket scheme.”

The idea, according to Maui attorneys, was to get Constantino off the hook for the DUI charge and get money by suing the county.

(Translation: The victims knew Saffeels was dirty and they ‘conspired’ to get the proof necessary to prosecute him.)

“Boswell testified that she and Constantino prompted Saffeels to call Constantino, came up with a script, and recorded the call to get the evidence so that Constantino could get out of a DUI charge and file a lawsuit against the County,” the county says in a court document citing Boswell’s deposition testimony.

The women later went to Kawano to broadcast the story, Maui County asserts. That’s when the county alleges Kawano started crossing a line and giving up her journalistic privilege.

“Rather than simply report the story, Kawano stepped out of the reporter’s role and made herself part of the story,” the county says. “Kawano recommended that Constantino hire her friend, attorney Michael Green for her lawsuit, and provided Constantino with Green’s office phone number.”

(Really Obvious Question: If the victims were so conniving, how is it that they didn’t know they had a civil case and needed a lawyer?) 

“Plaintiff Alisha Constantino and the two other Plaintiffs in a related case – Ronda Smythe and Lianna Kanno – also testified under oath that they hired Mr. Green at Lynn Kawano’s suggestion,” the county asserts.

(Translation: If Kawano hadn’t helped these victims get a lawyer, the entire case could have been hushed up, thus saving Maui County millions of dollars that could have been used to fund cesspool contracts for bribe-paying contractors.) 

read … And he’s also a child molester

'I think it's a wake up call' -- DPP Delays Behind Deadly Unpermitted Rock Wall Collapse

KITV: … Last Friday, a construction crew was repairing a 15-foot rock wall at a home on Akiikii Place when it collapsed, killing 22-year-old Sione Veikoso and injuring three others.

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations' occupational safety committee is also investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, some said they are not surprised the owner and contractor did not secure the permit because of how long the process takes.

Many Oahu residents have complained over the months-long process to obtain a permit, which DPP personnel have been trying to expedite with the help of new technology.

"I don't want to focus on the permit, because that's not where the focus should be…." Honolulu City Council Vice Chair Esther Kia'aina, who covers (for HGEA) ….

read … 'I think it's a wake up call'

Interim chair of the Honolulu Liquor Commission resigns to go work for Bissen on Maui, blaming ‘baseless accusations’

HNN:  … In less than a year, two chairs and a vice chair have resigned amid accusations of corruption and discrimination.

On Thursday, the commission’s longest serving member told Hawaii News Now why she’s calling it quits.

“I am tired of the baseless accusations,” said Interim Chair Malama Minn.

After 8 years on the Honolulu Liquor Commission, Minn is leaving two years before her current term up.

“I would have likely stayed on the commission to carry out my full term but not as of now,” said Minn.

Minn’s last meeting revealed lingering tension between the commission and the community.

Two women suggested commissioners were bribed to license a new Waikiki bar that 200 residents petitioned against it.

“You know what they say!” said one of the women. “They say you guys are corrupt. They say you probably got all your manapua boxes.”…

With the longest serving commissioner now gone, commissioner Seth Buckley will take over as chair.

Minn told HNN she is moving to Maui to work for Mayor Richard Bissen in the Parks Department….

2022: DPP Scandal Spreads to Liquor Commission?

read … Interim chair of the Honolulu Liquor Commission resigns, blaming ‘baseless accusations’

Good News: Hundreds Of Honolulu Parking Meters Disabled By Verizon 3G Shutdown--City ‘only’ Had Seven Years Notice

CB: … The city knew the shutdown was coming but didn’t upgrade the meters quickly enough …. 

Honolulu was informed in 2019 that Verizon would make the shift away from older networks, Morton said, and the company expressed its intentions publicly as early as 2016. The carrier was initially going to shut down 3G in 2019 but extended the timeline to allow customers more time to respond. 

(Translation: They only had seven years warning.)

“Unfortunately, we were caught off guard,” he said (without laughing)…. 

(IDEA: City should post an RFP to hire a consultant to study this situation before taking any action.  The losing bidders should remember to file a contested case.)

read … Hundreds Of Honolulu Parking Meters Disabled By Verizon 3G Shutdown

Prison Health Records System Down for Six Months, Because DPS Did not Update Software

EHRI: … The Department of Public Safety is looking for an interim solution for the faulty EHR that has obstructed provider access to patient health records for over six months….

The department began a process in 2021 to purchase a new inmate database that includes a new EHR system, but that process is still in procurement. The request for proposals indicates a deadline of 2025 for installing the new system.

“Unfortunately, the current system failed before the procurement process could be completed,” Toni Schwartz, public information officer at the Department of Public Safety, said in an email to the news outlet.

She said that the department has been looking for an interim solution “and is awaiting vendor quotes” for a shorter-term fix….

The department recently purchased and has been testing new servers for the old system, but the vendor’s next available date to migrate data to the servers is next month.

In August, Tommy Johnson, the newly appointed director of the Department of Public Safety, acknowledged that officials did not do periodic software updates to the old system and that they would in the future.

After the system failed earlier this year, the state set up what was supposed to be a temporary, stand-alone system as a substitute, but staff has also had to resort to paper charts.

Switching between the systems makes it difficult to track patient records, which has resulted in “dozens” of errors, staff told the news outlet.

read … Hawaii State Prison EHR Outage Limits Provider Access to Health Records

To address staffing shortfalls, 12-hour shifts proposed for adult corrections officers

HNN: … Christin Johnson, the coordinator for the Correctional Systems Oversight Commission, is proposing 12-hour shifts in a bid to cut down on sick time and reel in new applicants.

She said she will make the official pitch to the union and state corrections officials in March.

“When people know that they have those four days off coming up, they don’t call in as much they don’t use as much vacation,” Johnson said.

For years, the state Department of Public Safety has had a problem with guards calling in sick, forcing those at work to stay for double or even triple shifts….

The department has 1,535 total positions for adult corrections officers.

Nearly 30%, or about 440 positions, are vacant.

Johnson pointed out in that number are 121 recently created positions for new housing units. He said those positions won’t be filled until construction on those units is complete.

Another reason that number is so high: A lot of guards retired….

read … To address staffing shortfalls, 12-hour shifts proposed for adult corrections officers

‘Record-breaking’ demand for healthcare takes toll on workers at Maui hospital

HNN: … The Emergency Room is full of dozens of patients waiting for hours.

Rodrigues said they are running out of space.

“You got people in the hallways, you got beds in the hallways in the inside of the ED until we can find room upstairs into a room, into a floor, anything,” Rodrigues said.

Maui Health officials said they are seeing record-breaking demand for healthcare.

They added they have come up with a plan to expand capacity.

“We are in a much better situation today. We’re not doubling up on any rooms,” said Maui Health System Chief Executive Officer Michael Rembis. “It was very, very tight before the holidays.”

“What we’re experiencing is the same that every hospital in the state is experiencing,” Rembis added….

read … ‘Record-breaking’ demand for healthcare takes toll on workers at Maui hospital

NTSB Preliminary Report - Hawaii Life Flight

SA: … The NTSB report says the Raytheon Aircraft Co. C90A twin-engine, turbine-powered airplane sank in an area of open ocean with an estimated water depth of 6,000 feet. Its wreckage and the three crew members — who included flight nurse Courtney Parry and flight paramedic Gabriel Camacho — have not been recovered….

read … NTSB Preliminary Report - Hawaii Life Flight

Semisub in fraud case missing from Kewalo Harbor

SA: … Semisub One apparently departed Wednesday afternoon after people were seen stocking the boat, according to neighboring harbor tenants who requested anonymity. “They just filled up gas and rations and then took off,” a harbor tenant said, noting that there was much activity at Semisub One’s slip in the past few days, despite it usually being quiet.

“They looked pretty frantic,” the harbor tenant said Thursday afternoon.“This morning the Coast Guard was calling on the radio for the Semisub,” the tenant said, adding that someone responded saying they saw the boat before switching to a private channel. The tenant said that he saw people pumping water from the boat, which had taken on rainwater and was listing to one side….

Two harbor tenants on a neighboring boat, who also requested they not be named, said they saw Semisub One departing Wednesday afternoon….

Hawaii District Judge Rom Trader released Jackson on $50,000 bond in October, stipulating that he not leave Oahu, not contact anyone involved in the case, use drugs or leave his house after a curfew. “He does present risks,” Trader said at the time of the pretrial release. “The real question is, Are these conditions adequate to manage that risk?”

The federal government had asked that Jackson be detained before his trial, set for October, citing that he might flee and pose a risk to others, including his wife and investors.

Earlier this week, prosecutors alleged in a document that Jackson had violated his conditions of release by having a “victim-investor” send a $10,000 check to him by way of FedEx on Nov. 10; attempting to contact and get money from other “victim-investors”; and assaulting his son….

read … Semisub in fraud case missing from Kewalo Harbor

Reimagining Waikiki Tourism: Poop, urine and vomit are just icing on the cake

CB: … Someone wrapped in a tattered sleeping bag lay next to a nearby coconut tree. A disheveled man spewed swear words to no one in particular outside a public restroom. And the sand was littered with trash.

The woman grabbed her child’s hand and pulled her away from the water. She turned to her husband and said, “This beach is so dirty.”

Sadly, this is how Waikiki has looked for years. Nothing’s really changed much. Ever since I started surfing here in the morning more than 20 years ago, there have always been people sleeping on the sidewalks, workers cleaning up trash and feces from business doorways, people arguing or passed out on the beach. I have been physically assaulted by a homeless woman while crossing Kalakaua Avenue to the beach one morning, and I never go barefoot anymore for fear of stepping in poop, urine or vomit that’s often on the sidewalks….

In 2022, rates of certain violent crimes trended back up to pre-pandemic levels on Oahu, including in Waikiki…

This initiative came after a 23-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for killing a tourist from California in 2021 and a 46-year-old man was charged with attempted murder after chopping off another man’s hand with a sword at a 7-Eleven in Waikiki….

Since its launch, there have been several high-profile incidents, including one in December involving an armed man who barricaded himself in a Kuhio Avenue hotel room, forcing guests to evacuate. The man was later shot and killed by Honolulu police. That same month a 21-year-old man waiting at a bus stop on Kuhio Avenue was beaten to death by five others….

read … Have We Made Waikiki 'Safe And Sound' Yet?

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