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Wednesday, June 14, 2023
June 14, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:06 PM :: 1688 Views

June 14, 1900: The Abolition of Slavery in Hawaii

Will Hawaii Family Courts mandate legal representation for abused foster children?

Keith Cureton: Kamehameha Schools Director of Ethics Didn't Last Long

Hawaii children strained under tight economic conditions, report says

Retailers to stop shipping cigars to Hawaii July 1

‘Maintain the Problem’ until it becomes Excuse for Dela Cruz’  First Responders Boondoggle 

CB: … On Friday, Sen Dela Cruz continued his counteroffensive by roping in several of his Senate colleagues (there were no House members in attendance) and agency officials to illustrate firsthand to local media why the FRTC (it already has an acronym, though it does not yet physically exist) is so essential.

We were given a detailed tour of the Kalanimoku Data Center in the basement of a state office building near the Capitol and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency headquarters inside Diamond Head Crater. Both the data center and HI-EMA are scheduled to be among the first tenants at the FRTC, which is currently an empty field occupied only by Albizia trees.

(CLUE: First rule of bureaucracy--‘Maintain the problem.’)

The tour was impressive, and persuasive. Even the most cynical observer (i.e., me) could not help but be disturbed by the data center’s decay, disarray and decor, which dates to its creation in the 1970s. Exposed cables are strung haphazardly. Large fans stand ready should the power and AC suddenly die.

(TRANSLATION: State employees have worked for decades to ‘Maintain the Problem’.)

The center is also located below the water table — not the ideal place to house the state’s cyber security operations and essential computer systems. The proposed Mililani site is above the coastal inundation hazard zone and near military infrastructure.

(TRANSLATION: It was purposefully built with a problem to maintain.)

About 70% of the data center’s data has been transferred to cloud services like Microsoft, Google and Amazon and to mainframes in Chicago and Omaha. But officials argue that a physical location is still needed in Hawaii for the other 30%, described as “critical justice information systems” that must stay under state control. The media was not allowed to take photos or video of the facility.

(TRANSLATION: 30% of the problem has been maintained.)

HI-EMA, in the meantime, has its facility in a coastal defense emplacement with four 12-inch mortars built beginning in 1916. Known as Battery Birkhimer, the state’s emergency operations hub looks better suited to defending Oahu from an invading army than responding to earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis.

(TRANSLATION: State/Territorial employees have ‘Maintained the Problem’ for 107 years.)

There are water seepage problems, exposed wiring and little space to fit FEMA, the Red Cross and other first responders in the event of a manmade or natural disaster. The HI-EMA facility is so old that the ceiling appears to be coated in grimy asbestos. It’s not, an official assured us, explaining that the dirty orange color of the material came from years of cigarette smoking…

(TRANSLATION: State employees risked cancer to ‘Maintain the Problem’.)

The person Dela Cruz has to convince is Gov. Josh Green, who could well line-item veto the $50 million in the state budget slotted for the FRTC. In his newsletter, the senator makes a point of explaining that the governor himself specifically called for inclusion of the money, albeit less than the $100 million that had been proposed….

(TRANSLATION: After all those years spent ‘Maintaining the Problem’ the payoff will be a giant unneeded CIP project with millions for contractors, kickbacks for politicians, jobs for unions and Top Three for HGEA problem maintainers.  Truly the ideal culmination of a 30 years as a Hawaii State employee.  Maybe buildings on the campus will be named after them.)

read … Donovan Dela Cruz Goes On The Offense

Social Workers Never Visited Alleged Child Molester’s Foster Home

CB: … The boy’s former foster father, Kenneth E. Jones, had allegedly sexually abused him multiple times between 2013 and 2015 when he was between the ages of 3 and 4. But he didn’t feel safe enough to share his experience until years later, when he and other children were playing a Truth or Dare-like game at a new foster home, according to Dimitrov….

Jones, 58, is now facing criminal charges for sexually assaulting the boy at his Iroquois Point home and molesting his brother. Separately Jones is accused of raping a girl under the age of 14 in 2014. Jones has pleaded not guilty to two separate indictments and is awaiting trial. Jones’ public defender Ryan Akio Ha did not respond to a request for comment. …

(TRANSLATION: That makes it ‘B’ not ‘G’ in LGBTQ.)

Dimitrov, whose children were placed in Jones’ home by the Hawaii Child Welfare Services office, is now left wondering why the state workers charged with overseeing his children in the foster system failed to detect a problem. The children were placed in foster care following a report of neglect and substance abuse by their mother, according to case records Dimitrov shared.

The case highlights a longstanding problem at Hawaii’s child welfare office. Although the system, as a recipient of federal funds, requires that foster children get at least one visit a month, that doesn’t always happen. Dimitrov’s son, for example, doesn’t remember any case visits, the father said.

“Couldn’t we have caught him back then?” Dimitrov asked. “If someone had asked them and the kids trusted them, this person could have been stopped.”…

read … Foster Child Abuse Case Highlights Concerns About Lax State Oversight

Abuse, unlawful imprisonment: Miske’s Lawyer Enters pleas for Ikaika Anderson

KITV: … (Represented by Miske’s lawyer) … Former Honolulu City Council Chair Ikaika Anderson pleaded not guilty in his first appearance in court Tuesday, on charges of abuse against his ex-girlfriend.

Anderson is standing trial for first degree abuse of a household member and second degree unlawful imprisonment.

The former official was first arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse on May 15 after a 34-year-old woman reported being physically assaulted by Anderson, her boyfriend at the time.

Sources close to the investigation told KITV4 that Anderson and the woman had been dating for about a year. The woman claims that on the evening of May 15, the two were arguing in a Windward Oahu parking lot, when Anderson got out of the car, grabbed her by the arms, pulled her out of the passenger seat, and allegedly bruised her.

Anderson demanded a jury trial on Tuesday, so there will be a second arraignment and plea on June 27. He posted a $1,000 bond and is not in police custody ….

SA: Ex-Council chair pleads not guilty to abuse charge

May 17, 2023: Kidnapping: Will Political Connections Help Anderson Evade Felony Charge? -- Miske Lawyer Pressures Prosecutor, Victim

HRS 707-722 Unlawful Imprisonment

read … Former city official Ikaika Anderson pleads not guilty of abuse

Watson’s DHHL Dumps Anderson’s Pick to Run Maui Water System

CB: … in an abrupt change without public explanation, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Director Kali Watson scrapped the department’s recommendation to tap water policy expert Jonathan Likeke Scheuer to represent DHHL’s interests on the East Maui board. Scheuer had been recommended in March by then-interim Director Ikaika Anderson, who wrote that Scheuer had served as “a well-trusted consultant for DHHL on water policy matters for several years.”

“Why remove the recommendation for water expert Jonathan?” Mary Ann Pahukoa, whose family has long been fighting to restore East Maui stream water, asked during the meeting. She also questioned why there hadn’t been any consultation with DHHL beneficiaries.

It’s unclear why Watson suddenly rescinded Scheuer’s name. In multiple meetings since early May, the longtime DHHL consultant was supported by a number of East Maui community members who said they welcomed his expertise in Hawaii water law and knowledge of complex water systems.

In a June 12 letter, Watson wrote he was instead recommending Dwight Burns, the Maui representative for an arm of a construction union called the Operating Engineers Hawaii Industry Stabilization Fund. Burns is Native Hawaiian, and his family is from East Maui and has long farmed kalo there. …  

CB: It’s Still Unclear Who Will Fill The DHHL Seat On The New East Maui Water Board

read … Former Mayor, Ex-Mahi Pono Exec Now Want To Steer East Maui’s New Water Board

No charge filed against former Hawaii lieutenant governor candidate after arrest for DUI

KITV: … On Jan. 25, 2023, KITV4 reported that former Republican lieutenant governor candidate Adrienne King was arrested on the evening of Jan. 24 on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII), reckless driving, and speeding. Only the reckless driving and speeding cases were referred by the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) to the Prosecutor and District Court for possible charging on Feb. 23, 2023.

Because King passed the breath test at the police station on the OVUII arrest, the OVUII arrest was not referred by HPD to the Prosecutor, and no further action was taken on the OVUII arrest. Any suggestion in our previous report that the OVUII arrest was also referred to the Prosecutor was unintended.

At the District Court appearance date on Feb. 23, 2023, the Prosecutor declined to charge either the reckless driving or speeding referrals, and there was no further action against King….

read … No charge filed against former Hawaii lieutenant governor candidate after arrest for DUI

Felon with long record arrested for second time in 8 days

SA: … A convicted felon with a long history of arrests who has not been charged in connection with allegedly bringing a ghost gun and drugs to Honolulu Circuit Court in April was arrested early Tuesday on suspicion of burglarizing a business on Ala Moana Boulevard.

It was the second time in eight days that Jordan K.H. Mineshima Jr. has been arrested.

Mineshima, 33, was released pending investigation after he was arrested April 11 on suspicion of weapon and ammunition violations and third-degree promoting a dangerous drug.

On June 5, Mineshima was arrested at 9 p.m. at 650 Iwilei Road on suspicion of car theft and criminal contempt of court. He was again released pending investigation.

At 4:20 a.m. Tuesday, he was arrested on suspicion of second-degree burglary after he allegedly broke into the Spectrum store at 1450 Ala Moana Blvd. He remained in police custody Tuesday, and prosecutors have 48 hours from the time of his arrest to charge him or release him pending investigation.

The state Department of the Attorney General has not made a decision about whether to charge Mineshima in the April 11 weapon violations case…

Mineshima’s 39 prior arrests and citations include felony arrests for robbery, car theft, criminal property damage, drugs and domestic violence. He has been convicted on felony robbery, car theft, and drug charges.

Before the April incident, he was most recently arrested Feb. 10 on suspicion of driving without a license and not having proof of car insurance. The charge of driving without a license was dismissed for insufficient evidence, according to state court records.

In 2022 he pleaded no contest to fourth-degree criminal property damage in connection with a Sept. 18 incident at 1040 Bishop St. Mineshima threw a 633-­milliliter bottle of Orion Beer at the window of the UPS Store, shattering it. He received three months of probation.

He was arrested at about 9 a.m. April 11 by sheriff’s deputies after he allegedly walked into the Kaahumanu Hale courthouse on Punchbowl Street and told the Allied Universal Security officer that he had a gun in his bag. The guard told sheriff’s deputies, and Mineshima gave them permission to search his bag.

Deputies allegedly found a firearm without a serial number, or “ghost gun,” and ammunition. Mineshima does not have any firearm permits, and the gun was not registered. Deputies also allegedly found drugs and drug paraphernalia on Mineshima at the time of his arrest….

(Really Obvious Question: WHO DOES HE KNOW?)

read … Felon with long record arrested for second time in 8 days

Schizophrenic Kidnaps Children, Gets Released Again and Again

HNN: … The petty misdemeanor disorderly conduct case against Brisa Nip was dismissed on Tuesday. That is because prosecutors are now pursuing a felony charge.

Nip is now facing a custodial interference charge – a Class B Felony – punishable by up to five years in prison.

However, both Nip’s mother and the victim’s parents agree she needs more mental health help.

“Your Honor, I actually saw Brisa this morning and there was a medical emergency,” said Lindsay Lipp, Nip’s attorney in court on Tuesday.

Brisa Nip is accused of trying to take a five-year-old girl from Wailuku Gym in May.

She was not present in court on Tuesday. Her mother says she is in the Emergency Room because she is off her medication again.

The little girl’s parents are concerned that Nip was allowed back into the community in the first place.

“My daughter’s five and it’s our job to protect her, not just as parents but the state as well,” said the victim’s mother Tereza Himalaya.

Nip suffers from schizophrenia.

She has already spent a year in the Hawaii State Hospital after trying to take a child from Walmart in Kahului back in 2019.

The Himalayas say a year was not long enough.

“She should be in the Hawaii State Hospital pretty much for the rest of their life, where they can help her,” said Trenson Himalaya, the victim’s father….

read … Maui parents want more mental health help for woman who allegedly tried to take child

Owning pepper spray on Kauaʻi may get easier with new law

HPR: … Unlike other counties in the state, to legally own pepper spray on Kauaʻi, a resident needs a permit. A new bill at the Kauaʻi County Council seeks to change that.

The $5 permits issued through the Kauaʻi Police Department require an application, as well as mental health and criminal background checks.

Councilmembers KipuKai Kualiʻi and Addison Bulosan co-introduced the bill.

Kualiʻi said they were at a community meeting discussing the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women report, when a community member spoke out.

The new bill repeals the existing obnoxious substance laws and would allow for the sale and possession of pepper spray in volumes of 2 ounces or less.

"The article also allows for the use of pepper spray for self-defense, defense, defense of others, and for the protection of property," Kualiʻi said….

read … Owning pepper spray on Kauaʻi may get easier with new law

Open the books of health insurers

SA: … In today’s complex and expensive health-care world, consumers have had to learn the tough art of patient advocacy. Not only in getting versed on an array of medical procedures, but also in fighting to know what’s wrapped into health insurance and rising premiums.

It’s within this cost landscape that state legislators need to delve into uneven laws that essentially shield Hawaii’s nonprofit health insurers, which enjoy generous tax breaks from the state, from having to disclose the compensation of their top executives and board members.

The latest nondisclosure obstacle came via the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) in April, when it rejected a public-records request from Star-Advertiser reporter Sophie Cocke for documents filed annually by health insurers — specifically disclosures of top executives’ salaries of nonprofit mutual benefit societies. These include Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA), Hawaii’s largest health insurer; University Health Alliance; and Hawaii Management Alliance Association….

read … Open the books of health insurers

Only 130 patients at Red Hill clinic

HPR: … Earlier this year, the military opened the Red Hill Clinic to provide treatment to those facing long-term health effects from the November 2021 jet fuel water crisis.

It has seen about 130 patients since it opened in January, and about 75 have been referred to specialty care, as reported by the Defense Health Agency.

For comparison, jet fuel contaminated the homes of nearly 93,000 people that November….

Rice said there's an 11-person team reviewing about 650 medical records looking for trends in reported symptoms, as well as gender and age….

(CLUE: Few people actually consumed the tainted water.)

read … The patient numbers at Red Hill's clinic are low. Why are civilians seeking care elsewhere?

State school board shake-up raises questions

SA: … No one who knows why Gov. Josh Green removed Bruce Voss as chair of the state Board of Education is talking openly about the reasons. And observers say the lack of transparency over Voss’ replacement with business leader Warren Haruki is a troubling sign for the board that oversees Hawaii’s nearly 300 public schools.

The Education Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii is expected today to finalize a letter to Green pressing for an explanation. The caucus also expects to issue a resolution calling on the board under Haruki to push hard on major initiatives created during Voss’ tenure, such as a new six-year strategic plan for the public schools.

Haruki “comes from a very corporate background,” said state Rep. Jeanne Kapela (D-Naalehu-­Captain Cook-Keauhou), a member of the state House Education Committee and vice chair of the Higher Education and Technology Committee. “These people that serve on the Board of Education are stakeholders for public education across the state, and he has never served in that capacity. … How will that impact his decisions? And will he put all children’s interests before his business interests or before the interests of his powerful friends in the Senate or in the Legislature?”

Hawaii political analyst Neal Milner said the absence of sunshine on Voss’ removal and Haruki’s installment “is harmful” because it leaves residents to buy into conspiracy theories or disparage the development as political deal-making. “In a situation in which thousands of kids and their parents are affected and you’re making a sort of major change … it would be essential (for the public) to know why,” Milner said….

read … State school board shake-up raises questions

Hawai‘i’s Homeowners Rank No. 1 for Average Equity Gains

HB: … Nationwide, homeowners lost equity on average during the first quarter of this year. But in the Islands, homeowners with mortgages gained on average $24,900 in the value of their homes….

read … Hawai‘i’s Homeowners Rank No. 1 for Average Equity Gains

What Happens When the Movers Are Priced Out Of Paradise?

CB: … Lolo, 40, has been saving to move his family to Oregon for two years. His wife grew up on Hawaii island and they raised their two sons here. Now that his older son, Semisi, has graduated from Kealakehe High School, he’s planning on leaving Hawaii.

“My sons know that the mainland has a lot more to offer, but they also know they’ll miss this place because this is where they grew up.”

“It’s just sad that after 20 years living here that we are actually going to leave this place,” he said. “The cost of living is just too expensive. The pay, it’s just not much. People with money are moving over to Hawaii and building their dream homes and affecting the prices of homes and stuff out here and I just feel like, what can we do about that? Man, there’s nothing.” …

read … What Happens When the Movers Are Priced Out Of Paradise?

Eight Years later Hawaii County finally announces changes for own pesticide use

HTH: … The County of Hawaii Public Works Department announced Tuesday plans to end the use of glyphosate-based herbicides on County roadsides, drainage structures, rights-of-ways, and easements by July 1.

Glyphosate is a common weedkiller that in 2015 was listed by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a probable human carcinogen….

read … Hawaii County announces changes for own pesticide use

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