What you need to know about property taxes in Hawaii
How Grassroot Institute is working for a better Hawaii
Sen Rhoads: More Corruption Arrests Coming Soon
HNN: … “I do think that because of the bills we passed, there’s more people in government that are going to get caught doing illegal things than there were before. And in the short run, people are going to say, ‘Look, it’s getting worse. It’s not getting any better.’ I don’t think that’s the way to look at it,” Rhoads said.
“I think that once would be crooks realize that there’s a high probability they’re going to get caught trying to steal taxpayer money, they’ll stop doing it. But things may actually get worse or at least appear to be worse in the short run.”…
When asked why corruption and fraud is happening in the first place, Tarnas said in short, it boils down to “greed and a lack of moral compass.”…
“It’s just upsetting when you have a few bad apples that choose that they think they’re above the law, but they’re not above the law. And it’s time we stop this behavior.”…
RELATED: Federal Court Ruling: Sen. Karl Rhoads participated in Honolulu County Council Kickback scheme
read … How to end corruption in Hawaii’s government? Key lawmakers weigh in
Waianae man pleads not guilty to federal ammunition charge
SA: … A 22-year-old Waianae man entered a plea of not guilty in federal court Friday to a single count of being a felon in possession of ammunition in connection with an April 9 road rage incident in Ko Olina.
Sheysten James Ikaika Joseph, 22, was the passenger in a car driven by Seth Zachary Owens, 22, who allegedly pointed a ghost gun at a woman and her three children. Joseph was indicted Thursday and entered a not guilty plea Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Wes Reber Porter.
His trial is set for Aug. 14 at 9 a.m. in U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi’s court….
Arrested with Joseph was Brenon Kilinoe Joseph Nash, 32. Nash is charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm after federal agents allegedly found two guns, cannabis and a pound of methamphetamine in a car registered to Nash.
On Wednesday, Nash’s preliminary hearing was continued until Aug. 21 and he will remain in custody.
Joseph and Nash are on state probation in connection with a Nov. 20, 2019, melee that led to the deadly shooting of 39-year-old Micaiah McCullah, a father of seven and a youth football coach, who was killed during the brawl.
They were originally charged with second-degree attempted murder for allegedly firing handguns at another man during the early-evening scrap at the park on Manuku Street.
On May 17, Joseph was convicted of first-degree assault and place to keep pistol or revolver, and sentenced to five years of probation on each count. Nash is also on five years of probation after he was convicted in the same state case of attempted first-degree assault and place to keep a pistol or revolver….
The DEA and Homeland Security Investigations are working with Honolulu police on an ongoing investigation into a drug trafficking organization that resulted in the execution of search warrants in April at the home and affiliated businesses of a Waianae family that is one of the targets of the investigation….
read … Waianae man pleads not guilty to federal ammunition charge
‘Lieline’ -- City officials give Honolulu rail system an official name, expect paltry 8,000 daily riders and zero new rider revenue
SA: … after wastefully elevating three stations and track over empty farmland east of Ft Weaver Rd, HART officials hope this ‘Skyline’ name will keep additional rail extensions elevated and expensive, churning out big bucks for builders and unions ….
(Detournement: 'Lieline' is better--named after Rail's foundation.)
As far as ridership numbers, DTS Director Roger Morton said the city expects about 8,000 to 10,000 riders per day by the end of the year.
“And I’m confident of that because I know what the ridership is on the parallel bus routes that go in the corridor,” Morton said. “Frankly, that’s not a great number, and it’s primarily because it’s the first of three segments.”
He added the next segment — from Aloha Stadium, past the airport, to Middle Street — will likely generate about 25,000 riders per day. The final segment — from Middle Street to downtown’s Civic Center area — will see ridership grow to about 85,000 riders per day.
As far as revenue projections for ridership on Honolulu’s pending rail line, city officials did not confirm numbers except to say that a portion of those rider- generated monies would go toward operations and maintenance.
“Historically, we have expected 25% to 30% of expenses to be made up by fares,” Morton said. “Now, we’re not making that right now as we still recover our ridership from COVID. But my expectation is that we will do more than that by the time the rail gets into town.”
As far as overall costs, Morton said the Hitachi Rail contract is a $54 million-per-year expense, while operational costs, including use of electricity throughout the system, adds up to $75 million annually.
Honolulu, he added, has a more than $400 million expense when including the city’s bus fleet and other mass transit options.
But when pressed on actual dollar amounts on what the city projects to receive from rail revenues linked to annual ridership, Morton said: “I have never even done the calculations.”…
read … City officials give Honolulu rail system an official name
Judge rules Kaua‘i County, Hawai‘i DOH violating federal pollution law
TGI: … A federal judge ruled this week that Kaua‘i County and Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) violated federal law by releasing polluted water into the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor without proper permitting.
Chief U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled in favor of West Kaua‘i community group Na Ki‘ai Kai and environmental organization Surfrider Foundation on Tuesday, agreeing that under the federal Clean Water Act, dumping via the Kikiaola Harbor Drain requires what’s known as a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which Kaua‘i County did not have.
“This win sends a clear message to DOH that it’s time to do your job,” said Earthjustice attorney Elena Bryant, who represented Na Ki‘ai Kai and Surfrider Foundation. “As the agency with the kuleana to protect public health and the environment, DOH can no longer turn a blind eye to the decades of pollution that’s been occurring in the West Kaua‘i community.”…
This is not the first instance in which concerns over such dumping has reached federal court. In January 2018, Na Ki‘ai Kai and Surfrider Foundation, alongside nonprofit Pesticide Action Network, sued the state Agribusiness Development Corporation, then-owner of the drain, for similar unpermitted pollution.
The groups won their case in 2019, and following the ruling, Kaua‘i County took over operation and management of the drain.
After community groups alerted the county to the court order, the county subsequently applied for an NPDES permit. However, the Department of Health refused to process the county’s application, arguing that no permit was required, directly contradicting the court’s order….
read … Judge rules Kaua‘i County, Hawai‘i DOH violating federal pollution law