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Wednesday, October 11, 2023
October 11, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:13 PM :: 3434 Views

Hawaii Among Five Worst 'Sinkhole States'

DoH Approves Red Hill Defueling Plan

Mafia News: Andy Winer’s Law Partner ‘a lock’ on Supreme Court Nomination

CB: … One nominee considered a front-runner has no experience as a judge at all.

Instead, Vladimir Devens is a second-generation Honolulu lawyer from a prominent political family, with strong ties to labor unions, including the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.

(CLUE: ‘Mafia’.)

Devens’ father, Paul Devens, was a managing director for Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi, and his mother, Setsuko Sugihara, was a piano teacher. Perhaps most important, Devens is a former law partner of Andy Winer, a Hawaii political fixer who has served as an advisor to Green following years as U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz’s chief of staff.

“Vlad’s former partner is Andy Winer, so there are certainly people who are going to be in Vlad’s corner,” one local attorney said. “There are going to be a lot of people who say Vlad’s a good guy.”

(CLUE: ‘Mafia’.)

Longstanding respect in the community and deep connections outweigh Devens’ lack of experience as a judge, two other lawyers said. His lived experience, “raised in the boiler room of local politics,” as one put it, has given Devens intellectual toughness that one local attorney described as “hard as nails.”

“The word on the street is the guy is a lock,” a fourth lawyer said….

(CLUE: ‘Mafia’.)

Green has until Oct. 27 to announce his nominees. The governor could act sooner, which would enable the Senate to confirm his nominees before Thanksgiving.  …

VIDEO: SHOPO Chief Counsel

read … A Shake-Up Looms At The Hawaii Supreme Court

54.5% rate hike proposed: Honolulu water bills going up

SA: … Question: My water bill contained a newsletter about proposed water rate hikes that might take effect Jan. 1. Who decides whether they will take effect? When will this decision be made?

Answer: The Honolulu Board of Water Supply’s Board of Directors will decide, likely at its Nov. 27 meeting, on water rate increases and higher water meter charges proposed to take effect gradually over the next 5-1/2 years, a BWS spokesperson said. If approval is granted, the first increase would occur Jan. 1, as the fall issue of the Water Matters newsletter and the BWS website say, or perhaps be delayed a month, to Feb. 1….

Customers have until Sunday to comment on the proposed rates, which they may submit by email (to bwsrates@hbws.org), phone (808-748-5041), the BWS website (online form at boardofwatersupply.com/proposedrates) or mail (to 630 S. Beretania St., Honolulu, HI 96843)….

The newsletter and website explain that rates and charges would rise from 2024 through 2028. The first rate increase would be 10% on Jan. 1, followed by another 10% hike on July 1; a 9% increase on July 1, 2025; an 8.5% hike on July 1, 2026; an 8% rise on July 1, 2027; and an 8% increase on July 1, 2028…

(TOTAL 54.5% rate hike)

Big Q: Are you concerned about Oahu’s water rates rising, as proposed?

Column: Water conservation is key to ensure there’ll be water for all | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Kokua Line: Why would water meter charge rise too? | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

PDF: honolulu-bws-rate-handout-2023-09-01

read … Are Honolulu water bills going up?

Two Months later: Maui County still won't say who was in charge during Lahaina fire

KITV: … A representative from the Maui County Joint Operations Center responded to an Island News request, asking who was directing Maui County's emergency response between the critical hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The rep responded to the inquiry on Saturday, September 16th, saying that the information was available, however, Maui County would not authorize its release….

Maui County also will not release information on any evacuations that may have been ordered by either the Fire Department or Police Department in the field -- or by the Emergency Operations Center on Aug. 8.

Since the first press conference, reporters pressed the mayor on the messaging from Maui County which rolled out on Aug. 8.

One reporter questioned Mayor Richard Bissen about directives that some locals received to "shelter in place" on the afternoon of the fire.

"I'm going to guess that the person you spoke to was a visitor," Bissen said. "You spoke to a visitor if they were asked to shelter in place."

But contrary to the mayor's statement, at the height of the self evacuation from Lahaina town, Maui County's Facebook page posted at 4:56 p.m. the following:

"People on the westside are advised to shelter in place unless evacuations are ordered."

Bissen characterized the statement accutely, "So yes, people were asked to stay in their hotels and not leave. The residents were evacuated. Those are the folks that we took out of there."

Were evacuations ordered in the 3, 4 and 5 p.m. hours? Maui County has never presented evidence to support the claim.

The County also won't answer questions about who was active in the Emergency Operations Center….

Two Maui County insiders have told us to take a closer look at the incident command structure for MEMA, asserting that if Herman Andaya wasn't activated remotely, then the responsibility would have fallen on the second in command for MEMA: The pPlans and Operations Officer.

Island News was also advised to find out if there was a "regional point" person for Lahaina during the emergency.

Three major fires raged on Aug. 8. Did MEMA have a regional point assigned for each fire, to extract the vital information- and make an assessment for each location?…

read … Maui County won't say who was in charge during Lahaina fire

Some Maui emergency sirens didn’t sound during the Oct. 2 test--‘repairs can take months’

LN: … On Oct. 2, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA) conducted a statewide test of the emergency warning sirens statewide. On Maui, a variety of areas reported that they did not hear the sirens go off, however no list or notice of the defective equipment was issued….

“This goes to the wider problem with the Outdoor Warning Siren System,” his e-mail continued, “and that is the ability of the State to properly maintain the sirens and are they getting the funding from the State Legislature to properly do so?

“HIEMA does not have personnel on Maui to maintain the system, they respond from Oahu every couple months, so sirens can be inoperable for extended periods.”

Contacted again on Oct. 9, Coe confirmed his earlier message that the Wailuku siren near Wells Park did not go off, and he also acknowledged that there were other areas on Maui where the sirens did not sound.

Asked for specifics, he said he was not authorized to release that information, adding that it should come from HIEMA.

Adam Weintraub, communications director for HIEMA, said in an Oct. 9 phone interview that HIEMA has not yet received all the data from the 408 sirens in the system. He said he would be able to comment more fully on how many were not operating by the end of the week.

“Typically,” he said, “the two reasons a siren doesn’t work are vandalism or a lizard has crawled in and died.”

“Siren repairs, Weintraub said, can take “anywhere from a few days to months,” depending on how complicated the problem is….

read … Some Maui emergency sirens didn’t sound during the Oct. 2 test

A studio for $3,000 a month? Skyrocketing Maui rents leave wildfire evacuees alarmed

HNN: … “Prior to the fire, you could probably find a two-bedroom in West Maui anywhere from $2,000 to $2800, maybe $3,000 a month. Now it’s $5,000 to $7,000 a month. So, how we’re gonna do that?” Delos Reyes said.

It’s no secret. A quick Google search will show how expensive renting on the west side is nowadays.

Hawaii News Now found a listing for a studio on Lower Honoapiilani Road for more than $3,000 a month. A one-bedroom in Kahana runs for nearly $4,000 a month, and a four-bedroom on Kainoe Street is $21,000 a month….

“With the proclamation … they cannot increase their rent, which is great. But the backdoor loop is … evict the current tenant within the legal means. Now, when we get a new tenant, we can set a new price point,” said Jeremy Delos Reyes, who lost his home in the Lahaina fire.

“So, they’re not technically price-gouging, right? They’re not raising the rent on anybody, but they are raising the rental starting point.”…

read … A studio for $3,000 a month? Skyrocketing Maui rents leave wildfire evacuees alarmed (hawaiinewsnow.com)

DOBOR ‘too busy’ to help Lahaina tour, charter fishing operators get back to work

HNN: … Among the vessels in Lahaina Harbor that were destroyed were four owned by Captain David Hudson’s Finest Kind Sportfishing.

Three were 35-foot commercial sport fishing vessels which anchored a thriving business.

“I realized my livelihood just ceased to exist,” Hudson said. “I employed 10 fishermen. And we’ve been working out there for over 40 years, fishing every day. And suddenly, it was all over.”

Hudson did have a potential lifeline — his 37-foot, nearly 60-year-old vessel the “Finest Kind” was in drydock in Kona, and “Captain Dave” thought he’d be back in business.

“I had a friend at Maalaea Harbor that said he would put his boat on a trailer and let me put my boat in his slips so that I could continue to work and fish and we were denied that,” Hudson said.

That denial came from Boating and Ocean recreation chief Ed Underwood and the harbor agent at Maalaea, who said they were occupied with recovery at Lahaina and not ready to deal with commercial users. That decision was made in the first week of September.

read … Lahaina tour, charter fishing operators appeal to state for solutions to get them back to work

Hawaii County Decides to Hassle Street Vendors

KHON: ... County and State officials are telling vendors who sell everything from fish to flowers to get off the side of the road….

… The Transportation Department said vending from a State highway carries up to a $1,000 fine, so they are giving vendors until December to figure things out ….

read … Hawaii to enforce street vending rules (khon2.com)

Hawaii`s Little Know But Powerful Greenhouse Gas Law

IM: …Hawaii passed a powerful law addressing climate change in 2018. The law addresses greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. HRS §225P-5 contains only 153 words. Its interpretation has been misunderstood by utilities and non-utilities. 

…The state established a “Zero emissions clean economy target” to be achieved by 2045. The state goal is a carbon neutral future. Court decisions have asserted that this is more than aspirational, it is a requirement….

Offsets can only occur through carbon sequestration occurring within Hawai`i. Thus, the threat from the global greenwashing scandal of fake carbon offsets can be minimized by local review of local sequestration. (LOL!)…

read … Hawaii`s Little Know But Powerful Greenhouse Gas Law

Those Extra Federal Dollars Are Going Under Your Wheels

CB: …Where is all the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding going in Hawaii?…

far and away the largest share of the $1.4 billion so far announced for Hawaii will end up under our car tires. A billion dollars of that is going to transportation, including $700 million to roads and bridges….

read … Those Extra Federal Dollars Are Going Under Your Wheels

Another Day in the DoE: Former Konawaena MS teacher pleads no contest to sex assault

HTH: … John Lee Franks of Ocean View was indicted Feb. 23, 2022, on two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a minor and one count of continuous sexual assault of a minor stemming from alleged incidents committed against a girl between November 2021 and mid-February 2022….

Franks most recently worked as a student services coordinator at Konawaena Middle School. He was first employed with the department in 2008 as a special education teacher.

According to the department, the alleged offenses did not occur on a public school campus.

Derek Inoshita, communications specialist with the state Department of Education, said Franks s no longer a DOE employee and separated from the department in January 2023….

read … Former Konawaena MS teacher pleads no contest to sex assault

Soft on Crime: 129 Time Loser gets Plea Deal

TGI: …Police Department officers Daniel Ball and Stacy Lockhart, while trying to escape police custody, committing the offense of escape in the first degree. Olanolan also pled guilty to the offense, which is a class B felony and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and/or a $25,000 fine.

In addition, he pled guilty to two counts of third-degree assault of Ball and Lockhart, with each misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

During the incident, Olanolan was also charged with the possession of methamphetamine, resisting arrest and theft in the third degree for attempting to steal batteries, a glove and a bag at the resort with a total value of $250. Valenciano stated those charges would be permanently dismissed after sentencing.

The second case was reported to have occurred on May 9, 2022, when Olanolan tried to steal an excavator valued at over $20,000, committing the offense of theft in the first degree, according to court documents.

But in court Tuesday, the count had been amended to “the unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle,” reducing the charge from a class B felony to a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine….

Valenciano noted there are a number of other cases currently against Olanolan, including district court cases.

“This would indicate to the court that this is a global resolution of a number of cases,” said Valenciano before reading out the plea bargain.

For the vehicle theft case, Valenciano said the state is recommending probation, 30 days in jail, and restitution payments.

For the burglary case at the Princeville Resort and the subsequent attempt to escape custody and assault of two police officers, the state has recommended probation, 18 months in jail, the requirement of an anger management program, substance abuse evaluation and treatment, and restitution. Restitution payment amounts are expected to be determined at a later date.

Court records show that there have been 129 cases against Olanolan since 1994, including criminal complaints, domestic abuse allegations, and traffic crimes. In 2013, Valenciano sentenced Olanolan to five years in prison for eight parole violations.

The court found Olanolan guilty of all charges on Tuesday, and his sentencing is scheduled to take place at 8 a.m. on Jan. 25, 2024….

2016: Commissioner questions release of inmate

read … Will do it again and again

Lahaina Fire News:

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