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Friday, November 3, 2023
November 3, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:35 PM :: 2986 Views

Carpenters Union Wages War Against Affordable Modular Housing on Kauai

Court Blocks Parts of Honolulu ‘Sensitive Places’ Gun Law

DoE: Chronic Absenteeism 30%--achievement still lags pre-COVID numbers

OHA Trustees Select New CEO

MPD released 20 hours of video. Only 6 minutes show key roadblocks.

KITV: … There are just six minutes of visuals at critical Aug. 8 roadblocks, appearing in the body-worn camera footage released by the Maui Police Department (MPD).

MPD rolled the content on Monday with a last minute press conference. Two hours notice was given for press by MPD's spokesperson to confirm attendance, not sufficient enough notice for journalists to fly from Honolulu.

Maui's Police Chief John Pelletier presented 16 minutes of highlighted video before the full 20 hours were released the next day.

Neither MPD records nor MPD media spokesperson have answered the critical question: 20 hours amounts to what fraction of the existing Lahaina body-worn camera footage for Aug. 8? …

What do the six minutes of visuals at key roadblocks show?

Video from 2:55 p.m. shows how Highway 30 is shut down at Keawe Street by the Lahaina Gateway mall. At this point, the fire has only been going a few minutes 1.5 miles away.

The fire was called in at 2:54 p.m. The clip only runs for two minutes.

The other four minutes of visuals we have are from the future point of gridlock, Fleming Street and Highway 30, where Front Street ends.

At 4:10 p.m. the point of egress is moving freely with cars able to exit Front Street.

A traffic officer even tells a woman trying to come into Lahaina to get her daughter that she can wait it out and see -- not realizing the constant stream of cars will only increase the number of drivers who will have to exit the bottleneck.

The fire will reach the highway a mile away by 4:30 p.m.

The visuals cut out as the officer's safety vest covers the camera.

There are 10 more minutes of audio, but between the two released clips, only six total minutes of visuals at those key intersections.

A voice can be heard over the radio referencing "multiple explosions on Lahainaluna" at 4:17 p.m.

The six minutes of video (16 counting the audio) is all from before 4:30 p.m., the soon to be critical hour of gridlock leading up to people fleeing into the ocean.

None of the video is from Lahainaluna Road and Highway 30 about which officers can be heard on one of the clips, critical of all all lanes out not being utilized….

read … MPD released 20 hours of video. Only 6 minutes show key roadblocks.

Nepo babies cry out as Anti-Nepotism Law Kicks in

CB: …  A new law establishing a “bright-line prohibition of nepotism” went into effect July 11, and already some state officials are scrambling to try to keep their relatives’ pay checks coming in.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission, however, has not been a pushover.

The law prohibits the hiring or supervising of a relative or household member, or awarding of contracts to businesses owned by relatives or household members.

Brickwood Galuteria, the former state senator who’s now an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee, asked the ethics commission in late July for a “good cause” exception to the law. He wanted to have his daughter work in his office. The commission said “nope,” although it did allow a temporary exception of three months.

The commission also rejected the request of a UH athletics officer, Daniel Arakaki, to hire his stepson to maintain the school swimming pools. In that case, the stepson had been cleaning the two pools and had done a good job, the commission noted.

“You indicate that the Pool Position has been difficult to fill. Advertisement has been by word of mouth,” according to the letter from the commission.

But that’s not good enough to prove that “good cause” exists to make an exception.

“Because limited recruitment efforts have been made here — primarily word of mouth — it does not appear that good cause exists,” the commission said. “Should more extensive recruitment efforts occur and no qualified candidates are found, good cause may be established in the future.”

But the commission did allow the daughter of Daniel Espaniola, the principal of Kaunakakai Elementary School, to continue work as the school’s preschool special education teacher — as long as Espaniola does not supervise her. She was the only person who applied for the job on remote Molokai, and Dad did not participate in the interview.

And an acting administrator at the Department of Accounting and General Services, Richard Lewis, was allowed to hire his brother as a building engineer on a temporary basis. The reason: DAGS has not been able to fill the job…

read … Nepo Babies

PUC HECO Coverup: “Its just a matter of timing”

CB: … When an earthquake on the Big Island caused much of Oahu and Maui to lose power in 2006, the PUC opened an investigation looking at causes beyond the earthquake, whether the outages could have been avoided and what penalties to impose on Hawaiian Electric. The PUC launched a similar investigation in 2008 after a thunderstorm caused an island-wide blackout on Oahu.

But the Maui wildfires are a different story. The PUC has been conspicuously passive since the August fires that killed at least 99 people, destroyed much of Lahaina, including its power distribution system, and spawned dozens of lawsuits blaming Hawaiian Electric for starting the fires. ..

(CLUE: PUC must find HECO management not to be ‘negligent’ so as to protect HECO from $5B worth of lawsuits and the resulting bankruptcy which would take one of the core old boy power structures out of old boy hands.  No negligence = no bankruptcy.  No negligence also means ratepayers pick up the tab for repairs to the HECO infrastructure.)

Yost said it was important for the commission to speak with “one voice” and referred questions to PUC spokesman David Richmond, who said the commission wants to make sure all information is available before it begins its inquiry.

“It’s just a matter of timing,” he said. …

Why the commission won’t investigate now, after a major disaster that led to nearly 100 deaths, perplexes observers like Curtis.

“They’ve had this power for 110 years,” he said. “They’ve investigated deaths on ferries and railroads. They’ve just done this forever. This just seems totally bizarre.”

Richmond, the PUC spokesman, insists the commission will act when it’s appropriate.

“Again it goes back to (that) it’s just a matter of time,” he said. “That’s the key: having all the information to be able to do a thorough investigation.”

read … Utility Regulators Are Still Waiting To Take A Hard Look At Hawaiian Electric - Honolulu Civil Beat

TMT work progresses: Project awaiting ‘necessary steps’ from the feds

HTH: …Liu said that 82% of the telescope’s systems are either in their final design phases or have reached the fabrication stage, and all of its subsystems are actively being built or are ready to be built.

Meanwhile, 92 segments of the telescope’s primary mirror have been cut and polished around the globe, leaving 480 to go, Liu said. The final design will include 492 segments, with several dozen spares, that together will form the eponymous 30-meter-diameter primary mirror….

At the same time, Liu said TMT is in the process of converting the East Asian Observatory facility at the University of Hawaii at Hilo into a laboratory to assemble the mirror segments, attaching the polished mirrors to their underlying metal framework. The EAO facility, Liu explained to the Tribune-Herald, currently is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, one of the TMT partners.

However, Liu said the telescope is nowhere near to actually being built on the mountain. The project is awaiting several “necessary steps” from the federal government before any construction can move forward.

One of those steps was completed in February with the completion of a preliminary design review by the National Science Foundation that Liu said the project “passed with flying colors.”

The project also is awaiting a federal environmental impact statement, which Liu said does not have any firm publication date. However, he said the federal government issued in July 2022 a notification of intent to develop the impact statement, and Liu said that process will take at least two years to complete.

While the TMT project was awarded federal funding last month — $6.5 million from the NSF — that funding is not a commitment to start construction, Liu said, and isn’t necessarily linked to the successful review earlier this year….

read … TMT work progresses: Project awaiting ‘necessary steps’ from the feds

Sen Brenton Awa will push to license Bumpy’s medical cannabis farm after federal raid

KITV: … A bill backed by Sen. Brenton Awa would allow the state Health Department to issue licenses to individuals or private entities wanting to grow medical cannabis.

The move comes after federal authorities raided Care Waialua, seizing more than 1,000 plants at the medical marijuana farm on Oahu's North Shore.

"We're trying to give people -- local people who are growers -- a chance at some licenses so they can legally do this," Awa said. "This is about helping people who have to pay from their pockets, not get empty."

Right now the the state doesn't have rules for these types of farms. And because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, the feds can choose to crack down on the operations (when asked to do so by the Dispensary Oligopoly) ….

read … State senator will push to license medical cannabis farms after federal raid

Brutal sword attack leads to lawsuit against Waikiki 7-11

HNN: … It was one of the most disturbing crimes ever seen in Waikiki: A sword attack last summer that severed a man’s arm in front of multiple witnesses.

That crime has now led to lawsuit against one of the nation’s biggest convenience store chains.

The lawsuit says in the last five years there have been more than 4,700 police calls about the 7-Eleven location — more than two calls per day. The complaint filed in Hawaii Circuit Court accuses 7-Eleven of remaining lax in security and in managing a potentially dangerous employee.

The lawsuit includes photos of Jason Walker showing off a sword on his Facebook page….

read … Brutal sword attack in Waikiki leads to lawsuit against convenience store chain

Soft on Crime: Ocean View man, charged with attempted murder, granted supervised release

HTH: … The victim was transported to the Kona Community Hospital with life-threatening injuries where it was determined that he had sustained a gunshot wound to his facial area. He was subsequently transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu, where he remains hospitalized in stable condition.

Behrendt’s bail initially was set at $350,000. However, District Court Judge Kimberly Taniyama granted the defense’s request that he be released on his own recognizance.

His preliminary hearing has been set for Nov.29.

Second-degree attempted murder carries a penalty of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

First-degree attempted robbery and carrying or using a firearm in the commission of a separate felony are both class A felony offenses with a penalty of a 20-year prison term….

read … Ocean View man, charged with attempted murder, granted supervised release

3,000 Homeless Youth--100% Mentally ill or Drug Addicts

CB: … Last year the YO! house serviced roughly 3,000 young people, many of them repeat visitors. The majority — over 85% — are from Oahu; the rest are split between mainland kids and ones from neighbor islands.

Most of them are using something — alcohol, weed or stronger — and very few attend school with any regularity. Some have been kicked out of their homes, some have run away, others have chosen a life on the streets.

“They all have something going on, whether that’s mental health or substance use,” Campbell says….

read … Catherine Toth Fox: Waikiki Outreach Center Points Homeless Youth In The Right Direction - Honolulu Civil Beat

ACLU Plan: Flood Lahaina Burn Zone with Homeless Drug Addicts 

SA: … The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii this week demanded that Maui County stop homeless sweeps that were pending at county parks near wildfire- ravaged Lahaina.

Due in part to that formal request, Maui County officials say they’ve halted the planned relocation of homeless people residing on county-owned properties….

The five-page demand letter says the affected homeless reside at or near Hanakaoo Beach Park and Wahikuli Wayside Park in the Lahaina area.

Based on an ACLU investigation, about 40 unsheltered people are living in public beach parks in and near Lahaina, including at or near Hanakaoo and Wahikuli parks.

“This group of people includes some who were houseless before the Lahaina fire, and some who were not. It includes people who ran barefoot from the flames, people who survived the fires by seeking shelter in a bathroom, people who jumped into the ocean to escape, and people who saved countless others during the horrific tragedy,” (meth addicts) the ACLU letter (doesn’t) state….

HNN: The Debrief: Why ‘deeply affordable housing’ could help solve Hawaii’s homeless crisis (hawaiinewsnow.com)

read … ACLU wants Maui homeless sweeps to end

Lahaina Fire News:

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