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Tuesday, January 16, 2024
January 16, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:51 PM :: 2230 Views

Schatz Blasts Trump’s Dangerous Claim Of Total Impunity, Warns Of Rising Threat Of Authoritarianism In The U.S.

Star-Advertiser Owner Bankrupt--Paper to be transferred to creditors

Kona Airport Runway Cracks Force Shutdown

Hawaii Worst State for Drivers

OHA Backs Off On Its Push To Develop Kakaako Makai, At Least For Now

CB: …After the name change, OHA trustee Keliʻi Akina strongly criticized the campaign on which OHA spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV ads and other media. OHA claimed that it was a victim of racial injustice because it was denied the right to build on its makai land when developers on the mauka side were allowed to build residential condos.

Akina wrote in a newspaper op-ed: “OHA has attributed its legislative failures to dysfunctional politics and racial prejudice, among other reasons. However, I believe that the messaging OHA uses to promote its development project could be connected to OHA’s failure to rally support in the Legislature.”

Akina wrote that the Kakaako Makai residential prohibition was not a case of discrimination against Hawaiians since it was enacted in 2006, six years before OHA acquired its 30 acres on the makai side. And he emphasized OHA was fully aware that it could not build residential high rises on the land when it agreed to the settlement.

He wrote that OHA needs to change its messaging and stop playing the victim.

“By taking responsibility for its decisions and focusing on its strengths, OHA can build credibility and move forward from the past. Hakuone can become a showcase for culture, community, economic opportunity and civic pride in Honolulu, benefitting all residents of Hawaii,” Akina wrote.

And that is what OHA appears to be doing now: pulling back to change its stance from that of a frustrated land developer to an entity dedicated to bettering the futures of Native Hawaiians and by extension to improving life for all Hawaii residents.

In its email to Civil Beat, OHA  says it will be hosting the first new large community events of the year on Jan. 27 at Hakuone — a concert it calls Pai Ka Leo to celebrate Mahina Olelo Hawaii, February’s Hawaiian language month. It will feature performances by 14 Oahu-based Aha Punana Leo and Kula Kaiapuni, Hawaiian language immersion schools….

2023: Dead Bodies, Convicted Felons and Kakaako Makai: Meet the new Gang at OHA

read … Denby Fawcett: OHA Backs Off On Its Push To Develop Kakaako Makai, At Least For Now - Honolulu Civil Beat

No body? Not a problem.

ILind: … that doesn’t appear to be as much of a problem for prosecutors as it was previously, due in large part to the rise in DNA evidence and, as in this case, the ability of prosecutors to trace a person’s digital life, piecing together data showing movements and communications, from simple things like past text messages, emails, photos, contacts, and social media sharing, to more complex things like location tracking of cell phones, records obtained from cell phone provider databases, information extracted from cell phones related to a case, and so on. These types of data can be combined into sophisticated recreations of the communications between conspirators and the physical movements of suspects at key moments.

A former federal prosecutor, Tad DiBiase, who now maintains a blog that reports on “no-body” murder cases (including several from Hawaii), says no-body cases now have a higher conviction rate than all murder cases, perhaps because prosecutors know they have to have rock-solid and convincing evidence to move these cases forward. According to his review of 576 no-body cases he had identified as of early 2023, the conviction rate in no-body cases was approximately 86%, while the overall conviction rate in all murder cases is about 70%.

Fraser was last seen about 9:30 a.m. on July 30, 2016….

Norman Akau, a former executive board member of IATSE, the union representing stagehands in the film industry who has confessed to being part of Miske’s organization, said Miller conveyed an offer that he understood came from from Miske. Akau said he was offered $50,000 to kidnap Fraser and drive him to the North Shore of Oahu, where another individual would be prepared to kill him.

“My role was to pick up – the guy was going to get dropped off by Wayne Miller, and I would drive him to the north shore in which someone else would take care of the kid, and I refused,” Akau told Judge Derrick Watson during a June 2021 hearing where he entered a guilty plea in the racketeering case. Akau is on the government’s witness list for the trial.

A similar offer had been made to Lindsey Kinney, who said in a broadcast interview he had turned down the offer. Later he publicly and repeatedly accused Miske for being responsible for Fraser’s death….

read … No body? Not a problem.

New Gun Safety Training Rules May Be Hurting Sales

CB: … Firearms instructors must get re-certified under a new law that requires gun applicants to get training on mental health, suicide prevention and domestic violence….

read … New Gun Safety Training Rules May Be Hurting Sales

It Started With A Messy Front Porch. Now This Elderly Woman’s Condo Association May Take Her Home

CB: … Rosita Sipiro-Siregar admits her Makakilo home could be neater.

But the septuagenarian retiree says it was overkill for her condo association to hire Honolulu lawyer Kapono Kiakona to run up a $3,300 legal bill to collect just over $300 in alleged fines. Tensions escalated in December, when Kapono upped the ante, notifying Sipiro-Siregar that her association intended to foreclose on her property to collect past due payments.

Sipiro-Siregar acknowledges that her front stoop has at times been cluttered. She also admits that her shoe rack doesn’t meet association specifications, which her next-door neighbor also doesn’t follow. But Sipiro-Siregar says it’s not justified for the Association of Apartment Owners of Westview at Makakilo Heights to force her to sell her home.

“They go after an old lady who’s single and living alone,” she says. “I’m a law-abiding citizen, and I’m cited for having fricking shoes on the front porch.”…

read … It Started With A Messy Front Porch. Now This Elderly Woman’s Condo Association May Take Her Home

Hydrogen: 17 vehicles get their own slush fund

IM: … In 2022 there were about 26,000,000 electric vehicles in the world, but only 40,000 hydrogen powered vehicles. The numbers for Hawaii were similar, about 26,000 electric vehicles but only 17 hydrogen vehicles….

The Hawaii State Legislature passed a bill to encourage the use of hydrogen in 2022. The Senate Bill (SB2570 SD2 HD1 CD1) introduced by Senator Wakai passed the Senate 25-0 and the House 51-0 and was signed into law as Act 241.

The Environmental Response, Energy, and Food Security Tax (HRS §243-3.5, aka the barrel tax) collects $1.05 on each barrel or fractional part of a barrel of petroleum product that is not aviation fuel and allocates the money for various uses. 

As a result of Act 241, 3 cents are allocated to the electric vehicle fund and 3 cents to the hydrogen vehicle fund….

Leo Asuncion, Chair of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, informed the legislature last week that no one has applied for a hydrogen rebate.  

Virtually all hydrogen used globally is produced from fossil fuel. 

Hydrogen advocates are searching for a use for hydrogen.

One inefficient use of hydrogen would be to create electricity, use it to produce hydrogen, and then use the hydrogen as a backup fuel for power plants.

read … Hawai`i Consumers Lack Interest in Hydrogen Vehicles

Solar Industry Whines About Reduced Subsidies

CB: … Hawaiian Electric officials said the new, cheaper tariff will help keep electricity prices in check for all ratepayers, not just those who can afford to purchase rooftop solar and battery systems. 

Customers without such systems help bear the costs for Hawaiian Electric’s purchase of rooftop solar for the grid, so there’s an equity issue to consider, they said….

read … Will A New Order Shut The Door On Future Rooftop Solar Across Hawaii?

Homeless to be Illegally Kicked out of Low Income Housing to make way for Hawaiians

HNN: … Scores of Leeward Oahu residents who were once homeless are worried they’ll soon be living on the streets again as the housing complex where they live is slated to close.

Residents who live in the Ulu Ke Kukui in Maili told Hawaii News Now they were initially informed in December that the complex would be closing, but there was no set date.

They say it wasn’t until Jan. 6 that residents received a letter saying the closure is set for Feb. 20, leaving them only 45 days to find a new home.

The letter said in part: “We regret to inform you that despite our extensive efforts to bring awareness to the extreme costs of operations and the importance of timely rent payments, we have been unable to keep up with our expenses here at Ulu Ke Kukui with the rent received.” …

(CLUE: Renters who pay on time cannot be evicted because other renters don’t.)

“I finally got my own place after five years trying to get my feet stable,” she said. “Then I found out they are shutting this down, forcing me to become homeless again.”

HNN reached out several times to the Hawaiian Community Development Board for comment but did not hear back.

State Rep. Darius Kila said he’s in communication with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and has been told the plan is to use the complex to specifically house Hawaiians on the state housing waitlist.

(CLUE:  This is 100% illegal racial discrimination in housing.  Federal lawsuit coming.)

This comes after nearly two dozen homeless Native Hawaiians showed up last January to occupy the property, claiming that Native Hawaiian beneficiaries were entitled to live there….

(IDEA: Kick other homeless back to the street so these homeless can occupy.  Great plan.)

read … Residents left scrambling after West Oahu affordable housing complex announces closure

Is Honolulu opposing 9th Circuit rulings that invalidated laws against homeless camps?

SA: … Question: Is Honolulu opposing 9th Circuit rulings that invalidated laws against homeless camps on public property (808ne.ws/ 3S0d7kT)? If not, why not?

Answer: Yes, the City and County of Honolulu joined an amicus brief filed in September asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a 9th Circuit ruling that invalidated enforcement of certain rules against urban camping in Grants Pass, Ore.; the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction covers nine Western states, including Hawaii.

You can read the full amicus brief that Honolulu joined at 808ne.ws/3vy5FG1. It was filed by the city of Seattle and joined by numerous other Western cities under the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction, which say that some of the federal court’s rulings make it difficult or impossible to prevent homeless camps from taking over public spaces. Here’s a short summary of the amicus brief’s main arguments:

>> The homelessness crisis is complex, and 9th Circuit decisions have oversimplified the issues, paralyzing local communities’ ability to address problems where homelessness is most acute. “Despite massive infusions of public resources, businesses and residents are suffering the increasingly negative effects of long-term urban camping,” the brief says.

>> The 9th Circuit has reshaped local police power in conflict with legal precedent and preferred local governance. “A town that is not allowed to keep its sidewalks clear and parks open is not really a town at all. It is just a cluster of people living close together,” the brief says.

>> “The ‘shelter availability’ test is unworkable and imposes financial obligations on local governments in violation of the separation of powers doctrine.” Insisting that governments cannot enforce anti-camping ordinances when a town or city has more homeless people than temporary shelter beds “has the practical effect of imposing a judge-made financial obligation on local governments to provide public shelter options, regardless of whether local policymakers and their experts believe that is the best way to address homelessness. This test is made even more impracticable because it determines whether a population is ‘involuntarily homeless’ while also failing to supply a workable definition of that term,” the brief says. “Injunctions like these amount to a forced choice: build more shelter or surrender public spaces.” ….

read … Kokua Line

Feel Good:  Lahaina wildfire debris to be wrapped in plastic before transfer to landfill

HNN: … “It will be a long and challenging process but as each load of ash and debris is carefully wrapped, wetted and hauled away, we will be getting one step closer to rebuilding Lahaina.”

Officials said debris will be wetted-down and wrapped in plastic to prevent ash from being lost during transport. A predetermined route for debris truck has been established….

read … County: Lahaina wildfire debris to be wrapped in plastic before transfer to landfill

HPD officers lose ‘invaluable’ speed enforcement tool

HNN: … HPD has lost what officers consider an essential tool for road safety: Honolulu police are no longer allowed to use their speedometers to pace speeders.

The decision comes in the wake of drunk driving prosecution of former football Coach June Jones.

The arresting officer used his speedometer to pull Jones over and suspected intoxication….

“It was a stop that was not a good stop to begin with,” Cunney said, at the time. “The officer used pace, and for pace you need to have a speed check.”

Until 2021, officers got that “speed check” on a dynamometer at RAD Motor Sports in Waipahu….

Beginning in 2016, RAD had a $144,000 contract which was renewed four times.

But in 2021, when RAD asked for an increase to cover its costs, HPD let the contract expire — in June 2021. In the two and half years since, all the HPD speedometer certifications expired.

The police chief says there are still multiple ways to cite speeding drivers, like laser detectors and using other traffic laws….

read … HPD officers lose ‘invaluable’ speed enforcement tool

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:

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