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Monday, February 12, 2024
February 12, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:39 PM :: 1503 Views

9th Circuit To Hear Oral Argument in Absentee Voting Case for Citizens in U.S. Territories

Kaheohe 'comprehensive' homeless solution houses only 34 people

Blangiardi announces Andy Sugg as new Chief of Staff

Miske trial picks up after a week of Witness Intimidation

ILind: … Last Thursday, the government filed a supplemental witness list with 13 additional names….

The government’s supplemental witness list includes a promoter, Michael Galmiche, who was beaten outside Miske’s M Nighclub in December 2012 when he was advertising a rival New Year’s Eve event to Miske’s customers as they left the M near the 4 a.m. closing time. Galmiche was badly beaten by a group of bouncers who had been summoned from the club, and Miske allegedly jumped in and participated. Also on the list is Theresa Schubert, who was also assaulted when she tried to shield the Galmiche from further beating.

At the time, Galmiche and Schubert put on a New Year’s celebration in Kakaako Park that was described as Honolulu’s “largest and biggest.”…

Another name on the supplemental witness list is Daniel Miller, who was assaulted by Miske co-defendant Michael Buntenbah, also known as Michael Malone, in the Moani Waikiki Bistro and Bar on January 20.

The incident at Moani’s has sparked a lot of response. Several different versions of a video that captured the assault have been circulating, including versions that sharpened the previously somewhat blurry recording, and another that focused in on the theft of Miller’s gold chain while he was being attacked. I’ve heard from several people offering the names of others involved in the attack that have not yet been made public.

Following the incident, Buntenbah had his release on bond revoked…

Feb 6, 2024: Witness Intimidation: Defend Hawaii owner back in federal custody after instigating a Waikiki brawl  “Miller acknowledged the hostility toward him could possibly be traced back to a December 15, 2012 incident outside Miske’s M Nightclub in which Miller’s cousin, local promoter Michael Galmiche, was viciously assaulted by Miske and a group of bouncers from the nightclub….” 

CB: Miske Trial Resumes After Weeklong Recess Due To Juror Illness - Honolulu Civil Beat

KITV: The trial of Michael Miske Resumes in Federal Court

KITV: Close friend of Michael Miske takes the stand as trial resumes

read … Miske trial picks up after a week off

Green Pushing Tax Hikes

CB: … Green has introduced proposals to increase the cigarette tax, boost the state conveyance tax on sales of luxury homes and impose a new “green fee” on tourists to help the state cope with climate change (creating positions)….

Lawmakers are generally happier to dish out tax cuts in an election year, as they did in 2022 when they approved a tax rebate of hundreds of dollars per person for lower-income families. But cutting taxes may be difficult to do this year.

House Speaker Scott Saiki said lawmakers have two large looming issues to consider before they embrace any sort of tax relief plan. The first is how much the state must allocate to help Maui recover from the destruction of the Aug. 8 wildfires, an amount Saiki says is still unknown.

The second issue is how much the state owes its public workers in hazard pay from the coronavirus pandemic, which is also unsettled. Arbitration decisions have found that thousands of state and county employees are owed back hazard pay by contract, but how much is owed has not yet been determined.

The final cost of those items will be key as lawmakers assemble a new budget and calculate how much uncommitted money may be available to cover the cost of any tax breaks.

Patterns in state tax collections are another major variable because fluctuations of just one percentage point amount to about $100 million that the state could collect — or cannot collect, if the trend is downward.

Tom Yamachika, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii and a longtime observer of the Legislature, said he has learned to pay particularly close attention to decisions the House makes on tax policy in election years.

That’s because all 51 members of the House must stand for reelection every two years, and elections can sometimes affect decision-making at the State Capitol….

read … Green Wants To Make Targeted Changes To Hawaii's Tax Code. Will The Legislature Go For It? - Honolulu Civil Beat

Tourism: Another Year of Stagnation

SA: … The forecast for Hawaii tourism in 2024 is “same old”: a year of flat visitor arrivals, which aren’t even expected to recover to Hawaii’s benchmark 2019 level until after 2025.

That was the opinion of Eugene Tian, state economist for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and other experts who spoke Thursday at the 2024 Annual Outlook &Economic Forecast Forum for the Hawaii Chapters of the Pacific Asia Travel Association and the Travel and Tourism Research Association.

“The economy for the U.S. is going to slow down in 2024. (The economic growth projection for the U.S.) was about 2.4% in 2023, and it’s going down to 1.6% in 2024 and 1.7% in 2025,” Tian said.

He added that the economy will be slower this year than it was in 2024 for most of Hawaii’s tourism source markets.

“The news is not too good, but it’s pretty much flat for 2024 in terms of tourism,” Tian said.

Those in Hawaii’s overtourism camp, who have pushed back since visitor arrivals rose above 10 million in 2019, aren’t likely to feel much angst. However, Hawaii’s visitor industry is likely to view the stagnancy less positively, especially since plenty of headwinds are on the horizon.

Dale Carstensen, FLEX project director, leisure sales, Hawaii and French Polynesia, a member of the Marriott International Sales Organization, said headwinds include the state of global economics, competing destinations, airline support for Hawaii, and Hawaii government’s stand on tourism….

Tian said in DBEDT’s most recent economic forecast, released in December, that visitor arrivals to Hawaii in 2024 and 2025 were expected to reach 9.8 million and 10.1 million, respectively, which is still below the 2019 benchmark of 10.4 million arrivals. Tian said Hawaii’s real gross domestic product — the value of all goods and services — during the third quarter of 2023 was at only 97.7% of 2019’s third-quarter level….

SA: HTA seeks additional funds for destination management | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

read … Hawaii tourism outlook is flat amid challenges, economists say

HB1611: Stop Recycling Bad Cops?

CB: … The Legislature is considering a bill that would require police misconduct in Hawaii to be entered into a national database, a system that could help prevent bad cops from being hired by another law enforcement agency.

Local departments would also be required to consult the National Decertification Index, which tracks officers fired or decertified for misconduct before making hiring decisions.

But House Bill 1611 depends on the Hawaii Law Enforcement Standards Board, launched in 2018, to operate as it was supposed to, including putting in place standards for state and local law enforcement officers and establishing a process to decertify officers if necessary. An accredited Peace Officer Standards and Training organization, also known as POST, is a requirement for submitting and requesting information on behalf of state and county agencies to the NDI.

Although it has been in place five years, Hawaii lawmakers and governors have been reluctant to provide the money it needs to hire staff and implement the standards. There’s also been constant pushback from the county police departments, state agencies that have law enforcement functions and the statewide police union over numerous elements including the decertification requirement and even whether all officers should be held to the standards or just cops hired after the law was passed….

RELATED: Lawsuit Over Teen Raped by son of HGEA President Settled for $1.25 Million

read … Recycling Program to End?

Local Food?  DoE has a solution--‘give us more money’

CB: … The Department of Education has blown past the deadline for a report intended to detail progress toward its mandated goal to buy more local food, delivering mixed messages to lawmakers about its progress in the meantime.

From what education officials have revealed so far, the DOE will need to execute a five-fold spending increase by the end of the decade to spend 30% of its food budget locally by 2030.

DOE Deputy Superintendent Carl Otaguro told lawmakers at a recent hearing that locally sourced food products accounted for 6.14% of the DOE’s spending last year, “a little backwards” from its 6.2% in 2022.

But that number is not final because the DOE has yet to deliver its report which, in addition to the prospect of lapsing funds for a centralized kitchen that the department has banked on, is raising concerns that it will be hard pressed to reach the goals set out in the 2021 law.

read … the only local food is lettuce

2023: A Year of Hawaiian Spyin'

II: …The Rainbow State in 2023 experienced espionage-related events in the air and sea and on land. Russia, China, and even North Korea were at play….

read … 2023: A Year of Hawaiian Spyin'

Lahaina Fire News:

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