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Friday, May 3, 2024
May 3, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:28 PM :: 2220 Views

Maui County to (attempt to) Outlaw 'Minatoya List' Condotels

Tokuda: Make Lahaina Federally Controlled 'National Heritage Area'

Green Signs SB582: $385M for Maui Relief -- mostly for 'FEMA Ineligible Persons'

Maui: Enviros File Another Bird Lights Lawsuit

Open Letter: Republican State Convention Delegates Should Reject Rule Changes

Governor:  A&B will direct me to call Special Session to Soak HECO Ratepayers

HNN: …  Gov. Josh Green on Thursday raised more fears of an insurance crisis in Hawaii and said with climate change increasing the risk of disaster, the state has to be prepared.

(Actually this is about making you pay to keep HECO from going BK.)

He said that could mean lawmakers must return to the capitol later this year….

 “What you will hear in the coming weeks and months is that insurers will not insure states like Hawaii, where there is high risk,” Green said.

(Actually this is about making you pay to keep HECO from going BK.)

Green said state must essentially be financially prepared to insure itself against disaster.

He advocates for three pieces of legislation he proposed but were rejected by lawmakers in this session: a $25 climate fee on tourists, giving HECO the power to use money from customers to borrow with state-guaranteed bonds and a state insurance fund in case insurers stop serving some condominium and homeowners.

Green said he’s forming what he calls a Climate Advisory Team, headed by former Alexander and Baldwin CEO Chris Benjamin, to analyze the risk and the costs to mitigate it.

(CLUE:  HECO is a major old-boy power center.  They don’t want to lose it and hope to make us pay to save them.)

A&B is a major landowner, including on Maui where it is a player in the island’s debate over water rights.

Hawaii News Now asked if there was a conflict of interest to having someone tied to a major landowner as head of this team.

“No,” Green replied. “He retired and he’s actually been one of our climate advisors.” …

(IQ Test: How hard are you laughing?)

The legislature adjourns tomorrow - but the Governor said if HECO destabilizes or insurers pull out of Hawaii, he may ask them to reconvene this year….

BB:  Hawaii governor's efforts to resuscitate HECO bond rescue bail fails | Bond Buyer

SA: Hawaii governor forms team to address disasters and climate change

read … Governor warns of impending insurance crisis while approving Maui wildfires recovery aid

Defendant In Honolulu Corruption Case Gave Politicians Thousands In Illegal Straw Donations, Niece Says

CB: … Jodee Haugh appeared to be a prolific campaign donor. 

Over the last two decades, she donated approximately $25,000 to candidates running for Honolulu and state offices, according to state data. 

But it was all a lie, she told a jury on Thursday. The only political donation she’d ever made with her own money was $5 to Neil Abercrombie, she said. 

The rest of the donations, she said, were made in Hough’s name by her aunt, Terri Ann Otani, who worked for Mitsunaga & Associates Inc., a politically connected engineering firm. Otani is now on trial for participating in a scheme to bribe former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro with campaign donations so he would pursue a case against a former Mitsunaga firm employee….

Prosecutors say the effort to steer tens of thousands of dollars to Kaneshiro was part of a well-established campaign financing apparatus run by former CEO Dennis Mitsunaga and his employees, including Otani. 

On Thursday, Haugh, 39, testified that Otani would call her, instructing her to email her with a written authorization to donate to a politician. And Haugh did as she was told, according to copies of emails shown to the jury….

HNN: With tearful testimony, focus of Kaneshiro bribery trial turns to illegal campaign donations

read … Defendant In Honolulu Corruption Case Gave Politicians Thousands In Illegal Straw Donations, Niece Says

Stalled Debris Removal Prolongs A Lahaina Family's Grief

CB: … For more than three weeks Mario had been told that his property was next in line for government-sponsored debris removal. He’d driven by every few days to scope out the progress, but weeks passed and the lot remained untouched

On Monday, he was notified that, after a series of false starts, Wednesday would mark the first day of the work, and he could come out and watch. But on that day the Siatris family waited at the edge of the wreckage of their home for a clean-up crew that never arrived.

“Once in a while I worry about him,” says U‘i Kahue-Cabanting, Mario’s friend and business partner. “Right now I’m worried about him because he’s not feeling well, he took off from work, he got his kids involved, he went down there and frickin’ nothing.” …

Of the 890 lots that have been cleared so far, 325 properties have been deemed safe following soil sample testing, according to Corps spokeswoman Shannon Bauer. Those properties have been covered with gravel to prevent erosion and turned back over to the jurisdiction of the county.

Even after the Corps completes the clearing of his property, Mario won’t be permitted to live on his land until Lahaina’s fire-damaged water and sewer systems have been rehabilitated.

Government leaders haven’t announced a timeline for this work — a point of discouragement for Mario and others like him who want to move back onto their property as soon as possible.

Mario has money sitting in the bank to at least begin to pay for the reconstruction of his century-old plantation home. But he doesn’t know how he’ll come up with the funds he’ll need to complete it.

Like many homeowners affected by the wildfire, Mario says his insurance policy is inadequate to cover new construction, especially with the toll of inflation on the price of building materials.

All of this has led Mario and U’i to move ahead with a plan to live in a trailer that they’ve ordered from a camping outfitter in Oregon. The business partners plan to park the rig at public beach parks or wherever they can until the government gives them the green light to move onto Mario’s lot on Mele Street….

(NOTE: Because Josh Green refuses FEMA trailers, they have to pay for this.)

read … Stalled Debris Removal Prolongs A Lahaina Family's Grief

HPD investigates alleged Jan. 1 beating of friends of suspect

SA: … On Jan. 1 at 4:11 p.m., Mataele and Cadiente, residents of a condominium near Varsity Place and University Avenue, heard officers pursuing Sidney Tafokitau, 44, and went outside to watch.

Tafokitau was shot and killed by police after he opened fire with an assault rifle and seriously wounded two officers on University Avenue.

Mataele and Cadiente, who are Tongan like Tafokitau and knew him from church, jogged up University Avenue at about 4:14 p.m. Jan. 1 after hearing gunshots, to try to prevent further bloodshed, according to the complaint.

Cadiente tried to call Tafokitau twice, within the same minute, “to encourage Mr. Tafokitau to safely surrender,” according to the complaint.

The lawsuit alleges that before Cadiente and Mataele made it to the overpass, an “unmarked white Honda pulled up in front of them, cutting off their path.”

“Two plain clothes officers emerged, pointing firearms at the unarmed father and son, who were in slippers and barefoot, Mr. Cadiente carrying only a cell phone and Mr. Mataele carrying nothing at all. The lawsuit describes how, as the father and son stood unarmed with their hands up, shocked and confused, a large black police van climbed the curb and ran Mr. Cadiente into a chain-link fence,” according to the complaint. “With the fence absorbing the vehicle’s impact, Mr. Cadiente’s body slid under the police van. The lawsuit alleges that officers pulled Mr. Cadiente out from under the van, then began viciously beating him in the head, approximately 10-12 officers in turn using both their hands and the blunt ends of their weapons.”…

read … Attorney blasts HPD’s investigation of alleged Jan. 1 beating

Island of Retaliation: Embattled Kauai police chief accused of ‘punishing’ officers who found his lost service gun

HNN: … Two Kauai detectives filed formal complaints claiming to be targets of retaliation after inadvertently getting tangled up in an investigation centered around the chief losing his gun.

On Friday, the police commission voted to assign the case to a county investigator.

“One found a firearm that was left unattended and turned it in. The other person is the person who received that firearm and booked it into evidence as required,” said DeRollo.….

read … Embattled Kauai police chief accused of ‘punishing’ officers who found his lost service gun

Legal issues complicate removal of ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ city confirms

HNN: … Hawaii News Now has learned the city has voluntarily agreed to “not physically remove any of the stair modules until the conclusion of an evidentiary hearing on May 10.”

That’s according to a city statement released Thursday evening.

“The city’s project to remove the Haiku Stairs has not been halted,” it added.

Officials say work preparing the stair modules for removal is ongoing and they expect to move forward with the removal as planned after the hearing….

read … Legal issues complicate removal of ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ city confirms

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:

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