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Sunday, May 19, 2024
May 19, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:09 PM :: 3104 Views

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is a slush fund—Where is the money going?

Plan to ban thousands of TVRs on Maui has rocky road ahead

Honolulu cuts budget by $40M; Grassroot says ‘keep going’

Secret Administrative Directives, Part 1

Interview with Kaneshiro jury foreman Shane Keli’i Kai Paleka

CB: … A 20-year Army veteran (intel analyst) (KS grad) with a master’s in criminal justice, Paleka, 42, said it was his first time serving on a jury…. 

Some believed that Honolulu businessman Dennis Mitsunaga and his associates really had bribed county prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro to file theft charges against Mitsunaga’s ex-employee, Laurel Mau, Paleka said. 

But the jury was under instructions to convict only based on the evidence. And throughout the trial, the group waited and waited for “smoking gun” proof of a quid pro quo that never came.

After a day and a half of deliberation, the jury determined the case had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. …

But enough concerns were raised about Mau’s conduct during the trial to give the jurors a sense of why Mitsunaga’s team would pursue a criminal case against her, he said. 

“Were they just trying to get justice for what they feel had been done to their family-esque business?” he asked. “We thought there is more circumstantial evidence against Laurel Mau, and it was more clear than the circumstantial evidence against the defendants.” 

And when it comes to campaign contributions, Paleka said, they’re generally legal….

The jury’s deliberations were aided by the close bond the jurors had formed over the last two months, Paleka said. They cracked jokes, brought in food for each other and courtroom staff, and even color-coordinated their outfits. That camaraderie came in handy when having an open and honest deliberation, according to Paleka. 

(CLUE: A team color-coordinates.  If the jury is a team, who is the opposing team?)

“It was my job to bring everybody together just to continually point out: You feel this way about him or her, and you believe either this count or that count, they’re guilty. Show me the evidence,” he said. “And people would come up with great evidence.”

But others would raise alternate points of view, he said, and the picture became less clear.

“And then myself or somebody else would say: OK, now that you’ve heard two or three other ways to take it, does that create reasonable doubt? And everybody who thought they were guilty were like, well, yeah, it does.” … 

HNN: PODCAST: ‘Other Side’ sits down with jury foreman in Kaneshiro bribery case

HNN: Paleka said eight of the 12 jurors voted “guilty” in that first round

RELATED: The Delphi Technique: Let’s Stop Being Manipulated!

read … Interviews jury foreman Shane Keli’i Kai Paleka

Crime spree: The testimony of key witness Jacob ‘Jake’ Smith

ILind: … In 2012, when he was just 18, Smith was arrested and charged with 1st degree attempted burglary of a residence, a Class B felony. He pleaded “no contest” and initially caught a break when his request for deferred acceptance of his no contest plea was granted. This meant that if he stayed out of trouble for a few years, his record would be wiped clean, his conviction erased.

But instead, he was arrested and detained in the Oahu Community Correctional Center in 2015 for violating the terms of his release.

When he was released from OCCC, a friend introduced him to John Stancil, Miske’s half-brother. Stancil, in turn, introduced Smith to Wayne Miller, who provided him with money and food….

When asked why he went along with it, he replied he had needed the money to take care of his family, and he wanted to gain status in Miske’s eyes. And, in return, Smith said he felt protected from retaliation by his association with Miske, a feeling described by other participants as well….

read … Crime spree: The testimony of key witness Jacob ‘Jake’ Smith | i L i n d

Master lease news: Another telescope controversy is being Manufactured, this time on Maui

SA: … The U.S. Air Force wants to build seven more telescopes on the summit of Haleakala to help better track the growing number of objects whizzing about in space.

But the proposal, unveiled in public meetings on Maui for the first time last week, ran into a buzz saw of resistance similar to the ongoing opposition to the planned Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

Native Hawaiians and their supporters dominated the three “scoping meetings” held to kick off the planning process for an environmental impact statement planned for the Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site Small Telescope Advanced Research, or AMOS STAR, project.

(TRANSLATION: The military land leases are under negotiation.  This is leverage to get more money for OHA.)

Dane Uluwehi Maxwell, the son of the late Native Hawaiian activist, Charles Maxwell, said the project’s EIS should include a study of generational trauma and its impacts on Native Hawaiians….

(TRANSLATION: The activists want the military to pay them off, too.)

The group added that, on the contrary, plans should be developed to dismantle the current telescopes there.

Comments are being taken by the Air Force through June 7. They can be emailed to or sent via U.S. Mail: AMOS STAR EIS c/o Tetra Tech, 1230 Colombia St., Suite 1000, San Diego, CA 92101.

The project’s website is at…. 

S: Space Force wants 7 new telescopes in Hawaii. Local residents say 'no' | Space

CB: The Air Force Wants To Build 7 New Telescopes On Maui To Track Space Debris

REALITY: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

MEANWHILE: New Star Wars plan: Pentagon rushes to counter threats in orbit

read … Another telescope controvery is brewing, this time on Maui

Part of The Plan: Public to discuss ‘new site’ for destroyed Lahaina school

SA: … The state Department of Education will hold a community meeting Tuesday to discuss options for a permanent site for the King Kamehameha III Elementary School campus, which was damaged beyond repair in the Aug. 8 wildfires on Maui.

The meeting’s goal is to get community feedback on the new location of the school as the school is rebuilt over the next several years, DOE officials said. Three possible location options will be presented at the meeting before community feedback will be heard.

King Kamehameha III school was on Front Street in Lahaina and was relocated in October to share the Princess Nahi‘ena‘ena Elementary School campus in October….

The Tuesday meeting will be held at 5 p.m. in the cafeteria of the temporary campus at 100 Akahele St…

(CLUE: The burned school site will become part of the “Venice of the pacific’ water feature around which the new Lahaina will be built.)

read … Public to discuss new site for destroyed Lahaina school

Tourists Turned Off by Rising Costs of Hawaii’s Vacation Rentals

VG: … According to Travel Pulse, the vacation rental market, once a major component of its tourism economy, is currently in decline. These rentals, which include Airbnb listings and villas, offer short-term lodging options to travelers.

The occupancy rate (OCC) of vacation rentals in Hawaii has decreased by 21% compared to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2019. In March, the occupancy rate was 57.4%, significantly lower than the hotel occupancy rate of 74.6% during the same period.

Despite the drop in occupancy rates, rental prices have continued to rise, with a 45% surge just last year. The current average rental rate for vacation rentals exceeds $337 per night.

This downturn in Hawaii’s vacation rental market can be attributed to recent legislative changes in the state.

Hawaii has seen a surge in real estate transactions to boost accommodation facilities, which has increased living costs and exacerbated the housing shortage. In response, state authorities have enacted legislative reforms to regulate these facilities more strictly. As a result, the availability of accommodations in Hawaii is expected to decrease, potentially driving prices even higher.

Some are concerned that the current situation will significantly impact the local economy and the tourism industry….

TP: Hawaii Vacation Rental Occupancy Rates Drop | TravelPulse

read … Tourists Turned Off by Rising Costs of Hawaii’s Vacation Rentals

Hawaii Democratic Party holds State Convention

MSN: … The Hawaii Democratic Party held its 2024 State Convention at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Saturday to discuss proposed changes to the party’s platform and hold elections….

CB: Beth Fukumoto: What State Party Conventions Tell Us About The Functioning Of Democracy

read … ‘Time to reenergize, reorganize,’ Hawaii Democratic Party holds State Convention

No Treatment Available for Drug Addicts in Hawaii

SA: … Dr. Shannon Price-Schwartz is a board-certified physician in family medicine and addiction medicine, medical director of Evolve Medical Center in Kailua-Kona, and one of few providers on Hawaii practicing in addiction medicine. In her eyes, the community essentially has “no one to turn to” if people suffer from a substance use disorder, including opioid use disorder.

Clinicians in Hawaii capable of managing and prescribing medications for substance use disorder are scant at best, particularly in the face of an extraordinary shortage of health care providers. It is difficult, next to impossible even, to obtain a bed, receive life-saving treatment and safely detox in a medically supported, controlled environment.

For someone suffering with substance use disorder, there are transient moments of clarity when they are willing to seek help. This initial opportunity of willingness is unlikely to last. The stark realities of a medically underserved community and lack of trained clinicians providing treatment can make the difference between life and death. This critical window of opportunity can be lost, sometimes forever….

read … Column: Substance use disorder can be treated | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

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