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Thursday, May 30, 2024
May 30, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:21 PM :: 2373 Views

65 Lahaina Fire Victims Opt in to Settlement Fund

Mayor signs resolution to create standalone Ocean Safety Department

'Sun Bucks' -- $177 per kid Boost on EBT Cards

HECO to Begin Preemptive Blackouts for Fire Risk Areas

DLNR: No Evidence Cruise Ships too Close to Na Pali Coast

Hawaii Highest Fast Food Prices in USA

Governor's Office 'Listening Sessions' on Child Welfare System

Hawaii Red Cross CEO Fired for speaking out against the practice of encouraging wildfire survivors to move off-island

CB: … Former Hawaii Red Cross CEO Diane Peters-Nguyen was fired from the nonprofit disaster relief organization in early May after she called for reforms and urged the organization to stop prodding Maui wildfire victims to move off-island, her attorney says.

Peters-Nguyen filed a complaint against the Red Cross with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on April 9 that alleges the Red Cross retaliated against her for speaking out against the practice of encouraging wildfire survivors to move off-island, according to her lawyer Bridget Morgan-Bickerton.

On April 16, Morgan-Bickerton said Wednesday, her client was informed that she would be placed on administrative leave and then terminated. She was fired on May 3, according to Morgan-Bickerton….

Morgan-Bickerton said her client raised concerns about volunteers encouraging disaster victims to leave Maui on several occasions in late 2023. It was a story about Lahaina fire survivor Mike Cicchino published in Civil Beat on Dec. 8 that prompted her to reiterate her worries…

A spokesperson for the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission said the agency does not provide status updates on complaints to anyone other than the complainant. …

2017: How Hawaii Civil Rights Commission Covers Up Sex Harassment Reports

KITV: Red Cross Hawaii CEO says she was wrongfully fired; case may go to litigation 

KITV: 'Stabbed in the back': Maui fire survivor claims Red Cross kicked her out of hotel, incentivized her to move away

Dec 8, 2023: There's No Going Back To Lahaina For This Family  “Every time I talk to Red Cross, they kind of encourage me, ‘Well, why don’t you just leave the island?’”

CB: As of Wednesday, there were still 956 fire survivors from 379 households, as well as 95 pets, living in seven hotels and resorts across Maui.

read … Red Cross Regional CEO Was Fired After Standing Up For Maui Wildfire Survivors, Lawyer Says

Crime Pays: City ‘cannot’ recoup $12.5M from man facing gun, drug charges

SA: … “The City’s settlement agreements are generally not contingent upon future conduct but are intended to compensate plaintiffs for verifiable damages resulting from negligent acts of the City or its employees and/or to resolve cases in the best interests of the City,” according to a statement to the Honolulu Star-­Advertiser from Scott Humber, Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s communications director. “The Perkins-­Sinapati settlement agreement did not include a contingency provision for future criminal conduct.”

(Because we knew he would just keep committing crimes.)

Perkins-Sinapati, a convicted felon with more than 40 arrests and citations, (the state judiciary let him out again and again and eventually made him a multi-millionaire) was charged by criminal complaint Saturday with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to federal court records.

(Key word: Federal.)

A hearing on the U.S. Department of Justice’s motion to detain Perkins-Sinapati without bail until trial is scheduled for June 4 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Rom A. Trader.

Among the reasons cited by the government that Perkins-Sinapati should be held without bail is that he is a danger to the community, a flight risk and “the alleged offenses were “committed on release pending felony trial,” according to the motion authored by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Eucker….

read … City cannot recoup $12.5M from man facing gun, drug charges

Rep. Gene Ward: We Need A Special Session To Solve Our Mortgage Insurance Crisis

CB: … Emergency meetings are happening in condos across the state, though our local government does not feel the same level of urgency….

Take for example a prominent Hawaii Kai condo whose annual insurance premium has risen tenfold from $365,000 to $3,650,000 in a single year….

We had Senate Bill 3234 to stabilize the property insurance market and a watered-down study of the issue in House Bill 2686. But in the end, all concerns were neglected and left on the House-Senate Conference table, clearing the way for the insurance crisis to continue with no end in sight.

Sadly, the collateral damage the negligence has created is now hurting our kupuna the most. When our elderly on fixed incomes get hit with anywhere from a 100% to 1,000% increase in homeowners insurance, they panic, but expect relief and assistance in order to be able to stay in their homes.

For example, when Hurricane Iniki hit Kauai in 1992 and all hurricane insurers pulled out of Hawaii (like they are doing now) the Legislature quickly created the Hurricane Relief Fund to assure bankers and mortgage holders that condo and homeowners would not be abandoned….

The Legislature could create a Homeowners Insurance Relief Fund, much like the Hurricane Relief Fund after Iniki. This means the state of Hawaii’s good faith and credit stands between the private sector insurers and Hawaii homeowners if anything catastrophic occurs. This relief fund would tamp down insurance rates and make insurance affordable again as it did after Iniki hit Kauai….

CB: Condos In Hawaii: 3 Key Issues To Know - YouTube

read … Rep. Gene Ward: We Need A Special Session To Solve Our Mortgage Insurance Crisis

Hawaii Council On Revenues Trims Its State Tax Collection Estimate

CB: … The Council on Revenues is projecting that state government will have about $65 million less to spend this fiscal year than lawmakers and Gov. Josh Green’s administration had anticipated during the past legislative session.

That won’t amount to a budget crisis because the state is still expected to take in about $9.5 billion in various kinds of taxes this year.

But the new estimate will make Green’s job just a bit harder as he considers vetoing one or more bills to reduce state spending.

The council, which is tasked with estimating how much the state will receive in tax revenues each year, had predicted in March that state tax collections would grow by 4% in the fiscal year that ends June 30. But members voted unanimously Wednesday to trim that projection to 3.3% growth….

read … Hawaii Council On Revenues Trims Its State Tax Collection Estimate

City salaries resolution? – automatic annual raises based on unions’ contracts

SA: … Nine Honolulu City Council resolutions urging voter-approved charter amendments to overhaul how the city pays its employees were reduced to one this week.

The Council’s Committee on Executive Management on Wednesday voted to recommend Resolution 105 advance to potentially allow voters in the 2024 general election to address city salaries and possibly change or limit the Salary Commission’s powers to grant salaries.

Introduced by Council Chair Tommy Waters, Resolution 105 would affect the compensation of all elected officials, including the mayor, Council members, the prosecuting attorney, and appointed city officials such as the managing director, deputy managing director, department heads, deputy heads, and the Royal Hawaiian Band director.

Resolution 105 will consider the following question: “Shall the Revised City Charter provisions relating to the Salary Commission and the process for setting salaries and salary schedules for all elected and certain appointed city officials be amended as follows:

“Setting adjustments to Council members’ salaries by formula, by taking an average of the most recent annual salary increases of collectively bargained city employees, and prohibiting the Council from voting on its own raises; provided that in no event may Council members’ salaries be increased by more than 5 percent per year.” ….

read … City salaries resolution closer to 2024 ballot

Police called to Leeward Schools 500 times in 5 Months

HNN: …Beckley is in charge of District 8 from Kaena Point to Ewa, a region where a 63-year-old man was beaten Sunday after confronting neighbors about a raucous graduation party.

HPD says the homeowner was cited for illegal fireworks.

The three young men accused of mobbing him have not been arrested.

“It’s mainly these young adult males that are committing these crimes. Why are they committing it? We don’t really know,” Beckley said.

Beckley added in the first five months of the year, police were called to Leeward schools more than 500 times for assaults, threats, and harassment reports.

She says the culture of violence is being fueled online.

“I’ll give you an example: We have a social media page that is dedicated to Ewa Makai Middle school fights,” she said.

“We have a problem out here with our social media, and parents should be aware of what they are following or viewing.”

Maj. Mike Lambert says that the number of public tips about illegal game rooms has doubled in the last year….

That tip line for drug or game room activity is 808-723-3933.

You can also report any suspected crimes to CrimeStoppers at 808-955-8300 or using the p3 tips app….

KHON: West Oahu town hall meeting works to tackle youth crime (khon2.com)

read … Amid spate of violent crimes on Oahu, HPD turns to parents for help: ‘It starts at home’ (hawaiinewsnow.com)

Maui Fire battalion chief charged with sexually assaulting minor

HNN: … Unsealed court documents said Shawn Rogers began abusing the victim in 2019 — when she was about 12 years old. The alleged assaults continued for about 2 1/2 years, the court documents said.

The 52-year-old turned himself into police after a grand jury indictment on May 24.

Rogers is a 25-year veteran of the Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety….

SA: Has a history of domestic violence, according to state court records

HNN: Attorney for MFD battalion chief calls child sex abuse allegations ‘100% false’

read … Maui Fire battalion chief charged with sexually assaulting minor

Land Board rejects plea for contested case hearing from Nakoa luxury yacht owners

MN: … Nāpili resident Junya Nakoa appeared as a testifier on Zoom, nodding when agreeing with something said and shaking his head when disagreeing.

“If they no follow the rules, they get busted,” he said. “You get kicked out of the game. You get penalized 100%.”

Ultimately, the board agreed with the Aquatic Resources Division staff, and denied the request 6-0, with an abstention from board member Vernon Char….

read … Land Board rejects plea for contested case hearing from Nakoa luxury yacht owners

Hawaii judge orders a new environmental review of a wave pool at behest of competitor

AP: … A judge has halted plans for an artificial wave pool until developers can revise an environmental assessment to address concerns raised by Native Hawaiians and others who say the project is unnecessary in the birthplace of surfing and a waste of water.

In granting a temporary injunction Tuesday, Hawaii Environmental Court Judge Shirley Kawamura ordered a new review of concerns including impacts on water supply and anticipated growth in the area.

A group of Native Hawaiians and other residents filed a lawsuit last year challenging the Hawaii Community Development Authority’s approval of the 19-acre (7.6-hectare) Honokea Surf Village planned for west Oahu, which found that it will have no significant environmental impacts.

Opponents of the project say the wave pool, with a capacity of 7 million gallons (26 million liters), isn’t needed less than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from the ocean and another existing wave pool….

SA: Kalaeloa surf lagoon resort plan suffers wipeout in court | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

KHON: Environmental court issues injunction to stop ‘Ewa Honokea Wave Park project - YouTube

read … Hawaii judge orders a new environmental review of a wave pool that foes say is a waste of water

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