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Saturday, March 7, 2009
March 7, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:46 AM :: 12585 Views

Motta: "I got the judge in my pocket"

Monalim denied accusations from defense lawyers that he tried during the conversation with Motta to question the reputation of state Circuit Court Judge Michael Town.

(Star-Bulletin story mentions none of this....and the Big Island papers aren't even covering the trial....)

It was Motta who first brought up the name of Town during the conversation, according to Monalim. While talking about Town, Motta put his hand in his pocket to say, "I got the judge in my pocket," Monalim testified.

Motta's defense lawyer, Charles Carnesi, accused Monalim of making up lies about Town to curry favor with federal law enforcement agencies, who were threatening to prosecute Monalim for drug dealing and money laundering.

"Did you feel that in some way slandering this judge would maybe get you a little more credit?" Carnesi asked.

"Negative," Monalim replied.

"Nobody involved in the prosecution indicated to you they were unhappy with some of the rulings this judge made?" Carnesi asked.

"I wasn't there to talk about Judge Town, period," Monalim said.

Town presided over the murder case of Joseph, Motta and a third defendant, Kevin "Pancho" Gonsalves, when it was still being actively prosecuted in state court.

Over the objections of prosecutors, Town allowed Motta to be free on $1 million bail, noting that, unlike Joseph and Gonsalves, Motta did not have a record of criminal convictions.

Motta has been held without bail after he and Joseph and Gonsalves were indicted in the federal case in 2006.

Town has declined comment, saying through his law clerk that the Code of Judicial Ethics prevented him from speaking publicly about the matter.

No charges were ever brought against Town.

Yesterday, a group of prominent Hawai'i lawyers came to Town's defense in front of state Circuit Court, calling Town a judge of the highest integrity.

Among the group were Richard Turbin, William McCorriston and Jeff Portnoy, all past presidents of the Hawaii Bar Association.  (They're backing Town, Kenoi backs Motta, and Mafia lawyer Carnesi is grilling the witness--see a pattern here?)  

They said the contents of the tape had wrongfully impugned Town's reputation and intended to ask the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI for an "explanation and apology."

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Abercrombie vs Hannemann 1986--future past

He served three months in Congress in 1986 after winning a special election to complete the term of Cec Heftel — who had resigned to run for governor — but lost the primary to succeed Heftel to Hannemann (who lost the general election to Pat Saiki).  (A roadmap for 2010?)

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Aiona welcomes new candidates in race for Governor

An Associated Press report from Washington said yesterday that Abercrombie had told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of his intentions and would beam an Internet video of his announcement back to supporters in Honolulu.

But after the announcement leaked, Abercrombie issued a statement saying he was flying to Honolulu.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who is considering running either for governor or for Abercrombie's congressional seat next year, said the Abercrombie announcement would not change his own political planning.

Hannemann, 54, also a Democrat, says he is popular and politically strong enough to jump into either race later in the political season.

"There is labor support for me to go, there is business support, there is community support and I am hearing from people on the neighbor islands telling me to go.

"I am hearing it from Republicans and Democrats, so I do not feel a compulsion to make an early decision," Hannemann said yesterday in an interview.

If Hannemann runs for governor, state law forces him to resign his mayorship, but if he runs for Congress he can remain as mayor if he loses.

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, 57, has also been mentioned as a candidate for governor or Congress but refused to discuss it yesterday.

The third possible gubernatorial Democrat is former U.S.. Rep Ed Case, 56, who said yesterday he is still deciding between running for Congress or the governor's office.

"Although a difficult choice, I'll make my final decision and enter a race in the next few weeks," Case said.

The Republican in the gubernatorial race, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, 53, has already announced and is raising money. He has collected more than $700,000, and Hannemann has nearly as much left over from his race for mayor.

Abercrombie, however, is unable to use any of the $1 million in his federal campaign, so he will have to start raising money now.

Aiona, who so far has no GOP opposition, says he "welcomes the challenge" of Abercrombie's candidacy.

"I am proud to run on a proven record of leadership, integrity and commitment, and I look forward to what I hope will be a transparent and spirited debate about the best direction for our state," Aiona said in a news release.

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Democrats, media, labor plan gay civil unions rallies on all islands

LIHU‘E — People on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu and other islands will be showing their support for civil unions today by standing in solidarity with their sisters and brothers seeking equal special rights.

(West Hawaii Today and the Hawaii Tribune Herald also do their part to build the rallies, announcing location and time of rallies--like distributing 20,000 free leaflets....)

According to the press release, civil unions supporters include: the American Civil Liberties Union, the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Filipino Community Citizens League, First Unitarian Church, Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission, Hawai‘i State AFL-CIO, HGEA, Interfaith Alliance of Hawai‘i, Japanese American Citizens League, Mana Hawai‘i, Metropolitan Community Church, ‘Ohana Koa, Pres. Barack Obama, Pride At Work, Rep. Hermina Morita, Sen. Gary Hooser, Unite HERE Local 5, American Friends Service Committee and the United Church of Christ.

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Aiona questioned on E Hawaii medical residency program

One man, after laying out the critical status of health care on the Big Island, asked Aiona why Gov. Linda Lingle did not release funds for the medical residency program in December.

"Hospitals are losing money on a month-to-month basis. There's been an exodus of physicians from the island. We're in terrible shape here," the man said, and told Aiona about the community-based fundraising effort for the residency program. He asked for matching funds from the state.

"I know I support that program 100 percent," Aiona said, noting that he hadn't discussed the topic with Lingle yet and could not speak for her. A moment later, he added, "I'm pretty sure she supports it also."

Aiona said the University of Hawaii, which runs the residency program through the John A. Burns School of Medicine, could have placed the funds for it through their own budget.

"If it really was a priority, they could have. But they apparently have not. So that's my only point. I'm not making any excuses for what we may have done in '08, and how we might have fumbled the ball on that," Aiona said. "

Two other people pushed Aiona on the importance of the residency program.  "I'll do what I can in that respect. I thank you for your comments, I appreciate it. Really do," he said.

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State of Pork: Earmark reform could challenge Hawaii institutions

"Why do we need $2 million to promote astronomy in Hawaii when unemployment is going up and the stock market is tanking?" McCain asked as he looked at Inouye. McCain was referring to an earmark for the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii on nine acres above the University of Hawaii's Hilo campus.

Inouye did not reply, but the facility's Web site credits him with helping "secure federal funding at every step from planning to construction" of the $28 million facility. Funded mainly by NASA, the center provides "education that bridges astronomy and culture in a way that will inspire Hawaii's children to seek a career in science," Inouye remarked at the facility's opening in 2001. 

(Actually we needed to fund Imiloa in order to buy off the OHA-controlled opponents of telescopes on Mauna Kea.  It didn't work very well and the OHA agents are now demanding $50M in annual rent.  The Legislature is considering handing over control of Mauna Kea to the UH system instead of the DLNR.  So we need pork to buy off activists.)

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Hawaiian Air CEO says demand 'stable'

The Hawaiian Holdings Inc. unit isn't getting weaker each month, as is occurring elsewhere in the U.S. industry because of the recession, Dunkerley said yesterday in a telephone interview.

"Demand is down year over year, but we're not seeing it get worse," said Dunkerley, who was in New York to ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq Stock Market. "Things have sort of flattened out."

Hawaiian's share of intersland traffic in the state has increased to 80 percent, from 45 percent, after competitor Aloha Airlines filed for bankruptcy and stopped flying last March. Dunkerley reiterated plans to keep 2009 capacity little changed.  (And they also got a compliant media blaming Go!)

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Kaua‘i women celebrate Patsy Mink (spot the arrogance)

It was during the early stages of film production that Kimberlee Bassford, the producer, director, writer and co-editor of “Patsy Mink, Ahead of the Majority,” (***) was asked to come to Kaua‘i to speak to the community. Bassford graciously accepted and brought her film to share in the premiere on Kaua‘i.

Bassford is described on her Web site,, (***)as an award-winning independent filmmaker from Hawai‘i who has a passion for social issue and cultural stories. Bassford is a graduate of Punahou School and holds a BA in psychology from Harvard University and a Masters in Journalism from the University of California-Berkeley. She owns Making Waves Films LLC, a documentary production company in Honolulu.  (And wants you to know all of her credentials so you will know she's also "ahead of the majority.")

Former Kaua‘i Mayor and County Council member JoAnn Yukimura  (and anti-Superferry protester) made a short introduction of the film by describing Mink, who died in 2002, as an awesome pioneer, who broke through the barriers of sex, race, and ignorance, (***) making changes in society that would affect women, people of color and the public as a whole. Yukimura added that Mink was one of her personal heroes because Mink always did what was right in the face of many obstacles.  (Just as Yukimura failed to rebuild Kauai after Iniki)

(In review:  We are enlightened, conscious, and progressive.  You are ignorant.  We are ahead of you.  Got it?)

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