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Monday, November 29, 2021
November 29, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:08 PM :: 1749 Views

Illegal Fireworks Profit ILWU Stevedores

Major Stephen Gerona Oversaw HPD Inaction on Isabella Kalua Case --  Accused of Sex Harassment Against Male

CB:  … On Dec. 4 a complaint was filed against Gerona alleging he “retaliated” against a male lieutenant who had previously accused Gerona and a captain of making remarks of a “sexual nature” in reference to him….

The detective asked whether Gerona had retaliated against the lieutenant by listing him with a group of officers accused of overtime abuse….

The investigator then asked whether Gerona had retaliated by placing the lieutenant on restriction of police authority and leaking his name to the media….

… A Honolulu Police Department major accused of intimidating and harassing subordinates denies violating department policies, countering that his accusers have weaponized HPD’s internal complaint process to avoid taking responsibility for casework because he flagged overtime abuse and an array of standard of conduct violations.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser obtained written responses that were given to HPD’s Professional Standards Office and city Equal Opportunity Office in the investigation of complaints against Major Stephen Gerona, who led HPD’s District 3 operations and its Criminal Investigation Division. The formal replies show the complaints were filed after Gerona disciplined officers for violations of HPD policies, substandard work or behavior that led to criminal and administrative investigations….

At the Star-Advertiser’s request, HPD prepared an internal workload analysis of the units involved for Jan. 1, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2020.

The Domestic Violence Detail received 5,560 assignments and cases during that time: About 24%, or 1,368, cases were sent to prosecutors; 1,290 cases were referred to the city Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Kokua program, which provides services to victims as cases make their way through the criminal justice system; and 58 cases were downgraded from felonies to misdemeanors. The remainder were administratively closed. The cases in the Kokua program are not part of the 1,368 sent to the prosecutor.

According to HPD, the Child Abuse Detail, typically staffed by three de­tectives, had 2,326 assignments and cases (including Isabella Kalua case)….. During the period included in the analysis, just 115 cases (4%) were sent to prosecutors; 540 were referred to Victim Witness Kokua; and detectives downgraded six felony child abuse cases …

read … Major Stephen Gerona denies violating Honolulu Police Department policies

Political Corruption: What the Honolulu Council Isn’t Doing About it

CB: … Like other jurisdictions, the City Council can reform the way it manages settlements and claims. They can abolish voluntary executive sessions and only close the doors when privacy is required by law. The council can also prohibit non-disclosure agreements and limit the city’s use of generic “admit no wrong-doing” liability clauses.

Similarly, rather than label a resolution “confidential” and then secretly insert the cost to taxpayers after a closed-door meeting, the council can mandate that each resolution for a settlement or to retain services is made public and includes costs, prior to action. The City Council’s existing settlement and claim rituals are all remnants of an old-fashioned government that cannot be justified today.

The City Council can eliminate all fees for public record requests. Fees are not legally required. The city is also prohibited from earning profits. As nearly all city departments have taxpayer-funded staff to manage records, charging the public for the same records looks and feels like the city is profiteering.

The City Council can adopt efficiency and transparency standards for all city departments. The slow and clandestine actions of agencies like the Ethics Commission, the Department of Planning and Permitting, and even the Corporation Counsel hinder the city’s ability to tackle serious misconduct issues and program deficiencies in a timely matter.

The City Council can work to establish a single department to house all boards and commissions. Several other U.S. cities already have. Currently, board staffing, funding, and operational rules vary so wildly that it is both worrisome and embarrassing.

The Deferred Compensation Board, Neighborhood Boards, the Youth Commission, the Arborist Committee, HART, and the rest — all perform important, often legally mandated work on behalf of the public. It is high time that the city act like it.

The City Council can work to eliminate “fox guarding the hen house” schemes in the city. For example, requiring that elected officials include tax returns with their financial disclosure forms will increase the integrity and accuracy of each self-filing.

Like the federal government model, restricting the hiring of political appointees and elected officials by semi-autonomous agencies will help to preserve the autonomy and legitimacy of these programs. Likewise, exempt employees serve throughout the city.

Officially extending workplace violence, sexual harassment, and whistleblower protections to these employees is long overdue. True reform is not possible if the “fox” is both the decider of fates and complaints.

Fiscal oversight is the City Council’s most powerful tool. When it becomes apparent that a budget ordinance has been violated, as it was with the domestic violence shelter, the council must resist the urge to sweep it under the rug and throw more good money after bad. Instead, the City Council can mandate that this type of information is made public….

read … A List of things the Council Isn’t Doing

Ige Trick: DOE Grabs $10.3m in COVID Aid from Private Schools

CB: … Qualifying private schools in Hawaii are eligible to tap into $10.3 million in federal Covid-19 relief funds to help offset the cost of cleaning supplies or personal protective equipment for staff.

But Gov. David Ige’s office has increased the percentage of low-income students required for schools to participate in the Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools Program.

Leaders of private and parochial schools were disappointed with the decision, saying it may preclude their institutions from funding that would help keep students and staff safe amid the ongoing pandemic.

Whatever gets unused from the so-called EANS funding gets sent back to the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund for discretionary educational spending, including for public schools….

read … Private Schools May Miss Out On Federal Covid Relief Funds

On politics and money

ILind: … the more things change….  Sometimes it seems nothing changes.

read … On politics and money

Adoptive parents of Isabell 'Ariel' Kalua to appear in court Today

KITV: … The two are expected to face a judge for their arraignment and plea at 8:30 a.m.

The couple is facing charges of second-degree murder, hindering prosecution, persistent non-support, and endangering the welfare of a minor. Lehua alone was also charged with two counts of abuse of a family or household members….

SA Column: Fighting child abuse and finding hope

read … Adoptive parents of Isabell 'Ariel' Kalua to appear in court Monday 

Honolulu’s Vacation Rental Crackdown May Hurt The North Shore Surfing Scene

CB: … Critics say the Blangiardi administration’s effort to control illegal rentals could cost legal short-term operators a bundle in higher taxes and fees. …

read … Honolulu’s Vacation Rental Crackdown May Hurt The North Shore Surfing Scene

Kauai County proposal would triple garbage collection fees to pay for More Fake Recycling

KITV: … Some changes could be coming for Kauai that would affect about 20,000 homes. The County is revamping its Solid Waste Management Plan, which would triple the cost of garbage pick up if the County Council adopts the plan.

When Kauai's County Council meets on Wednesday, they'll review a proposed plan for how the County manages its solid waste. "We do have small fees for garbage service and the plan talks about adding services like curbside recycling and increasing the fees," says Solid Waste Program Development Coordinator Allison Fraley.

Garbage pick-up costs are proposed to go from $10 to $30 a month for a 54-gallon cart, and $18 to $50 for a 96-gallon cart. Even with the rate increase, it still won't cover the entire cost of running the county's opala program….

It also proposes curbside recycling, (Translation: Ship garbage to Malaysia.) which Kauai does not currently have except for a pilot program. Fraley says it would cost the County $3 million a year to run a recycling program.

"The issue with curbside recycling is the cost," explains Fraley. It would require building a materials recovery facility (MIR), estimated to cost at least $10 million, plus "we have to buy all the carts, the garbage trucks, hire staff."

The plan also talks about ways we can keep more waste out of the landfill to extend the life of Kekaha. "It's concerning," Fraley notes, because "Kekaha has about nine years left- including a vertical expansion."…

>>>Tap here to learn more about the plan.<<<

MORE REALITY THAN KAUAI CAN HANDLE:

read … Kauai County proposal would triple garbage collection fees

Maui Plastic Ban Effective January 1

MN: … Maui County Council  passed Bill 52 last year. Now called County Ordinance 5084, it bans the sale and use of single-use plastic foodware throughout Maui County as of Jan. 1, 2022. This means no more polystyrene food containers, plastic forks, spoons, knives, plastic cups or plastic straws will be available at your favorite takeout restaurant or retail store….

read … Let’s bid farewell to single-use plastics in Maui County in 2022

Island of Retaliation: Kauai County’s insurance premiums rising 28%

TGI: … The county is seeing an overall $537,000 increase, about 28% over last fiscal year.

The total FY22 budget with total insurance is about $1.8 million, the new premium costs total is $2.16 million. Bill No. 2841 revises the county’s fiscal-year 2021-22 budget by adding $315,000 to the Department of Finance’s budget to cover these new costs.

”We’re also reducing our coverage. We went from a $20-million liability coverage to $10 million,” Matsuyama said. “So to get the same $20 million this period would have cost us $1.4 million.”

The decision to not go with the higher coverage, Matsuyama said, is because the county has “never had a claim for anywhere near the $10 million, (so) we opted to cut the coverage amount to that level.”…

“I know we get a lot of claims,” Kaneshiro said….

(Translation: Retaliation is expensive.)

read … County’s insurance premiums rising

Lynn Finnegan should make it a point to recruit competent people as Republican Candidates

CB: … I first met Finnegan in 2006 at the State Capitol, and later worked under her in 2010 when I was a research analyst in the House Minority Research office. One of the things that I appreciated about then-Rep. Finnegan was that while being a Republican, she was always willing to step outside of the bubble of pure partisanship and listen to policy concerns on the basis of what would work best for the most people in Hawaii.

That kind of Republican is sorely needed at a time when a nihilistic, contrarian “everything is fake” mindset has infected conservatism.

As Hawaii Gov. David Ige enters his final year of a highly controversial administration, local voters are rapidly marching into a coronation of yet another Democratic candidate as their next governor with the Hawaii Republican Party in shambles. And while Hawaii’s political demographics may make Democrats the inevitable outcome of most elections, the local Republican Party needs to offer voters a credible alternative that can hold Democrats accountable.

In short, bad, out of touch local Republicans polarize and embolden bad, out of touch Democrats to take power. But competent, credible local Republicans force Democrats to be better, so even if a Republican loses, the Democrat that wins does so only by being a better candidate than the rest of their party.

If I were to give advice to the Hawaii Republican Party’s new chair, I’d begin by saying reset the party and focus on knowing the policy particulars of Hawaii and what can be done, right now, to directly impact people at their point of need….

read … Hawaii Has A Good Chance To Reset The Republican Party

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