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December 3, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:45 PM :: 1627 Views

Omicron Detected in Hawaii

Oahu's new 'tourism tax' will affect residents, too

What Hawaii must do to recover financially

UH: 96% of our Students Believe Eco-Religion

Makahiki Stargazing Festival

FAIL: State charges against Miske co-defendant tossed out by judge (again)

ILind: … At the end of a court hearing on Thursday morning, state court judge threw out two felony assault charges against a former bouncer at Michael Miske’s M Nightclub because prosecutors took too long to get the case, which was originally filed in mid-2017, to trial.

Circuit Court Judge Fa’auuga To’oto’o granted a motion by Deputy Public Defender Reiko Ann Bryant to dismiss the charges against Michael Buntenbah, but dismissed them “without prejudice,” meaning it is legally possible for new charges to be refiled. Whether or not prosecutors will choose to pursue new charges is uncertain at best.

Buntenbah still faces federal criminal charges as part of the case against what federal prosecutors are calling the Miske Enterprise, as well as a foreclosure lawsuit seeking over $1.7 million.

The state criminal charges stemmed from a January 2016 assault against several men at the M Nightclub in downtown Honolulu, which was one of several local companies controlled by Michael J. Miske, Jr., and allegedly used as part of a long-running racketeering conspiracy directed by Miske.

Prosecutors allege Buntenbah was a bouncer at the club, and had been identified several times as the person who beat and seriously injured two of the victims.

Bryant successfully argued the length of time between the charges being filed and the trial, which had been scheduled to begin next month, exceeded the 180-day limit provided by Rule 48 of the Hawai‘i Rules of Penal Procedure, even after exclusion of delays requested or agreed to by the defense. Rule 48 is intended to assure a speedy trial, but its simple 180-day deadline is separate and distinct from the closely related constitutional right to a speedy trial.

(Rule 48 is a scam.  They make it up as they go along, then count the days any way they want.)

Bryant and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lawrence Sousie each submitted legal memos spelling out conflicting calculations of the number of days that should be counted in determining whether the time limit had been exceeded. The totals calculated by the two attorneys differed by only a few days, straddling the 180-day limit.

However, Judge To’oto’o said his staff had carefully reviewed minutes of more than four years of court proceedings in the case, and compiled their own count of the delays.

In the end, it wasn’t a close call. Based on this procedural history, the court’s calculations found the delay exceeded the 180-day limit by 50 days….

(NOTE: This rule is so vague they all come up with different answers.  It is therefore easy to manipulate.)

It is the second time Buntenbah was faced state assault charges for an incident at Miske’s nightclub but was saved by the bell when prosecutors failed to provide a speedy trial….

July 23, 2020: Laughter Fills Courtroom as Federal judge grants bond for Miske defendants

read … State charges against Miske co-defendant tossed out by judge

The Search For The Next Honolulu Police Chief Follows Kealoha Model

CB: … It has been months since the Honolulu Police Commission gave a substantive update on the search for the next police chief and Wednesday’s commission meeting brought more of the same.

The list of prospective candidates has remained unchanged for weeks with 19 total candidates — 12 within the state and seven from the mainland — while the city labors on in its search for a consultant to help interview and rank the best candidates.

“I would like to report that we are close to retaining the consultant, which is in the process of being finalized,” James Yuen, the commission’s executive officer, said Wednesday, echoing the updates that he gave during the last three commission meetings.

It has been six months since the initial advertisement for consultant services was posted in June. In comparison, it took six months to secure a consultant during the last chief selection process in 2017….

FLASHBACK: Say 'Uncle' -- What Connects Miske to Kealoha?

read … The Search For The Next Honolulu Police Chief Is Still Bogged Down

One of Higa’s Cronies out at Na Leo

HTH: … Stacy Higa, a former County Council chairman and mayoral candidate, faces a likely range of between 46 and 57 months in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. In his plea agreement, he pointed to the three managers as having a part in his schemes.

The statement signed by Higa says Higa asked his three Na Leo employees to create Makaala Solutions with him as a silent partner, and he had control over it. He then had Kawano create a back-dated false invoice for $270,000 and other invoices through Na Leo adding up to $845,000 of CARES Act funds based on his relationship with Aipoalani, who had been named City and County of Honolulu Department of Community Services grant administrator for coronavirus relief funding.

Makaala Solutions also received $39,962.95 in AmeriCorps money based on contracts signed by Higa, and, in turn, forwarded $25,142.10 to Kawaico Inc., for Higa’s own use. Another $4,000 was sent to Higa’s mayoral campaign account as a business donation. In addition, $20,000 was spent on Higa’s elective cosmetic dental care….

A Na Leo employee who requested anonymity filed a workplace complaint Oct. 29 with the Na Leo board of directors and the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Cable Television Division, saying the continued management by the three named managers made the employees “very uncomfortable and unsafe.”

Alameda announced he was leaving Nov. 5 on a Na Leo sports recap show, saying, “It’s been an absolute honor and privilege of my professional career,” to co-host the show….

(REALLY OBVIOUS QUESTION: What about the other two?)

Interim Na Leo CEO Connie Kiriu said Thursday the nonprofit’s investigation into the allegations is not finalized. The board had earlier commissioned an independent third-party investigation and audit after learning of Higa’s involvement.

“The findings of the investigation were presented to the Board and it allayed any concern of “personal profit” by any Na Leo employee beyond what was already reported in the media concerning Higa,” the Na Leo board said in a statement earlier about the first investigation….

read … Alameda out at Na Leo

HNN sent water from the Navy’s lines to a private lab. Here’s what they found.

HNN Dec 2, 2021: … HNN delivered a sample to FQ Labs on Oahu for testing earlier this week, and informed Bryne on Thursday that the sample was found to have trace amounts of diesel.

Her reaction: “Oh my word. I’m speechless. It’s just shocking to me.”

Tai Khan, FQ Labs director, said the lab actually sent the sample to another facility in Los Angeles. They found .125 parts per million of diesel in the church’s water. “It is trace amount,” Khan said.

“And I would think that any amount would be unacceptable in drinking water.”

The church is right next to military housing at Hickam base.

They bought their property a few years ago from the Navy.

Other water experts told Hawaii News Now even though diesel was found, that doesn’t rule out contamination by jet fuel. They also said it’s possible it’s seeping into the water system.

HNN also sent oily and smelly water from Aliamanu Military Reservation and military housing at Hickam for private testing. The tests did not detect gas, diesel or motor oil.

But FQ Labs says there could be other chemicals causing the problem….

read … HNN sent water from the Navy’s lines to a private lab. Here’s what they found.

Analysis Reveals How Much Covid Hurt Local Restaurants

HB: … The Chart Shows:

The average of daily sales at each O‘ahu restaurant location surveyed during the month.

The Retail Seasonal Adjusted lndex is based on Food Gurus Hawaii’s past performance data.

Monthly counts of new Covid cases and monthly visitor arrival numbers….

TGI: Kaua‘i restaurants get full-capacity green-light

read … Analysis Reveals How Much Covid Hurt Local Restaurants

Why Hawaii Needs A 'Legacy Admissions Index' For Schools

CB: … Colorado recently became the first state to ban legacy admissions to its public colleges. More private universities such as Amherst College and Johns Hopkins University have begun to drop legacy advantage to admissions. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has long held such a policy, unlike its neighbor Harvard University (both are my alma maters). Although legacy admissions for college are on the decline, 48% of private schools still admit based on legacy status.

In Hawaii, we should examine our secondary school ecosystem and the role of legacy admissions. Hawaii has a thriving private school sector, being a state with one of the largest shares of students in private secondary schools. How many students does every private secondary school in Hawaii admit based on legacy each year? Let’s call this the Legacy Admissions Index by which we could compare schools based on the numbers of legacy admissions as a share of total admissions, for each school grade….

What is the risk of legacy admissions? As a newly admitted kindergartener of a private school recently bragged to me, “My parents went to this school, and so do I.”

I was so shocked that his admission to the private school enabled the transmission of a sense of entitlement to one so young, and I felt sad that his sense of entitlement would continue to be reinforced over the next 12 years of his formative life. If legacy admissions perpetuate entitlement mentality over meritocracy, our society is surely on the decline….

read … Why Hawaii Needs A 'Legacy Admissions Index' For Schools

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