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Thursday, May 5, 2022
May 5, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:32 PM :: 1426 Views

Caldwell Quits Gubernatorial Race--Making way for Kahele?

Petition: Veto HB1567 Bail Reform

Auditor Witch Hunt Over: House Investigators Don't Bother Writing Final Report

UH Survey: Gender Based Violence Hysteria Eases Slightly

Hawaii: Highest 1-year Business Failure Rate in USA

Ige ‘open’ to Maunakea bill

HTH: … “I’ve always supported some change in how Maunakea is managed,” Ige said. “The final bill introduces the notion of ‘mutual stewardship,’ which I think is a real good concept to implement.

“There’s a lot of details that we’ll go through,” Ige continued. “Anytime you’re dealing with management of lands and public lands, it is a complex issue. So, we’ll be be going through the final bill carefully once session is over and before I have to make a decision on a veto or not.”

Ige said he believes the bill still allows the state’s astronomy industry to continue, but added that his signature on the bill will be contingent on whether it is legally airtight, because he predicts that the bill will inevitably be the subject of a lawsuit….

Sen. Lorraine Inouye (D-Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) was one of only three senators to oppose the bill at final reading Tuesday, repeating fears by astronomers that the bill will lead to the termination of observatory leases.

Citing concerns by Doug Simons, UH’s Institute for Astronomy director, Inouye addressed the Senate Tuesday, saying that, with UH’s master lease running out in 2033, observatories are already gearing up to negotiate lease extensions through UH, but will face an uncertain future if those negotiations shift to a new entity midway through.

“After UH loses their original lease in 2033, upon which (the Thirty Meter Telescope) and the other observatories are sublessees, astronomy will be back at square one, starting all over again,” Inouye said. “The costly setback for astronomy, Hawaii’s economy and jobs related to the industry will probably be too much to bear.”

Although the bill professes that support of astronomy would be “a policy of the state,” Inouye questioned that commitment, calling the bill a “Trojan Horse” attempting to drive out astronomy.

Inouye on Wednesday clarified that because the bill sets a moratorium on granting or renewing any subleases until the end of the five-year transition period, it leaves observatories too little time to do the work necessary to renew before the master lease — which the bill specifies will remain in effect until 2033 under the responsibility of the Authority — expires.

“But, as far as I’m concerned, I have no problems with (UH)’s current management,” Inouye said Wednesday….

Kealoha Pisciotta, speaking for Native Hawaiian advocacy group Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, said the latest version of the bill is, against all odds, worse than the earlier drafts.

“It’s been pitched as a Hawaiian bill, but it’s never been that,” Pisciotta said. “The Authority would be taking the Maunakea land out of the body corpus of the ceded lands trust … but it has now developed into this whole thing where they’re establishing astronomy as a state policy.”…

A UH spokesman on Wednesday was unable to provide comments about the bill….

SA: WATCH LIVE: Gov. David Ige joins the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s ‘Spotlight Hawaii’

read … Ige ‘open’ to Maunakea bill: Inouye, Acasio vote against measure to remove UH as manager of summit area

SB2510: Did Legislators Just Ban New Solar Systems?

IM: … The Hawai`i State Legislature passed SB 2510 CD1. “Firm renewable generation shall be a minimum of 33.33 per cent of renewable energy generation for each island."…

There are four firm renewable energy generators on the HECO grids. On O`ahu there are two biofuel generators: Schofield (50 MW) and the Airport Emergency Power Facility (8 MW), and one waste-to-energy incinerator: H-POWER (68.5 MW). On Hawai`i Island there is the Puna Geothermal Venture (38 MW). In addition, Hamakua Energy uses a mixture of oil/biodiesel (60 MW).

Assuming the Governor signs the bill into law, any additional solar on Maui, Hawai`i, Moloka`i, and Lana`i would move the islands away from the legal requirement that a third of renewable energy systems are firm power…..

SB2510: Text, Status

read … Did the Hawai`i Senate Ban New Solar Photovoltaic Systems?

SB2510: Hawaii Legislature Votes to Subvert Hawaii Constitution

IM: … The Legislature proposes giving itself powers that contradict the Hawaii State Constitution’s Article III that defines the role of the Legislature.

Article III Section14 deals with the enactment of legislative bills. "No law shall be passed except by bill.”

SB 2510 SD2 HD1 CD1 states that a law can be amended by a resolution. “Firm renewable generation shall be a minimum of 33.33 per cent of renewable energy generation for each island. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, this percentage may be updated by the ... adoption of a concurrent resolution.”

The House and Senate will voted on the conference draft today: Senate (20-5) and the House (39-12)…

read … Hawai`i Legislature Votes to Subvert Hawai`i Constitution

Conflict?  What me worry?  Judge to render verdict in bench trial despite previously representing defendant

HTH: … A Kona Circuit Court judge will still render a verdict in a bench trial despite previously representing the defendant as a defense attorney.

Alexander Aquino, 48, of South Kona, pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree unlawful imprisonment and persistent nonsupport in connection to allegations of keeping a minor under the age of 16 chained to a floor. He opted for a bench trial presided over by Kona Circuit Court Judge Wendy DeWeese, not a jury, April 26 and 27.

After the conclusion of the trial, DeWeese was made aware she represented Aquino as a public defender in 2009 and 2010 on charges of abuse of a household member, the same victim he is accused of first-degree unlawful imprisonment in the current proceedings….

“Frankly, I have no recollection of representing you,” DeWeese told Aquino. “I stood in court with over 10,000 defendants during my employment with the Public Defender Office. I don’t believe I have any prejudice or bias against you because I don’t remember you.”

Both the state and defendant had no objection to DeWeese continuing to preside over the trial.

During the two-day bench trial, the alleged victim described being confined to a lanai, only allowed into the main house when having to use the bathroom. The minor also testified to being chained, around the neck, with a 20-inch chain to the floor at night with only a towel and blanket for a bed for over a year….

read … Just Another Day in the Nei

Hawaii public schools criticized for slow spending of COVID-19 aid

HTH: … The state Department of Education is getting the lion’s share of Hawaii’s Education Stabilization Fund allotment, but according to federal data, it has so far spent only 27.1% of its $639.5 million total in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, also known as ESSER.

The money comes with use-it-or-lose-it deadlines: The first round of ESSER money, $43.4 million, must be spent by Sept. 30. The $183.6 million in the ESSER II appropriation expires in September 2023 and the $412.5 million in ESSER III runs out in September 2024….

Educators agree that the need to provide academic support at the classroom level for Hawaii’s 171,000 public school students is immediate and urgent.

In the second quarter of this school year, for instance, DOE data showed 52.9% of elementary students and 61.3% of middle school students tested at one grade or more below their grade level in English. And in math, 60.5% of elementary students and 62.3% of middle school students tested at one grade or more below their grade level. The rest tested at grade level or above.

Percentages of students earning a failing grade in math or English rose slightly among most Hawaii public school students in the second quarter, which coincided with stretches of the surges in the delta and omicron variants of COVID-19. Elementary school students fared the worst, with 22% with a failing grade in English and 16% failing math.

At the end of the second quarter of this school year, 31% of all students and 40% of high-needs students were still at risk of being chronically absent, and 16% of all students were “off track” in their progress toward graduation, according to DOE data….

HB: Steady gains by students have eroded after two years of upheaval. Can teachers, principals and $690 million in federal funding turn things around?

read … Hawaii public schools criticized for slow spending of COVID-19 aid

Kaua‘i students’ college enrollment stayed low in 2021

TGI: … The College and Career Readiness Indicators Report published by the Hawai‘i Data Exchange Partnership showed that between 2019 and 2020 college enrollments dropped 9 percentage points on Kaua‘i, from 58% to 49%. This was the largest drop-off in many years — the college enrollment rate usually hovers in the high 50s.

In 2021, the number held at 49%….

read … Kaua‘i students’ college enrollment stayed low in 2021

Retailers: Bail reform bill ‘a win for criminals’  

KHON: … The state Legislature passed a bill this week that would allow those who commit certain offenses to leave custody without bail.

It’s known as the Cash Bail Reform bill and it could apply to those who are booked on non-violent Class C felonies and misdemeanors such as property damage, shoplifting, and theft.

Critics say it essentially creates a “get out of jail free” card.

“The public is already victimized by these repeat offenders and it’s just gonna get worse with the passage of this bill,” said retired Honolulu Police Department Deputy Chief John McCarthy.

McCarthy spent 45 years on the HPD force and in that time saw his fair share of recidivism.

He feels this bill will no doubt lead to a rise in crime.

“Now we’re gonna give them a free pass,” McCarthy said.

“They’re gonna be kind of snubbing it in our face like ‘what are you gonna do to me? you’re gonna arrest me and I’m gonna be out faster than you can finish your paperwork.”…

“For the police, you’re basically throwing your hands up again,” McCarthy said.

“You do all this work and what’s the result? Sometimes you’re gonna arrest this person once or twice on a shift, once every 24 hours.”…

read … Retailers: Bail reform bill ‘a win for criminals’

Former Kauai prosecuting attorney joins Hawaii Innocence Project

SA: … Justin F. Kollar, who served as Kauai County prosecuting attorney from 2012 to 2021, will work as a volunteer attorney and help HIP co-Director Kenneth Lawson and HIP Associate Director Jennifer Brown supervise law students from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa….

Kollar, who lives in Oakland, was elected in 2012 and retired in 2021….

Sept 2021: Kollar, who will leave the county on Sept. 30, has accepted a job as chief of staff for the nonprofit Fair and Just Prosecution and plans to relocate to California.

read … Former Kauai prosecuting attorney joins Hawaii Innocence Project

Taxpayers to fund defense for retired detective linked to wrongful conviction case

HNN: … Honolulu taxpayers will foot the bill for a retired HPD detective who who helped prosecute a man for a sexual assault that he didn’t commit.

Roynes Dural is suing former detective Sheryl Sunia, along with the city, the woman who accused him, and her family members.

Dural’s civil lawsuit accuses Sunia of conducting a biased and shoddy investigation. The court record also says she ignored DNA evidence and tampered with a recorded interview that she conducted with a man who admitted to having sex with the underage girl….

read … Taxpayers to fund defense for retired detective linked to wrongful conviction case

City to enter into agreement to lease Kakaako Makai oceanfront property to 'Hawaii Five-0,' 'Magnum P.I.' producers

KITV: … The City and County of Honolulu plans to enter into a new agreement to lease one of its oceanfront parcels to a company that produces television shows such as “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I.”

The Honolulu City Council is expected to vote Wednesday on approving Point Panic Productions LLC’s month-to-month lease for up to one year for a monthly rental amount of $38,320.

The property is located at 98 Koula St. and right in of the famous Point Panic surf spot.

The city gained control of the land via a land transfer from the Hawaii Community Development Authority in 2019….

REALITY: Miske Mob Were All Union Drivers on Set of Hawaii 5-0

read … City to enter into agreement to lease oceanfront property to 'Hawaii Five-0,' 'Magnum P.I.' producers

Hawaii to become center for Abortion Tourism?

CB: … We have already cared for people from Texas seeking abortions here, after their state law banning abortions after six weeks took effect in September 2021. Although the flight to Hawaii is long, as coastal states like California, Oregon, and Washington become inundated with patients seeking abortions, more and more will come here.

Our medical group regularly sees patients from Guam who pay approximately $2,000 for the eight-hour flight to Honolulu. They arrange child care, take days off from work, and sleep on the couches of friends and family to obtain basic health care.

Most patients from Guam who need an abortion don’t make it to Hawaii. We were relieved when a recent court decision allowed us to provide early abortion to patients in Guam via telemedicine, but now we fear this access will be short-lived….

read … Tourism

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