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Sunday, June 26, 2022
June 26, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:43 PM :: 3138 Views

On 50th Anniversary of Title IX, Hirono Blocks GOP Attempt to Advance Anti-Transgender Legislation

Pearl City -- Highest Credit Card Debt in USA

Maui No Ka $$

Indicted Executives investigated for 20 years--gave politicians $2.1M

SA: … In the past 10 years, Mitsunaga; his wife, Chan; son Bert; daughter Lois; and listed officers of Mitsunaga & Associates and Mitsunaga Construction Inc., including Otani, McDonald and Fujii, have given a total of $2.1 million to candidates for state and county office….

Dennis Mitsunaga had been accused by county prosecutors and the state Campaign Spending Commission of “pay-to-play” schemes dating back to his firm’s work on state contracts during former Gov. Ben Cayetano’s administration. The June 2 federal indictment is the first time he has been charged with a crime in connection to his political giving….

His company received government contracts as recently as just days before the federal indictment.

On May 27, MAI was awarded a two-year contract worth $1 million to provide construction management services statewide, according to the contract description listed in the Hawaii Awards and Notices Data System.

In February, MAI received a three-year contract worth approximately $1.62 million from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to provide “home inspection services — construction.”

In December, MAI was awarded a five-year contract worth $5 million from the state Department of Transportation to provide “civil, environmental, structural, electrical, surveying, geotechnical, landscaping and traffic engineering services” as required statewide….

Mitsunaga’s hui of donors has been a significant fundraiser for state and county leaders, including Gov. David Ige and former Govs. Neil Abercrombie and Caye­tano, and Mayor Rick Blangiardi and former mayors Kirk Caldwell and Harris.

Otani, one of the defendants named in the federal indictment, helped coordinate Abercrombie’s inauguration, and MAI gave $30,000 to fund the activities in addition to bundling $54,000 for Abercrombie’s campaign.

MAI donors also funneled money to county council chairs, zoning committee chairs and lawmakers who sit on the Legislature’s money committees….

In 2003, Randal Lee, a retired Circuit Court judge who now works as an assistant professor of criminal justice at Hawaii Pacific University, was a deputy prosecuting attorney when he began working with then-­Honolulu Police Department Maj. Daniel Hanagami to look into alleged campaign spending violations.

The investigation focused on dozens of firms and individuals who allegedly bundled contributions or donated to the campaigns of Harris, Cayetano and former Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono under false names in order to circumvent contribution limits.

During a state District Court hearing in September 2004, Lee said local engineer George Nishimura, who pleaded no contest to making an illegal contribution to Harris’ campaign, had told investigators that Dennis Mitsunaga “was instrumental in securing state and city jobs” for him.

“It became obvious that pay-to-play schemes were part of the political culture in Hawaii,” Lee told the Star-Advertiser. “The indictment is a sad reflection that corruption is still alive and prevalent in Hawaii. We see elected officials being bought out, and now the indictment shows us that the criminal justice system can be bought out and used to go after our enemies….

Hanagami said the 2003 investigation started by identifying donors who gave money from a third party seeking to skirt donation limits. Many times the listed donor had been told it was perfectly legal to donate in their name on behalf of someone else supplying the funds, he said….

read … Indicted executives are prolific Hawaii political donors

Hawaii -- Almost Nobody Wants to Perform an Actual Abortion

SA: … The number of health care facilities in Hawaii providing abortions has dwindled over the decades. In 1970, there were 10 hospitals providing the procedures throughout the state when Hawaii decriminalized it, according to a 1971 study. Now, there are no abortion clinics on Kauai, Molokai and Lanai, and just one in Hilo on Hawaii island. The majority of abortions in Hawaii are performed by a small cohort of doctors at a few clinics, primarily at the Women’s Options Center in Honolulu and two Planned Parenthood clinics, one on Oahu and one on Maui, according to doctors.

But even those services can be limited. At Planned Parenthood’s Maui clinic in Kahului, surgical abortions are available only every couple of weeks when doctors from Oahu fly over to provide the care because there is no Maui doctor on staff.

The few obstetrician-­gynecologists who provide most of those services say there are likely other ob-gyns in Hawaii who will provide abortions to established patients, but it’s hard to say how many, and it’s unlikely they will accept new patients who are seeking to terminate a pregnancy. It’s also hard to figure out who the providers are….

In response, Ichiyama introduced House Bill 576, which was signed into law by Gov. David Ige last year. The measure authorizes advanced practice registered nurses to perform abortions.

However, abortion providers say that so far the measure hasn’t had the intended effect, in part because eligible nurses aren’t undergoing training….

read … Hawaii still struggles with abortion access

Hawaii: 2.15% of Underage Youth Have Been Turned into Trannies--3rd Highest in USA

BB: … in the 13-to-17-year-old age cohort, California (1.93 percent), D.C. (2.11 percent), Hawaii (2.15 percent), Maryland (2.08 percent), New Mexico (2.62 percent), and New York (3 percent), all have relatively high percentages of transgender-identifying youth and are left-leaning….

While some doctors on the left advocate for hormone treatments, puberty blockers, and even genital mutilation surgery as the proper avenues for treating young persons who believe they are transgender, a new study suggests that such methods actually spike the already high likelihood of transgender youth suicide.

As Breitbart News reported, “The report directly challenges claims from pro-transgender clinical organizations, activists, and the Biden administration that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones reduce suicides of minors who believe they are the opposite sex.”

The Williams Institute conducted the study using the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, administered to adults, and its Youth Risk Behavior Survey, administered to high school students….

Link: STUDY

read … Study: Transgender-Identifying Youth Nearly Doubled in U.S.

Guns in paradise: Ruling could undo strict Hawaii carry law

AP: … Under current law, county police chiefs in Hawaii have the discretion to determine whether to issue a carry permit. Without such a permit, people in Hawaii are only allowed to keep firearms in the home and can transport them — unloaded and locked up — to shooting ranges, hunting areas and other limited locations such as for repairs.

The Supreme Court ruling says local governments can’t require those seeking a license to carry a gun in public to demonstrate a particular need, such as a direct threat to their safety. Hawaii and California are among states with such a requirement.

Hawaii police chiefs have issued only four carry permits in the last 22 years, said attorney Alan Beck, who represents George Young, a Big Island man suing to be able to carry a gun for self-defense.

“It’s a huge deal,” Beck said of the ruling. “Not only does it mean Mr. Young’s case will prevail, it also means the door has been opened to challenging numerous aspects of Hawaii firearms law.”

State officials were determining what effect the court’s ruling could have on Hawaii, Gov. David Ige said. However, some believe they know the ultimate outcome.

“Bottom line is, Hawaii is about to become a more dangerous place,” state Sen. Karl Rhoads said. “Hawaii will go from a place where the right to carry in public is the exception to a place where not having the right to carry on the street is an exception.”…

The high court ruling does allow local governments to impose certain rules limiting who can have permits to carry and where weapons may be banned, such as parks, stadiums and other places where people gather.

Hawaii lawmakers will look at adding additional background screening, training stipulations and legislating ways to keep guns out of certain public spaces, said state Sen. Chris Lee.

There are already gun-handling training requirements for obtaining a firearm, “but carrying something in a public place is a different matter altogether,” Lee said, so he’d like to see mandated training on how to de-escalate conflicts and enhanced training for law enforcement in dealing with situations where people are armed.

He’d also like to see restrictions on bringing guns into public meetings on emotionally charged issues….

read … Guns in paradise: Ruling could undo strict Hawaii carry law

Soft on Crime Crowd Cries Over Failure to End Cash Bail

CB: … It is not known how many prisoners could be released if the bill were signed into law, but only about 10% of the current pretrial population of about 1,100 inmates are being held for misdemeanor offenses. The bill would apply to a fraction of those people as well as an unknown number of low-level felons.

The billed passed with votes of 18-7 in the Senate and 45-6 in the House, but there was a surge in television news coverage of the measure in the weeks that followed, including interviews with a retired police officer, a bail bondsman, and a lobbyist for retailers.

Some critics predicted it would “create more crime.” Another described the bill as “a win for criminals.” One protester at the Capitol asserted that “if they can do the crime, they should pay the time,” falsely suggesting that bail is punishment, (the arrested aren’t sweet little angels who are just misunderstood because they had a bad childhood) and ignoring the fact that the bill applies only to people who haven’t yet been convicted. (some child molesters but not others).

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi told reporters he was appalled the bail bill had passed, and he repeatedly criticized it in media interviews after session ended. He also lobbied Ige directly to veto the bill, and predicted after his meeting with the governor that “I don’t think it’s got a snowball’s chance in hell of passing.”…

read … Enemies' Tears

Ige signs flurry of bills as veto intention deadline nears

SA: … The window is closing for Gov. David Ige to indicate which bills he intends to veto this year, and as the Monday deadline nears many more bills have become law.

Ige as of Friday had signed 115 bills passed by the Legislature in 2022 ….

RELATED: List of Acts 2022

read … Ige signs flurry of bills as veto intention deadline nears

It would be a comedy of errors if they weren’t so real

Shapiro: … State economic chief Mike McCartney says he won’t answer questions about a disputed tourism marketing contract until “the process is complete and a contract is executed.” That’s Hawaii’s problem in a nutshell: We don’t find out what we’re stuck with until we’re stuck with it….

read … It would be a comedy of errors if they weren’t so real

Naniloa in receivership after COVID -- Land board again rejects refinancing

HTH: … in order to give Bushor, who missed the June 9 meeting, a chance to address concerns about the Naniloa’s financial health, the board revisited the issue on Friday, only to deny the request a second time.

Although Bushor had furnished the board and the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Land Division Administrator Russell Tsuji with more financial information regarding Tower, WHR and the proposed new loan, Tsuji said the new information only reinforced his previous assessment that the loan was too risky for the state to allow.

“It’s a junk loan from a borrower’s perspective,” Tsuji said, explaining that the proposed loan could have its interest rates fluctuate month-to-month — during a time of rising interest rates — with the accrued interest only coming due at the end of the two-year loan.

Tsuji estimated that the annual percentage rate on the loan would be around 13%, with potential to go higher as interest rates fluctuate.

In communications with Tsuji, WHR representatives claimed that interest rate fluctuations would be capped at 4.5%.

WHR estimated that, assuming rates remained at the cap for the full two years of the loan, the entire value of the loan would be more than $67.8 million.

“We’re being asked to approve another loan that will only get higher and higher,” Tsuji said.

Tsuji went on to suggest that if there was an available buyer, Bushor would be better off simply selling the Naniloa.

But Bushor passionately defended WHR’s management of the hotel, saying that he “cares too much” about the Hilo community to sell the hotel to another entity with fewer ties to the area.

Bushor also said the $62 million mortgage is necessary to pay off Wilmington Trust, the lender for WHR’s current $50 million mortgage, which Bushor said has been unfair to WHR over the past year.

Bushor claimed that even though WHR has been current on its payments to Wilmington — following a period during the COVID-19 pandemic when it fell behind — the lender declared WHR to be in default and took over financial management of the hotel in October 2021. Since then, Bushor said, WHR has been unable to pay vendors, utilities and other fees because Wilmington remains in control of the hotel’s finances.

“We were current with (hotel franchise) Hilton before this, but now we can’t pay them,” Bushor said….

read … Land board again rejects Naniloa refinancing

Is ‘Reef Safe’ Sunscreen A Big Scam?

R29: … Jen explains that 'reef safe' isn't actually a regulated term. Much like 'clean' or 'hypoallergenic' it doesn't mean anything in the beauty industry. It's simply a marketing term used by brands which have ditched ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate from their sunscreen products.

It's important to compare lab studies (which have concluded that certain sunscreen ingredients are harmful to coral) with what's actually taking place in the ocean. Jen cites a popular study. "Sunscreens can be demonstrated to bleach coral," she says, "but only when it's in extreme exposure lab settings – often a sealed bag with no water flow." This is problematic in itself, adds Jen, as the study is not representative of nature. "Most of the research available on sunscreens and their impact on coral reefs (including oxybenzone) shows that in nature, the evidence does not support the idea that sunscreens bleach coral," she explains. "The studies which suggest otherwise have been outliers." ….

Jen says it's easy for politicians to weaponise these outlier studies to convince their constituents that they're doing something to address this issue. "In reality, the bans will likely fix nothing. This misinformation makes things worse. It placates the public into thinking meaningful change is happening and that the bigger, more expensive and harder steps aren't needed."….

"Often 'reef safe' sunscreens contain an ingredient called zinc oxide," she explains. "Under the same exposure conditions used to demonstrate that chemical sunscreens bleach coral [e.g. in a lab], mineral sunscreens also bleach coral." Jen says it's important to note that in nature, however, neither bleaches coral.

Jen believes that buying into claims like 'reef safe' enables greenwashing…..

read … Is ‘Reef Safe’ Sunscreen A Big Scam?

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