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Tuesday, September 13, 2022
September 13, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:30 AM :: 2930 Views

Ige Names Eight to Mauna Kea Stewardship Authority

UH Strategic Plan draft available for public review and comment

States that Vaccinate the Most--Hawaii 34th

Firing of award-winning investigator from Ag’s office ignites retaliation claims

HNN: … State Attorney General Holly Shikada is set to fire award-winning white-collar crime and public corruption investigator Daniel Hanagami.

Clean government advocates said the move is in retaliation to Hanagami’s criticisms of Shikada, and they worry it will hamper the state’s efforts to crack down on public corruption.

“It is fishy and clearly someone doesn’t like him ... It clearly seems to me that it must be retaliation,” said Bob Watada, former executive director of the state Campaign Spending Commission.

“Dan Hanagami is one of the best investigators and if Hawaii is serious about doing something about corruption then it is people like Dan Hanagami that they’re gonna have to have on their team.” …

Hawaii News Now has learned that the Attorney General’s office locked Hanagami out of his office on Friday and gave him notice that he would be terminated in 10 days.

Hanagami declined interviews but back in March he told lawmakers that Shikada and her predecessor Clare Connors were trying to force him out….

Supporters said he’s been under investigation for arresting a man in 2020 near the state Labor Department building. The man claimed Hanagami used excessive force, but supporters said an investigation later cleared him….

For the past nine years, Hanagami has headed the Attorney General’s office’s investigation unit, handling some of the state’s largest white collar crime and public corruption cases. He earned awards such as state manager of the year in 2015, and a lifetime achievement award the following year.

He was also the chief investigator in the Honolulu Police Department for the Ewa Villages thefts in the late 1990s and led the HPD’s probe into illegal donations to former Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris during the early 2000s….

Flashback: Big Win for Mafia: Biden Appoints AG Connors US Attorney

read … Firing of award-winning investigator from Ag’s office ignites retaliation claims

Is Senator Glenn Wakai the Next DBEDT Director?

IM: …The rumor is that State Senator Glenn Wakai wants to be appointed the next Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) Director.

Josh Green is the Democratic candidate to become Hawai`i Governor in December. 

Wakai is lobbying Josh Green and his team to secure the DBEDT position, and is telling others that he is the lead candidate. …

His wife, Miki Wakai was employed by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) as a brand manager from 2013 to 2016. Miki Wakai was assigned to work on Southeast Asia and Korea projects in May 2016.

In May 2016, HTA lost the contract for the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl. Glenn Wakai began asking HTA’s chief operating officer for details about the HTA’s Sports Marketing RFP in July 2016.

Later that same month, Miki Wakai resigned “in lieu of termination.”

Glenn Wakai eventually sent 232 emails to HTA demanding information about its budget, policies, and practices.

The HTA contracted with ES&A Inc. to investigate the bullying. ES&A Inc. produced a 25-page report in April 2019. Civil Beat obtained the confidential report….

read … Is Senator Glenn Wakai the Next DBEDT Director?r

Hawaii Pain Doctor Rudy Puana Sentenced To 7.5 Years For Drug Offenses

CB; … Hawaii island physician Rudy Puana, who was convicted of running a prescription drug ring that his former prosecutor sister, Katherine Kealoha, tried to conceal, is headed to prison for 7 1/2 years, a federal judge ruled Monday.

The sentencing comes after a jury found Puana guilty in April of 38 counts for distributing oxycodone and fentanyl. A licensed pain doctor and anesthesiologist, Puana wrote prescriptions for thousands of oxycodone pills to friends who sold them or traded them for cocaine.

Kealoha used her position in the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office to control a criminal investigation into the drug ring and steer suspicion away from her brother. Kealoha pleaded guilty in 2019 for her role in the scheme, and she is currently serving a 13-year sentence for that and other crimes….

read … Hawaii Pain Doctor Rudy Puana Sentenced To 7.5 Years For Drug Offenses

Tight job market and supply constraints interfering with Hawaii’s economic recovery

SA: Tian said there was an average of 17,500 unfilled jobs per month in Hawaii during the first half of 2022 — that’s up from an average of 7,600 unfilled jobs per month during 2019. Meanwhile, the state’s population had declined by 0.71% in 2021 — marking the third year of dropping population….

read … Tight job market and supply constraints interfering with Hawaii’s economic recovery

Maunakea plan appealed to Supreme Court

HTH: … activist Laulani Teale told the board that she would be filing a contested case against the board, citing potential public health impacts to the Native Hawaiian community caused by the new CMP.

Board chair Suzanne Case told Teale at the time that the board was unable to take any action on her contested case at the time, asking her to file the case in writing within 10 days. All but one board member then voted in support of the new CMP.

Since then, Teale has filed her petition for a contested case, which was appealed to the state Supreme Court in late August….

read … Maunakea plan appealed to Supreme Court

Still unprepared for big hurricane

SA Editorial: … is Hawaii prepared for the next big storm? Clearly not, particularly not in the area of providing emergency evacuation shelters. There are very few public buildings that provide even minimum requirements for hurricane sheltering. This is despite the fact that in 2006, mandated by a new state law passed the previous year, revised guidelines for properly hardened and equipped hurricane shelters were adopted.

And it’s not as if the state has to dig back 30 years for the most recent hurricane scares. Hurricane Lane peaked at Category 5 after it appeared on the viewscreen in August 2018, weakening significantly on its closer approach; still there were torrential rains and flash flooding. Hurricane Douglas in 2020 was another big near-miss, making the closest approach to Oahu in recorded history….

2011: Hurricane Shelters: Hawaii Still Counting on a Lucky Miss

read … Still unprepared for big hurricane

GOP Geography: In Hawaii, Support For Republicans Has Grown In Ewa And Kona

CB: … Support for Republican candidates in Hawaii is still highest on Oahu’s North Shore, west side and in Ewa.

But support is also growing in parts of Central Oahu, as well as in Kona and in East Hawaii. In fact, the share of voters who are self identifying as Republicans was up in all corners of the state, according to a Civil Beat analysis of election results by precinct.

Those voters made up 22% of the more than 330,000 voters who cast ballots this election season. The GOP hasn’t seen that level of participation since the early 2000s.

“I think a lot of the increase in turnout was because of what people see on a national level, and they are just upset with it,” Brett Kulbis, the GOP’s Honolulu chair, said….

read … GOP Geography: In Hawaii, Support For Republicans Has Grown In Ewa And Kona

It Begins: Supreme Court ruling delays attempted murder case

SA: … Larry Shanks Jr.’s attempted murder jury trial in the June 18, 2020, beating and burning of a then 31-year-old woman found unconscious and half nude in a Kalaeloa military bunker, where she was apparently left for dead, was set to start Thursday. Instead, the case was abruptly dismissed in what may be the first of many more to follow.

Shanks’ defense lawyer made an oral motion Thursday to have the case dismissed based on a far- reaching Hawaii Supreme Court ruling made that same day requiring a grand jury indictment in major felony cases, with no allowances for charging by complaint and preliminary hearing.

Attorney Rebecca Lester wrote in her supporting memorandum that Shanks, who was charged by complaint, immediately be set free once the judge dismisses the charges since Shanks has no pending criminal cases….

Circuit Judge Kevin Morikone granted the dismissal without prejudice Thursday, based on the Supreme Court’s ruling in State v. Obrero, and ordered Shanks’ $1 million bail to be set aside and that he be released from custody.

But an Oahu grand jury convened the next day, Friday, one of two regularly scheduled days grand juries meet, and indicted Shanks on second-degree attempted murder and set his bail at $1 million.

He was served Monday with the grand jury bench warrant at the Oahu Community Correctional Center, so he was not released….

Meanwhile: Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for three people convicted of brutally beating a hotel security guard in 2018.

read … Supreme Court ruling delays attempted murder case

Knife Wielding felon Gets out Again and Again--Does it Again

SA: … A 35-year-old felon who was released from prison in July after serving time for assaulting a man at Ala Moana Beach Park with a knife was charged over the weekend for allegedly threatening a 70-year-old man with a knife in Chinatown.

Ernantes K. Moses was charged Sunday with first-degree terroristic threatening. His bail is set at $50,000….

In a separate case, Moses was convicted of second-degree assault and first-degree terroristic threatening in 2018 after he slashed a man’s hand with a knife at Ala Moana Beach Park. Police in court documents said a 38-year-old man was at the beach park celebrating his birthday with his family on June 24, 2017, when Moses and another man, Mark Press, disrupted them, and a fight broke out.

Moses wielded a knife and Press brandished a broken bottle. Police said Moses slashed the victim’s right hand three times with the knife. Moses and Press also threatened to kill everyone at the party.

In 2018, Moses was convicted of second-degree assault and first-degree terroristic threatening and sentenced to five years in prison. The Hawaii Department of Public Safety said he served his full court-ordered sentence and was released in July.

Court records show Press was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening and received a four-year deferred sentence.

In addition to the felony assault and terroristic threatening convictions in connection with the Ala Moana case, Moses’ criminal record includes three misdemeanor convictions for assault and abuse of a family or household member and seven petty misdemeanors for theft, criminal property damage, criminal trespassing, assault and liquor in public places….

read … Man, 35, charged with terroristic threatening in Chinatown

Shoplifting More Sustainable with Reusable Bags

CB: … It doesn’t make me feel any better about my bag collection to know that shoplifters apparently love the totes. Tina Yamaki, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii told me that shoplifting has skyrocketed since the launch of reusable bags. She told me that when I called her to ask what retailers think about the reusable totes.

Thieves sneak merchandise off the shelves then stash it in a reusable bag so they can claim the goods were bought at another store if they’re nailed by store security, Yamaki said….

read … Reusable Tote Bags Aren't As Environmentally Friendly As You Think

Kapolei Energy Storage will replace former AES Coal Plant - starting spring 2023

SA: …Kapolei Energy Storage is scheduled to begin operations on April 1, 2023 and provide electricity to more than 30,000 homes on Oahu.

Hawaiian Electric officials said customers will gradually see their electricity rates decline – by less than a dollar initially

read .. Kapolei Energy Storage will replace former AES Coal Plant - starting spring 2023

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