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Sunday, September 25, 2022
September 25, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:49 PM :: 2918 Views

Our Kids Are Going Away

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted September 24, 2022

Corruption: Are 31 Legislators targets of Federal Probe?

Shapiro: … >> In the latest corruption case, cesspool mogul and serial briber Milton Choy admitted paying $2 million to get $19 million in contracts from former Maui County environment director Stewart Stant, who also pleaded guilty. It seems our local officials are always ready to play “Jeopardy” when “The Price Is Right.”

>> Meantime, 31 lawmakers returned campaign donations from Choy after Sen. J. Kalani English and Rep. Ty Cullen confessed to taking his bribes, and reps of some legislators checked with Choy’s lawyer to see whether they were also targets of the federal probe. So much guilty conscience suggests they should be….

read … Hawaii’s political riddle: Guilty conscience or none at all?

Kouchi: Speaker Saiki is Blocking Special Session

TGI: … “The Senate has been working diligently to address the concerns of county prosecutors regarding the potential impacts raised by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court’s opinion in State v. Obrero,” said Kouchi in a statement.

“While we’ve attempted to work with the House, the Judiciary and the county prosecutors to find a way forward, we’ve received no indication from the House, following their caucus yesterday, that their chamber has the 2/3rds majority needed to convene a special session. Furthermore, with the governor’s recent statement on Wednesday saying that he will not call the Legislature back to address this issue, it does not seem that a special legislative session will occur at this time.”…

UPDATE 1:57PM 9-26-22: State House has consensus for special legislative session on Hawaii Supreme Court ruling

read … Kouchi: No special session over Obrero

Saiki: Kouchi is Blocking Special Session

SA: … Saiki on Saturday said that if Ige does not call the Legislature back into session, the House and Senate would each need two-thirds of their members to agree to come back to the state Capitol to work on a fix.

“We are currently polling House members and are awaiting word whether the Senate has the requisite support since the Senate would also be required to vote on judicial nominations and the governor’s interim appointments to boards and commissions,” said Saiki….

Senate President Ron Kouchi and Ige told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Friday that a special session is unlikely….

State Sen. Karl Rhoads, chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, said he doesn’t think a special session is necessary….“I believe the idea that people who have already been convicted are going to be released because of the Obrero decision is incorrect. Hawaii Supreme Court came down with another related decision on Sept. 16, which says that if you didn’t raise the Obrero issue before appeal, they will presume that the charging process was valid,” said Rhoads, an attorney….

Since the ruling, some District Court judges are questioning prosecutors’ authority to initiate felony criminal cases via complaint and preliminary hearing in District Court….On Sept. 8, a Kona district court judge struck from his calendar three felony cases that were charged via complaint, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the cases…. 

UPDATE 1:57PM 9-26-22: State House has consensus for special legislative session on Hawaii Supreme Court ruling

read … Prosecutors and lawmakers split on need for immediate fix to felony charging law

‘You Need A Warrant!’: Hawaii’s Dubious Practice Of Taking Children Without A Court Order

CB: … Hawaii relies on warrantless removals far more than many other jurisdictions in the Western U.S., depriving parents of the right to have their cases reviewed by a judge before officials resort to the drastic and traumatic step of taking their children.

In the nine Western states and two Pacific territories in its jurisdiction, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has drawn very narrow criteria for taking children without a court order. The federal appellate court has found that the constitutional rights of parents and children require judicial review unless there’s reasonable cause to believe a child will be seriously injured in the time it would take to go before a judge, often just a matter of hours.

In keeping with these decisions, child protection officials elsewhere limit the use of warrantless removals.

In Orange County, Calif., for instance – with a population of more than 3 million – judges signed off on 73% of child removals in the past year, according to figures the county provided to Civil Beat. That compares to fewer than 10% in Hawaii over the most recent two years.…..

read … ‘You Need A Warrant!’: Hawaii’s Dubious Practice Of Taking Children Without A Court Order

Deliberating openness of public records

SA Column: … Hawaii’s Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA) gives everyone the right to see government records unless an exception applies (e.g., privacy or trade secrets). For the first time in 35 years, there is serious discussion about creating a new legal basis for government agencies to keep documents secret. On Oct. 4, the public will have an opportunity to voice concerns. Please take a look, and share your thoughts….

Learn more about the process that led to this proposal and how to provide comments to the working group at oip.hawaii.gov/scr-192-working-group. If you wish to offer comments orally, there’s a public meeting at noon Oct. 4; see the website above for more information….

read … Deliberating openness of public records

Hawaii County seeks volunteer board and commission members

HTH: …Hawaii County is seeking resident volunteers to fill vacant seats on county boards and commissions.  The following boards and commissions have current vacancies ….

read … County seeks volunteer board and commission members

Primary Arthur Brun meth supplier gets 100 months in Federal Prison

TGI: … Maluelue Umu, who admitted to providing Brun with multiple pounds of meth, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of meth in June 2021.

The sentence, which amounts to slightly more than eight years with the possibility of parole, followed by four years of supervised release, is the harshest of any of the 11 Brun co-conspirators so far. But it was much less severe than the 20-year sentence Brun received in May, after Judge Derrick K. Watson denied a 15-year plea deal reached with prosecutors….

A condition of the sentence requires Umu, described in court documents as a known member of the United Samoan Organization (USO) gang, to disassociate himself from USO, Sons of Samoa, or any other gangs involved in criminal activities.

According to court documents, Umu met Brun in 2016 while participating in a prisoner re-entry program at Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center, called Church on the Beach.

The then-council member would transport inmates to community-service events focused on feeding and clothing the homeless community (meth consumers).  Umu was just one of these inmates that later became involved in Brun’s criminal activities.

Umu’s lawyer depicted Brun’s involvement in the jail as “a wolf being assigned to guard the hen house.”

“He was essentially a predator, and he was very good at what he did, which is identifying those he believed could be manipulated,” said So‘oalo. “Unfortunately, Mr. Umu was one of the people that he targeted and used for his purposes.”…

After Umu’s release, the pair remained friends. In 2018, Brun reached out to him asking for his assistance in moving meth.

“Umu understood Brun was trying to use Umu’s reputation as a known member of the United Samoan Organization to create the impression that Brun had strong-arm influence,” Umu’s plea deal reads.

By 2019, with the assistance of another former KCCC inmate and USO gang member, Umu was supplying pounds of meth to Brun. Umu would hand off large quantities of “ice” to the councilmember in Wal-Mart bags, in exchange for bags or envelopes full of cash….

read …  Primary Arthur Brun meth supplier gets 100 months in Federal Prison

Waipio Valley community takes stand against road reopening, citing ongoing safety concerns

SA: … It was supposed to be the first time since February that Waipio Valley was opened to the outside world.

Instead, those who tried to enter the renowned valley on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii island were met by dozens of residents, elders, taro farmers and the area’s lineal descendants in an organized protest.

Seven months after Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth closed the road to outsiders due to safety concerns, he had reopened it again — only this time access starting last Monday was limited to Hawaii island residents, cultural practitioners and county-permitted tour company operators in covered four-wheel-drive vehicles.

For the last week protesters have gathered daily at a “kupuna checkpoint” at Waipio Valley Lookout, stopping cars and strongly urging them to drive no farther, warning them that the steep, one-lane Waipio Valley Road that descends into the valley is unstable and unsafe for excess traffic.

The group, called Protect Waipi‘o Valley, is circulating an online petition and vowing to continue the checkpoint until the mayor changes his mind….

SA: Hawaii island firefighters extinguish structure fire in Waipio Valley

read … Waipio Valley community takes stand against road reopening, citing ongoing safety concerns

Department of Planning and Permitting hopes new technology will cut time for permit applications

SA: … The city has closed its solicitation period for vendors to bid on installing a new automated system that is expected to shorten the Department of Planning and Permitting’s permit approval process by almost three months.

The solicitation was released Sept. 8. DPP spokesperson Curtis Lum said in an email that the department would not know until after Friday, when the period closed, how many vendors had bid on the project. Only hard-copy bids were accepted.

The city wants the new system installed by Oct. 15 and put into use by Oct. 31 once staff is trained….

“The prescreening process, which is basically taking upwards of five months alone … , we think we can be able to get that done in a day once we get caught up with the backlog,” Blan­giardi said. “We think the backlog will take us maybe a week to 10 days at the most to eliminate that.”…

It takes roughly 246 days on average — or more than eight months — from when a permit application is submitted to approval and issuance, according to a presentation by DPP staff during a City Council Zoning and Planning Committee meeting Thursday.

Currently, when a permit application is submitted, it remains in the prescreening queue for 110 days on average before review by DPP staff, which could take up to another 10 days, the department said. After that, the application waits in another queue for 81 days on average before undergoing a code and ordinance review by staff, which can take about 34 days.

It may then take up to 10 days for the permit to be approved and issued, which includes collecting payment from the applicant.

DPP said the new automated system should reduce the prescreening queue and review to two days total. The faster prescreening, however, means permit applications will likely stack up for code and ordinance reviews, with that queue increasing to 129 days from 81 days.

The code review process will remain at 34 days on average, but it should take only a day, not up to 10 days, for approval and issuance….

All in all, DPP said the new automated system will shorten the entire permitting process by 79 days….

read … Department of Planning and Permitting hopes new technology will cut time for permit applications

Ige makes big pivot on Aloha Stadium, but he’s fast running out of time as governor

Borreca: … When observers note that Gov. David Ige has “finally made a decision” on what to do about rebuilding Aloha Stadium, they may not realize the time span for action could be as short as 70 days….

Ige, armed with a newly passed state law that put Mike McCartney — a close political buddy and the director of the state economic development department — in charge of moving the stadium project forward, said he doesn’t need any more money to build the stadium.

The existing bond authorizations are fine, Ige said, and he needs just three weeks to make public his new stadium plans….

read … Ige makes big pivot on Aloha Stadium, but he’s fast running out of time as governor

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