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Saturday, August 04, 2018
August 4, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:50 PM :: 2060 Views

At NELHA, Tenant Debt Accumulates For Years, Then Is Simply Written Off

Cat 3 Hurricane Hector Threatens Hawaii

Feds Ask Judge to Dismiss Hawaii Planned Parenthood Suit

Brian Schatz Forgets How Much Leftists have in Common With Trump Supporters

Members Quitting Union Could Claim Decades of Back Dues

HPR:  …The Hawaii Government Employees Association represents close to 28,000 active members, as well as more than 12,000 retirees. It is closely watching the outcome of lawsuits filed on the mainland by some groups looking to claim back dues following the recent decision by the US Supreme court. That ruling, tied to first amendment arguments, allows public employees to opt out of paying union dues altogether….

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!

Related: Legislators Save Union Bosses from not-yet-written Janus Decision

read … Listen to Randy Perriera Sweat for 14 Minutes

Ex-police chief's wife could have bond revoked, legal experts say

HNN: …Katherine Kealoha could now be in danger of being sent to jail while she awaits multiple trials relating to public corruption.

The reason: Authorities suspect that after she was indicted, she tampered with witnesses and that could get her bond revoked.

On Thursday, an attorney connected to the case — Christopher Woo — was back at the federal courthouse. He spent two hours in the grand jury room….

Last year, Woo represented firefighter Jesse Ebersole, who later pleaded guilty to lying to the grand jury about his affair with Mrs. Kealoha, saying she even coached him on what to say….

Ransen Taito admitted to lying to the grand jury saying it was at the urging and coaching of Mrs. Kealoha. …

read … Ex-police chief's wife could have bond revoked, legal experts say

Elle Cochran Armed Robbery Conviction

HNN:  …Back in 1993 when she was 28, Elle Cochran served five years probation and completed 200 hours of community service for her role in the (ARMED) robbery of a group of tourists in Lahaina….

Cochran said. "I feel I'm a role model … for people who are possibly going through the same thing."…  (Translation: Other criminals should get into politics, its easier.)

Under Hawaii law, convicted felons can run for office as long as they’ve completed their sentences…

“I think I'm more empathetic to … people who are incarcerated,” Cochran said….

In the political arena however, she has attracted a lot of opposition for her…anti-GMO stances….

So far none of her opponents has raised the conviction as an issue….  (Pathetic)

Background: Former Armed Robber Running for Maui Mayor

read … 'We all make mistakes in life': Maui mayoral candidate talks about past criminal conviction

Multi-Millionaire Realtor Plots Takeover of Maui County Council

MN: …The challengers have the backing of groups like S.A.F.E. Sustainable Action Fund for the Environment and the Maui Pono Network. And, recent reports with the state Campaign Spending Commission show how such groups are attempting to make political inroads, investing not in individual campaigns but backing slates of like-minded candidates — paying for the publishing, printing and mailing of tens of thousands of flyers to Maui residents. The groups also use social media like Facebook to get their message out to voters….

One of the leaders of the fledgling groups is (Multi-Millionaire Realtor)  Mark Sheehan, chairman of S.A.F.E. and a leader in the SHAKA Movement, which backed the 2014 initiative for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms in Maui County. (SHAKA stands for Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the Aina.)

The “whole idea” behind S.A.F.E. was to back a group of candidates who, together, would be a new voting majority on the Maui County Council, Sheehan said Friday morning.

read .. Takeover

Mitsunaga Group Wastes $50K Trying to Help Mafia Hanabusa

HNN: …The state Campaign Spending Commission has ordered an unregistered political action committee to pay a fine for running political ads without disclosing its organizers or spending to the public….

"Defend Hawaii Now" has been running a TV ad this week.

It includes audio of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard endorsing gubernatorial candidate Colleen Hanabusa and criticizing Gov. David Ige's leadership. It reminds voters of the false missile alert and escape of killer Randall Saito from Hawaii State Hospital.

It's unclear how much money is behind the advertisement, but records filed with Hawaii television stations indicate at least $50,000 has been contracted for broadcast.

Unregistered PACs are often called "ghost PACs" because they time their campaigns to avoid disclosure of organizers and donors, sometimes until very late in an election cycle.

Because the organization has not registered, it's unclear who is behind the ad or who is funding it.

A disclaimer that appears for a few seconds at the end of the ad says that its primary funding comes from Waimea Associates, LLC. State business registration records show Waimea Associates is affiliated with Dennis Mitsunaga.

Mitsunaga owns an engineering firm that did considerable government work especially during the administration of former Mayor Jeremy Harris.

He's a longtime supporter of former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who is supporting Hanabusa in the governor's race…. 

read … Mitsunaga

Red Hill elementary school still hunting for teachers three days before class begins

HNN: A concerned parent reached out to KHON2 using the report-it feature on our website telling us that parents of students at Red Hill Elementary  were told the 3rd and 4th grade classes didn't have a teacher yet. They were told instead a permanent sub might be instructing the class.

The Red Hill Elementary Principal Rory Vierra declined to speak on camera but said he should have the vacancies for the 3rd and 4th grade filled by the end of the day. He also said that the teachers they were looking into hiring are certified teachers.

…KHON reached out to the Department of Education to find out how many teacher positions still needed to be filled and how many were being filled with emergency hires. The DOE was unable to provide those numbers….

read … A DOE elementary school still hunting for teachers three days before class begins

Justice delayed for child sex assault victim

KITV: Delay after delay and still no trial yet. The mother of a little girl sexually assaulted when she was six-years-old, allegedly by a family friend, is frustrated things are moving so slow. She's 10-years-old now.

"This is a sick cycle that has gone on for three years," said the mother who wants to be called just Maria.  "My daughter has spent her entire childhood wrapped up in this. Justice delayed is justice denied."

The defendant Todd Bruggman initially plead not guilty in May of 2015. Then changed his plea to No contest in May 2018. Then withdrew the no contest plea two months later. Maria says that every time they think they're close to a trial, her daughter has to prepare by going over testimony and watching videos. Each time it's traumatizing….

Delay after delay and still no trial yet. The mother of a little girl sexually assaulted when she was six-years-old, allegedly by a family friend, is frustrated things are moving so slow. She's 10-years-old now.

"This is a sick cycle that has gone on for three years," said the mother who wants to be called just Maria.  "My daughter has spent her entire childhood wrapped up in this. Justice delayed is justice denied."

The defendant Todd Bruggman initially plead not guilty in May of 2015. Then changed his plea to No contest in May 2018. Then withdrew the no contest plea two months later. Maria says that every time they think they're close to a trial, her daughter has to prepare by going over testimony and watching videos. Each time it's traumatizing….

Espero says Bruggman's using delay tactics….

read … Justice delayed for child sex assault victim

Corporate Merger: $8M to Buy Lots of Free Needles for Homeless Drug Addicts

PBN: …Early last month, the Life Foundation, Hawaii’s oldest and largest AIDS organization, merged with The CHOW Project, which works with individuals, families, and communities affected by drug use.

Following the nonprofit merger, Heather Lusk was named executive director of the newly formed Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center, a statewide harm reduction agency.

Lusk, who joined the new organization after heading The CHOW project for seven years, told Pacific Business News the merger brings her 25 years of nonprofit experience full circle.

“It’s a very different time in the health field than it was back then before the medications. Now HIV is a manageable disease,” said Lusk, who started out as a volunteer at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in 1993. “Now I’m trying to look at what we call social determinants of health. What are the other reasons that bring people to live with HIV? That’s where I’m trying to position this agency in the merge, at that intersection of those issues — mental health, substance use, homelessness and chronic diseases.”

Lusk said the center’s combined budget is $8 million, $1 million of which comes from donations and the rest from grants….

read … Harm

State’s Manual Payroll System Slows National Guard Pay

SA:  …Gov. David Ige signed a proclamation Friday extending disaster emergency relief for lava-ravaged Puna to Oct. 2, and enacted a provision allowing state agencies “to pay, as expeditiously as possible,” members of the Guard deployed to the Big Island.

In some cases a Guard member on lava duty might have been there for 10 days and extended 20 more — and then faced a two- to three-week processing time on top of that to get the first check on paper — not direct deposit.

An antiquated pay system over 25 years old and a lack of Guard member understanding of state active duty, or SAD, after-the-fact pay, are contributors, but the Hawaii Guard also admits it made mistakes in making timely payments, officials said.

Maj. Jeff Hickman, a Hawaii Guard spokesman, said the change implemented by Ige allows pay to be processed after each week worked.

“So if they are on orders for three weeks, on their third week they’ll start to get their first week of pay, and every week after that they’ll get paid,” Hickman said.

Chief Warrant Officer Shirley Bryant, who works in the Guard’s personnel section, said in a July 28 internal email that for the week ending July 7, the Guard was still awaiting 114 checks for that pay period.

Hickman said fewer than 15 Hawaii Guard members had to wait over a month before getting their first paycheck.

Housing allowance is another matter. All activated Guard members get a minimal housing allowance with their pay, but those who serve at least 30 days consecutively are eligible for a higher housing allowance intended to cover a mortgage or rent, Hickman said.

About 180 Guard members so far are expected to get that higher housing allowance, Hickman said, but none has been paid out yet due to the need to manually enter names, ranks and family information…..

read … Slow Pay

Doctors Workers Comp Summit

SA: Several years ago some of the physicians who see the greatest numbers of injured workers in Hawaii met at my home, and we founded the Work Injury Medical Association of Hawaii (WIMAH). The mission of WIMAH is to engage workers’ compensation insurers, legislators, physician colleagues and other stakeholders in an effort to ensure fair treatment for injured workers.

To date, WIMAH has accomplished a great deal: We currently hold annual workers’ compensation summits to bring together stakeholders for constructive discussion and collaborative decision-making. Injured workers are now entitled to bring a chaperone who may record an “Independent Medical Evaluation.” WIMAH also has safeguarded the ability of treating physicians to dispense necessary medication.

There is still work to be done, though. It is important to curtail the tactic some insurers use to deny treatment to injured workers known as “denied pending investigation.” Independent medical evaluators must be chosen not simply by insurers who pay them handsomely, but by mutual agreement. It is also critical to help make government more efficient by curtailing misleading and unnecessary billing reviews for reasonable and appropriate services rendered.

Long ago, together, the people of Hawaii established an important social contract: When our workers become injured, they are entitled to reasonable and necessary medical care. The system in place is, at its foundation, a good one, but we must pull together to ensure it functions as it was intended.

WIMAH will hold its next Workers’ Compensation Summit on Sept. 28 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Aloha Tower…..

read … Workers Comp

Rerun: Movie Moguls Grubbing for Hawaii Tax Credits

PBN: …In June, a $33 million design-build contract was awarded for the new University of Hawaii Academy for Creative Media building at UH West Oahu. Design work should be completed at the end of this year, construction to begin in January 2019, and the completed building ready for its first students in the fall of 2020….

And right now, early design work is beginning on a new studio facility to supplement the small and aging Hawaii Film Studio at Diamond Head. Estimated to cost $63 million, to be funded by private developers, this building answers a decades-old need for facilities that keep productions in Hawaii longer.

However, when we gathered five film & TV industry leaders together for a roundtable discussion, one threat to all of this was top of mind. On Jan. 1, a cap goes into effect on the tax credit that productions can claim for filming here.  (Balance  of article consists of sales pitch)

read … Plot Twist: Hawaii's film & TV industry faces a tax credit cap

Thousands prepare for a final salute to Hawaii County police officer Bronson Kaliloa

HNN: …Thousands are preparing to say their final goodbyes to Hawaii County Police Officer Bronson Kaliloa who was shot and killed in the line of duty last month.

The turnout is expected to be so large, the family decided to move services from the mortuary to the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo on Saturday, August 4th.

Kaliloa, a 10-year veteran of the force, leaves behind his parents, his wife and three young children.

Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira said the outpouring of support helps him and his team get through the dark days….

Kaliloa is the first Big Island police officer to die in the line of duty since 1997 and Ferreira said he's also the first to be shot and killed since 1918….

read … Thousands prepare for a final salute to Hawaii County police officer Bronson Kaliloa

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