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Tuesday, September 25, 2018
September 25, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:56 PM :: 2068 Views

Secret Report Ties Hawaii Youth Suicide Rate to HSTA Grab for HGEA Positions

'Education Tax' -- $21K per House

Financial State of the States--Hawaii 45th--$31,600 Debt per Person

Climate Action Plan: Preconceived Outcome Set for Public Meetings

BWS to Subsidize Affordable Housing

Property tax credit for homeowners with income under $60K

Hawaii Cauliflower coral could be listed as endangered

Hirono Uses Kavanaugh Accusation to Fundraise for Group Founded to 'MoveOn' from Monica Lewinsky Claims 

FTA tells HART to find extra $134M for rail

SA: …Honolulu must increase the official price tag for construction of the 20-mile rail project by another $134 million for the Federal Transit Administration to be satisfied that the city has enough money to complete the project, according to Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director Andrew Robbins.

That will bring the cost of construction for the project to $8.299 billion, up from the previous cost of $8.165 billion…

The FTA is withholding about $745 million in federal funding for the rail project until HART provides an acceptable “recovery plan” that demonstrates how the city will complete the project and where the money will come from. The FTA wants HART to submit that recovery plan by Nov. 21.

The FTA concluded during a risk analysis in June that the extra $134 million would be required to complete the project, and it isn’t clear yet where that extra money will come from.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has said the city should not have to pay that extra cost and HART should cut expenses or find some other way to satisfy the FTA.

The FTA wants to see a revised financial plan for the rail project in the next 60 days, and “we’re going to look at our funding sources, see how they’re performing,” Robbins said. “I think we’ll have to show sources of funds that include the $134 million.”

However, he stressed that HART does not believe the money will be needed, adding, “You cannot draw the conclusion that we automatically need $134 million from the city, and the mayor’s position is quite clear.”

Robbins said he assured the FTA on Monday that Honolulu will be able to meet all of the requirements set out in the FTA’s Sept. 21 letter that essentially demanded that the Honolulu City Council commit $44 million in city funds within the next 60 days to help finance rail construction.

That $44 million would be the first city funds committed to rail construction….

The FTA is also requiring that the rail authority decide within the next month how it will build the last city center segment of the project.

Robbins said he told the FTA that he expects the HART board will commit on Thursday to using a public-private partnership approach to award a contract to complete the final segment of the project from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center….

read … FTA tells HART to find extra $134M for rail

Hawaii Union Law Probably Unconstitutional under Janus Decision

CB: …Three months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck a potential blow to government employee unions by saying public workers don’t have to pay any union fees to hold government jobs, the decision appears to have had little effect in Hawaii.

“The real question is, will there be a mass of resignations?” Honolulu labor attorney Tony Gill said Monday during a forum on Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31.

The answer?

“So far, not yet,” Gill said…..

Sponsored by the libertarian-leaning Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, the lunch forum brought together Gill, a prominent Honolulu Democrat and labor attorney who represents unions, and Jacob Huebert, senior attorney with the Goldwater Institute, who represented appellant Mark Janus in the case….

Gill represents the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly.

Other unions concurred. Caroline Sluyter, a spokeswoman for the Hawaii Government Employees Association, said in an interview that the union has lost only a handful of its 29,000 active members because of Janus.

Wilbert Holck, executive director of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said the ruling’s impact on membership has been “statistically insignificant and minuscule.”

While it might take time for unions to feel the effects of Janus on membership, lawyers are preparing more fights over such issues, as well as laws passed by states responding to Janus. In Hawaii, for example, Gov. David Ige, signed a bill in April that limits the time frame during which a union worker can opt out of paying union fees to a 30-day window pegged to the date the worker joined the union.

Asked whether the new law was constitutional under Janus, Gill acknowledged, “Probably not,” but added someone would have to bring a “concrete case” challenging the law.

That could happen sooner rather than later. Although Huebert has left the Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center, which funded the Janus litigation, his successor at the center said the organization was aware of the Hawaii law and reckoned there would be a challenge.

“If you look at the language in Janus, that 30-day period is almost certainly unconstitutional,” said Jeffrey Schwab, senior attorney with the center….

Related:

read … Hawaii Unions Say Little Has Changed Since Landmark Janus Decision

Gun pointed at police registered to embattled Honolulu attorney tied to Kealoha Coverup

HNN: … The loaded pistol Freddie Joe Whitmore allegedly pointed at Honolulu Police Officers last Thursday night is registered to attorney Christopher Woo, Hawaii News Now has learned.

Whitmore, 55, was shot several times and died at the hospital.

Woo did not report the Glock stolen, so police are now working to find out how it ended up in the hands of a convicted felon in a suspected drug house.

HPD was at the Century Center apartment to serve a narcotics warrant.  Meth and heroin were recovered, sources say.

Woo was arrested in June for refusing to cooperate with the federal grand jury investigating Louis and Katherine Kealoha, the former police chief and deputy prosecutor, who were indicted on multiple public corruption related charges.

Woo represented firefighter Jesse Ebersole, who admitted to lying to that grand jury about a long term affair with Mrs. Kealoha in which he received cash and gifts.

The feds say Mrs. Kealoha used stolen money to finance that affair.

In July, the FBI ordered Woo to bring his cell phone and laptop computer for examination after Ebersole told the feds that Mrs. Kealoha told him to lie to the grand jury and that they secretly met in Woo's office.

But instead of turning over his phone and laptop as ordered, Woo reported both items stolen….

Whitmore has an extensive criminal history:

1) In 1991, he was convicted of Bank Robbery in Nevada and sentenced to almost four years in prison.

2) In 1996, he was then convicted of probation violation.

3) In 1998, he was convicted again of Bank Robbery, this time in Oklahoma.  He and sentenced to 15 years.

4) More probation violation convictions followed in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

5) In 2015, Whitmore was convicted of Domestic Battery in Nevada.

He was released from federal custody in 2017 and moved to Honolulu.

He was cited here for theft and was scheduled to appear in court on September 28.

read … Gun pointed at police during shooting is registered to embattled Honolulu attorney

Suspect in Kalihi game room fight was out on bail awaiting retrial for murder of cab driver

SA: …The 26-year-old man whom police arrested after he allegedly threatened a male with a firearm at a suspected game room in Kalihi Monday is scheduled to be retried for murder in the 2010 beating death of a taxicab driver in Waipahu, according to court records.

Police said the suspect, identified in a police arrest log as Kilani Derego, had a gun and threatened a male at the game room at Ohana Grocery, 1104 Palama St. about 3:25 a.m. Monday. A struggle ensued between the two and the firearm discharged twice. Police said there were no gunshot injuries, but a bouncer fought with Derego, who sustained multiple head and face injuries in the altercation. It is unclear whether the bouncer was the male whom Derego initially threatened.

Emergency Medical Services personnel treated Derego and took him to a hospital in serious condition. Police said Derego was still in the hospital this morning….

In 2012, Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario sentenced Derego to life in prison with the possibility of parole in the beating death of taxicab driver Charlys Ty Tang….

Three years after Del Rosario sentenced Derego to life in prison for the deadly beating, the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals overturned the murder conviction. The court ruled in 2015 that the judge should not have allowed the state to present police statements of Derego’s co-defendant, Robles, as evidence.

The appeals court sent the case back to Circuit Court for retrial. According to court records, Derego’s retrial is tentatively set for January.

Prior to his arrest early Monday, he was released from prison in July after posting $150,000 bail pending the retrial.

Robles is serving a 20-year prison term at Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona for a manslaughter conviction in connection with Tang’s death.

read … Suspect in Kalihi game room fight was out on bail awaiting retrial for murder of cab driver

Gay Prostitute Makes Excuses for Threats Against State Women's Commission

HNN: … Khara Jabola-Carolus, the executive director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women says she heard about a possible threatening text second hand from multiple community advocates.

That was around 10:30 Friday morning at her state office at the Leiopapa building on Beretania Street.

"We received concern from the sex trafficking advocates community that there was a very serious threat what was described as imminent physical harm directed at me because of our commission's recent publication of a demand study that exposed the demand for prostitution in Hawaii," she said.

Jabola-Carolus called police, sent her workers home and then was escorted out of the building by state sheriffs. The state ordered all offices in the building into lock down for about 45 minutes according to Jason Minami, deputy director of the Department of Human Resources Development….

(Self-identified sex worker) Tracy Ryan is executive director for Harm Reduction Hawaii and is an advocate for giving sex workers a voice. She says she doesn't condone violence, but says some in that community felt the study unfairly attacked their industry.

"People get angry about it because a lot of the people feel they are personally being attacked," said Ryan. …

Sept 16, 2018: Hawaii Sex Trade Mostly Locals, not Tourists

read … State official describes threat of 'imminent physical harm' after release of sex trafficking study

FBI: Violent crime ticked up in Hawaii last year, while number of property crimes declined

HNN: …The number of violent crimes statewide last year ticked up, but the violent crime rate in Hawaii still remains well below the nation, according to newly-released figures from the FBI.

In 2017, there were nearly 251 violent crimes per 100,000 people in Hawaii, from 242 the year before.

Nationally, the rate was 394 violent crimes per 100,000 people, the FBI said.

Meanwhile, property crime in Hawaii dropped about 4.6 percent in 2017, but was still significantly higher than the rate nationally.

Last year, there were 40,392 property crimes statewide. That translates to more than 2,900 property crimes per 100,000 people. Nationally, the figure was 2,360 property crimes per 100,000 people.

Leading the property crimes in Hawaii: Larceny theft. Those were 29,574 of those cases last year statewide, down from a 10-year high of 42,010 in 2015…

The FBI statistics also included figures on Oahu, where property crimes and violent crimes both declined in 2017.

One significant note of concern, however: There were 32 murders and non-negligent manslaughter cases islandwide last year. That's up from 16 the year before.

In the same year, the number of rapes and robberies dropped.

The FBI figures show there were 285 rapes on Oahu in 2017. (Because the FBI changed how it collects rape statistics in 2017, the figure can't be compared to previous years.)

Meanwhile, there were 908 robberies (from 827 in 2016) and 1,215 aggravated assaulted, from 1,159 the year before.

Over the course of 2017, there were 27,477 property crimes reported on Oahu, or 2,774 per 100,000 people. That's down from 30,192 property crimes islandwide the year before.

The FBI figures showed that the number of burglaries, larcenies and car thefts all dropped in 2017.  There were 3,606 car thefts in 2017, down from 4,191 the year before. Meanwhile, 3,724 burglaries were reported in 2016. That figure dropped by about 400 in 2017….

read … FBI: Violent crime ticked up in Hawaii last year, while number of property crimes declined

No Fear of Confined Spaces: Blasey-Ford Flew to Hawaii and Back

WP: …When she moved to Hawaii (Clue: She didn’t swim here.) for a one-year internship to complete her PhD — taking a cheap studio apartment within board-carrying distance of Sans Souci Beach — the conversion seemed complete.

“I think she had really reinvented herself,” said Jeff Harris, her supervisor at the University of Hawaii counseling center. “A surfer from California is a different image than a prep-school girl from Bethesda.”…

But, but, but: Christine Blasey Ford Will Drive Across Country Because She Doesn’t Like Airplanes

read … Liar Busted 

Hurricane Lane: Napili resort facing violations for unpermitted rock wall work

MN: …As Hurricane Lane threatened the islands last month, West Maui activist Kai Nishiki and others observed workers using heavy equipment to take boulders from a stockpile along Hui Road, the roadway fronting the condominium/hotel, and through a public beach access way to the lawn of the condominium property facing the ocean. Then the rocks were dropped from the condominium lawn to the edge of the property facing the shoreline, Nishiki said….

KGI: Flood victims’ recovery ongoing

read … Napili resort facing violations for unpermitted rock wall work

Several Hawai`i Renewable Energy Projects Under Negotiation

IM: …Due to the outage of Puna Geothermal Ventures (PGV), the Commission proposed increasing the number of winners from the planned goal of acquiring two systems each for HECO and MECO and one system for HELCO….

With PGV out of service, HELCO is currently relying on power from fossil fuel plants with the capacity to replace the electricity that would have otherwise come from PGV. However, reliance on these fossil fuel plants is costly for HELCO's customers.

HELCO's purchased energy price for PGV's primary block of energy was generally lower per kWh than the cost of utilizing power from these other plants.”

The Commission also proposed the use of Performance Incentive Mechanisms. “The commission determines that reasonable benchmark for renewable energy projects paired with storage is 11.5 cents per kilowatt-hour," half of the proposed price for the Hu Honua biomass-to-electricity plant on the Hamakua Coast, approved by the Commission last August….

developers will be releasing information regarding their project during those meetings, which could occur in November…..

read … Several Hawai`i Renewable Energy Projects Under Negotiation

Maui Injection Wells Before US Supreme Court

SB: County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund 18-260 -- Issues: (1) Whether the Clean Water Act requires a permit when pollutants originate from a point source but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater; and (2) whether the County of Maui had fair notice that a Clean Water Act permit was required for its underground injection control wells that operated without such a permit for nearly 40 years….

read … SCOTUS Blog

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