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Friday, October 19, 2018
October 19, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:07 PM :: 2089 Views

Team Hanabusa Grills Ige Campaign Manager over Judicial Nomination

Hawaii 2nd Most Regressive Tax System in USA

Study: Need $111,892 'To Get By' in Hawaii

Influence of Law Clerks at SCOTUS

HSTA Sex on Campus: Drug-Using Teacher Gets Probation in Revenge Porn Case

HTH: A 53-year-old Hilo man who engaged in so-called “revenge porn” against a woman he had a prior sexual relationship with was sentenced Thursday to four years of probation.

(Another day in the HSTA.)

Gregory William Payne pleaded no contest to first-degree violation of privacy, a Class C felony, in a deal with prosecutors. In return for his plea, prosecutors dropped misdemeanor charges of trespassing on public school grounds and impersonating a public servant….

According to the complaint, the violation of privacy offense occurred Jan. 1, 2016; the trespassing, also at a public school, on Dec. 13, 2016; and the impersonation of a public servant on Jan. 17, 2017.

(They had a lot of time on their hands.)

Payne, then a substitute teacher, engaged in consensual sex with the woman (who is apparently a teacher) on the grounds of E.B. de Silva Elementary School outside school hours, but also photographed the woman during the encounter while she was blindfolded and without her permission.

He then used Department of Education letterhead and signed the name of a DOE official on a letter to a professional associate of the woman and included a photo or photos of the sexual encounter….

Hawaii County deputy prosecutor Rick Damerville said the premeditation apparent in Payne’s actions indicated that he had, out of spite, intended to cause the woman to lose her job without any repercussions to himself…

On that day, the woman said Payne “knowingly, willfully, attempted to destroy my career and reputation as a professional, my relationship with my family members, my sanity.”….

…Payne’s use of drugs such as Adderall and corticosteroids…might account for his behavior….

(IQ Test: Will you vote to give these geniuses a massive property tax hike?)

read … Hilo man gets probation in ‘revenge porn’ case

CSC: Anti-GMO Campaign Funded by Money Taken from Dead Man

MN: …The commission … took action on a staff complaint against Maui County Council candidate Trinette Furtado for activity in her unsuccessful 2016 campaign for the Makawao-Haiku-Paia residency seat, finding probable cause of campaign spending violations and assessing a $2,250 fine and ordering remedial action….

In September, the commission fined County Council Member Alika Atay $2,700 for violating campaign spending laws, although his infractions included two counts of unauthorized handling of campaign funds. The fine against Atay was the largest then levied among nine Maui County politicians hit with commission fines.

The commission found that Atay and his executive assistant, Brian Bardellini, wrote checks from the Atay campaign account when Hawaii law permits only the campaign’s treasurer and deputy treasurer to receive contributions or incur expenditures of campaign funds.

The commission’s complaint against Atay also included five counts of allegedly making false reports, noting inconsistencies between bank records and reports filed by Atay with the commission.

Atay’s legislative and policy analyst, Furtado, came under scrutiny on the commission’s Wednesday agenda for her 2016 council run. She currently is a candidate for the council’s Makawao-Haiku-Paia residency seat.

The Friends of Trinette Furtado and Furtado herself were the subject of a complaint filed by the commission for alleged excess contribution violation, the filing of false reports, the prohibited use of campaign funds, the late filing of a second preliminary primary report and the failure to timely repay a loan.

Efforts to contact Furtado by cellphone and email were unsuccessful Thursday.

On Wednesday, the commission made a preliminary determination of probable cause that Furtado violated campaign spending law and, in addition to a fine, ordered her to pay $1,900 from her own funds to reimburse her campaign and remit $1,800 (in excess contributions) to the Hawaii Election Fund within 20 days. Furtado also was ordered to correct her campaign spending reports and to use her campaign funds to repay the $7,900 balance of a loan.

The commission complaint notes that Bardellini is the chairman of the Friends of Trinette Furtado campaign. And, he’s chairman of the Friends of Alika Atay campaign.

The commission’s complaint against Furtado’s campaign focuses on 2016 contributions and a $10,000 loan from retired marine biologist John Grant, who in 2016 was a resident at the same Kulike Road address in Haiku as provided as a home address for Furtado herself. (According to the GoFundMe website posted by Furtado, Grant died May 15, 2017. The site sought help with cremation and memorial costs.)

The commission complaint reports that Grant donated $500 to Furtado on March 30, 2016, and $1,400 on April 15, 2016. Then, on Oct. 31, 2016, the commission received executed loan documents dated Oct. 12, 2016, and signed by Furtado and Grant for a loan of $8,100 from Grant to Furtado. The loan was reported by the Furtado campaign with the commission on Nov. 1, 2016.

(Furtado unsuccessfully sought the Makawao-Haiku-Paia council residency seat currently held by council Chairman Mike White in 2016.)

On June 12, the commission received an anonymous complaint about the Furtado campaign. The tip contained a copy of a Bank of Hawaii check, dated Oct. 11, 2016, that showed the loan amount paid by Grant was $10,000, payable to the Friends of Trinette Furtado. The check was deposited two days later in the campaign account. The campaign had reported $8,100, not $10,000, the complaint reports.

“The anonymous complaint revealed that respondent Furtado was involved in litigation involving the estate of Grant that sought . . . the repayment of the loan Grant had made to respondent” Friends of Trinette Furtado, the complaint says.

The commission issued a subpoena seeking Furtado’s banking records from Oct. 1, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2016. Those showed that, in addition to the $10,000 check from Grant, there was a check drawn from the campaign account in the amount of $1,900, made payable to “CASH” for “Reimb. of overpymt. of campaign loan” on Nov. 2, 2016. The $1,900 expenditure was not reported by the Furtado campaign to the commission.

The commission counted the $1,900 taken from the $10,000 loan as an additional contribution from Grant, which — added to earlier contributions of $500 and $1,400 — totaled $3,800, or $1,800 in excess of the $2,000 donation limit for a County Council candidate.

Izumi-Nitao told The Maui News on Thursday that the commission has received no response from Furtado to its complaints or reports of its administrative fines or orders.

She said the commission has not heard from Atay as well….

She added that if Furtado were to win the election for the council seat, she would not be able to assume the office until the commission’s complaints against her are resolved, including the payment of fines….

read … Cannot Assume Office

Dela Cruz, ADC, Evicting Plantation Families to Build ‘Trendy Retail Center’ at Whitmore Village

CB:  Since 1949, when Alice Nonaka first planted the garden behind her modest home near the old Dole Plantation, the family has cultivated a small patch of land, growing lemons, guavas, bananas and noni and keeping up a few sheds, even though the land was owned by Dole.

But that soon could change.

In August, Alice’s son Dennis, who is 74, received a letter from the land’s new owner, the state Agribusiness Development Corp. It gave Nonaka 30 days to arrange removal of any structures on the land and was signed by Jimmy Nakatani, the agency’s executive director.

“If we do not hear from you before that date, all property on ADC land, including fencing, will be disposed of,” Nakatani wrote.

Trespassing on the land would subject Nonaka to arrest, the letter said….

“The community is upset because we never knew about these transactions Donovan was doing with Dole,” said Elaine Ringor, an old friend of Dela Cruz’s parents who lives down the street from Nonaka.

Just how upset was apparent last Friday night when about 200 people flocked to a special community meeting to hear about the project and voice concerns. Almost as many attended a Monday meeting of the Wahiawa-Whitmore Village Neighborhood Board, where the ADC was scheduled to talk about the letters sent to Nonaka and others.

Dela Cruz, a 45-year-old former Honolulu City Council member who now chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said the uproar is a natural byproduct of progress….

The ADC’s Whitmore Project calls for turning what’s now largely fallow farmland and old buildings into a hub for diversified agriculture, including packaging and processing facilities, a warehouse, workforce housing and thousands of acres of land. The corporation soon will own some 4,000 acres of farm land in Central Oahu, says Dela Cruz….

Over the last five years alone, state budget information shows, the Legislature has appropriated more than a quarter of a billion dollars to the ADC, including about $23.4 million for operations and another $238 million for capital investments….

Although much of that money wasn’t spent and thus went back into state coffers, some lawmakers have called for greater scrutiny, which Nakatani has resisted. For example, after initially supporting a bill that would have given ADC money for papaya research, Nakatani did an about-face when lawmakers added an audit requirement to the measure. Nakatani said he didn’t support the papaya bill because the ADC’s staff of four was too busy to be audited.

For an agency spearheading such an ambitious project, the ADC has been acting with an unusual lack of accountability. It hasn’t even submitted annual reports to the Legislature as required by law. And its website is so out of date that the most recent report posted its home page is a decade old. Meanwhile, Nakatani pulls in an annual salary of almost $146,000 — more than Scott Enright, the director of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, who makes almost $145,000.

Contributing to the confusion about the Whitmore Project is a document titled “Masterplan for Whitmore Community Food Hub Complex for State of Hawai’i Agribusiness Development Corporation,” created by the University of Arkansas. The elaborate plan includes artist renderings showing features like a trendy-looking retail area and a foot bridge and zipline across the Kaukonahua Stream anchored by a sphere-shaped pavilion called ”The Nest.”

read … Surprise Eviction Notices Have This Old Plantation Community Up In Arms

Poll: Independents Shift Negative on Hirono After Kavanaugh Rants

CB:  In a Civil Beat poll conducted October 8-12, Hirono’s approval rating was 58 percent positive while 31 percent of participants had a negative view of the Hawaii senator. Her approval rating is just one point lower than when Civil Beat last asked voters the same question in May, but is still among the highest she’s posted.

Moderates and conservatives have a dimmer view of the Hawaii senator after her pointed criticisms of the Supreme Court justice during his confirmation….

PDF: Poll Results

read … Hirono Approval Rating Still High Despite Kavanaugh Backlash

How Antis Fake the ConCon Pricetag

CB: …An opposition ad puts the cost at $55 million. But that assumes unprecedented full public funding of campaigns for hundreds of delegate candidates….

read … The ConCon’s Real Price Tag? That’s Still A Mystery

Oahu homebuilders rally for faster city permits

SA: …About 100 members of Oahu’s home construction industry held a rally outside Honolulu Hale this morning to express frustration with how long the city takes to process permits for building or renovating single-family homes.

The group, equipped with a bullhorn and a cowbell, chanted “permits now, permits now” amid speeches from leaders of the rally that was held to encourage the City Council to pass a bill that would impose a 60-day deadline for processing such permits if certain conditions are met.

The Building Industry Association of Hawaii contends that it takes the city Department of Planning and Permitting nine to 12 months to issue a standard residential building permit — a “crisis” situation for homeowners and industry workers….

Mayor Kirk Caldwell stopped by the rally to sympathize with the group and say that his administration is working to improve the permitting process.

“We need to do a lot better on getting permits out more quickly,” he said. “We’ll work with you to do that.”

Council Chairman Ernie Martin, who authored the bill to speed up permit processing, also had a message for rally participants. He ensured them that the measure, Bill 64, would pass.

“It will pass because I’m the Council chair and I wrote that bill,” Martin said.

He introduced Bill 64 in August, and it was scheduled to have its first hearing before the Council today….

read … Oahu homebuilders rally for faster city permits

Hawaii High Court Weighs Whether To Release Secret Investigation Of State Auditor

CB:  … The Hawaii Supreme Court is considering a public records case that could have broad implications in the state’s ability to keep investigations into its own agencies secret.

In an hour-long hearing Thursday, justices heard arguments in a case brought by Honolulu Civil beat in 2016 after the Attorney General’s office refused to release the findings of its year-long investigation into the State Auditor’s office. The Legislature had requested the probe in 2015.

The justices focused on the extent of attorney-client privilege, when it should apply and what triggers it in such circumstances. They took the matter under advisement….

State Circuit Judge Keith Hiraoka ruled against the news outlet in April 2017, saying the investigation should be kept private in large part due to attorney-client privilege….

Jan Yamane was acting auditor at the time of the investigation, a role she assumed in December 2012 and held until April 2016.

Right around the time the investigation was completed, the Legislature voted to replace her with Les Kondo, who was serving as executive director of the state Ethics Commission. There was little explanation as to why the change was made.

Yamane is now executive director and legal counsel for the Honolulu Ethics Commission….

Fernandes said it is not the state’s position that every investigation the attorney general does would be protected by attorney-client privilege. But it was unclear what exactly would trigger it or why.

Pollack, visibly frustrated at times with her arguments, said if the Legislature can just claim attorney-client privilege when it asks for an investigation from the AG’s office, then even if criminal wrongdoing was found the Legislature could keep the findings secret if it hypothetically wanted to protect someone who was “friendly” with legislative leaders….

Read the past court filings from the law center and AG’s office here….

read … Hawaii High Court Weighs Whether To Release Secret Investigation Of State Auditor

UH Board of Regents agrees to allow changes to proposed rules for Mauna Kea

HNN: … The University of Hawaii Board of Regents unanimously agreed Thursday to allow the university to revise its proposed rules for Mauna Kea.

The university plans to hold a second round of public hearings on the revised proposal, which would cover public and commercial activities on the land.

The second round of public hearings could happen as early as February.

Nearly 500 people and groups testified and submitted feedback during the first public hearing process in September….

KITV: UH taking another step towards better managing Mauna Kea

read … UH Board of Regents agrees to allow changes to proposed rules for Mauna Kea

UH Students to be Stuck with $35M Parking Fee Increase

CB: …Students, staff and faculty will be picking up the $35 million tab to fix the University of Hawaii Manoa’s aging parking garage.

The UH Board of Regents on Thursday approved a six-year parking rate increase that will start in 2020 to finance safety repairs, including new guardrails and elevators at Manoa’s only parking structure.

(Translation: Purposefully deferred maintenance is now turned into a capital improvement project.)

None of that money will go into creating more parking stalls or a new garage on the Manoa campus.

The rate increase was opposed by some of the people who park in the 5,100 stalls on the campus, including the garage and surface lots, but university officials said the work can’t wait….

By 2025, employees parking on surface lots closest to buildings will be paying $1,299 annually. They’ll be paying about $924 to park in the garage.

Students are looking at paying about $702 annually to park in the garage in 2025, an increase of about 65 percent over today’s price of $426. The rate for student motorcycle and moped riders will rise to $225.

Visitor parking will go up to $6 an hour or $25 for a day pass over six years….

read … UH Students And Staff Will Pay For $35 Million In Parking Garage Repairs

Hawaii State Public Library hasn't had any major upgrades in 26 years

KHON: …The library has gone through 3 stages of construction. The latest renovations to the building were done in 1992.

Parts of the library has paint chipping of the walls. An area on the second floor has been leaking for decades, dripping water onto books.

"Everybody comes by and they look at it and go - gee, this looks terrible. It (looks like) it's got a disease, and the wall is crumbling. If you touch it, it crumbles," explained Young. …

Aldrich says the state public library system is requesting 3 million in state funds for major repair work, to include electrical upgrades, fixing the outdated plumbing, and switching to energy efficient lighting. …

Overall, the state's library system is asking for $42,607,910 for their year 2020 total operating budget. The 2019 approved budget is at $41,529,120. …

read … Hawaii State Public Library hasn't had any major upgrades in 26 years

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