Mazie Hirono mum on charity invitation from Catholic group she criticized as 'extreme'
Why are residents leaving Hawaii?
Zuckerberg Tries New trick to Grab Kuleana Plots
CB: … The Facebook founder said he would no longer try to acquire “kuleana” parcels held by families for generations on Kauai’s North Shore, but now they’re being auctioned off….
In January, 2017, Zuckerberg wrote an opinion piece that was published in The Garden Island, Kauai’s daily newspaper, saying he and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chang, were abandoning the litigation. The reason, he said, was “we understand that, for Native Hawaiians, kuleana are sacred and the quiet title process can be quite difficult. We want to make this right.”
But instead of actually ending the effort to bring pressure on the small landholders he sued in so-called “quiet title” actions, Zuckerberg waited six months before doing anything and then used a legal maneuver to switch his position from plaintiff to defendant. That gives him greater latitude if he elects to continue his attempt to purchase the plots at a court-ordered auction.
Zuckerberg — or a limited liability corporation he controls — could now bid on the properties in a “partition auction” early next year….
The case is an outgrowth of litigation originally filed by Zuckerberg and Carlos Andrade, a noted Hawaiian cultural expert and author. That suit sought to force owners of four small parcels of kuleana lands — property that has been in families for decades (often more than a century) but is surrounded by larger holdings.
Originally, Zuckerberg and Andrade were co-plaintiffs. Later in the litigation, Zuckerberg switched roles and became a defendant, leaving Andrade as the sole plaintiff. Status as a defendant would make it easier for Zuckerberg to acquire ownership at the auction since he would be classified by the court as having the same status as other defendants who also claim ownership….
Wayne Rapozo, also an attorney and the chief defendant in the litigation, is a member of a Portuguese family that settled on Kauai in the 1800s.
“Andrade remains the sole named plaintiff in this action, but both Northshore Kalo and Mr. Zuckerberg remain substantially involved,” Rapozo said in a sworn statement filed in the case several months ago. “Northshore Kalo has employed aggressive litigation tactics, supported by the resources and influence of Mr. Zuckerberg, that have been intimidating, humiliating and daunting.”
He contended that, after Zuckerberg became a defendant, he and Andrade engaged in coordinated behavior to get the court to “compel the purchase” of land claimed by other defendants.
“I think the public should know when a public process is being used to force the sale of private property,” Rapozo said….
read … Kauai: Zuckerberg Could Still Absorb Tiny Parcels Into His Estate
OHA Wants A Lot More Ceded Land Money From The State
CB: … The Office of Hawaiian Affairs wants an annual cap on ceded land payments state agencies make to it raised from $15.1 million to $35 million.
OHA officials used a Senate Water and Land Committee meeting Thursday to tell legislators they need more money for programs they say are underfunded.
“This is the revenue we use to try to improve the lives of our
beneficiaries (cronies)” said Jocelyn Doane, OHA’s public policy manager….
“The Native Hawaiian community has returned $20 million to the trust holding account that could be otherwise used,” Doane said.
The Legislature set the $15.1 million cap in 2006. An executive order signed by then-Gov. Linda Lingle the same year required state agencies to pay 20 percent of ceded land revenues to OHA, with the money exceeding the cap going into a holding account.
Now, OHA officials say that it’s time for the cap to be raised.
They’ve tried twice in the last two years to do that. A bill introduced in 2016 would have eliminated the cap entirely. Another in 2018 would have set the cap at $35 million. Both died in committees….
Last year, OHA contracted the accounting firm N&K CPAs to conduct a review of ceded land payments from fiscal year 2016.
The firm found that $247 million in ceded land revenue from the state departments went unreported in that time frame, according to OHA’s report to the Legislature.
(Translation: They’ll say anything.)
Last January, the state auditor issued a scathing report on financial mismanagement at OHA.
The audit targeted financial abuse by Crabbe, who signed off on funding for unqualified organizations, and OHA’s trustees, who tripled their personal allowances and spent some of them on questionable expenses….
read … OHA Wants A Lot More Ceded Land Money From The State
Workers Comp Reform on Legislative Agenda (again)
CB: …Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, chair of the House committee that deals with labor issues, says he’s committed to continuing to try to reform workers’ compensation.
“If people are stuck in this purgatory, how do we get them out?” he asked. “One of the reasons I pursue this year after year is that people are suffering.”
But rather than reviving the same proposals, Johanson is considering fresh approaches for the session that starts in January to get beyond the resistance he seems to encounter with each proposal.
“It’s forcing me to think outside the box,” he said….
read … Injured Workers Still Searching For Relief
Trevor Ozawa to be new Honolulu City Council chairman
SA: … Trevor Ozawa will likely take the gavel as chairman of the Honolulu City Council when the new Council meets for the first time Wednesday.
Ozawa, along with colleagues Kymberly Pine, Carol Fukunaga and Ann Kobayashi, introduced Resolution 18-294 this afternoon. It installs Ozawa as chairman, Pine as vice chairwoman and Fukunaga as floor leader.
Ozawa and Pine were viewed as the most likely candidates to replace Chairman Ernie Martin, whose term ends Wednesday….
It takes five votes on the nine-member Council to make a decision, including the naming of a chairperson. It’s widely believed that a fifth vote for what has been the majority faction headed Martin will be maintained by Councilwoman-elect Heidi Tsuneyoshi.
The Martin-led majority often opposed Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s agenda. A majority headed by Ozawa would be expected to do the same.
Tsuneyoshi worked for Martin and he, along with other members of the majority, publicly supported her when she won the Wahiawa-North Shore seat by decisively beating four other hopefuls that included former state Sen. President Robert Bunda….
UPDATE -- KITV: Trevor Ozawa named Honolulu's next City Council Chair
read … Trevor Ozawa likely to be new Honolulu City Council chairman
Over $61 Million From FEMA For Hawaii County After Eruption, Hurricane
BIVN: … $61,667,850 dollars in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds are heading to Hawaiʻi County, following a destructive summer of natural disasters.
According to a series of communications from Hawaiʻi County Finance Director Deanna Sako to the Hawaiʻi County Council, FEMA is providing funds to be used for the repair of damages from the eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, as well as the flooding caused by Hurricane Lane. In both cases, FEMA will cover 75% of the cost, with the remaining 25% of costs to be provided by the County.
Bill 10 will appropriate $32,995,500 to the Capital Budget for “2018 Lava Flow Projects”, of which $24,746,625 is provided by FEMA and $8,248,875 by the County.
Bill 8 will appropriate even more: $49,228,300 will go to the Capital Budget for “Hurricane Lane Damage Projects”, of which $36,921,225 is provided by FEMA and $12,307,075 by the County.
Aside from the $61.6 million coming in from FEMA, another $250,000 has been awarded to the County from the United States Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. The funds “will be used to create an economic recovery plan to provide, relief, recovery and relocation strategies for the recent Kilauea eruption,” Sako wrote in another communication….
read … Over $61 Million From FEMA For Hawaii County After Eruption, Hurricane
‘Top Secret’ Clearance Expected For UH Lab Doing Navy Research
CB: … The University of Hawaii Applied Research Laboratory is closing in on a new $80 million contract for cybersecurity and renewable energy research….
The day before the Board of Regents approved the first contract with the Navy in 2007, about 40 protesters stood outside Bachman Hall in Manoa to oppose what they considered secret research….
The lab, which at one point lagged in revenues while much of UH still had no idea what kind of research went on, has since worked on 50 projects worth $58 million in funding related to ocean science, astronomy, electronic optics and sensing, information technology, renewable energy and mission-related research and development.
Its projects include data analysis, drone research and waste disposal, but no weapons of mass destruction.
“They’ve been as transparent as can be,” said university spokesman Dan Meisenzahl, adding that the the lab works on projects with students and faculty from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and the engineering college.
The Naval Sea Systems Command, which administers university contracts, declined to comment on the contract, stating that it has not yet been awarded and that it would be “pre-decisional.” But a Navy spokesperson confirmed that the military plans to issue work orders similar to those that UH has already produced.
The new contract is expected to be signed in mid-January, Edwards said. The current contract expires Jan. 14.
The little lab based in the Manoa Innovation Center has managed to produce some big results, especially in renewable energy. The Wave Energy Test site in Kaneohe Bay is allowing researchers to test how to convert wave energy into electric power.
That project received a total of $18.6 million under the soon-to-expire contract. Renewable energy projects have received the most money, about $22.1 million….
“Hawaii has 40 years of doing renewable energy,” Edwards said. “Nowhere else do you have the easy access to wind, solar and ocean.”
The lab has also found its niche in off-the-shelf technology like drones, Edwards said. It recently conducted testing with drone-mounted cameras that could be used to catch illegal turtle poachers in Malaysia, she said.
The ARL is currently working on 12 projects. The biggest-dollar items include two cybersecurity research and development projects for the Department of Defense at the Maui High Performance Computing Center, a defense department supercomputing site, worth a total of $16.8 million.
The computer center processes data from telescopes, satellites and radar and simulates environmental and battlefield scenarios, according to the Maui Economic Development Board.
The cybersecurity projects are the biggest chunk — about 30 percent — of the classified research that the lab conducts, Edwards said.
The new contract UH is expected to enter into would raise the lab’s security clearance to “Top Secret,” allowing it to work more closely with project sponsors, Edwards said, especially in cybersecurity….
Plans are to move the lab’s operations to the second floor of the Manoa Innovation Center, where it will have about 4,000 more square feet of space. About half of that would be used as office space for staff, while the other half would house lab space in six separate rooms, one of which could be used for the lab’s Top Secret conversations, Edwards said.
The lab is expected to move at the beginning of January….
read … ‘Top Secret’ Clearance Expected For UH Lab Doing Navy Research
Pacific Spaceport Complex Eyes East Hawaii Launch Site
BIVN: …In November, the Alaska Aerospace Corporation sent county officials a notice of pre-assessment consultation for the construction and operation of the proposed Pacific Spaceport Complex-Hawaii, or PSCH. In a response letter dated November 27, Mayor Kim said the County “encourages the identification of opportunities to build upon a fully integrated economy that benefits a diversity of local businesses, residents and the environment,” however he added that “a full and careful review of its impact to this community is required.”
“A full discussion of the size, activities, specific type of payloads including any payloads that would serve as a red flag such as nuclear fuels, wastes or related component parts,” Mayor Kim wrote. “Careful consideration and engagement should be targeted with the residents of East Hawaiʻi and in particular residents of the Panaewa Homesteads as to any potential impacts and planned mitigation actions. Discussion should include noise, lights, safe disposal of any by-products, handling and spills associated with rocket fuels and/or hazardous waste and accompanying robust mitigation strategies.”
Mayor Kim also said construction impacts for such a facility should be considered, as well as potential impacts on local businesses and government resources, “including adjacent visitor destinations, agricultural and fisheries operations and valued astronomy facilities atop Mauna Kea.”
“Impact and mitigation strategies may also include the growing amount of trash accumulating in space including that within Earth’s orbit,” Kim wrote.
In a December 27 email response to an inquiry by Big Island Video News, Alaska Aerospace president Mark D. Lester confirmed they are “at the initial stages of considering a commercial spaceport for the Island of Hawaii—Keaʻau area,” and that the “facility will support low-inclination and equatorial launches of small rockets placing small satellites into orbit.”
More than half the small satellite demand requires equatorial launch capability, an Alaska Aerospace document states, and launches from Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska cannot launch into equatorial orbit due to the high latitude of facility. That makes Hawaiʻi a desired location….
HTH: Alaska company proposes satellite launch facility on Shipman land
read … Pacific Spaceport Complex Eyes East Hawaii Launch Site
Soft on Crime: Escaped Lunatic Slasher Has Log Rap Sheet
HNN: … A man with a lengthy criminal record, who once escaped from the Hawaii State Hospital, has been arrested by police again.
Honolulu police said 46-year-old Danny Overturn was taken into custody on Wednesday after he allegedly assaulted a male nurse at Adventist Health Castle in Kailua.
Sources say he goes by several aliases, including Casey Nies, and was wanted on a no-bail warrant from a psychiatric facility on Maui.
In 2009, Nies escaped from the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe.
He was being held there after being acquitted in a 2005 attempted murder case on Maui in which he allegedly attacked a Maui police officer with a samurai sword, and slashed another man, before being shot by police.
He was described as being "actively psychotic” and “dangerous” at that time.
Court records show he also has been accused of burglary, theft and criminal property damage….
Related Story: Nancy Pelosi Is Spending Shutdown at Hawaii Resort
read … Man with lengthy criminal record, who once escaped from State Hospital, arrested again
Here’s a look at some of the laws set to take effect in the new year
HNN: … Come Jan. 1, a dangerous pesticide will be banned in Hawaii, foam food containers will no longer be used on Maui, and doctors will be able to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients…..
HNN: Fake service dogs seem to be everywhere. A new law aims to crack down on violators — with big fines
read … Here’s a look at some of the laws set to take effect in the new year