Government-Funded Sweatshops: No Minimum Wage for Hawaii Disabled Workers
Congress Must Approve Decent Funding for the Wall
Video: Ship Burns 1,800 miles off Oahu
Team Hanabusa Grills Fuchigami
KITV: … Members of the Ige administration were grilled by members of the House and Senate money committees with questions over budget and project 'point people.' The new session is less than two weeks away. The tone being set now could indicate a tough year ahead for the Governor and his team.
With no time for pleasantries, House Finance Committee Chair Sylvia Luke and her team fired away. The governor's administrative director, Ford Fuchigami in the hot seat.
"I just want to tell you what the track record of your office has been and it was before you. and I hope you realize," Luke said. …
"How is the governor redesigning or re-organizing the governor's office to include the Lieutenant Governor," Rep. Ty Cullen, said. …
…The administration's moving pieces has committee members questioning who is leading hot topic issues like Mauna Kea's Thirty Meter Telescope.
"It was decided it would be best left with the chief of staff and not moved over to me," Fuchigami said.
And the recently passed Ohana Zones bill, a temporary housing solution for homeless people.
"We were in deep discussions with you and Mr. Morishige. Who is going to be in charge? Who is going to be the point person. Is it the governor's chief of staff? Is it you? Or Mr. Morishige, Rep. Della Au Belatti, said.
Lawmakers dished-out $30-million to fund the Ohana Zones bill but committee members wonder why it took months for Ige to use only $17 million of that.
"Being that the two islands have two new mayors, we wanted to reserve some funds for the new mayors to come in and say 'you know what, we're gonna do a selection," Fuchigami said….
SA Editorial: Mostly status quo for Ige’s tam
read … State money committee grills Ige administration on budget handling
LoPresti: Election Recount Law Unconstitutional
KITV: … After receiving a response from the state's Chief Election Officer that there was no margin of error on Wednesday, the supreme court asked for LoPresti?'s.
In summary, his response says: "The state's response only strengthens the argument that the current law and its implementation is unconstitutional as it doesn't practically allow election challenges or recounts."
"It's a novel argument. It's an interesting argument and our law is a terrible law. But to say that it's unconstitutional involves a whole lot of things that don't exist right now," said political analyst, Neal Milner….
read … Election challenger calls Hawaii's recount law "unconstitutional"
Lawmaker: Judges made the ‘wrong call’ in letting suspect in assault case out again and again
HNN: … Danny Overturn, who allegedly attacked an emergency worker at Castle Medical Center the day after Christmas, made a brief appearance in state Circuit Court on Thursday.
His disheveled appearance and new alias made it difficult to recognize him as he’s better known — as Casey Nies, a mentally ill and violent patient with a history of escaping from the Hawaii State Hospital.
“He has a history of violent behaviors on multiple islands," said former Kaneohe state Sen. Jill Tokuda, who has been critical of security lapses at the State Hospital.
“So many of us Windward residents have seen this time and time again where you have patients who are at the State Hospital or former patients in this case who are found in various parts of Kaneohe walking around.”
Nies was initially sent to the State Hospital in 2003, after he was found unfit to stand trial for attempted murder. He was accused of attacking a Maui police officer with a samurai sword.
Despite several escape attempts, a state judge let him out of the Kaneohe facility in 2017. He was first sent to a drug treatment center and then to housing program for mentally ill-patients run by Steadfast Housing….
Court records show that he was supposed to be in one of Steadfast Housing’s homes when he was found the day after Christmas walking along the H-3 Freeway.
He was then taken to Adventist Health Castle hospital in Kailua for a psychological evaluation, where he attacked the worker….
read … Lawmaker: Judges made the ‘wrong call’ in letting suspect in assault case out again and again
Police standards board requesting more time, money
HTH: … The Law Enforcement Standards Board is asking the state Legislature for additional time and money to create and implement statewide standards for training and certification of county and state law enforcement officers.
The nine ex officio members of the 15-member board created by Act 220 — which Gov. David Ige allowed to become law without his signature last July 10 — had its first meeting on Nov. 7. On Dec. 27, the Department of the Attorney General, which administers the board, sent its required annual report to Senate President Ronald Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki….
Before allowing the law to take effect without his signature, Ige filed a notice of intent to veto House Bill 2071, which became Act 220.
“I definitely agree with the intent of the proposal, to try and create a statewide standards board. But when I looked at it, and why I put it on the veto list is I do believe that it’s not funded at the level that it needs to be,” Ige said last July. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done. And the timeline, I think, is not realistic, to think that the board can come together and do all the work that the bill requires in that short time frame.”…
The board’s proposed revisions to the law include an additional four years to implement the standards and certification process, making the completion date July 1, 2023. The report says the extra time is needed “to ensure that the board’s decisions would not adversely impact or outright conflict with current contractual, collective bargaining, or other legal requirements.”…
All four county police departments opposed HB 2071, citing national accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies and describing the establishment of a statewide standards board as an intrusion on counties’ home rule….
The narrative of the new law said the Legislature “finds that the consequences of a lack of statewide oversight of police are a matter of serious public concern.”
“Several recent incidents have highlighted a need for greater oversight,” the narrative states. “For example, a former Honolulu police officer (Vincent Morre) was recently sentenced to prison for using unreasonable force to violate the civil rights of two men. In another incident, a Honolulu police sergeant (Darren Cachola) was caught on video engaged in a violent physical fight with the police sergeant’s girlfriend. In yet another example, the former chief of police of the city and county of Honolulu (Louis Kealoha) faces federal prosecution for alleged criminal violations.”…
Flashback: DLNR Finally Gets Around to Firing Rapist Cop Son of HGEA President
read … Police standards board requesting more time, money
Softer on Crime: Task Force Wants to Let Even More Criminals out on Streets
CB: … The HCR 85 Task Force that published the report was formed by the Legislature in 2016 to study Hawaii’s incarceration policies. Members included Wilson, state Rep. Gregg Takayama, state Sen. Clarence Nishihara, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees Chair Colette Machado, Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro and several community advocates, including Robert Merce from the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.
It’s unclear how many task force members favored the recommendations in the report.
Gov. David Ige’s plans to build a new 1,333-bed jail have already been called into question by some members of the task force. The new prison could cost $525 million….
Another group, the HCR 134 task force, was formed by the Legislature to compile a report on pretrial practices, including bail reform. That task force has yet to publish its report, but the HCR 85 task force recommended that it find an alternative to the state’s cash bail system….
The report notes the disproportionate number of Native Hawaiians in prison. Hawaiians are overrepresented at every level of Hawaii’s correctional system, from arrest to incarceration, a 2010 study by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs found.
A 10-year study of youth arrests in Hawaii found that Native Hawaiians accounted for 41 percent of juvenile arrests….
(OHA solution: Recruit them to become sovereignty activists.)
read … Softer on Crime
City appeals fatal excessive force suit to Supreme Court
HNN: (Meth addict) Sheldon Haleck died after three officers repeatedly tased and pepper-sprayed him when he refused to stop walking in the middle of King street.
A judge in Honolulu and the 9th Circuit appeals court have both refused to throw out the case against the officers.
The city is now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing the 9th Circuit ruling will discourage officers from trying to maintain the public safety and is “an affront to law enforcement.”
[Read more: Video from officer’s taser shows what happened minutes before suspect’s death]
read … City appeals fatal excessive force suit to Supreme Court
Inmates forced to stay in prison past their release date cost taxpayers
KHON: … We're talking about months at a time that the inmates overstayed. And taxpayers are footing the bill in more ways than one.
Attorney Myles Breiner has four cases pending against the state for what's known as inmate overstay. The lawsuits say that altogether, all four inmates spent more than a thousand days past their release date.
"You'd think that given the digital age that we're in we'd be able to account for inmate time. Unfortunately, we have an antiquated system that we use in Hawaii. Someone writes down on a piece of paper the number of hours and days someone's in custody," said Breiner.
It's a problem that's costing state taxpayers in at least a couple of different ways. There's the additional money for housing and feeding inmates those extra days. As well as the money the state would have to pay because of these lawsuits.
A study done two years ago estimates that it costs the state $140 a day to keep each prisoner locked up. The four inmates who filed a lawsuit overstayed 1,029 days, which amounts to more than $144,000 in additional costs.
As for the cost from the lawsuit, Breiner says it could be millions of dollars, although he's still negotiating with the state….
read … Inmates forced to stay in prison past their release date cost taxpayers
‘Service Resistant’ Meth Addicts Camping out in Kakaako Again
KHON: …Vandalism, car break-ins and human waste are some of the complaints coming from one area in Kakaako….
…The Hawaii Community Development Authority authorized the transfer of ownership of certain land in the area to the City of Honolulu in 2018.
The city council approved the transfer on Dec. 5, and the HCDA is still responsible.
The city told KHON2 in a statement that "the transfer is not complete and the city's Department of Land Management continues to work through the process."
Currently, the city continues to operate under a Right of Entry….
Once finalized, the city says they want to try to persuade the homeless into shelters so they can receive proper care and ultimately permanent housing. They say studies show living on city streets decreases a person's lifespan by 20 years or more therefore Mayor Caldwell's program of compassionate disruption will continue.
"It's a really nice park and area," Allen said. "It's just kind of unfortunate what's happening in the community."
However clearing up the area won't be easy for the city.
The city said in a statement, "...this is a very service-resistant group that refuses to accept the help that’s been offered by the city’s Office of Housing and the service provider that covers this area."…
read … City will soon take over problem area in Kakaako
High Cost of Shelter-Refusers Tearing up Parks
SA Editorial: … Be forewarned, park-goers: 18 more city parks, from Makapuu to Mokuleia, are now closed at nights, in an effort to curtail vandalism and illegal homeless activity. That brings the total of night-closed parks to nearly 60 — a trend that started in April with 25 urban parks, with another 16 added later. These parks’ bathrooms and gates are locked at night, a needed policy launched after more than 600 acts of vandalism were reported at city parks over the past three years. The damage done to sinks, stalls and pipes had been senseless as well as expensive to repair, and park-goers have expressed concerns about chronic shady activities.
Vandalism at city parks in 2017 cost city maintenance crews over $224,000, up from $200,000 in 2016 and $189,000 in 2015 — and that’s not even including larger repair jobs.
The latest 18 Windward-North Shore park closures, which began Friday, add $39,000 to the city’s contract with American Guard Services Inc., which began in April as a three-month, $26,000 job to secure 25 parks. The night closures come on top of a $44,000 monthly pilot that since November, has pairs of Hawaii Protective Association unarmed guards rotating among nine city parks against illegal homeless activity….
read … High cost of park vandalism
Hawaii Tourism Paradise has a Dark Side: 117 People Dead in 2018
HNO: … Hawaii is known to have the worst roadways in the United States and the highest maintenance costs for road repairs. The results are accidents and flat tires, but in some cases it means death.
Last year, 43 pedestrians were killed in crashes statewide according to preliminary figures from the State Transportation Department. Of those fatalities, 27 were on Oahu. 38 people who were occupants of vehicles died statewide in 2018. In addition to the motor vehicle occupants and pedestrians, 34 people who died were on mopeds, scooters, or motorcycles. There were also two bicyclists killed. Hawaii is a state where a helmet is not required.
Some of the bicycle paths even in the trendy Kaka’ako neighborhood or Waikiki have so many potholes, that driving a bicycle is becoming a safety hazard.
Visitors going on a circle-island trip using a rental car are often confronted with large potholes even on main highways. Statistics also point out drivers training in a laid-back environment like Hawaii is often clashing with the fast pace tourists from other states or countries are driving their rental vehicles.
Gunther, visiting from Germany, just had to pay $300 for a tire on his rental vehicle. He said: “In our country, many roads seen here on Oahu would be closed.” ….
HTH: Man dies after apparent medical issue at beach
read … Hawaii Tourism Paradise has a Dark Side: 117 People Dead in 2018
Mission Accomplished: Ulupono Destroys Dairy Industry, Prepares to Quit Kauai Dairy Plan
KGI: … Ulupono Initiative representatives said at the end of the 2018 they’re reconsidering the plan for a dairy on Kauai, but that’s about all they’re saying when it comes to the ongoing project of installing a dairy at Maha’ulepu.
More information and a decision on how to move forward with the dairy “is expected this month,” according to Keith DeMello, a spokesman for the organization….
Ulupono spokeswoman Amy Hennessey said in a Dec. 12 Civil Beat article, the organization is considering whether the Kauai dairy would be a good investment — and that’s after years of investment and study going into the project,
DeMello didn’t answer questions about what factors are being considered in the upcoming decision and didn’t provide a status on the second environmental impact statement, one that was required by the Department of Health before receiving permits needed to move forward….
Hennessey said Ulupono was reconsidering the Kauai dairy after the announcement in November that Big Island Dairy would be closing….
(Editor’s Note: Ulupono created the problem by ‘voluntarily’ undergoing an EA/EIS process even though agricultural operations are not required to do so. Now that Ookala dairy has been wiped out by the protesters that Ulupono brought into being, it has completed its mission. Key factoid: Omidyar is a luxury resort developer.)
read … Dairy decision closer
Judge denies dismissal of Leilani homeowner’s lawsuit
HTH: …Osborne evacuated Leilani Estates on May 3, and on May 25, she learned her home had caught fire after it spread from neighboring homes, according to the suit. In a letter dated June 4, the county confirmed that the property had been destroyed.
Osborne alleges she paid more than $2,400 a year for homeowner’s coverage with Lloyd’s, but her claim was denied by an unlicensed claims adjuster from an unlicensed claims adjusting company located 4,000 miles away in Little Rock, Ark. No one from the adjusters inspected or set foot on Osborne’s property prior to the denial being issued, Osborne’s attorney, Jeffrey Foster said.
Other defendants in Osborne’s suit are: Specialty Program Group, RTEA Corporation, Arm Claims Inc. and John Mullen and Co. Inc….
On Nov. 13, Nakamoto denied a motion by Lloyd’s to dismiss another lawsuit filed by Philip and Lanell Haysmer, a couple in their 70s whose Leilani home was destroyed. Specialty Program Group, Arm Claims Inc. and Mullen are co-defendants in the Haysmer suit, as well.
The Haysmers claim they paid almost $3,000 a year for homeowners coverage with Lloyd’s and allege Lloyd’s and the others failed to honor the Haysmers’ insurance claim in good faith following the destruction of the their home in a May fire during the eruption….
read … Judge denies dismissal of Leilani homeowner’s lawsuit