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Tuesday, March 05, 2019
March 5, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:34 PM :: 1717 Views

Crossover: House Sends 197 Bills to Senate

City-Funded Survey Tries Out Excuses for Tax Hikes

Suddenly Transsexual at 50--Former Dude Scores $95K from New Age Guru 

Kealoha Tied to former M Nightclub Owner

ILind: … Sometime in 2015 or 2016, Katherine Kealoha–at the time, a top deputy prosecutor in Honolulu and wife of then-Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha–took the very unusual step of intervening in a traffic case on behalf of a Honolulu businessman, according to a published account by Civil Beat’s Nick Grube.

The man allegedly fled the scene after being stopped for using a cell phone while driving, then later telephoned the officer involved and verbally threatened to essentially go over his head to someone higher in the political “food chain” for support, according to the Civil Beat story.

Katherine Kealoha reportedly personally called the police officer who made the traffic stop and told him to back off, and also had one of her investigators in the prosecutor’s office file an internal affairs complaint against the officer’s sergeant.

The businessman was identified by Civil Beat as Michael Miske, citing police reports on the incident. Miske has a number of local business interests. He also has a long criminal history dating back to the 1990s, and a violent reputation. More recently, he allegedly took part in or directed several assaults when he was part-owner and apparently an on-site manager of the popular M Nightclub in Restaurant Row. The club closed in late 2016 as a result of troubles with the Honolulu Liquor Commission and legal problems stemming from a series of similar allegations of assaults of patrons by bouncers.

If true, Kealoha’s actions are quite extraordinary because, at the same time she was aggressively intervening in the traffic case, apparently to shield Miske from any adverse action, Miske and a co-defendent were being prosecuted by her office on felony charges stemming from an alleged late night assault outside the nightclub in December 2012….

The Galmiche case is now being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s office, which took over the case from the prosecutor’s office in May 2017.

This is just one of a string of cases alleging that Micheal Miske was involved in or directed assaults on customers at the club over several years….

Another incident in August 2012 was described in detail by the victim, accompanied by photographs, and later reposted with permission on a blog maintained by Damon Tucker (see “Victim in Alleged “M” Nightclub Beating Speaks Up“).

And in January 2016, a group of five men went public with a chilling account of being assaulted by bouncers at the club (“Honolulu nightclub patrons allege bouncers assaulted them“).

Several other civil lawsuits based on similar allegations named Miske or the nightclub as defendants….

read … Man was facing felony charges when aided by Katherine Kealoha

HART board and City Council Reject forensic rail audit (again)

SA: … The board tasked with building Oahu’s $9.2 billion rail project voted Thursday to tell the Honolulu City Council to ask off on initiating a forensic audit of the agency until after a federal investigation into the project is settled.

On Wednesday the Council Budget Committee voted to delay approval of Resolution 19-29, calling for the independent forensic audit, to give the HART board time to weigh in on the issue….

In 2016 HART board member John Henry Felix attempted to initiate a forensic audit through the board, but he failed to gather the support of one even of his colleagues, which was required for there to be an up-and-down vote on the issue.

The HART board, at its meeting Thursday, also voted to give final approval to a $160 million payout to Ansaldo Honolulu JV to settle delay claims brought by the company…. 

KITV: Honolulu City Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi calls for support of a forensic audit of rail

CB: A ‘Forensic Audit’ Of Rail Likely Won’t Uncover Fraud

read … HART board and City Council hold off on forensic rail audit

Massive Festering Homeless Tent Cities Coming Thanks to Josh Green: HPD chief says yes to ‘temporary refuge areas’

HNN: … Following a meeting with the Ige Administration late last month, Ballard wrote a letter to the state’s lieutenant governor, outlining a half-dozen ideas.  (Note: One of them is tent cities.)

“We spoke very candidly about the challenges the police are facing,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green

Currently out of town, the chief wasn’t available for interviews on Monday, but she did provide Hawaii News Now with a copy of the letter — including a plan that would incorporate what are known as Lift Zones.

The Idea would allow HPD to temporarily set up military-style tents in portions of some neighborhood parks. The shelters would operate around the clock, for up to three months in any one park, and be pet-friendly.

Residents would be allowed to be slightly intoxicated at the site, but drug use would be prohibited. There would be security and service providers at the tents to help people transition off the street.

To be eligible for the Lift Zones, HPD officials say residents would first have to choose two brick-and-mortar homeless shelters. Once one of those become available, they’d have to accept that shelter service or be asked to exit the zone for 30 days.…

(This is the price being exacted buy the Council which is refusing to let Caldwell implement law to force homeless off the streets when shelter space is available.)

Ballard also backed the creation of “temporary refuge areas.”

(This is Josh Green’s homeless tent city nightmare idea.  He never learns anything.  Tent cities are the problem, not the solution.)

“I think it’s Lift Zones plus,” said Green. “It will be temporary, but it will be more health care. More social respite. Some people are having so much trouble with their mental illness and addiction they won’t go into housing until we get them that next step better.”

(WRONG: They won’t go into housing until we FORCE them.)

Mayor Kirk Caldwell first saw a copy of the letter this morning.

“I thought it was a great letter,” he said.

In an interview, he called on the state to release $6 million to fund HPD’s Lift Zone project — but wanted to know more about temporary refuge areas (tent city hellholes) before throwing his support behind it….

(Caldwell’s “want to know more” is the only thing standing between us and tent cities everywhere.  By blocking enforcement, they create a crisis and then demand we fund tent cities which will only make the crisis worse.  Will the tourism industry be fooled by this rehash of the same old failed idea?)

read … HPD chief says ‘temporary refuge areas’ could help Oahu’s homeless problem

HB1552: Independent Commission of Soft-on-Crime Activists to Oversee Prisons?

CB: …A bill to establish an independent commission to oversee the state’s jails and prisons clears the House and heads to the Senate….

Now the Hawaii Legislature is considering setting up a five-member commission to provide  independent oversight of the Department of Public Safety’s Corrections Division. House Bill 1552 has passed the House and is moving to the Senate where a companion measure, Senate Bill 1424, has stalled….

DPS officials have not said publicly whether they supported or opposed creation of the oversight commission and have offered testimony suggesting only that the full costs of creating it be taken into consideration, including salaries and the expense of renting offices.

They declined to elaborate on their position.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs staff has recommended that its Board of Trustees support it, and a number of criminal justice reform advocates have endorsed it….

SA: Killing of escaped OCCC inmate draws scrutiny from Maoists 

SA Editorial: Details needed on security shootings

read … Hawaii Prisons: ‘You Can’t Have A System Policing Itself’

Administrator who oversaw Hawaii State Hospital during high-profile escape to leave post

HNN: …William May, who began overseeing the Hawaii State Hospital in 2014, will be leaving in early May to coincide with the end of the legislative session.

His departure comes a few months after the state Attorney General’s office released its massive, 192-page report on the 2017 escape of an admitted killer from Hawaii State Hospital — an escape that happened on May’s watch.

The Attorney General’s Office said that while its investigators found significant lapses in policies and procedures at the State Hospital, it found no evidence of employee wrongdoing. In other words: it was the system that was broken.

May previously acknowledged that the timeline of events in the escape was very concerning, and also said the state has worked in recent years to bolster security at the Hawaii State Hospital, the only publicly-run psychiatric facility in the islands for forensic patients.

Despite the obviously blemish on the state hospital’s record, officials say they’ve been pleased with May’s work at the facility.

“Despite the growing census at the hospital, Bill has successfully led the hospital team to continually improve the quality of care for patients, working conditions for employees, and safety for the surrounding Kaneohe neighborhood,” said Dr. Bruce Anderson, state health director.

The escape also prompted the state to pursue plans for a new state-of-the art mental health facility, and the facility’s infrastructure could well benefit from the incident. It’s been in the planning stages for years, but Randall Saito’s escape prompted the state to speed up the project and increase security.

Construction is slated for completion in late 2020 and expected to be ready for staff and patients in May 2021.

Under May’s care, the facility in January 2018 also earned re-accreditation for a three-year period….

read … Administrator who oversaw Hawaii State Hospital during high-profile escape to leave post

Annual homeless census’ leader resigns

SA: … Just a week after releasing early data on Oahu’s annual homeless census, the head of the organization that oversees the island’s annual Point in Time Count abruptly resigned, cryptically citing “undermining behaviors.”

Sam Millington, 58, started his first day as executive director of Partners in Care on Dec. 3 after coming out of retirement on Maui. He was Partners in Care’s second executive director in less than two years.

In a brief statement Monday to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Millington said, “Yes, I came from Maui and my sole attention was to try and address homelessness here on Oahu.” …

“I saw warning signs in December,” Millington began in his email. “Then a few more red flags in January. … February was decidedly worse. So I’m going to resign as Executive Director.”

After praising Connie Mitchell, Partners in Care’s board chairwoman, and Partners in Care staff, Milli­ngton then wrote, “All that said, there have been undermining behaviors, internal and especially external, which make it clear that serving as PIC’s Executive Director is no longer a viable option. Loyalty and trust are important to me in ways that you all cannot possibly know or imagine. So when those bonds are broken, it’s crossing a red line.”…

In an op-ed column Millington wrote for the Star-Advertiser on Thursday, the same day he penned his resignation letter, Millington ended his column by saying, “Our initial findings suggest that current homeless programs and interventions are making a positive difference. But it’s also clear that there is still a long road ahead of us.”

In an email to the Star-Advertiser, Mitchell — PIC’s board chairwoman — wrote:

“Sam Millington has done an excellent job in a short-time of laying foundations for Partners In Care to move forward in establishing greater support and accountability for Oahu’s homeless service system, independent, yet respectful of government stakeholders. The PIC Board will meet to discuss the memo to bring resolution, at which point a statement will be issued to the public.” …

In his resignation letter, which ran more than two pages long, Millington offered several possibilities for when he would leave Partners in Care, ranging from essentially immediately; continuing as executive director until a specific end date; staying on to help finish various projects; to remaining as a part-time consultant….

SA: Wanted: a nonpolitical executive geared up to manage the politically sensitive subject of homelessness.

read … Annual homeless census’ leader resigns

A controversial ban on single-use plastics is up for a vote at the state capitol

HNN: … a key vote is set for Tuesday on a proposal to ban single-use plastics that are common in the food and beverage industry.

Senate Bill 522 … would prohibit single-use plastic food items, including straws, bottles, and utensils. Polystyrene food containers would also be banned….

State and county agencies would be affected first, after July 1, 2021.

A year later, restaurants and other businesses would be impacted.

All plastic bags would be banned after July 1, 2023….

The measure is opposed by the associations representing Hawaii’s restaurant and retail industries.

Shiro’s Saimin Haven tried several green options, but went back to styrofoam due to safety concerns.

“Customers have brought it back to us, scolding us, saying that we should not be serving anything hot or soupy in the containers,” explained vice president Bryce Fujimoto.

Fujimoto said the eco-friendly containers are two to three times more expensive, which would lead to higher prices for customers….

“…renewable re$ource$ i$ where it’$ at,” $aid Ari Patz, a $alesperson for $ustainable I$land Product$….

an organization is offering free metal straws at more than 17 cafes across Oahu. Hawaii Eco Straws has given away about 24,000 resuable straws…

(How clean do you think those will be?)

read … A controversial ban on single-use plastics is up for a vote at the state capitol

Oligopoly Drug Dealers Move 1,569 lbs of Weed, Score $12.9M in Revenue—Expect More when Tourists Can Score

SA: … Hawaii dispensaries sold 1,569 pounds of medical marijuana totaling $12.6 million in 2018, state Health Department statistics show.

That’s projected to grow by “thousands” as Hawaii opens registration for the first time today to out-of-state patients. Both residents and patients in other states who intend to visit the islands can now register online for an electronic registration card to purchase pakalolo at local dispensaries.

Health director Bruce Anderson estimates a 10 percent to 20 percent increase in patients with the new registration process.

“I’m guessing we’re going to see less than 10,000 more just from visitors,” Anderson said at a news conference Tuesday. Locally, there are nearly 25,000 registered patients.

For a $49.50 application fee, patients already registered in 37 other jurisdictions, including four U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, can apply for a medical cannabis card up to 60 days before visiting the islands. The card is valid for 60 days and patients may apply twice in a calendar year. If they plan to stay longer, the DOH recommends they be certified by a local doctor to get a card valid up to a year.

Purchase limits remain the same — no more than 4 ounces every 15 days. Out-of-state patients are prohibited from growing weed….

read … Hawaii dispensaries sold $12.6M worth of pakalolo for medical use last year

85% of Medicated Dopers Have …uh… ‘Severe Pain’

HNN: … The state Health Department, which administers the medical cannabis registry program, said there were 24,070 valid registered medical cannabis users in Hawaii as of Jan. 31. However, people with HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, glaucoma or lupus accounted for less than three percent of the total.

The vast majority -- 20,426 (85%) -- said they were using the drug for “severe pain.”

“Just about anybody can go in and see a doctor and say, ‘I’ve got severe pain,’” said state Rep. John Mizuno. He’s a member of the House Health Committee and is a part of a working group in the legislature studying medical cannabis use.

Mizuno is wondering whether prescriptions for medical cannabis are being handed out too easily.

“That’s what we did with opioid abuse,” he said. “We tracked which doctors were giving out high (numbers of prescriptions).”

In fact, Hawaii allows nurse practitioners to diagnose cannabis patients. And most dispensaries are eager to help prospective patients get their cannabis card….

The Hawaii Democratic Party had supported legalization of recreational marijuana as a top priority for this year, but a measure to do that died in the legislature. However, the state house is scheduled to act on a measure to decriminalize some marijuana-related offenses.

The state Health Department is also scheduled to announce a new process for out-of-state (tourists to party with) ‘medical’ cannabis users to (and pay good money to) obtain the cannabis from local retailers, and unveil a new electronic registration card for valid (pained) users….

read … Soma

Legislature Considers Sex Abuse Investigation Of Catholic Church

CB: … Both legislative chambers are on track to pass bills eliminating the statute of limitations for civil suits involving child sex abuse. But they’ll require more public hearings and votes before becoming law.

The proposals include House Bill 18 introduced by Thielen, a Republican from Windward Oahu, and Senate Bill 1035, introduced by Democratic Sen. Maile Shimabukuro from West Oahu.

Shimabukuro’s bill originally proposed simply extending the statute of limitations, but Rhoads amended the measure to get rid of the time limit entirely….

read … Legislature Considers Sex Abuse Investigation Of Catholic Church

Kauai Emergency Proclamation Saves TVRs from Losing Legal Status

KGI: … Dozens of transient vacation rentals that operate legally in the Wainiha-Haena area closed to the public since last April’s disastrous storms got a one-year reprieve on Monday that will permit them to go back into business when Kuhio Highway reopens — projected for later this year.

Without the provisions of a proclamation signed Monday by Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, the 81 legal TVRs in the corridor west of Hanalei would have had to shut down on about April 15 because, in normal circumstances, they lose their legal right to operate if they remain closed for one year or more….

read … Breathing room for TVRs

Legislative News:

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