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Wednesday, June 05, 2019
June 5, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:07 PM :: 1342 Views

Panos: Some Ways To Stop The Exodus To The Mainland

OHA Distributes $6M Grant Money

Low Participation Breakfast: DoE is Serving it All Summer

Leaks detected in deck of Honolulu rail line

SA: … The concrete deck of the elevated Honolulu rail line has cracks in a “handful” of areas that have been allowing rain to leak into the hollow interior of the structure, according to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. (Thus causing corrosion on the steel cables which hold the sections together.)

Andrew Robbins, executive director of HART, said there have been some “shrinkage cracks” in the concrete surface on top of the guideway, which is where the rails are mounted. Those kinds of cracks in concrete are common, but they are not supposed to leak, he said.  (Wow.  Cracked thru and thru.)

A subcontractor working on the $9.2 billion rail project discovered that water was leaking into the interior of the structure, and an inspection by HART identified a half-dozen to a dozen (they can’t give an exact number?) areas of the deck along about 1,400 feet of rail line in the Waipahu area that were leaking, Robbins said….

“Water should not be coming through,” Robbins said. Shrinkage cracks are normally patched with epoxy, and that was done in these areas, but “in these particular locations, the repair didn’t take, and water was able to get through there.”…

>> In 2016 the rail authority acknowledged that strands in three of the tendons that help keep the guideway structure in place had snapped apart during construction of the West Oahu Farrington Highway segment of the project. Those tendons are essentially cables that wire together the individual 10-foot precast concrete segments of the elevated rail line….

Kiewit conducted an investigation into the problem and then agreed to set up a 20-year acoustical program to monitor the tendons.

According to a briefing by HART officials in May, acoustical sensors will be deployed along 61 spans of the rail line that the city identified for monitoring, and Kiewit will use that equipment to detect the sound of any future wire breaks so the city can respond to the problem.

>> HART also has struggled to design and fabricate the canopies that will provide shelter for passengers on nine station platforms on the western portion of the 20-mile rail line….

The canopies are supposed to be completed and installed by December, but in April a consultant for the Federal Transit Administration warned the problems with the canopies likely will trigger a claim or change order from contractor Nan Inc.

>> Most recently, HART reported last month that contractor Hitachi Rail Hono­lulu Joint Venture will have to retrofit two dozen rail cars that already have been shipped to Hawaii after samples from the cars failed roof and floor fire testing in Texas in February….

read … Leaks detected in deck of Honolulu rail line

Alleged Drug Dealer to Go Free to Protect ‘Confidentiality’ of Dirty Cop

WHT: … Prosecutors are looking to have a felony drug case thrown out at the request of the police chief because a key witness is a sworn police officer under internal investigation.

After conferring with Police Chief Paul Ferreira, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney filed a motion to dismiss all charges against Jose Miranda in a drug case that spans 18 months. The unnamed witness is on leave from the department due to an on-going internal investigation.

Miranda was charged with 11 counts of first-degree promoting a dangerous drug, a class A felony, in December 2017. Two counts were dropped and after four continuances, trial was set to begin on June 18.

On May 24, 3rd Circuit Court Judge Robert DS Kim called for an evidentiary hearing on the motion to dismiss before issuing a ruling.

The judge called it a serious case involving multiple felonies and said it is the duty of the court to investigate further to determine whether the case should be dismissed, according to court minutes….

Heroldt also noted that the motion should be granted in order to preserve and protect the witness’ significant privacy interest, and HPD’s duty and privilege of confidentiality for its policies’ files, including personnel and other internal files, and records set forth in Hawaii Revised Statutes and the SHOPO Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Two former HPD officers, meanwhile, are facing gambling and drug charges.

Retired officer Brian Miller has pleaded not guilty to illegally taking drug evidence and a police locker and notifying Hilo arcade owners of an upcoming gambling raid.

Chadwick Fukui — a former Hilo Criminal Investigations Division commander who retired in 2006 and worked as an investigator for the county prosecutor from 2007-2014 — is facing charges of hindering prosecution, criminal conspiracy and tampering with physical evidence. Those misdemeanor charges are in connection with the Aug. 10, 2017, raid on Triple 7 in Hilo….

West Hawaii Today opposed the idea of shutting out the public.

“Closing the hearing would not only be a terrible precedent, but it would lend the appearance of impropriety around the officers and officials sworn to protect us,” Editor Tom Hasslinger said Tuesday. “The public’s business should be conducted in public light.”…

UPDATE: Judge to mull ‘unprecedented’ Closure of Public case

read … State wants case involving cop closed off

Hotel industry mounts 11th-hour push to block $17M property tax hike

SA: … The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association, a 700-member trade organization, held a press conference today to oppose Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposal to increase property taxes for the lodging industry.

The press conference, held at the Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort, comes in advance of Honolulu City Council’s final vote on real property tax measure Resolution 19-55, which will be held Wednesday at Honolulu Hale. The presser drew representatives from properties across Oahu, even the west side.

HLTA, which represents 50,400 lodging rooms statewide, said the proposed increase puts too much pressure on an already softening industry.Under the proposed hike, owners of hotel and resort land would pay $13.90 for every $1,000 of assessed value, $1 more than the $12.90 per $1,000 they now pay. The increase would raise about $17 million more annually….

read … Hotel industry mounts 11th-hour push to block property tax hike

Editorial: City must impose spending controls

SA: … Honolulu has enjoyed a long period of good economic health, owing in part to a robust tourism industry. It can be tempting for elected officials, surveying the landscape for revenue, to wager that there’s a richer tax yield to tap in that direction.

That could be a bad bet for Hawaii’s mid- to long-range prospects. Some experts have projected a slowdown with growth easing off nationally, and signs of a possible recession, even globally, in the offing. And those trends directly affect the likelihood that travel to Hawaii is in the cards for very many people….

At a Council committee meeting in May, Caldwell put rail’s estimated operations-and-maintenance cost at about $37 million for when the first segment, from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium, starts running in December 2020. That’s just for its first six to seven months of operation, the mayor said. And then there’s debt service for a $44 million bond federal authorities want in the city budget, too.

Has the city trimmed its sails enough to float this project? It doesn’t seem apparent.

The city administration has grown in size, adding new, fully staffed land-management and resiliency agencies in recent years, on top of other increases….

read … Editorial: City must impose spending controls

Hawaii County Council Chickens Out -- Firefighters get raises

WHT: … With more than 30 black-shirted firefighters crowding into council chambers and watching them closely, three County Council members switched their votes Tuesday to give unanimous support to their raises.

The compensation package, featuring a 2% salary increase for each of two years, bonuses of $1,500-$2,000 annually and a 2% increase in regular pay based on years of service — known as step increases — would cost the county an extra $7 million over two years on a payroll budget of roughly $30 million annually, about 10% more….

Background:

read … Firefighters get raises

‘Good old boys’ replace political parties

SA: Former Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Richard Port recently mocked the state Legislature’s leadership with the term “Republicrats,”…

… A steady and subtle change over the years has deprived all political parties of their power to influence legislators. Instead a kind of “good old boy (and girl)” network of connected legislative victors, spreading campaign funds around among their proteges and listening primarily to established business, union, development and ideological- agitation interests, has sidelined both political parties. The incumbents, beholden to giant oligopolies in health care, transportation, government-service unions, education, businesses and banking, have achieved a virtual lock on our state government.

Don’t forget that Hawaii has voted overwhelmingly for Republican leaders in the past, and will do so again. It is likely no accident that numerous scandalous miscreants in public and union office have been uncovered as the U.S. Attorney’s Office is now led by an appointee of the Republican Party. Even a recent state attorney general expressed shock and astonishment at the extent of public corruption. I wonder what he was doing that these things were not found out before?…

read … ‘Good old boys’ replace political parties

To help solve Hawaii’s housing crisis, some leaders are looking to ... Singapore

HNN:  … An affordable housing delegation from Hawaii -- made up of lawmakers, state and city housing officials, developers, architects, entrepreneurs, and community advocates -- traveled to Singapore last month to learn how the island nation overcame a major housing crisis and now touts one of the highest home ownership rates in the world.

"The fundamental reason why Singapore's housing model works is because supply and demand are in balance," said State Sen. Stanley Chang, who led the delegation. "In Hawaii, we have demand (up) and supply (down), so the problem gets worse and worse and worse every year." …

Before the 1960′s, hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans were living in slums and overcrowded settlements, but today, more than 90 percent of residents “own” their home thanks to the government’s Housing and Development Board.

“There are many benefits to home ownership, not only for the people, but also for the country as a whole,” said Jenny Foo, a communications manager with HDB.

For decades, HDB has been building huge public housing projects on government-owned land, selling each flat with a 99-year lease, below market value, and with generous government subsidies….

Foo says a family earning less than $1,500 a month could qualify for an $80,000 housing grant.

Today, the agency has built more than a million units and more than 80 percent of Singaporeans live in those projects.

"A household can own only one HDB flat at any one time. They would have to occupy the flat for at least five years before they can rent it out or sell the flat in the open market," said Foo….

Hakim Ouansafi, Executive Director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, says in order for a program like this to be successful in Hawaii, the stigma surrounding public housing needs to be eliminated.

"That's what I like about the Singapore model, public housing is not something bad, it's something to be proud of because you take ownership of it," said Ouansafi….

Background: Senators, Developers Set for Hong Kong-Singapore Junket

read … To help solve Hawaii’s housing crisis, some leaders are looking to ... Singapore

‘We’ve got to fix this’: CEO of United Airlines points out flaws of Honolulu’s aging airport

HNN: …United Airlines’ top executive said that Honolulu’s aging airport could be holding back future travel here.

“I hate to be over dramatic but we’ve got to fix this. This is the jewel of this island. People love coming here and we’ve got to have an airport that represents it,” said United CEO Oscar Munoz….

He said ongoing construction and deferred maintenance at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is taking away from the visitors’ experience.

“I toured this airport with our team this morning ... and literally things are coming off the wall," he said….

read … ‘We’ve got to fix this’: CEO of United Airlines points out flaws of Honolulu’s aging airport

Soft on Homeless Policies Killing Homeless in the Streets

KITV: … "Four of my friends have died on the streets from alcohol abuse," homeless resident Joey Rebman said.

According to data from the Medical Examiner's office, over the past five years acute alcohol intoxication resulted in the death of 19 homeless residents.

(CLUE: These people are dead because they were not FORCED into treatment.)

That is a small portion of the 372 people who died during that period. …

The Medical Examiner's office says 'needlessly' because some residents refuse to accept health care or won't clean up their poor hygiene which can eventually result in life-threatening conditions.

"Maybe I'm a diabetic and get an infection on my foot, but if that is not treated then it can seed my blood and that is what sepsis is and mortality rates go up," Dr. Christopher Happy, Honolulu Medical Examiner. …

(CLUE: These people are dead because they were not FORCED into treatment.)

86 deaths were related to meth use. According to Dr. Happy they also likely contributed to many of the 89 deaths related to cardiovascular issues. … 

13 homeless residents were killed in homicides, nearly two dozen took their own life during that time.

Even more died from falls, car accidents, or injuries.

"My other friends the old timers they drink, drink, drink, next thing you know they in the water, next thing you know they drowning," homeless resident Smallboy said.

16 people drowned over the past 5 years, just under the number of deaths that were undetermined….

The average age for homeless residents dying on the streets is 52 years old, nearly decades less than Hawaii's average life expectancy of 81.  …

(CLUE: These people are dead at 52 because they were not FORCED into treatment.)

PHOTOS: Lt. Gov. Green Surveys Homeless Situation on Big Island

read … Solution: Apply More Force

Leadership: San Francisco to force treatment on mentally ill drug users

AP: … San Francisco officials decided today to force some people with serious mental illness and drug addiction into treatment, even if it goes against the spirit of a city known for its fierce protection of civil rights.

Several members of the Board of Supervisors voiced deep concerns today about the possibility of taking away a person’s civil liberties, but the proposal for a pilot program passed 10-1.

Mayor London Breed and other supporters say the move — known as conservatorship — is necessary to help people who are often homeless, addicted to drugs and have a mental illness, making them a danger to themselves.

“Allowing people to continue to suffer on our streets is not acceptable or humane, and I am glad the Board of Supervisors supported our approach to finally make a change,” Breed said in a statement after the vote….

News Release: Board of Supervisors Approves Conservatorship Legislation

read … Some Excellent News

Guam: No Abortions for a Year Before Anybody Notices

GPDN: … Abortions are legal on Guam, but since June last year none have been reported to the Office of Vital Statistics.

It’s been about a year since the last Guam doctor who provided abortions retired. No other doctors offer the procedure, which means women have to travel off-island if they're seeking abortions conducted in a medical facility.

Bureau of Women’s Affairs Director Jayne Flores said her department is concerned about the lack of a choice for women on island, and she’s gathering statistics to look into the issue….

Meanwhile: Guam marks Pride Month: It all starts with a safe space

read … Concern over lack of abortion provider raised

Former Las Vegas Captain Adapts To New World As Kauai Police Chief

CB: … In the KPD, Raybuck says, “I saw an organization that in recent years has been progressive and innovative and was moving in the direction of 21st century policing.

“The people in (the department) are very dedicated and passionate about serving this community,” he says. “It’s an organization that’s looking to get better. I wanted to join an organization on the path of moving forward in policing today … modern policing.”…

It was significant to Raybuck that KPD has embraced use of body cameras, which all officers now wear. Las Vegas, he said, was a pioneer in the field. The issue was critical to Raybuck, he said, because it signifies a commitment to transparency.

“It used to be that the most important tool on your body was your firearm,” he says. “Because the gun is going to keep you alive. The body-worn camera today, I think, is probably the most important tool. You can go your whole career without ever having to use your firearm. I did, fortunately.

“The gun will save your life, but the body-worn camera can save your career. Law enforcement as a whole owns the fallout of not being able to be trusted in some regard, as to what we say and what we do. The body-worn camera doesn’t lie, though it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. But it’s a tool that can help paint a picture of what occurred and what didn’t.”

Raybuck was impressed that Kauai’s police commission has the power to hire and fire a chief on its own, without approval from the mayor or County Council. He said he was warned by commission members about the costs of food and housing.

“They wanted to make sure I knew what I’m getting into with this job,” he says.

“Not only was Todd the best qualified candidate, he was also the best fit for our Kauai community,” Police Commission Chair Mary Kay Hertog — herself a former military police officer — said in a statement announcing Raybuck’s hiring….

read … Former Las Vegas Captain Adapts To New World As Kauai Police Chief

Hawaii Senators Favorite former Hitman Blake Tek Yoon Hides out in the Philippines?

CB: … Attorneys involved in the bankruptcy case apparently haven’t heard much from Yoon either. His legal counsel withdrew in December, and he’s missed at least one other meeting with the creditors since then. Yoon’s last known whereabouts may be in Quezon City in Manila, the Philippines, according to the court record.

Civil Beat attempted to reach Yoon, but his phone number was disconnected. His former attorney also did not respond to a request for comment.

Two years ago, Yoon held a gala at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel to unveil his plans for the foundation. Some lawmakers invited to the gala walked away skeptical of the plans….

His Kahala property on Kulamanu Street was foreclosed on by Wells Fargo in 2009. He staved off the foreclosure by filing multiple bankruptcies since then, Richard Yanagi, the appointed trustee in the case, wrote in a court filing.

The Kulamanu street home was finally sold last November to a Mapunapuna business owner for $1.9 million, far below its assessed value of nearly $2.3 million. Yoon had hoped to get $7 million from the sale.

The Hawaii Free Press first reported the sale of Yoon’s home in February.

The sale, which was executed in February, went to pay off a $1.5 million loan Yoon owed to Wells Fargo along with another $240,000 loan owed to Ami Shafrir, former owner of a sex-call business….

Hudson opposed the sale of the Kahala home in court filings because he could not recoup his loan, given the sale amount. Mark Estes, another California man who loaned Yoon $200,000, also opposed the sale because there were no carve-outs for him, according to documents filed by Shafrir’s attorneys.

Yoon was to appear in Honolulu for a meeting with his creditors Tuesday in which he would answer their questions under oath.

Neil Verbrugge, a trial attorney representing the U.S. trustees in the bankruptcy case, wrote in a court motion in April that Yoon was required to appear at the hearing or he could be denied a discharge from the case….

Background: Hawaii Senators' Favorite Mafia Hitman Loses Home to Foreclosure

read … Project To Help Homeless Imperiled By Major Donor’s Bankruptcy

DPS Ordering Stun Guns

ILind:  The Department of Public Safety is requesting a sole source contract valued at a total of $144,372.72 over five years for the purchase of 25 Taser 7 weapons, each to include the Taser, handle, holster, dock, rechargeable battery, hardware warranty, cartridges, user training, and “assess to VR content, Oculus GO, and training t targets.” Thirty-three additional licenses are being requested “to allow additional users of the hardware with support from the manufacturer.”

The vendor is Axon Enterprise Inc., described as “the lone provider of the technology….”

“The Taser 7 should not be confused for a common ‘stungun.’ The Taser 7 is designed as a law enforcement weapon and has the ability to be used from a distance. Conversely, a common stun gun must be used by touching a resistive person with two electric prongs resulting in greater danger to a law enforcement officer. Furthermore, the Taser 7 causes neurological-muscular incapacitation when used. This results in a short, but safe timeframe after deployment, when a law enforcement officer can take a resistive subject into custody.” …

read … Browsing through procurement requests

Petition questions commission decision

KGI: … A petition requesting the county planning commission reconsider its recent decision to shut down a Koloa water bottling company has garnered support from dozens of Kauai residents who say the business was denied land-use permits without justification….

Lucas has so far collected over 50 signatures from people hope to once again someday have access to the spring water and, according to the petition, “depend on this natural resource for our health and well being.”

Anyone who would like to join the petition can call or text Lucas at 639-9797.

Lucas said a gofundme page is in the works to help the Satterfields pay the $10,000 fine and the legal fees they have accumulated during their decades long court dispute ….

Background:

Background:

read … Petition questions commission decision

After Mindless Hysterical rage anti-pesticide case Settles for a Whimper

HNN: … The agreement was prompted by a lawsuit from the group Earthjustice. Environmentalists and Native Hawaiian groups claimed pesticides were being used in areas they shouldn’t have been.

“A lot of the major spraying operations were occurring right next to Native Hawaiian communities, include Hawaiian homestead residences on Molokai and West Kauai," said Kylie Wager, Earthjustice attorney.

“And so we think it’s very important that the EPA takes a really close look at the Department of Agriculture’s practices to make sure there are no discriminatory impacts to Native Hawaiian communities.”

The state issued the following statement:

“Following a preliminary inquiry, EPA made no findings of discrimination and did not require HDOA to engage in any substantive corrective actions. HDOA agreed to continue to comply with existing federal and state laws, including an agreement to ensure that proper notices are posted and accessible describing people’s right to be free from discrimination and HDOA’s process for handling discrimination complaints.” …

read … State, EPA reach agreement on how to implement law aimed at regulating pesticide use

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