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Tuesday, June 11, 2019
June 11, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:02 PM :: 1801 Views

Kamehameha: The Founding of the Hawaiian Kingdom

Tulsi Gabbard Had a Very Strange Childhood

Maui Jail Short Staffed Because 85 UPW Members Stopped Showing up for Work

SA: … Maui guards told the Star-Advertiser last month that conditions at the jail had continued to deteriorate after a riot broke out at the facility in March, with an increasing number of guards not showing up for their shifts, leaving those left to work 60 to 80 hours a week to pick up the slack. One guard went so far as to warn that the National Guard might need to be brought in — a prospect that DPS didn’t dispute.

There are supposed to be 170 adult corrections officers (ACOs) at MCCC. DPS said last month that there were as few as 83 guards working regularly — a number that has since fallen to 52. There are now 33 vacancies and 22 employees out on workers’ compensation, according to figures provided Monday by DPS. The number of staff who have obtained leave under the federal Family Medical and Leave Act has jumped to 63 currently from 32 last month….  (63 + 22 = 85 UPW members avoiding work)

The transfer of guards to Maui could strain conditions at other jails and prisons in the state that also have high vacancy rates. There were 121 vacant corrections officer positions throughout the state as of October. DPS announced last week that it is recruiting statewide for corrections officers.

For recruits the starting salary is $49,236 annually, according to UPW, which increases to $51,228 after a nine-month probation period. However, guards can make significantly more with overtime pay.

Guards on Maui have continued to raise concerns about safety conditions at the Maui jail in recent weeks, especially with the return of MCCC inmates who allegedly took part in the riot. Of the 33 inmates who were transferred to Ha­lawa Correctional Facility on Oahu after the riot, 21 have been returned to MCCC….

read … Maui’s jail is so understaffed that the state is recruiting guards from other Hawaiian Islands to help

Office of Consumer Protection Calls for Criminal Prosecution of Sovereignty Mortgage Scammer Keanu Sai

HNN: … The state Office of Consumer Protection has made a criminal referral for controversial Hawaiian scholar David Keanu Sai, saying he has committed a felony.

In a court filing, OCP attorney James Evers said Sai violated the state’s Mortgage Rescue Fraud Prevention Act by taking nearly $8,000 advance fees from distressed homeowners.

“Sai’s conduct constitutes a felony and Sai’s criminal wrongdoing has been referred to the proper criminal authorities for investigation," Evers wrote.

The criminal referral came from a foreclosure case involving a property in Ewa Beach. Despite Keanu Sai’s efforts, the owners lost their home.

(Editor’s Note: Once again Sai’s scams lead to Hawaiians losing their land.  Literally.)

“This is just ... one in a long line of scams that take advantage of people who find themselves in desperate financial situations," said longtime investigative reporter and former Common Cause Director Ian Lind.

"It’s really a shame.”…

This isn’t the first time Sai has gotten into legal trouble.

Nearly two decades ago, he was sentenced to five years of probation for theft. At the time, he tried to convince distressed homeowners to stop making mortgage payments….

The University of Hawaii said Sai continues to be employed, teaching Hawaiian Studies at WCC….  

read … Convicted Fraudster comes under fire amid calls for an investigation

Judge rejects city prosecutor’s request to throw out a petition for his impeachment

HNN: … The impeachment petition against city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro will move forward.

On Monday, a judge rejected Kaneshiro’s request to have it thrown out.

Kaneshiro has been on paid leave since March after receiving a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the public corruption scandal connected to the Kealohas.

In April, Hawaii News Now reported that Kaneshiro continued to visit the building of the prosecutor’s office, despite an order to stay away.

The petition to oust Kaneshiro was officially filed in state court in December.

Hundreds signed the petition for his impeachment as he refused to step down from his position early on.

The petition was started by Tracy Yoshimura, who Kaneshiro’s office unsuccessfully prosecuted twice for distributing game machines. …

read … Judge rejects city prosecutor’s request to throw out a petition for his impeachment

Legal expert says expect prosecutors to finish strong when Kealoha trial resumes next week

KHON: … with every conspiracy case, some defendants will not be as easily implicated as others.

As for Louis Kealoha, prosecutors believe he helped his wife Katherine by causing a mistrial in the criminal case against Puana for the mailbox theft. Chin says their appearances of remaining close throughout this trial can also hurt the former police chief.

"I really think that's gonna be part of the argument is, look how close they are and how it's impossible for something to be happening with the wife without the husband knowing," said Chin.

As for Shiraishi, prosecutors presented testimony that he lied to the FBI when they asked him about the mailbox theft. Chin says the rest of the witnesses and the closing argument will likely tie in more on how much all five defendants conspired to frame Puana.

"The thing about a conspiracy that people have to remember is that it's puzzle pieces. So maybe one puzzle piece just by itself is a little suspicious, but maybe not enough. But putting it all together is what the prosecutors are hoping to do," said Chin.

Among the witnesses expected to testify when trial resumes on June 17 is Daniel Sellers, the former HPD officer who cut a plea deal with prosecutors. …

read … Legal expert says expect prosecutors to finish strong when Kealoha trial resumes next week

Arrests of Corrupt Police Hit Three Counties

WHT: … Three of the four counties in the state have had police misconduct probes and indictments handed down by the Justice Department in the last three years.

The latest involves the former Honolulu Police chief and his wife, a deputy city prosecutor. The high profile case of Louis and Katherine Kealoha has netted additional corruption charges within the ranks of law enforcement in Honolulu.

Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro is on paid leave amid a Justice Department probe related to the Kealoha investigation….

In addition, Hawaii County Fire Battalion Chief Jesse Ebersole pleaded guilty in July 2018 to lying to a federal grand jury in the fraud and corruption case against the former Honolulu police chief and a deputy prosecutor.

Honolulu police woes in recent years include federal charges levied against Maulia LaBarre for honest service wire fraud in 2017, Alan Ahn was charged with multiple drug charges in 2017 and John Rabago and Reginald Ramones were indicted for civil rights violation this year.

Neighbor island police forces have joined the ranks of federal probes with the 2016 indictment of Kauai Police Lt. Karen Kapua for theft and Maui County officers Anthony Maldonado and Walter Ahuna were charged with unlawfully seizing money and conspiring to obstruct justice in 2018.

On Friday, June 7, Maui Police officer Daniel Imakyure was arrested for offenses to include criminal attempt; attempting to aid another. He was also found to be complicit in the distribution of drugs to the residents of Molokai and was arrested for promoting a dangerous drug in the first degree and criminal conspiracy. He was released pending further investigation.

Here on the Big Island, retired officers Brian Miller and Chad Fukui are facing charges.

Miller was indicted in connection to missing drug evidence from the evidence locker at the Hilo Police Station. After the Hawaii County Prosecutor’s Office declared a conflict of interest, the case was sent to Kaneshiro’s Department of the Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu….

read …Hawaii not only department with recent officer busts

Sam Slom Wants To Be A State Senator Again

CB: … Although he represented District 9 in the Hawaii Legislature for 20 years, Republican Sam Slom lost to Democrat Stanley Chang in 2016.

Slom was out-raised and outspent by a 3-to-1 margin but lost to Chang by just 5% of the vote, or less than 1,500 votes.

He is now running to recapture the seat that runs from Hawaii Kai to Aina Haina, from Waialae-Kahala to Diamond Head.….

“What people primarily say is they cannot get in touch with my opponent,” said Slom. “I was always accessible as can be, giving people my home number and home address and meeting with anyone from anywhere in the state.”

The former senator says the issues of traffic, homelessness and cost of living have only worsened since he was in office, and he’s particularly upset about people in East Honolulu leaving the state….

Related:

read … Sam Slom Wants To Be A State Senator Again

Ethics Board rules Kierkiewicz violated code when she didn’t report possible conflict

HTH: …  Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz violated the county ethics code when she didn’t disclose a potential conflict of interest in a bill being considered by the County Council, the Board of Ethics ruled unanimously Monday.

The 5-0 decision came after a petition signed by 39 people questioned whether Kierkiewicz had a conflict of interest in introducing a bill, chairing a committee considering the bill and voting on the bill without disclosing that she was employed by a public relations company that represents officers of the landowner in the zoning application. …

There are no penalties or fines associated with the board’s ruling.

After the complaint was filed, Kierkiewicz announced her resignation from Hastings &Pleadwell and disclosed her connections to Steve Ueda, president and CEO of Matsuno Enterprises, which owns the property where another company, Piilani Partners, seeks to install a potable water well and build a bottling plant.

Bill 16 gives a five-year extension to a light industrial zoning on the Hilo property. The council postponed action on the bill….

read … Ethics Board rules Kierkiewicz violated code when she didn’t report possible conflict

Maui Line Item Vetoes: Mayor Nicks $6.5M from Council Budget 

MN: … Since the property taxes were passed by resolution, the mayor does not have line-item veto authority over the property tax rates, said county spokesman Brian Perry on Monday. The council raised rates for hotels and resorts from $9.37 to $11 per $1,000 of assessed value….

Victorino’s reasons for the line-item vetoes included lack of clarity in the language, giving Council Services responsibility for a study he felt was an administrative duty and an allocation for services or improvements the county does not provide.

The mayor vetoed $1 million for Upcountry sewer system upgrades. The county currently does not operate a sewer system Upcountry.

If all the line-item vetoes stand, there would be a $6.5 million reduction in the budget the council approved, administration officials said….

read … Line Item

Protection from floods getting pricier

KITV: … Annual premiums for homes in low risk area can run as low as $449 for $250,000 worth of coverage, but rates skyrocket to more than $7,000 for houses in high risk sections of the state. …

"Those with houses built before the 80s, saw a 15-18% increase for owner occupied homes. For second homes or businesses, they could see up to 25% increase," stated Tyau-Beam….

The state has a website which shows the risk zone where you live, as well as costs for insurance policies. It is good idea to check it out because risk zones for some areas around the state will be changing. You can find that link here….

read … Protection from floods getting pricier

Loss of 2 key specialists at Hilo hospital underscores scope of doctors shortage

HNN: … Amid a growing doctor shortage in the islands, Big Island dialysis patients recently had to go off-island for emergency treatment….

Hilo Medical Center says its only full-time nephrologist, a kidney specialist, suddenly stopped providing care in mid-April. For two weeks, 30 patients were sent to either Oahu or Maui for emergency outpatient care. The only vascular surgeon also resigned in May….

read … Loss of 2 key specialists at Hilo hospital underscores scope of doctors shortage

Staff Turnover High at North Hawaii Community Hospital

WHT: … As a resident who depends on North Hawaii Community Hospital for my medical needs, I have become concerned with the seemingly continuous turnover of doctors, nurses and other staff in the North Hawaii Community Hospital. Working conditions for these professional staff have become untenable for many of the nurses and doctors. Highest among the several problems facing them is the huge inequality of pay for the nurses working on the Big Island compared to the pay of nurses on our sister island of Oahu. This is true even though nurses on both islands are part of The Queen’s Health Systems and both are doing the exact same work. The nurses on Oahu earn almost $10 more per hour than do our nurses on the Big Island at North Hawaii Community Hospital….

read … Open letter to North Hawaii hospital’s CEO

Nanakuli residents at wits’ end over volatile homeless camp on federal property

HNN: … Three months ago, fast-moving flames charred 500 acres behind the Nanakuli Sack-and-Save. It was the latest in a string of wildfires to spark in the brush, much of which is packed with illegal campsites.

Now, a new shantytown has emerged.

It’s on the same 12-acre parcel neighbors say the federal government refuses to take responsibility for ― despite multiple calls for action over the past two years.

“The USDA property borders our property,” said Paula Murray, president of the Puu Haleakala Community Association. “Camps are spread throughout that property going up towards the mountain.” …

Murray says the people living on the USDA land often use their property as a dumping ground.

“Not only do they leave trash on our property,” she said.

“They push it into the canal which is our responsibility. So the state will get after us to clean that canal and fine us if we don’t keep it clean.”

That’s only part of the problem.

Neighbors are dealing with everything from theft to abandoned cars showing up outside their homes. Maintenance workers say it’s not uncommon to walk-in on lewd activity at the community’s rec center.

Gerald Gasper told HNN: “They have sex in the bathroom! I can hear them. Tell them to hurry up!”

But by far what has residents most concerned are the reoccurring brush fires…. 

read … Nanakuli residents at wits’ end over volatile homeless camp on federal property

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