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Sunday, June 30, 2019
June 30, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:40 PM :: 1161 Views

DHHL Announces Search for Larry Mehau's Successor

OHA looking for Someone to Give Away $1.66M

The Tax on Ghost Homes

Telescope: DLNR vs KAHEA 'No Sound Cannon'

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 30, 2019

Roth, Heen: OHA should allow trustee to speak out

SA: … OHA’s no-public-dissent rule arguably violates Akina’s constitutionally protected right of free speech (“Office of Hawaiian Affairs censors itself,” June 15). It also prevents his effective representation of constituents and further reduces transparency and accountability at OHA.

Upon learning that the other eight board members intended to discuss the complaints against him in a closed-door executive session, Akina waived his privacy rights and requested that all proceedings related to his alleged transgressions be held in public.

The board declined Akina’s request and excluded him from the closed-door session, which Akina has since described as a clear violation of the open-meetings law.

The majority board members seem to view themselves more like trustees of an alii trust, such as Kamehameha Schools or Queen Liliuokalani Trust, as opposed to elected officials in charge of a state agency.

In their defense, such thinking probably reflects an original conception of OHA as a quasi-autonomous trust, governed by conventional trustees. But that conception runs counter to a subsequent U.S. Supreme Court determination that OHA is a state agency.

It also runs counter to a federal District Court decision invalidating the Hawaii State Constitution requirement that OHA trustees be Hawaiian.

In that same lawsuit, OHA questioned one of the named plaintiff’s qualifications to be an OHA trustee because of things he had written about OHA. The court described that argument as having serious First Amendment implications, and added, “Barring a candidate from the ballot as a result of that candidate’s public comments would strike a blow to one of our system’s most fundamental principles — the right to robust public debate on matters of self-government.”

The court went on to describe OHA as a state agency that is not quasi-sovereign.

Despite such court rulings, OHA trustees continue to present themselves as trustees of a trust with a high degree of autonomy, presumably with a well-intentioned goal of carrying out the original conception of OHA.….

2017: Randy Roth: OHA Copies Bishop Estate--Misusing LLCs to Hide from Law 

read … OHA should allow trustee to speak out

How Caldwell’s Minions Protected the Kealohas, Kaneshiro

SA: … When then-Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto pursued a probe into complaints that HPD equipment was used at the Kealoha home, the Kealohas sued. The commission did not back Totto, ultimately.

The previous Police Commission gave the chief a glowing review in 2014, unquestioningly, while the mailbox episode was ongoing. It looked away while the FBI investigated….

read … Nobody stopped them, not even the entities that were supposed to be keeping a watchful eye.

Criminal Lt Derek Hahn Still Getting a Paycheck from HPD

HNN: … Lieutenant Derek Hahn called in sick Friday, the day after his conviction. He is refusing to accept the HPD papers putting him on leave without pay. Taxpayers are paying while he is on sick time ….

Officer Bobby Nguyen served papers, now on leave without pay from HPD after conviction. Termination papers expected to follow in next few weeks …

…For everyone asking about ex chief Louis Kealoha’s $250k payoff, section 17 on the second pic I posted he gets to exhaust all his appeals first. …

read ... Lt. Chiseler

Hawaii inmate data tracking review takes 4 years to go in big circle--costs nearly $1.4M

SA: … A 2010 state audit of the Public Safety Department found the agency was “woefully under-utilizing” its existing Offendertrak system, which it described as a “state-of-the-art correctional information system.”

Offendertrak, developed by Moto­rola, can track a host of information about inmates, such as their charges, sentences, demographics, housing assignments, grievances, work furloughs and medical assessments. However, the audit found the department wasn’t fully using all the program’s functions and reports were often rife with errors, including listing incorrect release dates for inmates.

“The Offendertrak management system, if used accurately and to its capabilities, would enable prison managers and policymakers to make decisions with reliable information,” according to the audit.

However, in 2014 DPS decided it needed to replace the system because it believed it was being phased out by the vendor and wasn’t serving the agency’s more ambitious reporting and research needs.

The department decided that evaluating its data needs and coming up with a replacement for Offendertrak should fall under a new program between the Public Safety Department and University of Hawaii called the Research and Evaluation in Public Safety program.

The program, referred to as REPS, issued a request for proposals and interested parties were given three weeks to provide a bid proposal. Pas de Chocolat, a Honolulu-based strategic design company run by Cara and Kyle Oba, was the only bidder.

Employees of REPS say the contract was managed primarily by Cathy Ross, who at the time was deputy director of the Public Safety Department.

Pas de Chocolat’s bid proposal, in accordance with the request for proposals, indicated the first phase of work would be completed by March 15, 2015, and the second phase by June 30, 2015.

The contract requested a broad assessment of the department’s data infrastructure. The company also was required to evaluate the functionality of Offendertrak, research software programs that could serve as a replacement and provide the department with a final report.

During the second phase of the contract, the company was expected to conduct further research on the department’s database and reporting needs and submit a second report and identify solutions for replacing the corrections management system, according to contract documents.

If all went well, there would be a phase three to the project where a new software system would be installed and employees would undergo training.

However, phase three hasn’t happened, and the first two phases of the project were extended through 2019 after multiple contract modifications, extensions and revisions.

The initial phase one contract was for $246,000. In its bid, Pas de Chocolat estimated phase two work to cost $504,250. By February of this year, the company had been paid almost $1.3 million.

While Offendertrak is no longer sold by Moto­rola, the company continues to provide product support.

In September 2018, documents indicate the Department of Public Safety decided it was not ready to drop Offendertrak.

Pas de Chocolat’s final report, issued in January, concluded that a phase three contract — in which new software would be implemented — was not recommended.

“PSD has significant gaps to address before a larger-scale software implementation is advised,” according to the report.

The company would not elaborate on what those gaps were and the Public Safety Department redacted the report’s final recommendations….

Contracts issued through RCUH are exempt from state procurement laws, and a spokesman for the university said the contract didn’t violate any of RCUH’s internal procurement polices….

read … Hawaii inmate data tracking review takes 4 years, costs nearly $1.4M

Oahu’s new short-term rental law opens the door to a host of policy, permitting problems

Borreca: … If you think Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Honolulu City Council last week really took care of the problems caused by Airbnb and other short-term vacation rentals in Honolulu, then your reality check is going to take a really long time….

Yes, Oahu’s new law might have teeth and vows of enforcement from the city bureaucrats, but it is expected to provide a fine new income stream for scores of attorneys as the lawsuits are expected to pile up.

Former Mayor Hannemann, who didn’t solve the problem when he was in office and is now a hotel industry lobbyist, wrote last week in MidWeek that “the end result should mean all vacation rentals will have to approved and regulated and the operators will pay all relevant taxes.”

There is much to regulate. Data provided by short-term rental research company AirDNA (www.airdna.co) show that last month, 5,688 private homes were short-term rentals for at least part of the month and 853 private rooms on Oahu had at least one renter.

For those wanting relief and those wanting protection, the law, instead, opens a treasure chest of questions.

When the city starts to pick new short-term rental operators, who gets the permit? Is it first to file or is it who was operating longer? And who decides? Is that fair to those who have had an operation for decades, compared with someone who listed with Airbnb last month?…

read … Oahu’s new short-term rental law opens the door to a host of policy, permitting problems

Kauai TVRs -- 90 days to comply

KGI: … The county may soon have the authority to place liens on illegal transient vacation rentals.

Bill No. 2746, which was passed Wednesday on second and final reading at the County Council meeting, grants the Planning Commission and its director more authority to combat illegal TVRs, and goes as far as creating a “Planning Enforcement Account.”

The bill also gives the department the ability to foreclose on properties with a lien placed on them. The new addition of the authority to place a lien on properties and the creation of the account will combine with the existing measure within the bill to place a $10,000 fine per day on owners of any TVR illegally operating once given notice to rectify the violation.

Councilmember Luke Evslin proposed an amendment to the bill, granting homeowners 90 days to come into compliance with any levied fines or violations instead of the 30 days originally granted within the first reading of the bill….

“This is the problem when you have a Planning Department headed up by attorneys or people who wanted to be attorneys, or went to law school,” Holme said.

“They want to approach it with fines and they want to approach it with fees, litigation, prosecution, felonies. This is what is being billed up to the community. There are 1,500 letters that have already gone out. When your Planning Department is attacking your population, even if it is only 5 to 10% of them, they’re not functioning as a Planning Department, and nobody wants to approach them even when they get a letter saying that they got a fine.”

Councilmember Felicia Cowden stated she sees the bill as something that can potentially do damage to the community.

“As a councilmember, this is the worst bill that has been before us, for me,” Cowden said of bill No. 2746.

“I will definitely be voting not. This is too strong and in the wrong hands five years down the road from now it could be very, very profound and damaging.”

The bill ultimately passed with a 6-1 vote in favor, with Cowden voting no.

read … 90 days to comply

Maui Council Bungles Budget

MN: … While the public will not see a disruption in services when the new fiscal year begins Monday, Maui County departments might not be able to spend money or procure services immediately as Mayor Michael Victorino’s administration and the Maui County Council continue to go back and forth over budget details.

For weeks leading up to the new fiscal year, which runs from Monday to June 30, 2020, Victorino and his budget officials have been asking the council for specific information on the $823.5 million budget it approved — the largest budget in county history and $43 million more than the mayor’s proposal. This information that traditionally has been provided by the council to the mayor includes a spreadsheet on specific cuts and additions made to the budget initially proposed by Victorino.

At 4:15 p.m. Friday on the last business day of the current fiscal year, the council sent the administration an internal budget worksheet labeled “summary details,” which the council staff said is similar to a document called “Exhibit 1.”

The current council did not produce an Exhibit 1, a spreadsheet noting where changes were made to the mayor’s budget and is heavily relied upon by the administration for the exact details necessary for implementation of the budget. The document, which is not mandated by law, has been used for at least two decades, county officials said.

There is some confusion about whether an Exhibit 1 document was generated by the council. Council Budget Chairwoman Keani Rawlins-Fernandez has said that Exhibit 1 was not part of this year’s budget process, but that the council did have an internal spreadsheet to track changes made to the mayor’s budget.

Unlike Exhibit 1, which was shared among council members, the internal spreadsheet was not passed out in hard copy form to other councilors because it was continuously being updated as the council made changes, said Rawlins-Fernandez. Council Members Riki Hokama and Yuki Lei Sugimura were critical of the leadership for not providing the information before voting on the budget.

read … Bungled

Blue Planet: If the Little People Want Lower Electric Bills, They Should Use Less Electricity

SA: … With the highest electricity rates in the nation (and we at Blue Plant are working to drive them even higher), efficiency is typically the easiest and cheapest way for Hawaii residents and businesses to embrace clean energy practices and savings into their lives….

IQ Test: Get it?

read … Hawaii moves to lower energy bills

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