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Thursday, August 08, 2019
August 8, 2019 News Read
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Ex Death-Row Inmate was Driver When Child Sex Trafficker Arrested for Manoa Robbery

HNN: … (Convicted pimp) Quadralis Watson, 35, was arrested Monday afternoon, accused of robbing four tourists in Manoa earlier that day.

Flashback 2009: Waikiki robbery suspect captured in Georgia

Flashback 2011: Hawaii Pimp Gets 10 Years For Child Sex-Trafficking

Hawaii News Now has obtained cell phone video of the arrest which shows Watson shirtless and in handcuffs.

Watson, who goes by the nickname, 'Danger’ served almost 10 years in federal prison for child sex trafficking.

He was released in May.  (See sex offender registry.)

Watson was in the passenger seat of a Mercedes SUV that Honolulu Police say matched the vehicle used in the robbery earlier that day. Officers surrounded it along Kuhio Avenue.

“I entered the vehicle, within five seconds, police swarmed the vehicle with guns to my head and demanded I get out,” says the driver, Isaiah McCoy (who just last year beat a pimping rap)….

(IQ Test: Do you believe him?)

(Flashback Nov 17, 2018: UH Ken Lawson Admits his “Innocence Project” Brought Alleged Pimp to Hawaii)

He says HPD drove the tourists to their location in Waikiki to identify them.

“One by one they brought vehicles up that had the alleged victims of the crime," McCoy says, "Maybe six vehicles in all, four victims and two witnesses. I was cleared by every vehicle.”

Only Watson was identified.

McCoy was not arrested. He calls the incident another case of racial profiling and mistaken identity.

(IQ Test: Do you believe him?)

McCoy was not only freed from death row in Delaware in 2017, (he screamed racism and they believed him) here in Hawaii, a judge dismissed all charges of trafficking, promoting prostitution, and intimidating witnesses last year.

McCoy says he asked the officers for his phone, wallet and other items from inside the Mercedes SUV, when he was told he could leave but his request was denied.

“You forced me out of the vehicle, I did not abandon my property and I immediately requested my property once I was cleared,” McCoy calls that an illegal search and seizure and believes anything found won’t be allowed in court….

Another woman, Stacy Klaas, 33, was also arrested. Sources say she was on surveillance video using one of the Manoa robbery victims’ credit card. She was …uh… released pending investigation …. 

KITV UPDATE: 35-year-old pimp accused of robbing visitors at gunpoint in Manoa makes first court appearance

HNN: Legal battle over rundown Waikiki hotel where pimp was arrested comes to a head  (Really Obvious Question: What can UH Richardson do to save money and reduce the influx of mainland pimps to Hawaii?) 

Thurs Aug 8: Muslim Rapist Arrested After Waikiki Shooting  (released 2013) (Photo, Rape conviction)  Photo: Muslim Rapist Receives Attitude Adjustment Prior to Arrest

read … Convicted child sex trafficker charged for alleged armed robbery in Manoa

Efforts re-launched to impeach Kaneshiro after e-signatures denied

KHON: … If the impeachment is accomplished by December 31, the vacancy is filled by special election….If the impeachment happens after January 1, then the position is appointed by the Mayor….

Copies of the signature form can be downloaded online, or you can meet the petitioner in person.

In a statement, the petitioner says, "Despite our disagreement with the City and the Court's decision, we are moving forward in a manner that gives them everything they have asked for."…

read … Efforts re-launched to impeach Kaneshiro after e-signatures denied

HART employees to be questioned in federal probe

SA: … The agency overseeing construction of the city’s $9.2 billion rail system already was slammed with three federal subpoenas for records, and now several employees have been served subpoenas and asked to meet with federal investigators about possible wrongdoing and irregularities.

Andrew Robbins, executive director and chief executive officer for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, on Wednesday confirmed that “a few” HART employees have been served with subpoenas asking that they meet with federal authorities for questioning.

The employees have not been asked to appear in a courtroom, Robbins said. “My understanding is it’s for interviews,” he said.

Robbins declined to identify the employees, which section of the authority they work in or even how many were contacted, stating that he wants to respect their privacy. He said that he, personally, was not among those served.

The employees have approached the Department of Corporation Counsel, the city’s chief civil law arm, about receiving legal representation from that office or a city-paid private attorney. Under city law, employees are entitled to legal representation as needed on issues dealing with actions taken during the scope of their duties as city employees.

If Corporation Counsel believes it must represent the interests of the city as a whole and that those interests may conflict with those of an employee, it typically will recommend the Honolulu City Council approval funding to hire a private law firm for the worker.

HART, as an agency, received three subpoenas for records from federal investigators in February tied to potential wrongdoing involving the project, whose price tag skyrocketed to $9.2 billion from $5.3 billion.

The first subpoena sought tens of thousands of documents in connection with the East Kapolei-to-Ala Moana rail line. Those documents dealt with the initial stages of the project. The second subpoena sought information on the the project’s relocation program, from which an internal review found overpayments to owners or tenants. The third subpoena calls for the minutes from HART board of directors meetings from 2011 through 2018, including those of discussions that took place in executive sessions closed to the public. State Auditor Les Kondo had earlier sought the same records and was rebuffed by the agency….  

CB: Honolulu Rail Officials Won’t Say Much About New Round Of Subpoenas

read … HART employees to be questioned in federal probe

$10M cracks found in West Oahu rail stations

HNN: … Honolulu’s embattled rail project is already in need of repairs, and it isn’t even fully operable yet.

The rail authority says it’s setting aside $10 million to fix cracks discovered at canopy arms at its West Oahu rail stations.

The agency says the cracks were found on the structures at its West Loch and Hoopili station, along with several micro-cracks at other stations.

It says the problem was caused by poor design or improper fabrication.

HART say they don’t expect the fixes to cost all $10 million, but that much is being budgeted just in case.

This isn’t the first time cracks have been seen along the rail route.

In 2015, large cracks were noted near the end of a 150-foot-long section near UH West Oahu on Kualakai Parkway….

HNN: Read the 2015 report: Large cracks develop along rail line

read … HART budgeting to fix cracks found in West Oahu rail stations

Financial impacts of short term rental law

KITV: … Oahu's new law cracks down on illegal short term rentals. It could also be the reason there has been a surge in Waikiki condos up for sale.

At the Waikiki Banyan, a condo-hotel, the number of units up for sale has quadrupled since the law was passed. While inventory goes up, prices could be going down. Those prices may not be the only financial factor falling in the future.

The front desk lobby of the Waikiki Banyan used to manage a quarter of the 876 units in the building, until Aug. 1 when the new law went into effect regarding illegal vacation rentals.

"At Waikiki Banyan there were over 100 owners who got a letter that said you can't do short term rental anymore. Those units were managed by Aqua Resorts," said Hawaii Living broker George Krischke.

Some of those former rental properties are already up for sale, and more are expected to hit the market.

Not just from that property but all around Waikiki.

"There is a bit of a panic and frenzy start to develop," said Waikiki Banyan General Manager Tom Lonigro….

Once the housing market is flooded with condos for sale, it may also be a better time to buy for those who plan to live in their condos….

HNN: “Businesses in Kailua are worried.”

read … Financial impacts of short term rental law

Council Chair’s Proposal To Kill HART Dies Its Own Early Death

CB: … The proposed resolution would have allowed voters to decide whether to end HART, but it didn’t clear its first reading….

read … Council Chair’s Proposal To Kill HART Dies Its Own Early Death

Kealoha Suit Against City, Ethics Commission Cost Over $355K

CB: … A lawsuit filed by Louis and Katherine Kealoha against Honolulu and its ethics commission in 2016 was dismissed last year. Now, taxpayers are on the hook for the cost of the legal defense: $355,682.

The Honolulu City Council had already authorized $300,000 in legal fees for the firm defending the interests of the city and the commission in 2016 and 2017.

On Wednesday, council members unanimously voted to authorize payment for the final legal invoice from Chong, Nishimoto, Sia, Nakamura & Goya, LLP.

The resolution did not address legal fees for two other firms that were hired to defend Chuck Totto and Letha DeCaires, former ethics commission employees who were also named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, his prosecutor wife, Katherine and their daughter Kristina while the couple was under federal investigation – a legal move one local attorney called “extremely bizarre.”….

read … Kealoha Suit Against City, Ethics Commission Cost Over $355K

Frustration mounts for Mauna Kea telescopes

SA: … The existing 13 telescopes atop Mauna Kea remain shuttered and unable to function as the Thirty Meter Telescope protest continues into its fourth week at the base of the mountain.

The longest-ever shutdown of the mountaintop science community has left observatory officials and scientists frustrated and worried about the long-term health of their astronomy instruments.

“Something has to change,” said Jessica Dempsey, the deputy director of the East Asian Observatory, which runs the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. “The risk to our instruments becomes greater as we go on.”…

And despite previously receiving nearly daily maintenance, the instruments at James Clerk Maxwell Telescope have only seen maintenance crews twice since the mountain was evacuated, once to make an emergency run to check on an ailing instrument and another to make sure detectors were not damaged.

“They can be incredible, high- maintenance, temperamental instruments,” she said….

Dempsey said a new $400,000 three-camera instrument arrived in Hilo three weeks ago intended for immediate delivery and installation at the summit. But, she said, the protest made it impossible.

Instead, the instrument was taken to a lab at sea level for testing.

The instrument, named Namakanui by University of Hawaii-Hilo Hawaiian language professor Larry Kimura, is expected to be used next year with the Event Horizon Telescope as a collection of telescopes worldwide search for the next image of a black hole.

The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and its neighbor on the summit, the Submillimeter Array, were part of the last Event Horizon Telescope experiment, which led to the imaging of Powehi — the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy, announced earlier this year….

“We’re working on it as much as we can in the lab,” she said, “but sometimes it takes as long as six months to get an instrument like this fully operational. We’re on an incredibly tight schedule.”…

Manset said in recent days officials have been worrying about a couple of festering issues at the telescope, including a broken crane and the condition of an instrument used to discover and characterize exoplanets. Kept at extremely cold temperatures, the infrared spectropolarimeter has been warming.

CFHT staff members and technicians from a company that specializes in cranes were able to reach the summit Wednesday, she said.

“They made it up and have started the process of repairing the crane and troubleshooting the cooling issue,” Manset said.

But the operation will require multiple days in a row and “we haven’t tried requesting daily access like that yet,” she said….

read … Frustration mounts for Mauna Kea telescopes

Law enforcement costs associated with TMT conflict Give Hawaii County Councilmembers Opportunity to Preen and Posture

HNN: … Hawaii County Council members say they were surprised recently to see how much the Big Island spent over a two-week period on law enforcement costs associated with the TMT conflict.

From July 1 to 15, Hawaii County spent $258,000 on Mauna Kea-related law enforcement salaries, supplies and overtime, officials told the council this week….

“It’s hard to swallow that we spent $258,000 without knowing that we’ll be reimbursed on a project that isn’t completely county-related,” said Hawaii County Council member Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder….

And on July 17, more than 50 Honolulu police officers in riot gear came out when the state land officers arrested more than two dozen kupuna, but then were told to stand down.

Big Island council members say they expect even greater costs to come.

This is the fourth week of the protest at Mauna Kea, and protesters have said they’re prepared to stay for as long as it takes to stop the Thirty Meter Telescope project.

“I’m actually bracing for a bigger number because these numbers only take us to July 15th when so much activity happened the second half of July,” said Hawaii County Council member Sue Lee Loy.

Hawaii News Now obtained a July 17 letter from Maui's police chief Tivoli Faaumu to the Maui County Council with approval signature from Maui Mayor Mike Victorino.

In it, Faaumu writes, “The County of Maui taxpayers will not incur any cost in relation to the travel and police presence on Maunakea. The County of Hawaii will be responsible for all associated costs."

"All pay associated with overtime will be incurred by the county of Hawaii," the letter continued….

Last week, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard told the City Council that the state attorney general would be reimbursing HPD’s overtime costs for the Mauna Kea effort.

“My understanding is that all costs to the Big Island and other counties will be reimbursed by the State,” said Hawaii County Finance Director Deanna Sako….

read … Law enforcement costs associated with TMT conflict are mounting

Hawaii DoT Still Pushing road user charge

ITS: … “Fuel tax revenue is flattening,” says Scot Uruda, federal program engineer at Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDoT). “It’s actually started to decline. The entire vehicle fleet is becoming more fuel-efficient.” Even with a projected increase in vehicle miles travelled on the cards, this is still the case. “As the vehicle fleet changes, we need to find a revenue source that is sustainable and fair to everyone,” he says. State and county road maintenance and improvement projects will be ‘significantly affected by any downturn in road tax revenue’, HDoT warns.

To stem the leakage of fuel tax cash, HDoT has already considered gas tax hikes, registration fee increases, EV fees, distance-based charges and rental car surcharges….

2016: Feds: $540M in Highway Funds can be spent on Rail

read … Hawaii backs road user charging to replace fuel tax

Hawai’i Climate Change Proceedings are Transforming Regulatory Arena

IM: … The Hawai`i Supreme Court May 2019 ruling in Life of the Land`s appeal of the Public Utilities Commission`s approval of the HELCO-Hu Honua power purchase agreement remanded the proceeding back to the Commission so that Life of the Land can address greenhouse gas emissions and their constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment.

The Commission directed Hu Honua and HELCO to address both smokestack emissions and other lifecycle emissions.

Estimate Net `Smokestack` GHG Emissions Impact from operation of the Hu Honua plant. {Net `Smokestack` Emissions = Avoided Emissions from Fossil Fueled Plants - Emissions from Hu Honua plant) . The commission expects that the Applicants will work together to estimate the CO2 emissions per MWh of the Hu Honua plant output. The Applicants should document all assumptions in developing these estimates.

Estimate Net Lifecycle GHG Emissions Impact from operation of the Hu Honua plant. (Net Lifecycle Emissions = Avoided Lifecycle Emissions from Fossil Fueled Plants - Lifecycle Emissions from Hu Honua plant). For this analysis, Applicants will have to estimate GHG emission for all "upstream" activities from delivering fossil fuels and biomass to the Hu Honua plant, and emissions from constructing the Hu Honua plant.

The commission understands that this can become a complicated analysis and suggests that the Applicants may want to identify values based on peer-reviewed literature that can serve as a reasonable proxy in the absence of detailed Hawaii- and/or project-specific data. The commission encourages Hu Honua to provide as much project-specific data as possible. All input assumptions used for the analysis shall be documented and provided in the record.

HECO, Hu Honua, and the Consumer Advocate must file their proposed stipulated procedural schedule on September 17, 2019, which must include the date when the GHG analysis must be filed.

The schedule will include discovery, testimony, exhibits, and an evidentiary hearing.

The Commission has started considering greenhouse gas impacts in other proceedings as well. The Commission is currently the only place where intervenors can discuss greenhouse gas impacts of alternative energy futures….

read … Hawai`i Climate Change Proceedings are Transforming Regulatory Arena

After years of Hype, Money and Privileges, EVs are Still Less Than 1% of Hawaii Cars

SA: … The number of passenger electric vehicles in the state is just a few hundred shy of reaching a milestone, according to the latest statistics from the state’s monthly energy trends report.

In July, the number of passenger EVs in the state was at 9,699, up 2,202 or 29.4% from the same month a year ago, and 249 more, or up 2.6% from June 2019. The July total is just 301 shy of reaching 10,000.

The EVs still represent less than 1% of the more than one million registered passenger vehicles in the state, which in July was tallied at 1,080,151. The number of passenger vehicles in July grew by 10,678 from the same month last year.

Big Q: Does anyone in your family drive an electric vehicle?  --  33% give some form of 'yes'  (see how this works???)

read … Taxpayer subsidized Nothingness

Eruption recovery manager faces questions and criticism from council members

HTH: … An interim strategy to help the county recover after the 2018 Kilauea volcano eruption is still being developed….

During a presentation to the committee, she highlighted interim recovery strategies, immediate priorities, pilot initiatives and timelines of the county’s post-recovery efforts, and faced questions and criticism from council members.

“Everyone’s wearing multiple hats, but I’m going to lean in pretty hard today because I think that we’ve run out of time. We’ve really run out of time for excuses,” said Puna council member Ashley Kierkiewicz.

Ley said the interim recovery strategy is a work in progress.

“It’s a component of the overall disaster recovery framework, and we are working closely with a number of council members to implement revisions that have been suggested before we introduce that to the council,” she said….

During a presentation before the committee in June, the recovery team said one of its near-term priorities was a case management program that would allow the county to work one-on-one with property owners affected by the disaster to determine their needs and inform them about upcoming opportunities.

A second round of requests for proposals for case management services closed in late July, Ley said.

“So we’re hopeful that within a few weeks, we will have a contract in place and a team actually working on case management.”….

While there will be “iterative places” throughout the summer and fall for community input, Ley said it is anticipated that an overall strategic recovery plan will roll out by the beginning of next year….

(Wow.  Just wow.)

read … Preview of Harry Kim Plan for Mauna Kea

No Joke: Hawaii County Bus System Gets Award for ‘Planning’

HTH: … The Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency was selected as the recipient of an award for excellence in transportation planning, according to the Hawaii Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Mass Transit won for its Transit and Multi-Modal Transportation Master Plan finalized last year. The planning association’s chapter awards are given to individuals, communities, private organizations, public agencies and professional planning and design firms whose work exemplifies the highest goals and ideals of planning professionals….

Link: The Award

Comments: “Hele On that has a fleet of old and broken busses? That is using tour busses instead of fleet?” … “Hold on here. Was this the same dept that was behind on their dept accounting and was storing receipts and cash in open lockers? Wow. Total fuck ups and they get awards and a trip to Maui. In other words, the consultant did all the work, because the dept had, what, 3 or 4 different managers in one year and not one of them could tie their own shoes.” …

read … No Joke

Hawaii Donor Money flows to Socialist and Two Russians

CB: … According to Federal Election Commission data from the Center for Public Integrity, Sanders received nearly $199,000 in contributions from Hawaii donors between Jan. 1 and June 30.

Gabbard, meanwhile, raised more than $152,000 in that same span.

That’s enough to place them No. 1 and 2 among their Democratic peers in the presidential field….

The Hawaii congresswoman is second and President Donald Trump comes in third, but many of his contributions are too small to be tallied….

2016: Most of Hawaii’s political class wants to be selling weed

read … It’s Gabbard’s Home Turf, But Sanders Is Raising More Money From Hawaii Donors

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