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Tuesday, October 01, 2019
October 1, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:27 PM :: 1078 Views

Mauna Kea: Harry Kim Presents Fluffy Booklet Full of Cash Offers 

Ige Approves Rental Units for DHHL

VIDEO: Ed Case and Keli'i Akina discuss Jones Act reform

Newly Released Minutes Reveal How Louis Kealoha Got His $250K Buyout

CB: … Over the course of three closed-door meetings in January 2017 the Honolulu Police Commission negotiated a $250,000 retirement package for then-police chief Louis Kealoha, who had just been named the target of a federal criminal investigation.

For more than two years the public was kept in the dark about exactly how those discussions went down despite the fact Kealoha was one of the highest ranking officials at the city.

Last month, however, the commission and its attorneys decided to ditch the secrecy and release the minutes from those executive session meetings in order to reconcile a lawsuit that threatened to overturn the whole deal….

“Some of these meetings lasted for hours and you only have a few pages of minutes,” Black said….

Sheehan agreed that the public might be left wanting after the release of the commission’s minutes. For one, the minutes don’t reflect what Sheehan and others said Leong told them about the $250,000 retirement package — it was non-negotiable, take it or leave it.

The real deal-making, Sheehan said, was done behind another set of closed doors with only Sword, Leong, Kealoha and his lawyer, Kevin Sumida, present.

PDF: Exec Session Minutes

read … Newly Released Minutes Reveal How Louis Kealoha Got His $250K Buyout

TMT partner willing to hold out for several years

SA: … Holding out “several years“ for construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea may be worth it to get the superior viewing conditions found atop Hawaii’s tallest mountain, according to a committee advising Canada, a partner in the TMT project.

The Canadian Astronomical Society’s TMT advisory committee released a report late last week expressing a strong commitment to the Mauna Kea site and the $1.4 billion project in general despite the delays that have stalled the next-generation telescope for five years.

What’s more, the committee, according to the report, “remains hopeful that (Hawaii island) Mayor (Harry) Kim will be able to identify a process through which TMT will be broadly welcomed in Hawaii. This guarded optimism stems from recognition that a) there are many, perhaps a large majority, of Hawaiians that support the telescope construction, and b) many of the concerns that motivate the protesters and their supporters have little to do with TMT itself.”….

read … TMT partner willing to hold out for several years

Sudden and Very Timely ‘Discovery’ of ‘artifact’ at Waimanalo project site prompts inspection

HNN: …  The state land department says until the inspection is complete, SHPD can't comment on next steps.

“I had a brief conversation with them and they said they’d go back to the office and release a recommendation,” said Kuike Kamakea-Ohelo, president of Save Our Sherwoods.

Leaders of Save our Sherwoods say on Saturday what's believed to be an artifact or rock tool was found at the site and then they called police.

Project critics released this photo to Hawaii News Now of the artifact in question. SOS members believe the stone tool could be made from basalt rock that's not from the area.

The city says the project is moving forward despite today's inspection, the arrest of 28 people last Thursday, a lawsuit and concerns over burials.

Project opponents have been camping at the entrance for one week…. 

SA: Mayor Kirk Caldwell places Waimanalo park project on hold temporarily after possible artifact found

SA: ‘Artifact’ discovered at Sherwood Forest construction site

read … Discovery of artifact at Waimanalo project site prompts inspection

Attention Ala Wai Contractors:  $400M Army Corps of Engineers Fraud—How to get away with it

SA: … A possible precedent- setting ruling by a federal judge in Honolulu means charges against a former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracting officer accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes may have to be dismissed.

Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway ruled Friday that fraud and bribery charges against Duane Nishiie do not qualify for a wartime statute of limitations exemption and were therefore filed too late to be prosecuted. She ruled that the exemption only applies to fraud crimes connected to a declared war or authorized use of the country’s armed forces.

Nishiie’s crimes are alleged to have occurred in South Korea. The U.S. is not involved in a war in that country….

read … Useful and Profitable Techniques

Hawaii Natural Energy Institute to Conduct "Independent" Climate Change Study

IM: … the Commission seeks recommendations on estimating lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from the production of currently regulated energy products and energy technologies and those anticipated for commercial applications in the next five years.

These may include but not be limited to:

Electricity - produced from petroleum fuel products, gas products, coal, biofuel (locally produced and imported), biomass (direct combustion), solar (utility-scale and distributed), wind, and geothermal;

Gas products - including synthetic natural gas, liquefied natural gas, renewable natural gas and hydrogen;

Energy storage systems - including battery energy storage systems,2 pumped storage hydroelectric, and hydrogen….

SA: Column: Hydrogen gas companies have reliable alternative to solar

read … Hawaii Natural Energy Institute to Conduct "Independent" Climate Change Study

UPW Work Rules Continue to Make Mess in Hawaii County

HTH: … closures are only implemented when management cannot call in enough employees to keep all 23 facilities around the island open. Employees, who are unionized, also cannot be forced to work overtime.

In order to keep the bigger facilities open, the county closes facilities that serve smaller communities, such as Keauhou and Waiea, in order to staff and keep the centralized Kealakehe station open, he said. Keei transfer station isn’t open on Mondays.

“The bad news on that is if they’re small, that means they’re open only a few days a week and if we shutdown for one day, we’re shutting down a third of the service,” he said.

But a solution is being sought. Kucharski noted ideas include additional positions or even a different job description, such as an on-call person.

“We’re taking another look at our staffing needs and some time (in the future) we’re going to be providing the mayor and the council with estimates of what we’re going to need to keep all of these stations open,” Kucharski said.

Staffing shortages have plagued the department for the better of the year, prompting the sudden closures….

read … Following more transfer station closures, officials eyeing new ways to bring on staff

Contested case on stream diversions drawing to an end

MN: … Mahi Pono is taking over a water permit application filed by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. a decade ago, placing the farming company in the middle of a longstanding stream dispute that is coming to a close….

Hokuao Pellegrino, president of Hui o Na Wai ‘Eha, said last week that the parties are now waiting for the commission to let them know when the final hearing will take place. The commission will listen to closing arguments and then decide on water allocations for both Mahi Pono and local residents who rely on the streams for farming and other needs….

read … Contested case on stream diversions drawing to an end

Despite protests over Trademark, Aloha Poke plans to open 100 new locations

KHON: … In spite of the backlash, Aloha Poke Co, which currently has 18 restaurants, is forging ahead with an expansion plan to add 100 more locations in the next three years.

“I think that obviously the approach prior to me coming on board could have been handled more delicately,” Birkinshaw told the Chicago Tribune. “We’re taking more of a nuanced and situational approach to protecting the trademark.” Specifically, they plan on only sending cease-and-desist letters to poke restaurants in their same regional market.

Most of Aloha Poke Co’s expansion is focused in the Central and Eastern time zones: the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Completion of the expansion would make Aloha Poke Co the largest poke chain in America, eclipsing California-based Poke Bar (68 locations) and New York-based Pokeworks (37 locations), both of which are also planning to expand….

RELATED: Can Aloha Poke Be Trademarked?

read … Despite protests over cultural appropriation, Aloha Poke plans to open 100 new locations

HDOT Grabs for Your Money: Hawaii Road Usage Charge Demonstration Project

TTT: … One of the leading global providers of connected vehicle and fleet telematics technologies Azuga has been selected by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) as the exclusive technology provider for the second phase of the Hawaii Road Usage Charge (HiRUC) Demonstration Project.

The HDOT project is designed to study the viability of road usage charging (RUC) as an alternative road and infrastructure funding mechanism for the state. For part two of the HiRUC demonstration, up to 2,000 participants are expected to sign up for the second 9-month portion of the 18-month study program. Expected to launch in spring 2020, the second phase of the HiRUC demonstration project will include research from participants using Azuga’s in-vehicle plug-and-play technology when driving on public roads throughout the counties of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai, which each has its own gas tax in addition to the state gas tax.

read … Hold on to Your Wallet 1

HDOT Grabs for Your Money: Sea Level Hype to become Excuse for Massive Spending Hike

MN:  …Study: Maui, Molokai coastal roads among those most vulnerable 10 highways in county make UH erosion list….

read … Hold on to Your Wallet 2

Hawaii small boat harbor fee increases to go into effect

PBN: … Fee increases for users of Hawaii's small boat harbors and boating facilities will go into effect on Nov. 1, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources announced recently.

Gov. David Ige signed the fee increases into law on Aug. 13 and, according to a post on the state DLNR website, the revenues from the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation fee increases will go toward reducing the "significant backlog" of deferred maintenance and upkeep of the harbors.

The fee for commercial use permits required of anyone using state waters for profit such as commercial tours, lessons or excursions, also increased — from the greater of $200 per month or 3% of a company’s monthly gross revenues, to the greater of $300 per month or 3% of monthly gross revenues…

Other changes include fresh water only being used for specific activities related to boating, and boat launch ramp fees no longer covering the use of fresh water at boat and trailer wash down facilities….

Background: Harbors Division Fee Hike designed to boost $77M OHA Slush Fund?

read … Hold on to Your Wallet 3

Threats disrupt classes at 2 Kauai high schools

HNN: … At Waimea High, students were dismissed early ― at 12:30 p.m. ― on a day that should have ended at 2:45 p.m. following a bomb threat.

Students at Kauai High, meanwhile, were put on lockdown about 12:55 p.m. after an alleged threat involving a gun. The lockdown was lifted at 2:20 p.m., and students were dismissed 25 minutes early….

read … Threats disrupt classes at 2 Kauai high schools

Welfare Fraud: Top Realtor Busted

WHT: … According to a declaration in support of the charges, an investigator with the state Department of Human Services Benefits, Employment and Support Services Division began looking into the case in April of this year after an eligibility worker noticed discrepancies in the reported income for the Green household. The eligibility worker had “Googled” Jene Green and came across her listings with (anti-GMO) Hawaii Life Real Estate that indicated she’d sold more than 157 properties valued at $29 million.

The state investigation reportedly determined that the Jene Green wrongfully obtained SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits totaling $27,241 between January 2016 and April of this year by not accurately reporting her true income as a real estate agent.

The investigator declared that between Jan. 1, 2015, and April 15 of this year, Green was paid $360,158.03 in commissions though she only reported making approximately $3,000 to $4,000 during the period.

First-degree theft is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment upon conviction.

read … Welfare Fraud

Well-known foreclosure defense attorney facing possible disbarment

ILind: … In a complaint currently pending before the Hawaii Supreme Court, ODC cites several cases in which Dubin allegedly overcharged clients, failed to provide timely accounting, diverted clients funds for his own use by paying himself unearned fees from the client trust account, and in one case allegedly forged his clients signatures on a settlement check without notice or permission.

Dubin, now 81, is well known for his defense of homeowners facing foreclosure, which he promotes through a weekly “Foreclosure Hour” radio show co-hosted by former Gov. John Waihee, who is serving as co-counsel defending against the ODC recommendation.

Dubin has vigorously denied the ODC allegations, and has sought to seal the court record to keep the allegations secret until a final Supreme Court ruling is made. Dubin has also disputed the fairness of the disciplinary counsel, and is seeking to disqualify the ODC board, the entire ODC staff, the hearing officer in the proceedings in his case, and the attorney representing ODC before the Supreme Court….

August 10, 2019: Disciplinary Board: Lawyer Gary V Dubin Billed Client for 30 Hours in One Day

PDF: Disciplinary Board Report, Findings and Recommendation for the Imposition of Discipline 

Background:

read … Well-known foreclosure defense attorney facing possible disbarment

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