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Saturday, October 26, 2019
October 26, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:25 PM :: 2063 Views

Blocks 2/3 of Contractors from Bidding: Caldwell Allows Bill 37 to Become Law

Why we have a Housing Crisis

Caldwell Coverup: Feds Raid Honolulu Hale--Mayor Hid Knowledge of Raid from Council

CB: … Officials investigating the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation have either seized or requested information from the city, the mayor’s communications director Andrew Pereira confirmed.

Civil Beat repeatedly asked Pereira since Tuesday if the city received any search warrants or subpoenas related to rail. Just before 3 p.m. on Friday, he emailed a response to that question with one word.

“Yes.”

It’s the first public confirmation that federal agents are including Honolulu Hale in their review of potential criminal activity in the rail project.

By phone on Friday, Pereira said he didn’t know if the contact with the feds took the form of one or multiple search warrants or subpoenas. Even if he did, he said the city won’t be sharing many details.

“The U.S. Department of Justice attorneys don’t want us to reveal too much information on the subpoenas, even the number that we’ve received,” he said. “They’re hoping we can not reveal or say too much about that.”

Asked why prosecutors would instruct the city not to share that information, Pereira said he didn’t know. He followed up with an emailed statement.

“The city declines to comment further at this time regarding search warrants or subpoenas, but rest assured the city is cooperating with the authorities in their investigation,” he wrote.

He refused to even say whether the feds asked for documents, interviews or both.

The secrecy contrasts with earlier relative openness from the city and HART when it comes to federal investigations….

Pereira’s confirmation is a turnaround from earlier this week when he said he was “not aware” of any city employees or agencies receiving rail-related subpoenas other than those already sent to HART.

“Earlier this week I had not been briefed on the subject matter,” he said in an email.

Apparently city council members weren’t briefed either.

City Councilman Ron Menor spoke on Tuesday as if the city were bracing for future contact with the feds – something that “could” happen, but hadn’t yet. He had just come out of a closed-door committee meeting with the Corporation Counsel’s office.

“We need to anticipate that their investigation will entail attempting to obtain additional information about the rail project from city employees and personnel,” Menor said.

According to Amanda Pearson Suyat, who works for Councilman Tommy Waters, the Corporation Counsel’s office did not inform council members that the city had already received a demand for rail-related information – even as the department was asking a council committee to approve the hiring of an outside defense firm.….

Jan 15, 2019: Caldwell Coverup: Mayor Hid Target Letter from Public--Feds Raid Fasi Building

read … Feds Demanded Rail Information From Honolulu City Hall

Attorney General Considers Forcing out ANOTHER Honolulu Prosecutor

HNN: … Dwight Nadamoto, Honolulu’s Acting Prosecuting Attorney, continues to dodge questions about the suspected cover up of crimes by ex deputy Katherine Kealoha.

Nadamoto was called before the City Council’s Executive Matters and Legal Affairs committee twice recently and comments he made have raised concern from Hawaii’s Attorney General, Clare Connors.

In a statement following Nadamoto’s September 25 appearance, Connors told Hawaii News Now, “We will continue to monitor whether another extraordinary set of circumstances exists.”

(Translation: She is thinking about forcing Nadamoto out of office as she did to Kaneshiro.)

In February, Connors moved to have the elected prosecuting attorney Keith Kaneshiro suspended because he is a target of the federal public corruption investigation that has since taken down Kealoha and her husband, the ex police chief.

Kaneshiro put himself on paid leave as a result of Connors’ actions and Nadamoto assumed the role.

Councilman Ron Menor grilled Nadamoto at both that September 25 hearing and the hearing Tuesday about possible lies by the office to protect Kealoha. In particular, when she convinced a judge to dismiss a speeding ticket for her electrician, and convinced a different judge to drop a DUI for her longtime friend. Kealoha also directed a subordinate to take legal action against a family member who she was feuding with.

Menor wants an investigative audit done on the office to ensure employees have a way to come forward without fearing retaliation, when there is questionable behavior….

read … Attorney General concerned over statements by current head of the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office

Kahuku wind farm building while legal and regulatory challenges loom

KHON: … The Intermediate Court of Appeals is reviewing whether a key component of the windmill project’s environmental review is adequate. The challenge by Keep the North Shore Country is likely to carry on in court well into next year.

“Should we prevail then these guys might not be able to operate,” said Sen. Gil Riviere, who represents the area at the legislature and is part of the Keep the North Shore Country group. “They may not be able to operate until they go back and redo their habitat conservation plan and that will take some time to do.”

Windmills around the world have to deal with risks to birds and bats, and Hawaii is no different. Environmental impact statements for all wind farms statewide estimate at the start how many of a species — especially the native Hawaiian hoary bat — may fall victim to what they call “take,” EIS-speak for when a creature is killed by a wind turbine. Several other Hawaii wind farms have had to go back after operation beings and increase their bat take counts because far more are dying than initially thought.

“These new turbines are going to be massively bigger, and what we’ve seen with larger turbines such as the Kawailoa wind farm, they’ve exceeded their take by great numbers,” Riviere said.

Na Pua Makani’s parent company AES did not respond to multiple interview requests….

Separately, there’s a challenge pending at the Public Utilities Commission. Life of the Land petitioned the agency to declare that the windmill company should not have been granted a power purchase agreement years ago, on the basis that Na Pua Makani did not obtain an incidental take permit within the timeframe allowed by the agreement.

“They are deeply concerned that some energy developers are making representations to the commission to get approval and then once approval is gotten do something else,” Lance Collins, attorney for Life of the Land, told Always Investigating….

In yet another potential issue, recent video of developers using explosive at the site has been brought to the attention of the State Historic Preservation Division.

“They’re not aware that the archaeological monitoring plan envisioned explosives,” Riviere said. “Obviously if you’re using dynamite you might disturb iwi kupuna or archaeological sites, so there’s a very real concern that they might have skipped this important permitting process.”

DLNR told Always Investigating in a statement Friday evening: “Sen. Gil Riviere, District 23, inquired on Oct. 14, 2019, whether the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) office was aware that dynamite had been used. SHPD has not pursued the issue further yet, as it focused this week on two other issues related to the project:

A report of a possible artifact theft – location not yet known, including whether in project area or if reliable report.

Transportation of turbine equipment – SHPD accepted an Addendum archaeological monitoring plan last evening for the transportation routes.”

Opponents also allege historic bridges are at risk from the heavy loads being transported to the site, something that has been brought to the attention of the Department of Transportation and the DLNR.

Collins, who is also Keep the North Shore Country’s attorney, said, “The Land Board has also not adopted a process by which they review and approve of special, risky uses of the bridges. The lack of BLNR approval to use the historic bridges for these massive loads may result in litigation.”…

WHY?  Kahuku wind farm project rushed to grab soon-to-expire tax credit

Solution: Kahuku and Waimanalo Protests show why Hawaii Needs Municipal Government

read … Kahuku wind farm building while legal and regulatory challenges loom

Senator Jill Tokuda, Rep Chris Lee, and Self-Absorbed Airhead Kaniela Ing Considering Run for CD2

KITV: … I'd be very surprised if that race for the 2nd congressional district didn't draw at least half a dozen other people…

former State Rep. (and unemployed BMW mechanic) Kaniela Ing says he's already hearing from people who want him to run.  He says for now, he wants to see what Kahele has to offer the district, but understands for many Hawaii politicians with aspirations of higher office, this is a rare opportunity that might only come around once every decade.

"There are people waiting not just millennials, but Gen X'ers and baby boomers it just skipped so many generations waiting for this seat," Ing says (still not realizing that he is finished, lol)….

KHON: Former state senator and Lt. Gov. Candidate Jill Tokuda could be one of the possible CD2 candidates.  Her campaign told KHON2 that she’s “exploring her options and will certainly give it great thought but she’s not ready to make a decision yet.”

SA: State Rep. Chris Lee “I woke up to about 100 text messages and calls this morning about it,” Lee said Friday. “It’s something that, maybe at this point, I definitely have to do some soul-searching and thinking about.”

TGI: Kahele discusses Gabbard’s decision not to seek re-election

Big Q: What’s your reaction to U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard not seeking reelection to Congress?

read … Gabbard's decision breaks 2nd District race wide open

Wind farm convoy proceeds without arrests for first time

SA: … Day 11 of the protests against the construction of a wind farm at Kahuku on Oahu’s North Shore was the first that no protesters were arrested while blocking trucks carrying wind turbine parts from Kapolei to Kahuku.

On Thursday night, four trucks carrying parts of a turbine tower for AES Corp.’s Na Pua Makani began the 40-mile drive from Kalaeloa in Kapolei to Kahuku at 11:12 p.m. — and none of the 80-plus protesters present were blocking their way.

Similar to most of the nights prior, they gathered at the site and protested on the road that the trucks pass until police prepared to start making arrests. About 30 Honolulu police officers on bicycles arrived at the site to clear the road and provide a path for the trucks….

As the first truck passed through, Nakia Naeole, one of the leaders of the group opposing the wind project, said, “We’re going to end this week with aloha. … We chose to keep the road open tonight.”

SA Laws govern us all, but applied differently

read … Wind farm convoy proceeds without arrests for first time

Molokai Clinic: Free Stuff Stops Falling from Sky When Everybody Quits

MN: … Dr. Robert Van Gemert retired in February after providing a six-month notice.

Family nurse practitioner Dara “Kamomi” Pagaduan left in June over “senseless bullying and harassment of employees” and “the inadequacies of education and experience of those holding administrative leadership roles,” her husband Blayne Asing wrote in a letter to The Molokai Dispatch.

Dr. Michelle Mitchell, a part-time provider from Hawaii island, resigned in August over a list of concerns that ranged from an improperly functioning electronic health record system to inadequate training of medical assistant staff….

McComas said he brought his concerns to the administration several times. He was told they could possibly get some temporary providers in three weeks and that as a salaried employee, he needed to work whatever hours the clinic needed….

On Aug. 22, McComas called in sick and sought medical treatment. While he was out, on Aug. 22, 23, 26 and 27, the medical department was closed. Despite telling McComas that he would have to wait weeks for help, the health center quickly located providers during that time.

“Where was that expediency when the community needed it?” McComas wondered.

McComas sought legal representation and turned in his 90-day resignation notice, saying that he could not return until “all of the deficiencies in staffing, scheduling and other breaches were fully corrected,” and the health center had notified patients of the staffing shortage….

“It has become apparent that the trust between our community and the health center has been broken,” state Rep. Lynn DeCoite said in a statement last week. “The last thing I want is to see the center shut down or closed. I believe the MCHC board and executive leadership should step down and allow the community to reorganize the health center and build back the trust.”

Chief Executive Officer Helen Kekalia Wescoatt didn’t believe resigning was the answer.

“We’re committed to listening to the community’s concerns and investigating allegations that have been brought up, which take time,” Wescoatt said Thursday ….

read … Molokai

Free Stuff: Library Becomes Homeless Center

HNN: … The Kaneohe Joint Outreach Center has been open just two months and already it’s provided medical care and social services to more than 80 people.

“After they get a shower. They get a hot meal and when they’re eating we try to connect them with the social services they need,” said state Rep. Lisa Kitagawa.

According to January’s point-in-time count, there are about 225 unsheltered homeless people living in Windward Oahu. That number is more than double what it was in 2013….

In addition to a shower and lunch, the 48-year-old met with his case manager and is now one step closer to get an ID ― a requirement before he can apply for housing….  (This is the only mention of housing.)

MN: For ‘houseless people’ with multiple infections and open sores -- A shower, laundry

KITV: So the Kaneohe library has been sacrificed for this "thing"? Would never take keiki anywhere near that library. And what happened to their friends of the library book store?

read … Seeing its patrons needed more than books, a library struck up a unique partnership

Waikiki homeless ‘Wounded by Cheap Vodka’

HNN: … Crowds of drifters are drawn to the state’s top tourist destination, many lured by booze and the hustle.

“They’re all scattered around Waikiki,” said a man named Frank while panhandling outside the Billabong on Kalakaua Avenue. “You survive in the city.”

According to the Institute for Human Services, 306 homeless people were counted in 2018 within the boundaries of Waikiki.

Close to 80 are fixtures in the tourist district. Some of them have lived on the streets for decades.

People like Steven who was near Kuhio Beach on a recent night.

Pointing to his legs, he asked, “You know what these wounds are from? They’re all over me. You know what they’re from? Cheap vodka!”…

KITV:  State task force working on reducing unnecessary hospital visits for mental patients

MN: Solutions to homeless syringes and feces in Kahului area

read … Outreach workers team up with police to offer late-night help to Waikiki homeless

Union for deputy sheriffs stationed at Mauna Kea file grievance over pay

HNN: … The grievance is the second in as many weeks.

About 50 deputy sheriffs have been assigned multi-day, extended shifts ― with fewer days off in between. The union says the Department of Public Safety has been computing the overtime incorrectly ― and not paying them what they are due….

The union has also filed a grievance over the Public Safety Department managers refusing to provide deputy sheriffs health information about dealing with altitude sickness after six law enforcement officers were evacuated by ambulance….

2017: DLNR Finally Gets Around to Firing Rapist Cop Son of HGEA President

read … Union for deputy sheriffs stationed at Mauna Kea file grievance over pay

Federal appeals court weighs if Deedy can be tried 3rd time in death of Elderts

KHON: … An appeals court could soon decide whether a federal agent can be tried a third time for killing a local man in Waikiki nearly 8 years ago.

The Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney tells Always Investigating they still intend to hold Christopher Deedy accountable for killing Kollin Elderts, despite a hung jury, an acquittal and a deadlock on a variety of charges in two past trials.

A federal judge in Hawaii has already said no to third chance, but now it’s in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ hands….

2011:  Before Waikiki Shooting, Chris Deedy in Benghazi

read … Federal appeals court weighs if Deedy can be tried 3rd time in death of Elderts

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