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Friday, November 15, 2019
November 15, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:44 PM :: 747 Views

BEA: Hawaii Economic Growth Slowest in USA

Green Fog: Honolulu's Coming Climate Change Bond Crisis

Mauna Kea: 312 Tickets and One 100 mph police chase

DLNR: Mauna Kea Protesters Trampling Endangered Plants

Monster Homes: Auditor Rips Department of Planning and Permitting

DoH: Marijuana Behind Most Vaping Illness

Protect our nation: Reform the Jones Act

VIDEO: Police Shove Wind Farm Protesters, 26 Arrested -- Sen Fevella decries ‘aggressive’ police tactics

SA: … There were no arrests today in Kahuku, but Honolulu police arrested another 26 people in Kalaeloa overnight. All were cited for disobeying police. Those arrested were released after posting bail that ranged from $100 and $1,000, police said.

Must See: VIDEO from Kalaeloa Protest

Raya Salter, an energy and environmental attorney who was described as a legal observer at the latest protest in the Kalaeloa, said in a written statement that “the force from the bikes used by police caused many community members to fall back in to each other. Several people, including several women, were pushed to the ground.”….

More than 200 people converged on Kalaeloa Thursday night and early this morning to protest against the Na Pua Makani wind farm project being built in Kahuku. Virginia-based AES Corp. is building eight wind turbines which are slated to start operating next year. Each turbine is 568 feet tall.

Mark Miller, chief operating officer for the AES U.S. Generation businesses, said in a written statement Thursday that the company has completed construction of the project’s first turbine and that they are more than halfway through their planned transport schedule, which will continue through Nov. 26….

Salter alleged that one woman had her arm pulled from its socket and that several people were trampled. “The aggressive tactics of the Honolulu Police Department endangered the public and caused injury to several individuals,” she said….

State Sen. Kurt Fevella (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) said at least three officers shoved female protesters.

He alleged that the officers then used bikes to push protesters. Fevella said one of the bike handle bars pressed against a woman’s rib cage.

“I started yelling. I just got angry,” he added. “There was no reason for them to shove.”

He also recalled one of the protesters slid down a mound and onto her back when police allegedly shoved her….

(NOTE: The police will do this for a stupid bat-killing tax scam wind farm but they won’t do it for a cutting-edge telescope on Mauna Kea.) 

HNN: HPD disputes claims of excessive force at wind farm protest

KHON: HPD presser on confrontation between protesters and police officers at Kalaeloa

read … Hawaii lawmaker decries ‘aggressive’ police tactics as 26 wind-farm protesters arrested in Kalaeloa

Honolulu Taxpayers Are Footing the Secret Bill For Defense Lawyers’ Rail Advice

CB: … A mainland law firm has started billing Honolulu for criminal defense advice related to the federal rail investigation despite City Council members voting last month to reject hiring the firm to represent city employees.

At the time that council members shot down the proposal to retain Farella Braun + Martel for $50,000, the firm was already working for the city on rail issues – as a consultant.

On Thursday, Acting Corporation Counsel Paul Aoki couldn’t remember whether he had informed council members about the arrangement. He estimated the firm has been working on rail matters for “months.”

“We hire people as necessary as consultants without getting council approval and without specific notice to the council,” he said.

“As far as I’m concerned this is no different. It’s the same thing. If we’re hiring them for something that does require council approval, we will go and get it from the council, which is what we tried to do. If we don’t need council approval, then that’s a different situation, and that’s the situation we’re in.”

He declined to describe the firm’s job duties, but he did say that the council’s refusal to OK hiring the lawyers as “special deputy” corporation counsel attorneys limits what they can do. The attorneys are not independently representing city employees as they would have with the council’s approval….

Aoki also wouldn’t say how much the firm has billed taxpayers so far. Asked why he wouldn’t share that information, he said: “I’m not giving you a reason.”…

read … Honolulu Taxpayers Are Footing The Bill For Defense Lawyers’ Rail Advice

Bill 40 Foodware plastics ban bill advances

SA: … Oahu would have the state’s strictest law against single-use, oil-based plastic containers and utensils under a bill approved 3-2 by the Honolulu City Council Public Safety and Welfare Committee Thursday night.

Bill 40 now goes to the full Council for a final vote on Dec. 4. Mayor Kirk Caldwell has indicated in the past that he supports a ban on single-use plastics.

Committee members Carol Fukunaga and Heidi Tsuneyoshi voted against the bill, citing concerns raised by the business community.

More than 60 people testified over 3-1/2 hours Thursday, with supporters outnumbering opponents by a margin of about 10-1….

KL: Bill 40 moves forward 

HPR: Honolulu City Council committee votes in favor of proposed plastic ban

Background: Bill 40 Plastic Ban: No Bill This Extreme has passed Anywhere

read … Foodware plastics ban bill advances 

Maui: Politicians Come up with Two-Step Plan for Property Tax Hike

MN: …two bills that would change property tax classifications and establish the framework for tiered rates for property taxes….

“It’s already November, and the part that we’re interested in hasn’t happened yet, and you need to get it done by the end of the year?” said Sean O’Keefe. “That doesn’t sound like it’s going to be providing a lot of time for people to figure out how does this affect me and am I in favor or am I against it, because until we know how it affects our individual tax bills, it doesn’t mean anything to us.”

Although the two bills would only set the framework for the county system and not set new rates, the bills would have to get Maui County Council approval by Dec. 1 or plans couldn’t be implemented by the next fiscal year.

The two bills were passed 6-1 on first reading by the council on Nov. 8, with Chairwoman Kelly King and Riki Hokama absent and excused. The sole “no” vote was by Yuki Lei Sugimura, who said the community needs more information. Sugimura, whose district covers Upcountry, has called the changes “huge.”

A second and final reading on the bills is needed.

read … Officials: Property tax tiers would be more ‘equitable’

PUC Interim Decision: Rejects HELCO Rate Hike to Make Consumers Pay for Green Energy

WHT: … The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has issued an interim decision that results in no increase in electric rates at this time for Hawaii Electric Light Company customers, the PUC announced today.

In its rate review filing in December 2018, the company had sought a 3.4% increase in revenues or $13.4 million.

In requesting the rate increase, the company cited continued improvements to the power grid to help integrate even more renewable resources….

An interim decision is one step in the ratemaking process. The PUC will continue to review the rate request and other matters and will later issue a final decision that could result in a rate increase or decrease and other changes….

The decision and order is available on the PUC’s website, https://dms.puc.hawaii.gov/dms/ . The docket is 2018-0368.

read … Regulators decline to approve increase in Hawaii Electric Light rates

Intervenor Funding for Lower Electric Bills?

IM: … California offers incentives to intervenors. Find ways to save ratepayers having to pay such high rates for electricity and receive compensation for doing that. Intervenor funding has been discussed at the Hawai`i Legislature but has never been authorized….

read … Intervenor Funding May Lower Electric Bills

“That’s when I pulled out my pellet gun” Teen admits retaliating against Kalihi man accused of shooting friend

HNN: … Richard Obrero is charged with murder. He claims the November 7 shooting was self defense.

At the preliminary hearing for the 50-year old, three of Willy's friends took the stand.

“What do you see?” asked the deputy prosecutor.

“Starsky lying down,” said one teen who we are not identifying because he’s a juvenile.

Police were called to Obrero’s home on Kula Kolea Drive earlier that night after Obrero said four males were burglarizing the home.

Two hours later, Obrero’s wife called 911 saying the teens had returned and that her husband shot one of them.

Court documents show arriving officers found Obrero wearing body armor. He handed an officer a pistol and said the teens were shooting at him.

A third teen, who took the stand Thursday, admitted to going after Obrero after Willy was shot.

“That’s when I pulled out my pellet gun,” the boy told the court, “I started shooting at him.”…

Obrero remains in custody on a million dollars bail.

Even though he is not at home, police were called there Wednesday. Officers found what they’re describing as a molotov cocktail which didn’t ignite. Instead of glass, the maker used a plastic water bottle with a flammable liquid inside and tried to start a fire….

SA: Teens recount fatal shooting in Kalihi as hearing begins

CB: The Spiraling Impacts Of Property Crime

read … “That’s when I pulled out my pellet gun” Teen admits retaliating against Kalihi man accused of shooting friend

Cataluna: Crime Should be Issue in 2020 Elections

Cataluna: … The City Council can spend hours talking about straws and dogs and the mayor can talk about “activating” parks and other euphemisms for building on top of public green areas, but what Oahu residents and visitors want most — even more than traffic solutions, even more than homeless solutions, even more than reliable trash pickup and roads without potholes — is to know that they are safe, that their stuff is safe and that crazy, brazen criminals aren’t roaming wild around our streets like some post-apocalyptic dystopia.

Meanwhile, Honolulu does not have a city prosecutor on the job. Keith Kaneshiro is collecting a paycheck but he’s staying home and taking his dog for stroller walks on the civic grounds around Honolulu Hale.

There is a mayoral election coming up, and when we’re talking themes and issues for the mayoral campaign, let’s talk about law enforcement. Let’s not push this on the police commission or the chief. Let’s ask what exactly the next mayor will do to fix this.

Public safety is a foundational issue. If people aren’t safe and their stuff is vulnerable, nothing else matters….

read … Cataluna: Rash of brazen crimes a foundational problem

Claim: Steady decline in Hawaii homelessness

KHON: … is homelessness in Hawaii getting better? In some ways the answer is clear, and in other ways it isn’t.

It first depends on how you frame the word “better.” If we’re talking now compared to a few years ago, the answer is a resounding “yes.” If we’re talking now compared to 2005, the answer is much closer to “no.”

According to the most recent Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) from December 2018, Hawaii saw a significant 9.6% decrease in homelessness from 2017 to 2018, but from 2007-2018 it saw an overall 7.6% increase in homelessness….

This may seem suspicious to some people. A common refrain nowadays is that things appear to be getting worse….

HTH: Handicap pool lifts vandalized by copper thieves at two Hilo swimming centers

PDF: Annual Homeless Assessment Report

read … Innovative and collective efforts have led to steady declines in Hawaii homelessness

Bumfight: Homeless Dude in ICU Alleged Attacker in Jail

MN: … Wailuku patrol officers were assigned at about 10:30 p.m. Nov. 5 to investigate the assault near the Paia Youth & Cultural Center. Police said the victim suffered life-threatening injuries after being struck several times in the head with a blunt object. He was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition, police said.

Borge was arrested at about 9:45 p.m. Nov. 7.

Testifying at Thursday’s preliminary hearing was Chanelle Kapuni, the girlfriend of the 25-year-old victim, Briar Lee Brossart, who is also known as Rabbit.

Kapuni said she and Brossart were sleeping on a blanket on the grass in front of the youth center the night of Nov. 5 when she was awakened by “the sound of Rabbit getting struck” at least two or three times.

“It was a thumping sound,” she said.

Brossart was 5 or 6 feet from the blanket in the direction closer to Paia town, Kapuni said.

“I saw Rabbit face down and Troy whacking him from behind,” she said.

She said Borge was holding a wooden stick or club and was standing above Brossart. The weapon was about 2 feet long with a “softball-size” width, Kapuni said.

She said she saw Borge hit Brossart two more times on the back of his head.

“I immediately got up and ran over there and I started yelling and shoved him off of Rabbit,” Kapuni said. “Troy just looked surprised. I think he lost his balance or something. He looked around and he took off.”

When she checked on Brossart, “there was blood everywhere,” Kapuni said.

She said medics and an ambulance arrived and took him to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where he underwent surgery upon arrival and was unconscious in the intensive-care unit….

Meanwhile: Homeless Tweeker Busted for Public Lewdness for 3rd Time

read … Homeless people are Expensive

Homeless Paid to Clean up After Themselves—8 Show

WHT: …Almost 40 community members, including eight homeless individuals, gathered for a cleanup at the beach park under the tutelage of officers Wyatt Nahale and Reuben Pukahi and the Hawaii Police Department’s Community Policing Division….

The group departed to Hope Services for lunch where Nahale said they would sit down and “talk story how to make it better.” Homeless volunteers also received $10 McDonald’s gift cards and a hygiene goodie bag….

read … 40 attend inaugural cleanup aimed to integrate homeless back into community

First kauhale homeless tiny homes going up next month in Kalaeloa

SA: … “This is permanent housing,” Green said….

If the concept works — and Green is convinced it will — he then hopes to expand the idea to four more Oahu locations in 2020 and then onto the neighbor islands in 2021….

Green hopes subsequent kauhale will be aimed at specific populations of chronically homeless adults next year on:

>> A half-acre of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands land next to the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Center that would house 16 DHHL beneficiaries.

>> Six acres of Board of Land and Natural Resources land next to Waimanalo Beach Park for 40 tiny homes for homeless people from Waimanalo.

>> 1.3 acres of state land on Nimitz Highway across from Middle Street for 90 tiny homes for homeless people from the area.

>> A parcel of Hawaii State Hospital land in Kaneohe to build 12 tiny homes for newly released patients at risk of becoming homeless.

Asked which kauhale would be built next after the initial community in Kalaeloa, Green said: “All of them simultaneously.”

The concept was inspired by a September trip to the Community First! village in Austin that houses over 200 formerly homeless tenants and is planning an even bigger expansion on 51 acres of land….

HNN: Waianae residents divided over relocation of state’ largest homeless camp

read … First kauhale homeless tiny homes going up next month in Kalaeloa

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