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Friday, December 13, 2019
December 13, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:06 PM :: 917 Views

Legislature's "Gut-And-Replace" Procedure Violates Hawaii Constitution Three Readings Requirement

17 Weeks on Mauna Kea: 8,031 Tickets, 74 Arrests

Vote by Mail Plan ‘A Recipe for Disaster’

CB: … it appears that state and counties have forgotten the main reason for vote-by-mail, which is for the benefit of voters….

Only having eight VSCs statewide for monetary savings and administrative ease will broadly limit a citizen’s constitutional right to vote, especially during the first time Hawaii is implementing vote-by-mail. Is saving money and reducing government workers’ load worth sacrificing our constitutional right to vote?

This drastic drop from 235 polling locations statewide, supporting 175,120 in-person voters, to eight VSCs in one election is a major concern.

Having only eight VSCs statewide be opened — 10 business days before Primary (Aug. 8, 2020) and general election days (Nov. 3, 2020) – to implement all mail-in voting for the very first time in Hawaii with the anticipated record turnout in 2020, given the federal and many state and county elections, is a recipe for disaster. The bottom line is that there must be more VSCs.

People must also be informed of how the vote-by-mail process will operate. Ballot packages will be mailed to all registered voters, which will contain a ballot, a secrecy ballot envelope, a stamped return ballot envelope, and voting instructions….

The ballot packages will be mailed to voter’s homes at least 18 days before primary and election days. If a registered voter does not receive the ballot package, the voter must contact the County Clerk’s Office.

Ballots must be received by the office – not mailed or postmarked — by 7 p.m. on primary and general election days. Voters should mail their ballots back at least 3 days before primary and general election days to ensure that they are timely received by the county clerk’s office….

Some Hawaii voters in rural areas where their mailing addresses and residential addresses are different have reported not receiving the postcard. Voters can check their registrations with the State Elections Office…. 

KITV: Education, security among concerns as Hawaii prepares for first all-mail election

read … Is Hawaii Prepared To Vote By Mail?

Kaneshiro impeachment effort suffers setback

SA: .. The effort to remove Keith Kaneshiro as city prosecutor suffered a…setback Thursday when the Hawaii Supreme Court rejected a request to require a lower court judge to reopen the impeachment case that he dismissed.

Keith Kiuchi, attorney for the Oahu businessman leading the impeachment, said he will now go through the standard appeal process. The deadline for that appeal to be filed is today.

The writ of mandamus request rejected Thursday would have required Circuit Judge Jeffrey Crabtree to reconsider his decision several months ago to dismiss the petition against Kaneshiro. Crabtree said the petition, comprised primarily of electronic signatures, which the city says it does not have to accept, did not provide sufficient grounds for him to hear the case….

read … Kaneshiro impeachment effort suffers setback

Prosecutor Candidate Steven Alm Backs Parole of Wanna-be Cop Killer

HNN: … The man accused of trying to run over an HPD officer near Pearlridge, was out on probation at the time.

Troy Salas was arrested Wednesday afternoon for first degree attempted murder.

Salas had been out on a deferred no contest plea, which a judge granted in August with the condition that Salas stay out of trouble for four years. And if he had, the judge would have essentially dismissed the case …. 

Police arrested 23-year-old Troy Salas later that day for first degree attempted murder. Court records show that a judge had given Salas a deferred no contest plea for stealing a car.

Former judge and prosecutor Steve Alm says the judge did the right thing.

“Having a deferral, not having a conviction on your record is gonna make it easier to get a job, it’s gonna be easier to get a student loan, and we want people to succeed. Most people will succeed, given that circumstance,” said Alm.

He says judges are willing to give a deferred plea to those who are not repeat offenders or have a history of violence. Salas’ record shows a conviction for driving without a license, a petty misdemeanor. The car theft earlier this year is a felony.

“This is a felony, why should he get off that easy?” KHON2 asked.

“Because there are lots of felonies committed every year. The only way to do it the other way is to send everybody to prison, and of course when they’re in prison, they’re sitting around talking about getting high, breaking into your house and mine,” said Alm….

(And when they are out, they are sitting around getting high and planning the break-in.)

Meanwhile: Judge denies release of teen charged in purse-snatching death of 85-year-old

read … Soft on Crime

Soft on Crime: Killer Gets Third Trial

HNN: … The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a man who killed his mother in 2011 must have a new trial because the Department of Public Safety failed to bring him back to Hawaii from an Arizona prison after his first conviction was overturned.

There is no dispute that Charly Hernane stabbed his adoptive mother, Teresita Dumalan Hernane, to death in their Kalihi back in home in 2011. He was convicted of murder in 2013, and after being sentenced to life in prison was sent to a private facility in Arizona that houses many Hawaii inmates serving longer sentences.

In 2015, the murder conviction was overturned because of and improper argument by the prosecutor, and a new trial was ordered.

After that ruling was upheld in March of 2016, according to Thursday’s decision, the state Department of Public Safety should have brought him back as soon as possible because he technically had gone back to becoming a pretrial detainee.

Instead, despite requests from Honolulu prosecutors that Hernane be transferred, prison officials told them that he would be coming back in July of 2016.

Prosecutors told the court that their office has no control over when the state transfers inmates.

By the time he was back in Hawaii and available for trial, 118 days had passed since his conviction was overturned. After other delays caused by both sides in the case, his attorney argued that the state’s delays had exceeded a law which requires trial within 180 days of when a defendant is charged.

The trial judge rejected that argument, accepting the state’s point that delays caused by incarceration out of state should not be counted against the speedy trial deadline. Hernane was convicted again, this time for manslaughter, in February of 2018.

But in the ruling Thursday, the court found that when the state and prosecutors are in control of an inmate in custody in another state, they are responsible for getting them back for in time for trial and that those days in custody are not exempt from the speedy trial rules.

The court also said Hernane’s time in Arizona after his first successful appeal was improper, and that he should have been treated as a pretrial detainee ― most of whom are kept in Oahu Community Correctional Center or allowed bail until a trial has completed….

read … Manslaughter conviction overturned after inmate’s delayed transfer from Arizona prison

What a Surprise! Three Arrested in Police Shooting Case were Already Wanted

KHON: … Honolulu Police Major Walter Ozeki said it all started in Waialua around 9:30 Thursday morning.

“An officer assigned to district two responded to a report of a possible robbery in progress in which two masked men, or partially masked males attempted to steal a vehicle. One of the males was armed with a handgun,” Ozeki said.

Ozeki said a plain-clothed officer was in the area and followed the suspects. The suspects were driving a silver Altima, which Ozeki said was stolen from Waipahu a few days ago.

The suspects led police to Waipahu where the two male suspects took off on foot.

“Immediately there after, they arrested two females in the vehicle for unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. One of the females also had a warrant,” Ozekis said.

The two male suspects were later caught and arrested for robbery and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.

“Both of the males had warrants as well, $25 thousand and $30 thousand respectively… all four are in custody right now and charges are pending,” Ozeki said.

read … What a Surprise!

AG Investigating Embezzlement at Kauai PD

TGI: … “The Kaua‘i Police Department identified inconsistencies involving the accounting and deposit of certain funds received by KPD,” Police Chief Todd Raybuck said Wednesday in a written statement issued in response to inquiries regarding unsubstantiated allegations that a KPD records division employee embezzled tens of thousands of dollars.

Raybuck declined to release any additional information but said the police department has asked the attorney general to conduct a criminal investigation.

An employee with the office’s investigation division said the case had been assigned to Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Tong, who could not be reached for comment.

Police have been aware of the accounting discrepancies for over a month, according to multiple anonymous sources.

The KPD’s administrative records section was closed on Nov. 20 for staff training, according to Kauai County press release….

read … Embezzlement

Hawai`i Confusion -- Renewable Energy Definitions

IM: … Today, Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) §269-91 defines three terms: “Renewable Energy”, “Renewable Electrical Energy”, and “Renewable Portfolio Standard,” which together, confuses most readers.

The Hawai`i goal of 100% Renewable portfolio standard by 2045 is very often, and erroneously, printed in the press as 100% renewable electricity or 100% renewable energy.

In response to a Life of the Land information request made during the NextEra takeover bid four years ago, Hawaiian Electric gave an example of how an electric grid could be powered by 65% fossil fuel and 35% renewable energy, and the Renewable Portfolio Standard could be 115%.

Efforts to explain this to people usually does not work as it involves high school math called algebra.

Today, Hawai`i law includes some odd things as renewable energy.

* Hydrogen produced only from renewable energy sources but biofuels made from anything.

* Municipal solid waste composed of a mix of anything and everything.

* Some, but not all, waste heat from fossil fuel cogeneration facilities.

* Ice storage generated from renewables or fossil fuel.

* Imported logs from razed tropical rainforests.

Each source was added to appease some voter or funder….

read …  Hawai`i Confusion -- Renewable Energy Definitions

Homeless seniors check out city-backed apartments

SA: … Ten low-income, homeless seniors — most of whom are living in transitional shelters — got their first glimpse of their new studio apartments Thursday and proclaimed them “beautiful” and “nice.”

In all, 29 seniors who make $42,200 or less — or 50% of Honolulu’s median income — will move into the newly renovated, three-story Kumu Wai building at the corner of Young and Artesian streets in McCully when it’s expected to open by the end of the year.

The monthly rent will be $900 and comes with social service help….

read … Homeless seniors check out city-backed apartments

Tweeker Camp needs $4.5M to Move into Waianae Neighborhood

SA: … Just over 16 years ago, Twinkle Borge, wounded in spirit and haunted by meth, came to live with six others under the kiawe trees bordering the Waianae Small Boat Harbor.

Today, older and wiser, Borge is preparing to leave. But she will not be alone; she intends to take with her the entire community that has grown up with and around her — about 200 men, women and children living in Pu‘uhonua O Wai‘anae, the village of houseless people over which she presides….

Borge also learned from Hawaiian sovereignty activist Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahele, who led a group that occupied Makapuu Beach Park in the 1990s before signing a long-term lease to live on state-owned land in Waimanalo.

Now the Pu‘uhonua village, along with the nonprofit Dynamic Community Solutions, hopes to trade in drafty tents for sturdy tiny homes on 20 acres of private land in Waianae Valley. They say they have raised more than $900,000 of the $1.5 million needed to buy the land outright, with another $3 million needed for the houses, community structures and infrastructure….

read … $4.5M

Legislative Agenda: Outlaw Rental Security Deposits

CB: … Hawaii’s high rents also means paying hefty damage deposits before moving in. Public and private solutions are needed….

read … Find Creative Ways To Help Renters Pay Crippling Security Deposits

What To Know About Oahu Real Property Assessments Coming To Mailboxes Soon

HPR: …The city plans to send out real property assessment notices for the 2020-2021 tax year by Dec. 15.

The assessments are the first thing residents need to calculate their property tax bill for the next year. The second will come in June 2020 when the City Council sets the tax rate based on every $1,000 of a property's assessed value….

The 2020-2021 valuation for all Oahu real property rose by 1.7 percent from $275.38 billion to $280.07 billion, according to the city's real property assessment division. That's lower than the 6.8 percent increase the island saw the previous year.

For properties classified as residential, such as single-family homes, valuations increased by 1 percent to $217.82 billion. Hotel and resort properties increased by 4.1 percent, commercial by 3.4 percent and industrial by 6.9 percent….

read … What To Know About Oahu Real Property Assessments Coming To Mailboxes Soon

Kim vetoes herbicide bill—Rules are for Farmers, not Government

WHT: … Mayor Harry Kim on Thursday exercised his first veto of this term, sending a ban on county herbicide use back to the County Council.

Bill 101, sponsored by Kona Councilwoman Rebecca Villegas, would, over a four-year period, ban the use of Roundup and 22 other weedkillers in parks and alongside roads, bike-ways, sidewalks, trails, drainage-ways and waterways owned or maintained by the county….

The bill last month passed 6-3, the minimum yes votes to override a veto, under the county charter. The council can hold an override vote after five days and within 30 days of the mayor’s action.

The four-page veto letter, sent to council Chairman Aaron Chung and council members just 9 minutes shy of the 4:30 p.m. deadline, lists regulatory concerns over whether it’s the federal, state or local government’s jurisdiction, as well as operational concerns in changing how the county handles weeds.

And it details a series of suggestions that would make the bill acceptable to the administration.

It also takes issue with the lack of definitions in the bill as well as some of the findings.

“The county does not have the level of expertise to identify herbicides as ‘causing high risk of exposure,’ as ‘dangerous chemicals’ or as ‘harmful chemicals’,” the letter states. “The bill disregards the national and state regulations in place to ensure the safety of people who use herbicides as well as those who work and play in areas where herbicides are used.”…

2013: Hawaii County council keeps anti-GMO bill alive

2013: More Papaya Trees Chopped as Anti-GMO Councilmembers Demand List of Future Targets

read … Kim vetoes herbicide bill

Anti-Vaxxer Hype Costs Lives in Samoa, Philippines

CB: … Social media was a huge influence in fueling fear and mistrust around vaccines in both the Philippines and Samoa.

In Samoa, the vaccination-mixing error that took the lives of two infants would be considered malpractice in the U.S., Dr. Park said. The two nurses in Samoa who used an expired muscle relaxant instead of water were ultimately sentenced to five years in prison.

The measles outbreak in the Philippines this year has resulted in 466 deaths, the majority of them among children. The country’s decline in vaccination rates appears to follow a spike in public mistrust after a dengue-vaccine controversy. Children in the Philippines were put at risk for a deadly disorder when the country launched the new dengue vaccine without following its restriction guidelines: That only children ages 9 to 16 with a prior dengue infection should be vaccinated.

“I hope the tragedy that’s happening in Samoa reminds our community of why it is that we do vaccinate,” Park said. “Sometimes no matter how much science is out there, they’re only listening to their heart. I hope parents and others who are on the fence will listen to the science and understand they shouldn’t be getting their information from Dr. Google, they should be talking to their healthcare provider.”…

read … DOH: Hawaii Needs To Remain On Guard Against Measles

Insiders: Gill Family Still Pushing Waianae Wind Scheme

CB: … Eurus Energy America Corp. seemed to have a deal with HECO to develop a big wind farm on the eastern slope of the Waianae Range, on property owned by Gill Ewa Lands.

But Hawaii regulators delayed the project in September, saying Eurus would have to submit a bid like others.

With recent projects delayed amid community and environmental concerns, the Palehua Wind project isn’t simply waiting for a nod from HECO, said Lynn Miyahira, a Palehua spokeswoman.

“The project isn’t necessarily on ‘hold’ as they are continuing to do studies and meet with stakeholders,” she said in a statement….

(Translation: Buy off local leaders.)

read … Ewa Wind Farm Seeking Community Input

U.S. should recognize American Samoans as citizens, judge says

SA: … U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups sided with three people from American Samoa who sued to be recognized as citizens. He ruled that the Utah residents are entitled to birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and ordered the government to issue them new passports.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the ruling applies outside Utah, which has a large number of people who hail from the territory and other Pacific island communities.

Congress has allowed people born in other American territories like Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands to claim birthright citizenship over the years.

But American Samoa’s population of about 55,000 has fallen to the wayside. Their passports say, “This bearer is a United States national and not a United States citizen.”

The State Department did not have immediate comment on the ruling.

It’s expected to be appealed, said the plaintiffs’ attorney, Charles V. Ala’ilima.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the issue in 2016, after a lower court found the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship didn’t apply to American Samoa….

CB: Judge Rules American Samoans Are US Citizens

As Explained: American Samoa Citizenship Question Not So Simple

read … U.S. should recognize American Samoans as citizens, judge says

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