UPDATE: Hawaii Legislature Considers 18 Gun Bills
Senate Confirms DHHL Nominees, Sends 9 Bills to House
Trump Resister to Oversee Fraud Investigations in Hawaii
HIOSH Supervisor Trades Sex for Fines?
SA: …A supervisor with the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations who was recently fined $1,000 by the Hawaii State Ethics Commission also was investigated for accusations that he repeatedly touched a female business owner who was fined $9,400 in 2016 and said he could “fix” the fine if the woman went to dinner with him.
On Jan. 22 the Hawaii State Ethics Commission ordered Tin Shing Chao — Occupational Health Branch manager for DLIR’s Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division — to pay a $1,000 penalty for driving two probationary employees on separate occasions to a used car dealership owned by a friend to buy vehicles they were not required to have as part of their jobs.
The fine was ordered after Chao faced several unrelated accusations, including repeatedly touching the female business owner, as alleged by Allen Miho, who had been the Safety Branch manager for the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division….
During the meeting, the business owner allegedly said through an interpreter that Chao “kept touching her and asking her out for dinner, telling her he can fix this,” according to Miho….
Miho previously supervised the safety offices at Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam and was a safety adviser at the Hawaii State Hospital and has since left DLIR….
Related: Report: HIOSH has the Ethics of a Used Car Salesman
read … State labor supervisor investigated for other allegations
Caldwell: 'No Explanation' For Rail Delays On Dillingham Boulevard
HPR: … Last month, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced it extended its deadline for companies to bid on the last 4.6 mile segment of the rail line. The work would go through the city center and end at Ala Moana.
HART President and CEO Andrew Robbins said his agency expects to award the contract in May.
This is the fourth time HART has extended its deadline, the mayor said Monday, following a blessing ceremony for the 1936 Citron Street affordable rental project.
Another postponement will not only cost more, but will further put off HART's own completion deadline of 2025. That deadline is not echoed by Federal Transit Administration officials, according to Caldwell.
"They have said it's 2026, towards the end," the mayor said. "In fact, they believe it is 2026, and they think that the city may have to kick in additional funds as a result."
HART has said the contract deadline was extended at the request of construction bidders.
The mayor is further concerned about delays in work along Dillingham Boulevard, one of Honolulu's busiest roads.
Caldwell said HART has not submitted a final traffic management plan for the area and rail officials should have already started relocating utilities along the road. (That’s NAN’s job, hint, hint)
"This was a notice to proceed that was given almost two years ago. And yet, utilities have not yet been relocated," he said. "And if they're not relocated, it could result in delay."
"If the [contract awardee] can't get into Dillingham and start building, when they are supposed to, they will delay claim. There will be change orders, and additional cost will be assessed. I think there's been much delay, two years of delay, with no explanation, ever, by HART."…
(Clue: NAN is also working on West Oahu rail stations)
More NAN: Retaliation: Rail Contractor on Tape Trying to Get Whistleblower Fired
read … Caldwell: 'No Explanation' For Rail Delays On Dillingham Boulevard
Hawaii panel backs Native Hawaiian reconciliation commission
SA: …The resolution next goes to the full House for a vote. Senate President Ron Kouchi has introduced a similar resolution to the Senate….
… Attorney General Clare Connors said New Zealand, Canada and South Africa each offered good models for reconciliation commissions.
“This commission will be challenged with fleshing out how it can work here in our community, given our historical structures and issues and complexities,” she told lawmakers….
Walter Ritte, who was among the Native Hawaiian elders arrested for blocking the road to Mauna Kea’s summit last year, said instead of forming a commission, the governor and House and Senate leaders need to meet with the head Mauna Kea protesters and talk about restructuring the management of the mountain.
Once that is done, Ritte said, whoever is managing the mountain can decide
whether (how much of a payoff is needed to ensure) the telescope will be built…(for instance, you could buy me Molokai Ranch….).
read … Greenmail
SB2774 would prohibit Red Hill fuel tanks in 2028
SA: … Senate Bill 2774, which passed out of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment with amendments Monday, would prohibit “a person to operate an underground storage system with a capacity of 100,000 gallons or more, mauka of the underground injection control line.”
The bill would prohibit the Navy from operating its Red Hill fuel tanks after Jan. 1, 2028. It was opposed by the Navy. Capt. Marc Delao, commanding officer of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii, told Senators on Monday, “The water is safe to drink.”…
The committee also passed out Senate Bill 2775, which requires the Fuel Tank Advisory Committee to meet twice within a calendar year at least six months apart….
read … Bill would prohibit Red Hill fuel tanks in 2028
The Case For Dissolving HART
CB: … the main piece that is falling apart, however, is the connection between HART and the council. HART’s draft strategic plan devotes an entire section to relationships, but does not even list council members or the Honolulu City Council as one of its partners.
There is almost an attitude of disdain between HART’s executive director, Andrew Robbins, and the council, as evidenced by a recent line of questioning between council members and Robbins.
The discussion revolved around the public-private partnership for the last major rail contract and the city’s responsibility for operations and maintenance. Ikaika Anderson, council chair, asked Robbins about “affordability rates” that HART had given to bidders.
Robbins acknowledged the mayor was apprised of those rates but would not provide that same information to council members, even in the confines of an executive session….
read … The Case For Dissolving HART
State Doesn’t Spend Junk Car Tax—but Senator wants to Raise it Anyway
KITV: … The Hawaii Automobile Dealers' Association (HADA) opposes the bill and says it unfairly double taxes car buyers who already pay up to $10 a year for a Highway Beautification Fee in their registration. A bulk of that is supposed to pay for the proper disposal of abandoned vehicles.
"How are you creating another whole tax to create four more million dollars when the money that's in the kitty right now $7.7 million is not being spent to address the problem?" said HADA Executive Director David H. Rolf, referring to the reserve fund of the City and County of Honolulu.
He calls it a "bad bill" because it creates a new fund and does not hold tow companies and local agencies accountable for potentially misusing already appropriated funds ….
read … State Senator proposes new vehicle tax to fund car recycling program and curb abandoned vehicles
Dillingham Airfield Can be Better off Without Airports Division
SA: … Dillingham Airfield tenants — including skydiving, glider and ultralight operators — are hoping a white knight will step forward to prevent the North Shore airport from shutting down civilian operations June 30.
All Dillingham Airfield businesses are on 30-day revocable permits and are expected to receive official notices in the next few days saying the state is terminating its lease for the Army- owned airfield as of June 30….
“At this time, the Army wants to work with government entities to keep the airfield open,” said Frank Hinshaw, founder and president of Skydive Hawaii.
The state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources “might be a partner,” as DLNR took over small boat harbors from DOT, Hinshaw said in an email. The Pearl Harbor Morale, Welfare and Recreation office has expressed interest, Hinshaw said.
A town hall meeting with several elected leaders is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight at Waialua Elementary School. Airfield tenants are expected to attend….
Partway into one long-term lease, the Army came out and inspected the airfield and was not happy. “There were many problems like buildings that had no permits, etc.,” Sanders said. A five-year lease was then required by the Army, he said.
The Airports Division “did not deserve a long-term contract, in the Army’s opinion, and I must agree,” Sanders said, adding that all tenants have suffered because DOT Airports did not force a few bad apples to follow the rules.
Sanders said both Pacific Skydiving and Skydive Hawaii “are among the most successful and safest skydiving operations in the world. Both have state-of-the-art, multimillion-dollar turbine aircraft and excellent maintenance.”
The DOT said it is also saddled with a water system that it must maintain for the airfield and the surrounding civilian/public community — with the FAA warning that DOT Airports’ role with the water system “is not allowed.”…
Sanders said he knows an individual with a fleet of multimillion-dollar aircraft who bought an airport in Australia for skydiving and powered hang gliders who “would love to purchase the rights to Dillingham Airfield during daylight hours.”
“There should be a solution to keep Dillingham Airfield open and the hundreds of people (employed) that rely on it for their livelihood, whether the state of Hawaii is involved or not,” he said….
SA: Dillingham Airfield a hot topic at North Shore town hall meeting
read … Businesses at Dillingham Airfield hold out hope for a flying future
Airport authority could make Kahului Airport ‘no ka ‘oi’
MN: … Hawaii is a state that relies on its airports, so it is astounding that we are taking so long to adopt a proven airport-management model that could turn our airports into shining examples of what Hawaii could be.
At Yelp.com, the reviews of Maui’s Kahului Airport are not kind: “Outdated,” “Terrible,” “Like you’re in a developing country without the convenience of a lounge.”
In a 2019 survey of medium-sized airports in North America, J.D. Power ranked Maui’s airport dead last in overall satisfaction. In no category — from terminal facilities to security — did the Maui airport score higher than 2 out of 5.
Unfortunately, the problem isn’t confined to Maui. Statewide, Hawaii’s airports have been criticized for being outmoded and falling into disrepair. After visiting Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in June, the CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, told Hawaii News Now there’s an urgent need for action.
“I toured this airport with our team this morning . . . and literally things are coming off the wall,” he said.
In the J.D. Power ranking of large airports, only LaGuardia Airport in New York ranked worse than HNL.
Believe it or not, however, it’s not money that’s preventing renovation and repair of Hawaii’s airports. The airports are largely self-sustaining, with their annual operating costs of $400 million coming from concession revenues and airline fees. Rather, it’s a question of efficiency — or rather, a severe lack of it.
Hawaii is one of only three states without a semi-independent governance organization responsible for the management of its airports. The responsibility for running the state’s airports is split between multiple state agencies, including the Department of Transportation, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Department of Human Resources, Department of Budget and Finance and the Board of Land and Natural Resources….
read … Airport authority could make Kahului Airport ‘no ka ‘oi’
Maui: Usual Fruits and Nuts Pull Papers
MN: … Four incumbents also are signaling plans to defend their seats — Council Members Tamara Paltin (West Maui), Tasha Kama (Kahului), Mike Molina (Makawao-Haiku-Paia) and Yuki Lei Sugimura (Upcountry), according to candidate filing reports released Friday.
Lanai residents Matthew Mano and Alberta De Jetley are looking to run for the open seat being vacated by Council Member Riki Hokama, who is stepping down due to term limits. Gabe Johnson, who challenged Hokama in the 2018 election, also confirmed last month that he plans to campaign again, though he hadn’t pulled papers as of Friday.
Claire Carroll, who lost to Council Member Shane Sinenci in the East Maui race in 2018, also has pulled papers to run. Sinenci collected 23,654 votes, or 46.7 percent, to Carroll’s 19,467 votes, or 38.5 percent. Both had been campaigning to fill the seat vacated by Carroll’s father Bob, who retired in 2018.
Also looking to unseat an incumbent is Deb Kaiwi, who pulled papers for the Kahului seat. Kaiwi was eliminated in the 2018 primary after finishing third with 4,519 votes, or 13.3 percent, to Kama’s 12,712 votes, or 37.3 percent, and then-Mayor Alan Ara-kawa’s 11,790 votes, or 34.6 percent.
In the state Legislature, just one Maui candidate so far has indicated plans to run — Christy Kajiwara Gusman, a Wailuku resident, who has pulled papers for Rep. Troy Hashimoto’s District 8 seat, which covers Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku and Waikapu.
read … Repeat contenders eyeing runs for County Council seats
Homeless Dude Killed by Other Homeless in Fight over Vodka Bottle
MN: … Testifying at a preliminary hearing Monday in Wailuku District Court, witnesses identified the attacker as Heather Glennon, 46, who is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of 51-year-old Christopher Flanagan.
Glennon and Flanagan and three others were sitting in front of McDonald’s before the assault at 7:20 p.m. Feb. 2.
“We’re all sharing Heather’s bottle of booze,” said William Thompson. “Then I think Christopher grabbed her bottle, and it irritated her and she got mad.” …
Glennon’s boyfriend, Jason Gallegos, followed and punched Thompson in the face three times, leaving his left eye bleeding. About the same time, Glennon was attacking Flanagan, Thompson said.
“She was whacking him in the head with a half-gallon of Tito’s Vodka,” Thompson said.
“A bottle of vodka?” Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani asked.
“A very large bottle,” Thompson said. “It’s the one with a handle.”…
SA: Woman who was killed in Wahiawa homeless chop shop had rammed suspect’s vehicle
read … Witnesses tell of beating death by vodka bottle