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Thursday, July 23, 2020
July 23, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:18 PM :: 4075 Views

HSTA, HGEA, UPW issue joint statement calling for delayed return of students to campus

Second Challenge to Mandatory Traveler Quarantine Denied

COVID Count: 17 new cases out of 631 tests

COVID Count: 55 new cases out of 2,478 tests

Laughter Fills Courtroom as Federal judge grants bond for Miske defendants  

HNN: … A federal judge granted $50,000 bond for two defendants accused in the alleged crime organization run by Michael Miske.

Preston Kimoto and Hunter Wilson were both granted bond by the judge at a teleconference hearing this morning.

Another defendant, John Stancil's hearing was moved to an in-person hearing schedule for Thursday.

But there appeared to be a few hiccups in the court's teleconference system.  At one point during the virtual hearing, a man could be heard laughing in the background, which interrupted the hearing.

That prompted the defense attorney to clarify (claim) that the man laughing was not the defendant…

(IQ Test: Do you believe him?)

Another issue arose when one of the prosecutors assigned to Hunter Wilson's case said he was muted on the call the entire time, even as the judge made his ruling.

After learning about the issue, the judge allowed the attorney to make his additional arguments.  The attorney argued that Wilson is a flight risk, and that a wiretap found that he was dealing meth.

The judge admitted the new arguments made it a close call, but in the end he decided not to change his decision….

(Total sham hearing.  This is amazing even by Hawaii standards.)

(Fun Fact: Miske’s lawyer Thomas Otake is the brother of Federal Judge Jill Otake.)

SA: Michael Miske’s half-brother John Stancil to remain in custody pending trial  (see anything missing from the Star-Adv coverage?)

read … Federal judge grants bond for Miske defendants

Prosecutor’s Race: Kau vs Alm

CB: … Megan Kau, a prominent criminal defense attorney, believes in the current criminal justice system and is pitching a strict by-the-book approach. If a drug is illegal, she says she’s bound to prosecute its possession, even if she disagrees with the law. Kau says a prosecutor lobbying for policy changes is tantamount to “corruption.”

A survivor of homelessness and domestic violence, Kau says she has a unique understanding of defendants and crime victims that gives her an edge over her opponents. 

“To deal with a criminal, you have to know how criminals think,” she said.

Kau argues she is best positioned to root out corruption in the office because she’s already doing it. Kau represented a police officer who claimed he was targeted by former prosecutor and convicted felon Katherine Kealoha, and she says she assisted the federal investigation into the office.

Steve Alm says he is a combination of progressive and practical.

The former city prosecutor, U.S. Attorney and Circuit Court judge says he has both the reformist vision the office needs and the experience necessary to make it a reality. He shares Esser’s desire to reduce incarceration but sees the answer in probation, not referrals to social services.

“We can use the leverage of the criminal justice system to help them succeed,” he said. “They will not go to treatment on their own.”

read … Kau vs Alm

Maui: More than 6,700 ballots mailed in, 1,329 ‘return to sender’, 103 invalidated

MN: … County Clerk Kathy Kaohu said that 6,732 ballots had been returned as of Tuesday, while another 1,329 had come back as “undeliverable.” Of the 8,061 ballot envelopes that the county has received, 103 did not contain signatures; ballots without signatures do not count.

Kaohu said that the county has mailed out all 90,010 ballots. Voters who have not received theirs by now should contact the Clerk’s Office at 270-7749….

read … More than 6,700 ballots mailed in

City signs a new agreement giving construction unions a monopoly

HNN: … Honolulu’s Mayor and Hawaii’s construction unions have signed a new agreement that would give union workers priority for all city projects over $2 million.

The agreement requires the city to negotiate contracts with trade unions.

The bill behind it became law last year without Mayor Caldwell’s signature….

Critics of the measure however said it was unfair to non-union businesses….

CB: The community workforce agreement is a first of its kind in Hawaii.

read … City signs a new agreement with construction unions

Families Of Children With Special Needs Are Suing Hawaii DOE. Here's Why.

NPR: … Vanessa Ince's daughter, Alexis, has a rare chromosomal abnormality and autism. Alexis has thrived at her public school in Wailuku, Hawaii, and loves spending time with her classmates.

Ince says when the COVID-19 pandemic closed her school in Wailuku, the effect on her daughter's well-being was "devastating."

"Alexis regressed so severely. She was previously, I would say, 95% potty trained and she started wetting herself." She also regressed in other areas, her mother says: She went back to crawling and stopped trying to use her communication device.

Ince says her daughter, who is 10, especially seemed to miss being around other children, as well as her regular routines, structure and stimulation. She went from a "happy, bubbly, loving-life child," to wandering the house aimlessly. "She just looked flat and empty and not really there."

Ince and her husband have filed a lawsuit seeking to get Hawaii's Department of Education to pay for the services Alexis needs in a facility where she can see other children.

They are part of a growing number of parents around the country who are suing schools and state education departments over this issue. The Ince's attorney, Keith Peck, has also filed a suit seeking class action status for all families in the state who argue their students' Individualized Education Plans have been breached during the pandemic.

read … Families Of Children With Special Needs Are Suing In Several States. Here's Why.

Faced with COVID uncertainties, some teachers are calling it quits

HNN: … The Board of Education is scheduled to decide Thursday on the DOE’s plan to reopen schools. As of Wednesday night, four thousand pages of written testimony had been submitted….

Nancy Jones has been a teacher for three decades. She had taught at Kohala Elementary School on the Big Island, and was going to be a fifth grade teacher at Pahoa Elementary School this fall.

Instead, she has decided to retire instead of starting the new school year August 4th.

“Really, it’s COVID, and returning to the classroom so soon,” Jones said. “I don’t feel like it’s worth risking my life. I told my friends and family this is like playing Russian roulette.”

Jones said she made the difficult decision to end her teaching career because her age and other health issues put her in a higher risk category for getting the coronavirus. But she’s also concerned about the students and many others on campus….

KHON: Lt. Gov. Says DOH Owes Teachers More Planning

HTH: Drive-through registration at Hilo Intermediate

read … Faced with COVID uncertainties, some teachers are calling it quits

Overall campaign contributions up sharply this campaign season

ILind: … Campaign contributions received by political candidates in Hawaii are up this year, despite a local economy in shambles. The 227 candidates running for state or county offices in this year’s election cycle raised a total of $6,173,028.70 in campaign contributions during the one-year period from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.

The top five spots on the list, ranked by total contributions their campaigns took in over the year, went to the major candidates running for Honolulu mayor–Keith Amemiya ($1,184,412), Colleen Hanabusa ($515,611), Rick Blangiardi ($431,907), Mufi Hannemann ($385,609), and Kym Pine ($235,312).

These top five candidates together accounted for 44.6% of all contributions reported by the 227 candidates who filed reports with the commission during this campaign season.

The top 30 candidates together accounted for $4,579,864.58, just shy of three-quarters of the total.

State Representative Gene Ward was the top ranked Republican at #50 in the list, reporting $20,525 contributed to his reelection campaign during the one-year period….

Data reported by the Campaign Spending Commission show that nearly $2.8 million dollars–45% of the total for the one-year period–was contributed to candidates since March 15, 2020, while unemployment reached record levels, most local businesses were shuttered, many families lined up at food distribution sites, and virtually the entire visitor industry was effectively shut down….

read … Overall campaign contributions up sharply this campaign season

SB126: $366M CARES Splash Out Not a Done Deal?

CB: … Luke said state department heads told her that they have been instructed to wait until Ige makes a final decision on Senate Bill 126, which includes $366 million in appropriations to provide housing, food and other aid to Hawaii residents suffering from the economic fallout from COVID-19.

Ige said Wednesday he has told his department heads to plan the new programs and take steps such as drafting solicitations for proposals from contractors who want to provide the goods or services that are called for in the bill.

But he said he instructed the departments not to enter into any new contracts yet for those relief initiatives because the bill is still undergoing legal review. He said the Legislature’s plan to spend that money might not be a done deal….

read … Lawmaker Worries Ige Is Moving Too Slowly On COVID Relief Plans

COVID: Over 1,200 businesses closed statewide

KITV: … New data finds nearly 900 businesses closed in Honolulu, both temporarily and permanently, amid the pandemic. The closures were between March 1 and July 10 in Honolulu.

This data is according to Yelp, which also found that more than 10% of the closures were restaurants.

Yelp also reports that as of July 10, the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina metro area had 197 total closures since the beginning of March - 61 of those closures were permanent.

"This metro area had the fifth highest rate of business closures relative to the number of total businesses in the city -- behind Honolulu; San Francisco; Las Vegas and San Jose," a spokesperson for Yelp stated.

As of July 10, Hilo had 159 total closures since March 1 - 68 were permanent….

read … Yelp: Hundreds of businesses close across the islands amid COVID-19

Hawaii County Council Panders to anti-5G Conspiracy Nuts – Will your cellphone service suffer as a Result?

WHT: … The Hawaii County Council resolved Wednesday to forestall any development of 5G infrastructure on the Big Island until the controversial technology is proven to be safe.

After hearing hours of public testimony decrying the supposed health risks of the new cellular network technology, the council voted 8-1 to approve a resolution calling for “telecommunication companies and public utilities operating in Hawaii County” to halt any 5G development until independent research and testing concludes it is safe for humans (morons).

Puna Councilman Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder, who (took a break from spreading child-abduction rumors) introduced the resolution, said he was responding to widespread public concerns and is not anti-technology.

“This resolution has nothing to do with our existing infrastructure,” Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder said. “We don’t need 5G for our phones to work right now. It’s just that no study to date proves it’s safe.”…

On the Big Island, two proposed 4G cellular towers in Puna caused public outcry for fear of health risks, which some testifiers Wednesday said are less severe than the risks posed by 5G.  (Yes.  These idiots are protesting 4G too.  Do they speak for you?)

(Simple solution: Puna voters must CRUSH Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder on Primary Day.  Vote for Ikaika Rodenhurst instead.  Rodenhurst is pro-5G.  He is not a moron.  Are you?  Being stupid is a choice.)

July 8, 2020: Only one testifier opposed the (anti-5G) resolution. Ikaika Rodenhurst, who is running for Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder’s council seat this year, said all young technologies inherently lack extensive study, but added that the proven connectivity benefits and lack of conclusive evidence of health risks should outweigh concerns for the time being.  Rodenhurst also said that, following disasters in Puna, cellular networks frequently become overwhelmed, preventing people from being able to call family members or emergency services….

SA Column: 5G technology promises faster tech, provokes fear

Related: Telescope Protester Arrested in Hilo Home Depot zip-tie hoax

read … Council exercises caution in regard to 5G development

Ex-detective pleads not guilty to intimidating witness, other charges

HTH: … A former Hawaii Police Department officer indicted last week for intimidating a witness in two high-profile criminal cases pleaded not guilty to five charges Tuesday in Kona Circuit Court.

Brian K. Miller, 56, was arrested and charged per the indictment with intimidating a witness, retaliating against a witness, witness tampering, second-degree terroristic threatening and harassment stemming from a May 14 incident in Hilo.

Miller, who turned himself in after the indictment, was released after posting $50,000 bail. Kona Circuit Chief Judge Robert D.S. Kim maintained the bail amount and set a trial date for Dec. 22 after Miller entered his plea.

Miller, a retired Hilo Vice detective, was indicted by a Kona grand jury for allegedly intimidating, threatening and/or retaliating against a female witness in a 2019 drug and conspiracy case against himself and in a separate 2019 case filed against another former police officer, Chadwick Fukui, and four civilians related to an illegal gambling operation. The harassment charge lists a male victim but does not state the offense is related to any criminal proceeding….

Miller is currently awaiting trial on charges stemming from a May 2019 indictment for allegedly stealing cocaine from a police evidence locker in Hilo in May 2016….

read …  Ex-detective pleads not guilty to intimidating witness, other charges

Sacrilege!  Honolulu Police Chief Denies Racial Disparities Are Proof Of Profiling

CB:  … Ballard says it’s “unfair, unfounded and just plain wrong” to say HPD targets people based on their ethnicity….

read … Honolulu Police Chief Denies Racial Disparities Are Proof Of Profiling

Toll Road to Hana?

BJ: …we need to ration. And there are a couple of ways to legally do that.

One is to go to toll roads on overused routes such as the Hana Highway. You do that with technology. Locals’ cars would have a computer-readable windshield tag that declares “resident — no charge.” Rental cars would have a tag that assigns perhaps a $15 charge to the rental bill. The unmanned, tag-reading booth is relatively inexpensive to mount on whatever roadway we think needs a discouraging toll.

And then there is parking. It has to be done better than at Hanauma Bay. Yes, there are 300 parking stalls, but those tend to fill up around 7 a.m. when we are in full tourism bloom. A resident arriving at 10 a.m. is out of luck.

A solution there and elsewhere was devised on Kauai for those going to Ha’ena State Park, Tunnels beach and the Kalalau Trail. That road had been closed due to the 2018 floods and residents pushed the state not to allow resumption of the overcrowding.

Complaints heard. Now there are designated Ha’ena parking stalls. You need an advance reservation made online for a day and time. Its $15 for all day. It’s a $200 fine if you’re ticketed for illegal parking….

I’d also impose higher inner-Honolulu parking fees for rental cars than for residents. One way to do that is to prohibit rental-car-tagged cars from using metered street parking. Make them use private lots and set those fees at $15-$20 for two hours. New York’s average private parking fee for two hours is now $34….

read … Fixing Tourist Road & Parking Craziness

Hawaii Offers Bar Applicants Nothing And Calls It A Gift

ATL: … The attorney would then have to pass the Hawaii bar by July 2022.

Here’s a fun fact: you can already practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney. If your name isn’t on captions and another attorney is ultimately responsible for your work then you’re a “Law Clerk” or “Unlicensed Attorney” or however your particular jurisdiction prefers you flag yourself. Graduates who have law firm jobs do exactly this sort of work for months while awaiting final admission now. The only way this program is acceptable is if it requires provisional attorneys to take fancy three-hour lunches everyday since they’re just summer associates anyway.

A supervised probationary period is a fair requirement under some diploma privilege plans — even though it presents problems that would need to be sorted out in practice — but a stint of supervised probation that ultimately dumps the applicant back at square one in 18 months isn’t an alternative. It’s slapping a supposedly loftier name on “being a paralegal.”…

read … Hawaii Offers Bar Applicants Nothing And Calls It A Gift

‘Organic’ Food Market is Full of Fraud

SA: … in recent years there have been several criminal violations in the organic industry that have threatened to erode the faith of shoppers. In one case, millions of pounds of corn and soy imported from overseas were sold in the U.S. as “organic.” An investigation later revealed that it was actually grown conventionally. This deception, and other similar instances, can cause people to stop trusting the integrity of the organic label…

read … Organic Costs More

Kauai -- More Affordable Housing Fakery: Housing policy targets resort requirements

TGI: … An amendment establishing a base-percentage of affordable housing units resort developers will need to offer than currently required in the county’s housing policy, which is currently being tweaked by the Kaua‘i County Council, was introduced yesterday.

Part of the amendment to Bill No. 2774 requires specific resort developments to provide at least 50% of the development in workforce housing or submit an independent analysis supporting less, yet still provide at least 35% of units in workforce housing.

This creates a 35% workforce housing floor, Housing Agency Director Adam Roversi said, which will eliminate “unfortunate abnormalities of the individualized assessment.”…

(Fake: 1 Nobody will be building resorts anytime soon.  2 This will produce zero affordable housing units.  3 This will be tinkered with again and again before it affects anything – except in general driving up the cost of land and construction which is the only real purpose.)

read … Housing policy targets resort requirements

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