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Tuesday, July 28, 2020
July 28, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:15 PM :: 2322 Views

Japan Reopens Travel to Hawaii

COVID Count 28 new cases out of 2,335 tests

COVID Count: 47 new cases out of 1,172 tests

Labor Board: Governor’s Emergency Powers ARE Limited -- Collective Bargaining Agreements Cannot be Touched

School Reopening Push Back to Aug 17?

Stimulate the Economy--Get a Job!

‘Defend Hawaii’ Logo Created by Miske Co-Defendant—Busted Union Boss Seeks Bail

ILind: … Two defendants who federal prosecutors allege took part in criminal activity controlled by Honolulu businessman Michael Miske are asking to be set free on bail pending trial.

The two are Michael Buntenbah, also known as Mike Malone, whose company created Defend Hawaii brand of clothing and accessories, and Norman Akau III, an executive board member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts Local 665….

Federal prosecutors acknowledge that although Buntenbah was arrested in July 2014 in a convoy of cars found to be transporting 10 kilograms of cocaine, he was not charged in that case. However, they say he gave “nonsensical” answers when asked where the were driving at the time, and that this “lack of honesty with law enforcement” is a factor the court should consider when considering whether to continue his detention….

Movie credits show Akau has worked as a backstage technician or grip on a number of well known movies and television series, including Lost, Hawaii Five-0, Jurassic World, Godzilla, The Descendants, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

A LinkedIn entry also lists Akau as a “Traffic Specialist at Grace Pacific LLC.”…

prosecutors allege Akau took part in a heist of drugs from another dealer in which he impersonated a police officer and, along with other co-defendants, displayed firearms while taking “approximately five pounds of methamphetamine…from the vehicle’s trunk.”…

PHOTO: Mike Malone swastika tatoo just above beltline

July 23, 2020: Laughter Fills Courtroom as Federal judge grants bond for (two other) Miske defendants

read … Two Miske defendants say they qualify for release from federal detention pending trial

Election Fraud: Ballots for Dead People, Previous Tenants Flood Mailboxes Statewide

CB: … As Honolulu implements its first-ever vote by mail election, some ballots are being sent to people who are no longer living at their registered address – or are no longer living at all.

Hauula resident Thomas Adolpho said he got five ballots for renters who haven’t lived on his property in over a decade. Enele Ongoongotau Jr. said he received a ballot at his Kahuku home for his niece who moved to the mainland last year. Kaneohe resident Jennifer Nakamura has a ballot for her uncle who is incarcerated. And one woman, who didn’t want to be named, said she received a ballot for her father who died five years ago in Utah.

“It is concerning because it could give people the chance to be dishonest,” said Laie resident Halam AhQuin II, who reported receiving three ballots for people he’d never heard of. …

Adolpho said he’s been getting other people’s absentee ballots for years but hasn’t contacted the city clerk’s office. It makes him nervous about the potential for voter fraud….

(Voter fraud is easy to get away with because it is never prosecuted) according to Brooks Baehr, a spokesman for the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

“We have not received any cases in which someone is accused of receiving an absentee/mail-in ballot intended for someone else, filling it out, forging a signature, and mailing it in,” he said in an email. “No such cases received from Honolulu police or anyone else.” ….

In other states, so-called “purges” of voter rolls have caused the removal of legitimate voters from lists. The result can be “mass disenfranchisement,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union.  (Translation: Our favorite politicians need dead people to vote for them because nobody else will.)

All five people Civil Beat spoke to who received accidental ballots said they didn’t know what to do with them. The ballot envelope doesn’t provide directions for that scenario.

“I don’t know if I’m supposed to send it to him, throw it away or send it back (to the city),” Nakamura said.

People who receive a ballot for someone that does not reside at their address should write “not at this address” on it and place it back in the mail, according to the Hawaii Office of Elections.

“If you don’t do anything about it, the record stays the same,” Lam said. “You’ll keep getting it.”   (Just keep on voting!)

read … Getting A Ballot In The Mail For Your Dead Relative Is Not As Weird As It Seems

Young Bros Shipper asks for ruling on rates by Aug. 17

MN: … “Young Brothers fails to address or even acknowledge how their highly objectionable revenue increase request affects consumers who are struggling to make ends meet under an indescribable situation now presented to the broader community,” Nishina said in a PUC filing Thursday.

While “sympathetic to Young Brothers’ situation,” Nishina said the request was “so ill-timed and lacking in awareness of the circumstances faced by people and businesses in the community that the Consumer Advocate believes that the commission has no choice but to deny YB’s motion.”

Nishina added that it is still going through Young Brothers’ finances but was doubtful of the company’s description of its financial situation. He said Young Brothers had not explored all options, such as “its access to capital from commercial markets and, even though the state has attempted to explore the possibility of loans or loan guarantees, Young Brothers has declined such offers.”

Young Brothers’ problems “should be attributed to the company’s management rather than to its customers or the COVID-19 pandemic,” Nishina said, pointing out that the company’s costs were already rising long before the pandemic, even though revenues weren’t.

In 2015, Young Brothers had revenues of $120 million and expenses of $105 million. In 2019, the revenues had grown slightly to $121 million while expenses had shot up to $128 million….

(This is a standard expense shifting scheme.  Saltchuck operating expenses are re-classified as YB expenses to justify rate hikes.)   

Young Brothers says it may be forced to discontinue interisland services and furlough employees if the state Public Utilities Commission does not approve its emergency request for a 47 percent rate hike by Aug. 17….

As Explained: Debunked: YB Demands $25M COVID Relief on Top of Rate Hike

As Explained: Young Brothers Rate Hike Proposal Based on Fraudulent Numbers

read … Shipper asks for ruling on rates by Aug. 17

Oahu Poll: 89% Reject ‘Defund the Police’

SA: … A majority of Oahu residents believe that the Honolulu Police Department should get the same amount of funding it has been receiving — no more and no less, according to the results of the Hawaii Poll taken last week.

And in a period where communities across the U.S. are asking whether police departments should be defunded to shift some of the money to social service agencies, 28% of those polled said HPD should get more funding while only 11% said it should get less funding.

In the same poll, a majority said they do not believe there is systemic racism in the HPD, and that the department protects citizens without prejudice….

read … Most Oahu residents want HPD not to lose any funding

Voter service centers now open

SA: … Voter service centers statewide are now open daily except Sundays, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. through Aug. 7, and then 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Primary Election Day, Aug. 8.

Day 1 was actually Monday for Hawaii and Maui counties. On Oahu and Kauai, the centers at Honolulu Hale, Kapolei Hale and the Piikoi Building in Lihue were closed in anticipation of the hurricane….

read … Voter service centers now open

New Union Super PACs Pour Money Into Honolulu Races

CB:  … A super PAC HiVISION2020 funded by the local plumbers union is giving Honolulu mayoral candidate Keith Amemiya an advertising boost in the run-up to the Aug. 8 primary election….

Be Change Now, set up in 2018 with money from the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters representing the construction industry, is also wading into several races.

The PAC has spent $78,000 supporting Jane Clement, a candidate for the Hawaii County Council, and another $110,000 supporting Alan Texeira, who is running in the CD3 race against Esther Kia’aina, according to reports filed by Be Change Now….

So far in 2020, the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters, through its political action committees, has contributed about $20,000 directly to various legislators and city council candidates, including Will Espero, Texeira and Radiant Cordeiro….

read … New Super PACs Pour Money Into Honolulu Races

Caldwell submits request to Governor Ige to shut down bars

HNN: … Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell plans to submit a request to Governor Ige to shut down bars again because of a surge of new COVID-19 cases over the past five days….

Over the past week and a half, city inspectors shut down two bars in Honolulu. Each bar was shut down for 24 hours because customers violated social distancing rules and were not wearing face coverings….

"You know maybe the patrons in a bar are willing to take a risk, but then they go home. They go to work, they go around and spread the virus to others and then it spreads more and that we can't allow to happen. So unfortunately we got to take this drastic action one that I wish we didn't have to. One that I wish the bars would have prevented. But we have no choice but to do this," Mayor Caldwell said…

SA: People who patronized Brix & Bones at 1217 Hopaka St. and Arena 808 at 1020 Keeaumoku St. between July 16 to 26 may have been exposed and should contact their physicians

SA: Man, 33, arrested after he allegedly shoots at another man at Waipahu strip club

read … Caldwell submits request to Governor Ige to shut down bars

Concerns raised about quarantine enforcement as number of mainland travelers to Hawaii increases

HTH: … Though the quarantine was initially effective in reducing the number of travelers to the state to a manageable number — total passengers to the islands dropped by nearly 99% in April compared to 2019 — that effectiveness has waned as the pandemic continues.

Thus far in July, more than 40,000 passengers have arrived from the U.S. mainland: a reduction of 93% from a year ago. This includes more than 100 travelers per day, on average, landing on the Big Island.

The increases have stretched the small team that works to monitor those in quarantine.

While a July 17 statement from Gov. David Ige’s office announced a team of 80 workers had made more than 113,000 contacts via calls, texts and emails to travelers who were in quarantine, the total number of mainland travelers under quarantine during that time was more than 108,000, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s visitor statistics.

That equates to an average of barely one contact per traveler, lending credibility to the concern many Hawaii residents have when they question just how effective the state’s enforcement of the quarantine truly is.

One recent traveler was Joy Johnson, a Kona resident who made the trip to the mainland for the birth of a grandchild. Upon returning, Johnson received only two texts monitoring her quarantine.

“Nothing else,” said Johnson. “I am shocked; it’s no wonder that visitors are coming.”…

read … Concerns raised about quarantine enforcement as number of mainland travelers to Hawaii increases

Oahu homelessness has gotten ‘worse’ in past year, poll finds

SA: … “They get chased out and then they come back again,” she said. “You just can’t keep moving them from place to place. We can’t seem to turn the corner on the homeless issue.”

(Good Point: They must be FORCED into shelters.)

Officially, Oahu’s homeless situation was little changed last year. The Point in Time Count measured a scant increase of 0.7% in January 2020 compared with January 2019, with a total of 4,448 people without homes.

At the same time, the neighbor islands’ overall homeless population in January also went up by a similar 1%. With 2,010 homeless people counted on the neighbor islands, Hawaii’s entire homeless population stood at 6,458 as of January….

In 2019, Hawaii lost its unenviable distinction of having the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the country, to New York….

Despite an overall 0.7% increase in homelessness this year, the 2,346 people living “unsheltered” across Oahu in January — or essentially on the street — fell 2% from the year before. Those living on the street represented 53% of Oahu’s homeless population and generated many of Oahu’s homeless complaints.

Other encouraging signs on Oahu were the 7% drop in homeless families, 8% decline in homeless children and 7% reduction in homeless veterans.

Overall, compared with 2015, Oahu has seen a 48% drop in homeless families, 45% decline in homeless children and 24% reduction in homeless veterans….

(Translation: More and more of the homeless are unsheltered single male drug addicts.This is why they seem to be more of a problem.)

Only 7% of respondents believed that homelessness has gotten “better.” Another 25% believe the situation is the “same.”

Men, however, are more pessimistic: 72% of them believe homelessness has gotten “worse” over the last 12 months compared with 62% of women.

And among men and women age 50 or older, 73% believe homelessness has gotten worse across the island compared with 60% of people below the age of 50.

There is essentially no statistical differences among ethnic groups — or between Democrats, Republicans or Independents — who believe that homelessness has gotten “worse.”

Despite the January numbers, the entire country’s homeless population is expected to see a surge in the coming months and years because of rampant unemployment triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, just as it did following the 18-month Great Recession from 2007 to 2009….

SA: 64% polled say Chinatown still feels safe

read … Oahu homelessness has gotten ‘worse’ in past year, poll finds

Accused killer was deemed insane years ago after trying to burn down a condo unit

HNN: … A man with a history of mental illness s now suspected of stabbing his girlfriend to death in a Makiki apartment Sunday night.

Dustin Saluda, 35, was deemed insane after a 2013 incident and spent time at the state hospital and other mental health facilities as part of court-ordered treatment in the incident’s aftermath.

He was released without restrictions by a judge in 2018, but was arrested late Sunday on suspicion of second-degree murder.….

When officers arrived, sources tell Hawaii News Now, Saluda was covered in blood and holding a knife. His 31-year old girlfriend, a registered nurse, was found dead in the apartment.

She had been stabbed a dozen times, sources said. The medical examiner has not officially released her name.

Saluda’s court-ordered treatment stemmed from an arson in September 2013….

He was found with knives when officers arrived at his burning condo unit near the intersection of University Ave. and Kapiolani Blvd. He had set the place on fire, saying he had been hypnotized by the police, the Marines, and his roommates.

He was acquitted by reason of insanity and ordered to the state hospital.

Later he was allowed to seek treatment at other outpatient mental health facilities until he was released….

Saluda was attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and received his degree in Second Language Studies last year….

read … Accused killer was deemed insane years ago after trying to burn down a condo unit

Storm shined light on lack of North Shore shelters

HNN: …  There are no approved evacuation facilities from Kaneohe to Waialua, so residents along the coastline are pushing for more options. … 

Big Q: How badly were you affected by Hurricane Douglas?

SA Editorial: Hurricane serves as fair warning

read … Oahu was spared by Douglas, but storm shined light on lack of North Shore shelters

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