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Tuesday, November 17, 2020
November 17, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:45 AM :: 686 Views

March of Dimes: Hawaii D+ for Premature Births

Mayor Caldwell meets with Mayor Elect Blangiardi to discuss transition plans

Ige Names Tommy Johnson DPS Deputy Director for Corrections

Hawaii Supreme Court Nominee Let Alleged Child Molester off with 6-day Sentence  

CB: … The (soft-on-crime) legal community heaped praise on Todd Eddins as state lawmakers examined how he might react to certain situations on the high court….

He doesn’t subscribe to originalism….  “It’s a silly way to interpret the law,” Eddins said….

(Here’s his un-originalist interpretation of the law.)

While Eddins was praised by many who wrote in support of his nomination, he was criticized by one woman, the mother of a sexual assault victim whose alleged abuser spent just six days in jail because of a plea deal that passed through Eddins’ court.

Lawmakers spent about an hour drilling into that case and dug into the weeds on the rules and procedures surrounding plea agreements.

The woman, Maria Roth-Tijerina, said that the prosecutors had forced her to approve the plea deal. She told the senators that she lodged complaints with the prosecutor’s office, and also raised her concerns about Eddins with the HSBA but got no response.

Frey, the association president, said a panel that reviewed Eddins’ nomination was aware of the concerns but did not investigate them further.

Eddins, a former defense attorney, maintained that striking the plea deal would have meant complicating the case going forward, and potentially lead to a double jeopardy situation for the defendant….

SA: Child sex-assault case overshadows hearing for judge’s nomination

HNN: Todd Bruggman, 56, was accused of repeatedly molesting a 6-year-old girl for more than a year at a Waikiki condo complex.

Meanwhile: Two Tourists get 14-day sentence for breaking quarantine  (that’s 2.33 times the sentence a child molester gets.)

Another One Walks, same plea-bargain excuse from Eddins: Hawaii snack company owner won’t serve time behind bars for child molestation

UPDATE Nov 19, 2020: Eddins Confirmed with unanimous vote of all 25 state senators, including two who voted with reservations.

read … Senators Dig In To Hawaii Supreme Court Nominee’s Positions

Why Are Prosecutors Still Pursuing Criminal Charges Against The US Surgeon General?

ILind:: …A third man who was with Adm. Jerome Adams and his aide has already seen his case reduced to a non-criminal citation. But Honolulu is going after Adams with prosecutors who normally handle felonies….

Green called the criminal charges “an embarrassment to the state.”

“I’m not suggesting for a minute that because he’s the surgeon general … his rights are any greater than other citizen,” Green said in a statement quoted by the Associated Press. “But he shouldn’t be treated worse because of that status. And that’s exactly what they’re doing.”….

ILind: More details about the case against the Surgeon General

read … Why Are Prosecutors Still Pursuing Criminal Charges Against The US Surgeon General?

Factional Honolulu Councilmembers Fighting to Grab Top Job

CB: …Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi and five new council members will be sworn in on Jan. 2. …

With CARES Act money running out at the end of December and no additional federal aid in sight, Blangiardi won’t enjoy the kind of unilateral spending decisions Mayor Kirk Caldwell has made this year with the emergency funds….

It’s still unclear though who will be the new City Council chair, a powerful position that includes leading council meetings and making committee assignments. Council Chair Ann Kobayashi’s term is expiring.

In interviews with Civil Beat, current and future members were circumspect about who is in the running to replace her.

However, Councilman-elect Calvin Say said that North Shore Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi and Councilman Tommy Waters, whose district spans Waikiki to Hawaii Kai, are both interested in the top job. Neither Tsuneyoshi nor Waters returned messages seeking comment.

Councilwoman-elect Andria Tupola said various people are interested in being chair and that members are still in discussions. However, she said she’s not in favor of a chair who is already a sitting council member. …

Waters, Elefante and Manahan all endorsed Blangiardi’s opponent, Democrat Keith Amemiya, in the general election. …

If Say, Elefante, Cordero and Kiaaina all team up with Waters, they would have a majority block of five people. But it’s too soon to say if that will happen. …

read … We’re Entering A New Era In Honolulu Politics

Businesses want Oahu’s plastic utensils ban delayed

SA: …With only weeks to go before the first phase of Oahu’s wide-ranging disposable-foodware ordinance is set to take effect Jan. 1, restaurant owners and food industry leaders are renewing their call for more time to comply.

The chairman of the City Council Economic Assistance and Revitalization Committee said he’s willing to consider giving a break to the hard-hit businesses.

Meanwhile, an official with the agency responsible for implementing and enforcing Ordinance 19-30 said there will be an educational period, which would give additional time for businesses and the industry to seek exemptions or come into compliance.

The new law — approved by the City Council and signed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell in December — states that starting Jan. 1, disposable plastic serviceware including forks, knives, spoons and straws are banned while other types of serviceware will be distributed only upon request. A ban on foam or other plastic plates, bowls and other foodware takes effect Jan. 1, 2021.….

read … Businesses want Oahu’s plastic utensils ban delayed

Kawakami proposes two new rules to shutdown tourism

TGI: … Monday evening, Mayor Derek Kawakami sent up two proposed local emergency rules for Gov. David Ige’s approval in an attempt to fill in gaps on the state’s Safe Travels program.

The first rule would require participants of the program to quarantine for 72 hours prior to taking a mandatory post-travel test. Upon a negative result, the traveler may be released from quarantine.

The second rule requires travelers to have a negative test prior to flying to Kaua‘i. If results are not available upon arrival on island, the traveler would be required to quarantine for two weeks….

read … Kawakami proposes two new rules to safeguard island

It's A Bad Idea For Honolulu's Next Mayor To End Homeless Sweeps

CB: …The city prefers to use the term “enforcement actions” rather than “sweeps” to emphasize it is enforcing the law by halting illegal behavior such as sleeping all night in parks or in tents blocking the sidewalks — activities that are forbidden to the rest of us.

Sweeps help break up homeless camps that are growing out of control, they alert police about criminal activity and they remove tons of trash and feces that pile up in encampments without restroom facilities or regular garbage pickups.

Sweeps are not the answer by themselves but they help to confront the overall challenge of homelessness.

Longtime homeless services provider Connie Mitchell calls enforcements one of many tools needed to address homelessness. She is the executive director of the Institute for Human Services, Hawaii’s oldest and largest homeless services provider.

She sees the need for sweeps when large entrenched encampments are blocking sidewalks. Campers intimidate passersby, preventing them from walking through and making it difficult for businesses in areas to attract customers.

Enforcement is also needed when adults in encampments are putting their children in danger.

Before the sweep that cleared out a large encampment at Kapalama Canal in 2015, Mitchell says she worried about unsupervised children falling into the canal and drowning.

“Parents were in their tents doing drugs, not paying attention to their kids,” she said.

Mitchell says the city’s efforts to break up camps as well as police enforcement are needed when an encampment is used as a cover-up for illegal activities such as drug dealing and sex trafficking of minors.

“There have been people stabbed in homeless camps, women raped,” says Mitchell.….

read … It's A Bad Idea For Honolulu's Next Mayor To End Homeless Sweeps

Copper Thieves Strip mobile hygiene unit for homeless – How a $34,000 trailer becomes trade for two meth rocks

MN: … A toilet, water heaters and other supplies were stolen from a mobile hygiene unit that offers hot showers to South Maui’s homeless, leaving the trailer inoperable a week before Thanksgiving.

“We do this really hard work and we really want to help the unsheltered, and then somebody comes and does something like this,” said Monique Ibarra, executive director of Ka Hale A Ke Ola, which operates the unit. “It just doesn’t make sense, and right before the holidays.”

Ibarra said that staff had locked up the trailer at the wastewater treatment plant in Kihei on Friday and planned to return on Monday to take the unit to St. Theresa Church. But when a staff member arrived in the morning, “he noticed that something wasn’t right.”

“The locks on the doors had been drilled,” Ibarra said. “He opened it up and discovered that it was pretty much gutted. They took so much stuff.”

The stolen items included two water heating tanks, a toilet, copper pipes, the unit’s battery and an air conditioning unit in the ceiling of the shower room. The thief or thieves even went so far as to steal the bracket that held up the shower head….

(Did they take one last shower before stripping the copper out?)

Ibarra explained that she has to find out the extent of the damage and see if the unit can even be repaired. It cost a little over $34,000 in county funds, not including shipping, and came from a company in the Midwest that manufactures those types of trailers….

(Tweewkers prolly got $34 for the copper and traded it for two rocks.  That’s a 100/1 rate of return on homeless shower trucks)

read … Cleaned out by Tweekers

By refusing to Feed Homeless, One Group Gets 28 Into Housing

WHT: … Weller takes a different approach than many outreach groups working to address homelessness on Hawaii Island: she only helps those that are drug- and alcohol-free who want to help themselves.

“These are people who have a vision for themselves. I tell them I’m not a ‘momma organization’ that’s going to feed you because that’s going to strip your dignity,” she said. “We find out who you are, what you like to do and what’s possible, within reason. Then, let’s take baby steps.”

She also looks for willingness, because that quality in a person is key to success in a person succeeding in getting off the streets.

“I learn their story and try to change their perspective about themselves and let them know that they are important. My goal is to bring them back into the mainstream and provide them with a path where they have a vision for themselves,” Weller said.

One such case was a family that was homeless and living on Alii Drive. When she approached them and asked what happened, the father said they’d been without a home for a year and a half after his roofing tools were stolen out of his truck that broke down.

“I said, ‘what if I buy you some tools?” recalled Weller.

He picked out the tools he needed and she paid for them that same day. Weller also bought him a truck and found them a place to live.

“I just talked to him two days ago. He is working full time for a roofing company — as if nothing ever happened,” she said.

She has also reconnected several homeless individuals with family on the mainland, going as far as paying their way back home.

“I can’t send somebody who is homeless to another region to be homeless, it’s unethical,” she said. “I won’t send them unless there is a family member who is willing to accept them.”

Weller’s approach appears to be working, even so far as those needing help finding ways to reach Weller on their own.

Partnering with Hawaii Police Department Kona Community Policing Officers Wyatt Nahale and Reuben Pukahi, Weller has placed 28 individuals in permanent housing in a five-month period….

read … A different approach: 808 Homeless Task Force working to address homeless crisis in Kona

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