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Saturday, October 24, 2015
October 24, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:36 PM :: 3247 Views

Hawaii GOP: Democrats Should Return Al Hee Campaign Contributions

Taxpayers Sue Hawaii for Rail Money Grab

Lawyer: Police commission 'derelict' in handling police chief case

HNN: ...Commission Chair Ron Taketa said the FBI refused to confirm or deny the probe, and Kealoha has told the commission doesn't know anything about it.

"If that's all they've done, then I really think they're being derelict in their duties," said Alexander Silvert, the assistant federal public defender who complained that the chief and his wife violated his client's civil rights when they allegedly framed him in a mailbox theft case that was dismissed from federal court in December.

"Obviously, the FBI's not going to confirm or deny an investigation. I do criminal law. They don't tell my clients they're investigating them, that just doesn't happen," Silvert said.

Silvert said no one from the police commission has contacted him to ask him questions in the 10 months since he went public with allegations of police wrongdoing. In December 2014, Silvert spoke to the U.S. Attorney's office in Honolulu, which referred the case to the FBI to investigate.

"Given their (the police commission’s) conduct since December of 2014, I've lost confidence that they are an independent and neutral oversight committee that would take the information and do anything with it," Silvert said.

He said if the commission contacted him now, he would refuse to speak to them.

"Given that they have three investigators and they can speak to police officers and they have direct access to certain information that they should use those tools and exercise that authority to find out what's happening, I don't believe they've really done that," Silvert said.

Silvert said there's a bigger issue: Public confidence in the police force and the chief of police.

"That's an issue where you don't need an indictment, you don't need charges, you just have to figure out and realize is there a loss of confidence, why is there a loss of confidence, and is it affecting the effective administration of justice in the Police Department?" Silvert said....

read ... Derelict

Maui police chief praised for speaking out about officer arrests

HNN: Maui's police chief didn't hold back when speaking publicly recently about the arrest of two of his officers.

"I want to reassure the public that any wrongdoing by members of the department, such as corruption, will not be tolerated," said Chief Tivoli Faaumu, in a video posted on Maui County's public access television website.

Maui officers Anthony Maldonado and Chase Keliipaakaua were arrested earlier this month. 

Police sources say Maldonado was in Lahaina when he asked a man for his ID. The officer reportedly saw that the man had a large amount of cash -- more than $1,000. The victim told police that Maldonado took the money from him.

Then, Keliipaakaua and another man, Damien Kaina, Jr., were arrested days later for allegedly trying to bribe the victim. Sources say Kaina went to the victim's house and offered him cash to withdraw the complaint....

SA: Maui police to test body cameras on Halloween

read ... Not Derelict

Volunteers Cool Laie Elementary for Less Than $20K

HNN: Around 15 volunteers gathered at the school and installed the spray fiberglass insulation in about 14 hours total during the span of two days, while students were on fall break. Fueled by monetary donations, and free labor and equipment, the project did not cost Laie Elementary any money, said school Vice Principal Eliza Elkington.

Following phase one of the Keep Laie Cool project, students returned to:

  • a 24-degree drop in ceiling temperature from 110 degrees before insulation to 86 degrees after insulation
  • a 12-degree dip in classroom temperatures from 98 degrees pre-insulation to 86 degrees post- insulation.

Keep Laie Cool launched in mid-September, spearheaded by Jennifer Kajiyama, a concerned parent of a first-grader, and Carol Feinga, a community member and the aunt of a student. In about two weeks’ time, their heavily promoted online site raised $6,100 in donations. The insulation material cost $2,800....

Future plans are to install perforated mesh banners on one school building’s second floor and solar attic fans in the portables. One day is set aside to plant trees to block direct sunlight from specific areas of school buildings. These phases will cost about $15,000 total and their target completion date is by year’s end....

Meanwhile: DOE asks for $534 million for schools repairs, heat abatement

read ... Sure is Cheaper than Government Contracting

UPW Bribed to Loosen Ridiculous Work Rules, Renovate Public Housing 254 Days Faster

HNN: ...Four years ago, it took 261 days on average to renovate a state public housing unit. Because of new programs such as the multi-skilled worker pilot project, that turnaround time has been drastically reduced -- to just seven days....

They have volunteered to be cross-trained in carpentry, painting, plumbing or electrical work and in exchange are paid about $2,000 to $2,500 more a year.

State housing officials said the pilot program will cost about $160,000 a year in higher pay and benefits, but the department will collect $3 million more a year in rent and federal subsidies because units will be renovated quicker....

read ... Bribery

City Paying $154K / Month to rent Empty Office

SA: The city has been paying $154,000 a month since July to lease an empty Iwilei office building because it cannot reach agreement with a contractor for renovating it to become the new home for Oahu’s busiest driver licensing office.

Robert Kroning, city director of design and construction, said Thursday that the first city offices are now expected to relocate in April to the planned Kapalama Hale, the former Sprint building at Dillingham Boulevard and Alakawa Street.

When the project was first made public in June, cityofficials had said the relocation of the licensing officeand satellite city hall from City Square, several blocks away, would take place by Sept. 30.

Since July the city has been paying landowner Tradewind Dillingham LLC $154,000 a month in lease rent for the Kapalama Hale space. That’s in addition to the approximately $114,000 the city has been paying for the offices that are relocating.

read ... Cost dispute stalls city offices’ move

'Preservation' Deal makes Turtle Bay Developer Richer

SA: Hawaii’s natural environment and the owners of Turtle Bay Resort are both richer following completion of a long-brewing deal Friday to protect 629 acres of North Shore land from development.

The deal, which involves paying the resort’s owner $45 million to protect the land for public use in perpetuity, follows two years of tough negotiations that led to the state Legislature’s approval earlier this year and Gov. David Ige’s signature in June.

“Today marks the formal beginning of a partnership that will forever preserve this precious stretch of land for generations to come,” Ige said in a statement issued Friday after the written agreement was recorded at the state Bureau of Conveyances following payment....

Of the $45 million, the state paid $35 million. The city paid $7.5 million. And the Army, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit, paid $2.5 million.

The resort will limit future development to both sides of its existing 443-room oceanfront hotel, and plans to add up to 100 homes and two hotels with a combined 625 rooms.

State officials said the easement provides (resort amenities including) eight miles of public hiking trails, at least 80 public parking spaces and four miles of undisturbed coastline. An additional 29 acres could be added to the agreement within two years at a cost of $3.5 million if money is available.

read ... Richer

Star-Adv: We've Sacrificed Three Telescopes, now Please Let us Build TMT

SA: The TMT will be able to see far more distant and much fainter objects than any other existing telescope and to study them in greater detail; it is a human-enriching enterprise that would enable pioneering work into the understanding of our universe. It remains a prestigious, relatively low-impact project that deserves Hawaii’s support.

Amid protests that went global thanks largely to social media, Ige announced in May that 25 percent of the 13 existing telescopes atop Mauna Kea must be removed before the proposed TMT comes on line. Already, the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory has ceased operations and decommission planning has begun, and UH-Hilo has begun decommissioning for its Hoku Kea telescope.

Crucial to the future path is that no new observatories will be built on these sites.

It’s been nearly two months since Hawaii’s Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a lawsuit filed by Native Hawaiians against DLNR, for what they claim was a flawed process resulting in TMT’s permit to start construction in March.

For now, the TMT researchers seem to have a self-imposed building pause pending the high court’s ruling.

For the sake of all involved, it’s hoped that the ruling comes soon — and that it favors the noble quest for knowledge about our place among the stars.

Reality: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

read ... Sacrifice Three to Gain One

Legislators Quietly Slipped a few more Million to High-Tech Schemers

SA: Hawaii businesses are eager to get a share of an additional $5 million in grants that state lawmakers have made available to grow manufacturing across the isles.

“This (additional fund allocation) is a huge milestone for the tech industry,” said High Technology Development Corp. Executive Director Robbie Melton, whose state agency organized the 14th biannual Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research Conference, which brought together more than 100 businesses this week in Waikiki. “It’s the most new programs that we’ve seen in one year. I still have to pinch myself to believe that it’s true.”

Melton said it’s unusual nationwide to see so many state grants for manufacturing, which is increasingly becoming high tech. Since 1989 more than 90 Hawaii companies have received more than $141 million from the federally funded Small Business & Research (SBIR) grant program. However, the state match during that same period was only $10 million.

State lawmakers last session agreed to provide $2 million more to match SBIR federal grant awards up to 50 percent. The lawmakers also funnelled an additional $1 million into the Hawaii Office of Naval Research Program, which provides some matching funds for Hawaii companies that are developing energy projects with Office of Naval Research funding. They also created a new $2 million state manufacturing grant, which can provide companies with up to $100,000. Melton said HTDC will oversee the grants, with applications expected to be posted online at htdc.org in the next month or so.

Melton thinks Hawaii legislators increased support this year because they recognized the importance of helping startups bring their products to market.

read ... Millions

NM Gov. Martinez traveling to Hawaii for start of week-long trip

AJ: Gov. Susana Martinez traveled to Hawaii today for a welcome home ceremony for the USS Santa Fe, a nuclear powered submarine named after New Mexico’s capital.

The USS Santa Fe, which carries a crew of about 155 people, has been deployed for six months, making stops in Japan, Guam and Singapore along the way. The submarine’s home port is Pearl Harbor and Santa Fe municipal officials have previously traveled to Hawaii for similar welcoming events.

While in the Aloha State, Martinez, the state’s two-term GOP governor will also headline an event for the Hawaii Republican Party.

The Governor’s Office said Martinez is scheduled to stay in Hawaii until Oct. 30. Her travel to and from Hawaii will be paid for by that state’s Republican party, Martinez spokesman Michael Lonergan said....

LINK: Hawaii GOP: Proud to be an American Dinner

read ... Martinez

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