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Wednesday, December 23, 2015
December 23, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:02 PM :: 7305 Views

Aha Shutdown Motion: Nai Aupuni in Contempt of Supreme Court?

Nai Aupuni to be Subject to Federal Voting Rights Act?

More SCOTUS Action In Oprah/Everyone Wins Election

Nai Aupuni Announces 151 Oprah Aha Winners

"When Thomas Jefferson was writing the Declaration of Independence, he did not apply for a grant from King George."

Tribe: SCHHA Recognition is ‘Plan B’

Bizarre News: State Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Hoopili

Supreme Court: Hoopili ‘Necessary for Urban Growth’

How to Evade Contractor Contribution Ban After A-1 A-Lectrician Ruling

DHS Audit: 20 Funds and Accounts out of Compliance

EColi Chipotle: Thousands Sickened by Organic Filth at GMO-Free Restaurant Chain

Mafia Godfather Larry Mehau Dies

SA: Larry Mehau, an influential and controversial supporter of the Hawaii Democratic Party for many years, has died.

The Hawaii island rancher and businessman was 86 years old.

Mehau’s son-in-law, Tony Vericella, said Mehau died Tuesday….

Mehau formerly served as chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources. He was also the owner of a security guard business, Hawaii Protective Association, Ltd.

Mehau was once accused of by a Honolulu City Prosecutor’s aide, Rick Reed, of being the “godfather” of organized crime in Hawaii — a charge he strongly denied. He sued Reed for libel and invasion of privacy. In 1992, a Circuit Court jury ruled in Reed’s favor.

read … Godfather 

Mehau Milked Kamehameha Schools for $470K per year

HTH … Mehau was an influential and controversial political power-broker. A former Honolulu police officer, he was a close associate to Democrat governors John A. Burns and George Ariyoshi.

Burns appointed Mehau to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources in 1970. Ariyoshi appointed Mehau to a second term in 1974, and he became the powerful panel’s chairman.

Mehau also owned Hawaii Protective Association, a private security company. The company made news in the late 1990s when a private consulting firm reviewing Kamehameha Schools’ operations questioned a $470,000-a-year contract for HPA to guard the Kapalama campus’ gates while in-house guards provided security for the rest of the campus.

In 1985, Rick Reed, a special assistant for then-Honolulu City Prosecutor Charles Marsland who was running for Congress, referred to Mehau as “the godfather of organized crime in Hawaii” and “the most powerful person in Hawaii” whose “influence permeates our government, our criminal justice system and even our business community.” …

read … Mehau Stealing from Hawaiians

How Mehau Used his Police Position to Eliminate Competing Gangsters and Grab Sole Control of Underworld

KHON: …Mehau himself admitted he would never be able to lose that (Godfather) label. In 1994, he spoke to KHON2 about the case, while referring to his past as a tough, no-nonsense vice cop.

“I wish it were the old days when you could pull somebody by the ears and don’t get everyone else involved in a conspiracy, because that’s all they need. If I were to left hook someone, what would happen? Maybe I would break your jaw, or the guy’s jaw, and how long would he suffer? How long? It’ll heal eventually. In a year, he won’t even remember the pain, but that written word will follow me the rest of of my life. I mean that word is more powerful than anything I could to to hurt them.”

Former city prosecutor Peter Carlisle remembers the impact Mehau had on cleaning up Honolulu’s streets.

“He had been part of what was called the Metro Squad. The Metro Squad were a bunch of people who were police officers, including some who were very dear friends of mine, who were enforcing the law in a very, very severe manner. There were a lot of gang problems, there were a lot of people getting mugged, there was a time when killing was rampant,” Carlisle said. “He stepped in in a lot of ways with the rest of these police officers in this Metro Squad and started cleaning up downtown Honolulu, started cleaning up Fort Street, started cleaning up Waikiki, and in the long run, what had been an ongoing sort of gang warfare was mitigated to a large extent, and that was a very positive thing.”

Mehau was also known to support many of Hawaii’s high-profile politicians….

Flashback:

read … How Mehau Made Himself Godfather

Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro helped Mehau

SA: …Mehau was never convicted of any crime, but the “godfather” label stuck with him and became part of local lore. Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro said Wednesday Mehau was the victim of an unproven allegation that was repeated over and over.

When Kaneshiro was the head of the prosecutor’s Organized Crime Strike Force (getting rid of Mehau’s competitors) he had access to the contents of the famous federal investigation called Operation Firebird that targeted Mehau, and Kaneshiro was called as a witness in Mehau’s libel case.

Kaneshiro was asked under oath if he saw evidence that Mehau was the godfather, “and I said no,” he recalled Wednesday. “I didn’t see any evidence he was the so-called godfather.”

“He knew a lot of people,” Kaneshiro said. “He knew a lot of people in law enforcement, he also knew a lot of people in the criminal community because of his role in law enforcement. Just because he knew people in the criminal community does not make him a criminal.

“It’s unfortunate that somebody makes an allegation, and it’s not proven, and the allegation sticks with that person for his lifetime,” Kaneshiro said. “I think that’s very unfair.”…

read … Working for Mehau

Did Mehau Murder Kahoolawe Activists?

HNN: In 1977, activists George Helm and Kimo Mitchell disappeared at sea trying to return from Kahoolawe, after a trip there to protest military bombing of the island. Helm had previously said he was going to start investigating corrupt land deals and there was a rumor that Mehau may have had something to do with Helm’s disappearance.

Lind was then a member of the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana, a group working to end the bombing of what was then called the target isle.

A group of about 10 Kahoolawe activists had a meeting at the Board of Land and Natural Resources conference room which Mehau attended, Lind remembered.

"He said, you know, I heard these rumors, it's not good for any of us.  Who wants to say these things to my face?" Lind said.

None of them could offer specifics, Lind recalled.

Mehau assured them he was not involved in Helm's disappearance. Activists told Mehau they wanted to meet with then-Gov. George Ariyoshi about Kahoolawe, Lind said.

"He got on the phone and said only a few words: 'Larry ... meeting.' Hung up and said, 'Alright, you got a meeting, 10 o'clock you know, be at the governor's office it's all set,’” Lind said.  

“And we'd never known anybody who could just call and say 'I need a meeting right away,' and that was it," Lind said. "He was an imposing guy who demonstrated both his personal physical stature and also his political clout."

read … Two Dead--38 Years of Silence

5 OCCC guards accused of smuggling drugs—back at work after 30 Day Suspension

HNN: Five corrections officers -- including two supervisors -- are accused of smuggling drugs and other contraband to inmates at Oahu Community Correctional Center, the state's largest jail, sources told Hawaii News Now.

The state has struggled for more than two years to toughen the contraband search policy for prison employees.

Sources said two OCCC sergeants and three other guards were initially suspended without pay after some of them were caught on video giving drugs, cigarettes, cell phones and other contraband to inmates here this fall.

The five accused guards have returned to the payroll after 30 days without pay and are now working at other prison facilities pending the outcome of an internal investigation, sources said….

employees are not routinely patted down and do not go through screening machines that check for drugs, phones or other types of contraband.

"If we have reasonable suspicion, we can check the staff. We can pat them down," Sequeira said.

For more than two years, the state has been in consultation with the United Public Workers, the union that represents corrections officers, to strengthen the search policy.

"Talks have been very positive and productive. We believe the collaboration is heading in a mutually agreeable direction but it would be premature to release specifics until an agreement is finalized," said Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda in a statement.

A source said the state is “very close” to a deal with the union on searches.  Asked why it’s taken so much time to work out a new policy, the source said it’s a “complex issue.” …

CB: Should State Profit From Exorbitant Cost Of Prison Phone Calls?

read … Smuggling

UH Coverup: Did Asbestos Litigation Shake Down Fund UH Cancer Center?

CB: A year after Dr. Michele Carbone abruptly resigned as head of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, the controversial researcher is still dogged by unresolved allegations that he failed to properly disclose potential financial conflicts of interest.

These potential conflicts include millions of dollars in consulting fees paid by attorneys defending asbestos-related companies in lawsuits brought by people who had mesothelioma, a form of cancer usually caused by job-related exposures to asbestos.

Carbone is a well-known researcher who specializes in mesothelioma, and directs a laboratory conducting related research. The payments were received over a period of at least eight years, including the five years he served as Cancer Center director.

Carbone revealed details of the payments last year while testifying under oath during pre-trial proceedings in a California lawsuit. He was a defense witness in an asbestos case that resulted in a $19 million judgment for the plaintiffs.

Copies of the transcript were previously provided to both the UH administration and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (the faculty union), and recently obtained by Civil Beat.

In addition to the consulting fees, Carbone testified that he successfully solicited two gifts totaling $4.3 million from Honeywell Corp, a Fortune 100 company reportedly facing more than 47,000 legal claims stemming from asbestos used in brake pads manufactured by a subsidiary.

The gifts were given anonymously to the University of Hawaii Foundation, which shielded the identify of the donor corporation from the public and, in turn, funded the mesothelioma research being conducted in Carbone’s laboratory….

read … Ian Lind

NCAA Suspends Gib Arnold – UH Regents Then Award Him Another $700K

HNN: The University of Hawaii at Manoa and former UH men’s head basketball coach Gib Arnold have come to a mediated resolution ending all legal disputes between the parties, the university announced Thursday.

The university’s Board of Regents approved the settlement in an 8-6 vote after a closed-door meeting on Maui.

Arnold has agreed to drop all claims against the university in return for a $700,000 settlement, which consists of a $200,000 payment to his attorney and $500,000 to Arnold spread over three calendar years.

“Gib is certainly very pleased with the settlement,” said Arnold’s attorney, James Bickerton.  (You bet he is!)

It takes 8 fools to give money to the dude who just got your program suspended. 

A university spokesman said most of the money will come out of the school’s emergency risk management fund, while $100,000 will come out of insurance….

In addition to Thursday’s settlement, Arnold’s remaining salary cost UH $148,000, and another $250,000 will go toward the university’s legal fees, for a total of $1,098,000….

Rep. Isaac Choy, D, Manoa, Punahou, Moiliili, serves as chair of the House Committee on Higher Education.

He calls Thursday’s settlement another huge payout that the university cannot afford.

“I think someone should take responsibility for this particular Gib Arnold incident because it’s not the first incident. We’ve been paying out a lot,” he said.

In 2014, UH announced a $100,000 payout to former Chancellor Tom Apple. In 2012, the school lost $200,000 after the Stevie Wonder “Wonder Blunder” concert scam. In December 2011, former football coach Greg McMackin resigned and accepted a $600,000 buyout. The school also paid former basketball coach Bob Nash $240,000 in 2010 and former Athletics Director Herman Frazier $312,510 in 2008.

“I had a public hearing a year before last and I asked President Lassner how come everybody gets fired and then they lawyer up and then we end up paying? He gave me a glib answer and I can appreciate it. He said, ‘Well, anybody can sue,'” Choy said. “We’ll probably have a hearing on this so we can get a better answer than ‘anybody can sue.'” …

Michael Green has negotiated big-dollar contracts and represented professional athletes.

The local attorney isn’t involved with Arnold or the university, but says the contract the university gave Arnold is “laughable.”

“They didn’t have to pay him a penny,” he said. “It’s clear in here, you terminate with cause, he doesn’t get another dime from the day you say adios, don’t let the door hit you. And they chose to say without cause, which means they had to pay his salary.”

Green says the way the contract was written gave the university no wiggle room.

He also says the way they handled the situation put Arnold in the position of power when it came time to negotiate….;l

read … UH announces $700,000 settlement with former men’s basketball coach

State hosted Obama’s roots but (fortunately) isles don’t reap his fruits

SA: …Inevitably, on these friends-and-family private tours, comes the larger question:

What has it meant to Hawaii, in the last seven years, to be the birthplace of the 44th president?

Hawaii did not get the presidential library. Native Hawaiians OHA cronies did not get federal recognition under a president who was born in the islands. His McCully neighborhood is just as scruffy now as it was in 2008 or 1978. Dan Inouye brought home more pork in pocket change than Obama has ever delivered as president.

Even his annual Christmas visits don’t make much of an impact. We don’t see much of the president besides distant photos from the golf course or glimpses of him eating shave ice. Other than having to put up with occasional traffic jams because of the motorcade, it’s like he isn’t even here….

Obama Was Here: Its Official: Hawaii Obamacare Exchange Finally Closed

read … Poison Fruit

Founder of Kamehameha Schools would almost certainly have supported the telescope project

CB: …During her life, the Hawaiian population declined by approximately 80,000. This significant loss evoked a weakening of the Hawaiian language, culture and traditions; therefore, she willed roughly 9 percent of the total acreage of the Hawaiian kingdom to start Kamehameha Schools. Her goal in establishing Kamehameha Schools was to provide a Western education, enlightenment in morals and values, and purposeful knowledge to make “good and industrious men and women” to perpetuate the future of the Hawaiian people.

Kamehameha Schools taught me the value of ʻimi naʻauao (the search for knowledge). It has shaped and defined my character. I am honored to be only one of hundreds of thousands of recipients of her legacy. In celebrating our founder’s birthday, I am reminded of the value of education. It is ʻimi naʻauao that established my foundational reasons to support the Thirty Meter Telescope. As I nānā i ke kumu (look to the source), my sense of self and who I am tells me that building TMT is the pono (righteous) thing to do….

read … Support

Those wary of Monsanto’s aim should tour its property

SA: There was a double rainbow over the farm when I drove onto the Monsanto property in Kunia. As I pulled over to take a cellphone photo, I imagined the online comments:

Monsanto engineered the rainbow to trick people into letting their guard down. It’s not a rainbow. It’s a vapor trail of oily pesticide sprayed into the sky to keep us all docile. Double rainbows are actually never found in nature – it’s a frankenrainbow, and that proves the grand conspiracy.

“How do you talk in an understandable way about reality versus what they read on Facebook?” asks Shay Sunderland, Ph.D., who has been with Monsanto for 23 years.

It’s a sincere question for this era, when hysteria and untruths have drowned out thoughtful conversation on a most crucial topic: how to feed the world’s people….

KE: Musings: Reality vs Facebook

read … Cataluna

What Could $1.5 Billion Buy You (Besides More Of The Rail Project)?

CB: The Honolulu City Council is weighing extending the general excise tax surcharge by five more years to raise $1.5 billion more for rail. But what else could all that money pay for?

PBN: What it’s like to apply for Hawaii’s first medical marijuana dispensary system

read … $1.5B

HART awards 3 Station contract to Nan, Inc.

HNN: …The Kamehameha Highway Stations Group includes the Pearl Highlands station, the Pearlridge station and the station at aloha Stadium.

The three stations in the Pearl City area were originally included in a nine-station package that came in well over HART's budgeted projections. HART cancelled the solicitation.

The station construction work was repackeged into three smaller packages, and saved HART nearly $40 million….

read … Kirstin A. K. Kahaloa

Jones Act great for some but most of us here suffer

SA: We recently attempted to order a cabinet from a Seattle furniture dealer, priced at $1,133.  Shipping in the contiguous states was $211, but to Hawaii the cost was $988, almost the cost of the item….

read … Cost of Jones Act

Marijuana Grow-Op Faces $1.5M Electric Bill

KGI: A definition in the interim administrative rules for medical marijuana dispensaries posted this month could cost Kauai dispensary investors millions of dollars in utility and construction costs.

According to the interim rules, medically-grown marijuana shall be grown “in an enclosed indoor facility,” as required by HB 321, the state law creating the dispensary program. An enclosed indoor facility rules out greenhouses, which proponents say could cut utility costs by half.

The structure would need a concrete floor and rigid steel sides that encloses the facility with all entry points secured, according the Department of Health. Additionally, the interior of the structure may not be visible from the outside….

McRoberts said, if built, the Kauai dispensary would have two production centers with no more than 3,000 plants for each center.

At 8,000 square feet each, the growing centers could cost McRoberts and his investors $3.6 million to construct and $1.5 million a year in electricity costs….

read … Medical marijuana price may grow

Espero Still Pushing For More Citizen Oversight Of The Police

CB: Dozens of people have died over the years after encounters with Hawaii police officers, yet few details ever emerge about whether the officers’ actions were justified.

Hawaii Sen. Will Espero wants to change all that in the 2016 legislative session with a bill that would create a civilian oversight board to review in-custody deaths and police shootings.

The board would take on high-profile cases, such those involving Sheldon Haleck, Gregory Gordon and Aaron Torres — three men who recently died at the hands of Honolulu police — to determine whether officers acted appropriately.

It would also investigate non-fatal shootings, including those that cause injury or are the result of accidents, such as what occurred earlier this year when an off-duty officer shot a woman in the stomach while he was at a bar.

“We have very poor civilian oversight of our law enforcement,” Espero said during a Civil Beat Editorial Board meeting on Monday. “We have poor oversight and nobody’s talking about reform or changes.”

Espero is still working on a final draft of the bill, but he said he wants the review board to be made up mostly of former law enforcement officials, including retired cops, prosecutors and judges. He also wants to include someone from academia….

CB: Four Key Proposals For Police Reform In 2016

read … Reform

Kenoi Staffers Claim he is Going to Make Appointments to Ethics Commission

HTH: Two of the most problematic county boards and commissions — the Board of Ethics and the Transportation Commission — are finally on their way to being filled following months of missed meetings because of a lack of a quorum….

Any person who wishes to serve on a board or commission may pick up an application at the Mayors Office in Hilo or Kona, or at www.hawaiicounty.gov/boards-and-commissions….

read … Maybe

Residents to challenge property assessments

HNN: Some Oahu residents say a new law meant to tax offshore real estate investors at a higher rate is hurting local homeowners and developers.

Sunset Beach resident Lucky Cole says he plans to appeal the city assessment for four of his vacation rental properties because it's discriminatory.

"It's clear from the administration that they are targeting a group of people who own property above $1 million who are second homeowners or investors," said Cole.  "It's a political tax."

The two-year-old law taxes anyone who owns a second home worth $1 million or more at nearly double the rate of an owner of a home that's worth less than $1 million.  A second home worth less than $1 million dollars is taxed at rate of $3.50 for every $1,000 of value. For those above the $1 million value, the rate is $6.00 for every $1,000 of value.

… hundreds -- if not thousands -- of Oahu residents are getting the bigger tax bills….

Ray Kamikawa, a former state Tax Director, said the $1 million threshold is arbitrary.  "Number one, it's an illegal classification, number two it's unconstitutional and number three it's just downright unfair," Kamikawa said.

The challenges come a year after the city's Real Property Tax Advisory Commission took a close look at the new city tax. The seven-member commission, whose members included Cole and Kamikawa, recommended that the tax increases be more gradual.  But the gradual tax approach appears to have little support in the City Council and Mayor Kirk Caldwell's administration.

read … Lawsuit

Hawaii: 11,000 New Residents for 2015

SA: Hawaii’s population grew by about 11,000 people in 2015 to more than 1.43 million, an increase of a little less than 1 percent.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Hawaii’s population is 1,431,603 as of July 1, up from 1,420,257 last year.

On average, Hawaii’s population increased by 31 people a day, according to the census estimate released today.

Births and people moving to Hawaii from other countries accounted for most of the population growth.

There were 53 births per day compared with 32 deaths. and an average of 28 more people moved here per day from foreign countries (which includes U.S. military).

More people left Hawaii for the mainland than arrived here.

On average, 19 more people left Hawaii for the mainland than arrived here.

Hawaii is the 40th most populous state, according to the data….

CB: Poverty rate among Big Island high school graduates and bachelor’s degree holders grew the fastest in the state

read … Population

Lawyers Show Homeless How to Evade City Sweeps, Stay out of Shelter by Moving to State Parcels

CB: As the crew worked, about a dozen people were waiting on a land adjacent to Olomehani Street —state property managed by the Hawaii Community Development Authority. They had placed shopping carts full of their belongings — 15 of them in all — on the land, knowing that the crew wasn’t able to touch them.

A block away, about two dozen people were deploying the same tactic: Their belongings were placed on the periphery of the Kakaako Makai Gateway Park, which sits along Ohe Street. When the sun came up, they began moving their shopping carts inside the park. By then, they knew that the park was open to the public, safe from the city sweep.

To critics, the morning’s activities offer a perfect illustration of what they call a “cat-and-mouth game.” (Freudian sic?)

“It really doesn’t seem like it’s helping, does it? It’s just another good example of why the sweeps are not a worthwhile activity to engage in. Even the short-term benefits don’t seem to be there at this point — it’s just a matter of hours that people return to where they were,” said mouthed Gavin Thornton, co-executive director of the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice. “It almost seems like a tennis match, going back and forth.”

read … Lack of State-City Coordination

Ige’s homelessness plan just a start

SA: …the budget includes about $2.2 million to staff a maintenance unit that would help clear camps, get rid of rubbish and store homeless belongings for the homeless to reclaim….

read … Ige’s homelessness plan just a start

Businesses blame King Street bike lane on drop in sales

HNN: Profits are down "maybe 20 percent or 30 percent," said Dang Sangthong, owner of Pae Thai restaurant….

Gussie Schubert said her business, Needlepoint Etc., has also lost money.  "My guess, it will be down, 10 percent or 15 percent. But 10 percent or 15 percent for a little guy is tough," she said….

The Sangthong's Thai restaurant is 20 years old. This is one of their toughest years.

"Before, they didn't make bicycle lane it was better," Jan Sangthong said.

read … Businesses blame King Street bike lane on drop in sales

LEDs Produce 40% Electricity Savings

HNN: “You know we spent more than $55 million a year on electricity so having LED lights would certainly help,” said Honolulu councilwoman Ann Kobayashi.

The pilot project showed energy savings between 40 to 60 percent and the city says with improvements to LED technology those savings could be even greater.

The goal is to eventually install 52,000 thousand LED street lights around Oahu….

“It was geared toward this one company who had old technology and did not have a control panel,” Kobayashi said. “There is a lot of companies that are doing new technology so let’s look at all the companies and see what fits our island best.”

The city says LED lights also last between 70,000 to 100,000 hours, which is about four times longer than the current sodium fixtures….

read … LED

CPA mobility bills unlikely to gain traction next year

PBN: The legislature next year is likely to take up new bills to authorize out-of-state certified public accountants without a Hawaii license to do business in the state. However, they these bills are unlikely to make much movement as the Hawaii Association of Public Accountants remains opposed.

The Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accounts is working on a bill to allow out-of-state CPAs to practice in Hawaii, a source told PBN. However, it is likely to be contested by the other accountant association in Hawaii, HAPA, which is adamantly against “no notice” and “no fees” CPA mobility legislation.

Hawaii is the only state without an individual CPA mobility law. CPA mobility allows CPAs in good standing in one state to gain practice privileges in another state without applying for an additional license….

read … Mobility

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