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Friday, October 20, 2017
October 20, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:21 PM :: 4575 Views

Caldwell Flees State as Ex-Chief is Arrested

Letter to House Speaker: Legislator Assaults Oahu Democrat Official After Complaint over Misappropriation of Funds

Hawaii #1 for Road Rage

Hawaii AG Joins Call for Large Capacity Ammo Ban

Government is making a mess of Honolulu's Kakaako Waterfront Park

Finally: Former Honolulu Police Chief And Prosecutor Wife Arrested

HNN: The indictment makes the following charges:

  • Katherine Kealoha allegedly misappropriated trust funds — totaling $167,000 — of two minors for which she served as guardian.
  • She's also accused of stealing from her uncle and her grandmother in an investment scheme and by using the proceeds of a reverse mortgage for herself. The indictment lists $92,355 the Kealohas allegedly used from the reverse mortgage proceeds on their own expenses.
  • The spending includes $26,000 to the Sheraton Waikiki for a celebration lunch when Louis Kealoha was selected as police chief, $10,600 for Mercedes Benz and Maserati car payments. nearly $4,000 on travel expenses, and more than $2,000 for Elton John tickets.
  • As part of the conspiracy, the Kealohas "would improperly use their authority as public officials to prevent the discovery and disclosure of their precarious financial condition and prior malfeasance," the indictment said.
  • It also alleges the two "would target members of the community who threatened (their) power and financial condition." Their victims, the indictment says, included Katherine Kealoha's uncle and her grandmother, Florence Puana.
  • In addition to the alleged fake mailbox theft aimed at framing Puana, the indictment says Kealoha's uncle was the subject of illegal surveillance, and that Kealoha used her office to try to get her uncle convicted.

The indictment also demands that the Kealohas forfeit a home and a gold Rolex watch.…..

(Note: Many of these issues were public in civil litigation BEFORE Kealoha was named Chief.)

read … Finally Arrested

To Hide More Cost Overruns, HART Killed $1.4B Procurement Just Before Special Session—Will Delay Two More Years

SA: In its most recent report, the federal contractor overseeing Honolulu rail says it is “not confident” the project’s total construction price tag will remain at $8.2 billion.

The statement — unprecedented from rail’s longtime watchdog, Jacobs Engineering Group — was included in the firm’s monthly Project Management Oversight Contractor report for August. Rail officials say the document was released publicly in September, coming after the Legislature’s special session to fund rail at the $8.2 billion construction cost.

In the report, Jacobs doubts the city will have rail ready to operate by its latest December 2025 deadline, and it flags continued uncertainty over the project’s largest outstanding construction contract.

The procurement of that work to build the final 4.3 miles of guideway and eight stations in the heart of town was canceled Aug. 24. (Note: Special Session for rail tax hikes began Aug 28.) Instead, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation opted to start the selection over after the process languished for nearly two years.

Under its latest timeline, shared at a rail board meeting Thursday, HART doesn’t expect to award that contract, valued last year at about $1.4 billion and dubbed the “city center guideway and stations,” until August 2019.

Jacobs’ staff knew that cancellation was coming when they made those comments in their August report, HART officials said Thursday….

In recent meetings with Jacobs and the Federal Transit Administration, the local rail agency shared a new approach that it believes will keep rail’s opening on schedule despite the delays in awarding the contract, said Andrew Robbins, HART’s executive director.

Originally, the bulk of rail’s unpredictable and costly utility relocation work in town — previously considered one of the biggest risks to the project’s success — was included in the larger city center guideway and stations contract.

Now HART plans to bid that utility work under a separate contract valued at about $200 million and start the work in March, according to Robbins and HART’s project director, Sam Carnaggio.

That’s more than a year before the main guideway and station work is expected to begin, according to HART’s latest timeline….

At Thursday’s meeting Carnaggio also presented to the board HART’s new director of risk management, Paul Johnson….

HART also expects to put out by Monday a solicitation to hire its own “public-private-partnership adviser” — someone who would advise the agency on ways to involve private investors to help save costs….

read … Rail watchdog ‘not confident’ $8.2B price tag to remain fixed

Doug Chin Sure Sounds Like He Might Run For Congress

CB: …The AG’s dominance of the headlines may be scaring off potential candidates for the seat being vacated by Rep. Colleen Hanabusa…..

Kim, a state senator, and Kaniela Ing, a state representative, said last month they were thinking of running for CD1.

The names of state senators Brickwood Galuteria and Karl Rhoads are whispered here and there. Same for that of state Rep. Beth Fukumoto and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. All are Democrats.

Galuteria said he was doing his “due diligence” on possibly running, including looking at polling numbers. A decision will come by the end of the year….

Shirlene Ostrov, the GOP party chairwoman, said there has been “a lot of interest” in the CD1 seat but that there would be no announcement until “we are sure we have the right candidate.”….

read … Doug Chin Sure Sounds Like He Might Run For Congress

GOP Rep. Andria Tupola To Run For Hawaii Governor

CB: …The highest-ranking Republican elected official in Hawaii plans to run for governor in 2018.

Rep. Andria Tupola, the minority leader in the state House of Representatives, said she will make a formal announcement next month.

“Yes, we will announce,” she said Thursday afternoon. “We are getting closer, just solidifying stuff like our website, logos and a video we are producing. I hope to announce in November.”

Tupola, 37, represents District 43 (Ewa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nanakai Gardens, Ko Olina, Kahe Point, Nanakuli, Lualualei and Maili).

She said she would offer more details about her candidacy once the campaign becomes official.

She has been holding rallies on Maui and Oahu.

She has also scheduled two campaign fundraisers this month and plans to support a candidate to replace her in the House.

State Rep. Bob McDermott dropped out of the running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination last month.

Meanwhile, John Carroll, an attorney and Republican who has unsuccessfully sought higher office several times, is running for governor….

SA: Time is right for political change

read … GOP Rep. Andria Tupola To Run For Hawaii Governor

Can You Act? More Taxpayer Money to be Given to Fake Tech ‘Entrepreneurs’

Medicare, Medicaid: Homeless Ambulance Rides Rack up $89.4M in Charges

SA: “The city’s Emergency Medical Services reports the homeless have overwhelmed its ambulance services. One EMS worker estimated that paramedics sometimes transport 12 homeless people to the hospital in a 12-hour shift, often for minor ailments and other non-emergencies that do not warrant use of ambulance services,” states a recent audit of city programs serving Oahu’s homeless. The 74-page report, which you can read at 808ne.ws/homelessaudit, was issued in September by the Office of the City Auditor.

The audit said The Queen’s Medical Center, for example, had cared for homeless patients 10,126 times in 2015, resulting in gross charges of $89.3 million. “Medicare and Medicaid picked up some of the cost, but Queen’s calculates it absorbs about $5 million in unpaid homeless expenses each year,” it said.

Queen’s is among the government and private-sector groups spearheading a plan to transform a four-story city building in Iwilei into a one-stop facility for homeless services, to include 24-hour urgent care, rapid detox, wound care and room for some patients to stay up to 30 days for treatment, according to a story by Honolulu Star-­Advertiser reporter Kristen Consillio published Aug. 28 (808ne.ws/iwileihub)….

Meanwhile: “Costs for new Medicaid beneficiaries in Hawaii rose from $249.1 million in 2014 to $437.4 million in 2015

read … Medicare

Useless as an Excuse to Avoid Shelter, Nimitz viaduct homeless suddenly give up dozens of ‘pets’

HNN: …As the state prepares to sweep out an entrenched homeless camp under the airport viaduct next week, animal advocates have moved in first.

They know that the attachment many squatters have to (use) their pets as an major reason they (an excuse to) stay homeless….

It’s estimated that at least 180 people live (tweek) under the Nimitz viaduct. Kamahele said more than 90 dogs live there as well.

On Thursday, a team of volunteers and animal welfare organizations came to rescue them and find them new homes.

Roselyn Mariano said at one point she had more than 60 dogs. She regretfully gave them all up….

read … Nimitz

40% of Hawaii Children Traumatized 

SA: More than 40 percent of Hawaii children have experienced trauma including the death, divorce or incarceration of a parent, and violence, drug abuse or mental illness in the home, a federal study shows.

The state-by-state survey from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health found that 43.2 percent of children under age 18 have had at least one so-called adverse childhood experience, while 21.4 percent have had two or more experiences such as living with someone who is suicidal or has drug or alcohol problems.

Trauma can seriously affect a child’s health and well-being by “contributing to high levels of toxic stress,” the study said. That could increase long-term risk for smoking, alcoholism, depression, heart and liver diseases and other conditions….

Link: Study

read … Trauma

Search for Hawaii County Mass Transit chief continues in Wake of Hurricane Kenoi

HTH: …It’s back to the drawing board in the search for a Mass Transit administrator, after Mayor Harry Kim decided the advertised salary isn’t high enough to attract the best candidates.

The position for a permanent administrator was advertised at $67,728 annually, compared to the previous salary range of $67,000 to $102,000.

The position will be advertised for 10 days starting Oct. 30 with an annual salary range of $69,084-$127,284. The low end of the range increased because of collective bargaining changes.

Applicants will be able to find the position at LINK.

Two mainland applicants and one from Hawaii made the short list and were interviewed. Two traveled on their own dime from the mainland for their interviews, Kim said.

Because the position is civil service, the state law requiring department heads to be a Hawaii resident for a minimum of one year doesn’t apply…..

read … Search for Mass Transit chief continues: Position to be re-advertised at higher pay

‘Complete Streets’ -- Caldwell Announces Plan to Increase Traffic Jams in Waipahu, Ewa

HNN: …residents complain to state Sen. Will Espero that losing two lanes for vehicles will create traffic backups. He hopes the city can find an alternative.

"Going from four lanes to two lanes is just opposite of what we've always been asking for in Ewa in terms of more lanes and more roads," he said.

Packard said Complete Streets, with fewer traffic lanes, is proven to slow down drivers…..

The city will present its plan to the Waipahu Neighborhood Board next Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Filipino Community Center….

read … In Waipahu, residents fear a 'complete streets' upgrade could make things worse

AP, Enviros Sense New Opportunity to Attack Hawaii Fishing Fleet

AP: Hawaii boat crash spurs new concerns about foreign fishermen….

Meanwhile: Enviros Still Can’t Figure Out How to Blame Military for Kauai Whale Stranding  

read … Opportunists

Did the Great Māhele Do More Good Than Harm?

HPR: Research that reframes our thoughts about one of the biggest events in Hawaiʻi's history is sparking conversations.

The Great Māhele of 1848 changed landownership laws in Hawaiʻi forever by allowing private ownership of land. The conventional understanding is the māhele was key in native Hawaiians being dispossessed of land.

Geographer Donovan Preza uncovered information that departs from this storyline. His research argues the māhele helped secure Hawaiian rights in land rather than destroy them…..

read … Did the Great Māhele Do More Good Than Harm?

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