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Thursday, January 4, 2018
January 4, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:07 PM :: 3683 Views

Honolulu GOP: Key Issues in 2018 Legislature

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Appoints Kenji Price As Interim United States Attorney for Hawaii

Rapid Response Team Deploys to Lehua Island After Two Rats Detected

Report: 3 Patients Responsible for 25% of Assaults at Mental Hospital

Auditors couldn't figure out what this state office does — or plans to do

DBEDT: 31% of Hawaii families can't cover basic needs

Matson replaces interisland container barge; may increase Neighbor Island freight rates

Fishermen Settle Labor-Trafficking Case

Victim Sues DLNR For Hiring HGEA President’s Rapist Son as Cop

CB: A woman has filed a lawsuit against the state after she was sexually assaulted by a Department of Land and Natural Resources officer.

The officer, Ethan Ferguson, had been hired by DLNR after he was fired for misconduct by the Honolulu Police Department. He is also a defendant in the suit, which alleges negligence on the part of the state and claims the plaintiff suffered physical and emotional distress after she was assaulted at the age of 16.

The gist of the lawsuit filed in Third Circuit Court on the Big Island is that DLNR officials should have known that Ferguson was a danger to the community since they had already been warned of his past behavioral problems.

Ferguson was fired by the Honolulu Police Department in 2012 for misconduct involving a teenage runaway. The department had told DLNR not to hire Ferguson when he applied to become an officer with DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.

The state hired him anyway to work in Hawaii County, allowing him to again don a law enforcement uniform and arm himself with a gun and a badge.

“If he had never been hired this would have never happened,” said Jeremy Butterfield, one of two Big Island attorneys representing the woman….

Ferguson was hired in June 2013 by DLNR despite HPD’s warnings….

Less than three years later, in January 2016, Ferguson was arrested and charged with five counts of sexual assault of a minor in the case that eventually resulted in the Dec. 27 lawsuit against him and the state…. 

read … Woman Sues Hawaii For Hiring Ex-Cop Who Then Assaulted Her

New charges brought in corruption case involving former police chief

AP: The deputy city prosecutor wife of former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha convinced a man whose trust she allegedly stole from when he was a child to lie for her before a grand jury looking into corruption allegations against the couple, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

The documents charge Ransen Taito with conspiracy, alleging that he lied to a grand jury about what happened to this trust fund….

She was court-appointed in 2004 as trustee and guardian for the children, then 12 and 10. The siblings' father received money in a medical malpractice settlement before he died, their grandmother, Marlene Drew, has told The Associated Press.

Taito is one of the children….

According to the charging documents against Taito, Kealoha threatened that if he didn't lie and say he received all of his money, then his mother would go to jail. Taito lied to the grand jury in April 2016 and said he received all of his money from Kealoha, the documents said…. 

PDF: US vs Taito 

Not Mentioned, of Course: 13 Years of Silence: Did House Speaker Scott Saiki Cover Up Kealoha Theft of $167K from Orphans?

ILind: New details of alleged fraud by former chief’s wife emerge in court document

SA: Scheduled to Appear in Court Friday Jan 5

read … New charges brought in corruption case involving former police chief

Police Commission Loosens Rules On Legal Fees For Officers

CB: The Honolulu Police Commission signed off on a new set of rules Wednesday that should make it easier for officers to get taxpayer-funded legal counsel when named as a defendant in a lawsuit or criminal complaint….

read … Fees

Sixth Hawaii bank follows Trump bonus and minimum wage trend

PBN: ..“Hawaii National Bank has provided nearly all of its employees with a $1,000 cash bonus, and we have also increased our minimum wage as of Jan. 1, 2018,” Bryan Luke, president and chief operating officer of Hawaii National Bank told Pacific Business News. “We are proud to share these benefits with our valued employees and look forward to a strong 2018.”

The Honolulu-based bank is the sixth financial institution in the state to announce such changes, after Bank of Hawaii (NYSE: BOH) was the first to make its announcement last month.

Hawaii’s five largest banks, which include First Hawaiian Bank (Nasdaq: FHB), American Savings Bank, Central Pacific Bank and Territorial Savings Bank (Nasdaq: TBNK), in addition to Bank of Hawaii, announced plans to award $1,000 or $1,500 in year-end bonuses to non-executive staff and raise minimum wage to as much as $15.25 per hour….

Several banks said their decisions were impacted by the new tax reform bill, which reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. …

read … Republicans Win Fight for $15

Harry Kim Hires Unregistered Lobbyist

HTH: …The council’s Committee on Governmental Relations and Economic Development asked contractor Andy Levin to explain the administration’s priorities after an entire session of the state Legislature went by last year with scant, if any, communication between the council and the lobbyist.

“We don’t want to be in a legislative session where the administration and council are butting heads on a specific issue,” said Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha, who’s president of the Hawaii State Association of Counties, the group representing the state’s four county councils at the Legislature.

Levin emphasized Wednesday he works for the mayor and Corporation Counsel, not the County Council….

Kim, who has Levin track bills and write testimony, doesn’t like to call Levin a lobbyist. But Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy sees him that way, and she questioned why he hasn’t registered as such.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission’s Lobbying Registration and Reporting Manual exempts “Any federal, state, or county official or employee acting in an official capacity, unless the federal, state, or county official or employee contracts for the services of a lobbyist.”

Registered lobbyists are required to submit regular reports detailing how much they spend on lobbying activities….

read … Council grills mayor’s lobbyist

Policing Homeless encampments is pricey

HNN: …departments have begun asking lawmakers for funding in order to ease the financial impact.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, for example, is charged with cleaning up dozens of illegal encampments in parks, harbors and other state properties – clean-ups that often require a law enforcement presence.

"We've spent an inordinate amount of money that we didn't have budgeted on ensuring the safety of cleanup workers," explained Robert Farrell, enforcement chief for the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.

The DLNR is requesting $330,000 in related funds.

Gov. David Ige's administration also wants $419,302 to pay for eight new deputy sheriffs that could respond to complaints about illegal camping and trespassing on state lands.

There is also a $5 million lump sum request in the state Department of Human Services' budget.

"This would include property storage, removal of trash and debris, and also placement of signage or fencing," said Scott Morishige, the governor's coordinator on homelessness…..

Other requests include more than $10 million for services such as Housing First and Rapid Rehousing as well as $75 million for affordable rental housing and infrastructure costs.

read … Expensive Bums

Dog Comes a Long Way After Being Rescued from Homeless Tweekers

SA: Danny, a once shy and emaciated Shar-Pei mix who was found tied up during a homeless sweep on Dec. 4, has gained weight and was ready for adoption at the Hawaiian Humane Society on Wednesday.

“He’s come a really long way,” said Hawaiian Humane Society spokeswoman Allison Andrade Gammel. “He’s very attention and affection motivated. He loves being touched.”

Danny touched the hearts of some pet-loving readers of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser when he was featured in a December story about the choices that some homeless pet owners face.

He was found tied up and abandoned as state sheriff’s deputies swept 70 homeless people and their animals from a Mapunapuna bike path that runs parallel to the H-1 freeway viaduct.

After a week at the Humane Society, where his age is estimated at 13 months, Danny quickly put on 10 pounds but still acted uncertain and nervous around strangers….

read … Rescued

Menor: Homeless Safe Zones Should not Allow Tents

SA: …During deliberations on Resolution 17-277, I expressed that I have a difficult time embracing the traditional notion of safe zones of tent cities or encampments because I truly do not believe they are acceptable and humane alternatives to shelters. I vividly recall the spectacular failure of trying to turn Aala Park into a tent city.

However, after seeing firsthand a successful example of a city-sanctioned safe zone, such as the Tiny House Village in Seattle, that provides inexpensively built temporary wooden shelters, shared bathrooms, kitchen and other facilities, and case management services, I am persuaded that safe zones modeled after this one by the Low Income Housing Institute has a place among all of the options that government is considering….

The city has made a great start with Hale Mauliola on Sand Island, a project that is designed much closer to what I envision in a safe zone: low-cost, temporary shelters and facilities where the homeless can stay without fear of eviction and with access to shared bathroom and kitchen spaces, and where the delivery of social services can occur in a secure setting…..

Flashback: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

read … Safe Zone?

Released from Delaware Death Row—Arrested Allegedly Pimping in Waikiki

HNN: A 30-year-old man who once spent time on Delaware's death row was arrested in Honolulu on Wednesday for promoting prostitution, law enforcement sources tell Hawaii News Now.

Isaiah McCoy, 30, made national headlines in 2012 when that state's highest court overturned his murder conviction and death sentence, citing prosecutorial misconduct. A second trial resulted in McCoy being acquitted of the 2010 murder.

After being freed, McCoy moved to Hawaii. He was arrested during a large Honolulu police operation in McCully last September in which police captured 18-year-old Jordan Smith, who was suspected of committing a Waikiki triple shooting that killed a man.

McCoy and Smith are friends from Delaware.  …

KITV: Former death row inmate, Army Sergeant accused of sex trafficking

HNN: After brutal rape, Waikiki residents demand better police presence

read … Pimp not being executed

Hawaii joins 'tele-abortion' pilot

HNN: Hawaii is one of only four states taking part in a "tele-abortion" pilot project, and the politically-charged issue is riling up abortion foes.

Tele-abortion is a way to terminate a pregnancy after consulting with a doctor in a video-conference.

Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, of the University of Hawaii, recently demonstrated how a consultation for tele-abortion works.

"Hi! I'm Dr. Moayedi. We are going to take you through the process of teleabortion," she said to a colleague over a video conferencing feed.

After reviewing an ultrasound and lab results, the doctor's consultation begins.

The patient, up to 10 weeks pregnant, can receive FDA-approved abortion pills in the mail….

The FDA is allowing this pilot project, and it's being overseen by a research firm called Gynuity.

The other states involved are Oregon, Washington and Maine. It concludes in the fall. So far, the project has 85 Hawaii patients. 

SA: Is this about abortion rights or abortion procedures?

read … Hawaii joins 'tele-abortion' pilot

Hanabusa: Its all about me

CB: …Hanabusa appears more interested in satisfying her ambition than serving the people of Hawaii.

This is, after all, her third run for high political office in four years — the U.S. Senate in 2014 (she narrowly lost), the U.S. House in 2016 (she easily won) and now a challenge to Democratic Gov. David Ige….

She rationalizes that people will accept her seeking another office this way: “It’s going to be because, I would like to think, that they look at my whole political career, my political journey, and they say, ‘Of course. This is where she should be. She is the one who has proven herself to this point, and she understands how government works.’”

(Translation: “Its all about me.”)

The only public assessment of the race that I know of came Wednesday, when Hawaii Business magazine published “grades” and “opinions” from 402 local business leaders of the two candidates. Hanabusa edged Ige in the survey, conducted by Anthology Research, but not by a lot….

Ige has held 10 fundraisers since September, not long after Hanabusa first expressed interest in running. Hanabusa has held just two fundraisers….

“I think the most important thing is that they have to almost forget to a certain extent how we do things in Hawaii….”


read …  Forget




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