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Monday, December 31, 2018
December 31, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:25 PM :: 2879 Views

OHA CFO: We Keep Trustees in the Dark About LLCs

House Finance Committee Sets Budget Hearings

Auditor: Styrofoam Ban Doesn't Reduce Litter

Campaign Spending Violations? Eric Ryan Attacks Republicans Again

SA: … Eric Ryan, president of the Hawaii Republican Assembly, said in a filing with the Federal Elections Commission last week that he learned of the violations while he was listening to a telephone conference call of the state Republican Executive Committee on Nov. 27 in which party leaders discussed state GOP finances.

(Kicking Ryan out of the GOP and suing him might feeeel goood but it does not put a stop to his activities.  What a surprise.)

Ryan alleges Ostrov acknowledged during the call that the party was a “pass-through” for money from two donors who had already given the maximum $2,700 legal contributions to Cavasso but wanted to donate more to his campaign.

The party allegedly used the money from donors Mikio Izuka and Melba Cavasso to pay vendors who were providing campaign services to Cavasso, according to the Ryan filing. Ryan contends that was illegal, but Ostrov said in an interview Wednesday those payments were legal under federal law.

Izuka donated $7,300 to the party, and Melba Cavasso gave $2,500, for a total of $9,800. The party then paid $8,300 to Frank Petsche, who provided digital campaign consulting services to the Cavasso campaign, and paid $1,500 to Dennis Linn for video services.

In a separate filing with U.S. Attorney for Hawaii District Kenji M. Price, Ryan alleged the party officials and the Cavasso campaign engaged in conspiracy, money laundering and wire fraud when the party moved nearly $10,000 in “campaign contributions” to the Cavasso campaign that illegally exceeded federal contribution limits.

Ryan alleged that “the officers of HRP and the Cavasso campaign have undermined the transparency and integrity of the electoral process by conspiring to violate federal campaign finance laws and to engage in money laundering and wire fraud.”

Ostrov said the payments were reported to the FEC as “coordinated expenditures,” which are allowed under federal law.

She said donors who have contributed the maximum amounts allowed under federal law to a candidate can make donations to state parties that are “earmarked” for the same candidate. The parties can then use that money to support the same candidate’s campaign, she said.

Ostrov said the Hawaii GOP consulted with the FEC before making the payments to the Cavasso vendors.

She also provided an email from an unidentified representative of the FEC’s Information Division that indicated that coordinated contributions are allowed provided that “the party committee pays for goods or services in coordination with a candidate but does not give the money directly to the candidate or candidate committee.”

Ryan was expelled from the state Republican party in May …. According to Ryan’s public filings, party officials have used the same call-in number for state GOP telephone conferences since June 2017, and the number has been distributed to various party members and leaders….

read … Hawaii Republicans are accused of spending violations

Disaster dollars: Hawaii County Council asked to add projects for eruption, hurricane damage to budget

HTH: … The Hawaii County Council is being asked to add projects related to damage caused by recent disasters to the capital budget and accept funds for a recovery plan for Puna.

The bills being submitted by the county administration don’t include a list of proposed projects, but the cost estimates total $82.1 million, of which 75 percent would be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency….

the cost estimates for projects related to Lane ($49.2 million) are higher than those for the eruption ($32.9 million).

Finance Director Deanna Sako said those figures are estimates based on damage to public infrastructure from the disasters, and anticipated projects. She suggested they may not be final, and noted there are “alternate projects” related to the eruption that aren’t yet included.

“It might evolve,” Sako said. “For now, it gives us a chance to start spending.”

Adding the projects to the budget doesn’t guarantee the funds will be spent, but it is necessary to pave the way for FEMA assistance.

She said the county hasn’t received any FEMA funds yet, including for reimbursement of operational costs during the eruption.

Sako said the big-ticket items related to the eruption are restorations of Highway 137, Lighthouse Road and Government Beach Road.

Restoration of Highway 132 is not included, she said, since that may be covered by the Federal Highways Administration instead of FEMA….

read … Disaster dollars: Council asked to add projects for eruption, hurricane damage to budget

Great New Year Resolution: City Forcing More Homeless to Accept Shelter

KITV: … Another holiday, another homeless sweep. Honolulu police will be out in Waikiki from 3 to 5:30 a.m. on Monday - New Year's Eve. The City and County of Honolulu is planning to enforce its stored property ordinance and sidewalk nuisance law again. Civil rights (Pro-homelessness) groups and community (tent city) advocates and nearly a dozen individuals speak out against the city's sweeps (say keep them on the streets) ….

read … Advocacy groups "disappointed" in City's New Year's Eve homeless sweep

10 Squatters Arrested--Residents of lava-ravaged Leilani Estates drop lawsuit

HNN: … Leilani Estates residents are giving up on a lawsuit they filed against Hawaii County that would have returned a security checkpoint to the neighborhood devastated by lava.

The cost of maintaining that 24-hour security was $100,000 every month and federal money for the measure ran out at the end of October.

Some Leilani Estates residents have been against keeping the checkpoint and now even the group who filed the lawsuit to bring it back believes there is a better way to deal with squatters and other unwanted visitors.

Attorney Mike Garbarino, who pulled the lawsuit he filed on behalf of the Leilani Estates Community Association, said residents are working with police and the county council on another solution.

Some of his neighbors have been critical of that strategy from the beginning.

“It just was blocking one of the entrances — the main entrance. There was a secondary entrance. People were able to walk in, bike in, anybody was able to get into Leilani Estates,” said Paddy Daly, who lives in Upper Leilani Estates.

Since the eruption, Daly claims he's had solar panels, a jigsaw, an expensive bike, and a generator stolen from his property. Daly feels filing suit against the county may have created even more problems.

"Officers here are professionals, however they are people and they are dealing with a community that seems ungrateful to them and I think that lawsuit has created that feeling in all of us," added Daly….

Now, they’re taking the squatters head-on.

"Under Hawaii law, a verbal agreement can create a lease and many squatters know this. So, a police officer confronts them about being in the home and they say 'oh I have permission of the owner' and the police then cannot do anything," said Garbarino.

That’s where Garbarino can still help — by filing a no-occupancy letter from the owner or bank proving that no one should be in an abandoned home. It’s a new strategy that at least appears to be working.

"Civil enforcement, criminal enforcement and neighborhood watch and the combination is working, there have been ten arrests since Christmas," added Garbarino ….

HPD: Police sweep leads to more arrests in Leilani Estates

read … Residents of lava-ravaged Leilani Estates drop lawsuit against Hawaii County

Hawaii Supreme Court rejects appeal in nonjudicial foreclosure case

ILind: … The ICA concluded the Hawaiian Monarch had wrongfully foreclosed on the plaintiff in the case, who lost his unit as a result of the foreclosure. Although the court declined to overturn the foreclosure sale and return the apartment to the plaintiff, the decision allows the plaintiff to pursue a damage claim against the condominium association “arising out of the wrongful foreclosure,” which would include the value of the condominium, interest, and other damages….

read … Hawaii Supreme Court rejects appeal in nonjudicial foreclosure case

Hawaii County Finally Figures out how to Open New Landfill—Call it ‘Organic’

SA: … County officials hope to build Hawaii island’s first (LOL!) municipal composting operation — at a construction cost of $10.5 million — to divert green waste and organic materials from the island’s two landfills. 

(In plain language this is called a garbage dump.  But the County calls is ‘organic composting’ and the opposition vanishes.)

Hawaii County’s Department of Environmental Management said the proposed East Hawai‘i Organics Facility is needed, in part, because the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill is expected to reach its permitted maximum capacity within the next two years….

The East Hawai‘i Organics Facility is planned to accept compostable waste from residents, businesses and government agencies.

It would be located in Keaau in the Puna district on the north side of the W.H. Shipman Business Park. The composting facility would comprise approximately 3 acres within the approximately 40-acre parcel….

County officials said construction is expected to take 18 months to two years….

BIVN: Final EA For East Hawaii Organics Facility Published

read … Organic Garbage

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