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Sunday, February 17, 2019
February 17, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:08 PM :: 2760 Views

SB652: Will Legislators Give Drunk Rave Promoter $50M?

Hawaii Highest-Risk for Cyberattack

Four Bills for Hawaii Government Technology Transformation

Hawaii Family Forum Legislative Week in Review

Squirreling Away Money at the Dept. of Transportation

Rail, Lyon, Kaneshiro, Kealoha, Leong: Local Authorities too Gutless to Root out Corruption

Shapiro: … The inaction of local authorities in all cases is of concern.

With Louis Kealoha, the city Police Commission refused to act — or even acknowledge a problem — long after it became clear the chief was under serious federal investigation, ultimately resulting in multiple indictments against him and his wife.

Former Ethics Commission Director Chuck Totto was sued by the Kealohas and pressured into resigning by the Caldwell administration after investigating alleged violations by the couple.

City Corporation Counsel Donna Leong, involved in both Totto’s ouster and a controversial $250,000 payment to Louis Kealoha when he retired, is on leave after receiving her own target letter from federal prosecutors.

In the state bribery case, the attorney general had little to offer beyond dribbling lips when the federal charges were announced.

With rail, city and state oversight has been limited to broad management audits that have produced little change, with scant interest in forensic audits that would reveal individual responsibility and possible criminality.

It strains belief that $4 billion in shocking cost overruns could have occurred entirely by honest mistake, and it appears the FBI and U.S. attorney intend to find out….

Big Q: What do you think of the sweeping federal subpoena seeking rail-construction documents?

read … Firm federal law enforcers cover for local indifference

Term Limits for City Prosecutor

SA Editorial: … the revelations have uncovered weaknesses that, without the federal intervention, would be persisting to this day.

For that information to be useful, however, it must lead to lasting reforms and greater transparency — starting with how the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney is managed….

It sheds light on the barricades behind which Kealoha could work in secret. These were built over years, enabled by a general culture of complacency and governmental subterfuge that must be dismantled, brick by brick.

The first step may lie in limiting the term of office for the chief prosecuting attorney. The City Council should consider a charter amendment that would set the limit at two four-year terms. That might help to mitigate the possibility that the top officials become so entrenched that they do not operate in the public interest….

…the fact that the FBI has uncovered this much should give everyone pause.

Based on the developments so far, however, there also can be hope for the installation of more reform-minded officials across city government, as has already happened with the Honolulu Police Commission….

the police commission had been a more passive body, one that had been inclined to table its own inquiry into then-chief Kealoha and to yield to the feds. New members then were appointed, and the panel pushed for his resignation. Changes led to the hiring of a more reform-oriented chief, Susan Ballard, to replace Kealoha at HPD….

Term limits would build on the encouraging reforms at HPD and its supervisory commission. But they would be merely the first steps required to weaken the system’s corruptive forces….

read … Probes demand reform, openness

OHA LLCs in Waimea Valley Land Deal

HNN: … The Trust for Public Land, the State of Hawai‘i, City and County of Honolulu, Hi'ipaka LLC, North Shore Community Land Trust, and the Hewahewa 'ohana (family) gathered to offer thanks that the last privately-owned piece of land within Waimea Valley is now protected, safeguarding the cultural sites located there.

Referred to as Pu‘ukua in honor of the original kuleana owner that farmed and lived there in 1852, this property is closely associated with Kahuna Nui Today’s celebration included multiple generations of the Hewahewa family, who participated in Hawaiian ceremony and protocol to bless the protected land and honor their ancestor Hewahewa and their family’s long standing connection to and love for Waimea.

Hewahewa’s thousands of descendants were alarmed in 2014 when the former landowner listed the property for sale. The Hewahewa 'ohana and Hiipaka LLC, which owns and stewards the protected 1,800 acres of Waimea Valley surrounding Pu'ukua, partnered with The Trust for Public Land and North Shore Community Land Trust to raise state, county and private funds to safeguard the site.

To fund the land purchase, The Trust for Public Land and Hi'ipaka applied for funding from the State Legacy Land Conservation Program, and the City Clean Water and Natural Lands Program. Hi'ipaka and its partners also launched a successful capital campaign. Due to the threat of a private purchase of the land for development, The Trust for Public Land took out a loan to purchase the property and served as the land’s interim owner until the public funds for the purchase by Hi'ipaka could be secured and released…

“Hi'ipaka has been an excellent steward of its lands in Waimea Valley and North Shore Community Land Trust is honored to play a small role in helping Hi'ipaka expand its kuleana to include this critical property and the important cultural resources upon it, said North Shore Community Land Trust Board Member and former General Manager of Waimea Valley Bob Leinau….

More info, or to get involved visit tpl.org/our-work/puukuawaimea-valley.

SA:  Ceremony marks transfer of Waimea Valley land to cultural group

read … Community celebrates new partnership for sacred North Shore land

Marijuana Could put Big Tobacco Back in Growth Business

SA: …Gabbard promotes legalization while lambasting pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma for their contribution to the opioid epidemic. Her calling out of Purdue is warranted as it is complicit in the epidemic — but the ultimate irony is that John Stewart, former CEO of Purdue, is now heading up a marijuana company.

And Big Pharma aren’t the only ones betting large on legalization.

Recently, Altria, one of the largest producers of tobacco products, announced it’s investing $12.8 billion in vaping giant, JUUL, a company that controls 68 percent of the e-cigarette market. This came a week after the Marlboro maker announced it was pumping $1.8 billion into Canadian marijuana grower, Cronos. It also came a week after we learned that marijuana vaping has risen significantly, up more than 50 percent among all age groups.

Big Tobacco and Big Pharma are officially going all in with the marijuana industry now. The men in suits who once told America that nicotine is not addictive are now doing the same with marijuana — and laughing all the way to the bank.

Let’s stop with the false dichotomy of legalization versus incarceration, and put public health ahead of private profits….

read … Big Pharma, Big Tobacco betting big on marijuana legalization

Kauai Taxis Lose 50% of Business after Uber Allowed into Airport

KGI: … Uber and Lyft drivers were allowed to start making pickups at select airports in Hawaii Feb. 1, including Lihue Airport, and taxi drivers on Kauai are feeling the squeeze.

The number of customers who request a taxi after getting off a plane in Lihue has dropped dramatically since the first of the month, according to dispatchers and taxi drivers who estimate they are getting about half the number of calls compared to two weeks ago…..

read … Cabbies fight to survive

HGEA Finds Way to Milk 2% Land Fund

WHT: … Yes, the 2 percent amount for the Land Fund will remain intact, but a seemingly innocuous amendment submitted at the last minute by the Kim administration via Charter Commissioner Kevin Hopkins would subtract salaries, wages and benefits for staff from the money available for acquisition. This would deplete the land fund, not strengthen it.

Right now, there is $19 million stockpiled in the fund and almost $3 million in the maintenance fund. Why? There is no dedicated staff to work on acquiring properties, finding matching funds and helping the nonprofits that are the “boots on the ground” to get funding. There is not a staff person dedicated to work only on the 2 percent Land Fund program….

read … Salaries, wages and benefits could gut 2% Land Fund

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