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Wednesday, December 30, 2020
December 30, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:59 PM :: 3293 Views

Why so many people are leaving Hawaii

Hawaii's Creaking Jones Act Ships Turn to Chinese Shipyards for Maintenance Needs

Gabbard’s Exit From House to Leave Democrats With 1 Less Centrist Voice

Asset Forfeiture: Report shows the high cost of innocence in Hawaii

DLIR: How CARES Act Extension Affects Your Benefits

Hawaii needs the federal corruption probes to keep moving forward

ILind: … One of the changes we will feel here in the islands is the likely appointment of a new U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii.

There are some in our community who, in conspiratorial fashion, are openly opining that a new, Democratic appointee to this position is going to find a way to short-circuit the currently ongoing federal probe into corruption in the islands. The investigation has already led to the successful prosecution of Honolulu’s former police chief, Louis Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, a top city prosecutor, along with several police officers for abuses of power in a case that rocked HPD, and the city, to their roots. There are several figures who received “target” letters in that investigation, including the city prosecutor, who are still waiting to see if they will eventually be summoned to court.

And now that investigation has fueled another deep cleaning of our system, this time with the  22-count indictment of Honolulu businessman, Mike Miske, Jr … and ten alleged co-conspirators in what prosecutors say was a major criminal organization Miske controlled and directed.

Current U.S. Attorney Kenji Price said at a press conference after the Miske-related arrests in July that eight others snagged in the investigation were being sent target or subject letters. Prosecutors in the case have stated in court filings the investigation is still ongoing.

And a third federal probe, this time of alleged corruption in Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting, has only recently been disclosed, reportedly resulting in multiple target letters being issued by prosecutors….

However, in a recent public online discussion sponsored by Civil Beat,  Alexander Silvert, the recently retired federal defender who uncovered the police misconduct that eventually led to the Kealoha prosecutions,  said he believes Hawaii’s political, economic, and social establishment who would prefer these investigations be ended because they risk exposing others higher up in the power structure….

read … An Open Letter to U.S. Senator Brian Schatz

Blangiardi’s transition team announces Cabinet selections

SA: … The longtime leader of the company that runs TheBus, a former state senator and the one-time head of the pro-development think-tank Land Use Research Foundation are among a slate of nominees to Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi’s cabinet that a transition team announced today.

Aside from those three selections, the new administration will be comprised of what first-time government official Blangiardi promised: a team of people with diverse backgrounds that are largely unfamiliar to the public, including folks from the private sector who’ve never held a government job before mixed with some who have worked for government agencies. More than 400 individuals submitted resumes, the transition team said.

Several positions remain unfilled including corporation counsel and directors for the Department of Facility Maintenance and the Department of Human Resources. Deputy directors for the departments, as well as a communications director, have also yet to be made public.

Blangiardi will be sworn in at noon Saturday as required by the Honolulu City Charter and his cabinet members will assume their posts at that point, although most department heads will still need to be confirmed by the City Council.

Aside from a smattering of retainees in less essential positions, however, the roster is largely devoid of holdovers from the Caldwell administration despite the fact that Managing Director-designate Michael Formby, Blangiardi’s second in command, was transportation services director under Caldwell from 2013 to 2016.….

read … Blangiardi’s transition team announces Cabinet selections

Caldwell claims to close $400M shortfall without the slightest inconvenience to public unions

KHON: … “We’re not doing any layoffs or furloughs or releasing any employees. We have not raised real property tax rates nor increased fees in this budget,” Caldwell explained.

Caldwell said, they did it in part by slashing 10% from every city department’s budget.

“But have maintained core services, which are critical particularly when they are the things you need just to get by day to day,” Caldwell said….

Caldwell also announced the County spent all of the $387 million in CARES Act funds it received in April, despite the deadline to use the funds being pushed back to December, 2021….

CB: Outgoing Mayor Caldwell Defends Millions Spent On Pandemic Policing

read … Mayor releases balanced budget without furloughs or layoffs, closes $400M shortfall

University of Hawaii budget proposal to the Legislature includes $78M in cuts

PBN: … The University of Hawaii System, in collaboration with Gov. David Ige, has created a proposal for the 10-campus system's biennium operating budget that includes $78 million in reductions, UH officials recently announced.

The budget request — which included transfers between campuses and moving the $4 million general fund subsidy for athletics into the base budget — was included as part of Ige's budget proposal to the Legislature, which was submitted on Dec. 21. In an effort to account for the state's decreased tax revenue, due to a coronavirus-influenced drop in tourism, Ige included the cuts to UH base operating appropriations that equates to a 15% reduction across all campuses — or more than $78 million of UH's $526 million general fund base budget — compared to the current fiscal year.

Under the proposal, UH Manoa would see a $35.6 million reduction, the John A Burns School of Medicine would lose $3 million in funding, UH Hilo would see $5.7 million in cuts, UH West Oahu would see $2.7 in cuts, UH Community Colleges would see a collective $23 million in reductions, and UH Systemwide support would receive more than $8.4 million in cuts.

"As presented in the governor’s budget, there are no specific programmatic details for the reductions and the particular impacts," Kalbert Young, UH vice president for budget and finance and chief financial officer, said in a statement….

HTH: Ige’s budget includes $5.7M reduction for UH-Hilo

read … University of Hawaii budget proposal to the Legislature includes $78M in cuts

Tax Cheat Gary Hooser says ‘Raise Taxes’

CB: … Clearly, balancing the state budget without cutting education, social services or environmental protections will not be an easy task. It will require creative long-term revenue enhancements (taxes, fees and surcharges)…

read … Taxes for thee not for me

Hawaii heiress Abigail Kawananankoa got $142,000 federal bailout loan

HNN: … Her attorney Bruce Voss said the 94-year-old Kawananakoa needed the Paycheck Protection Program loan because the three-year legal battle over her $215 million fortune had drained her bank accounts….

Court records also show that Kawananakoa still receives about $14 million a year in income from her trust’s stock in real estate developer James Campbell Co….

Federal records show that the PPP loan was issued in April, or three months before a state judge appointed a conservator ― former Hawaiian Electric Co. executive Robbie Alm ― to manage Kawananakoa’s financial affairs.

Attorney Megan Kau, who represents Kawananakoa’s former housekeepers, said she hopes Alm will investigate how the PPP loan was obtained.

“I cross examined Ms. Kawananakoa for hours and it was very clear that she’s not capable of managing her own finances. So who filled out this application for her?” said Kau.

“If somebody else filled out that application on her behalf and had her sign it and that included false misstatements .... (they could be) looking at personal criminal liability.”…

Flashback: Kawananakoa Estate: Sex, Drugs, and Inequality

read … Hawaii heiress Abigail Kawananankoa got $142,000 federal bailout loan

Biden: Vaccine Distribution being Slow-Walked until Jan 20

AP: … Earlier this month, Trump administration officials said they planned to have 20 million doses of the vaccine distributed by the end of the year. But according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control, just over 11.4 million doses have been distributed and only 2.1 million people have received their first dose….

read ...  Biden criticizes pace of vaccine rollout, vows to accelerate

Spying on You: COVID-19 exposure notification app going Statewide

WHT: … AlohaSafe Alert, the state of Hawaii’s official COVID-19 exposure notification app, is now available to Hawaii County residents and is expected to launch statewide next week.

Developed in partnership with the state Department of Health, the aio Foundation and the Hawaii Executive Collaborative, the free app aims to slow the spread of COVID-19 by using smartphones to notify users of their exposure to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19….

said Mayor Mitch Roth during the meeting. “They’re looking at doing a statewide release next week, but we wanted to get a jump start and start getting people signed up and logged in….”

read … COVID-19 exposure notification app now available to Hawaii County residents

48 Priors: Life Long Crime Spree Finally Comes to an End

KHON:  …  Police say Gentzler was wanted in connection with a kidnapping case who also had an outstanding warrant.

When officers identified themselves, they say Gentlzer ran away, got into his car, and drove towards them.

That’s when they fired their weapons.

Police say Gentzler had 48 prior convictions ….

(He is dead because we couldn’t keep him in a nice safe prison.  Soft on crime kills criminals.)

2004: Carjacking, Kidnapping while out on bail 

ILind: Another police shooting that should have been avoided

read … 48 Priors and not getting any more ‘second’ chances

Hawaii Worst State to Retire

KSM: Blacktower Financial Management Group released an interesting report all the way back in June (which feels like a lifetime ago) that revealed the best and worst U.S. states for retirees in 2020 based on crime rates, cost of living, life expectancy, property prices, and population age.

… Surprisingly, Hawaii checked in right behind Alaska due to expensive real estate and cost of living, driving retirees to the mainland when looking for a retirement home….

read … Hawaii #50

The War On Tiki Bars

S: … I’ve been to my share of tiki bars in Hawaii and Florida over the years. Their faux-Polynesian kitschiness makes for a fun, escapist atmosphere, but what I’ve heard lately indicates that the fun’s illicit. That’s what the ever-vigilant cultural appropriation police have been saying, anyway.

The New York Times has jumped on the anti-tiki bandwagon with a recent, smug article, “Reclaiming The Tiki Bar.” “They provide an intoxicating escape from the burden of the world,” co-writers Sammi Katz and Olivia McGiff tell us while a pandemic’s raging, before going on to explain why we should feel guilty (“genre’s history of racial inequity and cultural appropriation”) about seeking out this sort of escape. Among the numerous problems with the article is that it appears to be little more than a rehash of one The Atlantic ran over a year ago.

The Times story informs us of the “painful and unexamined” history of the tiki bar, but doesn’t tell who’s felt the pain and why, so I’ll remain skeptical. The writers claim that even the booze the bars have always featured—rum—is problematic because slaves in the Carribean were once used in its production….

read … The War On Tiki Bars

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