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Saturday, June 5, 2021
June 5, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:40 PM :: 5902 Views

Don't criminalize COVID-19 rule breakers

Ige: Inter-island travel restrictions end June 15

Maunakea telescope one step closer to decommissioning

Gen. Charles Flynn Takes Command of U.S. Army Pacific

Union Boss was Hit Man for Miske, Impersonated Cop

ILind: … after a 40-minute hearing held by telephone, Mansfield’s rejected the motion for bond and instead affirmed the previous order that (former IATSE Exec Board Member Norman Akau, a Miske co-defendant) remain in custody without bail “for the safety of the community.”

Mansfield began by dismissing (Beverly Hills attorney, Ronald Richards’) premise that most of the charges against Akau have now been settled, pointing out that although the memorandum of plea agreement has been signed, it remains undated and has not been filed with or approved by the court. 

(Correction: According to IATSE, they did not provide legal representation for Akau.)

“Technically, all charges are pending,” he said, including those that prosecutors have agreed to drop as part of the plea agreement.

Further, Mansfield said, the unfiled plea agreement “admits to violent dangerous recent conduct, within the past five years.”

“Mr. Akau now admits that in 2016 and 2017, he accepted an offer from Mr. Miske to kill Victim 12 for $50,000,” Mansfield said. He noted the plan had not been carried out, but had only been abandoned at the last moment. “Nevertheless, Mr. Akau admits he did accept the offer.”

Mansfield said Akau, in his plea agreement, also admitted impersonating a police officer, and carrying a gun equipped with a silencer, while participating in the robbery of another drug dealer.

“This is the evidence you asked me to consider…and in this plea agreement, he admits to these two very dangerous acts,” Mansfield told Richards.

“Originally those were simply allegations,” Mansfield said. “Now I have admissions.”

It appears from Mansfield’s comments that the motion for release on bond was premature, but the legal technicalities may be different when the plea agreement is filed in court to be reviewed and accepted by Judge Derrick Watson, who is presiding over the entire case. No explanation was offered for why the plea agreement has not yet been presented for approval….

Flashback:

read … Judge rules Norman Akau, Miske co-defendant, to remain behind bars

HB869: Is Mystery elderly project in Hawaii Kai Really Just a Way to Get Revenue Bonds for Stadium Project?

SA Editorial:  Whether the end justifies the means is a question swirling around a mysterious senior-living project proposed for somewhere in Hawaii Kai. The development by Luana Kai — A Life Plan Community, just convinced the state Legislature to issue it up to $500 million worth of tax-exempt special purpose revenue bonds (SPRBs), even though many lawmakers profess to know few specifics about where the project will be located and who’s behind it.

House Bill 869, now on Gov. David Ige’s desk, won near-unanimous approval. In legislative written testimony, Luana Kai outlines preliminary plans for a 366-unit senior­-living community, to include 260 independent-living apartments, 40 assisted-living apartments, 30 memory-care apartments and 36 private skilled-nursing suites….

(DO THE MATH: $500M / 366 = $1.37M per unit)

 … According to business records, Luana Kai was formed in October — but its legislative testimony does not list any person or principal. And at a Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board meeting last week, few additional details were forthcoming on the project or site, stirring uneasiness and mistrust.

Clearly, powerful political forces are at work here, to convince most of the 76-member Legislature to approve HB 869, enabling the issuance, starting July 1, of up to a half-billion dollars in special-purpose revenue bonds for this project. Hawaii Kai Sen. Stanley Chang, who chaired a committee that approved the bill, said he understood the Luana Kai nonprofit to be represented by Blake Oshiro, the former legislator and one-time deputy chief of staff to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Oshiro is now executive vice president at lobbying firm Capitol Consultants of Hawaii (CCH), whose executive team includes Bruce Coppa, former Abercrombie chief of staff, and Ross Yamasaki, current chairman of the Stadium Authority….  

SA Column: Details coming on Luana Kai senior-living project

May 30, 2021: Aloha Stadium: Private developer to rake in megabucks from Taxpayers thanks to State’s Bogus Bond Deals

read … Mystery elderly project in Hawaii Kai

Emails: DoH Leaders Block Testing, Exploit COVID to scrounge money

AP: … A review of Hawaii Gov. David Ige’s emails shows the state epidemiologist spent key weeks in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic resisting suggestions and requests from both inside and outside the administration that she boost contact tracing to control the spread of COVID-19.

(Translation: Typical Empire-Building Bureaucrat.)

They also showed Dr. Sarah Park repeatedly telling her superiors that the state’s failure to adequately fund and staff the division she headed was preventing her from quickly expanding their work to respond to the crisis….

(Translation: Typical State Bureaucrat doing the only thing she knows how to do.  Exploit the opportunity to scrounge money.)

The Associated Press obtained the emails a year after a May 2020 request submitted under Hawaii’s open records law….

The governor’s records show that University of Hawaii President David Lassner emailed administration officials on April 16, 2020, to say university researchers had written a report about the need to boost contact tracing and other steps to control COVID-19.

Park didn’t outright reject more contact tracing but replied: “I am increasingly disturbed that people seem to think contact tracing is somehow easily accomplished as a simple task when it is a part of the practice of applied epidemiology.”

Lassner offered to have the university help train contact tracers.

Two days later, Ige’s chief of staff, Linda Takayama, asked whether the state could do “a full court press” on contact tracing. She noted Hawaii had set up sites to process a flood of pandemic-induced unemployment insurance claims and wondered whether something similar could be done for contact tracing.

“We are standing by to help,” Takayama wrote.

Park replied, “we’re OK” when it comes to contact tracing “at the current disease activity level.” That day, Hawaii’s seven-day average of new infections was only 10.

“However, if disease activity spikes, we will be challenged,” Park wrote.

She said she would start using online software that would decrease the burden on her staff and bring on more volunteers and staff as needed. Park added she could better expand her operation if the state hadn’t failed to properly fund public health.

“There’s a lot of focus on contact tracing, but really the issue for us and all of public health (i.e., in other jurisdictions as well) is that all of us are chronically understaffed even in routine times, given limited funds and, especially here, less than competitive salaries. If we were all appropriately resourced and staffed (not just my programs but also other areas of DOH), we could more readily surge, especially by reassigning particular positions toward the response,” she wrote….

On Aug. 7, senators made an unannounced visit to Park’s office with a Hawaii News Now camera crew in tow. One investigator told a senator she had 131 cases to keep track of and another said he had 192….

On Aug. 7, senators made an unannounced visit to Park’s office with a Hawaii News Now camera crew in tow. One investigator told a senator she had 131 cases to keep track of and another said he had 192.

Park told the TV crew she was glad the senators visited and said she hoped they saw the department needed more staffing, resources, space and equipment. She said it wasn’t easy to bring in more contact tracers because they needed to be trained in the specific work her disease outbreak control division was doing.

But emails showed many in the administration were alarmed. Attorney General Clare Connors sent Ige an email with the subject line “DOH Ambush,” saying she drafted a letter for him to send to the Senate president.

Takayama lamented that the senators missed the bigger picture, including contact tracers working from home, the inspectors who were out in the field and examiners “working the files.” Park herself expressed concerns that the senators and news media entered her office despite the presence of a security guard.

The following week, a Health Department whistleblower held a news conference with then-U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard saying contact tracers were struggling to keep up with their caseloads. Gabbard called for the firing of Park as well as Health Director Bruce Anderson.

By late August, the emails got more tense.

Ige emailed Anderson on Aug. 21 telling him to immediately create reports about the pandemic for the Legislature and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

“These reports have been requested multiple times and the (Disease Outbreak Control Division) has, thus far, not produced the data and/or reports as requested,” the governor wrote.

Park replied to Ige and Anderson that she couldn’t “flog” her investigators to do more.

A week later, Anderson announced he would retire in mid-September. On Sept. 4, Park was placed on paid leave. She left the department on Dec. 31….

March 30, 2020: VIDEO: Hawaii DoH Official Goes on 10-minute Rant Against Corona Testing

read … Emails show strain on Hawaii administration amid pandemic

Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s 2nd nominee for Honolulu Police Commission withdraws name from consideration

SA: … Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the Honolulu Police Commission has withdrawn his name from consideration, the mayor’s office announced this morning.

The withdrawal comes just two days after nominee Larry Ignas told the City Council that he doesn’t believe racial discrimination exists in Hawaii.

“Larry Ignas is a principled man who has lived in Hawaii for 34 years and came highly recommended,” Blangiardi said in a written statement. “However, under the circumstances and given the expectations, he is withdrawing his name from consideration to the Honolulu Police Commission. I will work on vetting a new candidate to nominate to this very important position.” ….

Flashback: What Does Blangiardi’s Police Commission Nominee Know About Kimura Shooting? 

CB: Honolulu Mayor Must Select Police Commissioner With Broad Support

What Does the Honolulu Council Want to Know About Kimura Shooting?

read … Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s nominee for Honolulu Police Commission withdraws name from consideration

HPD’s Interim Chief Rade Vanic lays out his priorities for the department

HNN: … Honolulu’s new interim police chief Rade Vanic said in a news conference on Friday, June 4, that some of his priorities were addressing crime and morale in the department, as well as filling vacancies.

There are currently around 300 vacancies.

Vanic was appointed to the position after a unanimous vote by the Honolulu Police Commission on May 4 during their bi-monthly meeting. He began serving as the acting chief on June 1, following Chief Susan Ballard’s retirement.

During Friday’s news conference, Vanic also said that HPD can do better in addressing racial bias and needs a more specific policy on releasing bodycam footage.

Vanic touched upon several issues; transparency, racial bias and the release of bodycam footage. When asked if he’s applying for chief as a permanent position, he says he wants to keep that confidential….

(Translation: “Yes”)

read … HPD’s Interim Chief Rade Vanic lays out his priorities for the department

After Giving Themselves COVID, Hilo Inmates Stage Riot

KHON: … The Department of Public Safety (DPS) says order was quickly restored after inmates in a housing module at Hawaii Community Correctional Center (HCCC) “started a disturbance” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 4.

Officials say order was restored to the module by 9 p.m. and there were no preliminary reports of any injuries.

DPS officials say the emergency response security team at HCCC received approval to use non-lethal methods to gain compliance from the inmates. Officials confirmed to KHON2 that State Sheriffs and Hawaii Island police remained at HCCC as of 9:20 p.m. Friday.

Authorities reported that inmates broke glass windows and started a small fire before they were brought under control. The fire was extinguished quickly, according to the DPS….

read … Hawaii prison restores order after inmate ‘disturbance’

How long will it take for Hawaii to reach a 70% vaccination rate?

HNN: …Only 52 percent of Hawaii’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But health experts are optimistic that the state can get to a 70 percent rate -- and a new normal -- by the end of summer.

So far, more than one and-a-half million doses have been given in Hawaii. Experts say it would take another 400,000 doses to get to 70 percent.

“We believe it’s doable,” said Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii. “If you got to 50,000 (doses) a week, it’s eight weeks. If you get up to 70,000 a week, it’s six weeks.”

That would take us into the end of July and early August, right as the first semester begins in public schools ….

read … How long will it take for Hawaii to reach a 70% vaccination rate?

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