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Monday, June 28, 2021
June 28, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:58 PM :: 2214 Views

Red-Light camera system is just another tax

HART Board Chair Martyn to be Pushed out to Make Way for Hanabusa?

SA: … HART board member Joe Uno predicts a scenario in which Martyn steps aside and possibly resigns from the volunteer board.

When former HART board Chairwoman Colleen Hana­busa — who was appointed by Blangiardi — rejoins the board next month, “I think Colleen will become the next board chair, and Toby might step down and maybe even resign at that point,” Uno said. “I think he might want to get out of the limelight a little bit.”

Martyn’s term is scheduled to expire Nov. 30, 2023.

The HART board’s unusual voting system makes it unlikely that Martyn would be ousted by the board.

Only nine of the 14 board members have voting power. According to the board’s recent practice, eight of the nine voting member must agree for any proposals to be adopted….

Last week Fevella (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) — the state Senate’s minority leader — wrote to the FBI, FTA and state Attorney General’s Office requesting that they investigate HART on a variety of concerns based on media reports.

They include “possible criminal acts” committed by Martyn related to “Rail General Obligation Bond Issuances,” regarding Martyn’s “affirmative vote requesting the Honolulu City Council approve the issuance and sale of ($292 million in) rail general obligation bonds. This action was taken while Mr. Martyn also served as Stifel Financial Corp’s Branch Manager and Vice President of Investments.”

The city did not respond to a request for information about Stifel’s role in the sale of the bonds.

Iwasa, a certified fraud examiner, said Stifel was involved in the sale of some bonds for HART, and the timing of the firm’s involvement would be critical in determining whether Martyn had a conflict of interest.

As the HART board chairman, Martyn voted Jan. 30, 2020, to recommend the City Council approve a bond sale without disclosing a possible conflict, Iwasa said.

“The timing of that seems he probably knew Stifle would be involved,” she said. “Based on my understanding of the law, he should have disclosed that. … It’s important to follow the timeline.”…

Fevella also alleged that Martyn was involved in a “possible violation” of Hawaii’s Sunshine Law by meeting with board Vice Chairman Hoyt Zia and board member Lynn McCrory in December.

Fevella also wants investigations into whether HART violated state procurement laws while soliciting two bids, including a nearly $1 million consulting contract to Hana­busa, a former congresswoman.

Board member Kika Bukoski shares Fevella’s concerns and has urged that they be discussed in public at the board level….

At the same time, the term of one of the HART board’s newest and most outspoken board members, Joe Uno, is scheduled to expire Wednesday.

Uno runs his own construction cost consulting firm and was named last year to fill the rest of the term of former board member John Henry Felix. Uno has since been calling for the rail project to end at the planned Lagoon Drive rail station, just one stop short of the Middle Street station.

Uno’s seat is appointed by the City Council, and as of Friday, Uno had not been notified that he could speak before the Council to testify on behalf of his reappointment.

“It would be a real big mistake to not reappoint (me),” Uno said. “Transparency’s out the window if they don’t reappoint me.”…

read … Uncertainty remains for rail project, board chairman

Sykap Sister Allegedly Threatens Family of Police Officers

HNN: … On her private Instagram account, the older sister of 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap condemned the officers who took part in the shooting of her brother.

“Watch me find ways to kill urs (sic) then you,” wrote Nia Sykap. “Oh someone’s got kids ... yessir. Hope y’all’s wife can fight too.”

Retired federal agent Tommy Aiu believes the Honolulu Police Department or federal law enforcement can open a terroristic threatening investigation based on this Instagram posts.

“She went way beyond that. She went way beyond f-bombs. It’s actual threats, I’m going to kill you, yours and your family,” Aiu said.

“Police need to proceed with caution to make sure the officers are safe, their family are safe because when these kinds of threats are levied, you never know what can happen….

“That’s a natural kind of reaction. They’re not going to go out and do anything against these police officers the way the police have been coming by bothering them,” said Seitz….

read … In online post, sister of teen killed by officers makes threats that could lead to more legal trouble

Why Oahu Neighborhoods Have Such Sharp Differences In Vaccination Rates

CB: … Six months after the first doses landed in Hawaii, more than 70% of people in one East Honolulu ZIP code have been inoculated against COVID-19.

But drive an hour north up to Haleiwa, and that percentage drops in half, according to the most recent data from the state Department of Health.

Despite a statewide vaccination rate of 57%, broad swaths of Oahu still have fewer than 35% of their residents vaccinated against COVID-19. In Wahiawa and large parts of the North Shore and West Oahu, vaccination rates lag noticeably behind….

Pham thinks by now, Oahu residents who were eagerly waiting for vaccines likely have snagged appointments. The challenge is reaching people who aren’t opposed to the vaccine but might not take it unless it is easy to get.

Vaccines have become more readily available in recent months, with some pharmacies offering walk-in hours, schools giving shots and mobile units conducting outreach. But people who live in remote, rural areas remain at a disadvantage, especially if they are already on the fence about whether to get a vaccine.

“It’s much easier for folks who live in town to get it,” Pham said. “(The vaccine is) easily available six days a week, seven days a week, here in town, whereas out there they might only have a clinic once a week so it would have to correspond to the day that they’re not working or they have the time off.”

“We hear it from people all the time: ‘If you hadn’t come out, I wouldn’t have gotten vaccinated,'” he added….

read … Why Oahu Neighborhoods Have Such Sharp Differences In Vaccination Rates

Hawaii set to tighten loophole on law banning ghost guns

KITV: … This week, Governor David Ige is set to expand a law covering firearms that have no serial number, also known as "ghost guns." The weapons are assembled from parts ordered online, making them untraceable.

State Representative Pat Branco joined Good Morning Hawaii to talk about House Bill 1366, which makes it illegal to possess parts of a ghost gun, regardless when they were acquired. Currently, it is a class C felony offense to manufacture, purchase or obtain firearm parts to assemble a firearm having no serial number. If signed by Governor Ige, the law would take effect Jan. 1, 2022….

read … Hawaii set to tighten loophole on law banning ghost guns

VA Wants A Review Of Hawaii’s Veterans Cemeteries After Finding Two In Rough Shape

CB: … Headstones with wrong names and dates, misaligned rows and temporary grave markers that haven’t been replaced in more than half a century. Those were some of the problems found in two veterans cemeteries in Hawaii during a recent audit by the Department of Veterans Affairs watchdog.

The VA’s inspector general called for a review of Hawaii’s eight state veteran cemeteries after the audit of cemeteries nationwide found that the federal Veterans Cemetery Grants Program did not always award grants to correctly ensure that states were adhering to standards.

The report, which was published Thursday, singled out cemeteries in Hilo and Makawao as having what investigators considered to be “critical” problems, many of which appeared to go back decades….

read … VA Wants A Review Of Hawaii’s Veterans Cemeteries After Finding Two In Rough Shape

Tourists Complain Hawaii is too Crowded

SA: … Overall visitor satisfaction during the pandemic is trending downward as more arrive in the islands, according to the Visitor COVID-19 study, an online survey conducted in June for the Hawaii Tourism Authority by Anthology Group. Responses came from visitors who traveled to Hawaii from May 15 to 24.

Visitor satisfaction dropped from 85% who would rate their Hawaii visit as excellent in the December 2020/January 2021 survey to 76% in the June 2021 survey.

Limited capacity and availability at restaurants and attractions was the biggest concern for visitors, with 30% of survey respondents indicating it was an issue. Another 17% said Hawaii’s COVID-19 mandates and rules were confusing and that Hawaii was too crowded. Some 15% wanted fewer COVID restrictions. The lack of rental cars and transportation alternatives was a problem for 11%.

The percentage of travelers who are “very likely” to recommend Hawaii to a friend or family member as a place to visit in the next six months also dropped, from 86% in the December 2020/January 2021 survey to 64% in the June study….

Then there were lines, everywhere, even at the shave ice and ice cream shops….  

read … Hawaii businesses, tourists struggle with pandemic-induced changes

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