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Wednesday, December 8, 2021
December 8, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:08 PM :: 2912 Views

Navy: State has no Authority over Red Hill Tanks

HNN: … Ige says he informed Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro Monday the order was coming to cease operations and remove the fuel in the storage tanks at Red Hill.

But the secretary appeared to dismiss state’s authority.

“It’s not an order,” Del Toro told the media. “It’s a request and we are taking that very seriously and engaging a series of conversations before I decide to take actions.” …

read … Navy fights state order to shut down and empty Red Hill fuel tanks

Attack on Auditor Shows Belatti is a Lousy Lawyer

CB: … After holding 25 informational briefings, listening to some two dozen subpoenaed witnesses and reviewing 26,000 pages of documents, a House investigative committee looking into two state audits is moving closer to completing work that began this summer.

A report from the committee is due to the Legislature by Jan. 19. It will likely involve recommending statutory changes to the government agencies that were the subject of the audits — a 2019 audit of the Department of Land and Natural Resources special land development fund and a 2021 audit of the Agribusiness Development Corp.

But there have as yet been no firm recommendations made public, and the committee may this Wednesday schedule more briefings and more subpoenas this month.

They include the possibility of looking at contracts that were issued as part of the 2019 audits on the Honolulu rail project, even though the House resolution establishing the investigative committee does not say anything at all about rail….

It is also an opportunity to examine whether the state auditor — an office that Belatti has repeatedly pointed out falls under the purview of the Legislature — is doing its job. The initial assumption on the part of House leadership appears to be that it has fallen short, though it does not appear that State Auditor Les Kondo’s job is in jeopardy, barring new developments. He has two and a half years left on his contract, and he says he wants to continue the work.

To detractors, none more so than Kondo himself, the investigation is not doing what it should be — namely, addressing the findings and recommendations in the SLDF and ADC audits. Instead, it amounts to an unwarranted attack on him and his office, one that has impacted staff morale and productivity, he says.

A major concern for Kondo is that the House is stomping on the auditor’s constitutionally established purpose to be nonpartisan and independent, which is intended to shield it from political interference….

While all but one of the 51 House members voted in favor of creating the House investigative committee, several dissidents have privately criticized Belatti as a poor lawyer who seems to be on an ill-defined fishing expedition to find something that makes Kondo look bad.

House leaders’ actions involving Kondo included a bill co-introduced by Belatti and House Speaker Scott Saiki early this year to allow the Legislature to set the salary of the auditor (it died).

Saiki also moved to cut the budget of the auditor in half (he failed) and Saiki and Belatti pushed to place five key Hawaii watchdog agencies — including the Office of the Auditor — into a new Office of Public Accountability (it died too).

But a House-ordered review of the auditor’s office went through, and in April its authors, led by former City and County of Honolulu Auditor Edwin Young, issued a so-called “audit of the auditor” that heavily criticized Kondo’s work….

REALITY: Hanabusa Attack on Auditor is all about hiding corruption in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

read … House Panel’s Rare And Controversial Investigation Of Audits Drawing To A Close

HART Agrees To Install Equipment To Mitigate Electricity Issues

CB: … The Honolulu rail authority has agreed to install special equipment to prevent any sudden swings in the electric voltage as the electric trains depart from the stations in neighborhoods around the rail line, according to a new report from a federal consultant.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will install seven units known as “STATCOMs” along the western end of the rail line by 2025, a step that moves the city closer to resolving an issue that was raised by the Hawaiian Electric Co. years ago.

The rail system’s four-car trains will need brief bursts of electrical power as they leave the 21 stations along the line, and HECO officials were concerned because the utility’s circuits are not designed for that kind of abrupt change in load….

Whatever the final cost turns out to be, HART will have to pay it….

SA: WATCH LIVE: HART CEO Lori Kahikina joins the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s ‘Spotlight Hawaii’

read … HART Agrees To Install Equipment To Mitigate Electricity Issues

Senate Confirms Connors To Serve As US Attorney For Hawaii

CB: … Claire Connors, who served under Gov. David Ige as Hawaii attorney general, on Tuesday was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. attorney for Hawaii.

The vote was unanimous, according to a press release from Sen. Mazie Hirono’s office….

Background: Big Win for Mafia: Biden Appoints AG Connors US Attorney

read … Senate Confirms Connors To Serve As US Attorney For Hawaii

Hele-On could become free

HTH: … The countywide Hele-On bus system could become free of charge next year, interim Mass Transit Administrator John Andoh told County Council members Tuesday….

read … Hele-On could become free

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