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Monday, December 20, 2021
December 20, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:01 PM :: 2892 Views

Hawaii--2nd Lowest Job Growth in USA

Kalani HS and Waipahu HS will compete in Hawaii LifeSmarts State Competition

'Affordable Connectivity Program' to Subsidize Broadband for 100,000 in Hawaii

Another Miske Case Defendant Released--to Custody of ‘Miske Enterprise’ Family

CB: … ILLUSION: During a Thursday morning hearing, Federal Judge Derrick Watson overturned a magistrate judge’s earlier ruling and ordered Kaulana Freitas released to home detention, subject to a number of restrictions, including a ban on leaving Oahu, GPS tracking and random drug testing.

Freitas, 33, whose nickname is “Shorty,” is charged with being part of Miske’s racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to and using a termite treatment chemical as a ”chemical weapon” in an attack on a Honolulu nightclub, and joining with other Miske co-defendants in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs….

Freitas will be the fifth of Miske’s 12 co-defendants to be released pending trial. A sixth has already pleaded guilty and is free pending sentencing, now scheduled for early 2022….

A report prepared by the court’s Pretrial Services and available at the time of the earlier hearing concluded Freitas has “extensive ties to the community and a history of employment. He has a minimal history of substance abuse and no known mental health issues.” (LOL)

Victor also said Freitas’ father, Edward “Denny” Freitas, Jr., had removed any and all firearms and ammunition from his home, and moved them to a locked safe in a different location…. (End Illusion)

REALITY: Kaulana Freitas’ mother, Heidi (Ivester) Freitas, is a first cousin of Mike Miske. Her late mother, Eldoreen (Lau) Ivester, was the sister of Maydeen (Lau) Stancil, mother of both Miske and his half-brother and co-defendant, John Stancil.

Heidi Freitas’ brother (and also Mike Miske’s first cousin) Craig Ivester, was convicted by a jury in December 2000 of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, and money laundering involving the proceeds of drug trafficking. He was sentenced to 20-years in federal prison.

Ivester was released from federal custody in April 2017. In 2019, he reported living in Henderson, Nevada, about 16 miles from downtown Las Vegas, federal court records show.

Nevada business records show Ivester and his wife formed a business earlier this year which is registered at a Las Vegas address.

Freitas’ father, Edward “Denny” Freitas, operated Kamaaina Plumbing, one of the businesses owned by Miske, for several years, but appears to have severed his relations with Miske, his former wife’s cousin, sometime around 2015, state business registration records indicate. He was replaced as general manager of Kamaaina Plumbing by another of Miske’s cousins, Allen Lau.

There is also a question of how much of Kaulana Freitas’ employment history, cited by Victor in the pending appeal, was tied to Mike Miske’s businesses.

State records show Freitas was licensed as a pest control operator for Miske’s Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control. He was also licensed as a car salesman in 2015, at the same time another Miske company, Hawaii Partners LLC, was licensed as a used car dealer….

read … Another Miske Case Defendant Released Pending Trial

Subsidized Mafia Filmmakers are Cheating on GE Taxes--So Legislators Want to Increase Their Subsidy

CB: … For every dollar spent on a production, Hawaii pays up to 20-25 cents (in subsidies), with a cumulative cap of $50 million per year. That resulted in $38.9 million paid to productions in 2019, the last year for which the tax department has data ….

Now, Isaac Choy, the director of the Department of Taxation, is seeking to change Hawaii’s tax laws to make sure the state collects all of the revenue due from the productions. That includes general excise taxes that Choy says out-of-state talent and their accountants often simply don’t know they’re supposed to pay.

“We’re giving away $50 million a year, and it’s my job to make sure the giveaway produces the most benefit for the state,” Choy said.

To that end, the proposed legislation would require productions to pay the taxes directly to the department rather than relying on actors and their accountants to do so….

Georja Skinner oversees the Hawaii Film Office as the chief of the Department of Economic Development’s Creative Industries Division. She said it’s important to show the value of the industry to the community and economy (for instance: giving underemployed hit men a side gig.)….

Still, Wakai and Quinlan both said there could be something for the industry too. For example, Wakai noted his bill would extend the tax credit program to 2032 from 2025, when it is now set to expire.

Quinlan said lawmakers also might be willing to lift the $50 million annual cap on tax credits this session. But Quinlan said lawmakers first need to gather more information from an industry that often wants keep things close to the vest.

“We can’t increase the cap until we have the data,” he said.


read … Lawmakers: Are Actors In Hawaii Productions Paying Enough In Taxes?

The Hawaii Legislature needs to reopen immediately for in-person interaction.

CB: … The Hawaii Legislature needs to reopen immediately for in-person interaction.

Up until last week when Covid daily case numbers reached as high as 972 new infections in one day, our local government was opening everything up and acting as if the crisis was over. That is, they were opening everything up except their own facilities, which are locked up tighter than Fort Knox when it comes to public health restrictions. It’s safe to basically do whatever you want again on Oahu, but don’t you dare try to go into a government building.

The Hawaii Legislature, which is arguably the most important public place of engagement, needs to reopen to the public if everything else is going to be open. Remote/virtual engagement is not the same as in-person engagement, and has many disadvantages for the public when it comes to meeting with legislators or enforcing political accountability. The time for excuses is over. If it’s safe to engage in economic activity to pay taxes, you better believe it’s safe to meet in-person with my legislator.

We need to aggressively fight and expose corruption in local government.

Perhaps someone needs to pitch to the producers of the PBS documentary series “Frontline” doing a TV special on how messed up things are in Hawaii government. “Frontline” is an amazing show that blows the lid on some of the most despicable global dictators and unforgivable policy blunders, but all these things pale in comparison to the dystopia that Hawaii residents live under.

We have a terrible local pattern of enabling incompetence, looking the other way on corruption, and doing nothing when it comes to fighting back against bad government. We need to grow a spine in Hawaii politics and stop being so complacent….

read … Danny De Gracia: Christmas Would Be Merrier If We Could Fix These Five Things

Hawaii State Legislators meet with Assistant Secretary of the Navy

KITV: … "What I thought was the most refreshing outcome of this meeting was the Navy's acknowledgement that they have had many missteps in communicating to all of us," said Sen. Glenn Wakai.

Kim saying another message they really tried to get across is the reserve fuel storage facility at Red Hill 'has outgrown it's use.'

"We have this emergency proclamation and it appears they are fighting it," said Kim. "They need to be working with the community in resolving this issue instead of taking the attitude that their strategic mission, need for the fuel is more important than our aquifer and the safety and cleanliness of our water system."

When asked if any decisions were made during the meeting regarding the facility or the contaminated water, the answer was 'no.'

"One of the things I brought up is that these listening sessions are fine and well, but at the end of the day we want to actually know who is going to be making these decisions and when will these decisions be made?

But Stat Representative Ryan Yamane telling media - no timeline was given on when decisions will be made.

State Representative Aaron Ling Johanson pointing to a hearing happening on Monday, Dec. 20.

"I think everybody is waiting to see what happens on Monday, and Monday will be a good indicator of how much the military posture has changed and potentially softened or if its stayed the same," said Johanson.

Monday at 8 a.m., the Navy is set to present evidence as to why they are contesting the the State's emergency order demanding the suspension of the facility remain in effect until independent evaluators can ensure that appropriate actions are taken to protect drinking water.

read … Hawaii State Legislators meet with Assistant Secretary of the Navy

TheBus Hackers from Russia?

SA: … City information technology officials speculate the attack was the work of hackers affiliated with Russia but acknowledge the investigation into the incident by the FBI, Honolulu police and U.S. Secret Service is ongoing. A warning not to interfere while the hackers infiltrated OTS systems was allegedly connected to a Russian email address.

Separately last week, an apparent ransomware attack infiltrated and shut down the time-keeping services for employees at the Board of Water Supply and Emergency Medical Services — part of a nationwide offensive on public and private networks that could take weeks to fix.

Over the past year, scheduling, real-time location services, and operating systems for buses and paratransit services in five other municipal transportation entities have also come under attack.

“We don’t have any specific knowledge of targeted information, but are collaborating with other transit agencies and authorities who have experienced similar cyber-attacks in the past year,” Travis Ota, spokesman for the city Department of Transportation Services, in a statement to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The city and OTS are working with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Santa Clara Valley (Calif.) Transportation Authority, Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Ann Arbor (Mich.) Area Transportation Authority to understand the system disruption…. 

PBN: HOLO card operations recover from cyber-attack

read … City and agencies confer with other hacking targets

Hawaii County Redistricting Commission continues tinkering with council districts

HTH: … Residents attending public hearings in Kona and Hilo this past week were pretty clear: They didn’t want the Kailua Village business district to be split between County Council districts, nor Waimea, nor Hawaiian Paradise Park, nor the Keaukaha and Panaewa Hawaiian Home Lands property.

The county Redistricting Commission did its best to honor those requests at a meeting Friday, but, after more than four hours of tinkering, were able to accomplish only one of those: it put both Keaukaha and Panaewa back together in Council District 3….

read … Redistricting Commission continues tinkering with council districts

State’s pension fund 2.1% gain

SA: … Hawaii’s largest public pension fund, coming off its best performance in its 95-year history, continued its momentum by starting the new fiscal year on a positive note.

The state Employees’ Retirement System, which provides benefits to more than 148,000 members and beneficiaries, achieved a 2.1% return on its investments in its fiscal first quarter as the fund’s assets rose to a record $21.8 billion, according to a new quarterly report presented to ERS trustees by investment adviser Meketa Investment Group.

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, the ERS fund posted a record 26.2% investment return….

read … State’s pension fund on a roll with 2.1% gain

Honolulu’s 911 diversion program panders to homeless lunatic drug addicts in effort to reduce 911 abuse

SA: … A pregnant, homeless woman goes into labor on the street in Chinatown….“Where’s the OB kit?” he asks two other CORE emergency medical technicians in the front seat of the rig one recent morning. Ireland explains that they may have to deliver the child where the woman is sitting: on the corner of North Pauahi and Hotel streets….

When CORE arrives an EMS ambulance is already there, and the woman is resisting first responders, asking them to let her finish her lunch. Eventually, she is transported to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women &Children, and a CORE member goes along…

One of the key differences between CORE and a traditional ambulance is time, Ireland said.

“If it’s paramedics and EMTs, they’re going to save your life. But once they get them to the ER, that’s the end of the relationship … they’ve got to go to the next 911 call,” said Ireland. “Whereas, CORE this morning for three hours was there with one person. And we ended up taking him to his doctor’s office at the VA.”

Ireland explained that if they had taken the man to the ER, once he was released he would have immediately called 911 again. In one instance, EMS served that man three times in one day.

“I feel like today was like groundbreaking,” said Jolene Chun, one of the CORE EMTs.

“Ordinarily, we’re only going to ERs. He didn’t need that, so being able to have the patience to take him where he needed to be — that’s the thing.”

Chun was with EMS on traditional ambulances for the past five years, before joining CORE.

That’s CORE’s goal, to come in contact with the homeless individuals who generate the most 911 calls. Ireland estimated that by convincing even just one to enter a shelter or seek permanent housing, it could save 100 911 calls a year.

Of the 10 people who call EMS most, five of them generate 80 calls a month….

(Better Idea: Reopen the insane asylums.  Sentence the insane to incarceration in the asylums until cured.)

SA Editorial: Breaking the cycle of homelessness

SA Column: Taking action in memory of those who died without a home

read … Honolulu’s 911 diversion program aspires to bring new approach to homelessness

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