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Wednesday, January 4, 2023
January 4, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:29 PM :: 3434 Views

Taxes, housing drive people from Hawaii, policy group says

Feds: Jail Guards Smuggling Illegal Fireworks thru OCCC Mailroom

HNN: … Law enforcement sources tell HNN the jail was tipped off by an inspector from the U.S. Postal Service.

(TRANSLATION: Once again, without the Feds, this case would have been swept under the carpet.)

It appears this wasn’t the only suspicious delivery. But exactly what happened to the other boxes remains unclear.

On Dec. 6, records show three hefty packages were delivered to OCCC’s mailroom.

Sources say the boxes contained about 86 pounds of illegal fireworks. All of the parcels were addressed to the same inmate and appeared to have been shipped from Las Vegas, sources said.

Earlier that same day, (forced into a corner by the Postal Inspectors) mailroom staff reported being approached by a corrections officer looking for three boxes.

He allegedly claimed they were Christmas gifts he’d sent to the facility under an inmate’s name and he added that he’d picked up several other packages the day before (and the other guards gave him the packages).

(This is why your property assessments are going up--to pay people like him more.)

“Part of me thinks it’s ingenious. The other part of me thinks it’s despicable,” said state Sen. Glenn Wakai, chair of the State Senate Committee….

(How is it ‘ingenious’ to ship non-jail contraband into a jail?  Is it because we all know the guards will all look the other way?  Remember: You only are hearing about this case because of the Postal Inspectors.)

A spokesperson said in a statement: “The Honolulu Police Department was called to OCCC on Dec. 29 to take custody of undisclosed contraband sent through the mail to the facility.”

Wakai said the case could become a federal one.

“Who knows how long this has been happening?” Wakai said. “I’m hopeful that if this case in fact goes to trial that it’s taken over by the feds. The penalties on the federal side are far more stringent than the state side.”

Sources say the inmate those confiscated fireworks were addressed to isn’t even housed at OCCC. He’s serving his sentence in Arizona….

read … Corrections officer suspected after major illegal aerial fireworks bust at Oahu jail

HPD: Unfair to ask us to Enforce Fireworks Laws--Get the Feds to do it

HNN: … “It’s not fair with 2,000 officers out there trying to do what they do every day, and then to add fireworks into that would not be fair to us,” he said….

Amid a debate over changes to fireworks laws in the wake of a loud and dangerous new year, both Honolulu’s police chief and its mayor said Tuesday that long-term, systemic changes are needed to ease the situation.

Despite the concern, neither provided an outline on what that would look like.

“I think that’s going to take federal, state and local entities working together strategically to look at one, how are they getting here, and number two, how can we as an organization among our federal and state partners help to curb or eradicate what’s coming in,” Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan said….

(Translation: If you want law enforcement, ask the Feds to do it.)

KHON: Investigation led HPD to drugs, illegal fireworks arrest

read … Honolulu’s mayor, police chief say systemic changes needed after ‘disturbing’ night of fireworks

Sierra Club: We Will Destroy Dawn Chang  just as we destroyed Carlton Ching

SA: …The recent nomination of Dawn Chang as DLNR’s chairperson may be a nod to Green’s commitment to diversity, but it also raises deep concerns in our Hawaiian and environmental communities….

…Gov. Green, please do not make the same mistake that Gov. David Ige did in 2015, when he nominated developer Carlton Ching to lead DLNR. You saw with your own eyes how that attempt crashed and burned in the state Senate….

We need a reformer for the DLNR chairperson and an advocate for resources protection, not further resources exploitation. I urge the governor to withdraw Dawn Chang’s name and instead, nominate a strong, pono leader with proven integrity who will truly carry out DLNR’s mandate and begin its long-overdue reform….

read … Is DLNR nominee first stumble for Green?

Councilmembers: We intend to keep the Swollen Property Tax and Give it to Unions

HNN: … Meanwhile, the council and mayor have only a few months to decide whether big increases in property values estimated by county assessors will lead directly to matching property tax increases.

The assessments are as much as 20%, which translates into a $700 tax increase on a million-dollar home.

It is now up to the administration to set rates or design exemptions, depending on what it takes to balance the city budget which has its own challenges.

Council Budget Chair Calvin Say is cautious about promising relief, especially facing big budget challenges ― including paying for salary and benefits for public workers.

“We are having a difficult time and I think we are we are doing our best to come up with a balanced budget first and foremost and to see if there is any excess funds that we could use as giving back to the general public as relief,” Say said.

Waters seemed equally concerned and cautious, pointing out that the city relies primarily on property taxes without many other sources of significant revenue.

“We have a shortage of police officers. We have a shortage of workers in the city ― 3,000 workers,” Waters said. “We have to make sure we can pay a living wage so they can stay and live in Hawaii.”…

read … New members sworn in as City Council faces a year of financial and tax challenges ahead

New Council Sworn In, Eliminates Remote Testimony--Then Changes Mind

CB: … changed voting procedures so that two-thirds of the entire council must participate to rezone a land category designated “important agricultural lands.”…

(CLUE: Carpenters Union must have something specific in mind.)

…the former zoning and planning committee, which had become overwhelmed with dozens of projects and initiatives to oversee, has been divided into two — one called zoning and the other planning and the economy….

The council members adopted two resolutions Tuesday.

Resolution 22-295 revised city council rules, amending the sunshine law to eliminate the opportunity to offer remote testimony and making it easier for the council chair to “establish requirements for the presentation of such testimony”….

The amendment to city rules also eliminates a provision that required the council to specify on committee reports who had contacted them in support of or in opposition to proposed legislation including which “institutions, organizations and governmental agencies” had submitted testimony or had “offered comments” about the measure under consideration….

The new rules will also make it easier for council members to avoid saying, precisely, whether they support or oppose a motion. Instead of having to say “aye, with reservations,” it will now be possible to say “with reservations,” or simply “reservations.” This wording puts the vote into the “aye” category without the need to say “aye,” while the city clerk is directed to register it as an “aye” vote….

A second resolution, 22-294, named Waters chair once again. The council announced council member Esther Kiaaina will continue to play the role of vice-chair and Radiant Cordero will be floor leader….

  • Cordero will also chair the budget committee.
  • Dos Santos-Tam will head two committees, transportation and executive matters and legal affairs.
  • Calvin Say will chair the zoning committee.
  • Augie Tulba will chair parks, enterprise services and culture and the arts.
  • Weyer will head the committee on housing, sustainability and health.
  • Kiaaina will chair the planning and economy committee.
  • Okimoto will chair the committee on public safety.
  • Andria Tupola will chair the committee on public infrastructure and technology.
  • Waters will chair the committee on executive management.

SA: 3 new members sworn in at year’s first City Council meeting  

UPDATE: Honolulu Council Chair: ‘Remote Testimony Is Here To Stay’

read … New Council Sworn In But Remote Testimony May Be On The Way Out

Dozens of concealed carry permits issued on Kaua‘i

TGI: … At a Police Commission meeting in December 2022, KPD Chief Todd Raybuck announced that as of the end of November 2022, the department issued 47 licenses to carry.

Raybuck reported 54 applicants had submitted a total of 66 applications to concealed carry (with some submitting separate applications for multiple firearms). No concealed carry permit applications were denied, he said.

Though the police department did not provide figures on the number of permits issued in December 2022, conversations with firearm training instructors show this number has likely reached triple digits….

read … Dozens of concealed carry permits issued on Kaua‘i

Not a Sanctuary State?  Hawaii ‘Progressives’ Want to Ban ‘Aliens’ from Owning Property

TGI: … Gary Hooser: Hopefully, also legislators will utilize the county and state tax structure to dis-incentivize (code for punish, reduce, eliminate by making it very expensive) foreign, offshore, and nonresident ownership of residential real estate.

Legislators should consider, as well, prohibiting the ownership of agricultural land by “aliens and non-American corporations” as is done in Minnesota and a handful of other U.S. states. Read: Regulation on foreign ownership of agricultural land: A state-by-state breakdown (2017), at https://bit.ly/3IhlJjS ….

Hooser is board president of the Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action and is executive director of the Pono Hawai‘i Initiative.

read … Hooser: Legislative reform: ‘A deep moral crisis’

Condo Owners Want More Power To Fight Their Homeowners Boards

CB: … A new effort is afoot to get the Legislature to create an ombudsman for condos and homeowners’ associations….  

read … Condo Owners Want More Power To Fight Their Homeowners Boards

Homeless Trash Snuffs out Eternal Flame

SA: … The state Department of Accounting and General Services, which is responsible for maintaining the memorial, said the propane-­fueled burner is in need of repairs. “The burner has been damaged due to trash being thrown in on the burner. … Some individuals in the area tend to litter,” said DAGS spokesman Tony Benabese. “(We) have a team working on it, but it’s real specialized. So they’re trying to get the parts to get it done.” ….

read … Eternal flame for Hawaii’s veterans and fallen snuffed out

Group looks to speed up $2B-plus effort to cut Hawaii’s cesspools

SA: … A task force led by the state’s health director is recommending that the Legislature advance a deadline to eliminate many of the roughly 83,000 homeowner cesspools in Hawaii to protect human and environmental health, an estimated $2 billion or more endeavor.

The Cesspool Conversion Working Group, formed in 2018, recommends that a 2050 deadline to eliminate all homeowner cesspools in the state be advanced to 2030 and 2035 for 26,188 cesspools that pose higher pollution risks.

The accelerated deadline is one of many recommendations in a report recently delivered to the Legislature by the 16-member group chaired by state Health Director Elizabeth Char after four years of work….   

SA Editorial: Advance deadlines to close cesspools

KITV: Switching out a cesspool could cost anywhere between $10,000 and $38,000

read … Group looks to speed up $2B-plus effort to cut Hawaii’s cesspools

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