Please Cut Taxes in 2023
State with worst roads--Hawaii
Second Circuit Seeking Applicants for Independent Grand Jury Counsel
Hawaii Long COVID Sufferers Working only Two Jobs Instead of Three
Nakipi Motorcycle Club Collecting Drug Debts for Miske-Six Deaths?
ILind: … According to this particular rumor, there was a cluster of suicides of perhaps six young men on the Windward side sometime around 2015-2016. The victims supposedly owed drug debts, perhaps having been “fronted” drugs, and were slow in paying. Collections during this period were allegedly being made by some members of the Nakipi Motorcycle Club, a gang known as the 44 (from Kaneohe’s 96744 zip code) who were involved in the drug trade and, prosecutors say, operated under the umbrella of Miske’s “Enterprise.”
During this period, Nakipi members were known to hang out at the Four4 Bar in Kaneohe. Among them was Norman Akau, one of the founders of Nakipi. He was also one of the original co-defendants in Miske’s pending federal criminal case, and pleaded guilty in June 2021 to being a participant in Miske’s racketeering conspiracy, while also admitting he had been involved in drug trafficking, a murder-for-hire plot Miske sponsored, and other violent acts.
Others included Lindsey Kinney, at one time among the leadership of Nakipi, and Jacob “Jake” Smith, a drug dealer with a reputation for violence and the martial arts skills to back it up. At the time, Smith was dealing drugs with Nakipi members, and was “on call” to assault victims at Miske’s request, for which he was paid in cash. Like Akau, he has also pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors, and is widely expected to be an important witness against Miske.
Lindsey Kinney had been the “enforcer” for Nakipi, but split from the group in early 2016 after allegedly turning down a cash offer from Miske to kill Jonathan Fraser, who suddenly disappeared in July 2016. Prosecutors allege Fraser was the victim of a murder plot Miske set in motion and paid for.
In one version of the suicide rumor, threats of violence by members of the 44 if debts weren’t paid drove the victims to suicide. Another version says they killed the kids and staged the deaths to appear as suicides….
I was able to speak with a mother whose son died in an apparent suicide during this period. This was a hard discussion to have, complete with tears and hugs as she recalled finding his body. She didn’t think her son dealt drugs, although he liked to smoke weed, which was certainly not unusual. Coincidentally, he had known Johnny Fraser, who attended his funeral, although his mother didn’t think they had kept in touch in recent years. And the family lived just a short distance from the Kaneohe home of an active drug dealer in Miske’s network who has already pleaded guilty….
(An Oct 2017) case reflecting threats of violence used by Miske’s associates to collect drug debts led to the death of 24-year old Dayson “Dace” Kaae…..
read … Digging into another Miske-related rumor
223% Increase in Property Taxes on Long-Term Rental Units
CB: … Over the last two years, from 2021 to 2023, the property value assessment for the house we own in Kailua’s Coconut Grove, which is in a long-term rental, increased 43%. This is extraordinary and unanticipated.
But wait! Our property taxes have not increased “only” 43%. Nope, as a result of being pushed into Residential A rates in 2022 with an initial, whopping 31% increase in value assessed, those property taxes more than doubled from $266 a month to $545 a month, and it appears they are set to increase another 9% this coming year, based on another $107,700 increase in theoretical value….
Do The Math: 1.09 x 545 = $594 594/266 = 223% increase
Big Q: Are you concerned about being able to pay your increased property taxes?
read … Blangiardi, Kiaaina Must Act On 'Residential A' Property Taxes
State considers another $300 tax refund
HNN: … Fresh from issuing a $300 tax rebate to residents, Gov. Josh Green’s administration is considering another tax refund this year.
But unlike the previous rebate, this one is for the middle-class and low-income residents struggling with Hawaii’s high cost of living and inflation.
“We’re looking at all types of support that we can do to the residents of the state, especially those that are within the middle and lower income to provide them the kind of relief in order to reduce their cost of living,” said state Budget Director Luis Salaveria.
Sources say the tax refund could total anywhere from $100 million to $300 million.
The latter is nearly the same amount approved by lawmakers last year.
The refund proposal is part of the Green Administration’s tax relief plan, which will also include exemptions and credits for food and even vehicle registrations.
The tax refunds are an outgrowth of the positive outlook for Hawaii’s economy….
read … State considers another tax refund to ease pinch of Hawaii’s rising cost of living
New Clinic for Military Families Exposed to Red Hill Fuel a 'Dog and Pony Show,' Patients Say
MC: … Army Maj. Mandy Feindt, who has become an outspoken advocate for families exposed during the contamination in 2021, called the rollout a missed opportunity to help suffering families, many of whom have sought medical care in the community because they didn't feel supported in the military health system.
"Why don't they have a dedicated phone line? [Families] are having to retell their stories to people on the mainland who don't know anything about Red Hill. For as much money and time as the department had for getting this right, it's a huge slap in the face," Feindt said….
More than 110 plaintiffs have joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy over the contamination, seeking compensation for the physical, emotional and financial strain they say was placed on them as a result of the Navy's failure to investigate and adequately respond to the spill….
SA Editorial: More Red Hill missteps by Navy
read … New Clinic for Military Families Exposed to Red Hill Fuel a 'Dog and Pony Show,' Patients Say
Hawaii County permitting process “extremely unusual” in the industry
HTH: … Tinner found several practices within the permitting process that are “extremely unusual” in the industry, such as delegating “virtually all” structural plan reviews for conventional single-family homes to licensed engineers on staff. Tinner wrote that the talents of the county’s licensed staff should be reserved for more complex projects.
Similarly, rooftop photovoltaic systems are often exempt from planning requirements, with many municipalities waiving the need for solar installations to be designed by licensed professionals. Not so in Hawaii County, which Tinner judged to be another major inefficiency.
Tinner also acknowledged that many of the county’s permitting process woes stem from the implementation of the Energov and EPIC systems.
While Tinner concluded that the EPIC implementation “to a great extent looks to have been successful,” he added that Energov is notorious throughout the industry as being frustrating to work with and leading to problems that require additional expenditures to resolve.
Other problems he cited included a lack of awareness among staff about certain civil concepts and management practices, and a lack of participation by department management in the annual updates to the International Building Code.
Ultimately, Tinner made a series of recommendations, ranging from minor technical changes in its software implementation, additional training for staff, and increasing plan review fees. Currently, the county’s plan review fees are 20% of the building permit fee, but the industry standard is a 65% fee, although Tinner noted that “raising fees brings political implications.”
Pause on Wednesday acknowledged that most of these recommendations can be implemented, but said he has not yet developed a timeline or a priority list to determine when those changes can occur….
read … Consultant finds numerous flaws in county’s building permit process
Demand for SNAP up; increase in Social Security benefits could impact eligibility
HTH: … Prior to 2020, the state was averaging 153,000 individuals receiving SNAP benefits, but in April of 2020, that number jumped to 171,451. Then in July 2021, the number reached an all-time high of 206,226 people….
Since April 2020, 48,581 East Hawaii residents applied for SNAP benefits. For Hawaii County, that total was just under 80,000.
“Prior to the pandemic in February 2020, we had about 4,400 applications coming in per month for SNAP,” said Morishigi. “Today, that number is about 6,600 per month.”…
read … Demand for SNAP up; increase in Social Security benefits could impact eligibility
Soft on Crime: After Three Armed Standoffs, Criminal May Finally get Time in Prison instead of ‘Supervised Release’
TGI: … The man who triggered a six-hour police standoff at Sun Village in July 2022 has agreed to a plea deal.
Derek Hal Smith Bracken, 61, pleaded no contest at the state courthouse in Lihu‘e on Tuesday to charges of burglary in the first degree, assault in the second degree assault and criminal property damage in the third degree for the incident, which hospitalized a 65-year-old resident of the condo complex.
In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop additional charges of kidnapping and criminal trespassing.
Bracken could now face up to 16 years in state prison and a fine of $37,000. He will be sentenced at a hearing in March.
Prosecutors said this was the third police standoff that Bracken has caused in the past year at Sun Village — where both his on again, off again girlfriend and his mother live….
According to prosecutors, Bracken has a long rap sheet, with 10 criminal convictions to his name, including for harassment, property damage and assault….
The most recent incident began at 11:30 p.m. on July 8 when Bracken — then out on supervised release — forced his way into his ex-girlfriend’s Sun Village apartment without her permission.
“While inside, the defendant allegedly told (her) he was going to kill her and then kill himself by death-by-cop,” Deputy Prosecutor Jared Brickey wrote in a court document. “The defendant refused to let (the victim) leave for approximately 30-45 minutes, and held a knife to her neck while threatening her.”
Bracken stabbed the victim in the calf before she managed to escape the room. He then barricaded himself in the apartment and began to destroy the victim’s property.
A court document written by the victim, whose name The Garden Island has elected not to disclose due to privacy concerns, detailed the damage: “Derek barricaded himself in my home for an entire six hour standoff with KPD and their SWAT team,” she wrote.
“In (those) six hours, Derek destroyed my home by slashing my couch, lamp shades, art work, bed, mattress cover … clothes and shower curtains. He poured water and apple juice over my computer, desk, living room area and TV. He cut the cable and WiFi cords behind the TV. Forensics found my cellphone in the toilet.”
After six hours, 21 officers from the Kaua‘i Police Department, led by initial responding officer Aaron Lester and negotiator Stacy Perreira, were able to resolve the standoff.
Bracken’s attorney requested on Tuesday that he be released to participate in an addiction treatment program. The court denied the request because they believed Bracken still posed a danger to the community….
read … Plea deal reached in Lihu‘e Sun Village barricade case
After Lifetime of Drug Use, Criminal Finally Gets Medication
CB: … Addiction first took hold of Mark Christian’s life when he was a teenager who liked to surf the laid-back waves at Kalapaki Beach.
It started with marijuana and cocaine, then progressed to more dangerous substances. Drug use led to drug dealing.
Christian, now 66, said he felt powerless to break the cycle of methamphetamine and heroin abuse that for years yanked him from the streets of Lihue to the Kauai jail and back again.
Then last summer, to Christian’s own astonishment, he found a way out.
After a positive drug test landed him back in detention at Kauai Community Correctional Center in March, Christian said he was treated with anti-addiction medication for the first time in a half-century of drug abuse.
When he started taking a prescribed opioid in May to curb the cravings that fuel his drug use, Christian said he still planned to use heroin after he left jail. But when he was released from custody in July, he said he was stupefied by his own disinclination to drift back into the throes of addiction.
“I was more confident when I went on the streets when they let me out this time, so instead of starting (drugs) again I have this thing to just take the edge off,” said Christian, who takes two film strips a day that dissolve under the tongue….
Medications like buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone and Sublocade, also reduce the high risk of death from drug overdose for offenders released from incarceration, especially in the first few weeks after their release when they are much more sensitive to drugs following a period of forced abstinence….
All told, 1,057 Kauai inmates have been screened for opioid addiction since January 2021 and 101 inmates have received medication to treat the disorder, according to the Hawaii Public Safety Department. Addicts take a dose that’s high enough to blunt the symptoms of withdrawal but too low to produce a feeling of euphoria….
read … Doctors Want To Maximize The Potential Of Anti-Addiction Medication For Kauai Inmates
The real reason B.J. Penn ran for Hawaii Governor - he believes mountaintop telescope is Chinese weapon
SS: … "So they are trying to build this thirty-meter telescope up on the mountain and all kinds of stuff could happen on top of Mauna Kea... like [a] gas leak. Anything could happen... eventually it's all going to hit the water... And they are trying to put this thing up there. China owns the thing... I think it's a weapon, I think it's a laser to shoot something, I don't know."…
read … The real reason