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Friday, January 20, 2023
January 20, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:24 PM :: 1678 Views

Who is Running for Neighborhood Board in Your Community?

City accepting applications for Chief of Treasury

Kauai Democrats Nominate Replacements for Rep Tokioka HD16

Corruption at every level: Why I left Hawaii

Sister Isles Among Worst Doctor Shortage in USA

Slashing tax rates best way to offset higher property assessments

John Waihee’s Favorite Trump-era influence peddler sentenced to prison

DoE Names Four New Complex Superintendents

BLS: Hawaii Most Unionized State in USA

National coalition including Hawaii legislators urges states to enact 'wealth' taxes

Gov. Josh Green Blocks New Jail: Says We Need to Let Lots and Lots of Criminals Back out onto the Streets

CB: … The Hawaii correctional system is requesting another $25 million to pay for planning and procurement of a new jail on Oahu, but Gov. Josh Green has told his staff to come up with “a better proposal.”

The state has already spent $10 million on planning the new facility, which would replace the aging and inefficient Oahu Community Correctional Center in Kalihi. Lawmakers last year blocked a similar request for additional planning money for the project, saying the state should reform its cash bail system before constructing a large new jail.

Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke was instrumental in stopping the request for additional planning money when she was chairwoman of the House Finance Committee last year, and Green said he has discussed the plans for a new jail with her.

“She and I want to be on the same page obviously on this kind of thing. We think that we should know what our true belief system of who should be in prison is before we built the new prison,” Green told reporters Wednesday….

(Translation: We Need to Let Lots and Lots of Criminals Back out onto the Streets.)

“There’s going to be some prison and justice reform, we hope, right now,” Green said. “I don’t want to see people incarcerated for minor drug offenses. I think people should only really be in prison for violent crimes, with very few other exceptions.”

(Translation: We Need to Let Lots and Lots of Criminals Back out onto the Streets.)

“We don’t think that a $1 billion prison is the right move in a state and an era where we need to build housing, so I would much rather build a much lower impact prison, and I have actually tasked my public safety directors and our health professionals to give me a better proposal,” he added….

(Translation: We Need to Let Lots and Lots of Criminals Back out onto the Streets.)

read … Gov. Josh Green Wants ‘A Better Proposal’ For New Oahu Jail

Alm: Prosecutors will Stop Asking HPA to Deny Parole to ‘Heinous’ Criminals

SA: … Honolulu prosecutors are no longer attending or attempting to influence parole hearings by detailing the crime committed by an inmate. Further, they’re limited to providing the Hawaii Paroling Authority with information relevant to a behavior inside a correctional facility.

The city policy change, which took effect in December, followed a spirited debate among deputy prosecutors who maintain the paroling authority should hear details about heinous crimes, and want to see to it that inmates serve the full term of the offense.

(Translation: Heinous criminals will be much more likely to get parole under Alm’s policy.)

At a media briefing held Thursday, Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm said he understands prosecutors’ commitment to deny parole for particularly awful crimes but underscored that it’s a violation of Hawaii Administrative Rules for the paroling authority to consider those details as part of their decision-making….

After the minimum sentencing hearing, “there is no provision in the law for further argument regarding the minimum term of imprisonment or the defense,” with the lone exception being for a “Request for Reduction of Minimum Term(s) of Imprisonment.”…

The paroling authority’s total caseload was down during fiscal year 2021-22, with 1,347 inmates out on parole — compared with 1,626 in 2020-21 and 1,524 in 2019-20, according to an annual HPA report.

As of late June, 892 parolees were receiving ongoing supervision on Oahu. Statewide, during fiscal year 2021-22, HPA held 468 parole violation hearings, revoking the parole in 280 cases, continuing 75 others and rescheduling/deferring 113….

During fiscal year 2021-22, the HPA considered 162 applications for a reduction of minimum sentence, granting 31 and denying 131. That compares with 217 applications considered during the 2020-21 fiscal years, with 42 being granted and 175 denied….

read … New city policy bans prosecutors from attending parole hearings

Hawaii Paroling Authority Releasing Lots of Criminals Early--Especially the Crazy Ones

KHON: … Deputy prosecuting attorneys spent a lot of time presenting the department’s position on inmates who are up for parole and Attorney Steve Alm believes their time can be better spent.

(Translation: The prosecutor says talking to Hawaii Paroling Authority HPA is a waste of time.)

"We have information regarding inmates like we had a case where an inmate threatened somebody. We made sure to get that information to the paroling authority but at the same time we're not going to continue with this practice, essentially that is sending letters or even appearing to argue for the underlying offense because it can’t be considered," said Alm….

(Translation: HPA will let them out regardless of what they did.)

He said his department is always fighting for inmates to serve at least the minimum sentencing

And enforcing a parole plan that inmates must complete.

"On the plan there is the inmate’s requested residency, employment or verified employment and what programs they've completed. That report also has any intuitional misconducts because we take information from the facility," said Corey Reincke, Hawaii Paroling Authority.

The only exceptions to a lesser minimum are serious medical and mental health conditions….

(Translation: The crazier a criminal is, the sooner he will get out.)

SA: New city policy bans prosecutors from attending parole hearings

read … Honolulu Prosecuting Office shares department's position on paroling

Hawaii’s homeless criminals take a toll on local restaurants

HNN: … Mike Palmer owns Kuhio Food Hall in Waikiki -- he says it’s the worst he’s seen in 22 years.

“Our management staff, unfortunately has to play police constantly. We get alerted to homeless people that are bothering our guests and are inside our restaurant,” said Mike Palmer, owner of Kuhio Avenue Food Hall in Waikiki.

Many employees aren’t trained to deal with combative customers, especially when it involves drugs or mental illness. And they fear retaliation.

“Our staff is afraid to go walk home at night alone, because people are getting jumped and bullets are flying,” Palmer said, referring to increased reports of crime in the area ….

Matsuoka says most incidents are resolved without issue, but sometimes altercations result in injuries and property damage, like a recent incident at her store in Manoa.

“When he came in and he just was like loud and being you know, kind of violent. We asked him to leave and the employee got nervous so they locked him out. Well, they heard the key lock and when they locked him out they got violent and he put his fist through the glass window,” she said ….

read … Hawaii’s homeless crisis takes a toll on local restaurants

Homeless Village Planned Next to Existing Meth Camp Across from Middle Street Bus Terminal

HNN: … The site currently being considered is located off Middle Street near the Keehi Transfer Station. 

(This will boost rail ridership!)

City officials confirm plans are underway to transform the parcel into the island’s next Kauhale village. A master-planned community intended to house people living on the street.

“So they’ll have separate living spaces, but then parts of it are communal,” said Anton Krucky.

The head of the Department of Community Services says the city still hasn’t picked an exact design, but tiny homes with shared utilities is an option.

As for the money, Krucky says it’s already in hand. Congressional funds to the tune of $12 million were secured by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz….

Just a quarter mile away, the banks of the Kalihi stream are crowded with people living under tarps and other make shift shelters.

(CLUE: The meth camp must be cleared out or the Kauhale Village will be a failure.)

This isn’t the only village the city hopes to build with build with that $12 million.

HNN has learned the plan is to build three Kauhale villages with the money….

read … Another village aimed at housing Oahu’s homeless is in the works

Hawaii Visitor $50 “Green” Fees ‘Dead on Arrival’

BH: … Senate President Ron Kouchi spoke the obvious when he admitted that there are “potential legal issues about being able to do that.” He pointed out that where those fees exist is in countries rather than in states within countries. This is an excellent point. No states in the USA currently require visitors to pay an entry fee.

At odds with the plan, Hawaii’s semi-defunct marketing arm, HVCB, said last year that the “Green” fee was “dead on arrival.”

Hawaii has unsuccessfully tried to implement some such visitor fees for more than a half-century….

read … Hawaii Visitor $50 “Green” Fees: How, When, Where?

‘It’s Horrendous’: The Deaths Of 2 Doctors Deepen The Void In Rural Health Care Access

CB: … Nearly half of Molokai's population lost their primary care physician in a state that has long struggled to attract and retain medical professionals….

read … ‘It’s Horrendous’: The Deaths Of 2 Doctors Deepen The Void In Rural Health Care Access

State’s highest court considers call for new election in key Maui Council race

HNN: … The fight over a Maui County Council race continued Thursday.

The Hawaii Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the battle for the Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu-seat.

Justices will either declare a winner or decide if a new election needs to be held to determine a winner.

Incumbent Alice Lee got about 500 more votes than newcomer Noelani Ahia in the general election in November. However, Ahia and about 30 other voters claim the Maui County Clerk mishandled more 700 ballot and are demanding a new election.

“The right to vote is so fundamental to our form of government, it should be zealously safeguarded,” said attorney Lance Collins.

Collins argued there were several mistakes processing the mail-in ballots, including failing to notify voters whose ballots were deemed deficient so they could have the opportunity to correct it.

“The exclusion of these lawfully-cast ballots was the result of erroneous deficiency determination of return identification envelopes, of arbitrary and unreasonable notice to voters of those determinations, and the erroneous withholding of those voters’ identities from the public during the cure period,” Collins said….

MN: Hawaii Supreme Court hears arguments in elections case

Jan 2, 2023: Maui: Tasha Kama selected as interim council chair

Jan 6, 2023: Hawaii Supreme Court Jan. 19th Oral Arguments in Disputed Maui Council Election

read … State’s highest court considers call for new election in key Maui Council race

DPP Claims Wait Time reduced to Four Weeks

SA: … Back in November, the average time in the prescreen queue was five months. We’ve since developed and implemented artificial intelligence, or a bot, to automate some of the prescreen review of plans, which checks for basic formatting of building plans, prior to the code review by plans examiners. The bot is now capable of reviewing four of 11 prescreen checklist items, which has shortened the average time in the queue to four weeks.

We continue to develop the bot to review additional prescreen checklist items, and to automate other phases of the permitting process, e.g., the issue to pay phase when a permit has been approved and requires submittal of payment and contractor statements from the applicant.

read … Dawn Takeuchi Apuna: The director takes aim at permitting delays and corruption

Traffic violators owe Hawaii taxpayers tens of millions in unpaid fines, records show

HNN: … This investigation revealed the money has been sitting for years without efforts by law enforcement to collect — while many who owe money just keep driving and putting others on the road at risk.

One of those deadbeat drivers is charged with manslaughter for the deaths of Ron and Michelle Hartman, who were visiting from Virginia when they were hit head on in Kahuku.

The driver charged with recklessly causing their deaths had been illegally driving for years.

Brennan Canumay is in jail awaiting trial for the latest of his traffic crimes and violations he’s committed with apparently little fear of punishment….

“It’s this system where we have a black hole,” McPherson said. “We have these problem drivers that get ticket after ticket after ticket and there’s no consequences for their actions.”

Before he allegedly killed the Hartmans, court records show Canumay went year after year regularly violating traffic laws. He was pulled over at least 20 times since 2014.

In early years he paid a few fines — $840 worth. But after that he pretty much ignored the traffic enforcement system.

Eventually, he owed $3,376 dollars in fines on the day of the wreck.

In eight years, he’d only had four court appearances — the latest in 2021, when he owed thousands to the state’s collection agency….

Hawaii News Now requested records of the Judiciary’s collections agency referrals and collections back to 2011. That year more than $15 million was sent to the collection agency and $8 million was paid. So the unpaid balance rose $7 million dollars.

The ratio of referrals to collections varies widely year to year.

In 2017, courts sent the most ever to collection — more than $22 million and collected about more than $9 million, adding $13 million dollars to the unpaid balance.

All the uncollected money over those 11 years came to $81.7 million — money traffic violators still owe the taxpayers….

read … Traffic violators owe Hawaii taxpayers tens of millions in unpaid fines, records show

Officials warn of more traffic during Honolulu rail work

SA: … For years to come in Iwilei and Kalihi, expect traffic to snarl more than usual and construction noise day and night as the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and its contractor work to relocate utility infrastructure above and below two major thoroughfares in the build-out of the city’s nearly $10 billion rail system….

At a virtual and in-person community meeting Thursday, contractor Nan Inc. laid out work and traffic plans along Dillingham Boulevard and Kamehameha Highway, which include having only one lane for traffic in each direction, Ewa to town — 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the next three years.

read … Officials warn of more traffic during Honolulu rail work

Hawaii House GOP: Government Reform Is A Priority

CB: … The minority’s package of bills adopts all the proposals of a special commission, including term limits ….  

read … Hawaii House GOP: Government Reform Is A Priority

Senate GOP: Brenton Awa Admits he is an Idiot

SA: … Fevella is officially listed as Senate minority leader and Awa as minority floor leader.

But in a two-sentence letter to the Senate clerk dated Tuesday on the eve of the opening day of the Legislature, Awa wrote “that I have rescinded my vote for Senator Kurt Fevella as Minority Leader.”

(Translation: I admit it: I am an idiot.)

Fevella did not imme­diately respond to multiple requests for comment Wednesday and Thursday.

Awa gave no explanation for rescinding his vote in his letter, but told the Star-Advertiser on Thursday that “it’s not anything juicy like he did something. It’s basically a disagreement with leadership and how our minority is led. Me and Kurt have to hash out leadership and what is the purpose. I’m not one to sit on the bus and not know where we’re going. If I don’t know where we’re going, how am I going to support where we’re going? … It wasn’t that I’m … trying to be the leader. I don’t want to be the minority leader but I couldn’t be the co- pilot without direction.”

(Translation: I admit it: I am an idiot.)

(Really Obvious Question: What bus?  There are only two of you.  When you agree, you agree.  When you don’t, you don’t.  If can, can.  If no can, no can.)

Since the November election, Awa said, he has been working for two months at the Capitol.

“I just wake up every day and pray to God to let me do the right things,” he said. “If he (Fevella) comes around, we’ll talk and hopefully move forward and be better for this.”

(Translation: I admit it: I am an idiot.)

Awa worries about the optics of the moment to the public.

“They see the headline and they’re going to say, ‘Typical Republicans.’”

“We represent the local people who are the minority,” Awa said. “I know that every move we make is pono for the locals, to make it a local party.”

Colin Moore, director of the University of Hawaii’s Public Policy Center, laughed out loud at the stand-off between Fevella and Awa over which of two people should be “leader” over the other, with little at stake among a two-member caucus in the Senate.

“It’s a fight between two people over who’s going to be in charge,” Moore said. “It does seem ridiculous, especially when the power is pretty limited. I’ve got to say that seems absurd. The optics are terrible because they’re not presenting themselves as a party that can govern if they can’t even agree among two people who should be leader. It doesn’t give much hope to local Republicans.”

read … Idiot

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