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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
February 1, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:44 PM :: 1559 Views

Poll: 86% residents believe cannabis should be legal

Biomass plant appeals to Hawaii Supreme Court to begin operations

Hawaii leads in pharmacist-prescribed birth control

Senate Agenda: Three Abortions and a Suicide

Webinar: Hawaii Anti-Gun Bills for 2023 Session

House Working Groups to Examine Red Hill, DHHL Funding

Fifth Circuit Launches Small Claims Online Dispute Resolution Pilot

Notice of Anticipated Judicial Vacancy – District Judge, District Court of the First Circuit (island of O’ahu)

Profitable Non Profits: COVID Slush Fund Ends Feb 6

After state senator compares housing chief to the devil, Gov. Green files harassment complaint

HNN: … Gov. Josh Green said today that state Sen. Kurt Fevella violated the Senate’s anti-harassment policy when he compared his housing chief to “the devil” and questioned her commitment to the Hawaiian people.

In a letter to Senate President Ron Kouchi, Green said Fevella’s recent comments about Housing chief Nani Medeiros violated the Senate rules barring offensive language about a person’s race.

“I will not tolerate anyone from my team being treated this way. In fact, I won’t tolerate anyone in the state being treated this way,” Green said during an interview with Hawaii News Now.

During a Hawaiian Homes Commission meeting on Friday, Fevella said of Medeiros:

“She has nothing or no knowledge about Hawaiian people. I don’t care if she says she’s Hawaiian. Just remember now, the devil also was an angel. Remember that. So just because you’re Hawaiian doesn’t mean you have the passion for the people,” Fevella said.

Medeiros said the Republican lawmaker’s comments crossed the line.

“I got very upset. I was shocked that I was hearing what I was hearing. It was upsetting. It made me angry,” she said.

“In Hawaiian families, when you come after somebody in that family, especially for their Hawaiian-ness, you’re challenging their whole family; you’re challenging their history.”

Before she became the state’s housing chief, Medeiros worked with housing the homeless. She even worked with Fevella on Green’s first homeless project in Fevella’s district.

“I thought he was a friend,” she said.

“He’s made no effort to apologize.” …

The governor’s complaint also said it’s not the first time Fevella has been accused of bullying his staff.

Administration officials point to comments Fevella made in the same DHHL hearing, criticizing Hawaiian Homelands Chair Ikaika Anderson.

“He lied five times to us. That’s in the hearings. I’m not gonna say mislead, he lied,” Fevella said of Anderson on Friday.

The conflict comes as some lawmakers are expressing concerns over how the Green administration handles the money they appropriated for native Hawaiian housing….

UPDATE: Lawmaker apologizes for comparing housing chief to the devil, but doubles down on DHHL criticism 

SA: Fevella apologizes for racial comments about Green nominee

SA: Hawaiian Home Lands spending questions turn racial -- Green wrote that Fevella’s comments violated the Senate’s Rule 81, which requires state senators to “conduct themselves in a respectful manner … acting at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the Senate”; treat the public “with respect and courtesy, regardless of … race, ethnicity”; and “refrain from showing bias or prejudice, including but not limited to bias or prejudice based on … race, ethnicity.”

read ... After state senator compares housing chief to the devil, Gov. Green files harassment complaint

After years on the beach, these Native Hawaiians occupied a housing complex. Some got to stay

HNN: … After living on the beach on the Waianae Coast for years, nearly two dozen homeless Native Hawaiians planned a move Tuesday ― showing up at an affordable housing complex.

They didn’t have permission to occupy Ulu Ke Kukui complex in Maili, which is on state Department of Hawaiian Homelands property, and a community group helping the homeless admits they didn’t have an OK, either.

But they claimed the Native Hawaiian beneficiaries were entitled to live there.

The property manager was clearly surprised by the unauthorized occupants.

But after quick phone call, there were hugs and handshakes. The group was allowed to fill out applications.

The Hawaiian Community Development board is redeveloping the complex and President Kali Watson told Hawaii News Now there are other Native Hawaiians already waiting to move in.

“My concern is I don’t know anything about these individuals so in order to protect the safety of not only the tenants, but more importantly the children, we need to take a look at who is applying,” said Watson.

After some tense back and forth, police were not called and there was an apparent agreement for a handful of kupuna, like Aona, to move into units that are move-in ready.

Others, like Akana, were instead told to submit an application and for now will have to head back to the beach….

read … After years on the beach, these Native Hawaiians occupied a housing complex. Some got to stay

Legislators: Turn Hawaii Tourism Authority into CNHA Slush Fund

CB: … Citing public concerns over a botched attempt to award the state’s most important tourism marketing contract and ever-increasing numbers of visitors crowding beaches, streets and hiking trails, lawmakers are moving to dramatically reshape the agency in charge of marketing Hawaii as a tourist destination.

Measures proposed in the House and Senate differ in several ways but share a common goal: to essentially eliminate the Hawaii Tourism Authority and replace it with an agency focused on ‘destination management’….

(Translation: An agency designed to funnel money to CNHA.)

It’s not clear which version of a new Hawaii Tourism Authority will prevail. House leadership referred Quinlan’s bill to three committees for hearings: the joint Tourism/Economic Development committee that is slated to hear the bill on Thursday, as well as the House Water and Land and the House Finance committees. This so-called “triple referral” often dooms legislation because such bills must make it past two committees before a key deadline on Feb. 16.

Dela Cruz’s bill, by contrast, has an easier path: just two committee hearings, with the second being before the Ways and Means Committee, which he chairs. In addition, as the chair of the Senate’s main money committee, Dela Cruz holds enormous influence, with the ability to kill virtually any measure that has a financial element meriting a referral to Ways and Means. Finally, Dela Cruz’s influence has only grown with the recent departure of his former House counterpart, longtime House Finance Committee Chair Sylvia Luke, who was elected lieutenant governor in November.

In any case, Quinlan said he would support the Senate bill and has introduced an identical House companion bill….

read … The End Of The Hawaii Tourism Authority? Lawmakers May Pull The Plug

HB87: Recycling was a Lie so lets Ban Plastic Water Bottles

CB:…On Tuesday, state lawmakers advanced a bill that would prevent plastic water bottles holding less than 2 liters from being sold within the state, adding them to a roster of other materials like plastic utensils and plastic bags that counties have banned in recent years. 

“We have to end our overreliance on plastic,” said Rep. Sean Quinlan, who authored the bill.

It’s an approach that acknowledges the pitfalls of recycling, which in recent years has emerged as a flawed if well-meaning way to handle waste. ..

HB87: Text, Status

read … Plastic Water Bottles May Be Next Ban In Hawaii’s War Against Pollution

Miske Lawyers Think they can get the jury they want in Las Vegas

KHON: … Defense attorneys for Michael and his co-defendants filed for a motion for a ‘change of venue’.

The attorneys have used the help of an expert that identifies jury bias and who helped with identifying an untainted jury in the Kealoha trial.

The expert said that he conducted a survey that revealed that half of the possible jury pool has heard of the case and that of those identified there were nearly 90% who already believed Miske to be guilty.

Las Vegas was another location identified by the expert since he found that there is almost no prior knowledge of the case in that pool of potential jurors…. 

read … Mob boss trial could be moved out of Hawaiʻi

13 Years Later Hilario Murder Case Begins with Court-Mandated Juror Intimidation

TGI: The process began for choosing 12 jurors in the second murder trial of Vicente Hilario at Fifth Circuit Court in Lihu‘e on Monday.

A panel of more than 60 prospective jurors appeared before Chief Judge Randal Valenciano, where he explained they could be in for a lengthy commitment.

“This could be an extended trial,” said Valenciano. “When I read you the indictment you might understand why.”

Hilario faces a range of charges, including murder in the first degree for the 2010 killing of Aureo Moore, a witness set to testify against Hilario in a stick-up drug robbery case.

He was convicted in 2013 of murder in the first degree, retaliating against a witness, intimidating a witness and bribery of a witness, for which he was later sentenced to life in prison.

But the case was appealed due to the handling of the previous jury selection process.

The state Intermediate Court of Appeals ruled in 2017 that Hilario’s right to meaningfully participate in his defense was impeded because he was not allowed to approach the bench during jury selection, and remanded the case for a new trial.

On Monday, Hilario was allowed to approach the bench to speak with potential jurors.

Prospective jurors with prior knowledge of the case were called to the bench, where they were questioned by Hilario, Valenciano and Prosecutor Matthew Arakawa. While they spoke, a loud static was played from speakers in the ceiling to drown them out so the rest of the courtroom couldn’t hear details.

One by one, prospective jurors were eliminated from consideration due to prior knowledge, scheduling issues, child care concerns and business obligations.

The process moved slowly, and midway through the day, Valenciano announced that jurors would probably have to return Tuesday. This is the first of three panels of prospective jurors who will appear before the court, in a selection process that will take weeks.

Hilario has been acting as his own attorney since late last year, when his attorney dropped the case due to a “breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.”…

read … Juror Intimidation

Discipline report reveals cellblock beating in which officers were fired for excessive force, falsifying reports

HNN: … The Honolulu Police Department reprimanded, suspended or fired 22 officers for 14 incidents last year, according to the agency’s annual officer discipline report to the Legislature.

In one disturbing case, multiple officers were apparently involved with or allowed a beating in a police cellblock….

The cellblock incident stands out because it involved at least eight officers in an unreasonable use of force case….

From the descriptions in the report, it’s not clear exactly where or when it happened.

But the report described efforts to remove a detainee’s clothing with multiple officers present.

Two officers, Thomas-John Kaanana and Judah Kekua, were discharged for alleged excessive force, injuring the detainee and falsifying reports. Six other officers received 10- or 20-day suspensions for failing to intervene.

Seven of the officers are fighting the discipline; only one of the suspensions has been upheld so far.

(Translation: Soon they will all be back on the job with back pay.)

The report also includes a 2020 incident, reported on Hawaii News Now, in which officer Corey Morgan was fired for roughing up a burglary suspect. His partner, Officer Matthew Ogoshi, was fired for allegedly covering up the incident. They, too, are fighting their terminations.

(Translation: Soon they will all be back on the job with back pay.)

Overtime abuse during quarantine enforcement led to a five-day suspension of supervising officer Lt. Lance Yashiro, who allegedly let officers work extended hours while not making sure they were doing their jobs….

CB: New Report Shows HPD Disciplined Officers Involved In Cases Of Police Brutality

PDF: HPD Discipline Report

read … Discipline report reveals cellblock beating in which officers were fired for excessive force, falsifying reports

SHOPO Continues Effort to Oust Maui’s Outsider Chief--Latest tactic sex harassment suits

KITV: … According to court documents, all three women claim they have faced gender discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment and harassment.

“Three female employees of MPD, including the head of human resources, a Lieutenant and a Sergeant, filed three spate (sic) lawsuits today against Maui Police Department for gender discrimination, and retaliation by the MPD’s recently hired Chief and Deputy Chief,” Attorney Joseph Rosenbaum wrote in a press release about the lawsuit.

The law firm Fujiwara & Rosenbaum, LLLC is representing the MPD employees.

One of the women said she's faced harassment since Chief John Pelletier became her boss at MPD. All three women are long-time MPD employees….

MN: Lawsuits against MPD claim gender discrimination, retaliation

HNN: Three female police employees are suing the Maui Police Department

read … 3 Maui Police employees sue department

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