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Thursday, February 2, 2023
February 2, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:20 PM :: 1381 Views

VIDEO: FBI Raids Home of former Punahou Basketball Coach

Alleged Chinatown Pimp Indicted

Who is having abortions in Hawaii?

Marine Debris Found in Stomach of Stranded Kauai Sperm Whale

Proposed Short Term Rental Regs Could Harm Big Island Farmers, Economy.

Hawaii GOP Chair, Vice-Chair Suddenly Resign

City reaches $2.85M settlement with central victim in Kealoha corruption scandal

HNN: … The city has reached a settlement in a closely-watched civil lawsuit brought by Gerard Puana, a key victim in the Kealoha corruption scandal.

The news was announced in federal court Wednesday ― and the settlement is still subject to City Council approval….

The Puanas did get additional funds through restitution and the sale of the Kealoha’s Hawaii Kai home after it was seized by the feds. There is also money from Louis Kealoha’s pension that is being garnished until he is released from prison in 2026…. 

read … City reaches $2.85M settlement with central victim in Kealoha corruption scandal

In wake of Memphis case, commission grills HPD chief about slow discipline for officers accused of wrongdoing

HNN: … HPD Chief Joe Logan said Wednesday he doesn’t have the power to immediately discharge a police officer, which raised even more questions about police discipline at a Honolulu Police Commission meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Logan had saved his comments about the Memphis case for the meeting.

He said HPD training made such violence unlikely here.

But the rapid discipline in Memphis led to an unusual barrage of questions from police commissioners about why HPD’s system is so slow. Commissioner Ann Botticelli asked, “How they can act so quickly in Memphis but our process goes so long in Honolulu?”

Logan said immediate termination is not available to him due to union contracts and department policies.

“We can take action,” Logan said. “In other words, taking somebody off the street, taking away their badge and gun, taking away their police powers and and putting them in an administrative position until adjudication of the incident.”

But commissioners compared the Memphis case to the 2021 police chase and crash in Makaha that caused multiple critical injuries. Officers suspected of causing the crash and covering up their involvement are still under criminal and internal investigation. They are on desk duty ― with city-paid attorneys ― 17 months after the incident….

SA: 22 Honolulu police officers disciplined in 2022

read … In wake of Memphis case, commission grills HPD chief about slow discipline for officers accused of wrongdoing

Criminals Usually Allowed to Return to Waikiki and Chinatown

SA: …“So one of the biggest differences are many of the arrests are people who live in that area,” Alm said. “So we will not be making the same kind of effort to have geographic restriction for nearly as many people that we have in those two communities. If they live somewhere else and they’re going to the community to cause trouble, then we will ask for it.”

But Alm confirmed that in general Weed and Seed — a federally funded program begun decades ago before being formally disbanded until its resurrection two years ago — does not have a geographical restriction component, a factor the city prosecutor finds “frustrating.”

“And the reason it’s particularly frustrating is when we did Weed and Seed the first time in Chinatown and Kalihi-Palama 20 years ago, the court granted (geographic restriction) every single time we requested it,” said Alm. “Because there’s something about that area that gets the person in trouble … maybe their drug connection is there, maybe their low-life friends are there. So it even helps those folks not to be there.”

However, Alm said his prosecutors do not ask for geographic restrictions to be placed on people if they live, work, or get services in those areas “like a mental health therapist.” Still, Alm said the courts are no longer putting people on probation and granting geographic restrictions for Waikiki, Chinatown or Kalihi-Palama when his office requests it….

read … Anti-crime programs need time to work, Honolulu prosecutor says

Hawaii Lawmakers Pretend to Show Interest in Limiting Their Own Political Fundraising

CB: … The House Judiciary Committee took another step Wednesday toward chipping away at the perceived influence of money in politics in Hawaii.

The committee voted unanimously to advance House Bill 89, which would prohibit all elected officials — including the governor, lieutenant governor, state lawmakers, trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, county mayors, councilmembers and prosecutors — from soliciting or accepting donations during regular or special sessions of the Legislature.

(Translation: We know the Senate will kill this.)

The ban extends to weekends, holidays and recess days when the Legislature is in session, which usually runs from the third week of January to the first week of May.

“We believe you are taking necessary and needed steps to make sure that this is the people’s house, that transparency and accountability is at the forefront, and that we the public can trust you as elected leaders,” Makana Paris, an analyst for the Ironworkers Stabalization Fund, told lawmakers during a hearing on HB 89…

(IQ Test: Are you laughing?)

read … Hawaii Lawmakers May Limit Their Own Political Fundraising

Is Hawaii Government Effective? It’s Hard To Tell

CB: … Are we growing more of our own food? Is the state reducing the number of applicants on the Hawaiian Home Lands waitlist? Are we rehabilitating more inmates and reducing jail overcrowding?

It’s hard to find measurable, objective data that would sufficiently answer all of these questions and the dozens of others facing policymakers in Hawaii even though state agencies are required to report on their “measures of effectiveness” every year in mandatory variance reports.

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee, wants state departments to do a better job of tracking their performance measures and aligning those with their budget requests.

He’s introduced several bills — encapsulated in Senate Bill 291 — that passed their first hearings Tuesday. SB 291 would require the governor to ensure that measurements and goals contained in various budget-related reports reflect the current responsibilities of state agencies, address future needs and align with the overall budget.

“Right now, when you look at the variance reports, the budget doesn’t really reflect the goals that they have,” Dela Cruz said.

Take the Department of Public Safety, for example. DPS tracks metrics like the percentage of its inmate population that participates in academic or vocational programs across the entire state corrections system.

But there’s no detail on the participation in those types of programs for each correctional center. Most only track the average number of inmates, number of escapes and number of releases….

read … Is Hawaii Government Effective? It’s Hard To Tell

Hawai’i Senate’s Hu Honua Bill Faces Opposition

IM: … Senate Bill 72, written by Senator Lorraine Inouye, proposes an alternative regulatory approach, that the renewal of an approved power purchase agreement should be automatic, even if there have been significant changes in costs, technical characteristics, social attitudes, and legal issues….

read … Hawai`i Senate`s Hu Honua Bill Faces Opposition

Room for Shrooms? Psychedelics Bills Filed Hawaii Legislature

MM: … Numerous psychedelics bills have been introduced in the Aloha State.

Sen. Ron Kouchi (D) filed a bill to create a “therapeutic psilocybin working group” that would be tasked with studying the “medicinal and therapeutic effects of psilocybin or psilocybin-based products” for conditions such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The body would also need to look into the efficacy of therapeutic psilocybin programs that are being implemented in Colorado and Oregon.

Members would have to “determine and develop a long-term strategic plan to ensure the safe availability and accessibility of affordable, therapeutic psilocybin or psilocybin-based products for adults twenty-one years of age or older.”

Rep. Amy Perruso (D) is sponsoring companion legislation in the House.

A Senate concurrent resolution from Sen. Stanley Chang (D) would similarly request a “Medicinal Psilocybin and Psilocin Working Group” to study local, state and federal laws on the entheogens, existing scientific literature on the therapeutic value of the fungi and possible the medical protocol for administering psilocybin.

The whereas section of the resolution says that “studies conducted by nationally and internationally recognized medical institutions indicate that psilocybin and psilocin have shown efficacy, tolerability, and safety in the treatment of a variety of mental health conditions, including addiction, depression, anxiety disorders, and end-of-life psychological distress.”

It adds that “Hawaii has a shortage of mental health professionals and should actively consider novel, innovative, and safe solutions to treat its citizens.”

There’s also an identical Senate resolution from the same sponsor.

Rep. Adrian Tam (D) introduced legislation that would establish a “beneficial treatments advisory council” that would be required to “review, evaluate, and recommend new medicinal treatments for mental health” such as psilocybin and MDMA.

This measure nearly mirrors the Senate bill from Kouchi, except that the advisory council would need to explore the laws, science and possible therapeutic of MDMA in addition to psilocybin. There’s also a Senate version of this legislation from Sen. Chris Lee (D)….

read … Psychedelics Bills Filed In Four More States As 2023 Reform Efforts Heat Up

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