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Sunday, February 5, 2023
February 5, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:00 PM :: 2098 Views

Did You Meet Your Goals This Year? – Pff, We Don’t Care

After Fraudsters Jailed, Auditor Discovers Affordable Housing Program Has no Administrative Rules

Green Affordability Plan: It would be simpler to just cut the tax rate for food

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted February 4, 2023

Kailua-Based Former Navy Captain Gets 30 Months in 'Fat Leonard' Scandal

Grassroot Institute hits the ground running in promoting liberty at Legislature

Tourism Management?  Hawaii Hotel Construction Boom Biggest Since 1970s

Shapiro: … According to a recent story in the Honolulu Star- Advertiser, we’re in the midst of a new hotel boom unseen since the 1970s, with more than a dozen Oahu projects in the construction or late planning pipeline — and most of them outside the established tourism footprints of Waikiki, Ko Olina and Turtle Bay.

There are several projects in downtown Honolulu, more hotels going up in Kapolei, one in Ewa Beach, a project at Hawaii Koa Ridge in Central Oahu and several in the Kapiolani Boulevard corridor that used favorable transit-oriented development waivers to build around the now- nonexistent Ala Moana Center rail station.

There will almost certainly be more; it seems no public development can be done on Oahu anymore without a hotel component, as elected officials endlessly cater to development and construction interests that lard their campaigns with so much cash they’re virtually invulnerable to challenge.

The murky public-private partnership to build a New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District seems an excuse to surround a needed stadium with one or more unneeded hotels and other visitor attractions.

The Legislature shelved badly needed roof repairs at the Hawai‘i Convention Center to turn the simple project into another convoluted public-private partnership that includes a hotel….

read … We need more than talk about managing Hawaii tourism

HB1375: Convert Hawaii Tourism Authority to a CNHA Slush Fund

SA: … It’s a sign of the times that House Bill 1375 on Thursday passed out of the House Committee on Tourism and the Committee on Economic Impact without pushback from the visitor industry, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism or even the Governor’s Office. In the past, all mounted robust defensive strategies to support HTA when lawmakers threatened budget cuts or reorganization….

House Bill 1375, which was introduced by Rep. Sean Quinlan (D, Waialua-­Kahuku-Waiahole) and other House members, would repeal HTA’s board and refashion the organization as a destination management agency overseen by a paid, governor-appointed three-member commission administratively placed within DBEDT. The proposed bill was amended to fund the new agency through a $100 million allocation from transient accommodations tax revenue, of which $50 million would be earmarked for a matching fund program to support Destination Management Action Plan projects throughout the counties….

(CLUE: All of this money would go to CNHA.) 

KHON: Quinlan introduced House Bill 1375 that would repeal HTA and create the Destination Management Agency.

read … 1 of 3 bills to repeal Hawaii Tourism Authority advances

New Hawaii DBEDT director ‘fighting fires’ or fanning flames?

SA: … Sadayasu was appointed director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism by Gov. Josh Green last month. He is also focused on securing funding for the Hawaii Tourism Authority from the Legislature and helping HTA, which is attached to DBEDT, procure a marketing and management contract for Hawaii’s biggest industry after two disputed and canceled contract awards.

“I’m really putting out fires,” Sada­yasu said, referring to dealing with DBEDT’s major objectives.

Embers from one initiative, the tourism marketing contract procurement, flamed up recently after Sada­yasu told members of two state Senate committees that he was planning to take over procurement for part of the contract from HTA.

“We’re going to take a bold move,” he said at the Jan. 25 meeting with the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy, Economic Development and Tourism Committee to discuss budget priorities. “The DBEDT director’s office is going to take on the USA marketing (request for proposals) and we’re going to issue it ourselves.” …

The next day at an HTA board meeting, Sadayasu said he had dropped his procurement takeover plan and he apologized to HTA officials….

The broad goal for Sada­yasu leading DBEDT is “moving the needle” or something ….

read … New Hawaii DBEDT director getting down to business

Spent $60K at Hostess Bars: Decade In Prison For ‘Brazen’ Maui Official Who Took Bribes?

CB: … Federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of at least nine years for Stewart Stant, a former Maui environmental director who pleaded guilty to taking nearly $2 million in bribes.

Stant directed more than $19 million worth of sole-source contracts for improvements to Maui’s wastewater system to H2O Process Systems between 2012 and 2018. The company’s owner, Milton Choy, has pleaded guilty to bribing Stant and at least one other Maui official to help get those contracts.

In a sentencing memorandum filed Friday, prosecutors said Stant “lived quite well” off the bribes provided by Choy, which came in the form of cash payments and direct bank deposits. Choy also paid more than $400,000 to a local travel company on Stant’s behalf, the memo said. Court documents previously showed that Choy also paid for flights to Las Vegas, hotel rooms and gambling chips.

With some of those bribes, Stant spent $187,000 on dining, $60,000 on hostess bars, $54,000 on luxury hotels and “thousands on airfare, jewelry and other items,” the memo said…. 

SA: Ex-Maui official spent bribe money on travel, hostess bars

read … Prosecutors Seek Nearly A Decade In Prison For ‘Brazen’ Maui Official Who Took Bribes

DINO News: The Democratic Party Platform Calls For Serious Government Reform. So Why Are Democrats Reluctant To Do It?

CB: … Democratic legislators who don’t push for reform this session would be thwarting their own party’s platform and resolutions adopted last year.

At that point they might justifiably be called Democrats in Name Only.

State party officials have long pondered an irony that springs from their success: Democrats so thoroughly dominate Hawaii politics that even politicians who don’t share the party’s progressive positions want to join the club. In fact, there has been a historic trend of local Republicans switching parties in order to stay relevant.

Newly elected Rep. Natalia Hussey-Burdick put it this way in her candidate Q&A last year: “This practice undermines our party values, and leaves the true Democrats wondering how to hold our legislators accountable when they act in direct opposition to our party platform.”

Those values are stated clearly and strenuously on the party’s website. The party’s platform, adopted last May at the state convention, says that “government officials should be held to the highest ethical standards” and calls for  “full transparency in all government functions.”…

CLUE:  The dominant paradigm cannot be the vanguard.

read … The Democratic Party Platform Calls For Serious Government Reform. So Why Are Democrats Reluctant To Do It?

An important week in the case against Mike Miske and his co-defendants

ILind: … Two hearings are scheduled this week that could determine whether the two lead attorneys for former Honolulu business owner, Michael J. Miske Jr., will be able to continue representing him in the pending federal criminal case.

Prosecutors are seeking to disqualify both Thomas Otake and Lynn Panagakos, alleging each of the attorneys has significant conflicts that could compromise the case because, according to the government, they may be considered essential witnesses to certain crimes Miske is charged with.

Their removal from the case would be a major blow not just to Miske, but to other defendants whose attorneys have relied on Panagakos’ knowledge of the voluminous evidence in the case to assist their defense efforts. Both were retained by Miske in 2017, three years before Miske and co-defendants were originally indicted, and have a combined 11-years represesenting him in this matter….

read … An important week in the case against Mike Miske and his co-defendants

Suspect Shot by Police has 13-Year Criminal Transcript, got Probation

HTH: … A man shot and wounded by a South Hilo patrol officer on Kumukoa Street in Hilo on Friday is on four years probation for unauthorized entry to a dwelling and habitual property crime.

A police log identifies the man as 32-year-old Aina Cachero, a suspect in an attempted auto theft on the 500 block of Kukuau Street about a half-hour before the shooting, which took place at about noon.

According to the log, Cachero was booked on suspicion of second-degree robbery first-degree burglary and first-degree theft, all Class B felonies punishable by 10 years imprisonment, upon conviction, plus auto theft, second- and fourth-degree theft, identity theft, theft of a credit card, fraudulent use of a credit card and unlawful possession of items without serial numbers. He hadn’t been charged as of Saturday morning.

According to court records, Cachero pleaded no contest last April to the two Class C felony charges he was on probation for. In return for his plea, prosecutors dropped three other counts of habitual property crime, as well as several misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor charges.

(If they had locked him up, he wouldn’t be running up the taxpayers medical bills at Hilo Hospital.)

Cachero also has felony convictions dating back to 2010 for felony theft and bail jumping.

According to Capt. Rio Amon-Wilkins of the East Hawaii Criminal Investigation Division, Cachero was hit by a single bullet in the upper body and he is “expected to make a full recovery.”…

read … Police log IDs suspect shot by officer

Prohibition Again: A generational ban on tobacco?

HTH: … Hawaii could be the first state in the nation to ban the sale and possession of tobacco for an entire generation.

Senate Bill 148 proposes the ban on tobacco for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 2003. The ban includes traditional cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and vapes. …

(CLUE: We already tried Prohibition once.  It doesn’t work.)

read … A generational ban on tobacco?

Not Taking Seriously: Few schools have undergone vulnerability assessments meant to ID campus weaknesses

HTH: … Despite an increase in threats reported at state Department of Education schools, just 14 of 41 Big Island campuses have completed a vulnerability assessment since 2017.

These include: Kalanianaole Elementary and Intermediate, Kapiolani Elementary, Kahakai Elementary, Kealakehe Elementary, Kealakehe High, Kohala High, Waikoloa Elementary &Intermediate, Keaau Elementary, Keaau Middle, Keonepoko Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Naalehu Elementary, Pahoa Elementary and Pahoa High and Intermediate.

Four Big Island schools are scheduled for assessments this year: Holualoa Elementary, Kohala Middle, Ka‘u High and Pahala Elementary.

Just 116 assessments were completed statewide out of the DOE’s 258 schools, but assessments of all campuses reportedly will take place over the next three years….

read … Few Big Island schools have undergone vulnerability assessments meant to ID campus weaknesses

Legislative Agenda:

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