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Tuesday, April 18, 2023
April 18, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:11 PM :: 1768 Views

Honolulu CrimeStoppers is Looking for OHA Embezzler Walter Rodenhurst--We Found Him on the Board of Hawaiian Civic Clubs

Secret Conference Committee Tracking System

Sue and Settle: Feds Agree to Designate Critical Habitat for another 49 Hawaii Species

How Much Home You Can Buy for $200K in Hawaii

OHA Abandons Plan to turn Hawaiians into a Fake Indian Tribe

CB: …The interview included the question; “OHA’s 2021 strategic plan no longer emphasizes creating a governing entity. Is that off the table?”

Her answer seemed to skirt the question, so I curiously referenced OHA’s website section framing OHA’s current strategic priorities….

Following the 2018 election the board of trustees proceeded to develop a new strategic plan titled Mana I Mauli Ola and subtitled OHA’s 15 Year Strategic Plan For 2020-2035. The previous plan included self-governance as one of six strategic objectives.

The new plan narrowed the objectives from six to three. Self-governance fell to the wayside as no longer pertinent to its mission….

read … OHA Abandons Commitment To Self-Governance

Hawaii Teachers Are Poised To Get $577 Million In Pay Increases

CB: … A tentative agreement between the union and the state bumps entry level pay up to over $50,000….

read … Hawaii Teachers Are Poised To Get $577 Million In Pay Increases

Should Hawaii Have A State-Run Presidential Primary?

CB: … Bart Dame’s bill, Senate Bill 1005 (which was introduced by Sens. Karl Rhoads, Stanley Chang and Gil Keith-Agaran), would set up a state-run primary out of the Office of Elections and find a way to pay for it, including by charging presidential candidates a $3,000 filing fee….

The Democratic Party of Hawaii (chair, Dennis Jung), supports SB 1005, which is now in conference committee but several 'progressive' caucuses within the party oppose SB 1005 because it does not allow for a closed primary. 

There are compelling reasons for the primary. In his April 5 testimony, Dame noted that the number of Hawaii residents wanting to vote in the presidential nominating process “has grown to the point where it has outstripped the ability of the political parties to provide a convenient, secure, accurate and verifiable means for them to cast their vote.”

He also pointed out that only six states continue to use caucuses or party-run primaries. Five of them — Alaska, Kansas, Iowa, North Dakota and Wyoming — are red states….

read … Should Hawaii Have A State-Run Presidential Primary?

Mayor’s Target To Open Rail In July Caught HART Off Guard

CB: … The top executive overseeing construction of Honolulu’s rail project was surprised to learn moments before last month’s annual State of the City address that Mayor Rick Blangiardi would declare the transit system’s first leg ready to ride in July.

“The split second before he came out, he said ‘July,’ and I gasped because we expected him to say ‘summer,’” Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director Lori Kahikina said Monday on the Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” program. …

Kahikina further revealed that Blangiardi had told her two days prior to his March 14 speech that he actually wanted to declare the rail system would be ready to ride in a month….

However, some critics – including some rail industry experts who’ve worked on the project – say the aggressive push to get rail’s first half open has led to some questionable construction decisions, including the methods that HART used to address problems with its track crossings and tolerances.

Nonetheless, Kahikina told “Spotlight Hawaii” on Monday that HART and Hitachi, the company that will operate rail for the city, have successfully completed the system’s critical trial-running phase. That phase included 144 test scenarios and a system demonstration that Hitachi finished weeks ahead of schedule, on April 2, according to Kahikina.

HART further expects to have all of the diagonal “shear” cracks causing concerns in the so-called “hammerhead piers” that line rail’s western half repaired by the end of May, Kahikina told Spotlight. …

SA: Rail will open in July, HART CEO confirms

read … Mayor’s Target To Open Rail In July Caught HART Off Guard

Mafia News: With Shooter on Loose, HPD will Guard Cockfighting Rings

KITV: … Honolulu Police chief Joe Logan issued the following statement, following a shooting at an illegal cockfight in Maili, Waianae that left two people dead, and others injured:

"The HPD will be stepping up illegal gambling enforcement, to include increased police presence, following this weekend’s fatal shootings in Maili. No arrest has been made in the case, and the investigation is continuing….

Cockfighting cases are difficult to investigate for (insert silly excuses here) ….

Chicken fighting investigations are primarily handled by the Narcotics/Vice Division, which also investigates drug and human trafficking and illegal game rooms. In 2022, the Narcotics/Vice Division executed 32 gambling search warrants resulting in the arrest of 34 individuals and seizure of 149 gambling devices. The officers also executed 11 human trafficking search warrants and arrested 16 individuals for human trafficking offenses."

read … HPD issues statement on illegal gambling enforcement following deadly cockfighting shooting

IATSE Mafia News: Trailer Arson on Set of Lilo and Stitch

HNN: … The Honolulu Police Department has launched an arson investigation after a fire on the set of a major film production on Oahu’s North Shore.

Sources say it happened on the set of Disney’s live-action remake of “Lilo and Stitch.” Monday was supposed to be the first day of filming.

According to the Honolulu Fire Department, crews received a call just before 11 p.m. Sunday for the trailer fire at the intersection of Kamehameha Highway and Cane Haul Road in Haleiwa.

(Really obvious question: Who is the trailer contractor?)

HFD said upon arrival, brush was burning beneath one of the trailers.

After further investigation, all the contents of the trailer were also on fire, including specialized costumes, sources said.

Firefighters worked to keep the fire from spreading to other nearby trailers ….


read … Arson investigation underway after fire on set of major film production on Oahu’s North Shore

Fentanyl Overdoses: EMS to add SUVs, more ambulances

HNN: … Medical emergencies are hitting new highs in Honolulu, in part because of a rise in fentanyl overdoses.

As a result, Emergency Medical Services is adding Rapid Response Vehicles to the fleet.

The Chevy Traverse vehicles could significantly help ease the burden on ambulances and decrease wait times for those needing immediate medical attention.

“It’s a smaller vehicle basically, so you can scoot in and out of traffic,” said EMS paramedic Adam Ogden….

EMS responded to 85,979 calls in 2022 — a record number.

And this year is on track to be even higher.

There were 7,418 calls EMS responded to in September.

Last month, that was 9,556 — a 28% increase, in just six months.

The bulk are in an area bordered by Chinatown, Kahala and Liliha, with 1947 responses last month — a 20% jump since September….

“We have a few more overdoses every day,” Ireland said.

“Some days we have a half a dozen.”

Earlier this month, there was a double overdose call on Kapiolani Boulevard.

HNN’s cameras were there as two ambulances were needed to care for the man and woman who needed intravenous Narcan because the standard nasal spray, did not work ….

read … EMS to add SUVs, more ambulances to help with increasing call volume

After sitting empty over a year, portion of city’s Homeless Resource Center set to open to help Homeless with new Amputations get ready to go back out onto the streets

HNN: … the first floor of the city’s Homeless Resource Center will soon provide around-the-clock, in-patient medical services for homeless who need care but aren’t sick enough to stay at the hospital.

The city says the goal is to open next month.

“Our plan is to probably put three rows of eight beds. So at least 24 beds in here,” said Department of Emergency Services director Jim Ireland. “They’ll all have privacy screens.”

He says it’s a place for homeless people to heal once they’re discharged from the hospital.

“Patients who may have amputations, have significant wounds, mental health issues,” Ireland said. “People who are just not well enough to go into a community environment in a shelter or to live on their own.”

This project marks the first time the brand new $17 million facility will have an opportunity to begin fulfilling its intended purpose.

The city broke ground on the project back in early 2020. Although construction wrapped up more than a year ago, the shelter space, along with a world-class kitchen and 27 low-income apartments have sat empty despite tremendous need.

The reason: Officials say it comes down to red tape and poor planning….

negotiations with more than a half dozen potential partners have all fallen through.

Now, instead of waiting until housing management is in place, the city decided to change course and will open in phases….

BH: The goal is to send an additional 500 persons per year back to the mainland

read … After sitting empty over a year, portion of city’s Homeless Resource Center set to open

Solar Contractor Milks Homeless Shelter for Money

SA: … Council member Tyler Dos Santos-Tam did not know that the city had forced the Sand Island Treatment Center into his district in Iwilei, but toured it on Monday to try to figure out how to ease its $36,000 in new monthly costs.

He was joined by former Council Chair Ernie Martin, a Sand Island Treatment Center ally, who called the program’s new $20,000 monthly city lease and $16,000 in monthly utility and photovoltaic costs “unreasonable and unconscionable. To me it’s embarrassing.”

Sand Island has a waiting list to get into any of its 123 residential beds where it treats clients who are often chronically homeless criminals with mental health and substance abuse issues — a homeless population of particular concern among residents, businesses, the tourism industry and government officials.

Santos-Tam called the program “impressive” after touring it Monday following a briefing by Sand Island Treatment Center leaders.

“There are definitely challenges,” he said. “But we have to look at all the people they’re serving.”

The city is going through its budget process, and now is the time to “ask why we’re charging such a high rent” and why the city did not purchase a privately owned photovoltaic system that costs Sand Island $8,000 a month, in addition to $8,000 in monthly energy costs, he said….

read … Council member hopes to cut Sand Island Treatment Center’s costs

Why Some Stores In Chinatown Keep Doors Locked During Business Hours

CB: … The upcoming closure of Walmart’s Fort Street Mall store and pharmacy, though, has raised concerns that the area will have fewer visitors and another abandoned building, which are “magnets for crime,” according to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Local stores and boutiques in Chinatown began keeping their doors locked during business hours as the coronavirus pandemic began. Many are now using a doorbell system, which allows a worker to buzz in shoppers while keeping others out.

Roberta Oaks, president and designer of Roberta Oaks Hawaii, remembers not being excited about a Walmart coming to Chinatown at first. But as a business owner, she now realizes it was useful to have the building occupied.

“Empty buildings attract vagrants, so if it’s going to close, I hope that someone else can make something happen there,” Oaks said.

On Oahu, larceny is the most common crime, according to the Honolulu Police Department’s crime map. Robbery, larceny and overall crime rates were higher in 2021 than in 2020 for District 1, which comprises the Downtown Honolulu and Makiki areas including Chinatown, according to HPD’s yearly reports….

read … Why Some Stores In Chinatown Keep Doors Locked During Business Hours

Enablers: River of Life feeds homeless with 40 sites across Oahu

SA: … River of Life Mission used to serve 600 to 700 meals a day in its dining room on North Pauahi Street, which led to widespread complaints that the free meals attracted homeless people from outside the area, some of whom would defecate on sidewalks and in front of businesses.

“Pauahi Street was basically impassable with people lying on the sidewalk with their trash and what we may politely call hygiene issues,” said Council member Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, whose district includes Chinatown. “If clients didn’t like the meal, they would just throw it on the sidewalks and cars. On Hotel Street even the buses would have plate lunches thrown at them from time to time.”…

Under pressure from the city and Chinatown residents and businesses, the original plan was to move River of Life to nearby Iwilei, which could have merely shifted Chinatown’s homeless problem next door.

Instead, River of Life now prepares even more meals out of its kitchen but now delivers them to 40 “hub spots” as far away as the North Shore, with eight more on the way….

River of Life limits its meals to 50 per day at each location and brings food to the same spot only once a week.

It also now partners with 53 churches and 54 social service agencies. Along with 100 or so volunteer veterinarians, barbers, manicurists and other professionals, the hubs offer everything from haircuts to health care, pet checkups and assistance getting government benefits and IDs and offers of housing (which are of course refused) …..

read … River of Life helps homeless with 40 sites across Oahu

Hotel Monopoly News: ‘Undercover sting operations’ mop up illegal vacation rentals on Kaua‘i

TGI: … By 2017, the planning department estimated there were 1,500 illegal units in operation.

The tide began to turn in June 2020 when the county established data-sharing agreements with Airbnb, Expedia and VRBO. These partnerships forbid operators from uploading their rentals on the platforms without proper tax-map identification and require the companies to provide monthly reports of all properties on its sites, removing listings that county staff identified as illegal.

“These companies provide us with information on every single Kaua‘i operator advertising on their websites, which allows us to identify each individual and their respective properties operating vacation rentals here on Kaua‘i,” wrote Hull in an email exchange with The Garden Island.

About 70 percent of vacation rentals are listed on these platforms, Hull reported, while the other 30 percent can be found on other websites like FlipKey or Craiglist.

Additionally, the planning department contracted with a third-party platform monitoring company to identify online ads for illegal vacation rentals.

By December 2021, these efforts had cut the number of illegal rentals down to less than 50.

The remaining illegal TVRs are mopped up by a planning department task force, which book “undercover reservations” in “sting operations,” and collect documentation to be used as evidence in issuing violation notices and fines, Hull said.

Illegal TVRs can be subject to harsh fines of up to $10,000 a day if they are discovered. One property owner faced a $130,000 penalty in 2019, according to The Garden Island reporting….

read … ‘Undercover sting operations’ mop up illegal vacation rentals on Kaua‘i

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