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Thursday, April 27, 2023
April 27, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:54 PM :: 2498 Views

Conference Committee Approves Budget Bill

Tokuda Addresses Congress to Celebrate Transsexual Victory

2023 Hawaii legislative wrap-up: the highlights and the lowlights

Trumpsters Fight Antivaxxers for Control of Maui GOP--Preview for Republican State Convention

HSTA Contract Ratified--14.5% raise

Where is Mike Miske getting the money to cover his legal bills?

ILind: … Several people have asked how Mike Miske’s is paying his team of highly talented and high-priced attorneys, since records show his personal and business bank accounts were frozen at the time of his arrest and indictment.

In addition to attorneys’ fees, the property tax on his two Oahu homes is paid and up to date.

One possibility is that rental income from his properties are covering some or all of these bills….

Miske’s large 8,206 sf house overlooking the ocean at Portlock could yield significant rental income.

A nearby home with a similar oceanfront location is advertised for rent at upwards of $100,000 per month, with a second nearby home asking almost that much.

Miske’s house was rented by Sony Pictures in 2021 for the filming of an Amazon series based on the 1997 movie, “I know what you did last summer.”…

How much Sony is paying for use of the house, which sits on more than 3/4 acre on Lumahai Street in the Portlock area, overlooking Spitting Cave, is not known. Federal prosecutors have already declared the Lumahai house as one of several properties they will seek to seize if Miske is convicted, because it was allegedly built using illegal profits from Miske’s racketeering organization.

It isn’t really surprising that Miske might still have friends in the movie business. He was reported to be a member of the Teamsters Local representing drivers for movie and television productions, as were co-defendants John Stancil (Miske’s half-brother) and Harry Kauhi, while Norman Akau, another co-defendant in the racketeering case, was at the time of their arrests listed as a board member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE Local 665), representing stage hands on movie sets and other venues. In addition, Miske was a former business partner and associate of Jon T. Dahl, a self-described “Transportation Captain” on features and TV shows, and owner of two equipment and truck rental companies serving the movie industry….

And there are rumors the property is now being offered as a luxury vacation rental with a six-figure monthly rate….

read … Where is Mike Miske getting the money to cover his legal bills?

Hawaii Tourism Authority left out of state budget

SA: … State lawmakers approved $64 million for the state-owned Hawai‘i Convention Center to fix its leaky roof, but left operational funding for the center and for the Hawaii Tourism Authority out of the final version of the state budget measure House Bill 300 CD1, which was approved Tuesday by conferees, and will head to both chambers for a final vote before it is sent to Gov. Josh Green for consideration.

HB 1375, introduced by Rep. Sean Quinlan (D, Waialua-­Kahuku-Waiahole) along with other House members, now appears to be the most viable vehicle to fund operating budgets for the HTA and the center, whose annual budget of $4 million to $4.5 million comes from HTA’s annual appropriation. The catch is that Friday is the decking deadline so to keep moving, these bills must be scheduled for a Friday conference hearing by 10:30 a.m. today. Also, the bill in its current form would repeal HTA.

A similar bill, Senate Bill 1522, introduced by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Wahiawa-Whitmore-­Mililani Mauka), who chairs the Senate Ways and Mean Committee, is technically still in play, but unlikely to move forward as of Wednesday evening because House conferees had not been assigned.

The House Conference Committee for HB 1375 will be chaired by lead chair Quinlan and co-chairs House Finance Committee Chair Rep. Kyle Yamashita (D, Spreckelsville-Upcountry Maui), Rep. Linda Ichiyama (D, Salt Lake-Moanalua Valley) and Rep. Daniel Holt (D-Kalihi-Chinatown-Sand Island-Honolulu). They will be joined by Rep. Lisa Kitagawa (D, Kahaluu- Ahuimanu-Kaneohe) and Rep. Kanani Souza (R- Kapolei, Makakilo)….

SA: Hawaii Tourism Authority meets before key conference by lawmakers

SA: Hawaii Tourism Authority’s future in limbo

read … Hawaii Tourism Authority left out of state budget

Political showdown brewing after 64% pay raises are approved for councilmembers

HNN: … Two of the nine councilmembers plan to oppose the raise, which will take effect automatically if it is not voted down. Andria Tupola and Augie Tulba said it was just too much money all at once.

They added they would support a raise if the amount was lower.

Tulba fired the first salvo in opposition to his 95,000 followers on Instagram.

“Another way to put it ― over $400,000 of taxpayer money going to raises for nine council members,” Tulba said, in the post. “When was the last time you heard of anybody getting a 64% raise? Never.”

Tulba and Tupola plan to jointly introduce a resolution to reject the $44,000 raise for council members.

They do not oppose a 12.6% raise for the mayor and other city executives.

But Council Chair Tommy Waters is a big advocate for the raise because he feels (insert excuse here) …. 

KHON: 2 HCC members introduce bill to reject pay increase

read … Political showdown brewing after 64% pay raises are approved for councilmembers

So Much For Game-Changing Legislation

CB: … On Wednesday SB 1543 was altered dramatically, and without public input, since that’s the way Hawaii lawmakers like to do their conference committees.

Rather than taking effect in 2026, it would be delayed until 2028. It would also be a one-off of sorts — “a one-cycle deal,” as the bill’s author, Sen. Karl Rhoads, described it.

The Legislature would provide $7.5 million for the funding program and a matching amount in a future Legislature before 2026 for a total of $15 million.

Another change: In order to guard against overspending from the state — that is, if too many people applied for the program — there would be a lottery. Those who survive the draw would get the full funding and those who do not would get nothing.

Why the big change at the last minute? Reached after the meeting, Rhoads said, “It’s kind of hard to explain. That seems to be what members can tolerate, is the way to put it.” …. 

read … So Much For Game-Changing Legislation

Kaua‘i County Council moves to increase pepper spray access

TGI: … Kaua‘i is currently the only county in the state that requires residents to file for a permit and pass a background check in order to buy pepper spray.

Members of the Kaua‘i County Council are moving to change that with a bill introduced at Wednesday’s meeting.

Proposed Draft Bill No. 2898, introduced by Vice Chair KipuKai Kuali‘i and Council Member Addison Bulosan, would allow Kaua‘i adults to possess and use a maximum of 2 ounces of pepper spray in self-defense, defense of another, and protection of property — without a permit.

Kuali‘i said the measure came out of a conversation at a presentation on a recent report about Missing and Murdered Native Hawaiian Women and Girls, when an audience member brought up the difficulty of acquiring pepper spray for self-defense….

read … Kaua‘i County Council moves to increase pepper spray access

Opponents sue to stop planned Kalaeloa surf park

SA: … Bought n paid for by the Ewa surf park ….

read … Opponents sue to stop planned Kalaeloa surf park

Hawaii Is Giving A Maui Hotel Its Money Back Instead Of Helping Shore Up A Shrinking Beach

CB: … The state and the Kaanapali resorts initially entered into a partnership to split the bill for an $800,000 study on the beach replenishment. They then proposed to share the cost of the estimated $10 million project.

But on a Friday in March, when the government body tasked with protecting land and oceans for future generations finally got to discussing the topic, it took just five minutes to reach a decision. The seven-member board, now led by Dawn Chang, all voted against it.

Wayne Hedani, who runs the Kaanapali Operations Association, said he was “caught flat footed” by the decision. He had been told that the March meeting would be routine so he hadn’t even prepared to testify. …

read … Hawaii Is Giving A Maui Hotel Its Money Back Instead Of Helping Shore Up A Shrinking Beach

After 20 years, ‘Ambitious’ proposal would transfer 94K acres of agricultural land

SA: … After a 20-year standstill over more than 110,000 acres of Hawaii agricultural land, two state departments have revealed an “ambitious” plan to distribute that land by the end of the year.

In 2003, via the passing of Act 90 during that year’s Legislative session, the state Department of Agriculture and the Department of Land and Natural Resources were tasked with transferring certain agricultural lands in the DLNR to the DOA in an attempt to promote agriculture in Hawaii. But in the two decades that followed, the departments managed to transfer just about 19,000 acres, as both struggled over the parcels to promote their respective departmental goals in agriculture or conservation.

Now the departments are planning to process another 94,000 acres — primarily pasture lands — by Dec. 31….

The proposed plan, while a compromise for both departments, was welcome news for ranching advocates.

Nicole Galase, managing director for the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, has advocated for the transfer of all the DLNR’s pasture lands, but was relieved that there’s finally activity under Act 90.

“There was just not a lot of activity happening, and that’s what we were worried about,” Galase told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “Right now, we’re at a point where we’re happy that there’s positive talks.”… 

CB: The Untimely Death Of Key Hawaii Ag Official Could Set Back Projects

read … ‘Ambitious’ proposal would transfer 94K acres of agricultural land this year

Oahu has a high rate of deadly motorcycle accidents

KITV: … There are around 25,000 registered motorcycles and mopeds on Oahu, only a small fraction compared to the more than 700,000 cars and trucks on our roads.

Even though there are many more cars, last year the same number of people died on Oahu's roads riding motorcycles, mopeds or scooters as they did in car accidents. In 2021, more motorcyclists died than those in cars.

Over the past two months, there have been 6 fatal motorcycle crashes on Oahu alone….

read … Oahu has a high rate of deadly motorcycle accidents

Hawaii outreach team trained to look for disfiguring wounds associated with powerful horse tranquilizer

HNN: … Xylazine, a horse tranquilizer being added to street drugs, is known to cause horrifying skin sores.

It’s dubbed the “zombie drug.”

“Very thick, crusting ... and if untreated it can lead to things like amputation and sepsis,” said Dr. Christina Wang, of the Hawaii Health and Harm Reduction Center, a non-profit that depends on donations.

Wang and her team have been doing wound care outreach for eight years as part of an effort to treat people early ― before they need an emergency room or hospitalization.

The outreach costs about $20,000, and it’s all covered by donations….

Many of the people have swollen feet. Some are so bad, the skin is close to cracking.

The medical group puts compression socks on them and provide a wound care bag with soap, bacitracin, Band-Aids and information on how to treat sores….

There has been one death in Hawaii associated with xylazine, which is often mixed with fentanyl and other opioids….

The team’s efforts are not always met with appreciation. HNN heard a couple of people yell at them or cuss at them…

(IDEA: Force the homeless into shelters.)

read … Hawaii outreach team trained to look for disfiguring wounds associated with powerful horse tranquilizer  

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