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Friday, June 9, 2023
June 9, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:40 PM :: 3013 Views

Civil Beat Publisher Bankrolled Social Media Censorship Effort

"FCKBLM" -- Ninth Circuit hears challenge to recall of evocative license plate

Green Signs 8 More Bills Into law

DLNR: Haena State park to Be Model for State

Big Island Crime Family targets Police Detective for Death--gets State Judge to take his guns    

HNN: … Det. Justin Gaspar and Jake Kahele-Bishop of Kailua-Kona have traded allegations of harassment after the March 10 police shooting death of Kahele-Bishop’s brother, Kainoa.

Most recently, Kahele-Bishop filed for a temporary restraining order against Gaspar after the detective arrested him and his family at gun point in the parking lot of the Kona Police Station on March 13.

“As a consequence of that restraining order, Officer Gaspar was required to turn in all of his guns. We have yet received confirmation that that actually happened,” said Eric Seitz, attorney for Kahele-Bishop….

Gaspar recently sought to modify the TRO to allow him to carry a gun, saying he needs his firearm to do his job. But on Monday, District Judge Joseph Florendo Jr. denied the request….

Big Island Police confirmed that Gaspar has surrendered his firearms and is on “limited duty assignment” because he can’t carry a gun.

They added that an administrative review into Kahele-Bishop’s March 13 arrest is pending.

An administrative review into the police shooting death of Kainoa Kahele-Bishop is also pending.

Kainoa Kahele-Bishop was fatally shot by Gaspar and another officer on March 10th. The officers were initially placed on administrative leave but were allowed to return to work 11 days later.

A wrongful death lawsuit against Gaspar, the other officer and the County is pending.

Big Island Police alleged that Jake Kahele-Bishop was arrested three days after his brother’s death after he “threatened and chased” Gaspar who was off duty.

In court filings, county lawyers also alleged that Kahele-Bishop threatened other officers during a previous visit to the police station, saying he was “yelling about killing the police officers that killed his brother.”

Jake Kahele-Bishop was indicted on three counts of terroristic threatening on March 21….

read … State judge rules officer accused of harassment can’t carry firearms

State gave Probation but Feds hold 2 alleged drug gang members without bail

SA: … Sheysten James Ikaika Joseph, 22, was arrested by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent on suspicion of being a felon in possession of ammunition in connection with an April 9 road rage incident near Ko Olina where Joseph was the passenger in a car driven by Seth Zachary Owens, 22, who allegedly pointed a ghost gun at a woman and her three children….

U.S. Magistrate Judge Wes Reber Porter granted the U.S. Department of Justice’s motion Thursday to hold the pair of convicted felons without bail ahead of a preliminary hearing June 20 at 10:30 a.m. in Reber Porter’s court….

Both Joseph and Nash are on state probation in connection with a Nov. 20, 2019, fight that led to the shooting of 39-year-old Micaiah McCullah, a father of seven and a football coach, who was killed during the melee….

At a community meeting on crime in Maili on Wednesday, Sabrina Grace-Dereis, who claimed she was a former federal informant, gave binders to HPD Narcotics/Vice Major Mike Lambert, City Council member Andria Tupola and Hono­lulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm that contained pictures of the man whose property was searched by police and federal agents, his alleged friends and a business that is allegedly a front used to launder revenue from the sale of illegal narcotics….

read … 2 alleged drug gang members held without bail

Honolulu Conspiracy Trial Pushed To October 2024

CB: … Three former Honolulu officials facing federal conspiracy charges may not get their day in court until October 2024.

Ex-city attorney Donna Long, former managing director Roy Amemiya and former Honolulu Police Commission chair Max Sword stand accused of improperly executing a retirement payout to disgraced police chief Louis Kealoha in 2017.

At the time, Kealoha was on the brink of indictment on corruption charges, and city officials were eager to get him out of the Honolulu Police Department. But the feds say the officials needed City Council approval to grant the $250,000 severance. Circumventing the council, and trying to keep the deal quiet afterward, amounts to a crime, prosecutors say.

The defendants were indicted in January 2022. Scheduling conflicts necessitated the long continuance.

Judge Leslie Kobayashi is traveling later this summer and is undergoing a medical procedure this fall. And the prosecutor in the case, Michael Wheat, has trials scheduled in cases involving alleged crime boss Mike Miske in January and former prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro in February. Kobayashi is juggling other cases as well….

read … Honolulu Conspiracy Trial Pushed To October 2024

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke Has Already Overspent Her Budget — On Staff Raises

CB: … The overage comes as Luke, the former longtime House Finance chair, is poised to more than double her office budget to more than $2.3 million for the next fiscal year….

Just months after taking office, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke has blown through her department’s budget and is asking the state finance office to find extra money to cover salary increases she gave her staff.

The shortfall of $48,623 came about after Luke decided to pay some of her staff members substantially more than her predecessor, Gov. Josh Green, did. Luke confirmed the pay increases, but her office did not respond to a request to specify salary amounts.

Luke’s office is now asking the Department of Budget and Finance to find funds elsewhere in the state budget to fix the problem. Budget and Finance did not respond to repeated messages seeking comment….

read … Hawaii Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke Has Already Overspent Her Budget — On Staff Raises

CNHA to Meet in Las Vegas

SA: … The convention also will bring in Hawaii political leaders, including state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, Reps. Darius Kila and Daniel Holt and Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke, to discuss legislation and public policies affecting the Native Hawaiian community. Also attending will be Native American tribal leaders, who will discuss ways to unify native communities across America, Lewis said.

Kehau Watson, vice president of ‘Aina Momona, is scheduled to be a panelist in a workshop focused on social injustice and its impact on Hawaiian communities. ‘Aina Momona, founded by Molokai activist Walter Ritte, is a nonprofit organization that, according to its website, works “to restore fragile ecosystems, promote cultural rights and practices, enhance community well-­being, and advocate for native rights and social justice.”…

Feb 2023: CNHA Inside Track: Robin Danner Snags Gig in Governor's Office

read … Native Hawaiian convention set to be held in Vegas

The continuing saga of the property at 91 Coelho Way

ILind: … The owner of record of the property is identified in real estate records as James H. Hall. Hall took title to the property via a quitclaim deed in a somewhat murky 2018 transaction. The purchase came less than a year after he and his family were evicted from the last of a series of homes where they had squatted without payments for several years. Hall purchased Greentree Properties LLC for a reported $3 million from now disbarred Honolulu attorney Gary Dubin, who had represented Hall in efforts to block his eviction. Greentree’s only asset was the Coelho Way home, which Hall immediately deeded to himself.

However, a pending foreclosure lawsuit alleges that the home is still owned by Dubin, who took out a $2 million mortgage loan used for his original purchase of the property. Dubin alleges the property fell into foreclosure because Hall failed to fulfill his part of the deal, which required Hall to pay all of the property’s current expenses, including the mortgage, property taxes, etc. When payments on the mortgage loan stopped, the bank eventually went to court to foreclose on the property.

Dubin claims in legal filings in the foreclosure case that he retained a small interested in the Coelho Way property, giving him grounds to seek the return of some or all of the property from Hall.

The dispute between Hall and Dubin is playing out in the foreclosure case, but is not at issue in the Myeni lawsuit against the city, where Hall’s attorneys had fought for months to block any access to the property to study lighting conditions, saying their client, Hall, had raised a string of objections….

read … The continuing saga of the property at 91 Coelho Way

Council approves one-time $350 rebate for owner-occupants and forms P.I.G.

HNN: … The $3.4 billion budget passed by the Honolulu Council on Wednesday night included a $54 million tax break for owner-occupant property owners.

But the one-time $350 rebate may only be the beginning for tax relief.

The rebate could go to as many as 152,000 homeowners.

The residential property tax rate in Honolulu is $3.50 per $1,000 of a home’s value. So, the $350 rebate, actually a discount off the tax bill, is as if the home’s appraisal dropped by $100,000….

In order to deal with the complexity and number of tax proposals the council decided to avoid Sunshine Law rules by setting up a special committee, called a Permitted Interaction Group, which can hold private meetings without public involvement. Anything the PIG recommends must go through the entire lawmaking process….

read … Council approves $350 rebate for owner-occupants and say they’re just getting started

50 Years Later: Waiahole Valley Protesters got a Lifetime of Discount Rent

HNN: … About 50 years ago, Patsy Pilanca protested evictions in Waiahole Valley with her husband front and center. On Thursday, she and dozens of others shared how rent increases would impact kupuna living on social security.

She fears losing the home her late husband built. “He just passed away in December so right now, it’s still fresh,” said Pilanca. “So, it’s very hard to say I’m going to tear down the house.”

“You know, it’s very to the heart because he built it.”

Pilanca left the board meeting feeling hopeful.

“I feeling really good because when I looked at the board, the HHFDC board looked like they were surprised and a lot of the stuff that everybody was talking about when we did our speeches,” she said.

Twelve agreements have already been made ranging from $330 to $795 a month depending on lot size.

The board took no action on Thursday.

If an agreement isn’t reached by August 1, the matter must be submitted for mediation and if that’s unsuccessful it must be settled through arbitration.

read … ‘It’s personal’: Waiahole Valley families appeal to state board amid rent increase talks

DHS Can’t Stop Foster Care Abuse but it has time to shut down Another Big Island Child Care Center

HNN: … So moms in the area decided to change that, banding together to combat the child care shortage by creating a private club where their kids could come together to play and learn. Members say everything was going great until the state found out and accused them of breaking the law.

(DHS can’t stop foster care abuse, but they have time to go after this …)

“We all had the best intentions of helping the community. The children. The parents,” said Ariel Maguire, a part-time accountant and mother to four girls under the age of 7. “We were made to feel like we did something really wrong.” …

Maguire said the group was focused on enrichment and solving a shared problem together.

“We all kind of got together and said is there anything that we can do that all of our kids can be occupied and learning to sort of help each other out,” said Maguire.

It’s how Kulilke Learning Garden was born.

“We were not trying to be a licensed preschool,” Maguire said. “It wasn’t feasible here. We’re off grid. And we simply don’t qualify because of that.”

Together, they established the center using what’s called a Private Membership Association, or PMA.

By definition, it’s a non-profit organization that brings together people who work in the same industry or share common interests and goals. Members typically pay a fee in exchange for access to benefits and support.

“A quick Google search pops up many schools that are PMAs on the mainland. So I started looking at them. How they were set up,” Maguire said. “We got our business license. We got a got a 501(c)(3) awarded from the IRS. We got all the contracts done.” She even found a teacher who’d been working in the classroom more than 20-years….

The learning center officially opened in January 2022. It was single classroom on Maguire’s farm….

When asked when she realized there might be an issue, she responded, “The moment I was standing at this fence with DHS.”

That was last November. Maguire says someone sent the state an anonymous tip.

“They just starting interrogating us,” she said.

“I did say multiple times we’re a Private Membership Association and none of them knew what that was except for the representative from the state Attorney General’s office. And what he told me was OK, that’s fine. You’re going to receive a letter of violation in the mail that you’ll be able to contest as a PMA.”

Maguire says a few days later investigators were back accusing her of running an unlicensed preschool.

She says she tried to call DHS to explain but couldn’t get in touch with anyone. So she drove to the agency’s Hilo office and hand-delivered a letter to officials, but says she got no response.

Then on Dec. 17, Maguire says she was served.

“They never at any point said we’re preparing to take you to court and fine us $55,000,” she said.

Officials at the Department of Human Services say under Hawaii law all preschools need to be licensed by the state.

“Currently PMAs are not exempt from licensing requirements,” said Scott Morishige, DHS spokesperson.

Here is a list of the current exemptions….

Maguire says she chose to settle the case outside of court.

In the end, she agreed not to reopen and paid a $5,000 fine. She said she wanted to defend the legality of her PMA, but with four young children doesn’t have the time or the money.

“I would hope that a lawyer who is familiar with PMAs could pick this up and help us get this recognized by the state,” Maguire said, “so families who are in these more rural areas can start their own little pods.”

Meanwhile, many families in the community remain without childcare as they struggle to make sure their children are prepared for school. “A PMA seems like such an easy answer,” Conder said. “We need to think outside the box.”

HNN asked DHS if it knows about any other PMAs. Officials said there is one other it’s currently investigating….

LINK: https://www.pmasolutions.us/

read … A small Hawaii community’s solution to a child care shortage runs afoul of state policies

After nearly 5 years of ‘repairs’, Pearl City public pool finally reopens

HNN: … The Pearl City District Park pool reopened for public use Thursday after being closed for nearly five years due to numerous improvements.

The 25-yard pool initially closed in 2018 for a list of repairs including the pool’s tiling, lane markers, pump room, drainage, concrete spalling, and plastering.

While repairing the pool, other issues were found that delayed the reopening, primarily with the pool’s electric bonding….

read … After nearly 5 years of repairs, Pearl City public pool finally reopens

The City Just Destroyed This Historic Chinatown Sidewalk

CB: … Workers pulverized the historic stones from the days of the Hawaiian Kings’ sandalwood trade and hauled the rubble off to a Nanakuli landfill. After the removal of the historic pavers and lava rock curbstones, the hole left on the sidewalk was filled with concrete.

The granite stones that paved the sidewalk in front of Lai Fong are from Hawaii’s 19th century shipping trade. Old-time shippers filled their ships hulls with the granite ballast stones for stabilization after they had dropped off their cargo and were returning to their port empty.

When the ballast blocks were no longer needed, they sat on Honolulu docks until someone decided they would make good sidewalk pavers.

“I am embarrassed that this even happened. It is very unfortunate,” Honolulu Managing Director Mike Formby told Civil Beat in a phone call on Thursday.

Formby said the sidewalk in front of Lai Fong was demolished without the legally required State Historic Preservation Division review because of a series of actions he says the city will not let happen again.

“Any time work is done in Chinatown, a red flag should go up,” Formby said. …

read … The City Just Destroyed This Historic Chinatown Sidewalk

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