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Friday, July 28, 2023
July 28, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:33 PM :: 2746 Views

Pathways to Removing Housing Obstacles

DoH: Hawaii Needs Lots and Lots of Free Needles

Tourist Count Up 5.5%

Solar Shaft: HECO Evenings hit $0.66 per kwh

Red Hill’s Fuel Director Raised An Alarm Before Pipes Leaked. The Navy Removed Her

CB: … The fuel director insisted something wasn’t right.

Higher-ups were preventing her from reporting a fuel leak at Pearl Harbor and were misusing federal funds to cover it up, she said. And there were serious issues with the Red Hill fuel facility’s $54 million fire suppression system that had just been installed — namely, it was never fully functional.

When the director spoke up, she said she was silenced, sidelined and ultimately, “I was removed.”

Her responsibilities were taken away and she was told to report to the deputy fuel director – her subordinate….

she reported her concerns with great urgency, as if foreshadowing the crisis to come. Ultimately, her effective removal at the hands of Navy leadership “significantly” increased risk at the facility, the military’s own investigation found, setting the stage for back-to-back disasters that contaminated the water….

read … Red Hill’s Fuel Director Raised An Alarm Before Pipes Leaked. The Navy Removed Her

Alm: State Legislature Makes Corruption Hard to prosecute in Hawaii

KHON: … Steve Alm on Senate Bill 228, an anti-corruption bill that recently became law:

“We all know how the federal system can be so effective. The reason it’s effective, you have laws aimed at it. We need is mandatory prison time. Because right now, the difference is in federal system, if somebody gets arrested by the FBI for a charge, they know they’re going to prison.  If they get convicted in the state system, they know they’re gonna get put on probation.

And the thing is, we want them to cooperate. So as soon as Mr. Cullen (Former Hawaii State Representative) and Mr. English (Former State Senator) got arrested, those of us who had been in the federal system knew that maybe two years before somebody else had been busted, and he or she agreed to cooperate against those folks. And that’s exactly what happened. And so Mr. (Milton) Choi’s name came up later on, as the person who had first been busted. And then he, he cooperated against them. He would not have done that if you knew he had a chance for probation.

So we’ll be going back to the legislature. We appreciate what they did. But we need to have mandatory time on it to get them to cooperate not at sentencing, but at the moment they get arrested.”

SB 228: Text, Status

read … Hawaii's Steve Alm stops by KHON to discuss new anti-corruption law and success of Safe and Sound Waikiki Program

Kokua Line: Who’s on the governor’s fast-track building group?

SA: … Nani Medeiros, lead housing officer, on Thursday emailed Kokua Line a tentative list of some group members by name, noting that “official invitations to the Working Group have not yet been sent out, so it is not clear whether these specific individuals will be present members or if they will designate someone from their agency/office/organization to represent them. Furthermore, as some positions are not specifically called out (in the proclamation), it cannot be determined who that particular agency or non-state entity will invite to represent themselves at Working Group meetings. Directors and Executive Directors of agencies will be allowed to bring staff who are assigned to review the project.”

Here is the list, with the entity as described in the proclamation, followed by the person tentatively expected to fill the role, when that information was available.

State agencies
  • Office of Planning and Sustainable Development; Mary Alice Evans, acting director
  • Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; James Tokioka, director
  • Hawaii Housing Finance Development Corp.; Dean Minakami, interim executive director
  • Department of Land and Natural Resources; Dawn Chang, chair
  • State Historic Preservation Division; Alan Downer, administrator
  • Commission on Water Resource Management; Kaleo Manuel, deputy director
  • Land Use Commission; Dan Giovanni, chair
  • Department of Health; Dr. Kenneth Fink, director
  • Department of Transportation; Edwin Sniffen, director
  • Hawaii Public Housing Authority; Hakim Ouansafi, executive director
  • Department of Budget and Finance; Luis Salaveria, director
  • Island burial council representatives of the island where the project is located (no names provided)
Nonstate entities
  • Legislative Housing Committee chairs (nonvoting members): Rep. Troy Hashi­moto and Sen. Stanley Chang
  • Mayor of the county where project is located: Hono­lulu Mayor Rick Blan­giardi, Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth, Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen, Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami
  • County permitting and regulatory agency representatives of the island where project is located (no names provided)
  • County department of water supply representatives of the island where project is located (no names provided)
  • Hawaiian Electric or Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, as applicable, for island where project is located; Shelee M.T. Kimura, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO, or David J. Bissell, KIUC president and CEO
  • Honua Consulting: Trisha Watson, owner
  • Executive director of Housing Hawaii’s Future: Sterling Higa
  • University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization: Carl Bonham, executive director
  • Executive director of the Sierra Club of Hawai‘i: Wayne Tanaka
  • Executive director of the Land Use Research Foundation: David Arakawa

read … Kokua Line: Who’s on the governor’s fast-track building group?

Honolulu Architect Who Bribed Permit Workers Sentenced To One Year In Prison

CB: … An architect who gave tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to workers at the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting was sentenced on Thursday to one year and a day in prison and a $5,000 fine.

William Wong, 73, admitted he gave money to county workers to expedite the approval of his construction projects. The federal probe also ensnared five former permitting workers who were sentenced to prison time ranging from 18 months to five years. Two others are awaiting sentencing….

HNN: Architect who helped FBI build case against corrupt building inspectors gets leniency in federal court

read … Honolulu Architect Who Bribed Permit Workers Sentenced To One Year In Prison

Missing Waimanalo Girl Declared Dead, Opening Path For Suit Against State

CB: … A probate court judge on Thursday formally declared the death of 6-year-old Isabella Kalua, opening the door to a civil lawsuit that could recover damages for her three surviving siblings.

The Waimanalo girl, whose birth name was Ariel Sellers, was presumed dead after her adoptive parents Lehua and Isaac Kalua reported her missing in 2021.

The Kaluas have since been charged with her murder. Prosecutors alleged that the Kaluas confined Isabella in a dog cage, put duct tape over her mouth and failed to feed her. The Kaluas pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial…. 

HNN: Judge rules Isabella ‘Ariel’ Kalua dead, opening door for siblings to sue state

RELATED: Lawsuit Coming: Murder of Ariel Sellers Reaches Probate Court

read … Missing Waimanalo Girl Declared Dead, Opening Path For Suit Against State

The state's latest gun control law goes before a judge

AP: … A U.S. judge is scheduled to consider whether to temporarily stop Hawaii from enforcing a new state law that prohibits carrying a gun on beaches and other locations deemed sensitive…

read … The state's latest gun control law goes before a judge

Murdered by the ACLU: Homeless Girl Dead Because She was not FORCED into Shelter

HNN: … A death investigation is underway in Windward Oahu after two men found a 21-year-old woman barely breathing in some bushes on Tuesday afternoon.

Medics were unable to revive her.

According to an organization that works with homeless youth, she’s the third young person to die on the streets of Oahu in the last four months. Outreach workers identified her as Acacia Brown….

“She is a young person who had a lifetime of trauma,” Houser said.

“No known family. We were in the process of working with the Judiciary to be able to get guardianship so that we would be able to get her the appropriate supports that she needed.

“And we were just too late.”

She says outreach workers spent three years trying to get Brown the medical and psychiatric help she needed. But in the end the system failed her.

(CLUE: FORCE must be used to save the homeless from themselves, not persuasion.)

“It’s not set up to support the level of mental health challenges that our young people are facing. And especially our young people who are unsheltered,” Houser said….

She says Brown is far from the only youth who has slipped through the cracks.

“Over the last four months, we’ve lost three young people to either suicide or violence on the streets, living unsheltered. While they waited for a bed to get into our emergency shelter,” she said.

Houser says an outreach team last saw Brown on Saturday, not far from the spot she died….

read … ‘We were too late’: Outreach workers mourn another homeless youth’s death on the streets

Keeping the Homeless Homeless is Expensive: Half A Million Dollars Buys 6 Months Of Security Guards For Waikiki

CB: … On a recent night in Waikiki, a dozen bums lounged at a row of concrete picnic tables in Kuhio Beach Park. A man rolled a joint, and another asked where he could charge his phone. The people declined to give their names and cut the conversation short, worried about looking suspicious to others and to the police.

But there were no police in sight, although the local substation was a short walk up the beach. Instead, a golf cart soon came down the sidewalk from the station, carrying two men in black polo shirts that read “ML Security.”…

They explained that their task requires talking to people they deem suspicious, showing them it’s “in their best interest” to leave, and clearing the beach park when it closes at midnight. The city recently started closing Kuhio Beach Park two hours earlier, in line with nearby Kapiolani Park.

“Our specialty is that we’re trained in law enforcement,” the driver said. “Verbal judo. We can talk story with them.”…

A city notice said that the majority of Levi’s staff are current or former members of HPD’s “elite” Crime Reduction Unit or “other specialized units.” …

Blangiardi chose the Matt Levi Corp. without taking other bids because he “felt that they were very effective,” he said….

The mayor’s office requested an exemption from competitive bidding, posting a notice in May for seven days, Blangiardi spokesperson Ian Scheuring said, and no one contested it….

The city had tried to fill a policing shortage with federal post-pandemic recovery funds before, paying officers to work partial overtime shifts in Chinatown, but it wasn’t sustainable for personnel, Formby said.

The $450,000 for the contract couldn’t have been used by HPD to hire more officers for the area, though they already have the budget to do so, Formby said. “There’s no connection there.”

When the contract expires Nov. 30, the city will have to decide what’s next for this stretch of Waikiki….

SA Editorial: Serve homeless more than food

read … Half A Million Dollars Buys 6 Months Of Security Guards For Waikiki

Another EB5 Scam: Hawaii Ocean Plaza Investor From Japan Out $560K, Was Also Promised A Visa

KITV: … Anyone who has driven up and down Kapiolani Boulevard at any point over the last six years has seen it.  The weathered tarps over cyclone fencing at the 1300 block of Kapiolani covers the site which was supposed to be where you would see the Hawaii Ocean Plaza.  Plans were introduced to investors in 2017 calling for over 40 floors of hotel rooms, office space, fine dining and condominiums.  In 2023: No high rise. Nothing built. Not even a foundation….

read … Hawaii Ocean Plaza Investor From Japan Out $560k, Was Also Promised A Visa

New Hawaii County sustainability office created

HTH: … The Office of Sustainability, Climate, Equity and Resilience was created Wednesday with the signature of Mayor Mitch Roth after collaboration between the County Council, community advocates and others….

“The design and mission of OSCER is a new approach that has been specifically developed in response to a two-year process to identify gaps between plan and implementation in the areas of sustainability, climate change, equity and resilience,” said County Council Chairwoman Heather Kimball without laughing…..

CLUE: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”

CB: Big Island’s New Climate Change Office Will ‘Create A Unified Front’

read … New Hawaii County sustainability office created

New data reveals Hawaii has the second highest drowning rate in the nation

HNN: … According to DOH’s Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch, at least 171 people drowned in the ocean statewide in 2021 and 2022 combined.

Most of those deaths were listed as “other activity” or unknown.

Statistics show that 40 deaths occurred during snorkeling, followed closely by swimming at 39 deaths.

There were 15 surfing and body-boarding deaths. Twelve fell or were swept into the water.

Five deaths involved free-diving and three deaths involved scuba diving….

read … New data reveals Hawaii has the second highest drowning rate in the nation

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