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Flip-Flop: AG office suddenly claims no limits on fire investigation
KHON: … The state Attorney General’s office tells Always Investigating nothing is off limits in her fire inquiry. The AG is now calling what was first termed a “review” an “investigation,” this after Gov. Josh Green said last week: “It’s not a criminal investigation in anyway.”
That concerned state lawmakers like Rep. Kanani Souza, R-Kapolei, a Judiciary Committee member who sent concerns to the AG’s office in writing….
“I ended up writing a letter to the attorney general seeking clarification as to whether this was actually an investigation and the scope and details of possibly where the investigation in her opinion would lead,” Souza said.
Multiple former AGs including one who went on to be the U.S. Attorney for Hawaii told Always Investigating there’s a mandate for top law enforcement officials to probe independently without boundaries.
“I think that’s very important, and after seeing that, it affirmed my thoughts on what I had thought all along, that this should be called an investigation,” Souza said.
Today the AG’s office told KHON2 it is an investigation.
“The Attorney General is conducting an investigation under her powers as the chief legal officer of the state because the Attorney General believes that it is in the public interest,” a statement from the Department of the Attorney General said. “We are not applying any labels to the investigation – the investigation is intended to be comprehensive and without limits as to scope or subject matter. No one has instructed the Department of the Attorney General to leave anything off limits – everything remains on the table, and we will go where the facts lead.”
Always Investigating asked the governor’s office if he wished to clarify or affirm what we said about the review’s intent last week.
“On Aug. 10, I ordered Attorney General (Anne) Lopez to conduct a comprehensive review of the government response to wildfires on Maui,” Green said in a statement. “Everything will be carefully considered and assessed as part of this thorough review process, and it will be done without bias or obstruction of any kind. This is good governance, and it is what the people of Hawaii, and especially on Maui, deserve.”..
KHON: AG could uncover criminal liability in Lahaina fire
read … State AG says no limits on fire investigation
HIEMA head: It took hours for state to understand full scope of Lahaina disaster
HNN: … The scope and severity of what was happening in West Maui on the evening of Aug. 8 wasn’t communicated to key leaders at the state level during the first 12 to 15 hours of the wildfire disaster, according to the head of the state’s Emergency Management Agency.
One key example of that: Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, HIEMA’s director, said in an interview with HNN that no one told him anyone had died until the morning after Lahaina town was reduced to ash….
The Lahaina wildfire actually started early in the morning of Aug. 8, reigniting later to cause devastation. Seven hours after the fire reignited, HNN spoke with Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke — who was acting governor that day — along with Hara to try to confirm reports of people jumping into the water to try to escape the fire. “There is fire spreading very quickly,” Luke said.
Reporter Daryl Huff asked, “What is happening now particularly in Lahaina?”
Hara responded: “I just got off the phone with them, Herman Andaya who’s the administrator of the Maui Emergency Management Agency, who said the fire is right there on Front Street. ... Currently from the Hawaii National Guard, we’re providing 30 personnel to support Hawaii County and 36 personnel to support Maui County. These are primarily for traffic control and security support.”
During that six-minute interview, neither Luke or Hara gave any indication anyone had been hurt….
It’s still unclear who was left in charge of Maui’s Emergency Operation Center while Andaya was attending the conference in Waikiki. Also unclear is when Andaya actually returned to Maui….
HNN has also asked Bissen multiple times to sit down with us for an interview, but have yet to get a response….
HNN: Government’s Maui response didn’t contribute to death toll, incident lead says (hawaiinewsnow.com)
KHON: ‘We’re pretty much overrun by fire over here’: MFD radio calls | KHON2
read …. HIEMA head: It took hours for state to understand full scope of Lahaina disaster
Frustrated teachers confront Board of Education
SA: … Lahaina educators “have been in a state of trauma for weeks, and they can’t calm down because they don’t know if Monday we’re gonna have to go to school and look into the faces of 30 children who may have lost their homes,” said Victoria Zupancic, a Lahainaluna High School educator who testified as an individual.
She was referring to the 327 employees from the four closed Lahaina public schools who have been told by the state Department of Education that they are expected to resume work Monday at a location off site from their campuses.
Zupancic, who is a curriculum, AP testing and Title I coordinator at Lahainaluna, and a leader with the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said up to one-third of the teachers from the four Lahaina public schools — King Kamehameha III Elementary, Princess Nahienaena Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate and Lahainalua High — lost their homes in the fires that began their deadly march Aug. 8….
Part of Hayashi’s report said about two-thirds of the 3,001 children who once attended Lahaina’s four public schools still have not enrolled in other Hawaii public schools or the state’s distance learning program. Officials have no way yet to tell exactly how many students have left the system for private schools or the mainland, are pausing schooling or are among the West Maui residents reportedly still missing in the wildfires disaster.
As of Monday only 538 of the Lahaina students had reenrolled in other Hawaii public schools, and 438 students had signed up for the State Distance Learning Program….
read … Frustrated parents and teachers confront Board of Education | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)
Why Many Patients Are Stuck In Hospitals Waiting For Long-Term Care Beds
CB: … The average wait was 123 days in May, up from 78 in November, according to the Healthcare Association of Hawaii….
read … Why Many Patients Are Stuck In Hospitals Waiting For Long-Term Care Beds
Gay Liquor examiner files federal lawsuit against city
SA: .. A civil rights lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday alleges that three Honolulu Liquor Commission investigators subjected another investigator to discrimination, harassment and a hostile work environment based on his sexual orientation and race after starting his job with the city in 2022.
Filed on behalf of Jhumar Ray Waite, the complaint names defendants Jacob Fears, Glen Nishigata and Catherine Fontaine and alleges the trio, in their official and individual capacities, violated portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as state laws, related to discrimination against Waite.
Waite — who has worked as a Honolulu liquor investigator since August 2022 — is gay and Filipino, the complaint states….
read … Liquor examiner files federal lawsuit against city
Lahaina Fire News: