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Tuesday, August 29, 2023
August 29, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:57 PM :: 2661 Views

Flashback: How Andaya was selected Maui Emergency Chief

VIDEO: Stirring the Digestible Pot on ‘Augie T’s Guest List’

Income tax reform would make Hawaii more affordable

Some Lahaina fire survivors ‘still didn’t believe that it happened’

‘There’s going to be a lot blame in the next few years’

Hawaii’s internet future depends on existing Jones Act exemption

Green New Deal: Kaniela Ing Pleads No Contest--Campaign Spending Violations Again

SA: … Former state representative from South Maui, Mark Kaniela Ing, pleaded no contest Monday to a criminal charge of failure to timely file supplemental report with the Campaign Spending Commission.

Ing, 34, was charged Feb. 15 after the commission referred the case to the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office.

During his 2018 run for Congress, Ing had racked up $22,000 in penalties, fines and restitution for 23 inaccurate reports filed from 2011 to 2016.

Ing was fined more than $15,000 in June 2018 for filing 23 false reports detailing his campaign contributions and expenditures to cover personal expenses and other campaign spending laws.

They include paying for his domestic partner’s credit card, depositing a $2,000 campaign check into his personal checking account and paying $2,125 in rent for homes on Oahu and Maui.

The Ing (Yes.  Star-Adv really called him ‘The Ing.’) has been quite visible in recent weeks on national news, speaking about the Maui wildfires as a “seventh-generation indigenous Hawaiian from Maui,” …. In other news stories, he speaks as national director of the Green New Deal Network, about the wildfires and says, “We’re living the climate emergency.”…

Ing was given a one-year deferral of his no contest plea. During that time, Ing must not commit another crime, cannot leave Oahu without the court’s permission and must make a $100 contribution to the State General Fund….

(CLUE: If you see this dangerous criminal on Maui, call the police!)

PDF: Kaniela Ing pleads no contest to campaign spending violation | Department of the Prosecuting Attorney (

CB: Ex-Maui Rep Pleads No Contest To Campaign Spending Violation - Honolulu Civil Beat

REALITY: Deadly Hawaii Fires Are Result of Political and Policy Failures—Not Climate Change

PDF: Kaniela Ing Criminal Complaint 2023

Kaniela Ing: The Gift That Just Keeps on Giving

read … Kaniela Ing pleads no contest to campaign spending criminal charge

Keith Agaran: “I’m not wedded to staying in the Legislature.”

CB: … Nick Grube caught up with Keith-Agaran Sunday night at a forum for potential clients hosted by Keith-Agaran’s firm and a mainland law firm that is signing up clients on Maui.

Keith-Agaran, who holds an extremely powerful position over myriad state interests as vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, has been in the Legislature since 2009, when he was appointed to a House seat. He jumped to the Senate in 2013.

When asked what he’d do if he had to choose between his constituents or his clients, Keith-Agaran said, “I’ve always had a legal practice, my professional responsibilities are to my clients so I would pick my clients.”

“If it gets to the point where it’s just such a distraction,” he told Grube about the role his law firm will play in the fires’ aftermath, “I was appointed to this position, I didn’t run for it initially so I’m not wedded to staying in the Legislature.”

Youch. Somehow, The Blog doubts he made that clear to voters when he was seeking their vote these last 14 years. Perhaps the State Ethics Commission and Senate President Ron Kouchi might not be so quick to rule “no conflict” for someone who openly is putting his personal financial gain ahead of the state’s and constituents’ interests….

read … Now We're Shining A Light On Maui, Too

Maui residents consider the unthinkable: Las Vegas, the 'ninth island'

LAT: … "I asked my husband if we should move to Vegas," she said, suggesting the couple and their toddler could forge a new home in the desert city affectionately called "the ninth island" for its large population of Hawaiians and former Hawaii residents.

"We have family there," Kamelamela-Liua said. "It's cheaper. And they have a ton of hotels to work in."…

In Lahaina, where 12% of all people lived below the poverty line and 1 out of every 10 inhabitants were Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders, many evacuees have already left for the mainland or are considering it, according to interviews with survivors, social welfare experts and economists and remarks by government officials.

Others are waiting to decide, hoping that tourism — Maui's dominant industry that's now at a fraction of its pre-fire levels — will bounce back….

"We know people who have made the move before, and there are definitely people doing it now," said Kamelamela-Liua, who plans to return to the hotel industry when her child is older. For now, she's launched a GoFundMe for a potential move.

If the fear of an exodus from Maui is realized, it would worsen an ongoing trend. According to census data, Hawaii was among the 10 states to lose the largest share of people between April 2020 and July 2022. Last year, on average, 26 more people moved away per day from Hawaii than moved in, according to the census….

"Don't get me wrong, Hawaii is paradise. You miss the ocean. You miss the food. The mainland has its pretty parts, sure, but it is nothing like Hawaii," said Emory Nihipali, who runs "Little Grass Shack," a weekly Hawaiian music show on KUNV 91.5 FM in Las Vegas that he launched 24 years ago.

"But in exchange for dealing with the heat and everything else, there is just more on the mainland," said Nihipali, 52, who spent part of his childhood on Oahu, Molokai and the Big Island and is of Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese and Irish heritage. "We Hawaiians have big families, so even the grocery store trips are cheaper. Things add up and I think that's why you see more and more people moving in, not just to Vegas but everywhere. You have to work three or four jobs in some parts of Hawaii to make it. On the mainland, you can actually buy a home. A house."…

"The pandemic absolutely drove more people into poverty that they've a hard time getting out of," Suzanne Skjold, the Honolulu-based chief operating officer of Aloha United Way. "The pressures were already hard on families in Hawaii, many who were living paycheck to paycheck, and our fear is that it will be very hard to stay [on Maui] and rebuild for many families."

Those are concerns shared by Sebastian Martinez, a 25-year-old restaurant worker who has booked a one-way ticket to the mainland for Friday after escaping the fire that destroyed his Lahaina apartment.

"There are no jobs here, no tourism here," said Martinez, who is fundraising online to cover his initial payments on a rental in Las Vegas.

"I grew up in Lahaina. I never planned to leave. But my restaurant is closed and I feel like I have no choice but to go while I can," said Martinez, the son of a Mexican immigrant who came to Maui 30 years ago to work as a chef. He plans to move on his own to secure a job before flying his father, girlfriend and child over.”…

read … Maui residents consider the unthinkable: Las Vegas, the 'ninth island'

Maui struggles with "potentially catastrophic" tourism shortfall and growing economic toll after wildfires

CBS: … After wildfires on Maui killed over 100 people and destroyed the historic town of Lahaina, officials told people looking to travel to the Hawaiian island to stay away. Now, as the economic toll of the fires grows, that message has changed. 

West Maui is losing about $9 million a day, and the rest of the island is feeling the impact. Gina Dello, a cafe owner in South Maui, said that business at her establishment came to a screeching halt in the wake of the fires. 

"We have probably lost three quarters of our business," said Dello, whose cafe is about 25 miles from Lahaina. 

The cafe is across the street from a beach, surrounded by surf and scuba shops, and Dello said that less tourist spending has had a "huge" impact. Typically, around 3 million tourists visit Maui each year, spending about $5.4 billion dollars in total, according to Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Before the wildfires, about 8,000 people arrived on Maui each day. Now, it's closer to 2,000 people. …

read … Maui struggles with "potentially catastrophic" tourism shortfall and growing economic toll after wildfires

Global Warmers: We will exploit Lahaina Fire to raise your taxes and make electricity and fuel more expensive

SA: … Lahaina serves as our wndow to climate reality and the destabilizing, disastrous threats of climate change. However, we can change this view to one that sustains and nurtures life and supports thriving communities. We must work together and commit to achieving a clean, renewable, sustainable energy future.

Many bills will be introduced in the 2024 legislative session that take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (by increasing the cost of electricity and fuel and raising taxes). For the sake of humanity, we urge the state Legislature to pass a robust set of those bills….

read … Column: Lahaina is our window to the future | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

On-the-ground search for fire victims over

MN: … As of Monday, the death toll remained at 115 people. So far 45 individuals have been identified with families notified. Another six individuals have been identified but their families have not been located or notified, according to Maui police.

“We’ve done everything that we could to our technical capability and found everything that the dogs hit on and now giving it to Maui Police Department,” Fenton said. “They have the maps. They have all the information.”…

As the search moved from single-story structures to multifamily and multilevel buildings, Green said, “We didn’t find large amounts of people. We were very worried about that.”

He said the numbers of missing people have declined from around 1,200 in the early days after the fire to about 800, due in part to duplication of names. Officials are currently working off a validated list of 388 unaccounted for individuals, although Green said there may end up being 100 less.

The governor said he is trying to accelerate the time when people will able to go back to their damaged or destroyed homes. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first has to help with the removal of hazardous materials — until then it is not safe for residents to return.

Green said they will establish “zones” that have been cleared for residents to go back to so they do not have to wait for the entire town to be cleared by the EPA.…. 

SA: Land search for fire victims ends with hundreds still unaccounted for | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

CB: ‘Return To Lahaina Phase’ Begins After Removal Of Hazardous Materials

SA: With Lahaina 100% searched, hazardous waste removal is the next step | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

SA: Search 99% complete in Lahaina, officials say | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

CB: Denby Fawcett: Why Some Maui Fire Victims Will Never Be Found - Honolulu Civil Beat

read … On-the-ground search for fire victims nearly over

For 6,000 displaced West Maui residents, hotel rooms are their homes for now

MN: … Kekoa Mowat said that out of 84 family members, 56 are now houseless….

read … For displaced West Maui residents, hotel rooms are their homes for now

Landlords Legally Evicting Renters to House Family Members

CB: … tenants around Maui have received 45-day notices to vacate — many coming from landlords who say they need their properties back to house family members whose homes were destroyed in the fires…. landlord, Liz Straka, told tenants they have to go because her sister lost her home and needs a place to live with her two dogs, according to a copy of the 45-day notice to vacate letter provided to Civil Beat. …

read … These Maui Tenants Didn’t Lose Their Homes In The Fire, But They’re Still Being Displaced - Honolulu Civil Beat

Maui’s Fire And Winds Also Took A Toll On Farmers And Ranchers

CB: … The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s initial estimates show the fire scorched more than 6,300 acres of agricultural land. About 20 miles of fencing was destroyed and tens of thousands of feet of key water infrastructure were melted or broken, according to on-the-ground estimates, Hawaii Farm Bureau executive director Brian Miyamoto says.

But fire is just one facet of the damage. The winds tore through Upcountry Maui’s soon-to-be harvested produce too….

read … Maui’s Fire And Winds Also Took A Toll On Farmers And Ranchers

Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission Expected to Open an Investigation of MECO Outages

IM: … The are are several types of regulatory proceedings opened by the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Most are utility applications. Another type is an investigatory proceeding initiated by the PUC as the applicant. This category of proceedings includes outage investigations.

Entities filing motions to participate or intervene in PUC investigatory proceedings have a higher chance of having their motions approved by the PUC than being accepted into a proceeding examining a utility application. 

Investigatory dockets examining new potential policies have higher interest with as many as with 20-25 intervenors. On the other hand, outage investigative proceedings have traditional had few intervenors.

The PUC as the applicant, initiated numerous investigatory proceedings over the past 20 years, including Distributed Generation, Wheeling, Decoupling, Reliability Standards, Big Wind, Inter-island Cable, On-Bill Financing, Performance-Based Regulation, Electrification of Transportation, Microgrid Services Tariff, and Integrated Grid Planning…

read … Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission Expected to Open an Investigation of MECO Outages | Ililani Media

Former Navatek CEO Martin Kao appears to be gainfully employed again … at The Cheesecake Factory

CB: … In another case of how far they have fallen, former Navatek CEO Martin Kao appears to be gainfully employed again … at The Cheesecake Factory.

The former head of one of Hawai’s largest and most politically connected defense contractors — Martin Defense Group previously known as Navatek — has pleaded guilty to a series of federal crimes involving illegal campaign contributions and CARES Act fraud.

Last week, Kao asked the court to modify the electronic monitoring device he has been wearing, trading in his “bulky and painful” ankle bracelet for a smart phone tracking app.

“Mr. Kao has been supervised by United States Probation Office since October 7, 2020,” the motion to modify condition of release says. “In the almost three years of supervision, there have been no concerns regarding Mr. Kao’s flight risk. He has a stable, full-time job at Cheesecake Factory, is involved in his family’s life, meets regularly with his attorney, and has appeared at all court hearings.”

The device attached to his leg is “is especially burdensome because Mr. Kao works as a cook at an incredibly busy restaurant and is on his feet up to ten hours a day. ….”

read … The Sunshine Blog: Now We're Shining A Light On Maui, Too

Work progresses on CSO decommissioning: Telescope Mirror to be Sent to Chile where Science is Valued

HTH: … One Maunakea telescope has been partially removed, but the building that housed it will remain standing until next year.

The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory is the first of five summit telescopes slated for decommissioning in exchange for the eventual planned construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

After months of delays, workers began taking apart CSO’s telescope in June, and more work will be done in September, but the removal of the facility and its subsurface infrastructure will have to wait until after the winter to avoid inclement weather….

An initial plan to remove the mirror would have extracted it from the observatory and transported it to Kawaihae Harbor in a single piece, but that plan was dropped in favor of the current plan, which will break apart the mirror frame into four pieces small enough to fit into standard shipping containers.

Golwala said that, with the reflective panels removed, the mirror frame can be safely exposed to the elements during the dismantling process.

Eventually, all components of the telescope, including both mirrors, will be sent to an observatory in Chile.

The CSO building, Golwala said, will not be preserved, but he added that much of the materials making up the facility can be recycled.

read … Work progresses on CSO decommissioning: Telescope’s secondary mirror removed last week

Covid Outbreak Prompts Restrictions At Hawaii’s Largest Prison

CB: … Dozens of prisoners and at least one corrections officer at Halawa Correctional Facility have tested positive for Covid-19, leading to restrictions on activities at the state’s largest prison.

Due to the outbreak, regular programming has been suspended under temporary restrictions imposed Wednesday, according to Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz. Recreation time is being staggered for housing modules, she said.

Nobody has been hospitalized, but 58 inmates and one corrections officer tested positive, Schwartz said Monday in a written statement.

“As the Department of Health stated recently, there is a new wave of COVID-19 infections spreading across the state,” Schwartz wrote. “Unfortunately, when there is rapid community spread it impacts congregate settings, including jails and prisons.” ….

read … Covid Outbreak Prompts Restrictions At Hawaii’s Largest Prison

Lahaina Fire News:



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