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Thursday, August 31, 2023
August 31, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:42 PM :: 1218 Views

Sen Keith-Agaran Resigns--Chased out by Ethics Investigation?

While Fighting Against Female Lockerrooms in Hawaii Schools, Hawaii AG Files Brief for Title IX Trannies

Removal of Caltech Telescope from Maunakea is underway

City Code Update: Increase cost of construction to subsidize electric cars, solar industry 

US House Committee opens investigation into Hawaiian Electric

Maui mayor faces calls to resign as questions about county’s wildfire response grow

HNN: … More than three weeks after a raging inferno gutted historic Lahaina town, leaving at least 115 people dead, not one state or county leader has taken responsibility for the failures that led to the deaths of what’s likely hundreds of people.

Public outcry hit a new high after a news conference Tuesday, when top officials fumbled through a series of questions about communication breakdowns that happened as flames razing Lahaina.

When asked who was calling the shots that day at the Emergency Operations Center, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen said, “I’m not sure who was in charge.”

At another point during the news conference a reporter questioned the director of the state’s emergency management agency saying, “We don’t know how many people maybe died waiting for a response. You don’t think there was anything your agency could have done?”

Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara responded, “Personally I don’t think so.”

The continued lack of accountability has prompted many to sound off on social media, saying things like, “Really. This is what you say when so many lives have been lost” and “It was their job to be on high alert.” The response has also been called “unprofessional.”

Particularly baffling to some: Why the mayor wouldn’t say where he was during the disaster.

Political analyst Colin Moore said Bissen, in particular, must increase his “level of transparency” about his administration’s wildfire response if he wants to remain on the job. “If it looks like public officials are trying to hide something, all that does is add fuel to the fire,” he said….

SA Editorial: Maui leaders must provide answers

read … Maui mayor faces calls to resign as questions about county’s wildfire response grow

Maui mayor had to recuse himself from HECO suit because his daughter works for utility

HNN: … “With regards to the conflict, the mayor, out of an abundance of caution and to avoid the appearance of impropriety because of family ties within HECO, did not believe it appropriate to be involved in the decision to pursue or not pursue litigation against HECO,” said Victoria Takayesu, corporation counsel for Maui County, in an emailed statement to HNN.

Bissen’s spokesperson, Mahina Martin, also worked for HECO on Maui for a decade.

She told HNN the conflict was not hers.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the legal battle over the Lahaina firestorm, Bissen and his administration won’t answer any more questions about HECO. On Tuesday, after more dodged questions and tempers flared, there was a show of unity in a joint statement.

The statement was from Bissen, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, the state’s incident commander for the wildfire, and HECO President and CEO Shelee Kimura. They said they are “working together.”

In battling statements, however, Maui County attorneys said “HECO appears to blame the very firefighters who risked their lives trying to stop the fire that the utility caused.” …

read … Maui mayor had to recuse himself from HECO suit because his daughter works for utility

Concerns raised over lack of long-term affordable housing options for displaced Maui residents

KITV: … Maui County Housing and Land Use Committee and Build Beyond Barriers working group heard from testifiers who are calling for affordable housing on Maui. Many say hundreds  of people will be forced to leave if change isn't made. …

CB: Maui County Council Gets An Earful From Angry Residents Over Housing Proposal

read … Concerns raised over lack of long-term affordable housing options for displaced Maui residents

Lahainaluna to relocate to Kihei temporarily because DoE too slow to check for Enviro Hazards

MN: … Carosso was joined by other Lahaina public school principals and top state Department of Education officials to hear and address concerns from the community regarding the reopening of Lahainaluna High, Lahaina Intermediate and Princess Nahi’ena’ena Elementary, which did not burn in the wildfires earlier this month but are undergoing assessments for air, water and soil quality as well as checks to ensure stable power and sufficient broadband connectivity. The other public school in West Maui, King Kamehameha III Elementary, was damaged beyond repair, the DOE said. Together, the West Maui campuses served about 3,000 students. …

Keli’ikipi said the DOE should have started the environmental testing sooner and acknowledged that water may not be safe. She said there could be water buffalo tanks placed at the school campuses. Keli’ikipi added that she feels like the DOE is not listening. …

She said no one will be penalized if students want to “pause” their schooling until the Lahaina schools reopen. …

read … Lahainaluna to relocate to Kihei temporarily | News, Sports, Jobs - Maui News

Koshiba Slammed: Homelessness is about Drugs, not Affordability

TGI: … James Koshiba, Gov. Josh Green’s coordinator on homelessness, met with the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday to discuss solutions for Hawai‘i’s growing homelessness crisis, emphasizing the administration’s focus on countering the continuing unaffordability of homes in the state.

“The root cause of homelessness and this explosion of homelessness is not mental illness, it’s not drug use,” Koshiba told the council members. “It really comes down to the lack of affordable space in our communities.”…

Not every council member agreed with Koshiba’s assessment of homelessness in Hawai‘i, however. County Council Chair Mel Rapozo strongly contested Koshiba’s claims, arguing that the state’s efforts severely understate the impact of substance use and mental illness on the state’s unhoused.

Rapozo suggested the state’s Point in Time Count — which states that approximately 1 in 4 of Hawai‘i’s homeless residents suffer from either mental health issues or substance abuse — likely underreports the issue’s scope, citing his personal experiences at many of Kaua‘i’s homeless encampments as evidence.

“For my former job as prosecuting attorney, I went down there, not to provide outreach, but to go there for bad guys and take witness statements,” he said. “And I can tell you, if you haven’t been down there, then you should not be making a statement like that. Because I can guarantee you that none of the people camping out there had responded to the Point in Time Count — guarantee — because no (pollster) went that way.”

Rapozo continued, stressing both the state and county’s first and foremost response to the homelessness crisis should focus on substance abuse and mental health services.

“If the state’s position is drug abuse and mental illness are not driving homelessness, then we’re already in the wrong direction,” he said.

read … Hawai‘i homelessness coordinator, Kaua‘i County Council debate root cause of homelessness crisis

North Shore shooting deaths involved an FBI confidential source

ILind: … A 20-year-old man who shot and killed two others in an exchange of gunfire in the parking lot of Haleiwa Joe’s Seafood Grill on Aug. 31, 2018, was an FBI confidential source in the investigation leading to the indictment of Honolulu businessman and alleged racketeering gang leader, Michael J. Miske Jr.

An FBI investigator whose gmail account and residence were searched by his own agency in 2019 and 2020 as part of a criminal investigation linked to the case of accused racketeering boss Michael J. Miske Jr. was part of a team of FBI surveillance specialists charged with keeping tabs on Miske and several associates, according to documents filed in court last week.

The documents, which include eight surveillance-related records containing a total of just 47 pages, became public when they were were attached as exhibits to a motion filed in Honolulu’s federal court on Friday by attorneys representing John Stancil, Miske’s half-brother and one of his six remaining co-defendants….

CB: A North Shore Shooting That Left Two Men Dead Has An Intriguing Link To The Miske Case

read … North Shore shooting deaths involved an FBI confidential source

Lahaina Fire News:

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