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Friday, February 23, 2024
February 23, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:38 PM :: 4549 Views

Kennedy on Hawaii Ballot with 'We The People Party'

Hawaii committee to discuss $25 tourism tax Friday

UHERO: Hawaii Economy Slowing

Hawaii Insiders Plot: Kill Seabright and Wheat?

HNN: … Multiple sources and the search warrant name one of the defendants in the case, attorney Sheri Tanaka, as a co-conspirator in the new murder investigation.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright recused himself from future proceedings on January 24, the day after federal agents executed a search warrant on the Kalihi business that houses Halm’s Enterprises, Diamond Head Seafood, and Keoki’s Lau Lau. The companies are owned by prominent businessman Michael Irish.

Irish and Tanaka have said publicly that they are related….

The search warrant said the FBI was looking for evidence of possible involvement or knowledge of multiple federal crimes, including conspiracy to murder a government official, influencing or injuring an officer of the court, and tampering with a witness or informant….

The bribery trial for Tanaka, Kaneshiro, and four other firm employees is set for March 12.

U.S. District Court judge Timothy Burgess, out of Alaska, will now preside over the trial.

“In a case where a threat causes a judge has to recuse himself, it’s gonna be very difficult for the new judge to forget that ever occurred,” said Simon….

the fact that both Seabright and Wheat have constant protection shows the FBI is taking the murder-for-hire allegations seriously.

“It means, not only was an apparent threat made, but there’s a means to carry out the threat.”…

ILind: And you thought it couldn’t get any weirder!

ILind: Is she a murder plot conspirator or extortion victim?

HNN: Attorney investigated in contract killer probe claims she was actually a victim of extortion

SA: Judge rejects attempt to revoke bail for lawyer charged in Kaneshiro case

CB: Defense In Hawaii Corruption Case Denies Involvement In Murder Conspiracy

read … Defendant in public corruption case now part of a contract killer investigation

3 adults accused of torture, starvation death of 10-year-old girl plead not guilty

HNN: … The three Wahiawa residents accused of the torture and starvation death of Geanna Bradley pleaded not guilty Thursday. Their attorneys complained about excessive media coverage — and they asked for a chance to be released before trial.

Prosecutors have put a lot of disturbing details in the charging documents for Thomas and Brandy Blas and Debra Geron — enough to convince a judge who heard their pleas to reject everything they asked for.

The three appeared together from the Oahu Community Correctional Center cellblock, charged with the slow and torturous murder of 10-year-old Geanna Bradley in their home on Karsten Drive….

read … 3 adults accused of torture, starvation death of 10-year-old girl plead not guilty

Habitual Violent Misdemeanor Bill Necessary For Community’s Safety

CB: … “SB 2347 is intended to give prosecutors discretion to charge a dangerous defendant with a felony only after convicted of specified violent misdemeanors three times in a five-year period. The most common crime that the bill covers is assault in the third degree which requires that an innocent victim be physically hurt in an attack. There is nothing ‘minor’ about the crime. Securing a conviction for assault in the third degree requires the elements of the crime to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and the victim must cooperate throughout the process. Receiving just one conviction for assault in the third degree is very hard to achieve. If an individual racks up three convictions for assault in the third degree in a five-year period, the prosecutor should be allowed to escalate the punishment to a felony.”….

read … Habitual Violent Misdemeanor Bill Necessary For Community’s Safety

Chinese Police on Patrol in Kiribati

Reuters: … Chinese police are working in the remote atoll nation of Kiribati, a Pacific Ocean neighbour of Hawaii, with uniformed officers involved in community policing and a crime database program, Kiribati officials told Reuters.

(CLUE: CCP gets database of evey person in Kiribati.  Uses it to manipulate the political system.)

Kiribati has not publicly announced the policing deal with China, which comes as Beijing renews a push to expand security ties in the Pacific Islands in an intensifying rivalry with the United States….

China's embassy in Kiribati did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on the role of its police. In a January social media post the embassy named the leader of "the Chinese police station in Kiribati".

Aritiera, who attended a December meeting between China's public security minister Wang Xiaohong and several Pacific Islands police officials in Beijing, said Kiribati had requested China's policing assistance in 2022.

Up to a dozen uniformed Chinese police arrived last year on a six month rotation….

R: US cautions after Hawaii neighbor Kiribati gets Chinese police | Reuters

read … Exclusive: Chinese police work in Kiribati, Hawaii's Pacific neighbour | Reuters

Maui Temporary Housing: State Games System to Milk FEMA for Every Penny

SA: … Exactly how much money the federal government will provide, and how much Hawaii will need to contribute, is uncomfortably unsettled. That puts the Legislature in a bind, as it must pass an updated budget by May for the state’s fiscal biennium, through June 30, 2025.

Gaining firm commitments for federal funding must be an immediate priority, and Gov. Josh Green flew to Washington Tuesday to meet with President Joe Biden and other federal officials to discuss Hawaii’s extraordinary needs.

For the sake of Hawaii’s economic stability, it’s imperative that federal officials also grasp the urgency of this situation, as about 4,700 survivors continue to be sheltered in West Maui hotels, more than six months after Lahaina burned. Federal officials must work quickly with the state to agree on planned spending and cost-sharing, and then pursue expeditious strategies to move people into secure, permanent homes.

In the “worst case” scenario, the state could need an additional $360 million, on top of $199 million already set aside by the governor’s budget, to pay for survivors’ shelter expenses. Most of this cost arises from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determinations that 820 Maui fire evacuees now in hotels — at the shocking cost of about $1,000 per day, per household — are not eligible for FEMA support.

The state is challenging, as it should, the vast majority of FEMA eligibility determinations, and holds that only 29 survivors should be excluded; this must be resolved. Further, FEMA has refused to reimburse meal costs for survivors in hotels with no cooking facilities; that decision must be reversed….

The state also is seeking to build homes, and has asked FEMA for support to build 1,000 units — but FEMA has committed so far to develop only 213….

Another issue that must be resolved is reimbursement to Hawaii for sheltering Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants — and this involves addressing FEMA regulations that prohibit support for those Pacific Islanders left homeless by the Maui fire….

read … Editorial: Cost issues cloud Maui rebuild plan

Cost of Housing Lahaina Residents may Lead to ‘Furlough Fridays’ unless FEMA Ponies Up for Hotels

SA: … State education officials say that between a new round of possible state budget cuts on top of a looming “federal fiscal cliff,” they are are bracing for a triple punch to the funding of Hawaii’s public school system.

All state departments this week have been directed by the state Senate to prepare two proposals for cuts to their general funds — one scenario for reductions of 10%, another at 15%. The reduction proposals are meant to help maintain fiscal balance as costs from the Maui wildfire disaster are skyrocketing, especially for shelter….

“To cut it at that magnitude is very reminiscent of, you know, when we have to start talking about issues as horrible as furloughs. … That’s certainly not the first choice, and that’s something that we’ll be communicating,” Hallett told a meeting of the state Board of Education….

Hallett said the dollar figures are about the equivalent of 3,000 teacher positions, although he and other DOE officials said cutting so many positions would not be realistic. The DOE employs about 13,000 teachers….

Dela Cruz also described how emergency appropriations to the state major disaster fund in the wake of the Maui disaster are reducing state budget carryover to “critical levels.”

“The projected carryover for (fiscal year 2024) has been reduced from a starting balance of $1.5 billion to $611.5 million,” he wrote. “With the additional funding requests from the Governor to address the on-going West Maui shelter needs, this carryover is projected to be further reduced to down to $154.4 million” at the end of fiscal year 2025. “If additional State expenses are incurred beyond our existing liabilities and commitments for sheltering, this will only be further reduced.”…

SA: Editorial: Cost issues cloud Maui rebuild plan

read … Hawaii Education Department braces for severe budget cuts

Buttigieg visits Skyline while 0.3% of Oahu rides rail

KHON: … Department of Transportation Services data shows an average of about 3,177 people rode the Skyline every day between Thursday, Feb. 1 and Tuesday, Feb. 20 — U.S. Census Bureau estimates from 2022 showed that Oahu has a population of 995,638 — which is about 0.3% of Oahu’s populace….

(TRANSLATION: Buttigieg is .03% of today’s ridership!)

Secretary Buttigieg — alongside Sen. Brian Schatz — said the Skyline is an ambitious project, even though its service areas are limited for now.

“Yes, so all of this is about getting to the next phase, the next stage in extending the availability of service,” Buttigieg said, “of course, there’s a long-term vision adding stations, some are more ready to go than other envisioned parts of the network.”…

(TRANSLATION: Everybody wants to go to Middle Street.  That’s where all the action is.)

CB: Feds Are Confident Honolulu Rail Is Finally Moving In The Right Direction - Honolulu Civil Beat

KITV: Planes, trains, and automobiles: US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tours Oahu | Local | kitv.com

read … Buttigieg visits Skyline while 0.3% of Oahu rides rail (khon2.com)

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:

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