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Tuesday, March 12, 2024
March 12, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:00 PM :: 2746 Views

FWS Designates 119,326 acres as critical habitat on Big Island

Breaking Cycles Symposium updates community on plans to let lots and lots of criminals back out onto the streets

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Judicial Vacancy – Chief Judge, Intermediate Court of Appeals

JSC Still Seeking Applicants for Big Island Circuit Judge

Husband in Manoa murder-suicide mired in debt, records show

SA: … The 46-year-old Manoa man who police said stabbed his wife and three kids to death Sunday morning before killing himself was laden with debt, according to state and federal records and multiple sources….

The eldest girl, Sakurako “Sakura” Oda, 17, was a senior at ‘Iolani School….

Paris Oda was allegedly dealing with debt and had faced legal action in connection to his liabilities, including a tax lien and a lawsuit over three years of unpaid rent for his business, Oda Ohana Chiropractic LLC….

He was sued in March 2021 for $88,893.26 by Savio Asset Management for back rent from November 2017 to February 2021, according to state court records. The parties agreed to dismiss the suit with prejudice in December 2021 after reaching a settlement in the amount of about $53,000.

Oda Ohana Chiropractic LLC also applied for and received a Paycheck Protection Program loan in the amount of $26,934 for the company’s four employees from the U.S. Small Business Administration on May 2, 2020. The loan was forgiven in the amount of $27,155….

Oda also reportedly had significant tax debt, but Kristen Sakamoto, deputy director of the state Department of Taxation, told the Star- Advertiser that the department cannot disclose tax record information.

Paris and Naoko Oda faced a state tax lien in March 2023 that was settled in June for $7,815, according to state records….

In 2017 the Oda brothers paid a $1,000 fine and were barred from false advertising. They allegedly “ran an advertisement referencing an alleged disciplinary action” and directing consumers to call the “Consumer Protection Center” for a class-action suit, according to a June 16, 2017, news release from the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

“The advertisement contained multiple false and deceptive statements,” according to DCCA.

According to Redfin, the home at 3622 Waaloa Place was estimated to be worth $1.8 million with four bedrooms and 3-1/2 bathrooms….

BEST COMMENT: “And our Legislature, Governor, Mayor and Congress want to make more taxes and legal requirements on businesses? Hawaii workers are moving away and small businesses are under tremendous pressures to survive in an anti-business environment created by politicians. Frustrations in dealing with the total incompetence of our elected officials is going to set off a string of tragedies all these politicians and their incompetent appointees will be making excuses until election day.”

KITV: Employees describe Manoa murder-suicide suspect as 'family man' who fell into depression

HNN: Man who fatally stabbed wife, children had no history of violence

read … Husband in Manoa murder-suicide mired in debt, records show

Hawaii Republicans could lock up Trump’s nomination tonight

SA: … With 19 delegates in Hawaii, state Republican Chair Tamara McKay told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that “Hawaii and Washington could turn it for Trump, that’s for sure.”

Three of the delegates already have been committed, leaving voters to show their preference for 16 others.

Even though seven out of eight Republican presidential candidates have suspended their campaigns, their names will still be up for delegate votes tonight, McKay said, “so they could still technically earn a delegate.”

Official results won’t be known until Wednesday, “hopefully Thursday the latest,” McKay said after neighbor island votes are flown in to Oahu to be counted.

An estimated 10,000 Republicans turned out for the 2012 caucus, followed by 15,000 in 2016. Because of COVID-19, the party suspended the 2020 caucus.

McKay hopes to see 30,000 voters tonight but acknowledged that — with the party nomination all but locked up by Trump — some Hawaii voters might believe, “What’s the use of us showing up now?”  ….

NYT: Hawaii Republican Presidential Caucus Results 2024

read … Hawaii Republicans could lock up Trump’s nomination tonight

Kaneshiro-Mitsunaga Bribery Case Puts 'Pay To Play' On Trial

CB: … The prosecution of Laurel Mau was unusual from the start. 

There was no police investigation of her alleged theft from her former employer, the prominent local engineering firm Mitsunaga & Associates Inc. At least two line prosecutors determined no crime had occurred. And the allegations never cleared the hurdle of a grand jury. 

Nevertheless, accusations by Mitsunaga’s firm were turned into criminal charges submitted to the court by “information,” and Mau faced felony charges that could have put her in prison for years. 

What motivated Honolulu prosecuting attorney Keith Kaneshiro to pursue the case, according to federal prosecutors, was money. Over several years, Mitsunaga and those connected to him sent Kaneshiro nearly $50,000 in campaign contributions. …

SA: Jury selection begins in alleged pay-to-prosecute conspiracy

read … Kaneshiro-Mitsunaga Bribery Case Puts 'Pay To Play' On Trial

‘Vacant positions’ are a Slush Fund for ‘Top Three’ Overtime

SA: … Waters offered his remedy to the city’s 2,500 unfilled positions out of 10,000 total, which he said amounts to nearly $170 million in budgeted yet unused city funds.

(CLUE: ‘Vacant Positions’ exist to create a slush fund to pay for senior employees boosting their overtime for their ‘Top Three’ years in order to maximize their pension benefits. That’s why there is so much doubletalk around this issue.) 

“I know it’s been a priority of the administration to start hiring,” said Waters, “but I believe that eliminating or updating obsolete positions is a critical component of our ability to budget responsibly and transparently, particularly if we are to ensure the continued operation of critical services and raise the salaries for some of our particularly hard-to-fill positions here at the city.”

And based on city data, he added, “Vacant positions rarely, if ever, are designated for abolishment.”

“I guess, in a nutshell, what I’m thinking is if we’re to take positions that haven’t been filled for five or 10 years and are not likely to be filled, let’s just get rid of them,” Waters said….

Hono­lulu Police Department, which has over 400 unfilled positions.  “As I was advised, some of those positions that have been on the books for a long time, they’re always hesitant to take them off,” he said…

Currently, he said, the city has about 8,300 full-time equivalent positions and over 1,500 positions working under “personal service contracts” — essentially outside, private contractors — acknowledging the city would like “to convert those” to fill in the departments that “really need the labor.”…

Waters questioned city staff on ways to redirect budgeted funds toward the city’s stated priorities. Specifically, he noted the city currently has “330 vacant positions that have been vacant for over five years.”

“That totals $20,321,700,” said Waters. “And 212 positions that have been vacant for over seven years, totaling $12,709,068….

Andy Kawano, director of the city Department of Budget and Fiscal Services, said, “I wish it was that simple.”

He added, “When you look at numbers at the very top level — we’re talking about the government as a whole — the vacancies have different funding sources.”

“So the total vacancy amount at any given time could be $70 (million) to $80 million,” he said, noting a smaller fraction — about $30 million to $40 million — originates from the city’s general fund, which pays for things like city employee salaries, via property tax revenues. “The rest are all funded by special funds, federal funds and other funds with restrictions, so you won’t be able to use the moneys for whatever you want.”…

Waters said the city’s 2,425 vacant positions equaled $169,000,420….

SA: Off the news: The high cost of long-vacant city jobs

read … City’s nearly 2,500 vacancies lead budget talks

Revenue forecast provides no relief for Hawaii lawmakers

SA: … The Hawaii Council on Revenues during a Monday meeting decided against any significant adjustment to its forecast for the current and next fiscal years based on data and expectations for tourism, the real estate market, interest rates, construction and other factors.

Sticking with the status quo will provide lawmakers no additional funding to help cover several hundred million dollars in state expenses for Maui wildfire recovery that stunned lawmakers in February and have added an extraordinary challenge to passing an updated budget.

State general fund revenue for the first eight months of the current fiscal year, from July to February, is up 6.3%. That represents a roughly $360 million gain over the same period the year before.

However, the council left its revenue growth forecast for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, unchanged from 4% agreed upon in January at its previous meeting. The decision largely stemmed from concern that tax collections in April, which ballooned in each of the past two years to over $1 billion, will be lower this year ….

CB: Council On Revenues Anticipates 4% Growth This Year Despite Maui Fire Problems

read … Revenue forecast provides no relief for Hawaii lawmakers | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

Maui Wildfire Cases Will Stay In Maui State Court

CB: … At least 90 lawsuits related to the Maui wildfires against Hawaiian Electric Industries, Spectrum, Kamehameha Schools and other defendants will be sent back to Maui state court, where they were originally filed, a federal judge ruled Monday.

In remanding the cases, U.S. District Judge Jill Otake rejected an argument by HECO’s lawyer that the town of Lahaina, where most of the 101 deaths occurred — in structures, vehicles, outdoors and in the ocean — was a single “discrete location” under a federal law concerning mass disasters.

Because Lahaina and the disparate places where people died were not a “discrete location,” Otake wrote, the federal law did not apply and the federal court did not have jurisdiction over the cases. …

HECO’s attorney, California lawyer Brad Brian, declined an interview request….

(TRANSLATION: Appeal is undecided.)

L360: Maui Wildfire Case Sent Back To Hawaii State Court - Law360

read … Maui Wildfire Cases Will Stay In Maui State Court

New State Law Could Bring Peace To Graveyard Plagued By Homeless Drug Addict Grave Robbers

CB: … A legislative proposal would allow nonprofit groups to take over abandoned cemeteries, including Pearl City's infamous 100-year-old Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery….

read … New State Law Could Bring Peace To Graveyard Plagued By Vandals And 'Spirits' - Honolulu Civil Beat

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:



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