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Tuesday, March 19, 2024
March 19, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:34 PM :: 3305 Views

AG Points Finger at Maui County: 53 Subpoenas Delay Lahaina Fire Report

The last time Congress created a new state

Big Island Press Club celebrates retired judge, dishonors Hawai‘i emergency administrator

2A News: Miske Flinched when he met One Armed Citizen

ILIND: … A police officer friend advised that he call Miske directly and set up a meeting.

Botha then called and offered to meet Miske at a Starbucks in Pearl City, and he agreed. However, Botha said, he believed Miske would try to ambush him, and felt he needed to be able to defend himself.

So Botha did two things. First, he planned to meet Miske but immediately claim he was hungry and suggest they move to a nearby Anna Miller’s.

If Miske was setting up an ambush, quickly switching locations would disrupt the plan, Botha said.

But Botha also said he went to the meeting “prepared to defend myself.”

He acknowledged he carried a rifle or shotgun in his truck, and a concealed Sig 220 handgun with him. Both guns were registered, he testified, but acknowledged it wasn’t legal to carry a concealed weapon at that time.

During cross examination by Miske’s attorney, Michael Kennedy, Botha acknowledged had had written a message on a shell casing: “Mike Miske Slug for a Thug.” But, Botha said, he didn’t carry the shell with him and it “wasn’t chambered.”

Botha said he was direct with Miske, telling him, “This nonsense must stop!”

Botha said he then tried to explain what the consequences would be if Miske retaliated against his family or his business.

Botha said he told Miske: “I’ll kill you.”

After that meeting, Botha said there were no further problems….

(LESSON: In Hawaii, thugs rule only because citizens are disarmed.)

read … Surviving intimidation: The owner of a competing termite business pushed back

Thanks to Biden Administration, Hawaii Corruption Offenders Are Getting Reduced Sentences

CB: …Changes to federal sentencing guidelines (TRANSLATION: New Biden Admin policy) mean dozens of Hawaii prisoners, including those in high-profile corruption cases, are now eligible for early release….

Among them are former Rep. Ty Cullen and former state Sen. J. Kalani English, both convicted on bribery charges. Former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, however, tried and failed to get his sentence cut.

The sentencing guidelines, which can be applied retroactively, mainly affect prisoners who had no criminal histories before their convictions. Motions for sentence reductions began to be filed in February, when retroactive implementation of the amended guidelines took effect.

Dozens of defendants in Hawaii have applied, including white-collar criminals convicted in some of the state’s most notorious public corruption cases. …

Cullen, sentenced to two years in prison in April for taking more than $25,000 in cash bribes, had his sentence reduced to 19 months.

English, a former Maui lawmaker who was sentenced in 2022 to 40 months on bribery counts, will now get out of prison eight months early.

Former Maui Environmental Management Director Stewart Stant, handed a 10-year sentence in February 2023 for playing a role in directing nearly $20 million in single-source contracts to a wastewater company, got one year slashed off his sentence.

And Wayne Inouye, Honolulu’s former chief building inspector who was sentenced in connection with taking more than $100,000 in bribes while working for the Department of Planning and Permitting, will now serve four years instead of five….

Silvert noted that the system has been historically lenient with white-collar criminals…. 

HNN: Judge denies Louis Kealoha’s bid to get out of prison early 

KHON: What to expect in the Kaneshiro, Mitsunaga trial | KHON2

read … Hawaii Corruption Offenders Are Getting Reduced Sentences - With One Notable Exception

AGAIN: Another Pay Hike for Honolulu Council

SA: … A new 3% salary increase is being considered for eight of the nine members of the Honolulu City Council.

The proposed pay jump comes less than a year after the city’s top elective panel received a controversial 64% salary increase while the Honolulu mayor’s nearly 12.6% pay jump ultimately surpassed similar compensation granted to Hawaii’s governor.

Tasked with deciding whether to commit to future pay hikes for city employees, Honolulu Salary Commission will hold a public hearing today to take community testimony as it sets the city’s overall salary schedule for fiscal year 2025, which begins July 1…. 

Big Q: Should pay hikes of 3%-3.6% be given to City Council members and top city officials? -- 85% “No Way” 

read … Honolulu Council could receive 3% salary hike

Convicted Felon Buys 300 ac in Central Maui

HNN: … The new owner, (convicted felon) Nan Chul Shin, purchased approximately 300 acres from Alexander & Baldwin in Central Maui last Thursday.

Shin also owns Nan Incorporated. The company specializes in large-scale construction and design projects — including the work to relocate utilities for rail.

Nan Inc.’s vice president said they are looking at several potential options for the Central Maui property, which consists of industrial, commercial, agricultural, and residential-zoned lands.

read … Convicted Felon Buys 300 ac in Central Maui 

Honolulu Police Department plans to buy neighboring property owned by Union-Controlled Royal State Insurance Scheme

KITV: …  The Honolulu Police Department is looking to purchase an adjacent commercial property to its main headquarters on South Beretania Street.

HPD confirmed to Island News that the purchase of the property at 819 South Beretania Street would help the department reduce the need to pay for some off-site leased spaces. It would also provide police personnel with increased access to evidence and vehicles.

HPD currently leases several off-site office spaces and warehouse properties for evidence and vehicle storage.

The department is attempting to secure funding for the property and has included the projected $8.6 million cost as a Capital Improvement Project in its proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget….

2013: Act 268 Hawaii Unfunded Liabilities Plan: Pot of Gold for Corrupt Union Leaders

read … Honolulu Police Department plans to buy neighboring property to its headquarters

2 Finalists Will Interview For Top Job At Law Enforcement Standards Board

CB: … The candidates for the position of administrator of the Hawaii Law Enforcement Standards Board will have their final job interviews in public, the board determined during a meeting Monday.

Seven applicants applied in December and were screened at the end of January.

The two remaining are Victor McCraw, a retired Arizona State Trooper and now a project manager with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, and attorney Gary Yamashiroya who currently works in the office of the director of the Hawaii Department of Taxation…

LINK: Department of the Attorney General | Law Enforcement Standards Board (hawaii.gov)

read … 2 Finalists Will Interview For Top Job At Law Enforcement Standards Board

UH Hopes To Retain Authority Over Construction Projects

CB: … A bill would make the president’s procurement power permanent, but only if Sen. Donna Kim and her colleagues agree….

University of Hawaii officials are pushing for passage of a bill that would reinstate the authority of the UH president over construction and related professional services.

House Bill 2499 is described by supporters as critical for UH to continue having control over projects on the 10 campuses that comprise the University of Hawaii System, including its flagship campus in Manoa….

read … UH Hopes To Retain Authority Over Construction Projects

Second segment of Skyline gets one step closer to test phase as track work gets underway

HNN: … Work is happening on the rail tracks that Skyline is not yet using between Aloha Stadium and Middle Street.

The track work is expected to take about a week and goes from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The rail authority said crews need to clean and grind the rails before tests can begin….

Data from the city shows ridership has held steady (stayed very low) since opening in late June.

In August, it averaged about 3,100 passengers a day

Last month, the average was 3,200….

read … Second segment of Skyline gets one step closer to test phase as track work gets underway

HB2686: ‘Solution’  for Soaring Insurance Costs?  A Tax Hike

CB: … A Hawaii Senate committee is scheduled on Tuesday to hear a measure that would increase a tax on short-term vacation rentals and reinstate a fee for recording mortgages. The money would go to so-called insurers of last resort to fill a widening gap in Hawaii’s insurance market….

IB: Hawaii insurers back tax to fill last resort coffers

HB2686: Text, Status

read … Lawmakers Advance Bill To Stabilize Soaring Insurance Costs For Condo Owners

ER rooms expect strain following closure at Wahiawa

SA: … Ireland estimates Wahiawa General gets about 40 walk-in patients and receives about 10 ambulances a day.

“So now those 50 patients, probably from parts of the North Shore, definitely Wahiawa, Mililani and Waipio, will have to go elsewhere,” he said. “Those patients will probably have to go to Pali Momi or Queen’s West about 10 miles away from Wahiawa.”

Ambulances responding to emergency calls in Mili­lani and Wahiawa will have to travel at least 10 miles farther, resulting in an additional 20 to 30 minutes, plus the extra time to drive back.

Honolulu EMS on Monday added an extra city ambulance to its pool to mitigate the closure, plus three from American Medical Response, bringing the total to 25….

CB: Emergency Room Closure In Wahiawa Magnifies A Capacity Crunch

read … ER rooms expect strain following closure at Wahiawa

Department of Agriculture HQ Surrounded by Homeless Drug Addicts

CB:… The state Department of Agriculture’s main office at 1428 S. King Street was later included in the Capitol District security contract after an increasing number of violent incidents over the last few years.

The department said the most recent incident was a few weeks ago when a homeless woman living in an encampment on the grassy lawn by the sidewalk fronting the building accosted a female employee and tried to grab her takeout lunch. The employee ran away from her attacker and made it to safety through the back door of the main office building.

Other incidents have been more dangerous. Sharon Hurd, director of the Department of Agriculture, said that on July 27, 2022, a woman who had come to the building to be certified as a pesticide applicator was stabbed in the back in the parking lot with a metal instrument. She recovered after hospital treatment. The incident happened so fast, the woman told police she was unsure of the kind of weapon.

A year ago, two homeless campers cooking a meal in front of the main entrance to the DOA building burned down the front door.

“They use the indentation by the front door as their bedroom, bathroom and kitchen,” Hurd said.

The city owns the grassy area by the sidewalk on King Street fronting the building. Staffers say they call the city for help when homeless campers are blocking the sidewalk or confronting visitors. The city then makes the campers move. But they return to set up their tents and tarps, sometimes in just a few hours.

Pedestrians uneasy about the sidewalk blocked by tents cross over to walk on the other side of King Street.

In June 2022, someone threw a cell phone through a front office window of the building. Thieves stole copper flashing off the roof in 2019.

On Dec. 19, 2022, a homeless person vandalized the restroom in the main office.

Hurd said she recently was confronted by a homeless man blocking her way to the parking lot when she was headed for home after working late. She said she told the man to move and he told her he meant no harm. She said, “But you are making me uncomfortable.”

Hurd said only after he let her pass to her car did she notice he had no pants on.

Before that there were other confrontations, including a naked woman pounding on the side of a FedEx truck delivering packages and two homeless men trying to force their way into the building in the early evening when some employees were still there.

A police officer passing by the building about two years ago stopped a woman when he saw her pulling out all the plants in the ground outside of the agency’s boardroom.

Hurd says it has been safer since November when the state stationed two of the newly-hired private security guards at the building full-time and deployed additional guards to patrol the outside of the building and parking lot at night.

“Staffers’ morale has gone through the roof. It is as though sparkles are falling on us. Our employees are light on their feet. We are not scared now,” she said.

read … Denby Fawcett: State Facilities Are Working To Curb Incidents With Homeless People

Lahaina Fire News:  

Legislative Agenda:

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