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April 6, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:49 PM :: 1013 Views

Judge Dismisses Claims: State cannot be Sued in Federal Court over Lahaina Fire

229 Candidates Pull Papers Statewide

HB1595: Mass expungement of 50,000 criminal records in Hawaii

SA: … on Friday, a bill that would expunge marijuana arrest records for more than 50,000 people who were arrested — but never convicted — before Jan. 11, 2020, passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

House Bill 1595 would require the state Attorney General to create a pilot project to expunge low-level arrest records for marijuana possession.

But the records would still be accessible to: “A court of law or an agency thereof that is preparing a presentence investigation for the court,” according to the bill. “An agency of the federal or state government that is considering the subject person for a position immediately and directly affecting the national or state security; or a law enforcement agency acting within the scope of its duties.”

As of March 10, according to HB 1595, over 50,000 people still have Hawaii arrest records for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in which “The criminal case terminated with a final disposition other than a conviction.”… 

read … Bills would decriminalize pot use, expunge records in Hawaii

Honolulu City Council member introduces resolutions to address controversial pay raises

KITV: … Honolulu city council member Augie Tulba introduced three resolutions to address pay raises recommended by the Salary commission Friday.

Tulba says last year, taxpayers were robbed of the opportunity to voice their opposition to the 64% raise that was awarded to city council members and the 13% increase given to city leadership.

Tulba, along with council members Radiant Cordero and Andria Tupola all rejected last year's pay hike. The council stands to receive another 3% raise in July. Tulba's resolutions would limit the commission's ability to increase salaries by more than ten percent per year. And require the city council to hold a public hearing on any resolution issued by the salary commission to alter the pay of city officials. The city council is also allowed to reject all or a portion of the salary commission's recommendations by a simple majority vote rather than by a three quarters vote….

SA: Honolulu City Council members say they‘ll reject 3% pay hike

read … Honolulu City Council member introduces resolutions to address controversial pay raises

Lesbian Liquor commissioner resigns after alleged drunken confrontation at Playbar Waikiki

HNN: … The Honolulu Liquor Commission’s vice chair has been forced to resign after an alleged drunken confrontation Saturday morning at Playbar Nightclub in Waikiki.

Commissioner Lisa Martin may have used her position to intimidate bar employees.

According to the police report obtained by Hawaii News Now, Martin used a liquor commissioner badge to get her and a friend into the club, where they were confronted by employees who said she was already intoxicated.

According to the report, employees told police Martin said “she will close the bar down because she can do anything she wants with the badge. She threatened to close down the bay, and I would lose my job.”…

One employee took a picture of her Honolulu Liquor Commission ID and said Martin then took pictures of their liquor commission cards. They called police when she did not leave. The responding officer wrote, “I smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from (her) ... and I told her she’s not supposed to do her job drunk.”

After police arrived, the report said Martin walked away with her friend….

Martin was confirmed to the voluntary appointment just four months ago — one of three new commissioners and one of two from the LGBTQ community.

The appointments were part of the mayor’s effort to repair the commission’s credibility after allegations of harassment of a gay establishment.

“This is really a solid new beginning for us,” Blangiardi said about his appointees at the time.

At her confirmation hearing, Martin promised to be a change agent.

“And we got to move the needle,” she told a City Council committee. “I mean, we’re in the news, and we want to get out of the news.” …

read … Liquor commission vice chair forced to resign after alleged drunken confrontation at nightclub

Child Suffers for 17 Years Because Addicts Are Not Forcibly Incarcerated in Treatment Facilities

HNN: … The Fosters opened their home to single mother Angela. Originally from North Carolina, she had no family in Hawaii, no housing, no job -- and struggled with alcoholism.

“She was a beautiful woman when she was not drinking. She was kind, gentle, loving, but the moment she took a drink of alcohol, everything changed.” Foster said.

As Angela battled addiction, disappearing for days at a time, the Fosters cared for her son Kalaika.

Kari is a nurse practitioner, while Noah embraced the role of stay-at-home hanai dad.

“He was there to nurture this boy to make sure that he was loved, and he knew he was loved,” Kari Foster said.

When Kalaika was 5, mother and son moved out, devastating the Fosters, who had grown close to Kalaika.

“When there’s no legal system to protect you, you have to allow the child to go back to the mom,” Foster said. “He was holding me so tight crying in my ear. I don’t want to go, why would I go? And I just whispered back in his ear, I said, ‘You know what? This is mom calling, we have to give her the opportunity to be mom.’”

Homeless and her health failing, Angela agreed to let Kalaika stay with the Fosters on weekdays so he could attend school.

“She would start going in and out of the hospital because her health was starting to fail. And alcoholism, like any other disease is a tough addiction to kick,” said Foster, adding that the next few years were rough, with Angela’s drunk episodes and four cases with Child Welfare Services.

“There are obviously gaps, and you have to know how to navigate it. And if you don’t, you are really lost,” Foster said.

Kalaika found comfort and support in nonprofit Kids Hurt Too, which helps keiki with trauma through peer groups, mentorship and activities.

“They are shuttled around or they come from an unstable home situation, that’s the nature of foster care. And we like to be and try to be that stability in their lives,” said executive director Walker Rowsey.

“Because of the rejection that they may have felt or the instability that they may have felt, they actually don’t want to share, or they’ve been conditioned not to share those feelings, or even to push them down and not feel them.”

In 2020, Angela passed away, and the Fosters filed for adoption.

“You just take it day by day, and you try not to get overwhelmed, and know your resources and build your village. Because you cannot do this alone,” Foster said.

After pandemic delays, the Fosters will officially adopt 17-year-old Kalaika on April 16….

read … Hawaii family says foster care system was challenging to navigate — but worth it

Eight Months Later--Kahului Housing Project For 500 Fire Survivors Finally Opens

CB: … Family Life Center, a Maui-based nonprofit, announced on Friday that a midterm housing solution for people displaced by the Aug. 8 wildfires is now open and is accepting up to 500 people who need a place to live.

Ohana Hope Village is located on 10 acres owned by King’s Cathedral in Kahului and consists of 88 modular homes intended to house people for three to five years until they can find a permanent place to live….

Kelly had expected to open Ohana Hope Village relatively soon after the fire but she quickly learned that would not be the case. The project got delayed by permitting obstacles over fire suppression and access-to-water issues that pushed the grand opening back by months.

The community is fully funded by donations and the tenants who live there will not be charged rent. They will also receive wraparound services and support with permanent housing navigation and other needs.

Kelly said by text on Friday that she has received more than 800 applications from households representing over 2,000 individuals….

Information about the application process, making a donation or volunteering can be found on the Ohana Hope Village website….

MN: Ohana Hope Village aims to provide housing solutions for fire survivors

read … Kahului Housing Project For Fire Survivors Finally Opens

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:

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