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May 27, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:54 PM :: 2354 Views

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted May 24, 2024

Conflict Of Interest? Some Hawaii Lawmakers Work For Or Even Own Companies That Get State Contracts

CB: … An examination of current state legislators’ business interests found that at least a dozen sitting lawmakers are paid by or even own entities that have won more than $56 million in government contracts since 2006….

Topping the list of contractors that employ legislators is Nan Inc., which won at least $39.2 million in state contracts last year. Rep. Micah Aiu, a member of the House Finance Committee, works as Nan’s in-house lawyer where he earns between $100,000 and $150,000 a year, according to his state financial disclosure statement.

Nan Inc. is one of Honolulu rail’s major contractors. In the last year, it won millions of dollars in school improvement projects, including a contract to build a new gymnasium at Roosevelt High School….

Nan Inc. and its owner Patrick Shin are also major political donors. Company executives have contributed more than $350,000 to local campaigns since 2006, the Times and Civil Beat analysis found.

Related: The Secret History of the Mercado Kim Crime Family

Scott Kouchi, brother of Senate President Ron Kouchi, is the president of Garden Isle Disposal, which has won an estimated $10.6 million in state contracts since 2006. Kauai County has paid the company $16.3 million since 2000.

Ron Kouchi has reported earning between $50,000 and $100,000 for Garden Isle doing community relations work, according to his financial disclosure statements.

Most of Garden Isle’s state contracts, about $6.7 million, were for handling fees and reimbursements from the Hi-5 recycling program. Garden Isle participated in the program between 2006 and 2016, according to state data….

Related: 20 Years of Fraud--With Tokuda out of Legislature, DoH finally begins to check up on Recycling Companies

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, chair of the Ways and Means Committee, had ties to two businesses that won state contracts in recent years: Aina Archeology and DTL Inc. He has chaired WAM, which plays a major role in directing how the state spends its money, since 2017….

Aina Archeology has won $392,000 in contracts since 2018. DTL, a communications firm where he was co-owner and vice president, has been awarded more than $870,000 worth of contracts since 2016.

DTL’s contracts included consulting work for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Department of Health and the State Energy Office. It has also run the social media accounts of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts….

Related: Ethics Ruling: How DTL Pays Senator Delacruz -- Legally

Rep. Mark Hashem earns between $1,000 and $10,000 as a director for Koga Engineering since 2019, financial disclosure records show. The company’s largest state contract, according to state data, came in 2021. The DOT issued a $1.3 million contract for drainage improvements near Kuakini Highway on Hawaii island. 

Before being elected to office, Rep. Mahina Poepoe worked on grants and contracts for nonprofit Aina Momona, a nonprofit founded by activist Walter Ritte…

RELATED: Naming Names: Airports Division Ran Late-Night Parties Where Hawaii Politicians Raked In Money

read … Conflict Of Interest? Some Hawaii Lawmakers Work For Or Even Own Companies That Get State Contracts

SB3139: Hawaii homeless with mental issues could be assessed involuntarily

SA: … Homeless people displaying mental health issues could be taken off the street against their will and brought in for assessment at a 3-month-old behavioral center in Iwilei if a new bill becomes law.

(About time.)

The new approach would apply to homeless people who draw both concern and scorn for their behavior, which could include wandering in traffic, yelling in public, hurling threats and generally exhibiting signs of distress, said Dr. Chad Koyanagi, the state Health Department’s medical director for crisis continuum, who oversees patient care at the new Behavioral Health Crisis Center on Iwilei Road.

(Sweet!)

Senate Bill 3139, which sits on Gov. Josh Green’s desk, is designed to allow law enforcement officers to spend less time with homeless patients waiting for them to be seen in emergency rooms such as The Queen’s Medical Center that are disproportionately used by homeless people.  Instead, officers would take homeless people directly to the new Behavioral Health Crisis Center in a process that would take five to seven minutes, Koyanagi said.….

(Good idea.)

In the latest Point in Time Count of Oahu’s homeless, 33% — or 2,433 out of a total homeless population of 4,494 — reported a mental illness, compared with 26% who reported a substance abuse disorder.

(Try 100%)

SB 3139 would allow law enforcement officers to involuntarily take anyone exhibiting signs of distress to the Behavioral Health Crisis Center, which opened in March, and could become a model to be replicated statewide if it’s successful, state Health Director Dr. Kenneth Fink told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser inside the center last week….

Out of 112 people who have been admitted to the center since March, 56 of them — or half — have gone into some form of housing, such as a substance abuse treatment program, clean-and-sober home or homeless shelter, according to the Health Department.

(50% Housed.  Need 100%.)

(Doing its best to keep the homeless, homeless…) The ACLU … has a pending lawsuit over Honolulu’s homeless policies in addition to concerns about taking homeless people off the street against their will….

”I oppose efforts to funnel persons with disabilities and neurodivergence into jails and mental health facilities simply to hide them from the public view to satiate tourists and property owners.” -- ACLU Executive Director Salmah Rizvi 

(TRANSLATION: We at ACLU are committed to keeping the insane on display in your face at all times so we can exploit them to advance policy goals and get funding for profitable nonprofits.)

SB3139: Text, Status

read … Hawaii homeless with mental issues could be assessed involuntarily

Lahaina Property Owners Urged To Apply For Building Permits As Soon As Possible

CB: … Maui County had issued three disaster recovery building permits as of Wednesday, with 33 under review under a streamlined system to cut a typically 300-day approval process down to 15 business days. The county has received 54 applications so far ….

read … Lahaina Property Owners Urged To Apply For Building Permits As Soon As Possible

Logan Dynasty in Hawaii

CB: … Another Logan will be taking over as Hawaii’s next adjutant general and commander of the Hawaii Army National Guard when Maj. General Kenneth Hara steps down on Oct. 1.

Brig. Gen. Stephen Logan, who’s currently the deputy adjutant general, will ascend to the top job, Gov. Josh Green announced Friday.

It’s the same job that was held by his brother, Joe Logan, before Hara got the gig when Joe Logan resigned in 2020 not too long after that false missile alert debacle.

And that’s not the end of the Logan Dynasty in Hawaii. Besides Joe and Stephen there’s also a third brother Mark, who retired as a colonel in the Hawaii National Guard.

Joe has since gone on to be chief of the Honolulu Police Department, where he worked for a number of years before he went on to a career in the National Guard.

Same with brother Stephen and brother Mark. Both of them were HPD officers prior to joining the Guard. Stephen retired from HPD as a lieutenant in 2004 and became the state aviation officer in the Guard….

read … The Sunshine Blog

Disaster Excuse for Maui Leaders Japan Junket

CB: … Mayor Richard Bissen led the group which included a trip to the Fukushima Prefecture to learn more about disaster recovery after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in that part of the country.

According to Communications Team, besides Bissen and Councilmember Tamara Paltin the VIP tour group included state Sen. Troy Hashimoto, Kuhio Lewis of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Colbert Matsumoto of Island Insurance.

“Mayor Bissen will be bringing back with him valuable lessons learned from the disaster recovery and reconstruction efforts, as well as the countryʻs innovative practices to maximize resiliancy (sic) efforts,” Communications Team wrote. …

read … The Sunshine Blog

Maui Boards May Soon Be Able To Get Back To Business With Settlement Agreement

CB: … In April, Maui Judge Kelsey Kawano blocked construction executive Danny Ray Blackburn’s appointment to the county Planning Commission after Mayer disputed the county’s process, contending it went against protocol laid out in the county charter.

The county’s Corporation Counsel responded by advising all recent appointees to boards and commissions to hold off on participating until the lawsuit is resolved. …

Maui County voters approved a ballot question in the 2022 election that created an independent nominating board to recruit and install residents on the county’s boards and commissions. The charter amendment aims to generate a selection process for board and commission members that’s less political and more focused on merit.

Under the previous system, the mayor or council recruited and evaluated applicants for boards and commissions on their own.

The nominating board consists of nine members from each of the council residency areas, who are appointed by the mayor and approved by the council. But the newly assembled nominating board approved by voters is still writing its rules for self-governance and did not assemble any lists of nominees to fill vacancies on the county’s boards and commissions. So the mayor stepped in with his own list of nominees. 

The lawsuit does not dispute the 14 people that the council and mayor agreed on to serve as appointees. But it faults the council for generating its own list of nominees and attempting to independently approve those appointments — a power the council no longer has under the new charter amendment, according to Collins….

read … Maui Boards May Soon Be Able To Get Back To Business With Settlement Agreement

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