Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ACLU seeks federal probe of Hawaii prison overcrowding, $22 minimum wage sought, judge denies dismissal of Kauai Sunshine Law case, ethics complaint against Hawaii County prosecutor, Honolulu council briefed on police chief, teachers want higher pay, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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The ACLU of Hawai‘i Foundation has filed a formal complaint asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Hawaii’s overcrowded jails and prisons and to force the state to remedy the situation. Star-Advertiser.

Citing severe overcrowding at the state’s dilapidated prisons and jails, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii has filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department, calling for a federal investigation into “unconstitutional and unsafe conditions” endured by Hawaii inmates. Civil Beat.

The American Civil Liberties Union complaint calls the crowded conditions chronic. KITV.

Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo is one of seven state-operated correctional facilities that is overcrowded and violating the constitutional rights of inmates, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii Foundation said in a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice dated Friday. Tribune-Herald.


Members of a key state Senate committee blasted the Hawaii Tourism Authority at a Tuesday hearing for its lack of transparency and what they termed “unsustainable” spending and debt management. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: How many tourists is too many tourists? Star-Advertiser.

State senators grilled the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism director Tuesday about the costs of a failed $150 million renewable financing program intended to help residents who have trouble owning renewable energy. Star-Advertiser.

A $22 Minimum Wage? A Hawaii state representative wants to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2019 and $22 by 2022. Civil Beat.

Businesses raise concerns over lawmaker’s push for $22 minimum wage by 2022. KHON2.

A $15 an hour minimum wage is getting the support of at least one Hawaii Island lawmaker. Tribune-Herald.

With the Legislature set to convene next week, the Hawaii State Teachers Association is looking to drum up support to increase pay for public school teachers. Star-Advertiser.

New numbers reveal just how much lower Hawaii public school teachers get paid compared to mainland cities with similar high costs of living. Hawaii News Now.

Compared to two years ago, the Hawaii Department of Education has fewer cases of employee misconduct to investigate. Civil Beat.

Hawaii needs to think “very differently” about how it addresses its longstanding teacher shortage and should perhaps look at alternative solutions — such as recruiting overseas. Tribune-Herald.

Police May Be Blocked From Aerial Surveillance In Hawaii. The Hawaii Supreme Court is considering whether privacy expectations preclude the police from gathering evidence of a crime by flying over your house. Civil Beat.

Hawaii roads are the riskiest in the nation to pedestrians 65 and over, a new report concludes. Hawaii News Now.

The state released Tuesday its first-ever inter-agency bio-security plan, an ambitious and multifaceted initiative intended to safeguard against invasive species posing threats to human health, endangered species and major state industries. West Hawaii Today

As the new board chair of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Rowena Akana, pushes to remove its chief executive officer, Civil Beat has obtained documents indicating that dozens of human resources complaints have been filed against her by OHA employees.

The Navy hasn’t fundamentally changed its personnel system since the draft ended in 1973, Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The online vacation home booking site Airbnb has had “no material impact” on Hawaii’s housing market, with homes booked through the website representing 1.53 percent of the statewide housing stock, according to an analysis by local housing analyst Ricky Cassiday. Pacific Business News.

The new State Moped Law is currently being implemented on all islands with a focus on illegal modifications for speed and noise. Hawaii Public Radio.


Several Honolulu City Council members voiced frustration Tuesday about receiving little information regarding Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s impending departure and warned that any additional money he is given in a settlement might need their approval. Star-Advertiser.

City Council Members ‘Leery’ Of HPD Chief’s Retirement Deal. Police Commission Chairman Max Sword refuses to answer questions from council members who want to know if they get final say on any payout. Civil Beat.

Members of the Honolulu City Council think they should get a say on whether or not Police Chief Louis Kealoha walks away from the post with a payout. KHON2.

Honolulu City Council Members were briefed on the status of the City’s Police Chief today. Hawaii Public Radio.

A city proposal to preserve 52,575 acres of privately owned farmland on Oahu drew a crowd of interested community members — and some protest — Tuesday evening at the city’s first public meeting on the details of its plan. Star-Advertiser.

New Kakaako Park Rules Could Keep Homeless Away. The HCDA says the changes mostly clarify rules that already existed. Recent problems have involved vandalism and homelessness. Civil Beat.


An ethics complaint against County Prosecutor Mitch Roth is bringing to the surface years of submerged accusations and counter-accusations between local boaters and the state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. West Hawaii Today.

A senior housing project in Hilo recently reopened following a complete renovation made possible through a mix of federal and state low-income housing tax credits. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission Executive Director William Hoshijo today announced the settlement of a complaint brought by an employee against a Hilo business, alleging that her employer failed to reinstate her after a pregnancy-related disability leave, denied her a reasonable accommodation for her pregnancy-related disability and terminated her because of her pregnancy. Big Island Now.


With dozens of testifiers calling for a more rigorous study on the proposed Makena Resort, the Maui Planning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to defer the final environmental assessment for the 47-acre project. Maui News.

Maui County Council Members Riki Hokama and Kelly King have submitted different resolutions regarding the council’s standing committees and its members in a prelude to a public hearing Monday afternoon. Maui News.

On Monday, days after the state Agriculture Department announced a coffee berry borer beetle infestation in East Maui, experts gave residents tips for controlling the pest that’s already struck Hawaii island and Oahu. Maui News.

Maui County is asking for the public’s assistance identifying the individual or individuals involved in shooting at Maui Bus windows with what is believed to be a BB or pellet gun four times last month. Maui Now.

After being closed for several months, Hāna Ranch Provisions has confirmed it will not be reopening in 2017. Maui Now.


A motion to dismiss a Sunshine Law complaint against the County of Kauai and Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura was denied by Judge Kathleen Watanabe Tuesday afternoon in Fifth Circuit Court. Garden Island.

Parts of Kauai will be underwater within the next 50 to 100 years, according to a report the state is developing on sea level rise. Garden Island.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative and AES Distributed Energy, Inc. announced a power-purchase agreement for a plant that will provide solar energy with the benefits of battery-based energy storage that will be located on former sugar land between Lawai and Koloa. Garden Island.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said Tuesday it signed a contract to build the largest utility-scale solar and battery system in the state. Star-Advertiser.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative has struck a deal with a subsidiary of Virginia-based AES Corp. for the development of a solar-plus-battery-storage project on the island’s South Shore that includes a 28 megawatt solar farm and a 20 megawatt five-hour duration energy storage system. Pacific Business News.

Senior affordable rental units dedicated. Kaniko‘o Phase II adds 30 units. Garden Island.

The second phase of Kanikoo, an affordable senior housing complex in Lihue, was completed on Tuesday, Kauai officials said. Pacific Business News.

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