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Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Botched Illegal Gambling Case Prompts Lawsuit Against Prosecutors

Eight people who were the subject of one of the largest illegal gambling stings in Hawaii history are suing Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro and one of his top deputies, Katherine Kealoha, saying they committed retaliatory and malicious prosecution after one of the plaintiffs compared Kaneshiro to the mobster John Gotti on TV news in 2013.

Also named as defendants in the case are Vernon Branco, who was a lead investigator for the prosecuting attorney’s office in the gambling case, and the City and County of Honolulu.

Tracy Yoshimura is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court of Hawaii on Friday. He is the owner of PJY Enterprises, a company that used to distribute Product Direct Sweepstakes machines to arcades around Oahu.

Yoshimura had been named along with some of his co-plaintiffs in a 414-count criminal indictment in 2014 that was tied to the use of the sweepstakes machines as alleged gambling devices.

Read more: http://www.civilbeat.org/2018/01/botched-illegal-gambling-case-prompts-lawsuit-against-prosecutors/

Who should govern Maunakea?

Some lawmakers want to take the University of Hawaii out of the picture when it comes to managing Maunakea.

A bill introduced Wednesday would replace University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Office of Maunakea Management with a new entity, managed by a governor-appointed board. It also would limit the number of telescopes to nine by 2028.

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, D-Oahu, sponsored the legislation, which includes Hawaii Island Sens. Kai Kahele and Lorraine Inouye as co-sponsors. Kahele, who has become a vocal critic of the university, said he’s been assigned as the bill’s chairman, should it end up in a conference committee at the end of the session.

He said the bill isn’t perfect but he thinks the Legislature needs to have a debate over the mountain’s future.

Read more: http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2018/01/29/hawaii-news/who-should-govern-maunakea/

$75M fine a big hurdle for CNMI casino investor

TINIAN – Tim Chen, principal owner of Tinian Entertainment Corp., is interested in taking over and running the now defunct Tinian Dynasty hotel and casino, but he said the $75 million fine imposed by the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCen, is a major concern.

Chen chartered a flight from Hong Kong to Tinian on Friday to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Tinian International Airport, which is now complete after 20 years of construction and renovations.

Chen also met with the Tinian leadership late in the afternoon to discuss his plans regarding Tinian Dynasty.

In an interview, Chen said he is the creditor of the former owner of Tinian Dynasty, Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments Ltd. or HKE, and he is interested in renovating the hotel and casino to make it operational again.

But he said the only thing holding him back is Tinian Dynasty’s $75 million obligation to FinCen which imposed the fine for the former investor's failure to develop and implement an anti-money laundering program.

Read more: https://www.postguam.com/news/cnmi/m-fine-a-big-hurdle-for-casino-investor/article_1faac65c-fa7f-11e7-bb7e-47fea5f8c07f.html

Guam Memorial Hospital proposal leads to impassioned testimony

A proposal to provide funding to Guam Memorial Hospital by eliminating gross receipts tax exemptions for wholesalers, banks and insurance carriers led to hours of impassioned testimony Monday - with supporters arguing the plan is vital for the public hospital, and opponents saying it lead to financial problems.

Gov. Eddie Calvo initially proposed borrowing $125 million to improve the hospital, and raising taxes to pay for it, but the Legislature didn't hold a hearing for those bills. The governor's new bill, which he described as a compromise with the Legislature, could have more than one public hearing.

Several doctors testified about the difficulty in providing quality medical care at a facility that can't afford modern medical technology or the supplies to support the limited technology it does have. Patients who should have outpatient medical procedures and go home are instead being admitted, doctors testified.

"At what price tag do you put the health and the lives of our people? What price tag do you put on providing our hospital with the facility, technology, supplies and equipment to save lives and to provide comfort? What price? I don’t have an answer, Mr. Speaker, that’s why I’m looking up to you. But this is a shared burden for all of us," Guam Memorial Hospital Medical Director Dr. Vincent Duenas testified.

Read more: http://www.guampdn.com/story/news/2018/01/29/gmh-proposal-leads-impassioned-testimony/1073718001/

Deputy Speaker requests minimum wage increase for American Samoa

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Nafo’itoa Talaimanu Keti, during Parliament’s session last week, raised his concern that the cost of living should be increased.

He made it clear with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielagaoi’s administration, saying that the cost of living does not coincide with the minimum wage which is currently at $2.30 per hour.

Nafo’itoa said the issue had been raised publicly on numerous occasions.

He explained: “Most especially the casual workers who are paid daily and weekly, so we believe it is only fitting to increase the minimum wage.

Read more: http://www.samoaobserver.ws/en/29_01_2018/local/29342/Deputy-Speaker-requests-minimum-wage-increase.htm

Newsom's gun control efforts win him big endorsement

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for governor on Friday citing his championing of gun control efforts.

Newsom was the force behind 2016’s Proposition 63, which outlaws the possession of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, requires background checks for people buying bullets, makes it a crime not to report lost or stolen guns and provides a process for taking guns from people convicted of a felony.

Giffords was shot in the head while meeting with constituents in 2011. She and Kelly have become ardent gun control activists since her recovery. The couple was introduced by Aqeela Sherrills, an activist who works to curb gang violence and whose his son, Terrell Sherrills, 18, was killed in 2004.

"We know that the clearest most sensible voice on this issue and by far the greatest leader on this issue is Gavin Newsom,” Kelly said Friday to a crowd of Democratic party delegates and Newsom campaign volunteers.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-newsom-s-gun-control-efforts-win-him-big-1517009073-htmlstory.html

UC President Janet Napolitano considers overhauling her office amid political criticism

University of California President Janet Napolitano is considering a potentially sweeping overhaul of her office in the wake of sharp political criticism over its size, cost and budget practices.

An extensive outside review of the office provided to The Times found relatively little fat in its oversight of the most complex university system in the nation — a $33-billion operation of 10 campuses, five medical centers, three national laboratories and global research.

But the review suggested streamlining the office in what could amount to a 50% budget reduction. Suggestions for those potential savings include spinning off the UC medical and health system to a new statewide network, moving some programs to campuses and eliminating others, such as the UC-Mexico Initiative.

The proposals by Huron Consulting Group Inc. mark the latest of more than 10 reviews of the Office of the President in the last decade, including one last year by the state auditor. Another outside assessment is set for completion this spring.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/local/education/higher-ed/la-me-uc-president-office-overhaul-20180129-story.html

Now $870 million, price of Oroville Dam crisis jumps by a third

Oroville Dam’s battered flood-control spillways have been largely rebuilt, but the cost of last February’s near-disaster keeps rising. On Friday, state officials put the total price tag at $870 million.

The latest figure from the California Department of Water Resources represents a 32 percent increase from DWR’s estimate in October, when the cost was pegged at approximately $660 million.

State officials insist the climbing price tag is not from unexpected cost overruns. Instead, DWR spokeswoman Erin Mellon said the agency has finally been able to estimate the cost of recovery work that includes removal of debris from the Feather River channel below the dam; relocation of power transmission lines; staff time and other work that’s been undertaken since last winter’s crisis. Those costs came to $210 million.

“So it’s not a jump in costs at all,” she said.

Of the total $870 million cost, the largest expense is the reconstruction of the dam’s two badly damaged flood-control spillways. Mellon said the reconstruction work, which is proceeding in two phases and is expected to be completed this fall, is expected to cost $500 million. That estimate hasn’t changed since last October.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article196930769.html

Cat 'beauty contest' has a new competitor

All the way from Ohio, Vanna, a 10-month-old brown spotted Bengal waits near her owner Sami Kerr before they head off to compete in the CFA's San Diego Cat Show, "Food and Water Bowl XXVI" held at Del Mar on Sunday. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Cat lovers marveled at a new breed this past weekend at the San Diego Cat Show, where Bengals made a debut appearance in the competition.

The annual two-day feline festival, in its 26th year, was hosted by San Diego Cat Fanciers at the fairgrounds in Del Mar. The event featured breed-specific contests that culminated in the selection of a grand champion. It also had a cat agility course, educational sessions and a host of kitty-themed vendors at its “Meow Mall.”

“This is one of the premier shows in the U.S.,” said Douglas Myers, one of the judges.

In the competition, trained judges evaluated cats for things like bone structure, eye shape, color, pattern and personality. Breeders for the different kinds of competing kitties set standards for what judges should look for, allocating 100 points among different criteria based on what they think is most important for the breed.

Read more: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/sd-me-cat-show-20180128-story.html

White nationalists hang sanctuary city 'danger' sign over San Francisco Bay Bridge

(Identity Evropa via Twitter)

A white nationalist group that decried the not guilty verdicts in the Kate Steinle murder trial hung a “danger” sign over the Bay Bridge on Sunday morning as a warning to commuters that San Francisco is a sanctuary city.

Identity Evropa, a white nationalist organization with ties to the Bay Area, called the banner a “public service announcement” in a post on Twitter. The banner read, “Danger — Sanctuary City Ahead” in capital letters.

“San Francisco is a dangerous sanctuary city where the law does not apply to illegal invaders,” the group tweeted. “Enter at your own risk!”

It’s unclear whether the banner was taken down as of noon.

On Friday, Interim Mayor Mark Farrell reiterated San Francisco’s position as a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants amid scrutiny from the federal government and President Donald Trump.

Read more: http://www.sfexaminer.com/white-nationalists-hang-sanctuary-city-danger-sign-sf-bay-bridge/
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