Category Archives: Uncategorized

Honolulu City Ordinance 22-7 Vacation Rental Rules faces Preliminary Injunction from US District Court

It has been nearly six months since Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed Bill 41 that was adopted by the Honolulu City Council on April 13, 2022.

The Blangiardi Administration is supposed to lay out the new Rules and Regulations from Bill 41, now known as Ordinance 22-7, on October 23, 2022.

This October 13, 2022 Preliminary Injunction, triggered by Hawaii Short-Term Legal Rentals Alliance (HSTLA) lawsuit in April 2022, forces the city to reconsider its core premises.

At the core of the lawsuit is the 30-day being lengthened to 89-day by the city to control illegal vacation rentals. Note, on the other hand, it’s a known fact that many vacation rental operators were using the 30-day “facade”. Operators were renting to different parties within the 30-day frame. An average vacation rental stay is around 8 days.

There are lots of questions and conversations to be had on this. The first three sentences of US District Judge’s Preliminary Injunction below say it all.

Residential property owners on O‘ahu have long been able to lawfully rent
their properties to tenants for a minimum of 30 days. That much is undisputed.

But what about operators who rent to multiple parties during that 30-day duration.You can read the entire Order here.

Despite this Preliminary Injunction, there are still other rules in this new Ordinance 22-7 that the city can enforce. Residents can report violations here.

Corporate Media Censorship in the Public Square

Where do Free Press and Free Speech fit for all corporate Press media?

This is an article about a possible ethics investigation on Congressman Kai Kahele from Civil Beat This proposed congressional action seems too politically time for elections 2022, considering there are so much compelling questions about other members in Congress. 2022 Gallup Poll has Congress at a 18% job approval from the public.

EXCERPT from Civil Beat:

According to the press release, more information will be released in November when the committee, which is chaired by U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, announces its “course of action.”

I thought the above article raises more questions. I submitted my comments. But my comments were censored. It did not have the opportunity to contribute a different perspective to the subject matter.

So far it’s still not approved yet. This is not the only incident. What’s happening to Free Speech and Free Press?

UPDATE: Sunday Morning, October 16, 2022

I experimented again and submit a short version of my comments See Below. This time it was not censored and allowed to be posted.

The question remains. What are the criteria for censorship? Other negative comments were allowed to be posted against Congressman Kai Kahele. However, my comments about “ but this nail that sticks out is obviously an irritation that has to be pounded back into status quo” was censored.

Passive-Aggressive eBay Alpha Male and Female Terrorism

It was a group that acted together. Yet, no one spoke up against these toxic retaliations. Kudos to David and Ina Steiner for protecting Free Speech and Free Press and basic human decency.

Excerpts from Reuters:

” U.S. District Judge Patti Saris, who imposed the sentences during hearings in Boston, called it a “hard-to-imagine” scheme fueled by a “toxic culture” at the Silicon Valley e-commerce company.

It was extreme and outrageous,” Saris said.

She ordered (James) Baugh, eBay’s former senior director of safety and security, and Harville, its former director of global resiliency, to also pay fines of $40,000 and $20,000, respectively, after pleading guilty to cyberstalking-related charges.

In court, they each apologized to David and Ina Steiner, a married couple in Natick, Massachusetts, who produce the newsletter EcommerceBytes and spoke of being relentlessly terrorized by eBay’s employees.

Wenig, a former Thomson Reuters executive who stepped down as eBay’s CEO in September 2019, was not charged, though seven other people were. A spokesman said Wenig had “absolutely zero knowledge” of the actions they undertook.

Overseeing the campaign was Baugh, a former Central Intelligence Agency employee who, according to his lawyer, felt pressure to do something.

At Baugh’s direction, the Steiners received anonymous, harassing Twitter messages, bizarre emails, and unwanted home deliveries like spiders and a book on surviving the loss of a spouse, prosecutors said.

They said other eBay employees involved included Harville, who Baugh recruited with a contractor for an “op” to surveil the Steiners and try unsuccessfully to install a GPS on their car.

A lawsuit by the Steiners against eBay, Wenig and others remains pending.”

More References:

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s Office

District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Two Former eBay Executives Sentenced to Prison for Cyberstalking

BOSTON – The former Senior Director of Safety & Security at eBay, Inc. and the company’s former Director of Global Resiliency were sentenced to prison today for their roles in a cyberstalking campaign targeting the editor and publisher of a newsletter that eBay executives viewed as critical of the company.

James Baugh, 47, of San Jose, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Patti B.  Saris to 57 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Baugh was also ordered to pay a fine of $40,000. David Harville, 50, of Las Vegas, Nev., was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of supervised release. Harville was also ordered to pay a fine of $20,000. On April 25, 2022, Baugh pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel and through facilities of interstate commerce, two counts of stalking through interstate travel, two counts of stalking through facilities of interstate commerce, two counts of witness tampering and two counts of destruction, alteration and falsification of records in a federal investigation.  On May 12, 2022, Harville pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel and through facilities of interstate commerce, two counts of stalking through interstate travel and two counts of stalking through facilities of interstate commerce.

“The internet is incredibly powerful. It brings community, information, and even merchandise right to our homes. Mr. Baugh and Mr. Harville used the internet’s power to harass and intimidate a couple who did nothing—nothing—other than publish content that our First Amendment protects. The defendants’ toxic brand of online and real-world harassment, threats, and stalking was outrageous, cruel and defies any explanation—all the more because these men were seasoned and highly paid security executives backed by the resources of a Fortune 500 corporation. Their behavior was reprehensible. The just sentences the Court imposed today will take Mr. Baugh and Mr. Harville offline and out of our community for some time. This should serve as a strong reminder to all that holding positions of wealth and privilege does not absolve or shield criminals from accountability and incarceration. The government’s investigation continues,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins.

“Both men demonstrated a clear contempt for the law when they weaponized eBay’s security department to engage in an incredibly disturbing pattern of retaliatory harassment and intimidation to torment this couple, who, thankfully, did not let their fear silence them,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “While today’s sentencings cannot erase the substantial distress their victims suffered, it does make it crystal clear that anyone who goes online to threaten, intimidate, or harass others will face real-world consequences, including federal prison time.”

Harville and Baugh were arrested and charged in June 2020. Co-conspirators and former eBay employees Philip Cooke, Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Popp, Veronica Zea and Stephanie Stockwell previously pleaded guilty for their roles in a conspiracy to cyberstalk the victims. Cooke was sentenced in July 2021 to 18 months in prison. Gilbert, Popp, Zea and Stockwell are awaiting sentencing.

Between approximately Aug. 5, 2019 and Sept. 6, 2019, Harville, Baugh and their co-conspirators at eBay agreed to engage in a harassment campaign targeting a husband and wife in Natick, Mass. for their roles in publishing a newsletter that reported on issues of interest to eBay sellers. Senior executives at eBay were frustrated with the newsletter’s tone and content as well as the substance of comments posted beneath the newsletter’s articles. The harassment campaign arose from communications between those senior executives and Baugh, who was eBay’s senior security employee. 

The defendants and their co-conspirators executed a three-part harassment campaign intended to intimidate the victims and to influence their reporting about eBay. The campaign included sending anonymous and disturbing deliveries to the victims’ home; sending private Twitter messages and public tweets criticizing the newsletter’s content; threats to visit the victims in Natick; and traveling to Natick to surveil the victims and installing a GPS tracking device on their car.

The deliveries ordered to the victims’ home included a book on surviving the death of a spouse, a bloody pig mask, a fetal pig, a funeral wreath and live insects. The harassment also featured Craigslist posts inviting members of the public to experience sexual encounters at the victims’ home.

The threatening Twitter messages were written as if they had been sent by eBay sellers who were unhappy with the victims’ coverage in the newsletter. Some of these messages posted the victims’ home address and threatened to show up at their home. 

On Aug. 15, 2019, Baugh, Harville and a co-conspirator traveled from California to Natick to surveil the victims and install a GPS tracking device on the victims’ car. The victims spotted the surveillance team and contacted local police. Harville also purchased tools intending to break into the victims’ garage and lied to an eBay investigator who was responding to the Natick Police’s request for assistance.

After learning of the police’s investigation, Harville and Baugh deleted digital evidence related to the cyberstalking campaign. Additionally, Baugh made false statements to police and internal investigators and falsified records intended to throw the police off the trail.

U.S. Attorney Rollins, FBI SAC Bonavolonta and Natick Police Chief James G. Hicks made the announcement today. eBay provided valuable assistance and cooperation with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth B. Kosto, Deputy Chief of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): CybercrimeComponent(s): USAO – MassachusettsUpdated September 29, 2022

Ebay Executives indicted for bullying

This indictment is beyond the pale. Read on.

Former eBay Executive Pleads Guilty to His Role in Cyberstalking Campaign

BOSTON – A former eBay, Inc. executive pleaded guilty today in connection with his role in a cyberstalking campaign targeting the editor and publisher of a newsletter that eBay executives viewed as critical of the company.

James Baugh, 47, of San Jose, Calif., eBay’s former Senior Director of Safety & Security, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel and through facilities of interstate commerce, two counts of stalking through interstate travel, two counts of stalking through facilities of interstate commerce, two counts of witness tampering and two counts of destruction, alteration and falsification of records in a federal investigation. U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for Sept. 29, 2022.

In June 2020, Baugh was arrested and charged along with David Harville, eBay’s former Director of Global Resiliency. Co-conspirators and former eBay employees Philip Cooke, Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Popp, Veronica Zea and Stephanie Stockwell previously pleaded guilty. Cooke was sentenced in July 2021 to 18 months in prison. Gilbert, Popp, Zea and Stockwell are awaiting sentencing. Harville has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

According to court documents, between approximately Aug. 5, 2019 and Aug. 23, 2020, Baugh and his co-conspirators at eBay agreed to engage in a harassment campaign targeting a husband and wife in Natick, Mass. for of their roles in publishing a newsletter that reported on issues of interest to eBay sellers. Senior executives at eBay were frustrated with the newsletter’s tone and content, and with the tone and content of comments posted beneath the newsletter’s articles. The harassment campaign arose from communications between those executives and Baugh, who was eBay’s senior security employee. 

Baugh and his co-conspirators allegedly executed a three-part harassment campaign intended to intimidate the victims and to change the content of the newsletter’s reporting. The campaign included sending anonymous and disturbing deliveries to the victims’ home; sending private Twitter messages and public tweets criticizing the newsletter’s content and threatening to visit the victims in Natick; and traveling to Natick to surveil the victims and install a GPS tracking device on their car.

The deliveries ordered to the victims’ home included a book on surviving the death of a spouse, a bloody pig mask, a fetal pig, a funeral wreath and live insects. The harassment also featured Craigslist posts inviting the public for sexual encounters at the victims’ home.

The threatening Twitter messages were written as if they had been sent by eBay sellers who were unhappy with the victims’ coverage in the newsletter. Some of these messages posted the victims’ address and threatened to visit the victims at their home. 

On Aug. 15, 2019, Baugh and co-conspirators allegedly traveled from California to Natick to surveil the victims and to install a GPS tracking device on the victims’ car. The victims spotted the surveillance team and contacted local police. After learning of the police’s investigation, Baugh made false statements to police and internal investigators, deleted digital evidence related to the cyberstalking campaign and falsified records intended to throw the police off the trail.

The charges of conspiracy to commit stalking and stalking each provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution.  The charges of witness tampering and destruction, alteration and fabrication of records in a federal investigation each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution. The witness tampering charges also carry the potential for forfeiture. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Natick Chief of Police James G. Hicks made the announcement. eBay provided valuable assistance and cooperation with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth B. Kosto, Deputy Chief of Rollins’ Securities, Financial and Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”

Mark Twain – “The War Prayer”

I remember reading this in my college days. It was a satire but it was also a reminder to not lose our sense of basic humanity. Ordinary people are the pawns. I’ve always felt that world leaders who start wars must first send themselves and their families onto the frontline.

I took the liberty to space out Twain’s paragraph.

“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. 

O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it — for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! 

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.”

I don’t pray for damnation. But I admit that I would smile a little if the news reported that narcissistic War Criminal Putin suffered a fatal fall off his office window.

Singapore is World’s #1 for best roads

Read the excerpt below and my personal story while in Singapore.

” By now, it should not come as a surprise that Singapore typically crushes the competition in many world rankings.

And so it did, in a recent list of best roads around the world, where Singapore came in — you guessed it — first.

Iscored 9.44 over 10 points in terms of its road quality in a global study by Zutobi, which also took into account the number of road deaths and the relative size of the road network.”

I was visiting Singapore for about a month. My father’s grave was being reinterred from the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery that was supposedly for the expansion of the Tengah Airbase.

I had left Singapore in 1975 and felt like I needed to show support to my family who had always taken care of family affairs.

During the entire month that I was in Singapore, I travelled all over the island. We travelled on roads, highways, alley ways, and side streets.

There was not a single pothole encountered during my stay in Singapore.

We finally landed home in Oahu. As the airplane was taxi-ing to the terminal at the Honolulu International airport, the announcement came from the pilot came on:

Ladies and Gentlemen, we apologize. There will be a 2-minute delay as there is a pot-hole in front of us. The plane is being towed to the terminal.”

My husband and I looked at each other and laughed upon hearing that announcement.

Welcome back to Hawaii!

Land of the potholes, even on the airport grounds.

Elections 2022: Honolulu City Charter Amendments

Here they are. What do you think? What are the multiplier impacts of these changes? Will it improve the issue? Who will it benefit? Is it needed? How much would it cost?

Charter Question #1. Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to increase the mandatory percentage of the City’s estimated real property tax revenues to be appropriated annually for deposit into the Affordable Housing Fund from one-half of one percent to one percent?

Charter Question #2. Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to require that the Planning Commission have at least one member with substantial experience or expertise in one of the following categories of disciplines, that each of the categories be represented by a different member, and that all of the categories are represented on the commission:

Charter Question #3. Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to expand the permitted use of funds in the Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund to include funding for costs related to the operation, maintenance, and management of lands acquired by way of this Fund that are necessary to protect, maintain, or restore resources at risk on these lands, such as infrastructure, environmental remediation, or improvements to provide for public access and use?

Charter Question #4. Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to update the provisions pertaining to the Office of Council Services (“OCS”), the research and drafting arm of the Council, to reflect its current functions; consolidate various provisions relating to the OCS in a separate Chapter of the Revised Charter like its fellow Legislative Branch agencies, the Office of the City Clerk and Office of the City Auditor, provide for the appointment, salary, and duties of the OCS director; and expressly recognize the authority of the licensed attorneys in the OCS to provide legal advice to the City Council and its members?

The full text of these amendments are available for review. Visit honoluluelections.us.

Honolulu Planning Commission does not represent mainstream Oahu’s interests

Board and Commissions are meant to provide another level of independent grassroots experiences and understanding to the political decision-makers. However, many of these major Boards have become an extension of the politicians and made up of the lobbyists, political donors, trade industries and legal Oligarchy.

We’re not placing a judgment on the nominated members. They are not elected to represent the people although there are basic requisites and Standards of Conduct expected. But we’re placing the judgment on the Mayors and the City Council members who are the elected decision-makers expected to watch out for the overall public good and public interest.

Is there fairness or a diversified representation of Oahu’s population in these nomination and appointment process? The City Council should not be simply a rubber-stamp of the Office of the Mayor.

This is the Planning Commission that recently reviewed Bill 10 to significantly amend Oahu’s Land Use Ordinances. Bill 10 became controversial because many residents are expressing grave concerns about the lack of grassroots participation.

Here are the members as of this writing:

Brian Lee was appointed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Affiliations: Hawaii Laborers & Employers Cooperation and Education Trust Fund. Hawaii LECET -Executive Director
Intnl. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers -Director of Research & Communications
Hawaii Construction Industry Association -Executive Director

Ryan Kamo was appointed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Affiliations: Design Partners Incorporated.

Hilarie Alomar was appointed by Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Affiliations: Kamehameha Schools – Commercial Real Estate Division, TOWNSCAPE INC.

Melissa May was appointed by Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Affiliations: SSFM International, SSFM International (2013-present) – Senior Planner, Associate Hawaii Fashion Incubator (2006-2017) – Co-founder Group 70 International (2012-2013) – Planner
Lumen Solar LLC (2010-2013)

Ken Hayashida was re-appointed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell in 2019. Affiliations: KAI Hawaii. lnc.-Structural Engineers.

Nathaniel Kinney was appointed by Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Affiliations: Executive Director, Hawaii Construction Alliance. Served on the Honolulu Fire Commission.

Pane Meatoga III was appointed by Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Affiliations: Hawaii Operating Engineers Industry Stabilization Fund, Community Liaison. Polynesian Cultural Center Marketing Manager. He’s in the process of being re-appointed in 2022 as of this writing.

Kai Nani Kraut was appointed by Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Afiliations: QRSE, LLC -Environmental consulting with DTS. Design of projects that require permitting through
DPP. HDR, Inc, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit Project (HRTP), Sun Edison WindFarm, Honolulu County Deputy Director of Transportation,

Responsibilities and scope of Planning Commission

The Honolulu Planning Commission website says this:

  • Advises the Mayor, County Council, and Planning Director in matters concerning planning programs.
  • Reviews amendments to the General Plan, Development Plans, Zoning Ordinances, and State Land Use district boundaries of 15 acres or less, and after public hearings, transmits findings and recommendations to the County Council for consideration and action.
  • Acts as the authority for the City on State Special Use Permits.

The Honolulu City Charter description of the Planning Commission says this on page 65:

Section 6-1506. Powers, Duties and Functions —
The planning commission shall:

(a) Advise the mayor, council and the director of planning and permitting on
matters concerning the planning programs.
(b) Hold public hearings and make recommendations on all proposals to adopt
or amend the general plan, development plans, and zoning ordinances. The
commission shall complete its review and transmit its recommendations
through the mayor to the council for consideration and action in a timely
manner.
(c) Perform such other related duties as may be necessary to fulfill its
responsibilities under this charter or as may be assigned by the mayor or the
council.
(1998 General Election Charter Amendment Question No. 1(III))

References: Are the appointments contributing to these expectations and ideals for Honolulu’s Boards and Commissions? Is there diversification and a fair representation across Oahu’s population?

ARTICLE XI –
STANDARDS OF CONDUCT.

Section 11-101. Declaration of Policy — ( Page 101)
Elected and appointed officers and employees shall demonstrate by their
example the highest standards of ethical conduct, to the end that the public may
justifiably have trust and confidence in the integrity of government. They, as agents
of public purpose, shall hold their offices or positions for the benefit of the public,
shall recognize that the public interest is their primary concern, and shall faithfully
discharge the duties of their offices regardless of personal considerations.

Section 11-104. Fair and Equal Treatment — (page 103)
Elected or appointed officers or employees shall not use their official positions to
secure or grant special consideration, treatment, advantage, privilege or exemption to
themselves or any person beyond that which is available to every other person.
(Reso. 83-357)

Omnibus Bill 10 (22) Proposed Amendments – What is Transfer of Development?

Bill 10 was introduced for First Reading on February 23, 2022 Agenda on page 15. Relating to use regulations. (Addressing the regulation of
uses throughout Chapter 21, Revised Ordinances of
Honolulu 1990 (“Land Use Ordinance”).

The proposed amendments are far-reaching. But it’s a very technical piece of document that covers 239 pages. Bill 10 (22) includes the following:

BILL 10 (2022)
RELATING TO USE REGULATIONS.
PART I. BRIEF SUMMARY BY SUBJECT MATTER

  1. Transfer of development. The agreement running with the land for all donor and
    receiving zoning lots must remain in effect for a minimum of 60 years (instead of
    30 years). Clarifies that for the transfer of development (floor area only) from a
    donor zoning lot with a historic site to a receiving zoning lot, or for the transfer of
    development (floor area or number of dwelling units only) from a donor zoning lot
    within the special management area to a receiving zoning lot, all other
    requirements and standards applicable to the receiving zoning lot and its
    underlying zoning district remain in effect.

What is the above proposed LUO amendment about?

Is the longer version below of “Transfer of development” easier to understand for the public?