NEW WEST MAUI LAND APPRAISALS IN!
If Maui County Council Member Mike White’s mission was to gum up Mayor Alan Arakawa’s proposal to buy 186 acres of Launiupoko land, then he’s well on his way to success.
If you’ll recall, back in November Arakawa announced that he’d struck a deal with Makila Land Co. (Peter Martin, Jim Riley and Glenn Tremble, according to state records) to buy that coastal acreage for $13 million. The purchase would secure land necessary for a public park stretching from the Pali to Puamana–a longtime dream of Arakawa’s–as well as make it easy for the county to move Honoapi‘ilani Highway inland when climate change-spurred sea level rise makes it impossible to use the current route.
Right off the bat, White took exception to the proposal. He dismissed Makila’s Dec. 31 deadline for signing the deal, publicly rejected the $13 million as too high and called for new appraisals.
A few weeks later two new numbers came in: a $9.4 million reappraisal and a $6.6 million appraisal. Steve Goodfellow, who is also a partner in Makila, told the Maui County Council that the land-owners could easily go back and get yet another appraisal that’s more than $13 million, according to the Dec. 4 Maui News.
Goodfellow was reportedly also pissed that the Council’s Budget & Finance Committee had uttered the dreaded “C” word (that would be “condemnation”). If the proposed park and the moving of the highway is as important as administration officials have been saying, then condemning the land is definitely the way to go, though I doubt the County Council meant it as anything other than a negotiating tactic.
As for what will actually happen to the land, that’s anyone’s guess at this point. The County Council certainly didn’t surprise anyone by deferring the matter at their Dec. 6 meeting, meaning there’s just one more County Council meeting (Friday, Dec. 20) before we all hit Makila’s year-end deadline.
Of course, the Council could come to some sort of agreement that suits all sides by Dec. 20, and then schedule a special meeting before the end of the year to vote on the thing again (two votes are required). Whether that’s more likely than the Pacific simply swallowing the parcels remains to be seen.
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MPD OFFICER NELSON JOHNSON ARRESTED, PART DEUX
According to a tiny, byline-less blurb buried on page 4 of the Dec. 4 Maui News (it’s where newspapers hide all their legitimate scoops) sourced to the vaguely sounding “police records,” Maui Police Officer Nelson Johnson got arrested again–this time on Monday, Dec. 2. The charge? Guess:
“Maui police officer Nelson Johnson has been charged with second-degree assault and two counts of physical abuse for allegedly slapping his daughter, police say,” reported the paper.
That part we know–MPD slapped Johnson in irons back on Nov. 20 for allegedly hitting his teenage daughter so hard she suffered a concussion (Johnson posted $2,000 bail and was placed on administrative leave). Now here’s the new stuff:
“Johnson was recently sought on a warrant, police said after felony charges were filed,” The Maui News reported. “Police arrested Johnson on Monday, and he was later released after posting $5,000 bail, police records show.”
Whoa–Warrant? $5,000 bail?
This appears to be an entirely new arrest for an entirely new incident–not simply the MPD rearrested Johnson to formally charge him with something new. KITV reported as much on Dec. 5.
“Nelson Johnson, 46, was charged with two counts of abuse of a family or household member with injury and one count of assault in the second degree,” the Honolulu TV news station reported. “Police did not reveal who the victim was in this latest incident.”
I contacted Wailuku attorney David Cain, who is representing Johnson, but he said he hadn’t heard anything about any second arrest and would check it out. Johnson apparently remains on administrative leave.
And for those at home keeping score, Johnson is indeed the same officer who MauiTime Publisher Tommy Russo says slapped him for trying to film him during the infamous Dog The Bounty Hunter incident back in April 2011. A civil case concerning that incident is pending.
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LC INDEFINITELY DEFERS LIFE’S A BEACH PROFANITY PROSECUTION
Last week in this space I reported that the Maui County Liquor Control Board of Adjudication was preparing to smack-down Haui’s Life’s A Beach in Kihei for permitting “obscene language, songs, or entertainment” in defiance of the county’s liquor rules. The incident, according to the agenda, took place on Feb. 16 of this year at approximately 12:50am. The agenda for the Dec. 5, 2013 hearing listed Life’s A Beach owner Howard Grunes as all set to plead no contest.
But it never happened. According to Grunes, before the hearing the LC told him they were pulling the case from the agenda. Grunes added that he had no idea if the LC would bring it up again, and declined further comment.
Officials at the LC were similarly tight-lipped.
“Complaint and Accusation No. 2013-53 against Haui Inc. dba Haui’s Life’s A Beach was deferred by the Liquor Control Adjudication Board pending review by the Department of the Corporation Counsel of a possible legal issue,” LC Deputy Director Traci Fujita Villarosa said in a Dec. 9 email to me. “I do not know if or when it will return to Board’s agenda in the future.”
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In my Dec. 5, 2013 story “Twenty Marines Were Killed” about the Dec. 7, 1943 US Navy dive bomber mid-air over Haiku, I misstated the name of the school currently occupying the old Japanese internment camp building in Haiku. In 2012, The Roots School moved into that structure.