Gabbard sues Hillary Clinton over Russia ‘favorite’ comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard filed a defamation lawsuit against Hillary Clinton on Wednesday over an interview in which Clinton appeared to call Gabbard “the favorite of the Russians.”

Gabbard, a Hawaii congresswoman, said in her lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan that Clinton’s comments in a podcast last year in which she suggested that Gabbard was being groomed by Russia to be a third-party candidate were based on either her own imagination or “extremely dubious conspiracy theories” that any reasonable person would know to be “inherently and objectively unreliable.”

During the Oct. 15 Democratic presidential debate, Gabbard criticized a TV commentator she said had called her “an asset of Russia.”

Without naming Gabbard, Clinton appeared to agree with the characterization during a podcast appearance days later on “Campaign HQ with David Plouffe.” Plouffe was campaign manager for President Barack Obama in 2008 and served as a senior adviser to the president.

“She’s the favorite of the Russians,” Clinton told Plouffe, who was campaign manager for future President Barack Obama in 2008, referring to a person she had earlier identified as a woman “who’s currently in the Democratic primary. . . . They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”

The lawsuit charges that Clinton “reserves a special hatred and animosity for Tulsi” because Gabbard endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders over Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary campaign and never endorsed Clinton.

Asked to comment on the lawsuit, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said, “That’s ridiculous.”

Gabbard has said she will not run for president as a third-party candidate.

Neighbor wanted cop killing suspect evicted years ago

By CALEB JONES and JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — A next-door neighbor of a man accused of stabbing a woman and fatally shooting two Hawaii police officers said he was assaulted by the suspect years ago and wanted him evicted from their upscale neighborhood near Waikiki Beach.

Warren Daniel, who lived next to Jaroslav “Jerry” Hanel and had a restraining order against him, said that during a 2014 argument about plants, Hanel grabbed his shirt and pushed him into a tree, according to court documents.

Hanel was arrested on an assault charge but later acquitted.

Hanel is believed to have set his home and neighborhood ablaze after killing two Honolulu police officers, stabbing a neighbor and killing his landlord on Sunday.

Police believe he was in the home when it burned and said the remains of two people were found Tuesday. A medical examiner is working to identify the remains, but Hanel and his landlord were the only two people unaccounted for.

Hanel’s landlord, Lois Cain, let him live in the home rent free in return for work. Cain recently sought to evict Hanel, and his attorney suggested that she may have confronted him before Sunday’s violence.

Hanel has had a series of recent run-ins with police, and other neighbors have taken out restraining orders against him.

“It was pretty clear he was out of control,” said attorney David Hayakawa, who represented Daniel and two other neighbors in their restraining orders.

Neighbors complained that Hanel hid in bushes, chased cars down the street, confronted guests and workers who came to their homes, recorded people with a camera on his hat and sent smoke from a barbecue grill directly into their windows, Hayakawa said.

It’s not clear where Hanel obtained the firearm allegedly used to shoot the police. He didn’t have a permit to own guns.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported a close friend said Cain kept a storage locker filled with her late husband’s firearms under her bed. Janice Morrow said she didn’t know whether the guns had still been under Cain’s bed during these past 3 1/2 weeks when Morrow most recently visited her friend. Morrow said she tried to support Cain in her efforts to evict Hanel.

On Sunday morning, two neighbors said they heard piercing screams from the home and saw Hanel stabbing and beating another tenant of the residence with a three-pronged garden hoe, the Star-Advertiser reported.

Elklen Farmer Freeman and her husband, Russell Freeman, went next door and asked Hanel to stop. He threw the tool down but punched the woman until another neighbor, Jennifer Tema, intervened and the injured woman got away, the Freemans said.

The tenant told her neighbors that Cain was inside Hanel’s apartment and in danger, said Tema, who went to the apartment and said she “heard him beating, bludgeoning someone.”

Police arrived and were met with a barrage of gunfire. Two officers were killed before the house was set on fire and the flames spread to several surrounding homes.

Honolulu police will investigate whether their response to the 911 call was appropriate and whether they could or should have responded differently, said Joseph Giacalone, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and retired New York City police sergeant.

He said it appears the two officers were ambushed and “it doesn’t seem like they had a chance” when they were shot.

“Unless they had stayed in their cars down the block, they would have been caught in the gunfire,” Giacalone said.

Investigators will review details of the initial 911 call and see if dispatchers checked the address to determine how many previous complaints had occurred there and whether that information was given to the officers, Giacalone said.

“They will try to find a way to make sense of it and develop better tactics and procedures just in case there was something that could have been done,” he said.

Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard told Hawaii News Now that she hopes to improve how officers deal with people with mental illness.

“We have to be able to track people who are mentally ill,” she said. “Not just to track them but to get them the services they need.”

According to documents in the assault case filed by Hanel’s neighbor, the landlord wasn’t responsive.

Cain only last week sought to evict Hanel, according to court records and his lawyer.

Lawyer Jonathan Burge has represented Hanel in the disputes with neighbors since 2015, and three temporary restraining orders have been issued. Hanel, a native of the Czech Republic, was planning to go to trial on a charge of misusing 911 services, Burge said.

He said he never knew Hanel to be violent, but said Hanel thought the government was watching him and tapping his phone.

Cain was supportive of Hanel in his disputes, Burge said. But she wanted to move into the home.

Burge said their relationship also soured because Hanel’s dog had died and Cain would not let him get a new one.

In the complaint for Hanel’s eviction, Cain said Hanel did not have a rental agreement and refused to leave despite repeated demands.

Hanel didn’t seem to have any family, Burge said.

Aircraft carrier named for Pearl Harbor hero

HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Navy announced it would honor a World War II hero when a new aircraft carrier is named for Mess Attendant 2nd Class Doris Miller.

The announcement was planned for Pearl Harbor on Monday to coincide with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday.

Miller was the first African American to receive the Navy Cross for valor.

Miller was recognized for manning a machine gun on the USS West Virginia and returning fire against Japanese planes during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

USS Miller, a destroyer escort, was previously named in his honor.

“I think that Doris Miller is an American hero simply because of what he represents as a young man going beyond the call of what’s expected,” said Doreen Ravenscroft, a team leader for the Doris Miller Memorial.

An African American was not allowed to man a gun in the Navy in 1941, Ravenscroft said.

“Without him really knowing, he actually was a part of the Civil Rights movement because he changed the thinking in the Navy,” Ravenscroft said.

Two of Miller’s nieces are expected to be at Pearl Harbor for the announcement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Miller, then 22, was collecting laundry when the attack alarm sounded. His normal battle station in an antiaircraft battery magazine was destroyed by a torpedo. He went on deck and carried wounded soldiers to safety before receiving orders to aid the mortally wounded captain on the bridge.

“He subsequently manned a 50-cal. Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship,” the Navy said, noting Miller was not trained to operate the gun.

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, presented the Navy Cross to Miller in Pearl Harbor in May 1942.

Miller died while serving on a ship that was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in November 1943.

Suspect in officers’ deaths is said to be unhinged

By CALEB JONES and JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — An Oahu handyman with a history of run-ins with police and neighbors faced eviction when he stabbed a woman and killed two officers before the house he and two women were believed to be inside burned, authorities and neighbors said.

Police responding Sunday to a call for help at the location found a woman stabbed in the leg and resident Jaroslav “Jerry” Hanel, began shooting, killing Officers Tiffany Enriquez, a seven-year veteran, and Kaulike Kalama, a nine-year veteran, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said.

Police suspect Hanel, who was in his 60s, and two women who have not been identified were inside the house when it caught fire. They were presumed dead and Ballard said it could take days to recover the remains and process evidence.

The fire destroyed seven homes and left others damaged. As it raged, the sound of dozens of apparent gunshots rang out.

Ballard said no other officers were injured but authorities were investigating whether ammunition, incendiary devices or explosives contributed to the intensity of the blaze. The apparent gunfire prompted authorities to initially prevent firefighters from approaching.

Sgt. Malcolm Lutu, president of Hawaii’s statewide police union, said he does not have any concerns about the approach police took in dealing with the situation.

“They had past dealings with him where no violence was present,” Lutu said. “Where the shots came from, they were in a no-win situation.”

Lutu said he knew one of the two officers personally. He said Officer Tiffany Enriquez, 37, was a single mother of three daughters and had one grandchild.

The homeowner, Lois Cain, had recently sought to evict Hanel, who lived in the home for free in exchange for his work, according to court records and his lawyer.

Hanel’s lawyer, Jonathan Burge, said Monday Cain’s sister contacted him because Cain was unaccounted for. “She was trying to see whatever information we had because they can’t reach Lois,” Burge said. The sister told him she spoke with the woman who was stabbed, who was one of the tenants of the house, he said.

The normally peaceful neighborhood is at the far end of famed Waikiki Beach.

Ian Felix, a Honolulu resident and combat veteran with medical training, said he was walking by the home when he saw a woman lying on the ground with blood coming from her leg.

Felix put a tourniquet on the woman’s leg until the first police officer arrived. Two more officers arrived moments later; Felix said he then heard two gunshots and that he and the officer carried the injured woman into a neighbor’s garage.

Neighbors described Hanel as mentally disturbed and Ballard said he did not have any gun permits.

Hawaii has some of the toughest gun laws in the U.S. Residents can’t buy firearms without permits approved by local police, who check databases to make sure applicants have not been convicted of felonies or misdemeanor crimes.

People are also denied permits if they have been acquitted of crimes because of mental problems or have been diagnosed with significant mental, behavioral or emotional disorders.

Burge has represented Hanel since 2015 in various disputes with neighbors, including temporary restraining orders that three obtained against him. Hanel, a native of the Czech Republic who used Czech interpreters in court, faced a hearing next week on a charge of misusing 911 services, Burge said Sunday.

Burge said he never knew Hanel to be violent, but that “he’s kind of a quirky guy and had problems.” Hanel believed the government was watching him and tapping his phone, Burge said.

Cain was supportive of him in his disputes with neighbors, Burge said, but she wanted him to move out so she could move into the home. Burge said their relationship also soured because Hanel’s dog had died and Cain wouldn’t let him get a new one, and the eviction might have set Hanel off.

In the complaint for Hanel’s eviction, Cain said Hanel did not have a rental agreement and that despite repeated demands, he refused to vacate the premises.

Attorney David Hayakawa has represented three neighbors in restraining orders against Hanel since 2014. The neighbors complained of bizarre and annoying behavior including Hanel chasing cars down the street, confronting their guests and workers who came to their homes, recording them with a GoPro camera mounted to his hat and rigging a barbecue grill to blow thick smoke directly into their windows, Hayakawa said Monday. “Just crazy things,” he said. “It was pretty clear he was out of control.”

He would hide in bushes and watch people and he yelled at tourists who were lost while trying to get to Diamond Head, Hayakawa said.

“He was kind of in his own mind, block security,” Hayakawa said. When a woman who lived in the area would walk her dog or jog past Hanel’s home, “he focused on her and would take her picture,” Hayakawa said.

A judge sided with his clients “every step of the way,” Hayakawa said. “The court granted our motions, listened to us and ruled properly. But there’s only so much a piece of paper can do.”

The homes of two of Hayakawa’s clients were gutted in the fire. He recalled one client telling him Sunday, “nothing that happened to me is anything compared to what happened to these police officer’s families. But when your house is gone and all your possessions, I don’t know how to describe that.”

Homes burn after shooter kills two Honolulu officers

By CALEB JONES, JENNIFER KELLEHER and MARCO GARCIA

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — A man shot and killed two police officers Sunday as they responded to a home in a leafy neighborhood beneath the rim of a famed volcanic crater near Waikiki Beach, authorities said.

The officers were responding to a call from a woman who said she needed help and found her with a stab wound to her leg, police said Sunday. The suspect opened fire as police arrived, killing Officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama, said Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard. She said the suspect as well as two women who were in the home were unaccounted for.

Ballard said authorities would continue to search for the shooter, but that it was likely that he was inside the home when it burned.

The homeowner, Lois Cain, had recently sought to have a man evicted, court records showed. A neighbor told The Associated Press she saw Cain being loaded into an ambulance with knife wounds.

Cain’s condition was not immediately confirmed, nor was the suspect’s. Flames emerging from the home soon spread to several others. Honolulu fire officials said five homes were “complete losses.”

“I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the two officers as well as the entire Honolulu Police Department,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell tweeted. “This is an unprecedented tragedy for not only the City and County of Honolulu but the entire state of Hawai‘i.”

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino also extended condolences and prayers to the family and friends of the officers.

“This senseless shooting of two Honolulu police officers is a sad reminder of the dangerous risks that law enforcement officers face every day on the job,” Victorino said. “My wife, Joycelyn, and I extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the officers’ family, friends and the Honolulu Police Department. We are thankful for the dedication of police responders and other first responders in serving to protect our communities.”

“We also pray for the speedy recovery of a third police officer, who was injured,” Victorino added. “Our hope is that everyone affected by this tragedy will be comforted by the support of the community in this time of grief.”

The normally peaceful neighborhood where shots were fired is at the far end of the Waikiki Beach between the Honolulu Zoo and the famed Diamond Head State Monument, a volcanic crater that looms above Honolulu and is popular with tourists and hikers. A regional park is also nearby.

Ian Felix, a Honolulu resident and combat veteran with medical training, told the AP he happened to be walking by when he saw a woman lying on the ground with a pool of blood coming from her leg. He applied pressure until the first police officer arrived and put a tourniquet on it, Felix said. Moments later two more officers arrived, and Felix said he then heard two gunshots.

He and the officer picked up the wounded woman and carried her into a neighbor’s garage across the street, he said.

According to court records, the man living in Cain’s home was Jaroslav “Jerry” Hanel. Neighbors described him as mentally disturbed.

“Defendant does NOT have a Rental Agreement to occupy the premises and Defendant has no ownership interest in said premises,” read a complaint for eviction that Cain filed last week in court. “Despite repeated demands, Defendant has failed and refused to vacate the premises.”

Attorney Jonathan Burge has represented Hanel since 2015 in various disputes with neighbors, including temporary restraining orders that three obtained against him. Hanel, a native of the Czech Republic who used Czech interpreters in court, faced a hearing next week on a charge of misusing 911 services, Burge said Sunday.

Burge said he never knew Hanel to be violent, but that “he’s kind of a quirky guy and had problems.” Hanel believed the government was watching him and tapping his phone, Burge said.

“Maybe that’s what set him off,” he said of the eviction.

Hanel lived for free at the home in exchange for handyman work, Burge said. Cain was supportive of him in his disputes with the neighbors, Burge said, but their relationship had soured lately because Hanel’s dog had died and Cain wouldn’t let him get a new one.

Nearby resident Dolores Sandvold said she heard screaming and gunshots and saw Cain being carried to an ambulance. She said she was led out of the area and that she had yet to be allowed back into her home.

Kailua resident John Farmer said the fire spread to his sister’s nearby house, which burned down. He said the resident has been described as paranoid and threatening.

Officials across the state began releasing statements mourning the lost lives, with Gov. David Ige saying, “Our entire state mourns the loss of two Honolulu Police officers killed in the line of duty this morning.”

Police closed several streets nearby and asked the public to avoid the area.

The last time a Honolulu police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty was 2003.

Report: Big Island has critical doctor shortage

KAILUA-KONA (AP) — A physician shortage on Hawaii island is approaching a critical state, falling short of the number required by the population, a new report said.

A University of Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment Project report said the Big Island has 230, or 44 percent, fewer doctors than necessary, West Hawaii Today reported Wednesday.

The report submitted Jan. 9 to the Legislature said the island needs at least 528 doctors.

There is a 24 percent shortage across the state, with only 2,974 doctors in a population that needs 3,483 physicians, the report said.

The report written by Dr. Kelley Withy concluded the biggest shortage area statewide is primary care physicians, a field in which 276 full-time equivalent positions remain open.

Primary care physicians are normally the initial point of contact for patients seeking nonemergency care.

Hawaii island has a shortage of 47 primary care physicians and 12 specialty positions with a shortage rate of 80 percent or greater, the report said.

One of the leading reasons for the physician shortage is low reimbursement rates compared to the state’s cost of living, according to the Hawaii Medical Association.

The professional membership organization for physicians, resident physicians and medical students did an internal study of Medicare reimbursement rates in 87 regions nationwide.

“It clearly shows that Hawaii is underpaid for its cost of living by about 35 percent, which is significant,” said Dr. Christopher Flanders, the association executive director.

Hawaii’s congressional delegation signed a letter to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services asking for consideration of a geographic adjustment, which is calculated every three years, he said. Other states, such as Alaska, have succeeded in securing increased reimbursement rates.

Report: Visibility low when Kauai tour helicopter crashed

By Caleb Jones

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — A person who was near a remote Hawaii site where a tour helicopter crashed and killed seven people last month told investigators that visibility was only about 20 feet at the time because of fog and rain, according to a preliminary accident report released Wednesday.

The unidentified person was on a hiking trail Dec. 26 in Koke‘e State Park on Kauai island and described hearing a hovering helicopter followed by a high-pitched whine, the National Transportation Safety Board report said.

The person was about 1.5 miles away from the remote mountain ridge where the helicopter went down. The witness tried to look for the helicopter but could not because of the weather conditions and fading daylight, the report said.

The NTSB report also said that the helicopter’s pilot was on his eighth and final scheduled 50-minute tour flight of the day. The report said the company operating the flight, Safari Aviation Inc., doing business as Safari Helicopters, was following procedures for visual flight rules.

The pilot, Paul Matero, did not have an instrument rating, which allows pilots to fly at night and in bad weather relying entirely on the helicopter’s flight instruments, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

A lawyer who has handled several helicopter crashes in Hawaii told The Associated Press shortly after the crash that the nature of helicopter tours require them to fly by visual flight rules.

“Most of the pilots that fly tour helicopters in Hawaii either don’t have an instrument rating or their instrument rating isn’t current,” said Ladd Sanger, the Texas-based aviation attorney and helicopter pilot. “When you have dynamic weather conditions, where you have clouds and winds, it might be more prudent not to fly in those conditions.”

Instrument-only tours would require a flight plan and altitude that would not be conducive to sightseeing, Sanger said.

Officials have said the helicopter hit a ridge at an altitude of 3,003 feet then fell about 100 feet. The report said the wreckage was consumed by fire.

The NTSB report said the closest official weather station, about 9 miles southwest of the crash site, reported rain and clouds moved in during the time between last contact with the pilot and when it crashed. About 30 minutes after that last radio transmission with the helicopter, the weather station reported overcast clouds at 3,000 feet with wind and rain.

Governor signs new Mauna Kea administrative rules

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s governor signed into law a new set of administrative rules for management of land on the state’s highest mountain.

Democratic Gov. David Ige approved the new regulations Monday for the the University of Hawaii’s oversight of Mauna Kea.

The rules meant to protect the mountain’s natural resources are expected to go into effect Jan. 23.

“With the opening of Maunakea Access Road and a return to normal activity on the mountain, I believe it is the right time to approve the rules,” Ige said in a statement Monday.

The rules prohibit littering, speeding, noise disturbances, fires, drugs, alcohol, drones, and camping.

They are also intended to regulate commercial activities, tours and motorized traffic, including off-road driving.

The university’s Board of Regents adopted the rules in November following a meeting that included testimony from 99 people.

A majority of those testifying criticized the proposal for being too restrictive of Native Hawaiians and cultural practitioners. Some said the effort was aimed at protesters who opposed construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

State lawmakers vow to address high cost of living

Plans include bump to minimum wage and using state lands to develop leasehold housing

By AUDREY McAVOY

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — Lawmakers opened a new session of the state Legislature on Wednesday with vows to address the state’s punishingly high cost of living so families don’t have to abandon the islands for cheaper places.

House Speaker Scott Saiki noted Hawaii’s population has declined for the third year in a row.

“This is something that we take very seriously. It bothers the members of our body to see this happening under our watch,” Saiki told reporters. Lawmakers need to fix problems working families face on a daily basis, he said.

The plans include increasing the minimum wage, making the state’s earned income tax credit refundable, and using state lands to develop leasehold housing. The measures would also expand early childhood education and create a new agency that will oversee major construction projects and repairs at public schools.

The House and Senate Democratic majorities and Gov. David Ige have already agreed to the outlines of the proposals.

Ige acknowledged there was much to still work out, including how the state would find and train enough teachers to instruct thousands more 3- and 4-year-olds. He said bold action was needed.

“Business as usual is not good enough. I think the package is an effort to say we need to get it done,” Ige told reporters at a news conference.

Rep. Gene Ward, a Republican leading the House minority caucus, said he was glad the majority admitted people were leaving Hawaii and the cost of living was “out of control.” Ward said he hoped Saiki wasn’t overpromising on something he won’t be able to deliver.

Ward said lawmakers need to focus on what fuels a robust economy and grow the economy instead of just “cutting it in pieces.” He also expressed concern at how the state would pay for the initiatives.

“Show us the money that we can afford to do that,” Ward said.

Senate President Ron Kouchi said lawmakers have been criticized over the years for agreeing on measures so late in the session there’s not enough time for public input. Kouchi said he hoped presenting ideas early will include more people in discussions.

“We are hoping to create a more transparent process. We are hoping to create a process that is going to engage our community,” Kouchi said during remarks on the Senate floor.

The measures respond in part to problems highlighted in a report sponsored by Aloha United Way showing that half of Hawaii’s residents struggled to make ends meet.

The study found 37 percent of Hawaii’s population have jobs yet can’t afford basic necessities to remain stable and self-sufficient. Another 11 percent of households live below the federal poverty level.

Opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope’s construction on Mauna Kea brought their protest to the Capitol rotunda, chanting the slogan “Ku Kia’i Mauna” and listening to speeches.

Kaho’okahi Kanuha, a protest leader, said he wanted to “remind this building that times are changing in Hawaii.”

“The years of just running Hawaiians over and pushing them out however they wish . . . those days are over. We’re not going to allow it. And we’re going to organize, and we’re going to make sure that we can pass on our home to our keiki. And that they can recognize it as our home,” Kanuha said.

Olive Garden set to open in place of Oahu’s Mai Tai Bar

Bubba Gump COO Jim DuFault said closure is the result of a rental dispute

HONOLULU (AP) — A popular Honolulu bar and restaurant is set to close and be replaced by a new outlet of one of the nation’s biggest restaurant chains, officials said.

The Mai Tai Bar and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Ala Moana Center are scheduled to close next month, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

Olive Garden Italian Kitchen plans to open its first Hawaii restaurant in the space at the state’s largest mall.

Bubba Gump Chief Operations Officer Jim DuFault said the closure is the result of a rental dispute.

DuFault said that “due to the landlord’s ridiculous demand substantially raising our rent, Mai Tai Bar and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. located in Ala Moana Center will cease operations February 23, 2020.”

“We value our employees, their dedication to our company and are working to relocate them to our sister properties in Honolulu and Maui,” DuFault said.

Bubba Gump is prepared to file a lawsuit if the landlord or a future tenant attempts to “steal our Mai Tai intellectual property,” DuFault said.

Olive Garden filed a $50,000 building permit for Suite 3247 at the mall, the current location of the Mai Tai Bar.

The Italian-American restaurant chain, owned by Darden Restaurants Inc., is coming to Hawaii after years of television commercials running in the state.

Ala Moana Center did not immediately respond to a request for comment.