Thursday, April 16, 1998

Legislature '98

300 more inmates
are going to Texas

The governor also signs a bill for importing
a live brown tree snake for dog training

By Keith Kosaki


An additional 300 Hawaii inmates will be heading for mainland prisons. A live brown tree snake will be arriving here soon -- legally.

Those issues were decided yesterday when Gov. Ben Cayetano signed into law 10 bills recently passed by the Legislature.

Just over $2.1 million will be allotted to enable the Department of Public Safety to transfer inmates.

Cayetano said sending prisoners to less costly out-of-state facilities will save money and "ensure that dangerous criminals are locked up for their entire sentence."

The state has already sent 600 inmates to Texas prisons run by the Bobby Ross Group since 1995 to ease crowding in local prisons.

The live brown tree snake will help train snake-sniffing dogs.

The Department of Agriculture will import the brown tree snake, a sterile male. Currently, frozen brown tree snakes or occasional live species turned in to the Plant Quarantine Branch, such as pythons, are used in training exercises.

Other bills signed by Cayetano:

Bullet Allocate just over $10 million to the Department of Health for adult and adolescent mental health services and help the state comply with the Felix Consent Decree requiring the state to provide special-needs children with services to get an education.

Bullet Set aside $200,000 to the Clean Hawaii Center, to encourage expansion or development of recycling businesses and other companies that create products from waste materials.

Bullet Define the Kalaeloa Community Development District boundaries to include property to be conveyed for use as an airport and lands to be developed by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. This provides coordinated master planning and ensures qualification for state and federal funds.

Bullet Repeal the requirement for an annual college student leader conference, because the Association of College Unions International has been conducting conferences funded by student registration fees since 1985.

Bullet Extend the license period of child-care facilities from one to two years.

Bullet Correct errors, clarify the language and repeal obsolete provisions in various state laws.

Parole nomination
moves along

By Mike Yuen


A former top administrator of the Hawaii Paroling Authority is still trying to shoot down Al Beaver's appointment to a full four-year term as the agency's chief. But two key legislators believe the critic is firing blanks.

Senate Judiciary Co-Chairmen Matt Matsunaga and Avery Chumbley said the criticism by Walter Zaharevitz, a former Paroling Authority staff supervisor, was simply an extension of allegations that a Department of Public Safety investigation determined were untrue or insignificant.

Following Beaver's confirmation hearing yesterday, Matsunaga (D, Palolo) said he is leaning toward recommending Senate confirmation.

The Judiciary panel is scheduled to vote on its recommendation tomorrow.

Chumbley (D, Kihei) said while he still needs to review some materials pertaining to Beaver, he believes the allegations made against Beaver are false.

The claims, which were spread in a letter-writing campaign tolegislators and journalists, included the allegation that Beaver, while acting chairman, gave preferential treatment to parolee Eugene Paris, the nephew of George Paris, the president and executive secretary of Ironworkers Union Local 625.

Beaver, who lists the union leader as a reference on his resume, said he did try to get Eugene Paris into a drug treatment program on short notice. But Beaver stressed he would have acted in a similar manner for anyone calling his office seeking help for a relative on parole.

Chumbley said the state investigation shows that Beaver's problems with Zaharevitz, Administrator Anthony Commendador and several other staffers stems in large part from Beaver's assertive management style and that staff previously functioned without much oversight.

"I think it is within his power and responsibilities to establish (his) authority," Chumbley added. "Maybe in the past Paroling Authority employees have not had the proper oversight they should have had."

Matsunaga said: "It always causes pain to make changes, but often change is for the better. I think Mr. Beaver recognized that changes needed to be made."

Beaver, 54, acknowledged that he questioned why a number of things were done a certain way at the agency and he didn't like the answers he got.

"I kind of put them on edge because of my direct approach and my direct questions," said Beaver, a former University of Hawaii assistant football coach, who acknowledged that he has a tendency to "get in people's faces."

Zaharevitz, who left the paroling authority two weeks ago, testified that "a large majority" of the professional staff doesn't back Beaver.

"The lack of support is not due to 'management style,' but strictly due to Beaver's disgusting conduct, lack of understanding of the criminal justice system and his inability to grasp what is and is not ethical behavior," Zaharevitz said.

Beaver testified that he never threatened paroling authority staffers with retaliation.

But he did acknowledge that at a tension-filled staff meeting that was called after he learned of the letter-writing campaign against him, he did say something like: "I'm going to put (whoever is behind the campaign) on notice now, whoever you are, to stop what you're doing. If you continue doing what you're doing, you leave me no choice but to take some kind of legal action against you."


Legislature '98

A calendar of tomorrow's hearings -- to be held at the state Capitol, 415 S. Beretania St., unless noted. Hearings marked with an asterisk will be televised on Oceanic Channel 53 and TCI Cable 53:


Bullet Public Safety and Military Affairs:* Briefing on drug use and distribution in state prisons and related issues, 2 p.m., Room 329.

Bullet Finance: Briefing on Senate proposals relating to severance or early retirement packages for state workers, economic revitalization and government reorganization, 2 p.m., Room 308.


Bullet Economic Development: Hearing on resolutions requesting a plan to promote Hawaii-grown and -made agricultural products, and requesting a permit for a pilot open-ocean demonstration project. Decision-making to follow if time permits, 1 p.m., Room 212.


Bullet Monday: Senate Education. Hearing on gubernatorial nominee Charles Nainoa Thompson to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and on nominees to the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board. Decision-making to follow if time permits, 1:30 p.m., Room 224.

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