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Wednesday, August 5, 2020
August 5, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:33 PM :: 5019 Views

Tenants Being Evicted Illegally

15 People Died in Assisted Suicides in Hawaii, State Wants More People to Kill Themselves

Honolulu Streets to be Wired for Autonomous Vehicles

30,000 Vanished Workers Just the Beginning of Mass Exodus from Hawaii

SA: … The estimate that up to 30,000 workers exited Hawaii’s labor market last month is concerning enough. But what deepens the worry is that the numbers will surely grow over the next few months, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues its toll on jobs here, predicted Carl Bonham of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.

Expect more on the verge of retirement to leave the workforce, especially school teachers and airline workers, amid more furloughs, shutdowns or safety concerns. All this bodes ill for vulnerable sectors, as well as for the state’s economy and tax revenues — especially if exodus from the labor force also leads to exodus from this state to a lower-cost-of-living one….

read … Worries about exodus of workers in Hawaii

Kaneshiro Held Fundraiser at Accused Murderer’s Nightclub (and so did Carlisle)

ILind: … Candidates are also required to separately report expenditures made by their campaigns. When I cross-checked these reports with the fundraiser notices, several additional campaign events were apparently held at the nightclub.

Candidates reported writing checks to Miske’s M nightclub, as well as to Leverage Entertainment, its parent company. State business registration records show Miske was one of three named partners in Leverage Entertainment.

In March 2011, then-Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro paid $3,190.80 to Leverage Entertainment, Inc., the company that operated M Nightclub, for a fundraising event. Although the vendor was identified as Leverage Entertainment, at least one published report indicated the event was actually held at Oceans rather than M Nightclub, which was just opening at that time.

Another candidate for prosecutor, Kevin Takata, spent $2,800 for a campaign event at M Nightclub, split into two payments made in August and September 2012.

In June 2012, mayoral candidate and former city prosecutor Peter Carlisle reported spending $7,043.11 on an event held at the club.

Only one candidate, Senator Donna Kim, held more than a single fundraiser at M Nightclub. Campaign expenditure reports indicated she held campaign events there April 2012 and again in April 2013, in addition to the joint fundraiser in 2015 reported by Civil Beat….

read … Miske’s club didn’t rank among the most popular venues for campaign fundraisers

Caldwell: Now That FBI is after Amemiya he is ‘Needed on the job more than ever!’

CB: … Honolulu Managing Director Roy Amemiya will continue running the daily operations of the city despite being under investigation by the FBI, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said on Tuesday.

“He is a critical component to the day-to-day operation of the city and makes sure that everything is performing well,” Caldwell said….

(Translation: If I don’t back Amemiya, he will rat me out.)

Amemiya is the fourth city official known to have received either a subject or target letter from the FBI.

A target is someone about whom the feds have “substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. A subject is a person whose conduct is within the scope of a grand jury’s investigation.

Corporation Counsel Donna Leong received an FBI target letter in January 2019 and was immediately put on paid leave. As of May 1, she has been transitioning to unpaid leave as she uses up her accrued vacation days….

Elected Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro also received a target letter and has been on paid leave as well since March 2019.

Like Amemiya, First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chasid Sapolu received a subject letter. He is on administrative leave and hasn’t worked since December 2018.

The city has not explained why Sapolu was put on leave but Amemiya was not….

(Sapolu doesn’t have info on Caldwell.)

read … Caldwell: Top City Official Who’s Subject Of An FBI Investigation Will Remain On The Job

Mrs Blangiardi Gives Money to Josh Green Campaign

CB: … Political fundraising has lulled this year amid COVID-19, but before the pandemic was in full swing, Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell were filling their campaign coffers for the 2022 gubernatorial campaign.

Recent campaign finance filings show that Green collected $228,650 in the last six months, contributing to a $331,850 total – all without officially announcing a campaign for governor. Almost all of the contributions came in January and February, during which he held a fundraiser at the Pacific Club.

His backers include attorneys Michael Green and Paul Alston, Title Guarantee President Mike Pietsch, lobbyist Bruce Coppa, Hawaii Medical Assurance Association Chairman John Henry Felix and former Hawaii Pacific Health Chair Karen Chang, who is married to mayoral candidate Rick Blangiardi….

read … Fundraising On Hold During Pandemic For Gubernatorial Contenders

Oahu Voters Have Already Cast More Ballots Than In 2016 Primary

CB: … Honolulu elections officials reported 183,116 ballots sent by mail as of Tuesday. That exceeds the  total 2016 primary turnout of 169,531 for Oahu.

It also surpasses Oahu’s absentee turnout for the 2018 primary, which saw just over 116,000 early voters. The total 2018 primary turnout for the island was 189,421.

Statewide, voter turnout has already exceeded the early voting counts of the last two elections in Hawaii’s first all-mail election ahead of Saturday’s primary.

More than 240,000 voters statewide have cast ballots so far this election. But it’s still yet to be seen what effect the new mail system will have on total voter turnout in Hawaii, which has some of the lowest rates of election participation in the country.

That figure represents about a third of the approximately 700,000 ballots that were sent out by elections officials….

While more than half of voters in the last two elections cast ballots by mail, a significant chunk of Hawaii’s voting population — about 45% in 2018 — chose to cast ballots at polling places on Election Day.

Those polling places won’t be there anymore. The state instead has eight voter centers and 36 places of deposit spread throughout the islands to drop off ballots or get help voting. Voters can also mail their ballots in as they would any mail….

TGI: Kaua‘i volunteers have sorted about 12,000 primary election ballots in the tightly locked-up basement of the Elections Office since they started early last week.

HTH: Hawaii County had received 36,669 ballots as of Monday and counted 34,300 of them, said Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto. That compares with a total of 43,817 votes cast in the 2018 primary and 40,928 in the 2016 primary.

read … Oahu Voters Have Already Cast More Ballots Than In 2016 Primary

COVID Enforcement: Alaska vs Hawaii

TAP: …But as America started reopening, the different approaches by the two non-contiguous states to visitors from the Lower 48 were put on display. Cases disproportionately grew in one and not the other, despite having the same intrastate travel plan on paper. The biggest difference thus far has been that one state is strictly enforcing its quarantine mandate, and the other is not.

In recent weeks, Hawaii has made headlines for fining, arresting, and sending quarantine-breakers home. Alaska, by contrast, has been operating more on the honor system….

Before opening back up, the two states largely matched each other in terms of new cases announced daily, with less than five a day. But since the beginning of June, Alaska’s trajectory has outpaced Hawaii’s, despite having a population half the size. Both states put up their largest single day numbers in the past week, with 186 in Alaska (July 26) and 124 in Hawaii (July 30). As of July 31, Hawaii has seen 2,111 positive resident cases in its population of 1,416,000. Alaska has seen 2,990 among its 731,545 year-round residents. Both states have roughly the same official death toll: 26 dead in Hawaii and 24 in Alaska, according to the COVID-19 Tracking Project. Hawaii cases have spiked over the past two weeks, albeit at a relatively low level.  

The most glaring difference is the number of non-residents who test positive within the two states. By the end of July, only 23 non-residents tested positive for COVID-19 in Hawaii, whereas 687 non-residents tested positive in Alaska. According to state officials, the bulk of the non-residents who have tested positive work in industries deemed critical to the livelihood of the state, like mining and fishing, though numerous tourists have tested positive as well.

Within the next month, quarantine will be off the table for visitors to each state. Instead, both Alaska and Hawaii will require all out-of-staters to present a negative result on a COVID-19 test that was performed within 72 hours of arrival. Alaska’s new policy goes into effect August 11, and Hawaii’s on September 1….

read … One System, Two States, Two Different Results

Ige Likely to Cancel Sept 1 Reopening

HTH: … Lt. Gov. Josh Green suggested Tuesday that Gov. David Ige is likely to push back the loosening of out-of-state travel restrictions as the state buckles under an ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases.

While Ige set Sept. 1 as the date for when trans-Pacific travelers with a negative COVID-19 test can waive the current mandatory 14-day quarantine, Green said during a Tuesday press conference that he thinks the governor is “pulling back from that, psychologically,” after several recent days of more than 100 new cases….

Meanwhile, during the same press conference, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said she expects residents will receive a second federal stimulus check and potentially more relief funds pending ongoing negotiations between Congressional Democrats and Republicans regarding a multi-trillion-dollar coronavirus relief bill….

read … Officials warn of dire consequences if state cannot get outbreak under control

Poll: Hawaii Voters Don’t Like School, Tourism Reopen Plans

CB: … Most think travel and other restrictions have worked. Meanwhile, Biden is far more popular than Trump, in part because of their very different views on COVID-19….

a majority of voters in a new poll said they were not satisfied with state plans to reopen public schools — 54% — and the visitor industry — 56%.  Schools are currently set to go back on Aug. 17 and the state’s 14-day travel quarantine could be lifted sometime after Sept. 1.

Meanwhile, three-fourths of voters continue to support local stay-at-home guidelines and quarantine orders, which could be seen as a vote of confidence if the governor and mayors issue restrictions such as closing some businesses, extending the quarantine and cracking down on beach use and other public gatherings.

“People surveyed in May were happy with what state and county governments did to respond to the pandemic, but the latest poll shows they are now running out of patience,” said Matthew Fitch, managing partner of MRG Research, which helped conduct the poll.

“What Hawaii did seemed to be working, but now it’s not working in Hawaii or anywhere else in the U.S.”…

read … Poll: Hawaii Voters Don’t Like School, Tourism Reopen Plans

Hawaii’s military COVID-19 case count still a mystery

SA: … The military rarely reveals multiple cases, and, more frequently, reports individual cases that have occurred at public places. Recently, that’s included the Camp H.M. Smith gym, a Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps base fast food restaurant and the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Pass and ID office.

Anderson said Monday that the “virus is now widespread on Oahu.” COVID-19 “is entrenched in the community as there are no longer any easily identifiable sources of exposure in many cases.”

He reiterated that the state COVID-19 daily totals do include uniformed and civilian military cases.

“We don’t call them out as being military (but) you’ll see those individuals are reflected in our case counts,” he said. “And we do work closely with the military. Our epidemiologists are regularly in touch with theirs — they keep us informed of what their activities are.”

He did say “there are occasionally (military) outbreaks occurring — families here are COVID positive and so forth, and again, they do report those to us regularly.”

The uncertainty of the totals for the public was put in relief with Thailand reporting nine positive COVID-19 cases among about 150 Thai soldiers who had just returned from exercise Lightning Forge with the 25th Division on Oahu.

The focus of the July 7 to 21 exercise was on the 3,700 soldiers of Schofield’s 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team…

The Schofield brigade reported it had three coronavirus cases, including family members, prior to the exercise. As of July 15, midway through, 43 soldiers were in the “moderate-risk category” and exhibited symptoms that might have been COVID-­related.

How many soldiers developed COVID-19, if any, was never made public. Thailand subsequently canceled its plans to go to the higher training with the Hawaii soldiers, according to the Bangkok Post….

read … Hawaii’s military COVID-19 case count still a mystery

Crackdown After 36 Cases in Public Housing

KITV: …The Hawaii Public Housing Authority is implementing stricter rules on its 85 properties to help stop the growing spread of COVID-19.

It's a response to 20 people at ten of its sites on O'ahu receiving positive test results, and a cluster of 16 cases at Kuhio Park Terrace Towers (KPT) alone….

“I can share a positive story. One household that was reported to management was a family where one member tested positive and the rest did not. The DOH immediately assisted with quarantining the COVID positive resident off-site and provided meals to the family that remained in their home at the Towers. We also provided a quarantine unit for one of the occupants that were high risk so they could quarantine safely away from the rest of the family. This resulted in no other family members testing positive and allowed the household to quarantine safely in their home. They are all clear and safe at home."…

Officials say they know of at least 31 active cases in public housing but fear it could be higher. Lt. Gov. Green says he is working on getting free testing available for public housing residents. Right now, people can go to Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services to get tested for COVID-19. …

HNN: State to start evicting public housing residents for repeat COVID-19 rules violations

read … Stricter rules implemented for Hawaii public housing to prevent spread of COVID-19

Many private schools' enrollments are up in pandemic

KITV: … St. Louis School president Glenn Medeiros expresses relief that the enrollment at his school is robust. He recaps the sentiment that he and his colleagues have felt for most of the summer: "Most schools were expecting we would be ten to 40% down in enrollment but so far we've been able to hold steady. I think that's in part because we've been really communicating well with our parents. We created a schedule that allows for flexibility."

'Iolani School reports a slightly higher enrollment, due to larger class sizes and more boarding space. "It's turned out to be a typical year for 'Iolani with a slight increase in enrollment due to larger openings in Kindergarten and our Boarding Program. Last year 24% of our student body received financial aid and due to the financial impacts of the pandemic, we are working with our families to provide additional financial support for the coming year," says public relations director Michelle Hee.

Hongwanji Mission School reports it's receiving new applications every day. It's full and now forced to put students on a waiting list. "Our enrollment has reached capacity 371 students and we have waitlists at all grades except 3, 4, and 5 (although enrollment for those grades is full). We even had to add an additional 1st-grade classroom," says Head of School Dave Randall.

"The enrollment at Pacific Buddhist Academy (PBA) held steady from last school year; we ended 2019-2020 with 75 students, and for 2020-2021, we began the school year yesterday with 75 students. PBA continues to accept students for the 9th and 10th grades. We are full in our 11th and 12th grades," shares PBA Head of School Josh Hernandez Morse….

SA: Sacred Hearts, Punahou students test positive for coronavirus

read … Many private schools' enrollments are up in pandemic

Business owners unsure if bar closure applies to them

KHON: … Under Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s emergency orders, a bar is an establishment that primarily serves alcohol, regardless if it sells food.

Caldwell said, “Anyone with a liquor license–that’s a bar–you must shut down. If you are a restaurant with a liquor license you shall stop serving, selling or allowing to be consumed after ten.”

There is confusion among business owners on the term “bar.” It is not included in liquor license classifications.

An establishment that makes 30 percent or more of its sales on food, falls under a “restaurant class,” while selling liquor for consumption on the premise, like a bar, is a “dispenser class.”

Timothy Golden, co-owner of Village Bottle Shop & Taste Room said his business serves food, but it does not make up 30% of sales. Although his businesses could also function as a restaurant, his classification may not allow him to stay open.

“You can go into a restaurant right now that serves alcohol and has a bar up there and get inebriated at the restaurant,” Golden said. “But because they have a class two license and sell at least 30% of food sales then that’s okay.” …

read … Business owners unsure if bar closure applies to them

Blue Planet Foundation: Here are 50 Ways we can exploit COVID Crisis to put more money in Green Energy Scammers Pockets

KHON: … “Examples of Waypoints actions we can take include: developing a carbon offset program for air travel that funds energy efficiency projects in communities, increase the number of rental cars and tour buses that are electric, and others.” .…

read … About how they intend to jack up your cost of living to line their own pockets

Hu Honua: ILWU’s Overpriced Tree-Burning Scheme Back Before PUC

HTH:  … Donna Domingo, president of ILWU Local 142, referred to the coronavirus pandemic without explicitly mentioning it, saying now “is a difficult and challenging time with an uncertain and likely turbulent future ahead.”…  (Because of the Miske arrests and the Kealoha and Kaneshiro cases.)….

PBN: Grassroots organizations hold virtual petition against Hu Honua project

read … Honua Ola and Life of the Land square off again

Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting changes process for residential permits

PBN: … The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting on Monday changed its process for approving residential building permits by allowing contractors, homeowners or their agents to route their applications to other city and state agencies for approval.

The new process puts the onus on the applicant for a residential building permit to gather approvals from other agencies — which include the Board of Water Supply, the Honolulu Fire Department, the Department of Environmental Services and the state Department of Health — in order to have a permit issued.

Before Monday, the DPP would withhold approval of a permit until all the agencies had reviewed and approved an application — a process it said could take an average of 135 days, or more than four months.

DPP said its staff takes an average of 12 days to review a residential building permit, so what it will do now is to tell applicants that a permit is ready to be issued, subject to approvals from the other agencies….

Background: Free Golf, Methamphetamines, and Building Permits

SA: Building permit process changes on Oahu

read … Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting changes process for residential permits

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