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Thursday, December 10, 2020
December 10, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:41 PM :: 1323 Views

Ige: State Employee Furloughs Begin January 1

Unions: Furloughs will hurt

Case Bill: Shift State COFA Costs to Federal Government

Ethics Board: Harry Kim Violated 'Fair Treatment' Rules by Letting Telescope Protesters Violate Laws

TO: All OHA Trustees--"it is about power"

Maui County seeks bar closures

COVID: Honolulu biggest increase in preference for short-term leases

Next Boondoggle: 3 Finalists Named for Aloha Stadium Project

Hawaii Government News: Logistics of storing coronavirus vaccine safely in Hawaii and distributing it still being worked out (with 5 days to go)  

KHON: … The state continues to iron out details for what to do when a COVID-19 vaccine arrives.

The short answer is that they are working on it.

However, some admit if the vaccine reached Hawaii today, we would not be ready.

The logistics of storing the vaccine safely and making sure it gets to everyone who wants it is a bigger challenge due to the fact that we are an island state.  (Standard excuse.)

"It is a monumental task, if you think about having to vaccinate lets say 700,000 of our citizens in relatively short period time, you know we have never undertaken such a large vaccination," Governor David Ige said….

A big concern is storage, the vaccine requires cold storage and some hospitals like Kuakini are already adding new refrigerators to prepare but overall Hawaii might not have enough storage or dry ice.

When asked if he thought Hawaii had enough supply of dry ice and enough storage Senator Jarrett Keohokalole replied, "I'm certain that we don't."…

(Genius Level Idea: Buy some dry ice machines.  See >>> click this link to purchase dry ice machine with your P-Card.  Since you forgot to do this back in October, maybe the military could fly them out here and set them up for you.)

Senator Keohokalole with the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 says it's an even bigger issue on neighbor islands.

He says if they can't acquire more storage, the National Guard would have to distribute vaccines during a short window of a few hours when they're unloaded before they go bad.

"And it's gonna be real challenge to make sure that we're coordinating everything on all the different islands who don't necessarily have the refrigerators and everything we need to hold the doses, we gotta get it off the boats, get to them immediately so that they can get the vaccines quickly," Senator Keohokalole said….

(Boats?  Really?)

CNN: Key committee meets Thursday to consider FDA authorization for Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

read … Logistics of storing coronavirus vaccine safely in Hawaii and distributing it still being worked out

Oahu overwhelmed with 20,000 in quarantine because Ige is pandering to Anti-Tourism Activists on Kauai

SA: … “Being forced into quarantine right now is not a good thing for Oahu because there’s about 20,000 people in quarantine on any given day that (the Honolulu Police Department) has to enforce against and it becomes harder and harder as more and more people are in quarantine,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii on Wednesday, adding that HPD is having to do sporadic enforcement because it is “impossible” to call and knock on doors three times a day for every person in quarantine.

“Our goal is to test as many people coming in as possible to get them out of quarantine as quickly as possible.”

To that end, the mayor requested two weeks ago that the state allow travelers who took COVID-19 tests on the mainland but didn’t get the results upon entering Hawaii to get a second post-arrival test at the city’s mobile testing laboratory at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. If negative, with results typically within two to three hours, they would be free from quarantine.

But Caldwell said that he hasn’t heard back from Gov. David Ige on his proposal for a second testing option for travelers at the Honolulu airport, even though the city’s $16 million mobile lab has enough testing capacity for 10,000 tests per day, or 300,000 tests per month.

Big Q: Do you agree with Hawaii’s intent to reduce the 14-day quarantine to 10 days (for travelers with no pre-travel test)?

read … Authorities overwhelmed with 20,000 in quarantine

Kealoha Mailbox Lies Designed to Keep Case in State Court—It Didn’t Work

ILind: … Silvert gave credit to this investigators, who despite appearances of a straight-forward case, pursued the information necessary to independently confirm the smallest points.

And the breakthrough came on what appeared to be insignificant, the exact model of mailbox that had been stolen.

“We established Katherine Kealoha, the HPD appraiser, and a homicide detective had all lied about the make and model of the mailbox,” said Silvert, who had obtained a photo of the original mailbox and contacted the manufacturer to confirm the model.

Silvert said later their investigation found “virtually all the HPD reports were either falsified or omitted key information.”

According to the manufacturer, the mailbox was not the model claimed by the Kealohas. “There was no reason to lie in this small case about a mailbox,” Silvert said. There had to be more behind these lies.

The mailbox was important to Katherine Kealoha. Under state law, stealing something valued at more than $300 is a felony, and the mailbox claimed by the Kealohas was valued at $380, supporting her attempt to lodge felony charges against Puana. However, the manufacturer-identified model was only worth $180, misdemeanor territory.

The difference would have been significant if the case had been prosecuted in state court, where it would have been a felony. But when the state declined to prosecute, the case kicked over to federal prosecutors, where it ended in a mistrial caused by Chief Kealoha’s testimony (as I recall, it was a prejudicial comment about Puana’s criminal record). Silvert said those in the courtroom for the testimony all had the impression the chief’s testimony was a calculated attempt to end the trial.

“The Kealohas knew what (evidence) I had, the US attorney’s office didn’t know,” Silvert said. “To me, he did it intentionally. He needed to stop me from disclosing what I knew.”…

So is the federal investigation over now that the Kealohas have been sentenced? Not by a long shot.

Michael Wheat, the special assistant U.S. attorney heading the investigation, is still here in Honolulu and still appearing in front of the grand jury, Silvert said.

“Something is still going on,” he said. “If he was going to close up shop and leave, we would know.”…

What about the political establishment’s reaction to the verdicts and the sentences?

“It was disheartening to hear the mayor, the new police chief, and the police commission say it’s tie to move on,” Silvert said. “The phrase was a unified chorus from the establishment.”

“This is what happens when the establishment reasserts itself,” Silvert said. “That shows you the resistance.”

“Oversight committees have to be strengthened, they have to impose transparency and push for people they are overseeing to answer,” he said. “The political establishment doesn’t want that.”

As for Silvert personally, the retired federal defender says he is working on a book.

Grube asked whether he would consider serving on the police commission.

His reply: “I’m open to being on the police commission. I could see doing something like that.”

But that opportunity will depend on the attitude of the incoming mayor.

I guess we’ll all be watching what happens next on that front, but remember that Rick Blangiardi was endorsed by SHOPO, the police union, which could limit his ability or desire to institute additional police reforms.…

Link: Video of Silvert Interview

read … The defense attorney’s take on the Kealoha case and beyond

HPD Corruption: It takes a village to do denial this deeply.

CB: … for it takes a village to do denial this deeply. Through their actions and inactions, many external agents of authority have enabled corruption to fester.

Most conspicuously, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has been declaring this corruption scandal “over” for years. But it’s not over. The ongoing federal investigation could last a few more years….

There is also evidence in the audit of other problems in HPO. In 2019, the 100 or so deputy prosecutors in that office had 22,523 “resolved cases” and only 92 felony jury trials, of which 54 ended in a guilty verdict.

That’s a conviction rate of 59% which is, well, awful. It’s also justice-without-trial on a grand scale, which means plea bargaining – “I’m going to make you an offer you cannot refuse” – has all but swallowed our criminal trial system.

The audit also reveals that HPO handled only 14 “white-collar crime” cases in 2019, out of 28,635 “cases accepted.” Many criminologists believe white-collar crime is the most important crime problem of our age, and surely it is a major problem in Honolulu too….

read … The Scandal Of Non-Reform In Honolulu Law Enforcement

Feds Need to Indict Rail Officials

SA: …  It has been repeatedly reported that various elements of the rail project have been under federal investigation since 2017. This reportedly includes 2019 subpoena requests for “thousands of pages of documents covering numerous angles of the project, including contract procurement, construction, relocation payments and minutes of the HART board’s closed-session meetings … ”

We need to get all four of our U.S. congressional delegates to apply all possible pressure on the U.S. Justice Department to bring these HART investigations to a speedy conclusion and to bring forward the expected indictments, which may well encompass malfeasance and fraud.

To put it simply, it’s almost certain that the feds already know where the money has gone and who’s responsible. Indictments and prosecution for any identified illegalities should be brought forward as quickly as possible. The citizens of Hawaii need this information, along with results of the forensic audit, to inform our efforts going forward….

read … Column: Put disastrous rail project on hold before it bankrupts city

Tommy Waters beats Tsuneyoshi -- expected to become chairman of Honolulu City Council

SA: … Tommy Waters will lead the Honolulu City Council as its chairman when a new lineup meets for the first time on Jan. 2, under a resolution made public today.

Councilwoman-elect Esther Kiaaina will be the vice chairwoman under the leadership proposal that’s expected to win the support of a majority of the new nine-member Council.

Councilwoman-elect Andria Tupola will serve as floor leader of the Council, which for the first time will be comprised of a majority of women.

In another first for the Council, a majority of five new councilmembers will be taking their seats for the first time, replacing five others.

The leadership team is listed in Resolution 20-322, introduced this morning by Councilman Brandon Elefante who, along with new members Radiant Cordero and Calvin Say, are expected to hold key roles under Waters’ team.

The other three Council members are Heidi Tsuneyoshi, Carol Fukunaga and freshman Augie Tulba.

Tsuneyoshi was believed to be seeking to become chairman and Tulba said publicly he would support her….

CB: Honolulu City Council May Be Headed By Waters, Kiaaina And Tupola

Meanwhile: Cocaine News: Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi Files for Divorce -- Tries to Keep Case Records Secret

read … Tommy Waters expected to become chairman of Honolulu City Council

Facing economic hardship, restaurants urge city to ease plastic utensils ban--get 90 days

HNN: … the restaurant association urged the city to back off on a ban on plastic and foam utensils which is to take effect on Jan. 1.

“We are facing costs that are double and triple the replacement for the plastic utensils, and their availability (is also challenging) because of the global pandemic,” Victor Lim of the Hawaii Restaurant Association said.

The council also urged the legislature to quickly approve lower penalties for mask violations so police would be more willing to give tickets, and violators more likely to be fined….

SA: Oahu restaurants get 90-day delay of ban on plastic utensils

read … Facing economic hardship, restaurants urge city to ease plastic utensils ban

Defense Bill Calls For Red Hill Safety Reviews Every Five Years

CB: … The 2021 iteration of the National Defense Appropriations Act requires the Navy to conduct regular reviews of technology to contain potential leaks….

read … Defense Bill Calls For Red Hill Safety Reviews Every Five Years

DLNR Has Transferred More Than 19,000 Acres To Use For Agriculture

CB: … A program to make more state agricultural lands available for farming and ranching has made progress in the last decade, according to the head of the state agency in charge of those land transfers.

Department of Land and Natural Resources Director Suzanne Case told state lawmakers Wednesday that her department has transferred more than 19,000 acres to the Department of Agriculture.

The land transfers were ordered under a law that passed the Legislature in 2003 called Act 90. The idea was that those lands, which were already classified for agricultural use, could be better managed and utilized by the DOA, which already works with farmers and has expertise in agriculture. …

read … DLNR Has Transferred More Than 19,000 Acres To Use For Agriculture

Bill2: Environmentalists Complain Bill Does not do enough to Force Little People to give up cars

SA: A bill that would reduce, and in some instances eliminate, parking requirements for future development won a 9-0 approval from the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday, the last full Council meeting to be held before a major change in the nine-member lineup of the panel happens on Jan. 2.

Supporters of Bill 2 said there has been a compelling need to overhaul the city’s parking and loading regulations, and to shift the mindset of the car-centric public by providing incentives to consider alternate means of travel, including bicycling, walking and mass transit.

Council Zoning Chairman Ron Menor, who shepherded the bill through his committee, told colleagues that the measure “involved a difficult process of balancing environmental goals with impacts to housing costs, improved community design, streamlining the permitting process and promoting pedestrian walkability.”

(Translation: We did a lot to clamp down on the uppity peasants and their disgusting habit of owning cars.)

… Not everyone supported the final version of the bill, however. Environmental advocates including the Sierra Club of Hawaii and the Blue Planet Foundation, the Surfrider Foundation and the Ulupono Initiative were particularly unhappy with the decision to leave out language requiring that off-street parking stalls in multi-unit structures be prohibited from being sold as part of a “bundled” package for those purchasing condo units. Instead, the buyer of a condominium unit would need to rent or lease stalls separately through a management company or homeowners association.

Menor defended removing the unbundling requirement. “Strong concerns … were expressed by affordable housing developers that such a mandate could stymie the development of affordable housing projects in the future,” he said.

He noted that the head of one nonprofit housing company warned that requiring unbundling could result in financing problems for affordable rental projects….

Meanwhile: Oceanfront Property Tied to Obama Granted Exemption From Hawaii’s Environmental Laws

read … cars are for rich enviros only

The Democrats' Elitism Is Getting Them In Trouble

CB: … Hypocritical behavior exacerbated by lame apologies is not a good look….

read … The Democrats' Elitism Is Getting Them In Trouble

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