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Monday, January 4, 2021
January 4, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:03 PM :: 1605 Views

The greenies’ tales about Hawaii’s vanishing beaches miss one important fact

Hirono: GOP Senators Afraid of Trump Voters

Why Did Kealoha Care About Protecting Miske?

Bob Jones: …Here’s what bothers me as more and more detail about the Michael Miske, Jr., “crime gang” goes public:

How is it possible that all this not-so-hidden criminal activity never came to the attention of police chief Louis Kealoha’s special intelligence unit?

Or did it, and was ignored? Or was somebody in on the “take”? You almost have to suspect the latter because the cocaine trafficking, the kidnapping and the one known murder were so blatant. It was almost like one of those Mexican cartels that never gets busted by the police — and we know why. We have a history here of police problems when it comes to unblemished investigations and official silence about malfeasance.

It took the feds, particularly Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney Kenji Price, to crank up the surveillance that brought on the most of indictments of Miske and his colleagues.

Kidnapping and murder for Miske. Racketeering and conspiracy for 10 others. This was no small criminal operation and all taking place on one small island, and yet Louis Kealoha and his criminal intelligence unit didn’t do squat about it.

That’s why this case needs much more investigation. Something smells very bad….

(Really Obvious Unanswered Question: Why did Katherine Kealoha care about Michael Miske getting a traffic ticket?)

ILind: Was somebody “on the take” as Bob Jones suggests?

read … Something Was Rotten In Honolulu

Legislators Begin Discussing Tax Hikes Today

SA: … How big a budget hole will need to be plugged when lawmakers convene remains elusive, along with the unknown demand for social aid.

Asked about the challenge of trying to hit moving revenue and spending targets, House Speaker Scott Saiki said: “It looks like we will be working through this the entire legislative session.”

Even before the session officially starts, the first of a series of 19 Senate Ways and Means Committee hearings will kick off Monday with three separate meetings.

The state is bracing for a $1.4 billion shortfall in each of the next four years because of COVID-19’s hit to Hawaii’s once record-setting economy….

“We don’t have all the details yet, but the federal stimulus funds seemed to be earmarked for specific kinds of programs, unlike the prior CARES Act funds, where the state received a $1.25 billion lump sum,” Saiki said. “It looks like two of the areas specifically provided for are public education and the Health Department. It is possible that there could still be a shortfall in the state operating budget because of insufficient state tax revenue.”…

read … Zooming in on the major issues facing Hawaii in 2021

Vaccine Plan for Hawaii in 2021

SA: … The state plans a vacci­nation campaign for more than 100,000 seniors 75 and older next, though immunization of the largest segment of the population won’t happen until late spring or summer….

The state hopes to get as much as 60% to 70% of the population vaccinated to reach so-called herd immunity by mid-2021….

In a draft vaccination plan, the DOH said it needs to build capacity to immunize about 121,000 residents in “critical populations” with two doses of the vaccine. Under that scenario, the state needs 242,000 doses for 11% of the population age 18 and older.

More than 20,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine expected in the islands by the end of 2020 did not arrive. At least 24% of the anticipated 81,825 doses were delayed due to production, with the state receiving a total of 61,450 doses….

read … Zooming in on the major issues facing Hawaii in 2021

COVID infection rate on the rise

SA: … The infection rate for COVID-19 in Hawaii has been trending up since Christmas.

On Dec. 25, Hawaii was still listed in the medium range for infection spread. But Hawaii’s rising infection rate now has it listed as the fourth-worst state for spread after Maine, Iowa and New York, according to rt.live, a website developed by Instagram’s founders that tracks how fast COVID is spreading in each state.

Hawaii had an infection rate of 1.03 on Christmas Day. However, by Saturday, Hawaii had a 1.1 infection rate, which means that each person in Hawaii with COVID is on average infecting 1.1 other people….

SA: Hawaii reports 149 new coronavirus infections, bringing statewide total to 21,956

read … COVID infection rate on the rise

For The Honolulu Rail Project, 2020 Was The Year The Wheels Fell Off

CB: … The designs weren’t ready. Construction was delayed. The bids were too high. Tax revenue dropped. Federal funds never arrived. The CEO was let go. And despite some rosy predictions, no part of the Honolulu rail system ever opened to the public in 2020 as promised.

The rail project has had troubles from the start, but 2020 was such a bad year that it is unclear exactly how the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will pick up the pieces.

To gauge how serious the setbacks were last year, it helps to recall the city signed a deal with the Federal Transit Administration in 2012 pledging to build the 20-mile system with 21 stations for $5.2 billion. The entire rail line was supposed to be finished and open for public use in 2020….

read … For The Honolulu Rail Project, 2020 Was The Year The Wheels Fell Off

Legislative Agenda: Advocates Again Pushing For Automatic Voter Registration

CB: … There were about a dozen AVR bills introduced at the Hawaii Legislature in 2019-2020. Several were progressing during the regular session earlier this year when COVID-19 forced the Capitol to largely close business in March.

The measures included Senate Bill 2005, which was authored by Senate Judiciary Chair Karl Rhoads and had the backing of Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English and other top senators.

It would have required anyone eligible to vote who applies for a new or renewed driver’s license, instruction permit or identification card to be automatically registered to vote.

That would not happen, however, if the person is already registered or if they say they do not want to be registered. The “opt-out” provision would require the checking of a box on a form.

“The applicant must affirmatively decline to register to vote before their Hawaii driver license or state ID application will be processed,” explained Nedielyn Bueno, Voter Services Section Head with the state Office of Elections….

read … Advocates Again Pushing For Automatic Voter Registration

Rep Holt, Sen Keohokalole Announce Support for DHHL Casino

CB: … The usual suspects who usually back gambling.  Whatever ….

SA VIDEO: DHHL’s Tyler Gomes, who proposed casino in Kapolei, joins the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii

HTH: DHHL: Oahu casino would add $30M to coffers

CB: Not In The Cards

read … Ige Dismissal Of Casino Abandons Promise To Hawaiian Beneficiaries

Maui County Public schools to resume this week (Update: NOT!)

MN: … As Maui County public school students head back to class this week to begin the second semester, many will be entering blended learning schedules where students will receive both in-person learning as well as virtual learning.

The second semester for Hawaii public school students begins today, although today will be a work day for teachers with no students, according to the state Department of Education calendar. Parents, guardians and students should check with their individual schools for return days….

“Blended learning is planned at all Maui District schools in the second semester. Each school will be allowed to determine their own schedules, so dates may vary,” the DOE said in an email recently.

The department explained that blended learning will include staggered schedules to keep a smaller portion of the student body on campus at any given time and allow parents to opt-out if they choose to keep their children at 100 percent distance learning ….  

read … Public schools to resume this week

Kauai Occupancy Yo-Yo as mayor panders to Hanalei Celebrutards who want to Shut Island Down

SA: … Kauai Mayor Derek Kawa­kami said the newest Kauai travel entry programs are “an important first step” in allowing more incoming travelers to return to Kauai. From Nov. 1 to 30, Kauai welcomed 36,146 travelers as part of the Hawaii Safe Travels program, which allows travelers to enter with a negative COVID test. However, Kauai’s decision to opt out of Safe Travels Hawaii on Dec. 2 contributed to a major drop-off: Only 6,295 passengers came to Kauai during December.

So far, feedback on the changes has been mixed.

The changes benefit the six properties that Kauai has already approved to serve as resort bubble hotels, including The Cliffs at Princeville, Hilton Garden Inn Kaua‘i Wailua Bay, Ko‘a Kea Hotel &Resort at Po‘ipu, The Club at Kukui‘ula, Timbers Kaua‘i Ocean Club &Residences at Hoku‘ala, and the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort at Kalapaki Bay.

Gary Moore, managing director of Hokuala — A Timbers Resort on Kauai, said the resort, which has been running a “resort bubble” since October, has begun to see additional interest in the concept.

Moore acknowledges that “resort bubbles” won’t appeal to all guests. But he said that the 450-acre Timbers resort is blessed with enough space and other amenities including the restaurant Hualani’s, an 18-hole golf course and four pools across two pool decks to satisfy those who have come.

Moore said continued pickup is critical for the resort, which had to permanently lay off about 8% of its workforce during the pandemic and has had to reduce hours about 30% to 40% for the remaining employees in response to government restrictions.

“Our occupancy had gotten back up to 75%, but it dropped to about 40% after Dec. 2, when Kauai exited from Safe Travels Hawaii,” he said.

News of this week’s changes has already garnered about 10 or 12 new reservations, Moore said….  

read … Economic recovery for Kauai likely to be slow going

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