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Thursday, January 21, 2021
January 21, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:40 PM :: 1695 Views

Ige: DoE Cuts to be 2.5% not 10%

Inauguration Day: ANTIFA Attacks Biden HQ, Proud Boys Denounce Trump

Senate: Ige Appoints Anti-Telescope Activist who Wanted Him Impeached

Mayor Victorino Appoints Andrew Martin Maui County Prosecutor 

Mayor Blangiardi selects Sam Moku as Chief of Staff

Some are renewing a push for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians under Biden administration

KITV: … The new administration is opening the door for federal recognition for Native Hawaiians, allowing greater self-determination and control similar to other Native American tribes….

"We have a historic opportunity to be able to walk through that portal," Esther Kia'aina said.

Before winning a seat on the Honolulu City Council, Esther Kia'aina worked in D.C. for decades. She says the tide turned after the U.S. government issued a formal apology for the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom.

President Biden recently appointed Deb Haaland as the first Native American Interior Secretary, if Native Hawaiians want recognition, Kia'aina says now is the time to stand up. 

"Again it's only an option, if Native Hawaiians collectively determine that that is not the route that they would like it take, it's not gonna happen," Kia'aina said.

It's a question that's divided the community for decades, some people are adamantly against it, arguing Hawaiians should settle for nothing less than full independence.

"It's highly inappropriate to consider that the violator simply be able to pay somebody off or brush them off or have the violated turn their back and turn their eye and hold hands with their violator," Wong said.

As the debate continues there's also a new Native Hawaiian voice at the Capitol who is listening.

"I do feel that it's important to hear from our Native Hawaiian community so they can have input on whatever future that holds as far as governance but as a Native Hawaiian and one who represents Hawaii in Congress I look forward to bringing that Native Hawaiian perspective," Hawaii U.S. Congressman Kai Kahele said.

Now with federal recognition still being debated, Hawaii U.S. Congressman Kahele says he has some priorities for the community in the meantime. He wants to see more federal funding for Native Hawaiian housing and land programs….


read … Some are renewing a push for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians under Biden administration

Hanalei Vigilantes to be Model for Hawaii Tourism Industry

HTH: … Luke and Rep. Aaron Johanson said the state should try to get tourists to return in larger numbers as quickly as possible, although Luke added that she thinks returning to the days when 10 million visitors arrived at Hawaii’s airports in a single year is neither feasible nor desirable.

Rather, Luke said the state might seek to restructure how it manages its state parks, using Kauai’s North Shore as a model.

In 2019, Kauai implemented a number of changes to attractions on the Napali Coast after it was closed for 14 months following the 2018 floods, including a new requirement for paid reservations to nonresidents to access the park, paid parking and higher parking fines. Luke said similar changes could be implemented at state parks on other islands as well.

Luke pointed out that, while the number of visitors to the state has increased year-by-year until 2020, the amount of money spent by visitors has not….

(As during the 1990s, Hawaii is about to enter a decade of state-created economic depression because the Legislature is set against the state’s largest industry and there is only property development as a substitute for the jobs and businesses which they are destroying.)

read … State House seeks solutions to fill budget gap

State Senate Top Priority Raising Taxes to Satisfy HSTA

HTH: … State Senate leaders said after the Legislature reconvened Wednesday that two of the biggest challenges during the 2021 session will be to decide what can be funded and whether taxes will need to be increased in order to contend with Gov. David Ige’s proposed budget cuts.

In the wake of double-digit unemployment in Hawaii, Senate President Ron Kouchi of Kauai said the top priority for economic recovery is “the ability for us to find a safe way for children to return to schools so parents can focus … on their jobs.”

Vice President Michelle Kidani of Oahu said that proposed budget cuts to the state Department of Education “is something that we’ll (be) looking at trying to bridge some of those gaps.”

“We know that the federal government is going to be giving to the DOE $183.6 million,” Kidani said. “I think, in speaking to some of the Board of Education members, we’re hoping that most of that will be used at the school level to assist our students and our teachers.”

Amid a projected $1.4 billion deficit, Ige has proposed cutting spending and potentially raising taxes, depending on how much need there is for additional revenue….

read … State Senate faces funding shortfall while trying to prop up economy 

After 8 years on the job, Honolulu’s fire chief to retire next month

HNN: … After eight years on the job, Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves has announced he will retire in February.

Neves informed the Honolulu Fire Commission at its meeting Wednesday of his intent to retire.

Neves was commissioned as HFD’s fire chief on Feb. 17, 2013.

His retirement announced included accomplishments of his tenure, including hiring nearly 500 new firefighters, purchasing much-needed equipment and worked to strengthen fire safety laws.

But Neves’ time leading the Honolulu Fire Department has not been without controversy.

Most recently, Neves faced questions from the City Council following an investigation into overtime records. Council members were also puzzled to learn his performance evaluations had not been submitted to the council for five years….

Related: Say 'Uncle' -- What Connects Miske to Kealoha?

read … After 8 years on the job, Honolulu’s fire chief to retire next month

Five questions with Sherry Menor-McNamara on Hawaii's $700M unemployment insurance deficit

PBN: … “We’re talking on average, an employer paying $600 per employee [per year to the UI fund] right now, to more than $2,500,” Menor-McNamara told Pacific Business News on Wednesday. “I’ve been asking businesses of all sizes, what will that look like for them. One business is close to $1.5 million, another one was paying only $3,175 per year for all their employees, now [would be] $85,000 per year.”…

read … Five questions with Sherry Menor-McNamara on Hawaii's $700M unemployment insurance deficit

State blames aging mainframe computer for delays paying revived ‘plus-up,’ other jobless aid

SA: … Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), popularly known as “the plus-up,” is flowing in Hawaii only to recipients of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance at this point, because PUA claims are not processed on Hawaii’s aging mainframe computer, which is so fragile that the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations fears it may crash, DLIR officials said.

This means that all other claimants eligible for the $300 weekly plus-up, including jobless people on standard Unemployment Insurance (UI), initial Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Extended Benefits (EB20) are not yet receiving it. The department hopes to finalize the programming of FPUC payments for those claimants within the next week, spokesman Bill Kunstman said Wednesday. Payments will be made retroactively as necessary.

The department has been cautious about adding new processing demands to the mainframe computer, which is about 35 years old, to avoid overtaxing it. If it crashed, UI, PEUC and EB would have to be processed manually, stalling payments, he said.….

(Genius Level Idea: Buy new computer.)

read … State blames aging mainframe computer for delays paying revived ‘plus-up,’ other jobless aid

In new legislative session, leaders seek changes in penalties for COVID violations

HNN: … State Senator Karl Rhoads predicts changes to the law regarding emergency orders could be implemented by the end of February.

He said the plan is to offer prosecutors other options, so they won’t have to charge a misdemeanor for every violation.

“So what we’re hoping to do is have some retroactive aspect to it so that the people who were charged with the full misdemeanor, the prosecutors can roll that back to something lesser in many cases, probably like a traffic infraction,” said Rhoades.

The state senator said if a similar law had been in place six months ago, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams would have just paid a ticket and not charged with a misdemeanor. ….

read … In new legislative session, leaders seek changes in penalties for COVID violations

O’ahu Floating Offshore Wind Turbines Coming?

IM: … Three companies have filed preliminary documents for Hawai`i offshore wind facilities with the United States Department of the Interior`s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The parent companies are AlphaWind Energy (Denmark), Progression Energy (Oregon), and Equinor formerly known as Statoil.

Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) has an open regulatory proceeding at the Hawai’i Public Utilities Commission to examine Integrated Grid Planning (IGP): streamlining the entire process from forecasting to the procurement of all technologies from generation to delivery and examining non-wire alternatives, and distributed generation.

The Integrated Grid Planning Solution Evaluation & Optimization Working Group will hold a virtual meeting on January 22, 2021, to discuss floating offshore wind (OSW) technology.

The SEOWG is headed by Christopher Lau, Manager of Hawaiian Electric Company`s Corporate Energy Planning Department….

read … O’ahu Floating Offshore Wind Turbines Workshop

News from Hilo: Former cop changes pleas in assault, abuse cases at Center of Hawaii County Government

WHT: … A 57-year-old retired Hilo police detective recently changed his pleas in connection with cases related to assaulting a county official in 2019 and abusing his wife in 2020.

Ian Lee Loy on Dec. 30 pleaded no contest to one count of harassment, a lesser included offense filed in connection with the assault of Neal Tanaka in July 2019, and one count of third-degree assault, a lesser included offense filed in connection with the May 2020 abuse of his wife, County Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy of Hilo….

Kim also granted Lee Loy’s motion for a deferred acceptance of his pleas. That means, if Lee Loy compiles with all conditions and terms of the plea agreement, the charges will be expunged from his criminal record.

Lee Loy was charged with second-degree assault, a class C felony, for allegedly attacking Tanaka, the acting deputy chief of the county Department of Public Works Building Division, on July 25, 2019, at the Hilo Lagoon Center. According to the plea documents, Lee Loy struck Tanaka in the right ear, rupturing the man’s eardrum.

Lee Loy retired July 31, 2019, less than a week after the incident.

Months later, Lee Loy was charged with misdemeanor domestic abuse for an attack on his wife on Memorial Day 2020. According to the plea documents, Lee Loy threw a “screen door pet protector grille” at his wife, causing a cut to her right arm….

read … Former cop changes pleas in assault, abuse cases

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