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Monday, January 25, 2021
January 25, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:05 PM :: 1967 Views

VIDEO: State of the State Address, 2021

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted January 23, 2021

Legislature Begins Session with Drugs and Suicide

Feds Covering $53M Cost to Tutor Students failed by HSTA—Union Outraged

TGI: … After the state Board of Education meeting on Thursday regarding the state Department of Education’s proposal to use federal funds for tutoring services, the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association posted a story on its website expressing concerns.

The HSTA said the DOE proposal to use $53 million in federal pandemic stimulus funds to hire tutors for public-school students as the department contemplates laying off hundreds of teachers, education assistants and other staff is a bad idea.

The DOE wanted to use 33% of the state’s share of $183 million in public-school, COVID-19 relief funds approved by Congress at the end of last year to hire tutors and expand summer school to combat learning loss suffered by some students during the pandemic. …

(Translation: Union representing teachers who have been paid for 1 year to do nothing is upset because some federal money is being spent on tutors who will actually ‘teach’ the kids.)

Big Q: Should the public schools spend $53 million on private tutors to help students who are falling two or more years behind?

HSTA:  BOE delays approving HIDOE use of federal stimulus funds

read … HSTA: Don’t use federal funds to hire tutors

42% of Vaccine going to non-Seniors

SA: … Hawaii Pacific Health officials said Sunday they will continue to honor COVID-19 vaccination appointments to companions of seniors (age 75 and older) made prior to the Department of Health’s decision to end the practice.

The Department of Health had issued a directive Tuesday that the practice of vaccinating escorts — anyone 18 and older — who accompany seniors to the vaccination site is being discontinued due to a shortage of the vaccine.

HPH has a mass vaccination site at Pier 2 for kupuna 75 years and older and is taking only appointments and no walk-ins….

Of the 10,434 HPH had vaccinated at Pier 2 as of 5:30 p.m. Saturday, 4,331 were either escorts, health care personnel and long-term care facility residents or front-line essential workers. A total of 6,103 seniors 75 and older were vaccinated at Pier 2.

HPH did not break out how many escorts were among the 4,331 non-seniors who were vaccinated…..

DoH: Hawai‘i Department of Health to release preliminary COVID-19 vaccination amounts on weekdays

Hint, Hint: HIDOE allows employees up to 2 hours off to get vaccine

read … Shortage forces Hawaii Department of Health to cut vaccines for seniors’ companions

Hawaii labor market not likely to see major gains in short term

SA: … As of Jan. 16 UHERO’s economic pulse was at 42, which means that Hawaii’s economy had recovered 42% from the pandemic lows experienced during the first COVID-19 government shutdowns in April and May.

Bonham said in an email to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the key takeaway from the most recent economic pulse is the stagnation.

“It has essentially hovered in the 40s since the end of October,” he said….

His forecast was based on UHERO’s economic pulse index, which predicts job market movements by aggregating several indicators of economic activity,

read … Hawaii labor market not likely to see major gains in short term

She Was About To Lose Her Job. Then Her Dad’s Department Hired Her

CB: … Two weeks before Honolulu’s former budget director Manny Valbuena left office, his department hired his daughter for a six-month gig that was not advertised and for which no other candidates were considered. 

Marielle Valbuena, 26, had been working in the office of former managing director Roy Amemiya, a longtime colleague of her father. As an appointee, she was set to lose that job when former mayor Kirk Caldwell’s term ended, according to Amemiya.

“It’s part of my job to make sure that people who are losing their jobs get placed,” said Amemiya.

Valbuena started work as a “procurement and specifications specialist” on Dec. 16, according to the city’s list of personal services contracts. She ended up working there only two-and-a-half weeks then landed a job with newly elected Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm. She started working in his office on Jan. 2.

Her father created the $3,635-a-month procurement job – one of two identical positions – in November as an “unbudgeted temporary position.” 

That designation allows city departments to hire people when they are needed under “unforeseen or emergency circumstances.” The jobs don’t need to be advertised and have attracted scrutiny for years, including a city audit that found they are “perceived as rewarding political insiders.” …

read … She Was About To Lose Her Job. Then Her Dad’s Department Hired Her

Celebration cost for home of Queen Lili‘uokalani and Hawaii governors raises eyebrows

SA: … One of the most esteemed houses in Hawaii, Washington Place, turns 175 years old this year.

Gov. David Ige proposes spending $53,000 to commemorate the anniversary of the longtime residence of Queen Lili‘uokalani and a dozen Hawaii governors, which became a museum and state reception venue nearly two decades ago….

read … Celebration cost for home of Queen Lili‘uokalani and Hawaii governors raises eyebrows

Hawai’i Proposes Taxpayers Fund Crystal Ball Predictions

IM: … The Biden administration plans to decarbonize the U.S. power sector by 2035. Hawai`i plans to decarbonize the Hawai`i electric grid by 2045.

The Hawai`i Legislature proposes to tax rather than to ban fossil fuel, as this will send a message to the marketplace, rather than imposing sustainability on the out-of-control fossil fuel industry.

The fossil fuel industry got us into this mess, and by being taxed, they will find solutions to get us out of this mess. So, the theory goes. Just like tobacco which then discovered flavored stuff.

Hawai`i proposes using a crystal ball to develop strategic plans to reach future goals….

Imagine being paid to determine what the world would look like in 2045.

Paid by taxpayers….

The University of Hawai`i, Mānoa`s Hawaii Natural Energy Institute of the University of Hawaii “shall conduct a feasibility study on the State's ability to achieve its goal.”

The Hawaii State Energy Office “shall submit its strategic plan, including proposed strategies, benchmarks, and metrics.”

Both studies would be paid for by taxpayers.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies and the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission already tried this. 

The Power Supply Improvement Plans (PSIPs) were developed from 2013-16 and are already out-of-date….

PBN: University of Hawaii Maui College reaches (alleged, so-called) net-zero sustainability

read … Hawai`i Proposes Taxpayers Fund Crystal Ball Predictions

Out-of-state buyers 30% of Maui home sales—Down from 60%

MN: … Out-of-state residents in 2010 purchased 59.6 percent of Maui homes — that percentage dropped to 28.8 percent (27.4 percent purchased by Mainlanders, only 1.4 percent purchased by foreigners) during the first three quarters of 2020.

He said the trend will continue into the future with fewer out-of-state purchases and more local purchases.

“The main reason of the decline in out-of-state purchases is the price difference between Maui and the Mainland,” Tian said.

read … Out-of-state buyers scoop up 30 percent of Maui home sales

Teaching telescope project to proceed at Halepohaku

HTH: … Despite receiving predominantly negative feedback from community members, the Office of Maunakea Management will seek to proceed with constructing a telescope facility at Halepohaku.

Last year, OMKM announced plans to construct a small facility to house the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s teaching telescope at Halepohaku, the mid-level facility on Maunakea. OMKM solicited public feedback about the plan in October and discussed that feedback at a meeting earlier this month….

read … Teaching telescope project to proceed at Halepohaku

Permit for Red Hill fuel tanks stirs controversy

SA: … A contested case hearing is scheduled for Feb. 1-5 to debate the Navy obtaining a state operating permit for the Red Hill fuel farm, with the Sierra Club of Hawaii hoping it leads to stricter controls in the short term and relocation of the controversial underground tanks longer-term….

read … Permit for Red Hill fuel tanks stirs controversy

Progressive Caucus a Motley Crew Chaired by the Even Motlier Matt LoPresti

CB: …Caucus Chair Matt LoPresti says the hui has grown from 16 members to 18 — all of them Democrats: Reps. LoPresti, Sonny Ganaden, Cedric Asuega Gates, Greggor Ilagan, Jeanne Kapela, Bertrand Kobayashi, Nicole Lowen, Lisa Marten, Takashi Ohno, (DSA Member) Amy Perruso, Jackson Sayama, Adrian Tam, Tina Wildberger and Chris Todd; and Sens. Stanley Chang, Jarrett Keohokalole, Joy San Buenaventura and Laura ‘Impeach Now’ Acasio….

There are today at least nine recognized caucuses at the Hawaii Legislature and they include the Filipino Caucus, the Legislative Native Hawaiian Affairs Caucus, Senate Native Hawaiian Caucus, the Women’s Legislative Caucus, the House Small Business Caucus and caucuses focused on keiki and kupuna.

Usually the groups propose specific legislation. In the case of the Progressive Caucus, however, because it was formed only late last year it won’t produce a package of bills until the 2022 session, said LoPresti….

“We want to build a more just society,” LoPresti told me (without laughing).

Two Decades of LoPresti:

read … Motley

After 70 years of Democratic failings, turn to Hawaii GOP?

SA: … “To craft a government that works, we must choose people who are part of the solution and not part of the problem. The Republican Party of Hawaii stands ready to be your advocate and bring much-needed balance to our island home.” ….

Typical Comment: “Shirlene, least half of the problems of Hawaii politics is on the Republican Party. Your article does not give one solution. Backing fascist white supremacists and Qanon fanatics does not do it. And demanding unquestioned loyalty to Trump has driven many good potential candidates away from your party. Don’t blame the voters for not buying in to your message. Want to see the real problem? Look in the mirror.”

read … The Comments

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