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Friday, February 19, 2021
February 19, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:59 PM :: 1379 Views

Friday Deadline for Neighborhood Board Candidates

Sugar Tax Drives People to Drink

SB1321: DHHL Mourns Death of Casino Bill

Salaries Restored for 216 top UH Executives

Hawaii Towns Ranked by Ethnic Diversity

HB393: Hawaii Gasoline Car Sales to be Banned by 2030--Scheme to Benefit Billionaire Industrialists

CB: … In California, meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently issued an executive order requiring that all new cars and passenger trucks sold there be zero-emission vehicles in 2035. 

(50M people ordered to buy new cars from Elon Musk.)

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said in a press release.

(Wrong: EVs just move the smokestack.) 

The order could be overturned by a subsequent governor, however.

(Meanwhile: https://recallgavin2020.com/)

In Hawaii, HB 393 would be more difficult to overturn, officials say.

Dave Rolf, the executive director for the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association, testified at a recent committee hearing that banning sales of new gas-powered vehicles would cause many consumers to buy them on the mainland and ship them to Hawaii, leading to a loss of business and tax revenues.

Rolf said the association does support an eventual, full transition to clean-energy vehicles — it’s just a matter of “the timeline and how that works.”

Aiming to have all passenger vehicles be zero-emission by 2045 would be too aggressive because it would force local dealers to ramp up their EV inventories too quickly, Rolf told lawmakers. He didn’t specify what he saw as a more reasonable timeline.

Separately, Hawaiian Electric has estimated that some 450,000 EVs will be on Hawaii’s roads by 2045, representing half of the state’s passenger vehicles.

Sales of used gas-powered passenger cars would still be allowed under HB 393, but the idea is that those cars would no longer be useful by around 2045, Ohno said.

Currently there are nearly 14,000 registered EVs in Hawaii, which is about twice as many as there were just three years ago, according to state data. That’s out of nearly 1.1 million total registered passenger vehicles, however. 

Meanwhile, the price of the latest Nissan Leaf model has gone up, largely due to the car’s superior electric battery, officials say.  At Tony Nissan a 2020 model is listed at nearly $29,000, versus $17,900 for what dealers said was the most comparable gas-powered hatchback, the Kicks.

(Translation: Dealers are salivating at the opportunity to force you to pony up.)

HB 393 is currently awaiting its final hearing in the House, in the Finance Committee. If it passes, it will go to the Senate.

read … Could Hawaii’s Fossil Fuel-Powered Cars Soon Be A Relic Of The Past?

Laughing at Your Sacrifice: BoE Approves $33M Pay Hike for Teachers

HNN: … Waianae Intermediate Art teacher Kileigh Sanchez’ said that her salary was raised by $8,000 for working on the Leeward Coast, but she is worried that this money will be taken away (wants to make this one-time deal permanent)….

Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said, “As superintendent I cannot in good faith expend funds that I do not have. In fact, I legally cannot to this.”

(Translation: I am going to give them the money as soon as I can.)

Currently, about 4,000 teachers are receiving higher pay, which costs the state about $33 million.

(The extra pay makes it easier to afford private school tuition for their own kids.)

The board voted to make the program a priority as Hawaii is expected to receive new federal relief funds….

(This means it will be legal as soon as they have to money in their hands.)

read … Contrary to board vote, superintendent says department can’t afford extra pay for hard-to-recruit teachers

With HSTA Refusing to Work, Child Abuse cases Pile Up

HNN: … Fewer people are signing up to become foster parents amid the pandemic and the lack of in-person education has created a new type of isolation for foster youth.

Social workers say those are among the new challenges facing the system because of COVID-19.

“For the at-risk children that we deal with, the truth of the matter is they’re safer in school,” said Joe O’Connell, a team lead supervisor for Parents, Inc.

“That’s where their safety net is, that’s where their friends are. That’s where abuse most often gets disclosed and discovered. And as we know, the rate of abuse in foster homes is a problem in our state.”

According to the Hawaii Department of Human Services, calls from educators reporting abuse are down. In 2019, about 30 calls a month came from educators to check up on kids.

Since the pandemic started in March, the average has gone down to 11 monthly…. 

read … Pandemic presents new challenges to Hawaii’s foster care system ... and its youth

Privilege: Thousands could be vaccinated Saturday during large-scale clinic reserved only for UH, DOE employees

HTH: … The Big Island’s largest-ever COVID-19 vaccination POD, or point of dispensing, is scheduled for Saturday at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo.

According to Hilo Medical Center spokeswoman Elena Cabatu, the POD is ready to administer 2,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to employees of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hawaii Community College, the state Department of Education and other educational entities….

Cabatu reiterated that the POD is not open to the general public….

Chad Keone Farias, superintendent of the DOE’s Ka‘u-Keaau-Pahoa complex area, noted there have been previous closed vaccination PODs on school campuses — including one at Keaau High School that vaccinated 630 employees with the Moderna vaccine….

Rapoza said it’s unlikely the university — which is on the semester system — will reopen its campus for in-person instruction anytime this spring…

“Until we get through those specific groups, we can’t move on to the 65-pluses and the (Phase) 1Cs.” she said.

Adults 65-74, people 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers not included in 1B can be vaccinated in Phase 1C….

read … Thousands could be vaccinated Saturday during large-scale clinic for UH, DOE employees

What happens after states legalize gambling to fund social programs?

PBN: … DHHL is gambling that it can have its casino cake and still eat whatever meager ration of support it gets from the state budget. Gambling bills on the Mainland are often sold to the public as free money for some pressing issue, like education. Double down on 11 — for the children!

But what happens after the gambling bill gets passed?

The original funding gets slashed. It happened in Maryland, for example.

“In the seven years since the first of Maryland’s six casinos opened, they have pumped $1.7 billion into the state’s Education Trust Fund — the financial windfall that advocates for gambling promised would go to the state’s public schools,” reported The Baltimore Sun in 2017. “But over that time, casino funds have not gone to bolster school budgets more than what the state already was required to spend — and some jurisdictions, including Baltimore, have suffered funding cuts.” (bit.ly/37kRiFU)

That’s the thing about gambling. The house always wins….

read … What happens after states legalize gambling to fund social programs?

Broken Trust Figure Upset Because Six Inmates Die

HNN: … “These prisoners and their families are not widgets on Amazon where you’re buying a dozen pins. These are humans beings who suffer,” added commission member and retired Circuit Court and Family Court Judge Michael Town.

“We have a fiduciary duty ― think about that a fiduciary duty just like children in school, just like (Child Protective Service) placements ― to protect them.” …

SA: “The hideous death of toddler Kytana Ancog is a wake-up call for the Legislature to restore the death penalty

Flashback 2004:: The FBI targeted state criminal court Judge Michael Town for investigation of possible corruption in 2004, according to a document that was unsealed yesterday in the racketeering and murder trial of Ethan "Malu" Motta, and Rodney Joseph Jr."

Flashback 1999: Judge Town Saves Dickie Wong

read … Cry me a river

Soft on Crime Crowd Whines About OCCC Jail Replacement Costs (Again)

CB: … State consultants estimated in 2017 the total cost for the new jail would be $433 million to $673 million, ranking it among the most expensive state projects ever. Current plans call for a facility with room for about 1,044 jail inmates and another 288 convicts who are approaching their release dates.

Last December the commission asked the state Department of Public Safety to pause the planning for a new jail to replace the aging Oahu Community Correctional Center, partly because commission members want the state to reconsider the size of the new jail….

The state has already spent nearly $10 million on planning, permitting, environmental reports and other tasks related to development of a new jail in Halawa, according to a consultant working on the project….

The $10 million in planning expenses for the jail disturbed (excited) critics of the jail project including Robert Merce, who served on a task force on correctional policies led by state Supreme Court Associate Justice Michael Wilson.

That task force strongly recommended policy changes such as diverting petty offenders into mental health services, drug treatment or other programs instead of jailing them, and releasing more of the inmates who are locked up  at OCCC because they cannot afford to post bail….

OCCC is the largest jail in the state, and corrections officials say it is run down, has an obsolete and inefficient design, and has been overcrowded for years. It has an operational capacity of 954 inmates, but as of Feb. 15 was holding 934 prisoners….

Meanwhile: Kakaako jewelry store robbery suspect tied to Kahala home invasion

read … State Has Spent Nearly $10 Million So Far Planning A New Jail At Halawa

50% of Incarcerated Criminals Refuse COVID Vax

HNN: … The state Department of Public Safety said it already started vaccinating inmates on Oahu in January. About half of those eligible opted to get vaccinated (the other half hope to get the disease so they will be released as promised by soft-on-crime activists.). 

(WHY ARE THEY GIVEN A CHOICE?)

Vaccinations for inmates at Maui Community Correctional Center begin next week, officials said.

MCCC is currently dealing with an outbreak, with 25 prisoners are considered “active positives.”

And on Kauai and Hawaii Island, inmate vaccinations are slated to begin in early March.

Hawaii inmates at Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona will get vaccinated next week. They fall under county vaccination guidelines in Arizona.

read … State details plan for vaccinating inmates as concern grows over outbreaks, deaths

HB1286: Make Statewide Travel Rules Consistent

HNN: … Travel executives and business leaders say Hawaii needs a more unified travel program.

“The inconsistent travel rules are really having a dramatic impact on our businesses across the islands,” said Springboard Hospitality Vice President Rob Robinson.

Robinson and others say the current rules are confusing, which is slowing tourism and costing them money.

“According to surveys we found that more than 40 percent of businesses have admitted that they won’t be able to reopen if tourism doesn’t come back in a meaningful way,” said Mufi Hannemann Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association President & CEO.

Hannemann said another study revealed that about half of restaurants may be forced to close if there’s no tourism boost by April.

Lawmakers are now pushing to unify the state’s travel rules.

House Bill 1286 would allow the governor to establish statewide travel mandates after initially putting it in the hands of county mayors.

Oregon visitor Angela Schultz flew into Hawaii Wednesday only to fly right back out after taking the wrong COVID test.

“They need to make everything consistent,” said Schultz.

“The current travel mandates that we have in place are not consistent on all islands, which forces Kauai into a situation where we’re very uncompetitive with the other islands,” said Sheraton Kauai Resort General Manager Chip Bahouth.

Kauai is the only island that opted out of the Safe Travels program. There, every out-of-state traveler who stays at a “resort bubble” still needs to quarantine for at least three days and test negative for COVID.

Kauai’s mayor says it will stay that way for at least three more months….

read … Some want a unified Hawaii travel program, critics argue it’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution

Kawakami Hides as 200 Business Owners Demand Answers

TGI: … Over 200 business owners across the island assembled at Vidinha Stadium’s parking lot on Wednesday to organize their concerns and find a way to send them to the county and state officials in hopes of opening tourism on Kaua‘i.

It’s the second time the group has gathered; the first was last Friday at Olympic Cafe which attracted a smaller crowd….

“If your plan is not to reopen, boy, you need to tell us now and be transparent,” Keener said. “Our families are being greatly affected by these current policies. We need to know so that we can plan accordingly to get on with our lives and stop pouring money into businesses that may never return.” …

“Just like many in the business community, we had a thriving growing business before COVID,” Keener said. “As a result of these policies, we have almost lost 100% of our revenue and acquired mountains of debt from government loans just to hang on.

“But (there is) no transparency from the county council (or) mayor’s office. We are left in the dark not knowing a plan for reopening. Meanwhile, having to borrow from our equity in our home just to keep paying the bills.”…

Councilmember Bernard Carvalho was one of two councilmembers at Wednesday’s gathering. Also present was Councilmember Felicia Cowden….

Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce’s President Mark Perriello was at the meeting listening to business owners and conducting a new survey….

read … Business rally at Vidinha

Kauai to Close Parks for Mont to Replace Plumbing Stolen by Homeless Drug Addicts

TGI: … Now, Kawakami is pointing to a steady vaccine effort and “consistently low” case counts as a sign of recovery.

“To date, we have administered over 19,000 vaccines, and our businesses and activities remain operating at Tier 4 — our least restrictive tier,” Kawakami noted….

On March 4, 2020, Mayor Derek Kawakami signed into effect an emergency rule that established five beach encampments at county campgrounds, including Lucy Wright Park, Salt Pond Beach Park, Anahola Beach Park, ‘Anini Beach Park and Lydgate Park.

That first month, 254 camping permits were issued across the parks, and the number of permits remained fairly steady across the past nine months. In February, that number was 233, and at its peak in July, 275 permits were issued….

By the first camp closure date, March 31 for both ‘Anini and Anahola beach parks, the county is hoping to have offered all houseless residents the vaccine through joint efforts by the state Department of Health, Ho‘ola Lahui and Malama Pono Health Services, county Managing Director Michael Dahilig said.

Camping permits at Lucy Wright will end April 30, May 31 at Lydgate, and June 30 at Salt Pond….

The month-long closure between houseless living quarters and recreational use will be used for site cleanup, maintenance and facility repairs that are to be determined, Porter said.

“We anticipate major ground-clearing, painting, potential plumbing and fixture replacements,” Porter said….

(These homeless tent cities have done nothing to force the homeless into shelter.  At the end they are dispersed back to living in the jungle and stealing your copper to buy meth.)

read … Useless Exercise

Hawaii commercial investment sales drop by half in 2020

PBN: … Commercial real estate sales in Hawaii dropped by more than 50% in 2020 to just under $1.2 billion, from $2.6 billion in 2019, as Mainland and international investors put on the brakes, according to the commercial investment report from Colliers International Hawaii.

The $1.19 billion in sales in 2020 was a third of 2018’s record high of $5.2 billion in investment sales and the lowest sales volume since the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, the report said.

Colliers noted that while the three sources of buyers — local, Mainland and international — each cut back on acquisitions in 2020, “the most shocking was the 88.7% and 94% decline in sales activity among U.S. domestic and international investors, respectively.”

Colliers said local investment sales volume exceeded Mainland investors for the first time in a decade. The number of total investment transactions dropped 34.6% to 206 deals, from 315 transactions in 2019 — and 176 of those, or 85%, were local investors.

International investment, which had grown over the past decade, dropped to just $11.7 million in 2020, compared to a high of $1.47 billion in 2015.

The pandemic’s greatest effect was felt in the resort category ….

read … Hawaii commercial investment sales drop by half in 2020

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