COVID: UH Rescinds Return To Work Requirement
Special Land and Development Fund, Revisited
Rail News: ‘Documentary Filmmaking’ is a Great Way to Receive Cash Legally
Shapiro: … As public confidence in the $12.5 billion Oahu rail debacle sinks ever lower, chaos abounds at the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.
HART board Chairman Tobias Martyn resigned this month after questions about whether his company benefited from the sale of city rail bonds and his role in an aborted $1 million consulting contract for Colleen Hanabusa, in which bidding appeared rigged in her favor.
The political veteran Hanabusa is scheduled to join the volunteer HART board this week after being appointed by Mayor Rick Blangiardi in a face-saving move to defuse the contract controversy, leaving the agency nervous about the sharp elbows she displayed in a previous term.
Now the City Council is making the bad situation worse by dismissing HART board member Joe Uno, a construction cost estimator who’s earned public respect for his independence and straight talk, and moving to replace him with Anthony Aalto, a filmmaker with questionable qualifications and objectivity….
as Oahu Sierra Club chairman, Aalto was key to the group’s early decision to support rail, highly controversial among environmentalists.
Big rail boosters such as Pacific Resource Partnership, Stanford Carr Development and First Hawaiian Bank liked his rail movie well enough that they became major financial contributors to his next film, on homelessness, “No Room in Paradise.”
Blangiardi, then general manager of Hawaii News Now, was a big supporter of this film and broadcast both the rail and homelessness documentaries on his stations.
Blangiardi was also a booster and fundraiser for Aalto’s latest film, “A Climate for Change,” which received a $135,000 grant from the Legislature and contributions from 26 local corporate and institutional sponsors — including the Carpenters Union, a leading lobbyist for full rail build-out.
Aalto’s business and financial ties to key rail interests and political figures would seem to run afoul of the Council’s own policy — cited in its resolution nominating Aalto — that HART directors “be free of actual or potential conflicts of interest.”…
Aalto simply owes too much to business and political benefactors with big stakes in rail. With his appointment, the Council sends the wrong message at the wrong time to a public reeling from rail’s corruption….
CB: Lights, Camera, Aalto!
read … Honolulu City Council’s new rail board nominee owes key rail interests
Souki’s Revenge: UH Profs Target Ethics Commissioner who Investigated Souki’s Sex Harassment
SA: … Earlier this month, Gov. David Ige nominated Daniel Gluck of the state Ethics Commission to the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA), the second-highest court in Hawaii, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding the Senate confirmation hearings on Tuesday. We are concerned about this appointment in the context of a larger pattern of racial and gender inequality….
REALITY: This is just Joe Souki's revenge on Gluck for the 2018 Ethics Comm investigation which forced Souki out of office over allegations of sex harassment. So we go from sex harassment to racism dressed up in some bogus pseudointellectual gibberish from UH Manoa….
News Release July 21, 2021: House Native Hawaiian Caucus Asks Governor Ige to Withdraw Nominee for Intermediate Court of Appeals
2018: After Souki and Hee--How Long Until Legislature’s Four Secret Sex Harassers Are Exposed?
read … Column: Judiciary should reflect Hawaii’s diversity
$435K Beamer: OHA ‘Beneficiary’ Pushes ‘Circular Economy’
CB: … Following the principles of aloha aina — respect, reverence, justice — will be instrumental to our well-being in the years ahead ….
(Be sure to read the moronic comments on this story from all the ‘enlightened’ fools who are buying this pablum.)
Reality: OHA Procurement Violations: Crabbe, Lindsey and the $435K Beamer
read … Give, Take, Regenerate: A Circular Economy Is Vital To Hawaii's Future
50% of Hawaii Food Stamps are Fraudulent
CB: …More than 200,000 people are receiving food stamps in Hawaii, a historic high, and the program has grown steadily each month this year despite a recent decline in the unemployment rate.
It’s a reflection of how food insecurity continues to be a problem in Hawaii as the pandemic drags on, advocates say (without laughing)….
(Actually the increase is nearly 100% fraud and Civil Beat is writing this article in a way designed to keep you from figuring this out. Fortunately, you are reading Hawai’i Free Press.)
rules for safety net programs that were relaxed during the pandemic are now being re-instituted (and so the fraudsters are going to lose their foodstamps. Here’s how.) ….
Food stamp participation could drop now that the federal rules requiring states and counties to ensure that people who are enrolled are actually eligible went back into place on July 1. The state has since sent thousands of letters to families asking them to prove they're still eligible for the program.
… So far, relatively few people have replied to the state's efforts to recertify their eligibility to receive food stamps, even after the state worked on a media campaign to try to get people to respond. Donohoe said just over 50% of people to whom the state sent recertification requests replied….
In a pre-pandemic world, 80% would….
(DO THE MATH: 205,282 SNAP recipients in June 1, 2021 up from 153,047 on March 1, 2020 153 x .80 = 122K legit and 21K fraudulent pre pandemic 205 x .51 = 105K legit and 100K fraudulent now. So the COVID increase in food stamp usage is 100% fraud.)
read … Why Are More People Than Ever Receiving Food Stamps In Hawaii?
Brace for next year’s Hawaii gubernatorial race, with prominent candidates already up and running
Borreca: … Almost one year from today, July 26, 2022, to be exact, Hawaii’s election office will start mailing out ballots for the 2022 primary election races…..
An early tally of Green’s campaign bank account shows a balance of $338,894, while Caldwell’s latest report to the state Campaign Spending Commission shows he has $518,461. Both reports are expected to be updated next month.
Former Hawaii first lady Vicky Cayetano has already said she wants to be governor and is in the process of putting together a campaign. She has not yet reported any campaign fundraising or expenditure figures.
The Democratic pair appear to be running with completely different strategies. So far, Caldwell is running a low-profile campaign based on fundraising and organizing with various power groups, developers, labor entities and businesses that have supported him in the past. Another group of political supporters includes City Hall appointees and directors. Now that Caldwell is out of office, it is an open question if department directors and deputies will keep up their political donation loyalty….
As quietly as Caldwell is running his campaign, Green is loudly hosting an open campaign with almost daily pronouncements and public statements. The flow of publicity is based on his position as an active member of the state administration and his background as an emergency room physician fighting the COVID-19 virus….
read … Brace for next year’s Hawaii gubernatorial race, with prominent candidates already up and running
Kauai Council moving forward with county’s own 3% TAT
TGI: … The Kaua‘i County Council is putting support behind the administration’s request to implement a 3% county transient accommodations tax.
Bill No. 2829, which would allow the administration to establish this tax, passed at its first hearing last Wednesday, with councilmembers in favor of finding ways to fill the roughly $15 million per year the state was expected to give the county in TAT revenues.
State House Bill 862, now Act 1 of the 2021 special session, eliminated the distribution of TAT revenues to the counties, and allows counties at their discretion to create their own visitor-accommodation tax of up to 3%….
Officials suggested that the administration would like to see the tax up and running by Oct. 1.
County Finance Department Director Reiko Matsuyama projected that to break even, the county would need to charge between 2.3% and 2.4%.
This proposed bill establishes a 3% TAT on all gross rentals, gross-rental proceeds and fair-market rental value considered taxable to be collected each month. The proposed bill also applies to visitor brokers, travel agencies and tour packagers who arrange transient accommodations at noncommissioned contracted rates, the bill states.
In a previously reported projection, per every 1% TAT increase, the county would see about $6 million in revenue….
read … Council moving forward with county’s own 3% TAT
‘Asynchronous’ Distance learning will be offered at some BI schools
HTH: … All but two of those schools are offering asynchronous distance learning, meaning the teacher of record only grades while a responsible adult at home facilitates learning.
At Naalehu Elementary, teachers will provide instruction and learning will be synchronous or asynchronous, and at Waiakea Intermediate, teachers will provide synchronous instruction 75% of the time or more….
According to the DOE, the department will partner with some complex areas, including Hilo-Waiakea, to offer distance learning options where demand or capacity may be low….
“Principals have been and continue to be the ones working with parents who have concerns about in-person learning,” said Kanehailua….
read … Distance learning will be offered at some BI schools
Coco Palms Auction: 10% of Kauai residents Sign Petition Demanding Site be Leveled to the Ground and Returned to Nature
TGI: … In less than 15 days, over 10% of Kaua‘i residents have signed a petition opposing new resort development at the site of the former Coco Palms Resort.
Mayor Derek Kawakami issued a statement to the I Ola Wailuanui Working Group on Friday, stating in part, “There is a growing sentiment from our residents that the site not be returned to a resort, but instead become a community gathering place, such as a park with agricultural and cultural elements.”
Kawakami went on to say, “We will work with the new owners to ensure that whatever becomes of the property, we honor the sacred nature of this site and the wishes of our community.”
TGI: HOOSER: Money needed for activists to gain control of Coco Palms site
read … Local preservation group prepares for Coco Palms auction
Hawaii’s Safe Travels program will likely stay in place through 2021
SA: … Gov. David Ige has taken flak for insisting that Safe Travels, the nation’s strictest traveler entry program, which is costing the state about $3 million a month, needs to run until at least 70% of Hawaii’s entire population is vaccinated against COVID-19.
Given the vaccines have not been approved for children under age 12, the benchmark is really 82% of those eligible for immunization. That already seemed a lofty goal, but two Hawaii epidemiologists say that target is now not likely high enough to prevent spread of the highly transmissible delta variant.
“No, I don’t believe that’s a safe benchmark anymore,” said Dr. Tim Brown, an infectious disease modeler and senior fellow at the East-West Center. “It actually would have been a safe benchmark probably for the virus last year. It was low enough, effectively, at that point.
“The problem is the more infectious the virus is, the higher the level of protection needed to reach so-called herd immunity.” ….
read … Hawaii’s Safe Travels program will likely stay in place through 2021
The Heat Is Especially Dangerous For Honolulu’s Homeless--So Lets Plant trees Instead of Forcing them into Shelters
CB: … Honolulu wants to plant 100,000 trees in the next few years to help provide shelter from rising temperatures and a growing urban heat island….
Ignore This: A Model for Hawaii: Federal Judge Orders Los Angeles to Clear Skid Row
read … Keep the Homeless on the Streets
Corona Virus News: