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Thursday, July 29, 2021
July 29, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:51 PM :: 996 Views

Court of Appeals: Senate Judiciary Ctte Recommends Rejecting ACLU Leader due to Race

UH Med School to Transfer 100 Employees to Queen's Hospital

Hawaiian Electric collecting feedback on shared solar program for Molokai

Maui County accepting applications for First-Time Homebuyer's Down Payment Assistance Program

New policy report slices through common defenses of Jones Act 

June 2021: 791K Tourists Arrive, Spend $1.44B

‘This ain’t no joke’: Unvaccinated Puna man urges others to take COVID seriously  

HNN: … The 45 year-old Puna man was close to deciding to get a shot when the virus hit him and his family.

“I felt sick Sunday, getting fevers Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,” said Tibayan. “Tuesday through Wednesday, I couldn’t sleep. I started coughing up blood. And Wednesday morning, I decided to drive myself here.”

He made that recollection at the Hilo Medical Center, where he was hospitalized for 49 days for COVID.

Tibayan said he and his oldest son both went into urgent care and both tested positive. Meanwhile, COVID ran through nearly their entire family.

“I actually infected six out of seven of my family members,” he said. “I infected my wife, our four youngest children.”

None of them were vaccinated….

Tibayan’s stay in the hospital included 20 days in the Intensive Care Unit. He lost 57 pounds and suffered serious damage to his lungs.

“This thing took me to death’s door,” he said. “I was looking in the window, ready for walk in. That’s how bad it was. This was no joke.”…

read … ‘This ain’t no joke’: Unvaccinated Puna man urges others to take COVID seriously

Herd immunity: Hawaii at odds on including people who already got COVID-19

SoRE: … In a briefing earlier this month, DOH director Dr. Elizabeth Char told state legislators that decreasing vaccination rates will make it unlikely Hawaii will reach 70% before September.

At the briefing, Sen. Joy San Buenaventura asked if the DOH would consider individuals who previously had COVID-19 to determine when the state will reach herd immunity. She said states such as Oklahoma, who at the time was only 40% vaccinated, claimed to have reached herd immunity because the state estimated another 30% of the state had been previously infected. …

read … Herd immunity: Hawaii at odds on including people who already got COVID-19

Hawaii County to Create New Sales Tax?

HTH: … Adams said. “There’s no financial incentive to reduce waste generation.”

Other ideas discussed by the commission included increasing the tipping fee, imposing dedicated taxes for waste disposal, expanding curbside pickup and adding user fees such as the often suggested and just as often rejected pay-as-you-throw bag-tag program. A line-item on property tax statements showing the cost of waste disposal could be a way not to generate income but to educate people on the costs.

The user fee ideas have been politically unpopular and could be considered regressive as they cost proportionately more for low-income households. But they could drive home the cost of disposal, said Environmental Management Commissioner Jon Olson.

“If we collect the disposal fee at the point of purchase, this puts the consumer in the drivers seat. He knows what it costs,” Olson said. “I have no illusions. … It’s going to be a substantial challenge, but if we keep doing it the way we’re doing it, we’re going to go broke.”

(In other words: A new sales tax)

Waste Management Director Ramzi Mansour said he met with the county Finance Department about a month ago with “the idea of entertaining the legality of setting a user fee.” He said the proposal has been forwarded to county Corporation Counsel….

read … Another Sales Tax

Bill 17: DPP will Seize Illegal TVRs, Auction Them Off

SA: … Under Bill 17, if a property owner has outstanding fines over $150,000 or has failed to pay fines for five years, the building official must attach the civil fines to fees such as vehicle registration, liquor licenses or driver’s license renewal and place a lien on the property, which would allow the city to enter the foreclosure process. Currently, the DPP has discretion on fines.

The measure is on second reading and expected to be heard at a full Council meeting. The next one is scheduled for Aug. 11….

read … Coming for Your Property

Hawaii’s public school teachers return to the classroom

SA: … State Department of Education officials reported that the day came and went with few, if any, major problems at the system’s 256 schools.

But it was too early for a full accounting of staffing levels or how Hawaii’s ongoing teacher shortage would affect the system, they said.

The DOE’s teacher-vacancy rate as of December was 2.7% — or 364 vacancies.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association also reported no major issues, although union leaders did register a complaint about several schools holding faculty meetings in libraries and other tight spaces when the department’s health and safety handbook says staff meetings should be held virtually when possible.

“Teachers are worried as the (virus) numbers go up, and to cram faculty in libraries and other spaces where the windows don’t open doesn’t make sense,” said Osa Tui Jr., HSTA president….  

HSTA: Some Hawaii schools holding unsafe in-person staff meetings  

HSTA: Back-to-school message from HSTA President Osa Tui, Jr.

HNN: With some anxiety and a lot of excitement, students, educators prep for start of new school year

read … Hawaii’s public school teachers return to the classroom

HTA head: In wake of funding cut, other agencies will need to assist with tourism management

HTH: … Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO John De Fries said during a livestream Wednesday that HTA, which had its budget reduced by about 24% as a result of a bill passed this summer, will have to rely on other state and county agencies to help control a growing number of visitors.

House Bill 862 eliminated a special fund designated specially for the HTA. Without that fund, HTA will rely on an appropriation from the American Rescue Plan Act in the short term, and yearly budgetary appropriations from the state Legislature in the long term, De Fries said….

read … HTA head: In wake of funding cut, other agencies will need to assist with tourism management

Powering Past Coal Task Force Evades Sunshine Law

IM: … The Governor established the Powering Past Coal Task Force to look at the projects and programs that were approved by the Public Utilities Commission but not yet online.

What are the actual and potential choke points? Why are there delays? What can be done to bring projects online faster?

The Hawai`i State Energy Office (HSEO) posted a Powering Past Coal Task Force webpage and a Master Schedule webpage that lists the status of all projects expected to come online in the next few years on O`ahu.

O`ahu ratepayers can receive a bonus for installing a battery and operating it in a manner that benefits the grid. This will result in incentives for those who buy batteries while decreasing the odds of rolling blackouts on O`ahu in the 2022-23 timeframe.

A few people expressed disappointment that the Task Force did not operate under sunshine. …

July 20, 2021: $34M rate hike to pay rich people to get discount solar battery program

UD: 'This is starting on the right path': Hawaii sees early successes with performance-based regulation

read … Powering Past Coal on O`ahu Hits Snags, Creates Opportunities

Some Hawaii landlords expected to sell off rental units once eviction moratorium ends

KITV: … Shannon Heaven, the president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors, said the state shouldn't only be preparing for a wave of evictions, but also for a flood of rental home sales.

"We have a lot of landlords just really fed up with what's happened. They've been at a total loss of control of their own property," she said. "They can't collect rents, they can't evict these tenants, yet they're still required to pay a mortgage."

Heaven manages dozens of rental properties on Oahu.  She worries the market for rentals might get smaller.

She cited a recent national study showing 30% of landlords intend to sell their rental units when eviction moratoriums end….

Some tenants have simply refused to pay even though they've been working during the pandemic, according to Heaven….

HNN:  Overwhelmed, a Big Island healthcare worker has a public plea: Get vaccinated

read … Some Hawaii landlords expected to sell off rental units once eviction moratorium ends

Kauai Prosecutor Stepping Down For Nonprofit Gig

CB: … Kauai County Prosecutor Justin Kollar announced Wednesday that he will be leaving his county job at the end of the summer…

Kollar said he’ll be taking a job as chief of staff for Fair and Just Prosecution, an organization that according to its website “brings together newly elected local prosecutors as part of a network of leaders committed to promoting a justice system grounded in fairness, equity, compassion and fiscal responsibility.”

Kauai Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Like will take the reins of the office once Kollar leaves, according to his announcement.

The Kauai County Charter requires that a special election be held 45 days after Kollar’s official departure from his position. A general election would then be held 30 days after the primary election….  

TGI: Kaua‘i prosecutor resigning for nonprofit post

read … Kauai Prosecutor Stepping Down For Nonprofit Gig

Criminal Killed by Police After Foolishly Leaving Hawaii

8NN: … On the night of March 10, 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was hitting Las Vegas, police say Claiborne spit in an officer’s face. He was taken into custody at the Palazzo and accused of battery. Court records reveal the Clark County District Attorney’s Office declined to move forward with the case.

His attorney also confirms previous arrests for robbery, assault, making a terror threat, abusing family and felony drug charges. According to records, Claiborne was released from the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu on October 2, 2019, after being part of a plan with a corrections officer and his brother to smuggle drugs into a jail.

Claiborne’s father believes his son must have been on meth during his alleged crime rampage Tuesday.

His father and attorney also tell us he had money. He was the beneficiary of a trust fund and drove a Porsche at one point, his lawyer says…

His attorney tells us he would go back and forth between Hawaii and Las Vegas….

According to NHP, the car being driven during the chase was stolen. Trooper Micah May was putting stop sticks on the road when the suspect hit him, sending him through the windshield.

Claiborne didn’t stop until the car was rammed.

“Oh, my God!” shouted witness Ada Burns in one video.

Claiborne was shot and killed by police, and May was carried by fellow officers to a Metro helicopter and transported to UMC….  

HNN: Oahu man tied to prison drug smuggler killed in Las Vegas after high speed police chase

2014: Prison guard admits to smuggling drugs for inmates, details how he did it

read … I-Team Sources: Man suspected of hitting trooper had long criminal history

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