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December 4, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:18 PM :: 1522 Views

Omicron Detected in Hawaii--plus three more cases suspected 

Makahiki Stargazing Festival

Hawaii Is No Paradise if You Need Medical Care

WSJ: … High taxes contribute to a shortage of doctors while certificate-of-need laws crimp capacity ….

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, the only thing Hawaii had going for it was that it could strictly control who came and went. The Aloha State, however, was ill-prepared to handle the increased burden on its medical system, and authorities used that as an excuse to impose lockdowns on all economic and social activity—to “flatten the curve” and prevent excess demand at local hospitals….

GRIH: Akina writes in Wall Street Journal about ways to fix Hawaii healthcare

Related: Hawaii is the ‘most hostile health environment to practice in,’ physician says

read … Hawaii Is No Paradise if You Need Medical Care

Rail Bailout Comes at Expense of Other City Operations

SA Editorial: … Despite fuzzy financial information on how rail plans to cover its $2 billion construction shortfall, the City Council this week approved a new 3% Oahu transient accommodations tax (TAT), with a sizable chunk of the annual take going to the embattled $11.4 billion transit project. Based on July estimates, the new TAT would fetch an annual $86 million — with 33% of those revenues going to rail for the first two years (about $28 million annually), then a full 50% each year thereafter ($43 million). The city’s general fund would get 58% of the TAT in each of the first two years, then 42% in subsequent years; about 8% annually would go into a special fund for “natural resources,” including parks and beaches. Annual take will fluctuate, of course, based on tourists’ lodging needs; Oahu’s new 3% TAT will be on top of the state’s 10.25% hotel room tax.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi is poised to approve the new TAT — but it is frustrating that the current rush to devote more millions for rail comes before the public has gotten details on the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s plan to cover the construction shortfall. In order to not lose pledged federal funds, HART wants to show federal transit officials that it has money commitments from the city….

giving over so much of Oahu’s TAT without better fiscal information to the public is akin to throwing good money after bad….

HART will soon be receiving tens of millions more dollars from the Oahu TAT, on top of its normal funding mechanisms via an Oahu general excise tax surcharge and a cut of the statewide TAT. That new revenue will be coming at the expense of other crucial city operations, many with better track records of using funds more wisely….

RELATED: Lost Opportunity: Schatz Secures Extension Of $493 Million Honolulu Rail Funding Grant In Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

read … More transient accommodations tax money for Oahu’s rail

State Sen. Fevella asks Gov. David Ige to address Hawaii prison shortages

SA: … A state lawmaker is asking Gov. David Ige to consider issuing an emergency proclamation and applying for federal funds to fill vacant correctional officer positions at Hawaii prisons.

Senate Minority Leader Kurt Fevella sent a letter to Ige asking the governor to consider issuing an emergency proclamation that would make Hawaii eligible to apply for American Recovery Plan Act funds or other sources of federal money. The federal resources would be used to pay for adult correctional officers positions at Halawa, Waiawa, Kulana Correctional Facilities and the Women’s Community Correctional Center.

“During my site visit on Monday, November 29, 2021, only 58 of the 91 correctional officers required for the morning shift at Halawa Correctional Facility were at work, leaving 33 positions vacant or on leave,” Fevella said in the letter. “This situation presents a potentially dangerous situation for exhausted correctional officers who are not at the top of their game when interacting with prison inmates, but also a probable risk to the general public on our roads and highways.”  ….

HNN: Hawaii Island police search for inmate who escaped from HCCC

read … State Sen. Fevella asks Gov. David Ige to address Hawaii prison shortages

Hawaii’s congressional delegation wants Gov. Ige to request a presidential emergency declaration over Red Hill

SA: … Hawaii’s four congressional delegates want Gov. David Ige to request a presidential emergency declaration over the Red Hill contaminated water crisis.

In a joint message, U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono and Reps. Ed Case and Kai Kahele, all Democrats, said it is “clear that the Navy has failed to manage its fuel operations, including Red Hill, to a standard that protects the health and safety of the people of Hawaii.” ….

In a statement issued Thursday, Ige said, “The announcement that a petroleum product has been detected in water samples from the Navy Water System is deeply disturbing. Military families are members of our community. I’m concerned for the health and safety of those living in the affected areas and understand their need for timely and accurate information.”

Ige also “urged the Navy to conduct a thorough investigation immediately and to take every precaution necessary to keep the community safe. I’ve also ordered the State Department of Health to continue independent testing and to be prepared to take immediate action to protect our drinking water.”…

read … Hawaii’s congressional delegation wants Gov. Ige to request a presidential emergency declaration over Red Hill

BWS shuts down its Halawa shaft as a precaution following Navy water system contamination

KHON: … The Honolulu Board of Water Supply has shut down one of Oahu’s major sources of drinking water, the Halawa shaft, over concerns of contamination at the Navy’s Red Hill well.

Officials also call the Navy’s test results unusual and want more details on how testing was done.

The Halawa Shaft provides water to some 450,000 urban Honolulu residents and is less than a mile from the Red Hill Shaft, which is owned by the Navy and where petroleum compounds have been detected.

“I just want to stress this as a precaution, the Board of Water Supply as of last night, shortly after hearing the news about the Navy, we have shut down Halawa Shaft,” said Ernie Lau, manager and chief engineer at BWS.

Lau says other wells will increase production to make up the difference. He points out that Halawa and Red hill facilities draw from the same aquifers, so it’s like two straws in the same cup.

Jet fuel tanks are located above the aquifers in Red Hill and BWS has been complaining for years that this is a disaster waiting to happen. Lau held back tears as he made a plea to eliminate that risk once and for all.

“We cannot wait any longer, the water resource is precious, it’s irreplaceable, it’s pure,” said Lau.….

read … BWS shuts down its Halawa shaft as a precaution following Navy water system contamination

Lahaina Injection  Wells--What’s Next?

SA Editorial: … Maui County has decided to look forward, not back. Last month it announced that it would work to comply with court decisions and a 2015 settlement agreement reached by the litigating parties.

The settlement means the county will invest in projects that would recycle the wastewater to irrigate the dry upper slopes of West Maui. It’s hoped that the county will end its use of injection wells altogether.

“In Lahaina, the Department of Environmental Management is rehabilitating upper-elevation reservoirs so that the water can be pumped and stored there for use on the slopes,” the county said in a press release. “This can provide water for irrigation as well as establish greenbelts for fire protection.”

The cost of this effort could reach $2.5 million or more. But it’s the wiser option….

read … End of Maui sewer battle

Supreme Court Disallows Evidence of Kahala Beach Stabbing

HLN: … Erik Willis was indicted for attempted murder in the second degree. Willis moved to suppress evidence gathered by the police when they went into his house and arrested him without a warrant. The police suspected Willis of repeatedly stabbing a teenager without provocation on a beach in Kahala. They surveilled him for a day and a half and concluded they had probable cause to make the arrest.

The officers went into his house to arrest him without a search or arrest warrant. When they went inside, they saw shoes and a shirt that matched the description from an eyewitness to the stabbing. The circuit court, the Hon. Judge Kevin Souza presiding, granted the motion and excluded evidence of the shoes, shirt, and Willis’s statements. The prosecution appealed and the case was transferred to the HSC….

The HSC agreed that there were no exigent circumstances here. It rejected the prosecution’s argument that the police needed to act quickly because Willis was a dangerous person who attacked a woman lying on the beach….

read … No Warrant, No Exigency, No Evidence

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