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Sunday, May 17, 2020
May 17, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:39 PM :: 441 Views

Hawaii Wastes Thousands of COVID Testing Opportunities Every Day

Government in the Darkness

Mayor Authorizes Drive-in Church Services

Could Hawaii go bankrupt?

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted May 16, 2020

COVID Count: One New Case out of 369 Tests

Political Divisiveness Fosters Virus Fears

Shapiro: … The biggest fallacy in the increasingly bitter battle over the coronavirus response is that public health and economic health are competing interests.

They are one and the same. If people keep becoming infected and dying of COVID-19 by the tens of thousands, there’s no chance of sustained economic recovery. If we can’t get the economy started, we’ll soon run out of resources — financial and emotional — to protect the public health.

The trick is restarting the economy in a measured and responsible way that doesn’t bring deadly new waves of the pandemic.

It’s a challenge that requires trust and coordination among all, qualities that seem sadly beyond our reach in this time of extreme partisanship and tribalism.

In Hawaii, we’ve done a good job of relatively quickly reducing the new COVID-19 case count to nearly zero because of our island isolation and ability to limit people coming in.

But as we move to the next phase of restarting the economy, the political ambitions and factional animosities of local government leaders are starting to show as they snidely snipe at one another.

Public confusion and anxiety grow daily as our governor, Legislature, county leaders and congressional delegates — all Democrats or controlled by them — appear to circle in separate orbits…..

Which brings us to another fallacy — that it’s up to the president or governors to decide when the economy reopens.

The people have the ultimate say on whether they feel safe coming out of isolation to participate in the economy, which polls say a sizable majority don’t. We can’t be forced to go to restaurants, malls and movies or get on airplanes when we don’t feel safe.

If political leaders don’t stop stoking divisions instead of building trust for reopening, we face a nightmare scenario of not enough reopening to rekindle the economy, but plenty enough to rekindle the virus….

Cataluna: Confusion reigns, and government sets the tone

read … Politicians promote division over unity at their peril — and ours

COVID is Opportunity for Illegal ‘Charitable’ Campaign Activities

COVID-19 restrictions seen as opportunity to eliminate vacation rentals

SA: … Government regulations combined with softening travel demand ultimately might cause Hawaii’s vacation rental industry to shrink. Many owners don’t have the deep pockets of hotel corporations or access to as many government bailouts.

Some vacation rental properties already are in forbearance, and some will move into short sales and foreclosures, which will impact Hawaii real estate. Distressed properties could include businesses or homes where the owner rents out a portion of it to subsidize high living costs. Some owner-occupied homes also might have been leveraged to buy investment properties….

read … COVID-19 restrictions imperil Hawaii vacation rentals

UH Prof: ‘Bring Tourism Down’ Use COVID as Excuse for Massive Hotel tax Hike

CB: … The state and its counties do have one power that can reduce tourism to manageable levels: the power to tax.

The hotel tax should be raised — a lot. As long as the pandemic is a threat, there should be a dramatic increase in the hotel tax. Not only will this slow tourism to the islands, it will raise revenue, especially since the only viable alternative that I see is a blanket quarantine. Once the pandemic subsides, the tax can be lowered….

Meanwhile: California man arrested after sharing Hawaii quarantine order violations on social media

read … An elitist who doesn’t care if you have to leave Hawaii because he destroyed your job

As Hawaii visitor counts rise, officials weigh making residents complicit if their guests violate quarantine order

SA: … Hawaii residents, who are hosting visitors, may soon have to sign a document making them complicit if the visitor violates the state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine order.

That’s just one of the ideas that the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 is considering to close quarantine loopholes, state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D-Mililani Mauka, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village) said today. There’s also talk of expanding emergency orders to include a ban on Turo and similar businesses that allow online hosts to rent personal vehicles much like Airbnb allows hosts to rent their personal homes, Dela Cruz said. …

read … As Hawaii visitor counts rise, officials weigh making residents complicit if their guests violate quarantine order

Hawaii pension fund suffers worst quarterly loss since 2002

SA: … The state Employees’ Retirement System investments tumbled 9.5% and the fund’s assets, which include contributions and distributions, shrank by nearly $1.8 billion, to $16.2 billion, according to a report presented virtually to ERS trustees Tuesday by investment adviser Meketa Investment Group.

It was the largest percentage drop for investments since the third quarter of 2002, when the fund lost 9.7%, and the fourth-largest decline since the third quarter of 1990, when it fell 7.6%….

read … Hawaii pension fund suffers worst quarterly loss since 2002

$1B Hawaii budget hole might avoid pay cuts for now, but won’t allow for much growth of Government

Borreca: … The tentative plan is to somehow get through the next two years without bouncing state checks. …

The state was supposed to collect 4% more during the next fiscal year. Instead, the State Council on Revenues, because of the COVID-19 depression, now predicts zero growth, meaning that the state will have about $225 million less in revenues than expected, according to calculations by the state Senate….

You are not going to like this plan unless you are the sort who, by reflex, says, “I’ll take less, give me a smaller plate.”… 

(A smaller plate of Hawaii state gov’t?  Great idea!)

read … $1B Hawaii budget hole might avoid pay cuts for now, but won’t allow for much growth

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