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Friday, June 12, 2020
June 12, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:31 PM :: 914 Views

Kamehameha: The Founding of the Hawaiian Kingdom

Constitutional Law and States of Emergency: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hearing Set for New Administrative Rules for Hawaii Elections

COVID Count: 15 new cases--10 in one family

Facial Recognition A Minefield, Could Evolve into Compulsory Program 

KHON: … When a person says, ‘facial recognition technology’ some imagine the government tracing and tracking people – -their photo or images linked to outside agencies, their information being shared. While it can be used in that way, Sakahara said DOT will only use it to identify someone with a temperature over 100.4 degrees.

“If anybody has a fever, that is when the facial recognition technology will just take a picture to be able to see that person. And as they walk through the area, the employee will be able to identify them, pull them aside and start that medical assessment,” Sakahara explained.

“That picture would not be shared with any outside agencies. That picture would only be used inside the airport, in that instance, and then it would be completely purged within 30 minutes of having taken it…Other information would not be known . We wouldn’t even know the person’s name.”

Attorney Loretta Sheehan said it is legal.

“With those limitations, it remains constitutional…We expose our face to the public every single day. So there’s no constitutional violation with cameras recording people in a public place.”

But Sheehan said that if the state makes any changes, then there could be a problem.

“Then it is a minefield,” Sheehan said. “Cause then you have to show that, under a strict scrutiny standard, you have to show that the governmental interest is compelling enough and narrowly tailored enough in preventing or reducing death and you have to weigh that against a person’s liberty interest in traveling the way they want to.”

KHON: “Could it change? Could (the state) decide down the road, yes, we’re putting this in and it evolve into something else?”

“Sure,” Sheehan said. “It could, if it evolved into a compulsory program where you have to test, then you have some huge problems. Then you’ve got some constitutional problems. Cause does your government get to tell you that you have to take a test that you don’t want to take cause they want to protect you and the people around you?”

Attorney Jeff Portnoy said using facial recognition technology in Hawaii should’t be taken lightly.

“Russia and China just invoked it. But this is a democracy and we have the Hawaii Constitution that guarantees an individual’s right to privacy…Until people can see exactly what the state intends to do, people should not blanketly just say, fine, facial recognition is fine, because as I say it has the potential for abuse.”

The state will begin its pilot program testing facial recognition and thermal scanning technology next week at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Sakahara said there are five different companies vying for the contract. The state will start implementing the thermal scanner program at the airport by mid-July….

SA: Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s group (again) recommends screening travelers for the coronavirus

Cataluna: A timeline for Hawaii to return to normal doesn’t exist

SA Editorial: Make Hawaii’s quarantine rules more effective

read … Attorneys say plans to use facial recognition technology at airport do not violate privacy laws

Hawaii’s largest daily newspaper cutting nearly 30 newsroom staff

HNN: … Reporter Kristen Consillio confirmed the news on Friday in a post on her Facebook page. She said the layoffs are set to happen at the end of the month.

“That means fewer journalists keeping the ‘powers that be’ in check, less questioning of authority, fewer answers to your burning questions and even more substandard information disseminated to the public,” Consillio wrote.

The layoffs come after the company eliminated its Saturday print edition and promoted its digital version after informing its subscribers that the coronavirus crisis — mixed with changes in the way readers consume news — was placing an extraordinary strain on the newspaper’s financial operations…. 

PBN: Hawaii's largest daily newspaper may lay off half its newsroom staff

P: Hawaii’s biggest daily newspaper is cutting 29 jobs

read … Hawaii’s largest daily newspaper cutting nearly 30 newsroom staff

Stop verbal, physical attacks on police

HTH: … Just looking at our own little community, we can see the rise in disrespect and violence being perpetrated against our police officers.

Most recently, the senseless death in 2018 of Officer Bronson Kaliloa on our island, and the deaths of Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama earlier this year on Oahu, highlight the rise in violence against police officers and the dangers our officers face every day as they seek to honor their oath to protect our citizens.

To understand the rise in officer-involved shootings, we need to understand the rise in violent crimes. For the most part, the rise in numbers of our officers having to discharge their weapons has to do with the rise in violent acts against them.

Face it, our officers are dealing with the most dangerous criminals in our community, and those individuals have no protocols they have to observe, but officers have to ensure they do not use excessive force against them.

I have served as a police chaplain for the past 13 years and have firsthand exposure to their jobs, training and culture. I have been on ride-alongs where I saw the officers having to use force in the course of doing their jobs.

If I wasn’t aware of the whole incident from beginning to end, I might have thought they were being unnecessarily rough in their handling of a person….

read … Stop verbal, physical attacks on police

How Effective Is Hawaii’s Key Court-Sanctioned Drug Treatment Program?

CB: … The state agencies that fund Sand Island Treatment Center focus on how many defendants complete an initial phase of treatment. But only about 1/3 complete the full two-year program….

read … How Effective Is Hawaii’s Key Court-Sanctioned Drug Treatment Program?

Thanks to Bookkeepers, Young Brothers demanding $25M Cash and 25% Rate Hike 

PBN: … PBN previously reported that Young Brothers requested $25 million in CARES Act assistance from the state Legislature and PUC to alleviate growing losses in revenue during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ana said that the pandemic "magnified the pre-existing financial challenges" the company was already facing, as it put greater pressure on areas of its business that have been operating at non compensatory levels for many years.

In a letter filed Tuesday, the Consumer Advocate stated that since the company had financial distress before the pandemic, Young Brothers "should not be expecting an infusion of $25 million and should be developing a more robust portfolio of contingency."

The Consumer Advocate also said that other measures, such as a similar management audit that was conducted of Hawaiian Electric, should be considered by the commission as tool to identify potential management, organizational, and process changes that can reduce costs going forward….

(Too bad the Superferry is gone….)

HTH: Young Brothers provides PUC update; suspension of LCL-mix cargo shipping deferred for now 

SA Column: Give Young Brothers a chance to put its proposals to the test

SA: Bankruptcy?  Ana told the commission that the $25 million requested from federal COVID-19 aid for state use would cover company losses through early next year. 

Several requests for information submitted to the company Monday were not immediately addressed, including a request for all communications with Saltchuk regarding a shutdown, and whether Young Brothers has evaluated restructuring in bankruptcy.

James Griffin, commission chairman, raised the issue of whether Young Brothers is fit to provide the public service of carrying interisland goods under state regulations given that the firm suffered losses after negotiating two rate increases in recent years aimed at providing a reasonable financial return.

“We have granted rate increases based on your projections, with a sufficient level of profitability that your company projected,” Griffin said. “Is there a disagreement on that?”

Jay Ana, who was promoted to lead Young Brothers as president in January, said he couldn’t respond because he wasn’t involved in those prior rate cases….

SA: Q&A with Jay Ana, president of Young Brothers, on COVID-19 challenge

Related: Debunked: YB Demands $25M COVID Relief on Top of Rate Hike

read … Young Brothers could see cash deficit as early as July

“Were Hawaii’s lockdowns worth it?”

PBN: … My thanks to Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and its president, Dr. Keli‘i Akina, for featuring me in a one-hour webcast last Friday. You can see the interview in its entirety, or read a transcript, at grassrootinstitute.org, or bizj.us/1q4fly.

As I said in the interview, when I saw Grassroot’s title for the hour, “Were Hawaii’s lockdowns worth it?” I winced a bit, but went with it. The question is one a lot of people have been asking, and will continue to ask for probably years to come. The pain of the question is, you can’t answer with any level of skepticism about the policy response without sounding like you don’t care if people get sick or die. So we talked about a point I’ve been trying to make for months now, that there were, and will continue to be, health risks and deaths that attach specifically to the way in which government responds to the pandemic to save lives.

Public health officials are starting to remember this. Just this week, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser carried warnings from the state Department of Health that people should get over their fear of the coronavirus and start going back to their doctors before they get sick or neglect the many chronic diseases that already plagued Hawaii. Well, who made people afraid to see their doctors in the first place? …

KITV: Ahi Assassins closing doors Sunday

HNN: Unable to fill their dining rooms, several popular restaurants call it quits

read … Pupu Platter 215: Hawaii's lockdown reverberations

City Finally Finds A Replacement To Join The HART Board

CB: … The city appears to have found someone new for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board, enabling the member who’s been most critical of the project’s handling fo finally step down.

Joseph Uno, founder of a local cost-engineering and estimating firm, will be considered for the Honolulu City Council’s latest nomination to the rail board at Tuesday’s Executive Matters and Legal Affairs meeting.

If he’s approved, Uno will replace John Henry Felix, who announced in January that he would resign from the board once his replacement was found. Felix cited medical treatments along with corporate and community commitments for stepping down. His term was slated to end in 2021….

read … City Finally Finds A Replacement To Join The HART Board

Council Tinkers With Affordable Housing Rules (again)

CB: … In 2019, the Honolulu City Council passed a bill for a pilot program to build affordable housing units in underdeveloped areas of Honolulu. But after nine months, only two developers had applied to the program. Neither application progressed and zero units were built.

“We found that there were certain provisions within the bill that discouraged small landowners and lenders from participating in the pilot program,” District 9 Councilmember Ron Menor said. “And one of the bigger problems was the rent caps.”

To try and fix the program, Menor introduced Bill 60, which was signed into law by Mayor Kirk Caldwell on June 4. The new bill removes some of the more “problematic” portions of the earlier bill.

The biggest change is switching from rent caps that lasted indefinitely, to limits on rental prices for 15 years…..

read … City Takes Steps To Fix Affordable Housing Program

MCCC population trimmed 41 percent during COVID-19

MN: … Reductions occurred as a result of police departments not issuing certain bench warrants, prosecutors not filing new charges for less serious offenses and not requiring bail for some people charged with crimes, according to a report from Foley.

Some nonviolent inmates were released through agreements between prosecutors and defense attorneys or by judges’ decisions to reduce or temporarily suspend jail sentences.

At the Maui Community Correctional Center, the inmate population decreased from 450 on March 2 to 264 in late May, Guzman said, for a 41 percent decrease.

He estimated that 78 to 100 inmates were released as part of the effort ordered by the Supreme Court. Others finished serving their sentenced to be released.

The Wailuku jail population was below its operational capacity of 301 but above its design capacity of 209.

Guzman said the prosecutor’s office couldn’t agree to releasing another 55 inmates to reach the point of design capacity at the jail.

“That means releasing some of the most hardened criminals into the community,” he said….

read … MCCC population trimmed 41 percent during COVID-19

Cult leader among 21 arrested in Puna for violating quarantine order

HTH: … Twenty, all from out of state, were taken into custody on suspicion of violating the emergency 14-day travel quarantine order.

The other, 42-year-old Tylea Fuhrmann of Mountain View, is a resident of the property where Wednesday’s arrests occurred. Her booking appeared as “prohibited acts emergency management.”

“It’s my understanding that most of them flew in on June 7 or 8. I don’t have 100% confirmation on all of them,” Amon-Wilkins said. “We don’t have all the records from the proper authorities to document … mainland incoming passengers. We’re working on that.”

Social media posts have claimed that members of the “Carbon Nation” are on the Big Island. The group is referred to in numerous media accounts as a cult that has been kicked out of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.

Police confirmed the group’s leader, Eligio Lee Bishop, a 38-year-old self-professed cult leader known as “Nature Boy,” was among those arrested Thursday in HPP, but didn’t give the Tribune-Herald the names of the others arrested on the second day.

According to a Dec. 6, 2019, story in the Costa Rica Star, Bishop refers to himself as “God,” and the group “believes in nudism, polygamy, and refraining from bathing.”

The Costa Rica news outlet’s story also said Bishop “allegedly requires cult members to surrender all their money, credit cards, bank accounts, and pin numbers, in order to worship with the group.”…

NYP: The report said Bishop had previous addresses in Atlanta and New Jersey and has worked as a model, stripper, prostitute and barber.  His rap sheet includes arrests for forcible entry in Georgia in 2009 and theft and aggravated battery in 2011, CBC News reported.

CR Star: “At the time of his capture, Bishop was wanted internationally for crimes of sexual abuse and pedophilia

KITV: Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers received multiple tips about a group known on social media as "Carbon Nation"

read … Cult leader among 21 arrested in Puna for violating quarantine order

Effort to dismiss hotel hearings officer fails

MN: … Groups intervening on Grand Wailea project said officer has not been fair….

Hawai'i Supreme Court Orders Maui Planning Commission To Answer Petition on Media Access

Pandemic no excuse for government hostility to sunshine laws

Sierra Club: Maui Mayor Exploits Corona Emergency Powers to Fast-Track Shoreline Development

read … Effort to dismiss hotel hearings officer fails

Pandering to Russian-backed Anti 5G Conspiracy Nuts, Hawaii Council Illegally Obstructs 4G Installers

HTH: … The Hawaii County Council last week put the brakes on a fast-tracked resolution to allow AT&T to add the so-called “small cell” technology to four poles in Kona and two in Hilo. The company proposes 11 4G LTE sites for county poles, some of which are owned by Hawaiian Electric Co. or are in state rights of way….

The delaying action followed concerns from council members that a master agreement would allow the company to upgrade from its current plans for 4G LTE to 5G, which many of their constituents oppose.

“I feel a level of caution in the need to do a little more due diligence and research so we are more mindful of what we’re setting ourselves up for and most predominately because of the nature of 5G and many of the concerns in our community, whether they are founded or not, 5G technology is raising a lot of red flags in a lot of communities,” said Kona Councilwoman Rebecca Villegas.

She acknowledged the need for better access to the internet and faster speeds, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, when students and businesses are doing so much more online.

“It just seems like another can of worms and it behooves us to do a little more research about it,” Villegas said.

Puna Councilman Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder agreed.

“I’m a little surprised by this resolution. I think it looks benign, but I don’t think it is benign,” Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder said. “Although I’m sure these technologies will be deemed safe, a large part of the world is (few conspiracy nuts backed by Russia are) saying they’re not safe as we step into new technologies that we really haven’t played with before. And a lot of things that we thought safe in the past have turned out to not be safe.”

The county probably has very little recourse, said Deputy Corporation Counsel Danny Patel. Small cell equipment is regulated by the Federal Communication Commission and state laws, he said, and failing to approve the resolution could lead to lawsuits.

“Federal regulations and state legislation is clear,” Patel said, “our hands are bound by that.”…

read … AT&T seeks use of county poles for faster data speeds

A growing number of missing children on the Big Island is causing concern

KITV: … According to the Hawaii County Police Department's website, most of the kids who have gone missing over these past few months were last seen in Hilo or Puna.

"My hope is that we as a community can open this conversation. It's not an easy subject but as a parent of three children I worry to death that there's something going on in our communities that we're not aware of and we need to get in front of it and start talking," Hawaii County Councilmember Matt Kaneali'i-Kleinfelder said….

HTH: Increase in missing children causes concern

read … A growing number of missing children on the Big Island is causing concern

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