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Sunday, June 21, 2020
June 21, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:09 PM :: 3722 Views

Hawaii Worst Unemployment Recovery in USA

COVID Count: 14 New Cases out of 1,126 tests

COVID Count: 11 new cases out of 851 tests

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 20, 2020

‘The Jones Act isn’t just inefficient, it’s failed’

Pitfalls of the Subcontractor Deduction  

Approving Public Employee Raises Top Legislative Focus

SA: … Certainly there may be unrelated bills from the old slate that could resurface. House Bill 285, which sought to bring transparency to police disciplinary actions….

And, of course, there are negotiated public employee raises that will be awkward passing in the midst of all the private-sector economic carnage.

But the primary mission from when the Legislature reconvenes on Monday until July 10 is to spend the roughly $635 million in federal CARES Act aid that lawmakers stored in the state’s “rainy day” fund before recessing in May….

U.S. Census Bureau’s new Household Pulse Survey, which found that 59.2% of adults in Hawaii are “in households where someone had a loss in employment income since March 13,” the largest proportion in any state…

>> Leadership wants to set aside $230 million to be distributed by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to replace at least some of the federal $600 “plus-up” in additional weekly unemployment benefits.

That supplement, due to expire July 31, would be replaced from Aug. 1 through December with a $100 weekly boost….

>> $100 million in rental assistance will go to a program in the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. that will provide up to $500 monthly through December, targeting some 34,000 renters….

>> $100 million in PPE support would go to child-care centers, nonprofits, elder-care facilities, hospitals and other businesses…

read … Legislature’s focus had better be on moving fast to help the neediest

Up to 45K Hawaii renters on brink could fall into abyss after July

Borreca: …The fear is that 40,000 to 45,000 renter households will be unemployed, lose their extra $600 a week unemployment supplement, or not be receiving other rental assistance come July 31.

The predictions are that of that at-risk group, 21,500 will be at some risk of losing their housing, another 7,500 will be at “extreme risk of losing their housing.”

The grim predictions come from the state House Subcommittee on COVID & Housing (808ne.ws/3fPPdUD)….

SA: Extra help urged for Hawaii renters who face eviction due to COVID-19 pandemic

read … Up to 45K Hawaii renters on brink could fall into abyss after July

Rail: How Many Honolulu mayoral candidates will go to jail?

SA: …Hannemann defended his role with the project while several of his opponents blamed him for the jump in its costs to an estimated price tag of $9.2 billion from $5.3 billion….

“When I left City Hall, rail was a little bit under $5 billion,” Hannemann said. “Now, something happened between $5 billion and $9 billion in those 10 years I was out of office. So obviously, there’s been some managerial questions there, some oversight questions there.”…

Hanabusa, however, said Hannemann has “forgotten a lot of things.” Recent state and city audits as well as a federal investigation into rail financing made it clear that “they don’t know really what happened” with roughly $700 million in expenditures made during the early years of the project….

Without naming them, Hannemann pointed out that Councilwoman Kym Pine voted to give approvals to advance the project and that former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa was chairwoman of the HART board “when some of those cost increases exploded.”…

Those found guilty of wasting taxpayers money “should go to jail,” Pine said.

That drew a sharp rebuke from businesswoman and community advocate Choon James, who said Pine “voted ‘yes’ for every project … you might go to jail yourself if the FBI does the work right.”

James said she wants the project stopped at Middle Street.

Former state Rep. William “Bud” Stonebraker pointed out that he voted against the rail tax when he was in the House. Construction should stop at the Middle Street transit station given the statewide economic woes, he said.

“We should shore up our finances at Middle Street and redirect and use our existing mass transit to get the thing working without expanding any further so that it can be used,” Stonebraker said.

Businessman Rick Blangiardi said he wants to see what bids coming in next month for a public-private partnership to help bring the project to completion have to show before making a decision on whether or how the project should proceed….

Thursday night’s hourlong forum on the weekly panel show “Insights on PBS Hawai‘i” was held via teleconference using Zoom technology….

Unite Here Local 5, the hotel and restaurant workers union, hosted a separate 90-minute mayoral forum with six candidates that focused largely on union and visitor industry issues, including reopening the Waikiki visitor’s district. It can be viewed at the union’s Facebook page at facebook.com/uniteherehawaii/.

Reality: www.TheRealHanabusa.com

read … Honolulu mayoral candidates spar over Honolulu’s rail project in forum

Does a lawsuit against Ige have grounds?

TGI: … In May, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the statewide safer-at-home order, voting 4-3 in a ruling that rejected extending a state health official’s stay-at-home order. The ruling gave power to local municipalities to manage their own responses….

Similar lawsuits in California, Illinois and Michigan have failed….

Background:

read … Does a lawsuit against Ige have grounds?

Department of Health: Masks in classrooms are "Not recommended"

KITV: … "Facial recognition is very important as you develop and expressions are important, social cues that everyone needs to know but kids in particular," Dr. Anderson told KITV4.

He said if COVID-19 were to pop up in schools, classes are easy places to contact trace.

"It's a bubble a relatively small group interacting and you know who they are so if there is a problem they can be contacted and we can follow up," he explained….

read … Department of Health: Masks in classrooms are "Not recommended"

Hello! Anybody There At The D-L-I-R?

BJR: … I’m glad all those State of Hawaii employees processing unemployment claims at the Convention Center are getting paid so they can take care of their bills.

I’m not.

It makes me wonder how many others are not getting their CARES Act or State UI checks and what’s going on. No use calling in — the phones say they are tied up. No use filling out the contact form at the website. It says you’ll be dealt with in the order in which you hit “submit.” In my case, that’s been never. How about you?

I’m one of those so-called “independent contractors” rather than a full-time employee. I was laid off by MidWeek on April 1st. I applied first for standard UI and then the new benefit under the CARES Act which covers all people like me.

So that means special unemployment assistance now going back 10 weeks. I’ve gotten one week’s payment so far. That’s it. The rest is listed as “processing.”….

SA: End-of-job pay in lump sum is best when filing for unemployment insurance

read … Hello! Anybody There At The D-L-I-R?

First installment: $40M in CARES funds hits Hawaii County coffers

HTH: … Here’s how Kim proposed the money be spent:

• $28 million for childcare grants, household grants, technology improvements for rural areas to help support school closures and teleworking, student and senior technology tools and homeless prevention.

• $22.3 million for grants and support for small businesses, agriculture, energy, restarts, startups, nonprofits and the business community.

• $10.1 million for PPE, renovation needs for social distancing, computer and teleworking needs.

• $9.6 million for shelter needs for quarantine, homeless, contact tracing and services location, and other housing needs.

• $6.6 million for personnel costs relating to the COVID-19 pandemic response.

• $3.4 million for contact tracing program and implementation, compliance with reopening protocols, prevention and education, enforcement and community sanitation and disinfection….

read … First installment: $40M in CARES funds hits county coffers

Maunakea command plan again delayed

HTH: … While the plan was first brought to the Board of Regents in May, the board voted at that meeting to postpone the decision until the board’s June meeting, which was held last Thursday.

However, Chairman Benjamin Kudo said at Thursday’s meeting that a determination about the plan would once again be delayed to give affected parties more time to discuss its ramifications, moving the matter to the board’s August meeting.

That decision, Kudo said, came after meetings with the Office of Maunakea Management and Maunakea Support Services earlier this month, after which the matter was removed from Thursday’s agenda.

“There are still some questions and concerns with some of our stakeholder groups,” said university spokesman Dan Meisenzahl, who added that the proposed restructuring plan has been the subject of several public hearings and other discussions, which he hopes will be the norm for other UH decisions going forward….

the restructuring plan and the theoretical new governance models have been controversial among opponents of the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope, which is slated to be built on Maunakea.

Last week, a group called the Mauna Kea Protectors issued a statement accusing the university of using the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to railroad through policy changes without public opposition….

read … Maunakea command plan again delayed

Honolulu City Council takes aim at new regulations against monster homes

HNN: … City Councilmembers Tommy Waters and Ikaika Anderson, who inspected the home last week, agree.

They have introduced a measure that would make it a crime for anyone who builds a home that does not comply with the restrictive deed covenants.

That bill targets foreign investors, who have built a large number of monster homes in Hawaii.

“If these folks who are not U.S. citizens and they lie to the (Department of Planning and Permitting) and they build this house, they can get arrested, charged with a crime and then deported,” said Waters.

After a state judge ordered a temporary halt to construction last month, owner Chen said will comply with the deed covenants by connecting the two buildings, making it one home.

His attorney Greg Kugle said he his client is not the only owner in that Kailua neighborhood who has more than one home or building structure on their land….

read … Honolulu City Council takes aim at new regulations against monster homes

Honolulu City Council defers decision on mall tower changes

HNN: … Under the proposal, the proposed towers would stand up to 400 feet (122 meters) and would be built around the location of a rail station scheduled for construction next to the Ala Moana Center and at the end of Oahu’s 20-mile (32-kilometer) transit line ….

read … Honolulu City Council defers decision on mall tower changes

Airlines to Shirk Dramatically After Oct 1

SA: …Restrictions from imposing layoffs and salary reductions for airlines who received federal funds during the coronavirus pandemic expire Oct. 1. Expect to see the U.S. airline industry to shrink dramatically at that time. Our major U.S. airlines are planning substantial reductions in pilots and management, and we can expect similar reductions in flight attendants and operating staff.

Hawaiian Airlines has yet to make their position public, but we expect they will make similar expense reductions.

What will domestic travel demand be? Will those who have had their net worth impacted through layoffs or the stock market spend discretionary funds for a vacation in the near term? International travel is even more difficult to predict given the COVID-19 policies of each country.

Hawaii cannot take the risk of assuming lift capacity to Hawaii will resume among major carriers. With reduced personnel and smaller fleets, there will be increased pressure to assign their aircraft to the most profitable routes.

It’s well-known that Hawaii has always been a low-yield vacation market where it has been difficult to make money even in good times. Hawaiian Airlines is in a unique position because this is home, and it might be able to add capacity in the case of a shortfall by the U.S. majors, but it too has competitive and cost pressures in the same low-yield market….

read … October 1

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