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Sunday, July 12, 2020
July 12, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:39 PM :: 2224 Views

As COVID Testing Soars, Wait Times For Results Jump To A Week — Or More

Legislative Session: The good, the bad and the ugly

Highlights of 2020 Legislative Session

Future of Unemployment Insurance

COVID Count: 21 new cases out of 1,250 tests

Counties Announce Primary Ballot Mailing Dates

Star-Adv: If we don’t reopen Tourism now, we never will

SA Editorial: … As of late Friday, state and county officials were still debating the way forward. Gov. David Ige said in a statement at week’s end that his meetings with the county mayors about the “pre-travel testing program” had been “productive.”

“We are assessing the current situation in Hawaii and on the mainland, and we’ll make an announcement when we are satisfied that the plans will protect the health and safety of our residents and guests,” Ige said.

In the meantime, however, business leaders, especially in the visitor industry, have been making their own assessment, and it is this: Hawaii is past the point when it can hang back and wait for conditions to improve to a set threshold.

The truth of the matter is that, while there is palpable risk in restarting tourism, that risk almost certainly will be part of the landscape for the foreseeable future, due to factors beyond Hawaii’s control.

The existing risk, which still should be manageable through testing and contact tracing, must be weighed against the further loss of jobs and businesses that enable families to keep food on the table….

In the end, it’s the community itself, through its own capacity to conduct its business and socialize safely, that plays the most pivotal role in the success or failure of this rescue plan….

SF: Hawaii Seems Likely To Delay Its Reopening– Here’s What That Means For Airlines

read …. Keep to Aug. 1 for reopening of Hawaii

Kai Kahele traveling a gilded political fast lane to Washington

Shapiro: … Kai Kahele leads a charmed political life.

He inherited his Big Island state Senate seat in 2016 when Gov. David Ige appointed him to succeed his father, the late Sen. Gilbert Kahele. He won easy election in his own right a few months later and reelection in 2018 without opposition from either major party.

Now he seems poised to easily win the U.S. House seat in the 2nd Congressional District being vacated by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard after her run for president.

Kahele has 17 opponents — an assortment of little- known Democrats and Republicans, nonpartisans and minor-party candidates — but none have the campaign funds to improve their name recognition or spread their message.

Established politicians who usually flock to an open congressional seat stayed away, apparently scared off by Kahele’s $830,794 campaign fund and early endorsements from prominent Democrats and labor unions.

Only one of his opponents has reported any fundraising — a paltry $851.

Kahele is so confident of victory that he’s effectively sitting out the campaign by volunteering for a COVID- relief assignment as a lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii Air National Guard, which prohibits him from participating in his campaign while on active duty.

It raises concerns not because Kahele has done anything wrong, but because it points up how Hawaii’s dearth of real political competition results in an electorate of nonvoting cynics….

nobody should be able to waltz into so high an office without a stern test at the ballot box.

For the past half-dozen open congressional seats, we’ve had from three to 10 well-known and experienced candidates in spirited competition for an office that’s been a springboard to the U.S. Senate or governor for Daniel Inouye, Spark Matsunaga, Daniel Akaka, Mazie Hirono and Neil Abercrombie.

After their first election, Hawaii congressional delegates are seldom challenged for reelection, so well-contested races for open seats are usually the only real chance voters get to size up those who will serve us in Washington.

When high office comes this easy, elected officials start to think it was those with the money and endorsements who put them there, not the voters.….

Flashback: Kahele: I am a F****** Tiger on Tulsi's Tail

read …  Kai Kahele traveling a gilded political fast lane to Washington

UH Board of Regents resolution calls for emergency proclamation, drastic cuts

ILind: … The University of Hawaii Board of Regent is poised to consider a resolution declaring a financial emergency and authorizing the administration of President David Lassner “to utilize whatever available means it has to reduce the operating costs and expenses of the University, including but not limited to, reduction-in- force, furloughs, retrenchment, freeze or reduction in remuneration, etc.”

The resolution is on the agenda for the board’s regular meeting on Thursday, July 16. According to the published agenda, “this will be a virtual meeting and written testimony and oral testimony will be accepted in lieu of in-person testimony.”

The resolution cites the expected dramatic fall in state tax revenues and “anticipated significant declines in University of Hawaii general fund appropriations and tuition revenues” over the next several years.

The BOR will also consider a letter asking Governor David Ige to open negotiations seeking to defer previously approved raises for public employees. The draft letter explains that the board does not believe it makes common sense “to give a pay increase one day and reduce pay or terminate employees the next….”

“We, therefore, respectfully request that negotiations with the relevant public worker unions take place to defer the pay increases and adjustments until the State is in a better economic condition,” the draft letter states…. 

UHPA: Whatever Happened to Respect and Acting in Good Faith?

PDF: Board of Regents Agenda for 7-16-2020, including proposed resolution and letter to the governor.

read … UH Board of Regents resolution calls for emergency proclamation, drastic cuts

TMT supporters and opponents reflect one year after Mauna Kea demonstration started

KITV: … Malia Martin, who founded the group Imua TMT, says they're still confident the project can move forward in Hawaii.  They say they've been in contact with project leaders over Zoom on how to move forward.

Martin argues the COVID-19 pandemic only strengthens the need for the telescope, because she argues the added STEM jobs would help diversity Hawaii's struggling tourism-based economy.  "It will help to not just sustain Hawaii economy and education, but also Hawaiian culture, we want Hawaii to be place that kids go away to school, that they can stay home here," she says….

read … TMT supporters and opponents reflect one year after Mauna Kea demonstration started

Hawaii claimants seeking jobless aid end up with big PUA bills instead

SA: …Q: I started receiving PUA but recently received a letter telling me my benefits were being terminated because I should be receiving UI instead. Now the state says I owe thousands of dollars back for the PUA benefits. My claim for UI was originally denied. What do I do?!

A: “If you receive benefits you are not eligible for it is called an overpayment. Unfortunately, even if the state made an error in issuing you PUA benefits instead of UI benefits, you will need to pay back any benefits received. You should pursue your UI claim, including backdating your claim to the date of unemployment. If awarded UI, the state may reimburse itself for the PUA overpayment through your UI back payment….

(Lesson: Government ‘benefits’ are not beneficial.  Rely on yourself.)

read … Hawaii claimants seeking jobless aid end up with big PUA bills instead

No School Will offer 100% Face to Face Instruction on Big Island, Kauai, Parts of Oahu

SA: … In some parts of the state, no public school chose full-time face-to-face instruction. Those areas encompass Hawaii and Kauai counties, with the exception of Niihau High and Elementary School. On Oahu, other areas opting out included the Aiea-Moanalua-Radford, Nanakuli-Waianae and Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani complexes, except for the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind….

Radford High School, near Pearl Harbor, chose the popular blended approach. Its 1,200 students will be split into two teams, with half coming to campus on Mondays and Wednesdays, and the rest on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays, students will take all seven of their classes online from home….

“We figured having around 600 kids on any given day would give us an opportunity to socially distance, minimize exposure and spread the kids out in the classroom appropriately,” Principal James Sunday said. “Right now, our goal is to space them out at 6 feet as much as possible.”

“(The rotation) does give us an opportunity to have face-to-face time, set up the online learning and for the kids to be able to meet their classmates and connect to the school,” he said. “One of the biggest challenges is connecting our kids to the school if they are here only a couple of days a week.”

By dividing the student body by last name, rather than grade level, families with children of different ages will all be on the same schedule….

Big Q: When schools reopen Aug. 4, should it be mandatory for desks to be 6 feet apart?

read … Most Hawaii public schools will blend in-person and distance learning when classes resume

Oahu Superspreader tied to Three Outbreaks

KHON: … Several clusters have been popping up across Oahu. On Friday, the health department said it’s an example of ‘superspreading.’…

On Friday, July 10, the state said one ‘symptomatic’ person was part of a previous cluster who then went to a gym and infected the entire class. A person from that class then went to another gym and spread the virus to others….

Lt. Gov. Green said that residents have to remember that they need to quarantine when they come back from the mainland.

“With 700 people coming in a day–that’s 7,000 in 10 days. Some of those individuals are positive. But more importantly, when our own people come back, if they don’t follow quarantine that’s really where the spreading is occurring,” Lt. Gov. Green explained….

read … Hawaii case numbers continue to rise as officials debate reopening date

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