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Wednesday, July 22, 2020
July 22, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:33 AM :: 997 Views

Shipping industry study claims Jones Act benefits Hawaii economy ... yes, really

COVID Count: 25 new cases out of 1,399 tests

2 years later Ige Signs 15th Emergency Proclamation for Kauai Floods

Ige Reaffirms Plan for Aug 4 Reopening of Public Schools

HSTA urges state, Board of Education to delay return of students to campus

How Hanabusa Lawyering Helps Politicians with ‘Unreported Gifts’

HR: … she has made a lot of controversial decisions that have cost her credibility….

She is a lawyer who represented Honolulu City Council Members Ann Kobayashi and Ikaika Anderson and former Council Member Donovan Dela Cruz in a surprise victory over an alleged ethics violation in 2015.

Kobayashi, who has been elevated since then to Vice Chair of the Council, was then Chair of the powerful Budget Committee; Anderson chaired Zoning and Planning; Dela Cruz had been council chair for over three years until he was elected to the Hawaii State Senate in 2010.

The three were said to have received unreported gifts from people with business before the council. The dismissal of the ethics charges followed three days of closed hearings. The charges, if the ethics violations were upheld, would have made a series of rail votes on the council declared null and void.

And guess who was named to a seat on the HART Board by Mayor Kirk Caldwell? That’s right. Colleen Hanabusa.

(At the time, she was also representing the State Teachers’ Association in two State Ethics Commission allegations. She has been endorsed by them in this race.)

…after the closed-door meetings, she filed a motion for summary judgement to ask that the ethics commission find no basis for the council members’ charges. All but one of them was dropped. That was determined to be outside the commission’s jurisdiction. Nothing happened. No public disclosure. It was over.

Though the charges were filed with over 1,000 pages of supporting documents….  Essentially, with her arguments, she nullified any restrictions on gifts.

At the same time, the then-Ethics Commission Director and chief legal counsel Chuck Totto was under tremendous pressure from Mayor Caldwell not to do his job. Recall, Totto was also being pressured by Chief of Police Louis Kealoha and Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, who claimed that they were being harassed by Totto. He was the object of several lawsuits she filed against him for his investigation into the discrepancies between the two Kealohas’ financial disclosure reports. Rather than correct the differences, they sued….

Caldwell’s Chief Corporation Counsel Donna Leong received a target letter from the Feds regarding both her $250,000 payout to ex-Chief Kealoha and the firing of Totto. She is still on paid leave. City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro is in the same boat and both remain on paid administrative leave….

Related: Leaving GOP, Djou Eyes Council, Mayoral Races

Related: www.TheRealHanabusa.com

read … Hanabusa has a history and a lot of it is not nice

Where to Drop off Your Ballot

SA: … On Oahu the bright orange ballot drop boxes are being set up at Waianae District Park, the Mililani Park and Ride, Neal S. Blaisdell Park, the Kahuku Community Center/Kahuku District Park, Kaneohe District Park and the Hawaii Kai Park and Ride, plus Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale. Find more information at honoluluelections.us.

Oahu’s two voter service centers — at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale, where people can vote in person — are scheduled to open Monday….

Unsure about sending your ballot through the mail? Use the city’s new drop boxes

Hawaii officials hope mail-in vote means fewer glitches

Is Hawaii Ready To Vote By Mail?

Hawaii Civics 101: All-Mail Voting

read … Readers have lots of questions about Hawaii’s first all-mail election

In search for hidden COVID-19 cases, state program tracks surge of virus in Hawaii

SA: … A state program designed to search for hidden cases of coronavirus has revealed an alarming new surge of virus in the community.

From June 28 to July 4, 10.4% of the 77 tests sampled in the state’s COVID-19 Sentinel Surveillance Program came back positive for coronavirus. That’s double what it was the previous week ― and the highest number recorded since the program was launched in March.

The cases the surveillance program catches would have otherwise been missed.

Samples for the Sentinel Testing Program are collected from outpatient clinics across the state. They’re from people of all ages who tested negative for flu and have no travel history outside of Hawaii.

The state launched the program March 8 in an effort to get an understanding of what would otherwise be unseen transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

The program didn’t really start picking up any cases until the week of March 22. Out of 159 samples collected that week, 6.9% tested positive for the virus.

Cases dropped significantly during the quarantine. There were five weeks the testing didn’t pick up any cases at all.

Then another uptick began the week of June 7, topping out at 10.4% the first week of July….

UH: UH contact tracing trainees want to help Hawaiʻi’s communities

read … In search for hidden COVID-19 cases, state program tracks surge of virus in Hawaii

Attention Witnesses: 2 men involved with accused Miske crime ring may be released on $50k bond

SA: … A federal judge ruled two men accused of being part of an organized crime ring allegedly led by Oahu businessman Michael Miske Jr. may be released on a $50,000 bond each.

Detention hearings were held today for Preston M. Kimoto and Hunter J. Wilson, two of 11 men indicted by a federal grand jury as part of a years-long racketeering investigation.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield ruled Kimoto and Wilson may be released on a $50,000 bond each pending trial set for September. Both would be required to post 10 percent of $50,000 bond with the court…

assistant U.S. attorneys requested the two men be detained pending trial.

Kimoto was indicted with racketeering, drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. He faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, if convicted.

Mansfield ruled Kimoto, who has no criminal history (LOL!), may be released on a $50,000 bond and must abide to conditions of his release that include GPS monitoring, surrendering his passport to authorities and no traveling outside of Oahu. Of the conspiracy to commit kidnapping charge, Mansfield said Kimoto’s role appears to be “rather passive” as charging documents just describe a conversation. The indictment alleged Kimoto met with unnamed co-conspirators in the kidnapping to discuss the situation.

(IQ Test: This is an entry-level crime T/F?)

Wilson, 26, has been indicted with racketeering, drugs, robbery and firearms. He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison, if convicted.

At today’s hearing, assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Nammar argued Wilson played a role in a 2018 armed robbery and that he has a history of substance abuse.

Mansfield indicated Wilson’s criminal history does not involve violent behavior. He was convicted in 2015 for misdemeanor criminal property damage….

read … 2 men involved with accused Miske crime ring may be released on $50k bond

Why Ige Vetoed Two Bills And Allowed Three More To Become Law

CB: … In an unusual move, Gov. David Ige found technical defects in all five bills state lawmakers passed in May to try to cope with the state budget shortfall and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to notices recently released by the Legislature.

He vetoed two, but three survived….

One of the bills lawmakers passed during that testy May session was House Bill 1631 authorizing the state to issue bonds, but Ige vetoed the bill because he said lawmakers failed to take into account the administration’s plans to issue $100 million in general obligation bonds to raise money for construction projects in 2023.

He also imposed a line-item veto on Senate Bill 3139 to prevent lawmakers from transferring $432 million to the state’s “rainy day fund.”

Ige said that transfer to the budget reserve fund was improper because it was based on an assumption that cutting appropriations for the administration and the state Judiciary would automatically generate cash that can be moved around, when in fact reducing appropriations “does not represent cash.”

Ige allowed three other bills that passed in May — House Bill 2725, House Bill 2200 and Senate Bill 75 — to become law without his signature, saying he planned to work with lawmakers to make corrections to defects in those measures when the Legislature returned to the state Capitol in June and July.

In fact, lawmakers incorporated fixes to those bills in Senate Bill 126, which was approved by the House and Senate on June 26….

read … Why Ige Vetoed Two Bills And Allowed Three More To Become Law

Honolulu Replaces Head Of COVID Recovery Agency Hired Just Weeks Ago

CB: … It was less than seven weeks ago that Honolulu tapped Richard Keene to lead a newly formed office that would respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his new role, Keene was supposed to oversee $19 million in CARES Act funds to expand testing, connect residents and businesses to assistance and develop a plan to transition Oahu into an economic future less reliant on tourism.

In the previous two years, Keene worked as an executive assistant to Managing Director Roy Amemiya and liaised with the rail project. Prior to that, he was the chief financial officer for The Queen’s Medical Center and Bank of Hawaii.

Now, Keene is going back to his old job at HART.

Alexander Zannes, Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s communications director, said that since Keene was appointed, he had split his time between the new office and his old duties with HART. The decision to let the new position go was mutual, he said.

“The determination was made that whoever led this new office would need to dedicate their attention to these duties full time,” he said in an email. “Rick Keene will continue in his current role.”

The Office of Economic Revitalization will now be headed full time by Amy Asselbaye, executive director of the HMSA Foundation. The city will pay her $13,880 per month, which would be $166,560 annually….

Meanwhile: Hotel Occupancy Soars to 15.7%

SA: The Weekly Eater: Oahu restaurants may be open, but not all customers are ready

read … Honolulu Replaces Head Of COVID Recovery Agency Hired Just Weeks Ago

‘Geofence’ could help tourists roam

WHT: … Hawaii Island is joining Maui and Kauai in exploring a new concept in gradually reopening their doors to tourists — a “resort bubble” where quarantining visitors would be allowed freedom to roam within the confines of a “geofence.”

“(It’s) another idea we’ve been tossing out there,” Hawaii County Managing Director Roy Takemoto told the County Council Tuesday. “They would be allowed to stay at selected resorts and the resorts would control where the visitors would be allowed to range.”…

Craig Anderson, chairman of the Hawaii Island chapter of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association and vice president of operations at Mauna Kea Resort, participated Tuesday in a Zoom conference briefing tourism officials about the program….

read … ‘Geofence’ could help tourists roam

Kalihi residents say they weren’t consulted on a proposed homeless prevention center

HNN: … Opponents of the project held signs Monday saying they were never informed by the Institute for Human Services or the City of their plans.

The IHS hopes to use federal funding to convert a two-story building at the corner of North King Street and Long Lane.

At the center, outreach workers would help struggling individuals transition to a more stable future, but helping people pay bills, find work, and look for places to stay.

But opponents say it’s too close to homes and they worry about the safety of residents, especially kupuna, who live directly across the street.

“Behind there is all residential, directly across is my family building,” area resident Janice Terada Onishi pointed out. She opposes the project, citing worries about other residents.

“Imagine people sitting here all up the sidewalk, all up the stairway. The safety of my tenants is the biggest concern,” she said….

read … Bum Magnet

Hawaii hurricane shelters may take temperatures due to virus

AP: … One of Hawaii's leaders in preparing the state for hurricanes said Tuesday people arriving at shelters may have their temperature checked this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Luke Meyers said shelters may have less capacity because of the need for people to maintain social distance.

He said the state is encouraging residents to shelter in places where they are most comfortable, like at home or at a relative's place, if possible.

Meyers said the state has had some conversations with county officials and the Hawaii Tourism Authority about using hotels as shelters if a hurricane threatens the islands during the pandemic. But he said nothing specific has been identified…

SA: Tropical Storm Douglas seen growing into hurricane as it nears Central Pacific

read … Hawaii hurricane shelters may take temperatures due to virus

Maui: Reported crimes in 2019 at 44-year low

MN: … After Maui County recorded a record-low crime rate in 2018, crime reported in the county declined again last year to its lowest level in more than 40 years, according to a state report.

The “Crime in Maui County, 2019” report, prepared in May by the state Department of the Attorney General, said the 5,433 crimes reported in 2019 represented a 1.6 percent decrease from 5,519 the previous year….

He said the 2019 crime rate was the lowest since the state began participating in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program in 1975.

The rates for property crimes and burglary also were the lowest levels on record since the statewide data collection began, according to the report….

In 2019, violent crimes increased from 435 in 2018 to 449 last year, while property crimes decreased from 5,519 in 2018 to 5,433 last year.

From 2018 to last year, there were decreases of 80 percent in murder from five to one; 3.5 percent in rape from 114 to 110; 23.2 percent in burglary from 751 to 577 and 4.6 percent in motor vehicle theft from 693 to 661. During the same period, increases were reported of 26.4 percent in robbery from 53 to 67, 3 percent in aggravated assault from 263 to 271, 2.9 percent in larceny-theft from 3,640 to 3,746 and 4.9 percent in arson from 122 to 128.

There was one report of human trafficking — commercial sex acts in 2019, compared with none in 2018.

The report noted that during the past 10 years, the population of Maui County increased by 8.5 percent while total crimes decreased by 17.2 percent. Over the same period, violent crimes increased by 52.2 percent and property crimes decreased by 20.5 percent….

read … Reported crimes in 2019 at 44-year low

Hawaii County explores joining lawsuit against fossil fuel companies

HTH: … Hawaii County might join the City and County of Honolulu in a lawsuit seeking financial reparations from more than a dozen fossil fuel companies for their role in causing climate change and rising sea levels.

During a meeting of the County Council’s Committee on Agriculture, Water, Energy and Environmental Management, committee members agreed to a resolution allowing the county corporation counsel to investigate whether to join “City &Council of Honolulu vs. Sunoco LP, et. al.,” a case filed in March in 1st Circuit Court….

Reality:

Sue Big Oil for Climate Change? Caldwell Falls for Debunked Litigation Scheme

Debunked Litigation Strategy: Honolulu Latest to Sue Big Oil for Global Warming

read … County explores joining lawsuit against fossil fuel companies

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