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Sunday, August 30, 2020
August 30, 2020 News Read
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Lawsuit: Lindsey Cheats Anti-Telescope Protester in OHA Race

Road Taxes: Hawaii Collects $125M More than it Spends

Enviros: Haunama Bay Better Off When We Kick the Little People Out

City scales down this year’s Honolulu City Lights

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted August 29, 2020

COVID Count 310 new cases out of 3,025 tests

Week 3 DoE COVID Count

Case of the Missing Contact Tracer Millions

Hawaii COVID Spy Tracking Program to go national?

HTH: … As COVID-19 cases surge on the Big Island, a County Council member thinks so. Puna Councilman Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder is bringing forth a resolution Tuesday urging Mayor Harry Kim to allow a digital contact tracing app for Apple and Google to be used on the Big Island.

Resolution 716 comes as the island racked up scores of new COVID-19 cases in the past days, most in East Hawaii and some attributed to parties and a July 25 Keaukaha oceanfront memorial service that drew hundreds in violation of county social distancing and mask-wearing laws….

(After the anarchy comes dictatorship.)

An intensive testing program is ongoing and a charter school, several restaurants, a county government office and a retail store closed after employees tested positive.

“We’re having an explosion of cases and we still have no contact tracing app for the state of Hawaii,” Kanealii-Kleinfelder said. “It allows people to make their own decisions because the state has failed to follow through. We’re seeing a failure of the plan and leaders need to be proactive making sure that our community has the opportunity to keep themselves safe.”

The app uses GPS to create a digital location diary that never leaves your phone, until you allow it. This is data that will never be stored in a third party server, one of its developers said. Only if someone tests positive for COVID-19 will they be prompted to voluntarily release their anonymous location data.

Other parts of the app provide educational and scheduling reminders and can be expanded to include health records and physician videoconferencing with the user’s permission/consent.

The app was previously known as the “Safe Travels” app, but that name is being changed to avoid confusion after the state Department of Transportation named its unrelated app the same thing. The state DOT app is used to track and store information for travelers at airports….

Keaukaha: “People are almost rebelling” against emergency measures—and Kai Kahele is in the middle of it

read … Contact tracing for the public: Voluntary app would allow personal notification

Quarantine Tracking Demanded by Overworked Regime Spies

KHON: Earlier this month, Governor David Ige said the new app would be able to ping phones and check if individuals are following quarantine.

On Friday, the state’s chief information officer said that tracking is under legal review and isn’t sure if that will happen….

“It’s a circus, nothing is getting done,” said Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers Administrator Angela Keen. “People are grasping at straws, citizens are taking matters into their own hands, you have a citizens group doing the work on the ground, getting paid zero, most of us are unemployed. Listen to us, ask us for advice we’ll tell you what works, and what doesn’t work, right now the system is broken.”…

(After the anarchy comes dictatorship.)

… “Facebook tracks us, Twitter tracks us, any app you open up [on your phone] has a possibility to track you if you say yes, and if you say no, it doesn’t mean you want to be tracked which means you’re going to be a quarantine breaker. I mean, it’s as simple as that,” Keen said.

She said visitors continue to write that they are staying at vacation rentals on Oahu, which is currently prohibited, and rent cars illegally.

“Why are they allowed to leave the airport? The state is allowing them to break the law,” she said.  “It’s so many different missteps and everyone needs to be on the same page, but it needs to come from the top down and that’s not happening.”

According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, from Aug. 21 through Aug. 28, there have been 3,373 visitors to arrive in Hawaii, 1,183 people who put they are relocating or moving to Hawaii, and 4,904 residents have returned home. Not including Saturday’s numbers of arrivals, at least 10,000 people should be under quarantine this week alone.

Keen said the quarantine tips are coming into her group faster than ever.

“Nothing has changed, in fact it’s gotten worse. Local people are home now and they’re able to look out their window and see what’s going on, many of them in Waikiki near Airbnb’s in their neighborhood, I can’t get to my e-mails fast enough,” she said. “People are breaking quarantine even though we’re under lock down and it’s worse because local people are behind, in their homes looking out their window, it’s like being in a zoo,” she explained.

“It’s like being a zoo animal and we’re looking out the window and everybody’s coming here and free to do what they want to do, sneaking around in a Turo rental car and being in an Airbnb, enjoying all the things we can’t enjoy, so that’s why I said it’s like being in a zoo,” she continued.

She said that people are getting upset with the lack of enforcement on quarantine breakers, vacation rental violators and lack of leadership.

“If this quarantine following tracking system doesn’t get on point, we’re going to be the joke of the world because everyone wants to come here, and if it’s that easy to break quarantine then they think Hawaii doesn’t care,” Keen said….

TW: Hawaii installing facial recognition technology to aid in virus detection at airports

Related: All travelers required to complete digital app starting Sept 1

read … Without tracking, critics say state’s travel app is not effective

CoC Survey: 40% of Businesses Plan to Close in Next 6 Months without Tourism Restart

TGI: … The Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce recently sent a survey to all of its members, and the results concluded that most businesses rank the safety and health of the people of Kaua‘i as a top priority before their own business needs. Yet there were still some mixed responses.

The survey disclosed that 40% of businesses say they will close within the next six months if there is no sign of visitors returning to the island, and over 70% believe the 14-day interisland quarantine is necessary to protect the community regardless of its impact on local business….

“We closed just 32 days when the pandemic started, but then reopened both shops with reduced hours in Po‘ipu,” said Veronica Lovesy.

“Our business is down 70-80% every month compared to last year. Many days we do not make enough to pay the one employee in each shop for their pay, payroll taxes and health insurance….

“The PPP loan was very helpful for only eight weeks, and the new Kaua‘i grant will be another good boost to help for four weeks or so,” said Lovesy…. 

CB: Kauai Businesses Are ‘Hanging On By A Thread’ Without Tourists

WS: Honolulu down over 80% from a year ago in terms of “seated diners.”

Meanwhile: Bill opens up Hawai‘i to hemp industry

read … Kauai CoC Survey

COVID: No Transparency Means No Cooperation between State, County

Borreca: … Ige was asked last week to comment on a state auditor’s report blasting the state Health Department. The report said “instead of cooperation and assistance, we encountered barriers, delays, and ultimately were denied access to those responsible for leading the department’s contact tracing.”

A Health Department spokeswoman needed time to review it. Ige said he hadn’t seen it and when asked about the developing pattern of not providing the public with information about the state’s COVID-19 fighting plans, the governor became obviously testy.

“We have been committed to transparency, clearly we are under emergency conditions,” Ige told reporters last week. “We will make information available as time permits.”

One of Ige’s first actions upon declaring the virus emergency was to suspend portions of the state’s Freedom of Information laws, including open meeting requirements. It was clear that the Ige administration could not handle transparent government and COVID-19 together.

That was much the same result when the Ige administration was forced to work in conjunction with the city to write the new mandatory work-from-home orders.

How long should the stay at home order last? Two weeks, four weeks? Hours before the order was signed, who knew what it was?

“I sent it back to him (Gov. David Ige) and said I’m not going to do what Dr. Anderson requested,” Caldwell said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m not going to do something I don’t want to do.”

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported on Thursday: “Caldwell said Ige agreed to the two weeks on Tuesday morning. Ige said he believed 14 days is enough time to make progress against the pandemic and he can always renew for another two weeks if not.”…

Related: Which Lobbyists are Driving COVID Policy?  Hawaii Gov. David Ige declines to address open-records request

Honolulu Closed Its Parks And Beaches For COVID-19. Why Not Open Access To Streets?

Schatz: Column: How to get Hawaii back on track to fight virus

read … Coronavirus cooperation between state and city easier said than done — but must be done

Paradise lost: How Hawaii went from Covid-19 star to cautionary tale

Politico: … Only a handful of states have conducted fewer tests per capita than Hawaii — a performance so dismal that Surgeon General Jerome Adams was dispatched to the state this week to announce federal support for 70,000 tests over the next two weeks. The state only has about 100 contact tracers, well short of the 400-plus tracers public health experts say are needed, and the governor earlier this month replaced the head of the contact tracing program after a whistleblower claimed Hawaii's health department misled residents about the state’s preparedness.

Hawaii still has the country’s fewest deaths per capita, but health experts fear that deaths could soon surge as they did in other states with major outbreaks this summer. One-fifth of Hawaii’s 55 total coronavirus deaths were reported in just the past week.

State officials are again clamping down on economic activity as over 200 new infections are reported daily, implementing restrictions reminiscent of the pandemic’s early days. Ige and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell last week issued new rules prohibiting any gathering of more than five people in Oahu, where the bulk of the state’s population lives. They went further this week, imposing a new stay-at-home order on the island.

Local officials, public health experts and business leaders say these measures could have been avoided had the state not wasted valuable time to prepare during the first shutdown — and that it will be much harder now to contain the outbreak. They believe the Ige administration got complacent and mapped out a reopening plan that defied best practices for managing the virus — for instance, by opening indoor dining and salons before people could return to safer outdoor spaces like beaches and hiking trails.

“Back when our cases were very low, in the single digits, our leaders were talking about how we can’t be complacent and had to prepare to do all we can to prevent a second wave from occurring and prepare for it if it comes,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who’s questioned Ige on the state’s use of federal relief funds. “That would have been the moment to execute on all this. If [Ige] had done his job back when our numbers were low, we wouldn’t be in this position.”…

Related: Which Lobbyists are Driving COVID Policy?  Hawaii Gov. David Ige declines to address open-records request

read … Paradise lost: How Hawaii went from Covid-19 star to cautionary tale

New Oahu lockdown will bring spike in joblessness

SA: … “It’s not minor,” said Sumner La Croix, research fellow at the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. “We’re clearly talking several thousand people.”

At one Oahu shopping center, Kahala Mall, a little over half of all tenants are temporarily closed because of the restrictions….

Caldwell’s restrictions run two weeks, but could be extended depending on coronavirus case factors…

Though greatly improved after computer system changes along with the addition of a call center and 49 new employees, DLIR’s system (purposefully disorganized to create more HGEA positions) still cannot handle many inquiries in a timely manner, and 10,372 claims were pending action as of Wednesday.

Last week, the agency said it was in the process of interviewing and hiring 41 more employees to process claims that still must be submitted online. …

(See?  Unemployment and DOS-based computing are the keys to creating employment.  its simple logic.)

read … New Oahu lockdown will bring spike in joblessness

Amemiya the new face of the old boys

Shapiro: … >> Caldwell won’t put city Managing Director Roy Amemiya on leave after he was called before a federal grand jury as a subject in a corruption probe. The mayor hasn’t let ethics stop him for 7-1/2 years — why start now?

>> Mayoral candidate Rick Blangiardi led primary election voting on a pledge to clean up city hall, with support from former first lady and United Laundry Service president Vicky Cayetano. I’m not sure that’s the kind of dirty laundry that needs cleaning.

>> His general election opponent, Keith Amemiya, who’s endorsed by most labor unions, Bishop Street execs and Democratic pols, is selling himself as a fresh political face. He’s the new face of the old boys….

read … Even a surgeon general in the house can’t fix Hawaii ills

We Need To Spend Half A Billion Dollars In 123 Days.

CB: … Hawaii now has just four months — 123 days to be exact — to completely spend down its CRF monies. Since the federal government sent $1.25 billion in CRF funding to the State and the City and County of Honolulu five months ago, only 6% of that money ($79.2 million) has been spent.  And while plans have been made to spend an additional $610 million on COVID-related costs (including PPE, food distribution, housing relief and small business support), over $560 million remains unallocated….

Possible uses for the remaining $560 million have included reimbursing state and county departments and agencies that have already spent money in response to COVID-19, adding on to existing CRF-funded programs such as housing and workforce development, and having the remainder of the funds revert to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund….

Given that these federal resources are finite and available for a limited time period, they should be spent in a strategic and responsive way.  Potential approaches include:

• Create An Emergency Response Fund And Establish Triage Teams To Quickly Deploy Resources

• Establish A Financial Relief Program For Small Businesses

• Create A Nonprofit Reimbursement Fund….

read … We Need To Spend Half A Billion Dollars In 123 Days. Here's How To Do It

Hawaii slated to get nearly $200 million more to fill unemployment claims

HNN: … The money will be split up into additional payments of $300 a week for the unemployed.

The assistance will be in addition to regular state unemployment benefits.

Its good news for the thousands of Hawaii residents who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. But still, there are several thousand claims that have yet to be processed.

State officials said many of the unprocessed claims have been delayed due to concerns over fraud and other issues….

NEWS RELEASE — GOVERNOR IGE ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT FUNDING

SA Editorial: Prepare for rise in unemployment in Hawaii

read … Hawaii slated to get nearly $200 million more to fill unemployment claims

Harry Kim Copies Oahu Mistakes—Rejects Surge Testing

HTH: …While mass COVID-19 testing is underway on Oahu, Mayor Harry Kim said Friday that the overwhelmingly positive response to localized community testing in Keaukaha this week has obviated the need for “surge testing” on the Big Island.

The state recently announced the availability of the federally funded surge testing on Oahu, wherein federal, state and community partners hope to test 5,000 people per day during a two-week span for a total of 70,000 tests.

“We didn’t need to do that when we had clinics who were more than happy to do the testing,” Kim said. “The community was very responsive. They helped set up the testing, and I’m proud of them.”…

Sustain Hawaii, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2003, is part of a coalition to develop a contact tracing app. The coalition was working with different individuals and groups who approached the state Department of Health about plans to create an app to facilitate contact tracing in conjunction with testing. The department subsequently decided on a different direction.

“We are still working on the app and could benefit from county or state officials providing us endorsements on their letterhead saying they support the app being publicly accessible so the community can have it as an optional set of tools to help safely reopen the economy,” Sustain Hawaii executive director Kevin Vaccarello said Saturday. “Similar letters of endorsement from insurers, schools and hospitals/clinics/community health centers would be wonderful. Without such endorsements Google and Apple won’t allow the app to be accessible to the community via the App Store or Google Play.”…

CB: Hawaii And Maui Counties May Be Reaching A Virus ‘Tipping Point’

CD: Prince Kuhio Testing Extended due to high demand

HTH: 26 new cases on Big Island

read … Copying Oahu Mistakes

“Give us a chance to help out instead of seeing us a problem”

HNN: … an Oahu church is offering to use its platform to help provide resources to those in need.

Ohana Baptist Church in Moanalua has a large Pacific Islander ministry, which is why Pastor Wayne Surface is offering to help the city and state since data shows that COVID-19 is spreading faster in that community than among everyone else.

“Our frustration is we’re not getting any cooperation or communication from the state or the city, whenever we ask them a question we get no answers back,” said Surface.

Surface is hosting church services both online and in-person, but he believes more could be done to relay information and prevent confusion among the Pacific islander community.

The pastor has learned that many of them are afraid to get tested.

“Because they have no answers,” said Surface. “If I have the COVID virus, where do I go? What about my work, I’m supporting my family, I’ve got no income.”

Other concerns that Youth Pastor Ensener Nerro has include a lack of interpreters, unclear communication regarding food supply along with uncertainty about where to quarantine.

“And sometimes the hard part is we don’t want to speak out of that because we don’t want to be the outcast in a sense,” said Nerro. “And so it’s just that emotional part of battling with that mindset of I don’t want to be the reason why my family is sick and sometimes it’s too late because you have nowhere else to go.”

Surface and his church are looking to fill those gaps.

“Give us a chance to help out instead of seeing us a problem,” said Surface. “We want to be part of the solution and we hope that they’ll give us that opportunity.”  ….

read … Oahu church offers city, state help with pandemic resources for those in need

Hawaii Road Miles Drop 28.7% in June

GC: … According to the Federal Highway Administration, in June 2020, VMT decreased by 13.0% compared with June 2019. However, the decrease in VMT varied widely by state, ranging from 28.7% in Hawaii to 4.0% in Tennessee. Thus, this analysis examined the relationship between the decrease in VMT in June 2020 in individual states (and the District of Columbia) and whether those states were “blue” or “red.”….

read … Who is driving less in response to the pandemic, Democrats or Republicans? A June update

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