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Monday, August 31, 2020
August 31, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:38 PM :: 2385 Views

Big Island COVID Upsurge Shows Failure of Airport Screening

Heads Roll: Espinda, Anderson Out

COVID Count 133 new cases out of 1,463 tests -- 7 deaths new record

Schatz Slams Locals, Says Tourism not the Problem 

CB: … Too often, he said, the media and local politicians focused on the “scofflaws” and social media personalities who traveled to the islands only to get caught violating the state’s quarantine. That only exacerbated the false belief that Hawaii could protect itself with “faux border security.”

“We spent all of our time worrying about one or two idiots running around the state from the mainland when we should have been building up our public health infrastructure to be ready for the virus being among us,” Schatz said. “Tourism is not the main cause of the spread. We are the main cause of the spread. And shame on us for believing that we could do whatever we wanted here locally as long as we didn’t let anybody fly in. That’s not how this virus works.”

Schatz pointed to the Hawaii Department of Health’s initial skepticism of mandatory mask wearing and refusals to conduct widespread coronavirus testing as mistakes early on in the pandemic.

The follies continued, he said, as officials became complacent while infection rates on the islands were low. During that time, he said, state and county governments should have ramped up their contact tracing workforce and implemented a cohesive public information campaign to explain to residents their role in stopping the virus from turning the islands into an uncontrolled hotspot….

Flashback: WaPo: Schatz Represents Hawaii's new White Ruling Class

read … A Frank Conversation With US Sen. Brian Schatz About Hawaii’s ‘Terrible’ Virus Response Effort

Five Arrested at anti-COVID ‘Health Summit’

WHT: … “Upon contact with these individuals, officers attempted to educate these parties on the most recent Governor’s Emergency Proclamation; however, they refused to listen or comply with the officers,” a press release from department reads. “Officers then began to issue citations, where the crowd then became belligerent and hostile.”

Police said officers then requested additional units to their location. Once additional officers were on scene, they began arresting all individuals who were in violation of the emergency proclamation, therefore causing others to disperse.

A total of five people were arrested and charged with five offense each: Violating Ige’s emergency proclamation by gathering in a group of greater than 10, not wearing a mask and failing to maintain social distancing as well as failure to disperse. Bail was set at $6,500 for (sovereignty activist and anti-telescope protester) Gene Tamashiro, 53, of Hilo; Stefanie Nolff, 48, of Keaau; Diane Fischer, 65, of Kailua-Kona; Melody Harris, 60, of Kailua-Kona; and Michaele Medearis, 53, of Holualoa.

Michelle Melendez, organizer of the event, the Hawaii Health Summit, told West Hawaii Today the event was peaceful and the group was about to leave when three officers arrived.

“Then we stayed,” she said via email, adding the department called out 22 cops with 15 cop cars speeding down Alii Drive “with their sirens and lights on. This was not an emergency.

“There were more cops than people by the time all the officers got out of their cars. They were standing there not saying a word to us. Once they all were there they walked toward us and started grabbing people and arresting them,” she said. “They didn’t say a word.”…

Link: Hawaii Health Summit

Flashback Video: Gene Tamashiro vs Neil Abercrombie, 2012

read … Five arrested following gathering at Kahaluu

Movements tracked via wearable monitor to ensure they stay inside boundaries

USA Today: … The state is working on a "resort bubble concept" for inter-island travelers. The state calls the program an "enhanced movement quarantine" that each county can develop to give residents and visitors the ability to travel between islands without a 14-day quarantine.

Officials reviewed an idea that would allow tourists to roam freely on resorts while their movements are tracked via a wearable monitor to ensure they stay inside the boundaries of the facilities….

The “resort bubble” concept would keep the tourists within a “geofence” that tracked their movements, West Hawaii Today reported….

How Hawaii might eliminate quarantine: State may use 'geofence' technology to track tourists during coronavirus pandemic

SF: The information will be stored on a highly-secured Google cloud, which can be accessed by law enforcement to apply quarantine rules and update passengers on potential outbreaks.

read … Hawaii to require visitors to fill out online 'Safe Travels' form before travel

Saiki Stonewalled by DoH: Info Needed to Better Target Lockdowns

CB: … It’s been nearly a month since House Speaker Scott Saiki, who co-chairs the committee, asked Health Director Bruce Anderson in an Aug. 6 letter to start providing “sufficient data that enables the general public to make sound decisions regarding personal and community health and safety.”

Saiki says the department has given him some information, but not the kind of detail that makes sense to really understand how the virus is spreading….

Specifically, he wants the date and location of transmission; the type of activity or event where the transmission occurred; whether the infected individual may have infected others; whether the infected individual was masked; and whether the infected individual was symptomatic.

“It’s common sense,” he told Civil Beat on Saturday. “If cases are really rising from funerals and weddings, that should be the focus of a shutdown order. You may not have to shut down every single restaurant and hair salon.”

We should already be doing this, six months into the pandemic. But we’re not, and it’s not even clear why.

State Auditor Les Kondo ran into a big roadblock when his office tried to find out more about contact tracing.

The city and University of Hawaii researchers were similarly stonewalled when they tried to get cooperation from DOH in their study of sewage and whether it can serve as an early warning indicator for COVID-19 infections.

Even a prison oversight committee and a state senator were prohibited from talking publicly about what’s going on with the spread of the disease in the state’s correctional facilities. An assistant attorney general cut off discussion during a public meeting last week and advised the commission it needed to discuss details in private. Sen. Clarence Nishihara was told he couldn’t disclose information either.

Ige and the health department continue to promise more data, but it never seems to materialize. The administration has also lately taken to using Ige’s suspension of the state public records law — something Ige did with an emergency order months ago — as a convenient excuse for not responding to information requests…. 

CB: The State's Stranglehold On Important Data During the Pandemic is Unforgivable

read … The Legislature Needs To Force Ige's Hand On The Public Disclosure Of COVID-19 Data

Soft on Crime Lawyers Demand Media do More to Help Exploit COVID to Get Criminals Back out onto the Streets

CB: … A recent report by Lawyers for Equal Justice explains some of the reasons for the crisis at OCCC.

In particular, it describes failures by local media and by local leaders. Its most striking finding is that media coverage of inmate releases in Hawaii was “overwhelmingly negative,” with 17 times more article space focused on concerns about released inmates committing crime than on concerns about COVID-19 and public health. (LEJ examined 53 news articles about the release of inmates during the pandemic, by 26 authors in nine news outlets, published between April 15 and June 6.)…

(Took arrogant pill this morning.)

Aug 19, 2020: Soft on Crime Lawyers Explain How they Tricked Judiciary into Releasing Hundreds of Criminals

SA Editorial: Public Safety must get its act together

read … Media Not Doing Enough for Criminals 

Cocaine News: Miske gave Money to Tsuneyoshi, Martin

ILind: … My review of contributions to candidates for state and local offices found Miske associated with only three contributions between 2006 and 2020.

Two of those contributions (totaling $3,000) went to Donna Kim in 2009 and 2011, and another $500 went to Heidi Tsuneyoshi in 2018….

He gave $1,000 to Senator Dan Inouye’s campaign in March 2012, and $2,600 to Donna Mercado Kim for Congress in December 2013….

in May 2018…more than 18-months Miske after suspected he was the target of a federal investigation, and almost a year after Miske retained criminal defense attorney, Lynn Panagakos, to represent him. His suspicions about a federal investigation had been confirmed when a search warrant was executed to seize his Boston Whaler (in August 2017) as part of a “murder for hire” investigation.

So while Mike Miske was under intense federal scrutiny, and the federal investigation was already encumbering many of his personal and business bank accounts, he suddenly became more active as a campaign contributor, giving a total of $2,500 to Ernie Martin’s congressional campaign. Another $1,000 was given in the name of Delia-Anne Fabro, his late-son’s wife, who business registration records now listed as the person running Kamaaina Termite and several other Miske-controlled businesses. Miske also contributed another $1,000 to Sen. Donna Kim’s congressional campaign….On May 29, 2018, the FBI offered a $20,000 reward for information regarding the disappearance of Jonathan Fraser….

read … Alleged gang kingpin contributed $2,500 to Ernie Martin’s unsuccessful 2018 congressional campaign

Big Island COVID Numbers Take off Like Rocket

KHON: … Hawaii County has seen a surge in cases the past few weeks.

On Sunday, Hawaii County had more COVID-19 cases than Maui County. As of Sunday, there are 166 active cases on Hawaii island.

The virus started to spread a few weeks ago after a large funeral service was held.

Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green said there were about 500 people at the service….

17 of Hawaii Island’s 24 ICU beds are occupied.

“Only seven vacant ICU beds on Big Island as of this moment, so a quick rise in the count can be very dangerous,” Lt. Gov Green said. 

He said it’s likely to get a lot worse on Big Island, “If they don’t quickly get control of it.”

COVID testing was held across Hawaii Island this past week.

Mayor Kim said each testing site averaged about 400 people. He said testing will continue until they’ve identified as many positive cases as they can….

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

Related: Big Island COVID Upsurge Shows Failure of Airport Screening

read … Hawaii Island reports two COVID deaths as case numbers surpass Maui County

Due to mislabeling, about 1,000 Oahu residents told to re-test for COVID-19

HNN: … some of the tests from the Kaneohe site on Wednesday were not labeled correctly and those individuals impacted are being urged to retest.

The results from last week’s surge testings are still not publicly available and for some those results may not come as soon as they thought.

We learned about a thousand of the surge tests were apparently not labeled correctly because the Honolulu Fire Department did not get the correct guidance on how to label them. ….

read … Due to mislabeling, about 1,000 Oahu residents told to re-test for COVID-19

$1.9B—Hirono’s ‘Top Priority’ Radar Dismissed

CB: … Sen. Mazie Hirono …  called the radar her “top priority in the NDAA this year,” ….

The Missile Defense Agency awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for $585 million in December 2018 to develop, build and deliver the radar with work being done in New Jersey and Hawaii. But the facility itself is going to be considerably more expensive. In 2019, the estimated cost was about $1 billion. Officials are now referring to it as a $1.9 billion project….

When Hirono grilled Esper about funding during congressional testimony in March he told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that defunding the project didn’t necessarily mean it was canceled, but that “if I develop a system and can’t put it somewhere, it has no effect. It’s wasted money.”

Without the radar, Hawaii depends on the mobile SBX radar — a program that has been controversial — and other ship-based radars for missile detection.

“The whole missile defense saga has been a long, drawn-out and expensive one,” said Dan Grazier, a veteran and military researcher at the Project on Government Oversight. “Any of these programs should warrant scrutiny.”…

Hirono said that U.S. technology has to evolve in response to North Korea’s pursuits (campaign contributions).   She said that country is (her donors are) quite single-minded about their pursuit of long range missiles and their technology I’m sure is evolving.” 

those opposed to the radar argue that these new technologies make the HDR-H obsolete before it’s even built, and that the military is already looking to space-based missile sensor systems that would quickly replace it.

The military readily admits that the radar won’t be able to detect the latest hypersonic missiles….

read … Will Hawaii’s $1.9 Billion Missile Radar System Get Built?

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