Monday, September 21, 2020
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Tuesday, September 1, 2020
September 1, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:43 PM :: 1465 Views

P3 Secrecy: Council Candidate Greg Thielen Calls for Removal of HART Executive Director

Johnny Miro gets the lowdown on Hawaii’s lack of COVID-19 transparency

Running for Kauai OHA Trustee: Keli'i Akina Talks with Kamealoha Smith

GOP: At-risk residents can be protected without returning to the devastating shutdown

Governor Releases 'Intent to Veto' List

CARES Act: Ige Orders Refill of Unemployment Fund

Lum Pleads Guilty in 1Malaysia Development Berhad Lobbying Scheme

COVID Count 181 new cases out of 4,004 tests

Hooser: Eliminate GE Tax on Rent

CB: … Eliminate the general excise tax on long term residential rental income derived from rentals serving 100% of median income and for small business owners impacted by COVID-19 ….

read … COVID-19 Crisis Warrants A Special Legislative Session

Kim: Despite rise in cases, no lockdown ‘punishment’ needed

WHT: … Even as COVID-19 cases on the Big Island rise, Mayor Harry Kim said he has no plans to return the island to lockdown.

The Department of Health reported 24 new coronavirus cases on the island Monday, bringing the county total to 364, but Kim said shutting down nonessential businesses — as the county did during the early days of the pandemic — would do more harm than good.

“I really believe that reactionary policies like that will cause more problems in the long run,” Kim said. “For restaurants, bars and small establishments, most of them are following our policies, so it doesn’t make sense to punish them. And that’s what that is, it’s punishment.”…

Kim also pointed out that extreme preventative measures like shutting down businesses will do nothing to curb the development of currently existing virus clusters like the one at Yukio Okutsu Veteran’s Home in Hilo, where 28 residents and nine employees have tested positive for coronavirus.

“No new rules can help Yukio Okutsu at this point,” Kim said.

Instead, Kim said the county is putting its faith in concentrated testing initiatives such as the one last week that included a pair of mass public tests in Keaukaha and, over the weekend, a testing site at Prince Kuhio Plaza and another in Waikoloa. The latter two, Kim said, conducted tests of more than 4,000 people, and more testing efforts are being planned for Puna as well.

Ige said Hawaii County’s aggressive testing measures likely contributed to a higher number of reported cases, allowing the county to better understand the spread of the infection.

The county also has stepped up enforcement on individuals flouting social distancing guidelines, Kim said….

HTH: Third resident at veterans home dies from coronavirus

read … Kim: Despite rise in cases, no lockdown needed

“My fear is that the health department has not been collecting this data”

CB: … House Speaker Scott Saiki, the committee co-chair, who also expressed dismay with the department’s lack of openness. Saiki on Aug. 6 wrote Anderson seeking data on topics such as date and location of transmission, the type of activity or event where the transmission occurred and whether the infected individual was masked or unmasked.

On Monday, Saiki shared the department’s belated response, which Saiki said didn’t provide the data he had been looking for.

“My fear is that the health department has not been collecting this data,” he said.

The committee also announced new initiatives for communications. The new Hawaii COVID Collaborative — which will have $1 million in funding provided by members of the House committee and its partners — includes organizations like the Hawaii Community Foundation, Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa, HMSA, Bank of Hawaii and the Hawaii Data Collaborative. A related organization, COVIDPAU, aims to create a better understanding of how people can be safe through a series of videos showing the effect of the virus on individuals and families.

Saiki said the committee may seek out other data sets, including information from hospitals and insurers if the information can be obtained without violating privacy laws.

Along with the push for transparency and the communications program came a call for a cultural change. Peter Ho, chairman and chief executive of Bank of Hawaii who co-chairs the committee, said the pandemic is likely to extend well into 2021, and he said the community needs to develop a resilient can-do spirit and “the ability to be relentless against a relentless adversary.”

read … Hawaii’s ‘2 Most Critical Weeks’: House Committee Seeks Strong State Action

Ige: “We are implementing actions to improve transparency and accountability in both agencies.”

CB: … When Ige was asked what needs to be done in the public safety and health departments, he told reporters “we are implementing actions to improve transparency and accountability in both agencies.”

Those steps include preparing a new dashboard for the health department to provide more online data that the public has requested, such as information on hospitalizations, contact tracing and testing, Ige said. That initiative will be launched within the week, he said.

He continued: “We do have a plan to move forward to respond to the criticisms in both departments. You’ve seen some of the response already as we’ve reconfigured the disease investigation and contact tracing, we have brought on additional staff, we are in the process of restructuring the response in that area.”

He also said the administration will be announcing “transition activities” in the Department of Public Safety, but provided no specifics….

SA Column: Information practices office resolves issues of public access

SA Editorial: Stronger actions from new leaders

SA: Officials say Hawaii’s health care system is under great stress

Big Q: What do you think about the retirements of the state Health and Public Safety directors — two key posts in COVID-19 efforts?

read … Can Hawaii ‘Reset’ With New Public Safety And Health Directors?

Despite a rocky start, city’s surge testing program goal expands to 90,000 tests

HNN: … Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that the federal government has agreed to expand testing from 60,000 people to 90,000.

The deal comes as the city said that more than 1,700 tests were mislabeled and had to be tossed after contract employees working for the federal government failed to correctly label test vials.

“I think we’ve corrected the problems on the first day. We’ve had a rocky roll out. Everyone has been brought up to speed,” said Caldwell.

But State Rep. Val Okimoto said there were other problems beyond just mislabeling procedures….

Caldwell took issue with Okimoto’s account.

“That’s where you get politicians talking stink about the testing program. It helps none of that, does not help their constituents, does not help the community they were all elected to serve,” he said.

Testing 90,000 people over several weeks can be an enormous venture. Part of the reason for the glitches is that the task is so large and was put together with little time.

“Doing something like this is extraordinary and we had four days to do it,” said Caldwell

read … Despite a rocky start, city’s surge testing program goal expands to 90,000 tests

H-3 Testing Turnout “little bit less than we expected”

SA: …Honolulu Fire spokesman Capt. Jeffrey Roache said there are currently short lines and minimal wait times. “There was little bit less than we expected. Since we’re shutting down the freeway, we want to have an overwhelming response.”

“H-3 is the best place to get tested without the long wait times,” Roache said adding there are more teams available to swiftly administer drive-thru testing….

Individuals may pre-register online at Residents are asked to bring the printed voucher from the online registration and a photo identification card to the H-3 surge testing site.

Officials also encourage residents who did not pre-register to get tested today….

SA: H-3 freeway photos

read … H-3 freeway remains shut down in both directions as COVID-19 surge testing continues

752 Laid off on Lanai

KHON: …A big hit to Hawaii’s only island yet to record a case of COVID-19 was felt Monday, as 752 workers were furloughed by Four Seasons Resorts on Lanai. The company operates two hotels on Lanai, with one in Manele and one in Koele.

“This is huge. You’re talking over two-thirds of the employment of the island, it’s going to brutal,” District State Representative Lynn DeCoite said.

Lanai has a sparse population of just over 3,000 people. Adding to the pain of the furloughs of 752 of those is the high cost of living, which will become more expensive Tuesday.

That’s when a 46% rate increase by shipping company Young Brothers is set to take effect, with the cost expected to be placed on customers….

It was a heartbreaking day for many at Hawaiian Airlines, where 989 flight attendants and pilots were let go. More than 1,000 Hawaiian Airlines workers will also be laid off on Sept. 15….

“We need a finalized tourism reopening plan,” Bonham said. “We’ve got visitors coming in every day, we’d be better off if they came in pre-tested.”…

read … Lanai dealt huge economic blow with Four Seasons furloughs

Police reform bill not on Ige’s ‘intent to veto’ list

WHT: … Gov. David Ige on Monday said he will allow a bill that would identify suspended or fired county police officers to become law.

The governor has not yet decided if he will sign House Bill 285 or simply allow it to become law by passing the Sept. 15 deadline, but will not veto the measure….

Under House Bill 285, Hawaii’s four county police chiefs will be required to disclose, in annual reports to the state Legislature, the identity of an officer upon an officer’s suspension or discharge from a county police department once the grievance procedure has concluded.

That means officers suspended or discharged between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of this year would be included in the next report to the Legislature due by Jan. 31, 2021.

Additionally, the bill would eliminate the exemption for county law enforcement officers under the Uniform Information Practices Act, allowing for the release of information retroactively upon request….

read … Police reform bill not on Ige’s ‘intent to veto’ list

Honolulu Settles Malicious Prosecution Case Involving Kaneshiro, Kealoha

CB: … A federal civil rights lawsuit that included claims of malicious and retaliatory prosecution by Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro and Katherine Kealoha, who was one of his top deputies, settled in federal court last week, although the terms of how much the city will pay out remain confidential.

The case stems from a series of police raids conducted in 2012 and 2013 of suspected illegal game rooms around Oahu.

Nearly 200 arcade machines believed to be gambling devices were seized, and prosecutors, led by Kealoha, secured a 414-count indictment in 2014 against several defendants, including Hawaii businessman Tracy Yoshimura, the owner of PJY Enterprises, a company that used to distribute sweepstakes machines around Oahu…..

Yoshimura, meanwhile, is still pursuing the impeachment of Kaneshiro. The Hawaii Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on Sept. 18. The arguments will center on whether electronic signatures collected by Yoshimura to support his impeachment petition are valid….

read … Honolulu Settles Malicious Prosecution Case Involving Kaneshiro, Kealoha

Another clothing entrepreneur among the Miske defendants

ILind: … As I reported in a post on August 2, Buntenbah is the president of the small company that created and marketed the “Defend Hawaii” brand of clothing and accessories, according to state business registration records.

In a further search of those business registration records, I noticed that John B. Stancil, Mike Miske’s half-brother who is also a defendant in the case, set up his own company, Leverage Honolulu LLC, on August 8, 2018. The company registered the Waimanalo home owned by his parents as its principal business address.

The company apparently marketed clothing with the “Leverage HNL” logo.

A LeverageHNL Facebook page shows only two followers, although an Instagram account boasts 592 followers.

Leverage Entertainment LLC was the parent company of Miske’s M Nightclub in downtown Honolulu’s Restaurant Row, which closed in 2016 after a series of highly publicized assaults by its staff prompted further investigations and fines by the Honolulu Liquor Commission.

Stancil, 33, worked part-time as a bouncer at the club, according to court records, and was alleged to have taken part in several assaults. In May 2013, an arrest report indicated he was then employed as a stevedore with McCabe, Hamilton & Renny, the independent stevedoring company….

read … Another clothing entrepreneur among the Miske defendants

Rapist, Child Molester Killed in Jail

CB: … A spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety said in a written statement that OCCC staff were alerted to an inmate-on-inmate assault at about 9:05 p.m. Monday. Vance Grace, 62, was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:43 p.m.

Grace was awaiting trial for a charge of promoting prison contraband, according to the spokeswoman. Jail staff said the attack occurred in Module 7, which is currently being used as a quarantine area for prisoners who test positive for the coronavirus….

Jail staff said the incident allegedly began when an older inmate demanded sex from a younger prisoner, and the younger inmate attacked him. Corrections officers were reportedly unable to immediately open the cell door to intervene because the key did not work properly, and an inmate inside the cell had to use a fail-safe mechanism inside the cell to help staff to open the door.

Two of the prisoners were then removed from the cell, but the door locked again, leaving the injured man locked inside until a locksmith could be summoned, staff said.

Honolulu Police arrested 27-year-old Ezequiel Zayas in connection with the case. Zayas was being held at the jail pending trial on charges of first- and second-degree burglary, according to the spokeswoman.

This is the second apparent beating death within the state system in August. On Aug. 19, convict Harry Hoopii, 70, died after being attacked by another inmate at the Halawa Correctional Facility’s special needs unit….

Hoopii was serving two life sentences with the possibility of parole. One life term was imposed in connection with a stabbing of a man in Kalihi in 1983, and another life term was imposed for the abduction and sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl as she walked home from school later that same year….

read … 2 Inmates Killed In 2 Weeks In Hawaii Correctional System

Socialists Continue to Trash Acellus 

CB: … The comments are included in an internal DOE document entitled “HIDOE Online Content Review” that was shared in a Facebook post Sunday by (socialist) state Rep. Amy Perruso, a longtime educator (card-carrying member of the DSA).

“It seems to me, as someone who has participated in curriculum and standards review processes, that this is not a thorough vetting (the specialists only look at a few select lessons in specific elementary courses) AND that the feedback provided to the superintendent in no way recommended adoption,” Perruso stated in the post.

Although the Google document came under password protection at some point Monday, a saved copy is available here….

read … Hawaii DOE’s Distance Learning Tool ‘Very, Very Questionable’

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