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Sunday, September 6, 2020
September 6, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:59 PM :: 2916 Views

45 Companies--13,701 Layoffs Since Aug 1

Moving the Smokestack: How Clean is Your Electric Vehicle?

So Do We Have Contact Tracers? 

COVID Count 164 new cases out of 5,107 tests

Don‘t Let a Little COVID Interfere with My Free Ride to Congress: Kahele alleges ‘shaming for grieving’ after questions asked about event participation

HTH: … (entitled and privileged) Kai Kahele, who is running for Congress, asked for more details after he and mayoral candidate Ikaika Marzo were criticized on social media for their parts in a July 25 Keaukaha memorial service. A video of the event showed participants much closer than 6 feet apart, many of them embracing and many without masks….

“DOH is aware of four large gatherings in Keaukaha, Hilo, Puna, and Kalapana around late July and early August, at which Oahu residents were reported to have attended,” Anderson said in the letter. “Due to the timing of the Hilo surge in mid-August, there is reason to believe they are related to the increase in cases, but as of yet no definitive link has been identified between the events, travel history, and a specific source based on information gathered from contact tracing.”…

Mayor Harry Kim’s Emergency Rule No. 10, which was in effect at the time, allowed outdoor gatherings up to 100 people, provided physical distancing and safe practices are maintained. Face masks are required when in public, under the rule. The events occurred before the re-institution of the 14-day interisland quarantine, so Oahu visitors were allowed to roam freely….

Kahele, in a (really smug) public Facebook post Thursday, railed against the mayor, the island’s newspapers and what he called “rumors on social media,” for linking the gatherings with the community spread of the virus.

Asked Friday what message he was sending to the community by participating in such events, Kahele called the question “inappropriate.” (Translation: I am anointed by the Four Governors.  How dare you question me.)  He said the memorial he attended as a representative of the state Senate was in honor of a personal friend of his.

“I do not think shaming for grieving is the way we should address that,” Kahele said. “It’s an inappropriate question to address to people who are grieving. … We don’t need that on our island right now.”…

(Translation: Rules are for the little people.)

Marzo, who (unlike Kahele isn’t getting a free ride because he) faces county Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth in the Nov. 3 general election for mayor, was asked a similar question Thursday evening in a PBS Hawaii “insights” program.

Moderator Darryl Huff asked the candidate what his participation in the event said about his judgment and ability to be mayor.

Marzo can be seen on the publicly available YouTube video, “What Gang Hana Hou” piloting his tour boat packed with people during an ashes spreading ceremony at the July 25 memorial service. He said the boat, which holds about 40 passengers, was about 50-50 locals and Oahu visitors.

“We partaked in this ceremony of casting our brother to the next realm and you know, I felt good about it. To point fingers and say that we was part of something that, you know, what we see today with COVID-19 cases. There was no restrictions at that time with traveling, quarantine, 14-day quarantine restrictions,” Marzo said during the televised show. “Yes, I was part of it and I was proud of it…”

read … Kahele alleges ‘shaming for grieving’ after questions asked about event participation

72 Cases at Big Island veteran’s care home—Death Toll Revised

HNN:  … On Saturday, officials said five patients from the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home — not six — have died from COVID-19 complications.  

UPDATE Sept 6, 2020: 7 Dead

There were no new deaths to report on Saturday, but officials said, “However, there is a correction of 5 total deaths related to COVID-19 with significant, underlying health issues. According to details from Avalon Healthcare, the managing company running the veterans home operations, one resident who passed had a pending PCR test, tested positive with the rapid/antigen test at the Emergency Department. PCR results that came back that last night was negative, according to Avalon.”

Two other fatalities were reported on Thursday, but they have yet to be included in the statewide tally.

Residents who have tested positive are being cared for in a designated area at the care home.

(BAD IDEA: All COVID patients should be removed from all nursing homes.  This failure is the cause behind the outbreak at Okutsu.)

In total, 3 residents from the care home are currently hospitalized at the Hilo Medical Center, and a total of 54 residents and 18 employees have tested positive. Just 5 have recovered.

Hilo Medical Center also reports that there are 13 total COVID-positive patients that are hospitalized: 5 in ICU, 8 in a COVID Unit….

Family linked to Big Island COVID-19 cluster makes an emotional plea to the public

Christina Ranan, a nurse manager at Hilo Medical Center, said the outbreak at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home has been devastating and taxing on resources.

Sen. Schatz shares statement on coronavirus outbreak at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo

Senator Schatz, Mayor Kim calling for state to do more at Hilo Veterans Home

read … One death removed from count of a Big Island veteran’s care home 

Green: A plan to defeat COVID-19 in Hawaii — and we must deploy it now

SA: … In order to stop the spread of COVID, prevent unnecessary deaths, and begin to restore our economy, we must take the following steps now, putting them into effect immediately during the current stay-at-home order:

>> Everyone in Hawaii must wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times when not at home, with clear and consistent enforcement of masking along with responsible social distancing in all public places and other effective hygienic measures.

>> As quickly as possible, we must increase our statewide testing capacity to 10,000 tests per day so we can see spikes in COVID spread before they get out of control, and we can aggressively and proactively test all symptomatic people, high-risk groups that have seen spikes in infection rates, those in high risk professions such as health-care workers, and every close contact of those who have tested positive, followed by quickly isolating every infected person until they recover.

>> Hawaii must immediately employ 500 full-time contact tracers and implement a rapid, thorough and comprehensive program of tracing and testing everyone who has come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID, using every available resource and technology to support, coordinate and strengthen an effective tracing effort.

>> We must increase hospital staffing statewide by at least 300 nurses and 100 beds for COVID this month, and prepare to launch our 150 emergency mobile hospital beds, staffing them with a mix of National Guard and private sector health-care professionals.

>> We must be publicly transparent with COVID data, publishing updated and accurate information to the people of Hawaii daily, including the number and location of cases, number of people tested and contacts traced, number of people in quarantine, and number of new cases. This will ensure that our COVID response is accountable to the people for protecting and informing them, and for producing the results and success we must achieve.

read … A plan to defeat COVID-19 in Hawaii — and we must deploy it now

COVID Failure Rooted in ‘Toxic Factionalism in Legislature’

Shapiro: …Gov. David Ige is unsteady, secretive and increasingly isolated as the challenge overwhelms him.

The Legislature devoted its first COVID session to hiding money from Ige, and the top headline in its second session was pay raises for public workers. What little aid lawmakers extended the suffering public was mostly vetoed by Ige in a tiresome game of undoing each other’s work.

Good ideas from House and Senate oversight committees are negated by vicious hectoring of the administration that defeats productive communication.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell jockey for notice in their competition to succeed Ige in 2022, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard hurls Twitter bombs at the governor hoping to regain relevance after a poorly received presidential run, and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz declares the state’s performance “objectively terrible.”

These are all Democrats untethered to any guiding ethic.

At one time, the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye might have stepped in as Hawaii’s respected elder statesman. He didn’t have power to dictate an outcome, but had the clout to call together feuding parties to talk out differences and seek a common path forward.

There are no current leaders of near comparable stature.

Schatz has made some effort to be the adult in the room, but he comes out of the toxic factionalism in the Hawaii Legislature that’s the root of much of the mistrust.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono does her own thing and has never been looked to by fellow elected officials for leadership.

Our five former governors have tried too much political kingmaking to be recognized by all factions as honest brokers in facilitating a productive path forward.

In the absence of an Inouye-like figure, the only hope is for one or more of the discordant parties to be the better person, to rise above ego and personal ambition, to recognize that everybody has something to contribute, to fight for collaboration instead of rivalry, to bring everybody to the table to find a way out of this crushing disaster for Hawaii….

Borreca:  With Hawaii Gov. David Ige floundering, Legislature takes a more active role

Cataluna: Scapegoats And Fall Guys For A Leader Who Cannot Lead

SA: Raise Your Hand: Rebuild public trust in government

read … Want us to cooperate on coronavirus? Hawaii leaders must truly lead

Rate Hike Coming: Crony Biofuel Schemers Claim Leading Critic Faked Emails  (get ready to pay $0.22 per kwh)

SA: … Henry Curtis, a staunch opponent of the stalled Honua Ola Bioenergy project on Hawaii island, is being accused by the company of trying to sabotage its regulatory appeal by sending fake emails to the state Public Utilities Commission.

Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC alleged in a letter filed Friday to the PUC that Curtis, executive director of the nonprofit environmental group Life of the Land, was responsible for seven spoof emails in support of the project that caught the PUC’s attention when verification replies revealed the emails were not sent by the rightful account holder.

(Translation: We’re going to force this project thru and YOU will pay higher rates as a result.)

The company, which does business as Honua Ola Bioenergy, said it traced the emails to Curtis through an IP address associated with his Honolulu residence. The bogus emails brought into question the legitimacy of all public comments in the case, and the PUC said in a letter Wednesday to all parties on the docket that it would redact future public comments from public view until such time that they could be authenticated….

Curtis, when apprised of the accusations Friday night and asked if he was responsible for the fake emails, responded: “No way. Absolutely no way.”

On Saturday, Life of the Land attorney Lance Collins denied the nonprofit and Curtis were involved in the “author-impersonated public comments” and said legal action may be taken against Hu Honua.

“Innuendo and insinuation alluded to, but not actually stated or proven, by your client is not evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Curtis or Life of the Land but rather, if further pursued, may give rise to claims against Hu Honua for fraud, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, false light, invasion of privacy and defamation,” Collins said in a letter to Bruce Voss, co-counsel for Hu Honua.

“Any legal attempt to besmirch Mr. Curtis or Life of the Land for legitimately participating in the Public Utilities Commission process, however styled in legal claims founded on innuendo, has no purpose other than to harass Mr. Curtis or Life of the Land or to attempt to redirect attention away from the fact that purportedly author-impersonated public comments were submitted through Hu Honua’s website to the PUC and your client’s stated lack of any supervision over its collateral attempts to influence PUC decision making.”…

“Should the investigation confirm Mr. Curtis’s and LOL’s involvement, neither Hu Honua nor the PUC could possibly trust Mr. Curtis with Hu Honua’s confidential business information,” Lee said. “In addition, LOL’s access to Hu Honua’s confidential information should be revoked and LOL should be ordered to return or destroy such confidential information pursuant to the PUC’s protective order in this docket.” ….

(Translation: Our goal to to kick our critic out of the system.)

INTELLIGENT RESPONSE:  Being forced to pay 3x the cost of clean geothermal electricity, for 30 years,  just so some eco-crony exploiters can profit,
is what we in Hawaii call “sustainable”.  It’s also why all our kids are moving to Vegas,  cause it’s too expensive to survive here.

INTILLEGENT RESPONSE: “Typical Hawaii nonsense. 7 emails, really? And there are all these accusations coming from Hu Honua? The fact is that all these bioenergy initiatives are far more energy costly than oil and just as environmentally unfriendly. Do the math on the cost of ethanol, etc. The PUC should kill this project regardless of the 7 emails. I'm sending this from zip 96825 in Honolulu, I think not Curtis' zip code.”  

Henry Curtis: 

read … Environmental leader accused of trying to foil Honua Ola Bioenergy project

National Guard Blocks N Shore Kauai after Window Smash at Home Rented By Cult

CB: … Kauai police and the National Guard sealed off much of the North Shore with roadblocks Saturday to prevent demonstrators from joining a protest that left a house occupied by a former Colorado cult vandalized and a van belonging to the group badly damaged.

The property was attacked Friday night, according to police, after a demonstration at the beachfront home encircled the property and more than 100 protesters demanded that the group, known as Love Has Won, leave the island.

Three small fires were set on the beach that were extinguished by the Kauai Fire Department. Kauai Police Department units with more than a dozen officers and two National Guard vehicles blocked Kuhio Highway near Hanalei in two places and massed a presence at the house they were renting….

At one point Saturday, three demonstrators engaged in a shouting match with a cult member, identified as Stacy Daly, who had come out onto a second floor lanai. They demanded a dialogue with Carlson, but Daly went back inside the house without apparently responding.

“She was in tears,” one demonstrator said….

Cult member Robert Begley raged in a series of posts:

“Did you see what the locals did to our mother’s house? They smashed every window in her car. They smashed her house windows. They they threw rocks. How would you like that to happen to your mother? Your mother who has full cancer in her body and paralyzed.”

There was clear damage to the house, including several smashed windows with glass shards scattered on the ground outside. Jalousie shades appeared to have been struck by thrown objects. It was not clear how the damage occurred. Some demonstrators contended the cult had done the damage itself….

Police on the scene in Wainiha said the clash Friday night continued until about 11 p.m.Officers were ordered back to the North Shore about 6 a.m. on Saturday, one of them said, apparently because KPD was concerned the situation could get out of control.

The police strategy was apparently successful because, by late Saturday afternoon, only about two dozen demonstrators were present at the house. They complained that the police and National Guard presence had significantly reduced the turnout.

Protesters have said they will continue the action at least through Sunday…. 

HNN: Alleged religious cult leaves Kauai rental property with Police Escort

June 16, 2020: All Members of Carbon Nation Headed Back to Mainland

VIDEO: Love Has Won's Messages to Hawaii

July 22, 2020: Crestone Cult Love Has Won Leaves Man to Die in Desert  “…last year a member named Robert (Robbie) Foley mysteriously disappeared after having given his $10,000 trust fund and SUV to Carlson. He’s not been able to locate him since….” …Before landing in Crestone, Carlson lived in Rowlett Texas, a suburb of Dallas. She’s had at least one DUI and one warrant for her arrest….

TGI: Love Has Won protests continue into the weekend

read … Protesters Vandalize Kauai Home Rented By Religious Cult, Police Say

The Money Behind Tulsi Gabbard’s New Legal Defense Fund

CB: … What do an American Kremlin sympathizer, a doctor with ties to Hindu nationalists and George Clooney’s neighbor have in common?

They’re all bankrolling U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s attempt to pay down her legal debt from an ill-fated lawsuit against Hillary Clinton….

The legal fund gives donors who’ve already reached their FEC maximum to a candidate another way to give money. It also allows Gabbard to fundraise even though she’s not running for office and frees her up to spend the remaining roughly $165,000 left in her presidential campaign account on other things….

read … The Money Behind Tulsi Gabbard’s New Legal Defense Fund

New agency will Bulldoze Schools to make way for High-Rise Condos

SA: … A new state agency to build and renovate public schools is about to be created to take over the job from the Department of Education at a time when most students are learning at home.

A broad coalition of legislators and business interests pushed for the independent School Facilities Agency, saying it will expedite school projects and generate revenue for education through public-private ventures to redevelop valuable campus lands.

But questions remain about how the agency will work, possible duplication of duties with the DOE, transparency, oversight and who will call the shots on school construction priorities. Senate Bill 3103, which creates the agency, will become law by Sept. 15 with or without Gov. David Ige’s signature….

It will have wide powers to develop, plan, construct and renovate schools; acquire, condemn, lease or sell property; accept gifts and grants; and work with the private sector — with no oversight by the Board of Education, which sets statewide education policy.

Instead the agency is simply required to issue an annual report on its activities to the governor, BOE and the Legislature. It is authorized to create seven new noncivil service positions and transfer an unspecified number of jobs from the DOE….

The most recent proposal, to redevelop Queen Kaahumanu School property on Kinau Street in the heart of town, was nixed by the Board of Education in January. The plan called for moving the elementary school, which has 500 children, onto the campus of McKinley High to make way for housing or commercial development. But the school community opposed it and so did board members….

Other properties still being considered for redevelopment include Kaimuki High School’s sprawling campus and the former site of Queen Liliuokalani School, at 3633 Waialae Ave. in Kaimuki, which houses the DOE’s data center and staff handling support services, facilities, security and emergency preparedness.

Lawmakers have expressed frustration over delays on those proposals as well as various school construction projects over the years. They strongly object when projects they funded are deferred in favor of others the DOE considers a higher priority. The new agency, they believe, would be more responsive….

read … New agency will take over public school construction in Hawaii

Honolulu Police Department committee to recommend categorizing vascular neck restraints as ‘deadly force’ option

SA: … During a Honolulu Police Commission meeting Wednesday, commissioner Richard Parry, who also sits on HPD’s Use of Force Committee, said the panel favors moving vascular neck restraint from “intermediate” use of force, which includes the use of batons, to the same category that includes use of firearms.

Parry said two other significant changes to HPD’s use-of-force policy the committee is recommending would require police officers to intervene if they see other officers “doing something inappropriate” and to “de-escalate use-of-force situations whenever possible.” …

read … Honolulu Police Department committee to recommend categorizing vascular neck restraints as ‘deadly force’ option

Creepy ‘Geofence’ Finds Anyone Who Went Near a Crime Scene

WIRED: … Geofence warrants work in reverse: Police start with a time and location, and request data from Google or another tech company about the devices in the area at the time. The companies then typically supply anonymous data on the devices in the area. Police use their own investigative tools to narrow down this list. Then they may ask for more specific information—often an email address or a name of the account holder—for a phone on the narrower list.

Critics say the process is an invasion of privacy, often subjecting many people to an unconstitutional search. Now, in a rare step, two judges have denied requests for geofence warrants and questioned whether they complied with Fourth Amendment protections for searches. Lawmakers and activists see the court opinions as steps toward a potential ban on the practice.

“This is as clear as day a fishing expedition that violates people's basic constitutional rights,” says New York state assemblymember Dan Quart. Earlier this year, Quart and state senator Zellnor Myrie introduced bills that would prevent authorities from using data gathered from geofence warrants. “It should never be used in a courtroom.”

Though relatively new, the practice is becoming increasingly common. Google reported a 1,500 percent increase in requests in 2018 compared with 2017. The New York Times reported the company received as many as 180 requests per week last year. Privacy experts tell WIRED that it isn't just Google. Apple, Uber, and Snapchat have all received similar requests.

“This is a tactic that really can be targeted at literally any company,” says Albert Fox Cahn, founder and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a nonprofit civil liberties organization. The New York legislation would bar law enforcement from obtaining location data from tech companies or any of the nameless data brokers collecting the data from seemingly innocuous apps. The legislation would also prevent law enforcement from bypassing geofence warrants and buying location data directly, as the Secret Service did, a Vice report uncovered.

“This exact same data can be gathered by all sorts of commercial data brokers using the free apps on our phone,” Cahn says. “Police can potentially use them to get the exact same information as when they send a warrant to Google.”….

read … Creepy ‘Geofence’ Finds Anyone Who Went Near a Crime Scene

Another chunk of Hawaii County’s CARES money available

WHT: … Applications are now being accepted for the Holomua Hawaii program, which will provide reimbursement grants to businesses and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Holomua Hawaii program will distribute up to $22 million of Hawaii County’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding….

The funds, which are available for businesses or nonprofits with 50 or fewer employees, may be used to support core operations and reopening costs. The maximum grant award is $10,000….

Eligible expenses for reimbursement include rent, payroll, nongovernment utilities, costs incurred to meet social distancing and safety requirements, as well as medical insurance premiums, workers compensation and other annual expenses required to operate the business, unless those expenses have already been covered under other CARES Act funding sources, according to the county Department of Research and Development.

Taxes, except for taxes on sales, are not reimbursable….

read … Another chunk of county’s CARES money available

$78M Buyout for Lava-Destroyed Properties

HTH: … A plan for disbursing $83.84 million in federal funds to victims of the 2018 Kilauea eruption was submitted for federal review last week.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is reviewing the county’s Initial Action Plan for using funds through the federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program, which will direct the money toward a pair of programs intended to help homeowners affected by the disaster.

The action plan will, if approved, funnel most of the CDBG-DR money — $78 million of it — to a voluntary housing buyout program, through which the county can purchase properties impacted by the eruption from owners, allowing them to recoup up to $230,000 each. The final buyout prices will be determined by pre-eruption property assessments from 2017….

What They’re not Doing: HRS 171-93: Law Allows Swap of Lava-Covered Lots for State Property in Zone 3

read … Eruption recovery fund action plan out for review

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