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Thursday, September 10, 2020
September 10, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:02 PM :: 787 Views

Dubin Disbarred--Its 'Foreclosure Hour' for Associate of John Waihee and Keanu Sai

Retaliation at DoH: Another Candid Discussion with Dr. Scott Miscovich

COVID Count 100 new cases out of 1,486 tests 

Liberalize West Maui Plan to encourage more housing

Baseball Bat Assault: Hawaii County Police Dept Employee Arrested

Hilo Jail Riot Began with Contraband Search

On Line Mayoral Debate Set for Monday 

COVID Count 169 new cases out of 7,211 tests

COR: State Tax Revenues Down 11% — Short $770M this Year

HNN: … The Hawaii Council on Revenues said tax revenues for the 2021 fiscal year will be down 11% — or about $770 million.

The board also revised its outlook for the 2022 fiscal year, saying the economy will grow by 8%.

That’s lower than the 12% predicted in May.

“The economists believed that this would be a short rebound and it would take two years to bounce back," said state Rep. Sylvia Luke, chair of the House Finance Committee.

“Clearly, what we are seeing is the road to recovery will take about four years.”

Luke said the state could avoid severe cuts this year by borrowing money from the federal government and by taking advantage of the $400 million that the state Legislature set aside in the state’s rainy day fund.

University of Hawaii economist Carl Bonham thinks visitor arrivals will be down about 80% from last year….

read … With latest gloomy economic outlook, lawmakers prepare for a long road to recovery

After 10 Deaths, Contact Tracing and testing Finally begins at Hilo Veterans Home

HNN: … A 10th resident with COVID-19 at a Hilo veterans home has died, Hawaii County officials confirmed.

Meanwhile, mass testing began Wednesday at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home. Authorities said all patients, employees and other close contacts would be tested.

A spokesperson for the facility confirmed four additional positive tests came back Wednesday.

Out of 74 residents, 63 have now tested positive. Two additional employees also tested positive, bringing the total to 22.

All this happened over the course of a few weeks and some have questioned whether the county, state and nursing home were doing enough to contain it. The facility is the only nursing home in the state for veterans.

Up until now, internal testing was done just for patients and staff.

Now that Premier Medical Group is taking over the testing, all close contacts will also be checked….  (Wow.  Just wow.)

read … 10 dead

City Council Chair Ikaika Anderson resigns suddenly

CB: … Anderson wouldn’t comment on what his professional plans are, other than saying he will help out with his grandparents’ floral business.

(The words “Subject Letter” do not appear in this article.)

However, Anderson has filed an organizational report to potentially run for lieutenant governor in 2022. If he runs, he may face off with his current council colleagues, Joey Manahan and Ron Menor, both of whom are term-limited and filed paperwork with the Campaign Spending Commission indicating interest in the lieutenant governor’s job.

“I’m open to asking the community for another opportunity, provided my family is in a good place at that point in time,” he said. “But I fully respect and realize it’s not up to me whether I return to public service. It’s up to the community whether or not they’ll ever have me again.” ….

read … Anderson Plans LG Run

Keith Amemiya seeks action on alleged ‘felonies’ by Hanabusa Supporters' Super PAC

SA: … Mayoral candidate Keith Amemiya hopes the state Campaign Spending Commission resolves a complaint his campaign filed about a political action committee before ballots go out next month and another round of anti-Amemiya allegations can be made.

“Based on the information we’ve received, crimes have been committed, including felonies,” Amemiya told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Wednesday.

Those responsible for the Aloha Aina Oiaio super PAC “need to be held accountable,” he said.

In a July complaint to the Campaign Spending Commission, lawyers representing Amemiya’s campaign alleged several violations, including an “intentional” Class C felony that a campaign donor used a “false name” to make an additional donation to the PAC….

read … Keith Amemiya seeks action on alleged ‘felonies’ by super PAC

Ethics Board continues Maunakea debate

HTH: … Who should enforce the law when protesters block the access road to Maunakea and continue to have unpermitted structures there remained in question Wednesday as the county Board of Ethics struggled with a board resolution and a citizen petition that’s been pending since January. 

The board considered its position behind closed doors Wednesday and then again postponed a decision to give Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela a chance to explain a 10-page memo he drafted in response to the board’s question about whether it should hire an outside attorney to help parse county and state laws.

In the meantime, Chairman Rick Robinson suggested the petitioners, Lisa Malakaua and Mike Nathaniel, file their petition with the state Ethics Commission as well. That body has staff and budget to investigate the issue, he said.

read … Ethics Board continues Maunakea debate

NY Times: Hawaii stands alone in keeping some retailers closed

HNN: … Hawaii is the only state in the nation where some retail stores are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the New York Times.

Oahu retailers, like salons and gyms, are not considered essential businesses under Oahu’s stay-at-home order. The mandate went into effect Aug. 27 in a bid to address a COVID-19 surge on the island.

And on Tuesday, it was extended through Sept. 23….

Kira believes the city’s rules unfairly target small businesses while allowing big box stores to stay open.

“If you go there it’s so crowded. Nobody is social distancing,” Kira said. “Whereas in our store, it’s such a small space but we’re able to control that kind of atmosphere and limit the amount of people.”

Sherry Menor McNamara, president and CEO of the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce," said most businesses are doing their part to keep customers safe.

She said retailers should at least be able to have pickup orders or deliveries….

read … NY Times: Hawaii stands alone in keeping some retailers closed

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green asks for loosening of latest Oahu stay-at-home order

SA: … Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is opening parks, beaches and hiking trails Thursday only for solo activities, including reading, meditating, eating, jogging and sitting on the beach alone.

Green said that part of the order is not sensible and should be loosened for public safety (and to boost Green’s chances in 2022)….

HTH: Green says state should be ready to reopen to travelers on Oct. 1 (trying to outmaneuver Caldwell)

read … Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green asks for loosening of latest Oahu stay-at-home order

Caldwell Order Separates Parents from their own Children

KHON: … Under the City and County of Honolulu’s new emergency orders, parents are not allowed to accompany small children in beaches, parks, hiking trails, or botanical gardens due to these places being limited to solo activity…. 

read … Pediatrician, parents say Mayor Caldwell’s order is blocking children’s health

Mixed-wage gig workers fall into unemployment misery gap

SA: Question: How do gig workers who have mixed W-2 and self-employment receive the $300 boost? My husband is a professional musician. Most of his weekly gigs have been at hotels and restaurants. We have lived financially without any government help like SNAP, HUD, etc. all our lives. We are now over 65. We could really use the $300 a week to pay for rent, food, utilities, car insurance, medicine, etc. Last year, one of his hotel jobs decided to change his status to an employee. He worked there and was sent a W-2 for $3,400 in wages. Fast forward to the pandemic, lockdown, businesses close, no work, no help for months. Finally, UI says he qualifies for $77 per week, which works OK with the extra $600. We tighten our belt. The $600 expires. Now we are unable to qualify for the $300 a week from FEMA. I know we are not the only ones facing this crisis. As a self-­employed musician, he has paid the (general excise) tax on his gig earnings and tips for years. He is a mixed-wages gig worker. Surely the other part of his self-employment is of some value. We have years of tax records, showing we paid. We have no restaurants open that can afford to hire musicians at this time. They are just trying to survive themselves, without that expense. We are all hanging on with our fingernails. Where do we go to find the help needed to help us survive?

TGI: County opens Rise to Work program for residents

read … Mixed-wage gig workers fall into unemployment misery gap

PUC denies Hu Honua motion to reconsider competitive bidding waiver request

HTH: … The state Public Utilities Commission today denied a motion by Honua Ola Bioenergy, formerly known as Hu Honua Bioenergy, to reconsider its denial of Hawaiian Electric’s request for a waiver from renewable energy competitive bidding costs for the nearly completed biomass power plant in Pepeekeo.

In its denial on July 9, the regulatory panel essentially nixed the power purchase agreement between Honua Ola and Hawaiian Electric, formerly known as Hawaii Electric Light Co., because of the purchase price of power from the wood-burning power plant at the former Hilo Coast Processing Co. site.

Honua Ola’s price estimate was 22.1 cents per kilowatt hour. The PUC noted that two solar-plus-storage projects already approved on the Big Island, AES Waikoloa Solar and Hale Kuawehi Solar, have a photovoltaic system capable of producing 30 megawatts with a battery storage capability of 120 megawatts, with an energy purchase price between 8 cents and 9 cents per hour..

Honua Ola filed a motion for reconsideration of the PUC decision, stating that regardless of cost, Honua Ola was a more reliable source of power than the solar projects. It also argued the plant was 99 percent complete, that $474 million was invested in the project, and to not allow it to go online would result in the loss of about 200 local jobs and would be a major economic blow during the pandemic and could have a chilling effect on future economic investment in Hawaii in the future.…

(All based on the idea that we will just go along with paying triple for their tree-burning electricity)

read … PUC denies Honua Ola’s motion to reconsider competitive bidding waiver request

Franklin Templeton CEO Poured Money into Dead Hu Honua Project

HTH: project opponent Marco Mangelsdorf of ProVision solar in Hilo said that despite “unprecedented pressure and personal attacks” the PUC “absolutely came to the right decision rejecting Honua Ola’s motion for reconsideration, showing that even in the face of deep-pocketed and relentless efforts from afar that it’s possible for justice and the health of the aina to prevail.”

“With the bounty of truly green renewable energy sources that bless Hawaii Island, we certainly can and must do better than chopping down living trees and combusting them for decades,” Mangelsdorf said.

The deep pockets Mangelsdorf referred to are those of Jennifer Johnson, who in 2015 became the principal investor in the project, which was mired in debt and lawsuits. Johnson is CEO of Franklin Templeton, a global financial services company headquartered in San Mateo, Calif., that claimed $717.1 billion assets under management as of 2018.

Johnson spearheads a group of investors, although it’s unknown whether any of the money is that of the multi-billion-dollar company.

In a video posted Aug. 31 to YouTube, Lee told Jay Fidell of ThinkTech Hawaii that Johnson is “committed to renewable energy, and to see this product through.”

Asked whether Honua Ola would again enter a competitive bid to HECO to sell electricity or whether it would go to court to appeal the PUC’s decision, Lee replied, “We’ll have to really assess what the order says and what our options are, and then, we’ll know which ones to execute.” 

Mangelsdorf said that soon, those following the project will “likely witness the lawsuits fly.”

read … PUC won’t exempt Honua Ola from competitive bidding

Kaua'i County Council passes ban on styrofoam food containers

KITV: … The Kaua'i County Council on Wednesday passed a ban on styrofoam food containers.

The council voted 4-to-2 in favor of the measure.

If Mayor Derek Kawakami signs the measure, the county will join the rest of the state in banning such products, which environmentalists say are non-biodegradable (sacrilegious.)

All restaurants, grocery stores, food trucks, and other food providers would be required to stop using styrofoam by January 2022. 

read … Kaua'i County Council passes ban on styrofoam food containers

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