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Monday, September 14, 2020
September 14, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:58 PM :: 537 Views

Hiding LLC Records: OHA Lawsuit not Laughed out of Court

Vaccinations: Hawaii Ranks 43rd

HTA Should take Lead on Tourism Reopening

TW: … Hawaii, which eclipsed 10 million visitors for the first time in 2019, was on an early pace for another record year in 2020 until the Covid-19 pandemic struck. As each month passes with no tourism, estimates from state economists on the recovery period have grown longer. Many analysts are predicting a slow buildup in 2021, with Hawaii's tourism numbers not fully rebounding for several years. Out-of-work residents; hotel and restaurant managers; and all those tied to the hospitality industry have grown frustrated as the state has seemingly taken two steps back for every step forward in its fight against Covid-19.

"I really think the HTA should take the lead when it comes to the issue of tourism," said Frank Haas, former HTA vice president of marketing. "They should work with the department of health and the government on ways to develop a safe travel program. They also need to work on communication, and getting the message out about how the industry will reopen safely. Under Chris Tatum, the HTA took a back seat, and he even said it's not a lead agency."

Haas said it's time for the HTA to get more involved and take a lead in developing a tourism plan, offering New York City as an example of a destination that put together a comprehensive plan for rebooting tourism while simultaneously getting its infection rate under control."

John has a tall order in front of him," Haas said. "The HTA should be laying the foundation right now for when tourism returns. You can't just sit back and wait to flip a switch. You need plans in place so when people are ready and travel is safe you have everything in place."…

She also hopes the leadership changes marks a shift toward more communication, transparency and action from the HTA.

"We cannot seem to get out of our own way," she said. "There has been zero communication, haphazard decision making, and last-minute moves at all levels of government. The governor cannot make a decision, there is no strategic plan, the mayors are not handling things well, and a lot of these concerns filter to the HTA."

Many in the Hawaii hospitality industry are hoping the development of a rapid-result saliva test for coronavirus will help spur the reopening of tourism, and Churchill, who noted a Hawaiian company, Oceanit, is working on such a test, said she'd like to see the HTA support the process with funding or other resources….

(Of course, we could just buy saliva tests which others are already using, but then Oceanit wouldn’t profit and Oceanit has to be the priority here, not your job so suffer some more.)

read … Monumental challenges await Hawaii's new tourism chief

COVID-19 patients do their own contract tracing after DoH Refuses

HTH: … The first obstacle was the length of time between when she took her test on a Tuesday and when the results came back the following Sunday. She was in touch with DOH from the onset of her symptoms, but the department contact tracer wouldn’t verify her contacts because she didn’t have test results, the woman said.

“His response was you haven’t tested positive yet,” she said. “I ended up talking to everybody I could remember I had contact with just as a precaution.”

Then when she did get her positive results, the contact tracer took the names only of those in her household. The department had her workplace contacts because of the cluster it was investigating, but her contact tracer never took down the names of the other people she’d been in close contact with, she said.

“They’re not having that conversation,” she said. “They’re not doing contact tracing.”

A Hawaii Island man, unrelated and miles away, had a similar experience. His results came in two days after his test, but he also found the Health Department less than responsive.

“I called DOH a few times and nobody got back to me,” he said. “I was a little bit disgruntled with the guy.”…

read … COVID-19 survivors see flaws in system

Thousands inquire about state’s rental relief program, some have been helped

KHON: … “So far, we received about 2,500 phones from across the state and 850 emails inquiring about the program, so that demonstrates the urgent need in our community,” said President and CEO of Catholic Charities Hawaii Robert Van Tassell.

Aloha United Way also told KHON2 that it’s been getting double the amount of phone calls this past week.

You may be eligible if you’re unemployed or partially unemployed, and your household income is at or below 100-percent of the area median income.

Applying online is the quickest way….

Payments are made directly to the landlord. Eligible renters could receive up to $2,000 each month on Oahu and up to $1,500 on the neighbor islands. The demand will likely not stop….

KITV: Honolulu Mayor considers $100 million grant program for commercial landowners

read … Thousands inquire about state’s rental relief program, some have been helped

Molokai leaders anticipate an increase in COVID cases this week

KHON: … “It is spreading and we are recognizing that people are feeling sick and have some respiratory issues,” explained State Rep. Lynn Decoite (D) Haiku, Nahiku, Lanai, Molokai.

She said residents are frustrated because people who are supposed to be quarantining themselves are not.

“I know there are some people who are not testing and were exposed and are asymptomatic,” explained Maui County Councilwoman Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, who represents and lives on Molokai. “And so, what we’re seeing is more spread among residents.”

She said there are cases being spread in people who live in multi-generational houses, some who are homeless, or who stay with friends.

“The police are taking on the burden to follow up on those who are not quarantining. But when people have nowhere to go, then what?” she said.

Rep. DeCoite and Rawlins-Fernandez said Molokai doesn’t have the option of quarantine hotels like Oahu does and the island has limited resources. 

She hopes to work with the local hospital to figure out an isolation area.

Councilwoman Rawlins-Fernandez said she hopes pallet units, which are currently located on the island of Maui, can be sent to Molokai for people to isolate.

“There are nine units currently in storage that could be sent to Molokai to be used for that purpose,” she said….

Last week Wednesday, mass testing was administered on Molokai. DeCoite said about 270 residents were tested and are still waiting on other results.

On Friday, a staff member who works in the cafeteria at Molokai High School tested positive for Covid-19…. 

HNN: Search intensifies for quarantine sites on Molokai as number of active cases grows to 13

MN: Molokai High employee tests positive for virus

read … Molokai leaders anticipate an increase in COVID cases this week

Tulsi Gabbard’s New Leadership PAC

CB: … With her failed presidential bid in the rearview mirror, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spun off her presidential fundraising committee into a new political action committee last week, a sign that she’s not done with politics, yet.

In short, Tulsi Now is no more; meet Tulsi Aloha.

Gabbard’s team filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Sept. 4 to change her presidential campaign committee, Tulsi Now, into Tulsi Aloha, a leadership political action committee. The change means Gabbard can donate money left over from her presidential primary campaign to other candidates for local or national office.

That doesn’t mean Gabbard will be running for office again anytime soon, though. On the contrary, a leadership PAC is designated as a “nonconnected committee,” meaning it is legally unaffiliated from any Gabbard campaign. But it does signal that Gabbard plans to keep raising money and remain a player on the political stage, according to Brett Kappel, a D.C.-based campaign finance expert….

This kind of move is common for former candidates, and here’s why: A leadership PAC doesn’t have the same fundraising and donation restrictions as a campaign committee. Tulsi Now could only raise $2,800 from individuals for each election in which Gabbard was a candidate, including primary and general elections. Tulsi Aloha will be able to raise $5,000 per year from individuals, other PACs or political party committees regardless of whether or not Gabbard is running for office.

That’s important because Gabbard was recently warned by the FEC she was violating election rules by continuing to take money after dropping out of the race in March, following a series of poor showings in primaries and caucuses around the country.

In April and May, the campaign emailed Gabbard supporters asking them to buy excess merchandise, such as shirts, stickers and hoodies, to help raise money for coronavirus relief efforts.

In June, FEC records show Gabbard donated about $4,400 to Direct Relief and the Semper Fi & America’s Fund, two nonprofits the campaign previously named as recipients of the donation drive proceeds. That same month, the FEC sent Gabbard’s campaign a letter notifying it that those fundraising efforts were not permitted because she had suspended her presidential campaign on March 19 and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Primary election contributions made after the date of the announcement must be refunded,” the letter noted. “Please inform the Commission of your corrective action immediately in writing and provide photocopies of any refund checks.”…

Gabbard was also asked to return hundreds of donations made to her presidential campaign that were apparently earmarked for the general election, because she would not be a candidate in the general election. Tulsi Aloha has already started giving back hundreds of those donations, according to FEC records.

Still, as of the end of July, Gabbard has about $165,000 left in campaign money.

The new leadership PAC gives Gabbard a venue to solicit donations again with no fear of being dinged by the FEC. Since she also recently created a legal expense trust fund to pay off debt from a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton…

read … Tulsi Gabbard’s New Leadership PAC

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