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Friday, October 2, 2020
October 2, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:39 PM :: 2524 Views

Trump Tests Positive for COVID

Bipartisanship? Ige Scores Zero, Hawaii Congressional Delegation not Much Better

PBS Insights OHA Candidates Forum

Distance Learning: What is your School's Plan?

Ige Appoints Parole Authority Chair Director of Public Safety Department

Hawaiian Homelands Should Be Opened To Other Voice/Data Providers

Held Hostage?

Rein in this red-tape rascal

Alleged Navatek Fraudster Message “Could be a Reference to Sen Brian Schatz”

PPE: … The complaint also indicates that Kao told officials at the banks that were delivering the PPP loans that he works closely with multiple unnamed U.S. senators and said some senators or their staff had advised him on the application process.

In one email to a bank executive on April 2, Kao indicated that Navatek has “significant and growing presence and employees” in several states and that he “work(s) very closely” with senators from those states who had “championed” the CARES Act, and he “expected to provide an update shortly to each of them.”

In another email on April 7, Kao referenced calls with a U.S. senator and member of Congress who “were very adamant about stepping in, if our application was getting stalled.”

In a third email on April 20, Kao wrote to a bank executive: “(The senator) is suggesting a conference call with his Banking Committee and SBA staff director … SHE HELPED WRITE THE PPP RULES. … ” the complaint states. “She has confirmed directly that CPB should and is obligated to fund once SBA issues the approval number. Any additional review the bank does should be perfunctory … at best.”

No senators were named in the complaint, but the April 20 email could be a reference to Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, a Democrat who serves on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

Annie Clark, Collins’ spokeswoman, said in a statement Thursday that “Neither Senator Collins nor her office have had any contact with Mr. Kao or anyone else at Navatek regarding the Paycheck Protection Program.”…. 

UL: Hawaii defense contractor charged with coronavirus fraud donated to Shaheen

SA: So much pandemic money went out so quickly this spring — could more cases be coming?  

read … Defense contractor with Maine offices charged with bank fraud

Another Lost School Year: BoE Votes to Allow HSTA Members to Pretend to ‘Work’ from Home

SA:   …  The state Board of Education on Thursday approved a set of guidelines to better enable teachers to conduct their classes while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic….

(TRANSLATION: This is the end of any meaningful online ‘distance learning’ instruction.  It will be just like last spring with hardly any students participating in online classes.)

the telework guidelines … were proposed by board Chairwoman Catherine Payne following earlier input from teachers who said they were being unfairly denied the opportunity to conduct their classes from home….

Payne said. “I don’t believe teachers are viewing telework as an easy way out of going into the classroom….”

(KNOW THEM BY WHAT THEY DENY!)

Under the guidelines, teachers should be allowed to work from home if they have reliable internet connectivity, can teach with minimal disruption and can allow their administrator to easily monitor their work.

Payne said telework approvals should be granted generously, while termination of such agreements should be done sparingly ….

read … Board of Education approves COVID-19 guidelines

Covid to push Hawaii home prices down, UHERO says

PBN: … Bonham noted that the mix of homes on the market is going to change, with the inventory of homes and condominiums growing at the bottom portion of the market.

Hawaii has one of the worst rates for mortgages being paid on time, Bonham noted.

While some of those homeowners will restructure their loans, others’ homes will end up going on the market for sale or lost to foreclosure “but we also have a very high share of households that aren't paying rent,” Bonham said.

“So there's a whole series of factors that are conspiring to drive inventory up,” he said. “And it's predominantly at the low end.”

The City and County of Honolulu’s crackdown on illegal vacation rentals will also influence home prices and rents, he said.

Bonham noted the number of listings for studio and one-bedroom condos in the lower price ranges has increased dramatically on Oahu.

According to the Honolulu Board of Realtors, the inventory of condos for sale priced between $150,000 and $250,000 in August increased by more than 34% from the same month last year, while the number priced between $250,000 and $300,000 increased by 8.9%….

PBN: Queen Emma affordable rentals in Honolulu draw 65 applications per unit

read … Covid to push Hawaii home prices down, UHERO says

Another long-term care facility in Hilo dealing with COVID-19 outbreak

HNN: … Life Care Center reported Wednesday that 12 residents and five staff members contracted COVID-19.

One resident has been hospitalized.

One resident and two staff members have fully recovered….

(The other 10 residents should be placed in a different facility to prevent spread.)

read … Another long-term care facility in Hilo dealing with COVID-19 outbreak

University of Hawaii to slash salaries of 216 executive, managerial employees due to budget shortfall

HNN: … The University of Hawaii today announced salary reductions for 216 executive-managerial employees, effective Nov. 1, in preparation for a significant budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

UH President David Lassner has directed a salary reduction of 9.23% for all executive-managerial employees. Any remaining portion of salaries above $200,000 will be reduced by 11%.

Lassner volunteered to reduce his own total compensation of $395,004 by 20%….

The university’s executive-managerial employees, which include chancellors, deans and various directors, account for 6% of the approximately $600 million in annual salaries paid to about 7,342 employees across the 10-campus UH System.

These salary reductions, the university said, will save UH $2.2 million this fiscal year (2020-2021), and another $3.4 million annually in fiscal year 2021–2022 and beyond, if they remain in place….  

HTH: 26 UH-Hilo, HCC employees to have salaries reduced

SA Editorial: UH executives take a pay cut

read … University of Hawaii to slash salaries of 216 executive, managerial employees due to budget shortfall

Hawaii: Security Cameras Everywhere—Except in Jail

CB: … For the second time in two years the state Department of Public Safety has no video evidence to help document events or prosecute inmates who participated in an uprising in which prisoners set fires and destroyed furniture in a Hawaii jail.

Inmates at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center on Sept. 8 barricaded doors, set fire to mattresses and books and broke windows and security screens. Corrections officials said the disturbance was triggered by a “shakedown,” a search for contraband in a housing unit of the Hilo jail.

Hawaii County police described the incident as a “riot.” One jail staff member was treated and released at Hilo Medical Center for minor injuries, and eight inmates were transported to the hospital to be evaluated for minor injuries and smoke inhalation. The inmates were then returned to the jail….

Shortly after the incident, Department of Public Safety spokesperson Toni Schwartz said in an email that there is no video recording of what took place in A-wing of the Waianuenue housing unit of the jail that day. The inmates housed in Waianuenue are sentenced felons serving short prison sentences of less than 2 years, according to the department.

In an emailed response to questions, Schwartz said an overhaul of the jail’s video system has been underway since last year, and is 75% complete. However, the new $4.5 million video system and electronics upgrade is “currently not operable,” and the project won’t be completed until early next year, she wrote.

This is not a new problem. Corrections officials also found themselves with no video evidence last year after a larger riot caused millions of dollars in damage to the Maui Community Correctional Center.

In that incident, Public Safety officials said 42 inmates refused to return to their cells shortly before 3 p.m. on March 11, 2019, and began breaking fire sprinklers, which then spewed water into the common area. Inmates also smashed fixtures and started a fire, and the smoke drifted into another module where inmates began another disturbance.

MCCC staff said there was no video recording of that disturbance in the jail modules because the only functioning mounted camera in that area of the jail pointed into the recreation area, and could not record. There was a hand-held camera on the site, but its memory card was full, they said….

read … State Fails Again To Record Video Evidence Of ‘Riot’ At Hawaii Jail

Homeless Meth Lab Cleared out of Kalalau Valley

HNN: … squatters have lived deep in Kalalau Valley for years and even decades ― leaving illegal campsites, mounds of debris and even a toilet behind….

After years of complaints and mounting concern, volunteers decided to do something about the problem. For the past two months, they’ve been tracking and GPS marking about 20 illegal campsites and warning the squatters they’d be back to clean up.

“Things have been stashed under rocks, in caves, stashed in spots, some buried. We cleaned out a meth lab,” said Wong.

Instead of an 11-mile hike in, they took a 45-minute boat ride from Hanalei to just off shore of Kalalau.

Over the weekend, a group of 50 volunteers went in to find the campsites abandoned and tore everything down. “Loaded it all on their backs and we hauled hundreds of pounds out to the main trail. We hiked to the main trail to wherever a helicopter can pick it up,” said Wong….

The DLNR says for at least the past five years, it’s been proactive in addressing illegal camping and rubbish throughout the Na Pali Coast especially Kalalau.

There have been more than 200 citations since 2016.

“I can tell you from my frequent trips into Kalalau, it is significantly cleaner, better controlled and managed than it was since the video five years ago,” said Dan Dennison, DLNR spokesman….

read … After years of complaints, advocates coordinate massive cleanup of Kalalau Valley

Maui Liquor Comm Refuses to Release Info on Liquor Director candidates, Hand off to Ex-Director’s Son Coming

MN: … Layne N. Silva, a liquor control officer with the department. He is the son of retired county Liquor Control Director Frank Silva. He has been with the department for 21 years…. 

(Now you know everything you need to know,)

read … More details emerge on one finalist for liquor director

Court Orders Big Island Planning Comm to Stop Pandering to anti-5G Morons

HTH: … The Windward Planning Commission on Thursday approved permits for a controversial cell tower in Hawaiian Paradise Park after a September court order to reconsider a previous decision to deny the permits.

Late last year, global telecommunications company AT&T filed proposals to build a pair of cell towers — one in Kurtistown and one in HPP — in order to fill gaps in coverage within Puna. Those proposals, which met with considerable public backlash, were discussed by the Windward Planning Commission earlier this year.

The commission voted to approve the Kurtistown tower in June, but denied the HPP tower because of concerns about a playground within its fall radius, as well as questions about whether AT&T had legal access to the property.

However, following that decision, AT&T filed a lawsuit against Hawaii County in federal court in July, arguing that the 105-foot tower’s fall radius only intersected a corner of the playground’s basketball court — and also that the commission failed to provide evidence that the tower was at risk of falling.

The lawsuit also pointed out that AT&T had secured a signed letter of authorization from the HPP Owners Association.

On Sept. 1, a U.S. District Court judge stayed the commission’s action denying the permit, bringing the matter back before the commission.

On Thursday, AT&T site acquisition specialist Andrew Tomlinson returned to the commission with a revised proposal for the HPP tower, one which shifted the tower 13 feet and 2 inches north and east, moving all parts of the playground outside of the tower’s fall radius.

With those changes in place, the commission voted to approve the permits, although Commissioner John Replogle suggested, based on a suggestion by a public testifier, that Hawaii County or AT&T subject the tower to regular tests to ensure it poses no health risks to the public, in the interest of setting the public’s minds at ease. However, no part of that suggestion was reflected in the final motion ….

read … Planning Commission OKs HPP cell tower permits

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