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Sunday, October 4, 2020
October 4, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:41 PM :: 930 Views

Standardless Spending

UHERO: Tourism bounce back will be slow

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted October 3, 2020

FBI Arrests Honolulu Man Allegedly Planning Chemical Weapon Attack on Apartment Building

Republican Candidate Denied Right to Campaign on Kauai

COVID Count 70 new cases out of 1,963 tests

Just when Oahu rail can’t get any worse, it always does

Shapiro: … Within a few days….

>> Directors of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation deadlocked on whether to fire CEO Andrew Robbins when his contract ends in December, leaving him in limbo as the board lacks the votes to either dump him or renew his deal.

>> Mayor Kirk Caldwell withdrew the city from a proposed public-private partnership to finish the final 4 miles of the rail line from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center, throwing plans for that troubled segment back to square one.

>> The Caldwell administration also refused HART’s request for variances to bury utility lines along Dillingham Boulevard, halting work and potentially delaying full opening of the system — originally scheduled for last year — until the 2030s.

This occurs against a backdrop of shrinking revenues for a project that’s already $4 billion over budget.

HART accountants project the coronavirus recession will cost the agency $450 million in collections from excise and hotel room taxes, and HART is up against a Dec. 31 deadline from the Federal Transit Administration to produce a P3 deal for the final leg in order to receive the project’s remaining $744 million in federal funds.

Not to mention a shifting political backdrop in which a new Honolulu mayor and City Council majority will be elected next month.….

Caldwell says state law prohibits him from saying why he backed out of the P3 until HART ends the procurement, which Robbins refuses to do…

SA: Let the Next Mayor decide on P3

read … Just when Oahu rail can’t get any worse, it always does

Jobless can add voices to class-action lawsuit

SA: … Q: Regarding the unemployment lawsuit (, is that for everybody who is still waiting? Is it too late to get involved? I never heard of it before. I lost my job in May and filed for unemployment for the first time in my life. It went OK at first, but then my payments suddenly stopped, with no explanation, and way before they were supposed to expire, according to my letter. I emailed the labor department numerous times but never got a reply and their voice mail was always full so I could never leave a message. I tried over and over. I’m sitting here for months with no money and no answers.

A: You are referring to a petition for a writ of mandamus filed Monday in Hawaii Supreme Court that seeks to compel the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to swiftly resolve pending jobless claims and pay eligible claimants what they are owed. As a class action, it seeks relief for all members of the class, whether or not they were named as plaintiffs in the initial filing, which includes declarations from 20 people. Attorney J. Blaine Rogers, of Dentons law firm, said he expects to submit more declarations, at the firm’s discretion. So, to answer your second question, no, it is not too late for you to share your experience.

For more information, Rogers referred us to Cynthia Fite, administrator of the Facebook group “Hawaii Unemployment Class Action Discussion,” from which the lawsuit rose. The group is an offshoot of a larger Facebook group devoted to helping people navigate Hawaii’s unemployment system.

Fite, who spent weeks collecting and organizing the initial declarations, said a fillable form should be posted online this week that will make it easier for unemployed residents like you to share their experiences succinctly with the law firm. In the meantime, she suggested that you join the Facebook group for the latest updates.

Gathering information for the lawsuit has been a heart-rending experience, she said, recounting the stories of plaintiffs “who’ve been waiting month after month with no money and no answers. They can’t even get a callback from the state. The stress they are under is unreal. It’s heartbreaking.” Her son is among the plaintiffs….

SA: Lawsuit seeks payment of unemployment funds

PDF: DLIR Lawsuit

read … Jobless can add voices to class-action lawsuit

Message Fatigue: Is Hawaii Learning To Live With The Coronavirus?

CB: … Department of Health officials agree that people aren’t responding to being told what to do the way they once were. That trend seems to have been going on for a while.

Data collected over the summer, in late May and early June, for instance, showed that people weren’t engaging in social distancing the way they had been in April. That included a 19% decline among those who said they were staying away from friends and family members who weren’t part of the household, from 72% in April to 53% in early June, and a 14% decline among those who said they were avoiding large groups and gatherings, from 85% to 71%….

“The latest data shows that, while people continue to experience high message recall on our public health messages, our residents are experiencing message fatigue when it comes to ads telling them to follow the guidelines,” Okubo said….

“The reality is that we will be in this pandemic for a while longer, even with the development of a vaccine, so providing people with more tools on how to do so is a priority for the Department of Health,” Okubo said….

Borreca: I have Ige fatigue.

read … Is Hawaii Learning To Live With The Coronavirus?

Corrections Staff Concerned Over New Cases At State’s Largest Jail

CB: … Frustrated corrections workers at the state’s largest jail say the number of COVID-19 cases inside the facility is climbing again, at least in part because incoming inmates are still not being isolated for 14 days before they are released into the general population.

In the last seven days, 41 inmates at the Oahu Community Correctional Center have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Staff at the OCCC said that as of Wednesday 15 inmates had tested positive for the virus in a dormitory known as Annex II, where as many as 150 prisoners at a time are housed in bunks in open rooms on three floors.

While illnesses among the staff declined after workers were issued N95 masks and other personal protective gear, the inmates continue to use cloth masks, and are moved around the facility in ways that appear to risk spreading the disease again, staff said….

read … Corrections Staff Concerned Over New Cases At State’s Largest Jail

Failure to Incarcerate Lunatics in Lunatic Asylums is cause of HPD Low Crime-Solving record

Cataluna:  … a year ago, I was sitting in a meeting in downtown Honolulu when, all of a sudden, there were strange sounds coming from the ceiling. Something had gotten in through the roof and was crawling around the duct system.

A colleague looked up and saw a face peering down from an air vent. Someone had climbed up a fire ladder outside the building, had found a way inside the narrow ventilation system, and was crawling around inside the building. Eventually, the climber made it out to the steep-pitched roof, wedged herself precariously in a corner, and proceeded to break off roof tiles and throw the pieces to the ground.

Police were called. The fire department showed up with a truck and lift to get the person off the roof. Maybe a dozen or more first responders spent two hours trying to safely get her down.

The saddest part of the story was this: The cops knew this person by name and had pulled her off high places before. She was homeless. She was a climber. She was often in dangerous situations that required the assistance of so many first responders.

Just about everybody on Oahu has a story like this, about seeing teams of police officers, as well as fire fighters and ambulance crews, responding to a single homeless person who is gravely disabled, dangerous or in danger, acting out and refusing help. HPD is very visible in the community. We know they’re busy doing stuff that nobody else wants to do and stuff that is, frankly, a stretch as far as their job description.

Likewise, many Oahu residents have first-person accounts of home break-ins or car break-ins and how they knew, even as they picked up the phone to report the crime, that it was a fruitless endeavor, a formality simply to document the loss for insurance purposes or to add to the neighborhood statistics.

HPD may be very visible in the community, but they are mostly reactive, clearing up whatever mess there is in the moment and then moving on to the next. Oahu residents have tacitly given up on crime-solving, case-breaking, or even investigatory follow-up.

It may not be surprising to those who live here that the Honolulu Police Department has one of the worst crime-clearing rates in the country, but it should be infuriating. It should be untenable. Christina Jedra’s analysis of FBI data describing what we have understood anecdotally for too long should ignite a call for action and a commitment to change….

read … HPD's Shameful Crime-Solving Record Shouldn't Be Tolerated

Hotels see slight uptick in demand

MN: … Government and industry leaders are seeing a slight uptick in hotel demand for Maui ahead of the state’s pre-travel testing program, an effort to revive the state’s visitor-reliant economy.

David MacLean, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa director of sales and marketing, said the Hyatt plans to open Oct. 15 and is solidifying reservations with guests.

“We are seeing positive booking pace in October and beyond, however, we do not anticipate higher occupancy levels until testing protocols are confirmed,” he said Friday.

Angela Vento, general manager of the Wailea Beach Resort, said the resort is experiencing a slight increase in new bookings.

“This is a welcome reversal of the past months’ cancellation trends,” she said Friday. “The numbers remain small and attaining 20 percent occupancy for November would be a winning start.” ….

Crissa Hiranaga, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea public relations director, said the hotel is accepting reservations from Nov. 20 onward.

“As certainty around the state’s reopening plans grows, call volume has increased substantially and reservations have seen an uptick as well,” she said Friday….

read … Hotels see slight uptick in demand

Regime Spies Will Track Tourists

KHON: … “The travelers are pulled to the side and they’re told, ‘You cannot quarantine in a temporary vacation rental, you must quarantine in a hotel,” she explained. She said visitors then get angry that they cannot stay at their original planned accommodation.

So, some have come up with a costly way to break the rule.

Keen said people will rent a hotel room, leave some belongings in their room, not check out of the hotel, just exit a side door past hotel staff and check-in to their vacation rental; while paying for the hotel room as well.

“That’s totally unacceptable,” said Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, who is the chair of the Senate Committee on COVID-19. “And that’s where I think we have to do a much better job on follow up with quarantine, and we really got to get better communication from hotels.”

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that vacation rentals remain under the first tier. “Legal or illegal, they are deemed non-essential and cannot be opened and it’s the very reason we are talking about this now, making sure that people follow quarantine.”

“If you come in without a test, or you got a test you don’t know your result, you got to quarantine. Hotels will be able to enforce because they know who should be in the rooms, and who shouldn’t. They get a one-way key. That doesn’t work in a vacation rental. There’s no way to enforce and get compliance. Right now, we don’t want to endanger the people of Oahu by allowing this kind of thing to happen. So now they are closed. In Tier 2, we will be looking to open them up, those that are legal in vacation areas,” Mayor Caldwell explained after a press conference on Saturday.

Once a traveler arrives in Hawaii, they will be required to upload their negative test result into their Safe Travels app which will allow them to rent a car, check-in at a hotel and do certain activities.

But with thousands of visitors checking in daily, how will hotels know who has to quarantine or not?

“All that information is tabulated and then given to each of the county police departments including the City and County of Honolulu Police Department,” Mayor Caldwell explained. “They know who should be in quarantine and who shouldn’t. If they find someone who is out at the beach, who should be in their hotel room quarantining, they will be cited and taken back to the hotel to quarantine.”

Keen said that the Attorney General’s Office has been crucial in investigating and arresting quarantine breakers. She believes that the AG’s office should receive CARES money to expand its investigation team. 

“They can hire more special investigators, they can give them over time, and we can work with them and really have somebody on-call after hours,” Keen said.

Senator Dela Cruz said Hawaii Governor David Ige has more funds available.

“I think the public would like enforcement. We need enforcement so that we can make sure we limit the spread of the disease,” he said….

read … The Regime has Spies Everywhere

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