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Tuesday, October 6, 2020
October 6, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:20 PM :: 723 Views

The Affordable Housing Scam

Ige Rejects Kauai 2-Test COVID Plan

COVID Count 83 new cases out of 1,249 tests

P3:  HART 'Shipwreck' to Proceed Without Caldwell?

CB: … Generally, the Honolulu mayor suggested building the line into downtown and then resuming construction to Ala Moana Center once the funding becomes available…

As rail faces another potential budget crisis, Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday suggested a “phased” approach to finish the transit project’s last 4 miles to Ala Moana should it run out of funding again.

He was critical of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s continued pursuit of its long-sought public private partnership to get rail done. Caldwell’s administration surprisingly withdrew from that process a little over a week ago. The rail agency is still proceeding with the procurement alone.

HART is trying to get a more limited deal done before year’s end, but agency officials say they can’t offer any details to the public or even to city leaders because of the state’s procurement code which requires confidentiality.

“We’re not on the same page, and HART needs to get on the same page with the city,” Caldwell said during a City Council hearing Monday. “Let’s get it done and let’s quit being secretive about it.”

Extending rail’s so-called P3 procurement to the end of the year could leave “a shipwreck” for his successor and a City Council with mostly new members to deal with it if the effort fails, Caldwell said.

However, Robbins told council members that it’s worth trying to salvage some sort of P3 contract deal “given all of the effort of the last two years” despite the city’s withdrawal.

It’s the closest HART has come to awarding that last major construction contract after trying at least twice before, Robbins said. Canceling this latest attempt would set that award back at least another year, he said.

Council members, meanwhile, probed for any details they could get on why the city withdrew. Both HART and administration officials were tight-lipped since the procurement is still ongoing (insert excuse here) ….

But the mayor revealed that the city officials overseeing P3 involvement — including its chief procurement officer for the contract, Manuel Valbuena — decided to withdraw from the P3 process in late August, which is when rail officials said to expect an award announcement.

However, HART officials told the city it couldn’t withdraw under the two parties’ memorandum of understanding, Caldwell said. Thus, the city told HART it intended to withdraw from that memorandum, and HART called that move “inappropriate,” Caldwell added.

The city was finally able to announce its withdrawal about a month later, on Sept. 25, he said. It was involved since the P3 deal included a 30-year operations and maintenance component, and the city is in charge of the rail line’s future operations….

FTA officials “were extremely troubled but not surprised” when the city announced its P3 withdrawal, Caldwell told council members Monday. The FTA wants to see “progress and direction, and they don’t see that under the triple-p.”…  

HPR: The Conversation: Mayor Caldwell on Honolulu Rail Issues

SA: Mayor Kirk Caldwell suggests circumventing HART on alternate rail plan

HNN: Mayor urges HART to pull the plug on private-public partnership process

read … Caldwell: ‘Phased’ Construction Of Rail If The Project Runs Out Of Cash

Big Island opts out of pre-travel testing program

SA: … Hawaii island Mayor Harry Kim said he is opting out of the state’s pre-travel testing program starting on Oct. 15, which means mainland visitors going to the Big Island still will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Although the neighbor islands are desperately dependent upon tourism — even more so than Oahu — Kim was concerned enough about a surge in cases to postpone the restart of tourism. Hawaii island recorded its highest daily count on Saturday at 43 new infections. Hilo Medical Center reported the Big Island’s coronavirus death toll at 32.

“All of us want to open up our economy, (but) … I made a decision that the risk factor in regards to doing this at this time is not an acceptable risk as far as endangering Hawaii’s people,” Kim said, adding that he is trying to come up with a plan to address issues involving reopening tourism.

On Monday, Gov. David Ige gave each county the option to opt out of the program that would allow travelers who test negative to avoid the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine, after denying Kauai County’s proposal to establish a post-travel testing program to supplement the state’s program. The governor did not respond to a request for comment on why he rejected Kauai’s proposal for a second-test option. Kauai had secured 15,000 of its own rapid tests for a post- arrival pilot program.

A Kauai spokeswoman said that opting out of the pre-travel testing program is “not a viable option” for the county, which had intended to “add another layer to the state’s program.”

Brian Perry, spokesman for Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino, declined to say whether the county would be participating in the state’s pre-travel testing program, but said it is “continuing to work on these issues with the governor.”

Meanwhile, interisland travel restrictions will remain until the end of October “posing a very difficult (situation) for many of the interisland travelers,” Kim said….

MN: Maui Mayors’ pitch for second COVID test on arrival denied

TGI: Ige denies Kauai County’s proposed second-test program

read … Big Island opts out of pre-travel testing program

Ige talks end of interisland quarantine

HTH: … Gov. David Ige said Monday that he and Hawaii’s four county mayors are working to end the 14-day quarantine for interisland travelers.

“We’ll be announcing the final details by midweek this week, so everyone would know,” Ige said during a Honolulu Star-Advertiser Facebook Live forum….

read … Ige talks end of interisland quarantine

How to Spread a Little COVID so HSTA can be Paid to pretend to Work at Home

SA: … As in-person learning ramps up, there will inevitably be positive cases. Avoiding a quick retreat to predominately distance-learning or even full closures will depend largely on school prep and responsible personal behavior.

Given the uncertainty tied to the spread of coronavirus, the state Department of Education must continue to shoulder the daunting task of readiness to pivot among all three types of learning models.

To that end, Board of Education Chairwoman Catherine Payne has rightly pushed for stepped-up consistency in the handling of teacher requests to telework from home. At a special meeting last week, the BOE agreed to require school administrators to provide reasons in writing for rejecting such requests.

read … Editorial: DOE, schools must be flexible

HPD Gave Surgeon General coronavirus citation for being in a park

A:  … The citation is dated Aug. 23: "Observed ADAMS in Kualoa Regional Park with two other males standing, looking at the view taking pictures," wrote the officer who gave Adams the citation.

"They moved to the center of the park to take more pictures. ADAMS put his mask on as he walked back toward their vehicle."

"ADAMS stated he is visiting here to work with the governor for COVID. ADAMS stated he did not know the parks were closed and could not be there."

His court date is set for Oct. 21, and his case remains listed as active, per the court site.

Adams joined Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Aug. 25 to announce the closure of many businesses in response to the island's growing outbreak, per the Honolulu Civil Beat. The mayor also said that parks, beaches and trails will remain closed….

read … Surgeon General faces coronavirus citation for being in a park

Inmates Attempting to Spread COVID Attack Corrections Officers At Hilo Jail

CB: … Two inmates at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center allegedly attacked two corrections officers Sunday after they were told they could not push tables together to eat with friends because that would violate social-distancing mandates at the Hilo jail.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said in a written statement the incident occurred at about 11:50 a.m. Sunday.

“The situation was brought quickly under control by security staff,” she said….

read … Inmates Allegedly Attack Corrections Officers In Dispute Over Social Distancing At Hilo Jail

Plenty of planning, not enough housing

MN: … It’s no secret that Maui is suffering from a housing crisis. Lack of housing is one of the most common complaints of those who leave the state, and the high price of housing is an indication that demand far outstrips supply.

The typical political response is to put together a committee and produce a “plan” that will guide more development. The problem, however, is that Maui has seen its plans for housing grow exponentially, while housing itself has stagnated.

Do you know how much planning we have had to achieve this lack of housing? Maui has community plans, island plans and a zoning code — all of which have continued to grow and expand. In fact, the growth of these plans may, paradoxically, discourage housing growth….

read … Plenty of planning, not enough housing

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