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Friday, October 16, 2020
October 16, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:28 PM :: 1354 Views

Auditor Reports on Hawaii COVID Quarantine System

UH News: University Enrollment Up--Community College Enrollment Down

Regents appoint Maunakea Planning Task Group

Hawaii Poll: Biden 61% -- Trump 28%

CB: … Biden, the former Democratic vice president, is favored by a 2-to-1 margin — that is, 61% to 28% — over Trump, the Republican president. A mere 7% are unsure who they’d prefer in the White House beginning Jan. 20, while 4% favor neither candidate.

Voters statewide also don’t care much for Trump, with 63% expressing negative feelings compared to 30% positive. Their opinion of Biden is pretty much the reverse….

The forecast for the Nov. 3 presidential race is on par with the results of 2016, when Democrat Hillary Clinton swamped Trump 61% to 29%. Three third-party candidates picked up the remainder of the votes cast….

Hawaii voters say they are satisfied with mailing in their ballots 71% to 19%. But the more conservative a voter is, or those who identify as Republican, say they are far less satisfied than liberal, progressive and Democrat voters….

read … Hawaii Voters Embrace Biden For US President

124,000 Ballots Have Been Cast

KHON: … “We have over 124,000 ballots in-house and returned, 15% already–that’s more than what we saw in the primary,” explained Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago.

The general election also surpassed the primaries in voter registration with 832,000 people registered.

If you’re mailing back your ballot, do so by Oct. 27, or you can drop it in any of the 47 drop boxes by 7 p.m. on election night. You can also vote in-person at a voter service center starting Oct. 20.

On election night, the first printout is expected at 7 p.m. or whenever the last voter service center closes….

read … Around 832,000 people registered to vote in the general election

HART Finance Ctte Votes to Halt P3--Rail project cost estimate now jacked up above $10 billion

SA: … Numbers provided to a Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation committee by its staff Thursday showed $832 million more in expenses than the most recent previous estimate.

That jacks up the construction budget for the project to $9.13 billion, excluding approximately $1 billion in financing costs.

The escalating costs come when the latest forecasts by top economists show that the impacts to the state economy from the COVID-19 pandemic might lead to an estimated $450 million drop in anticipated excise tax revenues for the project, providing further funding woes.

The previous forecast was $8.3 billion without financing costs, $9.2 billion including financing. When the Federal Transit Administration agreed to fund $1.55 billion of the project in late 2012, the project was estimated to cost $5.2 billion before financing costs.

The HART Project Oversight Committee was also told by staff members that they now expect the project to be fully completed in October 2026, four months later than a previous June 2026 forecast.

Meanwhile, the HART Finance Committee voted Thursday to recommend that its full board instruct Executive Director Andrew Robbins to halt moving forward with the procurement process for a public-private partnership, or P3, vendor to complete the last segment of the project, despite Robbins’ concerns that doing so could add even more to rail costs and further delays.

The full board will likely vote on the committee’s recommendation at its next regularly scheduled meeting Oct. 27….

RJ: Costs continue to rise on Honolulu’s much-delayed metro project

read …Rail project cost estimate now jacked up above $10 billion

10,102 arrive on first day of traveler testing program, 7,200 pre-tested

SA: … the final count of arriving passengers on Thursday was 10,102 — an even more robust reopening of Hawaii tourism than preliminary counts showed.

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green said today that a final Thursday passenger count included 6,918 visitors and 3,184 residents. That’s a 68% visitors to 32% residents split.

Green said 8,496 — or 84% of the 10,102 arriving passengers cleared the quarantine. About 16% or some 1,606 of Oct. 15’s arriving passengers went into quarantine, Green said.

Passengers that arrive without taking a pre-arrivals test or another qualifying exemption have to quarantine immediately upon arrival and the duration will last 14 days or the length of the person’s stay, whichever is shorter.

Those that took a pre-arrivals test will be able to get out of quarantine when they are able to provide proof of a negative result.

On any given day in Hawaii prior to COVID-19, an average of 29,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii. Thursday’s results were still 65% below that average; however, they were higher than officials had previously anticipated.

Pent-up demand for Hawaii apparently grew during the state’s tourism lockdown….

read … Final count of passengers arriving in Hawaii Thursday tops 10,000

Kauai Protesters “Trying to Instill Violence” against Visitors

TGI: … In Lihu‘e, the Kaua‘i Police Department ramped up its presence at the airport yesterday.

“With the anticipated higher volume of passengers arriving today, KPD did increase the amount of officers at the airport to assist with the COVID-related operations,” a spokesperson for the department said.

Early Thursday morning, Kaua‘i County Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa got a call from an upset resident.

The constituent, he said, saw signs protesting the islands reopening and felt uneasy over the rhetoric from local residents demanding the island stay closed and telling travelers to leave.

“The majority of people who have come onto the island have followed the rules,” he said. “You have residents that have been trying to come home since the pandemic started.”

Protesting the reopening, he continued, is not the way to go.

“How would we feel if we got those signs? Where’s the line?” he said. “It’s trying to instill violence. That’s not acceptable.”….

read … Island of Constant Swirling Mindless Hysteria

Rent relief applications overwhelms Catholic Charities, AUW offices

KITV: … At the beginning of September, Gov. David Ige announced the launch of a new program that used CARES Act monies for Hawaii renters at risk of eviction due to the pandemic.  

The State of Hawai‘i Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program (RRHAP) is administrated by non-profit organizations, Catholic Charities Hawaii and Aloha United Way.  

Both partner agencies reported an exceptionally high volume of applications. 

As of October 12, nearly 20,000 applications flooded their offices.  Catholic Charities and Aloha United Way report it has reached their current processing capacity and have stopped accepting new applications.  

A spokesperson for the program said over half of the applications are incomplete or contain inaccurate contact information.  …

read … Rent relief applications overwhelms Catholic Charities, AUW offices

Former UPW Officials Sue Union Over Ousters

CB: … Dayton Nakanelua, former head of United Public Workers, and Jeanne Endo, UPW’s former fiscal administrator, filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday that alleges UPW and its parent union did not afford them due process rights during a quasi-judicial union proceeding that ended with the pair’s ouster.

Endo also alleges that UPW did not allow her back into the union’s headquarters to collect some of her personal belongings.

UPW’s parent union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit….

In 2019, Alton Nosaka, a UPW official on the Big Island, filed complaints with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board accusing Nakanelua of misappropriating PAC funds, falsifying time sheets and sending too many staffers to a convention.

Nosaka also accused Endo of using UPW’s corporate frequent flyer miles.

In the same year, the AFSCME launched an audit of union finances. The audit revealed that Nakanelua and other officials had spent thousands of dollars using union credit cards that could not be accounted for….

May 2, 2020: AFSCME Takes Control of UPW--Boots Nakanelua, Endo

May 13, 2020: Forcing United Public Workers to Enter New Era

read … Former UPW Officials Sue Union Over Ousters

Hawaii Board of Education Votes To End Controversial Distance Learning Program

CB: … The vote was largely expected after the Department of Education conducted a more thorough review of the Acellus Learning Accelerator. …

The DOE approved Acellus this summer as an option for families who wanted their children to learn virtually because of the pandemic. However, the DOE has used Acellus — which is owned by a Missouri-based nonprofit, International Academy of Science — in a limited capacity for 10 years.

The vote came the same day the DOE released a report that said most members of a content review team did not recommend using Acellus after a recent review of its lessons. Three-quarters of the K-12 courses reviewed garnered weak scores from the team.

The review team, which included 56 DOE specialists in areas like special education, English language learning, Hawaiian education and civil rights compliance, completed 84 reviews of more than 50 Acellus courses from Sept. 22 to Oct. 2….

read … Hawaii Board of Education Votes To End Controversial Distance Learning Program

Prosecutors: Investigation of Jonathan Fraser’s murder is still “active”

ILind: … Prosecutors also disclosed one of the documents during the earlier proceedings had been filed under seal on February 8, 2019, and kept secret, even from Hawaii Partners, the owner of the boat and plaintiff in lawsuit seeking the boat’s return.

In this latest filing, prosecutors argue that the February 8 memo should remain sealed because it deals with the ongoing murder investigation and could disclose information on witnesses and informants. However, they do not oppose release of other documents sought by the Civil Beat Law Center but asked the court four months in order to review each of the documents and propose redactions of sensitive information.

A hearing on the Civil Beat lawsuit and the latest response by prosecutors is scheduled for the morning of November 6, 2020 before Federal Judge Leslie Kobayashi….

Related: Megan Kau Hired by Miske – Will she be 3rd Prosecutor in a row to have a Miske Connection?

read … Prosecutors: Investigation of Jonathan Fraser’s murder is still “active”

Courts And Prosecutors Are Keeping Jail Populations Lower During Pandemic

CB: … State Public Defender James Tabe told the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission Thursday that the inmate population at the Oahu Community Correctional Center declined from 973 on Aug. 17 to 846 on Oct. 5.

“Obviously that is an improvement, but nothing close to where we would like to be,” he said.  (ie all of them on the streets)….

Tabe said most of the credit for the decline in the jail population should go to Honolulu District Court judges who are approving the release of the “vast majority” of minor offenders….

Deputy Public Defender Jacquie Esser said the flow of felons into the jail has also slowed because people who are released while they are awaiting trial are now less likely to have their release revoked.

Normally when arrestees violate the terms of their release by failing to check in with the intake service center, that triggers a process where judges issue bench warrants for their arrest.

“I have noticed, probably within the last three weeks, that judges have not been issuing bench warrants immediately, and they are setting it for hearing,” which allows the arrestees’ defense lawyers to locate their clients and get them to come to court, Esser said. “That has helped.”

The court arraignments for felony defendants take place twice a week normally involve 20 to 30 defendants, she said, but prosecutors now are “using discretion and not charging cases right away that didn’t have to be.” The last time she handled an alignment about two weeks ago, only three to five defendants appeared, Esser said….

Fred Hyun, acting director of the state Department of Public Safety, said the Hawaii Paroling Authority will only revoke parole and send offenders back to jail “if it’s absolutely necessary.” But he said some clean and sober houses have wait lists of 150 people, and some have wait lists of six months before they can be accepted into the program….

More than 400 OCCC inmates tested positive for the coronavirus in the outbreak there this year, but jail officials report that 380 have now recovered. Testing of inmates and staff at the jail is continuous, according to the department….

read … Courts And Prosecutors Are Keeping Jail Populations Lower During Pandemic

Police Standards Board Asking For More Time, Money — Again

CB: … The Legislature has already declined to take up two similar requests that would give the board more time to put in place statewide standards and a certification process for cops ….

read … Police Standards Board Asking For More Time, Money — Again

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