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Wednesday, June 3, 2020
June 3, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:06 PM :: 3957 Views

423 Candidates Pull Papers for Election--338 File

Republicans Contest Only About Half of Legislative Races

VIDEO: How to Save Lives in Hawaii, in 50 Seconds

Hawaiian Electric posts new battery projects’ details

COVID Count: One New Case out of 1,130 Tests

200K Unemployed but Hawaii Recovery Plan held up Because Sen Wakai has Personal Beef with HTA

CB:  … A state investigation last year found that state Sen. Glenn Wakai repeatedly harassed and bullied workers of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

The findings were turned over to the state Senate in April 2019 as a formal complaint against Wakai in accordance with the Legislature’s anti-harassment policy. Senate leadership will not say what, if any, action has been taken.

(Really Obvious Question: Why does Kouchi allow Wakai’s personal problems to interfere with economic recovery when 200K are unemployed?)

The situation is creating tension between some state senators and the Ige administration, and is interfering with the state’s ability to present a unified response to the economic collapse from COVID-19.

Last month Mike McCartney, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, refused to answer questions about the administration’s recovery plan during a Senate committee hearing, jointly chaired by Wakai, saying he would not give senators the opportunity to bully his staff. He flourished a copy of the Senate’s anti-harassment policy as he spoke.

Problems between state officials and Wakai appear to flow from a soured relationship between Wakai’s wife, Miki Wakai, and the Hawaii Tourism Authority — which is attached to DBEDT. Miki worked for HTA for several years but was forced to resign in 2016, according to the investigative report.

That’s when Wakai began sending hundreds of emails to HTA demanding information about its policies and practices, including how it handled sports marketing. The emails came not long after the HTA lost the contract for the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl, a major embarrassment for the state.….

According to three witnesses, Wakai talked openly about firing HTA employees, complained about not receiving requested information that in fact had already been previously provided to him, used an intimidating tone in his communications, micromanaged and harassed staff and contractors, appeared to threaten retaliation, and was unprofessional and inappropriate to a female employee….

Wakai also strongly opposed McCartney’s April 2019 confirmation as DBEDT director….

(Meanwhile 1/3 of the state has just been laid off….)

read … Report On Bullying By State Senator Surfaces As Tension Mounts Over Hawaii Recovery Plan

In only 60 days the 2020 primary election will essentially be over

TGI: … In only 60 days the 2020 primary election will essentially be over. Ballots will be mailed out on or about July 22, and most of the voting will occur in the following 10 days. All ballots must be received by Aug. 8. Important: Ballots must be received by Aug. 8 and not mailed by Aug. 8.

This election will be all mail-in…

read … In only 60 days the 2020 primary election will essentially be over

Recovery: City Spends $19M on Office to Find More Free Money

HNN: … City officials described the office as offering a “boots on the ground" approach to helping Oahu’s people and businesses recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new office will work with a City Council advisory group to look for new funding opportunities, coordinate city recovery efforts, and look for ways to diversify the economy….

read … City details plans for new office aimed at economic recovery, resilience

HDOE: Fake ‘Distance Learning’ Scam will Continue into Fall Semester

KHON: … In a Hawaii Department of Education COVID-19 update Tuesday, Dr. Christina Kishimoto said HDOE is still in the process of collecting data needed in order to finalize their plans.

One thing she did confirm–distance learning will continue for students in grades 6 through 12 with access to internet and a computer.  Accommodations will be made for students without access or those who have special needs.

(This is just a scam to rake in per-pupil funds from the feds.)

Hawaii state teachers association president Corey Rosenlee has concerns.

“What’s going to happen to a parent that just refuses to send their child, who is in elementary, to school? What’s going to be provided for them?” Rosenlee questioned.

(Translation: HSTA is ‘concerned’ that there aren’t going to be even MORE fake classes.)

Kishimoto said they will know more in the next six weeks, and they are working with the Department of Health and following CDC guidelines developing their strategy.

Another concern, whether or not school days will be cut.

Kishimoto stressed that the DOE “wants to avoid furloughs to the greatest extent possible” and they “want to make sure they have 180 instructional days.”

But she also acknowledged the enormous budget shortfall due to COVID-19….

read … HDOE still finalizing plans for fall but says distance learning will continue for some

Hawaii Law Enforcement Standards Board behind as nation turns focus on policing

KHON: … Hawaii was the last state in the nation to put together a statewide law enforcement standards board — signed into law just 2 years ago — to streamline expectations across all the islands and departments. It is already behind on training and certification standards due last July….

A partial board composed of the statutory members has only met twice (statutory members are the attorney general, director of public safety, director of Transportation, chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and chiefs of police of the four counties). The law called for 6 more gubernatorial appointees — two in law enforcement and four from the public — and the governor did not submit those names until earlier this year. Lawmakers didn’t confirm them until late May when they came back into session after the COVID closure. All of the nominees have policing backgrounds or are prosecution-oriented.

“Those who are closest to the problem are closest to the solution,” Fernandes said, “and it is disappointing that Gov. Ige took this opportunity to further stack the Law Enforcement Standards Board with police and prosecutors, rather than community members who have been directly impacted by abusive policing practices.”….

2017: DLNR Finally Gets Around to Firing Rapist Cop Son of HGEA President

read … Hawaii Law Enforcement Standards Board behind as nation turns focus on policing

Food demands in Hawaii increase as unemployment insurance complaints continue

SA: … Runnels, who used to work part time as a kupuna at Wahiawa Elementary School until she was let go in the wake of COVID-19, has been trying to get state unemployment benefits for 10 weeks but cannot understand why her application won’t get approved.

“I’ve been trying since March,” she said. “For some reason I keep getting denied.”

Similar frustration continue across the islands.

In Hilo, former part-time Sears employee and Uber driver Christopher Lamb said his appeal of denied unemployment insurance benefits inexplicably remains “pending.”

With his application in limbo, Lamb said that means he does not also qualify for additional, federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Lamb estimates that he calls the state’s Hawaii island unemployment office 800 times daily seeking an explanation. Lamb knows the volume of calls he makes each day because his iPhone will track only 200 calls, and he constantly has to clear his phone of outgoing calls throughout each day.

“I have been given wrong phone numbers, false time frames of being replied to, false information from one person to the next, phone numbers that lead to voicemails that are full and pretty much anything else you can think that could go wrong with this whole experience,” Lamb said. “I would like some compassion from someone, someone that is willing to help and will help. … I am in a situation that is very dire, like many other people here in Hawaii.”…

Glenn Ani, a laid-off Hauula construction worker, said his bills keep coming even though he’s still waiting for his application for state unemployment insurance and PUA funds to be approved.

Asked about the status of his unemployment insurance request, Ani said it’s “pending, pending, pending.”…

read … Food demands in Hawaii increase as unemployment insurance complaints continue

Dentists struggle amid shortage of medical masks, mounting costs of doing business

HNN: … Dentistry is in Dr. Ching’s DNA. It’s a business he took over from his father after moving back home from the Bay Area, but he says the pandemic could force some independent dental practices to shut down permanently over the next few months because of mounting bills and fewer patients.

"It's a total collapse," he said….

He says the supplier of personal protective equipment told him Hawaii dentists are a lower priority because of the state’s low infection rate and dentists come after hospitals and first responders.

He adds that he's running out of N95 masks and has a two-week supply left.

“Especially in health care, dentists are in the high risk category. Dental hygenists are very high risk yet we are competing with retail,” he said.

Because of the PPE shortage, the CDC has new guidelines on N95 masks.

After the medical professional is done using their mask for the day, they put it in a paper bag for five days. Ching’s staff put their bags by a window so that the sunlight can kill any viruses….

read  … Dentists struggle amid shortage of medical masks, mounting costs of doing business

More volunteers sought for state’s new contact tracing program

HNN: … On Monday, the first group of prospective contact tracers in Hawaii ― approximately 300 of them ― will begin training.

A second group of about 250 will begin training the following week.

And a third track of potential contact tracers, about 100, will begin later this year.

The goal is to have the first group ready to respond by mid-July should the state have a surge of COVID-19 cases.

The program is a partnership between the state Department of Health and the University of Hawaii, but it’s not limited to UH. Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific universities are also participating.

So far, more than 800 people have applied to be contact tracers who will track down the close contacts of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and ask that they quarantine or get tested.

All the participants will be volunteers with college course credits being offered. …

SA: State health officials build up team of public health workers as Hawaii reopens its economy

read … More volunteers sought for state’s new contact tracing program

Judge issues $200 in fines to fish poacher

HTH: … An environmental court judge on Tuesday issued $200 in fines to one of two people charged for allegedly illegally collecting 550 aquarium fish earlier this year off South Kohala.

Wayne T. Newman pleaded no contest to possessing aquatic life for aquarium purposes without holding a valid West Hawaii aquarium permit and possessing a “white list” species during an arraignment and plea hearing held Tuesday in South Kohala….

Tyron Terazono, the vessel’s captain, was charged with possessing aquarium collecting gear or taking, possessing aquatic life for aquarium purposes without holding a valid West Hawaii aquarium permit and possessing a “white list” species. An arraignment and plea hearing slated for Tuesday was continued to June 30.

The third person on the vessel was not charged.

In a statement following Tuesday’s sentencing, Rene Umberger, executive director of nonprofit For the Fishes, questioned how “such paltry” fines can serve as a deterrent when they were fishing in front of billionaires’ vacation homes….

read … Judge issues $200 in fines to fish poacher

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