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Thursday, November 5, 2020
November 5, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:06 PM :: 3617 Views

Keli'i Akina Wins Reelection to OHA

Senate Announces Leadership and Committee Roles for 2021

COVID Count: 156 new cases

Big Island Courthouse Closed due to 'Lack of Staff'

Ige Names New Deputy Director for Law Enforcement

Kahele Finally Admits he will back Federal Recognition for Native Hawaiians 

CB: … Kahele said he anticipates being a voice for Hawaiians and other indigenous people in Congress, and that he expects to take on issues related to Hawaiian homelands and federal recognition.

(This is what he was coronated to do but he never mentioned it until after the election.  That’s because NOBODY wants the fake Hawaiian Indian Tribe except insiders such as the four Governors who anointed Kahele to launch his free ride to Congress.)

The federal government touches on many aspects of Hawaiians’ lives, whether it’s providing money for housing, health care or education. But Kahele said that relationship is also fraught with trauma dating back to the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893.

“I really feel like there are a lot of people who are counting on me,” Kahele said. “We’re going to have to have some tough conversations about what a future for Native Hawaiians looks like in terms of their role working with the federal government.”

He said he’s not sure yet what the path forward looks like for Native Hawaiians. All he knows is that he wants them to be a part of the conversation, whether it’s as part of a task force, town hall or simply talking story on the Hawaiian homesteads….

(Translation: The Akaka Bill is back.)

Link: Indian Country Today

AP: Kahele made Native Hawaiian and indigenous rights a key issue in his campaign, saying that he will advocate for the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act in Congress.

read … In A Divided America Kai Kahele Wants To Find A Place To ‘Fit In’

Blangiardi Won Almost Every Precinct – Many by 20% Margin

CB:… With 58.2% of the vote to Amemiya’s 38.8%, Blangiardi secured the most decisive mayoral election victory in recent memory, and pre-election polling showed Blangiardi had broad support across almost all demographics.

State election data shows that Blangiardi crushed Amemiya in nearly every one of the island’s precincts and beat him by 20 percentage points – a gap that hasn’t been seen in at least 28 years, according to Colin Moore, director of the University of Hawaii’s Public Policy Center.

“This is the biggest one since the Fasi era,” Moore said….

read … Why Honolulu Chose Rick Blangiardi Over Keith Amemiya

Honolulu Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi’s transition team already underway

SA:  Honolulu Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi said Wednesday that he has his sights set on a second-in-command and is putting together a transition group to help him pick others in his cabinet.

In an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser less than 12 hours after opponent Keith Amemiya conceded the election, Blangiardi said he was awaiting a final answer from a person for whom he has tapped to be his managing director to help lead his administrative effort.

He declined to give the man’s name, citing the need to finalize the hire….

A “really good group of people” are being asked to take part in a transition team to evaluate potential hires, he said. He expects to make the names of transition team members public in the next day or so.

The longtime television executive said he’d like an assessment from outgoing Mayor Kirk Caldwell about his current appointees to evaluate whether he wants to ask some of them to stay on at Honolulu Hale.

“I know for a fact there are some really talented people, some hard-working people, who are very committed to this city,” Blangiardi said.

Caldwell on Tuesday night dropped by unannounced at the evening’s headquarters for both Blangiardi and Amemiya as they awaited the first election results.

Blangiardi said he and Caldwell spoke briefly about a transition, dealing with the pandemic, the ongoing problems with the $10 billion-plus rail project and the city budget. The two have promised to speak more, as soon as Wednesday afternoon, about those and other issues, he said.

Caldwell, at a press briefing Wednesday, said each of his department heads have been asked to prepare transition books for Blangiardi’s transition team. Office space has been set aside for the incoming staff, he said.

“We’re going to work to make it as smooth a transition as possible,” Caldwell said….

read … Honolulu Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi’s transition team already underway

A day after election, efforts to reorganize City Council are already underway

HNN: … Less than 24 hours after the 2020 election, Hawaii News Now has learned that efforts to reorganize the Honolulu City Council are already underway.

There are five newcomers on the nine-member City Council ― its biggest turnover in years.

They include:

Former state lawmaker Andria Tupola

Esther Kiaana, who served in the Obama administration

Former state House Speaker Calvin Say

City Council aide Radiant Cordero

And comedian Augusto Tulba, known as Augie T

HNN: After decisive win in race for Honolulu mayor, Blangiardi pledges to hit the ground running  

HPR: Recovery, Public Safety Among Top Priorities For New City Council Members

read … A day after election, efforts to reorganize City Council are already underway

Hawaii Obviously Needs More Voter Service Centers—Ratio Falls Way Behind Other Vote-by-Mail States

CB: … Only about 1% of votes cast in the August primary came from the voter service centers. And officials were confident that heading into Election Day, there would be little to worry about.

But in-person turnout nearly quadruped to 3.9% for the general election. While most of those who would cast ballots did so before Election Day, about 8,000 people showed up Tuesday, overwhelming the voter centers at city halls in Downtown Honolulu and Kapolei.

“There were seeds sown of distrust,” said Sandy Ma, citing concerns with the postal system cuts that were floated earlier this year. “So it was foreseeable that people wanted to vote in person. There should have been more in-person places opened up.”

Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, has been trying to get officials statewide to open more voter centers. The state got federal relief funds for elections, most of which had been spent on rent for larger counting centers.

Other mail voting states, like Colorado and Utah, tend to apportion one voter center for every 30,000 to 70,000 voters, according to an analysis from the Vote at Home Institute, which advocates for the adoption of mail voting laws. Oregon, where the law does not have ratios built into the law, and Colorado also tend to apportion drop boxes for every 10,000 to 20,000 voters.

Oahu far exceeds that ratio for voter centers, with two servicing more than 549,000 registered voters. It’s a similar situation on the Big Island, where centers in Hilo and Kona together serve more than 127,000 registered voters in the county.

About 100,000 voters on Maui have access to just one center in Wailuku, where voters at either end may face hours of long drives to get to a voter center…. 

read … ‘Distrust,’ Enthusiasm And A Hawaii Law Fueled Long Lines On Election Day

Hotel workers Bill 80 -- before City Council reduced to resolution

SA: … A controversial Honolulu City Council bill that would have mandated employee callback rules for hotels and required them to clean occupied hotel rooms won’t be heard Thursday.

Bill 80, a measure pushed by hospitality workers union Unite Here Local 5, was expected to be on Thursday’s agenda after it passed out of the Council Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee.

The bill would have required hotels to recall a set number of employees based on hotel occupancy, with priority given to those with the most seniority. It also would have mandated that hotels employ enough housekeepers to “clean and sanitize every occupied guest room every day.”

Honolulu City Council Chairwoman Ann Koba­yashi said Monday that she did not schedule a hearing for Bill 80 due to legal concerns. Instead, Kobayashi said the Council will hear Resolution 20-296 ….

read … Hotel workers bill before City Council reduced to resolution

Honolulu appears unlikely to advance to Tier 3

SA: … With 125 coronavirus cases reported on Oahu, it appears unlikely that Honolulu will move this month to the next phase of economic reopening.

In fact, it could move backward, warns Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

To move to Tier 3, which would allow gatherings of 10 (up from the current 5), before Thanksgiving, the island must maintain a seven-­day average case count of 49 or fewer cases, and a seven-day average positivity rate of 2.49% or lower for 14 consecutive days. The seven-day average case count is 71 and the positivity rate is 2.7%….

Big Q: Will Oahu advance to Tier 3 reopening in two weeks by keeping a weekly case average of 49 or lower and a positivity rate of 2.49% max?

read … Honolulu appears unlikely to advance to Tier 3

Honolulu Police Department to deploy COVID-19 quarantine response teams on Oahu

SA:… The Honolulu Police Department has created a small unit of police officers to check up on incoming travelers who are supposed to be quarantined on Oahu.

Dubbed quarantine response teams, two five-member volunteer teams who work either day or night shifts have started conducting physical quarantine checks to make sure travelers who should be in quarantine are complying. They’ll start that work Thursday.

The teams, made up of a sergeant and four officers, come from HPD’s roughly 160-member COVID enforcement teams, which are funded by the federal CARES Act. Volunteering officers, who HPD said are selected on a first come, first serve basis, are being paid overtime….

read … Honolulu Police Department to deploy COVID-19 quarantine response teams on Oahu

Suicides In Hawaii Appear To Be Decreasing — Despite Pandemic

CB: … preliminary data from state health regulators shows that suicide deaths in Hawaii have actually decreased slightly during the coronavirus pandemic, bucking the expectations of many….

read … Suicides In Hawaii Appear To Be Decreasing — Despite Pandemic

Will a Carbon tax be back for the 2021 legislature?

IM: … State agencies testified on SB 3150. Some supported it. Some had concerns.

The Attorney General raised a legal concern. “The stated purpose of the income tax credit, to offset the burden of the carbon tax on low-income households, does not address the reason for the different tax treatment of residents versus nonresidents. Accordingly, this bill may be subject to a constitutional challenge under the Privileges and Immunities Clause.”

SB 3150 would raise the cost of electricity but lower the cost of driving. Shouldn`t a carbon tax be aimed at the opposite?

Should those who file tax returns but owe no taxes be eligible for a dividend?

How would a tax revenue neutral bill advance clean energy?

In every place that a carbon tax has been implemented, the use of the funds as a Legislative slush fund has grown over time. Would a Hawaii carbon tax start out as a neutral tax, and over time, become another way of pouring cash into the general fund?…

Life of the Land testimony on carbon taxes included four quotes:

Sinn Féin (March 2019): “Carbon taxation does not reduce carbon emissions. Carbon tax generates taxes.”

The Indigenous Environmental Network and the Climate Justice Alliance (2017). “Carbon pricing is a name for a tool that governments, financial institutions and corporations have adopted in order to try to reconcile their continuing commitment to fossil fuel use with the need to appear to take action on climate change. Carbon pricing includes emissions trading, cap and trade, carbon offset trading, carbon taxes, and penalty and payment schemes.”

Food & Water Watch, “Carbon taxes – while popular with economists – have proven to be ineffective at actually reducing emissions in the real world. And according to research prepared for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, we will actually see an increase in electricity from fracked gas under a carbon tax plan they studied."

Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, “Proposals for carbon taxes and cap-and-trade have taken up too much climate-solution oxygen in recent years, and so far they have been flimsy half measures porous with loopholes. They come nowhere close to meeting the scale of the crisis.”…

read … Carbon Taxes, Performance-Based Regulation, and Lifecycle CO2 Emissions

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