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Friday, December 4, 2020
December 4, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:04 PM :: 2153 Views

Auditor: HPD Does not Learn from Misconduct

Trump Approves Funding for Hawaii National Guard COVID Relief

UPW on the Job: Hilo Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty for Assaulting an Inmate and Conspiring with Other Officers to Cover it Up

State Borrows $750M to Make Payroll

SA: … Luke said that Ige is suggesting a four-year furlough program, something that’s not well thought out because ”legally that’s not possible.”

Not only do the worker unions need to approve such a step, but the furlough program can’t be longer than the term of a bargained contract, Luke said. “And I believe most of the contracts expire in June.”…

Noting that roughly 20,000 of the approximately 75,000 state employees are eligible for retirement, a hard look should be taken at which jobs can be left unfilled when existing workers leave, Dela Cruz said….

Ige said, “I wish I could say some of those things were off the table, but I think it’s very clear all of those are on the table as we speak. We are looking at reductions in spending that we can control — the nonpersonnel-related parts of the budget.”

But given that 60% of general revenue expenses is comprised of salaries, fringe benefits, retirement contributions and other personnel costs, it’s difficult to envision employees won’t be affected, he said.

“Making a 25% reduction when 60% of it is personnel really does end up impacting personnel costs,” the governor said.

“Every department and agency will be impacted,” Ige said. “There’s nobody that will be spared. We will be forced to be cutting public education and the university, as well as social, safety net programs.”

Ige and the Department of Budget and Fiscal Serv­ices formally hand over next year’s proposed budget package around the middle of the month.

For the first time in the state’s history, the state borrowed $750 million through bonds “to help make payroll,” Ige said….

read … Worker layoffs, furloughs still on the table, Gov. David Ige says

BOE approves $528M budget cut

KHON: … The latest operating budget proposal is layered on top of an existing $100 million reduction, so the total amount comes out to $264 million for each of the next two years. The details of how the individual schools will be affected are not outlined yet.

“We will know that exact amount and what the impact is on schools, as the schools finish and complete – they have two more weeks to complete their school academic and financial plans,” said State Superintendent Christina Kishimoto….

SA: Hawaii school board approves budget with cuts that principals call crippling

HTH: BOE approves proposed $1.5B budget

CB: With ‘A Very Reluctant Aye,’ Board Of Education Approves DOE Budget Despite Deep Cuts

read … BOE approves state’s hefty budget cut proposal

How HSTA Blocks In-Person Learning

CB: … My child at Roosevelt HS started returning to campus 2 weeks ago, but because it was optional, most students opted to stay home.  As a result teachers interacted with all students via computer, even those who were physically present in the classroom.  After a week of this, my child gave up and chose to stay home too…..

MN: Teachers concerned about bringing back more students

read … The End Of Distance Learning Is Near. Let’s Not Rush What Comes Next

Suit: School officials did nothing to prevent sex abuse of special education student by HSTA Member

HNN: … A new lawsuit alleges officials at a Big Island school were aware of allegations a staff member was sexually abusing a special education student but did nothing.

(HSTA member) Stanton Caluag, 64, was an educational assistant at Kealakehe High School. He is now serving a year in jail after he pleaded guilty to third-degree sex assault in June.

The victim was 18 at the time and his grandmother said Caluag began molesting him two months after his mother died.

“It’s devastating. You know, he just lost his mom and for somebody to do that to him,” said the grandmother, Ann.

“He was touching his private areas in class and he was sitting on him.” ….

In filings in the criminal case, Big Island deputy Prosecutor Kate Perazich said school staff witnessed Caluag “touching (the boy’s) hair, neck and cheek” and saw him “sitting on” the victim’s lap.

The suit, which also names the state Department of Education, alleges school officials ignored these eyewitness accounts of abuse.

The family’s attorney, Michael Green, said one staff member who witnessed the abuse actually wrote a report. But Green said the report was buried and was not provided to authorities….

CB: Hawaii Island Woman Is Suing DOE Over Alleged Sexual Harassment Case

PDF: Lawsuit 

read … Suit: School officials did nothing to prevent sex abuse of special education student

Some businesses on rail line suspect passing trains linked to recent power outages

HNN: … As testing for Honolulu’s rail line continues, some nearby businesses are reporting repeated power outages.

They say problems with the electricity started a couple months ago.

Some shop owners say they’ve had their power knocked out completely. Others describe brownout conditions, saying their lights will dim or flicker.

Many of those impacted believe power fluctuations are caused by the passing trains, and both rail officials and engineers from Hawaiian Electric are investigating that claim.

read … Some businesses on rail line suspect passing trains linked to recent power outages

Honolulu plans to keep 130 COVID-19 contact tracers through June

SA: … Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the city plans to keep 130 coronavirus contact tracers in place at least through the end of the fiscal year in June, despite the state’s plan to reduce the program.

The mayor, whose term expires at month’s end, also said the city plans to continue to fund isolation and quarantine hotels, which, along with contact tracers, are paid for mostly by federal CARES Act money that expires Dec. 30 ….

SA Editorial: Protect viability of contact tracing

read … Honolulu plans to keep 130 COVID-19 contact tracers through June

Workers rally for in-person unemployment assistance

SA: … Still frustrated by the lack of accessibility to the unemployment office and unresolved claims, roughly a dozen workers rallied Thursday in front of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations headquarters downtown.

The Hawaii Workers Center held a holiday-themed rally in front of the DLIR building on Punchbowl Street, singing carols about not getting paid, followed by the presentation of a “Scrooge award” to DLIR Director Anne Perreira- Eustaquio for refusing to continue a dialogue with them, then marched to the Capitol rotunda to get Gov. David Ige’s attention….

HPR: She left her job as a bank teller after suffering a nervous breakdown

HNN: Many of Hawaii’s unemployed struggle through holidays while waiting for benefits

read … Workers rally for in-person unemployment assistance

Honolulu Taxpayers Will Foot The Bill For HPD Overtime Abuse

CB: …The Honolulu Police Department had planned to use federal CARES Act funds for overtime expenses during the pandemic, but now that the department has identified overtime abuse, city taxpayers are left holding the bag….

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said on Wednesday that the CARES money will be “supplanted” with city funds.

read … Honolulu Taxpayers Will Foot The Bill For HPD Overtime Abuse

COVID spike in Oahu prison

KHON: … “Today, 32 cases came from the prison, from, you know from our reports so that, you know, that is substantial. And of course also we’re now seeing catch up cases from the long weekend. We’ve been about two days back so I expect that’s what you’re seeing right now but we’ll watch it every day,” said Green….

CB: Modifying Safe Travels Program Could Allay Health, Economic Fears

read … COVID spike in Oahu prison

Soft on Crime: Free on Recognizance after busted with nearly $1M in coke, cash and jewelry

HTH: … Akima remains free on his own recognizance pending the hearing.

Kona Vice and South Kohala Patrol officers executed a search warrant on Oct. 27 at a Kipahele Street home in Waimea, assisted by agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. According to police, that search turned up 7.25 pounds of cocaine, just over a quarter-pound of methamphetamine, and slightly more than a half-ounce of marijuana.

Police said the cocaine has a street value of $410,862, and the street value of the methamphetamine is $8,500.

In addition, officers seized for potential forfeiture $353,398 in cash, jewelry valued at $117,000, a .223 caliber semi-automatic rife and three vehicles — a 2008 Toyota pickup truck, a 2008 Toyota sport-utility vehicle and a 2018 Polaris utility vehicle….

read … Preliminary hearing set for Waimea man busted with nearly $1M in coke, cash and jewelry

10 Years and Counting: Subdivision Blocked Again

TGI: … Wednesday, the state’s Land Use Commission granted a petition to intervene in the proceeding of rezoning lands for a 96-acre residential subdivision next to Kapa‘a Middle School that has been in the planning stages for nearly a decade.

Liko Martin submitted a petition to intervene last week, with concerns relating to the need for agricultural lands and the strain on existing wastewater, sewage and road infrastructure. Martin, who said he descended from the area, said there are no other parties currently involved in the process representing Hawaiian and resident interests.

HoKua Place, from developers HG Kaua‘i Joint Ventures, LLC, aims to develop 86 single-family lots with 683 multi-family units as well as a 1.4-acre neighborhood commercial center and a 3.1-acre community park….

Kaua‘i community member Bridget Hammerquist also provided testimony in support of Martin….

William Yuen, an attorney for HoKua Place developers, objected to Martin’s petition, specifically to claims of constitutional or Hawaiian sovereignty rights….

The commission has very limited jurisdiction on issues along these lines, and “are not equipped or capable or empowered to determine any claims to title, but we do review title reports,” according to LUC Chair Jonathan Likeke Scheuer.

The commission voted 6-1 in favor of the petition to intervene, with a dissenting vote from commissioner Nancy Cabral, who had concerns with the intervening petition being too open-ended for a concise discussion.

This development has been before the LUC since about 2014, but plans for HoKua Place date back to at least 2005, then called Kapa‘a Highlands. Two separate petitions to reclassify the state agriculture lands for urban use were denied….

As Explained: How A&B Wins Big From Environmental Litigation

read … HoKua Place stalled again

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