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Monday, December 7, 2020
December 7, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:03 PM :: 2502 Views

Forgotten Honouliuli: Jack Burns, Police Spy

​U.S. Territories, Not States, Bear The Scars Of World War II

HR7045: US House Passes Bill Creating Hawaii's First National Forest

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted December 5, 2020

Maui County Has The Highest Jobless Rate In America

Prosecutor-elect Alm looks to rebuild office as it continues to take heat

KHON: … Despite the embarrassing corruption scandal uncovered during former Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha’s trial, conviction, and last week’s sentencing, the City’s auditor has found that policies, procedures and controls have not changed significantly and more needs to be done.

Honolulu Prosecutor-Elect Steve Alm will be sworn in on Jan. 2, replacing Acting Prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto, who is filling in for Keith Kaneshiro….

“We will do a complete case management audit of any case that Kathy Kealoha has touched,” Alm said. “I’ve already talked to senior people in the office about working on that as soon as I get in there.”…

“I plan to beef up the white collar section of that office so it can handle the increasing number of white collar cases. The police have started a cyber crimes unit and both of those cases as well as political corruption cases,” Alm explained.

He wants help from the public and believes that convictions like the Kealohas will deter others from abusing their power.

“I will ask if anyone out there in the community has any information on wrongdoing and any corruption to please call our office certainly when I get in there,” Alm said. “Violent crime is not deterred by other people getting convicted of violent crime. But political corruption white collar crime, when those folks get convicted and sent to prison, that deters other people from doing the same kind of thing.”…

Big Q: Overall, has the Honolulu police force “cleaned up” since the Kealohas’ corruption?

read … Prosecutor-elect Alm looks to rebuild office as it continues to take heat

Anti-Tourism Activists rely on debunked claims as COVID Number Drop

CB: … When Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami opted out of the state’s COVID-19 testing program for out-of-state travelers, his decision, which was later approved by Gov. David Ige, was guided in part by an emergency medicine physician who has long rejected the central idea behind the program.

Dr. Darragh O’Carroll and others who are part of an informal group have been speaking out against the idea of requiring only one test for people traveling to Hawaii since before the pre-travel testing program launched on Oct. 15.

Now, despite data that shows O’Carroll’s earlier prediction that the number of cases would have spiked by now simply didn’t come true, his calls are getting political traction….

O’Carroll has come a long way in just a few months in terms of influence. In September, O’Carroll called for all tourists to be required to take a test every day before being allowed to leave their hotels.

“A daily test conducted before tourists leave their hotel could be included in their room fee, and will remove 100% of all arriving infected persons,” he wrote in a Civil Beat opinion piece.

But the effort got little response. The Honolulu City Council, for instance, passed a resolution calling for multiple tests based in part on lobbying by O’Carroll; however, it proved a toothless gesture that Mayor Kirk Caldwell rejected.

But O’Carroll’s ideas didn’t die. Following the win on the Garden Isle, O’Carroll’s paper was cited in an opinion piece in the Star-Advertiser by Dr. Kapono Chong-Hanssen; JoAnn Yukimura, a former Kauai mayor, and Dr. Robert Weiner, a retired surgeon at Wilcox Medical Center and Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital….

Some of O’Carroll’s main themes are that the number of infected travelers slipping through the cracks is as many as 15 in 1,000, not 1 in 1,000, as Lt. Gov. Josh Green has said, and that the best way to protect Hawaii is to require travelers to take two tests combined with a period of quarantine. O’Carroll writes that a seven-day quarantine would be safest….

According to O’Carroll, Hawaii should be overrun by cases. In September, when Hawaii was struggling with as many as 300-plus new cases a day, O’Carroll, an emergency medicine doctor who works at Kuakini Medical Center, predicted what would happen by now with just one test.

“Our numbers will exponentially increase within a month of re-opening and return us to where we are now, where I am treating multiple extremely sick persons from the same family in the span of one 8-hour shift, where our hospitals are full past the brim, where we are running out of room to treat even non-COVID-19 emergencies, and our businesses remain closed,” O’Carroll wrote in Civil Beat opinion piece on Sept. 4, a day when 271 new cases were reported statewide.

That hasn’t happened. In fact, there are fewer new cases per day statewide, based on seven-day averages. Since the pre-travel testing program took effect on Oct. 15, the statewide, seven-day average new case count dropped from 89 on Oct. 15 to 86 as of Friday, according to the Hawaii Data Collaborative. COVID-19 cases in hospital intensive care units, meanwhile, dropped from 23 on Oct. 15 to 14 on Dec. 3.

O’Carroll has pivoted to more obscure data to support his thesis. For example, one of his main arguments is to point out flaws in Hawaii’s surveillance testing study, which was meant to indicate how many asymptomatic travelers slipped through the cracks.

But such work misses the big picture, says Na’alehu Anthony, a Native Hawaiian storyteller and filmmaker who heads COVIDPAU.org, which is running a campaign to educate the public about safe practices like social distancing and wearing masks.

“The leading indicators of what is going on are lower in November than in October, when we started this,” said Anthony, whose organization is affiliated with the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness. “We haven’t been overwhelmed at our hospitals, our seven-day average is going down, and we’re managing with this terrible virus.”

For Green, the lieutenant governor who designed and implemented the one-test program, it’s an issue of balancing the general well-being of the community, including economic health.

Green notes that almost 48,000 people have visited Kauai as of last week; of those just 58 tested positive, Green said. Meanwhile, he estimates shutting down tourism would wipe out 6,000 jobs. After Kauai’s shutdown went into effect on Dec. 2, passenger arrivals dropped from 1,117 the day before to 110, which included 51 airline crew members…. 

KHON: The Safe Travels Program is working but some want to add mandatory post testing

read … How This Doctor Is Influencing Hawaii’s Response To COVID-19

Two hours too late to avoid quarantine

SA: … I returned yesterday and fully complied with all Safe Travel requirements. The accepted COVID-19 testing partner got me my results two hours after I passed through the airport screening. Fortunately, I’m negative. This does not matter, as I must quarantine for 14 days since the result hadn’t arrived prior to my entry.

As a physician, I will certainly say this makes no sense from a medical standpoint. Indeed, it totally lacks common sense.

Oh well, only 13 more days until I can leave my condo!…

read … Two hours too late to avoid quarantine

Hawaii Criminals Approaching Herd Immunity

CB: … More than half of the 1,079 Hawaii prisoners at Saguaro have tested positive for COVID-19. Three have died from the disease….

read … They worked hard to get COVID and now their hard work is paying off

Blangiardi open to idea of using federal aid to help commercial landlords

KITV: … Blangiardi tells KITV4 he knows small businesses are getting "hammered," they're the "backbone" of the economy, and many have already closed - so he wants to do whatever it takes to mitigate the problem.

The group, headed by Honolulu financial consultant Ryan Tanaka, has been asking the business community to fill out Commercial Rent Surveys. The third Hawaii survey (which also expanded across the nation, as the First US Commercial Rent Survey) is currently out.

Tanaka says it's critical business owners participate, because the information will help lawmakers decide how much federal aid is needed. "This is a group that's been forced to close- not just once, but there's been twice government shutdowns. And, there's been a 14-day travel quarantine for seven months," Tanaka says of the challenges the business community faces.

Tanaka says he's concerned that not too many people have filled out the survey yet. It's due by December 18 at midnight. Go >>> here <<< to take the survey.

The group has done two similar surveys in Hawaii already. If you want to know more about those, go to "SurveyRreports".

read … Blangiardi open to idea of using federal aid to help commercial landlords

How Famous Eco-Activist Surfers and other Wealthy Homeowners Are Endangering Hawaii’s Beaches

PP: … Hawaii’s beaches are public land, which officials are obligated to protect and preserve. But a state agency has repeatedly allowed homeowners, including surfer Kelly Slater, to use tactics that protect property while speeding up the loss of beaches….

In 2018, Kelly Slater, an 11-time world surfing champion who lives on Ehukai Beach by the world-famous Banzai Pipeline surf break, illegally installed a burrito. He, as well as his neighbors, were fined just $2,000.

Slater paid the fine and wrote to the Department of Land and Natural Resources last year asking it to approve his illegal structure so his home would be protected from future hurricane surf, as well as unexpected and seasonal weather. Lemmo, in response, rejected the request and underscored the seriousness of the situation.

“Unfortunately, we have reached a tipping point in which near complete loss of beach resources is a realistic future due to sea level rise and the prevalence of [densely] urbanized shoreline development,” he wrote to Slater, noting that the situation on the North Shore is particularly precarious.

Lemmo added that if the state doesn’t enforce strict policies controlling shoreline armoring “it could set in motion a [domino] effect leading to chronic beach loss.”

Still, he left the door open to a future approval, inviting Slater to submit additional information about the structure that was installed and why it was needed. Lemmo said his office is still waiting on the surfer to provide the details about his emergency barrier, which has been in place for more than two years.

In a brief phone interview, Slater, known for his environmental activism, said that without the sandbags people “would have lost properties outright.” He did not respond to a request for a follow-up interview.

Today, some of the homes along Sunset Beach are precariously perched on cliffs of sand. This summer, surfers created a makeshift staircase out of small sandbags just to scale the dropoff to the beach so they could paddle out to Kammieland, one of the North Shore’s many surf breaks. The backwash from waves hitting the shore made the surfing there bumpy. The burritos and heavy tarps had completely blocked the public’s ability at times to walk along the beach….

SA: Removed any mention of ‘surfers’ from its headline

read … How famous surfers and wealthy homeowners are endangering Hawaii’s beaches

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