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Tuesday, December 8, 2020
December 8, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:38 PM :: 2183 Views

A Better Way to Help Hawaii's Unemployed

Ethics Comm: 58 Pages of New Rules

UH law dean joins panel discussing civil liberties during COVID-19

HART: P3 Bidders for Honolulu Rail include usual Rail Insiders—Prices Still Secret

CB: … One of the teams was dubbed “City Center Connection Group,” or C3G. Its lead joint venture partners were Dragados, which describes itself as a leader in delivering infrastructure projects via the P3 method, along with local firms Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company and Obayashi Design Group.

The other team, dubbed “Imua Transit Honolulu,” or ITH, was composed of lead partners Tutor Perini Corporation and Parsons Construction Group. Among its subcontractors were Granite Construction Company and Traylor Bros. — two of the three primary contractors building rail from Aloha Stadium to Middle Street….

This past summer, Tutor Perini’s chief executive officer told investors in a call that his construction company had bid “over $2 billion” for the work. HART, meanwhile, had budgeted about $1.4 billion for the last four miles and eight stations to Ala Moana Center….

One of the bidding teams “expressed concern” about the cost going public, leaving it uncertain when the information will be released….

The other companies listed as part of the C3G team were: John Hancock, Hatch Construction Management, Rizzani De Eccher USA, DTL, The Wilhelm Group, Soteria Co, IBI Group, Dan Brown and Associates, Systra International Bridge Technologies, WCIT Architecture, Walker Consultants, Minatoishi Architects, KSF, Wilsom Okamoto Corporation, Apex Design, LKG-CMC Consultants Incorporated, and Zephyr UAS, Inc. ACS Infrastructure Development was listed as C3G’s lead operations and maintenance provider.

The other companies listed as part of the ITH team were: Plenary Group USA Concessions and Plenary Americas USA, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas and First Transit….

read … HART Reveals P3 Bidders For Honolulu Rail — But Not Their Prices

Incoming mayors want looser Safe Travels restrictions

KHON: … Just two days before Thanksgiving, Gov. David Ige tightened the Safe Travels Program. Passengers who are not able to have their negative test results in hand when they arrive must quarantine for 14 days. The House Select Committee on COVID-19 says that change has led to millions of dollars in lost revenue due to travel cancellations.

The committee has submitted a proposal which it has referred to as “The White Paper,” which calls for passengers still waiting for their results from one of the trusted partners, to take a rapid test at the airport after arriving in Hawaii.

“And if you’re negative, you simply stay in quarantine until you get your trusted partner test. And if that’s also negative then you’re released from quarantine,” said Dr. Mark Mugiishi, HMSA President and CEO.

Honolulu’s incoming mayor Rick Blangiardi and the just inaugurated Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth say they support the proposal.

“I’m really not in favor of more quarantines. I know first hand that the Safe Travels Program is working,” said Roth.

“I’m all for those things that will move us forward, accepting the disease, willing to live with the disease. We can’t really wait it out, let’s be prudent, let’s take the actions, let’s act responsibly to the extent where we can be aggressive, if you will,” said Blangiardi….

SA: Arriving air passengers in Hawaii without COVID-19 test to face 10-day quarantine

read … Incoming mayors want looser Safe Travels restrictions

Mayor Roth says the state’s Safe Travels program is working

KHON: … Mayor Roth says the state’s Safe Travels program is working. This came after he learned that his son, who was supposed to arrive for the inauguration, tested positive for COVID-19.

“My son, Aaron, tested positive last week. And, you know, because of the Safe Travels program that’s in place, he didn’t come over here. He didn’t affect our whole family,” said Mayor Roth.

The county is currently testing arriving trans-Pacific travelers at its local airports. Mayor Roth says they’re still working to determine what will happen to that program when CARES Act funds run out at the end of the year.

“Those funds for personnel that the county is paying for comes up next week on the 15th,” Roth said.

He also said the cost of testing is about $80,000 a day and that’s not including personnel costs.

“We’ve talked to some of our nonprofits and some of our private companies and things to see about that. Hopefully, we’ll have some answers by the end of this week,” the new mayor added.

To see that businesses are operating, Mayor Roth plans to speed up the permitting process. He also says he will promote more outdoor activities.

“We’re going to be working to see, you know, if we can allow restaurants to do more sidewalk dining, things in open air and then a whole bunch of other things that we’re looking at making changes on,” Roth shared.

Taking his place as prosecuting attorney is Kelden Waltjen. Waltjen explains that the county has seen a spike in serious drugs, bringing with it rising crime such as burglary and theft. The new Hawaii county prosecuting attorney says he plans to seek stiffer penalties for serious, violent and repeat offenders.

“But yet, there needs to be a greater focus and effort to expand our on-island prevention and treatment and reintegration programs,” Waltjen said.

HTH:  New mayor, prosecutor, council inaugurated  

BIN: Hawai‘i County Inauguration Day Marks Multiple Firsts

read … Will travelers to Big Island undergo second, post-arrival testing? New Mayor explains

City Council asks Mayor to revise tier system to help small businesses

KHON: … In written testimony, several small business owners noted the difficulty of staying afloat at 50 percent occupancy or only allowing customers to come in with a reservation.

One group severely impacted by the pandemic has been live events, which aren’t even mentioned in Honolulu’s reopening plan.

Several members of production companies across Oahu showed how other countries have been able to safely conduct live events, including Hollywood, and they’ve asked City Council members if they could be considered as part of Honolulu’s Tier 3 and 4 reopening plans, with safety precautions in mind…..

read … City Council asks Mayor to revise tier system to help small businesses

Hawai'i headed for a 'tough winter,' economists say

KITV: … Hawaii's economy is preparing to head into what economists are forecasting to be a 'tough winter.'

Factors at play -- federal funding is expected to run out later this month, the near-future for tourism remains uncertain due to state's travel rules, and the number of new cases spreading across the country.

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) predicts the number of visitors arriving in Hawai'i will remain below 20% of pre-pandemic numbers until at least March….

BIVN: Hawaiʻi Economic Recovery May Be Slowing

read … Hawai'i headed for a 'tough winter,' economists say

90% of Waiawa’s inmate population has tested positive for COVID in recent months

HNN: … 90% of the prison’s population has either gotten sick or have recovered from the virus.

While the number of active inmate infections has dropped from 88 to 68 over the weekend, Hawaii News Now has learned that another 142 inmates were sick in recent months and have recovered….

They said the number of active infections at Waiawa are actually dropping.

“The total number of active inmate cases at Waiawa Correctional Facility has continually decreased while the number of recovered continues to steadily increase,” the department said in an email.

“The majority of the WCF inmate population is clear of the virus.”…

(Only 21 criminals have failed to get themselves infected but they are still trying.)

CB: It's Beyond Time To Finally Address Prison Reform

read … 90% of Waiawa’s inmate population has tested positive for COVID in recent months

GE Tax on Rent Becomes Obstacle to COVID Relief

SA: … Gavin Thornton, executive director of Hawai‘i Appleseed and a member of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness, told his fellow committee members Monday that the program to cover rents, mortgage payments and homeowner association fees has been “overall, a great success story” — other than the unwillingness of some landlords to accept $8 million in rent they’re due, which can run from about $4,400 to $6,000.

Since the program launched in September, $55.1 million in overdue payments has been approved, and $45 million already has been paid directly to landlords, mortgage lenders or homeowners associations, according to Rent Relief & Housing Assistance Program data.

Of the approximately $10 million gap between what’s been paid and what’s been approved, about $8 million has been declined in the form of direct payments to rental landlords, Thornton said. The remainder of about $2 million is likely because some landlords have yet to provide required documentation for a variety of reasons.

“One of the primary reasons for the gap, as we understand it, is some of the landlords are unwilling to participate in the program, unwilling to sign off to receive the payments — allegedly because they don’t have their GE (general excise tax) licenses,” Thornton told the committee. “They’re not paying their taxes on that rental income….

(IDEA: Stop collecting GE Tax on rent.)

read … Hawaii landlords rejecting $8M in overdue rent

Ranked-Choice Voting is a System to Prevent Republicans from Winning Elections in Hawaii

CB: … ranked-choice voting. Several bills in the 2019-2020 sessions called for setting up such a system. The one that made it the farthest in terms of being heard would have established ranked choice for special federal elections and special elections of vacant county council seats.

Sen. Karl Rhoads, the bill’s author, said he will probably submit a similar bill next month.

“I think it has a lot going for it,” he said, pointing to two examples where Hawaii voters may not have elected the most preferred candidate.

One race was the special election in 2010 to complete the remainder of U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s term when he resigned to run for governor.

Republican Charles Djou won the winner-take-all contest with 39% of the vote, although Democrats Colleen Hanabusa (with almost 31%) and Case (with almost 28%) showed how a Democratic candidate was preferred in a large field. Djou would lose the general election that year to Hanabusa and would lose subsequent congressional races, while Case — who formerly represented the 2nd Congressional District — now represents the 1st.

The other race Rhoads mentioned was the special election that same year to complete the remaining two years of Honolulu City Councilman Todd Apo, who resigned to work for Disney’s Aulani Resort. Tom Berg, a Tea Party activist and a bit of a live wire, won the race with just 18% of the vote. He was not re-elected….

read … How About Ranked-Choice Voting And Open Primaries For Hawaii?

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