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Tuesday, May 18, 2021
May 18, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:22 PM :: 2391 Views

Hawaii public schools to resume full, in-person learning for Fall Semester

Facial Imaging Now Operational at Five Hawaii Airports

Results of 2021 HGEA State Board Election

UHPA Pushes Back Against Mercado Kim

Spectators allowed at permitted outdoor sporting events

Rail bond deal has financial ties to HART chair

HNN: … Ethics watchdogs are raising questions about a rail bond deal involving the firm of the rail authority’s board chairman.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board Chairman Toby Martyn is also a vice president and Honolulu general manager for Stifel Financial Corp.

In January 2020, he voted with the majority of HART’s board to approve more than $292 million in rail bonds to pay for construction on the financially troubled project.

Hawaii News Now has learned that his firm is one of eight investment companies selected to sell those bonds mostly to Wall Street institutional investors, meaning the rail chairman financially benefited from the sale of rail bonds.

“This is very specific, a board member voting on something involving his company is wrong,” said Ian Lind, Common Cause Hawaii board member and longtime investigative reporter.

Lind said city law bars any city official from voting on matters that they have a financial interest in….

Stifel argued the bonds were issued by the city and that the rail board had no role in picking who sold the bonds.

“Mr. Martyn’s participation in the HART board was in no way a conflict of interest … Stifel nonetheless disclosed Mr. Martyn’s role to the city and the senior managing underwriter for the bonds,” said company spokesman Neil Shapiro.

The (useless) city Ethics Commission agreed, saying it found no conflict in Martyn’s vote.

But Hawaii News Now political analyst Colin Moore said the Ethics Commission was incorrect.

“I don’t understand how they came up with that ruling. There’s no justification that I saw provided in the documentation,” he said.

“I think there is absolutely a conflict here. As chairman of HART, he is indirectly involved in these decision and his firm is benefiting from bond sales.”…

CLUE: Complain to SEC about Sifitel.

ILind:  GO bond issue for financing the rail project required HART board approval

ILind:  Rail bond vote points to potential issue of broader problem in city ethics oversight

HPR Special Series: Will The $12B Honolulu Rail Project Make It To Ala Moana?

read … Rail bond deal has financial ties to HART chair

Redrawing Of Hawaii’s Political Boundaries Could Stretch Into Early 2022

CB: … The process of redrawing Hawaii’s political boundaries could extend into next year because of a delay in getting population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission on Monday got to work setting out a timeline that allows it to complete reapportionment and redistricting in a reasonable timeframe given the delays in federal data.

The commission also divided work among its members, despite objections that much of the commission’s work will take place behind closed doors.

The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission, a nine-member panel that meets once each decade to redraw Hawaii’s political maps, likely will not finish its work until the end of February. By law, the commission must have new political boundaries drawn for legislative districts by mid-September….

read … Redrawing Of Hawaii’s Political Boundaries Could Stretch Into Early 2022

Ige: No DOE vaccination requirement for fall

SA: … State Department of Education schools will not require students to be vaccinated from COVID-19 until at least the end of 2021, Gov. David Ige said Monday.

The University of Hawaii on Monday announced that students will be required to receive a vaccine in order to attend classes on campus in the fall. However, Ige said during a livestreamed interview Monday that the same will not be required of DOE school students for the foreseeable future.

“I’ve been talking with Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, and we don’t anticipate a vaccine for younger children until the end of the year or even beyond that,” Ige said. “So we won’t be in a situation where all students would be eligible.”

Ige noted that 12- to 15-year-olds only became eligible for vaccinations in Hawaii last week, but no pediatric vaccine for children younger than 12 has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration….

HNN: Hawaii Kids Can discusses impacts of students returning to classrooms full-time

read … Ige: No DOE vaccination requirement for fall

More than 9,000 have already taken advantage of inter-island ‘vaccine passport’ program

HNN: … It’s been almost a week since Hawaii launched its “vaccine passport” program for inter-island travelers, allowing fully vaccinated people to skip testing and quarantine requirements.

More than 9,400 people have taken advantage of the exemption so far, according to Safe Travels data on the state’s COVID-19 website.

Travel experts say residents will be more likely to help the economy of the neighbor islands because they can skip testing requirements.

“Now that we don’t have to test, that can be an extra $300 each that we might have in our pocket to spend, say, in a mom-and-pop store or restaurant,” said Jerry Agrusa, professor in the School of Travel Industry Management at the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii.

Travel was also up last week from the week previously.

The week of May 3, airport officials screened 179,000 trans-Pacific and inter-island travelers. Last week, more than 204,000 were screened, according to data from the state….

read … More than 9,000 have already taken advantage of inter-island ‘vaccine passport’ program

Ige Says Slew Of Pandemic Rule Changes In The Works

CB: … The governor said state health officials are working on integrating Hawaii’s rate of vaccinations into the tiered reopening system already in use by the counties. ….

Soon, parents could be allowed to watch their children play sports while more outdoor competitions may also be allowed. There could be policy changes for those who are collecting unemployment payments in the state, and Hawaii might announce a vaccine passport for trans-Pacific travelers within the next month.

Gov. David Ige on Monday discussed those topics and more during an interview on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” program….

read … Ige Says Slew Of Pandemic Rule Changes In The Works

Honolulu prosecutor's office begin independent investigations in officer-involved shootings of Sykap, Myeni

KITV: … Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm announced Monday independent investigations into the officer-involved shootings of civilians Iremamber Sykap and Lindani Myeni are underway and are expected to be completed within the next 30-60 days ....

read … Honolulu prosecutor's office begin independent investigations in officer-involved shootings of Sykap, Myeni

Reelect Me Money:  Hawaii County Council members seek to increase discretionary funding

HTH: … County Council members are once again casting around to find money for their individual contingency accounts that were zeroed out in the mayor’s budget.

Contingency accounts give each council member their own little pot of money to give in a noncompetitive process after council approval to nonprofits and county agencies that request it.

Three council members have offered amendments to Bill 21, the $609.1 million operating budget proposed by Mayor Mitch Roth, to move money to the council contingency accounts. The council has set a special session Thursday to take up the budget on first reading.

The council also directs $2.5 million in grants-in-aid in a competitive process to nonprofits. Those grants rely on a formal application and presentation before a council subcommittee, which then makes recommendations to the full council. This year, the money is set to be distributed among 184 nonprofits in an amendment also scheduled to be voted on Thursday….

WHT: Public comment sought on Hawaii County budget

read … Contingency plans: Council members seek to increase discretionary funding

Securing Hawaii’s power grid is ongoing and costly task

SA: … The ransomware attack that shut down a key fuel pipeline and created shortages of gasoline in the Southeast last week didn’t have a lot of impact on our far-flung islands.

But what would happen if cybercriminals put a target on Hawaii and its electrical grid? The loss of power could create havoc, hardship and far-reaching financial loss with ripple effects on the water supply, transportation and other infrastructure, as well as some important military installations.

Hawaiian Electric, the company that provides power to 95% of the state, insists it is prepared for a such a cyberattack and is constantly searching for ways to be better prepared….

read … Securing Hawaii’s power grid is ongoing and costly task

Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii doesn't care if you think she's 'out of control'

NBC: … “It's very helpful if we speak up. Asian women should not be afraid of showing our anger,” Hirono, a Democrat, told NBC Asian America…..From telling men to “just shut up and step up” and “do the right thing for a change” at a press conference following the sexual assault allegation against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, to walking out of a hearing that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, held on antifa last summer, Hirono said she hasn’t shied away from expressing her emotions….

read … Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii doesn't care if you think she's 'out of control'

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