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Saturday, May 22, 2021
May 22, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:41 PM :: 2107 Views

Hawaii Is Replacing Its Last Coal Plant With a ‘Giant Battery’—Powered by Oil

Successful program audit helps Maui County consumers maintain low flood insurance rates

OHA Grants $1.25 million to 14 nonprofits

Harbor Division Seeks Falls of Clyde Removal--Then Cancels Bid

Kenji Price Joins DC Law Firm

In Hawaii, Electric Vehicles Cost More to Fuel than Gasoline Vehicles

Waiver goodbye to the Jones Act?

April 2021 Hotel Revenues up 138%

Now that All the Money has been Stolen, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board begins taking steps to curb fraud and abuse

SA: … The Permitted Interaction Group, which consisted of half of the board, was tasked with reviewing suggestions from the American Public Transportation Association about HART’s internal auditing practices.

The report that the PIG published included 10 changes that should be implemented.

One of the more substantive changes would implement an outsourced, independent internal audit function for HART.

The independent auditors would report their findings to the committee, which is then charged with managing follow-up actions resulting from the audit….

Another aspect of the recommendations creates clear deadlines for financial reporting to the HART board from HART. The authority would need to submit quarterly accrual financial statements to the board and give the board’s finance committee information about contracts budgeted for the current fiscal year by Sept. 15. The report’s recommendations also ask HART to disclose the contract’s projected award dates, if available….

The PIG’s report will be presented during the next HART board executive committee. If the committee approves the recommendations, it will go to vote in front of the full board….

Best Comment: “After 15+ years they are finally getting around to establishing steps to "curb" fraud and abuse. No need to rush and act reckless. Take another 15 years to evaluate and consider all options.”

read … HART must be running out of money

HSTA Game Plan: After Ige Vetoes HB613, BoE Will Approve $2,200 Cash Bonanza

SA Editorial: … It remains to be seen whether the Legislature will have done teachers any favors, whatever its intention, with the passage of House Bill 613….

…this will not erase the state’s persistent teacher shortage….

“Unconscionable,” was the assessment of the Hawaii Government Employees Association.

Higher hurdles for the bill to clear: There are state and federal laws to the contrary, as well as misgivings from state education officials. And these would provide a stronger basis for a veto.

The American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration’s pandemic relief package, required the state Department of Education, not lawmakers, to consult with stakeholders and the public to develop a spending plan….

That plainly didn’t happen here. Further, the Board of Education, under state law, is supposed to administer federal funds for public education. The board has not yet discussed the issue. Chairwoman Catherine Payne, speaking as an individual, said some spending, such as air conditioning funds, were not BOE priorities.

If the governor takes this cue and vetoes the bill, as he should, the decisions on how to spend the COVID-19 relief funds would revert to the school board….

Arguably, some of the Legislature’s ideas may have been on the mark, such as funding to counter pandemic learning loss. But local school officials were meant to be at the helm from the start. They should take pen in hand and redraw the blueprint of HB 613….

HSTA: "Shortage differentials maintain strong BOE support"

read …  $2,200 for Hawaii teachers only

DOE struggles to find teachers willing to stick around for summer school

HNN: … The state Department of Education is preparing to kick off its largest summer program yet in hopes of helping students who fell behind during the pandemic.

But it’s struggling to find enough teachers.

The Board of Education authorized $30 million for the program so that parents won’t have to pay for summer school.

According to the DOE, 26% of seniors are off track to graduate ― that’s nearly 3,000 students statewide. The DOE is offering multiple opportunities for seniors to get the credits they need this summer as well as helping younger students who’ve fallen behind….

“…a lot of teachers just want a break to be quite honest,” said Rochelle Mahoe, a complex area superintendent.

“Our emphasis has been on in providing accelerated learning to some extent, and and also not making it just about remedial work. We want it more engaging ... and so that does require a lot more planning.”

DOE leadership says teachers cannot be forced to teach during the summer.

A full list of summer school offerings can be found here.

SA: 1 in 4 Hawaii seniors struggle to graduate high school

SA Editorial: Back-to-school challenges loom

read … DOE struggles to find teachers willing to stick around for summer school

Ige Hoping Vaccinated can Fly Without Test July 4th

KHON: … He is hopeful to lift the mandate by the middle of June.

“We are emphasizing at the airports, as people come in, you know, there’s a lot of signage announcements being made that Hawaii does have a mask mandate and that people need to wear masks,” Gov. Ige said….

On the question about allowing trans-pacific travel for vaccinated people without the need to be tested, the governor says he is still targeting the 4th of July.

“Now across the country, we’re getting to 40-50%, fully vaccinated. And we do know the CDC guidance that there’s little risk. We know that we have to get there, we have to be able to allow vaccinated travelers to come here transpacific because that will help us get more people back to work,” Gov. Ige said….

SA Editorial: Hawaii-bound airlines soar

read … Hawaii governor offers timeline for lifting coronavirus mask mandate

Maui County Budget Features $20M Tax Hikes

MN: … The proposal would increase the current $822.6 million county budget by about $20 million and would tap into property tax hikes for hotels and visitor accommodations to raise more revenue for affordable housing….

The council voted 7-0 on Friday to pass the fiscal year 2022 budget on first reading, with Council Members Tasha Kama and Yuki Lei Sugimura excused.

…At about $13 million more than Mayor Michael Victorino’s proposed $829 million budget, the council’s version includes an operational budget of $683.2 million and a capital improvements project budget of $159.4 million, compared to the mayor’s proposed $669.6 million for operations and $159.3 million in CIP funding….

A second and final reading for the budget is scheduled for June 4. By law, the council has until June 10 to adopt its own budget, otherwise the mayor’s budget becomes law. The new fiscal year begins on July 1 and runs through June 30, 2022….

read … $842.6M budget on verge of approval

Sykap Family Sues Honolulu Police, Alleging Wrongful Death Of Teen

CB: … HPD Chief Susan Ballard stated at an April press conference that the Honda rammed two marked police cars, but that cannot be seen in the footage HNN obtained.

The lawsuit alleges that Ballard’s statement isn’t true and that the officers did not fire in self-defense, which the suit says violates HPD policy.

HPD’s use of force policy, which was updated just days before the Sykap shooting, states that officers may not shoot at vehicles unless the driver is threatening someone with deadly force by means other than the vehicle itself or if other specific circumstances warrant the use of deadly force.

In general, deadly force may only be used when officers “reasonably believe” it is necessary to defend their lives or others who are in “immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury,” according to HPD’s policy.

According to the lawsuit, Sykap had stopped the car before officers fired multiple shots into it.

Sykap was “unarmed and posed no risk of harm to any of the Defendants,” the lawsuit states.

The vehicle then “lurched forward and ended up in a ditch” while officers continued to shoot their guns at the car, according to the lawsuit. Officers fired more than a dozen rounds, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also alleges that since Sykap was killed, the city has made “false and misleading statements” and “taunted and threatened” Sykap’s family.

The complaint also takes issue with the city’s refusal to release video of the incident and says it failed to explain the circumstances of the death to Sykap’s family.

The suit follows another wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city last month by the family of Lindani Myeni, who was shot and killed by HPD officers days after Sykap’s death….

SA: Family of Iremamber Sykap sues city and officers, alleges intimidation by Honolulu police

read … Sykap Family Sues Honolulu Police, Alleging Wrongful Death Of Teen

Kapolei Energy Storage project to proceed with construction

PBN: … The Kapolei Energy Storage project will proceed with an August groundbreaking, developer Plus Power told Pacific Business News on Friday.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and Hawaiian Electric Co. recently compromised on terms of the 185-megawatt project’s approval, and HECO said in a Wednesday filing it agreed to move ahead.

That clears the way for construction of the big battery with a targeted completion of summer 2022 in order to replace the 180-megawatt AES coal plant, which is scheduled for retirement that September….

Related: Hawaii Is Replacing Its Last Coal Plant With a ‘Giant Battery’—Powered by Oil

read … Kapolei Energy Storage project to proceed with construction

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