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Thursday, June 17, 2021
June 17, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:04 PM :: 2728 Views

Hawaii Court Of Appeals: You Can't Sanction A Member Of The Public For Merely Asking To Unseal Court Records

Blangiardi: I Support HB862 -- 3% TAT Hike for Counties

Free Money from the Sky: Another $100 for MEUCs

UHERO: Should the Counties Get a Share of the Transient Accommodation Tax?

Bid Rigging:  Emails Show Hanabusa Doing Rail Work Before She Got Big Contract

CB: … Colleen Hanabusa says she drafted bills and monitored legislation on her own, not because she expected a contract or financial reward from the transit board. ….

(LOL!  No.  It is additional evidence of bid rigging and collusion.)

Months before she was awarded a lucrative rail-consulting contract, former Hawaii Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa was already doing some of the work envisioned in that deal to help the rail agency’s governing board, newly released emails show.

Specifically, Hanabusa was drafting bills for state lawmakers to consider in the 2021 legislative session that aimed to fix the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board’s quorum and voting challenges, which occasionally hamper the board’s ability to take action for the beleaguered transit project.

HART emails obtained through a public records request by Civil Beat on Tuesday further indicate Hanabusa was monitoring legislation during the most recent session on the rail agency’s behalf.

“Comforting to know that we have Colleen working for us,” HART Interim Executive Director Lori Kahikina told the agency’s board chairman, Toby Martyn and its vice chairman, Hoyt Zia, in a Feb. 2 email….

read … Emails Show Hanabusa Was Doing Rail Work Before She Got A Big Contract

82% of age 12 and older must be vaccinated to reach 70% benchmark

HNN: … Officials said nearly two-thirds of the people who have visited since its launch were between the ages of 16 to 34….

State Health Department spokesperson Brooks Baehr said well over 90% of people 65 and older have already been vaccinated.

However, those percentages go down with age.

Just 43% of those in the 12- to 17-year-old age group have at least one shot. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 45% have gotten at least one shot.

Those from 30 to 39 have a 52% vaccination rate….

“We calculate that 82% population of the population age 12 and older will have to be vaccinated if Hawaii is going to reach that 70% benchmark,” he said….

(Really Obvious Question: Can we get there without FORCING incarcerated criminals to take the J&J shot?)

KITV: Nearly 200,000 more people in Hawaii need to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to reach 70-percent vaccination goal

read … The state’s vaccine incentive program is reaching a key demographic: Young adults

Honolulu Police Department pledges more public transparency

SA: … the Honolulu Police Department will hold news conferences within 24 hours of every officer-involved shooting and is amending its training for new recruits and veteran officers to emphasize de-escalation, cultural sensitivity, officer accountability and a near total ban on shooting into vehicles.

Interim Chief Rade K. Vanic presented the changes in response to questions from members of the City Council’s executive matters and legal affairs committee Tuesday, a day of major, emotional developments in the cases of two fatal officer-involved shootings that left police and community members shaken and anxious.

Less than an hour after Vanic’s presentation ended, Prosecuting Attorney Steven S. Alm announced murder and attempted murder charges against three officers in connection with the April 5 fatal shooting of 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap, who police chased from East Honolulu to town before confronting his stolen car on Kalakaua Avenue and firing into the vehicle from the sides and rear, without provocation, as it idled on that street, according to court documents….

read … Honolulu Police Department pledges more public transparency

HPD supporters protest charges for officers involved in shooting of 16-year-old teen

KITV: … Wayne Kaiwi is the founder of Back the Blue Hawai'i -- a Facebook group of more than 5,000 members in support of the Honolulu Police Department.

Kaiwi and another member today waved signs outside of HPD headquarters to show their support for the department.

"A lot of public outcry about police reform and everything, and there's no question that it's probably needed," Kaiwi said. "But we support just the men and women in blue that come to work everyday that sacrifice time away from family and come and do what they do." ….

read … HPD supporters protest charges for officers involved in shooting of 16-year-old teen

Key Soft-on-Crime Activist Calls on Police to Make MORE Arrests!

HNN: … HPD data shows that since 2015 the number of homicides on Oahu hasn’t changed too much. But the percentage of cases involving firearms has been on the rise since 2017….

Chesney-Lind has studied crime in Hawaii since the 1980s and says over the past few years there’s been an alarming trend: Many criminals have gone from arming themselves with bats and knives to guns.

“It’s very dangerous to police when you are dealing with individuals who have weapons or even fake weapons,” she said. “A police officer can’t tell from a distance whether it’s a fake gun or a real gun.”

(For instance: Sykap shooting)

While Hawaii continues to have one of the lowest gun death rates in the country, Chesney-Lind believes Hawaii leaders need to act now before problems get worse.

“The pressure’s been on to not necessarily arrest all the time,” she said. “I think we may have to reevaluate that based on what’s currently occurring.”…

(Wow.  Just wow.)

read … Gun crimes are on the rise on Oahu ― and the trend could be linked to drugs

As tourism rebounds, there could be an additional transient accommodations tax

HNN: … Hannemann said if you add the current tax, the possible new tax, and the general excise tax of up to 4.712%, that will result in a tax of more than 18% added to a room rate. He said that could put a roadblock in the tourism industry recovery as COVID subsides.

“Right now we kinda have the corner of the market of being a healthy destination to come to,” said Hannemann. “The competition hasn’t really kicked in. They will.”

While Roth and Hannemann want Ige to veto the bill, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi supports it. In a statement, he said, “I support HB 862 as it provides the City the option of restoring a revenue base which has been lost – allowing us to continue services to our people.”

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami’s office said the county was ready to pursue the 3% tax. A spokesman for Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said he won’t comment until the governor takes action on the bill….

read … As tourism rebounds, there could be an additional transient accommodations tax

Grove Farm Demands Return of Drug Treatment Center After Kauai County Bureaucrats Announce Plan to Convert it into Office Building

CB: … Grove Farm, the development company that donated nearly six acres to Kauai County for an inpatient drug treatment center, said the land deed is no longer valid….

“It has been four years and four months since the land was given and over that period it has not been used a single day for adolescents, which is the basis of our donation,” said Grove Farm Company President Warren Haruki, adding that property title automatically reverts back to Grove Farm if the land isn’t used for its intended purpose for more than two years….

Last June, the county announced a new post-pandemic plan for the facility. Instead of housing youth with drug and alcohol dependency problems, the building would be a hub for preexisting services for at-risk youth and families, such as crime victims and witness protection services, Kauai Teen Court and Life’s Choices Kauai.  (Translation: Just another County office building)…

If the land were back in Grove Farm’s possession, Haruki said the company would immediately lease it for $1 per year to Kauai Adolescent Treatment Center for Healing, or KATCH, a new nonprofit formed last month to get the treatment center up and running. Lance Segawa, chief executive officer of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation’s Kauai Region, is chairman of KATCH’s Board of Directors.

If KATCH were to fulfill the original intent of the land donation over time, Haruki said Grove Farm would eventually like to donate the land to the nonprofit.

“We don’t have a penny to be gained in this transaction,” Haruki said. “We just want to see the adolescents who are in need of this facility be served.”

For now, the treatment center remains in use as Kauai’s official COVID-19 isolation facility.

A total of 74 people infected with the virus stayed at the facility between March 2, 2020 and June 15, 2021, according to Hawaii Department of Health spokesman Brooks Baehr. Of those patients, 58 were Kauai residents and 16 were visitors to the island….  (Translation: About three people in quarantine at any one time.)…

2007: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Blocks Kauai Drug Treatment Facility

read … Kauai Developer Wants Land Returned After County Delays Opening Drug Treatment Center

Hawaii to see return of some July 4th firework celebrations

KHON: … Although the Ala Moana fireworks show is canceled in 2021, other celebrations are returning with a bang….

The booms will be back as Oahu military bases like Kaneohe Bay Marine Core Base Hawaii, Pearl Harbor and Schofield Barracks will all have firework displays. The public is welcomed to watch from afar but will not be allowed to gather on base….

“This year we’re going to have two firework shows one in east Hawaii and one in west Hawaii, both at 8 p.m.,” said Cyrus Johnasen, Hawaii County spokesperson. “Those firework shows will be located at the old airport and right outside of Bayfront.”…

On Maui, no public fireworks shows are slated and on Kauai, the Pacific Missile Range Facility is opting out of a show for the second year. Residents there are still allowed to pop small fireworks like sparklers and fountains. There is still time to get a permit to purchase those red firecrackers…

Ala Moana Shopping Center is working on alternative Fourth of July celebrations, those details are still pending….

read … Hawaii to see slow return of July 4th firework celebrations

Coronavirus testing volume down in Hawaii as millions to fund it sit unspent

KHON: … A series of relief packages poured billions in federal money into Hawaii, and Always Investigating has learned a lot of that cash meant for COVID testing programs has yet to be tapped.

As many as 5,000 to 7,000 COVID tests a day was common in Hawaii in recent months, but Monday, June 14, saw just 3,300 daily tests logged — the lowest weekday count since New Year’s Day.

“I believe we’re going to see a significant drop,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich of Premier Medical Group, whose clinics have provided tests statewide and nationwide throughout the pandemic. “There were some stats we were seeing that upward of 75 percent of all the tests that were being done on Oahu were being due to interisland traveling or mainland traveling, or required by employment.”

Demand for testing dropped on Monday as interisland travel re-opened without restrictions Tuesday and vaccinated residents returning from the mainland also no longer need a test. …

HIDOE schools … are participating in an Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) CVS summer pilot program…

read … Coronavirus testing volume down in Hawaii as millions to fund it sit unspent

It is now illegal to pay disabled people in Hawaii less than minimum wage

HNN: … An outdated law that allowed Hawaii employers to pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage was wiped off the books Wednesday.

The change was hailed as momentous for the 26,000 people in the islands who have a disability.

“People with disabilities would be guaranteed to earn the minimum wage and it would restore equity, dignity and respect into our state’s wage laws,” said Gov. David Ige, in doing away with the old law.

Lawmakers said the measure made it legal for employers to pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage ― something lawmakers and advocates say violated civil rights.

“The original intent was to give them a place to work to do something during the day,” said Zosimo Arista, of the Hawaii State Council for Developmental Disabilities.

Lawmakers (are lying when they) say no Hawaii employers are known to pay less than minimum wage (see below), but reports show some organizations on the mainland have paid as little as 4 cents an hour to people with disabilities….

Pili Teo, of Self Advisory Council, says he was dishwasher in high school when he found out his co-workers got minimum wage but he got much less….

read … It is now illegal to pay disabled people in Hawaii less than minimum wage

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