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Sunday, June 11, 2023
June 11, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:22 PM :: 3058 Views

It's up to us to fight corruption

Fevella’s Film Feud

Hawaii Congressional Delegation how they Voted June 10, 2023

Bipartisan Task Force Combats Chinese Influence in Indo-Pacific

The Real Value of $100 in Hawaii -- $86.80

Hawaii highest household debt to income ratio

Caldwell: Lobbyists Pushed COVID Shutdowns in March, 2020

SA: … Hawaii’s leading banks dropped all pretense of competition and worked together to get badly needed capital to businesses.

Peter Ho, chairman, president and CEO of Bank of Hawaii; Micah Kane, CEO and president of the Hawaii Community Foundation; and Ray Vara, president and CEO of Hawaii Pacific Health, formed an unlikely alliance and went to the state Capitol on March 15, 2020, a Sunday, in T-shirts and shorts to lobby Ige to “lock down” the state.

Their message to Ige was: “(I)t was time to start shutting things down,” Vara recounted in the book. “Close the schools, limit gatherings, close restaurants, close bars. … The quicker we act, the better this will be.”

Instead, Ige decided only to extend public school spring break by four days.

Ho, Kane and Vara then turned to Caldwell, who told Ige on March 21 that he had prepared a “lockdown order” based on San Francisco’s, ordering Oahu residents to work from home and stay at home — and wanted Ige to do the same for the rest of the state.

When Ige resisted, Caldwell writes in the book: “I told the governor, ‘You know we came over here not to ask for your permission, because we don’t have to. But I was hoping that you would join us and make this a statewide order, an order for everyone, and that we would go together.’”

In interviewing Ige and writing “Our Beaches Were Empty, Our Hospitals Full,” Caldwell and Deemer told the Star-Advertiser that they eventually understood Ige’s reluctance to shut down the entire state.

With each of the four county mayors dealing with their own COVID-19-related pressures in their own ways, Deemer said that during their interview with Ige, “I thought that the governor presented a very understandable reason why he wasn’t able to make a decision that day. He’s governor of the entire state and the other mayors were not on the same page. I think that he was right to take into consideration the entire state.”

Caldwell said, “I didn’t realize it until we interviewed him. The mayors had very different perspectives. I was very frustrated with him until we wrote the book.”….

read … Former mayor documents COVID-era frustrations, alliances in book 

1930 to 1970--Hawaii enjoyed 40 golden years without homeless problems

CB: … In 1920, “disorderly Squatters” in Kapiolani Park were given 30 days notice to remove their shacks after complaints from a resident to the Board of Supervisors about how behavior in the camp was making the neighborhood “almost uninhabitable for decent persons.”…One of the biggest public policy debates about people living unsanctioned on public land was in the mid-1920s, when a small group of individuals living in Kakaako grew to a well-established community of more than 189 households and 700 individuals. The community was dubbed “Squattersville,” a term that even shows up in birth announcements in local newspapers….

(CLUE: No examples of homeless sweeps between 1920s and 1970s.)

In the late 1970s, people living on Sand Island spent months resisting state efforts to break up what was still being referred to as a squatters camp….

By 1990 — the first year that the term “homeless crisis” shows up in Hawaii newspapers — media coverage had moved away from calling people living on state land squatters and enforcement actions were rarely referred to as evictions anymore….

(CLUE: The insane asylums were reduced in population starting in the 1960s.  Link: State Hospital chronology.  In 1930 Territorial Hospital had 541 mental patients with a territorial population of 368K.  This is equivalent to 2,800 mental patients today with a state population of 1.4M.  We have only 287 beds currently--the other 90% are homeless or in jail.)

(SOLUTION: Reopen the insane asylums.  Put the insane back inside.)

read … Hawaii Has Been ‘Sweeping’ Homeless From Public Lands For More Than 100 Years

Gays Focus on Underage Kids at Kakaako Tea House 

HNN: … Teen mental health clinic Spill The Tea Cafe is hosting its 2nd annual Youth Pride Fest fundraiser at Central Pacific Plaza, 220 S King St., on June 30th from 5-8 p.m.

The public is invited to celebrate LGBTQIA youth and raise funds to connect at-risk youth to free, high quality, mental health therapists.

Mat Strombach, Spill The Tea Cafe co-founder, and fellow teen advocate Jasper Wood will join HNN’s Sunrise Weekends on Sunday morning to talk about the event. They’re asking business owners to help by donating prizes, food, decorations or any monetary donation.

All youth under 18 are free. Adults can purchase VIP and general admission tickets …

Spill the Tea Cafe is located at 1034 Queen St., 2nd Floor, in Kakaako….

read … Youth Pride Fest aims to help LGBTQ teens access mental health care

Council Getting 64% Pay Hike AND Outside Employment

Shapiro: … it’s plain old greed more than ideology straining the political equilibrium as Honolulu City Council members seem bent on blowing up their credibility for the most ignoble of causes: 64% pay raises for themselves that are shamelessly preposterous and have long-suffering constituents up in arms.

A majority led by Council Chair Tommy Waters and Vice Chair Esther Kia‘aina, and including members Calvin Say, Val Okimoto, Matt Weyer and Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, appears determined to take the money and run without the accountability of public hearings or a vote.

Unless they change course before July 1, the proposal of the Council-controlled Salary Commission to raise Council pay to $113,000 from $68,904, with Waters getting $10,000 more, automatically takes effect.

What’s worse is that Waters and Kia‘aina, who claim the raises are warranted because Council work is full time, appear to be backing away from promised legislation to actually make Council work full time by barring outside employment.

This would leave taxpayers on the hook for full-time pay while Council members remain free to hold second and third jobs.

Council members base much of their claim to full-time status on the neighborhood board meetings and other community events they attend at night, often mixing Council duties with campaigning for reelection.

The thing is, nobody else at those meetings is getting paid….

Borreca: 64% Council raises stir musings on ‘uku pau’ results

read … Congress put people first; not so the City Council

Hawaii insurers could face more scrutiny over executive pay

SA: … State lawmakers say they may seek a legislative fix to ensure the state’s nonprofit health insurers, which enjoy generous tax breaks, disclose the compensation of their top executives and board members following a decision by the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs in April that effectively allows some insurers to keep the information secret.

The Honolulu Star-­Advertiser had in April sought documents that health insurers regulated by the state file annually with DCCA’s insurance division detailing the pay. The insurance division has released salary information for top executives in the past.

But DCCA rejected the public records request citing state statutes that protect proprietary information that if disclosed could cause competitive harm to a business and that protect individuals from an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

The decision, a reversal from past practice, leaves the public with an uneven and confusing account of how much Hawaii’s health insurers are paying their top officials….

read … Hawaii insurers could face more scrutiny over executive pay

Hawaii Child Care Costs More than UH Tuition

SA: … Hawaii’s astronomical costs for child care and preschool are a major reason the economic well-being of keiki here has worsened comparatively, pushing the state down from 35th place to a dismal 44th among the 50 states on that measure in the latest annual Kids Count Data Book report.

“Hawaii parents face some of the highest child care costs in the nation,” said the summary of the report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a Baltimore-based private philanthropic organization that has been producing Kids Count reports since 1990.

“Even if parents can find an opening at child care near their home, they often can’t pay for it,” the summary continued. “Hawaii’s average cost of center-­based child care for a toddler was $13,919, or 12% of the median income of a married couple and 35% of a single mother’s income in the state. That is significantly higher than current in-state annual tuition of $11,304 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.” ….

SA Editorial: Island keiki need economic boost

June 2023: DHS Can’t Stop Foster Care Abuse but it has time to shut down Another Big Island Child Care Center

October, 2022: DHS orders shutdown of Hilo Day Care Center

read … Hawaii is 44th in nation for keiki economic well-being

Teacher turnover hits new highs in Hawaii

CB: … Chalkbeat was able to obtain the latest teacher turnover numbers from eight states: Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington. These figures encompassed turnover between the 2021-22 year and this school year.

In all cases, turnover was at its highest point in at least five years — typically around 2 percentage points greater than before the pandemic. That implies that in a school with 50 teachers, one more than usual left after last school year….

State reports hint that rising frustration has pushed more teachers out of the classroom. In Louisiana, the number of teachers who resigned due to dissatisfaction increased. In Hawaii, more teachers than usual identified their work environment as the reason for leaving. (In both states, personal reasons or retirement were still far more common explanations.)…

Other school staff appear to be leaving at higher rates, too.  Hawaii experienced a jump in aides and service staff who exited public schools….

read … Teacher turnover hits new highs across the U.S.

That’s ridiculous’ No public bathrooms at any rail stations

KHON: … The $10 billion Honolulu rail is being touted as the most advanced transit system in the country by the city’s Department of Transportation Services.

Yet as officials ready the rail for its grand opening in just three weeks, the shiny new project lacks one very basic public need — bathrooms….

Disbelief, bewilderment and frustration–that’s been the reaction from the general public, who, in most cases, assumed there would be bathrooms.

Even Stephen Wood, chair of the Aiea Neighborhood Board didn’t realize there aren’t any.

“Every time I use a mass transit system, I always see a lot of people using bathrooms,” Wood explained. “So it’s a little bit of a shock, that our mass transit system does not have bathrooms for the public to use.”

He added that he thinks they will have to add bathrooms somehow — even if it’s at just a few stations.

“And then signage to designate which ones of those do have bathrooms available for use for the public,” said Wood.

Wood shook his head and let out a laugh.

“This is crazy,” he said. “It’s like, it’s always something. This whole project, you know, so it just never ends.”…

According to Morton, there are no plans for bathrooms at any of the stations in phases two or three of the rail either….

read … ‘That’s ridiculous’ No public bathrooms at any rail stations

Media Keeps Identity Secret--Driver issued a single citation after allegedly slamming into parked cars, damaging homes

HNN: … The driver of a Tesla Model 3 that hit multiple parked cars and damaged homes in Kaimuki last weekend was only given one citation following the incident ― for driving without insurance.

Victims said the driver was speeding down Catherine Street and running stop signs.

Joey Aquino’s surveillance cameras caught the moment the Tesla damaged his friend’s car, his retaining wall and then nearly knocked his neighbor’s home off its foundation.

“It looked like was an explosion that happened in the middle of this lane,” Aquino said, adding the driver got out and sat down briefly. Video shows the driver, barefoot and bleeding from the head, start walking then running away.

Aquino said other witnesses stopped him from leaving.

“They sat him down until the police came,” he said….

Hawaii News Now is not naming the driver because he’s not charged with a crime.

But a check of his record shows dozens of traffic violations and a DUI conviction….

read … Driver issued a single citation after allegedly slamming into parked cars, damaging homes

In the governor’s backyard, 8 homeless patients settle in at medical respite tiny village

HNN: … Pulama Ola village opened on May 31st, and is now home to eight homeless patients who were recently discharged from local hospitals.

They have access to an on-site nurse and doctors on call. Green also examined some of the patients.

“This kauhale will probably save conservatively $1 million a month of healthcare costs that we as a state would be responsible for but people are making a good decision to come in and provide services,” he said….

read … In the governor’s backyard, 8 homeless patients settle in at medical respite tiny village

Council member proposes establishment of sustainability office so daughter will get pregnant

HTH: … The bill also would create a Climate, Sustainability and Resilience Fund that would be maintained by the Department of Finance.

Finance Director Deanna Sako said Wednesday the final version of the county budget included funding for five county positions that will become part of OSCER.

Villegas said the measure has been in development for more than two years, adding that she felt the need for a climate-focused office in county government will only become more important in the years to come.

“I see this as an opportunity for our county to adjust to the changes that are afoot among society and … to set our county up to be successful as funds become available in the next few years from the federal government,” Villegas said.

“I have every faith that humanity will adapt, that we will be able to address these problems,” Kimball said, explaining that her involvement in the bill stems from a conversation wherein her daughter said she is unwilling to have children in the face of climate catastrophe….

(IDEA: Mental health care.)

But council members were divided on whether the new office actually could perform its stated goals.

“Creating the department doesn’t create the change,” Puna Councilman Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder said during the meeting. “I really do question whether the county creating a department and spending a million dollars a year is going to create the changes we want to see. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, well, I’m not going to say, ‘I said so.’”

Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder told the other council members he would vote against the measure Wednesday, as did Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy.

Lee Loy said the state of the bill wasn’t up to the county’s standards, and that it would be preferable to vote against advancing it to a final reading rather than attempt to perfect the measure while moving it forward.

In response, Kimball moved to postpone action on the bill until the next council meeting on June 21….

read … Council members debate establishment of sustainability office

Legislative Agenda:

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