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Thursday, July 9, 2020
July 9, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:21 PM :: 1930 Views

Hawaii Worst Taxpayer ROI in USA

Hawaii GET Taxes 105 percent of the state’s personal income

CMS: Action to protect nursing homes against COVID-19

Retired police officer sentenced to 10 years for his attempted unlawful sexual enticement of a 13-year-old boy

DoH: 'Severe Consequences' for Food Establishments Violating COVID Rules

COVID Count: 36 new cases out of 1,443 tests

Gov. David Ige and the state’s mayors will meet again to decide whether to lift the 14-day travel quarantine

SA: … After a marathon meeting Wednesday, Gov. David Ige, the county mayors and health officials will reconvene today to make a final determination on lifting the 14-day self-quarantine restriction that has largely kept tourists from visiting the islands.

Ultimately if the governor decides not to proceed with a modified quarantine process that allows trans-Pacific passengers who test negative for COVID-19 prior to travel to bypass restrictions, the state will be dealing with how to continue paying for unemployment benefits for the 250,000 currently jobless residents and the workers who will join their ranks the longer it takes to revive the state’s primary economic driver….

Reversing the planned reopening next month also would mean there would still be no pretesting program for those entering the state. (GOOD POINT!) More than 2,600 people, including about 700 visitors, arrived in Hawaii on Tuesday — none of whom were required to be tested for COVID-19….

(Really Obvious Solution to CVS test turnaround time: Extend the testing deadline to 7 days instead of 72 hrs.) 

read … Gov. David Ige and the state’s mayors will meet again to decide whether to lift the 14-day travel quarantine

Hawaii Lawmakers Won’t Give Health Director Broad COVID-19 Screening Powers

CB: … House Bill 2502 would have allocated $5.2 million for COVID-19 response through December and given $5 million in grants to hotels for employee testing from the Governor’s Discretionary Fund. It also included an appropriation of $18 million from the Transient Accommodations Tax to operate screening programs through June. Those provisions are now up in the air.

On Monday, protester chants of “kill the bill” came from the rotunda as the bill cleared the Senate in a 20-4 vote in favor of the bill.

But the Senate’s amended version was rejected by the House on Wednesday.

Sen. Roz Baker told Civil Beat the legislation originated as a request from the Hawaii Attorney General. The AG’s office cited a need for the legal framework to enforce new policies such as the health travel form that is required currently for travelers who enter Hawaii’s borders during its COVID-19 state of emergency….

read … Hawaii Lawmakers Won’t Give Health Director Broad COVID-19 Screening Powers

Hawaii debates how close is too close for kids in classrooms

SA: …As Hawaii’s public schools (pretend to) gear up to (pretend-)reopen next month, one question has proved to be a lightning rod of concern: How close is too close in the classroom?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend seating students “at least six feet apart when feasible.” So when schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said children’s desks could be as close as 3 feet if facing forward, it set off howls of protest.

The president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Corey Rosenlee, called the plan “ludicrous” and “dangerous.” And heated testimony has piled up online for today’s Board of Education meeting.

read … Hawaii debates how close is too close for kids in classrooms

Honolulu City Council holds off on $26M bond for rail

SA: … In response to questions raised by Councilman Brandon Elefante, city Deputy Budget Director Manuel Valbuena said that while the Federal Transit Administration is requiring the money to be brought forward as a condition of a 2018 recovery plan required of HART, there’s no critical urgency to approve the bond issuance.

Valbuena said the FTA is not requiring the city approve the bond before June 30 and that the reason Resolution 20-144 was before the Council on Wednesday was because the city is already seeking approval for an unrelated $475 million bond meant to fund nonrail-related projects.

The city will save about $40,000 in financing costs “if we put it all out in one package,” Valbuena said. The schedule calls for the bonds to be issued either at the end of this month or the beginning of next month, he said.

HART Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Robbins concurred that the agency has until the end of fiscal 2021, on June 30, to come up with the bond funding to fulfill the FTA obligation….

read … Honolulu City Council holds off on $26M bond for rail

Bill 12: Will ‘Historic’ Manoa Political Insiders Have to Pay More than $300 in Property Taxes?

BJR: … There’s a bill under consideration in the Honolulu City Council that should be a shoo-in in this time of dangerously low public revenue and trying to spread property taxes across the ownership spectrum, based on assessment and ability to pay.

I look at it as very similar to others to charge a higher property tax rate for those million dollar plus homes, especially those not owner occupied.

This one is Bill 12 and it’s very simple, no hidden issues.

It would raise the annual property tax on a property with a Historic Residence exemption from $300 to $1,000.

That means all of us with such an exemption would have to pay — $83.33 a month!

Hello! Who has a Historic Residence and cannot afford $83.33 a month while others are easily paying three or four times that?

So I find it unpersuasive to have had heavily-against-it testimony at a recent council hearing, and for the Historic Hawaii Foundation (HHF) to mount a full court press against it….

Take a look at HHF’s website listing of existing historic properties….

Bill 12: Text, Status

read … This Property Owner Can Afford $83.33 A Month

Realtors survey finds alarming number of Oahu tenants unable to pay their rent in June

HNN: … A new Honolulu Board of Realtors survey paints an alarming picture of the scope of financial pain Oahu renters are feeling.

It found that 4 in 10 Realtors have tenants who couldn’t pay their rent in June.

Nearly half of Realtors, meanwhile, had tenants who asked for a discount or rent reduction.

“While the state’s protections for renters and assistance for homeowners has worked well, we know many people will continue to face financial hardship as a result of the pandemic,” said Suzanne Young, CEO of the Honolulu Board of Realtors, in a news release. “The situation is especially difficult for renters, and we must start finding solutions to ensure people don’t need to worry about having a place to call home.”

The survey of Realtors was conducted June 17 to 22.

It also found:

14% of Realtors who responded said they had rental property owners who asked lenders for forbearance or deferrals;

16% said their tenants had difficulty finding rental assistance programs;

And 45% said they didn’t expect their tenants ability to pay to improve in July….

read … Realtors survey finds alarming number of Oahu tenants unable to pay their rent in June

Is COVID-19 causing an increase in island suicides?

KITV: … Kauai was one of two counties reporting a decrease in suicides over the first six months of this year compared to 2019.

Honolulu County saw a 12% drop in suicides during that same time.

Maui County had one more case as compared to last year, while Hawaii County had a statistically significant increase.

Some hospital emergency rooms have also seen an alarming trend.

"We've seen an increase in people who are doing self harm. We've also an increase in people using drugs or alcohol as a way to cope," stated Queen's Health Systems Behavioral Health Director Sondra Leiggi-Brandon.

For every suicide, the state reports there are several non-fatal attempts….….

read …  Is COVID-19 causing an increase in island suicides?

Hawaii among nation’s worst for COVID racial disparity

KHON: … At only 4 percent of Hawaii’s population, Pacific Islanders account for 25 percent of the state’s COVID cases….A KHON2 look at state-by-state racial data found Hawaii’s gap for Pacific Islanders is behind only Native Americans in New Mexico — where that group makes up 9 percent of state residents but 54 percent of the COVID cases — and African Americans in Maine and Missouri….

“Our Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have higher rates of asthma, diabetes, heart disease and have multiple chronic medical conditions,” Kaholokula said….

“A lot of the Micronesians are out there, (working at) 7-11, they’re out there at the fast food restaurants, they’re out there at the nursing homes,” said Jocelyn Howard, program director at We Are Oceania, a nonprofit that addresses Micronesian community needs in Hawaii. “We’ve just got to recognize we’re part of this community.”…

read … Hawaii among nation’s worst for COVID racial disparity

Friends and Family: Hawaii County Begins Passing out $80M ‘Relief’

HTH: … The first requests for proposals will go out today, with contracts awarded the first week of August. Those will be for the bigger chunks of money for nonprofits to provide community relief for food, medical care, personal protective equipment and the like, and for financial “partners” to help administer smaller grants.

Smaller grants made from $22 million in business grants and $10 million in individual grants to prevent housing displacement will come later, once the financial partners, such as banks, credit unions and nonprofits, are chosen to administer them….

Best Comment: "Lots and lots of Federal (someone else's money) loans/grants to hand out to our friends and brothers-in-law."

read … Friends and Family

Measures On Track To Clear Hawaii Legislature

CB: … Coal-Burning Ban Among Measures On Track To Clear Hawaii Legislature…Bills to regulate Lyft and Uber, prohibit sea walls and reform gun laws also have agreement between the House and Senate ahead of a final vote Friday…..

read … Coal-Burning Ban Among Measures On Track To Clear Hawaii Legislature

Some PUA payments grind to halt amid Hawaii’s push to end fraud

SA: … Question: I had been on PUA for several weeks and it was going fine and all of the sudden my payments just stopped. No more deposits. They are asking for a lot more information than I already provided. What is going on? Are these messages for real? How long will it take for them to resume payments?

Answer: Yours is among the deluge of questions we’ve received about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance since payments lagged or even ground to a halt for legitimate Hawaii claimants after the state stepped up anti-fraud efforts….

read … Some PUA payments grind to halt amid Hawaii’s push to end fraud

Will Maui Liquor panel help small businesses survive COVID?

MN: … More than 150 Maui restaurants and eateries have requested various rule changes and a “partnership” with the Maui County Liquor Control Commission to help them survive the COVID-19 pandemic and the absence of tourism.

A letter by the Maui Restaurant Hui, which consists of about 10,000 unemployed chefs, cooks and staff members, was discussed during a Department of Liquor Control Commission livestream meeting Wednesday morning.

The letter called for making to-go delivery of alcohol permanent, speeding up permits for outdoor seating and satellite bar projects in the new COVID-19 era and suspension of liquor fees through next year.

No decisions were made during the meeting. Commissioners said some rules and process changes needed to be reviewed and clarified by the Department of Liquor Control….

read … Liquor panel hears licensees’ requests

Anti-Telescope Lunatics Blockade Hilo Home Depot Store over ‘Zip-Tie’ Conspiracy Theory

HTH: … Officers determined a 24-year-old Volcano woman left the store and noticed a “zip tie” attached to her vehicle — which is, according to claims on social media, a sign the occupant of the vehicle is being targeted for abduction or human trafficking.

(This is the second incident by anti-telescope protesters in less than a week. Link: First incident.)

The woman left the parking lot, then returned, police said, and blocked one of the store’s parking lot entrances with her car….

Michael “Mikey” Glendon, a 38-year-old candidate for mayor (and anti-telescope protester also mentioned here) who has twice in the past decade been acquitted on criminal charges because of mental incapacity, said in a Facebook video that had more than 5,600 views by late afternoon Wednesday, he received a distraught call from the woman, whom he identified as his girlfriend.

“All the fear in her head explodes,” Glendon said. “She calls me, and I’m so thankful she did.”

Glendon said he called some friends for backup, but didn’t call police.

“Why call the cops when this s—- is still going on?” he said.

According to Glendon, he asked Home Depot to see video surveillance, but was told he couldn’t without a police report.

“I don’t need to see a video to verify it. So we run outside, block the parking lot,” Glendon said in the Facebook video, noting that three cars were involved in the blockade. “Because whoever’s doing this is here in this parking lot. So I’m goin’ block this thing and check every car and find out.”

Glendon said that as he and associates searched the parking lot, everyone except Valentino — whom Glendon described as a “haole guy trying to escape with his life” — was cooperative.

“They’re not complaining,” Glendon said. “They’re asking, ‘Braddah, what’s the matter? What’s going on?’ Every single one … we’re telling ’em, fast, running through this parking lot, checking, making sure everybody’s OK. … We’ve been waiting for this as a people for a long time, somebody to do something. Everybody’s all in, searching.”

Glendon said he could “faintly hear” his girlfriend’s voice in the distance, “so I start sprinting.”

“And in this long distance, I can see one guy open the door to get in her car, kicks the door, close the door. I can see him throwing punches and kicks. By the time I get there, the boys have already took the guy down and held him for the police,” Glendon said. “… Nobody complained. Everybody was on key except for this one guy that’s not from here. He wanted to leave in a hurry, to the point where he’s squaring up with a girl to fight.”

Glendon admitted he engaged in a verbal confrontation with a Hilo patrol officer, but wasn’t arrested. He also addressed the issue of zip ties being left on windshield wipers and antennas of cars of potential victims — a narrative fact-checking sites Snopes and Politifact say is false. Police said in their statement they “cannot confirm any validity to that story in this case.”

“So if it’s a hoax … you tell me why zip ties are on girls traveling by themselves?” Glendon said.  (Answer: To yank your chain.) “… Hoax or not, brah, I don’t take chances with my life, or my people’s life, on this island.”… 

“So now, we’re at a point where all exits are blocked, and there’s this one guy who’s not from here, has an accent, haole guy, trying to escape with his life. Instant red flag, instant common sense, yeah, to us local people.”

Valentino posted a reply of his own on Facebook, apparently to the alleged victim, saying “the cops believed your BS story and sped me away to the lock up,” and described the event as a militia commandeering the parking lot.

“So us shoppers are freaking out, thinking there is a mass shooting in the making, my only thought is to get the (expletive) out of here,” Valentino posted. “I open your stupid car door and you run over to me and assault me, and I know it’s all on security camera, so I am not afraid to say you hit me first.

“Your (expletive) brothers then grab me, throw me to the ground proceed to punch my face and hold me down until police arrive. The cops put me in cuffs and away I go.”

(This is just one example of why it was such a terrible mistake to close the insane asylums.)

Best Comments: The headline should be: "Terrorists block all exits of Home Depot; holding hundreds hostage"........ Police arrest victim trying to escape.  Also, why is someone that was acquitted of a STABBING by reason of Insanity in 2011 still on the street? He should be in a mental institute. 

KITV: "Regarding the incident that occurred at Home Depot in Hilo on July 7th, police Investigators were able to review the store video which did not support the claim by parties involved of zip ties being placed on the vehicle."

July 4, 2020: Anti-Telescope Activists Vandalize and Protest Kailua July 4 Display—Make Americans Apologize

2011: Hilo man stabbed in fight near Honolii Beach Park

FB: Mickey Glendon and his friends 

read … Punatics

Get public input on solar projects

SA: … Each project — two on Hawaii island, three on Maui and seven on Oahu — has a docket before the state Public Utilities Commission, giving communities prime opportunities to weigh in. Some digital community meetings already have been held, but upcoming ones include:

>> Kupehau Solar (Kunia) — 60 megawatts by 174 Power Global, 5:30 p.m. Friday (see kupehausolar.com).

>> Mountain View Solar (Waianae) — 7 megawatts by AES Distributed Energy, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday (808ne.ws/31xxtcF).

>> Mahi Solar (Kunia) — 120 megawatts by Longroad Energy, 6 p.m. Wednesday (longroadenergy.com/mahi).

>> Mehana Solar (Kalaeloa) — 6.6 megawatts by Onyx Development Group, 6 p.m. Wednesday (mehanasolar.com).

HNN: Community input sought on large solar project proposed for Kihei

read … Get public input on solar projects

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