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Tuesday, November 3, 2020
November 3, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:55 PM :: 2918 Views

Still Haven't Voted? Find Your Voter Service Center

COVID Count: 78 new cases

Hawaii Republican, Democratic Leaders ask for ‘aloha’ as results of the U.S. presidential election come in

SA: … Hoping to set an example, the majority and minority leaders of the state House of Representatives are calling for peace and aloha following any outcome of tonight’s divisive presidential election.

“We are the Aloha State,” state Rep. Gene Ward (R, Hawaii Kai-Kalama Valley) told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Monday. “This is going to be a real test if it’s real or if it’s phony.”

Ward, the House minority leader, came up with the idea last weekend to issue a joint statement and reached across the political aisle to state Rep. Della Au Belatti (D, Moiliili-McCully-Tantalus), who gave Ward full credit and readily agreed to the statement.

“I do think working across party lines is important, and this is an example of it,” Belatti said. “There’s a lot of ugliness being revealed about our country now, but I don’t think that defines us. America is better than that.”

Like Ward and Bellati, neither Mayor Kirk Caldwell nor the Honolulu Police Department expects any local violence following the outcomes of today’s election….

read … Hawaii officials ask for ‘aloha’ as results of the U.S. presidential election come in

513K Hawaii votes cast in one of the most anticipated elections in decades

HNN: … State elections officials said 513,000 Hawaii voters had submitted a ballot as of Monday afternoon. That translates to roughly a 61% turnout. On Oahu, 354,000 voters turned in a ballot, a 64% turnout….

The vast majority of those were vote-by-mail.

But thousands of voters have opted to vote in person. At Honolulu Hale ― one of two Voter Service Centers on the island ― dozens lined up Monday to cast a ballot.

Poll workers said the turnout was steady and they expect longer lines Tuesday. “If you have waited this long be prepared for a little bit of a wait,” said Honolulu City Clerk Glenn Takahashi.

Poll close at 7 p.m. Tuesday and anyone in line at a Voter Service Center can still cast a ballot in person or by putting it into an official ballot drop box. Same-day registration is also offered at the centers….

CB: As of Monday night, the City and County of Honolulu reported a total of 356,462 ballots cast; Hawaii County, 80,940; Maui County, 64,513; and Kauai County, 29,761.

TGI: As of Monday afternoon, more than 62% of Kaua‘i registered voters have cast their ballots

MN Maui Turnout hits highest levels in over 20 years

read … Record number of Hawaii votes cast in one of the most anticipated elections in decades

First Printout Due After 7PM—Long Lines for In-Person Voting

HNN: … Despite a historic number of voters in Hawaii’s first all-mail in election, there are still people who plan to vote in person.

Voters lined up before 5 a.m. at Kapolei Hale, one of two places on Oahu you can still register and vote in person on Tuesday.

“I still don’t trust the voting by mail. I’ve always voted in person. With all the new stuff that’s going on, I want to make sure my vote counts,” said Faaiu Faaiu, Jr., who was first in line at Kapolei Hale on Election Day.

As the morning went on, the line to get into Kapolei Hale grew until the doors opened around 6:45 a.m….

Elections officials say the first printout Tuesday night won’t come until every voter has cast their ballots at 7 p.m. The next printout will be at 10 p.m. and a final printout at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning. Those are the times to check in with Hawaii News Now to get and update on any of those close local races, but Hawaii will not likely be one of the states that is counting ballots late into the morning to decide races….

SA: Hawaii voters find busy but smooth scene at Honolulu Hale today

read … With record number of votes already, Election Day in Hawaii starts with long lines for in-person voting

‘Afraid to Dismiss Case Against Surgeon General’

HNN: … Green says Adams didn’t know all the rules because he was in Hawaii to oversee surge testing, and was given a travel exemption.

Green added that the charges could impact his status with the U.S. Public Health Service, and that the case is being blown out of proportion.

“You’re convicted of something in Hawaii. You paid a fine for trespassing. You know what? You’re not going to be an admiral. And if you don’t get promoted, you’re going to wash out... for this? Taking a picture in a park? I just don’t understand when you look at the ramifications. Does justice demand this?" Attorney Green said.

“It will be what it will be. It looks like to me, like people are afraid to dismiss this case. Everybody else gets dismissed pretty much, not him," Green added.

Prosecutors say Adams is being treated the same as any other defendant.

The jury trial was scheduled for December. Adams may have to return to the islands for it if prosecutors don’t work out a plea deal before then.

Adams reportedly rejected a previous plea deal offer on a lesser violation….

HNN: Green added that if Adams is convicted, it could affect his status with the military. He feels the whole case is being blown out of proportion.

read … US Surgeon General Adams might have to return to Hawaii for trial

The Hawaii Health Department Whistleblower Is Back At Work

CB: … After being placed on administrative leave for more than two months, the state virologist and COVID-19 case investigator who exposed flaws in the state’s COVID-19 contact tracing program has returned to work, Hawaii Department of Health officials confirmed Monday.

In an email, Deputy Director for Health Resources Danette Tomiyasu Wong said Jennifer Smith returned to work on Thursday. Former state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park remains on administrative leave.

No further details were provided by department officials. They have declined to discuss why Smith was placed on administrative leave….

Smith’s lawyer Carl Varady said in a statement that an internal investigation by the Department of Health concluded that a co-worker’s allegation that led to her suspension was not substantiated….

Smith said in a statement that she was grateful to return to work.

“Good science, conducted by dedicated people who have the resources necessary to do their work, saves lives,” she said. “I am very happy to be back with the team and able to contribute wherever my skills as a scientist are needed within the Department to keeping Hawaii’s people safe and healthy.”

Smith first spoke publicly in August about her experience conducting contact tracing for the department, citing over-worked investigators and a department ill prepared to trace everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 as well as contacting the people they exposed.

Her outcry led to a contact tracing program overhaul and, along with widespread criticism by political leaders and others, sparked changes in the department’s leadership. Former Health Director Bruce Anderson retired and Park was put on administrative leave.

It is still unclear whether or not Park, who led the health department’s coronavirus response, will return to work….

read … The Hawaii Health Department Whistleblower Is Back At Work

Musical Chairs in DOE Curriculum Office

CB: … Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto on Monday replaced her top official in charge of curriculum and instructional design at a time many public schools are still limping across distance learning territory due to the pandemic.

Alisa Bender served as head of the DOE’s Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design since January, albeit in an interim role. She is being replaced by Teri Ushijima, the DOE’s Assessment & Accountability Branch director in a different department.

According to Hawaii DOE spokeswoman Nanea Kalani, Bender was “initially tapped to serve six months as interim assistant superintendent for OCID.”

“She filled in for 10 months,” Kalani said via email, adding that Kishimoto plans to initiate a search for a permanent head of the curriculum department in December….

Under Bender’s watch, Acellus was green-lit as the statewide credit recovery program for DOE schools back in April and rubber-stamped as an appropriate choice for most distance-learning students for the fall, despite poor reviews from curriculum specialists within her own office.

Bender had defended the program to the BOE as fulfilling a “right-now need” for schools….

read … DOE Shuffles Leadership In Curriculum Office

Fire chief summoned to Council following investigation into overtime, spending

HNN: … Nearly a third of all the overtime transactions the department reviewed had noted discrepancies ― 128 out of 390 transactions. Also found: 503 overtime hours didn’t have required forms.

Budget and Fiscal Services pointed out that the lack of documentation made it difficult to identify instances of fraud or abuse, but did show “obvious errors in the timekeeping system."

“Disappointing,” said Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, “Just basic accounting.”

The BFS review was limited in scope, focusing on the Charles H. Thurston Training Center….

Councilman-elect Calvin Say said he may ask for a legislative audit of the Honolulu Fire Department to expand the records review and see how widespread the problems are. "There were no safeguards in regard to how to monitor and hold the individuals to the overtime,” Say said….

read … Fire chief summoned to Council following investigation into overtime, spending

Kauai Island of Retaliation: $1.8 million settlement reached in harassment, retaliation suit against KPD

HNN:  … Mark Begley sued the county and the KPD back in 2016, alleging he was was harassed and retaliated against by then KPD Chief Darryl Perry.

“This is a story of complete and absolute vindication," said Loretta Sheehan, who along with attorney Lyle Hosoda handled the lawsuit.

Begley’s suit alleges the harassment began in 2012 when he encouraged a female officer to file a sexual harassment complaint against another KPD assistant chief.

“They made him pay the price for over nine years. It’s just insane what this man went through," said Sheehan.

The Kauai PD controversy played out in headlines. Chief Perry was initially suspended by then-Mayor Bernard Carvalho for allegedly mishandling the sexual harassment complaint.

But after an appeals court put Chief Perry back in command, Sheehan said the chief and his subordinates retaliated against Begley with investigations intended to force him out. He eventually took stress leave in 2012….

TGI: Begley awarded $1.8 million in settlement  ($25 per person on Kauai -- pop 72,000)

read … $1.8 million settlement reached in harassment, retaliation suit against KPD

After Months of Trying, 378 Hawaii inmates at Arizona prison finally get themselves infected with coronavirus

HNN: … The state said some 1,011 tests of inmates at the Saguaro Correctional Center were conducted.

Of those, 317 inmates (or 31%) (succeed in getting themselves infected and) tested positive for the virus. Altogether, 378 Hawaii inmates at the facility have contracted COVID-19.

Six of those inmates are hospitalized.

The state said inmates who have tested positive are being isolated….

PSD: News Release

SA: More than 300 Hawaii inmates at Arizona prison test positive for coronavirus

CB: COVID-19 Cases Among Hawaii Inmates In Arizona Now At 378

read … Other 69% Still Hoping

Criminal Leaves Hawaii's Beneficent Jurisdiction—Actually Gets Locked up

TGI: … A Kapa’a man was unable to make his court appointment in the Lihu’e Fifth Circuit Court on Monday morning for pending charges because he is being held on murder charges in Alabama.

Allen John Ho, released on bail for local charges, is currently being held in the Monroe County Jail in Monroeville, Alabama.

After a standoff with the police, Ho allegedly barricaded himself inside a home and killed his girlfriend in a domestic violence incident, according to a report by WKRG, a local Alabama television station.

After the June 21 incident, Ho then shot himself in the head. He was hospitalized before being incarcerated in the Monroe County Correctional facility. He is being held on a $1 million bond….

Ho was held in Kaua’i on four separate charges, including criminal property damage, assault in the third degree, and unauthorized use of a vehicle. All charges were filed in 2015.

Ho was released on bail in Kaua’i in early 2016….

read … Local man faces murder charges in Alabama

Soft on Crime: Halloween murder suspect has lengthy criminal history

HTH: … A 41-year-old Hilo man charged with second-degree murder for the fatal Halloween stabbing of a 39-year-old woman in her Puueo Street apartment has an extensive criminal record dating back to 2002.

According to court records, Davi Franklin Alvarez Sr. has been convicted of 37 criminal charges. Of those convictions, four are for Class C felonies, including two for felony domestic abuse, plus escape and first-degree terroristic threatening.

His misdemeanor convictions include second-degree terroristic threatening and two counts each of misdemeanor domestic abuse and violating a protective order.….

read … Halloween murder suspect has lengthy criminal history

COVID Boosts Matson China Business and Profits

SA: … Matson Inc. said in a financial report released today that it earned $70.9 million in the July-September period, up 96% from a $36.2 million profit in the same period last year.

The Honolulu-based company said the primary reason for the surge was continuation of a move it made in the second quarter to more than double service from China by chartering several containerships in response to strong customer demand for personal protective equipment, cleaning products, home improvement supplies, electronics for working from home and many e-commerce goods.

Matt Cox, Matson chairman and CEO, said it is estimated that at least four to six years worth of growth for e-commerce sales is occurring this year and raising demand for shipping.

“Since the start of the pandemic in the U.S. in early March, there’s been a seismic shift in e-commerce activity, and we expect the key drivers behind the shift to remain for some time,” he said on a conference call with stock analysts.

Cox also said travel and leisure spending by consumers has largely been replaced by spending on home appliances and electronics that benefit Matson’s business.

“Demand for key household items such as dishwashers, refrigerators, washers and dryers has been so strong since the pandemic hit (that) there are key shortages in many models, and those shortages are expected to last into 2021,” he said.

Matson said its enlarged China service is operating at full capacity and carried 125% more containers in the recent quarter compared with a year earlier before expansion.

To make better use of its ships returning to China from California after delivering goods, Matson in August began stopping in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to deliver seafood to Asia as a new “backhaul” business.

The company also said average freight rates are up for its China service in the face of reduced trans-Pacific air cargo service by passenger airlines dealing with travel bans and fewer travelers….

PDF: Matson Presentation

read … Matson profit soars on goods shipped from China

Hawaii Restaurant Card – $1.15M per day

WHT: … Residents who received the Hawaii Restaurant Card have spent more than $17 million since the program launched in mid-October.

Since Oct. 16, an estimated $17.2 million has been spent at restaurants, eateries, bakeries and for food catering in Hawaii, according to the Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center. The initiative is is funded via $75 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“That equates to $1.15 million being injected daily into our restaurant industry since the program started,” the center said in its daily media briefing….

KHON: Unemployed whose claims are delayed miss out on $500 restaurant card

read … Unemployed residents utilizing Hawaii Restaurant Card

Hawaii banks gird for prolonged tourism slump

AB: … Bank of Hawaii and First Hawaiian entered the downturn with robust capital levels, pristine credit quality and long runs of strong profitability. Both posted solid profits in the second and third quarters, and industry observers are confident that each can make it through a protracted coronavirus crisis.

At Bank of Hawaii, nonperforming assets made up just 0.16% of total loans on Sept. 30, a slight improvement from the end of 2019. Deferred loans fell to 9% on Oct. 23 from 16% on June 30.

While those metrics are viewed positively, deferral rates remain well above levels reported by many mainland banks. And criticized loans at Bank of Hawaii increased to 2.13% of total loans on Sept. 30 from 1.69% a quarter earlier….

First Hawaiian said about 6% of its borrowers continued to defer loans, and nonperformers remain low.

The $6.6 billion-asset Central Pacific Financial in Honolulu, which has also remained profitable, said about 6.5% of its loans were on deferral at Sept. 30, or roughly half the level it reported a quarter earlier.

The housing market, another key to Hawaii’s economic success, is holding up well. Ultralow interest rates are fueling refinancing demand and moderating homebuying costs.

While First Hawaiian braced for issues with consumer borrowers, “the return to pay has been fabulous,” Mesick said, though concern remains that asset quality could deteriorate as government stimulus wears off and borrowers struggle anew to cover their expenses.

… Before the epidemic, 95% of tenants would have paid their rent by midmonth and fewer than 3% would have 30- or 60-day delinquencies. On Aug. 15, the share of tenants current on their rent fell to 85%, while severe delinquencies topped 8%.

read … Hawaii banks gird for prolonged tourism slump

Rachel Vorje left Hawaii with $300 dollars before becoming business owner

KYOU: … Vorje is the owner of Ohana Grill in downtown Ottumwa. But before she became a successful business owner, she had to struggle. She left her home state of Hawaii at the age of 23, with just $300 to her name in search of new opportunities.

“I had to work two or three jobs in Hawaii before. I have a friend that I used to work with. I went to work in Alaska for a couple of months. They decided to come here and they said there’s a better opportunity here than Hawaii." said Vorje.

Vorje worked at a processing plant in Valdez, Alaska before making her move to Ottumwa. She secured a job at JBS while living at a friends house.

read … Ohana Grill owner, Rachel Vorje, left Hawaii with $300 dollars before becoming business owner

Hotel workers bill before City Council reduced to resolution

SA: … A controversial Honolulu City Council bill that would have mandated employee callback rules for hotels and required them to clean occupied hotel rooms won’t be heard Thursday.

Bill 80, a measure pushed by hospitality workers union Unite Here Local 5, was expected to be on Thursday’s agenda after it passed out of the Council Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee.

The bill would have required hotels to recall a set number of employees based on hotel occupancy, with priority given to those with the most seniority. It also would have mandated that hotels employ enough housekeepers to “clean and sanitize every occupied guest room every day.” …

read … Hotel workers bill before City Council reduced to resolution

Civil Beat: Marijuana Should be Used to Alter the Electorate’s Mood

CB: …To be fair, about 40% of the country appears to love this president, and about 30% of Hawaii. The same news article that reported on Trump Anxiety Disorder also said that “Trump and his supporters, for their part, have their own term for a malady they see as afflicting only reactionary, anti-Trump progressives: ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome.’”

But I bet a fair number of Trumpers are nervous about the outcome of the election, too.

Which brings me to marijuana.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported last month that there are efforts to add anxiety, depression and insomnia to the list of debilitating conditions that qualify Hawaii patients for medical cannabis.

“If approved by the Department of Health director, the trio of conditions would be the first added to the list since 2017 and would make Hawaii one of only a handful of states to accept anxiety as a qualifying condition,” the newspaper said….

(Translation: Marijuana is a political drug.)

read … Stressed About The Election? Pot Might Help

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