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Friday, November 13, 2020
November 13, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:33 PM :: 2831 Views

MBloom: Hawaii Hi Tech Scam Snares Another Biden Insider

DoTax: Collections Down, Down, Down

Federal aid is not the cure

Puna Geothermal Venture back online after 2½ years

COVID Count: 97 new cases out of 4,862 tests

DoH Changes the way it reports COVID Numbers

Rep Ed Case Blames Socialists as Republicans Gain Even More Seats in US House

WENY: …The Democratic majority in the house was expected to grow. Instead, Republicans have gained at least seven seats so far with another five races too close to call as the final votes are counted, according to analysis from ABC News/FiveThirtyEight. The analysis finds Democrats have a 218-204 majority right now.

Thursday afternoon, New York Democrat Rep. Max Rose, a first-term member, conceded his re-election bid to his Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis.

The swift shrink in the Democratic majority has left moderate members like Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D), who won re-election by just two percent, blaming far-left buzz words like “socialism” for the down-ballot fallout.

“We need to not ever use the word ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again,” Spanberger said on a Democratic caucus call last week, according to the Washington Post. “We lost good members because of that.”

Hawaii Rep. Ed Case, a member of the moderate Democrats’ Blue Dog Coalition, says voters (correctly) misperceived slogans like “defund the police” when it came to this summer's police reform legislation.  (And) But, he acknowledges it cost his party last week.

“What we don’t want to do is ram our agenda down the throats of all Americans and call it a day,” Case said. “That would be a major mistake.”…

read … House GOP gains shrink Democratic majority

HART Board: Insubordinate Robbins Lowballing P3 Numbers

SA: … Rail Chief Executive Officer Andrew Robbins said Thursday that he and his staff will submit to Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Honolulu City Council in the coming days a report detailing why the city should continue pursuing a third-party partner to complete the troubled $10 billion-plus project.

Robbins said he will submit the report even though he’s been told by the mayor, a majority of Council members and seven of the nine voting HART board members to drop the two-year effort.

A majority of the Honolulu Authority of Rail Transportation board’s members voiced displeasure with the staff position. Board member Hoyt Zia said Robbins would be considered “insubordinate” to their wishes in a private business setting….

Robbins’ current contract expires at the end of the year, and the HART Human Resources Committee gave the strongest indication yet that he will not be retained when committee Chairwoman Lynn McCrory announced that “some names of potential candidates (to replace Robbins) were discussed” by her panel. McCrory said her committee also will move out at its Nov. 20 meeting a recommendation to begin a search for a successor while identifying an interim director.

Members of the board’s Finance Committee, meanwhile, said they’re suspicious that the HART staff is low-balling the cost projections to complete the 20-mile, East Kapolei-to-Ala Moana line and that they want to see more realistic forecasts before they’ll pass the agency’s upcoming budget….

“The P3 shifts cost and schedule risks and long-term (operations and maintenance) risk to the P3 proponent,” Robbins said, adding that multiple teams continue to want a deal. As in the past, however, he provided no costs or other details citing procurement laws that are designed to protect the proprietary information of bidders….

CB: “Our best foot forward is to complete the P3,” a defiant Robbins told HART board members

HNN : Final stretch of Honolulu rail line in disarray as board searches for new CEO

read … HART board again voices frustration at Robbins

DoE Hiding Failure Rate under HSTA’s Fake Remote Learning

SA: … with the second quarter of 2020-21 in full swing, the state Department of Education (DOE) in tandem with school communities — educators, other school staff, families and affected neighbors — must openly assess progress and setbacks in the ongoing effort to recoup learning losses. Also, environments that safeguard against school-infection outbreaks must be established.

The conversation should start with a straight- forward appraisal of first-quarter grades. The DOE should promptly release to the public statewide figures on how many students flunked a course or took an incomplete, as those counts are needed to inform direction for the remaining school year.

In Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter Susan Essoyan’s recent interviews with high school principals, most said at least 20% of their students have had trouble with distance learning. That’s alarming but not surprising, given the negative social and emotional impacts it can have on many students. Sadly, in some cases, students who had thrived in in-person classrooms, are now disconnecting, and dropping out.

In response, some schools are rightly making room for students with shaky grades to return to campus for daily in-person instruction. More should be done to speed up availability of on-campus connection….

Nov 6, 2020: Hawaii AP Exams: Elite Students do Better, Others Fail--DoE Calls This 'Progress'

Meanwhile: Hawaii Teachers Dream of Biden Killing School Choice

read … Step up return to in-school learning

Millions in housing aid promised to Hawaii families either diverted or expected to go unspent

HNN: … According to the Hawaii Housing Help website, the state has only paid out $20 million from the assistance program as of Tuesday. That number led us to believe there was close to $80 million it still needed to give out. But that wasn’t what state officials said this week.

“The total amount dispersed is about $20 million leaving a balance of about $64 million,” said Denise Iseri-Matsubara, head of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, in a briefing. HNN later confirmed $16 million of the emergency funds went to pay for administrative costs.

Those administrative costs haven’t help streamline the disbursement of aid, though….

Meanwhile: Potential flood of eviction cases could be too much for Hawaii County mediation program

read … Millions in housing aid promised to Hawaii families either diverted or expected to go unspent

No Hawaii hospitals have what’s needed to properly store the leading COVID-19 vaccine

HNN: … That’s because the vaccine requires storage at -75 degrees Celsius (or -103 degrees Fahrenheit) to maintain it’s efficacy. Some Hawaii laboratories do have the equipment but it’s not likely they have the space needed for a large number of vaccines….

State Department of Health said in a statement that they do have a plan for when the vaccine is ready for release in Hawaii….

“Our federal partners relayed to DOH that the Pfizer vaccine will be shipped in thermo-insulated containers that can store between 1,000 and 5,000 doses of vaccine at ultra-cold temperatures maintained with dry ice," the Health Department said.

"A fresh recharge of dry ice in the vaccine container allows ultracold storage for five days. The container will require another replenishment of dry ice every five days until the vaccine is administered.”

DOH said there is an Oahu distributor of the pellet dry ice and that a memorandum of understanding and existing contract relationships, will ensure the transport of the pellet dry ice to Neighbor Islands.

The vaccine can be put in the refrigerator for up to five days….

read … No Hawaii hospitals have what’s needed to properly store the leading COVID-19 vaccine

Obama memoir confronts role his presidency played in Republican obstructionism and Trump's rise

CNN: … "It was as if my very presence in the White House had triggered a deep-seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted," Obama writes. "Which is exactly what Donald Trump understood when he started peddling assertions that I had not been born in the United States and was thus an illegitimate president. For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety."…

"Through Palin, it seemed as if the dark spirits that had long been lurking on the edges of the modern Republican Party -- xenophobia, anti intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories, an antipathy toward Black and brown folks -- were finding their way to center stage,"….

Obama writes that he "wonder(s) sometimes" about whether 2008 Republican nominee John McCain would still have picked Palin if he had known "her spectacular rise and her validation as a candidate would provide a template for future politicians, shifting his party's center and the country's politics overall in a direction he abhorred."

"I'd like to think that given the chance to do it over again, he might have chosen differently," Obama writes. "I believe he really did put his country first."…

Obama's views of his successor come through clearest in his recounting of the period in 2011 when Trump was fanning the racist lie that Obama was not born in the United States.

Trump's antics were seen initially in the White House as a joke. But Obama writes he came to regard Trump's media ubiquity and characteristic shamelessness as merely an exaggerated version of the Republican Party's attempts to appeal to White Americans' anxieties about the first Black president -- a sentiment he said "had migrated from the fringe of GOP politics to the center -- an emotional, almost visceral, reaction to my presidency, distinct from any differences in policy or ideology….

read … Obama memoir confronts role his presidency played in Republican obstructionism and Trump's rise

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