Auditor: Prosecutor's Office Did Nothing to Learn from Kealoha Scandal
Hawaii court considering whether baseless lawsuit against Oahu churches will continue
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443,000 Came to Hawaii
CB: … Safe Travels data, which can now be browsed on a web dashboard, shows that between Oct. 15 and Nov. 30, more than 443,000 people came to Hawaii, about 69% with negative COVID-19 tests that allowed them to skip the quarantine.
Nearly 191,000 of the arrivals indicated they were coming for pleasure or vacation. The largest chunk — 42% — of arrivals were to Honolulu. Most of them are still coming from the United States, particularly from the West. There were only about 1,600 visitors arriving from Tokyo during that timeframe.
State health authorities, meanwhile, have continued to report relatively low daily case numbers, with a peak of 163 on Nov. 21.
Still, the increase prompted alarm in some camps, prompting two major policy changes: The state is no longer allowing late test results from travelers seeking to bypass quarantine, and Kauai has temporarily opted out of the testing program, insisting that nearly all visitors quarantine for 14 days.
“All the changes are happening around a global approach to keep cases low to make sure people can survive so we can finally emerge from COVID with fewest casualties,” Green said. That is until a vaccine can be widely used to provide a “new layer of security.” ….
read … Economic Gains, Travel-Related Cases: Unpacking Safe Travels Data
COVID: Hawaii political leaders always posture but never learn
Shapiro: … We near the end of the darkest year in most of our lifetimes with hope for 2021 because of COVID-19 vaccines, but also fear that political leaders who have fumbled so much of the pandemic response will give an encore for the recovery.
Feeding the worry is recent buffoonery on Hawaii’s tourism reopening, which leaves us uncertain where we stand on either controlling the coronavirus or bringing back our economy.
Gov. David Ige torpedoed Safe Travels Hawaii, which allowed visitors who got negative COVID tests within 72 hours of departure to skip Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine, by abruptly changing the rules in a way that made little sense and caught travel partners unprepared….
As usual, they can’t talk to each other before key decisions are made, only shout at each other after a screw-up.
The credibility of Hawaii’s travel program was instantly blown. CVS, one of the state’s main pre-test suppliers, effectively pulled out. Kauai bailed from Safe Travels. Some hotels that had only recently reopened closed again, and airlines cut Hawaii flights.
Furloughed tourism workers and businesses dependent on tourism faced dire prospects with unemployment benefits soon running out and hopes of even a modest tourism recovery pushed well into 2021….
Once again our fatal flaw is that no matter how dire our circumstances, our anemic political leadership is unable to rise above factional rivalries and personal jealousies to put the public interest first….
read … Hawaii political leaders always posture but never learn
Huge state budget hole sucks up rainy-day funds, payment deferrals, bonds — and soon, jobs
Borreca: … Yes, the warning signs are all pointing to a rough 2021. You can be assured that times are never good if what everyone’s idea of hope is deliverance by the federal government…..
“We are planning on the assumption that CARES Act funding ends,” Ige said. “Certainly that’s a big concern. Right now, we’re using CARES Act funds for unemployment benefits for those who continue to be unemployed. The food, rent and mortgage relief were funded with CARES Act (money), and clearly the state doesn’t have the funds to continue those programs.”
Ige has already tapped into the state’s “rainy day” budget reserve fund, and sold nearly $750 million in short-term general obligation bonds in October to borrow cash to help finance state government operations in the near term. All of that money and interest still has to be repaid and it always limits your options in the future….
Using emergency powers, Ige deferred a $388 million payment the state was supposed to make this year for future health-care obligations. According to news reports, Ige plans to ask lawmakers to defer four more years of similar payments for future health care obligations, for a total savings of $1.85 billion.
Still, Ige warns more is likely to be dropped as state departments have been directed to make plans for 10%, 15% and 20% budget cuts….
read … Huge state budget hole sucks up rainy-day funds, payment deferrals, bonds — and soon, jobs
Time is running out for the state to spend more than $1 billion in federal CARES Act money before end of 2020
KITV: … Time is running out for the state to spend more than $1 billion in federal CARES Act money before the end of the year.
To date just under half of those funds have been expended and state officials are concerned about federal protections set to expire….
read … Time is running out for the state to spend more than $1 billion in federal CARES Act money before end of 2020
Criminals Spread COVID Rumors in Effort to Block Arizona Transfer
HNN: … “I talked to my son, it’s getting worst, he’s even afraid to go to the cafeteria,” said the Saguaro Inmate’s Mother. “He doesn’t even want to go out, he’s so traumatized by this situation.”
Fevella joins families of those incarcerated in a plea to suspend plans to transport inmates to Arizona at this time….
read … UPW Jobs at Halawa
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