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Monday, January 11, 2021
January 11, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:43 PM :: 1615 Views

Say 'Uncle' -- What Connects Miske to Kealoha?

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted January 9, 2021

Supreme Court to hear Guam, Alaska Cases

Sgt Schultz Caldwell: “How do you know something you don’t know until you know it?”

SA: … Caldwell, 68, said he wants his enduring legacies to be that he dreamed big and, to quote a phrase he’s used a lot over eight years, “always ran toward danger, not away from it.”

“From my first day I’ve been out in the trenches, I’ve been available to the public, I’ve had more press conferences than probably anybody in the history of the City and County of Honolulu, as mayor,” he said.  (It helps if the media is in on the scam.)

“I’ve not been afraid to answer every question that’s been asked. I make myself available and I go before the people,” Caldwell said in two far-ranging (fluff)interviews with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser during the final weeks of his administration….

Another source of controversy involving city government was the federal corruption case that led to the convictions of former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, wife and ex-Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha and several other police officers.

The chief is hired and fired by the Police Commission, whose members are appointed by the mayor and approved by the Council. As a result, Caldwell has been at the edge of the controversy. Critics have argued that he could have placed more pressure on the commission or spoken more critically against the police chief earlier on in the investigation.

He said it’s an issue that he’s played over in his mind many times. Ultimately, he said, he’s concluded, “How do you know something you don’t know until you know it?”…

Caldwell insisted that all he could do was appoint new commissioners as vacancies opened up, and noted that he appointed independent and reform-minded people including attorney Loretta Sheehan and former Supreme Court Justice Steven Levinson to the panel….

Sgt Schultz: I know nothing

read … Reluctant to go; just a few regrets, Mayor Kirk Caldwell says

False Dichotomy: Furloughs or Tax Hikes?  Let’s Create our own Choice -- Tough Questions For The Hawaii Department Of Education

CB: … At the direction of the governor, the HIDOE’s proposed operating budget for the fiscal biennium 2021-2023 includes a $164.3 million cut.

Of that $164.3 million, $95 million is at the school level.

The HIDOE’s separate furlough plan, albeit momentarily delayed, represents an additional $128.5 million cut and impacts 22,000 employees, 13,000 of which are teachers. …

One cost-cutting measure not mentioned is reviewing all spending decisions made in the years prior to the pandemic-induced budgetary shortfall. Decisions could be examined to see if they 1) still make sense given changed conditions and 2) involve monies not yet fully expended or committed….

Has the HIDOE considered obtaining emergency approval to change the purpose of some spending plans, for items that have not yet been expended? Has the HIDOE considered a cooperative approach to get vendors to modify outstanding contracts?

In the HIDOE data made available to the Education Institute of Hawaii under the public records law, it appears there were around $80 million in open encumbrances in fiscal year 2017 — monies reserved for a purpose but not yet expended — designated for the purpose of “instructional supplies.” Are there similar large amounts encumbered in fiscal year 2020?… 

HNN: DOE finds a way to spare hundreds of teaching positions, but hundreds more at risk

read … Tough Questions For The Hawaii Department Of Education

As DoH Dithers, AARP Hawaii urges safe access to COVID-19 vaccine for seniors aged 75 and older

KITV: … The state Department of Health is finalizing plans for vaccinating all kupuna, which number about 109,000 in Hawaii.

Details about who is eligible and how seniors can sign up are expected to be released this week, but high demand for the limited resource has some concerned about the process. 

AARP Hawaii director Keali'i Lopez joined Good Morning Hawaii to talk about working with the state to share information and advocate for safe and convenient access for those who may not have internet access or transportation to vaccination sites. …

Last Week: The state says online or other vaccination appointment services should be available in “about a week.”

(CLUE: How long will we wait before we realize the DoH is an obstacle to be bypassed?)

read … AARP Hawaii urges safe access to COVID-19 vaccine for seniors aged 75 and older

$5000 Bail for Ochs -- seen in mob that stormed U.S. Capitol

HNN: … Judge Wes Reber Porter has allowed Nicholas Ochs to be released on unsecured bond of $5,000.

“Proud Boys Hawaii” leader and former political candidate Nicolas Ochs appeared in federal court via telephone on Monday, Jan. 11, after being arrested by the FBI for his alleged involvement in the US Capitol riot.

Ochs is not allowed to travel out of Oahu.

He’s scheduled for another court appearance in federal court in Washington D.C on Jan. 15 in which he will appear by video conference.

He’s not allowed to travel out of Oahu, but can go to DC only for court purposes if necessary….  

read … Federal judge rules “Proud Boys Hawaii” leader released on bond, not allowed to travel out of Oahu for alleged involvement in US Capitol riot

Danny De Gracia: Hawaii Republicans Should Follow Up On Tardy Stand Against Violence

CB: … the Hawaii Republican Party showed quick thinking in issuing a joint statement with the Democratic Party of Hawaii in denouncing the mob and any form of political violence, but as I always tell my friends, context matters. For the last four years, local Republicans have wasted their political influence on enabling wild conspiracy theories and promoting a cult-of-personality rather than conservatism that uplifts Hawaii residents, and now we are all paying the price for it….

Just days before their magnanimous joint statement with the Democratic Party of Hawaii, the Hawaii Republican Party issued a letter to Vice President Mike Pence calling for him to “reject all electoral votes from these six states” contested by President Donald Trump. The letter further characterized President-elect Joe Biden as “the wrong person … being certified into an office he was not rightfully elected to hold.”

This kind of denialism and alternate reality thinking is not a glitch of local Republicans — it has been a feature under the Trump administration. When the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in Hawaii last year, local Republicans also did residents no favor by making themselves the one-stop shop for obstructing attempts by county and state leaders to contain the pandemic. Some Republicans even spiritualized non-compliance to the pandemic, which made an already unbearable crisis intractable.

And when we see local conservatives routinely attacking Gov. Ige online with language that sounds patently QAnon-like, with claims that he has somehow “committed crimes against Americans, and will pay” or that he is “perpetuating the greatest fraud the world has ever known with COVID-19,” we need to have a serious discussion about the direction Hawaii Republicans in general are headed. These are not innocent, meaningless beliefs or statements. There is a toxic culture of conspiracy that is radicalizing locals, and it needs to stop.

We can’t have a meaningful policy discussion, moving forward, if one half of the local political establishment is obsessed with post-democratic dictator worship and filled with so-called Evangelicals who believe false prophecies about their leader-in-exile.

We are in the middle of a dangerous pandemic, an economic meltdown, a national revolution and our restless populations are already in a volatile mental state. What is needed right now from the party of Ronald Reagan is maturity and calm, not conspiracies and grievance hucksterism. Hawaii Republicans need to stop pouring more troll gasoline on the fires of our burning republic and be leaders by example.

Former President George W. Bush, days after the attacks on September 11, 2001, told the nation, “Americans are asking: What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children … I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them.”

Hawaii doesn’t need conspiracies right now. She needs comfort. Hawaii needs stable, level-headed parties that bring out the best values, not the worst behavior in their membership. We have not yet seen the end of Hawaii’s and America’s woes, but today, we need to see the end of Republican nonsense.

This week is going to test American citizens even further. This is a time for all of us to come together to save freedom at a moment of great peril. Hawaii Republicans need to eject the QAnon-types from their midst, denounce conspiratorial thinking, and return to being a party of ideas and moral authority....

HNN: ‘Our party is divided’: Republicans in Hawaii try to set a course for the future

read … Danny De Gracia: Hawaii Republicans Should Follow Up On Tardy Stand Against Violence

Kailua Kona Q Anon Nuts Rally for Trump

WHT: … About 20 supporters of President Donald Trump took to the streets again Saturday following Wednesday’s events at the U.S. Capitol, displaying flags and waving to passing motorists at the corner of Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Palani Road in Kailua-Kona….

read … ‘We’re here to support freedom’: Local Trump supporters remain faithful

Blood Bank of Hawaii asks COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma to help save lives

KITV: … Only about 200 of the more than 23,000 residents who've tested positive for COVID-19 have donated their plasma, which has antibodies that can help save other patients. ….

(IDEA: Pay COVID survivors for their blood plasma.  A lot of them need the income.)

read … Blood Bank of Hawaii asks COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma to help save lives

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm unveils 100-day plan Tuesday

KHON: … Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm will be unveiling his 100-day plan to reform the Department of the Prosecuting attorney on Tuesday.

Alm ran for and won the job in the last election on a platform of restoring public trust in the office.

He will also introduce his new deputies and division chiefs….

HNN: Alm says his top priority is restoring public’s trust in city Prosecutor’s Office

read … Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm unveils 100-day plan Tuesday 

Soft on Crime: Lifelong Criminal Gets Another Fake 20 Years Sentence—HPA will let him out soon (again)

MN: … “He is a career felon who, by his behavior, has caused a lot of harm to this community over the decades,” said Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones. “Even after a lengthy term of incarceration, he could not change his behavior to live a law-abiding lifestyle.”

In his latest case, Schillaci was arrested Dec. 4, 2018, when police Crime Reduction Unit officers executed a search warrant at his residence on Kaiola Place.

The search led to the recovery of 122 grams of crystal methamphetamine, a small amount of marijuana, $2,589 in cash and other evidence, Jones said.

At the time, Schillaci was on 10 years’ probation, imposed Jan. 6, 2016, for first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, two counts of second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, prohibited possession of a firearm, prohibited possession of firearm ammunition and second-degree commercial promotion of marijuana in a 2014 case.

In that case, police recovered a Ruger .357-caliber revolver loaded with five rounds of ammunition, 2 pounds of methamphetamine, 13 pounds of marijuana and $4,803 in cash, Jones said.

She said Schillaci has “a lengthy felony criminal history and is a multistate felon.”

In his most recent case, Schillaci had pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, with other charges dismissed in exchange for his pleas.

While he faced 10-year prison terms for those convictions, Schillaci was given a 20-year prison sentence for first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug in his 2014 case, 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill noted (without laughing). 

Defense attorney Michael Green said he would argue (successfully) for Schillaci’s release when he appears before the Hawaii Paroling Authority….

read … Man with a long history of felonies sentenced to 20 years

Replacement work avoids funding halt at Aloha Stadium

SA: … Last year lawmakers made an effort to transfer HCDA’s role to the Aloha Stadium Authority but failed to pass a bill needed to effect the change because of a concern that a small detail in the bill would allow HCDA to lease land for longer than currently allowed, or 99 years instead of 65 years.

Lawmakers intend to pass a bill this year to make the change, but HCDA essentially still holds the financial strings to a project from which it’s being divorced.

As a result, DAGS can’t access the next $10 million it will soon need to continue its work….

As a workaround, DAGS requested that HCDA ask Gov. David Ige to release the next $10 million previously appropriated by the Legislature and essentially pay contractor invoices DAGS submits to HCDA.

However, some HCDA board members were hesitant about the proposed arrangement over concerns that an already short-staffed HCDA would have to review and be responsible for the spending, which would take up time and detract from HCDA’s core work.

HCDA’s board unanimously agreed Wednesday to authorize its executive director to request the $10 million from Ige, who supports the stadium project, with a condition that DAGS ensure in a written agreement that HCDA isn’t burdened with oversight and fiduciary responsibility for paying the project’s bills.

read … Replacement work avoids funding halt at Aloha Stadium

Dillingham Airfield Still Set to Close in June

HPR: … With unemployment in Hawaii at some of the highest levels in the country, a group of local business owners are pushing back on a state plan to end commercial operations at Oahu’s Dillingham Airfield. …

The State Department of Transportation plans to end its lease with the Army in June, meaning those businesses would likely have to close. 

“It would be a massive disruption to everything that’s established there, 130 jobs and 11 businesses on the field,” McCaffrey explains… 

SA: Honolulu City Council committee to consider resolution in support of Dillingham Airfield

read … Dillingham Airfield Still Set to Close in June

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