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Wednesday, January 20, 2021
January 20, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:11 PM :: 3156 Views

Full Text: Joe Biden Inaugural Address

HSTA Tells School Board that Donald Trump Ordered Hawaii to Raise Taxes to Fund Vacant DoE Positions

HSTA Members Skip to Front of Vaccination Line

Ige Appoints HSTA Member to Fill Kahele's Senate Seat

Saiki, Hanabusa Launch Attack on State Auditor to Save OHA’s Dirty Secrets

CB: … House Speaker Scott Saiki said late and unfinished reports could be cause for lawmakers to remove state Auditor Les Kondo….

Launching what he calls “basically an audit of the Auditor’s Office,” Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki has convened a panel to evaluate the State Auditor’s office amid concerns about missed deadlines and “unnecessary litigation.”

The working group (hatchet men) will consist of (Broken Trust figure) former U.S. Rep. (and Larry Mehau operative) Colleen Hanabusa and former state Office of Budget and Finance Director Wes Machida and will be chaired by former Honolulu City Auditor Edwin Young. Saiki has asked them to submit their report on or before April 1….

In an interview, Saiki said he had initiated the inquiry because State Auditor Les Kondo has missed deadlines for reports requested by lawmakers and has gotten into what Saiki called “unnecessary litigation.”

Saiki specifically pointed to an audit of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which the Legislature asked Kondo to conduct before lawmakers would release $3 million in general funds to OHA.

But the audit got mired in litigation between the auditor and OHA over whether the auditor could have access to portions of OHA executive session minutes that OHA had redacted from previously provided material. After examining the minutes, Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Crabtree agreed that the redacted portions were covered by attorney-client privilege and could thus be redacted.

But Kondo has refused to do the audit without the privileged information, and, as a result, OHA’s funding has been held up….

Kondo said he was aware of the working group but had not spoken to Saiki about the reason for it. Kondo said the OHA litigation was not his office’s fault and that government auditing standards require the office to obtain the full minutes.

“In my opinion, we did not have sufficient and appropriate evidence,” he said….

A former executive director of the State Ethics Commission, Kondo took over as State Auditor in 2016, replacing Jan Yamane, who had served in an acting role for years following the retirement of long-time State Auditor Marion Higa….

Saiki said he had not seen Kondo’s predecessors miss deadlines and get engaged in litigation the way Kondo has.

Although appointed to an eight-year term, the auditor may be removed “for cause” by a two-thirds vote of the joint session of the Legislature….

What this is about: OHA Sacrifices $3.2M to Hide Lawyer’s Conflict of Interest?

Oct 8, 2020: Kondo, Saiki Debate Continuing OHA LLC Audit

OHA LLC Background:

read … Hawaii House Speaker Launches Probe of State Auditor

Cataluna: The New Year Brings A New Hawaii

Cataluna: … Let’s start with local politics. Keith Amemiya lost to Rick Blangiardi in the Honolulu mayor’s race. That might be the clearest indication that the rules are different now….

Another sea change in politics was the number of Hawaii residents who voted for Trump this time around. Trump got 196,864 votes in Hawaii, 70,000 more than in 2016.

Stories abound of people from other states buying houses in Hawaii sight-unseen with the goal of sheltering here from the worst of the pandemic while continuing to do their out-of-state jobs remotely….

And here’s a weird flip: Contrary to reputation, local people disobeyed rules. Hawaii residents had, for generations, prided themselves on being civic-minded, reliable, even altruistic….

COVID-19 also made it clear how many elderly people live in care homes. The image of the multigenerational Hawaii household is central to the stories we tell about local families. We insisted on perpetuating this idea of every house having a set of grandparents whether that was true or not….

And, in another stunning acknowledgment of reality, politicians and government leaders started admitting that too many tourists is too many tourists….

read … The New Year Brings A New Hawaii

Ige: Doses in Fridge are for 2nd Vaccination

HNN: … “I want to emphasize that we all want (the state’s vaccination efforts) to move quickly to contain COVID-19,” said Gov. Ige. “The Department of Health is not sitting on thousands of doses. We’re moving it out as quickly as we receive them.”

The delivery of vaccines from the federal stockpile to Hawaii has been unpredictable, health officials said during the press conference.

Roughly 59,000 doses of the vaccine were delivered to Hawaii last week, said Lt. Gov. Josh Green, but only about 32,000 doses were shipped to Hawaii this week ― about half as many as the week before.

And of the 32,000 doses sent to Hawaii this week, only about 19,000 were intended for use as a first dose; both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require two separate doses taken weeks apart.

“We are constrained by the number of vaccines that are allocated to the state of Hawaii by the federal government,” said Gov. Ige. “I want to encourage everyone to be patient.”…

read … State: COVID-19 inoculation efforts still slowed by limited doses of vaccine

New City prosecutor asks for dismissal in COVID-19 violation case against U.S. Surgeon General

HNN: … Adams was set to stand trial the week of March 29. Instead, Prosecutor Steve Alm filed a motion Tuesday requesting that the case be dismissed.

“A prosecutor’s paramount goal is to do justice. After a careful review of the facts and law in this case, I have determined that further prosecution of this matter would not achieve that goal,” said Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm.

Adams’ attorney, Michael Green, learned late last month that the officer who cited the Attorney General was being investigated for abusing overtime. In the citation given to Adams, the citing police officer wrote that Adams claimed he was not aware of the closure….

Cataluna: Thankfully, That Stupid Case Against The US Surgeon General Is Dismissed

read … City prosecutor asks for dismissal in COVID-19 violation case against U.S. Surgeon General

A Year Later, HPD Still Investigating Shooting Deaths Of 2 Police Officers

CB: … HPD has yet to release any of its findings about the day two of its officers were killed. ….

SA: Honolulu police officers and Hibiscus Drive residents recall a calamity that killed 4

read … A Year Later, HPD Still Investigating Shooting Deaths Of 2 Police Officers

Leaders criticize ‘chronic mismanagement’ of Native Hawaiian burials

SA: … Island burial council leaders are accusing the state of “systemic and chronic mismanagement” of a program developed three decades ago to handle the discovery of Native Hawaiian burials and are calling on the Legislature, which convenes today, to establish a working group to implement reforms. ….

Ayau, who helped lead Tuesday’s news conference, said concerns about SHPD’s management of Native Hawaiian burial remains have been inflamed by the handling of hundreds of historic burials at Kawaiaha‘o Church, Hakipuu on the windward side of Oahu and a housing development on Maui called Maui Lani….

Dane Maxwell, chairman of the burial council for Maui and Lanai, questioned how more than 180 burials at the Maui Lani development could be classified as “inadvertent” in recent years, which essentially means they were unanticipated. He called it an “egregious misinterpretation of the law.”…

read … Leaders criticize ‘chronic mismanagement’ of Native Hawaiian burials

Vaccinated travelers could be exempt from quarantine, testing by spring

HNN: … Lt. Gov. Josh Green said travelers who get vaccinated for COVID-19 will likely be exempted from quarantine and testing requirements as early as this spring.

“I’ve reached out to the governor with a policy decision that we accept people who are fully vaccinated as an exemption to the Safe Travels program,” said Green.

“This is a massive game changing level of security if we get this done.”

About 11 million people on the mainland, or about 3% of the U.S. population, have already been vaccinated and the Biden administration wants to vaccinate 100 million people in its first 100 days.

As the number of vaccinated people grows so does the hope that they might include thousands who expect to travel to Hawaii ― without quarantines or pre-travel tests.

Green said the hold-up right now is the completion of a CDC study on whether people who are vaccinated could still spread the disease….

read … Vaccinated travelers could be exempt from quarantine, testing by spring

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