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Saturday, July 10, 2021
July 10, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:02 PM :: 1757 Views

Police Corruption Scandals Revenge for Gambling Prosecutions?

HB862: State Tourism Policy a Schizophrenic Mish-Mash

Toby Martyn Resigns As HART Board Chair -- Making Way for Hanabusa?

CB: … The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced today that HART board chairman Tobias Martyn resigned from the volunteer board “for personal reasons.”

State Sen. Kurt Fevella (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) — the state Senate’s minority leader — has written to the FBI, Federal Transit Administration and state Attorney General’s Office requesting that they investigate HART on a variety of concerns based on media reports.

They include “possible criminal acts” committed by Martyn related to “Rail General Obligation Bond Issuances,” regarding Martyn’s “affirmative vote requesting the Honolulu City Council approve the issuance and sale of ($292 million in) rail general obligation bonds. This action was taken while Mr. Martyn also served as Stifel Financial Corp’s Branch Manager and Vice President of Investments.”

The city has not respond to requests for information about Stifel’s role in the sale of the bonds.

Fevella told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser late today that he has not heard from either the FBI, FTA or state Attorney General on his requests, but has been told by the Office of Information Practices that it plans its own investigation.

OPI could not be reached for comment late today.

“I’m glad he (Martyn) made the right decision and I just pray that the HART board doesn’t consider (former HART Chairwoman, Congresswoman and incoming board member Colleen) Hanabusa for the position,” Fevella told the Star-Advertiser. “Hanabusa left HART in dismay the last time. She’s part of the bloc. All of them should not be there. … If they really care about the project, they’ll step down. Toby did the right thing.”

Martyn was appointed to the HART Board on Nov. 18, 2018, and became chairman in September. His term was scheduled to expire in January 2023….

CB: Will former chair Colleen Hanabusa succeed Toby Martyn?

CB:  Hoyt Zia, the board’s vice chair, said via the HART statement that Martyn “exemplifies what it means to be a selfless, public-minded, dedicated volunteer serving the community.”  (Wow.  Just wow.)

June 28, 2021: HART Board Chair Martyn to be Pushed out to Make Way for Hanabusa?

read … Toby Martyn Resigns As HART Board Chair Amid Latest Rail Upheaval

Campaign spending info seems cloudy at best now that Senate Bill 404 is law

SA Editorial: … The measure, which Gov. David Ige had vetoed but was overridden this week, makes changes to the disclosure requirements for expenditures on ads and other campaign communications.

In the end, the bill makes things easier on political action committees (PACs) reporting their spending on candidates, and on the candidates and their own committees as well….

The new law exempts candidates and candidate committees from the need to file a report on communications paid for before the election; it also lowers the amount triggering the reports to $1,000.

Those reports are to disclose, among other facts, the names and addresses of donors covering the cost of the communication.

Additionally, the PACs now must only make the report once, upon reaching the $1,000 threshold. This makes it unclear whether a PAC could underwrite an ad for multiple candidates and only have to report about the first one, Ma said.

“If their intent was to cover the dark money coming in, they made it worse,” she said….

SB404: Text, Status

read … Campaign spending info seems cloudy at best now that Senate Bill 404 is law

Thousands could lose food stamp benefits this month as eligibility waivers expire

HNN: … Nearly 8,000 people receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could find their accounts empty come the first of next month.

That’s because pre-pandemic rules are now back in effect.

The federal government allowed for waivers to certain eligibility checks as SNAP applications soared due to COVID-19 closures.

Hawaii added more than 50,000 individuals to SNAP, also known as food stamps, between March 2020 and June 2021.

And the numbers continue to grow.

Last month, there were 205,282 people receiving benefits ― the most ever. In May, it was 203,885….

Last month, 17,200 notices were sent out to those due for the six-month check. Of those, less than half have been completed and returned ― only 7,700.

Users have until the end of July to update the information or they could see a lapse in benefits.

read … Thousands could lose food stamp benefits this month as eligibility waivers expire

Airport delays due to travelers who want vaccine passport but ignore directions

HNN: … The state reports 70% of people applying for the vaccine exemption aren't following directions on the Safe Travels website….

"Uploading the vaccine card is not easy. And unless you're tech savvy, regardless, seniors are having a hard time uploading they carry card, or the phone features don't have that feature to upload the card or vaccine card," said Bob Burr, operations manager for Roberts Hawaii, the agency hired by the state to handle Safe Travels screening and verify documents.

If several flights arrive at the same time, people say they can wait anywhere from 15-30 minutes….

Safe Travels program officials say the vaccine passport program is so popular they expanded the requirements today to allow vaccination records from any healthcare provider or hospital as long as it lists the vaccine lot numbers and where you got the shots.

The state initially accepted only vaccine cards and records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Burr says the change is meant to make the process easier for fully vaccinated travelers -- not penalize them for not having a CDC card.

About 500 screeners act as traffic cops -- fact checkers -- COVID-19 police -- aloha ambassadors -- and educators for visitors who are not prepared….

SA: Hawaii streamlines travel entry with CLEAR Health Pass

read … Airport delays due to travelers who want vaccine passport but ignore directions

Ige wants to keep the mask mandate. Green says it’s time to drop it.

HNN: …  Green urged the governor on Friday to lift the state’s mask mandate. He says that wearing a mask should still be recommended for unvaccinated people, but not required by law ― under a policy of trust followed by other states.

“I would prefer that we lift the mask mandate if you are vaccinated. I think it’s about time,” said Green.

“The governor is very conservative and cautious but the science now dictates that we can take these decisions and move forward.” ….

KHON: Hawaii students, teachers will likely have to wear masks in classrooms despite relaxed CDC guidelines

CB: Hawaii Schools Not Lifting Mask Mandate Yet Despite New CDC Guidance

read … Ige wants to keep the mask mandate. Green says it’s time to drop it.

Maui Council considers ban on foam coolers, disposable bodyboards

MN: … the Maui County Council is considering a ban on the sale and use of polystyrene foam coolers and ice chests as well as disposable bodyboards.

The Climate Action, Resilience and Environment Committee last week unanimously recommended two bills that would add more plastic and foam products to the list of banned items.

Retailers and renters are subject to the restrictions….

The bill would take effect Jan. 1 and would also differentiate between a durable board and a “cheap board” is that is not intended for wave riding.

Violators would be subject to fines, which would be deposited into the environmental protection and sustainability fund….

Meanwhile, the Department of Environmental Management is planning changes to its administrative rules that would update the ban on “polystyrene foam food service containers” to apply to “plastic disposable foodware.” “Plastic” would mean any material made from petroleum or petrochemical compounds that are not compostable, as well as all forms of polyethylene, polypropylene and polycarbonate or petrochemical polymeric compounds and additives. The changes would also include removal of the exemption for foam coolers and ice chests.

The department will host a virtual public hearing at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday on the proposed changes. To watch the hearing or provide video testimony, visit 920528764. To join or provide testimony by phone, dial (408) 915-6290 and enter meeting ID 920528764.

Testimony can also be submitted to recycle.maui@ or Department of Environmental Management, EPS Division, 2145 Wells St., Suite 103, Wailuku, HI 96793 and must be received by the department before the hearing closes on Wednesday.

The proposed rules are available at Environmental-Protection-Sustainability….

read … Council considers ban on foam coolers, disposable bodyboards

Victim in horrific child abuse case speaks out publicly for first time

WHT: … The victim in one of the Big Island’s most extreme child abuse cases posted a YouTube video Monday and spoke of her abuse at the hands of her caregiver’s family in 2005.

Alexis Lehman-Cabanting, now in her mid-20s and living on Oahu, hashtagged her 24-minute selfie video #RaiseAbuseAwareness. She said she posted the video because others are experiencing torture similar to what she went through when she was only 9, and she wants to be an advocate for the abused….

Following a lawsuit, the state paid a seven-figure settlement to Lehman-Cabanting because of her injuries and the inappropriate response by school officials.

“She was reporting (the abuse) to the school officials,” Damerville said. “And rather than report it to (Child Protective Services), they called the guardian-defendant. And the guardian-defendant pulled her out of school and made all kind of excuses as to why she wasn’t going to school, and that’s why she suffered those injuries….

read … Victim in horrific child abuse case speaks out publicly for first time

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