VIDEO: Hawaii DoH Official Goes on 10-minute Rant Against Corona Testing
COVID-19 Media Letter: Transparency is More Important Than Ever
COVID: 24 New Cases, 10 More Recover
Time For A "Coronavirus Disputes Court?"
Suspension Of Hawaii’s Open Government Laws More Extreme Than Other States
CB: … Before the stay-at-home, work-at-home orders, the 14-day quarantines and the requests that tourists cancel their vacations, Hawaii Gov. David Ige suspended the state’s public records and open meetings laws.
Ige issued the decision on March 16 as part of an emergency declaration that came in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic that has sickened at least 175 people in Hawaii and more than 100,000 in the U.S.
The governor’s decision is one of the most extreme anti-transparency measures executed in the U.S., and is now coming under increased scrutiny as Hawaii struggles to get a handle on the outbreak.….
“Democracy, accountability and transparency still matter during these crucial times,” said Sandy Ma, the executive director of Common Cause Hawaii. “So much is happening so quickly, and it needs to because we are in a crisis situation, but we also need to document what is happening for the future good so that we can look back and see what we did right and what we did wrong.”
Ige has already been widely criticized for how he’s approached the COVID-19 epidemic. In a March 19 letter to the governor, House Speaker Scott Saiki described the state’s handling of the outbreak as “utterly chaotic” and the cause of “mass confusion among the public.”
Doctors have openly questioned the Department of Health for its conservative approach to testing, saying that limited supplies should be used now to find out who has the disease so that its spread can be curbed rather than wait for a spike in patients.
More recently, Ige was lambasted for his decision to cut Lt. Gov. Josh Green — a medical doctor — out of the COVID-19 decision making process although the two have more recently smoothed out their differences and are working together again, they say. Even the state’s first reported death turned out to be inaccurate.
Government officials, meanwhile, have begun to close ranks.
On March 19, a panel of state senators held a meeting behind closed doors to hear how the state planned to quarantine visitors to the islands to contain the spread of the virus. While those meetings are now being broadcast by Olelo and online, no public comment is allowed.
The Department of Health quietly scrubbed certain testing data from its website, and although officials have said they plan to republish the numbers — which are related to the total number of tests that have been conducted — they have yet to actually do so.
Reporters who attend the state’s daily coronavirus press briefings, too, are often limited in the number of questions they can ask and are told to send their follow-ups to a generic email address.
“We get these public briefings, but there are still so many unanswered questions,” Ma said. “Things are operating in the dark right now.”….
For Brian Black, the executive director of The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, there’s little argument that Ige’s emergency declaration goes too far.
“No governor has done anything close to what has been done in Hawaii,” Black said. “We’re at the bottom.”….
The Hawaii Office of Information Practices, which is the state agency that’s supposed to advocate on the public’s behalf, went along with Ige’s proclamation.
The office’s executive director, Cheryl Kakuzu Park, even wrote a letter to all state agencies detailing how they should go about not fulfilling records requests, even if those requests were made before Ige’s declaration and were past due. Requests made after March 16, when the governor’s order took effect, can legitimately just be ignored, she told the agencies.
Black sent a strongly worded letter to Ige on Thursday urging him to change course. He pointed out that no other state has “gutted public access laws” the way Hawaii has done in response to the pandemic, and that the decision to completely suspend the laws was “recklessly overbroad.”…
SA: Darkness in government is not ‘the right way'
HPR: Some Hawaii Agencies Get Creative To Keep Public Involved, Others Abandon Participation
CB: Ige Needs To Bring The Public’s Business Back Into The Open — Now
SA: Honolulu Hale closed except for essential business starting Monday
SA: Courts getting creative to keep some cases moving
read … Suspension Of Hawaii’s Open Government Laws More Extreme Than Other States
Corona Budget: Will Council Refuse to Fund Rail Operations to Pay for Relief?
CB: … Honolulu City Council members are aiming to eliminate a broad array of budget increases Mayor Kirk Caldwell had requested before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted daily life and devastated the international economy.
In proposed amendments to Caldwell’s $2.98 billion budget bill, council members took a red pen to the mayor’s wish list.
Travel to conferences? Unnecessary, said Budget Chair Joey Manahan.
Over $43 million for the Blaisdell Center? Absolutely not, several members said….
Councilwoman Kymberly Pine and Tsuneyoshi struck out nearly every increase Caldwell’s administration asked for. COVID-19 concerns led to the cancellation of most of the city’s budget presentations earlier this month in which department heads justify increases to council members. Until city directors explain their requests at next month’s council meeting, the councilwomen said they needed to say no to everything.
“I cut every new item that they put in,” Pine said. “They can explain, and then we can think about it.”
Tsuneyoshi said she has major questions about funding requests from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and the Department of Transportation Services. The agencies had asked for major increases in anticipation of an opening date for Honolulu’s rail line later this year….
Pine is proposing a major relief package for addressing housing and homelessness during the pandemic and beyond. It includes:
- $71 million in capital funds to develop housing and homeless service centers.
- $15 million added to the Department of Community Services budget for homeless initiatives – a move that would more than double the department’s spending in that area.
- $1.5 million for the Department of Emergency Management to address emergency provisions, shelter and quarantine facilities.
- $100,000 for the Department of Land Management to hire a consultant who will identify vacant city lands that can be used for rapid rehousing and transitional shelters for people suffering the impacts of mental illness, addiction or the pandemic.
She wants to immediately develop 6,000 tiny homes that could be used to house homeless people to contain the spread of COVID-19….
She hopes the effort would be funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency….
read … Honolulu Council Axes Caldwell Budget Increases As Virus Concerns Grow
DoE Suddenly Finds Itself in the Homeschooling Business
CB: … The solution is a patchwork of instructional packets and virtual lesson planning as no end appears in sight for the coronavirus timeline ….
SA Editorial: Rise to challenge of distance learning
ABC: Hawaii Teacher helping parents adjust to homeschooling with free resources
LINK: Homeschool Resources
read … Hawaii Schools Want To Keep Kids Engaged Until School Resumes
Stimulus: Will You be Getting a Check?
CB: Hawaii residents will soon be receiving checks in the mail as part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act that passed late last week.
While popularly characterized as “stimulus checks,” the money being sent out as an offset against the outbreak of COVID-19 is not free money but, in the exact wording of the bill, an advance “recovery rebate” of up to “$1,200 ($2,400 in the case of eligible individuals filing a joint return), plus … an amount equal to the product of $500 multiplied by the number of qualifying children … of the taxpayer.”
Although details of when the checks will arrive are still being worked out, the Tax Foundation’s analysis of the CARES Act explains “the rebate is a credit against tax liability and is refundable for taxpayers with no tax liability to offset.”….
MF: How to Apply for Unemployment in Hawaii
SA: Housing woes escalate
read … Danny De Gracia: $1,200 Stimulus Check Won’t Go Very Far In Hawaii
With All Eyes on Corona, HECO Plans Elon Musk’s Biggest Cash Giveaway
I: …Tesla is bidding to build one of the world's largest batteries, planning documents reveal.
The company has outlined plans to build 244 Megapacks in Hawaii, each with around three megawatt-hours of capacity, to offer 810 megawatt-hours of total storage. Electrek reported Sunday that the project will discharge energy at a rate of 135 megawatts….
During the company's June 2019 earnings call, Musk called for "Terawatt-hour" levels of battery production, which would provide the capacity to transition more people onto cleaner energy.
Hawaiian Electric, which serves 95 percent of the state, has been taking bids for the proposed project since last summer. The battery would be situated on the island of O'ahu at Kahe Power Plant. It will work with a 390-megawatt-hour project near Kalaeloa to help retire the coal-fired plant set to close in 2022. These are two of five energy storage projects the company is considering….
Further down the document, Hawaiian Electric explains that the option will remain in the future to augment these Megapacks with smaller Powerpacks to boost overall capacity….
The Megapack is a relatively new offering from Tesla, first unveiled in June 2019 as a means of offering 60 percent greater energy density than the Powerpack. These Megapacks are aimed at grid-scale storage, similar to the Powerpack, and stand in contrast to the consumer-focused Powerwall. Tesla announcef the Megapack with the claim it could deploy one gigawatt-hour over three aces in less than three months, around four times faster than a similarly-sized fossil fuel plant.
The Hawaii project would far outrank the company's project in South Australia, described as the world's largest lithium-ion battery when completed in November 2017. The Australia project in Hornsdale measured 129 megawatt-hours at launch, but in December 2019 was expanded by a further 64.5 megawatt-hours to reach 193.5 megawatt-hours total.
But while the Hawaii project will far outrank the Hornsdale project, it will likely miss the title of world's largest battery. The Florida Power & Light Company announced in March 2019 plans to install 900 megawatt-hours over 40 acres. Described by the firm as "the world's largest solar-powered battery," it's set to start providing power in late 2021.
Hawaiian Electric is set to hold a series of virtual meetings to seek public input on the projects. Comments on the five proposals will be accepted until May 2020.…
IM: World`s Largest Grid-Connected Battery Heading for O`ahu
IM: Community Must Have Role in Reaching State Energy Goals
read … TESLA DETAILS PLAN TO BUILD ONE OF THE BIGGEST BATTERIES IN THE WORLD
Mauna Kea Isn’t Just About a Telescope, It’s About Who Will Decide the Future
TO: … Looking through the lens of a battle over the TMT, one also sees a story which is not just about a telescope, but about who gets to decide the future and understand and interpret the world. It’s about whether we will look to the stars or to the Earth….
Right next to the TMT project, there’s a U.S. military facility called Pohakuloa. It’s a training range for the U.S. military to bomb the side of the island with an active volcano…..
“We’ve been fighting telescopes and the military for 50 years,” Luana Busby-Neff says…
Rather than being subjected to the “degradation principle,” the Mauna deserves legal recognition of the Rights of Nature, and the Rights of a Mountain….
read … Mauna Kea Isn’t Just About a Telescope, It’s About Who Will Decide the Future
FBI agents raid Waialae Iki home, search for explosives
HNN: … Public records show that the home is owned by a couple, who are executives with private companies downtown. But sources said the subject of the investigation is the couple’s 20-year-old son.
According to neighbors, the man kept to himself and often work on odd contraptions late into the night. They said they saw what looked like propane tanks in the garage….
read … FBI agents raid Waialae Iki home, search for explosives
Hawaii defense key in upcoming missile shoot-down test
SA: … As North Korea continues to fire off rockets, the head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said that an upcoming first-of-its-kind test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile killer is being conducted with a “defense-of-Hawaii scenario” in mind.
The new SM-3 Block IIA missile, with longer reach and greater speed, could not only provide greater protection for Hawaii, but also Guam, other U.S. interests and Japan. The same ship- and shore-based missile would be used in Romania and Poland against Iranian missiles.
Russia doesn’t like any of it, and has said so repeatedly….
read … Hawaii defense key in upcoming shoot-down test
Corona Virus News: