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Monday, April 6, 2020
April 6, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:22 PM :: 1063 Views

Full Text: Council Chair Cries a River After Being Busted Giving Development Deal to Convicted Felon

We’re All Homeschoolers Now

Rail Contractors Speed up Construction while Oversight Personnel 'Work' from Home

COVID: 16 New Cases, 5th Death Recorded--3rd Day of Declining New Cases

Protect democracy by restoring open government in Hawaii

SA: …In times of emergency, the Constitution is not suspended. In fact, it is needed even more for transparency and accountability.

While we commend our elected leaders for recognizing the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and taking action to protect the health, safety and well-being of Hawaii’s people, it is disappointing that Gov. David Ige suspended our state’s open-meetings and open-records laws in his March 16 Supplemental Emergency Declaration.

Even though the Legislature is temporarily recessed and the entire state is under a stay-at-home order, our government continues to operate — as it should. But as it continues to function, democracy demands that the public be able to participate in its proceedings. Transparency and support of the public’s right to know are more, not less, critical during emergency situations.

Therefore, we respectfully ask that all legislative committee meetings — including at the county level and of executive department public bodies (e.g., commissions, boards, committees and task forces) — continue to be publicly held by remote access through audio and video means….

It is time to restore Hawaii’s sunshine and public records laws….

read … Protect democracy by restoring open government in Hawaii

VIDEO: Trucks Push Past Protesters as Caldwell Exploits Virus to Re-Launch Sherwoods Construction

HNN:  … Mayor Kirk Caldwell made the announcement Sunday. He said the city has made compromises with community members and the group “Save Our Sherwoods,” which had opposed the project.

Critics are already pushing back, saying the project should be kept on hold during the coronavirus crisis.

“The mayor is playing fast and loose with public health,” said Maureen Harnish. “It is inappropriate for him to do this in the middle of a pandemic for a controversial project that has repeatedly illustrated the passion of this community. It’s unconscionable.”

“Our community from Waimanalo has expressed strongly that they still don’t want the development of that place,” said Kuike Kamakea-Ohelo of “Save Our Sherwoods.”

A hearing for a lawsuit against the city has been pushed back because of the pandemic, according to plaintiffs.

Opponents said they do not plan to protest and put their health at risk..….

read … City to resume work on controversial field in Waimanalo

COVID Protects Council from Protesters So Reimbursement for TMT-related expenses back on the table

WHT: … More than three months after rejecting a deal with the state to reimburse law enforcement costs relating to the months-long anti-Thirty Meter Telescope protests last year, the Hawaii County Council will discuss a new agreement next week.

An amended agreement, which will go before the full council on Wednesday, authorizes the state to reimburse the county $5,342,262 — the exact total of overtime and other expenses incurred by the Hawaii County Police Department and Mayor’s Office during a period of increased law enforcement presence on Daniel K. Inouye Highway in response to the TMT protests last year.

A previous deal was proposed last year but was rejected in December. That deal would have reimbursed the county up to $10 million, but also included a condition that the agreement last for five years, during which time the usage of the remaining $4.7 million would be determined.

However, council members were displeased by the ambiguity of those terms, fearing that the $10 million came with strings that could force the county to provide security for TMT construction convoys or other projects. The council instead unanimously rejected that deal, forcing it to be rewritten….

The new deal will be discussed at a meeting of the council on Wednesday, although in order to comply with social distancing guidelines, the public will only be able to attend the meeting via live-stream and can submit written testimony. 

(Translation: The Council won’t have to sit and listen to hours of complaints before voting.)

read … Reimbursement for TMT-related expenses back on the table

Defense Lawyers Eager to Use COVID as Excuse for Dismissals—Molesters, Rapists, and Pimps May Walk

CB: … One of many issues raised by the closures and delays is whether defendants will get legally required “speedy trials.”…

“We’re in uncharted territory,” said (ex-con) Ken Lawson, legal analyst and co-director of the Hawaii (OJ Simpson) Innocence Project, who teaches at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law. “Does a pandemic suspend an individual’s right to a speedy trial?”….

The federal court canceled the sentencing hearings for Katherine and Louis Kealoha, Minh-Hung “Bobby” Nguyen and Derek Hahn, the high-profile defendants convicted in June of conspiracy and obstruction charges. They were scheduled to be sentenced on March 17 and 18, respectively….

The pandemic will run its course on its own time, but the state constitution guarantees a “speedy trial,” which Lawson sees as one of the biggest potential problems if the closures were to continue. In Hawaii, the limit is 180 days.

The clock is ticking even while the courts are closed during the pandemic, because constitutional rights have not been suspended, he said. Pretrial defendants are waiting for their day in court. Some are locked up because they couldn’t afford bail (nobody in their family wanted to bail them out.)

Meanwhile: Death Row 'Not-a-Pimp' McCoy Kicked out by Angry Mother

read … Justice Delayed: Pandemic Puts Court Cases And Lives On Hold

Three Honolulu Police officers test positive for COVID-19

KITV: … Honolulu Police officers have issued 4,660 warnings and 353 citations for emergency law violations. 

There were also 26 arrests that were connected to traffic or criminal offenses.  Most of the warnings and citations were issued at beach parks.

As of Monday, April 6th, 59 HPD officers have been tested for COVID-19.  There were 46 negative results and 3 positive results.  10 tests are still pending results….

HNN: Thieves steal $250K worth of protective gear that was destined for hospitals, first responders

read … Three Honolulu Police officers test positive for COVID-19

Two GOP state lawmakers say mass prisoner release is "terrible idea"

KITV: … "It's a terrible idea to release these prisoners into the general public," says Representative Bob McDermott. "Right now, the prisoners are in the safest place in Hawaii, totally isolated. Any prisoners released will have a greater chance of catching the virus than those in jail at this moment."….

"If you look at who is pushing this, it is the public defenders and others who are somewhat weak on punishment," Representative Gene Ward said. "It is well intended, but the logic is flawed and unsound given the current conditions of the Coronavirus pandemic and the high recidivism rate among all our prisoners."…

read … Two state lawmakers say mass prisoner release is "terrible idea"

Hawaii mayors consider stricter safety measures as coronavirus cases grow

SA: … Hawaii’s counties could see stronger social distancing mandates, including possible curfews and check­points in Maui County, depending on how well residents observe social distancing guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19….

Mayor Michael Victorino said Friday that he might establish for Maui County a curfew and vehicle checkpoints like those in place on Kauai.

“I think stricter rules may come down. I’m going to give everybody until Tuesday,” Victorino said. “I’m going to be watching very carefully. If numbers keep increasing and people still continue to go to the beach and congregate … then we may have to look at other methods of stricter rules, whether we’re talking curfews, whether we’re talking maybe even putting up checkpoints. I’m not sure at this point.”

Maui County has a small fraction of the 371 COVID-19 cases reported in Hawaii as of Sunday, but the county has experienced a spike recently, including nine new cases Friday and the first reported two cases on Molokai.

There were 43 cases in the county as of Sunday….

A University of Washington model projects the disease’s impact to peak in Hawaii at the beginning of May, when the state could see 12 deaths per day….

By one analysis, Hawaii has reduced its travel more than most states during the pandemic.

Unacast, a data company that is tracking the movements of individuals in the U.S. and using that data to assign grades to states, ranks Hawaii among the country’s leaders with respect to reduced travel.

Hawaii island Mayor Harry Kim had no issue with social distancing, but he wants to find a “balance” between social distancing policies and the well-being of people subjected to those policies.

Kim said that in the long run a “stay-at-home policy is … very, very detrimental to good emotional and physical health,” which could disproportionately affect seniors and those who live in high-rise buildings.

He said it is important that people are able to go outside to exercise, and will discuss which parks can be opened to promote outdoor exercise while still maintaining social distancing guidelines. State and county parks have been closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

read … Hawaii mayors consider stricter safety measures as coronavirus cases grow

Asymptomatic residents close to COVID-19 patients will soon get tested

HNN: … On March 20, state Health Director Bruce Anderson was on PBS Insights where he talked about who the state tests for coronavirus.

“There is no value in testing someone who is asymptomatic there’s zero. We can only hope to find the virus in someone who is symptomatic,” Anderson said.

This is what he said Friday at Gov.David Ige’s news conference:

“We’ve begun to look at those who are close contacts, even though they have not expressed symptoms. I expect we’re going to continue to see if we can identify individuals who have been infected and are asymptomatic.”

The change is due to new science that shows that even people who show no signs of being sick can spread the disease. It also underscores how much the medical industry’s knowledge of the disease is evolving every day.

Dr. Scott Miscovich said one medical study ― issued a couple of days ago — shows that as much as 20 percent of the people who are infected but are asymptomatic could in fact be spreading the disease.

“It’s very well established," he said….

“They tested everyone on some of the Princess cruise ships and they found also those groups have a very high percentage, twenty some percent, asymptomatic."

The new science could have helped someone like Peggy Torda-Saballa.

The Ewa Beach resident’s son Colby Torda got sick with the coronavirus in early-March and is in intensive care.

But she wasn’t tested until March 28th because she wasn’t symptomatic until then. She found out on Wednesday that she was infected.

Critics of Gov. David Ige’s handling of the disease believe that all people who have been in close contact with those infected should be tested.

“We absolutely must have universal testing. We need to go anywhere in the world to acquire the test kits so we can test everybody," former Gov. Neil Abercrombie told Hawaii News Now last week….

read … Asymptomatic residents close to COVID-19 patients will soon get tested

Nearly 25% in Hawaii fear having COVID-19 symptoms, survey shows

SA: … Nearly a quarter of Hawaii residents surveyed as part of a new COVID-19 tracking effort reported they had symptoms that could be the result of having the new coronavirus, according to data released today by the Pacific Urban Resilience Lab.

Pacific Urban Resilience Lab works to develop “new technologies and applications related to disaster risk reduction in urban area of Hawaii and the Pacific region”  (is an Omidyar operation.)  The results of their new COVID-19 study came from a survey of self-reported behaviors by approximately 11,000 Hawaii residents who participated in an electronic survey during the last week of March 202.

The survey asked respondents, “Do you live in the same household as someone who is exhibiting symptoms or is confirmed to have COVID-19;” and “Have you or members of your household returned from a trip within the last 14 days.” It also asked questions about travel exposure, quarantines, and about shelter and mode of transportation….

CB: Survey: Most Of Us Are Staying Home During Virus Outbreak

SA: COVID-19 cases rise as visitor counts grow

read … Nearly 25% in Hawaii fear having COVID-19 symptoms, survey shows

Hawaii Banks Start Rolling Out Relief To Small Firms

CB: … Playing its part in a massive gold rush aimed at helping local businesses with fewer than 500 workers, Hawaii banks have flipped the switch on a federal program designed to quickly steer some $350 billion to enterprises hurt by the COVID-19 crisis.

The so-called Paycheck Protection Program is part of the $2.2 trillion congressional stimulus package President Donald Trump signed into law on March 27. While other U.S. Small Business Administration programs are administered by the SBA, this one is run by the banks.

Small businesses are quickly lining up. By the end of the day on Friday, Bank of America said more than 85,000 customers had applied for $22.2 billion in loans….

“All the banks in Hawaii are hustling to make this work,” said Rich Wacker, president and chief executive of American Savings Bank. ASB alone has as many as 100 employees working on the loan program, with some working overnight, Wacker said.

The bank already had gotten more than 1,000 applications by early afternoon on Friday, Wacker said. And, he added, “That’s just our bank.”

The SBA has published a list of banks serving Hawaii.

To be sure, the program will not work for every business. Hotels and restaurants, especially those in big cities with high rents operating amid strict quarantines, have said the program is far from ideal for them….

SA: Hawaii small businesses are offered lifelines amid fight for survival

HPR: Innovation Can Save Some Restaurants, But Many Face Financial Peril

read … Hawaii Banks Start Rolling Out Relief To Small Firms

Study: Hawaii ranks #2 in most economically impacted by virus

KITV: …The report from Moody's Analytics and Yahoo Finance ranked Hawaii 2nd in the nation for states that are expected to be hit hardest financially from the pandemic.

Hawaii is ranked higher than the hardest hit states of Washington and New York.  The state's tourism industry is taking a massive hit due to travel restrictions--for the same reason why Nevada is rated first on the list. …

SA: VIDEO: House committee shares economic updates related to COVID-19 pandemic

read … Study: Hawaii ranks #2 in most economically impacted by virus

Paia confrontation over travel fears leaves visitors shaken

MN: … Trina Wade has been visiting Maui annually for the last 15 years. This year’s trip has been unlike any other, though.

Her family of five was threatened in Paia by locals who were yelling at them to “go home” on Saturday. The locals ended up throwing their Jamba Juice at the rental car, she said.

“We just feel at this point, we’re pretty unwelcome here,” Wade said via phone Saturday night. “They don’t know when we arrived. They think we just got off the plane, but we’ve been here for a long time.”…

read … Paia confrontation over travel fears leaves visitors shaken

National Guard to screen incoming, departing passengers at 5 Hawaii airports

KHON: … Starting Monday, April 6, 2020, the National Guard will be supporting Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and Hilo International Airport. Support for Kahului Airport, Lihue Airport, and the Ellison Onizuka International Airport at Keahole will be starting soon.

The guardsmen will be located at the passenger arrival gates and TSA security checkpoints to assist HDOT staff with medical screening that has been put in place during the COVID-19 crisis.

Arriving passengers from domestic and international destinations, as well as departing interisland passengers will have their temperature taken to determine if additional medical screening is necessary.

The guardsmen will not be armed while conducting this support mission….

read … National Guard to screen incoming, departing passengers at 5 Hawaii airports

Spanish Flu Killed 2,300 in Hawaii

SA:  … The last time a major pandemic swept through the islands — a century ago — more than 2,300 people in Hawaii died from what was called the Spanish flu.

Health officials initially downplayed the severity of the crisis, but before it was over, hospitals were overrun, makeshift medical facilities were set up and businesses temporarily shuttered as Hawaii struggled with the outbreak.

Largely forgotten today, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was the fourth most fatal epidemic in the historical record of Hawaii, according to a 1999 paper in the Hawaiian Journal of History.

read … Echoes of Spanish flu pandemic in Hawaii a century ago heard in coronavirus outbreak

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