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Monday, April 13, 2020
April 13, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:55 PM :: 1376 Views

Hawaii #1 -- States with the Most Affected Small Businesses due to Coronavirus

Unmasked: Petition Demands Caldwell Reopen Fabric Stores

246 Candidates File for Election

COVID Count -- Five New Cases -- Five Recover

What problem is Honolulu’s curfew supposed to solve?

ILind: … Mayor Caldwell, drawing on his emergency powers, declared the 11 pm to 5 am curfew on Thursday, April 9, via Emergency Order 2020-5. You can read the full text of this emergency order here.

What’s troubling to me here is that there is nothing at all in the emergency order itself indicating what problem this curfew is supposed to be the solution for. It recites what the city believes is the legal basis for the order, but nothing about the actual circumstances believed to justify it.

The problem here, it seems to me, is that emergency powers aren’t unlimited. Ultimately, the public should be assured that there is a compelling reason for each emergency policy, and that the specific restrictions on individual rights being imposed are justified and are not more extreme than necessary.

In the case of this curfew, it’s impossible to say because the reasons for it haven’t been openly discussed.

At a press conference at which Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced the curfew, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard made only a few general observations hinting at a problem.

“There are a few who continue to not follow the rules,” Ballard said. “So what I want to let people know, HPD is going to be out there doing stricter enforcement.”

She specifically mentioned increasing enforcement at the beach parks.

But no specifics were given.

If there’s a problem such that a general overnight curfew is the best solution, shouldn’t we know a bit more about it? Are there statistics on police calls to or arrests as the result of significant gatherings of people between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.? Have there been more than a few hot spots? If so, why not lay out the situation clearly so that those of us in the public understand why we’re being asked to put up with this additional lock-down? ….

UPDATE: 04/14/20 City ends island-wide nighttime curfew

read … What problem is Honolulu’s curfew supposed to solve?

Activists Question COVID Violation Tack-ons

L360: … Lisa Foster, co-director of the Fines and Fees Justice Center, noted that the ongoing economic downturn and skyrocketing unemployment claims will likely make paying such high fines exceptionally difficult when courts start processing those cases.

“Unless the person accumulates multiple citations, a citation or fine should be dismissed,” Foster said. “The crisis is over, they’ve learned their lesson. If they do have multiple citations and they’ve truly put the public health at risk, then of course there should be an ability to pay determination — as there should be whenever a fine is imposed.”

Another COVID-19 law enforcement tactic has been to stack charges, as happened to a man accused of petty misdemeanor theft in Keaau, Hawaii. The crime normally carries up to 30 days of jail time or a fine of up to $1,000, but because it occurred amid an emergency proclamation, prosecutors enhanced the charges to felony status: The man now faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines, all over a car battery valued at $250.

Betsy Pearl, associate director of criminal justice reform at the Center for American Progress, said it's hard to track how often such stacking is occurring, but anecdotal reports in other states have shown that the Hawaii case is not a unique outlier.

“There are jurisdictions using stay-at-home orders as a prosecutorial tool instead of a public safety tool,” she noted. “People are facing significantly longer sentences for behavior that, a month ago, wouldn’t have carried that kind of weight.”

NM: How to Handle Those Who Don't Play by Social Distancing Rules

read … Can Law Enforcement Handle Scofflaws Amid A Pandemic?

Jail populations drop 25% amid virus pandemic as Police Stop Making Arrests and Prosecutors Give Homeless Criminals a Free Pass

SA: … The number of inmates being housed in the state’s four jails has dropped by 25% in just over a month’s time as various segments of the criminal justice system work to lower populations in the facilities amid fears of widespread coronavirus infection….

No one in the state’s correctional system has tested positive for COVID-19 — three inmates have been tested, all with negative results. But local inmate advocates (are hoping to parlay this into a mass release of criminals)….

The total jail population Thursday was 1,641 inmates, 548 fewer than on March 2, according to the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the state correctional system.

DPS officials attribute the drop to a concerted effort by judges, police, prosecutors, public defenders and their own Intake Services Division to limit the number of people who need to be in jail.

“It’s not that anybody who’s been incarcerated has been miraculously released in response to COVID,” Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda told the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 on Thursday.

“What it is, is that less and less people are being brought in because of the activities of the police department, the prosecutors and the public defenders, and as the people get routinely released on bail or after finishing their sentences, they’re not being replaced with new arrestees,” Espinda said….

For instance, transients without a home address would under normal circumstances be charged right away because of concerns they wouldn’t be located later. “I’m not saying we’re letting them go; we’re just not charging them right away,” he said….

The largest and smallest of the four state-run jails are now operating below operational capacity. Oahu Community Correctional Center in Kalihi housed 906 inmates Thursday, down from 1,201 on March 2. OCCC’s operational capacity is 954. Kauai Community Correctional Center housed 101 inmates Thursday, down from 143 on March 2 and below its operational capacity of 128.

The Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo housed 304 inmates Thursday, still significantly over its operational capacity of 226 but a decrease from 395 on March 2. The Maui Community Correctional Center’s population of 330 is also above its operational capacity of 301 but still a decrease from the 450 inmates in its population on March 2….

read … Jail populations drop amid virus pandemic

Dr Scott Miscovich warns of community spread from Maui Memorial outbreak

KITV: … Dr Miscovich and his team of COVID-19 task force volunteers have been aggressively testing on Maui with the help of Mayor Mike Victorino.

At least 29 healthcare workers and patients at Maui Memorial are positive for COVID-19, but Dr. Miscovich says that’s just the tip of the iceberg, with results this week expected to show community spread.

“Maui has been going on for a while, there have been a lot of positives throughout the hospital. We're going to find it's going to have spread in many different areas," he said. "So just be prepared as the numbers come back from Maui. They are going to go up but we have to aggressively check them.”…

KHON: Positive cases at Maui Memorial Medical Center increase, some staff feel unsafe

MT: Maui Hospital Workers Still Not Wearing Correct Masks?

SA: More cases confirmed at Maui Memorial hot spot

read … Dr Scott Miscovich warns of community spread from Maui Memorial outbreak

Stakes are high for Honolulu's paramedics amid COVID-19 pandemic

KITV: … Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Public Information Officer Shayne Enright told KITV4 they receive between 80 and 100 "suspected COVID-19 calls" per day.

"On every call that the paramedics and first responders are going to they don’t know if that person is sick or if they’ve tested positive for COVID-19," said Enright.

She said right now, personal protective equipment is critical for EMS paramedics and first responders.

Paramedics are wearing eye protection, an N-95 mask and gloves to every call. They add a gown for flu-like symptoms and put a Tyvek suit over that if it is any worse. …

read … Stakes are high for Honolulu's paramedics amid COVID-19 pandemic

Hawaii County wants coronavirus testing for all homeless

HTH: … Hawaii County is asking the state to test all homeless and homeless program staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The county recently submitted a request to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency for testing of all unsheltered and sheltered (those living in emergency shelters and transitional housing) and program staff, according to Sharon Hirota, Mayor Harry Kim’s executive assistant assigned to homelessness….

“We are waiting for a response from HI-EMA,” Hirota said, noting information hasn’t been shared with her about any person in the homeless population who has tested positive for COVID-19….

read … County wants coronavirus testing for all homeless

Fake COVID-19 warnings posted in Waianae park in effort to scare Homeless Away

KITV: … A fake flyer making the rounds on social media in Waianae is generating a lot of concern.

It has what appears to be the State Department of Health logo claiming there was a COVID-19 case in Mauna Lahilahi Park. Turns out it's not true.  The state didn't put them up and there's no coronavirus case in the park.

State Representative Cedric Gates (D-Waianae) who covers the district says drugs and homelessness have been a problem in the park and the signs were put up by someone hoping to use pandemic fear to scare them away….

read … Fake COVID-19 warnings posted in Waianae park

Mayor considering making fabric stores ‘essential’ as sales move online

HNN: … People who wanted to make masks formed long lines outside stores like Fabric Mart after the mayor strongly recommended that masks should be worn in public to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“There was a line that went from zero to a thousand,” said Peter Kim at the Aiea Fabric Mart store. “It went from a 20-minute wait to a three-hour wait. It went as far as a seven-hour wait.”

Those long lines prompted the city to rule that fabric stores were not essential, and ordered Fabric Mart to close its doors.

It quickly pivoted to online sales.

“It’s a big shift,” said Fabric Mart’s Angie Lee Kim. “I would say that it was a small percentage of our sales, but now it’s like one hundred percent.”

Online orders have skyrocketed from a maximum of about 50 per day to 300 per day. And that number continues to climb….

The mayor said there could be a supplemental order as soon as Monday that will allow some form of shopping for people to get fabric to make masks….

Background: Unmasked: Petition Demands Caldwell Reopen Fabric Stores

KITV: Petition to Mayor Caldwell: 'Fabric stores are essential'

read … Mayor considering making fabric stores ‘essential’ as sales move online

No Evictions Can be Filed Until May 1 and then Most are Still Blocked

CB: … Certain landlords are eligible for up to one year of loan forbearance and are prohibited from filing to evict tenants for not paying rent until July 26, according to the U.S. CARES Act. They include landlords with federally backed mortgages and those who deal with federal funds, like public housing and Section 8.

But landlords whose mortgages are not federally backed – about 40% of Hawaii mortgages, according to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz – and those who own their properties outright can still file for eviction for nonpayment of rent.

In Hawaii, that group of landlords is unable to actually evict anyone right now because Hawaii courts are closed until April 30. But the stay on evictions doesn’t mean tenants are off the hook for their rent.

On May 1, Hawaii is likely to see a flurry of eviction notices…

read … Hawaii’s Not Ready For A Wave Of Evictions Caused By The Pandemic

Honolulu Star-Advertiser to do away with one day of traditional print

HNN: … The Honolulu Star-Advertiser has informed its subscribers that the coronavirus crisis — mixed with changes in the way readers consumer news — is placing an extraordinary strain on the newspaper’s financial operations.

After May 2, traditional Saturday newspapers will be a thing of the past for them. The company will eliminate the Saturday print edition and publish only a digital version available online. This will be for Saturdays only. The rest of the days will be printed as normal.

“Every business is making necessary adjustments both short and long-term during this COVID-19 crisis and newspapers are no different,” said Dennis Francis, President and Publisher of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

“With recent usage of staradvertiser.com reaching as high as 1.2 million page views in one day, it is clear that our loyal subscriber base continues to increasingly rely on Star-Advertiser digital outlets for news and updates," Francis added.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser also encourages users to download their mobile news app.

Every other day of the week, subscribers will have access to both the print and digital editions….

(IDEA: Outlaw Craigslist.)

read … Honolulu Star-Advertiser to do away with one day of traditional print

Suddenly Homeschooling, Parent Realizes How Disappointing DoE is

HTH: … Taylor “U‘i” Barongan, 16, a 12th-grade early graduate of Connections Public Charter School in Hilo, said the transition to online learning hasn’t been too difficult, but she has noticed some teachers have had trouble adjusting to the online platforms.

“The only difficulty I’ve noticed among students — myself included, on occasion — is the motivation to attend class,” she said. “Completing assignments and attending lectures can be easy when you are already at the destination where your work is turned in upon completion. Being at home means that there are no friends or teachers to scold you about doing your work.”

The outbreak, though, has put a damper on her senior year.

“Many of the events that everyone has been looking forward to, such as prom, our school fair, and graduation, seem to be having a very grim future,” Barongan said. “The graduating seniors this year worked so hard — especially those who are graduating a year early — and it’s tough knowing that you may not get to celebrate in the way you feel you deserve to.

“Many folks as of late have been mentioning how the class of 2020 has been ‘robbed.’ Though it may be true in some contexts, perhaps it will give us an opportunity to become more creative with our prom and graduation plans.”

Parents have had differing experiences during this transition. The Tribune-Herald has offered these parents anonymity to speak freely.

“There is a lot of assumption from the schools that parents and children are readily available,” said one parent in Pahoa, whose two children attend Keonepoko Elementary School. “Not everyone is in lockdown (or) off work. Basically, I am having to do homework, teach them and work full-time. It’s tough. Not that it’s a lot of homework, but it still is a lot for a single parent.”

The parent said she is “highly disappointed” in Hawaii’s education system.

“Now that I am doing homework with the kids, I’m realizing how much they really don’t know or understand and should know.”…

read … When parents sub for teachers: Distance-learning has put a strain on many as students stay home

State urges Hawaii’s Colleges to disburse emergency cash grants for students impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

KHON: … The grants, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will be distributed immediately as per an announcement by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos. The CARES Act provides funds to colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs and are required to provide cash grants to students for expenses related to disruptions to their educations due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Expenses may include, but are not limited to, course materials and technology, food, housing, health care, and childcare….

read … State urges Hawaii’s Colleges to disburse emergency cash grants for students impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

How OHA Insiders Make ‘Environmental Justice’ into a Money Spinner

NPQ: … How can philanthropy support environmental justice and health among Native Hawaiians? A few key principles to keep in mind: 1) invest in indigenous leadership; 2) build community capacity and indigenous futures; 3) be a partner and friend, not just a funder; and 4) recognize how health is holistic and complex ….

read … 4 Principles for Environmental Justice: Lessons from Hawai‘i

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