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Thursday, May 28, 2020
May 28, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:43 PM :: 2674 Views

With Campaign Over, Gabbard Drops Suit Against Clinton

Blue Crush: How a One-Party State is Crushing the Little Guy

Mayor outlines plan to get more of Oʻahu safely back to work

Mayor Victorino announces broad reopening of businesses and services on June 1 in Maui County

Hawaii to be a top post-pandemic travel destination

Hawaii Safest State for Seniors During COVID-19

Latest Poll Shows 2-1 Margin in Support of TMT on Maunakea

HGEA Endorses Keith Amemiya for Honolulu Mayor

UHERO: How Long Will Reopening Take?

COVID Count--3 new cases out of 742 tests

Mayoral Race Blangiardi 21% Hanabusa 15%

CB: … If the primary election for mayor of Honolulu were held this week, former television executive Rick Blangiardi and former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa would appear set for a general election runoff on Nov. 3.

That’s because it takes 50% plus 1 of the vote to win the Aug. 8 primary outright.

The Civil Beat Poll, conducted with Hawaii News Now, shows Blangiardi leading Hanabusa 21% to 15%.

Businessman Keith Amemiya is third with 10% and Honolulu City Councilwoman Kym Pine is fourth with 9%. Choon James, a real estate agent and community activist, is at 3%.

But the real takeaway from this poll is that the mayor’s race appears up for grabs. Nearly one-third of those surveyed (30%) say they are unsure who they’ll vote for, while another 12% won’t vote for any of those candidates….

Related: HGEA Endorses Keith Amemiya for Honolulu Mayor

CB: As of February, Amemiya had raised the most campaign cash among those seeking to replace Mayor Kirk Caldwell.


read … Honolulu Mayor’s Race Is Up For Grabs

Cocaine: Earl Tsuneyoshi Announces Run For Menor’s Council Seat

CB: … Earl Tsuneyoshi announced his candidacy on Thursday for the Honolulu City Council district covering Waikele, Mililani and parts of Ewa Beach…. he is challenging former state Sen. Will Espero and comedian Augie T for the District 9 spot ….

As Explained: Cocaine: Another Tsuneyoshi Running for Honolulu Council

read … Cocaine

Hawaii senators support effort for ‘travel bubble’ agreement with Japan

SA: … An effort to reopen Hawaii’s tourism economy by forming a pilot “travel-safely bubble” with Japan got a preliminary blessing from state lawmakers today.

Hawaii Executive Collaborative members Paul Yonamine and Duane Kurisu appeared before the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 today to ask for support to explore reaching a travel agreement with Japan to relax travel restrictions between the two destinations.

The nonprofit Hawaii Executive Collaborative bills itself as “a group of leaders from all sectors committed to driving collective action to address our community’s toughest challenges.” …

Yonamine, Central Pacific Financial Corp. chairman and CEO, said an agreement between Japan and Hawaii would likely allow incoming visitors from Japan, who have met certain safety thresholds, to bypass Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for trans-Pacific passengers.

Yonamine said travel bubble planners are ready to start meeting Monday and have set tentative goal of July 1 for welcoming back Japan, which is Hawai’s top international market.

Last year, Hawaii welcomed 1.6 million visitors from Japan, which supplied 15% of all the visitors to Hawaii. However, only 13 visitors traveled from Japan to Hawaii last month due to COVID-19 fears and tourism lockdowns ….

TGI: Feasibility of a Japan travel bubble

KITV: Several other countries including South Korea and China already have implemented similar travel bubbles.  Australia and New Zealand have also announced plans to create a bubble that could be extended to Fiji and other Pacific islands.

Precisely as Predicted: Hawaii: The Road to Corona Recovery Leads Through Japan

Related: A Low-Risk Plan to Re-Start Hawaii Tourism Now

read … Hawaii senators support effort for ‘travel bubble’ agreement with Japan

Union Hotel workers demand safe return to work with mass testing

KHON: … More than 100 cars with hotel workers and supporters behind the wheel joined a caravan demonstration down Waikiki to voice safety demands and be a part of the state’s plans to reopen tourism.

It is a demonstration under times of social distancing, union members of Unite Here Local 5, did not gather in large groups like in the past, they stayed inside their moving cars advocating for a safe return to work.

Jason Maxwell is a bartender at two hotels in Waikiki that remain closed, he wants to make sure he is able to return to work and remain in good health.

Maxwell said, “We are literally the ones in the front lines so the people making decisions whoever they might be are not the ones that are out actually like me as a bartender, they are not going to have people in front of them.”

He said he has been passing by with vacation hours he was able to accrue. Front desk clerks, housekeepers, servers and bartenders were all part of the car caravan, many of these jobs were practically gone when COVID-19 forced the majority of hotels to shutter….

The union urges the hotel industry to adopt guidelines released in its report, “Safe Hotels, Safe Hawaii“, it prioritizes COVID-19 testing for workers.

“I want to stay healthy of course and testing is important,” Maxwell said. “We do have to work, we know we have to, so we can’t stay home forever but we just want to get back in there and make it as safe as possible.”

Green said there is the capability to test 5,000 people per day and he expects availability to grow.

Green said, “We should not be shy about testing, we should fund it and we should make it available.” 

SA: Hotel workers want protection before tourism resumes

Related: Hawaii Wastes Thousands of COVID Testing Opportunities Every Day

read … Hotel workers demand safe return to work in car caravan

Reopening: Green, Caldwell One-upmanship

SA: … With the flattest COVID-19 curve in the nation, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said Wednesday that Hawaii should have reopened interisland travel and limited business activity “10 days ago.”

“We should have opened 10 days ago. That was a mistake,” said Green, a Hawaii island emergency room physician. “From a medical standpoint, we would have been totally fine 10 days ago.”

On Wednesday, Gov. David Ige approved Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s request to reopen outdoor attractions today — with restrictions — including pools, camp grounds, people’s open markets, Sea Life Park, water parks, and shooting and archery ranges. Ige also approved Caldwell’s request to reopen “personal service providers” on Friday, including barbers, hair dressers, nail salons and tattoo businesses….

SF: Coordination

read … Reopen Now

Kauai Council Approves $2.3M Property Tax Hike

TG: … The county plans to allow a 90-day grace period on upcoming property tax payments in addition to temporarily waiving transaction fees payments.

By deferring the property tax payments for about three months, the deadline to pay will go from Aug. 20 to Nov. 18. After that, taxpayers will face late fees….

The council approved Fiscal Year 2020-21 tax rates, which will remain flat for most residents. The county anticipates about $155,780,336 in real property tax revenue to go into the General Fund.

The only upcoming change is for high-value, residential investment properties. Taxes will go from $8.05 and to $9.40 in the upcoming fiscal year per $1,000 of assessed value. This will add about $2.3 million in revenue ….

read … Tax Hike

Kauai County faces prohibited practices complaint for 4-day workweek

TGI: … The County of Kaua‘i is under fire for its implementation of a four-day 10-hour work schedule.

The Hawai‘i Government Employees Association has filed a Prohibited Practices Complaint against the county.

Mayor Derek Kawakami announced the change on April 30, temporarily shifting employee hours to 6:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. This schedule gives employees Friday off. This will be in effect until the state’s disaster proclamation is lifted or when school resumes, whichever arrives first....

TGI: HGEA: Majority opposed work week change

read … County faces prohibited practices complaint for 4-day workweek

What Have Lobbyists Been Doing While You Were Locked Down?

ILind: … Governor David Ige’s adinistration and the Hawaii State Legislature have been considering exactly how to restart and redirect Hawaii’s economic recovery.

Whatever decisions are made, there are likely to be winners and losers.

Do you suppose Hawaii’s professional lobbyists have been standing down during this health crisis, since they recognize their special interests, or those of their clients, are far less important than the overall public interest at times like this?


Seriously, I doubt lobbyists have curtailed their efforts during the crisis. After all, there are lots of behind the scenes discussions, and are likely to be relatively hasty decisions made that involve an awful lot of public money. That spells opportunities for some of those special interests.

Our problem right now is that we know even less than usual about what lobbyists have been up over the past few months.

Next Monday, June 1, is the deadline for registered lobbyists, and organizations that employ lobbyists, to disclose what they’ve been spending to influence public policy.

It’s the normal due date for disclosure reports covering lobbying activities during March and April. In a normal year, this would include all but the final few days of the legislative session….

read … Next Monday (June 1) is the “new” deadline for lobbyist disclosures

HGEA Sues Kauai County Challenges Use of Emergency Order to Rewrite Labor Agreement for 4-day workweek

TGI: … The County of Kaua‘i is under fire for its implementation of a four-day 10-hour work schedule.

The Hawai‘i Government Employees Association has filed a Prohibited Practices Complaint against the county.

Mayor Derek Kawakami announced the change on April 30, temporarily shifting employee hours to 6:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. This schedule gives employees Friday off. This will be in effect until the state’s disaster proclamation is lifted or when school resumes, whichever arrives first.

“This temporary emergency action was taken in the name of public health, and is in line with authority under emergency state laws,” Kawakami said in a statement Wednesday. “We respect HGEA’s right to disagree with how much collective bargaining process must be maintained to initiate temporary changes to working conditions during an emergency.”

The lawsuit is currently pending before the Hawa‘i Labor Relations Board, according to HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira. HGEA could not comment any further.

Perreira, however, submitted a public testimony to the Kaua‘i County Council earlier this month about the change.

In it, Perreira writes that the HGEA “raises no concerns over the concept of a mutually agreed upon temporary 4-10 work agreement between employees and the County Administration, however, we raise strong opposition to the Employer unilaterally mandating this immediate change to employees’ work schedules.”….

read … County faces prohibited practices complaint for 4-day workweek

Quarantine Vigilantes Harass Waikiki Residents

HNN: … The man who shot that video didn't want to go on camera because he says he's elderly and still shaken up by what happened. But he did want to share his video in hopes that what happened to him doesn't happen to anyone else. He says he was minding his own business leaving this McDonald's when two guys came up on him and started harassing him.

The argument escalates quickly and he admits he gives it right back to them, but its when both threaten to call police that they accuse him of being tourist. 

The man is not sure why he was profiled but says he does sometimes carry a camera, which might make him look more like a tourist.

"Look at you.. Go back to Kansas," the men said.

Ironically the two actually correctly guessed the man's home state but he's not in Kansas anymore and hasn't been for a long time. He has lived in Waikiki for nearly a decade. 

His video making the rounds on Waikiki neighborhood groups some tell us the same thing has happened to them.

"I always look around I look at my back."

Mario moved to Hawaii from Canada five months ago and says he still gets people confusing him for a quarantine violator.

"Yeah the manager of my building, but he was misinformed and when I informed him the dates I arrived. He was quiet after that," Mario said….

SA: When visitors begin to return in large numbers, it would be wise for locals to guard against xenophobia

read … Morons

Quarantine Manhunts ‘Creepy’

WHT: … I can’t put my finger on it but there’s something creepy about arresting someone just for strolling out of his hotel room, especially in Hawaii.

It’s getting ridiculous. On Maui, there is an islandwide manhunt for an escaped tourist! Her crime was going to a 7-11 for a soda, or something similar. That set off the whole island. The mayor of Maui called a special news conference alerting the public to be on the lookout for a lady who willfully and maliciously left her room….

read … There has to be a better way

House Speaker Scott Saiki lays off 3 in House, cancels contracts

SA: … House Speaker Scott Saiki is laying off three permanent staff members in the state House of Representatives and canceling computer upgrades and some copier contracts to cut costs.

Saiki said the changes are part of an effort to “streamline” and modernize House offices to improve services, and said his goal is to cut $500,000 to $1 million from the $14.1 million budget that was just approved to operate the House through June 30, 2021.

“Since I became speaker, we have not really made an attempt to restructure offices in the House to see how they can be made more efficient,” he said. The House has about 125 year-round employees including 51 office managers, which is one each for the 51 state representatives….

Saiki said the positions of two staff lawyers in the House Majority Research office were eliminated along with the position of a clerk in the office, he said. That leaves the office with nine lawyers to draft legislation and handle legal research for the House….

read … House Speaker Scott Saiki lays off 3 in House, cancels contracts

Fearing COVID-19, patients are delaying urgent care and putting their health at risk, hospitals say

HNN: … Pali Momi Medical Center treats more than 300 stroke patients a year. The most serious cases trigger an all-hospital alert.

“We call a code stroke overhead so the entire hospital is aware that there is a stroke patient in need of desperate attention,” said Dr. Huidy Shu, medical director of Neurological Services.

But there is a disturbing trend being seen at Pali Momi.

In March and April, code Stroke cases suddenly fell by a third.

Sounds like a good thing but it isn't.

Shu said stroke patients have told him after the fact that they delayed getting help because they were afraid they'd catch coronavirus in the hospital.

"This is something that's not just being seen here, it's being seen worldwide," he said.

It’s also being seen by other hospitals in Hawaii. Emergency Medical Services said in April =, 911 calls for chest pains were down nearly 50% compared to a year ago….

Hawaii Pacific Health is still compiling statistics that show the decrease in emergency stroke and heart attack cases in all of its facilities during the pandemic.

The exact number will be known in a couple of months. Right now the estimate is 30 to 40%…

read … Fearing COVID-19, patients are delaying urgent care and putting their health at risk, hospitals say

HPD: 50 inmates released early on Oahu due to COVID-19 fears were re-arrested

HNN: … The Honolulu Police Department said that 50 of more than 300 inmates released on Oahu because of the COVID-19 pandemic have been taken back into custody.

Some were re-arrested multiple times.

And one man — Matthew Chung — was taken back into custody four times for different offenses.

He was originally serving a deferred sentence for fourth-degree theft and third-degree drug promotion….

read … HPD: 50 inmates released early on Oahu due to COVID-19 fears were re-arrested

CARES Funds Homeless Psych Triage Center

SA: … The proposed Chinatown Homeless Triage and CARES Station was eligible for the CARES COVID-related Community Development Block Grant (CARES-CV CDBG) funding because it will serve to remove people from the street who pose a public health threat. CARES-CV CDBG funding was distributed to assist counties tackle blight, public health and homelessness issues that can be tied to mitigating impacts of the COVID 19 threat.

The initiatives planned for the proposed facility are designed to protect the Chinatown community from persons who have little cognitive capacity to implement individual actions that help reduce the spread of COVID 19 and other infectious diseases, including practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands regularly. Clients will be monitored while on site to keep the neighborhood safe and will be encouraged to stay on property until they are handed off to their next point of care.

While IHS has long been known for providing emergency shelter and meals, the breadth of assistance we offer also includes getting people access to mental health treatment.

We actively engage chronically homeless people and help them get medicated when appropriate. We use assertive outreach, intensive case management and a plethora of interventions that motivate people toward change.

We also go to court to request court-ordered treatment (including psychiatric medications) in some cases by filing petitions for guardianship or Assisted Community Treatment. These efforts are designed to reduce residents’ and business’ unpleasant encounters with out-of-control, unhealthy and vulnerable people who clearly need help to mitigate their disruptiveness….

SA: Virtual town hall to discuss proposed Chinatown homeless center related to COVID-19

read … Facility would protect Chinatown community, help homeless

Alternative Siting Methods Proposed for Hawai`i Energy Projects

IM: … The Consumer Advocate suggested a method of avoiding future battles over the choice of land selected by energy project developers.

The idea was presented this week in the Consumer Advocate`s Post-Hearing Brief on the proposed Maui Electric Company Power Purchase Agreement with Paeahu Solar., docket no. 2018-0433.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies could pre-select sites for development relying on a “Land RFP” process.

“Wherein the electric utility screens for and chooses a location for developers to bid on based on their ability to construct a renewable energy facility on-time and per a competitive budget.

“Besides controlling for the sizable land cost portion of project costs, the utility could reach out to nearby communities far in advance of project selection and earn community support for a project at that location - or, at least, screen for locations where a renewable energy project may not be accepted in the foreseeable future, before the momentum of invested time and money pushes a project forward in spite of community concerns.”

A community-led process for selecting sites was proposed by Kahuku community activists Sunny Unga and Jessica dos Santos, and attorney Ryan Hurley during the 2020 Legislative Session. This approach would require that a broad-based community group have meaningful involvement in future site design and planning.

An alternative approach would be for the HECO Companies to release selected information about proposed project sites and technologies after the RFP bids were sent to the utility but before the utility selected the winners. Thus the utility could understand community concerns while deciding which projects would be selected.

A third alternative approach would wait until the utility decided the winners and then release the site selected.

Related: Kahuku and Waimanalo Protests show why Hawaii Needs Municipal Government

read … Alternative Siting Methods Proposed for Hawai`i Energy Projects

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