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Friday, June 5, 2020
June 5, 2020 News Release
By Andrew Walden @ 7:48 PM :: 3092 Views

UPW Prison Guard Busted Allegedly Smuggling Meth into OCCC

Honolulu’s Terrible Folly and a Transit Mystery

Land Use: Disparate Impact

Free Food Giveaways set to conclude

HD5 Rep Creagan Withdraws from Race for Reelection

ERS Risks $75M of Your Retirement Fund on Hawaii High Tech Startups

Honolulu 7th Largest Increase in Unemployment 

Kym Pine: ANTIFA Agitator Photos not Credible

COVID Count: Six new cases out of 921 tests

While 200K Unemployed Twist in Wind, DBEDT, Senators Feud over ‘Bullying’

SA:  … A briefing on how to reopen Hawaii’s economy was canceled today due to an evolving spat between some members of the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 and the head of the state Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism.

DBEDT Director Mike McCartney was slated to present an economic redevelopment plan along with about nine department heads under his agency’s umbrella. But just after the 1 p.m. briefing was supposed to start, McCartney sent an email to Senate President Ron Kouchi asking him to postpone DBEDT’s appearance.

McCartney informed Kouchi that he was filing a complaint under Rule 72 against Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz and Sen. Glenn Wakai “for violations under title 10 of the state administrative polices and procedures and rule 81 of the senate rules.”…

Dela Cruz said the Senate committee asked state Attorney General Clare Connors today to help facilitate (babysit) a future briefing with DBEDT….

McCartney said DBEDT’s State Economic Recovery Draft Strategy Plan is posted on the DBEDT website and was shared with the Senate before 1 p.m. today….

read … About Tiny People Whose Petty Concerns are More Important than 200K unemployed

Budget Chief: Deep Cuts Loom For The University of Hawaii

CB: … After just over an hour of animated discussion Thursday between UH administrators and the university’s Board of Regents, one thing became painfully clear: without swift budget cuts, UH will not survive the fallout brought on by the coronavirus.

“There will be prolonged, possibly perpetual changes to how the university is run,” Kalbert Young, the UH budget chief, told the board….

Young put together several scenarios for how much money UH could lose in the next fiscal year. In the worst case, in which the state yanks 25% of its funding and tuition revenues drop 15%, the university will have $181 million less to spend from its $1 billion operating budget.

About half of that comes out of the state’s general funds, which is expected to take a hit from the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 response effort.

Some campuses could be worse off than others. UH Manoa, for example, would be close to slipping into the red if tuition dropped by 5% while state funding dropped 10%.  “Beyond that, it would be unsurvivable,” Young said….

HTH: Prepare as it might, UHH athletics remains in wait-and-see mode

read … Budget Chief: Deep Cuts Loom For The University of Hawaii

HSTA, DoE Still Pushing for Fake Online Classes so Teachers Can be Paid to do Nothing

SA: … An outpouring of testimony submitted by parents and teachers to the Board of Education on Thursday showed vastly divergent opinions.

Some pleaded for schools to reopen with safety measures while others said they shouldn’t open at all for fear of spreading the new coronavirus. Some demanded mask wearing and social distancing, while others said children aren’t likely to spread the disease and that masks are problematic….

“I want so badly to be back in my classroom, but I am scared,” testified Lori Hull, a kindergarten teacher at Waialua Elementary. “I feel like online learning is a poor substitute for in-person learning for 5-year-olds.”

“They just don’t get it if you aren’t there with them, but at the same time, they do not know how to keep their bodies away from each other,” she added. “I usually have 20 kids in my class, and I don’t want them to spread COVID to me and my family and their families, either.”

While some families suggested staggering attendance to reduce the number of students on campus at any given time, many working parents said they didn’t know how they would handle child care if their kids went to school only a few days a week.

The department hopes to reopen schools Aug. 4 for the new academic year, but how education will be configured is still being worked out. The board’s meeting centered on offering guidance to the Department of Education….

Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said social distancing is difficult in crowded classrooms.

“If we do open our schools and do not maintain social distances, we will face the same problems that were faced by South Korea and Israel,” Rosenlee said. “They quickly had to close schools after a rash of cases.”…

HTH: Parents, teachers weigh in on how to reopen schools this fall

HPR: Kishimoto said when the state Legislature reconvenes, she will be asking for funds but particularly to prioritize (online?) ‘instructional’ (paid HSTA) time for students and provide access to education (free laptops and internet connections) for the children of highest-need (so they can pretend to be part of the pretend classes). 

"And if we go to school and we just try to jam pack all the kids the way it used to be into classrooms, then the only thing that we can be sure about is that schools will close down because someone will get sick.”

read … Parents, teachers weigh in on reopening Hawaii’s public schools

HART Has Spent Millions On Rail Design Work That May Not Be Used

CB: … In 2012, Honolulu rail officials awarded a nearly $44 million contract to the global firm AECOM. Its scope was to design the last stretch of guideway into town and the utility relocations needed to build that elevated track.

Fast forward nearly eight years: The guideway design work that AECOM was hired to do — and had started doing — has since been removed and transferred to rail’s last remaining major construction contract, which has yet to be awarded.

But instead of a decrease in cost, AECOM’s contract is getting more expensive.

On Thursday, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board members gave their initial approval to the design deal’s latest change order, a $9.2 million increase. That brings the contract’s total cost to at least $67 million….

read … HART Has Spent Millions On Rail Design Work That May Not Be Used

Hawaii Co Council approves budget with property tax hike

HTH: … Taxes will increase for luxury real estate under a budget passed Thursday evening by the Hawaii County Council.

The council approved by an 8-1 vote tacking on an additional $2.50 in taxes for each thousand of property value of more than $2 million for second homes in residential districts while leaving other classes of property alone. The budget proposed by Mayor Harry Kim would have added $3.50. Kohala Councilman Tim Richards voted no.

The council then passed the budget by the same votes.

That means annual taxes on a $10 million home will increase by about $24,200 to $134,200….

read … Council approves budget

24% Unemployment—but No County Workers Laid Off

HTH: … Hawaii County had an unemployment rate of 24% in April, as opposed to 2.9% in March and 3.4% in April 2019.

Mayor Harry Kim said Thursday he’s “not surprised.” He said his figures show about 21,000 unemployed on the Big Island….

“And there are some districts on this island that haven’t had a new case in four, five or six weeks,” he added. “… We never had one person on this island admitted to the hospital except for overnight observation.”…

Asked if the still-burgeoning unemployment figures are a fair trade-off for the flattening of the coronavirus curve, he replied, “Hell, no. I don’t know what else to tell you.”…

Kim said Ige’s order lifting interisland travel quarantine on June 16 will help ease unemployment somewhat, “but not much, and I don’t want to be related to the word ‘much.’”

The 14-day quarantine on arriving passengers from out of state remains in effect until June 30, although Ige has indicated he is likely going to extend it sometime next week — but didn’t say how long that extension will be….

Kim said there are about 2,800 county employees, none of whom have been laid off….

Kim said Fire Chief Darren Rosario was notified by the state Legislature that because of decreases in general excise tax revenues, budget cuts being considered include lifeguards at Hapuna Beach State Park and Kua Bay in West Hawaii, and the emergency medical unit at Hawaiian Paradise Park in Puna.

Those functions, Kim said, are performed by the Hawaii Fire Department but funded by the state….

read … Kim ‘not surprised’ by unemployment numbers

Hawaii Does Not Reveal How Many COVID Deaths in Nursing Homes

SC: …Some states have even higher proportions of COVID-19 deaths in LTCFs. According to Kaiser Family Foundation data, as of May 28, 81percent of COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota and Rhode Island had occurred in nursing homes. In Connecticut the proportion was 71 percent and in New Hampshire it was 70 percent. Another 22 states reported that 50 percent or more of their COVID-19 deaths occurred in LTCFs. Despite these lopsided figures, 11 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North and South Dakota) continue to not report the number of COVID-19 deaths occurring in LTCFs, which has contributed to a vast underestimation of the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States.

read … Long term care facilities are where most COVID-19 deaths occur

If George Floyd Died In Hawaii, We’d Know Little About The Cop Who Killed Him

CB: … In the week since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, news reporters and the public have uncovered that Chauvin had a long record of problematic policing.

“In nearly two decades with the Minneapolis Police Department, Derek Chauvin faced at least 17 misconduct complaints, none of which derailed his career,” the New York Times reported.

But if the killing had happened in Honolulu — or any other part of Hawaii — that information might have been impossible to find out. Unlike Minneapolis, Hawaii police departments don’t maintain publicly available online databases of complaints against police officers….

read … If George Floyd Died In Hawaii, We’d Know Little About The Cop Who Killed Him

Stressed Due to no Tourists to Mooch, Homeless Killing Each Other in Bumfights

SA: … The killing of a homeless man in Kakaako on Wednesday night underscores the deadly world of Oahu’s homeless population, where the average life expectancy is 30 years less than someone with a home for reasons including violence and deteriorating health.

And the threats seem to be growing at a time when traditional sources of food are drying up under the increasing demand for food across Oahu in response to rampant unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic.

“There’s a lot of desperation,” said Connie Mitchell, executive director of the Institute for Homeless Services in Iwilei, which operates Hawaii’s largest emergency homeless shelters. “It’s so discouraging, the amount of violence that has been on the street lately.”

Two homeless men last month were stabbed in front of IHS’ men’s shelter on Sumner Street in unrelated incidents. One victim was an IHS client, and the other lived in a nearby homeless encampment, Mitchell said.

Last week another male IHS client was found dead in front of the men’s shelter.

“He had multiple underlying chronic conditions, and he was alcoholic,” Mitchell said.

Already this week a 37-year-old homeless woman died following a seizure in IHS’ women’s shelter, and an IHS client in her 60s was found dead in her Housing First apartment, Mitchell said….

MN: Mainland Criminal Moves to Maui to Evade Virginia Warrant, Shoots up Food Truck 

read … Homeless homicide underscores high risk of life on Oahu’s streets

Mayor signs bills jacking up the cost of housing to subsidize electric cars

HNN: … Bill 25 requires every new home that’s built from now on to be photovoltaic-ready so the homeowner can easily install panels if and when they decide to.

The new law also ensures every new building has the infrastructure to support EV charging stations and new parking lots must have at least 25% of their stalls wired and ready to go….

NR: Mayor Caldwell signs progressive energy Code, highlights job creation from City green energy projects in COVID-19 economic recovery

read … Mayor signs bills aimed at bolstering access to solar, EV charging stations

Anti-5G Conspiracy Nuts Waste Time in Hilo

HTH: … Andrew Tomlinson, site acquisition specialist for AT&T, told the commission Thursday that it is actually not legally capable of denying the use permit based on fears of cell tower radiation.

“Principally, the commission’s hearing violates federal law,” Tomlinson said. “During the previous hearing for the use permit application, the emotional distress expressed by public testifiers was grounded solely in their fear of radio frequency emissions from the proposed monopole. This fear is not grounded in fact.”

Tomlinson said any possible radiation emissions from the tower will fall well within parameters set by the Federal Communications Commission and added that federal law prohibits state and local governments from regulating the construction of wireless service facilities based on radiation concerns so long as the facility meets FCC parameters….

read … Planning commission approves permit for contentious cell tower

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