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Monday, August 10, 2020
August 10, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:40 PM :: 3504 Views

Ige Replaces DoTax, DLIR Directors

UH reduces presence on campuses as COVID-19 impacts Hawaii

COVID Count: 140 new cases, 3 deaths, 3 hospitalizations

Miske Lawyer takes break from chairing OHA Campaign to seek Miske’s release

ILind: … on Friday, August 7, Miske’s legal team (including Thomas Otake, campaign chair for Jason Souza) filed a legal motion and series of supporting documents aimed at rebutting the government’s portrayal of their client and supporting his release to house arrest until his trial.

(The next day, Otake’s other client, Justin Souza, qualified for the OHA runoffs against OHA’s anti-corruption watchdog Trustee Keli’i Akina PhD.)

(Otake and the other lawyers) paint Miske as a loving and devoted family man whose mission is to be a “strong father figure” to his baby granddaughter, a man “intrinsically entwined with Hawaii” who strives to “selflessly and personally do what is best for others no matter the consequences.”

“Mr. Miske has a criminal record, but his last conviction was long ago,” his attorneys argue. “Since then, Mr. Miske has been an exceedingly hard-working, and successful, businessman.”

Included are seven letters written as character references by employees, family members and friends, and others. Four letters were written in August or September 2018, two in early 2019, and one is undated.

Miske’s legal team is made up of Honolulu attorneys Thomas M. Otake (see!) and Lynn E. Panagakos, along with Michael N. Burt, a highly-regarded San Francisco-based criminal defense attorney who has been named “learned counsel” because of his extensive experience in capital cases, as required by federal law when a case includes charges that could lead to the death penalty…. 

UPDATE: Bond denied for alleged crime boss Mike Miske as defense team grows

Background: Miske Lawyer Behind Campaign to Unseat OHA Trustee Keli’i Akina

read … Defense lawyers seek Mike Miske’s release to house arrest

Hawaii is the Worst State at Containing COVID Spread

SA: … “We are ‘super spreaders’,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich, the president and founder of Premier Medical Group Hawaii, who is running COVID testing sites. “National statistics show that for every one person that tests positive for corona­virus in Hawaii, the number of people that they are spreading to is the highest in the country.”

On Saturday, Hawaii’s reproduction number was 1.36, meaning people who test positive for coronavirus in the state will infect an average of 1.36 other people.

The reproduction rate of 1.36 is well above all other states. The next closest state was Montana with a rate of 1.13.

A rate above 1 means the virus will spread quickly. A rate below 1 means the virus will eventually stop spreading.

According to the data, Hawaii first rose above 1 on May 7, which was tied to the reopening of the local economy….

Meanwhile: New Zealand marks 100 days of coronavirus elimination

read … ‘We are super spreaders,’ says Dr. Scott Miscovich

Hawaii’s contact tracers are trained to trace the path of coronavirus, but most are waiting to be deployed

SA: … When a surge in coronavirus cases means everything is on the line, whom do most states call?

Contact tracers.

At the highest levels, contact tracers come from a cadre of professionals like virus hunters, virologists, epidemiologists and public health investigators. But in times of crisis, the profession often includes a broader spectrum of college-­educated people, who may or may not have a medical background before undergoing training….

State Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson said most of these tracers are on the bench for when they are needed. So far, the department has only hired 20 of them, but it’s increasingly getting pressure to expand.

State Epidemiologist Sarah Park said Thursday there are 62 contact tracers on Oahu.

Tamy DeLeon, a graduate of the first training track, is a retired nurse who was inspired by the pandemic to give back to the community. Training, which included actor simulations, and her medical background have prepared her for the job, she said.

“I’m in a holding pattern waiting for their call,” DeLeon said.

Grace said completing the training program isn’t a guarantee of employment….

read … Hawaii’s contact tracers are trained to trace the path of coronavirus, but most are waiting to be deployed

Hawaii’s weak contact tracing effort is hindering the control of coronavirus’ spread

SA: … Paul said he’s aware of four individuals from separate Pacific Islander families who tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 3 but six days later still hadn’t been contacted by DOH contact tracers.

“In one of the four cases, one of the positive people is sleeping in the living room because he doesn’t have a room to stay. That poses a greater risk to this household. It’s hard for everyone in the family not to catch it,” Paul said.

He said another COVID-19 patient, who is part of a family of 17 people who live in a two-­bedroom, one-bath home, is still waiting to be contacted two days after learning of the infection.

“One of the family members is a dialysis patient,” Paul said. “The quicker the response from the DOH contact tracers, the quicker they can find out stuff from families and be able to react to it better and provide resources.”

Stories like these are a pivotal part of an ongoing debate in Hawaii on whether the state has enough contact tracers — the people hired to locate everyone who comes in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

read … Hawaii’s weak contact tracing effort is hindering the control of coronavirus’ spread

Mitch Roth Supports TMT Telescope

KHON: … Marzo, a critic of Kim, has never held elected office.

But he says he knows how to handle a crisis, and believes he’s in the best position to help the Big Island recover from the coronavirus pandemic and its fallout.

In a Civil Beat Q&A, he also said he wasn’t in favor of raising property taxes, but would look to tourism green fees as a way to generate revenue and maintain tourism hotspots.

That may be challenging with the tourism industry still all but shuttered in the islands.

Businesses remain on the brink of bankruptcy, particularly on the island’s tourism-dependent Kona side. Keeping the island economy afloat is among the issues candidates in the run are facing.

Prosecutor Mitch Roth, who announced his run in December 2019, feels the need to balance supporting tourism with cuts to the county budget as needed.

He said he intends to look at local ways of diversifying the economy, which includes renewable energy, agriculture, science and technology projects and more.

On the topic of the Thirty Meter Telescope, Roth supports the construction of TMT atop Mauna Kea, favoring the jobs and scientific benefits it is said to bring. 

HTH: Kim reflects on his time in office, offers advice to next mayor

HTH: Roth sweeps most Big Island precincts

read … Harry Kim fails to win re-election as Big Island mayor

DeCoite leads by 91 votes as recount is planned—’Hawaiian Leader’ Ritte Just Couldn’t find enough Upcountry Maui Haoles to Overcome all the Votes Against him in Hoolehua

MN: Rep. Lynn DeCoite rode a strong showing on Molokai and Lanai to a 91-vote lead over Walter Ritte in the Democratic primary for House District 13, though neither was ready to call the race with a mandatory recount planned for today.

In the closest Maui County contest of the election, DeCoite came in with 3,243 votes, or 48.2 percent, to Ritte’s 3,152 votes, or 46.9 percent, as of the fourth printout at 11:38 a.m. Sunday.

Maui County Clerk Kathy Kaohu said Sunday that the numbers were final; however, state law requires a recount of any race with a margin equal to or less than 100 votes or one-quarter of one percent of the total number of votes cast for the contest, whichever is greater….

Kaohu also said that there are more than 500 ballots that are unsigned or contain mismatching signatures. Voters have five business days after the close of the polls to fix the issue. Kaohu wasn’t sure how many were in District 13, “but I’m curious to see,” she said….

East Maui voters, by contrast, favored Ritte over DeCoite, giving him 2,423 votes, or 61 percent, to her 1,356 votes, or 34 percent. Ritte’s top showing was in the precinct that covers Haiku to Kailua and historically has produced some of the best turnout countywide….

(In summation: Nobody on Molokai wants Ritte.  Only Upcountry Maui haole wannabees vote for him.  The lesson to Upcountry: Your ‘politically correct’ social climbing game is being exploited to turn you into imperialists attempting to impose unwanted ‘leadership’ on Molokai.  Try to learn from this.)

When asked why she thought she did better on their home island, DeCoite said, “I think because people realize who we both are and what we both stand for.”


Ritte also said that the election took place at a time when he’s been trying to transition from “playing defense” — stopping luxury developments, protecting the shoreline — to “playing offense,” by proactively getting involved in the sale of Molokai Ranch, for example.

(Yes.  Ritte is AGAIN trying to steal Molokai Ranch for himself.  He has been doing this for decades now.)

read … DeCoite leads Ritte by 91 votes as recount is planned

How Bad Is Hawaii At Social Distancing? Here’s What The Data Shows

CB: … Data providers like Unacast and many tech companies, including universally known ones like Google and Apple, took to mining sources of different data to aid in the pandemic response, and that included cell phone location data.

That data, which is aggregated and anonymized in various ways to protect privacy, could show where and when people were moving to a certain extent, therefore helping us measure social distancing.

Government agencies are using this data to help inform their pandemic response plans and craft policies. For example, a company called SafeGraph provided its mobility data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state of Hawaii is not, though. The Department of Health said in an email statement that it was looking at sources of that information early on, but that it is no longer, without explaining why. But the statement also said, “Our investigations tell us people are gathering in droves.”…

(NOTE: ‘Mobility’ increases on Oahu, Maui and the Big island equally—but only Oahu has a big upsurge in cases.  This shows that mobility per-se is not the problem—and reducing mobility is not the solution. )

read … How Bad Is Hawaii At Social Distancing? Here’s What The Data Shows

Liquor Commission shuts down 10 establishments for violating Mayor’s rules

HNN: … “There were a number of other locations observed open, however due to time it took to take action at each location, investigators were unable to reach them before they closed at 10 p.m.,” the city said….

KHON: Several Hawaii breweries disagree with liquor commission shutting them down

read … Liquor Commission shuts down 10 establishments for violating Mayor’s rules

Mass Release of Criminals Coming -- Total of 6 inmates, 3 adult corrections officers at OCCC test positive for COVID-19

HNN: … The rise in cases are causing concerns with prison reform advocates and those involved in the system.

“Prisons, jails are petri dishes,” said Kat Brady of the Community Alliance on Prisons.

Brady believes the cases at OCCC are just the tip of the iceberg because she believes the state isn’t testing enough inmates. She also points to outbreaks at Mainland prisons.

“The Department of Public Safety has assured me that their protocols are solid and I’m saying around the country look at all the cases,” Brady said.

Attorney Victor Bakke said there’s a high risk of spread in the prison system ….

CB: Public Defender Wants Inmates Released As Outbreak Grows At Oahu Jail

read … Total of 6 inmates, 3 adult corrections officers at OCCC test positive for COVID-19

Hawaii County Counsel not Fooled by ‘Sue Big Oil’ Scam

HTH: … “Our cases are just too different,” Kamelamela said, explaining that the county may file an amicus brief in support of the Honolulu case, but will not become a co-plaintiff….

“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” Kamelamela said. “And a lot of that uncertainty comes from knowing that a lot of these similar lawsuits have been dismissed in federal court.”

Kamelamela explained that the biggest challenge in supporting such a lawsuit is in proving damage. While council members touted internal documents from fossil fuel companies proving that they knew about how fossil fuel use contributed to climate change for decades, Kamelamela said it will still be difficult to tie the environmental impacts affecting Hawaii County to those companies.

“How do you prove that a hurricane was caused by climate change?” Kamelamela wondered. By observing what works and what doesn’t in other climate change lawsuits filed around the country, he said, the county can formulate a lawsuit that is more likely to succeed….

For now, Kamelamela said he will observe similar cases throughout the nation to determine the appropriate time to file a lawsuit on behalf of the county.

“Right now, we lose nothing by waiting,” Kamelamela said….

read … County mulls suing companies for damage caused by climate change

Honolulu Bill 2: You Little People have to Stop Buying Food and Clothing 

CB: … I’m in the midst of producing a series of three films about the climate crisis in Hawaii. It focuses on how the crisis is impacting the islands and what individuals can do about it….

(Translation: I am a big shot.  You little people are eating too much and buying too many clothes.  I need to clear you off the planet and I am trying to convince you that this is a good idea.)

We (You) have to stop buying so much stuff, stop being a throwaway society, we have to change our (your) culture. And that starts with the guy in the mirror.

Saying “no” to a plastic straw is often the first step…

Besides, individual action can be immensely powerful: if every American were to give up eating meat one day a week for example…

What about clothes? . … by 2030, (you little) people should get in the habit of buying no more than eight new articles of clothing a year, preferably no more than three….

Bill 2, currently before the Honolulu City Council, proposes to change parking rules to ensure new developments meet our goal of fostering a more walkable, less carbon-intensive city. Developers are screaming blue murder: we can’t sell our apartments without attached parking, they moan, people won’t change their lifestyles, they won’t abandon their cars….

(Survival Instinct Test: Do you agree with the writer?)

read … We (ie You) Have To Stop Buying Stuff

Jones Act does add to isles’ high costs, so update it

SA: … the act costs Hawaii $1.2 billion a year, including almost $1,800 a year for the average family, 9,100 fewer jobs and $148 million in lost taxes. If the act’s U.S.-build requirement alone were eliminated, Hawaii could save $532 million a year, add 3,800 jobs and produce $67 million in taxes….

Background: Jones Act costs Hawaii families almost $1,800 extra every year 

SA:  Don’t blame Jones Act for Hawaii’s high cost of living

read … Jones Act does add to isles’ high costs, so update it

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