The Scoop on Hawaii Elections 2020
UH team leads new survey to assess COVID-19 impact in Hawaii
KITV Sells for $30M
Bill 59: Amend Community Garden Program
COVID Count 134 new cases out of 1,914 tests
Ige Plan: 3 Years of Furloughs, Gut EUTF
CB: … Gov. David Ige plans to impose furloughs for members of “most bargaining units” starting in November and borrow $750 million to help the state navigate the budget crisis triggered by the pandemic, according to the administration’s new financial plan.
The document does not provide specifics, but it notes that the spending plan incorporates “estimated labor cost savings from an approximately 10% furlough from fiscal years 2021 to 2024.” That generally translates to one unpaid day off every two weeks.
The outline of Ige’s latest spending plan also defers hundreds of millions of dollars in payments the state was scheduled to make to the Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust fund this year….
2013: Act 268 Hawaii Unfunded Liabilities Plan: Pot of Gold for Corrupt Union Leaders (oh well….)
read … Ige Plans Furloughs For Public Workers Starting In November
Court orders release of 200 or more felons as COVID-19 creates excuse
SA: … how many actual inmates would be released as a result of the order — it could be in the hundreds.
Everyone meeting the criteria set forth by the justices is presumed to have had a case for release filed on their behalf.
While cases are to be brought to judges on an individual basis, it would be up to the prosecutors to determine in which cases they want to file objections.
Any objections would need to be filed by end of day Wednesday, and courts would need to make final determinations by end of day next Monday.
Those eligible must not have been convicted of violent crimes or any other crimes against people.
Specifically, those slated to be freed include:
> Inmates serving sentences of no more than 18 months as part of a condition of sentencing for deferral or probation.
> Pretrial detainees charged with felonies.
Before being released, the Department of Public Safety is expected to ensure that the inmate has not either tested positive, awaiting results of a COVID-19 test and is not exhibiting symptoms.
Deputy Public Defender Jacquie Esser said a quick count of lists released to her office by Public Safety shows as eligible 147 pretrial felons and 53 felons serving probation as part of their sentences….
KHON: 10 Priors—Does it Again
read … Court orders release of certain felons as COVID-19
Avoiding Sledgehammer Shutdown Order Possible…but
SA: … Committee members Mark Mugiishi and Raymond Vara, respectively the president and CEO of Hawaii Medical Service Association and Hawaii Pacific Health, agreed that they don’t have the data in hand that would inform the next steps in regaining control of the virus.
But Bonham said the Health Department has data about hot spots, but hasn’t compiled it and released it. That’s an information gap that must be closed….
Tougher, targeted restrictions on gatherings in enclosed spaces are necessary.
The most recent crackdown, primarily bans of uncontrolled social gatherings, may be having some effect: Monday’s count had dipped to 174. That’s better than the highs topping 300 over the past week. But the status quo may not lower the rate of infections quickly enough to manage the burden on hospitals.
>> The “sledgehammer” approach of a tight stay-at-home order likely would kill some businesses that aren’t contributing to the problem. The data about where clusters are would help in shaping new rules more strategically; it must be made public to garner more public compliance….
HTH: “Governor David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell met at length today and agreed that additional targeted restrictions will be needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Oahu. We anticipate an announcement, with details, this week.”
SA: Additional targeted restrictions’ for Oahu expected soon as Hawaii counts another 174 new coronavirus cases
read … State falls short on data, transparency
Schatz: DoH Needs to Stop Refusing Offers of Money, Personnel
HNN: … More elected officials are calling on the state Health Department to stop resisting offers of money and people for its overwhelmed contact tracing program.
In an interview Monday, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz told Hawaii News Now his staff cannot figure out whether $50 million in federal coronavirus relief aid that went to DOH has even been spent.
The money was supposed to bolster the state’s contact tracing program. But today, Hawaii’s contact tracing efforts are overwhelmed — as the virus spreads rapidly in the community.
“This is not a question of resources, this is a question of emphasis,” Schatz said, “It’s clear to me the Department of Health doesn’t really have their heart in contact tracing and that has to change.”
(But on the bright side, their willful incompetence did create a crisis which is being exploited to release 200 hardened convicted felons onto the streets. Maybe you will get to meet one or two of them.)
In addition to the $50 million, the city offered even more.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that was declined by the Health Department.
The agency told Hawaii News Now that they turned down the money because they were unsure about the rules of the federally-funded CARES Act and didn’t know if transferring money between jurisdictions was allowed. Schatz said it is, as long as the funds are used to fight COVID-19….
(NOTE: Its been a month since numbers started to pick up and we are still. WHY SHOULD WE ACCEPT A SHUTDOWN WHEN STATE INACTION IS THE REAL PROBLEM?)
read … Schatz: DOH’s missteps in containing COVID-19 aren’t because of a lack of resources
This is Hawaii -- DoH Failure Should Be Expected
CB: … The virologist who blew the whistle deserves all the kudos we can give her, though I wish the information she offered would have come out sooner.
As courageous and important as her actions were, though, what she reported did not take a trained man or woman of science to discover.
I don’t know of anyone who didn’t suspect that the information the state was dishing out was shibai. And yet it took forever to move out of this grumbling stage.
So how wacky is it that we had to rely on a Magnificent Seven-like posse of legislators and a whistleblower to find out that the contact tracing operation was a Potemkin village constructed by the head of DOH and the state epidemiologist?…
all of us should have approached the issue by keeping in mind that given the players — and especially given the state’s political history and our responsibilities as citizens — we all should have been much more skeptical from day one….
read … We're All To Blame For Trusting The Department Of Health
Young Brothers gets OK to raise rates 46%
SA: … Customers of interisland cargo transportation firm Young Brothers LLC will be paying 46% more to ship goods under a regulatory decision made today.
The state Public Utilities Commission granted an emergency rate increase to the company following a hearing on Friday.
The increase is expected to boost Young Brothers interisland shipping revenue by $27 million, which is moderately less than a $30.4 million increase that the company sought based on what it forecast would be enough to break-even financially….
read … Young Brothers gets OK to raise rates 46%
Many Hawaii students spend first day online as virus surges
AP: … Anastasiya Kamaletdinova spent her first day of eighth grade at Honolulu's Kaimuki Middle School Monday on a computer in her bedroom.
“I was more shy than usual,” Anastasiya, 13, said. “Everything was great except for the last 20 minutes, I had problems with my computer and I couldn’t hear my teacher for some reason.”…
Nanea Kalani, a spokesperson for the state Department of Education, said in an email. “We don’t have a tally at the state level of how many schools jumped right into distance learning versus how many are offering in-person orientations or training," she said, because school leaders were allowed to make their own plans.
(System designed to prevent accountability.)
The union warned some teachers would be using personal or sick leave to avoid jeopardizing health and safety.
Fraser said all his teachers were present Monday.
As of Monday morning, the education department reported 496 requests for substitute teachers statewide. The department has nearly 13,000 teachers and about 4,700 substitutes on staff….
read … Many Hawaii students spend first day online as virus surges
Kauai Candidate Took Illegal Contributions from Lawyers, State Commission Says
CB: … It all began one day in 2018, when Wilson walked into the law offices of Perkin & Faria and asked if anyone wanted to go to a campaign fundraiser for Rapozo.
Most of the staff laughed him off when they heard ticket prices were $1,000 a head, attorneys for the accused told the commission Wednesday. But Wilson told them he’d pay for the tickets.
He told several of the employees as well as John Perkin, a partner in the law firm, that Rapozo assured him that it would be OK to pay for the tickets with Wilson’s mother’s money. She had decided not to attend.
The commission found checks from Mary Wilson, the mother, deposited into Perkin’s and his two employees’ bank accounts days before they each wrote $1,000 checks to Rapozo’s campaign.
Attorneys made their case for why their clients took Wilson’s money, and all said it’s because Wilson told them he heard from Rapozo that it would be OK. …
read … Kauai Candidate Took Illegal Contributions, State Commission Says
Corona Virus News: