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Thursday, August 20, 2020
August 20, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:15 PM :: 8492 Views

Honolulu 4th Most Expensive Metro Area in USA

States that suspended Certificate of Need laws saved lives--Hawaii is not one of them

List of Current COVID Clusters in Hawaii

COVID Count: 261 new cases out of 2,559 tests

COVID Count: 236 new cases out of 2,512 tests

Hawaii Opens Door to 12 Unlicensed Cryptocurrency Schemes

‘Updating the Jones Act for the 21st Century’

Soft on Crime Lawyers Explain How they Tricked Judiciary into Releasing Hundreds of Criminals

Megan Kau Hired by Miske – Will she be 3rd Prosecutor in a row to have a Miske Connection?

CB:  … For nearly six months, Megan Kau, a local lawyer who’s running a campaign to become Honolulu’s top elected prosecutor, represented a company in federal court that was owned by alleged Hawaii crime boss Michael Miske.

Though many of the court records have been sealed from public view, the documents reflect that Kau as well as several other attorneys were hired by Miske’s company Hawaii Partners LLC to help him get back possession of his Boston Whaler boat, the Painkiller.

Federal investigators seized the vessel as part of their investigation into the alleged kidnapping and murder of 21-year-old Jonathan Fraser.….

Kau told Civil Beat she couldn’t talk about the specifics of the case or her eventual withdrawal in August 2018 due to the confidential nature of the proceedings. She said she was hired by Delia-Anne Fabro, who at the time was listed as the manager for Hawaii Partners, although Kau understood that Miske was still involved with the company….

(Translation: She knew she was working for Miske.)

Kau, a former deputy prosecutor for the City and County of Honolulu, said she was aware of Miske’s reputation at the time she took the case in late 2017 as well as the rumors surrounding Miske’s alleged involvement in Fraser’s disappearance….

(Translation: She knew exactly what she was doing.)

In fact, she already knew about Miske’s supposed ties to local law enforcement through another client.

At the same time Kau worked for Hawaii Partners she represented Honolulu police sergeant Albert Lee in a 2016 drunken driving case—with switched seats--that she argued was the result of malicious prosecution in retaliation for Lee’s arrest of Miske after he fled the scene of a traffic stop in 2015 and threatened the officer who tried to issue him a citation….

(Translation: She connects the two cases.)

As We Noted in 2017: The DUI would serve to discredit Lee’s testimony while he fulfills his obligation to testify.  (Now we know it is Megan Kau at work.)

Related: Kaneshiro Held Fundraiser at Accused Murderer’s Nightclub (and so did Carlisle) – 30 years of prosecutors tied to Miske

ILind: Extortion charges could be added in Miske prosecution

read … Why You Must Vote for Steve Alm

Congressional Chair to Ige; Where did our $50M Go?

CB: …The chairwoman of a congressional subcommittee on health wants to know details about how the state spent $50 million in CARES Act money aimed at testing and tracing…..

In a letter dated Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, who chairs the House Health subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, asked Ige for more information on the Hawaii Department of Health’s testing and contact tracing program, including things like how many contact tracing personnel the state has had on staff each week since the outbreak began.

“As you know, less than two months ago, Hawaii had the lowest number of COVID-19 cases per capita of any state in the nation,” wrote Eshoo, a California Democrat whose district includes Silicon Valley. “However, this trend has reversed and now Hawaii has the highest infection rate in the United States.”

Eshoo’s criticisms and demands for transparency echoed those of U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard…

KITV: Tulsi Gabbard demands answers from the governor about Hawaii's contact tracing

read … California Congresswoman Wants Answers On Hawaii’s Virus Response Effort

Hawaii’s economic woes expected to widen because of poor management and policy decisions

SA: … Recovery is on pause again for Hawaii’s battered visitor industry.

Gov. David Ige said Tuesday that the state will wait until at least Oct. 1 to begin a program to allow passengers with approved negative COVID-19 tests taken within 72 hours of their trip to Hawaii to bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day self- quarantine for out-of-state passengers….

Melvin Sakurai, a management consultant with Research Information Services, said he supports the delay given that Hawaii isn’t ready yet, but said “just postponing things is a fool’s mission, if you don’t understand what it takes to reopen.”

“Coronavirus and the economy are one and the same. You have to get control over the virus or we’ll simply be toggling back and forth between opening and closing,” Sakurai said. “Given the situation there’s a very high likelihood that a lot more businesses will fail once we commit to this path of containment. It’s a pitiful thing all the sacrifices, all the hardship and destruction that took place between March and now because of poor management and policy decisions.”…

Mark Bratton, senior vice president of Colliers International, said many of Hawaii’s largest and best-known hotels and resorts also are struggling. As many as three properties with large commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loans have gone to special services and another six have been placed on the watch list, Bratton said….

Bratton said when the pandemic first started the industry thought recovery would take one to three months. Now it’s looking more like one to three years….

Times are so tough that the Kohala Coast Resort Association (KCRA) recently obtained $900,000 in Hawaii County coronavirus relief funds to feed the nearly 5,000 workers who are still furloughed at the properties that fall under its umbrella.

Twice a month from September to November workers will get food assistance, including two dinners to feed a family of four, along with pantry staples sourced from local farmers.

Yogi Dean, aloha ambassador for the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, said in a statement, “It has been very difficult with no work due to the hotel closure. We have three generations under one roof and the care package program will really help me and my ohana as this pandemic situation continues. I cannot express how thankful we are for this food assistance, it is truly a blessing.”…

KITV: Hawaiian Airlines: More than 2K union workers at risk of losing their jobs  --  Management positions at Hawaiian Airlines eliminated

read … Hawaii’s economic woes expected to widen

Department of Lame Excuses 

SA: … In spite of the millions of dollars spent and emergency reallocations, vital information has been hoarded and kept from those who need it to protect families, employees, businesses and livelihoods. Rather than share data on positive tests, contact tracing, hospitalizations, insurance claims, the information as to the who, when, where and how of the pandemic has been hidden from view.

Lame excuses have been offered up. Difficulties in transferring timely data. Incompatibility of reporting systems. Privacy over public health concerns. Following the guidance of so-called experts. Complacency because of initially presumed success. Failure to anticipate spikes. Inability to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Thinking that this is just a public health problem rather than a failure in management, leadership and governance.

Where are the analyses to support decisions to shutter businesses or force schools to go online? Where is the evidence that closing beaches and parks will reduce the disease? Why aren’t data on the bad behavior of super spreaders or risky events shared with us? Why do we have to piece this together from limited media and social media posts or aggregate statistics lumped together at the zip code level?

In watching daily press conferences, the same tired information is repeated with little connection to protective action. General slogans such as wear a mask or wash your hands are offered rather than targeted identification and actions to curtail the disease. Why haven’t high-risk locations and activities been systematically identified? Why were gatherings of 10 or more targeted, only to be changed to five or more? Why haven’t the interactions and behaviors extracted from contact tracing been shared, analyzed and presented to motivate positive collective, corrective actions? ….

read … Poor data management worsens Hawaii’s COVID-19 crisis

Ige Holds News Conference from Contact Tracing Phone Room

HNN: … The governor joined state health and emergency management officials at the Hawaii Convention Center to underscore efforts to bolster the state’s contact tracing efforts — and defend his administration’s response to an ongoing surge in new COVID-19 infections….

To get more contact tracers on the job quickly, the state has turned to the Hawaii National Guard while ramping up hiring in other places. Some of those workers will be housed at the Hawaii Convention Center.

When asked why it took so long for the state to put more contact tracers to work, the governor said Department of Health officials were “expanding within existing spaces” and planning to hire more people….

Hawaii saw its first day of triple-digit cases on July 29, and the number of new cases have remained at that level nearly every day since with just a handful of exceptions….

Hawaii Health Department Director Bruce Anderson said (more loser talk) while he supported bringing on contact tracers, he does not believe it will address the surge in infections….

When asked Wednesday, the state also could not say how long it is currently taking for a contact tracer to reach out to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The standard the state set for itself: 24 to 48 hours.  (Better idea: Use text message to instantly notify positives and negatives and follow up within five minutes from phone room.  This is doable.)

KHON: DOH says state won’t need as many contact tracers as some health experts recommend (still naysaying--these guys never change)

CB: Hawaii Is Ramping Up Its Virus Tracing Program. The Health Director Says It’s Too Late (still naysaying--these guys never change)

read … Governor outlines efforts to bolster contact tracing, defends state’s response to surge

Senators: Teleworking HGEA Members are just Faking it

KHON: … “We have heard complaints that for instance telework is either being held up or it’s being denied,” said the Department of Human Resources Development Director Ryker Wada. ….Wada argued that to get certain jobs done, some workers need to physically be at work…..“The department might be making a decision for telework based on that individual. We’ve heard anecdotal reports that when the pandemic first started there were employees that were allowed to telework and then were not actually doing their work,” said Wada….

SA: Senate COVID-19 members irritated by lack of oversight

read … Hawaii state workers running into issues with teleworking

Lawyers agree on November 3 sentencing date in corruption case for Katherine and Louis Kealoha

SA: … Sentencing in the state’s biggest corruption investigation could now happen in November after it was postponed by the coronavirus pandemic.

A letter from U.S. prosecutors to a judge was filed in court today, saying the sides have agreed on a sentencing date of Nov. 3 (Election Day) for former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his now-estranged wife, Katherine Kealoha, who was a former high-ranking city prosecutor.

A jury convicted them last year of conspiracy in a plot to frame a relative to keep him from revealing fraud that financed their lavish lifestyle….

Lawyers have agreed on Nov. 4 for sentencing of two former officers convicted with the Kealohas.

A status hearing is scheduled for next week….

read … Lawyers agree on sentencing date in corruption case for Katherine and Louis Kealoha

Just the beginning --  Five Felony Drug Dealers Released for COVID—450 more to go

CB: … The list of prisoners who were released earlier in the week included Tawny K. Hollis, who was indicted earlier this year on five felony charges including being an accomplice to felony identity theft, computer fraud, theft and a drug offense; and Janelle Eliapo, who was serving six months in jail as a condition of probation for felony identify theft and theft convictions.

Also released were Chaitanya Pope, who was being held in connection with a felony drug charge; Robert P. Espiritu, who was awaiting sentencing for a felony drug conviction and a misdemeanor conviction for unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle; and Dominic A. Hart, who was sentenced to 90 days in jail after his probation was revoked for a felony theft charge.

Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Van Marter opposed Hart’s release, arguing that he “cannot reasonably be expected to comply with the conditions imposed by Governor David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the community, which include staying at home, social distancing, wearing face coverings, and self-isolation.”

“Thus, the release of defendant could well place the safety of both defendant and the public in jeopardy,” according to a court filing by Van Marter….

KITV: Esser also says another 450 felony inmates at the jail are eligible for release. She says that group is also considered non-dangerous. 

read … State Begins Releasing Inmates To Limit COVID-19 Infections

Some high-profile inmates request release during coronavirus pandemic

HNN: … Several high-profile inmates have been trying to use the coronavirus pandemic to be released back into the community.

A judge has already denied admitted killer Randall Saito's request.

After 37 years at the Hawaii State Hospital, he escaped in 2017 and made it all the way to California before being captured.

Also, North Shore murder suspects Hailey Dandurand and Stephen Brown filed for their release from prison.

They’re accused if the 2017 beating and stabbing of Telma Boinville in Pupukea.

The motion for their release will be heard next Tuesday….

KITV: Woman accused of North Shore murder denied supervised release as OCCC COVID-19 cluster grows

Meanwhile: ‘Inmate-on-inmate’ assault at Halawa facility leaves 70-year-old dead

read … Some high-profile inmates request release during coronavirus pandemic

18 more COVID-19 infections reported at OCCC, bringing cases identified at jail to 267

HNN: … The state is reporting 18 new COVID-19 infections at Oahu Community Correctional Center, including 16 more inmate and two staff members.

The positives bring to 267 the total number of COVID-19 infections confirmed at the facility, the state’s largest jail. Of those 231 have been inmates and 36 have been staff members.

The state said it is still working to test all inmates and staff members at OCCC.

They have not said how many have yet to be tested, however….

HNN: 4 arrested at Kalihi shopping center after armed robbery, chase

read … 18 more COVID-19 infections reported at OCCC, bringing cases identified at jail to 267

Corrections oversight panel struggling without staffing

SA: … The commission is attached administratively to the Department of Attorney General.

Krishna Jayaram, special assistant to Attorney General Clare Connors, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Tuesday that his department submitted the commission’s request for $330,000 for staffing, travel to neighbor island facilities and other expenses on July 10. But that request was denied by the Department of Budget and Finance on July 20.

Patterson, told of this Wednesday, said that was news to him. “I’m curious if the $330,000 was denied, how do we pay the coordinator?” he said. The commission is slated to meet today via teleconference to discuss staffing, COVID-19 infection at OCCC and the other state-run prisons and jails, facility capacity and other issues.

Patterson said it took state leaders six months to appoint the panel’s members from the time Ige signed the bill establishing it into law last July 1.

With the help of a deputy attorney general, the group held its first meeting in January, Patterson said. It was on its way to hiring an oversight coordinator when the COVID-19 outbreak led to the shutdown of government functions, he said….

SA: Prison oversight commission upset as COVID-19 cases multiply

read … Corrections oversight panel struggling without staffing

Ala Moana Target Store – ‘Multiple Positive Cases’

HNN: … Ala Moana location, but said that the store experienced “multiple team member positive cases of the coronavirus.” … The Kapolei store location had one employee test positive for COVID-19….

read … Multiple Target store employees in Hawaii tested positive for COVID-19

Bill 2: Less Parking and Higher Construction Costs

PBN: … Bill 2, introduced in the Honolulu City Council in January as an effort to help satisfy the city’s sustainability and transit-oriented development goals, eliminates the requirement to provide off-street parking in the urban core and in the city’s Ewa Development Plan, (which would normally reduce the cost of housing…) but adds dozens of other requirements that developers and trade associations say will drive up costs of building and place burdens on owners and businesses. The bill was granted an extension in late May that is due to expire soon.

(They are laughing at your sacrifice.)

The bill has support from Blue Planet Foundation, which said in testimony to the Council that it would “encourage more (less) affordable development and reduce car dependence (for the little people)”, and Ulupono Initiative, which last week released a parking ‘study’ that analyzed the costs of different types of parking (was designed to push the less parking, higher cost agenda)….

read … Making Housing Even Less Affordable

$55M Electric Rate Hike Set for October

SA: … Hawaiian Electric residential customers on Oahu will pay an extra $4.52 a month on a typical bill starting as early as October after the state Public Utilities Commission’s recent interim order approving an amended fuel supply contract the utility negotiated with Par Hawaii Refining….

(They are laughing at your sacrifice.)

Par Hawaii invoked a contract clause requiring Hawaiian Electric to renegotiate its existing fuel supply contract after the refinery shut down part of its refining operation, including the production of the low-sulfur fuel oil used in power plants on Oahu, because of declining demand for fuel during the pandemic. Par Hawaii said it needed to renegotiate the existing fuel supply contract to reflect the higher cost of shipping in fuel rather than producing it in Hawaii.

Hawaiian Electric estimates that had the amended contract been in effect for the period of April 2019 through March, the cost impact would have been about $54.7 million higher than under the original fuel supply contract. That equates to an electrical bill increase of $4.52 a month for a typical household using 500 kilowatt-hours of energy….

SA:  Tough time for electric-bill increase

read … Electric bills on Oahu set to go up $4.52 a month in October

More Positions 1: DLIR Slow Down -- Exploiting COVID for Empire–Building

HNN:  … (now that the crisis over) The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is (exploiting the memory to justify) hiring. About 80 people are needed to help with unemployment claims….

(They are laughing at your sacrifice.)

The loss means calls to the hotline, 586-8970, are being kicked over to the individual claims offices statewide. “Those are the same individuals at work on processing claims, so they’re working on processing claims and answering phones at the same time,” said Eustaquio.

That slows down their work (even more than it was slowed down before) but also limits the amount of calls that can be answered.

Dozens of out-of-work viewers have sent emails to Hawaii News Now complaining that they can’t get through and the system doesn’t allow anyone to leave a message….

(Translation: Artificial crisis created to justify creating more HGEA positions and DLIR empire building.)

read … Unemployment phone bank dismantled, giving those seeking help with claims few options

More Positions 2: UH regents expect $91M Budget Shortfall—Job Cuts Coming

SA: … Hundreds of University of Hawaii faculty, staff and students petitioned asking the UH Board of Regents to oppose major cuts to personnel, the closing of buildings and consolidation of departments and campuses across the university system because of financial losses UH faces due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the board, UH projects revenue will decline by $91.7 million in fiscal year 2021. That includes an estimated $65.9 million decline in general revenue funds and $25.9 million decline in tuition and fees.

The Board of Regents’ agenda for a meeting today includes a resolution urging the administration to look into a broad range of budget cuts.

A newly formed group, A Thriving University for a Thriving Hawaii, made up of faculty, staff and students, organized the petition. The group said on its FaceBook page it is fighting for the university to protect it  (to save themselves) and ensure its (their own) well-being during this challenging time (with magic money from the sky)….

(They are laughing at your sacrifice.)

read … UH regents urged not to cut personnel

More Positions 3: Council urges hiring freeze

HTH: … With the current mayor and a former mayor providing different perspectives, the County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution urging Mayor Harry Kim’s administration to immediately institute a hiring freeze for the remainder of his term.

Resolution 709 is nonbinding; the council can’t control hiring practices, although it can defund positions through its budget authority. But Council Chairman Aaron Chung, who sponsored the resolution, said the intent is to send a message….

Former Mayor Billy ‘P-Card’ Kenoi, who navigated the county through the Great Recession using a combination of budget cuts, land sales and employee furloughs, (Oahu hostess bars) was the only other person submitting testimony on the measure.

He noted the state is taking steps, including considering furloughs, to meet its own budget shortfalls. The county, with fewer revenue options, should save “every dollar” for the coming shortfalls, he said.

“All hiring should come to a screeching halt except for police, fire and Civil Defense and essential hires that are justified and approved by the Hawaii County Council,” Kenoi said in written testimony. “Resolution 709-20 will go a long way toward providing the next council and the next administration every available tool in the financial and fiscal toolbox.”…

Paradoxically, during the same meeting the council approved the hiring freeze resolution it also unanimously approved without comment a resolution creating two new positions within the Department of Parks and Recreation. One full-time and one half-time position will be used to provide “natural, cultural and historical interpretive information of Waipio Valley and monitor vehicles accessing the road,” according to Resolution 698.

The positions have been filled by temporary contract hires throughout the past five years, costing about $60,000 annually, so it won’t have an impact on the budget, Chung said. But Chung agreed it did appear “odd.”…

(They are laughing at your sacrifice.)

read … Council urges hiring freeze

Last-minute amendment to anti-styrofoam bill

TGI: … A bill that would effectively ban the use and sale of polystyrene foam food service containers faced another amendment yesterday, making the proposed law less strict, and bringing some of the language back to what was initially introduced.

Bill No. 2775 was redrafted for the third time at Wednesday’s Kaua‘i County Council meeting at the recommendation of the county administration.

An amendment from Vice Chair Ross Kagawa removes a provision requiring only compostable and biodegradable products be used in lieu of styrofoam containers….

If passed, Kaua‘i would become the county the fourth in Hawai‘i to approve a ban on prohibiting single-use plastics following Maui, O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island. Bill No. 2775, Draft 3 will be up for second and final reading at the next meeting on Wed., Aug. 26….

TGI: Businesses opt for compostable alternatives

read … Last-minute amendment to anti-styrofoam bill

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