CD2 Race: PBS Hosts 6-Way Candidate Forum
Hawaii Statehood: Tiny 1959 opposition was anti-Japanese, not anti-American
Polls Showed Solid Support in Run-up to Hawaii Statehood
Board resolution urges UH to prepare for pandemic financial impact
Maunakea internal management restructuring approved by regents
COVID Count 230 new cases out of 2,366 tests
Amemiya Can’t Say No to Campaign Contributors
ILind: … Earlier this week, I found myself in a conversation with a couple of political veterans, both longtime Democrats, and both with experience as legislators. So I asked them about the choice between the candidates for Honolulu mayor in the upcoming general election.
One responded after a very brief pause.
“Blangiardi,” he said.
I asked why, in light of the recent endorsement given Keith Amemiya by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, and that Amemiya has openly campaigned as a Democrat, although the office is nonpartisan.
He replied thoughtfully. He said he did not believe Amemiya had demonstrated that he has what it will take to say “no” to requests from the well-healed and well-placed insiders who have lined up to support his campaign.
We had been talking about the pressures the are brought to bear on elected and appointed officials from various directions by special interests, and the toll it takes on those who try to fend off those pressures and make their own way.
The second person nodded in agreement….
read … Democratic voters apparently split over Honolulu mayoral
Money on the table for OHA Insiders: Agency reaches out for funding controversial TMT project
SA: … The National Science Foundation has launched what it’s calling an informal outreach effort to Hawaii in a move to help the agency determine whether to fund the stalled Thirty Meter Telescope project.
The effort by the nation’s top funder of basic research could lead to a huge influx of cash for the cutting-edge astronomy project, which is now estimated to cost $2.4 billion.
But it also would trigger a regulatory process that could add two years or more to a construction timeline that is already far behind schedule.
“NSF understands that potential construction of TMT on Maunakea is a sensitive issue and plans to engage in early and informal outreach efforts with stakeholders, including Native Hawaiians, to listen to and seek an understanding of their viewpoints,” the agency said in a statement posted on its website.
(Translation: We will pay you off. What is your price?)
“If NSF ultimately initiates a formal federal environmental review process, this advance outreach would serve as a precursor to it,” the statement said.….
(Translation: We won’t do the federal process unless we think we have paid everybody who needs to be paid. We realize that knowing whether we have accomplished this is a conundrum.)
AP: Science foundation discusses funding giant Hawaii telescope
read … Agency reaches out for funding controversial TMT project
100 Contact Tracers now at Convention Center
HNN: … Of the approximately 100 new contact tracers now stationed at the Hawaii Convention Center, about a quarter are members of the Hawaii National Guard….
“COVID mapping” is the National Guard’s term for the practice of contact tracing, which consists of reaching out to someone infected with COVID-19 and then subsequently reaching out to people they have had close contact with to see who the virus may have spread to.
“It is very busy,” said Lt. Col. Paul Agena, who is leading the Hawaii National Guard’s response to the pandemic on Oahu.
“There’s a tremendous amount of cases. These soldiers come in at 7:30 and they are working straight for well past 12 hours to catch up the work. There’s a great plan in place and we are making a big difference.”…
“It can go from two to even 20 or more,” Kayanan said. “If anybody within 6 feet that’s been around a person for more than 15 minutes, that would be considered a contact. So if a case was in that range or within that range of five people, all those five people are now considered close contacts.”
Kayanan and his fellow National Guard personnel can place up to 200 phone calls in a single shift. Extensive work that is all part of being on the frontlines of an entirely different assignment….
read … Working long shifts, National Guard members scramble to ramp up contact tracing efforts
Hawaii’s business leaders warn that the state’s lack of planning will destroy businesses
PBN: … A recent survey by UHERO and the chambers of commerce, a follow up to a survey done in April, found that nearly 17% of businesses statewide don’t expect their businesses to survive the pandemic. The percentage was highest on Maui, where more than 24% of businesses don’t expect to survive, and where 62% reported having virtually no revenue coming in.
Some of those businesses are waiting it out, but without a plan, or at least information on when they may expect a plan, some may not make it….
“It’s about action, and inaction comes at a cost,” Pamela Tumpap, president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce and a member of the House committee, told PBN. Tumpap said many of her members, mostly small businesses, are distraught thinking about the pandemic’s effects on their livelihoods and their employees. She said she has had people call the chamber literally crying, asking why the government isn’t listening to business.
“That's what's happening for our business folks. Inaction doesn't allow them to best pivot in ways that they could because they're still trying to hold out hope that maybe we'll be moving forward and they're waiting for a plan,” she said. “Maybe they should close their business down right now, so they don't lose another $50,000, $100,000, $500,000.”….
read … Hawaii’s business leaders warn that the state’s lack of planning will destroy businesses
Hawaii Trails Behind Other States In The Data It Shares About COVID-19
CB: … Other states are publishing data and information that Hawaii lawmakers and the public have been clamoring for but the Hawaii Department of Health has not been making public, often citing privacy concerns.
Data shared in other states includes cluster locations, detailed hospital capacity information, testing turnaround times, contact tracing data and ventilator usage.
Na’alehu Anthony, chief executive director of Oiwi TV and a panel member of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness, has been reviewing the pandemic data other states share. He said two places — Louisiana and Washington D.C. — stand out to him because they offered better contact tracing data….
Related: List of Current COVID Clusters in Hawaii
Flashback: Na’alehu Anthony laughing all the way to the bank
read … Hawaii Trails Behind Other States In The Data It Shares About COVID-19
47 Criminals Released onto Streets
HNN: … 239 inmates and 42 staff members at the jail are now confirmed to have contracted coronavirus, in what has become one of the state’s largest outbreaks.
A spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety says the state has plans to begin a second-round of testing involving inmates at OCCC in the coming week.
At least five other Public Safety employees outside of the jail have also tested positive for COVID-19, including staff members at the Halawa Correctional Facility and Waiawa Correctional Facility.
[Read more: Court orders release of certain felons as COVID-19 grips state’s largest jail]
Meanwhile, state officials say 23 more inmates have been released from OCCC in accordance with an order from the state Supreme Court to ease overcrowding and contain the virus. An initial round of 24 inmates were released from the facility on Wednesday….
read … 8 new COVID-19 infections reported at OCCC as more inmates get released
State reveals long-term care facilities in Hawaii have seen 94 COVID-19 cases, 6 deaths
HNN: … The Plaza Assisted Living at Punchbowl went on lockdown Wednesday after a round of testing revealed five residents on the same floor tested positive for COVID-19.
Hawaii News Now learned those residents will be moved to an isolated apartment and any staff members who tested positive will quarantine at home.
The AARP said the state’s recent release of information on care home cases comes after months of complaints from residential care providers.
Those figures show there have been 94 coronavirus cases at long-term care facilities in Hawaii since the pandemic began. Of those, 27 people have ended up hospitalized and six people have died.
“With the new information recently given out regarding the amount of cases and deaths in the care facilities, we’re very concerned about the issue of transparency,” said Kealii Lopez, AARP state director.
Lopez said they have been requesting this information since April. Now that they have the numbers, they want more specific details from the state….
CB: COVID-19 Cases At Care Homes Are ‘Worse Than We Imagined’
read … State reveals long-term care facilities in Hawaii have seen 94 COVID-19 cases, 6 deaths
Military Help for Hawaii Hospitals
CB: … The health care system is already under pressure as some health care workers have contracted the virus or they are taken out of commission because of potential exposure to COVID-19.
“That’s happening on Maui, for example, and at a couple of other facilities,” Raethel said. “The number of nurses available has decreased because of labor issues and also because of the people under investigation, or testing positive or having symptoms.” …
Lt. Gov. Josh Green said more than 200 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 across the state — double the hospitalization count two weeks ago.
Oahu has more than 2,000 licensed hospital beds, almost 250 intensive care unit beds and approximately 334 ventilators. About half the state’s ICU beds and 15% of its ventilators are in use….
Roughly 9.4% of the 2,512 COVID-19 test results received within the past 24 hours were positive, he said.
“This is why I’m pressing hard for a firm response because we still have a very high prevalence rate,” Green said, noting the state’s active cases could translate into 400 or more hospitalizations.
Typically, one-fifth of cases in a hospital will progress to need critical care, according to Green, who is also an emergency medicine physician.
“If we are unlucky and get a full 80 additional ICU cases over the next two weeks, that would be very significant and push right up against our capacity,” he said….
Gov. David Ige said Thursday that the National Guard has been activated and a team called Task Force Medical — national guardsmen and women with medical backgrounds — are working with all of the providers on the island….
Wahiawa General Hospital is currently caring for about six COVID-19 positive patients and is trying to hire more nursing staff to create a dedicated COVID-19 unit on its campus of up to 36 beds.
The hospital has already received transfers of non-critical COVID-19 patients from other hospitals on Oahu such as the Queen’s Health Systems.
“Certified nurse assistants are hard to come by right now … we’re in the same boat as everyone else,” said Brian Cunningham, CEO of Wahiawa General Hospital. “We’re like every other hospital having to contract staff from the mainland. The other challenge is not every nurse wants to work in a COVID unit.”…
HNN: Reinforcements from the mainland could start arriving as early as next week. But securing them has been a challenge because of the high demand nationwide
read … Hawaii Hospitals May Need Federal Help To Handle A Potential Flood Of Patients
HSTA Members Demand to be Paid to Pretend to Work from Home
SA: … Hundreds of public school teachers pleaded with the Board of Education on Thursday to let them telework given the surge in COVID-19 cases, saying their contract calls for it in emergencies like this.
Many also called for distance learning to be extended to the end of the quarter, stressing that students, staff and families need certainty, not constantly shifting guidance. More than 500 pages of written testimony was submitted….
Distance learning is in effect until at least Sept. 11 for most public school students, but teachers and staff are still expected to report to work on school campuses. Principals and supervisors have the authority to approve telework requests on a case-by-case basis….
Solution: Homeschooling? Hawaii State Library offers free 'Scholastic Teachables'
read … Telework allowed only on a case-by-case basis for Hawaii public school teachers
Kishimoto: Reopening of schools to be approved by health, state, county officials
HTH: … discussion veered between several different topics, the most widely discussed subjects were concerns about safety and the technical aspects of distance learning.
In response to concerns that the DOE has not established criteria to determine when reopening schools will be considered safe, Kishimoto said such plans will be revealed soon. After a meeting with state Department of Health officials next Monday, she said, plans will be finalized next week, about two weeks before in-person schooling is scheduled to resume.
Kishimoto reiterated that the Department of Education will make a final decision whether to allow students back on campuses no later than Sept. 8.
All DOE decisions regarding reopening will also be vetted and approved by the Department of Health, Gov. David Ige and the county mayors, Kishimoto said.
Assistant Superintendent Randall Tanaka also said the DOE has sufficient personal protective equipment for 60 days, while the department is working with vendors on all islands to clean campuses each evening.
Meanwhile, the DOE acquired 34,000 new devices — including laptops and tablets — through federal funding to allow lower-income students to access remote learning courses from home, and wireless hot spots are being distributed to increase connectivity.
“We would like to see the connectivity issue get solved long-term,” Kishimoto said. “We’re solving it now, but a long-term solution would be better for our students.”…
other testifiers had very specific complaints about the DOE’s use of the online learning platform Acellus Learning Accelerator. Citing social media posts and a single article from 2005, some testifiers claimed Acellus was founded by a cult leader and that its curriculum uses racial slurs and inappropriate, sexually charged language.
Interim Assistant Superintendent Alisa Bender said Acellus told the DOE that those claims were “tied to a competitor” and are unsubstantiated….
read … Kishimoto: Reopening of schools to be approved by health, state, county officials
Ige Rejects $300/wk Federal Unemployment Boost -- State has to pay 25%
HNN: … The Lost Wage Assistance program was created by President Donald Trump through executive action — and is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
To qualify, states need to apply but the governor says he wants more details before committing.
“What we are looking for is an assurance from the federal government that should we start the program, regardless of what happens anywhere else, those payments would be made to those entitled to the benefits,” Ige said, at a news conference at the state Capitol on Thursday.
Ige’s (claimed) fear: That FEMA disaster relief money would be drained to pay the jobless benefits…
Ige’s Real Problem: Trump Plan Requires State to Contribute 25% of Cost (Silly rabbit: State funds are for HGEA members not the unemployed.)
read … Governor: I’m getting details before applying for additional federal jobless aid
Hawaii Lums Run Malaysian Money to Trump?
HNN: … A prominent Hawaii political fundraiser has found herself entangled in a major international scandal involving allegations of illegal lobbying by foreign interests.
In a criminal complaint filed this week, 45-year-old Nickie Mali Lum Davis and several mainland political fundraisers are being accused of using their clout to illegally to influence the Trump administration in exchange for $8 million….
Court documents show that among other activities, Davis and two political fundraisers helped arrange a meeting in 2017 between President Donald Trump and Malaysian Prime Minster Najib Razak.
Razak was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in the 1MDB scandal, which involved the theft of $4.5 billion from his country.
The complaint indicates that Malaysian billionaire Jho Low, the accused ringleader of the 1MDB thefts, met with the fundraisers….
Davis and other alleged conspirators are suspected of trying to get the Trump administration to quash a U.S. Justice Department investigation into the scandal but federal prosecutors said they were unsuccessful.
Davis’ partners were not charged but the complaint says one of them is former Republican National Committee deputy Finance Chair Elliott Broidy. He could not be reached….
Although she’s major backer of Republican candidates, Davis is the daughter of prominent Democratic fundraisers Gene and Nora Lum, who were active in Hawaii politics during the early 1990s, said Lind, who has written extensively about the Lum family.
In 1998, her father Gene Lum were sentenced to 10 months in jail for making illegal campaign contributions to Democratic candidates.
“They got snagged in what was an investigation into illegal fundraising ... from foreign interest that aren’t allowed to contribute,” said Lind….
PDF: Federal Criminal Complaint
read … Foreign lobbying scandal entangles well-known political fundraiser in Hawaii
Corona Virus News: