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Tuesday, September 15, 2020
September 15, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:18 PM :: 3031 Views

COVID Count 80 new cases out of 2,376 tests

COVID Count 66 new cases out of 1,101 tests

Low Income Hawaii Workers Income Jumped in April and May

Hawaii Tops ​2020 Scorecard on State Health System Performance

List of Hawaii Nursing Homes With COVID Outbreaks

Seeking Applicants for Oahu Grand Jury Counsel

Attorney Discusses Lawsuit Challenging Hawaii Lockdown

Ige: State ‘will probably not’ reopen Oct. 1 with loosened restrictions for out-of-state visitors

HTH: … “Talking with many in the industry, it will probably not be Oct. 1,” Ige said during an online interview….

While the infrastructure is in place for the state’s pre-testing program, with travelers submitting health verification forms online, Ige said that hotels and other businesses in the tourism industry will require at least a month of lead time in order to rehire staff and become ready for incoming visitors. He added that, within the next few days, he will announce more concrete plans for when the state will reopen further to out-of-state travelers.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green had said last week that he believed the state likely could reopen on Oct. 1. Green has since contracted COVID-19….

SA: VIDEO: Gov. Ige says pre-arrivals testing program to reopen tourism probably won’t begin Oct. 1

PBN: Pre-travel testing program likely to be delayed beyond Oct. 1

read … Ige: State ‘will probably not’ reopen Oct. 1 with loosened restrictions for out-of-state visitors

Economist: Hawaii’s Economic Fall Will Be Worse Than Predicted

CB:…For months, Hawaii economists warned of an economic cliff facing Hawaii as federal stimulus money designed for small businesses and unemployed workers ran out over the summer. Now, those predictions are starting to come true – and it’s even worse than anticipated.

“Is it worse than what we thought?” said Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. “To some extent it has to be.”

The reason, Bonham said, is that earlier forecasts about the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis assumed Hawaii’s tourism industry would reopen some time during the summer, when the statewide count of new cases was virtually nil. But a surge of cases in July and August changed all that.

Now, Bonham noted, the industry has lost not only the summer, but all of September as well. And it’s far from clear that Gov. David Ige will modify the 14-day quarantine order for new arrivals in the state.  (And October….)

Bonham’s snapshot of the economy came Monday during the twice-monthly meeting of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness and an interview with news media afterward.

read … Economist: Hawaii’s Economic Fall Will Be Worse Than Predicted

Mayor pledges to ease restrictions on retailers, gatherings starting next week

HNN: … Facing criticism of his stay-at-home order as COVID-19 infections drop on Oahu, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday said he’s hoping to relax some rules next week.

He said the new order will allow gatherings of up to five people at beaches and parks.

And he said retailers would be among the first nonessential businesses given the green light to reopen….

Retailers have also questioned why they were targeted in the mandate. They noted that there is little evidence to suggest that retail business was a source of COVID-19 outbreaks….

Under the stay-at-home order, nonessential businesses also include gyms, salons and car washes….

KHON: ‘Please open us up,’ Hawaii businesses plead as stay-at-home order enters third week

PBN: Hawaii Auto Dealers Association asks Caldwell to reinstate in-person sales 

read … Mayor pledges to ease restrictions on retailers, gatherings starting next week

Mayor Victorino says interisland pretesting plan being completed

MN: … a Neighbor Island pre-travel testing plan, which is being completed, would come before the trans-Pacific launch, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said Monday during his afternoon news conference.

“We are completing the interisland to be the prelude for the trans-Pacific,” Victorino said. “It’s the same testing, but we are trying to test it interisland first to see how effective we can be with it.”

Victorino said he is hesitant to give a time frame on a possible launch for either pre-travel testing plan.

“To give you time frames are very dangerous at this point. Every time we give you a time frame and we don’t meet it, a lot of you are disappointed,” he said. “But I would say we are hopeful within the next 30 to 45 days something can start up. I reserve the right to let the governor make that final announcement.” …

read … Mayor Victorino says interisland pretesting plan being completed

Geofencing Spy Bracelet for Tourists – Governor Approves Kaua‘i resort bubble to make Quarantine fun tourist attraction

TGI: … Gov. David Ige is set to approve a voluntary “Resort Bubble” program on Kaua‘i in the hopes to bring tourism revenue back to the county this week.

The “Enhanced Movement Quarantine Program,” more commonly known as the “Resort Bubble,” will have safety policies to protect employees and guests all while allowing quarantined travelers to take advantage of the resort property, including pools and on-site restaurants. This is Mayor’s Emergency Rule No. 16….

Guests will be outfitted with an electronic bracelet called AQUA (Active Quarantine User Ally) by the company Hub Culture. Using geofencing technology, guests will be under an electronic quarantine that will monitor their movement on the property using GPS and Bluetooth signaling.

If a guest were to leave the property or tamper with the bracelet, the tracking service would alert hotel security and the Kaua‘i Police Department.

Kawakami said the bubble is “not the final solution, but a tool” to bring in tourism. Further, he said this is an “added tool, not a replacement” to the state-mandated two-week quarantine that is currently in place through the end of this month for inter-island and trans-Pacific travelers…. 

read … State to approve Kaua‘i resort bubble

Surge Test 266 new cases out of 60,000 tests

HNN: … Oahu was able to test more than 60,000 people for COVID-19 over the last 14 days as part of a federally-backed program to better understand the prevalence of the virus.

Of those tested through the program, just 266 were positive.

That’s a positivity rate of .6% — and evidence that COVID-19 is not widespread in many Oahu communities, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said at a news conference Monday….

CB: Surge Testing Program Is Showing How To Control The Coronavirus On Oahu

SA: Caldwell says Oahu surge testing successful; more than 60K tested in 2 weeks

read … More than 60,000 tested administered on Oahu as part of ‘surge’ program

'He didn't deserve to go this way': Big Island woman believes staff at Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home could have done more to save her father

KITV: … 87-year-old William Zerfuss, a Korean War veteran, is one of more than a dozen residents at the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home who died after contracting the Coronavirus there.

His daughter, Kona resident Diane O'Toole, says her father's death could have been prevented if staff followed stricter protocol.

"I don't know what they were told for the employees, where they were told not to go, or reporting if they were at one of those big events, and if they came in contact, you know, there was no contact tracing," O'Toole said.

"I think if testing was done on a regular basis, this would not have happened to my poor dad." …

As of Sept 14, 13 residents at the home who have tested positive for COVID-19, have now died in the last 17 days. …

CB Sept 15, 2020: 14th Death Reported At Avalon’s Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home

HTH: Kim: VA team to investigate Hilo veterans home

read … 'He didn't deserve to go this way': Big Island woman believes staff at Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home could have done more to save her father

The contact tracing debacle is ‘template for critiques of most state departments’

ILind: … this is a template for critiques of most state departments. Too few people staffing key offices with little or no training, obsolete technology, and abusive management. When state departments are doing their jobs, or are not doing them as well as we should expect, we can’t blame the front-line workers. I’m willing to bet that in many other cases, those front line staff are facing the same toxic mix.

Officials like Bruce Anderson and Sara Park are smart and experienced people. Even they are caught in an under-resourced and overly political system.

We’ll eventually get past the Covid-19 pandemic. But will we find a way to get past a dysfunctional bureaucracy?…

Sept 11, 2020: Whistleblower says Hawaii Department of Health’s ‘toxic’ culture of fear impeded investigators’ work

State Employee Flashbacks:

read … The contact tracing debacle is probably part of bigger woes

Top Three Failure Reward: Former DLIR Director Scott Murakami takes job at DBEDT

SA: … The former head of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, who resigned from his post in August after being on paid leave for two months, has resurfaced at another state agency.

Scott Murakami, who earned $154,812 annually at the helm of DLIR, resigned from that post Aug. 5 after being on paid leave from June 1.

Murakami is now serving as economic development coordinator for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. His annual salary is now $122,400.

read … Former DLIR Director Scott Murakami takes job at DBEDT

BoE to Devote Meeting to Acellus Hysteria—Can Hystericals Submit any Hard Evidence?

CB: … The state Department of Education says it needs hard evidence of inappropriate content on a controversial distance learning platform flagged by Hawaii parents before it decides whether get rid of the program.

The DOE is asking parents and teachers who come across problematic content on Acellus Learning Accelerator to submit a link or attach a file of such content via a Google form….

DOE Deputy Superintendent Phyllis Unebasami said the department needs “evidence to substantiate the concern” and to confirm that what parents are reporting is in the Hawaii curriculum and not based off a general internet search.

“A screenshot as you know can sometimes be old or tampered. If we know the spot the person tells us it’s in, it really helps us a lot,” she said.

“If it’s an error that can easily be fixed, we’re asking the vendor to fix it. If it’s problematic across the curriculum, then we have a bigger decision to make,” she added….

Meanwhile: More Acellus Hysteria in San Diego

read … ‘Equity Specialists’ Are Reviewing Hawaii DOE’s Problematic Online Learning Program

Diversification Means More Military Spending

CB: … On Monday, economists said the economic fallout from the dearth of tourism in Hawaii will be worse than expected, judging by a new series of indicators they have been able to measure. The grim news came even as Gov. David Ige signaled that he likely will continue to hold off even longer than Oct. 1 on lifting the 14-day mandatory quarantine for travelers to Hawaii, something tourism industry officials had been counting on.

John Greene, the defense industry specialist at Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism told Civil Beat that military spending is one of the few parts of Hawaii’s economy the pandemic hasn’t seriously affected.

Greene’s job is to analyze how the military impacts Hawaii’s economy by tracking dollars coming in. He’s also part of a project that looks at how jobs and infrastructure meant for military purposes could be redirected to civilian purposes if for some reason the Pentagon cut back spending in the islands.

Hawaii Military Affairs Council Vice President Jason Chung said the military in Hawaii is critical to diversifying Hawaii’s work force. In an email, he said it offers “our youth an opportunity to go into a new, exciting field that can offer high paying jobs and the opportunity to remain home in the islands.”… 

read … Can Military Spending Prop Up Hawaii’s Faltering Economy?

Hu Honua BioEnergy Litigation -- What Happens Next

IM: … The Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission issued an Order rejecting the waiver from competitive bidding, effectively killing the 12-year-old proposed Hu Honua project on July 9, 2020.

Hu Honua filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the Commission on July 20, 2020.

Under Public Utilities Commission rules, the Motion for Reconsideration must “introduce new evidence, the evidence adduced shall be stated briefly, that evidence must not be cumulative, and an explanation must be given why that evidence was not previously adduced.”

In filing its Motion of Reconsideration, Hu Honua gave the Commission the opportunity to strengthen its justification for rejecting the proposed project.

The Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission did just that when it issued an Order on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, denying Hu Honua motion to reconsider the Commission`s rejection of the proposed project.

Pacific Business News received a statement from Hu Honua Bioenergy,  “The PUC's decision is wrong and Honua Ola Bioenergy will be pursuing every possible option for an expedited review by the Supreme Court to reverse the decision and save jobs."

Hu Honua can now file a motion with the court for relief under Rule 60 of the Hawai'i Rules of Civil Procedure. …

read … Hu Honua BioEnergy Litigation -- What Happens Next

Papakolea Blockade: Homeless Drug Addicts Demand Money to buy More Meth

HNN: … Residents of a Hawaiian Homes' community are growing increasingly concerned about an uptick in homeless people living near their community.

Residents at the Kalawahine subdivision say the homeless have camped at the entrance to their neighborhood and are harassing them.

“They’re stopping the kids and asking them for $5 to drive up the road from over there,” said Richard Soo, who lives in the subdivision.

On the cross streets of Kapahu and Anianiku, there are several cars home to about half a dozen people….

Google View June 2019: Same Bums same blue van at Papakolea entrance

read … Papakolea residents raise concerns about growing homelessness in their community

Column: The Intercept promised to reveal everything. Then its own scandal hit.

NYT … The archive of Snowden documents, which it received from Greenwald and Poitras on the condition that the company maintain a specific, complex security protocol and a staff to support it, was closed after Reed reduced its staff, citing budget cuts. Poitras, who furiously objected to the cuts at the time, called the move “staggering.”

The repository had been “the most significant historical archive documenting the rise of the surveillance state in the twenty first century,” Poitras wrote in a memo to The Intercept’s parent company. Closing it did a disservice to “the public for whom Edward Snowden blew the whistle.” …

In the United States, Greenwald has been increasingly engaged in the bitter feuds with others on the left, charging that liberals — including some of his Intercept colleagues — have become fixated on identity politics and Russia, and ignored the more insidious workings of corporate power. His most memorable television appearances these days seem to be on Fox’s Tucker Carlson show, during which the two men denounce the “deep state.”

Meanwhile, his colleagues have refashioned the site to champion insurgents and critics of the Democratic mainstream, including a woman who accused Joe Biden of sexual assault, Tara Reade, as mainstream outlets raised doubts about her story….

Greenwald was in Brazil, and when he heard about the document, he was not interested. He told me that he considered its claims about Russian hacking during the 2016 race “wildly overblown” and that it didn’t include direct evidence to convince him otherwise….

“If you get a document that purports to be from the NSA, it should be a five-alarm fire,” a member of The Intercept’s high-powered security team, Erinn Clark, said in her interview for the internal inquiry. “Go to a secure room, with an editor, freeze where you are. You are not aware who you are exposing or putting at risk.”

Instead, Cole put the document in his bag and got on a train to New York.

One concern did cross his mind. “I thought at the time there would be an audit if they printed on a government printer,” he said, according to the internal review notes. “I forgot about that thought.”

Later, he called a source in the intelligence community in an attempt to verify the document, and casually revealed its postmark.

“My source said something about, ‘How did it come to us?’ I said in the mail, from Georgia, and my source laughed about that,” he recalled during the internal investigation. Then Cole mentioned that the postmark was Fort Gordon, Georgia, which is home to the NSA’s Cryptologic Center. ” ‘There’s a logic to that,’ the source said.”

The startling carelessness about protecting Winner was particularly mystifying at an organization that had been founded on security. Steps from Cole’s desk in The Intercept’s open-plan office in Manhattan sat Clark and Micah Lee, leading figures in digital security. Cole did not involve them at all.

Cole and Esposito said they’d been pushed to rush the story to publication, but Cole also acknowledged that failing to consult with the security team was a “face plant.”…

read … Column: The Intercept promised to reveal everything. Then its own scandal hit.

Hawaii’s Sham Clean Energy Initiative to be Presented at UN Confab

CMU: … speakers at the Brookings-United Nations Foundation event include Majestic Lane, the chief equity officer and deputy chief of staff for the City of Pittsburgh; the Honorable Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles; Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation; the Honorable David Y. Ige, governor of Hawaii; and Sen. Brian Schartz of Hawaii, where the latter two will present Hawaii's Voluntary Local Review. Los Angeles presented its last year….

Link: Hawaii's Voluntary Local Review.

HEI: Releases ESG

Not gonna be mentioned: Biofuel Shell Game: How Giant Diesel Plant Became part of Hawaii's 'Clean' Energy Future

read … CMU Completes Voluntary Review of Sustainable Development Goals

Katherine Kealoha agreed to tell all

ILind: …According to the terms of the plea agreement, filed in federal court on October 22, 2019, the former supervising deputy prosecutor in the Department of the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney is required to cooperate with prosecutors by telling “everything [she] knows about every person involved presently or in the past in obstruction of justice, fraud, narcotics distribution, as well as other violations of law.”

In addition, Kealoha agreed to testify “before any federal or state grand jury, and at any pretrial, trial or post-trial proceedings.”

If Kealoha provides “substantial assistance, and has fully complied” with the plea agreement, prosecutors will ask the court for a “downward departure” from federal sentencing guidelines, meaning less time than she would otherwise be required to serve.

But if prosecutors feel Kealoha has provided “materially false, incomplete, or misleading testimony or information,” they can throw the book at her, and prosecute any federal violations the government is aware of, “including false statements, perjury and obstruction of justice….”

A copy of the full plea agreement can be viewed here.

read … Katherine Kealoha agreed to tell all

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