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Saturday, September 26, 2020
September 26, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:33 PM :: 2764 Views

Ige Approves Honolulu COVID-19 Recovery Framework

UH: Corporate Lives Matter

Vote by Mail: Ballot Drop Dates by County

Honolulu Ethics Commission Ballot Questions 3 and 4

Hawaii Right to Carry Gun in Public Debated at Ninth Circuit

Atrazine to Be Banned in Hawaii, Territories   

Hawaii Medicare Advantage Premium Drops 10.3% for 2021

Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan -- Community Meetings Set

Rep Tulsi Gabbard: Ban Vote Harvesting

Gabbard Lawyer now working for Kenosha Defendant Kyle Rittenhouse

UHERO: Failed Response to COVID Resurgence Stopped Economic Recovery

DHHL Legislative Proposals for Next Session

Upgrade your job skills: State Offers Free Online Courses

COVID Count 127 new cases out of 1,960 tests

Honolulu Council Long History of Conflict of Interest

SA: … the latest complaints come from Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi, who asked the Honolulu Ethics Commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson.

Anderson, who represents much of Windward Oahu, left his job on Sept. 23, just a few months shy of completing his final term. In a letter to the city clerk, he said, “Together with my mom and dad, I kokua with my grandparents’ various needs and errands, and as such have arrived at the difficult decision to resign from the Honolulu City Council …”

The letter did not mention that he also had taken a job with Local Union 630, Plasterers and Cement Masons, which has an interest in the construction of the city’s rail transit system.

Tsuneyoshi complained that in the last few months, Anderson “took a very active role and voted in support” of measures providing funding for the rail project. His employment with Local 630, Tsuneyoshi said, “was not freely provided and not mentioned when specifically asked for future plans for employment.”…

Tsuneyoshi’s complaints have a familiar ring, an uncomfortable reminder of past conflict-of-interest complaints involving Council members. Nestor Garcia and Romy Cachola both were fined by the Ethics Commission for accepting gifts from lobbyists, then voting on measures involving them without disclosing the conflicts. Similar complaints were filed against Anderson and current and former Council members, respectively, Ann Kobayashi and Donovan Dela Cruz, regarding their votes on rail measures. The commission later dropped those complaints….

read … Editorial: City Council conflicts

HHSC to take over management of vets home

HTH: … The East Hawaii Region of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. will take over operations and management of the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home from Avalon Health Care.

The action, announced Friday, comes as the Hilo veterans home grapples with an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that began in late August and in which 71 residents and 35 employees have tested positive for the virus, and 26 residents have died….

A five-year contract signed by Avalon CEO and Chairman Charles Kirton and Brinkman went into effect Dec. 1, 2017, and had the option to be extended for two additional two-year periods.

Avalon has managed the facility since it opened in 2007.

According to the contract, which was obtained by the Tribune-Herald this week, it can be terminated without cause by either Avalon or HHSC with 60 days prior written notice to the other party.

The contract also can be terminated for breach of contract, provided the breach continues for 15 days after receipt of a written notice of said breach from the other party.

HHSC agreed to pay Avalon no more than $5 million for services provided, according to the contract.

Critical reports stemming from recent assessments at the veterans home have identified a number of factors that might have aided in the spread of COVID-19 throughout the facility.

Assessments were conducted separately by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and the state Department of Health Office of Health Care Assurance. The VA and HI-EMA reports were released earlier this week.

“The recent reports have shown that Avalon is ill-equipped to operate the veterans home and contain this outbreak,” U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said in a statement. “Avalon has also been unwilling to take responsibility for their mismanagement so this was the right decision.

“What happens next will be critical,” the Hawaii Democrat continued. “The transition plan to a new management team must put the health and safety of patients and staff first. HHSC must also ensure that a change in management does not adversely impact staffing and census in other facilities and that all residents of nursing facilities on Hawaii Island receive care in the most appropriate setting….

read … Avalon to get the boot: East Hawaii Region of HHSC to take over management of vets home

Kauai Council Candidates: ‘Climate Change’ to be Excuse for Higher Housing Costs

TGI: … If elected to the Kaua‘i County Council, candidates running for office shared their ideas for how the next two years will be impactful to climate change, including stricter setback legislation, building codes and food production.

At a virtual forum hosted by the Community Coalition of Kaua‘i on Wednesday, all but one of the 14 candidates running for a seat on the council shared their ideas on actions they’d initiate during the next term to address climate change in the county.

Current Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro, who supports the current shoreline-setback ordinance like many candidates running, said he’s working with the county’s Planning Department to utilize coastal-erosion projections to properly notify developers.

Former mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. reiterated the importance of the 2018 General Plan that he was a part of the creation of, which explicitly outlines how the county should prepare for climate change.

Councilmember Mason Chock said preparation can be done in regional town planning, like in the West Kaua‘i Community Plan that is currently before the council for consideration. Chock also talked about updating the building code to eliminate greenhouse gases.

“If we don’t make a conscious effort right now our economic viability of the county will be impacted,” Chock said, noting that the county’s credit rating could be at risk….

More: Council candidates discuss legislation toward climate change

SA Editorial: Affordable in Kailua?

read … Council candidates on immediate climate change

Hawaii prisoner release program hopes to find additional funding to stay afloat

HNN: … A recent report shows prisoners helped by United Self Help re-offend half as often as others who maxed out. Bowles fears without more funding or private donations, chances are his organization won’t survive and neither will his clients.

“It’s almost guaranteed. Without any help, without any assistance, without people like Bud or even the state trying to help him out or getting a new contract, there is no way that these guys can succeed,” said Medeiros….

PDF: USH Recidivism Report FY18 FINAL

read … Hawaii prisoner release program hopes to find additional funding to stay afloat

Hawaii 'coal ban bill' becomes law

PBN: … Senate Bill 2629, known as “the coal-ban bill,” was signed into law as Act 23 of 2020 by Gov. David Ige this month.

The bill prohibits issuing or renewing a power purchase agreement for coal-generated electricity when agreements expire after Dec. 31, 2022, pushing Hawaii to be coal free by 2023.

The current power purchase agreement between Oahu's coal power plant’s owner, AES, and Hawaiian Electric is set to expire in 2022. Hawaiian Electric recently told Pacific Business News during the energy roundtable that the utility no plans to extend or renew the contract and looks to retire the plant in September 2022. This bill is one of three that were watched closely by industry experts, as PBN previously reported.

Blue Planet Foundation has advocated since 2013 to ban coal power in Hawaii, and this legislative session it worked with through local high school students…

read … Hawaii 'coal ban bill' becomes law

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