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Wednesday, October 21, 2020
October 21, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:16 PM :: 2141 Views

Low COVID: Caldwell Asks Ige to Approve 'Tier 2'

Convicted Palestinian Hijacker Set to Speak at UH Manoa--Unless Zoom Blocks her (again)

COVID Count: 91 new cases out of 3,681 tests

COVID Count: 78 new cases out of 4,329 tests

Ige Announces $25M 'Pivot Grants' for Businesses

Hawaii 2nd-Highest Young Adult Vaping Rate

Poll: Voters Favor Tourism Reopening 55% to 34%

SA: … A Health Department in disarray, delays in processing unemployment checks, a major outbreak in one of the largest prisons and the on-again, off-again effort to reopen the economy have resulted in a high disapproval rating for Gov. David Ige’s handling of the novel coronavirus.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Hawaii Poll, Oahu voters disapprove of Ige’s virus response by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. The poll found that 30% of Oahu voters approved of Ige’s coronavirus response, while 57% disapproved and 13% were undecided.

“How can you approve of someone who does nothing? All he does is volley problems to the various mayors,” said Albert Amiot, a 60-year-old Waipahu resident who took part in the poll. “He doesn’t accept responsibility for anything.”…

“(Ige) doesn’t pass along good information — even when Sarah Park lied to him for months about coronavirus testing,” Amiot said. Amiot said he’s also disappointed that seven months into the pandemic, some people are still waiting for unemployment claims to be processed. Amiot said his home-based business has floundered due to public-­safety shutdowns.

On a more positive note for Ige, the majority of poll respondents agree with his pre-arrivals testing strategy to allow tourism to reopen.

As many as 55% of Oahu voters approved of Ige’s policy to allow tourists to skip a 14-day quarantine if they test negative for the coronavirus just before traveling. However, 34% disagreed with the pre-arrivals testing strategy, and 11% were undecided….

Meanwhile: Bill 80 Imposes Rehiring Formula on Hotels

PDF: HI1020Poll Copy Full Poll

read … Most Oahu voters say Gov. David Ige could have handled COVID-19 outbreak better

Half of public school parents concerned over quality of education amid the pandemic, study shows

KITV: … The findings were released this month by the group Parents For Public Schools Hawaii, which interviewed nearly 600 public school families by phone between August and September….

It found that 52 percent felt very concerned about their children's social and emotional needs.

48 percent considered themselves very concerned over their children's health and safety when going back into the classroom….

SA: Full distance learning unpopular with Oahu voters

PDF: HI1020Poll Copy Full Poll

read … Half of public school parents concerned over quality of education amid the pandemic, study shows

Just 1 in 10 public school students get daily in-person classes in Hawaii

SA: … Only 10% of public school students in Hawaii are receiving in-person instruction daily, with younger students getting the most time on campus, according to data released Tuesday.

Nearly 24% of kindergartners are getting face-to-face daily classes, a rate that shrinks gradually over the grades to high school, where it is roughly 2%. The statewide breakdown by grade level was included in a presentation to the House Lower and Higher Education Committee, which is chaired by state Rep. Justin Woodson….

read … Just 1 in 10 public school students get daily in-person classes in Hawaii

More Hawaii Parents Are Pulling Their Kids From DOE To Home School

CB: …The state Department of Education has seen a surge in the number of students planning to home school this year as COVID-19 continues to spread in the islands.

There was a 43% rise in requests to home-school in the first three months of the 2020-21 school year in Hawaii compared with the entire 2019-20 school year, according to data provided by the DOE.

Between July 1 and Sept. 30, Hawaii public schools received 4,755 forms of intent to home-school, compared with 3,303 notices for all of last school year, which spanned July 1, 2019 to June 30….

read … More Hawaii Parents Are Pulling Their Kids From DOE To Home School

DOE Officials Have Spent $38M On Devices For Students

CB: … The Hawaii Department of Education has allocated just over $38 million in federal relief funds so far toward computer purchases and mobile connectivity devices to assist students with distance learning since the COVID-19 pandemic set in.

DOE officials provided updated figures and data on distance learning expenditures during an informational briefing Tuesday to the House Higher & Lower Education Committee.

The DOE has received $43 million total through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund as part of the federal CARES Act and another $31 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, part of another federal distribution to the states….

So far, the biggest expenditure has been $29 million for computers. Another $9 million was spent on roughly 17,300 mobile hotspots to accommodate distance learning. But as Tuesday’s briefing revealed, problems with connectivity for rural students and device delivery persist.

Though Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said 49,000 total computers were purchased so far, a DOE spreadsheet shows 23,300 of those devices have still not arrived. A national backlog of computers, driven by school pandemic needs, has contributed to the delay, she said….

WHT: Lawmakers updated on how schools are spending virus relief funds

HNN: DOE criticized for slow transition out of controversial learning program

read … DOE Officials Have Spent $38M On Devices For Students

Unemployment: HGEA Can’t get the Job Done, but Whines About Contractor

HNN: … The state Labor Department hired Maximus to replace a dismantled phone bank that was at the Hawaii Convention Center. Acting Labor Director Anne Eustaquio said Maximus was recommended and she was told that Maximus could set up a virtual call bank quickly to help Hawaii’s unemployed.

“They’ve done very well in the other states that we asked,” Eustaquio said. "We hadn’t heard any complaints within the (unemployment insurance) community and since we hadn’t and we knew they had experience they could help us spin something up rather quickly.”

But union leaders are concerned about the choice, saying Maximus doesn’t treat their people fairly and fails to train them properly.

Estaquio did notify the Hawaii Government Employees Association of the state’s plan to outsource and Executive Director Randy Perreira said he didn’t object because he knew state employees were overwhelmed by a flood of claims and other problems.

But Perreira said he didn’t realize the company the state chose was Maximus….

(IQ Test: Do you believe him?)

A national union for communications workers has been fighting to organize Maximus employees and shares bad news on the company on a website titled “Maximess."

“There’s (insert whine here),” said Dan Bass of the AFL-CIO (upset because workers don’t want him).

Eustaquio points out that Maximus is only being used until the end of the year, and was paid for using federal CARES Act money….

VIDEO: Anne E. Perreira-Eustaquio, director of state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, joins Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii

read … Questions raised about state’s contractor choice for new unemployment call center

Welfare Fraud: Officials warn Hawaii Restaurant Card solicitation could lead to revocation

KHON: … New posts online soliciting cards for sale are prompting organizers to issue warnings that the cards are not to be sold or bought. Officials say the card is not meant to be used as currency, but instead to help families and Hawaii’s restaurants in need. Solicitation of the card can get privileges revoked.

“Selling discards for cash is not in the spirit of the economic stimulus program to help the restaurant industry and the entire food supply chain,” Program Card Administrator Gwen Yamamoto Lau said.

When a cardholder makes a purchase, identification may be required….

These cards cannot be used at grocery stores, despite some claims online that said people were using them at Costco to buy various items. Yamamoto Lau says the merchant codes of the establishment control where the cards are valid.

“Monday morning, we received a list of approximately 1,000 businesses that were rejected with rejected Hawaii Restaurant Card transactions over the weekend. And this included rejected transactions for 52 cardholders who try to use their card at Costco on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai,”

The cards are not redeemable at Costco food court locations, as Yamamoto Lau says the merchant code is the same as retail….

As of Oct. 20, organizers report that about 50,000 cards have been activated and $1,700,000 has been spent at local eateries….  ($34 per card avg)

(CLUE:  ‘Breakage’ is a real thing.  A lot of the money on these cards will not be spent.  This could leave the State with unspent CARES money which will have to be returned to the Feds on Dec 31.)

read … Officials warn Hawaii Restaurant Card solicitation could lead to revocation

Owners file suit over city’s rules that forced long-lasting bar, nightclub closures

HNN: … Under Oahu’s tier system, bars and nightclubs won’t be allowed to reopen for months.

Many are worried their closures could last long into 2021 as the “high-risk” businesses will be in the last round of businesses to open their doors.

Now, some bar owners are suing the city, claiming the plan is "arbitrary.” …. 

CB: Oahu Bar Owners Are Crying Foul Over City Restrictions

HNN: More than 100 local bars and restaurants have shutdown since pandemic

read … Owners file suit over city’s rules that forced long-lasting bar, nightclub closures

US surgeon general to be in court on Hawaii virus citation

AP: … The U.S. surgeon general is set to be arraigned Wednesday in a virtual court hearing in Hawaii on charges he illegally entered a public park that was closed because of the coronavirus….

The criminal complaint against Jerome Adams, who was on Oahu in August helping with surge testing amid a spike in coronavirus cases, says he and two other men were looking at the view and taking pictures at Kualoa Regional Park on the island’s northeastern coast. The rural park offers a view of the famed Mokolii island, also known as Chinaman’s Hat for its cone shape.

Adams told a police officer who cited him that he was visiting Hawaii to work with Gov. David Ige on COVID-19 and didn’t know parks were closed. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell had closed them at the time to try to prevent crowding that could spread the virus.

Violating any of the mayor’s emergency orders is punishable as a misdemeanor, with fines of up to $5,000, up to a year in jail or both.

A few days after the citation, Adams appeared with Caldwell at a news conference announcing a partnership between the city and federal government for surge testing….

CB: Honolulu Police Are Issuing An ‘Unprecedented’ Number Of Pandemic Tickets

read … US surgeon general to be in court on Hawaii virus citation

Protection For Renters Can Be A Nightmare for Landlords

Cataluna:  … Last fall, Selina Lewis and her husband rented their 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house in Kapolei to a family of four for $2,800 a month.

The first sign of trouble came in April, when the rent was due but went unpaid. Lewis waited a few days, and then sent an email to ask what was happening. The tenants responded, saying that one spouse had their hours cut at their job, and the other was immunocompromised and couldn’t work. They said they could pay part of the rent later in the month.

Lewis asked for a letter from the employer confirming the loss of wages.

“I followed directions. I didn’t invade their privacy. I just asked for documentation of hardship,” she said.

The rent was late again in May and June, but Lewis didn’t charge late fees. She figured they were struggling. She asked again for documentation of hardship and whether they had applied for rental assistance.

“Their answer was, ‘We’re very offended by your questions,'” Lewis said…..

read … Cataluna: Protection For Renters Can Be A Nightmare for Landlords

About 80% of Hawaii County’s virus relief funds spent or encumbered

HTH:  …More than 1,540 Hawaii Island businesses and nonprofit organizations have received an average $8,961 in government assistance, 812 families have received an average $4,415 to help with their rent and mortgages and 115,581 individuals have received food so far under programs paid for by federal coronavirus relief funds.

That’s according to officials in Mayor Harry Kim’s administration who briefed County Council members Tuesday.…

read … About 80% of county’s virus relief funds spent or encumbered

Interisland travelers have options to avoid quarantine when flying into the Big Island

KITV: … Interisland travelers now have two options to avoid quarantine when flying into Hawai'i Island.

On Tuesday Mayor Harry Kim announced, effective on Wednesday, travelers can either test for COVID-19 72-hours before departure or take a test upon arrival.

A negative result gets a person out of quarantine.

Mayor Kim says, "his new policy is simpler, more sustainable and gives people a choice."…

WHT: Interisland plan unveiled

HNN: After false positives, Hawaii County considers nixing post-arrival test for travelers

read … Interisland travelers have options to avoid quarantine when flying into the Big Island

State lacks testing options for Canadians

MN: … While Maui tends to see more Canadian visitors than any other island, the state’s pre-travel testing program lacks options for Canadian visitors to be tested in their country before flying to Hawaii….

Both Maui County and state officials confirmed this week that Canadian tourists’ only option right now is to quarantine for 14 days. Another option is to make a pit stop on the U.S. Mainland where there are locations available to get a pre-travel test…

Jodi Leong, a spokesperson for Gov. David Ige, said “discussions are underway” to add pre-travel trusted testing partners in Canada, though the state does not yet have a timeline….

The state Department of Health is currently in discussions with medical institutions in Japan to secure a list of trusted testing partners that would allow international travelers from Japan to bypass the 14-day quarantine upon their arrival in Hawaii. The DOH has already approved the COVID-19 nucleic acid amplification test with Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Japanese visitors make up the second-largest market on Oahu, with nearly 1.5 million in 2019, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s annual visitor report. By contrast, they comprise the smallest market on Maui, which saw 46,684 Japanese visitors last year….

Meanwhile: Hawaiian Airlines Welcomes Back Boston and New York Travelers

Meanwhile: Disney Cruise Line announces return to Hawaii

read … State lacks testing options for Canadians

Over 221,000 ballots received prior to opening of voter service centers

HNN: … As of Monday, elections officials said over 188,000 ballots on Oahu alone have been received. At last check, over 221,000 were received statewide. Officials say that equals a 26.6% turnout so far.

Voters are advised to mail their ballots by Oct. 27 at the latest.

You can also drop them off at one of 12 official ballot boxes around Oahu.

If you need help finding one around the state, click here for locations….

Starting Tuesday, Oahu residents will have the option to cast their vote in person.

Honolulu Hale was transformed Monday morning into a voter service center about two weeks out from the general election.

There are only two in-person voting sites on Oahu, one being Honolulu Hale and the other being at Kapolei Hale.

They’ll be open for the next two weeks and up until election day….

read … Over 221,000 ballots received prior to opening of voter service centers

In Hawaii, Switch to Mail-In Voting Not a Cure-All

CPI: … The voter turnout rate was boosted after switching to a vote-by-mail system this year, but barriers to voting remain for marginalized populations in the Aloha State. ….

read … In Hawaii, Switch to Mail-In Voting Not a Cure-All

Cloudy Weather: Rolling Blackouts for Solar-Powered Kauai?

HNN: … “Rolling outages were a possibility, but that’s been avoided for the time being,” said KIUC Chief of Operations Brad Rockwell.

“The unit looks stable at this time but we continue to monitor it closely."

Another generating station and a biomass plant are still offline for repairs.

Officials had urged the cooperative’s 33,000 customers to prepare for rolling outages Tuesday afternoon. Outages are “unlikely” for now, but still a possibility through Wednesday…..

read … Cloudy Weather

City welcomes public input for Climate Ready Oahu, the isle’s first adaptation strategy

SA: … The city is inviting the public to participate in two rounds of virtual meetings to help shape “Climate Ready Oahu,” the first-ever, climate adaptation strategy for the island….

read … City welcomes public input for Climate Ready Oahu, the isle’s first adaptation strategy

Moving the Smokestack: Blue Planet Phonies Exposed 

IM: …Performance Incentive Mechanisms (“PIMs”) should be used to advance state policy rather than rewarding existing actions or mischaracterizing solutions.

There are many ways of gaming the climate crisis: exporting GHG industries while buying back the products, ignoring the additionality principle by offsetting an emission with a sequestration that would have happened anyway; ignoring temporal issues by assuming an increase today can be offset by a time-distant reduction; assuming all biogenic emissions have zero net-GHG emissions; avoiding leakage analysis and lifecycle analysis, adopting spin without citation or analysis, excluding major sources of emissions, using undefined terms, mixing and matching units, and placing the burden of proof on the public instead of the polluter. Each of the above issues are complex, multi-dimensional, and nuanced.

Life of the Land categorically opposes the use of partial metrics that generate false spin and that encourage false thinking about solutions. If the only goal is to reduce in-state emissions, then all refinery employees should be fired, all in-state refineries should be dismantled, and Hawai'i should buy refined fuel product from elsewhere. In fact, Hawai'i should export all manufacturing and a fair amount of other commercial activity. Metrics which would consider these approaches as beneficially should not be relied upon. Just because some other jurisdiction or institution uses a metric, is no reason we should adopt it, without analysis and thought….

As Explained: Planet of the Humans: Michael Moore Debunks Hawaii's Clean Energy Initiative

read … Blue Planet & Life of the Land Clash Over Greenhouse Gas Regulation

Soft on Crime: Criminal Averages One Conviction per Year for 31 Years 

SA: … Police on Tuesday arrested a 49-year-old man at the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center on a bench warrant for a burglary at a Honolulu private school in August….

McPherson has a long list of 31 prior convictions of numerous petty misdemeanors ranging from theft, criminal trespassing and alcohol and drug charges, as well as a few misdemeanor crimes including second-degree terroristic threatening. 

(Translation: He never did any time so he was quickly back out on the street to get caught again.)

(Math: 49-18 = 31 = one conviction per year since age 18)

On Sept. 27, 2019, he was also found guilty of first-degree criminal trespassing at a school, a misdemeanor….

read … Man, with long conviction record, arrested on bench warrant for burglary at Honolulu school

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