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Sunday, November 8, 2020
November 8, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:07 PM :: 2834 Views

COVID Count: 128 new cases out of 6,147 tests

How HSTA Won ‘Work’ from Home at Kapolei HS

DBEDT: International Students Contribute $381M to Economy in 2019

Sand Island: DLNR Clears out 42 Homeless Camps--Nobody Accepts Housing

A Ham-Fisted Way of Getting Folks Back to Work

With Biden win, TMT may get Hawaii home

TI: … With Democrat Joe Biden virtually clinching the US presidential election, hopes have been raised for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii. India is one of the partners in the ambitious next-generation observatory project along with the US, Canada, China and Japan.

The TMT project, despite being on high priority of the Barack Obama administration during 2009-17, could not take off during the Donald Trump presidency due to massive protests against its proposed site at Maunakea in Hawaii, which is considered sacred to the island’s indigenous people.

Eswar Reddy, astronomer at Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru and programme director of the TMT-India project told TOI on Sunday that several off-site works on the project were going on in all the five countries. “We have all legal permits and building permits in Hawaii. The project is, however, delayed due to local protests. We hope it will take off mid-next year. It will take nearly 8-10 years to be fully functional,” he said….

It is believed that the fate of the project would be known early next year when the new US administration finalises its priority in terms of funding….

read … With Biden win, TMT may get Hawaii home

This Election Cleared Out Some 'Leaders' Who Needed To Go

Cataluna: … For the last eight years, Gabbard has been an overhyped, overrated, attention-seeking starlet who has not done nearly as much for Hawaii as she’s done for herself…..

It’s been a long time since Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro started carrying the adjective “embattled” as almost a prefix to his name. It’s also been a long time since he’s been on “temporary” paid administrative leave after receiving a target letter by federal investigators looking into corruption in his department on his watch. Since March 7, 2019, Kaneshiro has not been at work but has continued to receive his city salary of $176,688 annually….

It’s possible, but not likely, that Colleen Hanabusa may try to resurrect her political career from the ashes once again, but if you count up her string of losses (third place in the primary for Honolulu Mayor this year; losing to the listless David Ige, of all people, in the 2018 primary for governor; her bitter loss to Brian Schatz in 2014 for the late Dan Inouye’s spot in the U.S. Senate) it’s clear she would have to pick a race very carefully if she were to run again, and try her best to run unopposed.

She does not have the shiny look of a winner anymore. She’s an also-ran….

Goodbye Harry Kim,….

And come January, bye Kirk!….

Add to this list former Kauai County council member Arthur Brun, who was indicted this year on 10 federal felony charges in a tawdry tale of running a drug ring, driving crazy around Lihue and assaulting a police officer. Brun did not resign his council seat after his arrest….

Then there’s Romy Cachola, who, for the first time since 1984, is no longer in elected office. Romy’s many years in public service will best be remembered mostly for how many years he managed to stay in office. He didn’t do much, but he did it for a long time…...

read … This Election Cleared Out Some 'Leaders' Who Needed To Go

Nine of 250 precincts statewide voted Trump

WHT: … While all islands in Hawaii became a slightly lighter shade of blue this presidential election, the Big Island had the smallest increase in Trump voters in the state, according to a West Hawaii Today comparison of votes between 2016 and 2020.

Statewide, a dramatic increase in voter registration and turnout brought a 2.4 percentage point gain for Trump, the newspaper’s analysis showed. Big Island increases, however, amounted to only 1.6 percentage points. Kauai showed the highest increase, with 3.7 percentage points….

Only nine of 250 precincts statewide — none of them on the Big Island — went for the Trump/Pence ticket.

Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, chairman of the state Democratic Party, notes that the Democratic slate also had an increase in votes. In addition, he said, the Democrats gained another seat in the state Legislature.

“As we look at the difference in the 2020 vs. 2016 results, we should also note the reduction of third-party voters,” Dos Santos-Tam said in an email response. “It’s possible that many of the Constitution or Libertarian voters from 2016 may have chosen Trump in 2020, which means that the number of ‘newly activated’ Trump voters may be smaller than the raw topline numbers may indicate.”

West Hawaii remains the island’s largest Trump base. But East Hawaii campaign efforts this election may have contributed to increasing numbers of voters choosing the Trump/Pence ticket. East Hawaii precincts showed an increase in votes for Trump, while most in West Hawaii actually decreased a little compared to 2016.

“A lot of people think the Republicans are haole who moved here, but that’s not the whole story,” said Kahiolani Papalimu, acting East Hawaii County Chairwoman for the state Republican Party. “We are the party of Prince Kuhio.”…

SA: Trump supporters rally at state Capitol

read … Big Island voters not as quick to embrace Trump

Blangiardi Will Need More than his Friends to Govern

Borreca: … Blangiardi may wish for a more elaborate set of instructions as he steps into office in January. The city’s finances are precarious and debts are likely to rise. The City Council is coming in with new leadership, and not as Blangiardi supporters. Two major public unions, HGEA and UPW, endorsed Blangiardi’s opponent, although the police union backed the former TV executive….

Blangiardi’s campaign theme was “It’s about you” and that resonated with 58% of the voters….

Amemiya’s campaign turned out to be an often-repeated tale of how you need more than your friends to win campaigns…..

read … Rick Blangiardi will need as much help as he can muster to steer Oahu through turbulent times

Lots of finger pointing as Honolulu rail runs out of money

AP: … Mayor Kirk Caldwell said state procurement law mean the procurement officer can’t disclose bid details but he believes they were far more expensive than the city can afford.

HART CEO Andrew Robbins is moving forward with the project anyway, saying he wants more time to talk to the bidders to identify what’s driving up costs and understand what could be done better. He will then ask for their final offers. He said he didn’t want to pass up this valuable information after the agency has spent the last two years working on the private partnership.

“We feel it’s our professional responsibility to to hear from the bidders, understand whether the procurement from a proposal perspective is viable and could be viable, that could lead to an award and a contract,” Robbins said. He plans to make his recommendation by Nov. 13.

The mayor is anxious about potentially losing $250 million in Federal Transit Administration funding which is due to lapse at the end of the year if Honolulu doesn’t show it has a viable plan to build the last segment.

Caldwell accused HART of “playing chicken” with the federal government’s deadline.

He wants the city to start over and seek new bids without the private partnership, an approach he thinks will be more transparent.

Both the mayor and Robbins say one option might be to built the final 4 miles in phases, or build as much as the city can afford for now. That could mean going as far as downtown. Or perhaps all the way to Ala Moana on the edge of Waikiki but with fewer stations.

Rick Blangiardi, elected on Tuesday to be the city’s new mayor, supports rail but has expressed concern about the possibility the final leg could cost $2 billion more than HART now estimates. He said in a statement that he would “prioritize increased transparency, accountability and open communications between all the stakeholders, including the taxpaying public.” ….

read … Lots of finger pointing as Honolulu rail runs out of money

HMSA faces a lawsuit over its status as a ‘non-profit’

HNN: … An Oahu nutritionist is suing HMSA in a lawsuit designed to weaken the insurer’s power in the health care marketplace.

Nutritionist Kristen-Lindsey Dudley gets referrals from doctors to provide counseling and therapy for things like weight loss and eating disorders.

Dudley said HMSA paid her for services for seven years before they suddenly sent her a bill for $325,000 and demanded payment before she could seek arbitration.

“HMSA is essentially using its market power and claiming to be a non-profit and is basically bullying providers in the state of Hawaii,” Attorney Eric Seitz said.

Seitz wants a judge to declare it a for-profit company,…

read … HMSA faces a lawsuit over its status as a ‘non-profit’

Disclosure of records concerning boat allegedly used in Jonathan Fraser murder moves forward

ILind: … As of mid-day Saturday, no objections had been filed and posted to the case docket available through the federal court’s PACER online records system. Unless there were objections filed on Friday which have not yet been posted online, it would appear the documents are on track to be made public as scheduled on November 23….

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

read … Disclosure of records concerning boat allegedly used in Jonathan Fraser murder moves forward

Bar fight: Lawsuit claims bias in regulating Hawaii businesses

SA: … It started with confusion, which led to frustration and anger. Now there is fear and a federal lawsuit, too.

But Oahu bar and nightclub owners — whose businesses have been closed for all but six weeks since late March because of COVID-19 emergency orders — are fighting back against what they say is unfair treatment by the government.

Most of those challenging the shutdown are trying to do so privately, fearing retribution. They claim biased enforcement and conflicting interpretations of liquor laws since the implementation of emergency orders closed bars twice this year.

Between 30 and 40 bar owners are “helping behind the scenes” with legal fees and information in a lawsuit filed Oct. 20, claiming civil rights violations and discrimination, said Bill Comerford, chairman of the Hawaii Bar Owners Association and owner of four of the five establishments listed as plaintiffs.

The suit seeks $50 million in damages. It also requests class action status to potentially benefit “several hundred members,” businesses with liquor licenses on Oahu, according to the suit….

read … Bar fight: Lawsuit claims bias in regulating Hawaii businesses

Column: Help reopen Hawaii’s economy, carefully

SA: … As bankers, we are deeply connected to the community through the customers we serve — individuals, organizations and businesses that we help to turn dreams into reality. We know of countless instances in which those dreams have crumbled this year as Hawaii’s economic pulse has flat lined.

For generations, tourism has been the bread and butter of our economy, so the recent shutdowns and halt of trans-Pacific travel dealt a hammer blow to our state. Although necessary to protect the health of residents, the cost was high. A Yelp survey found that our rate of business closings is one of the highest in the nation. This is consistent with our 15% unemployment rate, which is also the highest in the country.

Some people find the slowdown refreshing. They enjoy less traffic, empty restaurants and bare beaches. But these same indicators also tell another story: thousands of kamaaina out of work, mortgage and rent payments being missed, longtime mom-and-pop businesses closing up for good, and more kupuna and families being forced into homelessness.

As bankers, we are trained to recognize the opportunities and challenges of every decision so we can help our customers navigate their finances. Thanks to our community’s ability to manage COVID-19, we are now able to safely welcome back tourists and share the aloha spirit that Hawaii is known for and visitors can only experience here.

This is the best decision we could have made to slowly revive our economy. As a result, businesses are reopening, residents are returning to work, and the travel industry is reawakening after a brutal seven-month hibernation — just in time for the holidays, when retail sales provide up to 40% of annual revenue for many businesses.….

SA Editorial: Redouble efforts against COVID-19 in Hawaii

read … Column: Help reopen Hawaii’s economy, carefully

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