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Sunday, November 15, 2020
November 15, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:33 PM :: 2129 Views

Hawaii 2020 vs 2016: Largest Shift Towards Trump of Any State

Today is your lucky day!

Hawaii is the Most Expensive State in America

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted November 13, 2020

COVID Count 108 new cases out of 5,318 tests

Where’s All the Money?

Hawaii’s half-billion healthcare hole

PBN: … Pacific Business News previously reported that American Hospital Association estimates that hospitals nationwide are going to lose about $300 billion this year.

While local hospital administrators have confirmed that losses are mounting here as well, a solid number hasn’t been available until now. That figure is $580 million statewide for 2020. It includes both revenue declines and cost increases realized so far as well as estimated for the rest of the year.

This figure comes from the Healthcare Association of Hawaii surveys of its 170 members, ranging from assisted living facilities to major hospitals statewide. “We’ve asked our members to provide us with some estimate of their losses, and we use this information with our congressional delegation and the governor’s office,” said HAH President and CEO Hilton Raethel. “There have significant decreases in revenue. And that’s just for this year, we’re expecting this pandemic to continue into 2021.”

The revenue losses are coming from two factors. First, the hospitals, expecting a crushing wave of Covid-19 patients in the spring, canceled or postponed elective and non-urgent care. That wave never materialized but by the time Covid patients did start getting hospitalized, public anxiety about catching the novel coronavirus had them avoiding hospitals even though they had resumed normal care.

At the same time, costs have gone up. “Our hospitals are using [personal protective equipment] at something like five to 10 times the usual amount,” said Raethel. “Because of the worldwide shortage and demand, we’re paying three- to five-times more per item than we’d normally pay.”….

read … Hawaii’s half-billion healthcare hole

Hawaii GOP needs to figure out how to parlay its increased voters into political power

Borreca: … If there was good news for the local Republican Party coming out of the just-concluded presidential election, it is that the Hawaii GOP got 67,755 more presidential votes in 2020 than in 2016.

“Our coalition did bring 60,000 more voters into the race,” said Shirlene Ostrov, Hawaii GOP chairwoman, in a Facebook interview with Edwin Boyette, the GOP’s vice chairman for communications.

President Donald Trump decisively lost Hawaii, as former Vice President Joe Biden won the state with more than 63% of the vote….

The real local disaster was found a way down the ballot in the state legislative races.

At this point, the Hawaii GOP is not so much in a reconstruction phase as engaged in a search for survivors in the rubble of the results from those election contests.

The party is now back at its all-time low point, with just five members: four in the House and one in the Senate. From 2017 to 2018, there were five in the House and no one in the Senate representing the GOP. The party now has one senator, Kurt Fevella, and four representatives.

Rep. Gene Ward has served as a Republican in the state House since 1990. In his view, the two political parties have flipped. Hawaii’s wealthy and those in control of Hawaii business and financial interests are no longer represented by the Republicans, but now by Democrats….

Related: Hawaii 2020 vs 2016: Largest Shift Towards Trump of Any State

read … On Politics: Hawaii GOP needs to figure out how to parlay its increased voters into political power

Candidates with compelling messages can beat Democratic Party might

Shapiro: … this year’s election showed that voters will respond when given real choices for change, whether it be non-Democrats or different kinds of Democrats….

The prime example was Rick Blangiardi, an independent former TV executive who became Honolulu’s new mayor in a 19-percentage- point landslide against the well- connected Keith Amemiya, who was groomed for years to lead the Democratic establishment into the next generation.

Blangiardi voiced a no-nonsense, problem-solving message that resonated in the nonpartisan election as we deal with the dual problems of COVID-19 and economic devastation. Amemiya flopped by wrapping himself in the Democratic Party and its coterie of special interests while dubiously trying to tie Blangiardi to Donald Trump.

Hawaii’s Democratic electorate showed Trump little love in the presidential election but rejected him being dragged as an irrelevant bogeyman into a local election in which they were more interested in hearing about leadership than partisan preening.

The Democratic establishment also wasn’t as invincible as perceived in the party’s state House primary in McCully-Kakaako, where attorney Kim Coco Iwamoto came within 167 votes of unseating powerful House Speaker Scott Saiki….

read … Candidates with compelling messages such as Rick Blangiardi, Kim Coco Iwamoto can beat party might

Column: Hawaii’s vote-by-mail works, but improvements are necessary

SA: … Voter turnout increased by more than 16% over the previous primary in a general election year, and by more than 14% over the prior general election!

This increase of over 14% in voter turnout rate over the 2016 general election is the best in the nation…

Even though Hawaii’s mail-in balloting process was successful, improvements should still be made.

One, there needs to be more voters service centers (VSCs) statewide. The lines statewide on Election Day showed that there are voters who require in-person services. The general election had a 3.5% in-person turnout rate at VSCs compared with the primary, which had a 0.7% in-person turnout rate. There were no waits at any VSC during the primary, but there were lines at every VSC throughout the state on Election Day during the general election.

A mere five-fold increase of in-person voters at our eight VSCs caused waits of up to four to six hours at Kapolei and Honolulu Hales on Oahu, and of approximately two hours at Maui island’s lone VSC. This is an unacceptable infringement upon voters’ fundamental constitutional right to vote….

Two, Hawaii should have more drop box boxes for people to deposit their voted ballots. There should be one drop box for every 15,000-20,000 registered voters. Drop boxes should be situated in areas where there may be communities with historically low vote-by-mail usage.

It was especially disappointing to see on Oahu, with 549,935 registered voters, that there were only 12 drop boxes. Oahu should have had between 27 and 37 drop boxes for its registered voter population size. Further, there was only one drop box on the westside of the island — Waianae District Park — and only one drop box on the northern tip of the island, Kahuku District Park.

Three, Hawaii should pass Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) in 2021 to facilitate voting by mail. AVR would help update the voter rolls to ensure that ballots are mailed to people’s current, correct addresses….

SA Column: Lucky to be voter-center volunteer

read … Column: Hawaii’s vote-by-mail works, but improvements are necessary

Ahead of the holidays, lawmakers explore strengthening Hawaii’s mask mandates

HNN: … With the holidays approaching, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said the current mask mandate is not enough to control a potential winter surge.

Green said the only penalty that’s available to enforce is the violation of quarantine or pandemic rules, which is a misdemeanor.

“It’s very difficult because that sends people back to court, courts will back up, it’s too difficult to actually enforce,” said Green.

He adds that mask wearing rates have ranged between 70-80%, but if the state can’t get over 90% consistently, he said there will be a spread of COVID.

The lieutenant governor also said a mask mandate should require a small penalty where police can issue a ticket.

“The goal really needs to be to put a $100 fine or $75 fine on people who break the mask mandate who go to a club and they’re not wearing a mask, who are at the beach in a group and they’re not wearing a mask,” said Green….

Green said the issuance of a new mask mandate can’t be done through an emergency proclamation; it must be done through legislation because of the way the statutes are written.

“We’re heading into the second half of November and then December, January where the surges will be largest, and I hate to wait until the session begins next year to get the session changed,” said Green. “We’ll make it through without that but it would make things more difficult, but a mask mandate would really help us.”…

HNN: Lt. Governor: Current facemask rules 'too difficult’ to enforce, suggests revisions

read … Ahead of the holidays, lawmakers explore strengthening Hawaii’s mask mandates

Some think schools should revert back to full distance learning ahead of predicted surge

HNN: … The Department of Health (DOH) said cases in schools are increasing here in Hawaii. Health experts predict a surge in the islands in the coming weeks….

Related: DoH Changes the way it reports COVID Numbers

read … Some think schools should revert back to full distance learning ahead of predicted surge

24% of Kaua‘i CARES funds left

TGI: … The county has a remaining 24% of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds left to spend before the end of the year.

From March 1 to Oct. 31, the county expended or earmarked $21,354,855 of a $28-million package given from the state’s $1.25 billion. That’s about 75.8% of the funds used by the county.

Between September and October, the county spent nberly $3.5 million, according to a report submitted to the state….

read … 24% of Kaua‘i CARES funds left

Special Hawaii court for homeless violations  slowly resumes, providing fresh starts (but not forcing them into housing)

SA: … Hawaii’s most unusual criminal court addressing low-level crimes committed mostly by homeless people has returned from a COVID-19-driven hiatus at a new location along the Leeward Coast to make it easier for people to clear their cases and help reboot their lives.

Since 2017, Oahu’s Community Outreach Court has expanded from Honolulu District Court to Kaneohe District Court and to Wahiawa District Court.

It’s always been the goal to add more locations and take the special court out into the community, where homeless people live, some commit crimes and those who do can work off their community service. But the court sessions that began at the Waianae Public Library in 2018 were derailed in a COVID-19 era that requires social distancing and, ideally, fresh air.

So on Friday, the state Judiciary, District Court Judge Darolyn Lendio, the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office and the state Public Defender’s Office worked together with Catholic Charities Hawaii to hold the first Community Outreach Court session since March at a new location at the Villages of Maili, a transitional housing program where one of Friday’s 14 defendants lives.

But the people who appear before Lendio — who presided remotely on Friday — are never called defendants. They’re always referred to as “participants” and their inclusion is voluntary as long as they work off their nonviolent, low-level violations in exchange for not having to pay hundreds — sometimes thousands — of dollars in fees, fines and penalties.….

SA: Photo Gallery

(Lost opportunity: Use these tickets as leverage to force the homeless to accept shelter.)

read … Homeless Court

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