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Friday, July 23, 2021
July 23, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:40 PM :: 1940 Views

Lockdowns lower the bar for rule of law

Where's the aloha for Hawaii bar owners?

A Tale of Two Recoveries-- Why is the jobless rate so much higher in Democratic-run states?

WSJ: … While Democratic governors maintained longer and stricter lockdowns during the pandemic, most began to ease business restrictions in the spring. Nearly all were lifted by mid-June. So it’s striking that Democratic states in June still boasted significantly higher unemployment and slower job growth.

Unemployment was lowest in Nebraska (2.5%), Utah (2.7%), South Dakota (2.9%), New Hampshire (2.9%), Idaho (3%), Vermont (3.1%), Alabama (3.3%), Montana (3.7%) and Oklahoma (3.7%). All are governed by Republicans, except Vermont, which has a GOP Governor and Democratic Legislature.

By contrast, the states with the highest unemployment are all run by Democrats: Connecticut (7.9%), New Mexico (7.9%), Nevada (7.8%), California (7.7%), Hawaii (7.7%), New York (7.7%), New Jersey (7.3%) and Illinois (7.2%). Mere coincidence?…

So what’s going on? For one, high-tax Democratic states have continued to lose population to lower-tax states during the pandemic. This likely has contributed to their shrinking workforces and reduced local business demand….

Prolonged lockdowns in Democratic states have also resulted in more permanent small business closures. At the same time, regulations and taxes are slowing business formation. Florida recorded twice as many new business applications per capita over the last year than New York, according to Census Bureau data….

Democratic-led states are also continuing the Democratic Congress’s $300 unemployment benefit bonus through Labor Day, while most Republican governors have ended theirs early. This is probably contributing to the stubbornly high unemployment and slower labor force recovery in Democratic states….

read … A Tale of Two Recoveries

HART’s Expecting Fewer Riders — Even Absent The Pandemic

CB: … Previously, the rail agency expected to see as many as 122,800 daily boardings by 2030 along the full 20-mile, 21-station route to Ala Moana by 2030.

Now, HART has reduced that official number to nearly 101,000 boardings based on its most recent internal modeling, which was done in May.

The new forecast is largely due to the decline in recent years to Honolulu’s public bus ridership, according to HART officials….

read … HART’s Expecting Fewer Riders — Even Absent The Pandemic

Senator, Activists Complain Court Nominee is Wrong Color--Demand ‘Reckoning’ for Male Members of Uppity Inferior Race

SA: … Gluck previously served as legal director of the ACLU of Hawaii and is currently executive director/general counsel for the state Ethics Commission. His nomination to the Intermediate Court of Appeals by Gov. David Ige is expected to be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Then the full Senate is scheduled to convene at 10 a.m. Wednesday, followed by a separate decision- making meeting of the Judiciary Committee at 10:30 a.m. Final Senate votes are expected at 11 a.m. Thursday.

State Sen. Joy San Buenaventura, a criminal defense attorney, is not on the Judiciary Committee but plans to sit in during Gluck’s hearing before the Judiciary Committee to ask pointed questions — before voting against his nomi­- nation when it goes to the Senate floor.

“I’m speaking as a person who does the work, and my concern is his lack of experience doing trial work,” Buenaventura said. “Unless something happens, I think, yeah, I’ve pretty much made up my mind, especially when the slate has more (potential) justices that represent women and people of color. I don’t see why we should pick him.”…

On Wednesday, members of the House Native Hawaiian Caucus sent a letter to Ige expressing concerns about Gluck.

“We acknowledge that at present, there are no native Hawaiian, Filipino, Pacific Islander, or African American judges at the Supreme Court or the ICA,” according to the letter. “It has been over 20 years since a native Hawaiian has been appointed to serve on the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and nearly 30 years since a native Hawaiian has been appointed to serve on the ICA.”…

Troy Andrade is an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law and director of the Ulu Lehua Scholars Program, which works to get law students from under-represented and under-served communities into the legal profession….

“In this time of racial reckoning across the United States, we all need to be cognizant that representation really does matter,” Andrade said. “Right now there are no Native Hawaiians or Filipinos or Pacific Islanders on the appellate courts. If we have a more representative Judiciary, that builds confidence in our judicial system. … We have to be sure the governor is aware of these issues, as well as all future gubernatorial candidates.”…  

News Release July 21, 2021: House Native Hawaiian Caucus Asks Governor Ige to Withdraw Nominee for Intermediate Court of Appeals

Totally Related: OHA Sacrifices $3.2M to Hide Lawyer’s Conflict of Interest?

read … Experience, diversity concerns raised on appeals court nominee

Court to hear arguments over use of police during TMT protests

HTH: … The Hawaii Supreme Court will hear arguments next month over whether the county overstepped its bounds by requesting neighbor islands’ police forces to assist in responding to the 2019 Thirty Meter Telescope protest.

In July 2019, Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira requested that Honolulu and Maui police departments send officers to assist Big Island officers in controlling protesters who had occupied the Maunakea Access Road in opposition to the planned construction of TMT. Approximately 60 Honolulu officers and an unknown number of Maui officers provided support on Maunakea.

Shortly thereafter, Big Island resident E. Kalani Flores filed a lawsuit against Ferreira, then-Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard and then-Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu, arguing that his rights to observe Native Hawaiian cultural practices on Maunakea were violated by the police presence.

In particular, Flores argued that the Honolulu and MPD officers’ presence on Hawaii Island violated a state statute governing the powers of police departments outside of their home counties….

read … Court to hear arguments over use of police during TMT protests

Hui No Ke Ola Pono Exec Director Fired for ‘Fiduciary Reasons’

MN: … The board said in an emailed statement this week that it “cannot share employment decisions and, particularly, disciplinary actions that are confidential personnel matters.”

“It is not appropriate for the details of these decisions and actions to be made public, out of concern and protection for both the former employee and the organization,” according to the statement provided by Board President Mona Kapaku.

The board said that it shared news of the removal with staff on July 15 “after consideration of the evidence presented and that failure to act would have amounted to failure of our fiduciary duties as board members to safeguard the funding and nonprofit status of Hui No Ke Ola Pono.”

“As the board, we assured staff that we made this decision with understanding of the gravity of this decision, after the necessary gathering of facts and due diligence, and with respect and empathy for all involved, especially Joey,” the board said.

Gonsalves was given written notice of the board’s decision, including the reasons for termination, the board said, adding that it also sought to discuss the issue with Gonsalves….

Gonsalves had been with the organization for nearly three decades, including eight years as executive director, said Denise Carvalho, a registered nurse with the hui. She said the organization consists of about 40 staff members, including nurses, lomilomi practitioners, doctors, community health workers, oral health aides, hygienists and workers at the Simply Healthy Cafe the nonprofit runs.

Supporters of the former director are holding a rally at 4 p.m. today along Ka’ahumanu Avenue near Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. They have also called for his reinstatement through an online petition at that had 1,335 signatures as of Thursday evening….

read … Staff calls for health center to reinstate director

Monthly public disclosure by lobbyists? Yes, it can be done.

ILind: … Public disclosure of the amounts special interest lobbyists spend to influence public policy just isn’t taken seriously here in Hawaii.

First of all, reporting is sporadic at best, with only three reporting periods each year. Lobbyists, and those that employ them, are required to disclose their compensation and expenditures on March 31, May 31, and January 31 of each year, and within thirty days after adjournment sine die of any special session of the legislature.

It you are trying to utilize these data to track and attempt to counter undue influence of these monied interests, good luck. The relative lack of full and timely reporting results in a system rigged against the public interest, and in favor of lobbyists and those that employ them.

This week, I was working on something else that led me to the lobbyist disclosure section of the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.

Some quick comparisons between Washington and Hawaii.

First, Washington lobbyists are required to file a monthly report as long as they are employed as a lobbyist, even if they are inactive during the month. Monthly disclosure. Imagine that! What a concept! Compare that to Hawaii’s three reporting periods for the year.

Second, the required disclosures in Washington are more detailed than anything required by the Hawaii lobbyist law, and include in one place contributions, expenditures, spending on subcontractors, campaign contributions made by the lobbyist or transmitted by the lobbyist to candidates or political action committees, etc…

read … Monthly public disclosure by lobbyists? Yes, it can be done.

Elevated levels of lead found in select Hawaii public schools and childcare facilities

KHON: … To date, 58 schools and 70 childcare facilities in Hawaii, Maui and Kauai counties have completed testing. Out of 2,232 sampled taps at schools, 93 showed elevated concentrations of lead above the project action level of 15 parts per billion. The program reported four of the 100 sampled taps at childcare facilities had results above the action level. Altogether, about 4% of samples have had results above the action level.

Testing on Oahu began in mid-July. Results will be available on a rolling basis. …

Results: Click here

read ... Elevated levels of lead found in select Hawaii public schools and childcare facilities

Sen. Hirono again seeks funding for Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii

SA: … The Senate Armed Services Committee today added an $85 million authorization for the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii during its markup of the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act — rejecting the Biden administration’s decision to zero out funding for the project in its budget request, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said.

However, the funding proposal, which still needs to make its way through Congress, is seen as keeping the big radar, which now is approaching $2 billion or more due to ongoing delays, on life support….

(Clue: Campaign contributions.)

CB: Hirono Stresses Shipyards and Shipbuilding In Navy Funding Deal

read … Sen. Hirono again seeks funding for Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii

KIUC renewables, reliability rose in 2020 despite revenue hit

TGI: … The Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative chalked up a string of accomplishments in 2020 despite a pandemic-related drop in revenue, according to President and CEO David Bissell, who spoke at the 19th annual KIUC membership meeting held online Wednesday.

Achievements cited by Bissell included exponential progress toward the cooperative’s goal of 100% renewable-power generation, stabilized rates and increased system reliability.

“We’ve made incredible strides since 2010, when we were more than 90% dependent on fossil fuels, to reaching 67% renewable generation in 2020,” Bissell said.

“We have literally blown away our own strategic-plan goal of reaching 50% by 2023, and also the state’s benchmark of reaching 30% by 2020. Our renewable generation was the most of any island in the state in 2020.”

KIUC increased its renewable-source generation by nearly 20 megawatts while reducing spending on fossil fuels in 2020. The increasing reliance on renewable energy sources — solar, biomass and hydropower — is driving members’ rates down, Bissell continued.

“This is largely because our renewables are purchased at fixed prices through long-term power-purchase agreements,” he said. “These prices will not go up for 20 to 25 years, depending on the specific agreement.”…

KIUC’s was the most-reliable power system in Hawai‘i in 2020, boasting a 99.9% reliability rate — the best in the cooperative’s history. KIUC’s ability to maintain reliability while logging more than 1,500 hours on 100% renewable-grid operations in 2020 represents “an incredible achievement,” according to Bissell….

read … KIUC renewables, reliability rose in 2020 despite revenue hit

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