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Thursday, August 5, 2021
August 5, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:00 PM :: 1987 Views

Are Hawaii's government finances really so bad? Yes. Find out why.

White House Touts 'Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act' for Hawaii

Mauna Kea Working Group Creates Webpage, Working on Report to the Legislature

Sealed ‘ghost cases’ hide CWS failures behind repeated child abuse deaths

SA: … Lane said he applauds state efforts to rescind Beyer’s parental rights and hopes similar action will be taken regarding the imprisoned father.

“This battered, permanently brain-damaged child is in a wonderful foster placement on the mainland where she is loved and cared for by a family who adores her,” Lane said. “It would be criminal to allow these disgraced parents to have any contact with this child ever.”

He added that with the secrecy surrounding child safety cases that a repeat of the high-profile “Peter Boy” Kema and Shaelynn Lehano- Stone deaths can easily occur for children going through so-called “587” hearings who are repeatedly sent home to abusive parents.

Lane said it’s possible for the state to award custody to Beyer under some form of supervision without revoking her parental rights.

“That’s generally the purpose of these long, protracted 587 cases — come up with a trial custody plan that involved returning the child to the natural parent to see if they are ‘responsible’ again. That’s what kills all these kids. Kema and Lehano-Stone (were) trial reunifications that should never have been agreed to,” Lane said.

“Our children are dying in secret behind closed doors,” Lane said. “Maybe ‘ghost’ cases in family court aren’t in our children’s best interest.”…

read … State seeks revocation of parental rights under ‘ghost case’ child abuse

Pressure grows for transparency as Honolulu’s fire commission secretly votes for next chief

HNN: … The two finalists are Acting Chief Lionel Camara, Jr. and Acting Deputy Chief Sheldon Kalani Hao.

Commissioners have reportedly voted already and Hawaii News Now sources say they are deadlocked, three for Camara and three for Hao.

It’s been difficult to confirm because the volunteer panel, made up of citizens, is doing all deliberations in executive sessions, closed to the public.

“Given the responsibility of the chief, that the chief is setting policy for the entire department, more transparency, more accountability should occur with that position,” said Sandra Ma, of Common Cause Hawaii.

The Hawaii Firefighters Association is also calling for the vote to be held in open session….

CB: The mayor’s nominee of a seventh fire commissioner also is on hold at the City Council.

Related: Say 'Uncle' -- What Connects Miske to Kealoha?

read … Pressure grows for transparency as Honolulu’s fire commission secretly votes for next chief

Local leaders aim to move quickly on new 3% county TAT

MN: … Maui County Council Vice Chairwoman Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, who leads the council’s Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee, echoed the need to move quickly.

“After receiving zero TAT from the state last fiscal year and zero again this fiscal year, I’m expediting legislation to establish our county TAT to help mitigate the harmful impacts our people, environment, and resources have been experiencing from the effects of over tourism,” she said Wednesday evening.

The Budget Committee was scheduled Wednesday afternoon to take up a proposed bill to implement a 3 percent transient accommodations tax on all gross rental, gross rental proceeds and fair market rental value considered taxable under a section of Hawaii law. The item was deferred to Aug. 18 due to meeting time constraints. 

Baz after the meeting said Maui County officials are working with the state and other counties to create a completely new system to assess, levy and collect the taxes. He pointed to his Aug. 3 letter to the committee, which said a definitive response on how the TAT system should operate is not yet available.

read … Local leaders aim to move quickly on new county TAT

Honolulu Mayor Announces New Restrictions On Social Gatherings

CB: … Mayor Rick Blangiardi said at a City Council meeting that Oahu will limit social gatherings to 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors….

read … Honolulu Mayor Announces New Restrictions On Social Gatherings

Governor expected to announce sweeping vaccine mandate for state, county workers

HNN: … All state and county workers may soon be required to get a vaccine or face paying for weekly testing.

Gov. David Ige is expected to announce the dramatic new plan Thursday. Multiple sources say the mandatory program could begin as early as next week.

Vaccine requirements are becoming more widespread locally and nationally.

Hawaii’s four major hospital networks have already announced policies of their own. And on Wednesday, the state announced public school student-athletes would need to be vaccinated….

The state and counties are apparently moving forward without public worker unions agreement because this is an emergency measure.

Even though first responders and health care workers were among the first to be vaccinated late last year, up to 20% have still not received shots….

Sources say under the new policy, employees will be required to tell bosses their vaccination status.

If they are not vaccinated they will receive one or two tests a week.

Health and religious exemptions are reportedly going to be allowed, but unvaccinated workers without a valid exemption will have to pay for their own tests….

read … Governor expected to announce sweeping vaccine mandate for state, county workers

Many medical facilities in Hawaii report increase in COVID-19 vaccinations over the past week

KHON: … Representatives from hospitals across the state are reporting a jump in the number of people receiving Coronavirus vaccines. Some of them  say it's because of the surge in COVID-19 infections, and concern about the Delta Variant.

Each hospital tracks its vaccination numbers differently. Adventist Health Castle saw a 100% increase this week alone. While Hilo Medical Center saw a drastic 200% increase last week….

Queen's is also seeing an increase in demand for its mobile vaccination clinics. Crews conducted 95 events on wheels so far, with another 50 scheduled until September.

"We're really trying to focus our efforts on areas where people are being safe and they have a convenient place to get vaccinated,” Bedell said.

Kaiser currently has 12 vaccination sites statewide. Assistant Hospital Administrator Andrew Giles believes the recent jump can also be attributed to more companies and employers mandating vaccinations. …

read … Many medical facilities in Hawaii report increase in COVID-19 vaccinations over the past week

No Contact Tracing?  Oahu lifeguard claims failed city safety protocol spread COVID

KHON: … Kainoa McGee is still in quarantine from COVID-19.  He said he got the virus on the job as a county lifeguard.

"A few of my coworkers did a rescue off Tower 47A. Little to our knowledge we found out, three weeks later - the patient was positive for COVID," stated McGee….

McGee said a few days after the incident he started to see some symptoms. But thought it was a cold going around, as no one had been notified of the COVID positive patient….

McGee is not vaccinated against COVID, and realizes possible exposure to the coronavirus is part of the job. But he is upset over the delay in alerting first responders, because it meant, he in turn spread the virus to his family.

"My wife is in the hospital fighting for her health with pneumonia, from getting COVID from me. She is having problems with her heart, kidneys, liver. Had I known 3 weeks ago and got the COVID test, I could have quarantined and saved my family from this heartache."…

read … Oahu lifeguard claims failed city safety protocol spread COVID

Council Members Call For Honolulu Rail Critic To Stay On HART Board

CB: … At least two Honolulu city council members want an outspoken rail critic to keep his spot on the board overseeing the beleaguered transit project.

Council members Augie Tulba and Heidi Tsuneyoshi plan to try to get the nine-member City Council to also support Joe Uno, a construction cost-estimator who has asked pointed questions during Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board meetings and has also said that the rail line should stop at Middle Street.

The two held a press conference Wednesday with Uno and his supporters, who carried signs saying “Joe Uno for HART” and “Numero Uno.”

“Joe brings transparency, accountability,” Tulba said. “His expertise in safety as well as the financing of the rail brings a huge value. Joe wants to serve, and that’s the main reason why we are doing this. Because he has the heart and wants to serve.”…

The chances that Uno may keep his spot on the board appear slim.

No other council members came forward to support Uno on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Tulba’s office said after the press conference that council members aren’t allowed to discuss how they’ll vote outside of council meetings.

Update: In a written statement, Council Chair Tommy Waters said he stands by the Transportation Committee’s support of Aalto….

SA Editorial: HART must seek realistic options

SA: Some Councilmembers call for Joe Uno’s reappointment to HART Board

read … Council Members Call For Honolulu Rail Critic To Stay On HART Board

City Council Member Andria Tupola Will Not Run For Governor Next Year

CB: …City Councilwoman Andria Tupola, who was the Republican candidate for Hawaii governor in 2018, said Wednesday she will not run for governor again next year.

Tupola also disclosed during a live-streamed public discussion Wednesday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight” show she is not vaccinated against COVID-19, but said she has some degree of natural immunity to the coronavirus because she was infected last year during a trip to Utah.

“The night of the election when I was elected as a City Council member, of course, still in my heart, I wanted to run for governor,” Tupola said Wednesday.

But the former state House minority leader said her Leeward Oahu constituents “want me to serve just as I told them I was when I ran for City Council, and so I’m going to finish my four-year term as a City Council member.”….

SA: City Council Member Andria Tupola not vaccinated, and not planning a run for governor next year

SA: VIDEO: Honolulu City Councilman Augusto ‘Augie T’ Tulba and Honolulu City Councilwoman Andria Tupola join the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii

read … City Council Member Andria Tupola Will Not Run For Governor Next Year

More Homeless Mayhem: Kahuku residents blame squatters for overnight brush fire that caused evacuations

HNN: … Residents who live near the golf course claim homeless people frequently camp in the area.

"Its been an ongoing thing for several years and they go back there and they camp out and they make fires, they make a lot of loud noises, screaming and yelling," said resident Anthony Chiara. "Police have been called. They've actually been gone back in there. They've actually got them out before and cleared the area and they actually end up coming back."

Crews were out this morning monitoring hot spots for flare ups….

read … Kahuku residents blame squatters for overnight brush fire that caused evacuations

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