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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
October 19, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:12 PM :: 3183 Views

COVID Emergency Rules: HSTA to file complaint with Hawaii Labor Relations Board

Anti-Vaxxers Expose Maui Mayor to COVID

COVID the Lion Killer

When the sun goes down, the fun on the beach is quickly attacked by local police

10-year-old girl arrested at Honowai Elem School--ACLU Demands $500K 

SHOPO President: ‘Unfair‘ Media Coverage of Police Corruption will Lead to Mass Retirements

SA: … This past year, media coverage of law enforcement has unfairly painted a picture of the existence of mass corruption in police rank and file. While there is no denying the existence of unacceptable conduct and cases that warranted prosecution, the biased coverage is at an extraordinary level and casts undeserved judgment on all officers who serve in the line of duty….

We accept that part of our story includes rebuilding trust, following recent high-level corruption that sent former police Chief Louis Kealoha to prison. Yet, there is no excuse as to why the media continually ignores stories of officers’ compassion and bravery, which are far more frequent than examples of inappropriate actions….

SHOPO does not tolerate officers who disregard policies that align with our oath to enforce the criminal laws of this state or be influenced in any matter on account of personal bias or prejudice. It is understandable that those who break this oath be featured prominently in the news. What is unacceptable, however, is the bias and blanketed coverage that casts a shadow on the profession….

Across the state, unprecedented numbers of police officers are preparing to retire at the end of the year….

BEST COMMENT: I believe that Sgt. Lutu is mistaken when he says that “part” of HPD’s story includes rebuilding trust, it is their “Full” story as trust is earned. Public has been very supportive, but every week, we learn about cops using the badge for vendettas, power trip car chases, shootings, cover-ups, spouse abuse, etc. Even stories of cops being awful to other cops. Much has gone on for quite some time, but the public was only made aware after the Kealohas' pounced on a lot of innocent people, and other cops helped them do it! And, SHOPO is constantly defending these bad apples, but is so powerful that we did not even get to know about any of it before. Enough time has to pass without blatant attacks on citizens’ rights. Sir, it is not the media, it is the public finally demanding accountability because we’ve had it with the corruption and crap on our dime to boot! The San Diego Feds and Kenji Price showed us that we DO HAVE recourse! Hang in there, we will too. Mahalo ….

read … Column: Honolulu police officers worthy of fair and balanced news coverage

Sinking test scores show pandemic impact on Hawaii students

KHON: … The toll that more than a year of pandemic disruption has taken on Hawaii’s public school students is sobering: a record 26% change for the worse in math proficiency, 20% down in science, and 7% for language arts. These are the results of StriveHI scores based on tests taken earlier this year and just revealed in agendas for an upcoming Board of Education monthly meeting….

But in documents and memos to the board, DOE officials say: “Over the next few years, we will get a better sense of the ‘recovery rate,’ and how long it will take to return to 2019 levels.”

The scores show that may be a bigger challenge for certain groups, with Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students, Micronesians and the homeless seeing the biggest drops in scores. There are red flags in all of the data. Test participation plummeted. More than one in five kids simply opted out, leaving a participation rate at only 78% statewide….

There was a spike in chronic absenteeism — up 20% among all students but a whopping 77% for Micronesians, 72% for English learners, 55% for Pacific Islanders….

Only 33% of students in language arts and 25% in math scored at or above grade level….

Another 34% are one grade level behind and the remaining 32% are two or more grade levels behind in language arts. In math, nearly 43% screened one grade level behind, and one third are two or more grade levels behind….

Among “pandemic-related considerations” the DOE plans to emphasize to the board at this Thursday’s meeting are the following, excerpted from the DOE’s presentation slides:

  • Decrease in language arts, math, and science scores
  • The 2021 result of 26 percent of English learners having ‘Met” Growth-To-Target has decreased from prior years
  • For HSA-Alt and KAEO students’ growth for language arts and math coincidentally were the same within each of the assessments at 51% and 48% respectively
  • Both 3rd and 8th grade literacy increased from 2019. Third grade as a one point increase to 76% while 8th grade presented a notable 7 point increase to 77%
  • Drop in 9th grade promotions, from 93% to 85%
  • Steady annual increase in students completing a Career and Technical Education program
  • The 2020 cohort graduation rate increased by 1 percentage point for the third straight year in a row
  • The college-going rate decreased by 5 percentage points from 2020 where it remained stable at 55% since 2017

2020-21 StriveHI test results can be seen here.

Fall 2021 “universal screener” results can be seen here. 

HNN: Pandemic’s toll on learning: Proficiency in math, science plummets among Hawaii students 

SA: Hawaii public school test scores decline due to COVID-19 pandemic

CB: ‘Extremely Alarming’ Test Scores Show Challenges Ahead For Hawaii Schools

read … Sinking test scores show pandemic impact on Hawaii students

‘Devastating’: 3rd maternal death in Hawaii hits close to home for physicians who are also moms

HNN: …Hawaii has suffered its third maternal death from COVID-19.

Dr. Stacy Tsai, chair of the Hawaii State Maternal Mortality Review Committee, says the third woman had given birth and the baby is OK.

The three maternal deaths all happened during the Delta surge. All the women were unvaccinated….

read … ‘Devastating’: 3rd maternal death in Hawaii hits close to home for physicians who are also moms

Hawaii County Council to Vote on Secret Amendment to Sunshine Law

HTH: … There’s little detail, (LOL!) but County Council members will be asked Wednesday to approve a resolution asking the county to support changes to the Sunshine Law, the state law governing public meetings and public notice to the meetings.

Resolution 238 simply states it supports “the addition of an item titled ‘amending the Sunshine Law, Part I of Chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statues, to enhance the capacity of County Councils to develop effective public policy while assuring transparency and citizen participation in local government’ for inclusion in the 2022 Hawaii State Association of Counties Legislative Package.”

Introduced by Hamakua Councilwoman Heather Kimball, the resolution is going directly to the council for one vote, skipping the committee process.

The public can comment via Zoom at the 9 a.m. Wednesday meeting. Testifiers must sign up by noon today by emailing or calling (808) 961-8255. Written testimony can also be emailed to ….

Brian Black, executive director of the Civil Beat Law Center, said he’s had informal discussions with Common Cause, League of Women Voters, Kimball and Honolulu Councilman Tommy Waters about potential changes to the Sunshine Law.

Black said to date discussion has advanced on ideas around more than a quorum being permitted to attend certain presentations with limitations, requiring distribution of board packets at least 24 hours before a meeting and public access to more adjudicatory land use proceedings than just those proceedings of the land use commission.

”Nothing has advanced to a stage where the Law Center has a position one way or the other,” Black said. “But the conversation certainly has been more productive than the perennial proposals by others to entirely exempt county councils from the Sunshine Law. “….

WHT: Council seeks Sunshine Law changes

read … Sunshine Law changes in the works: Council to take up issue Wednesday

Hawaii’s Search For A New School Chief Will Take Longer Than Expected

CB: … The state Board of Education has decided to partially outsource the search for a new superintendent by using $150,000 in local grant money to hire a national nonprofit to help find candidates to fill the role on a permanent basis.

The board will vote on Thursday to accept grant funds from the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation and The Learning Coalition to enlist the National Association of State Boards of Education to facilitate the search, according to the agenda for the upcoming meeting.

If the arrangement moves forward, the timeframe for the search for a permanent superintendent will be delayed from the board’s original plan, which was to begin accepting applications in October and to make a final decision by March ….

read … Hawaii’s Search For A New School Chief Will Take Longer Than Expected

OHA Has Lots Of Job Openings Amid A Controversial Restructuring

CB: … The goal of the staff reorganization, which began in April under the direction of CEO Sylvia Hussey, is to control spending and help OHA achieve goals outlined in its strategic plan….

OHA’s Board of Trustees gave the administration until Dec. 31 to complete the reorganization, but officials said Monday that hiring for those vacancies will likely stretch into 2022.

In total, 60 jobs were eliminated under the reorganization, according to Hussey. Some were previously vacant or subject to a hiring freeze. Of that number, 43 employees had their positions eliminated. All were given the option of applying for new positions created under the reorganization….

(CLUE: They weren’t doing anything.)

OHA currently has 29 job postings on its website, including some high in the OHA hierarchy such as directors of advocacy, communications and community engagement as well as the office controller, who manages OHA’s financial structure and budgeting.

The agency also is seeking managers for offices that deal with beneficiary services, strategy management, accounting and land assets. There are also vacancies in public policy, research, grants and accounting ….

read … OHA Has Lots Of Job Openings Amid A Controversial Restructuring

HPD faces new pressure to restrict powers of commander accused of harassment, retaliation

HNN: … State Senate Minority Leader Kurt Fevella is also disputing statements made by HPD Interim Chief Rade Vanic at a Honolulu Police Commission meeting earlier this month. In a letter dated Oct. 13, Fevella reiterated that he wants the commission to work with Vanic to restrict the police authority of Major Stephen Gerona.

Gerona is the subject of multiple officer complaints for alleged harassment, sexual harassment, retaliation and for creating a hostile work environment.

Vanic told commissioners that these allegations, while serious, do not qualify for ROPA.

Fevella disputes that in his letter saying part of the ROPA policy also states an “administrative investigation of a serious conduct violation” can warrant the change in status.

Instead of having his powers restricted, Gerona was reassigned from the high-profile Criminal Investigations Division to the Legislative Liaison Office, where he does not supervise any officers.

Fevella said allowing Gerona to remain at work as a major gives him authority over others.

“At least suspend him from his powers now, furthering more investigation. Because right now, by having those powers, he’s intimidating a lot of people, a lot of people don’t want to come out and speak,” Fevella said…. 

SA: Sen. Kurt Fevella continues push to discipline Honolulu Police Department major

PDF: Fevella Letter Oct 13, 2021

read … HPD faces new pressure to restrict powers of commander accused of harassment, retaliation

Hundreds of burned cars removed from illegal junkyard on state farmland

HNN: … Last month’s fire burned everything in the cars that was not made of metal, making it easier for recycler Schnitzer Steel to crush them and remove them from the property.

Schnitzer Steel, which is working with the state, gets to keep the 700 tons of scrap metal for recycling but is not charging taxpayers for the work….

read … Hundreds of burned cars removed from illegal junkyard on state farmland

New police program cleans up homelessness and crime in parks

KITV: … Just six months ago illegal activity and homelessness at Crane Park was out of control.

Neighborhood residents said they didn't feel safe and the community center remained empty….

"When we moved in here the first day we came out the door and there's a guy smoking ice right by the door, so it got to the point where these people felt it was okay just to smoke ice out in the open," said HPD Acting Major Brian Lynch.

In May HPD moved an ATV crew into the community center.

"We had the guys ride ATVs, which allowed them to get into the nooks and crannies of the parks," he said. "Every morning the officers are here, every morning this park gets a sweep, and then from here they go out into the community to the other parks and deal with community complaints."

The strategy appears to be working.

"For years it used to be real bad, we used to have guys sleeping on this wall over here, all over there and they used to do drugs right here -- ice and everything. It was so bad I had to call the cops three times a week to get them out of here," said Nicasio Rediros Jr., who lives across the street from Crane Park. "It's much safer now."…

read … New police program cleans up homelessness and crime in parks

Office of Hawaiian Affairs defends $47M purchase of commercial property in Iwilei

HPR: … OHA recently bought two properties near Nimitz Highway for $47 million. One is a warehouse condo, and the other is a small shopping center that houses Ross Dress for Less, Longs/CVS Pharmacy, and PetSmart.

"This was an opportunity that was pretty rare. Not only was it an adjacent property to our headquarters, but it was already generating income with some nationally recognized tenants," said Casey Brown, OHA’s Chief Operating Officer.

Brown says the $1 million in annual revenue from the Iwilei properties could fund Native Hawaiian grant programs and community initiatives.

But why not use that $47 million to purchase culturally important lands or legacy lands? …

read … Office of Hawaiian Affairs defends $47M purchase of commercial property in Iwilei

39% of Hawaii’s LPN Nurses Quit During COVID

CB: … While registered nurses are key administrators who oversee medical care and respond to health crises, LPNs are the point people who daily address the health care needs of sick people living in care facilities.

In 2019, there were 2,669 licensed practical nurses in Hawaii, according to statistics from the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, which administers professional occupational licenses. But when license renewal time rolled around this summer, even before the delta variant hit, the number had fallen to 1,623.

More than 1,000 of these nurses, about 39%, have fled the field in Hawaii.

Other kinds of licensed health practitioners have also headed for the exit in the past two years but at nowhere near the same rate as LPNs….

A 2019 study by the Hawaii State Center for Nursing captured a snapshot of Hawaii’s LNP population in a survey of all nurses licensed at that time. Historically, LPNs have been a mostly stable workforce, with about a third of them having worked at the same place for 10 years or longer. The survey found that LPNs were eight years older than the average state resident, with a median age of 47, and that 31% of them were at least 55 years old. About 88% were women. About 45% were Filipino, with the next biggest group, about 23%, identifying themselves as being of two or more races.

These older workers were particularly vulnerable when the epidemic hit, and many decided it was too dangerous to continue working in health care, particularly in long-term care facilities.

“Covid is a big factor,” said Bob Gahol, a retired registered nurse and executive at Tripler Hospital, now vice president of the Philippine Nurses Association of Hawaii. “They are an aging population and concerned about exposure to the virus. They are a high-risk population. A lot of them retired or they got other jobs in the medical field.”

Some, he said, began operating private care homes where they could live and operate in “a more safe environment,” he said….

read … A Key Part Of Hawaii’s Nursing Workforce Is Shrinking Fast

HECO More Giant Batteries for Big Island

HTH: … On Friday, Hawaiian Electric filed a request for proposal to acquire new renewable energy projects, beginning the third phase of a greater renewable energy procurement project that will, when completed, generate up to 203 megawatts of so-called ‘clean’ power on the Big Island….

The first two phases of the procurement project approved four projects on the Big Island that proposed to generate approximately 132 MW of power. With this third phase, Hawaiian Electric hopes to add 95 MW of power generation — enough to power 34,000 average households — and up to 206 gigawatt hours of energy storage per year.

In order to qualify for the RFP, all projects must be constructed on the eastside of the island — which Hawaiian Electric broadly defines as south of the switching station in Pepeekeo, north of the switching station in Puna and east of the switching station in Kaumana. Proposals must also be operational no later than Dec. 1, 2030….

(Question: Hu Honua?)

read … Hawaiian Electric to usher in more renewable energy options

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