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Sunday, October 24, 2021
October 24, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:47 PM :: 2730 Views

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$160M Prison-Hospital for Homeless Drug Addicts sits empty as HGEA fights for more ‘Positions’

SA: … The new 144 bed facility took years to develop, but five months after state officials opened the building to media tours, it remains empty as DOH continues to develop policies to govern its operations and struggles to fill staff positions.

A state health official declined to speculate on when it would start accepting patients.

The union representing many of the staff says a fundamental dispute over the vision for the facility has caused months of delays. Rather than a new hospital designed to treat mental illness, the Hawaii Government Employees Associ­ation says the state has essentially built a prison, and it’s taken time for state health officials to fully recognize that.

“It is truly going to be a correctional facility for individuals who have mental illness,” said HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira. “If you started from that premise, then you would realize policies and procedures needed to be developed that addressed the security for both the patients and the staff.”

Perreira said that Run Heidelberg, the administrator at the Hawaii State Hospital, had wrongly viewed the building more as a hospital with elevated security.

“From the get-go, the Hawaii State Hospital administration just didn’t plan adequately for how this new building would be staffed and opened,” Perreira said….

the majority of patients at the facility at any given time are homeless and more than 90% suffer from substance abuse on top of their mental health issues….

(Translation: HGEA holding hospital hostage in order to force creation of new positions.)

SA Editorial: Open Hawaii State Hospital

read … Hawaii State Hospital’s new $160 million psychiatric facility sits empty

Hardly any reasons left to avoid COVID-19 vaccine

SA: … Now, access to certain public places is blocked if you’re not vaccinated, and you could even lose your job. Whether their resistance was based on inertia or principle, many have decided it is time to roll up that sleeve….

we’re still left with a hard core of objectors, those who, like Washington State (and former University of Hawaii) football coach Nick Rolovich, choose to challenge their employers’ mandates rather than be vaccinated.

It can be surprising to learn who else is in these ranks. Of 948 Honolulu city employees who have applied for vaccination exceptions, just over half are first responders, according to the city’s Department of Human Resources. These are people on the front lines, which puts them at high risk and also in a position to have seen the worst of what COVID-19 can do. It makes you wonder.

All these people are entitled to their principles, and it’s really not our business what led them to this path. But, still, we’d really, really like to know. This is what we’d ask, and argue:

>> Do you believe in other vaccinations, for measles, diphtheria and the like? ….

>> Do you think the dangers of the virus are overstated, and that even if you got it, you’d be fine? Maybe, but the numbers clearly show COVID-19 patients who end up hospitalized or dead are much more likely to be the unvaccinated. Add to that the burden each patient places on our intensive care units and health care professionals and the risk really seems unreasonable.

>> Are your objections religious, and if so, please explain. From the pope to the dalai lama to faith councils that advise Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and more, all have encouraged vaccination….

Shapiro: Nick Rolovich’s attempted pass on vaccine mandate falls incomplete

read … SA Editorial: Hardly a reason to avoid COVID-19 vaccine

More lofty hopes and dreams for new funding source swirl around mired Honolulu rail project

Borreca: …The City Council is halfway through the process of establishing a new Oahu 3% hotel room tax, with some unspecified portion of it going to rail.

Does the train line go to Waikiki? No, but it will stop at the Honolulu airport, and that is apparently good enough to hit up the tourist industry for a piece of the rail action.

If it is too cynical a description of rail financing to call it “juggling the books,” it certainly is not incorrect to say that changing the source of funding from just city money, plus a state excise tax increase, to all that PLUS part of a new hotel room tax is a piece of municipal fiscal wonderment….

The hope is that this will be the last time the city needs to dream up a new taxing scheme to pay for the train.

There’s a lot of hope going on with the city budget, because that new hotel room tax is also supposed to handle the more than $45 million in budget cuts taken when the state took away the county subsidies in the last legislative session….

read … More lofty hopes and dreams for new funding source swirl around mired Honolulu rail project

How Will ARPA Funds be Frittered Away?

CB: … Nearly four months after being awarded $386 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, the City and County of Honolulu is still fine-tuning plans to distribute the money.

Honolulu received $193 million of the Covid-19 relief funds in June and will get the other half next year. The city has until 2024 to obligate the funds and until 2026 to spend them…

So far, the city administration plans to allocate $110 million to provide support and address economic impacts, $156 million for economic recovery, $70 million to city operations and $50 million to invest in infrastructure.

Out of the $193 million, $10 million of the ARPA dollars already were spent on Covid-19 testing…

The council’s budget committee compiled a list of 13 areas in which ARPA funds could be used for affordable housing…

read … Honolulu Wants Covid Relief Funds To Be Used For ‘The Highest And Greatest Needs’

Hawaii Congressional Delegation Does Nothing As Native Hawaiians Wait For Homeland Inheritance Reform

CB: … In April 2017, state legislators overwhelmingly voted to amend the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, which is now administered by a state agency, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

The basic criterion to get leasehold property remains the same: Only people who are one-half Hawaiian are eligible to become the primary leaseholder for property through the program. But the amendment allows a change in the law to make it possible for more descendants to inherit homes their families have occupied for decades.

It would do so by loosening the blood quantum rules that currently dictate that heirs need to be at least one-quarter Hawaiian, to instead permit people with as little as one-thirty second Hawaiian blood to inherit as well.

Three months later, Gov. David Ige attended a ceremonial signing of the legislation, Act 80, at Kalamaula, Molokai, where the first eight program pioneers took possession of their homes in 1922. A portrait of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, an heir to the Hawaiian throne who became a popular 10-term U.S. congressman, hung on the wall as the governor symbolically signed the amendment into law. …

However, the state did not have the final say. Because the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act was originally established by federal law, the U.S. Department of the Interior had to approve the change, and the U.S. Congress needed to pass legislation affirming the state action.

But instead of receiving a quick rubber stamp of approval for a program of deep importance in Hawaii, the effort stalled.

The Interior Department blamed the problem on a paperwork glitch. In a statement to Civil Beat, the department said officials at the agency, then headed by former President Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, sent a list of follow-up questions about the measure to state officials in February 2018 but did not receive an answer.

“We continue to await the State’s response,” according to the Interior Department, now under Biden Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a native American who refers to herself as a 35th-generation New Mexican.

Asked what state agency received the request, the Interior Department press spokeswoman said that was all she knew about the matter but the agency would conduct the review after receiving the information.

Hawaii’s congressional delegation was equally disengaged, according to Decoite, who sponsored the 2017 state legislation. She called the delegation’s disinterest in pursuing the necessary federal legislation “very sad and very frustrating.”

She said that over the years, the issue was raised repeatedly to the staffs of various members of the congressional delegation, including Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, but they declined to take action on it. Then-Rep. Tulsi Gabbard “said she would look at it, but it went nowhere; it never got introduced,” Decoite said in a phone interview Friday.

“For whatever reason, no one would move on it,” she said….

Background: Prince Kuhio’s Fight to Americanize Hawaii

read … The Clock Is Ticking As Native Hawaiians Wait For Homeland Inheritance Reform

UH welcomed fans to Ching Stadium for the first time, if they join database  

KHON: … Those lucky enough to get in had to adhere to some new rules. Proof of COVID vaccination was required to attend the game. Additionally, before heading to the stadium, fans had to complete several extra steps –including downloading the Lumisight UH health check app to their phone and uploading vaccination information.

Once spectators reached campus, they had to check in at one of six marked Lumisight clearance locations to show the “You May Report to Campus” screen on their phones. After the health screening was verified, they received a wristband….

Related: Can the Hawaii SMART Health Card record your sexual performances and store them in a database?

read … UH welcomed fans to Ching Stadium for the first time, with one minor hiccup

Hawaii restaurants deal with staffing, supply, capacity issues ahead of holiday season

KHON: … He said restaurant sales dropped 50% after Gov. David Ige asked visitors not to come during the delta surge, and as businesses head into the upcoming holiday season, most of the problems from summer are still not resolved.

“We’re still struggling with staffing issues because there’s just not enough people here who want to work and especially in our industry,” Maples added.

He said lack of workers and lower sales on top of higher shipping costs have resulted in businesses being closed on any given day. Maples noted that many restaurants also switched to takeout when COVID vaccine requirements went into effect on Maui and Oahu.

“If more people stay at takeout, that means there’s going to be fewer seats to sit inside of restaurants,” Maples said.

The state anticipates anywhere between 35 to 40-thousand and more arrivals daily this 2021 holiday season, and restaurants continue to remain capped at 50%.

“If things are going to get back to normal, — we want normal, we want to be able to put all of our tables back at 100% capacity and if we can’t get that to start out with, then we need at least give us three feet,” Maples said….

ADN: A half-off airfare deal for Alaska residents arrives as Hawaii welcomes visitors once more

read … Hawaii restaurants deal with staffing, supply, capacity issues ahead of holiday season

Kids gaining 20, 30, 40 pounds, and more, in the last year to year and a half

AP: … “We have been seeing this astronomical weight gain in many of the kids we take care of,” said Okihiro, who leads the Hawaii Initiative for Childhood Obesity Research and Education. “Kids gaining 20, 30, 40 pounds, and more, in the last year to year and a half … we have had many kids also gain 60 pounds plus. And a few of us have seen 90- to 100-pound weight gains.”…

read … Native Hawaiian children were already grappling with poor health and food insecurity. Then came COVID-19.

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