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Sunday, November 7, 2021
November 7, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:06 PM :: 2999 Views

Hawaii: Highest Cost of Moving up to Home Ownership

Rolling Blackouts Coming: HECO Doubles Down on Promise to Close Coal Plant

What is the Passenger Vessel Services Act? 

Hike Traffic Fines for Profit

Build Back Porkier: Rail, Ala Wai Flood, and More

HNN: … Key provisions in the infrastructure bill for Hawaii include:

  • At least $1.5 billion for roads, bridges and major projects (HDoT can’t spend the money fast enough.)
  • $637.4 million for public transit (Rail?)
  • $246 million for airports
  • $160 million for broadband
  • $200.4 for water infrastructure  (Useless Ala Wai Flood Project?)
  • $18 million for electric vehicles
  • $3 million for clean energy and grid

BIVN: $2.8 Billion Headed To Hawaiʻi After House Passes Infrastructure Act

CB: Federal Funds Will Be A ‘Shot In The Arm’ For Hawaii’s Infrastructure

NR: Statement of Congressman Ed Case on Final House Passage of the $1 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan and on Advancement of the $1.75 Trillion Build Back Better Package 

read … Hawaii set to receive billions in federal funds as House passes $1T infrastructure bill

How Long Can Gov. Ige Keep Invoking His Emergency Powers?

CB: … As it stands, Hawaii’s Covid-19 state of emergency officially ends on Nov. 30, but it won’t really be over until Gov. David Ige says it is….

When Gov. David Ige’s latest emergency order related to Covid-19 expires on Nov. 30, it will mark 636 days since the governor issued his first such order in March 2020. How many more days it will go on is anyone’s guess.

“You’re right,” Ige’s spokeswoman Cindy McMillan said in an email. “It’s still too early to tell.”…

So while the public waits for word on what Ige will do — and what the holidays in Hawaii will look like at restaurants and family gatherings — a growing chorus calling for loosening restrictions now includes some prominent medical professionals and people with the clout to reduce the governor’s power to govern by fiat….

Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki said he plans to sponsor a bill that will give lawmakers the authority to nullify parts or all of Ige’s emergency orders. While similar bills stalled last session, those weren’t sponsored by the influential House speaker.

Saiki said he’s concerned about how far the governor is pushing the limits of the executive branch’s legal authority….

The last time lawmakers took a comprehensive look at the Hawaii governor’s authority to exercise emergency powers was during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions. At that time, it had been more than 60 years since the Legislature passed the state’s disaster relief statute giving the governor broad authority in a state of emergency….

the opposition is growing. Lt. Gov. Josh Green, a medical doctor who serves as Ige’s Covid-19 liaison, says it’s time for Ige to narrow the scope of the state’s restrictions.

More than 71% of residents are now vaccinated, fewer than 2% who get tested turn out to be positive, and the state’s new case count over the past week has averaged just over 100 – all signs that Hawaii has reached a new stage, Green said….

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislators in every state have proposed measures to limit executive emergency powers during the pandemic.

Many of these bills have gotten traction. According to NCSL, such bills or resolutions have been adopted or enacted in at least 19 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming.

Some bills have dealt with issues like how much say the legislature could have over the use of emergency funding from the federal government.

But others dealt with non-fiscal issues and the extent to which a legislature could place a check on a governor’s power during a slow-moving and prolonged public health crisis. About half the bills have limited the length of time a governor could maintain a state of emergency or required legislative approval to extend a state of emergency, according to NCSL.

Other measures have let lawmakers step in and terminate states of emergency or emergency orders. A measure adopted in Kansas, for instance, says the Kansas Legislature can “review and revoke all orders and proclamations issued by the governor” pursuant to Kansas’ emergency powers statute. In Michigan, the house speaker and senate majority leader can now step in to sue the governor regarding executive actions taken related to the pandemic…. 

HNN: Citing COVID response, legislative leaders push to curb governor’s emergency powers

read … How Long Can Gov. Ige Keep Invoking His Emergency Powers?

Prosecutors reviewing 7 shootings by Honolulu police officers

SA: … Honolulu prosecutors are reviewing evidence to determine whether criminal charges are warranted in seven police shootings over the last two years, six of which ended with officers killing a suspect.

The shootings happened between Nov. 12, 2019, and Aug. 27, 2021, according to police. Three of the shootings happened in Kalihi, two in Kapolei, one in Kailua and one in Kaneohe. In four of the seven cases, HPD’s Professional Standards Office investigations are complete, while the remaining investigations are ongoing.

The department did not specify what, if any, administrative action was taken following the four completed probes….

Four of the seven police shootings under review occurred before Alm was sworn in. For those cases that predated him, the office will conduct an independent review once the reports are received from HPD, according to Matt Dvonch, special counsel to the Prosecuting Attorney. If necessary, prosecutors will independently interview or re-interview witnesses and conduct further investigation before coming to a decision….

read … Prosecutors reviewing 7 shootings by Honolulu police officers

Honolulu Police Department’s defensiveness threatens both police and community

Shapiro: … Years ago, when I was managing editor of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, a local high school yearbook published a photo of Black students with a caption making a clearly racist crack about watermelons.

Instead of apologizing to the rightfully outraged parents and making amends, the school and Department of Education circled the wagons and insisted they had done nothing wrong, for which they predictably got their comeuppance in court when the parents sued….

I see the same unfortunate bunker mentality in the dispute over the 2020 arrest and handcuffing of a 10-year-old Black girl at Honowai Elementary after a parent complained about a picture she drew of a girl who allegedly bullied her.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, on behalf of the mother, is demanding $500,000 in damages and better policies on how police and schools deal with such situations….

The DOE and police are circling their bureaucratic wagons, with an assistant chief telling the Police Commission last week that the arrest was “reasonable and necessary.”

It’s an indefensible position, and authorities should be improving procedures on their own initiative without having to be sued.

Few fair-minded people would find it reasonable to arrest and traumatize a 10-year-old, separate her from her mother and haul her to the station in handcuffs in a matter that didn’t involve physical violence. What happened to counseling?…

We’re forever told HPD doesn’t have mainland problems, but in recent years we’ve seen a chief convicted of corruption and sent to prison, his successor fail from toxic defensiveness and spite, several controversial police shootings of suspects from disadvantaged communities, an officer allowed back on the force after being caught on video viciously beating a woman, and allegations of on-duty officers running a personal adversary of one off the road — crippling a 14-year-old passenger — and fleeing the scene.

And our traditionally timid Police Commission seems paralyzed in even beginning the crucial search for a new permanent chief….

read … Honolulu Police Department’s defensiveness threatens both police and community

For HPD, Flubs Mean Never Having To Say You're Sorry

Cataluna: … The usual response is a justification for what the cops did or didn’t do. First, the chief or an assistant chief says the situation “has to be evaluated,” which buys enough time for some of the heat to die down so that everyone has forgotten what happened when the lawsuit is settled out of court or somebody actually gets fired.

In the last week, the Honolulu Police Department defended handcuffing a little girl at her elementary school and arresting her for something she drew on paper, saying the police action was “reasonable.”

In the last week, video surfaced that showed three police cars appearing to leave the scene of a vehicle crash that happened during a high-speed police chase. In the last week, a cache of surfboards stored a short way down the street from the Waikiki police station was set ablaze — the third such incident in less than two years, as though surfboard-rack fires next to police stations are now a trendy prank to see if the officers sitting at desks ever notice anything going on on their block.

All this new stuff is on top of all the old stuff – police shootings, crime-solving problems, understaffing issues and a recruit class that largely washed out, Former Chief Susan Ballard’s abrupt departure after refusing to step up to Police Commission performance goals, and all the Chief Louis Kealoha mess that still hangs over the department like a bad smell.

There is so much to fix at HPD; but while many problems linger, new stuff keeps piling up.

One of the biggest flaws of HPD, and of state and local government in Hawaii as a whole, is that nobody ever says they’re sorry. It is rare for anyone in a government job to take responsibility or admit that things did not go as they should have.

It always has to wind up in lawsuits and settlements. It almost always must involve the media to invoke a measure of public shame to the department, but even then, the reflexive reaction is always to defend, deny and clam up….

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

read … For HPD, Flubs Mean Never Having To Say You're Sorry

Keith Amemiya joins race for lieutenant governor

SA: … Amemiya lost the nonpartisan race for Honolulu mayor last year against Rick Blangiardi. But Amemiya said he was encouraged that 149,735 Oahu voters picked him in the mayor’s race, compared to the 157,879 Oahu votes cast for all of the five lieutenant governor candidates combined in the Democratic primary….

“My role would be to support the governor and his or her initiatives. There are so many challenges that our state is facing that no one person can do it by themselves.”…

The open seat for lieutenant governor so far has attracted former state Sen. Jill Tokuda, who represented the Windward side and lost to current Lt. Gov. Josh Green in the 2018 Democratic primary; former City Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson, who resigned his Windward Council seat in 2020 three months before his term was to end; state Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Punchbowl-Pauoa-­Nuuanu), who serves as chairwoman of the powerful House Finance Committee; and Sherry Menor-­ McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii....

HNN: “These crowded races can be really unpredictable”

read … Keith Amemiya joins race for lieutenant governor

CORE team responds to homeless medical needs in urban Honolulu

KHON: … John Roberts Jr., a 74-year-old veteran, was admitted to the hospital at the beginning of November; however, on Friday, Nov. 5, he lies on the streets of Chinatown once again….

“This is, unfortunately, a worst-case scenario because he can’t get up, can’t go to the bathroom — all that kind of stuff,” Peacock explained. “Some people have mental health diagnosis; they’re not getting their medication, so you need to have somebody come and make sure they get their medication.”…

Roberts Jr. was transported to Tripler Army Medical Center for now, but the next step for him is obtaining his veteran benefits he recently qualified for. The hope is to get him into permanent housing soon….

MN: Honoring those who work to overcome homelessness

read … CORE team responds to homeless medical needs in urban Honolulu

Telescope Payoffs Being Negotiated Now

HTH: … The survey also noted the importance of improving the relationship between the astronomy community and indigenous communities, particularly Native Hawaiians.

Slater said TMT has taken that aspect of the survey seriously, and currently is focusing on engaging and connecting with the Hawaiian community on the Big Island.

Slater said TMT’s current project manager, Fengchuan Liu, regularly has private meetings with Native Hawaiian community members around the island to listen to their perspectives about the project….

SA Editorial: State can shore up TMT support

SA: TMT wants community healing

read … TMT official confident more funds can be raised

TED Talks are a Pay for Play Scam

HTH: … A move by Mayor Mitch Roth’s office to raise private donations to host conferences has caused some County Council members consternation about the appearance of “pay for play,” but the second event in the mayor’s series is scheduled later this month after council approval of the money.

The administration has set a $100,000 fundraising goal for a Nov. 13 TEDx event and the council has preliminarily approved a special private contribution fund within the mayor’s office….

The “Local Insights Grow Global Solutions” TEDx kickoff event features 10 live-streamed speakers on climate change issues, with registrants from 11 different countries. Details and sign-up information is available at www.tedxcountyofhawaii.com .

Sponsor contributions include $10,000 total from two Salesforce employees; $7,000 from Jasen and Sagara Trautwein, Austin, Texas founders of a string of veterinary hospitals; $5,000 each from Hawaiian Electric Co., Guatemala-born American businesswoman Sandy Montenegro/Littlefield, Nicholson Design, AES Solar and Pasha Hawai’i and smaller contributions from 15 others….

In comparison, mayoral candidates are limited to $4,000 in campaign contributions from a single contributor for the entire four-year election cycle.

Finance Director Deanna Sako said previous mayors didn’t actively pursue sponsors for events the county hosted, but sponsors worked directly with the vendors….

BIVN: TEDx County of Hawaiʻi Premieres Saturday

read … TED Talks are a Pay for Play Scam

Stumbles for Democrats on mainland spark enthusiasm among Hawaii Republican Party

Borreca: … Former Hawaii Speaker of the House Joe Souki sent out an email blast saying, “Democrats need to wake up. They lost the Democrat Governor in Virginia … Two contributing factors, women votes and independents. Democrats alone cannot win, they need the moderates and independents.”

Democrats certainly won’t be sending out fundraising pleas based on last week’s elections.

Meanwhile, Hawaii Republicans have a new acting party chairperson: Lynn Finnegan, a former state House GOP leader, who agrees that 2022 gives the local GOP high expectations.

“We are one year out from the 2022 election and we have an unprecedented amount of prospects already interested in running for office,” she said in an email interview.

In a news release issued after the Democrats’ mainland stumble, Finnegan said Virginia voters “did not take the Democrat’s bait — imputing President Trump to sow division … Our party sees it as an opportunity to ride the Red Wave in Hawaii.” ….

read … Stumbles for Democrats on mainland spark enthusiasm among Hawaii Republican Party

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