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Thursday, March 31, 2022
March 31, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:20 PM :: 1742 Views

Bill would add much-needed oversight of state’s emergency powers

UH Faculty Senate Denounces Sen Donna Mercado Kim

More than 30 Hawaii VEX Robotics teams qualify for World event

Hawaiian Electric upgrades Battery Bonus program with new perks for customers who add storage to PV systems

Ige Appoints Five to BoE and Two to BoR 

February Tourist Count Down 23.5% from Pre-COVID Peak 

'Our Girlfriend Tulsi' -- Is she some sort of Russian Agent?

Oahu water mandate could bring 20-fold rate hike

KHON: …  The 10% reduction request is still active, but what happens if that request turns into a mandate?

Kathleen Pahinui with the BWS said a water mandate would mean those who willfully use too much water would see an exponential increase in their bill.

“We do have the ability to impose what we call surcharges, up to 20 times the rate, if necessary, if necessary. We really don’t want to do that. We really don’t want to turn everybody into water police.”…

Background: Don’t Use Red Hill as Excuse to Shut Down Affordable Housing Construction

read … Oahu water mandate would bring high fees

Molina urges federal government to temporarily waive Jones Act

MN: … Molina, who holds the residency seat for the Makawao-Haiku-Paia area, introduced a resolution on Wednesday to be heard before the Maui County Council meeting at 9 a.m. Friday that encourages a limited and targeted waiver of the Jones Act to allow more cost-effective shipping of oil to Hawaii.

“While we’re suffering the effects of an international crisis, it’s time to set aside this federal law that requires the transport of goods exclusively on a limited number of domestic vessels, resulting in higher costs for Hawaii consumers,” Molina said in a news release Wednesday. “We need to have the U.S. government ‘level the playing field’ in the form of reduced fuel and shipping costs for Maui County and other state residents.”

Public testimony can be given via phone, videoconference or in writing. For instructions on submitting testimony, visit mauicounty.us/testify.

The meeting will be available to view live online and on Akaku channel 53. For more information on Resolution 22-90 and other agenda items, visit mauicounty.us/agendas….

read … Molina urges federal government to temporarily waive Jones Act

Omicron Subvariant Now Responsible For 40% Of New Hawaii Infections

CB: … The Hawaii Department of Health estimated the BA.2 omicron subvariant comprises 40% of new Covid infections across Hawaii, according to the state’s latest variant report published Tuesday.

The original omicron variant remains the dominant strain for now, accounting for the other 60% of the pathogen currently circulating across the state. However, the subvariant is set to overtake the BA.1 original omicron strain soon, having risen 27% over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, Hawaii’s daily Covid count has risen slightly in recent weeks, with the state logging a seven-day average of 129 cases Wednesday after hitting a post-omicron surge low of 89 cases March 18, according to the state’s newest numbers….

read … Omicron Subvariant Now Responsible For 40% Of New Hawaii Infections

Duck Walk not Perp Walk: State dismisses complaints against DoH Maui Health Officer over controversial COVID-19 treatments

SA: … Two doctors who stirred controversy last year for promoting the anti-­parasitic drug ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as treatments for COVID-19 have escaped disciplinary action after the enforcement arm of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs declined to pursue complaints against them.

(CLUES: Quack, quack.)

DCCA’s Regulated Industries Complaints Office, led by Esther Brown, conducted an investigation and determined there was insufficient evidence of a licensing law violation to move forward with a formal action before the Hawaii Medical Board, according to a spokeswoman for the department who said there would be no further comment on the matter.

Dr. Kirk Milhoan, a pediatric cardiologist, and Dr. Lorrin Pang, the Maui district health officer for the state Department of Health, were facing a range of potential disciplinary actions, including censure, limits to the scope of their practice and revocation of their medical licenses. They also could have been subject to thousands of dollars in fines….

The executive officer of the Hawaii Medical Board filed the complaints last year against Milhoan and Pang following a Honolulu Star-Advertiser story that reported on their involvement with the Pono Coalition for Informed Consent. The Maui group promoted conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccines and advocated for alternative treatment options, including ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, drugs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned should not be used to treat the virus….

House Speaker Scott Saiki and Senate President Ron Kouchi at the time called for Pang to be fired from DOH in a letter to Gov. David Ige. The letter also was signed by Rep. Ryan Yamane, Sen. Jarrett Keoho­kalole and Sen. Roz Baker, who chair the House and Senate health committees. They said Pang’s involvement with the group had undermined the state’s critical public health messaging on the coronavirus and the public trust.

Pang has kept his job and DOH never commented on the employment issue, though at the time the department issued a sharp rebuke of the misinformation the coalition was spreading about the safety of the vaccines.

Pang struck back at lawmakers calling for his removal, issuing a lengthy statement to the media saying that decision makers were seeking to silence ‘experts’.

2014 VIDEO: Pang pushing idiotic ‘Chemtrails’ conspiracy theory

read … He who quacks last quacks best

‘Give us access’: Hunters want to help with Maui County deer overpopulation

HNN: … House Bill 1872 requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to recognize that game mammals provide a food source.

“They’re going in there and killing large amounts of pigs, deer and sheep, and the food goes to waste. Oftentimes they’re doing it from a helicopter,” said Andrew Namiki Roberts, Hawaii Firearms Coalition Director.

“The last thing we want to do is just shoot 300 or 400 deer and let the carcasses rot. To me personally, that’s wasteful,” said Molokai farmer Nathaniel Oswald….

“There’s no place legally to hunt right now,” said Maui Hunter and Sportmen’s Club President Troy Helmer.

Helmer created stickers that say: “Give us axis.”

“We have a lot of members, and we’re willing to go and help, but they got to give us access,” Helmer said.

Hunters say HB1872 is important because it includes them in conversations about managing Hawaii’s deer population.

read … ‘Give us access’: Hunters want to help with Maui County deer overpopulation

Legislators Solution to High Gas Prices?  Give More Free Money to Tesla Drivers

KITV: … Some states are doing something about it, by suspending their gas taxes.

In Hawaii, a federal tax of 18 and one-half cent is tacked onto each gallon of gas.

Another 16 cents goes into the State Highway Fund.

The county taxes range from 16 1/2-24 cents a gallon.

For Oahu drivers, that adds up to 51 cents per gallon in taxes.

Local lawmakers are not looking at suspending Hawaii's gas tax.

"What we've found is that in other places even if we reduce the gas tax itself, retailers jack up the price of gas. So consumers don't see a benefit. It is actually worse because counties and state have less money to fill potholes and keep roads up to date," said Senator Chris Lee.

Instead, local lawmakers have been advancing bills to provide financial incentive to get people out of gas guzzling cars.

"There are bills that subsidize electric bikes and mopeds. Those would help folks that are lower income, and students who use them to get around," added Lee….

REMEMBER: Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion

read … Hawaii drivers look for relief from skyrocketing gas prices

Just Another Tax: HB2399 “Producer responsibility bill’

HTH: … A bill paving the way to make producers of certain goods take greater responsibility for their packaging waste has cleared the state House and is making progress in the Senate.

House Bill 2399, sponsored by Rep. Nicole Lowen, a Democrat representing Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa and Honokohau, creates a program that would ultimately include registration of high-volume producers of fast-moving consumer goods who would pay an annual fee that would go into an “extended producer responsibility” special fund to reduce the volume of packaging waste going into landfills.

A companion bill was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Laura Acasio, D-Hilo.

Changes made in a series of House and Senate committees have diluted the bill, based on objections coming primarily from the food, beverage and retail industries.

Lauren Zirbel, executive director of the Hawaii Food Industry Association, told committees in testimony that the bill is mainly just another tax, a tax that would be passed on to consumers.

“Hawaii is already one of only a handful of states that tax groceries,” Zirbel said in March 21 testimony. “We cannot see a justification for the state to add another tax on groceries and other essential items at a time of unprecedented inflation, during a global supply chain crisis, when the state budget has a surplus.”

Currently, the bill provides for a study and creation of a report assessing the resources needed to reduce packaging waste volume going to landfills and incinerators by 50% by 2026 and 80% by 2030. It allows the Department of Health to decide when a producer registration would take effect, as well as other parts of the program….

read … Producer responsibility bill hanging on in the Legislature: Bill seeks to reduce packaging waste in landfills

Rolling Blackouts Coming; Another Solar Project Fails

IM: … Currently, only two HECO solar and storage projects on Hawai`i, Maui, and O`ahu have not been delayed due to global supply side issues….

(Three Words: Designed to fail.)

Barbers Point Solar project would consist of a 15-megawatt photovoltaic system paired four-hour, 15 MW, 60 MWh lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)….

The Commission approved the project on March 23, 2022.

On the same day, HECO submitted a force majeure to the Commission.

Seller has indicated that due to delays, price increases caused by COVID 19, the ongoing supply chain crisis, changing market conditions, and impacts to financing, it is unable to move forward with its project as planned.”… 

KITV: State regulators approve 100-acre West Oahu solar farm

Next stop wood pellets: Wood Pellets? Hawaii 'Green' Energy Scam is Dirtier Than Coal

read … Public Utilities Commission Caught Off-Guard with Newest Force Majeure

‘Atlantis Resort’ developer exiting Hawaii

B: … Oceanwide reported impairments totaling $90.5 million in 2021 on development sites in Kapolei in which it had invested $653.3 million. It reached a deal to sell a 484-acre parcel for $92.9 million this month to a company managed by Honolulu-based Tower Development, Oceanwide said in its filing.

The Beijing-based builder bought the land for $103.4 million in 2016 with the intention of developing 2,500 homes, a golf course, an elementary school and a transit hub.

The developer also reached a deal to sell 20 acres to local firm Alakai Development for $23.3 million, and reportedly is looking to unload 26 acres it had planned to transform into an Atlantis-branded resort, according to a report in the real estate news website Mingtiandi.

Oceanwide recorded a $214.9 million impairment on a site at 80 South St. in Lower Manhattan in which it has invested $410 million. The property was put up for sale in October by real estate brokerage Colliers.

The Chinese developer lost a San Francisco project, in which it invested $1.3 billion, last year after it was seized by lenders.

Oceanwide’s three-tower downtown Los Angeles project is a mix of residential and hotel space near the Crypto.com arena where the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers play. Construction ground to a halt in 2019 as contractors complained they hadn’t been paid. Oceanwide recorded a $177.5 million impairment last year on the project, in which it has invested $1.19 billion, the filing shows.….

MT: CHINA OCEANWIDE SELLING HAWAII RESIDENTIAL SITE TO LOCAL DEVELOPER AT $25M LOSS

MT: Oceanwide continues to market two other Oahu sites comprising a total land area of 176,311 square metres (about 1.9 million square feet) — including the spot for a planned Atlantis resort

read … Chinese developer Oceanwide is exiting Hawaii to focus on LA

Waianae High School teacher arrested for allegedly soliciting sex from a minor

SA: … A 72 year-old Waianae High School teacher was arrested by Honolulu police Tuesday for allegedly trying to solicit sex from a law enforcement officer posing as a minor online.

Mark Jackola was arrested at the CVS located at 84-1660 Farrington Highway at 4:05 p.m. Tuesday on suspicion of commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, a class B felony. If convicted, Jackola faces up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

He was released pending investigation at 10:30 a.m. today.

Jackola has eight and a half years of service with the Hawaii Department of Education, according to a DOE spokeswoman….

read … Waianae High School teacher arrested for allegedly soliciting sex from a minor

Deputy Sheriffs still years away from using bodycams

KHON: … The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) started using bodycams nearly four years ago. As for deputy sheriffs, lawmakers said the Department of Public Safety (PSD) has not asked for funding for them….

bodycams could have been helpful in Friday’s incident when a deputy was arrested for assaulting another deputy at the airport.

The department initially said the deputy was charged but the attorney general’s office told KHON2 that he was arrested and released pending further investigation.

Nishihara said he has spoken with the director of PSD, and there are plans to get bodycams. But getting them out into the streets is still a few years away.

“The way it’s going now is they’re going to come and ask the legislature for money to purchase these bodycams. Then they have to go through this process of making sure people know how to train to do it,” said Nishihara.

PSD sent a statement that stated it considered establishing a body-worn camera initiative in the past, but due to COVID-19 related budget constraints across the state at the time, the department was unable to institute the program….

(BUDGET RESTRAINTS: HPD got a robot dog.)

read … Deputy Sheriffs still years away from using bodycams

Judge Awards $1.375 million In An Inmate Suicide At Halawa Correctional Facility

KITV: … O'Malley also suffered from significant mental illness, "which got worse as he became an adult. That wasn't his fault, anymore than having a broken arm is someone's fault," Michael O'Malley said.

O'ahu circuit court judge John Tonaki awarded O'Malley's family $1.375 million after the state confessed staff at the Halawa Correctional Facility neglected the former inmate while he served time there, ultimately leading to him committing suicide.

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth and later attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, O'Malley saw numerous doctors and psychiatrists for mental health treatment as a child.

In 2009, the then 20-year-old O'Malley was arrested after he robbed a car with a fake gun. Between then and his death in 2017, he spent extended periods in the Hawai'i State Hospital and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and drug addiction.

O'Malley also had a history of Schizophrenia, experienced hallucinations, and attempted suicide on several occasions. He ended up in Halawa Correctional Facility for violating probation, where he would reportedly cut himself often.

Attorneys representing O'Malley's father said the staff would punish O'Malley by placing him in isolation, which is a violation of the Dept. of Public Safety's suicide prevention policy.  

"Providing appropriate mental healthcare for the severely mentally ill in our prisons is not an option, it's a responsibility, and in this case they failed in that responsibility," attorney Thomas Otake said during a press conference Wednesday.

O'Malley took his own life while he was in what is known as an "observation room" in the facility's safety watch. Court documents indicate staff did not supervise O'Malley adequately or treat him with the proper mental health services, and used outdated medication.

Family attorneys pointed out state policy dictates that if an inmate is so mentally ill they cannot be treated at a prison, they have to be transferred to a facility of higher care.

"What was shocking is we learned that through the people that we talked to, they never even necessarily knew of that policy or remember that happening one time," Otake added. ….

MEANWHILE: HGEA Lunacy: Year after its completion, Union plans to keep state’s $160M psychiatric facility empty for two more years

read … State confesses to neglecting Halawa inmate who suffered mental illness, took his own life

Two More People Move to Hawaii, Immediately Become Homeless

CB: … They found only one dealership on Maui that had used vans for sale. After five hours in its office, the salesperson helped them get approved for a loan. The interest was high — the monthly payment was more than $700. But it was still less than rent….

(The rest of the article is a bunch of excuses.)

read … Homeless by Choice

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