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Tuesday, July 9, 2013
July 9, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:45 PM :: 4424 Views

Sen David Ige to challenge Abercrombie for Governor

Health Exchange Could 'Solve' Hawaii's Unfunded Liability by Sticking Retirees with Inferior Coverage

Mayor picks new Honolulu Chief Medical Examiner

Tsutsui to Sign Six Bills While Abercrombie Enjoys Taiwan Junket

Schatz Raises $2M

PR: U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz raised $911,000 in the last quarter for his Democratic primary for Senate against U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, according to his campaign.

Schatz has raised $2 million overall.

Hanabusa has not yet released her quarterly fundraising figure, the first since she formally announced in May that she would challenge Schatz.

Schatz had collected more than $1.1 million in his first quarter of fundraising, a strong opening for the appointed senator.

read ... Q2

Caldwell talks property tax Hikes in 'Ask The Mayor'

HNN: "I'm looking to maybe create a two-tiered tax system where we tax those who own second and third homes here in Honolulu, in places like Kahala, or other high end real estate, or own homes over a million or two million dollars, at a higher rate," said Mayor Caldwell.

Caldwell said that the increase in costs for certain services, like the up to $165 million dollars over four years needed for the H.P.D. pay raises, "never get less expensive," and that controlling expenses needs to continue to be a priority for city officials.

"We're going to have to look for ways to cut costs and look to enhance revenue, whether that's raising real property taxes or other types of fees," said Mayor Caldwell. "There's no other way."

SA: Maili park still without restrooms after 7 years

read ... One Note Song

Rosanne Barr: We'll Burn Your GMO Crops Down

CB: Comedian, actress and Hamakua nut farmer Roseanne Barr even made an appearance, registering her support for the legislation.

“For the people who make their living growing GMOs, you know everybody here is very giving and they probably would bend over backwards to help you burn those papayas and grow something decent,” she said before choking up with tears.

NaturalNews June 13, 2013: Who Will Burn GMO Wheat Fields?

read ... Eco Terrorism

Kulani Prison to Recruit Prisoners for Sovereignty Movement

HTH: “The proposed reactivation supports Hawaii’s justice reinvestment initiative strategy to bring out-of-state prisoners back to Hawaii, reduce spending on corrections, and reinvest savings generated in strategies that would reverse recent crime trends,” the document said.

Public Safety officials also plan to reinstate community services the inmates provides, such as cleaning highways and parks. Sakai said inmates did work from Kohala to Ka‘u and at least once a project in Kona.

Hawaiian cultural programs will also be incorporated at Kulani, Sakai added. Community members have advocated for a puuhonua, defined by some proponents as a wellness center, instead of a correctional facility. Sakai said his department will work with community groups to support a puuhonua outside of Kulani, perhaps as an organization that can help offenders continue to develop skills to avoid future incarceration.

KGI: Burglaries up on Kauai?

KHON: OCCC inmate turns himself in after failing to return from work furlough program

read .. New Generation of Sovereignty Criminals

Darkening Skies Over Hawaii Solar Industry

CB: Even before the spectacular fall of Hoku Corp. and its ambitious plans to become a major player in both polysilicon manufacturing and the solar electric design and build business, a growing darkness has been gathering over one of the few local construction trades that has been thriving this past handful of years.

After phenomenal, white-hot growth, Oahu’s solar electric industry is slowing down, leading to a growing sense of anxiety, if not panic, among many of the island’s PV companies. Witness the bribes and gimmicks that are being peddled in an effort to make sales: offers of $4,000 off, $2,000 cash back, vacation for two to Las Vegas, a new air conditioning system, “get free solar,” buy 20 solar panels and get five for free, 15,000 Hawaiian Air miles and “fewer pukas.” (Remember that there is no “s” to denote a plural quantity in the Hawaiian language.)

And despite efforts by some in the industry to pitch it to the contrary (e.g., "We're expecting sales to increase throughout the remainder of the year”), the second half of 2013 will not be anything close to the monumental ride of last year’s third and fourth quarters. As the pie likely continues to contract July-December, usually the busiest time for PV integrators, these bells and whistles are going to be getting even louder and more desperate sounding.

read ... Solar Eclipse

Democrats Gay Bosses to Meet Saturday

PR: The forum will be held at noon in Room 329 at the state Capitol.

The speakers:

*Former state Supreme Court Associate Justice Steven Levinson
*Maile Hirota, Immigration Law
*Lee Yarbrough, Tax Law
*Keoki Cadiz, Family Law

read ... Meet Your New Bosses

State to Pay $18M to for Billionaire Boat Dock?

KITV: "We have had a couple of dozen boats over 100 feet long now in the harbor. We are taking reservations. Some of the boats that were here last month have already made reservations to come back in the fall as they leave San Francisco and the America's cup," said Barclay.

The harbor has been a port of call for the bigger mega-yachts too -- the sleek head-turners, along with the racers and the cruisers, are becoming a new revenue generator not just in dock fees, but for fuel and added activity for boat repair facilities.

The new business comes at a pivotal time for the small harbor.

Kewalo Basin is in line for an $18 million dollar facelift, which will double the number of slips and still have room for the big boats.

"We are looking at putting in a 900-foot long dock which would handle many of these boats,” Barclay said.

Read ... Looking out for the Little Guy

Maui: Profitable NonProfit Leaves Handicapped Stranded 

MN: Hundreds of disabled Maui residents are finding their "lifeline to the outside world" in "serious jeopardy" due to a recent switch in paratransit service providers, according to a Kihei resident who uses the service.

On July 1, the county's transportation contract for riders with disabilities switched from Roberts Hawaii to Maui Economic Opportunity Inc., which has caught the ire of some riders who complain of delays in service and drivers who appear unaccustomed to routes and dealing with people with disabilities.

"This is an issue that may seem trivial on the surface, but it's anything but," said Kihei resident Robert Douglas, a paratransit rider, on Monday. "It's been a disaster and lives are at risk."

read ... Economic Opportunity

Kenoi spends $108,579 on taxpayer-paid travel

HTH: Wille ended up having to reimburse the county for several hundred dollars for unauthorized trips to Honolulu, where she was testifying on bills relating to county government. One bill in particular, SB 727, was important because it would have stripped local control from counties in favor of the state, she said....“After I had a hissy fit and said ‘You’re not going to do that to us,’ they canned it,” she said.

“Yoshimoto said some of the reimbursements were required because Wille, as a new council member, misunderstood the process.

“When she first got on the council she didn’t understand she needed approval,” Yoshimoto said. “I’ve made mistakes, too. You just pay them back.”

All of Kenoi’s 29 trips this year except one were to Honolulu. In January, as he typically does, Kenoi attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. The nine-day trip, at a total cost of $4,206.84, included a $1,898.84 bill from the Capitol Hilton.

Attending Sen. Daniel Inouye’s funeral in December cost $1,142.59, including two nights at the Aston Executive Centre. Kenoi has also stayed at the Aston Waikiki Beach, Hilton Hawaiian Village and Ala Moana Hotel during trips to Honolulu.

And, unlike some years, there were no mayoral delegations to international destinations. Last year, the mayor and a 14-member delegation visited Hawaii County’s sister city in the Philippines, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $30,000. A 2010 trip to Japan to meet with Japan airlines officials on increasing flights to Hawaii Island was paid by the Big Island visitor’s Bureau.

read ... Junkets

Teachers Group Refuses to Accept Responsibility

CB: One particular teachers group had as their mission statement that they “give voice to every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality through education.”

I understand that teachers aren’t responsible for solving poverty in America, but I also know what an overstatement it is to say that people expect that of our educators. It is an extremely negative way to begin the mission statement for an association of people that ostensibly puts learning first. Even if it’s true, who starts a mission statement with a denial of responsibility?

The statement goes on to say that the group refuses “to accept assessments, tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for real teaching and learning.”

Who has “contempt” for learning?

And another question comes to mind: Why is there no mention in the statement of helping students?

Link: Badass Teachers Assoc.

read ... Hawaii Teacher: Our Responsibility to Reach Every Child

Charter Schools Accept Accountability

SA: The contracts were drafted before the state's new Strive HI school-performance system was finalized, which is why the initial term was set for only one year, said Tom Hutton, the commission's executive director. That's also why the consequences for poor performance currently only include school monitoring and intervention, he said.

But he added that the stronger schools would eventually get a longer contract period, and that an underperforming school could ultimately lose its charter.

read ... Accountability

DoE 52% Get Free Lunches

HTH: The department recently released the revised income eligibility guidelines for the program, which subsidizes the costs of school meals. The new guidelines allow households with two members to earn $23,205 a year to get free meals and to earn $32,023 annually to get reduced-priced meals. Those are increases of $572 and $814 respectively.

Statewide, 52 percent of students receive free or reduced-price meals, DOE officials said Monday....

read ... 52%

Hawaii Among Slowest Foodstamps in Nation

PI: New Jersey is one of the slowest states in the nation in getting food stamps to needy people. Its performance is so poor, in fact, that the federal government is directing the state to improve, according to an examination of federal data by The Inquirer.

States are required by U.S. law to get food stamps to people within 30 days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the food-stamp program, now called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Any state that cannot process more than 90 percent of its SNAP applications in that time must devise a plan that brings its timeliness up to 95 percent, USDA rules stipulate.

The USDA's most recent data show that New Jersey processes applications within 30 days just 73.75 percent of the time. Only four states, Tennessee, Vermont, Hawaii, and Connecticut, have slower times than New Jersey's....

read ... Philadelphia Inquirer

Castle Complex Shows the Way to School Reform

HR: The Castle Complex – 10 schools serving the greater Kaneohe community – is one of the first to respond to the challenges of change by implementing transformation-effective methods in public education. It’s changing the paradigm to provide regular opportunities for dialogue and decision making between all schools and major role groups that partner with a Complex Area Superintendent (CAS) to educate our children. This opportunity now includes parents, students, community, teachers, non-teaching staff and administrators spanning the preschool to college/career continuum.

Recognizing that shared goals lead to shared effort and accountability for results, the Castle Complex Community Council (C4) was established. It’s a local invention with power coming from its self-defined purpose, effective processes and growing public awareness that it’s making a meaningful difference....

The public is invited to attend C4 meetings, which are held every second Thursday from 4:15 – 7 p.m. at the Windward District Office; 46-169 Kamehameha Hwy., Kaneohe;  Conference Room A on the ground level of King Intermediate School’s campus.

Meanwhile in Hilo: Hawaii County police investigate 'bottle bombs' at school

read ... Castle Complex

Video shows Deedy covered in blood after fatal shooting in Waikiki

HNN: It was one of the first pieces of evidence presented by the defense in what is expected to be a lengthy trial against Deedy, who is accused of fatally shooting Kailua resident Kollin Elderts in a Waikiki McDonalds.

The video was taken moments after Honolulu police officers arrived at the scene of the shooting on Kuhio Avenue.  It shows paramedics treating Elderts, who is lying on his back on the floor of the restaurant.  Deedy, barefoot and covered in blood, is flanked by officers who frisk him and then handcuff him.  The defendant appears calm throughout the clip....

read ... Deedy Day 1 

Suicide? Law, Morals and Likely Abuse Trump “Compassion”

HR: A recent Star-Advertiser column cheerfully advocates killing people as they  approach the end of life or suffer from severe disability. ("Compassion drives 'aid in dying' movement," S/A, 6/2).

I believe these induced deaths are wrong.

I have just survived a major life-threatening illness (liver cancer) and four surgeries to address it (three chemo-embolizations followed by transplantation). Many people would consider my diagnosis to be a death sentence. Why bother with me?

read ... Suicide

Hawaii Only 2% of Pacific Lingliners

CB: The vast majority of longline fishermen are outside Wespac’s jurisdiction. The Hawaii longliners comprise just 2 percent of longline fishing done in the Pacific, he said, with many fleets coming from Japan and other countries.

Global climate change and weather variations that impact fishing are also beyond the council’s control, Dalzell said.

Aside from that, the council is really more focused on the “charismatic megafauna,” he said. Wespac, due to lawsuits filed by environmental groups, has to reduce the number of sharks, turtles, dolphins and seabirds that fishermen accidentally kill.

“The biggest challenge to management is developing static responses to very dynamic ecological and human environments,” Dalzell said.

It takes about two years to get a management change in place, he said, and the danger is by that time the problem may have changed.

The bottom line for Dalzell is that the public can’t expect to have something for nothing.

“People fail to appreciate that fishing kills fish,” Dalzell said. “If you want fish, there’s going to be a cost. There’s always tradeoffs when you’re going to be exploiting part of the ecosystem.”

But it’s not all gloomy, he said, noting the study’s projected increase in mahimahi and other valuable species.

read ... More Mahimahi

Queen K Hwy: 20 months of Talk

HR: I'm very disappointed with how Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration has managed the widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway and last Hilo side phase of Saddle Road. The Section 106 consultation process between the Native Hawaiian Organizations and FHWA/DOT has entered its twentieth month.

The FHWA and DOT is keeping the public  in the dark regarding these consultations, so no one knows where things stand with this project. The Queen Kaahumanu Highway website hasn't been updated since September 25th, 2012.

read ... Aaron Steene

NerdWallet: Honolulu 6th for Yuppies

6. Honolulu, HI: Honolulu has the lowest unemployment rate on our list, which means it’s a great place to 20-somethings looking to start their careers as well as enjoy the benefits of living in Hawaii. Downtown Honolulu is always popular for its art galleries, restaurants and bars – be sure to hang out on First Friday when art galleries and restaurants host comedy, poetry and dace performances. Also stop by Kaka`ako, an up-and-coming neighborhood which has plenty of events on the weekends. Young professionals should join the Honolulu Professionals Foundation to network and find professional opportunities. Alumni of local universities like Hawaii Pacific University should be sure to follow their alumni network’s events.

read ... Yuppieville



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