Hawaii's Good Friday Holiday - What's Up With That?
Health Connector Under Investigation--One More Reason to Defeat Abercrombie
Guam Legislature passes Jones Act reform resolution
Abercrombie Inks Turtle Bay Plan: Give Developers $48.5M, Let them Build Two Hotels
VIDEO: Big Island Hippie Guru Alleged Homosexual Child Molester, Boys Supplied by DHS
Al Gore in Hawaii: Carbon Polluters 'Immoral, Unethical, Despicable'
"What Are the Races to Watch in the Upcoming Election?"
City Seeks Input on Transit-oriented Development, Affordable Housing
Caldwell releases quarterly road repaving progress report
Hawaii House proposes delaying minimum wage hike for small businesses
SA: State representatives want to postpone the increase until 2019 for companies with 100 or fewer workers....
read ... Small Business
Aiona Begins Fundraising
PR: Aiona held a $50 per person fundraiser in Kapolei on April 5 and has a $55 per person event scheduled for Waialae Country Club on Wednesday night.
read ... First two
Depth of Hawaii health exchange probe unclear
AP: The U.S. Government Accountability Office says it has not yet determined how deeply it will look into Hawaii's health exchange.
State Sen. Sam Slom says he was told by a representative in the GAO office that Hawaii would be among several states that the federal office would investigate.
GAO spokesman Chuck Young says the office will be looking generally at the state exchanges. But he said the office is still developing its list of which states will be examined in more detail.
AP: Feds to investigate Hawaii health exchange
read ... Depth of Hawaii health exchange probe unclear
Abercrombie talks politics, Ige talks spreadsheets
Borreca: Usually the combatants are the state House on one side and the state Senate on the other. This year, however, it is Gov. Neil Abercrombie versus the Legislature.
Abercrombie's real antagonist, of course, is state Sen. David Ige, Ways and Means Committee chairman and the governor's Democratic primary opponent.
The political cliché of a "thinly-veiled attack" is what Abercrombie launched on a Big Island campaign swing two weeks ago, slamming the Senate's version of the budget.
"They don't have preschool. Some of the people asking for your support right now are the people who have been fighting preschool education, finding other priorities," Abercrombie said in a video provided by Big Island Video News.
Still not naming names, Abercrombie went on to warn the crowd that there are sinister forces lurking in the Legislature.
"There are people who are going to come to you asking for your vote and they have never been to the Big Island, they have never been to Maui, they have never been to Molokai, they have never been to Kauai. They have been years in the Legislature and never showed the slightest intention of ever paying any attention to the neighbor islands," Abercrombie said.
Ige, in a response on his campaign Facebook page, put up his Senate floor speech urging passage of his version of the budget alongside Abercrombie's budget bashing, saying, "You decide who to believe."...
read ... Abercrombie talks politics, Ige talks spreadsheets
House, Senate Confereees Grind Thru Hawaii Budget
CB: Dozens of positions were cut and added to the University of Hawaii’s community college system, for instance, but the overall funding didn’t change much. The difference between the House and Senate versions is less than $2 million, which isn’t much considering the community colleges’ total budget is roughly $214 million for 2014.
The committee opted for the House version of the budget when it came to funding various University of Hawaii programs, agreeing to $45 million. The Senate version included $47 million, the difference being money for lab animal services.
The committee added 50 positions, mostly security jobs for the community colleges, but cut 49 positions, primarily instructors.
Lawmakers also resolved the disagreement they had over how much money to put toward a statewide voter registration system.
The House yielded to the Senate position, which includes one position and $200,000 in federal Help America Vote Act funds. The House had wanted one position and $346,668 in state general funds.
The Senate also got its way with how the Division of Consumer Advocacy, which protects the public’s interest in electric rate cases before the Public Utilities Commission. The committee agreed to give the historically underfunded agency $749,714, which is expected to go toward an attorney position and outside consultants.
On Tuesday, the first day budget negotiators met, the committee agreed on $1.5 million for the Housing First Program to address homelessness in the state; $7.36 million for Wiki Wiki shuttle buses at Honolulu International Airport to support the state’s visitor industry at the points of entry and exit; $1 million in funding for campus enrollment support positions at University of Hawaii-West Oahu; and $318,486 for the Executive Office on Aging grant programs.
The next conference committee hearing starts at 3 p.m., Monday, at the Capitol.
Ilind: Budget worksheets available online
read ... House, Senate Lawmakers Resolve Disagreements over Hawaii Budget
Tony Gill seeking to overturn Hawaii's open primary election
SA: Tony Gill is a second-generation labor attorney and former Democratic Party of Hawaii official who believes that only people who publicly support the Democratic Party of Hawaii should be able to pick its candidates.
That's not what happens with open primaries such as we have in Hawaii, he said earlier this week, so he's been part of a legal effort on behalf of the Democratic Party of Hawaii to challenge that.
The effort suffered a setback in November when U.S. District Judge Michael J. Seabright denied that open primaries place a "severe burden" on the party's right of free association. Seabright said some parties might want open primaries, and no evidence was presented to show that they have led to crossover or independent voters influencing the Democratic Party of Hawaii's message.
Gill now is appealing that ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, relying in part on a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared California's blanket primary to be a violation of the First Amendment's right of free association. The blanket primary, he said, is almost identical to the open primary, in that both allow voters to pick candidates from parties they might not even support.
read ... Closed Democratic Primary
Gill: I only Want to Close the Democrats' Primary
SA Corrections: Tony Gill, attorney for the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said he believes that only people who publicly support the Democratic Party of Hawaii should be able to pick its candidates. A "Name in the News" interview with Gill on Page A16 Friday implied he wants to apply that standard to all political parties.
read ... Just Close the Dems Primary
Will the FCC Split Up Hawaii's TV News Market?
CB: A recent FCC decision will prohibit a single company from controlling two or more television stations in the same market, which could signal changes in Hawaii’s TV news market.
A preview announcement of that decision, released on March 31, said any station dealing with more than 15 percent of another station’s advertising sales will be treated as the smaller station’s owner. The FCC decision will become official when the full report is released, although it remains unclear how soon that will be.
read ... FCC Decision
UH BoR Narrows List of Presidential Candidates
SA: The University of Hawaii Board of Regents has narrowed its search for the school's next president. U.H. Board of Regents Chair Carl Carlson said he's confident the university can fill the president's post by June 30. He said Thursday his committee has screened, vetted and produced a shortlist of applicants of nominees, and can come up with "no less than five and no more than six" names of top candidates to recommend for consideration.
Read ... Narrow List
Tourism Industry opposes Caldwell's Latest Tax Hike Proposal
SA: The increase was proposed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell in the budget he submitted to the Council in March. The Council gave Resolution 14-53 the first of two necessary approvals Wednesday.
A final vote takes place in June. City budget officials estimate the $1 increase will result in about $8 million more in revenues for the city.
The resolution also calls for increasing the tax rate on owners in the new "Residential A" category, made up of residential property owners with homes valued at $1 million or more and additionally are not eligible for a homeowner's exemption, to $5.50 per $1,000 from $3.50 per $1,000. That increase is expected to net about $26 million more for city coffers.
The Council also passed out on the second of three required readings:
» Bill 12 — a $2.15 billion city operating budget, roughly $13 million less than the one submitted by Caldwell.
» Bill 13 — a $655 million capital improvements budget, about $15 million more than Caldwell's submittal.
read ... Hotels oppose plan to raise property tax
Panel suggests 8% raise for city officials
SA: The Honolulu Salary Commission is proposing 8 percent raises be given to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, City Council members and most department heads starting July 1.
The preliminary list of pay increases was approved by the commission at its meeting Tuesday. A final plan, however, will await a commission hearing slated for 1:30 p.m. April 29 at the City Council committee room at Honolulu Hale. The commission is also accepting written testimony until the meeting.
The commission approved 4 percent pay raises for the same city officials a year ago.
read ... Panel suggests 8% raise for city officials
Turtle Bay Agreement Allows for 625 New Hotel Rooms, 100 Homes
CB: Despite the excitement surrounding Thursday's announcement, the conflict over the resort's growth is far from settled. Even if the conservation easement comes to fruition, the company still plans to add 625 units in two hotels and 100 homes.
Stotesbury said the company is applying for subdivision approval this year and may begin construction in another two years.
KE: Developer uses Endangered Species to Restrict Beach Access
read ... Hawaii Gov Announces Turtle Bay Agreement, But Fight Is Far From Over
GMO and proud of it
TP: In this era where shippers and processors are taking extra steps to ensure consumers know their products are free of genetically modified organisms, Hawaiian papaya growers are going the opposite direction.
In a move some might consider bold or possibly even heresy, the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association, Hilo, has taken out a two-page advertisement in the Hawaiian Airlines magazine discussing the nutrient-rich superfood and how genetic engineering helped save the industry.
“From the papaya perspective, we don’t have anything to hide,” said Eric Weinert, general manager of Calavo Grower Inc.’s Hawaii operations, Keaau. “We have everything to be proud of, and let’s just say it proudly.”
Since the ad ran, he said none of his salespeople has received any comments — negative or positive. No other association members have heard feedback, either.
Weinert said he was a bit surprised, but chalks it up to being old news.
“Everybody knows Hawaiian papayas are GMO and have been for 15 years,” he said.
read ... GMO and proud of it
Get students to college sooner
SA: The Early College High School program was one of several successful college- and career-readiness programs at Waipahu High that caught the eye of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan during his recent swing through our state, and his support was unequivocal. Some ideas or programs are praised for their promise or potential, but Early College High School is paying off right out of the gate. Some 300 Waipahu students have signed on, double last year's enrollment, having met the academic requirements to enroll in free college classes taught by Leeward Community College and University of Hawaii-West Oahu instructors on the Waipahu High campus. The students earn dual credit and get on the higher-ed track early, building up momentum to earn a college degree ahead of schedule. In the next year or so, it's likely that a Waipahu student will leave high school with both a diploma and an associate's degree in hand.
read ... Get students to college sooner
DoE Settles: Abuse of Autistic Children
SA: Parties in the three cases informed the court Tuesday that they reached a settlement, but details were not stated on the record, and attorneys on both sides would not comment Wednesday.
The complaints describe alleged disturbing acts during the 2010-11 school year against the girls, who all suffer from developmental disorders, including limited speech skills. (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is withholding the victims' names because they are minors.)
One of the girls, for example, was allegedly regularly force-fed in her classroom, often causing her to throw up. Once she was forced to eat food from the trash.
The girl, who was 8 at the time, sometimes was forced to vomit into her shirt so that the teacher and aide wouldn't have to clean it up, according to one of the complaints.
The girl's mother was told by witnesses that her daughter was regularly disciplined "in a manner in which her body was forcibly held down on a table and was held there while defendants force fed her and held her mouth closed so she could not vomit," the complaint says.
The girl, who was diagnosed with moderate to mild autism, "would cry at night and in the morning and say that she did not want to go to school, but due to her limited language abilities (she) was not able to tell her family why she did not want to attend school," the lawsuit says.
read ... Abuse of Autistic Children in DoE
Suspected nepotism at state hospital will be investigated by ethics agency
SA: The state Ethics Commission has agreed to open an investigation into nepotism at the Hawaii State Hospital.
A state Senate panel investigating mismanagement and assaults on staff at the Kaneohe psychiatric hospital has documented that at least eight staffers have relatives working at the facility.
read ... Suspected nepotism at state hospital will be investigated by ethics agency
After Fire Boat Shutdown, fire union says 'no confidence' in fire chief
HNN: During his first year in office the firefighters' union said Neves and his administration have continually ignored the union, in violation of labor rules.
"Time and time again they just create a policy on their own and we find out about it from our members out in the fire station," said Hawaii Firefighters Association President Bobby Lee, whose union represents nearly 1,100 city firefighters.
Lee said the union executive board unanimously approved a "no confidence" vote about Neves March 5. Lee claimed the chief and his managers have failed to properly negotiate or consult with the union before changing policies and procedures about everything from overtime, sick leave and uniforms to promotions and how the firefighters who now work on the fireboat will be re-assigned after it ends service this summer.
read ... For first time, fire union says 'no confidence' in fire chief
HPD Major Stripped of Police Powers after Daughters Boyfriend Gets TRO
HNN: The man is dating Maj. Borges' daughter and was granted a temporary restraining order.
According to the court documents, Borges has been threatening him since December of last year. In January, the man used a phone app to record a conversation with Borges.
The paperwork says the man recorded Borges saying, "Where do you want to meet so that I can beat you up."
The man reports that he is threatened by Borges and even went to see a doctor.
The doctor's diagnosis is included in the court documents. The clinical psychologist says the man has had major anxiety attacks and suffers from Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety.
read ... Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety
Queerty: 'Damning Evidence' Against Hollywood Homosexual Leader
Q: The plaintiff in the case, Michael Egan, has left no detail to the imagination in his formal accusation. The 31-year-old claims he was one of many underage boys who were forced to engage in sexual acts with Singer and former chairman of Digital Entertainment Network Marc Collins-Rector during drug-fueled parties at a property in Encino, CA in 1999.
Egan, 17 at the time, claims he was lured into the alleged sex ring with the promise of landing a role in a Singer-directed film. His suit, the second sexual assault complaint brought against Singer, describes an incident during which his head was held underwater to perform fellatio on Singer, after which he was forcibly sodomized.
In the first sexual assault complaint brought against Singer, an extra from the film Apt Pupil accused the director in 1997 of forcing him to get naked and filming him in the shower. Singer denied the accusations and the case was later thrown out due to insufficient evidence.
At a press conference with his attorney Jeff Herman at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills yesterday afternoon, Egan further claimed he was flown to Hawaii on multiple occasions to be “anally raped” by Singer, along with a handful of other underage boys. Of the notorious parties held at the Encino estate, Egan said “I had drugs put in drinks, liquor poured down my throat. I was raped numerous times in that house by numerous individuals.”
NYP: Inside Bryan Singer’s ‘infamous’ drug-fueled pool orgies
read ... About another alleged Mainland Homosexual Child Molester
Mainland Homosexual denied bail in Dismemberment Murder Case
SA: Bryan Suitt, 46, is charged with killing (his gay lover), 34-year-old Alex Gonzales, whose remains were found scattered off both sides of Mililani Memorial Park Road in September. Suitt has been in custody since his arrest in December in California. His bail was $5 million. (Funny how they always leave that little detail out, eh?)
GMA: Mainland Homosexuals Salute Hawaii Lesbian
read ... Mainland Homosexual denied bail in Dismemberment Murder Case
Ex-Hilo woman gets life for killing son, 4, in Oregon
SA: Not one word about Hawaii DHS returning that child to her custody before the murder. Where is the accountability for returning children to a homeless meth addict?....
read ... Ex-Hilo woman gets life for killing son, 4, in Oregon
Wilson sworn in as Hawaii Supreme Court associate justice
PBN: The ceremony was attended by Gov. Neil Abercrombie; Gregory Markham, president-elect of the Hawaii State Bar Association; Christine Kuriyama, president of the Hawaii State Trial Judges Association; James Bickerton, vice chairman of the Judicial Selection Commission; House Speaker Joe Souki; Sen. Clayton Hee, chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee; Supreme Court justices Sabrina McKenna and Richard Pollack and Craig Nakamura, chief judge of the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals.
read ... Wilson sworn in as Hawaii Supreme Court associate justice
19.8% Raise Sought for Hawaii Co Mayor
HTH: The mayor’s salary would increase by $21,666, a 19.8 percent raises, to $130,818. The managing director’s would increase $6,300, or 6.1 percent, to $110,244. The deputy managing director would increase $5,732, or 5.8 percent, to $104,736.
Council members would get an 8.3 percent raise, increasing their pay by $4,000 annually to $52,000. The council chairman would make $58,000 a year, up $6,000 annually, or 11.5 percent. Those raises wouldn’t go into effect until the new council session starting in December.
The raises would add $56,472 to the county budget next year, and $90,178 after 2016. That follows the $162,048 the commission added in raises for this year.
read ... Raises sought for officials