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Friday, January 29, 2010
January 29, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:02 PM :: 8706 Views

Gay Civil Unions to face “indefinite postponement”?

DePledge: RULE 46 State House leaders may recommend in private caucus Friday morning that the civil-unions bill be indefinitely postponed for the session. The move, which would require a procedural vote on the House floor

DePledge: Wrinkle in the rug

Seniors who want to re-marry may be reluctant because of federal tax implications. Under a civil union, they would only be recognized as a couple in state law, not federal law. (Great, anti-marriage federal tax policies are now being used to promote gay marriage.)

KHON: Fate of Civil Unions Bill could be Decided Friday

SB: Civil-unions bill at pivotal point

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LINK>>>Hanauma Dec 29: Did Mufi threaten retaliation against Obama?

LINK>>>RNC Meeting: Steele Comes to Honolulu with Proof of Principle

LINK>>>Senate Committee Hearing: OHA to be audited?

Lawmakers are gambling that isle residents going to Vegas will be willing to pay a $10 fee to avoid state taxes if they win big later

"Everybody goes with the idea that they are going to win money," said state Sen. Clarence Nishihara, who introduced the bill (Senate Bill 2001) in the Senate. "If they're lucky enough, 10 bucks is cheap."

Nishihara said the idea has support from constituents who are upset that the Legislature took away the state tax deduction for gambling losses to offset winnings.

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Hawaii Department of Education Whistleblowers- 'Bell System Contracts' Waste School Repair Money 

Findings in a 2009, 2-part state legislative audit of the Hawaii State Department of Education, detailing waste and possible fraud in contracts issued through its facilities branch, resulted in the attorney general’s office launching a criminal investigation.

Then-DOE Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto promised to rectify irregularities within the DOE. However, one year later, as the state administration, Hawaii State Legislature and DOE struggle with severe budget shortfalls -- so severe that schools must close on several “Furlough Fridays” this year and next -- critics say potentially millions of dollars are still being wasted within the DOE’s Facilities Branch.  

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Governor, mayor at odds over financing for rail

If she had to do it today, Lingle says, she would not sign off on the city's rail transit plan because of those financial worries.

"The federal government is questioning whether the general fund of the city can stand this much debt and what will happen if there is an overrun—where will they get the money?" Lingle said.

"I am convinced more than ever after reading the federal government's most recent letters written to the city that the financial plan is shaky at best," Lingle said. "If I had to sign off now, I couldn't, based on what I know from the federal government about the financial plan."

In response, Mayor Mufi Hannemann called Lingle "confused again about the city's rail project and the process, and appears to be mixing pineapples and macadamia nuts."

(Oh, OK.  That’s the issue.  Salad.  We just need more salad and rail will fly.)

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Kauai County to pay $7.5M in Ka Loko settlement

(State’s share was only $1.5M)

LIHU‘E — The County of Kaua‘i has agreed to pay $7.5 million for its portion of the $25.4 million global settlement of various wrongful death and property damage lawsuits stemming from the March 2006 failure of the Ka Loko Reservoir Dam near Kilauea, a Thursday afternoon county press release states.

Of that amount, the county will be responsible for $250,000, with the balance to be covered by insurance proceeds. The information was released after requests from The Garden Island and other media outlets led to a successful motion in 5th Circuit Court.

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Vote on Kubo deadlocked

Trial lawyer Democrats seem hell-bent of blocking prosecutor Kubo from Judgeship.  (He apparently once denied an employee a choice parking spot.)  He will make a great winning GOP candidate for Hon Co Prosecutor after Carlisle goes to Mayor’s office.  Self-interested trial lawyers don’t care about their own Party’s future.

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A&B to continue Maui sugar at least through 2010

Alexander & Baldwin Inc.'s board of directors met in Honolulu Thursday morning to mull over shuttering its Maui subsidiary, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., after it recorded about $45 million in losses over the past two years. In a statement, the company said it would continue sugar operations through the end of the year, but that the company's fate beyond 2010 would depend on a "favorable outcome" in water cases pending before the state Commission on Water Resource Management, as well as HC&S's ability to increase its sugar production levels.

An attorney for the environmental greenmailers and Native Hawaiian OHA Crony groups that are petitioning the state to order HC&S to return more water to Maui streams called the company's announcement Thursday a "stunt" aimed at pressuring the water commission to give it what it wants.

(And they should know….)

Maui News: Sugar safe, at least for rest of year

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Kenoi fights back against TAT attack

Kenoi said he would like to see the county take control of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii, but only if the state completed delayed repairs at the site. That would help increase revenues to the county.

(Is that a trade for TAT?)

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Plans call for higher commercial fees, additional restrictions next year

The proposals, all of which require council approval, are aimed primarily at commercial haulers, who would be required to submit comprehensive waste reduction plans. In addition, green waste, e-waste and scrap metals would be banned from county transfer stations and landfills, tipping fees would be added or increased for nonresidential scrap metal at county facilities and disposal of construction and demolition wastes. The residential haulers credit would be eliminated and source separation and recycling would be required for certain types of materials….

(The objective is to channel as much waste—and therefore money--as possible to Business Services Hawaii—which has the Hawaii County recycling contract.  This is also why the RFP for the HI Co Waste to Energy contract was sabotaged.)

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County Buys 151 Acres of North Kohala Coastline Property (Open Space)

Ken Van Bergen, county property manager, said the county was able to complete the purchase for $6.54 million, 3 percent less than the appraised value and less than the $7.5 million asking price. The property was ranked No. 3 on the Public Space, Open Land and Natural Resources Preservation priority list last year.

HR: County Buys 151 Acres of North Kohala Coastline Property

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Hilo club owner vs. county is on again (Dep’t of Retaliation)

George "Keoki" Kai, who owned the now-defunct Uncle Mikey's Video Dance Club, detailed in Circuit Court filing on Tuesday what he says is continued official abuse that began when he called the police about unruly patrons at the club during a 2005 "Massive Mele" event.

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Officials mull management of Kalaupapa – to DHHL?

Some Molokai residents have expressed interest in building homes at Kalaupapa, but patients and National Park Service officials have stated that such development would be inappropriate in a place where an estimated 8,000 people were taken from their families and forced to live - and left to die.

"It is not up for consideration," English said of the notion of turning Kalaupapa into a housing subdivision.

The measure, titled Senate Bill 2771, was introduced Monday and passed first reading at the Legislature on Wednesday.

If the bill is passed, it would not take effect until the last patient dies, English said. The 12-page bill reaffirms what most people anticipate would occur when that day comes, he said.

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Kaiser union workers rally over job security

Union workers said they feared that 18 pharmacy jobs on Oahu would be outsourced when Kaiser consolidates its Hawaii mail-order prescription services with its Colorado region. But a company official said no Hawaii employees would lose their jobs in the consolidation. Pharmacy workers would continue to fill orders for prescriptions and carry out other duties but no longer would handle mail-order prescriptions, said Kaiser spokeswoman Lynn Kenton.

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Officials shut 18 voting sites on island

On Hawaii Island, the number of polling places will drop from 67 used during the last election cycle to 49, a reduction of 27 percent.

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