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Sunday, March 7, 2010
March 7, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:16 PM :: 8237 Views

LINK>>>In Congress, Hawaii now represented by Lorraine C. Miller

Contractor-linked donations soar in Hawaii gubernatorial campaign: Watchdog groups say loopholes in pay-to-play law exploited

Hannemann, who is expected to declare his candidacy for the governor's race later this year, received $208,000 from donors linked to government contractors, or nearly 20 percent of the amount he collected between July and December.

Abercrombie took in $88,700, or about 10.6 percent of his total collections during the last six months of 2009 from people linked to firms that have contracts with the state or city. Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona received $4,215, or 1.7 percent.

Tightening up Hawai'i's pay-to-play law, however, is not high on state lawmakers' agendas. This session, state Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a candidate for lieutenant governor, introduced a bill to loosen the restriction on government contractor contributions by limiting the ban only to contractors who receive non-bid contracts from the state and city.

Contractors that take part in competitive bidding on state and city jobs would be allowed to donate to political races under this bill.

RELATED: Abercrombie: Mufi personally threatening my donors (VIDEO)

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Past violators of Isle campaign spending laws continue giving

An Advertiser study of more than 2,300 campaign contributions made during the second half of 2009 shows that Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann received about $100,000 from donors linked to past illegal campaign contributions. The amount is about 9.5 percent of the money he collected during the second half of 2009.

Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie received about $28,000, or about 3.4 percent of his second-half 2009 campaign collections, from individuals whose firms, co-workers or relatives made illegal campaign contributions in past elections.

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, the Republican candidate for governor, received just one contribution from a past campaign spending law violator for $1,000.

RELATED: Hanauma Dec 29: Did Mufi threaten retaliation against Obama?

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Kalapa: Again, let's repeat it, there is no money

The overarching goal should be to restore the health of our community and the state's economy so all can prosper and have hope for the future. Expecting someone else to take the hit so we can be spared and be kept whole does not raise all ships.  Unfortunately, that latter philosophy can spell nothing but disaster for the state's future.

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ADV: Rod Tam should be prosecuted for theft

But Tam has now (only now?) made the leap from buffoonery to thievery, so it's time to stop laughing and start prosecuting.

Tam lied…  Sounds like stealing to us.

The report is a troubling portrait of a self-important, devious and dishonest politician whose nonstop nickel-and-diming of taxpayers for his meals borders on compulsion.

The ethics case should scuttle Tam's desperate effort to cling to office by running for mayor.

The attorney general should pursue criminal theft charges against Tam.

(A compulsive petty thief has interfered with the big boys who are stealing in the big leagues.  Shame on him!)

RELATED: Ousted Zoning Chair Rod Tam is secret partner in $1 Billion North Shore development hui

Djou: Tam should resign and be prosecuted

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Hawaii may depend on bonds to help finance home solar systems

Under the bond-financing program, homeowners would get loans that would be repaid through assessments on their county property tax bills. The loans would be attached to the property, not the homeowner, and would remain if the property is sold.

While there is support from Lingle and several leading Democrats, there are concerns, including the expansion of state debt from the bonds given the state's projected $1.2 billion budget deficit through June 2011.  The Senate dropped its version of the bill because of the concern about debt.

The Tax Foundation of Hawai'i, meanwhile, said property owners who get the loans should not be able to qualify for state tax credits — which can offset 35 percent of installation costs — because then the "projects would be granted a double subsidy by the taxpayers of the state."

Many environmentalists see the bond-financing program as a potential breakthrough. The concept, known as Property Assessed Clean Energy, started in Berkeley, Calif., in 2007 and has been sampled in several other cities and counties.

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Old OR&L route defended for rail transit

Mr. Yoshioka knows amazingly little about the OR&L route because, like other alternatives, it was never seriously studied. Serving developers was the determining guide in West-side rail decisions. "The preferred alternative"—elevated rail on the current route—serves them well. However, in serving developers, solutions to our traffic problems were sacrificed. Rail service to Ewa was sacrificed. Waipahu town was sacrificed. And years of misery in traffic jams for thousands of West-siders during construction was accepted.

If the city adopted light rail, and put it on the ground on the OR&L right-of-way at least up to the stadium, it could avoid all the problems, use more local workers and do the job in X the time at X the cost, saving us and our children more than a billion dollars. That merits more serious study.

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Kula Hospital beds will free MMMC space (until it fills up again)

WAILUKU - Kula Hospital has received $5 million in state funding to add 15 long-term beds - a long-awaited development that would relieve Maui Memorial Medical Center of some patients occupying acute-care beds.  (BTW that is $333,334 per bed.)

The Kula Hospital expansion project is in the design phase, which is nearly complete. With funding for the project released, the expansion at the Kula facility could to be completed within 12 to 18 months, officials said….

Maui Memorial would see cost savings instead of losing money providing care for long-term patients, hospital officials said. Last year, it cost Maui Memorial $1,300 per day to provide acute-level care for a long-term-care patient. A patient transferred to Kula would cost $80 per day, officials said.  (And because of the Legislators protecting the CON process, they could not re-designate acute as long term in order to reduce costs.  These socialist geniuses have allowed this to go on for how long?)

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Maui Co: After 9 years, only two Molokai TVRs are legal

WAILUKU - The Maui County Council's Land Use Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday in favor of a rare conditional permit that will allow a Molokai family to run a three-bedroom transient vacation rental next to the beach.

Christine, Frances and Bill Feeter's Hale Maluhia had been trying for nine years to legally operate their transient vacation rental, or short-term rental, on the Friendly Isle's east side in Pukoo….

Apparently, though, the Feeters are only one of two TVR owners on all of Molokai who have successfully gone through the difficult process to become legitimate.

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Bill to ease access to marijuana for registered “patients” advances

Since Hawaii became the first state to approve medical marijuana legislatively a decade ago, its law has not changed, meaning registered patients can only get weed by growing it themselves or through a caregiver.

A new proposal advancing through the state legislature would create California-style medical marijuana dispensaries, where smokers may be able to buy the islands' well-known varieties such as "Maui Wowie" and "Kona Gold." The Senate passed the measure this week, sending it to the House for further consideration. Gov. Linda Lingle has not indicated whether she supports the legislation.

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SB: Focus on state budget—but first legalize our dope

One controversial but worthy measure approved would create a system for distributing medical marijuana to patients and caregivers. Gov. Linda Lingle has opposed such proposals, even though the Obama administration has rejected the George W. Bush administration's policy of undermining state programs allowing medical use of marijuana. The measure, which would place a $30 excise tax on each ounce provided to patients, was approved by a 20-4 Senate vote and merits House acceptance.

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Kauai: Prescription drug use an ‘epidemic’, ice in ecstasy pills, legal K2 ‘fake weed’ arrives via organic, holistic, new age vendors

Aside from medicine, other forms of narcotics which remain popular include ecstasy, methamphetamine (ice), cocaine and heroin.

“We have full-on ice addicts in Hawai‘i,” he said, adding that 55 percent of all ecstasy (MDMA) is actually tainted with meth.

Designer drugs — those which are chemically created to avoid drug regulations — are also exploding onto the scene, like K2 which is “fake weed,” Shimabukuro said. It is three to five times stronger than regular marijuana and doesn’t test positive on drug screens.

RELATED: Fake Weed, Real Drug: K2 Causing Hallucinations in Teens

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Kauai CRC examines contracts: Amendment would loosen ethics code

A provision currently preventing the county from “enter(ing) into a contract with any person or firm which is represented or assisted personally in the matter by a person who has been an employee of the agency for six months and who participated while in county employment with the subject matter of the contract” would be extended to a full year if the amendment is approved.  The Kaua‘i Board of Ethics voted in December that it had no objection to that change, which would make Kaua‘i’s rule governing contracts with former county workers similar to rules in the other Hawai‘i counties.

A different provision that currently stops the county from “enter(ing) into any contract with an officer or employee or with a firm in which an officer or employee has a substantial interest involving services or property of a value in excess of $500 unless the contract is made after competitive bidding” was loosened tenfold to allow contracts valued under $5,000 to be awarded, without a bid process, to current county employees….

Section 84-15 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statues, which governs state contracts, caps those awarded to state employees to $10,000 unless there is a competitive bid process and precludes former employees from entering into a contract with the state on the matter they worked on for two full years.

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On-demand cars a ‘green alternative’ for visitors

In a partnership with the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa, guests can rent one of four custom-made, family-friendly Ford Hybrid Escapes with all the latest technological frills, including an iPad, for an “all-inclusive” $15 per hour, Doi said.

(That’s $120 for 8 hrs.  Lesson: Organic means “it costs more.”)

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Kona anti-development attitudes shift

WHT Poll: Ooma Beachside Villages seeks to upzone coastal land at Ooma in North Kona through the state land use commission.

This is:

  • Good, it should be approved. We need jobs and growth is good for the community.  (129 Votes, 51%)
  • Not yet, wait until the road expansion to the airport is finished before allowing any more development. (16 Votes, 6%)
  • Bad. The owner bought conservation land, not a right to upzone. Preserve our open space and say no. (107 Votes, 42%)

(Had this poll been taken before expansion of Queen K Hwy, the “not yet” option would have attracted much of the support now given to the “good” option.)

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Fluoride sensitivity is prevalent in several plant species

(Professional chemophobes’ latest excuse for blocking fluoridation of Hawaii water systems.)

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Coquis mutate: Size of tennis balls?  Volkswagens?

(Hilarious story.)

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