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Saturday, March 13, 2010
March 13, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:03 PM :: 10445 Views

LINK>>>Am Spectator: Djou Hopes for Hawaiian Surprise

LINK>>>Obamacare vote count: 189 of 216 needed for House passage

LINK>>>Ed Case in Congress: Influence less than zero

Native Hawaiian government Akaka Tribe may become reality by August

(At the end of the article, the single item of news….) A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, said the legislation could reach the Senate floor this month, but because of other national priorities, Akaka's goal is to get the vote by August.

(Will there be further amendments?  Will the Senate bill match the version approved by the House?  This article is chock full of Akaka Gang propaganda—Akaka bill is now posed as the cure for homelessness by OHA, the agency most responsible for making housing unaffordable—but not a word on whether the Senate bill will be amended to match the House bill.)

REALTED:  Akaka Bill Reading List

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Furlough Deal tied to abolition of BoE?

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol yesterday, Lingle said her advisers have met with state lawmakers on a new furlough proposal but she did not disclose any details. She said a resolution on furloughs, however, should be tied to a restructuring of the state DOE, such as giving the governor the authority to select the state schools superintendent and eliminating the elected state BOE.

"Without that, just dealing with the immediate furlough doesn't get to the issue of a lack of accountability in the system, and that's what we need to address over the long term," the governor said.

SB: Lingle blames furloughs on elected board 

RELATED: Furloughs: Governor cannot release funds the Legislature has not appropriated

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Lingle blasts Legislature for 'shibai' budget tactics

In an afternoon news conference in her Capitol office, Lingle said it was time for the Legislature to "support our efforts to reduce government expenses on a consistent basis and yet provide better public service."

"We also have the opportunity to have honesty in state budgeting, to know that the legislators are being truthful, transparent and upfront," Lingle said.

"Up to this point the House has been none of those things. They have not been upfront in their budgeting. They have used shibai tactics to hide the fact that they can't balance the budget," Lingle said.

The governor defended her position to delay state income tax refunds until the new fiscal year in July, a move that transfers $275 million in debt to the next year's state budget. If the refunds are not delayed, Lingle said, the state would have to cut $275 million in services between now and June 30….

Lingle said the House took out budgeted money from her office to fund required vacation payouts for workers who will leave the Governor's Office with her in December.

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UPW membership OKs new contract

Under the terms of the agreement, 9,000 workers could be furloughed up to 13 days for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and up to 24 days in the coming fiscal year.

County mayors have pledged to not begin furloughs until July 1.

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Hawaii tax revenues fall 3.5%

Hawaii’s total general fund tax revenues were down 3.5 percent to $2.78 billion for the first eight months of the fiscal year through February, compared with the previous fiscal period.

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Obama chooses 1st young Gramscian appeals court nominee

(This clown testified against the nomination of John Roberts as Chief Justice.)

Goodwin Liu, 39, is an unabashed liberal legal scholar who, if confirmed, could become a force on the federal appeals court for decades. There's talk that in time, the Rhodes Scholar, former high court clerk and current assistant dean and law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, could be the first person of Asian descent chosen for the Supreme Court.

"I can easily imagine him" as a high court nominee, said Erwin Chemerinsky, a Liu supporter and dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine.

Obama's choice of Liu for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco drew quick and vociferous criticism from conservatives. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, described Liu as "far outside the mainstream of American jurisprudence."

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Honolulu City Council may balk at mayor's property tax plan (You may THINK you are an owner-occupant, but . . . .)

Garcia and Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said they have been hearing from owner-occupants who say they should have been in the owner-occupant category.

Among them is Bernice Mau, the city clerk.

Mau said her mother lives behind her Pālolo house, in a dwelling that does not receive an exemption on her tax bill.

She said it's not fair that she can't join the owner-occupant class when she doesn't derive any income from the second structure.

"I don't feel I should be considered a nonhomeowner," she said, adding that the unit has been in her family's possession since it was built in 1939.

Also in the same predicament are owner-occupants of co-op building complexes, where people who own units share in the ownership of the land under the building.

Veronica Gail Worth, president of the Tropic Sea, said she has a homeowner exemption as the owner-occupant of her unit. But, because not all 62 units are owner-occupied, and therefore not eligible for homeowner exemptions, Worth and all other owner-occupants in the building would have to pay at the absentee owner rate.

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Council considers censure for Tam

Resolution 10-67, seeking Tam's censure, was introduced by Councilmen Charles Djou and Donovan Dela Cruz and will get its first airing at Wednesday's council meeting.

"He abused his office and he did it in so many different areas and so many different times," Djou said yesterday.

The commission staff said it found at least $10,000 in questionable contingency account reimbursements from fiscal years 2006 through 2009.

"I think the City Council needs to clearly go on the record that Rod Tam's behavior is unacceptable and not to be tolerated in the council," Djou said. "I hope my colleagues on the City Council join me in making it very clear that Rod Tam stands alone on this behavior."

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

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Kaua‘i school funds to be used for O‘ahu special election (thanks, Neil)

PUHI — The special election to fill the U.S. Congress seat vacated by Neil Abercrombie as he prepares to run for governor has nothing to do with Kaua‘i because that congressional district doesn’t include Neighbor Islands, right?

Wrong.

Governor Linda Lingle authorized the transfer of $389,481 from the Neighbor Island public schools repair and maintenance account into an account to help fund the special election.

TOTALLY RELATED: Advertiser shoots “arrogant” Abercrombie in foot

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Audit: HSTA Member benefits Corp “grossly mismanaged”

The Hawaii State Teachers’ Association (HSTA), Hawaii public school teachers’ only union, sent a letter to members March 2, 2009, telling them that their for-profit insurance subsidiary, the HSTA Member Benefits Corporation, had declared bankruptcy the day before.

With $575,403.29 in assets and $780,446.61 in liabilities, the HSTA admitted in the letter to teachers that the Member Benefits Corporation was “grossly mismanaged.”

The letter arrived four months after the HSTA laid off the entire staff of the Member Benefits Corporation and shut down the organization’s operations.

Teachers were assured that they would not lose their health benefits, because administration was transferred to another entity, the Associated Third Party Administrators (ATPA).

Teachers did not lose their benefits when ATPA took over the trust fund’s Honolulu on March 1, 2009.

However, the new organization, touted by union leadership as an “outside company” with “no relation to HSTA” retained the same HSTA Member Benefit Corporation treasurer, Rodney Shinno, who bankruptcy proceedings listed under Potential Claims as having made a “breach of fiduciary duty.”

(These folks must have learned their administrative skills from their years in the DoE.)

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Hannemann support upsets Yoshito Takamine, ex-ILWU chief  (elder Takamine goes against Inouye, backs Abercrombie)

The endorsement irked Eusebio "Bobo" Lapenia Jr., who was active in the local for 30 years and was its president in 1992-2003.

Lapenia said he prefers Hannemann's rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, because Abercrombie has always been supportive of the union.

"I cannot forget the things he did for this organization during all my years in my employment with ILWU," Lapenia said Thursday in an interview. "Neil has always been a friend of labor."

The Big Island resident said he quit a board, of which he was vice president, that oversees the union's real estate holdings. He also resigned from another board with responsibility over a union health care program, he said.

"I felt that I could not be part of those boards because I would be, like, going against the local's endorsement," said Lapenia, 67. "In order for me to campaign freely for Neil, I didn't want any kind of attachment to 142."

Another former Local 142 official, Yoshito Takamine, has taken similar steps since the Hannemann endorsement.

(Now that is VERY interesting because Yoshito’s spawn, Dwight Takamine, lost his House Committee Chairmanship after a failed attempt to obey orders from Dan Inouye to “shed more blood, not less” of the Ed Case supporters in the House Democrat Caucus in late 2006/early 2007.  Has old-boy Takamine been “converted” to the gay/eco faction of the Dems after being forced out of the House into the Senate?????? )

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Maui Pine inventory auction March 23 (thanks, OHA)

Maui Pineapple Co., which shut down in November, said it will auction off its excess inventory on March 23 at the Maui Beach Hotel.

Items to be auctioned include compressors, backhoes, crawler loaders, Kenworth trucks, passenger buses, golf carts, forklifts, flatbed trailers and welding equipment.

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Home plan finally OK'd on 16th try

Division Administrator Pua Aiu said the 16th draft provides "adequate protection" to the burials. She cited concrete caps over a number of them and special vertical buffers for one burial that sits under the spot that will one day be the home's driveway.

The state's decision is opposed by Hawaiian cultural practitioner Puanani Rogers, who told the Garden Island newspaper that the approval is "outrageous. ... Everybody knows, except them, that they're not supposed to build on a graveyard."

(That’s funny, the old Hawaiians did that all the time.  And then there is Kawaiahao Church, no hear much from P Rodgers on that one, eh?  Oh well, another OHA attempt to steal a single family home fails.)

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Public campaign financing has few takers

WHT--"Hundreds of hours" have been invested to implement the Legislature's "unfunded mandate," Wong said. The program didn't include advertising or promotion money.
"This is maxing out the staff," she added. "They're coming in on weekends and furlough days to try to get this program out."

But only four candidates have signed up.  So what does Voter Owned Hawaii say?  They intend to ask the legislature to authorize more spending next year.  Why are candidates not interested?  It is too difficult to get 200 donors to give over $5 each.  That is what happens when you try to throw money at people who are so un-serious that they have never heard of a $5 chili and rice fundraising dinner.

TOTALLY RELATED: ‘Clean Elections’ activist nailed by Campaign Spending Commission

HTH version has more details.

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BusinessWeek Ranks UH Manoa Shidler College of Business Among the Nation’s Top Undergraduate Business Programs

(And UHM hard science departments are tops, too.  So why is UHM as a whole just escaping the accreditor's axe?  Oh that’s right, its the activist trash masquerading as professors in all the OTHER departments.)

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LG candidate touts plans for state

Hawaii residents need to get used to the idea of fields of solar panels and rows of windmills. Residents will see their power being generated, if they want to rely on renewable, locally originated power sources. The federal Department of Energy is interested in testing in Hawaii, particularly on Maui and the Big Island, Schatz said.

"We're sufficiently large enough to be a legitimate test (site) but sufficiently small enough that a few hundred million from the Department of Energy budget could make it happen," he said.

Fascinating:

Here are some photos of the results of the feds last “testing” of solar farms and wind farms:

And here is a picture of Brian Schatz in Larry Mehau’s barn: Big Island Rancher Larry Mehau Hosts Community Rally for Sen. Akaka

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Feds raided homes as well as THC Ministry

"I know of about six others who were raided," said Roger Christie, founder and director of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, whose downtown Hilo sanctuary and Wainaku residence were searched by federal agents, assisted by local police.

A police log for Wednesday showed 12 report numbers indicating police assistance to outside law enforcement agencies between 4 a.m. and just past 3 p.m. Five incidents occurred in Puna, four in South Hilo, and one each in North Hilo, Hamakua and Ka'u…

"They were looking for records and cash -- ill-gotten gain -- and cannabis, cannabis smoking devices, cannabis growing equipment," Christie said. "The search warrant was pretty broad, and they looked high and low. They looked thoroughly around my place, around both places."

(And now they will have to deal with a real –- ie federal -- justice system.)

RELATED: Hawaii’s future: LA Marijuana dispensaries outnumber Starbucks, McDonalds

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Judge rules no probable cause in drug arrest, case to be dismissed

Another meth dealer walks free thanks to state judiciary and/or local police/or prosecutors.  Are the police obligated to return the confiscated meth, too?

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Oahu electric bills go up about $8.34

Higher fuel costs also push up residential rates on Maui, Big Island….

read more


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