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Saturday, March 20, 2010
March 20, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:31 PM :: 8627 Views

Honolulu officials knew year ago that rail route too close to airport

If the route has to be moved, it could push back the start of construction by up to six months.

On Jan. 29, 2009, state transportation director Brennon Morioka wrote his counterpart at the city, Wayne Yoshioka, saying the city should file what is known as a Form 7460 with the FAA to ensure that the elevated train complies with runway obstruction height limits.

On Feb. 2, 2009, Moses Akana, an FAA air traffic support specialist at the Honolulu airport, e-mailed the city comments on the train's environmental impact study. He said that an aeronautical study must be done before construction starts to ensure there's no impact on airport flight operations.

The airport issue must be resolved before the project's final environmental impact statement can be released. Gov. Linda Lingle then must approve the study before the city can start construction.

(Amazing.  And Mufi got al those fools to give him money on the premise that rail was real.  What a scam!)

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Tavares positions political allies for election race (Sovereignty thug, sex harassment, eco-scammers)

(Today the Maui News has the kind of real research on appointees that readers can usually find only in the pages of Hawai`i Free Press….)

On Friday, Johnson also questioned U'u's true allegiances, noting that he is employed by the Hawaii Carpenters Union.  Johnson said she was disturbed that when a proposed expansion of the Grand Wailea came before the planning commission recently, U'u took the position that economics should trump Native Hawaiian concerns

(Bet they used Union carpenters on that job)

U'u's defenders, though, said he has opposed multimillion-dollar housing developments on the basis that they take away from affordable homes for locals.

(Bet they DIDN’T use union carpenters on those jobs.)

(Of course all of this is about the upcoming Arakawa vs Tavares mayoral election.  It is amazing what comes out in public when there are actually two competing political parties at work. The one party system creates an environment where nobody has a partisan advantage to gain by exposing the corruption of the other.  Partisanship is absolutely critical for the functioning of a democracy.  And that’s why this Maui News article is so great—it is the product of political competitors feeding information to the media & the public.  This is a process which—if extended to every race--could clean up State politics.)

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Hawaii Gov. Lingle says 'it's possible' she will run for elected office in future

She was asked at a Rotary Club meeting Friday if she would remain involved in government after she leaves the governor's office. The 56-year-old governor said she expects to continue living in Hawaii.

Later, Lingle told reporters that "it's possible" she will run for elected office in the future. But she deflected questions about what office she may have her eye on.

She is considered a possible candidate in 2012 for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Daniel Akaka.

SB: Lingle leaves options open for future political campaign

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Lingle slams bill restricting governor's powers

Using the past two years as examples, the governor said the legislation, were it law, would have prevented her from cutting spending to match declining revenues.

"Had I spent everything that (legislators) had appropriated previously, we would be hundreds of millions of dollars additional in the hole," Lingle said.

The bill, SB 2007, is sponsored by Senate President Colleen Hanabusa. It is under consideration by the House Finance Committee.

Hanabusa was unavailable for comment.

Video: Governor Lingle's remarks at the Pearlridge Rotary Club meeting

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Medicaid benefits are unsustainable and could “explode” under national health care plan

Runaway Medicaid costs topped the list of state fiscal problems, the governor says. Hawaii spends $1.5 billion on Medicaid each year: $900 million in federal funds and $600 in state funds.

Program deficits are projected to run at $209 million by 2015.

And that is only if President Barack Obama’s national health care plan doesn’t pass, Lingle says. “The national health care bill, if it passes – and I’m hoping it doesn’t – will explode our Medicaid obligations.”

RELATED: Lingle: Legislature’s path will make Hawaii “a fiscal basket case” , Obamacare, COFA, and the upcoming $350M State budget gap: Lingle vs Congressional Delegation , Obamacare Medicaid expansion knocks $41M hole in Hawaii State budget

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Governor, top budget aide defend Hawaii investments following audit

Kawamura acknowledged she gave verbal, not written, approval to exceed the office's policy of placing no more than 20 percent of the state's investments in any one type of securities.

RELATED: Kawamura: Purchase of Securities under Cayetano and Lingle Administrations authorized by Legislature in 1997

SB: Lingle slams budget audit again

Georgina Kawamura, director of the Department of Budget and Finance, yesterday said the money invested in the securities included about $95 million of general fund money, with the remainder primarily coming from special transportation fund accounts.

Kawamura, along with state Attorney General Mark Bennett, commented publicly on the audit yesterday as part of the Lingle administration's response to the report. Among their criticisms was the audit's finding that the purchases violated state law requiring that short-term investments have maturity dates of five years or less.

Bennett noted the Legislature amended state law to allow the purchases of auction-rate securities in 1997 and that there were purchases made during the Cayetano and Lingle administrations.

"The statute was specifically amended to do this exact security," said Bennett, noting he provided Higa a letter explaining this history to her prior to the final report being issued.

Kawamura also disputed the report's finding that she was unaware of the purchases being increased during the second half of 2007. She said the state increased the investing in the securities because they had been safe in the past and were providing a good rate of return, she said.

Kawamura said she had given verbal approval to the purchases and increasing the single-class of investment to more than 20 percent of the state's portfolio.

"We complied with the law when we placed these investments," Kawamura said. "The guidance (20 percent limit) we created in house and we can deviate from it."

ADV: Lingle again rebukes auditor's report on investments

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Fitch downgrades CPB rating:  FDIC could seize bank March 31

Honolulu-based CPB is operating under a consent order with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and its state regulator, which requires the bank to increase its leverage and total risk-based capital ratios to 10 percent and 12 percent, respectively, by March 31.

On Tuesday Central Pacific Financial replaced Chairman Ronald Migita with a bank turnaround specialist and said it planned to downsize the bank’s assets.

ADV fluff piece: A leaner bank is better than no bank

RELATED: After Call From Senator Inouye’s Office, Small Hawaii Bank Got U.S. Aid

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Honolulu real estate market 14% overvalued, study says

The report also noted that of the 52 markets that were considered to be "extremely overvalued" in the fourth quarter of 2005, only three — including Honolulu — have seen price declines of less than 10 percent through the end of last year. The other two were Bellingham, Wash., and Ocean City, N.J.

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Big Isle may set school fees: Creating 'impact district' would formalize builders' funding of new facilities

This is a raid on affordable housing in order to line the pockets of DoE crony contractors—just one more reason for developers to join the Akaka Tribe.

SB: 'Worst time' for school impact fee, Kenoi says

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Next Year’s DoE Calendar continues Furlough Fridays

Well of course it does.  They haven’t completely killed RTTT yet. 

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Star-Bulletin staff gets layoff notices: Sale of paper or merger with The Advertiser set for May 19, letter says

The notice comes 10 days after the Advertiser's 600 employees were told that most of them will be terminated when Black's purchase of the Advertiser is completed.

Advertiser workers will be offered temporary employment with a management company to continue to put out The Advertiser until Oahu Publications takes over the operation.

Owner David Black is offering to sell the 117-year-old Star Bulletin, its Web site and one of its presses to make way for his purchase of the larger Advertiser.

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Honolulu loses 7,900 private-sector jobs

Honolulu lost 7,900 private-sector jobs between January 2009 and January 2010, or 2.31 percent of its work force, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The metropolitan area had 334,200 private-sector jobs in January of this year.

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Proposal promotes safe areas in state parks for the homeless

State Rep. Tom Brower, a Democrat representing Waikiki, said land should be set aside where the homeless could pitch their tents for the night in a safe place.

He has introduced a resolution urging the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to contract with provider agencies to create these "homeless safe zones" with security and bathroom facilities.

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Engineers: Shoddy Construction at UH Manoa began 89 years ago

“We discovered that the columns and the structure of the building is highly compromised. We found that the columns on the ewa side that we are standing on, are half the size that were indicated on the drawings and the perimeter wall foundations are actually narrower," said David Hafner, assistant vice-chancellor of facilities.

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Hawaii Residents: Taxed to Death and After

On March 2, 2010 the Hawaii State House of Representatives passed House Bill 2866 HD1 which allows the State of Hawaii to collect the Estate Tax, or the Death Tax as it is more commonly known.

If approved, this bill will retroactively apply to the estate of any person that passed away in 2010. What this means is the state will tax at rates of up to 55% the assets of our residents life's work, and since it is being applied retroactively many of these people will never have had a chance to see it coming and prepare for it.

RELATED: VIDEO: Hawaii Senate Committee considering retroactive 55% Death Tax

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Proposed $5/barrel 'Oil Tax' Hike Bill  

Hawaii lawmakers are proposing a $5 tax hike per barrel of oil coming to Hawaii, this bill needs more review….

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General Excise Tax Increase Will Stall Any Hope of Economic Recovery

On Tuesday, two key Senate committees passed out legislation that will stall Hawai‘i's hope of near-term economic recovery.

The Committee on Economic Development & Technology (EDT) and the Committee on Commerce & Consumer Protection (CPN) replaced a tax measure intended to reduce decades-old tax breaks for certain special interests, in favor of a 25 percent hike in the state general excise tax (GET) paid by every resident and business in Hawai‘i.

The proposed tax hike is one of the largest increases in state history. Raising the state GET from 4 percent to 5 percent – a 25 percent increase – will significantly impede Hawai‘i's economic recovery because of the GET's broad reach. In a nutshell, this proposed tax increase will remove roughly $500 million from Hawai‘i's economy every year. As the saying goes, the GET taxes "anything that moves" — including rent, food, clothing, gas, non-prescription medicine and doctor visits.

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Council hearing may be packed: Deep cuts likely to draw angry crowd

County Council members expect to receive an earful Monday night in Hilo when they hold a public hearing on Mayor Billy Kenoi's $375.4 million budget request.

WHT: County money talks mostly on east side

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Ohana will get us through the coming 'year of sacrifice,' mayor tells Kauai

The $146 million operating proposal marks a 5 percent cut from the 2010 fiscal year and includes two furlough days per month for HGEA and UPW union workers as well as non-union workers and appointed personnel across all county departments, saving the county $4.3 million.

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Enviros attack Kauai Shrimp Farm

ECOS: “…when the farm was operating at full capacity from February 2000 to December 2003, the “disastrous effects” of the waste in the sea were monumental, he said.

The smell was overwhelming, the feces and dead shrimp attracted sharks, the canals were depleted, and it killed every single fish in the area, he said. In addition, the dumping affected surf spots known as Kinikinis, Major’s Bay and Family Housing.

The current can carry the waste which would allow it to “travel miles,” LaBedz said.

REALITY: “Water monitoring” which occurred while the shrimp farm was operating at full capacity prior to 2004 “indicated that the discharge from the facility did not affect the water quality of the ocean area,” nor did it impact any adjacent biological communities….

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Instant Results: Judge Ezra rules 'disparity' in Baldwin school's athletic fields violates law

(While cases languish for years in Hawaii’s so-called judiciary, a politically correct cause brings instantaneous action….)

"The facts are indisputable," the judge said.

"The boys play in a near-semiprofessional baseball stadium," Ezra said.

The girls have been "relegated to a park facility that is substantially substandard in every respect compared to the facility afforded the boys," Ezra ruled.

Duran said the softball players have to spend time picking rocks off the field before they can play.

Three girls have suffered minor injuries because of the rocky conditions at Kē'opualani, he said.

But Maui County Parks and Recreation Department Director Tamara Horcajo said in a sworn declaration that the field is in good condition and is regularly maintained.

John Kim, the father of a St. Anthony's softball player, said in another declaration that his daughter has practiced and played at Kē'opualani for three years.

"I consider this field to to be well maintained and one of the best in the state," Kim said.

"I am not aware of any injuries to softball players related to maintenance of (the field)."

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