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Thursday, April 22, 2010
April 22, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:33 PM :: 9285 Views

VIDEO: Charles Djou on Sean Hannity show

Gay Civil Unions: No rest until April 29

Hooser, Hanabusa predict HB444 will bring gay marriage back before Courts

Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature

The Hill: Top of the ballot: The TV ad edition

Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R) takes aim squarely at his Democratic opponents and their "insider friends from Washington" in his latest spot.

"The only special interest I care about is yours," Djou says at the end of the 30-second TV ad, which went up Tuesday. It's a quick response to the two attack ads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been running against him.

The DCCC went up Tuesday with its second spot attacking Djou on jobs and his support for "cutting thousands of teachers." The 30-second ad is airing in the Honolulu media market, which covers the entire state.

Djou faces Democrats Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case in the special House election set for May 22, and things are likely to get nastier as the vote approaches.

RELATED: VIDEO: Charles Djou on Sean Hannity show, Mainland Dems’ new ad attacking Djou: “Completely False -- again”,

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Obama nominates Leslie Kobayashi to fill U.S. District Judge position

U.S. Magistrate Leslie Kobayashi has been nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.

HNN: Obama names Judge Leslie Kobayashi to US District Court

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Hawaii lawmakers may use hurricane money to end furloughs DoE spared deeper cuts

State House and Senate leaders will likely turn to the state's Hurricane Relief Fund to eliminate teacher furloughs after budget negotiators agreed last night to remove furlough money from the state budget draft.

Lawmakers said they intend to set money aside to end teacher furloughs before they adjourn session next week. But they again called on Gov. Linda Lingle, the state Board of Education and the Hawaii State Teachers Association to reach a deal to make use of the money and restore classroom instruction days.

The state has about $180 million in the Hurricane Relief Fund, but lawmakers have not decided on the exact amount to commit to furloughs….

Budget negotiators agreed to about $142 million in cuts to the department next fiscal year, roughly the same amount Lingle recommended in her budget draft last December. But both the House and Senate had proposed making deeper cuts than the governor suggested, so educators described the agreement last night as a minor miracle given the state's budget deficit.

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Honolulu Budget includes tax increases

A 3-cent increase in the tax on gasoline and a 30-cent hike in the real property tax rate for non-occupant homeowners advanced yesterday as City Council members crafted their budget with a wary eye on lawmakers in the state Legislature.

The Royal Hawaiian Band, along with Summer Fun for children, programs for seniors and even entire city offices were spared -- for now -- as Council members wait to see whether the state scoops some, or all, of the counties' share of the hotel room tax.

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Honolulu Recreation cuts part of political game with State

But critics say they don't actually believe the city will cut parks and recreation programs. They say this is just a political game the city is playing to threaten the state. BINGO!

"Because the state threatened to take away the hotel room tax from the city so the city is answering them by saying we're going to have a $20 million budget deficit so we're going to resolve that by closing parks and recreations, we're going to layoff all those workers, we'll put them on employment, let {the state} pay for that bill, and then {the state} deal with all the problems," said Craig Smallwood, a protestor.

Political or not, the fate of the Parks and Recreation Department is at the mercy of a state budget decision which is expected this Friday.

RELATED: Washington Monument gambit

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Hawaii rents, already least affordable in nation, get worse

At a time when Hawai'i families are weathering pay cuts and job losses, here's more gloomy news: The income needed to afford a modest two-bedroom rental in the Islands rose by nearly $3,000 this year to $64,396 annually — $26,000 more than the national average, a report on housing affordability shows.

The study puts Hawai'i's "housing wage," a calculation of the minimum hourly pay needed to rent a two-bedroom home, at $30.96 in 2010, up from $29.53 (or $61,428 annually) the year before.

Those figures are based on fair market rents, which in 2010 rose to $1,610 a month for a two-bedroom in the Islands, up from $1,536 a month the year before.

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Maui prison plans revived

A proposed $235 million prison to replace the overcrowded and dilapidated Maui Community Correctional Center is back on track, according to Gov. Linda Lingle.

After halting plans for the Maui prison last September, Lingle said yesterday she was ready to move ahead with new plans that called for "private financing and phasing of the project" at Puunene….

Sen. J. Kalani English (D, East Maui-Molokai-Lanai) said the announcement caught lawmakers off-guard and that the Democratic caucus asked Sen. Will Espero, chairman of the Senate Public Safety Committee, to hold hearings.

"We want to see what she is talking about," said Espero (D, Ewa-Honouliuli-Ewa Beach). "Is this someone providing outside money to the government or is she talking about a privatization plan now."  (That’s what the fuss is about—UPW jobs.)

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ADV: Don't give up fight for clean energy loans

A promising proposal to help property owners take out loans to buy clean energy systems appears all but dead for this session of the Legislature. Lobbying by the counties and bankers effectively scared off lawmakers like House Speaker Calvin Say, who echoed industry fears that aspects of the plan "may jeopardize housing."

Well, that's a bit hysterical.  (And nobody knows hysteria like environmentalists.)

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Hawaii fireworks bill left sputtering in political maneuver

A majority of House and Senate negotiators agreed to a bill that would give counties the option to ban fireworks and create a task force to study illegal fireworks. But conference committee rules require that a majority of chairmen in the conference attest to the agreement, and two of the three House chairmen involved in the talks said last night that they would not sign off.

State Rep. Joseph Souki, D-8th (Wailuku, Waihe'e, Waiehu), and state Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu, D-41st (Wai- pahu, Village Park, Waikele), are refusing to sign the agreement because they believe the state, not the counties, should regulate fireworks.

Earlier this week, lawmakers agreed on a bill to allow the seizure of any property used to store or sell illegal fireworks.

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Maui: Decision to run brings mixed views

WAILUKU - County Council Member Sol Kaho'ohalahala's announcement that he plans to run for mayor took some by surprise, while others said they had known for weeks that he was considering the move.

Several said the mayor's race will be more unpredictable with more candidates entering the contest. And the field could get even more crowded; Council Member Mike Molina confirmed this week that he is also considering a run for the county's highest elected office.

"There may be another surprise or two," he said Tuesday.

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Dopers grill police on pot

The teen sobbed at times, and repeated an allegation he made during a County Council committee hearing in January that officers harassed him and a sister during the raid, which netted 7.6 pounds of marijuana.

RELATED: Metcalfe (shot burglar in back at site of MJ grow-op) seeks public funding for appeal, Court papers reveal new details on Mililani man's beating death over dope

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Baby on board? No smoking allowed

Smoking (tobacco) is not a right, County Council Chairman J Yoshimoto reminded his colleagues Tuesday afternoon, immediately before they adopted the bill to ban smoking in motor vehicles while children are inside.  (It’d be OK if they were smoking marijuana.)

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Bill Allowing POW-MIA Flag to be Flown with U.S. and Hawaii State Flags Becomes Law

(Just don’t try it in a homeowners association.)

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Sex offender faces a $2.5M civil judgment

A 58-year-old former fugitive who is serving a 20-year prison term for molesting a 16-year-old boy in 1990 will not get additional jail time for molesting another teenager in 1993 while he was out on probation for the first sexual assault.

However, Michael A. Stephens is facing a $2.5 million civil judgment for sexually assaulting the second victim.

Circuit Judge Randal Lee sentenced Stephens to five years in prison yesterday for third- and fourth-degree sexual assault and for giving alcohol to the 18-year-old boy in the 1993 case.

Meanwhile… Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature

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