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Thursday, April 29, 2010
April 29, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:07 PM :: 9204 Views

Hawaii Legislature: Sgt at Arms called to protect visitor from Rep. Cabanilla’s child molester

Sources: Legislature to vote on Gay civil unions

John Carroll: I believe Larry Mehau supports me for Governor

Taxed Enough Already? Maui protest vs. property tax hikes April 29

Congressional debate May 3rd on Hawaii News Now

Join us in high definition Monday, May 3rd from the Neal Blaisdell Center on KGMB, KHNL and KFVE and beginning at 6:30 PM. The debate will be live streamed on HawaiiNewsNow.com.
Presented in partnership with the Honolulu Advertiser.

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“Liberty first” (This is the only coverage on the Special Election in any print publication today)

DePledge: Liberty First, a political action committee that has grown out of the conservative tea party movement, is up with a new radio advertisement praising Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou for never voting for a tax increase….  Djou, a Republican running in the May special election for Congress, is also getting outside help from the National Rifle Association.  (Focusing on small efforts by mainland conservative PACs to rile up the progressive Dem base.)

New Charles Djou Ad from Liberty First PAC: Liberty First PAC’s first pro Charles Djou ad goes live in Honolulu next Monday. It will air on KHVH and a few other stations. You can catch the audio clip here.

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Furlough solution gains passage

Hemmings (R, Lanikai-Waimanalo) placed the blame for the furloughs on unions, saying public workers got lawmakers to cave in and throw more money into an underperforming educational system that lacks accountability. He called it "extortion."

"It's nauseating to have people in the education system who are holding our kids hostage, saying, 'Give us more money, because we're doing it for the keiki,'" Hemmings said. "How disingenuous and exploitative can you get? "

In the House, Pine said she was not against ending furloughs, but against "bad government," and using the hurricane fund money for a purpose other than for what was intended.

"People want to believe us, that when they give us their hard-earned dollar, we're going to use it for what we promised them we're going to use it for," she said.

State House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan, R-32nd (Lower Pearlridge, 'Āiea, Hālawa), struggled with a vote that could have political consequences in an election year. She first said she was voting "yes" with reservations, then "no," then "yes" with reservations again.

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PBN: Hawaii lawmakers kill tech tax credits

In its original form, Act 221, which went into effect in 1999, offered a 100 percent credit against state tax liability for cash investments up to $2 million in qualified Hawaii tech companies. The return was designed to be front-loaded over five years.

The two measures passed this week followed changes made to Act 221 last year when lawmakers established an 80 percent tax credit cap. That limited investors to deducting 80 percent of their investment over five years and restricted investors without Hawaii tax liability from transferring their credits to Hawaii-based investors, typically in exchange for more equity in the tech company.

The Hawaii Department of Taxation says Act 221 credits have cost the state $657.5 million since the law went into effect. In return, about $1.2 billion was invested in high-technology businesses as a result of those credits.

The Tax Department said the credits cost the state an average of about $130 million a year in lost revenue.

ADV: Act 221 investors should get their tax break

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Doctor shortage keeps Shapiro out of Hilo

I always planned to end up back in Hilo eventually, and my work of the past 10 years could have just as easily been done from there.

I was held back mainly by a desire to stay close to my grandkids on O'ahu and also the shortage of doctors on the Big Island.

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ADV: Hawaii passes bill to curb clamor for Obama birth certificate

The language in Espero's original draft would have allowed state agencies to identify people who persistently request the same records as "vexatious requestors."

State Tax Director Kurt Kawafuchi even testified that legislators could consider fining vexatious requestors.

"Another alternative could be to have the government's attorneys fees paid by the vexatious requestor if the government is successful in litigation," Kawafuchi testified.

In the end, lawmakers trimmed the "vexatious requestor" language from the bill.

HR: Controversial 'Vexatious Requestor' Bill

HFP: Birtherism: Hawaii Legislature set to "fuel the fire"

Nancy Cook Lauer, who on behalf of the Society of Professional Journalists, Hawaii Chapter, testified in opposition to the measure, says while SPJ is sympathetic to the problems the government has experienced with the so-called “birthers” seeking public records from the administration, at the same time it is concerned about the establishment of a category of “vexatious requesters.”

“We feel this bill is too broad and creates a dangerous precedent that could stymie those exercising their constitutional right to information from their government,” she said.

She notes that “the bill lacks definitions and gives OIP and agencies license to interpret legislative intent without guidelines.”

Outlining the concerns, Lauer says: “A citizen who acts in completely good faith could be considered a vexatious requestor, and thus punished with a minimum of due process; There is no judicial or legislative recourse available. Two administrative agencies decide who is a vexatious requestor. Where are the checks and balances; The bill would not stop birthers from making requests. They can just have someone else make the same request. It’s doubtful any state agency could prove that the latest requestor was associated with the previous one.

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Have unions outlived their original purpose?

One example of a union gone wrong is the Hawaii State Teachers Association. Its willingness to let the furloughs continue, and thus preventing the critical players in the debate (the teachers and students) from working on furlough days, over what appears to be an argument that even the personnel not directly involved with teaching (i.e., administrative assistants in offices far away) must be paid to return on furlough days before an agreement can be reached, seems counterintuitive. Aren't we supposed to be looking for ways to get the kids back in school and learning, instead of ensuring that every person in the union gets their fair share of the hurricane relief money that will be used to fund the salaries?

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Consolidation of 2 newspapers scheduled to begin next week

The consolidation of Honolulu's two rival dailies is expected to begin one minute after midnight on Monday when Honolulu Star-Bulletin owner Black Press concludes its purchase of The Honolulu Advertiser from Gannett Co.

The 580 Advertiser workers who accepted at-will job offers from HA Management, the company hired by Oahu Publications to handle the transition, will continue to work from 605 Kapiolani Blvd. until the consolidation.

Star-Bulletin employees will work from their Waterfront Plaza headquarters, which also will be the Star-Advertiser's home. Once Oahu Publications determines staffing needs, job offers and layoffs will occur, Francis said. The Star-Advertiser's overall staffing will fall somewhere between the 300-person Star-Bulletin and the 600-person Advertiser, he said.

(That’s a lot of unemployed writers…free from the limitations imposed by their politically-connected editors.  What will they do?)

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Gaps found in fire inspection records

The Honolulu Fire Department hasn't caught up with the computer age, leaving it with incomplete records of the island's 600-plus residential high-rises and the violations and hazards found in them, according to the city auditor.

Despite investment in computerized database management systems since 2005, the "department cannot confirm that it has a complete and accurate inventory ... and cannot confirm that all required inspections are being completed within the statutory time frame," said the audit, released yesterday.

Auditors found "cumbersome and complicated paper-based inspection record-keeping systems" in the review, which focused on the fire inspection program between July 2005 and December 2008.

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Pit used to burn prison records

"I don't think they were trying to hide anything. ... It just seems like they were acting without thinking," Espero said.

Republican Sen. Fred Hemmings said, "The whole thing was a tempest in a hibachi."

Tommy Johnson, deputy public safety director, first ordered that pornographic magazines, pictures and videotapes be burned because they were no longer used in the treatment of sex offenders. Kulani officials burned those in an oil drum, but then someone dug a 10-by-10-foot pit and started burning documents for several days.

"I think mistakes were made," Johnson said. "It could have been handled better, but nothing was destroyed to hide anything." Johnson added that he didn't know about the pit burning until he was contacted by a reporter.

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Kaua‘i developer gives county 138 acres of oceanfront property

The transfer of the 138-acre parcel to the county was put into motion by an amendment of the Kaua‘i Lagoons zoning ordinance that was approved by the council and signed by the mayor last October. This allowed the developer to move forward with the project….

Last year, Kaua‘i Development LLC build 82 affordable rental units in Waipouli as a condition for its Kaua‘i Lagoons project.

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Councilor eyes ban on riding in truck beds

With Greenwell's help, the council has outlawed driving while using a hand-held cell phone or other mobile electronic device. Earlier this month, he supported a bill banning smoking in any vehicle occupied by someone under the age of 18.  (Related: Sergeant: Enforcing new law is 'gonna be tough')
That bill is now with Mayor Billy Kenoi, who is expected to sign it into law. 
But local lawmakers would not decide the issue of pickup truck passengers, however. That's because Greenwell has introduced a nonbinding resolution that asks the 2011 state Legislature to prohibit the activity.

The two things Greenwell wants to un-ban?  Marijuana and AlQaeda:

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