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Wednesday, May 19, 2010
May 19, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:50 PM :: 9876 Views

Abercrombie team: Hannemann admin “intentionally violating Public Procurement Code”

Mufi site alleges Abercrombie’s chief fundraiser at center of Harris’ “pay-for-play” scandals

VIDEO: Aiona, Finnegan team up on electric vehicles, refrigerator rebates

Lingle: Revenues up, State to issue tax refunds early

Full Text: Hawaii GOP resolution calls for veto of HB444

EIS, cost concerns could derail construction plans

City transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka could not predict when the updated financial plan would be available. However, he objected to Lingle's notion that she needs the plan before signing off on the rail project.

(Read that again very slowly.)

Even if Lingle approves the project before she leaves office on Dec. 6, the environmental review process calls for a 30-day period for the public to provide comments on the project's impacts. The city then will need to respond to those comments before the federal government can provide a so-called "Record of Decision," which marks the end of the environmental review process.

The city plans to begin construction once that milestone is reached. However, opponents have made it clear that they will seek an injunction to halt the project before construction can begin. They're expected to argue that the city didn't adequately explore alternatives that were less likely to impact historical resources or that would cost less and alleviate more roadway traffic, among other things.

"We'll step in the moment the (Record of Decision) looks imminent," said Cliff Slater, a vocal opponent who advocates for a managed, elevated highway lane alternative. "It doesn't look imminent at the moment. I think it's a long way away."

The city already has set aside $250,000 to defend an anticipated lawsuit challenging whether project officials complied with environmental laws.

Just how much project delays could cost is unknown. Earlier this year the city said a delay could cost $100 million a year. However, Yoshioka would not provide an estimate on how much delays could cost.

"We're just going to have to see," Yoshioka said.

RELATED: Abercrombie team: Hannemann admin “intentionally violating Public Procurement Code”

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Honolulu rail tax revenue falling short of predicted growth

Tax collections needed to pay the city's share of a planned elevated commuter rail line are running flat year-over-year with two months to go in fiscal 2010. If they continue at their current pace, transit tax collections are headed for a third straight year of little to no growth.

RELATED: Abercrombie team: Hannemann admin “intentionally violating Public Procurement Code”

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It ain't over until it's over — twice

Djou earns the cachet of being the first Republican to represent the district in decades. Many will chortle that a Republican has won in a solid blue state and in a district where the president himself was born. With an engaging personal story (his grandfather was originally from Shanghai and had his name officially transliterated from the original Zhou to Djou when he moved to Hong Kong) and a mediagenic personality, Djou would be noticed in Washington.

But, as Djou knows only too well, this is but the first step. He faces another election this fall, when the seat left vacant by Neil Abercrombie will be up for a full two-year term. This time it will be a standard primary/general election where Djou will eventually have to square up one-to-one with a Democrat. Here the speculation gets interesting, if a bit hazy.

If Hanabusa is the Democratic nominee, some think many of Case's more moderate and independent backers will drift to Djou if for no other reason than to cast a vote against the Democratic "establishment."

If Case wins, many bitter old-line Democrats might just stay home.

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SB Hypocrisy: Voter turnout must rise

Remember this? Star-Bulletin comes out against voter registration drive

In short, you'd have to be actively avoiding any awareness of current events to live in this urban Oahu district and not know that Republican Charles Djou and Democrats Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa are the leading contenders to fill the U.S. House seat left vacant by Democrat Neil Abercrombie's resignation to run for Hawaii governor — and about how they would act on a variety of issues.

And yet, despite all this attention, less than half of all ballots had been returned as of yesterday. Hawaii's Office of Elections has received about 137,000 of the ballots it sent to the district's 317,337 registered voters, for a return rate so far of about 43 percent.

That's better than usual, no doubt, reflecting not only the ease of voting by mail, but also avid interest in this particular contest.

Only 13.3 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the last congressional special election, the 2002 District 2 race to replace the late Patsy Mink.

RELATED: Hawaii Chief Elections Officer: “Is it my job to get people to turn out and vote?”

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Shapiro: Lingle shows a card on civil unions

Revisiting last week's discussion, Gov. Linda Lingle's statement at the weekend GOP convention that the civil unions bill is same-sex marriage by a different name would seem to end speculation about whether she intends to veto HB 444.

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Parents' triple tragedy informs plea for civil unions law

Perhaps one day, our GLBT children and youth will not find it necessary to deny, hide and/or destroy the very essence of their humanity. Perhaps we can help them pursue life, liberty and happiness as well, all within the context of health and wellness.

On a personal note, we would like to share with you the fact that we had three sons, all of whom died in their 20s. Two of our sons grew up gay while the other was not. Our two gay sons died from complications due to AIDS. The other was shot to death due to a physical altercation. All three were marginalized from early on in their young lives, and feeling less than whole, engaged in high-risk behaviors that contributed to their deaths.

(This is how leftists live.  Instead of finding a better way of life, they want the rest of us to live like them.)

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DePledge: Reserved

Gov. Linda Lingle is preparing an executive order to create surfing reserves in honor of state Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings after the state House killed Hemmings’ bill to establish surfing reserves on the last day of session in April.

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HMSA lands back in black for 1st quarter

HMSA executive vice president and chief financial officer Steve Van Ribbink said that trend continued through the first quarter, but that rate increases over the past year along with much-improved investment gains this year helped it to a profit.

But at the same time, he said investment gains are proving to be volatile this year, hinting the losses could resume in coming quarters.

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Gov. Lingle's New Plan Expected To Provide Jobs Help Unemployed

HONOLULU -- Governor Linda Lingle (R) Tuesday launched a new plan expected to provide 6,450 jobs for unemployed Hawaii workers.

The plan called " Hawaii Premium Plus" reimburses employers up to $140 per month for one year to pay for health insurance for each person the employer hires.

That is about half what it costs a company to provide health insurance for a full time employee.

The goal is to provide an incentive for Hawaii employers to start hiring now instead of waiting until the economy gets better.

PBN: Lingle launches Hawaii Premium Plus program

KHON: Lingle Launches Mini-Stimulus Plan

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Student's poster draws Tea Party's ire

A Kalani High student poster critical of the Tea Party movement drew criticism after a picture of it was posted online. The poster was part of a student project illustrating an example of propaganda. 

(The assertion that the poster was intended as an example of ‘propaganda’ was not part of any of the original communications.  Sounds like a DoE cover-up.) 

Related: Kalani HS: Poster trashes TEA Party as “evil”

Related: Antonio Gramsci Reading List

Meanwhile: A 17-year-old boy is accused of attacking a fellow Kalani High School student during math class

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Hawaii school board considers closing Haleiwa Elementary

The state is likely to save some $720,000 a year in operating costs — and eliminate more than $4 million in backlogged repair and maintenance — if Hale'iwa Elementary is closed and its 180 students transferred about a mile away to Waialua Elementary.

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Is the Hawaii Government Really Helping Hawaiians?

Looking only at grants made since fiscal year 2007, we’ve found more than 680 federal, state, and OHA grants totaling more than $200 million in funding to improve the lives of Native Hawaiians. And we’re still adding more grants from 2009 and 2010.

So the obvious question becomes not, “How can we help Native Hawaiians?”, but “Are we actually doing a good job at helping them?” This is not an easy one to answer, and is part of the reason the 4 Hawaiians Only project exists. Some of the grants seem like important, even necessary awards—like providing health access for Hawaiians living in a remote and inaccessible part of Maui.

Others make you wonder whether someone’s cousin might have a bit too large an influence in the grants department….

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Lingle signs bill to draft Waianae disaster plan

Advocates say the southwest coast of Oahu could be severely impacted by natural and man-made disasters.

They note that the closure of the one main highway in the area would leave residents stranded because there are no alternate routes.

They also cite a large population of homeless people who live on the beaches, and many elderly with limited access to disaster shelters and transportation services.

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Allegiant buys six 757 jets, announces plans to enter Hawaii market

"Hawaii is the most prominent U.S. leisure destination currently unserved by Allegiant, and our small city customers have been requesting this service," Allegiant CEO Maurice Gallagher tells the Advertiser. Allegiant's business model focuses almost exclusively on connecting leisure travelers from small and medium-size markets to vacation hotspots like Las Vegas, Orlando and Phoenix….

The Las Vegas Sun says Allegiant has yet to determine which airports it might serve, both in Hawaii and from the mainland. The Sun notes "western cities currently on Allegiant's map include Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Santa Maria, Fresno, Monterey, Oakland and Stockton, Calif.; Medford, Eugene and Bend, Ore.; Bellingham and Pasco, Wash.; and Mesa, Ariz., in addition to Las Vegas."

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'Give us a break': Council urged to freeze tax rates, find another way to balance budget

HILO -- Farmers and hoteliers joined forces Monday to decry tax increases they say hit the county's two main economic drivers the hardest.

Relatively few members of the public attended the hourlong public hearing on proposed tax rates, but those who came urged the County Council to find another way to balance the budget. The council must cut $23 million from Mayor Billy Kenoi's proposed $376 million budget if it doesn't want to raise property tax rates.

Council members will try to chip away at that $23 million with budget amendments at a meeting in Hilo on Wednesday. Then they'll set tax rates at a June 7 meeting, also in Hilo.

Building permit values, tax collections up for Hawaii County

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Maui Council votes on tax hikes

The council met Monday to take public testimony on tax rates to be imposed in the next budget. No one showed up to comment on the fuel tax (from 0 for biodiesel to 16 cents per gallon for gasoline) or the vehicle weight tax (2.75 cents a pound for cars, trucks and noncommercial vehicles, 4 cents for the rest).

Four people testified on property taxes. Pat Borge objected to the difference between the rate for improved residential, $5, and commercialized residential, $4.

As a landlord, he said, he has a long-term tenant, and if the taxes are higher, he will "pass that on to my tenant."

Budget for fiscal year ’11 moves in council

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Wailua path project delayed amid Hawaiian protest

LIHU‘E — Work was supposed to have begun Tuesday to check for burials or cultural layers along Wailua Beach where a multi-use path is to be built.

Beth Tokioka, administrative aide to Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., said “equipment issues” — not a protest by a few Native Hawaiians, including (professional protester) Waldeen Palmeira — delayed the planned start.

“It’s direct desecration and destruction without the proper proceedings and procedures,” Palmeira said. “You don’t do archaeological subsurface testing on a known burial ground.”

(Meanwhile at Kawaiahao….)

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Registered Guns In Hawaii At All Time High

In 2009, 95 percent of the applications were approved, meaning a record high 33,678 firearms were registered last year, outpacing the previous year by 30 percent.

A record 66 percent of the guns registered were so-called long arms such as rifles and shotguns in which only one permit is needed for several guns. Handgun owners need a permit for each gun.

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