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Sunday, July 4, 2010
July 4, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:29 PM :: 9913 Views

Civil Unions could boost gay sex tourism in Hawaii

Chuck Spence fervently hopes Hawaii’s same-sex civil unions bill becomes law on Tuesday — and not just for philosophical reasons. The owner of the Maui Sunseeker, a 17-room, gay-oriented inn in Kihei, Spence expects bookings to markedly pick up if the contentious measure becomes law.

“Gay and lesbian clientele prefer to vacation in states that are sympathetic to their causes,” he said.

Massachusetts, California and other states that permit civil unions or gay marriage already have seen upticks in tourism business, said Elizabeth Churchill of Honolulu-based Aqua Hotels and Resorts, which operates 16 boutique hotels in the state and aims its marketing strategy in part at gay travelers.

“We think that it would be a real positive for (the gay) market and tourism overall,” she said.

Hawaii has had a mediocre reputation among gay and lesbian travelers since the mid-1990s because it hasn’t targeted marketing resources at them, said David Paisley at Community Marketing Inc., a gay marketing research firm in San Francisco.

“If you’re not active, and so many other destinations are active, you’re going to start slipping,” Paisley said.

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Democrat Borreca: Lingle's future rides on decision over civil unions

The downside of allowing the civil unions bill to become law is that it would show that she is disrespecting both her lieutenant governor, who asked her to veto it, and her party, which passed a resolution at its convention this year also asking for a veto.

It is a simple rule of politics that you save your first dance for the person who brought you to the party, so Lingle would hurt herself with the local GOP if she doesn't veto the civil unions bill….

KITV: Same-Sex Civil Union Bill Looms For Lingle

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Kirk Caldwell plumps for Homelessness industry: “We can’t allow irresponsible and antisocial people to take over our public spaces”

…the Lingle-Aiona administration and others attempted to blatantly politicize this issue by sending inaccurate and inflammatory statements to the media just hours before the city convened a special forum to discuss the complex issue of homelessness in our community….

Had the critics of the forum bothered to attend, they would have heard the two overriding themes that emerged: that the solution to homelessness is not more emergency shelters or transitional housing programs, but permanent affordable housing; and that we should focus more of our efforts on providing services and housing for the chronically homeless population.

THE CITY'S River Street Residences housing proposal addresses both these needs by providing long-term, affordable, supportive housing targeted to chronically homeless persons based on the Housing First model….  (Where the homeless are set loose on the city from a city-sponsored base of operations near Chinatown.)

Rather than hurling invective, our focus must be on how to improve collaborative efforts between the city, state, service providers and nonprofit agencies in addressing the complex issue of homelessness that has been worsened by these challenging economic times.

WE CAN'T allow irresponsible and antisocial people to take over our public spaces.  (Who is he talking about here????)

Fukunaga: Families evicted with nowhere to go

Defeating the "homelessness industry" before it gets a grip on Hawaii
Kapiolani Park: Homelessness industry takes Hawaii tourism hostage

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Abercrombie celebrates July 4 by announcing: “We are buried in words”

(Is this what Khrushchev had in mind bellowing “We will bury you”?)

The Declaration of Independence. It's about 1,200 words written on parchment.

We are buried in words. (This is a Gramscian operative celebrating his victory over America.  “America: We have buried you in words.”) We have a plan written in 1970 about how Hawaii could look in 2000. We have a plan written in 2008 about how Hawaii could look in 2050. In 1977, we described how Hawaii could be energy independent by 2010. In Congress, I voted for what became the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—known as the stimulus—to spark economic recovery in a way that gave states the opportunity to transform their economies for the 21st century. The actions that followed its passage were meager and dispiriting. 

Thousands and thousands of words.

We must reassert a public conscience—each of us examining that which is more important than ourselves.

One clear example staring us in the face is civil unions, an issue so easy to distort in order to scare up votes. Every generation is called upon to exercise some civic courage and this is our time—to stand up for the human rights that form the foundation of our civil society.  (More words to bury you deeper, America.)

ALSO: HB 444 is consistent with nation's founding document

BTW The last two sentences in Nancie Caraway’s book “Segregated Sisterhood” are: “Talk.  Endless talk.”

TOTALLY RELATED: Antonio Gramsci Reading List

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JACL: Remain vigilant, speak up for justice

More recently, American citizens in Arizona are forced to carry passports in order to prove their citizenship. (A lie.) Locally, same-sex couples and their families are denied access to rights provided heterosexual couples that choose to marry. (But all individuals have exactly the same right to marry a willing member of the opposite sex.)

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Recent changes to an affordable-housing project shortchange early buyers, as politically connected developers rewrite rules to suit themselves

Project officials said demand was strong but that tightening mortgage standards kept many low-income prospective buyers from qualifying for loans. So HHFDC and the City Council in December approved removing restrictions on units, including any income limit and the shared-appreciation provision for resales. The owner-occupant restriction, however, was maintained by the developer.

Then in March with sales still flagging, project broker Hawaiian Island Homes Ltd. announced that it had begun marketing Plantation Town units to investors and that the last restrictions—requiring that buyers be Hawaii residents and that they live in the units—had been lifted.

The HHFDC said the changes were necessary and appropriate because the developer had $19 million outstanding on a construction loan that had been extended once, while recovery for the local real estate market is forecast to be slight and slow.

Since March about 25 units have been sold, and another 18 are in escrow.

Peter Savio, founder and principal broker of Hawaiian Island Homes, said only two of the sales since March have been to investors based on information from mortgage documents, and that Kimura, the project's principal developer, is trying to sell as many units to owner-occupants as he can.

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Council panel OKs (STILL SECRET) agreement to upgrade city sewage facilities

The settlement goes before the full Council for approval at its next meeting July 14, at which time details are expected to be made public.

It was approved unanimously yesterday by the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee after a private meeting with city attorneys in executive session.

"It's going to be a hard pill to swallow (financially), but I think there are worse options which would not help the taxpayers or the ratepayers," said Committee Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz.

"When the terms of the agreement are outlined, I think people will feel better," he added. "There's going to be a clear direction."

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Hawaii hotel occupancy continues to climb

Statewide hotel occupancy — which came in 9 percentage points ahead of the national average of 69.7 percent for the week — was up year-over-year on all the major islands.

Oahu maintained the highest occupancy rate at 86.3 percent, up 11 percentage points from a year ago.

It was followed by Kauai with 75.9 percent, up 10.1 percentage points from a year ago. Maui recorded 75.2 percent occupancy, up 7 percentage points, and the Big Island recorded 60.5 percent occupancy, up 3 percentage points.

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Daughter of Senator Mike Gabbard runs for Honolulu City Council

Business owner Christopher Wong has also declared he's running for Tam's seat.

SA: Former state Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo announces City Council candidacyFormer legislator runs for Tam's Council seat

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Proposed charter changes affect housing and transit

Oahu voters would get to decide whether the city should create an Office of Housing under one of a handful of proposed Charter amendments advancing in the City Council.

The Council already has approved one ballot question: asking voters whether the city should create a semiautonomous Public Transit Authority to oversee all aspects of the proposed $5.5 billion rail transit project.

Under proposals still being considered by the Council, voters also would decide on creating a housing office and on enacting stricter conflict-of-interest rules on Council members. There also are various "housekeeping" measures to have the charter conform with updated state laws.

The Office of Housing would coordinate efforts at tackling homelessness and affordable housing.

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Native American lawmakers' group picks Hawaii state senator as treasurer

State Rep. Karen Awana is the new treasurer for the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators….

The group was formed in 1992 and is comprised of about 80 members from 18 states. Membership is open to all Native American, Alaska native and Native Hawaiian state legislators.

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442nd survivors tally dwindling numbers

At the age of 86 -- hard of hearing and with a bad back and knees -- Thompson is one of the younger veterans who made up the 10,000-member, all Japanese-American combat unit that returned to the islands and the mainland as one of the most highly decorated units of its size.

While the roster of the 442nd's dead continues to grow through this Fourth of July holiday, the survivors are preparing a head count of their dwindling numbers to present at the club's July 12 meeting.

Thompson said he won't be surprised if the number of his comrades still alive in the islands turns out to be 600 -- or closer to 400.

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Hawaii's Landmark Shark Fin Ban Takes Effect

Honolulu, HI, United States (AHN) - Hawaii's ban on harvesting shark fins took effect Thursday, making the state the first jurisdiction worldwide to prohibit a practice that has brought several species to the brink of extinction.

(Notice how they said “first” instead of “only”?  Once again Hawaii is being used as a launching pad for an agenda—just as it was in 1993 with gay marriage.)

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State considers limits on coastal fishing

State officials want to impose more restrictions on coastal fishing around Oahu, including a seasonal commercial ban on the popular goatfish and parrotfish from January though April.

But some fishing critics say the state is penalizing recreational fishing people and should focus on banning the sale of reef fish at the market.

"Don't penalize the guys who want to go out and fish and support our economy," boat captain Robert "Tiger" St. Romain said. "Put a moratorium on selling the fish, not on catching these fish."

Public meetings about fishing limits are taking place on Oahu in early July, as the state Board of Land and Natural Resources decides whether to hold public hearings on the proposal.

The meetings are scheduled in Kaneohe at Benjamin Parker Elementary School cafeteria on Friday, at Mililani High School cafeteria on July 13, and in Honolulu at Stevenson Middle School cafeteria on July 15. The meetings start at 6 p.m.

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Hawaii Governor Pardons 11

All of those pardoned have been arrest-free for years, the governor said.

Lingle has pardoned 88 people since taking office.

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Contractors in isle bribery case will first face charges in Chicago

The Ramins are naturalized U.S. citizens who fled Afghanistan in 1979 during the Soviet occupation.

A federal grand jury in Chicago returned an indictment in August 2008 charging the Ramins and two other military contractors in Afghanistan with bribing three American servicemen for defense contracts in 2004.

The servicemen, Air Force Master Sgt. Patrick W. Boyd, of the 496th Air Base Squadron, and Maj. Christopher P. West and Lt. Robert G. Moore, both of the Illinois Army National Guard's 33rd Area Support Group, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and bribery charges and have agreed to testify against the contractors.

The Chicago case is scheduled for trial Aug. 16.

The government lawyers who are prosecuting the case also presented evidence to the grand jury in the Hawaii case.

Kirby Behre is the lawyer for Assad Ramin and AZ Corp. in the Chicago and Hawaii cases. He said the government has known the facts about the Hawaii case for five years but chose not to seek an indictment until the eve of the Chicago case.

He said the government sought the Hawaii indictment to force the remaining defendants in Chicago to plead guilty. Behre called the Hawaii indictment overkill and an abuse of the grand jury process.

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