New version of Akaka Bill introduced in US Senate
Panos: Carlisle’s start disappointing
S&P Downgrades Hawaiian Electric to Brink of Junk, Conservation, Regulatory Lag Blamed
Christmas cancelled: Hawaii Tax collectors force shutdown of craft shows
A chaotic scene broke out last month at the Kailua Open Market when tax agents clamped down on so-called "cash economy" businesses, leading to cancellation of the 36th annual Mayor's Craft and Country Fair Saturday and prompting state tax officials to meet with vendors this afternoon at Makiki Park.
The crackdown by the state Tax Department's year-old Special Enforcement Unit comes as dozens of vendors and small businesses across the islands have begun holding holiday craft fairs in homes, parking lots and large halls. The tighter enforcement requires sellers to show proof of general excise tax licenses, keep records of sales and provide sales receipts to tax agents to comply with Hawaii law.
The city Parks Department Monday announced that the fair at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall had been called off….
Not being targeted for tax collection: drug dealers, hostess bars, gambling dens, and brothels…
Shapiro: Abercrombie needs to evaluate rail funding
Minnesota Rep. James Oberstar, the main booster for Oahu rail outside of the Hawaii delegation, lost his seat and Republicans gained control of the transportation committee he led.
Honolulu transit officials say political changes shouldn't affect funding for a project as far along as ours, but the Republicans campaigned on a promise to cut spending and many conservatives have a deep-seated aversion to rail. Newly elected Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin have said they'll stop rail projects.
Even senior Hawaii U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who remains hopeful, says "nothing is guaranteed."
Carlisle and the City Council need to address these concerns up front so there are no surprises later, and it's a discussion that Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie and the Legislature should be pressed to join.
Abercrombie says he won't hold up approval of the rail environmental impact statement for the study of rail finances ordered by Gov. Linda Lingle, arguing that financial issues are between the city and the Federal Transit Administration.
He's right that environmental impact and financial impact are separate issues, but it's not true that there's no state involvement in the financing. The governor and Legislature had to approve the current Oahu rail tax and would need to consent to any increase or extension of the tax if federal or local funding falls short.
More: Public support for O‘ahu rail is still there; is the money?
RELATED: Inouye becomes useless? House, Senate Republicans place moratorium on Earmarks, Rail funding in jeopardy as key House sponsor ousted
Hawaii ERS has only 65% of what it needs to meet pension obligations
The ERS has just 65 percent of what it needs to meet its obligation to future retirees, putting it in the bottom 20 percent of all states, according to a recent study by the Pew Center on the States. Its unfunded liability stands at $6.2 billion, the highest in the fund's history. There are currently 38,700 retirees drawing benefits from the fund, and another 15,000 active state and county workers are eligible to retire at anytime.
"That scares the bejesus out me. If you look at these trend lines we have an unsustainable situation going forward," said Marcus Oshiro, chairman of the House Finance Committee.
Other states in similar straits have launched reform efforts, with the state assembly in financially strapped California taking steps last month to cut $100 billion in pension costs over coming decades. Altogether, 19 states have passed new laws to curb pension costs this year, ranging from raising retirement ages to cutting benefits for retirees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"More states have enacted significant retirement legislation in 2010 than in any other year in history," said Ronald Snell, the NCSL's expert on public pension plans. Hawaii was not one of them. "Lots of states did act and we expect them to continue to do so," he said. "We don't know the reason for the lack of action in Hawaii."
The ERS offers three different retirement plans, one of which allows government workers to retire with full benefits at age 55 with five years of service. For the baby boom generation, the minimum age to qualify for full benefits from Social Security is between 66 and 67.
Oshiro said leaders in the state House last session made an attempt to increase the vesting period and number of years of service government workers would need before becoming eligible for pension benefits. But the bill never made it out of committee. "There was no supporting testimony from the ERS or the administration, but there was plenty of opposition from the rank-and-file union members," Oshiro said.
RELATED: PEW: Hawaii “has failed to sock away any assets” to cover pension liabilities
Abercrombie teams up with Homeless Tent City Supporters
CB: Neil Abercrombie is delivering the keynote address at the annual statewide homeless awareness conference at the Pacific Beach Hotel this morning.
Legislators (and tent city mavens) John Mizuno and Rida Cabalilla also addressed the conference, sponsored by Partners In Care as part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. In attendance: Breene Harimoto and his Honolulu City Council predecessor Gary Okino.)
RELATED: UH Mānoa Center on the Family, Department of Human Services, Release Report on Those Accessing Homeless Support Services
Gay-Atheist Oahu Democrats trying to cut off Lingle’s funding for 2012
The complaint, filed in late October, alleges that the Republican Governors Association and the gubernatorial campaign of Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona's campaign violated state campaign contribution limits by coordinating advertising.
Tony Gill, an attorney and the chairman of (the gay-atheist) Oahu Democrats, said that Aiona and the RGA have since received the complaint and that the commission could decide on the merits in December or January.
At the time of the complaint, the local GOP dismissed the charges as purely political. But Gill and party chairman Dante Carpenter told Civil Beat a ruling was needed on the matter or else the state could see the same unprecedented level of national spending in Hawaii's 2012 elections.
They are trying to make an end-run around the Supreme Court and cut off Lingle's funding sources for 2012.
Panos Prevedouros plans run for Mayor 2012
Panos Prevedouros already has said he will again seek the mayor’s job when the chance comes up again in 2012.
One thing the University of Hawaii civil engineering professor and anti-rail candidate has learned in his two previous runs for the office is that the campaign never stops.
RELATED: Panos: Carlisle’s start disappointing
Inouye says he knows more than Obama
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said today that he knows more about the needs of the people of Hawaii than does anyone in the executive branch, including President Barack Obama.
Asked by reporters whether the news that Republicans in both the House and Senate plan to embrace an earmark ban had changed his view on the topic at all, Mr. Inouye replied that “the people of Hawaii didn’t elect me to be a rubber stamp for any executive.”
RELATED: Inouye becomes useless? House, Senate Republicans place moratorium on Earmarks
CB: Will Big Island Gain a House District?
(Not likely, but it could gain 1/2 of a Senate seat, annoying politicians)
The commission's original recommendations for 2001 included a split Senate district between North Kauai and Waimanalo on Oahu and split House districts involving all four counties — a practice known as "canoeing." Such systems have been used in Hawaii before.
The commission eventually abandoned that approach even though it increased the deviation between underrepresented and overrepresented counties.
Murderer eighth to move here
Convicted murderer Justin Boulay was released from prison in Illinois yesterday, and when he arrives in Hawaii to live with the wife he married behind bars, he will join seven other people here convicted of homicide in other states.
West Oahu Parents Protest School Firings
"It's been fantastic under challenging circumstances Mr. Kila and his staff have really turned it around. With all the homeless kids and free lunch kids they have done an incredible job," said Pauline Bailey, with the Kamaile School Board.
Large union rally invades Hilton property
WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hotel workers (from the gay-oriented Abercrombie-endorsing Unite Here Local 5) unhappy about the progress of contract talks with management at the Hilton Hawaiian Village employed a new tactic Tuesday. They took their protest onto hotel property, a place that is usually a sanctuary for guests.
"Who's got the power? We got the power," hundreds of union workers and supporters chanted as they marched along Kalia Road in front of the Hilton….
After 45 minutes on the street the protest moved onto hotel property and eventually into lobbies and down to the beach-front swimming pool.
"No contract. No peace. No contract. No peace," the protesters chanted as they made their way past curious hotel guests.
(This is the substitute for not blowing out that union benefit plan convention.)
SA: Hilton workers take a stand
SA: Union workers take over Hilton lobby, then retreat to the beach
SA: Anonymity, not 'haole,' is issue
A five-judge federal appeals court panel's ruling against the anonymity of non-Hawaiian students seeking admission to Kamehameha Schools is sound, although dissents have stirred misguided accusations of race-related bullying of students in Hawaii public schools. While state schools have been admonished by the U.S. Department of Education for failing to respond to harassment, that has nothing to do with the Kamehameha case.
(They are concerned because they are busily trying to tie school bullying to the gay agenda, and this doesn’t fit in.)
RELATED: The transsexual agenda for Hawaii schools
RCFP: Anonymity of plaintiffs rejected in school admissions case
Feds: Put rare Hawaii dolphin on endangered list
Only about 150 or 170 of the dolphins, known as false killer whales, live in waters up to 87 miles off Hawaii's coasts. A study published by the National Marine Fisheries Service in August said the small population is at high risk of suffering from inbreeding. It's also at risk of being inadvertently snagged by fishing lines. (Meanwhile other enviros are attacking fish farming operations.)
The agency plans to post its recommendation in the Federal Register on Wednesday.
A few hundred live in waters farther from Hawaii's shores, but this pelagic population is separate from the group that lives closer in. (This is a lie necessary to justify the finding.)
Earlier this year a federal advisory group recommended that longline fishermen catching ahi, mahimahi and other fish use a different kind of hook to minimize the chances they will severe injure or kill the dolphins when they accidentally get snagged on their lines.
The government formed the advisory group in response to data showing the Hawaii-based longline fleet is accidentally killing or seriously injuring an average of 7.4 false killer whales each year.
This exceeds the 2.5 per year that the population can lose without hurting its ability to sustain itself. (Because the smaller population has ben artificially separated from the larger.)
PRECISELY AS PREDICTED: Humpbacks recover, but Hawaii still losing sovereignty over State waters
RELATED: With federal law at stake, Paid activists attack Hawaii fish farmers
Illicit fireworks will draw more state scrutiny
Sen. Will Espero, co-chairman of the Illegal Fireworks Task Force, said one of the recommendations he's considering is transferring inspection of domestic cargo at Hawaii's harbors to the state Department of Transportation's Harbors Division.
Currently, the state Department of Agriculture is the only government agency authorized to routinely inspect domestic shipping containers, and only those containers labeled as containing agricultural products.
Experts estimate perhaps 5 percent of all domestic containers arriving on Oahu shores are inspected. The experts said they suspect domestic containers bring most illegal fireworks into the islands.
The experts cautioned that whichever agency conducts searches of shipping containers, they are limited by the 4th Amendment, which protects against illegal searches and seizures.
Espero, who is chairman of the Senate Public Safety Committee, said he also wants to see if federal, and possibly even state funding could be available to help police departments and other local agencies combat illegal fireworks.
(Maybe we could take them off of drug enforcement so liberal snobs can get their beauty sleep on Jan 1 and July 4.)
Maker of Four Loko drink to remove product from stores
The drink has been banned in four states.
The beverage could be a factor in several sex assault cases here in Hawaii.
Lawmakers are hoping to stop caffeinated alcoholic beverages from being abused.
Website will accept applications to supply renewable energy to HECO
The website will start accepting applications for Oahu projects at noon Wednesday. Applications for projects on the Big Island and Maui will be accepted beginning Nov. 24.
LINK: Selling Power to Hawaiian Electric
TOTALLY RELATED: S&P Downgrades Hawaiian Electric to Brink of Junk, Conservation, Regulatory Lag Blamed
Kona Residents gaining water option through improvement district
A West Hawaii subdivision is a step closer to getting county water, after a County Council committee gave its approval to a county department manager's plan to create a water improvement district there.
Residents of Kona Ocean View subdivision, six miles north of Kailua-Kona, on Puukala Loop Road, have been working for decades to get county water in the subdivision, residents testified Tuesday morning during the hearing at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa.
An improvement district lets the county finance construction and allows residents to pay that back through a fee included in their property taxes….
Drug treatment facility gaining support on Kaua‘i
LIHU‘E — An estimated 100 residents turned out Monday night at the War Memorial Convention Hall to learn more about drug and alcohol addiction, residential and outpatient treatment centers for substance abusers, clean and sober homes, and therapeutic living options on Kaua‘i.
Yes, but will OHA block it AGAIN? OHA driving Hawaiians out of Hawaii
Attention Hawaii Democrats: Potential Legislative Office managers available
- Registered sex offender charged with sexually assaulting 12-year-old boy
- Hawaii Man Charged With Soliciting Sex From Boy On Web
- US Marshals capture convicted sex offender
- Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature
The Hawaii Environmental Movement: A Brief History by Henry Curtis
The first conservation movement in Hawai`i was The Outdoor Circle, founded in 1911 by wives of prominent people. Its first big claim to fame was the undergrounding requirement for electric distribution lines in urban Honolulu in the 1920s. The Outdoor Circle transformed itself into an environmental movement in the 1990s under the direction of its CEO Mary Steiner.
The next environmental organization on the scene was the Hawai`i Audubon Society (HAS) in 1928, followed by the Conservation Council for Hawai`i (CCH) in 1953-54. The National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) sought to establish itself here, but found it difficult, and since the same type of people became members of both CCH and NWF, CCH became the Hawai`i affiliate of the NWF.
Save Our Surf (SOS) was the first grassroots destabilizing force in Hawai`i. It was founded between 1961 and 1964 by the late John Kelly, Jr. SOS was a grassroots group which protected the coastline from massive developments.
The Sierra Club established a Hawai`i branch in 1968. At that time, affiliates outside of the headquarters in California were small and tended to focus on hiking.
Life of the Land burst onto the scene in 1970. …