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Friday, December 3, 2010
December 3, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:24 PM :: 4818 Views

Rail plan is $1.7B short, EIS still incomplete

BoE sneaks off to Lanai, reelects Toguchi Chair, Yee Vice Chair

Djou censures Rangel, Hirono demurs

Djou, Hirono back Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

House Democrats, Ron Paul, Vote To Saddle Small Businesses With A Job-Killing Tax Hike

1,000 Solar Panels to be Installed at Kalanimoku State Building

A new spotlight on rail funding

If the study is even partly right, it would mean the $5.5 billion project would need additional local taxes beyond the half-cent excise tax for transit already being paid by Oahuans. There are also concerns about federal support for its $1.5 billion share holding steady after the dramatic Republican gains in Congress.

Mayor Peter Carlisle has said construction could start as early as March if the state approves the project’s environmental impact statement soon, and Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie has indicated he’ll approve it without regard for the financial issues.

The new financial analysis isn’t necessarily a show-stopper; Carlisle, Abercrombie and the City Council deserve a chance to review the numbers and weigh their credibility.

But they owe it to O‘ahu taxpayers to put politics aside and make an honest assessment.

RELATED:  Rail plan is $1.7B short, EIS still incomplete

SA: Report: Rail costs underestimated by $1.7 billion

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SA: Failure to extend middle class tax cut will be “dire”

The fervent hope is that businesses will survive, even grow, in the months ahead. If this lame-duck session of Congress extends the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle- and lower-classes -- as it should and is widely expected to do -- the U.S. economy's upward trend can continue. Failure to do so by year's end would be dire.

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Rep. Calvin Say is one vote shy of returning as House speaker

Say, a Democrat, gained the backing of freshman Rep. Linda Ichiyama, boosting his number of committed supporters to 25, spokeswoman Georgette Deemer said Thursday. He needs a majority of the House's 51 members to retain his leadership position….

"When somebody has been speaker for 12 years, the conversation gets tighter and tighter around the group that has become his confidants," said (an ungrateful) Rep. Denny Coffman, D-Keauhou-Honokohau (who was boosted into office in 2008 by Calvin Say’s PAC mailers). "It naturally happens, and that's why it's time for a change."

Rep. Chris Lee, D-Lanikai-Waimanalo, said he wants a leader who can work with all the House's members while coordinating policy between the Democrat-run Senate and Democratic Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie. Democrats control all but one seat in the 25-member Senate. (In other words raise taxes and enact gay civil unions.)

Say's opponents include labor union-backed representatives who blame him for last session's hearings on reductions in public employee benefits while refusing to consider raising general excise taxes to help balance the state's budget.

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Unions to demand more secrecy

the public worker unions are expected to ask for new laws to shut off access to state and county employee salary information. That request comes after a new online news service made public the names and salaries of all state and county workers.

At the same time, more government information is found in electronic records and database queries. The law needs to be changed to make access to those government databases more accessible.

Gov.-elect Abercrombie should start thinking now of ways to more perfectly open government. Legacies should be about bold openings, not retreats.

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Senators grovel before Young Bros monopoly, will sabotage Pasha in 2 yrs

In the question-and-answer session that followed testimony, only Caliboso was questioned by the panel, which included Sens. Baker (Maui), Russell Kokubun and Dwight Takamine (Big Island), and Brian Taniguchi, Sam Slom, Clarence Nishihara and Brickwood Galuteria from Oahu.

Caliboso testified that the PUC found no evidence that Pasha's proposed service would harm other existing carriers, including Young Brothers.

"It's merely an interim decision, it's not final," Caliboso said. "Pasha will be required to submit quarterly and annual financial reports and a summary of its first two years of operation. Rather than basing a decision on theoretical assumptions that may not be reasonable, we believe a better approach is to allow Pasha to operate on an interim basis, which will allow the commission to make a final decision based on actual data. If this causes undue harm to Young Brothers or to the public, the PUC can step in and revoke Pasha’s authorization."

SA: Firms contest plan to open up shipping

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Honolulu Police Introduce Online Crime Map


New Pearl Harbor Visitor Center Opening

The 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is days away, and for this year's commemoration, the second phase of the new $56 million Pearl Harbor Visitor Center will be open to the public.

The new visitor center sits on more than 17 acres with an open setting, which should decrease the lines for visitors.

HNN: Construction completed on the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center

SA: Pearl survivors group fights age and paperwork

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State OKs Maui Solar Telescope, Hawaiian Opponents claim to Feel Burned in preparation for lawsuit

The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources on Wednesday approved a Conservation District Use Permit for the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope. The permit is a critical, if not final, step in the decades-long discussion to build such a device. Opponents could still appeal the decision.

WHT: In Hilo, feelings mixed on 30-meter telescope Public meeting on the TMT today at NELHA

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EPA honors Hawaii geology professor Fletcher

HONOLULU (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency is honoring University of Hawaii Geology Professor Chip Fletcher for his work on climate change science.

The EPA said Thursday it was giving its Environmental Award in Hawaii to Fletcher this year.

(This is probably because most geologists are too honest to participate in the global warming scam.)

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Without tax credits, Condominiums slow to join Hawaii’s move to solar

Several solar companies say they have sold few systems to condo owners, who have found the systems to be not financially viable.

“We get one or two calls a week from condominium boards about PV,” said Chris DeBone, co-owner of Waipahu-based Hawaii Energy Connection. “They think that it makes more sense to go solar. But what we found out is that most condos are not eligible for tax credits, making it prohibitively expensive.”

Federal and state tax credits can reduce the cost of a system by 65 percent. But individual condo units do not qualify for the federal tax incentives. Condo boards can decide to put solar systems in the common areas, but such space is generally minimal. And, because most boards are nonprofits, they also cannot qualify for state or federal tax credits.

(Solar does not work without burning your federal tax dollars.)

“We’re not pushing [condo owners] too much because we haven’t found what would be a good deal for them,” said Todd Georgopapadakos, a partner at Distributed Energy Partners in Honolulu.

However, he noted that the recently passed feed-in tariff allows condo owners to sell excess energy back to the utility company at a fixed price for 20 years, and could be a promising option.

(Solar does not work without burning rate-payer dollars.)

But, with marked increases in sales of solar systems, some companies said they have been so busy that they just haven’t given the condo market much thought.

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Abercrombie’s visit to Obama in DC dominated by discussion of Obamacare repeal

South Carolina's Republican governor-elect, Nikki Haley, challenged Obama over health care in a "candid, personal exchange" in front of the other governors, The State newspaper reported. Haley asked Obama to repeal the legislation, a request he flatly rejected. The president, however, did offer the possibility that states could opt out of some of the law's requirements, given certain conditions….

Four other new governors -- Democrats Dan Malloy of Connecticut, Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii and Peter Shumlin of Vermont and independent Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island -- later reiterated to reporters that health care was a key focus of the state leaders' discussion with Obama. Even some Democrats, such as Oregon Governor-elect John Kitzhaber, have sought more flexibility from the administration under the new law.

(And to think, some people actually believed that Obama has a special relationship with Abercrombie and that relationship would make all the difference for Hawaii.  How sad this hard cold blast of reality must be for them.  No wonder we have 8,000 medicated marijuana patients in Hawaii.)

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Visa rules hold back US tourism: Hawaiian Airlines

WASHINGTON — The head of growing Hawaiian Airlines says that easier US visas would spur lucrative tourism from China, pointing to strong growth after the United States relaxed rules for South Korean visitors.

The Honolulu-based carrier last month launched flights to Tokyo's Haneda airport and begins service in January to Seoul's Incheon airport. But it has no immediate plans to enter fast-growing China.

"It is burdensome to get a tourist visa if you are a Chinese citizen and this is an impediment to Chinese tourists visiting," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines' president and CEO.

Here’s a phrase which does NOT appear in this article: “But Governor-elect Abercrombie met with his life-long friend Barack Obama and together they pledged to work on a solution.”

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KITV: Abercrombie said it was a "very happy meeting."

He also said the meeting helped establish important lines of communication between Washington and Hawaii.

"A lot of the issues that were raised were dealt with tremendous depth of knowledge and perspective by the various Cabinet members, and I think we were all very, very happy about it. And, I'm really grateful to return to Washington and to realize yet once again why I am living in Hawaii," Abercrombie said.  (In other words, “I flew out there and all I got was a photo-op.”)

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Illegal alien activist meets with illegals in Kona, Honolulu

HONOLULU, Hawaii - Lorena Melgarejo was born and raised in Asunción, Paraguay. She is now the Southwest Regional Organizer for the Center for Community Change in San Francisco. She gave "Know Your Rights" workshops recently for immigrant communities in Honolulu and Kona to teach attendees the rights they have when dealing with law enforcement officers.

REALITY: Illegal aliens get past TSA, jet off to Hawaii with forged ID

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Shake-down artists meet on ahi aquaculture farm Kapa’au

Speakers include, Michael Kumukauoha Lee, a cultural practitioner with roots in Kohala; Rob Parsons who serves as a Hawaii liaison with Food & Water Watch, a Washington D.C.-based consumer advocacy organization, and Eden Marie Peart, the founding member of (misnamed) Hawaii Farmers Union (who is busily attacking food production).

REALITY: With federal law at stake, Paid activists attack Hawaii fish farmers

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