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Friday, December 31, 2010
December 31, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:21 PM :: 7223 Views

Hartford Courant: Who’s Abercrombie kidding?

HuffPo: Abercrombie on a fool’s errand

Rep Djou announces US Service Academy Nominations

FreedomWorks: 2010 Year in Review

Newest KSBE Trustee: Lawyer for Al Hee’s Sandwich Isles scam

A state probate judge approved the appointment earlier this month of Janeen-Ann Olds to the board of trustees of the $7.8 billion trust. The appointment, effective Feb. 1, is for five years. Olds will replace trustee Nainoa Thompson, whose term ends Jan. 31….

Since 2008 she has been general counsel for telecommunications company Waimana Enterprises.  (Parent Company of Sandwich Isles Communications)

REALITY: Sandwich Isles Communications: Political Connections Pay Off

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Star-Advertiser’s #1 Man for 2010: Blake Oshiro, of course

Oshiro, who is gay, defeated Okino with 53 percent of the vote in the primary and went on to win re-election over Republican Sam Kong. Okino ultimately was banned from the Democratic Party for five years for supporting Republicans whose views were more aligned with his own.

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9-11 Trooother TV Crew Covering President Claims Mistreatment

Sherri Kane, who describes herself as an investigative journalist, looked into the camera and said, “Behind us we have the Secret Service following us now so this is kind of exciting.”

Exciting turned to scary after they pulled into a gas station. On their video, a police officer approached the car and said, “Stay in the car. Put that camera off of me.”

Producer Sativa Jones can be heard saying “OK.”

The women said police vehicles and up to five officers surrounded the car, demanded IDs and registration without explanation. Then without warning an officer reached into the car and grabbed Jones’ camera.

We Are Change Hawaii website:

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KITV: Under-Funded State Pension Issue Looming

“If we don’t get a handle on it, we are not going to have less money for the retirees, we are going to have no money. If we continue to pay out the amounts we are paying out, we are going to go belly up,” said Mayor Carlisle.

The state Employees Retirement System said that between June and December 2010, 427 workers decided to retire. A good portion of that number includes teachers and principals in the Department of Education.

The DOE said this past year a total of 461 educators and administrators turned in their papers.

House Speaker Calvin Say said two years ago he proposed to begin putting money aside to address the under-funding issue. Say said the bill died in committee.

Say is waiting for recommendations from the Employees Retirement System as to how the state can tackle the problem. Among the options to rein-in costs is to limit the benefits for new government employees.

MORE: 2011 Legislative Agenda: ERS benefits to be slashed, “all eligible members to retire”

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Carlisle: City in Better Financial Shape Than Expected

Carlisle is also going back on a previous estimate of a $100 million shortfall. It comes two weeks after former Mayor Mufi Hannemann challenged that figure.

"No, it does not (seem right) anymore," Carlisle said. "It's less than that."

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Neglect leads to junky parks, state reports says

After two decades of neglect there's a backlog of more than $240 million in repairs.

Bathrooms with missing doors, benches with missing boards and piers with so many missing pieces the walkway is in the water.  Those are a few of the problems DLNR would like to fix at some of Hawaii's 67 state parks, 45 small boat harbors, ramps and piers and 600 miles of trails.

(More warmup exercises for 2011-2012 budget)

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Marketing Hawaii tourism done in secret executive sessions

The Hawai'i Tourism Authority (HTA) is in the process of developing Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for its marketing contracts for 2012 and beyond. If HTA develops these contracts as they have in the past, the terms for the scope of services - and the budget allocations by Major Market Area (MMA) - will be included in the RFP and set for the term of the contract. That is the reason that HTA and its contractors are unable to respond to changing conditions or to pursue new markets.

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Child molesters thrilled as Hawaii Legislature begins hiring

The leadership stalemate in the House has caused some delays in planning for the new session in January, but House Speaker Calvin Say has given the go-ahead for representatives to hire session staff.

In a Dec. 21 memo, Say said that each lawmaker will get $4,800 a month for salaries for session staff at this time. The maximum salary for any one session employee is $3,200 a month.

RELATED: Hawaii Legislators’ favorite child molester claims he is the victim

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PBN Looks forward to 2011

Hawaii’s economy starting to look better
Retailers optimistic tourism will spur stronger sales in '11
Air-seat count to return to nearly 2007 levels in 2011
More competition for military contracts
Home sales, prices could favor sellers
Business groups concerned about potential tax hikes
Hawaii banks foresee better credit
APEC to help Hawaii business travel
Tech faces first year without crucial Act 221 tax credits
More commercial sales for 2011 as frozen capital thaws
Senior services should lead health care growth
Oahu’s rail project will dominate transportation landscape
Clean-energy sector looks for second record year in '11

More plans, few starts for construction projects

Housing authority shuts down Waimanalo residents’ greywater system, calls it “pollution”

But when rich people use their washing machines to water the grass, they receive grants and are lauded by the eco-faddists….

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Some low-income families living with no electricity, HECO proposes assistance

Hawaiian Electric Company says it tries to help low-income customers by referring them to social service agencies like Helping Hands Hawaii. HECO is also awaiting approval from the state Public Utilities Commission to offer a new program called "Lifeline Rates" to qualifying customers.

"It would provide a credit on their monthly electric bills ranging from $25 to $35," Pai said. "It's going to help folks out, but it's also designed to make sure that they still have an incentive to use energy as efficiently as possible because their bills will still be based on how much electricity they use."

HECO's been waiting awhile for the PUC to sign off on the program. The application was filed in April 2009.

If approved, "Lifeline Rates" would be open to those enrolled in one of three government programs -- the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income.

(It might even make up for the extra costs of subsidizing billionaires’ “green” energy projects.)

SA: HECO rate increase gets final OK

SA: HECO working to modernize its infrastructure

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Lawsuit: Hawaii’s Wonderful In-State Prison System holding prisoners beyond their sentences

On Wednesday State Auditor Marion Higa released a report on the Department of Public safety that showed over detention could be systemic.

According to the audit, 280 out of 985 release date errors were found at the Halawa Correctional Facility while reviewing the August 9, 2010 inmate roster report.

“One of the easiest things to check is whether the release date is correct,” said Higa. “Well we found in almost 30 percent of the cases the release date is already passed.”

“The audit shows that we are likely wasting large sums of money,” Gluck told Khon2. “The ACLU for years has been talking about the need for greater oversight, transparency and accountability and the audit shows exactly that.”

Meanwhile the state may be forced to payout even more money to inmates who were held in prison longer than what their sentences required.

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed in August of last year is awaiting a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on whether the case can go to trial. Civil Rights attorney Jack Schweigert represents six of the nine plaintiffs.

“Once I went to court on these guys they were released instantly,” said Schweigert, who believes DPS is acting with indifference to inmates’ constitutional rights.

Schweigert says much of the problem arises from DPS calculating inmate sentences consecutively rather than concurrently. (UPW make-work program?)

(So obviously what we must do is build more State-run prisons since this one is doing such a fine job.)

SA: Audit criticizes prison contractor bid process

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New Yorker Brady thinks Buffalonian Abercrombie brings new day to Hawaii

Kat Brady has been involved in community issues since arriving at the North Shore from her New York City roots 25 years ago.

She became active in the Sierra Club and engaged in teaching women with children on welfare who inhabited a homeless village in Haleiwa in the late 1980s. She says all 10 of her students soon obtained their general equivalency diplomas, and Brady then helped them get jobs.

While engaging in environmental activism in the mid-1990s as assistant executive director of the Life of the Land organization….

Q: Are you optimistic about the possibility of bringing all inmates from the mainland to the islands?

A: I really do believe that it's a new day in Hawaii. It feels different here. There's something in the air that's different. For the first time I think there really is hope, because for eight years I've been really banging my head against the wall. But I think his being a former probation officer (Gov. Neil Abercrombie), he has some understanding of the system. It's not saying that the governor and I agree on everything. We don't. But I think he's bright. I think he understands data is really important for creating good social policy.

RELATED: Theme of Prison Audit lifted from Kat Brady commentary

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Hawaii Homeless man arrested, extradited to Arizona

Authorities say Hawaii-based marshals were notified by their counterparts in Arizona that Williams had fled to the islands with his one-year-old son without the permission of the boy's biological mother.

A court had already awarded full custody to the mother.

Authorities say that when arrested at a bus stop, Williams was homeless and with his son.

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New Contractor takes over BI Head Start

An Oahu-based nonprofit has taken over the Big Island's Head Start program, which may lead to an expansion of services in the years ahead.
Parents and Children Together, or PACT, was awarded a $2.8 million, three-year contract from the federal Office of Head Start to oversee the Big Island's program

For the past year, the Big Island's Head Start program was overseen by Community Development Institute, or CDI. Prior to that it was under the Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council.

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Yamada & Sons has lease on land key to Hilo garbage plan

Despite a plan that says expanding the Hilo landfill is the only alternative to trucking East Hawaii garbage to West Hawaii, the county is giving up a quarry officials admit could be needed in its expansion plans.
The Windward Planning Commission is scheduled Jan. 6 to consider a special permit for Hilo-based Yamada & Sons Inc. to establish a quarry southeast of the existing landfill on 14.99 of 2,500 acres of state land. Seeking 14.99 acres means the application won't go before the state Land Use Commission, as 15 acres is the cutoff for state review.

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UK Daily Mail: Obama given a  20-MAN motorcade to visit childhood friend in Hawaii (no wonder his Christmas holiday is costing the country $1.5m)

President Obama provoked fresh outrage today after taking a 20-man motorcade to visit a childhood friend during his lavish Christmas holiday in Hawaii.

The 10-vehicle convoy drove the president and wife Michelle from his rental property in Kailua, across highways cleared of traffic and through a military community to reach Bobby Titcomb's beachfront house.

Mr Obama, who spent eight years at Punahou School in Hawaii before graduating in 1979, has splashed out $1.5m on his trip – a decision that will not endear him to the millions of Americans facing economic hardship in the New Year.

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