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Friday, February 25, 2011
February 25, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:42 PM :: 10098 Views

Full Text: Carlisle’s State of the City Speech

Census Bureau releases Hawaii 2010 Redistricting, Census Data, custom maps

FT: Complacent Honolulu out of its league, not ready for APEC

Hawaii’s future: LA Marijuana dispensaries outnumber Starbucks, McDonalds

Dans cling to power as upheaval convulses Senate

Senate Leaders Support 'Borrowing' From Transit Fund

The state Senate Ways and Means Committee approved and sent to the full Senate a plan to "borrow" city rail transit money, with the promise to pay back far more by selling state bonds.

Senate leaders said they consider the plan a painless, short-term way to ease the state budget crisis without a general tax increase and without some of the more painfull taxes and benefit cuts put forward by the governor.

The city opposes the plan

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How Can DoH create grounds for Civil Unions Litigation?

Before Jan 1, 2012 "We need to look at the rules within the department of health. We need to create an application form. We need to create the certificate itself,” said Loretta Fuddy, interim director of the Department of Health.

This will happen all within a department that already has a lot on its plate between marriage, birth and death certificates served by fewer staff and fewer work days because of furloughs.

"We're very far behind, it's anywhere between a four to 6 month wait to get your actual certificate at this point. We’re doing better with our birth certificates, but still that may take a 2 to 3 month wait as well,” said Fuddy.

The department processes about 24,000 marriage licenses a year, more than half for tourists. The department expects a lot of civil unions demand.

"We think that we will have several thousand we would think,” said Fuddy. "We have requested for a few new positions to assist us with this task. in addition to that we need to recruit for agents."

Sheri Luning is one of the 18 independent marriage license agents already registered with the state. "It's a happy job, and I love what I do,” she said.

She processes up to 20 couples a day, even on nights and weekends and at her home.

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Civil Beat Claims Gov Not Taxing Pensions of Retirees With $37,500 Income

House Republican Caucus later put out a press release that said she had not mischaracterized the governor's plan: "While Marumoto’s comment drew animosity from the governor who claimed she was incorrect, reports later cited confirmation from the Director of Budget and Finance that the tax will affect those with an adjusted gross income above $37,500."

So was the governor's rebuttal accurate?  Short answer: Yes.

Both the Abercrombie administration's bill and a similar Senate bill dealing with taxing pension income would consider all sources of retirees' income when deciding whose pension is taxable.

The governor's bill, House Bill 1092, proposes using a retiree's so-called "federal adjusted gross income."

HB 1092 initially proposed taxing the pension of a single person whose total income was above $37,500. Lawmakers later amended the bill to include higher income thresholds….

(Kalbert Young says $37,500 is Abercrombie’s plan.  But Civil Beat says that because Legislators have rejected Abercrombie’s plan and imposed their own, $37,500 is not Abercrombie’s plan?  Somebody has been getting into the medicated marijuana….)  

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Birthers finally figure out how to fit Palafox dismissal into Conspiracy Theory

Thanks a lot, Neil Abercrombie.

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State Legislature on five-day recess from floor sessions

It also marks the beginning of long days for House and Senate money committees, which don't get time off.

Legislation being considered today deals with decriminalizing marijuana, eliminating Medicare Part B reimbursements for government retirees, placing a cap on itemized deductions claimed on state income tax returns, taxing Internet sales and raising vehicle registration fees.

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WHERE’S THE TRANSPARENCY?

From www.GOPHawaii.com It has been almost one month since Governor Abercrombie’s pick to head the State Health Department, Dr. Neil Palafox withdrew his nomination.  At the time there was speculation that he was under investigation for medical reimbursement fraud, then there was talk that he was forced out because of his decision to lay off two department employees.  A month later we still don’t have any clear answers and why after two months, we still have no director for such an important department?  Seems like there should be a simple resolution to this, either there was good reason for Dr. Palafox to withdraw or there wasn’t.  If Dr. Palafox did not do anything wrong, he deserves to have his name cleared and the Governor should come clean with the real reason why he asked him to withdraw.  After reading statements like this, “There must be transparency in government so people know that their economic interests are being represented, not just the interests of a powerful few” in the Governor’s,A New Day in Hawaii” campaign brochure and watching his actions, it’s hard not to go hmmmmm… *Answers sought on Palafox issue

Clayton Hee’s wife given $141K job at UH

Waters will be the university’s “media spokesperson, enhancing communications with internal and external stakeholders, and collaborating with the UH Foundation and other university constituencies on messaging and communications,” said UH public information officer Kristen Bonilla.  (“Sinecure” or “base of operations”?)

RELATED: Greenwood Mafia grabs two power positions in UH system

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BOE Recommends Liliuokalani Elementary Closure to save $575K

Here’s a better idea: Just fire four of Clayton Hee’s wives.

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Carlisle Uses State of City Address to Outline Financial Woes, Hopes

Carlisle said the city is looking at increasing charges for a number of services that aren’t fully paid for through user fees with the exception of The Bus.

For example, he noted that golfers over age 60 pay a weekday rate of $4.50 for a round of golf, with taxpayers subsidizing the rest of the costs.

Among other plans, the city is developing plans to divest itself of functions beyond its core services, including the offering of 12 affordable housing properties to qualified firms that would continue to operate them low-cost housing. Such a move would allow the city to retire a number of financial obligations, Carlisle said.

The city is also looking at selling off remnant parcels it owns along with other non-productive pieces of real estate that cost money and manpower to maintain.

PBN: Honolulu mayor paints bleak picture of city's finances

HNN: Carlisle speech calls for higher user fees, lower employee benefits

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Lights! Camera! Tax Credits! (Why Hawaii Needs To Give Rich People Money In A Bad Economy)

I know. The economy sucks. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie just unveiled his state budget, which is a combination of raising taxes on everything from ice cubes to coconuts, and cutting programs like the “Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of Three-legged Geckos and Other Curious Island Creatures.”

So it would seem counter-intuitive or at least mildly insane to consider giving away state money to rich people in the form of investment tax credits. And for a free-market guy like me, I feel mildly insane for supporting such a scheme.

I’m talking about a proposal bouncing around in the state legislature to increase tax credits for film production in Hawaii – a proposal that has received world-wide attention because it is being heavily lobbied by celebrities like Bill Clinton, Dan Aykroyd and Cuba Gooding Jr. Why would these guys be interested in some tax legislation in little ol’ Hawaii?

The reason is they are connected with the film and TV industry…

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Is Abercrombie a closet fan of Scott Walker?

It’s not only Republican governors who are cheering for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ohio’s Governor John Kasich as they work to rein-in public employees’ union in those state.  Democrats, including Hawai‘i’s own Neil Abercrombie, holding the top jobs in other statehouses may be closet fans – because they face the same problems Walker and Kasich are bravely trying to solve as they seek to balance their budgets.

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Former state building is entryway into black hole

Abandoning the building was one of the last acts of the Cayetano administration as the state workers moved over to the nicer and more spacious King Kalakaua Building, formerly known as the old federal building.

Russ Saito, Lingle's competent and hard-working comptroller, looked at Kamamalu and saw nothing but possibility. He talked the Legislature into spending $12.6 million to fix it up, get rid of the asbestos, fix the plumbing, get the elevators up to code and start moving state workers into it. First a $1,276,000 study was needed.

You just know how badly these good intentions are going to turn out.

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Hawaii island fire official to serve 90-day term in pedestrian's death

A 44-year-old Pahala fire captain who struck and killed a 22-year-old man in 2005 and left the crash will serve 90 days in jail on weekends and so far has kept his county job….

Dale Tim Sing was walking along the side of a road in Panaewa at about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 4, 2005, when Mossman struck him from behind with his Ford F-250 pickup truck.

Mossman called police the next morning, saying his wife, Huihui Lavon Kanahele-Mossman, had been driving and hit something.

Police found Tim Sing's body on the side of the road.

The county fire chief was unavailable to say whether the department will take action against Mossman, who was promoted to captain four years after the accident.

(Trying to get 20 years in and be vested with top three as Cap’t?  --with the help of his friends in County Gov’t & a Judge….)

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Trial underway for HPD officer accused of sexually assaulting prostitute

The defense acknowledges that Tarmoun took the woman to his apartment, but says he kicked her out when he realized she was a prostitute.

But the woman testified that they discussed how much her sexual services would cost after she got into his Nissan Sentra. She says the service he wanted would cost him $500.

"He said that money was no problem," she told jurors.

When they got to his apartment building, she says she saw a police uniform, a badge, a bullet-proof vest and a "walkie-talkie" in the trunk of his car.

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Galen Fox Part 2

Former House Minority Leader Galen Fox admits he committed a sex crime aboard a fateful flight on December 18, 2004, when he groped the woman beside him.

Fox says he has turned his life around. But that turning point came after he was arrested by the FBI, found guilty of a Class 2 Misdemeanor in a Los Angeles court, left the legislature, served his 90-day home detention sentence, went through extensive therapy and registered as a sex offender….

Besides volunteer work, Fox started writing a blog – http://capitalismdemocracypeace.blogspot.com – dedicated to national and international news coverage….

Fox’s probation ended two years ago and he said he “feels blessed.” He does not intend to return to politics.

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National Park Service to hold Hawaii meetings on preserving internment camps

The National Park Service is holding public meetings over the next month to get input on internment camps in Hawaii during World War II to help it determine the best way to preserve these sites and share their history.

Preliminary studies have identified 13 sites in Hawaii where people were confined for varying lengths of time between the 1941 start of the war and the war's end in 1945.

Meetings are due to be held through March on all six islands where the camps were located: Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and the Big Island.

(They are preparing for Inouye’s death, after which they will fully positioned to launch the operation described in this report: East-West Center hammered for “sustained, biased and politically-motivated attack on World War II veterans”.  The purpose will be to make AJAs see themselves as victims rather than seeing themselves as successful.  The funny part—they are getting Inouye to pay for this.)  

RELATED: UH Manoa Anti-Americans place E-W Center funding at risk

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Marijuana Dispensaries Headed For Senate Approval: Bill Would Tax Marijuana Sales, Stores

Oahu would have 10 medical marijuana "compassion centers" under a bill expected to pass the state Senate next week. Another 11 dispensaries would be distributed among the neighbor islands.

The Senate Ways and Means committee approved SB 1458 with only one "no' vote Thursday, from Republican Sen. Sam Slom, of Hawaii Kai.

Slom got a laugh from the packed hearing room whe he said "people need their dope, but I'm against taxes, so I have to vote 'no.'"

The proposal would allow commercial marijuana cultivation …

Ignore this: Muggers steal hashish in Kona

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HECO Workers Deliver Strike Notice: Employees Could Walk Off Job Saturday

The union that represents Hawaiian Electric Co. workers has told its members it has given the company a 48-hour strike notice.

On Tuesday, the union met with HECO negotiators. However, no new agreement has been reached.

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Hawaii gas prices top nation

Enviros very happy as people are squeezed by price hikes, taxes.  Want to know what cities are calling for $4.00 gas or $5.00 gas at the pump, our own Paul Ausick broke out a city by city list here from local papers.

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New Soros investment fund, profiting off Obama's 'green energy' push, hires top Obama energy aide

(Green Energy Scam Not Just In Hawaii) George Soros -- whom we're always told is not serving his own economic interests at all by promoting liberal politicians and big-government policies -- is launching a new investment fund that plans to profit off of the "green energy" boom, which is entirely dependent on government subsidies supported by the groups Soros funds.

As the press release puts it, this fund will "leverage technology and business model innovation to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and emissions, harness renewable energy, and more efficiently use natural resources, among other applications." As Soros puts it in the same release: “Developing alternative sources of energy and achieving greater energy efficiency is both a significant global investment opportunity and an environmental imperative.” Cadie Thompson at CNBC's NetNet flagged this.

So, yeah. The big-government policies advanced by the liberal outfits he funds -- like Center for American Progress -- will enrich the companies in which Soros is investing.

But this story gets better….

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Abercrombie Pay for Play donor happy: Planned expansion will boost Pacific Biodiesel’s capacity to 5M gallons

Despite the boom and bust cycles of the biofuels industry, Kahului-based Pacific Biodiesel, the only commercial producer of biodiesel in Hawaii, has steadily expanded its operations during the past 15 years.

Owners Bob and Kelly King started the company on Maui in the mid-1990s by opening a refinery that converts used cooking oil into fuel. Since then they have added a refinery on Oahu and have plans for a Big Island refinery that could be open by the end of the year.

Company revenue for their Hawaii operations could triple once the Big Island facility is open and running at capacity, said Kelly King. Pacific Biodiesel employs about 30 people throughout Hawaii.

Not Mentioned in this Story: CBS News nails Abercrombie for multi-million dollar Earmarks to campaign contributors (Pacific Biodiesel is at the top of the list)

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Common Cause: Legislature Moving Bill to Hide Consumer Complaints from Public

This bill is similar to last year’s HB 1212, which was revived in conference committee and passed by the legislature, but then vetoed by Gov. Linda Lingle.

Link to Honolulu Advertiser’s editorial on last year’s HB 1212.

Link to testimony posted by the CPC committee: http://capitol.hawaii.gov/session2011/Testimony/HB1141_TESTIMONY_CPC_02-02-11_.PDF

Here we are again, watching our essentially liberal Democratic legislators moving to close off public access to significant government records. Are they going to look back and say they’re proud of screwing Hawaii consumers out of their ability to evaluate the companies and professionals we are looking to do business with?

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Monopoly? Bills to allow out-of-state CPAs easier HI access being debated

Two Senate Bills, Senate Bill 89 and SB743, have until March 3 to be heard before the commerce and consumer protection committee, said the sponsor, Sen. Will Espero, D-Ewa Beach-Lower Waipahu.

The House bills already have missed the deadline for hearings.

The proposed legislation has strong backing from the Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accountants, which notes that Hawaii is only one of two states — the other is California — that currently don’t have a so-called “CPA mobility” provision on the books.

The organization says that because many companies do business in more than one state, their CPAs need a uniform process that allows them to work across state borders.

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Honolulu monopolizes State’s Economy

Hawaii is one of 15 states where a single metropolitan area accounts for the majority of the economic output, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution.

The total of all goods and services produced in Honolulu was $49.13 billion in 2009, or 75.3 percent of the state's total output, according to the report released yesterday. The report contained some of the same data included in a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

However, the Brookings report also looked at other measures of economic performance, like exports and innovation.

Honolulu's exports totaled $2.4 billion in 2009, 70.1 percent of the state's total, Brookings said.

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State asked to undo substandard roads in old-boy scam subdivisions

Representative Denny Coffman, D-Kona, Keauhou, Honokohau, who sits on the Finance committee, said the bill was unlikely to be heard before about 7 p.m. Thursday. He said county council members and other Big Island residents have asked for his support of the measure, and he can do so, with some reservations.

"They're looking at this as a Band-Aid," Coffman said.

His preferred solution, he said, would be to see the county work with the subdivisions to create a special assessment for each neighborhood, adding the cost of bringing the roads up to county standards on to homeowners taxes, then seeing the subdivisions give those roads to the county to continue to maintain.

The problem, Yagong said, is the county initially approved the subdivisions with substandard roads.

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East Hawaii adds 18,258, West Hawaii Today spins

Two of the three fastest-growing regions on the fastest-growing island of the state are in West Hawaii. It's a development that doesn't surprise many but underscores the need for a close look at population trends when new county council district lines are drawn this year.

The Keaau-Mountain View area in Puna grew the fastest, in both sheer numbers and percentage increase, according to a West Hawaii Today analysis of data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Neighbor Island growth outpaces Oahu

The number of residents on the Big Island increased by 24.5 percent between 2000 and 2010, to 185,079 people. The island of Maui saw the second-biggest jump, with the population increasing 21 percent to 144,444, even though the number of residents on Lanai and Molokai remained nearly constant. Kauai’s population increased by almost 15 percent, to 66,921 residents.

Oahu’s population during the past decade grew 9 percent, to 953,207. Hawaii’s most populous island now supports 70.1 percent of the population, down slightly from 72.3 percent a decade ago.

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More Hawaii residents identify as mixed race

Among adults 18 and older, those saying they are of two or more races rose 31% from 2000 to 2010. They make up 18.5% of the state's adult population.

Among all ages, the increase of those citing two or more races was 23.6%. Overall, almost one in four Hawaii residents are of mixed race.

KITV:  Cernsus means megabucks for OHA Cronies

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Designer Drugs Masked as Bath Salts found in Kona

In Hawaii, local law enforcement officers on all the islands have reported mephedrone being sold as a new “ecstasy-like” drug on the street.

During an investigation of drug dealing in Kona on the Big Island in October 2010, police found controlled substances and a powder identified as MDPV at a local residence.

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