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Friday, March 4, 2011
March 4, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:51 PM :: 8668 Views

Kona TEA Party Rally: No New Taxes, Audit the DoE

Abercrombie, Inouye fought over Akaka Retirement—Palafox connection?

Djou: Lingle would make an outstanding US Senator

Hanabusa, Hirono, Akaka: Make way for Captain Kirk

D.C., Hawaii Top the Rest of the Union in Economic Confidence

Pine: Hawaii hands out the most welfare dollars, food, and benefits in Nation

VIDEO: Reps Fontaine, McKelvey against HB141 weakening Repeat Offender sentencing

HB1529 Government Planning? Leg considers bill asking Governor to convene task force to write report 

Oppressed by Taxes, Utility Bills, Land Monopolies, Hawaii works 24/7, never sleeps

Local residents have to work harder than people in many other places because of the high cost of living, resulting in less time for rest, said Ford Shippey, a sleep medicine doctor at Sleep Center Hawaii and hospitalist at the Queen's Medical Center.

"A lot of people in Hawaii work more than one job or are working six to seven days a week," he said. "And there are many families with children where both parents work. That eats away at the time they're able to sleep. We're all overworked."

An estimated 44.6 percent of adults in Hawaii get fewer than seven hours of rest a day, based on a sample of 6,288 residents. The report used 2009 data from 12 states. New York was the second highest with 40.7 percent of a sampling of 3,139 residents, while Maryland came in third with 39.9 percent of 3,910.

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Perriera troubled by Abercrombie’s plan to grow Government

It still goes back to that promise: You pay for your health care while you're working, because the state exempts itself from the Prepaid Health Care Act, and upon retirement your benefit is free.  The debate about whether we can continue that as a promise is a legitimate one and one that I think should be engaged….

Here, our pension plan situation is really the result of public policy decisions to skim excess earnings. And I think that anybody involved with the ERS (Employees' Retirement System), the trustees, would confirm that if the retirement plan earnings had been left intact and not skimmed into the general fund, maybe we wouldn't be 100-percent funded, but we would not be at around 60 percent, and it would not be the issue that it is today….

The most troubling thing about the budget right now, to be very blunt, is that everybody realizes there is an anticipated shortfall, and we know the biggest driver of that was the deferral of the tax refunds and the economy. But what's troubling is that the governor is looking to expand government and increase spending, so there is the prospect that employees may be asked to make concessions while at the same time they're looking to add employees and restore programs….

RELATED: Abercrombie: GE Tax hike will be People's Will

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Lawmakers Scramble to Meet First Decking

The state House and Senate face an internal deadline tonight for all single referral bills so they can pass second reading tomorrow and be placed on the Legislature's calendar for third reading on Tuesday.

The measures, if passed, will then cross over to the opposite chamber for consideration.

And tomorrow is the deadline to file committee reports on bills that had more than one referral.

Put another way, it's basically the halfway point in the 2011 session.

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Leg advances $116M Tax hikes, Abercrombie wanted $540M

A Civil Beat analysis of the governor's major tax hikes shows the latest versions of his tax measures would bring in only $116 million of a projected $540 million — off by $424 million or nearly 80 percent.

The situation has led the chair of the House Finance Committee, Marcus Oshiro, to warn that the current versions of the tax measures will not fix the state's $800 million deficit and will require expense cuts.

"If any of these revenue measures fail, cuts will be deeper," Oshiro said Tuesday.

Borreca: No person's wallet is safe while Legislature is in session

HR: Pension Tax Bill Passes House Finance Committee

RELATED: Abercrombie: GE Tax hike will be People's Will

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Measures to start various forms of gambling in Hawaii fail to advance

None cleared its committee before Friday's deadline for non-budget bills to advance for a vote in their originating chamber.

All the House measures passed at least one committee before failing.

The Waikiki casino measure died on the House floor last month. Efforts for bingo, slots and shipboard gambling were never scheduled for hearings in either the Judiciary Committee or Finance Committee.

The multistate lottery measure in the Senate never received a committee hearing.

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Race Hustler Clayton Hee calls William Aila Dickless

"This nominee, one of his first actions was to sign off on a programmatic agreement required as a component of the Environmental Impact Statement process on the rail," Hee said. "That provides the first footprint and gives some indication, although brief as it may be, of the nominee as a director."

Hee also criticized Aila for his vote last week in favor of the proposed Thirty-Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island and for testimony Hee said would hurt efforts to protect animal species.

"These are but only a few of the instances that my staff has been able to develop a track record to try to understand the conflicts inherent in this Native Hawaiian who has himself said that he is held at a higher standard," Hee said.

"The nominee has an opportunity and a privilege as a Native Hawaiian to demonstrate that what Kalakaua said in 18871 stops right now," Hee said, emphasizing the last three words. "Every decision that I can see, every testimony that I have had ... suggests just the opposite."

"I'm not sure if the nominee is a stallion or a proud cut gelding," he said, referring to a horse castrated late in life that still shows the behaviors of a stallion. "From what I've seen up to this point, he's the second, not the first."

(As long as we are making comparisons here, has anyone else noticed the political resemblance between Clayton Hee and Al Sharpton?)

HNN: Senate confirms Aila as DLNR chief

SA: Aila "I am still trying to figure out what kind of horse I am."

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Dickless men in dresses to become new protected class

A bill to protect transgendered people from workplace discrimination is up for a vote today by the full state House of Representatives.

Current state law protects transgendered individuals from discrimination in housing and public accommodations but is less explicit in the area of employment.

Though the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission interprets state law against sexual discrimination to provide those protections, advocates of the bill say it would explicitly bar workplace discrimination against transgendered people — people who express themselves as a person of the opposite gender.

"I think it is just about equality and fairness," said House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro (D, Aiea-Halawa), the bill's primary sponsor. "In the employment context, we really need to have this since we already have it on the books for public accommodations, hate crimes and residential property discrimination."

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Transsexual Prostitutes Prey On Downtown Middle School Students

And the key thing here is to never actually solve this problem so Rep Karl Rhoads can keep milking it.

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Abercrombie: New BoE to be seated by April Fools Day

The governor has set the bill signing for the start of the Senate 2011 Education Week.

Abercrombie must make his choices by April 1 in order to assure their confirmations can be made within this legislative session.

However, according to Sen. Jill Tokuda (D), "The newly appointed members will then take over as the official BOE even before they are confirmed."

The law allows for appointments to be made one-by-one, requiring all remaining elected members to step down once the tipping point of five appointed seats is reached.

Abercrombie said he didn't want to drag it out.

“The word stagger means I don't want to stagger into it. I think the reason is that I think we need to have a full operating body right there ready to move and to integrate with one another,” Abercrombie said.

AP: Hawaii school board to be appointed by governor

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Clayton Hee: Bipolar, egotistical, quick to anger, boorish, dysfunctional, brutal, racist

And it is Hee who has yet to schedule a confirmation hearing for the governor's choice for attorney general, David Louie, and human resources director, Sunshine Topping, even as Abercrombie's other Cabinet appointments — including Aila until Hee intervened — have been easily confirmed.

Clayton Hee is right where he wants to be: At the center of the state Capitol, his hands in multiple pots, advancing views he believes are important — and stirring trouble.

There is arguably no member of either the Senate or the House whose name and reputation elicits more colorful comment than Clayton Hee.

Some of the words used to describe the senator will not be printed here. Others will: smart, hard-working, persistent, principled and loyal, for example, but also aggressive, intimidating, egotistical, quick to anger and bipolar….

Hee was frequently in the news when he began serving on the board of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in 1990. His tenure as OHA board chair was often contentious — some would say dysfunctional — but also characterized by a refocused effort to secure payments from the state to OHA for ceded-land revenue.

They were also brutal experiences for two of then-Gov. Linda Lingle's judicial nominations, Ted Hong and Randal Lee. Hee grilled both men over their records, and both were ultimately rejected by the Senate.

Supporters of Hee say the senator was correct in questioning the judicial temperament of the nominees, but others say both nominations were victims of pure politics.

Hee also notoriously used the F-word — several times — in another hearing that was broadcast live on community television. Hee was speaking in context and trying to make a point related to the subject matter before the committee. But his public use of profanity was seen by some as boorish behavior.

And, Hee once had a verbal floor fight with Republican Fred Hemmings, a longtime kamaaina haole. Hee, as he reminded Hemmings while speaking in Hawaiian, has the koko or native blood. Some said Hee was being racist

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Sen Brickwood “Buzzy G” Galuteria earns place in hall of shame

The entire nation is still clambering through the rubble of a horrific economic downturn, and Hawaii legislators believe the takeaway message is what? That their mission should be clearing the pathway for state employees to accept freebies?

Evidently so — or, at the very least, that seems to be the mindset of state Sen. Brickwood Galuteria (D, Downtown-Waikiki). Galuteria floated the idea of changing the law so that gifts valued up to $200 could be accepted by state employees, under any circumstance.

In the midst of the firestorm that predictably erupted at Tuesday's public hearing, Galuteria's incredible excuse was that his version of Senate Bill 671 was "a starting point" for discussion.

No, senator. The starting point was the original version of SB 671, which would have strengthened disclosure requirements for lobbyists. Gutting an ethics bill and then piping in language that enables guilt-free influence-peddling takes a special kind of audacity. Galuteria just earned his place in the Hall of Shame.

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Honolulu Budget to be available online

Bruce and his team even created a special website — and a cheesy acronym — for the massive document: http://can-do.honolulu.gov/, "can do" being short for "Citizens Accessing Numbers Discover Opportunities," the mayor said.

Officials said the site goes live in about a week, after the City Council has had a chance to review their copies of the administration's spending plan. Carlisle said he wants the budget to "be looked at by as many human eyes as possible."

CB: Carlisle: In July, City Government and Rail Part Ways

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DoE Maintenance Solution? Close schools and sell land

Two years ago, the school put in a request for money from the Hawaii Department of Education to fix its roofs, which are priority No. 1 right now at Farrington. The roofs are just one example among $392 million dollars worth of backlogged school maintenance requests throughout the state. And if the sentiment at Farrington High School is any indication, long waits and substandard classroom conditions have become accepted as the norm.

Two bills making their way through the state Legislature this year attempt to change that, though. Senate Bill 1385 and House Bill 952 propose creating a trust to rent and develop underused school land for a variety of commercial and residential purposes. The revenue generated would help upgrade or replace old school facilities.

KITV: School Board Votes To Close Queen Liliuokalani Elementary

HNN: Queen Liliuokalani Elementary to close at the end of this school year

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Landed Aristocracy, Labor unions advance bills

The proposals, which include tax credits and ways to streamline the entitlement process, stem from suggestions made by business and labor leaders on the construction industry task force created by the 2009 Legislature to come up with ways to stimulate the construction industry and put people back to work.

The group, led by Warren Haruki, president and CEO of Grove Farm and chairman and interim CEO of Maui Land & Pineapple, met twice a month for three months during the fall of 2009 and presented 10 recommendations to the Legislature.

Those recommendations were the basis for 10 House and 10 Senate bills that were sponsored by House Speaker Calvin Say and then-Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, now a U.S. congresswoman. Half of those were never scheduled for a hearing, and none of them passed to become law.

PBN: Proposal frees up money for affordable housing

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Hawaii Legislature Weighs Controversial Adoption Bill

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday that would require the names of birth parents to be included on an adoptive child's birth certificate. The bill will now head to the House floor for a vote. …

Opposing the bill were adoptive parents, social workers and adoption lawyers who worried that the new law severely compromises birth parents' privacy.

Several adoptive mothers tearfully said they felt the law strips them of their rights as parents to decide when to tell their children about their past. Some worried that forcing a birth mother's name to appear on a birth certificate could push more mothers toward abortion.

Heidi Harms, an adoptive parent, told the committee that the birth mother of her adopted daughter is an incredibly private person. "She is terrified that her name would ever be put out in the public, so much so that I don't know her real name. I only know her as Anna," she said.

Harms described a chance encounter with Anna in public after the adoption. "We could see the terror in her eyes — she was trying to balance how much she loved us and what we did for her, with the fear with what her family would do if they found out she had put a baby up for adoption."

MORE: HB1407: Abolishes Adoption privacy, requires names of birth parents be public record

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HB638: Instant Runoff Voting

House Finance heard House Bill 638, and advanced it to the full House unanimously.  IRV is a recycled progressive scam which has already being repealed by progressives in Burlington VT.

RELATED: Instant Runoff Voting debunked

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CNN: TSA Polygraph Tests for Honolulu Baggage handlers

A source familiar with the investigation told CNN that investigators are conducting polygraph tests to determine the extent of the security lapse and the exact number of officers who failed their responsibility at the airport.

A TSA spokesman said the agency "is taking appropriate disciplinary action against several TSA officers following an extensive investigation into allegations of improper screening."

"We took immediate action and none of the personnel accused have been conducting screening duties since the allegations were made," spokesman Nico Melendez said.

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Legislature spends all day on Homelessness Industry

Senate members from eight separate committees discussed homelessness issues in urban Honolulu and across the state at conference Thursday. The issues they talked about included the root cause of homelessness, the effects on communities and the status of affordable housing in Hawaii.

Marc Alexander, Gov.Neil Abercrombie's newly appointed coordinator of homelessness said there is no quick fix to the state's persistent homeless problem. Alexander said although there is an urgency for relief, reform and recovery, there is no immediate cure to the homeless epidemic.

Now A Reality: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

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Recycling War: PVT, Waimanalo Gulch vs Schitzer Steel

There is a bill being debated at the City Council (Bill 47) that would essentially sunset the large tipping fee discount (80%) for large metal recyclers to dump their non-recyclable material in Oahu’s landfill. This was originally done to encourage fledgling recyclers during their start-up years, and to offset low prices in the metal market.

But, that arrangement was set up ten years ago, and everything has changed. Metal prices are now through the roof, companies like Schitzer Steel are hugely profitable; making between 50 and 100 million in Hawaii alone, and upward of $800 million over the past 5 years nationally. Yet they insist they still desperately need Honolulu’s $2 million a year subsidy. They don’t.

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Students in Free Enterprise help Tuvaluans Build Businesses

to a group of BYU-Hawaii students in the SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) club, this tiny archipelago has become a crucible for entrepreneurial flair, for thinking bigger and dreaming of what lies beyond the edges of the white Tuvaluan sands….

Tuvaluan women, skilled in handicrafts and art, are shipping their products to a store in Southern California, and the profits are returned to their island and invested in their business. Thanks to the generosity of the Laie and Kahuku communities, as well as a myriad of donors, school children will be receiving a shipment of textbooks, school and medical supplies. Classes are being equipped with new computers, armed with state-of-the-art learning programs for their age group that will teach them English, literature and computer skills.  http://sifetuvaluproject.blogspot.com

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Attorney general sues animal rights activist

The attorney general's office said Thursday Anthony M. Marasia isn't able to account for how he spent donated funds on efforts to protect animals. The lawsuit seeks restitution and civil penalties.

The Honomu man gained attention in 2007 when he spared a (delicious) Holstein from being slaughtered. A year later he launched a campaign to save 8,000 chickens from being killed (fried) when their egg farm shut down.

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SA: Open-ocean aquaculture needs more scrutiny

Sez Who: Some “enlightened, conscious, and progressive” college kid in England, writer of a report titled…(drumroll please)…”Diversified, localized, and sustainable agriculture on Kauai.”  …(cymbals clash).  Apparently the report won top honors for greatest use of meaningless catch words.  So naturally the Star-Advertiser gave her a column.

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GM sells just 281 Chevy Volts in February, Nissan only moves 67 Leafs

Electric cars are a delusion.

CNS News: Consumer Reports said the Volt it tested got 23 to 28 miles per charge and cost $48,700.

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American Samoa tells more than 100 businesses to stop distributing plastic bags

American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency legal counsel Nathan Mease says the "stop orders" were issued as inspectors visited more than 300 stores and businesses during the first week after the law took effect on Feb. 23.

He says about 70 percent of stores are complying.

Stores are now using boxes, paper bags and cloth bags in place of plastic. Some stores are importing reusable cloth bags from off-island to sell to customers.

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