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Thursday, March 17, 2011
March 17, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:59 PM :: 10552 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party


SB218: Will Legislature force St Francis Hospitals to close over forced abortion?

Abercrombie to open new State Information Technology Department with donation from Billionaire (No conflict of interest there, eh?)

Blabercrombie: “The war of each against all, which has an iron grip on our country, is coming to an end in Hawaii”

Mercado Kim says Hannemann is Godfather as ‘divisive’ Democrat Primary goes from crowded to jam-packed

Is Linda Lingle Competitive? Cast your vote as PPP considers poll on Hawaii Senate Race

Hawaii presents the most decisive defeat for assisted suicide and euthanasia to date

Dismissed in Federal Court, Convicted Felon Keanu Sai fails in effort to seize control of Hawaii

House OKs $21 billion draft budget—GE Tax hike on Horizon

State House Minority Leader Gene Ward (R, Kalama Valley-Hawaii Kai) questioned whether the community could afford the proposed budget. He also warned that raising the general excise tax — the state's largest source of revenue — may be on the horizon as an option.

"But I think the reality check is not whether there is a free lunch or not," he said, "it's whether the people of Hawaii can afford lunch, can feed and house and take care of themselves, given the burdens that we're shifting from government to them, from the public sector to the private sector."

Several House Demo­crats said Republicans, while critical of some of the revenue-generating ideas, have not offered substantive suggestions to balance the budget.  (Yes they did.  It is called the Lingle budget and it was left for Abercrombie who immediately rejected it.)

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Abercrombie Now 'Flexible' On Raising GET

Facing a nearly $1 billion state budget deficit,(EXCUSE #1) Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said he's "flexible" on raising the state's general excise tax — something that has been anathema to the governor until very recently.

The revelation came in response to a reporter's question in the governor's executive chambers at the Capitol following a press conference to announce the establishment of an Office of Information Management and Technology.

The governor answered a stream of questions on the state's budget deficit through June of 2013, which was revised upwards last week by the Council on Revenues to nearly $1 billion just as the economic growth was revised downward from 3 percent to just 0.5 percent in the current fiscal year.

The global situation has changed dramatically (EXCUSE #2) in the last week as well, led by the ongoing catastrophes in Japan and the uprisings in the Arab world. The most immediate effect on Hawaii is the rise in gas prices and the expected dramatic falloff in visitor arrivals and spending from Japan, Hawaii's third-largest market.

The governor said he did not want to speculate or make "rash assumptions" about such events, but he said the administration is in contact with the Council of Revenues on possibly re-evaluating its forecast.  (EXCUSE #3)

(Not long after the press conference, the governor's office released a third press release, this one that said in part, "Due to recent global events including the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Governor is requesting the COR to reconvene to consider revising their projections so that lawmakers have the best and most current estimates.")

HR:  Governor Seeks Revised Revenue Numbers

AP: Hawaii governor says he isn't considering hike to general excise tax, but he's 'flexible'

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Abercrombie During the campaign vs. post swear-in

During the campaign vs. post swear-in.

Collaborative – Combative. We are all adults; we have to act like adults. I have lots of support for my proposals; there is a silent majority out there that supports my proposals.

Thoughtful – Compulsive.

Quiet, humble – Unapologetic, and animated and wags his finger to emphasize his points.

I will listen to you – I will lecture you.

We are all ohana, paddling one canoe – You are freeloading, and BTW, I’m not your pal; I’m not your counselor; I’m your governor.

I am going to reconfigure state government – I am going to bring our prisoners home and raise your taxes.

I know how Washington works; I will get federal funds to help create jobs – Deafening silence.

My administration will be open – I will not comply with my office of information practices.

I respect and appreciate the elderly – Some of the elderly are clearly not paying their fair share; so I will tax their pensions.

I am a state retiree just like you – But I am not really like you because I am also collecting a congressional pension, and I feel strongly that the state should not have to keep its promise to pay for your Medicare Part B. And BTW, everybody has to contribute more, so I am also proposing that the state end the furloughs and freeze your pension for five years.

I respect your views – But my way is always the better way.

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Abercrombie launches Office of Information Management and Technology with Donation from Billionaire (No conflict of interest to see here, just move along.)

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is establishing a new Office of Information Management and Technology, assisted by a $3 million grant from e-Bay founder Pierre Omidyar.

ABC News: Hawaii Plans Information Technology Office

SA: Charitable monies will kick off an assessment of the government's "outdated" technology

RELATED: Abercrombie to open new State Information Technology Department with donation from Billionaire (No conflict of interest here….)


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Ethics Commission Opposes Bill; More Free Invites for Lawmakers

The bill, SB671, has changed shape several times since it was introduced in January and now would allow officials to accept free tickets worth $200 or less to fundraising events organized by or for charities.

The commission voted 3-1 to oppose the bill.

Ethics rules now prohibit acceptance of free invitations to meals or other events worth more than $25….

As the commission and officials grapple with issues raised by individual invitations to specific events, more invitations to new events are being sent to legislators, Hawaii Reporter has learned.

For instance, Pacific Resources Partnership, a consortium of the Carpenters Union and building contractors, is staging a closed-door reception March 22 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel featuring U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye.

“For security reasons, this reception is by invitation only,” said an invitation emailed to legislators.

Kondo said he is aware of the event and is gathering information on whether state officials, including legislators, are permitted under the ethics code to accept the invitations.

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Kauai Budget hikes spending 12%—property tax hike still on table

In the face of a gloomy economy and uncertain impacts from the disaster in Japan, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s administration has put forward an operating budget for next fiscal year that would almost entirely clean out the county’s reserve fund.

The mayor on Tuesday submitted to the Kaua‘i County Council his proposed $164.98 million operating budget for Fiscal Year 2012, which starts July 1. This represents an 11.7 percent increase, or $17.3 million, over the current fiscal year’s budget proposal of $147.03 million.

Real property taxes — the county’s main revenue source — are projected to decrease 6 percent. Increasing the rate to help make up for the shortfall has not been taken off the table, but the mayor said in his budget message that “our revenue picture overall has stabilized and we are actually projecting a slight increase in revenues next year.”

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No Budget Approval Needed for Rail at this Time, City Council Told

Mayor Peter Carlisle’s administration has informed the City Council that it won’t be submitting an operating or capital improvement budget for the rail project in the upcoming year, saying instead that will be the purview of a new authority that begins work on July 1. (TOTAL CONTROL BY THE OLD BOYS.  MAYBE THEY WILL TRY TO CANCEL ELECTIONS NEXT….oh that’s right they already tried that….)

Ernie Martin, Council Budget Chairman, asked the city earlier this month why budgets for the new Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit weren’t included in Carlisle’s budget submittals, noting the city charter states the council shall approve the authority’s appropriation requests.

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Abercrombie’s Sales Pitch for Hawaii Tourism: “A drug cartel is not going to murder you here."

He said the state will double or triple tourism marketing in the U.S. mainland and Canada, "To make sure people know Hawaii is open and Hawaii's friendly. A drug cartel is not going to murder you here."  (Great going, Neil.)

HNN: Waikiki businesses that rely on Japanese tourists try to recover from slowdown

USA Today: Hawaii tourism faces economic hit from Japan disaster

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Tsunami cripples 2 Big Isle hotels, one may never reopen

While Hualalai is slated to reopen in six weeks, it could be days or weeks before a determination is made regarding Kona Village, Fitzgerald said.

"We are trying to review when it can possibly be opened again, if at all," he said "Structural and infrastructure damage is so significant that it's unsafe for people to be here. We still have guests who have been unable to go back to the hales for their belongings."

Fitzgerald said the entire south side of the Kona Village Resort and most of the areas around its pond were affected. The 45-year-old resort's water, gas and electrical infrastructure were badly damaged, along with about 30 percent of the resort's 125 signature hales.

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Tsunami claims 8 homes on East End Molokai

Molokai police reported that the tsunami damaged at least eight homes, including one that was lifted off of its concrete slab and moved 10 feet and another that sustained structural damage when it was picked up off the ground, rotated and moved several feet.

Other residents had their homes' patios and vehicles destroyed and lost furniture, appliances and personal items. Police said the damage occurred on the east end of Molokai.

Many ancient fishponds were also damaged by the tsunami, police said.

Molokai resident Lee Mott was surprised at how far the water had traveled to his home in Mapulehu, which is 15 miles east of Kaunakakai.

Mott said his home wasn't damaged, but he saw about a foot of water ponding in his driveway when he went home Friday morning.

He said he was lucky that the only cleanup work he had to do was clearing debris from his yard.

But Mott said the water traveled over a 3-foot-high fishpond wall, then over the Kamehameha V Highway, and continued another 460 feet to his property. The water stopped about 40 feet short of his home.

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Hawaii Lawmaker: Nuclear Energy Still 'Viable Option'

Amid the nuclear power crisis in Japan, a Hawaii lawmaker still says it would be "prudent" for the state to consider nuclear energy for the islands.

"I still think it's prudent for us to take a look at whether nuclear energy is a viable option," said Rep. Mark Takai, who introduced two bills this year related to exploring nuclear power. "In light of what's happening in Japan, I think it's a tremendous setback on the one hand. And when I say setback, I'm talking about public perception, how people view this technology."

AFP: Worried Hawaiians rush for iodine supplements

PJM: Fear the Media Meltdown, Not the Nuclear One

KITV: Natural Radiation Comes From Food, Earth And Environment

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Slom gives rundown on Morita

From SBH News & Views: Former Kauai State Representative Hermina Morita was confirmed as new Public Utilities Chair by the Senate on Monday, 24-1. Morita, admittedly anti-free market, anti competition, has close friends among the regulated monopoly utilities. Morita is also best known for her advocacy of bans on fossil fuel, new mandates for energy alternatives and higher taxes and fees. She was a driving force behind the detrimental barrel tax, beverage tax, and other costs to residents. Morita also helped keep the Super Ferry out of her native Kauai and eventually out of Hawaii.

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Dopers not pleased with Single Dispensary on Maui

Hawaii Senate Bill 1458 SD2, which creates medical marijuana compassion centers was heard yesterday by the House Committees on Health and Public Safety.

The committees passed the bill with major amendments, so now it becomes SB 1458 SD2 HD1. The following are the unofficial amendments, from our notes, so please be aware that the final language of the draft may be different.

Unofficial Amendments from our notes:

  • General excise tax of 30% to go to general fund
  • Establishes a pilot program on Maui for 5 years, with one dispensary
  • Requires 24/7 live video feed to law enforcement
  • Requires 24/7 unannounced access for law enforcement
  • Non-card holders not allowed on premises
  • Dispensary must be 600 yards (not feet!) from nearest schools, etc
  • No use on premises
  • Edibles must meet DOH food production standards
  • Annual licensing fee (which is still not determined) for the dispensary will go to Maui County…

In addition to this terrible result, tomorrow is the deadline for triple referrals…which means that SB 58 (increases plants, ounces, patient-caregiver ratio) and SB 113 (creates a 3 year research program) could die if the first hearing is not announced by March 17.

March 24 is the deadline for the double referrals, so SB 175 (moves program to Department of Health) and SB 1460 (decriminalization of one ounce) still have a chance.

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Homeless removed from Kakaako lot—25 finally choose to go into shelters

Over the past two weeks, about 25 homeless from Kakaako Makai moved nearby into the Next Step Shelter and the Evans bus shelter, both run by the nonprofit Hawaii Helping the Homeless Have Hope, or H5.

Anthony Ching, HCDA executive director, said his agency recognized that many of the people living in the area are chronically homeless who have tried going to shelters and, for various reasons, have not made the transition back into regular housing.

"They are probably not the ideal candidates for placement (into shelters)," Ching said. (No.  We just haven't applied enough force yet.)

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Taxpayers, Ratepayers forced to subsidize Unwanted Solar Water Heaters

A cash rebate for Hawaiian Electric Co. customers who install solar water heaters will double to $1,500 for a limited time in an effort to lift sagging sales of the energy-efficient units.

The rebate, which had been $750, will be available for systems purchased between Monday and May 31, or until program funds run out, said Hawaii Energy, the company that administers the state's energy conservation program. The company did not say how much money is available for the program.

The enhanced rebate, combined with a 35 percent state tax credit and a 30 percent federal tax credit, will reduce the cost of a typical solar water heating system from $6,600 to $1,785.

Hawaii Energy said it is boosting the rebate to lift sluggish sales of solar water heating systems. Rebates given out for solar water heaters fell to 3,656 in 2010 from 8,770 in 2009, according to Hawaii Energy.

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Mandatory Spending Now Exceeds all Federal Revenues

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We have now gotten to the point — as I noted yesterday — where if national defense, interstate highways, national parks, homeland security, and all other discretionary programs somehow became absolutely free, we’d still have a budget deficit. The White House Office of Management and Budget projects that in the current fiscal year (2011), mandatory spending alone will exceed all federal receipts. So even if we didn’t spend a single cent on discretionary programs, we still wouldn’t be able to balance our budget this year — let alone pay off any of the $14 trillion in debt that we have already accumulated.

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Desperate Luddites: GMOs make you fat

Studies have reported that GMOs are more likely to trigger allergies, are less nutritious, are more likely sprayed with toxic herbicides, and contain elevated levels of hormones that correlate with common cancers.
There's also evidence that the most common GMO foods are "chemical obesogens," (a fake agit-prop term) hormone-disrupting chemicals that have been linked (by us screaming anti-GMO luddites and nobody else) to epidemic levels of obesity and diet-related diseases. These include artery-clogging meat and milk products from animals fed GMO grains, trans fats from GMO vegetable oils, and high fructose (GMO) corn syrup found in a variety of products from soda to ketchup, bread and yogurt.  (And cholesterol was never dangerous until we could connect it to GMOs)
(Fake) Animal studies (we can’t reference) show GMOs cause immune and insulin problems, organ damage, gastrointestinal dysfunction, accelerated aging, and higher death rates. Those risks have led The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (professional chemophobes) to ask physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods.

REALITY: The Future of Fraud

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