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Saturday, March 26, 2011
March 26, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:20 PM :: 9384 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Prince Kuhio: The bridge from Kingdom to State

Hawaii Internet Poker Bill part of nationwide effort by illegal Gambling Sites

Hotwire: Hawaii hotel rates jump 25%, growth tops nation

Side Effects: Children Face Reduced Access to Coverage Under Obamacare

Waialua HS takes lead in Robotics Regionals

Another Secret Labor Agreement Exposed: Paid Time Off given 4,900 UPW, HGEA members by Abercrombie Admin

The settlements came to light this month as the Hawaii Public Housing Authority grappled with how they would deal with the added days off and end to furloughs.

Material on the agency’s website shows agency directors were briefed on the situation involving workers who are in positions that are either 100 percent funded by the federal government or special funds.

They were told furloughs for these workers would end on March 1 for federal/special fund employees who are  UPW members and on April 1 for those who are HGEA members.

But perhaps more significantly, the deals includes something known as Compensatory Time Off, which past and present government executives said can be taken as paid days off or cash payments.

The Department of Human Resource Development this week declined to release the settlements without a formal written information request, but did say paid time off will apply to a little more than 4,900 workers.

RELATED: Transparency? Abercrombie administration brings secrecy back to Capitol, $126M Giveaway: Abercrombie quietly boosts spending on Public Employees’ Insurance

MORE OF THE SAME COMING? Public Workers May Be Offered 'Mini Furlough'

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Inouye Backs Obama’s Libya War 

“I have been assured that the plan does not include American boots on Libyan soil. I am also pleased that additional members of the Arab league will be participating in Operation Odyssey Dawn. Although we will serve an important role in this international endeavor, it will be the mission of NATO and the United Nations. America is an important part of this international team.”

POLITICO: Barack Obama to lawmakers: We won't kill Qadhafi

RELATED: Hawaii Congressional Delegation AWOL on Libya

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Progressives want to silence debate over Senatorial race

Is there any way to impose a moratorium of a year or even nine months on discussion/speculation about the election for the Akaka seat in the U.S. Senate? Can we avoid seeing every waking deed and word of every possible candidate over the next year and a half in terms of the campaign for Senate?

Best Comment: Yeah, right. We should just leave our political selection process up to the back rooms at the Democratic Party precinct meetings where it’s supposed to be done.

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Japan Tsunami now becomes excuse to drain Hurricane Fund to pay for Abercrombie Giveaways

Hawaii is running out of time to find an estimated $232 million needed to balance the budget over the next three months, leading Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration to consider emptying the state's hurricane relief fund, The Associated Press has learned.

Budget Director Kalbert Young told AP that the entire $117 million hurricane relief fund may be drained after the state's finances reached critical levels since a tsunami hit and revenue forecasts plunged this month.

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Hawaii seeks to protect its unique health law?

Hawaii's Prepaid Health Care Act requires businesses to provide health insurance and limits employees' share of health costs to 1.5 percent of monthly gross earnings.

Green, D-Milolii-Waimea, said the federal health law should force state insurance companies to accept clients who have pre-existing conditions without infringing on the Hawaii's existing system.

Republican representatives opposed the measure and introduced a failed amendment that would have instead studied the effects of federal health law on Hawaii.

"Why are we in this chamber wanting to implement parts of Obamacare when this own bill is saying that our Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act is superior?" asked Rep. Kymberly Pine, R-Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point, during debate of the bill on the House floor this month.

The national health law already includes an exemption for Hawaii that says it shouldn't be construed to modify or limit the state's law.

But court challenges to either the federal or state laws could endanger Hawaii's system, Green said.

SA: Lawmakers move bill to protect Hawaii's health insurance system

AP: Hawaii bill tries to maintain state's health system while also adopting federal changes


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Stanford Carr: “Maui Real Estate is booming”

Stanford Carr Development is reporting that the current phase of townhomes at The Villas at Kehalani is more than 70% sold out, indicating a strong interest from buyers looking for Maui real estate.

"We're very excited about the success at Villas at Kehalani. Our luxury townhomes have been popular with local buyers looking for a primary home as well as buyers from the mainland who want a second home. Buyers have responded to spacious floor plans and panoramic ocean views," says Laurie Lee, Principal Broker for the community. 

PBN: Holomua condo sales to restart April 2

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Naval shipyard: “We’re Hiring”

Today the shipyard will host its annual Pearl Harbor Apprenticeship and Engineering Career Fair.

The shipyard plans to add about 150 employees by the end of the year.

Organizers said positions available include apprentices, equipment specialists and engineering technicians. Professional, analytical and administration positions also are open. In addition, federal police and firefighter recruiters will be on site.

Additional information about the career fair can be found at

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Hawaii House committee chair doesn't want to hear from Ethics Commission

It’s routine for state departments or agencies most concerned with proposed legislation to be allowed to testify at the beginning of a hearing. For this bill, that’s the Ethics Commission.

I have attended numerous legislative hearings and have not, to my recollection, ever heard a state representative cut off and his or her testimony refused. Nor did the chair apply a time limit to subsequent testimony. For example, I also testified, and was not cut off at two minutes, but was allowed to complete my testimony. Clearly, the chair just didn’t want to hear Mr. Kondo speak. I was going through some adjectives to fairly describe the situation but couldn’t settle on one. Watch the video and you decide.

ILInd: Gift bill gets single committee re-referral, looking at the bill’s problems, and other ethics resources

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Inouye pushes Kalaupapa flight subsidy for Contributor

Kahlstorf said Friday that he believes that claim comes from a proposal by Schuman Aviation in January for a subsidized route that would charge $125 one way between Kalaupapa and Honolulu and $65 per passenger one-way between Kalaupapa and Hoolehua.

Kahlstorf said a quick Internet search found that Schuman's owners have donated to Inouye's campaigns.

He interprets Thursday's press conference as an attempt to use political pressure to get what the market won't deliver, which is cheaper competition for his route.

He also claimed that Inouye's chief-of-staff, Alan Yamamoto, went to the Federal Aviation Administration to solicit complaints against Pacific Wings.

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Cronies squabble over how to profit from School Closures

Although the proposal this week morphed into something more attainable with a limited scope, the basic goal remains the same: Revenue from this land would fuel a special fund underwriting improvement of schools for 21st-century needs, erasing some of its mountainous backlog of repairs.

The problem with the original plan is that the ownership of the land beneath Hawaii's 257 public school campus comes with layers. Sometimes it's state-owned, sometimes it's county-owned, and sometimes it's on "ceded" land that was once part of the old Hawaiian kingdom, which means it would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to sell. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which receives a share of revenues from ceded land, opposes the school land trust idea, preferring to discourage all sales of ceded land. Officials of all four counties also unanimously assailed the idea as a land grab.

The land-trust idea still exists in HB 952, now in the Senate. But the form of the bill with the apparent support to pass this year is a new draft of SB 1385, which takes a more modest, but still creative, approach, one that also addresses the need for rental housing that's affordable by Hawaii's workforce.

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OHA’s End-run Bad For All Hawaii

In an article currently on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs website, Clyde Namu’o writes: “OHA believes Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act will benefit all of Hawaii.”

Namu’o concludes, “Most important, the NHGRA will enable Native Hawaiians to create a better future for themselves and their families. It will benefit all of Hawaii by bringing closure to this issue that has prevented our state from realizing its full potential for decades.”

First and foremost, the only thing that has prevented our state from “realizing its full potential for decades” is our state Legislature.

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Tobacco tops list as Ethics Commission Releases Lobbying Expense Disclosures

Here are the top five spenders:

  • *Altria Client Services (tobacco): $99,858
  • *Hawaii Tourism Authority: $80,000
  • *University of Hawaii Foundation: $65,549
  • *informedRx Inc. (the pharmacy benefit manager for the Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund): $61,000
  • *WellCare Health Insurance of Arizona; Ohana Health Plan (state Medicaid service provider): $47,636

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Pearl City residents asked to clean up dengue breeding grounds

More information on dengue fever is available on the Department of Health website:

SA: 'Hopefully, it was a very freakish occurrence'

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Rep Rivere to speak out against North Shore Arsons

Gil Riviere, who represents a North Shore district that stretches from Kaena Point to Laie, has scheduled a press conference Sunday at 10 a.m. "to speak out against vigilante activity."

The presser will be held at Haleiwa Harbor, where shark tour boats have been the target of arson.

KITV reported earlier today:

Honolulu fire investigators said a fire aboard a 35-foot commercial vessel used for shark tours was intentionally set Thursday night at the Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor. A charred hull is about all that's left of the Hoku Loa. ...

This is the third time someone has torched boats belonging to North Shore Shark Adventures.

SA: Third shark tour boat burns

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The Best and Brightest: Rep Jerry Chang Trapped in London, needs $2800

…an email with an "urgent" subject line was sent under Chang's name to each of the roughly 850 contacts in his email account. Grammatically and punctually flawed, it stated Chang was in a "terrible situation" in London, England, and needed a $2,800 loan.  "Please keep this between us," the message added.

Chang said friends in Taiwan and "all over the world" started calling him at 2 a.m. Thursday to verify if he really needed help.

"That's how widespread this thing went," he said, noting he's unaware of any who sent money.

Among the calls Chang said he received was one from Kenoi, who was to appear as a guest speaker the following day at the state Capitol in Honolulu.  "He got all excited about it," Chang said of the bogus claim.

"He was really concerned in terms of a friend being in trouble," Chelle Pahinui said of her husband.  Unsure how to get money to Chang and unfamiliar with this type of scam, Pahinui thought the request could be legitimate, she said.

(He’s usually trapped in Thailand….)

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Maui Internment Camp: “He was treated good”

Richard Arine said his father was held at Haiku Camp, a site near where Horizons Academy of Maui on Haiku Road is located today. Although Richard had not yet been born, he said his mother, Torako, who at age 97 still serves as the priest at Maui Jinsha, told him that she visited his father every weekend, with the help of relatives who had a car.

"My mom said he was treated good," said Richard Arine, of Kahului.

Camp guards gave Masao Arine the nickname "Tojo," and he eventually was released - Richard Arine suspects the U.S. government didn't consider his Hawaii-born father a real threat.

"He was looked at differently," he said. "So he didn't spend much time in the camp."

WHAT THIS IS ABOUT: East-West Center hammered for “sustained, biased and politically-motivated attack on World War II veterans”

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Plastic ‘disappears’ from garbage patch

There are still significant gaps in the data the crew can collect, however. The nets that they use cannot capture plastic particles that are smaller than one-third of a millimetre across. "After a certain size these particles just disappear," says Cummins.

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Laysan Island completely covered by Tsunami, Seven workers survive

On the night the waves crashed through, the four women and three men - who live for months at a time in tent camps with small amounts of solar power - were given a few hours' notice.

Satellite phones were packed into watertight containers, food and water rations were stowed and two life boats were prepared for the inundation across the windswept, sandy soil.

''We still weren't really aware of how serious [it was],'' an NOAA worker, Artie Wong, said. ''Then around 2.30 in the morning, we could hear the rumbling.

''It came within two feet of the Fish and Wildlife camp. I was definitely scared for my life.

''It was so dark at night. We couldn't see what was happening; we could mostly hear things.''

Laysan, more than 1700 kilometres from Honolulu, is about 1.5km wide and 3.2km long. At its highest point, it is only about 12 metres above sea level.

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