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Tuesday, April 12, 2011
April 12, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:00 PM :: 6343 Views :: Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

No New Taxes! Rally April 15--Honolulu, Kona, Hilo, Kahului, Lihue

Djou: Hawaii needs Civil Service Reform

April 11, 2011 How Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation Voted

Sumitomo Files Protest: Flawed Rail bid selection may cost taxpayers $900M

HCR71: HPV Vaccination Mandate Deferred

Atlas Shrugged to Open In Honolulu April 15

Abercrombie’s “Open” Administration lined with Campaign Donors

Two days after his election as governor, Neil Abercrombie announced that he would cast a wide net when it came to hiring for the new administration.

It turns out that Abercrombie, in fact, often turned to supporters to fill Cabinet positions, boards and commissions.

A Civil Beat analysis of 263 Abercrombie appointments whose names the governor submitted through April 7 to the Hawaii Senate, a total of 67 — one-fourth — contributed to his campaign.

That includes half his Cabinet and five of the nine appointed members of the Hawaii Board of Education.

(See a story on his Cabinet members and their donations and read the full list.)

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SA: Abercrombie’s OIP Raid a “preemptive strike motivated by revenge?”

the governor has not covered himself in glory with his own information practices.

Cheryl Kakazu Park has been named OIP director and has asserted that Abercrombie has given her "a free hand to apply and administer the law." That is at least a welcome resolution: The information office loses its potency as an agent of transparency if it is covered with thumbprints from the governor or any elected politician.

The trouble is, the administration has stood closer to this agency than it should, intervening in its operations in a way that jeopardizes its position as an independent body. The fact that this intervention coincided with a conflict between the governor and the OIP makes the situation even more suspect….

Abercrombie staffers have acknowledged the "questionable" appearance of all this but said the actions were unrelated. Nonetheless, the fact that the governor himself micromanaged at this level looks bad — meaning, it has the look of a preemptive strike motivated by revenge. And — particularly when the target is the head of the information agency, an office that shouldn't even appear to be hamstrung — the governor's lack of prudence on this issue is troubling.

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As vote Approaches, Senators balk at Accepting Abercrombie Budget

From the committee report:

Nevertheless, your Committee is fortified by the lessons learned over the past two years and by the administration’s positive direction as articulated in the Governor’s “New Day” initiatives. These include promises to restructure and prioritize state programs. Accordingly, the Governor should prudently use the economic downturn to take a long and hard look at the executive branch’s organizational structure. Your Committee stands ready to receive and evaluate his proposals.

However, your Committee notes that the Legislature has struggled with many of the Governor’s controversial revenue proposals that are intended to bridge the budget gap. It is clear that public concern and legislative pragmatism will not permit the passage of a number of these measures in the form in which they were originally proposed.

AP: House and Senate plan to vote on hundreds of bills as Legislature enters final weeks

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Fidell: No Internet Tax

The Monday paper reported that the Legislature is considering a tax on Internet transactions. How could this pop up at the end of the session? The public had no notice this was going to happen. Was there a bill introduced to this effect in January? I don’t think so. You have to wonder about the process that surprises us this way….

We can’t afford to lose our unencumbered connection to the Internet marketplace. It’s been helpful for the development of the state. We’re isolated and the Internet has helped us achieve at least some parity with the mainland in purchasing goods and services that are not locally available. Don’t take that away from us.

Senator Sam Slom is right. If you want to balance the budget there are plenty of expenses we can still cut. We have too many people in government. They’re 20% of our workforce, and maybe more because so many jobs have been lost in the private sector. Sure it’s political, but there must be a way we can bring the size of government in line with our sagging economy. Actually, no other way will work.

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SA: Pay gaps that hurt women are costing isles

Full-time working women in Hawaii are paid on average $9,934 less per year than their male counterparts, according to a study released yesterday.

The study conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families and the American Association of University Women concluded that the gap costs Hawaii's families a total of more than $1.7 billion annually.

With 68 percent of Hawaii women now bringing in more than a quarter of their families' income and women heading more than 55,000 households, unequal wages are a major drag on the state economy, the groups said.

WHAT THEY WANT: Ness said she was encouraged to see the reintroduction of the Paycheck Fairness Act in Congress. The legislation, which would establish stronger workplace protections for women, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in the last Congress but fell two votes short of moving forward in the Senate last year.  (Couldn’t pass it when the Dems had everything, but they want Hirono, Hanabusa, Inouye, Akaka to keep it alive this session.  Hence the study and the article.)

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All School Construction Wiped from Budget as Negotiating Position for Tax Hikes

Adjacent to the brand new Ewa-Makai Middle School is a wide expanse of green grass -- under which run utility lines and other infrastructure for the schools planned sixth-grade wing.

The Department of Education made the $16.4 million project its top construction priority this year, because once completed and sixth graders can be accepted at the school, severe overcrowding at five other schools will be relieved. The request was approved by the governor and adopted as part of the state Senate budget.

But the funding for Ewa-Makai's sixth grade wing was not included in the state House's construction budget. House majority leader Blake Oshiro said the House took a policy against funding construction of new schools over the next two years, because he said the state cannot afford the additional operating costs -- things like utilities and support staff -- that come with new facilities.

Oshiro said it was likely some, if not all, of the projects would be restored during conference committee negotiations over the budget, which begin next week.  (In other words, this is a bargaining chip for Tax Hikes.)

What it is: Washington Monument Gambit

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SB249: $1.6M for State-Owned slaughterhouse (pigs subsidized $53.25 each)

After sailing through the state Senate since being introduced in late January, a plan that would allow the state to purchase Oahu’s only slaughterhouse for $1.6 million faces a final vote on the House floor Tuesday morning.  (But Oshiro has no money for schools?)

Sen. Mike Gabbard, a West Oahu democrat, was the only lawmaker in the Senate to vote against the proposed purchase of the slaughterhouse.

“There’s no money,” said Gabbard. “It's just not a good way to spend the people's money.”

The slaughterhouse is operated by Hawaii Livestock Cooperative and sits on 6.5 acres of state owned land on Olai Street.  (So instead of selling the land to the slaughterhouse operators, we are selling the slaughterhouse to the land owners) According to Gabbard, the non-profit group of local farmers has received $4.6 million in state and federal subsidies since 2003.  (900 x 12 mos x 8 yrs =86,400 pigs slaughtered.  $4.6M/86,400 = $53.25 subsidy per pig—and this is just for Chinatown)

“Once the state buys this thing it's going to be a black hole,” he said. “Millions more dollars are going to be pumped into this thing, so it just doesn't make sense.”

Right now the facility is used primarily to slaughter hogs….without a slaughterhouse on Oahu, the hot hog market would also be threatened. Roughly 900 head of “fresh” pork are brought to market every month, most of it sold in Honolulu’s Chinatown. (900/20 = 45 pigs per day /8 hrs = about 6 pigs per hour.)

If SB249 passes the full House on Tuesday, the measure would head to conference committee for final passage.

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Coalition breaks ground for new senior housing

After five years of planning, a nonprofit corporation broke ground yesterday on a $40 million, 163-unit Pearl City affordable housing complex for seniors….  (Thus proving the Oshiro no new schools gambit is just a distraction designed to justify tax hikes.) 

The state operated the Hale Mohalu facility for Hansen's disease patients at the location from 1949 to 1978….

When the state moved to close Hale Mohalu 33 years ago, some patients refused to leave, triggering a five-year battle over the property. The facility was eventually razed. Patient Bernard Puni­kaia, one of those who fought against the closure, went on to advocate for the coalition's plans to build the 210-unit Hale Mohalu senior complex on the site in 1996.

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Lawmakers fold; poker bill fails to advance

Hawaii has discarded the idea of legalizing both online and live poker in the islands.

Legislation that would brought poker to Hawaii didn't get a public hearing before a Friday deadline for bills to advance, killing it for the year. Opponents of the measure said it would have opened the door to gambling in a state that otherwise prohibits it.

"Legalized gambling would introduce an undesirable element to our islands, and would have a highly detrimental effect on the tourist industry," Dianne Kay, president for the Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, said Monday.

Hawaii and Utah are the only two states without any form of legalized gambling….

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

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Sumitomo, Bombardier file rail contract complaints

Bombardier Vice President Andy Robbins said his firm is objecting to being disqualified as a bidder a few days before the winning bid was announced. Robbins said the city disqualified Bombardier because it sought to clarify some legal language in the city’s request for qualifications notice.

Robbins said the request was made last year, but Bombardier was only notified that it was being disqualified prior to Mayor Peter Carlisle announcing the winning bidder.

“The city really has the obligation to have meaningful discussions with the offerers,” Robbins said. “If they see a potential flaw, especially something rising to the level of disqualification, they really have an obligation to point that out.”

Bombardier is asking that the city reinstate the company’s bid and complete the contract evaluations of all three proposals.

News Release:  Sumitomo Files Protest: Flawed Rail bid selection may cost taxpayers $900M

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Mufi: Polls shows I could be Viable Candidate against Case

The results (which are not fully public yet) show Case with a five percentage point advantage over Hannemann, who is ahead of other democrats seen as potential candidates, including U.S. Representatives Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa.

"It's certainly a great way to start a campaign. Of course all that matters is what voters do on election day, and election day is sixteen months away from today," Case said.

"This is a very encouraging survey. It was done by a credible local polling firm," Hannemann said. "It shows that I would be a very viable candidate for the senate should I decide to run."

Between March 18 and April 3, SMS polled 400 registered voters on Oahu and 100 each from the Big Island, Maui and Kauai counties.

Most interesting comment: “Colleen Hanabusa has been making calls for over 2 weeks to tell people that she is running for the Senate seat”

WT: Republicans continue to view this race as a promising pickup opportunity

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Coffman takes over as state House Energy Committee chairman

Big Island Rep. Denny Coffman is taking over as chairman for the House Energy & Environmental Protection Committee.

The House unanimously voted him chairman last week to replace former Kauai Rep. Hermina Morita, who Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed as chairwoman for the Public Utilities Commission.

Coffman, a Democrat representing Keauhou-Honokohau, previously served as vice chairman for the committee since the 2009 legislative session, the first after his 2008 election.

(Coffman will become next Big Wind Co-conspirator)

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Borreca Touts Doomsday Cult:  Believers in 'peak oil' preparing for when a fill-up costs $100 (OHA’s latest money-making scam)

the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its October 2010 "Annual World Report" stated that peak oil actually "arrived in 2006."

Richard Ha, a Big Island farmer and environmentalist, says the Earth is likely approaching or already at a state of peak oil.  Yes, he says, there will always be a lot of oil in the ground, but extracting it will cost as much as the oil is worth.  (Thus proving that Ha knows NOTHING about economics.)

Another energy expert, Fereidun Fesharaki, East-West Center petroleum expert and a senior fellow, predicts $200 barrel gallon oil within five years. At that price you will be paying $6 a gallon at the pump.  Fesharaki puts $400 worth of gas in his car every month to power his commute from Mililani. The rational driver should expect to pay between $800 and $1,000 as oil prices continue to rise, he says.  (In other words, this is the goal of environmentalists.)

Fesharaki says that the electric car isn't really the solution because, at least here in Hawaii, charging stations like the one in the Capitol basement are wired into the HECO grid, which gets its power by burning hydrocarbons. (Duh!)

That's where Ha comes in with his hope that someday we will power our island state with a clean and responsible geothermal program. (And this may be possible because OHA now will profit from the GEO because OHA now owns Wao Kele O Puna—Hawaii’s biggest Geothermal resource.)

So the purpose of the Peak Oil Cult in Hawaii is to line OHA’s pockets.

REALITY: Debunking the Myth of Peak Oil - Why the Age of Cheap Oil is Far From Over

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Kauai Council:  They already knew prior to the meeting that Kuali‘i was going to be chosen

However, some neither clapped nor laughed. They already knew prior to the meeting that Kuali‘i was going to be chosen.

“We were told who was going to be,” said Maxine Correa, one of the nine applicants for the position.

Correa, who served as a councilwoman for 12 years, said she was saddened the decision was made prior to Monday’s meeting, but still attended hoping for a chance to speak prior to Kuali‘i’s nomination.

She said the council should have nominated Kuali‘i after the public had an opportunity to testify on behalf of other candidates.

Correa wasn’t the only one to voice criticism over the process.

“After Friday I found out that I had already lost,” said Sandi Kato-Klutke, who served on the county Planning Commission for six years.

She said one of her supporters called her to let her know she had lost.

“My supporters called (the council members) and they said, ‘Oh, KipuKai already has four of our votes, no sense she even come to the meeting,’” Kato-Klutke said.

The floor was open for public testimony after Bynum’s motion. All of the several speakers endorsed Kuali‘i.

The list of nine applicants was kept confidential. Correa said Asing and Kapa‘a resident James “Kimo” Rosen also applied. Council members would not release the name of the other applicants.

“I don’t know why it has to be confidential,” Yukimura said.

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Castle & Cooke strikes deal on proposed Molokai wind project

The agreement would allow Pattern Energy Group to develop up to 200 megawatts of wind power on Molokai in tandem with 200 megawatts Castle & Cooke is proposing for Lanai. Under the plan wind energy from both projects would be transmitted to Oahu via an undersea cable.

Castle & Cooke initially received approval to develop a full 400 megawatts of wind power on Lanai alone. The agreement was later amended to split the 400 megawatts evenly between Lanai and Molokai. Under that deal Castle & Cooke was to develop 200 megawatts on Lanai with Boston-based First Wind LLC pursuing 200 megawatts on Molokai.

However, First Wind was unable to reach an agreement with landowner Molokai Ranch to buy or lease land for its project. First Wind also missed a deadline set by the Public Utilities Commission to advance its proposal. That opened the door for San Francisco-based Pattern to pursue the Molokai part of the so-called “Big Wind” project.

Pattern said it has been identified by Molokai Ranch as the preferred developer should the project move forward. The project has met with community opposition on Molokai.

PBN:  Castle & Cooke, Pattern Energy agree to 'Big Wind' deal

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Prison activists brief Hawaii lawmakers about how to let even more criminals loose

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers are hearing from legal experts about a national project designed to increase public safety, reduce prison spending and create alternate criminal justice strategies.

Two people from the Department of Justice's Justice Reinvestment Initiative will brief state legislators Tuesday

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative uses extensive collection and analysis of crime statistics, correction procedures and resources to help reduce corrections spending and redirect savings to alternate criminal justice strategies.

Alternative Criminal Justice Strategy: Gaming debt was trigger in fatal beating

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Act 221 Scammers: Economic recovery relies on supporting homelessness Industry

We must identify and incentivize them into rebuilding their lives. It’s a condition of fixing everything else. If they don’t like the shelters, let’s change the model.

Hats off to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for releasing funds to kick off the New Day Work Projects initiative, and to state Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland for her efforts at finding vacant rental units and acquiring property that can be used for permanent housing for the homeless and for those at risk. Let’s do everything we can do and spend whatever it takes. Yes, it’s that important.

As they go, we go. This is not just another budget debate. It’s Job One. We can’t make things right until we get them back in the boat.

Abercrombie: Helping Hawaii’s people: A model partnership to help end homelessness

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GOVERNOR APPOINTS FIRST DEPUTY HEALTH DIRECTOR

News Release – Governor Neil Abercrombie announced today the appointment of Keith Yamamoto as the First Deputy Director of the Department of Health.

For the last six years, Mr. Yamamoto has served as the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administrator in the Department of Health’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division.  In this position he has provided overall leadership and guidance regarding the statewide operation of prevention, intervention and treatment services.  Mr. Yamamoto previously served as the Children and Youth Program Development Officer in the Office of Youth Services-Program Development Office; he has also worked in the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations as a Program Coordinator for the Kaimuki School-to-Work Transition Center and a Career Counselor for the McKinely School-to-Work Transition Center.

Mr. Yamamoto holds a State of Hawai'i Certification as a Substance Abuse Program Administrator.  He earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Hawai'i and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Northern Colorado.  Mr. Yamamoto graduated from Pearl City High School.

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VIDEO: Debris from Japan tsunami will wash ashore on Hawaii

This sure makes all the frenzy over plastic bags look so petty….

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Trace Levels of Radiation Detected in Hawaii Milk

A new EPA report shows low levels of radioactive particles have been found in samples of milk on the Big Island.

EPA spokesman Dean Higuchi tells Civil Beat these are the first findings of radiation in Hawaii's milk supply since the Japanese nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

Officials with the Food and Drug Administration say the levels of Iodine-131, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 found in the milk in Hawaii were still hundreds of times below any level requiring concern. Trace amounts of radiation has also been detected in milk in West Coast states and in Vermont.

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Akaka also fails for 11 years to get Whistleblower Bill Passed

Sen. Akaka has tried every year since 2000 to get Congress to strengthen federal law for government workers who draw attention to criminal or civil wrongdoing.

Akaka’s latest bill builds upon the 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act by adding provisions designed to encourage or empower federal employees to speak out.

For instance, the legislation would suspend the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals sole jurisdiction over federal employee whistleblower cases for a period of five years. Akaka added this section because the court has a reputation for ruling against federal whistleblowers who have endured retaliation for their actions. Instead, workers would be able to seek a jury trial anywhere in the country.

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Akaka Campaign Strategist found dead at 57

In 1992, Kuwata joined Bill Carrick, a Los Angeles-based Democratic strategist and Kuwata's longtime friend and campaign partner, as a top strategist for Dianne Feinstein, helping win the U.S. Senate seat she still holds. Kuwata helped Feinstein win reelection several times and, up until his death, was talking up her prospects for another run in 2012.

Other clients included Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka, former Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice). In 2008, he helped then-Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign team manage the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

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Is Donald’s Trump Birther baloney a vast conspiracy ... to get Obama re-elected?

Having written three books and dozens of columns debunking urban legends, myths, rumors, tall tales, half-truths and general crackpottery, I’m hardly one to jump on the “Aha!” bandwagon, but I’m starting to think Donald Trump is spearheading a vast conspiracy.

To get Barack Obama re-elected.

Wisdom: Trump aiding Obama camp

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And the answer is…YES! -- Trump Will ‘Probably’ Run as Independent If He Doesn’t Win GOP Nomination

Donald Trump will “probably” run as an independent candidate for U.S. President in 2012 if he does not receive the Republican party’s nomination, he told the Wall Street Journal in a video interview on Monday.  (Thus proving that his goal is the same as all leaders of Birtherism—to keep Obama in power by disorienting his opponents.)

Shapiro: Trump plays the chump on Obama’s birth

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Obama’s sister, Aunt keep talking Birtherism Up

Who will Obama deploy next?  They’ve got to keep this story alive.

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