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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
April 19, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:46 PM :: 8117 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Abercrombie to Conference Committee: We Must Raise Taxes!

Inouye: Ed Case will not be allowed to Crucify Me

Inouye claims Lingle supports current version of Akaka Bill

Carlisle nominates Horner, Okinaga, Hong to Transit Authority

Redistricting Committee Log jam to be Broken by Recktenwald

The chair names floated by Democrats are said to include attorney Allen Hoe, a supporter of Neil Abercrombie; Bishop Museum executive Tim Johns; Lynn McCrory of the Kauai Economic Development Board; and Leeward Oahu community leader Tesha Malama.

Republicans have suggested former Adjutant General Robert Lee, retired Hilo businessman Harvey Tajiri, former Big Island politician Virginia Isbell and Honolulu attorney Christian Adams.

Deputy Attorney General Robyn Chun, who has been providing legal advice to commissioners, confirmed Monday that the body's chance to pick its chair is now over as it's been more than 30 days since the eight members were certified. The Supreme Court will indeed need to step in and make the pick, a process described by Article IV of the Hawaii Constitution.

Chun said she was not aware of any announcement from the court as of yet.

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Hawaii, Yes We Can Cut Government and Stop Excessive Spending – Without Increased Taxes

Do you believe all those recent sad Hawaii news headlines about the proposed legislative budget that has cut government services in Hawaii so deeply that all the needy are in great peril?

I don’t believe these sob stories, because they’re not true.

And I’m down at the State Capitol every day, all day.

With just one side of the story being reported, you may be led to believe there is no alternative plan to the one that proposes continued government expansion and tax increases to support that growth.

Rubbish!

The mainstream media, soft on economic and fiscal background knowledge, rely on press releases and sound bites from majority party lawmakers, their own liberal bias, and social lobbyists, to paint a false picture of what is really happening with the state’s $21 billion plus biennium budget.

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MMMC nurses protest growing cuts in contract (HGEA Circus to pressure Legislators for Tax Hikes)

More than 100 nurses from Maui Memorial Medical Center rallied Monday and plan to gather again Thursday to protest terms of a new contract with the state.

They are concerned about the continuation of pay cuts imposed two years ago, with new cuts in benefits on top.

The growing disparity between what a nurse makes at the hospital and what one can make at a private hospital, or on the Mainland, is damaging the hospital, said Barbara Duarte, an operating room nurse and union steward of the operating room group for the nurses represented by the Hawaii Government Employee Association.

She said about 160 nurses attended a meeting last week to discuss the proposed terms. She hoped for even more nurses, family members and supporters at the sign-waving Monday at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. The rally will be repeated from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday.

PHOTOS: Nurses appeal for public’s care

KITV: HGEA Members Voice Concern Over Contract--Pay, Benefit Cuts Expected To Save State $160M

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Medicaid cuts of $180M warned (Abercrombie’s DoHS Boss stages Tax Hike Dog n Pony show for Conference Committees)

The next two years of federal Medicaid cuts will chop at least $150 million out of health care, affecting one out of every five Hawaii residents, and state legislators are looking for an additional $30 million in savings, the head of the state Department of Human Services told groups attending simultaneous town hall meetings last night.

The loss of state and federal money for Quest and QExA over the next two years "will have an impact on the community, there's no doubt about that," Patricia McManaman told about 75 people at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center in a presentation that was also seen via video conference in Waimanalo and Koolauloa.

"Any further additional cuts, as proposed by the Legislature, will clearly eviscerate Medicaid. … It's a difficult task emotionally because we have an acute sense of the impact," McManaman said.

KITV: Hawaii Leaders Look To Cut $150 Million From Medicaid

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State's financial woes could mean fewer options for students in the fall (So we must raise taxes!)

Chancellor Donald O. Straney met Friday with College of Arts and Sciences faculty and provided them with a sobering picture of the university system's budget. While the state Legislature has yet to pass its spending bill for next year, Straney said UHH should be prepared for significant cuts to its general fund.

"The budget is a pressing issue for us," he said. "I'm meeting with the (department) chairs all week, and I'm asking them to come up with possible courses that can be canceled. ... Each small contribution adds to quite a bit of savings."

(More tax-hike propaganda aimed at the Conference Committees.)

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Businesses suffer from fewer Japanese flights (So we must raise taxes!)

Japan Airlines latest announcement extends its reduction in flights from Japan to Honolulu by another month through May.

"They're just playing it by ear. If demand is there they'll turn on the switch and line up the planes," said Hans Hedemann who owns a surf school in Waikiki.

About a third of his clients come from Japan. The upside is April is usually slow.

But Hedemann knows other companies that are suffering big time.

"Some of the vendors and the Japanese agents that we do business with say that they're down about fifty percent," he said.

The cuts have been drastic for Odoriko Japanese Restaurant. Normally, the crowd is eighty percent Japan Japanese.

"Now that's kind of turned over. Now it's more twenty percent Japanese and more American and European customers," restaurant vice president Rie Takei said. 

The Hawaii Tourism Authority projected last month that traffic from Japan would fall by about ten percent. So far it's been pretty close.

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Another Abercrombie Appointment bites the dust

John Garibaldi, formerly of the Hawaii Superferry, was asked to step down as a nominee for the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund Board, after Gov. Neil Abercrombie relayed that Garibaldi may be in conflict as a member of the DTRIC Insurance Board of Directors.

Garibaldi was already meeting with Senators and on the agenda when he got the word from the governor’s staff that if there was a hurricane, the Hurricane Relief Fund Board could vote to place a surcharge on premiums paid to local property and casualty insurance companies. If that happened, Garibaldi may have a conflict of interest, he was told.

Garibaldi told Hawaii Reporter that he was surprised that his candidacy was not vetted earlier in the process. He’d already been meeting with Senators and felt he had wasted their time.

CB: Abercrombie appoints more Donors than Lingle

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6 transit board nominees named

City officials yesterday named the majority of the 10-member board that will oversee Honolulu's rail transit project.

Six members were announced: three from the mayor's office and three from the City Council.

Mayor Peter Carlisle's appointees are:

  • » Don Horner, most recently picked as chairman of the state Board of Education, and also chairman and chief executive officer of First Hawaiian Bank.
  • » William "Buzzy" Hong, former executive director of the Hawaii Building and Construction Trades Council, and a former Ho­no­lulu police officer.
  • » Carrie Okinaga, city corporation counsel who will resign from that position by June 30.

Each member of the City Council submitted a nominee for the board, and of those, only three were chosen by City Council Chairman Nestor Garcia and Council Transportation Chairman Breene Harimoto. They are:

  • » Ivan Lui-Kwan, an attorney and former director of the city Department of Budget and Fiscal Services.
  • » Keslie Hui, development manager for Forest City Enterprises.
  • » Damien Kim, business manager and financial secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union.

Not Named: Todd Apo and KoOlina: Ethics Violation kept secret since 2007

Shapiro: All tracks lead to Don Horner

News Release: Carlisle nominates Horner, Okinaga, Hong to Transit Authority

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Carlisle, Caldwell, Prevedouros: Next year's mayoral race could be re-run of last year's

Last week it was $1,000 a pop at the Pacific Club; tonight it is $150 to $2,000 for what Mayor Peter Carlisle calls "a star-studded event."

The mayor appears to be running a campaign as the angry outsider.  (Sigh.  Yes, this column is by Richard Borreca.)

"Steps are being taken to remove the specter of politics from Honolulu Hale," Carlisle says in his campaign fundraising webpage.  (Is this a joke?)

According to state campaign spending reports, Caldwell ended last year with a $177,000 campaign debt, but he is thinking about running against Carlisle again next year.

"I remain very interested in continuing to serve, particularly as mayor of Honolulu," Caldwell said in an interview yesterday. "I am seriously looking at the race," he, said, adding that he has yet to start raising money for a campaign…. (Just a month ago he was rearranging the Congressional Delegation….)

Also expected to run again is Prevedouros, who has run unsuccessfully twice before….already Prevedouros is drawing support from the GOP camp. Because rail is still controversial and lacks wide public consensus, Carlisle and even Caldwell will have trouble finding majority support. Both, however, have remained strong supporters of the city's rail plan, but the public's own division will make support for rail an issue again next year.

March: Hanabusa, Hirono, Akaka: Make way for Captain Kirk

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Hirono Steps up Fundraising after Akaka Announcement

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who is thinking about a run for U.S. Senate, raised more than $100,000 in the first quarter of the year, federal campaign-finance reports show.

Hirono raised most of the money in March after U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, announced that he would not seek another term next year.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, who is also considering a Senate campaign, raised $33,000 in the first quarter and had $71,589 in cash on hand.

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Rally today to support HB1520 and “on-bill financing” of clean energy solutions

The Blue Planet Foundation is sponsoring a rally today at the Capitol (12:30-1 p.m.) in support of HB1520.

(HECO is resisting support for individual home installations because they contribute to the 15% maximum intermittent power sources per circuit, but they do not allow HECO to be rewarded with higher rates because they are not HECO investments.)

Senate amendments to the bill made it less objectionable to Hawaiian Electric, which had questioned whether it would actually be cost-effective.

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Sovereignty activist, convicted killer, faces eviction after decade of squatting

The complaint names Abel Lui (convicted of Manslaughter April 11, 1977), his sister Ah Lui, William Viernes-Keawepoepoe, John Herman, Mark Thomas, Harvey Keliikoa, Thomas Anthony and other "John and Jane Doe" unnamed defendants living on the property.

If the previous landowner already won an eviction action in 2002, how would a new action have a different outcome?

"We will take the steps to enforce the writ, which didn't happen last time," said Olson Trust attorney Paul Alston. "We will take these steps as soon as the court acts -- and we're not going to let it sit. We'll ask the sheriff and the Department of Public Safety to get these people out."

Ah Lui did not respond to an emailed request for comment Monday. She had told West Hawaii Today in February that, "if title was passed to this land, he bought it with us on it."

(Sovereignty activists are recruited from Halawa Prison.  That is why so many of them are criminals.)

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SA: Slaughterhouse none of state's business (your tax dollars at work)

Having been subsidized by government for years, the owners of Oahu's only slaughterhouse would sell it to the state under terms of a bill receiving state legislative support. Such a purchase would be a drastic wrong move that could pit state government in competition with beef or pork slaughtered at facilities on neighbor islands.

A state takeover of Oahu's only federally certified slaughterhouse would result in awkward competition with privately owned slaughterhouses on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. That may be the reason that there probably is no other slaughterhouse in the nation owned by a state government.

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State, geologists create plan to prevent climate change-induced erosion at Kailua Beach (Your tax dollars at work)

The state and coastal geologists have prepared a plan to protect sand dunes on Oahu's Kailua Beach from erosion that scientists predict will occur as (non-existent) global warming causes sea levels to (pretend to) rise.

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Kona Farmers: Coffee Bill On Gov's Desk Creates More Confusion, Not Less

A bill awaiting Gov. Neil Abercrombie's signature is intended to prevent mislabeling of Kona coffee blends. But Big Island coffee farmers opposed to the bill say it will actually make the problem worse.

House Bill 1552, sent by the Hawaii Legislature to the governor on Monday, aims to cut down on what lawmakers say is mislabeling of Kona coffee blends. The bill would essentially limit the use of “Kona” on coffee packaging — unless the product is made from 100 percent Kona coffee beans or if the word is part of a company's name.

“The intent of the bill is to improve the labeling so it’s clear to the buying public that they are buying a blend instead of 100 percent Kona coffee,” said Rep. Denny Coffman, who sponsored the bill and represents North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, and Honokohau.

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Hawaii Bio-Gasification Project features in Corporate Buyout (your ratepayer and tax dollars at work)

ClearFuels is developing potential biomass-to-energy projects in the Southeastern U.S., Hawaii and internationally that would use the integrated ClearFuels-Rentech design and be co-located at sugar mills and wood processing facilities. The ClearFuels-Rentech design can be deployed to help achieve compliance with the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme as well as other low carbon fuels standards and renewable mandates.

ClearFuels is in active negotiations with Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO) for a long-term conditional off-take contract for renewable diesel for fueling of a power generator to be produced at its proposed Hawaii project that would utilize the ClearFuels biomass gasification process and Rentech’s synthetic fuels technology to produce synthetic diesel fuel from bagasse. Any agreement that results from these negotiations would be contingent upon approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. ClearFuels plans to continue its negotiations with HECO, and pursue the development of the Hawaii project, with the full support of Rentech.

Consideration for the shares of ClearFuels to be acquired by Rentech consists of the obligations taken on by Rentech in the Project Support Agreement to support the construction of the ClearFuels technology at Rentech’s PDU. In connection with the transactions contemplated by the option agreement and the Project Support Agreement, Rentech will also issue a warrant to purchase approximately two million shares of Rentech common stock and provide the minority shareholders in ClearFuels with a carried interest in the Hawaii project, if that project is successfully developed.

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