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Saturday, June 25, 2011
June 25, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:54 AM :: 10746 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

VIDEO: Homeless Tent City at Keaau Beach Park

State's 'best, final' offer to HSTA includes wage cut, no mention of 180-day law

The "last, best and final offer" includes a:

  • 1.5 percent reduction in the teachers' salary schedule and acceptance of leave without pay on certain non-instructional days for a total temporary wage reduction equivalent to 5 percent;
  • Increased preparation time for teachers;
  • A 50 percent employee contribution for health benefits, up from the current 40 percent.

In an e-mail to teachers this morning, HSTA President Wil Okabe gave the state's proposal a "B-minus."

(Not a single word about the 180-day school year....)

KITV: State Asks Teachers For 5% Cut

CB: Last, Best, Final Offer' For Hawaii Teacher Contracts

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Even Abercrombie's Supporters Are Questioning His Progress

At a crowded town meeting Thursday night, Abercrombie sometimes used campaign slogans that he’s been relying upon for the past year, long before he was elected in November.

"In Hawaii, in paradise, our diversity defines and does not divide us," he told the audience of more than 200 people.

Several of his political advisers said they've asked him to stop using that kind of campaign rhetoric so he can get specific about fixing the state's problems….

But I voted for you, because you were in Washington D.C., and you had all the ins and what not. And, excuse me, what are doing now?" Mansfield said.

Political analyst Neal Milner said Abercrombie is learning that being governor is different and often more difficult from running for governor.  (Give him time.  He’s only been in government for 37 years.)

"He keeps saying that he wants his own appointees to be put in so that he can accomplish his agenda," former KITV political reporter Denby Fawcett said. "But, the trouble is, he hasn't told us yet what his agenda is."

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Interview: Richard Borreca weighs in on governor's perceived mishaps

In terms of public relations, it's been a rough few weeks for Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Everything from his comments about the Pro Bowl to asking for resignations from Lingle appointees.

On Thursday night, in what was supposed to be a "conversation" with the governor, turned into a carefully scripted Q and A.

The questions were submitted in advance, screened and asked by the governor's press secretary.

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Appointees respond to governor’s request

Jerry Edlao and David Goode, who are on the Board of Land and Natural Resources, said they would wait to discuss their responses until Abercrombie has had a chance to see their letters.

Edlao said Friday that Abercrombie had held off talking to reporters until they had received his letters requesting they step down, and he and Goode wanted to show him the same courtesy. Edlao expects to be ready to speak about his decision Monday or Tuesday.

Though not making a direct statement, he gave a strong hint which way he will go, saying "an awful lot of work needs to be done" and "you've got to have some continuity."

Shapiro: Different sort of folks sought for state boards and sandbar

SA: Governor gets 1 appointee's papers

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VIDEO: Hawaii Redistricting Commission… Who counts?

One of the early hang-ups in the redistricting process… the question of how to consider nonresident members of the military and students in the drawing of the new political boundaries.

Deputy Corporation Counsel Michael Udovic offered his legal opinion.

The media has reported that the same consideration at the state level could change the landscape of Hawaii, and even gain the Big Island a representative seat.

As the statewide Hawaii Reapportionment Commission debates, as does Hawaii County.

Some commissioners were already expressing concern over how the reapportionment decisions made by the state will impact Hawaii County’s process.

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Hawaii law hikes employee contributions, lowers return assumption

Hawaii state employees will contribute an additional 2% of their annual pay to their pension plans as part of a bill drafted by the $11.5 billion Hawaii Employees' Retirement System, Honolulu, and signed Thursday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

The new law also lowers the system's rate-of-return assumption to 7.75% from 8% and gives the board the authority to adjust the return rate assumption, a duty once held by the Hawaii Legislature.

In addition, the law raises the retirement age for new public employees to 65 from 62, and doubles to 10 the number of years a public employee must work before becoming vested.

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Paltry $55M Kept In Federal Budget For Rail

The fact that, in a climate of cutbacks, Honolulu's project was able to get the full $55 million speaks volumes about the federal support for this project. This is a major achievement and positions us well for future funding requests -- and we are grateful to Hawaii's Congressional delegation for their support," Mayor Peter Carlisle said in a written statement.

The city broke ground in February on the planned 20-mile elevated rail line running from Kapolei to Ala Moana.

But construction can't begin until a final design is approved.

PBN: City and County of Honolulu rejects losing rail bidders’ protests

SA: Rejected by City, At least one losing rail bidder will file an appeal with the state government

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Finger Pointing Continues: KS now sez it was trying to salvage deal from DHHL incompetence by grabbing for Jeff Stone’s Affordable Housing Credits

The organization said that obtaining potentially lucrative affordable housing credits was not a reason for trying to restructure the project.  "Affordable housing credits going to Kamehameha Schools was never a motivating factor," the nonprofit educational trust said in a statement.  (Does anybody believe this BS?)

Stone said Thursday that changes Kamehameha Schools made to the original agreement were key to the deal falling apart….

DHHL and Kamehameha Schools were supposed to have examined the property and been ready to accept the gift by Feb. 11.

On Dec. 21, Kamehameha Schools informed Stone it was ready to accept the donation on Feb. 11. But DHHL asked for an extension to Aug. 30 because of delays with its due-diligence work.

Kamehameha Schools said Friday it proposed an alternative known as "Plan B" to buy all 300 acres from Stone for $8 million as a way to "keep the deal moving forward" so DHHL could complete its due diligence after Stone denied DHHL an extension.

The credits issued by DHHL could be used to satisfy state or county requirements for a developer to build affordable housing.

Under the original deal, the credits were to be given to Stone, though Stone has repeatedly said that he does not need and would not use, transfer or sell the credits.  (Does anybody believe that BS?)

Under Plan B, Kamehameha Schools would have gotten the credits, which had the potential to be used to satisfy future affordable housing requirements that include 550 homes in Kakaako where the trust plans to build condominiums and apartments.

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17 years of ILWU Retaliation—still no back pay for Whistleblower

Tahara was beaten and partially blinded by a fellow stevedore in 1994, then spent nearly two years in witness protection on the Mainland while Honolulu police and the FBI investigated waterfront corruption here.

The assault occurred after Tahara reported that some dockworkers were being paid for work they didn’t perform….

The arbitrator, Ted Tsukiyama, said Tahara had suffered “a savage life-threatening beating and lifetime visual disability, (and) a transfer to a clerk job he was ill-suited for.”

“But for his courageous act of ‘whistleblowing’ and the dire consequences that followed, he … would have suffered no financial cost and emotional anguish while in involuntary witness protection program isolation,” Tsukiyama found.

“In recognition for all his sacrifices he should have been afforded a hero’s welcome at his attempted return to work, but instead was met as an unwanted outcast by his employers and his peers,” the arbitrator ruled.

Tsukiyama directed the union and McCabe to settle on the amount owed to Tahara. After more than six years of disagreement, the parties went back to Tsukiyama and asked him to decide the number.

He ruled that Tahara was owed $355,580.99. Federal District Judge Helen Gilmor confirmed that award in 2008.

This week, Tahara filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against the ILWU.  “The labor organization has refused to enforce an arbitration award for back pay owed,” the complaint said.

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SA: Don’t reduce social studies

“Math and science gave us the atomic bomb, but the ethics and morals of using it inculcation of guilt and shame is what students get in social studies….”

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Clinton Crony appeals for tax breaks to create bigger role for state in film industry

Part-time Maui resident and chief executive officer of Relativity Media, Ryan Kavanaugh, outlined his plan Thursday to reinvigorate Hawaii's film industry by constructing two film studios that could create thousands of jobs. Kavanaugh asked county and state officials to support proposed tax incentives for the construction of new facilities and for actual film production.

Kavanaugh, whose credits as a producer include "The Fighter," "Zombieland" and the upcoming "Cowboys & Aliens" and "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," was the keynote speaker at the Hawaii State Association of Counties conference at the Grand Wailea.

AP: Movie mogul wants to build 2 Hawaii studios 

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Ryan, Rollman, Douglass, Brackins, Carroll: A Lewd, Offensive and Racist Hawaii Tale

As for "the offending e-mail," Ryan said it came from Dan Douglass, another person working out of Carroll's office.  (HONOR? THEY ALL RAT EACH OTHER OUT)

But Douglass said it came from Daniel Brackins, yet another person working out of Carroll's office. Douglass also confirmed for investigators that it was Ryan's voice on the audio recording impersonation of Rollman, and that Brackins can be heard laughing in the background.

Brackins, too, confirmed that it was Ryan's voice on the recording but said it was Ryan, not Brackins, who sent "the offending e-mail."

At the conclusion of his letter to Chief Kealoha, Prosecutor Van Marter said there was "sufficient evidence to believe" that Ryan sent the email and posted the recording.

The investigation also determined that both suspect Ryan and complainant Rollman "engaged in harassment by impersonation." Van Marter concludes….

Read the full prosecutor's letter here: Prosecutor's letter (10 pages and it names Eric Ryan, Dan Douglass, Dan Brackins, John Carroll, and Keith Rollman)

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No Charges Filed in Hawaii Lawmaker 'Hacking' Case

Pine, a Republican representing Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point and Puuloa in the Hawaii House of Representatives, said Friday that she is continuing to pursue legal recourse.

"I cannot confirm or deny that a case is going on with the FBI," she said. "But multiple incidents with Mr. Eric Ryan's harassment of me have been reported to authorities, and Mr. Ryan has been trying to extort money from me for a very long time. I do not owe him any money, and I have all records and receipt showing such."

Ryan, Honolulu Councilmember Tom Berg's chief of staff, did not respond to Civil Beat's call Friday morning.

"Every type of civil and legal action is being considered against him so that I can prevent him from victimizing anyone else in the future," said Pine. "My whole reason for coming forward is to make sure there are no other victims after me."

…Daniel Brackens, a (Ron Paul 2008 Hawaii campaign leader and) Los Angeles-based online media specialist who has also done campaign work for Pine, told Civil Beat Friday that Ryan does indeed have domain ownership….


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Hawaii laws target sex and labor trafficking

Hawaii is cracking down on prostitution and worker exploitation by passing new laws amid the nation's largest-ever human trafficking case.

Hawaii was one of only four states lacking a labor trafficking law or a sex trafficking law before Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the measures this week, according to the Polaris Project, a Washington-based advocacy group against human trafficking.

HB141, HB240: http://capitol.hawaii.gov

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Budget: Kona Faction draws a bead on Fred Blas

WHT (voice of Kona faction): Fred Blas offered no reasons for his dissenting vote Friday morning, as he and three Hilo council members defeated a measure to hire an outside attorney to evaluate the County Council's amended budget.

The council is still scheduled to meet next week to consider overriding Mayor Billy Kenoi's veto.

Blas, who represents Lower Puna, did not respond to messages seeking comment on his decision. Hilo Councilmen Donald Ikeda, Dennis Onishi and J Yoshimoto spoke out against hiring an attorney, at the cost of $8,000, to review Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida's determination that portions of the council's amended budget were illegal and violated the county charter's separation of powers provisions.

The council needed six affirmative votes to hire its own attorney. Five council members supported the measure.

Ikeda offered an "I told you so" explanation for voting against the measure.

HTH: Budget battle nears finale

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Bowing to NIMBYs, Kauai Council orders Boatyard Removed from Hanalei River

The notice directs Michael Keola Sheehan, owner of Hanalei River Watersports and Hanalei River Enterprises, to cease and desist unpermitted activities at his boatyard on the south bank of the Hanalei River and to remove from the premises all associated equipment and temporary structures within 10 days or else face injunctions, penalties of up to $10,000 and civil fines of up to $500 per day.

“There are pre-existing permits, and there’s nothing more that Sheehan needs to obtain,” Sheehan’s attorney Richard Wilson said on Friday. “It’s purely political. There’s a very vocal minority that is anti-business, anti-boating and anti-Sheehan.”….

“(Sheehan) originally obtained permits to build a fully functioning boat yard,” Wilson said. “The master permits were revoked and that’s presently being appealed.”

In 1987, Sheehan applied for and received a Special Management Area Permit, a Use Permit, a Special Permit and a Class IV Zoning Permit. The permits were subject to 13 conditions.

During May of last year, Kaua‘i Planning Commission voted unanimously to revoke 23-year-old permits for the boatyard.

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Episcopal, Jewish leaders back Muslim Assn. of Hawaii

The Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii is hosting the first “Faith Shared: Uniting in Prayer and Understanding” service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral at 5:30 p.m.

The initiative, co-sponsored by the national Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First, was prompted by violence and verbal abuse against Muslims in the U.S., portrayed for months in the national media, said Cecilia Fordham, Episcopal coordinator of the event….

Speakers include Ismail El-Sheikh, imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii; Lorraine Gershun of Temple Emmanu-El Honolulu (on behalf of Rabbi Peter Schaktman, who will be out of town); Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick, head of the Episcopal

Understand this: Muslims expel reformer from Manoa mosque, claim Arabs discovered Hawaii, Hawaii “Islam Day” secretly marks September 11, On the trail to Hawaii Islam Day: Saudi money, Libyan assassins, Palestinian Jihad, London bombers, Malaysian sodomy, and laughing Islamists

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Hawaiian Telcom gets a license for cable TV

Oahu consumers will have more choice and pricing options for cable TV once Hawaiian Telecom rolls out its new video service, broadening its competition with Oceanic Time Warner Cable across three telecommunication platforms.

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs issued a 15-year cable franchise license to Hawaiian Telecom on Friday. The decision, which allows Hawaiian Telcom to offer video service over its phone lines, means that the company now can bundle services like Internet, land-line phone and video for some Oahu customers.

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Hawaii Hispanic News drops print edition—goes online only

Hawaii Hispanic News has followed suit, according to an announcement last Saturday evening on the Ray Cruz’s Sabor Tropicale public radio show. The paper is published monthly but now will be published here http://www.hawaiihispanicnews.org/.

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Pattern Energy stays committed to wind farm

Parquet said the three meetings were attended mostly by the same people, estimating that the turnout was about 25 people each night. While he acknowledged there was opposition to the wind farm, he said the project would hinge on ensuring that the residents of Molokai had a strong benefits package that would balance the benefits of the project for the rest of the state….

In interviews leading up to the meetings, local residents and community leaders indicated to PBN that resistance to the Big Wind project had grown increasingly widespread and organized since First Wind’s departure.

Several people noted that opposition to the project was intensified because Molokai Ranch, which has a history of tension with the community, was supporting Pattern Energy. The developer has signed a lease option with the ranch for 11,000 acres.

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AP: Wind Farms could “Mess up traffic lights, security systems and some computers”

A yearlong experiment with the nation's electric grid could mess up traffic lights, security systems and some computers — and make plug-in clocks and appliances like programmable coffeemakers run up to 20 minutes fast.

"A lot of people are going to have things break and they're not going to know why," said Demetrios Matsakis, head of the time service department at the U.S. Naval Observatory, one of two official timekeeping agencies in the federal government….

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. runs the nation's interlocking web of transmission lines and power plants. A June 14 company presentation spelled out the potential effects of the change: East Coast clocks may run as much as 20 minutes fast over a year, but West Coast clocks are only likely to be off by 8 minutes. In Texas, it's only an expected speedup of 2 minutes.

Some parts of the grid, like in the East, tend to run faster than others. Errors add up. If the grid averages just over 60 cycles a second, clocks that rely on the grid will gain 14 seconds per day, according to the company's presentation.

In the future, more use of renewable energy from the sun and wind will mean more variations in frequency on the grid, McClelland said. Solar and wind power can drop off the grid with momentary changes in weather. Correcting those deviations is expensive and requires instant backup power to be always at the ready, he said.

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