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Tuesday, July 19, 2011
July 19, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:59 PM :: 14376 Views

 One more chance to see Space Shuttle from Hawaii

Hokulia Bypass Case Appealed to US Supreme Court

Calif. Supreme Court: EIS can be required for Plastic Bag Ban in Large Jurisdictions

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted July 18

Country-Western Singer Lee Greenwood to Headline Hawaii GOP Fundraiser

Study looks at Perceptions of Child Abuse and Neglect in Hawaii

 City Files Rail Lawsuit Response

The filing includes 10 different defenses, the last of which is that the plaintiffs' claims "are barred by the doctrine of laches." In effect, the city covered all bases so as to not preclude any particular defense down the road.

Read the filing: City Response to Honolulu Traffic Lawsuit

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HSTA Files Motion for Injunction, demands Return to Old Contract Terms

The teachers union has filed a motion seeking relief from the pay cuts, furloughs and higher health insurance premiums unilaterally imposed by the state July 1.

The motion, filed Monday, asks the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to restore the conditions of a contract that expired June 30 and to compel the state to return to the bargaining table.

"It's an injunction to stop the pay deductions, stop the medical deductions, stop the implementation of the furlough days," said Wil Okabe, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association….

Filed with the motion Monday were 71 exhibits, including several letters sent between the DOE and HSTA during months of tense negotiations.

IN A LETTER on June 23 to Okabe, Matayoshi and Board of Education Chairman Don Horner notified the union of their intentions to unilaterally impose the "last, best" offer.

"As you know, after many, many months of negotiations, we have been unable to reach a settlement with the HSTA," the letter said. "It is imperative that the department move forward now in order to accomplish the budget reductions and operational changes that will result in the new school year."

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Slom: New Tax Law Sending Shockwaves Through Hawaii Business Community

…opponents of this bill explained this was not a loophole but an attempt to balance out double taxation in the GET. We warned that the law would have far-reaching negative economic implications, unintended consequences and a new and heftier cost burden on Island residents.

All of this has come true since July 1 including higher airline costs, added shipping surcharges (Matson added $52 per container just for this law) , and there are new costs for sub contractors and sub lessees.

However, the other shoe has fallen. Other issues—unintended—began to surface last week as the Association of Apartment Owners began to notify owners that previously tax-excluded utility, maintenance and other separated cost items would now be subject to the 4.5% GET on Oahu. And local vendors who sell to commissaries and other federal government outlets have been notified that they are subject to the tax, making their products less competitive.

Non profits are also adversely burdened. Other transfer entities have also been informed of new tax costs.

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Abercrombie Cronies line pockets with HECO Project

Recall that DBEDT Director Richard Lim was a co-founder of Sennet Capital along with Kenton Eldridge.

Eldridge is now managing partner of Sennet Capital, and co-founder and part of the management team of Aina Koa Pono. Honolulu attorney Paul Alston, who represents Hawaiian Electric in the BlueEarth litigation, is also an investor in AKP as well as its general counsel. At the same time, Alston is a member of Sennet’s Board of Advisors and his firm represents Sennet.

Karl Stahlkopf, formerly chief technology officer for HECO and was in charge of their renewable energy efforts, moved over to Sennet Capital in 2009, and is also involved in the AKP project, according to Hurst.

Bill Kaneko, an attorney in Alston’s firm and registered lobbyist for Aina Koa Pono, was chairman of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s campaign and remains a central figure in the governor’s inner circle of advisors.

Joining Eldridge as co-founder of Aina Koa Pono is Melvin H. Chiogioji, who went out through the revolving door after 27 years in federal jobs to form his own contracting firm, Mele Associates, which has become a relatively successful defense contractor.

Chiogioji and Mele Associates were large campaign backers of Neil Abercrombie’s congressional campaigns, and were generous supporters of his gubernatorial bid as well.

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Hirono Unable to Function in Bi-Partisan Environment

For the first time in years, a Hawaii news outlet has a DC-based reporter. Here’s what has been found in the first few days.

Message: Hirono is a small-time partisan hack ill-equipped for the reality that Congress is majority Republican. Hirono’s partisan childishness will cost Hawaii money.

Related: Cut, Cap, and Balance: House to vote today on Balanced Budget Amendment, $5.8T in spending cuts

Law protects violence victims in the workplace

The plight of a West Maui woman who was fired after her employer learned she had obtained a restraining order has helped spur a new state law that advocates say could help protect victims of domestic violence in some work situations.

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Dopers Celebrate: “Hawaii Teachers Fend Off Random Drug Testing”

There will be no random drug testing of Hawaii public school teachers. A battle that began in 2007 came to a quiet end earlier this month, when the state government imposed its "last, best, and final" offer to the teachers union -- an offer that does not include random drug testing….

…the ACLU is quite happy…. "The ACLU is pleased that none of Hawaii's educators has been subjected to unconstitutional random drug testing," said Daniel Gluck, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Hawaii. "I'm fairly confident it's not going to come up again."

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Private Schools, Businesses saving Public Schools from DoE

The Lab School, a weeklong technology workshop hosted by Punahou School, introduced nine middle school teachers from six public schools on Oahu's Leeward coast to a renewable energy curriculum. It was developed by the Maui Economic Development Board's Women in Technology. The workshop focused on how to teach that curriculum with technology.

Hawaiian Electric Company supplied many of the materials for the Island Energy Inquiry and promoted its free lending library for science- and energy-related schoolroom supplies…

Partnerships like this, while not the norm, are also not unique in Hawaii. Kamehameha Schools provides support for programs like Waianae High School's Searider Productions Academy and Nanakuli High and Intermediate School's New Tech initiative. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Mao Organic Farms have also entered into partnership with the schools to use sustainable agriculture and digital media as a means for teaching entrepreneurship.

On a smaller scale, technology nonprofit Hawaiian Hope has also forged a relationship with Hauula Elementary School by distributing more than 100 laptop computers to the school's fourth, fifth and sixth graders.

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ORI’s HUD Compliance Plan kept from Public

The open house is presumably part of the organization's plans to increase use of the wellness center. On a June morning when Civil Beat visited, only five elderly people were using the facility. HUD said that the nonprofit overstated how many clients it served.

But we don't know what ORI plans to do about that, since it won't disclose the documents it says it submitted to the city Friday.

It also won't share the organization's plan to bring itself into compliance with federal guidelines, instead deferring to the city. The city, in turn, is deferring to the federal government.

Mayor Peter Carlisle's press secretary, Louise Kim McCoy, told Civil Beat via email Monday that the city is still reviewing ORI's plans. "We plan to submit the approved plans to HUD by August 1st. We will seek HUD's approval to determine if we can share our submission with you. Please check back with us after August 1st."

Background: Resignation call after Audit reveals “ward heeler’s slush fund” overseen by Honolulu Councilman

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Don’t like your lawmaker? Draw your own boundaries

For instance, if people are moving out of Makiki and people are moving into Kapolei, the new political lines reflect that. That part is easy.

What makes it interesting is how to draw those lines and the impact it will have on existing politicians. Do you move the line to take out the guaranteed supporters for a House member, can you move the line to help or hurt a senator?

Of course, the commission is not supposed to do that. But, now you can fiddle around with the lines yourself.

On the state Reapportionment Commission web site, there is a downloadable program ( for you and your buddies to draw your own reapportionment plan.

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Hawaii County to continue with Parts of Unconstitutional ‘Clean’ Elections Program

Hawaii County's publicly funded campaign pilot program should continue next year, despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling finding public matching funds unconstitutional.

The court's June 27 ruling struck down an Arizona law that had some similarities to Hawaii's law, but the ruling was narrowly focused on a portion similar to part of Hawaii law that wasn't used in the 2010 Hawaii County Council election, the first of a three-election-cycle pilot program.

The ruling applies only to candidate matching funds, known as "equalizing funds" under Hawaii state law, Gary Kam, general counsel for the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, told West Hawaii Today on Monday.

"If we have enough money to run the program, then we will not be utilizing the equalizing funds provision," Kam said.

Kam said that provision wasn't used last year because no candidate qualified to receive equalizing funds.

Equalizing funds are disbursed to a certified candidate in a contested election whenever that candidate is outspent by an opposing nonparticipating candidate.

The Supreme Court found that provision a violation of the First Amendment's free speech protections.

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Abercrombie given only Two names for Big Isle UH Regent

Once again, the regents advisory committee has given Gov. Neil Abercrombie only two candidates to pick from in filling a Big Island seat on the University of Hawai’i Board of Regents.

With no knock intended on the candidates — Kamehameha Schools vice president Gregory Chun and former Hawaii County managing director Barry Mizuno — that’s just too few for the governor to have a meaningful choice in shaping the board that directs the University of Hawai’i.

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Is HART Board Member's Link to Biggest Rail Landowner a Conflict?

The appointee, Keslie Hui, says it's not a conflict, but the link raises questions. Breene Harimoto, chair of the Honolulu City Council's Transportation Committee, didn't know about the land holdings when he appointed Hui, but told Civil Beat he "would certainly have concerns" if that were the case.

Civil Beat revealed last week the companies and governmental agencies that own most of the land within walking distance of the proposed rail line. At the top of the list — with more than 1,000 acres near the route — was Ohana Military Communities LLC, the local land ownership arm of Forest City, a national residential management company for the military that handles off-base housing for the Marines and Navy in Hawaii.

In his official bio put out by the city when the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board members were announced in April, Hui was described as "the development manager of Forest City Enterprises, where he is responsible for planning and development of a large master-planned community."

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Sen Hemmings: True Energy Independence for Hawaii

Fred Hemmings will speak to the Smart Business Hawaii group on Thursday, July 28, at the Pineapple Room, Macys’ Ala Moana. The former world champion surfer, State Senator, and now environmentally active business leader, will discuss, “True Energy Independence for Hawaii."

His talk follows last month’s speaker, technology expert and founder of Think Tech Hawaii, Jay Fidell who spoke on wind farms.

To register on line, please go to or call 396-1724.

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OHA Operatives peck away at Haleakala Telescope, seeking Baksheesh

Attorney James Kimo Frankel attempted to get project manager Craig Foltz to admit that there would be "major, permanent" adverse impacts to Native Hawaiian culture and traditions if the telescope were permitted to be erected at Science City (formally, the Haleakala High Altitude Observatory)….

Same game, different Mountain: Thirty Meter Telescope Selects Mauna Kea -- Let the looting begin!, Mauna Kea telescope debate continues

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Trask: Geothermal energy can benefit me and OHA

Hawaii OHA has much to gain by becoming a partner in the development of the geothermal assets of the ceded land trust. Energy development is the key to our future and can become a revenue stream for OHA the state. The state OHA needs that income now more than ever, and it would be folly to let the profits of geothermal development go solely to private companies.

If we make the commitment now to pursue development partnerships with a business model which returns benefits to the local community OHA cronies, incorporates provisions for small-business support, protects cultural resources and includes the state trustee (which is OHA), we will be making significant progress toward securing our energy future.

Another Geothermal Advocate in this story: Sovereignty Mortgage Scammer Keanu Sai at it again with help from Legislators, Maui Council, University

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Alexander & Baldwin and KIUC Announce Largest Solar Facility on Kauai

Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (NYSE:ALEX) (A&B) and Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) today jointly announced plans for a 6 MW utility-scale solar PV (photo-voltaic) facility on Kaua‘i’s sunny south shore.

“With these solar projects placed in service, and with the completion of previously announced projects, we anticipate that KIUC’s renewable energy portfolio will meet more than 20 percent of Kaua‘i’s annual energy needs”

A subsidiary of A&B will be the developer and operator of the facility and will sell the power to KIUC under a 20-year, fixed-rate power purchase agreement (PPA) signed today by the parties. The proposed facility, development of which is contingent on various State and County approvals, would be built on a 20-acre, industrial-zoned parcel of land owned by A&B adjacent to KIUC’s Port Allen Station power plant. The site is located in one of the highest solar radiation regions on Kaua‘i.

KGI: Developer, KIUC announce plans for solar farm

Ignore This: Hawaii’s Future? Abandoned Solar Farms Clutter California Desert

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Task Force Member wants to Keep Lobbying Legislature

Marvin Dang, an attorney who serves on the state’s mortgage foreclosure task force, has asked the state Ethics Commission to retract a May memo that warned task force members not to testify before the Legislature as paid lobbyists on matters related to the task force’s work.

Dang, representing the Hawaii Financial Services Association, had testified against a mortgage foreclosure bill that passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Leslie Kondo, the executive director of the Ethics Commission, noting that the state ethics code is meant to be “liberally construed,” held in the memo that members of task forces are state employees like members of boards, commissions and committees.

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Unity House Sells Lotus Hotel


Unity House, the Hawaii labor union-related nonprofit, said today it has sold the Lotus Hotel at Diamond Head to a Japanese investment group called N2885.

The 51-room hotel property sold for $18.5 million.

"This sale will result in the emergence of Unity House from court-monitored bankruptcy in the near future, thus helping thousands of local residents who participate in our organization's programs," said Jim Boersema, chairman of Unity House.

Boersema also handles communications for the state Senate.

PBN: Unity House sells Lotus hotel for $18.5M

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Borders Forced to Liquidate, Close All Stores

Borders, which employs about 10,700 people, scrapped a bankruptcy-court auction scheduled for Tuesday amid the dearth of bids. It said it would ask a judge Thursday to approve a sale to liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group.

The company said liquidation of its remaining 399 stores could start as soon as Friday, and it is expected to go out of business for good by the end of September.

SA: Borders to shutter last of its 6 stores in Hawaii

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Bank of Hawaii settles debit-card-fee lawsuit for $9 million

"The tentative settlement, subject to documentation and court approvals, provides for a payment by the company of $9 million into a class settlement fund the proceeds of which will be used to refund class members, and to pay attorneys' fees, administrative and other costs, in exchange for a complete release of all claims asserted against the company," the bank said in a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission.

The complaint, filed in February on behalf of Honolulu residents Lodley and Tehani Taulava, accused Bank of Hawaii of engaging in a systematic policy of re-ordering debit card transactions from highest dollar amount to lowest dollar amount. The suit said this practice allowed the bank to deplete the customer's available funds as quickly as possible while maximizing the number of overdraft fees.

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Eric Ryan decides that Tom Berg is a crook, too

Apparently Berg is guilty of having been photographed at political events with Rep Kym Pine, thus proving a criminal conspiracy or something. More typical Eric Ryan stuff. He’s been doing this for years.

HR: Hawaii Political Soap Opera Continues

Latest Eric Ryan bs:

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12 Illegal Animals Seized In 2 Weeks

State agriculture inspectors say they're shocked that 4 snakes and 8 lizards -- all of them illegal --- have been seized statewide in about two weeks time.

All of the illegal animals were turned in by members of the public under the state's amnesty law, which allows people to turn over illegal snakes, lizards and other critters no questions asked asked and face no penalty.

BIVN: Two Hilo snakes latest in list of illegal reptiles in Hawaii

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Harbor Police temporarily unarmed

A weapons qualifications issue has temporarily disarmed state harbor police officers.

An estimated 17 officers with the Department of Transportation have not been armed for more than a week - prompting public safety concerns.

A single patrol car sits idle outside the state Harbor Patrol office on Nimitz Highway and along the harbor a patrol boat is dry-docked. Two signs something is not right….

The issue surrounds a qualification process that expired in June. Allen Cabigon and Rendell Valenzuela are regulars at Honolulu Harbor….

The department does not have a time-table when this process will be complete ….

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Sentencing delayed for swindling inmate


Nohea Colton said she remortgaged her home in Kuliouou to "invest" $700,000 in Perry Jay Griggs' commodities trading company.

She said Griggs promised he would pay off her mortgage in five years and give her a balloon payment of $5 million. The "investment" was too good to be true.

The commodities trading company was really a Ponzi scheme, in which early contributors are paid off by later contributors.

Griggs pulled it off while serving time in a Nevada prison for ripping off 47 victims in a previous Ponzi scheme in California.

Griggs, who pleaded guilty in April, was scheduled to be sentenced in federal court Monday on charges that he swindled nearly $2 million from Hawaii prison inmates serving time with him in Nevada, and their families.

(Idea: Use Griggs’ assets to pay restitution to the victims of his victims.)

KHON: Ponzi scheme victims speak out against con man

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From Russia, a leftist Conspiracy Theory ties Obama to CIA and Honolulu Ponzi Schemer Ron Rewald

(in the middle of a detailed debunk of a Russia-backed conspiracy theorist, we find this little tidbit…)

As the Claremont article suggests, citing Madsen’s work, the CIA uses assets, fronts and covers. But one of the companies that is cited, a Hawaii investment firm by the name of Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham & Wong, is labeled a CIA proprietary without any hard evidence for this claim. It is further alleged that Obama’s grandmother supposedly had knowledge of this through her work at a local bank.

An examination of this firm, which went bankrupt in 1984, demonstrates that the CIA used the company to provide telephone and mailing address backstops for agents and welcomed information from the man who ran it, Ronald Rewald. But there is no evidence that the CIA ran the company. The further implication that Obama’s grandmother had knowledge of any of this is wild speculation at this point.

Where the last conspiracy theory came from: Leading Birther admits conspiracy theory promoted by Obama supporters

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