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Sunday, July 31, 2011
July 31, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:06 PM :: 9999 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Hawaii’s Electoral College Dropout Scheme Debunked

Political Insiders aim to soak Electric Rate Payers with Bio-Fuel surcharge

After years of losses, slush fund investigation, Honolulu Rail Contractor Ansaldo may be closed down or sold

WSJ Video: How US Debt Downgrade would affect States, Cities, Banks, Mortgage rates

Testing Senate message, Lingle touts bipartisanship

Former Gov. Linda Lingle suggested Friday that she would fit well within a group of former governors in the U.S. Senate and would take a bipartisan approach to the nation's challenges.

"Governors bring a particularly different approach in the United States Senate than those people who have come just from the legislative side," Lingle, who is considering a Senate campaign, told attendees of a luncheon sponsored by the conservative Grassroot Institute of Hawaii at the Japanese Cultural Center.

"They are less ideological. They are more practical. They are more agenda-driven. They are able to put forth something they'd like to achieve and then move to do it because as governor you have to. You can't hide behind a lot of other people."

Lingle — who serves on the Governors' Council of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a public-policy group in Washington, D.C., founded by former Senate leaders — said she spoke with several former governors who are now in the Senate during a recent trip to the nation's capital.

The Republican referred, as an example, to U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., a former governor who is part of the "Gang of Six," a bipartisan group behind a deficit reduction plan.

"So the idea of bipartisanship is an important one and indeed is the only way for our country to move forward," she said….

Case, who attended the luncheon, has for years described himself as a moderate who would have common ground with the centrists of the Senate. He said he agrees with Lingle that a bipartisan approach is necessary.

"I think we're on the same page on that," he said. "She's certainly testing it out and getting her rhythm going on it."

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Isle representatives push towards default with partisan 'no' vote, Back plan for massive Military Cuts

Members of Hawaii's all-Democratic congressional delegation held firm in their opposition to House Republicans' proposal for a quick raise in the federal debt ceiling in exchange for deep spending cuts, as partisanship pushed the government ever closer to an unprecedented default….

Democrats, including members of Hawaii's delegation, called the GOP plan authored by House Speaker John Boehner shortsighted….

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had a measure to raise the debt limit by $2.4 trillion, enough to meet Obama's terms that it tide the Treasury over until 2013.

Reid's plan demonstrated a "longer-term fix," Akaka said. "Responsible Americans know that raising the debt ceiling is critical to maintaining the nation's creditworthiness and to preventing our sluggish economic recovery from falling back into recession or worse," he said.

CB: Inouye, along with Sen. Daniel Akaka, stood in solidarity with Harry Reid

Related: Reid’s Sleight-of-Hand Debt Ceiling Plan Guts Military

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Cash flows from Board of Water Supply to lobbyists

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply, which wants to raise rates on consumers 70 percent over five years, is among the top spenders on lobbying by Hawaii public agencies.

The board has spent more than $489,000 since 2006 on lobbyists at the state Legislature and the City Council, according to state and city ethics reports. But the agency said it might stop hiring lobbyists next year as the board tries to contain costs while it prepares to increase rates.

The semiautonomous board tracks a range of water policy, land use and bond-finance legislation. The board has hired lobbyists even in years when there were few urgent or pressing issues at the state Capitol and Honolulu Hale, a luxury that has become difficult to justify….

Former congressman Charles Djou, who served on the City Council, said it is distressing that a city agency would use ratepayer money to lobby the Council.

"I think this is exhibit No. 1 of waste of money," he said. "And before the Board of Water Supply goes forward trying to foist a massive increase upon the public, they ought to be eliminating this." ….

For the past several years, the Board of Water Supply has hired SPJ Consulting LLC as lobbyists. James Pacopac and Scott Matsuura have represented the board at the Legislature, while Patrick Lee has handled the City Council.

Djou: Honolulu Board of Water Supply is out of control

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Scared and Unprepared HSTA Members to Picket Abercrombie in Hilo

Shame on you Governor Abercrombie," wrote Pahoa resident Judy Courtot in a letter to the Tribune-Herald. "... The first day of school is Monday, I am sad, I am scared and I am unprepared. …

East Hawaii members of HSTA-Retired say they plan to take that advice by taking their grievances straight to the top this week. Abercrombie is scheduled to spend Tuesday at multiple events in Hilo, and some members said Friday they plan to congregate and hold signs at each of his stops to express their displeasure.

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Borreca: HSTA is marginalizing itself with Political War on Abercrombie

The HSTA and the state were firmly lectured by the Hawaii Labor Relations Board before the teacher's union went on strike in 2001.

"Both sides act somewhat as though they have our schools hostage and are prepared to begin sacrificing hostages unless they achieve their objectives," the board wrote just before the teachers walked out….

Without that contract, but with the teachers in the school, Abercrombie and the Department of Education are free to move ahead with implementing teacher evaluations and other portions of the agreement to collect the Race to the Top funds, without agreement from the HSTA….

HSTA packs a political punch. Public school teachers are valued campaign workers for the same reasons they are appreciated as a community resource: They are organized, dedicated and are not prima donnas. But if you don't win their support, your political world won't end.

The HSTA is now trying to pressure the Legislature to get Abercrombie back to the bargaining table. But it doesn't appear to be the sort of argument to sway the governor….

"HSTA has not offered any new proposals for discussion," the Democratic governor said, adding that the state has already held 16 formal bargaining sessions, plus three personal meetings with him.

Democrats report that HSTA operatives are attacking Abercrombie at meetings, saying he walked away from the table, but Abercrombie insists that discussions ended with the HSTA leaders agreeing to the settlement.

That was the same thing that happened in 2001, when then-U.S. Rep. Abercrombie helped broker the deal that ended the HSTA strike.

The union, however, is marginalizing itself, limiting its own political power and damaging its credibility by being unable to complete bargaining for a contract.

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SA: DoE should Involve Teachers to make RTTT Accountability Pointless

Laura Goe, a national expert on reform in teacher evaluations, (bought and paid for by the unions) was visiting Hawaii last week and told a gathering of teachers and administrators that states involving teachers in the reform of their evaluations ended up with the most successful programs….

Goe has collected varied approaches taken in other states and has posted them on her website (www.lauragoe.com).

In Georgia, for example, an intricate matrix of five "strands" combine to form the evaluation score: curriculum and planning, standards-based instruction, assessment of student learning, professionalism and student achievement. Clearly there is not yet a tried-and-true formula that can be replicated universally.

But just as clearly, there needs to be a better system than what exists in Hawaii. Five "duties" are assessed: designing and implementing effective teaching strategies, creating a positive and safe learning environment, using assessment data, demonstrating professionalism and reflecting on their practices.

Last year 99 percent were rated satisfactory under this system, so the exercise seems pointless.

Reality: Teacher Evaluation “Expert” Bought and Paid for By Unions

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Salaries of top labor chiefs Average $157K

Executives of the top 25 unions earned an average of $157,596 in compensation last year, up 1.1 percent from the year before, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Labor Department and the Internal Revenue Service. The packages include salaries as well as other payments for things like business expenses.

Thirteen officials received raises, seven took pay cuts and three had no change in their compensation. Two of the leaders were new to their jobs and had no comparable salary for the previous year.

The top earner last year was T. George Paris, executive director of the Hawaii Iron Workers Stabilization Fund. His $394,998 salary was virtually unchanged from 2009.

The union leader taking the biggest pay cut was Dayton Nakanelua, director of the 14,000-member United Public Workers Union. A 5 percent reduction in his base pay to $139,841, combined with a reduction in other payments, knocked his total compensation down by 19 percent.

How Much is Your Union Boss Making>>>LINK

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APEC bigs might get to see strike, snakes and homeless

Officials still haven't decided what to do about Waikiki's homeless during the APEC conference in November, and the United Public Workers union is threatening a strike around the time of the APEC meeting that could shut trash collection, schools and some airport operations. It seems we're on track to showcase the real Hawaii.

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Landfill wars, part II: Waimanalo Gulch is off the table, just like last time

A nine-member committee to recommend where Oahu should cut out a new landfill has been quiet and civil as members have established criteria to judge various locations. But it's the calm before the storm.

"It's going to get more passionate," said Tesha Malama, Kalaeloa director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority and one of only two Leeward Oahu members on the panel.

The committee, appointed by Mayor Peter Carlisle, will next meet on Aug. 16.

The predecessor blue-ribbon panel that made recommendations in 2003 after being selected by then-Mayor Jeremy Harris exploded in disarray.

Waimanalo Gulch, which has been a landfill since 1989, was taken off the list after Jeff Stone, a developer of nearby Ko Olina, wrote a letter to the committee threatening legal action if the city did not find a new site for the landfill.

State Rep. Cynthia Thielen of Kailua and former state Health Director Bruce Anderson were among four members who walked out in protest. The committee had been insulated from political promises and economic self-interests throughout its process, but it "turned into what I considered a sham," Anderson wrote in The Honolulu Advertiser.

Anderson added that the committee was composed of "all good people who I am sure mean well and voted accordingly. However, my initial suspicions about their ability to make an objective and independent recommendation were confirmed."

As it turned out, the City Council ignored the 2003 committee's trimmed list of four and chose what is now Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill.

Once again, Waimanalo will be off the list.

Related: Nanakuli Park: Hannemann pounds Hanabusa in proxy fight between Waimanalo Gulch and PVT landfill

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OHA sees Profit in Geothermal Development

Innovations Development Group recently held a meeting at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center on Maui to discuss developing geothermal power in a sustainable, community-focused way in the Hawaiian Islands. A big mahalo to the Maui community for taking the time to come talk with us - we were thrilled with the positive response - more than 150 people attended the meeting.

As many are learning, Innovations Development Group is a native-owned, Hawaii-based strategic planning and development company specializing in developing indigenous land and resource assets focusing on renewable energy….

A few other clarifications that should be noted: Mililani Trask is not an officer of IDG, but rather a principal of Indigenous Consultants, a contractor to IDG. Ku'ulei Kealoha Cooper is a trustee of the Kealoha Estate, not Kealoha Foundation.

Hulu Lindsey is part of IDG. Bob Lindsey, an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee, was not at the meeting as was reported, though it is true that OHA helped sponsor the meeting.

We look forward to working with the Maui community on this geothermal venture, and seeing the benefits flow to all stakeholders. That, we believe, would be a pono way to approach the development of public assets and build a truly diversified, renewable energy portfolio for the islands. We can no longer afford the totally private sector, profit-driven model of the past. It has proved ruinous. (Translation: We at OHA didn’t get our cut.)

We believe our native-to-native model, already embraced internationally, is a development approach for our collectively owned geothermal assets that fits the hopes and dreams we all have for Hawaii's energy independence. We are encouraged by the gathering momentum of interest in what we at IDG have to offer. We have been invited to give briefings to legislators, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, OHA and other stakeholders, and have been honored by the discussion those briefings have stimulated. In addition, the continuing positive enquiries from members of the public all reaffirm us in the belief that the time is now to think differently and move boldly to use the great gifts that Pele has left for the good of all.

(The akamai reader now thinks back about 20 years to Pahoa and the now-defunct Pele Defense Fund—and then suddenly visualizes sheep chanting, “Four legs good, two legs better!”)

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Anti-Superferry Thug trying to keep Fake Police Badge

(Soft on crime) Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe earlier this month granted Dan Hempey’s motion that called on the Kaua‘i county prosecutor to strike a reference in an earlier plea deal that would have required Dayne Aleka Gonsalves to surrender an “illegal badge,” according to court minutes from a July 13 hearing. She also ordered that any future plea deal should not contain that requirement.

The motion faced its first hurdle Tuesday with a state request for a motion to stay the order, on the basis that as state’s evidence the “Hawai‘i Federal Marshal” badge should not be returned until the Aug. 9 pretrial hearing or the ensuing trial.

Melinda Mendes, county deputy prosecutor, said the state would exercise its right to appeal the order if the stay was not granted. She asserted that the stay allows the trial to go forward as planned, while an appeal process would push the trial well past its scheduled court date.

(Check out this….)

He qualifies under state law as Native Hawaiian (evidence?).  Gonsalves is recognized by some (fools) as an ali‘i nui, or king, of the indigenous government “Atooi.” This kingdom of Native Hawaiian residents on island, who consider themselves to be its citizens, awarded Gonsalves with the badge for his work with other indigenous nations, including Rapanui, Tahiti and Aotearoa, which in turn recognize Atooi, a member state of the United Nations of Turtle Island in Polynesia.  (Turtle Island?  Atooi is a member of the UN???  This garbage is actually in the KGI article.)

Hempey argued that Gonsalves was not pretending to be a State of Hawai‘i law enforcement officer; he was identifying himself as a law enforcement officer in the Kingdom of Atooi, a legitimate and legal title that is not in violation of U.S. laws, court minutes show.

Criminal History: "Dayne Henry Aleka Gonsalves"

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Monsanto wins prize for Water Conservation

The Monsanto Hawai'i research team performed a series of studies in collaboration with its Molokai and Kunia farms to better understand the movement of irrigation water in the soil and its uptake by the crop. By making changes to irrigation and fertilization practices, the team was able to achieve a savings of 11.75 million gallons on a 350-acre crop plan, a news release said.

The award money will be used for watershed protection at Kamakou and Pelekunu, two Nature Conservancy forest preserves totaling 9,000 acres. Money also will go to support the Nature Conservancy-led East Moloka'i Watershed Partnership, a consortium of 15 public and private landowners, agencies and community groups working to enhance the availability of water on the island.

In addition, Monsanto's gift will be applied to the state's Natural Area Partnership Program, which provides state matching funds on a two-to-one basis for management of natural resources on private lands permanently dedicated to conservation. Through NAPP, the $15,000 gift will leverage an additional $30,000 from the state, for a total of $45,000 to be put toward watershed protection on Molokai.

Meanwhile, what are Monsanto’s Opponents Doing? >>> Papaya attack coincides with Worldwide Week of Eco Terrorism

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Army has no plans for live fire in Makua

There may be no Army live-fire training in Makua Valley for years to come, and possibly never again, the new commanding general of the U.S. Army in the Pacific said.

Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, who took over the Fort Shafter-based command in March, said he's focusing on providing replacement live-fire training for Hawaii soldiers through range improvements at Schofield Barracks and at Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii island.

"I firmly believe that if those things stay on track at Schofield and PTA, we will not have to live fire in Makua," Wiercinski said in a recent interview.

Additionally, Wiercinski is putting on hold his predecessor's plan to convert Makua into a "world-class" roadside bomb and counterinsurgency training center as the Army continues to deal with litigation that has prevented live fire in the 4,190-acre Waianae Coast valley since 2004.

"I'm not going to move forward with disrupting anything or trying to add another element to this until we get the first steps done," he said. "I don't want to complicate what's already in the court system."

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Humane Society Hounds Pet Store Owners, Dog Breeders

Tips flowing into the Hawaiian Humane Society since Hawaii's largest puppy mill case was uncovered on Feb. 28 suggest there are 20 more puppy mills operating on Oahu, with 10 more scattered across the neighbor islands….

LAST WEEK, Humane Society investigator Vernon Ling drove to the Pet Spot in response to a complaint that animals were being kept improperly.

Instead, Ling found that more than a dozen puppies in the Pet Spot had plenty of room to stand, sit, turn around and lie down without touching the walls of their cages or another animal. And while the bottom half of their cages were made of wire, the other half of their cages was covered with solid surfaces, as required by the new state law that went into effect Jan. 1.

Wire floors make it easier to clean dogs' cages, but can injure or cause long-term damage to the dogs' feet, Ling said.

As employees cleaned the puppies' cages in front of Ling, a woman who identified herself as the Pet Spot manager declined to answer Ling's questions about where the Pet Spot gets its dogs — most of which were being sold for more than $1,000 each.

When Ling asked specifically about the Pet Spot's poodle puppies, the manager said they came from Hawaii island but would not provide details. When Ling asked her where the store got its other puppies from, she said only, "from Oahu" and would not give Ling any details.

"I personally went around to all the pet stores and spoke to the owners asking where they get their dogs from," Vaughn said. "There's not one pet store that will disclose where they get their dogs from. They've got something to hide. A responsible breeder would never, ever sell to a pet store, ever. A responsible breeder cares deeply how their puppies are going to end up and they actually care about the breed itself. A backyard breeder — or a puppy mill — doesn't care. It's all about the profit."

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Burmese refugee to represent Hawaii in Washington D.C.

The 58-year old now lives in a modest apartment near Kaimuki, thousands of miles away from where he grew up in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

John is a refugee who was granted asylum. On August 8, 1988 John's life changed forever.

"I participated in a democracy movement," he says.

He was a lawyer for the Supreme Court in Burma, and would speak to the masses to encourage them to fight for democracy.

He eventually wound up in a military prison for seven years.

"When I release I tried to be a lawyer again but they keep my license, the government," he says.

Out of work and left with no other options, John moved to Guam on a visa waiver in 2000….

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