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Thursday, September 22, 2011
September 22, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:18 PM :: 6276 Views

Hawaii Republican Presidential Vote Set for March 13

Obama Admin gives Hawaii $3M to help Process “Increased Volume” of Insurance Rate Hikes

Sakamoto Forced Medical Tourism on Maui

Republican Presidential Caucuses will Help with Party-Building

The state GOP will hold presidential caucuses on March 13 to determine the delegate split to the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Jonah Kaauwai, the party’s chairman, said Wednesday that the caucuses will be organized like a primary election with voting sites in all 51 state House districts. Voters must be party members to participate, but can sign party cards on the day of the caucuses.

Republicans voted at their state convention in May to convert to a caucus system to award delegates, hoping presidential candidates would campaign in the islands and that the event would help with party building.

read … March 13

Oi: Abercrombie a One Term Governor?

The decades the governor spent off island may have allowed him to develop a distant approach to leadership.

Abercrombie recently suspended land use and environmental rules to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to clear and destroy discarded military munitions, contending federal funds to pay for the work would have been lost if held up by environmental assessments.

True or not, as governor, Abercrombie is obliged to let the public, lawmakers and county officials know what he is doing and explain why. And claiming his lack of communication was merely an oversight reflects a disdain for people and his responsibilities.

This disengagement from the public could lead to a disengagement of voters in the next election go-round. From his performance thus far, it would not be implausible that Abercrombie’s aim is for one turn at the helm.


read … Aloof Abercrombie

Hearing to address issue of children dying in state custody

State Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, chairwoman of the Senate Human Services Committee, on Tuesday said she was aware of three children dying in state custody from 2006 to 2008.

But Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office released data on Wednesday that showed 30 children — including Waa-Ili — have died in state custody since the 2000-01 fiscal year.

The baby's death represented one of two fatalities in state custody this fiscal year….

State Rep. Kymberly Marcos Pine (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) plans to attend today's hearing to understand how information is disseminated after a child dies while under the care of the state.

"What does happen in cases like this where a baby died?" Pine asked. "I would like to know their (DHS) answer."

In addition to information about Waa-Ili's case, Pine has much broader questions about the 30 children — including Waa-Ili — who have died in state custody since 2000.

Thirty deaths "is quite alarming," she said. "That's a very large number, in my opinion. Is it something we can prevent? Or have these children had such trauma in their previous care that it affects their very survival after that? It's hard to point a finger.

"Any time that any child dies, in anyone's care, it should be at the top of anyone's priority, whether it's in CPS care or your neighbor's care," Pine said. "Any time a child dies it should always be of concern."

read … More Abercrombie secrecy

HSTA contract case expected to drag on for months

The lengthy process is generating some frustration among teachers.

Wil Okabe, Hawaii State Teachers Association president, said he is fielding concerns from teachers about how long the HLRB case is taking, something he tells them can't be helped.

"We have no control over the time," he said. "When you're dealing with any type of civil rights concern, the process is long."

Okabe added he can't say how long the HLRB proceedings will last.

But there's little doubt the case will continue before the board for months, given the number of witnesses and the complexity of the issues involved. HSTA has called some 80 witnesses alone, including the governor and legislators.

The state, meanwhile, has dozens of witnesses of its own.

read … Where’s Neil?

Hawaii personal income growth lags nation

Personal incomes of Hawaii residents grew by 0.9 percent in the second quarter, putting the state in the bottom 10 percent nationally, according a report released today….

On a dollar basis, Hawaii personal income totaled $59.2 billion in the second quarter at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. Of the three major income categories the biggest increase was in dividends, interest and rent, which grew by $225 million, or 2 percent.

Net earnings, which consists of wages and salaries, rose by $187 million, or 0.5 percent. Transfer receipts, which includes federal stimulus funds and other federal payments to states, rose by $120 million, or 1.3 percent.

read … Personal Income

Hawaii Ethics Director Responds to 'Brouhaha' Over Task Force Members

Hawaii State Ethics Commission Executive Director Les Kondo says he doesn't get the "big brouhaha" over his position that members of legislative task forces are state employees — and subject to the Ethics Code….

"To me, the elements are very straight forward, very clear. I don't think anyone is arguing about our application of the elements of the statute to the situation," Kondo said, referring to the state's Conflict of Interest statute. "What everyone is beefing about — not everyone — what some people are arguing about is the definition of employee."

The relevant part of the law says an employee cannot assist a person or business for a fee or other compensation to secure passage of a bill in which he or she has participated as an employee.

read …. But how will we Peddle Influence?

Slaughterhouse reels as grocers reject pork shipped live to isles

A financially struggling slaughterhouse on Oahu, indebted to taxpayers, has been further imperiled after the two largest kama­aina supermarket chains decided to quit selling pork from hogs shipped live to Hawaii from the mainland.

The move by Foodland Super Market and Times Supermarkets, announced Tuesday, will substantially reduce business for the slaughterhouse owned by a private cooperative, just a few months after the state agreed to invest $750,000 to help sustain the facility at Campbell Industrial Park.

If the facility is forced to shut down, it could cut off the supply of fresh pork in Chinatown markets and the ability for local ranchers to expand a fledgling market for grass-fed Hawaii beef, according to agriculture industry representatives and the slaughterhouse operator.

read … Animal Liberation Nuts

Overpriced Nene Removal, Road Project also Emergencies to Abercrombie

Gov. Neil Abercrombie issued a civil defense emergency this month and suspended state laws and regulations so the state Department of Transportation could perform emergency slope repair on Kuhio Highway on Kauai.

The proclamation was the governor’s fifth use of his emergency powers since taking office, following two proclamations on the tsunami, one on nene relocation, and one to remove unexploded ordnance. The state civil defense law is intended to help the state respond to enemy attack and natural and manmade disasters, and some have questioned whether the governor has misused his emergency powers.

Related: Relocation of nene is a waste of taxpayer money

read …. $18,000 per bird

AG Defends Gov's Emergency Authority

AG David Louie yesterday issued a strong defense of his boss, Neil Abercrombie, stating that the governor "took the appropriate legal steps to protect the public from the danger posed by unexploded munitions and the threat of airplane crashes caused by bird strikes."

Louie rejected arguments from the Sierra Club's Robert Harris that the governor withdraw his emergency proclamations on the nene and unexploded ordnance.

As Civil Beat reported earlier this week, the Sierra Club and seven other groups called on the governor to rescind both proclamations, arguing that the administration has misconstrued state law.

read … Louie vs Sierra Club

Feds Liquidate Property Belonging to Malama Solomon’s Favorite Methamphetamines Gang

The Internal Revenue Service presented a check for $140,000 to Chief Harry Kubojiri, Deputy Chief Paul Ferreira and Assistant Chief Marshall Kanehailua Wednesday afternoon at the Hapuna Prince Hotel.

The money is the department's share of forfeiture proceedings from Audwin Aiwohi, the Big Island kingpin of a former methamphetamine trafficking ring, who was busted in May 2005.

Police raided Aiwohi's 50-acre Glenwood ranch in May 2005, seizing $192,523 in cash, 17 firearms and 71/2 pounds of ice buried in containers on the property. The bust led to the forfeiture of the money, Aiwohi's property and vehicles, and the properties of associates in the ice ring.

The raid was part of "Operation Capsize," a 13-month joint local-federal investigation that took down three major meth rings in 2004-05, resulting in more than 50 arrests, 27 federal indictments, and seizures of more than 27 pounds of ice, $1 million in cash, 13 vehicles and 32 firearms.

Kanehailua, then a lieutenant in charge of the Big Island's Ice Task Force, led the investigation that, in his words, "uncovered an elaborate distribution network utilizing cattle-shipping containers on Matson barges" that brought the drug in from Northern California.

RELATED: Malama Solomon’s meth connection

read … Police get kingpin's money

Takitani Admits Reapportionment Litigation is all About Where he thinks Senate Seat should Go

WAILUKU - The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission will likely face a legal challenge after it approved a redistricting plan that would prevent a state Senate seat from shifting from Oahu to the Big Island, commission member Tony Takitani of Wailuku said this week.

While the commission voted Monday to exclude from population counts on Oahu about 16,000 students and military who could be confirmed as nonresidents, another 63,000 may still be counted when drawing political districts. That's enough to keep the Senate seat on Oahu, even though the Big Island's population boom would have otherwise led to the creation of a new district there.

"How do I say this nicely? The Big Island lost a senator, man - one that they deserve to have," Takitani said. (ooops)

Madge Schaefer, chairwoman of the Maui Advisory Council to the Reapportionment Commission, also was upset over the decision.

"They ignored the permanent residents of the Big Island over giving preference to nonresident military," she said. (Really? How does she know who is a ‘non-resident?’)

Related: Military to be Disenfranchised so Meth dealer’s friend can keep Senate Seat?, Josh Green Freaks out because Malama Solomon has been drawn into his district

read … Takitani

Ethics Commission: Lawmakers Can Accept Free Tickets to APEC Events

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission agreed Wednesday that lawmakers could accept free tickets to some APEC-related events in November.

The informal decision came in response to a request from Tim Johns, vice chair of the APEC Hawaii Host Committee. Johns asked Ethics Commission Executive Director Les Kondo for an opinion on the "appropriateness" of offering to pay for lawmakers to attend four events, one of which is valued at $750.

Kondo told commission members he and his staff viewed the gifts as OK, but wanted to share the request and gauge if commissioners felt differently.

read … APEC Ethics-Free

Legislators Pant like Dogs as they Lap Up Prisoners’ Stories

The prison tour came at the request of state Sen. Will Espero, who chairs the Senate committee that oversees public safety and government affairs.

He brought along vice chair Michelle Kidani, Rep. Karen Awana and Rep. Henry Aquino, who chairs the House committee on public safety. Debbie Shimizu, the governor's legislative liaison, was also present. Two reporters also tagged along at Espero's invitation.

Espero and the Abercrombie administration receive many complaints about Hawaii's prisons and the facilities that house some 1,900 Hawaii inmates in Arizona.

But one email dated Sept. 15, from a California woman who is mother of an Halawa inmate, seemed especially troubling….

And, the mother who wrote Espero and the governor — Diane DiMaria of Santa Cruz, Calif. — has complained about treatment of prisoners at Halawa before.

In 2009, for example, she submitted testimony to the Hawaii Legislature urging an investigation into the state's contract with the mainland company that runs the Arizona prisons that house Hawaii inmates.

DiMaria wrote that her son, who was then incarcerated at Saguaro Correctional Center and will not be eligible for parole for 120 years, had been erroneously convicted.

(What they left out: DiMaria’s son raped a mentally disabled teenage Puna girl and threw her off a sea cliff. When she didn’t immediately die on the rocks below, he climbed down, raped her again, and swam her out to sea to drown. And now his mommy has four legislators and the governor’s representative hanging on her every word. Do YOU get this level of service from your legislators?)

The other two whiners: Edward Dean and Christopher Grindling

read … Soft on Crime

Hawaii County Impact fees rejected

Impact fees, which have been considered by the Hawaii County Council for decades, have been rejected again.

"The way this is set up, it would not help build up our economy," Council Chairman Dominic Yagong said before the Council Tuesday rejected by a 5-4 vote a proposal made by Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann.

The bill would have charged impact fees to pay for the development and building of new roads and parks, as well as emergency facilities and solid waste and wastewater services necessitated by new construction.

Yagong, North Kona Councilman Angel Pilago and Hilo Councilmen Donald Ikeda, J Yoshimoto and Dennis Onishi voted no.

read … Saved by one vote

Maui Enviro caught lying about Bottled Water Project: “ I don’t have to make sure that every fact is corroborated”

The executive director of (anti-Superferry group) Maui Tomorrow said Tuesday that her organization will re-evaluate its social media policy after acknowledging that posts on its website included incorrect information about a controversial water-bottling project in Waihee.

Irene Bowie said the post written by (former Maui Democrat Chair) Jonathan Starr had been removed after it became clear some of its claims about the project were "not completely correct" or could not be verified….(Understatement)

Starr said Tuesday that he had never met with Tony Liserre, the developer of the proposed project, and that all the information he had reported in his blog post about the project had been "secondhand."

He said he felt his post had been effective in raising awareness about the project and provoking discussion about the prospect of exporting water from Maui.

"I feel it was appropriate," he said. "I feel a public citizen does not have to make sure that every fact is corroborated two or three times by sources the way a journalist does. It is enough to state one's opinion and what one has heard when one is operating as a public citizen."

But county Environmental Coordinator Rob Parsons said the post was a major source of misinformation about the project and contributed to an "explosion" of online falsehoods, rumormongoring and hyperbole.

"I think (social media) has run way ahead of the facts," he said. "What I've observed is people have posted things from others they consider credible sources, and this has taken on a life of its own in the process."

Starr's original post included unattributed claims that Taiwanese developers were planning a "water mining" operation to pump half-a-million gallons per day from the Waihee aquifer and export the water to Asia in tanker ships.

"That's completely erroneous," Parsons said.

A Book about this “second hand” Strategy: The Social Misconstruction of Reality

read … Typical Eco-Faddist Scam Busted

Blogger To Face Trial for Obstruction

Damon Tucker, 41, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Hilo Circuit Court. Judge Greg Nakamura ordered him to stand trial Jan. 12 at 9 a.m.

Tucker is charged with obstruction of government operations, a misdemeanor. Officer James Waiamau wrote in his report that Tucker "repeatedly refused to stop physically pushing himself between officers while they were engaged in interviewing witnesses and suspects" in the early morning of Aug. 6. He stated that Tucker "shoved his camera into the faces of victims at the scene while they were being interviewed, and propelled them to become irate."

read … Blogger

Civil Beat Boss Pierre Omidyar only Hawaii resident on Forbes 400 list

Pierre Omidyar is the only Hawaii resident on the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans this year.

The eBay founder was ranked 50th on the list, with a fortune of $6.2 billion. That put him at No. 44 in the United States and 145th on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest billionaires.

read … Rich and Mouthy

Director of Kona Sober Living Home Busted for Drug Possession, Assault on Police

Alahou Clean and Sober Executive Director Sandra McCoy is facing charges of assaulting an officer, disorderly conduct and possessing a controlled substance stemming from a July altercation in Mississippi.

McCoy, 56, was charged July 27 with simple assault on a law enforcement officer, a felony offense, disorderly conduct for failure to comply and possession of a controlled substance following an apparent altercation with police during a domestic violence investigation in Carriere, Miss., said Pearl River County Sheriff's Sgt. Christa Groom. The charge of possession of a controlled substance came as a result of having a prescription medication without being prescribed the substance, Groom said.

She said police responded to a domestic violence incident at a home in Carriere, Miss., July 27 and during the investigation McCoy reportedly got involved in an altercation with police after her son, Ron Juliussen, apparently assaulted an officer. When arrested, Groom said McCoy listed her employment as executive director of Alahou Clean and Sober in Kailua-Kona.

West Hawaii Today learned of the alleged incident after being contacted by a resident.

(In Mississippi they actually prosecute suspects, so McCoy may be in for a surprise.)

read … two months ago and only now public

Five years after being sentenced to Ten Years, Hawaii Pedophile Busted in Bangkok

Police Thursday arrested an American teacher who had been on the blacklist for his previous sexual crime against children Christopher Paul Brainerd 47 was arrested at a school in Bangkok’s Tha Phra area.

He entered Thailand in May 2010 Before that he served a five year jail term in the United States after a Hawaii court found him guilty of sexually abusing children.

Brainerd has been on the Interpol black list Thai police are now preparing to deport Brainerd.

read … Soft On Crime

Hawaii Can Breath Sigh of Relief as Rosanne Show Cancelled

“‘Roseanne’s Nuts’ has been cancelled. thanks everyone for watching!” Roseanne Barr tweeted late Wednesday afternoon.

Followed closely by: “Glad you guys loved ‘Rosenne’s Nuts’ – Lifetime decided not to renew it.”

The docu-series followed Roseanne as she managed a 40-acre macadamia and livestock farm in Hawaii.

read … Fortunately Nobody Was Watching

Massachusetts Welfare Money Spent In Hawaii

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is calling for an investigation following a Team 5 report that found more than $2.3 million in Massachusetts welfare money spent in locations outside the state during a three-month period, including Hawaii, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

YouTube: "Swipe, Swipe: The EBT Rap"

read … EBT Vacations

Not enough Hippies in Hilo: Down to Earth Closes Organic Holistic store

Down to Earth’s CEO says the slow economy in Hilo on the Big Island, as well as the opening of new Safeway and Target stores, is to blame for the recent closure of the company’s vegetarian natural foods store there.

Down to Earth closed the Hilo store on Sept. 3 after less than two years in business.

read … Even Hippies Prefer Walmart


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