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Thursday, October 13, 2011
October 13, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:07 PM :: 4582 Views

Cook: Hawaii Senate Race a toss-up

Hawaii: Second Highest Taxes on Earth?

Defeat of Obama Jobs Bill Saves Honolulu Rail Millions

DoE Releases Public and Charter School Enrollment Numbers

Would Abercrombie throw his staff under the bus on the way to the casino?

It’s been hard to explain why the sudden sweep of “New Day” youth out of the 5th floor office makes sense. Could it be because Abercrombie is preparing for a push for legalized gambling? The vice has been popular with some state legislators but never advanced because former Governor Linda Lingle, who opposed gambling, would have vetoed any bill that got to her desk.

Hawaii has a strong coalition against legalized gambling which includes people of all ages, religious organizations, and many social service and advocacy groups. Abercrombie’s young staff would know and understand this. So perhaps they needed to go.

read … On the way to the Casino

Tax Credits: Clinton Crony Movie Moguls Burned $218K trying to Bribe Legislators

Relativity’s lobbying effort failed, but the company gave it a solid try.

The firm flew Hollywood personalities to Hawaii to testify at legislative hearings, and enlisted the help of former President Bill Clinton, who wrote to lawmakers on the company’s behalf.

Relativity also threw an invitation-only reception at the Mandalay restaurant in downtown Honolulu.

State Rep. Mele Carroll, who accepted and later returned an Apple IPad 2 from Relativity, coordinated the reception invitations for Relativity.

Relativity originally valued the IPad at $700, then dropped the estimation to $500-$700.

When Carroll, D-13th (Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai, Molokai, Keanae, Wailua, Nahiku, Hana), mailed the IPad back to Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh Sept. 9, she thanked him for “the kind and generous gift” meant to help her and her staff “better reach my constituents.”…

Copies of Relativity Media's lobbying disclosure forms are here: Disclosure 1 Amendment 1 Disclosure 2 Amendment 2

All told, the company reported that its 2011 Hawaii lobbying expenses totaled $218,220.50.

read … No Ethics

SA: U.S. Senate race offers hard choices

Lingle has been quick to claim the importance of Hawaii being represented in the Senate by both parties. She points to the longtime friendship and strategic alliance between Inouye and the late Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, as proof that "having a senator from each party is the very best possible situation for us, because it doesn't matter which party is in control." That is not a very good argument. If anything, the Inouye-Stevens coziness showed that Hawaii can benefit through alliances with senators from other states. (This is not an academic question. Who is Hawaii’s GOP partner now? Who could become that Senator? Uh…uh….)

Hawaii voters must press the candidates to speak plainly about issues such as health care, tax reform, the federal budget deficit, military operations, energy, global warming and, above all, job creation in an economy that continues to plague the country.

The Democratic primary race is sure to be hostile. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, still annoyed by Case's run against Akaka without his permission, has not hidden his support of Hirono in next year's battle….

CB: Gay Rights Advocates React to Lingle Run

read … Hard Choices?

ACLU moots use for Fire, Fake Weapons, and Liquids by anti-APEC Protesters

However, ACLU Hawaii hopes to provide answers for a variety of questions such as whether there will be permitted APEC "protest zones," whether vehicle or bicycle processions will be allowed in public streets and what rights exist for the taping of video and audio.

The ACLU appears to be covering as many contingencies as it can, as seen in this question:

What if I want to use props or theatrical tools like: human chains, flash mobs, non-permanent modification of buildings and statues (i.e. draping a statue in black cloth), masks, signs, puppets, tape, chalk, rope, flags, fake weapons, liquids, or fire?

The answer as of late Wednesday was "TBA," but check back later.

read … Burn baby, burn

Waikiki Business Gifts to Police Under Fire Before

Last week the Honolulu City Council approved the money from the Waikiki Business Improvement District (BID) Association, but not before some council members raised questions about whether its appropriate to accept money from a specific constituency that wants extra police protection in return.

Council member Stanley Chang, who sits on the BID board, defended the "public-private partnership" as nothing new. But that doesn't mean questions haven't been raised about the program in the five years the city has been accepting the cash.

A Civil Beat review of Council resolutions and meeting minutes dating back to 2006 reveals that the late Barbara Marshall once urged her colleagues to reject the gift — which was then $150,000 — because "there is going to be a bidding war where whoever has the most money gets the police services."1

At that 2006 meeting, then-Council member Charles Djou said Marshall's criticisms were misplaced because the BID is quasi-governmental. Enabled by both state and county legislation, special improvement districts are allowed to essentially levy property tax surcharges.

Djou said his Waikiki constituents were demanding services like sidewalk upgrades and maintenance, trash pickup and additional police protection — and agreed to pay extra money to make that happen. That's the money that the BID is paying HPD for officer overtime.

read … Criticism just in time for APEC

A New Contract For Not-So-New Hawaii Schools Chief

The then-elected Board of Education interviewed only Matayoshi, then the interim superintendent, from a candidate pool of 24. Then in what appeared to be a mysteriously sudden decision, unanimously approved her appointment to lead the state's public school system.

But the board never put in place a contract with her. Former Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi told Civil Beat that the board discussed it, and even went over drafts of a contract with Matayoshi in executive sessions, but ultimately agreed it wasn't necessary because the terms of her employment had already been made public in the vote to appoint her, or were contained in state law and board bylaws.

"The law is already written with a lot of protections about wrongful termination," Toguchi said. "When we hired her, the motion was to appoint her to a term of four years. Because that was clear, and the salary amount of $150,000 was stated, it seemed unnecessary to have a contract."

But one of the first things the new appointed board did when it took office in April was to address the superintendent's terms of employment….

read … lucrative

War on Restaurant Industry: Civil Beat Seeks Tactical Intel from Other Styrofoam Battles

What would happen if we banned foam food containers?

In many communities, the question has sparked a debate pitting environmentalists against restaurant associations and foam manufacturers.

Supporters of bans say outlawing foam containers will reduce the amount of plastic found on beaches, in storm drains, in the ocean and in the diets of wildlife. Opponents say bans place a burden on manufacturers and restaurants at a time of economic uncertainty. (And kill trees.)

read … Herding Eco Sheep

Act 221 Scammers still Pushing Hawaii Stock Exchange

Honolulu investor and entrepreneur Rob Robinson held an informal Q-and-A session at the group's Wednesday meeting.

Robinson is founder and president of the Hawaii Angels, an exclusive group of high-net-worth investors, which along with members of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association put out a report in December in support of a local stock exchange.

"A way for startup companies to sell their stock directly to the public or to a qualified group of investors would be most welcome," said Robinson, who also co-founded Kolohala Ventures. "One of biggest drawbacks of investing is a lack of liquidity and the ability to extract yourself from that investment in any kind of timely fashion. A mechanism whereby they could sell to other investors through an exchange would allow more fatigued investors to leave the field and new ones to enter."

He said he's seen about $100 million worth of private “investments” (that means $200M in Act 215/221 Tax Credits) made in Hawaii startups over the past decade. He feels that number could be much bigger if Hawaii had a stock exchange.

read … Guard Your Wallet!

KCC Censorship leads to … Palmyra Island?

ILind: The lawsuit was filed in July. In August, the UH Manoa student newspaper, Ka Leo, ran an excellent story about the case, accompanied by a link to the student’s Facebook page (absent in the S-A version). It took the S-A until mid-October to produce the most minimal version of the story. Certainly a missed opportunity.

When I read a story like this, my first reaction is to wonder, who owns those buildings? The story identifies the company as Hawaii Student Housing, but that doesn’t tell the reader anything. It just pushes the question back another level.

Who is Hawaii Student Housing? State business registration records take us another step. They show Hawaii Student Housing is simply a trade name registered by another company, 2280 KUHIO AVENUE DEVELOPMENT LLC. And then, still following the bread crumbs, 2280 Kuhio turns out to be controlled by F-L MANAGEMENT, INC. of Fairview, Oregon.

So far so good. But the question still lingers. Who is F-L Management? For that, I turned to Oregon’s state corporation records for the answer.

According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website, the president of F-L Management is Dudley Fullard-Leo, while the company’s registered agent is Marcus Fullard-Leo.

Ring a bell? It’s a family with a big Hawaii history.

read … ILind

Enviros Opposition to Public Land Development Corp Predicated on Overthrow of Admission Act

Delusion : “Land that the [Hawaii] Supreme Court said cannot be sold will be up for these long-term leases and sweetheart deals. That seems really immoral to me.” –Marti Townsend

Reality: The US Supreme Court reversed them 9-0 and upheld Admission Act

read … No man’s land

Akaka cosponsors Indian energy bill

The bill, S.1684, the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2011, would streamline federal processes related to energy development on Indian lands and help tribes partner with private entities to build infrastructure needed to engage in energy projects.

read … Will this affect Geothermal Development at Wao Kele o Puna?

Hawaii Teamster Rejects Hoffa’s Labor Day Rant

BY DAVE VERRET - I am a Teamster, a 22-year veteran of OTS, Inc. (TheBus), who is VERY ANGRY at recent national events, specifically, the Teamsters Convention in Las Vegas, and Mr. Hoffa's speech on Labor Day. I take strong objection to what was said in the presence of Teamsters, and that no response to the contrary was offered.

Video: Obama Rally James Hoffa 'We Are Your Army. Let's Take These Sons Of Bitches Out'

read ... Hawaii Teamster

Request for rail rebid turns into rant

"It's just frustration. I'm looking at $234 million being flushed down the toilet and we're getting a contractor who doesn't really know how to build rail cars. I'm upset with this!" said Tom Berg, talking about Ansaldo Honolulu, the company city awarded the core systems contract to.

The Budget Committee meeting turned into a rant on rail. Bombardier's bid to build and operate transit cars was disqualified essentially over a disagreement over liability insurance.

HNN Video … Tom Berg

Honolulu Airport makeover underway ahead of APEC

"You're going to have a feeling like you're at the beach, like you're in Hawaii, then you're going to come up the escalators and then you're going to have this beautiful ceiling that's going to be wave-like," Meisenzahl says.

These and other features are among $7 million in renovations and repairs about to wrap up before November's event

"We're going to finish on time, and these improvements are going to be great for apec but more importantly these are things that should have been done a very long time ago," said Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz.

Other projects include new planters and curbs along the Ewa concourse roadway, and new flooring with Hawaiian features in the Ewa concourse walkway. New canopies have been installed outside the international arrival building where the buses and shuttles pick up.

"These canopies were tattered, they were torn, flapping in the wind, people would come off of these international flights they'd come out and this is the first thing they'd see," Meisenzahl says.

read … Makeover

HECO, SunPower, DHHL in 5mw Solar Deal

The state Public Utilities Commission has approved a plan by SunPower Corp. to build a 5-megawatt solar farm on Oahu and sell the electricity it generates to Hawaiian Electric Co.

The cost of energy per kilowatt hour will start at under 20 cents and will escalate at a fixed rate. A price reduction will take effect during the second half of the contract.

The solar photovoltaic farm will be built in Kalaeloa, on land leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands at Roosevelt Avenue and Boxer Road.

read … Just wait til the depreciation is all deducted

Electric utility blames rates on oil prices

Oahu electric rates continued their upward climb in October, hitting a record for the second time in three months.

Hawaiian Electric Co., which generates 75 percent of its energy from burning petroleum, attributed the rate increase to rising prices for fuel oil it buys from the local Chevron and Tesoro refineries.

The typical bill for a family using 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity rose to a record $207.04 in October, a $2.20 increase from September, HECO said. The October bill broke the previous record of $205.44 set in August. The rate per kilowatt-hour rose to 33.1 cents in October from 32.7 cents in September.

SA: Geothermal development forum to be held Saturday

read … Excuses, excuses

International drug summit to be held in Hawaii

An international summit for prosecutors and law enforcement officials to discuss global drug trafficking will be held in Waikiki later this month.

The Hawaii International Drug Trafficking Summit will bring together top drug prosecutors from Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand with district attorneys from 10 U.S. jurisdictions in Arizona, California, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Washington state. Attendees also include federal and Hawaii law enforcement officials, along with county prosecutors from neighbor islands.

Some people they should meet:

· Convicted Cocaine Dealer replaces Advertiser columnist as Ernie Martin’s Campaign Treasurer

· Malama Solomon’s meth connection

read … On drugs

Council members may face 12-year limit, Return to Partisan Primaries

County Council members could get four-year terms - and a "drop-dead" three-term limit - under a proposal moved forward by the Charter Commission.

Also advanced Monday was a proposal that could return the county to party-based primary and general elections. Commissioners voted in favor of drafting language for the proposed charter amendments, which would be put out for comments at a series of public hearings. The panel then would take final action on whether to put the items on the ballot.

read … Maui Term Limits?

Harry Kim Mulls Re-Run for Big Island Mayor

Kim said a desire to "re-establish" the public's trust in local government could get his name on election ballots. Disappointment over the County Council's refusal to approve a waste-to-energy plant to replace the Hilo landfill and having "failed" to control coqui frog infestations are other possible motivations, he said.

"In truth, I don't know what I want to do," he said.

Kim, 72, would be 77 years old when the next mayoral term ends in December 2016.

read … Harry Kim

Kona Diving Instructor’s Attack on Aquarium Collector Timed to Council Vote

“My community (of eco-sheep suffering from free-floating anxiety) has been very loud and very clear…This is what they’re saying they want,” stated South Hawai’i Councilor Brittany Smart in casting her vote for Resolution 131-11, urging the state legislature commercial aquarium collecting in the state of Hawaii. The council voted 6-2 in favor of the resolution.

It was a dramatic reversal; only a week or so before, the council had voted down a similar resolution. But in the week intervening, the industry had made headlines again, when the county prosecutor’s office charged a local diving instructor with “harassing a fisherman,” after the dive operator gave the Department of Land and Natural Resource’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement photographs that appeared to show an aquarium collector anchored on a coral reef in violation of state law.

read … Madness

Next time it rains on Waikiki, Blame Global Warming

Scientists at University of Hawaii – Manoa have projected an increased frequency of heavy rainfall events but a decrease in rainfall intensity during the next 30 years (2011-2040) for the southern shoreline of Oahu, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

read … Al Gore needs another massage

Kona coffee grower pays $46,000 in back wages, fines over treatment of Mexican workers

A Kona coffee grower has paid more than $46,000 in fines and back wages over its treatment of coffee pickers from Mexico following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The department announced the action on Wednesday and hinted that it hopes it sends a message to other growers to follow the rules protecting migrant workers, whether legal or illegal. Kona Coffee Grounds, based in Holualoa, acknowledged it paid the money but denied any wrongdoing.

The 24 workers at issue were from Michoacán and were legally brought to the United States to work for Kona Coffee Grounds under the H2-A visa program for temporary agricultural workers. Under the program, growers agree to pay workers a set wage and provide a minimum amount of work as well as housing.

read … This is what happens to Farmers Who Don’t have Big Shot Politicians backing them

South Korea Free Trade Passes, Akaka says Free Trade for Me, but not for Thee

Akaka says S Korea free trade is good for Hawaii, but rejects free trade with Panama and Colombia. The three countries already enjoy tariff=free export rights to the US. The treaty would have eliminated their tariffs against US imports. The three treaties were approved.

read … Akaka Statement


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