Hakim “Islam Day” Ouansafi to Direct Hawaii Public Housing Agency
IBEW Votes Down Hawaiian Tel Contract Offer
Roll Call: Hanabusa Refuses to Endorse Hirono
HSTA: Abercrombie Admin Exaggerated Crisis During Legislative Session
CB: many of HSTA attorney Herb Takahashi's questions instead took aim at the $1.3 billion bond sale that state officials announced earlier this month — well after the contract was implemented.
The sale is considered a boon for the administration and has been at the center of political wrangling between Abercrombie, a Democrat, and former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate.
And now the hot topic has spilled over into the labor board room. Takahashi spent more than three hours asking Young questions about the bond sale and the state's bond credit rating.
He dodged questions from the state's attorney about why he was pushing the issue, and even Labor Relations Board Chairman Jim Nicholson couldn't get a straight answer from him.
But Deputy Attorney General Jim Halvorson said after the hearing that the union is likely trying to prove that the state's fiscal outlook is better than it was projected to be during negotiations earlier this year.
"I think he's trying to prove that the Legislature put an unreasonable restraint on the budget and therefore negotiations," Halvorson said.
What does that mean in a labor complaint case that purports to be about constitutional bargaining rights?
"It means that you're butting up against each other — the Legislature's constitutional right to set the budget, and the union's constitutional right to negotiate," Halvorson said. "And which one of those things do you think is going to win?"
read … HSTA Focuses On Bond Sale At Labor Hearing
Broken Trust Waihee rouses OHA Cronies with Latest Plan to Squeeze Hawaiians out of State Akaka Tribe
SA: About 400 people attended the annual event at St. Andrew's Cathedral in downtown Honolulu. Guests included Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood and state lawmakers. Entertainer Henry Kapono performed "Kalama Ku O Kamehameha" during the event. The deep, resonating voices of Palani Vaughan and Kanohowailuku Helm filled the church during their performances.
Waihee, Hawaii's first Native Hawaiian governor, captivated attendees as he spoke about reorganization. "What we as a commission are committed to and why we're committed to the work ahead is because we believe that we will lay the foundation on the restoration of Native Hawaiians' self-determination and governance," said Waihee, chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.
During the summer, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed Act 195, which recognizes Native Hawaiians as the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands. In September, Abercrombie appointed the five-member commission to prepare and maintain a roll of qualified native Hawaiians to work toward federal recognition. The commission is expected to present a report to the governor and lawmakers before the start of the 2012 legislative session.
read … Crooks and their Crooked Leader
Political Radar: Romney. Paul Enter Hawaii GOP Caucuses
State Republicans have converted to a presidential caucus system for awarding delegates in the hopes of growing the party. Voters have to join the GOP to participate in the caucuses.
From Comments: Congratulations to the Republicans for finally embracing a small ration of democracy! For the very first time, Hawaii Republican Party members will be able to have a direct say in how Hawaii delegates will vote in their national convention. Hawaii Democrats have been able to vote their presidential preferences for DECADES!
Also, for the first time, there will be Republican presidential caucus meetings in each district. Again, that has been the practice of Hawaii Democrats for DECADES. In 2008, the Republicans forced their members to drive many miles. On Oahu, there were only a handful of meetings. Windward party members from Kaaawa to Makapuu Point all met in a small realtor’s office in Aikahi Park. Fortunately, hardly anyone showed up, or it would have been crowded.
I hope the Republican national presidential race excites a lot of GOP party members ….
2008 Flashback: Caucus confusion
read …. GOP Caucuses
Hawaii to Seek More Financial Disclosure From Super PACs
CB: Currently, the committees only have to disclose basic information on expenditures such as the name and address of the vendor.
Hawaii's four commissioners at a monthly meeting Wednesday approved a proposed bill that would increase reporting requirements for such committees. The draft bill states:
"The purpose of an independent expenditure shall include the name of the candidate who is supported or opposed by the expenditure, and whether the expenditure supports or opposes the candidate."
The requirement would apply to political parties and noncandidate committees.
"It's an area that should be disclosed so that we have an informed public," Executive Director Kristin Izumi-Nitao told the commission. "We believe that more reporting on independent expenditures is required in light of Citizens United."
The disclosure requirement was included in a bill that ultimately stalled during the 2011 legislative session.
Commission staff said the bill has been "scaled down" to improve its chances of advancing this time around. For example, a proposed cap on the price of fundraiser tickets that may be purchased with campaign funds has been removed from the new draft, as well as proposed fines for failure to file post-election reports.
read … Hawaii to Seek More Financial Disclosure From Super PACs
Hawaii 2010 Legislative Campaigns Raked in $5M in Total Contributions
CB: Candidates running for the Hawaii Legislature last year raked in nearly $5 million in total contributions — and spent just as much, according to figures from the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission.
A total of 147 candidates for the House raised $3.09 million for their 2010 campaigns, according to data from the commission. They collectively spent a little more than $3 million.
On the Senate side, a total of 46 candidates pulled in $1.75 million. And they spent about $1.6 million….
read … $5M
Rejected: CBS Apology for Hawaii Five-O Crew Actions During World War II Commemoration
HR: Steffan Tubbs, a morning news co-host in Denver, and a board member with The Greatest Generations Foundation, said the crew was rude and disrespectful to 23 World War II veterans who attended a ceremony and visited the sacred cemetery while they were filming. Production assistants shushed and rushed the WWII veterans as they laid red roses at their friends’ gravesites and continued to work during the national anthem, taps and during the ceremony. His piece is reprinted in its entirety with permission in Hawaii Reporter.
After apologizing, Lenkov said: "Our production crew is 80% staffed with local Hawaiians … (yeah, blame the Hawaiians, great strategy CBS)
HR: CBS Hawaii Five-O Crew Disses Pearl Harbor Survivors: A Disgrace at Punchbowl
Reuters: Veterans' Group to 'Hawaii 5-0': Apology Not Accepted!
read … Apology not Accepted
Three More HPD Officers Face Criminal Charges
HR: Danielson, 28, has asked state Circuit Judge Richard Perkins to defer acceptance of his no-contest plea. If granted, the deferral would result in erasure of the criminal charges if Danielson successfully completes a period of supervision by the court. Perkins will rule on the request February 12.
Three-year HPD officer Richard Moerles, 28, was also charged with insurance fraud and second-degree theft by the state in August.
He is currently at large and believed to be living in Idaho, according to the state Insurance Fraud Division.
A bench warrant is outstanding for his arrest.
HPD spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter said today Moerles was separated from the department in August.
Police officer Cheyanne Garcia, 29, is currently awaiting sentencing after she also pleaded no contest last month to the same fraud and theft charges lodged against Danielson and Moerles.
read … Insurance Fraud
Simon Wiesenthal Center Hits Democrat Bloggers’ Anti-Semitism
WaPo: Over the last week, Ben Smith, my colleague Greg Sargent and I have reported on the controversy concerning the Center for American Progress’s Think Progress bloggers and others in the left blogosphere who have deployed language that invokes anti-Semitic tropes of dual loyalty and who have peddled extreme anti-Israel views.
Perhaps in an effort to distract onlookers from the serious substance, CAP and its defenders have waged a war of words with Josh Block, a prominent Democratic activist who was quoted in Ben Smith’s original column and in subsequent reports. This episode is catnip for the left but ultimately, with all due respect to Block, this is a more substantive and bigger story than simply the dealings of one activist and a handful of bloggers whose rhetorical incontinence has come back to haunt them.
In response to my inquiry, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center sent the following that puts this all in context…
WT: Terrorist attack survivors outraged by White House guest
read … Simon Wiesenthal Center: Time to clean up the discourse
Hawaii Congressional Delegation Larded With Millionaires
||Minimum net worth
||Maximum net worth
||Average net worth
|Sen. Daniel Inouye
|Rep. Mazie Hirono
|Rep. Colleen Hanabusa
|Sen. Daniel Akaka
(This doesn’t count the value of their homes.)
read … Bunch of Millionaires
Obama's isle vacation will be expensive
HNN: President Obama's Christmas vacation in Hawaii will cost tax payers more than $1.5 million ….
First Lady and daughters leave for Oahu Friday
read … Unfortunately he gets to go back to the White House at the End
State Medicaid spending soars 22.7%
"The downturn in the economy has resulted in significant increases in Medicaid enrollment," the group said. "Enrollment growth averaged 5.5 percent in fiscal 2011 with states projecting Medicaid enrollment to grow by an additional 4.1 percent in fiscal 2012."
In 14 states, Medicaid represented more than 25 percent of total expenditures, and in 12 states Medicaid spending grew more than 10.1 percent. It spiked 40.8 percent in California, 22.7 percent in Hawaii, and 22.9 percent in Idaho. It dropped in Maine, Nebraska, North Carolina and New Mexico, mostly on a decline in federal funds.
Overall, collective state spending totaled $1.69 trillion in fiscal 2011 and $1.62 trillion in fiscal 2010. Expenditures, though, are still lower than before the housing downturn, the financial crisis and the recession hobbled state revenue.
read … Medicaid Up
Honolulu housing costs eclipse most of nation
SA: Honolulu is the least affordable city for renters nationwide, with only 8 percent of middle-class jobs paying enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
The city also is second least affordable for homeownership, behind only San Francisco, with just 1 of 74 service positions earning enough to afford a median-price home, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Housing Policy, which released a report today on the housing market in 200 metropolitan areas….
Out of 74 Honolulu service jobs surveyed, only one — construction manager — earns more than $122,000. The average salary for service jobs is $43,910.
While housing is expensive in places such as New York City and San Francisco, those areas also tend to be more affordable because of the "extremely high-paying jobs" in the financial and technology sectors, according to Williams.
read … But the Landed Estates are Doing Well
DHHL Waiting List Offered Leases Again
HTH: Kaha'ulelio knows how that feels. In 1971, more than 10 years after she applied for a home in Waimanalo, Oahu, in 1960, she was accepted for an interview -- and rejected. Sometime in the 1980s, she was awarded a lease by Lt. Gov. John Waihee. But the land had no infrastructure, and she wanted to move to Waimea. After arranging a swap with someone on the Big Island, and getting a federal loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "I moved in Dec. 22, 1999, three days before Christmas," she said with a smile. It took 39 years.
Her daughter, Deborah Manantan, hasn't been so lucky. She has been on the list since 1980. A Kohala resident, she's been offered leases in Hilo, Ka'u, Kona and Naalehu. And one of their sons, a student at Hawaii Community College, is about to join the list. She thinks the Kauhale concept could work for her family.
"With this Kauhale plan, with my kid living with me and my husband, we can make it," she said.
read … Kauhale
Farrington High School To Modernize Campus
CB: Farrington High School plans to break ground Thursday on a campus redesign that will provide much-needed upgrades while still maximizing existing buildings to save money and time.
The Legislature has committed $5 million in state funds to the project. This first phase is expected to cost $3 million. All four phases could take between 10 and 20 years to finish, and the current cost estimate is $100 million.
Civil Beat reported earlier this year about leaky ceilings, moldy walls and crumbling pedestrian ramps, which will be fixed with the campus overhaul. But the benefits to students promise to be far more than aesthetic. The redesign is expected to improve student life in four key ways
read … Farrington
Half Vacant Aloha Tower Market Place Tenants Urging State To Ink Deal With Developer
KITV: Businesses at the Aloha Tower Marketplace say the historic waterfront complex sits half empty and is need desperate need of an overhaul. The state has been negotiating with developer Ed Bushor about taking over the current contract which has 47 years left on the lease.
"The state owns the land under the center and by doing this we allow someone to buy the lease and make an investment of the property that hopefully is to the benefit of the whole state," said Randy Grune, deputy director of harbors and one of three members of the Aloha Tower Development Corporation.
Neither side would divulge details until a formal agreement is hammered out. But this afternoon some marketplace tenants turned out to urge the board to go forward to with a deal.
read … About a problem inherent in Land Leases
Koloa Camp residents to be evicted by Case Family Grove Farm
KGI: On Nov. 8, Grove Farm gave eight tenants residing in Koloa Camp — a 100-year-old, sugar-era neighborhood also known as Japanese Camp —a 120-day eviction notice, citing the company’s previously disclosed plan to redevelop the area with new residential housing.
However, Koloa Camp residents say they don’t want to go. Others residing in proximity of the camp say they are concerned about the potential impacts of Grove Farm’s planned development on a nearby Wailani Road and Waihohonu Stream.
Residents’ concerns and Grove Farm’s plans will be the focus of a community meeting to today at 6 p.m. at Koloa Neighborhood Center, hosted by former Koloa resident Teddy Blake.
read … Where’s the Nature Conservancy? Oh, that’s right they ARE the Case family
Assaults have tenants seeking more control
SA: Kolio said security at the housing complex had been increased after the fatal stabbing of TJ Mori, 24, in September. About eight guards patrolled the grounds nightly, but that number was cut Tuesday to three guards, Kolio said.
Kolio said a security guard told him that three big fights were taking place at the complex at the time of the stabbing….
About 10 minutes after the guard was threatened, a 22-year-old man tried to intervene in an argument outside his home when a man who was in the argument wielded a knife, chased him and stabbed him as he tried to get away. The attacker, a man in his 20s, fled and remained at large Wednesday afternoon, police said. The victim was treated at the hospital and released.
Kolio said problems arise when people who don't live at the complex come in and cause trouble. Part of the problem comes from having no managers present at night, he said.
Kolio said he wants the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, which administers Mayor Wright, to give residents more power to have troublemakers removed from the property when managers are not present.
read … Mayor Wright
Settlement in Hokulia Bypass Case
WHT: "There is a settlement placed on record," Deputy Corporation Counsel Joseph Kamelamela said. "Typically, we don't release (details) until we get the final terms."
That will happen within the next 45 days, he added.
The cases involved Hawaii County, 1250 Oceanside Partners, The Club at Hokulia, the Hokulia Community Association and American Motorists Insurance Co. and centered on improvement bonds for the bypass road and construction on Halekii Street. The county and others filed suit against the developers in April 2010 and attempted to call the bonds securing the bypass and some of the other improvement projects.
"Yesterday's preliminary settlement is legally binding and thus provides the platform upon which the Definitive Agreements will be co-authored by the appropriate entities," Hokulia CEO John De Fries said in a written statement. "There is an old saying that the 'devil is in the details' -- but I can also assure all who are concerned, that 'the angels are in the details, too.'"
read … Hokulia
St. Francis Healthcare blocks bid to sell HMC hospitals
Specifically, St. Francis objects to the fact that HMC’s proposal to sell to Prime “proposes to distribute a substantial portion of the sale proceeds to creditors that are junior in priority to the claims of St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii,” and would have meant St. Francis would end up getting paid just shy of $11.3 million — far short of the $39 million it is still owed.
read … St Francis
The Gas Co. producing renewable natural gas
The Gas Co. is using nonfood-grade oils and fats from unspecified local companies and turning them into what it claims are clean, reliable gas and biofuels at a plant that sits on about 5 acres at the Campbell Industrial Park in West Oahu. The Gas Co. already had a synthetic natural gas manufacturing plant there….
The demonstration plant uses heat from its existing gas production facilities, surplus hydrogen and steam to produce renewable natural gas and biofuels.
The plant, according to The Gas Co. President and CEO Jeffrey Kissel, is capable of processing up to 1 million gallons of feedstock per year and is designed to allow for expansion to accommodate increasing demand and feedstock supply availability.
The Gas Co. designed the facility with the help of California-based Primoris Renewables
read … Gas to be part of HCEI?
Hawaii-based soldiers give eye exams to Waianae elementary school students
Hawaii-based soldiers have helped hundreds of elementary school students in Waianae find out whether they need to wear eyeglasses.
Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team's 1st Battalion 27th infantry Regiment worked with local Lions Club chapters to test the eyesight of 300 students….
The soldiers volunteered through the Army's Partnership of Ohana program, which supports local schools, community events and civic organizations.
read … Eyesight
Hawaii to Iraq and Back, No Easy Road
CB: Yu said he wouldn't have made an appointment for behavioral health services at Tripler Army Medical Center if not for the prompting of his then-girlfriend, who is now his wife. On simple outings to places like Ala Moana mall, she noticed he wasn't acting like himself.
"My personality all of the sudden would be tense, really irritable, and just not making any sense," Yu said. "The smallest issues were turning into something big. That was my decision point. I went to the VA and started talking to the doctors and it was the most amazing experience. One, I felt like they really cared about my situation. Two, I felt like they really understood. It was like they had been there with me."
read … PTSD