Abercrombie Doubles Down on Policies Which Killed HMC Hospitals
State Joins Lawsuit Seeking to Force Hawaii Kai Homeowner to Rent Room to Lesbians
VIDEO: Representative George Fontaine's Christmas Message 2011
Schofield soldiers return to Hawaii as part of the last group of U.S. forces to leave Iraq
SA: From a high of 170,000 combat troops in Iraq in 2007, U.S. force levels dropped to 33,000 in early November, 8,000 in early December, and then to a few thousand last week.
On Saturday, the last remaining 68 Schofield Barracks soldiers and about 84 Air Force and other Army personnel flew out of southern Iraq on two aircraft, followed by 480 soldiers who drove into Kuwait.
They were the only U.S. combat forces left. With their departure, the nearly 9-year-old war was over.
read … Back from Iraq
Abercrombie: No apologies--I Always Get Elected Because People Disagree With Me
Bloomberg: Abercrombie isn’t getting a lot of love elsewhere in Hawaii these days. Elected just over a year ago with 58 percent of the vote, he’s now the least-popular governor in the nation, with a 30 percent approval rating, according to an October survey by Raleigh, North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling. That same month, four of his senior advisers quit.
The governor attributes the friction to the budget he signed in June, which involved tax hikes and spending cuts, including a 5 percent salary reduction for state workers. He spoke in a Dec. 6 interview at a Democratic Governors Association meeting in Los Angeles.
“I told everyone when I ran, I’m going to tell you exactly what needs to be done,” said Abercrombie, who previously served on the Honolulu City Council, in the state Senate and in Congress. “I’ve been elected for four decades now, always on the basis that not everyone agrees with me.”….
There’s going to be a charm offense, to make up for what he lost,” Ward said in a telephone interview.
The governor offered no apologies, however.
“They’ll forgive you being wrong,” he said. “They’ll never forgive you for being right.”
read … Tax Hikes Roiling Hawaii Make Abercrombie Least Popular Governor
City Risk Manager Steered Rail Insurance Contract to Marsh
ILind: The investigation found that city risk manager Beverly Braun improperly influenced the ratings by member of the evaluation committee in a way that favored Marsh’s technical score….
The players include Marsh USA, Aon Risk Services Inc. (the losing bidder that complained), Braun, CALTROP (the consultant recommending the OCIP insurance plan), and the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services, which conducted the internal investigation…..
Here’s an interesting coincidence. Although Chad Karasaki was listed as managing director for Marsh USA in the 2007 testimony referred to above, he is now listed in insurance licensing records as a representative of AON Risk Services of Hawaii, which protested the contract award to Marsh….
read … Tracking back from disputed rail insurance contract
State Could Pay Millions for HGEA's Favored Nation Perk
CB: The union invoked its most-favored-nation clause via a Nov. 18 letter, in which HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira claimed the United Public Workers union landed a better contract.
Shortly after the letter was made public, Abercrombie told Civil Beat he fully intends to honor the favored nation perk, which allows HGEA to get the same benefits as another union if a better deal is reached. It was essentially seen as a reward for HGEA being the first union to settle with the state.
With six months of the fiscal year already done, applying new terms retroactively for the HGEA's more than 28,000 members could have a negative impact on the state and counties' budgeting process moving forward.
One example: For the five months that UPW did not have a new contract in place, its members saw their pay revert to higher pre-furlough levels and covered just 40 percent of health-care costs. Should the HGEA be able to apply its favored nation clause to that, the state and counties would be on the hook for the added costs….
read … They’ll get theirs
Decoupling Contributes to latest HECO Rate Hike
SA: HECO attributed the rising rates to more expensive petroleum-based fuel used for the bulk of its power generation. Higher fuel costs accounted for more than 90 percent of the overall increase in rates, according to the utility.
Other factors, including a switch to a new rate-setting mechanism known as decoupling and an interim increase in the base rate, contributed to the rise in HECO's rates.
read … Green energy, burning dollars
Bond Sale Doesn't Affect Ed Department's Capital Improvement Plans
CB: "If the state had never sold the bonds, we would never have had any (capital improvement project) money released, but nobody ever suggested that wasn't going to happen," said Randy Moore, assistant superintendent for school facilities and support services at the department.
That means the same capital improvements the department already had slated for this year and next will proceed as planned. Those include a much-needed campus modernization project at Farrington High School and a new middle school in Kapolei, among a host of others.
For next year, the district is seeking another $130 million from the Hawaii Legislature for even more capital improvements, in addition to the $170 million lawmakers already set aside.
See this year's requests here, and an explanation for them here.
Here are the big projects this year and their allotment status: 11 12 cip allotment priorities 060711
Here's a quick rundown of how the capital improvements process works….
read … CIP
Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning does pipeline survey
PBN: The chilled water initially will be drawn from about 5 miles off Oahu’s southern coast into a cooling station on Ala Moana Boulevard. After passing through a heat exchanger, it will be dispensed as fresh water through the network of distribution pipes.
Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning recently signed a 55-year agreement to lease an approximate 30,000-square-foot parcel behind the Gold Bond Building in Kakaako to build and operate its pumping station and exchange facility.
Construction is expected to start early next year, and the company estimates it will begin providing seawater air-conditioning to customers in 2013.
read … Seawater
Ernie Els Golf Course Has Yet to Deliver on Ewa Community Benefits
CB: For three years, golfers have been teeing off at the famed, 18-hole Ernie Els golf course in Ewa Beach. But the owner has yet to offer kamaaina rates or donate $1.4 million to a community benefits fund as promised.
A Tokyo-based real estate developer was originally supposed offer these perks to the community when the course opened in early 2009. And some residents say that it’s part of a string of broken promises by Haseko over the course of two decades. Most recently, it decided to scrap a long-awaited marina for a lagoon, in a move that has some residents threatening to sue.
The golf course is part of the 4,800 home master-planned communities of Ocean Pointe and Hoakalei.
Related: US Supreme Court asked to Decide Constitutionality of Cash Payments for Development Approvals
read … Golf
Alleged Multi-Kilo Dope Dealer Still in Jail and Civil Beat is Really Upset
CB: As a minister of Hilo's THC Ministry, Roger Christie's preferred sacrament contains tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive substance in marijuana.
But, as inmate No. 99279022 of the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu, Christie has not had access to his sacred rite in 17 months. Arrested on July 8, 2010, and denied bail, Christie, 62, is set to spend his second Christmas in jail….
HR: Get a Medical Marijuana Card, Lose Your Second Amendment Rights
KGI: ‘Dial-a-doc’ could face 20 years in jail, $1M fine for federal charges
read … The preferred sacrament of the conscious, enlightened, and progressive snob-elite.
Nonprofits benefit from HI-5 donations
WHT: Ten Big Island nonprofits will see a little cash come to their coffers after community members opted to donate their recyclable cans and bottles, rather than claiming the deposits.
The $25,000, which comes from deposits and scrap value for beverage containers, was accumulated from "customers that come in and say, we don't want the money," said Jeri Pankey, HI-5 Redemption Coordinator with Business Services Hawaii.
The company won the most recent county recycling contract and collects cans and bottles at 10 sites around the island. When people dropping off cans and bottles for recycling choose not to collect the 5-cent deposits and the scrap value of the containers, Business Services Hawaii allows them to select a nonprofit to which the money may be donated. Not everyone names an organization, Pankey said. Some people just ask the company to choose.
read … Donations