Santorum Registers for March 13 Hawaii GOP Caucuses
Will HHSC Set Up Abortion Clinic on Kauai?
Fordham Rips Hawaii Science Standards: “The Ignorance on Display is Shameful”
Civil Beat Vanishes from Internet
Transcript: Maine PUC Rips Hawaii's Largest Windfarm Developer
Hawaii: First Anti-Gun Bill Out of the 2012 Legislative Chute
Abercrombie Retaliates against Champley for BioFuel Rejection
SA: Gov. Neil Abercrombie will meet with his interim appointee to the state Public Utilities Commission to ask whether he still wants the job and is in alignment with the governor's energy agenda.
Abercrombie appointed Michael Champley, a Maui-based energy consultant, in September to fill a vacancy on the PUC. The appointment is subject to state Senate confirmation, but the governor has not forwarded Champley's name to the Senate for review.
Donalyn Dela Cruz, the governor's spokeswoman, said Friday that Abercrombie wants to talk with Champley about whether he still wants to serve and whether he supports the governor's energy policies. "We would just like to hear from him," she said.
Champley could not be reached for comment.
Champley was involved in several votes since joining the PUC that did not sit well with the Abercrombie administration.
In September Champley was part of a unanimous PUC decision rejecting a controversial plan by Hawaiian Electric Co. to buy 16 million gallons of locally produced biofuel for electricity generation from a Hawaii island venture called Aina Koa Pono.
The commissioners said the high cost of the alternative fuel was too much for ratepayers to bear. The PUC estimated that the difference between the cost of the biofuel — made from plants — and the petroleum-based fuel it was intended to replace would have resulted in utility customers paying at least $100 million more over the 20-year life of the contract.
read … Retaliation
Hirono Votes Against Congressional Pay Freeze
CB: Ed Case jabbed at his primary opponent Mazie Hirono on Friday (Feb. 3) in a tweet (@EdCaseHawaii, 1,571 followers):
Mazie votes no on pay freeze for Members of Congress (Hanabusa yes; passes 309-117 2/1/12)
The vote Case is referring to was on a measure titled, “To extend the pay limitation for Members of Congress and Federal employees.” Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa did vote as Case indicated.
read … Case Digs Hirono on Pay Cuts
Inouye to Go Another Year Without Earmarks
The Hill: Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye, (D-Hawaii), announced that his panel will continue a moratorium on earmarks for a second year on 2013 spending bills. Meanwhile, a vote is expected Thursday afternoon on an amendment that would permanently ban the practice.
“Depriving the Congress of the ability to direct money to specific projects does not save money or reduce the deficit, it simply gives additional power to the president and weakens the legislative branch," Inouye said.
“As I stated when I announced the initial moratorium on appropriations earmarks last February, I continue to support the constitutional right of members of Congress to direct investments to their states and districts under the fiscally responsible and transparent earmarking process that we have established," he said.
The earmark issue has reemerged in recent days as a hot topic, pressed by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who have offered an amendment to the pending Stock Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act that would establish a permanent ban in the upper chamber.
The amendment is on a list of expected votes scheduled for Thursday afternoon. It would need 60 votes to pass.
Toomey called Inouye's decision "a small but important victory for American taxpayers."
read … Earmarks
Hawaii Lawmakers reaching again for that giant cookie jar
DN: This year the Abercrombie administration has introduced a bill that has certain House members salivating in public. It promises them endless and unlimited tickets to events sponsored by 501(c)3 events designed, in many cases, to gain their favor. It would institutionalize influence peddling in Hawaii.
Shapiro: Local politicians pursue charitable contributions
read … Cookie Jar
Star-Adv: Kauai secrecy unreasonable
SA: Kauai residents have been left in the dark after Mayor Bernard Carvalho placed on leave the island's police chief and two assistant chiefs due to what he calls an "employee-generated complaint," which can mean just about anything. The mayor should provide more information about the allegations surrounding the three highest public officials entrusted with safeguarding the island's public safety.
Carvalho placed Chief Darryl Perry on leave Wednesday, a day after placing Assistant Chiefs Roy Asher and Ale Quibilan on leave. All three were required to turn in their equipment. Carvalho said they would remain on leave until an investigation of allegations is completed but would not say when that would be or whether they will be paid their wages during that period.
Carvalho refused to answer questions by reporters on Thursday, directing them to his communications team. When asked whether that team would answer questions that day, he responded flippantly, "Welcome to Kauai."
AP: Mayor's power unclear in chief's suspension
read … Welcome to Kauai
Items from protesters sweep fill city storage site
SA: Madori Rumpungworn, who has been living at Thomas Square for the past three months, said she and several others are waiting to see what city officials do next.
"They want to tango," said the Ewa Beach resident and former Leeward Community College student, "two can tango."
At 7 a.m. Friday she and two other protesters sat on the South Beretania Street sidewalk where they had spent the night. Nearby other protesters slept in three tents. By midmorning the protesters had voluntarily taken down their tents.
City officials have told the protesters that they could continue to hold signs and pass out literature, but that tents or other items left on the sidewalk would be confiscated.
On Thursday police arrested protester Lucas Miller, 29, of Makiki and cited him with obstruction of a government operation — a misdemeanor. Miller, a teacher, was arrested after sitting in his tent, holding it while dancing in the park and the street and finally blocking the city workers from loading up their backhoe.
"He was given several commands, instructions and orders to leave the park, relinquish his tent, which he failed to do," Sgt. Lawrence Santos said. "Unfortunately, one person was arrested. If he simply complied, there would have been no arrest."
Miller was also one of the eight Occupy Honolulu protesters arrested Nov. 5 for being in the park after 10 p.m. Those protesters go before a District Court judge Wednesday.
read … Occupy Garbage
Print Newspapers Fight Electronic Legal Ads
HR: The state spends nearly $1 million annually to publish legal notices in Honolulu’s only newspaper and lawmakers are looking for ways to trim that bill.
Two measures that would allow electronic publication of some or all legal notices on internet websites were discussed in a joint meting of three Senate committees this afternoon.
read … Electronic Legal Ads
Trying to Drive That First Spike: Rail Radio Blitz Costs Oahu Taxpayers $145,000
HR: The Honolulu Area Rapid Transit Authority, the entity that oversees the construction and management of the city's proposed $5.3 billion elevated steel on steel rail system, has launched a series of radio advertisements promoting the project and directing the public to check out the HART web site for traffic updates.
Scott Ishikawa, spokesperson for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project's Public Involvement Team, told Hawaii Reporter in an email today:
"Construction of the foundation and pillars for the rail guideway is about to begin. We need to be proactive and do everything we can in letting the public know in advance about the work, so they can adjust their commute or make detours to avoid the construction areas. The radio spots also advise the public to watch for our construction crews on the road and to drive safely around them."
He said the cost for the radio spots, including production and airtime is $145,000.
read … Rail Radio
Housing Department Treats Americans Like Prisoners in Own Homes
KITV: Hakim Ouansafi, director of The Hawaii Public Housing Authority, told residents new fences will be installed to make sure visitors check in at approved entrances. Security cameras will be installed. A curfew will be imposed for visitors and parking in the complex will be limited to residents only.
"The purpose of everything we're doing is to make sure that our keiki our elderly are safe and you can actually walk feel that you can walk safely," Ouansafi said.
Some residents said the new security rules might go too far.
"I think that's unnecessary to me because people shouldn't be treated like prisoners," commented one resident.
And some made the point most residents are good, friendly people.
"It's just different people who make the community look bad. It's not everybody should get punished for someone else’s actions. Why make it hard for the rest of us?" said resident Tiara Thomas.
The director also said the individual buildings will be given names rather than numbered, which he said gives the complex the feel of a cell block.
read … Public Housing Director Outlines New Security Measures
Hawaii PUC Rejects Utilities' Residential Solar On Bill Financing Program
SI: In its decision, however, the PUC cited several critical comments it received in response to the utilities' request to implement the program. The Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance filed an official protest based on the procedural grounds and merits of the program. The Division of Consumer Advocacy of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs stated that it has "questions and concerns regarding the reasonableness of the companies' proposals," although it supported the objectives.
The PUC concluded that the program was not cost-effective to ratepayers, noting that it would require "a capital expenditure of over $55 million, or $21 million net of potential applicable federal and state 2011-0186 renewable energy tax credits, and additional implementation costs exceeding $17 million."
read … Simply Solar
Dan Akaka Explains how he Became a Millionaire
SA: In his one-minute, 32-second video, Akaka responds to the YouTube Town Hall question, "Given that 50 percent of Congress people are millionaires, do you represent the average American?"
Akaka begins with a throaty "Alooooha" and recounts his upbringing as the youngest child of a welder who "worked at a tough job for long hours with little pay so he could feed my family."
"Millions of Americans across the country share this struggle every day. I was lucky to learn the value of financial planning and saving in elementary school. One of my teachers asked us to pick something we wanted to buy. I chose a yo-yo. We made a detailed plan on how much it would cost, how much we would have to earn, how we would earn it and how we would save it. … Those lessons and the way they empowered me led me to strongly advocate for financial literacy, giving Americans the tools they need to plan for their financial future. That is why I added several provisions to Wall Street reform and credit card reform bills to protect and educate American consumers. One of my provisions now requires every credit card statement to include a box explaining how many years and months it will take you to pay off your balance if you only make the minimum payment. This is already helping millions of hard-working people make the best decisions for their families' futures."
The video can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWFNdRb1Dew.
read … Million Dollar Dan
Hirono: Too Difficult for Gov’t Employees to Join Union
Hirono, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said she’s “thankful” that her amendment passed. But she also said in a statement that there are “disturbing provisions” that made their way into the legislation as a result of “politics.”
Those provisions, she said, will make it harder for workers to join unions.
“I don’t support these provisions and will work to see them changed,” Hirono said.
read … Dues Collection Machine
Representative Ward Rebuts Issues Concerning A State-Owned Bank
Representative Gene Ward rebuts issues concerning a "State-Owned Bank" in session on February 1, 2012 from the chamber floor.
Stand. Comm. Rep. No. 52-12 H.B. No. 1840, H.D. 1 RELATING TO STATE-OWNED BANK.
(Financial Institutions; State-owned Bank; Task Force) AS AMENDED, PASS SECOND READING, REFER TO CONSUMER PROTECTION & COMMERCE
Excerpt from Capitol TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsjF2oLFtSo
read … Crony Bankitalism
Bill affecting hundreds of Hawaii's organ transplant patients to be signed into law
KHON: Governor Abercrombie will sign a bill into law Saturday that will affect hundreds of people on Hawaii's organ transplant waiting list.
House Bill 608 will provide the Queen's Medical Center, $1.5 million toward the opening of a new transplant center.
read … Organ Transplant
Hawaii campaign contributions case back in federal court on Monday
DN: Hawaii, as far as it is from the US Supreme Court, has nevertheless been lapped by the wave of campaign law challenges resulting from the Citizen United case. Monday may move us briefly into the national spotlight as state laws that restrict campaign contributions by Hawaii plaintiffs are tested in federal court.
Oral arguments before Judge J. Michael Seabright are scheduled for Monday morning 9:00-11:00 in the case known here as A-1 A-Lectrician, Inc. This is the case brought by plaintiffs Jimmy Yamada and Russell Stewart (the two other plaintiffs) who wished to contribute S2,500 to the Aloha Family Alliance, a Political Action Committee, before the 2010 election.
In October, 2010, Judge Seabright issued a partial injunction so that the contribution could be made before the election.
The plaintiffs will be represented once again by attorney Randy Elf, and the State by Deputy Attorney General Charlene Aina, with others likely to be present on both sides as well….
Right-click to download the Plaintiff’s brief here and the Defendant’s brief here. Warning: these are not the latest briefs in this case, but they provide the base material. Each side has responded, and the judge will sort it out.
read … Citizens United
Aloha Stadium to Help Fund UH Athletic Program?
CB: Senate Bill 2991, a proposal to have the stadium authority pay UH 25 percent of all revenues that UH generates at Aloha Stadium. It’s not the first time a proposal like this has come up.
The Senate bill was introduced by Senate Education Chairwoman Jill Tokuda and Senate President Shan Tsutsui, and a companion bill in the House was introduced by Reps. Scott Nishimoto, Mark Nakashima and Mark Takai. That one passed its first committee hearing today.
Two related measures propose 1) studying the feasibility of placing Aloha Stadium under UH jurisdiction or 2) making the president of UH a voting member of the stadium authority.
read … Aloha Stadium
Sotomayor: "We're moving and advancing the law into the unknown"
SA: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Hawaii lawyers and judges Thursday that the nation's highest court only takes cases that have no clear answers.
"We're moving and advancing the law into the unknown," she said.
But she also said the court must also deal with cases already supported by a line of prior court decisions that are no longer valid.
The extreme example, she said, was the historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling that outlawed segregation despite 50 years of decisions that supported the "separate but equal" system of segregating schools.
But she said it's still difficult when facing an issue based on previous court rulings that are "wrong," and fashioning a new ruling.
"I'm still struggling with it," she said. She also pointed out she is only one of nine justices with strong personalities, which is the reason why their passion spills over to what some say are their "sharp" opinions rendered in divided decisions….
Although this is not Sotomayor's first visit, she said she's learned much about Hawaii, its culture and people, the state courts and the uniqueness of the UH's law school.
"You've got an extraordinary Supreme Court," Sotomayor said. "I've never met five justices who really are friends."
read … Where no man has gone before
Kamehameha Schools and Alexander & Baldwin Announce Agreement for Residential Condominium at Former CompUSA Site
News Release: A&B Properties, Inc., a subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (NYSE:ALEX) (A&B) has executed an option agreement to purchase a development block in Kaka‘ako from Kamehameha Schools, on which A&B will initiate planning for the future development of a residential condominium tower. The property is located within Kamehameha Schools’ 29-acre Kaiaulu ‘o Kaka‘ako master plan, a plan that when completed, will offer a diverse community to live and work in and reflect Kaka‘ako’s long tradition of innovation, hard work, good friends and good times. “
The property fronts Ala Moana Boulevard and is bordered by Keawe, South and Auahi streets. The site, formerly home to Comp USA, is adjacent to Kamehameha’s recently announced 60,000 square-foot specialty retail and village center, and would benefit from Kamehameha’s planned street-level improvements along Keawe Street. The property is entitled for high rise residential development, but may also include commercial space for businesses to serve the neighborhood. A&B expects its pre-development efforts will take several years and will not have any near-term impact on the existing tenants at the property.
read … Building
Opposed by Matson: OK for Kyo-ya project remains elusive
PBN: Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts’ $700 million redevelopment of the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani and the Westin Moana Surfrider’s Diamond Head Tower remains stalled before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals because of firm protests by a local group of environmental and community activists.
Those protests — led by a group that includes organizations such as Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, Ka Iwi Coalition, Surfrider Foundation, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance and Honolulu resident and preservationist Michelle Matson — threaten to keep the Kyo-ya project in legal limbo for at least the next year.
Matson/A&B enforcing their control over the real estate market by oppressing outside competitors.
PBN: Mixed-use towers planned for old Honolulu Advertiser site
read … Not Building. Any Questions?
Judge soundly rejects Ga. birther claims
AJC: Deputy Chief Judge Michael Malihi has rendered his judgment, breaking birther hearts all over the country: Barack Obama will remain on the 2012 primary and general election ballot in Georgia.
The judge’s written opinion all but drips with scorn for the absurd case presented to him by ($1000 Democrat Contributor) Orly Taitz and her colleagues:
“The Court finds the testimony of the witnesses, as well as the exhibits tendered, to be of little, if any, probative value, and thus wholly insufficient to support plaintiffs’ allegations…. None of the testifying witnesses offered persuasive testimony. Moreover, the Court finds that none of the written submissions tendered by plaintiffs have probative value. Given the unsatisfactory evidence presented by the plaintiffs, the court concludes the plaintiffs’ claims are not persuasive.”
In other words, the birthers finally got a judge to listen to their “evidence,” and even with no opposing counsel in the courtroom, the judge concluded that their case was total and complete bunk.
read … Birfers
Marshall Islands President visits Hawaii
KHON: While meeting with officials, President Loeak discussed issues relating to the Compact of Free Association and to reaffirm the RMI government's commitment towards a mutually beneficial outcome to the significant issues.
"I would like to thank the people of Hawaii for their hospitality during my visit," said Republic of Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak.
"Hawaii is such a beautiful place and we can see why many of our residents have chosen to make their home here. I thank the people of Hawaii for opening their hearts to them and for their generous compassion."
read … Marshall Islands
More Cities Consider Parades for Iraq War Vets
FOX: The St. Louis parade welcoming home Iraq War and other post-Sept. 11 veterans is spurring talk of similar parades in at least 10 other cities.
Organizers of the parade that drew an estimated 100,000 observers and 20,000 participants in St. Louis on Jan. 28 say they have been approached by officials in Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Tucson, Ariz., Nashville, Tenn., Greensboro, N.C., and Clinton, Iowa.
Read … PARADE