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Monday, February 13, 2012
February 13, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:19 PM :: 12032 Views

SB3019: Soda Tax to be Heard Today

Gallup: Hawaii #1 State for Gov't Jobs

Childless Women Make Hawaii Democratic?

HSTA to Return To Bargaining Table

Am Samoa: Faleomavaega Tries to Create New Citizens to Win Election

Supreme Court Decision Clarifies Line Between Discipline and Abuse

Star-Adv Lards Poll With 69% Obamabots and Finds Hirono Ahead

(The poll also samples 69% Obama supporters whereas Gallup finds only 56.1% Obama approval in Hawaii electorate.)

John Hart, a communication professor at Hawaii Pacific University, said the Hawaii Poll (conducted by the infamous Ward Research) has a substantially different result from another survey on the Senate race in January. An automated poll taken by the online news site Civil Beat and the Merriman River Group showed Case and Hirono essentially deadlocked, with Case up 41 percent to 39 percent, within the poll's 2.7-percentage-point margin of error.

The Hawaii Poll found that Hirono and Case are much closer on Oahu — 50 percent to 41 percent — than on the neighbor islands — 69 percent to 25 percent. Both Demo­crats have represented the neighbor islands in the 2nd Congressional District. Many political analysts had thought that population growth on the neighbor islands, particularly on Hawaii island and Maui, would gradually change the political dynamics, but the neighbor islands have remained deep blue territory for traditional Demo­crats in recent elections.

Hirono dominates Case among traditional Demo­crats, 64 percent to 31 percent, and in union households, 63 percent to 31 percent — voters who have proved more likely to participate in the party's primaries. The congresswoman also fares well among women, Japanese-Americans, Hawaiians, young people and low-income voters.

Case has a healthy edge over Hirono among independents — 47 percent to 38 percent — and Republicans — 60 percent to 32 percent. Case's strategy in previous campaigns has been to urge independents and Republicans to vote in the Demo­cratic primary, since the primary is open to all voters, an appeal complicated this year because of Lingle….

Lingle, the poll found, trails both Hirono and Case by 20-point margins. But the former governor has an advantage over the Demo­crats among independents — 57 percent to 39 percent over Hirono, and 53 percent to 38 percent over Case — a voting bloc she must rule to compete in November. Lingle needs to capture most independents and a share of moderate Demo­crats to win, a formula that will likely be influenced by how these voters perceive President Obama.

The president's job approval rating in Hawaii is at 69 percent, according to the Hawaii Poll, down from 74 percent in May but still well above his 48 percent rating nationally by Gallup. (Notice that they did not mention that their poll is far out of whack from Gallup’s Obama Approval rating in Hawaii-- 56.1%)

Gallup vs Ward

Ward Obama Approval 69% Gallup Obama Approval 56.1% -- Larded with 12.9% extra Obamabots

Q12. Which party do you usually find yourself voting with:

  • Democratic Party 61% (Gallup 53%) – Larded with 8% extra Democrats
  • Republican Party 20 (Gallup 25.4%)
  • Neither/Independent 17 (Gallup 20.8%)

According to Gallup, Hawaii voters are 53% Democrat >>> LINK

Related: Gallup: Obama Approval Plummets in Hawaii, Down to 56.1%

read … Garbage In Garbage Out

VIDEO HNN Interview With Linda Lingle

“I look forward to many debates after the Primary.” – Linda Lingle

watch … HNN Interview

Poll: Cayetano 44%, Carlisle 35%, Caldwell 16%

HNN: Cayetano, 72, has run for office eight times and has always won. With 28 years of political experience, he said he is ready to bring change to Honolulu Hale. 44% of Oahu voters surveyed favored the former governor. 35% chose current Mayor Peter Carlisle. Former Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell picked up 16%.

"I felt kind of strange because in all of my statewide races, I've always been behind," said Cayetano.

"You have two options: running unopposed or scared," said Carlisle. "So you should always be scared and you should always be able to ramp up and give it 100% of your effort."

"You would expect them to have high name ID. I think you're going to see as my campaign rolls out, my name ID will go, too," said Caldwell….

Cayetano had a strong showing among Filipinos and voters 55 and older in the poll. He is also picking up support from anti-rail voters by vowing to kill the pricey project. Since he is used to the underdog role, however, he is not letting his guard down….

"You're gonna have to have a little anti-Ben Cayetano campaign and a real big pro-rail campaign to push off track the Cayetano train which right now is moving ahead," predicted Borreca.

SA: Managed lanes offer many advantages in solving traffic problems

read … Cayetano leads mayoral candidates in Hawaii Poll

Just How Deep Will Honolulu Rail's Debt Be?

CB: In his op-ed, Cayetano said he's running for mayor "because I believe that adding $5 to $7 billion in debt for an elevated, heavy rail system that will not reduce traffic congestion and will suck the air out of the city's ability to provide more important basic services does not make sense."

Cayetano's misuse of the word debt creates an impression about the project that is misleading. It implies there's no money to cover the costs of the project and could inflame fears about the system's finances.

The debt, according to one of the state's top bankers who's the chair of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation's Finance Committee, will at its peak be about $1 billion, and it will be paid off soon after construction is done.

"Maybe I should have said cost," Cayetano told Civil Beat when asked about his phrasing Friday. He said the $5 billion figure comes from the project's own estimated cost, and the $7 billion figure comes from the IMG study produced at the behest of then-Gov. Linda Lingle in late 2010.1

"Because the taxpayers are going to be paying for it, that's what I mean and that's how I look at it. When you compare all the cost items that the city faces, you look at the retirement system, the EUTF and all that, that's a lot of debt for this small state," he said. "That's what I meant."

read … Just How Deep Will Honolulu Rail's Debt Be?

Calvin Say Speakership Cost $53K

CB: Calvin Say has been speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives since 1999 and has survived several attempts to unseat him from the top job.

And yet, with the support of a majority of fellow House Democrats, he has been re-elected speaker like clockwork every two years.

Turns out that last Aug. 1, 27 of those supporters received $2,000 each from a political action committee called Citizens for Responsive Government. Many of the others are committee chairs.

They included the top-ranking House leaders: Speaker Emeritus Joe Souki, Vice Speaker Joey Manahan, Majority Leader Pono Chong and Finance Chair Marcus Oshiro.

The chair and treasurer of the PAC? Calvin Azama, the speaker's own chief of staff.

According to one report, a former treasurer is Brian Takeshita, who worked for Say as a special assistant and is now assistant chief clerk in the House.

All told, the PAC gave $53,000 to the supporters, according to its July 1 - Dec. 31 filing with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission.

It still had more than $100,000 cash on hand at the end of the year.

Only one House dissident — the name for House Democrats who have tried to depose the speaker — received money from the PAC. That was Linda Ichiyama, who later switched her loyalty to Say.

Two other House reps who got money, Jo Jordan and Derek Kawakami, were appointments to replace lawmakers who left the House.

read … The Speaker's PAC

CN: Mysterious Abercrombie Executive Orders Tied to OHA Kakaako Settlement

CN: The proposed settlement gives the state continued easements and ground and water rights. That's because part of the Kaka'ako area may be part of a High-Capacity Transit Corridor railroad that is still in litigation in Federal Court. Plaintiffs in that complaint say the city failed to conduct historic preservation surveys where known Native Hawaiian burials are known to exist.

Abercrombie signed the proposed settlement in November, and recently posted executive orders to cede parcels on the islands, with limitations..

Related: “Concerning Public Lands” 14 Executive Orders Suddenly Appear on Abercrombie Website

read … Kakaako

Senate Committee expected to OK OHA settlement today

SA: Under terms of the proposed settlement, OHA would have ownership of the land and the ability to devise a master plan, but development would remain subject to the rules and zoning of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, an agency created in 1978 to manage the development of Kakaako.

State Sen. Malama Solo­mon (D, Hilo-Hono­kaa), the Water, Land and Housing Committee vice chairwoman, voiced concern over OHA not receiving entitlements to the land. Hawaiians, she said, should have the ability to determine on their own what to do with the parcels once they are turned over. State Sen. Brickwood Galu­te­ria (D, Downtown-Waikiki) had said committee members would study the issue before making any decision.

The two Senate committees deferred action until today.

"We intend to pass it out clean this coming Monday. That's our intention," Galu­te­ria, Senate majority leader and chairman of the Hawaiian Affairs Committee, said Friday. "Nothing's really developed since we last talked."

House lawmakers are awaiting the Senate version of the bill before acting on the settlement.

Once the bill crosses over, the House could accept the Senate version of the bill, make changes or advance its own version of the measure.

"We're going to take a look at what the Senate is going to do, because I know there's been some discussion — and I don't want to speak for them — on making some changes to the governor's bill as submitted," said Rep. Pono Chong (D, Maunawili-Kaneohe), the House majority leader. "We want to see what their intentions are first."

Both chambers would have to agree on the same version of the bill for it to be approved.

read … OHA Settlement

SA: Time to spike spiking practice

SA: The Employees Retirement System of Hawaii has estimated that 670 members — about 13 percent — engage in "spiking criteria," based on a sample group of about 5,000 members who retired from 2008 to 2010. City auditors determined in December that each of the 10 highest-paid Emergency Medical Services employees nearing retirement were paid nearly $140,000 a year, more than double their base salary of $63,252.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie called last year for eliminating overtime and other kinds of extra payments in the final years of state workers' employment as factors in determining pensions. As a compromise, he now has given his support to "threshold limitations" described in a more modest Senate Bill 2750, which would limit increases to 20 percent above base pay in allowing overtime payments to be a factor retirement pay.

Wesley K. Machida, the retirement system's administrator, described to legislators how spiking works and why near-to-retirement employees are eager to put in mammoth amounts of extra hours.

Assume that a public employee has averaged a salary of $50,000 over 25 to 27 years, averaging $56,243 in the last three years, Machida said. That would result in a maximum yearly pension of $33,746. However, if that same employee put in enough overtime and other non-base pay to boost the total pay to $200,000 during each of the last three years, the annual maximum annual retirement allowance could reach $120,000.

Machida noted that 10 state retirement systems exclude or restrict overtime in their pension calculations, and 15 states have anti-spiking provisions, many with criteria more strict than put forth in the Hawaii legislation. The Pew Center on the States reported in 2010 that the clever method of boosting pensions is commonplace among state employees.

In Hawaii, public employee and employer contributions to the retirement system in the last fiscal year totaled $715 million, while nearly $1 billion was paid in retirement benefits. The trend is similar in the current fiscal year, which Machida said means "more solutions will be needed to prevent the investment corpus from being depleted." The alternative would mean larger contributions by employers — i.e. taxpayers.

Abercrombie warned last year that eliminating overtime as factors in retirement pay would save $13 million in the state budget and $19 million in county taxes, reducing the unfunded liability of $8.2 billion by a half-billion dollars.

The public employee unions now ask that the issue be addressed in the collective bargaining process with the state and counties, where they obviously are more confident in maintaining the status quo…. (and so this all ends in a fudge….)

read … Time to spike spiking practice

Woman Hospitalized After Assault, Kidnapping At Kuhio Park Terrace

KITV: The incident happened around 4:30 a.m. Sunday at the Kuhio Park Terrace on Linapuni Street.

According to police, the man and the woman were in an relationship argument when the man locked the woman in a room against her will and assaulted her with a "dangerous instrument."

The woman suffered multiple injuries from the assault and was transported in serious condition.
Read more:

read … Another Failure of Leadership in Public Housing

17,000 Students Could Be Without School Buses Next Year

CB: Hawaii Department of Education officials say they would have to end school bus service on Oahu if the Legislature doesn't give them millions of dollars even beyond what the governor is seeking for school bus transportation next year.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has requested $54 million for bus transportation costs next year. But that's $17 million shy of what the department says it needs in order to continue providing student transportation at the current level next year.

If they don't get all the money, district officials say they will have to eliminate regular school bus service on Oahu, leaving 17,000 kids who now ride the bus scrambling to find other transportation.

The Hawaii Department of Education is already under pressure from the Legislature to reduce costs, not increase them. Transportation costs have skyrocketed in recent years, up from about $34 million a year in 2005 to $75 million a year in 2012.

read … 17,000

$63M for free Laptops

A plan to put a laptop in the hands of every public school student in the state will likely take a decade to roll out and is expected to cost about $50 million a year to sustain, state Department of Education officials said.

In his State of the State address Jan. 23, Gov. Neil Abercrombie pledged to move forward on a "one-to-one" laptop program as part of wider education reform efforts.

The governor has asked lawmakers for about $1 million to jump-start the project. If approved this legislative session, that money would be used to equip 1,500 students with laptops as part of a pilot project.

Expanding the program will be far pricier.

In peak implementation years, the state said, the program could cost as much as $63 million a year. Sustaining the program is expected to cost about $50 million a year for hardware, training, infrastructure, repairs and other items….

Wu plans to model the program after a one-to-one laptop project for schools in Maine, and laptop programs for students at Punahou School and Kamehameha Schools.

A handful of Hawaii public schools already have one-to-one laptop programs, including Kalani High School.

(Key questions: Who is losing the text book supply contracts? Who is getting the laptop supply contract?)

read … Free Laptops

UH Loses Financial, Payroll records in Fire

SA: "Once it got into the roof structure, we had problems getting into the roof area and opening it up," Main said.

Main said firefighters were hampered by layers of different roofing materials, the result of decades of piled-on renovations. (Contracts for the cronies.)

"Some of the records are backed-up on an off campus site, but most are not," Takayama said. "We won't know the impact until they're able to get back into the office and determine what kind of computer records and paper records can be salvaged. For now it's a bit too early to say what the immediate impact is." (Question: Which genius thought it would be OK to not back up the records offsite?)

read … UH loses Financial, Payroll records

Marines under fire—Congressional pressure led to an unnecessary court martial

DN: It may turn out that continued pressure from a California Congresswoman is detrimental to the Marines’ own efforts to control and eliminate hazing.

That Lance Corporal Harry Lew killed himself last April with a bullet to the head at Gowragi Patrol Base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, is a fact. It’s also established that Lew fell asleep on his post that night for a fourth time and that he had apparently experienced mistreatment. But as the court martial jury established in this case, Sergeant Benjamin Johns was not responsible for the mistreatment.

In fact, he stopped it when he learned about it.

It’s reasonable to question whether Johns should have faced a court martial to begin with.

read … Marines under fire—Congressional pressure led to an unnecessary court martial

Maui Profitable Nonprofit Soaks Up Grants, Can’t Account for Money

MN: Wailuku Main Street received a $243,000 grant from the Planning Department this year.

The nonprofit applied for an 11 percent increase next year, Spence noted, in spite of the fact that its most recent tax return shows that it holds more than $354,000 in unspent revenue from prior grants.

Former members of Wailuku Main Street's board of directors say they also have no idea where the money is going.

Sam Clark and Bryan Sarasin, who previously served as the chairman and vice chairman of the board, respectively, said that Executive Director Jocelyn Perreira restricted their access to information about the organization's operations and finances, telling them it was "confidential."

"The board cannot account for county monies," Sarasin wrote in a letter to Mayor Alan Arakawa before he resigned. "We do not know where the funds are being spent or what 'projects' are currently being worked on. Almost no information is provided to the board."

He said the board was "dysfunctional" and unable to control either Perreira or the organization.

read … Wailuku Main Street

Some teachers and students at Big Island charter school plan a boycott

KHON: "Knowing that the school is in such great progress, why are they removing someone that's striving to do better?" asked Loy Luta, parent of a sixth grade student at Wamiea Middle School.

Parents say Ho'okako'o Corp. recently gave him 4.8 out of 5 on his annual evaluation.

Colson could not be reached for comment. The local school board says it was Colson's decision to resign.

"I understand the support and respect for John, but I think we have to honor John's wishes in his statement and respect that he is moving on," says Keith Vieira, Ho'okako'o Corporation Board of Directors Chair.

Ho'okako'o Corp. says Colson's resignation was not due to any impropriety.

"Ho'okako'o, which stands for innovative teaching and learning, will use the opportunity to move forward with someone who can move to the next level," says Vieira.

An executive search to find Colson's replacement will begin immediately.

"He {Colson} said he would come back in a heart beat... So I think there is something deeper going on," says Luta.

read … Waimea Middle School

Ruling on Kawaiaha'o iwi appealed

SA: An opponent of a construction project at Kawaiaha‘o Church is again asking a court to halt work and stop Hono­lulu's oldest church from digging up human burials — the total of which has exceeded 230.

Hawaiian cultural specialist Dana Naone Hall, who has relatives buried on Kawaiaha‘o grounds, is asking Hawaii's Intermediate Court of Appeals to stop further excavation and construction.

Naone Hall is appealing a state Circuit Court decision that recently dismissed a lawsuit she filed in 2009 against the project, a $17.5 million multipurpose building.

In the appeal, filed Feb. 1, Naone Hall contends that Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto erred in his ruling by saying a state law protecting Native Hawaiian burials didn't apply because the burials were in a Christian cemetery. She also contends that the state Department of Health and the Department of Land and Natural Resource's State Historic Preservation Division approved disinterment of graves without following laws that protect Hawaiian burials, or iwi.

read … Kawaiahao

Kahikolu Congregational Church celebrates its 190th Anniversary

H24/7: Kahikolu Congregational Church is one of Hawaii’s early great stone, lime and timber structures erected to the glory of God by the Hawaiian people after the first Christian missionaries from New England arrived on these shores at Kailua-Kona in 1820. In 1822, Chiefess Kapiolani, a devout Christian, founded the “Church at Kaawaloa” (also known as “the land of the chiefs”) by establishing worship services at a site located on the north side of Kealakekua Bay, Chiefess Kapiolani was one of the first Alii to accept Christianity and also remembered for defying the goddess, Pele with her faith at Halemaumau Crater. Later, in March 29, 1824, Mr, Asa Thurston, a missionary from the first board of missions, was asked to deliver the dedication sermon, officially establishing the church.

read … Kahikolu

If Mr. Ah Fook and the Maui Revolutionaries Did Not Exist, There Would Be No Modern China

MN: Until the final 1911 collapse of the corrupt Qing Dynasty imperial government, Sun had orchestrated over ten uprisings in China. From the late 19th century into the 1920s, Hawai'i supporters for Sun’s cause contributed more than $250,000, which is worth probably hundreds of millions of today’s dollars. Fewer than 5,000 Chinese lived in Hawaii at the turn of the century – yet this small, vibrant, energetic group was essentially funding arms, food and logistics support for the uprisings, several in southern China, Sun’s birthplace – each one making the Chinese imperial government weaker.

Aside from Mr. Ah Fook, a member of the Tung Meng Hui Maui Chapter and a leader in the Hawaii State-wide Kuomintang party, other Maui activists included Dang Hu, a Paia grocery store owner who received a medal from Sun Yat-sen; Lee Tai-sau, a young tailor in Kahului and a dynamic, leading fund-raiser for the revolution; Lau Pang, a dry goods owner and chairman of the Kuomintang (Sun’s political party) Maui branch; and Dang Ming-San – the most fascinating, since he simultaneously ran a Wailuku poi factory and was active in the local Maui Kuomintang chapter, winning a silver medal for his distinguished services in 1922.

There were many others throughout the State who were active in the revolutionary cause, including Sun’s Iolani classmate C.K. Ai, the founder of City Mill Company in Honolulu; Chang Chau, a Honolulu court interpreter who was named to head the Central Bank of China; and the most flamboyant and tragic (like a Hollywood movie) was the Honolulu-born Young Sen-yat, a graduate of Iolani School and the then-brand-new College of Hawai’i at Manoa. Young later left for the Mainland, studied aeronautical engineering and became the first Hawaii-born airplane pilot. Responding to Sun’s request and for the revolutionary cause, Young went to China and launched the first Chinese air force, recruiting young Chinese in Hawaii to develop an aviation industry in China. Sadly, during the turbulent “Warlord” period when China was divided into fiefdoms and mired in civil war, Young was killed in a battle fighting for the Kuomintang forces. He was only 32 years old (if he had lived, he may have ran for U.S. Congress in post-Statehood Hawai’i as the only Hawai’i-born candidate with “international” and “high tech” credentials).

read … Maui Revolutionaries

UH Porn Site for Sale

HR: "The University of Hawaii System did consider purchasing .xxx domain names in order to prevent this kind of willful misrepresentation," said Waters.

"We quickly realized that there are an almost unlimited number of possible names relating to our ten campuses, our sports teams, our colleges and other UH-related programs and activities that could be abused," Waters said.

The name was purchased by an unidentified buyer who in turn offered to re-sell it on eBay for at least $100,000.

In choosing not to buy the domain name, UH officials " felt strongly that we should not have to submit to what we considered to be nothing short of extortion," Waters continued.

read … UH Porn Purveyors

Whitney Houston's Kona Marijuana Bust

Twelve years ago, Whitney Houston was arrested for marijuana possession. The singer and her then-husband Bobby Brown were stopped in at Kona Airport in Hawaii on Jan. 11, 2000. Houston was apprehended when the plane landed in San Francisco.

Airport security confiscated two plastic bags containing a half ounce of pot as well as three partially smoked joints. Brown was not busted.

Houston eventually pled no contest and paid $3,000 to an anti-drug program for youths.

(Too bad nobody forced her into treatment. Soft on crime laws were eventually a death sentence.)

read … Kona Airport


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