Abercrombie: I will not defend Marriage
Kauai Chief Perry Victim of Retaliation by Corrupt Mayor?
Hawaii: NRA Instructor Liability Bill Needs Your Immediate Help
Thielen Criticizes HB2417 Limits Solar Tax Credit to One Per Property
House Democratic Dissidents Consider State Reapportionment Lawsuit
Political Radar: The new maps have led to questions about whether the Reapportionment Commission adhered to the criteria set in the state Constitution.
From Article IV, Section 6:
2. No district shall be so drawn as to unduly favor a person or political faction.
The lawmakers who are researching the issue say they do not believe there has ever been a legal challenge testing the “political faction” criteria.
House dissidents have unsuccessfully sought to topple state House Speaker Calvin Say (D, St. Louis Heights-Wilhelmina Rise-Palolo Valley) for several years.
Dissidents, if they pursue a lawsuit, may have a difficult argument that they alone were targeted. Three House Republicans were also placed in the same districts as other lawmakers, a fairly high ratio given there are only eight Republicans in the House. Three of Say’s loyalists were paired with other lawmakers.
(NOTE: This line of litigation would leave the unconstitutional discrimination against military personnel intact.)
SA: Voter boundaries raise constitutionality question
CB: Reapportionment: Neither Pono nor Kapakahi
read … State Lawsuit
Hawaii Lawmakers Again Aiming to Tax E-Commerce Sales
CB: Lawmakers are again proposing legislation this year that would allow Hawaii to join 24 other states in the Streamlined Sales Tax Project. The Hawaii Department of Taxation has estimated the state loses about $25 million in uncollected general excise and use taxes from Internet sales.
Senate Bill 2226 has already cleared the Senate Economic Development and Technology Committee, and is set for decision-making by Ways and Means Thursday. The bill was co-introduced by Sens. Suzanne Chun Oakland, David Ige and Josh Green.
The bill proposes simplifying state tax laws to help "level the playing field between local and out-of-state retailers" through the state's participation in the Streamlined Sales Tax Project. The project came about through the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association, but is now a standalone nonprofit initiative
read … E-Commerce
Same sex marriage likely heading back into legislature
HNN: "I think the governor is positioning himself to lay the ground work to try and address this in the long term. I think it was inevitable that this question was raised with regards to marriage following civil unions I don't think people expected it to be quite this quick," said State Representative Chris Lee, (D) Kailua, Waimanalo.
Some lawmakers are thinking about overturning the ban on gay marriage.
"This year we're clearly too far along in the process to do anything and I don't think anybody has that at the front of their agenda but in time it will come back to us," said Rep. Lee. "Certainly I think the winds are blowing in that direction."
"I'm disappointed but not surprised. I've been saying for a couple weeks what the governor and attorney general would do and that is to sell out the people of Hawaii and to disregard the laws of this state," said State Senator Sam Slom, (R) Hawaii Kai, Kahala. "Their passions and sympathies in the direction are quite clear it's unfortunate however that it does not support the majority of the people in the state."
Traditional marriage advocates aren't happy with the Governor's comments. Yet the lone Republican in the State Senate thinks marriage strictly between a man and woman is in jeopardy.
"I think it will be totally undermined and we'll have same sex marriage which was always the goal of those people who for a decade said oh no we don't want same sex marriage we just want equality," said Sen. Slom.
There's also some disagreement on the process whether lawmakers can go ahead and redefine marriage on their own or if it would need another constitutional amendment and public vote.
"The constitution doesn't need to be changed in Hawaii. The last constitutional amendment allows the legislature to define marriage as they see fit so theoretically it could fall back on the legislature without going forward and actually amending the constitution itself," said Rep. Lee.
"I don't think they can redefine what has already been decided in the constitution as far as equal protection," said Shawn Luiz, Attorney representing two churches in a lawsuit against civil unions.
CN: Governor Gives Up in Gay Marriage Case
read … Precisely as Predicted
Deadline For Reapportionment Approaching
KITV: Some residents also took issue with the number of people the commission used to come up with the districts. Well over 100,000 people are removed from the total, including members of the military stationed in Hawaii with their families or out-of-state students studying in the islands.
"I regard these people as members of our community and should be included in any population counts of our legislative seats," said St. Louis Heights resident Michael Palcic….
BIVN: VIDEO: New state political maps presented to Hawaii Island
read … Reapportionment
Civil Engineer Debunks Civil Beat ‘Fact Check’
Editor's Note: Retired civil engineer Ben Ramelb wrote the following piece in response to Civil Beat's Fact Check — Carlisle: Rail Will Take 40,000 Cars Off The Road.
Mayor Carlisle has stated that: "Rail will ease future traffic congestion - without rail, the congestion will be far worse" and that "Rail will take an estimated 40,000 vehicles off our roads each weekday".
I provide a traffic analysis below, using traffic numbers from the City's Traffic Study, to show that the mayor's statements are incorrect and misleading.
read … Will Civil Beat ever learn?
Coffee: Counting The Ways Obama Hurts U.S.
MW: Dinesh D’Souza has written a controversial book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage. Having been born and raised in post-colonial India, D’Souza feels an “almost eerie” kinship with Obama who, for his autobiography, Dreams From My Father, delved deeply into his Kenyan heritage and the life of his anti-colonialist father, Obama Sr.
With the exception of one short visit to Hawaii when Obama was 10, he never saw his father.
read … Dinesh D’Souza
Hawaii lawmakers take five-day recess
SA: Legislators' offices will remain open during the recess and committees will be holding hearings — in particular the House and Senate money and judiciary committees.
Session will resume on March 1, the day before legislators must start readying bills that are being considered for crossover into the other chamber on March 8.
Bills that do not make it to crossover won't be passed this session.
read … Safe for a week
Abercrombie Heads to DC to Beg for RTTT
SA: Abercrombie will arrive in Washington a day early for a meeting with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan to discuss Hawaii's Race to the Top goals.
Hawaii's four-year $75 million grant has been deemed "at risk" due to concerns about the state's ability to meet its public school reform commitments.
read … Abercrombie to attend National Governors Association meeting
Hawaii tourism spending should be up 6.4% in 2012
PBN: Overall visitor arrivals, which grew 3.8 percent to 7.6 million in 2011, are forecast to grow by another 4.4 percent this year — one percentage point higher than the previous forecast — to nearly 7.8 million. Visitor spending, which hit $12.8 billion last year, is projected to grow another 6.4 percent in 2012, an increase of 0.8 percentage points from the last forecast, to nearly $13.6 billion.
The state predicts the number of wage and salary jobs will grow by 1.5 percent to 609,800, from 600,600 jobs in 2011. That is slightly less than the 1.6 percent growth prediction in the last forecast.
SA: The state sees "steady growth" and revises upward visitor arrivals and spending this year
read … Tourism Up
SA: Privatization plan can help tenants
SA: At this point the administration is putting out calls for a private company to buy and manage the complexes, assuming management costs that have amounted to about $6.7 million each year. The brokerage firm CB Richard Ellis is aiming to strike a deal with a single buyer for all 12 properties, which ought to help maximize economies of scale in management.
The public administration of these properties dates back for years, but It's been more than a decade since the city began to distance itself from the public-housing function, starting with the scandals surrounding the Ewa Villages development. That drove Honolulu officials to dismantle the city housing agency.
Further, it's plain that city management of the properties can't be sustained, with annual losses estimated at $3 million. Private firms have a greater incentive to run things efficiently because losses come off its own ledger, and they have a better record in the basics of property management: screening tenants, handling maintenance, retaining reliable tenants and evicting those who don't pull their weight.
read … Privatization plan can help tenants
‘Clear and Convincing Evidence’ that Sovereignty Activists were Scamming Dorcy
SA: In court documents, Kanuha was accused of plotting against Dorcy's interests with Petro Hoy, whom Kanuha allegedly introduced to Dorcy as "Henry Rice," a supposed financial and business adviser from a well-known Maui kamaaina family who could help guide Dorcy's finances.
Hoy and his wife, Leatrice Lehua Hoy, were indicted by the FBI in May on fraud and tax-related charges for allegedly selling fake Treasury bonds and bogus property titles to Maui homeowners behind on their mortgages.
Rudy obtained tape-recorded conversations in which Dorcy believed "that he was dealing with a CIA agent working at high levels of the U.S. government" who in reality was Petro Hoy, Rudy said.
On Dec. 30, 2010, witnesses at Maui's Sandalwood Restaurant told Rudy they saw a blindfolded Dorcy enter the restaurant with Kanuha and the Hoys.
Two days later, according to a witness who came forward, Dorcy told his old acquaintance that, "I'm dealing with this Mr. Rice and these are high-level, covert operations and I have to be blindfolded."
"The evidence was clear and convincing that Dorcy was being scammed," Rudy said.
Maui's Chief Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto made a finding "that the elements of undue influence have been established and therefore, the burden has shifted to prove there was no undue influence."
"We alleged, basically, a conspiracy," Rudy said. "Had there been a trial, Kanuha would have had to prove by clear and convincing evidence, perhaps, that he had not committed it. So it is ludicrous to me that Kanuha can say he was vindicated, but I guess he has a First Amendment right to say it."
Rudy will serve as the administrator for dispersing Dorcy's assets.
Rudy thanked witnesses who came forward after the Star-Advertiser first reported on The Baron's disputed will in October.
"This was a very difficult, fact-intensive case," Rudy said. "Without the press, without the public coming forward, we couldn't have gotten this result. It was a jigsaw puzzle. We had people everywhere giving us clues, so we were able to put together dates and timelines."
Dorcy's estate included "give or take $70 million" from a 1917 trust in Minnesota that originally was intended to be passed on to 30 private charities and another 30 individuals, Rudy said.
read … Sovereignty Activists
SB2221: Kiddie Porn to become Type B Felony?
According to state Attorney General David Louie, current laws do not distinguish between various forms of child pornography, so possession of any type is a Class C felony subject to five years in prison.
In testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Louie urged lawmakers to offer prosecutors the potential to seek harsher penalties for those found in possession of 30 or more pornographic images that include children under age 12, or minors being subjected to sadomasochistic abuse or bestiality.
If Senate Bill 2221 passes, possession of child pornography could become a Class B felony - doubling the current maximum prison term to 10 years.
read … Kiddie Porn
Abercrombie’s Latest Water Commission Nominees Don’t Quiet Uproar
CB: The furor over Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s appointments to the state water commission isn’t likely to die down any time soon.
Last week, the president of Young Brothers, Glenn Hong, abruptly withdrew his nomination a day before he was supposed to attend his first meeting, saying he wasn't qualified.
Ted Yamamura, a Maui real estate appraiser, was quickly announced as his replacement. But he’s sparked another round of outrage among environmentalists and native Hawaiian groups who had raised concerns about Hong’s appointment.
On Wednesday, the governor’s office made public his pick for the last opening on the board, Jonathan Starr, a former chair of the Maui County Democratic Party who gave $6,000 to Abercrombie’s 2010 governor’s campaign.
Starr has applied to serve on the commission 11 times.
read … All Wet
Police chief spends Wednesday at work, but controversy continues
KGI: Perry was photographed by The Garden Island at work wearing an aloha shirt. Police Commission Chair Ernest Kanekoa confirmed by email to The Garden Island that the commission voted unanimously on Friday to return the chief to work.
The mayor’s statement did not address the discrepancy between saying he had announced on Feb. 2 that Perry had been placed on leave and Perry saying he had been suspended. Perry said he was suspended for “insubordination and dereliction of duty” from Feb. 1 until Feb. 7, and then was placed on paid leave beginning Feb. 8. The mayor said in his statement that day-to-day operations remain under the supervision of Acting Chief Michael Contrades and Acting Deputy Chief Mark Begley.
“I know that it’s frustrating for the public to not have answers to certain questions,” Kanekoa said by email Wednesday. “But we have to maintain the confidentiality of personnel matters, complaints and executive session discussions until authorized to release them.”
At the Kaua‘i County Council meeting Wednesday, Police Commissioner Charles Iona said that more would be made public at the next commission meeting. The Police Commission is scheduled to meet in open session and in executive session beginning at 9 a.m. Friday.
“He’s there,” Iona said about Perry being back at work. “But certain actions were taken that somebody is calling the shots not to return his badge, his gun and all that, just like they took the power away from the commission.”
Perry said Wednesday night that he chose not to wear his uniform Wednesday because officers, under orders from the mayor, did not allow him to obtain his gun, badge and other equipment.
He said he also had no access to his office, so he used a deputy chief’s office on Wednesday.
SA: Kauai police chief's status unclear
Read … Police chief spends Wednesday at work, but controversy continues
Kauai Police Shooting While Chief Kept from job by Mayor
HNN: A week after the shooting of Richard "Dickie" Louis on Kauai, his family is planning a funeral and a lawsuit. He was wanted for failing to appear at his trial on theft, gun and drug charges. When authorities showed up last week to arrest him, Louis ended up on the roof of his home during a three-hour standoff.
"Based on the individuals that I've spoken to, Richard Louis was not a threat to the police. Richard Louis was defying the police," said attorney Myles Breiner.
read … Kauai without Perry
Biotech Reduces Pesticide Use
HW: The latest Environmental Protection Agency report on pesticide sales and usage shows the total pounds of US pesticide use decreased by 8 percent from 2000 to 2007. Biotech crops and the farming methods employed to grow them undergo intense regulatory scrutiny to ensure they do not pose any environmental hazards.
The article wrongly suggests there are health and environmental risks associated with biotech crops. The public has consumed more than 3 trillion servings of biotech food for more than 15 years, and there is not a single documented case of illness because of this technology. The fact is the biotech industry is one of the most regulated industries in the US with oversight by agencies that include the USDA, FDA and EPA.
Related: The Future of Fraud
read … Defending biotech
Pregnant F-M Trans is Ego Tripper Bent on Being Famous at Children’s Expense
DP: Thomas Beatie was born a woman, had sex reassignment surgery and legally changed his/her identity in Hawaii to male. He/she is now married to a woman, had all along kept his/her ovaries and stuff, and never opted for a surgically created penis thingy.
This, to my mind, makes him/her a woman who may shave in the morning and have short hair and a deep voice, as may many women with a hormonal imbalance. But if you called him/her a gay woman you'd hurt his feelings. I'm a bit lost here.
Why should I care? Because if it's happening today in California, it'll be happening here next week. We pick up on all extreme trends, and then defend them heatedly as if we invented them.
It's the kids I worry about. It would be all very well if their mother/father had kept his/her unusual situation private, but he/she has boasted about it publicly, and that stands a good chance of rebounding against the kids, which hardly seems fair.
He/she can give birth to live goldfish for all I care, but I dislike ego trippers bent on being famous, especially at other people's expense.
read … Just a hint at the reality
Bill allowing dogs in restaurants alive in House
SA: The state Department of Health and Respiratory and Environmental Disabilities of Hawaii have raised strong opposition, however.
Even self-professed dog lovers have concerns about health and noise issues.
The House Health Committee heard a version of House Bill 2749 earlier this month and came up with a new draft to address some of the issues raised at the hearing. The amended bill will be heard by the House Finance Committee Thursday.
read … Delicious!
Local newspapers face another likely competitor for lucrative legal notices
ILind: The Senate Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to decide this morning whether to recommend passage of a bill that would end the newspapers’ monopoly on publication of legal notices.
But whatever the fate of this bill, the newspapers are facing another challenge in the form of a mainland competitor entering Hawaii’s market with a vertically integrated business plan designed to capture a big share of the market on publication of foreclosure notices. If you’ve been paying attention, foreclosures have been a big chunk of the legal notices category for the past several years, a situation that seems likely continue for at least several more.
SB2233 survived a joint referral to three Senate committees, which approved an amended version. WAM is set to make a decision on the amended bill this morning.
From Senate Standing Committee Report SSCR2280 ….
A recent article in Crosscut.com, a Seattle news site, describes what it calls, “The strange case of Washington’s newest newspaper publisher.”
It’s the tale of Washington attorney Stephen Routh, who is both a major player in the foreclosure-services business, and now the owner of Rim Publications, which has been buying up small newspapers….
read … Legal Notices
Smart Meters on Kauai Are a Public Health Hazard
CB: Concerned parent sounds off on Kauai utility's plan to install wireless electricity meters.
read … Radio Frequency Radiation?????
Hawaii AG: Marley Sons Raise Money for Fake Charities
CB: The Hawaii attorney general on Monday sent Marley and his local concert promoters a cease and desist order, demanding that he stop "making false, deceptive" statements for his unregistered charity. The order spells out a possible $1,000 penalty, and $100 per day fee until Marley stops.
As of last week, U.R.G.E. was still telling donors on its website that it was tax exempt, said Hugh Jones, Supervising Deputy Attorney General of the Tax Division. That language was removed soon after the cease and desist order went out.
Ziggy is the second son of Bob Marley to have a run-in with Hawaii state lawyers.
Last summer, Ziggy's younger brother, Ky-mani was fundraising in Hawaii for a charity that didn't exist. The attorney general's office sent him a cease and desist order [pdf].
"He had decorated a surf board that was going to be auctioned off for the 'Love All Over Foundation' that he was purportedly associated with. But we couldn't find any evidence that it existed," Jones said.
In the end, Ky-mani instead donated the money to a legit local nonprofit, Access Surf Hawaii, which helps disabled children learn how to surf.
read … Fake Charities
Head of anti-slavery alliance to speak
MN: Kathryn Xian, executive director of the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, will speak at the Saturday meeting of the American Association of University Women, Maui branch….
The public is invited to the meeting at the Kahili Golf Course restaurant. A business meeting is to begin at 10 a.m., followed by Xian's talk at 11 a.m. and an optional lunch at noon.
The lunch cost is $22 for members and $27 for guests. Guests who opt not to have lunch are asked to make a $5 donation to the scholarship fund. For reservations, which are required, call 891-7227.
read … Xian