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Thursday, March 1, 2012
March 1, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:34 PM :: 15523 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Lingle Salutes Retiring Sen Olympia Snowe

State Bank to Fund Green Energy Scammers, Toxic Mortgages

Hawaii State Bank: The Hee-Haw Bill

 

Vote redistricting delayed over House dissidents’ allegations

KHON: “The members of the political faction who opposed Speaker Calvin Say were more severely impacted by the district lines,” said Rep. Sylvia Luke. She presented a mathematical study showing the percentage of new voters in each district would be largest – and by their assertion most disadvantageous – to herself and fellow Oahu Democrat dissident Reps. Della Au Belatti, Mark Takai, Jessica Wooley, Roy Takumi, Scott Saiki, Scott Nishimoto, Chris Lee and Tom Brower.

“The chance that a fair process would produce an unusual pattern that is a pattern like this is less than 1 in 1,000," said UH political science professor Neal Milner. “The possibility that this would occur by chance is 1 in 1,000. That's a very powerful statistical finding.”

Some on the commission defended the maps, pointing out their own mathematical table shows Say supporters and Republicans also getting new voters, and saying the new lines reflect a population shift westward and away from town where several of the dissident members’ districts are….

Meanwhile no candidates for state House or Senate can file to run, no precincts can be assigned, no polling places established -- all with the clock ticking away toward a month-earlier primary.

“This is the first time we have ever been in a situation where we do not have lines in an election year,” said Scott Nago, the state’s chief elections officer. “We are looking at a truncated timeline which may impact our ability to successfully conduct an election."

The commission still has to decide which Senate districts will receive 2-year terms versus 4-year terms for the 2012 election. The re-staggering has to take place with every reapportionment each decade.

The earliest the commission could vote on final redistricting would be Friday if no changes are made. If they make adjustments in response to the dissidents or any other review, a final vote would be more than a week away.

Under state law there will still be 45 days to mount a court challenge to any final map.

SA: Gerrymandering accusations delay reapportionment

read … Gerrymander

Solomon, Roehrig Celebrate Exclusion of 108,000 Military personnel, students

News Release: To celebrate passage of several significant public policy initiatives to help rebuild Hawaii’s economy by the 2011 Hawaii State Legislature, and a successful Supreme Court challenge of the State Reapportionment Commission to secure a fourth State Senate seat for Hawaii Island, the Friends of Malama Solomon are holding a luncheon at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 3 at Jade Palace Chinese restaurant in KTA’s Waimea Center.

Keynote speaker at the luncheon along with Solomon will be Hilo attorney Stanley Roehrig, who together successfully led the recent legal challenge of the State Reapportionment Commission that will be a game changer for both Hawaii Island and all of the neighbor islands in terms of influence on major public policy decisions by the Hawaii State Legislature.

The luncheon is a fundraiser for Friends of Malama Solomon. Everyone is invited. Tickets are $50

read … He who laughs last, laughs best

Maui Republican Party Convention, March 3

MN: The 2012 Maui County Republican Party Convention takes place this Saturday, March 3, 2012, at the Kalama Heights Living Center in Kihei.

The convention will feature guest speakers for each of the presidential candidates.

Also scheduled to speak are State House Representative George Fontaine; Maui TEA Party Chair Bill Doyle; and others from the Hawaii Republican Party.

According to the GOP Maui website, delegates will be voting to ratify the election of officers filled by appointment. Information on the upcoming Presidential Caucus will also be available for those in attendance.

read … March 3

Not A Single School Complies with Instructional Hours Law

CB: The state has almost as many bell schedules as it does public schools. And none of the state's middle, intermediate and high schools right now meet the mark for a 1,650-minute minimum that is scheduled to take effect in 2014, according to a report the Hawaii Department of Education gave to the Legislature this session.

Instructional time in the state's high schools ranges from 1,255 to 1,632 minutes per week — a difference of six hours. The variance is equally great in intermediate schools, and in middle schools the difference was as great as four hours.

Hawaii's is not the only school district where the length of the school day varies, but the discrepancies are greater than in other districts Civil Beat surveyed, because it is one of the few that until recently had no requirements regarding how much instructional time students should receive.

Houston Independent School District, for instance, has a minimum school day length of seven hours based on Texas law,

read … Bell Schedules

Grabauskas Nomination Belies Carlisle's Commitment to ‘Transparency’

HART announced Grabauskas as its selection last Friday … a day after Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle's State of the City address. In that speech, Carlisle promised "better transparency" on rail and acknowledged that "we in the city are not doing a good job helping you discern what is accurate" about rail.

One sign that HART didn't get the message: The public is getting just one chance to question Grabauskas and HART released incomplete information about its selection. The opportunity to hear from Grabauskas will come at his confirmation meeting on Thursday at 10 a.m., not an ideal time for those who work on weekdays…. Grabauskas is not responding to media inquiries and HART's PR team says he won't be available till Thursday.

The message is that public input is not a factor in the board's decision making. After all, the HART board says it has already reached a "consensus" about hiring Grabauskas.

Citizens whose schedules allow them to attend the 10 a.m. board of directors meeting Thursday can ask questions about Grabauskas directly. (Make sure to register to testify.)

Background: Proposed HART Chief Leaves Trail of Political Discord

read … Grabauskas

Chin: Carlisle Was Not Notified of Debt Increase Letter

SA: Chin has said there was no legal requirement that the administration notify the Council that the debt policy was suspended, and the administration never wrote to Council members to tell them.

Martin made it clear he believes the Council should have been formally notified.

"For an administration that touts itself on being transparent, something as critical as this I would have thought would be of such significance that when your memo was issued and then approved, that the Council would at least have gotten a courtesy notification," Martin said.

Under questioning from Council members, Chin said he did not even tell Carlisle that Chin had signed the letter suspending the Council's debt guidelines at the time he did it. That drew a surprised response from Councilman Romy Cachola.

"It's quite surprising," Cachola said. "We're talking in terms of billions, and you don't even let the mayor know about this? It's unheard of. He should be in the loop."

read … Carlisle not notified?

Hawaii Ranks 47th in Economic Growth

FT: Hawaii has the 47th largest economic growth out of 51 locations.

read … Econ Growth

Will Legislature Authorize Union for 1300 More Gov’t Employees

CB: Graduate assistants at the University of Hawaii, although state employees, are also students and therefore banned by state statute from joining a collective bargaining unit.

That's something state Rep. Chris Lee and a host of grad students hope to change, via House Bill 2859, which would give graduate student workers the right to unionize. The House labor and higher education committees approved the bill and recommended it for passage, but the Finance Committee needs to hold a hearing on it by Friday night in order for it to make the legislative crossover deadline. A hearing has not been scheduled yet.

There are an estimated 1,300 graduate assistants at UH Manoa

read … Hawaii Grad Students Fight for Collective Bargaining Rights

Bill Lifts Development Restrictions On Office of Hawaiian Affairs Settlement Land

HR: The two large lots, at 653 and 919 Ala Moana Boulevard, are in the same Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu where community protests erupted in 2006 over a large residential high-rise development proposed by Alexander & Baldwin.

The Legislature ended that dispute by passing a law that outlawed new residential developments on the ocean side of Ala Moana Boulevard.

Now a measure pending in the state Senate, SB682, would lift those development restrictions for the OHA lots fronting Ala Moana.

read … OHA Settlement

Pele Defense Fund is Back: Drug Dealers and Socialists Protest Against Geothermal in Hilo

BIVN: the Geothermal Working Group, chaired by Hawaiians Richard Ha and Wallace Ishibashi, recently submitted its final report on the resource to the state legislature. The report recommended the expanded use geothermal in order to power all of Hawaii Island, and also the much of the state.

Now, the Pele Defense Fund appears to have suddenly become re-energized. (PDF, which led Puna marijuana growers and consumers in protests against Geothermal in the 1980s and 1990s was founded by two time convicted felon, drug dealer and thief Ralph Palikapu Dedman.)

But with so many former supporters of the Pele Defense Fund now openly advocating for geothermal energy, will the organization be what it once was?

The message from these demonstrators outside HELCO on Wednesday was far from unified. Anti-geothermal signs in one area… but PRO-geothermal signs right beside. The over-arching theme seemed to be in protest of the giant Hawaiian Electric Light Company, a part of the mammoth Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.

These folks wearing masks said it was a part of a larger, coordinated Occupy demonstration around the country, against corporations.

The Pele Defense Fund concerns are more locally focused.

Perhaps that’s why the group is not only taking on geothermal. It has also provided some guidance to local hunters recently, as they ramp up for a battle with the Department of Land and Natural resources over the fencing of the Puu Makaala Natural Area Reserve.

read … About How the Activists are helping keep your electric bills High

Bag Ban Passes Honolulu Council Committee

SA: Under the bill being considered in Honolulu, businesses making more than a yet-to-be-determined gross sales amount would be required to distribute only compostable bags, recyclable paper bags, or reusable bags to customers.

The bill now goes back to the City Council for the second of three required readings.

Several council members, among them Nestor Garcia and Romy Cachola, said they would prefer to see if the Legislature passes a bill requiring a fee for single-use plastic bags.

Retailers and other business interests said a per-bag fee would be more effective in fighting plastic bag pollution while a ban on plastic bags would cost more.

CB: City Environmental Services Director Tim Steinberger said the ban would cost money to implement and reduce the electricity produced by HPOWER. Most importantly, Steinberger said plastic bags represent a relatively small portion of items that fall off of trucks or otherwise end up as litter. (Photo by Flickr user Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)

read … Bag Ban Passes

Science, Technology Teaching Dies in House, Senate Committees

CB: The House Finance Committee this week opted not to vote on a proposal to establish a trust fund to support the teaching of science and technology in Hawaii’s public schools.

All legislative measures face a Friday deadline to be heard by their final referral committees, which means House Bill 2305 might not make it to next week’s crossover to the Senate.

read … Ed Tech Bill Deferred

HPD officer charged in alleged overtime pay scam granted deferral

HNN: A Honolulu police officer charged in an alleged overtime pay scam involving members of the DUI enforcement team was granted a one-year deferral after pleading guilty for his role in the case.

Brian Morris, 35, was charged with two counts of tampering with a government record. He pleaded guilty to one count and no contest to the other, and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Prosecutors offered to drop Morris' second count of record tampering in exchange for his testimony against the four defendants who are still awaiting trial. Morris chose to enter the no-contest plea instead.

Sergeant Aaron Bernal, Sergeant Duke Zoller, Officer Christopher Bugarin and Officer Patrick Bugarin have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.

read … HPD officer charged in alleged overtime pay scam granted deferral

Hanabusa to be Assistant Whip

SA: U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has a new title within the Democratic Caucus in Congress.

The Hawaii Democrat today was named an Assistant House Whip by Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer.

read … Political Radar

Census data track Marshallese population in Ark.

USA Today: Nearly half of the 4,100 Marshallese people living in Arkansas were younger than 20 years old in 2010, according to census data released late Wednesday.

The newly released data also showed that less than 1 percent of the 4,121 people in Arkansas who descend from the small Pacific island nation called the Marshal Islands were 65 or older. In comparison, 14 percent of Arkansas' total population was 65 or older in 2010.

The Marshallese presence in Arkansas is not new. People have been leaving the islands in search of work at Arkansas' poultry plants for decades. The nation's president even visited here to celebrate the opening of a Marshallese consulate here — the first of its kind on the U.S. mainland.

But until 2010 census data came out, the number of Marshallese people living in Arkansas and other states was a guestimate at best.

read … Arkansas

Guam, NMI Consider Reunification

Guam PNC: Governor Calvo says he and Governor Fitial are in agreement on some kind of closer union between their two territories. And the two chief executives had a chance to talk about the issue again during their week here for numerous meetings.

HEAR Matt Kaye's report HERE>>>03-01 calvofitialreunif.mp3

Guam voters rejected formal reunification with the NMI in 1969, some say due to lingering hard feelings left over from World War II. The NMI approved it, but public opinion remains divided in both places.

Calvo complained last November when Obama made an overnight “refueling stop” on Guam (and wouldn’t get off the plant to visit). Calvo said then, “I can understand why Guamanians would feel snubbed and disappointed…I mean, if the President can see foreigners in Bali and Australia where the threat levels are higher…why can’t he say ‘hi’ to his fellow Americans on Guam?"

read … Calvo, Fitial Discuss ‘Reunification’

HECO Wants to Delay ‘Big Wind’ RFP

CB: HECO plans to request an extension for submitting its final RFP for 200 megawatts or more of renewable energy for Oahu.

In a filing with the state Public Utilities Commission, the utility said that it received an abundance of comments on its draft proposal and wants more time to review them….

HECO expects a final RFP to be ready early in the second quarter of 2012 — it was due Wednesday.

read … HECO Wants to Delay ‘Big Wind’ RFP

Chu, Wind Scammers, Bio Fool Developers to get more Big Handouts as Utility Bills Soar

CB: Some of the projects where Chu says he's seen alternative energy leadership in Hawaii include developments in wind power that enable energy to be stored and the use of algae in biofuel projects. Last May, the Hawaii-based company Cellana got a $5.5 million federal grant to work on bioconversion using algae.

"Hawaii has such high electricity costs," Chu said. "We think it's important to help Hawaii develop those technologies that can help the citizens have more affordable electricity."

Coincidentally or not, energy was also on Ed Case's agenda Wednesday. The former congressman, who faces Hirono in an August Democratic U.S. Senate primary, sent an email to supporters about his energy plan. Case called Hawaii a "natural laboratory" for alternative energy research, and highlighted the importance of federal funding to speed up development of solar, wind, geothermal, ocean thermal and biofuels projects.

Related: Sec'y Chu not Trying to Reduce Gasoline Prices

read … U.S. Energy Secretary Touts Lasers for Hawaii Geothermal Development

Americans Elect Qualifies for Hawaii Ballot

CB: A group called Americans Elect this week qualified to place a presidential ticket on the Hawaii ballot. The threshold was 691 signatures of currently registered voters.

Our state joins 18 others — including California, Florida, Ohio, Arizona and Michigan — that will also feature the Americans Elect ticket. (In other words, they’re on the ballot in many of the swing states.)

read … Help Save Obama by splitting the anti-Obama vote


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