VIDEO: Cayetano to 'Go Rail Go' Protesters: Use Facts Not Force
Djou Home From Afghanistan
CB: Former Congressman Charles Djou is back from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan, and the Republican says he’s ready to hit the campaign trail. He’s challenging Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who took his seat in the 2010 election.
“I look forward to discussing with you how we can best turn around our economy, reform our government, and bridge the toxic partisan divide in Washington,” Djou wrote in an email to supporters on Thursday night.
As a member of the Army Reserve, Djou served as a rule of law military adviser. He said before his deployment that his job was to help the Afghan National Police and the Afghan judiciary comply with laws.
Read … Ready to Campaign
ILind: Secret Whistleblower Settlement Violates OIP Rulings
ILind: According to CB, the state has entered into a confidential settlement of a whistleblower lawsuit, and is refusing to disclose details of the $90,000 settlement.
What the story doesn’t report is that this is far from a new issue. The Office of Information Practices has repeatedly held that the state and other public agencies cannot enter into such confidential settlements except to protect information exempted by statute from public disclosure. The opinions go back to 1989, OIP’s very first year.
Here are the prior OIP opinions, with excerpts from its case summaries
Read … Secret Whistleblower Settlement
Attack on Community TV: Does $50K+ job with Oceanic Time Warner create conflict of interest for Tokioka?
ILind: Tokioka filed an amended financial disclosure with the State Ethics Commission on July 25, 2011, to report getting a job as business manager, Kauai operations. for Oceanic Time Warner Cable. His disclosure lists a salary in the $50,000-$100,000 range. That’s more than his legislative salary, possibly considerably more.
Tokioka is a member of the House Finance Committee, which ended up as the sole referral for HB2874, one of the cable bills that has stirred up controversy. The status page for the bill indicates Tokioka voted in favor, along with the majority of the committee. Tokioka reportedly has also been active behind the scenes seeking support from key colleagues in pushing cable-related bills forward.
Oceanic, which often finds itself at odds with the community access corporations funded by its franchise fees, is seen as a key interest behind these cable-related bills.
ILind: Why is it so hard to get clear price information/options from Oceanic?
Read … Conflict of Interest?
Anti-Superferry Protesters Leave State Holding $63M Debt
HNN: A recently released audit said the state is still liable for $63 million in Superferry expenses.
"It's frankly a travesty. We shouldn't be on the hook for that kind of price," Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter director Robert Harris said. (And he should know. His organization did more than most to chase the Superferry out.)
The audit highlights three major expenses: $60 million for a bond liability plus interest; $500,000 for tug services in Kahului harbor; and $443,000 to repair the barge and pier at Kahului.
"We've got to make sure we clean up this mess, and make sure something like this doesn't happen again," Meisenzahl said.
He said fault lies with the previous administration, (as he naturally would, being a Democrat out to score partisan points. But in truth the anti-Superferry protests were organized by the leadership and elected officials of the Maui and Kauai County Democratic Party Committees.)
The Superferry filed for bankruptcy in 2009, after the state Supreme Court ruled a law unconstitutional that let the vessel sail while an environmental impact study was being done. (Enviros win 90% of the time in the Hawaii Supreme Court. These clowns just make up the law as they go along.)
read … More Propaganda from those Desperately Seeking to Justify the anti-Superferry Protests
Green energy means higher rent for seniors
KGI: Residents of a secluded condominium complex in Lihu‘e, where roughly 57 senior citizens living on a fixed low-income go through a lengthy process to secure a lease, are saying a green initiative will result in higher rent because they will lose their federal utility allowance.
Lihu‘e Elderly Gardens resident Judy Xenofos said that when a photovoltaic system was recently installed on the property, residents thought they would be benefiting from it through lower utility bills. But, as it turns out, the condominium’s management plans to pick up the electric bill and sell its excess electricity to the island’s utility provider, causing residents to lose their monthly $73 electricity allowance provided by the federal Housing and Urban Development agency….
“Everyday PV users can feel good about reducing Hawai‘i’s dependence on imported oil and reducing the carbon emissions associated with it,” Watase said in the memo.
However, not one of the residents at the Friday meeting seemed to “feel good” about losing the monthly $73 across-the-board electric bill allowance from HUD.
(Another green energy scammer looting the poor to line his pockets.)
read … Surprise, Surprise
OHA to Build 200’ Rental Towers at Kakaako
KITV: Some Native Hawaiians believe it's not enough.
"It's not a fair settlement. They say it’s worth $200 million. A lot of people think it’s worth $50 million," said Kealii Makekau, a candidate for an OHA at-large seat.
Even though the Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees advanced the bill, there were reservations.
“It falls short. This isn’t a final a settlement and anyone who thinks it is, is wrong,” said Sen. Clayton Hee, chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Lawmakers Thursday advanced a separate bill to allow OHA to develop residential units on two of the ten parcels, even though state law prevents housing units on the makai side of Kakaako.
OHA clarified the idea would involve affordable rental housing for Oahu's workforce, not luxury condominiums.
"We could go up to 200 feet, and we are looking at residential as an opportunity as a home base for our people. We are talking rentals, not condos because we will not sell the ceded lands," said Machado.
read … Ceded Lands Settlement Bill Clears Key Senate Committees
Senate tries to give Koloa Camp tenants stay of eviction
KGI: The resolution was introduced by Kouchi and Sen. Clayton Hee, D-Kahuku, Kane‘ohe.
“Senator Hee talked to me about his concerns and asked if I would sponsor the resolution,” Kouchi said.
Kepa Kruse, son of Koloa Camp resident John Kruse, said Hee was instrumental in getting the resolution passed and giving Koloa Camp “a legislative voice.”
Some camp residents, such as 83-year-old Catherine Fernandez who has lived in Koloa Camp for 57 years, have said they’re not moving despite the March 8 eviction order. Others have said they plan to barricade themselves in their home.
(Isn’t the Case family wonderful. They are so progressive.)
Read … Senate tries to give Koloa Camp tenants stay of eviction
Star-Adv: Don’t Give Teacher’s $500 Raise Disguised as Tax Credit
SA: Schools across the country have come up short in providing supplies for the classroom, leaving to teachers the responsibility of filling the gap by purchasing everything from pencils to paper. Hawaii's Department of Education should create a more efficient system to reimburse teachers' purchases of classroom items, but state legislation assigning the state tax director to do so for as much of $500, though well-intended, would be inappropriate and susceptible to abuse.
Teachers already are able to deduct the amount spent on school supplies from their taxable income, but any further recognition would discourage correction of responsibility, essentially enabling DOE funding shortcomings to continue. Hawaii's Legislature should reject a proposal to give educators up to $500 in tax credits for purchases of items that should be provided by the school system….
Of special concern, Okabe said, is that special education teachers will be denied for the first time in 10 years funds of $1,690 by the school system to purchase materials for classroom use. They will have to "dig deeper into their pockets and find more creative ways to get their lessons done," he told legislators.
Certainly, then, it behooves school principals to also dig deeper and more creatively to meet the needs of their teachers. They, and not a state tax employee, are better suited to determine whether an expenditure is appropriate as a classroom component and should be compensated by the state Department of Education. Indeed, Frederick D. Pablo, the state's tax director, pointed out that the legislation does not specify that the items purchased by the teacher "actually be used for instructional purposes, nor that the supplies and materials conform with any curriculum standards set by the Department of Education."
read … $500 raise
HB466: Lets Make Workers Comp Even more Fraud-Friendly
SA: House Bill 466 requires both independent medical evaluations and disability evaluations for workers' compensation claims to be performed by physicians mutually agreed upon by employers and employees or appointed by the director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The bill has already been passed by the House and crossed over to the Senate. It has been passed by the joint Senate Health and Judiciary committees with amendments and is now awaiting review by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, chaired by state Sen. David Ige. Because the bill has a small appropriation for staffing at the Department of Labor, it must be heard and passed before March 14 to be included in the state budget.
Opponents of the bill state that because there is a presumption of compensability in favor of the injured worker, insurance carriers should have the right to select their own medical examiners. To be sure, there are a small number of employees who attempt to abuse the system. When unchecked, fabricating symptoms can be a serious problem and place an undue burden on carriers.
read … Fraud Facilitation
20 for the Next 20: People to Watch 2012
HB: Good leaders are crucial to our economy, businesses, governments, nonprofits and schools. That’s why each year, Hawaii Business profiles 20 emerging leaders who will help guide us through the next two decades. This year, we have an outstanding group of individuals who already have a strong record of achievement and the potential to do much more.
Read … 20 for 20
Concerns raised over new election boundary maps
HNN: "The dramatic differences between the February 15 maps and the September 2011 maps are so dramatic that the better solution is something that looks more closely to the plan that was vetted for months by this commission," said State Rep. Della Au Belatti, (D) Makiki, McCully….
On the House side there are five political matchups pitting incumbent versus incumbent including Democrats Jerry Chang vs. Mark Nakashima; and Della Au Belatti vs. Scott Saiki. Then there are Republican vs. Democrat matchups with Kymberly Marcos Pine vs. Rida Cabanilla; Barbara Marumoto and Mark Hashem; and Gil Riviere vs. Jessica Wooley.
"I was torn and tormented about being cut out of my own town. I stayed back, I came forward today for this interesting opportunity to look at the maps," said State Rep. Gil Riviere, (R) North Shore Oahu.
Read … Redistricting
UH strikes technology commercialization agreement with Pono Corp
BIVN: The University of Hawai‘i’s Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development (OTTED) recently signed a technology commercialization agreement with Pono Corporation. The agreement gives the Honolulu-based company ownership of three technologies developed by the University of Hawai‘i, including a proteasome inhibitor drug, humanized cobra venom factor, and a hybrid nanocarrier drug delivery system.
Under the terms of the agreement, UH becomes a shareholder in Pono in exchange for an assignment of the technologies, a move that may allow UH to realize their value earlier than a traditional licensing deal due to long drug development timelines.
Read … Pono?
‘Illegal’: City Bureaucrats Order Volunteers to Remove Park Improvements
HNN: They installed about ten concrete tables, each with four concrete stools and planted grass here, creating what they called "Kupuna Terrace," Jamila said.
"People were calling me, donating grass, donating concrete, we made a wheelchair access ramp for the kupunas," Jamila said.
The city said all that work was done without a permit on Hawaiian Homes land managed by the city parks department.
"It started as a community service project, but it got out of hand," said Jiro Sumada, deputy director of the city's Department of Planning and Permitting.
"There were different efforts to try to save the work that was done," Sumada said.
One option was for the community group to take over the improvements and another was for the state Department of Hawaiian Homelands to assume management of the area, Sumada said.
"Once we figured out that we exhausted every option and the only remaining option was for those structures to be removed and we issued the notice of order," Sumada said.
Last June, the city ordered the volunteers to remove everything because it was an illegal park
Read … No good deed goes unpunished by Honolulu Hale
SB2422: Massive Tax Increase on Loose Tobacco
People avoid paying the cigarette tax because they purchase tobacco before it is rolled. They can then either use small machines to roll one cigarette at a time, or rent large machines that spit out as many as 200 smokes in less than eight minutes.
Senator Rosalyn Baker has introduced legislation to close the loophole.
"We are trying to level the taxation field between cigarettes and other tobacco products so that particularly young people who are very price sensitive to the cost of items don't move from cigarettes to attractively priced other tobacco products," Baker told Hawaii News Now.
Baker's tobacco tax bill (Senate Bill 2422) comes up for a final vote in the Senate next week. If it passes as she expects, her bill will go to the House for consideration. The House failed to pass a similar bill earlier this legislative session.
The smoke shops are worried a change in the tobacco tax law may put them out of business.
Read … Out of Business
Billions for Green Energy Scammers, But Obama Cut Tsunami Warning Buoys
"They're not going to turn anything off, but if something breaks it will be a little bit longer to get it fixed."
11 buoys aren't working right now. Rough weather often causes some of them to break. The ones that are critically important to Hawaii are the buoys along Alaska's Aleutian Islands.
"We can do a pretty darn good job without them except that we are worried about the Aleutians," said Fryer. "There's nothing between the Aleutians and us, so we don't have any intermediate information about what what's going on."
Read … Thanks Obama
BankOH’s O’Neill to Take Helm of Citibank
NY Post: Citigroup Chairman Dick Parsons plans on stepping down from the banking giant’s board in April, ending his 16-year stint as a director. Parsons opted not to run for re-election ahead of Citi’s annual shareholder meeting set for April 17 in Dallas.
Citi will nominate current director Michael O’Neill, the former CEO of the Bank of Hawaii, as chairman.
The 63-year-old former Time Warner chief helped lead the bank through the financial meltdown and the political fallout that followed.
Read … Chairman Parsons calls it a day at Citigroup
After Blocking Fee-Simple Sales, Ignorant Socialists Stuck With Biofool Scammer as Top Bidder for Hamakua Ag Land
WHT: All Cool Fuel LLC, based in Westland, Mich., bid more than $180,000 in total for the parcels in a public bid-opening Thursday. The company has first rights to the parcels and can choose to drop one or all of its bids in the coming week. In that case, the second-highest bidder would earn the right to lease the property.
The leases must go before the County Council for approval. (And then your electric bill will go up.)
The resolution paving the way for the leases, by Council Chairman Dominic Yagong, was passed almost a year ago, after a protracted battle with Mayor Billy Kenoi over whether the county should sell some of its extensive holdings as a way to balance the budget. Hamakua farmers came out in force against selling the property, saying the land should be opened to small farmers and others in the community instead.
Yagong said Friday it's too early to tell if the company will end up with all the parcels.
"It's very difficult to preclude anyone from bidding on public lands," Yagong said.
read … The wages of Socialism
Hokulia Bypass: Hawaii County Accepts $20M in Land at Bankrupt Hokulia Project
WHT: Hawaii County will be responsible for building the Mamalahoa bypass, the county's top attorney said Friday.
"Who fronts the money and builds the road?" Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida said. "Realistically, it's going to be the county that finishes the project."
Hawaii County will take $12.5 million in cash and $20 million worth of lots in the defunct Hokulia project, according to the terms of a settlement finalized Friday afternoon. That property secures a $20 million promissory note 1250 Oceanside Partners must pay within two years. The $12.5 million must be paid by March 23. Ashida said the county filed suit against the development company while Oceanside still had assets and collateral to take.
Oceanside 1250 is in receivership. (Thanks to a bunch of money grubbing elder abusing protesters.)
read … Hokulia