Video: Pro-Rail Thugs Plan Disruption of Meeting
Applicants Wanted for Ethics and Campaign Spending Commissions
China's Military Rising
Local GOP voters prepare for first-ever caucuses
SA: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul will be on the ballot in Hawaii March 13 as the state Republican Party hosts its first-ever presidential caucuses.
Seventeen of the state's 20 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August will be awarded to presidential candidates based on the results of the caucuses.
The state GOP chose to hold caucuses as a party-building tool after record turnout in the 2008 local Democratic caucuses, when Hawaii-born Barack Obama was a presidential candidate.
Hawaii Republicans will vote between 6 and 8 p.m. at locations across the state. Voters must join the party to participate. Caucus locations are listed at www.gophawaii.com.
read … Local GOP voters prepare for first-ever caucuses
Borreca: It will be a miracle if next Hawaii election isn't a mess
SA: …the dilemma facing the state elections office, and then Hawaii voters, isn't funny.
The problem is this: The elections office doesn't have new maps yet of the 51 state House districts and the 25 state Senate districts.
The maps contain the district boundaries; the boundaries set the specific addresses for streets within each district. Without those boundaries, the election office doesn't know if you live in District 31 or 32, or wherever.
The state Reapportionment Commission meets today and may finish its work. If it does, the new maps will go to the elections office. This, unfortunately, is not a certainty because there are enough people complaining about the new maps that if the commission forces them through, there could be a lawsuit and more delays.
Ten years ago, the last Reapportionment Commission wrapped up its work in November. It then took three months for the elections office to finish the process of creating the precincts and drawing the maps.
So three months after today means June 6 is when the precinct process could reasonably be expected to be completed.
Wait — it is going to get a lot worse.
After precincts are drawn, the elections office estimates it will take another three months to assign voters to specific precincts. That would put the reasonable time to hold the primary election as sometime after Sept. 6.
Of course, as an akamai voter, you already know that the primary election is Aug. 11.
read … Mess Coming thanks to Malama Solomon
SA Looks at Crossover Bills
House Majority Leader Pono Chong said some of the most promising bills are those that would attract more business.
"We've talked about the film tax credit. We've talked about some high-tech development. We've talked about broadband and trying to encourage more investment in Hawaii," said Chong (D, Maunawili-Kaneohe).
In the Senate, the bipartisan "Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012" bill has already been approved by members and sent to the House. That bill would address the repair and maintenance backlog at state facilities through a $500 million package that carries the added benefit of creating new construction jobs.
Notable bills up for vote in the Senate today include a measure that would impose a fee on single-use paper and plastic shopping bags to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable totes.
Another bill would adjust the tobacco tax so that "roll-your-own" tobacco, "little cigars" and smokeless tobacco products are taxed at 70 percent of the wholesale price — equivalent to the tax on regular cigarettes.
A $200 million real estate deal that would settle back payments owed to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is still alive.
While priority measures have remained intact, several bills have fallen by the wayside:
- » Controversial proposals to drug-test welfare recipients and public housing residents were discussed and ultimately deferred.
- » A measure that would have allowed dogs to dine with their owners at restaurants stalled in committee.
- » A bill to allow bar owners to permit smoking in their establishments passed a key committee, but was not given a floor vote in the House. The companion Senate bill was never given a hearing.
- » The only gambling legislation still alive is a Senate proposal to create a commission to study the potential impacts of legalized gambling in Hawaii.
read … Crossover Coming
SA: Don't rush into tech spending
SA: There are several problems:
- » It has not been established that issuing laptops to students is the best investment possible for limited funds. The first priority should be improving the Internet connections, to start with.
- » The sustainability of this venture is doubtful, given the high cost of loss and upkeep for laptops that are issued. Any hardware allowances should be used first to provide equipment for on-campus use.
- » There are many other demands on this money. Donn Yabusaki, cable TV administrator for the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, said in written testimony that the fees cover not only public access TV but broadband upgrades and services for the state Department of Education, the University of Hawaii and the Department of Transportation. The cap could compromise the state's ability to tap federal funds for broadband and telecommunications projects, Yabusaki said.
- » Further, the fee revenue being tapped for this is meant for public-access television. At the recent public hearing, the broadcasters themselves — nonprofits and other small-budget groups — vigorously protested potential cuts to their own program. To quote the old expression, the whole idea has the aura of "robbing Peter to pay Paul."
read … Tech Spending
POLL: Lacking Support, Can Rail Backers Turn The Tide?
CB: The Civil Beat Poll revealed Monday that 55 percent of likely Honolulu voters oppose the project, versus 34 percent in favor. But political observers say that despite the opposition, rail is far from dead….
"What is most likely to happen is that this will just intensify the anti-rail part of the campaign for mayor," Milner said.
Milner said pro-rail forces have struggled to impress the importance of the system onto those who won't use it.
"An enormous number of people are saying it's not relevant in my life at all," he said. "It's essentially an issue that the pro-rail people don't know how to handle very much."
He characterized efforts over the past year as a "containment strategy" and said he can't envision an action or series of actions that would turn the tide of public opinion around.
But that might not be necessary to make rail happen.
"It's not going to affect the movement that the City and County is doing toward getting rail started. ... And I don't think it's going to affect the likelihood of getting federal money," Milner said.
"All of that aloha for the system is leaking," he said. "The anti-rail people have the momentum here, but the fact that it's still moving forward, you have a new executive director, and money coming in. The pro-rail folks might just try to bluff their way through it."
read … Bluff their way through
Sen English votes for Lanai, Molokai Cable, Bill Crosses Over
CB: The undersea cable bill passed the Senate Tuesday and will now cross over to the House.
Senate Bill 2785 is designed to facilitate financing of cables that could transfer renewable energy between islands.
The bill has sparked heated resistance from residents on Molokai and Lanai who oppose wind farms on those islands — the energy would be brought to Oahu.
Lawmakers are working to distance the bill from “Big Wind,” focusing more on geothermal and wind development on the Big Island and Maui.
Sen. Kalani English, who represents Maui County, testified in favor of the bill, with reservations — he urged lawmakers to hear residents’ opposition to the wind farms on Molokai and Lanai.
read … Powdernose
Washington Place Reserved for Top Gov Donor's Family
CB: Washington Place has been reserved for private use next month for a wedding reception for the daughter of a well-connected engineering executive.
The reception is for Lois Lani Mitsunaga, daughter of Dennis Mitsunaga, president of architectural, engineering and construction management firm Mitsunaga & Associates.
Mitsunaga, his daughter and associates were major contributors to Neil Abercrombie's 2010 campaign for governor, and their client list includes many government agencies….
More than a dozen employees of Mitsunaga & Associates gave a total of about $60,000 to Abercrombie's 2010 campaign. They include several employees that donated the maximum $6,000.
Dennis Mitsunaga gave $3,000 to the 2010 campaign, while Lois Mitsunaga, an engineer, gave $5,000.
Since the election, both Mitsunagas have each contributed the maximum $6,000 to Abercrombie's latest fundraising efforts, though the governor's re-election is not until 2014. Chan Ok Mitsunaga, a company vice president, also gave $6,000.
read … Mitsunaga of course
Dela Cruz Holds a $500 Per Head Fundraiser
CB: Ignoring the wishes of good government advocates, North Shore Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz is holding a fundraiser Monday evening (March 5) in Mililani — right smack dab in the middle of the legislative session.
In his most recent campaign contributions filing, Dela Cruz raised $13,300 with the help of donors like Monsanto, Outrigger, Dow Chemical and local developers Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group — each with interests pending before the Hawaii Legislature.
read … No influence here
Waipahu student describes alleged assaults by teacher
SA: On one occasion in her home, she said Tamura pulled her shorts and underwear down and touched her crotch.
The girl said she was walking home during spring break in 2010 when Tamura offered her a ride. When they reached her home, she said Tamura asked her if anybody else was home. When she said no, she said Tamura invited himself in.
She said she was lying down while using her computer when Tamura lay down next to her and put his head on her rear end. To get him to take his head off, she said she rolled over.
The girl said Tamura asked her if she had pubic hair and she said yes. Tamura asked if he could see it, she said. After she told Tamura no, he grabbed and pulled down the front of her shorts and underwear and began touching her bare crotch with his finger, she testified.
She said she told Tamura to stop and rolled over again so he couldn't touch her crotch anymore.
The girl said she felt angry and frustrated about what Tamura was doing to her but didn't tell anyone about it because she didn't know whom to tell, that she still needed Tamura to coach her and because Tamura is a family friend….
After hearing from other girls that Tamura was doing the same thing to them, the girl said she told another coach last September or October about what was happening to her. She said she also told another teacher at the school but that the teacher "didn't seem to want to have anything to do with it."
The girl said she also had a meeting with the school's vice principal and athletic director before talking to a police detective.
During her testimony Monday, the girl mentioned other incidents when Tamura allegedly molested her, including on an airplane and during the summer before her senior year in high school, for which Tamura is not charged.
read … about the majestic DoE at work
Only HECO and regulators are permitted to know the comparative costs of different types of energy
DN: HECO presented an “Oahu Energy Price Comparison" at a somewhat public Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) Plenary Session (May 2, 2011). The document labeled “Confidential – Limited Distribution” is posted on the HCEI website.
The document (page 3) purports to state the relative cost impacts of different types of energy.
Although HECO operates several different types of generators, some installed before statehood, and although some of their generators use different types of fuels, HECO has just one price listed for their generation. That should alert the viewer that something is misleading.
There are no delivery costs included in the price comparison with the exception of an estimate for the not-yet-designed undersea cable. All on-island delivery (transmission and distribution) costs are not the same, as some of the prices are for generation located far away from where it is needed and some prices are for roof-top systems. These costs are missing from this comparison.
Even though HECO Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have different prices for energy delivered at different times --- on-peak (day) and off-peak (night) --- these prices are lumped together as one price on the chart.
In addition, some intermittent renewable energy generators requires spinning reserves (the use of continuously operated 24/7 fossil fuel baseload units) to offset their fluctuations. These costs are omitted.
Many people are both ratepayers and taxpayers. The costs list are only the financial impacts to ratepayers.
read … What is the relative cost of different types of electricity?
Plastic Bag Ban: Politicians Gone Wild
HTH: A small recent example is the Hawaii County ban on plastic bags. Apart from the bogus "voodoo environomic" claims about the benefits — all of which are contradicted by scientific fact — it is another small grab of power by our government. Five of the nine council members and the mayor tell 185,000 people another tiny detail of how to live their lives without even the courtesy of a referendum, where at least we'd all get a vote. This is the latest of many such laws micro-managing daily life: what light bulbs to buy, shower heads, toilet bowls, water heaters, windows, types of fat in our foods, salt content, what to pack our kids for lunch in school. Next up, banning paper bags and Styrofoam. There is even pressure to tell us what toilet paper to use.
CB: Sen. Gabbard Dons Plastic Bag Leis, Single-Use Bag Bill Passes Senate
read … Politicians Gone Wild
Hawaii soldiers will train Afghan forces
SA: About 150 Hawaii Army National Guard soldiers will be mobilized in October for deployment to Afghanistan to work as part of small U.S. teams training Afghan security forces, an official said Monday.
It is the third "notification of sourcing" from the Army in less than a year's time. The latest notice cancels all previous deployment notifications for Hawaii-based citizen soldiers, said Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony, a Hawaii National Guard spokesman.
About 500 Guam Army National Guard soldiers may still be deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 as previously planned, Anthony said.
The 150 Hawaii soldiers and about 50 others drawn from Texas, Arizona and Guam will deploy as part of small "Security Force Assistance Teams" of 12 or more soldiers that work to train Afghan security forces. Dozens of the teams are being fielded as the United States continues to draw down its forces in the country.
read … Afghanistan
Proposal to cut U.S. nuclear weapons by 80 percent is asking for trouble
SA: The Obama Administration's proposal to reduce U.S. nuclear weapons by 80 percent — even if never effected — is both reckless and dangerous for at least two key reasons.
Before explaining, however, let me clear the deck of one issue: The world would, indeed, be safer if there were no nuclear weapons at all. However, total zero is not possible at this time because the nuclear genie is out of the bottle.
Any nation dedicated to getting nukes can do so, as economically strapped Pakistan and North Korea have already proved. And, since nuclear weapons are the most destructive weapon known to mankind, the allure of owning them will exist regardless of nuclear disarmament by the United States or anyone else.
Now, why is the 80 percent proposal reckless? First, it could actually promote nuclear proliferation in two sets of countries: allies and adversaries….
The 80 percent proposal also sends the wrong signal to adversaries and potential adversaries. It says, in effect, the U.S. is not interested in maintaining a robust nuclear force. Adversaries might figure, "If the U.S. is going to small numbers, we will be able to counter or match the U.S. force much more readily." And they'd be right.
read … No Nukes?
Escape Across China: Wife of WW2 POW to Speak at Maui TEA Party Meeting March 8
From MTP: On Thursday, March 8th, the wife of the late Bill Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, will speak while she is visiting Maui, for about 15 minutes, on behalf of her husband Bill who was a POW in World War II, Wake Island and how he escaped to freedom across mainland China .
His incredible story of his extraordinary experiences, commencing at his capture on Wake Island and culminating in his miraculous escape and trek across Northern China with the assistance of Chairman Mao Zedong's Communist Army. It concluded with his encounter with this famous leader, before he boards a plane to return home to the United States a free man at last. This all happened the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked.
This is in addition to the discussion of the local and national issues facing TEA Party Maui and the TEA Party nationally that YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS!
TEA Party Maui holds monthly meetings at 6:30 PM on the second Thursday of every month. The general public is welcomed at these meetings, They are held at our new location on 400 Hana Highway. The address is a little tricky to find -- please see the note below about our new location. Any questions, please call BILL DOYLE at (808) 269-0552 or (602) 689-5650. Our next General Meeting will convene this Thursday, March 8th, at 6:00 PM.
read … Escape Across China
Shift of UH fisheries program to Hilo worries Manoa faculty
SA: The research cooperative, which was established at UH-Manoa in 1966, is recognized as a leader in fisheries conservation science and provides much-needed expertise to the state, city, nonprofits and other entities, said those in favor of keeping the unit in Manoa.
UH President M.R.C. Greenwood, meanwhile, believes the move will benefit the program's long-term future. In a statement, UH spokeswoman Lynne Waters said: "To realize its full potential, the unit needs involvement from multiple islands and multiple campuses. We're confident that headquartering the unit at UH-Hilo will facilitate that."
The move will require the unit's assistant team leader, Alan Friedlander, to relocate — if he remains with the cooperative. The U.S. Geological Survey, which funds faculty positions with the research unit and provides the use of equipment, has not filled a second vacant position with the cooperative and is not expected to do so until the move is finalized.
UNDER the cooperative, UH-Manoa offers lab and office space and administrative support, in exchange for the two funded positions and access to boats, vehicles and other equipment. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources also provides financial and other support.
Cooperative units are coveted by universities because they offer campuses teaching staff at no cost and attract a host of grants and talented graduate students. There are 40 such federally funded units nationwide.
read … UH Manoa Self-Interest at Work
Rep. Gil Riviere speaks with artist Bill Braden
Art at the capitol is an annual event in Honolulu, Hawaii. Rep. Gil Riviere speaks with artist Bill Braden. Bill Braden was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1958. He moved to Hawaii 1970. Bill studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 1976 and received a BA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence Rhode Island and Rome, Italy in 1980. Even though Bill studied at these top art schools he feels it was painting on location in Hawaii that gave him the real applied experience he needed to be a land and seascape artist. His first exhibition was called "Lanikai Perspective" at Kailua Gallery in 1978.
Bill was selected from over 200 applicants to paint "The Best Beaches of Hawaii" for the City and County of Honolulu in 1990. He credits his experience being one of a handful of artist at Wyland Galleries Hawaii (out of thousands of applicants) in the 90's as the best business schooling ever. His work can be seen at the gift shops of the Honolulu Academy of Arts and Bishop Museum in Honolulun s well as in many other gift shops and galleries all over the state of Hawaii. Contact: http://billbraden.com/works
watch … You Tube
Cato Institute and Koch in rift over independence
NYT: From its perch in a spacious new headquarters blocks from the White House, the Cato Institute has built on its reputation as a venerable libertarian research center unafraid to cross party lines.
Now, however, a rift with one of its founding members — billionaire conservative Charles Koch — is threatening the institute's identity and independence, its leaders say, and is exposing fault lines over Koch's aggressive and well-financed brand of Republican politics.
The rift has its roots, Cato officials said, in a long-simmering feud over efforts by Koch and his brother, David Koch, to install their own people on the institute's 16-member board and to establish a more direct pipeline between Cato and the family's Republican political outlets, including groups that Democrats complain have mounted a multimillion-dollar assault on President Barack Obama. Tensions reached a new level with a lawsuit filed last week by the Kochs against Cato over its governing structure.
"We can't be perceived as a mouthpiece of special interests," Robert A. Levy, chairman of Cato's board, said in an interview. "The Cato Institute as we know it would be destroyed."
read … Progressives Thrilled!