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Thursday, March 8, 2012
March 8, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:16 AM :: 9655 Views

Djou goes from Washington to Afghanistan vetting suspected Taliban

Rothenberg: Lingle Faces Tough Fight for Senate

Week of March 13: Ron Paul Launches Hawaii TV Ad Campaign

House Passes 286 Bills--Ward Hits 'High Risk Financial Decisions'

Senate Passes 372 Bills

Hawaii Republicans and presidential candidates prepping for state's first caucus March 13

AP: Voters in Hawaii's upcoming Republican presidential caucus have found themselves in an unusual position: They're relevant.

The change reflects a GOP effort to create enthusiasm for the party in a state where conservatives face long odds in November.

Hawaii is home turf for President Obama and the Democratic Party. But for the first time, everyday Republican voters in the Aloha State will have a say in their party's presidential nomination process.

"What we want to do is get more people involved in the system," Hawaii GOP chairman David Chang said. "We want that person to come out and vote. And then they'll realize that their vote will count because the results will ultimately determine which presidential candidate will get our delegates."

read … March 13

Chamber Spends $236K on Lingle Ads

CB: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $236,625 to run television ads last month supporting Linda Lingle's run for the U.S. Senate.

From Feb. 9-22, the spots blanketed commercial and cable stations across the state, appearing during local news programming and popular shows like "Dr. Phil" and "Hawaii Five-0."

Thanks to the Chamber, Hawaii voters likely saw more ads for Lingle, a Republican, than her Democratic rivals Ed Case and Mazie Hirono, who first aired their own ads in late January through early February. Indeed, the U.S. Chamber spent roughly twice what Case and Hirono spent combined.

While Lingle has been running her own ads on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's homepage and releasing a series of YouTube clips, Lingle didn't pay a dime for the Chamber's ads and was not responsible for their content.

read … Chamber

Civil Beat Poll - Cayetano Tops 50% In Honolulu Mayor's Race

CB: Former Gov. Ben Cayetano is riding strong anti-rail sentiment to a dominating lead in the Honolulu mayor's race, according to The Civil Beat Poll.

Fifty-three percent of likely voters in Honolulu said that if the election were held today, they would support Cayetano, 15 points more than the total for his two opponents combined. Mayor Peter Carlisle has 21 percent support and former Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell has 17 percent. Nine percent were unsure.

Honolulu's $5.2 billion rail project will be "very important" for 70 percent of the voters in deciding whom to support for mayor, the poll found. Eighteen percent said it was "somewhat important." Just 9 percent of the voters said it wasn't important, with 4 percent unsure.

read … Cayetano

Mitsunaga Daughter Oversees Kakaako Redevelopment

Political Radar: Lois Mitsunaga’s connection to the governor goes deeper than just supporter and campaign donor. Abercrombie appointed her last year to the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which will help oversee the governor’s ambitious plans to redevelop Kakaako. The state Senate unanimously confirmed her appointment.

(Next: Mitsunaga joins Akaka Tribe, gets lucrative contracts to Redevelop Kakaako)

read … Multi-Generational Crime Family

Is Sewer Plan ‘On Track’?

CB: "It is accurate that the state did not raise any outstanding issues, and it's fair to say that things are on track regarding the Sand Island consent decree," Gill said in a weekend voicemail left for Civil Beat. "That does not mean necessarily that we think everything is going perfectly, but we did not raise, as the state, any outstanding issues or concerns at the January consultation."

Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter Director Robert Harris struck a similar cautious tone.

"Are they off track? No, plainly not," he told Civil Beat. "But a lot of the stuff was put out over time. ... Whether they're still on track five years from now is probably a more important question."

Harris said some parts of the agreement have been tweaked, but that none of the changes would qualify as "noteworthy."

read … On Track

Star-Adv Editors Back Unconstitutional Redistricting Plan Which Excludes 108,000 Military

SA: A state commission that has redrawn political districts in Hawaii for the upcoming primary election -- and for the next 10 years -- has put election officials on ever-shorter notice to prepare for election day. If the new state map is approved by the commission today but challenged legally, the dissidents' arguments will need to be addressed quickly in court.

At this point, however, the Reapportionment Commission seems to have done its work diligently. The outcome should give voters more choices come election day from spirited races.

Hawaii voters are accustomed to voting in primaries on a Saturday in late September, the latest in the nation. However, this year's primary and nonpartisan preliminary elections were moved to Aug. 11 in order to send absentee ballots to overseas and military voters at least 45 days before the November general election.

Heated disputes in sessions of the Reapportionment Commission and a court challenge upheld by the state Supreme Court have drawn out the length of preparation for this year's election. The high court ruled on Jan. 6 that members of the military and their dependents cannot be included in the state's population in determining political districts, and the commission has responded quickly in putting together a new map, excising the military presence.

All this, however, doesn't allow the state to ignore an agreement made two years ago with the U.S. Justice Department to give military and overseas voters "sufficient time to receive, cast and return their ballots in time for them to counted" in the November election. In response, the Legislature rescheduled the primary date to the second Saturday in August in compliance with federal law. Postponement this year is out of the question, and Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago has said his office needed the maps by the end of February to prepare for the election.

read … New districts will enhance election

Hawaii Diverts Millions In Tobacco Settlement Funds

KITV: Irvin points out that much of the nearly $465 million in diverted tobacco settlement funds have gone to worthwhile causes. Lawmakers used a large portion of the money to build the John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kakaako and to fund the school's day-to-day operations. Other uses include funding programs at the state Department of Health as well as capitalizing the state's rainy day fund.

However in 2011, lawmakers passed a bill that diverts all $6 million that would have been deposited into the tobacco prevention fund. Instead, the money is being used to help balance the state's general fund during a tough economic cycle. But if monies continue to be sidetracked, the tobacco fund could dry up in as little as four years. The fund has a current balance of $45 million, but on average Hawaii spends $7 million to $8 million per year on anti-smoking programs.

"So now we're definitely dipping into that savings account, is basically what it is," said Zysman. "We're living kind of on borrowed time, which is unfortunate because we know that tobacco prevention programs work."

In addition to diverting money for other purposes, the percentage of tobacco settlement funds set aside for smoking cessation programs continues to drop. Initially, 25 percent of monies received by Hawaii from the tobacco industry were set aside for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund. In 2002 lawmakers lowered that percentage to 12.5 percent. In 2007 it was lowered once again to 6.5 percent. In 2015 the percentage is set to go back up to 12.5 percent, but nothing is guaranteed. "It is a revenue that is looked at," said Irvin.

To date, Hawaii's anti-smoking programs have been extremely successful. From 2000 to 2009, the number of high school students who smoke has decreased from 12,000 to 5,500. Adult smokers meanwhile have dropped from a peak of 187,900 in 2002 to 154,000 in 2009.

read … State is Senior Partner in Tobacco Industry

Former Hawaii Planned Parenthood Director Arrested, Charged in Maryland

SA: Leopold served on the Hawaii state school board from 1968 to 1970 and as a Republican in the state Legislature from 1970 to 1978.

The indictment alleges a systematic use of the officers as political campaign workers for his re-election campaign. Leopold regularly required them to place and check on campaign signs throughout 2010, when he ran for a second four-year term.

Officers also drove him to areas where he is accused of removing campaign signs of his Democratic opponent, Joanna Conti, prosecutors said in the indictment.

Leopold directed a police officer to be present at a fundraiser and collect campaign donation checks. He directed on-duty executive protection officers to create dossiers on political challengers, including Conti and Carl Snowden, the indictment said.

In the second half of 2010, Leopold's sexual encounters with the county employee happened up to three times weekly during regular work hours in the parking lots of Annapolis-area businesses, the indictment said.

Leopold, who is not married, is accused of using the officers' personal cellphones to call the county employee and requested a second officer to be on duty when attending events with her to conceal the relationship from his longtime live-in girlfriend, prosecutors allege. When he was hospitalized twice for back surgery in 2010, he had the officers work more than 170 hours of overtime — costing the county more than $10,000 — to make sure the woman would not try to see him, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors alleged that he made the police officers and his appointments coordinator empty his urinary catheter bag for him while he recovered from surgery.

WIKIPEDIA -- Leopold holds the distinction of being the only elected official in the United States to have been elected to office in Hawaii and Maryland after residing in each state only one year. He was also the State Director for Planned Parenthood while in Hawaii….

read … Planned Parenthood

Electric bills up in March on all islands

AP: Hawaiian Electric Co. said a typical 600-kilowatt-hour bill for Oahu residential customers rose to $203.74 in March from $200.41 last month. The effective rate for electricity in Honolulu rose to 32.6 cents a kilowatt hour in March from 32 cents per kilowatt-hour in February.

HECO also operates Maui Electric Power Co. in Maui County and Hawaii Electric Light Co. on Hawaii island.

Maui Electric Co. customers saw rates rise to 36.3 cents a kilowatt-hour this month from 35.8 cents a kilowatt hour in February. The typical Maui bill rose by $3.22 to $225.46.

Hawaii island residential rates rose to 41.3 cents a kilowatt-hour from last month’s 40.6 cents. The typical bill rose by $5.67 to $259.19.

On Kauai, the rate rose to 42.6 cents a kilowatt-hour. Last month the rate charged by the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative was 41.40 cents a kilowatt-hour.

The main driver behind the increase was higher prices for fuel oil, which remain high in the Asia Pacific market, according to utility officials. ratepayers being forced to subsidize green energy scammers….

Hawaii typically has the highest cost for electricity in the nation. The national average was 11.52 cents …

read … Electric bills up in March on all islands

DoE Still Trying to Worm Out of 180 Day Law

CB: "It is not just the amount of time spent that determines students’ degrees of learning, but also how engaged students are during that time and the extent to which they are engaged in tasks relevant to curriculum expectations and assessments," the 2007 article states. "Researchers generally distinguish sharply between Allocated Time — the time on the school calendar for a given content area — and Academic Learning Time — the amount of time students are working on rigorous tasks at the appropriate level of difficulty for them."

read … More Excuses and Stories

A bill aimed at preventing disruptive behavior at the Legislature heads to Hawaii Senate

AP: Democratic House Speaker Calvin Say, who introduced the bill, disputes that, saying in a recent statement the proposal "applies to the disruption caused by any person, no matter the person's reason for the disruption or viewpoint on any issue."

Skeptics contend the law is unnecessary, saying troublemakers can be removed and jailed under current law — and that the penalty is stiffer than what the new proposal calls for.

If passed, disorderly, contemptuous behavior could get a member of the public removed from a hearing, fined, or even sent to jail for 10 days. The current maximum penalty for a petty misdemeanor is 30 days in jail….

Kahle, a well-known civil rights atheist activist, has made it clear that if this becomes a law, he'll challenge it. "If they want to play ball, I like to play ball. They're just inviting people like me to challenge it."

read … Kahle

Building full of Crooks and 64 Police Cameras Don’t Work

SA: Nine of the 64 video surveillance cameras at the state Capitol don't work and the computers that run the system no longer allow sheriff's deputies to monitor all of the functioning cameras at once, state officials acknowledged Wednesday.

State Sen. Will Espero, chairman of the Senate Public Safety Committee, said he peered into the sheriff's deputies' Capitol substation Wednesday and said no images from the security cameras could be seen on the deputies' four monitors.

"While many of the cameras might be working, it's still useless if you have a camera with no television screen," Espero said. "I've seen it completely out like that for many months, going back to last year. It gives people a false sense of security thinking there are these cameras and someone's monitoring them and watching this building, which is open to many people 24/7. We're talking public safety and the security of the Capitol building."

read … About the Legislature

Trial begins for Occupy protesters caught in park after hours

SA: The six defendants are Jamie Baldwin, 23; Megan Brooker, 26; Lucas Miller, 29; Randall Perez, 28; Luke Satsuma, 19; and Nikolas Wooden, 23. Wooden lives in Kapahulu; the other five said they live in Makiki.

The trial began after Occupy Honolulu attorney Erik Kvam's motions for dismissal were denied….

Trial continues at 1:30 p.m. April 4.

Eight people originally were arrested for violating park rules. Occupy Honolulu supporters said one man and one woman pleaded no contest to a lesser offense of trespassing because they had to leave the island.

read … Mainlanders

Civil Beat Loses Two Top Reporters

CB: We already announced one staff change at Civil Beat this morning. (LaFrance departure.) But we also want to note a few others.

Education reporter-host Katherine Poythress will be leaving at the end of the week to pursue journalism opportunities on the mainland and be closer to her family. Her last day will be Friday. On Monday, former Garden Island Managing Editor Nathan Eagle will join the staff as a reporter-host. Also this week, Alice Terry, a recent graduate of the University of Hawaii, has joined us as an administrative assistant.

read … Shakeup

Hatch Act Reform Bill Introduced

For nearly 20 years the Hatch Act, a law forbidding federal employees from participating in partisan political activity, has gone unchanged. Now a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers is seeking to remedy that.

Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., introduced legislation Wednesday that would update the law, partly by limiting its jurisdiction over state and local government employees and allowing them to run for partisan elective office. The 2012 Hatch Act Modernization Act — co-sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Carl Levin, D-Mich.; and Mike Lee, R-Utah — would mark the first change to the law since it was last amended in 1993.

The bill also would give the Merit Systems Protection Board greater flexibility to issue a range of penalties for Hatch Act violators. Currently, the only approved punishment is termination, which can be mitigated to a 30-day suspension by unanimous approval of all three Merit Systems Protection Board members.

“These are common-sense changes that will clarify the law and make it easier to enforce,” said Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “State and local employees, such as police officers, should not be banned from running for public office, and there should be punishments less severe than firing for minor violations.”

The Office of Special Counsel, which handles investigations of Hatch Act violations, recommended similar reforms to Congress in October 2011. OSC praised the legislation’s bipartisan, bicameral support in a release Wednesday.

read … Open the Hatch

When Not Playing Slots, Nevada Welfare Bums Spend Taxpayer Handouts in Hawaii, Guam

Nevada News Bureau: There are a few withdrawals in vacation destinations like New Orleans and Hawaii. There are a few from such tourist locations as Angel Stadium in Anaheim, SeaWorld San Diego and Pier 39 in San Francisco.

There are about 1,600 withdrawals in more than 35 states and the territory of Guam. And there are about 100 withdrawals at liquor stores and quite a few at Nevada casinos or slot parlors.

Some of the withdrawals with which taxpayers might take issue include a dozen transactions in Hawaii. The Hawaii withdrawals were made primarily in the Honolulu area, at the airport, a car rental firm and banks, although three transactions occurred on the Big Island.

The withdrawals at amusement parks and tourist destinations ranged from $20 at Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California to a high of $440 at one of the Honolulu locations.

read … Nevada Welfare Recipients Have Fun on Taxpayer Dime

'Dirty 8' Erode Three Decades Of Landmark Environmental Law

Rep Cynthia Thielen: The House passed the Dirty 8 in First Crossover: HB530, HB2145, HB2154, HB2324, HB2325, HB2611, HB2613, and HB2690. These bills seek to reverse 30 years of steadfast protections, creating a lack of oversight which could devastate our environmental and cultural resources and potentially lead to severe economic damage through uninformed planning decisions.

read … HRS343

Child abuse study gives kupuna a voice

SA: "And How Are the Children?", a yearlong study conducted by a University of Hawaii social work associate professor and funded by the Honolulu nonprofit group Consuelo Foundation, says results are best achieved with community- and culturally based methods.

"It's really tapping into the perspectives of kupuna, who have a lot of experience professionally and personally," as well as social service providers serving children and families, said Jon Matsuoka, president and chief executive officer of the Consuelo Foundation.

The study, released Feb. 24, has already spawned a collaboration between the Consuelo Foundation and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for an effort to prevent child abuse on Molokai.

read … Child abuse study gives kupuna a voice


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