Djou: What I learned in Afghanistan
HART: Cheaper to Build Rail and Tear it Down than to do nothing
HR: Council members, who suggested putting a hold on construction, until a full Federal Funding Grant Agreement for the rail project is in place this October, and until a federal lawsuit against the project is resolved this August, were surprised to learn it is cheaper to erect rail columns along the first part of the rail route in Ewa, and have to tear them down, rather than put the first phase of the project on hold.
Hamayasu, who made this pronouncement, provided no evidence to prove this claim, or his assertion that every month of construction delays costs the city $10 million, though council members asked him to provide an accounting.
Councilmember Ikaika Anderson asked Hamayasu: “Just so I'm clear here, it would be cheaper to pay contractors to erect guideway columns and then pay them again to take them down rather than waiting until the full funding grant agreement it done?”
“That is correct,” said Hamayasu.
“How did we reach that conclusion?” asked Anderson.
“When you look at the delay claims and also inflation cost of the material and the labor of those items, it is cheaper to start constructing now,” Hamayasu said.
Anderson said city council members may issue a resolution asking HART to wait to begin construction until federal funding is finalized in October so local taxpayers are not left with the risk of paying for the entire rail bill. But HART does not have to agree to the delay.
Anderson said: “If we passed a resolution anyway would you stop your plans to go ahead with construction or would you defy our wishes?”
“We're doing what the charter said to do. If for some reason the council and the public have changed their mind, we'll certainly abide by the public and the change of the charter and whatever you want us to do,” said HART chairman Don Horner.
HR: "City Put Itself in a Pickle": Another Internal FTA Email Surfaces
read … Heat
Nahale-a Resignation Linked to DHHL Infighting
HR: Nahale-a has also been the target of an anonymous email campaign that has questioned his competency as a leader.
“Nahalea has done nothing for the Hawaiians since he took office. He does not know what he is doing,” said one recent message from a group calling itself “DHHL employees.”
Nahale-a was defended by another anonymous group calling itself “Real DHHL Employees.”
In a message posted last week, that group said in response, “Every time we get a new chairman, people like you grumble. We don’t know what you have against the Chairman, but he’s only been in office for a year. Give the guy a break. Maybe after four years we can see.”
Many DHHL workers are not in the civil service system and lack job protections afforded employees of other state departments. As a result, staff turnover in the department tends to be higher when there is a change in the state administration.
The most recent complaints from “DHHL employees” centered on the terminations of two department employees.
SA: It was announced earlier this week that M. Wai‘ale‘ale Sarsona, Nahale-a's chief of staff, is resigning to become director of Kamehameha Schools' Ho‘olako Like Department, which oversees the schools' 17 Hawaiian- focused public charter and conversion schools.
read … Down to 150 homes a year, great going Neil!
Since Ecos, Business Both Back Bag Tax, We can Screw Consumers
SA: The state Department of Land and Natural Resources; environmental watchdogs like the Sierra Club, the Surfrider Foundation, The Nature Conservancy; school children from Pearl City Highlands Elementary School, Le Jardin Academy and Sacred Hearts Academy; Girl Scouts like young Diana Sellner and fellow Scouts from Troop 404 and their parents and their troop leader; students from the University of Hawaii, Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific University; grocery stores like Safeway and Times; as well as many other ordinary citizens representing the full spectrum of society, are all doing their part to say that the time is now for this bill.
This is a bill about the future well-being of these islands and all those who call it home.
read … Written by an Oceanit Employee
Waimanalo Gulch advisory panel will recommend one of the choices to the mayor by April 5
SA: The day began with Towill prepared to present a list of seven sites to the panel.
But the list tripled in size after committee members told the consultant to add qualifying federal lands and six parcels located above residential properties.
Some committee members objected that Towill eliminated the six "residential" parcels on the basis that they could be affected by stormwater runoff. Other members said they were surprised to learn that federal lands are eligible for consideration.
Up to nine federal properties could end up on the list of candidates, said planner Brian Taketa of R.M. Towill.
CB: Landfill Site Panel Wants Distance From Residents
read … 22 sites under study for new landfill
Caucus Gives Local GOP Turn in Spotlight
The local GOP takes a rare turn in the spotlight as we “flASHback” on the week’s news that amused and confused:
» Hawaii Republicans were happily overwhelmed by more than 10,000 party faithful who turned out for the state GOP’s first-ever presidential caucuses. They were so unprepared for the overflow that they had to borrow some ward heelers from the Democrats.
» None of the GOP’s White House hopefuls campaigned here, but Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul all sent their children to stand in for them. Newt Gingrich sent his hair.
PR: Final count
read … Shapiro
Hawaii Among last States for Solar Bubble to Burst
PBN: Hawaii played a big part in this solar explosion, ranking 11th in the nation for PV installations. It moved up from 15th in 2010.
On top of this list is California, followed by New Jersey, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, which rounded out the top five.
This year, the report expects Hawaii to move up even higher on the PV installation list.
It predicts the state to finish up in fourth on the residential side and sixth in non-residential market.
Overall, Hawaii is expected to be in eighth place in 2012, when it’s all said and done.
But not all developments in 2011 were positive. According to the report done by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research, with regard to installations, the highly valued 1603 Treasury Program expired at the end of the year, subsequently complicating the financing of many new solar projects.
read … Bubble
State To Pay $15.4 Million Legal Settlement
HR: The state has agreed to pay $15.4 million to settle a civil lawsuit filed by the families of two hikers who fell to their deaths on a Kauai hiking trail in 2006.
The settlement, reached just before a damages trial was to begin next week, must be approved by the Legislature. The state was found at fault last year in the case and the plaintiffs had been seeking $30 million.
read … $14.5M
Audit Finds Serious Management Problems At Aloha Stadium
HR: Auditor Marion Higa said in a report that harshly criticizes state oversight of the commercial activity.
The audit, presented to the Hawaii State Legislature today, also questioned whether the swap meet complies with legal restrictions placed on the land when it passed from federal to state control.
The audit even said that the City’s plans for construction of a large rapid transit station at Aloha Stadium might be jeopardized by the unapproved presence of the swap meet on stadium grounds.
Aloha Stadium officials disputed those assertions and defended oversight of the swap meet by stadium manager Scott Chan and contractor CenterPlate.
read … Aloha Stadium
Hilo Real Estate Broker Not Liable for Frogs, Hookers
CN: A realtor did not dupe customers who bought a million-dollar property for its views of waterfalls, only to find the area was infested with screaming frogs and "populated by drug dealers and hookers," a Hawaii appeals court ruled.
read … Coqui
Newspapers ‘Fastest Shrinking Industry’
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In recent weeks, LinkedIn, the networking website, and the Council of Economic Advisers have reported that the press is “America’s fastest-shrinking industry”, measured by jobs lost; the Newspaper Association of America has shown that advertising sales have halved since 2005 and are now at 1984’s level; and the Pew Research Center has found that for every digital ad dollar they earned, they lost $7 in print ads.
read … Print
North Korea rocket launch plan sparks US threat
AFP: North Korea announced Friday it would launch a rocket carrying a satellite next month, sparking widespread condemnation and US threats that it could put much-needed food aid in jeopardy.
The United States, Japan and South Korea said the plan, announced just 16 days after Pyongyang agreed to suspend long-range missile tests in return for the US food aid, would breach a UN ban imposed after previous launches.
Blast-off will be between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding leader Kim Il-Sung, the communist state's official news agency and state television said.
read … Launched toward South?