Rail Plaintiffs to FTA: We suspect that you are no longer shocked by the City’s deceptive practices
Abercrombie: Environmental Critics Are 'Apocalyptic Naysayers'
CB: On Senate Bill 755, which has pitted groups that want job growth versus those fearful that it will come at the expense of the environment, Abercrombie suggested the latter group has overreacted.
"It's just that some folks seem to be professional naysayers, and sometimes the facts don't always measure up to the rhetoric," he said. "I tend to wait and see what the legislation actually says, if and when it passes, and then, obviously I will have to make decisions about it."
"The sky is not necessarily falling during the legislative session," Abercrombie continued. "There is a tendency for apocalyptic statements being made about what is going to happen or not happen." ….
"I don't know what it's going to look like," he said. "I don't pay much attention to that stuff when it's moving through the Legislature because I've long-since learned that, first of all, the Lazarus effect — that which was presumed dead rises and walks again. And then there's the shape-shifting side of the legislative process where something has one form in the morning and one form in the afternoon. Bills are used to leverage one thing and another."
Asked about strong criticism of SB 755 from the Sierra Club and Republican Rep. Cynthia Thielen, among others, the governor replied, "I presume legislators will take a look at it and see whether there are things that need to be mitigated. That's what the whole idea of it is. I don't necessarily subscribe to doomsday-type statements."
Doomsday Statement: Blabercrombie: “The war of each against all, which has an iron grip on our country, is coming to an end in Hawaii”
read … Apocalyptic Naysayers
Hawaii's fallen heroes remembered in medal of honor ceremony
HNN: Hundreds of people gathered at the State Capitol Wednesday to remember 24 servicemen with Hawaii ties who died during the past year in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Two men who grew up in Hawaii were among those fallen heroes honored.
The State House chambers were packed as lawmakers joined family, friends and fellow service members of fallen heroes for Hawaii Medal of Honor ceremonies….
"United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Christopher l. Camero," said the announcer. Corporal Camero was 19. He was from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii."
Camero -- a 2010 graduate of Honoka'a High School -- was the youngest person remembered Wednesday. He died in a combat operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan July 15.
Also honored the memory of Navy bomb disposal expert Kraig Vickers, a Native of Maui….
Kraig's father, Bob Vickers, said, "For us, we know where he's at and that is what gives us the peace and comfort, knowing that he's in the presence of the lord Jesus."
State Senate President Shan Tsutsui said, "To the family and friends of our honorees: thank you for sharing America's heroes with the rest of us."
read … Hawaii's fallen heroes remembered in medal of honor ceremony
Abercrombie Rambles at Medal of Honor Ceremony
SA: "Yes, we look to ourselves, (not God) and we look inward to determine for ourselves what meaning we are to derive from a gathering such as this," he said. (Its about us, not about those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.) "But more importantly, we reach out to one another in solidarity as brothers and sisters in our common humanity." (Again, not God.)
(Compare this to Calvin Say’s statement)
State House Speaker Calvin Say said during his speech that while lawmakers feel honored to be able to host events such as the ceremony, they hope a day will come when they are no longer necessary.
"Our prayers are with you, and we are honored by your presence," Say said in an address.
"Every one of us owes you a great debt, one that we can never fully repay. We truly mourn your loss, and it cannot be said enough. These heroes, these patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, will never be forgotten."
read … Abercrombie Rambles Mindlessly
Hawaii Is Tops in Cronyism, Nepotism, and Patronage
CB: …in one category - nepotism, cronyism and patronage — Hawaii strikes out, getting a 0 percent score for its lack of regulations….
8. In law, there are regulations to prevent nepotism (favorable treatment of family members), cronyism (favorable treatment of friends and colleagues), and patronage (favorable treatment of those who reward their superiors) amongst members of the executive branch.
Notes: There is currently no state law that addresses nepotism, but there are fair treatment and conflict of interests laws that may apply in certain cases. State employees, which includes appointed or elected officers, must abide by the state's fair treatment laws. They cannot use their government position to give favorable treatment to self or to anyone nor grant unwarranted privileges, advantages or benefits. It may be interpreted to include the terms nepotism, cronyism and patronage.
Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 84 Standards of Conduct, Part II. Code of Ethics, §84-13, Fair treatment. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0013.htm for details.
Also see §84-14 Conflicts of interests. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0014.htm for details.
Sources: No such law exists.
Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question. Yes: A YES score is earned if there are specific formal rules prohibiting nepotism, cronyism, and patronage amongst members of the executive branch. These should include competitive recruitment and promotion procedures as well as safeguards against arbitrary disciplinary actions and dismissal. No: A NO score is earned if no such regulations exist.
read … Tops in Cronyism
Hawaii: Highest State Debt Per Capita
Bloomberg: Connecticut and Hawaii both fund local school capital and teacher pensions, boosting their obligations, the analysts said. Hawaii’s combined ratio is about 26 percent of personal income, the highest value among rated states, compared with 9.2 percent for tax-supported debt, second highest. Connecticut ranked third at almost 23 percent, followed by Kentucky at about 22 percent.
Once state and local governments implement new pension accounting standards from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board later this year, Fitch analysts plan to revisit their measurements. They called today’s study an “interim” analysis.
“Debt and pensions are fundamentally different types of obligations, and the combined metric is inherently more variable,” the analysts said in the report.
SA: Personal incomes show second consecutive yearly increase
read … Debt
State Owned Bank: $4B at Risk to Reward Cronies
HNN: It's the idea of House Finance Chair Representative Marcus Oshiro. Here's his example, a (campaign contributor’s) company needs $10 million. A private bank will only loan $5 million. The state bank could come in and give the other $5 million which provide more opportunity and jobs but doesn't create competition.
"We would partner with them so they would have the ability to leverage the money they have and increase the loan amount for local businesses and local families," said Rep. Marcus Oshiro. Plus I would get more contributions.
Other ideas include bailing out homeowners fighting foreclosure because of technical issues. Another is to loan money to companies in the clean energy sector. But opponents say all that is risky especially when using taxpayer money to back it all up ….
The state bank would keep all of the $4 billion worth of tax and bond revenue in Hawaii. Right now more than a quarter of that money is in mainland banks ….
The bills related to the state bank are listed below. For more information click on each bill number.
read … Bank of Abercrombie
Out-of-state workers already on the rail job
KITV: Seven workers from Utah-based company Boart Longyear are performing soil sampling work at Kualaka’i Parkway, better known as North-South Road in Kapolei.
Kiewit Corp., which has already secured three rail contracts worth $1.06 billion, hired Boart Longyear as a subcontractor.
(Don’t worry. Local workers will be hired to flip their burgers at lunchtime.)
read … Rail Jobs Are Here!
Star-Adv: We Want Our $75M--Use HB2527 to Pressure HSTA on RTTT Settlement
SA: The state Senate Ways and Means Committee was to decide today whether to approve House Bill 2527, which would require the state Department of Education to create a performance management program that includes an evaluation for teachers. Gov. Neil Abercrombie favors the measure as specifying "student learning and growth as criteria for evaluation of educators." Okabe complains that the bill is "a way to circumvent the collective bargaining process."
While the Department of Education favors the legislation, approval of that bill could interfere with that negotiation process. Instead, the measure should be used to put pressure on the teachers union to accept the teacher evaluations proposed by the department.
Hawaii has struggled in making pledges under the federal grant requirements and "has fulfilled many of its Race to the Top commitments that do not require a collective bargaining agreement to move forward," the Center on American progress noted.
We hope that visiting federal education officials can see that much progress has indeed been made, such as in targeted "zones of school innovation" like Waianae and the Kau-Pahoa area of Hawaii island.
However, no issue has been as difficult as the labor dispute with teachers and the union's refusal to agree on a contract. While federal officials are in the islands, this is the week to agree on teacher evaluations in the contract to avoid legislative action and assure fulfillment of the Race to the Top grant — which brings with it $75 million, yes, but also hopes that progress can occur for the sake of student learning. (That throwaway line about learning is a nice touch, isn’t it?)
read … Tactical Discussion Among Old Boys
Lingle Campaign Slaps Down Democrat Attack on Republican Jewish Coalition
Klompus: The repeated attacks launched by the DSCC in the past 24 hours are both misleading and disingenuous. Matt Canter, the squeaky wheel of the DSCC, is calling the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) a hyper-partisan organization, but fails to recognize that his very actions are as hyper-partisan as they come.
Governor Linda Lingle has always run as a Republican in her more than 30 years of elected public office. She was a fellow Governor with former Governor Palin. And, Gov. Lingle is in fact a member of the RJC because she agrees with their pro-Israel policies. All of these relationships have been well known and documented, never hidden in the shadowy connections that opponents would like the public to believe. Knowing all this, Hawaii voters, whether Republican, Democrat or Independent have consistently chosen Governor Lingle as their elected leader in local, county and statewide offices.
In 2006, Hawaii voters were not blinded by the partisan rhetoric of organizations like the DSCC, and the people of Hawaii re-elected Governor Linda Lingle as their state’s chief executive with 63% of the vote, winning in all 51 house districts, the largest margin of victory in state history – an accomplishment that has never been achieved by any other candidate of either political party.
Judging by the lack of depth of the candidate the DSCC is supporting in the Hawaii U.S. Senate race, it’s clear that they must put all their effort into distracting voters from the fact that their candidate simply cannot compare with Governor Lingle’s issues-based campaign and her proven record of results. Effective leaders like Governor Lingle don’t need to stoop to the level of the DSCC and their henchman like Canter. The fact is that Governor Lingle’s record does match reality, and the DSCC doesn’t know how to deal with a leader like Linda Lingle.
read … Political Radar
Hawaii Charter School Overhaul Looks Likely
CB: After clearing the Senate earlier this month, the legislation sailed through two House committees last week and is headed to a Finance hearing at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. From there, it would only be a couple more votes and a signature shy of becoming law.
“We’re getting very close to the finish line,” Senate Education Committee Chair Jill Tokuda told Civil Beat Wednesday. “At times, I’m surprised it’s been going so well. But I really believe it’s a reflection of all the time the task force put into it before session started. This has been a very in-depth, engaged process.”
The bill would establish a new way of governing charter schools, which have been beset by controversies in recent years in part due to the lack of clear lines of authority. Its passage would be historic for the Aloha State, one of only eight left in the country without such a law. …
Shipton was unable to alleviate the chair’s concern over the bill’s absence of explicit language requiring charter schools to be non-profit.
The task force that produced the Hawaii bill based it on a model law written by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. While the model law contains explicit language banning for-profit businesses, the state’s version does not.
“That is one area you could tighten up,” Shipton said when pressed by the chair. (Which Hawaii Charter Schools would be banned by this provision? That is what this is about.)
read … Hawaii Charter School Overhaul Looks Likely
Pay raises suggested for top City and County jobs
KHON: The Salary Commission of the City and County of Honolulu voted to recommend raises of 5.5 percent for the police chief and his deputies, 4 percent for the fire chief and his deputy, and 3 percent for city council members, and most directors and department heads and their deputies….
The Commission says it's also trying to level out what it calls salary inversion -- just about every department has subordinates that make more than the director and deputies. Some civil servants in the police department for example make $8,000 a year more than the chief and mayor. Some in the fire department get more, too.
read … Salary Inversion
Civil Beat Loses Chief Editor
CB: Civil Beat Editor and General Manager John Temple has accepted a new position as managing editor of The Washington Post.
John helped Randy Ching and me (sic) launch Civil Beat in 2010 as its editor ….
Taking over at the helm of Civil Beat in the interim will be Deputy Editor Patti Epler and Operations Director Heidi Pliszka.
Patti is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor who joined Civil Beat last fall as deputy editor. The California native lived in Hawaii on a sailboat many years ago and has worked in Alaska, Washington state, Arizona and Oregon. She led the team at the East Valley Tribune in Arizona that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. At Civil Beat, Patti has been running the day-to-day operations of the newsroom for months and recently directed the series, "Taken For a Ride," which exposed the reason for skyrocketing school bus costs in Hawaii.
Heidi has worked for decades in technology management and operations roles, including at Anthology Marketing Group, where she was vice president and director of account management for the Digital Marketing Group. Heidi was born and raised in Hawaii and has a personal passion for making a difference in the place she calls home. She has been overseeing business operations at Civil Beat since summer 2011.
(Sure is a lot of staff turnover there. Also, this is a sign that the WaPo is doomed.)
read … Civil Beat Editor to Join Washington Post as Managing Editor
Kailua, Urban Honolulu are Top Communities for Divorced Persons
KITV: In Kailua,and Urban Honolulu 10.3% of residents say they are divorced.
read … Divorce
Census: Honolulu and San Diego Swap Residents
CB: More new Honolulu residents moved from San Diego than from any other county in the United States, and more former Honolulu residents moved to San Diego than anywhere else.
… new data put out today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Released in two massive spreadsheets — one sorted by "inflows" and the other by "outflows" — the data shows county-to-county migration trends in recent years between every county in the country.
In all, 17.7 million people lived in a different county than the prior year, according to a press release from the Census Bureau earlier today. The largest number of county-to-county moves in the country were from Los Angeles to San Bernadino, Calif. That estimate of 48,456 was much larger than the number moving from Honolulu to San Diego (2,167) or vice versa (1,953), Civil Beat's data analysis found.
Download and manipulate the data yourself:
News Release: Census Bureau Releases First Information Since 2000 Census on Moves Between Counties
read … Census: Honolulu and San Diego Swap Residents
Nearly $3.9M award from jury over Molokai ‘campaign of intimidation’
MN: According to the Bevills' complaint, Ke Nani Kai was run by a board of directors including Phil Schutte, Bruce "Skip" Blough, Mike Preiss, Connie Schnitker and Pete Hill, and condo association "librarian" Beverly Schutte, who treated the condo complex as their own "personal fiefdom." They worked in concert with two "thugs," resident manager Darrel Borling and an unlicensed handyman, Frank Maurizio, who had a criminal record and boasted of having ties to organized crime, the complaint says.
Homeowners who ran afoul of the board experienced harassment including verbal threats, vandalism to their property and the killing of their pets, Revere said.
In court filings, Revere said the Bevills' troubles began shortly after they moved to Molokai from California in 2004 and hired an outside contractor to complete renovations on their unit.
After Blough tried unsuccessfully to convince them to use Maurizio for the job, the Bevills' "found themselves at odds with Maurizio, labeled 'troublemakers' and essentially marginalized and made to feel unsafe in their own home," Revere wrote….
He said the amount awarded to the Bevills was likely higher because jurors were "completely ticked off" with the defendants after hearing how badly the couple had been mistreated.
"What happened is, they ended up with an inflamed jury," August said. "It's almost impossible to inflame an arbitrator," who would have likely been less emotional in deciding a settlement.
In addition, since most of the award was for punitive damages, the payments will probably not be covered by insurance, he noted.
"They're going to be able to go after the individual assets of these people, including the board members," August said.
read … Molokai
Feds Bust Airline Workers Allegedly Moving 300 lbs of Meth to Hawaii
SA: The complaint charges Walter Dominguez, Larry Chung, Lloyd Talia, Sifatutupu Fuamatu and her husband, Falefia Fuamatu, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
The defendants were arrested Tuesday and appeared in court Wednesday. They will remain in custody pending their detention hearings Monday.
Homeland Security Investigations identified Sifatutupu Fuamatu as a Hawaii-based Delta Air Lines ramp service agent who used her security credentials to bypass airport checkpoints to transport hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug transaction proceeds to the mainland.
Fuamatu appeared in court Wednesday wearing shorts and a blue Delta Air Lines T-shirt.
The complaint alleges that Dominguez arranged transportation of the drugs from California by using a Delta or TSA employee to bypass security and place 30- to 40-pound shipments of drugs in luggage that had already gone through screening.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Dominguez sent a shipment of 174 pounds of meth to Hawaii on or about May 28 and sent 129 pounds of meth on a later date, based on statements from confidential sources and intercepted cellphone text messages ….
Investigators say Dominguez was the supplier for a drug-trafficking organization headed by John Tai, 43, of Carson, Calif.
Authorities arrested eight members of the organization on June 1 and arrested Tai on June 24.
read … 5 arrested in federal bust of California-Hawaii ring
Prison Guard Arrested for Allegedly Shooting Up Pearl City
SA: Honolulu police arrested a 49-year-old Waiawa Correctional Facility guard, who allegedly fired the gunshots from his Pearl City home that led to the closure of the only access to Pacific Palisades Wednesday night.
Police arrested the man, who lives at a house at 1858 Waimano Home Road, for reckless endangering.
A Department of Public Safety spokeswoman confirmed that the suspect was an adult corrections officer at the minimum security facilty, but didn’t know how long he had been employed there.
Arriving police, who heard shots as they approached, managed to talk the man out of the house, said Lt. Carl Kalani of the Pearl City police substation.
Two other men in the house were questioned, but not arrested…
HNN: Man arrested in Pearl City standoff
KITV: Gunshots fired in Pearl City; Man arrested
read … Just another day in Paradise