Hawaii Among Worst States in Nation on Taxing the Working Poor
GSA Scandal: Lingle Takes Aim at Waste and Fraud
Zero Confidence in Lawmakers Revealed
Big Island Prosecutor Candidate Promises to Re-Open Peter Boy Case
HTH: “There is a view, the interpretation of the ethical duty not to charge cases (unless the case meets the ‘without a reasonable doubt’ standard), that leads some people to believe if it’s not a guaranteed win, we don’t charge it,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth said Friday. “We’ve got to try some of these cases we believe we can win.”
Some of his colleagues have, in the past, told him if he wished to pursue charges in some cases — he gave the Paulino Evangelista case in 2003 as an example — he should try it himself. He did, and won. Evangelista pleaded guilty to 15 burglary and related charges. He ended up being sentenced to 125 years in prison after he failed to show up in court for his initial sentencing hearing….
Some of the county’s cold cases, including the Peter “Peter Boy” Kema case, “need to be looked at with fresh eyes,” he said.
read … Finally Someone Who is not Making Excuses
State Senate Candidates Scramble to Distance themselves from Abercrombie
HTH: Gil Kahele and Donald Ikeda have some things in common.
Both are 69-year-old incumbent Democrats who support energy independence, food sustainability and funding for the University of Hawaii at Hilo. And they’re both running for the same Senate seat.
Ikeda is a four-term Hilo councilman prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. Kahele is a freshman senator, appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who is facing his first election in the newly redrawn 1st District, which encompasses Hilo and its surrounding communities….
Ikeda… says he doesn’t agree with Abercrombie on all points, especially his dispute with the public employee unions.
Kahele also sought to distance himself from Abercrombie on the governor’s fight with the Hawaii State Teachers Association, saying he wishes the dispute could have been resolved during the collective bargaining process.
“I’m not in lockstep all the way with the governor,” Kahele said, although he supports most of the administration’s proposals and says Abercrombie has done a “great job” in reaching a settlement with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
read … Neil who?
Boylan: Romney May Be Next President
MW: In their March 13 caucuses, Hawaii’s Republicans opted for Mitt Romney as their candidate for President….
I still think Hawaii’s Republicans made the right choice in sending a majority of their delegates to the Tampa convention committed to Romney. Why? Because Romney may very well become the next President of the United States.
As I write, he’s running behind Obama in national polls and in at least three of the key swing states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. But what if, in June, the five radically conservative justices who make up the United States Supreme Court declare Obamacare unconstitutional? …
And what if the price of gasoline reaches $5 per gallon in mid-August’s vacation traffic?
Then let’s say the nation’s unemployment rate changes direction and rises above 9 percent in September and stays there through Nov. 6?
If all this comes to pass and Romney becomes President of the United States, I want him to flip and flop his way back to the moderate Republicanism with which he governed Massachusetts.
SA: GOP’s best bet might be to focus on Congress
read … Romney
New tax credits sought for Billionaire Movie Moguls
FILM TAX CREDIT (HOUSE BILL 2869)
>> Leaves the production tax credit at 15 percent on Oahu and 20 percent on the neighbor islands. Increases the dollar cap on the credit per production to $16 million, up from $8 million. Deletes the 2016 sunset on the tax credit.
>> Provides an additional tax credit of 10 percent on production costs paid to local residents, vendors and suppliers.
>> Creates a tax credit of 50 percent on infrastructure costs of at least $10 million, with a dollar cap on the credit of $25 million per project. Requires that at least 60 percent of workers on the project be local or students during the first two years and 70 percent be local or students in future years. Requires that the tax credit be eventually repaid to the state in full through annual payments.
>> Establishes a film and media special fund, financed — starting in July 2013 — with quarterly state payments equal to 2 percent of the wages and salaries paid to local residents who work on production crews, as well as other fees, grants and private donations. The special fund would be used to operate the state’s film and digital media programs, for grants to filmmakers or film festivals, internships and training, and other projects to stimulate growth.
MEDIA INFRASTRUCTURE TAX CREDIT (HOUSE BILL 1308)
>> Creates a tax credit for media infrastructure projects, such as production studios on Maui and Oahu, with a dollar cap per project.
>> Significantly increases the production tax credit on Oahu and the neighbor islands. Provides an additional credit for special effects and animation costs. Removes the $8 million cap per production.
>> Establishes a wage rebate for a local crew training program
read … Tax the Poor, Feed the Rich
Borreca: Legislators Rejected Lingle’s Call to Stop Taxing the Poor
Borreca: …21 percent of Hawaii residents are at or below the Census Bureau definition of working poor, which is 200 percent ($44,470) of the poverty line for a family of four with two children.
The center notes that Hawaii is one of only 10 states that taxes families of three who are living at or below the actual poverty level of $17,922.
The center has been pointing out this particular Hawaii cruelty for a half-dozen years. Former Gov. Linda Lingle implored the Legislature for most of those years to do something, and she was rejected.
There are several ways to cut the tax, including a state earned income tax credit, but nothing ever became a law to help the poor.
When times were good, Hawaii taxed the poor; when times were bad, we taxed the poor.
Lowell Kalapa, Hawaii Tax Foundation president, notes that Hawaii's legislators are fond of giving speeches about their concern for the poor and dedication to helping them.
"We keep saying we are helping the poor, but we are taxing the poor. And not just a few cents, either," Kalapa says.
"Don't tell me we are helping the poor; give me a break," says Kalapa, who also points out that our taxes on the upper end are also high, so if we are to give tax breaks it should be for both low- and high-income earners.
Related: Hawaii Among Worst States in Nation on Taxing the Working Poor
read … Legislators Rejected Lingle’s Call to Stop Taxing the Poor
Kauai Democrats: Never make the mistake of electing a Republican governor again
KGI: The Democratic Party of Kaua‘i called for grassroots unity at its biannual convention, which attracted more than 80 people, including several candidates for upcoming elections.
“The strength of the Democratic Party has always been in its grassroots organizations,” state Sen. Ron Kouchi, D-Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, said during a break in a series of speeches and a vote on Kaua‘i Democratic Party officers for 2012.
Kouchi attracted the biggest applause from the partisan crowd when he said at the podium, “Let us never make the mistake of electing a Republican governor again.” (That’s why these clowns organized the anti-Superferry protests)
Read … Their own power is the only thing they agree on
Tulsi Gabbard Would Repeal DOMA
She took aim at rival Hannemann, saying he's connected to and funded by large corporate interests. She said it's "well known" that Hannemann's experience as a chief executive officer has led to an attitude of "my way or the highway."
"That way will not be effective as one of 435 members of Congress," she said. "I work well as a member of a team and have great relationships with our congressional delegation and would work well with Gov. (Neil) Abercrombie."
Gabbard's father, Mike Gabbard, is well known for his socially conservative views. He has been a vehement opponent of same-sex marriage and opposes abortion.
Gabbard said that while she deeply loves and respects her parents, she differs with them on social issues. She said she believes in a woman's right to choose and would fight to protect that right.
On same-sex marriage, she said she believes in equal rights for all and that any government benefit extended to one group should be extended to all. She said that in Congress she would work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman, and support passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would allow the U.S. government to extend benefits to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation.
read … Gabbard
Cataluna: Hilo Peeping Tom Beaten
Later in the week came word that the 25-year-old man responsible for catching the suspected predator may be facing charges of third-degree assault and that the case has been referred to the county prosecutor's office for investigation….
That news was met largely by incredulity.
"Third-degree assault? How about Third Degree your fault for perving on a kid," was one response.
"Criminals are better protected than victims," another wrote.
"The guy deserves an award from the police, not an arrest. He dispensed more justice to the criminal than the courts ever will."
This case will be interesting to follow to see where a judge draws the line between vigilantism and Hilo-style heroism. After all, the guy didn't show up at the suspect's house three days later and beat him to a pulp. He just detained him at the scene until the cops showed up. Looks like he detained him pretty good.
In Hilo, suspected child sexual predators are beaten up. In Honolulu, convicted child molesters are given jobs on Legislative staff.
read … He can get a job at the Star-Adv
MADD: Pass HB2320 Ignition Interlock
Thankfully, alcohol-related fatalities have decreased 50 percent since the year before MADD was chartered. But now the decrease has slowed, and, in some years, they have increased. Unless there is a dramatic turn around, 2012 will be a very bad year.
However, there are actions that can be taken right now to strengthen our impaired-driving laws, reduce underage drinking and help victims:
>> Within the next two weeks, call your legislators to pass House Bill 2320, to strengthen and expand our ignition interlock program (in-car breathalyzers), which will keep more drinking drivers off our roads.
>> Encourage legislators to support a resolution (HR 95) that calls for a study about immobilizing the vehicles of those who break the law by driving after their license has been revoked for DUI.
read … HB2320
State Gets off Easy After Hiring Doper as Spinal Surgeon
SA: The state has been held liable for more than $500,000 in a bizarre medical malpractice case involving a surgeon at the state-owned Hilo Medical Center who implanted a screwdriver shaft into the spine of a 73-year-old patient.
Lawyers for Arturo Iturralde wanted the Intermediate Court of Appeals to hold the state responsible for $2.1 million as recommended by a Hawaii island jury in 2006.
But the appeals court upheld a judge's ruling that lowered the amount to $629,250….
…The appeals court said Ricketson was the subject of disciplinary orders in Oklahoma, Texas and Hawaii. The orders included "falsifying medical records, violating state and federal drug laws, abusing his authority to write prescriptions, lying to licensing authorities and failing to report prior actions against this license," the court said.
"Despite these serious lapses, HMC granted Dr. Ricketson hospital credentials," the court said.
read … Dope
DoE Closing Adult GED Schools
Ray Paler is going into overdrive to make sure his students receive their high school diplomas by May 29.
He’s doubling the number of people in his classes, adding extra instruction days on the weekend and traveling to Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i and Waimea high schools to meet with his students.
Paler is doing this because he is doubtful the Kaua‘i Community School for Adults — based at Kaua‘i High School — will have funding when the fiscal year closes in June to continue its work helping adult students earn their high school diploma.
“We are preparing as if we are not coming back,” Paler said. “If we are kept alive, it won’t be in this form.”…
The adult school lost a principal due to a tightened budget in 2011, resulting in a resource staff member from Kaua‘i High School overseeing the program, Paler said.
The number of instructors teaching the program was also downsized from four to three at the end of 2010. The instructor position was left vacant, and Paler took it upon himself to fill the void and teach the classes the fourth instructor had led at Kapa‘a High School.
Paler said he was brought on as a part-time instructor — hired to work 17 hours a week. But he estimates he spends about 45 to 50 hours a week working with his students.
“I don’t count prep time, consultations with students or traveling,” Paler said. “I’m semi-retired, and this is my opportunity to give back to the community.”
Read … Typical DoE Priorities
RTTT pays to Hire 200 Un-Licensed Obamabots to ‘Teach’ in DoE Schools
SA: The state Department of Education has partnered with two entities — (Obamabot) Teach for America and the (brainwashed) University of Hawaii — to bring in as many as 200 unlicensed teachers in each of the next two school years. The teachers will earn their credentials on the job.
The $2.2 million project, which is being funded by Hawaii's federal Race to the Top grant, is seen as a way to bring people of diverse backgrounds and skill sets into the classroom.
SA: Teachers, nurses highly sought
read … The next generation of social democrats
Punatic: Only 1% of Oil Used to generate Electricity is Imported
BIC: The state’s energy data indicate that more than half of the petroleum consumption in Hawaii is for transportation and about one third is for electricity generation. Moreover, sixty percent of the petroleum used to generate electricity is ‘residual fuel oil’ – a low-cost product remaining after refining of jet fuel, gasoline, and diesel fuel from crude oil, and only one percent of this ‘residual fuel oil’ is imported to the state. This low-cost ‘residual fuel oil’ will be with us as long as transportation in Hawaii is reliant on imported petroleum. Without far-reaching changes to the state’s transportation system, geothermal development has only a modest contribution to make in reducing Hawaii’s dependence on petroleum imports.
read … Anti-Geothermal Punatic
Navy Testing New Generation of Power Buoy
SA: The Navy hopes to move a step closer to harnessing the power of the seas for electricity by expanding its testing of wave energy technology in Hawaii.
The Navy has been testing an energy buoy in about 100 feet of water off Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay for about 10 years.
It now hopes to put two more buoys in water more than 200 feet deep.
The greater depth will allow it to test larger devices closer to the size it needs to generate energy for customers.
The buoys would be installed only after the Navy obtains required environmental permits.
Bob Frederickson, who heads the Ocean Facilities Division at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command's Engineering Services Center, said Monday that devices that generate enough electricity to power large numbers of customers won't fit in shallower waters.
"So this is kind of the next step toward commercialization," he said of the planned new buoys.
The Navy hopes to provide wave-produced energy to the Marine base in 2014.
read … Power Buoy
UH athletics could lose $2 million
SA: …Football revenue fell nearly $1.2 million short of the $5 million originally projected as the Warriors, who were predicted to repeat as Western Athletic Conference champions, lost four of their last five games and spiraled to a 6-7 finish amid thinning crowds.
That plunge, a subsequent $600,000 negotiated buyout of the final year of head football coach Greg McMackin’s five-year contract, forfeiture of $503,000 in Western Athletic Conference earnings and the cost of replacing Boise State on the 2011 football schedule are major contributors to the increased deficit, officials said.
In addition, men’s basketball ticket revenue came in 8 percent below projections, according to unaudited figures, and the fear is that men’s volleyball also will take a significant hit.
This comes after UH finished $858,000 in the black for the fiscal year that closed June 30, 2011, only the second plus-side finish in a decade….
read … UH athletics could lose $2 million
Japan Prepares to Shoot Down North Korean Missile
UK Telegraph: …satellite images have shown how North Korea's preparations for its rocket launch are already under way, complete with a mobile radar trailer and rows of apparently empty fuel and oxidiser tanks.
In Japan, hundreds of Self-Defence Force personnel have been dispatched to southern Ishigaki in the Okinawa region, which the second stage of the rocket is expected to fly over.
Japan has deployed missile interceptors to seven locations in Okinawa and the Tokyo region, following orders from Naoki Tanaka, Japan's defence minister, to intercept the rocket if necessary to prevent it from falling onto Japanese soil.
read … North Korea threatens 'merciless punishment' as it readies rocket launch