Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 19, 2012
PEW: Hawaii $21B Short on Pension Funding
Four Multi-Millionaires Represent Hawaii in Congress
CB: Hawaii's junior senator, who's not running for re-election this fall, made between $23,000 and $29,000 in outside income — beyond his Senate salary — and has holdings between $616,000 and $1.3 million….
Hanabusa's husband, John Souza, earned somewhere between $200,000 and $2 million from his businesses, Pueo Enterprises LLC and Pueo Trucking LLC.
She valued his ownership stakes in those businesses between $750,000 and $1.5 million. Souza also has a Central Pacific Bank account with between $500,001 and $1 million in it. Hanabusa's listed assets include three parcels along Farrington Highway in Waianae owned by the Hanabusa Limited Parnership, each valued at between $15,001 and $50,000.
In all, the couple's assets are valued between $1.5 million and $3.2 million….
Hirono earned between $63,000 and $94,000 in outside income in 2011, and her assets are valued somewhere between $1.5 million and $3.5 million, according to her disclosure form….
Inouye had no outside income to speak of in 2011. He and his wife, Irene, together have between $1.8 million and $4 million in assets. The largest items were land held by the Yasutake Family Trust in Lockwood, Calif., and a residence in Bethesda, Md., held by the Margaret Shinobu Awamura Inouye trust.
Each is valued between $500,000 and $1 million.
read … Multi-Millionaires
Federal rail funds face $150M reduction
SA: The 2013 funding would be part of the $1.55 billion in federal funds the city hopes to secure to help pay for the rail project.
The Senate draft of the budget still needs approval by the full Senate, and the House draft still needs approval by the full House. House and Senate negotiators will then sit down to try to iron out the differences between the bills.
Longtime rail opponent Cliff Slater predicted Congress will not agree to provide the full $1.55 billion funding.
"There is a lot of opposition to wasting money, and in our view there is no greater waste of money than the rail project," Slater said. Oahu traffic will continue to get worse even if the $5.27 billion rail project is built, Slater said.
"I don't think it's possible to justify the cost-effectiveness with such a small benefit at such a huge cost," Slater said.
read … Federal rail funds face $150M reduction
Shapiro 25% of Rail is Slush Fund
Shapiro: The first concern is the size of the contingency fund, which is essentially a slush fund for rail officials to tap to cover missteps and loose calculations.
Throw in the 10 percent of the rail excise tax the state is siphoning off for its own use, and a fourth of rail funding is in slush….
The budgeting structure has encouraged contractors to come in with low initial bids to make the politicians look good, comfortably knowing there's that big slush fund to pay them change orders out the back door.
That's the process playing out now, eating up the "savings" the politicians claimed to have gained by signing construction and rail car contracts long before they were ready to build anything.
And it's enabled them to start building in empty fields without bothering to first scope out the true cost of burial sites and other likely obstacles as construction nears the city center.
Rail is losing support not because of public doubt about the value of a good mass transit system, but because an apparent majority now doubts the city's ability to build a good system honestly and competently.
SA: Get control of rail contract costs
read … Contingency
Cayetano Counterpunches After New Blog Attack
HR: “It shows how desperate they are,” Cayetano said of a new blog promoted by Pacific Resource Partnership.
The new blog site, www.readbensrecord.com, is very similar to two others promoted by PRP, a Carpenters Union-affiliated organization that is extremely active in backing the proposed $5.2 billion Honolulu rail rapid transit project opposed by Cayetano.
HNN: PAC formed by PRP to stop Cayetano
HR: 'Filipinos for Rail' Distorts Fiscal Debate with Unnecessary Racial Overtones
ILind: Pro-rail groups try to sidestep rail debate with false or intentionally misleading attack ads
read … Blog Attack
Rail station designs changing
KITV: As the Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation continues to tweak its financial plan, a decision has been made to change the designs of all 21 rail stations from East Kapolei to the Ala Moana Shopping Center.
HART spokesman Scott Ishikawa said the decision to modify the rail stations, known as value engineering, was made to lower the overall cost of the $5.3 billion project.
Any changes to the elevated platforms will likely be detailed in the latest Project Management Oversight Contractor report, which is due out this week.
read … Trying to Grab that
Senate to hold special session to vote on two judicial appointments
SA: The state Senate will meet in a special session June 28-29 to take confirmation votes on judge appointees Richard Pollack to the Hawaii Supreme Court and Peter Cahill to the Circuit Court bench on Maui.
The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor will hold public hearings on the appointments of Pollack on Friday and Cahill next Tuesday. Both hearings are scheduled at 11 a.m. at the state Capitol. Following the submittal of the committee’s recommendations, a final vote by the full Senate will take place on June 29.
read … Special Session
Hanabusa Looks Stupid After Introducing Unnecessary Amendment
CB: The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 19) voted 232-188 in favor of a Republican bill called the Conservation and Economic Growth Act.
Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono voted “nay” on the measure along with most Democrats.
The GOP’s “Lands” package, according to Hanabusa’s office, “is made up of 14 Natural Resources Committee bills that modify existing water projects or deal with land conveyances and other federal land issues.”…
Hanabusa introduced an amendment on the House Floor that would have removed Hawaii from the provision, but later withdrew her amendment after Republicans “reassured her that Hawaii was not included in this version of the bill.”
read … Hanabusa
Abortionists Rate Case at 100%
CB: For Case, Project Vote Smart lists a handful of groups that advocate for women. Some fall under the abortion category. Others fall under the more general "women's issues" heading.
The Project doesn’t list what Planned Parenthood thought of Case for most of the years he was in office. But it does show that the organization gave him 100 percent ratings in 2003 and in 2006 — the year after Case voted in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. He was the sole Democrat to do so.
The table also shows that NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Case a 100 percent approval rating in 2003, 2004 and 2005, as did the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) for his first two years in Congress.
Voter Information Services, an organization similar to Project Vote Smart, lists Case’s approval ratings from several additional special interest groups representing women’s issues. Case's congressional report card details votes that influenced groups’ ratings.
The Population Connection, which advocates women’s reproductive rights, rated Case at 25 percent in 2004 and 29 percent in 2006. According to his report card, Case voted against a number of bills that the Population Connection supported, including the Prevention First, Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals and Responsible Education About Life acts of 2005.
But Planned Parenthood, Pro-Choice America, NFPRHA and the Population Connection don’t necessarily represent other issues specific to women.
read … 100% Pro-Abort
Roz Baker Faction Deserts her over PEO Bill
PR: Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, Sen. Carol Fukunaga and Sen. Les Ihara, Jr., have warned the governor in letters that the bill could hurt some of the smaller firms that provide human resources functions for small businesses.
Chun Oakland had voted against the bill on final reading, while Ihara was excused. In an interesting twist, Chun Oakland, Fukunaga and Ihara are all part of the “chess club” leadership faction that includes Sen. Rosalyn Baker, the bill’s sponsor, and had co-sponsored the bill.
read … Baker All Alone
Act 130 Replaces CSRP, Puts Charters on Performance Contracts
SA: The law will put charter schools on performance contracts to better track academics and finances at the 32 campuses, which have enjoyed much autonomy since the first charter school opened more than a decade ago. It also strengthens monitoring of charters with the creation of the commission, which will authorize and oversee the schools and report annually on their performance.
The commission replaces the Charter School Review Panel.
Shortly after the bill was signed, the Board of Education appointed a varied group of commissioners that includes longtime educators, experts in charter school administration and business and nonprofit leaders, as well as a former president of the teachers union.
read … Act 130
Washington Monument Gambit: DOE finalizing list of eliminated bus routes
KITV: Facing a $17 million shortfall, the state is cutting and consolidating bus routes on every island except Lanai and Molokai.
Of more than 172,000 public school students, the DOE said less than 25 percent ride the school bus.
"Without bus service I'm afraid that many of the students will choose not to go to school," said State Representative Mark Takai.
The DOE suggested cutting nearly 130 school bus routes, impacting nearly 4,000 students.
HTH: East Hawaii school bus routes saved
CB: Hawaii DOE’s Proposed Bus Budget Cuts Would Impact 3,849 Students
How This Works: Washington Monument Gambit
read … No Pain
Lanaians Have Lots of Socialist Advice for New Owner
MN: ILWU, with its 650 members on the island, and local businesses, who support the wind farm.
William Kennison, Maui division director for ILWU Local 142, said that the union has been kept "in the loop all the way" on the sale - even to the point where he knows who the buyer is but cannot disclose the name. He could not put a date to the closing of the deal but said that the sides are "very, very close."
"We have a say in what transpires," said Kennison, who represents hotel, golf course and landscape workers.
He noted that union contracts that encompass the next three to five years, depending on the units, involve cost items such as medical and pension plans.
"They have been assuring us all along that the ILWU is a very important partner in the operation on Lanai," said Kennison. "They are assuring us that whoever purchases the island will maintain the union contracts."
Alberta de Jetley, publisher and editor of The Lanai Times, lamented the departure of Murdock, whom she said "loves Lanai."
In an interview with de Jetley in August, where he disclosed to her that he was planning to sell the island, Murdock said that he was "very hurt by the animosity" over the wind farm.
De Jetley took opponents of Murdock and the wind farm to task for arguing against his projects while not offering any solutions.
Gima said that if the new owner is looking for a return on his or her investment, "we are pretty much screwed."
But if the buyer is a "benevolent buyer" and may be willing "to take a loss and perpetuate what is special here and what the residents feel is special" that person may be "more willing to engage the community" in its long-term future, he said.
Robin Kaye, spokesperson for Friends of Lana'i, a group formed to oppose the wind farm, hopes that if there is a new owner that the wind project will be nixed.
"We hope that the new owner will think that it's crazy and . . . an absolutely unnecessary idea. . . . and veto it," said Kaye….
"It's the year 2012," he said. "You have one feudal baron controlling 98 percent of one island. It's nuts." (That’s the only intelligent statement in the entire article.)
read … Island full of ILWU
Former Molokai Ranch Land Manager tapped as director of Land Use Commission
SA: I am very sensitive to the issues on all sides of LUC dockets," he said in a statement. "My most immediate focus will be to improve communications on all issues, and to ensure that all viewpoints are fairly represented to the commission."
Orodenker focuses on administrative law as a practicing attorney in Honolulu.
In the late 1980s, he helped preserve the ridge above Lanikai from development.
Orodenker served in a variety of government positions between 1990 and 1996, including director of the Honolulu Waterfront Program, acting executive director of the Aloha Tower Development Corp. and assistant to the director of DBEDT.
From 1996 to 2000, Orodenker was director of the Hawai‘i Natural Heritage Program, part of the Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i.
Orodenker in more recent years served a second stint as Aloha Tower Development Corp. executive director, was a special assistant to Mayor Mufi Hannemann and was an attorney and land manager for Molokai Ranch….
Activists: LUC betrayed Hawaiian values approving Koa Ridge, Ho'opili
read … Hot Seat
Landowners might get a shot at acquiring city land in Haleiwa
SA: The City Council is considering a resolution to set up a bidding competition between Kamehameha Schools and developer D.G. "Andy" Anderson over eight vacant city parcels in Haleiwa.
Council Chairman Ernest Martin, who represents the Haleiwa area, introduced the resolution at the request of the mayor's office to sell the preservation land. The Budget Committee will hear the resolution at 1 p.m. Monday.
ILind: Groups challenge plan to sell North Shore park land
read … Loko Ea
Trask, OHA Grab for Geothermal Gold, Hints at Splitting Loot with Ratepayers
Trask: Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since. We now have the opportunity to embrace a community-based model for the development of geothermal energy that recognizes that everyone—small businesses, families, ratepayers, students—all have a right to feel real, long-term, tangible benefits from geothermal development.
Still, big questions remain about how much we have really learned from the past.
Do we really and truly understand that by Hawaii law, geothermal resources are “minerals” and as part of the ceded lands trust, belong to the public and the Native Hawaiian community at large?
Do we acknowledge not just through word, but also through deed, that the residents of Hawaii island, as direct stakeholders and owners, deserve to see some relief from the exorbitant rates they have been paying for electricity?….
Do we acknowledge that it is time to treat the people of Hawaii as adults: owners of their assets, entitled to full disclosure of the terms of the contracts between HELCO and PGV/Ormat and the negotiations that led up to those contracts?
Isn’t it time to publicly state that for 17 years, every resident of Hawaii island has been charged for electricity as if they were burning oil when in fact at least one fifth of their consumption came from the geothermal energy to which they hold title?
Isn’t it time to make sure that this practice does not continue for the remaining 15 years of the existing contracts?
If PGV/Ormat and HELCO charged consumers at rates pegged to the price of oil when in fact they were enjoying significant savings from the partial switch to geothermal energy, doesn’t the public have a right to know what kind of profits they reaped and kept entirely for themselves?
read … OHA Cronies Grab for Geothermal Profits
Fidell: Fly the US Flag at Iolani
SA: As a public building, doesn’t Iolani Palace belong to all of us? What has been happening for the past ten years, and which is likely to continue on July 4th, violates our rights and sensibilities, to say nothing of our patriotism. The flag should fly atop this special state building. There is no good or legal reason to justify the refusal to fly it. If the Friends of the Palace won’t do anything, then will some public official please step up and take the necessary action? Thank you.
read … Iolani
White recycling bins at schools is long-term investment in brainwashing
Kanu Hawaii: We are community members who have made personal commitments to change our behaviors to align with the vision of Hawaii that we want to leave for future generations, including working toward a zero-waste society. We believe change starts with personal commitment, and that working together we can change systems and policies to build a more sustainable, resilient and compassionate Hawaii.
The Honolulu City Council recently allocated funding to extend the Community Recycling Program — which had been slated for termination at the end of this month — and to expand the education and outreach components of this program. Mayor Peter Carlisle's office and the Department of Environmental Services announced recently that they still intend to end the program in spite of the allocation of funding.
We respect that the mayor and the department are trying to be fiscally responsible and prioritize the projects that will yield the highest rates of recycling today. We share the goal of reducing waste and maximizing recycling, and we want the city to be responsible with our tax dollars.
But when we take a long look forward to a future where nothing is wasted and things are reused in the islands, we think it's important for kids to learn and practice in the place where they spend most of their waking time: at school. It's a long-term investment in a zero-waste future.
read … Omidyar’s Money
Over Sierra Club Objections, Hawaii Council Rejects Aerial Eradication Hunts
HTH: Although the vote was unanimous, Councilwoman Brittany Smart voted “kanalua” twice, which is an “aye” vote with reservations, because of her opposition to the process the council used to pass the legislation.
Councilwoman Brenda Ford spoke out forcefully against the aerial population control by DLNR, referring to a recent “cattle slaughter” in North Kona.
“It was a heinous crime,” she said.
Cory Harden of the Sierra Club differed from the council when she argued that aerial shooting should remain as an option to control feral ungulates, including pigs, goats, cattle and deer. However, she qualified that the shooting should be done effectively, only when necessary, as humanely as possible, and in a way that avoids impacts to other animals
read … Brittany Smart Waffles
Geothermal Fund to Pay for Activist Propaganda ‘Studies’
HTH: The bills that passed, which have to be signed by Mayor Billy Kenoi to go into effect, mandate an evacuation plan for residents near the plant and changes the use of the county’s geothermal royalty account in order to fund health studies and other means of assessing impacts to those who live nearby.
They also prevent the county from auctioning property acquired through its relocation program, intended to make a one-mile buffer zone from the Puna geothermal power plant, and ends the use of the royalty fund to cover public improvements and services in lower Puna.
Those services would be covered by another geothermal account under bill 267, which was withdrawn during its first reading.
County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong, who introduced the bills, withdrew the legislation after county Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd and Deputy Corporation Counsel William Brilhante told the council it did not have the legal authority to make the change.
The account, known as the geothermal asset fund, was created in 1989 to reimburse Puna residents adversely affected by the plant.
Leithead Todd and Brilhante said that was a stipulation in Puna Geothermal Venture’s permit and could not be amended.
read … Paying for Propaganda Studies
Energy, economy top candidate forum
WHT: “If we don’t keep our energy costs under control, we’ll have no economy,” said Democrat Denny Coffman, D-North Kona, who was in District 6 for two terms but, because of reapportionment, is now seeking office in District 5. He’s making a push for energy to come from the ground — “80 percent of our power should be from geothermal,” he said.
Coffman’s Democratic challenger, Leolani Lagat Oyama of Naalehu, was not present because of a mix-up, moderator and co-president of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii County Donna Oba said.
The sole Republican running in District 5, Dave Bateman of Holualoa, agreed with Coffman, saying not many businesses are willing to relocate to Hawaii or start new companies here because of the state’s high power prices.
Bateman, owner of Heavenly Hawaiian Farms coffee farm, is in favor of working with a private company and the PUC to break up Hawaii Electric Light Co. into three entities — co-generation, storage and infrastructure — to bring prices down and free more consumers to install solar panels.
Candidates in District 6, Coffman’s former seat, which now runs from Lako Street to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, favored new energy sources.
Republican Mike Breslin of Kailua-Kona said he supported looking into all manner of alternative energy — besides solar, he suggested research on geothermal, wind energy and wave energy. The other Republican running against Breslin in the Aug. 11 primary, Roy Ebert of Kailua-Kona, was not present Tuesday — organizers said he was out of town attending his daughter’s wedding.
On the Democratic side of the ledger, Fred Housel of Kailua-Kona, a coffee farmer who has served on the County Windward Planning Commission and on the Kona Community Development Plan, said he saw energy as a way to provide more employment.
read … Energy, Economy
KIUC, PUC: You Can ‘Opt Out’ of Smart Meters, but you can’t ‘Opt Out’ of Paying
KGI: KIUC currently offers a deferral for co-op members who do not wish to have a smart meter installed.
On Tuesday, KIUC spokesperson Jim Kelly confirmed that KIUC is not offering an opt-out to its members, but rather a deferral.
“As we’ve said, the deferral ensures that someone who doesn’t want a meter now doesn’t have to have one installed,” Kelly said. “Any decision on a permanent opt-out policy, and whether there would be a cost attached to that, is something KIUC will look at once we see how many people defer, and any policy would have to be approved by the Public Utilities Commission.”
Asquith said the agreement reached with KIUC is not a deferral.
“I have opted out,” said Asquith, adding that he could still be subject to paying a fee for not having a smart meter should PUC approve it.
KIUC has stated on at least one more occasion that those asking for a deferral may have to dish out extra money.
read … KIUC reaches agreement with taro farmer
Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions to update state law
PBN: The division, a branch of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, handles examinations, licensing and regulatory approvals for state-chartered banks and other financial institutions.
DFI Commissioner Iris Ikeda Catalani and Hawaii Bankers Association Executive Director Ed Pei are working together to update the Hawaii Revised Statutes regarding financial institutions because of changes in regulatory law that occurred with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
“We are undertaking a project this summer to modernize [Hawaii Revised Statutes] chapter 412,” said Ikeda Catalani. “Banking laws have changed, especially federal banking laws, and we want to make sure state law reflects those changes.”
During the next session of the Hawaii Legislature, the division plans to propose a bill that would make federal law consistent with state law regarding financial institutions, Ikeda Catalani said.
read … Update