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Saturday, May 30, 2009
May 30, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:19 AM :: 6795 Views

HGEA Leader Says Raise Excise Tax For Shortfall

Deep employee salary cuts can be counterproductive because public employees then will have less money to spend making the economy worse, Perriera said.

(read that again very slowly)

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Isle bankruptcies soar

Statewide bankruptcy filings continued to mount in May as the highest unemployment rate in three decades and triple-digit foreclosure increases kept Hawaii residents scrambling for financial relief.

Retired bankruptcy attorney Dawn Smith, who continues to work on loan modifications and reverse mortgages for the Law Office of Stuart Ing, said she's been overwhelmed.  "It's out of control how many are people coming in, and over half of them seem to have houses," she said.

Even though Hawaii's unemployment rate slipped in April, the 6.9 percent level was just barely down from the 31-year high of 7.1 percent recorded in the previous month. Foreclosure filings in April soared nearly 217 percent from the year-earlier period.

The fact remains there's this huge unemployment rate, and incomes are going down.

"Something has to happen, and for the most part, a lot of people are losing their homes.

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Isle gaming has backers and foes

Lobbyist John Radcliffe, who has been employed by gambling interests in Michigan, said some form of gaming would "provide Hawaii with a clear revenue stream. It is obviously a tax stream that works in 48 other states," Radcliffe said.

Radcliffe says gambling could not be discussed at the Legislature because of three things: There are mainland gambling interests that do not want to lose Hawaii gamblers, Hawaii has a strong religious lobby and the state has a strong tendency to resist new political ideas.

"And there is an old question about fearing that native Hawaiians would have an upper hand if they had gambling like native Americans have," Radcliffe said.

Kim adds that while she has pushed for it this year and believes it would be supported by voters, other lawmakers will not touch the issue.

Republican state Sen. Sam Slom said he continues to oppose both gambling and tax increases.

"You talk about extra revenue, but the extra money would come from the same people, the taxpayers. All you are doing is take more money," Slom said.

And state Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland jokingly added that perhaps what Hawaii should do is "tax people who leave here to gamble in Las Vegas."

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FBI planning to build big new headquarters for Honolulu division

Once constructed, the building will represent one of the largest federal law enforcement complexes in the Asia-Pacific region. The FBI's new headquarters will be half a mile from the nearly completed Hawai'i state judiciary building in Kapolei and will be home to 230 agents and support staff. 

(That's about 3 per legislator.)

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'Error' results in tax break for county employee's family

HILO -- Hawaii County property appraisers claim "an error" kept a $2.1 million apartment building owned by the family of a county official off the tax rolls.

The property on Kinoole Street was rezoned from residential to multifamily in 2006 and an 18-unit apartment building was competed last year. But the property retained its residential vacant lot classification into the new 2009-10 tax year -- until West Hawaii Today brought it to the county's attention this week.

Stan Sitko, administrator of the Real Property Tax Division, said he's investigating why the property, owned by Dr. Allan Takase, father of Deputy Corporation Counsel Gerald Takase, was not updated.

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Pflueger’s Kauai Estate on the Market

A multi-million dollar Kauai estate built by a local contractor for retired automobile mogul James Pflueger is up for sale. The 3-bedroom, 3-bath single story home constructed 20 years ago, sits on 33.39 acres at 4460-C Kuhio Highway on Kauai’s North Shore. It was listed on May 27, 2009, for $7.9 million.

Pflueger was the original owner of the home until March 20, 2006, when he transferred the property to his long time girlfriend Cynthia Foster for $0.

Just 6 days earlier on March 14, 2006, Pflueger’s Ka Loko dam on Kauai’s north shore breached, killing 7 people

KGI: $8M Pflueger home for sale

According to public records, Pflueger transferred the deed on April 20, 2006, about five weeks after the disaster, to Cynthia Foster, reportedly his long-time girlfriend, receiving no money in return. On Oct. 1, 2008, Foster in turn transferred the deed to a company called 39 C Trust and its New York-based trustee, Mark Seelig. Foster also received no money for the property....Seelig is a founding partner of a 30-attorney New York law firm that lists among its significant practice areas “asset protection.”....

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Internet Vote: Aloha Means 'Goodbye' Too

Penny wise, pound foolish. That looks to be the result of Honolulu's experiment with saving money by holding the first all-digital election, in which voters cast ballots over the Internet or by phone for their Neighborhood Commissions. The result? An 83% drop in voter turnout. Only 7,300 people bothered to register their preferences last week, down from 44,000 who voted in the last elections two years ago.

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Isle native Ronald Takaki pioneered ethnic studies

From his Wikipedia biography:

His initial teaching experience was at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he taught the first Black History course offered at that institution.[1] One of his students on the first day asked what the class was going to learn about "revolutionary tactics," and he later recalled that his immediate response was to suggest that he hoped students would learn skills of critical thinking and effective writing -- and that these could be quite revolutionary.[2]

That's the whole story in one short sentence--for any who wish to learn the lesson.

RELATED: Obama and the Disunited States

BERKELEY, Calif. » Ronald Takaki, a Hawaii native who was a pioneer in the field of ethnic studies and taught the University of California system's first black history course, has died. He was 70.  Takaki killed himself Tuesday in his Berkeley home ...

After joining UC-Berkeley's faculty in 1971, Takaki established the Ethnic Studies Department's Ph.D. program, the first of its kind in the nation, and worked to draw talented scholars to teach there. He was the author or editor of nearly 20 books, most of them dealing with marginalized Americans...

graduating in 1961 from Ohio's College of Wooster with a bachelor's degree in history. He went on to UC-Berkeley, where he earned a master's degree in 1962 and a Ph.D. in history in 1967.


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