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Wednesday, September 26, 2012
September 26, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:43 PM :: 5497 Views

Wandering into the Wonder Blunder, Abercrombie Describes Pressure He Put on Greenwood

EPA Urged to Crack Down on Hawaii Over Air Pollution Rules

Hanabusa Questions Loyalty of Afghanistan Veteran Djou

SA: Hanabusa and Djou, in a one-hour debate on Hawaii Public Radio in their rematch in urban Honolulu’s 1st Congressional District, offered voters ideological contrasts.

“Our nation is at crossroads,” Djou said. “Right now, what America and Hawaii and what our families face is extraordinarily challenging. Our economy is growing too slowly. Our unemployment rate continues to be far too high.

“But I also want to emphasize here: We have this enormous national debt looming over our children and our grandchildren.”

Hanabusa questioned several votes Djou cast before leaving Congress two years ago that appeared inconsistent, including a vote on a spending bill with reductions to veterans’ programs and military construction.

Djou, who served six months in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army Reserve, bristled at any suggestion that he does not support veterans and the military.

“Let me make this very clear: I’ve served our country. … Any sort of allegation that I don’t care about our service members, that I do not care very deeply about the service that I rendered on behalf of the United States — of the American people — in combat in Kandahar province with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Infantry Division, is a complete flat-out lie.”

Djou said he favored spending reductions to the veterans and military construction programs, not their elimination….

Djou said he would abide by the will of the next Hono­lulu mayor, but he opposes the rail project because he believes it is too expensive and will not produce a sufficient reduction in traffic congestion.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano, a candidate for mayor, has said he would block the rail project if elected. Kirk Caldwell, a former acting mayor and city managing director, supports the rail project with modifications.


read … Loyalty

Gay Atheists Cheer Mrs. Mafia Sheriff

CB: Djou Plays Dad Card As Campaign Issue

CB: Hanabusa Takes Round One in Djou Rematch


Freitas’ Minions Now “Of Counsel” to Selection Committee

MW: The University of Hawaii’s latest attempt to erase accountability in the hiring process of its next athletic director took another dishonest step when it announced football coach Norm Chow, Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji and Wahine basketball coach Laura Beeman asked for, and were granted, a release from their full duties as selection committee members.

The trio will serve an “of counsel” role, in which they will advise the remaining 12 committee members on questions involving operations of the athletic department, whatever that means. According to the release, the three coaches asked for the change in status because committee meeting times conflicted with their primary duties as coaches of their respective programs.

I don’t buy it.

The university is asking us to believe that three respected and successful coaches with a combined 94 years of experience on 11 campuses just now realized September is a busy month for them, and that the selection of an athletic director is a time-consuming process.

Nope, not convinced. What seems more likely is that media pressure, public outcry, the ill-advised coaches’ petition to name Rockne Freitas the new AD, and the upcoming state Senate inquiry have sent university leadership scattering to cover their collective backsides in yet another weak attempt at leadership and openness with the public.

UH says the coaches won’t vote on the choice for AD, but all this means is that their influence is now further hidden from public scrutiny.

SA: UH president OKs $90K worth of help to hire athletic chief

related: Senate Accountability for Everybody Except Rockne Freitas

read … Latest UH News Sounds Suspicious

Greenwood to Be Latest Victim of Legislative Micromanaging?

SA: A marathon Senate panel meeting Monday on a botched benefit concert revealed a dysfunctional UH leadership team, embarrassed the university and raised serious governance and operational concerns, onlookers said.

One professor called the six hours of testimony by University of Hawaii officials before the special panel Hawaii's version of the "Watergate hearings."

Others pointed out that many of the issues brought out at the meeting — concerning governance, accountability, and the roles of the UH president, chancellor and Board of Regents — have been raised before, while some worried the public display of mismanagement at UH may not be viewed kindly by the university's accrediting agency.

"I don't think there are any easy conclusions here," said Kitty Lagareta, who was vice chairwoman of the Board of Regents when the body initially fired former University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle in 2004, then rescinded its decision and allowed him to resign with a severance package.

Lagareta, who was later named board chairwoman, said some of the problems raised at the hearing are the same as those the university was attempting to tackle when she was on the board, including "board and legislative micromanaging."

"As board chair, I have received calls from legislators on who to hire; I have had the experience of having to fix problems we didn't create; and I have had the experience of weighing very carefully when you have a tough problem, what's right for the university," she said. "I'm just really sad for the university. These are not new issues."

ILind: Questioning the university’s commitment to transparency

ILind: Law firm failed to consider public records law when ordering redactions to UH report

read … Who Would Try to Govern the Ungovernable?

Grill legislators on abuse of power in UH debacle

Shapiro: …while putting UH brass on the hot seat, lawmakers glossed over the earlier misuse of power by some of their own that contributed to a costly piece of the mess involving former athletic director Jim Donovan.

UH President M.R.C. Greenwood testified that UH received intense pressure from legislators, including Senate President Shan Tsu­tsui and House Speaker Calvin Say, to let Donovan keep his job despite spotty performance and his department's slipshod due diligence that caused $200,000 to disappear in the half-baked concert deal.

It seems clear that the make-work job Donovan got in the chancellor's office, which will cost taxpayers $633,000 over three years, was at least partly an attempt to satisfy political demands that he be taken care of….

Donovan was unhappy that UH leaders went over his head to hire new coach Norm Chow, but most reasonable people agree it was a good choice.

UH leadership lost confidence in Donovan's ability to lead UH through the meltdown of the Western Athletic Conference, leaving Greenwood and Vice President Rockne Freitas to do the heavy lifting in getting UH into the Mountain West Conference in football and the Big West in other sports.

Again there was grousing about the departure from normal procedures, but there was agreement again among reasonable people that it was a very good result….

So when senators hold their next hearing on questions that went unanswered Monday, how about they put Shan Tsutsui and Calvin Say on the hot seat to explain where they got off trying to dictate who should be UH's athletic director.

SA: Senators criticize regents for a lack of accountability

read … Grill Legislators

Threat of ‘Investigation’ Used to Cow McMackin in Buyout Talks

SA: The University of Hawaii threatened then-football coach Greg McMackin with an "investigation" in an attempt to force him to accept a lower contract buyout figure, former athletic director Jim Donovan told a state Senate panel Monday.

During a 1-hour, 23-minute session in front of the eight-member Senate Special Committee on Accountability, Donovan said he was ordered to terminate McMackin in December and to get the coach to agree to a $600,000 buyout on a contract that owed him $1.1 million in its last year. Donovan's difficulty in getting McMackin to accept, he said, became a bone of contention with the administration.

The details from what the UH had characterized as McMackin's "retirement" and how it played into Donovan losing his own job as athletic director were among the flood of insider information to emerge from Monday's marathon hearing.

Chased off the Island: Former Hawaii football coach McMackin sells East Honolulu home for $1.8M to Deputy Budget Director

read … About the Leverage they get when everybody is dirty

MTV Viewers Pick Lingle, Djou

CB: Here’s how Hawaii’s major federal candidates stack up:

  • Lingle — 8,191 points
  • Tulsi Gabbard — 3,309
  • Colleen Hanabusa — 3,117
  • Hirono — 1,578
  • Ed Case — 850
  • Mufi Hannemann — -743
  • Charles Djou — -4,886


read … I Want My MTV

Charles Djou at SUNRISE.

SBN: The next SBH Sunrise Networking Breakfast is tomorrow, Thursday, September 27, at the Pineapple Room, Macy's, Ala Moana Center. Featured speaker is Charles Djou, running for Congressional District 1. Charles' topic is "America's Fiscal Crisis and Its Impact on Hawaii." Time is 7 - 8:30 am. Complete buffet breakfast, networking and business announcements. Call Darlyn (396-1724) or go online to register.

read … Charles Djou



UH: Who's On First?

Sen Sam Slom: The initial State Senate special accountability committee, ably headed by Donna Kim, met for six hours yesterday to investigate the University of Hawaii's bungling of the Stevie Wonder concert and subsequent loss of more than $200,000. The investigation is going deeper than that and is looking into fiscal, managerial and policy shortcomings of UH. Sure, the good outnumbers the bad at the state university, but something is rotten in Denmark. Taxpayers are getting short changed. There was dancing with the stars at time when direct answers were not received; at other times it looked like Abbot & Costello's, "who's on first" routine. More next Tuesday at 1 pm CR 211.

read … Sen Sam Slom

Hawaii Teachers And Chicago Strike

Larry Price: As I write, its teacher strike is still going on, with no end in sight. The Chicago teachers have given up on negotiating and are out picketing. (Note: They’ve since settled.)

Meanwhile, Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) is still mulling over the evidence before it.

There are many similarities between the two unions, including membership in and support of the National Education Association (NEA).

And Hawaii and Chicago teachers share similar concerns — first is a new evaluation process for teachers, second is a policy on rehiring teachers who have been laid off.

Hawaii’s teachers lost some wages and benefits, and are tied up in a legal argument over a “last, best, final” offer. Teachers in Chicago and in Hawaii contend they have made compromises, and that it’s time for the government to do the same.

The teachers, no matter where they are, are a tight-knit group, and Hawaii’s taxpayers should hope Hawaii doesn’t follow the teachers in the Windy City.

read … Hawaii Teachers And Chicago Strike

Fontaine: Progress being made on high school

MN: For Kihei high school, 2012 has been a year of progress.

Early this year, the state completed purchase of the school's 77-acre site on the mauka side of Piilani Highway at Kulanihakoi Street. The preliminary environmental impact statement was published in February and now South Maui is taking another step toward construction with the Sept. 8 release of the final EIS, which is available for public viewing while awaiting the governor's signature.

The next phases of the project include….

read … Progress

Chelsea Yagong faces off Against Mehau Associate for Hawaii Co Council

HTH: (Larry Mehau associate Valerie) Poindexter, 53, of Ookala said her exposure to politics also came at an early age when her father, Clarence Souza, began organizing the Hamakua Housing Association once sugar plantations began to close.

She said she would help her father hang “bags of information” on door knobs of houses when she was almost too young to reach.

Community service, the Ookala Community Association president said, is in her blood. “It’s my fire in the belly.” ….

Chelsea Yagong, a former Foodland deli manager who now teaches performing arts at Honokaa Elementary School, takes a more legislative approach to county government and has worked up a few to-do items if elected.

They include authorizing the mayor to lease 900 acres of agriculture land in Pa‘auilo, starting the second phase of the Sand Gulch bypass road and a sidewalk project on Lehua Street in Honokaa, and upgrades to parks and gyms in the district.

“It’s no secret we need to move toward sustainability,” she said, referring to the county-owned agriculture land. “We need to get those lands into the hands of the farmers.”

Yagong, of Ahualoa, said she also plans to speak to the County Council on Oct. 3 about the possibility of the state acquiring the lower Hamakua Ditch.

She said she is speaking at the request of the Third Thursday Thrive group, and will urge the council to seek more transparency in the process.

Poindexter: Big Island Rancher Larry Mehau Hosts Community Rally for Sen. Akaka see Poindexter’s Name on Flyer

read … Is there really any question?

Pilago: Personal Conflicts at Root of Hawaii Co Elections Debacle

WHT: Council Vice Chairman Angel Pilago, speaking with reporters outside the canceled meeting, said he had his own concerns about the county’s and Council’s potential liabilities in the lawsuit. But above all, he wanted the Council to remain focused on the big picture.

“If we can now end the personal partisanship, the personal politics between us, that should be our highest priority,” Pilago said. “I think we should all focus toward the integrity of the elections process. … I think everything else is not really important.”

read … Retaliation

Mel Rapozo is Only Intelligent Council Candidate on Kauai

KGI: Councilman Mel Rapozo said GMO is responsible for saving many countries from starvation. The GMO companies have provided economic stimulation, and no studies have convinced him whether such products are unsafe, he said.

read … About Everybody Else Getting this Wrong

State Should Allow DNA To Prove Native Hawaiian Ancestry

CB: A man who says he’s at least half Native Hawaiian but doesn't have the records to prove it is suing the state for not accepting DNA test results as evidence of his ancestry.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, provides government-sponsored homesteads to people who can prove they are at least 50 percent Native Hawaiian.

But, in the absence of a proper birth certificate, the department doesn’t accept DNA evidence as proof for adequate blood quantum, according to a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court Monday.

Leighton Pang Kee, adopted at the age of four, says he was born out of wedlock to parents who were each at least half Native Hawaiian. His original birth certificate doesn’t identify his birth father, who died in 1983.

After he was denied DHHL housing in 2000, Pang Kee, seeking a DNA test that would prove his Native Hawaiian ancestry, tracked down his biological uncle. The DNA test was positive, proving Pang Kee is more than half Native Hawaiian, according to the lawsuit.

Vital records show his mother is at least 80 percent Native Hawaiian.

read … Lawsuit

Hawaiian Airlines collects $21M in baggage, change fees in Q2

PBN: Hawaiian's second-quarter baggage fees were 15 percent higher than the $14.3 million the airline collected during the same quarter in 2011. Hawaii collected a total of $56.6 million in baggage fees for all of 2011.

The airline's second quarter change and reservation fees were slightly higher than the $4.3 million collected during the same quarter in 2011. Hawaiian collected a total of $17.35 million in change and reservation fees for all of 2011.

read … $21M

Stanley Chang Gets Attention as “Pro-Growth Progressive”

ND: Stanley Chang has served on the Honolulu City Council since 2010. He has made it his priority to tackle key issues such as improving infrastructure by developing a long-term maintenance plan for the city’s streets and implementing higher quality standards for construction projects. Stanley has also supported a general services audit that would reveal Honolulu’s strengths and wastes, improving overall efficiency.

NR: Stanley Chang Selected as One of Nation’s Top Pro-Growth Progressive Leaders

read … NewDealLeaders

Horrified by State Regulations? Oracle sailing team cancels plan to train at Lanai

AP: Oracle Corp.'s sailing team is canceling plans to train in Hawaii this winter for next year's America's Cup race in San Francisco, the team's general manager said Tuesday.

Oracle Team USA - the America's Cup defending champion - this month applied to the Hawaii Department of Transportation for permission to operate out of a state-owned harbor on Lanai, the island Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is buying from billionaire David Murdock. (We love government paperwork.)

But the team won't have time to go to Lanai for training this winter because it will be modifying its new boat, of the ridiculous State regulations said General Manager Grant Simmer. The team has a lot of development work to do and so its priorities have changed, do not include kissing up to bureaucrats he said.

The team was seeking permission from the state Department of Transportation to use state-owned Kaumalapau Harbor on Lanai from December through March. Simmer said the team has notified people it was working with in Lanai and Maui County about its change of plans.

Oracle expected to spend $345,000 setting up the facility, which was to include 40-foot freight containers, temporary moorings and a 200-foot-long floating dock at the small-boat harbor on Lanai's southwest coast.

Oracle's plans would not have significantly affected the environment, the Department of Transportation told the Department of Health's office of environmental quality control.

CB: Activist demands EIS for Ellison to sail

read … Ellison Learns About Hawaii

Natural gas is ideal bridge fuel to green future

SA: …natural gas is cheaper than oil and is expected to remain low for years to come. The glut of natural gas on the mainland has driven prices to 10-year lows and increased the U.S. reserves-to-production ratio to over 50 years, if not longer. On the U.S. mainland, natural gas prices are now equivalent to $18 per barrel of oil and are expected to be $18/barrel to $45/barrel of oil equivalent through 2035. Crude oil prices are forecast to be more than $100/barrel.

To take advantage of the many benefits of LNG, Hawaii's stakeholders will need to overcome some challenges. For example, since there are no U.S.-built LNG ships in operation, stakeholders will have to develop an agreement with the federal government concerning the Jones Act, which requires that any trade between U.S. ports use ships that are U.S. built, flagged and crewed.

In addition, they will have to site an LNG receiving facility given Hawaii's limited harbor space. An offshore facility may be an option.

Finally, stakeholders will have to demonstrate to renewable energy advocates green energy scammers that LNG is a complement rather than a threat to renewables won’t end their scams.

read … Gas



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