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Saturday, October 13, 2012
October 13, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:06 PM :: 6116 Views

Apple Explains How He Put Freitas in Donovan's Place

Governor Releases $17.9 Million for CIPs on Maui

VIDEO: Mark Hashem, Jeremy Low, on their run for House

VIDEO: Kurt Lajala, Sam Slom, on their run for senate

Akaku: Maui County meet the Candidates

Military contracting in Hawaii hits 5-year low, more cuts on the way

PBN: With defense spending already declining in Hawaii and federal budget cuts slated to go into effect in less than three months, local defense contractors say they don’t know what to expect, and that has made planning difficult.

Pentagon officials told PBN that unless a deal is reached to trim government spending they predict that their budget will be cut by $52.3 billion for the 2013 fiscal year, and they expect those cuts to go into effect on Jan. 2, 2013. The cuts are part of a plan to reduce the budget deficit after a congressional super-committee failed to slash $1.2 ...

read … Local contractors already feel impact of military budget cuts

Democrats: State Should Have Looted Orbitz.com for $500M to Give to Our HSTA, DOE Cronies

HNN: Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration has since revived the case. The state now says that the online firms owe more than $500 million in back taxes and penalties, making it the state's largest-ever tax case.

Lingle has emphatically denied the charge, saying it was Kawafuchi's decision alone to drop the matter.

"He made the decision," Lingle said last week.

"I had a hands-off policy on all tax issues. whether it was a personal friend or an industry I was supportive of, I never got involved in tax matters."

State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim recalled urging the state to pursue the case several years ago when she was chair of the senate ways and means committee.

"It would have helped a lot, we were going through furloughs," she said.

2011: Attorney General demands $170M from Online Travel Companies

2012: State: Online firms owe $500 million

read … Destroy tourism to feed the HSTA

Survey: Micronesians Increasingly Skip Hawaii, Head for mainland

GPDN: The tide of migration into Guam and Hawaii from the Federated States of Micronesia is easing, said one of two experts who completed a survey this year of the decades-long flight of FSM citizens from their home islands.

The survey, commissioned by the FSM government, shows that more FSM citizens are leaving Guam and Hawaii for better economic prospects in the U.S. mainland, where FSM migrant households tend to have higher incomes than their fellow migrants on Guam. More FSM migrants are also moving directly to the U.S. mainland, the study found.

Precisely as Explained: Micronesians: “Its just better in Arkansas”

read … Survey shows FSM migrants head to US mainland

Sources: Letter from Greenwood's lawyer prompted special regents' meeting

HNN: University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood prompted Friday's special meeting of the Board of Regents to discuss her future with the school because her lawyer sent a letter to the board, sources told Hawaii News Now.

Sources said Greenwood's lawyer, Jerry Hiatt, sent the regents a letter on Greenwood's behalf telling the regents they either need to stand by her in public or negotiate some sort of settlement package for her to leave the university. Hiatt sat in the front row during Friday's regents meeting held at UH's John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kakaako.

"She's playing offense," said one source who's been briefed on the lawyer's letter.

The regents met in a closed-door executive session for nearly an hour and a half Friday. Neither Greenwood nor Hiatt, her attorney, attended the behind-closed-doors portion of the meeting.

Greenwood did not speak to reporters and neither did Eric Martinson, the Board of Regents chairman.

The board issued a two-sentence statement following the meeting that said, "The board considers the agenda item to be a personnel and legal matter and is treating it with the corresponding confidentiality required. The matter will be further discussed at the October 19, 2012 Board of Regents' meeting."

"Wherever you look, M.R.C. has improved the university," said Mark Fukunaga, a former UH regent and CEO of Servco Pacific, who testified in Greenwood's favor during a special regents meeting Friday afternoon at the UH medical school in Kakaako.

"If you allow political interference, you are going to condemn this institution to mediocrity," Fukunaga said, urging the regents to keep Greenwood on. Fukunaga, who had been appointed to a former regents' panel by former Gov. Linda Lingle, was not chosen for a second regent's term by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a source said.

(Marxist) UH Manoa Ethnic Studies Professor Noel Kent asked the regents to terminate Greenwood. (nobody joined him)

UH Astronomy Professor Gunther Hasinger backed the embattled president.

Hasinger said, "President Greenwood's understanding of the astronomy program and her support of it have contributed immensely to her recent accomplishments and her continued leadership is in this area equally important going forward."

Retired judge Walter Heen, who served with Greenwood on an advisory committee on Mauna Kea telescopes, told the regents, "If she is not retained as president of the university, I am convinced from my experience with Mauna Kea that we will lose that opportunity to become among the best institutions insofar as astronomical research is concerned."

Steve Colon, the president of Hunt Development Group, which owns land in West Hawaii next to where UH is building a new community college campus, testified in favor of Greenwood.

"While others helped move this along, I feel strongly that MRC's involvement, oversight and monitoring of the development agreement negotiations and subsequent procurement process has been critical to getting us to this point," Colon said. He said groundbreaking on the project will happen in the next few months.

SA: Greenwood's goals released

SA: A regents meeting ends with no word on whether the UH president will stay. While supporters laud her record, detractors say it’s time for a change

HR: Hawaii Regents Discuss President for 90 Minutes, Adjourn With No Action

read … Greenwood’s Lawyer

Star-Adv: Regents Better Pick Someone Good to Run UHWO

SA: The University of Hawaii at West Oahu opened its shiny new campus in Kapolei at the start of the fall semester, and it's already facing a serious challenge: the looming turnover in its head office.

It's time now for UH-West Oahu to move forward. The UH system administration has rightly sought to boost the research capacity of its flagship campus at Manoa. But the West Oahu campus is critical to meeting other UH goals, including workforce development and providing higher education opportunities to Native Hawaiians. The West Oahu campus, located near the Native Hawaiian homestead communities along the Waianae Coast, is ideally oriented for this. Of its enrollment topping 2,000, 27 percent are Native Hawaiians, and the campus' lower tuition puts a bachelor's degree within reach of more Hawaii residents of all ethnicities

The campus' fledgling status should not diminish the realization that it has great possibilities among the state's higher education institutions. It needs a leader who can turn its aspirations into reality.

read … UHWO Institution Building

Panel surveys school land for possible profit

SA: "It can't be misconstrued as a commercial land grab," said Ray L'Heu­reux, assistant superintendent of facilities and support services at the Department of Education, who sits on the committee. "It's leveraging the land the school sits on."

Revenues, he said, "would go into school remodeling, modernizing and rebuilding."

The task force is part of a broader effort to take a new approach to tackling an aging inventory of schools. It also reflects a growing awareness of not only what happens inside schools and classrooms, but also what schools and classrooms look like.

Robert Harris, executive director of the Sierra Club's Hawaii chapter, said while the goal of improving public school facilities is a good one, the task force must have public support for projects. He also said while he has grave concerns about the PLDC and believes it should be eliminated, the concept of selling or developing public lands is not in itself new or necessarily controversial.

"That's prudent land management if done right and done well," he said.

But, he added, "I hope that they (the task force) engage the community and ensure that any proposed projects comports with what the community has envisioned."

The Sierra Club is among a number of groups that raised big concerns about the PLDC, namely because it doesn't have to follow key land use and county laws when shepherding through developments on public lands.

Lois Yamauchi, president of Parents for Public Schools-Hawaii, said that as a parent, she applauds the DOE's interest in trying to find a different way to fund school repairs or new construction.

But she also urged caution, especially in cases of redevelopments that would involve a for-profit entity….

There will be an update on the group's work at the Board of Education's Finance and Infrastructure Committee meeting Tuesday.

 

read … 21st Century Schools

PRP: Cayetano, Lingle on Same Team

PR: PRP takes the GOP alliance a step further in the mailer, tying Cayetano not only to Lingle, but to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the Republican presidential and vice presidential candidates.

“If it means getting back into power,” the PRP mailer says, “Ben Cayetano will: eat, sleep, breathe Republican.”

“Ben Cayetano wants so desperately to get back into power, he’s willing to align with the same people who want to defeat President Obama,” according to the mailer, which shows separate pictures of Romney, Lingle and Cayetano

(PRP delivers the Filipino vote for Lingle. Ooops!)

read … Backfire?

Cayetano’s BRT – 16 Minutes to Aloha Stadium at Rush Hour

PBN: Cayetano’s BRT plans sounds like something people would support being that it would, in his estimation, reduce travel times between Aloha Stadium and downtown to 16 minutes — even in rush-hour traffic. Travel time from Kapolei to downtown would be only 45 minutes. Buses would travel in zipper lanes, on road shoulders and use other means of breezing through traffic.

read … BRT

Caldwell says he might eliminate Chinatown Rail station, add bike paths

PBN: Caldwell, who is running against former Gov. Ben Cayetano, said his ideas include everything from eliminating the Chinatown station to making the rail guideway narrower and putting more parts of a station at grade in order to lessen the project’s visual impact on waterfront views. He also is thinking about adding a bike path....

read … Desperation

Whistleblowers Fired: Former Mililani High School workers sue D.O.E.

KHON: Summer Lee-Vith loved her job at Mililani High School, where she worked in the cafeteria for more than three years.

But she and two other cafeteria workers say they lost their jobs for trying to do the right thing.

"I've been very stressed about it since then," she said.

In a lawsuit, they accuse the Mililani High School cafeteria manager, who was their direct supervisor at the time, of drinking alcohol on and off campus, before and during work.

"His mind would be elsewhere, he wouldn't remember things, which was very frustrating," said Raquel Hanada, plaintiff.

"He smelled like it a lot and his actions, and we confronted him about it, and he admitted it," Lee-Vith said.

They also claim their former boss, lied on the payroll sheet and wasted taxpayer dollars.

"He would have one of his friends who he brought into work on the payroll, but she would not be there physically," said Gia Pacheco, plaintiff.

In April, a group of them alerted school officials.

"What's supposed to happen is that when a person whistleblows, they're supposed to be rewarded for having come forward and sticking their neck out," said William Fenton Sink, plaintiffs' attorney.

But they say instead, they were fired, and were notified in July, when they arrived for the first day of the school year.

read … Culture of Retaliation

Gay Atheists: We Have Decided Gay Marriage is a Civil Right, Anybody Who Tries to Vote Will be Punished

TP: (Explaining why Think Progress is against Lingle) In a 1997 interview, she argued that marriage discrimination will always be permissible because it is currently popular, saying marriage equality “cannot ever be adopted in Hawaii because the people don’t support it. They simply don’t support it.”

(Handy Fact: In the entire history of the human race, marriage has always been between male and female.)

read … About a bunch of wanna-be dictators

Grading our Governor: Abercrombie’s “F”

BIN: Unlike many other states, Hawaii has been able to rely on a rapidly recovering tourism market to help keep its population working.

Still, gutting spending during a recession is a great way to kneecap an economic recovery, and both the Abercrombie and the Hawaii State Legislature managed to avoid that for the state’s 2012-2013 budget. They approved $800 million in new debt toward capital-improvement projects, while raising $600 million in new revenue.

Given that math, it’s not shocking that budget watchdogs like Cato would start to howl.

But it’s not like they’re barking up the wrong tree entirely. Our state isn’t known for being a lean, mean, bureaucrat-busting machine. Wander the halls of the DOE or University of Hawaii, and you’ll find plenty of folks who, when asked what they do for a living, respond by saying something like “I facilitate cross-disciplinary coordination.”

Abercrombie has lots of work cut out for him, and plenty to cut once an economic recovery has fully taken hold here. His ability to trim the fat during the good times may be an even more important measure of leadership than his efforts at economic damage-control amid a recession.

Making us a little less top-heavy when the state’s economy is flying high will give us more flexibility the next time a recession rolls our way.

Related: Schizophrenic: Abercrombie Among Worst Governors in Nation

read … Keynesian Dream

Electric Rates Jump Again

SA: HECO officials said a typical 600-kilowatt-hour bill for Oahu residential customers rose by 55 cents to $210.37 in October from $209.82 in September. The effective rate for electricity on Oahu is 33.6 cents a kilowatt-hour, up from 33.5 cents a kilowatt-hour last month. Electric rates had fallen from July through September.

Elsewhere in the state:

» Maui Electric Co. customers saw rates rise to 36.10 cents per kilowatt-hour this month from 34.9 cents in September. The typical Maui bill rose by $7.56 to $225.68.

» Hawaii island residential rates fell to 40.4 cents a kilowatt-hour from last month's 40.7 cents. The typical bill fell by $2.06 to $252.63.

» On Kauai the rate rose to 44.9 cents per kilowatt-hour from 43.1 cents per kilowatt-hour in September, according to the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative.

read … ‘Tick up’

Immense Amount of Electricity Needed to Produce Small Amount of Hydrogen

PBN: HNEI has an agreement with Puna Geothermal Ventures to build the hydrogen production facility on the grounds of PGV's plant about 20 miles southeast of Hilo.

The plant will use an electrolyzer to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen would then be loaded into pressurized cylinders and trucked to Hilo and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where it will be used to power fuel cell shuttle buses.

The hydrogen produced at the plant will truly be a "clean" fuel because the electricity used to run the electrolyzer will come from a geothermal facility, said James "Mitch" Ewan, institute hydrogen systems program manager.

Puna Geothermal is providing the land free to the institute, and the electricity at a discounted rate. "We're really leveraging everything we can to make this work," Ewan said.

The electrolysis process is fairly energy intensive. HNEI's electrolyzer would use about 4 megawatt-hours of electricity per day, the equivalent of powering about 100 homes.

read … About something that makes no sense and never will

PBN Challenges Secret Lanai Windfarm Plans

CB: PBN has filed an open records request with the government agency to obtain the document and Friends of Lanai has submitted an informal request for the information, according to PUC documents filed this week.

Shimogawa’s argument, as stated in his records request:

This request aims to reveal the components of Castle & Cooke Inc, Owner David Murdock’s “development rights” for the Industrial wind power plant on Lanal. I feel that this record, which has been redacted in many of its parts, should be entirely unredacted and revealed to the public because It is the cornerstone of the state’s energy policy. How a developer will satisfy a statewide demand for power should not be secret

read … Secret Plans

Cachola Resigns Effective Oct 31

CB: While there have been questions raised about Cachola’s victory nothing ever came of the allegations.

Cachola’s official last day will be Oct. 31. Here’s his letter of resignation.

(Joey Manahan has been elected to serve in Cachola’s former seat)

read … Musical Chairs

Two-party system needed to break up good old boys

MN: A fantastic start down the road to a functioning two-party system would be to re-elect George Fontaine to the South Maui House seat and to elect Linda Lingle, our Maui County favorite daughter, to the U.S. Senate.

read … Two Party System

Quick Hits

Cruise-ship biz still well off 2007 pace

Rhode Island company completes its purchase of KHON-TV

Pa’auilo Slaughterhouse Improvements break ground, Oct. 16

Hawaiian Pilgrims celebrate Mother Marianne Cope in Syracuse: Matt's Memo

China's yuan hits record high amid US pressure (Hawaii vacations become cheaper)

Pohakuloa battle course construction prompts Section 106 Consultation

Dispute comes to a head over beach access in Papaikou

Businesses sue city agencies for return of sweepstakes devices seized by police


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