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Monday, June 22, 2009
June 22, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:18 AM :: 11161 Views

Planned N. Korea launch unnerves Hawaii residents

"The North Koreans are unbalanced and could try anything," said Dan Gleason while walking his Jack Russell mix dog in downtown Honolulu. "If they do hit Honolulu, I hope it's a good shot, because I don't want to go through the aftermath."

Japanese media have reported the North Koreans appear to be preparing for a long-range test near July 4. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered additional protections for Hawaii in case a missile is launched over the Pacific Ocean.

RELATED:  Obama says U.S. is prepared for North Korea missile threat

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N.Korea accuses Obama of nuclear war plot

North Korea has accused US President Barack Obama of plotting a nuclear war on the communist nation by reaffirming a US assurance of security for South Korea, the North's state media said.

In a first official response to last week's US-South Korean summit, the state-run weekly Tongil Sinbo said in its Saturday edition Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak "are trying to ignite a nuclear war".

RELATED: NKorea threatens to harm USA if attacked

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States Turning to Last Resorts in Budget Crisis

In Hawaii, state employees are bracing for furloughs of three days a month over the next two years, the equivalent of a 14 percent pay cut. In Idaho, lawmakers reduced aid to public schools for the first time in recent memory, forcing pay cuts for teachers.

And in California, where a $24 billion deficit for the coming fiscal year is the nation’s worst, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed releasing thousands of prisoners early and closing more than 200 state parks.

Meanwhile, Maine is adding taxes on candy and ski tickets, Wisconsin on oil companies, and Kentucky on alcohol and cellphone ring tones.

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SB: Hawaii needs to turn around its bad business reputation

Hawaii is accustomed to poor ratings as a place to conduct business, and two magazines aimed at corporate executives agree this year that its bad reputation is secure. The state is hardly in a position to improve its standing during the current recession (WRONG WRONG WRONG) but needs to look ahead for ways to improve its ability to lure business and broaden its economic base when the nation recovers.  (Many if not most of the improvements are revenue neutral.  But they would harm the interests of the trial lawyers and union bosses whose property is elected to the Legislature.  These improvements can be made anytime and the recession makes them MORE urgent and no less possible.)

The latest assessment comes from Directorship magazine...

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Stevedore--victim of ILWU assault--still waiting for $355,000 back pay (after 15 years)

Tahara suffered a fractured skull and was blinded in one eye when he was beaten in March 1994 by fellow longshoreman Bruce Perry. Tahara had reported that Perry and other longshoremen who left work at the Matson Navigation container yard shortly after clocking in would still receive a full day's pay.

Tahara's lawyer said the scheme, called "running away," involved about a dozen workers and cost Matson "hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars" and added to the cost of virtually all goods shipped into the state.

After the assault, Tahara entered the Honolulu Police Department's witness protection program and lived in different cities on the Mainland while both HPD and the FBI conducted an investigation of suspected waterfront racketeering called "Operation Harbor Rats."

Perry was tried twice in state court on assault charges but both cases ended in mistrials. Tahara later won a $2.3 million civil judgment against Perry but has collected virtually none of those damages.

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Union files grievance over inmate violence at Hawaii State Hospital

A grievance was filed in March by the Hawaii Government Employees Association in the wake of two of the assaults, which officials say were directed at psychiatrists and required emergency- room visits. The third assault occurred May 20, when 21-year-old patient Mark Davis, known for his violent outbursts, allegedly attacked the occupational therapist....Davis was 14 in 2001 when he stalked, sexually assaulted and killed a 6-year-old girl in an abandoned home in a Big Island subdivision.

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Sovereignty Mortgage Scam: Maui couple resentenced

LIHU‘E — Before they met April and Steven Schaefer, Teresita and Dario Sibolboro of Hanama‘ulu were current on the mortgage of their brand-new home in Kapa‘a and gainfully employed by the state of Hawai‘i.
But after falling for a confidence scheme involving membership in the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and a church to go along with it, the Sibolboros lost their home in 1999 because they believed the Schaefers’ claims that they didn’t need to pay their mortgage or taxes because the U.S. and state governments aren’t the islands’ lawful governments.
After the Schaefers were resentenced to a year in jail each Thursday on multiple theft and other charges before 5th District Judge Laurel Loo, Dario Sibolboro said outside the courtroom that Steve Schaefer told him not to open letters from the bank and mortgage company, and to leave them on the church altar instead.

Today, the Sibolboros are renting from relatives in Hanama‘ulu, still have dreams of homeownership, and want nothing to do with the court-ordered $4,000 in restitution from the Schaefers.
“I don’t need the money,” said Dario Sibolboro, 54. “We want him to go jail, more than five years,” Dario Sibolboro said of Steven Schaefer, adding that Schaefer “preyed on particular immigrants,” bringing a Filipino-speaking man with him when he first approached Sibolboro to join his church and movement.

(1 year?  $4000?  pathetic)

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Hawaii lawmakers send governor bills to tax Internet transactions

Trying to capture some of the state taxes that go uncollected on mail-order and Internet sales, state lawmakers have sent Gov. Linda Lingle two approaches to get Mainland retailers to collect and pay taxes on sales from Hawai'i.

there are doubts about whether the Streamlined Sales Tax Project is practical because of the complexity of bringing uniformity to various state tax laws. Local Internet entrepreneurs, meanwhile, warn that Mainland retailers will sever Hawai'i affiliate marketing ties rather than pay the state's 4 percent general-excise tax., the nation's largest online retailer, wrote to Lingle last week urging her to veto the bill that would subject the Seattle-based company to the general-excise tax. The company said it would have little choice but to end advertising relationships with Hawai'i-based Web sites in its associates program.

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Rail Transit tax take still lags

Honolulu's transit tax collections rebounded 10 percent in May to $14.9 million compared with a year ago. However, the city will need to collect a net $41 million this month or face a shortfall in collections for this fiscal year.

Through the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, the half-percentage-point general excise tax surcharge raised a net $146.7 million for the city, based on figures provided by the state Department of Taxation. That's down nearly 4 percent, or $5.6 million from year-ago levels.

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KPT residents ask for more say

The residents also delivered several requests in a letter to the board. They asked:

• That the governor walk with residents through Kuhio Park Terrace.

• That a meeting be held with residents before the housing authority makes a final decision on redevelopment.

• That they have a voice in the redevelopment process. 

The housing authority has held meetings to discuss mixed-income redevelopment with public housing residents.

But Jun Yang of Faith Action for Community Equity Hawai'i, which is working with KPT residents, said the authority needs to do more to reach out to those who live in the housing project

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Liliha Park: 5 years, $800K to build restroom

(and its still not done)

Area residents first came up with the idea of improving the park in 2004, and $600,000 was earmarked in 2006 for park repairs, including replacing the roof of the park restrooms.

But when construction began in December, workers discovered the restroom building was not up to code. It was torn down this month.

Tam said the current city budget includes $200,000 to plan and design a new restroom for the park.

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Advertiser: City should find sensible use for property

The BOE's Committee on Administrative Services recommended that the property be transferred back to the city.  That's the best move. And the full board should promptly approve that recommendation.  The school buildings cost money to maintain — even when empty. The city, should it regain the property, will need to move efficiently...

(So the BoE is even more inefficient than the City of Honolulu) 

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After council reorganization, calls for County split reemerge

(When the Hawaii County Council was unified, these calls evaporated.  Now they are back)

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