Federal Court Hears Redistricting Challenge
VIDEO: Chamber of Commerce Launches New Ad for Lingle
Duke Aiona: I Remain Open to Future Run for Office
Local Students Deploy Underwater Robots to Assess WW2 Shipwrecks
BP and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power announce plans to jointly develop Hawaii wind farm
Flags to Fly at Half Staff for Sen Wadsworth Yee
Hawaii Democratic Party Attacks Long-Time Akaka Bill Advocate
Lingle Salutes Armed Forces Day
Favored Nation HGEA: Abercrombie Offers to Make 60-40 Medical Split Permanent
PBN: As the first union to settle with the state, HGEA’s contract contained a “favored nations” clause that enables the union to seek the same gains received by other public-sector unions.
The HGEA submitted the letter last November and recently reported receiving a partial proposal from the state, which includes a decision on the percentage split for medical premiums between the state and counties and the public workers.
“We’ve agreed to a fixed amount of time where our members will be receiving the 60-40 [medical premium] split,” HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira said. “What needs to be resolved is when that will be implemented.”
The 60-40 split means that for a certain amount of time the state and counties will pay the majority of medical premium costs of HGEA members.
Perreira said $6 million has been appropriated by the state Legislature for the increased employer cost portion of the medical premiums.
HGEA and the state also have tentatively agreed that some union members funded through revolving or special funds be exempt from the 5 percent pay cut. The state Department of Human Resource Development could not provide an exact figure as to how many government employees this represents.
The Beginning: $126M Giveaway: Abercrombie quietly boosts spending on Public Employees’ Insurance
Precisely as Predicted: Four of a Kind: UPW, UHPA get big Fat Pay Raise—and HSTA suit could give one to HGEA
read … Gradualism
Obama Administration Coordinated Attacks on Occupy Protests
DN: Honolulu police conducted a preemptive “strike” against local Occupy protesters one day before a planned May Day demonstration (see below). Did they act on their own, or did they coordinate, through Hawaii’s “fusion center” with national efforts to quash Occupy?
Documents handed over in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) and filmmaker Michael Moore confirm that intense surveillance and coordination of police actions have extended right to the White House situation room and the Department of Homeland Security.
read … Including Occupy Honolulu
Abercrombie Admin Eagerly Grasps Opportunity to Boost Birtherism
USA Today: The attorney general's office in Hawaii is telling Arizona's secretary of state that if he wants confirmation of President Obama's birth records, he'll have to prove he legitimately needs it.
read … Hawaii to Ariz.: Prove need to verify Obama's birth
Hirono, Hanabusa: Cut and Run from Afghanistan
CB: The amendment to a defense appropriations bill, introduced by Democrat Barbara Lee of California, would have limited war funding to the “safe and orderly withdrawal” of troops and military contractors. The vote was 303-113, with 101 Democrats (including Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa) and 12 Republicans voting in the minority.
Excerpt from a news report on the vote ….
read … Victory for Terrorists
House blocks funding for 'Law of the Sea' treaty, Hirono, Hanabusa Vote for LOST, Against Hawaii
TH: If Congress agrees to the pact, Navy commanders may be forced to clear future military operations with other pact members before moving forward, critics claim.
"Not only is this treaty unnecessary, it would also empower a new international bureaucracy at the expense of American sovereignty," Michael Needham, CEO for Heritage Action, the advocacy arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said in a statement Friday.
"America cannot afford yet another foreign policy mistake [with this] ... dangerously-flawed treaty," he added.
Sen. James Inhofe, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee and staunch opponent of the treaty, will use next Wednesday's committee hearing on the pact to advocate the potential negative impacts it may have on U.S. military operations.
"I'm probably not the only one . . . at the [committee] here who disagrees with the administration's [support for] the Law of the Sea," Inhofe said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in February.
read … Against Hawaii, Against the Navy
Democrats Upset because CoC Lingle Ad is Accurate
HuffPo: The Republican who is challenging Democrat Mazie Hirono in Hawaii's Senate race ran a small newspaper in the late 1970s and early '80s called the Molokai Free Press, but has since made her living mostly in government.
"Gov. Lingle believes small business can create jobs for our future," the spot says. "Lingle has led by example, running her own small business before serving as our governor."
Well, nearly two decades before serving as governor. And, while running a community newspaper is not an easy job….
(To be fair, Mazie Hirono’s experience is much greater. She’s been in the Pay for Play business for decades.)
read … In other words, the ad is accurate
$439K Apple: First Clichés, then Incoherent Babble
SA: "I like to stay active. I intend to be a walking-around chancellor," Apple told reporters Friday in a teleconference from the Delaware campus in Newark. "I really enjoy getting the feedback of students, faculty and staff. I like just walking around campus and talking to people." (Cliché)
Apple, 57, said he also likes forming discussion groups led by "thought leaders" to gain feedback from the campus community on major issues. "I really believe the best results on campus involve having lots of conversations and really involving faculty, administration, students, staff in coming to find common ground. (Cliché)
"But you also really have to lead that. You have to come to closure on various issues. So I really believe in having ‘thought leaders,' getting them together, thinking about how to move things forward." (Cliché)
"What's really important going forward is the ability to earn multi-investigator awards that cover a trans-disciplinary approach, that take a trans-disciplinary approach to the … key problems that we're trying to solve," he said. "Building research teams, and in some cases co-locating those teams around shared equipment and shared resources and building a more vibrant infrastructure, and in addition translating that research out into the community — this is a pathway that I think is really promising for the future." (Incoherent babble)
Excuse for MRC Greenwood to Score Raise: New UH Manoa Chancellor to make more than UH President temporarily
read … We paid $439,808 for This?
Embattled Wahiawa Senior Center Gets State Grant
CB:The embattled Wahiawa elderly care center at the heart of a federal investigation for alleged misuse of $7.9 million in federal grants has been awarded money from the Hawaii Legislature.
ORI Anuenue Hale is listed as one of 40 recipients in line to receive coveted grants-in-aid from the state totaling $11 million. The taxpayer-funded grants for "essential" public health, welfare and education services await final approval from Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
ORI Anuenue Hale is set to receive $288,060 — the full amount it requested from the state for its Central Oahu day-care center that serves elderly and disabled people.
read … ORI Handout
Alan Pflueger pleads guilty to filing false income tax return, Faces 3 Years in Prison – May Testify Against father
SA: Car dealer Charles Alan Pflueger pleaded guilty in federal court this afternoon to filing a false income tax return for 2005 by not claiming as income personal and family expenses paid by his company.
He faces up to three years in prison, $250,000 fine and mandatory restitution when he is sentenced next January.
SA: Plea deal might pit Pflueger against his father
read … Another Pflueger
As Lynch Mob Circles, Prosecutors Ask that Deedy’s Defense Exhibits be Sealed
SA: City prosecutors are asking a state judge to keep sealed a request to dismiss a murder charge against a State Department special agent and its supporting exhibits, which include surveillance videotapes of the fatal shooting at a McDonald's Waikiki restaurant last year.
The defense for special agent Christopher Deedy this week filed the dismissal motion and supporting exhibits that include McDonald's videotapes at the Kuhio Avenue restaurant.
The dismissal request is based on the contention that Deedy was performing his duties as a federal law enforcement officer and is immune from prosecution under state law.
City Deputy Prosecutor Janice Futa said the defense documents and exhibits include arguments related to the merits of the case against Deedy but not the dismissal motion.
She said publicity about the request and supporting exhibits might taint potential jurors and harm the trial proceedings.
HR: Legal Motions Fly in Murder Case Against U.S. State Department Agent Christopher Deedy
read … Prosecutors
500 Special Funds Allow Override of CoR Expenditure Limits
SA: They can take our estimates — and they have in the last couple years — and not argue with it. In the late ’80s and ’90s, the Legislature with frequency overrode, with the two-thirds vote. … There have been periods when the Legislature just flat-outright ignored the expenditure ceiling. The latest group of legislatures have not. And, in fact, if I understand what happened in the House, they put out a budget that was something like $10 million under our projection, which is good; I’d much prefer that than over. The Legislature has its periods when it feels it has to supersede the ceiling. It has its periods, like now, with the current finance chairs, that they’re not superseding it, that they’re saving some money. …
I think the system is working, in terms of general funds. The trouble is all these special funds that are coming up are not subject to the expenditure ceiling, and they keep multiplying, which means we don’t know how big state government really is. We know the general fund, but we have — what? — 400, 500 special funds today, I sort of lost track. That’s a lot of special funds, and it’s all off the books. It’s not subject to the expenditure ceiling. … It’s not on our plate. … They have all these special funds that are not subject to general fund projections. They’re not subject to our estimates.
The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is totally run by special funds. I guess the tobacco people have a couple of special funds, the insurance people have a couple of special funds. They’re scattered all over the place. The aluminum can fund had a lot of money in it at one point, and they’ve been scooping it out — and, of course, when they scoop it out, it then becomes general fund discussion.
read … No Limit
Ouansafi Claims he Moved Into Mayor Wright
HNN: Ouansafi not only accepted the job, he (claims he) moved into one of the state's most troubled housing complexes, Mayor Wright Homes, hoping to better understand the challenges from a resident's perspective.
Ouansafi moved in the day after a fatal stabbing in late January. He told Hawaii News Now he spent a majority of nights at Mayor Wright until moving out May 14, 2012.
(Anyone who takes Ouansafi’s word for anything is a fool.)
History of lies: Hakim “Islam Day” Ouansafi to Direct Hawaii Public Housing Agency
read … Mayor Wright
Names on World War II memorial painted over
HNN: Video taken in 2001 shows the memorial and the names of the 806 sons of Hawaii who died in the war clearly defined.
But now those names are hardly recognizable.
"I think it's disrespectful to the people that they are supposed to be honoring and they should re-letter it at least,” said Roland Leverenz, resident.
The Department of Accounting and General Services says the memorial was given a fresh coat of paint in the fall of last year
read … Names on World War II memorial painted over
ACLU Suit Against Hawaii Prisons Designed to Force Gay Marriage, Gay Civil Unions in Prison
SA: While much of the nation debates whether a couple of the same gender should be allowed to marry, Abercrombie administration officials have challenged matrimony between a state prison inmate and an opposite-sex civilian — a constitutional right that the U.S. Supreme Court protected 25 years ago. The state needs to back away from the claim that it can routinely deny the right of inmates to get married.
Four women who want to wed Hawaii male inmates incarcerated at an Arizona facility are suing state Public Safety Director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata and other officials for blocking their marriages. The department adopted a policy last June allowing wardens to deny inmates the right to wed if they consider the marriage a threat to security, good government of the institution or protection of the public.
The policy is rightly being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii. (Who will use their victory in this case to bring gay marriage and/or gay civil unions into prisons next)
read … Hawaii prisons mistaken about marriage issue
Half of Big Island Cropland Grows Macnuts
BIVN: In aggregate, there are approximately 42,700 acres in crop production (excluding commercial forestry), half of which is in macadamia nuts, the bulk of which is exported. Only about 10,400 acres (24%) are in vegetable and fruit production and a significant portion of this production (papaya, tropical fruit, sweet potato and vegetables etc.) is grown for export elsewhere.
Pasture takes up roughly 600,000 acres on the island with productivity that varies by rainfall, location, management techniques etc. Building a grass fed beef industry to support local beef and other meat producers will require improvements to local slaughter facilities, committed local ranchers and strong support from consumers to select local grass fed beef at a price that can sustain its production.
read … Nuts
Fired Frenchy Gets New Day in Court
PBN: The reversal is based on a 2003 wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by Gerard Lales, who alleged he was wrongfully terminated from his job at JN Automotive Group in 2002 and that he was called anti-French slurs in the workplace against his wishes.
Lales said one of his supervisors often told him to go back to France because “America does not need French people” and that he was often referred to as “Frenchy.” Another supervisor often referred to him as “French fries.”
Circuit Court Judge Randal Lee threw out the case in 2007 and ordered Lales to pay more than $158,000 in attorney’s fees and costs to JN Automotive Group
read … Fried and Fired