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Wednesday, September 04, 2013
September 4, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:06 PM :: 3099 Views

Illegal Mainland Campaign Contributions Flow to anti-GMO activist Ritte

Daily Beast: Rep Beth Fukumoto has 'Potential to Revitalize the GOP'

Gay 'Marriage' Religious Exemption is a Scam

GMOs: Open Letter to Margaret Wille from Hawaii Papaya Industry Association

HECO to Shutter Honolulu Power Plant

'Rules of Origin' Can Make or Break the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Whistleblower Alleges Illegal Scheme to Funnel Taxpayer Dollars into Abercrombie Campaign

HNN: The fired chief financial officer of a Honolulu tug and water taxi company has filed a whistleblower and wrongful termination lawsuit, claiming she was let go after raising questions about unethical and illegal practices involving disability fraud and improper donations to members of Hawaii's congressional delegation.

Hawaii Resource Group and several of its related tugboat and water taxi companies hold millions of dollars worth of non-bid federal contracts. One of the companies runs supply boats to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands for the Fish and Wildlife Service, a contract worth roughly $4 million a year.

Last November, the companies fired Sharon Amano as their controller and financial officer, a position she held for seven years. On Friday, her lawyer, David Simons, filed a wrongful termination and whistle blower lawsuit.  

"It's clear that her firing was the result of her raising whistleblower concerns throughout her tenure," Simons said.

The lawsuit claimed company officials curried favor with the offices of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and then-U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie for years to help win those non-bid contracts through congressional earmarks. A photo on the company's web site shows Hawaii's Congressional delegation in front of one of the company's boats, which is named after retired U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka.

Another boat is named for Abercrombie and a third tug is called the Kaimana Hila, which is the Hawaiian name for Diamond Head. Also a popular Hawaiian song, Kamaina Hila was one of Inouye's favorite Hawaiian songs which was performed at his funeral services at the National Cathedral in December 2012.

The lawsuit claimed to get around the ban on corporations giving money directly to members of Congress, relatives of one of the owners were given company funds to donate to Abercrombie and Inouye. 

"They would cut company checks to Charlie's daughter and wife, in return which they would then write campaign contribution checks to politicians," Simons said....

SA: 'Illegal practices' pervasive at contractor, lawsuit alleges

LINK: FULL TEXT OF LAWSUIT

read ... Lawsuit

GOP Chairman David Chang on The Mike Buck Show

MB:  This & every Thursday 7AM Details: Tune in to 690AM to hear HRP Chairman David Chang discuss the latest news and give an update from the HRP every week. Call in & ask the Chairman a question -- DIAL 808-296-5467

Listen ... OnLine

DHHL Boycotts Convention as Feds Conspire with Danner Sisters

SA: Rhea Suh, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, told those attending the opening day of the 12th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention in Honolulu that the agency recognizes its oversight role has not always been consistent and that it has not always had a very visible presence in the islands.

Suh noted the unusual role the Interior Department has in Hawaii compared with its oversight involving other indigenous communities.

Elsewhere, the Interior Department handles everything in-house, but in Hawaii, the agency has an oversight role over the federally created trust while the state manages it, Suh told the convention audience.

The state took on that management responsibility as a condition of statehood.

“That bifurcation can create some ambiguity and confusion,” Suh said.

“We clearly need to find ways to clarify our roles and responsibilities,” she added, urging the audience to hold both governments accountable.

The Interior Department anticipates publishing, in October, draft rules that will be up for public comment. The final rules are expected to be in place by late March of April, according to Suh.

The rules will focus on two areas:

>> The process for amending the law, which was enacted in 1921 and created the 203,000-acre trust to provide homestead leases to those with at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood.

>> Approving land exchanges involving trust property.

SA: Interior’s Jewell to speak at Hawaiian convention

read ... Rules in works to clarify federal oversight

Star-Adv: DHHL court master needed

SA: The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has reached the point — passed it long ago, some would say — at which outside intervention is required to force a fix of its myriad problems.

In the absence of any other significant steps toward a solution — have there been any? — the best course may be to seek the direction of a court-appointed master to mandate a wholesale restructuring of the agency. This could beat a path toward a far more efficient management of the department's federal trust on behalf of its beneficiaries: those with more than 50 percent Hawaiian ancestry....

One hopeful development is the planned resumption of mediation talks to settle an ongoing class-action suit known as Kalima v. State. Another breach-of-trust case, this suit involves more than 2,700 beneficiaries to whom the state failed to issue homesteads. The state's high court affirmed in 2006 that the beneficiaries had the right to sue.

The mediation talks will have numerous targets, but ideally one point of agreement should be the appointment of a court master to whip this entire sorry mess into shape.

Failing the assembly of smart, objective parties with the power to mandate a corrective plan — people skilled in the areas apparently so lacking at DHHL — the chance to compel new and competent management for the trust will surely evaporate.

read ... DHHL court master needed

DHHL Boycotts Native Hawaiian Convention

KHON: Organizers say for the first time in 12 years since the Native Hawaiian Convention began, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is not a partner and isn't present either....  (Did the Danner Sisters really think DHHL would give them more money to use to attack DHHL?)

Participants say DHHL's choice not to be involved is especially troubling because this year's keynote speaker and honored guest is the U-S Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, who oversees the state department....

DHHL has been plagued by accusations of mismanagement and lack of oversight for the lands set aside for Native Hawaiians. ...

"One of the criticisms that Hawaiians always have is that we need to agree – we have to come together and get a consensus. ...This year's convention theme, "Rise as One" is taken from Act 195....

DoI: Secretary Jewell to Deliver Keynote Address at Native Hawaiian Convention

read ... No Surprise

Brian Schatz: Skypilot in Al-Qaeda's Syria Airforce

CB: Perhaps underestimating the public's skepticism about diving into another potential quagmire in the Middle East, Sen.Brian Schatz in the course of a weekend embraced the idea of doing something about Syria, then downshifted to join the ranks of those calling for debate.

On Friday, Schatz responded with moral indignation after the administration said the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on its own citizens, and seemed to embrace President Barack Obama's threat of military action.

"The President and his national security team have provided strong evidence that the Assad regime is responsible for the recent horrific chemical weapons attack against innocent Syrian civilians," Schatz said in a statement. "We must send a clear message that the use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and will not be tolerated by the United States or the international community."

2016 End of an Error: As Syria War Drums Beat, Aloha Peace Prize to be awarded to Obama's Unbearably Smug Sister in Hilo

read ... Warmonger

Mayor Desperately Searching for Excuse to Raise Taxes

KITV: KITV4 has obtained details on how the Department of Parks and Recreation plans to administer budget restrictions of $1.5 million, as the city tries to stay ahead of a projected deficit totaling $26 million in the current fiscal year.

Modifying the hours that park facilities are open is a grave concern for Central Oahu Councilman Ron Menor, vice chair of the Committee on Parks and Customer Services. Menor is worried children may be left to their own devices if they don’t have a place to shoot hoops or go for a swim. Robinson said the number of hours that fields and courts are lit at night may also be scaled back.

“I intend to express my concerns to the mayor and ask to him to reconsider his position and to restore funding levels to our parks department to the benefit of the residents of our island,” Menor told KITV4. “I think he should give serious consideration to reallocating funds in other areas of the budget to maintain current levels of funding in the parks department.”

Meanwhile, the popular Waikiki Torch Lighting Ceremony at Kuhio Beach may also be impacted by budget restrictions. The ceremony takes place at dusk every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday with the help of hula halaus and other native Hawaiian performers. Robinson says the city may eliminate propane for the 54 torches that surround the area next to a hula mound, but refused to elaborate, saying the mayor had not made a final decision.

Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association, says it costs $200,000 per year to fund the torch lighting ceremony. He says the Hawaii Tourism Authority provides $150,000, the Hyatt Regency Waikiki another $20,000 and the city the remaining $30,000. However, Egged is not aware of the additional costs incurred by the city for the cost of propane.

Read ... Park hours may change as budget restriction takes effect

Hawaii Cost of Living: We're #1 in Everything

CB: Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the nation, according to a U.S. Commerce Department Bureau of Economic Analysis report in June. The cost of living is 16 percent higher than the national average. (Second place goes to New York.)

— A single person can earn as much as $54,850 and qualify for housing assistance on Oahu. For a family of four, the cut-off is $78,300, according to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority. In most of the country, those would be comfortably middle-class incomes.

— We spend more on housing. Based on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data, the National Low Income Housing Coalition says the median cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in Hawaii is $1,671 a month. That's not just the highest nationally, it is about 71 percent more than the national average of $977....

— A 2013 report by the Center for Housing Policy found that Honolulu was the fifth most expensive city for home buyers. The average income necessary to own one, according to the center, is $115,949.

— Similarly, the people of Hawaii pay the highest electricity rates at 37 cents per kilowatt hour, triple the national average of 12 cents per kilowatt hour, according to the the US. Energy Information Agency. That translates into bills that are two, three or even four times those in other states. While rates can fluctuate quickly around the country, Hawaii residents are currently spending $60 per month more than people in Alabama, the state with the next highest monthly bill (even though Alabamans pay much lower per-kilowatt rates than residents of some states)....

— The cost of having a car (insurance, gas, maintenance, depreciation, etc.) is the eighth highest in the nation here in Hawaii. A study last year by Edmunds.com, a car pricing website, estimated that Hawaii drivers will have to spend $52,683 on their cars over the next five years, which is about $3,000 more than the national average. Hawaii cars also depreciate the fastest in the nation, by $16,809 over a five-year period. We also pay the most interest to finance a vehicle, $4,084, and the gas bill for those five years, $15,822, is also the highest in the nation.

— Food costs more. The U.S. Department of Agriculture calculates the differences in cost around the country to determine the size of food stamp benefits, and has found that food prices in Hawaii are 70 percent more than the national average. According to the USDA's calculations, a family of four with young children nationally should be able to eat on a "thrifty" food budget of $373 per month. In Hawaii, it would cost the same family $632 for the same meals.

— We have to work more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6.2 percent of Hawaii workers have more than one job, compared to only 4.9 percent nationally.

read ... We're Number One

Kauai County Council Defers Dog Tax Hike

KGI: Without an explanation, the Kauai County Council deferred a bill that would bring significant increases to dog licensing fees. After passing the council’s Finance Committee last week, the bill was up for second and final reading Wednesday.

“This bill should be killed right here, but we know what the popular vote is going to be,” said hunter Robert Cremer Jr., who has testified three times against the bill.

Bill 2490 proposes to raise two-year licenses to $50 from $6 for dogs that have not been spayed or neutered. For altered dogs, the bill proposes an increase to $15 from $2.

It would also introduce a schedule of penalties, ranging from $20 to $65, for seizure and redemption of dogs.

read ... Victory

Hawaii anti-GMO Protesters Funded by the Usual Mainland Fraudsters

Science 2.0: Why would a bill in Hawaii ban GMOs, except for the GMO Rainbow papaya crop, which is credited by scientists and independent experts for rescuing the papaya on Hawaii from extinction threatened by the ringspot virus?

Welcome to the scientization of politics, where stuff gets banned whether there is a science issue or not. Unless it hurts anyone except poor people. Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille was behind Bill 79 and Bill 79 was widely regarded as a scientific and political mess, as the independent website Biofortified.org noted in its analysis. The committee held four days of public comment sessions, with tensions running high and the debate turning personal. Wille withdrew the bill in early August after the hearings and a Council discussion made it clear that it was poorly written.

But now the idea is back - and though they claim this is a grassroots uprising, this is actually funded by the usual suspects who are making money from their expensive placebos - in California we had the Homeopath and the Magic Soap guy and then all of Big Organic, the names are just different in Hawaii.

LINK: Illegal Mainland Campaign Contributions Flow to anti-GMO activist Ritte

read ... Usual Suspects 

Atheists Deeply Disappointed to Hear of Free Speech

ILind: ...a reader emailed to point out that the New Hope Christian Fellowship is using its Facebook page to urge followers to contact their legislators and urge them to vote against any same-gender marriage.

Is this lobbying? And does it raise legal issues?

read ... Silence the Christians

HHSC Board is Fire-Happy

SA: Anderson had been at odds with the board over a controversial move to privatize part of the system and also faced scrutiny because the cost to convert to electronic medical records at the public hospitals is now expected to be double earlier estimates. The estimated cost is now more than $100 million over five years.

The public hospital system posted an operating loss of $143.5 million last year, while the state contributed $73.4 million in general fund subsidies. HHSC's total annual operating budget is $611 million....

Prior to Hall's first stint as head of the troubled facilities, HHSC's board fired former president and CEO Tom Driskill before the end of his contract due to conflicts in the vision for the organization, said state Sen. Josh Green.

"Tom was a controversial figure for the board and apparently Bruce must have also been somewhat controversial for the board," Green said. "At the end of the day, the board is responsible to the people of Hawaii and they need to manage this large public asset responsibly, so I'm hoping they're making good decisions. She (Hall) is a very good person and very capable so we'll see what their long-term plans are."

read ... Hall named acting CEO, president of HHSC

KCC chancellor traveled nearly 4 1/2 months in last year and a half

HNN: Richards earns at least $155,000 a year in a post he's held since 2007.

Faculty and staff at the school who refuse to be identified for fear of retaliation complained that Richards is away from campus too much, and traveling too often.

In response to a Hawaii News Now public records request, the University of Hawaii revealed that in 2012, Richards spent 84 days on official travel during nine out-of-state trips.   

In the first six months of this year, he traveled 45 days on eight trips as of the end of June.    

read ... KCC chancellor traveled nearly 4 1/2 months in last year and a half

Lawmakers find more construction mess at the state capitol

HNN: Representative John Mizuno was met by sizzling sounds and flickering lights when he got to work.

"God forbid we don't want to start a fire at the capitol so we turned those lights off," said State Representative John Mizuno, (D) House Vice Speaker.

The shorted out lights are right next to the spot in the ceiling that was leaking before.

'I'm concerned. I'm concerned it's a safety issue for all of us," said Rep. Mizuno. "The concern level has gone up one notch if not two with the lights shortening out."

Mizuno also noticed big dark leak stains in his office ceiling that weren't there last Friday.

In Representative Chris Lee's office a bucket and two garbage cans are catching falling drips.

read ... Legislature in Ruins

Liberal Guy Chooses Political Correctness Over Miss Hawaii

HP: ...as soon as my date said, "I have a lot of gay friends, so I can say this...." I should have asked for the check. I don't care how many gay friends you have, I'm 99% certain you can't say whatever it is you're about to say. So don't say it! Please don't say it.

She said it.

She used the F-word. The other F-word. Yup, that's the one.

While I was still reeling from the initial blast, she then used it again. I actually found the second one slightly more forgivable because she was Hawaiian. I figured it might be one of those words Hawaiians say twice like pu pu or Wikiwiki.

Still, she shouldn't have said it at all. Neither the pageant judges nor I would have awarded her a high score on the "poise" portion of our date.

After we finished our respective Mai Tai and Bud, I ended the date with a noncommittal (but charming), "Hey, I'll call you some time." Thus began the internal debate. The moral part of me knew that I couldn't see her again. On the other hand, Miss...freakin'...Hawaii.

I spent the next few days trying to arrive at a workable compromise. Maybe I could go on another date with her, but just make sure the topic of homosexuality never came up--sort of a Don't Ask, Don't Tell solution. Ultimately, though, I could not bring myself to call her.

(Ladies: Take it from Miss Hawaii--this is a handy technique to make sure you don't get stuck with the wrong guy.)

read ... About the Power of Political Correctness Over You

HuffPo: Liberals Explain Why they are Colonizing Hawaii

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