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Friday, September 20, 2013
September 20, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:53 PM :: 3584 Views

Slom: Rally for Traditional Marriage Planned for Special Session

Close Dem Primary? State Claims Hawaii Already has 'Vibrant Multi-Party System'

HI makes progress on ACA, but one lawmaker isn’t celebrating

Hawaii Scores 'C' for Jail Diversion of Mentally Ill

UHERO: School Furloughs = Less Crime

Education: GEAR-UP Hawaii to be Focus of Briefing

NCQA: Kaiser Hawaii Ranks 25th in Nation

Unions Spared From Property Taxes After Honolulu Mayor Defers His Own Bill

CB: Honolulu has been struggling to find money to cover costs associated with collective bargaining, especially after the City Council killed the mayor’s nickel-a-gallon gas tax increase.

A number of the proposals also came from recommendations made in 2011 by the Honolulu Real Property Tax Advisory Committee, which was created to make the city’s tax code more equitable and efficient.

Only two of Caldwell’s bills passed — giving the city ample opportunity to pump millions more into its coffers — but there was one in particular that died an usual death.

Bill 34 was related to property tax exemptions for charities and nonprofits. Under the tax code this includes labor unions and their trust funds, which are some of the most influential organizations in Hawaii.

But under Bill 34 these labor groups — which give generously to political campaigns — might have been forced to pay the property taxes from which they have long been immune.

The administration, however, didn’t give the bill a chance. Instead, Caldwell asked the council in August to defer a bill he himself had introduced, confusing some on the council.

“It threw me for a loop,” City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said. “I’ve never had the administration ask that its own bill be deferred.”

read ... We raise 'em, we don't pay 'em

State Pretends to Reveal Details of Health Plans

Acting as a salesman for HMSA and Kaiser, the State Health Connector today pretended to reveal the alleged premium rates for Obamacare plans to be sold on the Health Exchange starting October 1.  Here's what they didn't mention:

  1. Deductibles
  2. Family rates
  3. Smokers' rates
  4. What's not covered

Instead of talking about deductibles (They start at $6350--the co-pays start at 40%) the DCCA Insurance Division spoon-fed local media info about a $120/mo rate for a 21 year old non-smoker.  MDs and Hospitals will soon be wondering how that 21 year old will pay $6350 in medical bills when she has her first child. 

PBN: Hawaii reveals rates for health insurance plans under state online exchange

SA: State unveils plans' premiums

WHT: Businesses get a glimpse of Affordable Care Act changes

Reality: HMSA 'Dumping' Thousands of Policies, Blames Obamacare

Video: Opt Out

Feds release $236M for Honolulu’s rail mass-transit project

PBN: The U.S. Department of Transportation has released another $236.3 million in federal funds for the Honolulu rail transit project, Hawaii’s senators said Thursday.

The funding, part of a total $1.55 billion in federal funding for the project from the Federal Transit Administration, comes from the current fiscal year budget, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said in a statement. The FTA released $67.5 million for the project in March.

read ... Rail Fail Funds

PBS, Atheists Push to Eject Churches from Renting School Facilities

PBS: In Hawaii, where church services are held in school auditoriums and church equipment is used in public school assemblies, the lines separating church and state sometimes lack clear definition. What is happening to our Founding Fathers' declaration that church and state should be separate? Do we need to modernize our thinking for the 21st century?

Guests will include: Peter Carlisle, attorney and former Honolulu Mayor; Mark Davis, Honolulu civil rights attorney; Daniel Gluck, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii; and Jim Hochberg, an attorney for the Hawaii Family Forum.

read ... Atheists Attack

Jobless rate dips as Hundreds Quit Looking

SA: Hawaii's unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 4.3 percent in August, the lowest level in more than five years, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported Thursday.

The August rate was down from 4.5 percent in July and marked the lowest jobless rate in Hawaii since July 2008 when it was 4.1 percent.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in August from 7.4 percent in July....

Hono­lulu County fell to 3.8 percent in August from 4.2 percent in July. The rate fell to 5.8 percent from 6.7 percent in Hawaii County, to 4.9 percent from 5.2 percent in Kauai County and to 4.5 percent from 4.8 percent in Maui County.

However, the report was not all positive. The state data showed that while the unemployment rate declined, the overall labor force also shrank, suggesting that some of those searching for a job simply quit looking.

The number of people counted as unemployed — those without jobs but who are actively looking for work — fell by 950 in August, according to the report. But the number of employed grew by only 250.

read ... Abercrombie Still Trying to Catch up to Lingle

Future Caucus Represents Millennials' Frustration

Borreca: Republican state Rep. Beth Fukumoto, former Hawaii GOP chairwoman and a member of the millennial generation, said politics isn't all about age, but part of it is.

"I don't think age is as influential on voting habits as ethnicity, gender or party affiliation," Fukumoto said. "That said, I think Tulsi's right. A lot of elected young people are fed up with government bureaucracy and short-term thinking, just like the public is."...

"If voters are looking to change the status quo, they are likely more willing to give younger people a chance," advised Fukumoto.

read ... Gen next

'Clean Elections' Advocates Nailed by Campaign Spending Commission (again)

ILind: Three veterans “clean elections” advocates and Progressive Hawaii Now, a political action committee they controlled, have been fined more than $3,000 for a cascading series of campaign spending law violations during and after the 2012 election campaign.

The three are John J. Higgens and Randy W. Ching, chairman and treasurer of Progressive Hawaii Now, and Kory Payne, who has been director of the Hawaii Clean Elections and the Hawaii Elections Project, which have advocated for public funding for campaigns. Higgens and Ching have been officers of the nonprofit Hawaii Clean Elections, and Ching has served as president of the Hawaii Elections Project.

The commission then received a check for $117 signed by Higgins and drawn on the Progressive Hawaii Now account.

The check bounced. ...At this point the wheels were coming off the buggy, and the commission was looking closer at PHN....

Then commission mail sent to Higgins at the address provided in the official organizational report filed by Progressive Hawaii Now was returned with the notation, “unable to forward.” And phone messages left at the numbers in the group’s registration went unanswered.

At this point the commission subpoenaed the PAC’s bank records, and found additional, similar violations, including mishandling of a contribution from Ching that exceeded the maximum allowed by $1,000.....

2008:  ‘Clean Elections’ activist nailed by Campaign Spending Commission

read ... Hilarious Must Read

Hawaii PUC dismisses claims to disqualify law firm from Lanai wind farm project

PBN: Hawaii regulators have dismissed the requests by a couple of Lanai residents to disqualify a Honolulu law firm from representing Castle & Cooke in the case involving a proposed 200-megawatt Lanai wind farm project.

On Wednesday, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission also set a deadline of Oct. 4 for any requests to be filed or re-filed to disqualify the Law Firm of Yamamoto Caliboso LLC.

Carlito Caliboso, who is a partner at the firm, was a former chairman of the PUC.

read ... Hawaii PUC dismisses claims to disqualify law firm from Lanai wind farm project

Convention center will remove shroud from controversial mural

SA: In a written statement Thursday afternoon, McCartney did not indicate when the covering would be removed.

"After a series of productive meetings with all the involved parties, the HTA is pleased to announce that a mutual understanding has been reached which will allow the piece by Hans Ladislaus to be put back on display at the Hawaii Convention Center," the statement said.

"This mutual agreement was based on sincere mutual respect between the involved parties and includes continuing discussions with the involved parties to further their understanding and appreciation of the various perspectives raised during this process."

SA: Vow to uncover controversial mural cancels plans for rally

SA: There is an obvious and profound difference between actual iwi and an artistic representation of the same

read ... Victory over censorship

Hawaii prison guard files sexual harassment lawsuit

HNN: The plaintiff is a 34 year old woman. She had just started working as an adult corrections officer last August. But just a month into the job she was the one who felt like a prisoner.

The case begins on Facebook. A veteran guard friended the rookie which she accepted. Just 10 minutes later the first naked picture arrived.

"Thereafter he began to send her explicit text messages with photographs of his genitalia and also requests for sexual contact with her, requests for intercourse with her and the like," said Joseph Rosenbaum, plaintiff's attorney.

The lawsuit says she repeatedly asked him to stop but it went on eight months. She got fed up when her teenage son got involved.

"Her son actually was holding her phone at the time she received these sexually explicit photographs via text message," said Rosenbaum.

She filed a formal complaint in March but six months later her attorneys say they continued to work the same shift and she would get more harassing and stalking texts....

in this particular context its egregious to think the Department of Public Safety wouldn't step in and do something about this," said Victor Bakke, plaintiff's attorney.

They say the same guy harassed another female employee and another guard's wife. That's why they've filed a lawsuit hoping to teach employers they must address the issue of sexting and stop unwanted messages immediately.

WHT: Former Prison Guard Pleads Guilty in Puna Shooting, Will Spend Rest of Life in Prison

SA: Deputy sheriffs catch probationer who fled from Circuit Court

read ... Just Another Day in the Nei

Soft on Crime: Accused Murderer Gets New Trial on Home Invasion

SA: A state judge ordered a new trial Wednesday for a man whom a jury found guilty last month of multiple crimes in connection with an armed home-invasion robbery because the jurors were exposed to inadmissible information during their deliberations.

Patrick Deguair Jr. was found guilty of robbery, kidnapping, burglary and using a firearm to commit the November 2007 robbery in Maili.

But jurors had information that one of the other alleged robbers in the case was dead and that Deguair could have been responsible for his death.

The alleged robber whose slaying the court had previously ruled was inadmissible is Jermaine Duckworth.

Deguair stood trial twice for Duckworth's murder. Both ended in mistrial after both juries deadlocked 6-6. After the second mistrial, state Circuit Judge Glenn Kim dismissed the murder charge. The state is appealing the dismissal.

read ... About someone who will be out soon

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar would ship molasses directly from Maui to Mainland

SA: HC&S runs the state's last surviving sugar mill and sells molasses — a byproduct of sugar-refining — as a cattle feed additive on the mainland. It produced about 50,500 tons of the viscous liquid in 2012, and that's far more than could be consumed in Hawaii in a year alone, company officials say.

However, Matson's molasses shipments stopped last week when 233,000 gallons of the syrupy product spilled from a faulty pipe into Hono­lulu Harbor....

HC&S runs the state's last surviving sugar mill and sells molasses — a byproduct of sugar-refining — as a cattle feed additive on the mainland. It produced about 50,500 tons of the viscous liquid in 2012, and that's far more than could be consumed in Hawaii in a year alone, company officials say.

However, Matson's molasses shipments stopped last week when 233,000 gallons of the syrupy product spilled from a faulty pipe into Hono­lulu Harbor, killing hundreds of coral heads so far and prompting cleanup crews to collect some 26,000 dead fish and other marine life from the harbor and around Keehi Lagoon. Matson has claimed responsibility for the disaster and continues to investigate exactly how the leak occurred.

"HC&S needs to ship its molasses off island," HC&S General Manager Rick Volner said in a statement Wednesday. "If Matson is not able to resume its molasses operations at Sand Island, and HC&S' Maui storage capacity is fully consumed, HC&S will seek to ship molasses directly out of Kahu­lui, bypassing Hono­lulu."

Matson moves the molasses from Maui to Hono­lulu by barge, where it's stored in two 10,500-ton capacity tanks at Sand Island. It's the only company to ship molasses from Hawaii in bulk.

Before the spill it exported as much as 2,000 tons of the heavy liquid each week to Oakland, Calif.

B: Hawaii's Massive Molasses Spill Could End a Sweet Export Trade

read ... Not the Same Company Any More

Feds Delay Final Coral Rule in Hawaii

CB: Commercial fishermen got some breathing room Thursday after the federal government decided to delay its decision on how to protect 66 species of coral.

The National Marine Fisheries Service’s final rule, now due June 7, is expected to establish ways to minimize harm from water and air pollution, commercial fishing and coastal construction, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

The nonprofit threatened to sue last year if the feds ignored its petition (typical 'sue and settle' scheme) to have the corals listed as endangered and threatened species, many of which live in Hawaii waters.

read ... Fishing

KSBE Undermines Buyer for no Particular Reason

WHT: More than a year before Towne Development of Hawaii Inc. submitted a draft environmental assessment for a proposed condominium project above Kahaluu Bay, Kamehameha Investment Corp. officials tried to stop it from happening.

Thomas Yeh, an attorney representing KIC, wrote to former Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd in March 2012 asking the department to rule that the property, owned by KIC but under contract for sale to Oahu-based Towne Development of Hawaii Inc., was not an appropriate location for time-share units. Yeh based his argument on the county’s Land Use Pattern Allocation Guide, which he said designated the land as low and medium density urban, which does not allow time-share unit development.

Yeh noted a May 2011 letter from the planning department, which indicated the property, mauka of Alii Drive and makai of the proposed Alii Parkway corridor, was actually in the county General Plan’s Keauhou Resort Node. Being in the resort node would allow time-shares, Yeh wrote, but to say the land, referred to in planning documents as Parcel 26, was in that node was effectively moving the resort area’s boundary north by about 3,000 feet, more than half a mile.

Yeh wrote a second letter days later withdrawing the request, but Leithead Todd, at the urging of Towne Development’s consultant, responded anyway, affirming the county’s belief that time-shares are an acceptable developmental use of the land.

read ... Kahaluu proposal fueling cultural concerns

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