Candidate Filing Opens Monday Feb. 3
Hawaii Republicans are active and working hard for a better Hawaii
LIUNA, UniteHere 'Bitterly Disappointed' With Obamacare
WaPo: Hanabusa is 4th Biggest Loser in Politics
Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted February 3, 2014
Today's Legislative Agenda
Secret Document: 'Decoupling' Costs Rate Payers $161 per Year
CB: Confidential financial estimates filed Friday by Hawaiian Electric Co. suggest electric bills for Hawaii residents are increasing much more than they were supposed to under a rate-structuring policy put in place nearly three years ago.
Oahu residents are currently paying about $95 extra a year because of the so-called decoupling policy. On Maui, residents are paying about $57 more a year and on the Big Island, customers are being charged an additional $26 a year.
On Molokai and Lanai, residents are paying about $38 extra a year.
The fees are expected to jump even more in June, according to HECO's projections.
Oahu residents are expected to be paying an additional $66 annually. ($95 + $66 = $161) The fee for Maui and Big Island residents is expected to jump by about $45 a year. And on Molokai and Lanai, residents are expected to be paying $29 more.
HECO's estimates are part of a review by the Hawaii Pubilc Utilities Commission into the consequences of the 2010 decision by the PUC to allow HECO to structure rates in a way that allows the for-profit utility to continue to turn a profit while encouraging customers to use less electricity.
read ... Hawaii Energy Policy Has Driven Up Electric Bills As HECO Maintains Profits
Usual Crooks, Cronies Top List of Abercrombie Max Donors
PR: Gov. Neil Abercrombie has brought in $3.8 million for his re-election campaign. Here is a look at the donors who have contributed the maximum $6,000 allowed under state campaign-finance law:
read ... Maximum Abercrombie
Stop Rail Suit will be heard Thursday
SA: ... Honolulutraffic.com, the group that is challenging the rail project and which includes former Gov. Ben Cayetano, did object in November. In the group’s response, Honolulutraffic.com called the transit officials’ follow-up studies of the “Beretania Tunnel Alternative” to UH-Manoa “arbitrary” and “capricious.”
“I think we did a very good job of rebutting the city’s claims,” Cliff Slater, chairman of Honolulutraffic.com, said Friday. “It’s going to be interesting to see what Tashima does.”
Officials with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation say they hope Tashima will expedite his ruling on the matter.
The project’s construction schedule could “slip” into delays if rail officials don’t get a favorable decision by roughly April, HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas said, because the order Tashima still has in place includes an injunction blocking most construction and property acquisition in the heart of Honolulu.
Tashima’s hearing will take place at 10 a.m. in U.S. District Court.
SA: Traffic delays and road closures to worsen as work progresses
read ... Thursday
Big Turnout for GOP Caucuses
HTH: Daryl Smith, chairman of the Hawaii County Republican Party, said he was highly optimistic for the coming year, and said he anticipates GOP candidates will enter their races with plenty of momentum — much of it based on their opposition to the gay marriage bill, which passed into law after a heated special session last year.
“We had our district caucuses in Hilo (Saturday), and I was really surprised at the turnout of the people who were against the gay marriage bill. None of them were registered Republicans, but the whole group was a strong Christian turnout that I haven’t ever seen before,” he said.
“You know, you look at the news and media coverage, and there were more people against it (the gay marriage legislation) than for it, so how did it ever make it through?”
read ... Candidate filing begins
Mental health cuts linked to violence
HNN: "It's clear to me that this could have been prevented, should have been prevented," his attorney Eric Seitz said.
The shooting is just the latest violent incident involving mentally ill child. And the teen's experiences have parallels to that of another Roosevelt High School student, who wound up committing suicide in 2011.
Last year, Seitz filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education and the Health Department on behalf of that teen, alleging that the state cut off the boy's intensive mental health services, contributed to his suicide.
And then there's the case of Tittleman Fauatea, who brutally killed a Waianae High School teacher in 2009. During his sentencing, Fauatea's lawyer Barry Sooalo said his client had a case file 800 pages thick that documented his life-long struggle with mental illnesses.
Mental health advocates said cut to children's mental health programs are a ticking time bomb that have already gone off several times.
Marya Grambs, executive director of the Mental Health America of Hawaii, said there are more than 12,000 children in Hawaii with serious mental problems, but there are only 43 hospital beds for them.
read ... Violence
Bill would open child abuse hearings
SA: Court hearings involving children whose parents are accused of neglect or abuse would be open to the public under a bill headed for a hearing Tuesday....
Senate Bill 2002 would allow public access to child protective proceedings and court records in Hawaii unless a party to the case can prove that an open hearing or releasing the records "would cause severe emotional distress to the child."
The legislation was introduced by state Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland (D, Downtown-Nuuanu- Liliha), chairwoman of the Human Services Committee, and will be considered at a 1 p.m. hearing.
Rufus Robinson, a retired Navy submariner, is pushing for its passage, along with a bill (SB 2003) that would give parents accused of mistreating their children written notice of their rights at the start of a Child Welfare Services investigation. He said his daughter was taken from him in 2000 based on false information.
"I was under Child Protective Services, and I had to fight my case all the way up to the 9th Circuit in order to get them to say that what they had done was not right," Robinson said. "It took 10 years out of my life. My case would have stopped in Family Court if it had been in open court."
Robinson is public affairs officer for Parents for Righteousness, a Waianae-based advocacy group for families involved in Child Welfare Services. His grown daughter and her children now live with him and his wife....
Family Court intends to oppose the bill that would open child abuse hearings to the public, according to Senior Judge R. Mark Browning.
read ... Child Abuse
Bill would allow undocumented residents to acquire driver’s license
KGI: The “Safe and Responsible Driver’s Act” was authored by West Oahu Sen. Will Espero. If passed, it would allow access to driver’s licenses for individuals who cannot show proof of citizenship, permanent residency, or non-immigrant aliens status....
The legislation does concern some groups.
The reply from the Hawaii Republican Party is that the proposal intending to improve road safety presents security issues that require careful study.
“Most undocumented workers are hard workers who contribute to our economy but national security concerns need to be considered,” said David Chang, HRP state chairman. “We have spent billions of dollars since 9/11 to secure our borders, yet we still have a major problem with illegal aliens in Hawaii and across our nation.”
At least three of the 9/11 hijackers had overstayed their visas and were illegal aliens at the time of the attacks, he said. Terrorists exploit America’s tradition of welcoming asylum seekers, students, tourists and business visitors.
The majority are here to pursue the American Dream, he added. But state-issued licenses and photo IDs can clear TSA security to board commercial aircraft.
“I am a second generation immigrant whose parents became citizens through lawful means,” he said. “These types of proposals can create an incentive for illegal immigration while making our homeland even less secure and more vulnerable to terrorism within our borders.”
read ... Undocumented
Fruitful Lessons From Papayas to Oranges
HP: Research suggests that scientists may be able to thwart citrus greening by inserting a gene from spinach plants into orange trees, providing the trees with a natural way to resist the bacteria. In its fundamentals, this is the same technique that worked for papayas.
This approach may represent the last, best hope for America's oranges. Testing is underway.
Not unlike some of the papaya growers, some orange growers are worried. They wonder if consumers will accept genetically modified oranges. Although we eat food with genetically modified ingredients every day, an ideological movement seeks to defame modern science.
read ... About Reality
Predictable: Kauai Activists begin Attacking Dairy Farm Proposal
KGI: ...have you seen the numbers of visitors Kauai has a year?
Watershed destruction is never a good sign. Is this development with no moral standing, environmentally unconscious, culturally contrary, and a grave concern to the rest of the world....
How much urine, fecal matter, antibiotics, by-washes, foreign chemical introductions and impairment to the air and natural resources from land to ocean does 1,800 head of free-grazing dairy cows make a day? How many more waters are they going to further divert and how many more water habitats are they going to change? How much increase to our population are they bringing in and how many immigrants will be brought in to work there? The impacts to region by workers’ housing and other natural resources? Conservation plan, cultural impact assessment, accountability and carbon and nitrate footprints?
The loi and ocean already kapu waters. Questions are mounted and the answers seem unacceptable for an island. It’s worse than trying to justify bringing your dogs to use the no flush, no pick-up bathroom on the native reefs and shoreline waters and beaches where native Hawaiians fish and their children play and native species live in — every day. Kudos to this generation of the educated.
Quick IQ Test: T or F? The author is a medicated marijuana patient.
read ... A Rant Which Displays the Full Irrationality of these Lunatics
SB2938 Calls For County Online Registration of Firearms
CB: Senate Bill 2938, introduced by Sen. Will Espero, would require each county to establish an online firearms registration process to be fully implemented by July 1, 2015.
read ... Bill Calls For County Online Registration of Firearms
Star-Adv: Use Solar, Batteries to cool schools
SA: ...lawmakers should use Senate Bill 2424 as a vehicle to spark innovative solutions to this problem. Having deferred Senate Bill 2559 — an expensive, ambitious proposal that would have mandated the installation of air conditioning in all Hawaii public schools by 2019, and which the Department of Education opposed — the Senate Education Committee advanced SB 2424, calling in part for the DOE to develop "a master strategy for cooling all public school facilities and conduct a comprehensive study that looks at estimated installation and maintenance costs."
The DOE insists that it already has such a strategy, and follows a priority list depending on the needs of the school and available funding. Twelve out of 255 campuses now have central air conditioning; five schools received it in the past 12 years. A separate measure in the House, HB 2596, would appropriate $25 million for the next three campuses on the list.
Clearly, gaining the necessary funding is an obstacle to quicker progress, but so is the behemoth statewide Department of Education, which by its very nature lacks the nimble, grassroots ingenuity that is called for here. Schools that want and need air conditioning should be encouraged to seek creative solutions that could be shared broadly if they work out well.
For example, solar energy technology is advancing so rapidly that some classrooms might be cooled much more cheaply than the DOE estimates, based on its conventional method of upgrading an old school's electrical system to withstand the heavier usage, insulating all the classrooms to ensure energy-efficiency and then installing central air.
Testimony to the Senate Education Committee cited an alternative that costs far less. It involves installing photovoltaic panels on the school roof, storing the collected energy in a battery and using that battery to power the air conditioning.
read ... Think creatively for cooler schools
Surfer girls, Philadelphia freedom and newbuilding finance
SG: Rumblings about US oil exports continue to provide background noise, with hints emerging from MARAD’s US Merchant Marine Symposium (held earlier this month) that a portion of such exports- if they happen, might be reserved for US built tonnage.
Observers of the Jones Act tanker fleet watch happenings in the US container business closely; Aker is one of two yards, the other being NASSCO in San Diego, that can build deepsea tankers for US coastal employment. Besides the OSG product tankers, it is also building two 115,000 dwt vessels for Seariver, Exxon Mobil’s Jones Act tanker affiliate, to be delivered in 2014.
read ... Sea Trade Global