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Monday, February 17, 2014
February 17, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:52 PM :: 3430 Views

GMO Labeling Could Add $800/yr to Hawaii Grocery Bills

Honolulu: Highest Taxes in USA for Low Income Residents, 9th Lowest for High Income Residents

Quid pro Quo? HSTA Endorses Ige for Governor

Ige: Polls, Endorsements Show Momentum

Stung by Star-Adv Poll, Schatz Releases his Own Numbers

National Republicans Meet With Grassroots Volunteers in Hawaii

Supreme Court: Damage To Unique Property Subject To Unique Rules

Poll: Aiona 48% - Abercrombie 40%

HNN:  Hundreds of registered voters were asked if the election were held for Governor today, who would you vote for in the Democratic primary? 47% said incumbent Neil Abercrombie while 38% chose State Senator David Ige. 14% were undecided with a 4% margin of error....

However the poll shows Republican Duke Aiona leads Neil Abercrombie in a head-to-head matchup 48 to 40 percent.

"I'm a little shocked, but very encouraged by these numbers" said Aiona. "I think what this is is confirmation that the people of Hawaii are just not happy with the way things are right now."

45% polled have an unfavorable opinion of Neil Abercrombie. 45% have a favorable view. In this race Duke Aiona has the highest approval rating at 58%. David Ige polled 30% favorable, but 38% have never heard of him....

Aiona enjoys a 51 to 34% edge over David Ige.

A wildcard is Mufi Hannemann. The poll asked  if Hannemann runs for Governor as Independent, are you likely to consider voting for him? 39% answered yes, 57% said no. Hannemann sees the results as a viable indication he could win a three-way race.

Hannemann responded to the poll by phone, saying "the fact that 4 out of 10 would pull a ballot for me in a 3 way race, we get 40 percent of the vote." ....

(Translation: Mufi can still save Neil by launching a three-way race and splitting the vote.)

SA: Aiona led both Abercrombie and Ige 

"To me what it is is a confirmation that the people of Hawaii are just not happy with what's going on with the administration," Aiona said.

Aiona discounted the idea that the poll results were merely a protest against Abercrombie.

"I say it's what you call voter remorse," he said.

SA: Teachers union backs Ige over Abercrombie for governor

Hawaii Poll Tables:

read ... Aiona tops Abercrombie

Nobody Wants Obamacare: 60% say Changes Needed, 24% want Repeal

SA: The Hawaii Poll conducted by Ward Research Inc. for the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now found 60 percent of residents agreed with the statement, "There are some good things in the law, but some changes are needed." Twelve percent said the law is working well and should be kept in place as is.

On the flip side, 24 percent of those surveyed believe the law has so much wrong with it that it needs to be repealed altogether, and 5 percent didn't know or refused to answer.

12% said the law is working well and should be kept as-is.  (A similar percentage believe that Elvis is still alive.)

LINK: Poll Readout

read ... An article titled, "Health care law garners wide support in isles", LOL!

Caldwell Approval 72% to 19%

SA: Seventy-two percent of Oahu voters feel Mayor Kirk Caldwell did a good job in his first year in office, according to a recent Hawaii Poll.

While that may seem high for a politician, that's been the case for the past three mayors, said Rebecca Ward, president of Ward Research Inc., which did the poll for the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now.

Peter Carlisle had an approval rating in the 60s, and before him Mufi Hannemann received a 72 percent approval rating.

She said mayors have the advantage of tackling concrete issues, such as potholes, that can put them in a positive light, while governors, for example, often deal with controversial issues, such as same-sex marriage and education.

"It's just a different arena they play in," Ward said. "Which is not to say a mayor couldn't fail horribly and have an approval rating below 50 or 40, but we haven't seen it in a while."

Nineteen percent of the 484 Oahu voters polled disapproved of Caldwell's performance, and 9 percent had no opinion or refused to answer.

read ... Approval?

Star-Advertiser: Caldwell's Garbage tax Goes too Far

SA Editorial: Although many will cry foul at what they consider a property-tax hike disguised as a user fee, Mayor Kirk Caldwell's core proposal has potential. The City Council, which will take up Bill 9 for the first time on Wednesday, should seriously consider the measure as it seeks answers to key questions.

The business-level fees proposed for nonprofit organizations are sure to generate opposition; a careful assessment of how much these groups should contribute is required.

The nonprofits covered by the bill include religious organizations, private schools and other groups of varying means and missions — some of which offset social-service costs otherwise borne by government agencies. While some fee is warranted, treating them the same as for-profit businesses could go too far.

read ... Trash pickup fee could make sense

Lingle chief of staff returns as consultant to Honolulu City Council Chair

ILind: Remember Bob Awana, Gov. Linda Lingle’s former chief of staff (and state administrative director) who resigned under a cloud back in 2007 after becoming enmeshed in a strange extortion plot tracing back to allegations of “sexual exploitation” during a trip to the Philippines with a state delegation? Awana was mentioned here frequently while the case was unfolding....

Reports for the last six months of 2013 filed recently with the Campaign Spending Commission show Awana was hired as a consultant by Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin’s campaign.

Martin’s campaign paid Resource Partners Hawaii, LLC, controlled by Awana, a “consulting fee” of $20,750 on October 6, 2013, commission records show....

Resource Partners Hawaii was also reimbursed for several expenses incurred on behalf of Ben Cayetano’s unsuccessful mayoral campaign in 2012....

In addition, the company is listed as contributing a total of $3,890.56 to the Cayetano campaign, and $4,000 to Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi....

read ... Bob Awana is Back

The Perfect Storm: Tsunami of Forces Threatening HECO

IM: In the 1980s Ma Bell (AT&T) was broken up.

The U.S. telecommunications industry underwent a revolution that swept away a hundred years of continuity.

Companies formed, died and re-emerged.

Transformational technological breakthroughs occurred. Cell phones replaced land lines.

A year ago the Edison Electric Institute published “Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business.”

The Edison Electric Institute is the national trade association of electric utilities....

If you were planning Hawaii’s future what would you do?

The Governor’s solution is to saddle the utility with a multi-billion dollar inter-island network of undersea high voltage transmission cables.

read ... The Perfect Storm: Tsunami of Forces Threatening HECO

Don't let privacy fears ground Hawaii's well-established hobby aircraft community

SA: The remote control hobby is often a family pastime and allows citizens from all lifestyles to learn about the aircraft hobby in a congenial atmosphere. Additionally, as the technology has developed and the price of entry into the hobby has come down, a new wave of hobbyists have begun to explore the fantastic possibilities of remote control flight.

Unfortunately, this hobby is in danger. Legislators and regulators contemplating the future of remote control aviation are unaware or have turned a blind eye to the significant number of their constituents already flying hobby aircraft. Hawaii alone has eight remote control flight clubs, yet legislators here still introduce bills like Senate Bill 783, which would prohibit the use of hobby aircraft by Hawaii's hobbyists.

The bill seeks to ensure the privacy of residents of Hawaii from aerial eavesdropping unless there is an emergency. This is a laudable goal, and RCFLI agrees that privacy from aerial photography is important. However, the bill's mechanism to preserve privacy is a blanket ban on all remote control flight.

And SB 783 is not alone. Numerous jurisdictions are considering similar measures that could affect hobby aircraft.

A threshold question many legislatures, including Hawaii's, are failing to ask is whether there are already laws on the books to protect citizen privacy from aerial snooping.

Hawaii has a "Peeping Tom" law, Hawaii Revised Statutes 711-1111 (Violation of Privacy in the Second Degree), that could be used to punish illicit aerial surveillance as a second-degree misdemeanor. Supplementing a sufficient existing law with a draconian ban on a wide swath of conduct is destructive and legislative overkill.

If after a diligent review of existing law legislators are still unsatisfied, RCFLI asks that they consider a more holistic approach; it is possible to balance the privacy and safety of citizens with hobbyists' right to fly remote control aircraft. The hobby community has been operating in this manner for decades and welcomes the discussion.

A legislative ban of all remote control flight that protects your privacy but prohibits the flying of hobby aircraft by Hawaii's hobbyists is not a good law.

read ... Don't let privacy fears ground Hawaii's well-established hobby aircraft community

Getting the Right Balance on Drones

SA: The right balance in privacy can be found in guidelines developed by the Aerospace States Association, an organization formed to promote a state-based perspective in federal aerospace policy. Guidelines are posted at events/uas-state-privacy-considerations.

Legislation that goes beyond these guidelines, such as proposals to limit the use or ownership of UAS, or statutes that require UAS registration with the state, will adversely impact Hawaii's economy, unduly limit the effectiveness of agencies charged with law enforcement, and saddle state officials with expensive and unnecessary regulatory responsibilities. The privacy and safety of the public can be protected by following the guidelines cited above, while preserving the legitimate prerogatives of law enforcement officials to discharge their responsibilities.

UAS integration into the air space will usher in an exciting future featuring new products, services, jobs and economic growth. Most important, Hawaii has an opportunity to lead.

read ... Hawaii Has Opportunity to Lead

New police cameras note license plates

SA: Honolulu police are testing a high-speed camera that captures thousands of license plates — and searches a database for information about vehicles and who might be behind the wheel.

The Honolulu Police Department installed the vehicle-mounted devices — called automated license plate readers — on three vehicles about two weeks ago, a department spokes­woman said. The devices are being used to identify stolen vehicles, she said.

HPD is working on a policy for the technology.

While it's new to Hono­lulu, law enforcement agencies around the country have been using it for years, arousing some concerns about privacy violations and prompting one Hawaii lawmaker to introduce a bill restricting the data to use by police only for a limited period of time.

In western New York the camera system helped local deputies solve a missing-child case in minutes in October....

Last month state Rep. Taka­shi Ohno (D, Nuu­anu-Li­liha-Alewa Heights) introduced House Bill 2154, which would restrict access to the license plate data to law enforcement only and require the data to be purged after one year....

read ... License Plate Scoop?

N Shore Residents Protest Ernie Martin's Bill 47

KHON: Officially, the bill is called the Ko’olau Loa Sustainable Communities Plan.... But it is still a work in progress.

Dozens gathered in the drizzling rain at Malaekahana State Park to stage a peaceful protest against what is commonly called Bill 47 (2013) in the Honolulu City Council. It would involve changes in zoning and planning for the North Shore community.

“Very controversial. I think the community is very divided on those issues. And I think on the council where we stand, we’re still taking in public testimony.” Honolulu Council Chair Ernie Martin said....

For a brief time today, Kamehameha Highway was shut down as protestors made a short trek to make their point.

They were joined by Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte....

“And what you would see is amendments being proposed to see if we can reconcile some of the issues that are being brought forth by the community on both sides.” Martin said.

read ... Controversy brews over future of Oahu’s North Shore

Marine families in Hawaii worry soil under base housing may be toxic

MCT: The concern about the health of Marines, their spouses and children at the Forest City military housing complex, a community of 2,300 homes aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, reignites a controversy, almost a decade old, about the quality of the soil underfoot and whether the Navy did enough to ensure the safety of the people living there.

Walter Chun, a safety officer assigned to a construction project completed there in 2006, alleges that the Navy Department ignored recommendations from Chun and the construction company to dispose of the top 18 inches of soil before building more than 200 duplexes. The soil contained too much chlordane, a commonly used pesticide that was banned in 1988, according to Chun, who led some of the initial testing of the soil.

Now, nearly eight years later, military families who moved into those duplexes have taken to Facebook to discuss new concerns....

read ... Toxic Soil?

House bill due for a floor vote would ban tobacco (but not marijuana) at UH

SA: The House Higher Education Committee has passed a bill that would snuff out smoking on all University of Hawaii premises even as UH officials are working to eliminate smoking on the Manoa campus.

House Bill 2077, forwarded Feb. 4 for a vote by the House, would place a ban on the use of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes at all facilities owned or operated by the university. The bill also calls for UH to require tobacco cessation programs for interested employees and to place signs prohibiting smoking....

Meanwhile: UHPA Files 'Prohibited Practice' Charges Against UH Administration

read ... But Not Marijuana

Legislative Motion:

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