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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
February 25, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:14 PM :: 4218 Views

Kanoho Helm Debunks 'Developer-Driven' Big Cable Scheme

Senate Minimum Wage Bill Will Fail Hawaii's Low-Wage Earners

Hawaii Charter School Law: Measuring up to the Model?

Union Contractors to get Exclusive Deal on NAVFAC Project at Hawaii Marine Corps Base?

Can they get up? HI Legislature to fund coordinator to help seniors avoid falls

DBEDT Reduces Projected Growth Rate

Abercrombie Releases $62.4M in DoE CIP

Poll: Schatz - Hanabusa Tied 40% Each

CB: Just five months before the first votes are cast, likely Democratic primary voters are evenly split on who to support for the U.S. Senate.

A new Civil Beat Poll shows U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa with 40 percent each. Another 20 percent are not sure who they'll vote for.

This is the third time Civil Beat has polled the Schatz-Hanabusa matchup in eight months, and there has been very little movement in either direction for either candidate....

When Civil Beat reported on the matchup last July, Schatz led 36 percent to 33 percent. A second poll story in October had Schatz up 38 percent to 36 percent....

Schatz, who is white, does best with Caucasian voters, and poorest with Filipinos....

Hanabusa, who is Japanese-American, does best among Japanese voters and Hawaiians. ...

read ... Poll — Hawaii's U.S. Senate Race In 'Holding Pattern'

Disrespectful Schatz Hasn't Earned it

WaPo:  ...Half the Republican senators running for reelection have drawn primary challengers this year. But Schatz is the only Democratic senator facing a serious primary threat. Riding on the outcome of his race: The future of the state's Democratic establishment, which is torn between competing factions.

Schatz is a close ally of of Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) and a representative of a younger, whiter, liberal wing of the state Democratic Party. Hanabusa was very tight with the late-Sen. Daniel Inouye (D), dean of the old guard, whose 2012 deathbed wish was that Abercrombie appoint Hanabusa to replace him....

"The one thing people really emphasize here in Hawaii is you've got to earn it," Hanabusa said in an interview Tuesday, adding, "you also don't disrespect your Kupuna, your seniors."....

Another is the ethnic divide between Hawaii Democrats. Hanabusa, like Inouye, is an American of Japanese ancestry. Schatz and Abercrombie are white.

But the most sensitive topic in the contest is Inouye's dying request. Abercrombie's selection of Schatz, then his lieutenant governor, was seen by the late senator's loyalists as an insult to the man long-regarded as political royalty -- an insult worthy of a primary challenge....

Another challenge facing the senator: The lingering unpopularity of his biggest supporter, Abercrombie, who faces a primary challenger of his own from state Sen. David Ige (D). Polls show Abercrombie could be vulnerable....

Clashes with the state teachers union and his initial support for a state entity to develop public lands (he later repealed it) have appeared to contribute to the governor's image woes.

"I think those two things gave people the impression that there was some mismanagement," said Moore.

read ... The best primary in the country is happening in paradise

Hirono: Proposed military cuts are 'Good News'

HNN: Hagel hasn't revealed exactly which installations will be affected, but the worry in Wahiawa is that Schofield will lose troops. Aloha Scuba co-owner Mark Kantelis said three-fourths of his sales are from soldiers.

"They rent equipment, learn to dive, buy equipment and get it serviced," he said.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said she will review the proposal to "ensure that we are maintaining a force that is flexible and adaptive, able to address the threats we face today, but also a force that fits strategically with where we would like to be as a nation in the future."

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono believes the plan is better than what the military could have faced under sequestration.

"The good news for our forces in Hawaii is that this budget recognizes the rebalance to Asia and the Pacific Region. For the Navy, this includes the buying and building of new ships, including two Virginia Class submarines, per year," she said.

But U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said "the sheer magnitude of the end-strength reductions and other tough choices announced today come at the cost of military personnel and readiness."...

The Pentagon presents its plan to Congress next week.

2011: Military Spending: In pursuit of Ideology, Hirono Votes Against 18% of Hawaii Economy

read ... No Dan to Save Us

Abercrombie Holding $2500/head Fundraiser in DC

PR: Gov. Neil Abercrombie has a fundraiser for his re-election campaign Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.

The suggested donation for the event is $1,000 to $2,500.

read ... Buying Influence

Hanohano, under siege, has talking-to

SA: Hanohano, who had postponed two previously scheduled meetings with House leaders last week, spoke with House Speaker Joseph Souki, House Vice Speaker John Mizuno, House Majority Leader Scott Saiki and others for about a half-hour. Rep. Marcus Oshiro accompanied Hano­hano in what he described as "moral support."

Sources familiar with the discussion said Hano­hano was not contrite or remorseful about her behavior. The Hawaii island representative, sources say, insisted that she has been mischaracterized and taken out of context by critics who have accused her of being abusive, racially discriminatory and inappropriate at committee hearings....

Last week House leaders said privately that they had taken suspension and expulsion off the table as options against Hano­hano. The more likely scenarios involve an apology, her removal as committee chairwoman or censure.

Hanohano apologized last year after she made ethnic and racial remarks in front of exhibit specialists who were installing art in her office as part of the "Art in Public Places" program....

read ... Under Siege

Hospitals, Airports, 5th Floor: State Funding Emergency Festers

Borreca: Welcome to the abyss, where state problems live and fester without the money to solve them.

So far during this regular legislative session, Abercrombie has sent down $30.3 million in special emergency requests.

During the 2013 special session, Abercrombie asked for a $7.3 million emergency appropriation to fund the state hospitals on Kauai, because as the legislation said: "Without stopgap funding, the Kauai regional health care system will not be able to sustain operations through the start of the regular session of 2014, thereby placing the health care of Kauai's residents and visitors in jeopardy."

Stopgap means the wound will reopen, and it has. The hospital system, via Abercrombie, now says it needs $18 million more and that is just to continue to pay the staff, continue paying for Kauai and make up for the Medicare reimbursements that were cut.

"The consequence of not receiving this emergency appropriation is that six of HHSC's 12 facilities will run out of funds to pay payroll and accounts payable before the end of fiscal year 2014, some as soon as May 2014," Alice M. Hall, acting president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp., said in legislative testimony.

There is also a $7 million request from the airports division because no one ever added up all the costs involved in a new baggage system that moves checked and screened luggage from the ticket counters....

...(Said) one Democratic lawmaker, who didn't want to go on the record so he could speak freely: "The good side is that it shows a flexible system that can react to unforeseen problems," he said. "The bad side is that the requests reflect problem areas that are massive in scope and ongoing. They show that the state is poorly equipped to handle these continuing problems."

...And, oh, by the way, the governor has a special emergency request for his own office. Abercrombie wants $132,000 to pay for his dues to the National Governors Association and vacation payouts for people who have left his staff in the last three years.

read ... Always an Emergency

Honolulu Electric Bill Jumps to $91.8M

KITV: In just the past two fiscal years, Honolulu's energy costs have increased 20 percent, from $76.4 million in 2011 to 91.8 million in 2013, a difference of $15.4 million. Currently, the cost of energy ranks 10th in the city's budget for non-discretionary spending, while labor costs rank first. 

Despite using 9.9 million kilowatt hours less of electricity in 2013 compared to 2011, the city's electrical costs rose $12.1 million, mostly due to climbing electrical rates. And although the current price of regular unleaded gasoline is 15 cents less per gallon than it was in 2011, the city used nearly 300,000 gallons more in fiscal year 2013....

Caldwell will propose creating a public-private partnership to change 45,000 to 50,000 street lights on Oahu from sodium-vapor lamps to LED lamps, which cost more but use 40 percent less energy.

TEC: Hawaii's High Prices Push 'Green' Energy

read ... $91.8M

Failed California Anti-GMO Initiative Backers Conspire to Impose themselves on Maui

CB: Monday’s kick-off event was sponsored by a local nonprofit called the SHAKA Movement, which started just a few months ago. The event will feature Don Huber, a controversial plant pathologist who is lauded by some as a GMO expert and criticized by others as promoting misinformation.

Sheehan said Huber’s trip to Hawaii was sponsored by Lori Grace, a California resident professional activist who unfortunately owns property in Hawaii. The group decided to propose the ballot initiative, he said, after it conducted a poll that found that more than half of Maui County residents would be in favor of a temporary moratorium on genetically engineered farming until it can be proven safe.  (They were also behind the failed GMO labeling initiative in California.  That's right, even Californians are too intelligent to fall for anti-GMO fraudsters.)

The poll was conducted by Lake Research Partners, a Washington, D.C.-based company that has worked with the Center for Food Safety, a national organization that advocates against genetically modified food.

read ... Mainland Losers Come to Hawaii

Federally funded sex ed program teaches Hawaii middle schoolers that butts are genitals

DC: A member of Hawaii’s House of Representatives is criticizing an ambitious, federally funded sex education program currently in use in 12 of the state’s public schools.

The pilot curriculum, called “Pono Choices,” targets 11- to 13-year-old students. (“Pono” is a Hawaiian word that basically means “good” or “moral.”) Its creators include the University of Hawaii and, of course, Planned Parenthood.

Rep. Bob McDermott, a Hawaii Republican, claims that the curriculum is “not age appropriate and not consistent with state policy” for a slew of reasons, reports EAGnews.org.

read ... The Daily Caller

CD1 Candidates Argue over how to Raise Taxes

KHON: “One of the first things I would do would be to end tax breaks for big oil companies,” said activist Kathryn Xian. Xian is the only candidate not currently in political office.

“The very first thing I would do would be to make sure the federal government pays what they promised to pay to every single state in the areas of education and seniors,” said State Rep. Mark Takai.

“I would work toward closing loopholes that benefit corporations who are getting tax breaks,” said Honolulu City Council member Joey Manahan.

LINK: Video of Forum

KITV: Candidates for 1st congressional seat debate face to face at forum

read .. Tax Hikes Coming

Minimum Wage to Boost Hawaii's Already-High Labor Costs

KGI: House Bill 2580 is scheduled at 2 p.m. today in the House Finance Committee. This is the second hearing on the bill. If it passes, the bill goes for a full floor vote in the House.

The bill will raise the minimum wage, $7.25, by 75 cents for the next three years. Thereafter, it ties the increase to the Consumer Price Index, which means the wage will automatically increase each year. It also repeals the tip credit.

Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, said raising the minimum wage will negatively impact business, increasing labor costs.

She noted that Hawaii is the only state that mandates employers to provide health care to its employees, including part-time.

“An increase will also increase mandated benefit costs and taxes, as they are all based on wage,” she wrote. “With the large increases in minimum wage being proposed, some businesses may have to cut back hours, reduce benefits or limit hiring of new employees – all unintended consequences which does not even take into account any economic slowdown.”

read ... SB2580

Legislators Use Lobbing Rules to Harass Pro-Family Activists

CB: Senate Bill 2634 would make it mandatory to categorize each expenditure by dollar amount and describe its nature and purpose. The bill is expected to clear the Judiciary and Labor Committee, chaired by Sen. Clayton Hee, Tuesday and move on to a vote before the full Senate.

A separate bill, which the same committee passed after making a few changes to it Monday, aims to make lobbying disclosure reports available in a more timely manner — particularly after a special legislative session.

The issue arose out of the two-week special session last fall to legalize gay marriage.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent lobbying lawmakers, but the public couldn’t see who was spending the money or how it was being used until January, two months after the special session ended.

Senate Bill 2629, as amended, would require lobbyists to submit their disclosure reports within 30 days of the end of a special session.

The original bill, introduced by Sen. Les Ihara, would have made the reports due within 10 days but there were concerns over lobbyists’ ability to comply on that tight a deadline.

The National Organization for Marriage spent $118,969 supporting gay marriage, mostly on media advertising, according to the expense report it filed Jan. 30.

Hawaii Family Advocates spent $23,317 lobbying against the legislation, according to its amended report filed Feb. 12.

The group’s president, Honolulu attorney James Hochberg, was the only person to oppose SB 2629 Monday.

He told lawmakers that passing the bill would be a “burden” on people who take an interest in the Legislature.

read ... Anything to push the gay agenda

Full Text: Judge releases documents in Deedy murder case

SA: The closed proceedings on Aug. 26 dealt with the jury foreman's concern that he saw a juror shaking hands with someone who would sit in the courtroom gallery with one of  two families.

Deedy's family sat on one side of the gallery, while the family of Kollin Elderts, the man Deedy shot, was on the other side.

The juror, however, said he used to work with the person seven years ago and it didn't affect his judgment.

The transcript was redacted to keep confidential the names of the foreman and the juror and which family the person was sitting with.

Link:  Order RE Motion to Unseal Transcript

read ... Deedy

NFL may move Pro Bowl to Arizona

SA: Amid reports that the NFL is said to be "strongly considering" Arizona as the site for the 2015 Pro Bowl, a league spokesman said "no decision" has yet been made.

Hawaii's Pro Bowl contract with the NFL ended with the Jan. 26, 2014 game and the league has said it might consider a rotation of the game among Hawaii and its Super Bowl sites.

The 2015 Super Bowl is scheduled for Glendale, Ariz.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported the NFL was "strongly considering" the Pro Bowl for Jan. 25, 2015, a week before the Feb 1, 2015 Super Bowl.

(The rest of this article is about gays or something, but oddly does not mention Abercrombie's proposal for a gay marriage fashion show....)

read ... Thanks a lot, Neil

More rail transit traffic woes in store for Oahu drivers

KHON: It’ll be years before rail transit is up and running in Honolulu, but some are already fed up with the headaches of the rail construction project.

For months, residents and motorists passing through Pearl City have had to deal with road closures along Kamehameha Hwy. Lanes in both directions have been closed while crews do preliminary work on what will be the future rail route.

read ... More rail transit traffic woes in store for Oahu drivers

'Car To Go' Isn't Here Yet, But Legislators Scheme to Tax it

PBN: The Hawaii Legislature is considering how much it should tax a car-sharing company in anticipation of car2go’s plans to bring a fleet of up to 200 vehicles to Honolulu.

The company, car2go, revealed details about its plans in written testimony to the Legislature for Senate Bill 2731, which would place a surcharge tax on the vehicles.

A subsidiary of Daimler, car2go is the “world’s first free-floating car service” and operates in 13 U.S. cities, said Michael Mikos, car2go’s director of strategic development.

Members of the service pay a $35 annual fee, then can rent a car for 41 cents per minute, $14.99 per hour and $84.99 per day.

Mikos suggests the Legislature sets the tax surcharge at an annual fee of $30 per car, or $2.50 per month.

read ... If it moves, Tax it

13 Security Breaches in 7 years at Unprotected Iolani Palace

CB: In the last seven years there have been 13 security breaches at the palace or on the palace grounds. Some of the incidents have resulted in the destruction of irreplaceable treasures....

In the latest incident at Iolani Place on February 8, suspect Drew Puamaeʻole Paʻahao told police she had kicked in a palace window to break into the palace with her boyfriend, Koa Alii Keaulana because it was “my house.”

Two days later, Paʻahao, 21, proudly posted her police arrest mug shot on her Facebook page....Both Keaulana and the 30 year-old Paʻahao have prior criminal convictions....

On August 15, 2008, Maui resident James Kimo Akahi and 22 followers locked the Iolani Palace gates and took over the Palace grounds. Akahi called himself “The King of Hawaii.”  Court records showed Akahi had 20 prior criminal convictions.....

LINK: Timeline of Iolani Palace Incidents

HNN: Iolani Palace could have new law enforcement help after break-in

read ... 13 Security Breaches in 7 years at Unprotected Iolani Palace

SB72: Even More Excuses to Let Murderers and Rapists out of Prison Early

SA: A bill Hawaii lawmakers are considering would give prisoners suffering from dementia or other grave impairments the chance to ask for early release. Even if that bill (SB 72) does not become law, the Hawaii Paroling Authority and the Department of Public Safety are moving to include more illnesses among those that qualify inmates for possible early release.

Inmates who are "too cognitively impaired and/or functionally compromised" to threaten public safety upon release will be allowed to petition the Department of Public Safety for a parole hearing under the new rules.

The changes widen current regulations that allow early parole hearings for inmates who are terminally ill. They could take effect later this year, said Tommy Johnson, a Hawaii parole administrator....

Johnson told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday that during the past two years the 23 inmates who qualified for early medical release ultimately were all paroled....

Once a terminally ill inmate is released, Johnson said, parole terms may accommodate that inmate's condition. For instance, a parole officer may visit such a person at home or at a hospital rather than insist the inmate check in at an office for drug testing.

AP: California Releases 1,400 Murderers, Rapists, Kidnappers

read ... Hawaii weighs paroling more terminally ill inmates

Alleged Manoa Harasser Released, Supposed to be in Drug Treatment

KHON: ...“Your honor, at this time Mr. Fazzari would be entering a plea of not guilty to the charge.  And I’m asking the matter be set for trial. We are asking for Mr. Fazzari’s release in the interim, noting the recommendation is for supervised release.  Mr. Fazzari is both a full-time employee at Domino’s Pizza and is a full-time student at Kapiolani Community College, so we’re asking for his release in the interim,” said the public defender.

The prosecution requested Fazzari undergo substance abuse assessment and treatment, saying the reason for that is: “The officers, while they were doing the investigation, were in contact with Mr. Fazzari’s mother, who did represent he was supposed to be in drug treatment.”

The judge granted court-supervised release, but also told Fazzari: “You must stay away from Manoa Valley District Park.  Is that understood?”  Fazzari replied: “Yes ma’am.”....

read ... Drug Treatment

Star-Adv: Troubled youth need treatment, not a prison bed

SA: House Bill 2489, which would appropriate funding for substance-abuse and mental-health treatment programs proven to help reduce juvenile delinquency. The funding would go to Family Court and the Office of Youth Services, a division of the state Department of Human Services. Money saved by reducing the number of teenagers confined at the 56-bed Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF) — where each bed costs a whopping $199,320 a year — also would be redirected to treatment programs. The sore lack of intensive treatment programs for adolescents and teenagers in Hawaii, especially on the neighbor islands, means that many juveniles better suited for a less restrictive environment end up at HYCF in Windward Oahu.

» House Bill 2490, which would require that every youth who enters the juvenile justice system undergo a "risk and needs assessment" and be referred for appropriate treatment as warranted. This would allow Family Court to divert status offenders, such as truants, into an administrative system. Probation officers would have the authority to impose swift, consistent penalties for bad behavior, and rewards for positive changes. This valuable alternative recognizes how important it is to divert kids who clearly have the potential to clean up their lives off the track that leads to jail and a permanent criminal record.

» House Bill 2116, which would abolish sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole for minors. Although this change would affect only four current prisoners, according to lawmakers, it is important to codify as a signal that Hawaii is in step with the U.S. Supreme Court, which has invalidated exceptionally harsh sentences for minors in recent years. This bill recognizes that rehabilitation remains the ultimate goal, and is an achievable goal in many cases. Especially for youthful offenders, we should not consider redemption out of reach.

read ... Trouble

Mainland Quacks Seek to Retake Control of Hawaii Medicated Marijuana Business

HB2092, A bill that removes the provision restricting marijuana recommendations to only a patient's "primary care physician" from the medical marijuana law, will be heard in the House Health committee on Wednesday! As the Senate bill to fix this provision has been saddled with a problematic definition of "primary care physician," this bill is even more the correct way to solve the problem. The bill will be heard Wednesday, February 26 at 10:00AM in Conference Room 329. Please submit testimony on this bill! We need to show a groundswell of support so that legislators will see that they need to put control over recommendations back where it belongs: in the hands of doctors! Click here for some talking points. Click here to submit your testimony.

SB2270: Sue Your Neighbor for Zoning Violations

WHT: A bill clarifying property owners’ right to take their neighbors to court over violations of zoning code restrictions passed through the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee Monday morning.

Senate Bill 2270 passed with amendments, according to the state Legislature’s bill tracking page. A phone message and email left with Committee Chairman Clayton Hee’s office seeking information about the amendments were not returned as off press time Monday.

Sen. Laura Thielen, D-Kailua, introduced the measure, which came after constituents approached her with concerns about an Intermediate Court of Appeals ruling last year regarding an Oahu case. In that ruling, Thielen said, the court said property owners needed to go through their respective county’s Planning Department to complain about property owners using their property in ways not permitted by the zoning code.

That might be something like using agriculture-zoned land for a wedding chapel, an unpermitted trucking business or a vacation rental, Thielen said.

read ... Sue Your Neighbor

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