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Friday, February 28, 2014
February 28, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:03 PM :: 2954 Views

Slom: Djou to Announce Congressional Campaign?

Judge Elwin Ahu Announces Campaign for Lt Governor

Grim scenario for Hawaii's Obamacare plan: The numbers don't add up

As Health Exchange Implodes, Abercrombie Releases ‘Transformation Plan’

UHERO: 2013 Hawaii Growth 'Disappointing', 2014 'Marked Down'

Residents in States With Troubled Exchanges Can Still Get Subsidies

Maui: Huber's Anti-GMO claims lack evidence

More questionable social engineering comes to Hawaii’s public schools

FACE Ad campaign pushes minimum wage hike

SB2487: Small Business Regulatory Review Board to be Abolished?

Fallen Marine Rafael Peralta's family accuses reporter of playing 'race card'

House Bill 14: Mandatory Kindergarten, Lowering Compulsory School Attendance Age to 5

Honolulu Firm Selected to Represent Kauai County in GMO Suit

HTA: Tourism Down 5th Month in a Row

DBEDT App Displays Demographics of Hawaii House, Senate Districts

Illegal Gambling Operators Give $20K to Clayton Hee Campaign

CB: On April 24, Hawaii Sen. Clayton Hee hosted a fundraiser at the Plaza Club atop a highrise in downtown Honolulu, where his guests could look out across the cityscape or gaze into the Pacific Ocean....

...nearly half the money Hee raised came from companies associated with sweepstakes gaming, which some law enforcement officials contend is a form of illegal gambling, although the issue is still up for debate.

Tracy Yoshimura owns one of the gaming machine companies, PJY Enterprises, that gave Hee $4,000 — the maximum contribution for a Senate candidate — during the fundraiser. Yoshimura also gave Hee another $1,000 as an individual donor.

“I like how the guy fights,” Yoshimura said of his support for Hee. “Sometimes he’ll go against what’s popular to stand up for what he believes.”

Yoshimura, who has had some of his sweepstakes machines seized by the police, helped organize opposition to House Bill 343 in last year’s session. That bill sought to make clear that sweepstakes machines were gambling devices.

Among those he pulled together to oppose the bill were individuals who worked for arcades, such as Winner’z Zone and Lucky Touch.

Hee’s committee took up HB 343, but ultimately deferred it on April 4, 2013 essentially killing the measure.

At Hee’s fundraiser three weeks later, many of the businesses that would have suffered had the bill passed gave money to Hee's campaign, more than $20,000.

read ... Bought and Paid For

Hee vs Fale: Same-sex marriage fight apparently not over yet

Borreca: Sen. Clayton Hee represents SD23. He won (reelection to) the seat in the 2012 election after beating a fairly weak GOP candidate, former Rep. Colleen Meyer, by a less-than-impressive 895 votes.

This year, Hee is opposed by GOP Rep. Richard Fale, a military veteran and the most outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage during the special session.

Hee was both the public face and the behind-the-scenes organizer for the special session. When the White House wanted to know how the session was going and if the votes would line up for passage, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett personally called Hee. When Gov. Neil Abercrombie decided on calling the special session, the first person he checked with was Hee.

There's been outrage within the community in regards to the way he has represented our community, especially recently, during the special session, Fale said of Hee during an interview with Star-Advertiser reporter Derrick DePledge.

The fight was expected, said Hee, who said it doesn't surprise me, given his absolute opposition to the measure; he was very animated.

Fale ran against Hee in 2008, in the old Senate district and lost. Hee had 62 percent of the vote and Fale just 30 percent.

The 23rd now has the mostly Mormon area of Laie as a large part of its voters base, and Fale, who is Mormon, has a much stronger chance....

During the special session, supporters of same-sex marriage were helped by more than a half-million dollars in political donations from the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and the New York-based Freedom to Marry advocacy group.

Har said that kind of political money is transitory and won't be around to help gay-marriage legislators this fall because they already got what they want.

I think the liberal progressives are worried; that is why they are fundraising like mad men and women, said Har.

Hee said his read of the 23rd District is that it is heavy with Greens who are pro-environment, slow- or no-growth supporters. He is confident that his political stances are strongly aligned with that, so the race will not be that much of a challenge.

Unmentioned is the fact that Hee also has a campaign treasury of more than $400,000.

If churches and other conservative lobbying groups are able to mount a big challenge, the conventional campaign wisdom gets a lot less conventional.

read ... Same-sex marriage fight apparently not over yet

Governor mum on PUC appointment

SA: When asked about Morita's status at a news conference Thursday, Abercrombie responded, "I intend to make sure that the appointment, whatever it is, and regardless of whatever commission or board, meets the goals and aspirations of the people of Hawaii. As for conversations in the Legislature, I'm sure the legislators here will avow that there are multiple conversations going on over multiple subjects."...

"It's unfortunate that the PUC is left with uncertainty at this critical time with so many important issues pending before it," Morita said in a text message. "My hope is the independence of the PUC is maintained for the public good."

The PUC twice rejected a request by Hawaii Electric Light Co. to buy biofuel for power generation from a Hawaii island company called Aina Koa Pono. The PUC said the biofuel was too costly for utility ratepayers. Abercrombie's campaign chairman, William Kaneko, is a former lobbyist for Aina Koa Pono.

read ... Morita didn't Support AKP

Kenoi: Signing GMO bill was to end ‘shouting’

WHT: From his perspective, he said, the question of growing GMOs isn’t a “fundamental” one for Hawaii County, although it is important.

More important, he said, was calming down the discussion and respecting the island’s farmers and ranchers, who will be allowed to continue to grow the products they already are growing.

“If I had vetoed that legislation, we’d still be shouting and yelling about GMO today,” Kenoi told attendees at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce’s focus luncheon at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. “We needed to quiet the yelling and shouting. We need to talk about how we support our farmers and ranchers.”

Since taking office in 2008, Kenoi said farmers have approached him about water needs, lack of land for growing crops and training more farmers. No farmer, he said, has proposed GMOs as a major problem for them.

That said, Kenoi said he doesn’t want to see “big agribusiness” companies coming to Hawaii Island. Referencing Kauai County, where a GMO debate has split the island and where big companies are growing seed crops, Kenoi said he doesn’t want to see seed crops grown here.

“We want food grown,” he said.

read ... Coward or Crook?

Kauai Idiots Protest Against Dairy farm

KGI: Representatives of Hawaii Dairy Farms spent Thursday evening laying out their plans for the $17.5 million, 582-acre dairy in Mahaulepu.

Many community members who attended the pair of informational meetings, however, came not just to listen but to voice concerns about the potentially negative impacts the business venture could have on the area.

“I think you now have an appreciation for how important and how sacred that area is for the people of this island,” Carl Berg, vice chairman of the Surfrider Foundation Kauai Chapter, told the company representatives toward the end of the meeting attended by 40 people at Kauai Community College. “There are few other places as pristine, and as so coveted to keep it pristine, as Mahaulepu.”

About 70 people attended a standing-room only meeting at the Koloa Neighborhood Center Thursday night hosted by the Koloa Community Association and Malama Mahaulepu.

At the entrance leading up to the neighborhood center on Weliweli Road, an SUV with a boogie board attached to the back window greeted meeting attendees. On the boogie board was a simple message, written in large, capitalized letters: “No Moo in Poi Poo.”...

The dairy has already purchased 880 cows, which are being cared for in Missouri until the company receives the proper permits and can begin shipping them over, likely in late summer, according to company spokeswoman Amy Hennessey.

When in operation, the dairy is expected to double the statewide local milk production with 3.7 million gallons per year.

As for jobs, the company expects to create 10 to 15 full-time positions, including milkers, calf raisers, breeders, maintenance, management and herdsman.

read ... About a bunch of blithering morons

To Placate Anti-GMO Hallucinations, SB2777 'Narrowed'

PR: Three state Senate committees on Thursday agreed to significantly narrow a bill meant to help farmers create retail options for their products on agricultural land.

The bill -- innocuously titled "Relating to Agriculture" -- could very well have been called "Relating to Misunderstandings."

Drafted by Howard Green, a lawyer and farmer who owns Green World Farms, the legislation was the latest proxy war between anti-GMO activists and farm interests.

Some anti-GMO activists mistakenly believed the bill was the work of biotechnology companies that want to undo county GMO and pesticide regulation laws. But Green, who said he had no interest in the GMO issue, drafted the bill so broadly that both the state Attorney General's office and the state Department of Agriculture warned that it would indeed preempt county authority to regulate agriculture.

The hearing produced what is becoming predictable theater....

read ... Narrowed

Star-Adv vs Hawaii: Military draw-down long overdue

SA: So far, however, the "pivot" discussion has occurred more in Washington think tanks than among budget officials sitting around conference tables, crunching real numbers.

That's been the observation of Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, commander of Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, according to a recent interview in Defense News.

"I would say that the resources have not followed the comment of re-balance into the Pacific," he was quoted as saying, adding that "sequestration and the cuts in defense make it actually incredibly hard to find places to pivot money to the Pacific."

Certainly this is all the more reason why the Pentagon should shield the Pacific region from further cuts, even as it proceeds with its rebalancing work.

Hawaii's businesses are understandably watching these developments with some alarm, positioning themselves to defend this state's cut of the Department of Defense spending. The stationing of large units, in all the armed forces, represents a critical element of the islands' economy. Our congressional delegation should keep advocating for a robust military presence here.

However, the bottom line is that Hagel and the rest of the administration are right....

read ... Military draw-down long overdue

Poll — Oahu Voters Don't Like Mufi

CB: ... a new Civil Beat Poll shows nearly 60 percent of Oahu voters have a negative impression of the former Honolulu mayor. Just 32 percent view him in a positive light.

Asked whether they would vote for Hannemann were he to run for political office this year, 28 percent said "very unlikely" and 20 percent said "somewhat unlikely."

The poll numbers are not all bad for Hannemann, who lost a race for governor in 2010 as a Democrat and a race for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District seat in 2012, also as a Democrat. On the plus side, 20 percent of voters surveyed said they were "very likely" to vote for him in 2014 and 23 percent "somewhat likely."

As has often been said of Hannemann, he can usually count on 30 percent of the vote or so in most elections....

PDF: Civil Beat February 2014 Honolulu

read ... Unpopular

Negotiations Over Hawaii Minimum Wage Go Down to the Wire

CB: Facing a key internal deadline Friday, state senators and representatives are trying to reach agreement on a minimum wage increase and tip credit.

A Senate committee on Thursday deferred decision making on its version of a wage hike until Friday morning — the second delay on a vote this week.

Senate Bill 2609, which calls for a $10.10 wage by 2017 and elimination of the tip credit, is scheduled for a vote at 9:05 a.m. Friday, the last day bills can be heard in order to advance.

Meanwhile, a House committee that indefinitely deferred decision making on its own wage legislation earlier this week decided on Thursday to act on the bill after all. The House waived 48-hour notification rules so that House Finance could vote on House Bill 2580, passing it unanimously.

HB 2609, which originally called for increasing the wage to $9.50 an hour by 2017 and eliminating the tip credit, has now been amended to raise the wage to $10 by 2018 and the credit to $1 by 2017.

read ... Minimum Wage

Waipahu First of Many to be Transformed for Rail TOD

CB: The first neighborhood development plan along the Honolulu rail line is making its way through the Honolulu City Council.

The Waipahu Neighborhood Transit-Oriented Development Plan was approved by the Committee on Zoning and Planning on Thursday and will now go out for a public hearing before further review by the full City Council.

The plan is one of 19 being developed along the Honolulu rail line

LINK: Waipahu Plan

read ... Neighborhoods Set To Be Transformed By Rail

Study Questions Benefits of 'Medical Home' Programs for Chronically Ill

WSJ: Health-policy experts often talk up the notion of a "patient-center medical home"—in which a medical practice actively manages patients' chronic conditions to improve their health and avoid hospitalizations—as the ideal model for transforming the U.S. health-care system.

But a study of one of the earliest and largest medical-home pilots found that after three years, patients' health improved in only 1 of 11 measures. There was no change in hospital or emergency-room use, and no significant cost savings.

"There are folks who believe the medical home is a proven intervention that doesn't even need to be tested or refined. Our findings will hopefully change those views," said Mark W. Friedberg, a researcher at RAND Corp. and lead author of the study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

read ... The Wall Street Journal

Senate Budget Committee Advances Four Key Education Bills

CB: SB2424 SD1: RELATING TO AIR CONDITIONING

SB3083 SD1: RELATING TO SCHOOL ATHLETICS.

SB2516 RELATING TO FACILITIES FUNDING FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS

SB2517 RELATING TO CHARTER SCHOOLS

BIVN: VIDEO: Senate bills investing in education pass committee

read ... Senate Budget Committee Advances Four Key Education Bills

SB894 would allow for a forced sale of Turtle Bay property

SA: Last year — the first of a two-year session — the Senate Judiciary and Labor and Ways and Means committees advanced a bill that directs the governor's administration to negotiate a purchase price for undeveloped portions of the Kahuku property but stripped the measure of controversial language referencing eminent domain.

The proposal prompted Turtle Bay Resort CEO Drew Stotesbury to ask Judiciary Chairman Clayton Hee to hold off on the measure in favor of timely negotiations.

"The developer is open to good faith negotiations with the state provided that these negotiations take place immediately and that negotiations terminate no later than Nov. 30, 2013," Stotesbury wrote in a letter sent to Hee in March. The letter also said, "If the parties are not able to negotiate a settlement, then I suspect SB (Senate Bill) 894 might proceed through the legislative process in the next session." ...

Stotesbury, in an email statement, said negotiations between the resort and Abercrombie's office, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, The Trust for Public Lands and the North Shore Community Land Trust are going well, and that he hopes talks can "continue uninterrupted until a resolution is achieved."

"I'm concerned that if Senate Bill 894 is revived, it will distract us from the greater, and historic, opportunity in front of us," he said.

read ... More Hee Games

Hawaii Supreme Court Takes Up Lawsuit Challenging Koa Ridge Project

CB: Two months ago, the Hawaii Supreme Court struck down the state Land Use Commission’s 2010 decision to approve the project, ruling that one member’s vote in favor of the project shouldn’t have counted.

But that decision hasn’t affected Castle and Cooke’s plans because the Land Use Commission approved the project again in 2012. The Honolulu City Council gave the development the go-ahead last November and the project is scheduled to break ground next year.

The Sierra Club, an environmental group, and state Sen. Clayton Hee are leading the fight against the project, contending that the Land Use Commission’s 2012 approval violates the state’s constitutional obligation to conserve and protect farmland.

The court’s decision in the case could have huge implications for land use in Hawaii.

read ... Koa Ridge Project Doomed

Next Steps for the Geothermal Request for Proposal

IM:  On February 21, 2014 the PUC appointed Independent Observer overseeing the Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) Geothermal Request for Proposal (RFP) sent a Memorandum to PUC staff.

Yesterday the PUC Chief Counsel Thomas C. Gorak sent a copy of the Memorandum to the Consumer Advocate and HELCO, the two parties in the regulatory proceedings.

Today the PUC posted Gorak’s letter and the Independent Observer’s Memorandum.

Geothermal bidders are not parties in the docket but are probably all on the email distribution list. Hence they first saw the letter and Memorandum today.

The content of the Memorandum focused on the next steps for HELCO.

Five hours before the Memorandum was posted, we wrote What is holding up Big Island Geothermal Development?  Our article came to the similar conclusions regarding the next step.

read ... Next Steps?

Prison Guard's Wife Gets Federal Prison Time

SA: Michelle Malufau was sentenced Thursday to 12 months and one day in federal prison.

A jury found her guilty in November of making false statements on documents and lying under oath in a 2011 bankruptcy proceeding.

Prosecutors say the Laie woman concealed assets including a North Sore Oahu home, a bank account and rental income while clearing more than $1 million of debt by filing for bankruptcy....

Her husband is a former guard at Halawa Correctional Facility accused in a federal racketeering indictment of taking bribes.

read ... Laie woman sentenced for bankruptcy fraud

DLNR Plan to Kill Owls, Egrets Blasted

WHT: The same DLNR gestapo, which threatens children for “removing” found shells at the beach, now wants to broaden its slaughter of the innocents to include useful nonnative owls and stately cattle egrets to “preserve” birds such as the palila that are unarguably threatened. House cats, ungulates, swine and parrots are to be joined by two more wild species in this holocaust to “preserve” birds that nobody ever sees, hears, or are certain to have their situation improved for long by this massive bloodletting. Is this the best solution that these scions of bureaucracy can come up with?

Evidently captive-breeding programs are too work-intensive for bureau biologists, who would rather shoot “invasive species” bravely from the air. Look forward to worrying about pets — and perhaps children — getting caught in federal traps when blasting lead fails to improve the environment. I reckon I’ll have to inform my potential visitors — most of them also animal lovers — not to visit us here unless they want to be treated to the spectacle of beautiful white cattle egrets being shot out of the sky or owls beaten to death as they try to roost for the day.

read ... DLNR another bureaucracy in need of accountability

Three Killed in Lanai Plane Crash

Legislative Motion:

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