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Wednesday, July 28, 2010
July 28, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:05 PM :: 6710 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

SA: A step forward for all Hawaiians (Eliminates one of the excuses for the Akaka Bill)

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has survived a serious challenge to its mission by native Hawaiians with 50 percent or more Hawaiian blood. A federal appeals court ruled this week that OHA is not constrained by the Admission Act from spending money for the benefit of all Hawaiians, regardless of blood quantum. 

(Actually the Court holds that the Admission Act PROTECTS the right of the State to create OHA.  Not stated by the Advertiser, this ruling ELIMINATES one of the key arguments for the Akaka Bill—that OHA needs to be protected from discrimination suits by being made part of a tribal jurisdiction.  For better or worse, the Court has held that OHA is protected by the Hawaii Admission Act.  This is a far superior form of protection than could be gained via any tribal structure.)

RELATED: Full Text: Day v Apoliona Decision

Some hidden truth for those who dare: Supreme Court ruling shields Hawaiian Homelands and ceded lands revenue

OHA should be abolished, but now it is solely a matter for the legislature, not the courts: OHA driving Hawaiians out of Hawaii

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The Rundown: 17 competitive Legislative Races

Here is our first look at potentially competitive state House and Senate campaigns based on information from political strategists and party insiders.

We will update the rundown with campaign-finance data and fresh assessments before the September primary and November general election.

Overview: Majority Democrats hold an overwhelming share of seats in the state House and Senate. Democrats have made gains in the past few election cycles under Gov. Linda Lingle — a Republican — and could again this year, especially if Democrats drive turnout in the governor’s race. Republicans have set the modest goal of doubling their numbers in both chambers. With a handful of open seats in competitive districts — and the potential for the civil-unions debate to bring religious conservatives to the polls — Republicans have a chance to pick up a few seats.

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Shapiro: CJ nominee Katherine Leonard faces the first blades

The question is whether it’s just Seitz being Seitz or if there’s broad sentiment against Leonard in the legal community as he claims.

The 400-member Hawaii Women Lawyers jumped to her defense on all points raised by Seitz, as did one of her former law partners, Karl Kobayashi, who said she displayed a sharp legal mind and good administrative skills when he worked with her at Carlsmith Ball LLP.

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Judicial appointments will define Lingle's legacy

Even with Lingle appointing three of the five Supreme Court justices, it's still arguably a Democratic majority.

Her first appointee, James E. Duffy Jr. in 2003, had previously been backed by Hawaii Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but his nomination by President Bill Clinton washed out in the transition between the Clinton and Bush administrations.

When the next state Supreme Court opening occurred, the Judicial Selection Commission sent Lingle a list to pick from in which only Duffy had the experience and stature to be a credible choice.  (This is why Hawaii Democrats always push for ‘selection commissions’—most recently for BoE appointments.)

He's sided with the court majority in smacking down the Lingle administration on the Hawaii Superferry, ceded lands and University of Hawaii regent appointments.

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National Democrats reserve TV time in Hawaii to attack Djou

For example, Democrats reserved ad time in Hawaii to challenge Republican Rep. Charles Djou, who won a special election to represent President Barack Obama's childhood House district.

WSJ: DCCC Memo: Why Dems Won’t Lose the House (Reelecting Djou is key to GOP taking Congress.)

WaPo: The Fix: Democrats go on the defensive

While the DCCC ad buy suggests the contours of the playing field this fall, it's important to remember that in the next 97 days money will be moved into and out of myriad seats as they become more and less competitive. (Reserving air time is not the same thing as buying and paying for that time; the committee can cancel ad buys up until almost the moment the commercials run.)

REALITY: In DC: Hanabusa not invited to White House, lectures National Democrats on “Bum Information”

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Firefighters back Caldwell for mayor

Caldwell, who has been serving as acting mayor since July 20 when Mufi Hannemann resigned to run for governor, previously picked up the endorsement of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.

Caldwell is among five candidates in the special election for mayor. Others are former City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, City Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz, University of Hawaii engineering professor Panos Prevedouros and City Councilman Rod Tam.

Carlisle has been endorsed by the Hawaii Carpenters Union.

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BOE Explores Bullying Solutions

Hawaii is one of a few states that has no laws against bullying and harassment in the public schools.

A Board of Education committee Tuesday, started gathering information on the problem and potential solutions from experts.

What this is about:  The transsexual agenda for Hawai`i schools

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DOE Lays Off 40 Workers: Education Officials Look To Cut $142 Million

Officials said they tried to find other ways to cut, but they said workers are the department's biggest expense, making it unavoidable.

Most of the layoffs targeted clerical workers who are not in the schools.

DOE officials said (that unlike last time,) they wanted to make the cuts to have as little of an impact as possible on the schools.

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Lawsuit seeks to raise age for public special education

The Hawaii Disability Rights Center filed a class-action lawsuit yesterday seeking to extend special-education services in public schools for students until they turn 22.

The cutoff is now 20.

"The concern is that disabled students in Hawaii are being deprived of an education after age 20," said John Dellera, executive director of the center. "Throughout most of the country, disabled students have the right to an education ... until they're 21 or 22."

TOTALLY RELATED: HSTA demands candidates oppose funds for disabled students

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Hawaii DoE “surprise pick” for RTTT

The U.S. Department of Education will announce in September which states will get grants.

Only Tennessee ($500 million) and Delaware ($100 million) got money when the first round of Race to the Top grants were made in March. Hawaii placed 22nd of 40 states and D.C.

Yesterday, Education Week dubbed Hawaii a "surprise pick" for the finalists' pool in round two.

But Hawaii education officials say this time around they are on better footing: Teacher furloughs are over; legislative revisions have been made to allow for the creation of more charter schools and better oversight; new programs to turn around struggling schools are under way; and Hawaii is implementing common national standards to guide learning goals.

"There's no doubt that we're competing against some very aggressive" applications, said Robert Campbell, director of federal compliance for the state Department of Education. He added, "Comparatively, we stack up in the criteria. I think we will be in a position to actually get the funds."

Ten to 15 states will get grants in the second round, the U.S. Department of Education has said…

RELATED: Aiona: Schools’ RTTT finalist selection “a significant step in the right direction”

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Diagnostic Laboratory Services: Amphetamine use up 70%

Amphetamine use by those working or trying to get a job in Hawaii is up 70 percent compared to a year ago, according to statistics released by Diagnostic Laboratory Services.

Honolulu-based Diagnostic Laboratory Services tested between 5,000 to 10,000 employees or potential employees for the second quarter. The company conducts pre-employment and random drug testing for approximately 800 Hawaii businesses.

Here are the results for the most commonly tested drugs in the workplace:

  • Amphetamine: more than 1 percent of employees tested positive.
  • Cocaine: nearly 0.2 percent tested positive.
  • Opiates or prescription drugs: nearly 0.4 percent tested positive.
  • Marijuana: about 2.5 percent tested positive.

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Grove Farm operates quarry at heiau site, “few rocks remain”

(If you ever needed more evidence that environmental and cultural protesters are merely agents of local property owners attacking their outside competitors, take a look at what Steve Case’s Grove Farm is getting away with.  It is, of course, totally and completely irrelevant to note that Steve’s cousin Suzanne Case heads the Hawaii Nature Conservancy.  Or that his father Dan H Case is an owner of the Star-Advertiser.)

In the boundaries of the old quarry is the Waiopili heiau, a site controversial in itself, because only a few rocks remain and the Planning Department said its original design has been sketched based on “stories.”

Lifelong Koloa resident David Chang said he has seen the heiau in its original form, and knows where it is located.

The department’s report states that the loss of any known historic resources inside the old quarry may likely have occurred prior to the issuance of a 1992 permit, and was due to extensive sugar cultivation activities that happened there before the quarry started operations in the 1950s.

The commission reviewed the department’s status report, which found no irregularities with the conditions and permits of the old and new quarries, and said no further action is warranted….

“Malama Maha‘ulepu is not accusing Glover or Grove Farm Company of hiding or mismanaging anything,” said Kuala, adding that the intention of the nonprofit is to make sure conditions are being followed and to understand the reasons in case they are not.

“Grove Farm has been a very good owner,” Chang said. “We appreciate what the company has done for the community….”

(Maybe Hokulia and Molokai Ranch should have gone into heiau quarrying.)

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Smart grid rollout stalls in Hawaii

The utility had envisioned building a $115 million smart grid project reaching 451,000 homes and companies on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.

The "smart grid" concept relies on installing new electric meters that can wirelessly communicate with the utility, allowing it to better distribute power and handle additional renewable energy.

Opponents say Hawaii shouldn't rush to make customers pay for new electric meters.

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Public asked to comment on proposed lawsuit settlement without seeing it

Before the Honolulu City Council voted earlier this month to approve the proposed settlement of the long-running lawsuit over sewage treatment, the public was offered an opportunity to testify on its terms. Unfortunately, the public didn’t have the benefit of having a chance to review the settlement before offering testimony.

read more.

Kauai: Planning Department employees hold second jobs

When the issue was revisited in 2010 the minutes of the May 2010 meeting show requests made by the planning director with respect to four Planning Department employees. The director reviewed the  Planning Department policy and supplement regarding outside business work. Although the board rules specify that a request include applicable facts only a generic summary was provided. The deputy county attorney attending the meeting advised that County Code Section 3-1.7 (d) prohibition that no employee shall assist any person or business for a fee or other compensation on a transaction before the agency of which he is an employee was absolute. After discussion including a suggestion that the requests clarify the process involved the director withdrew the requests and advised of an intent to resubmit them the following month. However, the requests were not made for consideration at the June or July meetings.

The picture was complicated at the July 2010  Ethics Board meeting by a request made by a Water Department employee concerning his potential employment at a construction firm. There the board found that a conflict would be highly likely in the work described and ruled that the proposed engagement would be in violation of Section 3-1.7 (d).

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VIDEO: Police, Greenwell discuss Kona councilman’s arrest

Big Island Video News interviewed the both the North Kona Councilman Kelly Greenwell and the Hawaii County Police Department Assistant Chief Henry Tavares about the incident that made headlines across the entire state. Now, in their own words, an account of what happened on July 17th on Queen Kaahumanu Highway.

Greenwell’s court date is set for August 12th.

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GTMO Greenwell hopes to overturn 'Sunshine Law'

This way he can conspire to invite alQaeda to live free on the Big Island without violating any rules.

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Big Island police seek witnesses to assault in a Hilo bar

Big Island police are asking for witnesses to a June 20 assault of a 24-year-old Texas visitor at a Hilo bar to come forward.

Police said the man received injuries to his face at a Banyan Drive bar and was transported for treatment at an Oahu hospital.

The man was assaulted on his way to or returning from the restroom.

Police said several patrons found the injured man, but no witnesses have come forward with information on any suspects.    

Where have I heard this kind of story before. . . Billy Kenoi at Shooters—and the Pali shooter—the connections

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Ex-officer gets 30 months in gun case: A history of violence has led to a federal term for Rik Orton

A former Honolulu police officer was sentenced yesterday to 30 months in a federal prison for a firearms charge.

It was the maximum sentence that U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway was allowed to impose on Rik Mikio Orton, 44, who was a Honolulu Police Department officer from 1990 to 2004.

He pleaded guilty in December to possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number. Other firearms and drug charges were dropped….

He was arrested last year on domestic violence charges after his live-in girlfriend, also a former HPD officer, said that he had physically abused her at their Laie home.

Orton's ex-wife has a temporary restraining order against him, and he has only limited visitation rights for his children.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren Ching said that at the time of the arrest, police seized three firearms, one of which had its serial number removed. They also found 13 knives, nunchaku sticks and brass knuckles, he said.

Orton "has a violent history and an inability to control his anger," Ching said.

He had also previously been found guilty of reckless endangering, which was later erased from his record but cost him his job.

Orton also has pending a separate case of second-degree assault for allegedly striking another man with brass knuckles.

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