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Monday, August 09, 2010
August 9, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:15 PM :: 7706 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Akaka, Inouye meet with Reid over Akaka Bill

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and I met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Friday (Aug 6) to discuss floor consideration. I remain optimistic that the bill will be considered in the Senate this year.

When the bill comes to the Senate floor, I will offer a substitute amendment that includes several changes to address the state's outstanding concerns.

I understand that there are concerns that the 111th Congress is nearing its conclusion. However, the Senate will be in session in September and early October, will return after the elections in mid-November, and yet another session is expected after Thanksgiving. There is still time.

REALITY: Amended Akaka Bill: A Trojan horse for Tribal immunity?, Inouye pressures Akaka Tribe: Akaka pushes back, Akaka Bill: More than 73% of Hawaiians not "Qualified" for membership in Akaka Tribe  

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Ed Case: Racism and localism in Hawaii politics has dark side

Mufi Hannemann, seeking a union endorsement, says: "I look like you, you look like me. ... And even for our Caucasian brothers in the audience, I'm local to the max." Kirk Caldwell leads his first radio ad with "I'm a local boy—born in Waipahu, raised in Hilo."

Both face haole opponents not born and raised in Hawaii. Coincidence? Or not-so-subtle racism and localism, as in vote for me and against them because of race and origin? …

We have tolerated subtle racism and not-so-subtle localism in Hawaii politics for a long time now; I've fallen into that trap myself.  (What was it that the Case Family’s Time Magazine called Dan Akaka?)

(But now that me and my buddy Neil Abercrombie are on the receiving end, I’ve decided it is wrong.)

Oh, speaking of racism: Ed Case's 2006 "felony" vote: Greens vs. Illegals

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Shapiro: Djou a true test for GOP

The customary political move in this heavily Democratic state would be to moderate himself to win over Case’s constituency of moderate Democrats and independents.

But he’s done the opposite, seeking out opportunities to be visible in promoting the Tea Party line on economic stimulus, financial reform, tax breaks for the wealthy and extension of unemployment benefits — giving Democrats a clear record to shoot at.

Whether you agree with him or not, you’ve got to give Djou some credit for having the courage of his convictions.

Lingle broke new ground by winning as a Republican. If Djou pulls it off, his new ground would be winning as a Republican who unabashedly acts like one.

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Abercrombie Donors: Not Pay-for-Play Mitsunaga leads pack

Dennis Mitsunaga, president of Mitsunaga & Associates, has previously raised funds for former governor Ben Cayetano, former mayor Jeremy Harris, and other elected officials.

He was also accused of being part of a “pay to play” scheme in which campaign contributions were solicited in exchange for government contracts. The allegations were made by deputy city prosecutor Randal Lee in 2004. Lee said they were based on testimony of another engineer charged with making an illegal contribution.

Mitsunaga strongly denied the allegations, and said that results of a private lie detector test backed him up. No charges were ever filed against Mitsunaga, as far as I can tell from checking the federal and state court records.

RELATED: Mufi site alleges Abercrombie’s chief fundraiser at center of Harris’ “pay-for-play” scandals  (May 18, 2010)

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Group urges people to vote for appointed education board (two BoE members call for appointed Board)

 

"Whatever happens, the accountability goes squarely to the governor," BOE board member Donna Ikeda said.

That's the point of view from the group "Hawaii's Children First." About 30 of them sign-waved on Punchbowl Street in front of the Queen Liliuokalani Building where the BOE meets.

"I think at least with an appointed board, you'll have people moving in the same direction, agreeing what that direction should be," Ikeda said.

Ikeda is the lone board member supporting an appointed system. But her term is up in a few months and she's not seeking re-election.

Former student board member Kelly Maeshiro just finished up his one-year term.

Originally and for a long time, he was in favor of an elected board, but after being on it, he changed his mind.

SA: Elected school board urged

However, like other members of Hawaii's Children First, board member Donna Ikeda believes that a board appointed by the governor would have resulted in more pressure on Gov. Linda Lingle to avoid the so-called Furlough Fridays because she would bear more of the responsibility for the board's decisions. (This is the argument Democrats will use to affect the fall election.  Of course an appointed BoE would have never agreed to the furlough plan in the first place.)

According to Hawaii's Children First, the concept of an appointed school board is supported by the Hawaii Business Roundtable; Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii; Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association; former Govs. George Ariyoshi, John Waihee and Ben Cayetano; Lingle; and community and business leaders including Robin Campaniano, David Carey, Mitch D'Olier, Susan Eichor, Walter Heen, Bert A. Kobayashi Sr., Fujio Matsuda, Randy Roth, Oswald Stender and Keith Vieira.

KHON: Hawaii Children First Group Wants Governor to Appoint BOE members

LINK: http://www.hawaiichildrenfirst.org/

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Terror grips Maui, Molokai, Big Isle as fate of several Hawaii schools in hands of BOE members

The Board will hear recommendations on Keanae Elementary, on Maui.

A non-profit group wants to use the school's grounds to open a charter school.

Earlier this year, the BOE voted to close the school.

Board members will also take public testimony about consolidating Kohala Schools on the Big Island and Maunaloa Elementary with Kaunakakai Elementary School on Molokai.

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DoE Team prepares to bid for $75M RTTT grant

The department says a team from Hawaii will be Washington on Tuesday to present the merits of its education reform plans.

On Hawaii's presentation team are interim schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and acting Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. The team also includes a representative from Kamehameha Schools, which has been working closely with the Department of Education to improve struggling schools on the Leeward Coast; the Hawaii State Teachers Association; and the Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education.  (Strategy: Pretend the DoE is really Kamehameha Schools.) 

HNN: Hawaii to make "Race to the Top" pitch

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Koller: DOE's bungling of lunch program shows need for comprehensive audit

This sad and infuriating story began in May when DHS signed an agreement with the DOE Office of Child Nutrition Program. At that time, DHS urged DOE to quickly expand its annual summer meals program. And because millions of federal stimulus dollars were available, DHS literally offered a blank check to cover all expenses.

It soon became obvious, however, that DOE was not interested in expanding the meals program. For example, DOE could have provided free food to children with household incomes up to 600 percent of the federal poverty level. Instead, DOE chose to keep the income limit at a paltry 185 percent.

To illustrate what that means, a child in a four-member household earning $152,208 annually could have received free meals fully paid with federal dollars. But because DOE declined to expand eligibility, a child in a four-person family cannot exceed $46,916 in annual income to get a free meal.

DHS offered millions of ARRA federal dollars to operate the food program this summer, but DOE asked for only $500,000.

The reluctance of the DOE to help hungry families underscores the need for an independent financial and management audit of this bureaucracy, as called for by Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona. Despite receiving far more taxpayer money than any other state agency, DOE has not undergone a comprehensive audit since 1973.

The urgent need for probing this bureaucracy's books and management practices cannot be more apparent, as DOE has -- once again -- exposed its shortcomings by squandering a golden opportunity to feed hungry kids.

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Abercrombie: Hannemann Left Honolulu in 'Worst Financial Position of Any City I Can Imagine'

Civil Beat focuses entirely on the operating budget shortfall and concludes that Abercrombie is wrong because Honolulu is still a bit better off than Detroit.  This is the new fresh breeze in journalism?

IGNORE THESE ARTICLES: Honolulu 5th most indebted US city, Hawaii 3rd most indebted state

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Hanabusa’s Half-Truth: I Cut Waste and "Saved Us Millions"

Using Richard Rapoza, Senate communications director, as its primary source, Civil beat concludes that Hanabusa is only half-lying when she claims to have cut waste and saved millions.  Hilarious.  Mr Rapoza’s job is safe for another four years.

REALITY: Hanabusa Ad Misleadingly Claims She “Cut Legislative Salaries”, Hanabusa: “Legislators work very hard and deserve the raise”

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • Nanakuli Park: Hannemann pounds Hanabusa in proxy fight between Waimanalo Gulch and PVT landfill
  • Fireworks, dirt, and stolen trucks: Colleen Hanabusa and the Honolulu Raceway deal
  • Will Hanabusa allow DHHL to revert back to the bad old days?
  • Hanabusa, Souza tied to Pali Golf course shooters’ mob
  • Cayetano: Hanabusa's Broken Trust connections lead to Ko Olina

    read more

    Honolulu mayoral hopefuls to debate

    The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii is heading a slew of business groups that are hosting the event, which is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Plaza Club on Fort Street Mall.

    The candidates who have confirmed are acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell, former Honolulu City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle and engineer Panos Prevedouros. Councilman Rod Tam has declined.

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    DOJ to meet Sen. Cornyn after stalling on MOVE (Hawaii’s illegally late Primary date)

    J. Christian Adams, a former DOJ attorney, believes U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the DOJ are dragging their feet in getting states to comply with MOVE.

    "You obviously can't ignore the fact that the secretaries of state who have applied for a waiver, such as Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Washington [and] Hawaii, are of a certain stripe. But you have Alabama that is also not in compliance with MOVE; they didn't even apply for a waiver. They're just not in compliance with the law," Adams points out. "So the question is will the Justice Department file a lawsuit against Alabama and file a lawsuit against the other states that said they're not going to comply with the law?"

    Thanks to the whistleblower's expose', Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to Holder, demanding answers. The DOJ responded by agreeing to meet and discuss the situation with the Republican lawmaker this week.

    RELATED: Military Voter Act: US DoJ criticized for waiving Hawaii's illegally late Primary date, Hawaii's 2010 election schedule violates new federal law, Bill to move up Hawaii’s illegal 2012 primary date

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    Hawaii Army National Guard Soldiers Mobilize For Afghanistan

    Staff Sgt. Alan Allosada knows what it’s like to head to a combat zone. He’s leaving for his fifth deployment.

    Allosada, from Maili, has served four tours in Iraq. This time he’s going to Afghanistan with the Hawaii Army National Guard 171st Aviation Regiment. The unit flies and maintains heavy lift CH-47 Chinook helicopters. Allosada supervises helicopter refueling.

    On Sunday, family members and friends came to a huge hanger to bid farewell to the departing soldiers as they head first to Fort Hood, Texas, for training, and then to Afghanistan for a deployment that could last nearly a year.

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    Hawaii sugar grower working to power Navy (Next Big Thing #1)

    Jeff Mikulina, executive director of the Honolulu-based Blue Planet Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes sustainable energy, said the Navy's effort would stimulate the market for biofuels.

    That could help in a state that gets 90 percent of its energy from imported oil, and where energy costs are among the nation's highest. It complements Gov. Linda Lingle's plan to have the state use clean energy for 70 percent of its power needs by 2030.

    A significant potential problem looms, however.

    HC&S is facing two legal challenges to its practice, dating back more than a century, of diverting water from east and central Maui streams to irrigate its fields in the arid plains. The complainants in both cases are primarily Native Hawaiian, and they argue the plantation is diverting so much water from their streams that they're unable to grow taro, the source of the Hawaiian food staple poi, and catch fish like their ancestors.

    Alan Murakami, a lawyer for Native Hawaiians seeking to have water restored to streams in east Maui, said HC&S' research should be done on the premise that the company will return water to the disputed streams.

    "If they simply assume that the water will be available, for whatever fuels, however thirsty they may be — including continuing the sugar plantation — that would be entirely inappropriate and unacceptable planning for the future of Maui," Murakami said.

    RELATED: OHA Trustees claim ownership of your drinking water

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    A project in Waikiki hopes to harness deep-sea water to power air conditioning (Next Big Thing #2)

    The project, spearheaded by Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts, is in the planning stages, and those involved emphasize there are many hurdles that must be cleared before it becomes a reality. But there are a number of factors working in the project's favor, including Waikiki's highly concentrated customer base and the potential to use the Ala Wai Canal as a convenient access to route the intake pipe to the ocean.

    In addition, planners could use lessons learned from a project that is much further along that proposes to use sea water to provide air conditioning in downtown Honolulu. Developers of that project say they hope to close their final round of financing within a month or two and break ground nine months after that.

    (In Hawaii there are two kinds of projects.  Scam projects and projects that get shut down.  Which is this?)

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    Some Kalama Valley residents express concern over proposed residential development

    Xanya Sofra-Weiss put in banana and papaya trees, and other plants to beautify a section of the vacant lot that is located behind her home. After years of enjoying (somebody else’s) open land, she plans to fight any development.

    "I will sue their asses," she said. "It's not a good idea for them to go against somebody like me that is determined not to let them build."  (Is it legal to sue only a person’s ass?  What about the rest of the defendant’s body?)

    "It's a low-income project with houses that would worth about $300,000," Sofra-Weiss said. "My house is worth $1.4 million. The value is going to go down significantly."

    (The cult of property values is a key element of environmentalism.) 

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