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Tuesday, August 17, 2010
August 17, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:00 PM :: 4936 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Prop. 8 ruling ignores precedent, evidence and common sense

Heritage: Solutions for America

Mismanagement Zoo: Honolulu burns $3M to demolish kiosk and put up sign

SA: Hannemann spins facts to run down Abercrombie

"Our opponent continues to quickly dismiss any unflattering fact about his record as negative campaigning, yet he does not contest the accuracy of those facts," Carolyn Tanaka, a spokeswoman for the Hannemann campaign, said in a statement. "And he is doing it again."

(Negative campaigning works.  The real question here is whether Abercrombie is going to wimp out on the counterattack just as he did in 1986.  Abercrombie would be perfectly within his rights to send out a mailer highlighting Hannemann’s role in two Bush administrations.  Will Hawaii Democrats nominate a former Bush Administration appointee as their Gubernatorial candidate?  The answer is: “Only if Neil keeps Mufi’s secret.”  Will his political career end in Victory or Defeat?  It is ENTIRELY up to Neil Abercrombie to decide.)

Abercrombie, in a statement, said the brochure "is not what a governor does."

(Oh well.  It’s been a great 40 years, Neil.)

DePledge: Atomic Monkey shows up in Hannemann mailer

CB: Abercrombie lovin Civil Beat cries about Hannemann mailer 

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Statewide Voter registration hits new record (26,000 new voters)

As of yesterday there were a record 693,000 registered voters in the state. That included about 466,000 Oahu residents, said City Clerk Bernice Mau.

Those numbers are up from the 2008 primaries, when there were 667,647 registered voters statewide and 450,522 on Oahu.

Hawaii County has more than 101,000 registered voters, a record and a 1.8 percent increase from 2008.

Voter registration forms are available at satellite city halls, post offices or online at www.hawaii.gov/elections.  Applications must be received or postmarked on Thursday.

(26,000 new voters.  This is the effect of church-based voter registration efforts which are the only state-wide voter registration efforts going on.)

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SA spreads confusion to save BoE from well-deserved oblivion

In 1964 Hawaii's system changed to an elected board. Since then voters twice rejected going back to an appointed board.

But that was before the current elected board, with the help of Gov. Linda Lingle, former superintendent of education Pat Hamamoto and the teachers' union shut the schools to save money.

While Furlough Fridays critics could say, "We'll remember in November," the situation is (could be made to appear) sufficiently fuzzy (by lots of HSTA campaign spending) to make it unclear exactly what would change with an appointed board.

(This is from the same media that endorsed Mr Kim Coco Iwamoto and that guy with the airbrushed wings for BoE in 2006.  They are trying to make the issue appear confusing and inconclusive in order to defeat the Amendment.)

GET INVOLVED:  Hawaii Children First

REALITY:

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SA: Land rules changes overdue  (OHA to gain monopoly on shakedown operations)

concern has mounted that natural forces are reshaping the coastline, forces that may be amplifying due to (non-existent) global warming and (non-existent) rising sea levels.  So it is a welcome development that among the amendments the office has proposed is one to compel new construction to be moved further inland from the shoreline….

Among other issues meriting discussion:

» Structures that have nonconforming use permits should have to undergo review if they are demolished. The proposed rule change would effectively grandfather in these uses forever, and the state needs the option to reconsider them.

» The new rules would properly constrain the people who can appeal an administrative decision to those with a demonstrable interest in the property. That will help to streamline the permitting process, and there is enough leeway in the new wording to accommodate appeals by people with a legitimate claim - native Hawaiians seeking to protect gathering rights, for example.  (In other words, enviros will not be able to shake down developers unless they have a Hawaiian front man.  This protects the OHA/NHLC monopoly on shakedown operations from encroachments by non-Hawaiian groups like the anti-Superferry protesters.)

» The rules would wisely ease permit requirements for combating invasive species on conservation land, with the land board reserving the right to require a site plan in cases that could cause secondary impacts on natural or cultural resources 

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HTF: Figuring Who To Vote For In Upcoming Elections

…as you shop for a candidate to support or vote for this fall, ask the candidate knocking on your door whether or not they are willing to make those difficult decisions to rein in the size of government. If they can’t, then you can bet your tax dollar that they will come after your pocketbook for more taxes.

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Hawaii Abortion Critics Opt Not to Endorse Djou

But the decision not to endorse Djou was based on his support for federal funding of research into human embryonic stem cells and on his less-than-enthusiastic opposition to the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Grace said.  "He's better than his opponents, definitely," she added. "But he does not stand completely on our side when he says it's OK to kill human embryos for research."  (Question: Can the media suppress the conservative vote and elect Hanabusa?)

Djou also supports federal laws that ban partial-birth abortions and opposes the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortions for indigent women….

Abortion has not become a vibrant political issue in Hawaii this year, though it could become one.

Abercrombie, who is seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, strongly backs abortion rights while former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, according to his spokeswoman, is "pro-life but respects the right of a woman to make her own decisions." (Huh?)

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, the likely Republican gubernatorial nominee, is ardently anti-abortion. He won an endorsement from Hawaii Right to Life.

The group also endorsed GOP state Rep. Lynn Finnegan and Democratic Sen. Norman Sakamoto, who are running for lieutenant governor; Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cam Cavasso, and John Willoughby, who is seeking the GOP nomination in Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District.

HNN: Hawaii anti-abortion group opts not to endorse Djou

RELATED: Hawaii Right-to-Life announces 2010 Political Endorsements  (Aug 3)

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Hawaiian Electric Industries: Don't Count on Its Dividend

…the state will be encouraging Hawaiian Electric to increase its rate base by investing in new clean energy generating facilities. Hawaiian Electric will be continually filing requests for rate increases with the Hawaii PUC to pay for the equipment upgrades (including a profit margin) and the PUC has a history of granting such increases. Roger Conrad rates Hawaii’s regulatory climate as “Good” for utilities. Bottom line: the larger Hawaiian Electric’s rate base, the higher rates it can charge, which means higher profits.

Ironically, higher profits from increased investment could actually endanger the dividend in the short-term. Investment requires capital expenditures, which eat up cash flow and reduce the amount of “free cash flow” available to pay dividends. One definition of free cash flow is cash flow from operations (CFFO) minus net capital expenditures (CAPEX): 

If the Clean Energy Initiative requires Hawaiian Electric to substantially increase is CAPEX expenditures to build new infrastructure, free cash flow could remain negative for years to come, which could make it difficult for the company to find the money to pay the dividend.

RELATED: Federal Policy Landscape Is Now More Favorable to Wind Energy than at Any Other Time in the Past Decade

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Waipahu Food Assistance Office Is Empty — and It's Not for Lack of Need, Nor Is It A Bad Thing

Early this year, the department had responded to crashing state revenues and a backlog of requests for assistance with a plan known as Eligibility Processing Operations Division (EPOD). Gov. Linda Linda purported that the strategy would save the state $8 million and speed up processing times by streamlining the welfare application and renewal processes for Medicaid, welfare and nutrition benefits. This would have meant consolidating offices, closing 31 locations and eliminating 228 staff positions. But the Legislature stopped the plan….

Civil Beat went down to the Waipahu Civic Center last week to see how things were going at the Department of Human Service's West Oahu Unit. This is the place where Hawaii residents apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Commonly known as food stamps or EBT in other states, the program offers some 141,293 struggling residents financial help for one of life's basic necessities: nutrition.

During a time when the state continues to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, what did we find? A quiet office — which the department says is a result of a new push for interviews by telephone, instead of in person, part of its efforts to simplify the application process.

CB: More Families to Be Eligible for Food Assistance

RELATED: Koller: State’s “horse-and-buggy” system is labor-intensive, costly and slow

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Hawaii lawmakers hold several off-session hearings

HONOLULU (AP) - Public hearings on Hawaii's application for federal education money, the state Sheriff Division and budgetary shortfalls are being held at the Capitol on Tuesday….

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Hawaii Democrats will keep candidates on ballot

The party was planning on going to Circuit Court to challenge the candidates. But Oahu Democrats (aka Abercrombie supporters) passed a resolution at a meeting on Saturday recommending that the candidates not be disqualified. Oahu Democrats met again Monday night and urged the party to take no further action against the candidates, who are all from Oahu.

The resolution from Oahu Democrats said the rule has never been used in previous election cycles and was unknown by most people, including party members.

The three candidates identified last week are Daniel Davidson in Senate District 9 in Kaimuki, Kaleo Farias in House District 44 in Nanakuli and Jason Pascua in House District 48 in Kaneohe.

The other three candidates are Albert Lee in House District 18, Patrick Koh in House District 29 and Lei Sharsh in House District 32.

The party said all six candidates joined the party shortly before the candidate filing deadline in late July. The party's rules require new members to file applications at least 60 days before the candidate filing deadline to run for office under the party's banner.

DePledge: Reprieve

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State ERS fund posts 3-month loss of $761M

The state Employees' Retirement System pension fund, which pays benefits to retired state and county employees and their families, lost $761.5 million, or 6.2 percent, in the April-June quarter.

Despite that decline, the fund rose 11.7 percent in the year ended June 30 to record its first fiscal-year gain since 2007….

The fund provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to more than 111,000 active, retired and inactive vested state and county employees.

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Kaiser losses up to $5.1M—will seek rate hike

The state's largest health maintenance organization, which lost $1.6 million in the year-earlier quarter, posted revenue of $234.9 million in the second quarter of both years. Expenses rose to $241.1 million from $237.8 million a year ago….

As of June 30 Kaiser's membership was about 226,000.  It is Hawaii's second-largest health insurer, following the Hawaii Medical Service Association, which dominates the market with 683,187 members.

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BOE expected to formally delay planned Kohala consolidation

The BOE Committee on Administrative Services recommends no consolidation take place at this time, because the consolidation cannot be achieved "without significant capital improvements that will require several years to implement," and "it is not likely that funds for such capital improvements will be available at any time in the near future, given the current economic climate and the current long list of priority capital improvement projects" at the department, according to a memo from Committee Chairman John Penebacker.

(Barely avoiding closure of one of the DoE’s very few successful schools.)

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