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Friday, December 17, 2010
December 17, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:10 PM :: 7103 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

UPDATE: Inouye earmark sets goal of developing a mechanism for Hawaii “Indian Tribe”

March for Life Rally to mark 40 years of legal abortion in Hawaii

VIDEO: Liliuokalani School could become Charter School

Djou, Akaka, Inouye back tax compromise, Hirono rejects Obama

LoPresti: Espero saw Dudley vandalize signs

Abercrombie snubs Josh Green, will nominate Palafox to DoH

Abercrombie is expected to name Neal A. Palafox, chairman of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, to the position later this week, according to several sources close to the process. Palafox, 58, is co-author of "Transcultural Health Care: A Handbook for Health Care Professionals in Hawaii." He couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

Green declined to confirm whether Palafox is under consideration, saying as chairman of the Health Committee, he has a role in the confirmation process and it would be inappropriate to comment. He said he does have "a lot of respect for him."

The Hawaii County Democratic Party is meeting holding a mud-wrestling tournament this weekend to pick the top three nominations for Takamine and Kokubun’s seat to forward to the governor. The senators selected by the governor will serve until the 2012 election.

(Josh Green is out of luck because he is tied to the HHSC privatization plan which would take over 4000 HGEA and UPW members out of the government and therefore out of those unions.)

READ: Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text),

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Abercrombie, without an Attorney General, blindly signs Rail EIS: lawsuits will now commence to kill project

City Staff “open hostility” to rail financial review

And IMG Chairman Steve Steckler’s response … spent most of his time complaining about the lack of cooperation his team received. He said IMG faced “open hostility” from the city’s rail project staff.

“In all our years of doing these kinds of independent financial assessments, neither I nor our financial staff has ever run into anything like the hostility and blocking of access to data, models and consultants that we faced with the city of Honolulu,” he told Lum.

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Inouye crony calls Djou racist for opposing pork bill

A total of 141 projects worth $321 million earmarked for Hawaii was lost yesterday after the U.S. Senate abandoned a $1.3 trillion appropriations bill….

Among the 141 earmarks was $300,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, which made No. 1 on Sen. John McCain's list of pork-barrel projects he chose to bash Wednesday.

(Skip 7 paragraphs about the PVS and how blue collar Hawaii will starve without a big heaping plate of borrowed Chinese pork, and then get to the clincher….)

But Rep. Charles Djou, Hawaii's lone Republican congressman, who will leave office at the end of the current session, criticized the Democratic-controlled Congress for wrapping into "one giant bill" the 12 appropriations bills, each of which funds different departments of the federal government "because we are so behind."

"Anybody who looks at this has to shake their heads in how Congress has conducted itself this year," he said. "This is not the way to run government."

"Polynesian Voyaging Society is one of the 6,000 earmarks," Djou said. "Each earmark has some defenders, but that's the problem." ….

"I think it's disrespectful, and I don't think it's appropriate ... to attack the integrity of our organization," he said. By doing so, he attacks "both the symbolism and the reality to not just the people in Hawaii, but people in society. When he attacks the PVS, he attacks the canoe and attacks a whole race of people." 

(In other words anyone who is against a $300,000 earmark for PVS is a racist and this attack on McCain is a barely veiled attack on Djou.  So Nainoa, you can’t raise $300,000 from the community and maintain your integrity?)

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Lynn Finnegan: The former House minority leader now is the face and voice of the charter schools movement in Hawaii

Lynn Finnegan's life has rapidly switched tracks, but the fact that both tracks have run in parallel for so long through her career makes that change less of a jolt. No sooner had the dust settled after the Nov. 2 general election than the news came out: Finnegan, 40, former state House minority leader and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, was tapped as executive director of the Hawaii Charter Schools Network.

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Aiona named vice president at Saint Louis School

Aiona did not rule out a return to politics, saying he would reassess his goals in two years and determine then if he would consider another run for governor. He said he has discussed the issue with school officials, whom he said are amenable to his plan.

Aiona will join former state judge and University of Hawaii general counsel Walter Kirimitsu and former state school superintendent Pat Hamamoto in the leadership team at the school. Kirimitsu serves as president and Hamamoto is principal.

"Through his professional career as a family and circuit court judge, the former lieutenant governor learned that it is easier to build strong children than to fix broken adults," Kirimitsu said. "By returning to the slopes of Kalaepohaku, he will be able to assist in the development and molding of Hawaii's future leaders and community servants. I am confident in his ability to increase the visibility and enrollment of Saint Louis School and in leading the capital development of his alma mater."

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Hirono: Obama bill unfair

In a statement issued after the vote, Hirono said: "I voted no because it doesn't provide a fair deal to the middle class and the unemployed. It does, however, provide generous tax cuts to the wealthiest families, and it raids Social Security to provide a 'payroll tax holiday.' We needed to fight for a better deal."

Before last nights vote, Hawaii's other representative, Republican Charles Djou, has said he supports passage.

The measure, which passed 277-148, would extend tax cuts for families at every income level, renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, and enact a new one-year cut in Social Security taxes that would benefit nearly every worker who earns a wage.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill this afternoon.

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Hawaii Farmers attacked by Tax Collectors, FDA

While state tax collectors beat up on farmers market vendors, other leaders in our ag infrastructure are embracing another mainland import called "food safety." This knee-jerk super-regulation of our already few farmers will further reduce our local food supply to the ultra-sanitized, lowest common denominator of immune system deficiency: One person allergic to peanuts on the plane? No one gets peanuts.

Proponents of the onerous "food safety" inspections insist on only "food safety certified produce." Do the math: There are 7,500 farms in Hawaii; only 47 farms (including mine) are certified, meaning this movement eliminates 99.5 percent of the farms from supplying fresh produce to Hawaii's consumers.

There is no shortage of ag land, only poor land management by our "old think" institutions that are more enamored with the problems than with potential solutions.

RELATED: S.501 will bury small farmers in red tape

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Abercrombie Prison Plan runs into Concerns raised about training for corrections officers

To that end the Oahu Community Correctional Center has been making headway over the past couple of years since since the U.S. Department of Justice sued for better prison services.

Among the center's inmate population of about 1,100 are about 230 considered to have mental health problems. They have 30 staff to address the psychiatric side plus the corrections officers undergo training.

But compare that to the more than 400 inmates at Halawa prison on mental health medications out of a population of 1,000 -- with just 4 full time and 1 part time mental health professional and no significant guard training in that arena yet.

A department of public safety doctor said, "if the state doesn't invest in bringing Halawa up to standard it will just be an invitation for another lawsuit."

Unlike most states, Hawaii has no "forensic prison" -- a secure facility specifically for mentally ill inmates. The Hawaii State Hospital has been vying for funding for such a facility for years.

Wanna Bet CCA builds prison here: Gaming Industry Lobbyist, Progressive activist screen Abercrombie cabinet picks

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Sheriffs Earning More Than Hawaii's Chief Justice?

In the two budget years Civil Beat examined, it found that nearly 100 workers were paid for more than 1,000 hours of overtime, and five employees logged more than 2,000 hours of overtime in a single year. The high levels of overtime in the 2,200-employee department significantly increased these employees' salaries.

In order to rack up 2,000 overtime hours, a person would have had to work more than 11 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year.

While they were paid for the hours, it's unlikely the public safety employees actually physically worked that many overtime hours. Most of the employees are covered by a United Public Workers labor contract that allows them to be paid both overtime and a salary for regular work shifts.

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$3M Ponzi Scheme targeted Hawaii inmates, families 

The Griggses and Kapua Keolanui, the wife of a Hawaii inmate, collected $3 million from the Hawaii inmates and their families from 2005 to 2009, when Perry Griggs was incarcerated at Nellis FEDERAL PrisonCamp in Nevada, according to the indictment. He was serving an eight-year prison sentence for running another Ponzi scheme in California.

Griggs claimed he was a wealthy, expert commodity futures trader serving time for tax offenses.

Keolanui, 35, pleaded guilty last month to wire fraud and is cooperating with authorities.

The Griggses and Keolanui persuaded inmates and their families to cash out their savings, retirement accounts and mortgages to invest in companies that offered guaranteed returns from commodities trading, according to federal court records. Instead of investing the money, the operators used money from new investors to pay off older ones and spent some of the money on themselves.

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Large crowd forces meeting on Mortgage Store outside

WAILUKU - A creditors meeting to hear testimony on the bankruptcy of The Mortgage Store, a Maui business with liabilities of about $14.7 million, drew a large crowd Thursday to the parking lot of the Cameron Center.

Creditors strained to hear testimony in the noisy parking lot. The meeting had been moved outside a meeting room because the room reserved for the meeting was too small for the crowd of people that showed up.

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Anti-Development lawyer shuts down volunteer beach park improvement effort

"I'm disappointed," Pikrone said of the stop-work order. "We thought we were supporting the county since it's their land and (it's) doing good for the community. Long before there was any Grand Wailea expansion planned, back in 2003, we were working on this beach project."

He said adding parking for people going to beaches like Keawakapu was a county project at first. But plans remained shelved because county money wasn't available for the project.

"We offered to pay for it because the alternative was parking on a dangerous and dusty road shoulder," Pikrone said. "And, now, unfortunately, some people don't see the benefit and are fighting it for their own personal reasons. This whole thing is crazy."

Neighbors have said the parking project is unnecessary and would result in fewer parking spaces. Now, motorists park haphazardly in the dirt on the mauka side of the road. The project would create a partly paved, partly grassed walkway, with some parallel parking, on the mauka side of the road for beach access. On the makai side, where people have parked on grass, the project would install parallel spaces. Some of the current parking spaces would be lost, but it's unclear how many.

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Obama’s boss, kids coming to Hawaii without Him

"Given the uncertainty of the president's schedule, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters will be departing on Dec. 18 as originally scheduled to join their family in Hawaii for the holidays," Mrs. Obama's spokesman, Catherine McCormick Lelyveld, told Politics Daily.

"The first family and Bo will be traveling on a measly little 737/C40B, one of the smaller and most efficient planes available in the White House fleet for this trip (see how green they are, they insist only on a tiny little 737.  You peasants must follow this example and stop using your wasteful, gas guzzling, private 767, 757, and 747s.) The president will join them when the congressional session is complete. The entire first family will return to Washington, D.C. Jan. 1, 2011."

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