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Friday, February 04, 2011
February 4, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:29 AM :: 9194 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

SB803 Assisted Suicide to be heard Monday

Abercrombie names anti-Superferry protester Morita to head PUC

CAGW warns Inouye against “Phonemarking or other underhanded techniques”

HB1058: Buying Office Equipment with Capital Improvement Bonds

VIDEO: Fontaine “HB166 is an anti-business bill”

Borreca: Don't count on riding Honolulu rail any time soon

The trans-Koolau H-3 took 25 years. How long do you think it will be before we hear the Honolulu rail transit line call: "All aboard!"

This week two new groups turned over their cards:

» Former Gov. Ben Cayetano, a long time rail opponent linked up with those opposing the city's rail plan, saying more attention must be paid to the possible discovery of ancient Hawaiian burials along the construction route.

Cayetano was governor when the 16-mile, $1.3 million interstate highway was opened. It had originally been projected to cost $250 million.

» On Monday, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. filed suit in state court claiming that the city has not done a required inventory survey of archaeological sites, including ancient Hawaiian burials along the rail route.

You can see the train tracks already disappearing as the hopes of thousands of Leeward commuters locked in a daily gridlock nightmare also vanish.

GOP Rep. Cynthia Thielen (Kailua-Kaneohe) was a lawyer fighting against H-3 for 12 years. She predicts that the city will be spending years in court.

"This is a serious plaintiff, they have resources and are sophisticated litigators," Thielen says, adding that she expects rail opponents will go for injunctions to stop any construction.

HR: Traffic Congestion Costs Each Honolulu Driver $709 Annually

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McKenna Confirmation Hearing At 10 a.m.

Neil Abercrombie's nominee for associate justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court — Sabrina McKenna — will go before the Senate Judiciary and Labor committee beginning at 10 a.m. in Conference Room 016.

McKenna, a judge on the 1st Circuit Court, is the governor's first judicial appointment. If confirmed by the full Senate, she will be the second female justice to sit on the current high court.

Attorney Robert Thomas, who runs a local legal blog, predicts, "We're guessing this confirmation hearing will not generate much opposition, so the hearing will be more like Justice Recktenwald's, and not like Judge Leonard's."

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OIP: Governor must reveal candidate list

Gov. Neil Abercrombie must release the names of the other candidates for a position on the Hawaii Supreme Court once his nomination of Sabrina McKenna as associate justice is confirmed by the state Senate, according to the state lawyers who administer the open-records law.

Abercrombie has refused to disclose the names of the other candidates to the high court sent to him by the Judicial Selection Commission.

But the Office of Information Practices responded yesterday by letter to a query by the Star-Advertiser and said the reasons for confidentiality would end once his nominee is confirmed.

Cathy Takase, OIP's acting director, later said once McKenna is confirmed, the governor "must release the names under the law."

Donalyn Dela Cruz, Abercrombie's spokeswoman, said he received a copy of the letter, and "we will review the letter and determine our next course of action."

RELATED: Transparency? Abercrombie administration brings secrecy back to Capitol

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Department of Human Services will end contracts with 41 organizations to relieve a $116 million deficit (While HGEA furloughs set to be eliminated)

Social service programs for the state's most needy population will terminate on April 1 to save the Department of Human Services $84 million over the next two years and three months.

The department is facing a $116 million budget deficit and will eliminate funding for 41 children, youth and family programs such as Read Aloud America, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Institute for Human Services.

Patricia McManaman, interim human services director, said the department decided to cut funding for the services under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program so it could keep intact job training and welfare programs.

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Broke Hippie: Abercrombie Running Low on Cash, Seeks Extra $1M

As state departments are being asked to retain lean operating budgets in light of an $844 million budget shortfall, Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office is asking the Hawaii Legislature for an extra $1.06 million in "emergency" funds to get through June.

That would bring the office's budget for the current fiscal year to $2.7 million in general funds. Without the extra cash, current funding will run out in mid-March, according to Abercrombie press secretary Donalyn Dela Cruz.

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Legislators obsessed with getting more Marijuana into hands of voters

There are six bills that have been introduced in the House relating to marijuana. There are eight bills under consideration in the Senate.

Six of the bills deal with medical marijuana. Six deal with easing restrictions on marijuana use and possession. Two bills propose to amend Hawaii's Revised Statutes to bring state law in line with federal law regarding marijuana.

Why?  Simple.  Marijuana makes people into liberals.

SA: Decriminalizing pot possession gets hearing

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Green Energy Scammers thrilled at Morita PUC appointment

She has chaired the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee since 1999 and is credited with increasing tax incentives for renewable-energy projects, establishing a barrel tax in 2010 that funds clean-energy programs, setting binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions and requiring solar hot water heaters in new homes.

CB: Morita Brings Energy to Hawaii Utility Regulators

KGI: Morita takes PUC job

Morita dismisses Nuclear: http://repmorita.wordpress.com/category/issues/clean-energy/

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Weight Tax Increase? Souki admits road maintenance funds have been regularly raided

Rep. Joe Souki, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, on Wednesday admitted that state money that is supposed to be set aside for road maintenance has regularly been raided in recent years for budget-balancing purposes.

He might have added that perhaps our legislators should stop raiding that money and instead use it for what it was intended: maintaining our highways and roads.

But, noooo. His response -- and that of his committee -- was to approve legislation that would almost double both the vehicle registration and vehicle weight taxes as a way to generate about $56 million in the first year.

But if we couldn't count on those tax revenues being used for their intended purpose in the past, why should we think that will change in the future?

AP: Hawaii transportation committees approve higher vehicle fees to repair state roads

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Aloha Stadium honcho says fixing the venue entirely now is the best option while waiting for a new stadium to be built (Undoing Lingle #1)

Kevin Chong Kee knew this moment was coming. For the past seven years, as chairman of the Aloha Stadium Authority, he has occupied a 50-yard-line seat as the 36-year-old facility's day of reckoning drew nearer. So when Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced in his State of the State address two weeks ago that he was halting a planned $59 million upgrade of the stadium, Chong Kee's reaction was more sad shrug than shock.

"I had heard he was going to do it, you know, through the grapevine," he says. "And, really, I wasn't surprised because there's a lot of other areas where the state is short of money."

Abercrombie described the stadium as a money pit into which the state has poured "hundreds of millions of dollars of repairs to this point and requires hundreds of millions more and won't last another 20 years."

"Other than maintenance related to health and safety," the governor said, "I will divert all other capital improvement dollars for Aloha Stadium to other projects" while a study is being done "to make a definitive decision on Aloha Stadium and any future stadium we might build."

Chong Kee was there in 2005, when the stadium authority decided the best course -- as long as legislators were unwilling to build a new stadium, which was then estimated to cost about $300 million -- was for the state to embark on a series of repair-and-improvement projects designed to keep Aloha Stadium open as long as possible.

In some ways, the facility has been something of a lost cause from the day it opened in 1975.

"I mean, this was a stadium that wasn't going to rust," Chong Kee says. "How could anybody in Hawaii have believed that, with the salt air?"

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Kuhio Park Terrace Public Housing Refurbishment Plans Questioned at Legislature (Undoing Lingle #2)

Residents and the redeveloper of Kuhio Park Terrace turned out in force Thursday to defend a planned $332 million refurbishment of the low income housing project in Kalihi.

A bill now pending in the state Senate questions the wisdom and practicality of a planned modernization that would mix low, moderate and market rate housing units without replacing the aging twin high-rise towers at the site that were built in 1965.

“My heart was broken when I found out about this bill,” Julia Talia, vice president of the KPT residents association, told members of the Senate Human Services Committee.

She forcefully urged the senators to step aside and let the modernization proceed.

“We’ve waited long enough. I feel like Moses: Let my people go!” Talia said.

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300 paying customers: Gumapac copies Keanu Sai’s Mortgage Scam

An (il)legal argument based on the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, used unsuccessfully to fight foreclosures (scam Hawaiians) in the 1990s, is now being used once again, even though the man who promoted the theory 15 years ago was convicted of a felony. David Keanu Sai is back in the public eye 11 years after being put on probation after telling people that they could walk away from mortgages because of the way the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown.

Hundreds of people fighting foreclosure have invested in that claim again -- partly because (the convicted felon and fraudster) Sai now has a University of Hawaii doctoral degree to back his argument.  (You see who/what UH promotes)

Kale Gumapac, founder of Laulima LLC and Hawaiian Alliance LLC, advertises on Craigslist that he has a way to stop the foreclosure process.

“It doesn't put the banks in trouble and it doesn't put the borrower in trouble,” Gumapac said. “And it's worked. That's what I am trying to tell the Legislature.” (Hmmmmm)

Gumapac said he has about 300 paying customers he is helping attack the title of their properties. “They can only foreclose if the title is clear,” he said. (Where is the FBI?)

The title attack is based on research by Windward Community College lecturer David Keanu Sai. (Yep.  The felon and fraudster is being paid to brainwash your children.)

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UH Manoa Asian Studies Chair backs Burma’s Military Junta

The agenda behind Robert Weiner's and James Lewis' commentary in Monday's Star-Advertiser ("Laundered money from drugs that go through Hawaii helps keep Burma's junta in power") seems clear: to keep pounding away at a myth created approximately 22 years ago by (mainly) the Western media, that the National League for Democracy, the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, won national elections in 1990.

(Another glorious academic star running a UH Manoa Liberal Arts department.)

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SA: Give superintendent needed tool

The public sentiment and the political climate may be right at last for lawmakers to give the state superintendent one tool she needs to help failing schools right themselves quickly enough to benefit their students.

That tool is a process called "reconstitution," and efforts to pass it in recent years have run aground on the shoals of union opposition. It cleared its first hurdle this week when House Bill 339 won the unanimous approval of the Education Committee….although unions could not block the reconstitution itself, the process would involve labor negotiations over the reassignment of staff for schools to be dismantled and rebuilt.  (In other words, passing this bill is just a game to fool the Feds.)

Matayoshi told the committee that passage of the bill would underscore the Legislature's commitment "for transformative educational reform outlined in the Hawaii Race to the Top application."

Winning the Race to the Top grant was based in part on convincing (suckering) federal educational officials (into believing) that this commitment exists.

… Hawaii is accountable to a 2014 deadline to meet specified educational goals. It's unreasonable to hold Matayoshi, or any other educational administrator, to that mandate without giving her the means to fix what's wrong with the state's most troubled schools.

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Charter Schools Chief Forced To Resign

Hawaii's charter schools director is leaving her post Friday over conflicts with the panel that appointed her.

"The Charter School Review Panel asked for and accepted my resignation as the Charter School Administrative Office Executive Director after disagreement over many months with regards to job scope and performance," wrote Maunalei Love in an e-mail to the charter school community. "I will be resigning as CSAO ED with the resignation effective at the close of business, Friday Feb. 4, 2011."

The panel has recently held hearings about nepotism allegations at public charter Myron B. Thompson Academy. Lawmakers last month threatened charter school funding if the panel didn't take stronger action and develop more effective accountability measures for the schools.

SA: Charter school director is asked to leave

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SB871: Homeschool Extracurricular Activities

Senate Bill 871 has been introduced by Sen. Sam Slom. This bill allows home schooled students to participate on an equal basis in extracurricular activities offered at the public school they would otherwise be required to attend.

The Senate Education Committee will be holding a public hearing for SB 871 on Friday, February 11 starting at 1:15 pm in the State Capitol, conference room 225.

Home schooled students, parents, and supporters are encouraged to submit testimony to the committee online and attend in person, if possible.

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Zone adjustment would help small schools stay open

Public Meeting

  • » What: The public is invited to weigh in on the changes to attendance areas.
  • » When: 6 p.m. Feb. 16
  • » Where: Kaiser High School cafeteria

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Recyclers' Big Subsidy Could Be Cut

Schnitzer Steel and about 10 other recycling companies get an 80 percent discount on the tipping fees the city charges them to dump their recycling residue at the city's Waimanalo Gulch Landfill in Nanakuli.

Critics said Schnitzer Steel saves about $2 million a year in tipping fees because of a discount they no longer need.

"It's corporate welfare,” said Bob McDermott, of Ewa Beach. “It's a subsidy the city pays $2 million a year to a company that's made $486 million in the last three years, and those are public facts."

Matthew LoPresti, also of Ewa Beach, said, "When they first got the bill started, it made sense, because we wanted to encourage recycling. That has succeeded. We don't need that anymore. So we can't afford it, they don't need it."

McDermott and LoPresti both ran unsuccessfully for the council seat vacated by former city council chairman Todd Apo. Tom Berg won the special election in late December.

In a written statement, Schnitzer Steel said "the "tipping fee' discount is a needed incentive for the Hawaii recycling community as a whole since it significantly helps reduce the stress on our landfills."

In testimony against eliminating the subsidy, Schnitzer's community relations director, (convicted felon) Rene Mansho, herself a former council member (forced to resign), threatened to end the company's Aloha Aina program, which provides schools and nonprofits with cash for their recycled trash.

SB: Where Rene went wrong

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Acupuncturists to fight bill they say would lower standards

"We have very strict standards here, and one of the concerns that we have is that the current senate bill would reduce the standards and put the public in danger," said Dr. Craig Twentyman of the Acupuncture Association, who is also a licensed acupuncturist.

Senate Bill 1507 would let the Hawaii Board of Medical Examiners take over the regulation of acupuncture. It also would take away the authority of the current Board of Acupuncture to regulate the practice when it is performed by physicians, osteopathic physicians, and physicians' assistants. Acupuncturists say the result of that will be lower standards.

Right now, if you want to become a licensed acupuncturist in Hawaii, you have to undergo more than 3,200 hours of training in a four-year program. That's even if you're already a medical doctor.

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Domestic abuse survivors urge lawmakers to close loophole in TRO law

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police are calling it one of their top priority bills in the Legislature this year. They say there's a potentially-deadly loophole in Hawaii's domestic violence law that deals with protective orders.

The House Human Services Committee on Thursday heard testimony on a measure that would correct that.

Victims advocates say it's not uncommon for an abuser to evade service of a protective order and that, until it is served, the order means nothing.

The measure would close the gap in coverage by allowing a TRO to remain in effect until the new order is served.

In each of the last two fiscal years, judiciary officials say there were more than 5,000 protective order requests made in domestic abuse cases statewide.

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House committee tables Silver Alert bill

The alert would mirror the Maile Amber Alert, the all-points-bulletin fed over freeway signs, radio and TV stations when a child goes missing.

"I think that it would a great idea for seniors who lost their way or who just need some help," Kalihi resident Nyree Silva said.

State Rep. Aaron Johanson and several colleagues co-sponsored House Bill 1614. He said safety of seniors is a constant concern.

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Brainwashed Ecomatons harass Kona Fish farm

It happened again -- a West Hawaii resident brainwashed dolt hoping to become an environmental hero observed aquaculture employees pouring something into their company's fish pens and wondered about the impact on water quality and the surrounding environment thought he could collect on his 15 minutes of fame.

State officials at two departments said they haven't received any recent complaints about water and environmental quality around the Kona Blue Water Farms fish pens. Kona Blue's Neil Sims, attending a conference in Canada, provided a brief response via a voicemail Wednesday afternoon. He said the activity observed was a standard therapeutic treatment. Sims was in a conference Wednesday evening and unavailable for additional comment.

Kona Blue takes water samples and reports the results back to the state Department of Health, Clean Water Branch's Matthew Kurano said.

"To our knowledge, they've passed (those tests)," Kurano said, adding he's seen no reasons for any compliance violations in recent months.

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Clean energy blocked: Sierra Club Vetoes Hydro Plant on Kauai

On behalf of the Kaua‘i Group of the Hawai‘i Chapter of Sierra Club, Rayne Regush wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) claiming KIUC’s Wailua River hydroelectric project would “undoubtedly harm native species of fish, snails and shrimp” and raised concerns over emergency cleaning of the proposed reservoir when filled with storm debris that could “expose the entire river ecosystem to low levels of oxygen, toxic chemicals and high levels of pathogens.”

The comments were in response to a Clean River Power 15 LLC application to FERC for a preliminary permit to conduct feasibility and other studies in preparation of an application for a license to construct, which Sierra Club does not support.

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Land Use Commission Blasts City Landfill Manager

The chairman of the state Land Use Commission blasted the company that manages the city's Waimanalo Gulch Landfill Wednesday.

The city's Environmental Services Department gave the commission a status report on the landfill after unknown amounts of solid and medical waste discharged from the landfill and into Leeward Oahu area beaches Jan. 13….

The city would need the commissions approval to use the landfill beyond 2012.

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Credit union board reduces its perks after members' criticism

The volunteer directors for the Hawaii State Federal Credit Union, the state's second largest, agreed yesterday to reduce the benefits they give themselves in the wake of increasing criticism from members.

Their action came four days after a Star-Advertiser story detailed the relatively generous benefit package that the seven directors for the $1 billion, member-owned nonprofit institution were eligible to receive.

While not all directors used all the benefits, national experts described the overall package as very generous and greater than what most other credit unions permit.

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Honolulu FBI targets stimulus fraud with new hotline

"History has shown that when large sums of money become available in the form of government contracts, a sizable percentage of that money can be lost to waste, fraud and abuse," said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Frank Montoya, Jr., who announced the establishment of the hotline.

To date, the State of Hawaii has been awarded approximately $1.5 billion in stimulus funds.

According to the Website www.recovery.gov, top Hawaii recipients of ARRA funds include:

  • - Hawaii Department of Education - $203 million
  • - University of Hawaii Systems - $174 million
  • - Hawaii Department of Transportation - $151 million
  • - City and County of Honolulu - $85 million
  • - Executive Office of the State of Hawaii - $78 million

Anyone with information to provide regarding government contract fraud is encouraged to call the FBI Governmental Fraud Hotline at 808-545-2577.

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Global Warmists tell Samoans to stop eating

He says for example, the hamburger industry is a huge producer of greenhouse gases as there are a lot processes performed in order to make hamburger meat.

He says all hamburgers made annually in the United States alone produce as much carbon as all sport utility vehicles in use there.

TOTALLY CONNECTED: Carnegie Institution Study: Genocide reduces global warming

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