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Thursday, February 10, 2011
February 10, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:04 PM :: 6231 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

SB 232 Civil Unions to be voted in House Friday

House GOP Caucus leads successful effort to Keep Prayer in Daily Sessions

HB12: Ag theft bill before Ag Committee Friday

SB1425: Legislative Committee to discuss banning all Oahu Landfills

Abercrombie appoints Don Horner to BoE, plans to appoint Horner to New BoE

Soda-tax proposal fizzes on arrival: Political Theater to push GE Tax hike

Green, whose committee is the first to take up Abercrombie's proposal, said afterward that he has not decided whether to advance the bill. But he said there needs to be dialogue soon about what would replace the governor's proposals if they are rejected by lawmakers. He asked people who attended the hearing, which was dominated by opponents of alcohol and soda tax hikes, whether they would support a pension tax or cuts to state programs as alternatives. No hands went up. He asked about a general excise tax increase. Several hands went up.

SA: Abercrombie's pension tax idea is misguided and just plain wrong

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Bingo to be legal on DHHL?

The House Hawaiian Affairs Committee approved a measure that would allow bingo on Hawaiian home lands. Two members voted with reservations and Gene Ward voted "no."

Bobby Hall of DHHL said the department supports the intent of House Bill 1225 because "it provides for a more consistent revenue stream to the department." … (whose leader has agreed to abandon the mission.)

Another gambling measure, House Bill 1227, which would allow casinos on Hawaiian home lands, was deferred.

SA: Panel calls for bingo 'to help Hawaiians'

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Secrecy: Abercrombie Admin plays hide the sausage with list of Inaugural Bll donors

The list of Abercrombie supporters who bought tickets to the Governor’s Inaugural Ball in December is not a government record since the event was staged by a private, non-profit group called Hawaii Inaugural 2010.

But Abercrombie said on the day of the event that he would release the names of the ball benefactors.

He cited his commitment to transparency in ordering the disclosure.

But efforts since then to obtain the financial information have not been successful.

Dela Cruz last month referred questions to Jim McCoy, an Abercrombie election campaign official who is not part of the administration.

McCoy repeatedly said he could not obtain the financial information because ball organizers told him they first wanted to pay expenses and donate surplus funds to charities before releasing the names of donors

Told that HawaiiReporter would accept just an accounting of donations received by Hawaii Inaugural 2010, McCoy said he would attempt to supply that information.

This week he said he had been told to refer further inquiries about the matter to Dela Cruz in the governor’s office.

Dela Cruz said today she is attempting to gather the requested information.

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Retaliation: Will Abercrombie Admin reappoint OIP Director?

Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said today that the Attorney General’s office disputes an opinion from Cathy Takase, acting director of the state Office of Information Practices, which held last week that the governor must disclose the names of judicial nominees once Associate Justice Sabrina McKenna is confirmed by the state Senate this week….

As for Takase’s statement that the governor must eventually release the names, Dela Cruz said today, “We believe she is wrong.”

“We’ve been trying to call her about it but haven’t been able to reach her,” Dela Cruz said.

Reached by telephone today, Takase said she has been “playing phone tag” with the administration on the issue….

Takase first told the Honolulu Star Advertiser last week that she felt Abercrombie must reveal the names after McKenna is confirmed by the Senate as a new Supreme Court associate justice. She reiterated that position again today.

Takase has been serving as the acting director of OIP since the previous director stepped down last year.

The governor selects the OIP director and Takase was asked today if she felt her position on the disclosure matter could adversely affect her chances of being named OIP director.

She laughed politely but did not answer.

SA: Governor will keep high court nominees secret

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Retaliation: Progressives claim another pelt

Linda Smith, the former senior policy adviser to Gov. Linda Lingle, is the new caucus manager for state House Minority Leader Gene Ward (R-Kalama Valley-Hawaii Kai).
Smith said she was terminated on Thursday as the chief financial management adviser to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority …

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House, Senate agree on appointed school board

The House Education Committee consented to the process of providing a single line of accountability from school board members to the governor.

House Education Committee Chairman Roy Takumi previously had favored creating an advisory panel to give the governor a list of school board candidates to choose from.

But Takumi and the committee voted unanimously Wednesday to pass a direct appointment bill that already cleared the full Senate unanimously.

SB8: http://capitol.hawaii.gov/

Shapiro: Good start for the appointed BOE

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4 schools could win exemption from 180-day state minimum

Under a measure before the House, multitracks would be required to offer at least 171 school days.

The campuses, which already have longer school days to make up time, would also have to mirror other public schools in the total number of hours students are in class.

A similar bill is before the Senate.

Multitrack schools have always had shorter instructional years -- but longer school days -- because of their unusual schedules, aimed at coping with overcrowding by having at least one "track," or group of students, on vacation at any given time.

"The multitrack schedule is not attractive to anyone attending or working at them, but the schools have made it operational," Annette Nishikawa, acting Campbell-Kapolei complex area superintendent, said in testimony to the House Education Committee…

Melanie Bailey, who helped write the law last session, said she also supports an exemption to the 180 days as long as multitrack students are in class for the same number of hours as their peers in other schools.

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Clayton Hee kills OHA settlement (Again)

(Unbiased journalism from Civil Beat) Sen. Clayton Hee has credibility as a proponent of Native Hawaiian rights (poverty pimp). So when he says there's something wrong with a bill that would give the Office of Hawaiian Affairs $200 million to settle a 32-year-old debt, there must be something going on (yes there is, but it has noting to do with helping Hawaiians, only Hee helping himself).

Hee, who once served on OHA's board, made quick work of Senate Bill 984 Wednesday. Before an afternoon joint hearing held by his Judiciary and Labor Committee and the Hawaiian Affairs Committee could even get rolling, Hee stopped the measure in its tracks by stating that he thought a deferral was in order.

Within a few short minutes, his fellow senators and even OHA leaders agreed Hee was probably right. (Jawohl mein kommandant!) The bill was deferred indefinitely, without objection.

When Civil Beat spoke to the chairs of all the other committees to which the Senate bill or its House companion were referred, they all said, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, that they'd be open to the proposal…

(Clayton Hee has been blocking OHA settlements for his entire political career.  And there is always some reporter scurrying around to act as if there is something new here.)

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Republicans make difference as State House votes to keep Invocations

…the House's eight Republicans were involved in keeping invocations.

Immediately after the House vote Wednesday, Minority Leader Gene Ward released a statement that said in part, "The rules language closely mirrors suggestions made by the eight members of the House Republican Caucus."

Ward added: "Our caucus feels very strongly about preserving the tradition of the invocation before our floor sessions. To get rid of the tradition would be a disservice to our state and national heritage."

"This First Amendment practice began with the first Continental Congress (1774), and today, the 200-year-old tradition is still considered valid based on the foundation established by the first legislators," Minority Floor Leader Kymberly Pine said in the same statement.

The Senate, by contrast, has new top leadership, and despite the efforts of Democrats like Will Espero and lone Republican Sam Slom, there doesn't seem to be sufficient critical mass to keep the invocations in that chamber.

(Espero and eight other senators held a brief and private prayer on the Senate floor before session began Jan. 26. But there are 25 members in the Senate.)

While Slom said this week that his office has been hearing loudly from constituents upset with the end to invocations, things have been much quieter at the offices of President Shan Tsutsui and Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria.

SA: State House to continue prayers before daily sessions

RELATED: House GOP Caucus leads successful effort to Keep Prayer in Daily Sessions

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House Invocation: New Rule vs Old

The new rules (not yet finalized) are expected to include language along the lines of:  At the option of the Speaker, prior to the convening of any session, there may be an ecumenical invocation by a member of the House.  Any invocation by a House member or non-member shall be limited to two minutes, should be nonsectarian in nature.  Attendance at or participation in the invocation shall be voluntary.

The old rules simply stated: At the option of the Speaker, every session shall be opened with an invocation.

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On fast track, civil unions could go to governor next week

The House changes — recommended by the state Attorney General’s Office — clarify that since civil unions will not be recognized under federal law, certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that apply to husbands and wives in Hawaii apply with the same force and effect to partners in civil unions. Family Court will also have jurisdiction in matters of annulment, divorce and separation in civil unions, like the court does over marriages.

Although he had not seen the final version of the bill yesterday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Clayton Hee said he discussed the changes with his House counterpart, Judiciary Chairman Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran (D, Kahului-Paia).

“Based on the conversation I had, it sounds to me his amendments appear to be reasonable,” said Hee (D, Kahuku-Kaneohe). “Unless there’s some real difficult issues with the members in the Senate, the inclination would probably be to agree to the House amendments.”

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Atheists continue assault on Mormon construction project

Like many of you, I woke up Wednesday morning to the news that a new poll shows Oahu residents overwhelmingly support the Envision Laie project in Koolau Loa.

Among other findings, the poll said that two-thirds of residents believe "a moderate amount of growth in the Koolau Loa district is necessary for the communities in the region to be vibrant and sustainable."

Reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's story, I was left with one glaring question: Who paid for the poll?  (blablabla)

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Rosanne Barr helps fund gay agenda in Hawaii

Roseanne Barr will be doing a reading and book signing of "Roseannearchy: Dispatches From the Nut Farm," on Saturday, Feb. 12 from noon to 2 p.m. The event will help raise money for the Big Island chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
Hairy Monkey Books co-owner Janno Scheer runs the unique store with her partner Lawrie Provost. The couple also runs Surf and Sea on Bayfront. Scheer serves as president of PFLAG and partner Provost is Vice President.

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The Socialist State: After 9 years, Hot water should be priority

Since 2002, broken-down solar panels (another ‘green’ failure) and backup systems have drawn complaints from residents -- who in 2006 finally alerted a new candidate for the state House to the problem.

That candidate, Karl Rhoads, ultimately was elected to the House seat. Last summer, he said, he realized the magnitude of the failure. His survey of the residents in July showed about 70 percent of them without reliable hot-water service.

But the attention has not yet spurred government to give the crisis the action it deserves.

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Food safety concerns prompt amendment: Council considers loosening bag ban

The Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday approved on first reading an amendment to the plastic bag ban that would allow establishments serving ready-to-eat food to distribute plastic bags to customers.

Councilman Mel Rapozo said he introduced the bill because of safety concerns that were brought up to him since the law went into effect on Jan. 11.

“Bacteria love to live in this temperature. Bacteria need several things to exist: food, acidity, time, temperature, oxygen, moisture,” said Chef Martina Hilldorf, adding that bacteria can easily grow on cloth after contact with food.

RELATED: KTA, Safeway, Walgreens: Excessive Amounts of Lead Found in Reusable Grocery Bags, Sen Schumer Demands Investigation: Reusable Bags Contain Harmful Chemicals and Harbor Bacteria

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Big Island merchants wary of plastic bag ban

The full council is set to consider Bill 17 during its 9 a.m. meeting Wednesday in Hilo.
Lawmakers, acting as the council's Environmental Management Committee, earlier this month advanced the legislation with a 5-3 vote.
That's enough support to pass a bill similar to legislation the former council, which had three different members, rejected by a 5-4 vote last February. At least six votes are needed, however, to override a mayoral veto, if one is issued.

According to the bill, "a police officer shall use a form of summons or citation provided by the county in citing a violator for any provision of this article."
Businesses could be fined up to $100 for a first violation and a maximum $500 for a third infraction within a single year, according to the bill.
Each day a violation continues "shall be considered a separate offense," the measure adds.

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Neo-Luddites plan angles of attack against Geothermal

Puna Geothermal Venture has been plugging away, producing about 25-35 megawatts of power for the island's energy grid, since 1993. That power, according to the company's own website, "saves HELCO more than 400,000 barrels of oil a year."
The site also notes that PGV "could provide much more." And a recent "Interim Report" by a state-legislature-appointed Geothermal Working Group agrees: it recommends that the island switch from oil to geothermal as its primary source of electricity.

(So the obvious question is: How will they stop it?  Here’s how…)

The steam at PGV contains not just water vapor, but other gases, including extremely toxic (at very high concentrations) hydrogen sulfide.  (And this sounds bad until one considers the fact that two volcanoes are bathing the Big Isle on H2S daily.) Various other dangerous chemicals, including caustic soda (also known as “lye”) and highly flammable pentane (glorified paint thinner), are stored onsite at the plant. And, being located on a rift zone, the site is in prime earthquake country (OK, the hippies can move out first.)

If all of the Geothermal Working Group's recommendations are carried out, two more potentially hazardous chemicals could be added to the brew. The group recommended using spare power from geothermal to make ammonia, which could be shipped to O'ahu for fuel or used in fertilizer. Ammonia (NH3) is a noxious, flammable gas;  (Marijuana is a noxious, flammable solid) for fertilizer, ammonia is usually combined with nitric acid to make ammonium nitrate (NH4), a crystalline solid so explosive (FALSE) it's been banned in Afghanistan because of its use in roadside bombs.  (WRONG.  NH4 is not explosive in and of itself.  It will explode when mixed with diesel fuel and impacted by the explosion of a detonator.  Handy Tip: To avoid explosion, do not mix with diesel fuel.)

(Remember, these liars are “enlightened, conscious, and progressive.  They are smarter than you are.  Bow to them and worship them as gods.) 

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A short commentary on comments to the mariculture article

Some commentators suggested we should open up the mariculture issue for further debate. That’s a backward step, since the issue has already been debated years ago and it’s been state policy ever since. Re-debate assumes the debate isn’t over, and the guys who lost it last time can have another shot, and maybe another one after that. That way, either side can prevent the issue, or initiative, from ever coming to rest. That’s not good or predictable government, here or anywhere else.

Some people feel we can have the extravagance of closing down a food industry. Do that and you'll see what happens – we’ll pay a terrible price. We’ll pay higher prices for lower quality food from far away, and our money will go there, not here. There won't be jobs, there won't be food security and there won't be self-reliance or sustainability.

My sense from the online comments is that lots of people are in a long-term denial overlaying the past and the future, and would rather stand still and perseverate.

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Council decides not to ban Segways from Tent Cities…err Parks

City Council members unanimously decided to defer a bill that would ban Segways and other personal "mobility devices" from city parks. The proposal came up in a Parks and Human Services Committee meeting this morning.

City Council member Romy Cachola said he worried the attempt to keep Segways out of parks would also ban elderly residents and those who use scooters because they have disabilities.

"If we pass this kind of policy, we will not be hearing the end of it from our constiuents and the disabled and the elderly," Cachola said. "We might be creating more of a problem by trying to solve another problem."

But creating special exceptions for those who need personal mobility devices to get around might be possible, said City Council member Ann Kobayashi.

"We can always exempt those with disabilities," Kobayashi said. "We also need to protect the rights of park users and pedestrians. It is a fine balance."

Committee Chairman Tom Berg said the committee has received two pieces of written testimony from people with concerns about how the bill would prevent disabled residents from getting around and spending time in parks.

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Revolving Door: Ex-County Clerk gets ethics waver to become lobbyist

HILO -- The county Board of Ethics on Wednesday gave former County Clerk Ken Goodenow the go-ahead to work at the Carlsmith Ball law firm.
The firm, which specializes in business, administrative law, real estate and land-use issues, often has business before the County Council and other government entities.

The county code prohibits a county employee or officer from assisting or representing any person or business for personal economic gain for 12 months after leaving office on any issue the former employee was directly involved with or had information not available to the general public.

The specifics of Goodenow's request for an advisory opinion and the opinion itself are unknown. At Goodenow's request, the Ethics Board closed the 30-minute hearing to the public.
Goodenow resigned as county clerk in December after a new council majority elected a new council chairman.

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Things that make you go hmmmm.....ARE DEMOCRATS FOR THE LITTLE GUY?

The Abercrombie Administration and the Democrats in the Legislature are trying to close the budget gap on the backs of our kupuna. Despite the rhetoric about caring for our seniors, the Democrats have actually drafted bills which will penalize those who have worked hard for years and are now receiving a well-deserved pension which forces many of them to live on a fixed budget.  Taxing the pensions of our elderly is simply not pono.  It is strange that for all the posturing of the Democrats, they remain a tax and spend group.  With this bill they are showing how cruel they are to our moms, dads and grandparents.  Democrats say they are for the little guy but ideas like this make you go hmmmm……

*source: HB 1092

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