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Wednesday, February 16, 2011
February 16, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:43 PM :: 7443 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Radcliffe: The game is up, I told you and you are not ready

Not Dead Yet: Different version of Soda Tax to be heard Wednesday

Health Dir. Fired 2 Before He Resigned, hints at defamation suit

KITV 4 News has uncovered an interesting development that happened just two weeks before that sudden resignation.

Palafox's lawyer said Palafox was reducing a controversial state health department program at the request of the governor just before he was asked to step down, only one month into the job.

Palafox was eliminating 22 positions at the state health department and laid off two contract employees, including one man who departed from a high-profile city agency amid controversy….

Just two weeks before Palafox resigned, he laid off two health department contract employees from that mental health billing program. One of them was Dewey Kim, the former executive director of the Honolulu Liquor Commission, according to State Sen. Josh Green, who chairs the State Senate Health Committee…

The second employee who was laid off was Joanne Hao, a network development and contracting manager, was paid $125,000 annually, and had been working in the CORE program since February of 2010, Okubo said. Both them had termination dates of Jan. 25, one day before Palafox resigned.

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Final Hawaii vote on civil unions delayed

 

Senators agreed to delay the vote after Hee received a call late Monday night from a lawyer who was worried about a Senate rule requiring a 48-hour notice between the time senators receive a bill and when they take a vote. The measure had passed the House on Friday and was delivered to the Senate clerk's office later that day, but that action wasn't posted online until Monday.

The rule also calls for a 48-hour delay after the Senate agrees to amendments made by the House, which happened Monday.

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Lesbian Judge and Civil Unions to be voted in atheist Senate today

The confirmation of Sabrina McKenna to the Hawaii Supreme Court will receive a full Senate vote today in Senate chambers.

Also on the agenda is a final vote on civil unions.

(And if you think this is a coincidence that the atheist Senate is doing both of these things on the same day, you aren’t paying attention.  The message is clear: Christians are bigots and must bow down to the new gay goddess.)

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Rail Financial Plan: “Very little capacity to absorb cost increases or funding shortfalls”

The last financial plan, prepared in 2009 by Parsons Brinckerhoff, presented "very little capacity to absorb cost increases or funding shortfalls and has potentially significant revenues risks," according to the FTA's fiscal 2011 transit project financial assessment.

"Sometimes you need to be mindful of this: These financial projections are just that, projections," Rogoff said in a conference call with reporters. "They change as interest rates change ... as local revenue estimates change. The most updated plan is always the most important one."

Rogoff said the FTA needs to see a financial plan that demonstrates the city can meet its financial obligations and that its existing bus service continues to operated and be maintained.

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Carlisle $8000/plate fundraiser, Splits with Cayetano

Carlisle, who was elected in a September special election to finish Mufi Hannemann’s term, has already announced his intention to seek not one, but two more terms as Honolulu mayor “if my family and the citizens of Honolulu permit.”

The new mayor has split with one of his most prominent campaign supporters, former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who said at a recent anti-rail news conference that Carlisle is not a reasonable man and indicated he regrets backing him.

But interestingly, Cayetano’s wife Vicky is still listed as a member of the event committee for the April fundraiser.

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Businesses leery of alcohol tax hike

Currently, Hawaii has one of the highest beer taxes in the country -- 93 cents per gallon -- with only Georgia, Alabama and Alaska taking more at $1.01 per gallon, $1.05 per gallon, and $1.07 per gallon, respectively. Wyoming has the lowest tax rate, at 2 cents per gallon.
The rate hike would increase Hawaii's beer tax by 47 cents per gallon, making it the highest beer tax in the country. It works out to an extra 4.5 cents per 12-ounce beer, or $1.06 per case.
Additionally, taxes on wine would increase by 69 cents per gallon, and taxes on hard liquor would jump by $2.99 per gallon.

Ultimately, Kadota said, the tax would "just make it more expensive to enjoy a beer at pau hana."

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ILind: Radcliffe’s UHPA Pitch designed to push Gambling

It’s hard to take his assessments at face value when, in the end, it’s the bill he is being paid to promote on behalf of one or more gaming companies that magically becomes, in his telling, “the only money making idea” that counts.

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SA vs ACT 221 Scammers: Movie employment drops after States enact Tax Credits

Film makers are urging legislators to raise the subsidy to compete for film production with Michigan, which has a subsidy of 42 percent, along with Louisiana and New Mexico -- although in the latter two states, employment in film and video production has actually fallen after early apparent success of the tax credits.

Forty-three states now offer film subsidies but some are reconsidering. Massachusetts found that for every dollar of revenue lost from the tax break the state gained only 16 cents in revenue, mostly in income tax revenues withheld by film company employees. Kansas, Iowa, New Jersey, Arizona and Rhode Island have suspended the subsidies, let their credit expire or capped the film tax credit in the past four years.

"The rapid spread of film tax subsidies across the country is a classic case of a race to the bottom," noted Robert Tannenwald of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in a recent study.

He concluded that state subsidies to the film industry "are a wasteful, ineffective and unfair instrument of economic development" rather than the "quick fix" they appear to be.

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Act 221 Scammers oppose Gambling

After all the resistance, confusion and failure about incentivizing our young people to diversify into tech, is that what we now want to do, diversify into gambling? It’s a one-way street to a blind alley that will undermine our values and social environment. This is one wild session, all right.

Glitter or not, gambling won’t diversify us into tech. It may offer dealer jobs to our kids, but it won’t offer them high paying tech jobs, and it won’t keep them from leaving. In fact, it’ll probably expedite their departure. Who wants to make a career in casino town? For me, there is no way that gambling would work for the greater good, help the tech industry or lead to a meaningful diversification.

Follow the money. If local people gamble, they’ll put the money into the bandit, the bandit sends a healthy slice back to its owners on the mainland, which the economist on PBS thought would ultimately be a Vegas gaming company.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Gaming Lobbyist describes much deeper involvement in selecting Abercrombie Cabinet

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HMSA and state hospitals reach agreement on rates

The state’s largest health insurer, Hawaii Medical Service Association, and the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, which operates Leahi Hospital and 13 other health facilities, said they have signed a new contract that rewards the hospitals for the quality of care and not the quantity.

“We will be working together to increase patient satisfaction, improve patient outcomes, and reduce costs, which will help us build and maintain a sustainable health care system for Hawaii.”

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Bills to Abolish Aloha Tower Development Corp. Advancing in Legislature

The House Transportation Committee passed HB1020 earlier this week that would  establish an Aloha Tower Complex area to be controlled by the HCDA, which would also be transferred the functions, duties and assets of the former agency.

Other actions called for include a transfer implementation of the harbors modernization plan previously handled by the agency to the Department of Transportation.

Another bill, SB1247, also would abolish what remains of the agency and transfer its work. That bill, with amendments, was passed Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Water, Land and Housing.

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ABERCROMBIE’S SINKING SHIP

From www.GOPHawaii.com Governor Abercrombie promised the moon and the stars to anyone and everyone who would vote for him last November.  But this past Saturday one of his key supporters had remarkable comments about his hope for a New Day in Hawaii and how Abercrombie's canoe is turning out to be a sinking ship.  Today, we don't have to ask any questions because Abercrombie's own insiders are saying hmmmm for us? 

Here is the must read story from Civil Beat

Lawyer Alston blames Lingle for Abercrombie’s mess

“The Lingle administration left a fine fiscal mess for the new Governor and his team to clean up. Years of bumbling and mismanagement will be fixed only through painful measures. There is no other way, and we need to take that bitter medicine like adults.”

Wrong.  Lingle paid the full amount into the ERS every year. It was Cayetano and Hanabusa who raided the ERS to lard up the General Fund.

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Global Cooling drives spike in Hawaii Tourism

Mr. Grant and Mr. Tlumak are not the only mainlanders to be gloating about their good luck. Hawaiian tourism officials, hotel operators and travel agents — battered by several years of slumping sales — have recently seen a marked increase in arrivals to the islands. And while there are various theories as to why — including favorable currency exchange rates and Obama on the beach — what most people can agree on is that the rotten weather in the rest of the country, including a series of brutal snow storms in the Midwest and on the East Coast, has been good news in Hawaii.

Enviro-grifters switch to “Great garbage patch” scam:

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Kalihi kids deserve good public schools, too

Now is our chance. You see, it all begins with us. The children of Hawaii should not be a budgetary burden. They should be regarded as the solution. Instead, we are herding them into overcrowded schools, increasing the student-to-teacher ratios, disregarding the individual language and learning challenges that are so prevalent among particularly the Leeward and west side schools -- all while wondering why the public school system is such a mess.

Shapiro: Good BOE picks by governor will get resources to schools  (No mention of “audit”)

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SA publishes more nonsense about plastic bags

Best Comment: “Wasn't it the environmental wacko movement that forced us to use plastic because we were killing too many trees using paper bags? Make up your mind!”

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Kauai to hold anti-doper rally

Intended to raise awareness about the legislation and possible associated dangers, the demonstration is being led by the Kaua‘i Police Department, County of Kaua‘i Anti-Drug Program, Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, among others.

It’s set for 4 p.m. in front of the Historic County Building on Rice Street and will include speakers from local law enforcement, drug treatment providers and community leaders.

“If passed, these measures will result in increased violent crime, economic crisis, and a rise in marijuana usage among our children,” Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho said in a county press release.

Assistant Chief Roy Asher of the Kaua‘i Police Department also expressed concern over the House and Senate bills, including SB 1460, SB 175 and SB 1458.

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Hilo: Ten applicants for each job opening at Safeway

About a thousand people had applied online for Safeway's new Hilo store off Makaala Street, which expects to hire between 90 to 100 people when it opens in March. Those who had applied for a job received a notice to appear Tuesday and Thursday this week in Prince Kuhio Plaza for in-person interviews from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
So they arrived as early as 8 a.m., when the mall opened, to stand in a line that stretched from The Gathering Place (the former Waldenbooks space, next to Radio Shack) to the Verizon Wireless kiosk in the mall's central atrium.

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Honolulu City Council to Take Up B&B Law Again

Honolulu City Council members pledged to introduce legislation that would confront Honolulu's lack of enforcement of a law banning short-term vacation rentals. It comes after a Civil Beat investigation found the Department of Planning and Permitting issued violation notices to only 18 property owners throughout 2010, while hundreds or thousands more are believed to be breaking the law.

The department is now asking the City Council to pass a bill that would provide better tools for enforcement. Since 1989, Honolulu has banned homeowners from renting their properties for fewer than 30 days at a time unless they obtained a special permit — called a nonconforming use certificate, or NUC — more than 20 years ago.

No new permits have been issued since that time, and lapsed permits are ineligible for renewal. Attempts to pass laws that would allow more permits have failed. Honolulu law classifies B&Bs as vacation rentals where the property owner stays on-site with tenants, and transient vacation units or TVUs as vacation rentals where the property owner is off-site.

(Yes, but will they prosecute The Obama for his illegal renting of an illegal rental?)

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Power-purchase contract OK'd for First Wind expansion

With HELCO forced to buy this garbage electricity at premium prices, your electric rates will have to go up.

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Rep Marilyn Lee blocked attempt to include law making Human Trafficking a Crime in Hawaii

HB 576 would amend the current prostitution statutes in Hawaii to include a definition of sex trafficking crimes involving forced or child prostitution and ensure children under 18 involved in commercial sex are treated as trafficking victims, not criminals. Currently, Hawaii doesn't even have a criminal statutory definition of human trafficking, making almost all other laws and regulations related to the act almost impossible. The new law would also increase penalties for human traffickers, allow for forfeiture of assets from convicted traffickers, and allow for more investigative tools for law enforcement investigating human trafficking cases.

Previously, this bill was committed by lawmakers to be included in the bi-partisan Women's Legislative Caucus package, but at the last minute was pulled from the package at the request of Rep. Marilyn Lee. The bill's proponents claim it was removed for political reasons and at the behest of  Keith Kaneshiro….

SA: Man sentenced to 10 years for prostituting girl and advertising services on Craigslist  (Federal charges)

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Lender Files Foreclosure Suit Against Unity House over Waikiki Hotel

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that MK Pacific LLC has filed suit against Unity House, the owner of the Lotus at Diamond Head Hotel.
According to the news source, MK Pacific claims that Unity House has yet to pay off its $5.5 million one-year loan on the property that was due December 2010.
Unity House, a non-profit institute that helps local workers in need find housing and other benefits, reportedly bought the 51-room hotel for $8.5 million at a foreclosure auction in 2009. A Unity House spokesman told the news agency that the hotel is not suffering financially, but the company is having trouble refinancing the loan.

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Pasha Hawaii to Build Second Vessel

Meanwhile Roz Baker is hammering the PUC for even granting Pasha a temporary license to make inter-island runs.  As soon as the new ship is done, the PUC will pull the rug out from under Pasha.

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Senators kill bill banning toy gun sales to kids

The Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee reached a 3-3 tie vote Tuesday on the bill, short of the majority needed to move it forward.

The original measure would have made it illegal to sell toy guns to anyone under 18 years old.

Sen. Roz Baker proposed amendments to the bill before the vote to clarify that it would affect only replica firearms, not brightly colored water guns or Nerf rifles.

SB749, HB432: http://capitol.hawaii.gov

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DJ Progresso In The House

Whan asked what prompted Brower to ever consider public office in the first place, he would only say, "I represent to pay the rent, you say I'm bent, but every dam year, back I'm sent." Brower, who represents Waikiki, is widely rumored to be "tin foil man" seen most days along Kalakaua Avenue.  "Have you ever seen Brower and Tin Foil Man at the same time," said one well known Capitol lobbyist, "I haven't."

Later, Representative Brower would only vote "Bajizzle" when called on during floor votes.

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Chinese strategists think of Hawaii as an appendage of Asia

At least some Chinese strategists think of Hawaii as an appendage of Asia rather than a geographic feature of the Pacific Ocean, placed closer to the Americas than to the Chinese coastline. The concept of first and second island chains is familiar to Asia specialists, but the concept of a third island chain, positioned only 2,400 miles from San Francisco, is a novel one. It appears on a map of the Pacific found in a recent translation of Capt. Alfred Thayer Mahan’s The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783—the same translation whose front cover blares, ‘Does China Need an Aircraft Carrier?’

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