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Friday, February 18, 2011
February 18, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:27 PM :: 8559 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

Seven House Races decided Civil Unions

UPDATE: Commissioners reject Carlisle's call to cancel Neighborhood Board Elections

Hanabusa, Hirono silent as E-W Center Funding Cut by Congress

YOU WERE WARNED: UH Manoa Anti-Americans place E-W Center funding at risk

Flashback: East-West Center hammered for “sustained, biased and politically-motivated attack on World War II veterans”

Ban-Happy Legislators’ toy bills take aim at novelty lighters, sky lanterns, foie gras, and ‘light pollution’

NRA: Hawaii Anti-Gun Bills Await House Committee Action

GE Tax Hike Coming: Kaneko knew that Medicare Pt B was futile

The most recent is the governor's futile attempt to have Hawaii government employees pay for their own Medicare Part B. The governor burned a lot of political capital and took a lot of undeserved abuse before it died. His own transition chief, Bill Kaneko, came from the law firm that successfully sued the state and established that there's no way the state can take benefits from people that have already earned them. Could they have talked before all this went down?  (They did.  That is why Abercrombie picked this target.  It is a set-up to bring on the GE Tax.)

Fake Fake Fake: Governor gets guff over cuts

Just a show to justify the GE Tax: Abercrombie finds budget proposals a hard sell in Aiea

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Pay to Play Contractor helped Organize Abercrombie’s Inaugural Ball

When the inaugural ball – held December 9 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel – was being organized, there was some doubt that enough money could be collected to reserve the hotel space, Mitsunaga said.

“First it was going to be at the Sheraton, but then Neil wanted to go the Hilton,” said Mitsunaga, who noted that his longtime office manager, Terri Otani, helped with the inaugural preparations.

“They needed so much money in hand to reserve the place, so that’s why I committee the $30,000,” said Mitsunaga.

He said he was so generous in his financial support of Abercrombie because the governor “is such a terrific guy.”

“I really like him,” continued Mitsunaga. “I’ve known him 20 years. I supported him since he was in Congress.”

Mitsunaga said he first met Abercrombie when both men worked on the election campaign of Gov. Ben Cayetano, a close friend of Mitsunaga.

“He’s just a straight shooter. He tells it like it is. I just really like him,” said Mitsunaga of Abercrombie.

Abercrombie’s 20-yr friend: Pay-for-Play Contractor top donor to Abercrombie Inaugural

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Priest Marc Alexander gave $500 to Abercrombie’s Inaugural Ball

Marc Alexander, the former Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, donated $500. Alexander left his post with the church after accepting a position as Gov. Abercrombie's coordinator on homeless Jan. 20.

The Ball was December 9th, 2010—long before Abercrombie named Alexander to the position.

(Transsexual BoE member Mr Kim Coco Iwamoto gave $750.)

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Abercrombie: I don’t want to hear from you about Civil Unions

I appreciate all the time and effort invested by those who shared their thoughts and concerns regarding civil unions in Hawai‘i.  This has been an emotional process for everyone involved, but that process is now ended.  (Really? He hasn’t signed the bill yet.)  Everyone has been heard; all points of view respected. (Translation.  I know what I want to do and I don’t care what you have to say about it.)

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SA: Greenwood’s Backdoor pay raise a mistake

Students and faculty at the University of Hawaii have reason to be irked about the Board of Regents' decision to make permanent a $5,000 monthly housing allowance for the UH president that was intended to be temporary while awaiting renovation of the presidential mansion in Manoa. The allowance, if it stands at the additional contract cost of $300,000-plus, should be recognized in future negotiations as the pay raise that it was….

YOU WERE WARNED: Executive compensation at UC: MRC Greenwood and the $871 million dollar secret, MRC Greenwood and "A Powerful Coterie of larcenous lesbians", Greenwood Mafia grabs two power positions in UH system

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Free Speech?  ACLU demands anti-dope rally be shut down by County

Originally meant to be hosted by county officials, the rally was canceled due to a … complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union. County councilman Mel Rapozo then reinstated the rally as a member of the community. The purpose of the demonstration, according to the county, was intended to inform the public about several pending marijuana bills that would decriminalize limited possession and allow for island dispensaries.

While the rally went on around him, Rapozo said he disagreed with Kaiulani Edens’ assessment.

“This is not about medical marijuana. I support medical marijuana for debilitating diseases,” Rapozo said.

“This is about the state trying to soften our drug laws to make marijuana more accessible to the people who don’t have debilitating diseases.”

He added he is upset that the county attempted to shut down the rally hours before it started. Because of it, an expected turnout of 400 or 500 people dwindled to less than 100 — including a small group of pro-marijuana demonstrators, children from the Boys & Girls Club of Lihu‘e, parents and a church pastor.

Matt Higa, the pastor of New Hope Kaua‘i, said he attended the rally to support a drug-free Kaua‘i.

“I’m a former user and I know that marijuana is the gateway drug,” Higa said. “It is the initiator to the use of more illegal substances

KGI: Council weighs in on legislature’s pot bills

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Legislators propose DoE levy ‘Impact Fees’ Statewide

Until now, both the Department of Education and the university have relied almost exclusively on the Legislature to fund regular upkeep of buildings and grounds. The education department's backlog is $392 million, and the university's is about $308 million. (Another $26 million in university repairs are paid for with university special funds, which legislators are threatening to eliminate.)

UH has requested $64 million per year for the next six years to eliminate its backlog. The Department of Education has requested $355 million for capital improvements next year, some of which would help whittle down the department's maintenance backlog. But with the Legislature struggling with how to handle a budget deficit of $844 million during the next two years, it seems unlikely either department will get all the money it wants.

"At some point, repair and maintenance has got to become part of the regular operating budget, otherwise we'll be playing catch-up forever," said Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Ige after absorbing information from UH's vice president for capital improvement. "The sooner you can figure out a way to fund it on a regular basis, the better off we'll all be."…

Sen. Jill Tokuda suggested that older geographic areas could institute school impact fees, which are fees currently levied on new housing developments in order to help build new schools in high-growth areas. Similar fees could be levied to help maintain existing schools too, though, she said.

REALITY: DoE Procurement audit: Millions wasted by "fraudulent unethical behavior"

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Council to mayor: End gas giveaway to police

Officers, when using their own vehicles, currently receive a $600 per month allowance and one gallon of gas for every 10 miles driven, whether the miles are driven as part of police business or not.

Council Chairman Dominic Yagong, who introduced the measure, said it's "not fair" that officers making more than $96,000 a year get a free tank of gas every time they're on call.

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Hanabusa, Hirono silent as U.S. House OKs $10.7 million cut to East-West Center

The Republican-controlled House on today passed an amendment that would eliminate $10.7 million in funding … East-West center has received about $21 million annually from the federal government in recent years

Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Jonah Kaauwai in a statement chastised U.S. Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono for not preventing the amendment's passage.

Hanabusa and Hirono, both Democrats, registered their protest to the funding cut in letters addressed to House Speaker John Boehner

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Senate changes bill that would make writers, publishers liable for trespassing accidents

In a sharp turn, on Thursday the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technology stripped away most of the language in a controversial bill originally written to hold authors and publishers of visitor publications liable to readers who suffer injury or death as a result of being enticed to trespass onto private lands.

SB 1207 now has a much different intent. It establishes a task force, attached to the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, to identify problem areas in Hawai‘i related to trespassing over privately held or public lands as the result of information published on visitor websites and publications.

The amended bill states that “visitor guide publications may inadvertently invite visitors to trespass on remote or private property to experience an attraction or activity.”

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Obama Day: Dear Leader to be Honored?

HB1124 which would designate August 4 as “President Barack Obama Day” was deferred yesterday by the House Committee on Culture and the Arts.  The bill was introduced by MIZUNO, AWANA, BROWER, MORIKAWA, TOKIOKA.

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Abercrombie’s BoE appointee salivates over $4B worth of DoE Real Estate

Last year, he chaired the state's Reinventing Government Task Force, which looked at various agencies including the state Department of Education. (And did nothing, like all the other commissions.)

Last year, I was chair of the (state) Task Force on Reinventing Government, and one of the things we did was to have the KPMG auditing firm do an audit of the Moanalua (High School) complex. And we discovered that up to 40 percent of a teacher's time was spent on administrative duties. Already the classroom hours were less than the national average, (so) when you couple that with the fact that a lot of the teacher's time is spent doing paperwork, it's pretty clear why there's so much frustration on the part of teachers.

There's a big debate in the world of education about how you measure accountability, and it may seem strange but I'm not as much of a proponent of that. (Which is why Neil picked me.)

we need to have a clear process for closing schools. That process should be put in place  ... The Board of Education, if you look at the asset value of their land holdings, it's up to $4 billion. If there are schools that are going to be closed we need to question whether we can re-utilize those assets in order to bring revenue into the board through enterprise opportunities. (Ca-Ching!)

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Appointed BOE bill heads to full House vote

HONOLULU (AP) - A measure allowing Hawaii's governor to directly appoint the state Board of Education is heading to a vote before the full House after clearing its final committee.

The House Finance Committee unanimously passed the bill Wednesday.

The legislation passed the Senate last month.

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

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Financial Disclosure reports suddenly appear

Overnight, Year 2011 disclosures from Chief of Staff Amy Asselbaye and Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto were posted. Some Cabinet-level filings are still unavailable — including the one for Attorney General David Louie. We'll work with the commission to see whether they've been received.

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Honolulu mayor names three more cabinet members

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle has named three more members of his cabinet. Carlisle appointed Chrystn Eads as deputy managing director, Mark Rigg as the deputy director of Emergency Services and Jiro Sumada as the deputy director of Planning and Permitting.

Eads, who started with the City in 2006 as an executive assistant, had previously worked as a legislative assistant for Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii.

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Liquor Commission employee busted in bribery sting

Police said about 3 p.m. Wednesday the 39-year-old Wahiawa man sold a liquor card at the Salt Lake Shopping Center to a person who had not taken a test to receive the card, which allows someone to sell or serve alcoholic beverages.

Officers arrested the man about an hour later at a home on Salt Lake Blvd. on suspicion of two counts of felony bribery. A person commits bribery by accepting money to influence his judgment as a public servant.

Dennis Enomoto, chairman of the liquor commission, said the arrest was based on a complaint which was referred to the police.

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Sex trafficking victims push for law

Charade Keane was targeted by a pimp in Waikiki and tormented in Las Vegas.

"They have cars where you can't open the doors. You're locked in a room. They chain you to a toilet and you're beat up," she said.

A girl we'll call "LT" was a 19-year-old college student when she was raped at gunpoint and threatened unless she worked as a prostitute….

Barbara Burns's teenage daughter was kidnapped, assaulted, then sold by her assailants on a nightly basis.

"When things like this happen to a young girl. It's devastating," she said.

"LT" worked downtown street corners. She said her pimp held a gun to her head every night before and after he forced her to sell herself.

She escaped. But if she hadn't?

"If anything I probably would have grabbed a gun and shot myself with it," she said. "Deep inside me I'll never be the same."

SA: Ex-hooker wants harsher penalty

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HI lawmaker: Obama birth certificate bill tabled

Republican Rep. Kymberly Pine said efforts to reveal Obama's birth information fuel unfounded suspicions that he wasn't born in Honolulu.

"It's just opening a whole new can of worms again," said Pine, the minority floor leader. "We should just let this die. People have presented as many facts as we can."…

"The demand is dying down," said Cabanilla, a Democrat. "If they still got a lot of requests, I could have pushed it more."

Only a handful of people contacted Yamane about the bill, he said. Three or four people from the mainland United States wrote they were skeptical that Obama was born in the United States, and two people from Hawaii said the government should focus on the economy rather than birthers.

HB1116: http://capitol.hawaii.gov/

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Protesters rally to stop Kawaiaha'o Church construction

A group of about 50 protesters assembled on the steps of Kawaiaha‘o Church this morning to peacefully demonstrate against any resumption of construction on the grounds that could disturb unmarked native Hawaiian burials.

Church pastor Curtis Kekuna addressed the group, saying he appreciated their position but would not engage in a debate. He also said no construction would occur today, and told protesters they needed to move off church grounds. Police were called and….

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Pasha could make more waves with new ship

The PUC granted Pasha a three-year interim license for the interisland service, which Pasha began on Tuesday. George Pasha said the inaugural sailing included 50 cars that were shipped to Maui by a Honolulu rental car company.

That same day, Pasha caused another stir by announcing that it will build a second vessel to sail the San Diego-Honolulu route. The new, $144 million ship will be similar to the Jean Anne that currently serves the Islands.

Because of its size, the new ship also will not be capable of entering the smaller harbors. George Pasha said his company never intended to build a ship to meet this need.

“The target is it’s a long-haul opportunity,” he told PBN. “She’s a much different investment than what we would make to service the Neighbor Islands.”

Besides, Pasha said, his PUC license only covers the Jean Anne. The new vessel will not join its sister ship in the interisland business. At least not right away.

(Actually, never.  As soon as the new ship is nearing completion Pasha’s license will be revoked.  What part of “Superferry” do they not understand?)

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No Money for Censorship: House Passes Amendment to Block Funds for Net Neutrality Order

The House passed an amendment Thursday that would bar the Federal Communications Commission from using any funding to implement the network-neutrality order it approved in December.

The amendment, approved on a 244-181 vote, was offered by Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., to legislation that would fund government agencies for the rest of fiscal year 2011.

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Milwaukee Teachers Fight for Viagra Coverage

Despite Facing Budget Cuts and Layoffs, Teachers Fight For Taxpayer-Funded Erectile Dysfunction Drug.  “Its for the children.”

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