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Saturday, May 14, 2011
May 14, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:44 AM :: 8186 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Hawaii State Republican Convention to Meet this Weekend

HMSA: Mail-order Pharmaceutical plan losing support of Hawaii Physicians

Seeking Development Approval, Kyo-ya easy mark for Abercrombie’s Free Sand Shakedown

Legislative Wrap-up Video: Rep Ward, Sen Slom Town Hall meeting Hawaii Kai

If CoR cuts forecast, Abercrombie will demand Special Session

Gov. Neil Abercrombie will call them back to the Capitol for a special session to find more money if the state's economic forecast significantly worsens this month.

That would also give lawmakers an opportunity to take care of important business they left unfinished: spending $2.3 million for security at this fall's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, paying $2.7 million for legal settlements and appropriating about $4 million to the University of Hawaii medical school.

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Transit Case Assigned To Mainland Judge

California-based federal Judge Wallace Tashima (A Carter/Clinton appointee) was assigned Friday to hear the lawsuit challenging Honolulu's rail transit system.

A mainland judge became necessary because all nine of Hawaii's federal judges and magistrates have recused themselves, apparently because many of them expressed concerns to the city about the rail route running very near the federal courthouse.

Most of the Honolulu-based judges wrote a letter last year expressing the concern that the elevated train, which would pass within yards of the courthouse windows, posed a security and terrorism risk.

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Hall Stepping Down as Hawaiian Homes Deputy after Treadmill Purchase exposed

Under pressure from above, Robert “Bobby” Hall is retiring as deputy chairman of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Sources said Hall had been asked by Governor Neil Abercrombie to resign, but Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Delacruz said this afternoon the governor made no such request.

When asked today if the governor had asked him to resign, Hall said, “I am going to retire.”

He declined further comment.

Dela Cruz said Abercrombie “has been in contact with” DHHL chairman Alapaki Nahale-a about recent news stories concerning the department’s unauthorized purchase of an exercise treadmill.

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New OIP refuses to challenge governor on judge names list (Quid pro Quo)

In an email to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the online news service Civil Beat, Cheryl Kakazu Park, director of the office, said issuing an advisory opinion would be "futile" because even though a lawsuit has not been filed, "court action is necessary to resolve this specific dispute."

Both news organizations appealed to the office after the governor refused to disclose the names of judicial candidates for a vacancy on the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Abercrombie appointed Park to the directorship to replace Cathy Takase, who had said the governor must release the names under the state open records law.

Takase relied on a 2003 opinion by the office, but Park said the governor has argued the opinion did not set precedence.

The governor's office has said replacing Takase was not related to her position on the names.

Abercrombie's refusal is a departure from the practice of his predecessor Linda Lingle, who released the names of candidates and sought public input before she made her selection.

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Price of Rail Environmental Study Doubled To $156 Million

The price tag for preparation of the Honolulu rapid transit project’s environmental impact statement was originally $86 million but has since bulged to $156 million, a City spokesman confirmed today.

The contract was awarded in 2007 by Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman to PB Americas, Inc.

The scope of work included preparation of the EIS as well as preliminary engineering plans for the $5.3 billion public works project.

The contract has been extended eight times, according to Bill Brennan of the City’s Rapid Transit Division.

The current value is $156,211,000 and it is due to expire July 11 of this year.

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Protesters Hound Alternative Energy Projects Statewide

In the 1980s, heated community opposition on the Big Island curtailed the development of geothermal energy. A lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club, no less, was the final straw for one of the geothermal developers — True Geothermal Energy Co. — which after 10 years of trying to develop the resource decided to finally pack it up.

Wind energy is faring little better, with heated opposition on Lanai and Molokai about plans to locate somewhere in the range of 180 wind turbines on the quiet islands to power Oahu’s high energy needs. On Oahu, Hawaiian Electric’s plan to build a wind farm on the Leeward Coast was eventually scrapped following community protests about the concentration of power plants and smokestacks in the area, and NIMBY sentiment.

On Kauai, community concerns about hydroelectric energy are just getting started ….

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HMSA, Straub, Wilcox, Pali Momi sign agreement to ration care

The contract covers all inpatient and outpatient services at the four Hawaii Pacific Health member hospitals. It will focus more on the quality of services provided as opposed to the number of services provided, rewarding the hospitals for the efficiency, quality and safety of the care that is given. The percentage of hospital payments related to the quality of services is expected to grow to 15 percent by 2014, according to the joint announcement from HMSA and Hawaii Pacific Health.

The two companies announced last October that they had reached an agreement “in principle” on the contract, but were still working out the details.

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Hyperbole: Abercrombie promises Gov’t Spending will Cut Kauai Unemployment in Half

Abercrombie's remarks were familiar patter as well, designed to ingratiate himself with whatever audience.

"It's no secret, and I've said this before, but Kauai is THE most beautiful island," he said, eliciting huge applause.

The familiar self-deprecating joke, this one about his age, was heard as well: "I'm a walking monument to historic preservation."

He used a line he has used many times before, too: "Farming that isn't entrepreneurial isn't farming — it's gardening."

And, there was the usual hyperbolic statement: "We are going to cut unemployment in half in this state, I hope in the next 18 months."

(Invoking FDR and the WPA, the governor said he would accomplish his goal through capital improvement projects at schools, airports and other facilities.)

KGI: Abercrombie vows to cut Kaua’i’s unemployment by half

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Hawaii Muslims help State Department Brainwash International Students

The purpose was to show students the major tenets of each faith and, "most importantly, to realize that these religions have much in common," said Barbara Bancel, Hawaii-Alaska director of the Center for Cultural Interchange, a nonprofit group that helped place the students in schools and host families here….  (In other words this is all about Islam)

Among their stops was the Manoa Valley mosque with Hakim Ouansafi, head of the Muslim Association of Hawaii….

The exchange students are here under two State Department programs: the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, created a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to bring in exchange students from countries with significant Muslim populations; and the Future Leaders Exchange, which brings students from Eurasia, including former Soviet bloc countries, who are mostly nonaffiliated or of Christian Orthodox background, Bancel said….

Imam M. Bashar Arafat, a representative of the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, came to Hawaii to address the students. During their visit to a mosque in Manoa Valley, he said, "We have to raise our voices (in the name of various religions) that the word of God has never condoned violence. It has always been to love your God, your neighbor and fellow human beings. … The words you see on a wall in a church, or temple or mosque — the word of God was always meant to bring us together, not to separate us."

All the Same: On the trail to Hawaii Islam Day: Saudi money, Libyan assassins, Palestinian Jihad, London bombers, Malaysian sodomy, and laughing Islamists

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Unpaid wages mount for hundreds in job city says wasn't for rail

Hundreds of people who have worked for weeks on what they thought was a lucrative rail contract say they haven't been paid a penny, and a young man who represented himself as a contractor can't be reached.

City officials say they have no such contract with a company the employer called Perfect Precision. Employees are astonished.

When Patrick Moleta heard by word of mouth about an opportunity to join what was called a rail project job a few weeks ago, he jumped at the chance.

"I actually quit, I walked out of my job because it was so promising," Moleta said. "He actually said he had a 5-year contract, redoing all the transit centers, I said wow, I want to be a part of that."

He and hundreds of others got hired.

"He started me off at $14, gave me a raise to $22, and I was like oh, I'm on it," said Keola Bruhn. "I've got 2 kids to provide for, a wife, and who wouldn't, you know?"

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Bed bugs and superbug bacteria linked

Bed bugs are now linked with the antibiotic-resistant 'superbug' bacteria Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. News of the discovery has spread like wildfire.

They are two subjects that make people squirm: bedbugs and the potentially deadly MRSA bacteria. Combine the two and you get hysteria.

(Got Bedbugs? Thank an environmentalist.  DDT is the best way to eradicate and keep out bedbugs.)

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$349 Million In Lost Revenue: The Economic Cost Of Violence In Hawaii

A recent study released by the Washington DC based Institute for Economics and Peace indicates that reducing violence in Hawaii by as much as 25% would create $349,614,285 in additional economic activity, a phenomena known as the dynamic peace dividend or DPD. And just to show you how much violence hurts Hawaii and holds back our potential, the same study indicates that if it were theoretically possible to eliminate all violence from Hawaii, we would see a whopping $1,398,457,141 in DPDs

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VIDEO: Yagong counters mayor’s budget plan

Yagong has been a vocal critic of Mayor Billy Kenoi’s proposed budget ever since it was first submitted to the council in March. He has proposed a 10% cut to the budgets of all county departments in order to avoid the deferral of millions of dollars in payments until the following fiscal year.

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HOPE Probation Works: Why Choosing Research and Facts Over Sensationalism and Anecdotes Make for Better Criminal Justice Policy

In Jim Dooley’s “HOPE Probation Strains Hawaii’s Criminal Justice System,” he raises three issues as “problems” with HOPE Probation.  First, HOPE violators occupy too much prison space; second, HOPE probationers occupy too much jail space; and third, HOPE warrants are adding substantially to the warrant backlog.

He is wrong on all three issues and underestimates our law enforcement community on the third.   By citing a few high profile cases and implying those are the norm and ignoring the objective vetted research, Mr. Dooley’s sensationalistic type of journalism does a disservice to our citizens. Public policy needs to be based on facts and evidence, not anecdotes.

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First Wind unable to find location (so sad)

Executive Director Jeffrey Ono of the consumer office said a postponement might have an impact on HECO's ability to meet its renewable energy standards, set by the state, but that the consumer advocate "does not object" to the request for additional time.

HECO did object.

It told the commission that First Wind had not executed a term sheet, and Castle & Cooke had executed a "second option."

The first option, which First Wind agrees was contemplated in the 2008 agreement, is that if either developer could not go forward, the other could develop 350 megawatts, instead of 200, and that 50 megawatts could go out to bid.

First Wind said it was unaware that any second option was in that agreement, nor that Castle & Cooke had any right to bring in an unknown outside party or "assign" First Wind's half of the scheme to somebody else.

Lamontagne said: "We think the next steps will be for the PUC and other policymakers to decide what path to take forward on the interisland cable. We look forward to their decisions."

Earlier this month, the commission denied a petition from the nonprofit Friends of Lana'i group to intervene in the proceedings involving the Big Wind project. The group called for reopening the bidding process.

A proposed wind project on 12,800 acres on Lanai has drawn strong community opposition.

The commission said the Lanai group was not a party to the proceeding and didn't have authority to intervene. The panel also ruled that the request was too late to be considered.

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Reporter gets dirt on Elected Official, but does not use it

…when someone sends me documents anonymously, it makes it a lot harder for me to use those documents.

In one case, I received a very thick and interesting looking packet of records about an elected official. But when I read through them, I didn't know what I was supposed to be looking for. Without knowing where they came from or why they had been sent to me, I didn't have the context to connect the dots and figure out what the story was supposed to be.

Also, if documents are not available in the public record, I need to independently authenticate them before I can use them in a story. The documents might be interesting, but if I don't know who sent them to me, I may not be able to verify that they are real.

The bottom line is, if you have something you want me to see, just call me.

(Or better yet, just send them to Hawaii Free Press POB 5062, Hilo, HI 96720.  We love anonymous mail drops.)

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Hawaii's sex offenders Part 3: Protecting your children

About half of the 600 victims who received help here at the sex abuse treatment center, were children. Officials here say the important thing in protecting your child is education. Talking with them, monitoring them, very important part of keeping them safe.

Be especially aware of what's known as "grooming" that's when an offender, who could be in the family, builds up a close relationship with your child, having fun with them.

IGNORE THIS: Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature

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Wanted for Rape in Hawaii, Fugitive busted in Oregon 11 years later

Court records show Craigen has a criminal history that stretches back 25 years. In 1986 he was convicted of third-degree rape and giving an illegal drug to a minor. He violated his parole in 1991 when police found he had a .22 caliber rifle. He’s been on the lam since.

In 2000 he was in Hawaii. Authorities there want him for aggravated assault of a woman.

“He has apparently lived in several states during this time.” Compton said. “It was kind of nice to be able to catch someone who has been a fugitive for so long.”

Craigen now in jail in Pendleton for probation violation and warrants related to felon in possession of a firearm, falsifying business records, unsworn falsification and being a fugitive from another state.

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Deputy police chief's son arrested in alleged theft

Citing multiple sources, Hawaii News Now reported the son of Deputy Chief Delbert Tatsuyama was allegedly caught shoplifting about $800 worth of merchandise on Wednesday night, but was released after revealing who his father is.

Cory Tatsuyama, 24, of Kaneohe, turned himself in at the main police station today at 6:05 p.m. and was booked on suspicion of second-degree theft. He was released without charge, pending investigation, at 8:45 p.m.

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442nd vet changed Hawaii through politics and law

Kato, an advocate for the labor movement, helped with the drive to establish the UH law school in the 1960s and was among the lawmakers behind the landmark Prepaid Health Care Act in 1974. The law requires businesses to provide health insurance to employees who work 20 hours a week or more and is considered a national model.

"He felt that working people needed to have medical insurance both for their health as well as to maintain their livelihood," said son Keith Kato, executive director of the Hawaii Island Community Development Corp.

"He made it his mission to see that this idea became a reality."

Kato was elected to the House in 1959, the year Hawaii became a state. He was among the leaders of the chamber during the formative years of state government. He was also willing to sacrifice for principle.

Kato challenged House Speaker Tadao Beppu for leadership of the House after the 1970 elections, triggering an internal struggle between liberal and union-backed Democrats aligned with Kato and more establishment Democrats who stood with Beppu. The leadership fight extended a record 10 legislative days into the 1971 session before Beppu prevailed as speaker by accepting Republican help to break the stalemate. Kato lost his coveted chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee in the aftermath.

Gov. John Burns appointed Kato to the Circuit Court bench in 1974, where he handled civil and probate cases.

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