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Friday, June 10, 2011
June 10, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:24 PM :: 8409 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

Reapportionment Commission rejects Multi-Member Districts, hears testimony in favor of counting Military Personnel

Is More Better? Education Spending Increases in Hawaii

Terry Lock named Hawaii Early Childhood Coordinator

Newspaper Guild: Star-Advertiser demands end to seniority system, 50% cut in sick leave

Cayetano: Abercrombie unaware of Pro-Bowl’s Value

Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association President Mufi Hannemann downplayed the impact of the governor's criticism, saying he believes the NFL "recognizes that we have a new governor that doesn't have a history of dealing with the NFL, so it is going to take some education, some relationship building, if you will."  (Abercrombie is continuing to take revenge on HTA for hiring Mufi.)

Hannemann, who helped negotiate earlier contracts with the NFL as Honolulu's mayor and who opposed Abercrombie for the Democratic Party's gubernatorial nomination, said the Pro Bowl remains a good investment for the state, and "we in the visitor industry stand ready to assist in building that bridge."

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who also supported the game during his administration, wrote in an email to the Star-Advertiser that "(Abercrombie's) statements suggest he is unaware of the Pro Bowl's value — direct as well as indirect — to Hawaii. First, the NFL provides nationwide television coverage of Hawaii — nearly five hours of direct television as well as pre-bowl advertising of the Pro Bowl during the NFL playoffs that money can't buy. Second, the game brings in thousands of visitors including many vendors and corporations that do business with the NFL. Third, the NFL contributes and supports local charities and other community activities. Finally, past administrations have done studies of how Hawaii's economy has benefited from the game. The governor may find them worth reading."

Cayetano said, "These are some of the reasons Hawaii's partnership with the NFL has lasted more than 30 years. Other states would love to have the Pro Bowl but Hawaii has had it because the players prefer our state over others. It would be penny wise and pound foolish to dismiss the Pro Bowl as some kind of escapade for benefit of billionaires and millionaires and throw more than 30 years of goodwill down the drain!"

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Fact Check: Weekend of Civil Unions Will Bring in More Cash Than Pro Bowl? FALSE

CBS Sports: Former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hanneman – who negotiated with the NFL to keep the game in that city – said the game is an economic booster. Abercrombie knows of another way to raise funds, though – same-sex civil unions. “We'll get more out of civil unions in a weekend then we'll get out of those guys,” he said. “We're going to market. Don't worry about marketing.”….

The tourism authority conducted a visitor research survey after the Jan. 30 Pro Bowl. Among the authority's findings:

  • 49,311 people watched the Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Of those, 17,048 were visitors to Hawaii, coming specifically for the Pro Bowl.
  • The 17,048 visitors accounted for $28.15 million in spending, which generated about $3 million in tax revenue.
  • The average Pro Bowl visitor stayed in Hawaii for more than 10 days.
  • Over six years, 1,962 couples in Hawaii would be likely to get a civil union.
  • Tourism expenditures could increase between $5 million and $7 million annually.

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Kamehameha educator takes job as state's childhood coordinator

Hawaii is one of 10 states with no state-funded preschool program.

And in 2013 the state also plans to do away with junior kindergarten (saving about $30 million a year). Junior kindergarten is meant for children born too late in the year to qualify for regular kindergarten. The program, launched in 2006, is set to be phased out with the 2012 class of about 6,000 late-born children.

Lawmakers have said the money for junior kindergarten could go instead to setting up a preschool system, but it's unclear whether that will happen given mounting budget woes.

Meanwhile, Lock said the entire issue should be revisited. She said she supports keeping junior kindergarten but "doing it right." Lawmakers were critical of the program because it was never fully implemented.

At the news conference, Abercrombie said funding a preschool program is about getting "our values straight."

"You've got to decide what's important," he added.  (He then began babbling incoherently about the Pro Bowl….)

CB: Hawaii Gov Names Early Childhood Coordinator

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Clayton Hee Financial Disclosures still false 

Clayton Hee was first elected to public office back in 1982, and has subsequently served in the House, Senate, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He’s had to file those personal financial disclosures with the State Ethics Commission many, many times over the years. You would think that he would have gotten pretty good at it by now. But he hasn’t.

Even after being called out for incomplete reporting, Hee still hasn’t managed to correct the record completely.

For example, it turns out his wife served nearly three terms as a member of the Commission on Judicial Conduct before her position was ever reported on his annual financial disclosure.

Senator Hee’s disclosures are, it seems, a work in progress….

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State to seek assets of defunct nonprofits

The state attorney general’s office wants to know whether any of the 1,528 Hawaii groups that lost their federal tax-exempt, nonprofit status this week have assets that could be redistributed to other nonprofit organizations with similar goals.

The groups are among 275,000 organizations across the country that automatically lost their tax-exempt status Wednesday because they did not file legally required annual reports for three consecutive years, the Internal Revenue Service said.

“Many of these organizations couldn’t have even paid the light bill, but others likely have money devoted to their charitable missions,” said Hugh Jones, who supervises the attorney general’s Tax Division. “We’ll definitely follow up to make sure these charitable assets are properly disposed of.”

However, nonprofit groups such as Oahu Federal Credit Union were wondering how they ever got on the IRS list.

“It’s a mistake,” General Manager Bart Saxton said Thursday. “We were shocked to see our name on the list. We’ve been around since 1936, so you can imagine my surprise.”

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Hawaii Presents Its Fiscal Case to Fitch

This week, the Department of Budget & Finance made a second presentation to the nation’s third major credit agency, Fitch, in hopes that the rating will not be decreased and Hawaii’s economic outlook will be “stable.”

This comes after Moody’s on May 17, 2011 downgraded Hawaii’s General Obligation Bond rating. That will cost taxpayers more money this fall when the state issues between $500 million and $650 million in GO bonds to fund state projects for which taxpayers guarantee the repayment of debt. On $1 million worth of bonds with 20 basis points difference, taxpayers would see a $2,000 increase for every million dollars worth of GO bonds issued.

The May Moody’s report, which issued Hawaii a “Aa2″ rating for for an estimated $5.1 billion in debt, down from its former “Aa1″ rating, identified significant areas of concern about Hawaii’s fiscal health including Hawaii’s “strained” state financial operations, the depletion of its reserves in fiscal year 2011, and covering budget shortfalls with one-time solutions.

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Supreme Court considers conduct code rule changes

The Hawaii Supreme Court is considering extensive changes to the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct, which governs how attorneys practice law in Hawaii, and is giving lawyers and the general public until Oct. 31 to comment on the changes.

The rules cover everything from billing and client communication practices, confidentiality, conflicts of interest and even insurance. Included in the changes is a provision that creates exceptions to Hawaii law by allowing out-of-state attorneys to practice in Hawaii temporarily on a case-by-case basis….

But the competition for legal work, especially given the slow economic recovery, already has translated to more Mainland attorneys and firms chasing business in Hawaii that could otherwise go to local firms and attorneys, sources say.

“The challenges are of increased competition,” said Michael O’Malley, a partner at Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel. “Are there too many lawyers? (DID HE JUST SAY THAT?) Are national law firms competing in Hawaii? Are lower-end legal services being outsourced to India?” …. 

“It’s something that has been resisted here for various reasons, such as the uniqueness of practice here, the attraction for people to come here, practice a bit but not be responsive or responsible to the community,” she said.

(They don’t want lawyers who are free from OHA/Richardson/Sierra Club pressure.) 

Kenneth Mansfield, managing partner of the Honolulu law firm McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon, recently told PBN that without question, the biggest change in litigation affecting law firms and their clients is electronic discovery.

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Campaign Spending Commission Fines Reps Awana, Carroll

The state Campaign Spending Commission has fined state Rep. Karen Awana (D, Kalaeloa-Nanakuli) $1,900 for errors in filing campaign-spending reports.

The commission found Wednesday that Awana, who won re-election last year, failed to file and filed late reports on five occasions.

Last month the commission fined state Rep. Mele Carroll (D, Lanai-Molokai) more than $2,600 for not filing six campaign-spending reports by the reporting deadlines. Carroll was also re-elected last year.

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TSA to Fire 36 Honolulu Airport Workers

The Transportation Security Administration is expected to fire 36 Hawaii TSA officials and suspend 12 others as a result of an investigation into security breaches at Honolulu International Airport….

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Hawaii is one of only six states where home prices increase

…only six U.S. states have positive 12-month rates of appreciation through April (white states). Excluding distressed sales, the bottom map shows that there are 20 states that have positive rates of appreciation through April, led by W. Virginia (8.4%), S. Carolina (6.1%), Hawaii (5.8%), Mississippi (5%) and N. Dakota (4.5%).

Bottom Line: Distressed home sales are dragging down overall home prices and mask the fact that home prices in the “non-distressed” sector of the market are actually starting to show some healthy, positive appreciation.

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Security guard, school lunch aide indicted on child enticement charge

A man employed as a security guard and a school lunch aide has been indicted in what the Hawaii Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force says is its first enticement case involving a "live victim."

The state Attorney General's office on Thursday presented the case against Douglas Lopez, 45, to an Oahu grand jury. The suspect was then indicted on one count of first-degree electronic enticement of a child, and his bail was set at $40,000.

Lopez is accused of sending explicit cell phone text messages to a 13-year-old girl, and then arranging to meet her in person for sex. Investigators say they became aware of the plan because the eighth grader sought help from her mother, who was in a relationship with the suspect at the time.

(Isn’t the DoE wonderful?  Lets give them more money!)

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HECO is #3 in Solar

Hawaii electric utilities were among the nation's leaders in the amount of solar power installed last year, according to a report released today by an industry trade group.

Hawaiian Electric Co., serving about 300,000 customers on Oahu, ranked third out of 230 utilities surveyed in the amount of solar generation capacity installed per customer. HECO's 33.16 watts of installed capacity per customer trailed New Jersey's Public Service Electric & Gas at 35.19 watts and California's Silicon Valley Power at 39.95 watts, according to the report from the Solar Electric Power Association.

HECO moved up to third in the rankings this year from eighth place last year.

(This will mean higher utility bills for everyone.)

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Luddites whine about GMOs in Hawaii

Clearly the GMO corn seed companies have cultivated a love affair with Hawaii’s legislators and governing agencies with a crop of alluring promises of tax and employment benefits.

Instead, this love affair has birthed unrestricted and unregulated access to our scarce agriculture resources of water and land for Monsanto, Pioneer, Syngenta, Dow and BASF, with no oversight, no inspections and no protections against unintended – but sure to happen - consequences.

REALITY: The Future of Fraud

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Men charged with killing pregnant goat plead not guilty

We can kill humans with abortions all day long and its OK... but kill a goat and its a Felony and you to go jail with steep fines.

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Contraceptives won't solve deer problem, only throwing money at deer will work

Although there is a great interest in developing humane and cost-effective methods of controlling wildlife, effective contraceptive methods for controlling large populations of free-ranging deer do not yet exist.

As contraceptive technology advances, it could become a valuable manage­- ment tool in specific areas, but we are not there yet when you consider management on the island scale.

Again, on Hawaii island, the goal will not be management; it will be the complete removal of deer using the quickest and most effective tools at our disposal.

No matter what control method is used, managing axis deer on Maui and Hawaii islands will be difficult expensive.

As the state and its partners move ahead to protect agriculture, the environment and society from the impacts of axis deer, we humbly ask for your understanding and help money.

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Court Delays Arraignment In Puppy Mill Case

Bradley International, the company that owns and operates the farm was charged May 27 with animal cruelty in connection with the 153 dogs it had….

But missing is a key figure in the case. Both the Humane Society and the attorney for Bradley International said they do not know the whereabouts of David Becker, the owner of the Waimanalo farm and one of the officers listed among Bradley International.

The next hearing has been scheduled for July 20. Each charge of animal cruelty is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.

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How Cola Gave Molokai Clean Water

The municipal Kaunakakai water was surface water from the mountain. It was the softest natural water because it was essentially rain water. Because it was surface water, the water from the tap after a heavy rain was always colored reddish brown. Coca-Cola is normally supersaturated with carbon dioxide at a minimum pressure of around 3.5 atmospheres. If the water is muddy, it is difficult to carbonate the beverage to the desired pressure.
Therefore, we installed a water purification system by treating the water in a large tank with chlorine and aluminum sulfate, with subsequent filtering of solids via a sand filter and excess chlorine with carbon filter. This was probably the first bulk water purification system on Molokai. The production water was sparkling clear and the beverage quality was significantly improved. Similar water purification systems were installed at the Coca-Cola bottling plants in Hilo and Wailuku.

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