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Saturday, July 23, 2011
July 23, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:53 PM :: 9685 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Hanabusa’s Chief of Staff covered for Congressman twice accused of Sex Assault

Papaya attack coincides with Worldwide Week of Eco Terrorism

Hawaii Personal Debt #2 in Nation

PUC grants HECO $38M Rate Increase

National Right To Life Compares Presidential Candidates

College? Give Choice a Voice

UHERO’s Bonham hits State’s Inability to Solve Education, Land Use, Transportation

Q: What would be Hawaii's major weakness?

A: (Long pause) ... Let's see if I can say this diplomatically ... (Another long pause) Our major weakness seems to be our inability to tackle big problems, big issues -- everything from education to land-use issues, transportation issues. ...

Our inability to effectively deal with land use is huge. I mean, if you look at the high cost of housing, we don't build houses, at least not on Oahu. We're building almost nothing right now, and if you don't allow people to build homes, you can't expect them to be affordable.

Q: What do you think needs to be done to improve the climate for job-creating businesses?

A: I guess one of the things economists tend to focus on is government not trying to create the jobs, and not trying to solve problems it shouldn't be trying to solve.

To give you an example, we ... at UHERO have written a few papers on Act 221, regarding the high-tech tax credits. The state has given away a significant amount of money in those tax credits. And if you look back, almost every time the Tax Review Commission is convened and does a report, they suggest not using tax credits as heavily. One of the reasons is that you tend not to get the budget scrutiny that you would if they were spending the money.

  the basic idea behind business incentives and tax credits is that somehow we're going to diversify the economy, and the first question we have to ask is, how do we know that that's the way we should be diversifying the economy? And if these businesses need a 100 percent tax credit in order for them survive, why would we want to diversify in that way? It's just kind of the basic issue of picking the winners.

The Pizza Hut down the street would love to have a 100 percent tax credit to put in new ovens and new tables and so forth, but they won't get it.

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Case: Support Has 'Never' Come From PACs? FALSE

The Hirono supporters at Civil Beat have a complete list of Ed Case’s Special Interest PAC contributors.

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Carlisle, Council back and forth on Sludge

On May 31, Carlisle sent a message to the council, urging it to put the $26 million back in the budget.

Read Carlisle's May 31 letter to the council: Mayor's Message 84

Shapiro: Honolulu full of sewage and homeless, politicians short of cash

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Maui County near Student Loan, EPA Settlements

Without any further discussion, the Maui County Council on Friday agreed to pursue efforts to put an end to two lingering lawsuits worth millions of dollars - both going in and out of county coffers.

In the first suit, last year the Office of Corporation Counsel filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court in Hawaii against Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. to get back most of the money it had put into student loan auction rate securities.

The county asserted that Merrill Lynch practiced "negligent misrepresentations and breach of fiduciary obligations" in its sale to the county of student loans as an investment.

The other suit's settlement negotiations, which were unanimously approved Friday, could signal the end of a longstanding dispute between the county and the Environmental Protection Agency. For years, the EPA has maintained that the county poured poorly treated water into the aquifer, and eventually the ocean, through injection wells at the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility.

However, both cases should be completed soon through a big payday and changes in environmental practices, respectively.

Related:  UH Manoa activist sold Hawaii controversial Student Loan Bonds

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NIMBYs Oppose Drug Treatment Center on Kauai

“Look at them, they’re stressed,” said an island resident on Thursday, pointing out to other protesters while holding sign at the intersection of Ehiku Street and Kuhio Highway in Lihu‘e.“They’re not against having the drug treatment center, they’re just wondering how come it’s so close to where they live.”

County officials said some of these concerns — regarding the proposed siting of an adolescent treatment center in Lihu‘e — will be addressed during a meeting Tuesday at the Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center from 6 to 8 p.m., a county press release states.

This is OHA’s fault: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Blocks Kauai Drug Treatment Facility

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Idaho agency to Manage Hawaii HUD Programs

The U.S. government has decided that the housing authority of Akron, Ohio, should administer New York's federal rental-assistance program.

Idaho will manage programs in Arizona, Hawaii and Utah, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, which stands to save $100 million a year in the shakeup, officials said.

More than a dozen state and local agencies will lose lucrative HUD contracts valued at $220 million a year to run low- income housing programs after the first full competition since 2000.

The Idaho Housing and Finance Association won three new contracts and will provide services to more than 18,000 units in Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho and Utah, said Sheryl Putnam, housing compliance and program support manager for the association, in a July 20 phone interview. One of Idaho's awards is under protest.

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'You Can't Fire Your Way To Success,' Says Teacher Evaluation Expert

The purpose of this presentation is to mollify the HSTA.

View Goe's full slideshow here.

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BankOH VP Discusses Sovereignty Fraudsters’ Techniques

Then there are the scams that just leave him shaking his head. One (sometimes associated with Hawaiian sovereignty cons) amounts to stamping a check with a big notice that it is for "EFT ONLY."

The scammer claims the stamp forces the bank to accept the instrument, even if drawn on a closed or insufficient account and pay off the payee.

The stamp is meaningless, said Ishikawa. "It's a check."

Related: Sovereignty Mortgage Scammer Keanu Sai at it again with help from Legislators, Maui Council, University

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Stupid angry criminal gets away with murder, rape and now assault?

In one of the state's most horrific crimes, Davis was 14 and a Hawaii island resident when Kauilani Tadeo was raped and beaten near her family's Puna home on Sept. 27, 2001. She died from a blow to her head.

Prosecutors said Davis admitted that the police investigation proved he sexually assaulted and killed the girl. But mental health experts had diagnosed Davis as suffering from mental problems that included mild to moderate mental retardation, intermittent explosive disorder and antisocial personality disorder. (He is stupid and angry, like a lot of criminals.  But in Hawaii’s soft on crime courts, this keep him out of prison.)

In 2005 he was acquitted of the murder and rape charges by reason of insanity and committed to the state hospital….

(In September, 2009) The hospital staff was trying to place restraints on him after he told a social worker he was going to kill someone or escape, according to a police report.

But Davis walked or ran to a room where the therapist was at a table with another patient in an assessment session, the report said.

Davis grabbed a 13⁄4-inch combination padlock the therapist was using in the assessment, hit the therapist four times on the head with the metal lock and said several times, "I'll kill her," the document said.

The therapist said she suffered a severe concussion, the report said.

Police began an investigation but didn't submit the final closing report until May, clearing the way for prosecutors to file the assault charge on June 28.

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Progressives At Civil Beat team up with Eric Ryan to troll for Campaign Violations

Eric Ryan has alleged publicly that state Rep. Kymberly Pine owes him "thousands of dollars" for producing campaign materials.

On Friday morning, Ryan put forth a new story.

He now argues on his KymPineIsACrook website that Pine, a Republican, paid him $3,150 to produce a sensationalist campaign mailer that attacked a prospective opponent in the 2010 Democratic primary — an act that might have violated campaign spending laws.

Candidates are not allowed to spend campaign money to oppose a candidate they're not facing. Ryan links to documents on his website that he believes back up his claim.

Yet, Ryan himself may also have violated state campaign spending laws. Ryan says the $3,150 went to a non-candidate committee controlled by Ryan called Save Ewa Beach. The group's name and address were printed on the campaign mailer. Nobody can give more than $1,000 to a non-candidate committee in an election. Instead of a donation from Studio Ryan or Friends of Kymberly Pine of $3,150, the committee received three $1,000 donations — from Ryan, his wife and his mother.

On Friday afternoon, Ryan told Civil Beat that the reports filed with the state Campaign Spending Commission are wrong. He says it was Pine or her campaign treasurer that did the reporting.

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Freedom 50/50 ride comes to Hawaii Sunday

 

Max McManus, a local athlete from Reno, Nevada will be in Honolulu on Sunday as part of his Freedom 5050 ride. Max is attempting to connect all 50 states in 50 days on his bicycle on one continuous route. His journey, which he is calling the Freedom 50/50 ride, will end at Ground Zero on the 10th anniversary of September 11th and his ride is dedicated to the fallen and wounded soldiers of the war. Max is riding for the 9-11 Help America Foundation and all of the net proceeds raised from his ride will be donated to that cause.

You can learn more about Max and his journey online at www.freedom5050.com

Republicans force Giant Tax Cut on Airline Tickets

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines, which flies 17 percent of its schedule to Hawaii, also said tickets sold beginning last night would not include federal ticket taxes. It said those taxes would include the 7.5 percent tax generally applicable to domestic transportation, as well as the 7.5 percent tax on amounts received from the sale of frequent-flier miles; the $3.70 domestic segment tax; the $16.30 international arrival/departure tax; and the $8.20 departure tax for flights between Alaska/Hawaii and the mainland.

"This represents a savings of approximately $44 off a $300 round-trip ticket, or about 14 percent. All other taxes and fees will continue to apply," Alaska spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said.

KHON: Tax-free airfare for travelers due to FAA partial shutdown

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Landed Aristocracy upset because Congress may cut their Subsidies

Disproportionate slashes to spending on conservation programs are being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives. We are grateful that our Hawaii congressional delegation was not among the supporters of similar cuts earlier this year.

In cooperation with government agencies and nonprofit land-protection organizations, Hawaii landowners have saved thousands of acres of precious lands and waters across these islands. We couldn't do this without help. Federal government conservation programs have provided some of the aid landowners have needed to keep some of Hawaii's most treasured landscapes intact.

One proposal in a funding measure now making its way through the House would cut funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by 86 percent from 2010 levels. The LWCF supports programs that create parks, protect forests and wetlands, restore coasts and waterways and preserve cultural and historic treasures.

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Horner: “Sustainability” not worth $300K

As the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation got a briefing on all outstanding rail contracts, Horner went off on a short tangent about one contract that will help a transit facility obtain LEED certification.

The contract is for $300,000 and is merely to have the already-funded design work certified as sustainable. That pales in comparison to the billions of dollars spent on other contracts, but Horner's not happy that any taxpayer money's being used on something so silly.

"The pendulum has swung too far," he said, toward sustainability and away from fiscal responsibility. He called the expenditure "a stamp on the building for $300,000."

HART will ask corporation counsel to review whether the ordinance that requires all new city buildings to be LEED certified applies to HART, which is semi-autonomous.

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Medicine currently unhealthy for Queen’s

…the state’s largest private hospital, expects to lose money on its core services during the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2012, according to a spokesman for President Art Ushijima. In anticipation, hospital executives are in the process of cutting about $20 million from its budget, the second round of cuts since 2008.

Hospital officials would not say what it projects those losses to be, and were quick to point out that Queen’s, which is part of The Queen’s Health Systems, is not losing money once all income sources are included. In its most recent fiscal year, Queen’s generated $700 million from hospital revenue and another $50 million from its real estate holdings.

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Why Hawaii Housing Costs So Much

“Ownership of private property is a constitutional civil right.” So stated UH Prof. David Callies, Hawaii’s land use law authority, at the June meeting of the Conservative Forum for Hawaii. “Hawaii is the most regulated state in the nation,” he said. And from that follows the devil in the details. Restricting this right has severe effects on our freedom and on poverty.

An estimated 4,800 Big Island families (11 percent) are on the affordable housing waiting list. Hawaii has the highest rental costs and lowest proportion of homeowners in the nation. There are reasons for this.

Presently, the state Land Use Commission (LUC) requires developments have 25-30% ‘affordable’ units. Counties add on more.

The County defines an “affordable home” as $240,000. That is not affordable to most. No wonder there are no “affordable” housing developments. Maui requires 50% affordable units. Callies explains: “The LUC tried a 50% requirement 15-20 years ago. No development could afford that. Projects come to a halt or don’t even get started”. Massachusetts in 14 years built 1400 units by such set-asides. Such a minuscule contribution to the housing markets is just not worth it.

WHT: Building code changes a go

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Kauai Library Roof project exposes substandard construction

The state awarded a $327,000 contract last year for installation of a photovoltaic system on the roof of the Waimea Public Library on Kauai. It’s one of a series of similar installations on state buildings in various parts of the state.

But the contractor ran into a problem, it seems:

Upon removal of the existing roof membrane, it was discovered that the existing concrete roof deck, which was expected to be structural concrete, is actually composed of what appears to be an unreinforced lightweight cementitious material laid upon an asphaltic sheet and wire fabric. In some areas, the cementitious material is badly deteriorated and crumbles when handled.

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Half-mile markers are a waste of money

Hawaii has funds to install new mile markers at the half-mile mark on its roads but has to cut the pay of public employees, nurses and teachers?

Do you really need to know exactly where the 12.5 mile point is on the Hana Highway?

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Feds find another Excuse to squeeze Commercial Fishermen

The federal government is moving to protect a rare dolphin species from getting accidentally snagged off Hawaii's shores.

New rules proposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service would require the state's longline fishing fleet to use a certain type of hook while fishing for ahi, mahimahi and ono. The plan aims to protect a dolphin species called false killer whales.

The agency recently published the proposed rules in the Federal Register and is accepting public comment on the ideas through mid-October.

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Forest Stewardship Panel Subject to Sunshine Law

The state's Forest Stewardship Advisory committee is subject to Hawai`i's Sunshine Law. So says a memorandum opinion issued by the Office of Information Practices in response to a query placed by Environment Hawai`i nearly four years ago.

The OIP has now determined that the panel qualifies as a board or commission subject to the Sunshine Law. To read its reasoning, click here.
At one point, Mann suggested that posting of the meeting notices on the committee's web site was sufficient. A visit to its web site, however, shows that the last meeting of which notice was posted was in May. In addition, the last minutes posted were for a meeting held March 2010. (The address is:
http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/forestry/fsp )
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Audit: Hawaii Co. Parks a Wreck

 

The county has put off maintenance so long that repairs at many facilities are more costly than they need to be, auditors found. By not taking a proactive approach to needed maintenance, the department ends up responding to emergencies once a problem reaches a critical stage, they said.

Roofs were leaking at 11 of the 16 facilities visited by auditors and six of the facilities were infested with termites. Fifteen of those 16 facilities had critical maintenance and repair deficiencies. Problems extend beyond the 16 facilities auditors visited, with an estimated $80 million backlog in repairs. In addition, the county continues to struggle with compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

2008: ‘Protection racket’ shakes down resort workers, ruins parks

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Dilapidated cemetery angers Molokai family

The mausoleum at Sunset Memorial Park has been closed to visitors because chunks of its concrete roof are breaking off and falling to the floor below….No one was at the office to answer our questions Friday. We left a message and late Friday got a voice mail from Lagofaatasi Dozinn who is listed with the state as the agent for the cemetery.

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AIT to host forum on Sun Yat-sen’s experience in US

 

The one-day workshop, to be held on the sidelines of this month’s “Dr Sun Yat-sen and the United States” exhibit in Taipei, will invite scholars from Taiwan and abroad to share their knowledge about Sun Yat-sen’s (孫逸仙) life as an expat in the US, according to a press release from the AIT, the organizer of the event.

The workshop features two sessions: “Dr Sun Yat-sen in Hawaii and America: A Bi-Cultural Life,” and “The Revolution of 1911 at 100: Reflection on the Evolution of ROC.”

Sun spent a lot of time in the US, including attending school in Hawaii, where his elder brother lived, and later rallying support and raising funds for a series of revolutions that eventually succeeded in overthrowing China’s Qing Dynasty rulers. He also found inspiration from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address for his “Three Principles” theory — which advocated building a China that made nation strengthening, democracy and bettering people’s livelihoods its top priorities.

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