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Saturday, August 13, 2011
August 13, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:27 PM :: 10608 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Gallup: Obama job Approval in Hawaii Drops to 56%

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Announces Campaign for Presidency

Inouye: Lingle will be difficult, nothing but trouble out there for Democrats

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye has seen the effectiveness of the new Internet-based, hyper-speed political campaign style and sees nothing but trouble out there for Democrats….

…there is a serious chance that the barely blue Senate will turn red after the 2012 elections.

The GOP needs to pick up only three or four Senate seats, depending on whether the president and vice president (who is the tie-breaker in Senate voting) are R's or D's.

The most obvious race for Inouye is Hawaii's campaign, which is expected to pit former Gov. Linda Lingle against the Democratic primary winner. Asked about Lingle, Inouye flatly said, "She will be difficult."

When asked if he thought the national Democratic campaign was underestimating Lingle, Inouye nodded in affirmation.

"They are somewhat underestimating this whole exercise. They have underestimated the impact of the tea party," Inouye said….

"They say, ‘I balance my books at home, why can't you?' That's hard to fight," Inouye said.

For Inouye, 2012 will be a year of travel. He reports that he has taken requests for campaign help in Washington state, Minnesota, Virginia and New York. Those are all presumably strong Democrat states.

"A lot of these people were considered to be in the bag, but with this tea party, it is hard to predict what is going to happen," Inouye said.

read … Inouye not taking tea party for granted as 2012 nears

Abercrombie’s 90-Day Plan: Take Credit for Homeless Shelters “doing the work they always have done”

But how does the governor plan to help approximately 600 homeless people throughout Kaua‘i?

The only thing that I know of it is that I got an email from Marc Alexander requesting statistics on how many homeless persons we have assisted in our agency from April 26,” said Stephanie Fernandes, homeless and housing director at Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity, a local non-profit agency that the state established as a partner in the plan.

KEO provides many services to homeless. It receives a large chunk of its annual budget from the state government, in the form of grants, according to Fernandes, but as far as additional funding for the 90-Day Plan, the state has not provided any.

“This 90-Day Plan does not rely on any additional local government funds,” Abercrombie said in the report. “It will, however, seek the financial support and commitment of the private sector in matching government funds already budgeted to address homelessness.”

Fernandes said the state administration wants “to know how our efforts are as a partner to do the work that we have always done and continue to do to get homeless people off the street.”

The plan is coming to a close Monday. Sunday, the governor’s coordinator on homelessness Marc Alexander is supposed to provide results on the progress made in the last 90 days.

Read more: Abercrombie’s plan relies on private-sector funding

Abercrombie Tourism Liaison is Washington Place Handyman

During her time in office, Lingle created a new position — tourism liaison, filled by Marsha Wienert — that paid nearly $100,000. While Cameron Heen is listed as "tourism liaison" on Abercrombie's staff, in reality he is director of Washington Place and paid $76,000.

"Aside from his directorial duties, he does a lot of handy work that is needed on the grounds of Washington Place, saving us money," said Dela Cruz. "In addition, as a Native Hawaiian, he brings a sensitive and cultural approach to Washington Place that is respectful of its history."

read … Payroll Check: How Two Hawaii Govs Compare

Anti-Bullying Laws to Cover Private Schools, General Public?

House Bill 688 requires the Hawaii State Board of Education to craft uniform rules for public schools to report harassment and bullying on campus and online, while monitoring such occurrences and enforcing the rules.

Tokuda made it clear the new law could strengthen protection for public school students, but private schools and adults would not be covered. “There is need for us to come back next session to be able to have a much more general approach that will provide greater protections for more people,” she said.

Like Tokuda, state Rep. Roy Takumi, D-Pearl City, chairman of the House Education Committee, said the new law is a good start.. But Takumi said the state should expand the law to include private schools. Takumi doesn’t plan to introduce an anti-bullying measure next spring, but said he would support one if it covered those schools.

(Maybe they should shut down the gay rape gang at the Blind and Deaf school first, eh?)

Related: The transsexual agenda for Hawaii schools

read … Talk of More Anti-Bullying Legislation Next Year

Feds to Regulate Overseas Labor Recruiters?

The legal ordeal that Aloun Farms owners Alec Sou and Mike Sou went through could have been avoided all together, said Karen Stauss, an attorney and program director for the nonprofit Free the Slaves.

Stauss says a measure to implement a "much stronger system to regulate foreign recruiters" is on the "cusp of introduction" in Congress.

"Really high recruitment fees are charged to workers who come from very poor places," Stauss said. "They jump at the chance and often times they might take a loan against their land or home. Whether or not it's legal, if it's used to put a worker in a situation where they can't stop working, essentially it's trapping the person. They have to keep working. That's a really typical type of slavery and human trafficking."

The Sous had been accused of holding captive dozens of Thai workers as indentured laborers. Attorneys for the workers say they paid large fees to recruiters who promised them lucrative farming work in Hawaii, only to find poor living conditions and meager pay when they arrived. The Sous dispute that characterization while their lawyers say the foreign labor recruiters were to blame for misleading the workers.

Stauss said she and other victims advocates are looking to Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, to introduce new legislation that would require federal oversight of foreign recruiters.

read … Victims Advocate: Federal Oversight of Foreign Labor Recruiters Needed

Feed In Tariff: Green Energy Scammers Demand to be Paid even when their Electricity is useless

Proposals for improving the feed-in tariff for large-scale projects up to 5 megawatts are due Sept. 6, and regulators would then consider the recommendations and possibly enact them later.

"It needs to have up-front obligations of the utility that they will interconnect systems and purchase all of the electricity produced by the systems," said Erik Kvam, CEO for Zero Emissions Leasing, a solar power developer….

Seventy applications are pending for Oahu, which would produce 10.3 megawatts of electricity when installed, he said….

Renewable power producers should be financially compensated for the times when Hawaiian Electric decides it won't accept their power onto the grid, said Mike Champley, a consultant for Blue Planet Foundation, whose mission is to make Hawaii energy independent. (Costs which will be passed on to your electric bill.)

"Curtailment or the threat thereof is so overwhelming that it makes these projects basically unfinanceable. It causes uncertainty of the revenue stream," said Champley, a retired executive from Detroit utility DTE Energy who now lives on Maui. "If there were more certainty, one could plan or adjust accordingly."

WHT: First FIT Project on Big Isle, Consumers have not seen lower costs

read … Hawaii upgrading system to sell power to grid

Now Driving Honolulu's Money Train: Don Horner

if Thursday's meeting of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation's Finance Committee is any indication, HART's interim executive director and the city's transportation services director are no longer in charge of the $5.3 billion needed to construct the rail system.

Committee Chair Don Horner is running the show now — and he's holding the line on rail finance.

Horner, who runs First Hawaiian Bank by day and also chairs theHawaii State Board of Education, displayed the inquisitive, aggressive and frugal demeanor that has brought him success in the board room. After about two hours in a quiet room with no television cameras and fewer attendees than board members, the transfer of power was complete.

Though the committee had no action items on its agenda and made no formal policy decisions, Horner relished confrontations with Hamayasu, Yoshioka and others. He cracked jokes, flashed a smile and was clearly in his element at the head of the table. He exerted his will over the discussion and got the last word.

read … Money Train

Kapolei getting Railroad but losing Post Office

All four of the locations have been flagged because of below-par revenues and customer traffic, said USPS Honolulu spokesman Duke Gonzales. But the particular problem at Kapolei Station is that the space is rented and the lease is about to end. That's why officials are eyeing the possibility of saving on lease rent and instead contracting with a nearby retailer to offer many of the same services through a "village" outlet.

Further, he said, customer traffic would be directed to the remaining official area post office two miles away, the Barbers Point Station at 91-1049 Lexington St.

For the short term, keeping that one open helps the budget-crunched agency because the Lexington Street property is owned by USPS, not leased. The address is still Kapolei, but it's off the beaten track and is only open for three hours, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Mondays-Saturdays. (Lets spend $5.5b to run a railroad there.)

read … 'Second city' should have a post office

You too can participate in destroying the country’s bond rating and crashing the stock market

» U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye visited local public schools he attended as a boy to offer inspiration to the current generation of students. If they study and work hard, he promised, they too can participate in destroying the country’s bond rating and crashing the stock market.

» The state Reapportionment Commission wants to move Ko Olina into the 1st Congressional District, sparing U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa from selling her Ko Olina home as part of her promise to move into the district. I didn’t know we offered political concierge service.

read … Flashback

Schatz Praises Aloha Stadium Authority that Abercrombie demanded Resign

Brian Schatz has tweeted (@brianschatz, 2,533 followers) that he checked out the new field as part of Aloha Stadium's media day today:

Thanks to DAGS and Stadium Authority for making Aloha Stadium safer and nicer — new field looks great.

The nine members of the Stadium Authority, of course, were appointed by the previous governor and have refused Neil Abercrombie's request to resign.

read … Schatz Praises

Hilton to Build Two New Towers with 600 Timeshare Units

Hilton needs planned development and special management area permits from the city for the estimated $760 million project, which would add 550 time-share units, new swimming pools, parking and expanded retail to its 22-acre campus presently occupied by seven hotel and time-share towers.

Ultimately the City Council will vote on whether to approve Hilton's plan after the Planning and Permitting Department issues a recommendation based on yesterday's hearing and other information. The department has until Oct. 6 to make its recommendation.

About 30 people testified at the hearing. Most testifiers, who included representatives of construction trades, supported the plan and said the project would help improve the state's economy and main industry without overcrowding the landscape.

The plan represents the biggest update to Hilton Hawaiian Village since it opened in 1955, and would nearly double the number of time-share units on the property to 1,200 over about 10 years.

read … Public reacts to Hilton's plan to build 2 new towers

$200/month Permit proposal splashes catamaran firms

The Board of Land and Natural Resources deferred a decision yesterday on a proposal by its Division of Boating and Recreation to require catamaran operators to obtain a commercial use permit and pay fees to conduct activities at Waikiki Beach. Several operators testified in opposition and informed the board they weren't aware of the division's proposal until 10 days prior, when they received letters from the department.

Boating division Administrator Ed Underwood is proposing that catamaran businesses pay $200 or 3 percent of gross receipts per month, whichever is greater. Underwood said he wants to standardize commercial use permits and user fees for catamaran operators statewide.

The issue has been brought before the state Legislature for the past three years, he said. In May 2008 the board approved the issuance of commercial use permits and fees for 10 Kaanapali, Maui, catamaran operators.

read … Permit pitch splashes catamaran firms

Boosting number of doctors in Hawaii is critical need

The Lewin Group, a firm that creates projections of physicians for the federal government, created a model for how many physicians Hawaii needs. This research indicates we are short more than 650 physicians and if we don't take action, we could double our shortage by 2020….

In fact, when we divide the actual practicing primary care physician numbers by population, we have between 66 primary care physicians per 100,000 people — this is on the Big Island — and 73 primary care physicians per 100,000 people — that's on Kauai.

On Maui, its 70 primary care physicians per 100,000 people and on Honolulu, 72 per 100,000.

These numbers show our physician-to-patient ratios are significantly lower than the estimate of 93-123 per 100,000 reported recently by the United Health Center for Health Reform & Modernization.

read … Boosting

Stupid Mortgage Scammer fails to use Sovereignty as an Excuse, Gets Arrested

She allegedly promised to help modify loans with banks but demanded a fee upfront of between one thousand and six thousand dollars each.

"According to the indictment some victims were actually told to stop paying their mortgages to the bank and start sending the money directly to the defendant in Missouri. So in those cases, if this is true, she was actually causing foreclosures to happen as opposed to staving off the foreclosure process," says Simon.

They say this case is unique. (Because its not a Sovereignty Activist)

"This is the first case we've seen in the FBI of a (outside) company specifically targeting nothing but Hawaii victims in a mortgage fraud scheme," says Simon.

And there a couple of possible reasons why... one, Hawaii is remote. Two, Hawaii public records make it easy to see who's falling behind and getting close to foreclosure.

That data is being purchased by mail-order companies and then sold to unscrupulous people and legitimate companies to try to market their services," says Simon.

How its spozed to be done: Sovereignty Mortgage Scammer Keanu Sai at it again with help from Legislators, Maui Council, University, Naming names: Who are the alleged Sovereignty-mortgage scammers?

SA: 87 Hawaii homeowners hit by Missouri mortgage scam

read … FBI: Nearly Ninety Hawaii families fall victim to foreclosure scam

Honolulu TSA Managers Admit 'Dictatorial' Atmosphere

Three of Honolulu's top TSA managers were fired in the aftermath of the baggage screening scandal.

Glen Kajiyama, TSA Honolulu's federal security director, was fired June 3, according to the TSA. His second-in-command, Assistant Federal Security Director for Screening William Gulledge, was also terminated, a source said. A third TSA manager, Deputy Assistant Federal Security Director for Screening Adam Myers, was also dismissed, a source said.

Two supervisors also lost their jobs, according to people familiar with the situation.

The TSA has denied the initial appeals of at least seven of the 36 employees it fired in June, a source said.

read … Honolulu TSA

Enviros, Bureaucrats attacking Fishermen Again

“Officially it will add another layer, but for fishermen there will probably be no restrictions,” said Smith. “But I can’t say for sure.”

Smith was vague about what activities the new conservation zone could impact. But he mentioned construction activities that could impact monks during the months they were nursing young, as well as large caged fishing operations and the proposed Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning System that would draw up large quantities of deep ocean water onto shore through pipes.

But overall he said it wasn’t “a big additional layer.”

“It’s a little tiny layer to add additional protection,” said Smith.

Asked why the federal agency spent three years compiling hundreds of pages of reports and traveling throughout the islands to hold public meetings, he said, “We are being forced to by the petition.”

“We would not be doing this if we hadn’t received a petition from three environmental groups,” he added.

(Ironically, Monk Seals are doing poorly in the NW Hawaiian Islands where fishermen are blocked, thus forcing the seals to compete for food with Groupers. But this level of thinking is far too complex for the enviros.)

read … Fishermen Oppose Extra Protections

Building Trades Unions to Boycott Democratic National Convention

The unions - all part of the AFL-CIO's building and construction trades unit - told party officials this week they are gravely disappointed that labor was not consulted before Democrats settled on Charlotte, N.C., where there are no unionized hotels.

"We find it troubling that the party so closely associated with basic human rights would choose a state with the lowest unionization rate in the country due to regressive policies aimed at diluting the power of workers," Mark Ayers, president of the building trades unit, wrote in a letter to Democratic Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The decision by the building trades came after a vote by leaders of the unit's 13 affiliate unions, including the Laborers, Painters and Electrical Workers unions. Overall, they represent about 2.5 million members.

"There is broad frustration with the party and all elected officials, broad frustration with the lack of a union agenda," said Michael Monroe, chief of staff of the building trades division. "People are looking for outlets to express that frustration."

read … Some unions to skip 2012 convention

9-11-11: Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run

The two men are part of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which sponsors a series of 5-kilometer runs across the U.S. in honor of Stephen Siller, a firefighter who ran three miles to Ground Zero to help carry 60 pounds of gear after his car ran into a roadblock at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Five kilometers is a little longer than three miles.

Siller, 34 and the father of five, was killed when the second tower collapsed.

Proceeds from the foundation's 5K runs go to local charities including those that help first responders, military service personnel and their families. In New York the route retraces Siller's steps from the tunnel to Ground Zero.

LaBarbera and Carroll are here to promote a Siller Tunnel to Towers Run in Hawaii on Sept. 11. To be held at Pearl Harbor, the run will benefit the Fisher House Hawaii at Tripler Army Medical Center.

read … For pair, Pearl Harbor evokes memories of 9/11


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