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Monday, January 09, 2012
January 9, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:07 PM :: 5841 Views :: Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

SHOPO Endorses Linda Lingle for Senate

Chicago Tribune: Yank Hawaii's Race To The Top Grant

Dr Alveda King, Duke Aiona, Colette Machado to Speak up for Religious Freedom

Heritage Foundation Youth Leader to Address Maui TEA Party January 12

DoH: Dramatic Reduction in Fireworks-Related Injuries

Wailuku Homeschool Leader: Does Rick Santorum have Right Idea?

Hawaiian Airlines Sets Record for Systemwide Traffic

OHA: If Obama is Reelected He Will Recognize Akaka Tribe Without Congressional Approval

CB: "It is possible that Hawaiians could achieve recognition through an alternate route — alternate from the legislative route," said Clyde Namuo, OHA's longtime CEO until he retired Dec. 30. "It would not require congressional approval, but you would need to convince the Secretary of the Interior that they have the authority to do it. And we believe that there is adequate precedence to establish that you can do it."

Native American tribes can be recognized through a federal acknowledgment process. The problem, according to Namuo, is that the process applies only to Alaska and the Lower 48 states.

"The rules never changed to include Hawaii," he said. "So we are not permitted to apply under that law."

But OHA has learned through its research consultants that there have been four separate incidents where the Interior Department did recognize tribes outside the acknowledgment process.

The key, said Namuo, is having an Interior secretary and U.S. president who are sympathetic toward Hawaiian recognition — something OHA believes is the case with Secretary Ken Salazar and President Barack Obama.

"You need the stars to align," said Namuo, who explained that Interior recognition may have to wait until after the elections this year. "Even if they acknowledge that they have the authority, they are still going to want to go through a process. And that's why the state roll commission is critical."

read … Federal Recognition for Native Hawaiians Could Come Via Interior Dept

Police union endorses Lingle; UPW endorses Hannemann

SA: The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers had previously endorsed Lingle for governor in 2002 and 2006.

SHOPO, which has about 3,000 members statewide, believes the Republican is the best candidate to address law enforcement issues in Washington, D.C….

SHOPO endorsed Akaka over Case in the Democratic primary for Senate in 2006….

Also today, the United Public Workers Local 646 announced it is endorsing former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the 2nd Congressional District race. The seat is now held by Hirono.

UPW represents 13,000 civil service workers in Hawaii.

HNN: SHOPO endorses Lingle for US Senate

News Release: SHOPO Endorses Linda Lingle for Senate

CB: Hawaii Candidates Keep Fundraisers Under Wraps

read … Police

Lawmakers want to spend $500M on Whatever

SA: State senators, looking to stimulate job creation and help lift the construction industry out of the doldrums, want to aggressively pursue as much as $500 million in bond-financed construction projects at public schools, hospitals and state buildings.

The emphasis would be on smaller repair and maintenance projects that do not require extensive regulatory review and can be launched quickly to put carpenters, painters, roofers and electricians to work. Another focus, according to senators drafting the plan, would be on projects that increase energy efficiency at state buildings. (Giveaway to solar contractors.)….

Eye-popping capital improvement project budgets might have solid justification given the state's aging infrastructure, but the state has often struggled to move projects from authorization to planning and construction. Like other state spending, it is the governor, not lawmakers, who has the discretion on when to release construction money.

"A lot of it has to do with the permitting process, the approval process, the procurement process. And that's where we see some of the delays," said state Rep. Marcus Oshiro (D, Wahiawa), chairman of the House Finance Committee. "So you can have a ton of money set aside ready to go for bond authorization on these projects, but if you cannot get through the actual approval, permitting and contracting steps, then there's not much done economically."

read … Burn the Treasury

2 of 3 rail bidders lacked state license

SA: Critics of Ansaldo, including competitor Bombardier, questioned that contract award. Among the issues raised about the award was the allegation that Ansaldo was not licensed as a contractor in Hawaii at the time Ansaldo responded to the city request for proposals for the contract.

Bombardier project manager Andrew S. Robbins remarked last year that Ansaldo's lack of a license when Ansaldo responded to the request for proposals "speaks to the lack of experience in doing business in North America and Hawaii."

Bombardier has filed a legal challenge to the core systems contract award to Ansaldo, and that challenge is now pending before the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals.

However, public records show that Bombardier also did not have a Hawaii contractor's license when it responded to the city's initial request for proposals in June 2009. Bombardier did not obtain its contractor's license until almost a year later, on March 18, 2010.

Robbins said the June 2009 request for proposals was merely a request that companies submit their qualifications and was not an actual bid in which Bombardier offered to enter into a contract to do work for a specific price.

"The qualifications submittal did not contain any pricing whatsoever and therefore could never have been construed as a bid under the statutes," Robbins wrote in an emailed response to questions.

The first true bid or proposal that included a price proposal was made in June 2010, which was after Bombardier obtained its contractor's license, Robbins said.

CB: 'Lot of Work To Do' Before Feds Fund Honolulu Rail

read … They’re Professionals, we can trust them

HUD: Still no Answer on ORI

CB: More than two months after the city submitted its final plan for bringing a Wahiawa senior center into compliance with federal grant requirements, officials are still awaiting a formal response from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)….

A HUD spokeswoman said that the timing of HUD's response to the city's final October compliance plan — which she initially estimated would take weeks, not months — should not be seen as "problematic." But she also wouldn't say whether the city had successfully avoided repaying the $7.9 million in federal funds that went to ORI Anuenue Hale over the years.

"HUD’s Honolulu office has had other higher priorities, a relocation of the entire office, and the juncture of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays," HUD spokeswoman Gene Gibson told Civil Beat. "With the conclusion of the holiday season and no urgent assignments, our Honolulu team plans to have the formal written response to the City on the monitoring soon."

read … ORI Anuenue

Just in Time for the Legislature, Media is Suddenly Full of Online Gambling Legalization News 

Media Filled with Articles about Hirono’s DOA China Visa Bill

Quick tip for Hawaii Congressional incumbents. When election time rolls around, write a no hope bill and then get your friends in the local media to act as if it really has a chance. It might fool a couple of voters who didn’t notice that you are … Lazy.

SA: Reform law to let lenders, borrowers settle homes fairly

SA: The change drew broad support at the time, by representatives of lenders, homeowner associations, mortgage counselors and the Judiciary. Last year's Legislature approved the change in May, but foreclosures since then plummeted from nearly 1,000 per month to around 400 per month. (Tamping down foreclosures prevented a substantial drop in property values, thus upholding the value of real estate held by the State and by large landowners. But now the crisis is over and the law will simply be changed back….)

Essentially, the change brought an end to virtually all nonjudicial foreclosures, noted the Hawaii Bankers Association. It urged legislators to repeal the harsh penalty if they agree that "there is a place for nonjudicial foreclosures in certain situations." The bankers were joined by the Hawaii Financial Services Association and the Hawaii Credit Union League in calling for eliminating entirely the provision that allows invalidation of a foreclosure sale.

Instead, 13 of the 18 task force members have agreed to a compromise, (as predicted) with a limit of about 20 violations that could constitute unfair or deceptive acts that would lead to invalidation of the foreclosure sale. George Zweibel, a Hawaii island borrowers' attorney, said the task force's current recommendation would allow effective implementation of nonjudicial foreclosures in the state.

read .. Foreclosures

City serves notice to homeless to remove items or lose them

SA: Applying a new city ordinance barring people from storing tents, furniture, clothing and other personal items on sidewalks, police officers gave written notices to more than 50 homeless campers in the McCully area this morning to remove their items or have them hauled to the Halawa dump Tuesday.

CB: Occupy Honolulu Asked Mayor for Immunity From Sidewalk Belongings Ban (We are enlightened, conscious, and progressive. The law is beneath us. We are gods!)

read … Go to the shelters, you bums

Rep Chris Lee Renews Push for Plastic Bag Tax

Rep. Chris Lee, 51st District (Kailua, Waimanalo) Plastic bag fees that encourage a switch to reusable bags save consumers money and is proven in hundreds of cities. Retailers no longer have to charge higher prices to cover the cost of providing plastic bags, and taxpayers pay millions less for litter removal on roads and beaches.

Hawaii gets it. Many local retailers and hundreds of testifiers supported a plastic bag law last year. The only real opposition was — surprise — mainland plastic bag makers. They profit enormously selling bags and fight to keep the status quo, recently hiring lobbyists and spending $1.4 million to prevent a plastic bag law in Seattle.

Instead of currently being forced to pay for plastic bags — now built into the cost of the groceries we buy — plastic bag laws allow consumers to choose whether they want bags, or to save money by bringing their own. As a tourist destination reliant on pristine beaches and as an economy in recovery, we need a plastic bag law to protect our environment and save consumers money.

Last Year: SB1363 10-cents-per-bag Tax: Greens, Big Business, Big Government team up to Rip Off Consumers

read … Guard your Wallet, the Legislature is Coming!

Hawaii Credit Card Spending up 8.69% in 2011

PBN: Credit and debit card spending in Hawaii was up 8.69 percent in 2011, according to a First Hawaiian Bank business activity report that tracks spending from companies open at least 12 months.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is reporting that hotel spending totaled $636.2 million, followed by restaurants and other retailers at $391 million and $310 million, respectively.

read … Weak Dollar Brinks Foreign Tourists

Israel’s Peres meets with Inouye, US Senate delegation

JP: President Shimon Peres on Sunday hosted a US Senate Appropriations Committee delegation at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem led by committee chairman Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and including the committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), and senior member Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Maryland).

Peres, 88, thanked Inouye, 87, and told him that “you stood by our side in the most demanding and difficult moments.”

read … Inouye in Israel

Real ID Finally Comes to Hawaii

KHON: "This is really stemming from the 9-11 terrorist attacks a number of those terrorists were found to have drivers licenses from a number of different sates," says Meisenzahal.

The new requirements are said to make it much more difficult for criminals to commit I.D. Fraud and is a major component of the federally mandated REAL ID Act of 2005 that will require residents to have a specified ID for air travel within the United States.

"Out of that, there's been a movement to makes sure the standards are the same for every state," says Meisenzahal.

For more details on Hawaii's legal presence law CLICK HERE

SA: Drivers seeking licenses will face tighter security

read … REAL ID

Report: Before HMC Debacle, Hawaii Had Shortage of Medical Personnel

SA: "Currently, the state of Hawaii suffers significant, widening health disparities, many of which could be solved by expanding the primary care and support work force," according to the report released last month by the Hawaii Workforce Development Council, a state agency attached to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. "The indigenous population, rural residents, homeless families and recent immigrants are the most likely to have unmet health care needs."

The report was written before the recent closure of Hawaii Medical Center's Ewa and Liliha hospitals, which resulted in the firing of nearly 1,000 workers.

Hawaii's education and health services work force totaled 128,180 in 2008 and is projected to grow by 18,390, or 14.3 percent, to 146,570 by 2018.

DN: Does Oahu have enough emergency room capacity for a real emergency?

read … Health workers in demand

Traffic deaths down last year versus 2010

SA: Traffic fatalities on Oahu dropped nearly 20 percent in 2011 compared with 2010, and were the lowest recorded in several years, according to year-end statistics compiled by the Hono­lulu Police Department.

The number of deaths attributable to speed or alcohol also continued to go down for a second straight year, while the number of pedestrian fatalities fell in 2011 after nearly doubling in 2010….

Boland said the AARP is lobbying for the Hono­lulu City Council to enact a law that would require developers and the city to incorporate "complete streets" improvements that accommodate pedestrian and cyclists in their traffic planning.

Carol McNamee, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hawaii founder, said despite the overall drop, there continues to be room for improvement. The number of fatal crashes involving motorcycles appears to have increased over the past five years versus the earlier part of the decade, while pedestrian deaths also remain high, McNamee said….

McNamee said she's hopeful that in the next five to 10 years, technology will provide the next game-changing drop in alcohol-related fatalities.

read … Traffic

Vilsack to Hype BioDiesel at Pearl Harbor This Week

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is in Hawaii this week to address the annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation and highlight the Obama Administration’s commitment to renewable energy at the Pearl Harbor memorial center.

Vilsack will be at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument’s Pearl Harbor Visitor Center on Tuesday to talk about how USDA is working with the U.S. Navy to promote the use of renewable fuels in its operations. In April 2009, the Pearl Harbor naval base was the first Hawaii military marine fleet to use biodiesel, replacing U.S. Navy-operated tour boats that shuttled visitors to and from the USS Arizona Memorial with five new boats capable of running on 100% biodiesel. Secretary Vilsack will highlight these efforts as well as other Administration efforts to advance renewable energy as part of the Navy fleet.

read … Vilsack

Bette Midler: Honolulu Rail a Bad Idea

Local girl and show business phenomenon, Bette Midler, titled her letter in today's Star Advertiser, "Rail would be blight on Hawaii's beauty" and follows it with,

"I read with alarm the news that the state of Hawaii may go forward with a 20-mile elevated train. I have lived in New York City for many years, and can testify to the noise and ugliness these elevated trains bring to every community through which they pass.”

read …

Shakedown: UH Professors to Host Panel on Monsanto

UH professors Cynthia Franklin and Laura Lyons are hosting a panel discussion on the topic on January 18th at the Center for Hawaiian Studies, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

So far, panelists include Kamuela Enos (Ma’o Farms), Trisha Kehaulani Watson (Honua Consulting) and Walter Ritte (longtime Molokai activist). The panel will be moderated by Jon Osorio.

read … UH Professors to Host Panel on Monsanto

Addition to Makawao veterans cemetery in works

MN: Makawao Veterans Cemetery may reach capacity for burials in one and a half to two years, so plans are being laid for the purchase of a 10-acre adjoining property.

The state Legislature approved $5 million last session for the planning, purchase and development of the cemetery expansion….

read … Makawao

Pacific Aviation Museum in Pearl Harbor to hold symposium on Tuskegee Airmen

AP: The symposium will feature the film Red Tail. Former Tuskegee airman Phillip Baham will speak, along with Dorothy Goldborough, a University of Hawaii lecturer and wife of a Tuskegee airman.

read … Pacific Aviation


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