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Tuesday, January 17, 2012
January 17, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:28 PM :: 12978 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Billion Dollar Cost Overrun Shows US Shipyards Failing Navy and Commerce 

HSTA Contract Does not Comply With 180 Day Law

The tentative settlement includes the temporary 5% paycut imposed by the administration for the first two years. Salaries would be restored the following year, with annual step movements tied to a new salary schedule and years of service.

The contract would allow for a reopener in the fourth year. The settlement calls for more time off for teachers. It provides for one more day for personal time-off and more flexibility to convert sick leave to personal or professional leave. The contract also allows for four days in supplemental time-off during the length of the contract.

It does not address the issue of more instructional time for students, but allows for additional negotiations.

The union will meet with interested teachers at the Hawaii Convention Center Tuesday, Jan. 17 starting at 6 :30 p.m. The two hour meeting will also be webcast on the HSTA website.

CB: How to Fake the 180 Day Law -- Instructional Time — House Bill 907 and House Bill 1352

Read … RTTT? Ha!

Assisted suicide not lawful, state says

SA: After lying for three months, the Star-Advertiser finally gets around to admitting that assisted suicide is not legal. They finally get around to acknowledging AG Louie’s Dec 8 opinion that assisted suicide is manslaughter. Hawai`i Free Press readers have known about this AG opinion since December 23. We finally obtained a copy of the opinion and posted it online Jan 14. Two days later, Senator Gabbard rubbed the Star-Adv editors’ noses in it and they were forced to write this article.

Totally Related: Colette Machado: I look at Kalaupapa--Native Hawaiians will fight against Assisted Suicide

Background: Full Text AG Louie: Assisted Suicide Not Legal in Hawaii

read … Assisted suicide not lawful, state says

Reapportionment Commission Hires Real Lawyers Moves for Reconsideration

HR: The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission and the chief elections officer filed a motion for reconsideration on January 13, asking the Hawaii Supreme Court to review its January 6 ruling, which said the commission’s redistricting plan is “constitutionally invalid.” The commissioners, who could be forced to redraw district lines, also asked for clarification on the ruling ….

The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission is taking a second shot with the Supreme Court because many members do not believe the commission was fairly represented before the Hawaii Supreme Court either during oral arguments or in court filings.

In fact commissioners requested private representation before the Supreme Court hearing, but the attorney general denied their request.

The commission was represented by Deputy Attorney General Russell Suzuki during oral arguments. Some commissioners told Hawaii Reporter he was supposed to stand up for the commissioners and their reapportionment plan, but instead appeared apologetic, condescending, and even inaccurate in at least one statements. He also failed to make several key points.

Upon questioning from Hawaii Reporter, a spokesperson for the Hawaii Attorney General defended Suzuki and the department's representation.

However, commissioners, led by respected Retired State Judge Victoria Marks, were disappointed by Suzuki's weak performance, which some believe caused them to lose the case in a unanimous vote.

After a running dispute with the state attorney general, the commission hired private council on its own last week. Attorneys Diane Erickson, Brian Aburano and Sarah Hirakami filed the motion for reconsideration on the commission's behalf.

Time is short with a February 1 candidate registration deadline looming.

The commission will meet Friday at 3 p.m. at the capitol to discuss its next course of action.

read … Real Representation

After HMC Closes, Legislators Prepare to Move Quickly on Organ Transplant Support left unfinished last session

  • SB239: Extends the ability of the University of Hawaii medical school to use a portion of tobacco settlement money for operating expenses.
  • SB 699 – Establishes filing fees to help fund the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.
  • SB 725 – Increases the solid waste management surcharge to 75 cents per ton, up from 35 cents. Applies the surcharge to waste disposed in state or shipped out of state.
  • SB 772 – Expands an ethanol facility income tax credit to include other biofuels and larger facilities.
  • SB 809 – Increases the University of Hawaii’s authorization to issue revenue bonds for capital improvement projects.
  • HB 608 – Authorizes state money – matched by private funds — for an organ transplant center.
  • HB 905 – Requires the state to collaborate with health and social-service providers on an annual health and human services delivery plan.
  • HB 1570 – Appropriates money to reimburse livestock producers for feed costs. Allows goat farmers with at least 25 lactating milk goats to be eligible for the livestock revitalization program.

read … Organ Transplant

Donated organs sent to mainland instead of staying in Hawaii

HNN: He always knew he'd be an organ donor, given the fact that his dad and aunt both died of kidney failure before they were able to receive a transplant.

"We actually donated everything that we could. Anything that Chad could give we gave," said Kolomalu. "The hospital talked to us about organ donation and I had said yes absolutely that's what my son would have wanted."

But since Hawaii Medical Center was unable to keep its East Hospital in Liliha open, the state's only transplant center is closed. Now organs go directly to the mainland.

The Kolomalu family is of course thankful two people in Washington are living with Chad's kidneys….

read … Thank a legislator

ACT221 Scammers: Amending Solar Credits Just Like Ending ACT221

But PV tax credits and therefore PV are at risk in this session of the state Legislature. Some say PV credits cost too much and that it's not fair to have all taxpayers and ratepayers pay for credits and infrastructure that benefit only a few. It's an election year -- perhaps that makes tinkering tempting in a belated effort at fiscal austerity.

One of the primary questions at the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum's briefing on Friday was whether we should amend these credits, with a civil counterpoint between Rep. Pono Chong and Jon Yoshimura of Solar City. We'll post the video of the discussion on thinktechhawaii.com in the next few days.

Curtailing them will demoralize the industry and raise questions here and abroad about our commitment to clean energy and investment. Shades of the tragedy of Act 221, from which we have not yet recovered and from which we might never recover.

Memory loss is not an option. We (scammers) need to remember what we started, stick to it and resist all distractions. We decided we would do clean energy. So let's do that, with unwavering enthusiasm,(ratepayer money) every day in every way. If we don't, we will surely lose the momentum, (opportunity to vacuum money out of ratepayers’ and taxpayers’ pockets and that is our) initiative and the future.

Alm: Deep-water air conditioning serves many of Hawaii's energy goals

CB: How Hawaii Should Address (non-existent) Climate Change and (non-existent) Sea-Level Rise

CB: Spirited Debate in Store for Energy in 2012 Legislature

Reality:

read … Fidell’s Latest hustle

SA: Get rid of ‘spiking’ to boost pensions

SA Editorial: State legislators were informed last year about the practice of state and county employees booking huge amounts of overtime as they neared retirement to bolster their pensions, but the lawmakers took no action to address the problem. Since then, city auditors have confirmed the practice of senior employees spiking overtime, and the Legislature needs to confront the issue.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie asked the Legislature last year to eliminate overtime and other kinds of extra payments in the final years of employment by the state as factors in determining pensions. He said that would save $13 million in the 2012 fiscal year state budget and $19 million in county taxes, reducing the unfunded liability of the Employees' Retirement System, now standing at $8.2 billion, by a half-billion dollars.

City auditors determined last month that each of the 10 highest-paid employees of Emergency Medical Services were paid an average of nearly $140,000 annually, more than double their average base salary of $63,252, with the extra pay due entirely to non-holiday overtime. Those cases alone would add up to $5 million to the system's unfunded liability….

"Workers have found ways to boost their salaries in those final years, greatly increasing the level of benefits to which they are entitled," according to a 2010 report by the Pew Center on the States. "Common ways to boost salaries include ensuring that overtime goes to the most senior workers, saving sick leave and getting temporary promotions of last-minute raises. When states allow such actions to occur, retirees who manipulated the system get a higher benefit and states suddenly face an increased liability."

Starting with new employees hired this year, Hawaii pensions are to be based on their five highest-paid years instead of three. That is likely to merely spread the spiking over a longer period, doing little to solve the underlying problem. Simply, overtime should not be factored in with salary when retirement pay is eventually calculated.

Related: HGEA Parent Union Comes out against Pension Spiking

read … Spiking

Abercrombie Makes Himself Issue in Senate Race

Borreca: Hawaii's top Democrat, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, is starting to assume his role as cheerleader-in-chief for the party faithful in this election year.

Last weekend he was the featured speaker at an Oahu Democratic Party meeting.

The gathering was held to start organizing the party for the March caucuses, which will end with the selection of President Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee.

The race for president, however, is not the issue in Hawaii, unless you want to argue about how much more than 60 percent the president will get. The issue is the United States Senate and keeping it blue….

No one has Hawaii as leaning, likely or safe Republican territory. So Lingle is correct to say she is not sailing in calm waters. Lingle has responded by running a carefully managed, extremely well-financed and organized campaign.

Her endorsement by the police officers union, a good, but not game-changing pat on the back, got reams more notice than Hirono's mumbled endorsement by the local AFL-CIO last September.

If Lingle somehow won the support of the AFL-CIO, you can be sure that every voter in the state would soon be clutching an autographed DVD of the event.

Abercrombie, according to those attending the Saturday meeting, is still warning against Democrats dropping their guard.

read … Abercrombie vs Lingle

Abercrombie’s Jan 23 State of the State Could be Gift to Republicans

CB: We've yet to hear what the governor will say in his State of the State address Jan. 23. It seems likely, however, that it will not be as ambitious as last year's. Abercrombie, for example, won't call for the end of state-funded reimbursement for federal Medicare Part B benefits for Hawaii government employees.

What he and other Democrats most want to project this session is unity. All 76 seats are up for re-election, and reapportionment means some lawmakers may face fellow incumbents.

The greatest gift to the Hawaii Republican Party in 2012 would be a governor who remains the most unpopular in the country and a Legislature that can't, or won't, work with him.

read … Neil Abercrombie, the gift that just keeps giving

Abercrombie Flip-Flops on Hoopili

CB: Neil Abercrombie was against the controversial Hoopili development before he was for it, according to environmentalists who said they met with him before the 2010 election.

The candidate Abercrombie told environmental groups that he opposed the Ewa project during his campaign for governor, according to some of those present at a meeting they say took place at his campaign headquarters.

They told Civil Beat Abercrombie pledged to make sure that Hoopili — a master-planned community of 11,750 homes and five schools — would never happen.

That isn’t Abercrombie’s position today. Last week, his administration publicly threw its support behind the development, which would displace 1,500 acres of prime agricultural land and force one of the state’s largest farms to move….

“Abercrombie promised that it wouldn’t go forward,” said Kioni Dudley, president of Friends of Makakilo, which has been working for several years to stop the development.

The governor’s pledge was confirmed by others at the meeting, including Donna Wong and Tom Coffman of Hawaii’s Thousand Friends; Pearl Johnson, chair of the League of Women Voters; and Robert Harris, director of the Hawaii chapter of the Sierra Club.

read … Abercrombie is Just another Old-Boy Developer

Danger: OIP Shell Bill Introduced

ILind: The Office of Information Practices recently announced it had submitted two bills for inclusion in Governor Abercrombie’s administration package to be submitted to the 2012 legislative session. The text of the bills is not yet available, but OIP provided “detailed summaries.”

The first bill, referred to by OIP as the Appeals bill, is the agency’s response to the decision of the Intermediate Court of Appeals in the case of County of Kauai v. OIP, 120 Haw. 34, 200 P.3d 403 (2009).

In my view, the proposed bill addresses a problem which is not really a problem. I’ve written about this before on several occasions (here’s a link to what may be the most recent).

read … Proposed OIP bill is a solution looking for a problem

Cayetano to announce mayoral bid Thursday

HNN: Hawaii News Now has learned that Ben Cayetano will officially announce his candidacy for Honolulu mayor by the end of the week.

The former Governor has been open about his disappointment with current mayor, Peter Carlisle and how he's handled the Honolulu rail project.

Cayetano is also part of a lawsuit aiming to stop rail.

read … Cayetano

The tide may be rising on rail

SA: There's certainly been more anti-rail discussion lately. This could be because rail looks like it's going to cost more with less federal support, and won’t solve the traffic problem. Or it could be that our old friend, Ben Cayetano, is putting his money where his mouth is, in court and now in the mayoral election.

And four speakers are coming, experts on rail, public policy and finance and demographics. They’re Adrian Moore, PhD, VP of Public Policy at the Reason Foundation; John Charles, president and CEO of the Cascade Policy Institute; Randal O'Toole, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute; and Wendell Cox of Demographia, and Visiting Fellow from Heritage Foundation.

They'll all be speaking about rail at the Kapolei Satellite City Hall at 6:00 p.m. on February 28th and at the Mission Memorial Auditorium next to City Hall downtown at 12:30 p.m. on February 29th.

read … Heavy Weights

Tulsi Gabbard Says Christians are Just Like Islamists, but the Progressives Aren’t Buying it

CB: Tulsi has undergone what she describes as a "gradual metamorphosis" on social issues. She says her transformation was spurred by spending time in countries governed by oppressive regimes during deployments to the Middle East as a member of the Hawaii Army National Guard.

"Some of these experiences living and working in oppressive countries, not only witnessing firsthand but actually experiencing myself what happens when a government basically attempts to act as a moral arbiter," Gabbard said. "It really caused me to take a look at myself and the way we're doing things here at home, locally, and nationally."

Today, she says she is pro-choice and would fight to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. (Read a related article that outlines Tulsi's and four other 2nd Congressional District candidates' views on social issues.)

While Tulsi explains that seeing and experiencing oppression in the Middle East helped her develop ideas about individual rights in the United States, she stops short of saying that the Defense of Marriage Act — which defines marriage as between one man and one woman — amounts to oppression against those who identify as gay or lesbian. Asked twice whether she believes gays and lesbians are oppressed in the United States, she declined to say. Instead, Gabbard says she looks at the law "with the goal being government getting out of our personal lives."

(Read the discussion to see that the leftists just aren’t buying it. This is what happens when you ditch your base opportunistically to win an election, the new base simply doesn’t accept you.)

read … Flip-Flop

Bullying Laws Now to Apply to Adults?

CB: Bullying/Cyberbullying — House Bill 214, House Bill 690 and House Bill 704: Last year, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a law tightening requirements for schools to report bullying incidents. But both the House and Senate education chairs say the emotionally charged issue will probably be revisited this year, because Hawaii statewide anti-bullying laws would apply to both adults and students, on and off campus — and in the online world, where "cyber-bullying" incidents occur with growing frequency.

read … Gay Agenda and Censorship 

Abercrombie to appoint "Hulu" Lindsey to OHA seat

MN: Noted Hawaiian music performer Carmen "Hulu" Lindsey said Monday that she has been appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to fill the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' vacant Maui seat.

Lindsey said she was scheduled to be sworn in at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in OHA offices in Honolulu. She said Abercrombie called her last week to tell her she had been selected for the role.

Representatives from the Governor's Office could not be reached for comment.

Lindsey would fill the vacancy left by former Trustee and retired 2nd Circuit Judge Boyd Mossman, who resigned Nov. 1 to accept a three-year unpaid position as president of the Kona Hawaii Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

MN: BREAKING: Governor Appoints Lindsey to Maui OHA Seat

read … Lindsey

Democrat Presidential Caucuses March 7

SA: Hawaii Democrats will hold their presidential preference poll on March 7.

read … nobody cares

Today is Last Day for Kenoi to Veto Bag Ban

HTH: A bill banning plastic bags at the retail checkout stand will become law today if Mayor Billy Kenoi doesn't execute a last-minute veto.

Bill 17 passed the County Council on a 5-3 vote, with Council Chairman Dominic Yagong abstaining because he works in the retail industry. That means the council, unless a member changes his vote, doesn't have the six votes needed to override a veto.

read … Will he or Won’t He

Hoku Has Until Thursday to Pay Electric Bill, January 26 is Cut Off

SA: In its order Friday the Idaho PUC also denied Hoku's request to suspend its December electric bill, which is due Thursday. The PUC said that if the bill is not paid, Idaho Power would be allowed to cut off electrical service to Hoku on Jan. 26. Hoku officials said they will pay the bill by the due date.

Hoku's dispute with Idaho Power stems from an agreement it signed last year that required Hoku to make monthly payments to Idaho Power beginning in April regardless of whether it was consuming any electricity. Because the polysilicon plant was behind schedule, Hoku did not need to draw any power until November. Paul estimates that, to date, the company has paid Idaho Power about $15 million for electricity Hoku did not use. That amount is on top of the roughly $18 million Hoku paid Idaho Power to build transmission lines and provide other electrical infrastructure for the plant.

The PUC ordered Idaho Power and Hoku to "enter into immediate negotiations" to amend the power contract. Regulators said the two sides are required to provide a progress report by Feb. 1.

read … About the Act 221 Hoku geniuses who negotiated this deal

Housing Agency Seeks Volunteers

KHON: "It's a community effort whether the community wants it to be or not because our people who have no homes are living on our sidewalks," said Gierlach.

Some who seek public housing can't get it due to hundreds of units in the state's inventory in an uninhabitable condition. The Hawaii Public Housing Authority wants to change that with volunteer help to rehab 150 units.

read … Volunteers Doing the Work Government Cannot

Isle couple sue lender, cite unfair, deceptive practices

MN: Although they were having trouble keeping up monthly payments, they could have sold their house and cleared the debt - except that BAC Home Loans told them not to.

Meanwhile, they waited and waited for an offer on a renegotiation. When it came, Koltun-Crilley was shocked to find that after monthly payments for 22 years, she would still owe the lender $350,000 on a house that was worth at the beginning of the process about a half million dollars.

read … Foreclosure

MLK Parade Bursting With Civil Unity Messages

Watch the KITV video, in the middle are some anti-Semites with anti-Israel signs….apparently that stuff about ‘the promised land’ didn’t quite sink in.

HNN: Parade honors Martin Luther King Jr.

SA: Marchers invoke civil rights hero in clamor for justice

KITV … Video of MLK Parade

Oahu Residents Hold Roadside Rally Against Puppy Mills

HR: The Aloha Pet Shop in the Pearl Kai Shopping Center in Aiea was recently opened by Sheryl Luke-Kalani, one of the owners of the infamous Waimanalo puppy mill.

Luke-Kalani's other shop, Pet Spot, in the Pearl Highlands area, went out of business because of community outrage at the horrendous conditions in which their animals were kept. The Pet Shop is where they sold their "puppy mill" puppies. Now they're at it again.

(Looks like they are going to ‘hound’ the puppy mill owners out of business wherever they set up…. Meanwhile a child molester got a free ride in the legislature for 5 years and nobody did nothin…. Explain THAT contradiction.)

read … Pet Shop

Tenants of a former Kauai sugar camp face eviction for a new development

SA: At the peak of the sugar era, the camp had 32 houses. Through the years, houses came down as tenants moved away or died.

Kruse's home is among eight at Koloa Camp threatened with demolition to make way for a 50-unit development called Waihohonu.

Landowner Grove Farm issued 120-day eviction notices in November to 13 tenants -- eight living in houses and five on agricultural lots. They must vacate by March 8.

read … Koloa Camp

Navy Hiring 60 civilian security guards

SA: The Navy in Hawaii is hiring 60 civilian security guards as the U.S. military continues to divest itself of private contractor guards hired after demands grew following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Navy civilian security guard positions are being established to replace contract gate guards and provide continued installation security, officials said.

Public Law 107, which provided a waiver so the federal government could contract guard services, will expire Sept. 30, according to the Navy….

Interested candidates must be U.S. citizens and should apply at www.usajobs.gov. The Navy said individuals should search for job announcement NW20085-05-5903754B193959-D or, for Security Guard, GS-0085-5 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

read … Guards

‘The Descendants’ Globes win expected to boost tourism

KGI: Moviegoers saw a fair amount of the Garden Isle on the silver screen in 2011, but industry experts said Monday the Golden Globe-winning “The Descendants,” filmed partly on Kaua‘i, will boost tourism on the island.

Alexander Payne’s drama “The Descendants” was named Best Picture in the Drama category Sunday at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards, while its star, George Clooney, snagged a statue for Best Actor in a Drama.

The Hawai‘i-based story inspired by local author Kaui Hart Hemmings’ debut novel was nominated for five Golden Globe awards, including best director (Payne), best screenplay and best supporting actress (Shailene Woodley).

KHON: Tax credit proposal to boost Hawaii's filming industry

KHON: Hawaii filmmakers to receive a friendlier tax credit

Read … Golden Globes

Woman Says Author Swiped Work on Obama

"Defendant Ron Jacobs used the writing sample without her permission and violated her copyright."
Edwards says her "work" is called "Black in a Buff 'N Bllue [sic] World." The complaint does not state whether the work is a book or a shorter piece.
Edwards says she is a former resident of Florida and now lives in South Carolina.
Both Jacobs and Trade Publishing are based in Hawaii.
Edwards seeks punitive damages for copyright violations.
She is represented by Eric Seitz of Honolulu.

read … Its Good Enough for Seitz


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