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Monday, January 30, 2012
January 30, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:07 PM :: 8735 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Heritage Foundation to Tour Honolulu, Laie, Kona, Hilo Jan 31-Feb 2

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted January 30

Tesoro? With Cash in Hand, Chevron Considers Options

Natural Gas to Gasoline: A firm claims to have a cheaper way to harness natural gas

CB: Jan. 30 — Bills of Interest

CB: Guide To The 2012 Elections

Case, Hirono Tied for U.S. Senate Nomination

The race is a dead heat, the poll found. The gap between the two candidates, one a sitting congresswoman from Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, the other a former representative of that district, is within the poll's margin of error of +/- 2.7 percent.

The automated telephone survey of 1,358 likely voters found Case at 41 percent, Hirono at 39 percent, with 8 percent saying neither candidate and 12 percent still unsure. The poll was conducted on January 18 and 19.

Full Text: Civil beat january 2012 u.s. senate primary toplines and crosstabs

Related: Poll of Hard-Core Hawaii Democrats gives Hirono 18-pt Lead over Case

Totally Related: Island Democrats prepare to challenge “open primary” election law

read … Case leads Hirono

UHPA: Abercrombie can Unilaterally Impose RTTT Requirements on HSTA

Political Radar: Tony Gill, an attorney representing the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, argues in a brief before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board that Gov. Neil Abercrombie has the authority under the state’s collective bargaining law to unilaterally implement a $75 million federal Race to the Top grant without a new contract with teachers.

A provision in the law makes collective bargaining inoperative if it jeopardizes federal money.

§89-20 Chapter inoperative, when. (a) If any provision of this chapter jeopardizes the receipt by the State or any county of any federal grant-in-aid or other federal allotment of money, the provision shall, insofar as the fund is jeopardized, be deemed to be inoperative.

PR: Precedent -- “An obscure and untested provision in the state’s collective bargaining law may give Gov. Neil Abercrombie authority to implement federal Race to the Top education reform without a new contract with teachers. The provision, on the books since 1970, makes collective bargaining inoperative if it jeopardizes federal money.” (These guys just make it up as they go along.)

DN: The national conspiracy to break teachers’ unions reaches Hawaii

SA: “An obscure and untested provision in the state's collective bargaining law ….

SA: Private schools keep close tabs on teachers

SA: Schools add new teacher evaluations

read … Unilaterally

State, Pacific Command, Gas Company All Eyeing Tesoro Refinery

CB: “We want to move off of fossil fuels as quickly as we possibly can,” Brian Schatz said. (Brian Schatz is in charge. Feeling confident?) “But make no mistake about it, we are not going to allow our economy to implode as a result of a loss of a refinery. Natural gas is a fossil fuel — I don’t think there is any dispute about that. The question is how do we move toward clean energy and in the meantime ensure our economy has enough (other sources) to operate.”

Schatz said that the administration had been in conversations with the U.S. Pacific Command, The Gas Co. — Hawaii’s sole natural gas company — and exporters.

As to whether the state energy office was carving out a role for natural gas as part of its energy blueprint, state energy administrator Mark Glick said that there were no immediate plans to do so, but that "it certainly needs to be on everyone's mind."

He said that the energy office had seriously looked at natural gas in the past, and that the situation with Tesoro, as well as rising oil prices, had added a sense of urgency to the option.

"If it's a source that is cheaper, cleaner and more reliable, we should take a serious look," he said….

There are no commercial natural gas reserves in Hawaii. The Gas Co. uses a petroleum byproduct created in the local oil refineries. The company is also pioneering efforts to produce renewable natural gas locally. But producing enough in the short-term to significantly offset oil could be years away.

If Hawaii was to increase its use of natural gas in a way that was independent of oil, it would have to import liquefied natural gas, or LNG, according to energy experts. It would then be used in the generators of the electric companies, which aren't equipped to handle it.

William Bollmeier, president of the Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance, said that the idea of importing LNG was a topic of discussion among the local energy sector a few years ago.

“I think the conclusion the group came to several years ago, was, ‘OK, this might work, and it comes at some cost, (to green energy scammers) but isn’t it like trading one addiction for another?’” Bollmeier said (fearfully eyeing his bank balances).

He said it would require a special harbor arrangement for ships carrying the larger tankers of natural gas and off-loading docks that had the space and equipment to handle it.

“The only way that it would be cost effective to handle it at that point would be to totally convert all the utility generators to run on natural gas,” said Bollmeier. (And we should believe him because his people would lose lots of money.)

Related: Tesoro? With Cash in Hand, Chevron Considers Options, Abercrombie to Tesoro: Drop Dead, Natural Gas to Gasoline: A firm claims to have a cheaper way to harness natural gas

read … Tesoro to go back to The Gas Co?

PUC Allows Another Mainland Industrial Solar Contractor to Loot Ratepayers, taxpayers

Wholesale electric rates ranging from .20 per kwh to .278 per kwh. These are double the highest retail electric rated paid by mainland consumers.

CB: The company has finally gotten the green light, with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approving a contract between the solar company and Hawaiian Electric Co., according to documents made public today.

read… PUC Approves Oahu Solar Farm

HB2400: Prioritize Geothermal, Break Up HECO

SA: …one proposal that would force Hawaiian Electric Co. out of the power generation business and have it focus strictly on delivering electricity to customers.

The bill restructuring HECO (HB 2400) also calls for the utility to set a single electricity rate across the three counties it serves, and prioritizes geothermal as the state's preferred alternative energy source to replace fossil fuels….

"HB 2400 makes sense. HECO has a big conflict of interest as both the power generator and distributor," said state Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R, Kailua-Kaneohe).

"Right now any increase in costs get passed right along to the consumer," said Theilen, a member of the Energy and Environmental Protection Committee.

read … Breaking down HECO

HGEA Fail: State ordered to keep up with food stamp needs

SA: The state typically receives between 5,000 and 7,000 applications per month. In January 2011, for instance, the state processed 5,596 applications — 1,737 of them (31 percent) late, according to numbers cited in court papers.

The delay in processing means that applicants must often wait months for their food stamps, which to an average recipient is worth $215 per month.

Victor Geminiani, one of the recipients' lawyers, estimates some applicants wait a month and a half beyond the 30-day period….

read … FAIL

Hawaii Soda Tax Would Not Reduce Obesity

CB: The Tax Foundation, on the other hand, says soda taxes are "overreaching" and could potentially increase caloric intake by forcing consumers to turn to other alternatives to get their sugar fixes.

"Singling out soda and candy for taxation is a poor method of combating obesity," the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation concluded in a 2011 report.

Scott Drenkard, an analyst for the organization, wrote that such taxes "unfairly burden all who enjoy soda and candy, regardless of what might be otherwise very healthy lifestyle habits."

"Further, taxes like this tend to have unintended consequences. Detailed economic analysis shows that when the consumption of soda is discouraged with higher prices, children and adolescents tend to substitute other food or drink to make up for lost calories.

The solution to the obesity problem will not come from abdicating personal decisions like eating choices to government. It will come from consumers making prudent decisions about their own diets, exercise and health needs."

The controversial nature of the tax can be seen in the way Washington state voters reacted to a soda tax. The state enacted a revenue-generating measure in 2010 that imposed a tax on candy, bottled water and certain carbonated beverages. It was later overturned by a voter referendum in November 2010.

read … The Tax Foundation

Pro-Bowl Contract expires Thanks to Neil Abercrombie

KHON: Yes, sunshine helps sell the state, plus a $4 million fee the state pays the NFL to host the game.
The Hawai'i Tourism Authority says the Pro Bowl generates about $28 million in visitor spending and more than $3 million in state tax revenues.
The game reaches more than 13 million viewers,

read … As contract expires, many hope Pro Bowl will stay in Hawaii

'Housekeeping' bills aim to clarify civil unions law

SA: Because of procedures in the new law, those couples face a time period in which they are covered neither by a reciprocal beneficiary relationship nor a civil union, which could put benefits such as insurance coverage at risk.

The "gap" would occur because reciprocal beneficiaries must dissolve that relationship before entering into a civil union. This requires sending a notarized letter to the Department of Health, which acknowledges receipt and sends notice to the applicant of the dissolution, a process that typically can take weeks.

A proposal in the governor's package of bills would remove that language from the statute and instead state that a previous reciprocal beneficiary relationship would automatically terminate upon the entry into a civil union.

The proposal also would clarify, among other issues, that a person in a civil union is not eligible to enter into a marriage or another reciprocal beneficiary relationship and states that the Family Court has jurisdiction over divorce, annulment or separation of civil unions.

read … Housekeeping

Progressives outline their Successful Effort to Keep Welfare Recipients on Drugs

DN: Presentations were made by Pankij Bhanot (Deputy Director, Department of Human Services), James Walther (Department of the Attorney General), Laurie Temple (American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii), Alan Johnson (Hina Mauka), Kat Brady (Community Alliance on Prisons), Jeanne Ohta (Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i) and Larry Geller (Kokua Council)…..

A study by Pennsylvania State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago study found that “psychiatric disorders are much more prevalent than illicit drug dependence among TANF recipients.” So we should be sure to let them keep on buying drugs with our money. blablabla….

read … Targeting & Criminalizing the Economically Disadvantaged

Bone Marrow Drive on Guam, not Hawaii

GPDN: A bone marrow drive is scheduled to be held on Guam next week to help two people with local ties.

The drive, which is being organized by groups such as the Guam Medical Association and the Guam Nurses Association, will be held from Feb. 10 to 12 at Guam Premier Outlets, according to an email from Dr. Thomas Shieh, president of the Guam Medical Association.

The drive is to assist two people who have leukemia -- Joey Tyquiengco, 40, who is from Guam and now lives in San Francisco, and Janet Liang, 22, who is an Asian-American college graduate who lives in southern California, Shieh said.

Although Liang is not from Guam, as an Asian American, Shieh said her life depends on Asian-American donors, and people from Guam, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands are some of her closest matches.

(So when Hawaii’s Bone Marrow Registry died with the collapse of HMC, Asian-Americans with leukemia suffer.)

read … Will Hawaii Catch up to Guam?

Web Dossier Bill Stalled in Hawaii Legislature

CN: As U.S. congressmen backed away last week from a controversial censorship plan to stop online piracy, Hawaii's House of Representatives put the brakes on a bill that would require Internet service providers to preserve two years of online browsing history.
Submitted on Jan. 20 by Rep. Tom Mizuno and six other Hawaii lawmakers, HB2288 would require companies like AOL, AT&T, Verizon and Yahoo to maintain two years of Internet search history records of all Hawaii residents for "no less than two years."

XBIZ: Hawaii Data-Retention Bill 'Still Alive,' Proponent Says

read … Court House News

HB2751 Would Make it Illegal to act like Atheist in Legislature

HR: House Bill 2751 creates “the offense of disrespect.”

The legislation, which has been referred to two committees for review, dictates those making “loud, boisterous or incessant shouts,” refusing to remain seated, assaulting any member of the legislature or the public or threatening bodily harm to legislators or members of the public, will be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.

Speaker Say could not immediately be reached for comment on the motivation behind the legislation.

Legislative watchdogs are concerned lawmakers appear to be putting themselves in a protective class.

Hawaii lawmakers have been under verbal attack this year and last by Mitchell Kahle, a self declared Atheist, and his small band of associates, who have pushed both the Senate and City Council to stop its daily opening prayer. The House, headed by Say, has so far refused to stop its opening prayer held daily on session days. Kahle continues to show up at the capitol and the Catholic Cathedral in downtown Honolulu during the Legislative "red mass" and shout at lawmakers during the prayer.

read … Kahle Krime

SB2561: Hawaii May Ban Fundraisers During Session

CB: Hawaii lawmakers would be banned from holding political fundraisers during the four months the Hawaii Legislature is in session under a new proposal.

The bill, co-introduced by Sens. Les Ihara and Suzanne Chun Oakland, aims to remove any perception that donations have an influence on policymaking.

"During the legislative session, many individuals, businesses, and other groups seek favorable action from legislators on measures introduced and heard throughout the session," Senate Bill 2561 reads. "When legislators solicit campaign donations from similar stakeholders while legislation is pending, the public has reason to mistrust the lawmaking process."

read … Bribery

Trust offering leasehold conversion at 4 condos

SA: Queen Liliuokalani Trust, which earns 70 percent of its revenue from Waikiki holdings, plans to diversify by offering the fee interests to Foster Tower and reoffering fees at three other nearby condominiums.

The offering, which started on Saturday, comes a decade after the alii trust declined to sell its fee-simple interests in Foster Tower to eight of 142 residential lessees who had petitioned the city to use its eminent-domain powers to force leasehold conversion.

The trust's earlier decision not to sell was supported during a protest march through Waikiki and a rally at Iolani Palace and was backed by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and other Hawaiian advocacy groups.

read … Trust

Tawhiri Windfarm Appeal of PUC Ruling Dismissed 

 

Tawhiri Power should have filed an appeal to the circuit court pursuant to HRS §§ 91-8 and 91-14. In Lingle, the Hawai'i Supreme Court held that "orders disposing of petitions for declaratory rulings under HRS § 91-8 are appealable to the circuit court pursuant to HRS § 91-14." Lingle, 107 Hawai'i at 186, 111 P.3d at 595.

Because Tawhiri Power did not have the right to appeal directly to this court, we lack jurisdiction over Tawhiri Power's appeal.Tawhiri Power LLC's appeal from the "Order: (1) Granting Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc.'s Motion to Intervene; and (2) Denying Tawhiri Power LLC's Petition for Declaratory Ruling" filed on December 1, 2009, and the "Order Denying Tawhiri Power LLC's Motion for Reconsideration and Stay" filed on January 7, 2010 in the Public Utilities Commission is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
 

read … IN THE PETITION OF TAWHIRI POWER LLC

EJ Dionne Denounces Obama Right of Conscience Decision

One of Barack Obama’s great attractions as a presidential candidate was his sensitivity to the feelings and intellectual concerns of religious believers. That is why it is so remarkable that he utterly botched the admittedly difficult question of how contraceptive services should be treated under the new health care law.

His administration mishandled this decision not once but twice. In the process, Obama threw his progressive Catholic allies under the bus, strengthened the very forces inside the church that sought to derail the health care law, and created unnecessary problems for himself in the 2012 election.

This might not have mattered if Obama had presented himself as a pure secular liberal. Before he was elected and after, he held himself to a more inclusive standard, reassuring many religious moderates.

read … Contraception Botched in Health Care Law

Joel Osteen in Hawaii Feb 3

HR: Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria, who have many friends in Hawaii but who have never held an event here, will hold a “A Night of Hope” on Friday, February 3, at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Blaisdell Arena.

Each program, which includes a matinee and evening program, will be 2.5-hours long with music, prayer and stories. Osteen promises the night will be filled with laughter, hope and inspiration.

Osteen said his ministry is working with several local Hawaii Christian churches to promote the event….

read … Joel Osteen

Youth concussion rules reviewed

SA: The state Department of Education began a concussion management education program last year, but House Bill 2273 is designed to protect both public and private high school students.

The number of reported youth concussions in Hawaii increased to 446 from 213, or 109 percent, from the 2007-2008 school year to the 2010-2011 school year, the DOE athletic health care trainers program found.

read … Youth concussion rules reviewed

Hawaii-based Marine accused of hazing Marine who committed suicide appears in court

AP: Jacoby will instead appear Monday before a special court martial — a venue for less serious crimes than a general court-martial— at a Marine base in Kaneohe Bay after reaching a plea agreement. The Marines didn’t release details of the agreement ahead of the trial.

Two other Marines have also been accused of hazing Lew, 21, a nephew of U.S. Rep. Judy Chu of California, before he shot himself with his machine gun in his foxhole.

read … Hazing?

Hawaii County Council and the Emperor’s New Building Codes (Bill 270)

HND: There are numerous errors in Hawaii County Council Bill 270 that compromise the intent of the Building Code.

Bill 270 relocates words and reorganizes sentences and paragraphs such that its intent becomes confusing and definitely not user-friendly.

The following is only a partial list of problems with Bill 270; there are many other inconsistencies, omissions and ambiguities not listed here….

read … Bill270

In Effort to Reelect Kenoi, Hawaii County Officials Start Making Elections Worker case Cost Lots of Money

HTH: The decision to fire four Hawaii County elections workers may soon start costing Big Island taxpayers. (And since Yagong, fired the workers, Kenoi’s people in the County will make a mess out of this case. The taxpayers are paying for an election-year political stunt.)

At its meeting Wednesday in Hilo, the County Council will be asked to approve hiring at least one private attorney to defend against two wrongful termination claims seeking more than $1 million total.

Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida, the county's top civil attorney, submitted a last-minute request Wednesday for a closed-door meeting with lawmakers. He wants to discuss similar damage claims from Pat Nakamoto, the longtime elections program administrator, and Glen Shikuma, who had supervised a rented Hilo elections warehouse.

On Wednesday, Ashida made a "request to hire special counsel" regarding the former workers' monetary demands.

"Time is of the essence," he wrote. (Until August 11 Primary)

read … Reelect Kenoi!


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