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Thursday, March 15, 2012
March 15, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:24 PM :: 14948 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Romney Win in Hawaii Credited to Volunteers' Hard Work

House Republicans Speak up on State Bank, Mortgages, and the General Fund

Marumoto Resolutions Push Workers Comp Reform

Turnout a 'game changer' for isle GOP

SA: Voter turnout for the first-ever Hawaii Republican caucuses on Tuesday night exceeded the party's expectations, breaking 10,000 as Republicans backed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

David Chang, the state's GOP chairman, had predicted the caucuses would draw 5,000 to 10,000 voters. Organizers thought 6,000 was possible, but they really had no way of knowing how many voters would show up.

"It shows that the Republican Party is alive and well. And this is a game changer," Chang said. "We're going to take this momentum into the general election."

Turnout was strong in areas of the state where Republicans are competitive, such as East Honolulu and the Windward side of Oahu, but peaked on the North Shore of Oahu.

read … Game Changer

Slom: Hawaii Republicans Front and Center

Elephant Walk. For the first time in many peoples' memory, Hawaii Republicans were front and center during the past week up until last night's first ever GOP Hawaii Presidential Caucus. Headlines in the media, coverage by national press and daily discussions- even among Democrats- about the 4 GOP candidates. Children of Rick Santorum (Elizabeth), Mitt Romney (Matt) and Ron Paul (Ronnie) all came to Hawaii to campaign. In contrast, the Democrat Caucus, featured only President Obama, and a shortened version of the 2008 hysteria over our "local boy." No long lines, no extensive coverage. Let the contest and debates begin for real.

read … Begin

Star-Adv Editors back Study of State Bank

Hawaii, in particular, faced comparatively few problems with its banking sector a few years ago, and the notion that its leaders should now step into the breach should give taxpayers pause.

Three measures are likely to be weighed by the Senate by the end of session, though only one so far has had a hearing. House Bill 1840, which proposes a task force giving the state more time to consider its options, provides a reasonable vehicle for further study; it's on Friday's 10 a.m. decisionmaking agenda for the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, room 229.

The idea of a task force is often scorned by Capitol watchers as a delay tactic, but in this case it makes sense if, as one state agency has advised, a group of experts takes a wide view of all its options.

That office, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, submitted testimony Tuesday, presented by Iris Ikeda Catalani, its commissioner of financial institutions. Catalani observed that a state bank (also described as a "partnership bank" because it could work in tandem with commercial institutions) is only one of the options available for helping homeowners, adding that the task force should take a broader look.

Best Comment: “Legislators, not another Dumb or Dumber idea, BUT the DUMBEST ideas. The State can't even manage funds owed by government workers, embezzlement by DOE personnel, overtime spiking, abuse of 89 day contracts and expects to be able to run a Bank? If the State Legislators are giving away TAX CREDITS to the multi- Billion dollar film and local hotel industry then this idea is not to help residents,but to help Big Business in the vain phrase to promote tourism, job creation and economic development. Let's declare bankruptcy and redo the state pension plans.”

read … read the comments, they tell the story

Ceded land measure proceeds without amendment

SA: The measure, introduced by the Abercrombie administration, was passed without amendments by the Senate. House leadership held their version of the bill to wait and see what was approved by the Senate.

Any changes made by the House now would send the bill back to the Senate, where lawmakers could agree to the changes or take the bill to conference to negotiate differences….

Removing the amendment clears the way for the House to pass the bill unamended and send it to Abercrombie for signing. The bill still must pass the House Judiciary and Finance committees, but House leaders say the intent is to pass a "clean" bill on to the governor.

"The cleaner the bill, the faster it'll get to the governor for signature," said OHA Chairwoman Colette Machado. "What I'm worried about really is — in this process in conference, where testimony is not permitted — that they will begin to look at adding more things in without a process for OHA to respond."

read … Conference Committee

Queen's hospital celebrates 1st organ transplants

SA: Hawaii Medical Center, formerly St. Francis Medical Center, used to run the state's only organ transplant center. Queen's decided to start one when Hawaii Medical Center announced in December it would close because it couldn't find a buyer.

In January, the national organization for organ transplants approved Queen's application to perform liver transplants. The United Network for Organ Sharing is still reviewing the hospital's request to perform kidney, pancreas and heart transplants.

Queen's has hired 16 employees to support The Queen's Transplant Center.

read … Queen's hospital celebrates 1st organ transplants

ACLU: "Let the State force Catholics to Provide Abortion Pills"

the defeat of House Bill 127, which would have stopped emergency rooms in our state from denying them information on and access to emergency contraception (EC) to prevent pregnancy. The House Finance Committee refused to hear the bill despite 150 pieces of testimony in support of HB 127 and emails and phone calls from more than 300 supporters. Fortunately, the Senate version of the bill, SB 218, is still alive and waiting for action in the House.

(That First Amendment thingy just isn't as important to them as it used to be.)

Reality: HB127: Will Legislature Vote to Keep HMC Hospitals Closed?

read … Rape victims in Hawaii need access to emergency contraception

Geistling teams up with HIPA, attacks Prepaid: Doctors Should Become Employees of Obamacare System

Here in Hawaii, despite the enduring benefits of Hawaii’s Prepaid Healthcare Act, our healthcare system is troubled by fragmentation, uneven quality, and unsustainable costs.

Our island geography results in inequity in the distribution of physicians, mental health services, dentists, and other healthcare resources. The Abercrombie administration recognizes that healthcare needs an overhaul and the good news is, with a(n) (im)modest initial investment, improving our health system will also save money eliminate unnecessary old people.

just paying for visits and procedures made sense but now that model may support services and treatments that are unnecessary and even harmful to patients. Today we need to get the system off the fee-for-service “treadmill” and have insurers help us coordinate care, link payment to the effectiveness of care, and encourage patient to embrace healthier behaviors….

Hospitals? Yes, among the changes needed for healthcare is a reduction in emergency department use for non-emergencies and prevention of avoidable hospitalizations and readmissions. Hospital services will, of course, continue to be critically important but the size and roles of hospitals are changing. --- Translation: We’re happy to see HMC go.

Ancillary services? Yes, success means fewer duplicated diagnostic tests and wasted prescriptions. These service providers will be looking to new ways to be part of the integrated care system we need for a job and we will offer them a salary doing what we tell them to do.

Consumers? We all need to be part of transforming the system so that it empowers us to be active agents for our own health. … Over the next two years I will be working with the Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs (recently known for pushing to legalize small-kine bribery) to support this effort. (In other words, if you don’t take care of yourself, we won’t have expensive treatments available to help you. We control what is available to you.)

solutions need to include better services everywhere and a thoughtful response to our physician shortage. (In other words, we aren’t trying to bring new MDs into Hawaii. Instead, we are trying to deliver less to patients.)

Related: Abercrombie Doubles Down on Policies Which Killed HMC Hospitals

read … Next, She will make life and death decisions for you

Overcrowded ERs turning ambulances away

HNN: When Hawaii Medical Center closed its emergency rooms in Ewa and Liliha last December, Oahu's remaining hospitals stepped up their staffing for an anticipated increase in ER patients. The number of those patients is now beginning to overwhelm those hospitals.

That's adding stress to emergency medical personnel in ambulances, who are being told, increasingly often, that they have to be rerouted away for hospital emergency rooms that are at capacity.

"We're seeing Kaiser take non-Kaiser patients. We're seeing Tripler (Army Medical Center) take non-military patients," said Dr. James Ireland, director of the city Emergency Services Department. "Everybody is stepping up, but it's just that there's a point where everything gets saturated, and we're close to that."

According to Ireland, as many as six of Oahu's nine hospitals were on a reroute status Wednesday. At least three were on reroute Thursday. The reroutes mean emergency medical technicians have to take care of patients longer.

PBN: Oahu hospital ERs feeling stress of Hawaii Medical Center closures

SA: Oahu hospitals divert ambulances

read … Overcrowded ERs turning ambulances away

Bush-Era Law May Save Hawaii from Offshore Wind Farm Idiocy

CB: Ocean floor space between Maui and Oahu? You can lease an entire acre for $3 a year. Your realtor? Uncle Sam.

For the first time, the federal government will charge companies in Hawaii for placing renewable energy projects in its waters, which extend from three miles to 200 miles offshore.

Lease and royalty payments are typically associated with oil and natural gas companies operating in the outer continental shelf off the mainland, such as the Gulf of Mexico or offshore of California or Alaska. In the last 50 years, the federal government has collected $156 billion in payments nationwide, according to a report from the Interior Department.

But now, the federal government is stepping in when it comes to renewable energy projects, too — a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed under former President George Bush.

read … About the most expensive and unsustainable form of wind energy

Sunetric: You Must Be Our Slave

CB: Lawmakers and solar companies are slugging it out this year over a bill designed to prohibit homeowners and businesses from claiming more than one state tax credit on a single rooftop array.

Critics charge that the practice is common and an abuse of taxpayer money and flaunts the legislative intent of the tax law.

Solar companies counter that they are just following directions from the state tax department that has issued guidelines that essentially permit multiple tax credits. And they argue that House Bill 2417, designed to stop the practice, would devastate the booming solar industry that has created thousand of jobs throughout the state and furthered the state’s clean energy goals.

In testimony submitted on the bill, solar company Sunetric warned that the bill would “catastrophically impact the renewable energy business,” and that if passed, the “state will never achieve its renewable energy goal and will ultimately continue being a slave to the oil market.” (Instead of slaves to Sunetric)

read … Sunetric Spin

Case Slams Mazie’s ‘Compare and Decide’

Political Radar: Former congressman Ed Case on Wednesday sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, his opponent in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, complaining about the language in a Hirono campaign email to supporters.

In the email, an invitation for supporters to attend the opening of Hirono’s campaign headquarters on Saturday, the Hirono campaign quotes a testimonial from a supporter who said: “Mazie is the only candidate in this race that has overcome real challenges, the only candidate who knows how important a strong ohana is for success.”

Case likened the email to former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s widely criticized “Compare and Decide” mailer during the Democratic primary for governor in 2010 that contrasted Hannemann and Neil Abercrombie based on where they were born and where they went to school.

read … Mazie mail

Another Honolulu Liquor Commission Corruption Conviction

SA: A state judge sentenced a former Honolulu Liquor Commission employee Wednesday to five years of probation for bribery….

Raquel, a former Maui police officer, deliberately failed an applicant for a liquor card three times, then extorted a bribe from the applicant for a liquor card, Van Marter said. Raquel told the applicant he could do the same for the applicant's friend.

Police conducted a sting operation on Feb. 16, 2011, and arrested Raquel after he went to Salt Lake Shopping Center to sell the card.

Raquel resigned from his job following his arrest.

read … Another one

Kauai assistant police chiefs also return to work

SA: Kauai Assistant Police Chiefs Roy Asher and Alejandre Quibilan returned to work Tuesday, more than six weeks after they were placed on paid administrative leave in connection with an employee's complaint about a hostile working environment at the department.

The action came a day after Police Chief Darryl Perry regained access to his office and badge after he was also placed on leave last month in connection with the same complaint.

Perry, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and the Police Commission decided that Asher and Quibilan could return to work.

read … Kauai

Landfill selection committee Considers Waimanalo Expansion

KHON: Out of more than 460 sites considered, only 6 parcels as of last month had passed each of 9 screening factors -- including a Turtle Bay golf course. The rest were geographically nondescript but had either residential or agricultural proximity. The committee in February took the golf course off, and 3 other sites too, but asked a consultant to re-evaluate at least 3 other parcels identified only as “class C” and "other" agricultural lands for inclusion. All of that back and forth nets at least 5 sites expected to be among Friday's rank….

“It makes sense to have it close to H-Power,” Martin said, “but again if that's the decision, another site or even extending the life of the existing landfill, then that community is going to have to be compensated justly, and I don't think we've done a good job in making that just compensation.”

The recommendations also could include a supplement to the leeward Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill, nearing a court- and commission-contested July 2012 deadline for closure.

“It makes sense to have it close to H-Power,” Martin said, “but again if that's the decision, another site or even extending the life of the existing landfill, then that community is going to have to be compensated justly, and I don't think we've done a good job in making that just compensation.”

A benefits package for the host community is a line item on the committee's draft outline, as is the potential for a minority report. The administration and city council will still vet the recommendations.

read … Landfill

Lead, Mold Contaminate Honolulu Hale

There are no rules that set limits for the amount of indoor mold, the report says, so instead mold was merely identified and noted when it was seen visually. The amount of lead-in-dust, however, is governed by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clearance levels: 40 micrograms per square foot on the floor, or 250 micrograms per square foot on window sills. There are a million micrograms per gram, or about 500 million micrograms in one pound.

Of 245 lead wipe samples collected from floors, windowsills, ceiling tiles, shelves and file cabinets all over Honolulu Hale, 116 (47 percent) had detectable levels of lead, and 23 (9 percent) were above the acceptable risk level established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Design (HUD) as part of its guidelines on lead paint hazards in housing.

The investigation was conducted last summer, and the report, produced by Muranaka Environmental Consultants Inc., was dated Feb. 24. It was sent from the Department of Design and Construction to a number of city agencies last week. The City Clerk stamped it as received late Monday afternoon, and posted it online for the public to view in the last few days.

It’s contamination from the constant in and out flow of politicians.

read … Lead and Mold

Maui Man Considered for Appointment to Agency He Seeks to Abolish

MN: Members of the Maui County Council's Policy Committee voted 5-0 Wednesday to recommend the rejection of the nomination of Wailuku businessman John Noble to the Maui Redevelopment Agency.

The owner of Noble Travel came under fire in testimony from Helen Nielsen and Jonathan Starr.

Nielsen, who is married to Starr, said she has interacted with Noble in her years of attending community meetings in Wailuku, and she found him "a bit too disruptive." She said Noble has hung an "Abolish the MRA" sign on his building in Wailuku for years….

Mike Molina, an executive assistant to Mayor Alan Arakawa, said that Noble is an established business owner in Wailuku. He acknowledged that Noble has strong opinions about the Maui Redevelopment Agency, but "it's just a matter of how one expresses his opinion."

Molina said that if Noble was going to be disruptive, the mayor would want to talk with him first, and then ask him to resign if the problem persisted. If he would not resign, then the mayor would ask the council to remove him from the agency's board, he said.

read … Appointment

Arrests Turn Up No Trafficking Victims

CB: Honolulu is one of 39 cities around the country that has a federally-funded task force to investigate human trafficking. But a Civil Beat analysis of every prostitution arrest made in the last year reveals not one sex trafficking victim.

In other words, either Honolulu doesn't have a sex trafficking problem — or local law enforcement isn't doing enough to investigate it.

A Civil Beat probe into how the Honolulu Police Department enforces prostitution laws shows the department made 214 arrests in a 12-month period. That included 118 women and 96 men.

Yet Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro says as far as he knows, none of those arrested was later discovered to be a victim of human trafficking.

read … Prostitution

City impounds property of protesters at Thomas Square

SA: Yep. bums with signs are still ‘Occupying’

read … About What Drugs Will do to you

Study: 90% of Young People Not Environmental Whackos

In a lot of ways, they're more pragmatic," he said, roughly dividing his student body this way:

  • — 5 to 10 percent "committed environmentalists"
  • — 5 percent "anti-environment" (These are the students who purposely avoid putting their trash in campus recycling bins, for instance.)
  • — 85 to 90 percent "open to protecting the environment and natural resources, but not leaders and not interested in being seriously inconvenienced or paying a cost to do so"

read … The Lament


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