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Saturday, March 24, 2012
March 24, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:37 PM :: 9481 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Lingle Campaign Launches Fact Check Site

Accountability: DoE Prepares to Fake It as Feds Arrive on Inspection Tour

Hawaii: NRA Instructor Liability Bill Awaits Hearing

Day One: 1,000 high school students battle robots in annual competition

Rail Transit Jobs - Myths and Facts

Senate Committee OKs Insurance Industry Reps On New Board

CB: Despite the persistent objections of consumer advocates, Senate Commerce and Consumer Affairs on Friday (March 23) approved the governor’s nomination of three insurance company reps to serve on the Health Health Connector board.

Only Republican Sam Slom voted no. Josh Green was absent….

…earlier this week House Health approved a measure that makes insurers on the health exchange board — which connects patients with health insurance in the age of Obamacare — serve only in an advisory, non-voting capacity. (So this will be settled in secret in the Conf. Committee)

SA: Panel OKs health exchange appointees

AARP: Advocates Oppose Governor's Nominees to Health Board “Composition of the board is significant, because the state’s Health Insurance Exchange will help provide coverage to as many as 100,000 Hawaii residents who are currently without insurance. That represents a new market valued at an estimated $300 million.”

read … Senate Committee OKs Insurance Industry Reps On New Board

Abercrombie: I can Guarantee HCDA Continuity on Kakaako for Next Seven Years

DN: Abercrombie: “Everything that has been stated today, everything that has been mentioned today, all of the collaboration, all of the innovation, all of the exciting possibilities are going to be absolutely supported, by the HCDA Board, and by the staff. I can guarantee that for the next seven years at least.”

CB: Developing Kakaako: The Big Picture

KITV: Power brokers promote Kakaako: The third city

read … Henry Curtis

Hawaii Lawmakers Revive Vacation Rental Bill

CB: it's breathtaking how quickly a measure can be given new life.

Such is the case with House Bill 2078, which was radically amended and unanimously passed Thursday by Donna Mercado Kim's Senate Tourism Committee; Sens. Gil Kahele and Sam Slom voted with reservations.

HB 2078 had been intended to enforce transient accommodations tax compliance by having operators or managers pay a one-time fee to register the units with the state, and to have the registration displayed on all advertisements and solicitations.

By the time the bill got to Senate Tourism, however, legislators removed most of that language and inserted — nearly word for word — the language in Senate Bill 2089. SB 2089 called for requiring non-resident owners of Hawaii vacation rentals to hire local brokers or sales agents.

SB 2089 was deferred by House Tourism on March 12 after hundreds of those non-residents, including in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, submitted strong opposition testimony.

But, like Frankenstein's monster, the brain of SB 2089 lives on in the body of HB 2078, which awaits a hearing in Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection….

HB 2078 could have support in the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection.

The chair is Rosalyn Baker, a Maui senator who has expressed sympathy with local real estate groups who argue that tens of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue from the rentals may be going uncollected under current law.

The committee also includes Big Island Sen. Josh Green — the very person who introduced SB 2089, the bill that was shelved after the uproar.

LINK: Rental By Owner Awareness Association

read … Hawaii Lawmakers Revive Vacation Rental Bill

Hawaii Stands to Lose $45 Million in Non-Defense Federal Funds in 2013

AP: Hawaii ranks fifth in per capita federal spending, which makes the state particularly vulnerable to attempts to deal with the nation's deficit.

As a result, the state should be proactive and prepare for possible reductions in federal funding, said Michael Bird, senior affairs counsel for the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Bird came to Honolulu to talk to policymakers about possible impacts on Hawaii's budget under the federal Budget Control Act of 2011. Since solutions to the national debt crisis are still fluid, he didn't offer firm projections on cuts.

However, he did tell House and Senate money committee members that under the current proposal for across-the-board cuts, or sequestration, Hawaii could lose about $45 million in funding….

Defense spending cuts could also have a significant impact on Hawaii's budget.

HFP: Pentagon Budget Slashes Military Construction 29%

CB: Hawaii Stands to Lose $45 Million in Non-Defense Federal Funds in 2013

read … Just the Beginning

Military’s construction budget cuts could be felt in Hawaii

PBN: The U.S. Department of Defense is asking for significantly less money next fiscal year for military construction, and that could be bad news for contractors, even here in Hawaii.

According to American Forces Press Service, the Pentagon is requesting $8.5 billion for military construction, which is a 29 percent reduction. It’s also asking for just $1.65 billion for family housing, which is a 3 percent decline. American Forces Press Service is a service controlled by the Defense Department.

That request for less money comes at a time when the military is already canceling contracts for Guam as it works out a deal with Japan to relocate troops from Okinawa to the U.S. territory, and possibly elsewhere in the Pacific. The military is also under a mandate to cut hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 10 years, starting in 2013, because a congressional super committee couldn’t find ways to slash money from the federal budget.

SA: Ex-military are ideal for teaching

read … Price of Obama

Judge upholds ban on 'pay to play'

SA: A-1 A-Lectrician Inc., a local electrical construction firm, had challenged the ban as a violation of the First Amendment because it prohibits contractors from making campaign donations to lawmakers who do not directly award or oversee contracts.

U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright ruled that corporate contribution limits are justified to deter corruption. The state Legislature approved the ban on political donations by state and county contractors in 2005 after a rash of campaign-finance scandals involving engineers, architects and other contractors.

Seabright said the Legislature has oversight of state projects and that lawmakers may have power over or close friendships with government officials who award contracts. The judge found that "even more than deterring legislators from actual corruption in awarding contracts, the government has an interest in alleviating a public perception that legislators or others in public office have power to influence who is awarded government contracts.

"The appearance of ‘quid pro quo' is more than appearance of straight ‘dollars for contracts.' It is also the appearance of ‘dollars for political favors.'"

The challenge to the "pay to play" ban was part of a federal lawsuit by A-1 A-Lectrician against several provisions of the state's campaign-finance law in the aftermath of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in January 2010 which held that corporations — like individuals — have a constitutional right to political speech.

The Hawaii lawsuit was filed in August 2010 by James Bopp Jr., a conservative mainland attorney who has fought campaign-finance restrictions on corporations.

Seabright, in a ruling issued Wednesday, affirmed that Hawaii cannot limit donations to political action committees that make independent expenditures. The judge had previously issued a preliminary injunction in October 2010 so two contractors involved in the lawsuit could make $2,500 contributions to the Aloha Family Alliance Political Action Committee before the November 2010 elections. State law had limited such donations to $1,000….

CB: Judge Confirms Hawaii Can't Limit 'Independent' Campaign Contributions

read … Pay to Play

Cachola for State House Dist 30

CB: Term-limited Honolulu City Council member Romy Cachola (pictured) is a step closer to running for the Hawaii Legislature. He has pulled papers for House District 30.

LINK: latest candidate report from the state Elections Office:

read … Cachola

Molokai Wind Developer now called ‘Hawaii Interisland Cable’

CB: First it was just Pattern Energy. Then it was Molokai Renewables, after Pattern joined forces with Biological Capital to hopefully build the wind farm.

Now, based on a review of testimony on an undersea cable bill, the company has taken on the name Hawaii Interisland Cable.

Pattern Energy has successfully developed undersea cables, and it is likely that the company plans to bid on the cable as well.

read … Chameleon

Complaints As Hawaiian Teen Prepares to Give Birth

KITV: An article that appeared earlier this week in the student-run newspaper of Kamehameha Schools’ Kapalama campus has caused an uproar among some parents and alumni….

The article features Hi’ilei Coelho, a Kamehameha sophomore who was impregnated by her boyfriend, Hau‘oli Cecil, who is finishing his senior year at the school.

The article appeared Wednesday in Ka Mo’i, and quickly went viral on Facebook….

"It's hard to help a young person to look at (pregnancy) from many different angles," said Charlotte Ahlf, a counselor at pro-life Pearson Foundation of Hawaii. "When a girl tests positive, there are only three choices: single parent, abortion and adoption, and every one of those choices need to be discussed."

Ka Mo’i: Staff Editorial: Ka Mo’i called into question

Ka Mo’i: KS couple to welcome newborn

read … One Hawaiian the Abortionists Missed

UH Manoa Perfesser Says Porn is Good for You

MSNBC: In real life, of course, researchers can't carry out controlled experiments on pornography. One alternative strategy has been to look at sexual violence rates in countries right after pornography is decriminalized. These studies, many done by Milton Diamond, the director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, usually find that rates of sexual violence go down after pornography becomes more prevalent. Diamond sees this as evidence that pornography actually provides a catharsis for men who have sexually aggressive tendencies. [A Brief History of Porn]

"The majority of the pornography dissipates the arousal by masturbation and I think that works both for males and females," Diamond told LiveScience. "And usually after somebody masturbates and they have their orgasm, they're not as interested in sex as they were 10 minutes before, so I think it dissipates the interest to go out and do anything illegal."

There's no proof of this catharsis effect in the countrywide studies. It's not even possible to firmly link the drop in violence to pornography at all, given the large number of other factors that could play a role. The decriminalization of pornography could go hand-in-hand with other societal changes that influence sexual violence, Ferguson said. Women might even be influenced by a more porn-saturated society to accept violence against themselves and not report sexual aggression, Wright pointed out. Or some other, non-porn-related factor might play a role. (But none of that stops UH Manoa from spending your tax dollars to push Diamond’s drivel.)

read … Porn Perfesser

$100,000 Reward for Screaming Atheist

CN: The Hawaii Senate Finance Committee received a bill Friday to settle claims that state public safety officers assaulted a civil rights activist as he peacefully protested prayer in the Legislature.

Attorney General David Louie and Deputy Attorney General Carol Inagaki asked the House Judiciary Committee for $100,000 to settle the claims of Mitchell Kahle and Kevin Hughes on March 20.

Kahle, who is the founder of Hawaii Citizens for Separation of Church and State, and Hughes, a cameraman, sued the state and eight officers of the Senate, Sheriff's Department and the Department of Public Safety.

Officers arrested Kahle after he protested a customary religious invocation that opened the last day of the 2010 legislative session at the Capitol building in Honolulu. Hughes allegedly rolled film as the officers assaulted him and Kahle….

The November 2010 complaint was promptly removed to U.S. District Court, but the parties settled in the judge's chambers last week. U.S. District Judges Kevin Chang and Leslie Kobayashi had presided over the case.

Kahle was set to pursue his civil case against Hawaii in June, with help from the Hawaii branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.

read … A gift, for a job well done

Four Parks Employees Arrested for Smuggling Meth to Prisoners

HNN: …one of the arrested city employees, Spencer Cabato, is the brother of city Parks Director Gary Cabato….

state Public Safety Director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata recently received troubling information about some of the work lines, that inmates were being left unattended and even being allowed to go swimming, which is strictly prohibited.

She says she couldn't believe it and wanted to see for herself, so she joined her law enforcement officers on surveillance Thursday. They wound up at Ala Moana Beach Park, which is an unauthorized site for the inmate work lines.

"They were near the vehicles, the inmates, but they were pretty much left unattended. They were walking around," she said. "None of them were in the water at the time."

When the inmates and their supervisors eventually returned to OCCC, investigators conducted a search of the city's vehicles and say they found a drug pipe, a couple of packets of what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine, and several bags of tobacco.

City labor supervisors Spencer Cabato, Gordon Ng, Edward Mitsuda and Leroy Kamealoha were also arrested and then released while the investigation continues.

"To see these individuals who have many years vested in the city conduct themselves that way, just being lackadaisical or just not having a care about what's happening, really bothered me," Maesaka-Hirata said.

KITV: 'Ice' pipe, white crystalline substance found in city & county vehicle

SA: 12 arrests include 4 city supervisors

read … UPW Work Lines

Council members: Kenoi must enforce Kawa Bay eviction

HTH: Abel Simeona Lui, (ex-con, convicted of manslaughter) who has been living on the property for 20 years, claims Native Hawaiian rights to the 784-acre parcel. Lui and a group of family and friends have erected tents, constructed buildings, installed portable toilets and created gardens on the property. Lui has said he doesn’t block public access, but some members of the public disagree.

The councilors’ questions follow a community meeting Kenoi and his staff held Monday at Naalehu, where a packed crowd asked when they would have access to the land, which contains Hawaiian artifacts and features some of the best surfing on the southern part of the island.

“There were nearly a hundred people there that night, and they spoke 10-1 against what Abel was doing — and they were Hawaiians,” said Nelson Ho, legislative assistant to Ka‘u Councilwoman Brittany Smart, who attended the meeting in her stead.

read … Convicted Killer Still Allowed Free Use of Oceanfront Property

‘Huge projects’ in $558.2M Maui Co budget pitch

MN: The aging War Memorial Gym complex and Coach Soichi Sakamoto Pool would be replaced with a major new sports arena and convention center, and the county would develop a new aquatics center in Kahului in a proposal by Mayor Alan Arakawa.

The projects were announced Friday as part of the mayor's $558.2 million budget request for 2012-13.

MN: Meetings scheduled on proposed budget

MN: $101.2M suggested for ’13 infrastructure work

read … $558.2M

Maui's Liquor Commission to lift cap on hostess bars

MN: The rule amendment has been forwarded to county attorneys who will work with the Department of Liquor Control on the amendment's language, Silva said. After the wording is worked out, it will go to the mayor for his consideration.

County spokesman Rod Antone said Arakawa "will look at it when it crosses his desk."

County attorneys said the amendment, along with others approved by the commission at its March 14 meeting, may reach the mayor by late next week.

read … Hostess Bars

Electric Car Scammers Enthuse About High Gas Prices

PBN: Three factors have converged to make Hawaii one of the most attractive markets for electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States: the highest gasoline prices in the nation, limited driving distances, and public and private partnerships fueled by incentives for EVs and EV charging stations….

read … About their plan for your life


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