Kaleikini v Yoshioka: Rail Project in 'Grave' Danger
Mazie's Adventures in a Jones Act Wonderland
National Trust for Historic Preservation Files Amicus Brief in Rail Suit
Hawaii had the Sixth Lowest Rate of Injury Deaths in U.S.
Lingle Files Papers to Run for Senate
Hawaii Marines observe end of combat
SA: About 1,000 Marines with the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, returned home last week from Afghanistan as the last Hawaii-based Marine infantry battalion scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan, officials said.
The regiment's three battalions will continue to train and deploy overseas to Japan and other locations as part of a resumption of what's known as the Unit Deployment Program, which was cut back during the height of the wars.
In July 2004 the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, out of Hawaii left for Okinawa on a UDP rotation to be part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, but was rerouted to Kuwait and then Iraq to take part in the Battle of Fallujah in November of that year — becoming the first Kaneohe Bay infantry battalion to fight in either of the wars.
During the deployment, eight of the Marines were killed in a suicide car-bomb attack; 11 more Marines perished in ground fighting — most of them in Fallujah; and 26 Hawaii Marines and a Navy corpsman were killed in the crash of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter in a sandstorm on Jan. 26, 2005.
read … End of Combat
Senate candidate Lingle suggests changes to rail project
KHON: "I wish that I could support it but I cant support it the way its configured now."
"I worry that the project that been started now and that people are supporting in congress from our delegation the people of Hawaii can't afford it."
But she says she'd still pursue as much federal money as possible for transit in Washington.
"I wouldn't be any different in wanting to get those funds to Hawaii. I'd just want to get them for a reconfigured project one that took into account how it comes into the Honolulu area."
She points to an American Institute of Architects recommendation of alternatives especially in the harbor and Chinatown areas.
read … Lingle vs Rail
Cayetano Threatens Lawsuit to Shut Down Talk of Pay to Play Fines
SA: "I'm going to be talking to lawyers about it because I've got to put a stop to this," Cayetano said Thursday.
John White, PRP executive director, defended the poll and its methodology as factual and provided documents that he said support his claim. He called on Cayetano to return more than $530,000 that was owed by his campaign committee when it shut down once he was out of office.
"We will not be silenced by bully tactics and threats of lawsuits," White said. "We maintain that these illegal donations are directly tied to nonbid contracts awarded by the Cayetano administration."
Cayetano is running as an anti-rail candidate against Mayor Peter Carlisle and former city Managing Director Kirk Caldwell, both rail supporters.
PRP's poll raised the issue of money illegally donated to Cayetano and others before the state Campaign Spending Commission cracked down in the 1990s on the "pay to play" culture that existed for years between politicians and contractors in which many of those donors later received millions in nonbid government contracts.
The contributions linked to Cayetano involved donors using false names, said Gary Kam, general counsel for the Campaign Spending Commission. Once such contributions are discovered, the donor typically is fined, and the campaign is notified that it must "escheat" or forfeit the money to the state.
Cayetano paid back about $8,000 but closed his gubernatorial campaign still owing about $530,000. Once the campaign is closed, the commission can no longer go after the money because it is not considered a debt or a fine, Kam said, citing a 2006 attorney general's opinion.
Related: Fact Sheet Misquotes Hawai`i Free Press: Cayetano Threatens Lawsuit over Mention of Pay-to-Play Allegations
read … Cayetano alleges 'dirty campaigning'
Borreca: Abercrombie benefits as Democratic Party Spins Out of Control?
Borreca: Inouye still fumes over how former U.S. Rep. Ed Case in 2006 allegedly misled him about plans to run against U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka. Six years later and Inouye still develops a twitch at the mention of Case's name.
And how many years will have to pass before Inouye can forget that former Gov. Ben Cayetano said Inouye needed to get out more and listen to the concerns of the common folk?
As part of his continuing "Anybody But Case" campaign, Inouye is backing U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, Case's Democratic opponent in the U.S. Senate race; this has caused other Democrats to call for a convention resolution directing party leaders to keep their noses, especially senatorial noses, out of primary fights.
Longtime Inouye supporters have been trying to stamp out the restrictions, saying it is an issue of free speech.
Actually, Democrats have already handled the issue of free speech at the convention: It isn't free; it costs $500 a minute….
When the convention ends on Sunday, the issue to be resolved will not be the care and feeding of Inouye's ego, but how much Gov. Neil Abercrombie can use the tensions within the Democratic Party to both speed along his own goals and set his administration's sometimes-controversial plans in motion.
Democratic activists are still worried about the Legislature's attempts to temporarily cancel state environmental protection laws in order to hurry along job-creating development.
Abercrombie lost some support from environmentalists during the last two legislative sessions. The rejections come at the same time that Abercrombie has failed to win over the public worker unions, which are an obvious and big part of the Hawaii Democratic Party.
If he is to control the party, Abercrombie will have to do more to bring those groups into his tent.
Failure to do so will mean a frustrating election year for the Democratic governor.
Related: Both Sides in Thielen Dispute Aim For Democrats-Only Primary Elections
read … Out of Control
Sweet Reason: Isle Republicans Tout Party Unity
Dan Boylan: According to Henderson, two young Democratic colleagues, Neil Abercrombie and Ben Cayetano, approached him following a floor vote on a controversial piece of legislation. Henderson had supported it, Abercrombie and Cayetano had opposed.
“How could you vote for that bill?” asked one of the aggrieved Democrats.
“I don’t know,” Henderson replied. “I guess I was blinded by reason.” ….
Reason and its uses were hallmarks of Hawaii Republicans who served with Henderson in the 1970s and ’80s, among them Andy Poepoe, John Henry Felix, Fred Rohlfing and Pat Saiki – all of whom appeared in the video – and Wadsworth Yee, who died a day after the convention adjourned.
Sweet reason was the byword of the Republicans’ marquee candidate in Hawaii’s 2012 election contest. Former Gov. Linda Lingle, seeking to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Danny Akaka, told the delegates that “breaking the gridlock in our nation’s Capitol will require common sense, the ability to compromise in making tough decisions, and experience in making tough decisions …”
Lingle invoked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s 2011 warning against uncompromising, ideological politics: “We watch a Congress at war with itself because they are unwilling to leave campaign style at the Capitol’s door. The result is a debt ceiling limitation debate that made our democracy appear as if we could no longer effectively govern ourselves.”
Lingle pronounced her race difficult but “winnable,” and she labeled former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou’s attempt to retake the 1st District congressional seat “winnable” as well.
In his remarks, Djou made clear that he runs on his recent service in Afghanistan…. Djou told a moving story of a lieutenant who insisted on checking the safety of a bridge before ordering his outfit to cross. A Taliban insurgent killed him, leaving a widow and young child. “We do not need to accept the gridlock in Washington,” Djou orated. “Ending it is not as difficult as facing down Taliban insurgents. I never want to say to a widow of the Afghanistan war that the status quo in Washington is good enough.”….
Chairman David Chang is a 40-year-old businessman who ran a spirited, although unsuccessful, campaign for the state House in 2010. Marching across the stage in a “Parade of Hawaii Republican Candidates” was a decidedly young, multi-hued crowd that included a Narcissus Queen and a Miss Hawaii.
read … Reason and its Uses
HSTA Refuses to Release Vote Totals on Expired Contract
SA: Despite the governor's correct assertion that the same contract was rejected in January and is no longer valid, Okabe wrote to Abercrombie that "just as we asked teachers to reconsider their position, we now ask you to reconsider yours."
That is a false analogy. HSTA members are certainly free to weigh in through a balloting at any time, but in making his assertion, Abercrombie was not simply taking a "position" on accepting the vote. It's no longer a legally binding contract, period.
There is no other reasonable course of action other than the one the governor has identified: coming back to the bargaining table with a new proposal, presumably one modeled on the terms of the last proposal.
The union announced this week that the membership voted 2-to-1 in favor of the agreement. However, although the HSTA has about 12,500 members, its leadership would not disclose how many votes were cast.
How could Abercrombie, or anyone else, take this balloting as anything more serious or official than a straw poll?
The facts that the turnout figures are being kept secret and voting was done by phone and electronically doesn't enhance the credibility of the exercise.
Neither do the statements by members, some of whom said they boycotted the vote because representations about its significance were unclear at best.
The protests came from members uninspired to participate in a polling that the state administration considered invalid, and from others leery of union statements that a "no" vote would be considered a strike authorization.
"It was moot," Kalani High School art teacher John Nippolt told the Star-Advertiser. "There was nothing on the table."
read … More HSTA Games
Attorney: Deedy was attacked, was not drunk, did not flee
SA: Hart has maintained that Deedy acted to defend himself and others from an attack by Elderts and his friend.
Hart suggested that the video as well as another exhibit of a cellphone video made by a passer-by show that his client rendered aid to Elberts after the shooting, did not flee and was not drunk.
The best evidence, he said, is "a movie of (the shooting) actually happening."
Read ... Deedy Case
Public gets to vet judicial hopefuls
SA: Four of the five selected by the commission this time are the same as those who were on the list with McKenna: Derrick Chan, 56, chief judge of Oahu's Circuit Court; Intermediate Court of Appeals Judge Daniel Foley, 65; Craig Nakamura, 55, chief judge of the appeals court; and Oahu Circuit Judge Richard Pollack, 61. Joining them on the list is David M. Forman, 46, a former private lawyer and now interim director of the University of Hawaii law school's environmental law program.
Full information about the candidates offered by the Selection Commission reveals that McKenna, at the time of her selection, was 53 years old, junior on the list, which means she could sit on the high bench for 17 years before having to hang up her black robe. That could bode well for Forman, as his views are similar to those of the governor. Ideologically, McKenna's vote has joined Justices Duffy and Simeon Acoba, who is reputed to be the high court's most liberal jurist.
Things such as retirement age and policy credentials are important factors in any governor's selection to the Supreme Court. That is the kind of information the public deserves to know and have the opportunity to weigh in on — in the open, not behind a shroud of insider secrecy.….
Related: JSC Names Nominees for Supreme Court, 2nd Circuit
Read … Public gets to vet judicial hopefuls
Leadership Troubles Plague Hawaii's Historic Preservation Division
CB: The head of Hawaii's beleaguered historic preservation division is under fire for lack of leadership for failing to resolve problems that have led to a threat by the federal government to revoke the agency's certification.
Documents and emails as well as interviews with people familiar with the division show increasing frustration with Pua Aiu, who has led the division since 2008. A National Park Service official sent to help the agency says he quit out of frustration because Aiu resisted any assistance.
Now, Rep. Sharon Har, who has championed the division for years, is demanding a meeting with department heads to get to the bottom of recent concerns over hiring and leadership.
"I'm absolutely at my wits end," she said. "I fought for this department for the past two years."
The State Historic Preservation Division has been under fire from the National Park Service, which has oversight under the National Historic Preservation Act. NPS is threatening to revoke SHPD's federal certification if the agency doesn't comply by Sept. 30 with a corrective action plan imposed on it two years ago. That could mean trouble for billions of dollars in major projects in Hawaii that require federal permitting or financing.
read … Troubles
Bus Fares Debated by Maui Council
MN: Maui County Council members gave unanimous initial approval Thursday to a $549.9 million spending plan for fiscal 2013, although they brought back one-way fares and dropped $1 from a proposed $5 daily pass for public bus riders.
Instead of eliminating single-ride fares and instituting a $5 daily use fee, as had been proposed, the council advanced an increase in one-way fares from $1 to $2 and a hike in day passes from $2 to $4. Monthly passes would be $45 for adults, $30 for students, $25 for seniors on fixed routes and $30 for seniors on disabled-access buses.
The change in bus fares came after council members heard complaints from more than a half-dozen bus riders. They said the increases were too steep and came without proper notification with postings in buses….
According to Budget Director Sandy Baz, the county's bus system has been heavily subsidized since the transit service began in fiscal 2007. In fiscal 2011, the county took in $1.8 million in fares, but transit operations alone (not counting bus purchases or the construction of bus stops) cost $7.8 million. This fiscal year, the county forecasts fare revenue of $1.9 million and costs of nearly $8.5 million. The county's highways fund receives revenue from a 16-cent-per-gallon tax on sales of fuel.
read … Bus Fares
Officials say shotgun in reach of man shot by police
MN: Langford's mother and other family members on Wednesday disputed the police account of what happened. Kahakuloa resident Genevieve Langford said that her son didn't have a gun and was reaching for a cellphone when he was shot. She said Langford had called her son-in-law, who heard three gunshots on a phone message left at the time of the shooting.
Family members acknowledged that Langford was abusing drugs. He has 18 criminal convictions, including five for unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, and was sentenced to a five-year prison term in 2006.
"The Maui Police Department regrets the loss of Genevieve Langford's son Marshall Langford," Lutey said Thursday. "Unfortunately, Mr. Langford's actions required the police officers to use appropriate force. Lethal force is only used when a suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm to an officer.
"In this case, as Mr. Langford was trying to escape in a stolen motor vehicle, he pointed a weapon at an officer that appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon. These actions by Mr. Langford gave the officer no option but to use lethal force."
Lutey said two weapons, including a sawed-off shotgun, were recovered from the stolen vehicle.
"The sawed-off shotgun was within Mr. Langford's reach," she said. "The weapon that was believed to be a semi-automatic weapon was discovered to be an air soft pellet gun that replicated a real live semi-automatic pistol.
read … ‘Within Reach’
ACLU Lawsuits against CCA are Excuse to Release Lots of Criminals onto our Streets
CN: Co-counsel Daniel Gluck, with the ACLU, said in a statement: "The murders of Clifford Medina and Bronson Nunuha underscore the need for Hawaii to end its practice of 'subcontracting' our prisoners' care to a for-profit company. CCA gets huge amounts of taxpayer money, which, instead of being used for safe keeping and rehabilitation, is banked to advance its profits. CCA puts profits ahead of people. The result: two murders and widespread allegations of sexual and other violent assaults within their facilities."
read … Criminals, Lawyers conspire to organize mass escape with help of Legislature, Governor
False Killer Whale Suit Aims to Revive Debunked Sonar Claims
CN: The group says the NMFS found 29 threats to the species, including reduced prey from overfishing, injury and mortality from fishing gear, toxic contamination, climate change and noise from sonar and seismic exploration. The threats were outlined in the group's 2009 petition.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, which has more than 2,000 members in Hawaii, wants the court to declare the government's inaction a violation of the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act because it failed to publish a final decision on the matter. It also wants the court to order a final decision.
The NRDC is represented by Sharon Buccino.
LINK: Text of Lawsuit
read … Latest Blast
Fact check of mayoral debate shows where candidates veered from reality
HNN: Carlisle also made a claim about the famous 2006 sewage spill in Waikiki, calling it "the largest sewage spill in state history, 50 million gallons of wastewater into the Ala Wai Canal."
That's not quite right. The largest sewage spill ever recorded on Oahu was nearly ten times bigger, 471 million gallons from Kailua sewage treatment plant in 1986, according to a Honolulu Advertiser news story from April 1, 2006. But the Kailua spill was partially treated sewage and the Ala Wai spill was raw sewage, so Ala Wai was likely the biggest raw spill in the state's history.
There were at least nine other Oahu spills of partially treated sewage that ranged from 97 million to 342 million gallons between 1985 and 1991, much larger than the Ala Wai spill, the Honolulu Advertiser reported.
During a discussion of fireworks, former Gov. Ben Cayetano made a claim that raised eyebrows on the neighbor islands.
"Fireworks is not a tradition. Maui doesn't have fireworks. I don't think the Big Island has fireworks," Cayetano said, as he explained why he supports a total fireworks ban.
read … A Fact Check not done by Civil Beat
The Public File: Mayoral Candidates Join Ad-Buying Race
CB: Cayetano paid $732 for one spot on KHNL. His 30-second ad aired Wednesday night during the first televised mayoral debate.
Caldwell spent $900 for four spots on KHNL, $930 for 10 spots on KGMB and $200 for four spots on KFIVE. These ads ran from Tuesday to Friday.
Both still have a long way to go to catch up with Mayor Peter Carlisle, who has bought ads all the way through the Aug. 11 primary.
The public file shows that Carlisle has spent nearly $130,000 for 461 spots on local TV stations. His ads began airing this week, almost all of them during the evening news.
read … Ad Buy
Legislature Oversees Funds on Partisan Basis
CB: Democrats are so dominant in Hawaii's Legislature that its virtually impossible for public funds to be overseen in a nonpartisan manner, according to the State Integrity Investigation.
read … How Effective Is the Hawaii Legislature's Oversight of Public Funds?
RMT completes turbine erection at KWP II wind project
MADISON, Wis., May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- RMT, Inc. (RMT), a renewable energy engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor specializing in the design and construction of wind and solar energy generating facilities, completed final turbine erection and energized the electrical system at First Wind's 21-MW KWP II Wind project in Maui, Hawaii, in early May.
read … Future Junk
A User's Guide To Smoking Pot With Barack Obama
BuzzFeed: He was a long-haired haole hippie who worked at the Mama Mia Pizza Parlor not far from Punahou and lived in a dilapidated bus in an abandoned warehouse. … According to Topolinski, Ray the dealer was "freakin' scary." Many years later they learned that he had been killed with a ball-peen hammer by a scorned gay lover. But at the time he was useful because of his ability to "score quality weed."...
In another section of the [senior] yearbook, students were given a block of space to express thanks and define their high school experience. … Nestled below [Obama's] photographs was one odd line of gratitude: "Thanks Tut, Gramps, Choom Gang, and Ray for all the good times." … A hippie drug-dealer made his acknowledgments; his own mother did not.
Magoo's Puck's Alley: Diner's Comments: This place thinks of itself as a pizza parlor. The former pizza parlor that occupied that spot, Mama Mia's, was shut down because the cooks were dealing drugs out of the kitchen. The clientele has become much less scary since the ...ahem... change in management, but the pizza has gotten worse. The redeeming feature of Magoo's is $5 pitchers of reasonable beer.
read … Total Absorption