Bungled Again as Revenue Forecast is Curtailed
Ansaldo Employee: Focus is Entirely on Gaining a Project, Not on Doing Anything Useful
Letter to HECO CEO: Windmills Keep Generators Idling at 70%
Rail Plan Calls for 472,000 More Cars on Road
Teacher, Oceanographer Running for HD 6 Kona
VIDEO: More Thoughts On Honolulu Rail And The Sufficiency Of Archaeological Review
VIDEO: Kalbert Young Follows the Money
Will Harry Kim Knock Out ‘The Next Big Thing’?
Borreca: If Ben Cayetano's jump back into politics was a shocker, imagine how the powers that be are feeling now that Harry Kim is back on the radar screen.
Last week, Kim stunned many by filing for his old seat as mayor of Hawaii County….
All the hot spot bubbling and fuming makes Puna the first area to be tapped for expanded geothermal energy, and that is what brought Kim out of retirement.
Kim says the decision to move ahead with more development without coordination and study by the county disturbed him and he decided to run again.
The race pits him against his one-time protégé, current Mayor Billy Kenoi, as well as County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong.
Kenoi, (a former cocaine dealer), has been seen by the state Democratic establishment as the next big thing. An affable, young local attorney (and close friend of Pali shooter Malu Motta), Kenoi has been mentioned as someone who could run for governor (by Malu Motta, in fact) or Congress with a lot of old-line Democrat support (as long as he doesn’t get involved in any more barfights or run from the police).
A Harry Kim campaign is something of a study in anti-campaigning. He accepts no donations of more than $10, runs few ads and has no campaign organization.
"Harry is just Harry, he is like the comfortable shoe you wear when you get home; he was as well-liked when he left office as when he first entered politics," says one Hawaii island Democrat supporter.
read … Mavericks Cayetano, Kim rocking Democratic boat
Council Challenges Kenoi’s Looting of Retirement Accounts
HTH: A divided County Council on Friday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would require the county to make payments toward the retiree benefits account.
The argument over retiree pre-payments, in accordance with an accounting standard known as GASB 45, dates back to last year, when a poor economy forced Mayor Billy Kenoi to defer a $20.3 million annual payment to the account to balance the county’s 2011-2012 operating budget.
This year, the 2012-2013 budget again defers payments to the account; it’s not known what the obligation will be, but it may be higher.
Experts agree with the mayor that annual payments are not required, but they also say the longer those obligations are ignored, the bigger the payment will have to be in the future….
read … Stop Looting Retirement Accounts
Hawaii Bankers Worry over Taxmageddon
PBN: The bank economists also see continuing fiscal challenges as a major risk to the U.S. economic outlook as it could discourage business expansion. Firms may not want to take on new hires or spending commitments with major potential tax increases and federal spending cuts looming.
“We urge Congress and the administration to generate a consensus solution to avoid a devastating impact on the economy,” said George Mokrzan, director of economics at Huntington Bancorp.
related: 271 Days to Taxmageddon, Taxmageddon: What Tax Day Could Feel Like in 2013
read … Bankers Sweat Taxmageddon
Roughly 700 columns are planned to go up along the 20-mile route
It is the first of roughly 700 support columns planned for the 20-mile rail transit system.
The column stands 23 feet tall and is six feet in diameter.
"After 40 years and all of the starts and stop it looks like beauty personified," said Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlislse. "This is absolutely and unequivocally our future staring us in the face," Carlisle added….
"I wonder if they are going to have a ceremony to take it down," said rail opponent Cliff Slater.
Slater said the concrete column is anchored in prime farmland.
"They are putting concrete pillars up in the middle of the finest agricultural land," said Slater.
Read … Easter Island
SA: Koa Ridge Means Rail must go to Mililani
SA: As it is, southbound morning traffic moves very slowly into the H-1 freeway merge, without even considering additions from Koa Ridge or Ho‘opili.
If nothing else, the likely prospect that Koa Ridge eventually will be built out underscores the need for alternate channels for transportation to and from Honolulu. The debate over the development in the coming years should shine a spotlight on ways to link Central Oahu to rail, assuming that that public works system moves ahead as planned. Park-and-ride facilities, with shuttle services to the rail stations, will be an essential feature on Koa Ridge planning maps.
It may be that a direct rail link serving Central Oahu — enabling many to escape the freeway mess altogether — should get top priority in future phases of the mass-transit system.
read … More Rail?
When it Comes to Promoting Honolulu Rail, Handlers are Everywhere
HR: Honolulu City Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi and Council Member Tom Berg have sought a list of “public relations” people and businesses employed to promote the Honolulu rail project for several months.
At Wednesday’s city council meeting, the city’s rail authority released some of the information they requested. (See the list of PR firms and staff here)
HART’s executive director claimed the semi autonomous agency had five people on its staff conducting public relations and outreach. But Berg said that “turned out to be a big lie.”
“There are 19 entities getting funding in addition to the 5 staff members with HART,” Berg said.
read … Handlers
Abercrombie to Celebrate 74th With 3,000 Lobbyists
Shapiro: Gov. Neil Abercrombie will celebrate his 74th birthday by selling tables for up to $12,000 at a June 21 fundraiser. Another bearded fellow whose birthday was of note got three wise men bearing gifts. Abercrombie is going for 3,000 lobbyists bearing cash.
read … 3,000 lobbyists
Cabanilla, DelaCruz, Nishimoto Ethics Violations
DN: the three state legislators whose financial disclosure forms I highlighted on March 1. To recap, they were:
Rep. Rida T.R. Cabanilla Arakawa’s 2012 financial disclosure apparently fails to disclose income, as required.
On Senator Donavan Dela Cruz’s May 19, 2011 filing he simply checked the box indicating no changes to report since last filing. But his last filing was 12/9/10 which showed him as a Councilmember. Oops!
Rep. Scott Nishimoto also just checked the same box. He doesn’t report his House of Representatives job.
Visiting the Ethics Commission website just now, none of these forms have been amended. They are the same as the forms posted in the March 1 article.
So three months have passed, and appears that even if a financial disclosure is made on time, it need not be correct.
read … No Ethics
State-Sponsored Molesters Safe Thanks to Abercrombie, Legislature
SA: Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the law in April. The governor had vetoed a similar bill last year because it would have eliminated the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse lawsuits and included the state among the entities that could be sued. The administration warned that the bill could have threatened due-process rights and exposed the state to unknown liability.
State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro (D, Ko Olina-Makua), who sponsored both bills, said the new law is a compromise.
Lawmakers included the state in some drafts of the bill, but removed the provision before the bill was approved and sent to the governor.
State Rep. Gil Riviere (R, Schofield-Kahuku) said it was a mistake to leave the state out.
"If you've got sex abuse of a child in a private school or a child in a public school, there's no difference to the crime or to the damage that's been brought to that child," he said. "And so to say, ‘Oh, it's OK to let those guys be sued because they're private, but you can't sue us because we're the state,' that's just immoral, that's wrong.
read … Get the Catholics
Legislation called ‘attack on small businesses’
MN: Hawaii human resource firms say they're perplexed by proposed legislation that would impose tens of thousands of dollars in added operating costs and require companies be backed by a bond of up to $1 million in an effort to regulate the local industry.
Some say the proposed rules are so onerous, they may be forced to shut down.
The measure awaits approval from Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who has until June 24 to sign or veto bills passed by lawmakers this session.
read … PEO Bill
Geothermal: Hawaii County Buys out NIMBYs, Then Sells to new NIMBYs
HTH: Hawaii County has spent $646,407 purchasing homes near Puna’s geothermal power plant, but that number could soon be about to rise.
Joaquin Gamiao, planning administrative officer, said the department is processing seven relocation requests that could end up increasing that amount by about 55 percent.
“We’re out about $1 million,” he said, if all are approved.
The requests have all been submitted in the past month, Gamiao said, after the geothermal issue once again took center stage with the County Council.
The money comes from the county’s geothermal royalty fund, which now has about $3.3 million, according to the Finance Department.
It is funded with the county’s share of royalties from Puna Geothermal Venture. The amount the county receives varies based on production levels, but has hovered recently around $500,000 a year, Gamiao said.
To date, the county has approved five relocations with the latest acquired April 5, according to records provided by the Planning Department.
County staff previously said eight homes were acquired, but some of those were duplicates or had their applications withdrawn.
The homes cost between $60,770 and $237,380 to acquire.
The average property has cost the county $129,281 to purchase.
All were purchased at 130 percent of their value, Gamiao said, as allowed by county policy. They were also located within a mile from the plant, Gamiao said.
The county has auctioned four of those properties to date, for a total amount of $216,100.
read … Recycling Protesters
Daily Beast Highlights Tulsi Gabbard
7. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii): “High achiever” seems like faint praise for the dynamic Gabbard, who kicked off her public-service career as the youngest woman ever elected to a state legislature, at 21, and never looked back. Just two years into her term, Gabbard resigned to deploy to Iraq as a member of the Hawaii National Guard. Following a second tour in Kuwait and a stint as a Senate staffer for Hawaii’s Sen. Daniel Akaka in Washington, Gabbard went home to run for—and win—a seat on the Honolulu City Council, where she now serves.
“Forceful,” “brave,” and “down to earth” are a few of the adjectives people use to describe Gabbard, who will need all of those attributes and more in her congressional race against the mayor of Honolulu for Hawaii’s open House seat. At the ripe age of 31, supporters say, the Samoan-born, home-schooled Gabbard is ready for the challenge
Politico: The Netroots candidate meet market
read … Daily Beast
Obama's sister to help in for re-election campaign
ANI: "I will endeavour to share stories of his accomplishments with as many people as possible. I will resume my work at the University of Hawaii and East-West Centre in the fall," The Star quoted Maya Soetoro-Ng as saying.
read … Unbearably Smug
Hawaii Timeshares Grow 23% Since 2008
SFG: Today's Hawaiian timeshare is not the same as the shady timeshare of yesterday. The industry is now dominated by big corporations like Hilton, Disney, Hyatt, Starwood, Marriott and Wyndham. These corporations have standardized the timeshare industry.
Further legitimizing the industry is Hawaii's Bureau of Conveyances which maintains accurate records of timeshare units. These records are readily accessible by the public. This accuracy and accessibility of ownership records protects the public and their timeshare investment. As a result timeshares in Hawaii have grown 23% since the economic collapse in 2008. In 2008 there were 8,314 timeshare units in Hawaii. In 2011 there were 10,201 units. (FN1)
read … Tip Sheet
Territorial Savings Bank ripe for picking
SA: The state's fifth-largest bank, which converted from a mutual holding company to a publicly traded corporation on July 13, 2009, will be eligible to be acquired upon reaching the third anniversary of its initial public offering. That's when a federal moratorium ends preventing the takeover of thrifts that undergo mutual conversions.
And while there hasn't been a bank merger of any kind in Hawaii since Central Pacific Bank bought City Bank in September 2004, some analysts and portfolio managers say that Territorial could be a potential acquisition target due to its strong deposit growth, residential loan portfolio and pristine credit.
Chicago-based Keeley Asset Management Corp. is Territorial Bancorp Inc.'s largest outside shareholder with a 6.1 percent stake and continues to be bullish on its prospects….
Territorial had 3.8 percent of deposits in the state as of June 30, 2011, according to the latest data available from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. First Hawaiian Bank and Bank of Hawaii, with 35.8 percent and 30.9 percent, respectively, seemingly would be precluded from an acquisition due to their already large market saturation, while Central Pacific Bank, with 10.8 percent of deposit market share, is still trying to get back on its feet after a commercial mortgage meltdown. That would leave American Savings Bank, which is owned by Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., as the most likely suitor among the top four local banks, according to Zahorik and Chimera.
HEI declined to comment on such a prospect.
read … Takeover
Awards underscore Army's commitment to the aina
SA: We invest more than $16 million annually in Hawaii on environmental protection, with a staff of more than 130 experts — professionally trained biologists, archeologists and others — to protect more than 100 threatened and endangered species and numerous cultural and historic sites entrusted to our care.
We grow endangered plants in three greenhouses on Oahu and one at the Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii island, and reintroduce plants back in the natural environment to bolster population numbers. We fence native habitats to protect endangered animal and plant species from threatening non-native mammals and plants such as rats and invasive weeds.
Our cultural protection staff locates, documents and evaluates hundreds of archaeological sites. We design and construct training ranges and facilities that shield and preserve archaeological sites. We implement protective measures for range use, and mandate awareness briefings to educate our soldiers on sensitive range areas before any field training.
We partner with the Trust for Public Land, Waimea Valley, Moanalua Valley, Pupukea-Paumalu, Honouliuli Preserve, Koolau Mountains and Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnerships, and the Hawaii Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Partnership to establish buffer zones between our training areas and public and private lands.
read … Army Aina
North Korea: no nuclear test planned at present
AP: North Korea says it has no current plans to conduct a nuclear test despite what it calls South Korean provocation.
The statement Saturday from an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman comes amid worry that a third test could follow North Korea's long-range rocket launch in April.
South Korean intelligence officials have said satellite images suggested the North was making nuclear test preparations.
read … No Nukes