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Thursday, October 04, 2012
October 4, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:23 PM :: 1382 Views
 

Some Key Romney debate points for Hawaii

Lingle: Inouye Thinks He Should Decide Who Steps Up in Hawaii

Felony Campaign Spending Violations: Second Complaint in a Month Accuses Kaniela Ing

FULL TEXT: Reapportionment Plaintiffs File for Summary Judgment

54-37% -- Hirono Pollster Releases Internal Polling Numbers

Rail Fail: Oahu Construction Jobs Drop as Sister Isles Job Boom tops Nation

Caldwell, Cayetano press each other for transit details

SA: On the Ho‘opili and Koa Ridge master-planned projects, both of which will come before the city for approvals, Cayetano said he is opposed to both because they would cause urban sprawl.

"I think preserving ag land is very, very important," he said.

Caldwell said he supports both projects because they would provide needed housing for future generations, saying, "We have the highest housing costs of almost anywhere in this country."

Both projects are within existing urban growth boundaries, he said, adding that he supports retaining agricultural use elsewhere on the island.

Caldwell said Cayetano raided money from the state's Employee Retirement System to help balance the budget. Cayetano called it a tough but necessary decision given the state's economic straits when he was governor.

KITV: VIDEO of Debate

KHON: Third-party spending ramping up in Honolulu Mayor's race

read … Details

Outside Expert to Feds: Honolulu Rail Is Ready

CB: The independent engineering consultant required by the Federal Transit Administration to perform due diligence on Honolulu rail says in a new report that the project's cost estimate, risk and contingency are all reasonable and worthy of a federal funding guarantee.

The 63-page readiness report was produced by the Project Management Oversight Contractor, St. Louis-based Jacobs Engineering Group….

"The PMOC has determined that the grantee has completed the following steps necessary to execute an FFGA: adequately defined the Project’s scope, schedule, and cost; developed an approvable PMP and supporting documents; and, has demonstrated sufficient technical capacity and capability," the report's executive summary conclusion reads. "The PMOC recommends that the FTA execute an FFGA with the grantee" that identifies a $5.12 billion budget and Jan. 31, 2020, revenue service date.

The FTA is still reviewing Honolulu's Full Funding Grant Agreement application, and has said it expects to sign the FFGA before the end of the year. That's an important deadline; the project's federal funding eligibility will expire if the Dec. 31 deadline is missed.

LINK: FULL TEXT

read … Honolulu Rail Is Ready?

UH “Wonder Blunder” hearings available for online viewing

ILind: The Senate’s Special Committee on Accountability (SCA02) Briefing videos are available on the Senate Archive page: http://olelo.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=13

The links to the videos are:

9/24/12 http://olelo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=13&clip_id=30627

10/2/12 http://olelo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=13&clip_id=30802

ILind: Factfinders Report contradicts Sheriff testimony to Senate Committee

read … UH “Wonder Blunder” hearings available for online viewing

One Third of Solar Projects Started by Queue Squatters

CB: Solar energy companies have been gaming the system and Hawaiian Electric Co. has failed to adequately oversee the projects, according to state regulators and an outside contractor responsible for monitoring the program….

One company in particular is under fire by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Commissioners have accused Solar Hub Utilities of being a “queue squatter" — signing up projects that the company doesn't intend to complete, and then selling them for a profit.

Financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicate that Solar Hub sold the rights to its 68 projects to SPI Solar, a California company, for $44 million. In filings with the PUC, Solar Hub says it spent about $4 million on getting the projects into the queue.

The projects take up about one-third of the FIT program’s capacity.

But problems have been rampant, according to a status report filed in May by Harold Judd, the program’s independent observer. Developers signed up projects without securing a required 20-year commitment from property owners. They tried to use the same tax identification number for multiple systems in an attempt to get around system size limits. And companies claimed spots in the queue without having completed design plans that were stamped by a Hawaii-licensed electrical engineer.

At least one company tried to “acquire political influence and use threats to further a desired goal,” wrote Judd.

Related: Former Solyndra Partner Buys 68 Solar Projects in Hawaii

read … Hawaii Regulators Crack Down On Solar 'Queue Squatters'

Schatz: LNG Import Plan Ready by December

CB: Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz expanded upon a recent letter he sent to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission outlining the administration’s position.

“We are no longer assessing whether LNG makes smart public policy,” he told Civil Beat. “We are trying to figure out what it takes logistically and what we need to do to establish that.”

Hawaiian Electric Co. and the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute are currently conducting studies that will determine a working plan for importing LNG, said Schatz. The studies, set to be completed by the end of the year, will help determine a timeframe, budget and the infrastructure needed for natural gas.

Meanwhile, on the mainland natural gas prices have hit an all-time low, averaging about one-fourth the cost of oil. But critics have questioned whether the price will remain that way. And for Hawaii, a particular concern when it comes to price is the Jones Act, which requires shipping between U.S. ports to be done on ships that are U.S. built, owned and manned.

The cost of a domestic LNG tanker, which hasn't been built in the U.S. since the 1970s, could be double that of a ship from South Korea, a world leader in the trade, according to Larry Persily, a natural gas expert, in an analysis submitted to Civil Beat in August.

But Schatz said that even with the Jones Act, the price of natural gas will still be lower for residents.

“Right now the savings that would be incurred as a result of moving to LNG are so great that we could comply with the Jones Act and still save significant amounts of money for consumers,” he said. (Sounds like an argument for a ‘Ship Bill’ to authorize purchase of a foreign-built LNG tanker or two.)

read … Logistics Issue

Hawaii Co Council votes against public lands agency, Maui Next

HTH: The council voted unanimously to urge the abolishment of the PLDC, formed by the state Legislature in 2011 to foster development of public lands. The move follows a wave of public opposition to the agency, and the passing of a similar resolution by the Kauai County Council on Sept. 26.

The Maui County Council is also considering standing against the PLDC, council member Angel Pilago said.

The agency was created to foster public-private partnerships to develop state lands but has faced heavy criticism for exemptions it holds for land use and zoning laws.

Council member Brenda Ford, who introduced the resolution, said the PLDC strips away home rule; she fears it could lead to development that does not have a community’s interest at heart.

“It’s so broadly written that anything can be done and if the county residents don’t (support it) it doesn’t matter,” she said.

The council also heard from plenty of opponents Wednesday who believe the agency will put business interests first.

read … PLDC

AFSCME Burns Another $56K for Hirono

PR: Working Families for Hawaii, the labor-backed interest group, has paid more than $56,450 for part three of its television advertising against former Gov. Linda Lingle’s Republican campaign for U.S. Senate.

The group, financed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has spent more than $135,000 overall.

read … Your Dues at Work

Inouye’s Delusional Statement on Romney-Obama Debate

Inouye: The American people have been presented with two very different visions for the country. In Denver, President Obama reiterated his support for an economy that grows from the middle out. He clearly and specifically outlined his plan for the next four years while demonstrating a patient confidence and an understanding of the issues that only comes with the experience of serving as President. Governor Romney told America that he wishes to return to the failed economic policies put in place by President George W. Bush. Like Bush, Romney believes that an economy and tax plan designed to benefit the wealthiest Americans while ignoring the middle class is the only way forward for America. Governor Romney spoke of deregulation and made sweeping policy statements but offered no specifics about how he would implement and pay for his economic vision. His plans simply do not add up. The choice is clear. We must re-elect President Barack Obama.

Reality: Seven Key Romney debate points for Hawaii

State takeover of Big Isle voting is short-term fix

SA: Kawauchi, a 39-year-old lawyer, attended one of the state's election workshops last week with the full intention of correcting her mistakes and running a smooth general election. However, Scott Nago, the state's chief elections officer, closed that option, at least for this election.

He told reporters Tuesday that he did not believe Kawauchi's plans for the general election adequately address three main problems in the primary: operation of the control center, packing of election materials into precinct cans and programming cellphones issued to precinct workers to communicate with election officials.

"This is not how it was done ever before," he said.

Also unprecedented is the state elections office taking control of a neighbor island's elections operation. While the state office supervises all state elections, the state has delegated to the counties control over county elections, along with voter registration and absentee ballots.

On Oahu, the state elections office oversees operations. Nonetheless, the state has the authority to push Kawauchi aside.

"We don't have a hammer to enforce her, to make sure she does her job," Nago said. "The only thing we could do is take back our delegation, which is what we did."

HTH: County presses state for election probe

KITV: Voter group wants Big Island election investigation

read … Short Term

Networks, AP Cancel Exit Polls in Hawaii, 18 Other States

WP: Here is a list of the states that will be excluded from coverage: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Comparing this list with the election map, reveals how carefully the exit poll planners allocated resources. All 19 of the states with no exit polls are classified as either “solid Obama” or “solid Romney,” and there is only one “toss-up” gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race not on the list: the competitive North Dakota match-up of Heidi Heitkamp and Rick Berg.

Two other contests in the “leaning” Democratic category aren’t on the list: the U.S. Senate race in Hawaii and the governor’s race in West Virginia.

read … Networks, AP cancel exit polls in 19 states

CNN teams up with Omidyar Front Group to Look at Hawaii Voter Turnout

CNN: They won't vote… This is particularly true in Hawaii, where fewer than half the state's eligible voters cast a ballot in 2008. That's the case even though Barack Obama is Hawaii's (for-real, certifiable) native son. Hawaii, rather consistently, has the lowest voter turnout rate in the United States. Less than 49% of eligible people voted in the 2008 presidential election, according to data crunched by Michael McDonald from George Mason University. Compare that to the top state, Minnesota, where almost 78% voted.

I'm in Hawaii this week to look into why that's the case -- and to see what people there are trying to do to increase voter participation in paradise. The trip will include a meeting with Kanu Hawaii, a nonpartisan group that's going door to door to register first-time voters. Volunteers are uploading photos of these new civic participants -- the people who actually have the power to change the list -- to iReport. Photos submitted via Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #changethelist also will pop up soon on this CNN page.

(If you've never voted, please make a pledge to do so here).

I'm also planning to visit the district with the lowest of the low voter turnout rates in Hawaii; a meeting with a homeless candidate who won the Republican primary for a U.S. House of Representatives race; and conversations with people in the state who don't vote because they say the United States is illegally occupying the islands.

Map: Hawaii Voter Turnout by District

read … Introducing CNN's Change the List

From reigning to campaigning: Beauty Queen political candidates

TH: Republicans are represented as well with Lauren Cheape, Miss Hawaii 2011, seeking a spot in the Hawaii State House.

read … Beauty Queen political candidates

Mother Marianne Soon to Be ‘Saint’

MD: This month marks long-awaited confirmation of what many Molokai residents and Catholics around the world already knew — Mother Marianne Cope will be officially declared a saint. Mother Marianne, who served Hansen’s disease patients in Kalaupapa for 30 years alongside St. Damien at the end of his life, will be canonized by the Pope in Rome on Oct. 21. Marianne will become the second saint to call Molokai home.

About 400 Catholics from Hawaii, including from Molokai four parishioners, Father William Petrie and a group of Kalaupapa patient residents, will make the journey to Italy to witness the canonization in person. The group, led by Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva, will also include a number of sisters of the Franciscan order, based in Syracuse, New York, of which Mother Marianne was a member.

The ceremony will take place at the Vatican in Rome at 10 a.m. — or 10 p.m. Hawaii time. Five others will also be canonized the same date as Mother Marianne, including Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk Indian from New York state.

read … Mother Marianne Soon to Be ‘Saint’

Kauai Prosecutor Desperately Tries to Avoid Self-Dealing Charges

KGI: Office of Youth Services Executive Director David Hipp, on a letter dated Friday to the Kaua‘i County Council, denies he had advised the county Office of Prosecuting Attorney to stop referring youth to Hale ‘Opio’s Kaua‘i Teen Court program.

“At no time did I either advise or direct the Kaua‘i Office of the Prosecuting Attorney to cease referrals to Teen Court,” Hipp states in the letter. (Which means that Iseri-Carvalho was diverting them on her own volition.)

County Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, however, said OYS Program Specialist Christopher Lum Lee did inform her of a potential procurement problem regarding Teen Court, which led OPA to cease deferrals.

Despite continuous communication with OYS, Iseri-Carvalho said she was not told she could continue with the program.

On his letter Friday, Hipp says that directing OPA to stop referrals to Teen Court would be contradictory to best practices in the field of juvenile justice. He said he emailed OPA on Aug. 2 requesting an update on the status of referrals to Teen Court and Juvenile Drug Court, as he was “very concerned” that youth were being affected due to lack of diversions. Additionally, Hipp said he has no statutory authority to direct any court or law enforcement officer in any matter….

The council on Sept. 26 deferred by a 4-3 vote a decision on whether to allow OPA to apply for $35,000 in federal funds for Keiki POHAKU, a diversion program for youth. Council Vice Chair JoAnn Yukimura said at the same meeting that she supports well-crafted diversion programs, but not at the expense of a well-established program that has such a good track record.

The council will entertain OPA’s request to apply for Keiki POHAKU funds at the meeting starting at 9 a.m. today at the Historic County Building. Visit www.kauai.gov for more information.

read … More Corruption on Kauai

Drug Court Defendant Scams Retired Pastor out of $137K

KHON: Honolulu Police have arrested a 32-year-old man for allegedly scamming a retired Kalihi pastor and draining his bank account.

The defendant is being charged with theft after he allegedly scammed the former pastor out of $137,000 and received thousands more from other church members.

According to the deputy prosecutor, 32-year-old Leon Faamama played on the sympathies of a retired pastor.

"This elderly victim wanted to help the defendant and wanted him to succeed in drug court and to become clean and sober," said Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter.

The defendant was participating in Drug Court, which helps drug users get on the right path.

"He was telling the victim that the drug court was charging him exorbitant drug court fees, exorbitant fees for clean and sober house, both of

which were completely false," Van Marter said.

Van Marter says the scheme also involved fake names of a probation officer and lawyer...even a fake lawsuit.

read … Justice Reinvestment

Early study results hint at Minimal effects from cane burns

MN: Obtaining highly detailed information on sugar cane burning is a requirement of the plantation's cane-burning permit issued by the state Department of Health. By plotting the exact locations of burned fields, wind speeds and the addresses of pharmacy customers on Google Maps, Pang's team, which included doctoral students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo School of Pharmacy, found that on burn days, 76, or 13 percent, out of 576 cases reported were from people in downwind zones. On nonburn days, 75, or 11 percent, of 680 cases islandwide were from the corresponding downwind areas.

The slightly higher percentage of people affected by cane smoke in the area suggests an ill effect of cane smoke, but it can't be shown to be statistically significant, Pang said.

He also pointed out that there were more total "cases" on nonburn days, probably because burning is not permitted when there is volcanic haze, or "vog," from the Big Island, and burning also cannot occur during cold, rainy weather, which might bring on respiratory symptoms.

read … Cane Fires

HHSC Plans New Hospital for Kona

WHT: Kona Community Hospital has hired a consultant to begin preplanning a replacement for the Kealakekua facility.

Hawaii Health Systems Corp. CEO Bruce Anderson said the initial phase, which includes consulting community stakeholders about what kind of services the hospital should offer, where it should be and what services should continue to be offered in South Kona, should take about a year. After that, securing funding, planning, design and construction could take another three to five years.

“Everyone agrees a new hospital is needed,” Anderson said, adding the HHSC board is supportive of the West Hawaii Regional Board’s planning efforts.

West Hawaii Regional Board President Dr. Alistair Bairos said residents have said for decades a new hospital, located closer to Kona International Airport

read … New Hospital 

NORKS: North and South Korea 'on the verge of nuclear war'

UKT: A senior North Korean diplomat warned a meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York that "a spark of fire could set off a thermonuclear war" on the Korean Peninsula.

read … Nuclear War 

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