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Monday, February 28, 2011
February 28, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:39 PM :: 7950 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Charles Djou, second most moderate Republican in 111th Congress

Fraud, Threats, and bathrooms: Hanabusa’s Jeff Stone dukes it out with KoOlina condo owners

A luxury Ko Olina condominium project has become the setting for a nasty legal fight, triggering multiple lawsuits, allegations of fraud and mismanagement, anonymous threats and the closing of the upscale property's fitness center, lounge and beach bar.

A clear indication of the animosity between some well-heeled homeowners and Ko Olina's master developer, Jeff Stone, is evident next to the lobby : The main bathrooms are locked and roped off, not even available to people swimming in a nearby pool….

The nastiness escalated this month when a manager for Stone abruptly quit — she had no other job lined up — after she said she received two anonymous threats, one in a cryptic note left on her car at the villas and the other in an evening phone call at home.

"You do not want to work for Jeff Stone," the note warned. "Return to Waikiki before you get hurt. You have 1 week."

The woman, who asked not to be named, reported the incident to police. Stone said he also (claims to have) received an anonymous letter threatening him and his 73-year-old mother, and police were investigating.

The association has accused Stone's Resort Management Co. of fraud, misusing association funds and charging two to four times market rates for certain services, often using other Stone companies to do the work, according to court documents. An auditor the association hired found more than $750,000 in questionable charges, the documents show.

"Unfortunately, this pattern of behavior — misinformation, distorted suggestions and outright lies — from Mr. Stone's companies is common," the association wrote in one court filing.  (No kidding?)

ILind: When elephants fight…

RELATED: Cayetano: Hanabusa's Broken Trust connections lead to Ko Olina

AND DON’T FORGET: KoOlina and Hanabusa: Another land deal, another ex-cop, steroids, broken teeth, and Saigon Passion

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More on Hanabusa’s Chief of Staff: Wu says he was hospitalized in 2008 for reaction to mental-health drug

U.S. Rep. David Wu says he was hospitalized after his 2008 campaign for symptoms that later were diagnosed as a reaction to a common mental health drug.
The Oregon Democrat said he felt dizzy and confused on Election Day that year, a period of time when his staff and family have said they were unable to find him.

Wu discussed his mental health Sunday in an interview with The Associated Press at his Portland office, offering more details of his psychiatric treatment since reports first surfaced last month of bizarre behavior.

Wu says he was hospitalized for two days the weekend after the election somewhere in the Washington, D.C., area but that his reaction to the mental health medication wasn't diagnosed until the summer of 2009. He acknowledged, however, that it doesn't explain his behavior in 2010, which included sending photos of himself in a tiger costume to staffers.
He attributes his latest behavior to stress from his re-election campaign and marital issues that led toward the separation from his wife. The couple's divorce is pending.
Wu declined to detail the problems in his marriage but said they had nothing to do with his health.
In 2008, Wu was treated with a prescription mental health drug that he declined to name but described as "very common." Wu said that he reacted to an enzyme in the drug.

The congressman is "clearly acknowledging there is a medical issue here" beyond the period of extreme stress just before last year's election, said Erik Dorey, a Wu spokesman.
"He consulted with his doctor and it was an issue in 2008," Dorey said, adding that the two-day hospitalization "was essentially just for observation."
Dorey said Wu held a series of one-on-one meetings Sunday with elected officials and other figures in his district. He refused to say who they were, but said the congressman wanted to explain that he can continue to do his job effectively.

Wu said he would not step down, despite calls for his resignation from Republicans and from some Oregon newspapers.

RELATED: Hanabusa’s new Chief of Staff helped hide “kooky” Congressman’s mental illness

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State skim = rail scam

One factor that greatly erodes confidence in the $5.5 billion O’ahu rail project is the annual attempt of the Legislature to raid funds from the half-cent excise tax enacted by the city to pay for the train.

This year, senators are proposing to “borrow” $200 million from the rail fund to enable them to balance the state’s budget while ducking the tough decisions to get their own financial house in order.

The state is already skimming 10 percent off the top of the transit tax — potentially $400 million over the life of the tax — to pay for nonexistent “administrative costs.” This unnecessarily runs up the cost to O’ahu taxpayers for Hawai‘i’s most expensive public works project by 10 percent right off the bat.

SA: Kobayashi asks why city needs a rail system

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Kona Residents “up in arms” over governor's budget

Kona resident Bob Russell thinks Hawaii is in "a state of fiscal emergency" and "our so-called wise leader is continuing our spending addiction."
Russell called Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proposed controversial budget plan "a crying shame, especially when we're going to tax retirees' incomes over $37,500 for individuals or $75,000 for couples." Frustrated, he asked, "What's next, taking food from our children's mouths?"
Russell wasn't the only one upset about the budget draft, released last week by the Governor's Office. Most of the West Hawaii residents surveyed Sunday were up-in-arms about Abercrombie wanting to raise taxes and add more than 200 positions to the government payroll.

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National Journal picks up Akaka Story

Former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) -- who would be the strongest potential GOP challenger to Akaka -- said in November she would take six months before deciding whether she will run.

If Akaka does not run, Inouye mentioned several Democrats as possibilities for the race, including former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Reps. Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa, and Lieutenant Gov.Brian Schatz.

RELATED: Inouye dumps Akaka: Says Hanabusa, Hirono, Hannemann worthy contenders for 2012 Senate race

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CB: $510M in New Taxes

Proposed Measure FY12 FY13
HB 1092 & SB 1319 repealing state tax deduction
exemption for federal adjusted gross income threshold
$63.7 million $79 million
State tax on pension income exemption
for federal adjusted gross income threshold
$112.3 million $112.3 million
Repeal exclusion of royalties from penalties $2.5 million $2.5 million
TAT and TOT enhancements: Increase rate on timeshare properties $26.6 million $31.2 million
HB 1062 & SB 1289 raise alcohol tax by 50 percent $20 million $20 million
Establish a soda tax $25 million $50 million
HB 1019 & SB 1246 reduces general fund amounts/increases
special fund allocations from barrel tax
($13.2 million) ($13.2 million)
HB 1089 & SB 1316 annual federal tax conformity measure ($3 million) ($3 million)
HB 1060 & SB 1287 Specifies funding for chief information
officer position
($1 million) ($1 million)
HB 1084 & SB 1309 Establishes a special fund for the
Lt. Gov.'s office
($0.1 million) ($0.1 million)
Total $232.8 mil $277.7 mil

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APEC Committee vs FT: “APEC Ready”

The APEC forum will also present opportunities to brand Hawaii in a strategic manner. Roughly 2,000 media professionals are anticipated to cover APEC. (Fun and games abound!  Clue to upcoming media coverage: “The Star-Advertiser is dead to me”) We plan to seize this opportunity by positioning Hawaii as a leading destination to host meetings and incentives programs. Also, by hosting heads of state and CEOs of major firms, we will be able to showcase Hawaii's world-class accommodations and facilities to high-level decision-makers.

Members of the APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee Leadership are Peter Ho, Tim Johns, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, Mike McCartney and Dr. Charles E. Morrison.  (Now you know who to blame.)

SA: HPD allots $20M for APEC event

Financial Times: Complacent Honolulu out of its league, not ready for APEC (The APEC Committee makes almost no response to any of the points abut the airport or other facilities.)

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SA: State needs CIO

Honolulu's city government claims to have demonstrated cost savings by centralizing information technology management while avoiding catastrophic events. The city "was able to save millions of taxpayer dollars and deploy numerous technologies that improved productivity and public safety through an enterprise-wide, centralized model," Gordon J. Bruce, the city's chief information officer, told state senators this month.

read more

More kids eligible for low-cost lunch

The number of Hawaii public school children eligible for free and reduced-cost lunch, a key indicator of poverty, has risen 20 percent -- or by more than 13,500 children -- since 2007.

Statewide, more than 80,300 kids qualify for the program, aimed at making sure students get at least one nutritious meal a day.

This school year, students on free and reduced-cost lunch account for 47 percent of all public school children in the islands, up from 39 percent in the 2007-08 school year.

read more

9-11 Patriot Flag raised in Honolulu

The goal is for the flag to fly in all 50 states in 50 weeks. The purpose of the Patriot Flag is to send a message to the world and the families of the loved ones that were lost on 9/11/01. "United We Stand: We Have Not Forgotten."

More information on the Patriot Flag project can be found at this web site: http://www.publicsafety.net/thepatriotflag.htm

read more

Panos promotes Geo energy before Conservative Forum

Speaking Sunday before the Conservative Forum for Hawaii, University of Hawaii at Manoa professor Panos Prevedouros offered a critique of Hawaii's energy use and sources.
"We are off the charts in the amount we pay per hour of kilowatt energy," Prevedouros, a former Honolulu mayoral candidate, told the more than 80 people who attended the group's monthly meeting in Hilo.

He called wind energy "junk" because it's too intermittent, said corn and other ethanol-producing crops should be reserved as food sources, and noted Hawaii's nuclear energy prohibition.
"For the Big Island, without a doubt, the key is geothermal," Prevedouros said

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A day of remembrance, preservation at internment camp site

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii also sponsored a pilgrimage to the site itself, to see what's left, including the former mess hall. Visitors left flower petals at an aqueduct, which was the camp's boundary between the Japanese-Americans who were interned, and prisoners of war, including some Italians and Germans.  (But we don’t want to talk about them too much because this is supposed to be about racial bigotry not enemy aliens and the Europeans disturb the narrative of shame and guilt.)

The Park Service is also conducting a "Special Resource Study" of other World War II confinement sites the islands. So far, 13, including Honouliuli, have been identified. The Park Service will also hold several public meetings next month for input.

WHAT’S COMING: East-West Center hammered for “sustained, biased and politically-motivated attack on World War II veterans”

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Honolulu Limbaugh Resolution futile, unoriginal

No matter what anyone thinks of Rush Limbaugh -- or Hu Jintao, for that matter -- the Honolulu City Council's resolution seeking an apology for the way the talk-radio king mocked the Chinese president has to leave folks scratching their heads.

Limbaugh's apologies come pretty infrequently, considering his show's incendiary content. Just google "Limbaugh apologizes" to get a sense of that.

But even if it's not entirely a futile request, the Council wins no points for originality, either. Similar calls for penitence have come from lawmakers all over the country, even after Limbaugh apologized on the air a month ago. Will he issue Honolulu its own personalized apology? Don't bet on it.

RELATED: Limbaugh: Did Honolulu Council ever pass resolution condemning Mao’s genocide?, Hawaii Legislature honored Mao Zedong collaborator, Don’t Mock Hu Jintao: Honolulu Councilmembers demand Rush Limbaugh be censored

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Kawaiahao Pastor defends disturbing burials

What’s happening at Kawaiaha‘o Church is not about disrespecting our Kupuna, quite the contrary, it is about honoring them because they are making it possible for us to provide for future generations. I have believed, as have many others, that the iwi kupuna who have been discovered during the installation of the utilities and foundation for the Multi-Purpose Center (MPC) were members of Kawaiaha‘o Church or their families were members of our Church. And in a recent decision by the Circuit Court, the Judge reaffirmed that the burials that have been discovered at Kawaiaha‘o cemetery are consistent with Christian burials and not consistent with ancient pre-contact native Hawaiian burial practices.

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Homeless man starts up car wash business to get off the streets

King hopes by getting others from his homeless community involved, it will get them off the streets too.

"All of these guys that are working for us they're homeless also we want to bring everybody we want to instill within them to open bank accounts to save their money and get apartments," says King.

The group made more than $300 dollars and will be divided among them.

Some of the money will also go towards King's business bank account.

The car wash will take place every Sunday.

King hopes to earn enough money to move into an apartment in a few months.

(Quick!  Somebody give this man a handout before this virus spreads! Save the system!)

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New Designer Drug being sold on Oahu

At the Hawaiian Holy Smokes on South King Street, a product called Coco Powder is sold for a $100 and at Smokey's on Kuhio Avenue, the bath salts are not displayed but are available to consumers for $40….

MDPV is known to cause hallucinations, paranoia and a rapid heart rate and according to national reports the abuse of this drug is on the rise.

State public safety officials reported at least two cases of MDPV on the Big Island, one back in October 2010 but so far no cases have been reported on Oahu.

There is legislation at the State Capitol recommending strengthening Hawaii law's on controlled substances.

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Two Medical Marijuana Bills Pending Tuesday Hearing

Two medical marijuana bills are being heard on Tuesday: SB 113 SD 1 Relating to Medical Cannabis Research, and SB 175 SD1 Relating to Health.

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Calif. pot dispensaries run afoul of taxman

In state tax documents, Berkeley Patients Group reported selling more than $51 million worth of medical marijuana between July 2004 and June 2007. The dispensary claimed it did not need to pay sales tax on any of that pot under state law exempting prescribed medicines.  (That is $17M per year which is $1 per year for each of the Bay Area’s 17M residents.  Not very impressive, but it is one of many dope “dispensaries”.)

State tax regulators disagreed. They slapped the dispensary with a bill for nearly $6.5 million in back taxes plus interest. Berkeley Patients Group appealed the audit but on Tuesday the state Board of Equalization ruled against them.

Elisabeth Jewel, a Berkeley-based lobbyist who represented the dispensary before the board, said murky regulations were to blame for the confusion.

“We do feel that medical cannabis is medicine, absolutely,” Jewel said. At the same time, she said, “we’re realists. We understand there is a lot of tax revenue at stake here and dispensary revenue is growing. Cities and state want that revenue.”

read more

Isle workplaces safer, data show

Since the end of the stepped-up enforcement in June, there haven't been any fall-related work deaths reported in Hawaii. The last one was a tree trimmer in May, according to state data.

The six deaths in 2010 do not include self-employed workers or highway, aircraft and boat accidents, said Jennifer Shishido, administrator of the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division. A complete figure, compiled by looking at death records, won't be finalized until early next year.

But workplace deaths in Hawaii have been falling the past few years. The figure for fiscal 2009 -- 13, which includes self-employed workers and transportation accidents -- was the lowest in 12 years, according to preliminary numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor.

read more

Japan's credit rating sinks under weight of massive national debt

Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday downgraded its outlook for Japan's credit rating because of concerns over its massive national debt.

The rating agency changed its outlook for Japan's Aa2 rating from stable to negative.

In January, Standard & Poor's cut Japan's credit rating from AA to AA- for the first time in almost nine years due to concerns over ballooning debt.

(Hawaii and the US are next.  And the increased cost of borrowing will cut into Japanese economic development which will hurt tourism.)

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Fuel miscalculations send Russian satellites crashing into Hawaiian waters

In December three Glonass navigation satellites ended up plummeting into the Pacific off the US state of Hawaii after launch due to what officials concluded was a simple fuel miscalculation.

And this month Russia put its new Geo-IK-2 military satellite into the wrong orbit, rendering it useless for defence purposes.

"The recent failure with the Glonass satellites is a characteristic example," Ivanov said. "I won't go into details, this was a mistake, but a childish one and a mistake that had serious consequences."

read more

Unitarians Dump Pacific Region Director

The district board announced February 3 that the UUA had “unilaterally severed the employment agreement” with Cilla Raughley, district executive since 2003, adding that “the PCD Board neither initiated nor supported this action.”

Some resigning from UU Church: LINK

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Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming

Even a regional nuclear war could spark "unprecedented" global cooling and reduce rainfall for years, according to (the same worthless) U.S. government computer models (which invented this global warming scam in the first place).

Widespread famine and disease would likely follow, experts speculate hope.

TOTALLY RELATED: Carnegie Institution Study: Genocide reduces global warming

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