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Monday, July 11, 2011
July 11, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:31 PM :: 8152 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

 

Hawaii Lawmakers: Quit Finding Excuses for More Tax Increases

Honolulu: Mega Rail Project in a Micro City

Barack Sr. so repulsive, even Abercrombie thought he was Arrogant

SA: Hawaiians not tribal, State Akaka Tribe is not a Tribe, Many Hawaiians will not be “Qualified”

Opposition by some remains heated — ranging from those who call it a weak substitute for independent nationhood, to those who argue that Native Hawaiians constitute nothing like a tribe and should be granted no separate recognition at all.

But passing the state law is, in fact, a declaration spoken through representative government, codification of a longstanding majority position that Native Hawaiians represent Hawaii's "first nation," that regardless of the nontribal organization of the Hawaiian kingdom, they are as deserving of recognition as indigenous people as any tribe or Native Alaskan corporation….  (And who is “they”???  Keep reading….)

becoming a "qualified Native Hawaiian" eligible for the roll also means a person has maintained "a significant cultural, social or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community and wishes to participate in the organization of the Native Hawaiian government entity."

This definition is a more recent variant, and an improvement on purely race-based criteria. National identity should require some cultural (ideological) affinity; it's the bond that holds people together and help sustain the process of government-making through its inevitable conflict.  (National identity, not tribal identity.  And you are only Hawaiian if you toe the OHA line.)

Qualified Native Hawaiians: More than 73% of Hawaiians not "Qualified" for membership in Akaka Tribe

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Six Felons Walk: Kauai judge lets Sex offenders, dope dealers avoid Prison under Abercrombie Plan

Hawai‘i Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Randal Valenciano warned six felony probationers last week that positive testing for drug use would result in mandatory jail time.

The probationers are the first offenders to enter the Fifth Circuit’s new Hawai‘i Opportunity Probation with Enforcement program, or HOPE Probation. From now on, said Valenciano, anyone who tests positive for drugs or misses an appointment with their probation officer will automatically go to jail.

“In short, sex offenders, domestic violence and drug offenders in HOPE are being monitored and supervised closer and more frequently than ever before, and held to a higher level of accountability,”Valenciano said Wednesday. “HOPE will keep offenders out of prison, save taxpayer dollars and increase public safety.”

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Abercrombie’s plan to let criminals loose to face tough questions from Legislators, Constituents

It could have been a huge embarrassment.

Just 48 hours before Gov. Neil Abercrombie was set to unveil a major initiative to overhaul Hawaii's criminal justice system, four inmates escaped from the minimum-security Waiawa Correctional Facility on Oahu.

Fortunately for the administration, the four inmates were quickly recaptured, including two in the early hours of June 28 — the very day the governor introduced his "Justice Reinvestment" plan.

As the state embarks over the next six months on Justice Reinvestment — a data-driven approach to reducing corrections spending and decreasing crime successfully used in more than 10 states — it is not only a first step but relatively inexpensive and easy step toward criminal justice reform.

The hard part, however, will come when the administration takes its recommendations before lawmakers next session. The recommendations will likely include establishing treatment and training centers in residential neighborhoods to help prisoners re-enter society, something that could be of concern to constituents.

As the Waiawa escape underscores, as well as an attempted escape from Oahu Community Correctional Center just this week, residents may cast a skeptical eye on fixing a long-troubled system when it involves their own back yard.

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Abercrombie Veto Could shield State from responsibility for Pedophile employees

A bill approved by state lawmakers would lift the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits by victims of child sexual abuse, which is now two years from the victim's 18th birthday or, in certain instances, two years from the time the victim discovered the injuries or damage arising from the abuse.

Victims could also seek damages from churches, community groups, businesses and the state if there was gross negligence that contributed to the abuse. The bill also opens a two-year window for victims who have been barred from filing lawsuits because the statute of limitations had expired to now sue.

While Senate Bill 217 glided through the Legislature — not a single lawmaker voted against it — (but) Gov. Neil Abercrombie put the bill on his potential veto list, warning that it raises grave constitutional and fairness concerns.

Eliminating the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits, the state attorney general's office told lawmakers, would be "troubling and unprecedented" in Hawaii and could threaten due-process rights and expose the state to unknown liability….

Shimabukuro, a Legal Aid Society of Hawaii attorney, and her mother, Karen Young, a retired nurse practitioner, have seen many adults with social problems they believe could be traced back to child sexual abuse….

"My intent for doing that was to make the state aware that they are a big potential target," he said.

The state, at one point in a House version of the bill, was exempted from liability….But House and Senate conference committee negotiators decided that all entities, including the state, should be subject to civil actions. They also chose to lift the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits entirely, modeling the bill after a 2007 law in Delaware that was passed in response to a pattern of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

Just ignore this: Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature

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Hirono, Hanabusa, still stuck in DC

Eric Cantor has canceled the July recess that was to have begun the week of July 18, so that the U.S. House can deal with the Aug. 2 debt-ceiling deadline.

Harry Reid previously canceled the Senate's break.

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More Lingle Appointees just say no to Abercrombie

Two more members of state boards and commissions have confirmed they’re staying at their posts despite Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s request that they step down.

Now, a total of 18 appointees — all of whom were appointed by former Gov. Linda Lingle — say they’re resisting the governor.

Alan Tamayose of the Stadium Authority and Roger Godfrey of the Public Housing Authority both told Civil Beat on Friday they will not resign.

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Hawaii Lawmakers Accept More Than $137,000 in Gifts

Noticeably absent from the list of lawmakers who had filed gift disclosures were power players including Sens. Clayton Hee, Les Ihara, Roz Baker, Josh Green, Malama Solomon, and Reps. Rida Cabanilla and Joe Souki.

Kondo of the Ethics Commission said lawmakers are not required to submit a blank form if they did not receive any qualifying gifts during the year. The following eight legislators did anyway: Reps. Isaac Choy, Thomas Brower, Robert Herkes, Mark Nakashima, Gil Riviere, Sharon Har, Jessica Wooley and Sen. Jill Tokuda.

Here's a listing of lawmakers — in alphabetical order — who reported gifts for the year…

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Low CIP Threshold to blame for lack of Maintenance Statewide

Hanauma Bay hosts about one million visitors each year or around 3,000 per day. Besides Waikiki Beach, the bay is one of the most-visited beaches in the state.

In addition to the rusted rails, the park suffers from a faulty projector, holes in the information booth’s roof and the broken touch-screen computers in the visitor center.

Volunteers at the bay say the repairs have been put on hold for years….

In fiscal year 2010, the city received $5.982 million in admission, parking and concession fees.

This fund may only be used at the Bay, but some complain that it takes too long to release the funds for repairs.

Even Cabato says he feels frustrated. He told Civil Beat that there needs to be a better system in place.

“Every year I complain about it,” he said. “But if those are the cards I'm dealt, then that's what I have to work with.”

The process of getting the funding to go towards things like repairs, has to go through the same process as any other city project that grabs money from the general fund, the city said.

Anything over $5,000 and lasts five years or more would fall under CIP funding,” he said. (BINGO!) “That's a much longer process we have to go through.”

Volunteers hope to streamline this process and create one specifically for the bay.

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Conflict has appointee refusing charter panel seat

Lynn Finnegan, executive director of the Hawaii Charter School Network, has declined her appointment to the state Charter School Review Panel, citing a conflict of interest between the positions.

As head of the network, a nonprofit organization, Finnegan advocates for the state's 31 charter schools, and her salary is paid largely from their dues. As a member of the state's review panel, a volunteer position, she would help decide whether to authorize and revoke charters as well as put schools on probation.

"I definitely wanted to serve," said Finnegan, a former state House member who ran for lieutenant governor last year. "After doing some research, my participation on the panel does show a possible conflict. The other thing is that it would hinder my responsibilities as executive director of the Charter School Network."

CB: New Chief In Town For Hawaii Charter Schools

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EUTF board questions lack of minutes, adequacy of staffing, selection of vendor

I quickly happened on the most recent minutes posted by the Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund. These are from the Board of Trustees meeting on May 18, 2011. Nothing special, just a random look into one of the regular traps.

Let’s see. Trustee Karolyn Mossman, a union appointee to the board, “expressed concerns that Board minutes have not been posted on the EUTF for the past 18 months.” At that time, the most recent minutes on the web site were from March 2010. The board asked staff to post “all approved minutes,” and this now appears to have been done.

There was also a discussion of whether a particular agenda item should be held in executive session, out of public view. Clifford “Chip” Uwaine, another labor appointee, appears to question whether some matters that should be public are instead being discussed in closed sessions….

The board chairman is unable to determine, based on information provided by staff, whether the EUTF may be as much as 40% under-staffed. Interesting….

It took at least 15 months to approve a contract for the bank?…

…there are hints of resistance to a consultant’s recommendation to use Vanguard as a vendor….

ILind: Many state agencies fail to post meeting agendas or minutes online

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City to use 1 tow firm for all of Oahu streets

The city is trying a new approach to providing a public service that in recent years has generated major controversies, lawsuits, fines, scores of consumer complaints and an ongoing criminal fraud investigation.

Instead of dealing with multiple companies to handle police-initiated vehicle tows in 13 zones around Oahu, the city plans to hire one vendor for the entire island, essentially turning all of Oahu into a single zone. It also intends to consider factors beyond price, such as how complaints will be handled, in making the selection (and who gave the most campaign contributions.)

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Big Wind Blows Hard in Star-Advertiser

Navigant's "status and perspective" report found that Big Wind would mean savings (compared to the expected cost of oil) to all Hawaiian Electric customers over the project life.  (And some people may be stupid enough to believe this line of bs)

So what is a reasonable estimate of capacity factor, utilizing local data? The Oahu Wind Integration Study — by HNEI and involving other experts including from NREL (bought and paid for by Windfarm scammers) — together with Navigant's report support a robust capacity factor of 42 percent for Big Wind, even after adjusting for curtailment and transmission cable losses.

Pattern and Bio-Logical Capital are involved in Big Wind because we believe, based on publicly available local data and our own analyses, that it will provide lasting benefits in an economically viable manner (we can make a ton of money off ratepayers and taxpayers.)

SA: SolarCity enters isle market with intent to employ dozens

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Army discusses future of Pohakuloa

Niles discussed PTA's mission, vision, projects, partnerships and upcoming plans Sunday during the Kawaihae Local Resource Council's monthly meeting at Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co. He also provided information about PTA's natural resources and cultural programs, as well as presented the Army's more than $250 million wish list of future projects, such as ammunition storage facilities, an aviation gunnery range, electrical upgrades and packaged sewer system.

Throughout his hour-long presentation, Niles stressed the need to provide home-station training for Hawaii-based troops as more return and are not deployed. He also mentioned how expensive it was to send local troops to the mainland for training.

The first proposed modernization the Army wants to pursue is the expansion of the infantry platoon battle area, which would include a course for soldiers on foot with objectives and targets, a live-fire "shoothouse," and a 24-building military operations on urban terrain, or MOUT, site that replicates a village. The existing area is "undersized" and doesn't meet current training requirements, Niles said.

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New Hawaii Law Seeks to Restore Coverage for Construction Defect Claims

Abercrombie has signed legislation its supporters hope will restore coverage for construction defect claims under a commercial general liability (CGL) policy that was called into question by a 2010 court ruling.

However, an attorney specializing in insurance coverage and commercial litigation warns that the new law (H.B. 924) could create new legal issues for insurers because state law on construction defects is still not clear.

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Ten Years Later: Kidnapped Girl Escapes from Hawaii Felon

A wanted felon, George Craigen, had a steady but turbulent relationship with Jennifer's mother. The three of them were living in Hawaii when one night in May 2000, according to Jennifer, George brutally assaulted the teenager's mom.

To get away from police George knew he had little time to make his move. It was then he rolled up to Jennifer in his truck, opening the door for Jennifer to make a very hard decision.

"And he looked at me and he said, "Do you want to come.?" He was going to protect me from my mom is how he put it," Reed said.

Just weeks after disappearing from the island, Hawaiian authorities opened up an aggravated assault case against Craigen and Jennifer's father, Everett Meeks, began what would become a decade long search to find his little girl.

After some digging, police saw Craigen had an extensive record, including being a fugitive from Hawaii.

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Judge allowing Kidnapping, Murder suspect to visit girlfriend in Hawaii

Broome County, New York Judge Martin Smith has allowed suspect David Perry to travel to Hawaii later this week to visit his new girlfriend, Melissa Walker, an Army Medical Specialist stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii. Perry is a suspect in the disappearance of Kelly Rothwell, a St. Petersburg Police cadet, missing since March 12th, 2011. Perry was Rothwell's live-in boyfriend for three years at her condo in Indian Rocks Beach before she wemt missing after going home to tell Perry she was leaving him.

Rothwell, about to graduate the following month from the St. Petersburg Police Academy, was planning to break up with Perry, whom she described to her best friend Donna Scharrett, as controlling and obsessively jealous. Rothwell had lunch with Scharrett at a local Chili's Restaurant Saturday March 12th and then went home to her Indian Rocks Beach condo she shared with Perry to talk with him about their future. She has not been heard from since.

Upstairs neighbor Ken Williamson told authorities that he heard several loud thuds on the floor above, as if something was being "thrown to the floor". This was then followed by the sound of vacuuming.

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Allegiant: Fresno a likely candidate for direct flight to Hawaii

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Allegiant will begin direct flights to Hawaii as soon as next summer. Right now, the airlines in the process of choosing which city will get the direct flights. The airline said Fresno is a likely candidate….

A flight from Fresno to Hawaii runs about $1,000, that's with a stop in a major city. The airline said a direct flight could cost less. Allegiant is awaiting FAA approval for the flights. So far, Bellevue, Washington, Oakland and Las Vegas are a few other contenders.

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Tears flow as Foodland Hawaii Kai bids farewell after 47 years in business

After nearly five decades in business, Foodland's Hawaii Kai store said farewell to its loyal customers Sunday night.

After a town hall meeting, a petition drive and other last-ditch efforts to save their store, heart-broken customers shopped there for the last time.

At 6 PM, the doors to the popular supermarket closed. But the tears started flowing long before that.

Shapiro: Community bad will a curious business strategy for Walgreens

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New Hawaii Law Seeks to Restore Coverage for Construction Defect Claims

The new law was written to address the uncertainty for the construction industry caused by the 2010 decision in the Group Builders v. Admiral Insurance Co. case by the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeal (ICA). Though not required to follow federal court decisions, the ICA reviewed past federal cases interpreting Hawaii law on the issue and cited the same conclusion – that construction defects did not arise from an occurrence and therefore allegations arising from either a breach of contract or tort were not covered under a CGL policy.

The new law states that “occurrence” in a liability policy “shall be construed in accordance with the law as it existed at the time that the insurance policy was issued.”

The law applies to all liability policies in effect at the time the bill was signed into law.

But, according to attorney Tred Eyerly, an associate with the law firm of Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert, the new law creates its own uncertainty. The problem is that it’s not clear what the state’s prevailing law on construction defects has been or is.

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Auction Notice: Offer for Public Sale of Two High Speed Vessels

MARAD is offering for public sale, on an “as is, where is” basis, two fast ferry vessels, ALAKAI, Official Number 1182234, and HUAKAI, Official Number 1215902.

(Buy one or both and do doughnuts in Nawiliwili Harbor.)

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Industry throws Cold Water on Seabed Rare Earths Potential

…new land-based sources are likely to come into production long before any mining companies disturb these sediments….

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Our Cooling Globe: Montana ultra-marathon race cancelled due to July snow

lingering snow on the route that he says would make the course too dangerous for runners and likely prevent anyone from finishing within the required 36-hour limit.

Brad Lamson said that portions of the course for the Swan Crest 100 have deep snow that is concealing signs that mark trail intersections.

He said he’s convinced the snow won’t melt in time for the event scheduled for July 29.

He said postponing the race would pose problems with shortening daylight hours and increased grizzly bear activity.

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