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Thursday, September 29, 2011
September 29, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:48 PM :: 8341 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

ILind: Spouses of top Inouye, Abercrombie aides employed by Emergency UXO Contractor

ILind: John Sabas, who is married to Inouye’s chief of staff, Jennifer Goto Sabas, has been a consultant to Commuity Planning and Engineering, Inc., since 2008, according to personal financial disclosures filed with the U.S. Senate by his wife. Senate rules do not require reporting of the amount he is paid, only that it is more than $1,000. Personal financial disclosures of congressional staff are available for public inspection via Legistorm.com.

Pickard is the sole officer of Community Planning & Engineering, according to the company’s business registration filed with the State of Hawaii.

Charles Asselbaye, married to Gov. Abercrombie’s chief of staff, Amy Asselbaye, is an entry-level environmental scientist for Environet, Inc., a sister company of Community Planning also controlled by Pickard, according to her personal financial disclosure filed in January 2011.

Environet Inc., which has received tens of millions in federal contracts for locating and clearing old military explosives on public land, would be among the main beneficiaries of the governor’s recent emergency declaration suspending dozens of environmental, administrative, and land management laws, allowing for streamlining the process of surveying and clearing. The company and its federal contracts were profiled here yesterday.

read … Pork Emergency?

SA: Abercrombie Secrecy on Child Deaths should be Swept Aside

The Abercrombie administration's policy against making information public about the death of a 9-year-old boy while in state custody is a departure from past administrations and should be swept aside. Further, the case has revealed troubling holes in the reporting and oversight of deaths of children under state custody….

Any state system receiving federal funding "is required to release to the public information concerning a child abuse and neglect case when it resulted in the death or near death of a child," according to a 2009 report by the Congressional Research Service. The Hawaii policy should be put to that test.

read … Child Death Secrecy

National Journal: Questions about Hirono’s Electability

One question mark surrounding Hirono is electability in a Senate race against former Gov. Linda Lingle, who defeated her in the 2002 governor's race. (Hirono narrowly defeated former Rep. Ed Case in the primary that year.) Having President Obama -- who is very popular in the state -- on the ticket makes 2012 a very different electorate from 2002 and Lingle hasn't even said she's running yet. But Case, who'll be no pushover in the primary, only fueled doubt about Hirono when he released a poll showing him defeating Lingle, but Hirono losing to her.

Hirono has better labor ties than Case, and is flexing that muscle early. Case told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the HGEA and the state AFL-CIO did not meet with him before issuing endorsements. While some Democrats have expressed doubt about Hirono's chances, she's racked up some early support from prominent local and national groups.

read … Questions, Doubts, 2002 redux

Hawaii Democrats Exporting More Obamanomics to Mainland

Duckworth, a wounded Iraq War veteran who worked on veterans’ affairs in the Obama administration, described the open U.S. Senate seat in Hawaii as “crucially important” with the political balance of the Senate in doubt next year.

“Hawaii really has an opportunity to play a role on the national stage with the elections here, so definitely I’m keeping my eyes on what’s happening here at home,” she said.

Duckworth’s preference in the Democratic primary between U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former congressman Ed Case? Hirono.

(Attention Hawaii Republicans: Why are you allowing Hawaii Democrats to export money? Make them spend it all here. Help save America.)

read … Illinois, again

Sorting out the Hawaii GOP Leadership Change

Here’s the best comment:

Jonah and Dylan developed a party-building strategy which relied too much on religious and social conservatives. The passion of these folks alienated more moderate, old-time Republicans causing them to hold back on their contributions. Meanwhile, the Tea Party and Religious conservatives do not trust the Party enough to put any money into it. They’d rather give their donations to their churches, conservative organizations or specific conservative candidates than to support the Party’s infrastructure.

So the energized right-wing drove out the moderate financiers of the Party and are unable (or unwilling) to make up the financial difference. Now that Lingle and Djou need the Party apparatus again for their campaigns, they are retaking ownership of the Party and will pay off its debts.

“Repo-publicans”?

As explained back in March: Conservatives lead Hawaii GOP--but will they pay for it?

read … $93,703

Hawaii Got $20B From Feds Last Year

The federal government spent more than $20 billion in Hawaii for the first time last year.

That's according to a report released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau that details how the federal government splits money between the states.

To put the federal total in perspective, Hawaii last year raked in barely half that amount from its most important industry, tourism, $11.2 billion. No surprise: The lion's share of federal money poured into populous Honolulu, which received $17.4 billion last year.

In the past decade alone, the federal government more than doubled its spending in Hawaii, from $9.7 billion in 2001 to $20.9 billion in 2010, according to the report….

Hawaii's total take per capita is $15,331, about 50 percent higher than the national average, $10,460.

But Obama burned the Treasury down so ... What Super Committee's Automatic Cuts Would Mean for Hawaii

read … The clock is ticking on this

Nurses: Arbitration begins September 30

In April, the Hawaii State Nurses (HGEA Unit 9) rejected a Governor Neil Abercrombie proposed continuation of a 5 percent pay cut on 2009 wages for the next 2 years. Arbitration begins on Sept. 30.

HGEA's executive director, Randy Perreira, said their wages are not competitive and are "woefully behind the private sector."

State Nurses are paid 30-37 percent less in wage and benefits than private nurses in the State.

The starting salary for an HGEA Nurse is $57,828.

Sutter Health nonprofit in northern California, communications director Karen Garner told Medscape Medical News: "We're committed to offering our nurses competitive wages and benefits," she said, adding that the average full-time Sutter nurse under a CNA contract earns $136,000 a year.

(Solution: Privatize the HHSC and quit HGEA to form a private sector nurses union.)

Related: Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text)

VIDEO: Abercrombie squares off with Maui Nurses

read … Nursing Crisis in Hawaii

Malama Solomon’s Lawyer prepares to Sue

"We're going to file a petition with the state Supreme Court to get a judicial review," said Stan Roehrig, attorney for several people who are contesting the commission's reasoning….

They charge that for political reasons members of the Reapportionment Commission are voting to keep one of Oahu's Senate seats from moving to the Big Island, which experienced a growth of 24.5 percent between the census counts of 2000 and 2010. The Hawaii Constitution mandates that an individual's permanent residence is the basis for drawing the state Legislature's political districts.

That means that the census data, which counts an individual's "usual residence" on April 1, 2010, needs to be adjusted downward for nonresident students and military. Oahu claims the highest proportion of both, because of its various military bases and the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus. Roehrig said that an extraction of 20,094 nonpermanent residents would give the Big Island a fourth Senate seat; an extraction of 107,000 would also give the island an eighth House seat. By his count up to 120,000 nonpermanent residents could be extracted.

Instead, commissioners voted Sept. 19 to extract out-of-state students and military living on bases, but counted most other military and nonresidents.

That 5-3 vote removed 16,458 people from the count, about 3,500 short of the number that would grant the Big Island Malama Solomon its fourth Senate seat.

Political Radar: Staggering Terms**

Reality: Military to be Disenfranchised so Meth dealer’s friend can keep Senate Seat?

read … Malama Solomon’s Lawyer

Council might ban personal property on city sidewalks

A bill being introduced by Honolulu City Council members is expected to make it easier for city officials to remove the property of the homeless and others from sidewalks and parks.

The bill, introduced by five Council members Wednesday, makes it illegal to store furniture, clothing, household items and other “personal property” placed on sidewalks, in parks, on streets and other “public property” that is owned, managed or maintained by the city.

Failure to remove personal property within 24 hours of a written notice would result in impoundment.

read … Just in time for APEC

Vans and buses converted into paddy wagons ahead of APEC, Maoists Whine

Is it a preview of what's to come or just deliberate preparation? Khon2 has learned several city vans and buses have been converted into paddy wagons ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu in early November. …

The police department would not say how many buses and vans had been donated by OTS and denied a Khon2 request to inspect the vehicles. However a Khon2 camera spotted at least five of the converted Handi-Vans at the Pearl City Bus Yard on Waimano Home Road. A source within OTS says at least ten city buses were also converted, and some of them were fitted with metal cages just past the main door. …

“I think it's a climate of fear,” said (Maoist) Carolyn Hadfield, a member of Revolutionary Communist Party The World Can’t Wait-Hawaii, a group planning protests during APEC Leaders Week from November 8 - 13.

“It seems like they're gearing up as though its war. It shows once again that their response is totally disproportionate to what protestors are actually planning.” (Trust me. I’m a Maoist.)

Upcoming? VIDEO: Occupy Wall Street–Preview of APEC Protests?

read … Maoists Upset

Vote by mail program sought for isle (again)

Hawaii's dismal voter turnout could be improved by allowing people to vote by mail, said South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford in introducing a resolution asking the state Legislature to set up a pilot program in Hawaii County.

"We have the worst voter turnout in the nation," Ford said. "We're not doing enough to help voters vote."

Resolution 170 will be heard by the County Council Governmental Relations Committee at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in council chambers in Hilo. The public can participate via videoconference at the West Hawaii Civic Center and the Waimea council office.

Fewer than half the registered voters -- only 39.5 percent -- voted in the 2010 primary election, down from 73.4 percent in 1990, according to the state Department of Elections. While 84.7 percent voted in the 1992 general election, only 53.3 percent did so in 1992.

Ford cites Oregon's experience moving to mail-in ballots as increasing voter turnout to 85-plus percent of registered voters while cutting the cost of elections by about a third….

Common Cause Executive Director Nikki Love in testimony: "We believe this measure would make voting easier for citizens and help improve voter participation."

Reality: Vote By Mail: “Tool of choice for voter fraud”

Heritage: Elections Exclusively by Mail: A Terrible Idea Whose Time Should Never Come

read … Fraud Enablers

Justice Reinvestment Panel Crunches Numbers

On Wednesday, they learned some of what all that data is telling them:

  • Property and violent crime both declined by half from 1997 to 2010.
  • Approximately 935 felons were sentenced to prison in 2007 compared with 624 in 2011.
  • The length of probation stays for felons has increased 15 percent over the past five years.
  • Hawaii's jail population has increased 48 percent since 2006.
  • The parole rate dropped from 40 percent to 34 percent from 2006 to 2010.

For example, told by project director Marshall Clement that Hawaii terms of probation are much longer than mainland averages — they range from five to 15 years versus two to three — First Circuit Judge Steve Alm responded that Hawaii's longer parole terms had "always been the culture and norm."

The feedback from Alm, who originated the state's HOPE program (Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement), is exactly what Clement and his staff want to hear. They want to understand why Hawaii's criminal justice system works — or does not work — the way that it does….

"I have to remind myself this is a 'justice reinvestment' project, not justice reinvention," Alm said at the beginning of Wednesday's presentation. "It is not studying and changing the system from A to Z but make a packet of suggestions and recommendation of concrete things to do."

Alm, who co-chairs the project's working group, said there are limits to what can be done. But he welcomed having outsiders with "fresh eyes look at our data and see what drives our criminal justice system."

Related: Judge Steven Alm: Justice Reinvestment and the future of HOPE Probation

read … Analyze This: Hawaii's Criminal Justice System

City Leaves Key Questions About ORI Unanswered

Honolulu still hasn't told the federal government how many people use a Wahiawa elderly care center under investigation for possible misuse of federal funds. (They can’t count that low.)

Full Text: 9 23-11 progress report

Related: Resignation call after Audit reveals “ward heeler’s slush fund” overseen by Honolulu Councilman

read … ORI

Higher Rental Car Fee Vacuums Extra $5 Million/Month out of Visitors Pockets

To help balance the budget, lawmakers approved increasing the daily rental motor vehicle surcharge tax from $2 to $7.50, with $4.50 of that slated for the general fund. The full tax originally went into the State Highway Fund. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the measure into law in June.

Although the rate increased July 1, the higher surcharge was not due to the Tax Department until Aug. 20 — effectively creating a one-month reporting delay. Collections for this month won't be reported until Sept. 20.

The state collected approximately $8.25 million in surcharges for the month of July. That compares to a total of $3.44 million collected for June rentals at the old rate. Of the $8.25 million, approximately $4.9 million will go into the general fund, while $3.3 million will go to the State Highway Fund.

read … That money could have been spent in the private sector

Ansaldo Contract Dispute Moves To City Council Chambers

The Council's Budget Committee Wednesday considered — and then deferred — a resolution that would urge Mayor Peter Carlisle and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to cut its ties with Ansaldo and start the process over again.

Council members want to know why Bombardier, a losing bidder, was disqualified from the running, and that's actually why the resolution was deferred: So Bombardier can come testify in person.

Another Bogus Civil Beat Fact Check: Civil Beat Underestimates The City's Cost For Rail

HR: Electric Cars Better for Hawaii Environment than Trains

read … Contact Dispute

Sen Pohai Ryan: Real Kauaians Want Tourists

a letter to the editor was submitted in response to the article which reads as follows:

"Lawrence Downes paints a nice picture of my Kailua. The trouble is that Mr. Downes forgot to mention that real Kailuans don't want tourists at all. There is, in fact, a plan in place to start a ‘tourists go home' campaign. Gentrification and creeping tourists have already destroyed what remained of Kailua's quaintness, and many local folks are being displaced by high rents because of the proliferation of illegal rentals, higher grocery costs and higher taxes."

I take exception to this. Every resident has a right to an opinion, but not to speak for the whole community by labeling only those who hold these unfriendly views as "real Kailuans."

read … Pohai Ryan

Aina Koa Pono Run Out of Town at Community Meeting on Big Island

Is Aina Koa Pono unaware of the current status of supposed biofuel plant, or is the caught-in-a-lie company banking on your ignorance. You'll never find out - unless you listen to live radio interviews with the reactor owners in Denmark. http://charleneongreen.org/radio-guests/479-2011-08-27-marco-m-otten-49-green-biofuel-technology-in-denmark.html

Aina Koa Pono, a biofuel marketing company seeking to collect $500 Million from Hawaiian residents through electric rate increases was almost ran out of town at a rare community meeting held at Pahala Community Center September 19.

According a video posted by Big Island Video News, residents from Pahala and Ka’u communities call out Aina Koa Pono on trying to deceive them with misinformation and contradicting stories from meeting to meeting. See video clip here http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2011/09/20/video-aina-koa-pono-faces-concerned-pahala-community/

read … Run out of Town

Kauai Hydro Projects take shape

In late 2010 and earlier this year, FFP filed preliminary permit applications with FERC to develop hydropower facilities on six Kaua‘i waterways. To date, FERC has approved four of the six applications: 6.6-megawatt Wailua River Hydroelectric Project (Clean River Power 15); 3.5-MW Hanalei River Hydroelectric Project (Kahawai Power 1); 6.6-MW Makaweli River Hydroelectric Project (Kahawai Power 2); and 2-MW Wailua Reservoir Water Power Project (Kahawai Power 5).

Applications are still pending for the 1.5-MW Kekaha Waimea Water Power Project (Kahawai Power 4) and the 7.7-MW Kitano Water Power Project (Clean River Power 16).

Some of the projects have been changed slightly, Hines said, and some more significantly. He said FFP is learning about opportunities to integrate the projects with agriculture and existing infrastructure.

“Looks like some of the projects may be a little smaller than originally conceived, and the details of that will be sorted out over the next month or so,” Hines said, adding a goal is to present a first-recommended or first-proposed project layout designs in late October or early November.

Read …. How will the Enviros Stop this?

Students question tuition hike

Members of the University of Hawaii at Hilo community weighed in Wednesday on a proposal before the Board of Regents to increase tuition rates over the next five years.

According to the proposed tuition schedule, the per-semester price tag at UHH would be elevated by 35 percent between the 2012-13 and 2016-17 academic years. Meanwhile, Hawaii Community College would see a larger increase of 48 percent per credit hour during the same time frame.

Campus and system administrators have called the increases "modest"….

read … Tuition

Ecos Grab for Coral Control

The Center for Biological Diversity claims that National Marine Fisheries Service failed to publish a finding on whether 82 coral species should be listed as endangered by the mandatory twelve-month deadline established under the Endangered Species Act.

PDF: 4779%20National%20Marine%2012.pdf

read … Coral

Tree-planting company develops model for investors

It leases the land but sells the trees under two programs: its so-called legacy reforestation initiative, which plants trees for conservation, and its investment program, which plants trees for harvest.

Related: Nature Conservancy partners with Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods

read … Tree Huggers become Tree Choppers

New Peeping Tom Allegations Against Honolulu Ex-Cop

Neighbor Robert Tinsley believes police have given Clissold special treatment because he is a retired cop. Tinsley had previously complained to HPD about Clissold’s behavior and then caught him in his yard the night of September 3, peeping into a window, according to court records.

Clissold, 69, told officers he was “looking for his cat” and wasn’t arrested.

One neighbor reported to Tinsley that she had repeatedly seen Clissold in Tinsley’s yard. The retired police officer was charged with the same type of behavior on the same quiet street in Hawaii Kai 10 years ago,Tinsley pointed out.

Clissold pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanor invasion of privacy charge in 2001 after police caught him in another neighbor’s yard….

Clissold was allowed to keep his badge and gun and the misdemeanor charge was erased from his record in 2002 after he completed a year of probationary supervision.

Clissold retired from the HPD in 2002. He was a lieutenant at the time of retirement and had been on the force for 30 years.

Clissold and his wife have held a license to operate a child care business in their Hawaii Kai home since 1983.

read … Peeping Tom

Six Criminal-Illegals Nabbed in Hawaii

Six people in Hawaii were among 2,900 illegal immigrants with criminal records arrested over seven days recently in the largest nationwide crackdown of its kind, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

All of those taken into custody had prior criminal convictions in the United States, and at least 1,282 had multiple criminal convictions, ICE said in a statement today. More than 1,600 of those arrested had felony convictions, including manslaughter, attempted murder and kidnapping.

read … Sweep of illegal immigrants with criminal records

September 11th San Diego Terror Scare tied to Hawaii

The incident happened on Sept. 11 inside Silver Strand military housing. Residents said a man was shooting video and pictures from inside his car. When a concerned resident went to question him, he left. The resident wrote down his license plate number, which led police to a local rental car agency and then to Hawaii. …

Police said the man in question was "a tourist and amateur photographer, tracked to his residence in Hawaii."

Along with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, Scanlon briefed dozens at a PTA meeting at Silver Strand Elementary on Wednesday, including one 10News viewer who asked to remain anonymous.

"Initially we were told that they were videotaping and it was a Middle Eastern person," she said.

Until now, the media has been kept in the dark about the incident.

read … September 11th

Kauai Biofool Plant will Reach into Your Pocket

At a meeting in Honolulu on Wednesday, Maloney updated the state agency tasked with aiding the development of diversified agriculture about his project. The state board reacted with a mix of support and skepticism, raising questions about the potential cost of the energy for Kauai's ratepayers.

The latter has become a hot button issue with Hawaiian Electric Co., which owns the electric utilities on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. The utility recently signed contracts with two biofuels companies at undisclosed costs. The contracts are believed to carry a substantial premium over the cost of petroleum. The contracts have also raised eyebrows because the proposed technology is pre-commercial and the companies have yet to produce the fuel.

read … Kauai Biomass Plant

HECO signs deal to buy local algae-based biofuel

Phycal Inc. has agreed to deliver the first shipment by 2014 as part of a pilot project using algae grown in ponds at its facility in Wahiawa. HECO has already proven that it can use crude palm in the petroleum-fired steam generating units at the Kahe plant, and utility officials said they expect the pilot project will confirm the ability to use algae-based fuel as well.

HECO and Phycal said the expect to follow up the initial contract with a subsequent agreement for up to 3 million gallons of algae-based biofuel per year for three years to run a full-scale demonstration project at Kahe.

HECO did not disclose the price it will pay for the biofuel under the contract that will require approval from the state Public Utilities Commission. Most biofuels are priced at a premium to petroleum-based fuels.

read … Algae is Green $$$$

Cecilio Rodriguez pleads not guilty in sexual abuse case

Local musician Cecilio Rodriguez, of the popular music duo C&K, appeared in a California court on Wednesday following allegations that he molested a child….

This is the latest string of legal troubles for the singer.

In December 1994, Rodriguez pleaded no contest to second-degree attempted sex assault. He spent two days in jail as part of his deferred acceptance of no contest plea, according to court documents.

Rodriguez has also had other problems with the law. In February 2010, he was stopped on the Moanalua Freeway near Fort Shafter and was arrested for driving under the influence.

He was found guilty last month, and was sentenced to 240 hours of community service and a $500 fine. It was his second drunk driving arrest in three years.

In July 2007, he was found guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. He had his license suspended for 90 days and was ordered to pay a $350 fine.

SA: Cecilio Rodriguez accused of sex crimes against 2 girls in the '90s

read … Charges


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