Senate Health Committee Shelves Beverage Tax
HFF: Good News HB2788 Waikiki Casino Deferred
House Republican Caucus: For the Record
Abercrombie Appoints Heather Giugni to the State House
Insurance Institute: HB2358 Would Weaken State Building Code
EUTF, Mortgage Fraud, and Toll Roads -- House Republicans Speak Out
Study: Lower income workers do not appear to rely on transit
9th Circuit Hears Sides On Sea Turtle Rule
House panel rejects measure to end state 'pension spiking'
SA: A bill intended to limit the use of overtime in calculating pensions for county and state workers has hit a roadblock in the House, where the Labor and Public Employment Committee refused to advance the measure.
State Rep. Karl Rhoads, committee chairman, said he held House Bill 2488 Tuesday because he
believes the way to address excessive overtime is through better management, not through legislation. does whatever the HGEA tells him to do.
read … House panel rejects measure to end state 'pension spiking'
BoE Votes Tuesday on Changes to Teacher Tenure, Accountability
CB: The Hawaii State Board of Education will decide on Tuesday whether to raise the bar for giving teachers tenure and pay raises.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Legislature are attempting to do the same thing through Senate Bill 2789 and House Bill 2527, both of which await only their financial committee hearings before reaching their respective floors for a vote.
But these issues are the board’s responsibility, Chairman Don Horner told me last week, and not the Legislature’s.
The board will vote on whether to change the probation period from four to six semesters, and require teachers to be dismissed if they get rated “unsatisfactory” on their evaluations in any two semesters during their probation period.
It also will vote on whether to tie all pay increases for teachers and educational officers to annual performance evaluations.
Game plan: Pass all this stuff, save RTTT, get the $75M in hand, then HSTA/ACLU overturns all of it in court.
SA: Principals out-earn DOE superiors
read … BoE plan to Fake out Feds
OHA Promises to stop shaking down Hospitals and Affordable Housing Projects in Exchange for Kakaako Settlement
MN: OHA official Malia Ka'aihue, who led Wednesday's presentation, said that the settlement means OHA would drop its legal pursuits of three sources of revenue on crowned lands: at airport duty-free shops, state hospitals and affordable housing.
"We have a lot of (other) claims outstanding," Ka'aihue said.
OHA Trustee Carmen "Hulu" Lindsey said that in her travels across the state, attending 11 of 17 meetings statewide, she found that only a vocal minority opposed the settlement between OHA and the state administration of Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
An informal survey shows most people support it, Lindsey said.
Foster Ampong was applauded when he asked that if the settlement were such a great deal, then why not hold a referendum? He also argued that it's a conflict of interest for a state agency to negotiate with the state.
While eight out of 10 Native Hawaiian statewide communities have shown support for the proposal, Maui and Hilo have not, Lindsey said. OHA officials said they would record the comments of the roughly 25 residents at Wednesday's meeting - the second on Maui - for the trustees unable to attend the gathering.
related: OHA driving Hawaiians out of Hawaii
read … Extortion Payoff
Anonymous Finalists for rail mass-transit’s top job Secretly arrive for interviews
PBN: Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation officials were not disclosing the names of the finalists for HART executive director as PBN went to press Wednesday.
read … Who Wants to Be Blamed?
Legislation to Create Another Government Employees Union?
AP: The Graduate Student Organization says it's closer to being able to negotiate working conditions and salary increases because of a bill before the state Legislature.
The bill would remove a restriction that currently prohibits graduate students from negotiating their contracts. The Hawaii Government Employees Association and other unions have joined with the graduate students in supporting the bill.
read … More Government Employees
KSBE, Schatz, Morita to Join in Groundbreaking for Mafia Wind Project
Speakers will include:
- Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz
- Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair, Senate Committee on Energy and Environment
- Mayor Peter Carlisle, City and County of Honolulu
- Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind
- Richard Rosenblum, President and CEO, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.
- Dee Jay Mailer, CEO of Kamehameha Schools
- Antya Miller, Executive Director, North Shore Chamber of Commerce
- Hermina Morita, Chair, Public Utilities Commission
Don’t Read: Hawaii Wind Developer tied to Largest-ever asset seizure by anti-Mafia police
read … Mafia Wind Invite
More Windmills Coming, But Not All Island Residents Approve
HR: Molokai residents point to a now defunct windmill operation at South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii as one reason not to erect windmills. On the beachfront site, many of the steel windmills have rusted into place or collapsed.
The property where the Big Island windmills now stand was once owned by Kahuku Ranch. Kahuku Ranch sold the property to the WF Co.
While new windmills are going up on Oahu, many neighbor island residents are wondering why others have been left standing unused for decades.
One Big Island rancher told Hawaii Reporter: "The windmills were the Model T. of Mitsubishi's and had never been tested in Japan. Eventually they leaked oil and the wind would blow the oil quite a ways from the towers. Why they are allowed to still stand there is a big question. Aren't there laws that say that they must be removed and the area cleaned up?"
Related: Wind Energy's Ghosts
read … Rusting Hulks
Plastic Bag Tax: Retailers, Enviros Bicker Over Loot
HONOLULU (AP) — A proposal to collect fees from customers who choose disposable paper and plastic shopping bags is gaining support as it works its way through Hawaii's Legislature.
If lawmakers pass the House Bill 2260 this session, Hawaii would become the first state to enact this kind of pro-environment legislation.
The measure has been touted as a way to discourage shoppers from using single-use shopping bags by charging an extra 5 cents per bag. The average person uses 400 plastic bags each year, advocates say.
Mark Fox, Director of External Affairs for the Nature Conservancy, told a House committee Thursday that the legislation has two benefits: "It works on changing people's behavior and encourages them to bring reusable bags. And if you're unable to change your behavior, you can contribute to helping our watersheds."
Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island counties have all enacted measures to limit use of plastic bags.
Melissa Pavlicek, testifying on behalf of Safeway and Times Supermarket, said plastic bag bans on Maui and Kauai have led more shoppers to ask for costly paper bags instead of bringing their own reusable totes.
The grocery chains support the bill, however, but requested the state use some of the fee to help them cover the cost of administering the program….
Carol Pregill, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, noted the proposal puts the burden on consumers, rather than businesses.
The retailers Pregill represents support the bill, but want to ensure future changes would not result in additional costs to merchants, she remarked.
Stuart Coleman, of the Surfrider Foundation, told committee members he was excited to see the bill moving after four years of urging the state to take action.
read … Falling out amongst thieves
Queens Still Trying to bar Cancer Center Doctors
SA: The Cancer Center of Hawaii plans to install $6 million in new equipment at its Liliha and Leeward clinics to offer the types of radiation treatment now available only at the Queen's Medical Center, Dr. John Lederer, the center's medical director, said Tuesday.
Installation at the Liliha clinic is scheduled to begin June 1. Installation at the Leeward clinic will begin once the Liliha clinic is operational, Lederer said.
In the meantime, Pacific Radiation Oncology, of which Lederer is one of six principal physicians, is asking a federal judge to issue an injunction allowing Pacific Radiation Oncology doctors to continue using the facilities at Queen's to treat their cancer patients already undergoing radiation therapy, their patients who will soon need radiation treatment and any future cancer patients who might need such therapy.
read … Cancer Center
Cayetano Decides to Dump Civil Beat from Media List
CB: Yes, it’s true. Ben Cayetano says he won’t talk to me anymore, and he’s ordered his campaign staff to remove Civil Beat from its distribution list.
Cayetano’s accusations of bias have been tossed around a lot recently, but things came to a head when he thought I wrote yesterday’s “Time to Get Serious About Rail Conversation” piece that said both Cayetano and Mayor Peter Carlisle have “believability” problems.
That story was actually written by CB editor John Temple.
John goes into detail and shares the correspondence in his new story today: Cayetano Cuts Civil Beat From Campaign Media List
If it’s not obvious, candidates and public officials don’t get to dictate who covers them, so Cayetano’s request that I be replaced on the campaign trail isn’t going to change things. But it’s definitely news that he’s trying.
The Florida-based Poynter Institute, renowned for promoting public-interest journalism, picked up the story today. They wrote that they’re going to try to get comment from Cayetano. We’ll see what happens next.
read … Cayetano vs CB
VIDEO: Waimea rallies around departed middle school principal
BIVN: WAIMEA, Hawaii: A standing room only crowd of more than 350 people was at Thelma Parker Gym in Waimea Thursday night for a community meeting to discuss the abrupt departure of Waimea Middle School Principal John Colson. Board President Keith Vieira introduced the meeting, and apologized for how the board has handled the situation but he reinforced that Principal Colson resigned.
Five members of the 9 member board, the Oahu-based Ho’okako’o Corporation, were at the meeting. Vieiria also introduced the incoming interim principal, Lydia Trinidad, who will move from her job as principal of Kuala pu’u Elementary School on Moloka’i.
Kahu Billy Mitchell laid into the members of the board, saying what most others said—they did not believe board chair Vieira when he said John Colson resigned. Kahu Mitchell said Colson would never leave the Waimea Middle School children abruptly in the middle of the year.
HNN: Questions remain about Big Island principal's abrupt departure
read … Waimea rallies around departed middle school principal
Inouye Wants to Revive Interisland Ferry
CB: Sen. Daniel Inouye has long been a champion of the Honolulu rail project, but these days there's another major transportation project on his mind.
"You want to know what some of my dreams are like?" Inouye said in an interview with Civil Beat earlier this month. "A reasonable ferry system that one can afford to pay (for)." (ie a State-Run ferry)
Inouye doesn't mention the now-defunct Superferry by name, but what he describes sounds a lot like the system that was shut down amid backlash from environmentalists and a subsequent state Supreme Court decision in 2009. Hawaii Superferry, Inc. went bankrupt in the months that followed.
If Hawaii could get a ferry system going again, Inouye said it would be an economic boon.
"If you're on Molokai, you could work in Waikiki," Inouye said. "It would make a difference. Then you can go home and open up a business, so everything starts moving. I like to connect people."
(Where was Inouye when the Superferry needed his support against hordes of criminal Democrats on Maui and Kauai?)
CB: State Auditor: Hawaii Owes $63 Million in Superferry Expenses
read … Socialist Ferry
Hanabusa Fails in Effort to Direct More American Money to OPEC
CB: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s proposal to require specific safety certifications for offshore oil and gas operations stalled in the House on Thursday. (In other words, she wants to create more artificial barriers to US oil exploration and development so more US money will be directed to OPEC.)
read … Hanabusa Amendment Fails
Residential rents up 13 percent in past 2 years
PBN: Hawaii’s average rental rates have increased 13 percent in the past two years, according to a new housing report, and industry experts are predicting rents will continue upward at the rate of 1 percent to 3 percent annually for the next few years.
Some sources tell PBN that current rent increases will start pushing more Hawaii residents into the home ownership market. But most industry observers, including Doug Wong, managing member of the Honolulu-based Manage Hawaii LLC, say local rents will have to reach the $2,000-a-month range before long-term renters decide it would be better for them to buy.
read … The Rent’s Too Damn High!
Hawaii PV installers brace for tariff
PBN: The U.S. Department of Commerce could enact a tariff on Chinese-made silicon modules and cells as soon as next month that would raise the price of the raw material used for photovoltaic panels by as much as 200 percent. As a result, many Hawaii PV contractors are considering new panel suppliers, and some industry leaders say any increase in prices or disruption of crucial materials will slow the state’s fastest-growing industry.
read … Tariff
Death Penalty Sought In Arizona Prison Murder of Hawaii Inmate
HR: Pinal County Attorney James Walsh said in court papers that the crime was committed “in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.”
According to the lawsuit filed yesterday, Nunuha was stabbed 140 times and the initials of his assailants’ prison gang were carved into his chest.
Other factors which Walsh said justify the death penalty include:
- The murder was committed inside a prison.
- The murder was connected to a “criminal syndicate.”
- The murder was “committed in a cold, calculated manner without pretense of moral or legal justification.”
Meanwhile … Kulani Prison to Be Transformed into Resort for ‘Healing’ Prisoners?
read … Fry?
Disturbing Complaint Against Private Prison
CN: The nation's largest private prison company's "negligence, recklessness, and flagrant failure to protect" an inmate allowed other prisoners to stab him 140 times, killing him, the dead man's family claims in Hawaii state court.
read … Private Prison
Killing renews calls for abuse interventions
SA: Thirty-four days after filing for divorce, Amy Marie Kaufman was shot to death Wednesday by her estranged husband, Christopher Brooks Kaufman, who then killed himself.
"In the Kaufman case we're seeing that she was trying to leave the relationship, and that's often the most dangerous time for the victim," said Veronika Geronimo, executive director of the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a private nonprofit organization.
"As communities we need to stand up against violence and hold batterers accountable," she said.
HawaiiNewsNow Video: Victim in murder-suicide had "wonderful soul"
read … Domestic Abuse
Dopers Take Cannabis Claims to 9th Circuit
HONOLULU (CN) - The 9th Circuit heard arguments to let a Native American church reclaim cannabis that drug officials seized and destroyed years ago.
Michael Rex "Raging Bear" Mooney and the Oklevueha Native American Church of Hawaii filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief in 2009 after the Drug Enforcement Administration seized a FedEx package containing about 5 pounds of cannabis in Tupperware containers.
Mooney says he planned to use the cannabis in certain religious activities, namely "lunar use" and "sweat lodge use," and that interference with those activities curbed his religious freedom.
The DEA passed the seized cannabis to the Honolulu Police Department, which said it "routinely" destroyed it.
Finding no imminent threat of prosecution and that the police had closed the case, a federal judge refused to grant the declaratory and injunctive relief in April 2010. Three months later, the court also rejected newer claims relating to the seized cannabis.
Molokai: Tobacconist Selling K2 Spice
read … Dope Church