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Sunday, March 25, 2012
March 25, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:13 PM :: 13535 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

 

Report: Hirono Campaign Funds Enrich Husband's Lawfirm

Lingle Campaign: BoE ordered Furloughs, Not Governor

Lingle Campaign: Superferry Decision Was Major Departure from Precedent

Yellow Light: Caution when you file your State Taxes

Lawsuits, Workers Comp Claims Detail Violence, Retaliation at State DoT

Robotics: Waialua, Baldwin and Island Pacific Academy Crowned Regional Champions

Pentagon Budget Slashes Military Construction 29% 

Abercrombie, Greenwood Team Up to Steer $260M in UH Contracts to Bert Kobayashi Inc

SA: Since 2008, they note, three of four sizable construction jobs, including the $113 million UH-West Oahu project and the $119 million Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, have gone to Albert C. Kobayashi Inc. via a selection method that was based largely on qualifications and did not include traditional competitively priced bids.

Contracts for the West Oahu campus, cancer center and a research building were all awarded through the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii using a process called design assist.

This month the university awarded the design contract for a fourth project, a UH-Hilo dormitory, to Kobayashi, giving the firm the inside track to snag the more lucrative construction work for that job.

If Kobayashi gets the job, it will have landed four of the five design-assist projects at the university over the past four years, including the two largest. The only one it sought but didn’t get: a (piddling) $6.3 million renovation. (Denied to create deniability, of course)

… Kobayashi Group (is) a company with past ties to UH. Its founder, Bert A. Kobayashi Sr., was a former UH regent and son of Albert C. Kobayashi, founder of the construction company, which eventually was sold to employees….

The university’s process for awarding contracts is getting renewed attention this legislative session as lawmakers and the Abercrombie administration look for ways to expedite construction projects to create jobs. Some believe the UH system could be a possible model for streamlining the state’s contracting methods.

The university has been able to institute new procedures because legislators in 2010 granted it a temporary exemption from key provisions of the state’s procurement code.

The exemption gives the university greater flexibility in purchasing goods and services, including the ability to forgo traditional price competition in soliciting certain construction proposals.

The exemption also allows UH to decide the merits of procurement protests filed against it — a self-policing power few other government agencies in Hawaii have.

“That is highly, highly unusual,” said Jim Nagle, a Seattle attorney with expertise in public procurement law….

The exemption is set to expire in June, but a pending bill, SB 1332, would extend it to give the UH more time to gather data on the effects (because it is so lucrative). Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the General Contractors Association of Hawaii and others support an extension.

“If the City and County of Honolulu were seeking a similar exemption from the procurement law to create their own process for awarding contracts, and utilized this created process for awarding contracts for the rail projects, people would be outraged,” Fujioka said in a statement to the Star-Advertiser.

Patrick Shin, owner of Nan Inc., one of the largest contractors in the state, said he is discontinuing funding for four UH engineering scholarships because of the procurement flap.

“Everybody in the construction community is so fed up,” Shin added.

SA: University of California system self-polices with third-party help

read … Contracting system enables UH to play favorites

Even if Obamacare is Overturned, Abercrombie will Destroy Prepaid in Hawaii

SA: this week, as oral arguments over the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act begin before the U.S. Supreme Court, many states are putting their plans on ice until the justices rule, presumably by this summer.

Hawaii, by contrast, is pressing ahead with some of its provisions. Rising costs — and a general consensus that a more affordable health marketplace is a good thing — have made health care "transformation" the current watchword here, regardless of the high court.

the Hawaii law was challenged before it could be completely implemented. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which regulates employer health benefits, had been passed at about the same time; the Hawaii law was nullified by the federal act until the state's congressional delegation won an exemption. The final roll-out of the law began in the 1980s….

Giesting, formerly chief executive officer of the Hawaii Primary Care Association, last July was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie as the state's "health care transformation coordinator." It's a new post created by executive order, according to the announcement at the time, "transforming the organization and delivery of health care services, including payment reform, health information technology and primary care workforce."

Implementing federal health care reform is part of the agenda, Giesting said, but she added that the state remains committed to the legislation's initiatives at the state level, regardless of what happens to the federal directive.

One of those initiatives: Hawaii Health Connector, the state's version of the health insurance exchanges intended to create a selection of plans for purchase by individuals and for small businesses otherwise not served in the marketplace.

"It really is almost irrelevant if the courts overturn it," Giesting said. "For one thing, I think Hawaii will go ahead with the exchange…."

The …Hawaii Health Connector exchange is a development that has run into some unexpected drama. Last week's legislative action included some heated testimony from consumer advocacy groups worried that the exchange is being set up as a private nonprofit, which is unaccountable to open-government rules, and that a slate of appointees were industry representatives with financial conflicts of interest.

Among them was Barbara Kim Stanton, executive director of AARP Hawaii, who believes the exchange needs greater transparency and oversight than any nonprofit would allow. That's all the more reason why, she said, the decisionmakers on the board should not be those with a financial interest in the plans offered on the exchange.

"In July it will become a nonprofit," she said. "You have the foxes in the henhouse, and the lights will go out at that point."

Precisely as Predicted: Health Insurance? No need: Abercrombie promises to dump Prepaid Health Care Act

read … Your Future under Neilcare

Cayetano: Since when is telling the public the truth a disservice?

SA: The Star-Advertiser's complaint that I "cherry-picked" five emails from roughly 500,000 documents to "turn public opinion against the (rail) project — and simply to boost my candidacy for mayor" — is absurd.

First, the public needs no spin from me or anyone else to turn against rail. They have already turned, according to the Star-Advertiser's own poll ("Rail Support Falls," Feb. 12). Another major poll shows even greater opposition.

Second, your editorial of March 18 ("Cayetano's rail tactics a disservice," Our View) ignores the difference between the candid utterances of career Federal Transit Administration officials believing that they are writing privately to each other, and the fawning grandstanding of their boss, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

In testifying before U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye's Appropriations Committee, LaHood revealed how little he knows about Honolulu's rail project when he said that it "will deliver people all over the island" — an astonishing statement that even Inouye should know is not true. (Cayetano is the only politico in Hawaii who hits Inouye with a throw-away line.)

Third, criticizing me for "cherry-picking" is like faulting a gold miner for not showing others the tons of gravel he had to sort through to find a few nuggets of gold. And make no mistake: These emails are nuggets in the eyes of anyone who wants to know what FTA staffers, not their politically appointed bosses, think of the city's rail project, including the city's "lousy practices of public manipulation" ("Emails suggest problems with rail," Star-Advertiser, March 14).

Fourth, you have the 500,000-page administrative record which we delivered to your office. Perhaps if you ever get around to reviewing it, you will "cherry pick" your own nuggets, and whether they are pro-rail or anti-rail, we hope you will reveal them to the public.

Fifth, I find it ironic that your opinion editors would complain about my efforts to turn public opinion against rail. The editorial in question is just the latest of many editorials in which the Star-Advertiser defended or sang the praise of the city's proposed elevated, heavy rail project.

read … Since when is telling the public the truth a disservice?

Kakaako is THE crony capitalist hot spot — but devil will be in details

Borreca: At a recent downtown seminar on the new spurt of planning for Kakaako, Gov. Neil Abercrombie pitched the area like it was the Ginsu Knife of real estate development:

“We are going to have art blocks, we are going to have small businesses, we are going to have loft living, we are going to have every variety of modern life across the complete spectrum of our relationships with one another from the very young to those of us aging in place. (In other words, Kakaako will be devoted to weakening the nuclear family.)

“All of us are going to look to Kakaako and its extension to Kalihi as the revitalization of a new urban core in Honolulu that not only will we be very proud of, but will thrill us and give us the opportunity to say to one another that is where I want to be. (Utopia.) That is aloha and that is Honolulu and that’s the 21st century and that’s Kakaako,” Abercrombie said….

There is much to fear because Hawaii’s developers and planners are perfectly capable of taking our once-in-a-lifetime views and vistas and walling them off from the public, as was done with Kalakaua Avenue. Those planners turned Waikiki into a concrete canyon instead of a tree-lined beach.

The issue today is filled with many moving parts because Abercrombie’s proposal to give a portion of the makai parcel to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to settle $200 million in past due land claims is moving steadily through the Legislature….

The land transfer would allow HCDA to have the last say on how OHA could use the property. The Legislature has said there could be no residential development along the parcel. But already, this year’s Legislature is toying with the idea of allowing two pieces of land to be used for high-rise development to give OHA more development flexibility….

Apo stressed that Kakaako Makai would essentially be the first development of a new Hawaiian nation, and the trustees want to get it right and be respectful of the planning that has gone on.

Already OHA is exploring issues such as: Can you build on land that previously was a landfill? Can you handle the expected rise in sea levels? Can you make money without tarting up the place?

Even the HCDA community plan notes, “The current economic downturn, prohibition on residential activities in the area and a resistance to for-profit land uses, create a serious challenge.”

SA: OHA testifies against SB755 (they don’t want any competition to Kakaako)

SA: Keep Kakaako Makai land open for the people

read … Crony Capitalist Hot Spot

DoE Makes Excuses as 12,000 students miss 15 days or more

SA: The concerns come as the DOE is reporting new absenteeism figures, which show:

>> About 12,000 students accrued 15 or more absences from Aug. 1 to Jan. 31, a five-month period during which there were 112 school days. That means those students missed

13 percent or more of the first half of the school year. (Studies show when a student misses 10 percent or more of a school year, their achievement suffers.)

>> Ten percent or more of the student population at 46 schools was chronically absent this school year, missing 15 days or more during the first half.

>> Some schools had higher rates of chronically absent students: 26 percent of students at Waianae High, 20 percent of students at Pahoa High and Intermediate, and 19 percent of students at Waianae Intermediate were absent 15 days or more during the period.

The figures, which were part of a request for data from the Star-Advertiser, are a concern, said Ronn Nozoe, DOE deputy superintendent, adding that absenteeism cannot be addressed “in isolation” by schools. (This is lack of leadership. Instead of addressing the problem, Nozoe makes excuses and raises other problems.)

“We can have 100 percent attendance, but if we don’t have good instruction, it’s not going to move the needle,” Nozoe said.

He also pointed out that the percentage of students who are chronically absent represent a relatively small percentage of all those enrolled. So far this year, he noted, more than 47,700 public school students have had one or no absences.

(But in spite of the lack of leadership from Nozoe….) Kalihi Kai Elementary Vice Principal Laurie Luczak said working to address absenteeism has been a “very deliberate” policy at the school.

“Our teachers deserve a lot of credit in embedding the message that you need to come to school,” she said, adding that counselors also do home visits to address poor attendance.

read … Lack of Leadership

Professional Protesters Use Months-Long Protests to Swipe Land, Academic Positions

SA: Generations of tolerance by Hawaii law enforcement and government officials toward sit-ins and occupations on public lands and in government buildings have meant that some protests have lasted for weeks and months in high-profile, public locations that include the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace, the University of Hawaii's Bachman Hall administration building and even the governor's office.

In one case in the early 1990s, Hawaiian activists claiming indigenous rights lived in tents and occupied a portion of Makapuu Beach Park for a year and three months until they were given 45 acres of mauka lands in Waimanalo in 1994, where they relocated.

Vanessa Chong, executive director of the ACLU of Hawaii, calls it "Hawaii-style protests."

"People who have been here a while and have been involved in protests and understand how dissent works in Hawaii can use this very effectively," Chong said….

As a UH student, Davianna McGregor participated in the peaceful 1974 sit-in at UH's Bachman Hall to urge the continuation of ethnic studies. Today, McGregor is a UH professor teaching a new generation of ethnic studies students.

Over the years that followed the Bachman Hall sit-in, McGregor witnessed — or participated in — Hawaii's anti-Vietnam War demonstrations and protests over a wide range of issues including Hawaiian rights and Hawaiian sovereignty, the return of Kahoolawe and anti-geothermal drilling in the Puna rainforest.

(The whole point of this article is to ‘educate’ the mainland idiots who comprise Occupy Honolulu.)

Related:

read … When’s the last time anybody gave you 45 acres?

Kenoi, UPW Take over Dragstrip to Rally Dopers to Get Out the Vote

HTH: The Big Island Auto Club says it’s being kicked to the curb in favor of a politically connected concert scheduled on a day that’s been long reserved for a race event it’s held for more than 40 years.

The car racing club says it reserved the short drag strip in October for Friday through Sunday, April 20-22, for a sanctioned points race that’s drawing national attention, including participation by Volkswagen Magazine. The benefit for the Food Basket draws racers from all over the Big Island, as well as Oahu and Maui, said club board member Bear Barrilleaux.

But Hawaii County Parks and Recreation earlier this month agreed to allow a get-out-the-vote Reggae rally on April 20, being promoted locally by Alton Nosaka, United Public Workers business agent in Hilo. The for-profit event will be drug- and alcohol-free (did they say Reggae?) and features nonprofit food vendors, said Parks and Recreation Director Bob Fitzgerald. Admission is $10. Nosaka did not return a telephone call Friday.

“If we don’t get to use Friday night, the event won’t be able to continue,” Barrilleaux said. “Who’s going to stop them from destroying everything in here?”

Fitzgerald claims the racing club reserved only April 21 and 22 for its race. But club members say that’s not the case. Otherwise, they ask, why would the promoters have approached the club board and asked them to give up that day. The club said it wanted an $8,000 damage deposit, hoping to dissuade the promoters. Instead, the promoters went outside the Parks and Recreation reservation process and appealed directly to Mayor Billy Kenoi, board members said.

read … Need that reggae dope vote to win

Federal Judge Rejects Hawaii Concealed Carry Suit

SA: A federal judge has turned down the latest challenge to Hawaii gun control laws filed by an Aiea man who sought to carry a handgun in public.

Christopher Baker contended that state laws violated his "right to bear arms" under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

But on Wednesday Senior U.S. District Judge Alan Kay rejected Baker's request for an injunction that would have paved the way for him to carry a gun in public.

Kay said Baker was not likely to prevail at a November trial on his lawsuit; that the public interest weighed in favor of turning down his request; and Baker had not shown he was "irreparably harmed."

The judge said he would later file a written decision.

"We think it's the correct ruling," city Deputy Corporation Counsel Curtis Sherwood said.

Baker, 27, president of the Hawaii Defense Foundation, a nonprofit group established last year to defend the Second Amendment, filed his lawsuit after Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha turned down his application for a license to carry a concealed handgun.

Baker said he will continue to press his case but wants to review the judge's written ruling before taking the next step.

"We definitely don't agree with his opinion," Baker said.

read … Concealed Carry

‘Green’ Scammers Employ 2.7 percent of isle workers

SA: So-called green jobs accounted for 2.7 percent of Hawaii’s total workforce in 2010, the 15th-highest percentage nationally.

Of the 586,772 people employed across the state in 2010, 15,593 had jobs in which they produced goods or services that “benefit the environment or conserve natural resources,” according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released last week….

To qualify as green, an employee had to be involved in at least one of the following areas scams: renewable energy, energy efficiency, pollution reduction, greenhouse gas reduction, recycling, organic agriculture, sustainable forestry or environmental conservation.

read … 2.7 percent of isle jobs are green, report says

State Land Board gives nod to culling of sharks

HNN: Scientists don't know why Galapagos sharks have suddenly ventured into shallow waters to prey on baby Hawaiian monk seals in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. (Because there are no fishermen to catch them thanks to the fishing ban)

The species of shark are normally found in deeper waters.

But are only 1,100 of the endangered monk seals left, and scientists, who have only removed two sharks in the past two years, said the situation warrants taking at least 18….

Littnan said of the 800 monk seal pups born in the last 15 years or so, about 200 have been attacked by sharks.

But it could be tricky to determine which sharks are the aggressors. (Clue: They’re sharks.)

(They won’t be harvesting the fins, so this is OK…. Once again the enviro elites can do that which is forbidden to mere peasants.)

As explained: Monk Seals Dying in NW Hawaiian Isles Because of Fishing Ban

read … Murder

Criminal with 37 Priors, Out Wandering the Streets, Wanted Again

KHON: Gouveia was also arrested in October 2009 for violating a temporary restraining order.

He's now wanted on two $20,000 warrants for not complying with the terms of HOPE Probation.

Dennis Gouveia is 42 years old, six feet three inches tall, and weighs about 230 pounds.

"Gouveia has 37 prior convictions, which include burglaries, thefts, assaults, abuse of a household member and several other offenses. He is known to frequent the Waianae area."

(37 priors in 42 years, yet somehow he is out of prison?)

read … Soft on Crime

Liliha revitalization in works after HMC Closure

SA: More details will be revealed at community meetings, which are tentatively set for May 2, May 18 and June 25.

With her district still reeling from the recession and the January closure of Hawaii Medical Center's Liliha campus, Rep. Corinne Ching wants to get the architectural project moving.

"Masu's Massive Plate Lunch, Mochi & Candies shop and the New Uptown Fountain all went down with the recession," she said.

About 1,000 workers lost their jobs in the Hawaii Medical Center closure, which also affected surrounding businesses, Ching said.

Business at the original L&L Drive-Inn in Liliha has dropped off 10 percent or more since the HMC closure, said Eddie Flores Jr., who along with Johnson Kam opened the store in 1976 at the site of the old L&L Dairy in the heart of his boyhood home.

"When the hospital closed it hurt our sales. A lot of our customers were from there, and we are hoping that it will open again," Flores said.

read … Liliha

Kailua Water Main Breaks three times in two weeks

HNN: There's a recurring problem that's causing headaches for a Windward Oahu neighborhood. Weary residents watched Saturday as crews repaired an aging water main that's already been fixed two other times this month.

Nunu Street residents are not happy that replacing the old pipeline with a new one is not high on the Honolulu Board of Water Supply's priority list.

Board of Water Supply trucks, construction equipment and water wagons have become familiar sights on Nunu Street in Kailua. Residents of the small neighborhood have endured three water main breaks in two weeks.

(Don’t worry. We’re going to build a railroad.)

read … Aikahi residents plead for replacement of aging, 'patched-up' water main

Back to business at Police Commission

KGI: The Kaua‘i Police Commission was back to business Friday morning with Police Chief Darryl Perry present and in command of the police department.

In his report, Perry said the 82nd recruiting class is set to begin May 1, and he expects up to 11 recruits.

Perry noted that the department’s top priority was achieved, that of hiring two criminalists, better known as ID technicians.

The priorities that continue to wait include creating two new beats in Kawaihau and Lihu‘e. This will require about 14 new officers with the new district offices, Perry told the commission.

Read … Perry

KIUC Elects Three to Board

During the election, KIUC received 7,145 ballots. The KIUC communications department noted that while there were three available director slots to fill, not all voters chose to exercise all three votes on their ballots.

Baldwin garnered 2,826 votes followed by Murashige with 2,618 votes and Gegen with 2,350 votes, edging out Steve Rapozo who tallied 2,286 votes.

Ken Stokes (2,157), JoAnne Georgi (1,833), Joel Guy (1,514), Lesther Calipjo (1,437) and Stewart “Stu” Burley (1,384) rounded out the field.

Read … KIUC

CCW: Baker Lawsuit Draws Fire From Brady Campaign


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