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Thursday, June 28, 2012
June 28, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:22 PM :: 13411 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Duke Aiona to Speak at Rally for Religious Freedom

Barking Sands: Navy Test of Missile Interceptor Successful

Abercrombie Signs Big Cable Bill, Demands Openness to All Green Energy Scams

Abercrombie Pretends Obamacare is not Attack on Prepaid Health Care Act

Fitch: Electronic Medical Records Key to HPH Future Profitability

Does Lanai Sale Kill Windfarm?

CB: But it’s not clear what Castle & Cooke’s retention of the wind farm rights mean, or whether Ellison could potentially stop the wind farm if he decided he doesn’t want it. Details of the agreement have not been made public, and neither Ellison nor representatives from Castle & Cooke returned Civil Beat’s calls on Wednesday.

Ellison could potentially halt the project because he will control the infrastructure, including the harbor where boats would have to dock with huge windmill parts and the water company — key resources for building the wind farm.

At the bill-signing ceremony, Abercrombie noted construction of a cable was still a long way off but the legislation would facilitate discussions by developers about renewable energy projects.

But the press had little interest in the cable bill. Instead, reporters wanted to know how the sale of Lanai would affect development of a wind farm, they wanted more details about the sale and one even suggested that the press conference was coincidentally on the same day the sale was supposed to close.

But Abercrombie had few answers about the wind farm.

“I think the purchase of the island is probably the center focus,” he said, adding that the fate of the wind project remains to be seen.

Even though the wind farm at least for now remains a Castle & Cooke project, there are many people who would like to meet with Ellison about his intentions.

Abercrombie said he hoped to meet with Ellison in the future.

His energy chief, Mark Glick, also hasn't met with the new owner.

Representatives from Biological Capital and Pattern Energy, two companies that are hoping to develop the Molokai wind farm and undersea cables for the Big Wind project, also said that they hadn’t met with him.

SA: Lanai sale closes, Residents in the dark about sale of Lanai

SA: The measure is the first step in developing the project opposed by some neighbor island groups

VIDEO: Act 221 Scammers Skeptical of Ellison

read … Dead Wind Farm?

WESPAC Leaders Hammer NOAA “Selective Science”

CB: For the past six years, Duenas, from Guam, has been a key player on the 16-member council that manages fisheries in a 1.5-million-square-mile swath of the Pacific Ocean, covering Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. Wespac is a taxpayer-funded federal agency that works closely with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service to make sure fishing stocks aren't overfished and that commercial fisheries stay strong.

Duenas repeatedly challenged federal scientists as they testified during Wespac meetings this week at the YWCA in Honolulu, accusing them of undermining indigenous rights.

"I don't understand the hardship you are trying to impose on us," Duenas said after a presentation from NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Deputy Director Michael Seki. "It's social injustice. It's selective science. The only people who are going to be impacted by the whole initiative are the brown people."…

Other council members also repeatedly made comments during the meetings Tuesday and Wednesday in support of indigenous rights and commercial fishing interests. They shot holes in the scientific reports regarding protected animals or marine sanctuaries. They applauded the science that supports removal of the green sea turtle and humpback whale from the endangered species list.

"We want true science in our communities," Duenas said, referring to the need for scientists to base more of their reports on what local fishermen say about the area or species in question….

This week's Wespac meetings wrap up Thursday, with discussion and action on an array of issues in the Hawaiian archipelago. Check out a full agenda by clicking here.

HNN: Remarkable recovery for Hawaii's humpbacks

CN: Feds Fuzzy on Monk Seal's Foraging Needs

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

Related: Lingle calls for Delay in Federal Grab for Control of Hawaii Shorelines

read …, WESPAC Not Fooled By EcoFrauds

Sen Sam Slom Announces Positions on Dozens of Issues

HR: I’ve always though providing transparency is the best policy. Here are some of my positions on issues over the years that might prove helpful in asking your own questions. Maybe your issues are different. Maybe you disagree with some of those positions. That’s okay. No one candidate can hope to please every voter on every issue but at least they should be questioned.

  • $9.03 Billion + Fixed Heavy Steel Elevated Rail (Train) NO
  • 2nd Amendment: “Castle Doctrine” YES
  • 2nd Amendment: Concealed Carry / Open Carry YES
  • Agricultural Lands – Protect YES
  • Akaka Bill NO

read … Slom

Campaign Cash Flows When Hawaii Lawmakers Are in Session

CB: Two House representatives — Pearl City's Rep. Roy Takumi and Waipahu and Ewa's Rep. Rida Cabanilla — drew in 100 percent of their donations during the session. But donations to each totaled less than $6,000.

Both Sens. Maile Shimabukuro and Donna Mercado Kim received about 78 percent of their 2011 donations while in session. Shimabukuro, who represents several neighborhoods in western Oahu, raised about $10,900 during session. Mercado Kim, who received 62 donations totaling $27,000 while in session, represents the district that includes Aiea, Halawa Valley and Kalihi.

Sen. Clayton Hee, who represents Kahuku, Laie, Kaaawa and Kaneohe, was the largest recipient of in-session campaign cash last year. Over the course of the session, he received 111 donations totaling $49,800 — 71 of which came on or just after his April 27 fundraiser. Those contributions amounted to $31,300.

Sen. Josh Green, whose district includes Kohala and South Kona on the Big Island, also pulled in some hefty donations during the 2011 legislative session. He received 65 donations totaling $45,650 after hosting two fundraisers — one in February, one in April. Each event sought suggested contributions of $500 per person.

Kauai and Niihau's Sen. Ron Kouchi pulled in 29 contributions amounting to $26,850 during session.

Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, who represents the Downtown, Kakaako and Waikiki district, received 45 donations adding up to $35,050 — or 86 percent of his total haul for 2011. He collected all of those contributions on May 4, 2011 — two days after his fundraiser and a day before the year's legislative session came to a close.

Galuteria says that the benefit to holding a fundraiser while the Legislature is still in session is that every state lawmaker is still under one roof.

"My colleagues are around and we can support each other," he said. "There's no hidden effect."

When asked whether he thinks in-session fundraisers pose any conflict of interest issues, Galuteria said that lobbyist support doesn't always have to influence legislative decision-making.

"There will always be that inference," he said. "Because lobbyists have the ability to support you doesn’t mean that you’ll be obligated to vote in their way. That’s not how we do business. I don't want to imply that I'm in any way indebted to them. In our profession, we're almost guilty until proven innocent...it's hard when there are these inferences."

read … Bought and Paid For

Billionaires likely won’t pay conveyance tax on sale of 88,000 acres on Lanai 

ILind: Most real estate sales in Hawaii are subject to a conveyance tax based on the selling price. The tax rate is a sliding scale, going from as little as one-tenth of 1 percent of the sales price for an owner-occupied home selling under $600,000, all the way up to 1.25 percent for some sales over $10 million.

However, the transfer of ownership of some 88,000 acres on Lanai is apparently set up as a sale of corporate stock in the Murdock-controlled entities that have held title to the land, with control of the land following indirectly.

If the island had been marketed and sold as a typical real estate transaction, the state’s cut via the conveyance tax would have been about $6 million.  

read … Good Tax Avoidance Plan

Whos Who of Tax Credit Scammers Celebrate With Abercrombie

CB: Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed into law HB2319, which appropriates $2 million to establish a venture accelerator funding program….

Inevitably, the naysayers will quickly ask "What did we get for our $2 million?" But, it's important to remember that, while "success" is usually measured in dollars, there's a lot more at stake for Hawaii: reversing the brain drain, broadening the talent pool and drivers of the economy, bringing in outside investment, creating sustainable jobs, and much, much more. (In other words, you won’t be able to identify any specific gain from this except some more corporate welfare queens strutting around town pretending to be entrepreneurs.)

For more information, Karl Fooks, president of the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation and a key driver behind the bill, will be presenting more details of the accelerator funding process tonight at 6:00 pm as the keynote for Hawaii's High Technology Development Corporation's monthly "Wetware Wednesday" event. More information on the event can be found here.

Others in attendance Wednesday included Richard Lim, Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development, & Tourism, Yuka Nagashima, Executive Director and CEO of HTDC, Len Higashi, Senior Economic Development Manager of HTDC, Burt Lum of HPR's Bytemarks Cafe, Rechung Fujihira and Anthony Stanford, founders of The Box Jelly, Omar Sultan, CEO of Protekai and co-founder of Sultan Ventures, and many other local startup entrepreneurs, supporters, and enthusiasts.

read … Welfare Queens

Record high arrivals, spending for Hawaii tourism

AP: There were nearly 623,000 visitors to the islands last month, an increase of 12.5 percent from a year ago. This was also a new high for May arrivals.

A 2.6 percent increase in daily per person spending to $190 contributed to the record visitor spending.

The authority expects this summer to be more prosperous than last year because of new direct flights from New York City, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and Fresno.

read … About the only thing holding the economy together

Another DoE Official Heads off to Prison

SA: Former Waipahu High School business manager Warren Harada had until Wednesday to pay back the nearly $500,000 he stole from the school in order to get the lighter of two penalties — five years of probation with 18 months of it behind bars.

Harada, 62, did not come up with the money.

So according to the terms of his plea agreement, state Circuit Judge Richard Perkins sentenced him to 10 years in prison for theft and money laundering.

read … The inevitable Result of Unaudited School Accounts

Pacific Media Workers Guild Comments on Hawaii Tribune-Herald's Decision to Shut Down Its Printing Operations

H24/7: The company explained that the decision to subcontract printing to West Hawaii Today was based on an assessment that the Hilo printing press is old and in need of repair. The company also cited the consolidation of printing operations as an industry trend nationally.

Workers at West Hawaii Today are not represented by labor unions. In a staff memo on Wednesday, West Hawaii Today said the Hawaii Tribune-Herald would be printed at its plant and then transported back to Hilo for packaging and delivery. West Hawaii Today said it did not expect to hire additional press employees.

At this time, the pressmens’ union said it is working out the details with Stephens Media and had no public comment.

ILIND: The move comes just months after a federal appeals court blasted the company for numerous labor law violations at the Tribune-Herald.

read … One Less Press

Makiki Democrat Organizes Occupy Protests

HNN: Chris Smith is the leader of the protestors. He doesn't just speak out on the corner, he is a member of the Makiki Neighborhood Board and also a delegate for the Democratic Party in District 28.

But what is most interesting is his job. He fights corporate greed but to make money he works the night shift stocking the shelves of corporate giant Wal-Mart.

"I work for Wal-Mart yeah, but they are willing to allow me to do what I need to do to fix the problems that are going on here. They are not going to throw me on the street without a job. They're willing to defend it and I think there is some good within that company. It doesn't mean I don't want a better job it just means I need to survive and those people have enough respect for my stance to allow me to do what I still need to do," said Smith.

So perhaps a corporation has helped Occupy Honolulu become the longest running occupy group in the world going 235 days straight at Thomas Square.

"These tents shouldn't be here. None of this needs to be here. The only thing that should be done is people should wake up and care about humanity," said Smith.

"We're persistent and we're very serious about enforcing the law and we'll continue to do so," said Westley Chun, Department of Facility Maintenance Director.

The city continues to receive complaints about the camps at Thomas Square and other homeless sites around the island. On days crews impound property it costs the city between $3,000 - $5,000 dollars. Since starting enforcement in December the Department of Facility Maintenance has spent between $120,000 to $240,000 clearing out camps.

read … Just a bunch of Democrats

Democrats Get Kids Drunk, Register Them to Vote

CB: The Voter Registration and Pledge Party at M was aimed at getting people signed up to vote; attendees who registered to vote on-site got free entry, free pupu and a drink ticket, along with being entered to win raffle prizes.

The event was sponsored by Pacific Resource Partnership, Hawaii Government Employees Association, Young Democrats of Hawaii and Pacific Edge Magazine.

read … Drunk and Disorderly

Forged Female Could Get 20 Years for Forgery 

KHON: The city prosecutor's office says Godwyn Foster pled guilty to 30 felony counts of forgery and theft.

Police say foster tried to buy a Waikiki business with several fake checks.

They also believe he signed a $20,000 fake check to our Lokahi Project. It was money Lokahi had planned for people in need.

read … 20 year prison term possible for man who duped Lokahi Project 

Oi: Haleiwa Deal Doesn’t Pass Smell Test

Oi: Compared to large-scale land dealings on Oahu — where urbanizing 1,550 prime agricultural acres forms compounds of acidic conflicts involving profit-intent developers, powerful government agents and community groups — friction over 3.4 brushy acres in Haleiwa seems unexceptional.

It is not.

It isn’t, because the 3.4 acres are part of a regional park, owned by citizens of Oahu, and a good many of them don’t want the land sold, as Mayor Peter Carlisle and some members of the City Council have proposed.

It isn’t, because the 3.4 acres sit across the road from the blue expanse of Waialua Bay and are coveted for an ill-fitting hotel by a developer who has been given an inside track on bidding for the land.

It isn’t, because the $300,000 minimum price tag set for the property falls far short of its 2009 tax-assessed value of nearly $3 million. It isn’t because that $3 million assessment three years later has curiously decreased to a meager $83,400.

It isn’t, because there is a shortage of park lands in the area, which both the mayor and the Council have acknowledged.

related: Illegal Vacation Rentals Behind Opposition to Haleiwa Inn?

read … Smell Test

Court will not release shooting video

SA: Circuit Judge Karen Ahn will not unseal McDonald's surveillance videos of the Nov. 5 shooting of Kollin Elderts by a U.S. State Department special agent in town for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Ahn denied a request Wednesday by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and its television news partner, Hawaii News Now, that she reconsider her May 31 decision sealing the videos and the description of the videos by attorney Brook Hart, who is representing special agent Christopher Deedy.

Deedy, 28, is charged with second-degree murder for shooting Elderts, 23, of Kailua, in the chest at the McDonald's Kuhio Avenue restaurant.

read … Deedy Case


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