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Wednesday, September 12, 2012
September 12, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:08 PM :: 1353 Views
 

Muslims Celebrate 9-11 by Storming US Embassies, Hoisting Al-Qaeda Flag, Murdering US Ambassador

Senate Committee to Markup New Revision of Akaka Bill

Hawaii County Police Investigate 2010 Voter Fraud

SHOPO, Small Business Groups Endorse Rep George Fontaine

Hirono Refuses Sister-Isle Debates

Lawyer to Abercrombie, Dela Cruz: Stop Lying to the Public about PLDC

Governor Releases $147 Million for Education, Health and Other CIPs

“Now is not the time to be increasing our taxes”

KHON: “Now is not the time to be increasing our taxes,” said George Szigeti of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association. “Hotels and other businesses throughout Hawaii are finally coming back online due to their hard work."

"If you keep raising these things, where do the people go?” said retiree Norman Bruckman. “Are you going to have more street people?"

"In this economy, we need jobs, we need to grow the pie, and we need policies that tell us how to do it,” said Rep. Gene Ward, House minority leader, “not ‘here's a shopping list, cherry pick, guys, and do something.’ "

Many called on the commission to disregard most of the suggestions when it forms its recommendations to lawmakers.

"I had wished this study had been more toward equity balancing and distributing, more fair tax base, rather than the emphasis on how do we increase the taxes,” said Rep. Gil Riviere, (R) North Shore.

The commission defended its consultants' work from stinging rebukes that preceded the hearing, including a column that compared the $180,000 combined report cost to the University of Hawaii Stevie Wonder fiasco that lost $200,000.

"Are you accusing PFM of fraud?” commission Chairman Randy Iwase asked.

“I'm saying it's a waste of money,” said Lowell Kalapa of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii.

SA: State Rep. Isaac Choy (D, Manoa), an accountant who was chairman of the last Tax Review Commission, said the consultant failed to consider the steps the Legislature can take to control government spending and manage long-term public employee retirement and health care costs.

HR: Tax Increase Slammed at Hearing

KITV: Public weighs in on Tax Review Commission report

read … Set up for next session

Lend Lease, Forest City Compete for Abercrombie Tower Contract

SA: The state agency soliciting bids to build a 650-foot tower that includes workforce housing on state land in Kakaako released the names of bidders Tuesday, reversing an earlier position to keep their identities secret until a preferred plan was chosen.

Affiliates of Forest City Enterprises Inc. and Lend Lease, two giant real estate development companies with projects in Hawaii, submitted bids for the estimated $500 million project dubbed 690 Pohukaina, the Hawaii Community Development Authority announced at its regular monthly meeting….

After the bid deadline, the agency declined to state how many bids were received or who bid. But after analyzing bid documents and state procurement law, which doesn’t apply to 690 Pohukaina because HCDA?is seeking a development partner, the agency determined it would share bidder names with board directors and the public.

At Tuesday’s meeting, agency board Chairman Brian Lee appointed a three-member committee of directors to rate the proposals.

The committee members are Luis Salaveria, deputy director of the state Department of Budget and Finance; Richard Lim, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; and Miles Kamimura, president of Pacific Property Group. Kamimura will be the committee chairman.

After a selection is voted on by the full board, it would be up to agency staff to negotiate a detailed development agreement with the selected developer.

Negotiations could take eight months, HCDA estimates. After an agreement is approved, it could take a little more than two years for the developer to design and permit the project, which again would involve public hearings to consider further details. If all is approved, construction might begin as early as mid-2016, with completion three years after that.

read … Corporatist Phallus

Proposal lets seniors ride TheBus free

SA: Senior citizens and persons with disabilities would ride TheBus and TheHandi-Van for free under a proposal introduced by City Council Chairman Ernie Martin and up for Council consideration today.

Disabled persons and seniors 65 or older currently pay $30 for a one-year pass to ride TheBus. Bill 58 pending before the Council would eliminate those charges for annual pass holders and would also waive cash fares for seniors and disabled people.

“Many of our seniors are on fixed income, and with the rising cost in services, what I’m looking to is to see where the Council can provide some relief,” Martin said….

Wayne Yoshioka, director of the Department of Transportation Services, said his department is still researching how much the bill would cost the city in lost fares, and plans to submit testimony on the measure when it is considered by the Council’s Transportation Committee later this month.

SA: Council may ax recycling aid to restore city bus services

read … Free DaBus!

Senators Pre-Grill MRC Greenwood

SA: Some of the senators have had their own sessions with the regents and university president M.R.C. Greenwood this week as part of preparation for the Sept. 24 public hearing at the Capitol.

"I told (Greenwood) some of my concerns (Tuesday)," Slom said. "I'm also concerned that the Board of Regents spends nearly eight hours behind closed doors, then 2 1/2 after that. I think we have too many of these meetings and decisions made behind closed doors."

Kim has strongly criticized the Board of Regents and met with them on Monday.

"I told them the way they handled it is what prompted us to get involved. I guess their idea is (the BOR will) form this task group and come up with recommendations. That's not what the public is asking for."

The question I still hear most often is the same one as when this story first broke back in July: Where did the $200,000 go?

"We will be asking that," Kim promised. "I am curious as to the status of the FBI report and what happened to the money."

Kim, after reading the UH investigation report several times, also said the timeline of events raises questions about the "benefit" motive of the concert.

Tokuda said the investigation is an opportunity to improve the institution in the long term.

"Clearly this hasn't been one of the university's shining moments. I'm going into this with an open mind and looking forward to productive dialogue with UH officials and stakeholders. How are we going to make sure this never happens again?"

Everyone expects the hearing to last more than one day.

"When Donna Kim chairs an investigation it's very surgical," Slom said. "And very complete."

read … Dissection

Primary mess shows need for statewide authority

Shapiro: Serious concerns about the integrity of Hawaii’s 2012 primary election need priority attention in the next Legislature.

On Hawaii island a clueless county clerk backed by a lame-duck Council chairman made shambles of the primary, and there seems nothing anybody can do about it as they stumble toward a possible repeat in the general election.

On Oahu, allegations of voter intimidation involving mail-in absentee ballots exposed a dangerous potential for vote manipulation as we move closer to all-mail voting.

The problems result from a system in which the state and counties share responsibility for elections but neither is fully accountable for their fair and competent conduct.

read … Primary Mess

Hilo Old Boys Refuse to Release Funds for Legal Representation of Kawauchi, Yagong

WHT: James Kawachika, an attorney with O’Connor Playdon & Guben, was one of three attorneys retained by Yagong and County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi to advise on employee grievances surrounding the firing of four Elections Division employees after evidence surfaced of alcohol and a private business at the county elections warehouse. Kawachika did not return a telephone call for comment Tuesday.

Two of the employees have since been reinstated, one is still going through the grievance process and the fourth died before his October arbitration hearing. Two of the employees, Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto and Senior Elections Clerk Shyla Ayau, last week sued the county for defamation.

The other two attorneys did not submit invoices after being informed the purchase order authorizing their work had been canceled, said Finance Director Nancy Crawford.

Crawford, with the concurrence of Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida, had canceled the purchase orders and is refusing to pay for work already completed….

read … Council has legal bills outstanding; at issue: Is payment legal?

Lower fuel costs cut electricity rates on Oahu

SA: Residential electricity rates fell on Oahu in September for the third consecutive month, mainly reflecting a decline in Hawaiian Electric Co.'s fuel costs.

HECO said a typical 600-kilowatt-hour bill for Oahu residential customers fell by $5.83 to $209.82 in September from $215.65 in August. The effective rate for electricity on Oahu is 33.50 cents a kilowatt-hour, down from 34.5 cents a kilowatt-hour last month. Electric rates also fell in August and July.

» Maui Electric Co. customers saw rates fall to 34.9 cents per kilowatt-hour this month from 35.40 cents in August. The typical Maui bill fell by $3.18 to $218.12.

» Hawaii island residential rates rose to 40.7 cents a kilowatt-hour from last month's 40.1 cents. The typical bill rose by $3.87 to $254.69.

» On Kauai the rate rose to 43.1 cents per kilowatt-hour. Last month the rate charged by the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative was 40 cents per kilowatt-hour.

read … Highest Bills in the Nation

$400K: Hawaii Pays Dead Man Workers Comp for 22 Years

AP: Hawaii has paid nearly $400,000 in worker's compensation benefits to a Redlands woman for her father who has been dead for more than 20 years.

Hawaii News Now reports a federal indictment alleges Edwin Callison's daughter was able to continue collecting his checks by forging his signature on a state document verifying his eligibility to receive the benefits.

Callison began collecting the benefits in 1976, after getting hurt while working for the Kauai Humane Society. He died in California in 1990.

His daughter Lynise Williams of Redlands, was recently indicted by a federal grand jury.

read … 22 Years

Inouye Develops Interest in ‘Spectrum Crunch’

CB: The problem isn't unique to Hawaii, but it could have an outsize effect in the islands. So local advocates — small business owners, a state lawmaker and an Army sergeant stationed in Honolulu — have (been ordered to join) joined a national push to raise awareness about the impending problem known as the "spectrum crunch." And they're enlisting the help of Hawaii's powerful senior U.S. senator, Daniel K. Inouye….

(How will this be used to benefit Sandwich Isles Communications?)

read … 'Spectrum Crunch' On Horizon Could Slow Hawaii's Digital Future

BYU-Hawaii criticized for 'worthless' new degree program

HNN: BYUH Vice President for Academics Max Checketts said the school added a new Bachelor of University Studies degree in the 2008-2009 school year, in part to allow students to take a smattering of courses in several disciplines.

"We found that a significant portion, approaching half, of all jobs, require that you have a bachelor's degree, do not care what the major is. They just require that you have a bachelor's degree," Checketts said, explaining one reason for creation of the new degree program.

"The intention of this particular degree was to have something where a student, working with their faculty member, could say, 'Could I take some of this and some of that and put it together in a way that it will be a meaningful educational experience for me?' And then we'll actually move them into what their actual desire is," Checketts added.

During a campus visit in March, a visiting panel from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges found that faculty and students "... expressed deep concern about the academic integrity and rigor of this degree, which they described as a kind of "consolation prize' for students judged incapable of completing a departmental major."

read … BYU-Hawaii criticized for 'worthless' new degree program

Delusional: Project in Makaha Valley calls for 353 homes on 61ac agricultural land

SA: An Australian property services company announced plans Tuesday for developing a gated community with 353 homes in Makaha Valley on land zoned for agriculture.

The project dubbed Malulani Estates calls for producing homes with ocean or golf course views and selling them for $325,000 to $800,000.

DTZ, the property services company, announced the plans in a news release, saying it was retained by project developers Swiss Financial Group and MMK Global to raise $25 million to build roads, sewers and other infrastructure on the 61-acre site along with a pool and clubhouse.

read … They have no idea what’s coming

Wind energy projects draw community criticism

SA: The U.S. Department of Energy has scheduled more meetings to solicit public comment on the environmental study it is conducting for the state’s renewable energy plan:

  • » Today: 5:30-9 p.m, Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall
  • » Thursday: 5-8:30 p.m., Kealakehe High School
  • » Friday: 5-8:30 p.m, Hilo High School
  • » Monday: 5:30-9 p.m., Pomaikai Elementary School, Kahu­lui
  • » Tuesday: 5-8:30 p.m., Lanai High & Elementary School
  • » Sept. 19: 5-9 p.m., Mitchell Pauole Community Center, Kaunakakai, Molokai
  • » Sept. 20: 5-8:30 p.m, Castle High School

 

KHON: Be Green harnessing the Wind

read … Big Wind

Hawaii's Big Wind Project Downplayed in New Energy Study

CB: The state has paid a private company $3 million to conduct environmental reviews for the Big Wind project. But that study, paid for with federal stimulus funds, has been essentially scrapped as the state and U.S. Department of Energy embark on a new study that doesn't favor any particular energy source or location.

The news comes on the eve of a series of public meetings that federal officials are hosting throughout the islands to hear public comments on a programmatic environmental impact statement that goes far beyond studying wind energy options in Maui County. And it follows protests last year against the Big Wind project, which seeks to bring wind energy from Molokai and Lanai to Oahu via undersea cables.

The PEIS is intended to serve as a blueprint for energy developers when they do their own environmental studies, lessening the time and cost, federal officials said. It can also be used to guide energy policy.

While the state energy office says that it’s the same PEIS, just expanded, the U.S. energy department stressed it’s a whole different concept.

“It has a new name, a new scope,” said Jim Spaeth, the U.S. Department of Energy's senior advisor for the Pacific region in Hawaii. “In essence it is a new PEIS.”

The first study was called the Hawaii Interisland Renewable Energy PEIS: Wind. The new study is called the Hawaii Clean Energy PEIS.

read … Big Wind

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