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Monday, February 22, 2010
February 22, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:12 AM :: 6908 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, World News, Hawaii History

LINK>>>Akaka Bill: More than 73% of Hawaiians not "Qualified" for membership in Akaka Tribe

LINK>>>Akaka Preparing New Senate Bill: House Rules Committee to consider Akaka Bill Monday  (Not a word about the Akaka bill in any newspaper today)

Lingle tells feds her administration will do separate rail analysis

(She’s in DC, but NO MENTION of Akaka Bill hearing.)

"I let the secretary know that we would be doing a separate, independent financial analysis of the plan for the rail, and I suggested to him that we take our financial analysis and the one that they will have done – that the government requires at the federal level – and share that information so we're all working from the same set of numbers," Lingle said in a satellite feed to Hawai'i news stations today.

"We talked about the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant they just awarded for our state harbors – a $25 million grant – as well as the proposed rail system for Honolulu," Lingle said. "... We also talked about some proposed flights from Haneda Airport in Japan into Honolulu that Hawaiian Air has applied for as well as Delta – some of the new slots that are coming open. It was a good, well-rounded discussion on harbors, on the rail as well as on airports."

RELATED: Lingle to link State, Federal rail finance analysis -- “One set of numbers”

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Retaliation: Anti-Rail Neighborhood board member may face expulsion

The complaints target Kioni Dudley, a retired professor and high school teacher who says he is being singled out because of his anti-rail and anti-development views.

Others say it's not Dudley's views, but his behavior.

Neighborhood Commission Chairman Brendan Bailey said the complaints revolve around Dudley's alleged breach of order and decorum. He said the commission will hear the complaints at a meeting to be scheduled in March and could punish Dudley if he is found in violation of the rules, with a range of options, from a warning to dismissal.

Dudley believes the complaints should be thrown out because he is standing up for his community.

Dudley, president of the development watchdog group Friends of Makakilo, said he opposes the rail route, which he says should go below Ewa, and the attempt to re-zone prime agricultural land for 12,000 homes in Kapolei under the name Hoopili.

He said if he were not opposing rail and Hoopili, the Neighborhood Commission would have already dismissed the complaints against him.

"What's going on here is monumental," he said.

RELATED: Hanauma Dec 29: Did Mufi threaten retaliation against Obama?

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Expect upbeat speech by mayor (Campaign speech)

don't expect too much talk on the estimated $140 million shortfall in the city's upcoming budget or the anticipated furlough of city employees this coming year.

"I think what (the mayor) ... would like to do would be to get away from all the gloom and doom kind of news we're hearing and instead present a picture of hope and optimism," said Hannemann spokes-man Bill Brennan.

The mayor is not expected to spend too much time on the city's budget situation, and the likelihood of furloughs and some property tax increases, which likely will be addressed in more detail when Hannemann presents the City Council with his budget, due March 1.

SHAPIRO: Train crossing

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Lawmakers split on GET Hike

But sentiment is building to balance the state budget by both taking the hotel room tax from the counties and raiding the hurricane relief fund, according to a survey by the Star-Bulletin.

Almost half of the 76 lawmakers responded to the survey that asked for their predictions on what the Legislature would do this session on 15 top issues under consideration. The survey was anonymous to encourage candor. While some said their answers were predictions, others responded with what they hope will happen.

The most controversial issue is likely to be raising the state's 4 percent general excise tax (4.5 percent on Oahu) to make up the state's budget shortfall, estimated to reach $1.3 billion by the end of fiscal 2011.  Lawmakers in the survey split, with 17 favoring the increase and 20 saying no….

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Moratorium sought on solar installation

Hawaiian Electric Co. is asking that homeowners and businesses that buy electricity from its utilities on Maui, the Big Island, Lāna'i and Moloka'i be barred from installing new photovoltaic, or solar power, systems until more is known about their effects on the electric grids.

"We have long known we are approaching levels of instability in the system," said HECO spokesman Peter Rosegg. He compared the situation to a bus where the driver has no control over some of the power but must keep a constant 60 mph with only a gas pedal. At the same time, the driver must keep an eye on fuel efficiency and the safety of passengers while trying to keep the engines from dying.

HECO also argues that power produced by the photovoltaic systems can displace electricity production from other renewable providers, such as large wind farms, with better system and cost benefits.

HELCO said that several power failures occurred last year that would not have taken place or would have been smaller in scope if there were not the same amount of photovoltaic installations on the system.

"But the larger number of PV systems is resulting in some customer outages due to the effect of distributed PV tripping offline during system disturbances," Rosegg said.

The solar companies agree that there is a point at which system instability will occur. But they don't think the utilities are anywhere near that level now, and they add that most of the power generated by photovoltaic system owners is used by them, whether it be homes, stores or warehouses.

 

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Hawaii In the Money—but Alaska shows the future

In 2008, the last full year Stevens was in office, his earmarks totaled $456.9 million for Alaska projects, according to an analysis from the group Taxpayers for Common Sense; Inouye brought in $414.3 million.

Stevens, a Republican and close friend of Inouye's, lost his bid for re-election two years ago. The senator who replaced him, Democrat Mark Begich, has had to start from the bottom when it comes to earmarks. His total for the current fiscal year was just $53.6 million.

"To the extent that any (Hawaii) institution depends on them (earmarks), they're going to have to come up with a Plan B," said Neal Milner, a political science professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Jonah Kaauwai, Hawaii Republican Party chairman, said Inouye should be working to diversify the state's economy by making it easier for small businesses to grow rather than focusing on earmarks.  "Earmarks are not free. They are tax-based and taxpayer-funded," Kaauwai said.

CHARLES DJOU: "I think earmarks are screaming out for major and dramatic reform. ... The use of earmarks is one of the major contributing factors to our multi-trillion dollar budget deficit in Washington, D.C. ... I will not do any secret earmarks or any last-minute earmarks. ... I think in order to have reasonable earmark reform when someone proposes an earmark, they should also propose cuts in the budget somewhere else."

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Joining Pac-10 an ambitious, costly goal

the possibilities and potential consequences of a Pac-10 expansion were not lost on UH athletic director Jim Donovan, who placed an exploratory call to Pac-10 officials on UH's behalf. Surely there's nothing wrong with setting ambitious, if admittedly difficult, goals.

The conference is exploring options to expand for the first time in 32 years.

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Bill would create surfing reserves

State Sen. Fred Hemmings, a former world champion surfer, hopes to change that with a bill he introduced in the Legislature designating Waikiki and a 7-mile stretch along Oahu's North Shore as "surfing reserves."

The title would create worldwide recognition of the sites as having quality surf and promote their preservation for recreational and competitive surfing, the bill says.

Senate Bill 2646 does not create any rules, and the designation is mostly symbolic, but the word "reserve" is causing some concern in the surfing community.

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Fridge rebate deal worth $250

In Hawai'i, the program will have a limited scope, applying only to refrigerator purchases made once the program begins, which is estimated to be in April.

Local consumers statewide who replace and recycle a refrigerator with a qualified Energy Star model for residential use will be eligible for a $250 rebate under the program customized by the state.

The rebate amount is five times that of a long-running rebate on energy-efficient refrigerator purchases on O'ahu and Kaua'i funded by local utilities.

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Funds for welfare jobs mostly untapped

Hawai'i, which is eligible for $49.4 million in funding, on Jan. 15 received approval to tap $10.1 million of that, according to DHHS.

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Gifts of Aloha: Packages to Middle East seek to lift troops' spirits

From Kona With Aloha organizers hope the contents packed in meager boxes will bring four military units in the Middle East "a moment of joy and the spirit of heartfelt aloha."
Teaming up with local businesses, schools and the public, Bank of America Home Loans is working to send 100 care packages to American troops stationed overseas. It had about 50 boxes as of Thursday, thanks to community support, coordinator Sharon Hollywood said.

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Ooops: Climate scientists withdraw journal claims of rising sea levels

Study claimed in 2009 that sea levels would rise by up to 82cm by the end of century – but the report's author now says true estimate is still unknown….

(Amazingly some people still believe in Global Warming, aliens on ice at Area 51, 9-11 troooth conspiracy theories, the Loch Ness Monster, Birtherism, and Bigfoot.)

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