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Friday, July 19, 2013
July 19, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:44 PM :: 5723 Views

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach Harasses Combat Disabled Veteran, Apologizes

Kamuela Hui to Put Telescope on Moon

Joe Trippi to Speak in Hawaii: "Better Schools Aren't a Partisan Issue"

Abercrombie Fears Hannemann, Will not Call Gay Marriage Special Session

Borreca: House Speaker Joe Souki says he has surveyed all members of the House, and the 34 votes needed to call a special session are not there....

This week, Souki said, gay marriage would pass with a majority, but he is not willing to say if the count is the needed 26 or more....

The Legislature can also go back into session if ordered into session by Abercrombie. But making that decision was complicated by state Sen. David Ige's entry into the race for governor....

Calling a special session for gay marriage, while likely to be successful, will also inflame conservatives and may encourage others to jump into the race for governor.

When Abercrombie was the only person running in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, he occupied most of the liberal and progressive positions, so if someone wanted to run against him, the only traction would come from someone even more liberal. Many feel that an uncontested Democratic primary will mostly attract liberal and strongly Democratic voters.

But, with two liberals such as Abercrombie and Ige in the race, there could be room for a third challenger who is more conservative.

Enter former Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who even if he has lost his last two races, including one to Abercrombie, could gather more conservative voters plus those who would not like Abercrombie to push for a special session just for same-sex marriage.

read ... Same-sex marriage here awaiting a 2014 takeoff

Schatz Operatives Force Inouye's Boylan out of Job

SA: Peter Boylan, a former deputy chief of staff to Ino­uye, has resigned as a senior manager for Time Warner Cable in Washington, D.C. He will serve as communications director for Hana­busa's campaign against U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz.

Boylan contends that Senate leadership, prodded by Schatz's allies, complained to Time Warner about what had previously been his voluntary role in the Hana­busa campaign.  (Where did they learn that trick?)

Schatz serves on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has jurisdiction over the cable industry.

"These kinds of tactics have no place in Hawaii, (unless WE are using them against OUR enemies) and (my desire to once again use these tactics against MY enemies is) is one of the many reasons I am very excited and motivated to help elect Colleen to the U.S. Senate," Boylan said in an email. "I truly believe that Colleen is the right person for this job and I couldn't devote just my free time to this campaign. I needed to go all in (for revenge.  Who do these punks think they are?)"

Andy Winer, Schatz's chief of staff, denied that ... (he would ever do this for anyone but Inouye.  He then burst out into a fit on uncontrollable laughter and the line went dead....)

read ... Meet the new boss, old boss

Star-Advertiser Coverage of Rail is Fundamentally Dishonest

by Walter Heen, Ben Cayetano, Cliff Slater and Randall Roth

[The following commentary was submitted to the Star-Advertiser on July 17, 2013, and rejected by the Star-Advertiser on July 17, 2013.]

Star-Advertiser news coverage attributed solely to Chief Judge Susan Mollway the contents of a letter that Mollway wrote on behalf of all 11 members of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.  (“Judge blasts city for ending rail route at Ala Moana, not UH,” July 11, 2013)

A subsequent Star-Advertiser editorial repeated that error and downplayed the letter’s significance by describing it as “no surprise.”  The editorial also judged the letter’s criticism of the current rail project to be “impractical,” and declared the elevated heavy rail plan is “solid.”  (“Rail tunnel isn’t worth the cost,” July 15, 2013)

We feel compelled to set the record straight.

read ... Star-Adv Debunked

City offers HUD $1.88 million to Make Ernie Martin Scandal Go Away

SA: Shinn, in her letter Thursday to Chandler, acknowledged that city officials have received political contributions from ORI Anuenue Hale and its officers and that, while an internal investigation found no evidence of quid pro quo, the matter was referred to the city Ethics Commission.

Shinn also said that since HUD first raised questions about the loan being forgiven, the city has instituted policies to safeguard against political influence in such decisions.

Caldwell last month removed himself from the city’s internal investigation on the ORI Anuenue Hale issue, noting he himself received a $500 contribution for his unsuccessful 2010 mayoral campaign from Cheung. Other key city politicos receiving contributions were former Mayor Mufi Hannemann and now-City Council Chairman Ernie Martin, who headed special projects for the city’s Department of Community Services and was running for Council as the loan was being forgiven.

PDF: City Settlement Offer (many politicians named).

read ... ORI

Buying Justice? James Pflueger Strikes a Deal with Prosecutors in Notorious Manslaughter Case That Victims Say Isn't Right

HR: On Thursday, July 18, the years of delays and appeals came to a sudden halt when Pflueger pleaded “no contest” in Kauai’s Fifth Circuit Court to one count of reckless endangerment in the first degree, a class C felony.

As a part of his plea deal with the state attorney general, Pflueger’s company, Pacific 808 Properties LP, pleaded “no contest” to the seven manslaughter charges. The company will pay the maximum of $50,000 for the death of each of the seven victims or a total of $350,000.

The victims’ families won’t see a penny of that money, however. The $350,000 will go to the state coffers, set aside for state safety inspections of Hawaii’s private and public dams as is required under Hawaii law every 5 years.

read ... Old Boy Gets off Easy

Police Raid 'Loud Party' at Hawaii Assoc of Counties Meeting

WHT: Hotel security shut down a loud hospitality suite hosted by a lobbyist whose client list includes a GMO company, but most Hawaii County Council members attending the Hawaii State Association of Counties conference on Kauai last month said there was more county business than partying going on.

The conference, attended by county council members from all four counties, is an annual event that alternates locations.

Seven Hawaii County Council members — Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter, Hilo Councilmen J Yoshimoto and Dennis Onishi, Puna Councilman Greggor Ilagan, Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha, North Kona Councilwoman Karen Eoff and Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille — along with Deputy County Clerk Maile David, attended the June 20 and 21 event at the Kauai Beach Resort.

The conference cost Hawaii County taxpayers more than $8,218, according to travel expenses filed so far with the County Clerk’s Office.

read ... Political Party

Hawaii general fund tax revenues up 10 percent

AP: The state Department of Taxation said Thursday general excise tax revenue rose just over 9 percent to $2.9 billion during the 12 months ended in June....

The department says revenues from the transit accommodations tax imposed on short-term room rentals climbed nearly 14 percent from the previous year to $369 million.

Individual income tax revenue increased nearly 13 percent to $1.7 billion.

DBEDT: Highlights for June 2013’s Monthly Energy Trends

read ... Bleeding Taxpayers Dry

Laborers Union Fears ‘Destructive Consequences’ From Obamacare

WSJ: Mr. O’Sullivan zeroed in on some factors that could directly impact unionized construction workers who are typically covered by multiemployer plans. He noted that costs are rising for such plans because of the law’s benefit mandates. Moreover, a tax under the law would cost such health plans $63 per covered individual, or $630,000 for a plan covering 10,000 people, he wrote. The proceeds of the tax will be used to subsidize insurance companies offering health plans in the Health Exchanges.

“In effect, ACA takes money from the pockets of each laborer covered by a health and welfare fund and gives it to for-profit insurance companies,” Mr. O’Sullivan wrote. Those added costs will eventually impact collective bargaining agreements, he said, making union construction companies less competitive than nonunion ones and resulting in less work for union laborers.

Mr. O’Sullivan concluded: “Approximately 3 million laborers, retirees, and their families now face the very real prospect of losing their health benefits. This, I must remind you, was something that you promised would not happen.”

The laborers union, with about 570,000 members, is one of a few major unions that didn’t support enactment of Affordable Care Act, Mr. O’Sullivan reminded Mr. Obama. “Now, we have watched as the implementation of the law has progressed, our fears have become reality,” he wrote.

read ... Kiss Your Contract Goodbye

Akaka Gang Discusses Plans, Three of Four are Criminals 

PBS: On the next "Insights," we ask, "Is an independent Native Hawaiian government within reach?" To date, no sovereignty effort has managed to truly galvanize the Native Hawaiian population. Now armed with the state's approval, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission has high hopes that will change. However, the commission is falling far short of its yearlong goal of signing up 200,000 eligible Hawaiians to help establish an independent government. Will a six-month extension change the tide and bring Native Hawaiians closer to self-governance?

Dan Boylan hosts a discussion with the following scheduled guests: Sen. Clayton Hee, (all-around crook) Chairman of the State Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee; Dexter Kaiama, (lawyer for mortgage scammers) Honolulu Native Hawaiian rights attorney; Esther Kiaaina, Deputy Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources; and Former Gov. John Waihee, (Right Star graverobber) Chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.

Question: Why hasn't Esther stolen anything?  She needs to get with the program. 

KHON: DHHL reaches out as it develops 20-year homestead plan

Next Stop: HHC MEETING ON KAUAʻI

watch ... Island Insights

Espero CD1 Campaign Announcement Sunday

PR: Espero is scheduled to be joined at the state Capitol by supporters and lawmakers such as state Rep. Rida Cabanilla, sate Sen. Clarence Nishihara, Honolulu City Councilman Ron Menor, and former state Rep. Romeo Mindo

read ... Espero

Musical Chairs at BoR

PBN: The University of Hawaii Board of Regents on Thursday elected John Holzman as its new chairman, along with Vice Chair Saedene Ota and returning Vice Chair James Lee.

Regent John Dean nominated the new appointments, who were confirmed unanimously by the 15 member-board. Holzman is replacing Eric Martinson, and Ota is replacing Carl Carlson.

Holzman has been chairing the committee tasked with finding a replacement for UH President M.R.C. Greenwood, who is stepping down next month. Carl Carlson will replace Holzman in that role....

SA: Get UH game ticket policy under control

read ... BoR

Homeless Sweep Pushes 13 Into Shelters

SA: Several of those affected Thursday said they'd arrived in Hawaii from Micronesia and had no affordable place to live after overcrowding forced them from relatives' homes....

Eventually, Waikiki Health Center workers arrived to see whether they could help any of the family members get into the Next Step shelter in Kakaako. By midday Thursday, Waikiki Health had 13 new applicants for the shelter who were affected by the sweep, shelter manager Lambert Lum said. But the application process involves background checks, children's birth certificates and health records, officials said. The process can take up to a month, depending on how quickly the applicants move to get in the shelter, Lum said.

read ... Success!

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Helicopter Sharpshooters Target Miconia?

KGI: Herbicide-filled capsules — shot from helicopters with a standard paintball gun — are the latest tool used in the fight against invasive plants on Kauai.

James Leary, who has a doctorate in weed ecology and is a specialist with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management at the University of Hawaii, is the man behind the invention, dubbed Herbicide Ballistic Technology.

read ... About Something Really Expensive

Plan to Regulate Drone Spying in Next Legislative Session?

CB: Hawaii is one of the states, thanks to Senate Bill 783, that is looking to regulate the high-flying devices that are sometimes called "unmanned aerial vehicles." The measure, introduced early this year, failed to get a hearing, but it could in the next session — or it could inspire other legislation on the topic.

Drones are garnering increasing attention in the islands, whether in reaction to President Obama’s defense of his extensive use of remote-controlled aerial surveillance and bombing overseas, or as a result of peace-minded protests against drone usage and testing at Pohakuloa on the Big Island, at Wheeler Air Force Base and at UH-Manoa on Oahu. Research projects using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have also been announced at UH-Manoa and at Hamakua Springs farm.

And the true confirmation that drones have arrived in the islands may well be the Hawaii Venture Capital Association’s panel discussion on drone usage in Hawaii at The Plaza Club downtown, scheduled for July 25.

read ... Drones

47 Ethics Violations: Liquor administrator to resign, Commission Rewards Him with 7 months paid Leave

SA: Commissioners did not discuss the reasons for the resignation. However, in February, the commission placed Nishioka on administrative leave to investigate the ethics case.

Nishioka who was a lawyer for 28 years says he resigned from the Hawaii bar to avoid discipline. Nishioka admitted to misappropriating client funds and even using a "misleading name for his law firm."

Nishioka didn't tell the commission about those violations until Hawaii News Now began investigating in February.

After he was placed on administrative leave, Nishioka said he did not intend to resign from the Liquor Commission, because "it's two unrelated matters as far as I'm concerned. This involved me alone."

Nishioka's assistant administrator, Anna Hirai, has served as acting administrator.

The administrator oversees a $4 million annual budget and staff of about 50 people who regulate liquor sales at roughly 1,400 Oahu bars, nightclubs, restaurants and other establishments.

Nishioka will remain on paid leave with the commission until he resigns August 30.

read ... Just the Latest

Rep. Cynthia Thielen encounter with a burglar at her home

SA: Property crimes are up. Example: There were 271 thefts from autos for March-June 2013, with 118 cases in that period last year....In any case, when one of the crime victims is a veteran legislator — state Rep. Cynthia Thielen had a close encounter with a burglar at her home — the topic will remain high profile for some time.

read ... Crime

Soft on Crime: Rapist Gets Probation, Allegedly Molests 13 year old Girl

KITV: A 21-year-old man, who had already been convicted of sexual assault, is back in custody charged with more sex crimes.

Police say Live Samuelu sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl from March 10 through April 18 of this year.

Meanwhile: Father Gets 5 years Probation for Spanking Daughter  (Yep, he got the same sentence as the rapist. Fascinating.)

read ... Soft on Crime

Former school security guard charged with sex assault of 14-year-old girl

KHON: Court records show he met the 14-year-old alleged victim at Kailua Intermediate School.

According to the Department of Education, Romualdo was a temporary hire, but was fired after reports that he was text messaging students.

read ... Another Day in the DoE

Mayor’s proposal could bring Maui County to ‘a halt’

MN: In light of a looming investigation over the Old Wailuku Post Office demolition, Mayor Alan Arakawa has proposed directives that limit communication between council members and county department heads that he admits could bring the county to "a grinding halt."

"Please note this policy is not something that I wanted to issue. It has the potential to bring county activity to a grinding halt," Arakawa said in a letter sent to council Vice Chairman Robert Carroll late Wednesday afternoon.

The mayor issued the directives - which include communications only in writing and in advance - in a letter to the council Monday, but he has since postponed the action "to try and temper this directive to something that will be as least disruptive as possible," he said in Wednesday's letter.

The mayor said he offered the new administration-council communication policies because of "a loss of confidence" in some departments, stemming from the looming Old Wailuku Post Office investigation.

MN: Taguchi, auditor, aims ‘to make a difference’

read ... Campaign Season

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