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Friday, August 14, 2009
August 14, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:54 PM :: 8492 Views


Profile: Micah Kane new KS Trustee

He joins the five-member board as the trust continues to expand its scope beyond the few thousand native Hawaiian students at its campuses to joint programs with charter and public schools that serve the majority of such children statewide.

Included in that philosophy is a major educational and housing complex planned for the Leeward Coast in partnership with the DHHL, to be built on Makaha land donated by a developer Jeff Stone and a nonprofit foundation.

Helping to seal that deal is among Kane's achievements in his nearly seven years at DHHL, the agency charged with distributing homestead lands to eligible Hawaiians.

"That's something I take a lot of pride in ... showing the beneficiaries and also the nonnative population that if native entities perform at a high level, everybody benefits.... and getting people to realize that we as native Hawaiians can compete with anybody, anywhere, at any time"

(Study this interview carefully.)

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Rail drives car dealer into bankruptcy

"He's got a lease for nine more years and he built the building on that property ... and that building would be taken down to make way for rail transit ... so he was forced into bankruptcy," Locricchio said.

Before exiting the car business in 1996, Slemons once suspended a DeLorean above his dealership from a crane as a publicity stunt. Now, the liability and the prospect of losing income-generating property is hanging over his business.

Slemons' plan is to petition "the city to expedite his condemnation review ... to have the city give him his condemnation money and then he can take care of past rents," Locricchio said.

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Stimulus funds boost Mufi's campaign, rail transit costs jump $117M

A federal report released last month indicated that the rail project was fiscally sound and should proceed to the next step, preliminary engineering.

The report by Jacobs Engineering Group, a Dallas-based consulting firm, puts the cost of the 20-mile rail route from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center at $5.29 billion. That is about $117 million more than the most recent estimate of $5.17 billion derived in the past year by the city administration.

City Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka said the administration appreciated Inouye's help securing funds for Honolulu's rail project -- about $35 million, to date. "As we move into the preliminary engineering ... we're going to be able to access this pile of money and use it to really bring this project campaign to fruition."

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Elect Mufi Homeowner tax bill advances

The bill advanced 3-2 on Wednesday, with Todd Apo and Charles Djou voting no. Budget Chairman Nestor Garcia said he has "strong reservations" and was voting for the measure primarily to keep the discussion going.

The measure goes back to the full council for the second of three votes.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann is seeking the homeowners classification, arguing that it would allow the city to give tax breaks to people who live in the homes they own and buy votes for his campaign.  The tax-cut move comes in the midst of union demands for tax increases and would of course be obliterated as soon as the campaign season ends.

Djou and Apo think establishing an owner-occupant classification makes it too easy politically for the city to raise the rates on the other tax classifications.

"By setting up a separate homeowner's rate, the reality is, politically, you'll never raise the homeowner rate because those are your voters, and you'll shift the burden to non-homeowners and non-residential properties and we've seen that historically," Apo said.

"This is a Trojan horse to raise taxes," Djou said, adding that commercial property owners have had to bear the brunt of tax increases over the years.

Opponents said the homeowner's exemption already provides a mechanism if the city wants to offer more relief to owner-occupants.

They also think a separate tax rate for owner-occupants ignores that a large percentage of Hawai'i residents are renters, who could see higher rents if their landlords pass on tax increases to them. The administration has dismissed that claim.

Djou said an exemption is fairer because the flat amount ensures those with lower-valued homes, ostensibly those who need relief from taxes the most, gain the most from it. Djou, a Republican, said he also believes in the principle that there should be as few tax categories and rates as possible as a point of fairness. "Ideally, real property is real property," he said.

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Utilities are ruled part of Molokai Properties

The judge's (Bambi Weil aka Eden Hifo) written decision was filed Monday, confirming that Wai'ola O Molokai and Molokai Public Utilities and Molokai Properties are one and the same since they share assets, directors, employees and Honolulu office space.

"I'm pleased that the court has placed the legal responsibility for this crisis on Molokai Properties Ltd., where it rightly belongs," said Mayor Charmaine Tavares. "By hiding behind the legal fiction that MPL and its wholly owned utilities were separate corporations, MPL was trying to free itself from the utilities' liabilities while keeping all of its valuable assets."  (And why should they do that after competing gangs of OHA looters destroyed Molokai Ranch?)

The company's appeal to the state arose after its threat a year ago to shut down water and wastewater service for about 1,200 Molokai residents because it was losing millions of dollars on the utilities. 

Critics say the move came as sour grapes because MPL had been forced to withdraw its bid to build 200 luxury homes at Laau Point because of community and state opposition.  (And that the company should be forced to subsidize the water supply of those who had destroyed it.)

SB: Ranch liable for utilities, judge says

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'Bunch of miracles' add up to $21M for Kapolei project

Nonprofits across Hawai'i are struggling with budget cuts and have been forced to reduce services and lay off employees as state and private money have dried up.

Lum can rattle off a litany of miracles — starting with the fact that Honolulu got the Kroc capital and endowment grant in the first place. Major cities across the nation were vying for a chunk of the $1.6 billion windfall that Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald's hamburger king Ray Kroc, gave to the Salvation Army in 2004 to build community centers nationwide.

(MIRACLE: Real non-profits don't depend on government funds.)

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Land Board's 'Plan B' ups fees at parks, harbors, campgrounds

The new "Back to Basics" plan, on today's agenda of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, will focus on increasing maintenance and raising new revenue from vacant urban lands, the DLNR said.

"We need to take steps now; we cannot wait for the Legislature to approve capital improvements," the department said in a statement yesterday.

(MIRACLE: DLNR finds way to make do without General Fund appropriation.)

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Adv: Hawaii needs an upgraded e911 system

Too bad the Legislature just raided the 9-1-1 fund to feed the HGEA.  No miracle here.

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2010 will be here before you know it

Candidates can pick up nomination forms and begin submitting petitions with the 200 signatures, as well as a $5 donation to the Hawaii election campaign fund from each signer, Feb. 1. The deadline to declare intent to seek public funding is June 20, and the deadline to submit the completed application, signatures and $5 contributions is Aug. 19, 2010.

(This is the Jacobson election bill--pushed by his 9-11 troother supporters at UH Hilo.)

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Inouye Ignores Veto Threat Against F-35 Engine Funding

In a rebuff to President Obama, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Defense Subcommittee says he will support continued funding of a second engine for the F-35, the newest U.S. fighter jet.

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Mokulele owner buys Frontier

Republic Airways Holdings, majority owner of Mokulele Airlines, won the bankruptcy court auction for Frontier Airlines yesterday, buying the Denver-based carrier for almost $108.8 million after Southwest Airlines Co.'s rival bid was rejected.

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Pelosi defends townhall protesters "Free speech....I love it"

(But this was 2006, and the protesters were against Bush.)

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