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Sunday, September 15, 2013
September 15, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:17 PM :: 3858 Views

Gay Advocate: ‘Martyr’ Matt Shepard Killed by Homosexuals not Homophobes

Questionable Paradox Exists for Affordable Housing

Councilmember Pine Demands Investigation of Illegal Dumping on Ag Land

DC Lawyers: Abercrombie's Marriage Bill "By far the Most Extreme in USA"

SA: ...As a part of my practice in providing legal representation to religious organizations, I was directed to consult with the nonprofit American Religious Freedom Program, a nonpartisan Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington D.C.  I asked ARFP’s State Legislative Policy Director to review the proposed religious liberty protection provisions in the Attorney General’s bill in order to contrast it with other States which recently adopted same-sex marriage legislation such as Minnesota.  His assessment was sobering.  He said that if Hawaii’s religious freedoms protection language is not augmented it would be by far the most extreme infringement of institutional and personal religious liberties by any state in the nation passing similar legislation....

The proposed bill infringes upon the free exercise of religion in four (4) important ways: 

(1) core church-affiliated institutions such as nonprofit charitable agencies such as Catholic Charities and religious schools such as BYU-Hawaii, Damien or St. Louis would be required to provide services, accommodations or benefits for same-sex marriage celebrations, or to recognize same-sex marriages; 

(2) agents of religious affiliated institutions would not be protected even while acting in their religious capacities; 

(3) public sector employees who object on religious grounds to perform a same sex marriage(including state judges and magistrates) would be required to perform such ceremonies; and

(4) very small businesses and religiously oriented business would be unable to exercise religious beliefs because the bill deems them public accommodations.

ACLU BS in today's Star-Adv: "Thirteen states and the District of Columbia already have the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, and a number of these states provide far fewer special protections for religious organizations than the law proposed for Hawaii." 

Look at Vermont Bill: Gay Marriage Bill Violates First Amendment

read ... Marriage bill needs more protection for religious freedoms

Rep Har: Abercrombie Bill Violates State Constitution

Borreca: Now that the Legislature is readying to go into an October special session to change state law to allow same-sex marriage, there is a question of exactly what "Yes" means.

Did Hawaii outlaw same-sex marriage or did Hawaii give the question to the Legislature?

Democratic state Rep. Sharon Har (Kapolei-Makakilo), who opposes same-sex marriage, said the state needs another constitutional amendment, not just a new law.

"Our Constitution expressly states that, ‘The Legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite sex couples.' It does not say the Legislature can redefine marriage to include opposite-sex couples, or more than two people, or a person and some other plant, animal or object," said Har in response to an emailed question.

The power voters gave to the Legislature, Har said, is the power to allow opposite-sex couples to marry.

"The 1998 Constitutional Amendment did one thing and one thing only: It gave to the Legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples only. That's it. It did not allow the Legislature to do anything beyond that," said Har, an attorney....

(Skip several paragraphs of an ex-judge telling us Har is wrong.)

If Har is successful, it would mean the Legislature would have to call for another public vote on a constitutional amendment, which same-sex marriage supporters say is not needed.

(If Har is successful then everything I believe about the Hawaii judiciary is wrong.)

As Explained: Gay Marriage Bill Violates First Amendment

read ... Un-constitutional

Shapiro: Getting rid of artwork takes protecting sacred too far

Shapiro: This has the feel of the curse put on author Salman Rushdie for offending Islam, Nelson Rockefellers razing of a Diego Rivera mural for offending capitalism and book burnings of works like Tom Sawyer for offending decency.....

University of Hawaii Hawaiian studies professor Jon Osorio told KITV, There is a certain reverence and sacredness to certain things, and anyone who is going to cross over the native realm is going to have to deal with our arguments about that. They cannot assume a Western value like The artist is free to express whatever he wants. That doesn't work for us and it will never work for us.

Oh, really? In his other profession as a musician, Osorio has been known to perform topical songs such as If I Had a Hammer by Pete Seeger, who was blacklisted in the Joe McCarthy hysteria of the 1950s.

I doubt Osorio would take kindly to those offended by protest music throwing a black sheet over him and his guitar as they did with Seeger and his banjo.

He cant have it both ways, trading off of Western artistic freedom in one occupation and reviling it in another.

But that's the new way in Hawaii, where we cry separation of church and state at abortion opponents who believe life is sacred, but have no problem tearing down public art because bones are sacred, banning scientific research because taro is sacred or curtailing marine tours because sharks are sacred....

Hawaii's host culture deserves our utmost respect, but not as a state religion.

read ... Getting rid of artwork takes protecting sacred too far

GOP Reps: Gay Marriage Not a Done Deal

SA: Proponents have argued that this issue has already been debated for 20 years and that everything that there is to discuss has already been discussed. Though this issue may be settled in the minds of many politicians, the volume of calls and emails to our offices would indicate that the issue is not settled in the minds of the public.

It should be noted that much of the public and many current legislators were children when this debate began. In fact, only one of us was eligible to vote in 1998 when a constitutional amendment on this issue was considered. The voices of our generation should matter, too....

Despite what established politicians have tried to conclude, this issue has not been settled. The public deserves ample time and respect from the system whose sole purpose is to serve them.

Reaction: Spontaneous Protests Against Gay Marriage

read ... No Special Session

Water Board to be on November Ballot, Sidewalk Sleeping Banned

SA: Also getting approvals on Wednesday:  A resolution that would ask Oahu voters in next year’s election if they want the Council to have more authority over the Honolulu Board of Water Supply. The board has been accused of overbilling and customer services-related problems recently....

Bills banning lying on public sidewalks and the “affixing” of private property onto city property, both on first reading. Opponents say the bills unfairly harm the homeless.

read ... Progress

Council OKs $20M property tax hike

SA: The bill passed 7-2 Wednesday, with Council members Ikaika Anderson and Stanley Chang opposed.

In today’s Hawaii, a home valued at $1 million “is far from being a luxury home,” Chang said. “I’m concerned about the impact this might have on small, mom-and-pop-type landlords.”

Anderson said a $1 million home “could be a very modest home” today. Older homeowners seeking to hold on to property to pass to their offspring may have a hard time if their homes are taxed at a higher rate....

City officials told Koba­yashi they believe that if the tax were raised to $4.50 per $1,000 on non-owner-occupant homes valued at more than $1 million, it would generate an additional $10 million for the city, while a $2 increase would pump an additional $20 million into city coffers.

Lowell Kalapa, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, had testified that it would be unfair to charge owners of higher-priced properties at a higher rate when the amount or types of services used are essentially the same regardless of the value of a residential property.

Council members also passed Bill 40, which would affect about 2,000 homeowners 65 and older who currently receive “in lieu” homeowner exemptions.

The bill repeals a law that allows people to receive higher exemptions as they get older. For instance, homeowners can cut $120,000 off the assessed value of their properties at age 65 and $160,000 at age 75. (The bill does not eliminate the basic $80,000 exemption given to all owner-occupants.)

read ... Tax Hike

Seed Companies: 50 Years in Hawaii Before Protesters Targeted them

KGI: Seed companies on Kauai are a political “hot potato” but according to the numbers they are majors employers that bring a stabilizing effect to Kauai’s economy.

Seed crop industries have been present in the state for half a century, and there are currently 45, including Kauai-based parent seed corn operations, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, DOW AgroSciences and BASF.

The company’s have an estimated $220 million annual economic impact, said Kauai Chamber President and CEO Randy Francisco.

A recent Farm Bureau study found that that the seed industry employs about 1,400 people in Hawaii, and accounts for about one-third of the contribution made by agriculture to Hawaii’s economy,” said J. Kenneth Grace, Ph.D., Interim Associate Dean and Director for Research at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

“Beyond that, they contribute to agricultural diversification and help to keep land in agriculture that might otherwise be used for other, nonagricultural purposes,” he added....

read ... GMO by the Numbers

DoT Owns Pier With Faulty Molasses Pipe: State Points Finger at Feds

SA: Divers discovered the leak below the valve in a 90-degree bend in the pipe. Lee said contractors plugged up the hole and are working on evacuating the pipes of all molasses so Matson can devise a more permanent solution.

Lee said Matson doesn’t know the historical context of the pipe and that it is working with the state Department of Transportation, which owns the pier, to figure it out....

Gary Gill of State DoH said he plans to meet with Hawaii’s congressional delegation this week to discuss the spill.

“Molasses pipelines and the molasses industry have been under the radar,” he said. “While there have been spills in the past in the world, they’ve really never been addressed in a regulatory environment — and it’s pretty clear now what the impact can be.

“You would expect that in response to this there’s going to be a lot of ideas of changing the laws and the rules both here in the state and across the nation.”  (The one thing we know for sure is that its not Neil's fault.  Got that?)

Background: Molasses Mess: Abercrombie Deflects Blame for Lax Inspections

read ... Whose Fault?

Fracking is America's Best Anti-Poverty Program

WSJ: The natural gas boom may be America's best antipoverty program.

By now even the Obama Administration has recognized that the natural gas drilling boom has led to more high-wage jobs, more secure energy supplies and lower manufacturing costs. But one of the biggest benefits from fracking and other new drilling technologies is often overlooked: the windfall to American consumers, especially the poor....

Thanks to the lower price for natural gas, families saved roughly $32.5 billion in 2012. (That's 7.4 billion MMBTUs of residential use of natural gas times the $4.40 reduction in price.) The windfall to all U.S. natural gas consumers—industrial and residential—was closer to $110 billion. This is greater than the annual income of all of the residents in 14 states in 2011.

Mercator's most notable finding is that the income group helped the most by this bonanza is the poor because energy is a big component of their family budgets. Data from the annual report of the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (Liheap) show that poor households spend four times more of their income on home energy (10.4%) than do non-poor households (2.6%). That same report says that roughly 40 million households, or 36% of U.S. households, are eligible for Liheap. Though the poor on average spend less overall on heating and electricity, lower natural gas prices have still shaved about $10 billion a year from the utility bills of poor families.

To put it another way, fracking is a much more effective antipoverty program than is Liheap. In 2012, Liheap provided roughly $3.5 billion to about nine million low-income households to subsidize their home-heating costs. New drilling technologies saved poor households almost three times more. Low gas prices benefit nearly all poor households, while Liheap helps fewer than one in four....

You'd think that good liberal egalitarians would welcome these financial savings to poor households. Yet most green groups, in particular the Sierra Club, continue to oppose fracking and are using lawsuits and political lobbying to stop it. Rich Hollywood types like Matt Damon propagandize against it. No one is doing more to increase income inequality in America than the affluent environmentalists who oppose natural gas drilling.

read... The Wall Street Journal

CNHA: DHHL Leases Should be Treated Like Mortgages

SA: When Maui homesteader Linda Nahina faced losing her home last year, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands offered no help to try to resolve the crisis, she said. The only “assistance” she received from the agency was a recommendation to attend a household budgeting class.

If Nahina had been a homeowner on non-DHHL land, she would have had access to multiple services designed to prevent foreclosure, financial counselors say. A state law enacted in 2011 also would have required a third-party mediator to intervene.

But DHHL, which manages a 203,000-acre trust for Native Hawaiian beneficiaries, does a poor job of providing similar protections to homesteaders who have defaulted on their mortgages and face losing their homes, counselors and homesteader advocates say.

The situation has become alarming enough that those attending a Native Hawaiian convention recently called for DHHL to impose a moratorium on lease cancellations, which is the agency’s version of a foreclosure....

Lease cancellations actually are uncommon.  Since 2011, only three have been canceled by the Hawaiian Homes Commission, the board that oversees DHHL, even though 143 cases were referred to the panel for possible cancellation, according to DHHL data. The rest of the cases, or 98 percent, resulted in settlements, according to DHHL.

Simple Solution: Convert DHHL Leases to Fee-Simple. 

read ...  Leasehold

A Leftist Comes to Hawaii: How We Got Her to Leave

TF: As I walked through the posh neighborhoods with my wild hair and traveller’s backpack, I could feel the stares piercing my soul. Joggers gave me the sideye. Young women with long, flowing ponytails, pushing expensive baby strollers gave me weak smiles. I walked quickly toward a nearby grocery store to buy a sandwich.

As I entered the supermarket, a middle-aged, blonde woman looked me over with pitying eyes.

“I thought I should give this to you,” she said extending her diamond-covered hand with a 20-spot clasped between her fingers. “Just in case you need money to get home.”

It was obvious that my presence was not wanted there. I didn’t take the money, but I took her advice and booked a ticket back home.

read ... B-Bye

Park Service wants Keauhou groundwater managed

AP: The National Park Service is petitioning the state water commission to designate the Keauhou Aquifer of North Kona as a groundwater water management area.

The park service says proactive management of groundwater withdrawals is urgently needed around Hawaii Island's Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park given the sensitivity and importance of its resources....

The water commission will review the petition and decide whether to hold a public hearing on the issue.

read ... Federal Takeover

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