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Thursday, November 14, 2013
November 14, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:41 PM :: 4717 Views

Gay Marriage Signing Ceremony: "Imagine There's No Religion"

Broken Trust Gang finally Imposes Gay Unions on Hawaii

Hawaii legalizes gay marriage, but opponents promise challenge to law

Abercrombie Signs Bill Creating New Type of Family Unit

Health Connector Still Refuses to Say How Many Bought Insurance

Hanabusa Camp Hits Schatz 'Divisive appeal to Single Ideological Group'

Honolulu Muslim Eye-Gouge Attacker Tied to Staten Island Jihadi

Pesticides: State Launches 'Agricultural Good Neighbor Program' for Kauai

State Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Geothermal Rights Case

Informational Briefings to Review Audits Critical of DHHL, OHA

Medicaid Buy-In Task Force to Meet

Informational Hearing to Consider Foster Care, Adult Residential Care

Feds Propose Plan to Kill Hawaii Owls, Egrets

A Revolution May be Coming

CB: A Revolution May Be Coming. If everyone who testified against SB 1 regularly votes, some legislators — especially ones who live in districts with New Hope churches — may be in trouble in the 2014 election. While standing against gay rights has generally not been an effective issue in Hawaii races — just ask Mufi Hannemann, Duke Aiona and Gary Okino — something may be in the wind. On the other side of the equation, I wonder if Reps. like Rida Cabanilla and Isaac Choy, who have opposed gay marriage but skipped the House votes, will be challenged, too.

read ... Election 2014

Abercrombie Thanks Sen Chumbley for Tricking Voters Back in '98

SA: Gov. Neil Abercrombie greets former state Sen. Avery Chumbley, who holds up today's Honolulu Star-Advertiser front page about the Senate's passage of the same-sex marriage bill, during a bill-signing ceremony at the Hawai'i Convention Center this morning. Chumbley helped craft the 1998 constitutional amendment that gave the Legislature the power to define marriage....

Now, the struggle over marriage equality shifts to Hawaii's courts. State Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican who opposes gay marriage, will seek a temporary restraining order  to block the state from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, citing the 1998 constitutional amendment.

McDermott (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) and other same-sex marriage opponents contend that the constitutional amendment outweighs any bill passed by the Legislature. Another public vote, they argue, would be necessary to redefine marriage.

Judge Karl Sakamoto has scheduled a hearing for Thursday in Circuit Court.

AM: Democracy under the Rainbow Ruling Class.

Related: Broken Trust Gang finally Imposes Gay Unions on Hawaii

read ... and Gives Pen to Broken Trust Crook, Levinson

Lawsuit to stop same-sex marriage returning to court, TRO Rejected

SA: Judge refuses to block Hawaii's same-sex marriage law

KHON: If the judge rules in favor of the plaintiffs on Thursday, he could order the state to stop issuing wedding licenses for same-sex couples, which would put the new law on hold.

read... Back to Court

Gay Marriage Commentary:

Hawaii Health Connector one of three states without enrollment data

PBN: When asked for Hawaii’s enrollment data, a spokesman for the Hawaii Health Connector said that those numbers will “potentially” be released to the public on Friday, when the Hawaii Health Connector holds a board meeting at the state Capitol from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. That meeting will be aired live on the Hawaii Health Connector’s YouTube channel, he added.

read ... Potentially

Gay Marriage in Hawaii: Why I'm Not Celebrating — Yet

PM: Yet the statuses reflect an overwhelming assumption that marriage equality is the fundamental issue facing the LGBT community. The truth is that it's not, and the fight for marriage equality, while well intentioned, diverts focus from other, more pressing human rights issues.

Yes, we should be happy that same-sex couples are now entitled to the same benefits as heterosexual couples. A society that decides to distribute entitlements based on relationship status should extend those entitlements without discriminating on the basis of gender. Marriage equality makes life easier and more certain for these couples and their families. I want a wife and a golden retriever and an apartment with a garbage disposal. But there are issues that are more pressing to LGBT people worldwide than what an upper-middle-class person in the United States wants.Russia’s recent “war on homosexuals,” for example, should remind the LGBT community (and its allies) that there are issues more pressing than the contractual recognition of the one we love. 

The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has thoughtfully partnered with organizations that combat violence, discrimination, and the criminalization of members and assumed members of the LGBT community for decades. In the U.S., gay, lesbian, and transgender teenagers are still jumping off bridges and overdosing on drugs and abusing alcohol more than their heterosexual friends and classmates. Employers can still fire workers based on gender identity and sexual orientation. These issues require any citizen motivated by the desire to support human rights to re-center their priorities.

The LGBT community and allies need to move beyond marriage equality.

read ... Gay Marriage in Hawaii: Why I'm Not Celebrating — Yet

Only 3200 Gay Marriages Expected

SA: Same-sex marriages in Hawaii would translate into $217 million in visitor spending in 2014-16, a July report by the Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaii found.

That tourism and ceremony-related spending would also translate into $10.2 million in general excise tax revenues for the state in that two-year period, according to the study.

More than 3,200 same-sex couples — both local and from abroad — would marry in Hawaii within the first three years of legalization, according to the Williams Institute, a research arm on sexual-orientation law and policy at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law.

Despite Hawaii's oncoming wave of gay weddings, Clark and other local planners said Wednesday that they don't expect to see more than a modest boost to their individual businesses — perhaps up to 15 percent — because there are so many local companies to absorb the demand.

read ... Nobody Wants Gay marriage

State pension record gains do not change unfunded liability

SA: Hawaii's largest public pension fund, which has an unfunded liability of $8.4 billion, began the new fiscal year on a positive note as its return on investments rose 5.3 percent in the July-September quarter.

The strong performance boosted the assets of the state Employees' Retirement System portfolio to a record $12.9 billion.

The ERS fund — which provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to 113,282 active, retired and inactive state and county employees — was only 59 percent funded as of the June 30, 2012, cutoff date of the previous actuarial report.

The ERS said in December its unfunded liability was $8.4 billion. The fund will update that number next month. Last quarter's 5.3 percent return won't be included in the new report because the results were achieved in the new fiscal year. The report will be based on the ERS portfolio's 12 percent gain in the fiscal year that ended June 30, as well as the number of eligible employees, employee and employer contributions, and mortality tables.

"My expectations based on what I know is that the unfunded liability for fiscal 2013 should be about the same as in the previous year because there's still carryover investment losses from 2009," ERS Administrator Wes Machida said

read ... Record

Ethics board: Ford had no papaya conflict

WHT: Hawaii County Councilwoman Brenda Ford did not have a conflict of interest when she sponsored a bill banning genetically modified crops, the county Board of Ethics unanimously ruled Wednesday.

Ford, who represents South Kona and Ka‘u, has a small papaya plot growing 41 plants on the 5-acre farm in Ocean View she shares with her husband Larry. They said they make about $1,200 a year from the papayas, about 2.3 percent of Ford’s annual salary as a council member.

But Ford’s comments during recent hearings on both her bill proposing a ban on GMO crops, and Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille’s bill proposing limits on the crops, raised questions for Eric Weinert, general manager of Calavo Growers, which raises both GMO and non-GMO papayas. He filed a petition alleging Ford is trying to ban competing farms from growing papaya, thus raising the value of her own crop.

Wille’s bill is scheduled for final reading at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the West Hawaii Civic Center after passing its first reading on a 6-2 vote. Ford’s bill received a negative recommendation from the council before being sent to the Environmental Management Commission.

Weinert has said he will challenge Wille’s bill in court if it is adopted.

“(Ford’s bill) puts us completely out of business,” Weinert said, characterizing Ford’s actions as, “‘Everybody that’s not doing it my way, I’m going to put them out of business.’ Clearly that’s a conflict of interest.”

Weinert said Ford, during hearings on the GMO bills, put herself out there as a “commercial, non-GMO, organic papaya farmer,” and therefore somewhat of an expert.

“She’s trying to put her competitors out of business,” he said. “She should recuse herself.”

read ... Hypocrite

City Council approves Koa Ridge development plan

SA: ...approved 9-0 by the City Council today.

Council members Carol Fukunaga, Ann Kobayashi, Joey Manahan and Ron Menor voted with reservations, citing lingering concerns about traffic and the affordability of homes in the project.

The Sierra Club Hawaii chapter, which has long opposed the project, has two pending legal challenges to the project.

Castle & Cooke vice president Bruce Barrett said the company is confident it can overcome those appeals. If so, groundbreaking is scheduled for 2015 with the first homes available for occupancy in 2016....

read ... On to the Courts

Military spending in peril, hui says

SA: The state's two top business groups have joined with a local labor organization in an effort to keep large amounts of military spending flowing into Hawaii's economy.

The loss of longtime military supporter Sen. Daniel Inouye, as well as a push in Washington to reduce federal spending, raise the possibility that Hawaii could see a reduction in support from a sector that accounts for 12 percent of the state's economy, according to a report released Wednesday by the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, the Hawaii Business Roundtable and Pacific Resource Partnership.

The three groups commissioned a poll asking Hawaii registered voters about their views on the economy and the role played by the military.

Nearly 3 out of 4 respondents described the military as "very important" to the state's economy and jobs. Another 19 percent said they felt it was "somewhat important."

The poll also asked voters what they thought about military training activities in Hawaii. Of those polled, 49 percent said they "strongly support" military training, while 28 percent said they "somewhat support" it.

read ... Military

Honolulu Passes Open Data Bill

CS: The City of Honolulu may be one step closer to better open data. The state of Hawaii already has an open data policy and portal, but a new bill would expand on those rules for the city. The measure was passed unanimously and now heads to the Mayor for approval....

The city already has an open data portal, although getting new data sets out there can be a sluggish process. According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the city’s old software programs makes unearthing data on the agency side difficult. There also seems to be some question as to which data should be made available, and how easy it is for the public to read it and get a handle on public accountability from it.

Hawaii Open Data notes that they’ve pushed for the CIO position to be changed to a Chief Data Officer position, which could help deal with some of these bridge issues. These discussions are notable, as budget data and more high value data is available on various state and city open data portals in Hawaii, however the extent to which non-technical, individual residents find these data usable is an open question.

read ... Honolulu Passes Open Data Bill

Female cadets in Hawaii Guard youth academy lodge sexual misconduct complaints

SA: "I think it can probably be characterized as inappropriate physical contact," said National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony.

The Guard said the allegations were made last week and the misconduct allegedly occurred in October.

Upon hearing the allegations, the Youth Challenge Academy immediately initiated an investigation and notified the Honolulu Police Department and the state Attorney General's Office, the Guard said.

Both cadre, or staff members, have been placed on unpaid suspension pending the outcome of the investigation. No arrests have been made, Anthony said.

H: Sexual Assault in the Military: Understanding the Problem and How to Fix It

read ... Harassment



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