Duke Aiona Announces Run for Governor
Audit: Repealed Special Fund Accounts Never Closed
Full Text: Hawaii DoE Budget Proposal
Ethics: State Supervisor Got $10,000 Riding Mover from Vendor
Feds Compare Quality of Care at 17 Hawaii Hospitals
U.S. military dominance in Pacific in decline, says top admiral
Word of caution to the GOP leadership: it’s not your egg
Bills On Tap at Legislature Today
SB2204: Mizuno, Oakland Sponsor Child Molester Protection Bill
CB: Senate Bill 2204 would prohibit teachers and licensed professional counselors from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under 18. (Why just for kids?)
So controversial is SB 2204 that the legislative group that is backing the bill, the Keiki Caucus, had trouble agreeing on sponsorship. Bills need the support of 75 percent of the 30-member caucus.
"It barely made it," said Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, co-convener of the caucus. "A lot of members didn't want to sign it."
In fact, only Chun Oakland's name is on the bill. Rep. John Mizuno, the House vice speaker, will likely introduce a House companion.
The senator acknowledged the conversion therapy bill would be controversial.
"Definitely," she said. "I don't know which committee it would be referred to, or whether it will even get a hearing. But I am willing to have a conversation."...
So, why take on something as contentious as conversion therapy?
The Keiki Caucus was persuaded in part by IMUAlliance, a nonpartisan political advocacy group "devoted to the protection of democratic ideals," (LOL! Its that weirdo with the airbrushed wings!) and Girl Fest Hawaii, a 501(c)3 (led by Congressional Candidate Kathryn Xian).
Translation: Sexual orientation is unchangeable, but gender is. If a homosexual child molester begins grooming your son by telling him that he is gay, you can't do anything about it. You will only be able to resist a heterosexual child molester.
read ... If a Molester Converts you son, its done
Tranny to Run for OHA Trustee
KITV: The transgender chair of the Oahu Island Burial Council has announced a run for office. Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu is running for an at-large seat with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Wong-Kalu is also the director of culture at the Halau Lokahi Public Charter School in Kalihi-Palama. Wong-Kalu realizes she (sic) may receive more attention because of her (sic) sexual identity, but says she's (sic) determined to make a difference.... Wong-Kalu says her (sic) run for OHA at-large trustee will focus on education, health issues and the LGBT community.
Read ... Mainland Homosexuals' Dream Hawaiian
Bill would make state brief public on sex ed
SA: The state's bipartisan Keiki Caucus on Thursday announced a package of bills it plans to support this session, including measures that would help fund after-school programs and amend Hawaii's sex education law.
In order to improve sex education, the caucus is backing a bill that, among other things, would require the Department of Education to provide information on the curriculum to the public and allow for parents to keep their children out of sex education without academic consequences.
Additionally, a resolution supported by the caucus would request the DOE and the Board of Education to report back to the Legislature on the status of sexuality health programs in the public schools and on the feasibility of developing a uniform, mandatory sex education program....
The Keiki Caucus is a bipartisan group of 30 House and Senate members that collaborates with more than 100 children and youth advocates, nonprofit organizations, researchers, businesses and other experts to draft legislation regarding education, health, child safety, substance abuse, child welfare, youth development, employment opportunities and other critical issues. Bills must be approved by 75 percent of caucus members to be included in the package.
read ... Porno Choices
Latest Rumor: Mufi for Governor as Republican?
PR: A few weeks ago, political insiders were speculating that former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann might run for Congress.
More recently, the talk behind-the-scenes is governor -- as a Republican.
Hannemann responded via email.
Many people talk to me every day--Republicans, Independents and Democrats--expressing to me that our government should be doing better, especially at the top.
I am indeed in discussions with a lot of people, seeking their input and searching my heart on how and where to best serve our community and expect to make a decision at the right time.
Today: Duke Aiona Announces Run for Governor
Jan 7, 2014: Hannemann Should Jump to the GOP
read ... `In discussions ...'
Hawaii Health Connector Fails -- 0.5% of Employee Signup Projections
PBN: As of Saturday, the Hawaii Health Connector had enrolled 2,709 individuals in health-insurance plans, which missed the goal of 4,230 enrollees after the first three months of open enrollment that launched in October. But, the ray of optimism stems from the number of individuals who applied for health insurance, which surpassed 17,000 in the first three months of open enrollment, according to a report of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.... (This includes 10,000-plus Medicaid apps.)
...small business enrollment in Hawaii is at around 200 employees out of some 350 small business applications for coverage through the Hawaii Health Connector. The early benchmark set for small business enrollment in the current fiscal year was set at 40,000.
PDF: Hawaii Lowest Enrollment of Any State
read ... An Article Entitled 'Enrollment in Hawaii Health Connector looking better'
Bid to tax seniors' pensions seems like suicide mission
Borreca: Somewhere, politicians must have a scale to weigh the risk of raising taxes in an election year.
There will be elections this year. Half of the state Senate, all of the state House and the governor all will be running.
So it was more than a little startling to hear House Speaker Rep. Joe Souki use his opening-day speech to propose that Hawaii revisit taxing pensions.
If there was a tipping point marking Gov. Neil Abercrombie's slide in popularity, it was in 2011 when he looked Hawaii's seniors in the eye and said he wanted a piece of their pensions.
Abercrombie was quickly opposed by the local AARP, causing Abercrombie to launch a disastrous, name-calling attack on the AARP -- and his downward spiral was on....
In an interview Wednesday, Souki said he thought he could get a pension tax through the House.
"I don't think it will be that hotly contested," Souki said, adding "I can get passage."
After that, there are no assurances that the Senate wants to look at a pension tax, so why would Souki risk exposing his House Demo-crats?
Some political observers noted this week that House members are somewhat dependent on the governor for favors, such as construction projects and other help during an election year. Souki acknowledged that the House "gains leverage in working with the administration."
"It is not everything, but it gives us a slight edge," Souki said.
read ... Suicide?
GET Hike on Hawaii County Council Agenda
HTH: The Hawaii County Council Finance Committee is the next venue for a proposal by state mayors to allow them flexibility to add a 1 percent surcharge to the general excise tax.
South Kona/Ka‘u Councilwoman Brenda Ford has added a discussion of the proposal to the committee’s agenda for an 11 a.m. Tuesday meeting at the West Hawaii Civic Center....
The state GET is currently at 4 percent. Honolulu already has a half-cent GET surcharge it’s using to help pay for rail transit. Unlike a sales tax, the GET is applied against all steps of a manufacturing process, leading to costs passed on to consumers beyond the 4 percent at the register. About one-third of it is paid by visitors, Mayor Billy Kenoi said.
The Hawaii Council of Mayors requested bills, SB2115 and HB1606, to allow them the extra penny on the dollar, a 25 percent increase in the tax. The mayors claim they currently don’t intend to raise the tax; they just want the option in case they need to.
read ... GET Hike
What To Do With $844 Million?
Boylan: ...from the day Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his estimable budget director announced the number, visions of ways to spend $844 million have filled the heads of state department directors and their deputies, not to mention principals and teachers, professors and deans, and random state workers at their posts across our fair islands. A new program here, a new hire there, even early childhood education for all, perhaps?
Not so fast, says Sam Slom, the only Republican member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
“I don’t believe we have a budget surplus at this time,” says he. “And if we do, I think we should give it back to Hawaii’s taxpayers, who’ve been overtaxed for too long. Then 100 percent of it would be used productively, rather than wasted on government lawyers along the way.”...
“We had cash last year,” says Luke, “but we didn’t fund some of the governor’s requests because members had questions that had not been answered. Funding a program constitutes a commitment. It has to be warranted. It shouldn’t be done simply because we have a surplus; $844 million seems like a lot of money, but we could spend it easily in a couple of years.
“The economy is cyclical. Six years ago, we had a big surplus, but we spent it all down during the recession, and we raided funds. We’ve learned from the mistakes of the past. No one wants
Furlough Fridays again. We want to put aside money in the rainy day and hurricane relief funds.”
CB: Pritchett: Taxing Situation
read ... What To Do With $844 Million?
Star-Adv: GMOs are a Distraction in Agriculture Debate
SA Editorial: As long as that list is, the likelihood of even more pests is great, as the U.S. military pivots toward Asia and vacationing visitors arrive from across the globe. Every plane that touches down brings with it the possibility of an unwanted stowaway.
Just as there is only so much money, there is only so much time in the day, only so many hours that government employees can devote to any given task.
By getting behind this bill, representatives and senators agree that combating invasive species is a high priority for the state Department of Agriculture, for example, which is represented on the council.
County-level disputes over pesticides and GMOs have dominated the discussion about Hawaii agriculture lately, and that can distract from other important statewide issues such as eradicating invasive species.
It has been years since the Democrats in the House and Senate have coalesced around key priorities from the session's outset, so it's encouraging to see this joint majority package, which also focuses on addressing the effects of climate change in Hawaii and boosting services for senior citizens.
read ... Fund Invasive Species Control
Pandering to the Mob: Sen Green Bill Would Ban Roundup Herbicide
HTH: A popular weed killer would be pulled from store shelves under a bill a Big Island representative introduced.
State Sen. Josh Green proposed a five-year moratorium on the sale and use of products containing glyphosate, a chemical found in common herbicides such as Roundup.
Products containing the chemical are sold over the counter and used by property owners, government agencies and farmers alike to control weeds.
Though considered one of the least-toxic herbicides used in agriculture, its widespread adoption made it a focal point of criticism from (conspiracy-theorist) environmentalists as well as (mentally unstable) opponents of genetically engineered crops. Modified varieties of corn and soybean have been developed to be resistant to glyphosate, allowing farmers to spray the chemical without harming their plants.
Green’s bill would place a moratorium — from July 1, 2014, through July 1, 2019 — on all use of the product while a “glyphosate working group” studies its impacts on health and the environment. (As if the Feds and dozens of academics have not already done this?)
Green, an emergency room physician, cited (debunked) studies he said show the chemical is harmful to the development of placenta cells, and he thinks it also might be responsible for the (non-existent) decline in bee populations. (Translation: He is pandering to every conspiracy theory out there.)
Echoing arguments made by opponents of genetically engineered crops, he said the state should follow the “precautionary principle.”
In general, the principle is used to urge caution when effects of a process or action are unclear or disputed. (Translation: The Precautionary Principle is a heckler's veto.)
read ... War on Agriculture
Anti-GMO Obsessives Whine About Pesticide Numbers
KGI: That snapshot, the director said, is more of a gauge of what’s being used, and not a document that will spell out when too much RUP is being used, or too often.
That’s because different RUPs have different use requirements, as spelled out on their labels.
Generally, Matsuda said, RUP maximum thresholds are not to exceed a certain per acre, per year standard. So just saying some acres were sprayed with a certain amount of pesticides, as the reports currently state, isn’t pinpointing whether the same acre is being sprayed with the RUP repeatedly.
That’s why the Good Neighbor documents don’t go far enough, said Andrea Brower, a concerned Kauai citizen who favors the county’s more stringent pesticide law over the voluntary program.
“That’s really the crux of it ... It’s just not adequate information,” she said. “The bottom line is, it’s not very, I mean, it’s interesting to see the numbers, but it’s not the information or data that we need for any useful analysis.”
But what the disclosures can do is allow the DOA’s pesticide division to monitor the RUPs and amounts, and if something triggers a red flag, the department can use its expertise to follow up, Matsuda said.
“If there’s a complaint or a concern, we can ask for a year’s worth of records on a certain product,” he said of the state department that certifies RUP applicators every five years to ensure the pesticides are being properly administered. “We’ve done it in the past.”
Two of the affected companies, Syngenta and Kauai Coffee, said Wednesday that the state’s new voluntary program will probably need some fine-tuning.
CB: Organic anti-GMO fake farmers plot legislative strategy
read ... Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Add space between people and wind turbines, firm told
SA: Kahuku area residents concerned about the proximity of a proposed wind energy project to homes and schools are asking the developer to move the wind turbines farther away from the community.
The proposed placement of the turbines, the closest of which is about 2,100 feet from a Kahuku subdivision, dominated the discussion at a meeting held Wednesday night to brief area residents about the health effects of wind turbines.
Champlin Windpower LLC is proposing to put up 15 wind turbines in a two-phase project called Na Pua Makani. The project would be adjacent to a 12-turbine wind project completed by First Wind LLC in 2011.
The locations of eight turbines in the first phase of Champlin's project would range from 2,100 feet (four-tenths of a mile) to 5,300 feet (a mile) from Kahuku's Mauka Village.
read ... Add space between people and wind turbines, firm told
Hui mounts legal fight against 801 South St condo
SA: The association of apartment owners at Royal Capitol Plaza recently filed a legal petition against the Hawaii Community Development Authority, asking to invalidate a development permit for the second phase of the project at 801 South St.
Royal Capitol residents retained Honolulu attorney Carl Varady, and he filed the petition Jan. 2.
"The actions of HCDA in approving the Phase II permit were clearly erroneous, arbitrary and capricious, and characterized by both an abuse of discretion and a clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion," the petition said.
Allegations in the petition are far-ranging. They include contentions that the HCDA's approval of the permit was predetermined before public hearings, that the traffic impact from the 1,700 parking stalls in 801 South's two phases constitutes a public nuisance, that HCDA rules violate the state Constitution and that the Legislature improperly delegated authority to the agency.
Background: Ethics complaint: HCDA Falsifies Kakaako Workforce Housing Affordability Formulas
read ... Legal Fight
5 homicides end life on the street for isle homeless Because Liberals Refuse to Force them into Shelters
SA: Five homeless men have been killed on Honolulu streets in the past six months, prompting concern from the state's homeless coordinator about the dangers facing many who live without shelter.
Colin Kippen, the state's coordinator on homelessness, said the killings underscore the fact that living on the streets of Honolulu can be perilous.
"The answer needs to be permanent housing," he said. "We've got to figure out how to do more than just move people from sidewalk to sidewalk."
Kippen said a $2.1 million federal grant recently awarded to the state Health Department should help provide additional case management services for the chronically homeless with disabilities and help to get more people off the streets. He said the state also needs to create more affordable housing for the needy.
read ... Death Toll of False Compassion
HB676 Would Force Landlords to Accept Section 8 Tenants
CB: ...some homeowners and companies shy away from renting to residents who use the federal vouchers. Property managers and real estate firms say it’s because that program can lead to a long-drawn-out rental process and cause delays in receiving payments.
But others see that kind of screening as a sign of antipathy against low-income people and argue that it discriminates against housing voucher recipients who tend to be racial minorities and single mothers.
Those concerns led to a bill in the Hawaii Legislature last year that would have made it unlawful to discriminate against renters on the basis of “lawful source of income” such as the Section 8 program.
But proposal was dropped last spring after it encountered strong opposition from property managers and real estate firms both locally and nationally.
Now, the House Judiciary Committee plans to hear the proposal again on Tuesday next week....
read ... No Section 8?
Appeals court delay could stall Honolulu rail construction
PBN: The appeal of a federal lawsuit seeking to stop Honolulu’s $5.16 billion rail project could stall construction again if a judge doesn’t issue an opinion on the matter by late spring or early summer, the executive director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation warned the agency’s board Thursday.
“I just want to get it on your radar screen that our critical path is affected by the federal court,” Dan Grabauskas told the board during its monthly meeting....
A hearing on the matter is slated for 10 a.m. on Feb. 6 in U.S. District Court in Honolulu.
Related: Stop Rail Lawsuit Ruling Expected Soon
PBN: Honolulu rail agency awards $117M in contracts to oversee construction
read ... Lawsuit
House, Senate Dems unveil joint Hawaii package
AP: One bill appropriates $4.2 million for an elderly care program that connects seniors with community programs and health care and social service agencies. Another maps out a strategy for planning for climate change, declaring the issue "the paramount challenge of this century."
Senate President Donna Mercado Kim says the legislative package has sufficient support in both chambers. The House and Senate are dominated by Democrats.
Majority members in both chambers last presented a joint package in 2008.
read ... Joint
Still Looking for Tax Hike Excuse, Caldwell Pitches Doomed Bus Ad Proposal
KITV: The bill is set to be heard by the City Council committee Friday at 6 a.m.
read ... Prepping Excuse for Tax Hikes
City Bicycle Program: $7000 per Bike plus $2176 per Bike Operating cost
KITV: Phase I of Bikeshare Hawaii will be focused on Oahu's urban core, from Chinatown to Waikiki as well as the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The program will feature 1,700 bicycles and 180 stations....
Shem Lawlor, a planner with the city's Department of Planning and Permitting who's helping to organize the program, laid out the start-up costs for the program: $550,000 in administrative costs, $11.9 million in capital and $3.2 million in annual operation and maintenance. (If this is such a good idea, why not put the operation up for bid? .... uh-huh... yep...)
- ($11.9M / 1700 bikes = $7000 per bike start-up capital)
- ($3.75M / 1700 bikes = $2176 per bike per year)
read ... Bikeshare program to begin summer of 2015
Kauai County Owes 14 Years Back Taxes After Audit finds flaws in county vehicle policy
KGI: The PKF Pacific Hawaii auditor found that, in one instance, a county employee was allowed to take a county vehicle home when they should not have been approved to do so. The audit process revealed the error and it was stopped, Pasion said.
The first finding of the audit was that the county vehicle policy did not comply with state law and is inadequate with “possible noncompliance, abuse, waste, inefficiency.” A 2002 revised policy lacked guidance on appropriate use or restriction of non-take-home vehicles, and difficulty in determining where abuse was taking place, the report stated....
he second finding was that the county is vulnerable to state and federal tax implications related to the use of approved take-home vehicles. Prior to July 2013, the county did not account for the value of employee take-home vehicles and the county could be liable for additional federal payroll withholding taxes and state retirement contributions, the report stated.
There isn’t an estimate on that possible amount yet because the county is planning to work with the Internal Revenue Service on the matter.
Qualifying for a take-home vehicle depends on the nature of job, Pasion added. The requests were being approved by department heads when they needed to go through the finance director and then get the mayor’s approval....
This is a retroactive benefit back to 2002 that needs to be reported and adjusted, Pasion said.....
read ... Audit
Hawaii considers gambling as potential nuisance
AP: The House Judiciary Committee today planned to debate a bill to add gambling to a list of offenses that can result in civil nuisance lawsuits.
The bill held over from the 2013 session is first on the agenda for the committee in its first hearing since the session began Wednesday.
The measure would allow people to sue over gambling if it creates a nuisance. The nuisance law covers other activities like fireworks or drug manufacturing.
read ... Nuisance
20 Year Sentence for Stealing from City Workers Pension Funds
KITV: “This was a very egregious breach of trust. He was literally messing with people’s retirements. He took hundreds of thousands of dollars from some victims,” said Prosecuting Attorney Chris Van Marter. “He acknowledges he spent a lot of money on home repairs, almost $300,000, bought four cars, tons of clothes and bags.”
Harada worked as an ING financial advisor and prosecutors say he used that position to steal money from retirement funds from city workers.
Read ... Financial Advisor