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Tuesday, January 21, 2014
January 21, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:41 PM :: 3695 Views

Supreme Court Upholds Hawaii Redistricting Plan

Decoupling: How HECO's "Money Printing Machine" Causes High Electric Rates

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted January 21, 2014

Hannemann has hurdles if he decides to seek office

Borreca: ...most conjecture has Hannemann running again for urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District seat....

The obstacle in Hannemann's 28 years of running for office has always been the Democratic primary. Democratic voters did not support him in a 1990 run for Congress against former U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink, for governor against Neil Abercrombie in 2010, and another congressional campaign in 2012 against then-City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard. In 2000 he lost a nonpartisan campaign for mayor against Jeremy Harris that was held in conjunction with the primary election.

As a moderate-to-conservative Democrat who worked for George H.W. Bush when Bush was vice president, Hannemann touches a different base of supporters than found in the Democratic primary. Because of that, Hannemann runs stronger in a general election where he can pick up a share of GOP, conservative and pro-business voters. Progressives and strong liberal voters do not care for his conservative social agenda or his "friendly to business" background....

He could run as a Republican in either of the two congressional campaigns, or theoretically also for the U.S. Senate. All three options would have little upside for Hannemann, except perhaps a GOP campaign for CD 1, which contains more conservative areas in East Honolulu and Mililani.

The other intriguing political option is for Hannemann to avoid a gubernatorial primary and run as an independent for governor....

To run as an independent, you still have to have a political party, so Hannemann — like former Mayor Frank Fasi did — would need to form another political party by the Feb. 20 deadline for forming new political parties.

read ... Hurdles

Prison corruption crackdown could lead to more arrests

HNN: The crack down on corruption at Halawa prison will likely mean more arrests.

Hawaii News Now has learned that up to a dozen workers at the state's maximum security prison are being targeted.

That comes on the heels of the recent arrest of prison guard James Sanders, who is accused of smuggling in crystal meth to prisoners.

Prison officials confirm that they are working closely with the FBI and the Honolulu Police to weed out corruption.

It's all part of an investigation that began more than a year ago when the prisons chief Ted Sakai was forced to deal with a series of embarrassing security lapses.

We have now learned that the investigation to netted last week's indictment of Sanders was partly triggered by the 2012 arrest of a fellow guard.

That guard, John Joseph Kalei Hall, admitted to smuggling cigarettes to members of the USO prison gang.

Another longtime guard, Feso Malufau, faces charges of distributing marijuana and crystal meth to USO members.

Prison reform advocates (who are trying to force all of Hawaii's inmates into these corrupt prisons, have an excuse.  They) blame the problem on underfunding and prison overcrowding (in essence demanding even more money for the corrupt UPW, Inc corporate prisons instead of the far less corrupt and far less expensive CCA, Inc corporate prison in Arizona.)

read ... Corruption Arrests

Neil 'Pension Tax' Abercrombie to Target Seniors in State of the State

HNN: Governor Neil Abercrombie will lay out his administration's focus for the next year during the State of the State Address Tuesday morning, and one of the key issues he's expected to touch on is Hawaii's rapidly growing elderly population.

Live Stream:

Still on the Agenda: Ward: No Pension Tax

read ... Take Cover

Accountability, Election Reform Top Good-Government Bill List

CB: In the first week of the 2014 legislative session, one of the many so-called good-government bills has already cleared its final House committee and is headed to a final vote before all the reps.

House Bill 1072 would make public the financial disclosure reports filed by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents....

Perhaps the broadest disclosure bill introduced last session, the first year of the biennium, was House Bill 207, part of the Ethics Commission’s legislative package.

The bill calls for making public the financial disclosure statements of the Board of Regents as well as seven other boards and commissions, such as the Public Utilities Commission and Board of Land and Natural Resources....

Three years ago, the Legislature passed an amendment to give additional exemptions to state task force members. But in the process, they deleted language limiting the exemption, broadening it to include lawmakers too.

As Ethics Executive Director Les Kondo now reads the law, legislators and task force members are exempt from all actions they take in their legislative capacity. The loophole may have spared one senator already — Josh Green, a doctor who found himself ethically compromised in a matter involving a healthcare billing company.  Lawmakers want to restore the law to its previous version, Saiki said.

In other disclosure-related bills, Saiki and Reps. Chris Lee and Della Au Belatti have introduced a bill that proposes a constitutional amendment to make public the list of judicial nominees.  House Bill 420 has its first hearing scheduled Thursday before the Judiciary Committee....

On a different good-government front, the Campaign Spending Commission has several bills in its package it will likely be pushing toward passage again this session.

In an apparent effort to boost compliance in filing reports, House Bill 1604 would prevent a candidate from receiving a certificate of election until the candidate has filed the necessary disclosure reports and pays any of the commission’s assessed fines.

The latter part would apply to reps like Karen Awana who was re-elected to another term last election despite having outstanding fines.

Other campaign spending bills, like Senate Bill 2117 and House Bill 201, would change reporting deadlines to make the disclosures more useful to the public and require the identification of the candidate supported or opposed by an independent expenditure among other things.

read ... Accountability

Four Hawaii Mayors Head for DC

HTH: 280 of the nation’s mayors at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 82nd Winter Meeting on Monday in Washington, D.C.

Kenoi, chair of the Hawaii Conference of Mayors, will the meeting with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, and Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho.

The mayors will join President Barack Obama and members of his cabinet and other congressional leaders at the White House for a discussion of issues that affect municipalities, including trade, technology, climate change and affordable health care.

read ... Gone

Trailing in fundraising, Hanabusa gets support from retired governors, senator

KHON: ...she opened her campaign headquarters along Beretania Street in Chinatown.

Former U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka and former governors George Ariyoshi and Ben Cayetano joined Hanabusa to endorse her and officially kick off her campaign challenge against Schatz.  

"I'm here because I support Colleen Hanabusa," Ariyoshi said to the crowd of several hundred people who gathered at the headquarters, sandwiched between lei shops across from the Chinese Cultural Plaza near Maunakea Street.

"They ask me 'How come you're supporting Colleen?  She gave you such a hard time when you were governor?'" said Cayetano....

Hanabusa said her campaign will benefit from the wisdom of those members of the Democratic Party establishment.

read ... Hanabusa

SB274: Special Purpose Bonds for Molokai Alt-Energy Project

IM: Princeton Energy Group has a lot of experience arranging for federal taxpayer funds to build wind farms. In this case they are turning to the State.  Senator English is the lead author for Senate Bill (SB) 2754-2014.

The bill “authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Princeton Energy Group or a related special purpose entity with the financing of the planning, design, and construction of a renewable energy project with energy storage technology on the island of Molokai.”

read ... Crony Capitalism

Rep. Creagan outlines legislative priorities

WHT: That doesn’t mean, however, he doesn’t have priorities he’s pursuing. Among them are a replacement hospital for Kona, a four-year university for West Hawaii, expedited citizenship for Marshallese residents in Hawaii and a second water well for Ocean View.

“The bottom line is, Kona Community Hospital needs to be replaced, and how it is replaced is going to be contentious,” Creagan said.

A public-private partnership is the solution most discussed, but there’s been little interest from other hospitals in Hawaii, he said. Banner Health System in 2012 expressed interest in some Hawaii Health Systems Corp. hospitals on the Big Island and Maui, but legislation would be needed to let the public-private partnership move forward. So far, that hasn’t happened.

read ... Creagan outlines legislative priorities

Potheads: We Need to Get Past Election before our Reps Slip Legal Dope to the People

HTH: Pamela Lichty, president of the action group and Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, said there are several bills up for consideration this session to change the medical marijuana law in the state.

Supported by the groups, the bills would legalize dispensaries for authorized patients and allow doctors who are not a patient’s primary physician to write a prescription.

Both proposals are intended to increase access, but they also face their own set of challenges, including ensuring that the drug is kept in the hands of those who actually need it for medical purposes.

Still, in regards to dispensaries, Lichty said Hawaii is in the minority of those with medical marijuana laws.

“We’re one of two or three states (with medical marijuana laws) that don’t have dispensaries,” she said. “We need a safe and legal way for patients to obtain it.”

Bills to decriminalize and legalize recreational use are also on the table, but Lichty said she isn’t confident they will make it far this time around.

“We’re hearing that everybody is not feeling very bold because it’s an election year,” she said.

“We just came through the marriage equality battle. They are shying away from anything that is controversial.”

read ... Lull the People to Sleep, then Pounce

Plastic bag ban: Is Oahu ready for the switch?

KHON: come next year, they will be swiped from your neighborhood store....

Mr. Crooks got used to opting for paper bags while living on Kauai.  (See?  The enviros are murdering trees.  Told you!)

The ban takes effect July 1, 2015 on Oahu. This year, notices will go out to affected businesses reminding them of the change. Then next year, the city will begin inspection and enforcement.

There are some exceptions to the rule like the plastic bags you get to put your produce in, as well as those long dry cleaning bags. The plastic bags you get for your newspaper will also be allowed.

Non-exempt businesses caught violating the ban would face fines of up to $1,000 per day.

They sell bags for 99 cents.

2012: Retail Giants Want to Make Sure they Get a Cut of the Bag Tax Action

read ... Killing Trees

Council to Consider Less Parking, Fewer Lanes

SA: Resolution 13-290, asking the Caldwell administration to establish a demonstration project for "parklets" around Oahu, was approved by the City Council's Transportation Committee on Thursday. The full Council will vote on it Jan. 29.

Parklets are defined in the resolution as "mini-parks created by converting on-street parking spaces into plazas and public gathering places."

read ... Less Lanes

Shark expert to plead guilty to child pornography charge

HNN: Attorney William Harrison today confirmed the plea deal, which is subject to approval by U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi on Thursday.

Honebrink, who is the state's stark expert, is often quoted by the media whenever shark attacks occur.

He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted by a jury but will likely serve much less time under the plea deal.

The case against Honebrink stems from an international investigation dubbed "Operation Spade."...

State officials said that Honebrink remained on the job because he had only been charged but not convicted of a crime.

So why is Leon Rouse on the job?  Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature (Again)

read ... Kiddie Porn

Hawaii County Bounty Hunter has 26 Convictions, Allegedly Jumped Bail

HTH: Court documents filed by police state the pickup truck allegedly driven by Gordon rammed the Honda, driven by 36-year-old Raylad Brown of Hilo, three times.

The documents also show Gordon is employed as a fugitive recovery agent — also known as a skip tracer or bounty hunter — by 4Freedom Bail Bonds. Gordon allegedly told officers that Brown was wanted on a warrant....

According to court records, Brown has 18 convictions, including four felonies — burglary, theft, promotion of a dangerous drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Court records also indicate that Gordon has 26 convictions, nine for felonies, including theft, attempted theft, forgery, fraudulent use of a credit card, auto theft, escape and a firearms charge, but none for drugs. He is, however, facing a firearms charge and felony drug-related charges in another case, including attempted first-degree methamphetamine trafficking, a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment. Those charges were brought by indictment on Nov. 21, 2012. Prosecutors also charged him with bail jumping by felony information complaint on Oct. 4, 2013.

read ... Criminal vs Criminal

Cheating on tests spurs KCC Radiology Program to change exam rules

SA: A message from "Jane Doe" offering "a little help" popped up in the email accounts of first-year students at Kapiolani Community College's Radiologic Technology program, the only such program in the state.

Attached was a photo of a multiple-choice test, complete with answers, that looked a lot like the test they were about to face. It was one of a string of similar emails sent during the fall 2012 semester.

The messages came complete with "rules," warning the students to stay mum and to "slightly diminish" their scores so they would not get 100 percent, which could arouse suspicion. It advised them to opt out if they didn't want any more "help."

Enough people apparently took advantage of the emailed tests that administrators noticed an upward shift in test scores, and one former student eventually blew the whistle during an academic grievance case.

read ... Future Radiologists

State refutes Kauai contamination study

KGI: In October, Kauai residents Terry Lilley and Michael Sheehan collected 10 sediment samples from North Shore streams and reefs and sent them to Test America in Sacramento, Calif., where they were tested for dioxins, pesticides, heavy metals and more.

Sample sites included the Hanalei River, Hanalei Bay, Anini Creek, Anini Bay and Sealodge....  (None of which are near any GMO farms.)

Brewer wrote that the concentrations of chromium pose no risk, in part because chromium is tightly bound with minerals and not “bioavailable” if the sediment or soil is accidentally ingested....  (Health tip: Don't eat dirt.)

Don Heacock, a Kauai fisheries biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said that while he and others don’t question the study’s findings, they “totally question” how those findings have been interpreted.

“All of it’s bogus,” he said. “(Naman) didn’t go to the trouble to look at the ambient levels of those metals in volcanic soils. They’re found in all volcanic soils at those levels. There is nothing significant about those levels of metals in Hawaii.”

read ... Another group of panicky residents of Paradise

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