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Wednesday, March 19, 2014
March 19, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:33 PM :: 7158 Views

Duke Aiona: Our Road to Success

Race to the Top: Feds say Hawaii has Made Huge Progress

Potheads May Have Harder Time Getting Medicated

DHHL Takes OHA, County Fingers out of Geothermal Pie

HTH: The opinion also concludes the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has the responsibility of managing geothermal resources on its lands rather than the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.

“I hope that by issuing (the opinion) the Legislature and the community will have a greater appreciation of the constitutional and legal foundation of DHHL’s rights to economic benefits of geothermal resource development on Hawaiian home lands,” Louie said in the release.

Masagatani couldn’t be reached for comment.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs receives 20 percent of the state’s geothermal royalties.

In fiscal year 2011-12, OHA received $619,389 in royalties from Puna Geothermal Venture, the only geothermal power plant in the state, according to a report to the state Legislature from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Hawaii County received $929,084 that fiscal year. The county gets 30 percent of the state’s royalties.

read ... geothermal royalties

House Alters Hawaii Senate's Minimum Wage Bill

CB: The latest version emerged Tuesday, when the House Committee on Labor and Public Employment approved a Senate measure that raises the hourly earnings from $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

But representatives altered Clayton Hee's Senate Bill 2609 to better align it with a House-backed measure that has yet to be heard by senators, and to help businesses better absorb the greater overhead.

SB 2609 now calls for increasing the wage to $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2018, rather than a year earlier as the Senate desired, allowing for a more gradual year-to-year increase.

A proposed House draft of the Senate bill also includes an idea from House Bill 2580, which is intended to protect low-income workers. Business would not be able to deduct a tip credit of $1 per hour from workers who earn less than 250 percent of the poverty level, or about $30,000 a year.

SA: House panel approves minimum wage increase

read … Minimum Wage

Star-Adv: Get tougher on habitual thieves

SA: Property crime, a category that includes larceny-theft, burglary and motor-vehicle theft, also is down, but remains by far the most common crime reported in Hawaii, accounting for nearly 93 percent of all 46,797 index crimes reported in 2012, according to a report by the attorney general's office. More than $70 million worth of property was reported stolen in 2012, and only about 22 percent of it was recovered. Most of these crimes are never solved, leaving victims feeling threatened, vulnerable and frustrated.

House Bill 2205, Draft 1, attempts to lower the property-crime rate by removing probation as a sentencing option for a "habitual property crime perpetuator," defined under existing state statute as anyone convicted of three felony or misdemeanor property crimes, in any combination, within five years of the latest offense.

Under this bill, the habitual offender would face up to five years in prison upon conviction. Probation, which places the offender under court supervision in lieu of imprisonment, would no longer be an option.

read ... Star-Adv Editorial

Three bills to Push Homeless into Shelters scheduled for hearing Wednesday

DN: HB2409 criminalizes homeless taking over bus stops being used by people who work for a living.

HB1660, introduced by Representatives Rhoads, Brower, Nishimoto and Saiki, criminalizes any who provide less than one meter of space for passage on any paved public sidewalk....

HB33, which didn’t make it in 2013. It has one hearing this session—tomorrow, before the committee which didn’t hear it last year.  This bill criminalizes urinating or defecating on streets....

read ... last hearing Wednesday

Debunking Some Recent Anti-GMO Arguments

CB: On February 27, Paul Achitoff of the group Earth Justice opened an op-ed in Civil Beat with the emotive claim that “the genetic engineered crop industry is “dousing the Garden Isle with extremely toxic chemicals.”

If that claim were true it would obviously justify the kind of “outrage” that Achitoff cites.

However, his article is filled with inaccurate, misleading, and completely false statements.

He tries to make the case that something about the biotech corn nurseries in Hawaii leads to dangers from extraordinary pesticide use.

Science and publicly available data shows otherwise.

Achitoff focuses on a specific chemical called chlorpyrifos, which was not, as he claims, “developed during World War II as a nerve gas.”

read ... Debunking

Hawaii Tax Credit Craziness

Forbes: The goal is to turn Hawaii into 1960s Pittsburgh or Flint Mich., in their heyday. I have my doubts....But not all of the proposals are manufacturing specific. In fact, once you start talking about tax breaks for the tiny manufacturing sector, everyone wants in.

read ... Craziness

Hawaii Man Moves to Vegas, Signs up for Obamacare, Gets Stuck with $407K Hospital Bill

LVRJ: Basich said he began trying to enroll on Oct. 1, the day the exchange website went live. Like many consumers, he fought technical flaws during multiple sign-up attempts. In mid-November he finally got through and chose his plan: UnitedHealthcare’s MyHPNSilver1.

“It was like reaching the third level of Doom,” Basich said of the torturous sign-up process.

Basich paid his first premium on Nov. 21, and within days the exchange withdrew the $160.77 payment from his money-market savings account. Because Basich paid a month before the Dec. 23 deadline, his coverage was to begin Jan. 1.

Weeks ticked by, but Basich received nothing to confirm he had insurance. Nevada Health Link kept telling him he was enrolled, but UnitedHealthcare said he wasn’t in their system.

Basich’s predicament went critical on Dec. 31, when he had a heart attack. His treatment, which included a triple bypass on Jan. 3, resulted in $407,000 in medical bills in January and February that no insurer is covering.

read ... Las Vegas Review-Journal

Slower State Revenue Growth Threatens Efforts to Boost UPW-Controlled Hawaii Prisons at Expense of Cheaper, Cleaner Arizona Prison

CB: Hawaii’s prison chief proclaimed a “crisis on our hands” last May after three inmates died in two months.

By December, there were six suicides and 27 attempts — a marked increase over the prior three years.

So Public Safety Director Ted Sakai asked the state for more money in fiscal 2015, which starts July 1, to help respond to the serious mental health concerns that have for years plagued Hawaii correctional facilities.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie took note and added $5 million to his executive budget request for a few dozen new positions that directly target the issue.

But that was in December, three months before the state Council on Revenues downgraded its fiscal forecast for 2014 to no growth.

read ... Boost the UPW

DOE: New School Bus Plan Could Save $.5M By End of Year

CB: Ray L’Heureux, the assistant superintendent of Hawaii Department of Education facilities, today told members of the Board of Education Finance Committee that the districts school bus reform initiative is well en route to saving the millions of dollars officials hoped it would.

Savings through the pilot project totaled more than $200,000 by this January and are expected to amount to $500,000 by the end of the school year, L’Heureux said. That’s $100,000 more than what officials originally anticipated would be saved by the time the 2013-14 year wrapped up.

The department is actually expanding service in the pilot area, too, while decreasing the number of buses in the fleet. The pilot area includes about 30 schools in the Pearl City and Aiea areas.

The number of morning riders, for example, has grown from 1,500 students in August 2013 to 2,500 students in January 2014. Meanwhile, the department has taken seven buses off its fleet since August 2013, from 55 buses to 48 buses.

read ... Only $500K

Former prison guard pleads guilty in drug smuggling case

KITV: Sanders faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 50 years in prison on the drug and bribery charges.

In a separate Halawa drug smuggling case, trial for Mark Damas is scheduled for April 15.

read … Another Day in the Nei

Homosexual Child Molester Was Leader of Hawaii ACLU

HNN: Like B.B., who was sent to Browne's office on a weekly between 1977 and 1978. This man, now in his late 40s, said Browne molested him about 50 times, the first time was when he was 13.

B.B. thinks the abuse is one of the reason's he's had trouble coping with everyday life: Long term substance abuse problems, a failed marriage and chronic unemployment. For him, homelessness is a constant battle.

"I don't know enough of the psycho-babble jargon. But something Dr. Browne did triggered something inside that perhaps prevented me from me being who I should have been," he said.

"I spent most of my life -- 40-plus years -- stoned."

Another alleged victim said Browne signed him out of Kamehameha's dorms so he could take him to his Manoa home.

The psychiatrist later asked the boy to join a group discussion with local activists and artists and invited him to stay the night.

"The following morning I woke to Dr. Browne fondling me and then I became very upset about that," said the man, who goes by the initials L.L. in the lawsuit.

Browne -- who died in 1991 at the age of 65 -- was a prominent member of local society. He once headed St. Francis' psychiatric department and served on a number of local community boards, such as the ACLU.

He also took part in the civil rights marches in Alabama back in 1965.

But a lawyer for the victims said he was a prolific predator.

"He's a monster. He's had, he's a pedophile. He's a monster. He had access to children," said attorney Michael Green, who estimates that Browne may have victimized more than 100 boys.

read ... About a Homosexual Child Molester

Victims of Homosexual Child Molester Speak Out, At Least one Suicide Tied to Case

KITV: "The toughest thing for me to deal with today is I have to discuss it with my 18-year-old son," said former Kamehameha School student Mr. B.

He is a former student who has chosen to remain unidentified at this time.

Mr. B says he was a young teen when he met Dr. Robert Browne, a psychiatrist for Kamehameha Schools for more than 20 years.

"I'm kind of a physical guy and I'm pretty sure if Dr. Browne were alive today, he wouldn't be alive much longer," said Mr. B.

In a lawsuit filed last week, court documents say Dr. Browne, who was employed by Kamehameha and Saint Francis Medical Center, "...sexually abused and molested children (at) Kamehameha Schools...."

Attorneys say the number of victims now tops 100.

"I was groomed to not tell anyone," said Gerald Carrell, another former Kamehameha Schools student. "For about two weeks, we started to talk about intimate things."

Carrell, now in Washington, says at first Dr. Browne made him feel special, but then came the pornography followed by years of sexual abuse.

"I was a boy and that boy was wronged," said Carrell....

Mr. B says he later learned a friend, another victim, committed suicide.... That creates another twist in a tragic tale that is now taking a new turn. 

read ... Liberal Activist Exposed as Homosexual Child Molester

Caldwell Expands Office Budget in Tight Times

CB: At a time when Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is asking for more money from taxpayers and increased fiscal restraint, he is seeking to boost his own budget by nearly 70 percent.

Caldwell’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, which was released Feb. 28, includes $709,752 in expenditures for his six-person office, which is $283,803 more than what was allocated for the current year.

read ... Money for Meeee!

Surprise: New zoo director second in a row with no previous zoo experience

HNN: The city's new choice for zoo director will be the fourth person in charge of the zoo in four years and the second zoo boss hired with no previous experience working at a zoo, something that concerns zoo staff and one key council member.

Last week, the city announced that Punahou graduate Jeffrey Wilkinson, who's been the chief operating officer at a shelter for homeless women and children in Sacramento, Calif., will become Honolulu's zoo director April 1.

The city said the zoo will be helped by Wilkinson's strong management and marketing experience both in his current job and at previous positions as college director of ITT Technical Institute, a California school that trains people for the high-tech industry and president of Menco, Inc., which sells consumable products to retailers....

"I just assumed he had come from a zoo," said Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi, who was surprised when Hawaii News Now told her the incoming zoo director has no zoo experience.

"The head of the zoo has to have a love and understanding of animals, because it's a very specialized position," Kobayashi said.

Wilkinson's predecessor, Jeffrey Mahon, spent just six months as zoo director before stepping down earlier this year.

Zoo staffers said Mahon, whose background was in aquariums, also never worked in a zoo and his hiring was not a good fit.

That's why zoo employees who refused to be identified for fear of retaliation said they're concerned about this latest hire, especially because the zoo heads into reaccreditation two years from this month....

read ... Surprise

City requests $500K for bus-rail integration study

KITV: Some cities have combined bus and rail and it has ended up being problematic, they haven't done a very good job,' said Transportation Services director Michael Formby

Read ... Problematic

The Education of Energy Advocates

IM: Michael Crichton (1942 –2008) wrote over a dozen thrillers including The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. His novel “State of Fear” heavily distorted accurately depicted climate 'science' (he did not believe knew that global warming is real hype).

The Novel’s Appendix “Why Politicized Science is Dangerous” warns of the dangers of reverse engineering. A solution is pre-determined. Universities, foundations and the government unite to fund research that will “prove” that the solution is correct. Those who research other points of view find a lack of money, positions, awards and recognition....

Thomas L Friedman wrote “Hot, Flat and Crowded.” He is not afraid to express his opinions. He strongly believes in free market capitalism.

Friedman argues that likening the clean energy revolution to the Manhattan Project or to President Kennedy's Moon program is wrong.

"With the moon shot money was no object - all we had to do was get there. But today, we already have cheap energy from coal, gas and oil. So getting people to pay more to shift to clean fuels is like trying to get funding for NASA to build a new spaceship to the moon - when Southwest Airlines already flies there and gives away free peanuts.”

Friedman argues that the Clean Energy Revolution requires “10,000 inventors working in 10,000 companies and 10,000 garages and 10,000 laboratories” to create breakthroughs that are needed and that must be absorbed into a free marketplace.

read ... The Education of Energy Advocates

Republicans Running Only Two Candidates on Maui

MW: With the exception of former Gov. Linda Lingle, Republicans have not gained much traction in Hawai'i in recent years. Currently, all the elected officials representing Maui County are either non-partisan (mayor and council) or Democrats at the state and federal level. Though the Democratic dominance may continue, the Republican Party has already announced two opponents to local incumbent Democrats. They both think Maui is ready for a change.

State Rep. Joe Souki (D), the powerful Speaker of the House who represents Waihe'e, Wailuku and Waikapu, faces first-time Republican candidate Cranston Kapoi, 66, of Maui Boy Construction.

Kapoi said he decided to run because, "if no one else will do it, then I will do it." He thinks Maui is headed in "the wrong direction." Among the issues he mentioned were opposition to legalized marijuana. He also does not support same sex marriage. "They're not listening to us," he said. "A lot of people are fed up."

Likewise, State Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran (D) has a Republican challenger in Joe Kamaka, also a first-time candidate.

Kamaka, a businessman and owner of a security firm with 60 employees, said he expects to raise and spend in the vicinity of $60,000 in his bid to unseat Keith-Agaran. Kamaka feels that the incumbent's stance on the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms) "is a weak point with a lot of people."

MW: An Introduction to Local Elections 2014

read ... Republicans are alive and well and fielding candidates in Maui County

Brian Evans for US Senate?

LVS: One-time Las Vegas resident and Strip lounge crooner Brian Evans has decided to run for Hawaii’s U.S. Senate seat. Brian is known for the Fenway Park YouTube video with pal William Shatner that went viral:

In his debut pitch Monday for supporters, he said that he’s seeking the position as a tribute to his mother who died after knee surgery ( Brian, who commuted regularly to Las Vegas from Hawaii, where he has lived for a decade, isn’t hiding his past:

“I didn’t attend Yale. I’ve been broke. I’ve been bankrupt. I had troubles as a kid. I had the same problems you or someone you knew have had. But just because I didn’t attend Yale or Harvard doesn’t mean I’m not qualified to be your voice in the U.S. Senate. I don’t want donations. I don’t want your money. I won’t accept campaign contributions.

“All I want is your vote, and if I don’t deliver, then you can elect me out of office just as fast as you elected me in. I will be your voice. I am not going to dodge a single question you have for me, and I will answer each and every email you send me to ask me your question on the issue that means the most to you.

“I’m running because I, just like you, am sick of not knowing anything at all about what this government is doing. If we don’t stand up and make ourselves heard, then we are part of the problem.”

Brian promises if elected to donate 80 percent of his salary to charity.

read ... Senate

DNC Spends in Hawaii, RNC Does not

TH: While the DNC contributed some money to every state last year, including reliably blue states like Hawaii and Vermont, the RNC skipped over many of those blue states, as well as some deep red states like Mississippi and Kansas.

The AP reports that the RNC’s contribution strategy seems more geared towards planning for the 2016 presidential race and 2014 gubernatorial contests, while the DNC appears more focused on maintaining its current political infrastructure and the 2014 cycle.

read ... Revealed: The states where Dems, GOP are spending their cash

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