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Monday, July 28, 2014
July 28, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:22 PM :: 3602 Views

Poll: Ige beats Abercrombie 49-39%

Hawaii Rifle Association Grades Candidates on Second Amendment

Hawaii’s dominant shipping carrier to pay $9 million to settle federal allegations

UH Manoa's Apple to be Chopped?

Replicating HOPE: Can Others Do It As Well As Hawaii?

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted July 28, 2014

Kauai Hearing Set on GMO Rules

Star-Adv: Capelouto Only Credible Republican Candidate for CD2

Oahu Homeowners Hit by 150% Property Tax Hike

SA: When Lambert Wai received a notice from the city regarding the value of his Gail Street home, he was stunned.

The city pegged the assessed value — used to calculate his 2014 property taxes — at $2.7 million, more than double last year's total. The new assessment meant his tax bill would increase 150 percent, or by more than $5,000, to about $9,100.

"I went ballistic," said Wai, 93, who has lived in his Diamond Head-area home for 35 years. "That's nuts."

The retired insurance executive isn't the only Oahu property owner to think the city numbers are nuts.

More than 2,100 have appealed their valuations, a 41 percent increase from last year, according to city figures.

And the appeals don't even reflect any of the backlash triggered recently from the higher tax rates for a new "Residential A" classification for certain Oahu homes. Residences with assessed values of $1 million or more are now taxed at a rate nearly 75 percent higher

read ... Tax Hike

Apple's ouster 'a disaster' for UH

SA: The ouster of University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple would hurt the university's ability to overcome a budget shortfall and compound problems already facing the flagship campus, key faculty members say.

"It's a disaster for the university," said Bob Cooney, vice chairman of the UH-Manoa Faculty Senate, on Sunday. "Compared to the Wonder blunder, I think this is far, far worse." ...

"(Apple's departure) highlights, I think, the incompetence at some of the higher levels of the administration," Cooney said. "It also undermines the faculty and the students." ...

Cooney, who was on the committee that selected Apple after a seven-month search, criticized the administration for not involving the faculty and students in Apple's removal.

"We selected Tom Apple through a fair and impartial process," he said. "To my knowledge he's done the best job possible in the last two years."

He continued, "Why should we spend months of our time, trying to find the best candidate we can, and then have him removed in the dark of night by people we don't even know?"

Cooney suspects Apple's battle with the Cancer Center and the medical school are the reasons for his ouster.

Apple came under fire for two failed attempts late last year to fire Cancer Center Director Dr. Michele Carbone, who has clashed with a group of former and current faculty members.

Cooney said it was the right thing to do because "the Cancer Center has been mismanaged horribly." He said Apple also reduced the medical school's funding by $1 million.

"My concern at this point is ultimately for the accreditation for the university," said Cooney, adding that interference from outside forces shows the chancellor really doesn't have authority over Manoa. "If he can't even fire one of his own deans or directors who is not performing, that's absurd." ...

Sen. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai), a member of the Senate Higher Education committee, said many of the problems uncovered during the hearings still have not been resolved.

"If anything, this indicates that it is as deep or even deeper than the legislative special investigation committee found out two years ago," Slom said.

He said the resignation of several regents over a new financial disclosure law have compounded the turmoil at the university.

"Rather than worrying about football, we'd better concentrate on doing the basics and getting the university up to snuff," he said. ...

KITV: Rumors Confirmed Tom Apple is Out

Meanwhile: Indiana College Models Graduation Program on UH

read ... Another Disaster

Star-Adv: Limited sit-lie bill better than nothing

SA: The City Council has let the perfect be the enemy of the good — the necessary, in fact — by walking away from the imperative to improve Waikiki's rapidly decaying public spaces. It did so late last week by playing politics with a key enforcement provision aimed at deterring squatters amid the state's most populous visitor destination.

In a bad decision, the Council's Zoning and Planning Committee, chaired by Ikaika Anderson, on Thursday deferred indefinitely the passage of all the enforcement bills that would ban lying or sitting on sidewalks as well as public defecation and urination. The so-called "sit-lie" initiative started with Mayor Kirk Caldwell's proposal, which would limit the target to Waikiki.

The Council, fearful that the homeless would be pushed to other communities, expanded the scope to islandwide crackdowns, despite the clear judicial record showing the more limited ban is far more likely to pass constitutional muster.

Ironically, it's this same Council that now has decided it should do nothing at all....

Advocates for the homeless who oppose the ban on public urination and defecation make the valid point that the city is woefully lacking in public bathrooms for the homeless. That should be addressed in the short term by extending hours of operation of beach park restrooms and placing portable toilets while more permanent facilities are being planned. But surely, being fine with people relieving themselves in full public view cannot be the new normal.

It's ludicrous that some Council members — in a political reversal from a mere few weeks ago — now say they don't want to pass sit-lie and urination-defecation bills before shelter and services are wholly available for the homeless. If they insist on an all-or-nothing prerequisite, nothing will get started.

The large-scale housing development, requiring the roughly $44 million in capital improvement funds, will take several years to spend. Do they intend to wait that long before beginning anything?

Honolulu has waited too long for its elected officials to move off the dime on this persistent problem. They need to get back to work at City Hall and get a bill passed.

read ... Better than Nothing

New Day Promises Not Kept

CB: For example, an “independent Hawaii Energy Authority” was not created. (More on that later.) Nor is there a “Governor’s Technology Council.” And Abercrombie is not still advocating for passage of the Akaka Bill in Congress that would have established federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. Sen. Dan Akaka retired in 2012 and Sen. Dan Inouye passed away that year, effectively killing the legislation, although recognition may still come through the executive branch.

Abercrombie also said, “We will build secure prison facilities in Hawaii on the basis of cost-effectiveness, safety and benefits to the community, and we will maintain the highest standards for corrections staff as represented in current collective bargaining agreements.”

...Abercrombie said he wanted to “decentralize school administration” and “entrust principals with control of programs and budgets.” David Ige, the state senator who is challenging the governor in the Democratic primary, said the opposite happened....

read ... Abercrombie all talk

Feds Grab for Control of 19,000 Acres of Big Island

WHT: The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service plans to finalize a proposal within the next few months for designating 19,000 acres of critical habitat in North Kona.

But federal and state officials plan to work together to examine state lands that are already under protection in the area. The collaboration could reduce the area likely to be placed under the new federal designation between Palani Road and Waikoloa, which is broken up into chunks through the region to protect three rare plant species.

read ... Federal Land Grab

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