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Tuesday, August 5, 2014
August 5, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:55 PM :: 4991 Views

Statewide Locations: In Person Early Walk-In Voting Thru Thursday

Iselle to Hit Hawaii Thursday & Friday -- Julio Right Behind

Nago: “I think we’ve got bigger issues to worry about than voting”

KHON: Officials do have plans in place, just in case certain polling places need to be used as emergency shelters and if there’s a power outage.

“It’s going to have minimal impact on Saturday, so we’re gearing to put on our election on Saturday,” said Chief Election Officer & Weatherman Scott Nago.

However, the state election office is getting ready for the fallout of Iselle.  (Well, sort of.)

“We can consolidate polling places, in the past we’ve extended hours those kind of things. Move polling places when we had the earthquake on the Big Island. Those kinds of things,” Nago said.  (Oh yeah.  Scott Nago has a plan!  Not.)

But some polling places, mostly schools, are also used as emergency shelters when natural disasters hit.  (Oh-oh.)

It’s up to each county to decide which shelter to open and for the City and County of Honolulu, that decision could come as soon as Thursday.

City officials say they will try to avoid using polling places as primary evacuation areas, or they could combine both.

Election officials also say if there’s a power outage on Saturday, their system is set to run on backup battery, so voting at the polls can continue, as long as there’s still enough daylight for the voters to see.

“I think we’ve got bigger issues to worry about than voting,” Nago said. (What is HIS priority?)

Bigger Issue than Voting: Nago Retaliates on Voting Official Because Somebody's Girlfriend Got Fired 

read ... Don't Worry, Scott Nago is on the job!

The missing absentee ballots—is a vendor responsible?

DN: It took a few phone calls, but I learned today that there is a vendor involved in the mailing of the absentee ballots to voters who requested them. So if a person did not receive their ballot, it could be a problem with this third-party arrangement.

The story is not yet complete—I hope the City Clerk’s office will be able to investigate and provide more information. I left my contact information in case they do investigate. But here’s what I learned so far.

We went to Honolulu Hale to vote in person because our ballots have not arrived. The clerk added us to a list of absentee ballot numbers that would have to be cancelled in the computer because of the in-person votes....

The clerk at Honolulu Hale told me that several people reported to him that they had not received their absentee ballots....

So there should be some investigation to estimate just how many ballots were not delivered. Is there a shoebox someplace with yet unmailed ballots?

The City Clerk’s office is responsible for mailing the ballots. They, in turn, hired a vendor, named as EMSS. Our ballots were mailed (or should have been mailed) by the vendor at the end of June or by early July. Today is August 4, that’s too long to wait....

LINK: http://www.emsshi.com/

read ... The missing absentee ballots—is a vendor responsible?

Early departure of CIO clouds state's tech effort

SA: In 2011, Sonny Bha­go­wa­lia of General Services Administration was selected as our first full-time CIO out of 100 candidates. He was to have a staff of six and report to the governor. He was to assess and modernize the state's IT system.

Filling the job made Abercrombie look good, but it was incumbent on him to raise the money to carry on. He was later able to raise an "emergency" $30 million, a small fraction of what this will ultimately cost.

The CIO report for fiscal years 2012-2014 came out in February (www.oimt.hawaii.gov/annual-report). It had taken more than two years to write. It's technical and ambitious and talks of a 12-year path to recovery. The changes will be costly; funding will be the challenge.

At the same time, in plain sight of the elections, there was a flurry of "promotions." Bha­go­wa­lia was "promoted" to chief adviser to the governor on technology and cybersecurity, a new job. As CIO, wasn't he doing that already?

One of Bhagowalia's two assistants, Randy Bal­de­mor, was moved into a new "strategic projects" job created for him in the Governor's Office. The other, Keone Kali, was moved into Bha­go­wa­lia's job. No outside search was made.

Wasn't it more important that Bha­go­wa­lia stay around to fix the fragmented system he had found, finishing the job he had started and implementing his huge big plan? And, of course, lobbying for the funding to pay for it.

Nevertheless, on March 13, Abercrombie threw a big farewell party for Bha­go­wa­lia at the Plaza Club. Decked with lei, Bha­go­wa­lia exchanged tearful goodbyes and left for the mainland. Wasn't this leaving us in the lurch? ...

As if to drive this disconnect home, Abercrombie then proclaimed May 8 Sonny Bha­go­wa­lia Day.

...Now, when we're supposed to implement the plan, we let the talent go. We have multidirectional "promotions" and a farewell party. What kind of business plan is that?

Why did Bhagowalia's job come to an end? It falls in the category of strange disappearances, like the staffers who left in 2011 to "spend more time with family."

Although not that much has happened at OIMT in the past few years, it's important that things happen now. State systems are getting older, and the problems are getting more critical, including those at the Tax Office

Feb 10, 2014: Bhagowalia Quits Abercrombie Administration, Flees State

read ... Jay Fidell

Pre-K School Choice: Amending state Constitution is OK with 54% of isle voters

SA: A majority of voters favors a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would allow public money to be spent on private preschool, according to a new Hawaii Poll, but the degree of support has weakened since February.

Fifty-four percent of voters interviewed said they would vote for the constitutional amendment, while 40 percent would vote against the amendment and 6 percent were undecided. In a Hawaii Poll taken in February, 62 percent said they favored the amendment.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie asked the state Legislature to place the constitutional amendment on the ballot to help establish an early childhood education program that could eventually offer preschool to all of the state's 4-year-olds....

The Hawaii Poll found that the highest support for the constitutional amendment is among voters under 35, Fili­pi­nos and those who earn less than $50,000 a year.

"This reinforces what families and educators already know — that early childhood education and preschool are key to brain development and future success in K-12 grade," (gay activist) Jacce Miku­la­nec of Good Beginnings Alliance, which favors expanded preschool options, said in an email. "We're hopeful that voters will hear our message and make the investment in our keiki by voting ‘yes' on the ballot in November."

read ... School Choice

Hawaii County Aims 400% Tax Hike at Farmers

HTH: Farmers taking advantage of county property tax breaks could soon be required to dedicate the land to farming for at least three years to qualify.

A bill being finalized by the Real Property Tax Stakeholders Task Force would do away with the so-called “nondedicated” agricultural exemption, and require commitment to a set time period, likely three years, for the reduced property values. The task force is worried that too many property owners are taking advantage of the agricultural exemption without growing crops.

The proposed bill, which must first be approved by the County Council and the mayor, would phase out the nondedicated program and phase in the new program over a number of years. As the bill currently stands, nondedicated property values would rise to three times that of dedicated property in the first year, four times that of dedicated the second year and five times that of dedicated the third year.

read ... Bigger commitment may be required for ag tax breaks

After Massive tax Hike, Council Bill May Let a Few Off the Hook

SA: A new proposal would allow residential owner-occupants on Oahu to petition the city for one-time property tax compromise bills if they got shoved into the new Residential A tax class, requiring them to pay at a much higher rate.

Officials with Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Department of Budget and Fiscal Services said they haven't decided whether to support the proposal, but believe it will not help many homeowners.

Resolution 14-179, introduced last week by City Council Chairman Ernie Martin and Council Budget Chairwoman Ann Koba­ya­shi, will be heard by the Council at its monthly meeting Aug. 13. It is designed to address sharp tax hikes faced by those who have homes valued at $1 million or more, live on those properties and as a result were shoved into the new Residential A tax class.

The compromises would be available to those who failed to get a homeowner exemption before the city's Sept. 30, 2013, deadline.

"It's for people who lived in their homes a long time and never filed for an exemption," Koba­ya­shi said.

One homeowner told Council members last month that the new class, coupled with higher tax assessments, will mean he'll need to pay $11,000 more than last year.

SA: Caldwell Admin Defends Massive 'Residential A' Tax Hike

read ... Divide and Conquer

Disgusting: Hee, Tsutsui in Dead Heat

HNN: With 5 days to go before the primary election, our Hawaii News Now/Star Advertiser Hawaii poll shows a dead heat between Shan Tsutsui and Clayton Hee in the Lieutenant Governor's race.

Only two points separate the leading Democrats. Tsutsui is up slightly on Hee, 36 to 34.

Hee had this reaction to the results, "This poll is a statistical dead heat so clearly the momentum is a good thing from our campaign and internally we have good numbers."

Hawaii News Now Political Analyst Colin Moore said this about the results, "Clayton Hee is such a well known name. Shan Tsutsui is not well known. The fact that it's close is good news for Tsutsui."

22 percent polled had never heard of the incumbent Tsutsui.

Only 10 percent didn't know Hee. 28 percent had unfavorable opinions of the outspoken Senator Hee, while 45 percent view him favorably. (Thus proving that 45% were morons.)

The split for Tsutsui is 40 favorable/16 unfavorable.

read ... Disgusting

Kim, Takai Tied at 28% Each

HNN: The two leading Democrats in the crowded Congressional District 1 race are tied at 28 percent in our new Hawaii News Now/Star Advertiser Hawaii Poll.

In a huge swing from our poll 6 months ago, Mark Takai picked up points, while Donna Mercado Kim lost ground.

In the February poll, State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim had a ten point lead over her closest competitor, State Representative Mark Takai.

Breakdown of the Congressional District 1 numbers: http://hine.ws/hipoll14cd1

read ... Tied?

Borreca: Hanabusa Local, Schatz Outsider

Borreca: First Hanabusa is beating Schatz 53 percent to 35 percent on the neighbor islands. On Oahu she is ahead just 49 percent to 45 percent.

They both campaigned on the neighbor islands when they ran against each other for Congress, so neighbor island voters know them both, but the split is dramatic.

Even more dramatic is the difference in ethnic support.

Hanabusa enjoys the support of 54 percent of Japanese-American voters, and Schatz is boosted by 57 percent of the Caucasian voters. Hanabusa also has strong support among Filipino-American voters, 61 percent, and Hawaiian voters, 67 percent.

So, is the race shaking out along ethnic lines or is it something else?

First the AJA vote may not be what it used to be.

"I think the Japanese-American community is much harder to organize politically than 30 years ago when there were still substantial numbers of nisei voters who were strong Democratic Party supporters and who could be appealed to collectively through the veterans' clubs and unions," says Jonathan Okamura, a University of Hawaii professor of ethnic studies.

What may be happening in the election is not a separation by ethnicity, but by residency.

The poll shows that 57 percent of those born in Hawaii would vote for Hanabusa and 52 percent of those born elsewhere would vote for Schatz.

read ... Borreca Trying to Help Hanabusa 

Anti-GMO Candidates Prepare to Lose Big on Every Island

CB: Ashley Lukens, who holds a doctorate in political science (they deny they are stupid) and serves as program director for the Hawaii Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit that supports organic farming.

“I don’t think it’s just this fetish opposition to GMOs,” she said. (Know them by what they deny.)

On Kauai, eyes are on the state House race between Rep. Jimmy Tokioka and Dylan Hooser; the mayoral contest between incumbent Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Dustin Barca; and the 20 candidates vying for seven County Council seats, which include first-time candidates like Tiana Laranio and Arryl Kaneshiro.

On Maui, it’s the council races between Ellie Cochran and Kaala Buenconsejo, and Courtney Bruch’s effort to unseat the current chair, Gladys Baisa. Mayor Alan Arakawa has tried to remain neutral on the GMO issue, but the other five candidates running against him support efforts to label GMOs or otherwise restrict the seed companies operating in the county. At the state level, Terez Amato, who is campaigning on a platform of taking back government from corporations, is trying to wrestle the Democratic nomination for a Senate seat away from Roz Baker.

On the Big Island, Sen. Malama Solomon is working to keep her seat out of Lorraine Inouye’s hands.  In the council races, incumbent Maraget Wille is facing opposition from Ronald Gonzales and Sonny Shimaoka.

And on Oahu, Sen. Clarence Nishihara, long the target of anti-GMO groups as head of the Agriculture Committee where labeling bills have died, is running against Roger Clemente....

Campaign signs for candidates supporting GMO, including Kaneshiro’s, have been vandalized during the 2014 primary election campaign....

As political experts note, the definition of “winning” this election doesn’t just mean getting the most votes. (Translation: The antis know they are a bunch of losers.)

A Winner: Video: Anti-GMO Maui Mayoral Candidate Runs from Cop, Gets Tazed

read ... About Fetishes and Stupid Losers

Is rooftop solar at risk from storms?

HNN: Over 40,000 homes in Hawaii have rooftop photovoltaic systems. While those installed by licensed contractors are graded to withstand 105 mile per hour winds, there are certain risks to be aware of as severe weather approaches.

Colin Yost of Revolusun explains. “It's been a bit of a wild-west market in Hawaii for solar. I've heard of instances where they haven't used licensed contractors to do it. It can appear to be deceptively simple---you just screw these things into a roof and maybe it's fine".

However, if unlicensed work is done, and it’s not inspected, the threat of having an inferior product that is susceptible to severe weather increases.

Trust? No Blackout: RevoluSun Exposed

read ... Is rooftop solar at risk from storms?

Mainland Groups Team up With Professional Activists to Attack Big Island Farmers

WHT: The Center for Food Safety and Big Island organic farmers activists with a garden in their backyard Rachel Laderman, Nancy Redfeather and Marilyn Howe are seeking to help Hawaii County defend its law restricting the use of genetically modified crops.

On Friday, the group and the island residents filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the county in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. They are represented by attorneys with CFS and Earth Justice.

The law bans the open-air use and testing of modified crops with exceptions for farmers already growing them. It is being challenged in the federal court, and a hearing on a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the 10 plaintiffs is scheduled for Oct. 23.

The plaintiffs, which filed the lawsuit in June, include agricultural groups representing real farmers such as floralists, banana and papaya growers, and ranchers. The Biotechnology Industry Organization, and real farmers and ranchers Richard Ha, Jason Moniz, Gordon Inouye and Eric Tanouye are also listed as plaintiffs.

read ... Invasion

No Cure but Somehow State vows to stop Alzheimer's disease during next 11 years

SA: Hawaii's first plan to address Alz­hei­mer's disease and dementia forecasts effective prevention of Alz­hei­mer's by 2025 while calling on volunteer caregivers, health care professionals and others in the near term to step up training in the complicated issues tied to both conditions.

The plan, which was released Monday, does not offer answers to the question of how Alz­hei­mer's will be prevented in 11 years.

The year "2025 to prevent Alz­hei­mer's would be optimistic," said Cullen Haya­shida, director of Kapiolani Community College's Kupuna Education Center, who was not involved in the report. "I don't want to suggest it's not a worthwhile dream, because this is a major, major challenge, not only for the state, but for the world. But for families it's primarily about creating the infrastructure to support them. That is possible."

PDF: www.hawaiiadrc.org/site/439/resources.aspx

read ... State vows to stop Alzheimer's disease during next 11 years

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