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Thursday, September 11, 2014
September 11, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:15 PM :: 3796 Views

Full Text: Obama Declares War on Islamic State

Djou: Combat Isis, Support the President

Brickwood Galuteria: Tool of Special Interests

Hawaii Schools Make Big Progress Says US Chamber of Commerce

Hidden Super PAC Money Comes to Light in Campaign Spending Reports

CB: Newly released campaign spending data show the Pacific Resource Partnership did not report more than $360,000 in expenditures during the 2012 election.

Almost all of that money — about $260,000 — went to three consultants who were instrumental in taking down former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano, who was running for Honolulu mayor on an anti-rail platform.

The consultants include U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz’s current chief of staff, Andy Winer, local public relations firm Hoakea Communications and Stanford Campaigns, an Austin, Texas-based opposition research firm.

Civil Beat first reported in June that the consultants were heavily involved in PRP’s political attacks on Cayetano, yet did not appear in any of the group’s payment records kept by the state Campaign Spending Commission.

The commission launched its investigation into PRP’s political action committee the following week.

Campaign Spending Commission attorney Gary Kam said he will recommend a fine for PRP....

read ... Hidden Expenses

Remembering Hawaii’s 9/11 victims

KHON: Punahou school lost two graduates, Heather Ho, class of 1987; and Richard Lee, class of 1986. They were both working in one of the World Trade Center towers, just floors apart.

Kaiser High also lost a former student, Maile Hale who was a member of the class of 1993. She was attending a business meeting at the restaurant where Heather Ho was an executive chef.

Christine Snyder of Kailua was aboard that United Airlines Flight 93, which was brought down by heroes who wouldn’t let the terrorists use that plane for more terror. She was an arborist for the outdoor circle of Hawaii.

Also lost was Georgine Corrigan, who was also on the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. She was an artist and antiques collector from Hawaii Kai.

Others with Hawaii ties who were lost were Michael Collins, Richard Keane, Patricia Colodner, and David Laychak.

read ... Remembering

Takai Too Busy on Mainland Fundraising to Comment on Obama ISIS Speech

PR: Republican congressional candidate Charles Djou on Wednesday voiced support for President Barack Obama’s plan for a broad military campaign in Iraq and Syria that would include new air strikes and about 500 troops that would be deployed to the region in a support role....

State Rep. Mark Takai, Djou’s Democratic opponent in the race for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District, was traveling in Washington, D.C., this week and did not immediately respond to the president’s announced plan.

Takai has previously said he believes any further action in Iraq or Syria should have congressional approval....

read ... Too Busy

Schatz, Hirono Vote to Gut First Amendment

WHT: Forty-eight members of the Democratic Senate caucus (including Schatz and Hirono) attempted to do something never previously done — amend the Bill of Rights. They tried to radically shrink First Amendment protection of political speech. They evidently think extremism in defense of the political class’s convenience is no vice.

The First Amendment as the First Congress passed it, and the states ratified it 223 years ago, says: “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech.” The 48 senators understand that this is incompatible — by its plain text, and in light of numerous Supreme Court rulings — with their desire to empower Congress and state legislatures to determine the permissible quantity, content and timing of political speech. Including, of course, speech by and about members of Congress and their challengers — as well as persons seeking the presidency or state offices.

The 48 senators proposing to give legislators speech-regulating powers describe their amendment in anodyne language, as “relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections.” But what affects elections is speech, and the vast majority of contributions and expenditures are made to disseminate speech. The Democrats’ amendment says: “Congress and the states may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections,” and may “prohibit” corporations — including nonprofit issue advocacy corporations (such as the Sierra Club, NARAL Pro-Choice America and thousands of others across the political spectrum) from spending any money “to influence elections,” which is what most of them exist to do.

Because all limits will be set by incumbent legislators, the limits deemed “reasonable” will surely serve incumbents’ interests. The lower the limits, the more valuable will be the myriad (and unregulated) advantages of officeholders....

There are not the 67 Democratic senators and 290 Democratic representatives necessary to send this amendment to the states for ratification. The mere proposing of it, however, has usefully revealed the senators who are eager to regulate speech about themselves:

read ... Extremism in defense of re-election

Sand Island Oceanfront Tent City a Rehash of Failed idea from 1980s

SA:  ...officials did the same sort of project in the late '80s, and that only brought more drugs and crime to the area...

City Managing Director Ember Shinn emphasized that the center is not the solution to homelessness, but only a bridge to get the chronically homeless into Housing First, which has about $3 million for permanent housing for the homeless.

She said the center could get 40 people off the streets of Waikiki.... the city ... is looking into misting fans.

read ... Oceanfront Tent City

Honolulu City Council Votes to Ban Sitting, Lying on Waikiki Sidewalks

CB: Urination and defecation in public banned island-wide, and the sit-lie prohibition may still be extended to other commercial districts.

read ... Finally

Council Votes to Ban Biodegradable Bags

SA: ...Wednesday, the Council voted 9-0 to approve Bill 38, which includes biodegradable plastic bags — but not compostable ones — in an upcoming ban on single-use, point-of-sale bags. The ban is slated to begin July 1.

read ... Biobags Banned

Caldwell advocates for a change in the calculation of who could buy the homes

SA: Under current city land use policies, developers typically are required to make 30 percent of their units affordable for a minimum of 10 years, and to make them available to those making up to 140 percent of Oahu's median income, Caldwell and other city officials said.

The new policy, if approved by the City Council, would lower the definition of what's affordable to 120 percent of median. If providing affordable units for sale, developers would then still need to set aside 30 percent of units affordable, but would have to keep them that way for a minimum of 60 years.

A new wrinkle would provide incentives for homebuilders to provide rentals by allowing them to set aside only 15 percent to 20 percent of units available for affordable units, provided they agree to make then rental units and designated for those making up to only 80 percent of median, and for a minimum of 60 years.

Caldwell said he and others are frustrated by the current policy that allows developers to designate units for those making up to 140 percent of median as affordable. Those most in need of units make 80 percent of median or less, which are those families who make about $74,000 for a family of four.

read ... Affordable?

After Jacking up Property Taxes, Kauai Council offers Minimal 'Relief'

KGI: In two weeks, county taxpayers will have a say in renewed property tax reform efforts.

The Kauai County Council on Wednesday approved the first step of five separate measures that aim to provide relief to some residents who saw noticeable increases on their real property tax bills for the current fiscal year....

The bills alone, some officials said, profer individual solutions to address the dramatic increases and decreases that residents saw on their real property tax bills, ranging from extending important tax deadlines and applying exemptions retroactively to offering discounts for qualified homeowners whose increases exceeded $500.

read ... Phony 'Relief'

WaPo: Hawaii's Glitchy Health Exchange Makes for Unhealthy Insurance Pool

WaPo: ...states that tried setting up their own exchanges and struggled to do so had bigger problem, the analysis finds. Kowalski here looks at trends in the six glitchy states — Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada and Oregon — compared to states that built better-functioning exchanges. She finds that average costs per enrollee in the well-functioning exchanges increased in the second quarter of 2014, though the increase was below trend. This suggests those states were able to pull in healthier enrollees. Meanwhile, the glitchy exchange states saw much larger cost increases, so getting healthier people into the insurance pool was a struggle....

Brookings: The Early Impact of the Affordable Care Act

read ... Unhealthy System

GQ Magazine: Homosexuals Rape 38 Servicemen Every Day

AP: Stovey recalls being sent to get supplies from the storage area, and shortly after he was attacked by three men homosexuals who threw a black hood over his head and sodomized him. He remained in hiding, in a bathroom until the pain receded.

read ... About Homosexuals in the Military

Lawsuit filed to block anti-GMO initiative on Nov. 4 ballot

MN:  The lawsuit points out that both proponents and opponents of the GMO moratorium are unhappy with the wording of the ballot question.

The plaintiffs maintain that the title "Genetically Engineered Organisms" is "extremely over-broad and could be viewed by the voters as prohibiting such things as medical genetic engineering, vaccines and other areas which apply genetic engineering outside of the agricultural context."

Two surveys of randomly selected Maui County voters "show that a large percentage of respondents would be confused by the ballot title," the plaintiffs' lawsuit says.

The plaintiffs seek a judgment that Maui County Clerk Danny Mateo did not submit the proposed ordinance to Maui County voters within the 90 days required to put it on the November ballot. They also want a ruling that the proposed ordinance may be on the next general election ballot in November 2016....

If they can't kick the anti-GMO initiative off November's ballot, the pro-GMO citizens and groups ask that the ballot wording be changed to: "MAUI: Voter initiative: prohibiting cultivation or reproduction of genetically engineered organisms."

read ... Lawsuit

Anti-Geothermal Activists Cheer Lava Flow

WHT: It is really ironic that the County of Hawaii, state and feds are “culturally sensitive” all of a sudden to the “diversion ideas,” whatever they may be, because of desecrating the Goddess Pele?

For all of you Hawaiians who thought that the idea of geothermal was a “gift” and “royalties,” from Pele, “go to Puna and collect.”

read ... Cheering

Martinez Fined $1,505 for Campaign Spending Violations

PR: The largest fine -- $1,505 -- was issued to Rose Martinez, a Democratic state House candidate, for several reporting violations. Martinez is up against state Rep. Bob McDermott (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) in November.

In the oddest case, the commission agreed to fine state Rep. Rida Cabanilla (D, Ewa Beach-West Loch Estates) $32.81 and ordered her to personally reimburse her campaign $131.25.

The fine and the reimbursement were related to a $100 golf bag from Roots and Relics downtown and $31.25 in food and beverages at Pueo's Restaurant at Coral Creek Golf Course in Ewa Beach.

Cabanilla's initial report on the golf bag noted that it was for "playing golf." According to staff, she did not explain how the bag was tied to her campaign.

Her initial report on the food and beverages at Pueo's carried the strange description: "I need to eat too."

read ... Cabanilla always good for a laugh if not much else

Drug Dealer Demands Marijuana Dispensaries

WHT: Marijuana activist (and convicted drug dealer) Mike Ruggles said lawmakers “have been trying to fix” the medical marijuana program since 2000.

“I believe there’s been over 250 bills that crashed on the rocks of legislation in the last 14 years,” he said. “… If you have over 1,000 plants in whatever dispensary you have, that’s a federal offense. And no matter what you guys say or what the state says, the feds can say differently and that can be a problem. So please consider that when you’re thinkin’ about the size of dispensaries.”

Ruggles also said plans for 10 dispensaries statewide isn’t enough, and will create lines outside waiting to buy marijuana....

One testifier who identified himself as a California dispensary owner echoed Ruggles’ sentiments that 10 dispensaries isn’t enough for demand. He said San Jose, with a population comparable to Oahu’s, has 80 dispensaries with plans for more.

“If you have 10 dispensaries, you will create instant millionaires,” he said. He advocated for cooperatives and farmers markets, saying super-dispensaries “will bring the prices up.”  (And we need to keep the poor dopey.)

Rep. Gregg Takayama, an Oahu Democrat, disagreed with the view expressed by the testifier and others.

“Several of you mentioned the importance of supporting small farmers, small producers and several of you mentioned the fact that you are apprehensive of opening up to big corporations, big retailers,” he said. “There’s a little big of dichotomy there because big box retailers offer lower prices just because they’re big box, offer mass supply of certain products.”

read ...  Drug Dealers Push

Woman's assault by HPD officer costs him badge, gun

SA: The Honolulu Police Department has stripped an 18-year veteran police sergeant of his badge and gun after a Waipahu restaurant's video surveillance showing an apparent violent attack on a woman was released to police Tuesday.

The sergeant can be seen in the video apparently punching a woman in the restaurant Monday night in an apparent domestic dispute. People came to the woman's aid, and police officers responded to a call.

However, the officers did not initiate a case against the sergeant.

The woman, a manager at Restaurant Kuni, told Hawaii News Now that she and the officer were just playing around.

read ... Attack

Substitute teachers frustrated by new call system

HNN: The Department of Education's updated automated calling system for notifying substitute teachers of classrooms that need coverage seems to be on the fritz.

Kim Mullen said she hasn't gotten a single call this week from the new Teacher-Substitute Employee Automated System (T-SEAS). She said before the updated system went on-line Monday, she averaged two to three substitute teaching jobs per week.

read ... Substitute Teachers

Hawaii schools report false billing of text books sales

HNN: Hawaii’s Better Business Bureau has begun to receive complaints against Scholastic School Supply.

The tactics employed by the company are similar to the well-known “Yellow Pages Scam,” a business-to-business operation that surfaced in 2013, and bilked more than $14 million from small businesses and churches before being halted at the request of the Federal Trade Commission.

School administrators reaching out to Hawaii’s BBB allege that the operation is sending false invoices to schools throughout the state in amounts exceeding $500 for a bulk purchase of text books that were never requested or received....

The Better Business Bureau is urging schools to not pay the invoice, but instead to contact BBB and the Federal Trade Commission at (877) 382-4357 www.ftc.gov.

read ... False Billing

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