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Sunday, December 6, 2009
December 6, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:16 AM :: 8777 Views

John Waihee's looted graveyards to be auctioned

The assets of RightStar, Hawaii's biggest cemetery and funeral operator, will be auctioned Dec. 21 at the state's First Circuit Court in Honolulu....

Besides the real estate and other tangible assets, RightStar had cash in trustee accounts that had been accumulated from people paying in advance.

The buyers, John Dooley, Katheryn Hoover and Richard Bricka, allegedly improperly withdrew millions from the trust accounts. The state sued for recovery of between $20 million and $30 million, going after not only the owners but the trustees, who were alleged to have failed in overseeing the disposition of the trust assets.

The trustees include John Waihee, the former governor. That suit remains active.

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Old Hawaii airport contracts tie up more than $6 million in funds (funds the Leg wishes it could raid, part 1)

Money tied up in old airport contracts does not affect the state's general fund, which has experienced shortfalls because of a slowing economy. That's because funding for the airport deals comes from the federal government and the airport special fund, which gets the bulk of its revenue from airport concessions.

The oldest of the airport's open contracts are three May 1998 deals with Wilson Okamoto Corp. for $145,544 to work on an environmental impact plan at the Líhu'e Airport. The state still owes the contractor $26,340, according to state airport records. Morioka said the project is awaiting Federal Aviation Administration approval.

The airport special fund has about $400 million in unrestricted cash, according to the state.  (Ca-Ching!)

"Often times when we comingle federal funds, which is typically what we do, federal regulations typically govern over state appropriations, or state laws, in terms of how funding and appropriations are handled," he said.  (Sigh0

(Will Legislators now demand a separation of Federal and State funds so the State funds can be raided?  That is why this story is in the paper.  Legislators are looking for bags of money to feed their HGEA.  Expect to see more like it.)

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Budget Cuts blamed for ... (insert here)

Readers should expect a non-stop flow of these stories from now until the Legislature settles on a budget.

What will be blamed on budget cuts next?  Stay tuned....

HSTA president counters Lingle

"I think it's ridiculous at this point in the process to be explaining why we won't go back in the class and teach children," the governor said Friday. "The entire community believes this is a fair offer, it's one that the legislators, I think, feel the same way about, and to spend their members' money now running these commercials that's going to bring further ridicule on their members, I think is ridiculous."

Wil Okabe, HSTA president, responded by saying that teachers are angry at the governor for "belittling the importance of the days teachers devote to planning, preparation, and — in the case of those schools involved in No Child Left Behind restructuring — working with consultants on teaching-skills development.

Lingle Administration: Special Session unlikely, HSTA furlough negotiations "unproductive"

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ADV: Lingle must keep rail review well focused

There is good reason for the governor to apply due diligence to numerous environmental and cultural concerns. Just to name one: How should city builders approach Hawaiian burials sure to be unearthed? Lingle should make sure there's been the proper consultation to arrive at the best plan so that construction can go smoothly.

The entire state is in deep financial distress, and the rail project Mufi campaign promises critical economic stimulus to reward donors and with jobs in the near term and a much-needed improvement in public transportation in the long run.

...The people elected to serve the taxpayers' interest need to keep their focus on delivering a well-planned and carefully executed improvement to Honolulu that in the end will benefit all of Hawai'i.

(Great idea.  Lets set a deadline of Weds July 21st for the review to be completed!)

RELATED: Updated list of Honolulu rail contractors released

Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that

Last-minute donation: Rail contractor gave to Hannemann Campaign

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Maui Planning process hits the . . . home stretch

Many Maui tourism industry officials cringed and expressed outrage at some of the Planning Department's recommendations to "cap" and "limit" the number of accommodations and visitors. Hunt and his team suggested restricting new hotel and resort development to the areas where it already exists, such as Kapalua and Wailea.

How did Hawaii make it all the way up to 42nd?  Hawaii 42nd in Small Business Survival

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Hawaii Co. Drywell contract will cost less thanks to removal of crony-protecting bid specs

Hawaii County taxpayers are slated to save more than $1 million over the next two years for roadside drywell and culvert cleaning, thanks to more competitive bid specifications....

Hawaii County officials earlier this year yanked the bid solicitation while they investigated possible bid-rigging. Would-be bidders questioned why requirements were modified so that Kamaaina, owned by Randell Riley, head of the Department of Public Works Automotive Division, was the only qualifying bidder.

"I'm certainly thankful it's being done the proper way now," said B and B co-manager Paul Balberde, who had been blocked by the county, which had said it would only accept bids from companies that had cleaned at least 150 drywells in the past three years.

The other bidder was Kailua, Oahu-based Eckard Brandes, which earlier this year challenged the change in specifications, leading to the county yanking the bid.

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