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Thursday, January 14, 2010
January 14, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:01 PM :: 8057 Views

Djou gets most applause at small business meet

Djou is the conservative outsider who said he could break up the Democratic Party's hold on the state's four congressional seats.

"What clearly has not been working thus far is what's going on in Washington, D.C. Has this stimulus package helped you? Has it helped your business?" Djou said. "This is not the right way to run our government. This is not the right way to fix our economy."

Djou got the loudest applause from the audience made up largely of small-business owners. His no tax increase, small government message resounded with the group.

"Throwing more money at the problem never fixes anything and certainly won't get us out of this recession," Djou said. "When the government needs more revenue, the best way for the government to raise more revenues is to make sure the economy is growing."

RELATED:  Responding to Abercrombie resignation- Djou ready and eager for early Special Election

RELATED: VIDEO: Case vs Hanabusa vs Djou -- first Congressional Debate

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Case: Hanabusa cannot lead the Senate while running for Congress

Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Makua) responded: "Ed is wrong. Some of us can multitask and do more than one thing."

Djou, a City Council member, said Hanabusa "is going to make the best judgment of whether Colleen should remain in the Senate or not."

RELATED: Case again implies Hanabusa disrespectful, lacking in knowledge

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Case called disrespectful over use of Mink's photo: "Stop using his picture to salve your conscience"

"You distort the brief electoral history of the aftermath of my mother's passing to suit your interests. In the process, you disrespect my father.

"Please, Mr. Case. Stop telling stories about my late father. And stop using his picture to salve your conscience," Mink said.

"You were successful in your effort to prevent my father from wrapping up my mother's congressional work," she said. "But my father was a big-hearted man, and so he looked past your conduct and congratulated you on your victory.

"You abuse his generosity of spirit by running a photograph of him smiling at you, suggesting that he would support you today," Mink said.

"You claim that my father 'was talked into the race by those who supported others for election to Congress,'" Wendy Mink said.

"John Mink was no dupe; he was never anyone's puppet. The idea that he should complete the final six weeks of my mother's term came straight from his heart—out of a profound loyalty to my mother and out of a sense of duty to her remarkable staff," Mink said.

RELATED: Case implies Hanabusa campaign is dirty and negative

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Soetoro-Ng endorses Mehau associate Schatz

"He has quite a bit of intellectual courage and political savvy, both necessary to accomplish and acquire the important things that this state needs," she said in an e-mail interview.

Fascinating.  Here's a photo of Schatz in Larry Mehau's barn: Big Island Rancher Larry Mehau Hosts Community Rally for Sen Akaka

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Furloughs a wild card

Asked whether the furloughs issue would hurt his campaign, Aiona said, "I have no opinion on that if it is hurting my campaign. I know what the issues are and what we have done to address them and where I want to go with these issues in the further."

Aiona had previously tried without success to bring the unions, school board and Department of Education together to attempt to modify the Furlough Friday labor agreement.

"I also believe in a change of governance in regard to local school boards is very viable, and I think it should be discussed," Aiona said.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who is running for governor on the Democratic ticket, says he has watched the school board debate for eight years and thinks it is going nowhere.

"This has been an ongoing argument for two terms, and the fact that it has not been satisfactorily resolved shows it is an unproductive line of discussion," Abercrombie said.

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Lawmakers discuss priorities at town meeting

"Collective bargaining is getting in the way of providing core services," Coffman said.

Twenty-one sick days and 21 vacation days, as is required under some bargaining agreements for state employees, is too much for the state to sustain, he added.  (Empty talk for the home audience)

Later, Green outlined his proposal to make the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. hospitals nonprofit organizations. That would allow for people to donate money directly to a specific hospital -- in the current system, a donation to Kona Community Hospital, for example, would go into the overall system budget -- as well as allow for more flexibility in scheduling employees. Under the current civil service system, there is no such flexibility, he said, adding that he doesn't mean that he wants to remove the employees' unions.

The West Hawaii delegation was split on whether the Legislature should vote to keep the counties' portions of the Transient Accommodations Tax, or TAT...

Green said he is working on a bill to require 180 instructional days for public schools; Coffman said a group of freshman legislators were drafting an amendment to the state constitution requiring 190 classroom days.

RELATED: DoE's Charter Cap: Another reason Hawaii likely won't get RTTT funds

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Tax increase eyed to fund homelessness industry

Rep. Rida Cabanilla, the House housing chairwoman, said she would propose a hike in the conveyance tax on homes priced more than $600,000, as one of the options for addressing homelessness.

"I'm going to tax those expensive-priced homes," said Cabanilla (D, Waipahu-Ewa). "That would be spent for the chronic homeless."

(The median price of a home on Oahu is $590,000)

RELATED: Defeating the "homelessness industry" before it gets a grip on Hawaii

RELATED: Kapiolani Park: Homelessness industry takes Hawaii tourism hostage

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State Foreclosures Surge: Jump in December pushes monthly and year-end totals to their highest since 2005

Georgia Roberson, real estate-owned director for Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, links high foreclosure rates in Kapolei to Ko Olina's declining second-home market, but said problems in Ewa Beach, Waianae and Waipahu are due in larger part to mortgages with rising interest rates or balloon payments. Tighter underwriting has hurt Oahu's condominium and condotel market, too, she said.

"I recently foreclosed on three condominiums in Harbor Square and I've got a fourth pending," Roberson said. "When the market is down and financing is difficult, it's harder for sellers to find buyers."

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Pflueger continues to face 7 manslaughter counts

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — Circuit Judge Randal Valenciano has refused to dismiss seven manslaughter counts filed in the wake of the 2006 Kaloko dam disaster on Kauai.
Valenciano on Wednesday rejected the defense argument that the charges against 83-year-old James Pflueger constitute double jeopardy.
His attorneys argued he has already pleaded guilty to illegal grading on land that includes the dam that burst, killing seven people.

(Wow.  Arguing that a plea to illegal grading is equivalent to a plea to murder?)   

However, Valenciano did dismiss a reckless endangering charge against Pflueger.

ADV: Judge refuses to dismiss manslaughter charges in 2006 Kaloko Dam disaster

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Slain Hawaii toddler's drug-dealing father sues mother, accused killer, State

The father and aunt of murdered toddler Cyrus Belt have sued the child's accused killer, Matthew Higa, as well as the boy's mother and the state Department of Human Services.

The suit was filed in state court late yesterday by attorneys for David and Lisa Belt, the father and aunt of the 23-month-old child who was thrown to his death from a freeway overpass two years ago this Sunday....

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages from the defendants.

David Belt, the father of Cyrus, was serving a state prison sentence for drug offenses when his child died.

He was released from prison last year, according to court records.

MUST READ: The Teamsters Production Unit

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Actress, other women allege abuses by Hawaii's Family Court

Dickson last year won an appeal of lower-court rulings in her divorce case, with the Intermediate Court of Appeals deciding that part-time Family Court Judge Darryl Choy abused his discretion when he ruled against Dickson on several issues in the acrimonious marital dissolution....

In an 85-page decision released in October, the appeals court upheld several of Dickson's arguments.

Dickson "contends that the Family Court abused its discretion when it denied (her) multiple requests for an extension of pretrial deadlines, and sanctioned her for missing the deadlines by excluding evidence," the appellate decision said.

"Based on the circumstances of this case, we agree," the court ruled.

Dickson said Choy's rulings had rendered her penniless.


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City settles with state for $300,000 over sewage

The state Department of Health alleges the city allowed waste water from park restrooms to spill into the ocean between 2005 and 2007, leading to dangerously high bacterial counts in near-shore waters.

The Health Department determined bacteria levels persistently exceeded state and national standards, increasing the possibility of people getting sick from entering the water.

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