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Friday, April 9, 2010
April 9, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:36 PM :: 7924 Views

Case, Djou oppose Akaka bill changes, Djou alone speaks out against gay marriage

(For the first time in history, the Akaka Bill is the subject of actual political debate by opposing candidates.)

Former congressman Ed Case said last night that he disagrees with changes to a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill pending before Congress and would like to see the issue brought back to Hawai'i for another discussion.

Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou also said he opposes the current version of the bill, which would give Hawaiians inherent power to govern prior to, instead of after, negotiations with the state and federal governments. State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa supported the bill, arguing that it grants Hawaiians her Broken Trust cronies the same sovereign authority as American Indians and Native Alaskans….

The candidates are also divided on civil unions. Case and Hanabusa support giving same-sex couples the ability to have their relationships legally recognized by the state, while Djou opposes the idea.

Hanabusa said a bill that is stalled before the state Legislature would be a landmark because it would apply to both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Djou said he believes Hawai'i voters decided the issue in 1998 when they gave the Legislature the power to define marriage as between a man and a woman. "I believe the people of Hawai'i have spoken very clearly in favor of traditional marriage," he said.

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Ethnic issue, outside groups enter congressional race

An Asian-American Democratic political group's warning to a national Democratic committee over its rumored endorsement in Hawaii's 1st Congressional District race is simply a sign of how the race is playing out nationally, the candidates said….

Djou called the matter a "civil war" between the national Democrats in Washington and local "Democratic machine" in Hawaii.

"The people of Hawaii do not need to pick between these poisons," Djou said. "There is an alternative."

"What if this were an African-American district and you had one white candidate and one African-American candidate?" Dutta said. "Obviously, folks would think very carefully before they decided to weigh in in a contested party primary. The situation is analogous here."

(Yes, Asian Americans should expect the exact same benefits that Democrat patronage has provided to African-Americans.  Just look at the glorious achievements Democrats have brought to places like Detroit, Gary, East St Louis, Newark and of course, Obama’s home districts on the Southside of Chicago where political elites live in million dollar mansions and their political base lives in the projects.  This is the future Asian Americans could expect as wards of the Democratic Party.  BTW Asians are the ethnic group most discriminated against in the Univ. of Calif. admissions system.) 

BTW: Ed Case's 2006 "felony" vote: Greens vs. Illegals

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Legislators keep general excise tax increase in play

The Senate passed its version of the state budget yesterday without raising the GET, but only after several key leaders said they prefer a major tax increase to budget cuts and a series of smaller tax hikes.

Republican leader Sen. Fred Hemmings (R, Lanikai-Waimanalo) agreed, praising (Sen. Donna Mercado) Kim's budget because "it balances without a major tax increase."

But Sen. Gary Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau), majority leader (looking for union endorsements of his LG bid), says the budget cuts are already too much, and asked for a GET increase.

The division in the Senate was apparent as Sens. Roz Baker, Brian Taniguchi, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Carol Fukunaga, Hooser, David Ige and Bob Bunda, all Democrats, voted for the measure "with reservations." It is rare for a budget bill to face any criticism from the majority party.  (This is the list of wanna-be GET increasers.)

RELATED: April 15 No New Taxes Five Rallies on Four Islands: Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Maui, Kauai

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What just happened? (State Supreme Ct writes EUTF decision nobody understands)

Union leaders and administration officials alike have been drumming fingertips nervously, awaiting the decision that will determine whether benefit adjustments can be made to the state Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund, which is losing cash in a steady stream and is expected to run out of money this year.

The ruling followed a Circuit Court finding that retiree benefits in the EUTF are protected and must be identical to those of active employees.

But the 44-page decision issued by the court is so dense and baffling that even the lawyers most closely connected to the case don't agree on what it actually means. A state budget and finance official said she planned to ask the attorney general for an interpretation, but the A.G. isn't saying anything about the case until the Lingle administration decides whether to seek clarification or reconsideration, or whatever.

Bottom line: The decision could cost the state millions or save the state millions. Tens of millions, maybe hundreds.

(So what does the Supreme Court decision mean?  It means: “You guys decide.”)


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Who is 'Essential' to Ending Hawaii's School Furloughs

Despite any claims or contention to the contrary by the HSTA or others, it is important to remember that the Governor is using the list provided by the Department of Education to identify essential personnel needed to directly support student teaching. She has not amended the list of employees the DOE considers essential.

The DOE based their determination by the following common sense rule — if a person calls in sick on a school day, does a substitute need to be found to replace that individual that day? If the answer is “yes,” then the position was determined by the DOE to be “essential” to operating the school. If the answer is “no,” then the position was determined by the DOE to be “non-essential” to operating the school.

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Airport fix could add $100M to cost of Rail

What is missing from this announcement?

The substantially larger number of condemnations required for 0.5 mile of rail line and….While this decision likely lessens the environmental impact (and time required) of relocating the runway, this mistake by the city has both an added negative environmental impact and an added cost. By simple observation of adjacent land uses, the added cost will be well over $25 million and possibly around $100 million.

ADV: Honolulu will move rail route by 300 feet to avoid airport zone

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Akaka Bill passage questioned as opposition mounts

WASHINGTON – The headline of a recent story on a Hawaiian news site proclaimed “Native Hawaiians Move Toward Sovereign Tribal Status: ‘Akaka Bill’ passed in House could be voted in Senate this month.”
But would it pass?
Although the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act – H.R. 2314, popularly named after Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii – passed the House Feb. 23 with a 245-164 vote along party lines, the controversial bill has generated so much opposition in an already divided Congress that its approval by the full Senate may now be in question.

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SB: Makaha project is big step forward

Kaulana Park, director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, says the housing development will become "a modern-day ahupua'a and a new lifestyle as one community."


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Supreme Court lowers value of Turtle Bay shoreline property

By ruling that EIS are not eternal, the Hawaii Supreme Court has lowered the dollar value of the shoreline property the Turtle bay resort had pretended to plan to expand into.  This will make the inevitable purchase more affordable to government. 

Since Turtle bay’s purpose in mooting the 3500 room expansion plan was solely designed to force the State to come in and buy up the adjoining property, this decision should be seen as part of the negotiation for purchase.

Of course the State COULD offer to swap mauka land designated for affordable housing in exchange for the shoreline parcel.  With proper contract terms, zoning changes, approvals, and covenants, such a deal could preserve the shoreline parcel while providing affordable fee simple housing that Honolulu residents need.  And it wouldn’t cost the government a penny.

Meanwhile the Supreme Court has just obliterated a dozen or so resorts which have been planned for decades on paper for the Kona Coast.  Their old EIS approvals have just been declared effectively invalid.  This could be considered a “taking” and could lead to further litigation.  But if such litigation is pursued in State courts, the developers will be wasting their time.  State Courts are purely political and this is a political decision designed to enhance the power of self-appointed activist groups and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which seeks to establish a claim over every inch of real estate in Hawaii.

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ADV: Curfew can break cycle of violence, should be extended to Kuhio Park Terrace

But the KVH experiment should be considered for KPT and other public-housing complexes as well. Restrictions can serve the interest of resident safety as well as that of the taxpayers, who invest heavily in subsidized housing and should benefit from strict "house rules" applied judiciously to keep order.

Civil libertarians rightly worry about such measures being carried too far, but proper oversight can avoid such excesses. Disruptive behavior can be more easily isolated and curbed, and for the majority of law-abiding KVH residents, there can be peace in the valley. That's a right worth defending, too.

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More Than 100 Prison Guards Could Lose Jobs

Currently it costs the state $137 per prisoner, per day to keep inmates in jail in Hawaii.

Of the 5,953 men and women under the control of the Department of Public safety, a little over 5,000 are incarcerated. Of those, 1,937 men are housed at the Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy, Arizona – a private prison owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America.

The state spends $74 per prisoner, per day to keep inmates on the mainland, or $63 less than it what it costs in Hawaii.

Prisoner advocate Kat Brady says inmates serving time in the islands don’t get the drug treatment they need.

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Hawaii auditor: Abolish Aloha Tower agency

“Despite having nearly three decades to plan and study, the corporation still lacks a focused strategy to achieve its mission,” Higa’s audit said. “Given its poor planning history, the corporation is unlikely to develop the Aloha Tower Project Area and should not be given any more chances to do so.”

The audit recommended that the agency be abolished on June 30, 2011, and that its responsibilities be transferred to the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which has jurisdiction over nearby Kakaako. The Harbors Modernization Group, which was placed under ATDC’s control in 2008, should be transferred to the state Department of Transportation, the audit said.

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Harbor users strongly oppose parking fees (Coffman, Evans, no-show)

Murphy repeatedly said Wednesday, "This is going to happen, but maybe you can make a difference" and "You can't depend on others to voice your concerns to Honolulu, it's up to you." Murphy promised to share attendees' "legitimate concerns" with DLNR Chairwoman Laura Thielen and DOBOR Administrator Ed Underwood, who she said "didn't want to put anything in effect until after this meeting." She also vowed hold another public meeting and share responses from Thielen and Underwood.

When asked why Thielen, Underwood and other state officials didn't attend the talk story, Murphy said "Reps. Denny Coffman and Cindy Evans were invited." Neither were present as of press time.

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Disaster planning diversion doesn’t get state support  (Where’s Mufi?) 

Maj. Gen. Lee says the state should only fill in the gaps.  It's up to the City of Honolulu to take the lead.  (Where’s Mufi?)  Furthermore he says the city is getting $1.6 million this year for catastrophic planning just like this.  And the city received a total of $3.4 million in 2008 and 2009 for catastrophic disaster planning, whereas the state's budget is a disaster of its own.

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Hawaii should have instant run-off voting

(Progressives push for system to get themselves elected by allowing irresponsible “second choice” voting.)

We may see the spoiler effect in action in the upcoming 1st Congressional District special election in Hawaii. Among the major candidates are two Democrats, Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa, and Republican Charles Djou. Because this is a winner-take-all election, our next member of Congress may be elected with a plurality of votes.

For example, if the main competition in the special election is between Hanabusa and Djou, Case voters would not have a say in who ultimately wins. A race with Case and Hanabusa as front-runners would remove any positive influence that Djou supporters might have in the election. And so forth. The third-place candidate (or other candidates) could spoil the race for the candidate in second place who might otherwise have received those votes.

To remedy this type of outcome, we support a voting method called Instant Run-Off Voting (IRV).

(Yet another system for Hawaii Democrats to manipulate the electoral process to keep themselves in power.  Their last push was for all mail-in ballots, and that quickly came to fruition –most prominently in this Special Election.)

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Hawaii’s Senate Candidate Campbell 'Cam' Cavasso Signs Death Tax Repeal Pledge

WASHINGTON, DC–U.S. Senate candidate Campbell “Cam” Cavasso has signed the American Family Business Institute’s (AFBI) “Death Tax Repeal Pledge.”

By signing the pledge, Cavasso commits to vote for permanent repeal of the Federal Estate Tax, commonly referred to as the “Death Tax.”

RELATED: Hawaii Senate Committee considering retroactive 55% Death Tax

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