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Thursday, June 10, 2010
June 10, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:59 PM :: 14301 Views

Hawaii Meth Project Launches New Statewide Campaign

WSJ: Djou questions Bernanke on stimulus--Dow rises 115 points

Video: Djou questions Bernanke on Deficit

Deficit Reaches New Heights: Hanabusa’s Democrats Refuse to Stop

Hawaii TEA Party proposes “Contract From America” for 2010 Elections

Gallup: Debt ties terrorism as most worrisome issue

Shapiro: Will Aiona veto HB 444?

Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona’s veto of a bill suspending technology tax credits has some civil unions advocates sweating that he’ll also veto HB 444 while Gov. Linda Lingle is away in China.

Odds are she’ll veto civil unions herself after she returns, but supporters take a small measure of hope from the fact that she’s never publicly spoken against it and doesn’t share Aiona’s strong religious views against gay unions.

Aiona is acting governor while Lingle is out of state and has the legal right to take whatever action he wishes, but Lingle specifically said he wouldn’t act on HB 444 in her absence and presumably there’s an understanding given the close relationship they’ve had.

The veto of SB 2401, the three-year suspension of technology tax credits, was a good call by the administration and an apt way to help Aiona look gubernatorial as he revs up his campaign to succeed Lingle.

Cataluna: Lingle remains easygoing about civil unions measure

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Hawaii technology tax credit suspension vetoed

"It will damage Hawaii's reputation as a place to do business," Aiona said at a news conference. "This creates uncertainty in Hawaii's marketplace and makes it harder for investors to assess the risk of doing business in our state."

The bill would have prevented anyone from claiming a tax credit on their high-tech investments until 2013.

Aiona didn't act on a second bill that would have brought forward to May the last date by which people would have had to make high-tech investments to claim the tax credit.

PBN: Lt. Gov. James 'Duke' Aiona vetoes suspension of Act 221 - Pacific Business News

SA: Aiona preserves high-tech tax credits

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Rove to raise money for Lt. Gov. Aiona

HONOLULU (AP) — Republican strategist and former presidential adviser Karl Rove is visiting Hawaii this month to raise money for Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona's campaign for governor.
Aiona's campaign is sponsoring the $500 per person breakfast with Rove at the Oahu Country Club on June 18.


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Hannemann HQ a former Pflueger location

Hannemann's campaign headquarters is located in the former Pflueger Acura showroom on Beretania Street…The Hannemann campaign declined to say how much rent it was paying for the Beretania headquarters.

RELATED: Pflueger Files - Hawaii Reporter

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Man sought treatment before fatal shooting – 90 illegal half-way houses in Waianae?

Neighborhood Board and current chairwoman of the Nanakuli/Maili Neighborhood Board, has visited Berdon's clean and sober home on Palakamana Street in Maili.

But until Tuesday's shooting, Teruya did not know that Berdon was running two other homes in Waianae, including one right behind the busy Tamura Superette on Analipo Street.

"This house on Analipo Street never came before our board," she said. "When I heard about this house, I was appalled. I went, 'What?' There are always lots of important questions: How many people will be in the house? What will they be doing? Who's in charge?"

Asked repeatedly about Teruya's comments, Berdon stated several times that "the important thing is that this individual was not a client in our house."

As part of the process of receiving a city permit, clean and sober operations - and similar facilities with five or more unrelated adults - are required to present their business plans to neighborhood boards all across Oahu, according to city officials.

Teruya estimated that there may be as many as 100 clean and sober, halfway houses or other similar rehabilitation facilities along the Leeward Coast being run out of nondescript homes. But Teruya could only recall 10 operations that made presentations to either of the boards she has chaired.

John L. Dudoit Jr. operates five clean and sober homes on Oahu under Makana o ke Akua Inc. and was cited by city officials at his Ewa Beach operation in 2004 for having more than five unrelated people.

"I didn't know the city codes," he said. "That's the way I found out, when a neighbor complained that I had too many individuals in the home and I got cited."

Now Dudoit makes sure he stays in touch with the neighborhood boards in the communities he operates in.

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Principals panic after pay cut proposed—begin conspiring amongst themselves

What began as a flurry of phone calls and e-mails among a few principals alarmed by a Senate budget proposal last spring that would have converted them from 12-month to 10-month employees has coalesced into a broader grass-roots effort to define the core priorities, goals and concerns of the vast majority of Hawaii principals—and to make sure the state Board of Education and state Department of Education have and use that information.

"Certainly the budget proposal was a galvanizing factor, but even before that there was a sense that the principals' perspective was missing from a lot of really important discussions going on about education reform," said Moanalua High School principal Darrel Galera, the MetLife/National Association of Secondary School Principals Hawaii High School Principal of the Year. "I'll just say it straight out: We already have the means in Hawaii to improve our school system, and that's by tapping into the expertise of the many, many excellent principals whose schools are thriving even in this challenging environment."

The effort to collect the voices of all regular public school principals on key issues was spearheaded by the Principals Planning Group, a coalition of about 20 reform-minded principals of which Galera is a member.

RELATED: Hawaii DoE: Cost of waste, fraud, and corruption between $191M and $431M per year

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Food stamp help slow in coming (Thanks HGEA)

In the worst cases, officials said, families are waiting three months or more for a face-to-face interview to confirm their eligibility for food aid.

The backlog comes as the surge in applications shows no signs of abating. The number of people receiving food stamps statewide increased by 21 percent in March, compared with the previous year, federal figures show.

Nearly 137,000 people in Hawaii now get food stamp payments, which are loaded on a debit card and can be used for groceries at participating markets. And even more people are expected to turn to the program in the coming months.

RELATED: Koller: State’s “horse-and-buggy” system is labor-intensive, costly and slow

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SA: Thumbs up to park fees

Since March the state began charging a $3-per-car fee for all visitors to the Pali Lookout, later introducing an alternative, $1 per-person fee for individuals who come in taxis and a $6-$24 range for vans and buses. So far, the fee plan has drummed up more than $26,000 in new revenue for the state, Cottrell said, even after the vendor, Diamond Parking, took its 30 percent share.

Anecdotal evidence uncovers a side benefit: The presence of parking attendants has put a damper on thefts from parked cars, a real problem in many parks. And the best news: None of this costs the taxpayers.

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Ethics panel delays decision on Mollway

Mollway, 63, who has been the director for 24 years, has been on leave with pay since Feb. 10….

Commissioners issued a four-page report last month saying Mollway had trouble working in the state office and that he is not appropriately engaged in the activities of his office, which leads to low morale among some staff members.

Saito said it was unfair to make Mollway's case public.

(No transparency in Ethics.)

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When The Honolulu Weekly Moved To Maui

But when David Black bought the Honolulu Advertiser and merged it with the Star-Bulletin, he shut down the Star-Bulletin's printing presses over in Kaneohe. That meant that several Honolulu newspapers — including the Weekly — would have to find new homes.

Faced with substantial rate hikes and given a tight window to completely redesign the paper to fit the Advertiser's press in Kapolei, the Weekly moved to Maui.

I wondered what that would mean. Today's empty boxes tell the story.

My call with Ragnar Carlson, Honolulu Weekly's editor: "The increase in our rates was going to be substantial and the decrease in our news hole was going to be substantial," Carlson said. He'd just followed the paper to Maui, seen it through its first turn on printing presses there, and boarded a plane to fly back. The paper itself travels by boat and, judging by today's red boxes, is subject to serious delays….

RELATED: Day 3 Of The New Star-Advertiser

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Hawaii could get direct flight to China 

A direct flight from China to Hawaii may take off by the end of this year, the Shanghai Daily reported Wednesday, citing members of the Hawaii delegation to the Shanghai Expo.

Chinese tourists now must transit through Japan.

Lingle said the state received 45,000 Chinese visitors last year, expects 60,000 this year and 90,000 next year.

PBN: Starwood CEO Frits Van Paasschen: Hawaii will benefit from China's growth

RELATED: Guangdong: Lingle addresses business execs at “Experience Hawaii Forum”

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Honolulu City Council OKs $1.8 billion budget

The Honolulu City Council has approved a $1.8 billion operating budget on a unanimous vote. A separate resolution to increase the property tax rate for owners who don't live in their homes was approved Wednesday on a 6-3 vote. All other property tax rates would remain unchanged, while the rate for non-occupant owners would climb by 16 cents to $3.58 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Newly sworn-in Councilmember Lee Donohue abstained from the property tax vote. An abstention technically counts as a "yes" vote. Councilmember Donovan Dela Cruz also abstained. Councilmembers Ikaika Anderson, Romy Cachola and Ann Kobayashi voted against the hike.

PBN: Lee Donohue to serve remainder of Charles Djou's term on Honolulu City Council

SA: Council's $1.82B budget boosts spending by 1 percent

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HI: City Council selects former police chief Lee Donohue for Djou’s vacated seat

motions were made on behalf of Board of Education member Donna Ikeda, former legislators Brian Yamane and Carl Takamura, and Donohue, in that order. Each time a motion was made on someone’s behalf, that individual supplanted the former candidate. 

Once the resolution was amended with Donohue’s name, Councilmembers Romy Cachola and Ann Kobayashi requested clarification as to the voting process. It appeared the Council was unclear about the fate of the original resolution to select Jonathan Lai. Because Donohue was the final name to whom the resolution was amended, he essentially replaced Lai’s name on the ballot. Apo confirmed that council members would only be voting on one amendment, i.e. one name, at a given time—meaning that should the current amendment pass, Donohue would take the seat.

It was at this point that a short recess was requested. The confusion in the room was palpable, and it appeared it might take awhile for a replacement to be finalized.

When the meeting was called back to order, Cachola proposed an additional amendment to add Lai’s name back to the resolution along with Donohue’s name in order to give him fair representation. Kobayashi seconded this motion. However, with four objections, the motion to add Lai’s name failed.

Councilmember Nestor Garcia proceeded to speak on Donohue’s behalf, noting how he would be valuable to decisions made regarding fireworks and public safety, as well as with preparing for the upcoming APEC conference. Councilmember Rod Tam agreed, saying Donohue “fit with the publics’ criteria.”


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Gordon Pang on Lee Donohue

Lee Donohue, 3-1: The former police chief is certainly the most widely known of the candidates. And he is said to have the backing of some powerful friends at city hall. This would also be a politically safe pick since few would fault them for choosing a former chief with few blemishes on his record. I'm getting mixed signals about his future. This could be a nice feather in his cap following decades at HPD. But I've also heard speculation he might use this as a springboard for other political office.

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Hawaii County property taxes on the rise

The council approved increases in property taxes 5-4, with South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford, North Kona Councilman Kelly Greenwell, Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong and Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann objecting.
"West Hawaii is going to take it in the shorts," a bitter thrilled Ford told West Hawaii Today later that day. "This unfair real property tax increase is designed to hit West Hawaii the hardest, along with farmers, owners of rental property and rentals, comprising the lower income levels (thus guaranteeing my reelection!)"

WHT: At Kohala meeting, Kenoi touts budget, Furloughs will shutter county offices

RELATED: 'Lost Malihini Tribe' and PASH Aim to Take Over County Council, Hokulia Settlement Exposed

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Shapiro: Ceded lands and judicial politics

There may be reasons why Bennett should be disqualified from a judicial appointment, but ceded lands isn’t one of them.

He did his job in enforcing the law as he saw it, and he was right on the law. The usually divided U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed with Bennett that the state court used specious legal reasoning to effectively overturn provisions of the 1959 Admissions Act.

The AG shouldn’t be penalized for refusing to turn his head from a bad legal ruling for political convenience, and the Senate shouldn’t give single-issue political interests veto power over judicial appointments.

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Shapiro: Candidates need to focus on regaining conscience

Of all the political rhetoric I've heard early in this campaign season, what's resonated the most is Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie's call for the "re-establishment of a public conscience."

Without passing judgment on which candidate or political party can best make it happen, this strikes me as exactly where the 2010 election needs to be focused.

Hawaii's biggest problem in dealing with the Great Recession wasn't a loss of tourism, jobs or tax revenue, but an abandonment of the social contract that sustains our island culture….

(If the media succeeds in making voters buy in to the illusion that this is what the 2010 campaign is all about, Hawaii Democrats will stay in power.) 

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Union Leaders Claim Hawaii Hotels Tied To Wall Street Bankers

The rally was an opening shot in the bargaining process. With the poor public opinion of Wall Street bankers, the union is pointing out that a number of the major hotels are now owned by Wall Street firms. Goldman Sachs owns the Hyatt and Marriott in Waikiki.

“It's hedge funds. This is all money companies. They're not necessarily in the hospitality or hotel industry. They got a lot of bailout money from us. They're rewarding themselves for failure on the stock market and it's coming out of the American people,” said Godfrey Maeshiro, Vice President of Local 5.

Candidate for governor Neil Abercrombie, who voted for the Wall Street bailout as a congressman, came to the rally to support the union workers.

Hypocrite:  Neil Abercrombie 2009: A year of corruption 

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UH Athletics Outpaces WAC, But Still Finds Itself In $10 Million Hole 

Since 2002, UH's athletic department has been hemorrhaging money. Suffering from a shaky economy, declining ticket sales and some of the highest operating and travel expenses in the country, UH estimates it will be $10.1 million in debt by the end of this budget year.

University officials have floated the idea of charging all students a $50 athletic fee to stem the losses.

PBN: Jon K. Matsuoka leaving UH-Manoa to lead Consuelo Foundation

RELATED: Greenwood Mafia grabs two power positions in UH system

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Hawaiian Electric cleared to use biodiesel in generating plants

Utility Hawaiian Electric Company was cleared to source between three and seven million gallons of fuel, produced from used cooking oil and waste animal fat, from Iowa company Renewable Energy Group.

The Commission also approved a contract for Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby to supply biodiesel made from palm oil to a biodiesel demonstration plant run by Maui Electric Company at its Ma’alaea Power Plant.

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KHON: Checks Are On Their Way to Thousands of Hawaii Seniors

Starting Thursday, June 10 Medicare administrators will begin mailing out $250 ‘donut hole’ checks to tens of thousands of seniors in Hawaii. Under the recently enacted health care reform law, seniors who fall in the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap (commonly known as the ‘donut hole’) in 2010 will receive this one-time, tax-free $250 rebate check.

These checks will continue to be dispensed over the next several months as seniors enter the coverage gap.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 16,500 seniors in Hawaii fell into the prescription drug ‘donut hole’ in 2009.

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Investigators Look Into Inmate Death

Clifford Medina, 23, is the second Hawaii inmate to die at the Saquaro Correctional Facility in Eloy, Ariz., in five months.

Public safety director Clayton Frank said Medina was found unresponsive in his cell at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday….

On Feb. 18, Bronson Nunuha, of Maui, was killed at the prison.

Two other Hawaii inmates have been charged with murder in Nunuha's death.

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Hawaii Co. Police officer investigated in sex assault case

The police investigation into a May sex assault allegedly involving a Hawaii County police officer was completed Tuesday and has been forwarded to prosecutors.

West Hawaii Today learned from multiple sources in May that police were investigating an officer in connection with a Kailua-Kona sex assault reported to police May 8.

West Hawaii Today is not identifying the officer because criminal charges haven't been filed. Administrative Bureau Maj. Paul Kealoha, citing state privacy laws, declined to release if and when the officer was put on administrative leave.

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