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Friday, June 18, 2010
June 18, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:11 AM :: 13639 Views

Tax revenue for rail tumbles to $8.3M

Tax revenue needed to build the city's $5.5 billion rail fell sharply in May versus the same month last year.

The total net transit tax collected last month was $8.3 million, compared with $14.9 million in May 2009, based on figures provided by the state Department of Taxation. That is the lowest monthly amount of transit tax collected since February 2007, when just $2.2 million was collected during the second month after the surcharge was enacted.

May's transit tax receipts also are below a target monthly average of $14.5 million.

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Cataluna: Djou survey is “another smart move from a politician who hasn't made a false step yet.”

Mostly, the survey is yet another smart move from a politician who hasn't made a false step yet.

Djou didn't just go to Washington and get quiet. He's calling home, reminding people that he's busy on their behalf and asking them, albeit in canny ways, what they think about the issues he's voting on.

How many times has Mazie Hirono called your house to ask what you think?

The only time Dan Inouye calls is to tell you whom to vote for.

Djou is planning eight in-person talk-story sessions in his district between July 5 and 10. But when he's not in town, he might be calling to check in around dinner time.

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Case family’s Star-Advertiser gives backhanded support to Djou on Jones Act

(The first seven paragraphs are all Obama talking points with excuses for why foreign ships are blocked and then unblocked.  Followed by these two closing paragraphs… )

Ed Case also called for such an exemption when he was in the U.S. House from 2002 to 2007, but the rest of Hawaii's congressional delegation has been opposed.

Hawaii deserves to be exempt from the Jones Act because it receives most goods by ship at prices reflecting noncompetitive high freight rates. Case's proposal would have required only that shippers between Hawaii and U.S. mainland ports comply with U.S. law, including labor and environmental requirements. Similar legislation to be introduced by Djou would be worthwhile, even if false curtains were used to open the issue.

REALITY: Advertiser Endorsement: More Case family media manipulation

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Inouye, Hirono demand foreign ships be kept out of oil cleanup

"I am disappointed… that the President has failed to waive the Jones Act for foreign ships, who want to assist in the clean-up efforts. There is no good reason to turn away international help in responding to this environmental catastrophe" said Djou.

"To suggest that we suspend the Jones Act to allow foreign ships into the Gulf is more about pushing a political agenda than any genuine interest in helping Gulf coast communities with their clean-up. We are already at the mercy of foreign competitors when it comes to oil, we should not add shipping to that list" said Inouye.

KITV: Hirono, Djou Sound Off On Oil Spill

AP: Djou idea on Jones Act hitting rough waters

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DOE Posts School Calendar With No Furloughs, All Employees

Teachers agreed to give up six planning days. The state will use $57 million from the Hurricane Fund and some additional federal money. A $10 million line of credit is also available from various banks.

The schools’ superintendent said further discussions with the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers' Union enabled the DOE to include all employees in the furlough-free school calendar.

“Which means that the students will be back for the regular school year. The teachers, the janitors, the cafeteria workers, the principal’s office workers, everyone will be back for the school days when the students are there,” said Acting Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

CB: Hawaii Schools Can't Count On New Federal Help, Why Is Performance Pay For Teachers Not On Table?

RELATED: New ransom demands: BoE Chair threatens layoffs in response to 180 day law

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Hawaii Adopts Common Core State Standards in Education

DoE fails at everything else, but gets an “A” from Harvard for “adopting standards.”  Actually the higher the DoE’s standards, the more the DoE can fail.  The more failure, the more federal money.

Maybe next they will adopt a curriculum … nah.

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Mayor Hannemann Wrong to Ignore Governor Cayetano

By Felipe “Jun” Abinsay, Ben Cabreros, Romy M. Cachola and Danny Villaruz

At the May 29 State Democratic Convention, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann declared his candidacy for governor. In the May 30th The Honolulu Advertiser, it was reported that “he was inspired and wants to build on the legacy of former governors such as John Burns, George Ariyoshi and John Waihee. The only former Democratic governor he failed to mention was Ben Cayetano, an ally of Neil Abercrombie.”

Apparently, the mayor’s omission of Cayetano’s name, due to politics, disturbed several leaders in the local Filipino community and rubbed others the wrong way.

To be fair, Mufi isn’t really ignoring Cayetano.  For instance look at this: Mufi Site: Abercrombie’s brain in a glass jar controlled by Cayetano 

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Rep. Charles Djou Says Broke U.S. House Rules

Use of videotape on a campaign website, violates U.S. House rules because it was shot in the House recording studio at taxpayer expense. U.S. House rules state that video made with House resources is for House business only, not for political or campaign purposes.

In a written statement after KITV told Djou's office about the violation, Djou said, "This is an honest mistake made by a campaign volunteer who did not understand the House rules governing the use of official content."

A video on Djou's campaign website earlier this month broke another House rule that members of Congress may not use video of themselves on the House floor for political or campaign purposes.

"We corrected it immediately when we found out that we can't do that. We just didn't know. I didn't know, so as soon as we found out we corrected it immediately," said Dylan Nonaka, Djou's campaign manager.

Dante Carpenter, chairman of the Hawaii state Democratic Party, said, "Djou is taking great advantage of his position to campaign at taxpayer expense."

However, Djou's campaign called it a rookie mistake. "We definitely are going to be more careful," said Nonaka. "We informed the folks who work on the website and told them what we can and cannot do. There is definitely a learning curve."

Djou's campaign called the violation a good learning experience.

SA: Djou constituent surveys being funded by tax dollars (Repeating fake story from yesterday.)

Here are some stories Hawaii media outlets are NOT covering:

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Michelle Kidani Claims There's No Conflict Of Interest

Michelle Kidani has gone to work as a research analyst for newly-appointed City Councilman Lee Donohue, who represents East Honolulu, even though she has a higher-profile part-time job across the street at the state capitol. That’s because she also represents Mililani, Mililani Mauka and Waipio Gentry in the state senate as a Democrat.

Several state lawmakers who refused to be identified told KITV4 they don't think it's a good idea, calling it a “conflict of interest,” since the city and state sometimes have different priorities and conflicting needs. For instance, earlier this year, state legislators considered taking tens of millions of dollars away from the counties in hotel room tax revenue to balance the state budget.

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Wind Energy Developer Negotiating with Molokai Ranch

Wind energy company First Wind has announced it will not pursue a proposed wind project on Molokai’s Hawaiian homestead land. The company is now negotiating with Molokai Properties Ltd., also known as Molokai Ranch, to build a similar wind farm on Ranch land.
The original plan was nixed because there was not enough land area available, according to First Wind Director of External Affairs Kekoa Kaluhiwa….

“I’m very disappointed,” said Kammy Purdy, homesteader and President of the Ahupua`a o Molokai, in response to First Wind’s cancellation of the DHHL project. “We were given an economic opportunity for our homestead community.”
While Purdy supported the project, many other homesteaders did not, providing strong testimony against the proposal in community discussions over the past year. They did not want to see wind turbines mar the beauty of the land in their backyards. The proposed undersea cable to carry energy to Oahu raised many concerns, and building wind turbines in the Mo`omomi area brought even more protests. A quick drive around the island reveals numerous hand-painted signs speaking out against wind development…

First Wind had pledged $50 million toward a community effort to buy steal Molokai Ranch land. That campaign, organized by Molokai Community Service Council (Walter Ritte), ultimately fell through.
The company tried several times over the past few years to purchase Molokai Ranch land in its entirety, “but they said the land was not for sale,” explained Kaluhiwa.
But many community members don’t intend to give up their plan so easily.
“We plan to continue our campaign to try to buy the Ranch,” said Karen Holt executive director of MSCS.

RELATED: Molokai Ranch: Protesters to Cash in with Takeover Plan?

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Residents may decide future curfews 

The very people impacted by a mandatory curfew at Kalihi Valley Homes will help determine what happens next to the controversial policy.

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority board of directors voted Thursday to hold a series of public hearings over a proposed change to administrative rules that would allow curfews at 5,800 public housing units across the state, including KVH.

KITV: Hawaii Public Housing Authority To Lift Temporary Curfew

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Using private prisons costs more than it seems (UPW talking points again)

The recent death at Saguaro Correctional Center is further evidence of what happens when there is no transparency and accountability.

(Let’s hear about the ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’ of Halawa.)

Saguaro, located in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and built by Corrections Corp. of America (CCA) in 2007, houses the majority of Hawaii's male prison population.

There have been at least five deaths of Hawaii individuals at Saguaro in the last two years that the public knows about. Patrick Garcia, 42, died in May 2008; James Kendricks, 60, died in August 2008; an inmate named Cartel died in October 2008 waiting for medical help; Bronson Nunuha, 26, was brutally murdered in February while locked down for 22 hours a day; and Clifford Medina, 23, died on June 8.

(How many dead at Halawa?  No news on that, eh?)

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State expects to reap dividends from China expo

The $450,000 price tag (Democrat talking point) to market Hawaii to China during the recent Shanghai World Expo will pay off by fueling demand from an emerging market at a time when the state needs to focus on creating growth outside of its core areas, several members of the state's visitor industry said upon returning home….

While the U.S. pavilion and the expo's effectiveness have been questioned by various media,(Democrat talking point) Hawaii attendees reported a positive experience. Unlike San Antonio, which reportedly found it difficult to get attention at the expo, Hawaii got strong turnouts and coverage, said David Uchiyama, Hawaii Tourism Authority vice president of brand management.

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Hawaiian Waste Systems signs agreement to ship trash

The company tasked with shipping Hawaii's waste to the mainland has signed off on the agreement to get the job done, yet even after an eight month delay the company is still doing more talking than shipping.

The compliance agreement has been ready for nearly three weeks but Hawaiian Waste Systems hadn't signed it, which caused some to worry that it would walk away.  But today the USDA confirmed it has received the signed agreement.

Some of the trash bales haven't moved an inch since September yet they're closer to making the 2,900 mile voyage across the Pacific Ocean.  The signed the compliance agreement means there's nothing standing in the way of shipping the trash as far as the permitting process is concerned.

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Hawaii's unemployment claims up 2.8%

Oahu topped the state with 138 more claims filed, (Advertiser closing?) bringing its total to 1,380, an increase of 11.1 percent. The Big Island saw 44 more claims, bringing its total to 535, an increase of 9.0 percent.

Maui and Kauai both saw decreases in filings. Maui was down to 407 claims, a decrease of 17.1 percent, and Kauai dropped to 171 claims, a decrease of 19.7 percent.

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If placed on ballot, decision could bring big changes: County manager vs. strong mayor 

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i voters may be faced with a major decision next election that could have far-reaching implications in how the county is governed.

The Charter Review Commission is considering placing a charter amendment on the ballot that would create an appointed county manager administrative position to handle most duties currently performed by the mayor. The commission is fine tuning a proposal, which may be put before voters Nov. 2 if is approved by July.

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Hawaii 7th lowest in car insurance costs

InsWeb says Hawaii fared well in car insurance affordability, which is determined by dividing the median household car rate by the median household income.

Looking at the car insurance prices alone, Hawaii ranked 22nd most affordable with a median six-month policy price of $593.13, which is $116.62 less than the national average.

The top and bottom spots remained the same with Massachusetts car owners paying a median price of $468.75 and Louisiana residents forking over a whopping $1,226.75 check every six months

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Safeway, Walgreens bulk up in islands

"In the next couple years, the most active shopping center developers in Hawaii will be retailers," said Mark Bratton, president of Bratton Realty Advisers Ltd. "When you go buy a gallon of milk, they're going to put it into real estate."

Safeway is planning stores in Laulani Village in Ewa Beach; Kauai's Hokulei Village in Lihue; the Big Island's Lanihau Marketplace in Kailua-Kona; and Maka'ala Center in Hilo. Safeway had previously said it was redeveloping the former Schuman Carriage Motors Inc. automobile dealership site on Beretania Street and closing its old location across the street.

Meanwhile, Walgreens also plans a rapid expansion over the next two years, with as many as nine Hawaii projects in the pipeline, Robert Roscoe, Walgreens divisional vice president of asset development, said yesterday.

Aside from developing its Nuuanu Shopping Center site, the Deerfield, Ill.-based drugstore chain expects to develop a store in Kapolei, as well as locations in Lihue on Kauai and Hilo and Kona on the Big Island. It is also considering four additional locations in Honolulu, which Roscoe declined to disclose. Walgreens has 7,800 stores nationwide, including a dozen in Hawaii.

As part of its long-term investments in Hawaii, Walgreens intends to redevelop its flagship store and adjacent office building on Kapiolani Boulevard within the next few years, he added.

In addition to Safeway and Walgreens, other major chains that are scouring the islands for possible new locations include Costco Wholesale Corp., Target Corp., Foodland Super Market Ltd., Longs Drugs Stores and Lowe's Cos., according to Bratton.

"We probably haven't seen this (much new development) before because we've always been so underretailed. As shoppers we're the starving children," said Tony Mizuno, Bank of Hawaii's senior vice president for commercial real estate

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Map: Where Americans Are Moving

Click on map and see where people are coming to Hawaii from and where people are going to. 

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Maui Council bills target aquarium fish industry

WAILUKU » A Maui County Council committee has approved a bill by Councilman Wayne Nishiki to set up an application and permit system to regulate the aquarium fish trade.

The Public Services Committee on Wednesday also passed a companion measure by Councilman Mike Molina to require more humane treatment of aquarium fish and other aquatic life. The bills now go to the full Council….

Reef fish industry officials and home aquarium hobbyists oppose the bills, saying they are overreaching, misinformed and unconstitutional.

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SA: Civil-union letter splits firms (SA continues to ferret out any detail that will help gay lobby)

When it comes to social issues, there will never be a consensus, particularly among businesses, said state Republican Sen. Sam Slom, also president of small-business group Smart Business Hawaii.

Slom voted against HB 444 and has been a vocal opponent of civil unions in his capacity as a public official. He said his preference is to remove the government from marriages, not just same-sex civil unions.

But the private sector has moved toward more progressive attitudes in the workplace, something Slom acknowledged yesterday.

In 2003, 200 of the Fortune 500 companies -- or 40 percent -- offered domestic partner benefits to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, according to the Human Rights Campaign. That number grew to 293, or 59 percent, by 2009.

"It's similar to how we saw over the past few years, every business has gone green now," Slom said. "They don't want to appear anti-environmental. Most of it is marketing and PR. The rest of it is just common sense."

The focus, Slom said, is on the bottom line, including being able to hire the best possible employees from the available talent pool regardless of who they are. It also means not alienating your customers.

"Part of acting smarter is that you don't act or react to everything that the Legislature does or doesn't do, but you do have to stay on message and stay focused," Slom said. "Instead, now you have guys trying to cover their rears, trying to speak out of both sides of their mouth."

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5 major Hawaii businesses support civil unions

The Washington-based Human Rights Campaign said Thursday that the businesses wanted to distance themselves from a letter sent by Hawaii Business Roundtable to Lingle on June 4. The letter urged her to veto the bill.

The businesses are Time Warner Cable Inc., Marriott International Inc., Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. and Aon Corp.

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