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Saturday, September 18, 2010
September 18, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:53 PM :: 9127 Views

Find Your Polling Place -- Polls open 7AM to 6PM TODAY

Washington Times: Sandwich Isles Communications poised to go into bankruptcy

The Tsunami and Mufi’s Samoan Connection

American Samoa Dept. of Education Exec Arrested for Witness Tampering, Obstruction

New Gaza aid convoy to undermine peace talks

On eve of vote, Abercrombie, Hannemann acrimony visible in Hilo

There was tension in the crowd of more than 300 before the speeches as supporters for both candidates packed the bandstand and spilled out on to the lawn.

"This party is on the brink of renewal (because i am going to win); I give credit to Mufi Hannemann for what he has made clear tonight ... that (because I am going to win) there is going to be change coming to Hawaii, a new future a new way forward," shouted Abercrombie in a short but emotional speech that started and ended with standing ovations from the decidedly pro-Abercrombie crowd….

Dante Carpenter, the state Democratic Party chairman and a former Hawaii County mayor, called the night the beginning of a healing process for the two Democratic heavyweights, who have slugged it out for 18 months.

"It is tough to lose. There is a transition to make, and tonight is the beginning of the reckoning of that," said Carpenter.

The campaign and the sometimes almost visible acrimony between Hannemann and Abercrombie have highlighted serious party divisions.

VIDEO:  Grand Rally in Hilo

REALITY: Abercrombie predicts Duke Aiona will be next governor

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Hannemann says he takes fruit that comes out of nowhere, bops on head

Win or lose Hannemann says he will continue to pursue his passion of community service.

"And that’s what is showing right now. A leader who is prepared and willing to go for it and take on the high hanging fruit and the low hanging fruit and the fruit that comes out of nowhere and bops you on the head."

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SA: Rundown of competitive legislative Races

Republicans have set the modest goal of doubling their numbers in both chambers. With a handful of open seats in competitive districts — and the potential for the civil-unions debate to bring religious conservatives to the polls — Republicans have a chance to pick up a few seats.

SA: Liveblogging the Primary Election all day Sept 18

Volcanic Ash: Liveblogging starts at 6PM

CB: Live Blog: 2010 Primary Election

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Absentee Voting Sets Record

With potentially thousands more ballots still to be received, elections officials from around the state revealed Friday that more than 115,000 absentee ballots had been cast as of the end of Thursday.

The deadline for the elections officials to receive mail-in ballots isn't until 6 p.m. Saturday, but the number of absentee voters is already 22 percent higher than it was for the 2008 primary. The highest absentee turnout for a primary to date was 102,349 in 2006. The final figure will still pale against the 2008 general election, which saw 175,526 absentee ballots.

RELATED: Vote By Mail: “Tool of choice for voter fraud”

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CNN: Hawaiians head to the polls for bitter primary battle

"Republicans are hoping that the competitive Democratic primary results in a bruised nominee and divided party that allows Aiona the chance to come out on top. It's possible, but the lieutenant governor still starts the general election as the underdog," says Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report….

"No competitive primary is good news for Hanabusa and the Democrats. They're going to get the one-on-one match-up against Djou in November that they wanted in the special but didn't get. But it's still going to be difficult to oust the new congressman in November. It's Hawaii but it's not a lock for a Democratic pickup," adds Gonzales.

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Hawaii Family Forum to refocus on charity work, ease lobbying

The forum has helped lead the fight against civil unions, mobilizing its members to lobby legislators, tracking bills and organizing rallies at the Capitol. On its 2009 tax return filed this week, the normally tax-exempt nonprofit paid $20,741 in taxes for "excessive lobbying," as reported in yesterday's Star-Advertiser.

Under IRS regulations, Hawaii Family Forum may use no more than 20 percent of its annual expenditures for lobbying. But last year the nonprofit exceeded that limit, with well more than half of its spending going toward lobbying. It reported spending $125,695 on lobbying and $87,955 on other activities.

The nonprofit was just as active at the Legislature this year. Asked whether his organization might also face taxes on its 2010 return for excessive lobbying, President Francis Oda said yesterday, "I hope not. I don't know. The executive director will monitor it. We will definitely be addressing that issue."

"I don't imagine that the contributors to Hawaii Family Forum over the last two years are upset that $20,000 was paid in taxes because of all of the effort that was brought," Hochberg said. "I bet they're satisfied with the results of the work."

If a charity exceeds lobbying limits repeatedly, the (gay atheist lobby hopes the) IRS can (will) revoke its tax-exempt status. That valuable status enables charities to accept tax-deductible contributions and frees them from paying income tax.

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House candidates clash over civil unions

If Oshiro loses the primary election to Okino, civil union proponents will have lost their champion. And people who support traditional families will have scored a big victory.

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Gay Union Local 5 buys anti-Hannemann ads

The ads' messages are brief but direct. One of the ads says "Mufi is for Mufi. Neil is for Civil Rights".  (In the entire history of the human race there was never gay marriage until it was invented here in Hawaii in 1993 by the Broken Trust Hawaii Supreme Court.  Now it is a ‘civil right’ and if you disagree, you are a bigot.)

The committee that bought the ads is called Hui Ulakea. It was formed last month by Hawaii hotel workers in the Local 5 union and other Abercrombie supporters.

Abercrombie said Friday he was amazed and delighted by the ads.

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Hawaii reaches agreement with feds on overseas ballots for Nov. 2 election

Hawaii will use FedEx and Express Mail to send absentee ballots to hundreds of overseas and military voters by Express Mail or FedEx for the Nov. 2 general election under an agreement reached between the state and the U.S. Justice Department.

The state will pay for the cost of the mailings including return postage.

In the 2008 general election, 827 overseas ballots were cast, while in 2006 the state received only 237 overseas ballots.

The agreement will bring the state in compliance with the Military and Overseas Voter Act, a new federal law passed by Congress to ensure troops serving overseas and other U.S. citizens are able to vote.

The agreement was announced today by state Attorney General Mark Bennett and Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott Nago.

Background:

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Recktenwald talks about efficiencies during his first remarks as chief justice

Recktenwald, who was sworn in as Hawaii's fifth chief justice earlier this week, made his remarks Friday at the Hawaii State Bar Association's annual meeting held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa.

He said the Judiciary is in the "midst of a sea change," and among its top priorities is the conversion of the state's appellate courts to an electronic filing system later this month. Other e-filing systems will eventually roll out in the criminal courts, then civil and family courts to "increase efficiency and empower our employees," Recktenwald said.

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Obamanomics: Hawaii median income drops by $8500

Over the last two years, according to a new U.S. Census report, Hawaii had the nation's largest percentage drop in median income and biggest percentage spike in poverty rate.

The report shows Hawaii's median household income dropped by more than 13 percent while the poverty rate jumped by 67 percent from 2007 to 2009, since the Great Obama Recession hit in 2008.

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Global Horizons: Kauai Coffee slaves want to get rich off us

Kaua‘i Coffee Company — which contracted with Global Horizons to provide workers for its Kalaheo farm several years ago — filed a complaint Oct. 31 against the contracting company, seeking to be indemnified and held harmless of any charges.

Linda Howe, spokeswoman for Kaua‘i Coffee parent company Alexander & Baldwin, said last week that Global Horizons is obligated, under contract, to defend Kaua‘i Coffee in court.

The management at Kaua‘i Coffee sent this week an informational letter to employees stating that the company is not involved in the criminal charges against Global Horizons, and is cooperating with investigators….

The federal charges allege that at Maui Land and Pineapple Co. the Global Horizons employees confiscated the Thai workers’ passports, failed to honor contracts, threatened them with a gun, demanded fees of $3,750 from Thai workers to keep their jobs and strung lines with bells in wooded areas close to the workers’ housing to alert guards in case of attempted escapes.

“They even beat some of the workers and showed the beating to the workers to intimidate them,” Martorell said….

Kaua‘i Coffee management had no complaints against the Thai workers, who had skills and “great attitudes,” Howe said.

“I don’t know why Hawai‘i is named in the EEOC,” Lujan said. “It sounds like somebody wants to get rich off these companies.”

Lujan said as far as she understands, Kaua‘i Coffee hasn’t done anything wrong. She said she does not know what happened with the 17 workers who filed EEOC charges naming Kaua‘i Coffee as their employer.

Orian followed “every single guideline,” Lujan said, noting he has been complying with the federal government, the Department of Labor and the unions. “He did everything by the book.”

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State of the City 2010: Oahu Infrastructure is Failing

Hawaii is facing one of its worst droughts in recent years and residents on all islands are being ordered by their county Board of Water Supply to conserve water.

On Oahu, the City’s Board of Water Supply spends an estimated $113,000 annually, primarily in the summer months, on web, television, print and radio advertisements to get the conservation message across. The Board of Water Supply runs a poster contest, holds educational workshops and partners with the military to ensure water is conserved, especially during the summer months.

But critics say there is some irony in the Board of Water Supply’s message. The island of Oahu, where an estimated 905,000 people or the vast majority of Hawaii’s population live, had 364 water main breaks per year between 2005 and 2009 – or an average of one break per day.

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Rob Tam’s HQ vandalized

“Auwe” it is!

RELATED: Ousted Zoning Chair Rod Tam is secret partner in $1 Billion North Shore development hui

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HPD lieutenant charged with abuse by his Sergeant wife

Kawabata turned himself in at the main station Thursday afternoon in connection with a complaint involving his wife, who is a sergeant in the HPD, a source said….

Kawabata, 42, was released about a half-hour after his arrest after posting $1,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 30.

Kawabata was the department's lieutenant of the year in 2009.

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'Cluster' home project causes stir

The 2.9-acre strip of land is owned by Plate Lunch Properties LLC, a company managed by local developer Bob Gerell and local attorney Bill McCorriston. According to property records, a company led by Gerell bought the property in 2008 for $56,113. Gerell and McCorriston did not respond to a request for comment.

Gerell is a veteran Hawaii developer who has been involved with projects including Aloha Tower Marketplace, Enchanted Lake Center and Maunakea Marketplace.

In recent years much of Gerell's work has been in Hawaii Kai, sometimes acquiring land and obtaining entitlements then selling the project to another developer for completion. The 60-home Kaluanui subdivision and 35 homes across from Safeway in Hawaii Kai were built this way.

Gerell, along with McCorriston, was also involved with a now-stalled plan for a Hawaii Kai cemetery, and a derailed plan to build 180 vacation cabins and recreational facilities on the hills above Hawaii Kai Golf Course and Kalama Valley.

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WSJ: Man From Minnesota Teaches Hawaiians a Thing or Two About Their Own Language

HONOLULU, Hawaii—The voice on the Route-8 bus pronounces the names of each bus stop in perfect, mellifluous native Hawaiian: "Kuhio and Lili'uokalani," the recording says as the bus approaches a stop on the way to Waikiki Beach. "Prince Kuhio Hotel, Waikiki Resort Hotel."

Residents of Hawaii know the voice well. It also provides Hawaiian-language voice-overs for TV documentaries, announcements on Hawaiian Airlines and the native-language audio tour for Iolani palace in Honolulu. The voice belongs to Puakea Nogelmeier, a local professor whose pronunciation has become a model for Hawaiians wanting to speak the tongue of their native land.

Mr. Nogelmeier's native land: St. Paul, Minn.

His real name is Marvin, and he's in Hawaii because he got stranded here when he lost his wallet in 1972 on his way to Japan, lived on beaches for several months and ended up staying to study hula and Hawaiian.

"People like his voice," says Kippen de Alba Chu, who's half native Hawaiian and the executive director of Iolani Palace, which hired Mr. Nogelmeier's voice three years ago. Mr. de Alba Chu says native speakers tell him the Minnesotan's Hawaiian is flawless.

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Hundreds Of Maui Voters Placed In Wrong District 

Hoylman told KITV 4 News county clerks officials admitted the mistake when he showed them maps and research Thursday.

“They were cooperative as of yesterday, but they have fallen far short. This is something that should have been addressed,” said Hoylman. “It could have been years ago, we’ll have to go back and see how long these people have been voting in the wrong area.”

Hoylman, who’s making his first run for political office, is a maintenance supervisor at Maui Ocean Center. He said he moved to Maui about four years ago.

Hoylman said the Maui Republican Party notified the clerk’s office of the problem on Monday.

At first, he said, the clerk's office claimed there was not any error. Hoylman said Kuwada told him he sent staff to the area on three different occasions to check the district boundaries but only determined the mistake Thursday after Hoylman brought in his maps and explained the erroneous, inadvertent re-districting.

Maui News: Mapping mix-up could have big impact

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Voter registration numbers questionable

Two years ago, the primary election in Maui County recorded a 25.6 percent turnout. For the general election in which the race for president was a drawing card, Maui County recorded a more respectable 61 percent turnout.

In both cases, the turnout percentage is invalid. In Maui County, the state of Hawaii and the nation as a whole, voter registration numbers are suspect, which makes comparisons on turnout unsubstantiated.

The National Voting Rights Act of 1993 restricted the ability of state elections offices to drop a voter's name from a registration list, even if the individual never shows up to vote.

The rules protect the rights of voters. But it keeps names on voter lists unless the voter requests in person, signs a registration card to vote in another state and notifies the former state office, or the elections office receives official notice of a death or disqualification for criminal conviction.

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Lingle's senior policy adviser to speak in Hilo

Linda Smith, senior policy advisor to Gov. Linda Lingle, will give the September address this weekend to the Conservative Forum for Hawaii on "The State Economy: How this administration managed the worst fiscal crisis in the state's history without raising taxes."
She will speak at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort in the hotel's Sandalwood Room at 93 Banyan Drive in Hilo.
All are welcome.

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More Candidate profiles:

HR: 2010 Primary Election: Board of Education Guide

HR: Garner Musashi Shimizu (R): State Representative, District 31, (Salt Lake, Moanalua, Aliamanu) »

HR: Larry Fenton: City Council District 6 Candidate »

HNN: Candidate profile: James 'Duke' Aiona

HNN: Candidate profile: Mufi Hannemann

HNN:  Candidate profile: Neil Abercrombie


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