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Thursday, February 24, 2011
February 24, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:54 PM :: 11462 Views

Abercrombie signs Civil Unions: Invites Sex tourists, illegal aliens to Hawaii

Pension Tax will soak 43,520 pensioners an average of $2580 each

$37,500? Abercrombie makes fool of himself during Pension Tax debate

Act 100: How Hanabusa and Cayetano launched Hawaii Pension crisis

Released: 2010 Census Data for Hawaii

Neil vs. Dan: Overheard in the Governor’s Office

Both sides see same-sex marriage in future

Final approval of a proposal to legalize civil unions is a step closer to same-sex marriage in Hawaii, supporters say.

"We hope so," said Laurie Temple, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii. "We should continue to work toward it."

As supporters celebrated and cheered Gov. Neil Abercrombie's signing of the bill to allow civil unions yesterday, opponents lamented that they also see the new law as a step closer to redefining marriage in Hawaii.

"Passage of this legislation is just a step toward the legalization of same-sex marriage," the Hawaii Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii, said in a statement.

"Passage of this law is just a desperate and dishonest attempt to force same-sex 'marriage' on Hawaii because civil unions for same-sex couples were never the goal," the Hawaii Family Forum said in a news release.

"When and if that issue comes up, I think, is something for another generation of leaders to handle," said Rep. Blake Oshiro, the House majority leader and primary sponsor of the legislation. "I look forward to passing on that torch to the next generation that wants to take on that fight."

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Slom Slams Abercrombie Budget; Says Lawmakers May Hike General Excise Tax

“For the state to go ahead an increase the budget like no other state is doing at this time is frankly quite bizarre and untenable,” said Slom.

He said he believed Abercrombie’s pension tax proposal wasn’t going to pass and that the Governor may have to accept a modified proposal when it comes to doing away with Medicaid Part B reimbursements for public retirees.

He said Abercrombie, a Democrat who’s held city, state and Congressional elected positions, isn’t breaking from a history of increasing spending, taxes and the size of government.

“A lot of these things will probably be dismissed and that sets up the issue of the Trojan Horse, and that of course is the General Excise Tax,” Slom said.

“I see that as the overall plan as some of these tax increases and proposals fall by the wayside. They’ll throw up their hands and say, ‘Well, we promised no General Excise Tax, but doggone it, we’ve got to have that General Excise Tax Increase.”

He said he believes serious debate will take place on hiking the 4.0 percent tax for the Neighbor Islands and is 4.0 and a 0.5 percent surcharge for rail funding on Oahu. Someone will probably suggest a 1 percent increase that will generate much criticism before emerging as a 0.5 percentage point increase.

“I think that’s what’s going to emerge out of all of this,” Slom said.

AS PREDICTED: Abercrombie: GE Tax hike will be People's Will

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From Atomic Monkey


Oi: Accept Abercrombie’s tax hikes or end up like Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, with lines drawn so deeply in the sand, reasonable resolution may not be possible.

Which is why Gov. Neil Abercrombie's budget message this week should be heeded. The governor emphasized the need to get past individual ambition in working out a financial package most can live with, saying, "We do not want to end up mimicking what's going on on the mainland right now with dramatic confrontations of one kind or another."

Such conflicts beget animosity. Before Hawaii gets to that point, compromises need to be reached.

Public employees and their unions must acknowledge the need to cut expenses. Businesses that enjoy tax breaks and subsidies need to take less from the treasury. Taxpayers should recognize that public workers do provide necessary services and refrain from disparaging them as a whole. If not, Hawaii could become a spectacle like Wisconsin, or worse, a place that fails to live up to its motto.

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Abercrombie ears sick, cancels trip

He is being treated for an inner ear inflammation, which prevents him from flying, his office said in a press release today.

Abercrombie woke feeling ill yesterday morning and visited a doctor for treatment for what appeared to be a cold.

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Visitor arrivals up 12% in January, spending up 20%

A high-single digit increase from the U.S. East and double-digit arrivals growth from the U.S. West, Japan, Canada and cruise ships helped boost visitor arrivals last month to 597,487, up 12.2 percent from a year ago. Likewise, visitor spending rose to $1.2 billion, a 19.8 percent gain from the prior year. January’s gain represented the 9th consecutive month of double-digit increases in overall spending.

Kauai: Commission considers lottery to control tourism

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Carlisle paints bleak financial picture in State of City speech

In his first State of the City address today, Carlisle described a bleak financial picture for Honolulu.

"You first need to be told the truth about where the city is right now," he told the audience at Mission Memorial Auditorium. "It is not a pretty truth."

The city also would look at selling off a "significant" number of remnant properties and supporting the film and television industry to increase outside investment in Honolulu, Carlisle said.

Carlisle cited the city's rising debt as a key area that could be reduced by borrowing less money (Uhhh, rail?  Duh!) over the long term. He said the city's debt service is expected to be about $383 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

Obligations to the Employees Retirement System are expected to rise to $124 million by 2016 from $97 million this year, while contributions to the health benefits trust fund are expected to go to $162 million, from $103 million, over those five years, Carlisle said.

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Tom Berg casts lone “no” vote as rest of Honolulu Council grovels before murdering Chinese dictator

The City Council approved a resolution yesterday urging conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh to apologize for mocking Chinese President Hu Jintao during his visit to Washington, D.C., last month to meet with President Barack Obama. Council members approved the nonbinding resolution 8-1. Councilman Tom Berg cast the lone no vote….

Berg said he voted yes when the resolution was in committee, but now believes the issue is not the responsibility of the City Council. "If this was someone on the Board of Education, or the superintendent, or (the state House speaker) or the Senate president, and they made those remarks, I could find this being in our arena," he said.

Berg said there are other examples of poking fun at other ethnicities that have not received Council reprimands, including the work of local comedians like Frank De Lima and a "Saturday Night Live" skit that also lampooned the Chinese leader.

"We don't use resources of our government to take that action," Berg said.

But Chang said Limbaugh is not just an entertainer, he's a political commentator. And Cachola said the resolution would bring about results. When the United Filipino Council of Hawaii raised concerns to De Lima about his jokes, Cachola said, the comedian toned it down.  (Will a resolution demanding the release of Liu Xiaobo “bring about results?”)

Berg said despite his objection to the resolution, he did not want to be viewed as a bigot. "Please don't call” me a bigot, because I will stand up to all prejudice and racial epithets. I will be the first to sign a petition, but it doesn't belong here."

HFP: Don’t Mock Hu Jintao: Honolulu Councilmembers demand Rush Limbaugh be censored

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Wife of detained Chinese Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo says she, family are 'hostages'

Liu Xia, wife of the imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, was able to briefly break her government-imposed silence last week and tell a friend in an Internet chat that she was "miserable," was being held at home against her will and had seen her husband just once since his Nobel award was announced in October, according to the friend's transcript of the conversation….

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Palafox: UH Medical School unaware of any investigation

Asked Tuesday whether he thought Palafox was treated fairly, Slom said: "No, I don't. From what I know now? No, I don't."

Donalyn Dela Cruz, a spokeswoman for Abercrombie, declined to comment. The governor is still searching for a replacement for Palafox.

Palafox, meanwhile, has returned to his post as chairman of family medicine and community health at the University of Hawaii-Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Tina Shelton, a spokeswoman for the medical school, said the school's dean, Dr. Jerris Hedges, spoke with Palafox and found no reason not to allow him to return to his post. Palafox had taken a leave of absence from the school while he was pursuing the nomination.

"The dean has spoken with Neal and his associates and none of them have been able to identify what the concerns might be," Shelton said.


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Turning UH Research Into Local Industries

A seemingly insignificant decision just around the corner for University of Hawaii Board of Regents could have huge ramifications for the university and the state. It has the potential to help cure the university's money woes, revive the university's research community and stimulate the local economy, too….

last year Greenwood established an eight-member University of Hawaii Innovation Council to advise on how the university could stimulate "a multi-billion dollar industry for Hawaii research spin-off and related services."

The goal is to turn the $450 million that the university receives in research funds into sustainable, local industries. It's a compelling idea at a time when state coffers are shrinking and support for public universities drying up with it.

On Thursday, the regents will receive a report from Greenwood on that council's first four recommendations….

SA: Telescope is Project worthy of its ambitions

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FALSE: Radcliffe: Most Government Buildings 'Full of Mold and Virus'

In a private speech to faculty, Radcliffe said: "... And it is pretty clear that the state has not had enough money to buy air conditioning filters for years — so most government buildings are full of mold and virus — and the workers who are left are sick workers."…

In sum, nothing in Radcliff's statement was accurate. Two pieces of the comment were false and a third was unverifiable or false. It seems safe to say that regarding air filters, mold, virus and the health of government workers, Radcliffe is off base.

(Amazing! A lobbyist confabulating in a way which would promote tort litigation, justify collective bargaining demands, and support unnecessary government contacting.)

RELATED: Radcliffe: The game is up, I told you, and you are not ready

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Hawaii Co. Fire Captain gets 90 days in fatal hit-and-run: Driver can serve sentence on weekends, conviction will be erased from record

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, 3rd Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura also ordered 44-year-old Konrad Kala Mossman to pay $125,000 in restitution to the family of Dale Kanani Tim Sing.
Mossman will be allowed to serve his jail sentence on weekends. In addition, if he stays out of trouble with the law for 10 years, the conviction for leaving the scene of an accident causing death or serious bodily injury will be erased, and Mossman will have no criminal record.
The family of Tim Sing, who was 22 when he was killed while walking on East Kahaopea Street the night of Aug. 4, 2005, believes justice was not served.
"I just cannot comprehend, right now, the sentencing," Dale Cordeiro, Tim Sing's father, said afterward. "You take a life, you get 10 years probation, one year in jail -- but you only have to do 90 days, on the weekends? I just don't understand it."
Mossman called police the morning after the incident, saying his wife, Huihui Kanahele-Mossman, was driving their pickup truck and had hit something the night before.

(Hawaii County Government old-boys taking care of their own.)

RELATED: OHA Trustee Tells Grieving Family That Shrine to Dead Son Must Come Down

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Honolulu report details sex charge against priest

A 55-year-old woman complained to police about an incident on Sunday, Feb. 13, at a Catholic church in Honolulu.

Borowic had been vacationing in Hawaii and was in contact there with a small Ukrainian Catholic mission that has about 15 to 20 local members.

"(The suspect) grabbed (the victim) in the dining room in a bear hug and proceeded to bury his face into her neck and planted kisses and grabbed her right buttock," said the court documents.

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Journalism Shield Law Important for Hawaii, First Amendment

In 2008, Hawai’i became one of 37 states to enact a shield law, affording some level of protection for journalists against having to testify in a court of law as to the source of information used in articles.  Section 3, contains a sunset provision, providing for the automatic expiration of the act on June 30, 2011.

The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity testifies to the need of journalism shield law protection, in support making the news media privilege permanent by eliminating the sunset provision in Section 3.

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Abercrombie sends 96 prisoners to mainland Prisons

Late last month, though, he made good on his promise, bringing home the first installment of inmates. According to the Star Advertiser in Honolulu, of those 243 inmates, 54 are getting paroled, 28 are about to complete prison terms, and three are in Hawaii to attend court hearings. But yet according to reports from Honolulu newspapers, the state was still forced to send 96 inmates to mainland prisons, swapping out for the 246 that came home.
The homecoming was sped up especially after 18 prisoners filed a lawsuit against CCA in December for mistreatment and threats, from which they say included the warden himself, Todd Thomas. Thomas has been warden at the facility since January, 2008.

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Defendant in Thai forced labor case pleads guilty

His sentencing date is likely to change because the government expects Schwartz to testify in trial against the other defendants including 45-year-old Mordechai Yosef Orian, owner of labor contracting company Global Horizons Manpower Inc.

Trial is scheduled for next February and the government wants Schwartz sentenced after he testifies.

Schwartz was the operations manager for Global Horizons and an on-site supervisor at farms using company laborers.

He admitted yesterday that he continued recruiting workers in Thailand even after he learned they paid exorbitant recruitment fees prohibited under the U.S. Labor Department's seasonal guest worker program.

OOOPS:  Neil Abercrombie's slavery problem

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After burning Trust Fund, Kahoolawe group seeks permanent fund stream

Without state funding, the commission has spent down a federal trust fund for the management of Kahoolawe, reducing it from $33 million in 2003 to $13.5 million this year. One commissioner told legislators that unless the state begins to fund management of the reserve, the commission will have to shut down operations on Kahoolawe in four years.

One proposal, Senate Bill 816, would set aside 10 percent of the state conveyance tax to the Kahoolawe trust fund. The bill has passed two readings in the Senate and currently sits in the Ways and Means Committee.

A similar bill, House Bill 1224, has been referred to the House Finance Committee.

Maui News: Other Kahoolawe bills offered

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Stender, Cayetano seek control of Honolulu Symphony

The informally named Symphony Exploratory Committee has also filed for nonprofit status.

Group leader Oz Stender, an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee, says it would be a shame of Hawaii doesn't have a world-class symphony.

Other members include former Hawaii first lady Vicky Cayetano and ABC Stores President Paul Kosasa.

WSJ: Honolulu Symphony Seeks March Auction

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Tweekers worried about SB40

The reasoning behind Senate Bill 40, Green said, is to limit access to a number of drugs that contain pseudoephedrine. The U.S. National Library of Medicine lists about 40 name-brand products containing the ingredient, which can be used to make methamphetamine.

While some stores now keep the over-the-counter cold and allergy products behind the pharmacy counter, it hasn't stopped illicit drug-makers from obtaining it, said Green, D-North and South Kohala, North and South Kona. Senators have received estimates that 10 to 20 percent of the methamphetamine in Hawaii is still made here.
The measure is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee Friday. It already passed through the Health and Commerce and Consumer Protection committees.

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Dopers: Marijuana Decriminalization Bill SB 1460 at the Crossroads

Below are comments from Jeanne Ohta, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, on behalf of Hawaii Senate Bill 1460…this is the decriminalization bill. It will benefit all of us (even the non-cannabis users), by reducing the penalties for minor possession and save tax-payer money.

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Hawaii attorneys targeted in scam

Hawaii attorneys are being targeted in a scam in which a check is sent to an attorney from a "client" and the attorney is supposed to deduct a retainer and wire back the difference.

In one such scam received by Chapter 7 trustee David Farmer, the amount was for $165,800 from Shanghai Simyi Auto Parts Industry Co. in China.

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