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Sunday, February 27, 2011
February 27, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:25 PM :: 15689 Views

KHON: With his term up next year, what do you think Sen. Dan Akaka should do?

  • Retire when his term is up in 2012 (66.2%)
  • Run for re-election (11.6%)
  • Retire now to let the Governor appoint his replacement (22.1%)

RELATED: Inouye dumps Akaka: Says Hanabusa, Hirono, Hannemann worthy contenders for 2012 Senate race

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Star-Advertiser begins to panic as Abercrombie “lecturing, harangues”

“…his harangues "can be construed as lecturing, putting yourself in a position where you are telling them what they need to do.”

He's 72 and Hawaii voters have grown up listening to his tirades and bombast, but when Neil Abercrombie ran for governor he said he had "learned to listen."

A longtime friend and campaign supporter, the University of Hawaii's Amy Agbayani, said back in 2009:

"He's learned to listen. Before, he may not have, but he has had to learn to listen. Otherwise he wouldn't be so effective."

In an early campaign interview, Abercrombie confided that he realized his harangues "can be construed as lecturing, putting yourself in a position where you are telling them what they need to do. That's the wrong way to go about it."

Voters agreed, yes, there was a new Abercrombie who "learned how to listen," and he became Hawaii's governor.

So last week, Abercrombie was confronted by state Rep. Barbara Marumoto (R, Kalani Valley-Diamond Head) during a hearing on his budget plan and the accompanying tax increases….

This apparent error comes after a finger-wagging Abercrombie last week incorrectly told a retired police officer that the Abercrombie plan to take away retired public workers' state-funded Medicare Part B reimbursements would not apply to him. In reality, as the administration version of the bill was written, it would apply to all retirees.

It may be time for the governor to rediscover the "new Abercrombie."

Besides the political downside of appearing to dominate the floor and cutting off other speakers, the beauty of actually listening is the chance that you might learn something.

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

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HGEA: Abercrombie is like Scott Walker

"Overall, his budget plan is kind of impressive in the fact that it has offended everybody," said Lawrence Boyd, a labor economist at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu's Center for Labor Education and Research, adding that he believes Abercrombie has taken a balanced approach and has not singled out public workers….

Randy Perreira, the HGEA's executive director, said the most troubling thing about Abercrombie's budget draft is that it expands state spending while asking public workers to accept concessions.  "So that's obviously a cause for alarm," he said.

Perreira described the events in Wisconsin and other states as "a political and ideological assault" by Republican governors against Democrats and their allies in organized labor. But he said there are some parallels with Hawaii.

"To some degree here, lawmakers also cite the same costs as part of the problem and are using that as justification to seek changes and make cuts….” 

ERS administrators have said the primary cause of the unfunded liability in the retirement system is the decision by state lawmakers a decade ago to shift portions of the annual earnings to help with the state budget.

"The question is, how much of the crisis, which by every measure was not of their (workers') making, will have to be borne by them financially? That's the underlying thing," (UHPA’s AJ Musto) said. "I guess it's going to prove that old adage: Life is not fair."

RELATED: Act 100: How Hanabusa and Cayetano launched Hawaii Pension crisis

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Dopers, anti-Superferry activists duke it out for control of Maui Democratic Party

…thank you for making it clear that the Maui County Democrat Party rejects the view of its Chairman and in no way advocates District Voting.

As far as leadership goes, I think it needs to be defined by two things: courage and knowledge. Courage without knowledge is stupidity, and we have seen as a country how well that has worked out, militarily and economically. Nationally and locally.

For example, its not that 60 percent of Maui’s Democrat Voters are anti-caribou or unconcerned about the tundra, its just that as far as I know there are no caribou on Maui, and most of Maui’s voters would prefer “leadership” that spent a bit more time on solving the problems of our local economy and environment, standing up for our individual rights and civil liberties, disavowing politically motivated, frivolous lawsuits filed against Maui’s real community leaders by paid party apparatchiks, and a bit less time (not to mention jet fuel,) flying to Alaska to see the pretty reindeer.

On another note, I really like to encourage Maui’s Jr. High and High School students to learn the importance of civility; especially when you are trying to make a point. Ad hominem attacks really tend to undermine your ability to make your case, no matter how clever you may think you are, especially when you are wrong.

In any case, thank you for not being any anonymous coward, having the courage to post using your real name, taking responsibility for your opinion, encouraging a fact-based discussion and taking the time to clarify that “District Voting is no way being advocated by the Maui County Democratic Party.”

(Take a moment to catch your breath after being in the presence of such enlightened, conscious, and progressive beings.  After reading this, surely you recognize that they are superior beings divinely ordained to rule over you.)

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Wind power is stirring up the neighbor isles, where the resource would be captured

Testimony on wind power is still being taken through Tuesday, through the Hawaii Interisland Renewable Energy Program site ( — use the "submit a comment" link in the upper right corner.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, is preparing a programmatic environmental impact statement for the system, and has taken the first round of comments in hearings on several islands.

This type of EIS is a bit of a departure, because it's meant as a survey on the general concept, underscoring what issues would need to be considered by any individual project seeking permits later. So far, two developers have an interest in the enterprise, which would yield a total of 400 megawatts of power between the two islands: Castle & Cooke Inc. on Lanai and First Wind on Molokai.

Some residents, accustomed to commenting on concrete proposals for a specific location, may have found this a little disconcerting. They raised concerns that various cultural and environmental resources, including hunting and fishing, could be affected, although nobody yet knows where the array of mammoth windmills would be planted or precisely where the cable would snake its way from shore and through the ocean.

But the message the state's green-energy team gleaned so far from the hearings is that the neighbor islanders feel put-upon by a plan that, they fear, will blight their relatively pristine landscape to fill the energy needs of urban Oahu.

SA: Hawaii's Clean Energy Initiative is putting a lot of stock in wind — whipping up early resistance from some rural areas

HFP: Wind Energy's Ghosts

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Contested Case granted in TMT Shakedown—two year countdown to defeating the Telescope

Mauna Kea Anaina Hou President Kealoha Pisciotta said she was going to file a lawsuit in 3rd Circuit Court to stop the approval of the use permit.

Pisciotta has 30 days to appeal the board's decision. She contends that the board acted erroneously when it approved the telescope and the contested case hearing (without forking over $50M/year to OHA.)  Rather, she said, the board should have held the contested case and not vote on the permit until the contested case hearing officer issued a recommendation.

"A must go before B," Pisciotta told the land board.

"There's obviously a difference of opinion," said board Chairman William Aila….

One condition of the approval states that construction must begin within two years of the date of approval -- Friday -- and be finished within 12 years.  Another condition says that construction may not begin until a final decision is issued on the contested case hearing.

Lemmo hoped to have the contested case process done within six months or so.  Bolte said he didn't know how long contested cases normally last, but "we have every expectation that we'll meet the two-year window." 

REALITY: Thirty Meter Telescope Selects Mauna Kea -- Let the looting begin!, Telescope: The Shakedown begins

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A peek at a few of the legislative “packages”

First, here’s a link to the list of 2011 packages, so that you can do your own browsing….

The House Minority package includes 16 bills, 14 died of which died without a hearing. HB 450 was deferred after a hearing before the Labor Committee, and the last measure, HB475 was passed in amended form by the Committee on Economic Revitalization & Business, although the committee report indicates problems. It is now pending in Finance, but has not been scheduled for a hearing.

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Usual gaggle of Honolulu progressives rally demanding you pay for Abortion, Gov’t Unions

Kenoi administration ends up recruiting nominees for redistricting board

Requirements, stated in the County Charter, for nominees include having one nominee from each council district and not having more than a base majority from any one political party. Mayoral Executive Assistant Char Shigemura said four nominees are Democrats, four have no party affiliation and one is usually a Green Party member, but was behind on party dues and not currently registered. Shigemura said the application did not ask about union membership, a question a caller to West Hawaii Today raised Friday. She did not think any of the nominees were union members….

An outspoken supporter of Native Hawaiian rights, Kahawaiolaa was convicted in 2002 of obstructing government operations, when he and several other men poured cement on a water meter. He said he was challenging the county's rights to collect payments for water from Hawaiian Home Lands residents, a question he claimed still has not been answered. According to court records, he served one year of probation.

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OHA awards $329K in community grants

The money goes to Alii Pauahi Hawaiian Civic Club, WorkNet Inc., Mana Maoli, SCORE Hawaii, Kula no na Poe Hawaii, Alternative Structures International, Women in Need, Family Promise of Hawaii and Corvette Center Ministries.  (Just for fun, see which activists and Trustees are benefitting.)

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Hawaii County to consider requests from nonprofits

The Tribune-Herald reports the council's Human Services, Social Services and Public Safety Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday to consider requests from 60 nonprofits who are asking for a combined $3.2 million for the budget year beginning July 1.

Several organizations are asking for more than $100,000 each, with Hale Aloha O Hilo Habitat for Humanity Inc. topping the list with a request for $155,855.

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Medicated: Hawaii alleged doper allegedly found with 84lbs of marijuana in Arkansas

Jennifer Rice, 40, of Taos, N.M., and Tristan Ellithorpe, 28, of Holualoa, Hawaii, are charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia….

Schmidt said the two were in an overdue rental car, appeared extremely nervous and could not answer basic travel questions. After consent to search the vehicle was denied, a drug dog from the Alma Police Department alerted to the vehicle, the trooper said.

In the truck, authorities located five duffel bags containing eight bundles of suspected marijuana weighing about 84 pounds, Schmidt said.

(Handy tip: It is easier if we send our criminals to the mainland before they are arrested and put in prison.  Cheaper, too.)

KGI: Ellithorpe Wanted on Kauai?  (Arkansas may have him for a while…)

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SB 175 Would Move Medical Marijuana Program from Narcotics Enforcement to the Department of Health

Hawaii Senate Bill 175 SD 1 aims to transfer jurisdiction of Hawaii’s medical marijuana program from the department of public safety (DPS) to the department of health (DOH). (Just wait til the Birthers get their hands on this one.)

The Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to make a decision on the bill this coming Tuesday, March 1, 2011

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Horizon Lines agrees to $45M fine for Monopolizing US – Puerto Rico Jones Act Trade (hint, hint)

Under terms of the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Horizon Lines will plead guilty to a charge of violating section 1 of the Sherman Act with respect to the Puerto Rico tradelane between May 2002 and April 2008 and pay a fine of $45 million.  The fine is payable over a five-year period as follows: $1 million within 30 days after imposition of the sentence by the court, $1 million on the first anniversary thereafter, $3 million on the second anniversary, $5 million on the third anniversary, $15 million on the fourth anniversary, and $20 million on the fifth anniversary.  

The plea agreement provides that Horizon Lines will not face additional charges relating to the Puerto Rico tradelane. The DOJ also agreed that the company will not face any charges in connection with the DOJ's investigation into the Alaska trade, and indicated that the company is not a subject or target of any investigation by the DOJ into the Hawaii and Guam trades.

Additionally, the DOJ has agreed that it will not bring criminal charges against any current director or officer, although this agreement does not extend to the company's current Chief Executive Officer or to the company's current Chief Operating Officer.

As previously announced, Horizon Lines has been cooperating with the DOJ since the company became aware of the investigation in April 2008, and has strengthened its corporate compliance and training programs to prevent recurrence of the conduct giving rise to the investigation. 

"We have taken major steps to put the issues in the Puerto Rico tradelane behind us and are working diligently to resolve the civil litigation arising out of the DOJ investigation as it relates to Puerto Rico," Mr. Avara said.  "These steps include reaching a settlement with the plaintiffs in the direct purchaser Puerto Rico class-action antitrust cases.  As part of this process, Walmart recently released us from antitrust claims related to the Puerto Rico tradelane."

Horizon Lines also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on February 22, 2011, with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and attorneys representing indirect purchasers. The indirect purchasers allege they paid inflated prices for goods imported to Puerto Rico as a result of the alleged price fixing conspiracy. Under the MOU, the company has agreed to pay $1.8 million in exchange for a full release. The settlement agreement, when negotiated and entered into by the parties, will be subject to court approval.

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