Plaintiffs Seek Injunction to block Honolulu Rail Construction, Contracting
Brookings: Honolulu The Bus is #1 Transit System in Nation
Honolulu’s Frieda Takaki to head US Employee Stock Ownership Foundation
Porn Pastor to appear at former Wahiawa XXX Store
VIDEO: Newt Gingrich announces Presidential Campaign
Psychiatrists Boycott Honolulu Meeting Over Desmond Tutu Invitation
Council puts rein on rail spending
The City Council gave preliminary approval yesterday to the operating and construction project budgets for city's rail transit authority but not before adding a provision that gives the Council greater oversight of the spending.
Council members advanced an $18 million operating budget for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, known as HART, along with a $355 million capital improvement program budget.
Both budget bills added language stipulating that no money will be spent by HART from its available funds for any purpose unless the Council appropriates them first. The CIP budget also included a provision that bond money may be encumbered but will not be expended until an agreement from the federal government to provide the transit funds is completed.
The amendments, introduced by Councilman Ikaika Anderson, give the Council more oversight of the transit authority's finances and ensure that the project does not move forward until it is clear where the project stands with the Federal Transit Administration.
SA: Outdoor Circle criticizes city over rail trees
General Fund Deposits down 2.3% or up 2.9%, depending…
HONOLULU — The Hawaii Department of Taxation says general fund deposits are 2.3 percent lower so far this fiscal year compared to the last.
The Council on Revenues has forecast that deposits will be 1.6 percent lower for the full fiscal year ending in June.
The drop is primarily because then-Gov. Linda Lingle delayed income tax refunds last year. If refunds hadn't been delayed, general fund deposits would be 2.9 percent higher so far this fiscal year….
General excise tax revenue rose 6.5 percent to $2.07 billion through April and transient accommodation tax revenue jumped 24.6 percent to $235 million.
SA: State tax revenue rises but still lags
Hawaii’s agencies outspend private business on Washington lobbying
Hawaii government agencies spent double the amount of money on Washington lobbying expenses as private business did in the first quarter of this year, according to federal records.
The big Washington spenders so far this year — and last year as well — are InfraConsult, Inc., which lobbies for the City and County of Honolulu's $5.5 billion rapid transit project, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which for years has been seeking Congressional passage of the Native Hawaiian recognition bill.
Convention Center May Not Host President, Other Leaders During APEC
Law enforcement officials have raised security concerns about the Hawaii Convention Center that could prevent President Barack Obama and other world leaders from attending Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation events at the center this November.
A security review of the convention center raised concerns about all the glass throughout the building, government and law enforcement sources told KITV 4 News.
The problem: even if someone sets off a bomb fairly far away from the convention center, shards of glass could rain down on people inside and outside the building, causing serious injuries, sources said.
Honolulu mayor: possible prostitution spike for APEC
Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle anticipates that when thousands descend upon the city for November's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference prostitution could increase….
APEC Practice Run: 10,000 Psychiatrists
The coming psychiatric association meeting, which takes place May 14-18, is expected to attract more than 10,000 people from 76 countries, so it could serve as a good practice run for Honolulu and Waikiki for when APEC arrives.
REALITY: Psychiatrists Boycott Honolulu Meeting Over Desmond Tutu Invitation
Nanny City: Bill would outlaw holding iPads and cellphones while crossing city streets
Bill 43 amends the city's ban on holding mobile electronic devices while driving, a law passed in 2009, and extends it to pedestrians crossing streets.
The Council cleared the measure on first reading yesterday but it still must go through additional committee and Council readings before passage.
Yesterday's Council meeting drew testimony from just three people, including Makiki resident Bob Keating, who opposed the bill.
"I totally agree with not using the telephone while driving — texting and all that — but walking across a crosswalk using a phone?" Keating said. "Why are you trying to control our lives?
"Everything we do, we're not doing it right and you guys just want to change everything."
Hawaii foreclosure decline is mainly due to major lenders holding back on new filings, experts say
Home foreclosures continued to fall in April, marking the fifth consecutive month filings in Hawaii have been below the same month in the previous year.
Experts, however, said the decline continues to be an artificial depression due to several major lenders holding back on new filings after their loan documentation practices were called into question.
Observers had anticipated a rebound in foreclosure activity by the lenders, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, after documentation issues were worked out. But after a foreclosure reform bill became law in Hawaii last week, new foreclosure cases could be throttled back some more.
Local foreclosure attorneys suspect that lenders will take some time to study the new law, which created new consumer protections against foreclosure, and initially might test the law with a relative few cases. That could add to the artificially depressed level of foreclosure activity.
Trust in supervisors cited in Police overtime scam
A 12-year Honolulu police officer accused of criminally falsifying police reports at DUI checkpoints for the benefit of his supervisors won an award from Mothers Against Drug Driving last year for his work at those checkpoints.
That was one of the points used to try to sway jurors yesterday by an attorney for officer Michael R. Krekel, charged with two counts of tampering with a government record.
The charges are misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Prosecutors say that as part of a scheme to collect overtime pay, Krekel signed off on two reports that claimed Sgts. Duke Zoller and Aaron Bernal were at drunken-driving checkpoints on Nov. 28, 2009, and Jan. 15, 2010, respectively.
Zoller, Bernal and Krekel are among seven HPD officers charged in the case. All are part of the Selective Enforcement Unit, which coordinates checkpoints across the island to target motorists driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Krekel has not denied signing the reports….
Council ends discount on tipping fees for recycling
The 80 percent discount on "tipping fees" charged by the city when companies deliver recycling residue to the Waimanalo Gulch landfill cost the city about $2 million last year.
It has been criticized by some as too generous to a single company: Schnitzer Steel Hawaii, which does the most recycling in Honolulu with more than 100,000 tons of metal a year from automobiles, appliances and other bulky metal items. Since 1998 Schnitzer has received about $19 million in discounts, including $1.9 million last year.
Money for Candidates: 9-11 trooothers thank Hawaii Co Council
The pilot program provides a full public funding option for county council elections. In the 2010 elections, four out of nine councilors won their election campaigns using the pilot program, also known as Act 244.
Dr. Noelie Rodriguez, a 9-11 trooother and sociology professor at Hilo Community College, says this type of option is critically important to our nation’s democracy.
Lawmaker Carroll fined for late filing of reports
State Rep. Mele Carroll has been fined $2,608 by the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission for the late filing of her 2010 election finance reports.
Carroll missed deadlines to file all five spending reports required for the election period, due between Aug. 2 and Dec. 2, eventually filing them in January. A supplemental report due at the end of January also was filed a week late, commission officials said….
…Carroll has not yet paid the fine, he said.
She spent $7,769 on her campaign. Notable donors included Liberty Dialysis ($2,000), the Hawaii Association of Realtors ($1,000), Grace Pacific Corp. Chief Executive Officer David C. Hulihee ($500) and Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Haunani Apoliona ($300).
Pflueger asks appeals court to dismiss manslaughter charges
Pflueger’s attorney, William McCorriston, argued that the evidence presented to the Kauai grand jury that returned the manslaughter indictment did not support the charges.
McCorriston also argued the manslaughter prosecution violates Pflueger’s rights against double jeopardy because his client was convicted in 2003 of illegal grading at the reservoir.
Mark Bennett, the former attorney general who handled the state’s prosecution, contended that the evidence supported the indictment.
He also argued that the illegal grading conviction did not cover Pflueger filing in the dam’s safety valve spillway several years earlier.
Bennett, now in private practice, represented the state without pay at the hearing.
Pflueger, who did not attend the hearing, also faces federal tax charges against him, his son Alan and others.
Pflueger is accused of not reporting profit of a California land deal and a conspiracy of reporting personal income from the dealership as business expenses.
The federal trial on the tax charges is scheduled for next year.
HR: Pflueger’s Attorneys Successful in Delaying Client’s Manslaughter Trial, Prosecutor Said
Abercrombie demands Turtle Bay owners give ag land to Trust for Public Land
Stotesbury said Replay wants to respond to the community while also ensuring that the development plan provides the owners with a reasonable return on their investment.
Abercrombie cautioned that the value of the land is “wildly overstated” without the development rights. Early price tags after the state expressed interest in acquiring the land put the value at $200 million to $400 million.
The state has the option of condemning the property through eminent domain, but the governor appeared more interested in public-private partnerships to protect agricultural land and areas near the shoreline from development.
A tentative agreement between the developer and the Trust for Public Land already in the works would preserve more than 400 acres of agricultural land.
“Eminent domain is not imminent ,” Abercrombie said. “But if we get to that point, these numbers in the hundreds of millions of dollars (are) nonsense.”
Abercrombie also said that while the city oversees permitting and has the task of evaluating the environmental review, “nothing is going to happen here absent the approval of the governor, I can assure you of that.”
Kailua Fireworks Group Seeks Support from Businesses, Residents, for 4th of July Show
Donation boxes will be in place at all merchants in Kailua beginning next week. Companies and individual citizens can also mail in contributions- and donations can also be made online at www.kailuafireworks.com.
The Fireworks company the last two years has donated extra fireworks to increase the show’s intensity and length.
In addition to the residents and visitors in Kailua, it’s estimated that more than 10,000 people come into the Kailua community to enjoy the fireworks show every year.
KAILUA’s 4th OF JULY: http://kailuafireworks.ning.com/video/community-celebrates-fourth-of
Kailua Residents and why they love the 4th: http://kailuafireworks.ning.com/video/kailua-loves-4th-of-july
Checks should be made out to SBH and please note on check: Kailua Fireworks. Checks can be mailed to Kailua Fireworks, 600 Kailua Road No. 119, Kailua, Hawaii 96734
Hyphen APA Heritage Month Profiles: Cindy Adams, Executive Director of the Hawaii Meth Project
…behind the blissful veneer, Hawaii struggles with methamphetamine use. In 2008 44 percent of the state’s drug-related treatment admissions were related to methamphetamine, surpassing admissions related to marijuana, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services).
Cindy Adams is working to change that. As executive director of the Hawaii Meth Project, a non-profit organization that aims to reduce methamphetamine use among teens and young adults
Coal, Eucalyptus chip in to generate power
Throw a few wood chips on the fire and suddenly a coal fired plant is green. Environmentalism is a religion.
Oi: No “screaming invective” for traditional marriage
Let me stop here. Though the eagle website has a chat room, it disallows remarks about politics, religion and sports and asks for respectful, polite comments focused on the eagles. This site is at www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles.
Project operators don't want people using the fact that eagles mate for life and share the tasks of raising offspring as an argument for traditional marriage. They don't want the chat room to become yet another of forum for screaming invective.
Remember this NYT story from Kaena Point? Can Animals be Gay?