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Sunday, July 3, 2011
July 3, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:42 PM :: 15030 Views

TEA Party to join July 4 Parades in Kailua, Makawao, Hilo, Kona


Calles: Rational Decision for Developers -- to not work in Hawaii

AFP: Hawaii's Citizens Weigh Cost of Living versus Cost of Leaving

Say thanks to military, and know that training here is vital to freedom

Take a moment this Fourth of July to remember the courage and commitment of our sons and daughters serving in harm's way; to thank a soldier and his or her family; to say mahalo for the sound of helicopters practicing their combat flying skills on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

Lastly, say a special prayer for the families who have lost a loved one in the cause of freedom.

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Star-Advertiser: July 4th is all about gay marriage, men wearing dresses, legal dope, and abortion

Surprised?  Then you need to find out who Antonio Gramsci is...LINK

  • SA/ACLU:  “We have been at the vanguard fighting for women's equality and reproductive freedom; the rights of labor and ending the death penalty; acknowledging and preserving indigenous culture; decriminalizing the use of medical marijuana and advancing same-gender and transgender equality.”
  • SA/UHM Prof:  UH Manoa Brainwashing = Critical Thinking
  • SA/NHLC: Independence means sovereignty and shaking down developers

UPW gets Big Fat Pay Raise July 1

The city of Honolulu hasn't agreed on a new contract with its blue-collar employees, but one thing is certain — with furloughs over, workers will get a temporary salary bump.

Wages and benefits of city workers has reverted to pre-furlough levels after their United Public Workers labor contract expired on Thursday. The contract covered UPW's Unit 1, namely non-supervisory employees in blue-collar positions, including refuse, sewer and road maintenance employees….

Louise Kim McCoy, spokeswoman for Mayor Peter Carlisle, confirmed that salaries and benefits for UPW's Unit 1 members will "revert back to June 2009 levels until a contract is settled."

"The City & County of Honolulu has ended furloughs for all employees, including UPW Unit 1 members," she told Civil Beat Friday. "Due to pending negotiations, the city is unable to comment any further."

McCoy said the city and union leaders on Thursday evening resolved unspecified issues that will allow negotiations to continue.

"The city and UPW leadership were able to work out issues regarding the effect of the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement," she said. "With these issues resolved, the city, as part of the employer group, is able to focus attention on the important task of negotiating a new contract….”

UPW's state director, Dayton Nakanelua, did not return calls seeking comment.

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UHPA Profs getting 6.7% Raise today, 3% more soon

Welcome to the christening of a new canoe. If you are a University of Hawaii professor, please step in. If you don't belong to UHPA, this is not your canoe.

Even if you are a state worker and despite what Gov. Neil Abercrombie says about everyone being in the same canoe, you are definitely not in this canoe.

This is the pay-raise canoe. The other canoe for public employees is the pay-cut canoe — climb in and try not to splash on the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly members' canoe.

With the start of a new fiscal year last Friday, UHPA members are two years into a unprecedented second six-year contract, The latest deal started back in July of 2009 with salaries reduced by 6.7 percent. Salaries went back up to 2009 rates on Friday and the state is required to start paying back the pay cut and also start the process of giving profs a 3 percent raise.

That's right: While Gov. Abercrombie is ordering up 5 percent state worker pay cuts, the profs get their money back plus 3 percent more.

2010: Lingle: State can’t afford UH professor raises

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KS, Stone, DHHL all continue to point fingers over Collapse of Makaha Deal

The school dismissed the notion that it was pulling out of the deal, arguing that it was Stone who failed to act by the agreed-upon deadline of June 30.

The announcement is the latest in a series of conflicting narratives proffered by Kamehameha Schools and Stone, who were to have collaborated with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands on the ambitious project.


Kalama said the time lost pursuing the aborted project was "frustrating" but emphasized that the school was still going ahead with its larger and ongoing Ka Pua initiative to expand educational and social service resources on the Waianae Coast.  (and snag some affordable housing credits?)

"Long before a site in Makaha was mentioned, we had investigated potential sites for our learning community on the Waianae Coast, and over the last week we have received suggestions about additional parcels of land that may be available between Kapolei and Kaena Point," board Chairman Kalama said.

REALITY:  Ka Pua Makaha: Multi-million dollar giveaway of DHHL assets disguised as “gift”

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Abercrombie signature will allow Gay Activists to team up with School Bullies

House Bill 688 would establish a Safe Schools Act to prevent forms of bullying in Hawaii's public schools, applicable to kindergarten through 12th grade. Besides publicizing the standards of conduct, schools would hold annual training sessions on how to promote respect and how to intervene when students are victims or perpetrators of bullying….

Antonia Alvarez, youth suicide and bullying prevention director of the Mental Health America of Hawaii, said officials have noted increased instances of "bullycide," suicide motivated by bullying and harassment. "It implies there's a direct causal relationship between being bullied and wanting to die," Alvarez said Wednesday at a Mental Health America of Hawaii informational session at Central Union Church in Makiki.

The session's panel included Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, chairwoman of the Senate Human Services Committee; Sara Kaimipono Banks, coordinator of Creating Pono Schools; Nancy Kern of the Injury Prevention and Control Program of the state Department of Health; and Karen Umemoto of the Asian and Pacific Islander Youth Violence Prevention Center.

Panel members said students who are, or are perceived as, immigrants, poor or wealthy, or gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender are at higher risk for being victims of bullying….

Mental Health America of Hawaii provides anti-bullying training related to LGBT youth. Call 521-2437 or visit for more information.

How this works:

  1. School bully beats up your son, calls him a “homo”.
  2. Your son goes to school counselor who says, “Don’t worry little Johnny, it’s good to be gay.”

READ, LEARN: The transsexual agenda for Hawaii schools

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ACLU:  Hands off APEC Rioters

The upcoming and high-profile Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Hawaii will be another test of our commitment to fairness and equality (submit to the gods of political correctness). We are hopeful that local political leaders and law enforcement will honor the First Amendment and other civil rights laws (be completely ineffectual) in their dealings with peaceful protestors (hordes of flown-in rioters)-- unlike heavy handed (effective) government reactions to dissent (riots) at prior APEC meetings.

Google “APEC Riots” and find out what you are in for, Honolulu

Reality: FT: Complacent Honolulu out of its league, not ready for APEC

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Kauai residents continue to suffer with plastic-bag ban in place

At Kmart in Lihue, the cashiers are still apologizing with every transaction: "Sorry. We don't have bags. Sorry, yeah? No more bags." At Longs Kukui Grove, purchases are placed in brown paper bags labeled RECYCLEABLE in big, almost defensive letters, as if to say "Yeah, it's a bag, but it's not a BAD bag." Sueoka store in Koloa has a row of boxes along the wall by the front windows; customers haul their groceries to their cars in cut-top cardboard crates that say Quilted Northern or Del Monte Pork and Beans. At Big Save, customers wheel their shopping carts full of uncovered groceries out into the rain as they mutter the mantra: "Just like shopping at Costco. Just like shopping at Costco."

… at home, on the other end of the plastic-bag life cycle, the absence of the ubiquitous catch-alls is even more complicated. Plastic bags may be a wasteful menace, but those pesky packages were definitely reused, from bringing eggplant to the neighbor, wrapping wet swimsuits for the trip from the beach to home, to packing shoes for a mainland trip.

At beach parks, the plastic-bag ban is meant to lead to less litter, but you don't have to look far to find trash cans overflowing with loose trash, items that might have been more contained if tied in handled plastic bags.

A similar ban is in effect on Maui, though Oahu and the Big Island are still bagging with reckless abandon. Folks on those islands buy their stuff and carry it to the car without even having to think out the process. Imagine.

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Hawaii State Inspectors sanction Nursing Homes at lowest rate in Nation

Of the 18 monitoring surveys that CMS has conducted in Hawaii since 2008, it found significant differences in a third of them, including four of the seven surveys in which a federal team did its own inspections.

Finding significant differences in more than 50 percent of the latter surveys is significant, according to Paula Perse, long-term-care branch manager for CMS' Region 9 office in San Francisco.

One problem that was flagged was the tendency of state surveyors to assess deficiencies at levels less severe than what the facts warranted, CMS officials said.

The state inspectors, for instance, would not classify a deficiency as causing resident harm, while the federal surveyors would, according to CMS.

The tendency to underassess was evident in four deficiency cases that the Star-Advertiser analyzed from inspection reports in 2009, 2010 and this year. All four cases resulted in resident harm, but none of the institutions received sanctions.

State inspectors who evaluated the cases assigned deficiency grades that CMS officials said didn't accurately reflect the severity of the cases. All four, they told the Star-Advertiser, warranted sanctions and should have been identified as "immediate jeopardy" situations, one of the most serious assessments an inspector can issue.

"This is just confirming that we still have some work to do," Chickering said. A CMS official currently is here conducting training.

…Hawaii nursing homes are sanctioned at one of the lowest rates in the country…

(They blame DoH underfunding and understaffing, of course….)

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Chinese tourism cycle where Japanese Tourism cycle was 25 years ago

An easing of restrictions in 2008 allowed travel agents their first opportunity to market leisure travel in China. The Chinese outbound travel market grew to 40 million in 2009, with about 45,000 Chinese visiting Hawaii.

With the flight impediment removed, HTA anticipates that annual arrivals from China will surpass 100,000 by 2013. The China projections are still a long way from the 1.2 million Japanese visitors that visited the isles in 2010.

The tourism industry considers the Chinese tourism cycle to be where the Japanese tourism cycle was 25 years ago, said Sam Shenkus, director of marketing for The Festival Cos., which manages Royal Hawaiian Center.

"We are all excited about this market," Shenkus said, adding that the center, which already has a Chinese website, signage and marketing collaterals, is bringing in a Chinese-speaking intern this summer to build merchant language and cultural skills.

(The Star-Advertiser wrote this entire article without mentioning Gov Lingle travel promotion in China even once.  That is the kind of skill which earns them the big bucks!)

"A visa waiver would facilitate travel and make it that much easier for the Chinese to get here," Vento said. "We saw airline access to Hawaii from Korea and visitor arrivals from that market grow once the visa waiver came."

While multiple carriers offer direct service between Korea and Hawaii, China Eastern, with the backing of Ctrip and Utour China travel sellers, is the first carrier to offer direct service from China. Hainan Airlines has had approval to fly between Honolulu and Beijing since 2009; however, the company has cited visa requirements as a "formidable barrier to travel to the U.S."

(Not a word about the inaction of Hawaii’s all-Dem Congressional delegation or their opposition and delay tactics vs S Korea free trade)

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SA: More Visa offices needed in China

The growth in the number of visitors from Korea is due to the country's 2008 inclusion in the visa-waiver program, which allows Koreans to visit America for up to 90 days without a visa. Hawaiian Airlines began four-times a week services to Korea in January and Korean Air operates two flights a day between Seoul and Honolulu.

Of greater potential as a visitor base is China. The first direct airline flights between Honolulu and Shanghai will begin twice weekly next month by China Eastern Airlines.

While a visa waiver under current policy is unlikely for China immediately, the rapid emergence of Chinese tourism and investments around the globe seems sure to prod changes.

The 30-member Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, created last year by the federal Travel Promotion Act, has asked that waiting time for visa in-person interviews in China — as much as 64 days in Shanghai — be reduced by doubling the number of posts in the country and hiring more officers to process visas. (That wouldn't cost any tax dollars, since one officer generates $1.5 million in fees a year, based on a fee of $140 per visa application in China.)

Countries with visa refusal rates of 3 percent or less qualify for visa waivers. China's refusal rates dropped from 24.5 percent in 2006 to 13.3 percent last year. However, the federal advisory board has suggested that the refusal cutoff rate should be increased to 10 percent, which is within China's reach.

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Higher Court Fees to Line NHLC Pockets

The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, one of the groups that receives the surcharge funds, estimated the increases would eventually boost revenue to $1.5 million a year. The current surcharges generate about $305,000, the group says.

But total legal services funding will still be lower than in past years because of reductions from other funding sources, LeClair said.

In addition to Legal Aid, other groups eligible for the money are the Domestic Violence Action Center, Hawaii Disability Rights Center, Mediation Center of the Pacific, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, University of Hawaii Elder Law Program and Volunteer Legal Services Hawai‘i.  (NHLC needs more seed money to shake down developers)

The legislation received support from the nonprofit legal services groups, the access commission, the Hawaii Justice Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Hawaii State Bar Association.

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New Foreclosure Law means lots of houses sitting empty

The courts say they'll struggle to handle the load, with foreclosure cases already taking 12 to 14 months to resolve. Lenders are warning lawmakers that they don't intend to use mediation at all.

The likely result will be further delays in getting foreclosed homes back on the market, prolonging the slow housing recovery at the root of the country's enduring economic troubles.

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Wind Power forces MECO to snoop on your home electricity usage

A smart grid uses wireless technology, sophisticated software and a network of sensors in homes, power stations and transmission lines to instantaneously move electricity around where it's needed or kick in storage supplies when fluctuating renewable energy sources have sudden dips.

Speaking last week to local business leaders at the University of Hawaii Maui College, James Griffin of the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute showed on a chart how the wind farm above Maalaea lost all outgoing electricity in seconds - and without any warning - when the wind died.  (amazing, who would’ve guessed?)  Griffin spoke at the Sustainable Institute of Maui at the college….

Griffin said his upcoming project will be to develop a pilot smart grid project in Maui Meadows, installing at least 200 high-tech energy monitors in homes and on electrical infrastructure including transmission lines and power stations.

The two-year, $14 million project is being done in partnership with MECO and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Participating households will be able to view their electricity bills and energy-eater updates in real time on laptops and smart phones, while MECO will get new electricity-tracking and use-prediction software, Griffin said.

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Officials aim to collect DHHL taxes

State and Hawaii County officials say they are moving toward resolving a million-dollar property tax delinquency involving Native Hawaiian homesteaders.

Big Island homesteaders who haven't paid county property taxes in more than three years owe a combined $1.61 million, including penalty and interest charges, Tax Administrator Stan Sitko said.

The prolonged tax debt involves 176 Big Island parcels leased from the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

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Mayor Peter Carlisle today announced the opening of the Office of Housing and the appointment of the Executive Director, Keith I. Ishida, and the County Housing Coordinator, Trish K. Morikawa, effective today.

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Kauai: $28K project costs $338K

Kauai County Council members and concerned citizens were rightfully shocked when Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s administration presented its severely overdue report last month on the costs associated with building an upcoming section of the multi-use path.

What the seven-member legislative body had understood would cost some $28,000 came back with a $338,500 price tag. The itemized list looked like a spoof of a VISA commercial:

  • Propane tank enclosure: $154,000
  • Trash bins and enclosure: $85,000
  • Signs: $1,500
  • Parking lot expansion: $29,000
  • Six-foot aluminum fence $24,000
  • Landscaping and irrigation: $45,000
  • Wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars without consequence: Priceless

These Kapa‘a Sands facility relocation estimates are tied to the construction of a 2,184-foot section of Ke Ala Hele Makalae. In addition to these costs is an estimated $100,000 for almost 5 percent of an acre fronting the condos.

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Strengthening Hawaii’s lobbyist registration and disclosure law

How can Hawaii’s state law on lobbyist registration and disclosure be strengthened, either through amendments to the law or changes in administrative practices or rules?

Information on the current law can be found in the Ethics Commison’s Lobbyist Registration and Reporting Manual.

The lobbyist law is Chapter 97 HRS.

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Early signs UH athletics turning financial corner

If the financial projection holds up, it would be a considerable accomplishment, especially in light of the forecast heading into the fiscal year of as much as a $900,000 deficit.

Through improvements at the gate in baseball, football and men's basketball, coupled with approximately $740,000 in student-athletic fees, Western Athletic Conference revenues and some determined cost containment, UH has gotten to the point where it can talk about balancing its nearly $30 million budget….

Once upon a time UH balanced its books regularly -- and with little fanfare. The impact of 9/11 gave UH its first accumulated net deficit, $296,719. Then, free-spending administrations and some hard times on the field and courts progressively deepened the red ink.

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Volunteers help church emerge

Amanda McMasters, a 17-year-old from Oregon, rolled brown paint on a pillar while other teens spackled walls Thursday to help transform a former Navy building in Kalaeloa into a new West Oahu church.

They were among a group of 90 volunteers from Hawaii, the mainland and Canada who spent last week performing service projects here through World Changers, an Atlanta-based Christian ministry that organizes projects for youth at locations around the world.

"This is my third World Changers and this is the one I've seen the most significant impact on," McMasters said. "The last two I've been on (in Puerto Rico and Clovis, Calif.) we've been working on houses, but this is for a church, so I see a bigger impact with this one."

McMasters and her friend Tori Cole, 18, of Oregon raised funds through their churches to help defray the cost of their flights and food expenses, which amounted to about $900. Though they raised money by washing cars and holding a garage sale, much of the cost was paid for out of their own pockets.

"I believe in spreading the word of God," McMasters said. "I have joy in my life because I love God and I want to share that with and help others."

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Gay Rapist, child molester gets another prison term

Ernest Roy Moniz Jr. pleaded no contest to second-degree sexual assault in a plea deal to avoid facing five counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of third-degree sexual assault, and kidnapping.

Moniz sexually assaulted the man in a Lihue hotel on the morning of June 7 after meeting the man at Kukui Grove Shopping Center, according to a Kauai County news release.

Moniz offered the man a ride back to the man’s hotel room, where he forced him to perform various sex acts, the release said. The man later escaped and reported the assault to Kauai police.

Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe sentenced Moniz on Wednesday to the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and ordered him to begin serving his sentence immediately….

Moniz was convicted in 1995 of sexually assaulting minors on Kauai and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

KHON: Kauai man gets maximum sentence for sexual assaulting a tourist

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Hawaii sea bottom holds treasure trove of rare-earth elements

They looked at 2,000 samples of sediments taken from 78 sites around the Pacific, and found rare-earth concentrations as high as 0.2% of the mud in the eastern South Pacific, and 0.1% near Hawaii. That might not sound like much, but those concentrations are as high as or higher than those at one clay mine currently in operation in China, they point out. And the deposits are particularly rich in heavy rare-earth elements — the rarer and more expensive metals.

Some of the deposits are more than 70 metres thick. The authors estimate that an area of 1 square kilometre around a hotspot near Hawaii could hold 25,000 tonnes of rare earths. Overall, they say, the ocean floor might hold more than the 110 million tonnes of rare earths estimated to be buried on land….

Craig Smith, an oceanographer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, notes that companies are exploring the idea of mining manganese nodules from the sea floor to exploit their commercially-valuable contents, including copper and nickel as well as rare earths. Commercial mining of nodules is "probably a decade away", says Smith. Ocean mud could prove another possible source of the increasingly valuable elements.

Smith and others have raised concerns about the environmental consequences of deep-sea mining, particularly around hydrothermal vents, which host unique worms, clams and other life. Kato points out that gathering the metals from mud won't involve disturbing the vents; he found the highest concentrations of rare-earth elements thousands of kilometres away from vents. Closer than that, the rare earths were diluted by other deposits. But Smith notes that sea-floor life away from vents could also be fragile. Ecosystems on the cold ocean floor regenerate very slowly, he says, so any damage done by mining could take decades or centuries to heal.

(Yup, they’ve already got an excuse to stop a business for which the technology does not yet exist.)

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Opihi finding shows Hawaii ‘not an evolutionary dead end for marine life’

London, July 3: Marine species were thought to colonize Hawaii and eventually diverge into an isolated native species, but were doomed to an evolutionary "dead end" with no further specialization and speciation.

The standard explanation for three species of 'opihi is that Hawaii was independently colonized three times. However, using DNA, fossil and geologic evidence, Bird has shown that Hawaii was successfully colonized only once by Japanese limpets, approximately 5 million years ago.

The opihi then speciated within the Hawaiian Archipelago along an ecological gradient, as they invaded deeper habitats, forming the three species that we observe today (in order from shallow to deep) 'opihi makai'auli, 'opihi 'alinalina, 'opihi ko'ele.

While 'opihi may look similar to the untrained eye, Bird demonstrates that each species possesses novel evolutionary adaptations that confer an advantage at a particular shore level, a hallmark signature of natural selection and adaptive radiation.


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Hawaii among world’s most shark-infested waters

There are certain regions, however, that are known to attract sharks in larger numbers, mostly due to the presence of seals and other animals that sharks prey on.

Florida remains the most likely place in the world to encounter sharks. There were 13 unprovoked attacks in the state in 2010, down from previous years. The most famous beach that attracts sharks, says Burgess, is tourist hot spot New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County, also home to Daytona Beach.

Hawaii, the southern and eastern coasts of Australia, and South Africa follow closely behind. There were 14 attacks in Australian waters in 2010, down from 21 the year before….

The California coast has also seen its share of attacks, particularly the waters north of San Francisco, where the seals and sea lions that great white sharks feed on congregate in large numbers.

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