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Saturday, July 16, 2011
July 16, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:07 PM :: 7218 Views

School-by-School Annual Yearly Progress — How did your school do?

Analysis: Hawaii Democratic Tent not Broad, voter satisfaction can shift quickly

Response to Star-Advertiser: Rail Opponents list Alternative Traffic Solutions

PUC Requires HECO to Reopen Molokai Windfarm Bidding

PUC re-bid order should bring halt to Wind Development on Molokai

Guam WW2 Claims Bill criticized for Over-criminalization

Governor Lingle to Speak at Grassroot Institute Fundraiser

Lingle in D.C.

Former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle was in Washington, D.C. this week — taking part in a policy discussion on what role governors can play in a natural or man-made disaster.

Lingle was on a panel of former governors speaking Thursday at the Bipartisan Policy Center….

Lingle was named in December as a founding member of a new governors’ council to advise the Bipartisan Policy Center.

McClatchy: When disaster strikes states, governors can make a big difference

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Old Boy Money Behind Hanabusa

Walter Dods. Jeff Stone. Bert Kobayashi.

Hanabusa raised a total of $228,714 for the three months ending June 30, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. Of that amount, $167,500 — almost three-fourths — came from individual donors. Another $59,500 came from political committees.

Hanabusa's expenses totaled $41,975 for the same period. She reported having $260,995 in cash on hand as of June 30.

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Abercrombie attending Governors’ Conference

Governor Neil Abercrombie this afternoon left for Salt Lake City, Utah to attend the National Governors Association (NGA) Annual Meeting. Issues that will be discussed include: education, job creation, and building relationships with China. The Governor will return to Hawai'i on July 17, 2011.

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Just in time to give it to the unions: Brewbaker suddenly admits the State’s Economic Recovery is stronger than claimed

Paul Brewbaker, an economist and the former chairman of the state Council on Revenues, believes the state’s economic recovery is stronger than the Abercrombie administration has suggested.

Brewbaker had the task of defending the council’s projections, which have been criticized over the years for missing the full extent of revenue decline during recession and the pace of revenue growth during boom years.

I say, “ignore ALL refunds for a moment, corporate and individual. Just concentrate on what is ACTUALLY happening to the various tax revenue streams.”

Answer: gross revenues rose +7.4% last year. If refunds were “normal” from year to year–without any shenanigans–they should have been about neutral to that growth rate….

a gubernatorial election that reminds us of the Condorcet Paradox (Wiki it–think “Duke, Mufi, Neal” (in alphabetical order); now design an election)

Related: Just in time to give it to the Unions: Hawaii 2011 Tax Revenues Higher Than Expected

As explained:

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OTEC Doesn’t Work Anywhere, but Star-Advertiser want to give it Tax Credits

Progress is being made already toward an improved model, one that resists corrosion and replaces costly titanium components with other metals. But with no other OTEC plants in operation, it could be years before investors are convinced the financial risks have been managed and are willing to underwrite development.

This is why the state must pursue the more mature technologies — primarily wind, solar and geothermal — that can deliver commercial power from a "green" source and help Hawaii meet its goals of reducing reliance on fossil fuels. The Clean Energy Initiative, which former Gov. Linda Lingle signed with the U.S. Department of Energy, aims to improve Hawaii's clean-energy picture by 2030, reducing energy use by 30 percent and increasing to 40 percent the share of the portfolio coming from locally generated renewable sources. To reach those ambitious benchmarks, the state can't afford to wait until OTEC comes up to speed.

But that doesn't mean this alternative should be shelved….To preserve the OTEC option, the state should explore various ways of encouraging development once the economy stabilizes, including offering investment incentives and easing permitting burdens.

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ACLU Keeping Homeless Woman on Streets

When asked when she last had a shower or a bath, she said, "Sometime in early 2001 when I was living in a hotel."

Then she went on a bit of a rant.

"Don't you think something is wrong with this island, the whole wide world?” she told a reporter, who asked what was wrong. “All the people, all the high society, all the scientists is captured. And they're all here on this island, see? The Maguroy, which is the Hawaiian clone, is programmed with my name, my scientist family name, and all scientists," May said.

Darlene Hein, director of community services at Waikiki Health Center, works with the homeless daily. She called May’s situation “sad.”

"People like this who stay at the bus stops and live like this are severely mentally ill. They're grossly disabled. They really need help and we need to figure out a way to help them," Hein said.

Hein said state law doesn't allow authorities to remove the mentally ill from the streets and hospitalize them against their will (thank you, ACLU) unless they are an immediate threat to themselves or to others. In the rare occasions when that happens, Hein said mentally ill homeless people are often released a day or two later, and usually return to the streets once again.

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Slavery Trial Begins in Two Weeks

Mike and Alec Sou, owners of Aloun Farms, are accused of keeping 44 Thai immigrants as indentured laborers.

The trial begins on July 27. Here are some highlights from Friday's pre-trial hearing.

HR: Kauai Coffee Does Not Benefit from Ongoing Federal Subsidies

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Stadium repair funding’s future matter of debate

Authority Chairman Kevin Chong Kee said he believes only $125,000 will be available for health-and-safety repairs. But with at least another $100 million in work still on the drawing boards, he said he doesn’t see how the improvements can get done.

But state Comptroller Bruce Coppa, head of the Department of Accounting and General Services, said the state Legislature appropriated $5.15 million in each of the next two fiscal years for stadium improvements. The funds have yet to be released, but Coppa said they will be available should the repair work be needed.

Chong Kee said that if $5 million is available, no one has told him. He said the authority has not been given any direction from Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration as to what it wants to do with the aging stadium.

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Hilton gets EIS OK for $760M Oahu expansion

If construction starts as planned in early 2013, the Hilton project and Kyo-ya Hotel & Resorts’ already announced plans to redevelop the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani and Westin Moana Surfrider hotels will account for an estimated $1.5 billion in spending. Hilton’s multiphase master plan for its flagship 22-acre oceanfront resort is estimated to cost $760 million and take 10 years to complete. Kyo-ya has already said its project will cost approximately $700 million and take three years to complete.

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Diocese of Honolulu tackles affordable housing project


The Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu is moving forward with its Homeless Affordable Housing Plan, which aims to provide 720 living units for the poor by the end of 2013, spokesman Patrick Downes said.

The plan includes renovating idle government housing, preventing foreclosures or retrofitting old convents, according to a news release. Its focus is on helping people in households earning less than 30 percent of Hawaii's median income.

The diocese expanded its efforts to find solutions to homelessness last fall when it founded HOPE Services Hawaii, and hired Father Robert Stark as a resource developer/community organizer under the Office for Social Ministry; and Kent Anderson as housing development director under the Office for Affordable Housing, the news release said. Bishop Larry Silva approved the plan in May.

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City Begins Acquiring Rail Route Real Estate

The Honolulu rapid Transit Authority has formally notified the City Council that it will begin acquiring public and private real estate along the 20-mile route of the fixed-rail guideway….

The list, identified by tax-map-keys, can be found here.

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Magoon Parcel: City botches Redevelopment of Waikiki for 13 years

Thirteen years ago the Magoon parcel -- which includes the former Canlis restaurant, Hula's Bar & Lei Stand, Hamburger Mary's, Cafe Valentino, Hotel Honolulu and a smattering of small shops referred to as Old Waikiki - was considered the largest remaining development site in Waikiki. It was also considered a fixture of the Waikiki scene and a gathering place for Hawaii’s Gay Community."

The property went on the market in March 1997 for $75 million, and since then prospective developers have swarmed around the site with ideas for hotels, retail and entertainment uses. On the neighboring block, where the Kuhio Theatre stood for 50 years, the four-story King Kalakaua Plaza complex emerged.

The city's amended Waikiki Special District ordinance opens development options for the Magoon tract, and most observers were betting on high-density retail use as the likely outcome.

13 years later the once vibrant party block remains vacant.

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Abercrombie signs Proclamation for Gay Bar Owner

Jack Law and Bob Magoon turned the vacant property into "Hula's Bar and Lei Stand", a legendary establishment, which became the spot for the biggest parties and events in Waikiki. Famous celebrities including Elton John, Dolly Parton and Barry Manilow were some of Hula's Bar and Lei Stand's notable patrons. Since its opening in 1974, Hula's Bar and Lei Stand has been recognized worldwide as a fixture of the Waikiki scene and as a gathering place for Hawaii's Gay community.

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City Files Request To Keep Landfill Open

Only a year remains on a special use permit to keep hauling municipal waste to the Leeward Oahu landfill, but the city wants to keep operating there until the facility is at capacity. The landfill is 22 years old and for some time now many people in the community have been calling for its closure. But the city has warned it has no easy plan B.

“We really don't have much wiggle room, that’s why we resubmitted the application,” said Environmental Services Director Tim Steinberger.

Related: Resignation call after Audit reveals “ward heeler’s slush fund” overseen by Honolulu Councilman

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China to send Sub to bottom of Ocean near Hawaii Rare Earths Deposits

The 26ft-long Jiaolong submersible will attempt to dive to 5,000 metres (16,404ft) in the Pacific Ocean to the south east of Hawaii this weekend.

If it succeeds, the titanium-hulled vessel will attempt next year to become the world's deepest-diving submersible by dropping to 7,000m below sea level, the Telegraph reports.

According to China's State Oceanic Administration spokesperson, Li Haiqing, the Jiaolong would "take the international community by surprise" as all the details about its 47-day mission have been classified as state secrets.

The Jiaolong was conceived as part of the 863 programme, a well-funded national high-technology plan that also helped to build China's Shenzhou spacecraft.

The Chinese Government is hoping that Jiaolong's ability to explore the ocean depth would put the country in prime position to explore and extract vast deposits of metals, including gold, copper and zinc lying in the sea bed.

Related: Industry throws Cold Water on Seabed Rare Earths Potential

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NYT: No Matter How Debt Debate Ends, Governors See More Cuts for States

SALT LAKE CITY — The rancorous debate in Washington over whether to raise the federal debt ceiling is alarming many of the nation’s governors from both parties, who fear that whatever the outcome, much-needed money will almost certainly be drained from their states….even if the debt ceiling is raised, as many governors expect it ultimately will be, states could still pay a high price. Both Democrats and Republicans in Washington want to pair any increase in the debt limit with deep new spending cuts — cuts that many governors fear will hurt their states as they are still recovering slowly from the Great Recession.

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LAT: GOP bill would shift bullet train money to Midwest flood relief

Jeopardizing $213 million promised to California, the House is poised to pass a bill that would divert money for high-speed rail projects around the country to Midwest flood relief.

Complete list: House expected to shift unobligated HSR funds to use for Midwestern flood relief

NYT: Politics give air travel subsidies staying power

(Guess what’s next after these….)

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AARP alarmed at Obama’s threat to Cut off Social Security

In recent negotiations to reduce the budget deficit and raise the debt ceiling, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he cannot guarantee that Social Security checks will go out on Aug. 3….

Stanton said Hanabusa is one of 70 members of Congress to sign a letter to Obama urging him to take Social Security and Medicare off the table.

In Hawaii nearly 228,000 people receive Social Security benefits, and 204,000 are Medicare recipients. If retirees do not receive their Social Security checks, 28 percent of Hawaii residents 65 and older will fall below the federal poverty line, said Bruce Bottorff, associate state director of communications for the AARP.

"The president's comment was alarmingly felt in Hawaii," Bottorff said. "It's heart-wrenching to hear so many people worried to have their livelihood taken away."

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