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Wednesday, August 17, 2011
August 17, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:20 PM :: 17767 Views

Djou: Hawaii isolated, vulnerable due to lack of Bi-Partisan Delegation

Newt Gingrich to Speak at Maui Event Saturday Aug 20

KidsCount: Hawaii Dropout Rate rises 40%

Politico: Djou will challenge Hanabusa

His announcement speech, which will be delivered against the backdrop of an empty industrial warehouse, will focus on his ability to work across party lines.

"Instead of focusing on how to grow our economy, our government remains partisan, polarized, and worst of all, paralyzed,” he will say in remarks released exclusively to POLITICO.

“Hawaii, in particular, has become exceptionally isolated and vulnerable in Washington D.C because of the lack of a bipartisan congressional delegation that is willing to talk with both sides of the aisle.”

read … Djou will challenge Hanabusa

Djou to deploy to Afghanistan then run for Congress

Djou will be deployed to Afghanistan after Labor Day with the U.S. Army Reserves 10th Mountain Division. He is scheduled to return in March 2012.

HNN: Djou deploying to Afghanistan then will run for Congress

read … Charles Djou to run for congress and deploy to Afghanistan

Lee Greenwood Wows Fans at $500K Hawaii GOP Fundraiser

Party leaders, who have been cash strapped, jumped at the chance to enlist Greenwood to bring in major dollars to help them pay off the mortgage for the Oahu headquarters on Kapiolani Boulevard. They hoped to raise $500,000 with this event.

Around 500 people paid at least $150 per ticket, and some paid as much as $2,500 to $5,000 in sponsorships, to attend the dinner and concert held at the stunning Koolau Ballrooms set in between the Koolau mountains and a golf course in Kaneohe.

Hawaii's most well known Republicans were there, including former Gov. Linda Lingle, former Lt. Gov. James 'Duke' Aiona, Captain Gerald Coffee and his wife, Susan Page, House members Barbara Marumoto, Gil Rivere, and Cynthia Thielen, Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom, former Congresswoman Pat Saiki, and former Congressman Charles Djou. Several former members of the Lingle/Aiona cabinet including former Attorney General Mark Bennett and Department of Accounting and General Services Director Russ Saito and several former lawmakers also were in attendance.

read … Lee Greenwood Wows Hawaii Fans at Political Event

Legislative redistricting will shift seats

The big changes to the House map have been overshadowed by the proposed Senate map and the debate over whether nonresident military families and students should be eliminated, a factor that could give the Big Island an additional Senate seat at Oahu's expense. The proposed maps, which currently include the military and students, will be the subject of public hearings Sept. 13 in Hilo and Sept. 14 in Kona. Final maps must be adopted by Sept. 26, under state law.

The Reapportionment Commission is scheduled to discuss the military and student population issue at its 2 p.m. meeting today in the Capitol.

read … Legislative redistricting will shift seats

Big Brother: Kauai Utility to Shut off Residents’ Appliances Remotely

KIUC anticipates the five-year project to swap out all of the island’s 33,000 commercial and residential electric meters and install related communications infrastructure will begin in 2012. It will take two years to complete the installations, Yamane said, and three years to gather and analyze data….

The meters also allow for add-on technology such as Demand Response Load Control modules and Home Area Networking In-Home Display devices. KIUC plans to pilot these systems in 1,000 homes. Yamane said the co-op has yet to decide how it will choose participants, but they will be volunteers.

A DRLC module is a mechanism attached to an appliance or component to manage energy consumption relative to general supply conditions. For example, if the device were attached to a dishwasher, it could prevent the dishwasher from operating during peak load times. The technology helps utility companies avoid outages, manage demand peaks and reduce stress on the grid, according to manufacturers.

“KIUC will be installing 500 DRLC modules, either being water heater control or thermostat control,” Yamane said. “We haven’t decided how we’re going to pick the group, but it will be a voluntary group and this is just to test the effectiveness for reducing our demand at peak times, if we’re running short of generation.”

Read … Smart Meters

Kondo draws ire and fire from lawmakers over ethics

"How dare he tell us we can't do that," said state Sen. Rosalyn Baker.

read … Kondo

HSTA flounders in labor battle

The HSTA’s complaint to the state Ethics Commission that Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Department of Education engaged in illegal ex parte communication with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board backfired when the labor board delayed hearings on the union’s prohibited practice complaint to instead hear evidence on the suggestions of bias.

That’s not what HSTA wanted at all; it was looking to take a political shot at Abercrombie and the DOE and instead winds up on the defensive explaining itself to an unamused labor board….

The administration also sent a copy of the letter to the HSTA, making it difficult to sell an argument that the employers were operating behind the union’s back.

The other questionable move was issuing subpoenas to have top legislative leaders testify before the HLRB on the budget they passed in April that assumed a 5-percent pay cut for the teachers….

SA: BOE chief expresses support for teachers

read … HSTA flounders in labor battle

Does governor’s position on judicial nominees reflect views of his supporters?

Follow the money, they say.

So I took another look at attorneys and law firms who were major contributors to Governor Abercrombie’s campaign last year. Perhaps his stubborn refusal to disclose the list of judicial nominees provided by the Judicial Selection Commission for each open spot is a reflection of the views of significant supporters. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it’s something to consider.

On the other hand, attorney contributors who believe the governor should not ignore OIP’s decision that the list of nominees is a public record might be able to nudge Abercrombie and his inside advisers in the right direction.

read … Judicial Secrecy

International legal fight stalls Honolulu mass transit project

The winning bidder is in turn owned by Italian aerospace and defense conglomerate Finmeccanica. Bombardier’s parent company is based in Montreal, Canada and was founded by the inventor of the Ski-Doo personal snowmobile. Sumitomo is owned by the Tokyo-based industrial giant Sumitomo Corp.

The hearings officer, David Karlen, dismissed each protest, provoking Bombardier to complain to the FTA in Washington D.C. and to file a lawsuit in Hawaii Circuit Court.

“Bombardier went to the FTA because public money is in danger of being wasted and mismanaged if corrective action isn’t taken,” said Bombardier vice president Andrew Robbins.

Sumitomo, which lost its appeal over the weekend, said it has 10 days to decide whether to appeal….

City officials have adamantly defended their selection of Ansaldo for the rail car contract, but their confidence was shaken in recent weeks when Ansaldobreva’s parent, Finmeccanica, announced that it may try to sell the subsidiary by the end of the year because of recurrent financial problems.

Finmeccanica itself has had business setbacks due to its financial dealings in Libya, now torn by civil uprisings against its leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

Finmeccanica has contracts to sell helicopters and railway parts to Libya. And the Libyan governments own two per cent of Finmeccanica’s outstanding shares.

SA: Rail deal moves ahead

read … International legal fight stalls Honolulu mass transit project

Grifters focus Attention on Telescope’s Community Benefits Package

When petitioner Paul Neves had his chance, he asked about the TMT's $1 million community benefits package, to be administered by a board of advisers. He asked: Who is on this board? Who appoints members? How will the allocations be doled out? Sanders said that these were questions to be resolved in documents that are "not drawn up yet."

read … TMT's EIS author questioned

Non-enforcement of mandatory reporting law against Dept. of Education personnel endangers Hawaii’s children

HRS §350. I am not aware of any instance when it has been enforced against Department of Education personnel who are aware of child abuse. There have been numerous instances.

If the mandatory reporting law were enforced, perhaps the alleged sexual assaults at the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and the Blind would have come to police attention sooner. Years ago, in fact. The illicit activity could have been nipped in the bud.

Most people are aware that certain professions, for example, social workers or psychologists, are mandated to report child abuse. The same mandate applies to any employee of the Department of Education—from the Superintendent, to principals, right down to the janitor.

read … non-enforcement

NOAA Monk Seal Zone Could Kill Inter-Island Cable, OTEC

The 2011 NOAA biological report was laden with the words “could” and “may,” and didn’t include many specifics. It did single out energy projects that could be impacted, including: the Big Wind project, which aims to lay cables between Oahu, Lanai and Molokai; wave energy projects; and ocean thermal energy conversion, which uses the temperature differential between deep, cold seawater and warmer surface water to generate electricity. The latter two are pre-commercial, but local companies have invested millions of dollars in their research.

Just because NOAA may be reviewing these projects, doesn’t mean that there will be any impact on them proceeding, environmental attorneys say. (They then began rolling on the floor in fits of uncontrollable laughter.)

“There’s a lot of hysteria and misinformation about the impact that critical habitat has on property and commercial development,” said Paul Achitoff, managing attorney at Earthjustice (salivating). “In my opinion, these fears are almost always overblown. It doesn’t create some kind of zone where nothing can happen.” (Just pay us!)

While he said that it was “simply ridiculous” to think there would be any freeze on development, he acknowledged it was possible that a project could be stopped from going forward. (Unless the proper “benefits” are attached and the right “cultural and environmental consultants” are hired.)

(Sentence altered to reflect reality: “There’s a lot of hysteria and misinformation about the impact that property and commercial development has on critical habitat.”)

Reality: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court

read … Proposed Protections for Hawaii Monk Seals Could Have Broad Implications

Flags will fly half staff in honor of Camero

Governor Neil Abercrombie today ordered that all national and Hawai’i flags at all State offices and agencies as well as the Hawai’i National Guard are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, August 18, 2011 in memory of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero.

SA: Flags to fly at half-staff for Hawaii Marine killed in combat

read … Flags will fly half staff in honor of Camero

NYT: New Disney Vacation Resort in Hawaii Faces Possible Losses

Disney is now setting higher fees, a process that requires time-consuming filings with state regulators.

Related: Disney Halts Sales at Aulani, Fires top Execs

read … New Disney

Hawaii Pension Fund Gains 21% Through June (then Market Crashes)

The state's budget director called the report reassuring, but quickly noted that the gains are no longer relevant.

"If you look at the report by itself, they're definitely on a good trajectory for the ERS because they exceed the assumed rate of return," Budget and Finance Director Kalbert Young told Civil Beat. "But, of course, you don't get to look at these in a vacuum. In the context of today, they're not relevant anymore."

It's also unclear if the fund's $7 billion unfunded liability grew as a result of market instability. Hawaii's unfunded liability is calculated every two years.

read … Pension Fund

Report: Hawaii hotel occupancy dropped in June—first drop in 18 mos

Statewide occupancy in June averaged 70.7 percent, a 0.7 percentage point decrease from the same time last year, according to the Hospitality Advisors LLC report.

However, the hotel industry's average daily rate in June was an average of $185.46, a 9 percent increase. That rate has increased for eight consecutive months but still trails the June 2008 peak of $207.04 by 10.4 percent.

Oahu had the state's highest occupancy in June at 78.7 percent, which was flat from the prior year. Although domestic arrivals to the island fell by 8.4 percent and Japanese arrivals fell by 15.4 percent, Waikiki occupancy fell by only 0.6 percentage point because of gains in other international arrivals, including Canada and Korea.

Maui's occupancy averaged 66.7 percent, an increase of 1 percentage point compared with last year. The Big Island's occupancy fell 2.3 percentage points to 54.5 percent. Kauai's occupancy decreased 6.3 percentage points to 63.7 percent.

read … Hotel Drop

Biden to stop in Hawaii after Asia trip

Biden arrives in Hawaii Thursday morning Aug. 25 and leaves that evening.

White House officials said Biden will deliver a speech at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe in the afternoon.

SA: Vice President Biden to stop in Hawaii after 9-day Asia trip

read … Biden Stop

Hawaii 2010 Data Book Released

The Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism recently released the online version of the 2010 Hawaii Data Book. The book is filled with all sorts of information that would make any statistician salivate.

read … Data Book

$2.5M federal grant to repair Waianae alternate route

Kolekole Pass Road in Waianae provides an alternate route if the sole highway in and out of the coast is shutdown during an emergency or natural disaster. A part of the road was closed after heavy rains eroded the hillside and washed out the pavement earlier this year.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye announced Tuesday the U.S. Department of Transportation grant is to be used to install a pre-fabricated bridge over the washed-out area while engineers work to permanently repair the road.

read … Kolekole

Opposition voiced to Hualalai Partners' plans

A developer seeking classification and zoning changes to allow a new subdivision north of Pualani Estates withdrew that request Tuesday following an outpouring of public opposition before a Hawaii County Council committee in Kailua-Kona. (Question: Did the developer think there would be any other outcome? Which “consultants” led the developer to believe that there would not be an “outpouring of opposition” at the public meeting? And the most important question: How much were those consultants paid to give this bogus advice?)

read … Opposition voiced to Hualalai Partners' plans

Kauai TVRs: 4650 Takings?

Léo Azambuja had an interesting piece in the Garden Island Saturday about the county's attempts at legislation to implement a 2008 charter amendment that would limit growth in transient accommodation units to 1.5% annually. At issue is "the fate of 4,650 units that have been permitted but not yet built." At bottom, the issue seems to be about vested rights. The article points out that Land Use Research Foundation Executive Director David Arakawa "said when there is a finding of vested rights, the law trumps any votes by the population on charter amendments."

read … Vested Rights


Perry on the Right  

The Spring 2011 Arbitron survey showed that Perry and Price remain the top-rated morning hosts among all listeners and adults 25- to 54-years-old, crushing the nearest competitor by a 2-1 margin.

Has Perry received complaints? Plenty.

"They usually call me an idiot," he said. "They think I give totally uninformed rants with Republican talking points."

But Perry says his views have not led businesses to cancel voice-over or TV advertising contracts.

He also has supporters: "Tons do agree with me. More than anything else, they say, 'Thank heaven you are on the air, we get the other side.'"

Perry continued: "You have no idea what it is like to be the only conservative voice in the bluest state of America, OK? It's a lonely job, and I have lost a lot of friends."

read … Perry

Conference aims to normalize pedophilia

If a small group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have their way at a conference this week, pedophiles themselves could play a role in removing pedophilia from the American Psychiatric Association’s bible of mental illnesses — the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), set to undergo a significant revision by 2013. Critics warn that their success could lead to the decriminalization of pedophilia.

The August 17 Baltimore conference is sponsored by B4U-ACT, a group of pro-pedophile mental health professionals and sympathetic activists. According to the conference brochure, the event will examine “ways in which minor-attracted persons [pedophiles] can be involved in the DSM 5 revision process” and how the popular perceptions of pedophiles can be reframed to encourage tolerance.

read … Child Molesters

VIDEO: Blacks in Detroit Tired of making excuses for Obama

As she discussed her dilemma -- frustrated with the president but hesitant to criticize him lest black supporters turn on her -- Waters asked the crowd for its permission to have a "conversation" with the president. "When you tell us it's alright and you unleash us and you tell us you're ready for us to have this conversation, we're ready to have the conversation," she said. Some members of the crowd immediately voiced their approval.

"All I'm saying to you is, we're politicians," Waters continued. "We're elected officials. We are trying to do the right thing and the best thing. When you let us know it is time to let go, we'll let go."

"Let go!" some in the audience yelled.

Gallup: New Low of 26% Approve of Obama on the Economy

read ... Tired of Making Excuses


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