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Wednesday, August 24, 2011
August 24, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:36 PM :: 7109 Views

Rail: Sumitomo will not Appeal, Stands Ready to take Ansaldo's place

Chancellor Hinshaw to leave UH Manoa

Gallup: Hawaii ranks 34th in Job Creation

State Announces Broadband Initiative

Horizon Lines Misses Aug. 15 Payment on $330 Million in Convertible Notes

NYT Slams "Green Jobs" Pipe Dream

Perreira: HSTA has Run Amok, HGEA not involved in Bizarre Plot against teachers

Perreira said the teachers union has insinuated that the HGEA conspired with Abercrombie and that the “favored nation” clause in the HGEA’s contract interfered with the teachers’ rights. The clause guarantees that the HGEA, which agreed to a two-year contract earlier this year, would enjoy any gains later won by other public-sector unions.

HSTA’s desperate attempts to deflect blame include insinuating that HGEA conspired with the governor to limit their negotiations. Their attorney, Herbert Takahashi, actually claimed that the “favored nation” clause in HGEA’s contracts interfered with HSTA’s collective bargaining rights, suggesting we were part of a conspiracy to limit what the teachers could negotiate. This is an absurd and insulting suggestion — that we would hurt our own members in a bizarre plot to negatively affect teachers. The fact is that in recognizing HGEA as the first union to reach a settlement, the governor offered “favored nation” status as a way to maintain parity among all public employees.

Perreira also notes that he was among the union leaders and public officials issued subpoenas by the teachers union. The HGEA has sought to quash the subpoena.

In taking a position that can jeopardize the future of the collective bargaining law, and attacking their fellow unions, the HSTA has run amok and is in danger of negatively affecting everyone in government employment.

…One longtime Democratic activist, speaking privately, said Democrats may have to send a message to Abercrombie and the teachers union that the dispute is threatening to cause lasting damage among traditional allies.

(Better yet, don’t.)

UHPA: HSTA Leaders see Conspiracy by Other Unions?

read … Perreira

Hanabusa Chickens Out, decides to run for Congress, pledges to keep failing the East-West Center

In a statement, Hanabusa said, "After much thought and much reflection, I have determined that I can best serve Hawaii by seeking re-election for a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives."

Hanabusa said stability for Hawaii in the House and preserving state interests like the East-West Center and military funding were the primary reasons for her decision.

(Hirono’s claim to stability is belied by her intention to run for Senate when Inouye leaves office.) Akaka and Sen. Daniel K. Inouye both turn 87 next month, and Hanabusa, 60, is an obvious candidate to replace Inouye when he leaves office. Inouye is said to favor Hanabusa as his successor. (Inouye failed to get Hanabusa to run against ultra-leftist Mazie Hirono.)

read … No Senate Run for Hanabusa

CB: It’s a Fact, Djou less Partisan than Hirono, Hanabusa

We examined 369 roll call votes that took place over the course of Djou's seven months on Capitol Hill, and found that he voted with Democrats, against the Republican majority, 10 percent of the time.

Out of 369 votes, Djou sided with a Democratic majority against the majority of his own party 37 times on a wide range of issues. There were multiple instances in which Djou was one of just a handful of GOP members who sided with Democrats, including two votes on which he was the sole Republican to cross the aisle.

Some of the key stands that Djou took against the majority of his party included voting in support of the repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell ban on gays openly serving in the military, backing the passage of the Rural Energy Savings Program Act and voting in favor of an act to protect whistleblowers who work in the offshore oil and gas industry.

Bottom line: Djou's voting record shows that he turned away from his party's majority to vote with Democrats more often than Reps. Colleen Hanabusa or Mazie Hirono turned away from a Democratic majority to vote with Republicans.

CB: Why Hirono’s Skipping Town Halls

Related: Charles Djou, second most moderate Republican in 111th Congress

read … Djou less partisan

Ko Olina Exec backs re-drawn CD1 so Hanabusa Doesn’t have to Move

Ken Williams, Vice President of Resort Operations for the Ko Olina Community Association, is seeking support from resort members and friends for a Congressional redistricting plan that would be better politically for incumbent Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa….

The current plan, which puts Ko Olina in District 1, is being pushed by the majority of the 9-member commission. Williams is endorsing that plan because it benefits Hanabusa. Meanwhile many Republicans, including the four members on the commission, back the only other plan which is not currently up for consideration, but does have a chance of being enacted.

"The latest census map shows that Ko Olina has enough people and jobs to be part of the urban core with Waikiki (District 1), as opposed to the outer islands and rural communities (District 2)," Williams writes in an email. He adds, "I would also like to emphasize that having Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa in our district (Ko Olina/Kapolei) is very important as she has done much for our community through the years as a State Senator and regional leader."

Ko Olina residents may see it differently: Fraud, Threats, and bathrooms: Hanabusa’s Jeff Stone dukes it out with KoOlina condo owners

Some other reasons:

read … Ko Olina

Homeless Say Abercrombie not tough Enough

Ask the people under the bridge and they'll say being homeless starts with drugs and alcohol and the government makes it easy for them.

"If they wanted us to stop they would be real hard on us," said Souza.

She fully admits the system enables them. She gets a $1,600 Supplemental Security Income check from the government every month.

"I give $600 to my daughter every month and a $1,000 for me and my boyfriend to do whatever's. I give half the money to him to do his drugs and stuff like that and the rest I use on me and my dogs and two cats I got," said Souza.

She's been homeless since she was 18. She's now 27 and is pregnant again right now.

(Simple Solution: Drug test all welfare recipients.)

read … Homeless admit government needs to get tougher

Abercrombie’s hot air alone won’t help ship of state’s sails

Gov. Neil Abercrombie would do himself and his constituents a favor if he declared a moratorium on grandiose speeches about his “New Day in Hawaii” ….

If Abercrombie hoped to provide assurances that he’s on top of the job, it had the opposite effect of reinforcing concerns that this administration is all talk and no action….

But there were few more details than he’s given in the past on his specific plans for meeting the challenges, and that’s where the public starts to become frustrated by the seemingly endless rhetoric.

Abercrombie said the threats surrounding Hawaii “are common foes. They know no special interest. There’s no political party involved in this. All the arguments and the accusations that we either have had or could have will drown in the overall destructive force of these threats.”

“These are threats we can’t run away from,” he declared.

And they are threats he can’t talk his way out of. People are tired of hearing what the problems are; they want to know what is being done about them.

read … Abercrombie’s Hot Air

ILind: Where are the details on Abercrombie’s Broadband Show?

Gov. Abercrombie got a lot of glowing coverage of his announcement yesterday of the ““Hawai’i Broadband Initiative,” along with his announced goal of statewide 1 gigabit per second connection speed by the end of his second term, should he be reelected. But when I looked for details about specific actions or policies this would require, they weren’t there.

Along with the governor’s press release, there’s a somewhat more detailed outline of the initiative available….

Did any reporters stop to ask for specifics? After all the talk and goal setting, what is being done and how is our money going to be spent? Who is deciding? Will this be a public decision-making process? Within DBEDT, will the creation of “financial incentives” be done administratively or will it pass through one of the department’s many public agencies with opportunities for public review and input along the way?

Aren’t these questions among those that should have been asked yesterday?

Oh, I forgot. This may have been another of those tightly controlled public announcements in which the governor appears but does not permit questions from reporters, if any were present.

read … one jeer

Abercrombie Energy Panel Larded with Kuokoa Board Members

Two out of the six plenary speakers for a state energy conference expected to draw leaders from more than 20 countries are high-profile board members of Kuokoa. The company was formed last December and hopes to take over Hawaiian Electric Industries.

The Asia-Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo has been a forum for the global exchange of ideas in the energy sector, and has highlighted the state's Clean Energy Initiative, signed by Hawaiian Electric Co., the state and U.S. Department of Energy.

The three-year old conference, which starts on Sept. 13, is sponsored by Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

The selection of two of Kuokoa's board members could make for an awkward situation with Hawaiian Electric Co., which plays an integral role in the conference. Representatives from the utility will help lead six out of 38 panel discussions, similar to last year.

Kuokoa board member, James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA, will kick off the conference with Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Board member T.J. Glauthier, a former member of President Barack Obama’s White House transition team, will speak on the last day.

“They are not coming to talk wearing their hat of Kuokoa,” said Lois Hamaguchi, an energy analyst at DBEDT. “We made it very, very, very clear.”

read ... Lard

Abercrombie’s Kate Stanley: Conflict of Interest?

Many task force members, appointed precisely because of their insider knowledge of foreclosure issues, are professional lobbyists or represent their organizations on legislative matters. Luckily, Kondo’s letter came after the legislative session was over. However, it obviously drew considerable concern and many questions.

Before moving ahead with Stanley’s selection as “senior advisor” to the administration, the governor’s office asked Attorney General David Louie whether she would face a similar conflict as a lobbyist for the administration.

Louie responded with a July 26, 2011 letter opinion by First Deputy AG Russell Suzuki which concludes the Ethics Commission’s advice to the Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force members does not apply to Stanley’s situation.

The opinion, addressed to Abercrombie Chief of Staff Amy Asselbaye, makes no reference to the conflict of interest provisions of the ethics code cited by the ethics commission. Instead it relies on a different part of the law pertaining to “outside employment or dual public office.” ….

Stanley’s appointment to the key lobbying post was announced the week after Suzuki’s opinion was provided.

read … No conflict found in Kate Stanley’s dual roles

Back from Japan and Dumber than an Earlobe, Carlisle has no answer on Jamila, Sludge, ORI

In the interview, Carlisle did answer questions about Planning Commissioner Andrew Jamila, who was fined by the Ethics Commission earlier this month for failing to disclose his connection to the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill when taking votes on whether to extend the landfill's permit. The Ethics Commission referred the matter to the mayor, who has the discretion to take further punitive measures.

Carlisle said he discussed the matter with Honolulu Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto as well as with Jamila himself, "face to face." Carlisle said he expects to make a decision on what comes next after he talks to Jamila again, possibly this week.

"We're going to decide what's going to happen, or I'm going to decide what happens, and all options are on the table, but it's not resolved yet," he said. "I'm looking specifically at what the statements were to the Ethics Commission, I'm listening to what Totto told me, I'm listening to what Andrew told me. And I'm going to basically put all of that together in a pot and make a decision.

"I need to sit down and speak with him and we'll discuss his future," he said. Asked if it was appropriate for Jamila to consider serving the city in his current capacity, Carlisle said, "Obviously, since I'm considering all available options, (removing Jamila from the Planning Commission) is obviously one of them." …

Asked if he had plans to meet with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Duncan while he's in Honolulu this week, Carlisle said, "Yes." Asked if he thought ORI would come up in that conversation, he said, "I don't know. You're asking me to speculate." Pressed further if he'd bring the matter up, Carlisle said, "I don't know." …

He said Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi loves Honolulu from her time working on deals buying and selling the Ala Moana shopping center, and described her as "a delight" and "very, very easy to talk to," with "more brains in her earlobe than I have between my ears."

read … Back from Japan

Prison Probe Underway At Kailua Women's Facility, Warden Suspended

Public safety officials confirm that Mark Patterson has been suspended pending the disposition of a probe launched by the state attorney general’s office. Neither director Joe Booker, nor deputy director Martha Torney would talk about the nature of the investigation.

Patterson first came to the Kailua facility in 2006 as head of security following a theft investigation that put several workers on leave….

read … Warden Suspended

OHA Cronies to hear “special message” from The Obama

More than 1,000 people are expected to be in attendance including Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Sen. Daniel Akaka, Sen. Daniel Inouye and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

They'll be making announcements regarding funding for Native Hawaiian projects.

About $1.5 million will go to organizations supporting Native Hawaiians.

President Obama's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, will also address the crowd with a special announcement from her brother.

read … OHA Cronies

Group Questions Cost of Rail Realignment

"If a mistake was made that cost the taxpayers $29 million, we don't think the taxpayers should pay that," law professor Randall Roth said.

He wants Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle to investigate the alignment change.

Roth, former governor Ben Cayetano, Walter Heen and Cliff Slater are suing the city and the Federal Transit Administration to force a study of alternatives to rail. Their Aolele Street complaint alleges improper relationships among rail officials and Parsons Brinckerhoff, the engineering firm involved in the rail project.

HR: City Awards New $300 Million Rail Contract; Opponents Seek Investigation

read … Group Questions Cost of Rail Realignment

Regents explore raising UH tuition up to 46 percent

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will hear details Thursday of three proposals that would raise tuition from about 16 percent to about 46 percent by 2016 for a typical undergraduate student at the Manoa campus.

The regents are not scheduled to make any decision on tuition increases across the entire 10-campus system when they meet at UH Maui College.

But they will hear details for the first time about how much tuition would go up each year on each campus from fall 2012 through the 2016-2017 school year.

Tuition was last increased in 2005 and was modified in January 2010 and again last January, which combined to raise a typical Manoa undergraduate's tuition and fees to about $9,118 this year.

Under the priciest proposal going before the regents, a Manoa undergraduate's tuition and fees would rise to $13,332 by the 2016-2017 school year. Out-of-state undergraduate students at Manoa would see annual tuition and fees increase from about $23,950 currently to $33,804.

read … Tuition Hike

Star-Advertiser sues governor over disclosure of names of judicial candidates

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser filed a lawsuit against Gov. Neil Abercrombie this afternoon seeking the release of names of judicial candidates he considered in appointing state judges.

Abercrombie has refused to disclose the names of four to six candidates on the list submitted to him by the state Judicial Selection Commission when he appointed Sabrina McKenna to the Hawaii Supreme Court this year.

His refusal, the Circuit Court lawsuit said, violates the state Uniform Information Practices Act, which mandates that government records be open to the public.

Full Text: Star-Advertiser Court filling

read … Secrecy

Act 221 Scammers Renew Push for Hawaii Stock Exchange

Local Maui business development firm, Maui Venture Consulting, LLC, and key partner of the Friends of the Hawaii Local Exchange, is conducting a survey to explore interest in developing a Hawaii Local (Stock) Exchange.

Earlier this year, the Hawaii Legislature asked the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to create a study group to investigate what would be needed to bring back a Hawaii local exchange and to provide guidance on what this would look like. As a result, the public is being asked to provide input by responding to one of three surveys available for retail investors, accredited investors, and business owners/managers/advisers.

Back in December 2010, David Fisher, Maui Venture Consulting, LLC, members of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association, Hawaii Angels, a Hawaii-based investment network, and others put forward a white paper/proposal that outlined the reasons a local stock exchange would bring investors and investment opportunities to Hawaii business and suggested the formation of a working group as the next step.

Know your enemy:

read … Get all the Criminals in One Room

Turtle Bay: Supreme Court Making EIS Rules up as they go along

The owners of the Oahu North Shore resort were required to prepare the supplemental EIS after the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled last year that the EIS that had been done in 1985 was essentially out of date.

It remains to be seen what effect it will have on other projects that have been sitting on the drawing boards for decades, and whether any of those will have to go through the EIS process, which can be time-consuming and costly, once more.

“There’s also a recognition that there’s a lot of uncertainty about how long an original EIS is good for, so people are erring on the side of caution,” said Sichter, who was formerly the principal planner for Belt Collins.

Do you take the Hawaii Supreme Court Seriously? Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court

read … Turtle Bay supplemental EIS ruling could be far-reaching


Taxpayers give Honeywell $25M to build pilot-scale biomass refinery in Kapolei


Honeywell’s UOP, a leading international supplier and licensor for the petroleum refining, gas processing, petrochemical production and major manufacturing industries, is planning to build a pilot-scale refining facility to convert biomass into green transportation fuels.

Groundbreaking for Honeywell’s UOP integrated biorefinery is scheduled for next week at Tesoro’s refinery in Kapolei.

The project, funded by a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy….

read … refinery

Landfill Gas to Energy Proposals Requested for Maui

According to the county, it operates a landfill gas collection and control system at the Central Maui Landfill which collects methane gas produced during the anaerobic decomposition of the municipal solid waste deposited at the site.
The county has been flaring the gas since 2008 to prevent environmental damage….

The Request for Proposals seeks to engage potential developers to take the collected methane gas and convert it into electrical power. Instead of burning the methane gas, the County will reap the benefits of "free" power at the site, in addition to royalties from the sale of excess power.

Arakawa estimates that there could be as much as 1 MW of electrical power could be generated by the landfill gas.

read … Landfill Gas

Hawaii County Water Rates up 3.5%

Hawaii County water consumers will see an 8-cent increase for every 1,000 gallons they use effective Sept. 1. The unanimous decision to increase the power cost charge came Tuesday during the county Department of Water Supply's Water Board monthly meeting held at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona.

Users currently pay $2.23 per 1,000 gallons of water and will now pay $2.31 for the same amount.

With the increase, a family of five, which consumes on average about 12,000 gallons of water per month, will see its bimonthly water bill increase by $1.92 -- a 3.5 percent increase.

The department, which estimated in July the power cost charge at $2.31, had proposed a rate change of between $2.23 and $2.65 per 1,000 gallons. An increase to $2.65 would have raised the average residential customer's bimonthly bill by more than $8.

read … Water Rates

Former Senator Biden to Speak at Kaneohe base Tomorrow

Biden is in the islands to deliver a speech Thursday at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base.

His stopover in Hawaii comes at the end of his nine-day trip to Asia.

(Bring your video camera, put it on YouTube and count the gaffes.)

read … Who?

San Francisco Mayoral Candidate Shoplifts in Kona, Cruises for Hookers in SF

He was in a KTA store in Keaauhou in 1992 when he apparently stuffed a bottle of Tropical Blend Tan Magnifier Oil into his pocket and then under his shirt and walked out of the store.

After being stopped by a security guard, he said he was trying to show the bottle of suntan lotion to his wife who was waiting outside. Local police arrested him.

When it came time for Yee’s court hearing, records show he skipped his court appearance.

His $25 bail was forfeited and the case dismissed.

That was 1992. Yee had another brush with law enforcement in 1999, the San Francisco Weekly reports:

“Although cops stopped him twice in the Mission District's hooker-row area near Capp Street in 1999, Yee denied soliciting prostitutes. He told the media: ‘They presume that people are driving around there looking for prostitutes, but there are people who use that street to go home. They said there was somebody they thought looked like me who may have been soliciting.

read … Leland Yee

Spending, not entitlements, created huge deficit

There's no doubt federal spending has exploded in recent years. In fiscal 2007, the last year before things went haywire, the government took in $2.568 trillion in revenues and spent $2.728 trillion, for a deficit of $160 billion. In 2011, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, the government will take in $2.230 trillion and spend $3.629 trillion, for a deficit of $1.399 trillion.

That's an increase of $901 billion in spending and a decrease of $338 billion in revenue in a very short time. Put them together, and that's how you go from a $160 billion deficit to a $1.399 trillion deficit.

But how, precisely, did that happen? Was there a steep rise in entitlement spending? Did everyone suddenly turn 65 and begin collecting Social Security and using Medicare? No: The deficits are largely the result not of entitlements but of an explosion in spending related to the economic downturn and the rise of Democrats to power in Washington. While entitlements must be controlled in the long run, Washington's current spending problem lies elsewhere.

read … Spending, not entitlements, created huge deficit


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