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Thursday, August 25, 2011
August 25, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:55 PM :: 15156 Views

Full Text: Hanabusa Campaign Announcement, Djou Response

Full Text: Star-Adv Suit hits Abercrombie Secrecy on Judicial Nominees

City, State sued over restrictive "License to Carry" Firearms

First Felony Prosecutions under new Elder Abuse Law

9/11 remembrance ceremony scheduled at Tamarind Park

This September 11 will mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the sacrifice of those aboard United Airlines Flight 93.

An annual event to remember those lost takes place at Tamarind Park on Bishop Street. The event is open to the public and will also serve as a salute to Hawaii’s First Responders, including the Honolulu Police Department, Honolulu Fire Department, and Emergency Medical Services.

read … 9-11

SA: Governor flouts our right to know

Soon after taking office, President Barack Obama issued a memorandum to his administrators, reminding them that "a democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency." Gov. Neil Abercrombie has not embraced that value, and the Star-Advertiser has no choice but to legally challenge his policy of curtailing the kind of information made public by previous governors.

read … Governor flouts our right to know

HSTA Demands Abercrombie “Split the Difference”

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, losing sympathy from other unions because of the tactics teachers have deployed in their contract fight with the state, are speaking directly to the public through paid advertising.

Hear the spot here.

What this is about: Four of a Kind: UPW, UHPA get big Fat Pay Raise—and HSTA suit could give one to HGEA

CB Live Blog: Hawaii Labor Board Hears Teachers' Complaints Against State

read … HSTA Demands Abercrombie “Split the Difference”

 

Boylan: This Could Be Djou’s Best Chance

 

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Djou surprised no one by announcing last week that he will challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa for the 1st District seat Hanabusa snatched from him last November. He surprised everyone, however, by announcing that Reserve Army Maj. Charles Djou will be deployed to Afghanistan for a six-month tour as a legal adviser….

If he wants the seat back, Djou’s picking the right time to go for it….

read … Djou’s Best Chance

Lockstep: Hirono votes 98% with Democrats, Hanabusa votes 95%

Like Hawaii, Delaware and Rhode Island are represented only by Democrats. Wyoming, Idaho and Kansas are represented by only Republicans.

Between January and August of this year, Hawaii's four congressional delegates had hundreds of opportunities to vote on matters that affect Hawaii and the rest of the country. We looked at every measure — 691 votes in the House and 123 in the Senate….

For example, Hanabusa voted in support of a slew of measures related to defense appropriations, which Hirono voted against. Hanabusa voted against the U.S. military's role in Libya, but Hirono backed President Barack Obama's decision to involve the U.S….

The House clerk breaks down votes by party, so Civil Beat was able to examine each vote and determine that Hanabusa votes with a Democratic majority 95 percent of the time. Hirono votes with a Democratic majority 98 percent of the time. Those percentages represent the congresswomen's "party unity" scores.

The way that the Senate records votes does not include a breakdown by party, but The Washington Post gave both Inouye and Akaka party unity scores of 97 percent.

read … Lockstep

Hirono tagged as Atheist Longshot

If Hirono is elected, she will be the first non-theist (agnostic or atheist) to occupy a Senate seat….

Daniel Akaka's late brother, the Rev. Abraham Akaka, was the legendary pastor of the historic Kawaiaha'o Christian Church until his death in 1997. Rev. Akaka was one of the most beloved religious leaders in modern Hawaiian history, and Senator Akaka was similarly religious (for example, see his words at his brother's funeral HERE). Although Sen. Akaka is fairly liberal, he is a believer in "pono" (the Hawaiian word for "righteousness" as established by The Creator), and was thus limited in how "far he would go" by his theism. Linda Lingle, who has been active in the Republican Jewish Coalition, would be similarly limited by her faith. Mazie Hirono, on the other hand, has no such similar limit on what she will do.

Perhaps Hirono would not be a threat as a non-theist, but looking at her voting record I find that hard to believe. It remains to be seen if Hawaii is ready to elect a non-theist to the United States Senate, but I have a feeling her run will be a long-shot.

Related: KOS: “Hirono would be the first non-theist to serve in the Senate”

read … Atheist Longshot

Kondo, backed by Ethics Commission: “We’re not here to trap anybody”

"We're not here to trap anybody," said Kondo. "We are not grandstanding or trying to embarrass people. I want people to understand and see the playing field the same way the commission sees the playing field."

But Kondo also makes clear that he and the commission have placed new emphasis on enforcing the ethics code.

"My impression is that at some point the commission is not going to be as sympathetic when people say, 'Hey, I didn't know' or 'It's been like that in the past, I've just done it,'" he said. "I think the commission is going to come hard at people. It's my impression the commission is going to be very aggressive in enforcing the ethics code."

(Trap? Working Ethics in Hawaii is like shooting fish in a barrel.)

read … The New Sheriff In Town

Aulani a Mickey Mouse Operation?

There is trouble in paradise for Disney. The company's latest mini-theme park is scheduled to open in less than two weeks, but while Goofy, Donald and the rest of the gang are packing their hula skirts and leis, the bosses back at corporate headquarters just fired the executives in charge of the new venture in Hawaii. Investors are bracing for bad news.

Disney is spending an estimated $850m (£513m) building the Aulani resort and spa on the island of Oahu but to date, it seems, this has been something of a Mickey Mouse operation.

The company has suspended sales of timeshares at the resort after a review of the costs of Aulani, which concluded that the business could be on course for operating losses unless it raised fees. The costs of running and maintaining the 21-acre resort had been underestimated and will outstrip fees from Disney Vacation Club members, according to reports in the Orlando Sentinel ….

The debacle in Hawaii has enraged the bosses at Disney headquarters because Aulani represents a departure from their traditional mega-theme parks business and a test case for what they hope will be a lucrative new chain of mid-size resorts and spas across the US and beyond.

read … Mickey Mouse

Mufi: Disney Did Not Scrimp on Aulani

Disney certainly did not scrimp on creating a unique Hawaii visitor experience. I can’t do justice to Aulani and will leave it up to you to discover it for yourself. I can, however, speak to the contributions this development has made to our economy. In addition to adding to our hotel room inventory, creating a new attraction, and spurring growth in West Oahu, Aulani generated more than $600 million in spending, $59 million in state and county tax revenues and 4,800 jobs during the construction phase.

Elliot told me 900 employees are already on board, with up to 1,200 expected to be employed as the resort grows. Aulani will produce up to $270 million in salary income and general economic activity and $33 million in tax revenues a year. Disney projects that the fully realized resort will create 2,400 jobs in Hawaii, half at Aulani.

And so their costs are higher than expected: Disney Halts Sales at Aulani, Fires top Execs

read … Disney’s Aulani Is Doing It Right

Mayor to HUD: Tell Us What To Do And We'll Do It

In his strongest statements to date regarding the controversy, Carlisle said he hopes the ORI matter will not undermine the city's relationship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as the agency figures out which programs to cut amid continued financial difficulties in Washington.

HUD has threatened to yank $7.9 million in federal community development block grant funds that were used to build facilties at ORI.

"I told them, look, we're going to do this thing, what you need, we can't afford the $7 million. So you call me, you tell me what to do and what to jump and I'm going to do it," Carlisle said. Though HUD has expressed some misgivings, it has yet to provide a final response to the city's proposed fixes. "We know it's coming, but it's very clear that they know that we're trying to work this in the right direction."

The comments came after a closed-to-the-media meeting with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel Akaka, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the other island mayors Wednesday morning at the Catholic Charities Hawaii facility at the top of Keeaumoku Street.

The face-to-face meeting gave the mayors the opportunity to pitch Donovan on their priority projects and explain why HUD funding should continue flowing to Hawaii. Inouye, of course, is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee that still has considerable clout when it comes to money matters in the nation's capital.

What this is about: Resignation call after Audit reveals “ward heeler’s slush fund” overseen by Honolulu Councilman

Related: First Families move into New DHHL Development (Soon Micah Kane’s pipeline of projects will run dry, then what?), HUD secretary visits homeless vet center, touts Vouchers

read … Tell Us What to do

Hawaii Consumer Advocate Tilts Testimony to help Aina Koa Pono Biofool Scam

The Consumer Advocate then answered their questions by ignoring the geothermal option: "Thus, at this time, it appears that the Companies' generating units are the primary feasible alternative to providing grid services." (p. 27)…

Finally, the Consumer Advocate adopted unsubstantiated HECO allegations that "It has been recognized in various forums that while Oahu has the largest customer base of the electric utility companies, Oahu does not have some of the potential energy resources that the other islands have." (p. 43)…

read … Hawaii Utility Advocate?

AC Fails: Still out after 36 Hours at Honolulu Airport

The culprit is an 18-inch cooling pipe that cracked six feet underground.

"It just loops around the whole, the original terminal building and the central concourse is what it affects basically and so everyone's air conditioning unit draws from that," said Meisenzahl.

The major repair to the line which was built in 1972 is expected to continue into the night.

"To fill the whole thing with water, that takes about eight hours, to re-chill all that water and to get the AC working again, we're talking about 8-to-10 hours right there. So even once we get this repaired we're still almost a day away from everything happening and that's all best case scenario," said Meisenzahl.

A KHON2 viewer alerted us about the problem Tuesday night saying it was so hot her sweat was sweating.

SA: Airport utilities slow to return

read … Pre-APEC Warmup

Rail Supporter Switches Sides

as did many who saw the advantages of a good public transport system, I supported the idea and still do. I still believe it is the right way to go, but the choices city leaders have made thus far will produce an inflexible system ill-suited for this small island, its businesses and its people.

It is not too late to switch gears and put together a transit network that will fit our needs for the approaching decades with enough elasticity to accommodate more — or less — as unpredictable circumstances evolve.

read … Its not too late

Tenant Businesses seek Compensation for rail property takeover

When they moved into the Kakaako location on Waimanu Street it needed a lot of work to make it but with time and money they turned it into a tranquil spa. Although they still owe more than $200,000 in renovation costs.

"It's a scary feeling because it's money we did not get a return on yet as far as our investment," said Sanchez.

A year after opening in 2007 they learned the train was coming right over them. Worse yet they are not the landowner and the city won't contact tenants to let them know what's going on, unless they get permission from the landlord.

"The government is under no obligation to pay separate value for the lease rights," said Robert Thomas, Property Rights Attorney.

Thomas is working with a handful of people who will be caught up in the property takeover. He says unless tenants have a condemnation clause in their lease, they won't get compensation from the property owner's offer from the city.

However under federal guidelines a qualified business could get "actual, reasonable and necessary" moving expenses reimbursed. They can also get up to $2,500 to help find a new location and up to $10,000 to re-establish itself at the new location.

"You think you own your property but can you think of another situation where the government can say we know you don't want to sell but we're going to force you to sell your land to us and here's the price we'll offer you and if you want any more you have to sue us. Wow that's pretty stunning stuff," said Thomas.

Robert Thomas: http://www.inversecondemnation.com/

read … Rail Takeover

With Subpoenas Pending, Kauai Food Bank finally Responds to Bob Jones

The state Attorney General is considering subpoenaing KIFB documents, according to a trusted Garden Island source.

“I have no information that the Attorney General is going to serve us a subpoena, but if anybody anywhere wants to review information, we are happy to provide anything requested,” Lenthall said. “We are transparent and we are accountable.”

Grimm said the bottom line for him is that the $779,000 is money that should have gone to feed needy seniors.

“Why isn’t anybody talking about that?” he said.

Bob Jones: It Gets Worse At Kaua‘i Food Bank - August 17, 2011, Kauai Food Bank Misuses $779,000 - August 10, 2011

Read … Food "Bank"

OHA Cronies scramble for $1.4M Pinata at CNHA Convention

“The Native Hawaiian community was hit especially hard by the recession, and these funds will help small crony businesses secure credit and create new jobs,” Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said in a statement. The money will also help families my cronies find a home.”

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement received $725,000, the largest award for a Native Hawaiian organization. The awards were announced during the Native Hawaiian Convention in Honolulu.

SA: Officials pledge aid to Native Hawaiians, then give it to OHA Cronies instead

CU Times: Three Established CUs Receive Community Development Money

read … Native Hawaiian nonprofits receive $1.4M in federal funding

State Predicts 1.3% Growth and 3% Inflation

The quarterly forecast by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism calls for the state’s economy to grow by 1.3 percent this year, down from the 1.6 percent growth rate it forecast in May.

Although visitor arrivals from Japan have “fully recovered” from the March earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, arrivals from the mainland have been running below last year’s levels since June, DBEDT said. The department is now forecasting visitor arrivals to grow by 3 percent this year, down from the 3.8 percent increase predicted in May.

SA: Dip in isle tourism curbs economic expansion

Full Text: Quarterly Statistical and Economic Report

read … Growth?

Votes fall short on vacation rental statute

The Honolulu Planning Commission failed to muster enough votes to pass a bill intended to crack down on illegal vacation rentals by requiring that permit information be included in advertising.

With more than 150 people attending a second public hearing Wednesday, the commission voted 4-3, failing to gain a five-vote majority.

Commissioners are scheduled to review the amendment again on Sept. 7 and take a second vote. The meeting starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Mission Memorial hearings room.

A public hearing at the same site attracted more than 300 people on Aug. 10.

CB: Planning Panel Split Over Honolulu Vacation Rentals

read … TVRs

After Censorship fails, Grove Farm decides to Build a Fence

Grove Farm is sending a notice to guidebook publishers informing them of the blocked access.

Sandblom said the owners of Grove Farm’s neighboring property, Rice Ranch, will be monitoring their property frequently for trespassers attempting access to Kipu Falls.

SA: Landowner blocks public access to Kipu Falls after visitor deaths

read … Land company blocks access to popular waterfall

Following State's Lead, Honolulu Counts Military

In the end, the unanimous decision was as much about practicality as it was about policy. Commissioner Rey Graulty — the last holdout and a vocal critic of including active duty military with declared permanent homes outside of Hawaii — eventually caved, saying, "We don't have much choice."

"The bottom line is we cannot do what we need to do in order to be accurate and fair and equitable" if the commission tried to extract certain population groups, Graulty said.

The limiting factor was that the data provided by the military gives commissioners little or no information on where military members and their families actually live.

In other words, there's no way to extract servicemen from the census data.

David Rosenbrock, who runs the state's reapportionment efforts, told the city commissioners that the military has changed its privacy policies since Sept. 11, 2001.

read … Can’t Disenfranchise Military

Commission vetting Hawaii Co Council redistricting maps

Kona, Hilo and Puna should each have two County Council districts. Waimea belongs in Kohala, not Hamakua. Volcano Village belongs in Puna, not Ka'u.

Central themes of the island's new political boundaries began taking shape Wednesday as the county Redistricting Commission weeded out 14 and kept three proposed maps…

There is a multistep process to view the maps by first downloading the maps forms from the county Redistricting Commission website at www.co.hawaii.hi.us/council/reapp/index.htm and then loading them into the redistricting software at the state Reapportionment Commission site, www.redistricting.hawaii.gov.

read … Redistricting

High Oahu Rents drive thousands to Foodbank

The Hawaii Foodbank is the state's largest food assistance agency, and 30 percent of those served by the Foodbank are families with children under 18 years old. Seventy-nine percent have incomes below the poverty level.

"Of the people we serve, 28 percent of them have to make a choice as to whether they're going to pay the rent or they're going to buy food. Thirty-one percent have to make the choice as to whether they're going to buy gas for their car or they're going to buy food," said Dick Grimm, Hawaii Foodbank president.

Totally Related: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court

read … Rent too High

Foreclosures accounted for 21% of Hawaii home sales in Q2

There were 743 foreclosure sales in Hawaii between April 1 and June 30, which was a 4 percent increase compared to the same period in 2010, according to Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac.

Nationally, more than 31 percent of all residential home sales were in some stage of foreclosure….

read … 21%

Hawaii County Bus Ridership Drops 7.7% after Free Ride Ends

Hawaii County's decision to charge a $1 bus fare appears to be driving away Hele-On riders accustomed to free transportation.

Islandwide ridership was down 7.7 percent in July compared with July 2010, said Tom Brown, Mass Transit Agency administrator.

Fares kicked in July 1, ending the gratis program that had been in effect for more than six years.

During that first month, the Mass Transit Agency recorded 70,813 "passenger trips," Brown said. That's off 5,867 from the passenger trips recorded during the previous July, he said.

read … Free Ride Ends

Hawaii Unveils New Master Plans For Pedestrians

Liliha Street is just one of 13 sites singled out around Oahu where there is not only a lot of pedestrian activity but also accidents involving those in crosswalk -- of the last ten pedestrian accidents, all were in crosswalks.

Liliha Street is not alone, all told there were 31 areas of concern identified in the statewide pedestrian master plan.

To remedy the problems some potential solutions have been proposed, which were based on community input. Those include adding LED beacons near crosswalks or putting up additional signs so drivers and pedestrians are more aware of the danger.

HNN: Don't assume you're safe in a crosswalk

read … Pedestrians

AG's office to hold auction of forfeited property

A public auction of property forfeited to the State of Hawaii will be held on August 27 in the Pikake room at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

The property to be sold includes a 2005 Cadillac CTS 4 door sedan, a 2004 Nissan Titan Crew Cab Pickup (lifted), a Cadillac Escalade 4 door extended cab pickup, a 2003 Toyota Tundra SR5 Access Cab Pickup, a 2003 Heavy Metal Custom Motorcycle and other vehicles. Other items include jewelry, various electronics and miscellaneous property.

The property to be sold may be inspected starting at 11:00 a.m. The auction, conducted by Rosen Auctions, will begin at noon. For a list of the property, click here.

read … Auction

Free Speech? Hawaii Legislators praised for attempting to ban N-Word at NCSL Conference

On August 9, 2011 during the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in San Antonio, Rep. John Mizuno not only recognized my work to exterminate the most offensive, vicious and destructive racial slur ever created by mankind, the n-word, but he also pledged to continue to stand with me to stop this evil racial slur. Acting on Dr. King's words that we cannot stand alone, Hawaii State Senator Brickwood Galuteria, Hawaii State Rep. Karen Awana, Hawaii State Rep. Mark Hashem, Texas State Rep. Alma Allen, former Texas State Rep. Dora Olivo and NAACP San Antonio Branch President Oliver Hill stood with us.

read … Where Hawaiians Stand

SF Examiner: Hawaiian news source says Leland Yee unfit for San Francisco mayor

A Hawaiian news source says state Sen. Leland Yee is a questionable mayoral candidate because of his shoplifting arrest in 1992.
Yee was arrested for shoplifting and then skipped his court date over the alleged pilfering. A Freedom of Information Act request by the Hawaii Reporter revealed the California state senator was arrested at a Kona store for allegedly slipping a bottle of suntan oil under his shirt and then walking out. According to the online newspaper....

(OK notice how a Mainland paper picks up this story in a heartbeat but the Hawaii papers repeatedly refuse to touch stories much bigger than an old shoplifting rap?)

read … Amazing!

KHON Duped by Counterfeit Female: Transsexual with 36 Felony Conviction has been Forging Checks drawn on Oahu Correctional Center Account

The bogus check was allegedly authored by Godwyn Foster, 40, of Honolulu. Court records show Foster has a long criminal history dating back to 1989. His rap sheet shows thirty-six felony convictions, which include guilty verdicts for forgery, identity theft, fraudulent use of credit cards and auto theft.

“Why is he on the streets,” asked Jones when interviewed by Khon2. “Why is he still out here doing this to unsuspecting people and charities?”

However Foster’s alleged scheme appears more elaborate than simply using computer software to print fake checks.

Department of Public Safety Deputy Director for Administration Martha Torney confirmed the account number on the counterfeit checks belongs to the Oahu Community Correctional Center in Kalihi. The account is used by the prison to hold money that is scheduled to be transferred to inmates.

“It’s probably been a couple of months ago that the facility became aware (of the fraud) through the bank statement,” said Torney. “There were questionable checks being cashed and they got in touch with the bank.”

According to Torney, Foster was sentenced to jail as recently as August 17. “He is a sentenced intermittent,” she said, “which means usually he’s coming in on weekends.”

It’s unclear if the ‘intermittent’ sentence imposed on Foster is related to a forgery conviction in September of 2008. In that case Foster received one year in jail and an additional five years of probation.

Foster is a known cross dresser who conducts his business as a woman. The check given to Lokahi was signed by Denise Foster, one of the many aliases used by Foster throughout his years in Hawaii.

A Lokahi volunteer said Foster came to the Khon2 studio on Piikoi Street dressed as a woman when he wrote the fraudulent check August 8.

read … Local charity victimized by counterfeit female

“Seriously Tainted” Jury seated for “Religious” Doper’s Trial

Despite pro-pot pamphleteering on Monday that a prosecutor described as "a serious taint" on the jury pool, jurors were seated and testimony began Wednesday in the marijuana trial of Nancy Harris.

The 56-year-old Harris, a self-described "cannabis minister," is facing charges of first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and possession of drug paraphernalia. If convicted, she faces 20 years in prison.

In his opening statement, Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville said that officers who entered the driveway of the Sacred Truth Mission in Hawaiian Acres in the early evening of Feb. 15, 2007, found "in plain and open view ... a cultivated marijuana plant."

"Posted on the premises, was a sign detailing a professed belief of the Sacred Truth Mission church that they were mandated to smoke copious quantities of marijuana and grow enormous crops of ganja….”

Some other dopers: Witnesses describe attack on marijuana grower

read … Dopey Church

Chinese find Manganese Nodules at Bottom of Ocean East of Hilo

The mother ship of China's manned deep-diving submarine, Jiaolong, has completed its mission of a 5,000-meter dive in the Pacific Ocean between southeastern Hawaii and North America. It returned to Qingdao with two oceanauts, Tang Jialing and Fu Wentao, as well as 49 crew members on Tuesday….

"We cruised on the ocean floor for three kilometers and found manganese nodule everywhere, which really shocked us," said Tang.

read … Submarine's mother ship returns triumphantly to Qingdao


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