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Sunday, September 18, 2011
September 18, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:07 PM :: 5862 Views

Panos: Is Sopogy Hawaii’s Solyndra?

Kalapa: Tax Review Commission must confront Pension Tax, Income Tax, Act 221

UPDATE Sept 19: Hawaii GOP Leaders Call for Ouster of Party Chair

Borreca: Will GOP Factionalism Derail 2012 Campaigns?

Today's problems show up in the intense, internal bickering that is now highlighting the party's factions. When Kaauwai took over as party chairman in 2009, it was with the help of conservative Christian supporters. Kaauwai's strong religious beliefs became an issue in last year's governor's race….

Party insiders, however, says the dispute isn't over how conservative or religious the GOP needs to be; it is simply over who is running the party.

Since January there has been an angry feud within the party over raising and spending money to pay the mortgage on the GOP's Kapiolani Boulevard headquarters and then getting a head start on fundraising for 2012 elections.

"We are not split over liberals or conservatives, we are split over management of the party," one GOP insider said.

It is too early in the election season to say the bickering will cause possible candidates to turn away, but the Hawaii GOP still doesn't have a viable candidate for the 2012 congressional election to fill U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono's 2nd Congressional District seat.

In fact, so far the only major declared GOP candidate is former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, for CD-1.

All this leads up to the elephant that has not entered the room: former Gov. Lingle.

Today supporters recall how in 1998, another GOP low point, it was Lingle who picked up after her loss in the governor's race and forged a new GOP.

She effectively engineered a party coup, putting her own supporters into positions of party leadership and pushed out much of the GOP old guard.

Today, the Lingle supporters are being called "the old guard" but Lingle does not have enough time to redo the GOP, boot out the troublemakers, fluff up the grassroots and also raise money for a statewide campaign.

(In other words, Kaauwai’s opponents need to stop deluding themselves—they did not even have a candidate for Party Chair to oppose him at the GOP Convention. And ALL factional-minded people need to drop it and focus on 2012. --AW)

If Lingle does decide to run for the U.S. Senate, the local GOP may be forced into the background, while Lingle tries to find the sweet spot in the center.


read … Who will lead?

After Obama Burns Treasury, Budget woes hang over isle military expansion

Defense planning — at least for now — points to additional troops, families and firepower arriving on Hawaii's shores, with the state viewed as an important mid-Pacific beachhead for the United States as the balance of world economic power continues to shift from the West to the East.

How those plans will change with looming budget cuts remains to be seen….

A variety of projects — which would provide millions annually in economic impact — are in planning by the military for Hawaii or under way. Up to 18 percent of Hawaii's economy is linked to defense spending, the RAND Corp. said in June.

The Army wants to modernize pre-World War II facilities at Wheeler Army Airfield for its helicopter brigade over the next five years. The projects at Wheeler could total $1 billion — if they come to fruition, officials said.

The Defense Department has been ordered to make $350 billion in cuts over 10 years. If a congressional "supercommittee" doesn't find $1.2 trillion in federal savings by Thanksgiving, another $600 billion in defense cuts could be made over the next decade.

"There's all kinds of speculation going on and you also have congressional delegations from all the states that have a military presence fighting to preserve their turf," said Charlie Ota, vice president for military affairs with the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii. (Too bad Hawaii only sends one actual person to Washington, DC. How old is he again?)

A PROPOSAL was inserted in the House version of the Defense Department budget seeking a Navy study of high overhead costs at the Navy's four shipyards — including Pearl Harbor, Ota said….

Related: Military projects run the gamut

And then there’s Hirono: Military Spending: In pursuit of Ideology, Hirono Votes Against 18% of Hawaii Economy

read … Obama’s Deficit Spending places 18% of Hawaii’s Economy at Risk

Infamous for Blocking Hospital on Maui, Sakamoto picked for #2 Health Job by Abercrombie

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed a former State Health Planning and Development Agency administrator to be Department of Health deputy director.

The governor's office said Thursday Dr. David Sakamoto would start his new job on Oct. 10.

The state health planning agency is an advisory body. Sakamoto was its administrator in 2006 when he ruled against allowing a new hospital to be built in Kihei on Maui.

He ruled the proposed Malulani Health and Medical Center would have duplicated services already provided by Maui Memorial Medical Center, the island's primary acute-care facility.

read … Hospital Blocker

Rowena Akana ‘Enthusiastic’ about the Feared Changes Coming to OHA

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has begun its search for a new Maui board member to replace Trustee Boyd Mossman, who has accepted an important assignment by his church and plans to resign as of Nov. 1….

The search for a new chief executive officer will begin soon.

On Sept. 1, a Honolulu publication ran a front-page article stating that OHA was preparing to replace its CEO, Clyde Namu'o. ...

While some people may be hesitant or resistant to making changes, I look forward to change with great enthusiasm and always with the hope that it will bring new energy, ideas and challenges to take on - whatever the future may bring.

Totally Related:

read … Akana Enthusiastic

Kam Schools gets Easy Walk to Development in Kakaako

Ambitious plans to build "urban villages" in Kakaako have been approved for the decades ahead. Developers have been eyeing the area for nearly 30 years but approval on framework guidelines given on Wednesday by the Hawaii Community Development Authority will hopefully spur more ground-breakings at a time when economic activity is most welcome.

Dilapidated buildings in some of the 450 acres bounded by Ala Moana Boulevard and King, Piikoi and Punchbowl streets were replaced in the early 1980s by structures stretching from Restaurant Row to Nauru Tower, including condominium buildings with about 3,500 housing units. Superblocks with 40-story buildings envisioned under the old plan never materialized, and reasonable revisions now have been unanimously approved by HCDA's 11 board members.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie should approve the updated plan before the end of this year.

(Meanwhile anti-development activists are working diligently to block competing developments.)

read … KSBE easy Walk to Development

ML&P Owner Pierre Omidyar Buys Activists

Among the boosters for the foundation, and for agricultural self-sufficiency in general, is Ulupono Initiative, which is described as a "Hawaii-focused social-investment organization" that supports the food- and energy-independence agendas, as well as efforts to reduce the waste stream.

It supports some projects as an investment partner, but others, like the ag park, was the beneficiary of a grant. Ulupono tapped $100,000 from the grant program established at the Hawaii Community Foundation by philanthropists Pierre and Pam Omidyar; the money is being used to help hire a manager for the park and underwrite some of the startup costs.

One of the initiative's leaders, longtime insurance executive Robin Campaniano, said this seed money should help farmers who otherwise have found secure agricultural opportunities elusive; they were delighted to have even the one-year lease the Monsanto site afforded them.

Issues like Ho‘opili aside, Campaniano said, there actually is a lot of agricultural land in Hawaii, about 1.9 million acres. Not all of that is prime land, he said, but Hawaii can provide a good share of its fruits and vegetables with a relatively small slice of that, perhaps 20,000-50,000 acres.

read … Omidyar owns Civil Beat, too

A&B Grasps for Solar Tax Credits, Ratepayer Cash

If developed, A&B would become the largest solar-power producer on Kaua‘i. The electricity would be sold to Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative.

The solar facility’s developer and operator, McBryde Resources, a subsidiary of A&B, will have representatives available from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to meet with interested community members and hear comments regarding the project. Representatives of Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative will also be in attendance.

KIUC signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with A&B on July 18 for a fixed rate of $200 per MWh or 20 cents per KWh.

The proposed facility would be built on a 20-acre, industrial-zoned parcel of land owned by A&B adjacent to KIUC’s Port Allen Station power plant, according to an A&B news release, and will utilize polycrystalline panel technology. The facility will be integrated with a battery energy storage system to be installed by KIUC at the point of interconnection to its power grid.

Pending county and state regulatory approvals, construction is expected to begin later this year and completed before the end of 2012.

Currently, Kaua‘i has one solar farm, a privately owned 1.2 MW facility in Kapahi. Other energy developers are planning a 3.5-MW facility in Po‘ipu and a 3.5-MW facility in Kekaha. Collectively, the projects could offer 14 MW of renewable power to KIUC, or 20 percent of its peak energy needs…. (except when the sun is down or the clouds are out….)

Read … Hand in Your Pocket

Sempra Energy Plans Pearl Harbor Solar Project to Beat Windfarms

A San Diego-based energy company is proposing to build the world's largest solar power project on vacant land surrounding Pearl Harbor that could provide an estimated 5 percent to 10 percent of Oahu's electricity needs and allow the state to take a major step toward achieving its clean energy goals.

The 300-megawatt size of the project proposed by Sempra Generation would rival the so-called Big Wind project that calls for putting wind turbines on Maui and Lanai and transmitting the power to Oahu via an undersea cable.

Sempra's plan is in the early stages, and the company would have to complete negotiations with the Navy and Hawaiian Electric Co., as well as clear regulatory hurdles, to proceed. Even with those steps built into the time line, the project could break ground as early as next year and be operational by 2014, said Mitch Dmohowski, director of commercial development for Sempra. The company would sell 90 percent of the electricity to HECO and give the remaining 10 percent to the Navy in exchange for use of its land.

read … they’re doing everything except Geothermal and Hydro, what a coincidence

9-11 Trooother Group Demands to know why UXO is Emergency

The Sierra Club has drafted a letter to Abercrombie that calls on him to withdraw the proclamation immediately and questions the legal justification for it.

"Even assuming the governor's office had the power to issue these proclamations, we believe you are ill-advised to do so," the letter states.

"The end is good, dealing with the unexploded ordnance," said Kurtistown peace activist 9–11 trooother Jim Albertini. "The means are very questionable."

In 2006, Albertini's group, Malu 'Aina Center for Nonviolent Education and Action, assembled a map of the Big Island with 57 known former military sites covering more than 250,000 acres in every district of the island. That's considerably more than the 128,790 acres statewide that the governor has identified as eligible for remediation.

Abercrombie's press secretary, Donalyn Dela Cruz, referred a question about how many acres are on the Big Island to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which did not respond to the query.

Albertini has no objections to the military cleaning up after itself, but he would have appreciated more public consultation.

"It's been an emergency for a long time," he said. "Why the declaration of emergency now?"

read … troooooth




California Models Program on Hawaii’s HOPE Parole

Ex-convicts who violate their parole in California typically are sent back to prison for four months with little if any rehabilitation or education before they are released again.

The result is a cycle of release-and-incarceration that leads to seven in 10 parolees being sent back to prison and drains ever more money from the state's deficit-plagued general fund. In an attempt to break that cycle and save money, state corrections officials have begun trying an approach that could serve as a national model for handling parole violators.

Parolees in the trial program are sent to county jail for brief periods every time they break the rules or test positive for drug use, instead of being sent back to prison. The goal of the short but immediate incarceration is to change their behavior, even if it requires multiple jail stints.

"Usually after two to three times, the light bulb goes (on)," said Denise Allen, a researcher with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Preliminary results have been "remarkable" for deterring drug use by the 35 Sacramento-area parolees who have participated in the program since it began in November, said Angela Hawken, an associate professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, who is evaluating California's program.

Read … Hope Parole California

Mother speaks out on daughter's death

A news crew from TV Asahi in Japan is in Hawaii also investigating this case.

San Diego police detectives have gone on record in the report saying "The circumstances of Fumiko Simoneau's death suggests Anthony Simoneau killed her and moved on with his life".

Anthony Simoneau has not been arrested for his wife's death.

He is set to go on trial in Honolulu next month for the unrelated theft charges.

read … San Diego Murder

Falling Satellite to Pass over Hawaii

…exactly where the UARS spacecraft will fall is still unknown.

NASA expects at least 26 large pieces of the massive satellite to survive the scorching temperatures of re-entry and reach Earth's surface. Titanium pieces and onboard tanks could be among that debris, but the UARS satellite carries no toxic propellant (NASA used up all the fuel in 2005).

The debris is expected to fall over a swath of Earth about 500 miles (804 kilometers) long, NASA officials said. [Video: Where Could UARS Satellite Debris Fall?]

There is a 1-in-3,200 chance of satellite debris hitting a person on the ground, odds that NASA says are extremely remote.

read … Coming Our Way

Kauai Council Passes Law against Pissing on County Building

Kaua‘i County Council members last week considered two new laws designed to clean up outside their old home at the Historic County Building, which they will be moving back into this month now that multi-million-dollar renovations are complete.

The first piece of legislation would outlaw the consumption, possession or control of intoxicating liquor within the parking lots and grounds adjacent to the Historic County Building, County Annex and Lihu‘e Civic Center. The other would make it illegal to urinate or defecate in public areas adjacent to the same three buildings unless in a portable toilet or rest room.

Both bills, introduced by Council Chair Jay Furfaro, passed unanimously on first reading.

Read … Homelessness

Hawaii County too Disorganized to Collect Tipping Fees

Big Island garbage haulers are sliding further behind in more than $1.5 million of seriously past-due landfill fees to the county, but a Department of Environmental Management in disarray has so far done little to protect the taxpayers' interests.

The $1.5 million in over 90 day past-due billings is more than half of the $2.5 million in total July 31 tipping fees, the amount commercial haulers must pay to dump their waste at the landfills, according to Department of Environmental Management aged trial balance reports obtained by West Hawaii Today. In March, $1.4 million was seriously past-due.


read … Garbage

VIDEO: Over 100 Waikoloa donkeys board plane for California

In what has been dubbed The Flight of the Nightingales by the organizers, 120 of the feral Waikoloa donkeys that were herded up and prepped for adoption in the summer are now being deported – via airplane – to California.

read … bye, bye Democrats

Iceland, Hawaii hold the secret to Origin of Water?

Iceland and Hawaii play a key role in the search as volcanic eruptions that occur there may cause magma to be thrust to the surface from a significant depth. Crystals containing trapped particles (Icelandic: innlyksur) are also carried with the magma, which may help solve the riddle.

“We hope that these [trapped particles] may help us trace the origins of water on Earth, we use it as a window into the mantle,” Thórdarson added.

read … Climate Never Changes Ever, Really


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