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Friday, September 23, 2011
September 23, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:07 PM :: 4244 Views

Honolulu Council to Consider Public Firing Range for Kalaeloa

Tom Berg calls for Massive GE Tax Increase

Contested Case Hearing requested over Oneula Burials

Population Without Representation

CB: …on Friday it appears that the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission will issue new political maps for Hawaii that will exclude 15,660 residents of Oahu — some students and military living in group quarters.

For federal purposes, they're counted in Hawaii and represented in Congress. For Honolulu purposes, they're set to be counted and included in City Council districts under a plan put out by the city's redistricting panel….

Nothing is as simple as it might seem, but it is strange that we have residents of our community who are not represented at the Capitol but can call their congressman or City Council member.

read … Population Without Representation

Details of baby's death to stay secret

McManaman appeared Thursday at an informational hearing at the state Capitol called by lawmakers to clarify DHS policies over the release of information in fatal cases such as Waa-Ili's.

Following the hearing McManaman, citing confidentiality, declined to tell the Star-Advertiser who has a legal right to information about Waa-Ili.

Waa-Ili's paternal grandparents previously told the Star-Advertiser that they want to know what happened to the baby after he was taken into custody by Child Welfare Services from a relative's Hauula home — and why he was later taken to the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, where he died.

read … More Abercrombie Secrecy

Abercrombie’s Emergencies Prove Republicans Right

The lone Senate Republican, Hawaii Kai's Sam Slom, campaigns on a promise to "cut taxes, enhance incentives both fiscal and non- fiscal for job creators, reduce burdensome employer mandates and celebrate rather than tax and punish local success."

The Hawaii GOP platform broadly announces, "Government, at any level, should not perform functions which are better and less expensively performed by individuals or private organizations."

When serving in Congress, Abercrombie was rated by the National Journal as voting 90 percent liberal on social issues. The Americans for Democratic Action scored him as voting correct 85 percent of the time.

So who would have guessed that the one to lead Hawaii out of the swamp of needless regulation and bureaucratic bullying would be Abercrombie?

In just eight months, Abercrombie has discovered the magic words to get out of any troublesome bind.

Is the state procurement code troubling your project? Is it just too burdensome to have to follow the laws designed for historic preservation, water, conservation, wildlife or even environmental impact statements?

Just declare an emergency.

 

read … Fixing business climate is an emergency, too

Hooser vs Hooser on Emergency Powers

At the time, then-state Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser questioned whether Lingle was using the civil defense law for real emergencies. The Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter and other environmental and cultural groups are raising similar questions about Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s use of his emergency powers for unexploded ordnance and nene relocation.

From Hooser in 2008:

There have been situations where emergency powers were used to build affordable housing or emergency shelters and procurement issues are waived, prevailing wages are not paid, so there’s a lot of impact from using those. One could argue that there are emergencies in all areas — in prisons and in schools — (and) it kind of begs the question what’s an emergency and what’s not.

Hooser is now Abercrombie’s choice as director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.

read … Junkers

Aila vs Aila on Rail

At 53, Aila said his core beliefs are unchanged, but the job has forced him to rethink what solutions are realistic.

For instance, he said, he initially sided with those who thought archaeological studies on the whole route of the Honolulu rail project should be done first. But other officials convinced him that digging up parcels of land the city could not yet afford to buy along a 20-mile route was a nonstarter.

read … Aila

On Deadline Day, Sumitomo Still "Under Consideration"

CB: Asked by Inside Honolulu whether the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will be asking Sumitomo to extend its offer again, spokeswoman Jeanne Mariani-Belding said, "As of this morning, it was still under consideration."

Asked if the $1.4 billion deal with Ansaldo has been finalized, Mariani-Belding wrote on behalf of Interim Executive Director Toru Hamayasu that "We are currently waiting for additional information, including a report from the HART Finance Committee on the results of its recent videoconference with Ansaldo officials."

She said the city is also awaiting an important piece of the paperwork, the bond surety guarantee, that is due with the signed contract from Ansaldo.

It's not immediately clear what this all means, considering that Sumitomo's offer will lapse at the end of business today.

Just Ignore This: The Future of Honolulu Rail? Libyan Rebels forced to Push when Ansaldo Motor Won’t Run

Ignore this, too: Parent Company of Honolulu Rail Contractor Ansaldo tied to Prostitution Ring

read … Sumitomo Lapse

Lingle Was Right: Rail Projections based on $300M Cut to Bus Funding

Last December, a consultant hired by former Gov. Linda Lingle produced a report questioning the financial assumptions the City and County of Honolulu made in planning its controversial rail project.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle blasted the findings, calling the report "shoddy" and "biased."

But despite the mayor's public posturing, the city took at least part of the report to heart and lowered its projections for federal support by $300 million.

The new draft financial plan released earlier this year changed the forecast for Section 5309 "Bus Discretionary" funds from $419 million to $117 million. It said the adjustment was made "to reflect the year-to-year variations in this discretionary program. The forecast now based on City average historical receipts of 5309 bus discretionary funding."

The independent report by Infrastructure Management Group (IMG) had identified the bus money as one of the city's faulty financial assumptions.

read … The Bus

Failing DoE considering waiver for No Child

The state Department of Education said it will do more research before deciding whether to seek a waiver to key provisions of the once-heralded No Child Left Behind law, which requires that schools meet rising annual proficiency goals or risk losing federal money.

States will be allowed to ask the U.S. Education Department to be exempted from some of the law's requirements if they meet certain conditions, such as enacting standards to prepare students for college and careers and demanding more accountability of teachers and principals.

Cara Tanimura, director of the Hawaii DOE's systems accountability office, said the state will likely decide within about two weeks whether it will pursue a waiver for this school year.

Tanimura will travel to Washington, D.C., next week to meet with federal officials and get more details on the process.

read … Just Move the Goalposts

Ethics Commission Dismisses HSTA Complaint Against Gov

The union's ethics complaint alleged that a letter from Abercrombie, Matayoshi and Horner to the labor board chairman requesting mediation in the matter was "a misuse of position and an attempt to secure an unwarranted benefit."

The union cited Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 84-13, which prohibits public officials and employees from using their official position "to secure or grant unwarranted privileges, exemptions, advantages, contracts, or treatment, for oneself or others."

In its five-page order dismissing the charges, the commission explained that there is insufficient evidence supporting the union's claims, and "no allegation or evidence of an attempt to gain an unwarranted personal benefit."

read … HSTA Loses

UPW, HGEA Contacts allow Halawa to Guards Sidestep Metal and Drug Detection

Adult Correctional Officers at Oahu's Halawa Correctional Facility are not required to pass through metal and contraband detection machines.

Prison officials say the ACOs are exempt from the electronic searches, saying it is a "negotiating issue" with the union representing the guards, the United Public Workers, although state public safety officials say all staff are subject to searches at any time.

Halawa workers represented by the Hawaii Government Employees Association are also allowed to bypass the detectors, which are located at the prison's main entrance.

State Sen. Will Espero, who chairs the Senate committee that has oversight of public safety and government affairs, calls the policy "unacceptable."

"That does not seem like sound policy," said Espero, who is concerned about the smuggling of weapons and illegal drugs into Halawa. "I think the policy should be reviewed."

read … Halawa Side Business

List of Schools Looted by BoE

The biggest losers next year, per the projected allocations based on the new formula, will be:

  • Kilohana Elementary in Kaunakakai on Molokai: $181,000, or a 26 percent cut
  • Kohala High on the Big Island: $365,000 loss, or a 23 percent cut
  • Waiahole Elementary in Kaneohe on Oahu: $121,000, or a 22 percent cut
  • Kaaawa Elementary on Oahu: $159,000, or an 18 percent cut
  • Hookena Elementary in Captain Cook on Big Island: $137,000, or a 17 percent cut
  • Jarrett Middle in Palolo on Oahu: $252,000 loss, or a 16 percent cut
  • Red Hill Elementary near Moanlua Valley on Oahu: $285,000, or a 16 percent cut
  • Linapuni Elementary in Kalihi: $201,000, or a 13 percent cut
  • Honaunau Elementary in Captain Cook on the Big Island: $111,000, or a 12 percent cut

What they’re NOT Cutting: Hawaii DoE: Cost of waste, fraud, and corruption between $191M and $431M per year

read … New Funding Formula

Did BoE Violate Sunshine Law with Social Studies Vote?

You want to know whether the Hawaii State Board of Education violated the Sunshine Law at its meeting Tuesday?

You'll have to wait.

The state's Office of Information Practices says the case is so complex that it requires more than the general advice the office provides through its "attorney of the day."

The meeting was highly charged because of the controversy over the Department of Education's flip-flop over social studies graduation requirements.

Open government advocate Sen. Les Ihara had sent OIP a letter before Tuesday's meeting that the agenda didn't fulfill public notice requirements. Attendees raised similar concerns.

read … Sunshine?

Double Dip? Tourist count, Spending tumble worst since 2009

August arrivals fell by 4.2 percent to 651,529 as tourists from Hawaii's top U.S. West and U.S. East markets dropped for the third month in a row. The decline was the worst since June 2009 when arrivals fell 5.2 percent to 550,421. While foreign tourists helped to push August spending to $1.08 billion, the 2.3 percent gain was the lowest in 15 months.

Still HTA members think the industry can top 2006's peak of 7.628 million in arrivals and 2007's peak of $12.8 billion in spending next year.

HTA set a record-breaking 2012 target of $13.3 billion in spending and 7.69 million arrivals at its monthly meeting on Thursday.

"If we can get through 2012 without a financial collapse or an oil crisis, then I think it will certainly be the best year that we've had in a long time," said Aqua Hotels & Resorts CEO Ben Rafter.

read … Tourist Count

Sweeps: 13% More Homeless Forced to Accept Shelter

The Institute of Human Services today reported that there has been a 13 percent year-over-year increase in the use of emergency shelters by homeless people:

IHS helped 1,429 unduplicated individuals with emergency shelter in FY 2011, compared to 1,268 unduplicated individuals in FY 2010. In total, the shelter served a total of over 4,000 unduplicated individuals through shelter, housing assistance, meals, and case management in FY 2011, as compared to almost 3,700 in FY 2010.

read … Overcoming sloth

SA Assists ACLU in Pre-APEC Protest Litigation

“Especially with the approach of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, there should be advisories on where police will draw distinctions between legal protests and public disturbances.”

read … two Boobs launch APEC Warm-up Exercise

Ex-officer faces trial in pay scheme

Dave E. Furtado, who left the force this summer, is scheduled for trial before Circuit Judge Randal Lee the week of Nov. 21 on eight felony charges — two of second-degree theft, three of second-degree forgery and three of second-degree identity theft.

An Oahu grand jury indicted him on Monday. He allegedly worked two special-duty shifts in August and October last year using the identities of two other officers to get around a 20-hour-per-week limit on special-duty assignments. He received about $800.

read … Pay Scam

Sen. Gil Kahele warns about Danger of Deer Poop

As outlined in a Honolulu Star Advertiser article on May 28, 2011 and based on the best evidence I have available to me, I believe that axis deer may be making its way to the Big Island. (Are they here or not?)

…the deer’s feces can carry diseases …

Knowing the negative impacts that will occur to the environment and our local industry, I am doing everything in my power to prevent this animal from establishing itself on the Big Island.

By working with the state Department of Agriculture, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the state Department of the Attorney General, and the governor, I am hoping to nip this problem in the bud.

I am working with DLNR to change Hawaii Administrative Rule 13-124 to designate axis deer as an injurious species to ensure that its possession and potential transport between islands is regulated.

This is meant as an interim step to limit any transport of axis deer to the Big Island until the upcoming 2012 Legislative Session where I plan to introduce legislation meant to more permanently address this issue.

read … Deep Doo Doo

Capitol full of ‘Rats

The Capitol, from time to time, has had mice coming into the building. We suspect that the current situation may have been the result of the vegetation being recently cut down around the Korean/Vietnam War Memorial causing the mice that live in the vegetation to scurry and find shelter elsewhere.

Also, I’m told that the more successful we are at containing the feral cats around the Capitol grounds, people are noticing more mice….

The Attorney General's Office had a rat problem recently, but insiders say it's now under control.

read … Rat Droppings

As Bubble nears Popping, HECO “still comfortable” With Solar Gold Rush

As more and more projects like these are proposed, HECO’s ability to absorb and use the power that could be generated comes into question. The utility is currently working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on what it’s calling a “solar integration study” to find out how much its grid can handle without losing its reliability.

“For now, we are comfortable continuing to contract for more megawatts of utility-scale solar projects for the increase in midsized projects expected when Tier 3 of the Feed-in- Tariff comes online, and for additional customer-sited projects under net energy metering, which recently passed the 20-megawatt milestone,” HECO spokesman Peter Rosegg told PBN….

And while a plethora of projects are being announced, Ching said that timing is crucial.

“Certainly once you enter into a program with a regulated utility, you’d rather be at the beginning of the line than at the end,” he said. “There might be a concern that all of a sudden they don’t want you or need you.”

Maui News: Solyndra Scandal has potential to cause Impeachment

read … Mega Bucks for Greedy Corporations

OTEC Set to Build First Plant … in the Bahamas

….a company with roots in Hawai`i has had to go to the Bahamas to sign an OTEC MOU to build commercial scale OTEC.

WHY? (See article above)

Why when Hawai`i wants economic diversification and we have developed OTEC (baseload, continuous, 24/7 renewable energy) with minimal environmental, cultural and greenhouse gas emissions, why can’t Hawai`i built the first commercial plant?

read … OTEC

Hospital systems’ construction will change medical landscape

Population growth and increases in demand for health-care services have two of Hawaii’s largest hospital systems embarking on ambitious multiyear capital improvement projects — representing a nearly $1 billion investment in the state’s health-care infrastructure.

read … Queens & Kapiolani

China Looks at TMT

China, too, has been invited to join the $1.4 billion Thirty-Meter-Telescope (TMT) project to work together with the world's top astronomy scientists to gain precious research and observing opportunities. Construction of the TMT next-generation telescope will begin later this year and be completed by 2019.

China hopes to be responsible for research and for supplying some of the key high-tech parts of the telescope. It will also share no less than 10 percent of the financing.

read … TMT

Hawaii attorney taking swing at Pacquiao - Mayweather fight

Green wants to stage the fight at Aloha Stadium. A football sellout is 50,000. The stadium could add another 10,000 field seats for a boxing match.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority knows of Green's idea.

"I think the consensus would be that the potential behind this event is enormous," HTA brand manager Michael Story said.

Green believes Hawaii's large Filipino community is a huge incentive for Pacquiao to fight here. He said for Mayweather, it's money.

read … Boxing


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