Star-Advertiser: Republicans need to back Rail, Akaka Bill, Abortion, and Gay Marriage
Attention Professors: Today you can Stop UHPA Spending Your Money to Elect Democrats
Abercrombie: HSTA Theatrics Serve no Public Purpose
Berg: People should decide on GE Tax Hike
Study: Styrofoam Better for Environment than Tree Killing Paper Products
Stop Rail Plaintiffs Respond to City, FTA “Nonsense”
A&B: “Entitled land in a great place with high barriers to entry is good”
General Fund Deception: Hawaii operating at 9.2% Deficit
Abercrombie’s UXO Emergency Benefits Beadie Dawson Company
ILind: Back to that work clearing unexploded weapons from sites on the Big Island. According to news accounts, the work is being done by a local company, Environet Inc.
It seems that one person’s dangerous unexploded bullets and bombs are another person’s gold mine.
According to the federal government site, www.usaspending.gov, Environet and its joint ventures formed has been awarded over $59 million in defense contracts since 2000, including $9.9 in FY 2011, $23.7 million in FY 2010 and $14 million in FY 2009, most for ordnance removal activities in Hawaii.
The company is a partner in ALE Environet JV LLC, a joint venture with Alu Like Enterprises, and Dawson Environet JV, a joint venture with Dawson Technical LLC.
According to state business registration records, Dawson Technical is managed by Hawaiian Native Corporation, controlled by the family of Beatrice “Beadie” Dawson.
read … Explosive News
Sen Donna Mercado Kim: Chinese are Abrasive and Rude
Kim added a note of caution about what an influx of Chinese visitors could mean.
"They can be abrasive. They can be rude from time to time," the senator said. "Our workforce is going to have to be prepared for this kind of visitor."
read … Pake
High court clears the way for HSTA strike – But No Strike Vote Planned
A ruling Tuesday by the Hawaii Supreme Court said the Hawaii State Teachers Association can go on strike once a prohibitive practice complaint against Gov. Neil Abercrombie is settled or withdrawn. The complaint before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board alleges the governor overstepped his bounds when he imposed a last, best and final offer on teachers July 1.
“It makes it very clear for HSTA members that we have the right to strike,” said HSTA President Wil Okabe. “The right to strike is after this one case has been resolved.”
The union, which represents 12,500 public school teachers across the state, had been under the impression that all eleven of its complaints before the labor board would have to be settled before teachers could walk off their jobs.
The high court’s ruling was also hailed by the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, which is acting as an intervener in the complaint against the governor….
AP: Court rejects Hawaii teacher union request
SA: High court refuses HSTA plea to put off pay cuts
read … HSTA Strike
EIS edict makes future Pohakuloa Army training iffy
The state granted the Army a short-term "right-of-entry" permit to conduct high-altitude helicopter training on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on Hawaii island next month, but said if the service wants to do the training in the future, it needs to do a full state environmental impact statement, officials said.
If the Army decides to do an EIS, it would be the fourth environmental review for the helicopter training on Hawaii island.
Two federal and one state environmental assessments — which are less comprehensive than an EIS — have been conducted by the Army as the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade prepares for a January deployment to southern Afghanistan.
Delays caused by the environmental requirements cut short the Army's ability to do all of its required high-altitude training on Hawaii island.
As a result, the Army said it had to spend $8 million to send Hawaii-based helicopters, pilots and crews to Fort Carson in Colorado to make up the training.
read … Saddle
OHA Cronies Seek Share of Geothermal Proceeds
Innovations Development Group, established in 1998, is currently working on two geothermal development projects in Aotearoa, New Zealand. There, a public-private venture agreement has been reached with a Maori land trust allowing for geothermal development with an agreed upon portion of benefits and resources going back to the native trust, she said. A similar setup for sharing proceeds would be part of a geothermal development project in Hawaii.
(There still are some people out there who think anti-geothermal protesters are honest and sincere. How sad.)
read … Gimme a slice of your electric bill
Thanks to State-Owned Land, Hilo Hotels are Dumpy
Big Island business and tourism officials told state senators how the Hilo side was wasting its visitor industry potential.
Members of the Senate Tourism Committee spent Tuesday morning discussing a variety of issues from the state's ownership of Banyan Drive hotel properties to the need for more direct flights from the U.S. mainland and across the Pacific Rim. No concrete proposals were developed….
Because the state owns the land occupied by the Hilo Hawaiian, the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort and other Banyan Drive properties, leaseholders have little incentive to invest in their properties as leases run out….
"The location crew for the movie (said) that they had to issue Lysol cans to the crew staying at the hotel," Walter said. Other crew members were "going to Home Depot to buy air conditioning units to sleep in their rooms."….
The discussion soon turned to the broader issues of the state's lack of a strategic plan for the hotel properties, and then the inability of government to follow through with any long-term vision.
read … State-owned Hotel Land
Rail Transit Town Hall Meeting Draws Crowd
A Waipahu carpenter who attended the meeting with friends, some of whom were unemployed, said he came to support the project.
“It will create more jobs and will get them off the bench, and get things going for Hawaii,” said Arnold Peralta.
Peralta is looking forward to the day he can jump on the train to get to his jobsite. Some unemployed union workers asked when they might see more construction jobs come online.
The head of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit said that will hopefully happen by the end of the year.
read … KITV
APEC security cameras set for final City Council vote
Police officials said the cameras are not intended to discourage public protests.
"We want to make sure that people understand that the Police Department respects everybody's right to peacefully demonstrate and makes no distinction as to the purpose, message or any intent of any group," Deputy Chief Marie McCauley said.
Police Maj. Clayton Kau said the cameras will be used to manage traffic, supplement security measures and "provide situational awareness."
"If we see anything violent going on, then we will send officers to that location," McCauley said. "If we see a traffic jam, we will re-route a motorcade."
read … APEC
Hawaii County continues to issue permits despite LUC ruling
County Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd issued a preliminary subdivision plan approval for the Villages at Aina Lea, despite the revocation of the property's urban land use classification….
Attorneys for the LUC and both development companies are scheduled to have a status conference with Strance on Thursday to set a briefing schedule. The state has until Oct. 31 to provide additional documents to DW Aina Lea.
Bridge Aina Lea attorney Bruce Voss said Strance told the parties on Monday she would try to resolve the case by the end of this year.
read … Aina Lea
Analysis: Hawaii Tax Review Commission Has Some Teeth
A commission is formed every five years to try to ensure that taxpayers are paying their fair share. The panel isrequired by statute to provide lawmakers "an evaluation of the state's tax structure and recommend revenue and tax policy." (An online archive of the past commissions' reports can be found here.)
It's meeting on Thursday morning to finalize getting a contractor who can help analyze various aspects of the state's tax policy.
This year's members make up the sixth commission since 1983.
Related: Kalapa: Tax Review Commission must confront Pension Tax, Income Tax, Act 221
read … Tax Review
HGEA endorses US Reps. Hirono, Hanabusa
"Now more than ever, Hawaii needs a strong congressional delegation who will stand up for the middle-class and support bold, sensible solutions to put our nation back on track," said HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira. (Geeee, what a surprise.)
read … More of the Same
Hawaii Democrats Export Campaign Money to Illinois
Tammy Duckworth, the military veteran who went to work for the Obama administration as the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs from 2009 until June 2011, will be in Hawaii this week….
Hawaii's congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, Congresswomen Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono as well as Gov. Neil Abercrombie, are hosting a fundraiser for her here in Honolulu.
Related: Redistricting: Tammy Duckworth gets Gerrymandered into Illinois 8th Congressional District
read … Duckworth
Expenses: How to read Campaign Spending Reports
Chad Blair: In January 2011, the Hawaii GOP reported that its debt had grown to $54,500. The largest creditors were the same as before — $21,000 to Arena Communications for design and printing of mailers, and about $15,500 to Chase Card Services for credit card charges.
Those charges aren't itemized in FEC reports, so there's no way to tell what the money was spent on.
(Wrong. All Political Parties and Candidate and non-candidate committees are required to itemize expenses in their FEC reports and reports to the Hawaii CSC. This includes expenses on a credit card. Duh!)
(BTW Here’s My Favorite Chad Blair quote: “Historically, Hawaii elections have not been totally God-free.” No agenda there, eh?)
read … Another Civil Beat Screw-Up
Gay Sailor: Personal Issues Come Second
The change, it seems, will come quietly, as thousands of active-duty service members stop living in fear because of their sexual orientation. Like Jeffry Priela, a Navy corpsman at Pearl Harbor, for whom personal questions about his relationships are no longer a mine field to be navigated. Which is good, because he has work to do.
"The mission is the ultimate goal," he noted. "Personal issues come second."
read … Change
Micro-Minority: Even after Census Bureau Pumps Up Numbers, only 3,239 Same-sex households in Hawaii
The number of same-sex couple households in Hawaii more than doubled from 2000 to 2010, according to new statistics released today by the U.S. Census.
The number of couples grew from 1,468 to 3,239.
For same-sex spouses the count grew from 235 to 580; for unmarried same-sex partners the count grew from 1,233 to 2,659.
There were previous numbers released for 2010 census, but there were "inconsistencies" in the data and so the estimates were revised.
"After discovering the inconsistency, Census Bureau staff developed another set of estimates to provide a more accurate way to measure same-sex couple households," according to a press release. "The revised figures were developed by using an index of names to re-estimate the number of same-sex married and unmarried partners by the sex commonly associated with the person's first name. (In other words, if your wife is Chris, Pat, Stevie, Leslie, or Sam, you’re now gay. Congratulations!)
read … Still Vanishingly Small
Kauai Revolving Door: Repeat Offender Child Molester Convicted Again
The State of Hawai‘i Sex Offender Registry updated Rita’s listing this month. This is Rita’s third sex-related crime case, according to information on the Registry’s website.
The Registry notes that Rita has a 1996 conviction for second-degree sexual assault and lost an appeal on the 10-year sentence. He was also convicted of incest in 1996 and was sentenced to five years.
Read … Soft on Crime
Why Can't Hawaii Kids Join The Military?
Two recent reports, released separately by different groups, say Uncle Sam won’t take many of Hawaii’s 18-to-24-year-olds because they are too fat or can’t pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), the entrance test for all military services.
Related: Report: 42% of young Adults Obese in Hawaii
read … Too Fat
Coral-Wielding Feds Threaten Fishermen
Nine species of coral in Hawaii could be listed as endangered under federal law, opening the door to stricter regulation of activities such as fishing, coastal development and beach re-nourishment.
The federal government has said it will determine by April whether protections are warranted for the coral.
That promise follows a lawsuit filed by an environmental group after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration missed a deadline to make the determination. The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition with the agency in October 2009 seeking protection for the coral and NOAA had one year to respond.
read … Hawaii's Corals Could be Listed as Endangered Species]