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Thursday, March 19, 2009
March 19, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:49 AM :: 9866 Views

Governor, Legislators to ask court to reconsider ruling on Hawaii Superferry

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a law allowing Superferry to operate before completion of a related environmental study was unconstitutional because the law was written specifically for Superferry. The court said the state Constitution prevents the Legislature from enacting special laws designed to favor specific interests.

"The decision, we feel, was too broad," Lingle said. "It basically concluded that the Legislature can never do anything that favors one group over another. But that's what they do every day."

The state is also concerned that the court's ruling wiped out the operating agreement with Superferry, which includes requiring the company to repay $40 million spent on state harbor improvements, and includes a clause that prevented Superferry from suing the state over the environmental review process or any judicial action.

The state House and Senate plan to join the state's request, but only to ask the court to clarify the impact on legislative power and the protection against lawsuits. The House and Senate also want the court to clarify the validity of a so-called severability clause in the law — which held that if one part of the law was determined invalid, it would not affect other provisions.

"Beyond the Superferry issue, there's much larger implications from the decision. And I know that there are many legislators who are concerned about it going forward because of the impact it could have on other laws that they passed, because of the sweeping nature of the Supreme Court's decision," Lingle said.

State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), said the ruling could influence how the Legislature approaches bills related to land use in specific geographic areas or counties.

This session, for example, there are bills that would place a two-year moratorium on evictions of Native Hawaiians staying in Kahana Valley and set a moratorium on development of agricultural land on the North Shore.

"The decision, we believe, infringes upon our rights to pass legislation," Hanabusa said. "Probably, more critically, we will also raise the issue of the severability clause in our statutes and what weight the severability clause actually has."...

State House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro, D-33rd ('Aiea, Halawa Valley, 'Aiea Heights), said lawmakers would not ask the court to vacate the entire ruling. "That's not our intent. We're just seeking clarification, because we think the Hawai'i Supreme Court misunderstood the legislative process."

(First Ceded Lands, now Superferry.  Clearly the Hawaii Supreme Court is a highly politicized body bent on imposing a social vision on Hawaii rather than interpreting law.  Oh yes and then there is Judge Michael Town....)

Star-Bulletin: "Lingle said the Superferry is looking at its options and does want to complete its environmental impact statement."

KHNL: Island companies help customers affected by Superferry's shutdown

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: March 18, 2009 News Read , March 17, 2009 News Read

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Hawaii Superferry opponents "feeling glee"

The feeling of glee — Hoeppner told attendees he was “overjoyed” and said later in a phone interview that he had been “jumping up and down for two days” — was tempered by others who lamented know that it is impolitic not to mention that the end of the Superferry would cost more than 200 people their jobs.
Judy Dalton, speaking on behalf of Sierra Club, and Robert Pa, of the Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi, were among those who expressed regret.
“We are sorry for the job loss, but you can’t work for a company doing illegal things,” Pa said.  (This from the crowd which illegally blocked Nawiliwili Harbor....)

RELATED: Superferry Update: A rat, a coward, and thin-skinned pseudo intellectuals , Unperplexing Opposition to the Hawaii Superferry
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Hawaii’s diversity applauded at statehood celebration

Gov. Linda Lingle called Hawaii's unique racial and cultural diversity one of its most resonant contributions to the world during a celebration yesterday of the signing of the Hawaii Admission Act, which paved the way for statehood 50 years ago.

Lingle addressed a special joint legislative session and an overflow crowd at the state Capitol House Chamber as part of a yearlong commemoration by the Hawaii 50th Anniversary of Statehood Commission. Honorees included a virtual parade of who's who in Hawaii, many of them recognized as the "50 Voices of Statehood," a video anthology created by the commission.

RELATED: Full Text of Governor's remarks , Our American Triumph: Civil Rights and Hawaii Statehood

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Payment stalemate leaves medical benefits in lurch (tax increase?)

A federal mediator may be brought in to help break a standoff between labor and management involving 225,000 government workers, retirees and dependents.

The public worker group faces a 29 percent increase in their medical insurance payments with the state and unions divided on who will pick up the $27 million tab.

State and county workers, retirees and dependents currently pay 40 percent of the cost of their medical insurance, with the state or county picking up 60 percent.

Hawaii public employees enjoy some of the best medical coverage in the nation, according to EUTF officials, but the cost is soaring. Lingle wants employees to either take less in benefits or pay for a larger percentage of the plan.

The decision she will put before the unions, Lingle said, is "what this will mean in terms of lost wages and benefits." For the state, Lingle, added, she wants "a certain amount of savings from my labor costs."

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Domestic slayings on rise despite Isle efforts

After the shooting, police arrested Kaukani's ex-boyfriend, 31-year-old Toi Albert Nofoa, at a home in Waimanalo. Police said he was arrested on a bench warrant stemming from an incident in September involving Kaukani, in which he allegedly threatened and kidnapped her at gunpoint.

That warrant was issued March 5, after Nofoa failed to make a scheduled court appearance. Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said officers have been searching for Nofoa over the past few weeks in "areas he was known to frequent." They had also issued a CrimeStoppers bulletin.

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Maui: Probation for sex assault of teen

WAILUKU - Calling it a troubling and unusual case, a judge ordered five years' probation and no further jail for a Wailuku man convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl who claimed to be an adult when they met online through MySpace.

"They met several times. It's hard to believe the defendant never questioned this girl's age. No matter what she said, nothing changes the fact that she was only 13 years old."

According to court records, Valdivia has a March 2007 abuse conviction.

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Hawaii County Council Puts Off 2 Percent Fund Raid, For Now

The Finance Committee voted 6 to 3 to postpone a vote on the bill until April 7. Committee Chairman Dominic Yagong, South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford and Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole opposed the postponement and said they would oppose suspending directing money to the fund....

About 30 people of the usual suspects testified, one-third at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa, where the committee met, one-third in Hilo and one-third in Waimea. All spoke against raiding the land fund.

"I don't think we've done enough to deal with the size of government," Yagong said. 

"There's a silent majority whose voices are not heard," Enriques said. "Don't judge the end result by the loudest voices."

The Planning Committee approved, unanimously, 10 of 11 nominees for the Ka'u Community Development Plan steering committee. Council members unanimously voted against Richard Creagon, because of concerns Enriques raised about Creagon's qualifications.

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Police break up cockfight

LIHU‘E — Members of the Kaua‘i Police Department’s specialized units executed a gambling cockfighting search warrant on a Keapana property Sunday in Kapa‘a as the result of an ongoing investigation, according to a press release from Police Chief Darryl Perry.  The investigation revealed more than 300 attendees...More than $70,000 in cash was seized as evidence, along with about 100 roosters. Some of the birds still had gaffs attached to their legs. Gambling paraphernalia associated with illegal cockfighting and a small amount of marijuana was also confiscated....

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