UHERO: Hawaii’s recovery pace has slowed to a standstill this year
Calif. Treasurer: Hidden Clause in Millionaire Tax means Less CIP Money for Rail, Sand Island
Small Business Tax: Lingle Campaign pushes back against Deceptive Tactics from Opponents
Nobel Pushback: “Zhou Enlai Peace Institute” formed to Offer Competing Peace Prize
High-Speed Rail: Debunking Obama's Latest Jobs Myth
Big Island Residents Push Back Against Plastic Bag Ban
Detroit Gambling Promoters Using 10-Year-Old Study to Re-Ignite Case for Gambling in Hawaii
Collusion: FBI Investigating Hawaii School Bus Companies
Two FBI agents showed up at Lindy Akita's home about five months ago, the CEO of Akita Enterprises told Civil Beat. Akita is also the school bus association's treasurer.
"These guys came to my home at 7 in the morning, just as I was leaving for a game of golf," the 84-year-old Kauai contractor said. "They said, 'We're investigating whether there is collusion among school bus owners.'"
Akita arranged to meet the agents after his golf game. When he got to the meeting, there were four agents — two of whom said they had been to visit nearby Yamaguchi Bus Service.
An unidentified male who answered the phone at Yamaguchi Bus Service told Civil Beat that he has "been advised not to talk with anybody about that. I guess it's still ongoing."
Carolyn Tanaka, spokeswoman for Roberts Hawaii, the largest school bus contractor, emailed Civil Beat with the following statement about the investigation:
"We are aware that the federal government is looking at competition on school bus routes and we are cooperating with the investigation. Our company prides itself on providing reliable and cost-effective bus transportation for Hawaii schools and is committed to working with the DOE to improve the quality and efficiency of our service."
…Moana Dudoit, CEO of Dudoit's Bus Service on Molokai, said she also received a house call from the FBI a few months ago.
"They think the contractors are going in and telling each other 'Don't bid for my contracts and I won't bid for yours,'" said Dudoit,
CB: Taken for a Ride: Collusion in Hawaii School Bus Contracting?
read … Once Again the Feds Do the Job the State Will Not
Why Didn't Audits Catch Lack of School Bus Competition? – Because the weren’t any!
The lack of competition among Hawaii school bus contractors wouldn't show up in annual audits of the Department of Education, state Auditor Marion Higa told Civil Beat.
Asked why the annual financial audits and numerous occasional audits performed on the department never brought the situation to light, Higa said it would have required a special audit to find the problem.
"I don't think that would be something that would show up in the audits," she said. "The things that you're asking about would have to be part of a management and performance audit."
The last time the education department underwent a comprehensive performance and management audit was 1973 — a fact that former Republican gubernatorial candidate James "Duke" Aiona said he wanted to change, but that then-candidate Neil Abercrombie criticized.
Abercrombie's newly appointed Board of Education Chairman Don Horner picked up the audit tune (every kind of audit EXCEPT FINANCIAL) when he took office in April, even creating an audit committee on the new appointed board. That committee, Horner told Civil Beat this week, is working with the department to find solutions to lower school bus costs….
"If there is a need for a management audit," House Speaker Calvin Say (continuing to sidestep FINANCIAL audits) told Civil Beat, "it could be that the DOE could say yes or no that an audit is needed."
(Abercrombie campaigned against Aiona’s call for a top to bottom audit of the DoE. Horner uses the word "audit" for everything EXCEPT a financial audit. Civil Beat helped Horner to cover his rhetorical sleight-of-hand. And now they are all surprised.)
read … No Audit Here
A Bumpy Ride For Neil’s Canoe
To no one’s surprise, the poll put the governor’s job approval rating at 30 percent, the lowest approval rating of any governor in the nation. When you consider what the poll was measuring, who asked the questions and the reliability of the poll, it’s clear it was all part of the plan. The governor humbly accepted the blame for his administration’s missteps, and said he would like to be judged on how he delivers on his policy approach to the homeless situation and work force housing in the “fourth quarter” of his service.
So, all of those resignations came at a good time, China’s in the bag, the homeless policy is working, and maybe the governor will lead the protesters to the Convention Center to mingle with the leaders and his friend President Obama. Nothing to worry about, it’s all part of the plan: a little guy fighting for the masses.
And remember, he’s not your friend, he’s the governor. And don’t worry about the canoe that went huli.
read … Sinking Feeling
'Gambling in Hawaii' poised for replay at the Legislature—But Inouye only Supports Tribal Gaming
Returning in his role as foremost gambling opponent is Hawaii's senior U.S. senator, Daniel K. Inouye.
In an interview last week, I asked Inouye, in light of the state's serious need for new sources of income and jobs, why not a casino.
"Contrary to what they say, it is not an easy source of money," Inouye warned, reprising his 2002 statements.
Back then, Inouye said relying on gambling to fund state duties such as education would be "sinful."
"To say that gaming will be part of our economic development and alleviate our problems is a cop-out," Inouye said to the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii almost a decade ago.
Last week, Inouye agreed "the state may pick up money," but he warned the state will have to come up with more money toward increased welfare, crime and other social ills associated with gambling….
I asked Inouye how he can be against gambling for Hawaii, but has been a champion of allowing Native Americans to permit casinos on their reservations.
"It is their sovereign right. ... I have told the Indians, I support your right to have gambling, but I always tell them to get other sources of income," he answered. (In other words. Save gambling for the Akaka Tribe.)
read … Gambling
Hawaiian Electric profits up Due to Green Energy Scams, Decoupling
The combined electric operations produced third quarter net income of $38 million, up from $22 million in the summer quarter of 2010, the company said Thursday.
HEI President Connie Lau said interim rate relief granted by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission was the main reason electric company earnings improved by $16 million.
"Continued regulatory support to recover our investments in a timely manner is essential to our success in attracting the significant capital needed to fund out utilities' reliability and clean energy plans," Lau said.
SA: Rate hikes fuel 49% jump in HEI profit
read … Green Energy Scams
HPD Officer Pleads No Contest In Fraud Case
The maximum penalty for the offenses, both felonies, is five years of imprisonment.
Deputy Attorney General Rodney Shinsato said Garcia “essentially provided false information to an insurance company, GEICO Indemnity Co.”
The offenses occurred between June and July of last year.
Garcia is also the subject of Small Claims Court complaint filed by another auto insurance company, Fireman’s Fund.
That complaint alleges that Garcia was driving an uninsured vehicle that collided with another vehicle June 23, 2010.
The collision caused some $2,200 in damage to the other vehicle, which Fireman’s Fund is attempting to collect from Garcia.
read … Another day, another dirty cop
Honolulu Presents Final Plan to Prevent $7.9M Grant Repayment
On the day of a federal deadline, Honolulu city officials outlined their most detailed plan yet for bringing a Wahiawa elderly care center into compliance with federal grant requirements.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had said that such a plan would have to be submitted by Oct. 31 or Honolulu would have to return $7.9 million in Community Development Block Grant money.
That's the amount that HUD doled out to the city for ORI Anuenue Hale in less than a decade, and ORI used the funds to purchase land and build facilities. During routine federal monitoring last spring, investigators found a slew of compliance issues that prompted them to require "immediate corrective action" by the city.
A spokeswoman for HUD said that the agency will not have a formal response to the city's plan for at least several weeks.
Full text: Oct. 31 Letter from City to HUD
Related: Resignation call after Audit reveals “ward heeler’s slush fund” overseen by Honolulu Councilman
read … ORI Scandal
City's unemployment rate inched higher in September
A rise in Honolulu's unemployment rate to 5.7 percent in September from 5.5 percent in August caused the city to fall further in a ranking of metropolitan areas with the nation's lowest jobless rates, according to a report released Wednesday.
read … Thanks, Neil
Hawaii Politicians Can File for Unemployment Benefits
Former Honolulu City Council Member Rod Tam admitted in Honolulu District Court this week that he has been living off of his unemployment benefits since he left office in January 2011….
Depending on the circumstances, Tam, like other Hawaii residents looking for work, could potentially qualify for as many as 73 weeks of unemployment, according to William Kunstman, spokesperson for the state Department of Labor.
That includes 26 weeks from the state and 47 more weeks authorized by the federal government through an emergency declaration.
Tam, 58, won’t go to prison immediately. Tam asked the judge to delay his sentence so that he can continue to qualify to collect state unemployment for the maximum number of weeks. He told the judge that if he went to prison, he would have his benefits cancelled. Instead, Tam will spend December 31, 2011 and January 1, 2012, the first two days that he says he is off state unemployment, behind bars.
But Kunstman said that it may not have been necessary to delay Tam's incarceration for several weeks because that would not likely have impacted his unemployment claim.
read … More Self-Dealing
HGEA’s Perreira re-elected to lead Hawaii State AFL-CIO
The AFL-CIO said in a statement Thursday that HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira was unanimously re-elected to a two-year term at the organization's biennial convention last month.
Ninety-one delegates representing 79,000 workers in 72 unions voted in the election.
Perreira has been the president of the Hawaii group since 2005.
read … AFL-CIO
Maoists, OHA Cronies Team up to Disrupt APEC Event at UH Manoa
More brainwashed UH Manoa students. How dull.
Be sure to check out the aging Maoist with the “Capitalism sucks, we need a revolution” sign.
CB: Moana Nui Speaker Says Hawaii Should Take Its Cue From New Zealand --The list of supporting organizations on its website shows that Moana Nui is just a bunch of OHA hustlers we all know are angling for a cut of the action from Geothermal Development plus the followers of mass murderer Mao Zedong (Revolution Books, RCP, WCW). OHA epitomizes crony capitalism and the RCP represents cronyism without the capitalism. It looks like some liberals need to dust off their "Free Tibet" stickers and stop hanging out with those who enslaved Tibet.
read … Demonstrators disrupt 'APEC Night' at UH Manoa
Wealthy Retirees, Trust Fund Babies Conspiracy Theorists Team up for Occupy Kona
A picture is worth 1,000 words, so just look at them. Then check out the reviews of the book by Occupy Kona leader Duke Kell: “this one will suit conspiracy theory…as it deals with both the supposed extra-terrestrial origins of our existence and the concept of a powerful secret society running the world behind the scenes…. “
“The main premise is that the Earth was seeded by beings from space a long time ago and that humans have lost their way…. The greatest powers that drive the shadow government are easily recognized as the two presidents Bush and Dick Cheney and the current president is clearly Barack Obama….”
Somebody tell them to lay off the dope for a while.
read … This is what Delusion Looks Like
Boylan: Obama Didn’t Handle Economic Crisis Well
Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike should read Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President (hardcover, $29.99).
It will prove a most uncomfortable read for partisans of Barack Obama, and a “we-told-you-so” 482 pages for Republicans.
Independents will undoubtedly shake their heads in disgust.
Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former national affairs writer for the The Wall Street Journal, writes of a charismatic young president with no administrative experience faced with the America’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
In Suskind’s telling, Obama didn’t handle it well. He relied on an economic team led by National Economic Council chairman Larry Summers and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, both captives of the belief that the Wall Street banking houses, however profligate and irresponsible, however culpable in bringing down the nation’s economy, were “too big to fail” or, in any meaningful way, even to regulate.
read … Troubles For Both Obama And GOP
Caldwell Raising Money For Carlisle Rematch—Or paying off Debts?
It's possible, of course, that Caldwell is merely trying to raise money to pay off his sizable campaign debts from the last fight. But one person close to Caldwell, while not expressly confirming a new run, made clear paying off old debts is not what's going on. (Sucker bait. Don’t be a sucker.)
Asked to confirm that Caldwell is running for mayor in 2012, 2010 campaign chair Lex Smith told Civil Beat, "I am not ready to do that today."
Panos Prevedouros might provide an alternative for voters who want an anti-rail mayor. Prevedouros finished third in 2010 and has said he will run again in 2012. Then there's Hawaii Sen. Clayton Hee, who has expressed skepticism about rail and development and has been rumored as a potential mayoral candidate after an impressive fundraising haul.
Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin recently told Civil Beat he'll "definitely" run for mayor someday — but not necessarily in 2012.
The non-partisan primary election will be held Aug. 11, 2012.
(If the pro-rail money backs Carlisle, then Caldwell is toast…if not, not.)
read … Captain Kirk is Back
Tax Cheat Hooser Chickens out of CD2 Run
We were all aware the path to victory was to be extremely challenging, but we also believed strongly that winning was possible. Given the initially limited field of candidates and the demographics and ideological base of those candidates, it seemed like the dynamics of the race were developing in our favor. A scenario where we started out as the #2 underdog, garnered the lion’s share of the liberal and green vote–and then moved forward as the alternative to the perceived front runner–seemed like a reasonable path to victory.
However the dynamics of the race have changed. We have had a professional political polling company survey over 1,000 likely voters in the 2nd Congressional district. As a result of that study, we have reached a conclusion that it is highly likely that the potential field of now 6 candidates would effectively split the votes that might otherwise oppose former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann allowing him to walk into victory with a mere plurality of votes. He has already raised in excess of $300,000 and, given his history and alliance to major corporate interests, there is no question that his fundraising will far exceed the minimum of $1 million necessary to run a credible campaign for Congress.
read … B-bye
Hilo Democrat attorney Marx announces U.S. House candidacy
Bob Marx, a Hilo attorney, has announced he will run in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District.
“I have spent my life fighting for the middle class and for the people of the Big Island,” he said in a statement.
read … Marx
Kona vs Hilo on County Redistricting:
Maui woman pleads not guilty to federal Ponzi charge
“Ms. Duarosan is the 12th defendant charged in Hawaii for investor fraud activity investigated by the FBI over the past three years,” said Tom Simon, FBI special agent.
The indictment alleges Duarosan collected about $882,000 from at least six people on Maui from October 2006 through April 2007. The people gave her the money believing they were investing in real estate development in the Philippines, gold in Indonesia and oil.
read … Another one
EXCLUSIVE: Kailua parents claim daughter was bullied at kid's club
"She was spit on, which is extremely unacceptable," David Sell said.
"She's been called retard. She's been called fat," Paddy Sell said.
Yup. This is on the evening news.
read … This is biiiig news
Stupid Doper rejects $1000 plea deal, gets 30 days and 10 years probation
Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara sentenced Nancy Harris to two years incarceration -- with all but 30 days stayed -- and 10 years probation. A jury found the 56-year-old Harris guilty in September of first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Under terms of her probation, Harris is prohibited from growing or using marijuana for any purpose.
Hara allowed Harris to remain free on supervised release pending appeal.
First-degree commercial promotion carries a possible 20-year prison term.Police raided Harris' Sacred Truth Mission in Hawaiian Acres on Feb. 15, 2007, and found 100-plus marijuana plants, more than an ounce of marijuana, plus numerous items of paraphernalia.
Harris has maintained that the search was illegal and that as a Rastafarian minister, she has the constitutional right to cultivate and smoke marijuana as a religious sacrament. She wrote on Facebook that she was offered a plea deal involving a $1,000 fine and no jail time, but rejected it.
read … Dopey Doper