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Friday, March 20, 2009
March 20, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:34 AM :: 8005 Views

Superferry Ruling May Impact Rail Tax

Djou pointed to five laws, including stricter liquor licensing and overtime for vehicle towing, which apply only to Honolulu County. But perhaps the most significant he said is the measure that allowed the city to raise the general excise tax by .5% to fund a rail transit system.

That law, which took effect in January of 2007, specifically said a county with “a population greater than five hundred thousand” could only use the additional GET surcharge for “a mass transit project.”

“The Hawaii Supreme Court's ruling was so broad and so sweeping,” said the Djou, “it throws a monkey wrench into so many different aspects. Rail is one of many that's going to completely mess up government here in Hawaii.”

RELATED: Djou: Superferry Ruling Voids Rail Tax, Landfill Ban , Hawaii Superferry Ruling: Invalidates other laws? , 10 days for Supreme Court to Reconsider  , Sen Sam Slom "Hawaii's Dysfunctional Supreme Court"

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Few opponents turn out to see exit

...environmentalists and cultural preservationists called the Superferry's death or indefinite limbo a great victory. But few came out to see the ship for what may be the last time....

Ferry opponent Dot Buck of Pukalani stood near the harbor's beach. She said she stopped by only because she and her son were on their way into town anyway. Buck had protested against the ferry's arrival and watched court proceedings one day, she said.

"I saw it in the harbor and said, 'Let's say goodbye, ha ha ha. That's what they get for trying to cram something down our throats."

RELATED: March 19, 2009 News Read Hawaii Superferry opponents "feeling glee" , Read how Superferry opponents spin blame away from themselves

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Superferry Pulling Ship Out Of Hawaii

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa was on KITV 4 Island Television News This Morning. She said she was surprised the Superferry is leaving.  (Remember when Hanabusa ran for congress she called herself "the smart one"....)

KITV: Complete video of Superferry news conference , Advertiser coverage

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Superferry economic fallout begins

An idled Superferry puts scores of workers on the unemployed rolls in the middle of a recession and hurts the bottom line for many businesses and nonprofit entities.

Love's Bakery carried more than 2 million loaves of bread on the interisland carrier since it began operations in September 2007, and the Superferry donated more than $165,000 in travel to more than 100 groups, the company said.

Barry Bundy said the absence of the Superferry is going to push back the delivery time for his automobile parts business and raise costs.

"We're considering leaving the islands," he said.

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State visitor arrivals seen falling 5.2% in '09

Tough times are ahead for Hawaii businesses and households over the next few years.  Hawaii faces a long and deep recession, according to the annual forecast by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.

RELATED: Advertiser coverage

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More Eco-harassment: Fish farm may leave Kona

Kona Blue Water Farms says it will stop production unless the state lets the company install bigger, but fewer, net pens at its fish farm off Unualoha Point.
Community concerns harassment by "Citizens Against Virtually Everything" and two contested case filings prompted officials at Kona Blue Water Farms to withdraw their 2007 permit modification application and submit a revised request. Without some kind of change, the aquaculture farm cannot become profitable...

The original proposal had been contested on two grounds: That the lease involved ceded lands (thanks, OHA) and that there was not yet sufficient environmental information available to justify an expansion, the document said.

(Note how the article makes no mention of the names of those who filed the contested case actions....) 

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Hawaii County Council fast-tracks bills for stimulus qualification

Eleven of the bills, for projects ranging from baseyard improvements, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, retrofitting Public Works buildings for earthquake resistance and implementing an energy efficiency project, were passed unanimously on their final reading during the council meeting at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa. The last, authorizing release of $4 million in county general bonds and accepting $35 million in federal funding for Ane Keohokalole Highway, was passed on first reading with North Kona Councilman Kelly Greenwell casting the lone dissenting vote.
Greenwell said he didn't believe the county needed to put in any money for projects that were eligible for federal funding, and wondered why the county was contributing the $4 million for the proposed Kona road, which would extend from the intersection of Henry Street and Palani Road to Hina Lani Street. Other council members pointed out that the county funds were in the form of a bond, and that bond money must be spent on the project for which it is issued.

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Bankrupt Hawaiian Telcom plans to pay $6M in worker bonuses

"Our employees are key to our long-term success and our ability to emerge from Chapter 11, so I, and the rest of the board members, have determined that it is critical that we stand behind their accomplishments and honor our commitment to them," said Walter Dods, Hawaiian Telcom's chairman and the former head of First Hawaiian Bank.

Nearly $3.6 million of the bonus money is intended for non- senior management employees.

Hawaiian Telcom said its unionized employees qualify for about $2 million in incentive pay under the terms of their collective bargaining agreement signed in October.

"We commend the company management for working on behalf of the union employees and living up to 100 percent of the terms required by the collective bargaining agreement," said Scot Long, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1357.

RELATED: Governor's statement

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Dodd Blames Obama Administration for AIG Bonus Amendment

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said the Obama administration asked him to insert a provision in last month’s $787 billion economic- stimulus legislation that had the effect of authorizing American International Group Inc.’s bonuses.

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Undersea volcano erupts 6 miles off main Tongan island

photos  local coverage and more photos:

RELATED: 7.9 Tonga Earthquake does not cause tsunami 

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Canceled show costs Rain $8M

"That was the best we certainly could've hoped for under the circumstances," said attorney Eric Seitz, representing the Hawaii promoter, Click Entertainment....The judgment is expected to trigger several lawsuits across the U.S. where the star abruptly canceled shows two years ago.

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SB: Create system for distributing medical marijuana

MEDICAL patients who rely on marijuana to ease pain won a major victory this week in protection promised by the Obama administration. Attorney General Eric Holder said threatened federal interference with laws in Hawaii and a dozen other states allowing medical use of marijuana has come to an end.  (And so it begins....)

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Sex predator could get probation

Matthew Cargill, 32, pleaded guilty in Circuit Court last week to two counts of second-degree sexual assault, five counts of third-degree sexual assault and first-degree electronic enticement of a minor.

Cargill had been charged with first-degree sexual assault, a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Second-degree sexual assault is a Class B that carries a maximum 10-year term. First-degree electronic enticement of a minor is also a Class B felony.

When Cargill committed the crimes, state law allowed judges to grant probation to persons convicted of first-degree electronic enticement. State lawmakers removed that option last year.

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ILWU backs Anderson's Council bid

Hawaii's largest private sector union has endorsed J. Ikaika Anderson's candidacy to replace former City Council member Barbara Marshall.

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