Lingle Joins in Bi-Partisan Policy Summit
Homeless Service Utilization Report: Hawaii 2011
Bag Ban Detrimental To The Environment
Feds Raid HPD Major's House; Drugs Seized, Charges Filed
Honolulu Police Department Major Carlton Nishimura, already under indictment on federal extortion charges, now faces drug distribution charges following an FBI raid of his Waianae home last night.
Agents executed a search warrant at Nishimura’s Moelua Street house and seized six plastic baggies containing crystal methamphetamine as well as three digital scales.
The seized items “are consistent with the illegal distribution of drugs,” FBI agent Daniel Olson said in a sworn affidavit filed in federal court today. Nishimura affidavit
Nishimura was arrested last night. He briefly appeared in federal court today and was ordered held in custody pending a hearing tomorrow on a government motion to hold him without bail.
Five of the baggies contained “distribution quantities” of crystal meth – the commonly abused illegal stimulant known in Hawaii as “ice.”….
Agents seized a total of 231.5 grams of the drug during the raid, according to court papers….
Nishimura, 55, had been free pending trial since his indictment in February on a series of charges related to illegal game room operators.
In the motion filed today to hold Nishimura without bail, the government said he has violated the terms of his pre-trial release by "possessing ammunition, brass knuckles, controlled substances and repeatedly contacting a witness in his pending case."
His defense lawyers have filed court papers in recent weeks attacking the credibility of the principal prosecution witness in the extortion case, alleging that the witness, a woman, admitted giving false grand jury testimony about Nishimura.
A hearing on that matter is scheduled Friday in federal court.
The charges filed against Nishimura in February include extortion, attempted witness tampering and making false statements….
A 30-year HPD veteran, Nishimura was working as an HPD “legislative liaison” when he was indicted.
SA: HPD major accused of extortion now faces drug charges as well
read … HPD Major Busted for Selling Meth
Council Chair recommends for rail contract rebid
Finmeccanica reported it would sell nearly $1.4 billion in assets, which happens to be the same amount as Honolulu's rail contract. The company's stock has also lost half of its value this year. It's also partially owned by the Italian government which is also restructuring in a financial crisis.
"These are uncertain times and they call for extraordinary measures," said Giuseppe Orsi, Finmeccanica CEO, in a statement.
Add it up and the Italians are giving some in Hawaii heartburn.
"I think with this additional news it may be prudent for them to take a step back and do a more thorough review," said Ernie Martin, Honolulu City Council Chair.
Chair Martin is one that thinks starting the billion plus dollar contract over again could end up saving money.
"I think they should perhaps postpone and do a little bit more due diligence I would ask that of them," said Martin.
Losing bidder Sumitomo Corporation has repeatedly warned the city about Italy and Ansaldo's financial problems.
"The question remains why would the city continue down this path when it makes no economic sense to do so. There is no technical advantage in doing so. And of course the past history and so called inability for this company to meet its deadlines," said Gino Antoniello, Sumitomo Corporation Vice President. "Currently, and we stand by this, we believe the city will pay $700 million more in operations and maintenance costs for the project with Ansaldo than if they went with Sumitomo."
read … Ernie Martin Rebid
Ansaldo Front man Hired Councilmember
Shapiro: One factor distinguishing Ansaldo from other bidders is the Italian company's attention to making local political connections.
Ansaldo's "responsible managing employee," according to the state order fining Ansaldo $150,000 for not having a Hawaii license, is contractor Thomas Enomoto, whose company is known for ties to local elected officials.
Enomoto's company gave City Councilman Nestor Garcia, the former Council chairman, a $30,000-a-year part-time position as a safety manager.
Ansaldo's local spokeswoman is Carolyn Tanaka, who held a similar position with former Mayor Mufi Hannemann's campaign for governor.
read … Bought and paid For
SA: Revise pact with Pacific islanders
Hawaii taxpayers have been laden with the school and medical bills for Pacific island migrants who are allowed to move to the United States without a visa or work authorization, the result of an unfunded U.S. federal mandate. A new report by the investigative arm of Congress suggests that increasing federal grants to Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau to improve education and health care could reduce the migration. This might be wishful thinking — but it is a viable piece of a complex puzzle toward raising pact islanders' standards of living back home while negotiations move toward tighter migration requirements.
read … CoFA
Murdock Puts Lanai Up for Sale
More than 25 years ago, billionaire real estate tycoon David Murdock bought this bucolic Hawaiian island and promised to keep it as unchanged as a few high-end resorts and golf courses might allow.
For decades he’s propped up the island economy, keeping residents employed at its tourist spots, even though he's losing money.
Now, the 88-year-old Murdock has grown tired of dropping as much as $40 million a year on his tropical investment. He’s put the island up for sale.
This was the news delivered by Murdock's management company, Castle & Cooke, last month to lawmakers as they stood in the parking lot at Lanai’s Kaumalapau harbor for the start of a visit aimed at taking the community’s pulse on the Big Wind project.
read … Lanai
Lack of world attention for APEC was good sign
The good news is that over the weekend, the world's attention was not riveted on Hawaii
read … Nobody Cares about APEC
Abercrombie Security Detail Costs $1.2M, Racks Up Overtime
One employee worked the equivalent of an extra 14 hours a week last year, the most among the group, according to overtime records obtained by Civil Beat. He earned at least $18,738 in overtime pay alone. Three other sheriffs earned more than 525 overtime hours, or a minimum extra 10 hours a week on average for the year.
Some earned more than others because the governor and lieutenant governor often pick the same sheriffs when traveling, the department said.
The sheriff who earned the most overtime hours worked 720 hours. That comes out to an extra 14 hours a week. As a Deputy Sheriff II, his base salary is between $36,072 and $55,5242. Based on overtime compensation of time-and-a-half, his annual earnings would come to a minimum of $54,810 and a maximum of $84,370.
read … Security Blanket
Iolani Palace reopens after Abercrombie forced closure
Early last week protestors with the Hawaiian Kingdom were arrested by sheriffs after camping on palace grounds and refusing to leave, members of the same group also returned Tuesday.
"Ah..its, we are back home, we are back here because this is the seat of government and nobody is going to stop us from coming in here and continuing to do what we are doing," said Mahealani Kahanao of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government.
Members of the Hawaiian Kingdom have posted themselves on property for the past three years and say they will continue to protest on the grounds of Iolani Palace every weekday.
"APEC, this has nothing to do with APEC this has to do with the Hawaiian Kingdom government," Kahanao says.
Palace officials say they lost about $42,000 in revenue during the closure, they usually average 300 to 400 guests a day. Some visitors were disappointed the palace had been shutdown.
read … Ham Handed Abercrombie
Sovereignty Activists Recruiting at Arizona Prison
Last week, two spiritual advisers traveled to Eloy from the islands to oversee ceremonies for the beginning of the Makahiki season of harvest. Ka'iana Haili and Kini Kaleilani Burke, contract workers with Hawaii's DPS, have guided stateside inmate populations in cultural tradition for a decade.
read … Eloy prison's Hawaiian population takes part in harvest ceremony
Sidewalk Bill A Threat To Occupy Honolulu Protest?
Guess what. The right to live on the sidewalk is not contained in the First Amendment, whether you call it a protest or you are open about just being a bum.
read … Homelessness Industry
GMO Labeling: Luddites Demand We Facilitate Boycott Driven by Anti-Science Hype
That's a question that might normally be posed to the Food and Drug Administration or perhaps the Hawaii Legislature, but today it's the Honolulu City Council that's searching for answers.
The four counties' legislative package, as currently written, includes a bill that would require labeling for GMOs. Nestor Garcia is proposing an amendment that would remove that bill from the list….
HCIA's Alicia Maluafiti said it's not GMOs that are dangerous but organic foods, which are responsible for every E. coli and salmonella outbreak across the world. She said the labeling mandate would make importing more expensive and would hurt consumers.
Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee Chair Tulsi Gabbard said it's a matter of people knowing what they're feeding their families. Gabbard's statement drew some supportive finger-wiggling from the Occupy Honolulu folks in the room….
Gabbard, though, eventually recommended that the GMO measure be removed, saying it's an important issue that needs a full airing that can't happen now under the tight timeline for the legislative package. The amended version passed out of committee unanimously.
read … Luddites’ Boycott Facilitation Bill
Skies above Marine base expected to grow busier
A new Marine Corps study says airfield use at Kaneohe Bay is expected to increase 49 percent by 2018 compared with a 2009 "base-line" level of activity, as the Corps and Navy update aging aircraft and add new capability in a reflection of Hawaii's growing importance in the Pacific.
read … Kaneohe
Navy to take at least another 2 years to decide training range locations on Guam
The U.S. Navy will take at least another two years to decide the location of controversial Marine Corps training ranges that are part of a planned military buildup on Guam, according to documents filed by U.S. attorneys in Hawaii district court Tuesday.
In the meantime, the service will again weigh the environmental effects of locating the machine gun and grenade ranges along the territory’s eastern shore where residents fear it will encroach on ancient ancestral land and burial grounds, the court brief said.
The announcement of the delay and a new round of federal environmental studies Tuesday was part of the Navy’s response to an ongoing lawsuit filed last year by Guam residents angered by the range plans. It appeared to be a victory for those who want the military to look elsewhere for a training location and also another setback for plans to move Marine forces from Okinawa to Guam.
read … Slow Walk
Hawaii coffee growers favor free trade deal
Farmers support Obama's Asia-Pacific trade plan because they say Asian buyers will pay more than US ones.
read … Free Trade
'Unprofessionalism' drives Hawaii State FCU head to resign
"I have worked in the best interest of the credit union and its members for 19 years, only to end my tenure with your volunteer officials spitting in my face," Kim wrote. "I deserved better."….
Kim's resignation came seven months after then-board Chairwoman Beverly Lee Ing was ousted by a wide margin in an annual vote of credit union members to elect three directors. Two first-time candidates, Lowell Kalapa and Bill Milks, were the top vote-getters, supported by dissident members pushing for reforms. An incumbent, David Shimabukuro, received the third most votes.
The election was held amid growing controversy over the institution's governance, including criticisms of the seven-member board after a Star-Advertiser article in January revealed that the directors had given themselves unusually generous benefits over the years. Several days after the article was published, the board agreed to reduce the benefits….
when asked about the latest development, Warren Hamamoto, one of the credit union members who campaigned for reforms, called for the resignation of the five directors from the old board or for an investigation into why Kim suddenly resigned.
read … 'Unprofessionalism' drives Hawaii State FCU head to resign
HMSA posts $12.9M earnings as it seeks rise in premiums
Kaiser, which showed a loss of $800,000 in the third quarter, is also seeking a hike….
read ... Profitable nonprofit
Prime Healthcare trying to buy bankrupt Hawaii Medical
“Today, with the firm’s assistance, Prime consummated a loan purchase transaction which will enable Hawaii Medical Center to avoid the threat of imminent closure and to conduct an orderly sale of its assets,” Bradshaw said in a statement issued Tuesday. “We are pleased to have been able to assist Prime in the loan sale process and look forward to working on a sale transaction whereby Prime can operate Hawaii Medical Center and improve the quality of patient care in Hawaii.”
It is not clear if Prime Healthcare Services’ deal for Hawaii Medical Center, should it be finalized, would include both the Liliha and Ewa hospitals, and Bradshaw could not be reached for further comment late Tuesday afternoon.
After its most recent lender pulled financing Nov. 10, Hawaii Medical Center have frantically been staving off a possible shutdown by courting potential buyers, but they have never identified them outright.
HVCA: How healthy is health care in Hawaii?
read … St Francis
Celebration of Life Memorial Service
November is National Hospice Month and on Tuesday Oahu's five hospice care programs reached out to families of veterans with a celebration of life memorial service. They came from all across Oahu with a story to share about a lost loved one.
read … Life
Bishops approve memorials for late pope, Mother Marianne Cope
the bishops voted to add an optional memorial for Blessed Marianne Cope, who ministered in Hawaii to people with Hansen's disease. Oct. 22 was recommended as the memorial for Pope John Paul by the bishops' Committee on Divine Worship when it met in June. The date is the late pope's feast day and the anniversary of his installation as pope in 1978. He was beatified May 1. "The only thing we don't know about the (Mother Marianne) memorial is the date," Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, committee chairman, said Nov. 15 after the votes were cast authorizing a memorial for the New York-born nun
read … Hawaii’s Next Saint?
UPW Gets Paid Just for Showing Up
Question: I live in the Halawa area where our green bin hasn't been picked up for over a month. Meanwhile, they missed the blue bin pickup twice already. What happens to the drivers when they don't make their rounds? Do they get paid for those days when the trucks are broken? What do they do?
Answer: Operators without trucks available to service a route get paid if they show up for work. But they are not necessarily idle.
Markus Owens, spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Services, said that if an operator reports to work and has no operable truck, he waits at the base yard for a truck that comes either out of the repair shop or a truck that has already completed another route.
"If no truck becomes available for the entire day, the operator is paid for waiting for a truck and leaves the workplace at the end of his shift," he said.
read … UPW
Ho'opili serves as a model for all developers
This is the first time a local developer has integrated food production into a project from the early stages of planning. -- Dean Okimoto
(Nope. Hokulia did the same thing.)
read … Hokulia Redux?
Hayashino to head Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
Hayashino is a Sansei, or third-generation Japanese-American, has held numerous positions with Japanese-American organizations in California and has been the recipient of several awards, the center noted. Her husband, Kyle Tatsumoto, was born and raised in Windward Oahu.
Related: CSUS News Release
read …. Hayashino
West Hawaii Civic Center approaches Zero Waste
The audit, conducted in October, established that 98 percent of the waste generated at the facility by County employees is being recycled or reused instead of being thrown into our landfills. The diversion rate for the entire facility, including public-generated waste, is 90 percent….
For more information on this program or any County recycling programs and services, please visit the County’s Solid Waste Division website at www.hawaiizerowaste.org
read … No Government Waste?