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Friday, November 18, 2011
November 18, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:50 PM :: 14872 Views

WSJ: Finmeccanica Rushing to Sell Honolulu Rail Contractor Ansaldo

Report: For Families in Poverty, Hawaii Income Tax is #2 in Nation

Animal Liberation Groups Demand Matson End Pig Imports to Hawaii

Dillingham DMV employee, driving instructor charged with Selling Drivers Licenses to Illegal Aliens

The hidden story of the third Thanksgiving: 1623--giving thanks for freedom

HART reviewing $1.4 billion Ansaldo contract

HNN: Financial concerns over the company picked to build Honolulu's rail cars has prompted the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to possibly delay signing the $1.4 billion contract. The interim executive director says he will do one last due diligence on Ansaldo. The HART board will meet again next Friday November 25, which is also the deadline for the city to sign the core systems contract with Ansaldo.

Background: WSJ: Finmeccanica Rushing to Sell Honolulu Rail Contractor Ansaldo

read … Got HART?

New GOP Chair to Focus on Recruiting Strong GOP Legislative Candidates

As party chairman, Chang says he is trying to steer the GOP on a course of encouraging solid candidates to fill slots in the state Legislature. Previously the GOP tried to make sure there was a candidate for every House and Senate seat. And before that the plan was to go for the top and won with Gov. Linda Linge. But attempts to use patronage to fill out the GOP legislative ranks didn't work.

In fact, none of the plans worked very well -- so Chang is attempting a more studied approach.

"In a perfect world there would be a highly qualified candidate for every seat," he said. "Obviously I won't get that, but I want to recruit highly qualified candidates."

If Hawaii Republicans find most things just a little bit more difficult, the replacement of Kaauwai was pure torment. Kaauwai represented conservative Christians, an important part of the GOP core. But his sometimes overly enthusiastic proselytizing made the small business, libertarian and anti-big government Republicans in the party uncomfortable.

read … New GOP Hawaii chairman has big challenge ahead

Judge’s Ruling on Judicial Secrecy an Embarrassment to OIP

CNS: A judge has ordered Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie to disclose the names of candidates who had vied for a spot on the state's high court, saying he was confounded as to why to Abercrombie fought the request.
Abercrombie appointed Associate Supreme Court Justice Sabrina McKenna on Jan. 25 to fill a vacancy on the bench left by the elevation of Mark Recktenwald to chief justice….

The Office of Information Practices defended Abercrombie's decision, finding that materials were exempt because of "the potential for injection of undue influence in or politicizing of a selection process carefully established by the Constitution. [...] The frustration upon which that opinion is based would end once a nominee is confirmed by the Senate. Until that point, the same basis for frustration would exist because, if the Senate chose not to confirm a nominee appointed by the Governor, another nominee would then be selected from the list."

Citing a "backlog and other priorities" and "limited resources," an OIP official told the Star-Advertiser's managing editor in June that it could not render more than an opinion letter on the matter.

read … Abercrombie Smacked Down by Judge

Sidewalk Bill Advances Despite Occupy Honolulu

Honolulu's ban on keeping personal possessions on sidewalks is one step closer to becoming law, but in many ways the fight has just begun.

With about 20 angry sign-holding Occupy Honolulu protesters in attendance and three police officers in a side room in case things got out of hand, the Honolulu City Council's Committee on Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs on Thursday advancedBill 54.

If it passes, the bill would allow the city to confiscate all personal belongings left or kept on public property such as sidewalks and parks for more than 24 hours. A final vote will be held Dec. 7, according to the committee's chair and the bill's sponsor,Tulsi Gabbard….

Nestor Garcia was the only one to register objections. Romy Cachola, who is not a member of the committee, continued his criticism of the proposal on the grounds that it doesn't include projected implementation costs and because it won't help solve Honolulu's homeless problem. Stanley Chang, Breene Harimoto and Tom Berg joined Gabbard in moving the measure forward.


read … Blow to Homelessness Industry

Slow Economic Recovery Expected For Hawaii

KITV: Speaking before an audience at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall, Laney predicted with that in mind, it's a painfully slow economic outlook for 2012.

Hawaii's jobless rate, which has been hovering above 6%, may see a marginal improvement in 2012.

"The problem with faster job growth in 2012 is mainly that much of the job growth that has taken place so far in our recovery can't continue at the same pace as earlier," said Laney.

Laney predicts it's likely most of the job growth will be in the private sector, with the public sector remaining a drag. Construction jobs have made some improvement, mostly due to projects on Oahu.

PBN: Economists tell First Hawaiian forum that 2012 will see slow growth

SA: Economy moving at a snail's pace

read … Slow, slower, slowest

Solar Installers May Go Out of Business as 15% Threshold Reached on More and More Circuits

KHON: The Public Utilities Commission has brought stakeholders together to examine whether the 15 percent threshold that triggers interconnection studies can be increased. HECO is also investing in new technologies that could eventually allow the expanded use of photovoltaic systems.

“Really what we want to do is encourage as much PV as possible,” said Pai. “It's really going to be part of a whole range of solutions that we need if we're going to reach this clean energy goal.”

Meanwhile, companies that install PV are wondering whether enough progress will be made to keep all of them in business in the coming years. Davis says if the pie of potential customers continues to shrink, some companies may go belly up.

“If these things start shutting down, your eighty-five solar companies out there will dwindle.”

read … Installers

Morita: At Least One Year Before 15% Threshold Can Be Raised

Q: What can be done to speed the improvement of the electrical grid, especially on Oahu, so it can handle more renewable energy from small-scale producers?

A: There are two issues. One of the major issues that we're looking at, at the commission, is what's the maximum amount of renewable penetration we can have on the grid and still maintain reliability. And this is a critical engineering question. We can solve it through engineering, but how much can we afford? That's a major issue we're looking at ... With this major docket, the Reliability Standards Working Group, we're hoping to help resolve this.

Q: What's the timetable for the working group?

A: Probably not for another year. The process is really slow, deliberative; we're not using your typical adjudicatory process or adversarial process, where people just take sides and file their briefs back and forth. In this particular docket, because it deals primarily with engineering, the working group is free to discuss among themselves, all the parties, and break down into sub-issues. And a lot of it is a learning process for the renewable advocates to understand the utility system better, in trying to maintain reliability standards. ...

So, the second part is the smart grid. All smart grid is, is communications. So having the ability to communicate at critical intersections. ... I think part of your question is, what is the PUC's role in this, and can it be legislated?

read … One More Year

Maui sees a clean-energy surplus Without Big Wind

PBN: “There is no specific plan to get us to 100 percent, but there is a general desire,” McLeod told PBN. “We got to this point just on wind, and once all these wind farms come online we are majority of renewable all the time.” At its peak, Maui County currently uses more than 200 megawatts of energy a day. But during most of the day, its usage can go as low as 80 megawatts, McLeod said. In the next 24 months, Maui County will have enough projects in the works to be producing nearly 100 megawatts a day.

Beyond that, Maui County is in talks with Korean and European companies to make hydrogen from solar, (dream on) according to McLeod, who says it also has a proposal from Pennsylvania-based Air Products and Chemicals to convert wind power to hydrogen. (dream on) The amount of energy that could be generated from these projects was not immediately available, but it is expected to be significant.

Despite Maui County’s grand plans, only 15 percent of its electricity came from clean sources last year….

Not including Big Wind, if all other projects currently in the works or being considered come together they could be enough to rethink the need for the Big Wind project which, ironically, is planned for two of the islands that are in Maui County — Molokai and Lanai. In wind projects alone, Maui County has 72 megawatts of energy either planned or already in place. In 2006, Boston-based First Wind established the 30-megawatt Kaheawa wind farm, which supplies about 10 percent of the island’s energy needs. A second-phase 21-megawatt project is under construction in the same location. Sempra Energy’s Auwahi wind farm at Ulupalakua Ranch on the lower slopes of Haleakala will add another 21 megawatts to Maui’s electricity grid. The San Diego-based company hopes to begin construction next year and have it running by early 2013.

When it comes to solar energy — the second-largest renewable-energy source for the county — 9 megawatts of power are in play. This includes the 1.2-megawatt La Ola solar facility on Lanai, which has battery storage technology and currently supplies 10 percent of Lanai’s total energy needs. Another 7 megawatts of PV is available on Maui. Additionally, several large solar farms have been proposed in Haiku and West Maui. Beyond the wind and sun, Maui County has another 12 megawatts of renewable energy in the works from sources such as hydropower.

read … Maui sees a clean-energy surplus

OHA Deal Would Push Two State Departments out of Office Building

The state Department of Public Safety and the state Department of Human Services may have to vacate a Kakaako office building within five years because the building is part of a proposed settlement between the state and the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs over ceded lands….

At an informational briefing Thursday before the state Senate Ways and Means Committee, state building planners told senators that the tentative move would be to house the departments and others at the old Liliha Civic Center space downtown….

DAGS will also ask for $17 million to go with the $13 million it has already received to renovate the Kamamalu building near the state Capitol, which has been vacant for more than a decade, an embarrassment for the state.

Longer term, state building planners also want to demolish aging Kinau Hale adjacent to the Capitol and construct a new building, a pedestrian mall and underground parking. The mall, set mauka from the Capitol, could also be used for statues and memorials.

Senators expressed frustration over the lack of a complete inventory of state office space and lease arrangements.

CB: Ceded Land Deal Began With A Phone Call

DN: OHA Kakaako land deal may be all wet

Related: Abercrombie, OHA to Propose Yet Another Ceded Lands Deal to Legislature

read … Musical Chairs

Bill aims to fix flaws in Hawaii's civil unions law

HNN: As Hawaii gets ready for civil union ceremonies, a 'fix-it bill' is already in the works. The measure is aimed at correcting potential problems in the new law….

They're already in a reciprocal beneficiary relationship in Hawaii which they must end under the new law before applying for a civil union. Once the paperwork is mailed in, the termination process takes about five days, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health.

"We're sending ours off this next week because it will be close to the holidays and it goes to the Department of Health. We have to get something back from them showing our reciprocal beneficiary is void. So it could be a period of 2, 3 weeks," explained Bradley.

The gap period could create problems when it comes to issues like insurance, inheritance, or property rights.

"There's always a risk that something tragic could happen in that gap period where you've lost your legal recognition," said State Representative Blake Oshiro.

Oshiro is part of a task force that came up with ideas to improve the law. In the fix-it bill, a reciprocal beneficiary relationship would automatically end when a civil union license is issued, which would help to close the gap.

"We're hoping that because most of them are administrative and a lot of them are housekeeping that it shouldn't get tied up too much in the legislative process, but like everything else in the legislature, it moves at its own time," said Oshiro….

Since reciprocal beneficiary relationships began in Hawaii in 1997, the Department of Health has registered 2,181 couples. The total includes same-sex partners and blood relatives, such as father and daughter.

read … Trojan Horse?

APEC committee alerted to possible data breach

"The East-West Center has been notified that our computer system experienced unauthorized access starting approximately from October 25, 2011. We believe, but have no way of knowing for sure, that this breach was related to seeking APEC information. Due to our APEC involvement in credentialing Hawaii participants in a White House function, part of the data traffic contained personal information, including names, Social Security numbers, and birth dates. At this time, the EWC has no evidence that your personal information was actually accessed, but we also cannot determine with certainty that it was not accessed."

Morrison's letter provides information for credit-reporting agencies and urges the committee members to contact them, a recommendation that Tollefson followed.

Morrison told the Star-Advertiser that federal authorities are investigating the suspected hacking, but declined to name which agency is involved.

FBI Special Agent Tom Simon confirmed only that the FBI is "aware of the situation."

Full Text: Identity Theft Warning: Hawaii's East-West Center hacked

read … Hackers

Federal Agent’s Lawyer: Knife was not Part of Incident

Hart said Deedy stepped in when he saw Elderts "aggressively bullying someone else" at the McDonald's at about 2:30 a.m. Nov. 5. Deedy was at the McDonald's with two friends, who Hart would not identify.

"He developed fear for his life as he was attacked, and the lives of others because other people were nearby or involved in the incident and others were injured," Hart said.

Hart declined to say if Deedy was injured, as well, but police sources familiar with the case said Deedy suffered a broken nose and a jaw injury.

"He is a trained and responsible law enforcement agent and who has a great deal of remorse about having to use his weapon in self-defense," Hart said.

Deedy -- who sources said had been drinking before the shooting -- refused to take a blood alcohol test afterwards.

Asked if Deedy was drinking beforehand, Hart said, "We're investigating to see whether that is so, and if so, if drinking had any impact on Mr. Deedy's behavior."

Hart also spoke about the bloody knife found at the scene.

"The knife he used to cut off Mr. Elderts' clothing to provide first aid to him. The knife itself was not involved in the incident," Hart said.

Read … Federal Agent

U.S. Army Tests Secret Hypersonic Weapon From Kauai

The U.S. Army's hypersonic weapon prototype streaked across the Pacific Ocean at several times the speed of sound Thurs., Nov. 17, in a flawless maiden test flight. The success could pave the way for a new military capability to strike targets anywhere on Earth in as little as an hour.

Such a hypersonic weapon concept flies at a relatively flat trajectory within the atmosphere, rather than soaring up toward space like a ballistic missile and eventually coming back down. Hypersonic speed is defined as being at least five times the speed of sound (3,805 mph, or 6,124 kph, at sea level).

The Army's success today built upon lessons learned from two hypersonic test flights carried out by the Pentagon's research arm, called DARPA, in April 2010 and August 2011.

The Army's Advanced Hypersonic Weapon launched aboard a three-stage booster system from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai in Hawaii at 6:30 AM ET, deployed for its hypersonic glide, and eventually splashed down in the Reagan Test Site located near the Kwajalein Atoll.

read … Hypersonic

New Marine Corps Base Hawaii commander

Col. Brian P. Annichiarico assumed command of Marine Corps Base Hawaii from Lt. Col. Michael P. Antonio during a change of command ceremony at the base flagpole Thursday.
Antonio will resume his previous position as the base director of operations and training after serving as the interim base commanding officer for a month.
During the ceremony, the guest of honor, Col. Leo A. Falcam, deputy commander, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, applauded Antonio for his leadership as the base commanding officer.

read … MCB Hawaii

Castle & Cooke's Rumbaoa to Head Molokai Ranch

Castle & Cooke’s Clay R. Rumbaoa stepped in this week as executive director of Molokai Properties Ltd. (MPL), also known as Molokai Ranch, according to an announcement of cessation.

Peter Nicholas, who has served as executive director since 2002, will retire Dec. 31. Until that time, Rumbaoa and Nicholas will share a “handover period … to facilitate a smooth transition,” according to the announcement made by Singapore-based investment company GuocoLeisure Ltd., which owns MPL.

Rumbaoa has served as director of engineering and development for Lanai with Castle & Cooke Resorts LLC from 2005 to present, according to a GuocoLeisure announcement of appointment.

read … Rumbaoa

Ho'opili project competes with OHA, KSBE over Development Profits

Ann Bouslog, a local real estate market analyst, projected that Oahu is looking at a shortage of 29,000 homes for residents by 2030 based on city and state population growth projections even if all homes already permitted in the Ewa region plus another roughy 10,000 homes in Honolulu's urban core are built.

Bouslog, president and CEO of Mikiko Corp., said such a shortage will force home prices up and that Ho'opili would help minimize that.

"Ho'opili is not the whole solution, but it could be part of the solution," she said.

Ho'opili opponents have suggested that more housing supply can come from building condominium towers to new heights in Kakaako (KSBE, OHA, State projects planned) and other urban areas….

CB: Hoopili Opponents: 30,000 Homes Shovel-Ready in Ewa Area

read … Hoopili

Family's land claim snags Hawaiian Village permits

SA: Objections to the permits were raised by a family that leases a portion of the land under the Diamond Head Tower to Hilton.

The Mun family says its property was included as part of the project without its approval, attorney Cal Chipchase IV said. He sought a deferral of the permits to give the parties more time to settle issues related to the Muns' access to their property, which they contend would be affected by the development.

Jerry Gibson, area vice president of Hilton Hawaii, said the company hopes to renew its lease with the Mun family and has proposed a settlement.

"Hilton is prepared to give the Mun family the necessary easements to provide access," Gibson said.

Chipchase said the family has been reviewing the proposals but asked for more time to work out an agreement to satisfy everyone.

read … Mun Family


Hawaiian Adding Five More A330s and A350s by 2015

All of Hawaiian's new A330s will carry 294 passengers in a two-class configuration – 30 more passengers per aircraft than its current fleet of 16 Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. The new A330s are more fuel-efficient than the B767s and have a longer operating range, giving Hawaiian the option to open new nonstop routes between Hawaii and points throughout all of North America and eastern Asia.

Hawaiian has used its growing fleet of new A330s to meet increased consumer demand for its services to Honolulu from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Tokyo, and will also use A330 aircraft for its daily nonstop New York City-Honolulu service beginning June 5, 2012.

Introduction of the A330 into Hawaiian's fleet has also fueled the expansion of its route network internationally. Within the past year, Hawaiian has launched three new routes between Honolulu and Asia – Tokyo (November 2010), Seoul (January 2011), and Osaka, Japan (July 2011). The company has also announced service to Fukuoka, Japan beginning in April 2012.

Additional new services are expected to be announced in the coming months.

The next-generation, longer-range A350s will further strengthen Hawaiian's capability to grow its route network internationally. Hawaiian's A350s will seat more than 300 passengers in a two-class configuration and have a range of 8,300 nautical miles, enabling Hawaiian to fly nonstop between Hawaii and any viable tourism source market around the world.

Web: Hawaiian’s 95.5% On-Time Performance Led Airline Industry in September

read … Long Haul

Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Assn. Changes Name

The Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association is still transitioning under its new name, Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, but it soon will reflag some of its Neighbor Island chapters under the new name as well.

The association’s president, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, told PBN that the name change, which took effect last month, was essential to reflect the depth of the 600-member trade association, which includes Hawaii lodging properties as well as affiliated businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector.

read … HLTA

Health Dept. Puts the Kibosh on Customers' Containers

CB: If you don't like throwing away plastic foam food containers after eating takeout, then why not bring your own reusable container to the restaurant?

It's a question readers have on their minds. Since we started ourFriend or Foam series, several readers have asked us if the Health Department allows customers to bring their own to-go containers to restaurants.

The answer is no. Restaurants can’t take customers' food containers back into the kitchen. Nor can they let restaurant utensils touch those containers — unless they plan to wash the utensils afterward.

read … Anti-Styrofoam Campaign

OTEC International to build ocean power plant in Hawaii Co.

PBN: Although negotiations of a lease agreement and terms are ongoing, NELHA executive director Greg Barbour told PBN the cost of such a project would be $30 million.

Baltimore-based OTEC International intends to finance the project, which would be developed to test the full power cycle of ocean thermal energy conversion to produce electricity, with private capital, Barbour said. The company has built its OTEC design on decades of research and innovation, combining proprietary technology with off-the-shelf components, company officials said.

In addition, OTEC International has a term sheet and is negotiating a power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric Co. for a 100-megawatt plant off the coast of Oahu and also is negotiating a 25-megawatt plant with the Caribbean Utilities Co., the company said.

read … OTEC


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