Case vs Hirono: Both Voted for Higher Taxes and War in Iraq
Heritage Foundation holds First-Ever Event in Hawaii
Kauai Chief Perry Victim of Retaliation by Corrupt Mayor?
Hanabusa, Djou Each Start 2012 With $300K In Bank
CB: Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and her political rival, former Congressman Charles Djou, are heading into the 2012 election with about the same amount of money in the bank to spend on what promises to be a spirited general election campaign….
An Army reserve major, Djou is currently deployed to Afghanistan and is prohibited by law from campaigning while on active duty….
Meanwhile, the Democrat Hanabusa has been taking full advantage of her first term in Congress to raise money from the usual political action committees that donate heavily to incumbents, along with individual contributors.
Djou's year-end report shows $81,406 in donations, bringing his total contributions for this cycle to $171,716. He transferred nearly $250,000 from his 2010 campaign, too. He ended the year with $313,454 on hand….
Hanabusa also transferred $40,000 from her primary campaign committee, Hanabusa for Hawaii, to another campaign committee called Colleen For Congress. Records of that committee show she is using the fund to pay off a loan to herself from her last campaign. Records reflect Hanabusa loaned herself more than $100,000 for the 2010 race and, even with the recent infusion of $40,000, still owes herself nearly $65,000….
In the latest reporting period, Hanabusa only collected one PAC contribution from a Hawaii-based committee, and that was $5,000 from DANPAC, the committee headed by Sen. Daniel Inouye, Hawaii's senior Democratic senator. The rest of the PAC money came from the mainland — about $76,000 from 44 other political action committees, many of them based in Washington, D.C.
read … $300K
Hawaii in Afghanistan
Aloha E Komo Mai!
Those are the first words soldiers from Schofield Barracks on Oahu see when they arrive at Forward Operating Base Fenti, the hub of the 25th Infantry Division’s presence in Afghanistan.
Snow-capped mountains ring this large base located in eastern Afghanistan, near Jalalabad city. There is good coffee here and a military surplus store stocked with candy, electronic gadgets and all the equipment an infantryman might need when he gets sent to a remote outpost in the dry, rocky mountains that dot this area near the Pakistan border. The helicopter pads and runways here are busy around-the-clock; Fenti is the gateway to all of the 25th Division’s smaller camps and bases.
The 25th Division traces its roots to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Schofield soldiers dug into positions along the North Shore and near Ewa Beach—where a lot of the soldiers now posted in Afghanistan own or rent homes.
CB: Mission to Nari
read … Hawaii in Afghanistan
Legislators Still trying to Legalize Small Bribes
SA: Those who would like to rise to the defense of the existing ban on gifts to state employees have a simple question: What's the problem?….
The central idea in the latest workaround attempt, House Bill 2457, is to carve out an exemption for "widely attended charitable events" as long as they're reported. Here's another simple question, and an answer: "Say, what?" And, "That's ridiculous."
HTH: Corporate campaign donations reported
read … that’s ridiculous
Profs Like Cayetano On Rail, But Not Ready To 'Forgive and Forget'?
CB: Mayoral hopeful Ben Cayetano got a warm welcome from University of Hawaii professors sympathetic to his objections to the Honolulu rail project, but rail alone might not be enough to score this union endorsement.
"I think that was very well received and accepted in terms of that particular issue," University of Hawaii Professional Assembly Executive Director JN Musto told Civil Beat about Cayetano's Saturday appeal to the professors' union for support. "He believes he's on a mission. Even if we agree with the mission, that does not necessarily mean we agree with the assertion that he should be the mayor. That's different, and it's one we haven't discussed. We'll see."
Musto said the UHPA board of directors will discuss the possibility of wading into the mayoral race at its next meeting, scheduled for this coming Saturday. He said county politics is "not something we've normally done."
Cayetano, who famously battled with professors when he was governor, said they seemed "open and even receptive to my thoughts" at the closed-door forum, using words like "professional" and "very cordial" to describe his hosts.
read … Profs Like Cayetano On Rail, But Not Ready To 'Forgive and Forget'?
Sewer Capacity Concerns Lead City to Oppose Bill promoting development near rail
A bill that would exempt residential and commercial developments along the 20-mile Honolulu rail transit corridor from state and county planning, zoning and permitting requirements is opposed by both rail supporters and rail opponents.…
The Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter, in a hearing last week, warned that House Bill 2756 would create "bad projects that fail to adequately analyze traffic impacts, infrastructure needs or community input."
City Department of Planning and Permitting Director David K. Tanoue also opposed the measure, suggesting state legislators could do more to promote transit-oriented development along the Honolulu rail corridor if they would help the city finance sewer, water or other infrastructure along the rail route.
That would reduce the risks for developers and make projects along the rail line easier to build under existing rules, Tanoue said in written testimony.
"We can have a fast-track approval process, but if there is no sewer capacity, no development gets built," Tanoue wrote.
State Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairman William Aila warned that development in the rail corridor without any zoning conditions or height limits could forever alter historic areas such as Chinatown and Merchant Street.
Also expressing opposition were The Outdoor Circle, Hawaii's Thousand Friends and other rail critics including University of Hawaii at Manoa civil engineering professor Panos Prevedouros. Prevedouros called the bill "a special law circumvention bill designed to serve special interests."
The bill was introduced by state Rep. Sharon Har (D, Makakilo-Kapolei) along with 14 other members of the state House.
read … Sewer vs Rail
Solar Installations Lead to First of Many HECO Rate Hike Proposals
SA: Hawaiian Electric Co. customers installed a record amount of solar power generating capacity on their rooftops last year, causing a reduction in utility revenue that HECO says it will have to make up with an increase in rates.
Customers on Oahu, Hawaii island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai installed enough photovoltaic (solar) panels connected to HECO's grid to generate a maximum 30 megawatts of electricity, the same generating capacity as the new wind farm in Kahuku. That was nearly triple the 11.5 megawatts of capacity installed in 2010.
While the homeowners and businesses that installed photovoltaic panels shaved millions of dollars off their electric bills, their savings translated into a loss of $7.4 million of revenue that HECO would have normally used to pay for fixed costs, such as meter reading and billing. HECO estimates that it will have to raise rates by a half-cent a kilowatt-hour on Oahu, 1.7 cents a kilowatt-hour on Hawaii island and 1.6 cents a kilowatt-hour in Maui County to recover the shortfall, which the utility calls the "lost contribution to fixed costs." HECO will apply to recover the lost contribution in a future rate case.
SA CORRECTION: Rate hike to cover solar use is less than reported
read … Snake Begins Eating its Tail
Hanabusa Backs Navy Plan to Move Pearl Harbor Shipyard Work to San Diego
SA: U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the Navy can't issue a final decision on the Russell until the release of President Barack Obama's budget on Feb. 13.
"However, in our current economic environment, I recognize the Navy must make efforts to keep its projects cost-effective," Hanabusa said.
About 90 percent of the shipyard's efforts are directed at submarine work, and private contractor BAE Systems Hawaii Shipyards performs surface ship jobs using an on-island work force of about 650.
During peak work times, the Navy projected it needs to bring in an additional 600 workers from the mainland to handle all the regularly scheduled surface ship work and conduct the cruiser and destroyer modernizations.
"My understanding is that the workload presented by the modernization of the Russell may exceed what BAE Systems' on-island work force can provide, requiring that they outsource a significant number of additional jobs to mainland personnel," Hanabusa said. Moving the Russell to the West Coast would open its Pearl Harbor dry dock to other vessels, she said, "potentially giving our local work force the job opportunities they need (Opportunity to collect unemployment???), while saving the Navy millions of dollars by not outsourcing jobs." …. (So instead of boosting local capacity and creating Hawaii jobs, Hanabusa says send it away so we can be idled.)
Lillis said he believes more island residents can be trained to do some of the cruiser and destroyer upgrade work.
"It's not just about the Russell," he said, adding that he is concerned that other vessels might be sent off for work elsewhere. "It's the difference between being a full overhaul shipyard and being a Jiffy Lube."
In late 2010 the shipyard announced it was embarking on a decade-long, $1.86 billion warship modernization program to extend the lives of the three cruisers and six destroyers at Pearl Harbor.
The work was to be part of a more than 20-year Navy-wide program to modernize its 22 Ticonderoga-class cruisers and 62 Arleigh-Burke destroyers at a cost of $16.6 billion, representing the most comprehensive effort of its kind in Navy history.
The shipyard started a $220 million modernization on the cruiser USS Chosin in January 2011, and work is ongoing, the Navy said. The Russell was to be the next to go in for upgrades.
read … Hanabusa Does not Stand for Jobs at Pearl Harbor Shipyard
Legislators Seek to Set Limits on Parental Discipline
SA: It would be more difficult to use parental discipline as a defense in a criminal case alleging child abuse under a bill being pushed by Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.
The bill, which advanced out of the state Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, would make it clear that under no circumstances is a parent or guardian allowed to throw, kick, burn, bite, cut or strike with a closed fist any minor regardless of age and size if the action is likely to cause bodily harm. Shaking of a child under 3 would not be allowed, nor would striking of a child less than 18 months old.
read … Discipline
Cataluna: Disrespect Bill is very Un-Hip Hop
SA: The term "disrespect," though, brings forth the idea of high status, a protected class, those who must be revered and feared. Clearly they can't think they can pass a law demanding respect for themselves, right? The word's contemporary association with hip-hop and street culture makes the whole idea of the decidedly un-hip and un-street reverse-print aloha shirt gang at the Capitol talking about disrespect even more laughable.
Most of the behavior covered in the bill is already prohibited, like assaulting any member of the Legislature or public during session or threatening bodily harm.
Other stuff like incessant shouting, refusing to remain seated on orders from the sheriff or sergeant-at-arms, and refusing to shut up when being told to shut up already can get you bounced from most government meetings (unless you're Tom Berg, which means all you get is another video clip on YouTube).
And then there's this: Being yelled at comes with the job. When you work in customer service, you have to listen to lots of jerks complain. When you work in public service, you have to listen to lots of jerks complain.
But unlike the lady working the phone at the cable company or the return counter at Walmart, legislators are insulated by aides and secretaries, protected by sheriffs, hidden by locked doors. Respect or the lack thereof can't really be legislated and in public office, very often, loudmouths and disruptions must be tolerated.
read … Cataluna
Feb. 6 — At The Ledge
CB: A selective list of bills and briefings Monday at the Capitol:
- House Human Services will meet at 8:30 a.m. in Conference Room 329. The agenda includes a bill that concerns electronic transmitting of nude images of minors.
- House Transportation will meet at 9 a.m. in Conference Room 309. The agenda includes a bill authorizing the state DOT to impose tolls charges on highways or construct new toll roads.
- At 10 a.m., House Public Safety will join Transportation to consider a bill requiring motor vehicles to “move over” when passengers in a stationary vehicle are rendering aid.
- House Tourism will meet at 9:30 a.m. in Conference Room 312 to discuss “the Tourism Industry’s Major Pocketbook Issues.”
- Two House committees will meet at 10 a.m. in Conference Room 329. The agenda is two human trafficking bills.
- Senate Economic Development will meet at 1:30 p.m. in Conference Room 016. The agenda includes a slew of bills designed to help the local film and digital media industry.
- Senate Tourism will join Economic Development at 2:30 to address a measure that transfers film, television, digital, and new media development from DBEDT to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
- Two Senate committees will meet at 3 p.m. in Conference Room 229. The agenda is a long one, and includes measures setting up task forces on long-term care; a pilot program for a dialysis center in the Federated States of Micronesia; a release program for inmates who are permanently and totally disabled, terminally ill, or geriatric and pose no public safety risk; and a triage center pilot program serving homeless people with substance abuse issues or mental illness.
read … Civil Beat On the Ledge
Star-Adv Gives Progressives Space to Promote Old Worn Out Ideas
- Health: single payer. The state was a leader in health care through its 1974 Prepaid Health Care Act. But tens of thousands of people still have no insurance here, and costs continue to rise (So we want single payer to reduce insurance coverage and increase rates even more.)
- Oil: gas cap. (This idea failed miserably in 2005 and was repealed in 2006. We want you to experience high, government-controlled gasoline prices all over again.)
- Housing: rentals. The only affordable housing program that really worked was one set up by the city some 30 years ago. (And even though the City of Honolulu is now privatizing these developments because they can’t afford to maintain them, we think this old, worn out idea deserves another chance.)
- Labor: union card checks. Our greatest threat comes from our growing inequality. (So we want union bosses to gain control over you without you having a vote or a say in the process.)
read … No new ideas here, eh?
Cancer: Federal Injunction Blocks Queen’s Grab for Oncology Monopoly
SA: Outside oncologists who use the Queen's Medical Center facilities to administer radiation treatment and related services to their cancer patients will continue to do so, under a temporary restraining order issued Friday by a federal judge.
The order was in response to a new hospital policy that restricts use of its oncology radiation facilities to employee physicians.
However, the restraining order does not block the policy, which was to take effect Wednesday.
With the closing of Hawaii Medical Center hospitals in Liliha and Ewa Beach in January and December, respectively, Queen's is the only facility on Oahu with an operating room approved for radiation oncology by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi said she issued the order to prevent interrupting patient care provided by Pacific Radiation Oncology physicians who are suing to block the new policy at Queen's….
Queen's' board of directors approved a resolution dated Aug. 29 stating that only doctors employed by Queen's will be allowed to use the hospital's radiation oncology services. The resolution says the purpose of the new policy is improve patient satisfaction, quality and continuity of care and to prevent the transferring of patients to other facilities for no medical reason or patient request.
The new policy was to take effect Feb. 1.
After adopting the resolution, the hospital offered the six physicians of PRO jobs at Queen's. The PRO physicians said they turned down the job offers because Queen's also required them to stop providing services at competing facilities and to relinquish any ownership or financial arrangement with any other hospital, ambulatory service center, clinic, facility or other entity that provides radiation oncology services.
read … Oncology
Kauai Mayor appears to have overstepped legal authority in suspending police chief
ILind: Here’s what the charter says:
Section 11.04. Chief of Police. The chief of police shall be appointed by the police commission. He may be removed by the police commission only after being given a written statement of the charges against him and a hearing before the commission. The chief of police shall have had a minimum of five years of training and experience in law enforcement, at least three years of which shall be in a responsible, administrative capacity. He shall make such reports from time to time as the commission shall require, and shall annually make a report to the commission of the state of affairs and condition of the police department. (Amended 1984)
Nothing there giving the mayor authority to “temporarily” remove or suspend the chief.
read … Kauai Mayor appears to have overstepped legal authority in suspending police chief
On Molokai, uneasy truce over yacht’s visits holding
MN: The owner of a controversial excursion yacht to Molokai said he intends to keep bringing passengers to the island despite protests but also plans to implement conditions that he finds acceptable from an ongoing community study.
Dan Blanchard, chief executive officer and principal of InnerSea Discoveries/American Safari Cruises, spoke with The Maui News last week for the first time about his 36-person yacht's frequent trips to the Friendly Isle.
Both sides said the trips have opened fresh wounds and may lead to much bigger decisions about what level of tourism or development the relatively isolated island's residents might want for years to come.
Walter Ritte Jr., leader of a grass-roots community activism group, said he'd step back from opposing what he calls a "cruise ship" visiting Kaunakakai Harbor until an independent Molokai nonprofit has assessed what the people want and delivers recommendations.
In the meantime, Blanchard said, "We have no plans to stop coming. My feeling is we're still some months away before we hear what the concerns are."
read … Molokai
Identity Theft: Ticket Nightmare Exposes Gap in System
SA: Chincio's experience exposes what police and prosecutors acknowledge is a gap in the system.
People who say they have forgotten their licenses at traffic stops sometimes will claim to be someone else, and if they know certain information, such as a Social Security number or a birth date, they might be able to initially pull off the ruse, triggering a bureaucratic mess for the unsuspecting victim….
Chincio's nightmare didn't end there.
When he tried to renew his driver's license in November, the agency that handles such transactions told him he had unpaid default judgments for more traffic tickets.
Chincio said he wasn't aware of those tickets, which weren't part of the batch previously dismissed. A default judgment is issued when a defendant fails to show up in court.
Because Chincio must drive daily for his HECO job, he couldn't wait months for a court date to contest the charges, so he paid $505 to a collection agency to cover the judgments and fees, believing he could go before a judge later to clear his name.
But court personnel subsequently told him that by paying the judgments, he essentially admitted guilt, eliminating the option of contesting the charges, according to Chincio.
A Judiciary spokeswoman said that under exceptional circumstances a court could consider a motion to set aside a default judgment and grant appropriate relief.
If Chincio can't get the judgments reversed, he isn't out just the $505. His credit history also has been tainted because of the collection agency action, and his driving record still shows the underlying 2009 infractions of speeding, expired safety checks and not possessing a driver's license….
The whole ordeal has frustrated Chincio, who said he now stops at the courts on a regular basis to ensure no new tickets have been issued under his name.
read … Ticket Nightmare
Scrapped plan for marina draws criticism
SA: The promise of jobs, revenue and other benefits disappear with boat facility….
read … Marina
Star-Adv: Don't raise cost of recreation
SA: Parking meter rates along Kapiolani Regional Park were doubled three years ago. The City Council is now considering doubling them again — and city parks officials are already envisioning installation of meters at parks elsewhere on Oahu. All this would discourage residents from engaging in treasured outdoor recreation. No compelling argument has yet been made about the essential need to raise parking rates now near Kapiolani and Aala parks, and in lieu of one, the Council should forget about regarding parks as a source of revenue.
read … Don't raise cost of recreation
Waikiki Casino Advocates: An Unlikely Coincidence or In Cahoots?
TVT: Is it mere coincidence or in cahoots that Citizens for a Better Way and Radcliffe & Associates both reported expenditures totaling $39,093.10 for the period ended April 30, 2011?
read … Radcliffe Front Group
EBT Cards get 2 for 1 deal at Kauai Farmers markets
KGI: At the two markets, Kapa‘a and Lihu‘e, there were people who said they are new shoppers to the markets and came after reading about it in the newspaper and hearing it on the radio,” Figueira said.
Under the 2-for-1 EBT program, customers purchasing EBT tokens will be offered a $1 matching coupon for each dollar spent on their EBT card, up to a maximum of $5 per day per site.
There are some rules to the promotion. The coupon is only good for the date it is received and if a customer wishes to use a coupon, they must also use a token at the same time.
Any unused coupons must be turned in to the EBT representative at any of the four participating markets — the Kapa‘a Sunshine Market, the Lihu‘e Sunshine Market, the Koloa Sunshine Market and the Kaua‘i Community Market at KCC.
The 2-for-1 EBT program is part of a one-year pilot program which allows SNAP recipients to use their EBT cards at selected farmers markets around Kaua‘i.
Read … EBT to Farm
Photos from Hilo March for Life
HRTL: MARCH FOR LIFE IN HILO 1/22/12
read … Hilo Right to Life
Tax increase: Kona Coffee Association Wants State to Take over Borer Eradication
KITV: A bill introduced this session calls for one penny per pound on any green beans coming in or going out of state. One coffee association called it a self-tax to generate money to eradicate the pest, but some say it would likely be passed on to coffee drinkers….
"Our prices have had to go up this year, so we can stay in business as coffee farmers," said David Bateman of the Kona Coffee Council.
The Holualoa grower spends $1,000 to $1,500 a month to treat his crops. He said it doesn’t help when the farmer down the road does nothing.
The bill calls for the state to chop down diseased coffee trees and to go as far as filing tax liens and condemning land if farmers failed to prevent the spread of the pest. Some said part of the problem is with feral coffee, and with some absentee farm owners who may not know the extent of the problem.
“There has to be something to cause farmers who don’t take care of their farms, to do so,” said Wayman.
"We have to strip trees. We have to sanitize the farms, and then we have to apply this fungus to get it under control." said Bateman.
State agriculture officials called the enforcement burden onerous, and cautioned the bill could have constitutional problems. Small farmers think some of the measures are draconian.
Read … Boring into your Wallet
Waikiki: Maoist Trash Defend Iranian Nukes
KHON: The protestors believe the U.S. is inching closer to a military strike on Iran over its nuclear program. (No the Israelis are going to do it while the US pretends to be disappointed in them and the Sunnis pretend to be outraged.)
They stood at the corner of Seaside and Kalakaua holding signs and passing out fliers.
"I'm most concerned with the U.S. and the U.S. and Israel together waging another war, and that sanctions are also a form of war," said (Revolutionary Communist party member) Liz Rees, from the (Maoist front) group, World Can't Wait, which organized the protest.
It was part of the International Global Day of Action. Protests, rallies and marches were also held in dozens of other cities. (Mao Zedong murdered 70M Chinese people.)
read … Maoist trash