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Tuesday, February 7, 2012
February 7, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:32 PM :: 15871 Views

After Carlisle Raids Sewer Funds, Feds Green light Limited Rail Construction – Rail Opponents Will NOT seek Injunction

Cayetano on Rail: Inouye Doesn’t See the 800lb Gorilla in the Room

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted February 6, 2012

HB2240: 50% Tax Credit for HQ Relocation to Hawaii

Hoku Dodges a $50M Bullet

Genetically-Modified Papaya Hits Shelves in Japan

Akaku Claims Partial Victory over HB2652 cut to Public Access TV

Abercrombie, Lawyers Scheme to Help Hawaii Lesbians Create gay marriage

SA: The Abercrombie administration briefed state House and Senate leaders on Friday on the state’s legal options in a federal lawsuit challenging the civil-unions law as unconstitutional.

A lesbian couple sued the state in December alleging that they should have the ability to marry.

The state is expected to file an answer in court on Feb. 21.

In Connecticut, a civil unions law passed in 2005 was challenged as unconstitutional under state law because it did not allow marriage. The state’s Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that same-sex partners did have the right to marry under the Connecticut constitution.

The Connecticut case was raised as an issue by then-Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and others during the debate over civil unions in Hawaii.

(Since Abercrombie obviously wants gay marriage, State lawyers should be thrown out and replaced by private attorneys from ADF who will actually argue the case.)

Flashback: Hooser, Hanabusa predict HB444 will bring gay marriage back before Courts

SA: State is expected to put up defense of civil unions law After private discussions between administration officials and state lawmakers over the past several days, some questions were raised about whether the administration would defend the law or whether the defense would be vigorous, but administration sources say they were only outlining their legal options.

read … Defend

Kobayashi: Local Taxpayers Could be Stuck With the Rail Bill

KHON: Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi believes the city should refrain from building any of the concrete pillars, especially since the city lacks a full funding grant agreement from the FTA. The city has long expected to receive $1.55 billion in a FFGA, possibly by September or October of this year.

“This is a huge project and if certain things don't come through, then is our local taxpayer stuck with the bill,” Kobayashi asked rhetorically.

read … Kobayashi

Solomon: OHA’s Kakaako Parcel Should be Exempt from All Land Use Regulations

SA: Sen. Malama Solomon, chairwoman of the Senate Water, Land and Housing Committee, said any settlement that involves a transfer of land should also include regulatory control of the land.

Under terms of the proposed settlement, announced by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in November, OHA would have ownership of the land and the ability to develop a master plan, but any development would remain under the rules and zoning of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, an agency created in 1976 by the Legislature to manage the development of Kakaako.

"We feel that there should be some talk of entitlement, so when the Hawaiians do get the aina that they can immediately go, take that aina to the bank and start turning it around however they see fit," Solomon (D, Hilo-Hono­kaa) said Monday as Senate and House lawmakers began vetting the proposed settlement.

SA: Abercrombie urges lawmakers to approve OHA settlement

HR: Governor Pitches OHA Deal to Legislators

Related to Legal Jurisdiction: Lingle, Bennett denounce new version Akaka Bill (full text)

read … Just like the tribe

Case Rings Alarm Bells in Fight with Hirono over Who will Raise Taxes More

SA: This is not a year of singing hopes and defining visions. What it does appear to be, however, is a demonstration of some in-your-face campaigning.

The Democrats' primary race for U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka's Senate seat is particularly tense.

For the two major candidates, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case, the contest is particularly important.

Both Hirono and Case are at a point in their political careers that, if they lose, they will likely go home and not come back. (B-bye!)

So when Hirono launched the first television ad of her campaign, it immediately set off alarm bells in the Case campaign.

Hirono's TV spot is an attack on both Case and former Gov. Linda Lingle, the major GOP candidate in the Senate race, but it saves her big attack for Case. Hirono's spot says she is "the only candidate who opposed Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy." (Hirono: I voted for higher taxes, Case didn’t.)

Case shot back that Hirono's ad is "false and misleading." (Case: I want to raise taxes too!)

"I voted against them as congressman and have publicly stated on several occasions that I oppose their extension," Case said.

Perhaps the best advice in the campaigns comes from the late Pulitzer-winning columnist Walter Lippmann: "Before you can begin to think about politics at all, you have to abandon the notion that there is a war between good men and bad men."

Hirono's campaign manager, Betsy Lin, defended the ad, calling Case "one of just 15 Democrats who voted for Bush's capital gains tax breaks for the wealthy in 2005."

read … Alarm bells

With HMC Closed, 911 call could mean the difference between life and death

KHON: Ever since Hawaii Medical Center's two hospitals shut their doors, Oahu emergency rooms have consistently been stretched to the limit. Many go on re-route status daily, essentially asking city ambulances to divert patients to other hospitals because they have no room.

The fact that we have two emergency rooms closed it's even more important that they call 911," says Dr. William Dang, Honolulu cardiologist.

Despite patient overload the American Heart Association and the city's emergency medical services are urging the public now more than ever to call 911 especially if you suspect you're having a heart attack.

Chest pain could be a heart attack and it really is. Anybody that's over 35 it's a heart attack until its proven otherwise. how is it proven otherwise? at the hospital," says Patty Dukes, Emergency Services Chief.

According to the American Heart association, an estimated 50 percent of all patients suffering a severe heart attack currently drive themselves to emergency rooms. Health experts fear that number could grow as word travels that hospitals and ambulance crews are stretched to capacity.

SA: Catholic hospital deserves thanks for filling vital need

read … Even More Pressure on EMS, Emergency Rooms

State overpaid employees by more than $2 million

HNN: A Hawaii News Now investigation reveals the state has overpaid its employees more than $1.5 million, with hundreds of thousands more in state tax dollars written off as uncollectable and other incorrect pay amounts recovered months or years later from employees who were accidentally paid too much.

The problem has persisted for so long that many state employees have retired or even died while still owing the state thousands of dollars they were paid by mistake, state officials said.

In one example, records show an Oahu Community Correctional Center employee was paid $31,200 too much in 1997 because he took much more vacation or sick leave time than he had available. The OCCC employee still works for the public safety department, and while the state has recovered about half that amount from him, the state is seeking the attorney general's permission to write off the balance.

A second example comes from 2008, when a Lihue Airport employee walked off the job and no one notified personnel officials to stop his paycheck for weeks, so he was overpaid about $5,000. Records show the state Transportation Department allowed him to keep the money when he agreed to return to work.

"Some of it may never be collected, but the problem is we've never written it off," said Dean Seki, the acting state comptroller, who oversees the state payroll. Seki, who has been with the state's Department of Accounting and General Services for 12 years, just took the department's top job on Feb. 1.

Seki said a lot of these overpayments happen because Hawaii's state workers still have to fill out old-fashioned paper forms for vacation or sick leave, and that process is not computerized.

If state employees decide at the last minute to take vacation time at the end of a pay period, often their paychecks have already been cut. (So that’s how to do it!)

read … Always over paid, never underpaid. What a coincidence

 

 

 

Lobbyist: Retirees Weighing Down the Public Sector

CB: Public sector retirees are a growing liability for the state, and in 2015 will outnumber active employees, veteran lobbyist John Radcliffe told members of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly at a faculty forum over the weekend…. He predicted that because of the bleak economic outlook for Hawaii, active employees will put more pressure on retirees to take less. (Or back gambling)

read … Dead weight

Gambling opponents take argument to capitol

HNN: Nationally recognized gambling opponent John Kindt stood in the State Capitol rotunda, backed by Honolulu's mayor, police and others who want legalized gambling kept out of the state.

"Gambling is a lose-lose in particular for Hawaii because it's an island economy," Kindt said. "There's nowhere for the gambling to go except internally in raiding the public coffers and raiding the local populace."

Kindt is a University of Illinois professor. He has testified before Congress on gambling issues. He said statistics show gambling hurts low-income groups and increases taxes to pay for new social problems caused by gaming.

Peter Carlisle said as a prosecutor he dealt with gambling's tie to crime.

"If you take a look at the crime that it creates, if you take a look at the social ills that it creates, it has people who are stealing from their children's educational funds," he said.

But therefore Sen. Malama Solomon supports some form of gaming.

read … John Kindt

Dep. Sheriff to be Stationed at Mayor Wright 24/7/365

SA: Sheriff Shawn Tsuha, during a tenants' meeting about the incidents, told the Star-Advertiser that his division is planning to station a deputy sheriff at Mayor Wright permanently, 24 hours a day. Details still must be worked out, but this project would be the correct move for the Abercrombie administration and deserves support and funding….

the state's own responsibility is to provide greater assurance of safety within the bounds of its housing projects. Having the continuity of the Sheriff Division taking charge should help management keep tabs on problem areas and simply get to know the residents better.

Mayor Wright was built 60 years ago. Conditions were allowed to deteriorate to shameful levels; the long battle to restore reliable hot water service was only the most recent noteworthy episode.

Thankfully, the Abercrombie administration made a start last year at addressing the deferred maintenance, nudged in part by class-action lawsuits filed for the longstanding failure to provide "decent, safe and sanitary conditions" as state and federal laws require.

The enhancement of security is merely another step the state needs to make in that course correction.

read … Security needed at Mayor Wright

Hawaii Lawmakers Push to Reform Gov Regent Picks

CB: Some Hawaii lawmakers want to give the governor more power in appointing members to the University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents, picking up a political debate started last year after the Senate rejected two of his nominees.

Six years ago, university faculty and students successfully lobbied for a constitutional amendment that took away the governor's authority to appoint regents directly. It was part of a larger movement within the university toward greater autonomy from the state. helping Democrats re-take the fifth floor.

As a result of that amendment, the governor now selects regent nominees from a list compiled by the Board of Regents Candidate Advisory Council. But Gov. Neil Abercrombie says the advisory council process is broken. (Now that he is governor)

Senate Education Committee Chair Jill Tokuda agrees with him, and has crafted a bill that would reform the advisory process but leave it in place.

Her bill points to last year's reform that changed the way the Hawaii State Board of Education members were selected, turning it from an elected process to one in which the governor appoints the board but with Senate confirmation.

read … Hawaii Lawmakers Push to Reform Gov Regent Picks

Campaign spending lawsuit in judge's hands

SA: A federal judge is being asked to decide a challenge to state campaign spending laws that limit or restrict contributions by non-candidate committees without a trial.

Lawyers on both sides appeared before U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright this morning asking him to decide in their favor.

CB: Why the Emphasis on Local Financial Support in U.S. Senate Race?

CB: At Least 55% of Individual Donations to Lingle Came From Outside Hawaii

read … Americans United

Inouye: I want the names and address of Any Who Dare Oppose Me

CB: Sen. Daniel Inouye says he is concerned about secrecy cloaking political donations, and he wants to stop nonprofits from keeping their donors anonymous.

read … Inouye: Too Much Secrecy in Political Donations

UH threatens porn web site with legal action for using its name

HNN: The web site, called universityofhawaii.xxx, claims to feature what it describes as "hot nude Hawaiian college girls." It is full of graphic pictures of men and women having sex on beaches and at other tropical locations.

It's a very different look from the University of Hawaii's legitimate web site.

UH students were upset when a Hawaii News Now reporter told them about the .xxx web site using the UH name.

"It's pretty disgusting. I guess it's kind of odd to do. I don't know why they'd choose university of Hawaii," said Joe Leavitt, a UH freshman from Seattle.

"They should definitely stop that," said Justeena Veltre, a UH freshman from Rochester, New York. "It's not good for our name at all, because we want to look like a good school, and not a school where we have porn."

UH President M.R.C. Greenwood spoke to Hawaii News Now about her concerns Monday.

"This is not a University of Hawaii site. We are appalled that anyone would use our good name this way," Greenwood said in an interview in her office.

On Friday, the UH sent the web site a cease and desist letter, demanding the site stop using the UH name or face legal action.

(Is this the same UH which employs a perfesser who runs an escort service on the side?)

CB: Porn Site Uses University of Hawaii’s Name

read … Porn Suddenly Not OK with UH?

 

9th Circuit to come to UH Manoa, Hear Longline Case

  • Turtle Island Restoration Network v. Hawaii Longline Association
  • Peter-Palican v. Government of the Commonwealth
  • United States v. Paik

read … Special sitting at UH for Ninth Circuit

Omidyar Wows White House Staffers with talk of Higher Electric Bills, Fuel Prices and Taxes—and a Legion of Brainwashed Dolts to Impose them

USA Today: "We live a comfortable life, but relationships are what make a life rich."

"He is the new face of philanthropy," says former president Bill Clinton, who has known the Omidyars for more than a decade. "He and Pam live and give to their core values." Adds eBay CEO John Donahoe: "In his quiet way, he has enormous impact on the world."….

Omidyar was 31 when he became a billionaire overnight on Labor Day 1998, three years after writing the code for what would become eBay. The company went public and he became in his words, "ridiculous rich."

The group of White House Fellows, younger men and women picked to work at the highest levels of the federal government, seemed mesmerized….

The couple has found time to fashion Civil Beat, an investigative online news organization started in Hawaii fixed on local issues, and the forthcoming emerging leaders program in Hawaii patterned after the White House Fellows….

read … EBay's Omidyar works for philanthropy

Herkes bill seeks to give counties leeway in building codes

WHT: A bill moving through the state Legislature will take out what many consider the more onerous sections of the state building code and give counties more flexibility in defining their own codes.

Rep. Bob Herkes, D-Puna, Ka'u, South Kona, North Kona, said he sponsored HB 2358 because of his concern strict requirements for buildings, such as requiring safe rooms able to withstand 500-year hurricanes, would push home ownership out of the reach of Big Island residents.

read … Herkes bill seeks to give counties leeway in building codes

Advocates Come Forward for Hawaiian Language Assessment

CB: Last year, Hawaiian Language Immersion schools boycotted the newly developed state test because they said it contained inaccuracies in the translation to Hawaiian.

Today at the House Education Committee, parents, students, educators and advocates for the Hawaiian community have come out in force to support a proposal to develop a state assessment in the Hawaiian language for grades 3 and 4.

read … Advocates Come Forward for Hawaiian Language Assessment

Self-Help: Low Income Families Achieving Homeownership With Sweat Equity

SA: The project aims to make homeownership possible for low-income residents, including some families earning less than 50 percent of the median income on Oahu, which equates to $51,500 for a family of four.

Self-Help Housing Corporation of Hawaii, a local nonprofit developer, is leading the project. The county, state and federal governments are also pitching in with regulatory exemptions, loans and a grant.

"The Maili self-help housing project provides an example of how the public and private sectors can work together to deliver quality, affordable work-force housing in Hawaii," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who participated in the groundbreaking Friday.

The homes are being built on 5,000-square-foot lots carved from a vacant 9.5-acre parcel, and will be sold fee-simple to the families for between $256,000 and $276,000.

Families are saving roughly $100,000 by contributing an estimated 65 percent of the labor, working 32 hours a week. Seven teams of about 10 family members will be led by a construction supervisor. Some work such as masonry, electrical, plumbing and drywall will be done by professional subcontractors.

read … Self-Help

Difference Between Hawaii's Rail and Weather Forecasters

HR: Weather forecasters are neither deluded nor deceptive; they use some of the most complex models and report their forecast for a few days in the future. They get it right most of the time.

Honolulu Rail forecasters have used primitive models (*) and gobbles of delusion and deception (Dr. Flybjerg's words; see graph below) to predict rail's efficacy 20 to 30 years in the future! And they never get it right.

read … Panos

Monsanto hasn’t paid him: Ritte Fights for GMO Labeling Legislation

MN: “This Ki’i helped us to stop the University of Hawaii from GMO experiments on our taro,” said Molokai resident Walter Ritte, who fought the University several years ago over patents it had on native taro varieties and genetic modification of the plant.

The Haloa image will be placed at the State Capitol grounds as the group hopes to bring attention to their latest efforts for the labeling of genetically modified foods.

The strong connection between the kalo plant and the Hawaiian people is rooted in Hawaiian tradition, which speaks of Haloa as the first born, or elder brother of man. He took the form of the first kalo (taro) plant and was cared for by his younger brother.

Like the efforts several years ago to stop the genetic modification of native Hawaiian varieties of kalo, the group is focusing their efforts this session on ensuring that GMO foods are labeled

This session, House Speaker Calvin Say introduced HB2746, seeking to prohibit the sale or distribution of any genetically engineered whole food intended for human consumption unless the food is labeled as genetically engineered. A companion bill, SB2279, was introduced in the Senate and and was re-referred to respective committees for further consideration….

HB2101 and SB2190 relating to genetic modification, are also being considered this session. The bills seek to prohibit the sale of genetically engineered fish or genetically engineered fish products in the State unless appropriately labeled as genetically engineered.

Reality: UH cared for HALOA for 104 years with no help from any activists

read … Not Paid off yet

Trial for Six Occupy Honolulu Members Arrested in November Set for Wednesday February 8

HR: On November 5, 2011, eight members of Occupy Honolulu were arrested as the group first began its round the clock protest near Thomas Square Park.

As over 100 supporters demonstrated on the sidewalk, eight members sat down in the grass adjacent to the sidewalk along Beretania Street to show their conviction for their cause and their right to occupy public space. As more than 20 police officers lined up behind them, the protesters held their ground and asserted their constitutional right to be there…. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends ….

read … Occupy

KIUC board candidate forums begin next week

KGI: Glass said only 25 percent to 30 percent of the co-op’s membership tends to vote in the board elections. A more active membership would create a more effective board and help move the sustainability movement forward, Glass said. “This is really important, and it affects all of us,” she said. “It will make a more democratic board.”

  • Apollo Kaua‘i and the Hanalei to Haena Community Association will hold a forum at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Hanalei School Cafeteria.
  • E Ola Mauna Leo O Kekaha will co-host a forum at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Kekaha School cafeteria.
  • The Associated Students of the University of Hawaii at Kaua‘i Community College will co-host a forum at 6 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Kaua‘i Community College.
  • Wailua-Kapa‘a Neighborhood Association will co-host a forum at 2 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Kapa‘a Library.
  • The Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce and Lihu‘e Business Association will co-host a forum at 7:30 a.m. on March 1 in Room 106 of the Office of Continuing Education & Training at Kaua‘i Community College.

Just Ignore this: "The Haoles are with us" -- Occupy Kauai Working to Take Over KIUC

read … De-occupy?

Florida ‘pill mill’ owner, family arrested on Kauai

KGI: Former Florida “pill mill” owner and seven-time world champion wake boarder Darrin Shapiro and his father and brother were in police custody on Kaua‘i Monday pending extradition to Florida.

The Florida Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation enlisted Kaua‘i vice officers in the investigation and arrest of Shapiro, 38, of Princeville, his brother, Jarrett Shapiro, 42, of Kalaheo and their father, Lewis Ray Shapiro, 65, of Princeville, on charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering and money laundering.

read … Florida ‘pill mill’ owner, family arrested

Ocean thermal energy conversion plant proposed

WHT: The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority board of directors last week authorized final lease negotiations with OTEC International LLC for a 2.5-acre demonstration plant…. Previously, the largest energy plant at NELHA generated up to 220 kilowatts of electricity, Barbour said. OTEC International proposed generating up to 1 megawatt. The company, based in Baltimore, will "demonstrate integration of components that use temperature difference between warm surface ocean water and cold deep water to produce electricity," according to its announcement about the board's decision.

The plant is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2014. OTEC International officials anticipated purchasing or using $10.4 million in local materials and services and creating 95 construction jobs.

Barbour said OTEC International agreed to purchase new pumps and to give those pumps to NELHA, as well as to pay for the electricity to pump the deep sea water. Once warmed, water will pass along to other NELHA tenants, Barbour said. OTEC International will also install a complex monitoring system to track water flow and other safety measures, Barbour added.

The other ocean thermal test now under way at NELHA is looking at the performance of different alloys used in heat exchangers, he said.

OTEC International's main funder is the Abell Foundation, also based in Baltimore.

read … Ocean thermal energy conversion plant proposed


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