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Friday, March 23, 2012
March 23, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:52 PM :: 10183 Views

Hanabusa: I am not a Loan Shark

Case: Hirono Fears Debate, Hides Behind Handlers

FACE: Bumpy Kanahele is Inspiration for State-owned Bank

SB2394: This bill passed the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce Wednesday, March 21. This bill creates a state bank that would take responsibility for helping military families facing foreclosure to negotiate with their mortgage company and offer to buy the mortgages for cents on the dollar, "cleanse" the title (repair damage done by robo-signing and other failures in the chain of title), and sell the house back to the family at an affordable price.

HB 1033: This bill calls for the creation of a Clean Economy Bank for Hawaii and passed the House Finance Committee in February and the Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment Tuesday, March 20. I had the opportunity to attend this hearing and the room was packed with supporters from all over Hawaii, the mainland and even Van Jones came to speak on behalf of the bill. Next, this bill will be heard by Senate Ways and Means.

HB 1840: This bill has passed the House Committees on Economic Revitalization and Business, Consumer Protection and Commerce, and Finance in February and was passed out of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection last week. HB 1840 creates a Task Force to study the feasibility and cost of a creating a State Bank for Hawaii. Next, this bill will also go to Senate Ways and Means.

The current discussions around the creation of a state bank for Hawaii are not new to this legislative session or the previous session. In fact, Native Hawaiian activists (led by pardoned convicted felon Bumpy Kanahele) on Maui and Oahu have been discussing the concept and benefits of a state bank since the 1980's, and I can understand why: it is painful to watch our state struggle to make ends meet when there are ways we could be doing more to protect and build our assets.

read … FACE State Bank

Race to the Top team to arrive in Hawaii next week

…a lack of a formalized union agreement continues to present challenges for the state in delivering on reforms.

DoE: Accountability: DoE Prepares to Fake It as Feds Arrive on Inspection Tour

Reality: Faking it for the Feds, Abercrombie Prepares to Impose Another ‘Last, Best, and Final Offer’ on HSTA

read … RTTT

Hawaii Sets up Insurance Exchange to be Exempt from Sunshine laws

DN: If an advisory board is created, it would be open to all insurers, which should encourage competition. If HMSA doesn’t like that, they can duke it out with the others over in the corner someplace. The point is to give consumers a choice.

There will be a rally in the Capitol Rotunda at 8:15 tomorrow. If you can come, you can also go up afterwards to room 229 and give your testimony in person if you like. There should be signs available, or bring your own.

…and here’s the list again. You have to ask them to vote “no” on each of these:

GM625 Jennifer Diesman (HMSA)
GM624 Joan Danieley (Kaiser)
GM628 Faye Kurren (Hawaii Dental Service)

Hawaii is the only state to have set this board up as an independent non-profit, which seems to exempt them from the Sunshine Law and ethics laws. Why? Unlike many other states, they have put insurers on the board. Why?

And why should we leave it that way? It’s time to make some changes.

read … Sunshine

Star-Adv: Redo health exchange model

SA: Consumer groups are also worried about the fact that Act 205 created the exchange as a private nonprofit.

Once it incorporates as it is due to do in July, it would no longer be subject to the state's Sunshine Law, with requirements for public openness.

Yamane said this decision was made last year when the state was in the throes of a budgetary crisis, and when the creation of a new state agency did not seem to be in the cards.

He told the committee he believed it would be possible to enact rules requiring similar advance meeting notice and open-meeting procedures of the nonprofit.

If that is not possible, theLegislature should rethink that fundamental decision. Hawaii is currently the only state that is proceeding with a private nonprofit running the exchange.

A better model would be one similar to the California Health Benefit Exchange, described as an "independent public entity within state government."

Read … Redo health exchange model

SB755: “Environmental devastation” or minor streamlining? The jury is still out.

ILind: Now that the bill has been further amended in committee, it’s time for a closer look at the revised measure.

The Water, Land, & Ocean Resources and Energy & Environmental Protection committees did make substantive changes to the proposed bill after Wednesday’s public hearing, according to the committee report.

(1) Deleting the provisions that temporarily make the Office of Planning responsible for the issuance of special management area permits and shoreline setback variances for state projects;

(2) Deleting the provision that permits the Governor to amend the list from time to time of specific types of state projects that are exempt from the need to prepare an environmental assessment;

(3) Deleting the provision that allows county mayors to have the authority to establish and amend an exemption list of county projects as conferred upon the Governor for state projects;

(4) Deleting the provision that allows the county or state agency’s list of exempt actions to remain valid, even if the Governor or a mayor establishes a separate list;

(5) Deleting the provision that allows the Governor’s or mayor’s list to remain valid after the repeal of the section, until terminated by the Governor or a mayor;

(6) Repealing the list of exempted state projects established by the Governor on June 30, 2015, provided that the governor may extend the exemption for any project identified on the list for which construction has commenced but not yet concluded by June 30, 2015; and

Certain projects of DLNR and DOT would be exempt from requirements for shoreline management and special management area permits.

But there’s some tricky language that needs to be understood.

Read … SB755

Borreca: Case Stubborn, Overly Ambitious, Too Conservative

Borreca: a stubborn campaigner … with the political problem of definition … overly ambitious for running, too conservative for not opposing the Iraq war, and lacking a solid base … Case has found himself described as too conservative … Case added that he considers himself to be "extremely liberal on social issues."

read … Case

‘Power Play’ -- Injunction makes Queen's share its radiation facilities

SA: Queen's is appealing the injunction.

"This was a power play by Queen's to establish a virtual monopoly for radiation therapy on Oahu. This was facilitated by the very untimely and unfortunate closure of Hawaii Medical Centers," Led­erer said Thursday at a news conference.

U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Koba­ya­shi addressed Led­erer's claim in her injunction.

KHON: Doctors accused Queen's Medical Center of creating monopoly

read … Injunction makes Queen's share its radiation facilities

Kakaako: Caraway pushes Green Roofs

PR: As the governor was about to wrap up his luncheon address at the Plaza Club, Nancie Caraway, his wife, rushed to the podium to whisper some advice.

“And green roofs,” Abercrombie said with a chuckle. “I can assure you there will be green roofs, because when I wake up, the first thing the person on my immediate left tells me in the morning is not `Good morning, dear.’ It’s `green roofs.’ It’s what I hear.”

CB: Developing Kakaako: The Big Picture

Ignore this. She’s not crazy: The Segregated Sisterhood of Neil Abercrombie and Nancie Caraway

read … `Green roofs’

Will BLNR Throw Another Roadblock in front of Haleakala Telescope?

SA: The state Board of Land and Natural Resources is scheduled to consider today whether to throw out a hearings officer's recommendation to approve the last major permit for a proposed $300 million observatory for a solar telescope on Maui.

In a Land Board finding announced Monday, Chairman William Aila Jr. said it was determined that hearings officer Steven Jacobson had unauthorized communications with the chief proponent of the project, the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy.

Aila said the communications throw into question Jacob­son's impartiality.

Jacobson said he acted impartially in the review of the proposed solar telescope and had no conflict of interest.

The proposed Advance Technology Solar Telescope on Mount Hale­akala, funded through the National Science Foundation, would house the world's largest optical solar telescope. It would be able to study changes in the sun's magnetic energy, including disruptions in satellite communications.

In his written report to the board on March 12, Jacob­son said that after weighing arguments, a conservation district use permit should be issued for the project.

In his written report to the board on March 12, Jacob­son said that after weighing arguments, a conservation district use permit should be issued for the project.

He recommended denying a petition by the Native Hawaiian group Kila­kila o Hale­akala for a contested case hearing to oppose the project. Under the Land Board's procedures, the group lacks standing, he said.

"It is far bigger than anything up there," said David Frankel, attorney for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., which is representing Kila­kila. (Frankel hired Jack Kelly to attack Hokulia)

Frankel said the building is also close to Hale­akala National Park and that at least two former park superintendents have opposed the project.

read … Hokulia Crowd at it again

Decrepitude: Enviros Fight to Stop First New Waikiki Hotel in 30 years

SA: The city Zoning Board of Appeals has scheduled two more public hearings to accommodate the roughly 10 witnesses expected to testify for and against a proposal by Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts to build what would be the first new Waikiki oceanfront hotel in more than 30 years.

A coalition of environmental and community groups is seeking to overturn a December 2010 variance granted by the director of the city Department of Planning and Permitting that allowed Kyo-ya to proceed with plans to build a 26-story tower next to the Moana Surfrider Hotel. The appeal was filed by Hawaii's Thousand Friends, the Ka Iwi Coalition, the Surfrider Foundation and KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance.

The Zoning Board of Appeals spent much of a three-hour hearing Thursday listening to lawyers from Kyo-ya and the project's opponents argue about what information should be allowed to be presented.

The board scheduled two more hearings for April 5 and 19 to give both sides enough time to have their witnesses testify.

read … Kyo-Ya

Old Hawaiians took Two Times More Reef Fish than Modern Fishermen

NYT: Centuries ago, Hawaiians caught three times more fish annually than scientists generally consider to be sustainable in modern times — and maintained this level of harvest for more than 400 years, researchers report in a new study in the journal Fish and Fisheries.

The findings could be instructive for agencies that enforce fishing limits in overfished waters around the globe.

Native Hawaiians caught about 50 percent more fish than modern fleets catch today in both Hawaii and the Florida Keys, the two largest reef ecosystems in the United States, said a co-author of the study, Loren McClenachan, a fisheries researcher at Colby College in Waterville, Me.

Hawaiians harvested about 15 metric tons of fish per square kilometer of reef annually from the years 1400 to 1800, the study found. (In other words, the enviros have driven us back 700 years.) That’s five times the median harvest in island nations worldwide today.

(And yet the enviros want even more restrictions on fishing. Just for fun read the article and watch how the NYT spins this. Hilarious.)

Grist: The big blue: Can deep water fish farming be sustainable? (The fact that such a question is even asked shows why we have fallen 700 years into the past.)

read … NYT Spinning this Study

Hawaii Poised to Become the First State to Adopt a State Microbe

DD: Its called Neilobacter abercrombiscens ….

read … Hawaii Poised to Become the First State to Adopt a State Microbe

Hoku Solar to Build 7MW Solar Energy Facility on Kaua'i

News Release: Hoku Solar Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Corp. (Hoku) that delivers investment-grade solar energy facilities for commercial, institutional and utility clients, today announced the signing of an agreement with a subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin Inc. (A&B), to design and build the 7.2MW Port Allen Solar Farm for A&B on the island of Kaua'i, Hawaii.

Hoku Solar will partner with Helix Electric, Inc., one of the largest electrical contractors in the U.S., to construct the photovoltaic facility, which is expected to be placed in service in late 2012.

Totally Related: Why Stop at $500K? DoTAX Quietly Multiplies Hawaii Solar Tax Credit

read … Hoku Handouts

Potholes have silver lining for contractors

PBN: Honolulu currently allocates $3 million a year to fill potholes and make other repairs, and budgets another $77 million for general road work.

read … Potholes lined with Silver

Earthquake Risk? VA must move Hilo, Kahului clinics

PBN: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is instructing the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System to move two of its largest VA clinics in the Pacific Region to places that satisfy its strict seismic standards.

With such stringent federal rules in place, the clinics in Hilo on the Big Island and in Kahului on Maui face the tough task of finding suitable places to lease or build, which puts in jeopardy the care for thousands of veterans in these areas.

read … Mindless Bureaucracy

For decades, Liberty House served as isle retail's 'fat cats'

SA: Once the biggest of the Big Five, Liberty House was started by German sea captain Heinrich Hackfeld in 1849. Hackfeld first came to Hawaii with a ship's hold full of silk clothing, crockery, dry goods, hardware, pens, pencils, window glass and other household items. His wife, Marie, her 16-year-old brother, J.C. Pflue­ger, and a nephew, B.F. Ehlers, arrived with him.

He opened Hackfeld's Dry Goods on Queen Street. The public clamored for his wares. In 1850 he moved to a larger location on Fort Street. This store was so popular, it became known as "Hale Kilika" — the House of Silk. As business grew, the nephew took over management of the store while Hackfeld traveled the world for merchandise. The company took B.F. Ehlers' name in 1862.

read … Liberty House>Macy’s


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