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Saturday, April 21, 2012
April 21, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:38 PM :: 19114 Views

Selection Committee Proposes Kailua Site for New Oahu Landfill

Utility Rejects "Expensive, High Risk" Undersea Power Cable Project

Ward, Slom, Marumoto Talk Story at Maunalua Bay

“Dumbest Decision in City’s History” Rail Construction to begin Monday

KITV: "Monday we will begin construction," Grabauskas told a gaggle of reporters. "The first work will be to actually drill the footing for the first column."

However, some members of the Honolulu City Council are upset Grabauskas and the HART board failed to provide an analysis of the potential cost to city taxpayers, if a federal lawsuit to stop the rail project is successful. If the city loses, HART would be forced to tear down any columns that have been built.

"It's absolutely inconsiderate and downright disrespectful for HART to show this lack of respect to the City Council," said Councilman Ikaika Anderson. "Here it is 30 days or so later, and I still have nothing, but they're going to go ahead with construction anyway."

"If they say it's cheaper to build the columns and then tear them down, that's what we have to go with I guess," added Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, a longtime critic of the project.

Plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit include rail opponents Cliff Slater of, University of Hawaii law professor Randall Roth, and former Hawaii governor and mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano.

In an email to KITV4, Roth said he was disappointed HART had chosen to go ahead with construction of the rail line before the lawsuit is settled.

"I honestly believe that the decision to start construction now will prove to be one of the dumbest decisions in the city's history," Roth wrote.

HR: City Begins Construction on Rail Columns - Even Though They May Have to Be Torn Down 

KITV: Rail authority receives Federal approval to begin major construction

read … Council member upset rail project will start major construction on Monday

Legislators Pressured by HSTA Legislative Endorsements During Session

PR: In order to find out whom to endorse, unions and other groups send out questionnaires, asking candidates to put on the record their views about their union and its issues.

Boiled down to its essence, the union wants to know, "Will you do what we ask, if we endorse you?"

This year, the Hawaii State Teachers Association put a fairly fine point on that question by asking candidates to turn in their surveys by last Friday.

If lawmakers felt that the HSTA was putting pressure on them while they were still in session and deciding on union issues, then so be it….

A former legislator who also has been in involved in public education said Okabe has managed to turn himself into something of a "labor hero," by demonizing the Legislature's attempts at education reform and then defeating them.

"He is able to frame the bills as some sort of Frankenstein monsters, and so when they die, it is a great victory," said the former lawmaker, who asked not to be identified.

The union's real power, however, will be in acting as a legislative gate-keeper, letting in union-approved politicians and keeping out those hostile to the union….

Perhaps the best description of the HSTA's power is Tokuda's answer to that question.

"They are only as powerful as we let them be," Tokuda said.

read … Pressure

Sovereignty Scammers’ Lawyer Scores $1.2M in Estate Settlement

SA: In February a key ruling by Raffetto "shifted the burden to Mr. Kanuha to prove that he did not exercise under influence" over Dorcy to get him to change his will, Jones said.

"Clearly that was a significant factor that led to the settlement," Jones said.

Jones declined to characterize how much Kanuha will receive from the settlement.

Neither Kanuha nor his Wai­luku attorney returned telephone calls from the Star-Advertiser seeking comment.

In February, after a tentative settlement had been reached, Kanuha told the Star-Advertiser that he was pleased with the terms.

And he adamantly denied the most serious allegations against him in court documents that he had conspired to get himself adopted and did not get Dorcy immediate medical care before he died.

The settlement also means that three attorneys who represented the interim trustee of Dorcy's estate will receive less than they originally sought.

Honolulu lawyers Michael Rudy and Carroll Taylor previously were awarded $838,000 in attorney fees. Wednesday's settlement means they will split an additional $4.5 million.

"Myself and Carroll Taylor put up virtually all of the costs," Rudy said. "We were owed about $14 million in attorney fees … but we got $4.5 million of the $14.5 million."

Wailuku attorney Isaac Hall previously had been awarded $206,000 from Dorcy's estate and was granted an extra $1 million Wednesday.

read … How Much did Kanuha Get?

House, Senate Conferees Debate How Much Control Gays Should Have over your Church

PR: A proposal aimed at clarifying the state’s civil unions law has been deferred until next week as House and Senate negotiators try to work out differences over a so-called “religious exemption” being sought by the House.

Under language approved by the House, religious organizations, as well as associations, societies and nonprofit groups affiliated with such organizations, “would not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges” related to the solemnization of a civil union.

Facilities would be limited to properties “regularly used for worship or ministry activities in the religious work of the organization.”

House Judiciary Chairman Gil Keith-Agaran said the House was working on a proposed amendment with a “narrower religious exemption.” The intent is to allow the exemption to apply to specific facilities of worship and not property that would remain accessible under the state’s public accommodations law. Senate Judiciary Chairman Clayton Hee has pushed for a cleaner “fix” bill with no additional policy implications.

The conference committee for House Bill 2569 is set to resume 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in Capitol Room 325.

read … About your Gay Lords

Billionaire Movie Moguls Could Still Get Hawaii Tax Credits

PR: Expanded tax credits for film and television production in Hawaii remain alive – if barely – as the Legislature enters the final week of conference committees next week.

The House has yet to appoint conferees on a number of measures to address the credits. (Those include: House Bills 1308, 2869 and 2338; and Senate Bill 3050.)

On Friday, lobbyists for Comcast/NBC Universal Media were circulating results of an independent study showing that tax credits for media production have resulted in a significant return on investment for Hawaii.

read … Billionaires need money too

Cash Call! Fundraisers for Reps. Evans, Awana, Mizuno

CB: All three fundraisers fall on Day 53 of the 2012 Hawaii Legislature, aka Friday (April 20). All three are also at Indigo Restaurant at $100 per head.

Those giving moolah to Cindy Evans in 2011 were Outrigger and Altria Client Services.

Those giving to Karen Awana included Outrigger, Hawaii Laborers Political Action Committee, Hawaii Association of Realtors, Island Insurance and the carpenters union.

Those giving to John Mizuno included Hawaii Association of Realtors, John Radcliffe and Red Morris, Calvin Say’s special little PAC, HSTA, HMSA and the ironworkers union.

read … Bought and Paid for

Lawmakers working to iron out details of 'move over' bill

SA: State lawmakers are hopeful an agreement can be reached on a "move over" bill mandating that motorists use extra caution and take specific steps when approaching a traffic or crime scene where emergency responders are working.

The state House and Senate passed different versions of House Bill 2030, which became a priority for local law enforcement officials following the deaths of two Hono­lulu police officers in a five-month period while they were stopped along Oahu highways.

House and Senate leaders met to discuss their differences on the bill for the first time Thursday.

The House version is more specific, requiring motorists to not use the lane next to a stationary emergency vehicle when there are two or more available lanes, or to slow to a "reasonable and prudent" speed when there are fewer lanes. An offense would be a petty misdemeanor.

The Senate version requires only that a motorist slow to a reasonable and prudent speed when approaching an emergency road situation, or make a lane change if necessary and if it is safe to do so. Not abiding by the law would constitute a traffic violation, less onerous than a petty misdemeanor.

read … Move Over

SA: Fine on city an empty gesture

SA: But now, the city finally has agreed to pay the state $1.2 million — essentially a fine of city taxpayers to supplement what those same residents pay to the state — for water quality improvements on the Waianae Coast, while the city on its own spends $200,000 on stormwater control projects in the Mailiili area.

The city taxes that will go to the state will pay for a plan that will direct funding of future projects to protect Leeward Oahu water quality and finance community-based water quality improvement projects. Perhaps more important, it will pay for a city computerized environmental information sharing project so the public can track permitted facilities in their communities….

This week, Cox pointed out correctly that the city still fails to say who's to blame, if and how anyone's been punished and how this was allowed to occur: "It's a do-nothing response."

For more than a year, the city dumped 255 truckloads of concrete estimated at 1,600 cubic yards and weighing 3,200 tons at Mailiili Stream about two miles mauka of Farrington Highway near Maili. Westley Chun, head of the Department of Facility Management under Mayor Peter Carlisle, issued a statement that procedures have been improved to prevent this from happening again.

The city has yet to come forward to explain how such an environmental disgrace could happen and continue for years. At the very least, taxpayers deserve to know why they are required to pay $1.4 million in fines and projects because of official wrongdoing that remains sketchy.

read … After Collecting Lots of Overtime, the City Fines the Taxpayers

Hawaii Tourism Authority Gives $1.1M to Profitable NonProfits

CB: The Hawaii Tourism Authority has awarded more than $1 million for 20 community-based projects.

The HTA awarded more than $727,400 to 13 community-based projects through its Natural Resources Program. The program began in 2002 as part of a legislative mandate, and provides up to $1 million annually in support of efforts to manage, improve and protect Hawaii’s natural environment and areas frequented by visitors….

The HTA also awarded more than $388,000 to seven community-based projects through its Kukulu Ola: Living Hawaiian Culture Program.

read … Cash for the Cronies

Pflueger Federal Tax Case Split Into Three Trials

HR: Over prosecutors’ protests, the criminal tax case against beleaguered auto dealer and land developer James Pflueger and several co-defendants has been splintered into three separate trials.

Pre-trial rulings in federal court have held that Pflueger, 85, must be tried separately from accountant Dennis Duban,who allegedly helped Pflueger file false income tax returns.

Pflueger is awaiting trial in state court on manslaughter charges after several Kauai residents died when a dam on Pflueger property breached.

The tax and manslaughter cases are unrelated.

Today the U.S. Attorney’s office filed a motion asking Dist. Judge Leslie Kobayashi to reconsider a ruling that appears to require three separate trials in the criminal case.

Kobayashi held that three of Pflueger’s co-defendants, including his son, Alan, and two employees of the Pflueger family’s auto dealerships, must go to trial next month on charges that the car dealership was used to illegally pay James Pflueger’s personal expenses.

read … Pflueger Runs Down the Clock

Appeals court upholds labor ruling against Hilo newspaper

AP: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today denied the Hawaii Tribune-Herald's appeal of a NLRB decision that reporters Dave Smith and Hunter Bishop were illegally fired. Bishop was fired after a 2005 confrontation with Editor David Bock over a union matter where Bishop was accused of insubordination. Smith was fired in 2006 for secretly recording a meeting with Bock.

read … Anything for the union

DoH Harasses Farmer, Forces Destruction of Crops

SA: One of the major Thai basil producers in the state plowed under three acres of the crop Friday in Ewa, and an additional 25 ready-for-harvest acres in Kunia are slated for destruction, valued in total at $157,000 wholesale.

The Department of Health ordered the destruction after investigators found during a routine sampling the pesticide methomyl, not approved for use on basil by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Fat Law's Farm was ordered Tuesday to cease the sale, delivery, holding or offering of sale of the produce.

But farm co-owner Frank Law said Health Department investigators erred when they took a sampling from a field of old basil, scheduled for replanting and not meant for consumption, which was sprayed for insects with methomyl.

"I have to pay for the land," he said. "I pay for one week (salaries) already. I am sick with headache. I cannot sleep. No money to pay worker(s)."

The Health Department will not recall the basil since the amounts found — 0.045 parts per million (ppm) to 3.49 ppm — fall below the approved limits for other crops, ranging from 1 ppm for tomatoes to 6 ppm for parsley, and it degrades quickly, said Lynn Naka­sone, administrator for the Environmental Health Services Division.

It "will focus on additional basil growers," she said.

read … Which Small Business will they Harass Next?

Kauai Administration pondering property tax increase

KGI: In the next few days, the administration will be looking into different property tax rate scenarios, and the outcome could include a proposal to raise taxes, county officials told the Kaua‘i County Council Tuesday during a budgetary review meeting for Fiscal Year 2013, which starts July 1.

Any proposal from the administration has to be approved by the council. But some council members complained of insufficient tax data provided by the administration, while others said it’s too early to be proposing tax rates because the council has first to set percentages that each class of taxpayers has to contribute to the total tax revenue.

read ... Tax Hike

The Dalai Lama isn’t a rock star

Ka Leo: …at one point during Shimabukuro’s video, I looked on stage and there were four people debating how to properly fluff and place the pillow on the Dalai Lama’s chair.

Yes, he deserves a tremendous amount of respect. But at what point does it become too much? The Dalai Lama opened his talk asking us to think of him as another human, as a brother and an equal. And while his accomplishments deserve admiration, we need to watch out for the point at which our attitudes toward him go over the top. Though the Dalai Lama mentioned that he has started many of his talks with that initial message of equality, to an extent it sounded more like a comment on the treatment he was receiving.

He was later asked what the most compassionate thing he has seen in Hawai‘i was, to which he replied that he hadn’t been here long enough to know, but that a lot of the reception he had received seemed superficial. Watching the event, as well as his arrival in Hawai‘i, it’s clear what he was talking about….

read … Rock Star


SA Survey: Will you be participating in any Earth Day activities this weekend?

  • B. No (93%, 416 Votes)
  • A. Yes (7%, 33 Votes)

Read … Total Voters: 449


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