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Tuesday, May 8, 2012
May 8, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:55 PM :: 17678 Views

Lingle to Host Luncheon for Native American Congressman Tom Cole

Hawaii: Important NRA Instructor Liability Bill Awaits Governor’s Approval

Marumoto: Mass Release of Prisoners not True Justice Reform

Thielen: Landfill Cannot Legally be Located at Ameron

State Releases Information Technology Proposal

Census Bureau Releases 2010 Data on Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders

Survey: Hawaii Failing Small Business Owners

Big Cable ‘Surcharge’ Provides Automatic Rate Hikes to pay for Billion-Dollar Cable

DN: The Legislature’s passage of SB2785 will have a profound impact on Hawaii’s economy. And on the hope some of us had of staying on Oahu to retire in our old age.

Also, I can’t think of anything more discouraging to the prospects of small business in the state than boosting energy costs higher than we already have.

The Senate debate on May 3, 2012, took just 52 minutes and largely sidestepped the issue of the cost that will be passed to ratepayers. Lawmakers disregarded the negative effect of this provision for automatic rate increases contained in the bill that passes the cost and risk of this project on to those on Oahu who are already paying three times the national average in electricity costs:

§269-D Cable surcharge. (a) The commission shall establish a cable surcharge to allow recovery of the high‑voltage electric transmission cable system costs designated for recovery according to the ratemaking principles pursuant to section 269‑B.

. . .

§269-E Recovery of electric utility company costs. (a) An electric utility company may recover, through an automatic rate adjustment clause, its revenue requirement resulting from the capital costs that it prudently incurs for on-island transmission infrastructure; provided that the commission has approved the utility's commitment of capital expenditure costs for the project. (b) To provide for timely recovery of the revenue requirement, the commission shall establish a separate automatic rate adjustment clause for that purpose, or modify an existing automatic rate adjustment clause. The use of the automatic rate adjustment clause to recover the revenue requirement shall be allowed to continue until the revenue requirement is incorporated in rates in an electric utility company's rate case.

LINK: Download 20120503 SB2785 Senate Comments from Disappeared News

read … SB2785 will increase, not decrease, the cost of electricity on Oahu

MDs Scramble to Find Cancer Drugs for Patients

HTHY: some Big Island physicians, who have scrambled over the last couple years to secure supplies, say they have yet to receive any relief.

The number of drugs in short supply, mainly injectables used as sedatives or for cancer treatment, reached a high of 250 last year, up from about 50 five years earlier.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that trend is reversing.

There were about 125 drugs in short supply as of Thursday.

At that time, 42 drugs had been added to the list so far this year, compared to 90 new shortages this time last year.

While the number of shortages has dropped, Dr. Greg Ruhland said he has seen no change on the ground level.

Ruhland, a Hilo physician specializing in joint pain, said doctors still have to “beg and barrow to get medicine these days.”

“It hasn’t gotten any easier yet,” he said.

Alice Chin, a nurse at Hilo Community Surgery Center, agreed.

“It takes me all day sometimes to just order a small amount of drugs,” she said.

read … About the first of many shortages under Obamacare

AP Article on Hawaii GOP Convention Full of Errors

AP: Hawaii Republicans will elect new national committee representatives at their state convention this weekend.

Otherwise, party leaders expect the session's focus to be primarily local, with just a video clip sent over from the national party.

If all goes as planned, the election of delegates to the national convention should be straightforward. (Error #1 – The Convention does not elect national convention delegates. They were selected by the campaigns as a result of the March 13 caucus.)

In March the Hawaii Republican Party held its first formal and binding presidential caucus. The results bound all but three of Hawaii's 20 delegates to presidential candidates in proportion to their share of the vote….

Former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou will also be pres­ent. Djou, who was elected briefly to represent Hawaii's 1st Congressional District in a 2010 special election, has thrown his hat into the ring again to win a full term. The seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, who hopes to succeed Akaka. To do so, she will have to first beat former U.S. Rep. Ed Case in the Demo­cratic primary. (Error #2 – Djou is facing off vs incumbent CD1 Rep Hanabusa)

HR: Hawaii GOP Promises Inspiring, Informative and Invigorating Convention

read … Full of Errors

Maui Mayor: Critics Of Inouye "Completely Out Of Touch"

HR: This letter is in response to recent comments disparaging U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye.

For anyone to say that a man like Senator Inouye is out of touch, only proves that it is they who are completely out of touch with reality….

Senator Inouye is a man to be respected and honored, and does not deserve being the brunt of political posturing just so someone can make their point during a televised debate.

To do so belittles not just Senator Inouye but everyone this man has ever helped. I would have hoped that our elected officials and former elected officials knew better.

WT: Senate Appropriations Chair Dan Inouye: Offended for being told to eat at McDonald’s?

CB: Inouye’s Favorite Fast Food: Reaction From Washington

CB: Is Sen. Dan Inouye Out of Touch With Hawaii?

read … Arakawa

Troubled Myron B Thompson Charter School Tied to Solar Tax Credit Contractor

(Myron K Thompson is owner of Smart Energy Hawaii and the eldest son of Myron B Thompson for whom the Charter School is named.)

MKT’s column in SA: Hawaii public charter schools are positioned for change this year. New legislation is poised to overhaul the entire management structure of the charter school system, and will ultimately provide Hawaii with a structure that establishes clear lines of authority.

As a member of the local school board governing Myron B. Thompson Academy (MBTA), I support these new changes because they will ensure the accountability of all charter school stakeholders.

Two years ago, MBTA examined and ultimately overhauled its own operational management and governance structure.

Best Quote from Smart Energy Hawaii Website: “The State of Hawai‘i tax credit is 35%, but is limited to $5,000 per system. A residential PV installation often consists of multiple systems, so it is possible to take this tax credit more than once in a single year. “

What that is About: Why Stop at $500K? DoTAX Quietly Multiplies Hawaii Solar Tax Credit

read … Myron K Thompson

Teachers' ballot to cover strike: Re-Vote is ‘Insult to Our Intelligence’

SA: When teachers take a second vote this month on a proposed contract they overwhelmingly rejected in January, they will also be asked whether to authorize a strike.

Hawaii State Teachers Association leaders say the strike authorization question was included to give teachers a choice — and to lay out what some think are the only options left for a union embroiled in a lengthy labor dispute with the state….

Ray Dela Cruz, a special-education teacher at Kaimuki High, said he could not afford a strike and would not support one.

But he is also against the contract offer that teachers are being asked to vote on again.

"It's almost an insult to our intelligence," he said of the new vote. "We already did this."

read … Strike

Teachers Hammer Contract Re-Vote: Are You Kidding? It is a Waste of Time

KITV: "What was your first reaction?" Yamada asked teacher M.J. Matsushita. "You've got to be kidding," she said.

That's the skepticism the Hawaii State Teacher's Association has to overcome to convince teachers to vote 'yes' on the same contract teachers already rejected in January.

With a student show coming up, Kaimuki teacher M.J. Matsushita said she'd miss the first day of informational meetings, but she already knows how she feels about it.

"I think it's a waste of our time," said Matsushita.

HNN: Teachers listen to new pitch about old contract offer

read … Informational meetings begin on teacher contracts

Race for the Bottom: Education Secretary Arne Duncan Backs Gay Marriage

AP: I’m not sure what’s more remarkable, that Education Secretary Arne Duncan gave a candid answer when asked about gay marriage on Monday. Or that he was able to do it in three words.

Duncan was asked by Mark Halperin on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” “Do you believe that same-sex men and women should be able to get legally married in the United States?”

“Yes, I do,” Duncan said. And with that he jumped in the fray — unwittingly — over whether President Barack Obama will budge from his current position on gay marriage. Obama supports civil unions, but not gay marriage.

Obama’s position is that he is “evolving” on the subject….

What this is about:

read … Education Secretary Arne Duncan Backs Gay Marriage

Hawaii #5 in Farmers Markets per Capita

SA: A new index puts Hawaii in the top 5 states for its commitment to raising and eating locally grown food.

The ranking is based on the number of farmers markets and community supported agriculture programs per state resident. In CSAs, customers pay a lump sum up front and receive weekly deliveries of produce during harvest seasons.

According to the Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index, Hawaii has 85 farmers markets and 135 CSAs for the 1.3 million people in the state, ranking it fifth on the index.

Vermont tops the list with 99 farmers markets and 164 CSAs for fewer than 622,000 people.

The other top states on the list are Iowa, Montana and Maine.

Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Arizona and, surprisingly, Florida ranked at the bottom.

Florida produces much of the nation's citrus, strawberries and tomatoes, but the index says it has only 146 farmers markets and 193 CSAs for 18.5 million people.

News Release: Vermont tops Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index; state tops nation in local food availability

PDF: Strolling of the Heifers

read … Farmers Markets

2012 Senate Race: Where’s the Money Coming From

PR: The Center for Responsive Politics has an interesting breakdown of campaign fundraising data in Hawaii’s U.S. Senate race.

(Lingle is the top fundraiser in Hawaii)

read … Senate Race

Haleakala Raises Questions About Inouye’s Behind-the-scenes Wheeling Dealing

ILind: It was interesting to see the ruckus involving Senator Inouye, former Gov. Ben Cayetano, and the pro-rail labor-industry group, Pacific Resource Partnership, all boiling over at about the same time that a lawsuit over access to University of Hawaii records offered a reminder of the senator’s behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing.

The lawsuit was filed two weeks ago by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation seeking access to “all emails and correspondence” between UH officials and the offices of Gov. Abercrombie and Sen. Inouye concerning the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope proposed for the summit of Haleakala.

It was reported earlier that Inouye’s staff, communicating directly or through the governor’s office, put inappropriate pressure on the hearing officer appointed by the Board of Land and Natural Resources to handle a contested case hearing on the university’s application application for a permit to build in a conservation district. The hearing officer later complained publicly about the external pressure. Two weeks later, he was fired.

The former superintendent of Haleakala National Park has also alleged she was pressured by Inouye’s office to drop opposition to the telescope.

read … Haleakala

SB2858 Administration Headed Away from Open Information

SA: The legislation was prodded in part by a 2009 ruling by the Intermediate Court of Appeals, which later was affirmed by the Supreme Court, on a dispute over access to records. Kauai County could appeal an OIP decision calling for the release of minutes, the court ruled.

This effectively weakened OIP, but SB 2858 was not inevitable as the second half of a one-two punch. Instead, the legislative intent hidden away in a committee report could have been codified into law, ensuring that the information agency would become the authority on the public records law that it was meant to be.

Unfortunately, the state administration seems headed in the opposite direction.

read … OIP Abercrombie-style

Liberal Women’s Group Gives Hawaii a ‘B’ for Support of Working Families




SA: National Partnership for Women & Families. Alabama, Delaware, Georgia and 15 other states received 'F' grades for what the organization called weak policies on supporting working families.

The F states fail to provide a single benefit or program to help families before and after the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, the report said.


read … “B”

Bank of America starts offering mortgage principal reductions

PBN: Bank of America Bank of America has started sending letters to homeowners in Hawaii and 48 other states that offer to forgive part of the principal on their mortgages as part of a $25 billion settlement with the nation's largest banks over abuses in mortgage servicing and foreclosures.

The New York Times reports the amount being forgiven averages $150,000 per homeowner, and that Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) said it could mean a monthly savings of up to 35 percent on a mortgage payment.

SA: Prices, optimism continue climb

read … B o A

HB1755 Voter Registration On Line

CB: The measure, which still requires final approval from Gov. Neil Abercrombie, calls for $500,000 for the elections office to design an online voter registration system. The system would need to be in place for the 2016 elections.

Currently, residents have to either go down to a county office and fill out registration forms in person or print them out from the elections website and mail them in. The forms are available online, but still have to be sent in along with copies of proof of residency such as a photo ID or utility bill.

"Hawaii has been consistently at or near the bottom of all 50 states in voter turnout, and every effort should be made to encourage eligible citizens to participate," Common Cause Hawaii testified in support of House Bill 1755. "The numbers from the 2010 General Election show that there an estimated 961,213 eligible voters in Hawaii, but only 690,748 registered voters. ... Online voter registration can make participation in our democratic process more accessible and convenient."

A similar push last legislative session was vetoed by Abercrombie.

The governor's spokeswoman has said the governor supports the concept of the measure, noting that he vetoed the bill last year because it was an unfunded mandate.

read … On Line

Are There Rules Governing How Political Parties in Hawaii Raise Money?

CB: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, E. Contributions; Prohibitions; Limits Generally, §11-360, Contributions to a party. Visit for details.

Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, D. Reporting and Filing with the Commission, §11-335, Noncandidate committee reports. Visit for details.

Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, D. Reporting and Filing with the Commission, §11-332, Filing report by corporations. Visit for details.

Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, B. Campaign Spending Commission, §11-314, Duties of the Commission. Visit for details.

Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, B. Campaign Spending Commission, §11-311, Campaign spending commission establish; composition. Visit for details.

read … Yes there are

Shooting suspect needs protection, lawyer tells judge

SA: The attorney for a Nuu­anu man accused of shooting his wife's cousin following an argument last week wants the state to hold his client in the federal detention center to protect him from possible injury or harassment because the victim's relative is a state prison guard.

Attorney Myles Breiner made the request Monday at Wellington Falea­fine's initial appearance in Hono­­lulu District Court before Judge Shirley Kawa­mura. She set Falea­fine's preliminary hearing for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Faleafine remained at Oahu Community Correctional Center late Monday afternoon, an OCCC official said.

read … On notice

Sewer Line Floats to Surface of Ala Wai Canal: City Says, Don’t Worry, We’re building a Railroad

SA: Resubmerging a plastic sewage pipe that has floated to the surface of the Ala Wai Canal could take up to three weeks, but city officials reiterated Monday that the pipe is not leaking and poses no health risks.

The large pipe, which has been mistaken for everything from a log to the tail of a sea monster, emerged Saturday from the canal near the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

Blame warmer weather for creating more gas that caused the section of pipe to float, said Tim Steinberger, city environmental services director.

read … Sewers? No Need. We have a train coming

Tax Increase in Maui County Budget

MN: A Maui County Council committee Monday advanced its version of the county budget that would raise property taxes, reduce overtime in many county departments and offer up less borrowing through bonds than proposed by Mayor Alan Arakawa.

The council's Budget and Finance Committee advanced its $549.9 million proposed budget for fiscal 2012-13 to the full council. The first of two readings on the county budget is scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 24.

read … Tax Increase

Maui council members issue bonuses worth $46K to 17 staffers

HNN: A Hawaii News Now investigation revealed a majority of Maui County council members gave their staff thousands of dollars in bonuses last year while hundreds of Maui County employees endured five-percent pay reductions.

Maui County's nine council members pay their staff members and cover office equipment and supply bills out of their office accounts, which amounted to $117,922 each in 2011.

Seven council members gave 17 of their executive assistants bonuses last year, totaling $45,950, according to figures released by the Maui County Council responding to a request from Hawaii News Now. The average bonus came out to $2,703. The bonuses ranged on the low end from $700 to $1,000 up to highs of $5,000 and $7,000.

The bonuses happened in fiscal year 2011, the same time about 1,800 Maui County employees had their pay cut five percent because of furloughs.

read … $46K


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