Record Ethics Fine: Nestor Garcia Conflict of Interest on Rail Votes
Probation Fees: Will Justice Reinvestment become a Revenue Center for the Judiciary, PSD, and Police?
Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted July 2, 2012
Rate Hike: HECO Gets $59M, Ratepayers Get $0.85
Case Welcomes Hirono's Change of Mind on a Statewide Televised Debate
Will Matson Survive?
Hawaii Republicans Celebrate July 4th Statewide
HM: Ooh! Aah! Kaboom! Here's a list of dazzling Hawaii Fourth of July fireworks shows
VIDEO: Independence Day Parade gets political in Naalehu
Pension Tax, Gambling Back on the Agenda to Fill $600M Deficit?
Borreca: The PFM report does appear to be exploring some controversial old ground favored by Abercrombie, including taxing retirees and looking at gambling.
"Besides removing/reducing the exemption on pension/retirement income, other options include: reducing/eliminating the deduction for real estate taxes, reducing/eliminating the deduction for state income and sales taxes," the report said….
Perhaps more review is needed as to how the consultants came up with the scary $600 million deficit by 2025.
The report says much of it is due to public worker salary increases. PFM speculates that if public workers get an average increase of 3.5 percent, during the next round of collective bargaining, they will also demand being paid back for all the money lost in furloughs and salary cuts, making the state payroll even higher.
Kalapa: Can a Tax Increase be in the Works?
read … How to cover state deficit will be campaign issue
Inouye to Case: “Thank you for lying to me”
HTH: "Now, how would you feel if you asked me a question, 'Are you going to run for the Senate?' And I told you, 'No, I'm not running. I'm not going to oppose Akaka.'
"And less than a week later, he opens his campaign headquarters with posters all over the place. And you know very well it takes more than five days to print these things, especially if you're on the mainland. How would you look upon me as someone you would call a reliable friend?"
Inouye then said he received an invitation to Case's campaign headquarters.
"What am I supposed to say? 'Thank you for lying to me.'"
read … Liar
Hirono Leads Case By 15 in Own Poll
HOC: Hirono leads Case 53 percent to 38 percent in the poll. Ten percent said they are undecided….
The poll of 488 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted from June 19-21 by Benenson Strategy Group and carries a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points.
CB: Is Mazie Hirono Getting Nervous?
PR: Case’s internal poll numbers in May showed a much tighter campaign.
SA: Hirono takes on Case's demand for TV debate
KHNL: VIDEO: Hirono & Case will finally meet in commercial TV debate
Milner: The Misguided and Harmful Myth of Bi-Partisanship
read … August 11th
Tulsi Gabbard named one of 10 Outstanding Americans
PR: Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard was honored over the weekend by the United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) as one of its 2012 Ten Outstanding Young Americans.
The 74th annual awards were presented Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.
read … Young American
Moody's affirms Hawaii's ratings on $5B in Debt
Reuters: Moody's affirms Hawaii's Aa2 general obligation bonds, about $4.9 billion of debt affected
Moody's affirms Aa3 certificates of participation, about $62 million of debt affected….
June 27: Abercrombie: State Fiscal Position Very Positive “In a few days time I think you are going to be very well pleased,” said Abercrombie, who didn’t offer any details.
read … Not Broke Yet
Abercrombie won't restore school bus service cuts
SA: Gov. Neil Abercrombie says he has no plans to step in to restore school bus service for nearly 2,400 students statewide, and called it irresponsible to suggest he do so.
“As governor I do not have unlimited authority to declare an emergency for any matter I choose,” Abercrombie wrote, in a letter Monday night to state Rep. K. Mark Takai (D, Newtown-Pearl City).
Takai had asked Abercrombie to use his “emergency powers” to address the cuts to student transportation.
Governor's response to Rep. Takai on school bus service
Rep. Mark Takai's letter to the governor about Student Bus Service
SA: The DOE plan's late timing puts families in a bind, critics say
read … Let them Walk
Utility CEO: Big Wind, interisland cable are last gasp of dying dinosaur
SA: Imagine if every Hawaiian home had its own water source: Why be tied to a municipal water system delivering high-cost chlorinated water from faraway through aging pipes? Yet this is HECO's business model: a centralized electricity generation system of aged power plants and huge industrial wind factories sending unstable current across long distances through multi-billion-dollar undersea cables.
This is why Gov. Neil Abercrombie, HECO and the Public Utilities Commission are pursuing a $10 billion "boondoggle," as state Rep. Gil Riviere termed it: "Big Wind" and the Interisland cable.
The stated purpose of this monstrously inefficient and obsolete technology is to link all the islands but Kauai with undersea cables feeding expensive and environmentally destructive geothermal power from the Big Island, and unreliable industrial wind energy from Lanai and Molokai, to Oahu — all to be funded by Hawaii's already-burdened electricity customers.
The wind project, which would cover 35 square miles of Molokai and Lanai with industrial turbine towers 45 stories high, would provide only 4-6 percent of Oahu's present electricity needs. But at only 5 percent of this cost, HECO could provide rooftop hot water systems to every home on Oahu, and cut residential electricity demand by 30 percent.
The Big Wind and interisland cable project are the last gasp of a dying dinosaur, a futile attempt to keep an obsolete and expensive utility alive. Instead, HECO should stop limiting rooftop PV, and focus instead on the expansion of a statewide rooftop PV system backed by state-of-the-art firm generation as needed.
And Gov. Abercrombie, instead of serving the interests of HECO, mainland energy companies and investment banks, should support renewable, green solar energy, and contribute to Hawaii's bright energy future rather than attempting to block it.
Bond: Big Wind, undersea cable will add huge debt, damage ecosystems
read … Last Gasp
Rail Contractor HDR Engineering acquires Honolulu rail consultant InfraConsult
PBN: Honolulu rail contractor InfraConsult LLC has been acquired by Omaha, Neb.-based HDR Engineering Inc.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. InfraConsult, an infrastructure management and advisory firm with offices in Hawaii, Arizona, California and New Mexico, will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of HDR Engineering.
Hawaii’s location is important to HDR has the company expands it global focus, President Eric Keen said.
“We are excited about InfraConsult’s unique expertise, which we will now be able to jointly offer our transportation clients,” Keen said in a statement. “They provide outstanding program and financial management advisory services, and are supporting clients on some of the world’s most complex transportation and transit projects.”
InfraConsult is the program manager for the Honolulu rail transit project.
HDR|Hawaii Pacific Engineers Wins Rail Transit Design Contract (HONOLULU - August 3, 2010) - The city of Honolulu has awarded a design contract for three rail transit stations to HDR|Hawaii Pacific Engineers. The contract will help move forward the designs of the West Loch, Waipahu Transit Center and Leeward Community College stations along Farrington Highway. HDR is an employee-owned architecture firm with more than 7,800 professionals in more than 185 offices worldwide. All of them are committed to helping clients manage complex projects and make sound decisions. HDR is ranked No. 11 overall in the Engineering News-Record Top 500 Design Firms survey for 2010 and No. 8 in transportation.
read … HDR Engineering acquires Honolulu rail consultant InfraConsult
Contractor Quietly Quits Hawaii Tobacco Quit Line, Nobody Talking
PRW: The Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii is seeking a firm to promote the state's tobacco quit line after Bennet Group Strategic Communications walked away from the account.
The 15-month contract will begin in October. It is valued at up to $1.9 million, according to the RFP. The research corporation could extend the contract annually for up to four years with the budget for each additional year reaching $1.6 million. Responses to the RFP are due July 24, with a decision expected by September.
Bennett Group resigned the account “a while ago,” CEO Joan Bennet said.
"For a number of reasons…we have decided to not pursue further work on this account, at least for now. We will do all we can to ensure a smooth transition to the new agency," Bennet said, via email. She added that it is unclear whether the organization decided to release the RFP in response to her firm's departure.
The Research Corporation did not return a request for comment.
read .. Quits Quit Line
HTA: Nonstop air seats to Hawaii projected to grow by 12.6%
PBN: Among the Asia markets, scheduled seats from Japan are expected to increase 15.4 percent from July through September, while the “Other Asia” market is expected to see gains of 55 percent from South Korea and 48.3 percent from the Chinese city of Shanghai. Australia air seats are expected to grow by 32.9 percent.
The number of scheduled air seats from the West Coast is forecast to grow by 8.8 percent, while East Coast seats are projected to jump by 25 percent, thanks to Hawaiian Airlines’ new nonstop flight from Honolulu to New York, and United Airlines’ flight from Honolulu to Washington’s Dulles International Airport.
read … About Something that will crash when the Dollar Strengthens
Hawaii health insurance exchange members take their posts
PBN: The board members of the Hawaii Health Connector are:
· Cliff Alakai, Maui Medical Group
· Clementina Ceria-Ulep, Faith Action for Community Equity.
· Joan Danieley, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc.
· Jennifer Diesman, Hawaii Medical Services Association.
· Patricia McManaman, Hawaii Department of Human Services.
· Beth Giesting, Hawaii Office of the Governor.
· Michael Gleason, The Arc of Hilo.
· Robert Hirokawa, Hawaii Primary Care Association.
· Faye Kurren, Hawaii Dental Service.
· Kealii Lopez, Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs.
· Sherry Menor-McNamara, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.
· Gwen Rulona, UFCW Local 480.
· Christine Maii Sakuda, Hawaii Health Information Exchange.
· Hardy Spoehr, Papa Ola Lokahi.
· Edward Wang, Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
read … Hawaii health insurance exchange members take their posts
Star-Adv: Homeless Work Farm better than Tent City
SA: The Rev. Duk Whan Kim, speaking through an interpreter to the Star-Advertiser, said the church is in escrow on a $400,000 purchase of land from Mountain View Dairy Inc. The blueprint is for the 24 people to live in the existing 12-bedroom residence and to work the fields, planted in yams, Korean cabbage and mulberry.
Renovating the residence for the church clients is only part of the work that lies before Hawaii Cedar. Starting a productive farming venture is an big undertaking that would benefit greatly from expertise, even if its aims are charitable rather than profit.
And farm work is hard. The residents would put in four hours a day, Kim said, and that could leave time for other duties and jobs that some of them certainly have. Even so, it would be suitable for only some among the homeless population.
Urban farms have been tried successfully in Santa Cruz, Calif., Boston, Mass., and other cities. They could be described as a more structured variant of the homeless encampments, or "safe zones," that some see as alternatives to conventional shelters.
State Rep. John Mizuno, who represents the district of the Hawaii Cedar Church, is one who has advocated for safe zones but ran into opposition from those who point to security and sanitation problems that arise.
Those criticisms are valid, and safe zones are sometimes not so safe in the end. The most successful encampments in other parts of the country have been those where there is oversight and self-governance.
A church like Hawaii Cedar, which already has a relationship with its clients, may be in a good position to provide that oversight and guidance. Mizuno agreed that the church-run farm model is worth a try.
"We want to reduce homelessness," Mizuno said, "and government is not a panacea."
read … Work Farm
Kauai Police Commission Sues Mayor
KGI: The court will offer the last word on who can suspend or discipline the chief of police.
The Kaua‘i County Police Commission has filed suit against Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. in his official capacity as mayor of the County of Kaua‘i in 5th Circuit Court to seek a declaratory judgment regarding the County Charter. The suit is asking the court to rule that the police commission has the sole authority to suspend or otherwise discipline the chief of police.
read … Mayor Sued
Maui Victims Fall for Another Scammer
HNN: The state is cracking down on a Maui businessman accused of running a bogus investment scheme. According to investigators, he scammed people out of thousands of dollars by promising profits from his water companies.
Nelson Waikiki Jr. and his businesses, Opunui Water Company and Opunui Land and Water Company, face a preliminary order to cease and desist issued by the state securities commissioner. The former Maui mayoral candidate allegedly scammed investors and took the money for his personal use. Waikiki is accused of swindling at least seven investors out of $73,000 from October 2008 through December 2011.
"He really didn't have the water company going. He made a lot of promises to these people. He oversubscribed over 200% of the company profits," explained Tung Chan, state commissioner of securities.
According to Chan, Waikiki made false claims about securing permits for a "water selling system" that was endorsed by powerful politicians.
"Like Barack Obama was his partner in this and that the U.S. Congress was about to pass a bill that would require all land developers and all private companies to go through Opunui Water Company for water usages throughout the state," Chan said.
KITV: Waikiki convinced investors that Opunui was to be used for 'all water usage' in state
MN: Man allegedly selling botch investments
Ripoff Report: Opunui Water Company LLC - Lahaina Partners LLC
read … Another Scam on Maui
June bankruptcy filings lowest in nearly 4 years
SA: Bankruptcy filings in Hawaii fell in June for the 16th consecutive month, according to data released today by U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
The 185 cases filed in June was 33 percent fewer than the 276 cases filed the same month a year earlier, the court reported. The volume of filings in June was the lowest in nearly four years. Bankruptcy filings have been trending lower since averaging 330 a month during the recent peak in 2010.
read … Lowest
New Patent Office Inexplicably Goes to Silicon Valley, not Honolulu
PBN: Honolulu will not become the home to a U.S. Patent and Trademark satellite office.
Instead, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said Monday that new offices will be located in Denver, Dallas and Silicon Valley. A fourth satellite office in Detroit, which was chosen last year, will open on July 12.
read … Incomprehensible decision
Navy to resume sinking old ships in US waters
Fox: The U.S. Navy is resuming its practice of using old warships for target practice and sinking them in U.S. coastal waters after a nearly two-year moratorium spurred by environmental and cost concerns.
Later this month, three inactive vessels -- Kilauea, Niagara Falls and Concord -- will be sent to a watery grave off Hawaii by torpedoes, bombs and other ordnance during the Rim of the Pacific naval exercises, or RIMPAC.
The military quietly lifted the moratorium on Sinkex, short for sinking exercise, last year after a review of the requirements, costs, benefits and environmental impacts of the program, the Navy said in a statement to The Associated Press.
It will be the first time since 2010 the Navy has used target practice to dispose of an old ship.
SA: RIMPAC praised as a key tool for global prosperity
Read … Ecos Still Upset
Marriott Securitizes $250M of Timeshare Mortgages
WPC: First, the newly spun off publicly traded timeshare company announced it recently completed a securitization involving the transfer of a pool of approximately $250 million in vacation ownership loans. The loans were transferred to Marriott's affiliate Marriott Vacation Club Owner Trust 2012-1, which simultaneously issued approximately $238 million of notes.
Meanwhile, Marriott Vacations announced Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club, located on a secluded lagoon within the upscale Ko Olina Resort in Hawaii, recently completed its fifth development phase. The latest phase delivered 132 new two- and three-bedroom villas to Marriott Vacation Club's largest resort in the Hawaiian Islands.
Just a 30 minute drive from Honolulu, the resort is situated on the main island of Oahu's western shore.
"Ko Olina Beach Club is a magnificent resort set in one of Oahu's prime beachfront locations," said Edgar Gum, Regional Vice President Hawaii Operations, Marriott Vacation Club. "The availability of these beautiful villas comes at just the right time when our occupancy will reach nearly 100 percent through the summer months and the attention to detail and relaxing views will make for many memorable vacation experiences for our owners and guests."
read … Security
Synthetic urine use increases after a year decline
KHON: We are surprised to see that the use of synthetic urine is up 37 percent from the previous quarter after a year of steady decline,” said Carl Linden, scientific director of toxicology at Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc.
“When we first developed an assay to detect the presence of synthetic urine in 2010, almost two percent of our samples showed its use. This quarter, it’s still lower at 1.1 percent of samples, but it’s a mysterious uptick. It may be that the market is presenting supposedly ‘new’ formulations,” Linden noted….
The company says other drug use remained stable in workforce testing with THC (marijuana) and amphetamine use rising slightly from 3 percent to 3.1 percent and .5 percent to .6 percent of samples respectively. Cocaine remained the same at .2 percent, as did opiate use at .2 percent.
read … Dopers' tricks