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Monday, May 25, 2009
May 25, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:51 AM :: 8451 Views

Kauai Republicans pledge to run 'full slate' in 2010

Republican Joanne Georgi, who tried unsuccessfully to unseat Hooser in November, said she might make another run in 2010.
“I am considering running for the state Senate seat if Gary Hooser runs for lieutenant governor,” Georgi said. “We are going to have candidates for every single position. We are not going to allow the Democrats a free ride this year. I don’t care if I have to run my dog, we will run someone for all those positions.”
Georgi’s husband, Bill, chairman of the Kaua‘i Republican Party, said he intends to begin campaign “training” this fall and hopes to run a “full slate” of candidates for the seven County Council seats, three state House seats, one state Senate seat and Kaua‘i mayor.
First-term Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. is serving the last two years on the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste’s term and will be up for re-election in 2010....

“It’s certainly a fascinating year because Sen. Hooser has already announced for lieutenant governor, which poses the obvious question, ‘who would be our state senator?’” Kaua‘i County Councilman Tim Bynum said this week. “Certainly the speculation is all over town.”
The island’s three state representatives could be logical replacements, but two declined interest in recent interviews.
Rep. Mina Morita said last week that she will run for re-election in the 14th District, Kapa‘a-Hanalei, despite persistent rumors that the recently completed session would be her last.
“I’ll take it a session at a time,” she said. “I’m not running for Senate.”
Rep. Roland Sagum voiced similar sentiments.
“I have no interest in running for the Senate position, but I intend to run again for the state House 16th District,” Sagum, a Democrat who represents the Westside, said Tuesday. “The voters have confidence in me for this position, and I’m still learning the job. I think I need to just stay where I am and just do a good job here.”

Multiple attempts to reach Rep. Jimmy Tokioka, D-15th District, for comment were unsuccessful.

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Rail revenue plummets: Excise tax surcharge for April down 11%

Monthly tax collections needed to pay for Honolulu's planned $5.4 billion elevated commuter train fell 11 percent last month to $12 million compared with April 2008. The decline reflects a reduction in economic activity relating to a statewide slump.

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SB: Isles' time to pay piper coming fast

Union leaders said less than a month ago that the Lingle administration threatened to impose furloughs of up to 37.5 days over the next two fiscal years or face unilateral action by the administration. A sharp decrease in expected visitor expenditures since then could result in more cutbacks.

Those revenue dips reflect a severe downturn in the state's tourism industry. Visitor expenditures for the year now are expected to decline by 7.9 percent, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

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UH examines 33 programs for consolidation or cuts

Besides phasing out programs, UH-Manoa also is looking at consolidating the School of Travel Industry Management with the Shidler College of Business, and reorganizing the Pacific Biosciences Research Center, possibly moving staff into other research units like natural sciences, the medical school and the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.

Some staff and faculty say they will fight to save their programs.

(How about eliminating Ethnic Studies?  Not only would the UH system save millions, but the state would save billions.  The only difficulty would be the disposal of all that toxic waste.) 

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Police: Meth is growing on Maui

WAILUKU - Crystal methamphetamine and other narcotics are showing signs of a resurgence on Maui, due to the dismal economy, according to a Maui Police Department vice officer.

As people find themselves unemployed and desperate, they increasingly turn to the drug trade to try to make money, said police officer Ken Doyle. Others start using drugs like meth to stay awake while they work multiple jobs to support their children. And addicts of all ages often say they started using drugs to cope with a dysfunctional or broken family life, he said.

To get meth out of Maui, "We've got to make sure it's not profitable anymore, and we've got to help families stay together," he said.

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Subsidized solar power plan off to slow start

Hawai'i's Photovoltaic Energy Systems Project promised to have as much as 34 megawatts of solar power generated on state roofs in two years when it announced the program in January 2008.

But 16 months later, there is a little less than 1 megawatt of the planned photovoltaic capacity in place.

State officials said the program has had a slow start for a variety of reasons and that the effort remains one of their top priorities. Setbacks with a large installation contract the state thought was ready to go and the way the state tax credits are structured have hindered the program.

the initial contract winner, SunPower Systems Corp., backed away from an agreement to install more than 12 megawatts of generating capacity last year. That occurred in part because it would have difficulty using the state's 35 percent solar tax credit.

The state tried to recover from the blow by offering the contract to another bidder, Hoku Scientific Inc., but it was for a much smaller amount — less than 1 megawatt of capacity.

Even then, Hoku said it had problems lining up financing partners because it could only use the federal credit for the projects.

But tax credit problems exist because the PPA companies typically don't have the passive income tax bill needed to claim the credit, he said.

"The capital base which can benefit from the current state energy tax credit structure is simply not very large and the credits themselves — as presently defined — are relatively illiquid," said Dustin Shindo, Hoku president and chief executive officer.

Said Duda, a partner with Honolulu-based Distributed Energy Partners, "There is a gigantic pool of business, government and nonprofit clients with very desirable roofs and large electrical loads who can't use the (state) tax credits."

But that could change under a bill sponsored by state Sen. Mike Gabbard, D-19th (Makakilo, Kapolei, Waipahu), which passed the Legislature. The measure, SB 464, makes the credit refundable for taxpayers who agree to accept a lower credit (24.5 percent).

(This is Corporatism managed incompetently.)

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Hawaii's Bishop Museum struggles to survive recession

Last month, the museum laid off 19 of its 215 employees, cut the hours of those remaining and instructed all department heads to trim budgets by between 10 and 15 percent. The museum will not be open on Tuesdays — the first time in memory it has been closed to the public on a weekday. Meanwhile, the museum's Maritime Center at Aloha Tower has shut down completely until further notice.

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Damien canonization draws Hawaii visitors to Rome

Seawind sold out on its tours to the canonization within 24 hours of offering them in February, but more seats were added. As of Friday, about 20 of 500 were left.

Meanwhile, two 48-seat packages offered through Adriatic Pilgrimages in California are already sold out.

And a canonization tour offered through Panda Travel has sold 20 seats.

The tours cost from about $3,000 to about $6,000 per person.

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