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Sunday, September 2, 2012
September 2, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:08 PM :: 5536 Views

Hirono Not Showing Up for Work, Missing Votes

2016: Obama's America Now Showing on Oahu, Maui

Encouraging Affordable Housing, Get Government out of the Way

Chamber of Commerce: University of Hawaii System Ranks 'D'

Borreca: Illegal Rail Really Can’t Go, Caldwell Motivation Disappears

SA: …critics can call the Caldwell-city rail plan "illegal."

If the city does go back to surveying the entire route and, as expected, it finds the downtown and Kakaako area dotted with ancient Hawaiian burials, the survey will stretch out. The mitigation plans will become much more complex.

The train is slated to go down Halekauwila Street in an area that already is lined with existing buildings such as the federal building, an office building filled with lawyers and the state tax office.

Hint to city: Do not even think about telling the feds you want their land. Hint to city No. 2: Do not tell a building filled with lawyers about eminent domain. And hint to city No. 3: Ditto for the state.

If you can't go up and you can't go down and you can't go left or right, you really can't go, can you?

That is Caldwell's dilemma. Without a rail plan to run on, his campaign's biggest motivational theme disappears.

Coffman: Rush and spend, not court, delaying rail

NHLC: Archaeological survey gives sacred iwi their due respect

Grabauskas: Ruling halts building now, but rail is staying on track

read … Illegal Rail

Act 55? “Impeach Abercrombie”

KGI: Haraguchi said the corporation is not exempt from federal laws, neither state environmental laws nor historic preservation laws. “I hope this is real clear,” he said.

But the person who orders Environmental Impact Statements in Hawai‘i, Gary Hooser, director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control, was sitting in the audience. Later in the evening he spoke, debunking Haraguchi’s earlier statement.

To say that the state environmental laws are not exempted, Hooser said, is a mislead. The way the PLDC is able to circumvent some rules makes the state environmental laws the same as a “paper tiger,” he said.

Speaking on his behalf rather than on his capacity as EOQC director, Hooser said he doesn’t trust the process and called for Act 55 to be repealed….

“Through this act, (Gov.) Neil Abercrombie has eliminated the facade that he upholds Hawai‘i’s constitution: He needs to go,” said Lihu‘e resident Elaine Dunbar, calling for Abercrombie’s impeachment along with the “inevitable repeal of this illegal act.”

Dunbar said PLDC and Abercrombie, “in felony-level conspiracy,” appear to have embezzled at least $130,000 from DLNR and Hawai‘i’s taxpayers to pay for the statewide meetings….

Dalton and a large chunk of public speakers called for a moratorium on Act 55 until the next Legislature convenes and possibly takes a second look at Act 55….

Slowly, speakers began to turn their anger on to Kaua‘i’s state legislators who voted for the law. The first one was Carl Berg, who said he was “very upset” that Sen. Ron Kouchi, D-Kaua‘i, Ni‘ihau, and Rep. Jimmy Tokioka, D-15th District supported it. Then Westside’s Gordon LaBedz said that Kaua‘i voted Kouchi and Tokioka in and needs to vote them out….

Ku‘ulei Santos, whose family harvests salt in Salt Pond, also lashed at Rep. Derek Kawakami, D-14th District. …

Meanwhile, written testimony can be sent until Sept. 14 to joy.y.kimura@hawaii.gov or to PLDC P.O. Box 2359, Honolulu, HI 96804.

read … Impeach Abercrombie

SA: Public land entity’s power is worrisome

SA Editorial: What rightly upsets people is that this affects public land in particular. The very properties in which ordinary taxpayers feel the most vested are the lands for which, they fear, they will have the least powerful voice.

Of course, the corporation will not exercise its option with all public property. Among its essential early tasks is creating an inventory of properties primed for development or repurposing. It should continue with that survey, and the public should weigh in on its evaluation of state assets.

In order to do that, the PLDC first must adopt its guiding rules. Although much of the opposition seems intent on shouting down the entire enterprise, the corporation is poised to continue down that path. Officials need some of those testifying to direct their attention to the rules themselves, which need improvement.

For instance, the corporation should be pressed to make as much of its documentation as possible available online. One section of the draft administrative rules dictates that "all government records of the corporation shall be available for inspection in the principal office of the corporation during established business hours." In a society with fairly established expectations of ready access to records, this provision seems wholly inadequate.

Or there's the requirement that a developer or the corporation "shall conduct or participate in at least one public meeting in the county community or development plan area in which the proposed project is located." But keep in mind: Under the current law, this could be the last such hearing, given that the ordinary process of land-use and zoning reviews won't be ordered.

read … Land and Power

Lawmakers snap on gloves for probe of concert fiasco

» The state Senate announced hearings next month to grill University of Hawaii administrators on the Stevie Wonder concert fiasco. No fiasco is complete until the Legislature gets involved.

» Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, who will lead the special committee, insisted she's not micromanaging UH. Her hearings are more like micro-proctology.

read … Shapiro

UH system earns poor grades in report

SA: A new report gives the University of Hawaii's two- and four-year campuses poor grades for student success, cost-effectiveness and transparency.

But Hawaii wasn't alone in receiving low marks.

Several other state university systems also performed poorly on the key indicators, according to the state-by-state "report card," which was produced by the Institute for Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the conservative-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The nation's overall less-than-glowing performance in the report, the study's authors note, shows there is a lot of work to be done to improve the delivery of higher education in the United States.

"American colleges and universities have long been viewed as the best in the world," the study's authors concluded. "Beneath this impressive exterior, however, some significant cracks are evident."

In the report, UH's four-year campuses received an F for efficiency and cost-effectiveness, with the cost per completed undergraduate degree tallied at $85,139 (compared with $68,140 nationally).

Full Text: Chamber of Commerce: University of Hawaii System Ranks 'D'

read … Poor Grades

Despite Warnings and Pleas, Rail Headed for 'Burials Central'

HR: As early as 2005, the Oʻahu Island Burial Council (OIBC) raised red flags. The rail project would undoubtedly impact Hawaiian burials.

Three years later, when the OIBC had not received promised communications from the City and County of Honolulu, the council asked for an update.

At that time, and at many meetings thereafter, the OIBC called into question the planned rail alignment, which would directly collide with concentrations of burials.

Joining the council's strong objections were the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hui Mālama i Nā Kūpuna O Hawaiʻi Nei, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation and Hawaiian families.

But City planners did not listen or did not care.

A growing chorus implored transit officials to shift the project route, thereby avoiding known burial areas. Still the City ignored efforts to avoid conflict and prevent costly litigation, delays and project modifications that would ensue once burials were encountered.

Despite these warnings and pleas, the railway is headed straight for an area that could be called “Burials Central.” (Written April, 2012)

read … Despite Warnings and Pleas, Rail Headed for 'Burials Central'

Domestic Energy: Lingle Agrees With Akaka, Hirono Silent

CB: Lingle supports drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

But the Lingle campaign points out that Sen. Dan Akaka, the man Lingle and Mazie Hirono wish to succeed, also supports drilling in ANWR, as does Sen. Dan Inouye.

“Linda Lingle continues to be deeply committed to ensuring our country lowers and eventually eliminates its dependence on foreign oil,” Lingle campaign manager Bob Lee said late this week. “Her call for achieving energy security by maintaining all options to acquire fuel from domestic regions that have proven oil reserves, including ANWR, is shared by Senators Inouye and Akaka.”

read … Stop Sending Our Money to People Who Want to Kill US

HELCO rate hikes hit isle’s poor the hardest

WHT: Should a proposed electricity rate increase of 4.2 percent in 2013 be approved by the state’s Public Utilities Commission, Big Island low-income families will be among those hardest hit by higher power bills.

Last year, almost a third of all Hawaii families that sought federal assistance with paying their electricity bills were located on Hawaii Island. About 10,000 families statewide — 3,313 of whom live on the Big Island — applied for and received funds totaling $6.1 million through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, according to the state Department of Human Services.

Eligibility requirements make the funding available to families that earn at most 150 percent above the federal poverty line, said Kayla Rosenfeld, spokeswoman for the DHS. That means that a family of between four and six members earning a combined maximum of $38,565 would qualify for the electricity bill assistance.

The Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council receives applications for isle families each year in the month of June, Rosenfeld said. (HCEOC = Democrat Ward heelers)

“A one-time payment is then deposited into the (qualified) applicants’ utility account around November,” she said.

In 2011, that average payment was about $553 per family, Rosenfeld said, down from a 10-year high average of $717.

read … Hit the poor Hardest

HGEA Nurses Morale Low, Underpaid 45%

MN: The nurses of Hawaii Government Employees Association have been without a contract since last July. The deficit in pay is more than 45 percent from private facilities. We have lost many experienced nurses due to pay cuts (from an already deficient pay package) since 2009.

We will be entering into arbitration in September and will hopefully make progress. Recently we were informed that funds were discovered in the delinquent financial statement by the state.

Hopefully, the arbitration panel's decision will reflect support of our nurses, who are the single most important component of patient care.

This is a health care crisis. Morale is rapidly deteriorating as the staff awaits a decision.

read … About Inferior HGEA Representation

Isle Supreme Court affirms state House election results in Kailua-Kona

SA: The court on Friday dismissed Akaka’s complaint on the basis that it was filed one day after the filing deadline of Aug. 20. The court’s ruling noted that even if the complaint had been filed on time, it lacked “a claim upon which relief can be granted.”

The court stated: “Taking Akaka’s allegations as true and viewing them in the light most favorable t her, it appears that Akaka can prove no set of facts that would entitle her to relief because Akaka has failed to present specific acts or actual information of mistakes, error or irregularities sufficient to change the results of the election.”

read … Akaka’s Granddaughter Rejected

Bishop seeks prayers amid new charges of sex abuse

SA: In a letter dated Aug. 24, Silva responded to allegations by former students of Damien Memorial School and St. Anthony Church in Kailua that they were sexually abused by clergy in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. It can be read in full on the diocese's "e-NewsLetter" at www.catholichawaii.org.

Claims have been filed in a New York bankruptcy court against the North American branch of the Congregation of Christian Brothers and in Hawaii against the diocese and other defendants, according to a Star-Advertiser story Aug. 24.

Under a new law that went into effect in April — which circumvents the lapsing of the statute of limitations on abuse that may have occurred decades ago — victims have until 2014 to file suit.

"This is a matter of great pain and shame to all of us Catholics, especially our wonderful priests and deacons," Silva wrote, adding later, "We are doing everything we can to address the problem of clergy sexual abuse, so that it never happens again."

In an earlier part of his letter, Silva said, "All of the lawsuits so far are based on incidents that allegedly took place 30, 40, or more years ago. We are now all being held responsible for what our predecessors a generation or two ago did or did not do….

Ignore this: Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature

Ignore this too: No Gag Order in Hawaii Blind-Deaf School Homosexual Rape Gang Case

read … Accusing Dead Priests

New state rule encourages a developer to build middle-class condos at the News Building site

SA: Local developer Marshall Hung has a good track record building high-rise housing for the middle class on Oahu. But he's taking his model to another level thanks to a new state provision he expects will lead to more affordable condominium towers in Kakaako….

…a "reserved housing" rule requiring 20 percent of units in the 489-unit tower be priced for moderate-income residents.

At Keola La‘i, a tower makai of the News Building site, 63 units were sold from $275,000 to $375,000 under the rule of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the state agency governing development in Kakaako.

Some affordable-housing advocates question state and city policies that assist with or facilitate housing development at the upper end of the "affordable" range that qualifies buyers earning up to 140 percent of the annual median income. That level qualifies a single person earning up to $81,050, or a family of four earning $115,780….

HCDA's reserved-housing policy aims to produce homes for people with such incomes — a "gap group" the agency says often earns too much to qualify for most affordable housing but not enough to afford market-priced units.

Hung swooped in on the 3.7-acre News Building site after another developer, Franco Mola of California-based Coastal Rim Properties Inc., had a purchase agreement fall through with the seller, Gannett Co. Hung paid $22 million for the property, according to sale records.

Hung plans to submit a development application for the initial 801 South tower to HCDA this week. If approved, the project would not start construction until a lease expires with the producer of the hit "Hawaii Five-0" TV show, which is based on the property and has converted buildings into offices, a soundstage, sets and other uses.

The show will be able to finish shooting its third season now in production, but will have to find new accommodations after its lease expires on May 31, around which time Hung anticipates launching unit sales through a lottery.

read … Affordable units fill $400M project

Service Wives, Marines Demand Ballot Rights

Honolulu Advertiser SEPT. 2, 1964: Two marines and two service wives yesterday invaded the Clerk's office at City Hall demanding to be registered to vote.

They were backed by their lawyer, H. William Burgess, and three members of the Oahu Republican Party.

Marine Lieutenant Colonel Dayton Robinson and Mrs. Peter DiMaggio, an Air Force wife, were unable to gain their objective.

Said Clerk Emperor Hanapi of their applications, "These two, as long as they are on a military reservation, I cannot accept them for registration."….

"I live here by choice," Mrs. Loop told Hanapi and Ishida. "My husband is not even here.

"But I lost my right to vote when I got married here.," she said.

Hanapi wanted to know her husband's "home of record."

"He entered the service in Minnesota, but he never lived there a day in his life," Mrs. Loop answered.

Hanapi asked, "How can he provide his legal residence in Hawaii?" He explained the wife's residence follows that of her husband.

"What about me," snapped Mrs. Loop, a petite blonde who once served as a deputy voter registrar in California.

"I'm an individual citizen," she claimed.

read … Service Wives, Marines Demand Ballot Rights

US Will Soon Be Self-Sufficient in Oil and Gas 

FT: For nearly four decades, OPEC -- the cartel formally known as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries -- has been a major economic and geopolitical force in our collective lives, driving nations to war, otherwise self-respecting world leaders to genuflect, and economists to shudder. The last half-dozen years have been especially nerve-wracking as petroleum has seemed in short supply, oil and gasoline prices have soared to historically high levels, and China has gone on a global resource-buying binge. Russia's Vladimir Putin has strutted the global stage, bolstered by gas and oil profits, and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez has thumbed his nose at los Yanquis.

Yet now we are hearing a very different narrative. A growing number of key energy analysts say that technological advances and high oil prices are leading to a revolution in global oil. Rather than petroleum scarcity, we are seeing into a flood of new oil supplies from some pretty surprising places, led by the United States and Canada, these analysts say. Rather than worrying about cantankerous petrocrats, we will need to prepare for an age of scrambled geopolitics in which who was up may be down, and countries previously on no one's A-list may suddenly be central global players.

One primary takeaway: North America seems likely to become self-sufficient in oil. "This will be a huge potential productivity shock to the U.S. economy," says Adam Sieminski, director of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a federal agency. "It could grow the economy, grow GDP, and strengthen the dollar."

read … Meet the winners and losers of the coming age of plenty

Rep. George Fontaine is one of South Maui’s own

MN: George Fontaine is one of ours. He lives in Kihei. He has a long record of commitment to service in our community. As our representative, he has worked with many in the Legislature to advance the quality of life in South Maui. Recently he teamed with Sen. Roz Baker and Council Member Don Couch to bring the issue of the new malls to the attention of the Land Use Commission. He is an expert on law enforcement in a Legislature that leans more to defense attorneys. He is someone who knows the history of the campaign for a public high school in Kihei. He is someone who has seen the devastation from the floods that hurt our roads and our reefs.

read … Rep. George Fontaine is one of South Maui’s own

Time to act on government health and pensions liability debt is now

MN: When it comes to the state's unfunded government employee health and pension benefits liability (of which Maui County owes a portion), Hawaii is not the only state to have such a massive problem. However, few seem to realize that this combined liability is estimated to be roughly $21 billion and growing, and it has yet to receive the attention it needs to address this crisis.

For the last two legislative sessions, we have asked all members of the Hawaii Legislature, not just our Maui senators and representatives, to address this problem and pare back spending to what our state can afford….

Therefore, we asked every candidate running for state and county office that participated in our endorsement process how much is owed (for the respective office level they are running for - state or county - and how they planned to address it.

Those who shared the best information were South Maui Rep. George Fontaine on the state level and Council Member Mike White on the county level. While others had some idea of the amount, some in office and many running for office grossly underestimated the amounts. On a county level, we heard amounts of between $200 million and $400 million, understanding the real number to be closer to $400 million. We also heard how the Maui County Council has set aside money over several years totaling $90 million toward this debt.

read … Best Information

Fontaine a class act, asset to people of South Maui

MN: He gave us a full briefing of what happened during the legislative sessions - and several thoughts as to why many things of interest did not pass.

Fontaine was thorough and knowledgeable in the content of his presentation, and extremely energetic with a reply for every question. I felt he had a ton of style and, in time, would be a tremendous asset to the people of South Maui as their state representative.

You see, George is a class act and will always be a gentleman and honor his office.

read … Fontaine a class act, asset to people of South Maui

Six Hawaii County Charter Amendments on Ballot

HTH: Big Island voters will have more decisions to make at the ballot box this November than just for whom to vote.

They will also have to chose whether to support or reject several proposed amendments to the state constitution and Hawaii County Charter.

The amendments, eight in all, range from the more mundane, deciding whether judges over the age of 70 should return to the bench on a temporary basis, to those with a more local impact, such as how much property taxes the county should spend preserving land.

Here is a list of the proposals, in their plain and more technical language.

read … List of Proposed Amendments

Maoists, Anti-Semites Demand TIAA-CREF Boycott Israel

SA: We supporters also asked that TIAA-CREF divest from all companies providing products and services that contribute to Israeli settlements and/or the separation wall, both of which are illegal under international law, and to divest from companies that provide products or services that contribute to or enable violent acts targeting civilians, including Veolia, Northrop Grumman, Elbit and Motorola. The letter delivered to TIAA-CREF in Honolulu was signed by several individuals and two organizations, Friends of Sabeel-Hawaii and World Can't Wait-Hawaii (which is a front group for the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party).

2010: Honolulu Maoists & Holocaust Deniers protest against Israel: Star-Bulletin calls them ‘peace activists’

read … A bunch of anti-Semites 

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