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Tuesday, September 11, 2012
September 11, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:49 PM :: 6252 Views

Speaker among 29 House Democrats Opposing Tax Hikes (Calvin Say’s faction list?)

House Republicans Oppose Proposed GE Tax Increase

Looking Back: Charles Djou Joins Army After 9-11

Eleven years ago, our lives came to a standstill

Flags Ordered to Fly at Half-Staff on September 11

Hawaiian Airlines Projects Decreasing Revenue

MSNBC: Sen. Akaka’s exit interview: The full, unedited version of Chuck Todd’s interview with retiring Senator Daniel Akaka

Gay Activists use Bullies to Turn Hawaii Kids

CB: He told himself their stupid "no-homo" jokes at lunch and lewd remarks about the way he talks didn't bother him, but here he was at home after ditching school again. It can be hard to be gay in Hawaii….

…places like Farrington High School and social workers like Alison Colby have helped improve the environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in the Aloha State, where bullies harass one of every seven students they think might be gay….

Bully: "Johnny, you're a homo."
Politically 'Correct' School Counselor: "Don't worry little Johnny, its good to be gay."


read … Precisely As Predicted

Freitas’ large shadow looms over UH’s AD discussions

SA: But, official candidate or not — and as of Monday afternoon UH had yet to advertise the position on its website — he is not somebody the committee can just ignore.

Even if head football coach Norm Chow, a committee vice chairman, wasn’t bending ears and passionately proselytizing for Freitas.

Chow, you may remember, circulated a letter that gathered the signatures of 16 head coaches and 18 assistants last month recommending “the immediate appointment” of Freitas.

At its first meeting, the committee declined the “recommendation” and proceeded with the “national” search pledged by Manoa chancellor Tom Apple. They didn’t say they wouldn’t consider Freitas somewhere in the process, of course, only that they were punting on the immediate issue of his candidacy.

And therein is the dilemma: If Freitas declines to apply, does the committee dare to move on without at least talking to him? Or, does it open up a special avenue for him still to be part of the process?

The possibilities make for some interesting conversation this week as they reassemble to go about the process of choosing a successor for Jim Donovan.

Dismissing Freitas altogether for not applying for the position would be to ignore his contributions to Mountain West membership, not to mention risking offending Chow, the source of the most positive
news the campus has had in the past nine months. Giving Freitas a place among the finalists, meanwhile, invites more conspiracy theories.

Which is precisely the kind of problem UH opened itself up for when it invited coaches to take part in the process of helping to select their future bosses. Perhaps UH should just be glad that the two other coaches on the committee, Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji and Wahine basketball coach Laura Beeman, aren’t aggressively pushing their own, rival candidates and inviting a real free-for-all in the meeting room.

Lately there is a growing belief around campus that the committee might allow some of its number to “nominate” Freitas as a candidate, thereby bringing him into the thick of the conversation while bypassing the issue of an application.

It would be almost unheard of at UH, but then never has it convened a committee with such a shadow cast over the room, either.

read … As Explained

Boots honor ultimate sacrifice

SA: As the nation reflects today on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that claimed about 3,000 lives, the Pacific Aviation Museum has gathered together a representation of the "war on terror" costs for America that followed.

A sea of empty combat boots, collected for a recent remembrance run, are arrayed row after row on the south side of the Ford Island control tower, symbolizing those who have given their lives in Iraq, Af­ghani­stan and elsewhere.

The Pentagon said 6,596 Americans have died in operations Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn in Iraq and Enduring Freedom.

"They died because of what happened on 9/11; 9/11 started what we see before us, which is all of these guys who have lost their lives fighting for that freedom," said Theresa Johnson, manager of the Fisher House program at Tripler Army Medical Center.

read … 6596

OHA Behind Mobilization Against PLDC

Borreca: A portion of the opposition was fueled by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which according to its own releases said: "The huge turnout was prompted largely by efforts at OHA to mobilize its beneficiaries through email alerts, phone calls and public notices in its newspaper as well as social media sites."

OHA said it didn't trust the PLDC because the PLDC rules didn't "reflect cultural sensitivity to the unique challenges facing Native Hawaiians. (And) the PLDC is authorized to develop the state's lands in a way never allowed before."

The controversy attracted the attention of Democratic candidate for the state Senate, Laura Thielen, who has started campaigning on a platform of repealing the PLDC. Thielen adds a lot of credibility to the argument because she was DLNR director and land board chairwoman during much of the budget-cutting years and knows the issues more than most.

"There are a lot more people stepping forward, saying to wait. There are laws and regulations in place to protect our quality of life, and even if it takes a little longer but to respect our residents, then so be it," Thielen said in an interview.

If the PLDC is needed to pay for the state parks and recreation land, Thielen noted: "The state doesn't have a good record of earning a lot of money when it tries to compete with the private sector."

"If you look over the past 50 years, it seems we have developed an awful lot. What have we needed to develop that we haven't developed?" she said.

Her Republican opponent, former state Sen. Fred Hemmings, said he also opposes the PLDC because "it was a good idea that was poorly executed."

For now, the PLDC remains — and with it a deep community skepticism that when the Abercrombie administration and all future governors say, "Trust me," it really means, "Sucker."

CB: Hawaii Lawmakers Vow to Clamp Down on Public Land Corp.

read … OHA and the Enviros

PLDC: DelaCruz, Solomon Call for New Strategic Plan

SA: Two state senators behind the Public Land Development Corp. on Monday recommended a new strategic plan to help respond to intense criticism from environmentalists, Native Hawaiians and labor about the corporation's mission.

In a letter to the PLDC's five-member board, state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Kaena-Wahiawa-Pupukea) and state Sen. Malama Solomon (D, Hilo-Honokaa) said they are "sorely disappointed" about what they described as the misinformation that emerged from contentious public hearings this summer over the corporation's proposed administrative rules.

The senators recommend that the board adopt a strategic plan that makes it clear the corporation will comply with the state's laws regarding environmental review, historic preservation, open meetings, wage rates and ceded lands.

The strategic plan would stipulate that property ownership would always remain with the state or counties in development partnerships with the private sector and that projects must comply with state or county conditions. The corporation would also agree not to develop agricultural land eligible for designation under the state's important agricultural lands program.

read … State Ownership

DOE Internal audit finds procurement flaws

SA: The report is the first issued by the DOE's auditing arm since it was revamped late last year to respond more quickly to agency needs and take a bigger role in analyzing DOE spending, management and problem areas.

The audit also comes in the wake of several high-profile theft cases involving DOE employees, including one earlier this year that involved a Fern Elementary School secretary who pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $15,000 from various school accounts over the course of two years….

» A "lack of accountability" for small purchases (under $25,000) completed at the school and office level. In many instances, schools had not filled out required forms for purchases or received three price quotes.

Small purchases are actually a big-ticket item for the DOE. The department spent $789 million on small purchases from July 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2011, the procurement period reviewed in the audit.

» Concerns with controls for so-called "purchasing cards" — credit cards used in small purchases. P-cards are aimed at cutting bureaucracy, but the review notes that stricter monitoring is needed to ensure P-cards are being used properly and that schools follow procurement rules.

read … DOE audit finds procurement flaws

PRP Paying $400 Week to Rail Doorknockers

SA: Are you personable, enthusiastic and eager to earn up to $400 a week talking to fellow residents? If so, I Mua Rail wants you.

The multimedia campaign designed to beef up support for the city's $5.26 billion rail project has been making that pitch in emails designed to solicit canvassers to walk door to door in support of rail.

Pacific Resource Partnership, which is an alliance of the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters (formerly the Hawaii Carpenters Union) and the state's largest contractors, began fielding unemployed carpenters last year to canvass neighborhoods in support of the rail project.

Now I Mua Rail, a pro-rail campaign launched by PRP, is casting the net wider to recruit more manpower. Online ads sponsored by I Mua Rail offer up to 35 hours of work a week for people willing to walk Oahu neighborhoods delivering literature and making the case for rail in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 general election….

Longtime rail opponent Cliff Slater said he doesn't remember rail advocates hiring supporters to canvass neighborhoods before this year, but said rail supporters used this tactic aggressively in the months before the August primary election.

"When this first started, we got calls from all over the place, people knocking on doors," Slater said. "I mean, it would have taken an army to get the number of phone calls that we were getting." Slater said he expects the pro-rail canvassing will influence some voters, but said rail opponents don't have enough money to match the effort.

Best Comment: “billions of Oahu taxpayer dollars to an Italian railcar company, a West Coast construction company, East Coast engineering company, a Pennsylvania steel company, and a French investment bank. Locals will see very little of this money.

read … Intimidation

Repeal tip fee discount to help fund reliable city bus service?

Martin, Kobayashi: On the Council's agenda for Wednesday is a measure to repeal the tip fee discount for private commercial recycling companies that dispose of recycling residue at H-POWER or the Waimanalo Gulch landfill. This measure would take effect in January 2013 and could result in a revenue increase of millions of dollars. It is a demonstration of our support for the reallocation of city resources to ensure that the very basic services such as public transportation are not compromised by the overall escalation in the cost of government.

read … Recycling Subsidy?

Act 221 Scam Company Hoku Deregisters its Shares

SA: Honolulu-based Hoku Corp. has deregistered its shares with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a move that eliminates most regulatory reporting requirements for the financially troubled solar energy company.

Hoku officials filed a "Form 15" with the SEC on Friday, which served as notice that the company is terminating the registration of its shares with the SEC. The filing also suspended Hoku's duty to file certain reports with the SEC for a period of 90 days, with the exception of insider transaction and beneficial ownership reports. After that 90-day period, all reporting obligations will cease.

Hoku reported it had 138 shareholders of record as of the filing.

read … Slow motion implosion

Third Party Presidential Candidates on Hawaii Ballot

CB: The Libertarian Party is fielding Gary Johnson and running mate James Gray while the Green Party has Jill Stein and running mate Cheri Honkala.

read … Votes for Pot Heads

Republican Senate Candidates Surge in Liberal Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin

AP: Connecticut may be the biggest surprise. Two years after a decisive loss in her first Senate campaign, the Republican candidate, Linda E. McMahon, a former professional wrestling executive, is surging in polls. Wisconsin is also now tilting Republican. Democrats face blistering advertisements financed by super PACs in states they once thought were secured, and the tight presidential contest in swing states like Ohio, Florida and Nevada is keeping Senate races there closer than anticipated for both parties.

In Massachusetts, the Democratic nominee, Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard University professor and creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has raised record amounts of money. Yet in a state that is likely to vote overwhelmingly for Obama, she cannot pull away from Sen. Scott P. Brown, a Republican, whose personal appeal remains strong among voters.

Nebraska Democrats pressed Bob Kerrey, a Vietnam War hero, to run for his old Senate seat. He has made little headway.

In Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown seemed far ahead a few months ago, but at least $15 million worth of advertisements paid for by outside groups on behalf of his Republican opponent, Josh Mandel, is tightening up the race. The story is similar for Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, a Democrat who maintains a lead that money may cut into.

As Explained:

read … Count to Four, Let Me Count the Ways

AES Solar gets EIS approval for 5-megawatt solar farm in West Oahu

PBN: The 29-acre project on leased state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands property should start construction next summer and be operational toward the beginning of 2014.

It is one of several solar farms, including the Hawaii Community Development Authority's $80 million, 20-megawatt system on four different parcels totaling 230 acres, planned for Kalaeloa.

California-based SunPower Corp. has plans for a 5-megawatt solar array on 40 acres leased from the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. And, Texas-based Hunt Cos. Inc. and Norway-based Scatec Solar propose to build a 5-megawatt solar farm called the Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park on land being leased from the U.S. Navy.

read … Solar Scammers Draining The General Fund

Initiative to help at-risk homeless comes to Oahu

SA: A community-based effort called 100,000 Homes Oahu aims to move 100 of Oahu's most at-risk homeless people and families into permanent homes within the next two years.

Based on the nationwide 100,000 Homes Campaign, which began in 2010 in Washington, D.C., and is under way in Hilo, the initiative is aimed at saving money — and lives, said Kent Anderson, coordinator of the 100,000 Homes Oahu project, a partnership involving the government, nonprofit agencies, businesses, faith-based groups and volunteers….

Jeff Merz, a Waikiki Neighborhood Board member, said the program could make a big difference in Waikiki, which despite its resort status has a very visible homelessness problem.

"It's imperative to get people off the street and into housing," Merz said. "This makes sense and it sounds fiscally responsible. We are running out of ideas, so I'm all for bold steps." 

read … Initiative to help at-risk homeless comes to Oahu

Hawaii Still Not Ready for Hurricane

SA: There is no doubt that Hawaii has made strides toward better emergency preparedness in the two decades since Hurricane Iniki devastated Kauai and caused severe damage statewide. That's the good news. The more cautionary tale is that the next significant storm to strike the islands very well may stretch our coping capacity to the limit.

That's because, for starters, the state still hasn't done enough to prepare enough shelters for its current population and anticipated visitor count. On Kauai, the target zone of Hawaii's last two major hurricanes, there are 19,300 structures that are certified to withstand gale-force winds, according to the American Red Cross. But that's insufficient to accommodate the Garden Island's 67,500 residents and the 20,000 additional people who, on average, are visiting.

And although Oahu has dodged the proverbial bullet in natural disasters, from Hurricane Iwa in 1982 on, the prospect of a bull's-eye strike on this island is terrifying to consider.

read … No Shelter, No Escape



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