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Saturday, June 13, 2009
June 13, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:43 AM :: 10931 Views

Filings can start Monday for special election

Candidates seeking to fill his District 5 seat can begin filing paperwork Monday, said acting City Clerk Bernice K.N. Mau. The deadline for candidates to file is June 25.

Ballots to roughly 49,000 registered voters in the district will be mailed out soon after the voter registration deadline of July 8, and voters will have until Aug. 7 to return them.

Bainum's district runs from Manoa Valley to the Ala Wai Canal and includes Manoa, Palolo, Moiliili and Kapahulu.

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Honolulu City Council Council Passes $1.1 Billion Budget for Rail with No Proviso

The measure passed 5-3 (it would have been 5-4 had Duke Bainum been there) and there was no proviso that the Mayor first get a federal Record of Decision (ROD) that the City had completed the environmental process. Even had the proviso passed, it would still have not assured us of federal funding. We will only know that, in writing, when we have a federal Full Funding Grant Agreement, which is years away.

Notable in the proceedings was the difference between how Barbara Marshall acted in Council versus her replacement Ikaika Anderson. He voted for every tax, fee and fare hike in the budget and for the rail funding and construction with almost no questioning of the Transportation Director.

Marshall was noted for her incisive questioning of the Director. Given the fact that the City had produced no new financial plan, that what the Mayor wanted voted on did not match the existing financial plan, and there was no proviso for a ROD, it is almost certain that Marshall would have voted against the bill. That would have meant that it would have failed 4-5.

RELATED: Romy Cachola letter to Mufi 2009

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SB propaganda: School board members decide they will try to "shake the tree" to find more operating funds

After hearing testimony from teachers and others on the need to maintain current services, the state Board of Education deferred a vote on proposed budget cuts of nearly $260 million for the next school year.  The board decided instead to ask Gov. Linda Lingle and state legislators to find new revenues for public schools. 

Board Chairman Garrett Toguchi said he would like the governor and legislators to look at using the $100 million reserve in the state's hurricane emergency fund and possibly raising the general excise tax temporarily by half a percentage point.

Toguchi said the decision on how to deal with a projected budget deficit might not be decided by the board until August and that the board has not received a formal notice from the state Department of Budget and Finance.

Roger Takabayashi, HSTA president, said he supports the board members' idea of looking for other funds.  (Wow, kinda sounds like the union and the BoE are leading the charge on this one, but that's because you are reading the SB and they left out the part of the story which the Advertiser got--about Lingle and Hanamoto applying for the magic 'stabilization' funds.--see below)  

"I think it's a good move," said Takabayashi, whose union represents more than 13,000 teachers.

"Nobody wants to lose instruction days for children."  (But my union will continue to protect the desk-driving bureaucrat positions of those with the most seniority while sacrificing the least senior members who are actual classroom teachers) 

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Advertiser: BOE members delay vote on budget plan

With $226 million in budget cuts expected next year and another $241 million expected in 2011, education officials say the DOE will need to cut a total of $468 million over the next two years.

Not all of the budget reductions will be offset through cuts.

Yesterday, Lingle and Hamamoto both signed the state's application for State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, federal stimulus money earmarked for education.

Hamamoto told board members that the application is expected to bring in some $111 million for Hawai'i's public schools, part of the DOE's plan to offset budget reductions.

Magic 'stabilization' funds -- Made in China, printed in USA:

http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/factsheet/stabilization-fund.html , http://www.iel.org/epfp/_assets/documents/wps/2009/arra-epfp-april-4-2009.pdf , Application for Initial Funding under the State Fiscal

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Hawaii counties to receive $225 million in bond authority

Recovery Zone Facility Bonds are a type of traditional tax-exempt private activity bond that may be used by private businesses in designated recovery zones to finance a broad range of depreciable capital projects.

Honolulu is eligible for $29,431,000 in Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds and $44,147 in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds.

Hawaii County's numbers are $24,678,000 and $37,017,000; Kauai's $12,166,000 and $18,249,000; and Maui's $23,725,000 and $35,587,000.

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IRS investigates Pflueger, Inc. (revealed in suit against Pflueger's insurance co)

James Pflueger is already the subject of criminal and civil trials in state court on Kaua'i related to the Kaloko dam collapse on March 14, 2006, that killed seven people.

The IRS probe is apparently unrelated to the dam collapse and is centered on tax filings of the Pflueger family of automotive companies, according to a lawsuit filed by Pflueger Inc. against the company's insurance carriers.

The suit seeks to require the insurance firms to cover legal costs incurred during the criminal investigation.

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Maui's Secret Ethics: Nishiki review finished

The Maui County Board of Ethics has concluded its review of a complaint against Maui County Council Member Wayne Nishiki, but its decision won't be made public, an attorney advising the board said.

The board's procedures allow for it to review complaints in private, so the informal advisory opinion approved by the board at its closed-door meeting last week will be released to Nishiki but not to the person who filed the complaint or to the public, said Hawaii County Deputy Corporation Counsel Renee Schoen, who was brought in to provide legal advice on the case.

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Kaho‘ohalahala / Lana`i: High court ruling on residency requested

Attorneys for a Lanai man challenging County Council Member Sol Kaho'ohalahala's claim of Lanai residency are applying for the case to be transferred directly to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Kaho'ohalahala's appeal of a ruling that he is actually a resident of Lahaina - not Lanai, from which he holds the residency seat on the council - is pending before the Intermediate Court of Appeals. But attorneys for his challenger, Michael "Phoenix" Dupree, said the importance of the case justifies a move to the Supreme Court, and asked for the case to be expedited.

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State Prosecutors, Public Defenders Get 3 Fridays Off

State government prosecutors and defense attorneys expect to take their first unpaid day off on July 3, KITV has learned.

The plan is to furlough public defenders and attorneys general the first three Fridays of every month. It has been submitted to the governor's office for approval, but the state courts have already begun to cancel hundreds of criminal hearings.

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Stolen-car driver freed, not charged

On Monday, police spotted a white Dodge Neon with car dealer's paper plates that didn't match. The officer attempted to pull over the vehicle in the Makiki area, but the driver refused to stop and fled.

The driver headed west through Kalihi to the 'Aiea-Pearl City area before turning and heading back to town. Police said they received several 911 calls reporting a person who was driving in a reckless and dangerous manner.

The car sped through Stevenson Middle School, blew out some tires, and came to a stop at the end of a cul-de-sac on Prospect Place. The driver, identified by police as Gates, got out of the car and ran, but was captured at the rear of a home on Prospect Place.

(Apparently he hasn't accumulated enough priors yet.)

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Candidate's links to development trouble residents

Until a few months ago, Manfredi was seen by many of his fellow Ka'u residents as a champion of the district's fledgling coffee industry and someone with a positive interest in the community. That changed when community members heard about the proposed development of the Moaula farm lots, where 35 families currently grow about 280 acres of coffee, said Marge Elwell, a Ka'u resident active in a number of community organizations.

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Hawaii county Council: Onishi, Enriques look to demote Yagong, Hoffmann

Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong will likely be the one left standing once the music ends, with two resolutions seeking to remove him as chairman of the Finance Committee. Both resolutions name Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi the new chairman of Finance.
A third resolution strips Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann of vice chairmanship of the council. South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford would be moved to chairwoman of Food and Energy Sustainability under one proposal and stripped of any chairmanships or vice chairmanships under the other

Yagong has been outspoken and somewhat of a maverick on issues such as reducing the size of government, fighting the mayor's attempt to sell county lands and increasing transparency in the process.
"I did all these actions with my eyes wide open," Yagong said. "I actually predicted this was going to happen two months ago."
One of the resolutions was sponsored by Onishi; the other, by Ka'u Councilman Guy Enriques. Enriques' Resolution 201-09 makes Yagong chairman of the Public Safety and Parks and Recreation Committee and vice chairman of the Human Services and Economic Development Committee.
"I'm a coach by profession. If it's not working as well as it ought to, you make a substitution. Give someone else a chance to shoot the ball," Enriques said.
Enriques said he has a lot of respect for Yagong, but he felt the budget process was unnecessarily tumultuous this year. Now that the budget is complete and freshmen councilmen such as himself have a little more experience, it's time to move people around, he said.
"Let's look at some changes where we've had bumps in the road," Enriques said.
Onishi's Resolution 202-09 -- naming himself chairman of Finance -- leaves Yagong without any committee chairmanships or vice chairmanships at all. Onishi did not return telephone messages Friday.
A third resolution, 200-08, also sponsored by Onishi, gives Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole the vice chairmanship of the council, replacing Hoffmann. Hoffmann and Ford did not return calls Friday.

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