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Friday, July 3, 2009
July 3, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:51 AM :: 14741 Views

Hawaii hotel rates, occupancy drop

Hawaii hotel room rates continue to drop by double digits on most islands.

For the week ending June 27, the statewide average was $175 a night, down 17.4 percent from the same week last year.

Hotel occupancy slipped as well across the state, down 4 percentage points to 71.6 percent.

(Meanwhile the unions and their Judiciary act like money will fall out of the heavens....)

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Pyongyang expected to test ICBM

COLORADO SPRINGS | U.S. missile defenses are prepared to try to knock down the last stage of a Taepodong-2 missile that North Korea is expected soon to launch if sensors detect the weapon threatens U.S. territory, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command told The Washington Times.

The general said the United States won't activate its missile defenses if the North Korean missile appears it will fall safely into the water as the country's last test missile did.

Asked if North Korea is likely to conduct a July 4 Taepodong-2 test, as occurred in 2006, Gen. Renuart said in an interview this week with The Times at Northern Command headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, "I think we ought to assume there might be one on the first of July and continue to be prepared and ready."

SB: N. Korean missile watch on

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Unions' hand-picked Judge blocks furloughs

Sakamoto granted a request by the Hawai'i State Teachers Association and the United Public Workers for a temporary restraining order and the Hawai'i Government Employees Association's request for a preliminary injunction. The unions have also sought permanent injunctions.

The unions had asked the court to find that new layoff procedures should be subject to collective bargaining. Sakamoto said the request was premature because the governor has not ordered layoffs. 

(Hmmm.  Layoff and then be enjoined by unions' hand-picked flunkey Sakamoto?  Or appeal now?  Hmmmm....  And of course for Democrats the key question is how to make the Gov take the fall for all of this--and maximize the chaos--leading to a Dem gubernatorial victory in Nov 2010.)

Democrat Borreca: The state will now negotiate with unions to find added savings

"I continue to believe that we must approach this unprecedented fiscal challenge with a sense of shared sacrifice in the short term, while remaining focused on our long-term economic future," she said.

Lingle has said previously that if she were blocked in court, she would start laying off state workers. She did not mention layoffs in last night's statement.  (Borreca is dreaming--or setting the stage for chaos)

Lingle and Attorney General Mark Bennett were reviewing yesterday whether to appeal the case and were not available for comment....

"This ruling does not solve the problem we all face...." --Randy Perreira, HGEA executive director (Hidden lead, anybody?)

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Governor saves businesses from Legislature: Internet tax veto revives affiliations

Overstock.com yesterday reinstated its relationship with Hawai'i-based affiliate advertisers following Gov. Linda Lingle's decision to veto legislation that would have forced the online retailer to collect taxes on its Hawai'i sales.

"Today we cheerfully comply with Governor Lingle's request that we promptly restore our relationships with her state," said Patrick Byrne, chairman and chief executive officer of Overstock.com. "We are more than happy to do so and thank the governor for seeing clearly on this bill,"

Amazon spokesman Patty Smith said the online retailer was "grateful" for Lingle's veto.

"We will reinstate Hawaii-based associates as soon as we receive confirmation that the legislature will not override her veto," Smith said in an e-mail.

A Blue Nile spokesman said the company also supports Lingle's veto.

"It is the right move for Hawaii's many entrepreneurial and hard-working citizens who depend on affiliate commissions for all or part of their income. Blue Nile is pleased to announce that we are taking the necessary steps to resume our relationship with Hawaii affiliates," spokesman John Baird said in an e-mail.

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KGMB: Sen. Inouye Refutes responds to Washington Post Story

Inouye helped found the bank in 1954. The article claimed an aide from Inouye's office called the FDIC to check on the bank's application.

But Inouye says he did not tell anyone on his staff to do that.  (Readying yourself to blame a rogue staffer, Dan?)

"There's an amount of emotional attachment, but I'm not on the banking committee or anything like that and I made it a point to stay away from that," Sen. Inouye said.

SB: Given his stake, Inouye should've known better

SB: Text of Inouye response

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KITV: Senator Says Staff Made Inquiry Without His Knowledge

In his 50 years in Congress, the only stock Inouye said he has owns is Central Pacific. (It's all I've got!)

"I don't have General Motors or General Electric or General Dynamic, Norfolk Grummond, because as chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Committee I am privy to certain information that would make me a billionaire, but I don't do those things," Inouye said. (Everybody else is worse)

The staff inquiry to federal regulators was said to simply check on the status of the bank's application. The bank was founded by WWII veterans.

"During the war they wiped out the Japanese banks and the old folks had nowhere to go. So, we thought it was about time we established something that could accommodate these old folks," Inouye said.  (Moral cause)

Inouye laughed, saying that if people think he did have a hand in the bank bailout he did a lousy job because the bank stock back in November was $60. Now, he said it is less than $4.  (And I'm still screwed.  Pity me.)

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Maui Memorial leaders ‘surprised’ by veto threat

WAILUKU - Some Maui state lawmakers and Maui Memorial Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Wesley Lo said they were surprised that Gov. Linda Lingle had put a bill to provide more independence to state hospitals on her list of potential vetoes.

In comments attached to her list of bills facing vetoes, Lingle said that Senate Bill 1665 "makes major changes to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation structure, which could have an adverse impact on the delivery of health care on the Neighbor Islands."

The governor did not elaborate on how the restructuring could have an adverse impact.

"We are actually pretty surprised that our bill is on the list," Lo said, adding that the bill had broad input from lawmakers, regional hospital leaders, unions and community members. "They believe it has the most potential for improving health care by creating the flexibility to react to a changing health care environment. We hope that she will reconsider this action."

(Leverage in budget negotiations?)

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No sunshine: Supreme Court to hear Kauai County v. OIP

LIHU‘E — The Hawai‘i Supreme Court last week agreed to hear a case in which the Kaua‘i County Council is suing the state Office of Information Practices to keep certain records concealed.

The court issued an order accepting OIP’s petition for a writ of certiorari on June 23, according to a clerk, and on Wednesday scheduled oral arguments for the morning of Aug. 10.

The writ is the latest in a long line of legal battles stemming from a controversial executive session meeting convened by then-Council members Kaipo Asing, Jimmy Tokioka, Jay Furfaro, Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, Daryl Kaneshiro, Mel Rapozo and JoAnn Yukimura on Jan. 20, 2005, known as ES-177, rumored to involve discussion of soon-to-be-removed Police Chief K.C. Lum....

(And the subject of a book: KPD Blue)

OIP argued that the Uniform Information Practices Act, and not the Sunshine Law, should govern the distribution of executive session minutes.

Each side will be allowed a half hour for argument on Aug. 10, the clerk said, after which the court will deliberate until it reaches a decision.

RELATED: Council minutes posted online  (Yes, this IS news on Kauai.)

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('old boy') Sex offender arrested after allegedly possessing child porn

Zerfoss is a former chief investment officer at Bank of Hawaii and Central Pacific Bank.

(Just another typical old boy...)

Zerfoss pleaded guilty in April 2004 to one count of possessing child pornography downloaded from the Internet.

In a computer and hard drive seized from his Makiki home in December 2003, investigators found 13 movies and 19 photos of exploited children engaging in sexually explicit conduct. They also found evidence on the computer history log that child pornography sites had been accessed just the morning and night before, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Tong.

Deputy U.S. Marshals have captured a convicted sex offender, who is a former local bank executive, at his Honolulu home for allegedly violating conditions of his supervised release.

David G. Zerfoss was found at his home Tuesday, and arrested on a warrant charging him with revocation of his release, a U.S. Marshals news release said Wednesday.

(OH, IT'S FEDERAL.  NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE.)

Zerfoss pleaded guilty in April 2004 to one count of possessing child pornography downloaded from the Internet.

In January 2005, he was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for possessing child pornography.

A week before he was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge David Ezra, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory federal sentencing guidelines were unconstitutional. Zerfoss would have faced at least 27 months in prison if the mandatory federal sentencing guidelines were still in place. Instead, the Supreme Court ruled that the guidelines should be advisory, not mandatory. 

(YOU DON'T THINK OL' EZRA DID THE SLOW WALK ON THE SENTENCING IN HOPES OF SCOTUS ACTION?)

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Obama apartment "historic'"?  Confusing Presidents with Gods

Honolulu, Hawaii: What do you think about the Hawaii Legislature considering adding Obama's childhood apartment building, an undistinguished post-war Honolulu high rise, to the National Register of Historic Places?

Tucker Carlson: Pretty amusing. And also in keeping with our disturbing national tendency to confuse presidents with gods.

By the way, be sure to check out the Gerald Ford historic site next time you're in Grand Rapids.

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Hawaii County's bad bulldozer deal to stand

The company that bought one of Hawaii County's old bulldozers apparently gets to lease it to the county for another year, according to bids that were opened Monday.

C&H Ishii General Contractors bought the 1991 Caterpillar D8-- Hi-Track bulldozer when the county sold it as surplus for $52,083.

Since then, the county has spent $427,025 leasing it back.

Unlike previous bids, however, Ishii wasn't the sole bidder for the contract that will provide the county with a dozer to use at its landfill until June 30, 2010.

Hawthorne Pacific Inc. put in a bid of $16,225 a month for the lease, compared to Ishii's $12,725 a month.... 

(That's three government positions, but no unions here complaining about waste.  They're too busy trying to raise taxes.)

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City official denies dump allegations

Jeoffrey Cudiamat, director of facilities maintenance, told a City Council committee that the concrete was being used to "create a temporary path to provide maintenance to remove debris.  "It was not used as a dump site," he added.  (Hannemann logic: Add debris to stream in order to remove debris.)

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Japan's royal couple begin two-week tour of Canada, Hawaii

There had been speculation in the Japanese media that they might go to Pearl Harbor, which would have been the first visit by an emperor to the scene of Japan's 1941 surprise attack. But palace officials said the purpose of their visit was not related to the attack. Akihito paid his respects at Pearl Harbor in 1960 as crown prince.

During their July 14-16 Hawaii visit, they will lay a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the burial place for 34,000 veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The 75-year-old Akihito and his 74-year-old wife will also attend a banquet marking the 50th anniversary of a scholarship set up in his honor, the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation, according to the Japanese government. The foundation, established as a wedding gift to the couple by residents of Hawaii in 1959, exchanges two students between Hawaii and Japan every year.

The couple are expected to meet with Gov. Linda Lingle and attend a reception co-hosted by the Japanese ambassador and the consul general.

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