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Sunday, February 3, 2013
February 3, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:04 PM :: 3992 Views

DoTax Employees Secretly Arrested, Fired

236 Candidates Register for Honolulu Neighborhood Board Elections—Deadline Feb 15

Banner CMO to Meet HHSC MDs, Staff

Jacking Up the Heat in Tax and Fee Hell

Minimum Wage Increase Could Put People Out of Work 

Sources: Schatz Not Doing His Job, Delegation Splintered

Borreca: Inouye's death last December caused the great Inouye-forged team of our four-person delegation to splinter….

On a structural level, the delegation is out of kilter: Because of his appointment coming before U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono's swearing-in, Schatz is the senior member of the delegation and responsible for calling the meetings and acting as the quarterback in the huddle.

So far, there is no indication that is happening. Among the four, Hirono has the most time on Capitol Hill and easily the most time in elected office, but she has never been considered as a charismatic leader among politicians….

The two members raising questions are Hanabusa and Gabbard. …

Hanabusa's 2014 path has been to encourage speculation for a run either against Schatz or taking the plunge and running against Abercrombie.

…with the death of congressional earmarks, the delegation does not have the direct power to steer projects to Hawaii and without Inouye's clout, perks that once came to Hawaii go somewhere else….

read … Schatz Not Doing His Job

Shield or Cape? Evil twin replaces flaming liberal in Hawaii governor’s mansion

DN: Hawaii Shield Law, HB622, which sunsets this year and needs to be renewed. Advocates had just held a meeting at which it was one topic of conversation among many related to good government initiatives up for hearings this session.

It seems that the Governor and the Attorney General don’t like the shield law one bit….

The gov’s popularity has plummeted since his election, but why? I no longer recognize the flaming liberal who once campaigned in a Superman outfit against moneyed interests. Who is this man now in the Governor’s office, and what did he do with the real Neil Abercrombie? Who knew that our Governor has an evil twin brother?

The evil twin must have been the one who voted against a federal shield law in Congress, the only Democrat to do so. Apparently, the twin, arguing that the First Amendment already protected journalists, was not aware that the Supreme Court, in the 1972 case  Branzburg v. Hayes, had invalidated the argument that Abercrombie used to justify his vote.

The shield law was signed by Governor Linda Lingle, no liberal herself. It would be strange if it were undone by Abercrombie, but not unexpected given his voting record. 

read … Evil twin replaces flaming liberal in Hawaii governor’s mansion

Cost of Delays $500K/Month: Construction of telescope ‘in limbo’ due to appeal process

MN: An appeal pending before the Hawaii Supreme Court is holding up the start of construction on the $300 million Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, a joint project atop Haleakala by the University of Hawaii and the National Science Foundation.

And the delay is costing approximately $500,000 a month, according to university President M.R.C. Greenwood, who addressed the telescope project and a wide range of other issues Wednesday in an interview at The Maui News.

Kilakila O Haleakala, which objects to the ATST's impacts to Haleakala's cultural and environmental resources, has challenged the project in court. The high court heard oral arguments Dec. 20, according to an official in the office of Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. There was no indication when a ruling would be issued.

read … $500K/month for OHA shake down

The “New” Public Land Development Corporation

BIN: Changing brand names is a famous marketing ploy, carrying both risk and reward….

“House Bill 942,” which made it out of committee this week, was recently introduced by Speaker Joe Souki of Maui.

If Souki and others get their way this session, it’ll be goodbye “PLDC,” hello “Harbors and Parks Development Authority.”

Gone are any mentions of the new agency overseeing development of hotel, residential or timeshare projects. Instead, the newly named HPDA may work with private partners to develop vaguely named “accommodations.”

Whether that means pop-up tents or penthouse lofts is unclear at this point. (Quick IQ Test: Which does it mean?)

…they kept the door open to a wide range of activities by including the following:  “Permissible uses of harbors and park land…shall include but not be limited to office space, vehicular parking; commercial uses…”

“Commercial uses” is a broad term, conceptually. A hot dog stand is a commercial enterprise. Of course, so is Sea World.

One other potentially controversial aspect of the PLDC that also remains would be the ability of the new “HPDA” to “accept gifts or grants in any form from any public agency or any other source.”  (Translation: Land could be transferred to HPDA’s authority.)

Whether the new proposal will even have a chance at the Legislature though depends in part on a hearing scheduled before the House Water and Land Committee on Feb. 9. There, the committee will listen to ideas about amending or possibly even repealing the PLDC entirely….

WT: Repeal Hawaii's ‘Dystopian’ Public Land Development Corporation

read … The “New” Public Land Development Corporation

HB1249: HCDA to Grab Control of Hilo’s Banyan Drive Hotels?

WHT:  House Bill 1249 would change that by transferring the lands to a community development district — tasked, among other duties, with creating a development plan for the area.

Rep. Mark Nakashima, D-Hamakua, Hilo, introduced the bill, which has support from six other Big Island representatives.

Former Rep. Jerry Chang had pursued the same legislation in 2011 and 2012 but the bill failed to make it out of committee….

The district would be under the Hawaii Community Development Authority but have its own 11-member board that would include county and state officials with six positions reserved for the public at large.

DLNR has opposed the legislation, noting the loss of lease revenue that it uses to help manage 1.3 million acres of public lands.

read … HCDA Another name for PLDC

Kalealoa: Ordy Pont to Be Transferred to HCDA?

SA: The 1.2-acre brackish-water pond has been caught up in controversy and questions surrounding the neighboring raceway park, whether heavy equipment should have been used around a sensitive pond environment in the area of known Hawaiian cultural sites, and how and why ordnance-related junk came to be deposited in "Ordnance Pond" in the first place….

Emsley added that Ordy Pond was never used as a training area, "and the fact that this stuff was found (means) it was probably left there or dumped there incorrectly."

Shad Kane, who is active in Hawaiian issues in the area and is part of the nearby Kalaeloa Heritage Park, was consulted on the project, the Navy said.

Kane said in an email to Hawaiian civic club members that he "identified all the cultural sites that are within the APE (area of potential effects) and there are only two, which we flagged with tape."

Most of the area had been previously disturbed by the Navy, Kane said.

"There is no wide-scale destruction of Ordy Pond or cultural sites," he said. Kane added that the Ordy Pond property would be conveyed to the state Hawaii Community Development Authority when cleared and "come under the kuleana and care of the Kalaeloa Heritage and Legacy Foundation," for which he is listed by the state as a director.

The foundation describes the Kalaeloa Heritage Park site as "a relatively undisturbed, 77-acre parcel with over 177 recorded cultural sites."

Asked how Ordy Pond would come under the care of his foundation, Kane said in an email that the Star-Advertiser would have to check with the "current landowner," the Navy.

Totally Related: Fireworks, dirt, and stolen trucks: Colleen Hanabusa and the Honolulu Raceway Deal

read … Land Grab?

Star-Adv: We Have a Right to Force a New Family Structure on Society

SA: The state's marriage policy should not depend on any polling.  (Translation: We know this would lose if voted on.) This is a question of civil rights, not the outcome of a popular vote.  (Translation: We dictate to you.  You have no right to oppose us.  We are enlightened, conscious, and progressive.  We are superior to you.)

JACL: Absence of gay ‘marriage’ is same as putting AJAs in Internment Camps

Reality: Broken Trust Gang finally Imposes Gay Unions on Hawaii

read … More Drivel

List of Gun Bills Before Legisature

SA:  » Senate Bill 36, among other changes, would require annual renewals of firearm registrations.

» SB 69 would appropriate $100,000 to county police departments to initiate a gun buy-back program.

» SB 219 would ban "assault weapons," a class of semiautomatic firearms.

» SB 932 would create a database of persons prohibited form possessing firearms that would be accessible to law enforcement, mental health professionals and firearms dealers.

» House Bill 30 would confine selling or distributing ammunition to those who can prove the intended firearm is registered to them.

» HB 498 would include the use of simulated firearms among the offenses covered by the first-degree terroristic threatening and robbery charges.

» HB 603 would allow the use of deadly force when protecting one's primary dwelling against an intruder.

» SB 274 would define the criteria under which the county police chief "shall grant a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver."

SA: Our state’s gun control laws are among the strictest in the nation

read … Gun Bills

Hemp, tuition and food on lawmakers' agenda

KGI: —State representatives will consider Monday morning whether to require labeling for genetically engineered food. They will also discuss initiatives related to taro and local farms. State senators plan to consider agriculture-related bills on Wednesday.

— The Senate is holding a briefing Tuesday morning to investigate why University of Hawaii tuition has been increasing and where the money goes.

— The House Committee on Ways and Means is discussing Monday funding for the Legislature, the Office of the Public Auditor, the state ethics commission and related agencies.

—Senate committees will discuss Monday whether to allow industrial hemp research in Hawaii.

—The Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment plans to discuss solar tax credits on Tuesday afternoon along with other renewable energy-related issues.

read … Smoking something

Bag Tax Just a Money Grab

SA: Opponents, including the Retail Merchants of Hawaii and individual businesses, say the fee amounts to a tax that would disproportionately harm those who could least afford it. Many businesses say they already take steps to be environmentally friendly, adding that the 10-cent fee would simply add to overhead costs in a climate where all of the state's four counties have enacted some form of ban on the use of single-use nonbiodegradable plastic bags.

"Of greatest concern is the added cost burden (the proposal) will impose on our residents," Carol Pregill, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, said in written testimony. "This per-bag tax is regressive and will add to the cost of living for our families and consumers who can least afford additional costs at the grocery store."…

Critics of the proposal, including the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, a nonpartisan policy analysis group, call it nothing more than a "grab for money."

"While proponents may argue that such a fee will discourage consumers from using single-use checkout bags, the real reason for this measure is to merely to raise more money to fund government programs," the Tax Foundation said in its testimony.

Lee said his committee, which heard the bill Thursday, wants to work with environmental groups and businesses to come up with a compromise.

Shapiro: Government is out to drain taxpayers' cups and wallets

read … Compromise?

HSTA Signwave at Capitol

From www.ContractfortheFuture.org  January 31, 2013

"Today, 1000 teachers and supporters attended a mass sign waving at the Capitol. Teachers came from all over the island to show Hawaii the importance of a fair contract. Despite being angry, tired, and frustrated, teachers understood the significance of standing as One.

"I would like to thank all of the teachers, throughout the state of Hawaii, who took the time and made the sacrifice to attend all of our events.

"The negotiations team, comprised of teachers and staff, attended the sign waving at the Capitol. Seeing their brothers and sisters, all standing as One was encouraging and they would like to thank you."

Photos: HSTA Signwave Jan 31 at Capitol

Link: Video Message From Wil Okabe

Implement 'restorative justice' in schools

SA: In our project, more than 100 youths arrested for assaults and other offenses were diverted into restorative conferences instead of the justice system.

Youths who admitted wrongdoing met with the person they hurt. The victims and juveniles brought supporters, usually family members, with them to the conferences. Other affected community members, including school representatives when the incidents happened at schools, also participated. A facilitator guided the group's discussion about how people were affected by the wrongdoing and what might help repair the harm.

Best Comment: Restorative justice sounds like a wonderful idea. But there are two things wrong with it that immediately come to mind. (1) The victim did nothing wrong, but becomes victimized again when he is required to spend time and emotional struggle to participate in the restorative process to help the person who victimized him. (2) There needs to be actual punishment to the perpetrator; not just feel-good rehabilitation.

SA: Boy Scouts of America is looking to lift its longstanding ban on gay members and leaders, a policy change that the Hawaii council is expected to consider in the coming days.

read … Restorative?

Many Hawaii residents lack means to pay for nursing care, report finds

SA: Nearly two-thirds of Hawaii residents 50 years and older do not believe they'll be able to afford even one year in a nursing home when they need long-term care, according to a new AARP survey.

The report scheduled to be released today found that nearly 6 in 10 seniors — 59 percent — believe they will need nursing care in the future, but fewer than 40 percent say they have saved for it or have long-term care insurance to cover their costs.

Bills to address long-term care coverage:

>> Senate Bill 104: Recommends a study for a mandatory public long-term care insurance plan for working adults below age 60. Hawaii would be the only state to develop such a payroll deduction program with money going toward future long-term care benefits.

>> Senate Bill 103: Calls upon the state to conduct an education and awareness campaign on long-term care, to educate the public about the risks and costs associated with aging.

>> Senate Bill 106: Appropriates $9 million to the state’s Kupuna Care program, which helps elderly residents not on Medicaid with activities of daily living in their homes. Also, provides $1.8 million for the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Center, a one-stop shop for information about senior services.

read … Nursing Care

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