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Saturday, March 2, 2013
March 2, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:33 PM :: 5163 Views

Gays Attack Hawaiians (Again)

Sen Solomon Resolutions Urge Hawaii Jones Act Exemption

NRO: Sink the Jones Act

Hanohano Should Resign

DoE Extends Deadline for School Quality Survey

DoE Million Dollar Cash Giveaway to 32 Schools

Governor to Establish Hawaii ‘Sequestration Impact Response Team’

After all the Hype, Sequestration Brings ‘Business as Usual’ to Hawaii

MN:  The first day of federal sequestration Friday did not disrupt travel at Maui County airports or close Haleakala National Park, where travelers and visitors saw what one official called "business as usual."  The cuts are a government slowdown, not a shutdown. So, abrupt disruptions of services were not anticipated (any more).

Maui District Airports Manager Marvin Moniz said that it was "business as usual" at Kahului Airport on Friday. The Maui District also has airports at Hana and Kapalua on Maui, Hoolehua and Kalaupapa on Molokai and on Lanai.

Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers remained on the job, maintaining the shepherding of aircraft in and out of Kahului Airport, Moniz said.

"We had no delays today. No flight interruptions," he said.

Last month, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Congress that the majority of the FAA's 47,000 employees, including air traffic controllers, would be furloughed (now we can see he was lying through his teeth)

It remained undecided if TSA would furlough personnel for a day a week, once a month or once in a pay period, Moniz said. The situation is expected to be clarified toward the third week of this month, when Congress' continuing appropriations resolution expires on March 27.

Moniz said he didn't expect to see changes, if any, to airport operations until then.

the park has eight vacancies that will not be filled, he said. Those vacancies range from a couple of park ranger positions to a custodial worker and an employee who manages the park's wastewater system.

"We have some vacancies now," he said. And, "as vacancies become available, we're not filling those positions." …park visitors are not likely to notice changes….

Hawaii is at the top of a list of 10 states expected to feel the pain of sequestration most as a percentage of the state's economy, according to Hawaii's congressional delegation.

Still Hyping It: Will New Task Force Help Hawaii Weather Automatic Federal Budget Cuts?

Precisely as Predicted: Obama's Sequester Smokescreen, Sequestration Scare Tactics: Caldwell Administration Threatens Sec 8 Housing Evictions, Politico: Is President Obama Telling the Truth about Sequestration?

read … About the Reality After the Hype

“Dead on Arrival”: Caldwell wants to raise the city's fuel tax by 5 cents a gallon

KITV: Oahu may not be the highest gas prices in the state, but motorists on Oahu do pay more in taxes at the pump than any other island.

At 16 1/2 cents a gallon, the city's gas tax is already about two times as much as Hawaii County, according to the Tax Foundation of Hawaii.

And with gas prices steadily rising, Tax Foundation of Hawaii President Lowell Kalapa said, "I think the timing is poor on behalf of the city administration to raise the fuel tax at this time."

"My family is growing so I may have to downsize my car, and would I really want that? Of course, I probably work more hours. More work, more harder," said Kalihi resident Jonathan Puletasi.

Student Jamie Kim said, "That's definitely going to impact the way I drive because I pay for my own gas. So like, I'm not going to want to like drive anywhere, you know? Like, I'm probably going to maybe like start carpooling with friends if that happens."

Kalapa said it probably won't happen.

"I think it's pretty much dead on arrival….”

Read … Motorists React

SB215 would create a Public-Private Partnership Authority, Give Counties Power to Waive Land Use Requirements  

SA:   The new authority would collaborate with state agencies and private-sector developers on projects that could generate revenue for the state. The authority would not have exemptions from state land use regulations — like the PLDC — but counties, by ordinance or memorandum of agreement, could waive zoning, land use and permitting requirements on any project prior to construction.

To test the concept, the new authority would work on three pilot projects: a film production studio on Maui, a main street redevelopment project in Wahiawa and a project initiated by one of the counties.  As an additional precaution, senators agreed to establish the new authority for only five years, through June 2018.…

A few senators said they are concerned that the new authority is too similar to the PLDC, which they plan to repeal. 

Senate Bill 215 was approved by the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Education Committee on Friday and now goes to the full Senate.

read … New development authority moves a step closer to reality

Bumbling DoTax Shorts City $33M GET funds for transit project?

SA: Money from Oahu's general excise tax surcharge has fallen $33 million short of anticipated this fiscal year for the city's $5.26 billion transit project despite growth in overall state GET collections, leading rail officials to believe the state has made mistakes on payments it should have received.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation officials estimated they would receive $102 million in GET payments through the first two quarters of fiscal year 2013. Instead, they received $69 million…. (Oooops!)

HART questions the shortfall, saying the state should have given it more money because general excise tax revenues are up this year…. GET collections are up 11.3 percent overall in the first seven months of this year compared with the same period in the previous fiscal year.

The state Department of Taxation is looking into the situation, at HART's request, to make sure it didn't mistakenly underpay the rail authority…. ($33M here, $33M there, it happens….)

Nearly $10 million of the shortfall in HART's estimate was intentionally withheld after the state realized it overpaid that amount in December 2011, she said…. ($10M here, $10M there, it happens….)

DOT employees are now looking into other possible factors outside of their department that could have led to the discrepancy, such as whether all activities covered by the GET are being properly taxed. How long that process takes depends on what the two employees in charge of the review find, Fujitani added.

read … Rail Fail

Mitsunaga v Kobayashi: UH System Has No Comment as AG Investigates

WHT: Mitsunaga said that Minaai doled out contracts for the project to friends…. In some cases, those friends have opted to cut corners on the UH-Hilo housing project to save themselves money, he claimed….

“Since I have been actively involved in the design and construction business for over 40 years, I know in general how much buildings cost, and I know for a fact that the monies appropriated were more than enough to build a first-class dormitory for the students,” he wrote.

The $28 million construction contract went to Honolulu-based general contractor Albert C. Kobayashi Inc., likely at Minaai’s behest, Mitsunaga said.

“His selection committee consists of his two ‘Yes Men’ assistants and a third member from the department involved with the particular project. In essence, since he controls two out of the three votes he himself makes each selection,” he said.

The concrete and site work was then subcontracted to Hilo-based Isemoto Contracting, with the framing work going to Coastal Construction Co. Inc. of Honolulu, he said.

Other allegations concerning the UH-Hilo project include:

  • Minaai took punitive actions against Mitsunaga & Associates by replacing the project’s civil engineer, environmental assessment consultant, permit processor and design assist consultant.
  • The building’s interior doors were changed from solid to hollow core, making them less durable and more susceptible to damage by students;
  • The painting contractor informed engineers that its stated price covered only four colors, and not five as Mitsunaga & Associates had specified.
  • The painter was allowed to spray paint the building, in direct contrast to contract specifications and UH policy, which forbids it for quality, environmental and liability reasons; and
  • Water was allowed to infiltrate and soak into the building’s wooden frame, opening the project up to potential mold and mildew problems.

CLUES: Mitsunaga is Abercrombie Crony, Kobayashi was Inouye Crony, MRC Greenwood was Inouye’s Pick, Inouye is dead now.

UH: Statement on Mitsunaga allegations

 

read … UH-Hilo dorm project under fire for allegations of waste

Hawaii Teachers Stage ‘Teach-In’ at Gov’s Residence

CB: We are going in front of the governor’s house to remind him how hard teachers work, even on weekends, and not to take our service and our sacrifice cavalierly. In the tradition of the “sit-in” protests during the Civil Rights Movements where African-Americans sat in segregated restaurants and other public areas until they were served, our “teach-in” is sitting in front of the governor’s residence until teachers are given due respect and a fair contract. Teachers and counselors will be bringing their weekend school work to do during the “teach-in”, so that the governor can see what teachers do for students on weekends.

read … Hawaii Teachers to Stage ‘Teach-In’ at Gov’s Residence

Clean Elections: $34K for House, $68K for Senate

SA Editorial: Under HB1481 House candidates would need 250 signatures from district registered voters, each accompanied by a $5 donation; signatures from 350 voters, each donating $5, would be required for Senate candidates.

The bill based the amount of public funds for candidates who qualify on an average of amounts spent in conventional campaigns for those seats, once the three lowest and the three highest spenders are eliminated. This middling figure comes to $34,800 for each House candidate and $68,000 for the Senate.

The outstanding issue is finding a long-term means of replenishing the source of the funds as they're drawn down each election cycle by candidates.

The fund tapped in the Hawaii island pilot project launched for the 2010 campaigns will also be the source for the proposed expanded program financing House and Senate races: the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund.

Currently that fund is a collection of $3 donations taxpayers contribute through a check-off box on their state tax form.

But the fund falls about $300,000 short of the $3.5 million minimum balance the new law would require to conduct the public financing program. The current version of the bill would require a general-fund appropriation to top up the fund.

That shouldn't be a deal-breaker to get this program under way, especially given the postponed effective date. However, lawmakers should consider an alternative, dedicated source of funds beyond the taxpayer donations. One state with a model worth considering is Arizona, where a percentage of civil and criminal fines is set aside for its well-established ….

read … Partial publicly funded elections

Office of Hawaii Affairs Bill Needed to Stop Recycling Trustees?

HR: Mahalo Senators Brickwood Galuteria and Clayton Hee for passing Senate Bill 3 through committees. Let Representative Karl Rhoads (HB:1087) know this will help Hawaiians and everyone have a fairer process of electing OHA Trustees.

Look at the data: the winner’s votes will not be more than the sum of adding up the second and third, or even fourth place winners votes. It is an election set-up so loop-sided to always favor the incumbents, who once they get in, won’t change the election laws….

OHA’s Trustee’s unknowingly gave away the submerged ceded lands in Kakaako. Why? Fix the election process by supporting this bill.

LINK:  Senate Bill 3

read … Recycling?

 

Lunatic Released by Judge Before Killing Rampage

 

 

SA: Days before Shendon Chandler-Taniguchi fatally stabbed a neighbor and was shot and killed by police in a residential area in Waimea on Kauai in 2011, he had been released by a state judge from a hospital after undergoing psychiatric evaluation, Kauai police said last week.

District Judge Edmund Acoba had released Chandler-Taniguchi after a Family Court hearing on Kauai.

The state Judiciary has declined to release the transcripts of the hearing, and Acoba has been unavailable when asked to comment on why he freed Chandler-Taniguchi.

In refusing to release a copy of the transcript Tuesday, the Judiciary cited state confidentiality laws protecting the patient and patient's family, although the law does allow disclosure of the information under certain circumstances….

The attacks began on Menehune Road in Waimea Valley at about 11 a.m. Dec. 2, 2011, when Chandler-Taniguchi stabbed his 83-year-old grandfather, Anthony Chandler, and then his neighbor Edita Padamada, who later died.

According to police, Chandler-Taniguchi then walked a short distance and attacked James Rick, 63, and Julie Berseid, 50.

An officer shot Chandler-Taniguchi after he ignored the officer’s verbal demands, continued his attack and then turned toward the officer.

Police said investigators don’t know the reason why Chandler-Taniguchi stabbed several people.

“There is no known motive for the attacks, and it appears that the victims were randomly selected,” Perry said.

As Explained: Connecticut Shooting: Failure of Mental Health System

read … Soft on Crazy

UH Manoa Fights Act 221 Scammers for Control of So-Called ‘Innovation Center’

HB: UH officials have told legislators that the university wants the facility for its own use. “Ironically, UH is already the largest tenant at MIC, paying substantial rent,” says UH spokeswoman Lynne Waters. UH tenants include the VP for research, the Small Business Development Center and the Research Corp. of UH.

“We have enjoyed a positive and fruitful relationship with HTDC over these many years, and are now simply expecting that the state will honor the terms of the lease agreed to by all parties,” says UH President M.R.C. Greenwood. “The university has doubled our research productivity over the last 10 years and is now embarking on a plan to double it again over the next 10 years. Honoring the lease agreement will provide desperately needed space so that the university can play our role in addressing Hawaii’s problems and advancing Hawaii’s economy.”

Many well-known Hawaii high tech companies started at MIC, including Hoku Scientific (Act 221, Broke), Sopogy (Act221, next after Hoku), Pacific Biodiesel Technologies (Abercrombie pay for play), Blue Lava Wireless, Kai Medical and Cardax Pharmaceuticals.

Nagashima says state lawmakers have authorized $3 million to plan for relocation or expansion. Options include modifying existing state or private buildings, building on state or private land, or pursuing a public-private partnership. The governor has requested an additional $54.8 million in capital improvement funds this year for renovation or construction and moving HTDC.

Meanwhile, SB447, a bill introduced by state Sens. Glenn Wakai, Suzanne Chun Oakland and Clarence Nishihara, would transfer title to the Manoa land to HTDC. Another bill, HB71, introduced by Rep. Isaac Choy, would extend the existing lease by an additional 25 years. Both bills passed first reading.

read … Who Will Control the Manoa Innovation Center?

Judge Halts Work at Villages of `Aina Le`a and Orders Supplemental EIS

EH: As clear as the judge’s words seemed to be – “All development on the project is tolled” – parties involved in the case interpreted them differently.

Randy Vitousek, the attorney for the Mauna Lani Resort Association, which brought the challenge to the EIS, said the judge’s ruling stops all work at the site. (Vitousek was instructed by the judge to prepare the court order.)

Jerel Yamamoto, the attorney for the developer, told West Hawai`i Today reporter Erin Miller, “We intend to continue to develop the project and provide residential housing.”

Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd, the county planning director who accepted the EIS in October 2010, told Miller that the judge’s decision only halted work on a wastewater treatment plant (one of the two triggers requiring preparation of an EIS).

William Brilhante, attorney for defendants Hawai`i County and Leithead-Todd, was more guarded than his client. “We are awaiting the court’s order,” he told Environment Hawai`i. “Until we see the order, the county should not be making any representations regarding the disposition of the project.”

Strance’s decision brought to a close the lawsuit that the Mauna Lani Resort Association had brought against the county, its planning director, and the two companies most involved in the development itself, DW `Aina Le`a Development and RELCO Corp., a Nevada company that is the managing member of DW `Aina Le`a (DWAL).

read … Environment Hawaii

HB1424 to Buy Lipoa Point, Save from ML&P from Bankruptcy

MN: House Bill 1424 proposes to require the state, in consultation with the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and with the approval of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, to pursue acquisition of Lipoa Point and to appropriate money for the full or partial purchase.

Aila told members of the House Finance Committee last month that ML&P is a "willing seller," and that the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is hiring an appraiser to do a full appraisal of the West Maui property.

Churchill said ML&P is "supportive" of the measure.

The landowner "has been working for many years with the community, including the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, Save Honolua Coalition and various government agencies in their efforts to acquire the coastal lands surrounding and north of Honolua Bay," he said.

Baisa said that since 2007 the council and mayor have consistently pledged $1 million for the public acquisition of the land, "but we cannot do it alone."

"We need partners from the state and federal government and from concerned community groups to ensure the preservation of Lipoa Point in perpetuity," she said in testimony as a council member.

The full council has not taken a position on the bill.

In a separate statement in support of passage of the bill, Baisa pointed out that the Lipoa Point land has been pledged as security for ML&P's pension fund.

"Passage of this measure will also ensure the safety of pension benefits for hundreds of Maui Land & Pine retirees," she said.

read … Bailout 

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