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Monday, June 14, 2010
June 14, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:00 PM :: 11235 Views

Hanabusa to get same kind of National Democrat help Ed Case got

NRCC: “Colleen Hanabusa and her Washington friends have pushed the economy into a jobless recovery”

TEA Party leader launches campaign for Maui Mayor

Sunday, July 4: Citizenship Sunday Church-based Voter Registration Drive

Hawaii could lose tobacco funds in $1.1B arbitration

CB: Star-Advertiser let Mufi off easy on civil unions, didn’t even ask about Pittsburgh fundraiser

I hope the interview doesn't answer the question whether the Star-Advertiser is going to be asking tough questions. The good mayor tells us that if the civil unions bill on Gov. Linda Lingle's desk is "tantamount to institutionalizing marriage, then I can't support it, but I don't know the answer until I actually get in there."

Excuse me. Why can't he? The bill is readily available to the mayor, as is all the testimony on it. There's nothing secret in the governor's office that will give him the answer. The executive committee of the Hawaii Business Roundtable felt informed enough to take a position on it at the last minute. You'd think somebody with the mayor's intelligence could do the same thing. The paper let him off easy.

As for rail, last week the mayor decided not to accept money from a Pittsburgh fundraiser. But it was never discussed in the interview or a related article on the candidates' support for rail.

(It is always amusing to watch mainland reporters discover that Hawaii’s so-called media does not ask tough questions.  Eventually CB’s John Temple will become just as they are.  In fact no print media source has asked ANY questions or run any article about the Pittsburgh fundraiser.  And there is nothing surprising about that at all.  It is what they are, it is what they do, and it is what they will continue to do until they drive the Star-Advertiser out of business just as they have driven the Star-Bulletin out of business.)

RELATED:  Hannemann’s Pittsburgh Fundraiser planned since April 29

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Maui Mayor’s office caught stealing newspapers

Last month, one of MauiTime's distribution boxes was removed from the sidewalk on S. High Street in Wailuku. Publisher Tommy Russo contacted the County, and after a back-and-forth e-mail exchange with Communications Director Mahina Martin was told it was a state thing.

Russo then contacted the state Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT rep Charlene Shibuya confirmed the box had been removed. Russo asked why, after sitting there for more than 10 years, our box had suddenly become an issue. Shibuya responded that a complaint had been filed by the County. When Russo asked which department, he says Shibuya replied, "the Mayor's office."

Now, we don't know for certain what led the Mayor's office to file the complaint or why Martin didn't know—or chose not to share—that information. What we do know is that last October, County employees confiscated copies of MauiTime from the County building and were caught multiple times by Russo and in security footage obtained by MauiTime. The issue in question featured a caricature of the Mayor as a brain-chomping zombie (it's since gone on to win some awards).

We're going to keep pursuing this and will try to get our box back on High Street (DOT says we can apply for a permit). In the meantime, we'll leave it to you to connect the dots....

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Sierra Club demands $50/M year payoff from Telescope 

To drum up public support, UC and Caltech offer a $1 million a year "community benefits package," but that's far less than the $50 million that could be generated annually if BLNR finally enforced state law requiring fair market lease rents from all observatories for use of state land, long advocated by Hawaiians and environmentalists.  ($50M/ year, that’s the ransom for this project demanded by the Sierra club and by OHA.)

While some political elites have already agreed to California's project, we're confident TMT can be stopped, either at this summer's Board of Regents and BLNR meetings -- where islanders will again voice their opposition -- or, if need be, in court.

(The Hawaii Supreme Court’s 1995 PASH decision guarantees NHLC/OHA/Sierra Club the ability to indefinitely stop any and all developments—until the proper payoff is negotiated.  If you donate to the Sierra Club, you are paying for this.  This telescope is going to go the way of Hokulia—unless the legislature steps in to change the law.)


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New York Human Trafficking Law Points To Holes In Hawaii Proposal

In New York, the law ushered in by Senate Bill 5902 in 2007, created the crimes of sex and labor trafficking and spelled out penalties for each. New York also vastly expanded victims’ services, mandated that law enforcement be trained to recognize human trafficking crimes and required the creation of an interagency task force to oversee the new law's implementation.

None of these measures, or anything like them, are included in Hawaii’s anti-trafficking legislation….

“It’s an extra law on the books, but I don’t know how useful it would be,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu. “The current law covers pretty much everything this law tries to do.”

One of the reason Karamatsu said he voted for the bill anyway, is that it recommends witnesses in prostitution cases be given priority for eligibility into the Attorney General’s witness protection programs.

CB: Anti Human-Trafficking Laws Compared: New York Vs. Hawaii

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City Council Proposes Bus Stop Smoking Ban (nanny state)

City Council members said a proposed ban on smoking at Oahu bus stops will address a loophole in city law.

Currently, smoking is prohibited in buildings and by building entrances and exits. But smoking is legal at about 4,000 open-sided bus stops

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SA: Control costs of Medicaid

States are barred by federal regulations from narrowing the eligibility for Medicaid; lowering reimbursements to providers is likely to drive doctors to refuse to accept these patients, making medical access a real crisis.

This leaves the benefits themselves as the remaining area where cost control is possible. There should be a way to moderately reduce the benefit -- through numbers of doctor visits, procedures covered or other means -- without denying essential health care to Medicaid patients.

Despite the inevitable uproar over such an unpopular step, the next governor and the next Legislature will need to take a hard look at what kind of Medicaid program Hawaii can afford for the long term. This state has taken seriously its obligation to care for its neediest residents, but a system that is economically unsustainable will begin to fail in that duty, even as the needs increase.

(Obamacare preview.)

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Work here in isles, new doctors told

When Hawaii's 58 newest physicians received their degrees and awards, they were reminded that they owe a "debt" to the state.

"You have a lifelong obligation to repay that debt," Dr. Jerris Hedges, dean of the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine, told the graduates at their convocation ceremony last month.

(That’s right.  Socialist medicine in Hawaii is so bad that doctors have to be commanded to work here.  They are heading for the airport, anyway.)

Totally Unrelated:  Seven Cuban doctors sue Cuba and Venezuela over "modern slavery”

RELATED: Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text)

RELATED: Medicare pay cuts worry isle officials

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The number of people seeking help for crystal meth addiction is rising

The number of adults who entered state-funded drug treatment centers for crystal meth addictions increased to 3,536 last fiscal year, up about 19 percent from fiscal year 2008 and 8 percent from fiscal year 2007.

Officials attributed some of that spike to new programs that targeted crystal meth addicts, but said the higher number is still worrisome.

Statewide, 45.5 percent of state-funded adult admissions to treatment centers were for crystal meth in fiscal year 2009, higher than the 40.9 percent in the previous fiscal year but down from a four-year high of 49.6 percent in fiscal year 2006.

Meanwhile, 32.6 percent of state-funded adult admissions were for alcohol last fiscal year, and 11.5 percent were for marijuana.

Just 0.3 percent (of minors seeking help) sought help for crystal meth addictions, a figure that dropped from 2.5 percent in fiscal year 2006.

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Mental health centers take on wider mission (4 jobs consolidated)

Four service-area administrators working from home (no-show jobs) had been dealing with behavioral health issues in each county. Those positions are being discontinued for a more streamlined and efficient system using the mental health centers to serve consumers, families and service providers in each county, the Health Department said.

"The service-area administrators served to facilitate community feedback, (no-work jobs) and now it is time for our community mental health centers to step up and centralize this role," said Health Director Chiyome Fukino in an announcement of the changes.

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Hawaii consumers are paying more for fresh produce because of state cutbacks

Layoffs that began in December—along with 18 mandatory furlough days—have cut the number of state quarantine inspectors at busy Honolulu Airport and the Sand Island maritime inspection facility to 40 from 58 and narrowed the window that shippers like Armstrong Produce Ltd. can get their goods processed each day.

So Armstrong, Hawaii's largest produce distributor, has joined other importers in paying a weekly total of about $300 in unexpected expenses to bring in short-handed inspectors on overtime.

(So obviously we must raise taxes immediately in order to save $300/wk.)

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Lack of military ID costs baggers their jobs at an off-base commissary

Baggers are not employees, but are contracted to bag and load groceries into customers' cars for tips. Some have been doing it for decades, making a living off the gratuity.

On Saturday, 43 out of about 100 baggers were let go because they did not have the proper identification, said Agnes Tauyan, Navy spokeswoman.

She said the commissary is enforcing Department of Defense policy, which requires carrying a military ID to work at the commissary, and gave the volunteers weeks of notice to comply.

She said officials reviewed the program after receiving several complaints that some baggers did not have military identification cards. The commissary is not on base.

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Navy family has had to deal with health issues they blame on their moldy housing

Melody Dickson, whose husband, Brien, is a commander and submariner working for the U.S. Pacific Fleet submarine force, said her family moved out of Pearl City Peninsula last October.

She filed an Inspector General complaint in March as an informal family coordinator for the mold problems, which she said have been ongoing in the older section of homes.

The van Averys and the Bohner family are listed among six "witnesses." The filing says the homes' air-conditioning systems don't have proper insulation or vapor barriers, and that leads to moisture condensation and mold.

A December report by the company Moldlab found that the van Avery's yellow stucco-exterior, four-bedroom house had "abundant" Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Chaetomium and other mold growth in a vent register, closet and the kitchen.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Cladosporium and Aspergillus are among a few dozen molds that can cause allergic reactions.

On Oct. 13, 2009, Dr. Rachel Newton-Weaver with Naval Health Clinic Hawaii said in a letter on the van Averys' behalf that 10-year-old Crispin van Avery's "mild allergies" had "significantly worsened" in the past year, and she recommended the family be moved into newer military housing to control his symptoms.

Tom Carter, vice president of Forest City Residential Management, wrote to van Avery the next month offering a choice of two other homes. Van Avery said those homes were older homes similar to the home he was living in and in the same neighborhood.

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Leaders Say Abandoned Property May Be Attracting Crime

State Rep. Sharon Har said multiple government agencies, private landowners and lessees are nearing agreement on how to pay to prepare Kalaeloa’s infrastructure for development. “There is no security. You have certain lessees in there. You don't have infrastructure. You don't have sidewalks you don't have lights,” Har said, making the area a magnet for trouble.

Har said the vandalized barracks are under the control of the Hunt Development Group, a private company with about 500 acres at Kalaeloa. Because Hunt has not decided what to do with the property the buildings are in limbo, Har said. It may not be cost effective to renovate the buildings, she said.

Community leaders said the barracks and club are more than just an eyesore. They and other vacant buildings are attracting people from all over the island to a place where they can do just about anything they want.

Neighborhood Board Chairwoman Maeda Timson said partying in the area has led to fatal car wrecks.

Hope Chapel caretaker Kai Kamooha said most of the people using the abandoned buildings are using drugs. “The homeless people are using it, then you see the high school kids start coming over here. You get a domino effect,” Kamooha said.

Hunt Development?  Neil Abercrombie’s buddies from this scam: Follow the money: $10B Guam pork project benefits Abercrombie contributor

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CTJ: Hawaii Legislature tax bills mirror Obama agenda

Federal and state lawmakers should study the example set by Hawaii during its most recent legislative session.  By reinstating the state’s expired estate tax, limiting itemized deductions for wealthy Hawaii residents, and increasing the state’s per-barrel tax on petroleum products, the solutions Hawaii found for its budget difficulties actually mirror some of the progressive revenue-raising ideas discussed at the federal level, and in other states.

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DOMA’s Deserted Isle (Gay marriage on Johnston Atoll)

Obama order shows how Johnson Atoll figures in the gay lobby’s schemes to bypass DOMA.

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Cagle: My Crazy Newspaper War Days in Hawaii

Last week The Honolulu Star-Bulletin gobbled up The Honolulu Advertiser, making Honolulu a one-daily-newspaper-town. I would have never guessed that things could end up this way.  Ten to fifteen years ago, when I was a local cartoonist in Hawaii, this would have seemed to be the most unlikely outcome of a newspaper war that kept me busy drawing scores of cartoons.

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Can y’all say “1986”? (Midweek)



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