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Saturday, June 19, 2010
June 19, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:02 PM :: 15002 Views

CNBC: Jones Act may be hindering Gulf Oil Response, Dutch ships blocked

Tokyo: Lingle meets with Japanese travel writers, Tourism Minister

Hawaii-Okinawa Clean Energy Partnership Agreement Signed

Djou joins in call to allow global aid for oil cleanup (Inouye, Akaka, Hirono demand the oil be left alone to pollute Gulf)

WASHINGTON » Senators from states along the Gulf of Mexico introduced legislation yesterday that would temporarily allow foreign ships to enter the gulf to aid in the oil spill cleanup effort.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., are sponsoring the WAIVER (Water Assistance from International Vessels for Emergency Response) Act, which provides for a blanket temporary waiver that would permit foreign ships to enter and exit U.S. ports if they are assisting in cleanup.

U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, R-Hawaii, arrived in Washington just three weeks ago but (and) quickly roiled (demanded action to clean) the waters (of the Gulf) with fellow members of the Hawaii congressional delegation and the Coast Guard by prodding President Barack Obama to waive the 90-year-old law so foreign ships can help respond to the huge oil spill.

"There is no good reason to turn away international help in responding to this environmental catastrophe," the congressman said Tuesday in a statement. Djou also noted that then-President George W. Bush waived the Jones Act in response to the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster.

(Senator Dan “oily” Inouye is not amused, neither are his contributors at Young Bros or Matson, or the ILWU.  And his propagandists at the Star-Advertiser are having a hard time making Djou look bad here—but they’re still trying.)

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Civil Unions To Go On Potential Veto List

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona said on Thursday Gov. Linda Lingle will put the civil unions bill on the veto list Monday when she informs lawmakers about bills she might veto.

Aiona said that does not mean the governor will veto the bill that would give all the rights of marriage under Hawaii law to same sex and heterosexual couples.

"It will be a potential veto and the governor right now is crafting her decision as to whether of not she will or will not veto that bill. Soon, we will find out. The deadline for that is July 6," Aiona said.

CB: Civil Unions Bill On Governor's Potential Veto List

WHT: Big Island awaits decision on civil unions

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Hawaii Business Roundtable stands by call for a veto of the civil unions bill

The executive director of the Hawaii Business Roundtable says the organization stands by its letter urging Gov. Linda Lingle to veto House Bill 444, the civil unions bill.

"Earlier in the day I was working on an update, but I am no longer doing so," Roundtable Executive Director Gary K. Kai said in an e-mail message.

"The executive committee still stands behind that letter."

CB celebrates prematurely after a week of gay assaults on Businesses in Hawaii: Roundtable Goes Back And Forth On Civil Unions

Shapiro miffed: Roundtable unbusinesslike on HB 444

RELATED: Full Text: Hawaii Business Roundtable calls for veto of HB444 Gay Civil Unions

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HNN: Djou using taxpayer funds to make 'robocalls'

Shocking, a Congressman using mail and telephone to keep in touch with constituents.  And the Hawaii Democrat media repeating this Democrat talking point.  Shocking!

Here are some stories you won’t see on HNN:

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SA: Ethics agency harmed by Mollway dismissal (Democrats afraid a real investigator will be appointed)

Mollway held the job for 24 years, interceding on the public's behalf on the conduct of lawmakers and other matters.  (Really, in the last 24 years of scandal, where has the State Ethics office been???)

The upshot of the documents released publicly is that Mollway had a sporadic presence in the office, taking off on vacation and sick-leave days in small increments, so that he did not manage the staff effectively….  (In other words, he wanted to quit, but was holding out in hopes of a Democrat Governor coming along to appoint a board amenable to replacing him with someone equally willing to do nothing in a cesspool of corruption.)

Larry Geller, a public-interest blogger (anti-Superferry protester) and board member of Common Cause Hawaii, is the one who has requested the minutes.

"The commission needs to know that people are concerned, and that this is not the end of it," Geller said.

(Look up “Mollway” in the index of ‘Broken Trust’, ‘Ben” or ‘Land and Power in Hawaii’—he isn’t mentioned even once.)

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Hawaii Ethics Commission will discuss recruiting executive director

The commission is a government entity that administers and enforces state ethics and lobbying laws. Its five members are selected by the governor for four-year terms.

Current board members and their term expiration dates are:

  • Maria J. Sullivan, chairwoman (June 30, 2013)
  • Jerrold A. Fuller, vice chairman (June 30, 2010)
  • Mark Brasher (June 30, 2010)
  • David J. Randell (June 30, 2011)
  • William H. Montgomery (June 30, 2013)

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Energy partnership features Hawaii and Okinawa

The United States and Japan are partnering up on clean energy programs that will be explored in Hawaii and Okinawa.

Government leaders from both countries signed a memorandum of cooperation Thursday aimed at accelerating energy programs through combined efforts toward renewable energy, energy efficiency and next generation vehicles.

The Hindu: Japan, US to explore joint project in Okinawa, Hawaii (Yep, they’re reading about this in India, but in Honolulu…almost no mention.) 

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Hawaii gets new tool to target foreign investment

Hawaii could attract millions of dollars in new foreign investments now that the federal government recently designated another EB-5 regional center to serve the entire state.

The new center, called EB-5 Jobs For Hawaii LLC, is Hawaii’s second statewide center and essentially helps breathe new life into the longstanding EB-5 immigrant investor program that, to date, has generated some success infusing foreign capital into Hawaii, observers say.

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Lingle urged to veto tax credit bill

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council sent a letter to Lingle’s office Friday asking her to veto Senate Bill 2001, which would extend tax credits to research activities for one year but defer the technology infrastructure and high-technology business investment tax credits, effective May 1.

On June 9, while Lingle was traveling in China, Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona vetoed SB 2041, which would have suspended investment and infrastructure renovation tax credits for three years. Aiona used a report created by the SBE Council in explaining his veto.

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Hawaii’s jobless rate drops to 6.6% in May

Hawaii’s unemployment rate dipped to 6.6 percent in May from 6.7 percent in April and 6.9 percent a year ago, according to the latest seasonally adjusted figures released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Hawaii had 41,700 people out of work in May out of a labor force of 636,800.

It added 1,700 jobs between April and May to bring the state’s total number of non-agricultural jobs to 605,000. However, compared to a year ago, Hawaii had 4,900 fewer jobs.

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4,171 on Oahu have no homes

The number of homeless on Oahu is up by about 15 percent -- or 533 people -- from 2009, according to a new "point-in-time" count that providers say highlights the need for continued attention to one of the biggest social crises in the state.

Some 4,171 homeless people were counted on Oahu, 1,374 of whom were unsheltered, the survey showed.

The increases on Oahu were offset by big decreases on the Big Island, where the unsheltered homeless population declined by half last year to 313, and on Maui, where the sheltered population dropped by about 30.

Altogether, the count -- designed to represent a rough estimate of homeless people statewide at a given point in time -- shows there are about 5,834 unsheltered and sheltered in the islands, a 1 percent increase from last year.

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How Hawaii Lawmakers Balanced the State Budget

Courtesy of the House of Representatives

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CB: New York Human Trafficking Law Points To Holes In Hawaii Proposal

Comparison with widely respected state anti-trafficking law shows Hawaii bill causes legal confusion and lacks key components: training and tools for law enforcement, victims' services, and tougher penalties and education for "johns."

TOTALLY RELATED: Green hypocrites: Case & Omidyar's Maui Land & Pine tied to human trafficking

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Storied stone taken away

The so-called healing stone of Wahiawa, venerated for more than 20 years by a local Hindu group as an embodiment of the god Shiva, was removed from its display platform on California Avenue last week by a group of Hawaiian nationalists intent of returning it to its earlier resting place near the Kukaniloko birthing site.

Both the Hindu and Hawaiian groups had shared in the care of the storied stone in recent years.

Dipankar Sengupta, one of the founders of the Lord of the Universe Society, the nonprofit Hindu group that assumed caretaker duties for the stone in 1988, said a group of people showed up early June 11 and used jackhammers to remove the stone (which had previously split into three pieces) from the cement where it was anchored.

(This was on public land: the ACLU never said a word.)

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Hawaii Schools’ Best Friend

With the state DoE unwilling or unable to give public schools classrooms the most basic supplies and equipment, Kathie Wells and Community Helping Schools step in and give teachers what they need….

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Preserving Hawaii’s resources: More than a career

For Leong’s dedication to both the stewardship of Hawaii’s most precious asset — its natural resources — and the education of its youth, he is PBN’s 2010 Bank of Hawaii Young Community Leader of the Year.

Before “green” or “sustainable” were even buzz words, Leong started Pono Pacific with two other partners (including his now wife, Julianna Rapu Leong) and operated out of his parents’ Nuuanu home. Now, a decade later, the company has 80 employees, just moved into new offices at the renovated former Tower Records space at Kahala Mall and manages thousands of acres of sensitive and ecologically important lands across Hawaii including rain forests, dry land forests, coastal areas and wetlands for private landowners, public agencies and the military.

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Medical heavyweights team up for new approach to quality health care

What do you mean by sustainable?
By sustainable, we mean a healthcare system that we can afford. There is no point in having the best hospitals, doctors, technology, and drugs in the world if we in Hawaii can’t afford the care. Under this new model of healthcare delivery, we are focusing on providing the right care in the right place at the right time, and addressing the issues of overuse, underuse, and misuse of healthcare resources.

In a practical sense, it means increasing access to primary care, for example, so that a mother with a sick child at 7:00 p.m. can see a primary care physician in an office at a cost of $100, instead of having to take the child to an emergency room at a cost of $1,000. It means ensuring that every keiki and every kupuna has access to vaccinations so that our keiki don’t get measles and chickenpox and our kupuna don’t get sick from the flu. It also, means motivating people to eat better, exercise regularly, and stop or don’t start smoking so that we reduce the incidence of people with chronic disease in the community.

How will you measure improvements in quality and safety?
Some of the measurement criteria will be process metrics. For example, when a patient is discharged from a hospital with a prescription or prescriptions, the hospital communicates with the patient’s primary care physician to ensure the primary care physician knows what the new medications are so he or she can ensure that there are no adverse drug reactions or conflicts with the medications that the primary care physician has been prescribing for that patient. HMSA will be measuring whether that call was made from the hospital to primary care physician.

Another example is looking at the claims that the hospitals submit to HMSA to ensure that if a patient has a certain diagnosis, that the appropriate tests and treatment were provided to that patient based on industry wide best practice.

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Lawyers praise beach land ruling

Hawaii attorneys said the decision appears to be consistent with the way state courts have ruled that submerged lands belong to the state.

But as important, the court helped to define the rights of beachfront property owners involving accreted lands, attorneys said.

"This case in Florida was helpful to us," said attorney Paul Alston.

Alston said the court's decision in general supports the right of beachfront property owners to claim of lands that have slowly extended into the ocean through the years.

Alston's clients won a class-action lawsuit at the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals this year against a 2003 state law that said accreted land that extended beyond a landowner's recorded boundary belonged to the state.

Alston said the appeals court held that the law unconstitutionally took private property without compensation.


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VA official gets big pay, little work: A retired Navy captain who has filed several discrimination suits sits in limbo

A senior Veterans Affairs official in Honolulu who has filed numerous discrimination complaints against his bosses now finds himself working in a small cubicle with no phone and no meaningful work to do -- as he draws an annual salary of about $120,000.

Honolulu-born Ronald Yonemoto, 62, said Wednesday that he feels he is in a "torture chamber."

So egregious is his highly paid, do-nothing job that Yonemoto plans to file a federal whistle-blower complaint -- on himself, said his lawyer, Elbridge Smith.

"What we're looking at here is sort of gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds," Smith said.

Yonemoto was marginalized after he filed a series of workplace complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, his attorney says.

The VA Pacific Islands Healthcare System stripped him of all job duties on April 29 and relegated him to a tiny cubicle.

The most "meaningful work" Yonemoto, himself a lawyer and retired Navy captain, was given recently was to inventory fire extinguishers and wash a government vehicle and shuttle it for maintenance.

Smith wrote to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki on May 19, asking for an investigation.

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Firefighter gets duty change after accusation of beating

He said he went up to the fire engine and explained to the driver that he had been barbecuing and pointed to the grill.

The firefighter "jumped out of the seat, rushed me and he slammed me to the ground and tackled me," he said.

"While he was on top of my body, he started punching my head and face and neck area," he said. "After about 10 blows to my head, I was able to push him off my body."

He contends he did not fight back.

Murray says he is also upset at the inaction of the rest of the crew, who stood silently by.

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Hawaii Family Seeking Answers About Inmate's Death

Roseanna Medina said she and her aunt went to Saguaro Correctional Center Friday to ask for an appointment with prison warden, Todd Thomas.

They were told the warden was too busy to see them. Then, they said another official brought them a box of Clifford Medina's personal belongings, asked them to sign for it, and then turned on his heels without saying another word to them.

"It was very disappointing," said Roseanna Medeiros. "There are so many questions we hoped to have answered, and so much we wanted to find out that only the prison staff could have told us."

(Meanwhile at Halawa…oh, that’s right, no news from there. )

ALSO: Trouble in three states draws scrutiny for veteran private jailer

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Kauai County employees face furloughs next month

LIHUE>> Kauai County employees face being furloughed two days per month, beginning in July, under a bill approved by the county council.

In order to match what the county employees will lose, Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. is voluntarily taking a 9.2 percent salary cut.

County spokeswoman Mary Daubert said this week that all department heads appointed by Carvalho have agreed to his request to reduce their own salaries by the same amount.

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Lihue Airport First In State To Use Body Scanner

"As privacy advocates, we're always concerned anytime the government says it wants to take naked pictures of every single traveler going through an airport," said Dan Gluck, senior staff attorney for American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii.

"The government has an obligation to keep us safe, but it also has an obligation to honor our civil liberties. So we want to make sure that they are respecting individuals' privacy," Gluck said, noting that London’s Heathrow airport removed similar technology after several years after deciding it didn’t work well enough and wasn’t worth the invasion of privacy.

Kauai is one of the first 32 airports nationwide to have the new technology. Each scanner costs $170,000.

A TSA spokeswoman said Honolulu International Airport should have similar x-ray scanners installed by the end of the year.

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The man who’s tutoring Bill Gates … actually has a brain…

For example, take the notion (heavily promoted by Al Gore) that we could wean ourselves off fossil fuels in a few years if only we really wanted to. This is about as realistic as the notion that we could fly to the moon on gossamer wings if we really wanted to. Some day it may be possible – but not any time soon. “We are structurally cooked,” he recently explained. “Every new technology takes 40 to 50 years before it captures the bulk of the market. As of today, there are no clean-energy technologies that can replace fossil fuels on a large scale.”

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