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Sunday, October 9, 2011
October 9, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:49 PM :: 11211 Views

Solar Tax Credits: Cash from General Fund Lines Pockets of Mainland Companies

Hawaii Christian Coalition salutes Kaauwai, Plans Community Meetings

Climate Change and Regulatory Takings in Coastal Hawaii

Taking a Step Back on Nation’s Economic Path

Top Abercrombie Advisor Tied to Honolulu Liquor Commission Boss forced out by FBI Investigation

The New York-born Stanley, 68, served 10 years in the Capitol, starting with her election in 1974, the same year that brought Abercrombie to the state House. She was the first female majority floor leader and later chaired the House Judiciary Committee.

When she exited the grind of campaigns and lawmaking, she segued into work as legislative coordinator for Gov. John Waihee and deputy director of the Department of Human Services under Gov. Ben Cayetano. Even in her family life, the hurlyburly of public affairs and controversy was never far away: Her husband of the last 20 years is Wallace Weatherwax, the embattled former administrator of the city Liquor Commission.

More recently, she was an adviser to the former schools superintendent, Pat Hamamoto, (which means that Stanley is tied to the DoE decision to place furlough days on instructional days—a key element of the Democrat Gubernatorial campaign strategy.) and is finishing up her overlapping duties heading a legislative commission overseeing the spending of stimulus funds, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Flashback 2005, Honolulu Liquor Commission: FBI launches liquor inquiry

Honolulu Advertiser, Jan 25, 2005: The FBI questioned all 16 inspectors last Tuesday, focusing their inquiry on four clubs: Porky's, The Ocean Club, Club Miyagi (formerly Sin City) and Volcano's, Weatherwax said. During the raid the FBI requested time sheets, citation records, work statistics and other documentation.

In May 2002, eight inspectors and supervisors were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that include accepting cash bribes ranging from $40 to $1,080 to overlook violations at 45 hostess and strip bars between October 2000 and December 2001.

Six pleaded guilty and the other two were found guilty at trial. In August 2004, former inspector Collin Oshiro, 34, of 'Aiea, was sentenced to 22 months in prison. A month earlier William B. Richardson Jr., 50, was sentenced to 20 months and fined $10,000.

Six other defendants are awaiting sentencing.

After the 2002 indictments, the commission promised stronger supervision of inspectors and stricter hiring policies.

UPDATE: Governor’s New Communications director Is Chairman Of Unity House, Owner of Troubled Nightclub, Gambling Advocate

read … And they report this as if it were nothing

Borreca to Abercrombie: Stand and deliver or leave

In politics, transformations and metamorphoses will carry you only so far. Eventually you either stand and deliver or leave.

For the three top leaders in Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration, a quick exit appears to have been their only option, but for the 73-year-old top Democrat, the situation doesn't look much better….

Political sources say that Asselbaye and Aoki told Abercrombie they would leave in December, giving the governor time to organize replacements. But, according to a source, Abercrombie immediately said he would put Bruce Coppa, state comptroller, in charge. The pair then decided to leave immediately and Levinson decided to follow them out the door….

If we had elected Asselbaye and Aoki, then they could be held accountable for not having a local network or for not doing enough to communicate. But the state voted for Abercrombie, and it is Abercrombie who is responsible to make the executive branch run on time and in the right direction.

The continued criticism of the Abercrombie administration is that after 20 years in Congress and nearly as long in state and county politics, Abercrombie is a legislator without the understanding of how to run or manage anything.

To paraphrase Shakespeare: Men at some time are masters of their fates; the fault, dear Governor, is not in our staffs, but in ourselves.

read … A message from Inouye’s Camp

Inouye Wrong: Hawaii will take brunt of Military Cuts

Conversely, in the front-page story of the same Star-Advertiser issue, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye was more sanguine about the future of the military in Hawaii, asserting that the area of major concern has shifted from Europe and the Atlantic to Asia and the Pacific, and that "the military is in Hawaii because of its strategic placement on the planet" ("Budget woes hang over isle military expansion," Star-Advertiser, Sept. 18).

In truth, however, the Middle East, not Europe, has been our major strategic concern since the end of the Cold War and will likely remain so for the indefinite future. Further, in today's world, Hawaii's strategic significance may rest more on nostalgia than reality, and the military presence here will continue to be largely about jobs and the politics of military spending.

In that regard, Inouye has served the people of Hawaii well, but his prediction that the military here "will either increase or stay as it is for maybe a decade or so," overlooks the likelihood that Hawaii will take its share of budgetary hits along with the rest of the defense establishment….

It won't be easy; old shibboleths die hard. Thousands of military and military-related personnel and huge chunks of regional economies like Hawaii's would be affected. But the impact of the budget reductions would span a decade -- time that can be used, in Eisenhower's words, to "compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

TOTALLY RELATED: Military Spending: In pursuit of Ideology, Hirono Votes Against 18% of Hawaii Economy

Related: RAND: Military is 18% of Hawaii’s Economy (Full Text)

read … Target Hawaii

Internal Crisis? Abercrombie loses fourth staff member

Laurie Au, the deputy communications director, was the press secretary for Abercrombie's campaign. Sources say her decision to leave was based on the resignations of Amy Asselbaye, the chief of staff, Andrew Aoki, the deputy chief of staff, and Josh Levinson, the communications director.

The four helped form the backbone of Abercrombie's campaign staff and accepted plum policy and communications roles in his administration. Some of the governor's older allies often referred to the younger and relatively inexperienced staffers as "the kids," but they were more idealistic, and less tied to outside interests, than many of the older voices in the governor's orbit….

The sudden exodus has led to concerns by some fellow Democrats that the Abercrombie administration is in internal crisis. Some administration officials, (Stanley?, Coppa?) however, believe it was better to have the staff shake-up now than later in the year, when the administration would be intensely preparing for the upcoming legislative session in January.

read … At least she didn’t cite family reasons

Do families really want all the people Abercrombie is sending home to them?

How is it that suddenly the resignations are piling up in the Governor’s inbox? Curious minds want to know. Are the rats leaving the ship? Is the captain making even his longest-serving crew walk the plank? Is something rotten in Denmark? Are Hawaii’s families suddenly getting lonely?

Related: Epiphany leads to Mass Resignations: Abercrombie Administration Incompatible with Family Values

read … Do families want?

Civil Defense should be Cabinet post

Under the present structure, State Civil Defense is a division of Hawaii's Department of Defense, with the adjutant general serving as its director. The online biography notes that the adjutant general also "oversees the training and readiness for 5,500 soldiers and airmen of the Hawaii National Guard, … provides direct support to the Office of Veterans Services and is the homeland security adviser for the governor."

The Youth Challenge Academy is also part of Hawaii's Department of Defense. That adds up to a lot of hats that the adjutant general must wear, and it essentially makes the director of civil defense a part-time job.

(This is related to the resignation of Ed Teixeira from Civil Defense)

read … Civil Defense

Geothermal on Hawaii island and Maui could double the state's current energy output—and cut cost by 66%

The push to generate more renewable energy from the state's vast geothermal resources is picking up steam on Hawaii island and Maui.

The potential for geothermal energy generation is enormous. A consultant's report prepared for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism estimates that the geothermal resources on Hawaii island and Maui are sufficient to create more than 1,500 megawatts of electrical generating capacity, an amount roughly equivalent to the peak electrical load of the entire state.

Ormat Technologies Inc. operates a 30-megawatt geothermal power plant on Hawaii island already and is preparing to bring another 8 megawatts of generating capacity online at its Puna facility in the next few months. The Nevada-based company also is exploring the possibility of building Maui's first geothermal plant on the southwestern slopes of Haleakala….

Another plus with geothermal is the cost of electricity, which GeothermEx estimates can be produced in Hawaii at a cost of 7 cents to 8 cents per kilowatt hour. That compares with 21.8 cents per kilowatt hour that HECO has agreed to pay developers for solar electricity under the recently enacted feed-in-tariff program…. (Just now noticing this, eh?)

It typically takes Puna Geothermal Ventures about 90 days to drill a well, he said. (But first all the wind farm scams have to play out and then the OHA scammers have to collect their cut.)

read … Geothermal

OHA: Machado has no replacement as Clyde Namuo quits

After Namuo leaves, OHA Chief Operating Officer Richard Pezzulo will serve as acting administrator, Machado said. The search for a new administrator will be headed by OHA's Asset Resource Management Committee, which is chaired by trustee Oz Stender. Machado said a professional recruitment company will help. Namuo's contract pays him $129,000. His successor is expected to make about the same amount…. (In other words, they couldn’t find anybody desperate enough to take this dead end job serving the Akaka Gang.)

Namuo was hired by the OHA board in July 2001 under then-Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona. Machado succeeded her late last year. (And she’s cleaning house. Will OHA return to the bad old days of chaos?)

In related news, Machado said OHA Maui Trustee Boyd Mossman is expected to resign at the end of the month. Trustees must pick a successor within 60 days or give up the right to choose that person to the governor. Machado said trustees intend to pick someone by the deadline.

read … Viva Failure!

Hawaii ranks #8 in Per-Capita Domestic Violence Murders

Since 2004, the rate of men killing women locally has risen steadily, with Hawaii ranked eighth in the nation in the number per capita, according to a new study by a Washington, D.C., advocacy group that analyzed FBI supplemental homicide data for 2009, the latest year available. The Hawaii rate of 1.72 victims per 100,000 population was the highest recorded in the state since at least the late 1990s and marked the first time the islands cracked the top 10, the Violence Policy Center study showed.

Dingle's killing also reflected a phenomenon that has perplexed advocates and others in the domestic violence community: Filipinos in Hawaii are dying as a result of domestic disputes at disproportionate rates -- greater than any other ethnic group. Dingle was Filipino, as is her alleged murderer.

Between 2000 and 2007, the period for which the most recent data are available, Filipinos represented nearly a third of the 51 adult male and female domestic violence fatalities in the islands, even though that ethnic group made up only 14 percent of Hawaii's adult population, according to a state panel reviewing the fatalities.

read … Filipinos predominate

Volunteers Cleaning Up Hawaii Schools For Less

The 3 R's used to mean Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. But now the 3 R's have a completely new meaning at Hawaii schools.

Parts of Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate school got a facelift. Native Hawaiian plants were added to the landscape and the campus was cleaned up. It was a project that could have cost the state $20,000 but instead it was done for half of that amount.

"Hawaii 3R's will only get involved if we can bring sweat equity so the actual dollar cost is one half," said Alan Oshima with Hawaii 3R's.

Instead of the state paying for labor for various projects, volunteers donate their time to the 3R's program, which stands for repair, remodel and restore our schools.

The program has been around for the past 10 years and during that time it has awarded nearly $18 million to fix island schools.

Read … 3 Rs

Proposed UH tuition increases explained

If University of Hawaii Maui College students are upset about the state institution's proposed tuition hikes, they didn't show it Friday night when they had a chance to oppose them during a meeting with the school's chancellor and a top academic affairs official….

Overall, only 10 people attended the tuition hike meeting at the Kahului campus, and only a handful of them were students.

One of them, however, was Francine Ching, the student life coordinator.

Ching said UH-Maui College's student government has decided not to oppose the tuition hike, but students want to know what they will get in return

read … Tuition

Maui Measure pushes labeling of genetically engineered products

they agreed to include a measure to require labeling of genetically engineered products as part of the Hawaii State Association of Counties' package of proposed bills for the 2012 legislative session.

Much of the hours of testimony was from people urging council members to approve the product labeling measure. They said they have a right to information about products and whether they are organic or genetically modified, which several testifiers (falsely) cast as unhealthy, possibly harmful and untested.

Reality: The Future of Fraud

read … Tool for Boycott

Occupy Hawaii organized by UNITE HERE Local 5

Lauren Ballesteros, 24, a part-time restaurant worker who also works part time for the Local 5 hotel and restaurant workers union, helped facilitate Saturday's discussion….

"The structures that (the 1 percent of the population) have created have diminished the quality of life for 99 percent of us of all colors, genders and sexual orientations," Ballesteros said….

Despite different priorities raised, from APEC to Hawaiian independence, the group will be able to find common ground, Ballesteros said.

"We can build a collective consciousness because we share a similar frustration," she said. "That is the value of a democracy. People being able to have healthy debates with one another and then work toward something."

Related: Mao cap-wearing Philippine communist rebel is dead

read … Just another Union Front Group

Occupy Wall Street movement hits Hawaii

“My names Renee, I'm here to represent people's needs not wall street greed.”

“I'm tired of living like a slave, I want to be free.”

About 75 people gathered in Honolulu's Saturday financial district to protest what they call corporate greed.

“I'm Grace, I'm a teacher and I'm here to make sure my students have a future.”

“The slogan of the movement is “We are the 99% meaning we are the 99 and the one percent is controlling it and that's politicians and wall street bankers,” said protestor Megan Brooker.

“This one is more about the moral standing that we're standing up as one voice,” said author and protestor Raghu Giuffer. (Does he write like that?)

“I just hope that one day everyone wakes up and realizes they are part of the 99 percent and join their brothers and sisters in this protest,” said Orneallas.

“How long do you guys plan on staying?”

“Until we win, until we win.”

(Remember: These people are enlightened, conscious, and progressive. They’re smarter than you. They are morally superior to you. Bow down and worship at their feet.)

read … Occupy some time

Maoists, UH Perfesser, Occupy Wall Street prepare to Occupy APEC

During the Asian Development Bank's conference at the Hawai'i Convention Center in 2001, the state planned for as many as 5,000 protesters. About 500 turned out and there were no arrests.

Already, a group known as Occupy Honolulu -- based on the Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York calling for change in the U.S. financial system -- is organizing in Hawaii and comparing the APEC leaders to the corporations opposed by the Wall Street group.

"APEC/Wall Street: Both working for the 1 percent," the (Maoist) group World Can't Wait Honolulu says on its website. "Same Enemy -- Same Fight!"

The group (of Maoists) says the APEC member economies use "free trade" as a code term to advance policies giving "imperialist powers and multinational corporations the 'right' to go into oppressed countries and take out whatever they want." (Pause to reminisce about the glory days of the Cultural Revolution.)

"The main problem with APEC is that the interests that they serve are the interests of big business," said Nandita Sharma, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. "I really think that is contrary to the interest of most everyone else."

read … Governor vows safety for APEC dignitaries

SA: HPD needs to respect records law

The prosecution of Toby Stangel in connection with a shooting rampage on June 3 has shone a light on a disturbing treatment of public documents. Police and city officials have demonstrated a bunker mentality about what information about crimes should be released, a wholly inappropriate response -- and one that is wasting taxpayer funds.

More specifically, they seem to be starting from a default position against giving the public access to various documents related to the case, including 911 and police dispatch tapes.

This runs afoul of the stated purpose of the law, known as the Uniform Information Practices Act, a declaration "that the formation and conduct of public policy -- the discussions, deliberations, decisions, and action of government agencies -- shall be conducted as openly as possible."

read … Open Records

Prosecutors Use Civil Law to go after Drug Houses

The Honolulu Prosecutor's Office is ramping up efforts to shut down drug houses around Oahu by using restraining orders to remove drug dealers from the properties.

For the past month, Mark Miyahira, deputy prosecutor, has been visiting every neighborhood board on the island, asking residents to call him if they are concerned about a drug house in their community.

read … Restraining Order

Fire probe shutters popular shooting range

Alonzo said he first noticed the fire about 20 minutes after the range closed on Friday. He saw smoke from the back of the rifle range and went to investigate. Two men, including the employee who allegedly fired the flare, were running toward the smoke, apparently to smother the flare, but they couldn't climb over the steep dirt mound at the end of the shooting range. The fire quickly spread, and he told other employees to call 911.

Two employees behind the firing line told him some employees were "playing (with) a flare gun."

He later overheard an employee say someone dropped off an unwanted flare gun, and he heard the man accused of starting the fire tell police that he pulled the trigger.

"He's one of my best employees," Alonzo said. "That hurt my feelings."

He said the man, a range assistant, has been working at the complex about seven to 10 years, and will be given administrative leave during the investigation. He added that the man is one of the best rifle shooters in the islands -- a master-class shooter with the National Rifle Association and a distinguished shooter in the Civilian Marksmanship Program -- and could lose his right to own a gun. State law bans anyone indicted for or convicted of a felony from possessing or using a gun.

"If this guy is going to be charged, he's going to lose everything," Alonzo said. "He's going to be out of his job, get rid of all his guns, the whole nine yards. He can't even get close over here."

read … Arson or Accident?

Guam: Small Island Has a Big Role

The eventual relocation of U.S. military bases and personnel in Okinawa, Japan, to facilities in Guam is another ongoing work in progress for both of the big military facilities. In one case, a Marine air base is expected to relocate to Guam by 2014. “As the identified location for a Marine aviation combat element, Andersen’s role in this transition will be to facilitate that bed-down, and thereby support U.S. policy in the vital Asia-Pacific region,” Gen. Doucette explains. This move is still in question, however, as the United States and Japan tentatively have agreed to build a new Marine Corps Air Facility elsewhere in Okinawa,

Not all military units and personnel will be relocating from Okinawa to other military installations worldwide, and the specifics of that relocation is a continuing process being discussed at the highest levels of the U.S. and Japanese governments, Gen. Doucette reports. As plans are finalized and initially announced for public study and community comment, they continue to change and adjust as needed.

Local officials in Guam have voiced concern that they will not have the financial resources needed to improve local municipal infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewer systems, to accommodate the influx of military personnel ….

read … Guam

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