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Wednesday, July 4, 2012
July 4, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:18 PM :: 5902 Views

Does HDR Purchase of InfraConsult Create a Conflict of Interest on HDR’s Rail Contract?

Lingle Celebrates Independence Day

Abercrombie Quietly Gives 'Favored Nation' Benefits to Executive Branch Employees

RTTT: Congress Demands Answers as Georgia Joins Hawaii on 'High-Risk' Status

Unanimous BoE Approves DoE 'Strategic Plan'

EU: Smart Meters Allow 'Massive Collection of Personal Data'

Berg Video: Carpenters Union Members Get Rail Jobs--Knocking on Doors for Election

KHON: Voter registration deadline on Thursday, July 12

Chinese Government Owned Locomotive Maker to Buy Ansaldo?

ST: ...South knows well as the firms share a joint venture. The Chinese are also evaluating a possible bid for Italian train maker Ansaldo….

Website: http://www.csrgc.com.cn/ens/ "CSR is a limited liability company promoted by CSR Corporation in association with Beijing Railway Industry Economic and Trade Company with the approval of the State Council and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council SASAC. Founded on December 28, 2007, headquartered in Beijing, with a registered capital of 11.84 billion yuan, CSR went public in Shanghai and Hong Kong in August 2008, has established 17 wholly-owned and shareholding subsidiaries in 10 provinces and cities, and has nearly 90,000 employees."

Sunday Times UK: Chinese signal interest in £2bn Invensys takeover

Clueless: BoE/DoE Can’t Figure Out How Many Bus Routes it has Cut

SA: "We will do better in the future," BOE Chairman Don Horner told attendees at Tuesday's board meeting. "Clearly, this is a work in progress. We could have been more timely with folks."

Meanwhile, the Department of Education couldn't say for certain how many students would lose bus service in the coming school year, after earlier putting the number at nearly 2,400.

However, Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi did say the department will continue providing bus service at least through July 30 for about 130 students who attend three multitrack schools, which resume Monday.

Those students, at Mililani Middle, Kapolei Elementary and Kapolei Middle, were originally set to lose their school bus service. It's unclear whether they will lose it after July 30.

On Saturday, the DOE announced that 103 routes serving 51 schools statewide will be affected by the reductions, but an amended list released Tuesday contained fewer routes and fewer students.

The DOE said that because the list of discontinued routes is fluid, it could not yet say how many students would ultimately be left without school bus service.

Originally, the department had warned that as many as 20,000 students could lose bus service.

This is the first time the DOE has cut bus service to rein in the soaring costs of offering student transportation. But in years past, it has made other big changes, including consolidating routes and raising fares.

Last school year, about 39,000 general-education students rode school buses. Free curb-to-curb service is required for 4,000 special-education students and will not be affected by the cuts.

read … Botched

 

Democrat Advertiser: Hard to Be Proud to be American when Obamacare is Losing at Polls

SA: This year, the Fourth of July comes in the midst of a bruising election cycle…

"I'm proud to be an American," goes the lyric in a pop patriotic song that's almost become a cliche at this time of year.

Hearing it again almost compels the question: What does that mean, anyway?

What is the characteristic that defines someone as American?

The unifying element is hard to identify. …

This is not the first time America has been this tribalistic in its history, but clearly that is where we are today.

read … Losers Whining

AJ Musto: We Democrats Still Angry over Our Defeat in Civil War

AJ Musto: “As always Professor Milner accurately describes the most unfortunate state of US political affairs, and explains why voting in the Senatorial race, after the primary, is about party affiliation and not the particular strengths and weaknesses of the candidates themselves. A vote for former Governor Lingle becomes a vote to give over ideological support to the most uncompromising US House of Representation since Reconstruction, also lead by the Republicans. A government built on "true believers" will never be a government seeking consensus. Therefore, it is even more imperative that people who may disagree with that theology of politics actually vote, even if they don't identify themselves as Democrats, to prevent the Republican Party in its current manifestation from determining the essence of the United States. The new politics does not offer the hope that men and women of goodwill, in the absence of your vote, will come together in the best interests of the nation. This is not the government of Adams, Jefferson, Washington, or Hamilton--a group of men that had very strong disagreements, but found a way to compromise. And with Adams and Jefferson, found a way to become friends before they shared a common date with death.”

read … A Democrat Who Knows His Roots

July 4 Commentary:

Civil Beat: We Atheists Terrified by Church-Based Voter Drive

CB: Just like Peter and Paul, but with Wikiwiki voter-registration forms, which the Hawaii Family Forum made available at the rally. As it did in prior elections, the forum will make available its voter guide to help followers choose correctly.

Freedom of religion — or freedom from religion? Separation of church and state — or one and the same?

read … Civil Beat Blasts Churches’ Voter Registration Campaign

Budget flexibility threatened by special, revolving funds

KITV: A report released Tuesday by the state auditor shows the number of special and revolving funds has become so massive, it threatens the ability of lawmakers to address specific budgetary needs….

According to the audit, there are at least 729 non-general funds and accounts that hold nearly $2.5 billion of unencumbered cash, or more than half of all money received by the state in fiscal year 2011.

Although the number of special and revolving funds has grown eight-fold since 1983, House Speaker Calvin Say doesn't believe lawmakers are losing control of state finances.

"I would not be concerned about it because legislatively, we are the ones that enacted the laws," said Say. "Yes, you have a special fund, but we control the ceiling of that special fund."

Still, when lawmakers raid special or revolving funds in order to balance the state budget, problems can and do arise. In one instance, a $16 million raid of the Wireless Enhanced 911 Fund broke federal law, and the state could be required to pay the money back.

"So we have a $16 million question in front of us right now," said Higa.

In yet another example identified in the report, $3.48 million set aside to operate an anti-speeding program known as the "van cams" was left inside a revolving fund for nine years before it was finally detected in 2011. The program had been discontinued in 2002 after protests from the public.

Higa said the lack of a standardized procedure by the state Attorney General's office in reviewing special and revolving funds has caused some of the confusion. However, the AG's office disagreed with Higa's assertion that a checklist should be used in deciding the appropriateness of a special or revolving fund.

Higa also wants the review of all special funds to be placed back under her office, which was the case before 1992. Currently, the State Auditor only conducts periodic reviews of revolving funds or trust funds.

read … Budget

Inouye, Media Desperately Coordinate Effort to Hang ‘Obamacare Repeal’ Around Lingle’s Neck

SA: …she said she opposes what she described as "harmful policy judgments" such as an independent payment advisory board to contain Medicare costs, a tax on medical device manufacturers, and the reduction of payments to private insurers that offer Medicare Advantage programs as alternatives to traditional Medicare.

Lingle said the individual mandate in the law that requires people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty could increase costs for families and small businesses.

She also said the law does not deal with medical malpractice insurance reform, which she believes would reduce health care costs by discouraging doctors from practicing "defensive medicine" to avoid possible patient lawsuits.

"I am confident that by engaging in a meaningful and bipartisan policy discussion, the current law can address these issues and cost impacts," Lingle said in a statement. "However, if it is a straight ‘repeal or not repeal' of the (federal law) as-is without any changes, I would vote to repeal."

Lingle had helped introduce former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP vice presidential candidate, at the national convention four years ago in St. Paul, Minn. At the 2004 national convention in New York, she was temporary chairwoman and praised President George W. Bush's tax cuts. At the 2000 national convention in Philadelphia, she attended as the state party chairwoman.

"She campaigned against Obama in his home state when she was the standing governor. Obviously, that was done for no immediate political benefit. She did that for, I think, not only for her own beliefs but for long-term chits to collect with the national party," said John Hart, a Hawaii Pacific University communication professor.

"I would find it hard to believe that the national party does not believe she hasn't been a good soldier and all the money signs indicate that she is being supported by the mainland party. So I think they do understand that she has a certain tightrope to walk and that they are going to respect the whole end-game strategy."

read … Health law needs fix or repeal, Lingle says

Inouye Questions Whether Lingle Wants Obamacare Repeal

HTH: In the interview, Inouye also questioned whether former Gov. Linda Lingle, who is also running for senate, would vote to repeal the health care reform bill recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Her campaign has released a statement calling for amendments to the law, but it did not make mention of a repeal.

Lingle’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

read … One Hand in Glove

 

 

C&C Seeks to Block LOL Intervention in Lanai Sale

CB: Life of the Land filed a petition to intervene in proceedings before the state Public Utilities Commission. But Castle & Cooke is arguing that the community advocacy organization headed by Henry Curtis will unreasonably broaden the issues.

According to PUC dockets:

It is important to recognize that, although part of a much larger transaction,^ this Docket is not about renewable energy, is not a referendum on the sale of land, and should not be used as a vehicle to raise unrelated matters or issues.

Essentially, Castle & Cooke is saying that this is not about Big Wind.

read … Not About Big Wind

Inouye, Akaka Among Most Pro-Gay Senators

TP: Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI), John Kerry (D-MA), and Patty Murray (D-WA), tied for the honor of most pro-LGBT Senator: they put their names on 13 of the 16 bills each. Akaka, a fourth-term Senator who will retire at the end of 2012, authored the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2012 (a bill to improve tracking of health data for LGBT people and other minority groups). Murray, a fourth-term Senator, spells out on her LGBT issue webpage that “Equal protection under the law is a fundamental right in our country. No one should suffer discrimination because of their race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” And Kerry, now in his fifth term in the Senate, is chief sponsor of the Reconnecting Youth to Prevent Homelessness Act of 2011 (which seeks to help at-risk LGBT youth) and the HOME Act of 2011 (which protects LGBT citizens from housing discrimination).

Eight other Senators — seven Democrats and one independent — signed on to at least 10 pro-LGBT proposals, putting them just behind Akaka, Kerry, and Murray. They are:

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), a ninth-term Senator and the Senate President Pro Tempore. Inouye has represented Hawaii in Congress since it achieved statehood in 1959 and during the 2010 Don’t Ask Don’t Tell debate noted “I fought alongside gay men during World War II and many of them were killed in combat. Those men were heroes. And once again, heroes will be allowed to defend their country, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

read … Working the Agenda

Inouye Endorses Hirono’s Pollster

PR: When asked to focus on the U.S. Senate race, he added that he felt “the polls” showed U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono “to be in the best position.”

Hirono’s campaign released internal poll numbers on Monday that showed her with a 15-percentage point lead over her Democratic primary opponent, former Congressman Ed Case.

As for polls released by Case’s campaign that show him to be more competitive, Inouye said:

I don’t know who the pollsters were. But the pollster that shows the other numbers, I’ve relied on them before, personally, so their numbers came out OK for me.

read … An Endorsement

Hawaii 6th State to Enact Vacating Conviction Law for Prostitutes

HR: On June 26, 2012, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie approved Senate Bill 2576, relating to prostitution, which provides sex trafficking victims with a pathway for clearing their criminal records of convictions for crimes that occurred as a result of coercion into the commercial sex trade. Polaris Project, Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, and IMUAlliance worked with prosecutors and lawmakers, including Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, Sen. Clayton Hee, Rep. Marilyn Lee, Rep. Gilbert Keith-Agaran and Rep. John Mizuno, to pass this landmark proposal during the 2012 legislative session, giving victims an opportunity to overcome legal barriers to attaining a stable lifestyle. Hawaii will become the sixth state to enact a “vacating convictions” law.

James Dold, Policy Counsel for Polaris Project, hailed the measure as progress for victims' rights. “With the passage of SB 2576 Hawaii joins 5 other states that are at the forefront of creating a victim-centered response to this terrible human rights abuse. The recovery process for victims of human trafficking on the islands will be that much easier as they will be freed from the social stigma and lack of economic and educational opportunities that resulted from unjust convictions for prostitution.” said Dold, who has worked on anti-human trafficking measures nationwide.

read … Vacating Convictions

CD5 Kobayashi Challenged by Parsons Brinkerhoff Engineer

CB: One of the City Council's anti-rail crusaders in an election matchup versus a Parsons Brinckerhoff engineer? It sounds almost too good to be true. Yet that's what District 5 voters will be looking at come November.

read … Honolulu Council District 5 Candidates on the Issues

10% Oahu Water Rate Hike

KHON: Your next water bill is rising by nearly 10%. The rate hike went into effect yesterday marking the second time this year the Board of Water Supply has increased rates….many residents don't understand the double-digit jump in rates. "It's not like we all make a lot of money, that's another high bill for us," said Keoni Gonsalves, Kaneohe resident

read … Water Rates

 

 

Politicians, Criminals Nervous as FBI Opens Hilo Office

HTH: By an 8-1 vote, the council approved allowing county administrators to enter into negotiations with the FBI’s Honolulu Division, to allow for the use of a 10-by-10 foot room now being used as storage space and located near the driver licensing office.

The vote came after numerous people testified about the plan, including many in opposition. Some were against the FBI agents working in the same building with police and “sharing babysitters,” as one person said; others opposed an increased federal presence on the Big Island.

The opposing comments were enough to make Councilman Angel Pilago cast the lone vote against the resolution; Councilwoman Brittany Smart voted yes with reservations.

The council members did not know why the FBI is seeking to use a Hilo office. The resolution, introduced by request of the Finance Department, makes a reference to investigating and prosecuting “organized criminal enterprises” in an environment with shared local, state and federal resources.

read … Nervous Suspects

Secret Garbage Shipments Turn Kona Against Kenoi

HTH: Council members made it clear, however, that the Division of Solid Waste is first in line for an audit. Earlier this year, Solid Waste began trucking almost all of Hilo’s garbage to the West Hawaii landfill, even as Mayor Billy Kenoi assured residents at a Kona Town Hall meeting that the administration had no intention to do so. The so-called “pilot project” was terminated after Stephens Media made it public.

“This department has shown a lack of openness, and this practice has harmed the public’s trust,” said North Kona Councilman Angel Pilago, sponsor of Resolution 270. “This will give the department another chance to be open and transparent.”

The council is likely to take the issue up again at the next council meeting, said Chairman Dominic Yagong.

South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford said the stealth pilot project was “devastating” to Kenoi’s perceived credibility, and she stressed the importance of public perception.

“Public perception is not a figment of the public’s imagination in this case,” Ford said. “It’s a reality.”

Several members of the public also spoke in favor of an audit of the Solid Waste Division.

Margaret Wille, speaking from Waimea, said an audit of the department is a good idea.

But this is no problem: Billy Kenoi helped Pali Shooter

read … Secret Garbage Shipments

Candidate forums slated across the island

H24/7: Several community groups and organizations have scheduled candidate forums and events ahead of the Aug. 11 Primary Election. All forums and events are open to the public…

read … Candidate Forums


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