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Monday, July 16, 2012
July 16, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:47 PM :: 5176 Views

Lingle Responds to Criticism of Maui Judicial Conference

34 Senators Reject: LOST Will Not Be Ratified by Senate This Year

Aegis Combat System Successfully Completes Trials on Second Republic of Korea Destroyer

After rail, city will Hike Bus Fares, spend 17% of taxes on transportation

SA: City taxpayer subsidies for public transportation in Hono­lulu will increase by hundreds of millions of dollars to 17 percent of overall city tax collections after the new 20-mile rail system gets rolling, according to the new financial plan for rail.

The city now spends about 12 percent of general fund and highway fund tax collections to subsidize transit, which means Hono­lulu is about to significantly increase the share of the overall budget pie devoted to public transportation.

At the same time, the city plans to impose fare increases in the years ahead that will require riders to pay more to use TheBus, TheHandi-Van and the new rail system, according to the rail financial plan.

The city is planning for significant fare increases in 2017 and 2023 to help cover the operating costs of the combined rail, bus and Handi-Van systems.

Bus, Handi-Van and rail fare increases will be imposed later as a way to subsidize these services

read … Rail Financial Plan

Gabbard outpaces Hannemann in April-June fundraising for U.S. House race

SA: Gabbard’s campaign raised $320,505 from April 1 through June 30, outpacing former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s campaign, which closed the quarter with 252,392 in contributions….

Gabbard’s strong quarter raises her campaign’s total receipts to $891,320, with $540,516 in cash on hand.

Hannemann’s campaign remains in the overall lead with $1,041,884 in donations and $503,754 in cash on hand.

read … Omen

Delusional Okabe Still Claims HSTA ‘Ratified’ January Contract

CB: It's been six weeks since Hawaii teachers voted to accept the contract offer they'd rejected in January. But the union and state are still no closer to striking a deal.

In fact, Hawaii State Teachers Association President Wil Okabe told teachers last week that the union is exploring legal means to enforce the January contract agreement the state considers off the table, according to internal documents.

Okabe told Civil Beat last week that the union is still "waiting for the governor to respond to our ratified contract."

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's spokeswoman, Donalyn Dela Cruz, said the state has informed HSTA that "we want to negotiate the 2013-2015 contract." There are no negotiation dates set at this time, she added.

Okabe sent the governor a letter July 6 giving the state 14 days to respond to a May 30 memorandum of understanding. He continues to insist that the re-vote in May constituted a ratification of the tentative agreement the union had reached in January….

 Both sides of the year-old labor dispute are motivated to reach an accord, in part so the state can keep what’s left of the $75 million Race to the Top grant. The state remains at "high-risk" of losing the money, and federal education officials plan to visit Hawaii within a few months to review the state's progress on its education-reform promises.

A decision in the case before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board is pending. Final reports were filed June 15, but there has been no official notice as to when the quasi-judicial board will make its ruling on whether the state violated the union's constitutional rights to collective bargaining when it imposed the "last, best, final offer."

read … HSTA Delusions

Linda Lingle: The GOP’s Senate Pick-Up In Hawaii?

NWC: With all the recent talk of the gains or losses the Republican party stands to make in the United States Senate, there are two issues that have so far gone beneath the radar.  One, that the GOP may lose a seat in Maine, as Maine’s moderate Republican Senator, Olympia Snowe, is retiring and may be replaced with an Independent.  And two, that the Republicans may pick up a seat in, of all places, Hawaii, with the possible election of another moderate Republican, former Hawaii Republican governor Linda Lingle.  Kind of like trading a moderate Republican senator from Maine for a new moderate Republican senator from Hawaii.

read … NapaCountry

Case: Hirono Ineffective Foot Soldier for Far left, Lacks Diversity

SA: Case 59, said he doubts the liberal Hirono or other Washington insiders really want change.

“Take a look at who we are, the sum total of what we’ve done. Not only our few years in the United States House of Representatives — that’s part of it, but a relatively small part of it. You have to judge the big picture and ask yourself, Who can function in the United States Senate, which is a different level altogether? And who can do it over a generation? Who has the diversity of experience, the level of commitment and the demonstrated ability to get things done in difficult situations?”

But Case appears caught in the same current he struggled against in his admittedly regrettable primary challenge to Akaka six years ago. Ino­uye and most of the party’s establishment, labor, environmental and progressive voices are with Hirono. He has lagged in fundraising. His depiction of Hirono as an ineffective foot soldier of the far left has alienated some of the very Democrats most likely to vote in a primary….

read … Ed Case: Extremes are clogging Capitol, says moderate Senate hopeful

CD2 Candidates Answer Surveys

·       Kawika Crowley Answers Congressional District 2 Survey

·       Tulsi Gabbard Answers Congressional District 2 Survey

·       Mufi Hannemann Answers Congressional District 2 Survey

·       Esther Kiaaina Answers Congressional District 2 Survey

·       Bob Marx Answers Congressional District 2 Survey

Stop Rail Suit to be Heard in August

WFP: In August a federal district court will hear a complaint brought by a coalition of politicians, environmental groups and business people against the city of Honolulu and the Federal Transit Administration, which has promised $1.55 billion in federal funds for the rail network.

The complaint alleges the project violates federal environmental and historic preservation statutes, and seeks an injunction stopping the city from moving forward with it.

Support is waning among Oahu's voters. In 2008 the referendum passed by 53 per cent to 47 per cent. A poll taken this spring, however, showed 55 per cent of the island's voters now oppose the planned line.

That might not matter if the project were moving irrevocably forward, but the upcoming mayoral election is shaping up to be yet another referendum on rail. Both incumbent Peter Carlisle and challenger Kirk Caldwell support rail, the former enthusiastically, the latter with a few reservations.

But another challenger, former two-term Democratic governor Ben Cayetano, has promised to kill the proposed railway line if elected. He is leading in the polls….

Supporters cite the EIS's claim that, if completed, the rail network will result in 48,000 fewer car trips each day by 2030. That looks feeble, though, given the number of daily car trips is forecast to increase by more than 500,000 because of population growth.

Congestion, in other words, will probably worsen -- with or without the new trains.

read … The View From Winnipeg

Ethics Commission warning to legislators about incomplete financial disclosures falls short

ILind: An unsigned memo last week from the State Ethics Commission to state legislators advised that “some of the forms that were filed with our office were not completely filled out and that information that is required by law was not provided on some forms.”

The memo, dated July 12, 2012, asked legislators to “review your completed form to ensure that you have provided all of the information that is requested for each item on the form.”

Click on the image below to read the full memo….

read … Short on Ethics

Maui Saved, 9th U.S. court cancels 2013 Monterey conference

SFG: Long a target of Republican criticism for its liberal rulings, the court has come under attack from Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Jeff Sessions of Alabama for scheduling next month's conference in Maui.

Citing the $1 million-plus travel cost of the last Maui conference in 2010 and the availability to conferees of such activities as sport fishing and snorkeling, the senators have repeatedly called on the court to cancel the conference or scale it back. In reply, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, an appointee of Republican President Ronald Reagan, has described the conference as an important educational gathering and said the accommodations cost less than many similarly sized hotels on the mainland.

But on Friday, the court announced on its website that next year's scheduled conference in Monterey is being postponed until 2014.

Related: Lingle Responds to Criticism of Maui Judicial Conference

CB: Lingle Tells GOP Pols to ‘Back Off’ On 9th Circuit Meeting Criticism


CN: 9th Circuit Relents on Next Year's Conference

Thank to Dan Inouye’ Supporter:  Hatch Act Violation: Scandalous GSA Official Starred in Inouye Campaign Ad, VIDEO: Hawaii Federal Rapper at Center of Latest GSA Scandal

read … 9th U.S. court cancels 2013 conference

$200,000 Project Will Add 4th Lane to H-1

SA: In attempt to ease the bottleneck on the H-1 Freeway, workers began re-striping parts of the freeway between the Pali Highway and Punahou Street to create an extra lane in each direction.

The $200,000 project began Sunday night and is expected to be completed before private school and University of Hawaii students start fall classes in late August.

The re-striping work will be done at night and is expected to be completed by the first week of August, weather permitting, said Caroline Sluyter, the state Transportation Department spokeswoman.

read … $200K vs $5.5B you be the judge

Pill Mill?  Bay Clinic Hit With Second Lawsuit

HTH: Opoku-Boachie’s lawsuit is the second wrongful termination suit filed against Bay Clinic within a month. On June 6, Dr. Fatima C. Phillips, the clinic’s former medical director, also filed a civil action against Bay Clinic, alleging that she was stripped of her authority and forced to resign after reporting the over-prescribing of narcotic painkillers by clinic physicians. Phillips also claims in her suit that she told the clinic’s then-human resources director, who allegedly fired Opoku-Boachie while Phillips was on the mainland for a medical convention, that Opoku-Boachie’s termination was gender discrimination and that it violated a state law that allows a nursing mother to express breast milk in the workplace as long as it’s done in private and during a break.

read … Pill Mill to Become your Medical Provider under Abercrombie Health Connector?

Star-Adv Editors: With safeguards, new biosafety lab will benefit isles

SA: The West Oahu public concern is understandable, but the greater public need is undeniable.

Officials of the Pacific Health Research Laboratory, a research unit of the University of Hawaii, have been making the rounds in Leeward communities, and making a persuasive case for the wisdom of building a large biosafety laboratory in Kalaeloa.

The lab, which would occupy a 2-acre site near a Hawaii National Guard hangar, would be a Level 3 facility, which means it would be able to test samples of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, West Nile virus and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Those may conjure rational fears, but Hawaii is vulnerable to such devastating illnesses independently of any laboratory proposal.

read … Bio Lab

Both Houses Reject Navy Biofool Program

Stripes: The Navy’s plan to use alternative fuels for half of its fleet by 2020 is proceeding, despite defense bill markups in both houses of Congress that could block all military spending on such forms of power, the service’s top civilian said Monday.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said he hoped the service ultimately would persuade lawmakers to allow continued purchases of costly biofuels and other energy sources due to unpredictable oil prices and supplies….

If the most current versions of the defense bill become law, the Navy may not see another green fleet for a very long time.

The Navy spent $12 million — about $27 per gallon — on 450,000 gallons of fuel mixed from waste cooking oil and algae oil for the demonstration in Hawaii, according to service estimates. Conventional fuel currently costs the Navy $3.60 per gallon, according to a recent Reuters report….

In May, the House Armed Services Committee added language to the 2013 defense authorization bill preventing the Defense Department from buying anything that costs more than “traditional fossil fuel.”

During a closed-door session in June, the Senate committee counterpart added the same provision to its bill, then blocked the Defense Department from funding biofuel refineries without special authorization.

“Now, look, I love green energy, so I am not against it. It is a matter of priorities,” Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), told Mabus during a hearing in February. “You are not the secretary of energy, you are the secretary of the Navy.”…

In March, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) compared Mabus’ energy plans with the White House’s past backing of Solyndra, a now-bankrupt solar energy company that received $535 million in federal loan guarantees….

read … Mabus: Congress hasn't derailed Navy's plan to increase use of biofuels

Geothermal bills still alive

HTH: After being vetoed last week, two geothermal bills will get another chance Thursday as the Hawaii County Council votes on whether to override Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administrative dismissal.

Both bills were the product of renewed opposition to Puna’s geothermal plant and questions over the safety of the technology.

The legislation partially re-purposes the county’s geothermal royalties fund to allow it to cover public safety programs related to the plant, and mandates an emergency response plan for existing and future plants

read … Geothermal bills still alive

Kenoi’s contributions come from out of the county

HTH: Less than half of Mayor Billy Kenoi’s $388,249 in campaign contributions come from the county he oversees.

That’s according to a Stephens Media analysis of contributions reported as of June 30 with the state Campaign Spending Commission. The analysis shows that, since the campaign period started in January 2009, 46.1 percent of all Kenoi’s contributions over $100 came from Hawaii Island.

If the $11,271 in contributions of $100 or less, which don’t have to be identified by donor names and addresses, are all assumed to be from the Big Island, the island’s share rises to 49.3 percent.

The analysis looked at 514 itemized contributions to Kenoi’s campaign and subtotaled them by ZIP code. The most money, $85,502, came from Hilo’s 96720, with 225 people giving an average of $380 each. Second and third were the Honolulu ZIP codes 96813 and 96814 giving a total of $44,000, followed by Kailua-Kona’s 96740, giving $18,417.

read … Kenoi’s contributions come from out of the county

Obama Threatens to Cut Hawaii Beach Safety Funds

CB: Hawaii beachgoers could be swimming in waters containing dangerous levels of bacteria and not even know it.

That's because the Hawaii Department of Health didn't test dozens of beaches that it was supposed to in 2011 — including some of the state’s most popular.

And it could get a lot worse. The federal Environmental Protection Agency wants to cut money that Hawaii needs to carry out the sampling program.

"The future funding for the beach program and all of our EPA funds are in jeopardy," said Gary Gill, the health department’s deputy director of environmental health. "And I can tell you we are going to have to assume reduced services, whether it be monitoring or enforcement or permitting as our funds are going to be continually restricted."

read … Obama

Florida couple Hassled by Volcano National Park Police?

NP: An east Naples (FL) couple say they are fighting for the rights of the disabled and hope to raise awareness of those who use service dogs after a recent confrontation that, they say, turned physical.

The couple, who were on vacation at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in early May, will return Wednesday to fight charges issued by U.S. park rangers. Robert Taylor, a 48-year-old disabled Navy veteran and his wife, Lauri Housworth, a Naples dentist, received a pair of $275 citations for failure to obey a lawful instruction. Taylor received another $75 citation for failure to crate, restrain or confine a pet.

The couple and Taylor’s service dog, Kona, were having a cookout May 10….

 “I told them I want to press assault charges,” Taylor said. “I must have said it 10 to 20 times.”

Talmadge Mango, chief ranger at the park, said an internal investigation is under way. U.S. park police Capt. Jeff Wasserman in Oakland, Calif., said no charges have been filed against Lutz, Wasserman said.

“There is no indication that anything like that happened,” Wasserman said.

read … Couple claim Hawaii hassle over their dog

When Will Anyone Talk About the Real Costs of the Undersea Cable?

CB: there was no one to articulate the concerns many Hawaii residents have (and especially from the two rural targets — Lana’i and Moloka’i). None of the panelists addressed the real costs, either financial or environmental, in any meaningful way. None of the panelists spoke for the communities that HECO, the Governor and all those cable developers envision as transmission feeders for O’ahu. No need, apparently. Let’s just have three “experts” tell us why we need this 70- mile- long extension cord. All that environmental stuff can wait for the individual project bidders (who will be bidding projects to HECO before the just-started Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process figures out which projects SHOULD be bid) and by then we will have spent more federal tax dollars to study, and study some more, why wind is the only answer; we will have spent so much that we can’t stop now.

At the end of the day, I left with one certain “takeaway” (something the panelists kept urging us to do, i.e., “If you ‘take away’ anything, it should be…..”): as an institution housed in a University environment, funded by grants and public dollars, I would think that the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum has some responsibility to be fair and balanced. The undersea cable panel was neither.

read … Real Costs

Kicking The Tires On Energy Distribution Options

CB: In February 2012 Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. informed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:

“HECO and its subsidiaries face competition from ... customer self−generation ... The electric utilities cannot predict the future impact of competition from ... customer self−generation, or the rate at which technological developments facilitating non−utility generation of electricity will occur. New technological developments, such as the commercial development of energy storage, may render the operations of HEI’s electric utility subsidiaries less competitive or outdated.”(HEI Annual 10−K Report filed on February 17, 2012)

read … Kicking The Tires On Energy Distribution Options

Leaching Off Tourist Trade: Kinau Street Gambling Bust Nets Meth, Stolen Goods

KHON: HPD says the game room was believed to house illegal narcotics sales and that stolen property was being bartered for narcotics.

Police found crystal methamphetamine glass pipes, baggies with residue and other drug paraphernalia.

They also recovered numerous high-end wallets, tourist room key cards, tourist coupon books and high end bags.

Police also recovered five electronic gaming machines and $400.

read … No Address, No Names

Police Search for Medicated marijuana stolen from Kailua home

KITV: Honolulu police are searching for four robbers who took medical marijuana from a man's Kailua home.

read … Its OK, I have a Prescription

Cronyism Infects Hawaii Historic Register Program

SA: A former chairman of the state panel that decides which nominated properties go on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places says the list has become a tool for wealthy, well-connected homeowners to get huge property tax breaks even when their residences don't qualify.

Kenneth Hays, whose six-year tenure on the Hawaii Historic Places Review Board ended this month, said the listing process has become tainted by cronyism and friendships between panel members and homeowners or their representatives, leading to dwellings that don't meet the eligibility criteria being listed. The process is driven by the owners' desire to get property tax exemptions, he said.

"I can say with great certainty that most people who came in there had one motivation," said Hays, an architectural historian for the Army who served as chairman of the review board for the past year. "It was not to participate in a historic preservation program, and it was not to get their home recognized as a historic property. Their primary motivation was to get that tax break."

SA: Church in Kalihi is first Filipino property on list

read … Cronyism



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