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Friday, July 20, 2012
July 20, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:39 PM :: 6361 Views

"Save Our Honolulu" Fundraiser to Support Rail Litigation

Abercrombie: Massive Tax Increase Allows State to Deal With Rats, Frogs

No More Sinkhole State? Abercrombie's $306M Claim Relies on Financial Sleight-of-Hand

PBN: Hawaii ended the last fiscal year $306 million in the black on state revenues that were 14.9 percent above the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said.

The revenue increase was $127 million more than what the state Council on Revenues had projected, Abercrombie's office noted in a statement.

However, when $187.4 million in tax refunds that were released in July 2010 are factored out, the increase in revenues for the year was 10.2 percent.  (In other words, Abercrombie came up $60.4M short, not $127M ahead and certainly not $306M ahead.  Its easy to look good when you count tax refunds twice in a year and almost nobody in Hawaii's pathetic media points out your deceit.)

read … Abercrombie makes it up as he goes along and the media lip-synchs

Losing in Polls, Desperate Hirono Pulls in Cash from Mainland Leftists

HNN: Hirono's campaign has benefited from donations from grass nut roots political action committees such as ActBlue. ActBlue gave her more than $236,000 which it collected from small donors. Emily's List, another grassroots PAC, contributed $85,000.

Teachers and Firefighters unions each gave Hirono $10,000

read … And union bosses

Hanabusa, Djou Tied in Cash on Hand

CB: According to Hanabusa's Federal Election Commission report covering April 1 to June 30, Hanabusa collected $187,174 in contributions this quarter, outpacing Djou who raised $139,170. But while Djou spent $21,763, Hanabusa spent almost five times as much.

The bulk of Hanabusa's expenses went to pay her staff. Djou's biggest expense was printing.

Including funds carried over from previous campaigns, both candidates have about $500,000 in the bank. They face only token opposition in the Aug. 11 primary and are expected to cruise through to the general election.


read … Fund Race

Commercial: HSTA Lobbyist Cries Because Cayetano Signed Tax Cut into Law

CB: When Ben Cayetano declared war on teachers, funding for teachers, our kids and our classrooms lost ground,” says a teacher, who identifies himself as Ed Garcia. “But Cayetano gave a big tax break to rich people.”

First of all, we note that Garcia is also a registered lobbyist for the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

…A section called "War on Teachers" on takes readers to "the facts" behind PRP's TV spot.

To back up its claim that Cayetano gave rich people a big tax break, PRP refers to a tax measure — House Bill 2749 — that Cayetano signed into law in 1998.

"On May 13, 1998, the Hawaii state Legislature approved HB 2749, which gradually cuts state personal income taxes by $752 million, lowering the rate from 10 percent to 8.25 percent by 2002," reads the write-up.

read … HSTA Lobbyist

SA Editors Pleased that massive Systemwide Cheating Could Bring RTTT Money to DoE

SA: Even federal education officials had come down hard with preliminary grades of Hawaii's school reform efforts. Initial delays with the initiatives and the still-pending contract impasse drew a slap last year from the U.S. Department of Education, which put the state's $75 million Race to the Top grant on "high risk" status.

But now, the head of that agency, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, is describing the current progress as an "encouraging sign" that bodes well for further advances.

read … It’s for the keiki

Autism: DoE running up legal fees on contempt/sanctions order

DN: The Hawaii Department of Education has decided at all costs (that is, all costs to be paid by Hawaii taxpayers), it does not want to reimburse Loveland Academy for services given to a special needs student. See: Hawaii’s war on the disadvantaged shuts down special needs school (7/10/2012) and Parents on difficuluty (sic) of finding good schools (KITV, 7/10/2012). The school is owed $700,000 and a federal judge agreed. KITV indicated that the school may have to close.

On May 25, 2012, Judge Susan Oki Mollway issued an order. This is the last bit of the text:

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, that Plaintiffs Ex Parte Motion to Shorten Time for Hearing on Plaintiffs Motion for an Order to Show Cause Why Defendant Should Not be Held in Contempt, Directing That a Garnishee Summons Issue and Imposing Sanctions is GRANTED and Plaintiffs Motion for an Order to Show Cause Why Defendant Should Not be Held in Contempt, Directing That a Garnishee Summons Issue and Imposing Sanctions shall be heard before the Honorable Judge Susan Oki Mollway, United States District Court Judge for the District of Hawai'i, on June 14, 2012 at 10:30 o'clock p.m. or as soon thereafter as counsel can be heard.

read … Contempt

Resolution asks for restoration of city bus service without raising fares

KITV: City Councilman Tom Berg and Council Chairman Ernie Martin have sponsored a resolution that asks Mayor Peter Carlisle's administration to waive a decades-old rule that says 27 to 33 percent of the cost of operating The Bus must come from the fare box.

If the resolution passes the full Council, it would allow the city to restore bus routes that were altered or discontinued last month, without raising fares during the current fiscal year.

Read … About some real mass transit

DoT History Shows Rail Will Run Over Budget

Price: Some of my early recollections include the years it took to build the Pali Highway tunnels. Honolulu-bound tunnels opened in 1957, Windward-bound in 1961. Wilson Tunnel on Likelike Highway (a city project) opened in 1960. State-project freeways followed: H-1, H-2 and H-3, and another tunnel through the Koolaus.

The pros and cons of each project were hotly debated by politicians and residents, but the projects were built despite every objection.

Of all the public works projects undertaken by the DOT, one stands out as a major danger signal to overly optimistic politics.

Looking at DOT’s history of accomplishments, a couple of things are obvious. First, the mass rail project will be built. Second, it will cost more than budgeted. Finally, it will be built with many companies and consultants from around the world. It’s a good bet that politicians’ greatest chore will be to give it a name. If it is really successful, everyone will want their name on it. If not, it will be a long time before anyone claims it. Example, the Tets Hirono vs. John Burns Tunnel.

read … Give it a Name

30 years of Litigation Leads to Million Dollar Fence Repair, Sheep Eradication

CB: More than 30 years after a federal judge ordered the state to fix a broken fence on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island in order to protect endangered birds, officials will finally spend about $1 million to patch the holes.

The purpose of the fence? To protect thousands of acres of critical habitat for the endangered palila birds. The fence will also eventually block sheep from the lower slopes from entering the area.

But now, there are as many as 2,000 sheep inside the birds' area. So the fence will also trap the sheep, allowing state officials to more easily kill or remove them.

The Sierra Club and National Audobon Society sued the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources in the 1970s, arguing that the state was breaking the law by not protecting the birds that were listed as an endangered species in 1967. A federal judge agreed and ordered the state to repair a 55-mile fence around the bird habitat and get rid of the sheep and any roaming goats.

read … Birds get $1M Fence, Sheep get hot lead

Hawaii County Council Reso Asks for 30% Solar not 15%

WHT: The study is required when solar power hits a threshold of 15 percent of the peak electricity load of the area. The study takes five to six months to complete, and it can result in the homeowner also having to pay for upgrades to the grid.

The resolution, as amended by the council., would raise that saturation threshold to 30 percent.

“There’s many places in the county of Hawaii that’s already at the threshold,” said council Chairman Dominic Yagong, who sponsored the resolution.

read … Just Talk, no authority

Kayak Operator Arrested for Hosing Protesters

KITV: …that idea didn't sit well with a group of protesters when Twogood started spraying them with a water hose.

"We lined up while holding signs on the sidewalks and Bob came out and video taped and actually pushed one woman and got a hose and started hosing everybody down. It was about five minutes of showers," said protester Randy Cates.

It happened while Twogood was going to hold a press conference earlier this afternoon to talk about the effects Bill 11 would have on the community. That's the bill banning commercial activity at Kailua and Kalama Beaches.

Twogood said he didn't mean any harm and thought protesters out in hot weather might appreciate a spritz.

The manager of his company Twogood Kayaks added that it looked like protesters were getting unsafe.

"Then people proceeded to move out into the street. They were actually blocking traffic and they had little kids out on street with them," said manager Ryan Davis.

Police arrested Twogood on four counts of harassment and took him away in handcuffs.

Read … About a bunch of people with way too much time on their hands

Sakai: Not Nearly Enough Halfway Houses for Justice Reinvestment Releases

Q: The Justice Center plan called for 410 prisoners to be brought back from Arizona in the first year, and then gradually smaller numbers after that. Can that be done in the first year?

A: Again, it’s a projection that was made and we’re viewing our data right now to see who do we have in Arizona, what facilities and what programs do we have in Hawaii, and can we fit them in. Because we would like to meet that goal, but we want to be sure that we can do it without endangering the public….

Q: Does the plan call for halfway houses as an element of parole supervision?

A: We’re in the process of trying to identify what are these kinds of program services we need, be it halfway houses, substance-abuse treatment. It could be other kinds of housing programs. It could be improved job-placement programs. We’re in the process right now of identifying what are these things we need, so we know how best to spend the money that the Legislature has made available to us.

Q: Are there halfway houses now?

A: There are some, but not nearly enough. That’s just my gut feeling. There’s just not nearly enough. We’re going to need more … I believe on every island. We focus a lot on Oahu, but, for example, on the Big Island the correctional facility is in Hilo, so the transition program, the so-called reentry program, is in Hilo, but 40 percent of the inmates at the facility there are from the Kona side, so they can transition in Hilo but then when they go home they’re going to have to go home to Kona, which is, what, more than 100 miles away? So they’re going to have to make another transition. Yes, I believe we’re going to need to improve the transitional services on the Kona side. I think that when you look at every community, Maui probably has a similar situation, Kauai probably has a similar situation.

Q: Will this involve hiring more people?

A: We believe it will. We’re trying to identify exactly what staff is needed. We want more parole officers. We want more people to help the inmates through this reentry process.

read … Will they just let them out?

Voter Registration up Slightly on Oahu, Hawaii Islands

SA: The Legislature approved on-line voting last year, but Gov. Abercrombie vetoed it, saying no money was included to set up the program. The Legislature came back this year with $500,000 and Abercrombie signed the bill into law….

Unofficially there is a lot of concern that this year will again see low turnout numbers. The final figures for voter registration won't be available until Monday, but according to Glen Takahashi with the city clerk's office, voter registration is up slightly on Hawaii Island at 101,000 and on Oahu with 461,000. But registered voters on Maui and Kauai are expected to be about the same.

Nikki Love, Hawaii Common Cause executive director, estimated in testimony during hearings for the online registration bill that "there are an estimated 961,213 eligible voters in Hawaii, but only 690,748 registered voters. That leaves an estimated 270,465 potential voters — 28 percent of those eligible — who were not registered at the time of the 2010 election.

read … More Whining about Low Registration



City Records Don't Back Fire Dept's Version of Contract Award

HR: The contract was awarded in mid-2010 to Emergency Services Consultants International (ESCI) of Oregon, a company with indirect ties to Honolulu Fire Department officials.

A three-member panel which judged the qualifications of bidders for the job on June 18, 2010 awarded the most points to a firm called Ralph Anderson and Associates, but then reconsidered the scoring four days later and found ESCI better qualified.

According to Fire Department spokesman Capt. Terry Seelig, personnel from the city’s purchasing division questioned the validity of the initial scoring results and advised Asst. Fire Chief Thomas Perkins to arrange another review of the bidders.

The panel, made up of Perkins, Patricia Dukes of the Emergency Services Department and Paul Au of he Human Resources Department, met again June 22 and ESCI was judged best qualified the job.

But city purchasing division files contain no record of the June 18 selection panel results and no record of any communications between division personnel and Perkins about the June 18 scores.

The records were produced for Hawaii Reporter pursuant to a state freedom of information request submitted to the purchasing division July 9.

Only score sheets from the June 22 panel meeting were in the file.

When questioned why no records of the June 18 meeting were produced, city spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy said purchasing personnel never received or generated such records.

CB: Health Dep't Says Honolulu Fire EMS Merger Premature

read … Rent-a-study

Will Island Air Become the #2 Interisland Carrier?

EX: Island Air unveils new business model and aircraft fleet…. (Go! vs Island Air see page 11)

read … Buying More Planes

Potential firing of UH athletics director for concert debacle won't be easy

HNN: The man at the center of the University of Hawaii's failed Stevie Wonder concert has a contract that allows him to be fired for "deliberate or serious" violations of his duties.

But trying to fire UH Athletics Director Jim Donovan "for cause" could be expensive and difficult, according to a lawyer experienced at dealing with cases like these.

Donovan is on paid leave as the university investigates what lead to the cancellation of the Aug. 18 Stevie Wonder concert that was supposed to be a fundraiser for UH athletics.

Donovan's five-year contract pays him $240,000 a year and expires March 23, 2013.

If UH officials decide they want to fire Donovan "for cause" without paying him anything, it won't be easy.

read … UH Athletics

Myths about irradiated food have already been debunked

SA: Myth 2: Irradiation is not safe, control is not adequate and the scientific community opposes its use.

In fact all respected national and international health organizations support irradiation, including the American Medical Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the American Dietetic Association and the World Health Organization. All countries adopt standards established by an international panel of experts.

Other myths also have been disproved. These include fears that irradiated food will glow or become radioactive, that activist groups reflect public views and are protecting the public interest, that consumers do not want and will not accept irradiated food, that the public will not know what food is irradiated and what is not, that irradiation facilities will add significant amounts of radioactive waste to the environment, that organic food is healthier and safer, that there have been no long-term studies on the safety of irradiated food. In addition, opponents claim that irradiation produces unique compounds, and specifically cite benzene and formaldehyde as hazardous byproducts of the irradiation process.

There is no scientific evidence to back up these claims, and all have been found to be without merit.

read … Debunking the hype


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