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Thursday, August 16, 2012
August 16, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:45 PM :: 10884 Views

Windfarms Set to Lose 50% Federal Subsidy

Jamae Kawauchi Asks Kona TEA Party for Election Volunteers

Na Wai Eha: Supreme Court Rules Against Water Commission

Justice Kennedy: US Constitution is Part of Hawaii's Heritage

Three Seats Open: UH Seeks Nominees for Board of Regents

Windfarm Developer in Complex Deal to Buy Hana Ranch

Vote by Mail Fraud: Romy Cachola Barged In, Wanted Ballots

CB: The grandmother said she received her ballot on July 28. The next afternoon, Cachola visited the home when the grandmother was with the friend of a family member who did not speak Ilocano, and didn't understand what Cachola and the grandmother were talking about.

The grandmother said Cachola just kind of barged in.

"He was already in the house, saying, 'Nana, did you receive the ballot?'" she told Civil Beat in English. "I was getting ready to leave to go to a party, but he would not leave. 'No, Nana, two minutes, sit down with me.'"

"He forced me to sit down," she said. "He said, 'Did you receive your ballot?' Yes. 'Where is it?' So I took it and opened it. He then said, 'Two minutes, you can do it now.' He would not go until I finished."

The woman handed the ballot to Cachola, who opened it.

"And he just like forced me to do the voting in front of him, and I did not want to. I told him, 'I have to go, I know what to do.' So I stopped what I did, then he looked at his name. I scratched it, and he watched me do it all the way until I finished."

The woman said Cachola then told her to put the ballot in the state Elections Office envelope, to seal it and then give it to him to mail. He then left the house with the ballot in hand.

The woman's son told Civil Beat that Cachola also tried to collect his absentee ballot and that of his son's.

"Even though I don't know the law, that seems illegal to open up the ballot," he said. "No politician can do that."

Despite repeated visits, Cachola did not catch the son and grandson at home. When he called, the son would not answer because caller identification showed the number of the clinic operated by Cachola's wife. (Violation of non-profit status?)

"He wanted my ballots," said the son.

The son said he tried to obtain another absentee ballot for his mother about a week before the election so that she could vote as she wanted. But the Elections Office told the family that she had already voted.

"But when it comes to things like this, when I walk the district, there are a lot of people who make mistakes (on ballots). There are a lot of spoiled ballots. I have to explain to them to pick the right party."….

"I want to strive to make sure they voted right," he said.

he did say he helps relatives mail their absentee ballots and reminds constituents to mail their ballots before the deadline....

"This is just one isolated complaint. I'm here to help and assist and make sure there are not spoiled ballots." …

Veteran lawmaker Romy Cachola defeated political newcomer Nicole Velasco by just 120 votes for the state House District 30 seat on Saturday.

Had it not been for mail-in absentee ballots, however, Velasco would be the representative-elect for the Sand Island-Kalihi-Honolulu airport area.

Related: Vote By Mail: “Tool of choice for voter fraud”

read … Vote by Mail Fraud

Tulsi Gabbard resigns from Honolulu City Council, Sets Up Special Election

SA: “I have been honored to serve the constituents of District 6, but I will not leave taxpayers to foot the bill for a separate special election,” she said. “Instead, by resigning now, a new Council member will be selected during the Nov. 6 general election.”

Gabbard said a legal opinion she received from the state spelled out that under the timing requirements set forth by the state Office of Elections, she would need to resign immediately to allow time for the city to begin the process of holding a special election to replace her on Nov. 6.

The special election would be a one-time, winner-take-all race with the top vote-getter taking office immediately and serving through January 2015.

City Council Chairman Ernie Martin said people who want to run for Gabbard's seat have from Aug. 22 through Aug. 31 to submit nomination papers with election officials.

read … Special Election

NYT: Hawaii Democrats Can Relax, Lingle Won’t Win

NYT: Some forecasters have described the Hawaii Senate race as a tossup, but I just don’t see the justification for that. Republicans certainly have a well-qualified candidate in former Gov. Linda Lingle, but she was not terribly popular by the time she left office, and she has trailed the Democratic candidate, Representative Mazie K. Hirono, by double digits in some of the more reliable polls. Democrats have also tended to over-perform their polls in Hawaii in recent years, and that is especially likely to be the case with the native son, Mr. Obama, on the ballot; he should carry the state by more than 30 points. Mrs. Lingle’s fund-raising has been decent, and she gives the Republicans a shot when they might not have one otherwise, but that doesn’t mean the race is anything close to even money.

read … 538 

2300% ROI: Waihee Cons $30M, AG Settles for $1.3M

HR: Former Hawaii Gov. John Waihee and three associates have agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle claims by the state Attorney General that they helped to illegally divert some $30 million from funeral and burial plans sold to thousands of Hawaii residents. (2300% ROI)

The lawsuit was one of many filed after the 2004 financial collapse of funeral homes and cemeteries owned by the RightStar group of companies….

The Attorney General’s office has also agreed to settlements in a series of other legal claims against various parties involved in the failure of the RightStar companies.

“I’m a trial lawyer and I want to try cases, so I guess you could say all of this is ending with a whimper instead of a bang,” said Deputy Attorney General C. Brian Fitzgerald, who has been pursuing the RightStar lawsuits brought by state the over the past eight years.

“But those 40,000 contracts that were bought by (RightStar) customers and were at risk are now safe,” said Fitzgerald….

The companies were sold last year to NorthStar Hawaii LLC, a subsidiary NorthStar Memorial Group, operator of cemeteries and funeral homes in California, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Washington.

Fitzgerald said NorthStar’s business operations here are safe, well-run and thriving.

Paul Alston, local attorney for Vestin, estimated that his client lost “north of $30 million” as a result of its RightStar experiences in Hawaii. “In the end we decided to walk away,” Alston said. “We were taken advantage of by a group of con artists and we paid a high price,” he said.

Attorney David Minkin, who represented the trustees, said his clients "are happy to put this behind them." ….

Waihee and the others were "the first to report problems at RightStar" to state regulators and later "cooperated in the criminal investigation of Dooley, providing statements and testimony against him," said Minkin. (Quick IQ test: Do you believe him?)

Related: State Sues to Get Back $39M Looted from Graves by John Waihee

read … Waihee Grave Robber

Voting process out of control

SA: Hawaii's makeup of distinct island communities fuels an instinct to preserve home rule. The fact that it frequently prevails as a guiding principle can be a good thing for many issues in which local knowledge helps to keep governance within reach of the people.

In the case of elections, however, the integrity of the operation is only as strong as its weakest link. For the 2012 primary, at least, that proved to be Hawaii County, where a breakdown in procedures caused a ripple effect of delays and has opened the election to challenge.

The experience has demonstrated, without a doubt, that an agency with strong statewide controls over the process is needed , through the imminent general election and beyond.

That is the Office of Elections, which lawmakers decided should be separated from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, where it had been housed, to insulate it from political influence. Legislators in 1995 passed temporary legislation, made permanent in 1999, to create an independent agency, under the supervision of a chief elections officer hired by a commission….

Officials are working to rein in the situation now, well in advance of the general election. That's essential: An elections process that's out of control can produce serious consequences, and is vulnerable to corruption.

Critics, including former Gov. Linda Lingle in the course of her campaign for U.S. Senate, have proposed returning the office to the supervision of the lieutenant governor. And for his part, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said that course of action deserves consideration.

However, the concern about keeping the elections process separate from elected officials themselves remains a valid one. Some other states make the same effort by positioning the function within an appointed, not elected, state office.

Two years ago, former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona said he wanted a constitutional amendment to establish a nonpartisan, elected secretary of state to administer elections. About three-fourths of states have such officers, or a lieutenant governor, administering elections.

What's most critical is that there be officials at the top riding herd on the process. They should delegate to the county clerks the checking of the voter rolls; local authorities seem better positioned to troubleshoot the registration list for errors and ensure that voting is accessible.

read … Voting process out of control

Proposed Public Land Development Rules Arbitrary, Lack Oversight

SA: Now that public attention is focused on the "no rules" part, the agency has decided it should at least put some guidelines on paper, and so will bounce from island to island for the next couple of weeks to hold perfunctory hearings on them.

Among the rules are a procedure for the corporation to "initiate, by itself or with qualified persons, or enter into cooperative agreements with qualified persons for the development or financing of projects that make optimal use of public land."

The rule leaves arbitrary the judgments on who is and isn't qualified, what public-owned properties can be developed and the measures for so-called optimal use. Optimal use can slide from an open shoreline for recreation to time-sharing condos with no access for non-condo residents.

Another proposal allows the corporation to determine financing of projects and making deals and agreements with private enterprises, which cuts out legislative oversight and more important, taxpayers themselves.

The proposed rules are peppered with many instances when the corporation's director and members can use their "discretion" -- from limiting public testimony and challenges to their decisions to establishing levels of financial returns.

read … Land and Power

HSTA Doing Nothing to Negotiate Contract as Next Expiration Looms

SA: The public school teachers union plans to wait for the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to decide whether an imposed contract violated members' rights before proceeding with legal or other action.

The executive board of the Hawaii State Teachers Association met earlier this month and delayed further steps while the board ruling is pending.

"We're just waiting for the results," said Wil Okabe, HSTA president.

HSTA previously said it was evaluating whether to pursue legal action against the state or seek a strike authorization vote, as the dispute that began 13 months ago drags on.

It was not clear when the board will rule. The union wrapped up its case before the board in May.

No new negotiations between the state and union are planned…

The lack of movement on the issues means teachers continue working under the "last, best" offer, which expires June 30, 2013.

read … Still Trying to Renegotiate Last Contract

Freitas Will not Give Up UH VP Position to Take Athletic Directorship

SA: Rockne Freitas, the University of Hawaii's acting athletic director, said he will not be a candidate for the permanent position.

"I'm not going to apply," Freitas said today. "Definitely not."

Freitas, UH vice president for student affairs and university and community relations, has been serving as acting AD since July 11 ….

Freitas said, "the (AD) job is a challenging position and I like challenges, but I'm a vice president. I want to (remain) a vice president."

Freitas, a former All-Pro NFL lineman, had sought the AD job in 2008. He served as an associate AD at UH in the 1980s

read … Likes Being #2

Lawsuit Threatened: Council reinstates vetoed ban of commercial activity at beach

SA: The City Council voted 7-2 on Wednesday to override Mayor Peter Carlisle's veto of a bill banning all commercial activity at Kailua Beach Park, putting to rest the controversial subject -- at least for now.

A representative for several kayak tour businesses who operated at Kailua Beach warned of litigation, while city Parks Director Gary Cabato said he will be asking residents around Oahu in the coming month to weigh in on proposals to allow permits to be issued for some commercial activity at selected parks in their respective regions

read … All Business Banned

Frustrated HECO callers urged to seek help online

SA: What's going on with HECO? Its customer service line is busy all day long and was that way all week long. I called another number about getting a new electric meter and was placed on hold for two hours, 45 minutes….

SA: Prices are up, led by gasoline and electricity

read … Wave of Anger Building

Hirono: Hawaii Style Green Energy Scammers Should go National

CB: Hirono wants to see the Congress adopt legislation based on the goal set by the Pentagon: To generate 25 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2025. This national standard would help to attract private financing and support for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and technologies—helping to foster a competitive, vibrant renewable energy industry in the U.S. This would also provide Hawaii, which has strong renewable portfolio standards in place already, the opportunity to show other states the way on renewables.

Obvious Question: With Hirono 'showing the way' what percentage of the Mainland would be covered in a toxic cloud from burning lead acid batteries?

read … Big Time Theft

Taxpayers pay for DOE wrongdoing

DN: The important information that you did not read in the article is that the Loveland Academy payment is in litigation, and that a hearing is scheduled to be held on August 21 in federal court to determine whether the court will hold the DOE in contempt and direct that a garnishee summons and sanctions be issued against it (see: State running up legal fees on contempt/sanctions order, 7/19/2012).

In other words, the DOE is supposed to pay. Period. This exposes the DOE spin reflected in the article. The DOE is defying the federal court. Of course, taxpayers will foot the bill for all of it. The case has gone to the 9th Circuit once—if Judge Mollway orders sanctions and the DOE appeals, it would be headed back for a second trip—and you and I would pay for that.

The DOE may want to know what the schools were doing for the money, but at the root of this is DOE failure to provide a “Free Appropriate Public Education” for special needs students. If a hearing officer or judge finds that a private school can do the job the DOE wouldn’t, then the DOE must pay the tuition for the private school.

The US Supreme Court noted in 1993 that the school system has a choice—provide the required education itself. DOE has that choice, but couldn’t, or wouldn’t, do it.

read … Taxpayers pay for DOE wrongdoing

Bonham, Fooks: Hawaii Cannot Change High Cost of Living, Deal With It

CB: …The CNBC report considered a variety of factors in determining the best and worst states for business, including education, economy, and transportation and infrastructure….

“If you look at the categories where we came in at the bottom — cost of doing business, cost of living — no one’s going to argue with those,” he said. “Those are not really the areas where we have a lot of room to make changes.”

Tian agreed.“The cost of living is very difficult to do anything with,” he said. “So is the cost of doing business. I think comparing with the U.S. mainland cities may not be a fair comparison because of our location.”

Tian suggested comparing Hawaii with international locations that have the same geographic limitations or the same reliance on the tourism industry. But he said he did not know of any studies that drew such comparisons.

Karl Fooks, president of the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), which promotes economic development by helping new businesses grow, also said that the rating should be considered in the context of Hawaii's unique situation.

“There are limits as to what kind of growth Hawaii can support and I think there should be limits,” Fooks said. “I think we should reflect on what it means for Hawaii if we were number one.” (FEAR success!)

While Fooks said that there is always more that the state can do to help businesses succeed, he said that Hawaii's unique physical and economic limitations restrict the types of businesses that can flourish.

"We are not going to be able to become a low cost of living state," Fooks said. "The businesses that are going to be successful here are going to be businesses that can survive."

Editor’s Note: Cost of Living is very much within our control: High electric bills, GE Tax, Jones Act, YB Monopoly, Landlordism, HA Monopoly. All of these things can be changed via the political process if the leadership and the will exists. Ironically the things which cannot be changed (Quality of Life=Natural environment) are the only thing holding Hawaii up from #50. Fooks argues that if we try to improve the cost of living, the Quality of Life would suffer as a result. This is the tired old 'price of paradise' argument and it is a fraud designed to line the pockets of landowners, the State and HEI. The alleged demand to live in Hawaii which we must allegedly hold back by erecting barriers to entry is an artificial construct built to support the tourism industry. One hand washes the other and the middle class is left to pay the bills.

read … Hawaii Ranks Near Bottom for Doing Business — But Does It Matter?

Bullying: Teaching Morals vs Policing Speech

CB: Long-time educator Tom Jackson, who has helped institute Philosophy for Children programs in Oahu schools, said Waikiki Elementary teachers broach the topic with students by asking them what it means to be a bully.

"If you start to unpack that, it's really complicated. It's a monster topic," he said. "It's one of the beautiful things about children though. Bullying is not going to be reducible to a definition."

In one class, he recalled a discussion on why people bully.

"A boy said, 'Yeah, I bully people and I'll tell you why I bully: I get power and I've got friends,'" Jackson said. He was thrilled the kids felt the environment was safe enough to speak freely.

"The kids were listening to this, and one said to him, 'Well, I'm afraid of bullies. How do know these people are really your friends and aren't doing something because they're afraid of you?'" Jackson said. "For everyone in the circle, this was probably something they'd never had thought about before.

"It was like a lightbulb went off for him," he said. "There was a certain set of assumptions he'd been operating under and there was a shift."….

Moore, who taught at Central Middle School before becoming an administrator, shared an example of a student who was acting up in his class and how he handled it.

"It was a boy who was misbehaving, so I asked him, 'Do you go to church?' And he says, 'Yeah.' And I said, 'Do you behave like this in church?' And he gave me this horrified look and said, 'Oh no, Mister.'" Moore said. "Is there any good reason why you should behave like this in school?"

The Other Approach: The transsexual agenda for Hawaii schools

read … Teaching Morals

‘Pregnant Man’ Thomas Beatie Attempting to Force National Recognition of Gender Reassignment on Birth Certificate

NYM: Reporting on court documents, TMZ wrote that Beatie had alleged that his wife was frequently drunk and abusive, and a judge issued a restraining order against her. But local news outlet WPTV reports that a Phoenix judge “wants more information to determine if Beatie’s marriage is valid” before granting the unhappy pair a divorce, since Beatie still had female plumbing at the time of the wedding….

there’s an activist element to his split, too. WPTV points out that it would be much quicker and cheaper for Beatie to accept a ruling that the marriage had been illegitimate all along, sparing him spousal maintenance payments.

read … The Reality of Gay Marriage

Female Veterans in Congress

CB: New Mexico's Heather Wilson was the first female veteran of the U.S. armed services to serve in the U.S. Congress (1998-2009).

But Wilson did not see combat. (According to the House, several early female members of Congress served as nurses during World War I.)

If elected in November, Tulsi Gabbard might actually be one of several female combat veterans in the House.

read … One of Several

UH Manoa Prof Writes Frank Marshall Davis Book

RSN: A former close friend and associate of Frank Marshall Davis has authored a book confirming his Communist activities, anti-Christian views, and involvement in bizarre sex practices and “erotica.” But Kathryn Waddell Takara’s book, Frank Marshall Davis. The Fire and the Phoenix, fails to add any more detail to the nature of his relationship with President Obama….

It has been known for over four years that Davis, a member of the Communist Party, was the mysterious “Frank” from Obama’s book, Dreams from My Father, and that he influenced the young Obama before he went off to college. Davis was Obama’s mentor for eight years of his young life in Hawaii.

Takara, a former associate professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is one of those who confirmed four years ago that “Frank” was indeed Frank Marshall Davis. She says she first met Davis in 1972. He died in 1987.

The original identification of Frank Marshall Davis was discovered by blogger Trevor Loudon in a speech by a writer for a Communist Party publication.

Interestingly, a former United Nations official is quoted on the back cover of Takara’s book as saying, “…the reader may well find parallels between Takara’s portrayal of Davis’s struggle for identity in the 1930’s and 40’s and that of President Barack Obama as revealed in his book, Dreams from My Father…”

Despite his bitterness for the United States and support for the Soviet Union, Davis had many opportunities in the U.S. and attended college, where he studied journalism. However, he used his writing talents to function mostly as a writer and propagandist for Communist Party newspapers in Chicago and Hawaii. He also wrote “poetry” for the communist cause.

read … Takara Book



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