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Tuesday, October 9, 2012
October 9, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:36 PM :: 6222 Views

Fact Check: Hirono Misleads Voters with Inaccurate Statements

Paychecks Hawaii Announcers General Election Endorsements

No Money Down Rooftop Solar Providers Inflate Project Value for Tax Credit 

Abercrombie Appoints Esther Kia'aina as DLNR Deputy Director

State Historic Preservation Division on Track to Meet Federal Requirements

Former Regent: Senate Grandstanding Places UH Mission at Risk

Apple to Manoa: My Commitment is to You, not Regents, Greenwood

Bus Routes Terminated by Rail: B, C, E, 3, 9, 11, 20, 43, 53, 73, 81, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 96, 97, 98A, 101, 102, 103, 201, 202

Retirement Party for Rep Barbara Marumoto  

 

Debate: Lingle Prepared with Powerful Response to Hirono 

CB: As she did with Ed Case in the primary, Hirono pointed out that Lingle supported the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, in contrast to Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel K. Inouye who did not.

But Lingle was prepared with a powerful response: That she had never seen Hirono at change-of-command ceremonies, deployment sendoffs or visiting with the families of service members, as Lingle has.

"It's one thing to say you support the troops and another to show up and grieve with families that gave the ultimate sacrifice," said Lingle.

Lingle zinged Hirono again when she observed that Hirono voted against the South Korean free trade agreement championed by the other members of Hawaii's delegation and President Barack Obama.

True to form, Lingle was smooth and unflappable, staring directly into the camera when answering questions and smiling frequently

Hirono was less smooth and less detailed, relying on familiar tropes such as calling Lingle "my Republican opponent" and repeating words like "clearly," "strengthen" and "kupuna" over and over. She did not smile often….

there is something about Lingle that sometimes seems to bring out the worst in Hirono….

Lingle underscored her argument that she has a real record of accomplishment — like creating the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. Could Hirono point to any comparable accomplishment in Congress?

Hirono did not name any bills of hers that passed….

One of the strongest exchanges came when Hirono reminded viewers that Lingle campaigned for George W. Bush, John McCain and Sarah Palin and supports Mitt Romney, and that Lingle had been very critical of Obama's leadership capabilities when he was first running for president.

Again, Lingle was prepared: She noted that Inouye had initially supported Hillary Clinton for president and that Hirono had supported John Edwards. And she explained that she had spoken out early and loudly in declaring that Obama was indeed born in Hawaii amidst all the birther clamor.

Lingle then took it a step farther: "I've often wondered, because you talk so much about women's issues, how horribly he treated his late wife. Did you ever regret supporting John Edwards for president?"

less than three hours before the debate was to begin at 7 p.m., Hirono's people sent out a second lengthy press release, this one titled "What to Expect in Tonight's Hawaii U.S. Senate Debate."

The press release named five "misleading statements and arguments you will likely hear tonight," such as "Lingle will claim that she will be a bipartisan, independent voice for Hawaii."

In fact, the press release got some things right — that Lingle would argued that Hirono is an ineffective legislator — but others wrong — Lingle never actually said Hawaii needs a "foot in both camps" in the U.S. Senate (though Hirono herself said these very words). If Hirono hoped to throw Lingle off her debate game plan, it didn't appear to work….

KHON: “Lingle won this debate” -- John Hart, HPU Communication Dept. Chair

SA: Lingle and Hirono sharp in attacking other's record

PR: Edwardian

read … Lingle Gets Under Hirono's Skin

KHON DEBATE VIDEO:

 

KHON: After watching the U.S. Senate candidates debate on KHON2, who do you think won?

  • Mazie Hirono (D) (39.4%)
  • Linda Lingle (R) (60.6%)

Obama Losing, Visualizes Sandy Beach

CB: Obama was introduced to the crowd by Punahou classmate Pam Hamamoto, who said his formative years in the islands ”played a critical role in shaping who you are today,” according to a pool report….

“Sometimes people wonder why it is that I seem pretty even-keeled. And I’d like to think that part of it is that’s how I’m hardwired, but part of it is when you spent your formative years in Hawaii, you think to yourself, it can’t be that bad,” he said. “And if it is, then you go to Sandy Beach and you bodysurf and you feel fine afterwards. It washes away all worries.”

(As he gets his butt handed to him by Romney, he channels his inner doper and it all feeels good. This is why building a political force based on 'sex, drugs, and rock and roll' fails.)

Ignore this: Book: Obama's Puck's Alley Drug Dealer Killed by Gay Lover

Ignore this too:

read … About your leader who doesn’t care about winning anymore

Kona Teachers Dil-Wop Day Protest Against Abercrombie

WHT: A tide of red could be seen Monday morning on every corner of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Palani Road intersection, as well as lining these Kailua-Kona streets. Nearly 120 red-shirted teachers and their allies carried signs, some targeting Gov. Neil Abercrombie….

there were also occasional insults or disapproving comments, such as, “Go back to work” and “Do your job.”

These Hawaii State Teachers Association Kona Chapter members’ message was clear: We don’t have a contract. We still have furloughs…..

HSTA Kona Chapter Vice President Maia Daugherty said the Unity Day rally was held Discoverers’ Day because it’s one of seven and a half imposed furloughs on non-instructional days this school year, which is identical to last year. HSTA wanted to bring awareness that furloughs still exist, only the state calls them a directed leave without pay day.

“The difference between furloughs and directed leave without pay days is, in the case of teachers, there is no reduction in the number of days students are being taught in the classroom,” said Donalyn Dela Cruz….

(Because after the HSTA achieved its goal of electing a Democrat, it ended its political strike. Now they’re having second thoughts about that decision)

read … Kona teachers spell out contract woes

HSTA Pushes for Supreme Court Ruling Allowing Strike

SA: Joan Husted, former executive director of HSTA, said she was surprised mediation broke down and said the two sides should resume negotiations.

"You cannot ever settle a collective bargaining issue unless you're talking to each other," she said. "I do not know what the strategy is that they're (the union) using. I would recommend they go back to the table."

While it's possible that mediation could resume, that appears unlikely.

Donalyn Dela Cruz, spokes­woman for the governor, said the union has been asked to return to talks. But HSTA has not expressed interest in doing so, she said.

In a letter Friday to Neil Dietz, the state's chief negotiator, Okabe wrote that since January, "each time we return to the table, the employer has offered less and less. This is not progress, that is regressive."

National industry newspaper Education Week said Monday that in the wake of the failed mediation, some observers believe Hawaii teachers could strike, and compared the state's labor unrest to that in Chicago last month when teachers walked the picket lines for seven days after contract talks failed.

Right now, Hawaii teachers can't strike because of a pending prohibited-practice complaint before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board. The complaint was filed over the state's decision to impose its "last, best" offer, and the union has asked the state Supreme Court to compel the labor board to issue a quick ruling in the case.

read … another political strike? the timing depends on the court

Statewide Rally Against Act 55

KGI: For a few hours Monday afternoon, the entire state connected through simultaneous events linked by one moving force: Repeal Act 55. Community members on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu and Big Island got together from 2 to 4 p.m., and on Maui from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., to protest against the controversial act….

Bill Georgi, running to represent Kaua‘i as a state Senator under the Republican ticket, said he wasn’t questioning the intent of Act 55, but questioned its consequences.

“If I wanted to write a bill to defraud the state of Hawai‘i, I’m not sure I could write a better bill than this one,” said Georgi, adding that the community should start talking neighbor islands legislators to begin building a majority needed at the Legislature to repeal Act 55.

Councilman Mel Rapozo said he initially wanted to craft a resolution asking the Legislature to amend the act. But after talking with Abercrombie at a community meeting on Kaua‘i on Sept. 19, he said he realized the governor wasn’t interested in hearing from the people. It was then that he threw out his resolution and supported Kuali‘i’s resolution asking for a straight ban.

The Local 5 workers union endorsed Abercrombie on his 2010 successful gubernatorial bid. Angela Prigge, from Local 5, said unions usually support development, but on this instance they are against PLDC.

Hilo: Protesters: Abolish public lands agency

PR: Rally

read … Repeal Act 55

Kobayashi Lawfirm #1 in Billing at UH

ILind: Kobayashi, whose resignation from Koa Anuenue was a shocker, must certainly be counted among this town’s power elite.

He has been a director of First Hawaiian Bank since 1975 to the current date and currently sits on the executive committee of the board; He also sits as a director of the P. N. P. Paribas U.S. Bank holding company that owns the First Hawaiian Bank, BancWest Corporation and has been on the BancWest Board since 1991 and currently sits on its audit committee. Mr. Kobayashi has sat since 2004 on the Hawaii Holdings, Inc. (Hawaiian Air Lines) Board of directors and currently chairs its Governance and Nominations Committee, and sits on the Audit and Compensation Committees. He has in the past sat on board of directors for the following publicly listed corporations: Western Air Lines from 1975 until its sale to Delta Air Lines in 1989 and on the board of Schuler Homes, Inc. from about 1992 until it merged with Western Pacific in 2001, Schuler Homes then merged into D.H. Horton, Inc. resulting in one of the largest homebuilders in the United States. He has in the past also served as a Director of Hawaiian Insurance and Guaranty, a Hawaii casualty insurance company, from 1975 through 1982, Director of Inter-Continental Medical Services from 1986 until its sale in 1996, Advisory Board of GTE Hawaiian Telephone Company from 1997 until its merger with Verizon in 2001.

Another Ferd Lewis column from a couple of years ago adds more background on Kobayashi and why his resignation carries so much weight (“Rising power brokers boost Hawaii’s future“).

I have to wonder whether Kobayashi might have been one of those working in the background to pressure university officials to reinstate Jim Donovan and Rich Sheriff. Too bad no one pursued that question during the recent Senate hearings. (Why would they? They’re all in it together.)

In any case, according to a list of UH contracts for legal services between 2006 and 2011, Kobayashi’s law firm–Kobayashi, Sugita & Goda–was awarded contracts to work on eight different matters and was paid a total of $1,612,479.77 during the period.

Kobayashi, Sugita & Goda racked up more in UH legal fees than any other law firm, accounting for over 26 percent of the total paid for outside legal services during the five-year period.

read … Connecting a few dots in UH legal contracts

1,100 Honolulu Voters Tried to Vote Without ID in Primary

SA: Few voters in Hawaii should have difficulty proving their identity and eligibility to cast ballots, which is a good thing. Given the weakness of the state's voter turnout, and the importance of the November election, anything that needlessly discourages a voter from casting a ballot is bad public policy.

In August's primary election, only about 1,100 first-time voters were flagged on Oahu, so voter ID fraud should not be an issue in Hawaii.

"The bottom line is that this isn't a big problem, because most people have something in their wallet or their purse to positively identify themselves," Rex Quidilla, a spokesman for the state Office of Elections, told the Star-Advertiser's Derrick DePledge.

No problem here, either: Romy Cachola Barged In, Wanted Ballots

Yeah, we want everybody to vote, right: Star-Bulletin comes out against voter registration drive

read … Fraud, no fraud here

Ethics Complaint Challenges Campaigning on County Time at County Facilities

BIVN: returning to ethics board: a petition alleging violations of the county code when county employees are allowed to attend union meetings on county time, where political campaigning takes place.

Kona resident Cheryl King brought the complaint forward after a West Hawaii Today article revealed the practice had been occurring this election season.

The matter became a bit confused in September when commission member Arne Henricks asked King who the respondent was?

The meeting is scheduled for 10 am on Wednesday at the County Council Chambers in Hilo.

Related: Taxpayers pay UPW Members $50K to Attend Campaign Rallies for Hirono, Hannemann, Kenoi

read … Ethics Commission

UH West Oahu chancellor to step down

HNN: Gene Awakuni, the man in charge of the newest campus in the University of Hawaii system, plans to retire months after opening the UH West Oahu campus which suffered a "cash-flow" problem because of change orders to the project.

Awakuni has been chancellor of UH West Oahu for the last seven and a half years. He briefed the UH Board of Regents about the new campus last month.

"We need to hire staff and faculty to be able to really stay in sync with the number of students we expect over the next few years," Awakuni told regents during their meeting at the new West Oahu campus Sept 28.

Awakuni told Hawaii News Now he plans to retire from his $211,000-a-year job heading the West Oahu campus at the end of the school year.

read … First Domino

Lynch Mob to Hang Greenwood Friday

Borreca: The UH Board of Regents is set to discuss the future of UH President M.R.C. Greenwood at a meeting Friday. The Faculty Senate is considering a resolution asking for a vote of no confidence in Greenwood to be held next week, and there is continuing legislative speculation regarding Greenwood's effectiveness….

In 2010, Greenwood became the first UH president to address a joint session of the Legislature. She promised to increase UH graduation rates and said the system needed more money.

Since then, the university has not had an easy time at the Legislature. And there are questions whether a bruised UH president would retain any credibility at the Legislature next year.

There are also new concerns about repeated cost overruns with major building programs. The construction tab for West Oahu has reportedly gone from $110 million in 2010 to $177 million today, and that the UH Cancer Research Center was supposed to be $119 million but now is estimated to cost $150 million, according to a university source.

Greenwood, Apple and a number of regents apologized for the UH's continued fumbling performance, but there is a concern that something more than a heartfelt "I'm sorry" is needed.

Rep. K. Mark Takai told this paper last week that "a change in leadership is need-ed at this point for the university to heal and move on."…

After Friday we see just how the current regents meet the test to "face up to and identify unpleasant realities and act upon them."

read … Lynch Mob

Hannemann/Caldwell Dipped into Pension Funds to ‘Balance’ Budget

CB: In Fiscal Year 2010, when Caldwell was former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s right hand man, the administration took $53 million from the OPEB reserve and put it toward its regular contributions to the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund. This in turn allowed more money to be left in the city’s general fund, which ended up carrying a surplus.

The following year Mayor Peter Carlisle’s administration began funding the OPEB reserve fund, and over the past two years has socked away $83.5 million.

PDF: 2012 opeb update

Related: Machida Trotted out to Help Cayetano on ERS Unfunded Liability

read … Finger Pointing over Pension Raids

Caldwell Raised Property Taxes, Zoo Fee for Keiki

CB: This table shows what property tax rates were before, during and after Caldwell's term as managing director:

Year Residential Tax Rate (Per $1,000 Assessed)
Fiscal Year 2012 $3.50
Fiscal Year 2011 $3.58 (non-homeowner)
$3.42 (homeowner)
Fiscal Year 2010 $3.42
Fiscal Year 2009 $3.29

 

For Fiscal Year 2010 — between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010 — the Hannemann-Caldwell administration raised property tax rates by 13 cents, from $3.29 to $3.42.

The administration originally suggested raising the rate to $3.59 — a 30 cent increase — but the proposal did not pass. Hannemann called the increase "unavoidable" due to falling property values and the city budget crisis.

read … Tax Hike

Rail Plaintiff files to have city pay legal fees

KHON: Plaintiff attorneys in a Hawaii Supreme Court case that stopped rail construction have filed a motion requesting the city pay their fees.
According to the motion, time and material costs could be as high as $130,000 for work by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.
The filing said the client, plaintiff Paulette Kaleikini, has no contractual obligation to pay.
If the court were to award costs only for the appeal phase, the motion says the total would be $55,000.

read … $130,000

PRP/Carpenters Union Burns Money on Hawaii County Races

WHT: The Pacific Resource Partnership, jointly run by the carpenters’ union and Hawaii contractors, had spent $113,510 backing a handful of local candidates as of the primary election, which is the most current data available. The expenditures easily make it the largest independent spender in Big Island contests….

On the Big Island, PRP spokesman Jim McCoy said the group is endorsing council candidates Oliver (Sonny) Shimaoka, Fred Blas and Valerie Poindexter. It also supported Zendo Kern, elected to the council’s District 5 seat in the primary.

McCoy, who also works as a spokesman for Tulsi Gabbard’s congressional campaign, spoke in general terms of supporting “job creation and sustainable development” when explaining the endorsements….

On its website, PRP says it supports the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, but McCoy didn’t know if that influenced the endorsements.

PRP also spent $22,000 for a primary poll in Hawaii County. The group’s PAC had raised $1.2 million as of the primary, all from the Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund….

The carpenters’ union had contributed $1,000 to Poindexter, $500 to Blas, $3,800 to Kern and $3,800 to Shimaoka as of the primary.

It also donated $6,800 to Mayor Billy Kenoi’s campaign.

WHT: Candidates talk trash and more

read … Big Island Big Bucks

Public Records Logs Expected To Help The Public Access Information

CB: New online tools may soon help the public determine how well state agencies comply with records requests filed under the Uniform Information Practices Act. And users can manipulate the data in myriad ways to identify areas of community concern and develop potential solutions.

The Office of Information Practices' UIPA Records Request Log, unveiled last month, will tie in with a website the state launched Monday, data.hawaii.gov.

Starting next year, state agencies must upload their log summaries twice a year to OIP's master log on the new website.

"I think this reporting system will have a huge impact on each of the agencies' awareness of the open records law and its requirements," state Sen. Les Ihara said. "From the reporting, they'll know they'll be required to acknowledge receipt of the records request and their legal duty to respond within 10 days. That alone will have a huge impact because I'm told they're routinely ignored."

LINK: http://hawaii.gov/oip/uipa.html

read … Public Records

Crowley eyes return of sovereign Hawaii

HTH: For one, Crowley said he would like to see a return of a sovereign Hawaiian government, with the United States awarding Kahoolawe to that government.

“The Akaka Bill doesn’t go far enough” for Native Hawaiian recognition, Crowley said.

The Hawaiian Kingdom had a monarchy for more than 100 years. It wasn’t a tribe, he said. It had a government, treaties and roads. Crowley also has a five-year plan to reduce the size and cost of the federal government. He proposed every department cut its budget by 5 percent a year, each year for five years.

“By the time the fifth year comes, you’ve taken out 25 percent,” he said. “That’s a big chunk.”

Asking departments to cut a quarter of their budgets in a year isn’t feasible — there are too many employees, too many things already in place, he said. Over a five-year period is more reasonable

read … Crowley eyes return of sovereign Hawaii

Congressmen Call on Shinseki to Fire Chief over Wasteful Conference Spending

AP: Top Republican lawmakers are calling on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to fire his chief of staff for approving two training conferences that led to $762,000 in questionable spending.

The department had already accepted the resignation of an assistant secretary in response to a critical inspector general’s report.

But Rep. Jeff Miller and Sen. Richard Burr say accountability begins at the top and that the department’s chief of staff, John Gingrich, bears ultimate responsibility because he approved the conferences in Orlando, Fla. They said in a letter to Shinseki that a message must be sent to all VA employees that the “perfunctory execution” of important responsibilities is inexcusable.

Federal investigators found the conferences were held to fulfill valid training needs, but that some of the expenses were unnecessary or wasteful.

read … Dominoes

Thousands snared by law on closed parks

SA: His after-hours use of the Kapiolani Park tennis court facilities on July 6 has Perez facing more than $500 in legal costs, a jail term of up to 30 days and a criminal record. Police cited him around 12:30 a.m., shortly after he saw a sign posted at a closed Waikiki public bathroom indicated that the tennis court restroom was open 24 hours.

While the restroom was open, an officer told Perez that it's a crime to be in the park from midnight to 5 a.m….

Perez isn't alone. People arrested for being in an Oahu park after it is closed account for about 20 percent of the District Court criminal and traffic cases, and most of them leave with criminal records, said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Darryl Miya­hira.

read … Hot Johns

50% of Auto Burglaries involve Dodge Chargers

CB: The police officer who took their report told Bautista and Ryan that Dodge Chargers are a favorite among thieves because the cars are exceptionally easy to break into. The criminals often use a flat-head screwdriver to break and enter, the officer told them.

According to Forbes, the Dodge Charger has one of the highest theft rates in the country, with more than six out of every 1,000 cars sold reported stolen during 2009.

“Apparently, with the Dodge Charger, it’s as easy as getting into the keyhole in the door,” Bautista said. “That’s how the perpetrator got into our personal belongings in the trunk.”

Dodge Chargers are also one of the most popular rentals among Oahu tourists, which means they are singled out by local thieves.

“Sadly, rental cars have always been a target for theft,” said Sharon Faulkner, executive director of the American Car Rental Association.

In a news report last December, KITV cited Honolulu Police Department data that more than half of the auto thefts reported in the Ward and Ala Moana areas late last year involved Chargers.

read … Tourism

H-Power Third Boiler Construction Pau

SA: A third boiler has been added, increasing the facility’s capacity by 900 tons of municipal solid waste each day. That brings the H-POWER plant’s total daily capacity to 3,000 tons, allowing the plant to produce close to 90 megawatts of energy, or close to eight percent of Oahu’s power needs

read … About real alternative energy

IPO Hype: Solar City Prepares to Cash Out

SolarCity, which finances, installs and monitors solar systems, plans to go public on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol SCTY.

The company, based in San Mateo, California, will have to convince investors that solar installation is a better business than manufacturing solar panels, which has suffered such high-profile flameouts as Solyndra.

It will also have to overcome some of its own numbers. Though revenue has grown to $59.5 million in 2011 from $32.4 million in the previous years, losses have grown as well. SolarCity lost $73.7 million in 2011, after losing $47 million in the previous year.

read … Cashing Out before the Collapse

Norks: We Can Hit US Mainland

UKG: North Korea has said its missiles can hit the US mainland, in an apparent riposte to Washington letting South Korea extend the range of its arsenal.

South Korea on Sunday unveiled an agreement with the US that extends the range of its ballistic missiles by more than twice its current limit to 497 miles (800km) as a deterrent to the north.

The US has denied it has any intention to strike North Korea. It has more than 20,000 troops stationed in the south in defence of its ally.

North Korea's national defence commission said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency that the north was prepared to counter any US military threat. "We do not hide [the fact] that the revolutionary armed forces ... including the strategic rocket forces are keeping within the scope of strike not only the bases of the puppet forces and the US imperialist aggression forces' bases in the inviolable land of Korea, but also Japan, Guam and the US mainland."

North Korea is believed to be developing a long-range missile with a range of 4,160 miles (6,700km) or more that could hit the US. Two recent rocket tests both failed but neighbours fear the north is using such launches to perfect its technology.

read … Norks

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