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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
October 10, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:39 PM :: 5450 Views

Rep Mica: Honolulu TSA Meltdown Confirms Systemic Problem

Tax Foundation: Hawaii Business Tax Climate Drops to 37th

Scizophrenic: Abercrombie Among Worst Governors in Nation

Bateman: We Need Lower Cost of Living, Not Higher Taxes and Utility Bills

Honolulu rail survey finds more human remains

PBN: More human remains were found late last week during archaeological survey work along the route for Honolulu's rail-transit project, according to a report by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

According to the report and the State Historic Preservation Division, remains from at least two people were found Saturday along Halekauwila Street in Kakaako and an intact Native Hawaiian burial was found in that area.

The burial was protected and excavation work will continue in that trench, SHPD said in a statement. The archaeological survey contractor Cultural Surveys Hawaii will find another location in the area to put a utility box that was to have been placed in the trench where the burial was discovered, SHPD said…

LINK: http://www.honolulutransit.org/media/143023/20121008-weekly-ais-update-CC.pdf

read … Just The Beginning

HART director Tanoue left city job 10 days ago for Rail Contractor R.M. Towill

PBN: David Tanoue has left his job as director of the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting to take a position as R.M. Towill Corp’s vice president in charge of the company’s planning and survey departments. (Which just happen to be the Towill Depts which are doing Rail subcontracting work. What a coincidence!)

Tanoue started his new job with R.M. Towill with on Oct. 1, and Jiro Sumada, DPP’s former deputy director, is now serving as the acting director of the department….

The former director is also being replaced by Sumada on the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s Board of Directors, which is overseeing the $5.16 billion rail project, said HART spokesman Scott Ishikawa.

Sumada had his first meeting as part of the board’s finance committee last week, and his role as the only non-voting member of HART’s 10-person board is to give advice on planning issues, especially on transit-oriented development.

read … Revolving Door

Rail's operating cost must be on table, not under it

Shapiro: The city is trumpeting a federally sponsored study by Porter & Associates Inc. concluding that the $5.26 billion Oahu rail project is financially sound.

It's good to have a reasonably credible view that the numbers add up on the construction side, even if our big government construction jobs seldom run within 10 percent of plan as the consultant assumes.

Where the study raises thorny questions is on the operational side — how we'll pay for running the train once it's built.

The consultant projected total operating costs of the city's transit system — TheBus, Handi-Van and rail — will consume 19.1 percent of city tax collections in 2021, up from a historic level of 10 percent.

The concern is, when in the process did we decide to radically shift city priorities and double the amount of the annual budget devoted to public transportation? When was the community discussion about this?

The truth is we've never really had the discussion.

Reality: To Pay for Rail We Must Fire Lots of UPW and HGEA Members

read … Under the table

UH Admin Begins Leaking Dirt on Donovan

HNN: Documents released by the University of Hawaii show former UH Athletics Director Jim Donovan spent more than $622,000 of donated UH funds on travel, meals, drinks and other events for himself, his staff, the media, supporters and athletic boosters over the last four and a half years.

(Good work MRC, we’re glad to see you’re taking our advice. But this manini stuff is just a warmup exercise. Go after some senators and reps. That is where the real action is.)

The money came from the UH Foundation, funds donated by alumni and university supporters that are supposed to promote the mission of the athletic department.

In August, the UH Foundation paid $1,894 for an end-of-year barbeque on the UH Manoa campus, "in appreciation of hard work, great customer service and going ‘beyond the call' throughout the year," according to documents released under the state's open records law. Hawaii News Now asked for UH Foundation athletic department expenses on Aug. 28 and the university released about 2,500 documents Tuesday, after UH officials redacted the names of students and donors.

When this year's final four basketball tournament was held earlier this year in New Orleans, the UH foundation paid $4,640 for UH athletics director Jim Donovan to attend. But he also sent four of his staffers in the athletic department.

They were: UH Arena manager Rich Sheriff, Associate Athletic Director John McNamara, UH ticket manager Walter Watanabe and Internet Specialist Troy Yamamoto. Total price for the foundation for the four staffers' air, hotel, meals and tournament tickets: more than $15,000.

read … A leak designed to push back against Donovan and his supporters

UH West Oahu Chancellor admits ethics violation

ILind: UH West Oahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni violated the state ethics law by failing to report significant financial interests held by himself and his wife on personal financial disclosure statements required to be filed annually, the State Ethics Commission ruled earlier this year.

Awakuni did not dispute allegations made in a formal charge brought by the commission in March 2012. He agreed to pay a $500 administrative fine, and amended earlier reports to disclose all required information.

The case is described in an “informal advisory opinion” approved by the commission on July 18, 2012 and now publicly available on its website.

The commission’s opinion was made public in redacted form and does not name the official involved.

However, the description of the case closely parallels what was first reported here in January regarding Awakuni’s obviously incomplete financial disclosures.

read … UH West Oahu Chancellor admits ethics violation

Progressives See Opportunity to Plant Two of their Kind on Ethics Commission

CB: Nearly two months after Jacqueline Kido left to join Ben Cayetano’s mayoral campaign, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission is still missing a member.

By the end of November, it will be missing another. Commissioner Les Knudsen has also decided to leave the board, and his resignation is effective at the end of that month, according to the commission's executive director, Les Kondo.

For the five-person board, the possibility of losing almost half of its capacity is alarming. The commission is in charge of administering, enforcing and issuing opinions about state ethics, lobbyists, financial disclosures and more. It needs at least three members to agree in order for any decisions to be made.

The ethics commission took out an advertisement in the Sunday Honolulu Star-Advertiser to publicize the position.

But Ihara said that while that doesn’t hurt, he’s not sure how many people paid attention.

“What I would like to see is a recruitment program speaking to various rotary clubs or different kinds of civic organizations or even publicizing it so that people would volunteer,” he said. He also suggested making a video describing what commissioners do to raise awareness about what the position is.

Nikki Love, director of Hawaii Common Cause, a nonprofit that promotes accountability and transparency in government, said that the organization has helped publicize the vacancy through social media.

Related: http://hawaii.gov/ethics

read … About something YOU should apply for

Roommate, high school friend a bit bewildered by Pothead Obama's rise

Politico: Tom Topolinski — a friend of Obama's from Hawaii where they were both members of the pot-smoking group of friends called the Choom Gang — said that seeing Obama on TV as president was still "surreal" to him.

"Did I see this coming? Not really," Topolinski told "Frontline" amid his youthful recollections life in Hawaii. "But now that I've seen him, I'm starting to realize he really is our president, and this is not a dream. But it's still surreal, very surreal."

Topolinski recalled how he first found out about Obama's interest in seeking the presidency.

"I had lost touch with Barry, and then one day about five years ago I had heard that he had become active in politics, had become a senator, and did well in the college part of that, getting his law degree," Topolinski said.

"And then I heard something about his name and "presidential" being lumped in the same sentence, and I caught myself, and I was a little amazed, surprised, confused. And then as I read more and I got on the Internet and I did a little bit more Googling, and you're kidding, Barry wants to be president? How can this be? He was one of us! How does this happen?" he said.

"To this day, I don't think it's hit me. Every time that I walk by the TV and see Barry on there, I don't know that I've connected with that yet. It just seems so surreal. And I mean that in a good way," Topolinski said.

Tom Topolinski: Book: Obama's Puck's Alley Drug Dealer Killed by Gay Lover

read … About the other dopers

'Critical habitat' designation threatens cattlemen

SA: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently designated more that 14,000 acres of private land on Oahu as "critical habitat" for endangered and threatened species ("More native species at risk," Star-Advertiser, Sept. 19) and is now proposing to designate more than 271,000 acres of public and private land in Maui County.

While we commend the Star-Advertiser for its editorial regarding endangered species, there are significant issues raised by the critical habitat designation that need to be discussed ("Learn about native species," Star-Advertiser, Our View, Sept. 22).

Hawaii cattle producers graze and provide stewardship on approximately 1 million acres of lands across our state, about 25 percent of Hawaii's land mass.

Currently, the state is advocating food sustainability and encouraging agricultural enterprises. The designation of critical habitat could close pastures and force ranchers to decrease their herd size. This will have a direct and negative impact on existing agricultural operations and is a complete reversal of current state policy.

In USFWS's June 11 news release soliciting comments, the agency stated that "the designation of Critical Habitat does not adversely affect land ownership …" This is a misleading statement. When the federal government draws a red circle around private property and declares it critical habitat, the requirement that there be no adverse modification to the area will have a direct and negative effect on the value and the use of that property. A rancher's property is the security used to borrow money, and when devalued for any reason, could create a devastating economic hardship and dissolve many economically marginal ranches.

Very few affected ranchers or other private landowners have been contacted by USFWS or even knew this process is happening. Many do not understand what critical habitat is or what the ramifications are, causing anxiety in the ranching and landowner community. Public hearings and a broader outreach by USFWS to affected landowners, which they recently agreed to, would go a long way in alleviating our concerns.

We urge USFWS to continue to work with ranchers and other private landowners through cooperative measures and voluntary partnerships, not with threats, punishments and designations.

Related: 'Critical habitat': Feds Seize Control of 67 square miles on Oahu; Maui Next

read … Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council

Full Text: Akaka gives final speech to the Native Hawaiian Convention

NR: U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, spoke at the annual Native Hawaiian Convention at the Hawai'i Convention Center. Senator Akaka has spoken at every Native Hawaiian Convention since its inception in 2001, and this was his last one as a sitting U.S. Senator, as he retires in January.

read … Full Text

OHA: Apoliona Strikes Back at Akana

CB: Rowena Akana’s October 2 commentary regarding my role on the Board of Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs was disappointing….

Since the Malama Loan program was restructured in 2008 under my watch at OHA, it has benefitted an estimated 900 Native Hawaiians, who have borrowed more than $15 million to get new businesses off the ground, cover home-improvement repairs and pay for such educational expenses as the tuition for day care, private school or college.

During my tenure as chairperson, OHA funded the Na Pua No’eau Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children at the University of Hawaii-Hilo campus. Since 2004, OHA contributed an average of about $800,000 annually to the program, which helps to ensure that more Native Hawaiians graduate from college with marketable skills to land well-paying jobs. On top of that, it was during my tenure as chairperson that OHA committed to granting the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands $3 million annually over 30 years to help with the cost of developing affordable housing opportunities for native Hawaiians. Earlier this year, we made payment No. 4 of the 30 that are due.

During my tenure as Chair, OHA restored annual ceded revenue payments from Zero to $15.1 million annually and in 2008 signed a negotiated agreement with the Governor for a $200 million past due revenue settlement, supported by the House in the 2008 Legislature, but killed by the Senate. Nevertheless, that negotiated agreement of 2008 served as the template for the 2012 Kakaako Makai settlement for $200 million.

Lastly, it was during my tenure as chairperson that OHA was shepherded through a period of stability and reform

Reality: OHA driving Hawaiians out of Hawaii

read … Apoliona

Kaniela Ing Does Not Respect Many of Us

MN: In the bloodline system, people are born into their station in life. Hard work, intelligence and talent are not taken into account. If this system - the value system espoused by Ing - is used to evaluate residents, then if you live in South Maui, yet weren't born here, you would come up short.

It appears that Ing does not respect many of us whose vote he is seeking. In a true democracy, the candidate with the most talent, commitment and connection to the community would be elected. An advanced society is based on merit, not birth. Birth certificates don't represent communities, people do.

read … Kaniela Ing

Honua‘ula at center of lawsuit by Sierra Club and Maui Unite

MN: Two environmental and cultural groups have gone to court to challenge the Maui Planning Commission's approval of a final environmental impact statement for the Honua'ula project in Wailea.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in 2nd Circuit Court, the Sierra Club and Maui Unite allege the environmental study violates the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act by failing to adequately address impacts of the 670-acre development above Wailea Resort. The project is expected to include 1,400 housing units, an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, a 12-mile network of trails and bike paths and a 40-acre preserve for native plants.

Charlie Jencks, representative for project landowner Honua'ula Partners, said Monday that he had not seen the lawsuit and declined to comment. But he said Honua'ula Partners would respond to the lawsuit.

read … Groups Challenge EIS Approval

Last Ditch Effort to Block Privatization of Public Housing

CB: The C&C of Honolulu has wanted to sell its 12 affordable housing properties for many years to relieve itself of the annual financial loss that these properties represent. Let us be clear that this annual loss is due to the city’s inability to manage affordable housing, not to any inherent quality in affordable housing itself. Last month, the administration finally placed a proposal to sell these 12 properties before City Council for up or down approval.

Unfortunately, this for-profit proposal eliminates all gap-income rental units (60-120 percent Area Median Income or AMI), converting them to low-income rental units and then maximizing both low-income rents and remaining Market unit rents at rates up to 10 percent per year.

Who earns “gap” incomes in Honolulu? Young professionals, service and office workers, city and state employees, technicians and maintenance workers, construction and health workers, police and fire personnel, teachers, clergy, artists, etc. This proposal eliminates existing affordable housing for the very work force that we particularly do NOT want displaced from their homes and from our communities!

Steve Lohse is the Chair, Chinatown Gateway Plaza Tenant Association (CGPTA) and Chair, Social Justice Council of the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu.

CB: Why Is Affordable Housing Preservation Initiative Sale Being Rushed? (Charles Wathen is with the Hawaii Housing Alliance and CEO of Pier Management Hawaii)

CB: Disputed $142M Housing Deal Raises Concerns Over Workforce Housing

read … Unaffordable City Proposal to Sell Affordable Housing

Hawaiian Front-Wahine Quits Wind Scammer Gig

PBN: Keiki-Pua Dancil, who was once the head of Bio-Logical Capital’s Hawaii operations, is no longer with the company.

A spokeswoman for the Colorado-based investment, development and conservation firm told PBN that Dancil resigned on her own terms.

In August, Bio-Logical Capital named Guy Kaulukukui its senior vice president and head of Hawaii operations after he left his post as deputy director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

At that time, Dancil, whose title was vice president of Hawaii operations, remained at the company, according to their spokeswoman.

Windfarm Developer in Complex Deal to Buy Hana Ranch

‘Lodging Development’ Planned for Hana Ranch?

read … They got a front-dude instead

Gays Frantic as City shuts 24-hour restroom facilities in Waikiki

SA: The city said it will no longer keep any public restrooms in Waikiki open around the clock, fueling debate over how the city's park closure law affects tourists and residents in the state's top destination.

The Department of Parks and Recreation began locking all of the city's Waikiki public toilets during overnight hours on Friday, Parks Director Gary Cabato said in an email. The city removed signs about its 24-hour restrooms at Kapiolani Park and Kuhio Beach by Monday, Cabato said.

The city's park closure law says people cannot be in city parks after hours, typically 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., though exact hours vary. It was to address complaints about noise, illegal activity and homelessness….

City Councilman Tom Berg, chairman of the Council's Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee, said he will take comment on the issue at his committee's next meeting, Nov. 27 at 10:30 a.m. at Hono­lulu Hale

read … Where will they go for a late night blow?

FBI Believes Serial Child Molester is on Big Island

MN: The FBI became aware of the suspect in 2010 when a series of photographs surfaced on the Internet depicting the suspect apparently engaging in sexual acts with a girl and boy, believed to be approximately 4 and 9 years old, respectively, according to the FBI. The agency said the photos were circulated among illegal Internet forums for sharing child pornography.

Investigators from the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children enhanced one of the photos to develop an image of what appears to be a 2008 Hawaiian Telcom phone book for the Big Island in the background, according to the FBI. The image led investigators to believe the photos were taken between 2008 and 2010.

Update: Suspect identified in child exploitation case

read … About one that doesn’t work at the legislature

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