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Thursday, October 11, 2012
October 11, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:27 PM :: 5507 Views

Energized by Debate Performance, 500 Rally for Lingle in Ewa

Hirono a No-Show at Waimea Candidates’ Forum

SolarCity Reveals Details Of Treasury Investigation In Pre-IPO Documents

Companies Make Progress on Alaska LNG Project

Alleged Big Island Child Molester Arrested: Runs Gay-Friendly Bed & Breakfast

Obama Campaign: Some progressives seem to be going into primal panic mode

Where Have You Gone, Neil Abercrombie?

CB: He went to Washington to change things. Instead, Washington changed him. Once he got there, he discovered the world wasn't black and white and he had no power to change anything.

So he joined forces with the one man from Hawaii who had power, Dan Inouye, the same man Neil had criticized in his campaign. He soon became Dan’s boy. So began Neil's amazing transformation from taxi-driving hippie anarchist to establishment Congressman….

In all the time I worked on the Hill, I never saw or photographed Neil Abercrombie in any meetings. When the Capitol Hill media would mob some Senator or Congressperson for a quote or reaction, Rep. Abercrombie would sometimes be walking alone on the other side of the hall. No one really cared about Neil. He wasn't a player.

When his name would come up with members of either party the reaction was usually the same: “Oh, The Hippie,” said with a little smirk, like it was a joke.

The people of Hawaii may have thought Mr. Neil was some big shot doing our business in Washington. I saw a much different man. A man who had his principles sucked out of him by the realities of Washington. A man walking the halls of Congress alone, just hanging onto Dan Inouye’s coattails.

You see, Neil had no real power until he was elected Governor of our state.

And unfortunately, like many people who finally obtain real power, it's gone to his head….

Which brings us to present-day Hawaii, where we have a liberal fascist governor who’s hell bent on a world class boondoggle — industrial wind turbines, undersea cables, and a state-wide electrical grid.

Related: Congress.org: "Abercrombie is a follower", Neil Abercrombie 2009: A year of corruption

read … Where Have You Gone, Neil Abercrombie? 

HART Reserve Nearly Gone, Delays Cost $114M to $145M--Will Start Burning $450M Line of Credit Next

KHON: With delays caused by the discovery of human remains, the City Council is raising more concerns about added costs for the rail project.

"So with all these delay costs and the borrowing of money, we're still gonna be okay?" said Council Budget Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi.

Kobayashi posed that question to HART CEO Dan Grabauskus. He replied that a report released by consulting company, reviewing the impacts of the delays, still puts the project on track to proceed under budget.

"They still believe that we have sufficient budgeting capabilities as well as reserves and they still expect us to conclude the project with a remaining balance of $193 million in our account," Grabauskus says.

But Kobayashi is growing more concerned that a line of credit of $450 million for the project, which was approved by the City Council in June. Kobayashi and Councilman Tom Berg voted against it, but they were outvoted 7-2. Now Kobayashi wants a clearer answer on who pays for that loan if HART spends the money.

"So just say it then, just say it, so if HART cannot pay, the city taxpayer's gonna pay," Kobayashi said to Grabauskus during the hearing.

(This will drive Honolulu into bankruptcy.)

SA: Rail delay costs to exceed $114M, could be $31M more

CB: Will A New Law Mean Federal Funding for Honolulu BRT? A "cheat sheet" produced by one industry publication seems to lend some credence to the idea.

read … Rail project delays have some concerned about cost overrun

HART Asked to Leave Burials in Place, Undisturbed

HNN: Matt McDermott, the project manager for Cultural Surveys Hawaii, the state contractor that found the first tibia bone fragment found last month, addressed the meeting. He thinks it dates back to before 1810. He said it was cut or filed and may have been used as a fishing tool. He says human bones were used in ancient Hawaii.

McDermott recommends moving the bone fragment because it's a "gray area." Yes it's a human bone but not part of a burial context.

However Native Hawaiians took offense to that gray area description.

"Iwi is in the ground, leave it alone. Period," said Kala'i.

SA: HART asked to leave burials in place along rail route

read … Cultural monitors to watch over rail archaeological survey

Kakaako Plan for 22 Towers, 9.3M Square Feet, 4,000 units

KITV: The ambitious project envisions 9.3 million square feet of mixed use development, including 1 million square feet of retail space, and two mixed-use residential towers on opposite corners of Auahi and Kamakee streets. There will also be one reserved housing tower at the corner of Ward Avenue and Halekauwila Street, and the IBM Building will be completely renovated. Twenty percent of the 4,000 residential units will be deemed affordable.

The entire build-out proposed by Howard Hughes is expected to create 9,000 jobs and add $1.25 billion of economic stimulus to the local economy. The project could also help keep taxes in check, as Oahu's tax base expands by an estimated $38 million every year.

"The project will no question create substantial, incremental property tax revenues (and) general excise tax revenues to the City and County of Honolulu and to the state of Hawaii," said Vanderboom.

However, some local residents worry about the potential impacts of high-density living, most notably traffic.

"I'm concerned about that with the density of your plan," said Ron Iwami, a member of the nonprofit group Friends of Kewalos.

Vanderboom assured Iwami the Howard Hughes Coporation would conduct a regional traffic study that would examine any and all alternatives to keep traffic flowing through the area, including turn pockets and the timing of traffic lights.

Howard Hughes expects to break ground on the first phase of the project in 2014, but must first receive HCDA approval. The company said it's also very close to gaining approval from the State Historic Preservation Division to begin archeological inventory surveys, which could identify any native Hawaiian burials.

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, the head of the Oahu Island Burial Council, testified in support of the Kakaako proposal, saying the company has made a tremendous effort to reach out to various stakeholders in the area.

SA: 22 towers dot plan for Ward Centers

Read … Kakaako

A&B Uncovers 48 Intact Alii Burials, No Big Deal

KHON: Waihonua at Kewalo, a half block from Ala Moana Center, has been under construction for months. In recent weeks, workers came across a burial site with 18 sets of human remains some believe are of historic significance to Hawaii.

"The fact that these iwi kupuna were found in flex, confirms they are at least 200-300 years old," says JR Keoneakapu, cultural descendant.

Cultural descendants who observed the site say burial goods were also found with two of the remains, that only Hawaiian chiefs were known to wear.

"Two kupuna of which had leipu on them which signifies they are in fact royalty," says Nalani Wilson-Ku, cultural descendent.

"And indicative that the entire 18 are in close proximity to one another this means they must be related, you don't mix Ali'i burials with maka'ainana burials," says Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Oahu Island Burial Council.

This is not the first finding on site. 27 previously discovered finds of iwi kupuna were preserved in place, and another 6 were re-interred. Cultural descendants have mixed feelings on what to do with this latest find.

(In case you’re a bit slow, A&B is the company that can get away with anything because they have bought everyone.)

A&B Properties: Waihonua at Kewalo

read … Its OK, it’s A&B

UH Athletic Supporters Bought Champagne, Fancy Dinners for Reporters

KHON: Dennis Francis, publisher of the Star-Advertiser -- which supported UH sports in that time period in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsorships and trade in the span of time reviewed -- received a bottle of Dom Perignon from Costco.

There were media events in the receipt stacks -- KHON's Kanoa Leahey was seen on one guest list to a large media event. But Donovan also picked up the tab for several one-on-one lunches, dinners and bar drinks with newspaper sports writers.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Editor Frank Bridgewater said the reporter outings helped cultivate sources and added, "We're very clear with what we expect from our reporters, and they have followed the policy, which is if they accept a meal and haven't paid for it at that time, we make sure they repay them with a meal later."

CB: Should UH Say Aloha To Football?

read … Buying the media

Apple, Freitas, Coaches? Mercado Kim Demands Explanation of Coaches Support Letter

SA: In reviewing Apple's testimony, Kim said she is especially interested in Apple's claim that "43 of 44 coaches" sent him a letter thanking him after he removed Jim Donovan as athletic director.

During the hearing, Apple said, "in the interest of transparency, I'll say something. I received a couple of weeks later (after Donovan's removal) a letter from 43 of 44 coaches saying thank you for the leadership we have."

Kim (D, Kalihi Valley-Halawa) said the committee is in the process of preparing its report for the Senate and is asking Apple to "please, specifically, point out where the letter states that coaches remarked ‘thank you for the leadership we have.'" She sent the letter Monday.

The day after the Oct. 2 hearing, coaches of several UH sports teams told the Star-Advertiser they were surprised by Apple's assertion about the letter since they said they were not aware of such a letter.

The coaches speculated that Apple was referring to a three-page Aug. 28 letter signed by 45 coaches, including all but one head coach, asking Apple to "consider immediately appointing (UH vice president for student affairs) Dr. Rockne Freitas as our athletic director."

A spokeswoman for the chancellor's office, Diane Chang, subsequently confirmed to the Star-Advertiser that that was the letter Apple referenced and said in an email, "Chancellor Apple said he was referring to the wholehearted support for leadership expressed in the Aug. 28 letter."

That letter, which made no mention of Donovan in the three paragraphs preceding the signatures and only touted Freitas, came 16 days after Donovan had been reassigned to a position in the chancellor's office and five days after an athletic director search advisory committee had been announced.

Two days after Apple's appearance in front of the committee, prominent athletic booster and attorney Bert T. Kobayashi Jr. announced his resignation from the board of directors of ‘Ahahui Koa Anuenue, the athletic booster organization. In a letter to Koa Anuenue board members, Kobayashi said he had "no respect" for Apple and, "I cannot believe the things that he has said and the excuses that he has given and I do not wish to continue with AKA if he is the chancellor."

As Explained: Senate Accountability for Everybody Except Rockne Freitas

read … Head on a Platter

A Year Late, KCC Instructors Finally Get their Pay Checks

Willow Chang, who has taught dance classes for the past 12 years, said she recently received about three payments totaling about $3,000, money KCC owed to her for classes taught from September 2011 to April.

Teddy Harrison, a registered nurse for 42 years who teaches a class on home care for seniors, said she also recently received a paycheck from KCC. Harrison had told the Star-Advertiser the community college owed her $3,800.

"We're settled," Harrison said.

In May, the Star-Advertiser reported that some KCC instructors were not being paid for classes they taught. Money owed to all affected instructors was paid by August.

Best Comment: “When it comes to money under the UH system, money seems to easily flow to expensive overpaid administrative staff and pet projects but everyone else, need to fight for their due.”

read … About how the proles get treated 

Consumer Reports: Protect Yourself from the Latest Solar Scams

SCAM--“This solar-energy system pays for itself, cutting your bills by $1,000 a year”

A new twist on the home-improvement scam targets folks who want to cut their energy bills with rooftop solar panels or windmills. Solar energy, of course, can reduce your electric bill. But making the big up-front investment is the equivalent of paying for 30 to 40 years of electricity in advance. And lots of variables can confound payback, including living where cloudy weather is commonplace or in the shadow of towering trees, terrain, or nearby tall buildings.

Solar-panel scams. Consumers unfamiliar with those caveats give double-dealers an opportunity to lowball costs and talk up savings. The promised best-case scenario can lure you into paying a big deposit to a contractor who skips town or otherwise never delivers the system or savings. Some victims have been burned for several thousand dollars. Home-improvement companies are the third most complained about businesses, according to the latest survey of consumer-protection agencies by the Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators.

Protect yourself: California is the leader in residential solar, so go to its electric utility website to see whether solar makes sense for you. If it does, work only with licensed contractors specializing in solar installation. Conduct an energy audit and get bids from at least three companies. Check their Better Business Bureau rating and references. Never pay the full price up front or a deposit of more than $1,000 or 10 percent of the project price, whichever is smaller.

read … Protect Yourself from the Latest Solar Scams

Solar Energy Industry Faces Uphill Battle Amid Politics And Scandal

SI: The incidence of questionable accounting practices - such as ITC fraud, basis inflation for Treasury 1603 grants, and leases with excessive escalation rates - has quietly been common knowledge in the industry, but at a time when solar's image is already under attack, these ethical violations will soon be exposed to the public.

The next issue of Consumer Reports will feature a story calling the practices of certain solar firms "the biggest scam in the U.S. today," Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association warned.

read … Solar Energy Industry Faces Uphill Battle Amid Politics And Scandal

$90M Biomass Burner: Woodchips to Power Kauai

PBN: Green Energy Team LLC and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said Wednesday that they have received a $72.9 million loan guarantee to build a $90 million biomass-to-energy facility near Koloa.

The commitment letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service means Kauai-based Green Energy Team and KIUC can begin construction of the facility, which will burn woodchips from trees grown on Kauai, early next year.

Financing will be provided by Deutsche Bank and Standardkessel Baumgarte Contracting GmbH of Germany, an equity partner in the project, will design the plant, KIUC said.

The plant, which is scheduled to be operational in 2014, will generate 6.7 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 8,500 homes, or 11 percent of the Garden Island’s power needs, KIUC said.

read … They will run out of woodchips pretty quick

After Rate Hikes, Water Board Overwhelmed With Customers Seeking Payment Extensions

Question: I tried calling the Board of Water Supply for the past three days and still am unsuccessful. I wanted to ask about a bill and each time I called (about six times each day), I am put on hold for such a long time — anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes. I try to hold, until I get so frustrated I just hang up. What’s a person to do when they need an answer or need help?

Answer: The backlog is being blamed on “the current economic situation,” with more people calling the agency to request payment arrangements, as well as extensions, said spokeswoman Tracy Burgo.

On top of that, calls are lasting longer as customer service representatives help people avoid having their water shut off, she said.

read … Water Board

Hawaii County Ethics Board Slaps Down Nago Retaliation

WHT: A divided county Ethics Board couldn’t muster the votes Wednesday to proceed on a request forwarded by state Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago for an investigation into County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong’s involvement in the county Elections Division.

The Ethics Board’s 2-2 vote effectively killed a motion to proceed with the investigation. Voting yes were Chairman John Dill and board member Glen Hisashima. Voting no were Vice Chairman Bernard Balsis Jr. and board member Arne Henricks.

Dill urged the board to conduct an investigation to help restore public confidence in the office. He said Yagong, who as council chairman oversees the county clerk, who in turn oversees the Elections Division, could have a conflict of interest if his oversight is operational and procedural, because of his daughter’s candidacy for the County Council District 1 seat.

“Perception is a lot when we’re dealing with these things,” Dill said.

But others weren’t convinced that Yagong did more than state to the media he was going to be more involved in elections operations after a primary election that was fraught with problems. He told the board he conducted a meeting with elections staff before he backed off because of Nago’s Aug. 31 letter asking for an investigation. Following Nago’s Oct. 2 announcement that the state Office of Elections will be running the Nov. 6 general election, rather than the county, the issue may have been made moot, they said.

“I think we’ve gone far enough,” said Henricks, a retired judge.

State Elections Office spokesman Rex Quidilla said the office has no comment on the vote.

read … I think we’ve gone far enough

Law Aimed at Homeless Snares Thousands of Gays Instead

SA: Thousands of trespassers have been fined in District Court. Police have issued 5,420 citations at Oahu parks outside of Waikiki since January 2003 and 1,647 in Waikiki in just the past three years. Visitors, military and transients have accounted for one-fifth of the court's criminal and traffic caseload.

The city Department of Parks and Recreation attempted to eliminate the problem last Friday when it began locking all of the city's Waikiki public toilets during overnight hours. It also removed signs about its 24-hour restrooms at Kapiolani Park and Kuhio Beach. The move makes sense, since no one is supposed to be in most parks from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. (Now the gays can’t get into their favorite hot johns. Tragic.)

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Darryl Miyahira says most of the strayers who go to court have ended up with criminal records for having crossed the line at any of all but 82 of the 300 city parks on Oahu….

The ordinance obviously was aimed at keeping the homeless from turning parks into their shelters, but it hasn't worked. Its main effect has been to aggravate people who were unaware of the potentially dire consequences of a criminal record.

read … About how many people have to go to the john in a park in the middle of the night

State settles suit on denial of mental health services

SA: Residents denied state mental health services between July 1, 2009, and Dec. 16, 2010, because of changes to state policies are now eligible for a reassessment for those services as part of the recently approved settlement.

The state Department of Health said in a news release last week that its Adult Mental Health Division will mail about 280 notification letters statewide in an effort to reach individuals who are eligible for reassessment based on 2004 criteria. Those receiving psychiatric care or other services from another source might still qualify for services, the state said.

With limited resources due to budget cuts, the division had to make a judgment on what conditions were relatively more serious, the state has said.

The Hawaii Disability Rights Center and Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing filed a lawsuit against the state in June 2010. The recently approved agreement settles all claims related to the lawsuit and requires the division to allow all members of the plaintiff class to be reassessed under criteria passed before July 1, 2009.

When the center filed its complaint it said, "The cutbacks harmed thousands of mentally ill adults throughout the state of Hawaii by depriving them of access to needed medication, treatment and other services."

The center argued that the state changed its eligibility rules to end services it provides to patients other than those with severe and persistent mental illness with no public input or discussion. The center said thousands of people were left to find help from private providers who were already in short supply.

The new eligibility rules were void because they were adopted without following requirements of the Hawaii Administrative Procedures Act for a formal process allowing interested people to comment, the lawsuit contended.

The complaint, settlement and release agreement, motion for preliminary approval of the settlement and other documents can be found at www.hawaiidisability­rights. org.

read … About what happens when government controls your healthcare

Eric Ryan Admits Campaigning on City Time

HR: A former staffer for City Councilman Tom Berg has claimed in a sworn affidavit that he collected $28,643 in city salary for 77 days of work he actually performed for Berg’s political campaign.

The allegations from former Berg chief of staff Eric Ryan “are a complete lie, a fabrication,” Berg told the state Campaign Spending Commission today.

Commission staffers noted that Berg had not responded in any detail to Ryan’s allegations and recommended that his campaign be required to reimburse the $28,643 to the City, but commissioners deferred a decision until next month.

Berg said he had responded to the same allegations when Ryan made them to the City Ethics Commission and didn’t realize he needed to repeat his responses to the Spending Commission.

He said Ryan began making false accusations against him after the Councilman fired Ryan last year.

Berg also said he has filed a criminal complaint against Ryan with police and prosecutors, alleging that Ryan took some $3,000 from Berg's checking account after Berg fired him from his city job.

SA: Berg fined for not reporting T-shirt donation

Related: http://ericryanisacrook.blogspot.com/p/story.html

read … Council Member Tom Berg Calls Former Staffer A Liar 

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