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Saturday, November 17, 2012
November 17, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:33 PM :: 5331 Views

Hawaii Guard soldiers ready to assist, advise Afghan forces

Video: South Park Ridicules Kauai Malihini

HSTA Protest Video: "Abercrombie Proposal Offers Little Hope"

HFA: Gay Marriage, Assisted Suicide on 2013 Legislative Agenda

Voters issue a powerful mandate for hunting, fishing and gathering on Hawaii island

Maui Case Tests Conflicts Between Zoning and Planning

Governor Selects New Policy Director, Communications Deputy Director

Study: Hawaii Avoids Overprescription of Antibiotics

Full Text: UH Wonder Blunder Report

Greenwood Launches Listening Tour

Hawaii Open Data Portal Launched 

Stole $5000 Gasoline? Warrant Not Issued for Arrest of Kauai County Mayor

HR: The Carvalho arrest warrant was prepared by the Kauai Police Department on the strength of 1,000 pages of evidence including a county audit and an independent investigation conducted by a well-respected local law firm and a former police officer.

The investigation of Carvalho began this summer and has been complicated by dramatic infighting between Carvalho, his administration, the prosecutor and the Kauai Police Department.

County prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho lost her bid for re-election this month to Justin Koller….

In addition, an October 30 court decision by Kauai Chief Judge Randal Valenciano gave the mayor the power to suspend the police chief indefinitely. That has added to the confusion over who on the island could investigate or prosecute the mayor without fear of retaliation, and raised questions about the independence of a new prosecutor with close personal ties to the mayor.

When investigators attempted to interview the mayor about the gas card, sources said, Carvalho refused to speak to them, citing his right under the 5th Amendment not to incriminate himself. Rapozo, however, did speak to investigators.

Rapozo, who issued the county gas card to Carvalho, is married to Carvalho’s campaign manager, Lenny Rapozo, who is now County Parks Director.

Ironically, the mayor has a fuel allowance, but in 2008 when running for office and in 2009 when elected to office, Carvalho pledged publicly on at least three occasions not to use it.

What the mayor did instead, according to county sources, is take possession of a gas card assigned to a county Department of Transportation vehicle.

read … Just another day in the nei

Hypocrite Carpenter Warns Speaker Candidates Against Republicans

PR: Carpenter argued that the net result of turning to the Republicans would be that half of the Democrats would be empowering a “super-minority” of Republicans at the expense of the other Democrats.

“My concern is that the result of many hundreds of campaign volunteers, thousands of volunteer hours, out-of-pocket expenses, etc., will have been ignored. These combined efforts that produced a huge turnout which helped ensure success for nearly every Democratic Party Candidate, clearly affirmed the desire for Democratic leadership in the House. To cater to the Republican super-minority would fly-in-the-face of the wishes of the electorate and could be problematic going forward!

“As an equally disastrous outcome, the voting public could become quickly disillusioned and disenchanted with the leadership, or lack thereof, for not finding common ground and pursuing a course of objectivity as a function of the DPH Platform, i.e., action to benefit those voters’ needs versus the individual personalities and vanities of certain elected officials.”

Carpenter, of course, was famously part of Senate President Dickie Wong’s Democratic-Republican Coalition in 1981. Former Gov. Ben Cayetano — who was then a senator in Wong’s faction with Carpenter and now-Gov. Neil Abercrombie — described the coalition in his autobiography as a “milestone in Hawaii politics.”

Wong turned to Republicans to obtain the 13 votes necessary to organize the Senate after Democrats were deadlocked at 10 to 7.

Cayetano wrote that establishment Democrats — like Carpenter is doing today — criticized Wong’s move.

“I was unmoved by the criticism. There were enough examples to show that, when it suited their purpose, the Democratic establishment was willing to cross party lines to help Republicans defeat Democrats.”

Best Comment: OK, so, I get Carpenter’s implied point that, if the Speaker only becomes Speaker because of GOP votes, the Speaker will be under constant threat from those GOP reps that, “If you don’t hear/pass/kill this bill, we’ll pull our votes and you’ll lose your speakership.” It’s not usually that extreme, but these splits can be even more difficult to manage than a 44 cat herd. But under the current system, the Dems won’t even hear a GOP bill in the house, much less pass it. Sure, a Dem might be lead introducer on a bill that a GOP rep shops around, but then it’s a Dem bill come time for taking credit at the next election. Or, they might scoop the contents out of a GOP bill and put it into a Dem bill but, again, the GOP doesn’t get credit. Stupid pet tricks, really. We need some adults in the Capitol. That includes the 5th floor, too.

read … 44 Cats

WASC Defends Greenwood, says Legislators Crossed Line

SA: "We are very pleased that progress was made," said Ralph Wolff, WASC president. "The hope would be that the university can move forward without questions about leadership."

Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai) said he believes legislators will be asking tougher questions about the university's funding requests because of what was revealed in the hearings.

"I think it's going to be a very interesting budget session," Slom said.

"I think it's going to be very difficult to work with President Greenwood moving forward," said state Rep. K. Mark Takai, an outspoken critic of the UH president. "Having said that, we're not about to throw the university under the bus or to harm the university at the expense of one individual."

Gov. Neil Abercrombie...spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy said, "The regents have made their decision, and we will continue to support the university as President Greenwood and the regents move toward rebuilding the confidence of the student body and faculty by providing academic excellence and internationally recognized research."

In a letter last month to the regents obtained by reporters on Tuesday, Greenwood's attorney accused Abercrombie, Senate President Shan Tsu­tsui and House Speaker Calvin Say of using inappropriate political pressure to reinstate Dono­van as athletic director.

Wolff noted that outside interference in university business has been a long-standing concern of accreditors.

"Surely the Legislature has an oversight responsibility," Wolff said. "But attempts to direct individual personnel actions or attempts to direct items that are the appropriate problems of the president or the Board of Regents, those are the actions where we feel a line has been crossed."

Wolff said the commission will continue to monitor the situation in Hawaii and will finalize a report on UH governance in February.

J.N. Musto, executive director of the UH faculty union, said the public still wants to see definitive action by Greenwood and the regents on the concert debacle and the issues raised in the Senate hearing.

"There has to be something done that restores public confidence," Musto said.

read … Progress

Developers council could help spur transit-oriented development along Honolulu rail route

PBN: the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is taking a better look at how to spark transit-oriented development along the line.

To do that, the HART board’s TOD committee this week discussed forming a developers’ council to get people involved who could build commercial and residential projects near rail’s 21 stations between Kapolei and Ala Moana Center.

“It’s for developers to share their concerns on issues,” said William “Buzz” Hong, the committee’s chairman. “I think it would be great to start proceeding with this.”

…as I’ve learned from talking to developers for my story in Friday's print edition of Pacific Business News, and from covering TOD in the Bay Area, there must be incentives to build. And so far the state and city have not presented those incentives.

read … TOD Bigger than Rail

DoE, Profitable Nonprofits Expect Abercrombie to make up for $32M Fiscal Cliff Losses

SA: Nearly $32 million in federal funding to state departments is at risk by proposed across-the-board "sequestration" cuts that would begin taking effect in January, according to the state Department of Budget and Finance….

Kalbert Young, state budget director, warned that nonprofits shouldn't assume that the state can step in to make up for funds that are lost, given the slow pace of the economic recovery.

"Should federal sequestration reduce federal funding to state programs, it is not a foregone conclusion that the state would automatically supplant federal funds with state funds," he said. "Some programs may not be as fully funded."….

Because the state doesn't know how big the federal cuts will be, Young's office is coming up with several budget "contingency strategies" for the upcoming fiscal year….

The state Department of Education stands to take the biggest hit from the current sequestration plan. Of the $135 million it gets annually in federal funds, about $12 million is at risk, Young said.

Meanwhile, nearly $8 million in federal funds to the Health and Human Services departments could be cut in 2013, under a worst-case scenario.

The state Labor and Public Safety departments could also lose key funding.

Much of the federal funding that goes to state departments is "passed through" to organizations that provide key social services to the poor, mentally ill, homeless and others in need….

PITCH 1) Amy Kunz, DOE chief financial officer, said the sequestration cuts could also affect efforts under way to boost student achievement and improve schools. "We have very aggressive goals surrounding our strategic plan," she said. "Any reductions could potentially mean we couldn't move as quickly as we want to."

PITCH 2) The prospect of further cuts — at a time of increased demand for services — is worrying many, said Lisa Mura­yama, president and CEO of the Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations. "We're terming it a human cliff," she said. "It's going to have a tremendous impact on real lives."

Nonprofits might also feel the pain from other elements of the fiscal cliff, not just sequestration.

A final deficit reduction plan could also include changes to the tax code, including proposed limits on tax deductions for charitable donations.

Murayama said if the deductions are reduced, people might give less — or might not give at all.

read … Don’t Worry, Abercrombie’s Got Money for Everyone

Gabbard, Duda Conspire to Keep Tax Credits Flowing to Solar Scammers

PBN: State Sen. Mike Gabbard, D-Waikele-Kapolei, chairman of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee, has led an informal working group on the issue. Business and state government leaders and tax experts have met three times and plan to get together once again on Dec. 4 to discuss the tax credits.

“Stepping down the credit over the next few years would work,” Gabbard told PBN. “The uncertainty is concerning investors, among others.”….

Mark Duda, a principal for RevoluSun and chairman of the government affairs committee of the Hawaii PV Coalition, told PBN that he favors a gradual reduction in the credits, dropping 5 percentage points each year with a sunset date set at 2020.

read … Conspiracy News

Hawaii, 22 other states proceeding on health law

AP: 16 states (including Hawaii) plus Washington, D.C., want to build their own exchanges. Starting Jan. 1, 2014, individuals, families and small businesses will be able to buy private coverage through an exchange in their state, with most consumers getting government assistance to pay premiums. The exchanges will also help steer low-income, uninsured people into expanded Medicaid programs in many states.

Another seven states have indicated they want to partner with Washington to build their exchanges. Ohio joined this group Friday, and West Virginia officials said they're heading in the same direction.

Fifteen mostly Republican-led states say they'll defer to the federal government to build and run their markets. Georgia and Wisconsin formally joined that group Friday. However, New Hampshire, where Demo­crats won control of the state House in the election, is taking a second look at its decision to default to the feds.

Finally, another 12 undecided states now have until Dec. 14 to determine what role, if any, they'll play.

read … Obamacare

Labor Dept. investigates theft from Carpenters Union

HNN: The U.S. Labor Department and Honolulu Police are investigating the alleged theft of more than $80,000 from the Hawaii Carpenters Union.
In a filing with the Labor Department, the union said it discovered that one of its supervisors was behind the alleged fraud and that it would seek to prosecute the man.
The suspect worked at the union's Kalihi headquarters and has since been fired….

The Carpenters Union's most recent financial filings with the Labor Department spells out how the alleged scam worked.
The money came from sales of textbooks to apprentices who are just starting to learn the trade.
Instead of depositing the cash into a union account, the manager is accused of pocketing it and issuing bogus receipts.
Sources say the incidents occurred over several years and that the losses could exceed $80,000 dollars.

read … “Solidarity Forever

Another DoE Child Molester: Former Iao teacher gets 20 years

MN: The former Iao Intermediate School substitute band teacher was sentenced Friday to a 20-year prison term for sexually assaulting a former student over a three-year period.

read … Not a Priest, so not news

Caldwell Hiring

PR: Interested parties must submit a resume with appropriate references to: Caldwell Headquarters, 1130 N. Nimitz Hwy., #A151, Honolulu, HI 96817, Attn: Transition Committee. All submissions must be received by U.S. Postal mail by December 7, 2012. Hand delivered or electronically submitted resumes will not be accepted. Applicants who are selected for an interview will be notified by mail or phone by December 31, 2012. Due to the large number of anticipated responses, if applicants are not considered for the position, they will not be notified.

read … Get a job

Russia? Hanabusa, Hirono Suddenly Develop an Interest in Free Trade

CB: The House of Representatives on Friday approved a bill that would, if approved by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama, identify and sanction Russian human rights violators even as it opens up trade relations with the country.

Hawaii Democrats Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono both voted in favor. The measure passed, 365-43 with 25 members not voting.

Related: Ideology Yes, Hawaii No: Hirono Votes Against S. Korea Free Trade

Read … How Reuters described the bill

Jamae Kawauchi appears to be out as Hawaii County Clerk

HNN: On Sunday council members named J Yoshimoto, a three-term councilman from Hilo, the new chair.

During that meeting chair-elect Yoshimoto nominated Stewart Maeda as the new county clerk.

Council members will vote on Maeda's nomination after they are sworn-in on December 3.

KHON: Maeda is a long-time employee with the State Department of Human Services

BIN: Kawauchi leaves office facing a civil lawsuit filed by two employees of the county Elections Division, which the clerk oversees

read … Jamae Kawauchi appears to be out

State official: Piilani Promenade Plan ‘clearly different’ from one proposed

MN: A state Office of Planning official said that developers of two large retail centers and 250 affordable housing units in Kihei should have filed a motion with the state Land Use Commission to amend conditions placed on the parcel that was initially proposed as a light industrial park.

"This is a clearly different project than was initially proposed," planner Rodney Funakoshi told state land use commissioners Friday at the Courtyard Maui Kahului Airport hotel.

read … Piilani Promenade

Barking Sands to Become Satellite Launch Site?

PBN: An environmental assessment report provides new details about plans by the University of Hawaii and the military to work together to create a launch site for commercial and military satellites.

According to the report, the military and university want to complete the work by September 2013, in time to test-fire a 55-foot-tall, three-stage rocket. Work will entail increasing the size of launch pads at the site near Kokole Point by more than 3,600 square feet and upgrading electrical, communications and other systems. Three buildings on the range would be used to launch the satellites.

This marks the first time that a launch from Barking Sands will carry a satellite payload into orbit, according to the military’s Operationally Responsive Space Office. The range’s location near the equator and U.S. Pacific Command makes it an ideal location for launching satellites, ORS said.

SA: Hawaii poised to gain from space travel

read … Satellite

H-1 Paving Will Prepare PM Zipper Lanes

SA: Sluyter said westbound repairs are supposed to be wrapped up in spring, and then the six months of eastbound work will begin. Work that needs to be done to ready the freeway for the afternoon Zipper Lane past the Wai­pahu off­ramp will begin at a later date.

Lane closures are expected to continue until DOT finishes the entire Zipper Lane project, which is expected to be sometime during summer 2014.

read … About real traffic solutions

Not a Single Illness Has Ever Been Reported After Consumption of GM Food

SA: "We agree that consumers should have the right to ask for information about the products they buy, and to select those that most closely meet their lifestyle choices. But labeling mandates are reserved for information that has a material impact on consumer health and safety," said HCIA President Mark Phillipson. "Every genetically modified food product has gone through rigorous testing by the FDA, USDA and EPA — and not a single illness has ever been reported after consumption of GM food."

Reality: The Future of Fraud

read … Zunin’s Rehash of Anti-GMO Claptrap

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