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Friday, January 18, 2013
January 18, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:05 PM :: 5609 Views

Abercrombie: "Legislature May Need to Adjust Act 55 to Avoid Repeal"

HSTA: "Time and Money Needed"

Rep Thielen Introduces Bill Promoting Energy Efficiency in Schools

FERC Comes to the Rescue as Gas Supply Threatened by Tesoro Shutdown

UHERO: UH Not as Bloated as Other Universities

UHERO: UH Manoa Generates $3.2B in Business

Will Chevron's Hawaiian refinery survive 2013? – Bunkerworld

Teachers Rally for $900M Tax Hike, Point to Own Disinterest in Job

KITV: The teacher's union and the state continue contract negotiations. While, dozen's rallied for more funding at the state capitol.

Teacher's are standing up and asking legislators to get them more funds by raising the general excise tax by one percentage point. The increase would generate about $800 to $900 million.

"Because we are the worst paid in the nation, teachers are constantly leaving, and we can't retain good teachers," said Corey Rosenlee, Campbell High School teacher….

Doug Roberston, a 4th grade teacher, is considering leaving Hawaii….

More than 50 percent of teachers leave Hawaii every five years.

CB: Here are the group’s reasons for the proposal, taken from its press release

read … What They Really Want

Borreca Shocked as Legislators Actually Disagree

Borreca: Initial indications are that by the time this 27th legislative session ends, you will be wishing for the return of machine politics.

After listening to the opening day speeches and talking to administration officials, it appears that there are three basic tenets to hold this session together.

» We are not going to raise taxes.

» We need lots more money, so let's get it or at least give out tax credits to investors.

» We can't be handing out tax credits; the Council on Revenues will kill us.

First, legislative veteran and new Senate President Donna Mercado Kim is against new taxes….

Second, another legislative veteran, Rep. Joe Souki (said) "We must enhance our revenue stream. We must put together a mix of strategies that will generate more state revenues …. “

If tax credits are disliked and the state's money should be saved, not spent, will voters wanting more school services, better health care, new roads and new business investment be pleased?

Compounding this is the somewhat tenuous support Souki has attracted for his speakership. On opening day, 18 Democrats voted against Souki, so the Maui Democrat organized with the votes of the seven Republicans. Depending on what enhanced revenue stream he follows, Souki may find his position more or less tenable.

Perhaps Souki's final promise, to lower state income tax rates, may be the safest course.

read … Unaware

Repeal of PLDC Designed to Give Developers Access to School Properties 

SA: Abercrombie's advisers have cautioned privately that the governor's priorities, such as developing underused public school land to generate money to modernize schools, could be at risk as long as the debate is muddied by the PLDC.

The governor is expected to urge lawmakers to focus on redevelopment opportunities of school properties, sources say. Lawmakers are discussing an education facilities trust that could lease those public lands for commercial development, as well as a pilot project at a few school sites to test the concept.

The governor had cited the example of potential redevelopment of public school land when asked by reporters Wednesday about his position on the PLDC.

"What I'm impressed by the most is that virtually everybody agrees that we want to make the most productive use of our opportunities with public lands. And the fact that so many people are interested in seeing that gets done is very encouraging to me," he said.

"To take a particular example, how do we use those lands that are devoted to public education in a way that will be productive for education and at the same time perhaps provide a revenue stream that will help support education?"

The first bill introduced in the Senate — Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Sen. Clayton Hee (D, Heeia-Laie-Wai­alua) — would repeal the law.

"There's no doubt that the public has reacted negatively to the passage of the PLDC," Hee said. "This has given many legislators, including myself, reason to believe that the bill was overly broad. So rather than tinker with it, I think it's in everyone's interest to repeal it outright and start fresh."

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Wheeler-Wahiawa-Schofield), a PLDC advocate who has been disappointed by how the law has been implemented, will propose a bill that would substantially amend the law.

The bill would change the name of the PLDC to the Public-Private Partnership Corp. and require that the corporation conduct a pilot project in Wahiawa before developing any other projects.

Restrictions or conditions imposed by state or county agencies that transfer public land for development, such as the DLNR, the Department of Education or the city, would trump any exemptions. The bill, like a strategic plan for the PLDC recommended last year by Dela Cruz and Sen. Malama Solo­mon (D, Kau­pu­lehu-Wai­mea-North Hilo), would also make clear that the corporation must comply with state laws regarding environmental review, historic preservation, open meetings, wage rates and ceded lands.

Jan 13, 2013: Lawmakers Aim to Create Mini-PLDC to Develop School Properties

read … Fake Out

SB 1 First Read: Senate passes bill to repeal PLDC

KGI: On the first day following the opening of the 2013 Legislature, the Senate introduced a bill — passed at first reading — to repeal the controversial Public Land Development Corporation. In the House of Representatives, a bill to repeal PLDC, crafted by three Big Island representatives, was pending introduction.

Meanwhile, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced late Thursday afternoon he would consider a repeal of the controversial law. He signed Act 55 on May 20, 2011, which created the PLDC.

“The Hawai‘i State Legislature may need to adjust Act 55 so that its good intention can be implemented appropriate to the goals of this law,” Abercrombie said in a news release, adding that public understanding and support are essential.

“If the Legislature cannot achieve this outcome, the possibility of repeal will ensue,” he said in the release. “I will take that outcome into consideration but we cannot walk away, should that occur, without a solution that moves us forward.”

Senate Bill 1 was introduced by Sen. Clayton Hee, D-Kane‘ohe-Wahiawa.

House Bill 110 was co-introduced by Reps. Faye Hanonano, D-Puna, Nicole Lowen, D-Kailua-Kona, and Cindy Evans, D-Kona-Kohala.

Related: Abercrombie: "Legislature May Need to Adjust Act 55 to Avoid Repeal"

HTH: Lawmakers lead repeal efforts in Legislature

read … First Read

Rhoades Introduces Bullet Control Bill, Ihara Introduces Assault Weapons Ban

AP: Rhoads says his bill is intended to reduce the amount of gun violence that involves lost or stolen guns. Hawaii law does not require gun owners to report when a gun is lost or stolen.

Rhoads said the idea for the bill came from a constituent who lives in Mayor Wright Housing. Hawaii News Now reported that frequent violence at the public housing complex prompted a security overhaul last year.

Hawaii Rifle Association President Harvey Gerwig denounced Rhoads' bill as "ridiculous."

"It's a useless piece of legislation to make somebody feel good, but it doesn't help anything," Gerwig said.

He said the measure would be unfair to people who bought long guns prior to 1994. That's when registration of such weapons became mandatory in Hawaii, but people were not required to register long guns that were acquired before then.

Nearly 60 percent of Hawaii gun owners have long guns, which include rifles and shotguns. Few states require long guns to be registered, Gerwig said.

KITV: Rhoads introduces bill to require people buying bullets to prove they're licensed

Full Text: Ihara’s Assault Weapons Ban Bill

read … Rhoades Control

LNG Could Cut HECO Fuel Costs 50%

SA: Hawaii Gas estimates that it could provide LNG for electricity generation at a price ranging from $44 to $64 less than the equivalent price of a barrel of oil.

read … Meanwhile Wind Scammers Have Contracts tied to cost of … oil

Big Island Senators Reps Conspire to Squelch Geothermal Development

WHT: Act 97, adopted last session, is the target of another repeal effort.

The act eliminated geothermal subzones, designated areas previously established to host geothermal power projects.

Critics say the move essentially allows such projects to occur anywhere. Hawaii County has also raised objections to the legislation, saying it eliminated references to county authority over permitting for such projects.

State Sen. Russell Ruderman, D-Puna, Ka‘u, is leading the repeal effort and has drafted legislation to undo the act, according to state Sen. Josh Green, who co-sponsors the bill.

Ruderman couldn’t be reached immediately for comment Thursday.

Green, D-Kona, Ka‘u, was also a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 3003, which became Act 97 upon adoption.

He said he was unaware of the bill’s implications on county-level oversight and believes that needs to be fixed….

Rep. Denny Coffman, D-Kailua-Kona, Ocean View, said he is drafting his own bill to amend the act.

His legislation would return county permitting authority while avoiding reinstating the subzones.

read … Keep Electric Bills High

Bag Ban: Hawaii County Residents too Intelligent to fall for it

HTH: Mike Kemper, the stores’s “leader on duty,” said very few customers were bringing in their own reusable bags, even though the store has been proactive with publicity for months in advance of the new law….

as Kepano Kailiawa of Pahala was loading groceries into his car at Puainako Town Center, he jumped at the opportunity to express his frustration with the bill, designed to protect the environment from visual blight and marine mammals from physical harm.

With one reusable bag and several free paper bags from Sack N Save in his cart, Kailiawa said, “They’re going to have to cut more trees. And plastic bags are recyclable, you know. But now they’re wasting trees.

“Look at how much plastic bags you see around here,” he said, gesturing toward the surrounding parking lot, seemingly devoid of bags on the loose. “I surf, I go out into the ocean, I don’t see plastic bags. All the rubbish is coming from Japan,” he said. “(The bag reduction bill) is a lot of bull.”

Kailiawa also predicted that “people are going to get sicker” if they don’t take care to keep their reusable bags clean, and urged government to “worry about bigger things than bags.”

read … People are going to get sicker

Gilligan’s Island? University of Hawaii Finds $200,000 After It Went Missing for 7 Years

HR: State Senators were stunned on Thursday when University of Hawaii officials admitted during a Ways and Means hearing that some $200,000 went missing over a 7-year period, but was recovered from an "inactive account" when the University installed new software and discovered the funds.

The $200,000 was supposed to help pay for research on Coconut Island, an actual island off the windward coast of Oahu owned by the University of Hawaii Foundation and leased to the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology's School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology.

But a University employee allegedly deposited the money in an account that was no longer active, and the funds languished there unnoticed for 7 years until a new financial procedure was initiated….

The unionized employee who made the error is a member of the Hawaii Government Employee Association, so he could not easily be fired because of union rules. The employee was put on paid leave for 6 months while the university investigated the matter, and then put the employee into a “remedial training program.”

read … Rewarded with a 6-month paid vacation

Greenwood to Legislature: Get Over It

SA: At 69, Greenwood's career is a mix of such achievements -- she's nationally known for her public health acumen, particularly in the field of studying obesity and diabetes -- and low points, including the controversy, which resurfaced when she was hired here (Only in the pages of Hawai’i Free Press.  Everybody else tried to suppress coverage.), that she showed favoritism in creating opportunities while she was an officer in the University of California system.

And now there are the weeks of upheaval over the handling of a $200,000 swindle, a bogus Stevie Wonder fundraiser for the athletic department, that she'd love to leave far behind her. There's still work being done on improving administrative operations and oversight as a result of that episode.

But Greenwood is bullish on the progress UH is making on several fronts -- including a new cancer center, the West Oahu campus, a boost in enrollment and growth of its research operation -- and said firmly that the public needs to keep their eyes on this prize. She said with the Legislature opening, her focus will be on repairing strains in relationships there, not on the scandal.

"It's over," she said.

read … On to the Next Scandal

‘Gay-Friendly’ Pahoa innkeeper enters guilty plea in child porn case

SA: A 56-year-old Hawaii island man admitted in federal court Thursday that he produced child pornography featuring himself and two children under 10 years old.

Pahoa bed-and-breakfast operator John Ridgely Tucker faces a statutory 15-year minimum and 30-year maximum prison term at sentencing in May.

Tucker told U.S. District Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway that he took photographs of the children performing explicit sex acts with him. He said he knew the children were under 10….

His lawyer, (school board member) Brian De Lima, said Tucker pleaded guilty to accept responsibility for his actions. De Lima said Tucker is remorseful and knows his punishment will be significant.

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

read … Gay Friendly

Atheist Trash, Civil Beat Protest Against ‘Red Mass’

CB: "May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life," said the Most Reverend Larry Silva, the Bishop of Honolulu.

"Amen," responded the congregants, who included about a dozen legislators including the former and current speakers of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

"Come, bow down and worship, kneel to the one who made us," sang Keoki Kerr, a television news reporter who performed Psalm 95 in his fine tenor. "This is our God and our shepherd, we are the flock led with care."

Meanwhile, on the outside of the cathedral, very different messages were delivered, though ones arguably as righteous.

"Respect the First Amendment," read a sign carried by a protester on the Fort Street Mall. "Stop Clergy Sex Abuse" and "Women's Rights Over Bishops' Wrongs" read others.

SA: Red Mass emphasizes the importance of pono

read … Agenda Driven Coverage

Anti-GMO Luddites Talk Suicide

DJ: To quote Dr. Shiva, "The only thing that Monsanto can bring us is a suicide economy. For the farmers who have committed suicide, for our children whose future is being robbed, for the planet where we commit a planetary collective suicide, in terms of wiping out our future."

Reality: The Future of Fraud

read … Just Talk

After Abercrombie Forces Tesoro to Announce Shutdown, Gas Prices Jump

The Hawaii state average for regular unleaded has risen to $4.08 per gallon, which was four cents more than last week, 11 cents more than last month and two cents higher than last year.

read … What the Hippie is worth

OHA Claims Victory: Waimea Valley Visitor Count One Third of What it Used to Be

PBN: The Office of Hawaiian Affairs faced an uphill challenge when it became the legal owner of the North Shore property in 2006. It created the Hiipaka LLC and transferred ownership of the nonprofit entity in 2007.

The first few years of ownership produced an annual operating loss of close to $1 million. Losses hovered close to that level until last year, and although the final numbers are still being crunched, it’s safe to say Waimea Valley is in the black, OHA says.

The preliminary income statement for calendar year 2012 shows an operating surplus of $231,002. That compares to 2011’s operating loss of $852,157 and 2010’s loss of $899,114.

He created a five-year operational plan with strategic priorities to increase Hawaii resident visitors to 30 percent of the total by June 2013, achieve operational sustainability by the third quarter of this year, welcome an average of 800 visitors per day in 2015 and achieve recognition as a world-class botanical garden, cultural site and learning center by 2016.

More recently, OHA authorized money to renovate the Proud Peacock restaurant, which will open for the first time in 10 years once the renovations are completed next month. It will first be available for private functions and Pezzulo plans to have it open for dinner by the summer.

With 210,000 visitors in 2011, it is ranked as the 21st-most-visited attraction in the state. In 2012, there were 247,000 visitors. Pezzulo said the valley had up to 2,500 visitors per day in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

read … One Third of What it Used to Be



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