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Monday, March 4, 2013
March 4, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:52 PM :: 5879 Views

US Patent Pending for Genetically Modified Marijuana

 

Senators too Intelligent to be Fooled by Anti-GMO Nonsense

SA: Juanita Brown Kawamoto has been advocating for state regulation of genetically modified food for years, and she said supporters got their first big break last week when the House Finance Committee passed a bill that would require imported genetically modified produce to carry labels.

"We've been waiting for years for the House to actually allow this to move forward," said Brown Kawa­moto, vice chairwoman of the Food and Farm Sustainability Committee of the Environmental Caucus of the Demo­cratic Party of Hawaii. "This is something that's been long-awaited, and we got something really key to happen. To me it's momentous."

A battle has waged at the state Capitol for years between corporations, some farmers and businesses that stand behind the Food and Drug Administration's determination that genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, do not need cautionary labeling, and environmental groups, organic farmers and community members who strongly believe biologically engineered food is harmful for people and the environment.

"I think that the public is really demanding that we do more, and so I think it's our obligation to figure out what it is we can do," said Rep. Jessica Wooley (D, Kaneohe-Kahaluu-Haiku), chairwoman of the House Agriculture Committee.

House Bill 174 as drafted prohibits imported produce containing or produced with genetically engineered material from being sold in the state without a "genetically engineered" label and requires importers of genetically modified produce to label shipping containers as well as each piece of produce.

Eleven of the 17 House Finance Committee members expressed reservations regarding the bill, but no members voted no.

"We have tried to work out some kind of new language, but at this point in time certain portions are beyond us trying to fix it," Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Punchbowl-Pauoa-Nuuanu), chairwoman of the Finance Committee, said at a hearing last week. "There are concerns in the bill, but I think it is worthwhile for both the proponents and the opponents to continue the discussion."

If approved by the full House this week, the bill would move to the Senate, where it will likely stall.

Senate lawmakers killed seven GMO-related bills this session by not scheduling them for hearings, while the House also killed seven — except HB 174.

Sen. Clarence Nishihara (D, Waipahu-Crestview-Pearl City), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said he is not planning on hearing the labeling bill because he believes it would violate federal interstate commerce laws.

Meanwhile: US Patent Pending for Genetically Modified Marijuana

read … Luddites Run up Against Reality

Water Board to Waste $9.5M on Global Warming, Will Use Eco-Babble to Justify Further Rate Hikes

SA: The Honolulu Board of Water Supply plans to spend an estimated $9.5 million on a 30-year master plan that will include an investigation of how climate change could affect the island's water resources and delivery system.

The plan, which will be conducted in three phases over the next 21⁄2 years….

Pseudo-Scientists predict sea levels will rise in Hawaii by 1 meter in 100 years, causing flooding in several areas and potentially damaging infrastructure.  And some idiots take this crackpot prediction seriously. …

City Council members support the board's efforts to kick off a long-term planning effort, though they said they would look into why the plan has such a big price tag.

City Councilman Stanley Chang, chairman of the Public Works and Sustainability Committee, said many of the island's water mains are "decades if not a century old," so it's time to start planning for their replacement or repair.

He added that he doesn't want the plan to spur massive capital improvements that are covered solely by increases in water rates.

"Water rates are already very high," Chang said, adding he will encourage the Board of Water Supply to "not just look at raising rates as the only possible solution for raising resources."

Reality:  No sea level rise: Pacific islands growing not shrinking, says study, Sea Level? Oahu Rising Two Feet Every 1000 Years

read … More Rate Hikes Coming

Stand Up To SHOPO And Open Police Misconduct Records

CB: Lawmakers were supposed to be keeping an eye on the police through mandated annual summaries. But they are now surprised to learn that, in Honolulu at least, police officers are suspended or discharged about once a week, on average, for a laundry list of bad behavior — domestic violence, falsifying records, abusing prisoners, and more.

Cops are even being convicted of crimes. And still they keep their badges and guns. Suspensions are minimal, a few days at best.

And that’s just what we could tell from the vague summaries that apparently no one has analyzed until now. The real problem is that there is simply no way to know what’s really going on: Who are the officers involved in the misconduct? Is it the same people over and over? Is the discipline effective and a deterrent to others? Why are cops with a criminal record allowed to stay on the force?

The lack of information does a real disservice not only to the public but to the hundreds of police officers who are doing an exemplary job of public service. The culture of secrecy around misconduct casts doubt on the larger force, making the problems seem worse than perhaps they are. The bad guys are making the good guys look bad.

We were told over and over again that the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) — the statewide police union — casts a large shadow over the disciplinary process, that the police administration is often handcuffed when it tries to get rid of a bad cop. In fact, our study found that nearly 40 percent of Honolulu police officers who were fired over the past 13 years were reinstated after a lengthy and complex grievance process.

SHOPO insists on secrecy when it comes to police misconduct, arguing that its officers don’t deserve to be humiliated by public disclosure of mistakes made in the heat of the moment. But records show that much of the misconduct is not related to a split-second decision in a life-or-death situation.

Instead, it’s an angry officer using his vehicle to pin his girlfriend up against another car. It’s a drunk officer getting in a wreck then fleeing the scene and then lying about it to investigators. It’s an officer sexually assaulting the woman who has turned to him for help.

read … Tarnished Badge

Lucky Sequestration Delays Major Review of Hawaii Historic Preservation Division

CB: Sequestration has given the State Historic Preservation Division a reprieve from a long-awaited federal review.

SHPD, which is battling to retain its federal certification and funding, was supposed to face its day of reckoning this week.

Officials from the National Park Service were set to visit Hawaii on Monday and conduct a week-long review of whether the state agency had fulfilled a litany of requirements outlined in a two-year federal improvement plan.

A final decision on whether SHPD retains its federal certification was set for the end of the week.

But shortly before federal officials from Washington D.C. were to board planes for Hawaii, the trip was cancelled.

Due to sequestration, the director of the park service cancelled all “non-critical” travel on Thursday night….

If NPS officials decide that the state agency hasn’t made all the improvements, SHPD will lose its certification, potentially delaying millions of dollars in projects in Hawaii that receive federal funding or need federal permits.

Aila told Civil Beat that he was working with park service officials to come up with a contingency plan for completing the review….

The End is Near:  Historic Preservation Division Offers Feds a Laundry List of Excuses

read … Inevitable Forestalled

Star-Adv: Soda Bottlers Must Pony Up or Soda Tax Will be Back

SA: "Of course, it's always in play for next year," warned Sen. David Ige, Senate Ways and Means chairman, as members decided to postpone the "soda tax" at least for now. The delay ought to be an opportunity for the beverage industry to make extra efforts to respond to the growing health problem of obesity, especially among children.

In January, for instance, the Coca-Cola Co. took a small yet significant step by launching an advertising campaign that acknowledges the nation's obesity crisis and saying that it wants to be part of the solution. Though it got mixed reviews — health advocates said it didn't go far enough — the fact that the beverage giant is even trending in that direction to help spread an anti-obesity message is encouraging.

read … Shakedown

Civil Beat Decides Hanohano May Have Had a Point 

CB: …has Hanohano raised an important point? That art by Hawaii's indigenous people should be celebrated?

If that was her intent, a Civil Beat analysis suggests, she appears to have had few artists to choose from….

Sen. Brian Taniguchi's office provided Civil Beat with the catalogue of the artwork displayed last year in legislative offices. (It's reproduced at the end of this article.)

The catalogue shows how popular the Art in Public Places program is, and what kind of work is displayed. Forty-eight of the 76 senators and representatives participated in the program last session.

It also shows other things.

One must be extremely cautious about deducing race and ethnicity from surnames, especially in Hawaii. And an artist's background should not be the sole criteria to judge artwork.

Of the more than 570 artists listed in the catalogue, however, most of them appear to have Anglo and Asian surnames. That would seem to support Hanohano's concern….

Question: If a Republican or a Catholic Priest had said what Hanohano said, would Chad Blair be writing an article suggesting they may have had a point? 

read … Does Faye Hanohano Have A Point?

Hawaii State Hospital Population Up as Mental Health Services Cut

SA … the population at the Hawaii State Hospital, the only state-run psy­chia­tric facility in the islands, remains well above normal since swelling over the summer.

Police are also reporting more mentally ill people requiring transport to emergency rooms, according to a Department of Health report.

The division largely serves people who have no insurance or who receive government-funded medical care, so mental health advocates worried that those ineligible for state services would have no other place to go.

The DOH's figures show the number of people served by the division has declined every year since 2008.

In fiscal year 2012 the division helped some 11,062 people with everything from intensive service needs to brief support during a crisis. That's down 32 percent — or by 5,108 people — from fiscal year 2008, when the division served 16,170 adults….

THE rising population at the Hawaii State Hospital over the summer prompted the state's urgent look at its delivery of mental health services. A "special action team" that studied the situation issued a report late last year, making a host of recommendations aimed at expanding services and diverting the mentally ill from the streets, the state hospital and jail.

Virtually all the patients at the state hospital in Kaneohe are "forensic admissions," which means they were ordered there by a court.

As of Friday the state hospital's population was 227: 187 at the hospital and 40 at a private facility contracted by the state. In June 2010 the average daily census was 199:183 at the hospital and 16 at the private facility….

read … Overrun With Crazy People

Inmate Gets Wet, Scores $38K from State

CB: Edwin Naehu and two other Waiawa prison inmates were cleaning trays and dishes one morning in April 2009 when the hose Naehu was using to rinse off food bits burst, spraying scalding hot water onto the left side of his face….

Naehu sued the state in 2009, saying his supervisor’s negligence caused his injuries. He sued for the cost of the surgery, wage loss and “loss of enjoyment of life." According to Naehu’s attorneys, his injury prevents the 47-year-old from going back to his welding job because he can no longer see clearly. Additionally, “he cannot play basketball with his children like he used to,” they wrote in a statement.

Naehu was released from Waiawa prison in April of 2010, nearly one year after the incident.

The court ruled in Naehu’s favor in May 2011, awarding him $38,580.

 

read … Score

Tesoro ups layoff estimate to 210 workers at Kapolei refinery

SA: The updated layoff count was included in a letter Tesoro sent Feb. 28 to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Federal law requires employers to provide notice at least 60 days in advance of any mass layoffs of 100 workers or more.

“Approximately 210 employees will be separated from employment. At this time the company anticipates that a group of affected employees will be terminated sometime during a 14-day period beginning on May 1, 2013,” according to the notification letter written by Thomas Weber, vice president of Tesoro’s Kapolei refinery….

Tesoro is seeking a buyer for the terminal, as well as its local network of 31 gas stations.

read … Thanks, Neil

Puna Geothermal -- Six Cents per KWH

AES: The power contract for the Puna plant is significantly lower than the island’s wholesale prices, which are between US$0.20-$0.30 per kWh. The expansion allowed for 5 MW of the original 30-MW plant that is still on avoided costs to be reduced to a fixed rate of about $0.11 per kWh – a 50 percent savings. And for the new 8-MW expansion, Thomsen says they offered HELCO a price of $0.09 during peak, and $0.06 off-peak. 

(Meanwhile Wind and solar scammers are scoring 17 - 24 cents per KWH to sell useless intermittent electricity.)

read … Cheap Clean Electricity

SB1045/HB815 Exempt Electric Coop from HRS 269

KGI: Senate Bill 1045 and House Bill 815 authorize the state Public Utilities Commission to exempt an electric cooperative from compliance with Chapter 269 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, and with any other applicable charters, franchises, rules, decisions, orders or laws.

Neither bill names KIUC, but Kaua‘i has the only electric co-op in the state. KIUC Communications Manager Jim Kelly said the bills were developed in consultation with PUC and the Division of Consumer Advocacy. PUC offered to submit them as part of its legislative package, he said.

“Chapter 269 was enacted long before any electric cooperatives existed in Hawai‘i, and so the basis of all regulation is made with the assumption that all utilities in the state are for-profit enterprises,” Kelly said. “We’re not.”

As the state’s only member-owned electric co-op, KIUC is asking PUC and DCA to have the option of evaluating KIUC on the basis of being a co-op, he said.

As an example, Kelly said that under state law, in a rate case the PUC and DCA are obligated to consider the rate of return for the utility’s shareholders.

“This concept does not apply to a cooperative, where the ratepayers and customers are one and the same,” he said. “But the existing law doesn’t give state regulatory authorities the ability to look at KIUC differently.”…

The Blue Planet Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to end the use of fossil fuels on earth representing solar scammers, and KIUC board candidate Jonathan Jay sent testimony in opposition to the bills….

read … Co-Op

OHA, Aina Haina group ask city to halt site work

SA: Community members raised concerns that sacred cultural sites on the property were recently disturbed during grading work.

In a letter Thursday to the city Department of Planning and Permitting, Kama­na‘o­pono Crabbe, OHA chief executive officer, said, "We believe that an AIS should be conducted of the entire parcel, based on information provided by knowledgeable community members and that appropriate mitigation strategies be developed prior to the implementation of the parcels development."

Crabbe and the community association requested that work on the property stop until the survey is completed. The Aina Haina group sent its letter Friday.

read … OHA vs Jeff Stone

Senate Ctte amends Banyan Drive legislation

HTH: Hawaii County could manage but not own the Banyan Drive area and two state parks under legislation amended last week.

Several bills were introduced this legislative session to transfer ownership of the Banyan Drive hotel lands and Hapuna Beach and Mauna Kea state recreation areas to the county.

But the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee on Friday rewrote the bills to allow the county to lease the lands from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources instead.

Sen. Gilbert Kahele, D-Hilo, a committee member, said the bills were amended due to concerns over the legality of transferring the properties since they are ceded lands.

“This way it keeps the discussion going,” he said. “That’s basically where we are at right now.”

In its written testimony, the state Attorney General’s Office said the state could only sell, not simply transfer, the lands to the county.

Any sale would also have to reflect the full value of the properties.

“Because the bills, as currently drafted, do not specify how the transfers are to be made, we raised concerns that the state could be sued for mismanagement of the land of the public land trust,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Daniel Morris.

read … Continued Mismanagement

Public vying for chance to shoot at public gun range

KHON: A lot of people have been buying guns recently and that's putting a strain on Oahu's only public firing range.

It's become so crowded at the Koko Head Shooting Complex, that some people are even sleeping in their cars to get a spot.

Last year hours at the park were cut back but with the range in high demand some are fighting for more time.

The range opens at 9am, but Paul Cullpepper got here before the sun came up to ensure a spot to shoot.

"Oh about 3:30, 4 in the morning , that's no joke, it's still dark we can't shoot, until 9," said gun owner Paul Culpepper.

"I get here about 4:15  4:30, if you get here any later all the benches are gone, so you have to come early or plan to wait a good half a day," said gun owner Kenson George.

The City parks Department operates the range.  Under the past administration, hours and days to shoot were scaled back to Wednesday through Friday noon-3, and weekends 9-3.

read … Koko Head Jammed

Lawmakers may limit e-cigarette sales

KITV: E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid solution into a mist to simulates smoking without the stink or tobacco side-effects. Right now, it is legal for anyone to buy them.

"Young people can purchase e-cigarettes. There is no age restriction," said Nicole Sutton, the coordinator for REAL: Hawaii Youth Movement Exposing the Tobacco Industry.

Teens also said the same thing when they went to e-cigarette kiosks at the malls.

read … Lost Tobacco Taxes

Supreme Court to Hear Gay Marriage Arguments March 26

KGI: With the Obama administration urging the Supreme Court to strike down California’s ban on gay marriage, the case could have sweeping implications for the right of same-sex couples to wed.

“It’s an important issue for all people,” said U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawai‘i, on a recent visit to Kaua‘i.

While California won’t have a direct impact for same-sex couples in Hawai‘i, it potentially opens the door to overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which allows marriage to be governed by states.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Proposition 8 case Mar. 26.

A day later, the justices will hear arguments on another gay marriage case, this one involving provisions of DOMA.

The act defines marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of deciding who can receive a range of federal benefits.

The Obama administration abandoned its defense of DOMA in 2011, but the measure will continue to be federal law unless it is struck down or repealed.

read … A bunch of Gay ‘marriage’ propaganda

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