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Friday, February 19, 2010
February 19, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:15 PM :: 8829 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Native Hawaiian self-government bill could go to vote next week

(This is different.  Usually the media in Hawaii does not announce any impending Akaka Bill votes.)

Meanwhile, Hawai'i's congressional delegation is close to reaching compromise language designed to satisfy both state and federal attorneys. The two sides have locked horns on the language of the bill since December.

Delegation staff have "been working with the state as well as other stakeholders to come up with a final text that addresses as many of the concerns as possible," said Jesse Broder Van Dyke, spokesman for Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i. Van Dyke said his office expects a final version to be reached "in the coming days."

State Attorney General Mark Bennett said the parties have been able to address some of the concerns raised by Gov. Linda Lingle's administration, but not all of them.

(So the bill’s text remains secret until it is introduced in the House.  UPDATE LINK TO >>>  FULL TEXT: Latest version of Akaka Bill)

RELATED: House Expected to Vote Next Week on ANOTHER secret version of Akaka Bill

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Abercrombie on Rail: “We may have to come up with alternative”

Abercrombie, who has been a strong supporter of the city's initial proposal, says he now sees problems.

"I have serious concerns that it is going to be challenged, and if it is, we may have to come up with some alternative to this," Abercrombie said.

"My observation is it is an invitation for lawsuits, to conflict and confrontation as opposed to buying in. You have to get the community to buy in," Abercrombie said.

"The mayor says it meets all the environmental criteria," said Abercrombie. "We will see. That doesn't mean it is a good system.

"The (Federal) Transit Administration doesn't say this is a good idea. They say have you met all the environmental criteria. I don't think it does, but I don't have the final draft yet," said Abercrombie.

(Rail is dead.  The politicians are all blaming each other for its failure.)

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HB2450: Conservation land to be bulldozed by “renewable” energy scammers

The purpose of Act 173, passed last year, was to facilitate financing and development of renewable energy projects by exempting landowners from “formal subdivision approval” by allowing leases, easements, mortgages and other conveyances, but is limited to solar energy facilities on land with poor agricultural productivity or wind energy facilities located within a conservation state land use district, according to the legislation.

HB2450/SB2411, if passed, would expand Act 173’s applicability to include any renewable energy facilities on agricultural land approved by the Land Use Commission and county Planning Commissions, and renewable energy facilities on conservation land permitted by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.

RELATED: Wind Energy's Ghosts

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Bill to set buffer around wind turbines advances

Kahuku Community Association board member Kent Fonoimoana said a 1,000-foot buffer would not help him and other residents who anticipate noise from a proposed 10-turbine energy project.

Fonoimoana said the association supports renewable energy but wants the developer, Oahu Wind Partners, to eliminate the four wind turbines closest to residences because of the potential noise.

State Sen. Clayton Hee, who co-introduced Senate Bill 2526, described the measure as a "work in progress."

RELATED: Wind Energy's Ghosts

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Jeremy Harris Flashback: Bev Harbin Says Lisa-Katharine Otsuka Stole From Her Auto Shop

…three years later, police and prosecutors investigating Otsuka's ties to the Jeremy Harris campaign interviewed Harbin. Otsuka refused to testify against the Harris campaign and was never charged in that case, but she WAS charged with stealing from Harbin.

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ADV: After 17 years, $100 fee could use a nudge

To feed HGEA we must tax schools, hospitals, and charities.

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Bill eases rate jump for jobless insurance

If the law is not changed, the average annual premium paid by businesses will jump from $90 per employee to $1,070 this year. Under HB 2169, the bill that passed the House yesterday, the increase per employee per year would be trimmed by $440 to $630.

The average premium in 2011, which will be $1,520 if the law is not changed, will be reduced to $970 if HB 2169 passes.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. Rep. Karl Rhoads, chairman of the Labor and Public Employment Committee, said he expects the Senate to pass some form of the bill although it may not be the same as what passed the House.

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SB: State pension needs fix

Many states dealt with the problem in ways other than increasing taxes. Those included reducing benefits offered to new employees and reducing health care and other non-pension benefits. New York lawmakers in December increased the minimum retirement age from 55 to 62, raised the minimum years of service from five to 10 years to qualify for a pension and capped the amount of overtime used in calculating benefits.

Obviously, the actions taken by past Hawaii Legislatures have been insufficient to attain stability of the state's retirement system. Now wrestling with furloughs, layoffs and a raft of tax proposals to mitigate the state's $1.2 billion budget deficit, legislators must not look at increasing taxes as a solution to the retirement-fund shortfall. Instead, terms of state workers' retirement buy-in and benefits should be restructured.

RELATED: PEW: Hawaii “has failed to sock away any assets” to cover pension liabilities

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Delusional Abercrombie still sure Obamacare is going to pass

“Those who want to kill health care reform are grasping at anything to prove that they have the momentum to block the president.”  Wow.

RELATED: Abercrombie resignation kills Obamacare majority in House , Abercrombie, Hirono sign new letter backing socialist single-payer health system

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Big Isle charter school not done deal

Charter proponents worry that they may lose the remainder of a nearly half-million-dollar federal grant if the state does not lift a suspension on the review of charter applications.

Alvin Parker, the chairman of the state Charter School Review Panel, said the panel has not accepted any applications this year and does not plan to do so until the close of the Legislative session.

"The last time we authorized a school was the beginning of this current school year," he said. "We suspended authorization because of the tremendous fiscal challenges in our state, particularly in education."

Parker explained that the budgetary woes have been exacerbated because that his budget is biennial. "We have the same budget from last year in place this year, and we've projected we'll have about 1,000 more students," he said.

"Basically, the more successful we are, we get financially penalized by that success."

RELATED: Laupahoehoe Liberation: Rural school targeted for closure votes for charter conversion

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Hawaii to change 4,000 with mental illnesses to services from insurers

About 4,000 Medicaid clients with severe mental illnesses will no longer get mental health services through the state under changes set to start taking effect this summer, but instead will get treatment from their health insurers — a switch that some worry will leave clients with reduced or no mental health care

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Kauai County credit rating gets bump: $120M bond float gains approval

Council: “Woo-hoo we got a credit card in the mail.”

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Maui Co budget shortfall boosted from $4M to $72M

She repeated for them the laundry list of steps she had laid out in her State of the County address. That includes tax increases and increased fees, reductions in services and hiring, and salary freezes.

The degree of pressure has increased even since the State of the County address less than a week ago.

Then she said that county revenues could be down as much as $68 million, largely due to lower real property tax assessments and collections. That was a worst case, assuming the state did keep the anticipated $18 million of room tax revenue.

Wednesday, Tavares upped the potential shortfall by $4 million to an estimated $72 million.

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Pay raises frozen for Big Isle council

Salaries for the nine lawmakers will be frozen "until further notice," the Hawai'i County Salary Commission decided in a unanimous vote on Wednesday.

Current economic conditions don't justify granting raises when a council member starts a new two-year term, Commissioner Margaret Tokunaga said.

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Hawaii gets persistent requests for Obama birth certificate:State DOH still gets up to 50 requests a month for certificate

In an attempt to stem the flow of requests, the agency recently set up a special page on its Web site devoted to the issue of Obama's birth certificate and who is eligible to get the records. LINK>>> Frequently Asked Questions About Vital Records of President Barack Hussein Obama II

The continuing issue over Obama's birthplace — and, therefore, his eligibility to serve as president of the United States — has led state Sen. Will Espero, D-20th, ('Ewa Beach, Waipahu) to introduce two bills this session on different sides of the issue.

Senate Bill 2056 would open up Hawai'i birth records under strict conditions to people who currently have no legitimate right to see them. Senate Bill 2937 would allow state agencies to label people who persistently "abuse" the public information process as "vexatious requestors," which would allow state officials to deny their requests for documents.

Birtherism exposed:  9/11 Truthers Meet the Birth Certificate Brigade

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4 men, woman charged in online sex trafficking of minor

According to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed last week, Arrington was the pimp who controlled the sex-trafficking operation, collected money paid to the girl and distributed it to the others.

He allegedly used a handgun, ordered her to have sex with customers and instructed her to tell customers she was 18 years old.

He gave the girl, identified only as K.B. in the indictment, cocaine and marijuana to induce her continued compliance, the indictment said….

 

 

RELATED: Lack of Law Put Minors at Risk in Hawaii (Is Hawaii a haven for pimps?)

 

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Soft on Crime: Man gets 30 days in marijuana case (7.6 lbs)

RELATED: GTMO Greenwell accuses Hawaii police of "eating children"

(Anybody think marijuana causes paranoid delusions?)

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LINK>>>After voting for Stimulus, Abercrombie admits false claims “make people sick of politicians”

LINK>>>Unemployment tax relief passes House

Flag-flying bill fails to gain support for revival: Democrats promise to consider task force on residential rules

Pine and other minority Republicans urged veterans to come to the state Capitol yesterday, and dozens filled the House gallery, with many carrying large American flags.

Harold Alejandro, an Air Force and Army veteran whose experience of trying to display an American flag at his home in 'Ewa by Gentry prompted the bill, said he simply wanted to honor the memory of fallen soldiers in Iraq.

Restrictions by community associations, he said, holding a large American flag, "are doing dishonor to this flag."

Rodel Cruz, who served in the Navy and is now receiving guidance from U.S. Vets, an organization in Kalaeloa that helps homeless veterans, said he came to stand with Alejandro.

"Freedom is not free. We worked hard for it. We have that one thing in common — we served our country — I don't see why we can't raise our flag," he said.

Cabanilla : Excuses for obstructing flag bill

RELATED: Legislature refuses to vote on flag pole bill

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