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Saturday, February 20, 2010
February 20, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:35 PM :: 8984 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

GOP Objects To Pushing Native Hawaii Bill (House Rules Ctte will meet on Akaka Bill Monday)

House Republicans are upset that a Rules Committee hearing has been set for Monday on a bill to give native Hawaiians sovereign government status, saying the bill is little more than a going-away present for Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, who is resigning at the end of the month to run for governor.

The bill would give native Hawaiians essentially the same sovereignty rights as an Indian tribe. Since it was first introduced in 2000, the bill has passed the House several times, but has always failed in the Senate. The current Senate version has already cleared the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. . . .

In a statement, Hastings said when the committee cleared the bill in December, there was an understanding with Democrats that more work was needed on the bill to address concerns with the language. Those concerns were heightened last year when both the governor and state attorney general expressed their own concerns.

But with the announcement of the Rules meeting, Hastings said, the understanding that further work is needed seems to have dissolved.

RELATED: FULL TEXT: Latest version of Akaka Bill , House Expected to Vote Next Week on ANOTHER secret version of Akaka Bill 

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Akaka Bill Transforms Native Hawaiians Into Indian Tribe Without Their Input

What makes this most interesting is for the past three months after the bill passed out of House Committee and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, there was talk about redoing the bill, amending the bill, modifying the bill, bringing all parties into discussion on the bill.

And yet during that period of time, no one knows exactly what changes have been made, if any, and what the text of the bill actually looks like, and yet people are going to be asked to vote on this bill next week. I’ve made the call in the Legislature before to have people in the State of Hawai‘i vote on the Akaka bill, each county, and we have not done that. We’ve not discussed it. No one knows at this point what the text of that bill looks like.

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Lingle to discuss rail with Obama's transportation secretary

Lingle is in Washington D.C. for several meetings with cabinet secretaries and to attend a National Governors Association meeting.

Today, she is to confer with Assistant Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

The governor is set to visit with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood on Sunday, where she will discuss the rail proposal and other transportation issues.

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SB on Dope:  Proven medical remedy must be more accessible

California and Hawaii are among 14 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. More than 5,700 patients in Hawaii have registered with the state to use medical marijuana. However, while California has been trying to cope with nearly 1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries, creating what some have called a carnival atmosphere, Hawaii has none.  (And the SB editors are soooo very disappointed.)

Gov. Linda Lingle has insisted on adhering to the federal law.  (The gall!)  She vetoed a bill last year that would have created a task force to find a way for patients to obtain marijuana legally. When the Legislature overrode her veto, she chose not to create the task force. Instead, Sen. Will Espero, who sponsored the task force bill, asked representatives of nongovernmental groups included in the bill to do the work as the Medical Cannabis Working Group.  (Bunch of hippies sitting around talking about dope)

The group issued a report this month proposing creation of

  • a marijuana distribution system for patients,
  • increases in the maximum number of plants and marijuana amounts a patient may possess,
  • allowing doctors to care for at least five patients to assure them adequate supplies and
  • transferring the program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health.
  • The working group also recommends that the Legislature ensure patient confidentiality

Legislators have strongly supported the state's medical marijuana law. The working group notes that Lingle's veto of the task force legislation was overridden unanimously by the Senate and by a 38-9 vote in the House. A bill to create a distribution system should be enacted with the expectation that a veto will fail again and the next governor will implement the new law.

(Dopey Star-Bulletin editors insist that Hawaii follow California’s example—even as California tries to end it.)

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Cabanilla, Oshiro Choke: Flagpole bill will likely be heard after supporters show in force (Oshiro faked the vote count?)

LINK>>> VIDEO OF VOTE COUNT

Rallied by the Republican sponsor of the bill, Rep. Kymberly Pine, veterans groups and other supporters packed the House gallery on Thursday as the six-member GOP caucus tried to have the bill recalled from committee.

Many cheered loudly from the gallery whenever a lawmaker spoke in support, and in some cases shouted "Sit down!" to lawmakers who stood in opposition to the recall motion, which fell three votes shy of the 17 needed to pass.

"I think that considering the passion of the people, I'm willing to rehear it," said Cabanilla (D, Waipahu-Ewa).

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, although a time will not be determined until Monday.

Pine (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) said she expects the hearing to be well attended. "There's already a veterans group forming to tackle this issue," she said. "I think enough people are going to come out to show that they support it."

Meanwhile, Pine said Cabanilla's move to rehear the bill meant she would likely drop plans to challenge Thursday's recall vote.

Staff members who recorded the in-house video of the vote said it clearly showed that three Democrats' hands were raised for the recall vote but not counted, leaving the motion three votes shy of the required 17.

House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro said the chief clerk and two assistants each counted 14 "yea" votes on the recall motion, and no one challenged the count, "so it's an official decision."

Related:  Child Molester’s friend, Rep. Cabanilla blocks flagpole bill , Legislature refuses to vote on flag pole bill

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Isles lag in loan crisis: A declining trend in mainland foreclosures is not expected to extend locally

Last month, Hawaii experienced the largest rise in the REO, or bank-owned, category of foreclosures, he said.

"REOs were up 58 percent from December and 1,013 percent from January 2009," Blomquist said. "This means that more Hawaii homeowners who went into default failed to get out of it. The most painful foreclosure category went up quite a bit in Hawaii."

Foreclosure auction notices, a step where the homeowner can still save their home, decreased 31 percent from December but rose 241 percent from January 2009, he said.

But the most telling sign that Hawaii's foreclosure problem will continue at least for several more months is the rise in default notices, Blomquist said. Foreclosure default notices rose 27 percent from December and 79 percent from the prior year, he said.

RELATED: Honolulu inflation inches up--Fuel prices shift wildly as the Consumer Price Index rises 1.7% from the first half of 2009

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Homelessness: Wall of trash pulled from Kea'au bushes

So much stuff was pulled from the bush that volunteers had enough to choke an estimated 700 garbage bags and fill two 20-foot container-sized truckloads with recyclable and bulky items.

Even that was inadequate to handle the load. When the bags and containers were full, the junk just kept on coming.

So many more tons of tires, mattresses, busted furniture pieces, broken glass, mangled appliances, contraption parts and other assorted castoffs were accumulated that volunteers decided to stack the leftovers along an access road at Kea'au Beach Park — where they remained yesterday, a sort of Great Wall of Roadside Rubbish….

Brennon Morioka, DOT director, said his department has to contract out the work because the trash includes human waste and other hazardous material, from syringes and other bio-hazards to propane tanks.

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Hawaii County bag ban discarded

Other concerns Yoshimoto raised included whether banning plastic bags would cause stores to offer more paper bags, which also can have a negative environmental impact. He said if littering is the problem, which some testifiers noted Thursday morning, then enforcement of littering laws might be stepped up. He also said the bill might benefit from a phase-in period, which would give people time to adjust to the new law.

Yoshimoto added that he personally supports the idea of eliminating plastic bag use. Enriques and Yagong said they spent time at stores, talking with cashiers and customers, many of whom adamantly opposed the bill.

Hilo council members Donald Ikeda and Dennis Onishi also opposed the bill, but offered no comments.

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Kenoi expenses: Mayor spends more than one quarter of first year off-island

The county Finance Department reported that $23,634 of Kenoi's first-year travel and entertainment expenses were picked up by taxpayers.

Expenses ranged from $3,505.78 for a round-trip flight to Washington for President Obama's inauguration and U.S. Conference of Mayors convention to $8.38 for a Hawaii Council of Mayors breakfast in Honolulu.

(No amounts itemized to replace thrown barstools.)

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Saddle Road's last leg to cost $75 million

It will extend 10.3 miles from roughly the existing mile marker 41, located near the Kilohana Girl Scout Camp, to Mamalahoa Highway. That will place the western terminus of the cross-island road near the mile marker 14 of Mamalahoa Highway, four miles south of the Waikoloa Road junction.  A dangerous section that has 11 one-lane bridges will be bypassed but will remain open.

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Hauula Community Deserves a Public Hearing Before Any Government Property Condemnations in the Area

Please protect public disclosure, due process and property rights. Condemnation of properties must be the government's last resort.

Please respect and work with the Hauula community FIRST.

Information about condemnation and Hauula denied due process.

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Tajiri quits post as regent for UH

The Governor's Office will now notify the Regents Advisory Council of the vacancy. The council will solicit candidates for the position to present to the governor within 60 days. The candidates must also be confirmed by the state Senate.

Three other positions will become vacant on the board this year. The council is in the process of recommending candidates for Honolulu and Maui regents and a student regent to the governor.

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Law lets loaded guns into parks

The law lets licensed gun owners bring firearms into national parks and wildlife refuges as long as they are allowed by state law. Hawaii Revised Statutes allow people with valid permits to carry a concealed weapon and openly carry a weapon to and from hunting or target shooting.

"The message from the park service is clear, and we're going to follow the law," said Bruce Applin, chief ranger of Haleakala National Park. "We don't anticipate any problems. I don't think there are a huge amount of concealed-weapons permits issued in Hawaii."

Furthermore, all park rangers are fully commissioned law enforcement officers and carry multiple weapons "for just about any situation," explained Applin.

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