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Tuesday, May 25, 2010
May 25, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:43 PM :: 10198 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development, World News, Hawaii History

 

National Dems: Dump Hanabusa AND Case

1986: A good omen for Charles Djou

Campaign message strategy: How the Case was closed

Cataluna: Would both of them rather see Djou keep the job????

There isn't going to be a unity breakfast after this one. There isn't much hope for unity. The grudge between Dan Inouye and Ed Case will go on, each side refusing to back down, in an epic enmity like Mufi Hannemann versus Neil Abercrombie, but much more destructive. No unity breakfast could heal those wounds, no matter what sorts of fancy toppings are offered at the waffle station.

Against a more polished and self-assured Democrat like Hannemann,  (Hannemann polished???) Djou would have come off like a dweeb, but compared with "only in it to serve the old guard" Hanabusa and "only in it to serve myself" Case, Djou's gawkiness was earnest. His trying-too-hard felt like sincere effort, not desperation.

So what's going to be different? Will Case supporters vote for Hanabusa in the general if she leads the ticket in September? Would Hanabusa play nice and throw her support to Case should he win the primary? Or would both of them rather see Djou keep the job than have the other go to D.C.? "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," as the saying goes, and for both Case and Hanabusa, that's shaka-shaka-pointing Djou.

(Democrat State convention begins Friday.  Should be amusing.)

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Democrat ADV: Some familiar messages in special election

But a note of caution for anyone tempted to divine more from the vote than what's there. This result is not a win for the tea party. It does not signal a resurgence of the Republican Party in Hawai'i, or a sudden abandonment of the (sic) Democratic agenda. Djou was nearly 40,000 votes behind the combined total run up by the two Democrats (and their two conflicting agendas).

Although Djou will be campaigning in the coming regular elections as the incumbent, he's not going to have much time to rack up a record and will have to be careful about any messages he sends home. He promised to put Hawai'i before party loyalty, and the voters want to see that independence.

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Djou DC bound, council seeks replacement

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Congressman Elect Charles Djou is on his way to Washington DC.  He and his family left Honolulu International late this afternoon.  Djou won the special election to fill Neil Abercrombie's seat in the First District.  He could be sworn in as early as tomorrow 10:00 a.m. Hawaii time, depending on the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's schedule. 

Djou says since winning Saturday night he has traded voice mails with Abercrombie and fellow Hawaii Congressional Representative Mazie Hirono who offered their congratulations.

"Best wishes, good luck, Congressman Abercrombie did mention he has a unique vantage point that he himself had a special election to take his seat initially and he knows firsthand how challenging it can be to get up to speed very, very quickly," said Djou from Honolulu Hale….

Because the replacement is not being elected by the people Djou wants applicants to agree not to run for the full term in the fall because it could give them an unfair advantage.

"It is my hope that whoever replaces me makes a very clear commitment that they not seek any political office in the fall," said Djou.

However there is no law addressing that and it will be up to the individual council members to take that into consideration.

Djou also recommended attorney Jonathan Lai for the post.  He is interested in the interim post but would not seek the full term.  Lai is a friend of Djou's since 7th grade.

SB: D.C.-bound Djou resigns City Council seat

SB: Budget vote possible for Djou's successor

ADV: Djou's swearing-in to start council's vacancy process

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HNN online survey: Do you think Charles Djou will be able to win in November?

 

Yes       43%
No        48%
Maybe    9%

Abercrombie begins TV ads in governor's race

In the 30-second ad, Abercrombie focuses on education, saying he never would have permitted school furloughs.

He also cites an education plan he unveiled last month that would decentralize authority in the state's education system and heighten performance measures for teachers.

REALITY: Abercrombie: My “emanations” will make DoE serve students first, Finnegan hits Abercrombie's “empty campaign promises” on education

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$1.82B city operating budget for Honolulu advances

The full council now takes up the $1.82 billion city operating budget and other components of the budget plan on June 9.

Non-occupant homeowners, who belong in the so-called "non-homeowner" tax classification, would pay $3.58 per $1,000 of assessed value under the plan. That's less than the $3.72 that Hannemann had proposed in March, but more than the $3.42 they now pay.

The tax rates for all other classifications would stay the same as this year, including the "homeowner" (owner-occupant) class, which would continue to pay $3.42….

The committee also voted to increase the minimum tax paid by nonprofits and others from $100 to $300 annually. It would be the first time the minimum tax has increased since 1993.

In other action, the committee rejected a bill that would have increased the city's fuel tax from 16.5 cents to 19.5 cents a gallon after criticism that the hike would have hit the wallets of long-distance commuters more significantly.

As for other details in the operating budget bill, the latest version calls for slashing about 10 percent of vacant, funded job positions to save $2 million, and trimming current expenses across most agencies by 1.5 percent to save an additional $1.5 million.

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Governor Lingle holds roundtables on civil unions bill

Supporters and opponents of civil unions said some of the discussion will center on whether the bill is legally sound.

"There are some concerns the way the bill is worded, some ramifications and consequences that will come about because of it," said Elwin Ahu, pastor at New Hope Christian Fellowship Oahu and an opponent of civil unions.

"I think there is nothing insurmountable legally about the bill," Young said.

KITV: Civil Unions Opponents Meet With Governor

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Civil unions would have little economic impact, study finds

They used figures from Vermont, also a tourist destination where civil unions are now legal, to project the economic impact of out-of-state couples seeking Hawaii union ceremonies. The additional visitors would likely be couples from states where their union would be recognized and their families and friends….

Based on visitor spending statistics and wedding services costs, the authors concluded that spending by people who come here to participate in "civil union ceremonies and celebrations would be approximately $6.9 million."

About $300,000 in general excise tax revenues per year and license fees could bring up to $480,000 into state coffers, they said, basing the estimate on the current $60 marriage license fee.

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Deal will allow Chinese bank-card users to access funds via Bankoh's network

Bankoh will be displaying the China UnionPay logo on the front of all of Bankoh's ATMs, as well as putting the Chinese language on all its ATM transaction screens and making point-of-sales terminals at tourism-related merchants that Bankoh services compatible with China UnionPay cards.

"Chinese right now travel with a lot of cash," said Betty Brow, executive vice president of Bankoh's international banking division. "They're big spenders, but generally they use cash because they don't know they can use their cards. But by making sure that our machine works and with the logo on it signifying they can use our machines, China UnionPay starts with us first. And if that works, they may do it with other banks."

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Stream study pushes for more water restoration

WAILUKU - Nearly six months after recommending that Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. restore water to only one of 19 streams in East Maui, staffers for the state Commission on Water Resource Management have changed their minds - at the direction of balance-seeking commissioners in the heated controversy.

If commissioners follow the advice signed off by Deputy Director Ken Kawahara, HC&S will have to return water to a total of 14 of 27 streams in the East Maui watershed. Kawahara's 64-page staff report advocates that six streams get some of their water back, totaling 10.46 million gallons a day.

The recommendation is a vast improvement, "a partial victory," said Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. attorney Alan Murakami. But it's not enough, he said.

They OHA want water restored to all the streams.

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Hawaii home-care horror tales underscore risk to elderly

By the time Florentina Lazo's private caregiver brought her to a hospital emergency room, the 81-year-old Waialua woman suffered from pneumonia, malnutrition, gangrene and severe pressure sores, including one that penetrated so deeply it exposed bone.

Until she was taken to the ER, Lazo hadn't been seen by a doctor for eight months.

She eventually lapsed into a diabetic coma, and hospital physicians decided the gangrene was so severe they amputated her left leg above the knee. She died several days later in May 2003 from a heart attack.

An autopsy determined that elder neglect was a contributing factor in Lazo's death.

The state prosecuted Merlina Oamil, Lazo's live-in caregiver, for failing to properly care for the elderly woman and for accepting $1,000 a month and living accommodations in exchange for services that weren't delivered. In 2005, Oamil pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and theft.

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ADV: Premium Plus plan nudges employers

The biggest challenge faced by Premium Plus is that it will only cover up to about $140 a month in benefit costs, or $1,680 a year. That's not a lot, especially for family coverage.

But the incentive may be just enough to nudge businesses to hire additional workers, especially as the economy improves and customer demand strengthens . And every person who starts collecting a paycheck helps to further strengthen the economy.

Even if the program hits only half of its target and gets 3,000 people off unemployment, that's still a big dent.

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Honolulu Police officer waives first court appearance

Investigators say Kamikawa hit a 61-year-old woman in a crosswalk in Chinatown on the morning of April 24. The woman was hospitalized with minor injuries.

Kamikawa has had his police powers taken away and will not be able to drive because his license was revoked.

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Crime on Oahu rises 4.5 percent

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Close one school and open a door

Today, the school board sees another tough decision on the horizon concerning tiny Hale'iwa Elementary School. The state could save $720,000 a year in operating costs and scratch off some $4 million in backlogged repairs and maintenance if the school is consolidated with Waialua Elementary two miles away.

Hale'iwa is understandably chagrined by this, but at a time when the booming 'Ewa area is watching gleaming new schools spring up, a rural consolidation should be seen as an opportunity.

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Kamehameha Schools plans $118M redevelopment of Kapalama campus

Nearly the entire middle school campus, including its boys and girls dormitories, will be demolished and replaced with five buildings totaling 160,000 square feet.

Nordic PCL is the general contractor for the master plan.

SB: Kamehameha project a boon

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State Clears Up Solar Credit Confusion

The industry said installations of large systems on homes and business ground to a halt for several weeks after the state made an effort to clarify eligibility rules for the 35 percent state tax credit.

Confusion over whether the clarification actually limited available credits made some buyers unsure about whether they'd be eligible.

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Lawmakers have cut all funding to troubled Aloha Tower Development Corp.

A bill to abolish the Aloha Tower Development Corp. failed earlier this year despite an April audit that recommended such a fate for the state agency. But a late maneuver by the Legislature will prevent ATDC from operating effective July 1.

State House and Senate negotiators withheld funding from the agency for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Without a budget appropriation, the ATDC won't be able to pursue its main function — facilitating redevelopment of underused state land around Aloha Tower, roughly from Piers 5 to 23 at Honolulu Harbor.

It's also unclear how other ATDC duties, such as collecting ground lease rent from Aloha Tower Marketplace, will be continued.

The budget amendment prohibits Gov. Linda Lingle or her successor from transfering ATDC special fund money to another agency for the purpose of achieving ATDC's mission.

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SB: Molokai veterans awaiting center deserve better

Before the festering dispute results in costly legal action guaranteed to further complicate the project, Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares should investigate the situation as the Molokai veterans have asked, openly address any concerns the county has about the project, and, if the issues are as easily resolved as it appears they should be, move ahead quickly to break ground.

Such an approach is warranted not in order to avoid a lawsuit, but because it's the right thing to do—and should have been done all along.

Nearly 100 members of the nonprofit group Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans met with an attorney last week to discuss how to proceed, frustrated that they still lack the necessary building permits after nearly four years of effort.

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200 Wahiawa Soldiers To Join Afghanistan Surge

HONOLULU -- The number of United States troops in Afghanistan has surpassed the number in Iraq for the first time since the Iraq invasion in 2003. The Department of Defense said 94,000 troops are now in Afghanistan compared to the 92,000 in Iraq.

Soon 200 soldiers 307th Integrated Theater Signal Battalion based at the Helemano Military Reservation in Wahiawa will be joining the military surge and on Monday they held a deployment ceremony. The soldiers said their military creed as part of the pomp and circumstance of a traditional military deployment ceremony.

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