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Friday, June 25, 2010
June 25, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:40 PM :: 10928 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, World News, Hawaii History

State Capitol: July 6 rally against HB444 during Override Session

As Legislature considers override of HB444: Republicans push candidate recruitment

Beyond Marriage The Confession: Hawaii Gay marriage advocates let the polyamorous cat out of the bag

Boylan: How Panos Prevedouros can win

So rail’s a done deal, right? Of course not. Honolulu east of Red Hill and Windward Oahu made up the bulk of those 140,818 anti-rail votes, and many of those folks will not let the issue die.

Perhaps they shouldn’t. Any project with a $5.5 billion price tag needs the voters’ continued attention.

They will give it in the months ahead as University of Hawaii engineering professor Panos Prevedouros takes the anti-rail, pro-high occupancy transit position into the winner-take-all mayoral election. Prevedouros may very well win it. He’s a quick-witted, excellent debater with a disarming sense of humor. He proved that in the 2008 mayoral primary. And he’s the only one of the five major announced mayoral candidates who opposes the proposed mass transit system. The others - city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, city managing director Kirk Caldwell and City Councilmen Donovan Dela Cruz and Rod Tam - all have their strengths, experience in county government and name recognition foremost among them.

But Prevedouros has a pool of 140,818 opponents of rail in which to troll for votes. That’s a big pool, and there aren’t any other mayoral boats with lines in the water.

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City makes $195M deal for train depot

The city announced yesterday that a joint venture between Kiewit Pacific Co. and Albert C. Kobayashi Inc. has been awarded a $195 million contract to build a train depot for Honolulu's planned $5.5 billion elevated commuter rail line.

The contract is the second major construction-related contract awarded so far and the second deal to involve Kiewit. Last October, Kiewit was awarded a $483 million contract to design and build the first phase of the train's guideway from East Kapolei to Leeward Community College.

The train car maintenance and storage facility will be built on a 43-acre parcel off Farrington Highway between Waipahu High School and Leeward Community College.

KITV: Fare Hikes For City Bus Riders Looming

SA: Mayor Hannemann signs off on $1.8B budget to run the city

SA: Oahu residents fret over city furloughs

SA: State's hotel tax will rise to 9.25% in July, a move hoteliers say could backfire

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Case family’s Star-Advertiser: Let HB 444 become state law

But when that time expires July 6, she should respect the wide support for HB 444 in both legislative houses and allow the measure to become law, with or without her signature.

REALITY: More Case family media manipulation
REALITY: Ed Case Video: “I will continue to champion…war over marriage”

REALITY: Beyond Marriage The Confession: Hawaii Gay marriage advocates let the polyamorous cat out of the bag

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NYT Obituary underscores Richardson’s Activist Judicial Career

In perhaps his most famous case, Chief Justice Richardson in essence asked in 1968 why Hawaii should follow Anglo-American common law rather than its own ancient traditions regarding the use of property. The 4-to-1 ruling he wrote incorporated those customs in declaring all beaches in the state open to the public.

Under his leadership, the court also established the water rights of people living downstream from privately owned property that surrounded rivers or streams. It awarded new land created by lava flows to the state, instead of adjacent property owners. And it ruled that native Hawaiians could cross private property to gather traditional cultural resources, like particular plants used by hula dancers as part of their ceremonies.

Those rulings, Dean Soifer said, were “of a piece with his insistence that we should have a law school.”

(In other words Richardson brought us Hokulia and Superferry and created a law school to manufacture hundreds more activist lawyers and judges.)

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Hawaii Pension Fund Loses Millions With BP Stock (thanks, Obama)

While the devaluation of BP stock represents only a small fraction of total assets held by the pension fund, Minority Floor Leader Sen. Sam Slom says it points to a much larger problem – the ERS has a 64.6 percent funded ratio, which means 35.4 percent of its current and future obligations cannot be met.

“This retirement system is in serious trouble,” said Slom. “You look at all of these looming financial obligations; the taxpayers are not going to be able to foot the bill.”

The Employees’ Retirement System has amassed $6.2 billion in unfunded liabilities and state government is partly to blame.

Although the practice ended five years ago, since the 1960’s state lawmakers (backed by public employees’ unions) were responsible for diverting more than $1.6 billion in excess investment returns from the ERS. Making the pension fund whole again will require tough decisions.

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Failure of jobless bill seen costing Hawaii $86 million (…unless we pay taxes here)

The rejected bill would have provided $16 billion in new aid to states, including six-month extensions of weekly unemployment benefits and Medicaid programs for indigent adults.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think tank, Hawaii stands to lose $86 million in Medicaid funds in the fiscal year that begins next month.

State House Finance Committee Chairman Marcus Oshiro says the governor may have to seek an emergency appropriation to cover that loss next year.

As usual, they have only done half of the math.  Here’s the other half:

$16B / 300M Americans = $53.33 per person x 1.2M people in Hawaii = $64M in tax dollars needed to pay for the spending.  And that does not count the cost of financing the borrowing of the $64M.  Worst case: Hawaii only ‘loses’ $22M.  Best case Hawaii has actually come out ahead because of the tax dollars which will not be spent on these ‘free’ benefits.

SA:   Hawaii could take $86 million hit after defeat of bill in US Senate

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Isle census offices finish job

The estimate indicated a rise in the state's white population and declines in its Asian and native Hawaiian populations.

(Changing political dynamic.)

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HNN: City park cleanup is shifting homeless problem, not fixing it (Opinion masquerading as news)

"Cops come and kick them out, they try, but they don't really have anywhere to go, they wait for it to clear and come back," said Tim Jackson, a Honolulu resident.

(In reality, shelters report an increase in homeless moving in to their facilities as a result of the sweeps.  This is just defeatist propaganda.)

MORE REALITY:

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Aspen Colorado authorities ship homeless to Hawaii

Rani Grewal, 47, has been charged with second-degree attempted assault of a peace officer; and second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and menacing with a real or simulated weapon, which are felonies. A fourth count of third-degree assault is a misdemeanor….

“She has been homeless in our community for a very, very long time and there is a substantial risk that she will commit more crimes,” Mordkin told Judge Boyd.

Grewal has had run-ins with police several times over the years. There have been six case involvements in 2009 and 2010, five of which resulted in arrests, according to the Aspen Police Department. There was one case in 2008 and 11 in 2007, according to APD records. The incidents involved trespassing or disorderly conduct, and once for harassment.

Authorities and mental health workers arranged for Grewal to move to Hawaii last year but she returned to Aspen a few months ago, according to sources.

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State sued over adult mental health services cuts 

The Hawaii Disability Rights Center filed a complaint Wednesday in state court seeking to reverse budget reductions that were adopted last year.
The center contends that the state Adult Mental Health Division of the Department of Health has cut case management hours for people needing medication, counseling, housing, and other necessities of life.
It also says the division, without public input, changed its eligibility rules to end services it provides to patients other than those with severe and persistent mental illness.

SA: State sued over mental health cuts

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KITV: Hawaii Hopes For New Schools Superintendent: But Governor Might Veto Bill To Offer Best Salary To Candidate 

Consultant Lee Goeke, owner of Human Resources for Public Education, (the BoE hired this clown yesterday and he’s already started planting stories) called Hawaii's current salary cap of $150,000 a year "woefully inadequate" for a school system of Hawaii's complexity and size.

Goeke said the pay is not competitive because many schools superintendents on the mainland with fewer students and far less responsibility are making much more money.

Goeke said it will be a "huge problem" trying to find the best superintendent when compensation for a similar position on the mainland is $100,000 higher.

Jill Tao, a University of Hawaii professor and (therefore always available to help the BoE make a point) the mother of a second grader at Noelani School in Manoa, (sound familiar?) said she is frustrated the governor may scuttle the superintendent's pay hike bill.

(The search is fake.  They are just going to appoint Matayoshi anyway.  So there is no need to create a fat salary as a lure to unwanted outsiders.)

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Mortgage fraud? Hawaii #1 in same-day flips

Accounting for only 0.45 percent of all residential transactions, Minnesota’s rate of same-day flips far outpaced states where mortgage fraud is more broadly recognized as a problem. Only Hawaii, with a much smaller number of same-day flips (144) but also a much smaller total of real estate transactions, had a higher proportion of same-day flip sales.

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Maui Electric Company Restricts Renewable Energy for Molokai Residents as the State of Hawaii Considers Building Wind Farms There 

June 24, 2010 – Even though Hawaii has set a goal of having 70% clean and renewable energy production within the next twenty years, Maui Electric Company (MECO) is now refusing to allow new renewable energy systems into its system on parts of Molokai. Because of this decision any residents or business owners in the Kaunakakai area will not be allowed to install solar panels.

MECO says that it is restricting any new units in that area of the island because of limits set by the Public Utilities Commission. The current limit on renewable energy was recently raised from 10% to 15% of the circuit and MECO says that the 15% limit has been reached in Kaunakakai.

MD: Renewable Energy Restricted in Kaunakakai

RELATED: Wind Energy's Ghosts

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Hawaii residents cash in on refrigerator rebates

Hawaii residents have bought nearly 8,000 refrigerators that qualify for $250 rebates each under a program meant to encourage energy efficient appliances.

The monthlong rebate program, which ended Wednesday, was available to people who bought Energy Star refrigerators and recycled inefficient "clunker" refrigerators.

The rebates are paid with federal stimulus funds for by their neighbors.

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Class Action Suit Claims Hawaii Privatized State Park

Hawaiian officials illegally privatized a historic state park and limited its public use by awarding a 25-year lease to a child care and tourism company, according to a federal class action in Honolulu. The class claims Hawaii's natural resources director did it despite the Legislature's rejection of her proposals to raise more money from state parks.

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Different mission awaits Iraq-bound isle soldiers

It's moving time in Iraq.

That means 3,800 Hawaii soldiers with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team start to leave today for what may be a turn-out-the-lights mission in northern Iraq as the U.S. is proceeding with a big troop drawdown in the country.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said earlier this month that there were 88,000 American troops on the ground. He said he expects the number to be at 50,000 by Sept. 1.

A deployment ceremony was held on Sills Field yesterday as the Schofield unit prepares to head off on what will be an entirely different mission as an "advise and assist" brigade.

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NZ Family recognises 'Josie May'

Her family contacted Stuff after seeing her picture yesterday.

Stuff has passed the information to authorities in Honolulu who are making contact with the family to establish identity.

A Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry spokesman said they have also been contacted by a family member who has asked that no other information be released.

The New Zealand Consul in Los Angeles is also working with Honolulu authorities to establish Josie May's identity and to get her home as quickly as possible.

The family are convinced that Josie May is Ethel and she belongs to a large and widespread family and is the only survivor of her generation.

She had left for Alaska 20 years ago and as her generation passed away, contact was lost.

NZS: Homeless Josie May is Auntie Ethel

SA: New Zealand relatives identify 'Josie May'

KITV: New Zealand Family Recognizes Mystery Woman

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