VIDEO: Abercrombie squares off with Maui Nurses
Djou responds to Hirono Campaign Announcement
UHERO County Forecast: Uneven Recovery Continues
SA: Abercrombie off to rough start
…candidate Abercrombie said in a news conference a month before the election: "We intend to work with the existing (budget) numbers. … We will not be raising any taxes." That glib expectation did not come close to fruition….
Abercrombie — who as the diplomatic candidate had credited campaign-trail listening tours for his big election win — could not refrain from belligerently referring to AARP, the senior citizens lobby, as "essentially a front for insurance companies." The accusation was off-base. The organization, which receives millions of dollars in royalties from insurers for its endorsement, was among the strongest supporters two years ago of the federal health care law, which was opposed by the insurance industry.
The governor also irritated public employee union members by proposing to cut off taxpayers' reimbursement to retired public workers and their spouses for state Medicare B services not included in general coverage. Pressured by the unions, legislators rejected Abercrombie's proposal — though we agree with the governor that it was sound and should be enacted in next year's session if still needed.
As for the general excise tax, legislators temporarily eliminated what has been an exemption for numerous kinds of economic activity, including the loading and unloading of ships or aircraft. With his bolder tax proposals failing, Abercrombie said at legislative mid-session that he was "flexible" on GET issues — a waffling that exasperated legislative leaders and confused the public.
Police Roust Kenoi, Chang from Drunken Party
A loud drinking party on county property brought to a halt by the police early May 1 included Mayor Billy Kenoi, state Rep. Jerry Chang and a host of other bigwigs celebrating the end of the Merrie Monarch Festival.
It's unclear whether party organizers had a permit to serve alcohol at the event. South Hilo Patrol Capt. Robert Wagner said he couldn't locate an alcohol permit for April 30 at the location, although he did find one for an apparently unrelated event there April 29. It's possible, he said, that the permit was in the 2010 file folder, because permits are filed by the date they're granted, not the date or location of the event.
(So it took nearly 3 weeks to get this into the media.)
Merrie Monarch officials didn't respond to a detailed question left with staff at the office Thursday.
Hawaii County Police officers responded to a complaint of loud noise at Aunty Sally's Luau Hale, part of a county park complex near downtown Hilo, at 2:24 a.m. May 1, according to an incident report.
Hawaiian Home Lands Owes $2,500 for Treadmill
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is stuck with $2,500 worth of exercise equipment that was improperly ordered and caused the departure of the agency’s deputy director.
Purchasing records show that a DHHL architectural consultant charged the department some $90 per hour to help order a treadmill and exercise bike that were delivered to the department last month, records show.
The DHHL official responsible for the order, deputy chairman Robert “Bobby” Hall, announced his retirement last week following news stories about the equipment delivery.
Records obtained from DHHL show that Next Design LLC, the firm that designed DHHL’s Kapolei headquarters building, ordered the exercise equipment from a local furniture wholesaler and charged the department $377 for the four hours it said it spent on the order.
The company also billed a $185 “handling fee” to the department.
Next Design ordered the equipment from local office and security equipment supplier Senetics, which in turn had the treadmill and “recumbent” exercise bicycle shipped from the Mainland, the records show.
Senetics billed Next Design $1,938, which added its own fees of $562 to the total invoice forwarded to DHHL.
The total bill, with tax, came to $2,500.
HTA: Tourism set for near-record year
The HTA, which manages the state's tourism budget and establishes tourism policy, set a goal at a meeting yesterday for the state to end the year with 7.5 million visitors, a figure just shy of the record 7.63 million achieved in 2006. The 5.4 percent increase over 2010 is 2.7 percentage points higher than the 7.17 million visitor goal set by HTA in March after the earthquake and tsunami crippled Japan.
"To date, the anticipated loss of business from Japan is less than originally projected, and all other markets continue to exceed previous year-over-year per-person daily spend and arrivals," said Grace Lee, HTA's tourism brand manager.
However, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism downgraded overall arrivals growth Wednesday to 3.8 percent from 4 percent this year to reflect a Japan decline. The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization also is forecasting Japan arrivals by county will fall by as little as 9 percent to more than 14 percent.
HTA economist Cy Feng said optimistic booking information and marketing intelligence affected their projections. UHERO and DBEDT economists base projections on past events, Feng said.
Dead on Arrival: Obama Admin to ask for $250M for Honolulu Rail
Federal Transit Administrator Ray LaHood says the financial risk of Honolulu's rail line is "under control," and the Obama administration has requested $250 million to help pay for it.
LaHood answered questions from U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, a Democrat representing Hawaii, during a hearing Thursday before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
If approved, the $250 million in requested federal funding would be a step toward the more than $1.5 billion the city is counting on to help pay for the rail system.
District Pork Hard to Track at the Ledge
The request bills introduced by lawmakers are largely for show and never get a hearing. The real way to find out who made what request is to look at CIP memos and letters to leadership.
Civil Beat has requested those documents from both chambers. But under state law, the Legislature is not required to turn them over.
When we reported in March on CIP requests in the House at the crossover point of session — a story that revealed supporters of Speaker Calvin Say fared better than House dissidents in getting their requests — we used a list compiled by House Finance that came from those internal documents.
Civil Beat had obtained a copy and confirmed its authenticity with House Finance. Chair Marcus Oshiro then made available an electronic version of the list so that we could analyze the CIPs.
Legislators raise GE Tax $350M, proud of …uh… not raising GE Tax
Lawmakers didn't have much trouble agreeing on this one: Balancing the budget.
They also appeared to be most proud of avoiding a hike general excise tax and passing civil unions, which came in second and third, respectively.
Many also mentioned killing the pension tax as key, as well as the mortgage foreclosure reform measure that the governor has already signed into law. Supporters believe it gives Hawaii one of the nation's strongest foreclosure laws.
Not to be left out:
- The Native Hawaiian recognition bill — essentially creating a database of all Native Hawaiians that would be among the first steps enabling them to participating in the formation of a future Hawaiian government.
- The poi-pounding bill, which allows cultural practitioners more leeway with the Health Department
- And "improvements in anti-trafficking" legislation — specifically a sex and labor trafficking bill
THE ONLY SOURCE OF REALITY IN ALL OF HAWAII: Legislature votes on $350M Increase in GE Tax
Surprise, surprise: Maui hydro proposal causing controversy
The project, which O’Keeffe estimated would cost $80 million to $90 million to build and generate 30 megawatts of electricity isn’t modest.
According to the project application, it would include a series of three dams, the highest of which would be equivalent to a 25-story building. The widest dam would span the length of about four football fields.
Here are the measurements:
- Dam No. 1: 400-feet long and 250-feet high, with a 40-acre surface area.
- Dam No. 2: 1,400-feet long and 50-feet high, with a 55-acre surface area.
- Dam No. 3: 800-feet long and 200-feet high, with a 50-acre surface area.
And, ideally, it will be connected to the undersea cable being proposed for the Big Wind project, which plans to bring 400 mw of wind energy from Molokai and Lanai to Oahu.
O’Keeffe said he hadn’t consulted the community on Maui about the project, but he planned to. Nor had he asked Hawaiian Electric Co. whether he could route the hydro energy from Maui through the undersea cable to power Oahu. But he’s planning on opening an office in Kahului in June to manage the project.
While O’Keeffe said that he recognized there may be some opposition to the project, he said it would be “a tremendous benefit” to the island by increasing water supply and generating electricity.
Long-awaited Kuhio Park Terraces revamp begins
(And congratulations to the Star-Advertiser for writing this story without mentioning even once that it was Gov Lingle who pushed thru this project. Excellent work!)
SA: Island Voices: State public housing agency's process misunderstood
HNN: First private-public housing partnership breaks ground
Castle doubles down on schools (good money after bad)
"This is our opportunity," D'Olier said. "This has got to be a team sport. Our foundation wants to encourage others in the community to create change."
The Castle Foundation is one of several organizations that have for years helped fund improvement plans for Hawaii's public education system. Over the past eight years, Castle has donated about $10 million.
The new funding will mean a big boost, though, to the total donated to Hawaii schools annually. In the 2009-10 school year, the DOE received $3.9 million in gifts (monetary or in-kind) of more than $500. That was up 25 percent from the year before.
At the news conference yesterday on the Castle donation, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Hawaii will meet its big education reform goals only with a lot of help from the community.
(If enough private orgs such as KS and Castle take over schools, we could put the entire DoE on paid leave for eternity. But not unpaid leave.)
DoE employee arrested in first child enticement case involving 'live victim'
Check out the different reactions from his two employers:
The suspect is also a lunch supervisor at Benjamin Parker Elementary in Kaneohe. The school says Lopez works two days a week overseeing students during lunch period while their teachers are taking a break.
The school's principal declined comment saying he didn't have all the information, and that the arrest didn't involve the campus.
The Bishop Museum released this statement:
"While the incident did not take place at Bishop Museum, our workplace policy does not tolerate any form of violence, including verbal or written attacks. Guest safety is of utmost importance to the museum. We have immediately suspended the guard in question while we investigate the situation, and we will cooperate with any investigation being conducted by the police department."
Study: HIV on the rise with Asian and Pacific Islander Women
Hawaii's largest AIDS service provider and prevention organization says out of the more than 700 clients it serves 250 are Asian & Pacific Islander, or API.
"A lot of them are not thinking its going to be them," said Ohira.
The number of API Hawaii residents testing positive for the Human immunodeficiency virus went up 18-percent last year and many new infections are women and children.
"So women aren't really perceiving themselves at risk for many reasons I think that their partners are the ones that do put them at risk," said prevention specialist Monoiki Ah Nee.
Less Federal Funds: Hawaii's anti-terror funding cut despite APEC
The federal government Thursday eliminated nearly $5 million in annual anti-terrorism money distributed directly to Honolulu, just months before the city holds a summit of world leaders.
The Department of Homeland also reduced another $1.5 million from a separate grant that goes to the state government.
Honolulu officials said the loss of the money won't affect November's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting because they relied on last year's grants to prepare for it.
"The city will not be less safe or secure," said Honolulu Department of Emergency Management spokesman John Cummings. "However, the city will not be able to accomplish as much as expected to further enhance the city's disaster preparedness."
City and state resources will be strained, said Ed Teixeira, vice director for Hawaii State Civil Defense.
CONGRATULATIONS BRIAN SCHATZ! GREAT JOB!
Geothermal: How Much will OHA make after theft of Wao Kele O Puna
According to Cabral, typical benefits for landowners can include up to 50 percent equity ownership in the project, a signing bonus of at least $1 million, an annual administrative budget of $200,000, project liaison jobs and $20,000 worth of educational scholarships for five years. The equity ownership can be secured through the transfer of land or development rights.
Were Kings and Queens of Hawaii Really Hawaiian?
If being a true Hawaiian is interpreted to mean one must believe that ancestral bones have life and power, then many of our ali‘i, including Queens Keōpūolani, Ka‘ahumanu, and Liliuokalani, would not qualify as Hawaiian, since they were Christians and believed a person’s spirit goes to Heaven and his or her bones return to dust.
King Kamehameha III encouraged missionaries to establish the Church for the benefit of his people and the Church has always been a native Hawaiian institution, serving the native Hawaiian community and providing counseling to many Hawaiians attempting to cope with the changing values and conflicting messages they experience in a modern, predominantly western society. This has been part of the Church’s mission for 190 years. We are building a new facility to continue that mission and better serve the community, our congregation and our keiki.
Kawaiaha‘o Church values the important work of the OIBC and has submitted reports to the Council from time to time on developments at the Multi-Purpose Center project. Individual members of the Church have also appeared before the Council to establish themselves as lineal descendants. We only ask that those who follow other beliefs not make it difficult for our congregation to worship and for Kawaiaha‘o to use its property, in accordance with state and county rules and regulations, to fulfill its mission.
Hawaiian Rights vs DLNR at Supreme Court
The Hawaii Supreme Court is has an opportunity to affirm — or gut — the state's promise to protect Native Hawaiians.
But based on the line of questioning justices pursued during oral arguments in State v. Pratt on Thursday morning, it seems likely that they'll limit their decision to a narrower issue of land use regulations.
Lloyd "Ikaika" Pratt was cited three different times in 2004 for being in the Kalalau Valley, part of Kauai's Na Pali State Park, in violation of state rules. He said that as a Native Hawaiian, he should be exempt from those rules because he had a constitutional right to take up residence as a caretaker.
Civil Beat summarized his case last month in a story titled "Do Native Hawaiians Have The Right To Break Rules?" The justices had questions of their own — and their answers could decide if Native Hawaiians can use their culture as a defense against criminal charges.
SA: Appeals judge Katherine Leonard, former Gov. Linda Lingle's chief justice nominee who was rejected by the state Senate, wrote the lead 66-page opinion upholding the conviction. Despite the stipulation by the prosecutors and the judge's finding, Leonard found Pratt did not meet the standard. She said there was no evidence to show ancient Hawaiians who lived elsewhere on Kauai "customarily and traditionally conducted such activities" without permission in the valley.
US judge fines contractor for human trafficking
In a 146-page decision, Administrative Law Judge William Dorsey ordered Global Horizons to pay about $152,000 in back wages to 88 temporary farm workers and $194,000 in fines. Dorsey found the company failed to pay employees for all their work on two Hawaii farms in 2003 and retaliated against those who complained, among other violations.
HR: Alleged Human Trafficker Loses First Round in Civil Labor Case
Regents Split on Research Center's Future, Punt Decision to UH President
"We'll now proceed on how we can resolve it," Greenwood said following the vote at the board's monthly meeting. Its unclear when a decision will be made.
The Pacific Biosciences Research Center (PBRC) spawned major UH institutions, including the John A. Burns School of Medicine and the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii.
The center brings in $6 million in competitive federal research grants, but that money doesn't cover all of the center's costs.
SA: UH biosciences center dodges abolishment
Cayetano: 14 years, 10 dogs, and Salmon
Some discussions, too preliminary to detail, have involved potential corporate partners such as Sony, Disney and Marriott. But the committee has settled on an official name, which she proudly unveiled: the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra.
The day of this interview happened to be a momentous one, the 14th anniversary of her marriage with former Gov. Ben Cayetano, currently engaged in his own weighty issues, principally the debate over Oahu's rail system. But the two also share another preoccupation: their 10 dogs, for whom standard dog food is not good enough. She cooks their diet of oatmeal, turkey and vegetables, with scrambled eggs and salmon on Sundays. Spoil them much?
"I do it for me," she admitted. "It doesn't matter to them, and I realize that. But it's good to feed them good food."
Maui Chamber needs more donations to continue Fourth of July fireworks
Restaurants that have contributed or made pledges include Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Captain Jack’s, Cilantro, Cool Cat Cafe, David Paul’s Island Grill, Famous Dave’s, Hard Rock Cafe, Kimo’s, Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, Longhi’s, Pioneer Inn and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Contributions can be made on the chamber’s website at www.mauichamber.com or by calling 244-0081. More information is available by e-mailing email@example.com.
Maui selected for smart-grid demonstration
Hawaiian Electric officials said that the project will include installation of smart controls in South Maui at the regional and neighborhood levels to improve integration of variable renewable energy resources, such as photovoltaic systems.
The improvements will include distributed control systems to manage resources, such as smart inverters, to regulate output of photovoltaic systems, load control devices and controls to manage electric vehicle charging stations and battery storage systems.
The project is aimed at being a solution to one of the biggest challenges in integrating an existing power grid with renewable energy, which fluctuates depending on whether it's windy or the sun is shining. Electric grids need a consistent, reliable source of power, which so far has been provided primarily through turbines driven by diesel or other fossil fuels.
MORE: Kihei/Wailea Site of Japan-U.S. Electric Vehicle Smart Grid Demonstration Project
Castle Foundation commits $10 million to public education
This public-private partnership aims to help the state accomplish several goals included in its Race to the Top plan:
- Recruit, train and place 36 new "turnaround principals" in schools by 2014;
- Ensure that education administrators in every region are a part of a highly effective professional learning community by 2014;
- Accelerate the work of the Great Teachers and Great Leaders workgroup to maximize this group's ability to ensure that all goals are met;
- Support at least 55 percent of the principals leading high-poverty and/or high-minority schools being evaluated as effective by 2015; and
- Ensure that every new teacher will have a full-time, highly experienced and trained mentor by 2013..
KHON: $10 million donated to public schools
Transsexual Farrington HS Student now edits website
Ten years ago, I was a senior at Kalihi’s Farrington High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, where I graduated near the top of class with an academic scholarship to the University of Hawaii. Yet I still cried myself to sleep nearly every night because I felt my anatomy didn’t match the beauty of my soul. I felt my sex organs grew in the wrong direction at my early development and I was given the wrong cocktail of hormones during puberty happy hour.
(So instead of getting psychotherapy, Mr Mock got surgery.)
Woman (sic) Discusses Her Gender Reassignment: Counting backward as the anesthesia took hold, I surrendered to what I believed with certainty would be a better future. And then, just like that, I was awake again. The sound of Muslim prayers rang through the air, echoing in my brightly lit hospital room.
(The purpose of these articles is to advance the lie that people are born transgender and to advance the use of anti-bullying programs to promote the transsexual agenda for Hawaii schools. You have been warned.)
REALITY: The transsexual agenda for Hawaii schools