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Sunday, June 7, 2009
June 7, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:50 AM :: 8379 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, Development

Circle dance begins for open seats

Among the possible contenders for the governor's seat to be vacated by Linda Lingle next year, are, from left clockwise, Neil Abercrombie, Colleen Hanabusa, John Carroll, Mufi Hannemann and James "Duke" Aiona.

Other possible contenders for two key positions:
Lt. Governor
» Sen. Gary Hooser (D)
» City Councilman Donavan Dela Cruz (D)
» Honolulu Councilman Rod Tam (D)
» Adrienne King (R)
» Sen. Robert Bunda (D)
» Sen. Norman Sakamoto (D)
» Keith Amemiya (D)
» Rep. Lynn Finnegan (R)

Honolulu Mayor
Possible contenders if Mufi Hannemann resigns and runs for governor:
» City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle
» City Managing Director Kirk Caldwell
» City Councilman Duke Bainum
» Ann Kobayashi
» Panos Prevadoros

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SB: Search for UH president should end with Greenwood

However, the controversy over Greenwood's departure and the Dobelle experience should result in an ethical microscope being placed at the steps of College Hill. Greenwood can be assured of (being made to) toeing a straight line.  (There's an argument!  Hire a nepotist because you know you will have to watch her like a hawk!)

She also has been assertive on issues, having spoken out on the status of women in the academic arena and fought against limits on foreign students' access to sensitive technology in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.  (Yes, we need to train more Pakistani and Iranian nuclear physicists.)

J.N. Musto, executive director of the UH faculty union, urged the regents to continue the search for president, expressing concern not only about 1) her controversial past but of her 2) lack of experience in Hawaii. That concern is unduly parochial. Of the 14 candidates interviewed by the regents' selection committee, three were from Hawaii and another had strong family ties to the islands.

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Community college rolls soar in Hawaii

"We've never experienced an enrollment demand like this," Morton said. "We were already at record enrollment and it's continuing to go right on up."

And those numbers could increase by the time the fall term begins Aug. 24.

"Money is a significant factor on where students are choosing to go to college," said Farrington High School college career counselor Regan Honda.

She said she has seen more students choosing to go to community college rather than UH-Manoa.

"Money is always a concern for our students, who mostly are on free and reduced lunch," Honda said. "I have students who wanted to go away to the Mainland for school, but because of finances, they're staying home."

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Landowners oppose legislation mandating more affordable units

 

Land developers in one of Honolulu's fastest-building urban areas would be forced to produce significantly more moderate-priced housing under a bill passed this year by the Legislature.

Taking aim at a slew of high-rises planned for future construction in Kaka'ako, Senate Bill 1350 stands to shape what is potentially the biggest building boom in the area's history.

But the bill is under heavy pressure from opponents urging Gov. Linda Lingle to veto the measure over concerns that it would overburden landowners and retroactively apply to one massive project that already has state approval.

Two major Kaka'ako landowners, General Growth Properties, the owner of Ala Moana Center, and Kamehameha Schools, envision building as many as 7,000 residential units in the area over the next two or so decades.

Under present rules, 20 percent, or about 1,400 units, must be set aside as affordable to moderate-income buyers or renters. The bill on Lingle's desk would boost that to roughly 3,400 units or about half of all planned condominiums in their projects, the two landowners estimate.

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Unions prepare to fight Hawaii government worker furloughs

RELATED: Kalapa "Quality not quantity of government services"

Randy Perreira, the executive director of the Hawai'i Government Employees Association, said Lingle has ruled out revenue-generating options such as tax increases or use of the state's hurricane relief fund and that she has refused to acknowledge that state workers will be paying higher healthcare premiums.

"The woman is out to create economic calamity," he said.  (The woman?)

"Right now, I think for the four of us (union leaders), the consensus is that this governor is not looking to be reasonable. She's exacting a price out of the unionized workforce and there will be economic hell to pay."

Not since Gov. Ben Cayetano ordered layoffs to control a budget deficit in the mid-1990s, the 2001 teachers' strike, and a 2003 veto override that restored binding arbitration for the HGEA have public-sector unions been put on the defensive.

Contracts expire at the end of the month, which could trigger binding arbitration for the HGEA and the United Public Workers' public safety branch and strike deliberations for the Hawai'i State Teachers Association and the University of Hawai'i Professional Assembly.

"Some of this is unknown territory," Halvorson said. "I've lived in Hawai'i for 20 years. I don't remember our budget situation ever being this bad. I've been dealing in the employment law field and with the interest arbitration stuff for nearly 14 years, and I've never seen this kind of situation where we're talking about such incredibly big numbers in terms of budget deficit.

"And I think everybody recognizes that. So the way we did things before is not a very good predictor of how we're going to end up doing it now, because it's just so different."

Perreira described the governor's warnings that the alternative to furloughs could be layoffs of up to 10,000 state workers as "scare tactics."

Perreira and Takabayashi believe lawmakers should move to a GET increase soon, but House and Senate leaders have said they are not inclined to return in special session unless called back by Lingle.

"We elect people to make decisions for the best of our community. They all have a responsibility, whether they live up to it or not, to make decisions to benefit that community," Perreira said, arguing that the two-year budget is now insufficient to cover the deficit. "Or, at times like this, tough decisions that are made in the best interest of all."

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We must spark an industry of energy startups

What do we need to do to make sure our energy startups survive in a post-Act 221 world of big capital competition?

Sure, local solar companies such as Hoku and Sopogy have done some R&D in Hawai'i, but they are exceptions and not the critical mass of an industry. Hawaii BioEnergy has unlimited land from partners Grove Farm, Maui Land and Kamehameha Schools, but with that acreage, you would hardly call them a startup. We need an industry of energy startups.  (mmmm somebody wants tax credits)

For Act 221, you had to do research. Energy startups may not require research to make their contribution. "Son of 221" should also include incentives for local energy startups that use existing technologies, with tax benefits, funding and a premium in the marketplace.

Given the decline of tourism, it's regrettable that we haven't done more. If we don't develop our local energy industry, offshore companies will eat our lunch. Over time, we'll realize what we've lost, but by then, it'll be too late.

(The byline on this so-called article is "Advertiser Staff'.  Are they all getting a cut of the action?)

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All stakeholders must press for KPT repairs

Faleafine rightly points out that residents must take greater responsibility, citing residents who urinate in stairwells.

Taniguchi defended the management company, stressing that Kuhio Park Terrace, built in the mid-1960s and the state's only high-rise housing project, is one of the most difficult properties to manage. "My sense is that Realty Laua is doing a good job," he said.

Manahan said there's a real fear among residents. "They're afraid to speak out; they're afraid to say anything because of fear of losing their units, they feel intimidated. They're told not to talk to anybody, not to talk to reporters, or talk to the attorneys representing them," Manahan said.

While touring the site, Kim pointed to a graveyard of broken refrigerators behind the complex and demanded that they be properly disposed of.

"So if a child gets in there and dies, we'll be responsible? That is not safe. We would not let this happen on a private property. This is unacceptable," Kim said.

(Time to follow along with everybody else and demolish this building.  High rise low income housing has not worked anywhere.)

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Furloughs: Public defender office closures affecting courtroom schedules

WAILUKU - The Office of the Public Defender, which includes a dozen attorneys on Maui, will be shut down three Fridays each month to comply with state worker furloughs required by Gov. Linda Lingle.

The closures, scheduled to begin July 1, have affected some courtroom schedules on Maui and Molokai and have raised concerns about representation for criminal defendants who can't afford to hire attorneys.

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Palcic/SB: State's bloated bureaucracy prices work force out of jobs and efficiency

Maybe it takes a crisis like the one we now face to make us realize our errors. It is plain enough that government should be reworked and that we do not need more of it. From the voluminous and incomprehensible tax codes to the vast bureaucracies to the relentless intrusion of government into private lives to the outrageous expense of it all, we need a fresh start.

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Kauai: Board members cleared of alleged charter violations

Bieber said Friday that he questions how the remaining Board of Ethics members came to their decision, and what kind of advice they received from Castillo, as “the law’s very clear to me.”
The law he is referring to is County Charter section 20.02(D), which states that “No officer or employee of the county shall ... appear in behalf of private interests before any county board, commission or agency.”
Bieber said he witnessed Hubbard and Lenthall appear on behalf of private interests before the County Council last month, Hubbard as treasurer of Kaua‘i Planning & Action Alliance, and Lenthall as executive director of Kaua‘i Food Bank.
Bieber said Nishimitsu served as counsel for Kikiaola Land Co. at the council’s Planning Committee meeting on April 1. Nishimitsu could not be reached for comment Friday.

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Pflueger case continued

LIHU‘E — Granted was a defense motion to disallow as evidence a box of legal documents, and denied was a prosecution motion to not allow into evidence various e-mails, in the manslaughter case of James Pflueger, Friday, before 5th Circuit Chief Judge Randal Valenciano.
The motion to disqualify state Attorney General Mark Bennett from the proceeding was continued until July 9.

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Hawaii County: Exemptions, 3% cap create tax inequities

Many county officials pay less than the rest of us in property taxes, but it's primarily a function of how long they've lived in one spot, not preferential treatment.
That's according to county property appraisers, who say an ordinance passed by the 2004 Hawaii County Council puts many of the county's 140,000 parcels on unequal footing, with some appraised at twice the value of almost identical parcels right next door.
"Is it fair?" shrugs Michael McCall, assistant administrator in the Department of Finance Real Property Tax Division. "We just do what the law tells us to d

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Greenwell voted on Hokulia-related issue despite owning property in development

"It never crossed my mind," Greenwell said, adding that he did think about mentioning another potential conflict: "The Coupes are cousins of mine. I didn't think I had anything financial to do with the Coupes."
Council members who may reap "a significant financial benefit" often ask to be excused from a vote, or ask if they may vote on the item.
"It's an honor system," Council Chairman J Yoshimoto said.

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Proposed Nani Kailua extension hits delay

An environmental assessment for a mauka-makai extension of Nani Kailua Drive to Alii Drive to help alleviate traffic in the village area has been pushed back -- another year.
Hawaii County Planning Department officials granted planners Parsons Brinckerhoff a one-year extension on May 26 for an environmental assessment and preliminary engineering designs. The original $985,580 professional services contract was awarded in April 2007.
Parsons Brinckerhoff's assessment will cover the 2,600-foot extension, said Crysttal Atkins, transportation coordinator with the Planning Department. She added the time extension does not increase the amount of money paid to the consultant.

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Abercrombie backs Ron Paul's 'Audit the (Joooish) Fed Bill' 

In the coming weeks, Congress will vote on a bill that will increase transparency of government in the most crucial of areas, money creation.
H.R. 1207, the Audit the Fed Bill, will require the Federal Reserve Bank to disclose where it distributes newly created money. Money creation by the Federal Reserve increases the prices we pay for goods by inflation. The more money created, the higher prices will go.

Unfortunately for Hawaii, only Neil Ambercrombie has signed up to be a co-sponsor of H.R. 1207.
Please contact U.S. Rep.Mazie Hirono and ask her to support H.R. 1207.

TOTALLY RELATED: The Ron Paul Campaign and its Neo-Nazi Supporters

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Sovereignty documentary debuts in D.C.

Showing in Capitol Bldg. Sponsored by Neil Abercrombie, this 'sovereignty' movie comes just in time to begin push for the Akaka Bill.

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