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Monday, January 3, 2011
January 3, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:07 PM :: 7425 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

WaPo: Abercrombie “taking the pole position of political surrealism”

December 7 battlefield to become Regional Park

Birther War Year Two: Hey Neil, Don't feed the trolls

Faking it again: Change in law blocks Abercrombie from delaying tax refunds

When Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced that he wouldn't be delaying tax refunds this year, it might have sounded like a major departure from the policy of his predecessor.

But actually, Abercrombie's hands were at least partly tied. Lawmakers in 2010 clamped down on any governor's ability to do what former Gov. Linda Lingle did that year, by requiring all returns to be paid out within 90 days of their filing date.

More of the same: Abercrombie’s first-day furlough fakery

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Mayor Arakawa Take 2

WAILUKU - Maui's new mayor, Alan Arakawa, acknowledged he wasn't the perfect mayor the first time around but said his 2003-2006 experience in the office will help the county "move faster and more efficiently" under a second Arakawa administration.

During his inauguration speech Sunday evening, Arakawa said he and his staff had already been meeting with schools, businesses, nonprofits, unions and the governor and other mayors.

"Together, we've been making plans and setting deadlines," Arakawa said to at least 500 people who attended the inauguration at the War Memorial Gym.

The crowd included Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho and Maui legislators.

KITV: Maui Mayor Arakawa Takes Oath Of Office

MN: Foust named new civil defense officer

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New Oahu Council Members Take Office

Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo replaces Rod Tam and will represent District 6, which includes Downtown Honolulu, Nuuanu and parts of Kalihi.

Ernie Martin will fill Donovan Dela Cruz's seat and represent District 2, which covers Kahaluu to Mililani Mauka.

Stanley Chang will take the District 1 seat from Ala Moana to East Honolulu. That office was vacated by Charles Djou, who won a special election to Congress.

Former Board of Education member Breene Harimoto will take the District 8 seat from Fort Shafter to Waipio Gentry that was vacated by Gary Okino.

Tom Berg, who won a special election last week to replace former Council Chairman Todd Apo's seat will be sworn in on Jan. 18.

RELATED: Republican Tom Berg wins Council Special Election

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Michael Steele counting on Hawaii

Embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who won his post in part with substantial support from the United States' island territories, frequently canvassed Hawaii last year and is no doubt counting on the state's influence as he seeks reelection….

While the president comes to Hawaii for vacation, the GOP's Steele comes here to work. He held the party's winter strategy session here, and then, in September, showed up again as part of his campaign sweep through Guam and Saipan. As Steele now faces a tough reelection battle, Hawaii is his base in the west.

"Michael Steele was willing to come out to Hawaii," said Djou. "He certainly worked it the hardest and I think that he has the inside track. I know that the RNC votes in regional blocs and Hawaii has a little bit of a bloc, because Guam and American Samoa have some natural synergies with us. If you take them together, they have as much weight as New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey."

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Hawaii GOP sets special state committee meeting

Leaders of the state Republican Party have called a special state committee meeting to discuss financial matters, its headquarters and approval of an audit committee.

The closed-door meeting is set for Saturday.

Party Chairman Jonah Kaauwai called the meeting after a regularly scheduled gathering in December failed to reach a quorum and some state committee members circulated a petition demanding a makeup session.

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DBEDT: Cashing in on ‘Green’ energy

"I think most people would agree that Hawaii needs to make fundamental changes to meet the challenges that we will face as our population ages. But no one had a plan other than cutting costs to balance the budget."

That's where Gov. Neil Abercrombie's New Day in Hawaii plan came in.

"I got excited and asked how I could help make it a reality," Lim said. "And somehow I ended up at DBEDT, right in the middle of it."

One of Lim's priorities will be to move Hawaii forward in reducing its dependence on imported food and oil.

"We have an opportunity to help craft a new economy with energy independence as one of our core missions, but, of course, we first have to deal with the budget shortfall," Lim said. "Our core staffing is down by roughly 45 percent, so just fulfilling our basic responsibilities is challenging. I give the staff a lot of credit for stepping up to the plate because we are asking them to take on new initiatives with substantially reduced resources."

Lim succeeds former DBEDT Director Ted Liu, who was audited by the state and came under fire for the department's financial practices, including how much state money was used for overseas trips (to boost tourism from Asia) and his decision to award a hydrogen investment fund contract to the lowest-rated bidder.  (Don’t worry.  What is coming will make you wish for these old days.)

REALITY: Cayetano on DBEDT Pick: “Dobelle thought Richard Lim was trying to intimidate him”

MORE REALITY: Advertiser sides with “sustainability” billionaires  ($100 barrel tax)

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Kalapa: Act 221 advocates to blame for your tax increases

So for those taxpayers who saw their tax bills rise, be it the additional two percentage points on the TAT or for individuals making more than $150,000 ($300,000 for couples) a year, they can thank the advocates of Act 221 and other targeted business tax incentives for increasing their tax bills. Act 221 alone is estimated to cost the state treasury more than a billion dollars before all is said and done. And yet, advocates want to come back this year and seek its renewal.

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Horrible tragedy: Sierra  Club hacked, year-end donations blocked

ILind: When I tried to make a last-minute donation, their system bogged down and refused to complete the transaction.  Later, I received an email from Robert Harris, the local chapter’s director.

First, let me say “thank you.” And secondly, let me apologize for the fact that it didn’t work. We were attacked over the past few days by a hacker who managed to overwhelm our donation program by putting in hundreds of false entries.

(Try to control your feelings of pathos and melancholy as you absorb this news.)

CB: Sierra Club Website Hacked 

One blogger calls the episode an act of "political warfare," saying the club made enemies by suing to force a new Environmental Impact Statement for Turtle Bay and criticizing the environmental record of gubernatorial candidate Mufi Hannemann.  (They don’t bother to present any actual evidence of this, but hey, progressives don’t need evidence.)

Dec 21: Hawaii reporter website attacked 

TOTALLY UNRELATED: Sierra Club Vice Chair: “Killing TMT will cause another drop in Sierra Club membership and stature; it is the Superferry all over again”

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SA: Audit sows seeds for change

SA editors push for more UPW positions.  Don’t they ever get bored with this?

REALITY: Theme of Prison Audit lifted from Kat Brady commentary

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Progressives demand “consequences”: Department of Taxation took “unprecedented” action to hinder critical audit

(The Progressives are POed because Lingle admin slow walked their campaign season fishing expedition.  So sad.)

The tax department audit accuses the Lingle administration of illegally blocking the auditor’s access to information:

“The administration’s withholding of records from our office during this audit is in contravention to the law and prevents the Auditor from carrying out her constitutional and statutory audit authority.”

An initial request for documents (a campaign season fishing expedition) was made by the auditor on June 1, 2010, and not fully complied with until October 18, (when it would be too late to use them in the campaign) the audit reports.

The question now, it seems to me, is whether there are any consequences for those who went out of their way, perhaps even acting illegally, to block or delay these audits.  

Consequences: Audit fuels “clinically psychotic” HGEA effort to strangle tax collection

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No ‘consequences’ here: Repeat burglar released from jail into drug rehab

Wesley Alapai, who also is known as Westly Alapai, 40, was placed on five years' probation as part of the sentence imposed Wednesday by 2nd Circuit Judge Joel August….

Alapai had pleaded no contest to six counts each of second-degree burglary and second-degree theft, three counts of second-degree criminal pro-perty damage, two counts of fourth-degree criminal property damage, two counts of possession of burglar's tools, theft of a credit card and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Most of the crimes occurred in November and December 2009.

The break-ins were to trailers at a Walgreens construction site in Kahului, Kihei Baptist Church, SOS Metals baseyard on Mokulele Highway, McDonald's in Kihei, Central Pacific Bank in Kihei and Kihei Caffe.

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Tam's spending unverified

A Campaign Spending Commission complaint sent to the city Prosecutor's Office alleges that Rod Tam and his Ohana-O-Rod Tam committee violated state campaign spending laws. The complaint's four counts:
» Failure to maintain receipts with sufficient detail to verify expenditures. Tam and the committee failed to verify $1,290.27 in food and beverage expenses on 50 occasions from Jan. 3, 2008, to Dec. 28, 2009. Amounts range from $4.35 to $146.70 at restaurants and stores such as Zippy's and Costco.
» Impermissible use of campaign funds. Tam and the committee spent about $310 on seven occasions from February 2008 to January 2009 for personal or unpermitted expenses. Amounts ranged from $11.71 to $170.
» False report of an expenditure. Tam and the committee reported an $87.77 expenditure, including a $5 tip, for a meeting with a volunteer March 4, 2008, at Kabuki Restaurant on Kamehameha Highway. The restaurant owner could not find a receipt that matched the "guest receipt" stub submitted by Tam and the committee. Also, the manager said the receipt stub was not from Kabuki.
» Failure to report two contributions. Tam and the committee failed to report two contributions totaling $3,000 in 2009.

IGNORE THIS: Ousted Zoning Chair Rod Tam is secret partner in $1 Billion North Shore development hui

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Mizuno’s Playoff push Panders

So when John Mizuno sent out a "news release" about introducing a resolution supporting a plus-one playoff system, I had to find out if the Hawaii state house rep is a TCU grad or something. As it turns out, Mizuno went to the University of Hawaii and was on the football team in 1983 as a backup running back.

The next question: Why is the Chairman of the Committee on Human Services using state resources to talk about college football?

The cynical answer is because that's what everyone's talking about, and he's pandering to our interests. This is where we get into the gray area of the difference between "pandering to" and "addressing."

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