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Wednesday, July 24, 2013
July 24, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:35 PM :: 2845 Views

Interim UH President Scores 'F', Responsible for Data Breaches

S&P Pleased by Tax Hikes, Concerned About Abercrombie's Spending

For the Sake of the Keiki

Lanai: OHA Wants a Cut of Ellison's Action

Hawaiian Homes Commission Votes to Reform Revocable Permit Program

University of Hawaii regent calls for investigation into tuition hikes

Malpractice: Trial Attorneys Take on Negligent Abortionists

Hawaiian Airlines: Strengthening Dollar Undermines Results

House 'Only a Bare Majority' for Gay Marriage

SA: Senate leaders, who met privately Tuesday, say there are now roughly 20 votes for gay marriage in the 25-member chamber. In the House, sources estimate that a bare majority of the 51 lawmakers would back a gay marriage bill, with several lawmakers undecided. House leaders want to make sure there are sufficient votes before informing the governor.

"Right now we're undecided. We still need to count the votes. We need to have a discussion with the Senate and also with the governor," said House Majority Leader Scott Saiki (D, Downtown-Kakaako-McCully)....

(Quick IQ Test: Opponents of gay marriage should take this moment to announce their legislative campaign against the incumbents.)

Sources have said that one challenge in building a consensus on gay marriage, particularly in the House, is the complaints filed with the Demo­cratic Party of Hawaii against 11 state House and Senate Demo­crats who last session proposed a constitutional amendment on traditional marriage. Oahu Demo­crats are set to hear the complaints Aug. 10.  (That would be the demand from convicted thief Michael 'Bitchbear' Golojuch Jr to expel the elected Legislators from the Democratic Party because they dare to question His plan for marriage.)

Some of the House Demo­crats targeted by the complaints have said they are re-evaluating their thinking or are now undecided on gay marriage. Sources say it may be easier to lock down the votes — and advance the idea of a special session — if the complaints are withdrawn.  (Unlike the old boss, if Mike gets tired whipping them he can switch hands.)

read ... Legislators with no pride

Ige: We Can Do Better Than Neil

Boylan: While Ige had played campus politics at both Pearl City High School and Manoa, he entered the big time in 1985 when Gov. George Ariyoshi appointed him to fill a vacancy in the state House.

The arc of his legislative career has been marked by humility, intelligence and a growing stature among his peers. But he suffers a charisma gap in any contest with a politician such as Abercrombie.

Ige acknowledges as much.

“What you see with me is what you get,” he says. “I chose to be a public servant: to be open and honest in communication, to treat all people with respect, to listen to people and to do the right thing in the right way.”

More than a year from primary election 2014, Ige sounds vague on policy issues, saying only that he sees “education K-20 as a soft spot. Education is the state’s most important function, and we can do better.”

He also cites the need to diversify the state’s economy.

“Everything that happens in Hawaii seems to be ad hoc, people responding to different proposals rather than following a sustained plan,” says Ige. “In the 1970s, we had functional plans, and we followed them into the late 1980s.”

Ige dismisses, almost with contempt, any suggestions that former Gov. Ariyoshi or the HGEA or his own ambition to make a more serious run in 2018 prompted his decision to challenge Abercrombie next year.

Says Ige, “I’m focused on building a team, reaching out to everyone and engaging as many people as I can with the message that Hawaii can do better.”

read ... Ige Better Than Neil

State DHS Conspires to Steal Homes from Elderly

CB: Marge is angry.  This island retiree says the state’s Department of Human Services is cheating people like herself by failing to fully disclose important rules that provide how and under what conditions the government can try to collect reimbursements for long-term care paid for by Medicaid. (Marge is identified only by her first name in order to avoid complicating her ongoing dealings with the state system.)

Marge says she found out too late that an obscure legal provision would have allowed her to take title to her mother’s home and shield it from a state lien that will eventually force the property to be sold in order to repay every penny of the medical costs that have been paid by Medicaid....

After her mother was approved for Medicaid, Marge started receiving notices about the lien process.

“The brochure said I could stay in the house because because I was the caregiver for at least two years before my mom had to move to the nursing home,” Marge said. “I could stay in the house until I die or until I sell the property.”

The brochure also described some instances when liens are not allowed. For example, liens can’t be used if a spouse, a dependent child under 21, or a disabled child of any age live in the house.

But since those didn’t apply to her, Marge understood that she would be allowed to continue living in the family home even after her mother’s death, but the lien would have to be paid off when she dies or the house is sold.

“I read all the lien papers they sent me,” Marge said. “I thought the brochure was supposed to be the whole truth.”

“Then they sent me a form saying I relinquished my rights.”

“What rights?” Marge wondered. “But they said if I don't turn it in, my mom won't qualify, and she’ll probably get thrown out of the nursing home. So I signed.”

Then in May 2013, Marge read a column in the Hawaii Herald by a local lawyer specializing in estate planning. There she learned of the “caregiver child” exemption, which allows a Medicaid applicant to transfer their home without penalty to a child who has been caring for them. The home would then not be subject to a state lien.

“When I found out the state wasn't truthful, and all the papers they sent me failed to mention this exemption, it was like a stab in the back,” she said. “I'm trying to listen and be good, follow the rules, and do it according to the law, but the state’s legal papers are cheating me out of my rights. It's a right, and they are supposed to let you know.”

“It may be too late for me, but let other people know,” she urged....

The University of Hawaii Elder Law Program can be reached at 956-6544. Its publication, “WHAT'S NEXT?”: A Legal Handbook For Hawai`i’s Older Persons, Families, and Other Caregivers, is available for download.

read ... Medicaid

The Breakfast Club Poor Children in Hawaii Won't Join

CB: The problem is especially pronounced in Hawaii where most students from low-income families don't participate in the breakfast program, and their ranks are steadily shrinking, leaving Hawaii as one of America's nutrition laggards on the poor children's breakfast front.

Just five years ago, Hawaii ranked 24th in the participation of children in the U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded school breakfast program. Today 45 states and the District of Colombia feed a larger percentage of their children, according to a Food Research and Action Center report.

During the 2011-12 school year, national participation was over 50 percent, but in Hawaii it was just 40 percent – a decline of 5 percent in just five years....

why participation has remained so low and continues to decrease is unclear. Other factors that the DOE is working to address, according to Dela Cruz, are some people's lack of awareness of the program and associations that some people have linking school breakfasts with poverty.

Meantime, Dela Cruz in part attributed Hawaii’s weak breakfast participation to changing local and federal nutrition requirements that strictly define what constitutes a balanced diet. “Some students may not necessarily like these options,” the DOE spokeswoman said in an email, noting that U.S. Department of Agriculture menu requirements prohibit local favorites, like fried rice.

read ... Obamafood 

Did Hanabusa's Campaign Violate Disclosure Law by Not Reporting Poll?

CB: The campaign commissioned the poll to test Hanabusa against both Schatz and Gov. Neil Abercrombie, before she decided to become a senatorial candidate. Pollster QMark Research and the campaign agreed on a price – it ended up costing $11,413 – but no invoice was ever sent to the campaign, according to Boylan's explanation of why Hanabusa staff neglected to include it in their Federal Election Commission filings.

Boylan said the campaign would file an amended report with the FEC to correct the error.

Schatz campaign manager Clay Schroers quipped, "In all my years of managing campaigns, I never heard of a poll you didn't have to pay for."....

read ... Did Hanabusa's Campaign Violate Disclosure Law by Not Reporting Poll?

Hawaii Forests Would be Cut to Feed Biofool Scam

EL: Alaska Airlines says it will begin using biofuel to power its Hawaii flights as soon as 2018.

The airline has signed an agreement with Hawai`i BioEnergy, a consortium of three of Hawaii’s largest landowners and three venture capital companies that plan to use locally grown feedstocks to produce biofuels.

Hawai`i BioEnergy says the feedstock for the biofuel will likely be woody biomass-based and will be consistent with the sustainability criteria established by the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels, an international multi-stakeholder initiative concerned with ensuring the sustainability of biomass production and processing.

Alaska Airlines is Hawai`i BioEnergy’s second customer, and the first airline to sign a contract. Hawaiian Electric previously announced it had agreed to purchase 10 million gallons of fuel a year from Hawai`i BioEnergy for power generation to the state, pending approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission....

Hawai`i BioEnergy says it will ramp up production of the sustainable fuels within five years of regulatory approval, which will allowing Alaska Airlines to begin procuring sustainable jet fuel by fall 2018.

Hawaii imports 95 percent of its energy needs, says Joel Matsunaga, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Hawai`i BioEnergy.

read ... Deforestation

Solar power giveaways come with a cost

KITV: Solar industry insiders reveal that solar freebies are not so free when looking at solar tax credits.

AP: Thousands more base housing units to get solar

Related: Phony Checks: Hawaii Better Business Bureau Warns About Green Energy Scam

read ... IPADs, Trips to Vegas

Electric Bill $28,000/mo

KGI: Craddick said the 7,800-square-foot building, which houses its engineering and accounting departments, costs the water department about $28,000 each month on electricity alone.

read ... DOW seeks new home

Autopsy reveals new details about Kaneohe man who died in police custody

HNN: "Owner should have never been allowed near the scene....  Why was the owner at the scene?"

read ... Autopsy reveals new details about Kaneohe man who died in police custody

Honolulu Worst in Nation for Pedestrian Deaths

HNN: Honolulu has the dubious distinction as being worst city in the nation for pedestrian deaths involving seniors, and 13th worst for all age groups.

Numbers are climbing for 2013. Out of 39 traffic fatalities on Oahu so far this year, 15 of them were pedestrians.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha announced an enforcement crackdown in response to the rise in pedestrian deaths at a rare press conference today. Chief Kealoha said, "With over a million people on this island our roads are busy and not a place to take chances with your safety or your lives."

We're on pace to surpass 20 pedestrian fatalities this year....

Citations are down from 5300 in 2011 to 1700 so far this year.

Over the next month, police will ding violators with tickets that cost between 70 and 140 dollars.

The Chief says safety is a two-way street, warning that "drivers and pedestrians who break the law will be cited."

Police will be on the lookout for violators at intersections where there has been a history of problems. It's worth noting that out of the 15 pedestrian deaths so far this year, only 3 of them occurred in marked crosswalks.

read ... Pedestrian Deaths

Star-Adv: Keep School out of Kakaako options

SA: In more conventional development proposals, involving subdivisions of single-family homes, townhouses and apartments, it's a safe assumption that the new project will mirror others like it and attract a population that includes a sizeable count of school-age children.

The same may not be true of Kakaako, said Anthony Ching, executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which oversees the community's build out. The challenge state agencies face is to find the right formula for developers to support the educational needs of a community — one of somewhat unpredictable makeup — before it materializes.... (Translation: Our developer buddies want to squeeze every penny out of this scam.)

It may turn out that the best use of impact-fee money is the expansion or improvement of existing schools rather than building a new campus....

read ... Something titled: 'Keep Kakaako school options open'

DOE accepts that students improve with digital tools

Shapiro: After being slow to embrace the idea, it's nice to see the Department of Education showing enthusiasm for putting a tablet or laptop computer in the hands of every public school student.

When Gov. Neil Abercrombie proposed it last year, the DOE broke into the Hawaii state bureaucracy’s trademark chorus of “cannot, cannot, cannot.”

Among the dubious alarms: It could cost $60 million a year, it would take 10 years to implement, training would be a nightmare.

Never mind that many private schools have implemented it in one school year with few problems and at a reasonable cost.

read ... Somebody must have got a contract

Kakaako HCDA: Two public meetings will be held in August

SA: The state agency regulating development in Kakaako has scheduled two additional public comment sessions on two condominium towers planned for Ward Centers.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority added sessions on Aug. 3 at 10 a.m. and Aug. 13 at 5:30 p.m. to be held at HCDA's offices at 461 Cooke St. The HCDA board will not attend the comment session, but comments will be recorded and made available to agency board members for consideration.

Plans for two proposed towers at Ward Centers — one on the site of Pier 1 Imports and one on a parking lot makai of Ward's theater complex — were initially presented July 17 at an HCDA public hearing.

The developer, Ward Centers owner Howard Hughes Corp., is seeking to deviate from some rules for the two projects.

read ... HCDA

Takai, Chang Risk Seat for Shot at Congress 

PR: Espero was among the dozen senators who were given full four-year terms after the post-reapportionment elections last year, so his Senate term is not up until 2016.

Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang, the other declared candidate in urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District, will have no fallback because his council term is up in 2014.

Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson, who is considering a campaign for Congress, has a council term that is up in 2016.

And state Rep. K. Mark Takai, another potential contender, has a House term that is up in 2014.

read ... Risk, Reward

Hawaii open to Pro Bowl deal

AP: A tourism official in charge of negotiating with the NFL on holding the Pro Bowl in Honolulu said the state is open to giving the league flexibility if it wants to alternate the game between Hawaii and other locations.

David Uchiyama, vice president of brand management for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, told the Associated Press on Tuesday both the state and the NFL want a long-term agreement. He said Hawaii can make a deal for up to four games given state laws.

“I think they’re exploring their options in going to the mainland, but as long as we stay on top of it and the players continue to express their interest, I think we’re in the game,” Uchiyama said.

Uchiyama said the league and state have been discussing several options for a deal that gives NFL its flexibility while still making a long-term commitment to Hawaii, where the Pro Bowl is a big deal for tourism and marketing the state to potential visitors. One option, Uchiyama said, would be a seven-year deal with four Pro Bowls played in Honolulu.

KHON: Will the Pro Bowl go away?

read ... Gay Marriage Fashion Show in Off years

You’re going to kill my business’

KGI: A decades-old issue of commercial boating permits in Hanalei Bay resurfaced at the Kauai Planning Commission on Tuesday only to remain anchored for another three weeks.

The county Parks and Recreation Department applied for a Special Management Area permit with the commission, so it can start granting commercial boating permits.

The county’s application includes a set of proposals that would limit commercial boating in Hanalei to six or fewer days per week — Sundays and holidays would be blackballed — and would add a string of rules to the companies operating there.

Brian Lansing, an owner of Na Pali Catamaran, said if the proposed rules go into effect, he would lose about 15 percent of his business — basically his profit margin — for not being able to operate Sundays.

“What if somebody came to you and said, ‘I’m taking one-seventh of your customers and I’m telling them to go home,’ right now?” he said. “You’re going to kill my business.”

read ... ‘You’re going to kill my business’

Allegiant: Hawaii Routes not as Good as Expected

SA: Allegiant Air's entry into Hawaii isn't going as well as expected, but a top executive from the low-cost carrier said it's too early to decide whether to pull up stakes after barely a year in the market.

The Las Vegas-based airline, which began service to the islands in June 2012, said Tuesday that demand is lagging from the smaller markets that make up the company's business model.

"There's just not enough bodies there to support year-round service at prices that make sense," Allegiant President Andrew Levy said on a conference call after the airline posted its 42nd consecutive profitable quarter. "So we're seeking another market or two that we can operate on a year-round basis because there's enough traffic density in the market, and that's what we think L.A. will do for us."

SA: Hawaiian Air profits rise as rivals scale back

read ... Tourism Slides Down from the Top

UH Study Fails to Find Any Plastic bags in Fish Stomachs

BIVN: “In the two species found in Hawaiian waters, 58 percent of the small-eye opah and 43 percent of the big-eye opah had ingested some kind of debris. This was based on looking into the stomachs of almost 140 opah.

“Another large fish species, the longnosed lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox), had a 30 percent debris ingestion incidence,” continued Choy. “Although this is not a species consumed by humans, it is a very common fish in open ocean waters globally and is very frequently caught by fisherman around Hawai‘i.”

“What was most surprising was that the fish that most frequently ingested debris are all thought to be deeper water species, generally those that live beneath the sunlit upper 500 to 600 feet of the water column,” Choy said. “Deeper water fishes may have been coming up close to the surface to ingest debris, which is an unusual and unexpected behavior.”

read ... Not a single plastic Bag

Every sign continues to point to the Obama library being located in Chicago

ST: President Barack Obama, pondering his post-presidency, is directing a small circle of longtime advisers to actively start thinking about his future, including where to locate his presidential library.

I have it from multiple sources that Chicago business executive Marty Nesbitt will lead the process, with Obama putting in charge one of his closest friends, a golfing and basketball buddy who was treasurer of his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

Julianna Smoot, an Obama 2012 deputy campaign manager who was the 2008 campaign finance director, is also part of the leadership and will oversee the fund-raising drive that will eventually be associated with an Obama library.

The inner circle also includes White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco who is handling the Obama post-presidential portfolio. Every sign continues to point to the Obama library being located in Chicago.

read ... Kakaako Hole

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