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Thursday, June 17, 2010
June 17, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:57 PM :: 6733 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development, World News, Hawaii History

Gulf & Hawaii: Djou call for relief from Jones Act explodes across national media

VIDEO: Djou pushes solutions to oil spill on CNBC Worldwide Exchange

Honolulu Gaza flotilla protester shows up at BP hearings – with rubber ducky

Hannemann’s Pittsburgh fundraiser: Misdemeanor? Class C Felony?

Mufi Site: Abercrombie’s brain in a glass jar controlled by Cayetano

Lingle-Aiona Admin: “4,043 moved into permanent housing thru State homeless programs”

Beijing: Governor Lingle discusses TMT at Great Hall of the People

New ransom demands: BoE Chair threatens layoffs in response to 180 day law

Abercrombie, Hannemann trade charges over whose fundraising is more corrupt

Hannemann said recent fundraisers for Abercrombie did not name the person or entity sponsoring the event.

Abercrombie listed campaign treasurer Jack Endo on his fundraiser notices, which Hannemann acknowledged was legal, adding that media "should go beyond that and drill down and ask, 'Who are the people or organizations responsible for those fundraisers?'"

Hannemann also questioned whether it was appropriate for Abercrombie to name Kelly King as one of his honorary campaign co-chairmen. King co-founded a Hawaii biodiesel company that received $3.5 million in earmarked appropriations that Abercrombie shepherded through Congress.

In a statement, Abercrombie called Hannemann's comments "typical."

"Instead of answering the questions, he's placing the blame on his own volunteers and pointing the finger at me and Duke Aiona," Abercrombie said. "Apparently, the only person who doesn't make mistakes is Mufi Hannemann."

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Hannemann wins support from Hawaii hotel group

Association president Murray Towill cited Hannemann's executive experience as mayor of Honolulu since 2004 and before that, as head of a state business and economic development agency. Towill says neither former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Hannemann's rival for the Democratic nomination, nor Republican Lt. Governor James "Duke" Aiona, were interviewed.

(Interestingly, this parallels an argument from the “Not a Mufi Site’ AtomicMonkey.wordpress.com:

“While the job of governor of Hawaii is basically that of being a CEO for a multi-billion dollar operation and managing thousands of employees; Abercrombie has personally managed only a small Congressional staff of about 12 people. In fact, it can be argued, that he didn’t do it very well. One Abercrombie staffer, Laura I. Flores,  plead guilty to embezzling taxpayer’s funds while working under Neil and was actually sent to prison.

PBN: Mufi Hannemann gets endorsement from Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association

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Inouye: Jones Act Should Not Be Suspended for Foreign Aid in BP Oil Spill

Several other government watchdog groups and think tanks had already promoted this idea, saying President George W. Bush suspended the Jones Act during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, so foreign aid could be accepted, and Obama should do the same.

Obama can issue a waiver, but so far has refused to do so, and he made no mention of the Jones Act during his Tuesday night address from the Oval office.

But Hawaii’s Senior Senator, Hawaii’s most prominent defender of the Jones Act, says he was “taken aback” by the suggestion that we suspend the Jones Act to bring in foreign ships to deal with the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf.

“That is not necessary,” Inouye says. “American vessels from the Navy, Coast Guard, state and county governments are working with private citizens and foreign vessels in support of the clean-up effort.”

Inouye says to suggest that we suspend the Jones Act to allow foreign ships into the Gulf “is more about pushing a political agenda than any genuine interest in helping Gulf coast communities with their clean up.”

“We are already at the mercy of foreign competitors when it comes to oil, we should not add shipping to that list,” Inouye says.

Congress Member Mazie Hirono, D-HI, District 2, who agrees with Inouye, says Djou’s claims are flawed because there are already 15 foreign-flagged vessels supporting the effort to clean up the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

(Owned & operated by Matson and Young Bros.)

SA: Djou urges waiver of law against foreign ships to aid BP cleanup

Gulf & Hawaii: Djou call for relief from Jones Act explodes across national media

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Broke in 10 years, ERS “is not front burner”—Rep Rhoads

CB: Is there sense of urgency in the Legislature about the ERS program?

Rep Rhoads: I don't think so. I consider it pretty important because it has such big effects on the budget – and the people who are in leadership on the financial end of things think so, too.

But, just rank and file, you have to spend so much time to figure out how the system works, most people don't have or don't take the time. Or, if they're not on the committee, there's no particular reason. I don't want to give excuses for people, but the pension system is not front burner. It's not front burner.

(Another legislator boldly leading us around in circles until we turn into butter.)

HFP:  Study: Hawaii ERS to go broke in 2020, Bloomberg: Hawaii will run out of pension funds in 2020

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FrumForum: Mr. Djou Goes to Washington (Don’t Ask—Don’t tell)

Djou explained his decision to break Republican ranks, and says that he made this decision less to defend the gay community, and more because he saw some soldiers exploit the current system:

“I take this position based on my personal experience as an Army reserve officer… I just saw too many instances of reservists taking an enlistment bonus, and when they’re mobilized to go to war, they claim they’re gay and get out. It doesn’t make sense to me.”

HuffPo: “More like this, please

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Equality (sic) Hawaii claims HB444 is not gay marriage

And they promise to keep conniving until it is.

RELATED: Hooser, Hanabusa predict HB444 will bring gay marriage back before courts

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Pay declines imminent for most city employees (Thanks, Mufi)

About 5,000 city workers will be furloughed two days a month starting July 2, while other employees will have their pay cut as part of the city's budget-saving plans announced this week.

The furloughs for the next fiscal year are included in the city's collective bargaining agreements with the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers, although not all union members will be furloughed.

Some emergency services personnel, such as police and fire dispatchers who are members of HGEA units, would instead take pay cuts on the average of 5 percent, Mayor Mufi Hannemann's spokesman, Bill Brennan, said.

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$65M to shift rail route: Other options to avoid air traffic cost up to $300 million

City Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka said yesterday that the estimates given in the April 7 memo are outdated and have since been cut by more than half. The added cost of altering the airport route is now estimated to be $29 million, Yoshioka said.

"We think those costs can be easily absorbed within the contingency (slush fund), which is $1.3 billion," he said.

According to documents released earlier by the state, the city was warned as early as 2006 about height restrictions near airport runways. However, it wasn't until mid-2009 that it became clear that the city's planned route encroached on a runway protection zone, the city has said.

On April 8, Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced that the train's route would be shifted because moving the runways would be too expensive for the city. At the time, the city did not disclose the costs of the change but said they would be absorbed within the project budget.

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Rail: The federal funding has a long way to go before approval

The nearly Final EIS has the following statement on pages 6-4 to 6-5:

"The City is seeking capital funds from FTA’s New Starts program, which provides funding for fixed guideway transit projects and extensions. Under current authorizing legislation, an annual appropriation is available nationwide on a discretionary basis for projects that have completed the program’s procedural requirements and that meet certain criteria specified in law and regulation. The program is highly competitive. At this point, the City is in the process of addressing FTA requirements, and indications are that the Project will meet FTA criteria. However, FTA cannot make a final commitment to fund the Project until a Full Funding Grant Agreement has been approved after NEPA requirements have been met, the Project is approved for Final Design, and the New Starts Program is reauthorized by Congress as part of the Federal Surface Transportation Funding Program. Current authorizing legislation expired but has been extended in anticipation of a new authorization in 2010, following which there could be changes in statute, regulations, policy, and funding availability."

The FTA has now issued what we can only call a nearly Final EIS. We say nearly Final because the Programmatic Agreement which is Appendix H of the EIS has yet to be signed and the Governor has not approved the nearly Final EIS yet. Until those occur the document is not a Final EIS.

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SA: CGI contract looks dubious (flacking for HGEA)

Allegations that Gov. Linda Lingle's office ordered the acceptance of generous changes in a contract for operation of the state's computerized tax system triggered a resolution by the Legislature this year calling for an investigation by the state auditor. The administration needs to explain why millions of dollars were promised to the company for work that some say could have been done in-house at a fraction of the cost….

Nora Nomura of the Hawaii Government Employees Association has said Taxation Department employees have been demoralized and are fearful of retaliation if they were to speak out against the vendor. A thorough audit should determine whether their concerns are justified be very useful to union-controlled Democrats at election time.

(Simple.  It is a commission and the  complaints are coming from the ‘in house’ HGEA who weren’t doing the job because they were too busy playing solitaire at their computers.  And now the Democrat Star Advertising Bulletin is hyping this union agit prop show as if it were an actual scandal.)

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SA Oi: Whines Abercrombie asks for fair game rules

Abercrombie operative Oi uses pages of SA to whine that Abercrombie’s opponents haven’t quit their jobs like Abercrombie did.  Hilarious.

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Tax Dollars Paid For Djou's (constituent survey) Robo-Calls (typical Democrat media hit piece)

(The headline is written so that the casual reader will think Djou is campaigning with federal dollars.)

Hawaii’s newest congressman, Republican Charles Djou, was elected in a special election after campaigning for restraint in spending government money. But now he has offended some voters (one Democrat), by using taxpayer money for automated telephone calls that some say (one Democrat says) sound like campaigning.

The congressman's office says he's done nothing wrong. Djou’s automated calls were approved in advance by the bipartisan franking commission, which oversees how members of congress use taxpayer dollars to reach constituents….

Djou did not return KITV’s calls. His press secretary, Daniel Son, issued a statement saying, "First, we have not violated the franking rules in any way. The survey provided valuable input from constituents on timely and important legislative issues pending before Congress."

Under federal law, congress members can communicate with their constituents through free mailings, called the franking privilege. In recent years, the rules on franking have been expanded to include electronic communication, including things like e-mails and automated calls.

Rep. Mazie Hirono has also used automated calls, her press secretary said, but only in a limited way, usually to announce an upcoming meeting in a specific community. (Funny how there has ever been an article complaining about them.)

Djou's best known opponent in the upcoming congressional election is Democrat state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa. She the calls sound like campaign advocacy to her, and said Djou’s use of taxpayer dollars is close to what he advocates against.  (Tired old caricature.)  

(Democrat Party member) Rick Benz won't have to endure the calls much longer. The franking rules cut off the free communication with constituents 90 days before the primary election, for Hawaii that is this Sunday.

A Dem LTE in SA: Djou mailout is hypocritical (yawn)

Here are some stories KITV and the rest of the Hawaii media have ignored in this election cycle:

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Despite New Law, Hawaii’s Public Schools Aren’t Up to National Standards

HB 2486 adds 25 minutes of classroom instruction for elementary students and 47 minutes for high school students, but is subject to collective bargaining agreements between the Board of Education, the Hawaii State Teachers’ Association (HSTA), Hawaii Government Employees’ Association (HGEA) and the United Public Workers (UPW).

Even after the changes are finalized, the amount of instruction time Hawaii’s students receive will rank Hawaii last among all other states and industrialized nations, at least until 2013.

Hawaii’s classroom instructional day, now 4.43 hours per day, will increase to just over 5 hours per day in 2011, and to 6 hours, a minimum national standard, by 2013.

SA: BOE eyes new study norms (Not a single word of criticism by anybody quoted in this article.)

RELATED: New ransom demands: BoE Chair threatens layoffs in response to 180 day law

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Maui News Polls mayoral race

  • Charmaine Tavares 22%
  • Alan Arakawa 23%
  • Sol Kaho'ohalahala 6%
  • Chris Hart 11%
  • Randy Piltz 15%
  • Marc Hodges 18%
  • Other 6%

RELATED: TEA Party leader launches campaign for Maui Mayor

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Hawaii Ethics Commission Fires Director

Now who will they find to sleep and collect salary for the next couple of decades?  It takes skill to not notice any ethical problems in Hawai politics and there may be a shortage of candidates with that type of skill.

SA: Ethics panel fires director

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Ilind: List of Star-Advertiser local directors dropped from “Views & Voices”

“…According to previous news reports, Black’s local investors include Jeffrey and Lynn Watanabe, Duane Kurisu, Larry and Claire Johnson, Island Holdings Inc., Dan Case and C.S. Wo & Sons Ltd., all very familiar names, very local, and in most cases (no pun intended) all very Democrat.”

RELATED: Advertiser Endorsement: More Case family media manipulation

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Star-Advertiser forces Honolulu Weeklies to use Maui News printing press

As a result, Honolulu Weekly has moved our printing operation to Maui. We’re happy to be working with the crew at the Maui News Press, and so far the printing is looking terrific. But the decision forced on the Weekly was grim, and without getting too deep into our internal processes, we feel like readers have the right to know how this affects us, and by extension, you.

The Weekly now “goes to bed” on Monday afternoon–a day earlier than in the past–and comes over from Maui on a barge that departs on Tuesday evening. As a result, our paper will be less able to respond to developments between Friday and Monday. While we will adjust our assignments and coverage, the consequences are obvious.

On the other side and as we learned all too well last week, a boat is not a form of transportation that lends itself well to newspapers. If we are lucky, the Weekly will be available mid-day on Wednesdays. We understand that this represents a change to many readers who have the paper as part of your Wednesday morning routine, and we regret it. Unfortunately, Oahu Publications’ actions around our press and pricing have made these changes unavoidable. Pacific Business News has announced that it will also move to the Maui News Press. Just at deadline, we learned that the East Oahu Sun is headed there too.

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Statewide Bike Plan Shows Progress

Department of Transportation spokesperson Tammy Mori said the use of bike paths doubled over the past 10 years.

Mori said he statewide bike plan will eventually cover 1,500 miles of roadway.

For a list of projects: http://hawaii.gov/dot/highways/Bike/bikeplan

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Kenoi predicts another tough budget year

Former Hawaii County Council member Leningrad Elarionoff asked Kenoi about current council members' criticisms about funded, vacant positions. Elarionoff asked whether department heads wishing to spend money budgeted for wages on something else needed to take those requests to the council.

They do, Kenoi said. Funding for one Fire Department position was moved to cover a higher-than-expected purchase.

"People said, oh, it's a slush fund," he said. "No it's not. Nothing was moved from salary/wages."  (Meaning it is a UNION slush fund for overtime.)

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Hawaii Co Water rates rising 8 percent

An average residential customer using 12,000 gallons a month would see the $95.68 bimonthly bill increase by less than $5 to $100.46, under the plan. Those using more water face stiffer increases.

Hawaii County residents currently pay on average $38.69 a month for water, compared to $28.60 in Honolulu, $29.80 on Maui and $41.40 on Kauai, according to a rate study by a Department of Water Supply consultant.

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Espionage trial continues for Maui man

He's accused of selling top secret information to China, and hiding the money in Swiss bank accounts.

As an engineer at a defense contractor, Gowadia worked on the B2 stealth bomber.

Prosecutors accuse him of being "desperate for respect, credit and money."

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RP govt asks Fil-Ams to support SAVE Act

House Resolution 3039 was sponsored by Democrat Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington and Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray of California. In the Senate, meanwhile, Democrat senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and, Republican senator Christopher Bond, from Missouri, sponsored Senate Bill 3170.

Gomez said approval of the proposed legislation will benefit the Filipino-American community.

"Whatever increase in the Philippines’ GDP (gross domestic product) and available jobs, it will translate to increased activity in the economy. That will redound to the benefits of the Filipino Americans," he said.

"The SAVE Act (will provide) a win-win situation to the Philippines and the US," Gomez said at the Las Vegas forum.

The bill, if approved, would, for the first time give US textile producers a significant market for their products in Asia, a PTIC presentation showed.

Citing figures of the Confederation of Garment exporters, Gomez explained that some $200 million worth of US fabric will be bought in the first two years if the bill is passed. This amount will increase to $500 million in five years.

RELATED: Djou’s first Legislation: Resolution calls for Free Trade Agreement with Philippines

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