USA Today: Neil Abercrombie, the friend you don’t need
22% of Ballots in for Special Election
City Council candidates are making their final push in the District 1 special election, which concludes on Wednesday. One week ago, just 17 percent of voters had cast ballots. As of Saturday, about 22 percent of ballots had been returned.
"So far we have 10,257," City Clerk Bernice Mau told Civil Beat this morning. "Probably as of Saturday." The city mailed out 47,000 ballots.
Enviros demand Hawaii Food Tax
We look forward to Gov. Neil Abercrombie's promised changes in Hawaii agricultural policy and the end of "business as usual" plantation agriculture, while looking forward to production agriculture to feed our population.
To help level the playing field, increase local agricultural production and eliminate the budget deficit, we need to levy an inspection fee of 10 cents a pound on all imported produce that competes with what Hawaiian farmers grow and sell…. The total is $26.5 million.
(Another highly regressive tax imposed on the basic needs of the people.)
Hawaii teachers brace for major health fund change
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii public school teachers will retain their health benefits but could have to pay more after they're forced to enroll in the same health insurance fund as most other state employees next week.
More than 15,000 teachers and retirees are being rolled into the Employer-Union Health Benefits when their exclusive Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association expires in the new year, a move designed to reduce costs to the state….
The EUTF — covering 161,000 employees, retirees and dependents — was losing more than $1 million a month earlier this year, and former Gov. Linda Lingle warned in April it could soon run out of money to pay doctors for medical bills.
GOP legislators knocked off the air?
Republicans in the Legislature are up in arms about an apparent decision by Democratic legislators to shut down a room in the Capitol used by Olelo to film lawmakers talking about what’s going on with the Legislature.
According to Rep. Cynthia Thielen, Democrats and Republicans alike took advantage of the room on the 4th floor to communicate with their constituents, but that Sen. Clayton Hee, the new Judiciary chairman, raised questions about the room when he saw a group of Republicans coming out.
Thielen said the next thing Republicans knew, Hee was planning to take over the room, which Democrats say is needed for hearings.
Thielen said she and House Minority Leader Gene Ward will ask the House leadership to provide studio space for Olelo.
DoE Substitutes still want their $20M
A Christmas wish: before the Dept. of Education (DOE) spends $1.9 million for a new softball stadium for Kapa’a High School how about paying the $20+ million dollars the DOE withheld, embezzled, from substitutes pay beginning in 1996.
Honolulu Prosecutor promises to investigate City Overtime
A Civil Beat investigation in November revealed excessive overtime at the Honolulu Road Maintenance Division, including a small group of workers who made more in overtime than regular pay.
After publishing a series of articles based on a review of two years of overtime records, we approached Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, City Council members and City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro for their reactions and input.
At the time, Carlisle said he was "not happy" about the reports and promised to look into the issue. Five weeks after Civil Beat contacted Kaneshiro for comment, the prosecutor sent us an e-mail saying there is a pending investigation.
No competitive bidding: Castle & Cooke gets waiver for solar farm
State regulators have granted Castle & Cooke Inc. a waiver allowing it to develop the state's largest solar farm on 120 acres of agriculture land near Mililani without facing competition from other bidders.
Hawaiian Electric Co., which would buy power produced by the 20-megawatt farm, says Castle & Cooke's plan could result in lower electricity costs for consumers.
Rail project’s ridership projection is highly improbable
Honolulu bus ridership has remained flat to down since the mid-1980s despite a significant increase in population and a major increase in the number of buses in service.
For the rail project the City forecasts that O’ahu transit ridership (bus &rail) will by 2030 have increased from 6.0 percent of trips to 7.4 percent. That is an increase in market share.
However, no metro area with rail has ever increased their ridership percentage over any 20-year period even when the period included the building of its rail line
South Kona bypass bond: County seeks expedited trial, Yagong wants new bond to start construction
County attorneys are petitioning the 3rd Circuit Court to expedite their civil case against the insurance company holding the bond for the Mamalahoa bypass, while the County Council chairman says he favors issuing a new bond to get construction going, while seeking reimbursement through that insurance company.
Woman advocates officers' memorial
A longtime dream to create a memorial to honor Hawaii law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty took a major step forward this year thanks in large part to the efforts of Joan Gribbin-Aiu.
Gribbin-Aiu and her nonprofit Hawaii Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation successfully lobbied the Legislature to pass a resolution paving the way for land to be set aside for a memorial on state grounds in the Capitol District to honor the 60 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in Hawaii since 1903.
For more information and to contribute to the memorial fund, go to www.hlemf.org.
Free floating Anxiety: Star-Advertiser continues to push chromium 6 chemophobia scam
The EPA needs to move quickly to set regulations restricting chromium-6; the
whole nation has hungry lawyers have already waited too long for meaningful guidance a litigation excuse. And local water utilities need to release the findings of any tests conducted while waiting on the feds. Meanwhile, Oahu residents can use an online tool (see box) to see the most current test results available for the well serving their location.
REALITY: Honolulu is #2 on Erin Brockovich hexavalent chromium hit list
Free Floating Anxiety: Herbicide spraying concerns residents
Anxiety wafting the air, looking for something, anything, to attach itself to…
Politically incorrect Hawaii news publication launched
Kamaainas News introduced itself as a new, irreverent, politically incorrect Hawai`i news blog, Akamai Hawai`i, by local journalist, Kimo Kapa`a - a part of our international eTN network already enjoying 1.2 million visitors per month. …
The publication is circulated 5 times a week by email and is free. For more information and to subscribe, visit www.kamaainas.com.
China deploying carrier-sinking missile
China's military is deploying a new anti-ship ballistic missile that can sink U.S. aircraft carriers, a weapon that specialists say gives Beijing new power-projection capabilities that will affect U.S. support for Pacific allies.
Adm. Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, disclosed to a Japanese newspaper on Sunday that the new anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) is now in the early stages of deployment after having undergone extensive testing.
AS: China's anti-ship missile is nearly operational