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Thursday, January 06, 2011
January 6, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:09 PM :: 9214 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development, World News, Hawaii History

WaPo: Futile, Discouraging, Depressing -- Hanabusa joins the lowest of the low

Djou: Our hard-fought battle allowed the GOP to gain 3-5 additional seats on the mainland

Hanabusa: One Day on the Job, One Broken Promise

Full Text: Speaker John Boehner takes gavel

Convicted felon, newsrack thief, Larry Mehau associate among eight vying for Senate Appointment

Richard Creagan, a Kau medical doctor;  state Rep. Faye Hanohano (Islam Day co-sponsor and Larry Mehau associate); Gil Kahele, a retired Pohakuloa Training Area public works employee; Anthony Marzi, a database administrator; Russell Ruderman, owner of Island Naturals health food stores (Involved in the disappearance of Hawai’i Free Press newsrack); Gary Safarik, (convicted felon) former council chairman; Susan "Marie" Sanford, manager of Abundant Life Natural Foods' Hilo store; and Beverly Jean "Jeannie" Withington, a former state chairwoman of the Hawaii Democratic Party.

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Conspirators meet in secret attempt to divvy up House Committees

Negotiators in the state House leadership struggle are expected to meet on Thursday to see if they can break the stalemate among majority Democrats.

House Speaker Calvin Say’s group has offered dissidents unspecified committee chairmanships and leadership posts, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

But dissidents have also been told that House Republicans would likely back Say in a leadership vote.

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Carlisle: “I don’t plan to cooperate with Abercrombie”

Before launching into his critique of the new Democratic governor, Carlisle told the audience that the likelihood of the state’s economic woes trickling down to the city level was “a real issue.”

“Do I have an answer to that? No, because I don’t control the state,” Carlisle said. “I certainly don’t control Neil. I don’t know who does. I think he’s very proud of that fact."

The audience laughed at this point. But as he went on it went silent.

"It’s guaranteed that what’s on his mind, he’ll tell you — again and again and again. And I don’t plan to cooperate with him. I have just one goal. That one goal is, in a 30-minute time period, if I can get five minutes of actual talking without interruption, that would be the goal. I don’t think that’s happened for the last 25 years but I’m going to try really damn hard.”

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Will Obama Silence Blundering Abercrombie?

For reasons clear to no one just yet, Hawaii’s new Democrat governor, Neil Abercrombie, has gone public with his desire to silence the so-called “birthers” with proof of Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birth.

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Hanabusa fails to get Appropriations committee seat

Hanabusa has been assigned offices in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill but is awaiting her committee assignments. She has requested Appropriations, Energy and Commerce, Armed Services, and Oversight and Government Reform.

She said she is not optimistic about getting a coveted seat on Appropriations, which oversees federal spending.

Jonah Kaauwai, the state Republican Party chairman, said Hanabusa was failing to fulfill a campaign promise, since U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye said in October that he had spoken to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., about putting Hanabusa on Appropriations. Pelosi lost the speaker title after Republicans took control of the House and is now minority leader.

"Rep. Hanabusa and Senator Inouye assured voters last October that she would get a seat on the powerful Appropriation Committee if elected and that has turned out to be nothing more than an empty campaign promise," Kaauwai said in a statement.

HNN VIDEO: Interview Former Congressman Charles Djou

REALITY: Hanabusa: One Day on the Job, One Broken Promise

MORE REALITY: WaPo: Futile, Discouraging, Depressing -- Hanabusa joins the lowest of the low

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Kimura surrenders after admitting that he bilked up to $20M from various investors

Kimura has agreed that the people who "invested" money with him lost between $7 million and $20 million.

The government said Kimura persuaded people to invest with him or his Maui Industrial Loan and Finance Co. from 1986 to last year under the false pretense that he was going to use their money to issue high-interest loans to others. In return he promised returns of either 8 percent or 12 percent.

He instead used the money from new investors to pay off earlier investors, according to federal court records. His loan and finance company was never licensed by the state to accept deposits.

Kimura is the brother of Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Jay Kimura.

HNN: Ponzi scheme sends Maui accountant to prison

AP: Hawaii man pleads guilty to 24-year Ponzi scheme  "This is as long of a Ponzi scheme as I've ever seen," Sorenson said.

How’d he keep it running for so long?  >>>  Robert Iwamoto trust sued over Maui Ponzi scheme

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Criminal DoE refuses to obey 180 day law

“It becomes very, very difficult,” Matayoshi said. “When the financial situation is uncertain, the collective bargaining situation is uncertain and the plans for the year have already been made. It makes it pretty tough.”

Melanie Bailey, a Kailua mother who was among the parent activists who pushed for the new law, said it was designed to fit within the current teacher contracts.

”We feel that this increased educational time should be able to be done with the existing seven-hour contract and that it should not cost more money,” Bailey said.

Matayoshi said she's considering asking lawmakers to delay implementation of the law. She also said that for some schools on multi-track schedules, which have children on as many as four different schedules to maximize use of limited classroom space, the problems are insurmountable. ”It’s physically impossible,” Matayoshi said.

Civil Beat flacks for Matayoshi: Read the embarrassingly sugar-coted coverage for yourself

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Price of Failure: Hawaii Public Schools Ask for $1.8 billion, Plus $29 million 'Wish List'

The Hawaii Department of Education says it needs $1.81 billion to run the state's public schools system in each of the next two fiscal years — up almost 10 percent from current levels.1

(Remember: We MUST NOT audit this department.)

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New Mexico judge gets Hawaii post

A New Mexico federal magistrate judge has been named as a federal magistrate judge here, replacing Leslie Kobayashi, who recently was appointed as a U.S. district judge.

Richard Puglisi will start his new job on March 1, according to Sue Beitia, clerk of the U.S. District Court here.

Hawaii's federal district court bench appointed Puglisi to the eight-year term from a list of five names submitted by a magistrate screening committee. More than 50 applied for the job.

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SA, Landed Aristocracy have High hopes for ag designation

The ranch's request is one of several recent efforts by large landowners to make use of the state's "important agricultural lands" (IAL) program, enacted in 2008 to help preserve and promote Hawaii's farming industry. While it's too soon to render a final verdict, the first steps are promising.

Molokai Properties Ltd. is asking the commission to preserve 4,919 acres on Molokai, expanding the 3,000 acres that longtime rancher Jimmy Duvauchelle has been renting. That would total about 5,000 acres to manage about 500 cattle, with goals of doubling the herd.

Last week, Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Inc. requested Land Use Commission approval to designate as IAL some 902 acres on Oahu being leased to 60 small farmers. In 2009, Alexander & Baldwin Inc. won commission approval to claim tax credits for 31,000 acres on Maui and Kauai harvested by subsidiaries Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. and Kauai Coffee Co.

In exchange for preserving land in agriculture in perpetuity, companies investing in agricultural facilities can qualify for financial incentives that include $7.5 million in annual tax credits and a $2.5 million loan guarantee program. The law also allows the companies to urbanize land equivalent to 15 percent of the acreage protected; all three companies have waived that right.

BEST COMMENT: ‘What the editor is trying to say is that if the land owner doesn't have his money taken by the State, and the investors don't have their money taken by the State either, the operation of agriculture on the land may provide jobs, product and economic benefits to the community. Because the editor is a Liberal her or she believes the money belongs to the government, so the editor sees the whole business as "costing" the State. Now you know just how far down Alice's rabbit hole our State thinkers have gone.”

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Environmental Group Complains About Rail Transit Hearing

The head of the environmental group Hawaii’s Thousand Friends complained Wednesday that the city wasn't clear enough about what sensitive areas would be affected by the proposed rail transit project.

“We're concerned about how the coastal zone will be impacted by development, and we just really wish we had more opportunity to discuss what the impacts would be. But with just a diagram with a red line showing the Special Management Area, we had to search for that application. It really wasn't user friendly,” Wong said….

A second part of the hearing is scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m., at Keehi Lagoon Hall.

The special use permits go to the City Council for approval on Jan. 29.

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Civil Beat: Are haoles victimized

Why focus on alleged or potential anti-haole violence, rather than examine the legacies of colonialism and dispossession that shape race relations in the islands?

A look at the history of haoles in Hawai’i can help our comprehension. This is certainly not the first instance where haoles have cried victim. In fact, one of the elements of haoleness is a persistent desire by haoles to be perceived as a victimized group.

Book by the First Lady of Hawaii: The Segregated Sisterhood of Neil Abercrombie and Nancie Caraway

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Obama's Winter White House an Illegal Rental

President Barack Obama's two-week stay at his Hawaii Winter White House was illegal under a long-standing Honolulu ban on short-term rentals.

Obama did not break the law by staying at the house, but the property owner who rented his house to the Obamas does not have the permit that would allow a stay of fewer than 30 days.

Glenn Weinberg, the owner of the Kailua estate, told Civil Beat that it was legal for him to rent to the president for a short stay because he kept the home empty for the rest of the 30-day period. However his is a common misconception about Honolulu law.

"I don't see any non-homeowner certificate that allows them to do short-term rentals," Mike Friedel of the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting’s Code Compliance branch told Civil Beat. "If they're doing short-term rentals, it's illegal."

The so-called Winter White House is not listed in the most recent database of properties allowed for short-term rental use.

Those found in violation of the law are subject to a fine of up to $1,000.

HotAir: Bad news: Obama’s Hawaiian vacation rental was illegal

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Reps hold meeting on chemophobia Scam

The purpose of this informational briefing is for the Department of Health to speak on Hexavalent Chromium 6 (SIC!) levels in Hawaii’s tap water. A representative(s) from the Department of Health is requested to appear before the committees.

(It is either called hexavalent chromium OR chromium 6—not hexavalent chromium 6.) 

REALITY:  Honolulu is #2 on Erin Brockovich hexavalent chromium hit list

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Atheist to get money from State, end public prayers?

The state Senate Democratic Caucus is looking to settle a lawsuit generated by a physical altercation in and just outside Senate chambers last April 29.

Mitch Kahle of Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church and colleague Kevin Hughes allege they were roughed up by Senate Sergeant-At-Arms Ben Villaflor and several deputy sheriffs after Kahle and company verbally disrupted a Senate invocation.

Kahle charges that the invocations are a First Amendment violation. The incident can be viewed here.

One option for dropping the suit, Capitol Watch has learned, is for the Senate to drop its invocation.

Kahle has pushed the Honolulu City Council to approve new rules that would prohibit sectarian invocations and proselytizing before Council meetings.

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SLARS Investigation by Hawaii Lawmakers a Flop

A legislative investigation into a scandal-ridden $1 billion state investment essentially went nowhere. (But, but, it made good Democrat media talking pints in the campaign.)

The news emerged Tuesday at a hearing where lawmakers immediately went into closed session. When members came out 20 minutes later, they said they hadn't been able to investigate….

"This is not a discussion of the settlement," said committee member Sen. Sam Slom. "The committee's hands were tied in not being able to call witnesses or have subpoena power." The committee only held one prior meeting, where it adopted rules. But it didn't take any public testimony.

Rep. Gene Ward, who voted against approving a four-page draft report for the Legislature, said there was "no investigation whatsoever." Slom, Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, Senate President Shan Tsutsui and Rep. Marcus Oshiro voted in favor.

"The irony is that we had an investigative committee that didn't do any investigating, there was nothing of substance," Ward said. "We have not had a discussion to see what was taking place ... I think we need to have a more open hearing by the people who did it, the new (attorney general). We're moving on with no substantive base."

REALITY: UH Manoa activist sold Hawaii controversial Student Loan Bonds

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Yagong 'welcomes' ethics hearing (pushback from Kenoi 2012 campaign)

The complaint is not unexpected. Yagong's private-sector employment came up several times from both a developer representative and a fellow council member during the course of the Aug. 17 meeting.
Former Councilwoman Emily Naeole-Beason, of Puna, at one point vying with Yagong for a chance to speak, got right down to it, according to transcripts that are part of the complaint.
"This is my district. I would really appreciate if I can get to speak, yeah, 'cause we respect everybody when it comes to their district," Naeole-Beason said. "Sorry, Dominic. I know Malama was your store."
Yagong yielded the floor.
At another point in the meeting, Woodland Center landowner Paul Ogasawara flat out asked Yagong about his affiliation.
"May I ask Mr. Yagong, isn't he conflict of interest? (sic) He's with Malama," Ogasawara said, according to the transcript.
When then Planning Committee Chairman Donald Ikeda, of Hilo, told Ogasawara he couldn't ask that, Yagong interrupted, saying he'd like to answer. He reiterated that he hadn't worked for Malama Market in more than a year and wasn't affiliated with Kalama Beach Corp., Malama's owner.

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Transparency comes to change orders: Council to review costly contract additions

The Hawaii County Council will start getting regular reports about contract change orders.
Council members unanimously approved Bill 1 Wednesday morning. The bill requires the Finance Department routinely to submit reports about change orders to the council, within 30 days of the orders being approved.
"The data is public information and a good portion of it is already being reported online," Finance Director Nancy Crawford told council members. "We will consolidate it in a different manner and certain items not previously automatically posted will be included. While it is an additional process we will follow, it's not overly burdensome."

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Councilman Fred Blas advances funding for Puna park

County Council members got the ball moving on a new public park in Puna's Hawaiian Paradise Park.
All nine lawmakers, meeting as the Finance Committee, voted in favor of adding the $5.5 million project to the capital improvements budget, despite concerns that members of the HPP Owners Association did not have full agreement to turn over the 20-acre parcel.
Monday's vote means that the park budget item advances to the full County Council with a positive recommendation.

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Family sues over lost safe deposit box

According to the lawsuit, the Chows started renting a safe deposit box at ASB's Kona-Ike branch at 1359 Kapiolani Blvd. in 2003.

In 2004, the bank moved the safe deposit boxes to its Kapiolani-Kaheka branch at 1600 Kapiolani Blvd. During the move, the bank lost five safe deposit boxes, including the Chows', yet failed to tell them, the lawsuit said.

In the meantime, the Chows claim the bank continued to charge them rent for the missing safe deposit box. It wasn't until sometime in 2009 when Amy Chow went to the Kapiolani-Kaheka branch to get access to the box that the Chows discovered the box was lost. It is still missing, the lawsuit says.

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Retracted Autism Study An ‘Elaborate Fraud,’ British Journal Finds

A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an “elaborate fraud” that has done long-lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication reported Wednesday.

An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was “no doubt” Wakefield was responsible.

“It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors,” Fiona Godlee, BMJ’s editor-in-chief, told CNN.

“But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data.”

Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May.

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Large fire continues to burn at Hawaiian Waste Systems

Hawaiian Waste Systems signed a three-year contract with the city to ship plastic-wrapped bales of garbage to Washington. But the city and the company reached an agreement in August to scrap the contract after Hawaiian Waste Systems failed to get federal permits. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order also blocking the plan after the Yakama Nation and others sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop the project, saying its environmental impact had not been adequately studied.

Because of the delay numerous, plastic-wrapped bales of rubbish piled up at Campbell Industrial Park for several months.

Hawaiian Waste Systems began trucking the rubbish to HPOWER on Sept. 29.

As part of the agreement, the city will pay Hawaiian Waste Systems $39 a ton to use the company's shredder to shred large pieces of garbage, such as mattresses and furniture, for the city so that it can be burned at HPOWER.

The city also waived an estimated $1 million in refuse tipping fees it would normally charge to burn the rubbish.

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“Green” energy scammers continue to salivate over Hawaii

WSJ: Q&A With Steve Case About Ron Klain, LivingSocial & Venture Capital

Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, is leaving the White House to become the new president of Case Holdings, the investment company of AOL co-founder Steve Case. Klain is leaving his current position later this month and will oversee Case’s various holdings including investment firm Revolution LLC, investments in Hawaii including Grove Farm and Maui Land & Pineapple, and Steve and Jean Case’s Case Foundation.

We spoke with Case to talk about Klain and the direction of Revolution LLC, which has invested in hot start-up companies such as LivingSocial Inc., which recently raised $175 million from Amazon.com, Zipcar Inc., which is in IPO registration, Everyday Health Inc., and Revolution Money Inc., which was acquired by American Express Co. in 2009 for $300 million.

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