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Monday, February 14, 2011
February 14, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:36 PM :: 9775 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development, World News, Hawaii History

Pensions, Rail, Earmarks: Abercrombie and Obama wage war on Inouye

Gaming Lobbyist describes much deeper involvement in selecting Abercrombie Cabinet

A State-Recognized Indian Tribe for Hawaii?

Wolfson: Push past civil union to gay marriage

Report: Lottery remains a poor bet for education funding

Human Trafficking Bills to be Heard Tuesday

Farmers send two tons of Kona Coffee to troops in Afghanistan, Iraq

Petition drive to stop Mauna Kea Sheep Slaughter

West Maui Taxpayers Association to hold Annual Meeting

Supreme Court to hear Case: Do elected officials with Conflict of Interest have a right to vote?

Radcliffe: Raising GE Tax Will Happen

Lobbyist John Radcliffe speaking to UHPA meeting Saturday:

“There is no legislative stomach for increasing taxes either. The soda tax, liquor tax, tobacco tax, pension tax, plastic bag tax, are probably all going to die. Raising the GE Tax is possible — but improbable — but as a last resort — it will happen.”…

Yesterday, on his 99th day in office, he was not booed — but Neil was roundly condemned by government retirees and government workers in the sort of words that you all know have never crossed my own lips…..But he was battling. He was leading. He was down there fighting. He was trying. You and the other public employee groups did not agree with him — and — truth to tell — I told him from the get go that he cannot do this — it ain’t legal…but he is doing what he said he would do. And let me pause here and say this:

This Governor is the most liberal, and I say with the sweetest of ironies, the most like you, of all we have ever had. His government is filled with UH people and it is an administration that truly respects and admires you — but he has choices to make and so do you. Now in New Jersey, we have a fat, mean, loudmouthed, Republican, bully using public employees, and especially teachers — as ragdoll punching bags, as he gleefully tries to beat public unions to death….Our guy wants your support, and you won’t give it. OK…

But notice the difference in approach — OK?

(Abercrombie is) going to Washington to “get money” from the Feds. Yep. Look at me. Listen. We have become a goddamned cargo cult. We think that the great god “Washington” has money, and when we send our chief up there, that Washington is going to rain money down on us. Are you crazy? The nation is broke, and Hawaii is a tiny, eentsy bitsy row of dots afloat far away on a distant ocean. There ain’t no more Washington money. Dan Inouye is not Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. The game is up. I told you and I told you and I told you. About the economy. About the ERS. About the EUTF. About all of it..and now the day has come — and after ten years you are not ready.

(To paraphrase Rhett Butler:  "Why, all we have is weed and students and arrogance.")

WHY THIS MATTERS:  Pensions, Rail, Earmarks: Abercrombie and Obama wage war on Inouye

Full Text >>> read more

Kalapa: Leave The Excuses On The Table And Just Call It A Money Grab

Taxpayers shouldn’t be surprised that both the administration and lawmakers are coming up with all sorts of platitudes about how we should lead healthier lives and contribute back to the community that are smoke screens for raising taxes….

So taxpayers, much as elected officials would like us to believe that they are slapping these taxes on us for our "own" good, they amount to nothing more than a money grab to maintain the status quo in their free-wheeling spending. As the professionals have noted time and time again, childhood obesity is going to take more than taxing sodas, that it is indeed a change in lifestyle. If they are going tax sodas, why not Twinkies or for that matter cell phones and Blackberries? Nah, it’s just a grab for your pocketbook!

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Can Hawaii Pensioners help out Bill Clinton’s Billionaire Movie Moguls?

Relativity Media LLC and Shangri-La Industries, makers of films such as "Frost/Nixon" and "Polar Express," want the state to expand the film production tax credit from 15 percent to 35 percent on Oahu, and from 20 percent to 40 percent on the neighbor islands. Oh, and tax credits for new production facilities and exemptions from hotel room taxes.

This could bring more film and TV jobs to Hawaii, they say. How many and for how long remains a guess.

Perhaps Medicaid recipients, pensioners and those who depend on social services -- once they've taken the hit for the state's $844 million budget deficit -- can dig a little deeper to help out these folks.

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A good deal: A U.S.-Korea free trade pact would promote prosperity and regional stability

Prosperity not based on government spending.  What a concept!

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SA Raiding Party: Special funds, justify yourselves

At its first hearing on Thursday, Senate Bill 120 drew down a rain of protest from every corner of the state government. The job of the Legislature -- and it's a tough one -- will be to sort out which funding could really yield some needed dollars without running afoul of the law or doing excessive damage to public interests.

The original list in the bill must be winnowed….

The taxpayers need to see a more considered approach to reducing the size and cost of government than the Abercrombie administration has yet proposed.

(What did Radcliffe say to UHPA Saturday?  “One of the current moves to “balance the budget,” is SB 120… which raids all the special funds….and puts them into the General Fund. This is like ending earmarks — and makes as much sense. It just takes money from the hands of this government staffer in an executive department, and let’s that government staffer, a legislative staffer, decide where to spend money. Forty per cent of the UH Budget is in special funds — but by comparison— 78% of the Department of Agriculture’s funds are… There are dozens and hundreds of such funds in all departments. It is nuts. It will fail.”)

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Raid on Highway Funds becomes excuse for Weight Tax Hike

Lawmakers say they must raise vehicle fees because the state needs $86 million a year to finance road repairs and there’s only $17 million left in the highway fund to pay for the work.

The choice to taxpayers, they say, is to pay the higher fees or live with Hawaii’s disgracefully potholed roads.

The fallacy in that is, we’ve already paid to fix the roads.

Existing fees have produced plenty enough to keep our roads in good repair, with the fund over $100 million at times. It’s currently light and the roads unfixed only because the Legislature siphoned $145 million from the repair fund to pay for non-highway projects.

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Meet the lawyer who will cash in on State-mandated Foreclosure Mediation

Honolulu attorney Marvin Dang runs what is believed to be the largest debt-collection law firm in the state, filing more than half of the 21,000 collection lawsuits in Hawaii's district courts in fiscal year 2010.

Dang's firm represents Hawaii financial institutions, banks, credit unions and loan companies and also major credit card issuers, such as Capitol One, American Express and Citibank.

His firm, which has a staff of about 50, including five lawyers, filed about 11,000 cases in fiscal year 2010 and 6,000 in fiscal year 2009, most of them for credit card cases, Dang said.

Dang, a state representative from 1982 to 1984, said the reason lenders and institutions turn to him is that his firm tries to resolve the cases before filing a suit, which would add a filing fee and other fees to the amount sought.

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Today 3PM: BoE to hold hearing on Lilioukalani, Puuhale and Kalihi closures

Queen Liliuokalani Elementary School in Kaimuki is among the schools recommended for closure by the Department of Education. Puuhale and Kalihi elementary schools are also on the chopping block.

Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi's recommendation is the department's latest move to save money and increase efficiency in the state's public schools.  (And cash in on real estate)

The public hearing is set for 3 p.m. at the Board of Education.

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Cronies to cash in as DoE becomes Land Developer

Better known as the Public School Lands Trust measures, Senate Bill 1385 and House Bill 952 propose creating a trust to develop unused public school lands.

The trust would be commissioned with renting and developing underused school land for a variety of commercial and residential purposes.

A HIPA survey of just 15 campuses found 40 acres of developable land that could generate $12.5 million in added revenue for the department.

The Senate proposal cites an even higher potential revenue — $120 million — for just 10 campuses:  "A preliminary review by a real estate expert indicates that the redevelopment of ten parcels have the potential to generate $120,000,000. The lands would be developed solely for the benefit of Hawaii's public school children cronies, contractors, and bureaucrats."

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Phony Rail Groundbreaking: “All you need are a few politicians and a shovel"

The City sent out invitations recently for a February 22nd "groundbreaking" for the rail project. This is a phony groundbreaking; it is a version of the late Council Chair Barbara Marshall's quip, "Can we break ground next year? Of course we can because all you need are a few politicians and a shovel." So the politicians, and all those expecting to gain from the project, the unions, developers, construction companies, and engineering companies will dutifully line up with shiny shovels for the press photo op.

However, there are a few difficulties ahead, not the least of which is the risk that the new Republican Congress will find that borrowing $1.55 billion from the Chinese Communist Government to fund our rail line is not necessary for the financial survival of our country. This is especially so since the first few miles of line are in empty fields as can be seen from this City video.

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PBN: Lawmakers should keep gaming out of Hawaii

We have built our state’s brand around a unique visitor experience. Do we really want to remake ourselves in the image of popular tourist destinations that have tried to grow through gaming? In other words, do we want to be another Atlantic City, N.J., or Biloxi, Miss.? Do we want to compete with Las Vegas or the Bahamas? Do we really want to give away our rooms and food so that every last dime of visitor spending goes to gaming?

We think the answer should be a definitive no.

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Perry and Price talk Gambling

Perry and Price spoke with Professor Earl Grinols (Distinguished Professor of Economics) about bringing gambling to Hawaii. You'll be surprised on how the conversation went....
To hear the entire interview with Perry and Price..... just
CLICK HERE!
Fore more information on Professor Grinols visit
HERE!

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Hawaii lawmakers consider back-to-school tax holiday

The measure, House Bill 364, aims to create an exemption from the state's general excise tax for the purchase of school supplies, computers, clothing and books.

The tax holiday would start on the Wednesday in the last full week of July.

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Maui Considers Waste-to-Energy

“If we went to burning the methane we could power approximately 1,500 homes here on Maui. If we did waste to energy 3,000 homes if we kept all the trash here,” said McLeod.

Once an option is chosen, McLeod said the contract is put out for bid.

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KIUC Election: KCC to host Candidate Forum

PUHI — Apollo Kaua‘i and the Associated Students of Kaua‘i Community College are hosting a candidates forum from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, for the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Board of Directors elections.

The member-elected KIUC board — through its decisions, policies and contracts — is responsible for determining the island’s energy future.

The six candidates running in this year’s election — Pat Gegen, David Iha, Teofilo “Phil” Tacbian, Peter Yukimura, Kuulei Santos and Ken Stokes — responded to these three questions: 1.) Why are you running to serve on the KIUC Board of Directors? 2.) What expertise and experience will you bring to the board? 3.) What will you do to help KIUC meet its renewable energy goal of generating at least 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2013?

Here are their answers.

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UH Ignores requirement to buy Local Ag Produce

Report on status of respective purchases and use of locally produced produce or other Hawaii agriculture products, FY2010. Three paragraphs basically saying, “we don’t know nothing.” No author indicated, although the cover sheet identifies it as a “University of Hawaii System Report.”

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Luddites Crushed as Anti-GMO bills go down in flames

The Senate Agriculture committee voted Feb. 1 to kill Senate Bill 713, which would have required genetically engineered foods to carry prominent GMO labels, and SB 711, which would have required labels on genetically modified fish.  Critics of the measures argued that identifying genetically modified food in this way would discriminate against local farmers who use biotech crops.

"The perception here is that there is something inherently wrong with this technology, which is contrary to what is widely accepted by the scientific community," said Russell Kokubun, chairman of the state Board of Agriculture.

Kokubun told lawmakers that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have determined that there is no significant difference between genetically modified and non-GMO crops….

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Hawaii ranks #2 in Homelessness

State of Homelessness in America 2011

(It is amazing how many homeless people can afford a one-way ticket.)

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Former Prison Inmate Wins $83,000 Settlement

A former prison inmate, a veteran who is now homeless, has won an $83,000 settlement against the state of Hawaii. Wade Itagaki was kept in Halawa prison months after his sentence was up, and then put out on the street with nothing. Itagaki served time for second-degree theft. His sentence expired on Sept. 5, 2006, but he wasn't released. He was kept 83 days longer.

(One more reason to bring all our prisoners back—enhanced sentencing!)

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Isle prisons become key source of labor

Prison officials can't keep up with the requests pouring in for inmates to clean, do heavy lifting and even scour Leeward Coast beaches for medical waste in the runoff from Waimanalo Gulch Landfill last month.

Since the economy fell apart in 2008, "there has been a vast increase in requests for the past two years," said Francis X. Sequeira, warden at Oahu Community Correctional Center, who oversees 12 prisoner "work lines." "We can only address a finite amount of requests," Sequeira said in an e-mail.

(One more reason to bring all our prisoners back—slave labor!)

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Brown U, Kohala Ctr team up to provide Advanced Brainwashing

In 2004, the Leadership Institute formed the Brown Environmental Leadership Lab, and has since partnered with a Hawaiian educational center, branching into the Pacific. Students enrolled in the Brown Environmental Leadership Laboratory program in Rhode Island spend two weeks living at the Haffenreffer Estate in Bristol, on the shores of the Narragansett Bay. A faculty comprised of graduate students and professors teach the students about sustainable development through experiential learning, said Robin Rose, associate dean for continuing education and director of leadership programs.

The Leadership Institute also offers a similar program at the Kohala Center in Hawaii in April. Researchers and students use the center to focus on "energy self-reliance, food self-reliance and ecosystem health," said Samantha Birch, a Kohala Center field educator and program leader. Students enrolled in the Hawaii program learn about geology, marine science and Hawaiian culture.

"Environmental leadership is woven into the program," Birch said. "Students learn what it means to be an environmental leader during the program. They learn about sustainability and group dynamics."

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Why Are Islanders The Fattest People?

Mainland gay writer Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic wants to know why you are so fat….

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Losers: Clinton, Obama point fingers at each other over Failure in Egypt

Last Saturday afternoon, President Obama got a jarring update from his national security team: With restive crowds of young Egyptians demanding President Hosni Mubarak’s immediate resignation, Frank G. Wisner, Mr. Obama’s envoy to Cairo, had just told a Munich conference that Mr. Mubarak was indispensable to Egypt’s democratic transition.

Mr. Obama was furious, and it did not help that his secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Wisner’s key backer, was publicly warning that any credible transition would take time — even as Mr. Obama was demanding that change in Egypt begin right away.

Seething about coverage that made it look as if the administration were protecting a dictator and ignoring the pleas of the youths of Cairo, the president “made it clear that this was not the message we should be delivering,” said one official who was present. He told Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to take a hard line with his Egyptian counterpart, and he pushed Senator John Kerry to counter the message from Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Wisner when he appeared on a Sunday talk show the next day.

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