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Monday, March 07, 2011
March 7, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:56 AM :: 8033 Views :: Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development, World News, Hawaii History

Star-Advertiser: Give Sand Island to Homelessness Industry—and lots of money too

Laws now keep tents from being pitched in public parks, but a portion of Sand Island may be a workable location if provided with water, sanitation, security and social services. It is not in sight of business, tourist and residential areas but is close enough for the working homeless who reject what they see as shelter cells remote from central Honolulu, even if accessible to shuttles. After all, many of the homeless have jobs but cannot afford rent.

About 15,000 people annually are homeless in the state at least part of the year and 6,000 are homeless at any given day, according to Sandy Miyoshi, administrator of the state's Homeless Programs Office. Some areas have become de facto little tent cities, with the homeless staking out spots on the fringe parks or sidewalks or within unmarked parking areas.

In a state Senate multicommittee hearing last Thursday, Alexander said the problem has reached a "sense of urgency that we must do something together, and this leads to a greater sense of conviction." Success will require a concerted and cooperative effort (money) by the city, state and social service providers, with politics common sense put aside.

Sand Island Future: Defeating the "homelessness industry" before it gets a grip on Hawaii

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Officials balk at renewing 3-strikes law

The 2006 law mandates a sentence of at least 30 years to life for a third conviction for a violent offense.

Since it was adopted, the law was used to sentence a man who pleaded guilty to murder and agreed to be sentenced under the law because he wanted to avoid an even harsher prison term.

Former city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle and former Attorney General Mark Bennett campaigned for the measure. Carlisle, now Honolulu mayor, said he still thinks it is a useful tool to deal with the most violent, dangerous criminals.

But the current city prosecutor and the acting attorney general aren't pushing to keep the law alive beyond July 1, when it is scheduled to sunset.  (Servants of the defense bar, with lawyerly excuses for you to read.)

RELATED: VIDEO: Reps Fontaine, McKelvey against HB141 weakening Repeat Offender sentencing

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Honolulu Residents To Pay Hawaii's Highest Gas Tax under Carlisle proposal

Carlisle's proposed $1.93 billion operating budget for the 2012 fiscal year — a budget 6 percent bigger than this year's — calls for raising the city's fuel tax by 6 cents over three years. It also calls for creating a single tax rate for both occupant and non-occupant residential homeowners, which will result in an 8-cent (per $1000 value) rate increase for homeowners who live in their homes.

HI24/7: Average gas prices in Hawaii jump 10.6 cents per gallon the past week

Honolulu Budget: can-do.honolulu.gov

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Ewa Blackout Causes medical emergencies: One person in Serious condition

Electricity problems began with a Thursday night storm that pounded Oahu. It coincided with union workers for utility company HECO choosing to strike. Members of the local IBEW chapter last month rejected a tentative contract agreement.

The city's director of Emergency Services, James Ireland, said his staffers responded to two "medical emergencies" in which people who rely on equipment that relies electricity could not use that equipment. Ireland said a number of others sought help at hospitals for the same reason. He said no one died as a result.

Ireland said one patient is stable and the other is in "serious condition with a good prognosis."

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Abercrombie “No Comment” On Palafox firing

Sen. Sam Slom, the only Republican in the state Senate, shared with WND a terse letter Abercrombie sent him, dated Feb. 28, in which Abercrombie indicated he had no comment on his decision to fire Palafox.

"I will comment if and when appropriate," Abercrombie wrote:

RELATED: Slom: Feds not investigating Palafox

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Shapiro: Don’t cross Abercrombie with independent thought

It’s Abercrombie’s right to bring in his own OIP director, but where it gets vindictive is that the governor’s office also filled Takase’s previous position of staff attorney for the OIP, preventing her from going back to her old job as customarily happens when an acting director is passed over for permanent appointment.

Ian Lind makes a pretty solid case that the governor overstepped his legal authority by meddling in the office to make a staff appointment below the director’s level.

Takase displayed courage by standing up for the public’s right to know against Abercrombie’s determination to return to a secretive ward healer system of judicial selection, fully aware that it would diminish her chances of permanent appointment to the job.

She didn’t deserve to be treated like trash for doing what she believed the law required of her, and it reflects poorly on the administration to stoop to petty retribution.

It also raises alarms that the governor intends to turn the office charged with assuring that the public has fair access to government information into a rubber stamp for the new administration’s penchant for secrecy.

As Abercrombie was fond of lecturing Mufi Hannemann during the campaign: “This is not how a governor acts. This is not what a governor does.”

RELATED: Abercrombie Admin caught in lie as OIP director is fired

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AtomicMonkey: Transparency in Government means making people Disappear

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Admin seeks Eight BoE Nominees

Abercrombie -- who will announce his picks by April 1 -- is looking for eight volunteers to join his first appointee, First Hawaiian Bank Chairman and CEO Don Horner. Among the qualifications: a "record of integrity" and a "commitment to educational leadership." Another thing: you won't get a salary, just expenses.

But if you think you can help Hawaii's schools attain the goals of a federal Race to the Top grant -- boost student achievement, improve teacher effectiveness and turn around low-performing schools -- it's time to step up.

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SB1195: LWV Claims blank votes are not really counted as “No” votes

Before 1980, the vote requirement for the ratification of constitutional amendments was that the affirmative or “yes” votes be more than the “no” votes, and that the “yes” votes be at least 35 percent of all of the ballots cast in that election. So, let's say that a thousand people went to the polls, and the vote counts were: 365 yesses, 325 nos, and 310 blanks. If blank votes were really counted as “no” votes, 325 nos and 310 blanks would equal 635 “no” votes, and the proposed amendment would have been defeated. However, the 310 blank votes are not counted as “no” voters, and 365 “yes” votes are at least 35 percent of 1,000, so the amendment would have passed.

Blank votes are not “no” votes and have never been counted as “no” votes.

In 1980, the Legislature, believing that constitutional amendments should be confirmed by more voters than was required then, proposed an increase in the vote requirement to 50 percent from the previous 35 percent.

In the 1980 General Election, the proposed amendment was wisely approved by 56 percent of the voters.

And only because the vote requirement is exactly 50 percent, not 48 percent or 53 percent, but exactly 50 percent, can we actually as a calculation aid, count the “no”s and the blanks and add them together, and if the total exceeds 50 percent, know that the affirmative vote does not make the 50 percent requirement and vice versa.

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POLITICO: Will Senate ever vote on Liu to Rule over Hawaii from 9th Circuit? 

At a rare second confirmation hearing for Liu on Wednesday—requested by Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee – GOP senators continued their criticism of his liberal legal record and past statements.

“If confirmed, I’m concerned that Mr. Liu will deeply divide the 9th Circuit and move that court even further to the left,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

For his part, Liu acknowledged (that he is a typical leftist perfesser) some of the missteps in his past that Republicans have latched on to, especially his earlier criticism of Alito’s legal views which he said suggested that Alito’s record “envisions an America where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy to stop him from running away with a stolen purse … where a black man may be sentenced to death by an all-white jury for killing a white man.”  (This is the whackjob Obama wants to hear Hawaii federal cases.)

“I think the last paragraph of that testimony was not an appropriate way to describe Justice Alito as a person or his legal views,” said Liu in his opening statement  Wednesday. “I think that I should have omitted that paragraph and quite frankly, senator, I understand now much better than I did then, that strong language like that that is really unhelpful in this process. If I had to do it over again, I would have deleted it.”

With his nomination moving into his second year, the White House, led by White House Counsel Robert Bauer and Obama’s nominations coordinator Susan Davies, both big Liu boosters, have pushed for closure in the matter even if it means a defeat.

“If the option is hanging in limbo or going down, we’ll take the loss,” said a Senate Democratic aide involved in the push.

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Obama Admin pushes for Human Trafficking law in Hawaii

  • A human trafficking law means law enforcement would get new training to recognize a modern crime: "When a jurisdiction passes a trafficking law, even if they had a perfectly good forced prostitution law or a perfectly good slavery law, the newness of the trafficking law — and the need to do training, the need to do updating — the trafficking law itself drives a series of reforms at least within police and prosecutors' offices that then results in more cases being done more effectively."

  • An ideal human trafficking bill would be "based on exploitation instead of movement...and has both overt force and also a second offense that would provide for cases that were more psychological — psychological dependency, psychological exploitation. And that's a fairly simple law actually."

  • "If Hawaii can get a modern anti-trafficking statute passed that not only has the modern definitions, the ability to direct cases, but also then victim protections, then I could really see Hawaii as a place where people from the Pacific Rim come to study."

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Socialist Superferry system shelved

Unless the legislation undergoes further amendments when it goes before the full Hawai‘i House of Representatives, a proposal to create a state-run interisland ferry system has been effectively tabled.

“To encourage further discussion,” the Finance Committee last week unanimously voted to amend House Bill 1239, changing its effective date from next year to July 1, 2030.

HB1239 would establish and fund a state ferry system to transport passengers and cargo between the Hawaiian Islands. The legislation, which does not include a dollar figure for the appropriation, also created a path to potentially buy a high-speed catamaran from the now-defunct Hawai‘i Superferry….

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Fishing cut off before quota reached: Scientists have no idea about actual fish stocks

Fishing ended about 48,000 pounds short of the quota, which amounted to about $300,000 in lost revenues for fishing crews, he said.

Nakagawa said lower fishing catches are more related to foul weather than a decrease in fishing stock.

Scientists have difficulty estimating the number of so-called deep-seven fish because they dwell at depths of 300 to 900 feet. National Marine Fisheries Service officials have been attempting to determine their numbers more accurately by a series of tests, including the use of sonar and an underwater camera.

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Consumers cry foul over overdraft fees

A lawsuit filed against Bank of Hawaii alleges 'deceptive' practices, but experts say the case has little chance of success.

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UH Manoa Richardson Law School Dean claims Obamacare is Legal

Yawn.  This clown starts with the silly rhetoric almost from the first paragraph.  “Throwback, Child Labor, Amnesia, Segregation, and then he has the nerve to mention “blunderbuss rhetoric.” 

BTW how did that Ceded Lands case go?  Oh, that’s right the Richardson Law School theory was slapped down 9-0 by SCOTUS.  So if UHM is the last redoubt of those who believe Obamacare is legal, then this is a good sign.

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L.A. community colleges' green energy plan proves wildly impractical. The blunders cost taxpayers $10 million

Eisenberg was put in charge of the campus construction program, one of California's largest public works projects.

A mandate from the district's Board of Trustees to incorporate renewable power into new buildings offered him a chance to make his name as a leader in green construction.

He was tireless in promoting the program's eco-friendly aspects, traveling at taxpayer expense to Zurich, Switzerland, to speak at a conference of the International Sustainable Campus Network. He made similar presentations in New Orleans, Seattle and Atlanta.

His advocacy had a messianic tinge. In one e-mail to his advisors, he described his renewable-energy agenda as "what the world needs now. No one else is doing it. We can and will."

The trustees encouraged Eisenberg's push for green energy, even as his plan grew steadily more ambitious. They liked the idea of freeing the colleges from dependence on fossil fuels and were content to leave the practical details to him.

But Eisenberg's enthusiasm obscured an inconvenient reality: With the technology now available, the cost of renewable power exceeds that of energy derived from burning coal and natural gas….

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The £25,000 eco-classroom that can't be used because solar panels don't provide enough heat

 

The much feted zero-carbon Living Ark classroom was opened three months ago to great fanfare.

It boasts laudable green credentials and is made from sustainable wood, sheep’s wool and soil. The roof is made of mud and grass and it has its own ‘rain pod’ and solar panels. But there is snag – its solar panels only provide enough energy to power a few lightbulbs.

As a result the classroom is bitterly cold and uninhabitable for lessons.

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