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Thursday, July 28, 2011
July 28, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:14 PM :: 12604 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

Oneula Burials: The Big Cover Up?

Fontaine Factor Video: Cybercrime in Hawaii

Featured on Glen Beck: Wallbuilders’ David Barton to speak Maui, Oahu events

Governor Lingle to Speak at Grassroot Institute Fundraiser

UPW: Potential Strike Right Before APEC

In meetings with members that began Wednesday, UPW leaders passed out the state's formal settlement offer which is similar to the deal approved by the HGEA. It calls for five percent across-the-board pay cuts, but offers nine days of paid leave a year in exchange for the salary reduction, according to a copy of the offer obtained by KITV 4 News.

UPW State Director Dayton Nakanelua spoke about the potential of the union going on strike around November 10, just a few days before President Barack Obama and leaders of 21 nations will arrive in Hawaii for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, a source who attended one of the union meetings said.

Nakanelua said thousands of people from around the world would land at Honolulu International Airport for APEC. If UPW janitorial workers were on strike, the airport would be a mess with dirty lobbies and restrooms some of the first sights APEC visitors would see, Nakanelua told UPW members Wednesday.

With no county garbage collectors doing their jobs, a UPW strike would also mean curbside trash would start to pile up.

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Hawaii considers moving homeless to Giant Festering Tent City before APEC

Lawmakers were holding a hearing Thursday on the idea of creating “safe zones” where the homeless could choose to stay on designated areas of state land….

Leaders from the state, city, nonprofit groups and private businesses were expected to attend the meeting on the feasibility of starting a “safe zone” test in tourist-filled Waikiki.

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Okabe: Abercrombie is Unworthy of Unions’ Political Support

It is surprising that our Democratic Governor would hire an anti-union lawyer to represent him and the State against teachers.

The State calls Robert Katz “qualified.” If what you want is a lawyer with a long history of anti-union activities, who fought against Local 5 and hotel housekeepers, and has sought to restrict the rights of workers to a fair union contract… then Mr. Katz is indeed well-qualified.

Mr. Katz’s website boasts of experience ‘to help employers effectively respond to union organizing campaigns and election petitions.’

This turn of events establishes a pattern that we have long wished to deny – the Governor and his administration are behaving in a way unworthy of someone who came to unions a year ago asking for and gladly taking our help.

While we certainly don’t believe that supporting candidate Abercrombie would entitle us to special treatment at the bargaining table from Governor Abercrombie, we are surprised to find ourselves facing one of Hawaii’s preeminent anti-union lawyer as we struggle to protect our Constitutional rights to fair and honest collective bargaining.

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‘Crack’ in the Leadership Team? Kobayashi to hold hearing on Martin’s ORI Scandal

Also, new Budget Committee Chair Ann Kobayashi tells Inside Honolulu that her committee meeting next Wednesday will include a hearing about ORI Anuenue Hale, the nonprofit at the center of a federal probe that could cost the city $7.9 million.

Oversight of that controversy, and the Department of Community Services that's embroiled in it, had been part of a different committee before the reorganization that put former DCS Director Ernie Martin atop the council hierarchy. We covered all those changes earlier this month in a story titled Roses By Other Names? Chair Retitles Committees.

Related:

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Social Security Cuts are Honolulu Callers Top Concern

During the call, Hanabusa’s staff conducted an telephone poll asking: “What is the number one issue concerning you and your family?”

How the 462 responses (asked in the following order) broke down:

1. Jobs – 72 votes, 16%
2. Government Spending – 97 votes, 21%
3. The Environment – 25 votes, 5%
4. National Security 24 votes, 5%
5.
Social Security 210 votes, 45%
6. Education 34 votes, 7%

CB: FACT CHECK — Hanabusa: Debt Impasse Won't Affect Social Security Checks -- FALSE

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Hanabusa vs Lingle or Djou? 

If Hanabusa runs re-election in the House, she could again face off against former Congressman Charles Djou. He has not yet made a formal announcement, but sounds like he is seriously considering a run for House.

Asked which opponent she’d rather face, Hanabusa laughed.

“I’d run against either of them!” Hanabusa said. “I know Gov. Lingle well. Probably better than anyone else who looks like they may be running against her. I was (state) Senate president during her last four years (as governor). And, Charles, after going through the last election, I feel that I know him well, too.”

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Tulsi Gabbard on Kauai campaigning for CD2

Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard chats with Kaua‘i County Council member Dickie Chang, Tuesday, at the third meeting of the proposed adolescent drug treatment center. Gabbard is currently the sole candidate for the seat being vacated by U.S. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono.

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Oahu County Reapportionment Council Considers counting Military Personnel

The Honolulu Reapportionment Commission deferred action on whether to include nonresident populations such as military members and their dependents in the overall island population count for the purposes of redistricting.

After about 90 minutes of debate Wednesday, the commission voted to defer action and await more information from the state Reapportionment Commission on whether additional data on military members' addresses would be forthcoming.

Related: Military to be Disenfranchised so Meth dealer’s friend can keep Senate Seat?

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Yagong vs. Kenoi for B.I. mayor?

Two Hawaii County councilmen have cleared the decks for a potential Dominic Yagong-Billy Kenoi mayoral match-up next year.

Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann, who is term-limited and cannot seek a fifth council term, announced earlier this week he would not seek the mayorship.

North Kona Councilman Angel Pilago, who returned to the council last year after unsuccessfully running against Kenoi for mayor four years ago, also said he would not run.

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Honolulu Rail Debated in Dallas

(This debate matters because the GOP is about to take over the US Senate and Dallas is the center of the GOP.  Too bad Hawaii doesn’t have any Senators the GOP cares to listen to.)

Jeanne Mariani-Belding, chief public information officer for Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, asked (very politely) for space to respond. Her core contention was that if Dallas and other U.S. cities have transportation options, why shouldn't Honolulu?

So now I have a piece in hand from Toru Hamayasu, HART's interim executive director. As promised, here is his response: LINK ….

Given our experiences here in North Texas with DART and its cost effectiveness, I'll admit to being far more persuaded by Panos D. Prevedouros, a civil engineering prof at the University of Hawaii.

I should note that a few commenters tried to convince me that Prevedouros was just an "anti-rail nut" who ran for mayor on an "anti-rail platform" and was soundly defeated. Again, I've been away for a while, and that may all be true.

But it doesn't make him wrong.

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Hawaii Bankers, Politicos stand behind accused Slavers

The case, which made the New York Times editorial page, is the subject of a French documentary and will be featured in a series on Al Jazeera London television. The story is making news in Asia, with Hawaii Reporter's stories featured in the Bangkok Post. Of interest to many American and foreign reporters is the fact that two former governors and some of Hawaii’s most influential bankers, agricultural leaders and business people, are openly siding with the brothers, writing letters to the judge and issuing statements to the news media.

All the Details:

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Police not Actively Working Papaya Vandalism Cases

The first major case was on May 25, 2010, when Jerry Punzal discovered that vandals had chopped down 397 of the 500 papaya trees at his 35-acre Mililani farm.

Five weeks later, on June 30, Kapoho farmer Laureto Julian found that vandals had chopped down about 8,500 of his 14,000 papaya trees. The loss was set at $100,000.

In both cases the vandals left the fruit on the ground with the decapitated treetops. No equipment or other property was taken.

Honolulu police spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter said the detective investigating the case exhausted all leads and is no longer actively pursuing the case.

Karen Umehara, a manager with the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association, said Hawaii County police told her the case remains open but that it is not actively being pursued because there are no new leads. Hawaii police did not respond to a Star-Advertiser request for information.

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Only three of 28 honor the governor's request for resignations, Abercrombie to sic telemarketers on others

 

More than a month after Abercrombie asked for courtesy resignations from 28 Lingle appointees, only three — Matilda Yoshioka and Eric Beaver of the Public Housing Authority and Lawrence Tseu of the Stadium Authority — have agreed to resign. A fourth appointee — Clarissa Hosino of the Public Housing Authority — had resigned before receiving the governor's request.

Abercrombie said Wednesday that he declined to accept Yoshioka's resignation after discussing it with her, so his request has produced only two actual resignations.

Several appointees have informed the governor's staff that they will not resign until their terms expire, and the governor's advisers plan to telephone about a dozen appointees who have not formally responded so the administration can close the book on the exercise.

CB: One More Stadium Board Member Says 'No' to Hawaii Gov

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SA: Released from Mental Institutions, Lunatics are now in Prisons

Beginning about five decades ago, what has been (the feeeel-gooood liberal scheme) called the national deinstitutionalizing of public mental health care has freed many thousands of mentally ill men and women who had been involuntarily committed to mental hospitals. Many of the mentally ill since then have wound up in prison, behind bars and exploited by other inmates, but not adequately aided by health care providers.  (That worked out really well, huh?)

"Prisons have become the nation's primary mental health facilities," said Jamie Fellner, director of Human Rights Watch and co-author of a 2003 study on prisons and mental illness. "But for those with serious illness, prison can be the worst place to be."

In the long run, state officials should consider centralizing and broadening the mental health care of inmates in state prisons and other secure facilities, with an arm of the State Hospital treating those convicted of violent crimes, as well as those acquitted by reason of insanity, in environments that are safer for its employees. Such an arrangement may help the hospital improve its care of patients on its present grounds without the added burden of looking after dangerous criminals in their midst.

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Nuclear Freeze Leftovers: Council for a Livable World backs Hirono

The Council for a Livable World, a nuclear arms control advocacy group (bunch of left over nuclear freeze activists) is endorsing Rep. Mazie Hirono in her race for Senate, the council announced in a statement on Thursday.

“We are excited to endorse Rep. Mazie Hirono for the Senate,” said John Isaacs, the council’s executive director in a statement sent to reporters. “We hope that our early endorsement will help her against primary opponent former Rep. Ed Case.”

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HECO, Castle & Cook vs First Wind:  Molokai Re-bid order is Appealed

Hawaiian Electric Co. and Castle & Cooke are asking the Public Utilities Commission to reconsider last week’s ruling that shook up the 400 megawatt Big Wind project and raised questions about how it would proceed.

The petition was filed by Hawaiian Electric, with the support of Castle & Cooke, according to PUC documents dated Tuesday.

The PUC ruling effectively stymied a wind farm deal between Molokai Ranch and Pattern Energy from moving forward, by denying that Castle & Cooke could cede half of its “wind allocation” to Pattern Energy for a wind farm. The details of the increasingly complex deal, which aims to bring energy from large wind farms on Lanai and Molokai to Oahu, can be found here.

Hawaiian Electric is asking that the PUC either allow Castle & Cooke to develop the entire 400 mw wind farm on Lanai, or that commissioners reconsider their ruling and allow Castle & Cooke to cede 200 mw to Pattern Energy for the wind farm on Molokai.

As explained: Moving 'Big Wind' Project to Maui would Make Money for Mafia-connected First Wind

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The Majestic DoE: Science Proficiency drops by 6%—22% of 10th Graders Proficient

As Hawaii schools look to beef up science education, disappointing test scores show just how much work needs to be done to bring students up to standards.

Already low scores on the state's annual science assessment dropped this year for fourth- and 10th-graders, while just 26 percent of eighth-graders — who took the test for the first time — were proficient, state figures show.

Kent Hinton, administrator of the state Department of Education's student assessment section, said the scores may reflect the heavy emphasis on math and reading at schools.

"Science … is not as much emphasized," he said.

Science test results, released earlier this month, showed that 22 percent of 10th-grade students tested proficient in biological science. Last year, 27 percent of sophomores tested proficient on a slightly different assessment.

Some 43 percent of fourth-grade students tested proficient in science, down 6 percentage points from the year before.

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DoE: From English Standard to No Standards

Before 1924, comparatively speaking, the record shows that few Caucasian children attended public schools in Hawaii.

Many parents felt that better English speech training as well as a more desirable social standard could be found only at a private school and often made financial sacrifices to send their children there.

Parents began demanding that a standardized English-speaking high school be added to the already existing English standard Lincoln elementary….

…The governor has notified the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services that Hawaii will participate in a program called “Race to the Top.”

The program is a competition meant to support the states’ efforts to increase the number of low-income children enrolled in early learning programs, design an integrated system of programs and address demands of high-need children.

Meanwhile, parents are still making financial sacrifices to send their children to private schools for pretty much the same reasons they did in 1924, but now it’s not just Caucasians.

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First furlough Friday for fiscal 2011-2012 in Hawaii County

in mid-July, the mayor announced a new two-year agreement with the Hawaii Government Employees Association that continues a limited county furlough program to save an estimated $2.1 million per year. The agreement calls for HGEA members to accept furloughs of one day per month for the two-year period that began July 1, 2011. That equates to a pay reduction of 4.615 percent from pay levels in effect before furloughs first took effect last year.

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State cuts $3.7M subsidy, only 30 people quit VanPool Hawaii

A hefty fee hike has prompted about 30 participants to drop out of Vanpool Hawaii's program next month. The program recently lost its state subsidy and now some vanpools are being forced to merge.

Vanpool Hawaii met with the state officials on Wednesday. In a couple of weeks they hope to have a timeline for possibly receiving federal funds.

The state spent $3.7 million to subsidize vanpools during the last 14 months. The program has approximately 300 vans. There were 55 groups on a waiting list in June. Those potential participants could help offset some of the losses.  (Since VanPool is now a self-supporting operation, there should be no need to wait any more.  Without a need for subsidies, 55 more van pools could be on the road.)

"With people dropping out, I'm not saying that's a good thing, but maybe more people here might be able to participate because the military subsidizes the cost," said Kamakele-Cordeiro.

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BOH customers may be reimbursed $9M

If you are a Bank of Hawaii customer, and you've been charged more than one overdraft fee in a single day any time in the last five years, you might be getting some money back.

Bank of Hawaii is in the process of settling a $9 million class-action lawsuit, which would reimburse some customers who alleged they were "improperly charged" overdraft fees, according the bank's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission

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Monopoly Young Brothers Seeking 24% Rate Increase, Blames Competition

The cost of living on the islands continues to rise as Young Brothers, Ltd. (YB) seeks to increase their shipping rates. During a visit to Molokai last week, YB’s Vice President of Strategic Planning and Government Affairs Roy Catalani explained that dropping volumes of cargo are forcing the company to apply to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a rate increase of about 24 percent. Their last rate increase was in August 2009.

Along with lower cargo volume, a second shipping company, Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines, has entered the Hawaii market. They are “cherry-picking” service to larger harbors but not serving smaller ports like Molokai, according to Catalani. Pasha began service in February; their presence could also affect YB’s rising costs of operations.

“Young Brothers has lost about 30 percent of its over-all cargo volumes since 2008,” said Catalani. It came down, he said, to whether the company would increase its rates or decrease its services

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Effort to Ease China-US Visa Restrictions

From Smart Business Hawaii: Aaron Keshishian is working hard to improve our Hawaii/U.S. Visa reforms especially to facilitate visitors from China. Reforms in the Visa process for Chinese residents coupled with the new direct flights from China to Hawaii would help increase tourism which means an upturn in jobs, spending and revenue for businesses.

The following 4 steps are how it can happen:

  1. Align consular affairs with market demands.
  2. Reduce visa interview wait times to 10 days or fewer and match Western Europe's share of international visitors in Brazil, China and India.
  3. Improve planning.
  4. Preserve and expand the Visa Waiver Program.

HR: To Boost Hawaii Tourism, Federal Government Needs to Reform Visa Process

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100s of parking Stalls to be eliminated to make way for Electric Vehicles

In 2009 the state passed an act that requires a charging station in every parking lot with 100 or more stalls. And for every 100 stalls one stall must be reserved for electric vehicles. These requirements are supposed to be fulfilled by the end of this year, but few people even know they exist.

As an example, Act 157 mandates Aloha Stadium, which has 8,000 stalls, to have at least one charging station and 80 stalls reserved for electric vehicles by December 31st, 2011. Ala Moana Center, which has more than 9,000 stalls, should have at least one charging station and 90 stalls for electric vehicles.

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CPB still has 6% deadbeat loans

"They continue to make very rapid progress in reducing their problem assets," he said. "They took a negative provision (taking money out of the reserve) that you don't see very often. They were very proactive in building up a very large loan-loss reserve."

Nonperforming assets, or loans delinquent for 90 days or more, fell to $249.3 million last quarter from $284.9 million at the end of the first quarter and $467.2 million as of June 30, 2010.

"We're cautiously optimistic," Dean said. "The overall improving trends we're seeing in asset quality is a key driver in terms of nonperforming assets."

The bank's nonperforming assets at the end of last quarter represented 6 percent of total assets.

"They've still got a pretty high level of nonperforming assets," Gladue said. "The 6 percent is still above the industry average of 2.8 percent for small-cap banks for nonperforming assets to total assets."

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Green Propaganda films: Carbon Nation and Bag It!

Punahou School and Kanu Hawaii co-host a free, public screening of the 2010 documentary film, "Carbon Nation," exploring creative solutions to (non-existent) climate change at 6:30 this evening at the Luke Lecture Hall in the Wo International Center on campus….

Also, if haven't seen "Bag It" yet, which is a film about plastic bags and their impact on oceans and our health, there will be a free screening 7 p.m. on Friday (July 29) at the Mid-Pacific Institute's Bakken Auditorium, 2445 Kaala St. The screening is sponsored by the Waimea Ocean Film Festival. Folks who arrive early will get free reusable bags from Whole Foods Market. (That way you can spot the brainwashed eco-drones.)

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Aug. 8 Tribute to Chief Justice Richardson

A program paying tribute to the many accomplishments of the late Chief Justice William S. Richardson will be held on August 8, 2011, from 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., at Ali`iolani Hale, 417 S. King Street.

The program is entitled, “Ho`okupu Makou ia Richardson,” which means “We Pay Tribute to Richardson.” It is co-sponsored by the University of Hawaii (UH) William S. Richardson School of Law and the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center.

The speakers are Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald; Associate Justice Simeon R. Acoba, Jr.; UH Law School Dean Avi Soifer; UH Law School Professors Melody MacKenzie and Mari Matsuda; Ivan Lui-Kwan, a partner with Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher; and UH Law Review Editors Lynda Arakawa and Christopher Leong.

The program is open to the public and free of charge. There will be light refreshments and music. Anyone interested in attending should call 539-4999 to RSVP.

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Former Arkansas superintendent to lead Catholic schools in Hawaii

Dr. Michael M. Rockers, former diocesan superintendent and principal at Catholic High School in Little Rock, is the new superintendent of Hawaii Catholic Schools. He starts Sept. 1.

Rockers, 56, has been a Catholic educator for 34 years in Minnesota, Arkansas and South Carolina, serving as a teacher, principal and superintendent.

The new superintendent was picked from a field of about 20 in a national search, said Dara Perreira, human services director for the Diocese of Honolulu.

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