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Saturday, August 27, 2011
August 27, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:04 PM :: 9049 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

Report: Abercrombie’s effort to dump Prepaid Health Care Act will drive Debts to 90% of GDP

Conservative? Inouye, Akaka are Zeroes, but Hirono, Hanabusa score 10%

Conservation Plan: Mafia connected Oahu Windfarm to kill Cats and Endangered Birds

Case: Hirono “Blames the Republicans for Everything”

Case did not mention in his speech to attendees his only current opponent, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono. But speaking before the event, he said that Hirono doesn't have the kind of knowledge of East Hawaii and the Big Island that he does to represent its interests well in the Senate.

"I doubt that she's had the same kind of direct interaction with the citizens here, as I have," he said. "I've also worked in the business community, been in the business community. Mazie hasn't ever been a part of that community."

Case added that he and Hirono harbor seemingly different philosophies on government.

"I believe that government is not the answer to every challenge. Instead, it has to provide the framework for the private sector to address some problems. She believes that government is the answer to everything. ... I think we have a fundamentally different approach to governance.

"She seems to be in an endless partisan struggle. She blames the Republicans for everything. I don't. I think our enemy today is a breakdown in governance. I think we have to move away from the idea that the only way to govern is to yell and scream across the divide."

VIDEO: Ed Case Campaign Kickoff in Hilo

read … Case meets Hilo Supporters

PBN Switches Sides: Rail to Nowhere Cannot be Fixed 

PBN has long been in favor of mass transit, and we continue to be. We’re not saying, “Don’t build something.” We’re saying, “Don’t build an elevated rail project, and don’t build anything as it’s currently proposed.” This project cannot be fixed, and we are extremely concerned that its enduring legacy — should construction ever start — will be as our “rail to nowhere” effort.

read … PBN Anti-Rail

Rail Project Takes Some Hits

This week alone the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said it wants to hear first-hand from Ansaldo Honolulu whether the winner of the core systems contract can fulfill its obligation because of financial and managerial difficulties. When the panel in charge of overseeing the project starts to have doubts, that should be cause for concern.

On Thursday, Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye gave a pep talk to HART members, but the staunch rail supporter said he could not guarantee that the federal government would fund the project as anticipated. When the senior member of Hawaii’s congressional delegation begins to have doubts, that should be a cause for concern.

The anti-rail Gang of Four (Ben Cayetano, Walter Heen, Randy Roth and Cliff Slater) sent a letter to Mayor Peter Carlisle, alleging numerous instances of conflict of interest involving a consultant hired to work on the rail project and city employees and spouses. High-powered people like this ganging up on a project should be cause for concern.

Even PBN changed its earlier position in support of the project and now is saying maybe not. Any time a newspaper reverses its stand on something is definitely a cause for concern.

And on Friday, Honolulutraffic.com, a party to a lawsuit that seeks to halt the project all together, came out with an analysis that said the existing city bus service will get people from Kapolei to downtown faster than the rail would.

HR: City Wavering on Rail Car Contract

Shapiro: Inouye remark references rail with sewage slang

read … Some Hits

Error in UH News Release exposes Entire State of Stenography Journalism

Residents of Hawaii awoke Friday to a front-page banner headline in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser: "Regents propose raising UH-Manoa tuition by $528"….

The newspaper got the size of the tuition increase from a press release issued by UH Thursday afternoon. The press release said: "Increases will include $264 per semester at UH Mānoa in the first year, $240 per semester at UH Hilo, and $96 per semester at the community colleges. UH West O‘ahu, which faces start-up costs that more established campuses do not, will consider a $458 per semester increase in the first year."

However, the press release also included a link to the actual tables showing the proposed changes in tuition. Those tables showed a $132 increase per semester in the first (2102-2013) year for UH Manoa. (UH issued an updated press release Friday morning correcting its mistake.)

SA, MN, AP, and CB all got it wrong.

Related: Meetings will focus on UH tuition increases

read … The Way Journalism Works in Hawaii 

 

CD2 Candidate Kia’aina Upset because she didn’t get Bush Administration Job 

…Kia’aina’s name also came up in the aftermath of the infamous Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal of the mid-2000s, which saw him accused of bilking tribes out of millions of dollars. A 2006 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report that examined his dealings in Washington found that his lobbying team sometimes had direct access to the White House over nomination issues, and may have played a role in preventing her appointment to a position at the Department of the Interior during the George W. Bush administration.

“One example of the Abramoff team’s access to the White House regarding the nomination process is a February 20, 2001 e-mail from Susan Ralston to Matt Schlapp to let him know that Jack Abramoff had called Karl Rove a few days earlier to discuss appointments at OIA,” the Talking Points Memo summarized in a 2008 posting. “According to this e-mail, Mr. Abramoff had heard that Esther Kia’aina was going to be considered for a position and ‘wanted to let Karl know that he didn’t think this was a good idea.’”

“Ms. Ralston continued, ‘Karl asked that you return his call.’ Ms. Kia’aina was not appointed to a position at OIA.”

OIA stands for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, which has administrative responsibility for coordinating federal policy in the territories of territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the responsibility to administer and oversee U.S. federal assistance provided to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association….

TPM: House Committee Report: Abramoff Through Rove Influenced White House Policy

read … Native Hawaiian Enters Congressional Race

SA: Officials right to put heat on the homeless

City and state officials deny that they have plans to push homeless people away from Waikiki prior to November's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, but their actions have shown otherwise. The homeless should be encouraged to find shelter and nourishment elsewhere, a move that would have a positive effect for them and for Hawaii's tourism-based economy.

Marc Alexander, Gov. Neil Abercrombie's homeless coordinator, insists that the state's homeless policy "has nothing to do with APEC." Bridgit Holthus, the city's deputy director of community services, similarly explains that arresting and relocating the homeless "is not something the city would do."

Still, nudges are not only needed but are a move in the right direction in the long range.

(Too bad the media is only telling the truth about homelessness until November. After that the media will be back to painting them as “working families.”)

read … Homeless Heat

New Catholic leadership to build up schools

the broader Catholic community has to contribute to strengthening its school system.

That’s the main thrust of a new strategic plan, called the “System for Success,” that outgoing Hawaii Catholic Schools Superintendent Carmen Himenes helped develop for the church’s 41 schools in the state….

As with other private schools affected by the recession, the number of students attending Catholic schools has been in decline since 2006 because tuition has become unaffordable to many. Enrollment is at its lowest in 66 years, with 10,111 students attending 43 schools at the close of the 2010-11 school year — the latest tally available, Downes said. (With the recent closing of St. Joseph School on Maui and Holy Trinity in Honolulu, there are now 41 Catholic schools of all grade levels in the state.)

One aspect of the plan asks parishes to “generate special efforts, including tuition assistance, to make enrollment possible for all who want to attend its school,” according to Downes.

read … Better Schools

Gary Rodrigues to serve one more year

ILind: Gary Rodrigues, former state director of the United Public Workers and once considered one of the state’s most powerful figures, has to serve another year before being released from a federal prison in Taft, California. His projected release date, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, is August 27, 2012….

My series of investigative stories on Rodrigues brought public attention to the union leader’s misuse of power within his union, and were credited by prosecutors at the time with paving the way towards his indictment and conviction. My last story as a reporter for the Star-Bulletin was a front-page piece on the indictment. The following week the newspaper was sold to David Black and I was out of work.

read … Rodrigues

Calvin Say’s Musubi-Gate Coconspirators Hit with Ethics Fine

A lessee group and its director violated state ethics law by lobbying from 2009-2011 without registering with the State Ethics Commission or filing required lobbyist reports, according to a statement recently posted on the commission’s web site….

The settlement and fine were approved by the Ethics Commission at their meeting on Wednesday, August 17, and announced this week….

CFV is made up of more than 20 Mapunapuna-area businesses that joined together in 2008 to seek more favorable lease rents during renegotiations with the landowner, Massachusetts-based HRPT Properties Trust. Affiliations of CFV board members included Grace Pacific Corp., Servco, Plywood Hawaii, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and Olelo Community Media. Companies paid membership fees ranging up to $15,000, depending on the size of their leased property and the type of membership.

Their lobbying pushed the legislature to pass a law in 2009 limiting the landowner to “fair and reasonable” rent increases, and they won an extension of the law the following session. The law was struck down as unconstitutional by Federal Judge Susan Oki Mollway in a 2010 decision which traces the history of the legislation.

The group’s efforts gained a degree of notoriety when it was reported that House Speaker Calvin Say, who introduced the bill to limit lease rents, was a board member of a company which subleases a building in the area …. Say’s situation became public when it was cited by HRPT in its federal lawsuit….

read … Deep Musubi

Inquiry targets women's prison warden

The state Department of Public Safety confirmed Friday that the attorney general is investigating the warden of Hawaii's only women's prison.

Mark Patterson was placed on leave at 4:30 p.m. Aug 12, pending the outcome of the investigation, said Martha Torney, deputy director of administration at the public safety department. She said she did not know whether the leave was unpaid and could not discuss the investigation.

read … Inquiry

Video details Dopers’ dismemberment of victim

A jury in state Circuit Court watched a video Friday of accused murderer Joshua Williams telling police how he and another man killed Jamil Khan, dismembered the body, placed the pieces into trash bags and disposed of the bags into a city trash bin….

Judge Karen Ahn ordered the prosecutor to remove sections of the video in which Williams talks about the smell of Khan's corpse and describes in detail how he cut off Khan's head, arms and legs. But the jurors still heard Williams tell police he used a handsaw to dismember Khan's body and describe Khan's condition after saying Connolly hit him 10 times in the head with a hammer.

The three were partners in an indoor marijuana-growing operation….

Williams said Khan also talked about killing Americans and of his support for the terrorists fighting the Americans in Afghanistan.

"He said he wants me to be raided so that he can have a chance, he wants to kill cops, he wants to blow up the police station, he wanted to blow up Pearlridge, he wanted to do this," Williams said on the video.

read … Marijuana is not harmful, see?

APEC Plans Call For Added Surveillance Cameras

The Honolulu Police Department wants to use existing city traffic cameras and new surveillance cameras to monitor traffic and threats during Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November.

HPD wants the Honolulu City Council to grant it the authority to add more surveillance video cameras. The cameras will likely go in areas where the delegations from the various countries will be staying and meeting while on Oahu.

“Hilton and Sheraton, places like that, and maybe the routes the convoys will be taking they will probably add some cameras to those,” surmised Waikiki resident Bob Finley….

But HPD wants to go a step further-- getting control of the other city "eyes on the road."

read … eye in the sky

Obama’s Code for America to upgrade 311 system for Honolulu

Together we hope to take advantage of the work being done by cities to use technology — particularly around 311 call centers — to connect citizens to government in a way that addresses nuisances, potholes, and information requests collaboratively. Across the country, governments have been adopting a common standard for 311 reporting, Open311, which means that apps built on 311 data anywhere can be used everywhere. (Exactly what any hi-tech ward heeler needs.)

read … Work to Focus on 311 System  

Delays in military buildup on Guam cost contractors

When the Department of Defense announced in 2006 that it would relocate more than 17,000 U.S. Marines and dependents from Okinawa to Guam at a cost of more than $10 billion, contractors began to salivate in anticipation of the huge construction contracts that were to follow.

Contractors from Hawaii and around the world moved to Guam to set up shop ahead of the buildup. The work was supposed to begin last year and be in full throttle by now, with a completion targeted for 2014.

Remember this? Follow the money: $10B Guam pork project benefits Abercrombie contributor

read … Guam

Disney Aulani expected to generate $300 million in revenue

Tourism officials say the Aulani could generate $300 million dollars of annual revenue to the state….

There are more Disney projects on the horizon. The Disney Cruise line is setting sail to the islands next April.

read … $300M

Charter School sues Kondo, CSRP

The complaints were filed Thursday in Hilo Circuit Court by attorney Ted Hong on behalf of Connections Public Charter School and William Eric Boyd, a school employee.

The first suit accuses the Charter School Review Panel and its chairman, Carl Takamura, of intentionally violating the state's Sunshine Law and trying to unlawfully force the school to fire Hong or face possible revocation of its charter. It seeks Takamura's dismissal from his post.

The second complaint names the Hawaii State Ethics Commission and Les Kondo, the commission's executive director, and asks the court to stop an ongoing ethics investigation against Connections and Boyd.

The suit states that Connections' local school board is "an autonomous governing body of its charter school ... not covered by any collective bargaining agreement," that the Ethics Commission has no jurisdiction over Boyd as a charter school employee, and that the investigation violates his right to due process….

The suit alleges that on July 7, Deputy Attorney General Michelle Puu wrote to Kondo "that (Puu), in consultation with the Hawaii Charter School Review Panel ... would assist Mr. Kondo in terminating Mr. Hong's representation of the plaintiffs."

HR: Charter Sues Ethics Comm

read … Charter School Sues Kondo

Maui Charter Amendments: 4-year council terms, 2-year budgets urged by Arakawa

Four-year County Council terms, a reserve force of volunteer police and firefighters and a two-year county budget are among the charter amendments being offered by Mayor Alan Arakawa….

read … Charter Amendments

Another round of new Building Code workshops scheduled

The new Hawaii Co. building code imposes a bunch of temperate-zone based requirements which will jack up construction costs and reduce affordable housing.

Related: Expensive, Unnecessary Hawaii County Building Code Changes to be Debated, Kenoi Should Veto Building Code

read … Bogus Building Code


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