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Monday, August 29, 2011
August 29, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:45 PM :: 7927 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

2AM Raid: Hotel owners Boot Marriott from Waikiki Edition, strip signs, change locks

TheBus is going to be faster than TheTrain?

Battleship Missouri to Commemorate 66th Anniversary of Japanese Surrender

Inouye: “People may resent” Abercrombie -- Gives Nod to Hirono, Mufi

Looking ahead to the 2012 race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Akaka, Inouye said it's impossible to predict a year ahead of that contest how the field might shape up.

But he said Democrats would be "foolhardy" to underestimate former Maui County Mayor and Republican Gov. Linda Lingle. She is believed to be weighing a bid for the seat. Democratic U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono has already launched her campaign for the seat, as has former Congressman Ed Case.

"Only a foolhardy politician would take his opponent for granted," Inouye said. "I would never take anyone for granted. One should take Governor Lingle very seriously."

When asked about Democrats vying for the party's nomination, Inouye said: "I've had a good working relationship with Mazie Hirono. In all the years she served the state of Hawaii, I've had a good working relationship (with her). We get along, and so it would please me if we could continue that relationship."

Inouye said he understands that former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann is among a number of candidates eyeing Hirono's 2nd Congressional seat.

"These are first-class candidates," he said. "They're knowledgeable of Hawaii, so it should be a very interesting primary, to say the least."

Inouye also had a positive assessment of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's first nearly nine months in office.

He said he has known Abercrombie since the governor was a professor at the University of Hawaii.

"He is forthright. He doesn't mince words," Inouye said. "I like a leader, a political leader, who has the courage to come forth and tell it how it is. I think he's being honest with the Legislature and honest with the people when he says the economy's lousy and something drastic has to be done. I think in the beginning people may resent his strong leadership, but once they settle down and pause and realize what he has done, he'll have a good second term."

TOTALLY RELATED: Military Spending: In pursuit of Ideology, Hirono Votes Against 18% of Hawaii Economy

read … Inouye

Many Democrats Doubt Hirono can beat Lingle -- Mufi could enter Senate race

Case, a moderate, said he thinks voters want their senator to be independent.

"I think that she views the world of Washington as an endless partisan crusade in which the banner of her party is carried aloft into battle and at every turn there are enemies to be slayed," he said. "And I don't look at the role of government that way today. I really look at our obligation to sit down and get problems solved.

"I don't think her way is going to work and I think we have to find a different way."

The Democratic primary for Senate crystallized last week when U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who had been considering a Senate campaign, said she would run for re-election in urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann is expected to decide soon whether to run for the Senate or in the Democratic primary to replace Hirono in the 2nd District….

Carpenter has pledged that the party will remain neutral in the primary, but many establishment Democrats, labor leaders and progressives are aligning behind Hirono.

Labor leaders met privately Wednesday at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's headquarters and reached consensus on what participants later described as a "solid front" for Hirono. (Labor and Progressives behind Hirono means Case is a loser in the Dem. Primary, thus setting up a re-run of 2002.)

"The effort to try to bring all of labor together to try to reach a consensus decision is unprecedented, and to the extent that this will play out and there is consensus reached through everybody's individual processes, certainly there is a lot of significance to that," said Randy Perreira, executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Asso­ciation, who also leads the Hawaii State AFL-CIO.

The party's hierarchy stood with Akaka against Case in 2006, but several senior political strategists believe that even if Hirono were to get similar support, the depth of commitment will not be the same.

Hirono does not have the deep well of aloha that Akaka has with Democrats. The primary is for an open seat, so there is no incumbent to defend on principle. The congresswoman's high job approval rating — the strongest among Democrats tested in a Hawaii Poll in May — is fragile and not connected to a specific accomplishment…. (because she doesn’t have any)

Two Democratic strategists — one sympathetic to Hirono, the other to Case — said privately that while the early momentum behind Hirono is important, many Democrats still have doubts about whether she can defeat former Gov. Linda Lingle, the potential Republican contender, in the general election….

Case said he does not believe Hirono can beat Lingle because he thinks Hirono operates within a "narrow philosophical construct" that does not represent a majority of voters.

"No," he said. "I don't believe that. I don't think most people believe it."

read … Mazie is a loser

Transparency needed as UH Prof Squabble over Free Trips

Engineering dean Peter Crouch has raised the ire and eyebrows of his own faculty for a travel policy that seems to favor himself but few others. He spent $42,000 of the college's foundation-funded travel budget to take 27 work-related trips over a two-year span, reported the Star-Advertiser's Rob Perez. Meanwhile, he eliminated a long-standing policy allowing professors to take an annual academic trip using foundation funds.

Magdy Iskander, director of the college's Hawaii Center for Advanced by Communications, didn't help the debate by expressing disappointment that faculty members are pursuing foundation information instead of more research funding. "They just want their free trips," Iskander said.

So, evidently, does dean Crouch.

But the questions should not be confined to the engineering college and the travel expenditures of its dean. That situation begs the bigger question of how other millions of foundation dollars are directed, and for what public purpose. The university has myriad programs and projects under its auspices; isn't it reasonable for donors to better know how their money is spent beyond the current broad categories of special programs, research, student aid and faculty support?

read … UH Foundation needs sunshine

Activists and Profitable non-profits panic over Task Force Lobbying Restrictions

ILind: Kondo does not finesse his advice in the letter to the foreclosure task force. He offers a simple, black & white view of the law’s meaning that has no room for subtlety.

That’s a significant difference from past practice and, as I look at it now, it’s a potential red flag that the matter really hasn’t been thought through sufficiently.

Kondo says his advice impacts only a limited number of people, but falls most heavily on professional lobbyists and “the one-man shop.”

But it would also fall heavily on public interest groups as well, since many advocacy groups rely on a key representative or employee knowledgeable about their key issues.

For example, what if the legislature appointed a task force to consider revamping the sunshine law, or campaign spending laws. Under Kondo’s interpretation, any public interest advocates named to the task force would be unable to play any role in lobbying or advising their organizations on the issue if they were paid by the organizations.

(All the more reason to support Kondo in imposing this rule.)

read … Ethics Commission should take a second look at lobbying restriction

Volunteers take over Kauai County Bridge Project, cost suddenly drops from $4M to $25K

In other words, the county owns the bridge but can’t access it. The access, county officials said, would cost just shy of $2 million.

If private landowners would donate land to the county to provide access, it would still leave the project at a little over $2 million, the figure for the bridge’s restoration that Kai Hawai‘i initially produced.

“We always said from the beginning that the figure that the county came up with was outrageous,” said Laraine Moriguchi, president of the Kapaia Foundation, a group of community members trying to save the bridge.

After Kaua‘i County Council members asked the administration to come up with a second opinion, county Managing Director Gary Heu said the consultant identified a few cost-saving measures.

The original bridge was made of redwood, he said. If the county decided to go forward with the project using Douglas fir instead, the price of the wood alone would go from $800,000 to $400,000.

Council members have publicly said that if government and private citizens would get estimates for materials and labor from the same retailers and contractors, the figures would come in different; government always gets a higher estimate.

But if one of the locals who lives near the bridge is right, the discrepancy in the wood pricing is serious. The Kapaia resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, took the bridge’s original blue prints, dating back to 1943, and went to a couple local retailers to price every piece of wood in the bridge.

The end result was $9,000 for all the wood in the bridge. And the suspension cables would cost $3,000, he said.

He said some local contractors came by and, after looking at the bridge, said the materials should cost about $25,000.

The Kapaia resident said the difference between his pricing and the consultant’s estimate is what he calls “padding,” hitting his hands on his pockets….

The simple solution would be to bring the wood to Kaua‘i Community College and let the carpentry students mill the lumber to the bridge’s original specifications, he said. The community would then get together, and using a local contractor’s license, build the bridge with volunteer sweat.

Related: Rush Limbaugh salutes Kauai volunteer bridge builders

read … Kapaia bridge towers to be stabilized

Abercrombie says he's ready to negotiate with teachers union

At one point, Perry reminds Abercrombie of the union's early support of his gubernatorial campaign and quotes Abercrombie's own exhortation that everybody paddle in the same canoe.

"What we feel is, right now, there were 10 days left in that canoe race and you jumped out of the canoe," Perry says in the clip."You are the only person in this state who can bring everybody back. What we're asking from you is to find that steering paddle and get back in the canoe."

Abercrombie responds by saying he'll take the 4 p.m. plane back to Honolulu and invites HSTA leaders to meet with him that evening.

Okabe said the Kauai union members shared their video with HSTA leadership.

"You will hear the Governor say again and again that he has lost faith in HSTA's negotiators," Okabe said. "But, he hasn't given a reason to have faith in him: he imposed his contract on us, hired an anti-union lawyer, interfered with the labor board, and refused a neutral arbitrator.

"But an arbitrator is exactly what's needed when people lose faith in one another

See: Video: Abercrombie Faces off with Teachers on Kauai

read … YouTube Negotiations

The Negotiators Behind Hawaii Teachers Contract

…Georgiana Alvaro came to HSTA about two decades ago as a field representative, which means she worked with the Hawaii Department of Education on things like employment grievances. Before that she worked for the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.

Alvaro is vice president of the Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture. She grew up in Windward Oahu, went to Kamehameha Schools, graduated from Georgetown College and studied law at the William S. Richardson School of Law. Her work with the school system led her to help develop a course for teachers in teaching disadvantaged children. (So she’s a DoE Contractor?????)

Although she has been involved in negotiations before, this was Alvaro's first year as the union's chief negotiator.

read … Meet the Negotiators

Inouye: Appropriations, not Super Committee will decide how much will be cut from Defense

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said that while it will be "much more challenging than in the past" to maintain the pipeline of federal dollars to Hawaii, he remained confident that his home state would continue to get (more than) its share. (as long as he is around)

Early this month, Inouye and fellow Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka voted in favor of raising the nation's debt limit. The congressional action narrowly averted a default by the U.S. government. The measure provided an immediate $400 billion increase in the $14.3 trillion U.S. borrowing cap, with $500 billion more to come this fall. However, lawmakers required that the $900 billion would be matched by federal agency cuts over the next 10 years.

"It says $900 billion," Inouye said of the legislation, "but it doesn't say specific programs . . . The Appropriations Committee is the one that will decide how much will be cut from defense and how much will be cut from this and that."

Hawaii would "absolutely" get its portion of federal appropriations, he maintained.

TOTALLY RELATED: Military Spending: In pursuit of Ideology, Hirono Votes Against 18% of Hawaii Economy

MN: ‘Changing lives,’ one grant at a time

read … Inouye: Federal funds still flowing

OHA Takes Second Shot at Claiming Its Employees Aren't Public

Last year, OHA said it had 145 employees. This year, OHA says it has added 18.5 positions, bringing its total employee count to 163.50 — an increase of 13 percent.

OHA claims its employees are not "public employees" because the bulk of its revenue comes from ceded State lands, which it says are not public funds….

Last year, former OIP director Cathy Takase stated that OHA is not exempt from the law.

Takase made clear: "OHA is a government agency, its employees are 'employees of the agency' whose salary information is thus subject to disclosure under HRS 92F-12."

But because OIP has a new director this year, OHA is asking the question again.

Read OHA's letter: OHA Letter to OIP

read … OHA Secrecy

High Overtime at Hawaii's Juvenile Detention Home

The Hawaii State Judiciary, which runs the facility, says that the budget provided by the Legislature leaves them insufficiently staffed.

The 2009 report identified what appeared to be systemic problems at the detention home, from excessive use of isolation to discipline youth to gravely inadequate training of staff.

The 19-member committee that produced the report — made up of public defenders, law enforcement, academics, detention home staff and others — analyzed more than 50 staff time-off requests. The committee used strong language to describe the overtime problem.

The committee said it was concerned that "grossly excessive" use of overtime led to "continually fatigued staff unable to meet the needs of youth in their care."

Full Text: Judiciary Overtime Response to Civil Beat

read … High Overtime

Micronesians wonder Where did our Real Friends Go?

Having recently received an email from a cousin of mine, Hainrick Panuelo, who is in the U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan asking what we are doing about the criticisms that are being directed against Micronesians in Hawaii, Guam and elsewhere in the United States, this issue is very personal to me.

Micronesians are on the front lines of war zones, fighting alongside American citizens and defending the same freedoms and rights that Americans value so much. There is a disconnect between the United States Government’s honoring of our fallen servicemen at the Pohnpei International Airport and the talk of “Compact Impact problems” from American citizens and officials alike. I also have personal experience of the compromises we have made in voting to support the national interests of the U.S. at the United Nations at the expense of our relations with other developing nations.

So, here I say today, where did our real friends go?

Related: Micronesians: “Its just better in Arkansas”

read … Our Real Friends

Volcanoes park scores poorly in national review

A sobering new study of America's national parks rates Hawaii Volcanoes National Park "poor" in natural resources and only "fair" in cultural resources.

"The State of America's National Parks" was compiled by the Center for Park Research, a division of the private National Parks Conservation Association, based on findings from 80 of the 394 parks in the National Parks system. The study assesses the ability of U.S. national parks to deal with ongoing challenges such as pollution, invasive species, climate change, energy and land development and, perhaps most significantly, "chronic funding shortfalls."

Link: http://www.npca.org/cpr/sanp/

read … Poor Volcanoes

Mega Solar Project Proposed for O`ahu

The size of the proposed Pearl Harbor solar project pushes the upper boundaries on what many people thought was the limit for solar penetration on Oahu….

Last December the Hawai`i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) held scoping meetings for the Big Wind Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. DBEDT stated that although there is no silver bullet, Big Wind was the only possible solution.

DBEDT has decided to revisit this issue. They will be holding another round of scoping meetings to allow the public to comment on two additional alternatives to Big Wind, namely Big Maui Geothermal and Big Solar.

DBEDT has yet to decide whether to include other alternatives, such as Hawai`i Island based Geothermal, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), and Distributed Generation (DG).

The DG alternative would focus on the installation of thousands of rooftop solar and wind systems which could produce the same amount of energy as Big Wind but without the transmission and distribution line losses and without the costly utility infrastructure upgrades needed for Big Projects.

read … mega solar

KPD Blue no more: Ready to start accreditation process

The Kaua‘i Police Department is preparing to undergo a three-year national accreditation process that advocates say offers a blueprint for efficiency, along with improving department and community confidence in services.

read … Accreditation

Hawaii No. 1 — in ratio of widows

When a man and a woman get married, each gets an even chance of outlasting the other, but Hawaii has the most widows per capita than any other state, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau. The analysis found that people are waiting longer before marrying for the first time, as the percentage of women are waiting longer and many men are postponing marriage past their college-age years.

For reasons that are anybody's guess, Delaware and Wyoming ranked at the top with more widowers (5.4 per 1,000 men), while Hawaii had the most widows at 10.3 per 1,000 women.

read … widow maker


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