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Thursday, September 01, 2011
September 1, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:12 PM :: 8126 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Flags to Fly at Half-Staff Saturday in Honor of Senior Chief Petty Officer Kraig M. Vickers

Marriott Managers, Security turned away from Waikiki Edition

Aiming for $1M Dollars, Djou reaches out to Grassroots Donors

Hawaii Right To Life becomes Aloha Life Advocates

Djou heads for Afghanistan: “I am part of that Mission”

"I opted to join after Sept. 11 because I believed at the time I was still young enough and able-bodied enough to do my part," Djou told Civil Beat. "I don't regret the decision."

Since Djou enlisted, a lot has happened. He and his wife welcomed two daughters. He served on the Honolulu City Council, then completed a brief stint as a congressman. Last year, he turned 40.

After a decade as an Army reservist, Djou now faces his first deployment. His tour of duty in Afghanistan begins this month, and it coincides with another run for U.S. Congress.

Djou will serve as a rule of law military adviser to help the Afghan National Police and the Afghan judiciary comply with laws.

"The laws of Afghanistan are often at odds with ancient, and often unwritten, 'customary law,'" Djou said. "The U.S. is seeking to get the police and judiciary to understand and obey the national government in Kabul instead of pledging loyalty to local warlords/drug kingpins and I am part of that mission."….

For security reasons, Djou said he's not permitted to give the exact date of his September deployment. He leaves for Afghanistan "very soon," he said. First he'll spend some time at Fort Benning, in Georgia, where he'll be issued a weapon and body armor.

read … 'It's Difficult to Explain War to a Preschooler'

Hirono renews attack on 18% of Hawaii’s Economy

Since elected to the U.S. House of Representatives 2nd Congressional District in 2007, Hirono has introduced 45 bills, of which two made it out of committees, according to Govtrack.us, a comprehensive legislative tracking website. None was enacted.

"I'm a Democrat. In this environment it's tough to get measures passed," Hirono said. (Democrats controlled the House until January, 2009) ….

The three-term representative also stated she supports … an "analysis" of federal Department of Defense spending to determine, in part, whether jobs created by defense spending are worth expenses paid.

related: RAND: Military is 18% of Hawaii’s Economy (Full Text)

read … Hirono makes campaign stops

41% of DoE Schools suddenly “Meet Standards” after “misplaced students put in correct category”

The DOE on July 15 announced the preliminary AYP results, and Hanalei and Ni‘ihau PCS did not meet the standards at that time. However, the schools were among the four schools statewide that had their status changed due to a successful appeal with the Department of Education.

“There were some areas that needed to be changed,” said Nakamura, explaining that those areas included specific subgroups because some students were misplaced. “We put them in the correct category.”

Besides the Kaua‘i schools, O‘ahu’s Moanalua High and Maui’s Waihe‘e Elementary also filed successful appeals.

State records show that Waimea Canyon Middle School, which has not met AYP standards, has filed an appeal but has not been granted a change in status.

In addition to the successful appeals, the state also made some changes in student source date file correction that resulted in AYP status changed to “met” for Maui’s Kahului and Big Island’s Kealakehe elementary schools

As a result, the statewide AYP approval rate went up to 41 percent, meaning 116 of 286 schools met the federal guidelines.

Reality: DoE Boosts Test Scores by Giving Answers to Students

read … 5 Kaua‘i schools meet federal standards

Abercrombie Creating Positions: State DOT looking to hire 200-300 people

The State Department of Transportation is looking to hire between 200 to 300 people, including 50 engineers.

The mass hiring is part of Governor Abercrombie's New Day Plan for immediate job growth tax hikes.

read … Creating Positions

SA Backs latest Proposal to Lets lots of Criminals out of jail

Prison should be a solution of last resort in dealing with most people who disrupt society. In cases of violent crimes or property crimes that could quickly escalate, certainly the community is best served by restricting the offender's freedom.

But it's counterproductive to throw first-time offenders, most frequently charged with drug and alcohol offenses, into the penal system if there's a way to redirect them more effectively.

That seems to be the reasonable consensus reached this week at a legislative briefing on a range of youth-protection issues. On one of those issues — youth incarceration — even the person most directly involved acknowledged that is not the answer for Hawaii's youth.

David Hipp, administrator for the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, said incarceration diminishes the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs for many of the youths who come to his institution….

State Rep. John Mizuno, chairman of the House Human Services Committee that hosted the briefing, cited Adult Friends for Youth as an example of another nonprofit outreach program that could be deployed as an alternative.

(AFY should Build half-way houses next to the homes of Star-Advertiser Editors and ACLU lawyers.)

read … Prison won't help rehabilitate youth

Fiscal Discipline: Kobayashi proposes $75 million to go to artwork at rail stations

Ann Kobayashi says her initiative is supported by Federal Transit Administration rules, which says up to 5-percent of construction costs can be set aside for artwork.

The councilwoman does not believe her resolution will be ridiculed by fiscal hawks on Capitol Hill…. (And she said this with a straight face)

Kobayashi wants the Transit Authority to report on the progress of establishing an art in transit program no later than December 1.

read … No Joke

Honolulu Spends $77M/year on Road Repairs

In fiscal years 2011 and 2012 the City Council set aside $154 million in highway bonds to rehabilitate Oahu roadways, which is considered just a fraction of what’s needed.

Currently, twenty-four repaving or refurbishment projects are part of the city’s road construction program. Of those, sixteen are in the design phase while another four have funds available for eventual construction.

Areas that are being targeted for repaving within the next year-and-a-half include Makakilo, Waikele, Waipahu, West Loch, Ewa Villages, Pearl City, Enchanted Lake, Kaimuki, Mililani, Wahiawa, east Honolulu and Kaneohe.

In September of 2009 TRIP, a Washington, D.C. based national transportation organization, issued a report stating Hawaii’s poor road conditions costs each motorist an average of $503 per year, or $431 million statewide. The report said 27 percent of the state’s roadways are in poor condition.

read … Council member questions prioritization of road repairs

Redistricting: Mufi Operatives complain about being cut out of CD2

Several West Oahu residents (bought and paid for Mufi operatives) testified Tuesday night against a political redistricting proposal that would put Makakilo, Kapolei and Ko Olina outside the bounds of a single congressional district.

Makakilo resident Maeda Timson said government officials have pushed for the region to be Oahu's "second city" but turns around and fractures its constituency.

"We feel cheated. We're being cut out," said Timson, a former chairwoman of the Makakilo/Kapolei Neighborhood Board…. (She got lots of Community Benefits $$$)

Makakilo resident Teri Heede said that placing the mauka and makai sections of Makakilo into different congressional districts would break up years of grass-roots political work.

"This is going to be real hard to deal with," Heede said.

What this is about: Mufi Hannemann announces Congressional Campaign

read … Mufi operatives

Del Castillo Running For Congress—CD2

Del Castillo is the most liberal candidate in the field thus far…. He has twice vied for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District seat. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination against Rep. Colleen Hanabusa last fall, securing 18 percent of the vote. He also ran in the May 2010 special congressional election.

Check out this commentary about the Fourth of July that “Del,” as he calls himself, wrote for Civil Beat in July 2010.

read … Del Castillo

With Ansaldo on Ropes, Bombardier asks to be Re-Qualified

Disqualified rail bidder Bombardier Transportation sent a letter to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board to ask for a reconsideration.

The Canada-based rail car maker was disqualified because of a sentence in its proposal that the city called a condition. The city then disqualified the company, and awarded it to Italy-based Ansaldo Honolulu.

read … Bombardier

HSTA's rebuff of deal shut down talks, former HSTA President says

The state didn't return to talks after the Hawaii State Teachers Association's board unanimously rejected a "last, best and final" offer because union negotiators withdrew their support for the deal and the state believed it would have to restart discussions at square one, Board of Education member Jim Williams testified Wednesday.

Williams, testifying for hours at a Hawaii Labor Relations Board hearing, said the state's team questioned whether HSTA bargained in good faith when union negotiators pledged on June 17 to urge their board to adopt the "last, best" offer, then voted against it along with the board a few days later. He also noted HSTA's board rejected all elements of the offer, including items the union had introduced or already approved.

"Given that context, it was very hard for me to say we'll go back and negotiate," he said.

Williams, part of the state's team negotiating a new contract for teachers, is the first of scores of witnesses subpoenaed to testify in the union's "prohibited practice" complaint.

(Williams is a former President of the HSTA)

read … Revolution eating its own children

Return to Chaos? Namuo to leave OHA

OHA Chairwoman Colette Machado said Wednesday that she and fellow trustees will discuss a "succession plan" for administrative leadership at their Sept. 15 meeting.

Namuo's contract, which pays him $129,000 annually, expires on July 31 and he is not expected to seek a renewal.

Exactly when Namuo will leave is still uncertain, he said Wednesday.

Namuo, 60, has carried out the policies set forth by the majority of OHA's nine elected trustees since he was hired in July 2001 under then-Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona. At the time, Apoliona had won the leadership after a protracted political battle against forces led by then-Trustee Clayton Hee.

Apoliona stepped down as chairwoman late last year and the reins were handed to Machado, her close ally.

Machado said Wednesday she would like Namuo to stay on at least through the end of this year.

She noted that several key OHA initiatives are to be completed by then, including finding a replacement for Trustee Boyd Mossman, who is resigning, and reorganizing committee assignments as a result.

Machado said she has been pleased with Namuo's performance over the years. "We owe a lot to Clyde, he's stabilized the organization and the auditors are happy," she said.

(Suggestion: Hire Clayton Hee)

Totally Related: OHA Trustee Mossman Quits: Departure Presages Return to Bad Old Days?

read … Namuo

Honolulu Unemployment 15th Lowest in nation

Honolulu's unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent in July from 5.7 percent in June, tying the city for the 15th-lowest jobless rate out of 372 metropolitan areas surveyed, according to a report released Wednesday.

Honolulu was one of 193 metro areas where the unemployment rate dropped in July from June. The jobless rate rose in 118 metro areas and was unchanged in 61, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

read … 15th

Influence? Thirteen Lobbyists on Commissions

The list of appointed lobbyists is only approximate. It doesn’t include all smaller boards and commissions, or temporary task forces, the lists may be out of date in some cases, and both appointments and lobbying clients are constantly changing, but it gives at least some idea of the magnitude of the problem.

  • Paula Arcena, Board of Health
    Lobbyist for AlohaCare
  • Marvin Dang, Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force
    Lobbyist for Hawaii Financial Services Association
  • Vladimir P. Devens, State Land Use Commission
    Lobbyist for State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO)
  • Peter Hamasaki, Commission to Promote Uniform Legislation
    Lobbyist for: 24 Hour Fitness, USA, Inc., American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (AFLAC), Hawaii Liquor Wholesalers Association
  • Karin Holma, Honolulu Planning Commission
    Lobbyist for Building Industry Association of Hawaii
  • Donald Horner, Board of Education & Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
    Lobbyist for First Hawaiian Bank
  • Joelle Kane, Research Corporation of the UH
    Lobbyist for Honolulu Marine LLC
  • Alton Kuioka, Board of Trustees, Employees Retirement System
    Lobbyist for Bank of Hawaii
  • Celeste Nip, Board of Trustees, Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund
    Lobbyist for Altria Client Services Inc. and its Affiliates, Hawaii Fire Fighters Association, Lilly USA, LLC, Verizon Wireless
  • Tracy H. Okubo, Honolulu Subarea Health Planning Council
    Lobbyist for WellCare Health Insurance of Arizona, Inc., dba ‘Ohana Health Plan
  • Paul Oshiro, Honolulu Salary Commission
    Lobbyist for Alexander & Baldwin
  • James Pacopac, Honolulu Planning Commission
    Lobbyist for Honolulu Board of Water Supply, Syngenta Crop Protection
  • Max Sword, Honolulu Police Commission
    Lobbyist for Outrigger Enterprises

read … Not many Lobbyists

ACLU, School Bullies team up to impose Mandatory Sex Education

The ACLU is holding discussion groups across the state, hoping to gain support for the proposal that did not pass last year's legislative session.

The bill would allow parents who don't want their kids to learn sex ed in school to opt out of those classes.

The State Senate's lone Republican, Sam Slom, worries kids could face peer pressure or be teased if they choose not to take a mandatory sex education class.

"I like the other method of free choice. If somebody wants to have a particular class, an elective, then let them have it. They should have the right to do that. But it should not be mandatory," Slom said.

Slom said the DOE recently decided to drop social studies as a requirement.

"The issue is if you have limited resources where do you put them. Where do people need more, young people, I think they need social studies,” Slom said.

Just ignore this: The transsexual agenda for Hawaii schools

And who’s in charge? Lawsuit: Adult counselor engaged in questionable activities with students at Blind, Deaf School

read … Sex Education

A "Culture Of Violence" At Waikiki Nightspot

A Hawaii federal magistrate overrode the recommendation of court staff and denied bail for accused Waikiki extortionist Curtis Swanson….

“He has a different view of what is acceptable behavior,” Brady said of Swanson.

Swanson told FBI agents after he was arrested that it “is perfectly okay to fight, to get into fights to resolve differences,” Brady said.

Swanson also said, “If somebody owes you money, he deserves what he gets,” according to Brady….

In one case now pending trial, Shack manager Birchfiel, depicted as a victim in the federal case, is accused of brutally kicking a bar patron who was held on the ground by several bouncers….

Another case pending trial was filed by 7-time world champion outrigger canoe racer Karel Tresnak Jr., who alleges he was assaulted without provocation by bar bouncers….

SA: Federal magistrate denies bail for accused Waikiki extortionist

read … The Shack

Honolulu Police resist giving up Names and Salaries of Officers

In Hawaii, the names and salaries of public employees are public — except if you're an undercover officer.

So what makes an undercover officer?

The Honolulu Police Department says its definition of undercover counts plainclothes duty.

But that's not how the term is interpreted at other metropolitan police departments. And one police commissioner here in Honolulu says even he doesn't agree with the police department's definition.

read … Plainclothes

Manoa Liberals get together to commiserate about 9-11

The occasion is a time for reflection. We believe the policy impacts of security decisions made in the aftermath of the attacks are among the topics worthy of serious consideration. That's why Civil Beat has joined with the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii to put on a live press conference for Hawaii students journalists — but accessible to all. We'll be asking: How does this policy legacy affect us, and upcoming generations — and who controls the future of our individual rights in a post 9-11 America?

(If a Republican were in the White House, they’d be frothing at the mouth and babbling about fascism.)

read … Just ignore the Islamist with the knife

Berg Plan to Build Waianae Bypass Road Killed

Waianae resident Bob Smith said his neighbors need a way out in the event of a natural disaster and asked Council members, "What's the problem with building a road to save lives?"

Council members said they're sympathetic to the needs of the Waianae community, but creating a special fund to fund one specific road isn't the right way to get it done.

Berg's bill would have dedicated 35 percent of the city's fuel tax revenues for construction of the road. Budget Director Mike Hansen said that's equivalent to $17.5 million annually…. (About 23% of the Kobayashi Art Budget for HART.)

read … Waianae Bypass

School secretary gets probation, fine in theft case

A Circuit Court judge sentenced former Pearl Ridge Elementary School secretary Denise Hayashi this morning to five years of probation and ordered her to pay $20,845 in fines, court costs and fees for stealing $68,870 from the school.

The judge also ordered Hayashi, 41, to perform 1,500 hours of community service, according to the terms of her plea agreement with the state. She has already paid back the money she stole.

read … Local School Funds Never Get Audited

AKP Biofool Producer allowed curtailed power sales denied to Wind Scammers

HECO's regulatory filing with the PUC (docket 2009-0176) for approval of their contract with First Wind Hawaii's Kahuku Power states: "From time to time, Hawaiian Electric will require Kahuku Power to temporarily curtail deliveries of energy. ... Kahuku Power will not sell energy from Kahuku Power's Wind Farm to any third party, without the prior written consent of Hawaiian Electric."

The only exception to this rule is Aina Koa Pono where the utility is asking the Public Utilities Commission to force HECO ratepayers to pay $25 million a year for 20 years to subsidize biofuel production on the Big Island to power HELCO’s Keahole Generation Station.

Aina Koa Pono will make byproducts on the side and sell them. The State has not asked Aina Koa Pono how lucrative their sales will be, while their biofuel is being subsidized by ratepayers.

read … biofools

States Rights: Fishermen to ask for time to discuss monk seal plan

Mizuno (D, Kamehameha Heights-Kalihi Valley-Fort Shafter) said he and legislators he has spoken with were unaware of the proposals until recently and that they feel they need time to discuss them with federal officials. He said the fishing community and some Native Hawaiians agree.

"It's just not enough time," he said. "We're hearing the Hawaiian community was left out."

About 25 people attended a public meeting called by Mizuno Wednesday at the state Capitol. Mizuno said the proposal to expand the monk seal habitat has raised major economic worries about near-shore impacts, including tourism, and may infringe on states' rights.

"This is our state," he said "These are our waters." ….

Jeff Walters, Marine Mammal branch chief for the National Marine Fisheries Service, said that if his agency delays its recovery actions for too long, there will be too few pups to relocate from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the species will be closer to extinction.

Walters said the earliest the agency would be able to relocate monk seal pups would be in about a year.

"We think there is time in the interim to work through any public concerns we have not already addressed in the draft," he said.

Walters said there are an estimated 200 monk seals in the main Hawaiian Islands and his agency doesn't expect the small number of additional seals to have a significant impact.

Roy Morioka, a former member of the Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council, said that if the critical habitat for monk seals is expanded to the main Hawaiian Islands, a number of activities could be curtailed, including coastal construction, dredging, renewable energy development and sewage dispersal.

"The economic impacts are tremendous," Morioka said.

read … Monks of the Enviro Religion

Senate committee votes 4-0 to endorse Nakasone judicial appointment

The committee’s recommendation goes to the full Senate, which is scheduled to take a final vote on the nomination Thursday.

read … Confirmation

Abercrombie appoints deputy finance director

The governor's office announced Tuesday Luis Salaveria is to start on Sept. 1. He replaces Dean Hirata, who resigned on July 30.

Salaveria previously worked as finance manager for Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. From 1997 to 2001, he was chief budget analyst for the state Department of Defense.

read … Appointment

Debunking the Latest Hawaiian Sovereignty Scam

Keanu Sai's "Executive Agreements" scam is a continuation of his previous Perfect Title and World Court scams. And as in those previous scams, large sums of money are being paid by gullible people, mostly ethnic Hawaiians, who rely upon Sai's theories to file nonsensical title search documents in court whereby they hope to avoid mortgage foreclosure. This latest scam is not only historical malpractice but is also causing real hurt to many people. The state House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs (including some Republicans) passed a resolution with no dissenting votes, trumpeting Sai's Executive Agreements theories and calling for a joint House-Senate committee to hold hearings on how to implement them. Shame on that insane committee and every one of its members.

Related: Sovereignty Mortgage Scammer Keanu Sai at it again with help from Legislators, Maui Council, University, Maui Victims of Sovereignty Mortgage Scammers may lose home, Naming names: Who are the alleged Sovereignty-mortgage scammers?

read … Debunking

Dopers Complain about High Electric Bills in Hawaii

“The difference in my water and electricity bill when I grow is a lot,” says the planter. He says that luckily his rent covers water, but his electricity bill sees a $300 increase. The jump was so drastic that “[HECO] sent a technician to check [his] meter because they thought it was broken.” The cost prevents him from growing on a regular basis, and he states, “I can’t have a bunch of lights on because I don’t have the money to run them.”

Recently, the board of water supply announced a 75 percent hike in water prices by the year 2015, and growers say the increase in price will inevitably drive up prices for medical marijuana.

The anonymous grower says he’s heard of growers starting to work without electricity in their systems by employing aquaponics and pumps that run off solar panels.

(Yup. Hawaii is so anti-business that even the dopers can’t make a buck here.)

read … Dopers Complain

Honeywell UOP Breaks Ground On Biorefinery Demonstration Facility In Hawaii

The Honeywell UOP Integrated Biorefinery will convert cellulosic biomass waste (waste agriculture products, pulp, paper, woody biomass, algae) into transportation biofuels.

In January 2010, the Department of Energy awarded UOP a $25 million loan guarantee to build the facility which will be located next to a Tesoro Corp. refinery in Kapolei, Hawaii. Tesora along with fellow petroleum refiners CountryMark, Kern Oil and Refining Co. will analyze the facility's production.

read … Your Tax Dollars at Work

Hawaiian raises interisland air luggage fee

After facings its first losing quarter in three years Hawaiian Airlines has raised its fee for luggage on interisland flights.

Beginning Sept. 1 Hawaiian Airlines will charge $17 instead of the previous $10 fee for the first piece of checked luggage on all interisland flights….

read … Suitcase full of Money


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