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Sunday, September 04, 2011
September 4, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:12 PM :: 8466 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Classified Documents reveal United Farm Workers made pact with Global Horizons in hope of profiting from Immigration Reform

Kalapa: Taxpayers suffer as ACT 221 Scammers laugh all the way to the bank

1959: Martin Luther King Jr Salutes Hawaii Statehood

Berg: Council to hear testimony on Waianae Sustainability Communities Plan

VIDEO: Hundreds bid farewell to fallen Navy man from Maui

Vickers was part of an elite Navy explosive ordnance disposal team. After the service, two FA-18 aircraft from the USS Ronald Reagan conducted a fly-by tribute during a memorial ceremony near Haiku.

Vickers' wife is expected to give birth next month. The family was planning to move back to Hawaii from Virginia Beach in May.

Donations may be made to his wife and children at www.kraigvickers.com. Condolences can be sent and viewed at www.ballardfamilymortuaries.com.

read … Hundreds

Cayetano blasts Carlisle: “Another week and you probably would have lost”

Hey, Peter, my living in a so-called "mansion" on the top of a hill didn't matter to you when I supported you for Mayor, stumped and gave speeches for you, contributed personally and raised money for you. Like many who supported you back then, I knew you favored rail but I asked and you promised to consider seriously all sides of the rail issue — and, if you decided to go ahead with rail — then to do it right. That was all that was asked of you.

Shortly, after you got elected, you arrogantly dismissed as "politically motivated" a $350,000 state study paid for by taxpayers and commissioned by Governor Lingle that concluded the City's rail project may cost as much as $7 billion rather than $5.3 billion — once again shooting the messenger rather than analyzing the message. You ignored a cost overrun probabilities study — by the Federal Transit Administration itself — which concluded the probability that the City's rail would cost as much as $7 billion was far greater than the City's estimated $5.3 billion.

And while dismissing these studies — you accepted without question the pro-rail hype spoon-fed to you and the public by Wayne Yoshioka and his former employer Parsons Brinkerhoff which has already received more than $100 million in contracts from the City and stands to make another $300-400 million if rail is ever built.

Your response to criticisms by rail opponents has been "we've heard it before" or words to that effect — an easy response which doesn't require much thinking. …

Frankly, I doubt you've "heard it before." During your campaign, I cringed anxiously as your opponent Kirk Caldwell picked you apart during the televised debates and exposed how little you knew about City issues and the rail project — causing you to nearly blow a 30 point lead. Another week and you probably would have lost. You knew little about rail then and, sadly, you chose to learn about only one side now.

read … Cayetano

SA: Caution Lights Flashing on Rail Project, Bunda is Lousy Pick

After volleys were exchanged and the dust settled, there seems to be reason for raised eyebrows and concern, but not for all-out panic. The basic case for the project remains intact; despite the flashing of caution lights, there seems little justification to switch them from yellow to red….

Compounding the impulse for nail-biting, HART has just announced its intent to give former state Sen. Robert Bunda the last remaining post at the 10-member authority's table. In its recommendation, besides citing Bunda's experience with governmental and land-use proceedings, HART noted that he is "a long-standing and staunch supporter of the city's rail project."

But what the authority needs most was not another cheerleader, but someone with more professional experience in urban or, ideally, transportation planning. When the Bunda recommendation is heard Sept. 16, the authority must make its case. There were 16 applicants, and the public deserves to know all the names and what other skill sets were available for hire. Given that the whole rationale for the semiautonomous HART was that it would diminish political influence on the project, the selection of a career politician will require some work to defend….

During his visit last week, Carlisle clearly was bristling about the allegations and took some gratuitous shots at the foursome (example: Cayetano lives in a fancy East Oahu ridge home and is unsympathetic to West Oahu traffic woes)….

Backsliding into defensiveness and emotionalism is unhelpful to the taxpayers who, now more than ever, need that clarity.

read … Bunda 

 

Hawaii, Income, Expenses, and Budget “Virtually Unknowable” – Kalbert Young 

Hawaii's budget system, at one time, was thought to be the most modern developed by any state. Called the Planned Program Budgeting System (PPBS), it was modeled on the U.S. Defense Department plan created during the Vietnam War by Robert McNamara. It is supposed to integrate priorities with the costs to reach specific goals and to measure expenditures needed for specific results….

The state budget is still compiled according to PPBS, although I doubt if any legislators without an accounting degree have ever heard of it.

"PPBS as a system is simply too complex for the limited staff capabilities of the legislature," Neubauer wrote. "The (legislative) committees make do by largely ignoring it."

What happens, Neubauer contends, is that the PPBS system first creates a system that few in the Legislature can master, and then PPBS masks the real work done by any governor and the finance committee chairs to get what they want out of the budget without question or debate….

"Operationally, there is no report you can get on a monthly basis that shows revenue income, versus budgeted expenditures versus actual expenditures," Young says.

He complains that, given Hawaii's accounting system, it is actually unknowable.

"We literally do not have the capacity to put that together," says Young….

Here’s something we do know: Hawaii DoE: Cost of waste, fraud, and corruption between $191M and $431M per year

read … Budget Unknowable

Husted to Unions: Stop Assuming Every Democrat will Protect You

No one expected that a progressive Democratic governor would take the dramatic step of imposing a "last, best and final offer" in labor negotiations. The courts will make the final decision but, certainly, the myth that a progressive Democrat will always protect organized labor has been put to rest.

"I have seen the enemy and they is us." So said Pogo (for the uninitiated, Pogo was a cartoon character and very wise). That is the perfect description for the very bitter dispute raging around the Hawaii State Teachers Association's legal case.

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly and Hawaii Government Employees Association strongly believe that if HSTA loses its case, all public employees lose; if HSTA wins, all public employees still lose. A cursory review of the legal case highlights why the two unions believe this….

…(a) solution is for unions to stop assuming every Democrat will protect them. Many Democrats today are not the Democrats of the 1950s and 1960s. Unions need to seek out and support candidates who are committed to supporting workers and their families.

Other Labor Day Commentary:

read … Progressive Democrat Myth

HSTA Operatives Sow Dissension in effort to reverse Laupahoehoe Charter

Later, the CSRP denied Laupahoehoe's charter application for a number of reasons. Among them, CSRP members said it appeared that a large majority of teachers and school staff members were not behind the charter movement. Teachers and administrators supplied testimony in the form of letters, collections of signatures, and personal appearances during the hearings in Honolulu.

However, last month the BOE overruled the CSRP, saying that members had misinterpreted state law, calling parts of their reasoning "clearly erroneous."

Thursday night's meeting was organized by a mother of three boys who attend Laupahoehoe High and Elementary. Noralyn Pajimola said she called on fellow parents, teachers and community members to make their voices heard after the BOE awarded the conversion charter, overturning in the process the CSRP's denial….

"Rumors have been going around," she said to the meeting attendees. "Some people felt this, some people felt that. There's been letters, and misinformation is going around. But from what I hear, when I talk to (BOE member) Brian De Lima and (state Rep.) Mark Nakashima (D-Kohala, Hamakua, Hilo), this school will not close under the DOE (Department of Education). Many of you thought this school was going to close when you voted."

read … Laupahoehoe

With no tax credits to gain via ownership, agencies use solar panels owned by others

For Maui County officials, a recent decision on how to finance an effort to put solar panels on the rooftops of 25 government buildings was a no-brainer.

The choice: Either spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to purchase the photovoltaic systems or have a third party own the panels and sell the electricity back to the county at half of what it was paying Maui Electric Co….

If the county had opted to own the system, it would have eventually been able to recover its costs through savings on its electric bill, but that could have taken up to 20 years, McLeod said. Because Maui County has no tax liability, it wouldn't have been able to take advantage of federal and state tax credits that effectively cut the cost of PV systems by 65 percent for businesses and homeowners in the private sector.

Instead, Maui County entered into a power purchase agreement with a solar contractor that will claim the tax credit and pass along the savings to the county through discounted electricity rates that will average just 18.5 cents over the 20-year life of the contract.

"In theory you can support ownership on the basis that eventually the initial investment will be paid back and the rest is gravy. The problem with this approach is that you will own an obsolete asset by then," McLeod said…..

The state government is Hawaii’s biggest producer of solar-generated electrical power with 1,960 kilowatts of installed capacity and another 6,424 kilowatts in the pipeline.

SA: State solar power efforts get federal cash

read … Tax Credits

Homeless Woman to become DoE Teacher Next Semester

U.S. Vets will oversee the Oahu stand down's clothing distribution and also will bring 50 of its homeless clients, such as Pamela Usher, 56.

Usher, a former Army private first class, had been homeless for two months and was sleeping at the Waipahu library when outreach workers from U.S. Vets picked her up and brought her to Kalaeloa last month.

Now she dreams of earning her teaching credential by the end of the year and resuming her former career as a middle school health and physical education teacher — perhaps as soon as the spring semester.

read … Homeless DoE

Gambling Advocates Latch on to Military Bingo

"I find it — I don't want to use the word hypocritical — but I will say I find it so ironic that those who are pounding the drum the hardest about saying, 'Hey, we cannot have gaming, if gaming is here, it will spread like a contagion,' and meanwhile, a block away, on the military base, it's bingo night," said state Rep. Angus McKelvey.

The Maui Democrat, who proposed online and in-person poker gambling this year, added that military bingo is "prima facie evidence of the fact that it (some gambling) can work.

read … Gambling

Weak Dollar Boosting Hawaii Tourism

“The only really good news is that our weak dollar and good economic growth in foreign markets has resulted in a strong rebound in U.S. exports from the collapse of 2008-09,” Suyderhoud said.“Hawai‘i’s tourism sector will benefit from this. However, a weak dollar, while good for exports, raises our cost of living as imports — especially energy and commodities — and further weakens confidence in our financial assets and markets.”

The recession has impacted transactions, foreclosures and short sales, and this puts downward pressure on prices, said Lane. He noted there are more local-market foreclosures than with offshore-owned second homes.

On the energy front, Lane said hydroelectric power is a renewable energy source that is more possible on Kaua‘i with its rivers. Wind power is less likely because of the bird issues.

Related: UHERO: With Hawaii Growth Slow, US Risk Looms Large

Read … Weak Dollar

Is Oahu Dense Enough for Rail?

The simple truth is that a rail transit system requires a dense residential pattern to make it work, lots of people living in close proximity, which we do not have on Oahu. This crucial relationship between transportation and land use has never been properly addressed. If we had the density of a New York or Chicago, then all other arguments against rail would be unimportant and we should build the system, but we are far from that crowded.

The often-cited description of Honolulu conjured up by rail proponents as a dense, linear city ideal for rail is a myth. Our biggest transit problem is that Oahu’s settlement pattern of single-family homes in suburban subdivisions is too dispersed for rail to be effective.

read … Is Oahu Dense?

Judges need more options for youth offenders

Detention is intended and necessary for youth who pose a danger to the community or who might not show up for their future court appearance. But what did I do with the 14-year-old girl who was neither of those things, but was suicidal? I wanted to send her to a residential juvenile mental health center, but we don't have any in Hawaii. What did I do with the 15-year-old boy who was a drug addict? I wanted to send him to a juvenile drug treatment center, but the wait list was three months. What did I do with the 16-year-old girl who was not safe at home because her father was sexually abusing her? I wanted to place her with another relative, but the social worker told me, "There are no relatives who can take her right now." And so, with the best intentions, I sent them to DH or HYCF.

Related: Judge Steven Alm: Justice Reinvestment and the future of HOPE Probation

read … Juvenile

Secrecy of court nominees seems to put Hawaii out of the judicial mainstream

I just wanted to point back to my January 31, 2011 post which noted that transparency in the selection of judges is increasingly the norm in other jurisdictions.

In a number of other places, public disclosure goes far beyond the names and resumes of nominees. In some areas, applications are made public. Interviews are open to the public in a growing number of places….

read … Secretive Abercrombie

BLNR to intervene on Behalf of Convicted Killer Claiming Ownership of 551 acre Shoreline Parcel

The decision by the chairman of the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources to help a group living on the land avoid eviction comes even as one member of the group faces jail time for trying to block access to (another) Native Hawaiian family that has court-ordered rights to repair a fishing village there.

Hawaii County is purchasing the 551-acre oceanfront parcel for $3.9 million, with $1.5 million coming from the state, $1 million from the federal government and $1.4 million from county property owners as part of the open space land fund.

But Native Hawaiian activist (convicted of manslaughter for shooting a man dead on July 7, 1976) Abel Simeona Lui has claimed ownership of the property, as well as an adjacent 235-acre parcel the county bought in 2008 with $1.9 million in state and county funds. Lui, along with his family group of 12 and about 20 guests who come and go, has erected tents and wooden buildings, installed portable toilets, cleared land and planted gardens. Lui, 68, says he has lived on the property for more than 20 years.

A 3rd Circuit Court judge in June granted the county and the landowner, the Edmund C. Olson Trust, authority to evict the group. But both parties have been reluctant to do so. (This weakness is the source of Lui’s power. Enforce the law and this bs ends.)

"The Mayor's Office is getting information and meeting with different individuals. ... Until I get the go-ahead, the legal action really isn't proceeding," said Deputy Corporation Counsel Laureen Martin. "It can proceed before the county acquires the other parcel. There's nothing that legally could stop it."

1979: State v. Lui (A great leader of the Hawaiian people who occasionally kills them.)

read … BLNR Idiots

Resort Workers Clean Kauai Beach—No Mention of Any Plastic Bags

Most visitors and residents will agree that Kaua‘i has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But the Garden Isle is not immune from trash — generated here and around the world— washing up on its sandy shores.

The problem can be particularly prevalent on the Eastside, which is battered by onshore tradewinds.

“We picked up 16 bags of trash from the beach,” Pono Kai Resort landscaping manager Steven Pimental said Friday. But even after all that was removed, the beach was still littered with mostly marine debris.

Read … Not a single Plastic Bag

Obama’s Mother argued against Modernity

What Ann Dunham is trying to show us is at once the richness and complexity of village handicraft traditions, but also that their practitioners are not living in either a romanticised traditional world nor mired in the stagnant rural economic backwaters. They are real people, many of them highly innovative profit-driven entrepreneurs who are not only surviving, but thriving in an environment where they have few competitive advantages. She argues convincingly that village industries are not anachronistic relics of the economic past, but have the potential to provide a sustainable base for rural livelihoods which are otherwise undermined by modernisation and urbanisation. This is the basis of her plea for better policy and development practice informed by local realities and oriented to supporting them.

read … Dunham

VIDEO: Hilo-based National Guard deploys to Iraq

The Company C, 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment held a deployment ceremony on Wednesday, here at Armed Forces Reserve Center near the Hilo International Airport.

The soldiers are scheduled to leave the islands for Fort Hood, Texas where they will continue training for a month-and-a-half.

read … Iraq


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