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Wednesday, September 07, 2011
September 7, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:33 PM :: 12778 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development, World News, Hawaii History

Abercrombie: More Taxes and Spending Key to Economic Recovery

Public invited to 9/11 memorial commemoration at Honolulu Community College

Honolulu Events to Mark 9-11 Anniversary

  • Remembrance Walk Beretania St Sunday 4PM
  • Tamarind Park at Bishop Square Friday 12:45PM
  • Oahu 9/11 Heroes Run 5K 7AM Sunday
  • Choral anniversary concert, Kawaiahao Church 6PM Sunday
  • The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run 7AM Sunday
  • Honolulu Community College, Sept. 11 memorial 11AM Monday

And then there’s this: Manoa Liberals to Apologize to Muslims for September 11th

read … 9-11

Lack of Heavyweight Competition Gives Mufi Free Ride to Congress?

The dismal 37.8 percent of the vote he received against Abercrombie was a stunning repudiation, and he’d have a lot to worry about if he had to go one-on-one against another top Democrat.

But this congressional race could draw a half-dozen candidates or more, and Hannemann would need only a plurality to win. If he held anywhere near that 37.8 percent, he’d win in a landslide; Hirono won a multi-candidate primary in 2006 with barely 20 percent of the vote.

No Republican candidate of any weight has emerged.

Unless there’s a surprise entry or Hannemann makes more of the foolish mistakes that did him in against Abercrombie, this race looks like his to lose.

read … Free Ride to Congress

Carlisle compares Anti-Rail Critics to Chinese communist thugs

It's disappointing that Mayor Peter Carlisle is again answering thoughtful criticism of the city's $5.3 billion rail project by trying to bully the critics.

After former Gov. Ben Cayetano, retired Judge Walter Heen, businessman Cliff Slater and law professor Randall Roth pressed their concerns about rail's management, costs, ridership and environmental impact, Carlisle dismissed them as the "Gang of Four," a term that a rail PR consultant came up with.

Does the mayor really think it's appropriate to equate four distinguished citizens who have outstanding records of public service with Chinese communist thugs accused of treason?…

…Carlisle kept on former Mayor Mufi Hannemann's team, which had been accused of heavy-handed management.

Carlisle lazily mouthed Hannemann's old lines as his own.

Among his first acts was a trip to Washington, D.C., to assure federal transit officials that nothing had changed — and to assure rich campaign donors associated with rail that the checks they had been sending Hannemann could be made out to him.

Now he's earning his keep by punk-talking honest citizens who ask fair questions.

CB: Rats Really Are Everywhere

read … I am Deng Xiaoping

 

 

Council on Revenues: Higher Taxes still come up $120M short

The council remained cautiously optimistic by predicted tax revenues would increase 5 percent this fiscal year, and 1 percent in 2013,thanks to tax law changes passed in the last legislative session that take away tax exemptions for the next two years.

But right now, it all adds up to about $120 million less coming into the state.

"They're a lot more conservative about that number of additional revenue that the Legislature's banking on. As a result the Legislature may have to rethink their strategy," said Lowell Kalapa of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii

 

read … Laffer Curve in Action

Tax Hike May Delay New Construction Starts for Two Years

The big question mark out there right now is this Act 105 that was just passed, which eliminates the exemption for the general excise tax (for general contractors). So, we can no longer claim an exemption for our subcontractors. (Under the previous law), if a subcontractor pays the GET on its scope of work, then I don’t have to pay that tax. That’s the way the law used to be; I would only pay GET on the scope of work that I physically performed myself. So, if I had a $1 million contract, but I subbed out 85 percent of it, the subcontractors would pay GET on $850,000 of it. I would only pay GET on the $150,000 of my work. Now, I have to pay it on the full $1 million, and the subcontractor pays on his $850,000. It’s a pyramid tax.

It’s going to increase the cost of construction here in Hawaii by at least 4 percent for the next couple of years. … We’re hoping it’s not a game-changer. I think contractors and owners are going to be innovative to try to reduce the impact of the tax. But, if a project is marginal in a developer’s eyes and 3 or 4 percent makes a difference to their bottom line, they may just say, “Let’s wait two years and see what happens.”

HB: Private Construction Drops from 71% to 51% of Total

read … Laffer Curve Pt 2

Milner: Democratic Primaries will be More Polarizing and Less Civil

There is already a buzz about the upcoming 2012 elections in Hawaii even though the primaries are more than a year a way. A real chance of close elections, open seats, fewer incumbents, and a Republican with a real shot at becoming a U.S. senator from Hawaii. This definitely isn't business as usual.

It all starts with Sen. Daniel Akaka's decision not to run for re-election. Considering who is already running for or thinking of running for his seat (so far the lists of committing or considering includes at the very least Ed Case, Mazie Hirono, Colleen Hanabusa and Linda Lingle), we are likely to have a very heated Democratic Senate primary, as many as two strongly contested Democratic Congressional primaries, and a very strong Republican Senate candidate….

It is wishful thinking to believe that the 2012 elections will be less polarizing and more civil.

Linda Lingle, who will have no shot at winning the general election unless she can gather significant support from independent or Democratic voters, has to make sure that from the get go she mobilizes her base. She is a cinch to win the Republican primary, but considering the obstacles a Hawaii Republican candidate faces, she needs much more than primary votes. She needs real active help from Republicans.

Read … More Heated

Hawaii DoE Students top Nation in Suicidal Thoughts

Hawaii teens are not just thinking about suicide frequently, but also attempting it or jeopardizing their lives with reckless behavior, local experts say.

According to the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data, Hawaii high school students had the highest self-reported prevalence of seriously considering suicide, making a plan and attempting suicide in the nation. They also had the third highest rate of being sad or hopeless.

From 2006 to 2010, there were 51 suicides among Hawaii children ages 10 to 19, making suicide the second leading cause of death for that age group after motor vehicle crashes, said Dan Galanis, state Department of Health Injury Prevention and Control Program epidemiologist.

Oahu had the most suicides of that age group with 27, followed by 10 on Hawaii Island, eight on Kauai and six on Maui. Statewide, the suicides accounted for 21 percent of all deaths and 32 percent of injury-related deaths among children. Nearly 80 percent of the victims were 17 years old and most hung or suffocated themselves, Galanis said.

For every child who dies from suicide in Hawaii, there are an estimated five who are hospitalized, and an additional 12 who are treated in emergency departments for nonfatal self-inflicted injuries annually, Galanis said.

DoH: Suicide Prevention Week

Last Year: Highest suicide rate in US: Hawaii DoE highschoolers

read … Hawaii is #1 in Youth Suicide

Carlisle Says ORI Wasn't 'Following Rules'

Mayor Peter Carlisle has delivered the bluntest assessment yet of a nonprofit under scrutiny for possible misuse of federal funds.

The people in charge of ORI Anuenue Hale "weren't following the rules" and it's been difficult to convince them otherwise, he told Civil Beat in an interview last week.

The city still awaits word from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development about its plans to bring the troubled local nonprofit into compliance and avoid the loss of $7.9 million in federal funding.

"This was a very difficult, emotionally-charged situation with the person who had come under the microscope," Carlisle said in an editorial board interview at Civil Beat headquarters last week. "It's not like they weren't doing good things for people, but they weren't following the rules, and it was very, very difficult to get them to the point where they realized. Their attorney knew it, but it was so hard to get this person there."

Carlisle didn't identify "this person" by name, but it's likely he was referring to Susanna Cheung, the founder of ORI Anuenue Hale, the Central Oahu nonprofit that serves the elderly and disabled citizens.

Related: Resignation call after Audit reveals “ward heeler’s slush fund” overseen by Honolulu Councilman

read … ORI

Medicated marijuana: Doctors Set up in Hawaii Hotel Rooms, Score Big Bucks

The relaxation of marijuana laws has a flaw that attracted “420”doctors (a term based on a police code but used in this instance to mean marijuana friendly) from around the country, Kamita said. These doctors have set up offices, sometimes at hotels, for the purpose of working around the intent of laws to prescribe to eager users. It is not the doctor-patient relationship that the law intended, he added.

The other issue is the expanding list of legitimate use. It has gone from the debilitating or terminal conditions — such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and others — that won support from empathetic legislators to non-life-threatening conditions and questionable pain issues.

This, combined with other legal flaws that allow other household members and caregivers to grow additional plants, has all the appearances of the industrialization of a product for non-personal use, he said. Another tell-tale sign is the age of prescription holders, which has fallen to the 20- to 30-year-old range, much younger than the average for those suffering from serious and terminal illness….

 

County statistics show that 72 percent of medical marijuana permits are issued to people under age 40 and without a debilitating disease. He said sample packaging for marijuana-based products have marketing strategies not unlike alcohol and tobacco.

Read … Dopers push Legislature for more Dope

Aloun Lawyers call Prosecution ‘Frivolous’ Demand $366K

The defense lawyers for Alec and Mike Sou of Aloun Farms have asked that the federal government pay their clients at least $366,000 in attorneys' fees to defend them against forced labor charges that were dropped last month by prosecutors after the start of trial.

Thomas Bienert Jr. of San Clemente, Calif., and Thomas Otake of Honolulu contend that federal law permits the award of attorneys' fees because the prosecution's case against the Sous was "frivolous."

In asking Chief U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway to award the fees, the lawyers contend the prosecution did not have a "good basis" for the charges in a 12-count indictment.

Related: Human Trafficking: Did the US DoJ Purposefully lose the Aloun Farms Case?

read … Frivolous

Civil Unions Licenses To be Available Dec 3

The state Department of Health expects to issue the first licenses for civil unions by Dec. 3, with the expressed, written understanding that the authorizations would not take effect until Jan. 1….

The state continues to work on an online system to streamline the process for couples and solemnizers who would perform such ceremonies, Onaka said Tuesday at a meeting of a task force convened by the Legislature to study implementation of Act 1….

Task force members continue to study issues related to a so-called "gap period," in which couples already in reciprocal beneficiary relationships in Hawaii could face a period when they are covered neither by that arrangement nor a civil union. That gap period could put at risk benefits such as insurance coverage. The gap would occur because under the new law, reciprocal beneficiaries must dissolve that relationship before entering into a civil union. This requires sending a notarized letter to the Health Department, which acknowledges receipt and sends notice to the applicant of the dissolution, a process that typically can take weeks.

read … Gap Period

BOE members raise concerns about Likelike Elementary closure

At today's Finance and Infrastructure Committee meeting, BOE member Brian De Lima called the department's report considering the consolidation of Likelike Elementary "deficient" and "grossly lacking."

"People need to see how closing a school is going to benefit the rest of the students in all of those other schools," he said.

Board members also expressed interest in getting more information on the department's strategy in eying schools for consolidation.

read … Kabuki

Report highlights 42% Hawaii obesity

A group of retired military leaders concerned about young people nationwide being too fat to join the armed services is focusing on Hawaii's obesity rates and want to see healthier meals served in schools.

Forty-two percent of young people in Hawaii ages 17 to 24 were overweight and a vast majority of them wouldn't be allowed to join the military, according to a report expected to be released Wednesday by Mission: Readiness, a group of more than 200 retired generals, admirals and other senior military leaders.

The group drew attention last when it released a national report last year titled, "Too Fat to Fight," claiming overweight children are a threat to national security. Similar state-specific reports have been released in Kentucky, where 51 percent of young people were overweight, and in Georgia, where that figure was 44 percent. The focus is now on Hawaii because of the large military population here, said Mike Kiernan, the group's spokesman.

read … Obesity

Late: BLNR to Vote on Army High Altitude Training Friday

State Department of Land and Natural Resources staff is recommending approval of a month's worth of high-altitude helicopter training on the slopes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa for Army pilots and crews deploying to Afghanistan in January.

The Army's request for a "right-of-way" permit for training in October on state conservation land is scheduled to come before the Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday….

The 25th Combat Aviation Brigade had wanted to train up to 260 UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook pilots on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, but with the delays, says time remains for only 90 pilots to receive the Hawaii Island training.

Remaining pilots and crews are being sent to Colorado at a cost of $8 million, the Army said….

The permit request is for October training only. Army officials said a decision will have to be made whether to pursue a longer-term permit for high-altitude training on Hawaii Island to include other services, such as the Hawaii National Guard.

read … late

Arson damages Maui Drug Court Office

When firefighters got to the office at about 5:25 a.m. they found several fires had been set and whoever set them forced their way inside.

The fires were extinguished within an hour and most of the damage was contained to one room.

Damage is estimated at $250,000.

read … Drugs

Kauai Food Bank Selling Donated Food

KIFB’s draft 2010 tax audit indicates KIFB’s food inventory is recorded at $1.59 per pound. The audit states the valuation is based on the average wholesale value of one pound of donated food as determined by Feeding America, a national food bank organization….

HFB’s 2009 financials indicate it charges agencies for food too. “(HFB) distributes food to nearly 300 agencies that are charged for products on a per-pound basis, not to exceed 18 cents per pound (the 2009 maximum rate),” the statement indicates.

read … Agency Service Fee

State DoH receives more Federal Funding, Adds no Staff

The Laboratories Division of the state Department of Health has the same number of employees — 91 — that it had in 2001. But priorities have changed in the post-9/11 world and 19 of those employees are now funded through federal grants that have to be renewed annually, said Christian Whelen, the laboratory’s administrator.

In the 2001-2002 fiscal year, Hawaii received less than $900,000 in federal public health emergency preparedness grants.

The amount jumped to $8 million after 9/11 and peaked at $9.3 million in the 2003-2004 fiscal year.

read … DoH Labs

VIDEO: Marshallese in Hawaiian Ocean View gathering

The Marshallese living in Ocean View number in the hundreds, with many living in poor conditions. Na’alehu physician Dr. Richard Creagan knows the challenges these people – many of whom do not speak English – face here on Hawaii Island.

All challenges aside, the event at Kahuku Park was a chance for the Marshallese to get acquainted with some of the resources that are available to them, and have fun in the process.

Jonithen Jackson, a Marshallese community leader in Ka`u, and president of the Alliance of Community and Health, described the importance of celebrating culture.

read … HOVE

NoMoola: Profitable NonProfit Activists Launch Anti-APEC Site

Its called NoMoola but they are funded by your tax dollars, UH tuition and…(drumroll please)…”the Creative Capital Foundation”…(clash cymbals)…plus these geniuses (LINK)

ILind: Razor Wire on Order

read … No Moola for You, but I’m Funded

Hawaii’s Largest Market Research Firm Headed by Obama Appointee

Akaka: “As an accomplished international businesswoman who brings a wealth of experience in banking, business, and economic development, she is an excellent nominee for the Ex-Im Bank. I am pleased to join Senator Inouye in introducing her to the Committee….

“Not only is OmniTrak Hawaii’s largest market research firm, Pat’s parents, brothers and sisters, and in-laws have all run business ventures ranging from restaurants, marine design and engineering, insurance, flowers, and furniture.”

read … market research

Hawaii Business Magazine Looks At Nonprofit Leadership

Blueprint for safer roads under final review

Farrington was among the 13 "areas of concern" for pedestrians on Oahu while the neighbor islands had 18 such areas, according to the pedestrian master plan. This year, 15 pedestrians have died on Hawaii roads, 12 of them on Oahu. Two were on Maui, and one was on Hawaii island….

The plan has been in the works since February 2010, and is now available for public comment. The 93-page draft can be downloaded at www.hawaiipedplan.com. Comments will be accepted through Sept. 30.

read … Pedestrian Safety

Photon Finance LLC, Island Pacific Energy LLC, Pacific Energy Solutions LLC to Split $500M Solar Job

Photon Finance LLC has been selected as one of three companies to develop distributed solar power systems on more than 11 naval facilities in Hawaii. The $500 million multiple award contract was competitively procured; 13 bids were received in response to a Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific request for proposal. Projects are expected to be issued within the next 12 months and completed by August 2016.

Under the award contract, Photon Finance will compete with Island Pacific Energy LLC and Pacific Energy Solutions LLC for task orders to design, construct, own, operate and maintain solar power systems on Navy rooftops, parking structures and vacant parcels of land. The Navy will purchase the solar generated electricity under 20-year power agreements. These projects are part of the Navy's goal to achieve 50 percent total energy consumption from alternative sources by 2020.

read … $500M

SA: GMO papaya export welcomed

Japan was helped in overcoming its aversion by the work of, among other researchers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo. Those studies, which won the U.S. federal approval for the food crop, produced the data that ultimately satisfied the stringent Japanese regulators. The Japanese sent signals last year that approval was on the way, and last week it came through. Shipments should begin in December.

The GMO issue has become a contentious one, with some objectors voicing concern about the safety of consuming altered varieties. "Eco-terrorist" groups have vandalized crops in Thailand and elsewhere. Such an association has been feared but not established as the motive for repeated attacks that have destroyed thousands of papaya trees on the Big Island.

Otherwise, genetic modifications have been controversial where Hawaii's traditional bedrock food crop, taro, is concerned. The University of Hawaii has wanted to research the possibility of developing GMO taro locally to combat a disease called "pocket rot" in taro varieties grown throughout the Asia-Pacific basin. Because of the cultural sensitivities surrounding Hawaiian taro, lawmakers have warded off such advances with local taro.

Particular care had better be taken around inspecting imports of any other regional taro, because that is the only other remaining preventive measure.

Non-GMO papayas are being grown in Hawaii, a niche made possible because the dominance of Rainbow has reduced exposure to disease.

Done carefully, the cultivation of genetically modified crops can safeguard such a choice in the marketplace.

Let's hope that, should disease surveillance fail the taro farmers, such an intervention won't come too late to save the native crop as well.

Taro: UH cared for HALOA for 104 years with no help from any activists

read … Luddites, Protectionists Defeated

Hawaii is #6 in Shrimp

The state of Texas holds the top position with 2,526,648 lbs of shrimp harvested. Coming in second is Alabama with 248,900 lbs while Florida is in third spot at 90,368 lbs.
Guam ranks fifth next to the CNMI at 40,000 lbs while Hawaii is sixth with 18,000 lbs. South Carolina placed seventh with 7,000 lbs.

read … Shrimp

Commanders Livid at Obama Iraq Withdrawal Plans

Now, sources confirm that the administration has pushed the Pentagon to cut the number even lower, and commanders are concerned for the safety of the U.S. troops who would remain there.

"We can't secure everybody with only 3,000 on the ground nor can we do what we need to with the Iraqis," one source said. Another source said the actual total could be as high as 5,000 when additional support personnel are included.

A senior military official said by reducing the number of troops to 3,000, the White House has effectively reduced the mission to training only.

"There is almost no room for security operations in that number; it will be almost purely a training mission," this official said. The official added that a very small number of troops within that 3,000 will be dedicated to counter-terrorism efforts, but that's not nearly what Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, wanted.

This shift is seen by various people as a cost-saving measure and a political measure.

Read … Snatch Defeat from Jaws of Victory


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