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Monday, September 12, 2011
September 12, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:35 PM :: 10925 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

Kalapa: Council on Revenues skeptical about Tax Revenue Increases

Hirono Team Rebukes Dangerous non-theist Supporters “Raatz” and “BooMan”

9-11 Tributes in Hawaii

Fontaine: Day an experience that ‘changed my life’

"I got this early-morning phone call from my assistant chief, my boss, I think it was 4 o'clock in the morning," said the Wailea resident who at the time was commander of the Wailuku Patrol District.

His boss told him to turn on the television and said: "We're at war."

read … Fontaine

Key Rail Lobbyist at Center of Broken Trustees’ Lobbying to Shield themselves from IRS

ILIND: In November 1999, former Honolulu reporter Rick Daysog, now at the Sacremento Bee, wrote about the former Bishop Estate’s attempts to derail federal reforms in nonprofit laws.

A Sept. 22, 1995, memo from Waihee and Verner Liipfert staffer Denis Dwyer indicated that the estate initially sought to “kill” the (Intermediate Sanctions) bill but was unable to do so due to a barrage of negative stories about nonprofits in the national media. That year, longtime United Way President William Aramony was convicted of defrauding the charity.

Waihee and Dwyer later developed a backup position to “minimize the adverse impacts” on the estate.

The trustees successfully lobbied for the elimination of the so-called exit tax, which gave the IRS the power to charge hefty fines to charities that convert to a for-profit corporation.

Dwyer was the “mystery man” among a Honolulu rail delegation to Washington last week headed by Mayor Peter Carlisle.

Seattle Times writers Frank Greve and Mark Fazlollah reported in May 1991 on an island-hopping trip arranged by Dwyer for top federal transit officials, including the top mass transit administrator and the communications director….

Thanks to lobbyist Denis Dwyer and cooperative Hawaiian politicians, no day’s lodging costs on the Monday-through-Friday tour exceeded $97, the maximum daily reimbursement for federal officials in Hawaii on business.

It’s no surprise that over the years Dwyer has been a contributor to Hawaii candidates, including then Congressman Neil Abercrombie, the Democratic Party of Hawaii ($2000 in 2002), Sen. Dan Inouye ($2000 in 2004, $4,400 in 2008-2009), and DANPAC ($5,000 earlier this year). You can check his federal contributions directly on the FEC web site.

read … Key Rail Lobbyist

Convicted Perfect Title Scammer David “Keanu” Sai responds to Hawai`i Free Press

This letter is in response to Dr. Ken Conklin’s article printed in the Hawaii Reporter online on September 1, 2011, as well as the July 17, 2011 article by Andrew Walden in another publication. I have always refrained from responding to these types of articles, but I have since changed my mind in order to qualify and clarify a lot of misinformation being presented. As for Walden’s article, I think Br. Christopher Fishkin did a fine job in his response, which can be read at the bottom of the article.

(Why is this fraudster is ‘teaching’ at LCC and why he is not being arrested and prosecuted for his crimes? Why does the Legislature act to give credence to his claims?)

Complete Antidote to any Claim that Interpretation of Events Prior to 1959 Affects Titles: Supreme Court ruling shields Hawaiian Homelands and ceded lands revenue

Connected to THIS: Naming names: Who are the alleged Sovereignty-mortgage scammers?

Reality: Sovereignty Mortgage Scammer Keanu Sai at it again with help from Legislators, Maui Council, University

read … A long and mostly immaterial justification for Perfect Title Redux

Sunshine? Abercrombie Administration Ends Lingle-era Requirement to Posting Meeting Agendas and Minutes Online

Hawaii’s government boards and commissions are required to inform the public about the times, locations, dates and agendas of upcoming meetings. The practice is considered a cornerstone of democracy, according to the state Sunshine Law, passed in 1975. But for the public, gaining access to this information is not always an easy task, and government officials themselves seem confused about what is required of them. …

Some post notices on individual websites, some do not. Some aren’t sure if they do. Some post past meeting minutes on websites, which the public can peruse to find out the date of the next meeting, though others don’t post any meeting minutes. Others post upcoming meeting notices in office buildings. And some said they post notices on the online state calendar – by far the most accessible and easy to navigate system.

The site lists all of the boards and commissions in one place. The online calendar shows all the meetings that are planned for the next six days, and shows all the previous meetings, usually with an attached agenda. Posting on this site is optional. It’s not required under the Sunshine Law.

In 2008, former Gov. Linda Lingle issued an executive memo requiring that all commissions and boards post meetings on the website. However, this was only effective as long as Lingle was in office. Gov. Neil Abercrombie has not made a decision on whether to continue the edict….

Dela Cruz provided this response via email: “Policies are under review. You may want to revisit this during this session. If there are any updates, I will be sure to let you know.”

read … Darkness at Noon

Progressives: “Suck it, Ed Case”

HI-Sen: Hahah! Suck it, Ed Case. Hawaii's veteran Democratic senators, Dan Inouye and the retiring Dan Akaka, were both seen at a recent DC fundraiser for Rep. Mazie Hirono. While neither of the Dans have formally endorsed Hirono, the fact that they're openly helping her raise money is a great sign. I'm also pleased to see that the AFL-CIO and AFSCME hosted the event. I'm really wondering if the conservaDem Case thinks he has a path to victory that doesn't involve bogus polls.

Related: Hirono Team Rebukes Dangerous non-theist Supporters “Raatz” and “BooMan”

read … Daily Kos

Gay Civil Unions to Have High Tech Processing System Not Yet Available to Straight Marriages

The civil unions bill was signed into law in February, but you can't be unionized until Jan. 1. Why so long? Well, it's in the law. But the state Department of Health needs to set up new systems to manage civil unions. The process will be fully online (a modern concept that will eventually include old-fashioned, paper-bound marriage licenses). There are also new guidelines for couples and solemnizers to follow (it's Partner A and Partner B, not Husband A and Wife B). And a seamless conversion of reciprocal beneficiaries to civil-union couples remains a problem.

But take heart, early adopters: DOH says it will start issuing licenses by Dec. 3, even though they don't take effect until the new year.

read … privileged, not oppressed

Tongans: “We like it here in Utah”

In fact, one of every four Tongans living in the United States resides in Utah, according to a Salt Lake Tribune analysis of 2010 U.S. census data. Utah ranks second among the states for total population of Tongans, behind only California — but ahead of even Hawaii.

Utah’s Tongan population is an eighth as large as the population of the Kingdom of Tonga, meaning it’s as if one of every nine Tongans left home to live here. Salt Lake City itself even has more Tongans than all but the three largest cities on those islands.

“We like it here,” said Fahini Tavake-Pasi, executive director of the National Tongan-American Society, which has its headquarters, naturally, in Utah.

Related: Micronesians: “Its just better in Arkansas”

read … Tongans

Horizon Lines Troubles Show Need for Reform of US Build Requirement

Horizon’s situation points out the real and immediate need for Jones Act reform, especially in respect of the U.S. Build requirement in the domestic noncontiguous trades – i.e., in the Alaska, Guam, Hawaii & Puerto Rico trades – to allow larger deep draft self-propelled Foreign-Built U.S.-Flag ships in those trades. This modest reform would not affect the other key requirements of the Jones Act: U.S.-Flag, U.S.-Ownership and US.-Crew.

Such a reform would allow Horizon to rationally renew their domestic fleet and rectify the performance of their Guam / Far East service. And, it would retain and even foster new competition in the noncontiguous waterborne trades, which would greatly assist consumers and help to hold down the costs of living and doing business in the noncontiguous jurisdictions.

Related: Need for Reform of US Build Requirements, Horizon Lines Misses Aug. 15 Payment on $330 Million in Convertible Notes

read … Horizon

The new 'R' in education—Robotics

Kahakai's team is made up of 20 to 30 fourth- and fifth-grade students, supervised by a team of teachers. Alisha Deguiar, lead teacher, highlighted the positive impact robotics has had on students' attitudes, innovation and behaviors.

"Kids are given the chance to shine with robotics and are passionate about their innovative solutions," Deguiar said. "I keep coaching because of the quiet girls who grow courage, the unfocused boys who become team players, and the leaders we release into the world because of this program."

Several of the teacher-coaches said they have seen an increased interest in the program from boys and girls, alike. There has also been a noticeable decrease in bullying and behavioral issues, which often plague schools, because of the program's emphasis on teamwork and cooperation, the teachers said.

AP: Oahu chemistry students learn from Marines

read … New R

Homeowners Insurance Rates coming Down

Hawaii residents can expect to see costs cut for home insurance next year but no one knows exactly how much premiums will drop….

“For a number of years the profitability has been 45.6% which I feel is excessive,” said Hawaii Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito. To help homeowners out Ito has directed insurance companies to submit new lower rates. “We sent out a memo to homeowner insurers to re-file their rates because we deemed them to be excessive,” added Ito.

read … Insurance

Honolulu Preparing to Exit Affordable Housing Business

Sam Moku, director of the city Department of Community Services, said the city wants to get out of affordable housing and lease the properties to private companies to improve the condition of the buildings and stop the loss of money. The city, which owns about 1,200 affording-housing units, loses about $3 million a year on them, Moku said.

Terry said private companies could renovate properties more quickly than the city because of efficiencies in the private market. He said the city is hampered in making renovations because of the approvals needed and other required steps to make improvements. He cited the replacement of the building's air-conditioning chiller, which has been delayed a year because the city denied a request for $1 million. The property has had to build up its reserve fund to pay for the chiller.

The city plans to release a request for proposals at year's end, and the properties could be leased by late 2012.

Seamus Murphy, 52, who lives in a market-rate rental in Chinatown Gateway, is skeptical about how fast building improvements could be made by a private owner because of the rent hike caps, but he supported the venture. "I can understand it," he said. "It makes financial sense."

read … City Leasing Affordable Units

Federal Court says "aloha" to hotel service charge practices in Hawaii

As we reported earlier this summer, the hospitality industry has, in recent years, attracted the attention of various plaintiffs’ attorneys who have attacked, on behalf of service employees, practices related to levying service charges on food and beverage purchases. While several recent decisions have stemmed the tide of such cases, threats remain in those states that statutorily proscribe certain service-charge practices. This threat came to bear late last month, when Hawaii’s federal district court granted partial summary judgment to a group of hotel banquet servers who asserted that their employer violated Hawaii law by charging, and retaining some portion of, an 18-to-22 percent service charge on food and beverage purchases.

read … Lawsuit

Enviros do two Beach Clean-ups and Sail through Pacific Gyre—AND FIND NO PLASTC BAGS

A beach clean-up in Australia relies upon thick bags, gloves and litter pickers, but on Kamilo the team from BEACH have had to modify their utensils to dustpans and brushes and specially designed 'sand sifters' to collect the tiny shards of plastic.

We removed over 400 kilograms of rope/net, huge amounts of 'plastic sand' and an array of plastic items ranging from hagfish traps (used widely in coastal Asia), plastic tubing (used as spacers for oyster farming in Japan), fishing crates, half eaten plastic bottles, crates, buckets, toothbrushes, bottle caps and broken fishing buoys. (But no plastic bags.)

The next weekend we removed another 700 kilograms of rope and net from Kahuku Beach on the north-east coast of Oahu…. (But no plastic bags.)

From two days outside of Hawaii until six days before we reached Vancouver we regularly spotted larger 'macro debris' items including conglomerations of rope and net up to five metres long, fishing floats, crates, buoys and consumer products including children's toys, toothbrushes, disposable bowls, bottles and a yoghurt container. (But no plastic bags)

The crew found tiny shards of plastic in every trawl they completed including items such as toothbrushes, spray nozzles, pen caps and a very faded grey toy gorilla. (But no plastic bags.)

…we completed dozens of trawls and found plastic in every trawl, from recognisable items like pen caps and a toothbrush to tiny pieces including the infamous 'nurdle', the pre-production pellets used in the manufacture of plastic. (But no plastic bags.)

read … No Plastic Bags

Ecos becoming Dimly Aware that Fishing Ban harms Monk Seals

The difference in the seals' survival rates could be a result of an increase in shark predation within the reserve. Locals in the French Frigate Shoals, a group of islands that are part of the protected area, have noticed a steep increase in shark predation, says Gerber. "They actually started a shark-culling programme" to control 'problem sharks', she says. "It's not something they like to broadcast," she adds, because of the conservation status of sharks. (So it is OK for enviros to cull sharks and waste the meat, but it is not OK for fishermen to fish in these waters.)

Although the authors don't know for sure whether shark numbers have gone up, they speculate that the population could have been boosted by fishing discards before all fishing in the area was banned in 2006. (Not even close.) A few of those sharks could now be wreaking havoc on seal pups. "All you need on each atoll is one really hungry rogue shark," says Kaufman…. (Shark population increases because they have more fish to feed on now that the top predator—humans—has been removed from the eco system by the enviros.)

What that might be is unclear. "Say you cull the sharks, and capture jacks, and transfer the pups — it's still probably not enough," says Gerber. (Cull Sharks? Capture Jacks? Duh, you mean like with a … uh … fish hook?)

Researchers have noted in the past that conservation measures for certain species can have unintended effects on others. In the Pacific Northwest of North America, for example, reintroduced sea otters might be driving down threatened abalone numbers.

"It depends how you define success," says Gerber. "Is it about saving endangered species, or preserving a functioning ecosystem? It's worth taking a step back. Marine preservations areas may not be the solution in all situations."

read … False Religion Fails Again

$7.2M to Fly Lihue Airport Nene to Big Isle, Maui

The endangered species, and Hawaii state bird, pose a risk to commercial planes arriving and departing from Lihue Airport, according to officials at the state Department of Transportation, and Department of Land and Natural Resources.

So far, 10 have been transferred to Maui in a pilot program to see how difficult it would be to catch and transfer the birds and how much it might cost. About 400 more are on the way, in accordance with a five-year, $7.2 million plan.

The cost to re-home each bird: as much as $18,000.

(I know what you’re thinking: “Why didn’t I bid that contract?”)

read … Flying Nene

The Street: Maui Land and Pineapple Upgraded

MAUI LAND & PINEAPPLE CO reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, MAUI LAND & PINEAPPLE CO turned its bottom line around by earning $0.52 versus -$11.00 in the prior year.

read … Pineapple

China’s Army no longer Accepts Communist Party Control

Mao Zedong said, famously: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” China’s late revolutionary leader added, only a tad less famously: “The Party commands the gun and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.”

The Party is, of course, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and the gun is the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which comprises China’s armed forces. The PLA, however, no longer seems to abide by Mao’s command that it accept party control but instead has struck off in its own direction.

It is not that China’s military leaders have openly defied the CPC but rather they ignore the guidance of party and government leaders. “The PLA has become a force unto itself,” said an experienced US China-watcher. “It is unaccountable to China’s political leaders.”

read … China


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