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Friday, September 16, 2011
September 16, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:09 PM :: 13811 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, World News, Hawaii History

Panos: Did Mishandling Cause the Death and Injuries of HPD Officers?

Abercrombie Cabinet Member Suddenly Resigns, no announcement until Replacement Named

Summer Snow Falls on Mauna Kea after Al Gore’s “24-Hours of Reality” broadcasts from Hawaii

Best in Nation Hawaii Overpaid “only” $9.5M in Unemployment

Former Kaneohe Marine Awarded Medal Of Honor

President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to the first living Marine since the Vietnam War in a White House ceremony Thursday.

Sgt. Dakota Meyer, 23, is credited with saving three dozen lives during an intense firefight in Afghanistan.

The former Kaneohe-based Marine said he doesn't consider himself a hero in accepting the award.

Obama bestowed the nation's highest military honor on Meyer, a young and humble Kaneohe Marine who defied orders and barreled straight into a killing zone in Afghanistan five times, to save the lives of 36 U.S. and Afghan comrades.

"Dakota later confessed, 'I didn't think I was going to die, I knew I was,'" the president said during the ceremony. "But still they pushed on."

Meyer was 21 years old at the time, a corporal when his team was ambushed by insurgents while training Afghan military members in Kunar Province on Sept. 8, 2009.

read … But Malama Solomon doesn’t want him counted for Reapportionment

After Manoa Liberals Apologize to Muslims for Sept 11, Muslims to Stage “Islam Day” Celebration on Sept 11th Julian at Site of Apology

The third annual Islam Day celebration, open to the public Sept. 24 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii….

Q: Your wife converted to Islam before you married, I assume?

A: She converted about three or four months before. But she didn’t wear her head scarf until the day after 9/11….On the inauguration of Obama as president, she actually bought a flag hijab. …

(Two political statements, 9-11 and Obama election. Figure it out.)

Q: Has building a more traditional-looking mosque been discussed by the congregation?

A: It has, and we looked into it. It was a piece of land on Aala Street right downtown that we were considering. We actually entered into negotiations for about four months. And then we just decided it was a big, big undertaking for us; it would require a lot of money; it would require a lot of fundraising, even outside Hawaii. (skip several lies) … most of the money we were trying to seek, we thought maybe Saudi Arabia could help us. (more dissembling) … if we got the money from Saudi Arabia and we built something, I wonder how the community will react to it.

Related:

read … Submission

Sept 19 Reapportionment Commission to Re-vote on Disenfranchising Military for Malama Solomon

At its Sept. 19 meeting on Oahu, the State's 2011 Reapportionment Commission will likely reconsider its June 28 decision to include nonresident military and students in the count that determines state legislative boundaries.

"There'll definitely be a reconsideration," Commission Vice Chairman Dylan Nonaka said after the commission unveiled its proposed redistricting maps to about 20 area residents Wednesday at the West Hawaii Civic Center. "How the vote will go, I don't know."

When the board took its original vote, it was told there was no way to extract the nonresident military and student population from 2010 U.S. Census counts of the state. So despite a state constitutional provision requiring the commission to not count such members of the population, the board voted 8-1 to do so, citing technical difficulties and concerns about fairness.

But the support staff for the volunteer board has now developed some numbers that could be used to modify the population.

The method being considered that would remove the most nonresidents, if approved, would reduce the population of Oahu by 78,524 and the Big Island by 921.

read … Disenfranchise Military

Are UPW talks coming to a head?

Apparently, the main reason UPW hasn’t been given a “last, best and final offer” like the HSTA is a stalemate between Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the four county mayors.

Under state law, the governor has four votes and the mayors have one each on overlapping contracts, so the governor would need the agreement of at least one mayor to send a final offer to the UPW. So far he hasn’t had it, but there are indications he has recently won over a mayor and may be free to press the issue.

Any “last, best and final” offer would likely include a requirement that UPW members pay back the windfall they have received for three months; if UPW gets a better deal than the other unions, Abercrombie would have to extend it to HGEA under the “most favored nation” clause in its contract.

Members of UPW’s Unit 1 — custodians, cafeteria workers, laundry workers, etc. — have authorized a strike if the state imposes a contract as with HSTA, and union leaders have hinted they’ll maximize their leverage by calling it during the APEC conference, potentially shutting schools and halting vital services while President Barack Obama and other world leaders are in town.

Related: Four of a Kind: UPW, UHPA get big Fat Pay Raise—and HSTA suit could give one to HGEA

read … UPW Talks

Unions Agree to back proven loser Mazie Hirono after pretending to have Democratic Discussion

The Hawaii State AFL-CIO, an umbrella federation for dozens of the state's labor unions, endorsed U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono on Thursday in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

The endorsement is part of what labor leaders have described as a "solid front" for Hirono in the primary against former Congressman Ed Case. Many of the state's most influential labor leaders agreed at a private meeting in late August to back Hirono, but individual unions will follow internal endorsement procedures before making formal announcements….

AFL-CIO President Randy Perreira hosted a fundraiser for Hirono last week in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Akaka and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, the state's top Democrat, appeared at the Hirono fundraiser, which was held at the Monocle, a restaurant on Capitol Hill. The senators have not issued formal endorsements in the primary, but Inouye has made it apparent in public statements that he would like to work with Hirono in the Senate.

read … 2002 Redux

Abercrombie’s secret decree is black eye for Legislature

In Hawaii, we are entering the fourth month of a state of emergency, declared on June 14 by Gov. Neil Abercrombie….

No. Abercrombie, according to the wording of his proclamation, wanted to make sure the federal program to restore land once used by the feds, would be available to clean up stuff the military left behind, such as bombs, missiles, bullets and grenades.

That changed into what has become the trademark of the Abercrombie administration: profound governmental changes done in near secrecy.

The order of emergency, the giving to the Corps of Engineers virtual carte blanche, was done in near secrecy. It only showed up buried under a subheading on the governor’s Web page two months after the declaration.

Government officials who supervise the affected agencies, such as the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission, didn’t know about the order. It is questionable if the Army would be involved in Kahoolawe, but if it were, apparently the corps wouldn’t have to even knock before coming in.

The issue of unilaterally declaring a state of emergency and then not telling anyone about it is especially embarrassing to the Democrats in the state Legislature.

Back in 2008 they fought a particularly nasty battle with then-GOP Gov. Linda Lingle over precisely the powers of the governor to declare an emergency.

SA: Hapuna site first for arms cleanup under exemption

read … More Abercrombie Secrecy

Abercrombies Jet off to Paris for Ten Days

Neil Abercrombie and Nancie Caraway leave for Paris — as in France — tonight to celebrate 30 years of wedded bliss.

Brian Schatz is in charge (STOP. Read that again very slowly.) until the governor returns on Sept. 26.

Bliss: The Segregated Sisterhood of Neil Abercrombie and Nancie Caraway

read … Paris, France

Three of top Five Positions held by Same Three Oldsters for total of 103 years

In the past 10 years, Ed Case has run for governor (2002, unsuccessfully), Congress (2003, successfully), U.S. Senate (2006, unsuccessfully), and Congress (2010, unsuccessfully). And now, in 2012, he’s back.

So is Mazie Hirono. In 2002, then Lt. Gov. Hirono ran briefly for mayor of Honolulu before pulling out to defeat Case in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. In the general election, however, Linda Lingle defeated Hirono. In 2006, Hirono ran successfully for congressional seat Case gave up to run for the Senate. She’s back, too, running for the same Senate seat Case wants.

Add Hannemann’s electoral wanderings to the list and little wonder you hear people saying, “Same old faces.” Of course they are, just more recent pictures for the campaign signs.

Blame it on the old folks: the two 87-year old Dans occupying the Senate seats and the 72 year-old Neil Abercrombie in just his eighth month of his first term in the governorship. When three elder statesmen insist on holding three of the state’s five top elected offices for a total of 109 years and counting, every other ambitious candidate has to scamper for whatever comes available.

read… gerontocracy

UH Manoa is the Source of the Problem

ILind: I once saw a presentation at the UHM for journalism majors. The adviser to the student newspaper Ka Leo explained that if a public official dodges a reporter, the reporter is to look up that official’s home residence address and that evening wait in the drive way to confront the official.

The whole room fell dead silent.

Finally, a young woman spoke out with trepidation, “Can we do that?”

read … Sniveling Gutless Cowards

Homeless campsites torn down and air-lifted off Diamond Head

More than 100 people have been living in the mountains off busy Diamond Head road for months.
"Yeah it gets pretty busy there's definitely a lot of folks up there," said Diamond Head resident Mark Benck.
Said Kato, "So we're just trying to see if we can reduce the population up here."
"You have the health issue and the fire things so you know they're stuck between hard place and a rock these homeless people you know nobody wants them," said Benck.

"And I think a lot of them, we've done this before and a lot of times they just leave things and they'll just bring more things back at a later date."
This is this third clean-up effort here in two years but this one was different.
Instead of hauling out tons of debris by hand, crews loaded everything in cargo nets and a helicopter lifted them to trucks inside the crater.

Bob Jones: Peddlers Working from Bunker on top of Diamond Head

read … APEC in Two Months

Doped Up Teachers have to Fail test Three Times Before They Can be Fired—unless Union Looks the Other Way

A teacher who undergoes such an exam and tests positive for substance use would face a five-day suspension for alcohol impairment and 15 days for drugs. A subsequent positive test would trigger suspensions of 15 days for alcohol and 30 days for drugs. A third probative test would require termination.

The new agreement’s more conciliatory handling of teachers who admit being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is appropriate. Such a teacher would not be disciplined but would be subject to testing for up to a year and would be required to attend a substance-abuse rehab program.

All this does mean, however, that the union must be firm in its handling of impaired teachers. It does no good to have forged a solid disciplinary process if people choose to look the other way — and it certainly does not benefit the students’ classroom environment.

(And all of that is from an editorial praising the process.)

read … Dopers in the Classroom

WSJ: Finmeccanica Executive Offers To Quit After Bribery Reports (Parent Company of Ansaldo)

Corriere della Sera, a major daily, said Thursday the public prosecutor's office in Naples was investigating the possible use of bribes, citing a number of transcripts of telephone conversations among Finmeccanica executives, including Pozzessere….

Finmeccanica, which is undergoing a major restructuring, has already been hit by reports of a separate investigation into secret slush funds involving its chairman, Pier Francesco Guarguaglini….

Orsi, who replaced Guarguaglini as chief executive in May, is working on a plan to shake up the group, improve its flagging performance, sell assets and improve transparency to win back the confidence of investors.

Italy's state is its biggest shareholder with a 30% stake.

And the 4th Largest Shareholder is:

read … How do you think they got the contract?

Hawaii jobless rate climbs to 6.2%

Hawaii’s unemployment rate rose to 6.2 percent in August, the second consecutive monthly increase, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported today.

The August rate was up from 6.1 percent in July and 6 percent in June.

The unemployment rate for Honolulu rose to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent in July. The rate rose to 9.6 percent from 9.5 percent in Hawaii County and to 8.6 percent from 8.5 percent in Kauai County. In Maui County the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.5 percent.

read … Abernomics

Luddites Drive Kona Fishfarm Out of Business

Darren Nunn, of Honolulu law firm McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon, said the Delaware corporation is in the process of selling off assets as it winds down operations.

Kona Blue had previously spun off part of the company as Kampachi Farms, which runs the experimental fish pen Velella and other research arms. Neil Sims is the co-founder of Kona Blue and Kampachi Farms co-founder and co-chief executive officer.

"Kampachi Farms is focusing on next-generation research and expansion opportunities," Sims said.

Michael Tosatto, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service's Pacific Island's regional administrator, said Kona Blue Water Farm's year-long permit to run the Velella project in the open ocean has been transferred to Kona Kampachi.

Two environmental groups, Honolulu-based KAHEA -- the Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance and Washington-based Food and Water Watch, sued Tosatto and the NMFS in August in federal court to have the permit invalidated, saying the permit was issued for fishing in the ocean, not fish farming.

As for the fish pens just off Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, Kona Blue sold them to Keahole Point Fish LLC, which has a Kealakehe Parkway address and mainland ties, in January 2010.

read … Unemployment is high and the food comes from the Mainland

Maui Water Well Opponents Using Junk Science to Push Hidden Agenda

The ongoing debate regarding the use of water from the Hamakuapoko wells for human consumption typifies the kind of technically incorrect and ingenuous arguments that are truly offensive to licensed and credentialed technical professionals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has spent a great deal of taxpayer money to develop drinking water standards that are both protective of public health and workable. A consumer reference for EPA standards regarding DBCP in drinking water can be found at www.epa.gov/ogwdw/pdfs/factsheets/soc/dibromoc.pdf.

As a matter of fact, activated carbon adsorption technology is used globally to remove polar organic species like DBCP from water for drinking purposes and meets all applicable U.S. and European standards. There is no valid technical argument against using water purified with this technology for potable purposes when the technology is implemented by qualified licensed professionals. Arguments against this position are technically unsound or are using junk science to support a hidden agenda.

read … A taste of reality for just a moment

Solar project Driving Up Maui Electric Bills

On July 22, Maui Electric Co. filed for a rate increase of 6.7 percent with the Public Utilities Commission to cover costs associated with renewable energy integration, solar panels and wind farms.

On Aug. 23, it was reported that Maui County awarded a contract to install 1,000 photovoltaic panels on county rooftops. The county plans to have as many 8,000 units installed with a goal of saving about $1.5 million annually.

This will require MECO to improve its ability to integrate the additional energy source into its grid. While I think it's great that the county is seeking ways to lower its operating cost, this will have the unintended consequence of a rate increase for the rest of us.

read … Solar

Act 221 Company Deigns to Keep HQ in Hawaii

“Hawaii remains a strategic location for us,” Paul said. “All of our solar and engineering business is here. We are currently working on multiple projects which will take us years and beyond. Hawaii is our birthplace and a very good market for the solar industry.”

Hoku Corp. isn’t a major employer, but like most publicly traded companies it is an active supporter of local causes. As a result, if Hoku’s HQ was to leave Honolulu several nonprofits would feel the impact.

Since it became public in 2005, Hoku has donated more than $2 million to (buy off) the Hawaii community, according to Amy Burks, its marketing and public relations coordinator.

read … Just in case the Lege comes up with more Tax Credits

 

Class-action lawsuit claims Safeway profited from Kona coffee’s reputation, misled consumers

A spat involving Safeway and Hawaii coffee growers is still brewing, even after the supermarket giant agreed to change labeling on its Kona blend coffee.

A $5 million class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court in Northern California claiming Safeway profited off the reputation of Kona coffee while selling an inferior product with very little Hawaii-grown coffee.

The lawsuit was filed Aug. 30, a day before Safeway’s letter informing the Kona Coffee Farmers Association the company would change its packaging to reflect the percentage of Kona it contains. The farmers had called for a boycott of Safeway’s 1,700 stores nationwide after a farmer saw the Kona blend for sale in a California store.

Coffee drinker Chanee Thurston, of Benicia, Calif., is the only plaintiff named in the lawsuit, which is also on behalf of consumers who purchased the Safeway Select Kona Blend since Aug. 30, 2007.

read … $5M

Inouye writes Micronesia Immigration Restrictions into Homeland Security Budget

Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo is supporting efforts by Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye to end unfettered migration to the U.S. of FAS citizens.

HEAR Matt Kaye's report HERE>>>091611mkbordbackinouye.mp3

Hawaii’s Daniel Inouye, Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee would limit migrants from the Freely Associated States [FAS] in the 2012 Homeland Security Budget….

Hawaii is spending some $115-million-plus a year on FAS migrants, and Inouye has the power to help change that.

Bordallo says House negotiators would have to decide whether to accept Inouye’s provisions, once both chambers pass their homeland security spending bills.

Reality: Micronesians: “Its just better in Arkansas”

read … House to Protect Micronesians from Inouye’s Avarice?

Volunteer Program Repairs Oahu’s Public Housing Apartments

Painting, caulking and sweeping. That’s all the fixing-up many empty public-housing apartments need in order for low-income families to receive a new home. But as simple as most of these repairs are, an estimated 200 to 300 public-housing units currently sit vacant and in disrepair.
It’s up to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) to restore these un-occupied units, often after the previous tenants are relocated or move out, but because of budget cuts, many derelict units stay derelict, sometimes for months or years….

VIP volunteers began by repairing apartments mostly in the urban core, at complexes such as Kuhio Park Terrace. After a hiatus, the program was restarted this year. So far, more than 200 units have been repaired, including 14 in Wahiawa last month.
Anyone can volunteer, says Porter. VIP participants have included nonprofit staff, military members, home-improvement-business employees and citizen volunteers. (Meanwhile Malama Solomon’s cronies are working to disenfranchise military personnel.)

For more information, or to volunteer, visit the Affordable Housing and Homeless Alliance website, or contact Kent Anderson at 203-6718, or via email at homes4ohana@gmail.com.

HNN: Attorney builds on affordable housing idea

read … Doing the Job the Government Won’t

Message in a bottle found during Kauai beach cleanup—but it’s not plastic

A surprising find on Wednesday on the beaches of the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai.

During a beach cleanup, Petty Officer Jon Moore found was a 'message-in-a-bottle' among a collection of ocean debris being picked up.

More than 40 personnel from PMRF teamed up with 16 students and faculty from Ke Kula Ni'ihau O Kekaha School in observance of International Coastal Cleanup Day.

The bottle was sent in 2006 from sixth grader Saki Arikawa in Kagoshima, Japan.

The 'treasure' traveled more than 4,000 miles and five years before it washed up on the Westside of Kauai. It contained a letter, four origami flowers and a photo of Arikawa's sixth grade class.

(No mention of finding any plastic bags while cleaning the beach.)

read … But its OK because it wasn’t a PLASTIC Bottle

Kauai County ends fiscal year with 160 jobs open

Councilwoman Nadine Nakamura, echoing Rapozo’s concerns, said she wanted to know how many of those positions were dollar-funded and how many were not.

“I think we need to know the story behind this list,” Nakamura said.

Dollar-funded positions are held by $1, and could be quickly filled by the administration in case of need.

Read … Slush Fund for Overtime?

City Council may say ‘Never on Sunday’ to tour vehicles

A bill before the Honolulu City Council would prohibit commercial tour companies from stopping and conducting activities at city beach parks on Sundays.

If approved, the measure would ban tour companies from offering all commercial activities, including “sightseeing, spectating, picture taking, beach combing, swimming and eating of prepared picnic lunches.” It would allow these activities to continue during the rest of the week.

Windward Oahu Council member Ikaika Anderson said he introduced the measure in response to complaints from residents who say they are frustrated by their inability to find parking at beach parks, particularly on the weekends.

read … 6/7ths Committed to Tourism

Former HPD officer accused of ID theft

Dave Furtado is accused of forgery, theft, unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, and identity theft.

Prosecutors say he used other officers’ names to get special duty jobs, worked those jobs and cashed the checks.

read … HPD ID

Hawaii Political Party Backed Initiative and Referendum 104 years ago

Ballotpedia tells us that pretty much the last time the initiative and referendum process got any support from the major parties in Hawaii was in 1907.

That’s when the Democratic Territorial Convention passed a resolution in favor of Initiative and Referendum. The sentiment didn’t last.

Since then, both parties have been hostile to the notion, and multiple efforts (including one at the 1978 constitutional convention) to include a referendum process in the state constitution have come to naught.

Of course, we, the public, still occasionally get to vote on things that the legislature refers to us, but our ability to generate ballot initiatives is limited and controlled by the legislature….

read … Not for the People


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