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Friday, September 30, 2011
September 30, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:12 PM :: 13088 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

$170/barrel? PUC Rejects AKP Biofuel Contract

For Sale Cheap: One Slightly Used Honolulu Rail Contractor

State Releases Roadmap For Transforming Information Technology Systems

Covering Half the World from Ft Shafter

Hawaii Gay Marriage on Agenda for 2013

“We need to see how the community and society deals with it (civil unions), before even looking at something as controversial as same-sex marriage,” says Rep. Blake Oshiro, the courageous Aiea Democrat who steered civil unions through the state House.

Alan Spector, co-chairman of Equality Hawaii, agrees that if times are changing, consensus doesn’t come easy.

“Nobody is thinking about it (same-sex marriage) for next year; we are in the midst of implementing civil unions,” Spector said.

Social change takes time and takes energy. Not everyone can spend every moment as an evangelist. The hard work means countless meetings arguing about tactics and convincing advocates to march together and keep their eyes on the prize.

“The Legislature needs a break; we need a break,” Spector acknowledges.

At the end of the break, however, Spector sees a time when Hawaii moves again and same-sex marriage is the issue and cause for action.

Related: The Overhauling of Straight America

read … Just biding their time

Abercrombie Emergency Decree Tied to Pay to Play Contributor Mitsunaga

As for the by-pass road plan, Mitsunaga will complete its design work and call it quits, said Swords.

“We’re just going to take it up to a preliminary design and then terminate it,” said Swords.

“From there we’re just going to submit the documents and call it finished,” he said.

Dennis Mitsunaga, head of the company and a close political supporter of Abercrombie, declined to discuss questions about why the design work was dormant for two years and then taken up in May.

“I don’t know anything about that contract,” he said, referring questions to company official Terri Otani, who did not respond to emailed questions.

Mitsunaga’s company gave the largest single donation - $30,000 - to Abercrombie’s inauguration committee late last year and Otani helped organize the week-long inaugural festivities.

Mitsunaga, his employees and relatives also gave $54,000 to Abercrombie’s gubernatorial campaign.

Related: Spouses of top Inouye, Abercrombie aides employed by Emergency UXO Contractor, Abercrombie’s UXO Emergency Benefits Beadie Dawson Company

read … Mitsunaga

Six weeks before APEC, Honolulu Airport “In need of an Upgrade”

Jeff Smisek, president and CEO of United Continental Holdings Inc., said the airline also plans to increase daily seating capacity between Honolulu and Guam at the end of next month and that Honolulu Airport, which is undergoing a $2.3 billion modernization program, is in need of an upgrade….

"If you take a look at the Honolulu Airport, it could use some work," he said. "We are supportive of airport modernization. It's a little overdue."

read … A bit late, eh?

Inouye Fails: E-W Center Appropriation Cut $4.3M

The Senate Appropriations Committee that Sen. Daniel Inouye chairs wants to reinstate $16.7 million so the center can continue operating….

The committee's recommended spending represents a $4.3 million cut — a 20 percent decrease — to the center's current $21 million funding level.

Background:

read … Doing the job Mazie and Colleen Couldn’t Handle

Did Duckworth Overstate Hawaii Support?

The campaign described a fundraiser she attended in Honolulu as hosted by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka and Reps. Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa.

This caught our attention because both senators were in Washington all week….

The campaign described Duckworth as having “gained the endorsements of the entire Hawaiian (sic) delegation and the Governor.” ….

Here’s what Inouye’s spokesman told us: “The Senator did not formally endorse Tammy but he is very supportive of the aspirations of his fellow McKinley alum.” ….

“We haven’t actually used the word ‘endorse’ because Sen. Akaka generally does not endorse in primaries,” Akaka’s spokesman said.

read … Quack

Abercrombie Fails: Consumer Confidence worse than Cayetano’s Second Term

One of the most interesting features of The People’s Pulse in its almost 12-year history has been its Consumer Confidence Index. Starting with its base of 100 in December 1999, it has measured the state’s relative confidence over the years. An index of 110, for example, shows that consumers are 10 percent more confident than they were at the end of 1999. An index of 90 means that they are 10 percent less confident.

Confidence measures are important because they indicate how likely consumers are to spend and invest money in the economy.

The confidence index this past summer was 77, down 14 points from the 91 reported in January of this year. The index had been rising steadily since its low of 61 in January 2009, the depths of the recession.

The highest recorded index was 151 in August 2005, when it seemed that everyone who wanted a job had one and nobody was thinking recession.

Click here for the People’s Pulse Winter 2011

read … Pulse

Perfect Symbol: Closed Liliuokalani School to become DoE Administration Offices

The powers-that-be opted to turn the school into department offices, according to a June 30 memo from Randy Moore, assistant superintendent of school facilities and support services.

"Queen Lydia Liliuokalani School formally closed on June 30, 2011. The facility will be re-purposed for Department of Education (DOE) personnel. The DOE can begin to consolidate offices, which are now scattered, in one location and can reduce the rent paid to private landlords for office space. Until its conversion to office space, two classrooms at Queen Lydia Liliuokalani School will continue to be occupied by the Data Governance staff and the school custodian will remain on the campus."

By consolidating its human resources offices, the department will save between $700,000 and $750,000 on rent paid on space at the Dole Cannery

read … Symbolism

State GOP on KIPO's 'Town Square'

CB: Beth Fukumoto, Kymberly Pine and Boyd Ready are guests of host Beth-Ann Kozlovich on KIPO's "Town Square," last night from 5-6 p.m.

When it is posted, you may … Listen Here

Berg "Took a Beating" for Tax Increase Reso

The Transportation Committee is now working on the resolution that would urge the Hawaii Legislature and Gov. Neil Abercrombie to authorize another half-cent General Excise Tax to be used for highway and bikeway construction.

Introducer Tom Berg said he floated the idea to benefit his constituents who won't use rail and that he "took a beating" because people don't like tax increases….

With nobody here to testify in person and nobody on the Honolulu City Council in support, Berg's resolution died a quick death.

read … Tax Hike?

East Honolulu Asks: Is Rail Worth It After All?

In Kapolei, men wearing Hawaii Carpenters Union t-shirts — who could be hired to work the project — sat in the front rows. In East Honolulu, there were no rows of men in union shirts. HART staffers sat in the front while the public listened from behind.

In Kapolei, two women stood up to pledge their support for the project. In East Honolulu, one man told the room that he thought the city could afford rail and had a good financial plan. But that was only after he got over serious doubts about whether the city had the money, he said.

Waikiki resident Mark Torreano — who is not a rail supporter — asked if the city had a backup funding plan if the federal government cut its spending on the program.

While the city expects a $1.55 billion federal pledge to come through, Hamayasu acknowledged that it's possible that amount could drop. In that case, he said, the city would have to borrow more money.

read … Is Rail Worth It?

Former Hells Angels president surrenders at Ala Moana Park

A warrant was issued for Sanders in California last month. The FBI in Honolulu became involved because some federal experts on motorcycle gangs in Honolulu still have contacts in California and learned after the warrant was issued that Sanders was hiding on Oahu….

The man was beaten and his Hells Angels tattoos, which ran up three sides of his neck and both arms, were tattooed over. The assailants forced him to sign over the title to his motorcycle, the newspaper reported.

Sanders was also wanted in connection with a separate attack on a motorcyclist in May 2010. Another Hells Angels member was upset with the man because his ex-girlfriend was sending the victim sexually explicit text messages, the paper reported.

Sanders allegedly shipped the victim's bike to Honolulu for the president of the local chapter of the Wrecking Machine, another motorcycle gang, to pick up. The bike was shipped back to San Diego about six months later and was left on the front lawn of the victim's old address, the paper said….

read … Motorcycle Gangs

Sidewalk Possessions Bill Introduced

Bill 54, introduced by five members of the Honolulu City Council, would prohibit personal property from being placed on public property for more than 24 hours or or being kept in a park after hours.

The bill changes the term "stored property" to "stored personal property" and defines that term to include goods, materials, merchandise, furniture, equipment, fixtures, structures, clothing, and household items.

Read the possessions bill here: Bill 54

read … Homeless Sweep

State spending for Homeless Shelter to Be Cut after APEC

The Institute for Human Services saw a nearly 13 percent increase in people using Hawaii's largest emergency shelter last year, but donations are down and badly needed federal and state money will dry up after December.

read … APEC Sweeps

Could HECO use all the power that solar farms produce?

PBN: …as more and more solar farms are proposed, we are left wondering about HECO’s ability — not its desire — to absorb vast amounts of solar energy in a reliable fashion….

HECO seems to be asking the same question, and we are glad to hear that it is working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on what it’s calling a “solar integration study” to get its question answered.

Without such information, there is no way HECO can agree to purchase anyone’s utility-scale PV power, which means there is no way these solar farm developers can go forward with any of these projects. In other words, until HECO’s paperwork is done everyone is left in some kind of holding pattern, and that’s not good for business. (But it is great for ratepayers and taxpayers. Long live sluggish bureaucracy!)

HECO told us as recently as early August that it is entering a phase where it expects to start signing power-purchase agreements more quickly, and progress has been made. But the scale of these solar farm projects has the potential to be a real game-changer, and perhaps even let us re-examine our need for the so-called “Big Wind” project. We are hoping HECO’s current study can be produced efficiently, and its results communicated clearly. Separately, we’re calling on the Public Utilities Commission’s examination of reliability standards for HECO to get resolved in an equally timely manner.

(On Dec 31, 2011 refundable tax credits which give away millions to these scammers will expire. Non-refundable tax credits expire in 2016, but could be a juicy target for Congressional budget-cutters. This is why there is a big rush for wind and solar.)

CB: Gov full of hot air on Molokai wind project

read … Solar Scam

Oceanit creates hydro-power subsidiary

Oceanit, one of the largest engineering firms in Hawaii, has formed a subsidiary that could help it move forward with plans to create hydro-electric plants on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. (Hydro on Oahu? Where?)

Plans for Pacific Power and Water Co. are still in the early stages, but an Oceanit spokesman said it hopes to work on a “handful” of hydro projects — each costing around $10 million….

Maui Electric is giving some consideration to a 25-megawatt pumped-storage hydro project at an as-yet-undisclosed location. (Wind farm pumps water, then the water generates electricity.)

read … Hydro

Why are gas Prices so High in Hawaii?

Chevron, which operates one of two oil refineries in Hawaii, is paying as much as $110 a barrel for some of its "Far Eastern" crude, he said, adding that prices were pushed up because of demand from Japan after the March earthquake and tsunami.

"The falling crude prices that are being widely reported aren't true for crudes that Hawaii uses," he said….

The PUC-ordered studies over the years haven't shown anything that "would lead you to think that anti-consumer practices" are in operation, he said.

However, Washington state-based petroleum industry analyst Tim Hamilton said the disparity between Mainland and Hawaii fuel prices is about "pure profit."

"You can have oil delivered to Hawaii at a similar cost to having it delivered to Houston," he said. "The gas price differential also isn't the result of the highest cost of doing business in Hawaii."…

(Hawaii also has the highest gasoline taxes in the USA.)

read … Gas Prices

DOT study: ‘evidence’ of discrimination

The 435-page study found what the NERA considers “statistical and anecdotal evidence” of business discrimination against a certain group of DBEs in Hawaii. This group includes businesses owned by women, Native Hawaiians, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and African-Americans.

Related: Spouses of top Inouye, Abercrombie aides employed by Emergency UXO Contractor, Abercrombie’s UXO Emergency Benefits Beadie Dawson Company

read … Discrimination?

Some HPD Officers Post Questionable Facebook Photos

Among the new photos posted by Honolulu police officers on Facebook is one of an officer in uniform, flipping the middle finger at the camera next to a sign that says "pigs for sale." Another Facebook photo shows an officer sleeping in his police car and a second photo posted by the same officer shows a beautiful mountain view outside of a police car and is tagged with the caption, "My view when I wake up."

Read … Policing Facebook

Bring a Deer, Go to Jail

In May, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced that it had confirmed deer sightings from Kohala to Ka'u.

"We consider this a serious problem with far-reaching economic and environmental impacts to the agriculture industry and native ecosystems on the island," DLNR Chairman William Aila said at the time.

Some veteran hunters have questioned the DLNR's claim, however….

Yagong said he became aware of the local axis deer threat when the Big Island Invasive Species Council made a Sept. 20 presentation to lawmakers.

Members estimated the Big Island's axis deer population to be between six and 600 animals.

Yagong feels that estimate is high based on the belief that a 600-deer herd would trigger widespread complaints from affected landowners.

read … Bill would jail deer importers

Waianae Residents Vent Frustrations Over Past Flooding

“The water had come into our house, it came about a foot deep inside the house, farmers’ came to rescue us and they had to take a boat,” said Waianae resident Lillian Pauline.

If they don't leave in time, residents said they are prisoners in their owns homes until the waters subside, causing them to lose work and their children to miss school. Pauline said when her home floods, living conditions are unsanitary for the next couple of months….

“We have pig and chicken farms and that water rushes into our area. It’s just so nasty,” said Pauline.

read … All Wet

Emergency Repairs On Waikiki Natatorium Set To Begin

Crews will install buoys 20 feet around the natatorium in order to keep swimmers a safe distance away. Workers will use hand tools to remove cracked concrete from the lip of the seawall and use rafts. It is expected to take a week to complete, if weather conditions are favorable.

The city says it is still working on an environmental impact statement that will examine the impact of demolishing the structure and restoring the beach, and possibly saving part of the historic arch and moving it inland.

Read … Still Talking after all those years


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