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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
October 12, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:50 PM :: 11200 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Lingle announces Campaign, Launches Website

Lingle Hits Moderate, Bipartisan themes in Campaign Rollout

AUDIO: Lingle Announces Senate Bid

Hanabusa: Lingle resonates with voters

Failing, DoE seeks waiver from federal No Child Left Behind law

Are Suicide Activists Already Killing People in Hawaii?

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted October 11th

Abercrombie, HTA Leave Tokyo

Earlier primary forces candidates, voters to adjust

Tuesday’s announcement by former republican Governor Linda Lingle that she would run for the U.S. Senate being vacated by Dan Akaka, came exactly ten months before Hawaii holds its primary election.

For the first time in the state’s history, Hawaii’s primary will be held in August instead of September. Political analyst John Hart says candidates will need to raise more money early in their campaigns in order to remain competitive….

Hawaii’s primary was moved to the second Saturday in August from the third Saturday in September in order to comply with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act passed by Congress in 2009. The law says absentee ballots must be mailed to overseas and military voters at least 45 days before an election….

With walk-in voting for the August primary scheduled to begin July 30, Hart believes securing early votes could be the key to victory for Case or Hirono. In recent years one out of every three voters in Hawaii cast either an absentee or walk-in ballot.

“It means normal traditional campaign spending is out the window,” said Hart. “That big blast of money at the end, all that sign waving at the end, doesn't matter anymore. Why? Thirty percent have already voted.”

Next year’s primary schedule also means registration dates, for both candidates and voters, will take place weeks earlier….

Voters are required to request an absentee ballot no later than June 12. The last day to register for the August primary is July 12.

For a link to important election dates, click here: Hawaii Election Calendar

read … Earlier primary forces candidates to adjust

New Day becomes Sad Day: Gamble on Abercrombie has failed to pay off

Now, after an abrupt shake-up that's been attributed to a sudden mass need to spend more time with family, most of the fresh faces are gone only 10 months into the new administration -- chief of staff Amy Asselbaye, her deputy Andrew Aoki, communications director Josh Levinson, his deputy Laurie Au and human resources director Sunshine Topping.

The replacements so far -- chief of staff Bruce Coppa and communications director James Boersema -- are bedrocks of the status quo, with deep ties to the powerful business, labor and political interests that are used to the state government working for them.

Now that Abercrombie has thrown his fate to the power establishment he vowed to change, it's fair to say that the "new day" survives only as a term of derision for 10 months of fruitless governance….

To get back to the blackjack table, the only idea that seems to be gaining traction in all this confusion is legalized gambling, which has always been an undercurrent of Team Abercrombie.

Lobbyist John Radcliffe, one of the governor's closest political friends, has long represented gambling interests. State Sen. Malama Solomon of Hawaii island, Abercrombie's appointee to a vacant seat, has devoted herself to passing a gambling bill.

Abercrombie himself has been fanning interest in the idea lately, and now he's appointed Boersema, a retired public relations executive who was most recently prominent for promoting a Waikiki casino.

After all the talk of new ideas, if this old dog is the best the governor can come up with, it'll be a sad day for Hawai

read … Gambling

Governor’s incoming chief of staff draws new questions

ILind: …a July 28, 2010 letter from Jeffrey S. Harris, attorney for Communications Pacific, alleged that after Coppa learned of his “separation,” he directed his executive assistant “to make copies of all the company’s marketing and media training materials.” The company alleged he then made use of its materials and client records to solicit business for his new consulting firm.

The lawsuit was settled by mutual agreement when Communications Pacific agreed to pay Coppa a total of $14,241.45 in severance, attorneys fees, and costs in exchange for his return of all documents, and renewal of his agreement to comply with the nondisclosure and non-compete provisions.

While employed by Communications Pacific, Coppa had been given special permission continue to work in real estate sales and development “on his own time, after hours and on weekends.” Such outside interests are generally prohibited by the company’s conflict of interest policy.

Coppa holds a license as a real estate salesperson for Hawaii 5-0 Properties, according to state records. During 2010, he earned between $25,000 and $50,000 in commissions from real estate sales, according to personal financial disclosures filed with the ethics commission. Kathleen Kagawa is the sole officer of 5-0 Properties, state licensing records show.

Coppa reported an investment of $50,000 to $100,000 in Kapolei Gateway LLC, headed by commercial real estate execs Mark Bratton and Kim Scoggins of Colliers International. The company was dissolved in 2009, business registration records show. Scoggins and Bratton are also principals in Pacific Perspectives Investment and Development Company LLC, in which Coppa reports holding a 2.77% interest.

State business registration records also list Coppa among the members of Kapolei Shops LLC, developer of Kapolei Village Center, although it does not appear on his financial disclosures on file with the ethics commission.

Coppa said this week that he has no plans to give up his active real estate license and the other financial interests that he has publicly disclosed.

read … Old Boys

New Day: DoE Teachers must Resign, Give Up Seniority to Work at Charter Schools

Recent changes to state employment guidelines for public teachers have helped to foment opposition among faculty and staff to the pending conversion of Laupahoehoe's current public school to a charter.

Organizers of the Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School recently have faced a growing amount of discord over the conversion, as evidenced by a contentious public meeting held last month. Now, they are hoping that the Board of Education will address the school system's teacher transfer policies as soon as possible.

A pair of memorandums issued by state Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi in January and March detailed revisions to the department's policy regarding the movement of teachers between the DOE and public charter schools. In the case of conversion schools like Laupahoehoe, the memos explain that teachers will be required to resign as DOE employees before taking jobs as teachers at public charter schools.

Teachers at Laupahoehoe High and Elementary say that resigning their positions would negate years of seniority they have worked to build, resulting in a loss of job security. Many said the choice between sticking with an established DOE school and moving to a newly founded, untested charter school is a risky one, and doing it without the safety net of remaining DOE employees makes it even riskier.

"We have public employees being forced to go to something we didn't choose," said Laupahoehoe teacher Bob Beekman at a community update meeting in September. "Classroom teachers unanimously oppose this charter move, and we have a total of 18 teachers that will be applying for transfers (to another DOE school)."

(Isn’t Abercrombie wonderful!)

read … Latest DoE/BoE/HSTA Trick

APEC: Pan-Pacific Free Trade Zone to Include US, Japan, Australia, NZ, Singapore

The U.S., Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Peru are negotiating to join the bloc, which already brings together the smaller economies of Chile, New Zealand, Brunei and Singapore.

Japanese business leaders say the country must join or suffer a competitive disadvantage, but most farmers are opposed because of worries that an influx of cheaper imports would ruin them. Imported rice, for example, is subject to a 778 percent tariff.

read … APEC

Full Text: Malama Solomon Sues to Disenfranchise Military Personnel

Here's a copy of the lawsuit: Lawsuit against Hawaii Reapportionment Commission

WHT: Reapportionment lawsuit filed

read … Big Island Democrats Challenge Redistricting Plan in Supreme Court

SA: Put geothermal on front burner as Pele Defense Fund Fizzles Out

Among those engaged in the discussion is Honolulu-based Innovations Development Group, headed by former Office of Hawaiian Affairs chief of staff Patricia K. Brandt, founded in 1998 by Native Hawaiian Robbie Cabral and advised by longtime prominent Hawaiian activist Mililani Trask. Along with a New Zealand technical and financial partner, the company has focused on developing geothermal energy on a native Maori land trust, to be used as a "native to native" model for a Hawaii project it proposes.

Whether the group will succeed in becoming a significant provider of geothermal energy remains an open question. But its participation illustrates a shift in perception about the use of Madame Pele's resources.

It came as no surprise to Cabral that the Pele Defense Fund, which fought geothermal development in the 1980s and 1990s, fizzled out this year. "The issues have changed since 20 years ago," she said. (We are going to get rich off this!)

Pele Defense Fund = Ralph Palikapu Dedman, convicted drug dealer

read … OHA hand out

Free Speech taught at KCC? Student Housing Corp Sues Student over Facebook Postings

Hawaii Student Housing, which operates The Ohia and The Hana student housing buildings in Waikiki, is seeking injunctive relief from Dylan Hunt, a 25-year-old KCC student who said he has lived in both complexes.

Hunt wrote on his Facebook page in July that the Ohia and Hana have problems such "black mold," cockroaches, hidden fees and slow Internet speeds.

Hawaii Student Housing contends that Hunt "maliciously or negligently" made "false and defamatory statements" about its business, according to the lawsuit, which was filed July 29.

The lawsuit says the company demanded that Hunt amend the information and that Hunt refused to do so. Company officials did not return calls from the Star-Advertiser for comment.

Hunt said the company never tried to contact him before serving him a demand letter and the court papers.

"The fact that they're suing me for writing a Facebook blog about my personal experiences and opinions, they're just bullying me to silence me," Hunt said. "What they're doing is trying to silence me with threats of intimidation and bring me to court without actual plans of winning."

Hunt said he plans to countersue the company.

read … Slam Dunk Countersuit

A Second Crack at Clearing Honolulu's Sidewalks

First attempt hasn't worked so City Council is trying again.

SA: Bill to keep public areas accessible advances

read … Bum Removal Technique

Crews Racing To Complete Makeover In Time For APEC—But Don’t Worry, Brian Schatz is in Charge

Oahu residents Jess Johnson and David Crans jogged through the construction zones at night after driving through the detours during the day. They have doubts about whether all the projects will be APEC ready in just a few weeks.

"Absolutely not. Are you kidding me? Look at all the work they have to do," said Jess Johnston.

"I don't think it going to get done, and it's just a hassle for us anyway with all the traffic," said David Crans.

There are projects underway from Nimitz Highway to Waikiki that have caused detours all summer long for Oahu’s road weary motorists.

"We know that the public is struggling with the traffic in the short run. We ask them to bear with us in the short run. It will be worth it in the long run," said Acting Gov. Brian Schatz.

SA: Just wait until the Coconuts start falling on Nimitz

Read … Day Late and Dollar Short

Ewa Democrat Kurt Favella Target of Elder Abuse Allegations

Melanie Burroughs of Jacksonville, Fla., filed the lawsuit in Circuit Court in June against board Chairman Kurt Fevella and his wife, Donnalee, who had cared for her father, Paul William Burroughs, before his death in June 2009.

Burroughs alleges in the lawsuit that her father planned to leave the majority of his estate to her, including his three-bedroom, one-bathroom home in Ewa.

"The Fevella defendants were aware of Mr. Burroughs' advanced age and his reliance on their assistance, and, taking advantage of the fiduciary relationship that existed between the Fevellas and Mr. Burroughs, through undue influence and fraud persuaded Mr. Burroughs to execute a deed conveying the property to defendant Kurt Fevella," according to the lawsuit.

Kurt Fevella would not comment to the Star-Advertiser. In a response filed in Circuit Court to Melanie Burroughs' lawsuit, the Fevellas acknowledged that Burroughs conveyed his property to the couple and that they cared for Burroughs before his death. They denied unduly influencing him.

Melanie Burroughs, 56, was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer in 2007 and was being treated in Florida. She had not visited her father for years in Ewa, where he lived since 1970 after retiring from the Navy.

read … Just another wanna-be Legislator in Action

HPD offers insight into policies after fatal traffic stop

HPD has been criticized for allowing the initial stop to occur on the left shoulder of the road, and questioned about why there were five officers responding to a traffic violation that did not appear to present a volatile situation.

Kendro said he could not speak of the specifics of the incident that killed Fontes because it involves an active criminal investigation.

"It is inappropriate to make any comments at this time," Kendro said in a written response to questions by the Star-Advertiser.

However, "there is no policy that dictates that a traffic stop must be conducted on the right side or the left side of the roadway," Kendro said. While generally speaking, HPD prefers motorists pull over to the right, some motorists move to the left while others "panic and hit their brakes and actually stop in the lane of traffic."

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

read … HPD

Sewer Rate Hikes Could Increase Borrowing Costs for Sewer Projects

Fitch assigned an AA rating to the $165 million bond issue, just one notch below the top rating of AAA. The city is selling an additional $67 million in waste-water bonds to refund outstanding debt. The bond issues, to be placed this week, are due to mature in 2024 and 2022, respectively.

Fitch said recent steep increases in the sewer portion of customers' bills have driven the average monthly water and waste-water payment on Oahu to $129, or about 2.4 percent of the median household income.

The city raised the residential sewer fee by 175 percent between 2006 and 2011. Future rate hikes will be more modest, Fitch noted. Increases for fiscal years 2012 through 2015 will be 4 percent annually and then increase by 5 percent in 2016 and 8 percent in 2017.

The increases could push the average monthly bill to 3 percent of median household income by 2017, Fitch said.

"The high relative combined bill, the pace and scope of the recent rate increases and the continued high level of capital still needed continue to be credit concerns," Fitch analysts wrote in the seven-page report released Monday.

read … Lighten your Wallet

State: $4.2M to Boost N. Kohala Ag Developer

The state Office of Planning released a master plan last week for developing a $4.2 million facility to process taro, meat and other crops.

The plan was prepared by the Hawaii Future Farmers of America Foundation and community nonprofit Kahua Pa'a Mua Inc. for the Office of Planning and Hawaii County's Department of Research and Development using a $20,000 grant from the federal Economic Development Adminstration.

Project proponents say the processing facility, if built, would bolster efforts to develop the planned Hoea Agricultural Park that would offer land with water and power for lease to small farmers….

Hualua Land acquired 460 acres of Chalon land in 2009, and is trying to advance the ag park plan.

Kinoshita, of Hualua Land, said the processing facility effort will help the ag park plan advance, and vice versa.

"It's a really good plan," he said of the processing facility. "The only way to keep the rural atmosphere of Kohala is to keep it in ag."

read … And who is getting this money?

Aina Koa Pono Slams State Regulators for Refusing to Loot Ratepayers

A local biofuels company whose contract was just rejected by state regulators says it may take its business to the mainland. (B-bye!)

The contract is the first of several local biofuels projects to be reviewed by the PUC. Hawaiian Electric's recent push to use biofuels in its generators to meet state clean energy mandates has attracted controversy for the cost it could entail for Hawaii residents who already pay the highest rates for electricity in the country. Critics argue that cheaper renewable sources, such as solar, wind and geothermal, should take precedence.

In light of the decision, Aina Koa Pono is negotiating with a mainland buyer for the fuel it plans to produce from a proposed biofuels plant in the Kau region of the Big Island…

Full Text: Aina Koa Pono

read … Aina Koa, Pono?

Pacquiao picks Hawaii for next title bout

Pacquiao is slated to visit the islands between November 19 and 21, ahead of a potential Hawaii fight and just a week after his highly anticipated November 12 bout with Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

During that trip, Green is hopeful that several local high-profile officials, including Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, will help solidify the deal with such shows of support as offering the boxer a key to the city.

Pacquiao is also scheduled to attend a fundraiser at the Hilton Hawaiian Village during his visit. (Fundraiser for … ?)

read … Philippine Congressman

Occupy Wall Street – Hilo Demonstration Scheduled for October 15

The usual suspects doing the usual thing….

Sat. Oct. 15th, 2011

10AM till Noon

Fronting Merrill Lynch on Kilauea Ave.

(located between Hilo Shopping Center & Lanikaula St.)

read … Albertini Again

Senate passes bill to sanction China over currency

The Senate voted Tuesday to threaten China with higher tariffs on Chinese products made cheap through an artificially undervalued currency, which lawmakers blame for destroying American jobs. The House, though, is unlikely to take up the bill, which some American businesses warn could trigger a trade war. (Kiss tourism goodbye)

The 63-35 vote showed a broad bipartisan consensus that it is time to end diplomatic niceties with China and confront it over its aggressive trade policies.

read … Trade War?

Payback? Obama drops Human Trafficking grant to Catholic bishops

President Obama failed to renew the $19 million grant awarded to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for providing assistance to human trafficking victims…. The office helped 2,700 victims of human trafficking obtain food, clothing and access to medical care.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that she hoped the "position against abortion, sterilization and artificial contraception has not entered into this decision."

In recent months, the Conference has criticized Obama for positioning himself against the Catholic Church.

In August, the Conference urged the HHS to repeal Obama's private insurance mandate to cover contraception, including abortifacients and sterilization.

Last month, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, head of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, issued a strong statement warning that Obama's failure to defend the Defense of Marriage Act was a "serious breach of Church-State relations."

read … Human Trafficking

Environmental Groups Wary of Who Will Head New State Land Agency

Environmental groups were out in full force during a meeting for the new state agency tasked with developing state lands on Tuesday.

Life of the Land, the Sierra Club, KAHEA and Windward Ahupuaa Alliance all testified at the start of the meeting for the Public Land Development Corporation, raising concerns about proposed criteria for hiring an executive director.

The corporation, created in May, has attracted a stream of criticism and distrust for its broad development powers. This was the board’s third meeting.

The corporation is currently reviewing resumes of 18 applicants for the executive director position, who will be the corporation’s sole employee. The board is not releasing the names of the applicants after candidates expressed concerns that it might cause problems with their current employers.

The criteria, distributed at the meeting, includes experience in real estate development, government and pubic relations, strategic thinking, project management and administration.

read … Land and Power Redux?

Banana Leaves? Civil Beat Pushes Tupperware as Styrofoam Alternative

Last week, Plastic Free Kailua commented on one of our “Friend or Foam” posts. They wrote:

...One important thing to me is that as the customer, we have the ultimate say. We can ask our favorite lunch spot to transition to more sustainable choices (that I hope we will learn about in a future post) or ask to bring in our own reusable containers??

We heard you, Plastic Free Kailua. We went to To Thai For, one of our favorite restaurants in Kaimuki, and asked if we could bring in our own food containers. Natalie Pornngam, the owner, was more than happy to accommodate our request.

She told us that by bringing in our own containers, we’d be helping them as well. They pay 25 cents per small plastic foam box, 45 cents per large plastic foam box and 40 cents per plastic curry container with lid.

Last Friday, the Civil Beat clan brought in our own food containers, dropped them off at To Thai For, placed our order, and voilà — we had a plastic foam-free lunch. It was that easy.

read … Tupperware

Al Jazeera video interviews Thai workers on their living conditions

The Al Jazeera video Food chain slaves is the first in a series on human trafficking. The video will run in sequence with other programming through Wednesday.

read … Jazeera

Clinton Supporter Orly Taitz in Hawaii Looking for Birth Certificate

Dentist/Lawyer Orly Taitz alleges the online release is a forgery.

She has appealed denials to federal court before, and everywhere she has turned she has been denied.

Taitz, along with other so called "birthers", believe President Obama was not born in America. President Obama's father was from Kenya, his mother is from Hawaii.

read … Just a scam to divert conservatives. Don’t be a sucker for this Clinton trick.


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